Mechanical Woes Ruins Custer’s Day At Mid-Ohio

Cole Custer

Date: Aug. 12, 2017

Event: Mid-Ohio Challenge (Round 21 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington (2.4-mile road course)

Format: 75 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/35 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th/35th (Running, completed 54 of 75 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (505 points, 258 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Blake Koch of Kaulig Racing (Chevy)

Stage 2 Winner: Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Started ninth, finished 40th.

● Due to Custer making contact with the grass in qualifying, he started the Mid-Ohio Challenge with his backup Haas Automation Ford Mustang.

● On lap two, a mechanical failure forced Custer to the pits.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):

● Started 40th, finished 37th.

● After repairs, Custer entered the field 22 laps down at the start of Stage 2.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-75):

● Started 37th, finished 35th.

● Custer gained one lap during the final stage.

● Due to multiple accidents, Custer gained two spots before the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:              

 Nine cautions slowed the race for 27 laps.

● Sam Hornish Jr. won the Mid-Ohio Challenge to score his fifth career XFINITY Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Mid-Ohio.

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

Blake Koch Earns A Career Best Finish At Mid-Ohio

Blake Koch

Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch earned a track-best start of third and a track-best finish of 11th on Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native won Stage 1 of the event, finished 10th in Stage 2 and rebounded from an incident on Lap 51 to finish 11th.

“It was awesome to win a stage today in front of all of the LeafFilter Gutter Protection employees who came out to their home track to support our team,” said Koch. “We had such a fast car this weekend and the team did a great job repairing the damage to the right rear to carry us to the finish. After a great points day, I’m excited to head to Bristol next week to get back to oval racing on a short track.”

After arriving in Ohio on Thursday to visit LeafFilter Gutter Protection’s corporate headquarters in Hudson, the team arrived at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday ready to lay down some fast laps in practice. Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms cancelled all on-track actitivty for the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Friday, moving the team’s sole practice session to Saturday morning. Koch finished eighth in that practice session and carried that confidence into qualifying Saturday afternoon, scoring a track-best starting spot of third.

After the drop of the green flag, the field made one complete lap before the race was slowed by caution for oil on the track. Koch maintained the third position through a lengthy clean-up period. The race returned to green on Lap 8, but fell under caution and eventually a red flag with five laps remaining in Stage 1. When the red was lifted, the leader pitted and Koch assumed the second position for the restart with just two laps remaining in the stage. With just one lap remaining, Koch took the lead and maintained it to win Stage 1, capturing 10 stage points and one playoff point.

Crew chief Chris Rice brought Koch down pit road under the stage caution for four fresh tires and fuel. A delayed entry into the pit box relegated Koch to a 24th-place position for the restart on Lap 23 to begin Stage 2.

Just five laps after the restart, Koch had raced his way up to the 19th position and was still running faster lap times than the leader.  He managed to avoid a wreck in front of him on Lap 32 as he climbed to the 14th position. He continued to pick off cars as the stage went on, eventually making the pass for the 10th position just before the stage ended on Lap 40. Koch earned one bonus point for his 10th-place stage finish.

Koch visited pit road under the stage caution for four fresh tires, fuel and to add some tape on the grille. He restarted ninth on Lap 44 to start the final stage of the Mid-Ohio Challenge.

The caution was displayed again on Lap 48 while Koch was running eighth.  The field returned to green on Lap 51. As the field worked Lap 51, Koch was tagged from behind and sent spinning across the course, collecting several cars and suffering severe damage to the right rear of his No. 11 Camaro. The team pitted twice to work on the damage before running out of time on the five-minute crash clock. With all parts and pieces on the No. 11 machine secured, Koch restarted 31st on Lap 57.

The caution was displayed for the seventh time on the restart lap, but Koch was able to gain several positions, putting him 23rd when the field returned to green on Lap 61. Koch continued to fight for position, advancing to the 16th position by the eighth caution flag on Lap 64.

Soon after the restart with eight laps remaining in the race, Koch had to maneuver through the grass to avoid a wreck in front of him. The field was eventually red flagged for the second time. When the race returned to caution, Koch was able to remove some of the grass from his grille by tucking under another car’s bumper. He restarted 13th with five laps remaining at Mid-Ohio.

Koch continued to pick off cars in the closing laps of the race, making bold moves to gain track position. After an eventful day, Koch eventually crossed the finish line 11th at the end of the Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Koch improved his track-best start by 10 positions and his track-best finish by one position today at Mid-Ohio. He earned his second stage win of the season, securing another playoff point for a total of two for the season.

Koch and the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team leave Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course tied for ninth in the NXS championship standings. The team returns to racing actionFriday, August 18, 2017 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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

Sam Hornish Edges Hemric For The Victory At Mid-Ohio

Sam Hornish,Jr.
Sam Hornish Jr. dominated Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge, but his victory was anything but certain until the waning laps of a caution-filled race.

Hornish, driving Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang, earlier had eclipsed his own qualifying record at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and edged series rookie Daniel Hemric by 1.335 seconds when the event ultimately went green for the final time with five circuits remaining in the 75-lap distance.

The victory was the fifth in the series by Hornish, whose last win came in June of 2016 at Iowa Speedway.

Hornish, who led four times for 61 laps, traded the top spot with Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro four times over the race’s third and final stage. He took the point for the last time on Lap 62, on a restart following the seventh caution.

Veteran Brendan Gaughan advanced to the second after Justin Allgaier and James Davison slipped off the track in Turn 3 at Lap 63, setting up a final restart battle that ended prematurely when Gaughan’s No. 62 RCR Chevrolet Camaro was forced off the track by Hornish shortly after the green flag.

“I finally got the win (at Mid-Ohio),” said Hornish, who finished second here a year ago. “We had a smart, almost flawless day but I feel bad about the 62. I didn’t want to beat him that way.”

Rookie Matt Tifft finish third in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, improving his best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish from a fifth-place at Kentucky Speedway last September. Davison, an international racing star and Indianapolis 500 competitor, took fourth in the No. 20 JGR Toyota, followed by sports car veteran Andy Lally, whose No. 07 Chevrolet Camaro team posted their first top-10 finish in the series.

Twenty-four of the race’s 40 starters completed all 75 laps. Five drivers, Hornish, Hemric, Blake Koch, Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler, traded the lead nine times.

NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader Sadler spotted the field an early spin and a green flag pit stop to change a flat tire, but he ultimately took sixth, ahead of Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Justin Marks and Dakoda Armstrong.

Koch won the race’s first stage when Hornish elected to pit with three laps left and leader Sadler was spun in Turn 1 by Poole.

Hornish quickly went back to the front of the field after Stage 1 pit stops, claiming Stage 2 over Hemric and Davison.

Saturday’s race left the playoff picture unchanged with no bubble drivers able to bump their way into the standings. Sadler holds an 81-point lead over William Byron, who appeared headed for a top 10 until being caught up in a late accident relegating him to a 25th-place finish.

Check out the unofficial results of the Mid-Ohio Challenge.

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

Cole Custer Makes His First Start At Mid-Ohio

Cole Custer

NASCAR XFINITY Series Overview
 

Event: Mid-Ohio Challenge (Round 21 of 33)

Date: Aug. 12, 2017

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington

Layout: 2.4-mile road course

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Mid-Ohio Challenge will mark Custer’s 26th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 20 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 11th top-10 and fifth top-five and it equaled his career-best finish.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 20 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned twice – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Custer has 13 top-10 starts and four top-five starts this season.

 

●  Last week, Custer ran his career-first XFINITY Series road-course race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He ran as high as second, turning consistent top-five lap speeds.

 

●  Custer has earned four top-five finishes, nine top-10s and has led 29 laps so far in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.

 

●  Custer is second in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 59 points behind leader William Byron.

 

●  Custer has earned six Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

 

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 229 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

●  This will be Stewart-Haas Racing’s second XFINITY Series road-course race.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
 

What was it like testing at Mid-Ohio?

“I think the test went fairly well. It’s hard to tell because it’s a different kind of car and everything, but I thought it was a fun place to run around. I can’t wait to hit the track with my Haas Automation Ford Mustang this weekend.”

Run us through a lap at Mid-Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio seems to definitely be one of the more technical places we go to, especially through the back section, so it will be fun to figure that out.”

Based on your performance at Watkins Glen, what are your expectations going into your second straight road-course race?

“I felt like we had pretty solid speed at Watkins Glen and we were one of the faster XFINITY guys. Hopefully, we can keep it in the top-five and be there at the end to get our first XFINITY win of the season.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation Team
 

What is your strategy going into your second straight road-course race?

 

“We didn’t get the finish we were hoping for in Watkins Glen, but I am very happy with the speed we showed in the race. Our team is going into Mid-Ohio with the confidence that we can compete for the win.”

No. 00 Haas Automation Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

Haas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang will feature decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

●  Clark State Community College – With campus locations in Springfield, Beavercreek and Bellefontaine, as well as an extensive offering of online classes, Clark State is just a short drive or a click away. Its students and corporate customers have chosen Clark State because of its reputation for quality and customer service. It offers a wide variety of academic and technical courses; with one of the unique offerings being its Manufacturing Engineering Technology program. This program prepares students for a variety of positions within a manufacturing enterprise. The program builds on the student’s knowledge of computer-aided design, electronics, and manufacturing processes, providing additional skills in areas such as statistical process control, automation, and computer numerical control.

 

●  Stark State College – Located at 6200 Frank Avenue NW North in Canton, Ohio, Stark State College provides quality, high-value associate degrees, certificates, and professional development in diverse, student-centered learning environments. The College is dedicated to lifelong learning; affordable, transferable higher education; and career success. Stark State College advances qualityof life through access, academic success, stewardship, and business and community partnerships.

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet Cleveland, a division of Midwest Mfg. Resources – Located at 1993 Case Parkway North in Twinsburg, Ohio, Haas Factory Outlet Cleveland is the exclusive dealer for Haas Automation CNC machine tools in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Northeast & Southern Indiana. All Haas machines come with the most user-friendly CNC control in the industry, and the Haas Platinum One-Call policy provides expert service and dependable, immediate response. Midwest Manufacturing Resources also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Sinclair Community College, Vincennes University and the University of Louisville, among others.

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

Regan Smith Gets Into The JGR NXS No. 18 At Mid-Ohio

Regan Smith

NASCAR’s “summer swing,” the unofficial title for the stretch of races running from Memorial Day to Labor Day across the schedules of NASCAR’s top-three touring series, is a daunting segment of the nearly 10-month-long season and can be the difference maker for teams hoping to be a championship contender come playoff time.

Aside from the toll of crisscrossing the continental United States for events, it also happens to the hottest part of the season, with select race venues seeing record temperatures. The summer months can be taxing on both man and machine. Caring for the latter is one of the ways that Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) founding partner Interstate Batteries leverages its NASCAR program, through reminding consumers to have their batteries checked prior to any summer road trips.

Driver Regan Smith will help deliver that message – and perhaps a little more – during this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Challenge NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, where he will pilot the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for JGR.

A six-time winner in XFINITY Series competition, Smith goes into this weekend’s race a former winner at the 2.258-mile road course, having scored the victory during the track’s 2015 event.Saturday’s 75-lap race will be Smith’s fourth career start at Mid-Ohio. In addition to the 2015 win, Smith scored a runner-up finish in 2014, so he has one win and two top-five finishes. He’s completed 259 of the 259 laps run in his three starts for a perfect lap-completion record, and he has an average starting position of seventh and an average finishing position of sixth.

As impressive as Smith’s record at Mid-Ohio has been, so too has been his overall efforts in the series. In addition to six wins, Smith has a total of 30 top-fives and 79 top-10 finishes. From 2013 to 2015 – the last three seasons in which Smith competed in the series on a full-time basis – he finished the season ranked among the top-four in the championship point standings, including a career-best second place in 2014.

While he is a series veteran, it will still be a weekend of firsts for the Cato, New York, native. In addition to the race being his first start of the season in the XFINITY Series, it will also be his first time racing for JGR and being an ambassador for the Interstate Batteries brand.

Interstate Batteries has been powering the championship-winning organization for more than 25 years and is the “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.” The iconic brand is in the midst of celebrating its 65th anniversary and has featured special branding on each of the paint schemes to reflect the milestone during its 2017 campaign.

Given JGR’s record in XFINITY Series competition and his affinity for the track, Smith has high hopes of being more than just a “messenger” by adding another check in the win column at Mid-Ohio.

REGAN SMITH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
What challenges does Mid-Ohio present?

“Mid-Ohio is tough. It’s an extremely tight and technical road course that penalizes even the smallest mistake. It has less runoff room than a lot of the road courses we race at, which means you can end your day in a hurry. It’s one of my favorite tracks we visit.”

 

You had an exciting win there in 2015. What do you remember about that race?

“Yeah, the 2015 race there was fun. We had good speed the whole weekend and we were very similar in pace to the 22 car (Alex Tagliani). The last run of the race he was just slightly quicker than us, but he made just enough mistakes to where I was able to close in on him enough and make a move in the final corner. That was definitely one of the more exciting wins I’ve had, for sure.”

 

You have been competing in the XFINITY Series in some capacity since 2002, but this is your first time racing for JGR. Given their success in the XFINITY Series how much confidence does that give you going into the race weekend?

“Yes, this is my first race for JGR. My confidence is sky high going into Mid-Ohio. I know how fast the JGR equipment is, and I know what I’m capable of on that track. In my mind, there’s only one result that’s acceptable next weekend.”

 

Interstate Batteries is the founding partner for JGR. What does it mean to race with those colors, and do you have any memories of seeing the Interstate car on the track?

“Interstate Batteries has been around for as long as I can remember. I think when you have that kind of longevity in this sport the importance of it really speaks for itself. It’s great to be able to be a part of it. I think the biggest thing I remember about the Interstate Batteries car is one almost everyone talks about, and it’s the 1993 Daytona 500. I was in the stands watching that race – 9 years old at the time – and have so many images imprinted in my brain from it.”

Meet the No. 18 Interstate Batteries/Joe Gibbs Racing Team
Car No.: 18 – Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry

 

At-Track PR Contact: Penny Copen Fender with True Speed Communication

704.875.3388 ext. 810 or Penny.Copen@TrueSpeedCommunication.com

Road Crew Members:

Driver: Regan Smith

 

Crew Chief: Eric Phillips

 

Car Chief: Chris Meyers

 

Engine Builder: Mark Cronquist

 

Engine Tuner: Roger Purcell

 

Tire Specialist: John Lanham

 

Engineer: Chris Whitenight

 

Engineer: Dustin Zacharyasz

 

Mechanic: John Egbert

 

Mechanic: Tyler Paxton

 

Truck Driver: Steve Fielder

 

Spotters: Mark Green, J Gotelaer, Jon Kerley, Steve Nivison

Pit Crew Members:

Front Tire Changer: Houston Stamper

 

Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris

 

Gas Man: Kenneth Purcell

 

Rear Tire Changer: Kip Wolfmeir

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen

 

Jack Man: Bailey Walker

 

 

Regan Smith Highlights at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course:
● Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be Smith’s fourth start in NASCAR XFINITY Series competition at the 2.4-mile road course.

● In three previous XFINITY Series starts at Mid-Ohio, Smith’s best result is the victory he scored during the track’s event in 2015. He also earned a runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio in 2014.

● Smith has completed 259 of the 259 laps run at Mid-Ohio in the three starts he’s made at the track for a perfect lap completion record. He has an average starting position of seventh, averages a finishing position of sixth and has led a total of 19 laps.

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

Team Penske Had A Great Day At The Honda Indy 200

Josef Newgarden

Track:                      Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Race:                       Honda Indy 200

Date:                        July 30, 2017

 

 

No. 1 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start: 7th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (deficit): 4th (-17 pts.)

 

Recap: Simon Pagenaud’s weekend really hinged on Saturday’s qualifying session for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion came up a little short in qualifying and it carried over to Sunday’s race result, though he produced another solid finish in the No. 2 Menards Chevrolet. Pagenaud missed making the Fast Six round of qualifying Saturday by mere hundredths of a second and was relegated to a seventh-place start for Sunday’s race. The 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course is notoriously known as a tough place to pass, which increases the importance of track position from the outset of the race. Pagenaud moved into the top five after the first round of pit stops but really had a difficult time advancing farther than that. The Menards Chevrolet team worked a different tire strategy than their Team Penske teammates, but it wasn’t enough to get Pagenaud to the front of the field. The native of Montmorillon, France did have some memorable battles on track with teammate Helio Castroneves and former Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, but ultimately he wasn’t able to defend his Mid-Ohio win from 2016 . With the fourth-place finish, Pagenaud has recorded top-five results in five of his last six starts and he earned his 11th top 10 of the season in just 13 outings. In a bit of a points anomaly, Pagenaud dropped from third to fourth in the standings Sunday, but he is two points closer to the top spot than he was following the previous event in Toronto as he trails leader and teammate Josef Newgarden by just 17 points.

 

Quote: “The Menards Chevy was good all weekend. I do wish that we could have qualified a little better just to decrease the number of cars to get around. It was kind of a neutral day in the championship but that’s all right. We’re right there and it will come down to Sonoma. Congratulations to Josef (Newgarden). They’re really on a roll right now.”

 

 

No. 2 PPG Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start:  2nd

Finish: 1st   (6th career INDYCAR victory)

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 73

Points Position (lead): 1st (+7)

 

Recap: Coming on the heels of his win at Toronto two weeks ago, Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 PPG Paints Chevrolet crew made it two in a row Sunday as they earned their third win of the season at the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200. Newgarden started the race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from the second position after his best qualifying result of the season Saturday, finishing second only to teammate and Verizon P1 Pole Award Will Power. After the green flag flew to start Sunday’s race, the Tennessee-born Newgarden quickly moved to the front of the field after making an impressive pass for the lead to get by Power on Lap 13. Newgarden flexed his muscle after that as he began to pull away from the pack, opening up leads between five to seven seconds on his pursuers for most of the remainder of the race. He only lost the lead as pit stops cycled through as he led a dominant 73 of 90 laps on the day. The No. 2 PPG Paints crew had flawless and well-timed pit stops throughout the afternoon to help key the victory. Shortly after his final stop of the day, Newgarden had one of his few tense moments when the only caution flag of the race flew after Ed Jones spun on track. With competitors behind him on the faster Firestone alternate red tires while Newgarden was on primary black tires, the first-year Team Penske driver held serve and maintained the lead on the Lap 71 race restart and pulled away in the closing laps to beat Power to the finish line by 5.155 seconds. Newgarden’s sixth career Verizon IndyCar Series victory enabled him to capture the series championship lead for the first time in his career and he became the first American to lead the series standings since Ryan Hunter-Reay won the 2014 title. Newgarden will carry a seven-point lead over teammate Helio Castroneves heading into the next race of the season on August 20 at Pocono Raceway.

 

Quote: “I felt like we were a little stronger at the start than Will (Power). He was good, and we had a decent gap to (Takuma) Sato, I think. We were holding fairly steady. I think Will was struggling a little more than me, and I just didn’t want to wait behind him. We were either going to pass him on track in a straight-up pass or pass him on the pit cycle. That was our plan. I didn’t want to wait until the pits. I felt like I had an opportunity, so I just tried to time something and pull a move on him. He gave me a lot of racing room like a great teammate. I think he knew we were a little bit quicker. So he gave me good room, and once we got past him, I thought we were really fast. It was a good day for the PPG Chevrolet. Pretty smooth, for the most part. Still stressful. It’s always stressful, even when the car is fast. It seemed like the car was working on reds and blacks. It didn’t really matter. It just got better throughout the race and as the track gripped up. Only real drama was the restart, it felt like we were on the wrong tire again, kind of like Road America. Fortunately, we had a bit of a buffer with the car in between. It’s great to take over the lead in points, but there’s so much racing to do. I don’t really pay attention to it.”

 

 

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start:  5th

Finish: 7th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 0

Points Position (deficit): 2nd (-7)

 

Recap: Following a solid seventh-place run in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, Helio Castroneves remains second in the championship standings with just four races now remaining, but he’s got a bit of a different view. Castroneves is now looking up at a different person, as the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead shifted from Scott Dixon to teammate and Sunday’s race winner Josef Newgarden, but Castroneves remains in the thick of the title chase. The three-time Indy 500 winner has narrowly missed the season title in previous seasons, but he is well positioned as the 2017 season heads into the homestretch. Castroneves started Sunday’s race in the fifth spot and ran among the top five for the majority of the 90-lap race. However, on a Lap 71 restart following a caution period caused by an Ed Jones spin, Castroneves lost a couple of positions when the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet encountered its engine limiter. The result was a seventh-place finish for Castroneves as it marked his fourth consecutive top-10 result dating back to an early-race accident at Texas Motor Speedway. For the season, Castroneves has produced 12 top-10 finishes in 13 races – including a win at Iowa – as the model of consistency in 2017.

 

Quote: “That was a tough race. These cars are so physical to drive. We only had the one caution that didn’t really affect anyone, I don’t think. On that restart, I had some sort of glitch that took away a bunch of power for a couple of seconds and two cars went around me like I was standing still. That’s unfortunate. But it was a decent day in points for the Hitachi Chevrolet team. A super day for Josef (Newgarden). Congratulations to that group. He leapfrogged us, but we’re still in second. We head to a couple of ovals now which could really mix things up. It’s going to be a battle. That’s for sure.”

 

 

 

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 1st (49th career INDYCAR pole position)

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 14

Points Position (deficit): 5th (-52)

 

Recap: After bad luck struck following early contact at Toronto, No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet driver Will Power bounced back strong in Sunday’sVerizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a second-place finish. Power began the weekend capturing the Verizon P1 Pole Award to give him the prime piece of track real estate that is the top starting spot. As the race began, Power showed off his veteran ability as he held back the field and maintained the early lead. Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden was able to get by Power on for the lead on Lap 13 and after a strong first pit stop of the race, Power continued to run in second place. Power was still second as he came into the pits for primary compound tires, fuel and a one-turn front wing adjustment on Lap 42 after telling his team on the radio that he was suffering from understeer issues. He continued behind Newgarden in the second spot as he visited the pits on Lap 67 for alternate compound tires and fuel. Shortly after, the caution flag waved as the No. 19 car spun on track. As the field restarted on Lap 71, Power tried to put pressure on Newgarden but a lapped car factored into the battle and Power never got the run he was hoping for. Over the closing laps, Power did a good job to hold off the hard-charging Graham Rahal, who was fighting hard for second at his home race. Power brought home a runner-up result, his fourth career second-place finish at Mid-Ohio. The performance showed he is still very much in the championship hunt as he is now just 52 points behind Newgarden, the new series leader, with a total of 401 points.

 

Quote: “I know we started on the pole and finished second and that could be viewed as coming up short in some way, but it was a very good finish for the Verizon Chevrolet. We really weren’t on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying. So second, for the pace of my car, that was as good as we could get today. We’ve had too many seconds in this place, though. Josef (Newgarden) was super fast today. He was just flying around today.”

 

 

Next Race: The Verizon IndyCar Series takes a short break before heading to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, for the ABC Supply 500 on Sunday, Aug. 20 with race coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Tune into the INDYCAR Radio Network or log on to IndyCar.com for additional coverage.

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

AJ Foyt Racing Reviews The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Conor Daly
When Conor Daly arrived at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, he was nine lbs. leaner thanks to a change in his diet, which he credits to “going vegan” two weeks ago. When he left, he had posted his best overall performance of the season in his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Starting 11th, he finished a strong, hard-earned 10th in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Although he qualified 10th in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix and finished seventh in the crash-filled Texas 600, his performance at Mid-Ohio was solid. It was the first time this season that he transferred out of the first round of qualifying and had a shot at the Firestone Fast 6.

In the race, his patience paid off. Running primary tires when others were running the softer compound alternate (red) tires, he lost a bit of track position and slipped back to 15th in the middle stint. On the final pit stop on lap 65, he took on new red tires and new speed.

A full course yellow on lap 67 for Ed Jones’ spin brought the field together. When the race went green four laps later, Daly set sail. He passed Charlie Kimball on lap 71 and overtook Marco Andretti the next. He set his sights on Scott Dixon but Dixie slipped past James Hinchcliffe before Daly could overtake him.

Over the next five laps, Daly and his close friend (and former housemate) ‘Hinch’ battled hard with Daly overtaking him with six laps left in the 90-lap race. Although strategist Larry Foyt told him to bring it home, Daly cut Dixon’s five-second advantage in half and posted his fastest lap of the race on lap 87.

“You know obviously it’s great to come away in the top 10 – a huge step for us – and just to be able to fight with those guys all day and be catching Dixon,” Daly said. “Really, challenging the 9 car any time is good, so it’s fun to be able to fight with those guys, especially James too, because Hinch has had a really good year and he’s been really fast, so I think we made great steps forward. My guys gave me great pit stops and we came through with a solid race today. No issues, didn’t get hit, didn’t get knocked off or anything, nothing broke, so that’s nice.”

Team President Larry Foyt seconded that opinion, saying, “It was a solid day. I mean it feels good to get a top 10, obviously not what we want in the long run – we want to get top-fives – but everything was good from our side. Pit stops were good all day, the guys did a good job, Conor drove a really good race. He made some good moves on track, so it was definitely a positive weekend all around. We had a decent qualifying, a decent race and that’s some momentum going into these last four races.”

Carlos Munoz

Unfortunately, it was a struggle for Carlos Munoz in the No. 14. Running 13th in the morning warm-up gave him some hope but the race didn’t go as well as hoped. Starting 20th, the team opted for an alternate fuel strategy which needed strategically-placed yellows to work. Unfortunately with just one yellow late in the race, the alternate fuel strategy didn’t work.

“Another long race,” Munoz said afterwards. “We went aggressive on strategy to get up front. We needed several yellows in the race to help us, but when we took a chance it didn’t work. This year it seems taking a chance doesn’t work for us in any of the races.”

Josef Newgarden won his second straight race of the season which put him in the lead for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Second through fifth were Will Power, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato.

Daly heads to Gateway Motorsports Park to test on Thursday. Teams are allowed to send one driver each to the test on the newly repaved track and since Daly topped both sessions of the Open Test held May 2nd, he was the choice for the Foyt team.

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

Andretti Autosport Fared Well At Mid-Ohio

Andretti Autosport Sheild
Andretti Autosport
RACE REPORT
VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
HONDA INDY 200
RACE REPORT
07.30.17

The 90-lap Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio has seen the twin checkers with Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi leading the way for Andretti Autosport. Sato secured his fourth top-five finish of the season, placing the Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda into the fifth position. Rossi climbed three positions to sixth, earning his seventh top-10 finish of 2017. Ryan Hunter-Reay recovered the DHL car from an early race spin to salvage an eighth-place result while Marco Andretti brought home the No. 27 in 12th after spending the latter portions of the race seeking high fuel conservation.

The team will take a two week break before heading to the Tricky Triangle for the second 500-mile race of the 2017. Round 14 will go green on Sunday, August 20, with broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda
  • Started 3rd // Finished 5th
  • Championship: 7th (381 pts.)
  • Secured his fourth top-five finish of the season
“I think starting third and finishing fifth isn’t the perfect scenario, but we had an issue in the pits and then we lost a couple of places when we went back out on track. At the least, it was actually fun. We overtook a couple cars and then regained and recovered the position. I think the four Andretti Autosport cars had a solid day under difficult circumstances and I think that we performed really well. Let’s just say, the rest of the season we just need to have a solid performance to bring back the championship points.”
No. 98 ShopAndretti.com / Curb Honda
  • Started 9th // Finished 6th
  • Championship: 8th (358 pts.)
  • Set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 42 before completing his second career Mid-Ohio race in sixth

“We chose a pretty aggressive strategy starting on blacks [Firestone primary tires] and I think it was working pretty well for us, but unfortunately the stint on used [Firestone alternate] reds was a lot more challenging than we originally thought it would be. We lost about 12 seconds on the reds and that was the difference for us between challenging for a podium and finishing sixth.”

On the incident with teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay: 
“I was on reds and [Ryan] was on blacks – it was a 50/50 deal and it’s unfortunate that would ever happen to a teammate. We talked about it, we’ll move on and get back to working together in Pocono.”

No. 28 DHL Honda
  • Started 10th // Finished 8th
  • Championship: 12th (297 pts.)
  • Was working his way into the top five with 17 laps complete when contact with teammate Alexander Rossi spun the 28 car, resulting in lost track position
“We had a good race going today and the DHL team was going to be top-five no doubt, until we made contact with Rossi. That really set us back. We stayed at it and were able to salvage a race that was going to be absolutely terrible and managed to keep it inside the top eight.”
No. 27 #CheckIt4Andretti Honda
  • Started 14th // Finished 12th
  • Championship: 13th (286 pts.)
  • Fought hard in the No. 27, showing speed before eventually being caught out by a short fill during a pit stop in the final stages of the race
“We didn’t qualify as high as we wanted, so we knew we’d have a little bit of work starting from 14th… and we were running well and had made up ground. Then, on the second to last stop, we had a short fill and didn’t get all the fuel into the car, which put us in fuel-saving mode. From there we had to make huge fuel numbers to make it to the end. I’m not sure if we had the car to win, but I do know it’s hard to contend when you’re saving fuel – so that was our day made. We’ll get back at it in Pocono.”

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

Will Power Wins The Pole For The Honda Indy 200 At Mid-Ohio

Will Power
WINNING POLE NOTES

 

  • Will Power won the Verizon P1 Award for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 in Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying on Saturday.
  • This is Power’s fifth pole win of the 2017 season also having won at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway.
  • The pole is the 49th of his INDYCAR career (6 CC/43 IRL/IC), which ties him with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time poles-won list for the series. He is one shy of tying Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, who occupies the third position with 50.
  • Forty-three of his 49 career poles have come as a Team Penske driver.
  • It is Power’s third pole win at Mid-Ohio with the others coming in 2010 and 2012 and his sixth straight front-row start at 2.258-mile road course.
  • This is the ninth pole for Team Penske in 2017 (Power – 5, Castroneves – 3 and Pagenaud – 1)
  • Team Penske has won 20 of 29 poles dating back to last year.
  • Teammate Josef Newgarden qualified the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet second and will start alongside Power on the front row which will be the fifth time this season that Team Penske entrants have occupied the top-two starting positions.
  • Scott McLaughlin also won the pole for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s Ipswich Supersprint and followed it up with his sixth race win of the season.
  • This is the 254th Verizon IndyCar Series pole win in the history of Team Penske and the 530th pole for the organization, overall.

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

Andretti Autosport Previews Mid-Ohio

Andretti Autosport Sheild
Andretti Autosport
RACE PREVIEW
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Verizon IndyCar Series
OF NOTE:

  • Marco Andretti is just three laps shy of leading 1,000 laps during his Verizon IndyCar Series career.
  • The No. 26 car of Takuma Sato will wear the Ruoff Home Mortgage for this weekend’s Honda Indy 200.
  • Many members of Alexander Rossi’s team have Ohio roots. The No. 98 entry co-owner, Bryan Herta attended The Ohio State University, along with lead engineer Jeremy Milless and Honda perfomance engineer Wayne Gross. Rossi’s chief mechanic Scott Marks is from Dayton, Ohio.
  • In 2003, Ryan Hunter-Reay earned his first career Verizon IndyCar Series podium on the 2.258-mile track of Mid-Ohio.

No. 98 ShopAndretti.com / Curb Honda

“We are coming into this weekend with the excitement of finally returning to the podium this year. The motivation to fight for our first win of 2017 is as high as ever and based on last year, I feel like we have a good platform to start from. I have a lot of team members from Ohio, so this is somewhat of a home race for the No. 98 car and I will be doing everything I can to get an awesome result for them.”

Current Points Standings: 8 (330 pts.)

Mid-Ohio IndyCar History

Number of Starts: 1       Best Start: 12 (2016)        Best Finish: 14 (2016)

No. 27 #CheckIt4Andretti Honda

“We left Toronto with a good result and it is important to carry that momentum to Mid-Ohio and build on it. I always love going to Mid-Ohio. I’ve been preparing physically for an all-green, physical race. Mid-Ohio would be a good place to get a podium or win for the 26 team.”

Current Points Standings: 14 (268 pts.)

Mid-Ohio IndyCar History

Number of Starts: 10        Best Start: 3 (2008)        Best Finish: 6 (2009)
No. 28 DHL Honda

“I’ve always enjoyed going to Mid-Ohio and rate it as one of my favorite tracks to race on. I raced here in Skip Barber when I was a teenager and earned my first-ever IndyCar podium at Mid-Ohio. It would be great to add a win for the the DHL team to those memories. We have some positive momentum coming off the last two races at Iowa and Toronto and hopefully we can roll that into another successful weekend at Mid-Ohio.”

Current Points Standings: 13 (273 pts.)

Mid-Ohio IndyCar History
Number of Starts: 11        Best Start: 1 (2013)        Best Finish: 3 (2003, 2011)

No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda

“Mid-Ohio is one most popular tracks among fans and it’s my favorite too. I enjoy driving this twisted road-course and it always reminds me of the UK’s national circuits where I was competing in British F3. In fact, some of the fans at Mid-Ohio have brought pictures of my F3 days, which shows how enthusiastic the fans are here. Also we have a great support from the Honda employees and families so that is also very nice. Ruoff Home Mortgage has joined us for the weekend, and [Mid-Ohio] is very close to a new branch they just opened, so hopefully we will have a lot of their employees at the track to cheer us on. This track is famous for what is known as massive track evolution. The track usually has very little grip when it’s ‘green’ then by the end of the day or the session, it’s gripped up a lot and it affects the car balance and setups, so it’s tricky and challenging. I look forward to having a strong weekend.”

Current Points Standings: 7 (351 pts.)

Mid-Ohio IndyCar History

Number of Starts: 7       Best Start: 3 (2010)        Best Finish: 4 (2011)
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
OF NOTE:

  • Colton Herta has led 140 laps this year, the most of any driver in the Indy Lights field.
  • Ryan Norman will be wearing the band Journey’s logo for the remainder of the season.
  • This will also be a home-race for Norman who was raised in Aurora, Ohio, just 90 miles north of the Mid-Ohio track.
  • Through his USF 2000 and Pro Mazda careers, Nico Jamin has won his last five races at Mid-Ohio. This will be the first year he races the track in Indy Lights.
No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda


“I’m super excited to get back in the car, competing at one of the greatest tracks in North America. I hope to carry the pace that we had in Toronto over to Mid-Ohio this weekend, and battle for the top step on the podium!”
Current Points Standings: 3 (214 pts.)


Mid-Ohio Indy Lights History
The 2017 event will be Herta’s first Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio.
No. 27 Synova Mazda 

“I am over-excited to go back to Mid-Ohio this weekend. I’ve won my last five races in a row there in Pro Mazda and USF2000, so it’s like my home away from home! We had a great test there few a months ago, so I know we will have a strong car. We’ve slipped back a little in the championship, so I’m definitely going for race wins now and end the season strong. It’s going to be a great event!”
Current Points Standings: 7 (189 pts.)


Mid-Ohio Indy Lights History
The 2017 event will be Jamin’s first Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio.
No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda

“To come to the last few races of the season, we’ll be looking for a good finish on the remaining road courses. In Toronto, we had a very competitive pace but ran into issues. This weekend will be a good opportunity to bring home a good result for the No. 28 K-Line crew. We’ve been working hard on our road course setup all week and I think we’ve really homed in on what we need to do to get the most out of the car, so I’m looking forward to a good weekend. It’s always an exciting race – the track lends itself to intense races so it should be exciting for the drivers and the fans.”
Current Points Standings: 9 (154 pts.)
Mid-Ohio Indy Lights History
Number of Starts: 2    Best Start: 11 (2016 Race 1)   Best Finish: 9 (2016 Race 2)

No. 48 Journey Mazda

“I’m extremely excited to get to Mid-Ohio, competing with all my home fans there! I’ve had quite a bit of success at the track over the past couple years and I have confidence that we can push for a podium. This is by far the most hyped I’ve been for a race weekend, plus we have a big new sponsor on board for the rest of the season starting here. Hopefully we keep the momentum forward to end the season strong!”

Current Points Standings: 10 (150 pts.)


Mid-Ohio Indy Lights History
The 2017 event will be Norman’s first Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio
.

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