Today’s race at Pocono was fastest 500-miler in IndyCar history

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There’s fast. There’s freaky fast. And then, there’s historically fast.

Today’s Pocono IndyCar 500 has gone into the record books as the fastest 500-mile race ever in Indy-car racing history.

Juan Pablo Montoya’s victory clocked in at an average speed of 202.402 miles per hour, slowed down by just one caution involving Graham Rahal at Lap 159.

Additionally, today’s race is the third in Indy-car history to have an average speed of more than 200 mph.

The previous 500-mile race mark was set at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California back in 2002, when Jimmy Vasser – now a team co-owner in the current Verizon IndyCar Series – won a CART race at an average speed of 197.995 mph.

It bears noting that current NASCAR competitor Sam Hornish Jr. won a Verizon IndyCar Series (then known as the Indy Racing League) race at ACS in 2003 with an average speed of 207.151 mph.

However, that particular event was only 400 miles long.

Finally, here’s one more cool statistic: The first 158 laps running under green-flag conditions set a Verizon IndyCar Series record for a 500-mile race.

The old record had been established this past May at the 98th Indianapolis 500, which had its first 149 laps run clean before Charlie Kimball crashed.

And while some fans may have preferred a few more yellows today and more breaks in the action, the fact that today’s race ran for so long without one is a pretty good indicator of how talented the Verizon IndyCar Series driver grid is.

Sebastien Ogier in driver’s seat for sixth straight World Rally Championship title

Sebastien Ogier leads the way in the WRC title chase. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) — Thierry Neuville finished the sixth stage of Rally Australia on Friday without a rear left tire, damaging his chances of catching five-time defending champion Sebastien Ogier for the World Rally Championship title.

The Belgian driver entered the rally just three points behind Ogier in the closest title fight in 15 years.

He held the upper hand on his French rival, building a near-10 second gap through the first five stages at Coffs Harbour before hitting a chicane and finishing the stage with only three tires on his Hyundai.

Neuville was fortunate the puncture occurred late enough in the day to finish all six forestry stages and avoid a retirement. But the mistake cost him 40 seconds and gave Ogier, who is 33 seconds ahead of him, a clear run at his sixth straight championship.

In his last start with Ford before a move to Citroen next year, Ogier struggled as the first to drive the dusty, slippery forest routes.

“I pushed like crazy, I was on the limit over the jump and everywhere, I can’t do (any) more,” Ogier said. “I was on the limit.”

With Ogier on sweeping duties the back markers flourished, and Mads Ostberg took the lead in his return to the series.

Ostberg was forced to miss the previous round in Spain to make way for rally winner and nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, who was making the last of his three guest appearances for Citroen.

Now back in the seat, Ostberg leads Jari-Matti Latvala by 6.8 seconds in the Australian rally, with sixth-stage winner Craig Breen in third.

Ogier was seventh, 38.2 seconds off the pace, but only needs to finish ahead of Neuville to claim the championship title. Neuville is in 10th place after six stages.

Roles will reverse on Saturday, with Ogier to start further back in the field and do his best on cleaner roads to make up the day-one deficit before Sunday’s final stages.

Andreas Mikkelsen, the 2016 Rally Australia champion, was an early dropout after rolling into a ditch in his Hyundai. Mikkelsen had only just avoided a tractor that had found its way onto the course.

Former winner Molly Taylor and co-driver Malcolm Read were also forced out of their event when their Subaru hit a hay bale at high speed on the morning’s second stage. Both reported soreness but suffered no serious injuries.

The 24-stage rally totals 319 kilometers (197 miles). Ten stages are scheduled Saturday with the final six on Sunday, most of them through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.