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.”

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.  

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (VIDEO)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).