IndyCar’s disgrace of an iRace

There was a lot to be enjoyed in the Esports races on Saturday. Firstly there was the second round of the Formula E Stay At Home Challenge, taking place on rFactor 2 with Studio 397’s own circuit Electric Docks which made for some incredible high speed racing. Then we had the first of a set of rounds that made up a new season of the All-Star Esports Series by The Race where Pros, Sim drivers and Legends all raced at Sepang to contend for their own championships and it even included brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Bentley, Aston Martin, Williams and Venturi officially taking part in it too. Finally, we also saw two races in Veloce’s Not The GP series where Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had some incredible battles on the Hockenheim circuit with some of the top names from the world of Formula 1 Esports and Online Content Creation.

But we are talking about the final round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, racing 70 laps of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. McLaren’s own Lando Norris was participating after making a guest appearance in last week’s race at the Circuit of the Americas, and despite spinning in the middle of the race, he still blitzed the field. This seemingly ruffled a few feathers.

Norris qualified second for the defacto ‘Indy 175’ to Aussie SuperCars champion Scott McLaughlin and despite never having done oval racing before, he was doing very good. He had put an immense amount of practice in with the help of his former F1 engineer Andrew Jarvis, who left McLaren’s F1 division to a new role in their upcoming IndyCar programme.

At one point in the race, a caution period had come out and Lando had just pitted so he had the grippiest rubber out of all the leading group so he looked to be in the best position to win. Ahead of him is reigning Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, who in all the previous IndyCar iRacing Challenge events, had won all the oval races and was looking to get a clean sweep.

Pagenaud and Graham Rahal were fighting for the lead and Norris went low on both of them, there was a noticeable gap between Norris and Rahal, but there is an unfortunate thing that happens in online racing called netcode, where there’s a slight lag in connection and subsequently, it feels like there is a collision when there isn’t. So Rahal unfortunately was netcode hit by Norris even though Norris didn’t do such a thing, and Rahal collided with Pagenaud and it ruined their races. A shame all round because I was looking forward to watching the battle between all these top-level professionals, but that term seems to not apply now, at least to Pagenaud.

Through I believe Pagenaud’s engineer’s Twitch stream, they seemed to joke about wanting to take out Norris and were badmouthing him as if he actually had done something wrong. But as clear as day in the video I’m going to provide of Lando watching a replay of that Twitch stream after the race, Pagenaud turned in on him heading into the last lap and what seemed to be an all-but-certain victory for Lando was taken from him. Pagenaud even tried to play it off as trying to go to the pits..

You’ll also hear in that clip, Lando was in an online chat with fellow Team RedLine sim racing drivers Graham Carroll, Bono Huis and Max Verstappen, and it was Max who suggested they settle these incidents with a boxing match. Rather amusing.

Not only what Pagenaud did, but on the last lap, McLaren’s two other drivers got involved in incidents. Patricio O’Ward tried to overtake Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson heading into the last corner but was way too overly ambitious and desperate, it was never on and it cost Ericsson the victory. So it was left to McLaren’s third driver Oliver Askew to win the race for the team, but it wasn’t to be as the polarising Santino Ferrucci swerved across him on the run to the line, and there to pick up the pieces despite not being anywhere near the front for most of the last few laps, was pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin.

An absolute mess. Inevitably you’ll hear the “Just a game” argument, both from people like Ferrucci (who has form for doing this in real world racing as well!) who pull a David Perel and say it’s okay to be dirty in the virtual world since nobody gets hurt, and then you have the people who see this as insignificant because it’s some immature boy’s hobby to play video games so what’s the fuss about?

I love my virtual racing but this has just left a sour taste in my mouth. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Simon Pagenaud, and I didn’t have any for Ferrucci anyway since he was said to have been racist to his then-F2 teammate Arjun Maini back in 2018 and also purposely driving into him on the cooldown lap.

It’s also been disappointing seeing IndyCar commentator Paul Tracy put on his tin foil hat and claim that Ferrucci’s steering conveniently had been hacked or glitched on the run to the line. It’s not surprising honestly, they love him on the IndyCar coverage.

This doesn’t ruin Esports and sim racing for me, I’ll always love it but it’s not surprising at all to know that people from outside the virtual racing bubble don’t take this seriously. With all the progress being made by Esports whilst we don’t have real racing, this has been a huge step backwards for both Esports and also IndyCar.

Image courtesy of IndyCar

Indy 500 Drama: Alonso Fails To Qualify

In pursuit of the Triple Crown (Monaco GP, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500) Fernando Alonso and McLaren returned to American soil for the Indianapolis 500.

Saturday was the day where the top 30 qualifying took place, with the fast nine to qualify again on Sunday for pole position and the six drivers out of the top 30 would also qualify again on Sunday, but with a higher stake.

After the two-time F1 World Champion did not make the top 30 (he ended up in 31st) it was time for ‘Bump Day’, where the last six drivers fight for the last three positions on the starting grid. The three slowest would pack up and go home. James Hinchcliffe, Sage Karam, Fernando Alonso, Max Chilton, Patricio O’Ward and Kyle Kaiser were all in the danger zone.

First to put a time on the table was James Hinchcliffe. With an average of 227.543 MPH, he was almost guaranteed of a spot on the grid for next week’s race, having missed out on the race last year. Next in line was Max Chilton, and just like Alonso, with a Carlin car. His pace was way off, with a mere 226.192 MPH meaning his chances would be very slim to qualify.

The third driver to make his run was Alonso. His first lap looked promising for a good result, and he ended up with an average of 227.353 MPH, putting him in (at that moment) second place.

Zak Brown and Fernando Alonso watch and wait after their qualifying attempt. Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

With three drivers to go, it would take just two of them to be faster than Alonso for the Spaniard not to qualify for the legendary race. The fact that Fernando was signing some autographs rather than watching the timings showed everything about his nerves. He just didn’t want to look, knowing full well that it would be very close.

Sage Karam surprised with a pretty quick average of 227.740 MPH, putting him on the top of the table. He pushed Alonso back to third place, just enough to qualify. But with two drivers left, tensions were rising.

Patricio O’Ward, the new Red Bull F1 junior, also drove with a Carlin built car, which showed; an average of 227.092 MPH put him in fourth, meaning he was done for this year. The last one who could attempt to qualify was Kaiser.

His first lap was the same as Alonso, but his second and third lap were slightly quicker than the Spaniard’s. With only one lap to go, Alonso once again went to sign some items of fans, too afraid of looking at the timings.

In a very dramatic manner, Kaiser – with his very small Juncos Racing team – beat the great (but new) McLaren Indy team to the last spot on the grid: 227.372 MPH. Just 0.019MPH quicker than Fernando.

Juncos Racing celebrate qualifying for the Indy 500, despite numerous setbacks. Credit: Chris Jones/IndyCar

In a reaction on social media, Alonso said: “A difficult week, no doubts. We tried our best, even today with a completely different set-up and approach, 4 laps flat on the throttle but we were not fast enough. It’s never easy to drive around here at 227mph+, and want more speed… We tried our best and we’ve been brave at times, but there were people doing a better job than us. Success or disappointments only come if you accept big challenges. We accepted.”

Gil de Ferran, McLaren sporting director, apologized to Alonso, the team and fans. “This has been a very emotional and difficult experience, I think, not only for me but for the whole team”, he said. “I want to take this opportunity to apologize and thank the fans, not only here in the U.S. but globally, who have been following our progress.  So you know, this is in my 35 years of racing – actually a few more – the most painful experience I’ve ever had.”

Even though Alonso will not be there, the show still goes on. The only Carlin car to qualify for the Indy 500 was Charlie Kimball in 20th. Meanwhile, Simon Pagenaud took pole and got a cheque of $100,000, with Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot lining up next to him. There will still be a fantastic race and all fans of motorsport should definitely watch it.

Simon Pagenaud accepts his pole award for his first ever Indy 500 pole. Credit: Chris Jones/IndyCar

(Featured Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher/IndyCar)

Fernando Alonso: What’s Next?

Image courtesy of Pirelli

Motorsports After coming perilously close to drinking the milk at the end of the 2017 Indianapolis 500 race, speculation over whether Fernando Alonso would take the leap from Formula 1 to the Verizon IndyCar Series began to spread across the paddocks on both sides of the pond.

It was confirmed in November of this year that Alonso would throw his hat into the ring once again driving for McLaren, working with Andretti Racing, in the hopes of obtaining the unofficial ‘Triple Crown’. There is much speculation as to whether Alonso would be interested in becoming a more permanent fixture in what some motorsport fans consider the ‘American Version’ of F1, however, nothing has been set in stone.

Talking with journalists following his last race in Formula 1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Alonso is in no hurry to make plans: “I needed a break and I need to find motivation again.

“For 2020, I don’t know exactly what I will do or what will be the plan. I am open to different things – maybe a full season in IndyCar, maybe a full season in F1 again.”

Alonso wouldn’t be the first Formula 1 driver to make the transition. He would be following iconic drivers such as Rubens Barrichello, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya, and with the interesting mix of street and oval circuits, the series offers a new challenge for Alonso after 18 years in F1.

In the run up to the end of the Formula 1 season, Alonso signed himself up to a mixture of endurance races. He is scheduled to complete the remaining 3 races in the World Endurance Championship, finishing in Le Mans, before heading to Indianapolis for the second time to hopefully take the win.

Not long after reaching the chequered flag in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Alonso was back in the driving seat, this time having swapped cars with NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson. It was thought that Alonso’s interest was in testing Johnson’s car in preparation for the Daytona 500, which he has since confirmed he will be a part of.

Interestingly enough, Johnson’s contract with NASCAR team, Hendrick Motorsports is set to end in 2020 and having already expressed an interest in IndyCar. Though it is highly unlikely Johnson would ever drive in F1 (apart from the one-off car swap), taking an open-wheel car out for a spin has given him a new outlook on his abilities:

“What I take away from that F1 experience is I climbed in an unfamiliar car and environment and did really well. My natural instincts, my ability to drive, my ability to scare myself and challenge myself hasn’t gone anywhere.” Perhaps the pair are beginning to lay the foundation for a standalone McLaren team in the Verizon IndyCar Series?

It’s probably best not to get carried away just yet, as Alonso has also confessed his departure from F1 might be short lived: “I’ve been doing this my whole life. Maybe next year by April or May I am desperate on the sofa, so maybe I find a way somehow to come back.” Perhaps he will follow in ex- Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa’s footsteps in announcing retirement, before returning unexpectedly to race another season.

Only time will tell, but for now keep an eye on Alonso, his career certainly isn’t over yet!

Ericsson considering IndyCar, Super Formula for 2019

Marcus Ericsson has said he is targeting a move to either IndyCar or Super Formula for 2019 following the loss of his Sauber Formula One race seat.

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

Ericsson will remain with Sauber next year as reserve driver and brand ambassador, but has said he is also looking to continue racing with a full-time drive in another single-seater category.

“I want to race at the highest level possible [next year] because I see myself coming back to Formula One in the future,” Ericsson said.

“To be able to come back to F1, I want to stay in single-seaters and fast cars. IndyCar is the best series to do that in.

“We’re talking to some teams there and I think it is a realistic target.”

Most of IndyCar’s 2019 drives have already been settled, although seats are still available at Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, Carlin and Juncos Racing.

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

Ericsson has also admitted Japan’s Super Formula is “also an option”, and that he would be interested in contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

But despite insisting on a single-seater programme for 2019 to keep him prepared for an F1 return, Ericsson said that Formula E is not high on his preferences:

“It is interesting in many aspects but to stay in F1-type of driving it’s maybe not the best one.

“FE is more of a career move. There are some other options that you can keep on the F1 radar [to] come back.”

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

IndyCar Sonoma Preview

The IndyCar season has reached its conclusion, this is it. 85 laps will decide who is crowned 2018 IndyCar champion… but those will be no ordinary 85 laps. There will be drivers, some rookies, some more experienced, with nothing to lose mixed among drivers who have absolutely everything to lose at what is expected to be the last Sonoma race for the foreseeable future with Laguna Seca coming onto the scene.

Cautions proved to be crucial last time out at Portland with Alexander Rossi’s otherwise perfect race being hampered by one that was caused by his very own teammate, Zach Veach. Championship leader Scott Dixon had a frightening opening lap, getting caught up in a collision but somehow coming out unscathed, before going onto finish ahead of his main title rival in Rossi and extend his championship lead.

Pole sitter Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske IndyCar Chevrolet V6, leads the field at the start of the Grand Prix of Portland Sunday, September 2, 2018 on his way to a 21st place finish after gearbox issues during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon. While mathematically still in contention for the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship heading into the double-points season finale at Somona, it’s a challenging scenario. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)

In amongst those story lines, it was easy to lose the fact that Takuma Sato took his third career IndyCar win and his first for Rahal Letterman Lanigan with a inspired strategy call and an impressive final stint.

If Portland was good, Sonoma promises to be even better…

Last year Sonoma staged the showdown between Josef Newgarden, Dixon and Simon Pagenaud. Newgarden came into the race with a slim four-point lead over Dixon, but the latter struggled in the race and was unable to get ahead of Newgarden. Pagenaud, meanwhile, rolled the strategical dice with a four-stop strategy, as opposed to the usual three, and it paid off with the Frenchman winning the race and taking second in the championship off Dixon. It was, however, Newgarden who took the title and with it the #1 plate for this current season… something that he had hoped to defend, but that looks less than likely now.

Josef Newgarden, driver of the #2 hum by Verizon Team Penske IndyCar Chevrolet V6, celebrates winning the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with a second place finish Sunday, September 17, 2017 during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Newgarden edged out teammate and 2016 Champion Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #1 DXC Technology Team Penske IndyCar Chevrolet V6, who won the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

The title permutations for this season are numerous with four drivers in with a shout of the title, even if two of them have a very small chance…

The Heat Is On: IndyCar Title Permutations

Away from the title race, there are a few driver changes for the last race of the season. Juncos will not be seeing out the season having taken part in 12 races in their debut year, meanwhile fellow newbies, Harding Racing, will field a two-car team for the first time this season, giving Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward and runner up Colton Herta their IndyCar debuts. Elsewhere, we’ve still got Santino Ferrucci at Dale Coyne, Jack Harvey in the Meyer Shank/Schmidt Peterson entry and Carlos Munoz in the #6 Schmidt Peterson, as they all were at Portland.

For most drivers, this weekend marks the end of the season and a chance to end it on a high; for others, it’s a crucial weekend to show potential 2019 employers that they are worth a seat. And then, for Dixon, Rossi, Will Power and Newgarden, but mainly the first two, it’s the most important weekend of the season to get right and to have a good result… a championship depends on it!

The main championship still hangs in the balance, but two awards of a similar nature have already been handed out. Honda have clinched the manufactures title having won 10 of the 16 races so far and having had the measure of Chevrolet throughout the season.

Josef Newgarden, driver of the #2 hum by Verizon Team Penske IndyCar Chevrolet V6, takes the checkered flag to win the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with a second place finish Sunday, September 17, 2017 during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Newgarden edged out teammate and 2016 Champion Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #1 DXC Technology Team Penske IndyCar Chevrolet V6, who won the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)

The other award is that of ‘Rookie of the Year’ which has, of course, gone to Robert Wickens who remains in hospital in Indianapolis after his Pocono crash. Without that crash, Wickens’ rookie season was one of the best there have been in recent memory, though he somehow missed out on that illusive win. The latest update on Wickens was a rather sobering one, with the full extent of his injuries revealed, but he’s starting the road to recovery and that’s the most important thing.

With all the Mazda Road to Indy championships concluded, IndyCar are the sole series at Sonoma, meaning all the focus will be on that one race, and it’s an important one! Practice and qualifying are both streaming as normal in all the usual places while BT Sport 1 have the race, however, it is a bit of a late one for UK viewers.

For the last time this season, the timings for the weekend are as follows:


Practice 1 – 7:00pm
Practice 2 – 11:00pm


Practice 3 – 7:00pm
Qualifying – 11:00pm


Race – 11:30pm

(All times BST)

IndyCar Texas Report: Dixon triumphs as Indy 500 winner Power wrecks

Texas Motor Speedway delivered what we’ve come to expect from it, a sensational race with numerous cautions and unexpected turns. Last week’s Race 1 winner, Scott Dixon, took a dominant win over Penske’s Simon Pagenaud who graced the podium for the first time this season, managing to hold off a charging Alexander Rossi.

Will power ahead of Scott Dixon. Image courtesy of Team Penske

Before Texas, Dixon had only led 39 laps in the whole season but he put that right by leading 119 laps in the night race, over double that of anyone else. After battling with Tony Kanaan early on, Dixon had got into the top three, behind Will Power and Robert Wickens. Once those two had swapped positions, Dixon quickly picked off the struggling Power before passing Wickens for the lead shortly after the second round of pit stops. It turned out to be a lead that he didn’t surrender for the remainder of the race, finishing a good five seconds ahead of his nearest rivals to take his 43rd career win, his second in a week and, most importantly, the championship lead. The #9 Chip Ganassi driver now boasts a 23-point lead as he, along with Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais, heads off to Le Mans.

Second on the road was Pagenaud who finally scored his first podium of what has been a very troublesome season. The 2016 champion initially lost places and his race was looking far from good when all three Penske cars started experiencing extreme tyre blistering, it was a wonder Pagenaud even made the end of the race. Already struggling with the inferior fuel mileage on the Chevrolet’s compared to the Honda’s, Penske were left with no choice but to call both Pagenaud and Power in after teammate Josef Newgarden’s tyres had blistered incredibly badly, leaving the canvas of the tyre exposed. After the final pit stops had been made and the field went green after the third and final caution, many doubted Pagenaud’s ability to even make the end of the race but the cooler temperatures that had come with nightfall favoured Pagenaud, meaning he could make the end and hold off Rossi, taking a very respectable second place finish.

Josef Newgarden. Image courtesy of

For a long time, it looked like Rossi would be winning in Texas. The #27 Andretti driver had superior pace to those around him and was willing to risk it all for overtakes around the outside that most drivers wouldn’t dare attempt, carving his way through the pack from his starting place of eighth. A fuelling issue after pitting under the second caution could’ve cost Rossi any chance of a decent result but he was saved by two factors: 1) they were under caution and 2) there were only six cars on the lead lap. After that drama, Rossi quickly recovered the lost ground to be all over the back of Pagenaud on the third restart however, the Frenchman proved a tough nut to crack and Rossi was eventually forced to concede defeat. That podium finish has put Rossi back up to second in the championship, overtaking Power and now just 23 points back from Dixon.

Power himself certainly had a race to forget; the #12 Penske driver had run well for the first part of the race but, like his teammates, struggled with tyre blistering as well as his car balance. His race ended when Zachary Claman De Melo was trying for an overtake around the outside and Power turned up on him, putting both of them into the wall. Power was quick to remove any blame from the rookie or though wouldn’t fully take it himself.

A much-needed decent result finally came for the otherwise incredibly unlucky James Hinchcliffe, scoring his first top ten finish since the Indy GP and first top five since Barber. Hinchcliffe qualified way down in fifteenth and, with rookie teammate Wickens in fourth, the pressure was on for a good result. The #5 Schmidt Peterson driver progressed well in the first laps, eventually making his way up to shadow his good friend Rossi. As the race went green after the last restart, Hinchcliffe was right in the battle for second with Pagenaud and Rossi but, after dropping slightly in the closing laps, fourth was the best he could do – still, a very important, confidence-boosting weekend for Hinchcliffe.

The same could almost be said for teammate Wickens who ran an excellent race, passing on the inside and outside before dicing with Rossi and even taking the lead for four laps. However, it all came tumbling down on Lap 171 when the rookie sensation tangled with Ed Carpenter. It was Carpenter who took the blame for the incident, Wickens was on his inside to lap him when Carpenter turned down on the rookie, sending the pair into the wall and ending both their races. An unfortunate end to what was a very promising weekend but Wickens wasn’t the only rookie shining for once.

Andretti’s rookie Zach Veach was running an amazing pace with all the confidence of an old-timer, gaining ten positions in the first fifty laps to be running in sixth. This performance, like Wickens, soon came crashing down. Veach got up too high, brushing the wall and breaking his right-rear tow-link, just as Kanaan had done 50 or so laps previous. The other rookie to come to blows was Matheus Leist whose car caught fire just five laps into the race.

It’s a well-deserved weekend off for the IndyCar paddock who are next out at Road America on 24th June.

Full Race Result

  1. Scott Dixon
  2. Simon Pagenaud
  3. Alexander Rossi
  4. James Hinchcliffe
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  6. Graham Rahal
  7. Takuma Sato
  8. Sebastien Bourdais
  9. Ed Jones
  10. Charlie Kimball
  11. Spencer Pigot
  12. Max Chilton
  13. Josef Newgarden
  14. Marco Andretti
  15. Gabby Chaves
  16. Zach Veach (R)

DNF – Zachary Claman De Melo (R), Will Power, Robert Wickens (R), Ed Carpenter, Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist (R)

Featured image courtesy of

Indy 500 Report: Power takes all the glory at the Brickyard

Once again, the Indy 500 delivered an action-packed race full of twists, turns and the inevitable cautions, seven this time! We had a new Indy 500 victor in Will Power, who now tops the championship as a result of his 100-point haul, but the likes of Ed Carpenter, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi all put up very good fights. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, the new, lower downforce cars coupled with the higher temperatures and subsequently lower grip caught more than one notable driver out.

Starting at the top, Power may have taken the win and led a sizeable number of laps in the process however, it wasn’t until well after half-way in that he actually took the lead for the first time. After qualifying third, Power dropped back at the start but regained the lost ground at the first round of pit stops under the first caution, gaining three positions in one go and putting him back up to third. In the latter quarter of the race, Power’s win rarely looked in doubt but there was very nearly a surprise when Stefan Wilson, Jack Harvey and Oriol Servia all didn’t pit under the last caution. Wilson led the race for three laps after the restart, making him and his late brother Justin the fourth set of brothers to do so, but it wasn’t to be as all three drivers had to pull into the pits having run out of fuel. With those three out of the way, Power had a clear track ahead of him to take a dominant win, well ahead of Carpenter and Dixon. Power, along with his Penske squad, was clearly elated in victory circle and it was a win he certainly deserved after a less than great start to the season.

Super-speedway specialist, Carpenter, was tipped by many to take the victory and seemed in charge in the opening stages of the race but he was overhauled by first Tony Kanaan and then, once Kanaan had eliminated himself from the lead with a puncture, Power who went on to the victory. Carpenter had taken a few front row starts at the Indy 500 before but never a win, he was confident that he could rectify that before the race but the cautions and changes in strategy just didn’t play into his favour and he was left in a rather disappointing second. A story of what could’ve been for Carpenter who knows time is fast running out for him to get that elusive Indy 500 win.

Scot Dixon. Indycar 2018: Round Six – image courtesy of

Third on the road was Dixon who managed to not go flying this year to take a well-deserved podium. The #9 Chip Ganassi driver had a fairly quiet first half of the race, other than very nearly crashing with Sebastien Bourdais, often running within the top five but never taking the lead however, he rolled the dice under the sixth caution by pitting and trying to make the end. Once the rest of the pit stops had cycled out, Dixon found himself in the net lead and a fair amount ahead of Power however, he was soon caught on his older tyres with both Power and Carpenter blasting past, leaving Dixon to fend off Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay. That he did, taking third and propelling himself into fourth in the championship.

Rossi was, amazingly, the bookmakers favourite going into the race despite the fact that he was starting second-to-last in thirty-second. After enjoying the last row club, along with Harvey and Conor Daly, it was down to business for the #27 Andretti driver. He made up a good six positions in the first five laps, but his progress stalled somewhat, only making up a further three positions in the next forty laps. By the third caution, Rossi had made it up to twelfth before he made incredible progress on the fourth restart, going around the outside, in very brave fashion, of just about everyone in his group. This trait was continued on the fifth restart when he went high to take a further two cars, putting him into third. The last round of pit stops didn’t play into the 2016 winner’s hands with Rossi eventually having to settle for fourth but gaining twenty-seven positions in one race is nothing to be ashamed of!

Penske, despite the win, didn’t have the best of days with their other three drivers. Josef Newgarden’s off strategy gamble under the third caution didn’t really pay off and, after being as low as twentieth, he was only able to recover an eighth-place finish putting him ten points back from the lead in the championship. Simon Pagenaud went fairly unnoticed throughout the race but a long last stop quashed any remaining chance the Frenchman had of a podium, eventually coming home in sixth. The last Penske of Helio Castroneves was the most unfortunate after he was the cause of the fifth caution. He was clearly upset after losing the rear and ending up hitting the inside wall, but he wasn’t along in doing so.

Danica Patrick’s last race. Image courtesy of

First to fall foul of these oversteer-prone cars was last year’s third place finisher, and arguably Rookie of the Year, Ed Jones who ploughed into the wall, causing the second caution of the day. This crash was repeated by Danica Patrick whose fairy-tale final race at Indy was ended when she too lost the rear after struggling with her car all day. Bourdais, Sage Karam and Kanaan all had very similar crashes to Jones and Patrick with those three causing the fourth, sixth and seventh cautions respectively.

Takuma Sato. Indycar 2018: Round Six – Indy 500, Indianapolis. Image courtesy of

All but one of the cautions were caused by a single car crash which is very unusual for the Indy 500, usually famed for its wrecks. The only exception to that rule was the very first caution which was caused by last year’s winner, Takuma Sato, hitting the back of James Davison. Davison had been running considerably slower than the cars around him for quite a number of laps before Sato was caught out by the pace differential coming out of the corner, leaving him a passenger as he hit the side of Davison.

All drivers were thankfully ok following their incidents, with only Jones’ in slight doubt for next week’s double header at Detroit after being taken to hospital as a precautionary measure with head and neck pain.

It hasn’t been announced yet, but Schmidt Peterson’s Robert Wickens is expected to take Rookie of the Year after an impressive ninth place finish in the absence of bumped teammate James Hinchcliffe.

Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske IndyCar Chevrolet V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 27, 2018, after winning the Verizon IndyCar 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the first Indy 500 win for Power and the 17th win for team owner Roger Penske.  Image courtesy of and the photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing.

With the 102nd running done, it won’t be long before talk points to the 103rd running of the Indy 500 however, for now, IndyCar heads to the double header that is the Duel in Detroit next weekend before completing the second, and most valuable, triple header at Texas Motor Speedway.

Full Race Result:

  1. Will Power
  2. Ed Carpenter
  3. Scott Dixon
  4. Alexander Rossi
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  6. Simon Pagenaud
  7. Carlos Munoz
  8. Josef Newgarden
  9. Robert Wickens (R)
  10. Graham Rahal
  11. JR Hildebrand
  12. Marco Andretti
  13. Matheus Leist (R)
  14. Gabby Chaves
  15. Stefan Wilson
  16. Jack Harvey
  17. Oriol Servia
  18. Charlie Kimball
  19. Zachary Claman De Melo (R)
  20. Spencer Pigot
  21. Conor Daly
  22. Max Chilton
  23. Zach Veach (R)
  24. Jay Howard

DNF – Tony Kanaan, Sage Karam, Helio Castroneves, Sebastien Bourdais, Kyle Kaiser (R), Danica Patrick, Ed Jones, Takuma Sato, James Davison

Featured image courtesy of

The Blueprint – Takuma Sato Explains How To Win The Indy 500 | M1TG

Check out the latest video from Mobil 1 The Grid. In this piece, the Japanese driver discusses his win in 2017, how he went about winning the race, whilst laying down a blueprint of the key to success at Indianapolis.

Takuma On Winning The Indy 500: “In my entire life, maybe the birth of my child, that is obviously an amazing day. But besides on that, [winning at Indy] was my significant moment in my life, and certainly the best day of my race career. And that changed so many different things. I just never forget the feeling of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has and how deeply I understood the history and the energy that the Indy 500 has. That was just an unbelievable, amazing, amazing experience for me.”

Takuma On How To Win At Indy: “The key is to stay out of trouble problem, because it’s just such a long race. Anything can happen. Just stay calm, because the race comes back to you.”

Indycar 2017 Round Six: Indianapolis 500, Indiana

Takuma On How Heartbreak In 2012 Prepared Him: “Going through all the preparation by yourself and as an athlete, you learn from your faults: What you didn’t go through, and what you know already. Then there is a great chance to learn new things. Moving forward, that’s the name of the sport. 2012 is obviously a bitter experience and but I really appreciate it because I’m proud that I was able to challenge for that. In the end, I failed it. But it’s really made me stronger. Going through every single year, there’s lots of ways you think about it, and of course, before the 2017 start, you’re going through 2012, saying ‘What could I have done? What should I have done? What we will need to do?’ And that’s exactly what I did. That was the moment I really needed.”

Takuma Sato On The Legacy Of Winning The Indy 500: “Indy 500 winner… we knew that’s a big deal. People say that it’s going to be forever, and then like almost every month there is some award or there is ceremonies and the events just it’s go on and on and on. When I go back to Japan, there was almost every week, an event or award. So it was an unbelievably busy winter, but it was a happy busy moment. The Indy 500 is beyond your imagination.”

Indycar 2017 Round Six: Indianapolis 500, Indiana

Takuma Sato On Indy 2018: “I can’t imagine how it’s going to be as a defending champion going to the Month of May. I think it will be so cool, so pressured and so busy. I can’t wait [to] go there. But, equally, I think that now everyone wants to win and beat me so, basically, I have to have a huge challenge to do back-to-back race wins. Nothing is impossible, but I think it’s going to be very tough but we will challenge for that anyway.”

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IndyCar Phoenix Report: Newgarden finally breaks his Phoenix curse

IndyCar got its first oval of the season done at Phoenix and, while Josef Newgarden was the one to take the win, it was rookie Robert Wickens who was once more grabbing headlines and stealing the show with a remarkable second place finish. Alexander Rossi was the big mover of the day, completing over 50 overtakes while Sebastien Bourdais’ race fell apart at the first hurdle.

After qualifying on pole, Bourdais’ race started with trouble after the Frenchman’s Dale Coyne was kept in the pits for the first formation lap to give the team time to restart his car. He joined the track in time to take the start on pole but his team soon reported that they’d lost all telemetry on his car however, that problem was soon negated when he came into the pits and hit one of his pit crew, giving him a drive-thru penalty and dropping him to last. Thankfully, the pit member involved was unharmed.

Another one to be compromised by the first round of pit stops was Rossi who, like Bourdais, hit his pit crew and landed himself a drive-thru penalty, Again, the crew members involved were fine. Rossi didn’t come back into significance until he assisted Will Power into the wall, ending the Penske driver’s race, before fully un-lapping himself under green flag conditions. When Ed Jones hit the wall with 21 laps to go, all the field pitted other than Wickens, James Hinchcliffe and Rossi; this gave the three track position over the fresh tyre runners but high degradation in the latter stages of the race cost all of them at least some positions.

Wickens was leading the race up until those final stops but was unable to defend from Newgarden who was flying on his new Firestones. Before then, Wickens had come to the front after pitting early at the second round of stops and passing teammate Hinchcliffe who’d gotten caught up in traffic. The Canadian dropped to third after the third stops but was propelled into first after Jones crashed out of second and leader Newgarden pitted; the win was not to be for Wickens but second place on his first ever oval race is outstanding achievement.

Josef Newgarden. courtesy of

Newgarden himself was relieved to break his unlucky streak under lights at Phoenix after failing to finish on the podium at any of his previous races here. The reigning champion worked out second after the first round of pit stops, something he attributed to team owner Roger Penske insisting that the team clean the pit boxes thoroughly. The second pit stops didn’t work out in the American’s favour but, with Power out, Newgarden was the first to pit at the next round, allowing him to take the lead. He took the risk to pit again when Jones hit the wall but that paid off when he was able to blast past Hinchcliffe and Rossi on the restart before getting Wickens with just four laps remaining to take his first win of his title defence.

A surprisingly low amount of cautions, despite numerous incidents, meant that once cars were lapped, that was pretty much it for them. This was the case for all the new teams, Carlin, Harding and Juncos, who all struggled for pace at their first oval and all ended up at least a lap behind the leaders. It wasn’t just the rookie teams who struggled, all the rookie drivers, other than the incredible Wickens, were off the pace, with some even ending in the wall. Pietro Fittipaldi and Kyle Kaiser both got too close to the wall while Matheus Leist’s race was ruined when he left the pit box with one wheel not attached.

This race was a large improvement on Phoenix last year for Honda who took positions two through to sixth however, it was still a Chevrolet that took the win, meaning that Penske’s Newgarden now leads the championship, five points ahead of Rossi.

Phoenix marked the first of three races in a row with IndyCar now heading to the streets of Long Beach before going to Barber Motorsports Park in two weeks’ time. IndyCar will not return to an oval until the 102nd running of the Indy 500 at the end of May so it’s street courses all the way until then.


Full race results:

1.      Josef Newgarden

2.      Robert Wickens (R)

3.      Alexander Rossi

4.      Scott Dixon

5.      Ryan Hunter-Reay

6.      James Hinchcliffe

7.      Ed Carpenter

8.      Tony Kanaan

9.      Graham Rahal

10.  Simon Pagenaud

11.  Takuma Sato

12.  Marco Andretti

13.  Sebastien Bourdais

14.  Spencer Pigot

15.  Gabby Chaves

16.  Zach Veach (R)

17.  Charlie Kimball

18.  Max Chilton

19.  Matheus Leist (R)

DNF – Ed Jones, Kyle Kasier (R), Will Power, Pietro Fittipaldi (R)

Heartbreak for Wickens as Bourdais repeats history: IndyCar St Petersburg Report

IndyCar returned in the most IndyCar way possible on the streets of St Petersburg, with eight cautions, multiple lead changes and a lot of crashes! Robert Wickens so nearly took what would’ve been a remarkable win on his debut but a tangle with Alexander Rossi left Sebastien Bourdais to come through and take his first victory since this time last year.

Up until the race, it had been the weekend for the rookies; Wickens, Jordan King and Matheus Leist all made it into the Firestone Fast Six, with Wickens snatching pole from Will Power in the dying moments of qualifying.

As series veteran Helio Castroneves gave the drivers the command to start their engines, the tension was tangible, could a rookie win in their first race or would the old guard put him in his place? After 110 laps, we would have an answer…

Wickens, despite all the pressure, kept his head at the race start and led; Power had started second but he spun in the opening corners – giving Wickens a decent lead by virtue of everyone having to avoid his Penske. The Canadian also survived his first restart, courtesy of Charlie Kimball spinning and stalling, and successfully negotiated his first IndyCar pit stop.

While Wickens seemed to have it all his own way at the front, Bourdais had already been in the wars. The Frenchman had picked up a puncture on the first lap and had to pit, dropping him down the order and putting him off-strategy.

When caution number two, brought out by Spencer Pigot, came to an end, it was Bourdais who was in the lead, albeit on much older tyres than the chasing pack. Bourdais continued to lead through the next two cautions and restarts, brought out by Leist and Sato respectively, but soon the older tyres came back to bite him. Wickens dived down the inside at Turn 1 to reclaim a lead which he held through the next caution and restart, this time caused by Jack Harvey.

Once the pit stops had cycled out, a new contender emerged in the shape of Andretti’s Rossi who’d been quietly going about his business up until then. Wickens led with Rossi in hot pursuit while Bourdais was all but out of it, now eight seconds back on the leading pair.

Wickens and Rossi traded fastest laps but it was clear that Rossi was catching the Canadian rookie – it was game on for the 2016 Indy 500 winner. However, when the pair caught traffic, Rossi ran too hot into Turn 4 and went wide; this mistake dropped the American nearly three seconds back from Wickens who now looked comfortable in the lead.

There was to be another twist to the tail though; Rene Binder was struggling with endurance because of the length of the race and subsequently hit the barriers, bringing out caution number six. This was a godsend for both Rossi and Bourdais who’d since lost touch with Wickens – the race was back on.

Wickens led off the restart with Rossi too busy sliding on his worn tyres to even think of a challenge. Just as Wickens looked to have it in the bag, Max Chilton put his Carlin in the wall to bring out the seventh caution of the race. On the restart, Wickens was slower than Rossi and the latter looked to take advantage of that into Turn 1 however, Rossi was struggling on his tyres, the overtake attempt soon turned into a crash. Wickens was spun around and put in the wall while Rossi was able to continue but it had done its damage to both their races because now, out of the blue, Bourdais was leading.

Wickens’ spin had brought out the eighth and final caution of the race which meant that it ended under yellows so it was a very emotional Bourdais who took an unchallenged victory from Graham Rahal and Rossi.

After the hectic nature of this weekend, all bets are off for the championship as the series heads to Phoenix in just under a month’s time.

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