Detroit weekend: Mingay Sunday update, Indy Race 2 notes and grid

Photo: IndyCar
0 Comments

DETROIT – Lots of nuggets to cover in the intervening hours before today’s second of two Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans races.

To start, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix event has released an update on the status of injured Stadium SUPER Trucks driver Matt Mingay, who remains in serious but stable condition.

Here’s the update:

“UPDATE driver, Matt Mingay, remains hospitalized and listed in serious, but stable condition, according to a hospital spokesperson. Mingay’s family reports that he underwent surgery last night for facial injuries suffered in the accident. We will continue to update.”

Here’s some additional updates from the INDYCAR paddock:

Letterman and his beard. Photo: IndyCar
Letterman and his beard. Photo: IndyCar
  • David Letterman made a last minute appearance in Saturday’s first race of the weekend to support the No. 15 United Rentals Honda team for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (above). He is not on site for today’s second race of the weekend. Graham Rahal looks to extend his Detroit race weekend podium streak to three years running if he can end top-three today.
  • Speaking of United Rentals, they were in the news earlier this weekend for good reason: On Friday, INDYCAR announced a multiyear agreement with United Rentals, the world’s largest equipment rental provider and a team partner with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, to become the official equipment rental company of INDYCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series.
  • Further meetings are expected this week between NAPA and Andretti Autosport officials to determine how much longer NAPA Auto Parts will continue on the No. 98 Honda for Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi.
  • Max Chilton’s crew got his No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet repaired in time for qualifying and the Englishman will start 19th today. An apparent steering column issue helped send him into the wall in Saturday’s first race.
  • Whereas for Saturday’s race only Carlos Munoz started on Firestone’s black primary tires, five drivers have opted to start on primaries today. Those five are Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden and Marco Andretti.
  • Montoya called teammate Will Power’s move at Turn 3 on Saturday a “desperate” move. “Just Will I think is a little desperate right now for results, so he’ll do anything. That’s what it is. It’s the truth,” said the driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who will start 10th today.
  • Conor Daly kicked off his first ever IndyCar podium press conference making sure to thank his team: “I mean, yeah, Dale Coyne Racing puts me in positions far greater than I deserve at times. Gosh, they do all the right things strategically. Dale is a wizard, I think. He’s up there calculating everything in his head. Maybe he can see the future, I don’t know. But it was awesome,” said the driver of the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda, who starts 21st today.
  • Among the items Sebastien Bourdais addressed in his press conference on Saturday was how much he thanked his team for the strategy calls, led by strategist and team co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “I’m not sure I know the scenario actually because I think I missed a couple of steps how we got from 13th to 16th to 18th to last pretty much, 13th again, then jumping into the lead. It was a rather interesting day and a great team effort from the 11 crew, Hydroxycut. To do that for Chevrolet here means a heck of a lot,” said the driver of the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet, who starts 12th today.
  • Best starts of the season today for Ryan Hunter-Reay (second) Mikhail Aleshin (fifth) and Gabby Chaves (15th).
  • With only two cautions for eight laps on Saturday, that marked the fewest number of cautions since this race weekend became a doubleheader race weekend in 2013.

Here is the grid for Sunday’s race two:

DET2grid

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
0 Comments

Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.