Max Chilton returns to IndyCar with Carlin

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar
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Max Chilton and sponsor Gallagher will return to the NTT IndyCar Series for a fifth season, joining forces with Carlin for the third consecutive year.

Chilton will drive the No. 59 Chevrolet in all 12 road and street course races in 2020, as well of the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 this May. Another driver to be named at a later date will pilot the No. 59 car in the remaining four oval races.

“The partnership between myself, Gallagher and Carlin is a strong one that honestly feels more like family than the normal motorsports driver, sponsor, and team relationship,” Chilton said in a press release. “I couldn’t be more thankful for Gallagher’s continued support of myself and Carlin as we work toward success in the NTT IndyCar Series.”

Chilton’s partnership with Carlin renews a successful relationship that goes back throughout his career. He previously won races with Carlin in the British Formula Three series and GP2 before racing for Marussia in Formula One from 2013 – 2014. In 2015, Chilton ran a season of Indy Lights with Carlin, scoring a victory at Iowa Speedway.

“It is such an honor to have Gallagher back on board for our third season in the NTT IndyCar Series. They have been such a loyal partner to not only Max during his time in the series, but also to our team as we build our program from the ground up,” said Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “We had some ups and downs last season, but we’re confident that 2020 will be a great year for us.”

In 62 previous IndyCar starts, Chilton has a best finish of fourth in the 2017 Indy 500.

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Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.