Firestone 550

What to watch for: IndyCar at Texas (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN & Live Extra)

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Ever since an aerodynamic package with lower downforce was introduced at Texas Motor Speedway a few years ago, tire management has become vital to success at this track. Tonight, teams will have the option to run as much as 300 extra pounds of downforce on their cars, which could help somewhat with degradation problems. But taking care of the rubber throughout a fuel run will still be important for the drivers.


Yes, Team Penske’s got the mojo after Detroit and one of those Motor City winners, Will Power, is on pole. But three of the four Chip Ganassi Racing guys – Tony Kanaan (starting third), Scott Dixon (seventh), and Ryan Briscoe (13th) – have been excellent in practice heading into tonight. And let’s not forget Charlie Kimball, who’s coming off a podium finish in Detroit Dual 2 and has proven he can hold his own on high-speed ovals like Texas.


Considering the nature of racing at Texas, you’d figure that rookies such as Carlos Munoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth – all of them blessed with heavy right feet – are willing to let it all hang out on the high banks. But that pesky tire management thing could blunt their progress if they’re not careful. Watch and see if these guys can keep their youthful aggression in check.


Tonight’s race has been increased to a distance of 600 kilometers from the previous 550, which works out to 20 extra laps around TMS (248 in total). Could that have an impact on tire and fuel strategies toward the end?

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.