GP2: Nasr and Cecotto star on a tough weekend for US drivers

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Felipe Nasr and Johnny Cecotto Jr. have been the stars of the second GP2 weekend of the season in Spain as both claimed one win at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, it was a disappointing weekend for American drivers Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi, who both failed to score any points once again due to a number of problems.

Qualifying saw Stephane Richelmi secure his first pole position in the series for DAMS, but he stalled on the grid, handing the advantage to teammate Jolyon Palmer, who had qualified in second place for the feature race. Palmer made an early stop to change onto the hard tire, and this proved to be costly as Cecotto – who had started way back down in 16th place – went deep into the race before stopping for a set of softs. This allowed him to clinch his third GP2 victory, and answer a number of critics who dislike his aggressive driving style.

The feature race saw Alexander Rossi retire with an engine problem, whilst Conor Daly could only come home in 17th place as he struggled on the soft tire.

For the sprint race on Sunday, the top eight finishers were reversed to form the grid, handing pole to Arden driver Tom Dillman who was stepping in for the injured Andre Negrao. The Frenchman performed admirably on his return to the series and eventually finished in third place.

The star of Sunday was unquestionably Felipe Nasr, who claimed his first ever GP2 win after recording 10 podium finishes over the past two years. He finished ahead of Palmer, who, with his fourth podium in as many races, has stormed into the lead of the championship.

Daly’s race ended prematurely when he was caught up in an incident between Simon Trummer and Artem Markelov. Rossi endured a quiet race to cross the line down in 14th.

GP2 now has a two week break before the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, but its own support series – GP3 – will not return until Austria. Red Bull junior Alex Lynn leads the championship after completing a grand chelem – pole, fastest lap, win, lead every lap – on Saturday, whilst Dean Stoneman won the sprint race on Sunday.

IndyCar: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports expands mentoring program for tech school students

Photos: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
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IndyCar team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today that it is extending and widening a unique sponsorship and mentoring program that began last season with students from Lincoln Technical Institute.

The program began last year, with students from several Lincoln Tech branches attending select IndyCar events for an entire weekend.

The students, primarily from auto and diesel training programs, got an insiders experience with the team, taking part in team meetings, watching team workers prepare and service the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda of driver James Hinchcliffe, sat on pit boxes during practices, qualifying and, of course races.

The overall experience was to get students more interested and involved in potential careers in the IndyCar field.

“We said at the beginning of last season that we knew our students would benefit and learn from the professionalism and drive of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team,” Lincoln Tech President and CEO Scott Shaw said. “But the experience they received working with the entire pit crew team and in particular crew member Cole Jagger – a Lincoln Tech graduate himself – went beyond even our own expectations.

“We were grateful for the time they spent mentoring our students, and we are thrilled to once again be part of the racing legacy of team owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson.”

Lincoln Tech will once again serve as an associate sponsor on Hinchcliffe’s car for the entire 2018 IndyCar season. In addition, it is expanding its Mentor Program to select students to attend a minimum of nine IndyCar races from six last season.

Students are selected based upon their grade point average, attendance, conduct and overall commitment to becoming outstanding automotive technicians. An interest in IndyCar and a desire to work in the industry is also considered.

One student that took part last season, Tyler Crist of Lincoln Tech’s Denver campus, joined the team at the IndyCar race in Long Beach last April, watching as Hinchcliffe won the event.

“It was the best weekend of my life,” Crist said after the event. “It reminded me of why I joined this field in the first place and to never give up on my dreams.”

Jagger will oversee the expanded mentoring program this season. For Jagger, being involved especially hits home, as he is a graduate of Lincoln Tech’s Indianapolis campus.

“I totally enjoyed working with the Lincoln Tech students that participated in the Mentor Program last year and look forward to meeting this year’s group,” Jagger said. “Being a Lincoln Tech grad, I hope the students realize that if you have a passion for cars, a career in racing is something that’s not out of reach. If I can be an example for them to follow, that makes it even more rewarding.”

In addition to the at-track activities of the mentoring program, several Lincoln Tech branches across the country will utilize CNC computerized machining and manufacturing tools to assist in creating car parts for SPM.

“Through this unique partnership, we’re able to hopefully find the next class of talent that could one day be part of our organization,” SPM president Jon Flack said. “We’re looking forward to another year of the mentorship program and having their students be ‘boots on the ground’ gaining real-life experience with our team.”

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