IndyCar: Castroneves bags Houston Race 2 pole

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Helio Castroneves has secured his second Verizon P1 Award of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, after setting a fastest lap of 59.1702 in the second group of this morning’s qualifying for today’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 2 (NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, 3 p.m. ET).

The pole position is the 40th of his career, which ties him with Rick Mears for fourth all-time.

Castroneves, driving the throwback Pennzoil livery this weekend for his sponsor’s home race as he also did in Indianapolis, seeks to become the first driver to win from the pole this season. Castroneves finished ninth in yesterday’s Race 1.

“The car was awesome; we missed yesterday by just a bit. Today we didn’t,” Castroneves told IndyCar Radio. “This is fantastic. Its’ the right car to start at the front.”

The two Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammates start second and third, with rookie Mikhail Aleshin in a career-best grid position and Simon Pagenaud third after taking the pole on Saturday.

Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais round out the top five.

Points leader Will Power will start 18th for the second day in a row.


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 IndyCar.com.

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.