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Indy 500 Notebook: Three Andretti’s To Lead Field To Green; O’Ward, Dixon Fastest On Carb Day

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A trio of Andretti’s will lead the field to green at the start of the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 plus Pato O’Ward is the fastest in final practice with Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi right behind.  A longtime Chip Ganassi Racing mechanic is honored and fans can get involved in the 500 digitally in today’s Indy 500 Notebook:

Three Andretti’s To Lead The 500 Field To Green:

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is about tradition and the Andretti family is a huge part of that tradition.  Mario Andretti, 2nd on the all-time INDYCAR wins list with 52, will be behind the wheel of “Honda’s Fastest Seat In Sports” on Sunday when he paces the field in the unique, two-seat INDYCAR.  Sitting behind the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Winner will be his son Michael Andretti, the man who has 42-career INDYCAR wins, five Indy 500 wins as a team owner and as a driver has led the most laps (431) in the race without a victory. The pair will have pole-sitter Marco Andretti following right behind so for the first time in 500 history three family members will lead the field to the green flag.

O’Ward Fastest On “Carb Day”:

  • Arrow McLaren SP rookie driver Pato O’Ward posted the fastest lap in the final practice before the Indy 500.  O’Ward’s quick time was 225.355 mph in the No. 5 Chevrolet.  Two former Indy 500 winners were right behind the rookie.  Second fastest on what is traditionally known as “Carb Day” was the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda of Scott Dixon, the 2008 500 winner, with a fast lap of 224.646 mph.  Alexander Rossi, the 2016 500 winner, was third quick at 224.599 mph in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda.  Other notables: 2017 500 winner Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was fourth quick at 224.580.  Sato’s teammates Graham Rahal turned a fast lap of 222.158 mph in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda and Spencer Pigot turned a 221.789 mph in the No. 45 RLL with Citrone Buhl Autosports Hy-Vee/EMBRACE Pittsburgh Honda. Final Practice Speeds

Blair Julian Wins “Clint Brawner Award”: 

  • Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the annual “Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award”, which is named after one of racing’s most successful chief mechanics who won 51 races in the National Championship race series from 1953 through 1969, including the 1969 Indianapolis 500 with Mario Andretti.  This year’s award went to Blair Julian, the long time crew chief on the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda driven by Scott Dixon.
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Digital Fun For Indy 500 Fans:

  • Indianapolis 500 race fans will have plenty of opportunities to show their love of open wheel racing with digital opportunities to be part of the fun from home.  Fans can take part in the “Virtual Fan Mosaic” where fans can have their picture displayed with an image of the Borg-Warner Trophy. The mosaic will be shown on NBC’s broadcast, the IMS big screens and various social media platforms. Submissions may be shared at IMS.com/500InSpirit or using the hashtag #500InSpirit on Twitter and Instagram.

  • NBC is collecting notes from drivers and fans to be included in its “Message in a Milk Bottle” time capsule, which will be opened next May prior to the 105th Running. The 33 drivers have written notes that have been secured in individual milk bottles that will be opened prior to the 2021 Indianapolis 500. The messages focus on the people drivers will race for Sunday and why the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is special to them.  Fan submissions will be put in a giant milk bottle and can be submitted using the hashtag #MessageInAMilkBottle on Twitter.

  • Advance Auto Parts is calling on fans to celebrate DieHard powering most of the “500” field in 1970 — 50 years ago — by submitting videos of themselves doing their best rendition of the iconic “Start Your Engines” command for use on social media and at IMS on Sunday. Enter at www.CallingAllDieHards.com. Entrants will be eligible for a random drawing for 50 winners to receive a $200 gift card good toward the purchase of a DieHard battery or any other items sold by Advance.
  • Indy 500 fans can create and share #Indy500 branded selfies using the new photo wall feature of the IMS Mobile App, available now on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store for Android.

IndyCar

Scott Dixon wins NTT INDYCAR SERIES Music City Grand Prix; Moves to 2nd in Championship

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Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

NASHVILLE, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Scott Dixon is sitting second in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship standings after winning Sunday’s Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville.

“It was a wild day,” said Dixon. “We had a good start. I thought things were going well, and then we came in for the first stop, and the air jacks failed or the hose failed. We went all the way to the back and got into the chaos in turn five or six and just got rolled over the back and hit pretty hard.”

Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank crew assessed the damage and the 6-time Series Champion made four pit stops to fix the wounded machine.

“Actually, we couldn’t get the wheel off because it was stuck on the brake caliper,” explained Dixon. “Took the team a lot of time to get that off, but then it ripped a bunch of the underfloor off of the car as well and all the strakes.”

Dixon returned to the fight and inherited the lead when Josef Newgarden hit pit road for fuel and held off Scott McLaughlin following a restart with 2-laps to go to pick up his second win of the year and 53rd of Dixon’s career, which gives him sole position of second-place on the All-time INDYCAR wins list.  A.J. Foyt is the All-Time leader with 67 wins.

Dixon and the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda started 15th in the field and picked up a number of spots at the start of the race and settled into top 10 as McLaughlin, who started on the pole, took control out front early.

McLaughlin led 22-laps but dropped into the middle of the field in the middle part of the race.

“We had a fast car,” said McLaughlin. “I was in control early in the race and I knew early in the race I had a car that could pass.  We had one costly pit-stop that put me back to 16th.  I was pissed off and dropped the hammer.”

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McLaughlin however couldn’t get Dixon on the final restart.

“I probably played it a little safe,” said McLaughlin.  “The opportunity was there a couple of times but we both would’ve ended up in the fence if I would’ve taken it. To go toe-to-toe with Scotty was phenomenal and a very cool thing for my racing career.”

Dixon knew he had to get a good restart because his car was battered and bruised.

“The car was bent and broken, but for us I think strategy-wise to take no tires on that last stop was probably the key,” said Dixon. “We were able to jump a couple and have enough fuel to get towards the end, and to the end, but it was very difficult to drive.  The car just had no grip. Each time we had a restart, I was just praying for another accident. Some of those came. Some of them didn’t. Another lap with McLaughlin would have been extremely tough to hold him off. He was just super fast, and I think just in a better situation.”

Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou, the defending Series Champion, finished third after leading the second portion of the race.

“I think Nashville is kind of like the Indy 500 where there are so many things happening, and you just need to survive and have a good car and a car in one piece at the end,” said Palou.

The win leaves Dixon six-points behind leader Will Power in the Championship standings.  Palou’s third place finish leaves him 33-points out of the lead with three races to go.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES event is the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Saturday, Aug. 20 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Live coverage on the USA Network and the INDYCAR Radio Network of the last oval race of the season starts at 6 p.m. ET.

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Results

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Pato O’Ward wins 2nd race of INDYCAR doubleheader after Newgarden crashes

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Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

NEWTON, IA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Pato O’Ward won race two of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader at Iowa Speedway, beating Team Penske’s Will Power by 4.2476-seconds.

O’Ward was in the position after Penske’s Josef Newgarden crashed after leading 148 of the first 234-laps.

“I knew we had the pace to win one,” said O’Ward. “The problem was just trying to get up to Josef. One thing is getting up to him, and one thing is passing him. I’m glad he’s okay. We took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself. I just walked away with it. I knew we had the pace to do it.”

“Man, I want to cry,” said Newgarden. “So sad for my team. I don’t know what happened. It was a good run. I feel terrible for us. I don’t know; something went wrong there.”

Three Rivers Karting

Newgarden was treated and released at the infield care center but later collapsed in the Motorhome lot and hit his head.  He was admitted overnight in Iowa for observation before being released the following day.  Newgarden’s status for Saturday’s race on the road course at Indianapolis is pending INDYCAR Medical Team clearance.

Newgarden’s Penske teammates Will Power finished second followed by Scott McLaughlin in third.

“The car was really good,” said Power. “I probably could have been more aggressive in that second-to-last stint because it seemed like there’s a lot less deg. Must have cooled or the track took a lot of rubber or something. The track was really fast.”

“Midway through the race today, the car was a bit of a handful and I wasn’t too happy,” said McLaughlin.  “Managed to get my head down, did some really good pit exchanges, managed to get ourselves into P4 there before the last caution. Then P3 on Dixon, which was a fun pass. I really enjoyed that. It was a really good exchange with him all race.”

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race is the Gallagher Grand Prix on Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the INDYCAR/NASCAR Doubleheader weekend.

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Newgarden wins first of INDYCAR Doubleheader at Iowa

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Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

(Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden picked up his fourth win of the season taking race one of the HyVee Doubleheader NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Iowa Speedway.

Newgarden beat Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward by 6.1784 seconds en route to his 24th career victory.

“I love this place,” said Newgarden. “I mean, not just because we’re good here. Obviously that makes it better, but it’s a really fun track to race at. You have two lanes to run on, sometimes three. That’s abnormal for us in a lot of ovals we go to. It’s the most exciting race we get to partake in in INDYCAR from an oval standpoint.”

“I thought we had a little bit more for Josef in the end,” said O’Ward. “He was really strong.  I had to use my tires a bit much. I think Will was on the same train battling with me and Palou, Marcus. So, I think we used up our tires a little bit more than what Josef did. He had a little bit more to give in the end.”

Power, the race’s pole-sitter, finished third.

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“Last restart is what hurt me the most, trying to keep guys behind,” said Power. “Had a couple of big yaw moments on the rear tire early. Pounded on that rear too much to stay ahead. Then went loose, really loose. I had some big saves. I was happy to end up third actually.”

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay finished fourth in the No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team with BitNile Chevrolet, his second top-four finish in his last three starts. Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon followed his victory last Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto by finishing fifth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

“It was a tough day,” said Dixon.  “Our car was really good on the long run. We’ve got a lot of work to do tonight to get our cars better.”

Race 2 of the Doubleheader is Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

IndyCar Iowa 1 Results

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