All photos courtesy Kevin Theole/Gateway Motorsports Park

IndyCar drivers praise repaved Gateway oval after test

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The Verizon IndyCar Series is on a two-week break of racing but there’s still track activity in the interim, with yesterday’s test at the Gateway Motorsports Park and a further short oval test of the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway for the 2018 Dallara universal aero kit next week.

The Gateway test yesterday was the most important ahead of the August 26 Bommarito Auto Group 500, as IndyCar returns to the Madison, Ill. circuit for the first time since 2003.

An initial test in May featured a voluminous amount of cut tires, but between INDYCAR (sanctioning body) and the track, the decision was made to repave the track, and it appeared a hit from the drivers who tested yesterday.

Here’s the old surface, below, before the new one underneath that.

Photo: IndyCar

 

While times are unofficial, NBC Sports understood from a couple different teams at the track that times were at least one second faster on the repaved surface.

It was a much smoother day as the eight teams present cycled through their programs; not all full-season drivers were there but at least one member from each team was.

Rain halted the scheduled test was scheduled to run from 4 to 9 p.m. CT but started at 2 p.m. due to weather concerns. The eight teams tested from 2 to 4:30 p.m. without incident and it began to rain during the break. Thanks to persistent showers, the session was called complete.

Some driver reactions are below.

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.