LEXINGTON, OHIO (Pittsburgh Sports Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon held off his hard-charging teammate Felix Rosenqvist to win Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex.
The epic battle was one for the ages as Dixon was on older tires and Rosenqvist, a rookie, was going for his first win. The pair made contact and raced each other hard but clean and Dixon and the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda crossed the finish line 0.0934-seconds ahead of Rosenqvist and the No. 10 Clover Honda.
— CGR IndyCar (@CGRindycar) July 28, 2019
“Oh man that was crazy,” said Dixon. “With about 15-laps to go, I started moaning to the team. I’m like, ‘man I think we’re going to have to pit again’. I was just a sitting duck, and if I wasn’t his teammate I think he would’ve knocked me off.”
“I really want to credit Chip for letting us race,” said Rosenqvist. “The last lap. I think everyone really enjoyed that. We were enjoying it. We were banging wheels in turn 2 there, (it) was a little bit exciting. Scott is always going to fight you hard, but fair and I think I did the same, and maybe one more lap we could have got him.”
The margin of victory, 0.0934-seconds, was the closest IndyCar finish at Mid-Ohio and the third closest on a road course in IndyCar history.
The history-making finish was a reminder that the 12-time IndyCar Championship team can never be counted out.
Rosenqvist started sixth and Dixon eighth and both cars began the race on the primary Firestone tires and all of the cars in front of the pair started on the alternate Firestone tires, which are faster but do not last as long.
Rosenqvist started sixth and worked his way up to third by lap 15. The rookie passed Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi for second place on lap 19.
Dixon, was right behind moving in third on lap 20 and into second place when Rosenqvist came to pit road for his service on lap 29.
Will Power, who started on the pole and led the first 30-laps, came into the pits on lap 30 and Dixon came in right behind him.
Power’s teammates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, who made their first stops earlier, inherited the lead and second place and stayed there until the next round of green-flag pit stops on lap 40.
Disaster struck for Newgarden on the pit stop when fuel flow issues extended the stop to 13.9-seconds and Rosenqvist moved back into the lead at that point.
The Ganassi team chose a split-strategy for the two cars as Dixon was on a two-stop strategy and Rosenqvist was on a three-stop.
Rosenqvist pitted from the lead for the last time on lap 66 and his No. 10 NTT Data crew nailed it, changing 4-tires and adding fuel in just 6.9-seconds to get him out in second place.
Dixon led Rosenqvist by 9.7 seconds with 20-laps to go but as Dixon’s tires started going away his rookie teammate kept charging and cut the lead to 2-seconds with five laps to go and 0.3-seconds with the white flag waving, setting up that final lap battle.
“That’s what IndyCar racing is – it produces the best racing in the world,” said Dixon.
The victory was the 46th career victory for Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing’s 11th at Mid-Ohio. The win was the team’s 108th in the series, breaking a tie with Newman-Haas Racing for second-most wins in history, trailing only Team Penske’s 210-wins.
Dixon’s 46th win leaves him within six of Mario Andretti (52) for second place on IndyCar’s all-time wins list. A.J. Foyt ranks first with 67.
The victory also helped the Five-time Champion driver chisel some points off Newgarden’s points lead. Dixon sits 62-points back with four races to go and double-points available at the season finale at Laguna Seca.
The second place finish for Rosenqvist was his first podium finish with the team and also helped him pad his lead in the “Rookie of the Year” standings.
The NTT IndyCar Series visits the Keystone State next with The ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 18th. Tickets are available on the track’s website at www.poconoraceway.com.
Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.
Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.
Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.
“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”
“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”
One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge. The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.
The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.
“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”
Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event. Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Rescheduled
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is being rescheduled from its traditional March date to April 23-25, 2021.
The move to a later spring date is being made in the hopes that a greater number of fans will be able to attend the event, which takes place on the streets of St. Petersburg and the Albert Whitted Airport.
“I want to thank our friends at INDYCAR and our partners at Green Savoree for putting the health and safety of fans first,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “Each of these races takes an incredible amount of work from hundreds of dedicated professionals, and I know the decision to move the date of the race is not made lightly. I appreciate the drivers, teams, staff and most of all the fans for their patience and understanding. I look forward to welcoming everyone to the next Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The COVID-19 Pandemic forced the 2020 event to be moved from the season opening race to the season finale, where Josef Newgarden picked up the win and Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Scott Dixon was crowned the series Champion for the 6th time.
“It’s not surprising that an event of this magnitude, scheduled for the first week of March, is still subject to the implications of the pandemic,” said Penske Entertainment Corp President and CEO Mark Miles. “We’re delighted we were able to work with Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration and Green Savoree Racing Promotions to find a more suitable date, which helps consolidate the beginning of our schedule and allows us to stay on NBC Network televison.”
The April 23-25 date on the INDYCAR Schedule announced last fall was originally supposed to be the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach but that event has been moved to the season finale, which opened the date for St. Pete.
“We appreciate the officials at INDYCAR for their support in setting a new date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and also to Mayor Kriseman and his team at the City of St. Petersburg for identifying a time when it will be conducive for more fans to attend,” said Kim Green, co-owner, Chairman and CEO fo Green-Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC. “We are grateful to keep the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the springtime window and also maintain the live national broadcast of the race on NBC.”
The shifting of race dates moves Barber Motorsports Park to the season opener on April 11th. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg follows April 25th with Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader May 1st and 2nd.
An updated listing of green flag times will be announced at a later date.
Aldo Andretti Passes Away
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Aldo Andretti has passed away at the age of 80. Andretti was the twin brother of Mario Andretti and a racer himself who survived two bad crashes, the second of which in 1969 book his jaw, 14-bones and his right eye socket.
“Though Aldo’s life took a different direction than brother Mario’s, Aldo forever shared a passion for racing and was a true motor enthusiast and entrepreneur,” Andretti Autosport said in a release. “He could often still be found on the racing circuit supporting and following the careers of the family.”
Mario Andretti took to his twitter page to express his grief:
Aldo Andretti, my loving twin brother, my partner in crime and my faithful best friend every day of my life was called to heaven last night. Half of me went with him. There is no eloquence. I'm shaken to my core. pic.twitter.com/NJ3fZxklNo
— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) December 31, 2020
One of those careers Aldo passionately followed was that of his son John (pictured with above) who raced in INDYCAR, NASCAR, Sports Cars and Drag Racing. John passed away in January after a long battle with colon cancer.
“Nothing mattered more to Aldo than family, and it brought him great pride to share his life with wife and high-school sweetheart Corky and their five children Carolyn, Mark, John, Mary Jo and Adam.” the Andretti Autosport release stated.
Aldo’s nephew, 2020 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Marco Andretti, also shared his feelings on social media.
RIP uncle Aldo. One of the toughest guys I have ever met. I have never heard him complain, a trait that he passed down to John. Always so positive and upbeat and raised an amazing side of our Andretti family. 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/D6p3RyTdkG
— Marco Andretti (@MarcoAndretti) December 31, 2020
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon on Jan. 5 at St. Malachy Catholic Church in Brownsburg. The family will receive friends from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4, at Stevens Mortuary in Indianapolis.