Kyle Larson Assumes Sole Ownership Of Sprint Car Team

Shane Stewart and crew
NASCAR star and dirt racing veteran “Young Money”,  Kyle Larson, will shift into the sole owner of Larson Marks Racing starting in 2018. The team will be run under the Kyle Larson Racing banner and Justin Marks will assume an advisory role with KLR moving forward.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what LMR has accomplished the past few years,” said Marks. “I was always hopeful that Kyle would learn about team ownership and operation to the point where he could be comfortable taking this project on himself. He’s ready for it and I’m looking forward to supporting him and KLR in the future.”

Kyle Larson Racing will continue with Shane Stewart of Bixby, Okla., as the pilot of the No. 2. KLR will be led by crew chief Lee Stauffer, with the support of fellow Pennsylvanians Heath Moyle and Dennis Christ rounding out the team.

“I am excited to make this change and take over the reins of the sprint car team,” said Larson. “We have been very successful the past four seasons and it has been great working with Justin, Shane and all of the guys at LMR. It was always the plan for me to move to the forefront of our ownership group and the time is right to make this a natural step. Justin has taught me a lot about what it takes to be an owner. He has displayed great leadership and made this team to what it is today. I look forward to his continued involvement in our team.”

While the core of the Larson Marks Racing team will stay intact, Larson has also added Paul Silva of Sacramento, Calif., to the KLR lineup as General Manager. Larson and Silva have previously worked together as driver and crew chief. Last year, they won eight of the 16 events they competed in together, including a runner-up finish at the 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals.

Silva will also continue his crew chief role with Larson when the young NASCAR star is able to get back to his racing roots at the local dirt tracks.

“I have had long relationships with both Kyle and Shane, both with a lot of success in racing,” said Silva. “I hope to carry that over into my new role at Kyle Larson Racing. I’m really looking forward to getting to work with these guys and starting the season off on the right foot in Florida.”

Silva and Stewart also raced together on and off for years, including competing full time for three seasons. They won two American Sprint Car Series National Championships, several World of Outlaw wins, a podium finish at the 2011 410 Knoxville Nationals and an impressive five 360 Knoxville Nationals, four of them in a row from 2010 to 2013.

“Adding Paul to the group we already have established will only bring more success to our team,” said Stewart. “I think everyone having a history together will make this transition extremely smooth. I am excited to see Kyle stepping up into this role. Justin has become a great friend and I am happy he will still be supporting the team.”

Since its inception, the former Larson Marks Racing team has amassed 35 wins, including the famed Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, the Front Row Challenge at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, preliminary night victories at the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals, two Capitani Classic wins at Knoxville Raceway and the Winter Heat Championship at Cocopah Speedway in Somerton, Ariz.

KLR will kick-off the 2018 season at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., during the DIRTcar Nationals in February. The team will be vying for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Championship. Sponsorship details will be released after the new year.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Alexander Rossi And Marco Andretti Swap Seats For 2018

Alexander Rossi

 

Andretti Autosport Sheild
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT
PRESS RELEASE
ANDRETTI HERTA AUTOSPORT CONTINUES PARTNERSHIP
Marco Andretti named driver of the No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport Honda

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 7, 2017) – The race-winning partnership between Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport will continue for a third season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Andretti Herta Autosport team will again field the No. 98 Honda, but this season it will be third-generation driver Marco Andretti behind the wheel.

While remaining co-owner of Alexander Rossi’s entry in 2017, Bryan Herta stepped off the No. 98 timing stand and moved within the Andretti Autosport team to call strategy for Andretti. The duo and No. 27 team collected five top-10 finishes together, with a best finish of fourth on the streets of Toronto.

“I’m thrilled to be continuing the partnership with Andretti Autosport,” said Herta, president of Bryan Herta Autosport. “The relationship has worked really well both on and off the track for us and our partners. I’m looking forward to moving back onto the No. 98 timing stand with Marco and can’t wait to get the 2018 season started.”   

“I’m very much looking forward to being in the Andretti-Herta entry,” said Marco Andretti. “My goal is to bring the No. 98 another Indy 500 win along with many other victories. Working with Bryan has been refreshing – he is very committed to getting me all the tools I need to get back into victory circle. He believes in my talent and is dedicated to turn that into results.”   

Andretti Herta Autosport has earned two victories in its two-year partnership, the first at the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and the second in 2017 at Watkins Glen International after starting from the pole position.

With the 30 year-old climbing in to the No. 98 car for 2018, Alexander Rossi will transition to pilot the No. 27 entry of Andretti Autosport with NAPA AUTO PARTS returning for a 10-race co-primary package. The two teammates will join veteran driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) and rookie Zach Veach (No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda) for the all-American 2018 line-up. The Verizon IndyCar Series season kicks off March 9 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.


About Bryan Herta Autosport 
Co-founded by veteran driver Bryan Herta, Bryan Herta Autosport has been a race winning team since its debut in 2009, including the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dan Wheldon and the 2016 Indianapolis 500 with Alexander Rossi. Bryan Herta Autosport competed in Indy Lights from 2009 to 2014 and has been running in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2010. Bowen Motorsports of Ontario, Canada has partnered with Bryan Herta Autosport, beginning in 2012. The team has since expanded into Red Bull Global Rallycross operating under Bryan Herta Rallysport. At the start of the 2016 season, Bryan Herta Autosport joined forces with Andretti Autosport fielding the No. 98 Honda as Andretti-Herta Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series. For more information about Bryan Herta Autosport, please visit  www.bryanhertaautosport.com 

About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success.  Together with Andretti Formula E and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights, along with entries in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross. Additionally, the team competes in the Australian Supercars category through partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Supercars. Walkinshaw Andretti United will celebrate an inaugural season in 2018.  The global racing enterprise boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008, 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010) and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017). Additionally, the team holds two X Games Gold Medals and three Global Rallycross championship (2015, 2016).  To share in the Andretti story, please visit online atAndrettiAutosport.com and follow along on Twitter via @FollowAndretti.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid Makes A Huge Sprint Car Leap In 2018

Michael Kofoid

Sixteen-year-old sprint car driver Michael “Buddy” Kofoid is set to embark on his most ambitious racing schedule to date after joining Harley Van Dyke Motorsports.

Kofoid, who rocketed into the national spotlight in 2016 when as a 14-year-old he won a preliminary feature during the Trophy Cup at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., is slated to run between 70 and 80 races on the West Coast and in the Midwest aboard the Van Dyke No. 5h.

“We’re planning on running for Harley Van Dyke after running for Dan Simpson for a couple of years,” Kofoid explained. “We plan on running 70 to 80 races. We plan on starting in Las Vegas with the Outlaws (in March) and we’ll follow their swing up to California.

“Then we would run some local shows with King of the West as well as the SCCT (Sprint Car Challenge Tour) series,” Kofoid continued. “Then around June we’ll head back East and possibly run with the All Stars during Ohio Speedweek, the 360 and 410 Knoxville Nationals and then we would come back to California and finish out the season with some more local shows as well as King of the West and SCCT again.”

It’s another big step for Kofoid as he continues to make a name for himself in the world of sprint car racing. Earlier this year, he captured his first King of the West-NARC Sprint Car Series victory, winning the Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.

In addition to his King of the West victory, Kofoid finished fifth in the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour standings and eighth with the King of the West-NARC Sprint Car Series.

The opportunity for Kofoid to join Harley Van Dyke Motorsports, whom he drove for during one race in October, came about after Kofoid began exploring his options for the 2018 season. After talking with several teams, Kofoid settled on Van Dyke Motorsports because of the chance to race on the West Coast and in the Midwest.

“You can’t really stay in California forever,” Kofoid said. “You’ve got to expose yourself to different areas and race against different people. The best people aren’t just in one place, they’re all spread out over the country. You’ve got to race against all of them and race in different places for track time and experience.

“We’ll just see how it pans out,” Kofoid added. “Harley’s got super good equipment and definitely equipment that can win anywhere, so it’s just up to me to see if we can get it done.”

Kofoid will also make his first trip to Australia in the next few weeks, where he’ll be driving a sprint car fielded by Bernie Gordon during his trek Down Under.

“I’ll be down there for a month. I’ve never been out of the country either so that’ll be cool to experience a totally different atmosphere and run around 12 to 14 times in a month,” Kofoid said. “Everything is set in stone and we’re just waiting on the day to come that we can leave. I’m super thankful for that.

“I like the idea of new things and new experiences, so I think it’ll be well worth it and hopefully we can make something good out of it.”

For those race fans not living on the West Coast and who are not familiar with this young gun, I can only say that you need to keep your eyes and ears open!  Buddy has a heap load of raw talent that is coupled with the enthusiasm of a 16-year-old!!  I first saw this youngster race in The Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown in 2015 and I was quite impressed with his abilities.  Likewise, Kofoid showed off his racing talent in the Gold Cup at Chico this past September and everyone knew that he was in the house!

Stay tuned, I think that there are great things in store for this young man.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Andretti Autosport Has Been Flat Out Since Sonoma

Marco Andretti
The checkered flag may have waved on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season back in September, but that hasn’t slowed the pace for Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport.

“What offseason? Man, it’s been flat out,” the team’s CEO said.

That’s because the battle of preparation with next year’s universal aero kit has teams doing all they can to extract every detail before the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg in March. Andretti’s team received its first universal aero kit early this week from Dallara and immediately began the process to attach it to the Dallara IR-12 chassis.

For Andretti, there is much optimism entering next year after a 2017 that saw glimpses of a return to form. The team saw three of its four full-time drivers finish in the top 10 in the championship. Takuma Sato handed the team its third Indianapolis 500 win in the past four years in May. Alexander Rossi drove to an impressive win at Watkins Glen in September that planted his stake firmly in the ground as a contender.

All series entries will compete with the universal kit in the 2018 season, following three seasons of aero kit competition between manufacturers Honda and Chevrolet. With the opportunity to be on equal footing with rivals in that respect, it presents a potential game-changer in Andretti’s mind.

“I hope so,” he said. “I think we’ve stepped up our game as a team, so that’s nice. Starting on even ground (with the universal kit), I’m hoping that with all the changes we made, that hopefully we’ll do a little bit better than our competition.

“I’m sure everybody up and down pit road is saying the same thing, but I’m hoping that, starting new, we’ll be able to find things that the other guys won’t.”

Andretti is a major proponent of retaining continuity within the team. From the engineering staff to the drivers, the only significant change for 2018 is rookie Zach Veach replacing Sato, who signed with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. All four of the team’s full-time drivers – Rossi, Veach, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay – are locked into multiyear deals.

“Absolutely, that helps,” said Michael Andretti, shown above with Hunter-Reay (left) and Rossi (right). “That helps a lot. I’m excited about the next few years that we’re not going to be talking about who is going to be in what car and all that stuff, and we’re going to be able to just focus on the plan of making our cars and our team better.

“It’s going to be nice not having that distraction.”

Paul “Ziggy” Harcus, the race strategist for Sato this past season, credits much of the positive change to Eric Bretzman, who joined Andretti Autosport as technical director following the 2016 season.

“I think that engineering has picked it up,” Harcus said. “Eric Bretzman has done a great job of keeping those guys pointed in the right direction of what we want and what we need to get our qualifying better. That always helps our races.

“I think the team as a whole, we’re making steps. If we keep doing that next year, we’ll be better than the Penskes and the Ganassis as well. So we’re all good with that.”

Although manufacturer testing has begun, Andretti Autosport hasn’t been able to put a driver on track like fellow Honda teams Chip Ganassi Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Andretti accepts the blame since his team was deciding whether to stay with Honda for 2018 or switch to Chevrolet when Honda had to select its manufacturer test teams.

“It’s a little frustrating that we haven’t been able to play with it,” Andretti admitted, “but it’s a little bit of our fault because we made our decision so late (to remain) with Honda that they had to make their plans with somebody else in case we weren’t there. It hurts a little bit that we’re not involved in any of these tests, for sure.”

Andretti Autosport hasn’t had a driver finish in the top five in the standings since Marco Andretti was fifth in 2013. Its last champion was Hunter-Reay in 2012. With the new aero kit expected to necessitate a more technical type of driving, the team owner believes his drivers can move back to the top.

“I think that ever since the (previous) kit came out (in 2015), that Marco and Ryan haven’t been the Marco and Ryan that we’ve known and there’s something in it that I think was screwing with them somehow,” said Andretti. “So now, getting back to a more conventional type of race car, I’m hoping that it’s going to be good for those two and get them back up front where they need to be.”

One place where Andretti Autosport has remained up front is on the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. With Rossi and Sato winning the past two Indy 500s, Andretti has a chance in May to become just the third team owner to win three in a row. Only Lou Moore (1947-49) and Roger Penske (2001-03) have accomplished that feat.

“Last year, we knew we had a little bit of an advantage there because that was one that, luckily for us, Honda seemed to be a little bit better than the Chevys,” Andretti said. “So that was a good thing. We’re not going to have that this year, so hopefully Honda is just going to give us more horsepower and then that will help us.

“It’s going to be tough. I mean, winning it once is really tough. Winning it three times in a row is going to be really, really difficult, but anything is possible.

“We’ve got the drivers to do it, we’ve got the engineers to do it and we think we’ve got the engine to do it. I think we have a good shot.”

The 2018 season opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11. The 17-race schedule concludes with the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16. Click here for the entire schedule.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Haas F1 Team Recaps The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Image result for haas f1 vf-17

 

 

Event:  Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Round 20 of 20)

Date:  Sunday, Nov. 26

Location:  Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Layout:  5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track

Weather:  Clear

Air Temps:  24.6-25.1 degrees Celsius (76.3-77.2 degrees Fahrenheit)

Track Temps:  28-31.1 degrees Celsius (82.4-88 degrees Fahrenheit)

Race Winner:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes

Haas F1 Team:

●  Romain Grosjean – Started 16th, Finished 11th (Running, completed 54/55 laps)

●  Kevin Magnussen – Started 14th, Finished 13th (Running, completed 54/55 laps)

 

 

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished 11th and 13th, respectively, in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday at Yas Marina Circuit.

 

Both drivers rallied in the 55-lap race around the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track, with Grosjean starting 16th and Magnussen recovering from a first-lap spin that put him last in the 20-car field.

 

Grosjean’s forward drive was highlighted by a spirited battle with the Williams of Lance Stroll. The two combatants vied for 13th place over the course of six laps, with Grosjean launching the first salvo on lap six as he passed Stroll in the first chicane, only to have Stroll get the position back on the following straight. This scenario played out again on lap 10, with Grosjean getting past Stroll momentarily before Stroll took back the spot. Grosjean finally made his move stick on lap 11 with a savvy move around the outside of Stroll in turn 11 after running wheel-to-wheel in the preceding corners. Stroll pitted shortly thereafter, having flat-spotted his tires during the scrape with Grosjean.

 

Magnussen, meanwhile, put forth a tenacious effort, attacking from the moment he righted his Haas VF-17 after spinning in turn three. He climbed to 14th before making his scheduled pit stop on lap 22, swapping his Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tires for a new set of Red supersofts. This dropped Magnussen to 19th, but he resumed his attack, rising to 13th by lap 32 and holding the spot through the checkered flag.

 

Grosjean followed the same pit strategy as Magnussen, stopping for service on lap 32 where his ultrasofts were changed for supersofts. After rising to as high as ninth as drivers ahead of him pitted, Grosjean returned to the race in 11th, maintaining this position for the remainder of the race.

 

Haas F1 Team ends its sophomore season with a respectable eighth-place finish in the constructors standings, outpacing McLaren (ninth) and Sauber (10th). The 47 points Haas F1 Team earned in 2017 are 18 more than the total earned in its debut season in 2016. Grosjean wraps the year 13th in the championship standings with 28 points and Magnussen finishes 14th with 15 points.

 

Winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the pole was Valtteri Bottas. It was the Mercedes driver’s third career Formula One win, all of which have come this season. Bottas’ margin of victory was 3.899 seconds over runner-up and teammate Lewis Hamilton.

 

Despite Abu Dhabi serving as the season finale, championships were clinched in October. Hamilton took the driver’s title three races ago in the Mexican Grand Prix and Mercedes clinched the constructors title four races ago in the United States Grand Prix.

 

The last race of 2017 marked the final Formula One contest for Felipe Massa, one of the sport’s biggest stars. Massa ends his 15-year Formula One career with 269 starts, which includes 11 wins, 41 podiums, 16 poles and 937 laps led. He drove his Williams to a 10th-place finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

 

With the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship officially complete, teams turn their full attention to 2018. While the season-opening Australian Grand Prix won’t take place until March 25, plenty of work will happen between now and then, with preseason testing Feb. 26-March 1 and March 6-9 at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya providing the first glimpse of where teams stand prior to the 69th Formula One season.

 

 

“I pushed really hard. I tried my best. I think it was a superb drive, but it just wasn’t good enough to get in the points. I tried everything I could. With (Lance) Stroll it was a good battle – he just had a lot of top speed and a lot of straight-line power. It was very difficult to overtake him and he was defending a lot early on. Anyway, after I passed him I could open up the gap and push. We had a good race, but we have our ideas where to work on the car for next year. It’s been a good year in general, and only our second in Formula One. We’ve learned a lot and know where to improve for our future.”

 

 

“It’s not been a bad year. Obviously, I’m a bit disappointed with today. It’s frustrating to get so close to P7 in the constructors championship and not get it. We just weren’t strong enough to do it, but we’ll come back stronger next year. We can take a step forward. We’ve got a baseline now that we can work on over the winter. We know the weakness of the car and we want to improve it by a big margin for next year. We’ll see how we go. I think we can do it.”

“We didn’t gain a position, but still, we finished eighth like last year. With a little bit more we could’ve finished sixth, but ‘if’ and ‘when’, it didn’t happen. We fought to the end today and we provided a lot of the race action. I think for the sport, we did well. We were always providing entertainment. Thanks to everybody, and we’re looking forward to next season.”
 

The 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship begins March 25 with the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. But before cars take to the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn Albert Park Circuit, they will spend two weeks testing at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. During two, four-day tests at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix Feb. 26-March 1 and March 6-9, teams will develop their 2018 cars at the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit.

 

 

Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina, campus as his championship-winning NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Haas F1 Team Recaps Abu Dhabi Qualifying

Image result for haas f1 vf-17

 

Event:  Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Round 20 of 20)

Date:  Saturday, Nov. 25

Location:  Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Layout:  5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn circuit

Weather:  Clear

Air Temps:  24.6-25 degrees Celsius (76.3-77 degrees Fahrenheit)

Track Temps:  29.3-31.5 degrees Celsius (84.7-88.7 degrees Fahrenheit)

Pole Winner:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:36.231 – new track record)

Result:  Kevin Magnussen qualified 14th / Romain Grosjean qualified 16th

 

 

●  Lasts 18 minutes, with all 20 drivers participating

●  Fastest 15 drivers advance to Q2

Magnussen:  14th quick (1:39.395), advanced to Q2

Grosjean:  16th quick (1:39.516)

Fastest Driver:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:37.356)

Cutoff:  15th-quick Lance Stroll of Williams (1:39.503)

 

 

●  Lasts 15 minutes, featuring the 15 fastest drivers from Q1

●  Fastest 10 drivers advance to Q3

Magnussen:  14th quick (1:39.298)

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:36.742)

Cutoff:  10th-quick Felipe Massa of Williams (1:38.565)

 

 

●  Lasts 12 minutes, featuring the 10 fastest drivers from Q2, all battling for the pole

Pole Winner:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:36.231)

Second:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:36.403)

 

 

Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean qualified 14th and 16th, respectively, for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday at Yas Marina Circuit.

Magnussen set the 14th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:39.395 around the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track. Grosjean was 16th quickest with a lap of 1:39.516, falling one spot short of the top-15 cutoff to advance to Q2.

In Q2, Magnussen remained 14th fastest despite turning a lap that was .097 of a second better than his Q1 time. Only the top-10 drivers move on to Q3.

Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.

Taking the pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. His fast lap of 1:36.231 was .172 of a second better than runner-up and teammate Lewis Hamilton and it set a new all-time fastest lap at Yas Marina. It was Bottas’ fourth career Formula One pole – all of which have come this season – and his first in Abu Dhabi.

Before Magnussen, Grosjean and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track. After an installation lap on the Yellow soft compound, both drivers performed two timed stints, each utilizing ultrasofts to emulate qualifying.

Magnussen ran 19 laps and set the 14th-fastest time with a 1:39.831 on his 13th lap. Grosjean tallied 19 laps and earned his best time on his 12th lap – a 1:40.079 that put him 15th overall.

Quickest in FP3 was Hamilton, whose fast lap of 1:37.627 was .273 of a second better than Bottas.

 

“We didn’t do much in FP2 yesterday, so qualifying was always going to be tough. I don’t have any front end. Kevin (Magnussen) loves it, but I don’t like it. We’ve struggled to find the perfect balance. I’m struggling to drive the car that way and get the last few tenths out of the car. No excuse, but it just doesn’t fit my feelings. We’re going to work hard and try to find out what we can do to improve that. It’s been the case for about the last eight or nine races. We made a step in Brazil, but here with all the low-speed corners, it’s just difficult. Hopefully in the race, with more laps, it should get better. We need a lot to happen in the race tomorrow, but anything is possible.”

 

“I think we’ve been better here than our average. If you take away the likes of Australia, Austria, Silverstone, this is probably our average position or there about. I don’t think it’s that bad. We’ve done well to get back after missing FP1 which, unfortunately, I’ve had to a few times this year. We’ve gotten to a good point with the car and made some good steps since FP2 and through into FP3 and then to here. We’ve managed things well with the change in temperature with doing FP1 and FP3 in the sun, then FP2 and qualifying in the dark, where track temperature drops a lot and affects the tires a lot. It’s not an easy one to get right and I didn’t think we did a bad job with it. There’s nothing to lose tomorrow, so we’re going to go for it and give it everything.”

“It was quite an average day. I think the good thing is we recovered from FP2, as we were struggling a little bit there yesterday. Is it good enough to get into the points tomorrow? I don’t know. Nevertheless, we don’t give up yet, because we’re normally better in the race than in qualifying. Starting 14th and 16th – it’s not impossible to end up in the points, so let’s see what the day brings tomorrow.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Bell Outduels Larson For The Turkey Classic At Ventura

Christopher Bell

Thanksgiving is the day each year when we take a little extra time to realize how fortunate we are and to give thanks.

For those in attendance at Thursday’s “Turkey Night Grand Prix,” the realization quickly came to how thankful we are to have witnessed Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson duking it out against each other for 98 laps in USAC Midgets at Ventura Raceway.

The three official lead changes listed in the box score aren’t indicative of the back-and-forth battle these two titans waged with sliders being exchanged like currency on both ends of the racetrack!

On the 54th lap, Bell ultimately made the winning pass on Larson with a daring outside move on the front straightaway, but would have to endure the relentless persistence of Larson all the way down to turn one of the final lap when he stifled Larson’s slider before it even had time to develop.

Bell, of Norman, Oklahoma, joined the ranks of two-time “Turkey Night” winners just six days after wrapping up his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title at Homestead (Fla.) Speedway.  Though he and Larson have reached success in the NASCAR ranks in recent years, their home lies in the dirt tracks, just like old times when they were regulars on the USAC trail.

“Oh my god, it’s so much fun,” Bell exclaimed.  “I just told Kyle that if he would’ve beat me, I would’ve been, maybe not just as happy, but still happy because it was just that much fun.  That race was one of the most fun races I’ve run in a long time.”

Straight from the outset, polesitter Larson had the upper hand as inside second row starter Bell followed in his wake on the bottom.

As Larson ringed around the berm lining the bottom of the racing surface, Bell became the first in line to venture to the top on the 12th lap, using a big bite off turn four to pull to a dead-heat at the line alongside Larson before nudging into the lead by a sliver into the first turn.

Bell never wavered in his decision to go “high, wide, and handsome”, and it would pay off one lap later when he slipped by Larson off turn four to secure the lead.

“I could tell that the top was going to be good,” Bell theorized.  “Watching the sprint car feature, we saw that it got pretty good.  They tilled the bottom and I could tell it was going to be really good at the beginning.  Once it started going away, I tried the top and it was right there.”

On lap 40, Brayton Lynch got sideways in a shuffle for position at the exit of turn four.  Facing oncoming traffic, Chad Boat met front-bumper to front-bumper with Lynch, melding the noses of each car together as Boat attempted to peel away to no avail.  Courtney Crone and newly-crowned five-time USAC Light Up the World Beverages Western States Midget champ Ronnie Gardner were also involved, but would restart.

When racing resumed on lap 52, Larson went to the bottom and slid his teammate Bell to snare the lead.  One lap later, Bell returned the favor and slithered by Larson with just inches to spare as he tunneled between Larson’s right-side wheels and the front straightaway wall.  Larson attacked again into turn one with a slider, but the motion was denied, and Bell cleared away the Tryptophan after the wake-up call and sprinted back into the lead.

Following a lap 57 tangle between the two most recent USAC National Midget feature winners – Brady Bacon and series champion Spencer Bayston – Larson harassed Bell, putting it all on the line in the prestigious race in an attempt to become just the third driver to win the event three times.  On lap 66, Larson got on the bike, lifting the left side wheels as he ripped the edge of the turn three cushion in his tireless pursuit.

With three-quarters of the race in the rearview mirror, it was time to turn up the wick!  The bottom became just a distant memory as the two were now inside the barrel, riding the wave in turns three and four above the cushion.  On lap 80, Larson slid Bell into turn one momentarily.  Bell retaliated by crossing underneath Larson off the second turn to recapture the point.  In turn three, the second verse played out the same as the first as Larson slid to the lead and Bell, so Allen Iverson-esque, used a killer crossover to bolt back to the front.

“The majority of drivers understand you have to be good at the end of the race to win the race,” Bell said.  “At the beginning, you’re just cruising and making sure you make It to the end of the race.  That’s the biggest thing.  Kyle and I were both rolling around there about quarter-throttle at the beginning, trying to save our tires and kill some laps.  It worked out and we were racing our butts off at the end.”

Larson, the five-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup winner, set up another Hail Mary that was denied as Bell wheelied away off the top of turn two to remain in front.  Tyler Courtney, the USAC West Coast/VRA Sprint Car feature winner earlier in the night, slowed to a stop in turn one to bring out the yellow and provide a breather for both the drivers and fans alike.

On the ensuing restart, Bell jetted away from Larson and, with ten to go, held a lead of over one second with a full nest of lappers resting in the distance.  Just prior to lapped traffic possibly becoming a factor with a mere four laps to go, Holly Shelton and Bacon performed a synchronized spin between turns one and two that brought out the final yellow and one more stanza that Bell had to deal with Larson.

“The track was so technical,” Bell explained.  “It was all about hitting your marks and minimizing mistakes because you weren’t going to make a mistake-free lap tonight.  You just had to make sure when you made a mistake that you could recover from it.  Once I got going on those green flag runs, I could get my momentum built up and make good, competitive laps.  But after the yellow flags, it was tough to pick your rhythm back up.  I knew I was a sitting duck their leading on the restarts.  On the final one, Kyle got one last bomb on me and I was able to get him back.”

Larson’s first lob of a bomb was a success in turn one on the lap 95 restart as he scraped across the surface to snag the race lead from Bell.  Bell counter-punched and ripped away the lead back away from Larson with a slider into turn three.  Entering turn one with two laps remaining, wheels banged and nerf bars clanged as Larson shot to the lead past Bell once again.

As a uncertain as a game of tug-of-war teetering on a see-saw, Bell launched like a missile on a hell-bound train to slide across the nose of Larson and into the lead between turns three and four to capture the lead for good.  Larson threw a haymaker entering turn three coming to the white flag, pulling side-by-side with Bell at the exit of four where it momentarily became three-wide with Shane Golobic arriving seemingly out of the clear blue sky to mount a challenge for the lead.

Larson tried once more on the final lap, but Bell savagely, and wisely, took a lower entrance into turn one, thus preventing a final pull of the pin from Larson.  Bell carried on with a 0.193 second lead across the finish line as Larson blasted off the top of the final corner to nip Golobic by a wheel at the line for the runner-up spot.  Past “Turkey Night” winner Tanner Thorson was fourth and Don Basile “Rookie of the Race” Zeb Wise was fifth in his second-career USAC National Midget start.

Bell was 4 for 7 in USAC National Midget feature appearances in 2017 for a .571 batting average.  His 21st career series victory tied him with Steve Cannon, Jimmy Caruthers, Rex Easton and Ken Schrader for 27th all-time.

The fourth-straight “Turkey Night” win for the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team began with Bell’s victory in 2014. Firsts are always special in any circumstance, but this one has even more meaning for the 22-year-old, 2013 USAC National Midget titlist.

“I definitely had to work harder for this one.  This one was even more fun and more special.”

Contingency award winners Thursday night at Ventura Raceway were Kyle Larson (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Qualifier Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Chad Boat (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Qualifier Winner), Zeb Wise (Chalk Stix/Keizer Aluminum Wheels/Saldana Racing Products/Indy Race Parts Last Chance Winner) and Ryan Robinson (KSE Racing Products/Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger).

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

DXC Technology, Team Penske And Simon Pagenoud Partner For 2018

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske announced today that it has reached an extension agreement with DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

In its first season as a motorsports sponsor in 2017, DXC Technology built on an established presence with Team Penske’s successful Verizon IndyCar Series program and 2016 series champion, Simon Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Dallara/Chevrolet. DXC Technology celebrated with Pagenaud in Victory Lane of the season-ending series race in Sonoma, California, to claim its first INDYCAR win.

For the 2018 season, DXC Technology will return and serve as the primary sponsor on Pagenaud’s car for six races, which will begin with the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15. DXC Technology will also continue as an associate sponsor on the remaining races for the No. 22 team.

“Team Penske is excited to grow the partnership with DXC Technology for 2018,” said Roger Penske. “This is a technology-dependent sport and we were able to integrate DXC into our INDYCAR program this season and we will be ready to take our performance, and hopefully our results, to the next level with them in 2018.”

DXC Technology was the primary sponsor aboard Pagenaud’s car for six races in the company’s first year with the team in 2017, including the memorable win in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.

“I enjoyed working with DXC Technology and representing their brand this past season,” said Pagenaud. “DXC Technology shares a similar philosophy with us at Team Penske, which is to strive for excellence. We are very proud to work together relentlessly toward further limits in our respective industries. We were excited to get a win with them in Sonoma and everyone at Team Penske wants to build on that as we welcome them back for 2018.”

DXC Technology is the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company. Formed by the 2017 merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the company has more than 155,000 employees across 70 countries, serving some 6,000 clients. Its mission is to lead digital transformation for clients by tapping into global talent, developing powerful next-generation IT solutions and leveraging extensive partner relationships.

“Our partnership with Team Penske provides a great opportunity for DXC Technology,” said Mike Lawrie, DXC Technology chairman, president and CEO. “Performance and reputation make Team Penske the type of organization with which we want to align. Like us, they strive for excellence in everything they do and work diligently to provide value for both sides of the relationship.”

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season opens on March 11 in the Streets of St. Petersburg in Florida, the 1.8-mile temporary circuit set up on city streets and a runway of Albert Whitted Airport.

Read how Team Penske and DXC Technology collaborated to enhance the engineering process with a “digital transformation workshop” designed to optimize the team’s engineering software: How a championship-winning race team cut engineering cycles by 30 percent.

 

 About DXC Technology

DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) is the world’s leading business transformation company, helping clients harness the power of innovation to thrive on change. Born of the merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, DXC serves nearly 6,000 private and public sector enterprises across 70 countries. DXC’s technology independence, global talent, expertise and extensive alliance of partners combine to deliver the most powerful end-to-end next-generation IT services and solutions. DXC is recognized among best corporate citizens globally. For more information, visit https://www.dxc.technology.

 

About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 540 pole positions and 31 National Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. In its storied history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Team Penske currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Haas F1 Team Previews The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

 Image result for haas f1 vf-17

Sophomores No More

Haas F1 Team’s Second Season Comes to

Conclusion in F1 Finale at Abu Dhabi

 

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Nov. 17, 2017) – Knowledge is power. The phrase is attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, an English philosopher and scientist from the late Renaissance period. Despite those words being more than 400 years old, they remain relevant.

 

For Haas F1 Team, those words ring especially true. The only American team competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship will finish its sophomore year in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Nov. 26 at Yas Marina Circuit. At minimum, they will have scored 18 more points than in 2016 when they became the first American Formula One team in 30 years.

 

That inaugural season netted 29 points, the most of any new team in this millennium. When Jaguar debuted in 2000 and when Toyota came on the scene in 2002, each entity managed only two point-paying finishes in their entire first seasons for a combined total of six points.

 

That Haas F1 Team has substantially bettered its points haul in 2017 while on the cusp of improving its constructors standing is due in large part to knowledge, specifically, the knowledge gained from participating at motorsports’ highest level for almost two years.

 

Eighth in the constructors standings with 47 points with still one race remaining, Haas F1 Team is just two points behind seventh-place Renault and six points arrears sixth-place Toro Rosso. A points-paying drive in Abu Dhabi could propel Haas F1 Team past these Formula One stalwarts and cap a solid sophomore season.

 

The organization’s second year will end when the checkered flag drops at the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn Yas Marina Circuit. Haas F1 Team will soon become rising juniors as they prepare for winter testing in late February and early March at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya before embarking on a 21-race campaign beginning with the March 25Australian Grand Prix.

 

Preparation for 2018 began months ago when Haas F1 Team started developing its next-generation car while simultaneously running its 2017 car with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

 

Despite the dual workload, Grosjean has scored 28 points and Magnussen has tallied 19 points, a haul punctuated by two double-points results – May 28 in the Monaco Grand Prix when Grosjean finished eighth and Magnussen came home 10th, and Oct. 8 in the Japanese Grand Prix when Magnussen took eighth and Grosjean crossed the stripe in ninth. Eleven times this season Haas F1 Team has come away with points, more than double its amount of point-paying finishes from 2016.

 

Talent combined with knowledge is responsible for this uptick in performance, and with the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix beckoning, Haas F1 Team aims to parlay this combination into points one more time.

Yas Marina Circuit
Circuit Length: 5.554 km (3.451 miles)

Laps: 55

Race Distance: 305.355 km (189.739 miles)

Broadcast: NBCSN – 7 a.m. ET(Pre-Race Show) / 8 a.m. ET(Lights Out)

About Haas F1 Team

Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina, campus as his championship-winning NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.

 

Abu Dhabi is the season finale, and it’s also the finale of Haas F1 Team’s sophomore year. After having to build brand new racecars in back-to-back seasons under two sets of very different rules packages, how does this year compare to last year?

“It was very similar. The first year we had to build a new car completely, and the team, but we had a little bit more time. This year, again, we had to do a completely new car – we already had the team built up – but we still had to optimize it. The intensity was almost the same, but when I think about our 2018 car, the intensity is the same again. I don’t think there’s a lot of change in whatever you’re doing in Formula One. Everything is always on the edge, everything goes to the last minute, and it’s all at the highest level.”

 

Were there any key learnings from last year that you applied to this year, be it in car construction, personnel or even race weekend protocols?

“You need to better yourself in every little detail. There is not one big thing that I would say we would do completely different, but there are a lot of things you optimize with hindsight.”

 

Regardless of the outcome in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team will have surpassed its point tally from 2016 by 18 points. Are points scored the surest, most tangible examples of progress, or are there other elements of progress not everyone is able to see from the outside?

“I think points tell something, but not everything. Even if we race the same teams, there are different levels of performance. I wouldn’t have said we’ve gotten better if we had less points, but looking in from the outside, I think we’ve made progress at all levels. We wanted to better our position, but at this moment in time we are equal, so sure we will try to get better in Abu Dhabi. I was hoping to better our end-of-season position by one spot.”

 

Prior to 2017, there were those who proclaimed that your second season would be harder than your first. Was this accurate, or were the challenges just different?

“The year-to-year challenges are different. We have to adapt as we do this. If you cannot keep up with the challenges, you shouldn’t be working in Formula One. The second year is always more difficult, but we knew this in year one. I think we successfully worked in year one so we didn’t fall back in year two.”

 

What were the team’s challenges this year?

“The challenge is just to optimize everything and find the weak spots where we can gain performance with the least amount of changes.”

 

What were the team’s strengths?

“We’ve been working together now for over a year – over two years with some people – so it’s just like we know each other better and we know what to expect. We know each other’s limits. That helps a lot when you do things. We’re well covered personnel-wise. We have enough people who are part of the team that we can lean on.”

 

The way Haas F1 Team is set up is unorthodox, at least by Formula One standards. Does the team’s success in its second year validate Haas F1 Team’s approach?

“It shows this is a model that is, at least, not wrong. If there is a better model out there – for sure, there is always something better – but our model works. What we set out to do, we’re doing.”

 

While the drivers and constructors championships have been decided, the midfield battle is still very much alive heading into Abu Dhabi. Haas F1 Team is currently eighth in the constructors standings, with seventh just two points out and sixth only six points away. Is bettering your point standing still possible?

“Absolutely. We will have a go at it. In Brazil, without the two accidents on lap one, I think we’d have had a good chance to get some points. Then again, we didn’t do it, so it’s just ‘if’ and ‘would’. We will, for sure, try hard in Abu Dhabi.”

 

Is there a particular moment from this season that stands out the most for you?

“I think finishing with two cars in the top-10 in Japan, where a lot of people had written us off already in the season. Finishing eighth and ninth wasn’t so bad.”

 

When the season starts, Abu Dhabi seems very far away, yet here we are. Has the season gone by quickly?

“Life has gone by quickly this year, not only the racing season. It’s an intense schedule. We do a lot of work and a lot of travel, and that’s not only for me, that’s for everybody on all the teams. Everybody puts in a lot of effort to put this show on the road. The season goes by quickly, and life goes by quickly.”

 

Yas Marina Circuit is a showplace. What makes it stand out on the Formula One schedule?

“First of all, it’s the last race of the season, so that makes it stand out a lot. As a facility, it’s very nice and the location is very cool. Being there is a nice end to the season. It’s warm while it’s cold everywhere else where the teams are based.”

 

With the race beginning in the late afternoon and ending at night, how much does the track change as the air and track temperatures cool and, in turn, how does that affect tire management?

“When you go into the race weekend, we know which practice sessions to count on, and the ones that don’t count toward the race, where the ambient and track temperatures are hotter than in the race. We just adapt to that.”

 

As you head into the offseason, how much “off” is there, or is that just a misnomer because preseason testing tends to arrive quickly?

“It arrives so quickly. Looking at my personal schedule, I’ve got just one weekend off between now and Christmas. The rest still involves traveling and doing things to get ready for next year. That’s part of the job. This season is nearly done, but 2018 really started three months ago. We just keep on going. I hope some of the race team, like the mechanics, who for sure work a lot harder than I do, can get a few weeks off so they’re ready to go for next year.”

 

As we look ahead to 2018, how different is next year’s car in terms of design with the addition of the halo?

“The addition of the halo is new to Formula One, but all the rest of the car stays very similar. The regulations have changed very little. Aesthetically, it’s almost nothing, except the halo and the sharkfin. I think it will look different, but we’ll get used to it pretty quick.”

 

What are the implications for the halo in terms of weight and the car’s overall aerodynamics?

“The weight of the halo is the same for everybody. On the aero development, it’s just one more part the aero group has to get into their development program to try and get the best out of it. It’s nothing too special. They’re used to the challenge. It’s just a new element introduced into their playing field. They will play with it to try to get it as efficient as they can.”

 

 

Abu Dhabi is the season finale, and it’s also the finale of Haas F1 Team’s sophomore year. After having to race brand new racecars in back-to-back seasons under two sets of very different rules packages, how does this year compare to last year?

“It was much better. The car was faster, more fun to drive, more physical and more challenging, as well. Generally, the new generation of car was much more in line with what you’d expect for Formula One.”

 

Were there any key learnings from last year that you applied to this year?

“I think Formula One is one of those sports where you can’t train outside of racing. Every year is important, and every year brings more experience, so you get better and better.”

 

Regardless of the outcome in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team will have surpassed its point tally from 2016 by 18 points. Are points scored the surest, most tangible examples of progress, or are there other elements of progress not everyone is able to see from the outside?

“There’s much more than points. We’ve definitely made some good progress. We’re still behind what we could potentially do, that’s why the winter is going to be important for us to get everything ready for next season. When we started 2017, we were much stronger than at the start of 2016. I’m looking forward to seeing where we are in 2018 and making the big steps I believe we can.”

 

Prior to 2017, there were those who proclaimed that Haas F1 Team’s second season would be harder than its first. Was this accurate, or were the challenges just different?

“The second season is always going to be harder than the first one, but I think we’ve done very well. We started the year super strong. We then went down a little bit, which we need to address for the future. I think for as challenging a season as it was going to be, we’ve done super well.”

 

What were the team’s challenges this year?

“It was keeping the development rate going and understanding the new car. Clearly, we knew starting the season that the car from Melbourne would be fairly far from the one in Abu Dhabi. We just had to keep the development going and find the right areas to improve the car.”

 

What were the team’s strengths?

“There are a lot of them, but I think the atmosphere, and the team spirit we have, is the key to the team.”

 

The way Haas F1 Team is set up is unorthodox, at least by Formula One standards. Does the team’s success in its second year validate Haas F1 Team’s approach?

“I think so. Of course, we still haven’t reached our limitation with what we can do with our setup, because I’m sure we can be stronger and be up there. It works very well. There are a few adjustments to be made year-after-year, which Gene (Haas) and Guenther (Steiner) are doing. I’m sure the team can be very successful.”

 

While the drivers and constructors championships have been decided, the midfield battle is still very much alive heading into Abu Dhabi. Haas F1 Team is currently eighth in the constructors standings, with seventh just two points out and sixth only six points away. Is bettering your point standing still possible?

“Of course. As long as the last checkered flag isn’t down, you can always improve. We’re still very much in the match with the guys in front of us, and they’ve been struggling a little bit recently. We’re going to give it our all in Abu Dhabi and just play it like it’s the world championship.”

 

Is there a particular moment from this season that stands out the most for you?

“We’ve had some really good races. I’d say our double-points finish in Monaco was nice, and again in Japan, which was super good. The qualifying in Australia, also – we didn’t know what to expect and we got sixth.”

 

When the season starts, Abu Dhabi seems very far away, yet here we are. Has the season gone by quickly?

“It flies by. I remember going on the plane to Australia like it was yesterday. Once you’re into the season, it just goes. You don’t realize how fast it’s going.”

 

Yas Marina Circuit is a showplace. What makes it stand out on the Formula One schedule?

“It’s the show, the overall race view, the fact you start in the day and finish in the night, and the fact it’s been the finale for a few years now. It’s a very nice venue with superb facilities.”

 

With the race beginning in the late afternoon and ending at night, how much does the track change as the air and track temperatures cool and, in turn, how does that affect tire management?

“It does change a little bit, and that’s why FP2 is very important in Abu Dhabi. That’s the only session where you’re going to get the same conditions as qualifying and the race. You do need to work there. It does make a big difference if it’s sunny or dark.”

 

Yas Marina Circuit consists of three distinct sectors. How do you find a setup that suits all aspects of the track, or do you have to compromise in one section to take full advantage of another section?

“It’s always about compromise and finding the best setup to go faster. You just have to find where you can find the lap time. That’s the key. You’re never going to be perfect in every corner, but you can try to be as good as you can over the lap.”

 

Yas Marina is a smooth track and it seems that it takes a while for the track to rubber in. As the grip level increases over the duration of the race weekend, how do you determine where the limit is from Friday toSaturday to Sunday?

“The most difficult thing in Abu Dhabi are the conditions between FP1 and FP2. You only actually have one session that is representative of the race and qualifying, and that’s FP2. FP1 and FP3 are warm, therefore you have an hour-and-a-half to determine the best setup.”

 

Do you have any milestones or moments from your junior career that you enjoyed at Abu Dhabi?

“I won there in GT1 (in 2010 with Matech Competition). That was my first-ever GT World Championship start, and the first race with that team, and we won. It was a pretty good moment taking the win and leading the championship.”

 

What is your favorite part of Yas Marina Circuit?

“I quite like the first part with turns one, two and three. It can be fun.”

 

Describe a lap around Yas Marina Circuit.

“Straight line to the first corner – it comes pretty quickly – a 90-degree left-hand corner, normally in fourth gear. Turns two and three are then flat out. You go down the hill, braking into (turn) six – very tricky braking turning into six, then straight away into (turn) seven. You need to be well positioned for the hairpin going down the backstraight. It’s tricky to get the car to turn. Long straight line, big braking for the chicane, and again you need to be well positioned between the left- and right-hand side corners. Then it’s another straight line on to (turns) 11, 12 and 13. It’s a triple chicane and as soon as you exit that part you go flat out then brake for turn 14, which is a 90-degree left-hand side corner. Flat out again into (turns) 16 and 17, two right-hand side corners flat out. As soon as you go out of (turn) 17 you have to brake again for (turns) 18. (Turns) 19 and 20, you’re going under the hotel, with a tricky exit out of (turn) 20. The second-to-last-corner is good. It’s high speed in fourth or fifth gear. Then the last corner is very tricky. It’s very wide on the entry phase with the pit lane on the right-hand side. It’s not easy to find a line. Then you go as early as you can on the power to finish the lap.”

 

As you head into the offseason, how much “off” is there, or is that just a misnomer because preseason testing tends to arrive quickly?

“There’ll be a little bit of rest, but I’ve got a few challenges coming up. I’m doing a cross-country race, then another running race after the season’s done. I’ll keep myself busy. I love doing sport. I love playing with the kids and, of course, the baby is due in early January. That’s going to keep me on my toes. I will take some time off, and the diet will be a little less strict than it is during the season, but on the other hand, training is super important and I love it.”

 

As we look ahead to 2018, how helpful is that for the first time in two years, you’re able to develop a car based on the car you’ve raced this year?

“It’s going to be interesting and important for us to get it right. Now’s the time to sit down with all the engineers, make sure we’re all on the same page, and agree on what we want to do.”

 

 

 

 

Abu Dhabi is the season finale, and it’s also the finale of Haas F1 Team’s sophomore year. After racing for an established team in Renault last year and a still very young organization in Haas F1 Team this year, how does this season compare to last season?

“It’s been a really good season. In terms of results, we could’ve gotten more out of it. Performance has been there to score big points on a few occasions, but we’ve missed out due to bad luck or reliability issues. I think we could’ve had a little more to show with a bit more luck, but it’s been a really enjoyable season, and I’ve had the most fun racing that perhaps I’ve ever had.”

 

Regardless of the outcome in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team will have surpassed its point tally from 2016 by 18 points. Are points scored the surest, most tangible examples of progress, or are there other elements of progress not everyone is able to see from the outside?

“It’s hard for people to see what progress is being made from the outside. A lot of the stuff doesn’t pay off straight away. A lot of the stuff you improve and develop. It’s about the little steps, and when you do a thousand of them, you make progress and the benefits become visible. Each time you make a step, it’s not always visible. I can certainly see from the inside how we’re building up and improving. There’s still a long way to go and I’m happy I’m a part of it.”

 

What were the team’s strengths?

“We’ve designed a strong car. The baseline of our car is very competitive. I think we just need to try and improve our understanding of the car and our operation of the car so we can extract the performance out of it in every condition, every temperature and every track. We’ve had a few places where we’ve been very strong and stood out a bit compared to the rest of the season. That tells me the design of the car is right, we just need to exploit it better.”

 

The way Haas F1 Team is set up is unorthodox, at least by Formula One standards. Does the team’s success in its second year validate Haas F1 Team’s approach?

“Yes, I believe it does.”

 

While the drivers and constructors championships have been decided, the midfield battle is still very much alive heading into Abu Dhabi. Haas F1 Team is currently eighth in the constructors standings, with seventh just two points out and sixth only six points away. Is bettering your point standing still possible?

“Yes, definitely. We have nothing to lose going into Abu Dhabi. We just have to go for it. It’s going to be exciting.”

 

Is there a particular moment from this season that stands out the most for you?

“It’s hard to pick out just one. Naturally, I would’ve liked to have had a few more good results. I think they were definitely in the cards, but just didn’t happen for different reasons.”

 

Yas Marina Circuit is a showplace. What makes it stand out on the Formula One schedule?

“It’s a very glamorous race to go to as a spectator. It’s obviously a race that goes into the night, which makes it more spectacular. It’s the finale of the season, so it’s always a special race no matter where that is, but I think Abu Dhabi does a good job hosting it.”

 

With the race beginning in the late afternoon and ending at night, how much does the track change as the air and track temperatures cool and, in turn, how does that affect tire management?

“In terms of the race, it’s not too bad. Setting up your car, working on the setup over the weekend, it’s difficult because all the sessions are in different temperatures. What you get in FP1 is never what you get in FP2. It’s never comparable, and it’s the same with FP3 in relation to qualifying. It’s a challenging event in terms of building up your weekend.”

 

Do you have any milestones or moments from your junior career that you enjoyed at Abu Dhabi?

“I’ve only ever raced at Abu Dhabi in Formula One. I had my first test in a Formula One car there back in 2012. That’s obviously a good memory.”

 

What is your favorite part of Yas Marina Circuit?

“I’d say sector one is enjoyable, but probably with this car it’s going to be quite easy flat, less challenging. That makes sector three the most challenging now.”

 

As you head into the offseason, how much “off” is there, or is that just a misnomer because preseason testing tends to arrive quickly?

“It’s the time of year where you actually work the hardest, at least in terms of your training. You don’t have any races to prepare for, so you can push yourself a bit more and really build up your fitness over the winter. Obviously, it’s nice to get a break from all the traveling, but it doesn’t take long before you start missing racing again.”

 

As we look ahead to 2018, how helpful is that for the first time in two years, you’re able to develop a car based on the car you’ve raced this year?

“It’s going to be interesting. It’s a good feeling going into the season with the team and an idea of a car that I know from a season already. I’m very much looking forward to that.”

 

 

Yas Marina Circuit

  • Total number of race laps: 55
  • Complete race distance: 305.355 kilometers (189.739 miles)
  • Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)
  • This 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 2009, with last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix serving as the venue’s eighth grand prix.
  • Sebastian Vettel holds the race lap record at Yas Marina Circuit (1:40.279), set in 2009 with Red Bull.
  • Lewis Hamilton holds the qualifying lap record at the Yas Marina Circuit (1:38.434), set in 2011 with McLaren in Q2.
  • The Yas Marina Circuit is a showplace, and it should be considering it is widely believed to be the most expensive Formula One track ever built, with some estimates topping $1 billion. It is a purpose-built facility on a man-made island and it is one of the many new Formula One circuits designed by Hermann Tilke. It is less than a decade old and it features a counter-clockwise layout that boasts a top speed of 325 kph (202 mph) and an average speed of 190 kph (118 mph). It has nine right turns and 12 left turns on a waterfront course that rivals Monaco and Singapore. Its extravagance and uniqueness is best highlighted by these attributes: the pit lane exit passes underneath the circuit via a tunnel and the garages are air-conditioned. Yas Marina has a powerful lighting system, and it lays claim to holding Formula One’s first twilight race.
  • DYK? Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s fastest roller-coaster. Located inside Ferrari World (of course), the Formula Rossa ride reaches 240 kph (150 mph) in less than five seconds and climbs to 52 meters (171 feet) to create 4.8Gs for its riders. And if emulating a drive in a Formula One car isn’t your thing, you can go downhill skiing despite Abu Dhabi’s average November temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates offers indoor, downhill skiing with 3,000 square meters of snow (32,292 square feet) and an 85-meter high (279 foot) mountain.
  • During the course of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, lows will range from 22-23 degrees Celsius (72-74 degrees Fahrenheit) to highs of 28-29 degrees Celsius (83-85 degrees Fahrenheit). Relative humidity ranges from 29 percent (dry) to 83 percent (humid), with a dew point varying from 10 degrees Celsius/50 degrees Fahrenheit (very comfortable) to 22 degrees Celsius/71 degrees Fahrenheit (very muggy). The dew point is rarely below 6 degrees Celsius/43 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) or above 24 degrees Celsius/75 degrees Fahrenheit (very muggy). Typical wind speeds vary from 0-23 kph/0-14 mph (calm to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 55 kph/34 mph (high wind).
  • Pirelli is bringing three tire compounds to Abu Dhabi:
    • P Zero Yellow soft – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)
      • This is one of the most frequently used tires in Pirelli’s range, as it strikes a balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It is still geared toward speed rather than long distances, but it remains capable of providing teams with a competitive advantage at the beginning of the race where cars are carrying a full fuel load, and at the end of the race where the fuel load is much lighter and the race effectively becomes a sprint. It is a high working-range compound.
    • P Zero Red supersoft – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and for initial portion of qualifying)
      • This is the second softest tire in Pirelli’s range, and it is ideal for tight and twisting circuits, especially in cold weather, when maximum grip is needed. The supersofts warm up rapidly, which has made it a stalwart choice for qualifying. But with increased grip comes increased degradation. It is a low working-range compound.
    • P Zero Purple ultrasoft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)
      • This is the softest tire in Pirelli’s range, with rapid warming and massive performance. It is best used on tight and twisting circuits that put a premium on mechanical grip. However, because it is so soft, it has a limited lifespan. It is a low working-range compound.
  • The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marks the 10th time these three compounds have been packaged together. Teams most recently ran this tire package in the Mexican Grand Prix Oct. 27-29 at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. These same compounds were used for last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
  • The Yellow soft tire has been used in every grand prix this season. The Red supersoft tire has been used everywhere except the Spanish Grand Prix. The Purple ultrasoft has been used in the Australian Grand Prix, the Russian Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Canadian Grand Prix, the Austrian Grand Prix, the Belgian Grand Prix, the Singapore Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix and the Mexican Grand Prix.
  • Two of the three available compounds must be used during the race. Teams are able to decide when they want to run which compound, adding an element of strategy to the race. A driver can also use all three sets of Pirelli tires in the race, if they so desire. (If there are wet track conditions, the Cinturato Blue full wet tire and the Cinturato Green intermediate tire will be made available.)
  • Pirelli provides each driver 13 sets of dry tires for the race weekend. Of those 13 sets, drivers and their teams can choose the specifications of 10 of those sets from the three compounds Pirelli selected. The remaining three sets are defined by Pirelli – two mandatory tire specifications for the race (one set of Yellow softs and one set of Red supersofts) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of Purple ultrasofts). Haas F1 Team’s drivers have selected the following amounts:
    • Grosjean: two sets of Yellow softs, two sets of Red supersofts and nine sets of Purple ultrasofts
    • Magnussen: two sets of Yellow softs, two sets of Red supersofts and nine sets of Purple ultrasofts

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Chip Ganassi, Team Danica Discuss 2018 Daytona And Indy Possibilities

Danica Patrick

Team owner Chip Ganassi spoke personally with Danica Patrick and her representatives Thursday and Friday about the possibility of fielding cars for her in either the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, or both, but said he doesn’t yet have enough information to determine if participating in her farewell jaunt is feasible.

“I think it’s a great idea for her to do that,” Ganassi said of Patrick ending her racing career at two tracks where she has enjoyed some of her greatest success. “I think it’s a fabulous idea, a fabulous marketing idea, it’s a fabulous opportunity and obviously the business side of the deal has to work. … I’m a long way from saying ‘Yes, I can do that.’”

Patrick has expressed confidence in being able to bring sponsorship to field both ventures. Ganassi said “I would think it would be better to do it with one team.”

The team owner said he has not had time to consider when he’d need a commitment and firm details from Patrick’s camp.

Ganassi fields two-car teams in both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar.

One of Ganassi’s Monster Energy Series drivers, Kyle Larson, is a personal friend of Patrick who has in the past expressed an interest in attempting the open wheel classic. Ganassi said he doesn’t know if Larson, who had a breakout four-win season, is still interested but said fielding a third car for him in May wouldn’t preclude partnering with Patrick for a fourth.  That said, Ganassi noted doubling his roster for the Indianapolis 500 is something he would be unlikely to attempt.

“I doubt I would do four,” he said..

The only other team able to field rides in both the Monster Energy Series and IndyCar would be Team Penske, but owner Roger Penske said he has no plans to field five cars at Indianapolis again. Penske boasts a three-car IndyCar roster and will add a fourth in 2018 for three-time race champion Helio Castroneves, who will move the Penske’s sports car program next year.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!