Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Hitachi, Team Penske extend partnership through 2020

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Global technology, electronics and automotive company Hitachi will once again return as a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet driven by Josef Newgarden next season, the team announced in a press release Sunday.

Under the new agreement, Hitachi will serve as Newgarden’s primary sponsor in eight races next season, and will once again be an associate sponsor on all of Team Penske’s cars competing in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Hitachi, whose colors adorned Newgarden’s No. 2 machine when he won his second IndyCar Series championship at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca Sunday, was the primary sponsor in three of his four victories in this season..@

The company has been a Team Penske partner since 2011, when the company sponsored both Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe at the final IndyCar race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.

Briscoe would deliver the company their first race victory the following season at Sonoma Raceway. Since then, Hitachi has won six more races and eight pole positions as a primary sponsor.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Hitachi and build on the success we have enjoyed together over the last eight seasons,” Team Owner Roger Penske said in the press release. “Hitachi has been such an important partner for our IndyCar program and we also utilize their technology and services across many of our Penske Corporation businesses away from the track.”

Below are the following races in which Hitachi will serve as Newgarden’s Primary sponsor next season:

Date   Race

3/15    Streets of St. Petersburg – St. Petersburg, FL (NBCSN)

4/19    Streets of Long Beach – Long Beach, CA (NBCSN)

5/30    The Raceway at Belle Isle Park (Race 1) – Detroit, MI (NBC)

5/31    The Raceway at Belle Isle Park (Race 2) – Detroit, MI (NBC)

7/12    Streets of Toronto – Toronto, Ontario, Canada (NBCSN)

7/18    Iowa Speedway – Newton, IA (NBCSN)

9/6      Portland International Raceway – Portland, OR (NBC)

9/20    WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, CA (NBC)

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.