LONG POND, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power is back in victory lane after winning Sunday’s rain-shortened NTT IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. The victory was Power’s first of the 2019 season and third at Pocono.
“Absolutely over the moon to finally win a race this season,” said Power. “I was very determined. The car was very fast as well, which is very important around here. When my spotter said, ‘the rain’s coming’, I just turned the fuel up and went as hard as I could.”
The yellow flag came out on lap 126 for lightning within 7-miles of the racetrack and was red-flagged on lap 128-of-200. Severe weather quickly followed, forcing IndyCar officials to suspend the remainder of the race.
Power’s No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet passed PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon on lap 116 after green flag stops for both drivers and pulled out to a 6.1-second lead before the caution flew because of the weather.
Dixon, who was leading when he was passed by Power, said his car changed after the final pit stop.
“The car was pretty quick,” said Dixon. “I’m not sure really what happened on that last stint. We put more front wing in and actually put more pressure in the right rear tire and couldn’t even turn the car. We went from running 213’s, 214’s to struggling to do 208’s (mph), just had so much understeer.”
Power’s teammate Simon Pagenaud finished third, followed by Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci. Pagenaud leap-frogged Ferrucci on lap 109 after both drivers green-flag stops.
“It’s a great day,” said Pagenaud. “Very happy for Team Penske to get another win here at Pocono. Overall it’s a pretty good points day for us on the 22-car. We’ll take it, go to the next one and keep pushing.”
The race was marred by a first lap crash the sent NTT Data Services Chip Ganassi Racing driver Felix Rosenqvist to Lehigh Valley Hospital for further observation of non-life-threatening injuries. Rosenqvist was checked out and released.
Just got cleared from the hospital. Definitely feel lucky escaping without any serious injuries after visiting the catch fence there… Good to see @scottdixon9 back in the championship hunt! On to Gateway next weekend 🤜🏻 #NTTDataRacing #Pocono
— Felix Rosenqvist (@FRosenqvist) August 18, 2019
The accident was triggered when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato made contact with Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi, sending Rossi into his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay who was on the inside as Sato and Hunter-Reay split Rossi heading toward turn two. All three cars came back across the track collecting Rosenqvist and Arrow Schmidt Petersen Motorsports James Hinchcliffe.
“I feel bad for Pocono,” said Dixon. “The crowd today at the start of the race was fantastic. I think the drivers in a lot of those situations can do a better job.”
“It’s a great oval for us,” said Power. “The crowd was great today. It’s obviously an unfortunate accident that could happen anywhere.”
The next NTT IndyCar Series race is the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, Saturday night August 24th at 8:00 p.m.
INDYCAR and NBC sign multi-year extension
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NBC Network announced on Tuesday a multi-year extension to the media rights of the open wheel series.
NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Terms of the deal were not announced.
“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports.
“NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.”
INDYCAR and NBC are enjoying strong ratings for the 2021. Ratings are up 30% this year.
As part of the agreement, 13 races will be broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.
Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.
Chase Elliott wins SRX finale at Nashville, Stewart wins Championship
NASHVILLE, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott joined the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) for their season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds and took home the checkered flag beating Tony Stewart and his father Bill Elliott in the feature. The win was the first series victory for the younger Elliott.
Chase Elliott was on the inside with Stewart on the outside on a restart with 7-laps-to-go followed by Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte in Row 2.
Chase Elliott beat Stewart into turn one and two with Bill Elliott and Bobby Labonte side-by-side for third.
Caution came out with 5-laps-to-go when Paul Tracy made contact with Marco Andretti, sending Andretti into a spin after picking up three spots following the restart.
Chase Elliott got the jump on Stewart on the restart and held on to pick up the win. Stewart finished second and took home the inaugural series Championship.
“Man it was so much fun,” said Chase Elliott. “I had a ball. I got to race against two of my heroes tonight and I got to race against Dad there throughout the race and those are moments that I’ll cherish forever. Thanks to Ray (Evernham, Series co-owner) and Tony (Stewart, Series co-owner) and I appreciate NAPA being on the car.”
NASCAR Hall-of-famer Bill Elliott, 65, finished third and picked up a win in the first heat race where he started side-by-side with his son Chase.
“I messed up in one not getting all the stuff (marbles) off my tires,” said Bill Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series Champion. “Man I tell you it was a lot of fun. I knew the way the tires were on these cars and the way Chase manages his stuff he was going to be tough to beat.”
“I don’t know what lit a fire under him tonight,” said Chase Elliott. “But he was as aggressive as I have seen him in years. It was amazing and a lot of fun. I thought it was going to be between he and I but he got a little high going into (turn) one.”
The win was also special for the Elliott Family as they were able to park the No. 94 in Victory Lane. Casey Elliott, the late son of legendary engine builder Ernie Elliott, raced the No. 94 in the ARCA and Busch (now Xfinity) Series before his life was cut short by cancer.
“Obviously a special number too,” said Chase Elliott. “My late Cousin Casey Elliott ran the 94 for years and years and it’s always special to run that number and I’m glad we were able to get it in Victory Lane at Nashville.”
“How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliott’s, that’s pretty bad-ass in itself,” said Stewart. “To win this Championship is awesome. I really appreciate Marcus Lemonis and everyone at Camping World for stepping up and helping us get this thing off the ground. To be the last guy to win an IROC Championship and the first one to win an SRX Championship means a lot.”
Josef Newgarden ends Penske INDYCAR win drought at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden picked up his, and Team Penske’s, first win of 2021 holding off Marcus Ericsson to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Newgarden started on the pole position and led 73-of-80-laps to pick up his first win since the 2020 season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
“This team has been doing the job,” said Newgarden. “Everyone has been giving me a hard time, asking what’s up with us not winning a race. But I don’t think these people at Team Penske could have done anything different. We’ve been in the game almost every race, had great performance. It’s great to seal a win here finally.”
Newgarden spoiled a tremendous afternoon for Chip Ganassi Racing, the winningest INDYCAR team at Mid-Ohio.
CGR’s Ericsson finished second, 0.8790-seconds behind Newgarden. The second place finish was Ericsson’s seventh top-10 finish of 2021.
“We were hunting him down there,” said Ericsson. “He (Newgarden) was really struggling with his tires the last five laps. Just catching him quickly. Another lap or two would be even better, but I’ll take second today.”
Ericsson’s CGR teammate Alex Palou and Scott Dixon finished third and fourth respectively to give Chip Ganassi three cars in the top 5.
“It’s always good to start P7 and you finish on the podium,” said Palou. “Yeah, I think today was a good result.”
“I think it was a great day, great day for the team, to have me, Alex and Scott, P2, P3 and P4,” said Ericsson. “It’s a strong result. Shows how strong we are at the moment”
Palou remains the Championship points leader, 39 points ahead of Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP. Dixon is third, 56 points behind Palou. Newgarden remained fourth, 69 points back of the leader, and Ericsson jumped three positions to take fifth in the standings, 104 points behind Palou.