IndyCar: Schmidt Peterson plays up the “Frenchman and a Russian in Texas” joke


This is the point in the season that is almost as grinding for media members and team PR representatives as it is for the crews in the Verizon IndyCar Series, but sometimes, humor still finds a way into press releases.

Case in point, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ team advance for this weekend, highlighting the culture shock of its drivers – Frenchman Simon Pagenaud and Russian Mikhail Aleshin – visiting Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s Firestone 600.

“A Frenchman and a Russian walk into Texas Motor Speedway, looking for six-shooters and a cowboy hat in victory circle.

“It sounds like the start to a bad joke, but Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) drivers Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin enter the Firestone 600 race weekend with one serious goal: victory on the 1.5-mile oval on Saturday night, June 7,” says the start of the team’s pre-race press release.

Adding to the joke, both Aleshin and series PR director Mike Kitchel took it a step further with posts on Twitter.

Here’s Aleshin with some heavy artillery:

And here’s Kitchel posting a pic of Pagenaud with the Fort Worth SWAT team:

Everything’s bigger in Texas… even the jokes.

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.