IndyCar: Iowa could be the perfect place for Pagenaud’s first oval win

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Few would argue that Simon Pagenaud has entered the highest echelon of drivers currently competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series at the moment.

As Pagenaud looks to take down the relative mights of Team Penske, Andretti Autosport and Target Chip Ganassi Racing and deliver a title for the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports organization, he can put himself in better contention with his first career oval win.

Iowa Speedway this weekend for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB presents a pretty good place for Pagenaud to pull it off.

Pagenaud turned in one of his best career drives at Iowa two years ago, coming from 25th and last on the grid up to fifth. A year ago, he was sixth after starting eighth.

Considering Iowa is a high-speed track but only 0.875 of a mile, it races a bit like a road course, and that plays to Pagenaud’s benefit.

“Compared to the superspeedways on the IndyCar schedule, the biggest difference you’ll see at Iowa is the larger wings on the cars,” Pagenaud said in the team’s advance release. “We use the road course wing so that we have more downforce. You can be way more aggressive than on a superspeedway, where it’s all about being smooth and on the edge of grip.”

At 402 points, Pagenaud sits 44 behind Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. A win would gain him at least 10 on either of them, and it would also make him the first driver to win three races this year.

“We’ve caught up a lot of points in the last three races, picking up 50 points on the lead,” Pagenaud said. “We’ve been competitive everywhere, and I feel confident where we’re sitting. The next few races coming up suit me well, and anything is possible at this point. We’re right in the hunt with seven races left, and this is a very exciting time for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.”

Pagenaud’s future remains a question mark as reports began at the Houston weekend that other teams are seeking his services for 2015 and beyond.

But for now, he remains the man to watch as the proverbial thorn in the big teams’ sides. An oval win would only add to that distinction.

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.