The latest edition of the Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook has details on IMSA qualifying, the first practice on the Streets of Belle Isle for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Acura teases their LMDh entry and NASCAR at Gateway:
Bourdais Wins IMSA Pole:
- Sebastian Bourdais in on the Pole Position for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Series race at Belle Isle. Bourdais fast lap of 1:18.818/107.335 mph in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac edged Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura (1:18.928) for the top spot despite making contact with the wall at Turn 2. “It was a bit of a messy qualifying, and I don’t think I’ve hit that many walls in succession in a very long time,” Bourdais said. “You have to hustle the cars and push so hard here that you really expose yourself. It proves that we really have to dig deep to keep those Acuras at bay,” said Bourdais. IMSA Detroit Qualifying
Kirkwood Fastest In INDYCAR First Practice:
- Rookie Kyle Kirkwood turned the fastest lap in the first practice session for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. Kirkwood’s fast lap of 1:16.1345 in the No. 14 RoKit Chevrolet. Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward was second fastest in the No. 5 Chevrolet (1:16.1556). Alexander Rossi was third quickest at 1:16.5146 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. Simon Pagenaud was fourth at 1:16.6177 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda, while newly crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top five at 1:16.6574 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. INDYCAR Detroit Practice One
Rossi Fastest in INDYCAR Second Practice:
- Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi turned the fastest lap in the second NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice Saturday morning on Belle Isle. Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was second quick at 1:15.880 in the No. 60 Honda. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was third quick at 1:15.911. MSR’s Helio Castroneves turned the fourth fastest lap at 1:16.041. Rookie David Malukas rounded out the Top 5 at 1:16.118. Alex Palou was the fastest of the Ganassi cars in 9th (1:16.384) with Scott Dixon 13th and Marcus Ericsson 14th. Knockout-style qualifying takes place from 12:35 to 1:50 p.m. and can be seen on Peacock Premium.
Acura Teases New ARX-06 LMDh Entry:
- Acura Motorsports on Friday released images of it’s ARX-06 LMDh prototype which will race in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship hybrid-powered GTP category in 2023. Based on the ORECA LMDh chassis, the ARX-06 features Acura-specific internal combustion power unit, bodywork and aerodynamics. Acura will continue to partner with Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing to campaign the entry in 2023.
Penske Trio Leads First Cup Practice at Gateway:
- The Team Penske Ford’s of Joey Logano (32.906-seconds, 136.753-mph), Ryan Blaney (136.260) and Austin Cindric (136.104) led the first NASCAR Cup Series practice at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Kurt Busch’s 23XI Racing’s Toyota was fourth (136.096) and Petty GMS Racing’s Erik Jones was fifth (136.001). Teams will qualify today at 11 A.M. ET.
Newgarden fastest in first INDYCAR practice at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden put the No. 2 PPG Chevy atop the speed chart after the opening NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Newgarden’s best lap of 1 minute, 7.0549-seconds around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course was 0.2061-seconds faster than defending series Champion Alex Palou in the No. 10 NTT Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
“I’m relatively happy,” said Newgarden. “I think our car was good off the truck. I think the (temperatures) definitely made the trap speed low, and it felt very difficult to drive the car today to bring it up to temperature.”
Palou’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, the runner-up to Newgarden in 2021, ended the day fourth in the No. 8 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda at 1:07.3720.
Scott Dixon posted the 9th fastest lap in the No. 9 PNC Bank CGR Honda. Dixon’s 1:07.5609 was a half-second back of Newgarden.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is back on track at Mid-Ohio Saturday with Practice 2 at 9:30 a.m. (ET), followed by qualifying for the NTT P1 Award for pole at 2:45 p.m. Both sessions will be live on Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network.
Scott Dixon looking to get season and title fight on track at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is looking to get back to victory lane and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex could be exactly what ‘the Iceman’ needs.
Chip Ganassi Racing has 11-wins at Mid-Ohio, the 13-turn 2.258-mile permanent road course 181-miles West of Pittsburgh. The list of winners includes Alex Zanardi (1996, 1997), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Dario Franchitti (2010), Charlie Kimball (2013) and Dixon (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2019).
“I think the last to first of course was probably the best one,” recalled Dixon. “Obviously the most unexpected one where I think where we were able to save a ton of fuel. We kind of caught a caution, which I think was Ryan Hunter-Reay, at the perfect time and went on to win”.
The 1-2 finish between he and one of his CGR teammates was one of the most memorable too.
“I think that probably was the craziest one was with Felix Rosenqvist, a few years back, where it was a two-stop strategy against a three-stop strategy. We drove the tires off, and I think I had a whole logjam behind me the last three or four laps.”
Dixon and the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda team is looking up at a logjam in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship where Dixon sits sixth, 67-points behind teammate Marcus Ericsson.
“I think as a group and as a team, we just haven’t been getting the job done,” said Dixon, a 6-time Series Champion. “I was hoping that the Indy 500 was going to be that turn and kick that we needed, but yeah, it’s been an interesting year, lots of ups and downs and some missed opportunities. We’ll keep after it.”
Dixon, and his teammates, have come up as part of rumors swirling about driver movement in coming seasons. Dixon said he has not been part of those conversations and is happy where he is at.
“I haven’t been a part of any of these conversations, so not really sure where a lot of these things come from,” said Dixon. “Obviously people talk. I even got a few messages from people asking about the same thing. For me I love doing what I’m doing, I love being a part of the team that I’m with, and who knows what comes in the future, but as of right now just focusing on this season. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got to say really. There’s nothing to it.”
Josef Newgarden puts the PPG colors in victory lane at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, WI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josef Newgarden leapfrogged leader Alexander Rossi during green flag pit stops and held off a hard-charging Marcus Ericsson late in the race to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.
The victory was Newgarden’s third of the year and came with a $1-million dollar bonus from PeopleReady. The bonus went to the first driver to win on an oval (Texas) a street course (Long Beach) and a road course (Road America). The money will be spit with half going to Newgarden and Team Penske and the other half to charities of Newgarden’s choice.
“To finally get it done and most importantly to give that money to charity, half of that money is going to charity with SeriousFun Network and Wags and Walks Nashville,” said Newgarden. “I hope they’re happy about it, that’s a lot of money coming their way.”
Newgarden started second and tucked in behind Rossi, the pole sitter, for the first 14-laps when the first round of green flag pit stops took place. Newgarden’s No. 2 PPG Chevy crew got the two-time Series Champion out ahead of Rossi and as the rest of the field completed their stops. Newgarden inherited the lead.
“You’ve got to be on your toes at all times (in this series),” said Newgarden. “You can go in with a plan, but you probably have to change your plan 90 percent of the time once the race starts to unfold.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson finished second in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after passing Rossi on a late restart. The runner-up finish came despite Ericsson making contact with his teammate, and defending Series Champion, Alex Palou while racing for third in Turn 5 on Lap 4.
“First of all, I’m really sorry,” Ericsson said. “You never want to have contact with a teammate. From my point of view, the door was open, and I was already side by side. If you see a gap, you go for it. It’s important at the beginning of the race to get track position.”
Ericsson regained the points lead with the second place finish and sits 27-points ahead of 2nd place Will Power (293-266). Power, last week’s winner at Detroit, finished 19th after rookie Devlin Defrancesco punted Power into the Turn 5 wall early in the race.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by the All-New Civic Type R on Sunday, July 3 (noon ET, NBC, Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Radio Network). Mid-Ohio is the closest track to Pittsburgh that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES races.