It’s early yet, but keep these qualifying stats in mind for future IndyCar street races

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After back-to-back street races to open the year, the Verizon IndyCar Series doesn’t race on one again for another month.

St. Petersburg and Long Beach represent the series’ only “standard” street races of the year. The other three weekends in Detroit (May 30-June 1), Houston (June 27-29) and Toronto (July 18-20) are all double-header weekends, and thus will see an altered qualifying format similar to how the double-headers were done in 2013 (Firestone Fast Six on Friday for Race 1 and likely a two-session format for Race 2).

Once we get back to Detroit, it will be interesting to see if the pattern of who’s been quick and who hasn’t will continue.

Here’s a look at the average qualifying positions in IndyCar through two races:

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
2. Scott Dixon 6
3. Jack Hawksworth 6.5
4. Marco Andretti 7
5. Tony Kanaan 7.5
6. Takuma Sato 8
7. Sebastien Bourdais 8
8. Will Power 9
9. Carlos Munoz 9
10. Helio Castroneves 9.5
11. Simon Pagenaud 10
12. James Hinchcliffe 10.5
13. Oriol Servia 12
14. Josef Newgarden 13
15. Justin Wilson 13
16. Ryan Briscoe 13.5
17. Mike Conway 14.5
18. Sebastian Saavedra 16.5
19. Juan Pablo Montoya 17
20. Mikhail Aleshin 17.5
21. Carlos Huertas 19
22. Charlie Kimball 19.5
23. Graham Rahal 22

As you can see, it’s a fairly mixed order and only three Penske and Ganassi drivers are in the top 10. Hunter-Reay and Power were the two top qualifiers in 2013 and this order is likely to fluctuate with the next two races on permanent road courses at Barber Motorsports Park and then the new infield road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Perhaps Jack Hawksworth, who’s qualified eighth and fifth in the first two races this year, has been the biggest positive surprise. Meanwhile luck and or timing has not been on the side of Ryan Briscoe, Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball, all of whom drive for either Penske or Ganassi and have yet to hit the perfect lap in two sessions.

What these stats mean anyway, for the moment, is the field is so ridiculously tight that mere hundredths of seconds can swing a starting position any of 8 to 12 spots. And proof positive that qualifying isn’t everything, eight of the top 10 finishers at Long Beach started outside the top 10.

Still, interesting to note.

IMSA: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Update – 3 hours in

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The opening hours of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring have been action-packed, with the early hours highlighted by racing that we would not expect from an endurance race.

For example, Acura Team Penske’s No. 7 ARX-05, currently fourth with Graham Rahal at the wheel, has had a couple run-ins with traffic, both from the Prototype and GT classes, as shown below.

Reports on happenings in the first three hours from all three classes are below.


Turn 1, Lap 1 proved to be a disaster for one of the contenders in Prototype. Olivier Pla, starting on the outside of the front row in the No.2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, tried to pass polesitter Tristan Vautier, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, on the outside.

Vautier held his ground when Pla tried to pinch him against the inside wall, with the two making contact and sending Pla into a slide across the outside of the corner. Although he limped around back into the pits, the team ultimately uncovered a terminal gearbox issue, cause by the contact, and retired car, ending their race before it ever had a chance to get going.

The lone caution of the opening hours also came in the Prototype class. Sebastian Saavedra, in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, spun exiting Turn 17. In trying to avoid, Frank Montecalvo, in the GT Daytona class No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, drifted out wide, but made contact with the right-front of Saavedra, which launched Montecalvo airborne and into the tire barriers exiting the corner.

Montecalvo emerged unhurt from the spectacular incident, while Saavedra returned to the pits for a new front nose on the No. 52 Ligier, and continued on.

Vautier, meanwhile, continued on unscathed and led the opening stint.

Just over three hours in, Eric Curran leads in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac for Action Express. The No. 22 ESM Nissan sits second in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, with Jordan Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

BMW Team RLL has dominated the opening hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring, with their No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM leading the way early on. Nicky Catsburg is currently behind the wheel.

Risi Competizion currently holds down second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi currently at the helm of their No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing holds third with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT, though they had a clumsy run-in with the sister No. 66 in the pits early on, with both cars bumping each other exiting the pits.

However, no damage was done and both carried on.

GT Daytona

The polesitting No. 51 Ferrari from Spirit of Race also had a messy start to their 12 Hours of Sebring, with Daniel Serra getting together with the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in the hands Jack Hawksworth at the time. The contact cut the right-rear tire of Serra, forcing an early pit stop. They now sit 16th in class.

Montaplast by Land Motorsport leads in the way in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with 17-year-old youngster Sheldon van der Linde at the helm. Running second is Corey Lewis in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with 3GT Racing sitting third with Kyle Marcelli in the No. 14 Lexus.