Calm before the storm: Chase finalists ready for Homestead


Wednesday’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Media Day was a mix of seriousness and laughter, as all four drivers tried to remain calm and collected as the pressure countdown began ticking down to Sunday’s green flag.

Here’s some of the top highlights from Wednesday’s session with the media, by driver:

* Harvick, who has led over 2,000 laps this season (more than the last seven combined for him), was asked to compare this year’s championship bid to others he’s been involved, but has always come up short.

Well, first off, I’m just glad to get here tonight and not know there wasn’t a fifth participant added,” Harvick said with a laugh. “I didn’t know if I was going to show up and Jeff Gordon was going to be here or not.”

Getting more serious, Harvick added, “I think for us as a team, I think everybody has just really hit it off, and I think with (crew chief) Rodney Childers and the cars and things that they’re putting on the racetrack, those guys just do a great job on a week-to-week basis.

“I think the biggest key for this whole scenario is you’re not behind. You’re on even footing with the other three guys.  So for us, I think we’ve had a great year. We’ve led a bunch of laps and won races and done what we’ve needed to do, and all in all, it’s just been a great year. I’m looking forward to Sunday afternoon.”

* Newman on being considered the Cinderella of the Chase:

I didn’t know Cinderella was a race car driver,” he said with a laugh. “For me, really it’s just another opportunity, for all four of us, to go into the last round, the Championship Round.

“What really matters is racing each other, and we’ve had a lot of fun getting to this point, and we need just to keep doing what we’re doing on the 31 side. It’s really a storybook, I guess in some form or fashion. But hopefully we can get through Sunday and write our own book.”

* Logano on living up to all the predictions of success over the years:

“Obviously it means a lot to be one of the Final Four, and racing for a championship is a dream come true,” Logano said. “I’ve been through kind of the tougher times and trying to understand what it takes to drive a Sprint Cup car and how to make one go fast and how to race other guys out there, and I was able to do that kind of in the limelight in front of everyone.

“To be in this position now and on the verge of hopefully winning a championship, it’s definitely a dream come true. I’ve got a great team behind me. We’ve all been working well together, so we’ll just keep plugging along, doing the same thing we’ve been doing all year, and see where we turn out at the end.”

* Hamlin, asked to reflect back on letting the 2010 championship slip out of his hands and into Jimmie Johnson’s, and what it means to get another shot at the title:

Well, I’ve been here nine years, so I’ve lost eight, if we’re keeping track,” Hamlin said. “You know, it’s totally different circumstances.

“We went into 2010 a lot like Kevin did, very dominant and very fast at every racetrack we went to. This year has been different.  We came back in 2013 from the adversity of the wreck (missed four races due to a wicked wreck and back injury suffered at Fontana earlier that season) and having to miss races.

“You really have a totally different outlook from that point on after you have to sit out a few races and watch your car go round. You kind of get a perspective of what it’s like to not be part of this sport, and it allowed me to appreciate this whole process.

“In 2010, even though I appreciated it, I didn’t. I just thought it would come every single year. And when you have a tough year like 2013, it allows you to refocus and put the bigger perspective in front of you. I think that’s allowed me to race a lot easier this year, even though performance hasn’t really shown it a whole lot.

“We have struggled a little bit with speed, but we’ve faced elimination each and every round, and we’ve overcome it every single round. We face elimination once again on Sunday, and now we have to overcome it.”


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Will Sunday’s race wind up being a demolition derby, or will all four drivers race each other cleanly. Like in boxing, no hitting below the belts, right?

* Hamlin: “I’ve raced everyone with respect. I feel like respect is something that’s hard to come by in our sport, but it’s not going to take someone wrecking someone to win this championship.  You can do it without doing that.

“And I believe that it’s very possible.  It’s just to each his own, I think. Everyone is going to have a different way of doing it, but for me, it’s about going out there and doing your team 100 percent and also not compromising who you are as a person for myself.  Each person might be different, though.”

* Harvick: “I don’t plan on racing any of them. I just want to beat them all and try and stay in front of them so we don’t have to put ourselves in position all day. You ask if we were going to plan it out, that would be how I would plan it out. The rest of it, we’ll just have to see how it comes from the rest of the race on. Do what you have to do, I guess.”

* Logano: We’ve been racing each other all year and we haven’t had an issue with each other. All of us have raced each other up front and all of have raced each other for the lead at some point, and we’ve been fine.

“Obviously, there’s a lot on the line, and we’ll be racing each other really hard, I’m sure, but we want to be able to win the championship the right way. That would be the goal, and obviously all of us have the same common goal out there. And we’re all going to be racing each other, and it’s going to be entertaining to watch, that’s for sure.”

* Newman: “We want to put on a good race for the fans. We want it to be interesting and exciting at the same time. You know, if we can finish four-wide coming off Turn 4 (on the final lap), then that would be great.

“But we just need to have a good, clean race for all of us, for all of our sakes, before, during, and after the race, which seems to be somewhat of an issue at times.”


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Last but not least, what’s the key Sunday:

* Newman: Winning the race. That’s the toughest part each and every week, winning the race. You win the race this weekend, you win the championship. To me, that’s really what it’s all about, and that’s why, on our side at least, our intent is the same.

“We’ve gone into every race with the intention of winning it and leading the most laps and winning the pole and everything else that goes along with it. We just haven’t been as successful as some of these other guys. But our consistency has been there, so we just have to be there at the end.”

* Logano: I feel like execution is the biggest deal. There’s going to be obviously a lot of distractions this weekend, and you’ve got to be able to put that behind you and race with a clean mind, and not just myself as a driver, but my whole team.

“And I feel like that’s been our strong point all year. I feel like my team has been very strong, keeping the pressure to a low point and being able to do their job in those situations. I feel like that’s our strongest point as the 22 team, and I like our chances because of that.”

* Harvick: “We had good practice at it last week (at Phoenix). I feel like everything we did last week — it was one and done. You show up to Phoenix and you know you have to win the race. The guys did a great job preparing the car, called a good race, had good pit stops.

“I feel like they had more pressure last week than they did this week, so I feel like we’ve already experienced it, and it was just last week. I feel like that was a good exercise as a team for us to go through, and you know, I just told everybody this week, just go out and do exactly what you did last week, and everybody knows what to expect.”

* Hamlin: “It’s about execution and not making mistakes, and all these teams have made some kind of mistake throughout this Chase. And it’s how you get over those mistakes that kind of defines what happens to you.

“Last week was obviously a tough one for us, having the pit road deal and a tire go flat, but then we battled back, and that showed — that to me was very encouraging from our race team. I think that’s something that’s going to be very tough to overcome at a place like Homestead.

“Of the four of us, your winner is probably going to be the one that doesn’t make any mistakes. It’s a fully-executed race from pit stops to pit lane to restarts and obviously green-flag speed, so hopefully all the pieces of the puzzle of that are put together.”

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IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.