INDYCAR announces Derrick Walker has resigned from series

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – A major bit of news has just occurred from INDYCAR’s competition side, as series president of competition and operations Derrick Walker has resigned from his post. INDYCAR announced the news on Thursday.

Walker will finish out this month for the remaining three races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, with this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, then the final two races at Pocono Raceway and Sonoma Raceway.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, head of INDYCAR’s parent company, said Walker has decided to leave the company effective Aug. 31, 2015, in order to pursue other professional opportunities. A search for his replacement is already underway.

“We have benefited from Derrick’s extensive racing experience, his tireless effort and his passion for INDYCAR, and he will be missed,” Miles said in a release. “We appreciate the thoughtful way Derrick has planned his transition and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Walker added, “I have appreciated the opportunity to work closely with the team owners, drivers and the team at INDYCAR. After two and a half racing seasons, I believe the timing is right to move on to other opportunities.”

Noteworthy here is the fact that Walker Racing has also run and operated the Team Falken Tire sports car team in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and Falken has announced its withdrawal both from a tire and sponsor standpoint at the end of the season.

It would stand to reason that Walker would pursue sports car options for his team for 2016 and beyond, and put his full focus behind whatever program might materialize.

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.