Pagenaud paces Toronto IndyCar second practice

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Simon Pagenaud in the No. 77 Oculus Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda ended fastest on Friday at 1:00.0084, as the 45-minute second practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto ended early following a red flag.

Pagenaud, whose best finish at Toronto is fourth (2007, Champ Car), seeks his third victory of the season.

Helio Castroneves was second in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, but his session ended early as well due to a reported battery issue on the car. Castroneves, the IndyCar points leader, clocked in at 1:00.0218.

Scott Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, was third at 1:00.0769. Dixon and Ganassi are thus far winless in 2014; Dixon swept the Toronto doubleheader weekend a year ago.

Will Power and James Hinchcliffe completed the top five. Practice one leader Josef Newgarden ended this session 13th.

The second practice ended after Ryan Briscoe spun and stalled exiting Turn 1. Briscoe was able to restart and head back to the pits in the No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

The top 20 were covered by 0.9487 of a second. Standing start practice followed the end of the race practice; tomorrow’s race one of the weekend (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra) will feature the standing start.

Here’s your session times.


NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski