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Stefan Johansson’s latest blog: On Texas, Verstappen and blocking

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Two dynamic races – the hectic start to last week’s Belgian Grand Prix and the crazy finish to the Firestone 600 at Texas – highlight Stefan Johansson’s latest blog entry. We’ve been chronicling these posts throughout the year on NBCSports.com.

In his latest conversation with Jan Tegler, Johansson looks back at Spa and the latest drive from Max Verstappen, as well as a look back to the Texas IndyCar race, which featured a crazy margin of victory of 0.008 of a second between Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe.

On Verstappen, Johansson said, “Really, the main thing to talk about from Spa is the Verstappen controversy again, and the various incidents that unfolded at the beginning of the race. I have to say, I thought it was a bit rich for Verstappen to blame the Ferrari guys for ruining his race.

“He blew it at the start effectively, he got passed by the two Ferrari’s going into Turn 1 and then tried to recover by a very, very low-percentage move on the inside that had virtually no chance of succeeding.”

Quite a bit more follows, including a segue to a good discussion on blocking.

That dovetailed nicely into a greater topic at large about blocking, a big issue at the moment. Johansson writes: “For me the worst part is the blocking. It’s outrageous that no penalty was handed out this time. At what point do you draw the line? If a driver has to hit the brakes on a straight to avoid contact something is clearly wrong. It’s sad to say and I’ve mentioned it before but this is typical of the new generation of open wheel racers. They think this is completely normal it seems – like it’s ok to completely turn into someone when they’re coming alongside on a straight. The fact that this is their mindset is sad.

“If you have to brake because someone’s blocking you on the straight then something’s fundamentally wrong, especially when they stewards let you get away with it.”

The legendary Rene Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve battle at Dijon 1979 is used as an example of a clean battle where drivers can drive aggressively but fairly. Johansson praises Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso as the best two modern day racers able to race clean and fair up front.

Shifting gears, Johansson weighed in on the dramatic finish from Texas:

“The show at Texas is always good and this years race certainly did not disappoint. There just isn’t any more exciting racing to watch, although it’s nerve wracking to watch.  Those last laps were just awesome and crazy at the same time. I couldn’t think of a better show in any form of racing, period! If there was ever a finish like that in F1 people would go absolutely crazy.

“Can you imagine if you had anyone of Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen – the pure, good racers from Formula One out there duking it out with the IndyCar stars. It would be massively popular, incredible.”

We didn’t do a breakout post on it, but Johansson also had a blog post after IndyCar at Mid-Ohio and F1 at the German Grand Prix. It’s a little older but still worth a read.

 

There are several more great nuggets within Johansson’s latest blog, which you can view in its entirety here.

Previous linkouts to Johansson’s blog on MotorSportsTalk are linked below:

Additionally, a link to Johansson’s social media channels and #F1TOP3 competition are linked here.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race