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Dixon team scrambling to change engines before Indy final qualifying

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INDIANAPOLIS – Drama is striking two teams before the second and final day of qualifying for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

At Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, an apparent engine issue has forced the crew of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team to change the engine on Scott Dixon’s car prior to qualifying.

Ganassi team manager Mike Hull told Katie Hargitt on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway P.A. system, “Our people leaped right onto the project. We had an undiagnosed engine problem this morning. Rather than take a chance for qualifying, we decided to bite the bullet and change the engine.

“Normally by sunset! It’d be heroic for our people to get it changed and back into the qualifying line, but that’s what we need to do.”

A similar thrash is occurring at Dale Coyne Racing, to fix the handling on Pippa Mann’s No. 63 Susan G. Komen Honda, which was repaired after her rear wing end fence failure during her qualifying attempt on Saturday. Mann completed six laps of installation but none at proper speed this morning.

There wasn’t a ton of running in the final pre-qualifying practice on Sunday, which was set into three groups – positions 22-33, 10-21 and 1-9.

The craziest moment of the final practice saw NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell nearly lose the rear of his No. 29 California Pizza Kitchen/Robert Graham Honda for Andretti Autosport.

He basically drifted it sideways through Turn 1, but caught it. Below is the save, and the subsequent crowd reaction.

Bell told Kevin Lee of IndyCar Radio (both are on NBCSN IndyCar telecasts), “It’s still difficult out there. We have a very fast race car. It’s about how much you can get away with.”

As he did on Saturday, Alexander Rossi led the final session before qualifying in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda for Andretti Autosport.

But after getting bounced right at the end of the first day of qualifying from making the Fast Nine Shootout, the best Rossi can qualify is 10th.

Speeds are below:

IndySunPrac

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.