Pagenaud takes Menards Penske car to Indy GP pole

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INDIANAPOLIS – Simon Pagenaud’s incredible form to kick off the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season rolled on Friday with his second straight Verizon P1 Award for Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. It’s the fourth of his career.

Pagenaud, who’s in his fourth different livery of the year with the fluorescent, dayglo bright yellow Menards colors now adorning his No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet, set the best time in the Firestone Fast Six session with a best time of 1:08.6868.

It’s also Team Penske’s fifth straight pole to start the year, same as they did last year.

“It’s fantastic. It’s not that simple, it’s a lot of work in the background. I just want to take my hat off to my engineer, Ben Bretzman, for giving me a monster car every time,” he said.

“As soon as I put those Firestone red (alternate) tires on the car, she became magical, as we imagined. It’s a lot of fun for me right now, the whole team is functioning so well. The decision process from (strategist) Kyle Moyer to do one lap each segment was all him. It’s really a team sport.

“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in racing. I’m driving the best I’ve driven ever. Little by little, you get confidence with success. Team Penske, they give me the best car. If I drive it well, you should expect to be up there. To be up there so often is certainly the best feeling in the world.”

An abnormal remainder of the Fast Six followed with Charlie Kimball qualifying a career-best second in the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet, ahead of James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda), Josef Newgarden (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet), Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan with Theodore Racing Honda) and Jack Hawksworth (No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda), all of whom posted season-best qualifying efforts.

However, as was later revealed late Friday night, the Newgarden and Rahal cars failed post-qualifying technical inspection and were sent to the back of the grid.

Q1 witnessed a few surprises. Hawksworth paced his group, Group 1, ahead of Scott Dixon, Kimball, Sebastien Bourdais, Mikhail Aleshin and Juan Pablo Montoya. Meanwhile Helio Castroneves missed out, as did the three Andretti Autosport drivers that were in the session.

In Group 2, Will Power set a new track record with a best time of 1:08.6746. Power’s previous track record was 1:09.4886 set last year. Pagenaud was second ahead of Newgarden, with Hinchcliffe, Rahal and Tony Kanaan next.

Although frustrated to miss out, Alexander Rossi, Matthew Brabham, JR Hildebrand and Spencer Pigot were next up. A surprising absence was Takuma Sato, who’s been decently quick this weekend.

Q2 is where things got a bit crazier. Pagenaud led the session but those who got eliminated included Kanaan, Montoya, Dixon, Bourdais, Aleshin and Power. Neither Dixon nor Power got a particularly clean lap.

Pagenaud laid down a lap more than three tenths clear of the field in the Firestone Fast Six session with Kimball next, Hinchcliffe third ahead of Newgarden, Rahal and Hawksworth.

Times are below.

INDIANAPOLIS – Qualifying Friday for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:08.6868 (127.832)
2. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:08.9816 (127.286)
3. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:09.2260 (126.837)
4. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:09.5141 (126.311)
5. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:09.2511 (126.791)
6. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:09.2645 (126.766)
7. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:09.4010 (126.517)
8. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:09.4436 (126.439)
9. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:09.6771 (126.016)
10. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:09.9297 (125.560)
11. (8) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:09.3289 (126.648)
12. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:09.1475 (126.981)
13. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:09.4947 (126.346)
14. (61) Matt Brabham, Chevrolet, 01:09.2944 (126.712)
15. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:09.5276 (126.287)
16. (6) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 01:09.4377 (126.450)
17. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:09.6457 (126.072)
18. (16) Spencer Pigot, Honda, 01:09.4591 (126.411)
19. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:09.7478 (125.888)
20. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:09.4659 (126.399)
21. (35) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 01:10.4109 (124.702)
22. (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 01:09.4795 (126.374)
23. (19) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 01:09.7720 (125.844)
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, No time
25. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, No time

Note: Times for Rahal and Newgarden were disallowed for violating Rule 14.3.1.1 (Minimum car weight)

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans