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Pocono keeps same IndyCar weekend date in 2018

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As news of the full Verizon IndyCar Series calendar is still due out in the coming days, depending on when or if the Mexico race possibility gets sorted, tracks have taken it upon themselves to put out race dates of their own.

The latest is Pocono Raceway, which has confirmed the same weekend and two days of August 18-19, 2018 for the ABC Supply 500, as ABC Supply Co. continues its title sponsorship. This year’s weekend was August 19-20.

That leaves it a week before Gateway as part of a likely same three-week-in-a-row run from Pocono to Gateway to Watkins Glen, although the latter date hasn’t been announced yet.

“The 2017 ABC Supply 500 proved why Pocono Raceway was built for INDYCAR racing,” said Pocono Raceway CEO Nick Igdalsky. “This summer’s race was one of the most competitive events in our track’s history. It was also the highest-attended INDYCAR race we hosted since bringing open-wheel racing back here five years ago. From conversations I have had about the 2018 body, we should see speeds pushing, if not exceeding, 240 miles per hour next year.”

Tickets go on sale to the public starting October 4.

With this confirmation, it leaves Green Savoree Racing Promotions events at Toronto and Mid-Ohio – both of which are on an IndyCar schedule through at least 2020 owing to a recently announced Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires extensions – and Watkins Glen as 2017 race venues that have yet to announce their 2018 dates, but they’d be expected in their same weekends as this year.

Announced 2018 IndyCar dates so far:

  • March 11, St. Petersburg
  • April 7, Phoenix
  • April 15, Long Beach
  • April 22, Barber
  • May 12, INDYCAR Grand Prix
  • May 27, Indianapolis 500
  • June 2-3, Detroit doubleheader
  • June 9, Texas
  • June 24, Road America
  • July 8, Iowa
  • August 19, Pocono
  • August 25, Gateway
  • Sept. 16, Sonoma

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.