Texas Motor Speedway strikes again with “Angry Birds” sign


Texas Motor Speedway has been known to utilize on-track confrontations as part of promoting their races. For example, at their most recent Sprint Cup race this past spring – which came a few weeks after Tony Stewart and Joey Logano’s well-publicized shoving match at Auto Club Speedway – the track decided to stick a boxing ring in the infield that came complete with two pairs of gloves and a sign indicating the ring was “reserved for post-race use only.”

Now, as the IndyCars set up shop this weekend at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, the TMS gang is at it again with an infield banner (pictured, photo credit: @JennaFryer) that features Team Penske’s Will Power and Dragon Racing’s Sebastian Saavedra both extending their middle fingers. It also comes with a message: “Warning: Wild Asphalt Circus Can Cause Angry Birds.”

If you’ve been watching the series for a while, then you can probably figure out where TMS got the images of Power and Saavedra from. In perhaps the most lasting moment from the IZOD IndyCar Series’ short-lived return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway two years ago, Power delivered his double-barreled salute to Race Control after they opted to restart the race in wet conditions. That led to a multi-car accident, which collected the Australian driver and caused him to shoot the birds on national television.

Saavedra made the same gesture (also caught on TV) toward Marco Andretti last weekend during the first Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit race last Saturday after the third-generation driver nudged him into the tire barriers, ending his day. The Dragon pilot has since been hit with a $30,000 fine and is now on probation for the rest of the season.

At least one IndyCar driver has commented on the banner: Ryan Hunter-Reay called it “hilarious” while linking to it on his Instagram account.

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

Petit Le Mans lineup

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 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.



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