DIXON AIMS FOR THE SWEEP
With his second victory in a row yesterday, Scott Dixon has turned the IZOD IndyCar Series championship into a three-horse race. He’s charged to within 44 points of leader Helio Castroneves, and he’ll be aiming for the doubleheader sweep today from pole position – which could help him stay ahead of a potentially chaotic standing start. Dixon was second-fastest in the warmup, so he definitely has the pace to pull off another Toronto win. If he can do it, he’ll also come away with a $100,000 bonus for taking both doubleheader races this weekend.
RHR UNDER PRESSURE
One of those title combatants, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, has started to lose touch with Castroneves thanks to problems in the last two races. Yesterday in Race 1, electrical issues caused him to stall on pit exit twice and he also went into the Turn 3 tires late in the race while trying to pass teammate E.J. Viso. With Castroneves continuing to log consistent results ahead of him and Dixon making his way into the title picture, RHR needs a good result this afternoon to stop the bleeding. He’ll go off from Row 2 alongside Castroneves and right behind pole sitter Dixon.
STANDING START – TAKE 2
The highly anticipated IndyCar debut of standing starts failed to go off yesterday as Josef Newgarden’s machine stalled while the field was gridded up on the main straight. Instead, Race 1 began with a traditional rolling start, triggering a chorus of boos from those in attendance. Fortunately, IndyCar made the right call for the fans at the track and at home, and they’ll give it another shot today. For the series’ sake, let’s hope it goes off this time…
RETURN OF MUNOZ
With Ryan Briscoe sustaining a broken wrist in an incident during yesterday’s race, Panther Racing has called in Firestone Indy Lights championship leader Carlos Munoz to take over the No. 4 Chevrolet for the second event of the Toronto weekend. Munoz’s impressive runner-up performance at the Indianapolis 500 made us wonder when he’d get another shot with the big cars, and while it’s not ideal that he received it through another driver’s injury, it’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll show patience or be aggressive today in his second career IndyCar start.
Watch today’s Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto online and on your mobile device.
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.