Fun with dogs, Mario Kart battle highlight Indy practice rainout

Photo: Tony DiZInno

INDIANAPOLIS – Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are always trying to find new ways to beat each other.

It becomes more difficult on days when they’re not on track, but still, today’s washout at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway provided a good opportunity for drivers to one-up each other in competition outside the car.

Let’s get paws-itive first and talk about man’s – or woman’s – best friend: dogs.

Bryan Clauson, driver of the No. 88 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Honda, has a ridiculously cute Jack Russell Terrier named Chevy.

There’s a slight problem for May, though.

In INDYCAR, this year, drivers aren’t allowed to mention the name of the other manufacturer by name, and instead have to call them “competitor.” So a Honda driver can’t say a Chevrolet driver is driving a Chevrolet, and vice versa.

I don’t believe there is a provision in the 2016 INDYCAR Rulebook where a dog is named one engine manufacturer and said dog’s dad drives for another one.

So, thusly, for the next couple weeks, she’ll answer only to “Honda Clauson.” I also came up with another cool alternative.

Beyond the Dale Coyne Racing garage, another of Coyne’s drivers – Conor Daly – engaged in a race with several of his fellow young guns.

Daly, who drives the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda but will have a new primary sponsor for the Indianapolis 500, posted this pic on Twitter of a Mario Kart race, along with Spencer Pigot, Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti.

Pigot wouldn’t be pressed on who he was competing as when I bumped into him. “Yoshi, I think,” said the driver of the No. 16 RLL/Mi-Jack/Manitowoc Honda.

Here’s another fun rain delay story… the defending Indianapolis 500 champion, Juan Pablo Montoya, stopped by the creator of this year’s ticket design.

From Borg-Warner Trophy PR:


Mandy Walsh, Senior Graphic Designer in the IMS Creative Services Department who designed the 2016 Indianapolis 500 ticket was paid a surprise visit by defending race winner Juan Pablo Montoya on a rained out Tuesday afternoon. Walsh has worked at IMS for 15 years and has designed five “500” tickets – 2004, 2006, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Juan Pablo Montoya – “Mandy did a really good job designing the “500” ticket. I think the ticket looks really cool and is unique – something for the fans to keep for years. I just want her to create the 2017 ticket with my face on it from winning this year, let’s make that happen, okay?”

Mandy Walsh – “It was a complete surprise to see Juan walk thru the door of our offices – really cool. He signed my oversized ticket that will go on a wall in my house and my race day ticket – he’s so nice. Juan was so happy and relaxed – it was fun to chat with him and see what he’s like when he’s not focused on racing. It was a great way to brighten up my rainy afternoon at IMS!”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.