Emerson Newton-John returns to Indy Lights with TMR, Pink and Blue for Two

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Charities and comebacks always make for great stories, which should make Emerson Newton-John’s return to the Freedom 100 in Indy Lights this year a perfect example.

Newton-John,  who had been out of the cockpit for nearly a decade prior to his last race in 2012, when he raced the Freedom 100 last, will be in Team Moore Racing’s No. 22 entry for this year’s race. Italian Vittorio Ghirelli had been in the seat the first three race weekends of the year; Emerson will be teammate to Canadian rookie Zack Meyer in the team’s No. 2 car.

That year, despite the hiatus, Newton-John was sixth fastest in practice and qualified eighth in a field of 19 cars.

Now, Newton-John is rekindling his open-wheel career as well as using the opportunity to gain positive exposure for his cancer awareness charity, Pink and Blue for Two.

The race follows a very successful inaugural awareness walk during the OneAmerica 500 Festival 5k, led by his aunt and the charities primary Ambassador, Olivia Newton-John, along with Coach Chuck Pagano of the Colts.

“Getting back to Indy has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs to put it mildly,” he said. “It’s been almost 2 years since I have been in a racecar, and missing the open test on May 3rd isn’t ideal, but knowing that I’m going to be with a team as experienced and successful at IMS as Team Moore Racing, makes the task at hand that much more manageable.

“If the weather stays nice and we can get plenty of mileage in during practice, I am more than confident that we can be very competitive, he added. “This is also going to be a fantastic opportunity to create further public knowledge of our cancer awareness charity, Pink and Blue for Two, to the racing fraternity and its many fans.”

The team tested a couple weeks ago to focus on shock and Cooper Tire development.

Newton-John’s last series start came in Baltimore in 2012; a video of how that car looked is below.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”