Photo courtesy IMSA

IndyCar names motorsports veteran Kyle Novak as new race director for 2018

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In a major move, veteran race official Kyle Novak has been named race director of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye made the announcement Friday afternoon.

Novak’s new position will oversee all operations in Race Control at all 17 IndyCar races in the 2018 season. Utilizing a combination of audio, video and data communications, Race Control oversees and controls all aspects of competition.

Novak will also work with IndyCar’s race stewards to review on-track incidents, although the stewards will have final say on whether a penalty should be assessed to a driver or team.

“Throughout our extensive search for a race director, one name was mentioned repeatedly – and that was Kyle Novak,” Frye said in a media release. “We have been aware of Kyle’s work for the past couple of years.

“He’s clearly impressed those he’s worked with and, after meeting with him, we knew he would be a great fit for our Race Control team. Kyle has a great future and we couldn’t be more excited to have him as part of INDYCAR.”

Novak, a 36-year-old attorney, comes to IndyCar after a three-year run as either a race director or steward for various sports car series sanctioned by IMSA.

He began his lengthy tenure in the motorsports world in drag racing, where he, his father and brother raced in amateur bracket competition in Dexter, Michigan.

“(I’ve) always been a gearhead,” Novak said. “Always working on cars; muscle cars, mostly. That’s how I got my feet wet, and then one thing led to another. And here I am.”

But Novak is no stranger to Indy car racing. He previously worked as operations manager and director of operations in the old CART and Champ Car Series from 2004-2008.

He’s also served in various roles in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series in the Sports Car Club of America, the Global MX-5 Cup Series, and race director for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, while also serving as a race steward for IMSA’s top series, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“Jay (Frye) and I hit it off immediately – it’s the fresh outlook he brings that is a huge part of it (for me),” Novak said. “Ironically enough, three people who work in INDYCAR Race Control are some of the first people I met in the industry, and that goes all the way back to 2004.

“Those are among the key people I’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. There’s a great deal of familiarity with them.

“Motorsports is such a small industry that many of the people who have helped me over the years have stayed with me as industry colleagues.

“But INDYCAR has always been at the forefront of professional motorsports in North America, and I had the opportunity on several occasions to witness that first hand, since many IMSA races are run in conjunction with INDYCAR events.

“I can’t thank the people at IMSA enough for the opportunities I was given and for their assistance in making this a smooth transition to INDYCAR. I can’t wait to get started.”

Novak assumes his duties immediately in preparation for the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11.

Red Bull driver Verstappen wins Formula One’s Brazilian GP

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.

Verstappen controlled nearly all the race at Interlagos, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they fought for the fourth position. Both failed to finish.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium after finishing second ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was third but faces an investigation after an incident that caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin.

Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.”

Dutch driver Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing… we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.

Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.