INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin is the winner of Round two of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge from virtual Barber Motorsports Park.
McLaughlin, a two-time Champion for DJR Penske in the Australian Supercar Series, used a two-stop strategy and held off his teammate Will Power to take home the victory.
“The feeling is pretty full on,” said McLaughlin. “You’re pretty excited. It’s just cool to be out there and learning I guess some of the craft and stuff like that. Absolutely it’s probably going to be a little bit different in real life. But to learn and get to know what’s going on in the INDYCAR world is really cool for me.”
“That first stint, you kind of just sat there and saved your tires knowing there was going to be a yellow,” said Power. “Then our plan was to really close on Sage and jump in on a sequence by pitting early. When we pitted early, we pitted into a lot of traffic, lost like seconds in that sequence. Fortunately Sage must have made a mistake. Felix obviously did a really good job in that sequence. I think he went to the lead. Then he made a mistake. That put me I guess as the leader on that strategy. I wasn’t aware that Scott was on that strategy.”
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Sage Karam, last week’s winner from virtual Watkins Glen International, started on the pole position and led the first 15-laps green flag laps, that’s when iRacing officials threw a competition caution and bunched up the field.
McLaughlin went to pit road one lap before that competition caution to take on tires and fuel. A number of the other competitors, including Karam and second place Felix Rosenqvist of NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing, elected to stay out and pit later in the race.
Karam and Rosenqvist elected to pit under green flag conditions with Karam coming in first on lap 25 and Rosenqvist coming in a lap later. Rosenqvist came out slightly ahead of Karam who had the momentum but ran out of race track, dipping his right side tires onto the grass.
Rosenqvist, trying to stay ahead of Karam, carried too much speed into the next turn and lost control as Karam was trying to recover from his trip into the grass and both drivers spun out.
Andretti Autosport’s Scott Speed, who pitted during the competition caution period, inherited the lead but was in fuel saving mode down the stretch.
“I was working with my engineer from when I was with Andretti in the past, Graham, and we decided to try to pit before the yellow, hope that I can save a lot of fuel,” said Speed. “Somehow I was able to do it.”
McLaughlin and Power however were not in fuel saving mode and were able to get by Speed to fight it out for the win with the former F1 driving bringing home in third place.
Future venues include the first oval event, on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway, a “Random Draw” track April 18, Circuit of the Americas on April 25 and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track May 2.
Josef Newgarden Leads Day 2 Of Indy 500 Testing
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sunny skies and better weather conditions contributed to higher speeds in Day 2 of open testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for next month’s 105th running of The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden topped the speed chart with a fast lap of 226.819 mph in the No. 2 Chevrolet. That easily eclipsed the 224.427 top speed from the rain-hampered first day on Thursday that was set by Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.
“It was a pretty good day,” said Newgarden. “I was happy enough with the car. I think we still need some work, for sure, but to just get an initial read on where we’re at is good. Obviously, there are a lot of new parts and differences to the last couple of years, so we’re just trying to assess what we need to really work on these last couple of weeks before we get back here in May. But I’m pretty happy.”
Two-time and reigning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato was second on the speed chart at 226.369 in the No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.
Two-time 500 winner and 1999 CART Champion Juan Pablo Montoya was third quickest at 226.123 in the No. 86 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
“Today was good,” said Montoya. “We worked through a lot of things. We found a lot of good things and a lot of bad things like you always do. It was nice to get back a little bit in the draft. A lot to catch up again and learn and understand again what you need to do and the timing. Everybody at Arrow McLaren SP has done a great job and this test has been very, very, useful.”
6-time and defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon was fourth fastest in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda with a fast lap of 225.906.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 225.644 in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.
The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30 at IMS.
The green flag drops on the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES with the season opening, Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on Sunday, April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network will provide live coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET).
Sebastien Bourdais Quickest In Day 1 Of Indy 500 Testing
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A.J. Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais was the fastest of 32-drivers who took part in the first of two days of testing for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Bourdais turned a fast lap of 224.427 mph late in the day during the Veteran Refresher and Rookie Orientation Programs. Bourdais was required to complete the refresher because he did not compete in ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ in 2020.
“Pretty good refresher for the A.J. Foyt No. 14,” said Bourdais, a four-time open wheel Champion. “That ROKiT car was pretty good. It always feels a little different when you start at low speeds and the car’s never really settled, but we got through both phases and are ready to go tomorrow and start working properly. It’s all good.”
Conor Daly was the second-fastest driver overall and the fastest in the 90-minute morning session before heavy rain arrived in Indianapolis. Daly’s top lap was 222.714 in the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
Sage Karam was third overall at 222.408 in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet.
6-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon was third fastest in the morning session in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon’s fast lap was 220.575 mph.
2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in a crash in Turn 1 just 11 minutes into track activity in his No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
Rain halted the opening veterans-only session at 12:30 p.m. (ET). A second heavy shower around 3:15 p.m. delayed track activity until the track reopened at 6:03 p.m. under blue skies and sunshine.
Track activity will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Friday, with live broadcast coverage on Peacock. Rookie Orientation and refresher tests will take place from 9-10 a.m., with veterans back on track from 10-11 a.m. The track will open for all drivers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30.
Indy 500 Testing Thursday And Friday At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Thirty-two drivers are scheduled to participate in two days of NTT INDYCAR SERIES testing Thursday and Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Testing will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Thursday with veterans hitting the 2.5-mile famed oval first from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by rookie orientation and veteran refresher programs are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Two rookies are scheduled for orientation: Cody Ware (Dale Coyne Racing) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR).
Even Indianapolis 500 winners are not exempt from the veteran refresher program. Three-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves and two-time 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya are two of the veterans schedule to participate along with Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton, Ed Jones, Sage Karam and Simona De Silvestro.
6-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Scott Dixon leads the Chip Ganassi Racing squad at the test. Dixon returns for his quest to tie the legendary A.J. Foyt for a series record seventh Championship in 2021. Dixon will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Dixon’s teammates will also be participating in the test. Newcomer Alex Palou will be in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Marcus Ericsson returns in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda and Tony Kanaan is back with CGR in the cockpit of the No. 48 Honda that Jimmie Johnson will drive on the road and street courses.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal will be behind the wheel of the No. 15 Honda. Rahal will be joined by defending and two-time 500 winner Takuma Sato and Santino Ferrucci will be in a third RLL entry.
The test is closed to the public but will be streamed live to race fans exclusively via NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock.