Unofficial Indianapolis 500 starting grid and IndyCar points


Not only was this weekend qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, but with the new format came a new points system that could see a maximum of 42 points achieved if a driver qualified fastest on both Saturday (33 points) and Sunday (9 points). And Indianapolis 500 polesitter Ed Carpenter has done just that.

Obviously, those that broke into the Fast Nine shootout took home the bulk of the qualifying points.

Six others – James Hinchcliffe (38), Helio Castroneves (37), Will Power (36), Carlos Munoz (35), Marco Andretti (34) and Simon Pagenaud (31) – took home more than 30 points on qualifying weekend, the net equivalent of at least a fifth-place finish in a normal race.

Here’s a breakdown of where every driver qualified Saturday, Sunday and their points totals.

Car Sat. Order (Pts) Sun. Order (Pts) Total Pts
20 Carpenter 1 (33) 1 (9) 42
34 Munoz 2 (32) 7 (3) 35
3 Castroneves 3 (31) 4 (6) 37
27 Hinchcliffe 4 (30) 2 (8) 38
12 Power 5 (29) 3 (7) 36
25 Andretti 6 (28) 6 (4) 32
77 Pagenaud 7 (27) 5 (5) 31
67 Newgarden 8 (26) 8 (2) 28
21 Hildebrand 9 (25) 9 (1) 26
26 Busch 10 (24) 12 24
28 Hunter-Reay 11 (23) 19 23
98 Hawksworth 12 (22) 13 22
2 Montoya 13 (21) 10 21
19 Wilson 14 (20) 14 20
9 Dixon 15 (19) 11 19
7 Aleshin 16 (18) 15 18
8 Briscoe 17 (17) 30 17
14 Sato 18 (16) 23 16
83 Kimball 19 (15) 26 15
15 Rahal 20 (14) 20 14
22 Karam 21 (13) 31 13
6 Bell 22 (12) 25 12
10 Kanaan 23 (11) 16 11
11 Bourdais 24 (10) 17 10
63 Mann 25 (9) 22 9
17 Saavedra 26 (8) 32 8
5 Villeneuve 27 (7) 27 7
33 Davison 28 (6) 28 6
16 Servia 29 (5) 18 5
18 Huertas 30 (4) 21 4
68 Tagliani 31 (3) 24 3
41 Plowman 32 (2) 29 2
91 Lazier 33 (1) 33 1

Which means that, unofficially, the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings looks like this coming out of qualifying:

1.  Will Power, 185
2.  Simon Pagenaud, 175
3.  Ryan Hunter-Reay, 171
4.  Helio Castroneves, 139
5.  Marco Andretti, 121
6.  Scott Dixon, 121
7.  Justin Wilson, 107
8.  Josef Newgarden, 99
9.  Ryan Briscoe, 97
10. Carlos Munoz, 96
11. James Hinchcliffe, 94
12. Mike Conway, 93
13. Tony Kanaan, 93
14. Jack Hawksworth, 93
15. Juan Pablo Montoya, 91
16. Sebastien Bourdais, 91
17. Takuma Sato, 91
18. Charlie Kimball, 82
19. Mikhail Aleshin, 77
20. Sebastian Saavedra, 71
21. Graham Rahal, 69
22. Carlos Huertas, 67
23. Oriol Servia, 60
24. Ed Carpenter, 42
25. JR Hildebrand, 26
26. Kurt Busch, 24
27. Martin Plowman, 14
28. Sage Karam, 13
29. Townsend Bell, 12
30. Pippa Mann, 9
31. Franck Montagny, 8
32. Jacques Villeneuve, 7
33. James Davison, 6
34. Alex Tagliani, 3
35. Buddy Lazier, 1

And now, the starting grid for the 98th Indianapolis 500, after Saturday’s, Sunday’s Group 1 and Fast Nine qualifying:

20-Ed Carpenter, 231.067
27-James Hinchcliffe, 230.839
12-Will Power, 230.697

3-Helio Castroneves, 230.649
77-Simon Pagenaud, 230.614
25-Marco Andretti, 230.544

34-Carlos Munoz, 230.146
67-Josef Newgarden, 229.893
21-JR Hildebrand, 228.726

2-Juan Pablo Montoya, 231.007
9-Scott Dixon, 230.928
26-Kurt Busch, 230.782

98-Jack Hawksworth, 230.506
19-Justin Wilson, 230.256
7-Mikhail Aleshin, 230.049

10-Tony Kanaan, 229.922
11-Sebastien Bourdais, 229.847
16-Oriol Servia, 229.752

28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 229.719
15-Graham Rahal, 229.628
18-Carlos Huertas, 229.251

63-Pippa Mann, 229.223
14-Takuma Sato, 229.201
68-Alex Tagliani, 229.148

6-Townsend Bell, 229.009
83-Charlie Kimball, 228.953
5-Jacques Villeneuve, 228.949

ROW 10
33-James Davison, 228.865
41-Martin Plowman, 228.814
8-Ryan Briscoe, 228.713

ROW 11
22-Sage Karam, 228.436
17-Sebastian Saavedra, 228.088
91-Buddy Lazier, 227.920

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NHRA: Riding almost 200 mph is the Arana family business

Hector Arana Jr. is a chip off the old block when it comes to racing motorcycles in the NHRA.
(Photos courtesy Geiger Global Media and NHRA)
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Some men follow in their father’s footsteps.

Hector Arana Jr., however, followed in his father’s tire tracks.

That’s as a full-time competitor in the NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle ranks.

Hector Arana – Junior’s father – won the 2009 PSM championship and both have been consistent entrants in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, as well as racing down dragstrips from New Jersey to California at nearly 200 mph.

The senior Arana is in his eighth straight Countdown, while his son is in his sixth straight playoff. As the NHRA circuit moves into Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., this weekend for the Dodge Nationals, father and son are both looking to making some significant jump upward in the standings.

Hector Arana Jr.
Hector Arana

Hector Jr., 27, is seventh in the standings, 145 points behind points leader and defending series champion Andrew Hines. The younger Arana has finished in the top five in each of the last four Countdowns: fourth in both 2012 and 2013, third in 2014 and fifth in 2015.

The elder Arana, who turned 58 on Sept. 17, is right behind his son in the point standings, in eighth place, 153 points behind Hines.

Son leads father in overall wins on the two-wheel circuit, 11 to seven. But they’re also each other’s biggest cheerleaders and work on each other’s bikes to make them as quick and fast as they possibly can be.

Both are big fans of Maple Grove and are looking forward to returning there this weekend.

Hector Arana
Hector Arana

“It’s important for both of us to do well in the playoffs,” father Hector said in a media release. “I’m liking our chances. Both bikes are running well and we feel like we have the ability to win any of the races we enter.

“I’ve been around a long time, and I don’t think it’s ever been tougher than it is right now in this class, but that makes it more challenging and more satisfying when you do well. Hopefully this weekend is a big one for us.”

Not only does Hector Jr. get his racing genes from his father, he also shares in the Arana family patriarch’s optimism about this weekend.

“If weather conditions are just right, we could see national records this weekend,” said the younger Arana, who won at Reading in 2011. “We would really like to be in the mix to run those kinds of numbers. We have the power to do it; we just need to put it all together the right way.

“We’ve had a decent year and even got to the final round at Indy earlier this month but we want more. Reading would be a great place to win. I know I’d be happy to get it done.”

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IMSA Prototype title battle pits AXR teammates against each other

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype standings couldn’t be tighter heading into Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Dane Cameron and Eric Curran currently lead the standings in their No. 31 Whelen/Team Fox Corvette DP, holding a razor-thin 286 to 285 point lead over teammates Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP.

“It will certainly be business as usual – that’s the best way to put it, for sure,” Cameron said in the team’s advance release. “We can’t afford to race any differently or be conservative.

“We need to be on attack to try to win the championship. We’re going to be putting it all on the line to try to get this championship. We’re taking on our teammates – the two-time defending champions – and you can’t leave any stone unturned.

“In the big picture, it’s a great accomplishment for the whole Action Express Racing organization to have both cars first and second in the points. That’s something to be really proud of, two great seasons from our race cars.”

Whichever team accumulates more points in Saturday’s race will be the 2016 Prototype champion. And besides the one-point difference, things have been tight in other ways, as well.

In the last IMSA race for Prototypes, Sept. 17 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Cameron and Curran finished second, with Barbosa and Fittipaldi right behind in third.

What’s more, prior to that the Action Express pairs have recorded three consecutive one-two finishes: Cameron/Curran and Barbosa/Fittipaldi finished 1-2 at both Road America (Aug. 7) and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (July 10), while Barbosa/Fittipaldi finished 1-2 ahead of Cameron/Curran at Watkins Glen International (July 3).

“We had a great test in Atlanta,” said Action Express Racing team manager Gary Nelson.  “There were other Corvettes that we ran against so we were able to evaluate our cars against others that we’re going to be racing this weekend.

“We ran over 700 miles per car, over the two days, and we made a lot of long runs. We really feel a lot of confidence and we’re excited about the race coming up at Road Atlanta.”

As if things weren’t interesting enough, Cameron and Curran are pulling out all stops by adding brand new Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud to their team for the 10-hour endurance race.

Pagenaud raced with Cameron and Curran (and Johnny Adam) in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the team finishing sixth in class.

Pagenaud competed full-time in the American Le Mans Series from 2008 to 2010, earning eight wins in that period and the 2010 series title, before moving full-time to the IndyCar circuit.

In this race last year, Barbosa and Fittipaldi, along with another IndyCar driver, Sebastien Bourdais, captured the championship, while Cameron, Curran and Max Papis finished third.

Barbosa and Fittipaldi have their own ringer of sorts, Filipe Albuquerque, who was part of their team that wound up with respective fourth place finishes in each of the first two races of this season: Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

“Doing Petit Le Mans with three drivers is almost the same as doing it with two drivers at the Glen, maybe a little bit longer,” Fittipaldi said. “It’s pretty straight forward and we won’t need to make any adjustments.

“In the series you have to be prepared no matter what, and ‘be on’ all the time.  We only have 10 races and it doesn’t matter if it’s Daytona or Sebring or Road Atlanta — you just have to be on it all the time.”

Added Barbosa, “Everything in the race really comes down to preparation in the shop. Our race cars are very strong and very reliable and we can push the car all the time for the whole 10 hours.

“This is going to be the last race for this Corvette Prototype, so hopefully we’ll be able to give it a last win and retire the car in the best possible way.”

Albuquerque this season has also earned two wins in the LMP2 class of the WEC (Six Hours of Silverstone and Six Hours of Mexico), along with two other runner-up finishes (Six Hours of Nurburgring and Circuit Of The Americas).

In addition to going for their overall Prototype championship, Barbosa/Fittipaldi are also in the hunt for their third consecutive Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup title, a four-race competition based upon overall outcomes at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.

Barbosa/Fittipaldi have earned 35 points to lead the competition, with Cameron/Curran a close third with 29 points.

“Last year, we were in a pretty good championship battle with our teammates in the No. 5 car, as well as the Wayne Taylor car,” Curran said. “It really came down to the wire last year at Petit Le Mans, on basically who finished ahead of the others was going to win the championship – and we came really close.

“We ended up third last year, but only a few points behind our teammates. It’s even closer this year. We’re one point ahead, but anything can happen. All the guys on the team have been great. Our pit stops have been spot on, the performance of the car has been phenomenal and my teammate Dane Cameron has been top-notch.

“We’re closer to the championship than a year ago and it’s an amazing feeling to be so close.  The pressure is on now.  It would be huge for us to win a championship in the top class of the IMSA series.”

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Dragon Racing loses Vergne penalty appeal from London

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 2: In this handout image supplied by Formula E, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS Virgin Racing DSV-01 during the London Formula E race on July 2, 2016 in Battersea Park, London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Formula E via Getty Images)
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Dragon Racing’s appeal following Jean-Eric Vergne’s post-race time penalties at the season finale of the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E Championship has been lost. Dragon was hoping to finish ahead of DS Virgin Racing for third in the team’s championship.

A decision was released today by the FIA International Court of Appeal, which heard the appeal on Friday, Sept. 16, which called the appeal “inadmissable.” Dragon appealed the penalties on July 6.

Vergne was assessed two post-race time penalties – 50 seconds for hitting 0 percent battery life on the final lap, and an additional second when leaving the pit lane. The first penalty dropped him from third on the road down to seventh, with an additional position lost on the second penalty.

Nonetheless, even though Dragon’s pair of Jerome d’Ambrosio and Loic Duval were promoted up to third and fourth in the London race at Battersea Park, Vergne was still classified eighth in the finale. That four-point net was enough to ensure DS Virgin finished one point ahead of Dragon for third place.

Vergne has since shifted from DS Virgin to Techeetah Formula E for season three. The new season kicks off Oct. 9 in Hong Kong.

Soft tire preference revealed in Japanese GP picks

xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on September 27, 2015 in Suzuka, Japan.
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Formula 1’s two-week Asian swing is ahead with the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend and the Japanese Grand Prix next week.

The Japanese Grand Prix tire picks were revealed on Tuesday, per usual, and most drivers and teams have selected more of Pirelli’s sets of soft tires, the softest on offer. As in Malaysia, teams can select between the soft, medium and hard compounds.

All drivers have between six and nine sets of softs selected.

Both Red Bull drivers are opting for four sets of hards, with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel three sets of hards and Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen two sets of hards.

The full breakdown is below: