IndyCar drivers show why throwing out a first pitch is tougher than it looks

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IndyCar drivers need to have at least some bit of arm strength to wrangle around their race cars, which don’t have the benefit of power steering.

But when it comes to them throwing out ceremonial first pitches at a Major League Baseball game, perhaps it’s not so much their arm strength that’s the problem – more so, their location.

Before heading down to Barber Motorsports Park for this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series event, driver/owner Ed Carpenter made a quick stop in Detroit to handle some promotion for the Detroit Grand Prix (May 31-June 1).

Part of his duties was to throw out the first pitch at yesterday’s Detroit Tigers game. We weren’t able to find a video of the pitch, and perhaps that is a good thing – Mike Brudenell of the Detroit Free Press reports that Carpenter’s throw hit the dirt and went past the glove of catcher Justin Miller into the backstop.

“If that was an attempt at Indy to qualify, I would definitely have withdrawn it,” Carpenter quipped according to Brudenell’s report.

But at least Carpenter got to swap jerseys (or his case, a T-shirt commemorating his 2013 Indianapolis 500 pole) with Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello.

Earlier this month, another IndyCar racer tried to deliver a good first pitch as Helio Castroneves stopped by a Los Angeles Dodgers game before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend got started.

While Carpenter’s pitch was apparently too low, Castroneves’ pitch sailed on him and, as you’ll see in this Vine clip from the Dodgers, it forced their star outfielder, Andre Ethier, to use his hops in order to snag the wayward ball.

Maybe Carpenter and Castroneves should’ve gone to J.R. Hildebrand for lessons?

Of course, we’re just having a bit of fun with them. You can catch Castroneves and Carpenter (who will be on the pit box watching his road course driver, Mike Conway) this Sunday in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

F1 2017 driver review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Carlos Sainz Jr.

Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 54
Championship Position: 9th

Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.

Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.

Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.

Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.

Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.

Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.

Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.