IndyCar update: Bourdais leads off-sequence in Baltimore

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Past lap 38 of 75 in the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT (LIVE on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), Sebastien Bourdais currently leads on an off-sequence strategy in the 16th IZOD IndyCar Series race of the season.

The race kicked off under hot and humid conditions, reported at 85 degrees ambient and 122 on track, per Firestone. Will Power took the lead on polesitter Scott Dixon at Turn 3 on the opening lap and led the first 31 laps before pitting on lap 32.

Dixon and Simon Pagenaud slotted in behind him. Josef Newgarden moved up to fourth with Graham Rahal also making a series of moves to get into the top five.

Other hard chargers were Oriol Servia and Simona de Silvestro, who each gained seven spots from their grid positions (15th to eighth and 17th to 10th, respectively) and also Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who advanced from 22nd to 13th.

Four different Honda drivers had mechanical issues in the opening laps. James Jakes, Takuma Sato and Luca Filippi all retired while Dario Franchitti, who needed to change engines twice this weekend, had reported brake and master cylinder issues per team owner Chip Ganassi to NBCSN’s Marty Snider. IndyCar series debutante Stefan Wilson made his first pit stop within the first five laps and had an issue with the left rear tire being attached, but resumed.

Ed Carpenter nosed into the Turn 5 wall at Lap 12 right when Filippi had an engine fire; the two combined incidents caused the first yellow flag of the race.

The race restarted on Lap 20 and Newgarden brushed the wall exiting Turn 12 a few laps later. That dropped him from fourth back to eighth, and he was the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 24.

Power banked a gap over the Hondas: Pagenaud, Dixon, Kimball and Rahal then in the top five behind the Sonoma winner in the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The leaders stopped for the first time from Laps 26 through 31. Power’s stop was costly, a 15.7 second stop after he overshot his marks. That moved Bourdais to the lead; the Dragon Racing driver was one of several who pitted off sequence on Lap 12 (also pitting then: Tristan Vautier, Justin Wilson, Sebastian Saavedra, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and E.J. Viso).

Viso had an issue on Lap 36 to create a major stack-up of cars behind him.

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

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