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Josef Newgarden to run champion’s No. 1 in 2018

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Newly crowned Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden finished second in his No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet at the season finale in Sonoma in September, a result which was enough to net him the No. 1 position in IndyCar.

Now, following on from his two Team Penske teammates Will Power (2015) and Simon Pagenaud (2017), he’ll also run the champion’s No. 1 in the following season the year after winning his title.

Team Penske confirmed the news today via a fun social media video, where Pagenaud passed off a “champion’s to-do list” as the passing of the torch and champion’s number.

Pagenaud ran the No. 22 his first two years at Team Penske in 2015 and 2016, and would seem likely to go back to that next year – although Newgarden’s No. 2 would be available if desired.

Pagenaud is the best finishing driver with the No. 1 in recent years, coming second to Newgarden last year in the championship standings. Power ran the No. 1 in 2015 and finished third; Ryan Hunter-Reay ran the No. 1 in 2013 and finished seventh. Scott Dixon, the four-time champion, ran the No. 1 only once in his career – in 2004 – and finished 10th.

The last champion who defended his crown with the No. 1 was Sebastien Bourdais, who won the Champ Car title in 2004 as No. 2 and then won three more thereafter in the No. 1 from 2005 through 2007, before Champ Car and IndyCar merged in 2008.

And IndyCar’s last repeat champion is Dario Franchitti, who never ran the No. 1 even though he won four titles. He won in 2007 in IndyCar, then in 2009 through 2011.

How will Newgarden fare running the 1? Only time will tell.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.