IndyCar

What Drivers Said after Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

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Here’s What Drivers Said after Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, won by Alexander Rossi:

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) — WINNER: “We said coming into this weekend that we have to execute for five weekends in a row, this is the start of that, hopefully. The NAPA Andretti team were so on it today. They gave me an amazing race car and this one’s for them. It was great strategy all day. We could make a two-stop if we committed early and that’s what we did. Great fuel mileage from Honda, great tire life from Firestone, so an all-around perfect day.”

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda) – finished 2nd: “We stuck to our guns and I thought our strategy worked well. The problem is, on my third stint, I just got stuck in a whole gaggle of cars. Unfortunately, they were on reds (Firestone alternate tires) and I was on blacks (Firestone primary tires), and I couldn’t make it through and just lost loads of time. I was probably losing about a second a lap for a good 10-15 laps. It’s unfortunate. Nevertheless, the Lucas Oil car went from P5 to P2, I can’t complain.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 3rd: (About if he had anything else for the leaders): “No, man, everyone else is so good in this series that you just have to have everything perfect. We just weren’t quite good enough on blacks (Firestone primary tires). We really struggled to get up to speed on those, but were pretty good on reds (Firestone alternate tires). But still a good day for the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. Obviously, another full green race and I can’t believe it. It’s just a series full of really good drivers now, and no one makes mistakes and it just came down to strategy.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 4th: “We just seemed to catch traffic and I don’t think our strategy worked quite as well as we wanted it to, but you make a plan and go with it. It didn’t quite all work today for us. But it was a very good effort from everybody today. I think the Hitachi Chevrolet was good today. We gave a good shot at it today. We will go back and analyze it and go on from here.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) – finished 5th: “Basically, a frustrating day. I think the car had some good speed. We were really quick early on in a stint, we kind of faded a little bit. The track condition was just not great. We would pit and one of the cars in front of us, or right around us, would pit, too, and we’d fall behind them and it just kind of put us back. It was one of those days where one little, tiny move could have jumped us another two or three spots.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda) – finished 6th: “Today was making up for a big mess up yesterday. It’s sad, as this car could have been a winner today with our pace. It was a heck of drive and I don’t think it gets much better than that going from 24th to 6th in a straight-up fight on a track that’s difficult to pass. Obviously, it was a lot of ‘what ifs’ that come to mind. Really happy with the day, but quite disappointed for the group as far as the weekend is concerned, as I think we could have been on the podium.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda) – finished 7th: “It wasn’t our day; it was kind of a mess. I felt like I was running around on crutches out there. We started out on the first set of sticker reds (new Firestone alternate tires) and had a left-front (tire) that was falling apart. I had a huge vibration, so we had to pit early. There was no way around it and that committed us to the strategy. Unfortunately, pitting early like that, then you just put yourself at risk for everybody to overcut you, continuing to run and we just got out of everybody’s way that way, unfortunately. I was just doing whatever I could to hold the floodgates back there at the end. I was on primary (Firestone) black tires racing everybody on sticky, alternate reds. I was doing whatever I could to keep it from coming around at the end. We definitely needed today to go better. It’s unfortunate it went this way today for the DHL, AutoNation and Butterball turkey team. It’s a bummer. We started third and we thought we had a better shot at it today, but congrats to the No. 27 team and to Alex (Rossi). He had a good run doing the ol’ two-stopper and it worked out. Everybody said that if it went green all day today, two stops wasn’t going to work, but he showed them.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 8th: “Without a warmup this morning, it was going to be a bit of a guessing game as far as race setup. Luckily, the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet team guessed right. I could really be myself and attack during this race. We’ve just got to keep working in that direction. I think we were able to make huge gains in our street circuit package in Toronto. The whole team is super-fast on ovals and the last bit is getting where we need to be on these road courses. Today was very satisfying to prove that our showing during qualifying is not the true performance of the No. 22 Menards team.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda) – finished 9th: “I’m disappointed. We just weren’t good enough today. The pace just wasn’t there in the car and the rear was so unstable. We struggled with too much oversteer most of the race, which put us a ways behind the 8-ball. I just couldn’t get close enough to anybody without losing a lot. We had to just manage the rest of the day. I was hoping for a better result for the Fifth Third Bank team.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda) – finished 10th: “I’m slightly happy to bring home another top-10 finish. The last half of the season, we wanted to be consistently in the top 10 and I want to prove that I belong here. I think we’re doing more and more of that every weekend. With no yellow (flags) today, I think we needed to qualify a little bit better to be able to race towards the front. But I’m just so happy that our Relay car had the speed, but we just got caught in some traffic. It’s just hard racing out there, especially on the blacks (Firestone primary tires). We were falling back, so we were fighting with everything we could with those guys on the red (Firestone alternate) tires, but I think, overall, it was a pretty good day for us. We learned a ton and I’m excited to go on to Pocono, and hopefully, we finish a few spots higher.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 Ruoff Home Mortgage / Curb Honda) – finished 11th: “I’m a bit bummed for the Ruoff Home Mortgage team. We had (Sebastien) Bourdais beat, and then I’m not sure what happened, but he was able to gap us there on the second stint. We only had clear track on the second stint and we were flying, so we were one of the fastest cars out there, but the circumstances just didn’t work out.”

JORDAN KING (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet) – finished 12th: “I sent it on the first couple of corners. That was really good fun, a bit of wheel-banging and running side-by-side with a few people. We got up to ninth in those first two laps. Our pace was pretty good during the race. I don’t think we were a million miles off at all. We had a bit of a slow first pit stop and lost a few places there, then we just seemed to struggle a bit on out laps. Those are the two areas where we lost the time; otherwise, I think we would have been a bit higher up. We still have a bit of work that we need to do, but overall, it was a good race.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet) – finished 13th: “It was a bit of a tough start of the race. We didn’t get a great start and got kind of boxed in. We weren’t able to move up early on like we had hoped for. We struggled with the black (Firestone primary) tires, but once we put the reds (Firestone alternate tires) on again, the car was pretty good. We were able to make passes and fight our way up to 13th. The second half of the race wasn’t too bad, but we would have liked to have a different first half. We’ve had a very solid last five or six weekends and a lot of positives to take away. We will work to put it to good use for the last races.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda) – finished 14th: “It was a pretty disappointing day for us. We had to roll the dice on strategy a little bit given where we were starting. Unfortunately, it just didn’t play out for us. We had a rough day in pit lane which didn’t help; it lost us some track position that cost us a ton of time behind (Zach) Veach in the second stint. From then on, we were just doing damage control. It’s unfortunate. We had to take a bit of a risk starting 10th and today just didn’t play out. The Arrow Electronics crew will regroup, pull a tear-off on this one and go for it in Pocono.”

ED JONES (No. 10 DC Solar Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) – finished 15th: “A frustrating day. I think we had the pace and we should have been around seventh or eighth. We called the wrong strategy and got on the wrong tires. Unfortunately, everything we did made the race worse for us. We also had a (tire) puncture to add to that. Just seems like recently everything has gone against us and everything we try to do. It makes everything look a lot worse than it is. Surely, things will change around and we will come back stronger.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet) – finished 16th: “I think it was a tough day for everybody out there. The track conditions meant that it was going to be pretty slippery and the cars were going to be quite a handful. We really struggled in that first stint and I just wasn’t able to get the lap time out of the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet. The guys did a great job in pit lane and we flipped up the strategy on the last stint when we went with the Firestone alternate tires, which helped us out a lot. We’ll go back to the drawing board and evaluate what we did here, and hopefully, be able to learn from it.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda) – finished 17th: “It’s extremely disappointing not to be able to compete competitively. The start was good. I overtook a couple of cars and was P6, and there were only a few cars in front and it all looked good, but on the second lap in Turn 4, I know (Max) Chilton was on push-to-pass and was coming, so I left one car space into Turn 4 and it was all good. On the exit of Turn 4, somehow he clipped me from behind and I got spun from that. After that I never recovered in the race. Unfortunately, in the middle of the stint the pace wasn’t very good, so it was difficult to gain any positions back. I think I dropped to 21st and only gained a few positions in the end, so it is very disappointing. We had high hopes today, but that was the race.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Chevrolet) – finished 18th: “Tough weekend for the No. 14 ABC Supply car. No matter what we changed, we couldn’t get a good direction on our setup, so it ended up being a survival race. We’re going to regroup this week and analyze what we’re missing in order to make it better. Looking forward to going to Pocono in a couple of weeks and putting on a good show for our sponsors.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) – finished 19th: “Today was a tough day. We just didn’t have the pace the entire race. We just tried to bring home the car and I did the best that I could. We are still struggling to find the speed on road courses. We will focus on figuring this out for next year and for the rest of the season. We will keep working hard and figuring out how to be quick.”

JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation Sirius XM MSR with SPM Honda) – finished 20th: “We had a high-risk, high-reward type of strategy. The race summed up our weekend, in that at sometimes we were OK, but then others we were struggling a lot. Our day was a combination of not being quick and not getting the yellows (flags) we needed. The team has been working hard and I think that only doing a few races this year is a challenge, but we are making the best of it and I know we will make progress during Portland.”

RENE BINDER (No. 32 HD Pellets Chevrolet) – finished 21st: “It was a tough race and it was a really long one. We had a decent race and a good start at the beginning. Our strategy was working well with the Firestone red tires and we were able to make up some positions. Even though we did not finish where we hoped to, I am pleased overall and this has been a great experience running in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

CONOR DALY (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet) – finished 22nd: “I think we had a reasonable pace all race long. We put in a little too much wing on the first stop, so the second stint was really tough because the car was really loose. After that, we started making up some good ground on track and the car was pretty quick. The (Max) Chilton machine really messed with us when he was already a couple laps down. I’m sort of unsure as to why that was acceptable, but it is what it is. It’s a shame what happened by running out of fuel, but these things happen. Racing is a wild sport. The guys did really good in the pits, the pit stops were great and the No. 88 Chevy was great. Now we just move on.”

PIETRO FITTIPALDI (No. 19 Paysafe Honda) – finished 23rd: “Obviously I feel tired. It’s my first race back and it’s a tough one at Mid-Ohio. It’s really physically demanding here. We started the race and we didn’t have that much pace at first in our No. 19 Paysafe car, so we ended up pitting early, and then I had to let the leaders go by, so we lost a lot of time there. That said, I finished the race and that was my goal with my leg still hurting a bit. It’s still healing. I’m sure that by the time we get to our next road course in Portland, we’ll be a lot better and I’ll be back at a 100 percent, but I’m happy I was able to come here and finish the race. Now we can focus on our upcoming tests and our next race.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet) – finished 24th: “That was just a really disappointing way to end this weekend at Mid-Ohio after hitting such a high note yesterday with our Firestone Fast Six qualifying effort. We had a good start at green flag, but it turned for us pretty quickly after Race Control gave us a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact with (Takuma) Sato. We were hoping with how quick the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet was that we would be able to recover and fight back through the field, but with no yellows (flags) and some issues in pit lane, we just couldn’t move forward at all.”

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Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Ricky Brabec blows engine, retires

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The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.

Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.

With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.

Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner

In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell

In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.

Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [7] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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