IndyCar

What Drivers Are Saying about Saturday’s IndyCar race at Gateway Motorsports Park

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Here’s What Drivers Are Saying about Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park:

BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500 PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Gateway is a race I’m really focused on and a place I’d love to get another win at. It was a great battle between my teammate Simon Pagenaud and myself last year. Definitely an exciting race for the fans and a fun one for us racers. We’ve stayed in the same spot in championship points, but we’ve got to do better. The No. 1 Verizon Chevy team is working really hard to give me the best car possible, so we’re really ready for a good run there to get as many points as we can and try and advance in the standings.”

MATHEUS “MATT” LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Last year was a good race in Indy Lights (at Gateway). I qualified in the back of the grid (12th) and made my way forward to third place when I had a puncture, so it was a good race. It’s a nice track, a pretty smooth track and I’m looking forward to racing an Indy car now. I think it’s going to be a good one. Hopefully, we made some improvements from our short oval package because we struggled a lot in Iowa. Let’s see if we can do a great job and finish in the top 10.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Last year’s event at Gateway was really impressive. The owners and promoters did an amazing job with the race. The turnout was huge and I’m guessing that will only get better this year. I love racing at night and I hope we can get the PNC Bank car to the front and be up there competing for the win when it counts on Saturday night.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Obviously we didn’t finish where we wanted to in Pocono and I’m glad we only have a short break between races to get right back into the car. We didn’t have a lot of time in Pocono to get the car right after (final) practice was canceled, so I’m looking forward to working on the car more this weekend and getting it right for what hopefully will be a really strong weekend and result for us in the NTT DATA car.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Definitely looking forward to Gateway this coming weekend. It’s a really fun track to race at, being a short oval. We’ve had a good streak of finishes the past few races for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy, but we really need to keep that up to gain more championship points. Scott Dixon has been so consistent and running really well, so we have to keep trying to outperform him and get another win. The whole No. 12 Verizon team is really focused and we’re ready to put our best foot forward and get another win.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “It’s exciting to go (to Gateway). Last year we had such a big crowd coming and this team did pretty well there. We are looking forward to it and big props to the guys at the track. I guess they repaved even more, now that they’ve repaved pit lane. Hopefully, we can get our best result of the season (so far) there.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda): “We didn’t test at Gateway so there will be a lot of unknowns when we go back. We were pretty good at Iowa in the race and I would anticipate we will be pretty strong at Gateway. Last year we didn’t qualify that well, but in the race, we were actually pretty competitive, but we had a little fueling issue at the end which was my fault. Unfortunately, I got a penalty and had to go to the back. But we had a strong race; we were running fifth and would have had a top-five for sure, so it was disappointing not to get those points. I’m excited to go back. It should be a lot of fun. The event is great and has quickly become a very strong race for the series. The promoters have done an amazing job with it. I have seen all of the promotions and (wife) Courtney and I were part of some of it with our media day last week. The city has really gotten behind the event, which is so important. It certainly helps that St. Louis is such a great sports town. We felt that we had a really good race car at Pocono that we let slip with how the race start played out, so we’re hoping to get to Gateway and make the most of every opportunity.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “Following a pretty successful test in the SealMaster Honda No. 18 at Gateway and a solid result at Pocono, the expectations are fairly high. The last couple of weekends have produced better results (sixth at Mid-Ohio and fourth at Pocono) after some really tough times in June and July. Hopefully, we can carry the momentum through the rest of the season and climb back towards the lead pack in the championship. The hardest part of the weekend will be to go racing without Robert (Wickens) as we all continue to keep hoping for a full recovery.”

PIETRO FITTIPALDI (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “We tested at Gateway about two weeks ago in our No. 19 Paysafe car. We had a really good test there. It’s a short oval and I’ve raced on a short oval before so I’m happy that I’ll be arriving with some experience. It’s unfortunate what happened in Pocono. We had a good race car and I wanted to run the whole 500-mile race and pick up as much experience as I could, but I got collected in the accident. But we have to move forward now and focus on Gateway and hopefully, I can come out with a good result on our last oval of the season.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I am really looking forward to St. Louis. Last year, I felt like we were really going to have a good chance to contend but we got caught up in the first-lap accident. I am excited to have another chance to go put on a good show for the fans in St Louis.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I’ve really enjoyed racing on short ovals this year and Gateway is our last chance to do that until 2019. It’s another oval I’ve yet to race at, so I’ll have a lot to learn once the green flag drops. If our speed at Iowa can carry over this weekend, we should be looking at another strong result for the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka team!”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m pretty excited. It’s been a good track for us. Our short oval program has been good this year. We’ve got three races left so we’re ready to score big points and plan to be pretty aggressive there and hopefully get a win for the No. 22 Menards Chevy soon.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet): “I can’t wait to get to Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend for the night race. Coming off another top-10 finish at Pocono, I think the whole Carlin team is building up a lot of momentum to keep this upswing going for the final few races of the 2018 season. The No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet had a strong test here a few weeks back, and I’m really optimistic that having that data and experience will pay off this weekend. I visited St. Louis in May for the Indy 500 media day, and I have to say that the track does a fantastic job getting the whole city involved and excited about the event. Looking forward to feeling their energy and seeing the grandstands full again!”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Group 1001 Honda): “After three consecutive top-10 finishes including sixth at Pocono this past weekend, I’m really looking forward to Gateway! We had the privilege to test there last month, which we felt we had a lot of success accomplishing what we wanted to. I feel we can keep our momentum going and put the Group 1001 car out front under the lights Saturday night.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “I’m so thrilled to be returning to Gateway Motorsports Park after the spectacular event we had last year. I think this track is one of the absolute best in terms of the effort that they put in to promote our series, and I hope to put on a great show for them. We are obviously nearing the end of the season, so we will be looking to continue to close the gap to Scott (Dixon) this weekend. With that said, all of our thoughts are still with Rob (Wickens) and his family at this time.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Gateway was a missed opportunity for us last year, so we’re looking to come back with the same competitive speeds and come away with a good result for the DHL team. The fans were really supportive of the series’ return in 2017 and we’re hoping to put on a good race for them.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “Unfortunately, it was a short race for us last year, but it is a very impressive facility. It is a great, fun track. The characteristics of Gateway are very unique. I think it is one of the best short ovals because there is such high banking in Turns 1 and 2, and Turns 3 and 4 are kind of flat and, as we observed, it was one of the best short oval races last year. I think it was a great show. The fans were really excited, and it was great to see so many enthusiastic fans at the race. Since we had a very good race at Iowa, I am certainly looking forward to going to Gateway.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “Coming out of such an emotional weekend like the one we just had in Pocono and going straight into another race is going to be challenging for everyone, but I think it’s a good thing that the INDYCAR family will be together this weekend, especially at a place like Gateway where the series has been welcomed with open arms. Carlin has shown this season that at the tracks where we have a chance to test prior, we’re just so much stronger. And after a really productive Gateway test a few weeks ago, we’re feeling optimistic about our race. The track did a great job last year of getting the city involved, so I’m really excited to see all of those St. Louis fans back out at the track who came out last year.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “Really enthused and ready to get behind the wheel of the (No.) 88 car and be back with my guys. We’re ready to speed up our development and progression, and we’re more driven than ever to get some of the results we know are possible based on our results from last season. I’m also very excited to race at Gateway for the Bommarito 500 for the first time.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 MilitaryToMotosports.com / Curb Honda): “We had a decent test at Gateway last month, so hopefully we will roll off the truck strong and continue to improve the car. It will likely be a tough race physically as steering weight is high there. We need to get on the podium – we’ve been so close this year, so we’ll fight to get the job done this weekend.”

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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