Josef Newgarden wins rain-delayed race at Gateway; trails Will Power by three points

0 Comments

Winning a rain-delayed World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway race, Josef Newgarden made a charge in the NTT IndyCar Series championship standings Saturday night.

With his series-leading fifth victory (a personal best for the two-time champion), Newgarden closed within three points of teammate Will Power with two races remaining this season.

It also marked the fourth win at Gateway (and the third consecutive at the track near St. Louis) for the driver of Team Penske’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet.

RESULTS, POINTS: Click here for the full stats package from Gateway

Newgarden rebounded for his 25th career victory after losing the lead to teammate Scott McLaughlin during a pit stop exchange shortly before a red flag for rain on Lap 218.

The stoppage lasted more than two hours for rain, giving Newgarden (who was caught behind Christian Lundgaard on entry before his last pit stop) plenty of time to think about how the race nearly got away.

“I think this crew has been very patient with me,” Newgarden told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I’ve lost my cool probably a couple of times (behind) closed doors out of frustration for us. We’ve had small miscues, timing-wise. That’s not really anybody’s fault. Just sometimes wrong time, wrong place. I feel like that’s been happening a lot this year. It kind of happened again tonight. We put ourselves in position, it’s time to close and there was just a barrier that got in front of us again.

“But fortunately, we were able to get back out. I was so happy we could finish this race. Scott McLaughlin wanted to win, too. I love that about him. We each want to win, but he drove me super fair at the end, and we had a good fight. It’s a big night for everyone at Team Penske.”

Newgarden, who also had a nervous moment when his car initially stalled when engines were refired, led the final 35 laps after seizing first from McLaughlin on Lap 225.

The green flag had waved a lap earlier for the first time in more than two hours on the 1.25-mile oval.

“We just had to have a good start,” Newgarden said. “I knew Scott was going to be good at the end there. He had a great restart. I just tried to work the high lane. It worked earlier for me, and I tried to do it again, and we just had enough to get by him. He was no slouch this weekend.

“Scott’s done an amazing job, he could have easily won this race himself. You have to give him credit. I’m glad we were able to come back out on top.”

Rookie David Malukas, who had made a pit stop just before the red flag, charged from fifth to a career-best second-place finish by passing McLaughlin on the final lap.

“Two laps to go, that was the lap I decided to do the outside lane, and it worked so well,” Malukas told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “So if I’d done it a bit sooner, maybe we could have had done something for Newgarden. Overall that’s a win for me, a win for the team. They deserve that so much.”

Said McLaughlin: “That’s racing. That’s oval racing. We love it. Want more of it. Dave’s move on the last lap, credit to him. He’s a phenomenal young kid, and I hope he goes far because the way he’s been coming up through the ranks. He’s been great all year.”

Pato O’Ward finished fourth, followed by Takuma Sato, Power, Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and Graham Rahal.

After starting on the pole position for a record-tying 67th time, Power faded from fourth to sixth after the race restarted.

“Once again, it was a good day with P6,” Power said. “Obviously, we wanted more. We made a mistake and didn’t (stop under) yellow. That’s IndyCar. It’s never straightforward. You expect that in the championship. It might come back to us in the next two in a different way. That’s how it is. We’ve got some good tracks coming up. Like I predicted, it will be a tough battle all the way to the end. I’ve been around a long time and know how these things go.

“The best thing about today is that we finished in the top-six, so that’s still pretty good.”

There are 58 points separating the top seven in the standings with two races remaining (Sept. 4 at Portland International Raceway and Sept. 11 at Laguna Seca Raceway).

Power is leading the championship race, followed by Newgarden (minus-3), Dixon (-14), Ericsson (-17), Palou (-43), McLaughlin (-54) and O’Ward (-58).

The 43-point margin separating the top five is the tightest with two races remaining since the IndyCar-Champ Car unification in 2008.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III