Photo: IndyCar

Newgarden tops Gateway night practice

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MADISON, Ill. – The Team Penske domination of today’s sessions for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline continued with Josef Newgarden pacing the final one-hour practice on Friday night.

The driver of the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet lapped the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park at 24.446 seconds, 184.079 mph.

Unlike the other two sessions, this one wasn’t a Team Penske 1-4 sweep, but close. Will Power, the polesitter, was third with Helio Castroneves fourth. Simon Pagenaud was 13th.

Ed Carpenter, in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, is best on the grid among those not driving for Team Penske in fifth and was second in this session.

Top Honda was Alexander Rossi in fifth place.

There was a lot of passing this session, more than normal, which bodes well for Saturday’s race – which needs to be an important showcase for the series upon its return to the greater St. Louis metro area oval for the first time in 14 years, since 2003.

Live coverage for this race begins at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN; a re-air of tonight’s qualifying session, which aired live on the NBC Sports App, will occur at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Times for this session, interrupted only by two minor yellow flags (debris and a track inspection), are below.

Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: