Clint Bowyer fails to realize IndyCar doesn’t have push-to-pass on ovals

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We write this post purely in good fun, because chances are Clint Bowyer is speaking for the approximately 99 percent of folks in this country who aren’t diehard Verizon IndyCar Series fans, or know the ins-and-outs of the IndyCar Dallara DW12 chassis and its components.

Bowyer finished 16th in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 and then proceeded to tweet about his difficulty passing other cars. He now sits 10th in points after the race.

However, what this next tweet gains in down-home, folksy, Bowyer-esque Twitter gusto it fails in the actual “fact” department:

Bowyer’s right in noting “them Indy car things” have a push-to-pass button, an extra horsepower boost that works as an overtake assist for the spec chassis.

Where IndyCar does not utilize the push-to-pass button is, fittingly, on ovals.

The passing that occurs at the Indianapolis 500 is due to the massive hole in the air punched by this new design of IndyCar chassis, that then creates a giant tow effect where cars draft up and can then pass the car in front based on the run they get. No push-to-pass button is needed to complete this or any oval overtake. Nice try, though.

I will say that I’d love to see Bowyer – who has branched out into sports car racing before by racing a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in the Rolex 24 at Daytona – give a crack at “the double” of an Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in one day.

Because then he could see and sample how “them Indy car things” function in reality.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.