Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

O’Ward dominates Indy Lights Mazda Iowa 100

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Pato O’Ward completed a display of sheer dominance at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, leading all 100 laps of the Mazda Iowa 100 to take his fourth win of the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season.

O’Ward, who entered the weekend 17 points down to points leader Colton Herta, rocketed away when the green flag waved and was never challenged, winning by just under three seconds. O’Ward explained that starting the pole gave him a big advantage and helped him get away in the early laps.

“It’s always easier when you start from pole. You don’t get all the dirty air,” O’Ward explained. “I tried to control the pace and not push too hard and conserve the Cooper tires. This is my first time here and, unlike Colton and Santi, I didn’t have a feel for what they would be like toward the end of the race.”
O’Ward also added that controlling his pace while maintaining such a big lead was big mental challenge, similar to what he paced in Race 2 a St. Petersburg.
“It becomes a mental challenge with yourself, when you’re so far out in front. I allowed it to get to me at St. Pete and I don’t want to have that happen again. That was a tough one to swallow. I’m learning every weekend, and everything goes into the memory banks, so I can improve through the year. But a day like this is good, where I can show that I have strong pace and that I’m ready for IndyCar,” O’Ward asserted.
“It’s a long championship and this is the most intense month. I had some bad luck or didn’t capitalize over the past few races while Colton had some good runs, but one bad weekend can turn it all around.”

Behind him, Colton Herta and Santi Urrutia engaged in a race-long duel for second after Urrutia charged up to second on the first lap from his fifth starting position.

Urrutia managed to keep Herta at bay for over 90 laps, with Herta consistently trying to close and pass at every lap, but Herta was eventually able to work his way around with five laps remaining.

It meant that the Andretti stable went 1-2, with O’Ward (Andretti Autosport) and Herta (Andretti Steinbrenner Racing) finishing first and second.

Urrutia rounded out the podium in third for Belardi Auto Racing. Andretti’s Ryan Norman and Dalton Kellett finished fourth and fifth, with Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni (sixth) and Belardi’s Aaron Teltiz (seventh) rounding out the field.

Results are below. (Note: the Indy Lights race will be televised at 11:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

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Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.