Michael Andretti already thinking about home win at Pocono

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The IZOD IndyCar Series won’t make its inaugural visit to the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway until July, but that’s not stopping IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti from thinking about settling unfinished business at the “Tricky Triangle.”

“That’s one race I never won,” he told Chuck Curley of the Evening Sun of Hanover, Pennsylvania late last week. “It really ticks me off, to be honest with you. I should have won a couple of times, but I just had bad luck.”

The son of Mario made six starts at Pocono in his driving career, but was unable to take the checkered flag at the Pennsylvania oval. However, he’ll have four chances to finally earn a Pocono win this summer through his Andretti Autosport driving roster of reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti and E.J. Viso.

With the quirky mile at Nazareth Speedway now returning to the Earth, Pocono represents the new home turf for the Andrettis — and as any athlete will tell you, there’s nothing better than a big win at home.

As for his team’s expansion to a four-car program with the addition of Viso, Andretti is hopeful that the move will pay off.

“I think, also adding E.J., we’re going to have another shot at winning races,” he also said to the Evening Sun. “He’s a guy that’s ready to break out. He’s shown he can be very quick, but hopefully in the right situation, he can really show what he has. We’re going to give him that.”

Last October’s announcement of the Pocono round was met with largely positive response and will revive the track’s past links to open-wheel racing. Pocono hosted USAC and CART events from 1971 to 1989, with winners in that run including legends such as A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr., Mark Donahue and Johnny Rutherford.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III