Penalties, rain and Pagenaud dominate second qualifying in Detroit

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DETROIT – Quite a number of penalties, perhaps influenced by driver desires to get clear track space or laps to bank ahead of impending rain, upset the formbook a bit in qualifying for Round 8 of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, the second race in the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans.

But there was still a familiar name on top for the Verizon P1 Award: points leader Simon Pagenaud secured his fourth pole this year and sixth of his career.

Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Team Penske Chevrolet, broke the track record set in yesterday’s race (Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at 1:14.6675) in the first of two groups of qualifying, with the session bumped up 15 minutes from its scheduled start time owing to the impending rain.

His best time was a 1:14.0379 and was one of three official qualifying laps quicker than the new track record. And as he did yesterday, Pagenaud set the qualifying time on Firestone’s black primary tires, rather than the softer red alternate tires, which have seemed to gone off quicker this weekend on the 2.35-mile Belle Isle Park street course.

“A bit of rain really helped us to stay fastest in the group,” Pagenaud said. “I’m really, really proud of the guys on my team. We will see what can do for today. We will adjust the car for the race conditions. We don’t know what the weather is going to do yet; we will just have to watch the radar. Quite frankly, we’ll just try to do what we did yesterday and put our car in the right place at the right time.”

Helio Castroneves was second in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:14.1904 in the session, ahead of a trio of Hondas, Mikhail Aleshin, Graham Rahal and Jack Hawksworth.

Conor Daly was actually potentially fifth in the session in his No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda after ending second yesterday – his best time in the session was 1:14.4872 – but it was invalidated for causing a local yellow in Turn 3. With a next best lap of 1:15.4766, Daly ended 11th in his group and will thus start 21st later today.

The second group, meanwhile, had a tougher time of it needing to bank laps before rain. And a number of penalties followed.

Four penalties were assessed:

  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) was issued a drive-through for a pit speeding violation.
  • Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) lost his two fastest laps for qualifying interference.
  • Marco Andretti (No. 27 United Fiber & Data/Vernon’s Honda) lost his fastest lap for causing a local yellow.
  • Alexander Rossi (No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda) lost his fastest lap for not slowing down in a local yellow zone.

Power’s penalty, the most egregious assessed, was also the costliest. His two fastest laps were 1:13.8835 – which would have been a new track record on its own – and 1:14.2661. But since he lost those, his third best lap of the session, a 1:14.8392, was enough to put him fourth in his group and ultimately eighth on the grid.

Power, unsurprisingly, wasn’t pleased with the penalty assessed.

“I was on an out lap. Couldn’t go any faster,” Power told IndyCar Radio’s Dave Furst. “It’s just the way everything seems to go right now. Of course it would rain in my session. It’s frustrating, man. We were so fast.

“I don’t agree with the penalty. These guys have got this wrong because they don’t understand the conditions. It was wet.”

Hunter-Reay, despite his penalty, actually ended quickest in his group at 1:14.5621 and will start second, with Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Power and Juan Pablo Montoya top five in the group. Sebastien Bourdais, Saturday’s winner, was sixth in the group and will roll off 12th.

Unofficial times from the two groups are below.

Sports imitates art with Tyler Bereman’s Red Bull Imagination course

Red Bull Imagination Bereman
Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Content Pool
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This past weekend riders took on the Red Bull Imagination, a one-of-a-kind event conceived by Tyler Bereman – an event that blended art, imagination, and sports.

In its third year, Red Bull Imagination opened to the public for the first-time, inviting fans to experience a more personal and creative side of the riders up close and personal.

As the event elevates its stature, the course gets tougher. The jumps get higher and the competition stouter. This year’s course took inspiration from a skatepark, honoring other adrenaline-laced pastimes and competitions.

“There’s a ton of inspiration from other action sports,” Bereman said told Red Bull writer Eric Shirk as he geared up for the event.

MORE: Trystan Hart wins Red Bull Tennessee Knockout 

Bereman was the leading force in the creation of this event and the winner of its inaugural running. In 2022, Bereman had to settle for second with Axell Hodges claiming victory on the largest freeride course created uniquely for the Red Bull Imagination.

Unlike other courses, Bereman gave designer Jason Baker the liberty to create obstacles and jumps as he went. And this was one of the components that helped the course imitate art.

Baker’s background in track design comes from Supercross. In that sport, he had to follow strict guidelines and build the course to a specific length and distance. From the building of the course through the final event, Bereman’s philosophy was to give every person involved, from creators to riders, fans and beyond, the chance to express themselves.

He wanted the sport to bridge the valley between racing and art.

Tyler Bereman uses one of Red Bull Imagination’s unique jumps. Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool

Hodges scored a 98 on the course and edged Bereman by two points. Both riders used the vast variety of jumps to spend a maximum amount of time airborne. Hodges’s first run included nearly every available obstacle including a 180-foot jump before backflipping over the main road.

The riders were able to secure high point totals on their first runs. Then, the wind picked up ahead of Round 2. Christian Dresser and Guillem Navas were able to improve their scores on the second run by creating new lines on the course and displaying tricks that did not need the amount of hangtime as earlier runs. They were the only riders to improve from run one to run two.

With first and second secured with their early runs, Hodge and Bereman teamed up to use their time jointly to race parallel lines and create tandem hits. The two competitors met at the center of the course atop the Fasthouse feature and revved their engines in an embrace.

Julien Vanstippen rounded out the podium with a final score of 92; his run included a landing of a 130-foot super flip.