Iowa Speedway

11 July 2016

Josef Newgarden dominated at Iowa Speedway to take his first IndyCar oval victory and end six years of Andretti success at the circuit.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver put his Dallara-Chevrolet on the front row alongside championship leader Simon Pagenaud in qualifying and, after passing Pagenaud at the end of the first lap, controlled the race from the front. By lap 84 of 300 Newgarden had put everyone in the field except Pagenaud a lap down, and maintained the lead through each of the four pit phases.

Pagenaud looked to be the only one able to challenge in the first half of the race before Scott Dixon found some form at two-thirds race distance to pass the fellow Chevys of Tony Kanaan, Will Power and Pagenaud and move into second. Newgarden sealed his strong oval return after the dramas of Texas - where a violent crash left him with broken bones - by crossing the line 4.7 seconds ahead of Power, who made a late surge past Pagenaud and Dixon into second in the last 10 laps. Dixon and Pagenaud had to settle for third and fourth.

The race was largely a clean one, with two of the three caution periods triggered by engine failures for three-time Iowa winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and Juan Pablo Montoya, before a final yellow was caused by Max Chilton spinning on the high line. Kanaan and Helio Castroneves had been running on the fringes of a podium position for much of the race but pitting one lap before Chilton's spin meant they lost out when the rest of the field pitted under the ensuing yellow. They eventually finished seventh and 13th respectively, allowing the Honda-powered pair of Mikhail Aleshin and Indianapolis 500-winner Alexander Rossi to score strong points in fifth and sixth.

Autosport Sunday 10 July 2016

Road America

27 June 2016

Road America

Will Power holds off charging Tony Kanaan

Will Power held off a last-gasp surge by Tony Kanaan on IndyCar's return to Road America to secure his second win of the season. The duel between the pair was set up by the race's only caution period when Conor Daly speared off the road at Turn 1 and into the barriers on lap 40 of 50, with a suspected rear brake failure.

That set up a five-lap dash to the chequered flag by the time the caution had been lifted, which Power led from the green flag. Kanaan was third on the restart behind Power's Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud but used a push to pass and the advantage of the grippier red tyres to clear Pagenaud for second, before Graham Rahal followed suit. Kanaan brought down a 1.5-second lead to just 0.3s with two laps remaining, but Power fended off the Brazilian to deny Kanaan a first IndyCar win since Fontana in 2014.

Despite Pagenaud threatening to make a late-race charge for the lead with an impressive turn of pace before the final stops, he couldn't make it last. The Frenchman suffered further on the restart when he was passed by five cars in a handful of turns as an electrical problem sapped him of engine power, eventually finishing 13th.

Ryan Hunter-Reay made the most of a few brave moves in the final two laps to outbrake Charlie Kimball and Helio Castroneves to finish fourth behind highest Honda-powered finisher Rahal, who was a clear third. Scott Dixon started the race from second, but an engine issue five laps in caused him to retire.

Autosport Sunday 26 June 2016


07 June 2016

Detroit IndyCar: Will Power claims first victory for over a year

Will Power ended his 12-month IndyCar win drought with a decisive green flag manoeuvre on Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud to win the second street race in Detroit.

Pagenaud maintained a comfortable start from pole position in his Dallara-Chevrolet and looked set to dominate the pace from the front, maintaining first place during the opening pitstops. But after changing onto the harder black Firestone tyres the championship leader couldn't maintain a race winning pace, first being hounded by Tony Kanaan, who brought the gap down to less than a second before Juan Pablo Montoya triggered a yellow flag with a kick of oversteer that bumped him into the Turn 8 wall.

On the restart Power had the warmer tyres and could make a decisive pass on Pagenaud on the outside of Turn 3. It proved to be a race-deciding move, though with other cars having stayed out it initially left Power in fifth behind Detroit race one winner Sebastien Bourdais, Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who all needed to pit for a splash of fuel in the dying laps. Once the top four cycled out for their stops, Power was able to hold off Pagenaud and top Dallara-Honda driver Ryan Hunter-Reay to claim the chequered flag and a first win since last year's Indianapolis road course race.

Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon ran largely quiet races to bring home solid points in fourth and fifth.

Helio Castroneves had threatened to take his first win in two years when he passed Pagenaud on lap 41 of 70, but despite building a lead, an awkwardly timed yellow flag for the static Jack Hawksworth meant the 41-year-old was forced to pit under the yellow flags and exited into the pack.

Castroneves eventually finished 14th. An opening-lap incident at the first corner took out James Hinchcliffe and former Marussia Formula 1 driver Max Chilton, when Kimball squeezing Carlos Munoz shunted Hinchcliffe into the wall, prompting a train reaction that also claimed Chilton's race. Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato also suffered in the incident, but did well to recover to ninth and 10th respectively.


Indianapolis 500

02 June 2016

Former Manor Formula 1 driver Alexander Rossi stole a shock maiden IndyCar win in the 100th Indianapolis 500, sweeping past the chequered flag with barely enough fuel to make the finish.

After a snap of oversteer for Mikhail Aleshin on lap 114 of 200 speared him into the wall, followed shortly by Conor Daly, the yellow flags came out. Alex Tagliani and Rossi opted to go off strategy and not pit under the yellow flags, which meant they found themselves at the head of the field. After being forced to make their stops under the green flags a short time later, the pair looked out of contention. But a strong stop under yellow flags when Buddy Lazier lost a wheel with 50 laps remaining propelled Rossi up to eighth on the restart.

That put him in contention in the dying laps when first leader Tony Kanaan, and then Carlos Munoz were forced to pit for a splash of fuel. Rossi had been running on fumes but held on for the win, with just enough to get him over the line.

Munoz finished second ahead of Josef Newgarden in third. Kanaan eventually finished fourth.

Under the yellows for the Aleshin incident a clumsy exit meant Helio Castroneves and Bell touched, which speared Bell into the path of Hunter-Reay. Both were wheeled back into their pitboxes for new front wings but fed out 25th and 26th and out of contention for the win.

In the closing laps Newgarden, Castroneves and Kanaan traded the lead, before a loose left rear wheel guard dropped Penske driver Castroneves back. Hinchcliffe maintained the pace to run in the top five for most of the race but couldn't hold on and ended up seventh. Juan Pablo Montoya lost the rear of his Penske Dallara-Chevy on the exit of Turn 1 on lap 64, which spun his car around and slammed him into the wall, making the 2015 race winner the first retirement. Championship leader Simon Pagenaud pitted under the ensuing yellow flags but an unsafe release into Aleshin meant the stewards forced him to the back of the field and he eventually finished 19th.

Rossi's result makes him the first rookie to win the Indy 500 since Castroneves in 2001 and the first rookie to win a race this season.

Autosport 29 May 2016

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