98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race-Qualifying

Ed Carpenter leads halfway in Firestone 600 IndyCar race at Texas, only to yield back to Will Power on race off pit road

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Ed Carpenter was leading at the halfway point of Saturday night’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, only to yield a few laps later to early race leader Will Power

Carpenter was at the front of the pack on Lap 124 of the 248-lap event. Scott Dixon was running second, followed by early race leader Will Power in third, Simon Pagenaud in fourth and Tony Kanaan in fifth.

Sixth through 10th were Juan Pablo Montoya, Mikhail Aleshin, Josef Newgarden, Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves.

The race was put under its second caution period on Lap 121 after Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais made contact, putting both cars into the wall.

Based upon TV replays, it appeared Wilson was low on the apron, began spinning and slid up the racetrack into Bourdais.

“I got a good run on Sebastien coming down the back straight, he tried to block it and I went down and dove underneath, but he kept coming and forced me below the white line on turning,” Wilson said. “I thought he was going to leave me alone, but he only left half a lane and I had two wheels on the apron and obviously just lost control. It’s just really disappointing.”

Bourdais wasn’t sure whether he or Wilson were at fault in the incident.

“I got a bit checked up by my teammate and then Justin got a run after that,” Bourdais said. “I thought I’d hug the inside to protect the position to Justin. All of a sudden, I heard, looking inside, we were in Turn 3 and Justin ended up on the apron and hit the banking, spun out and got me on the way up.

“Honestly, I don’t know if it’s a racing incident, his fault or my fault. If it’s my fault, I apologize.”

Several teams waited to pit, with Carpenter, Power and others coming in on Lap 126. Power beat Carpenter off pit road to regain the lead on Lap 127.

On Lap 135, Hunter-Reay came into the pit and shut his car down, apparently due to some type of motor or mechanical problem.

Marco Andretti, who brought out the first caution, will be scored last on the 22-car finishing grid, dropping out of the race just three laps in after the motor on his car expired.

Saturday’s race marked the first event under new rules eliminating double-file restarts, which IndyCar officials announced Friday.

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Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

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MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
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You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

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Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.