2013 winners Pagenaud, Conway 1-2 in Detroit second practice


They switched liveries (Simon Pagenaud, first) and teams/manufacturers (Mike Conway, second), but the two winners of the 2013 Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans were back at the top for Friday’s second practice for Round 6 of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series.

Pagenaud, now in the orange Oculus colors instead of the blue-and-white Charter scheme for the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda, clocked in at 1:17.6502 around the 2.35-mile Belle Isle Park.

Both Pagenaud and Conway, who set his best time of 1:17.7149, liked having a loose car throughout the circuit as the bumpy track plays to the advantage of those who like a tail-happy car.

“Going from tarmac to concrete, the car just slides,” Pagenaud said. “If you don’t let it slide, if you don’t trust it, you can’t produce lap times.

“I think that’s what he does really well,” he added, joking about Conway. “He seems really good at running the car really, really loose on entry. That’s what I heard, actually.”

Conway, who won race one last year in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and is now in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, described what you need to do to handle this circuit.

“You’ve got to keep your wits about you,” he said. “It’s all part and parcel of the circuit, the way the bumps are. You can get your car set afterwards. That’s the biggest thing with the dampers, getting the thing to catch afterwards. A lot of corners, you’re going in, the car is very neutral on entry, then you catch the bumps. You got to make sure you’re going to make the corner, then get out.

“Even on a quick lap around here, you seem to have quite a few slides,” he added. “Most circuits don’t seem to get as much as that. But it’s fun though.”

Rest of the top five was Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay. RHR led practice one but stopped on track to end session two.

Qualifying takes place at 8:35 a.m. Saturday morning, in standard Firestone Fast Six format.

Here’s your times.


NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

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Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

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