Long Beach Update: Ryan Hunter-Reay still in control

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Ryan Hunter-Reay is halfway to his second career win at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as he’s kept control of the proceedings after starting from the pole position.

The first standing start of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season had Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe on the front row.

But when the lights went out, Hinchcliffe got off slowly while Sebastien Bourdais charged past him to pick up second behind Hunter-Reay. Simon Pagenaud and Marco Andretti also leaped past Hinchcliffe on the opening lap.

But while Andretti faded back with apparent front wing damage, Hinchcliffe was able to make up some ground and got back to third at Lap 9 of 80.

Several drivers, including Graham Rahal and Tony Kanaan, opted to pit early in a bid to make a three-stop strategy work but the race stayed clean until Lap 27.

Just after he had made his first pit stop of the day, Bourdais appeared to lock up his brakes and went into the tires at Turn 8 while under heavy pressure from Hinchcliffe in third place.

On Lap 32, the race restarted but not cleanly as Graham Rahal got into the back of Justin Wilson at the Turn 11 hairpin and turned the Englishman around.

Rahal was given a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact, but Will Power did not suffer the same fate when he got into Pagenaud in a battle for position at Turn 6.

Pagenaud got the worse of the exchange as he went into the tires there and left with a banner wrapped around his left-front suspension and damaged front wing.

Meanwhile, the day got even worse for Bourdais as he was given his own drive-through penalty for pitting in a closed pit lane at Lap 35.

A short time later, he found trouble again when he slid into the tires at Turn 9 to bring out the caution flag just at halfway. Charlie Kimball’s Chevrolet engine then blew up, forcing the safety crew to push him behind the wall.

When the green came back out at Lap 46, Hunter-Reay was leading Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Helio Castroneves.

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.