IndyCar: Penske/Ganassi hearken back to prior days with 1-4 sweep

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It’s not often anymore that entries from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing sweep the top four positions combined, such is the level of competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series and especially since the current formula was introduced ahead of the 2012 season.

It only happened once in 2013 (Pocono) and once in 2012 (Barber), and has now happened for the first time in 2014 in Dual 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans, Round 7 of the 2014 season.

The 2013 Pocono race saw a Ganassi podium sweep, with Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti, with Penske’s Will Power fourth. At Barber in 2012, Power led Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, who was then in the Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

It happened rather frequently between 2006 and 2011, with the previous generation Dallara-Honda IndyCar. But it’s become an abnormal occurrence since.

Castroneves took the win on Sunday in Detroit in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet with teammate Power second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, despite an early race drive-through penalty for contact on Lap 1. Those two have been top-four fixtures in the past.

In third was Charlie Kimball, in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, for his first career third place. Kimball has had only three prior podium finishes, two runners-up (2012 Toronto, 2013 Pocono) and his first win at Mid-Ohio last August.

Fourth, hanging on late after starting 22nd, was Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

This also was a top-four sweep by Chevrolet, the first time either manufacturer has swept the top four positions this year. Thus far, the parity between Honda and Chevrolet has been as close as ever.

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.”