Power fastest in opening practice for Indy GP

Photo: IndyCar
0 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power did the usual business with a final lap flier putting him top of the timesheets after the opening 75-minute practice for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Round 5 of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

A 1:09.8943 lap in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, around the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, was enough to do the job and bump Graham Rahal.

Rahal was second in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan with Theodore Racing Honda at 1:10.0699, ahead of Power’s three Team Penske teammates – Juan Pablo Montoya, series points leader Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves.

Late bumps dropped the Andretti Autosport pair of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi out of the top 10, but until the final two or three minutes, Andretti’s full quartet was all in the top-10. Marco Andretti ended best of the bunch in eighth with Carlos Munoz in 10th, Hunter-Reay 11th and Rossi 13th in what was a much improved session for the team.

Castroneves caused one of two red flags when he stopped on course at Turn 2; the other driver to stop was Matthew Brabham in his opening Verizon IndyCar Series practice session in the No. 61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet. He lost a rear wheel and stopped at pit in. Brabham only completed three laps.

Others of note in their first session: Spencer Pigot was 12th for RLL Racing; Gabby Chaves was 16th in his first running for Dale Coyne Racing, two tenths clear of teammate Conor Daly in 20th. Brabham was 24th, behind fellow one-off entrants JR Hildebrand and Alex Tagliani.

Per the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, James Hinchcliffe had a small fire and was unable to run during the session in his No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

With potentially hazardous and/or rainy weather expected later today, the first session was a busy one set under calm and clear skies with ambient temperatures of 73 degrees and track temperatures of 89, per Firestone.

Times are below with second practice set from 3 to 4:15 p.m. ET and local time.

IndyGPfp1

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

0 Comments

Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”