Indiana native Newman “emotional” after pole run at Indy

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South Bend, Indiana native and Purdue University graduate Ryan Newman was thrilled to make his own bit of history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon by winning the pole for tomorrow’s Brickyard 400.

Newman earned tremendous cheers from his home fans after he knocked Jimmie Johnson off the top spot in the final qualifying attempt of the day. His lap of 187.531 miles per hour also enabled him to claim the NASCAR qualifying record at Indy.

“I got emotional on the backstretch when they told me [that I had the pole],” Newman said in a post-race press conference. “It’s special to me because it’s Indiana, but it’s even more special because it’s the Brickyard and the history of auto racing at this facility. So many drivers who were my heroes, so many drivers that I’ve admired, so many drivers that have worked so hard in their career to get to here – and on this day, to be the fastest one, that is what’s special.”

“…My parents still have a house in South Bend, so I still have the Indiana roots. That didn’t make me any faster today, but it makes it more gratifying to win the pole.”

The pole was the 50th of Newman’s Sprint Cup career and made him the ninth driver in series history to reach that mark, joining Richard Petty (123 career poles), David Pearson (113), Jeff Gordon (72), Cale Yarborough (69), Darrell Waltrip (59), Bobby Allison (58), Mark Martin (56), and Bill Elliott (55).

But there’s still 400 miles to contend with tomorrow, and Newman is expecting to see track position remain the most important element at Indy even with the quickness of the new Generation 6 cars.

“It’s always going to be a track position race,” Newman said. “The flatter the track is and the faster we go, as far as the aerodynamics and the way the drafting works, you really can’t make up in the draft what you lose in downforce in the corners.

“The track position is going to be key and because we’re faster than we’ve ever have [been], I say it’s gonna be more important than it ever has been.”

Alonso enjoys maiden Toyota LMP1 test, ends as second-fastest rookie

Adrenal Media
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Fernando Alonso took his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 by testing an LMP1 car for the first time with Toyota in Bahrain on Sunday.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso has made no secret of his desire to race at Le Mans, having signed a deal to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as preparation for a possible entry at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Toyota confirmed after Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain that Alonso would be testing its TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car in the traditional rookie test on Sunday.

Alonso was given the car for the bulk of the five-hour test day following an initial shakedown by Sebastien Buemi, completing 113 laps in total – more than any other driver – and posting a best lap time of 1:43.013.

“It was a great day,” Alonso said. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.

“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that, so I am happy.”

However, Alonso did not finish as the fastest rookie, with that honor instead going to Pietro Fittipaldi, who was the final driver to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the closure of the German marque’s LMP1 program.

Alonso is now set to head back to Europe before a test in United Autosports’ LMP2 car on Tuesday as part of his Daytona preparation, before then returning to the Middle East for the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend.