IndyCar: Power leads award winners during series championship celebration


Sunday night’s Verizon IndyCar Series championship celebration was a good one – it will air Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN after a re-air of Saturday night’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway at 8 p.m. ET. NBCSN lead commentator Leigh Diffey hosted the event.

Here’s the text recap from INDYCAR – I’ll put together more thoughts on the season, the celebration and in particular champion Will Power’s speech later in the week.

LOS ANGELES (Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014) – Less than 24 hours after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, Will Power got his chance to celebrate.

Power – along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers – were recognized during the INDYCAR Championship Celebration at Club Nokia at the LA Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR, presented Power and team owner Roger Penske with a $1 million championship bonus check and replicas of the Astor Challenge Cup, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship trophy.

“It’s still sinking in really,” said Power, a first-time series champion. “When you want something so bad for so long, it’s such a relief when you finally get it. It’s exactly that – a culmination of 15 years of hard work to get to this point.”

In addition to the championship bonus, Power accepted the Jostens Champions Award, a ring valued at $10,000. He also won the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award and its $75,000 prize for winning the most races and the Verizon P1 Award for scoring the most points among pole winners.

Matt Jonnson, chief mechanic for Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, accepted the Verizon IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic of the Year Award. Jon Bouslog of Team Penske accepted the Team Manager of the Year Award.

Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport – HVM accepted the $50,000 Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, while Jack Hawksworth won the Tony Renna Rising Star Award.

Charlie Kimball claimed the $25,000 TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” Award for advancing the most cumulative places during the season. Juan Pablo Montoya was voted favorite driver by Verizon IndyCar Series fans.

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, accepted the manufacturer’s award on behalf of Chevrolet.

Helio Castroneves of Team Penske was honored as the second-place finisher in the championship while Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was honored for finishing third.

Verizon IndyCar Series award winners:
Championship driver (Astor Challenge Cup): Will Power
Jostens Championship Driver Award (ring): Will Power
Championship team (Astor Challenge Cup): Verizon Team Penske
Championship team sponsors: Verizon
Championship team manager: Jon Bouslog
Chief Mechanic of the Year Award: Matt Jonnson
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award ($75,000): Will Power
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Carlos Munoz
TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” Award ($25,000): Charlie Kimball
Second place championship driver: Helio Castroneves
Second place championship team: Team Penske
Third place championship driver: Scott Dixon
Third place championship team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Tony Renna Rising Star Award: Jack Hawksworth
Verizon P1 Award: Will Power
Manufacturers Championship: Chevrolet
Dan and Susie Wheldon “Make a Difference” Award ($1,000 charitable donation): Susie Wheldon
Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Favorite Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya

Formula E: Team Aguri confirms da Costa for second season

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Antonio Felix da Costa has been confirmed for a second season with Team Aguri for the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E Championship, which begins later this month in Beijing.

He won once this past year at Buenos Aires and finished eighth in the points despite missing both the season opener and season finale due to clashes with his DTM schedule.

Said the 24-year-old Portuguese driver, “I am really happy to continue with Team Aguri and Formula E for season two. This championship is earning its respect in the world of motorsport and I am honoured to be involved. Regarding the season, I am really looking forward to getting started.”

Team Aguri team principal Mark Preston added, “It is a great pleasure to have Antonio continuing with the team for season two of Formula E. Antonio brought us our maiden win in Buenos Aires and helped to develop the team from scratch, he will continue to build on that success for season two and beyond.”

The team that bares the name of ex-Formula 1 driver and team owner Aguri Suzuki has not yet confirmed its second driver, which is the last outstanding seat to be filled on the Formula E grid.

Amlin, which had partnered with Aguri last year, is now present with the Andretti Formula E team and its drivers, Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro.

Hulkenberg leads shorter than normal FP1 in Russia

Nico Hulkenberg
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Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg posted a 1:44.355 lap of the of the Sochi Autodrom to lead a fairly abnormal, and shorter than usual, first free practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg posted the time to conclude the usual 90-minute session, to pip Nico Rosberg at 1:44.407 on his final lap. The usual 90-minute session was shortened due to a track delay for cleanup of diesel fuel on course.

Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top five.

While the clock started on time for the full 90-minute session, track activity was halted for the opening 30 minutes to clean up diesel spillage on the track at Turn 8.

It left teams and drivers with just a 60-minute first free practice to tackle the Sochi Autodrom, but did not push the session later or affect the timetable for the rest of the day. However, with a damp if not entirely wet track, it made things difficult in FP1.

The delay also meant that teams weren’t able to use an extra set of Pirellis handed out at the start of FP1. Supersofts can be used for the first time in FP2.

During the delay, it did offer a chance for sarcasm, and Manor seized the opportunity following a comment from McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso noting that even with Mercedes engines next year, Manor wouldn’t move ahead of them.

NBC’s Will Buxton explained the track surface dilemma drivers would face in this session.

With just under one hour to go in the session, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was the first to head out on course, leading several others. Ericsson made the first laps of the weekend at the track where he made his final start for Caterham a year ago.

Both Williams drivers went on course on Pirelli’s wet weather tires for their installation laps. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg tried the intermediates, and Alonso was first on course in slicks.

No official times were registered until there were less than 40 minutes remaining in the session, with Alonso registering a 2:00.736 time, while putting down a bevy of sparks. He quickly lowered the mark to 1:56.327, and 1:53.854 after that. Ericsson was next in at a 1:58.926, although dropped into the 1:54 range not long after.

Alonso’s teammate Jenson Button clocked in at 1:50.920 with just under 20 minutes remaining and for the first time this year, we could say we had a McLaren Honda 1-2 on track, albeit under abnormal circumstances.

The trsck got busy in the final 15 minutes, with Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen posting a 1:50.870 to lead before Alonso clocked in a 1:49.240.

A 1:47.959 from Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, then a 1:45.987 from Hulkenberg followed in the final 10 minutes as times firmly began to drop. Vettel got down to a 1:45.491 shortly thereafter, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton came up two tenths shy of the mark at a 1:45.691.

Ericsson reported a power cut near the end of the session down at Sauber but otherwise there were no issues through the field, other than a handful of spins, including one from Hamilton on his final flier at the second-to-last corner.

FP2 begins from 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.