Hinchcliffe seeks the momentum from Iowa win heading to Pocono

0 Comments

Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe enters this weekend’s Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco looking to carry the momentum from his third win of the IZOD IndyCar Series season two weeks ago in Iowa.

Hinchcliffe enters Pocono fourth in points, 66 points behind championship leader Helio Castroneves.

“It’s tough for anyone to have predicted that we would be three‑time winners at the halfway point in the season, and having said that, with three wins, we are still only fourth in points, so we definitely have had some weekends that really didn’t go to plan,” the Canadian said of his season to date. “So it’s really been this sort of up‑and‑down season and that’s not what you predict or plan for coming into a year.”

Besides that, he’s trying to find the balance on setup for “the tricky triangle” and on maintaining focus and stamina to get through a 400-mile race and doubleheader races in Toronto on consecutive weekends.

“I know how I normally feel after Sunday (in Toronto); and the fact that we are coming off a 400‑mile race the week before – you know, we have done a lot of physical training in the buildup to that,” he explained. “You don’t want to do too much at this stage now. You don’t want to wear yourself out. This is the period where you’ve done the hardest part of the work, and you’re sort of recovering now and preparing more than anything. And it’s going to come down to being well taken care of on the weekend, hydration, stretching when you need it, and just try to be smart about it.”

Hinchcliffe described the balance of trying to set a car up for the polar opposites of the track.

“When we were there at the test, we had incredibly high and gusty wind conditions, and with the exposure of Turn 3 and without the banking to sort of help stabilize the car a bit, that was probably the bigger challenge for us,” he said.

“But you know, I can certainly see come the race weekend in a big pack, Turn 1, to do it flat is tough, man. That corner took me a while to figure out. TK (Tony Kanaan) and I were talking after the test; he was in the same situation.”

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

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

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