IndyCar points battle between Dixon, Rossi tightens; Power, Newgarden lose ground

IndyCar
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Alexander Rossi is like a mouse nibbling on cheese: he keeps biting off bits and pieces of Scott Dixon’s lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings.

Rossi came into Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway trailing series leader Dixon by 46 points. But after winning Sunday’s race, Rossi now trails Dixon by only 29 points with three races remaining on the 2018 schedule.

“We did okay today on points, but obviously took a big hit to Rossi,” Dixon told NBCSN after the race. “Congrats to him. He’s driving fantastically at the moment. We need to have him have a bit of snafu and to slow his roll quickly.”

Is Scott Dixon feeling the pressure more now that Alexander Rossi has closed to within 29 points of his series lead? (Photo: IndyCar)

Rossi has picked up 41 points in the last two races on Dixon, having been 70 points back prior to Mid-Ohio, which Rossi ultimately won, and then earned a back-to-back victory Sunday at Pocono.

“We’re executing like we said we need to do Sundays, and we’ll do everything we can to keep that going,” Rossi told NBCSN after Sunday’s race. “There’s no time to rest now, we’re in Gateway in five, six days.”

Heading into Saturday night’s race at Gateway Motorsports Park in suburban St. Louis, Dixon has 530 points, Rossi has 501, defending series champion Josef Newgarden is 66 points behind Dixon at 464 points and Will Power (449 points), who finished second to Rossi Sunday, is now 81 points behind Dixon.

“Isn’t that unbelievable?” Power said. “I’ve had two really great results and Scott Dixon just keeps finishing behind me. This guy just never has a bad day, you know. In the last two races, I need him to have a bad day to even have a shot, but we’ve been running strong.”

Added Newgarden, “We were scrapping to keep that top-five (finish). That’s all we had.”

Newgarden is hoping to replicate what he did last year at Gateway, when he won. “We’ll work hard for these last three (races) now,” he said.

The championship battle had been a five-driver contest, but with Ryan Hunter-Reay being knocked out early of Sunday’s race due to a wreck with Robert Wickens, it’s unlikely Hunter-Reay (119 points behind Dixon) can rally in the final three races, even though the season finale at Sonoma Raceway offers double points.

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IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans