Team Penske Names Two Of Their Four Drivers for Their IMSA Team

Juan Pablo Montoya
Team Penske announced today two of the four drivers that will compete full time for the team in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, racing the cars of the recently-announced Acura Daytona Prototype International (DPi) program. Legendary Verizon IndyCar Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya will team up with sports car champion Dane Cameron to pilot one of the team’s two ARX-05 entries.

Team Penske and Acura Motorsports will announce its other two full-time drivers, as well as additional drivers for the endurance races, at a later date.

The official unveiling of the new ARX-05 race car will take place on Friday as part of Monterey Car Week in California, while the full team will make its competition debut with the new Acura prototype sports cars at the 2018 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

“We worked together with our partners at Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development (HPD) to bring together drivers that we believe will help develop our program and compete for race wins right out of the gate while also serving as great ambassadors for their brands,” said Roger Penske. “Having Juan and Dane join our program brings together two drivers that have extensive sports car racing experience in the prototype class and have already won at the top levels of the sport. This represents a great beginning to our program for 2018.”

Montoya is one of the most accomplished competitors in racing. Few drivers in motorsports history can match the credentials of the fiercely-competitive Colombian. He is the only driver to win an INDYCAR championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Daytona, all in his first attempt. He is also a former winner of one of the most prestigious races in the world – Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya and legendary racers Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney are the only drivers that can boast wins in Formula 1, INDYCAR and NASCAR. In addition, Montoya has won two Indianapolis 500s – including the 2015 race with Team Penske, the 24 Hours of Daytona three times and he earned seven Formula 1 victories in his career. Montoya is currently helping to test and develop the new INDYCAR aero kit that will debut in 2018 and he will also test the new ARX-05 in preparation for next season.

“I have really enjoyed working with Roger and Team Penske over the last four years,” said Montoya. “When Roger asked if I’d like to be part of starting this new sports car operation with Acura, it was an easy decision. I’ve always loved racing sports cars. It’s definitely a challenge and it’s going to be a lot of fun to develop a new car with Acura. I’m excited to start the testing of the ARX-05 next week. Team Penske started its winning tradition in sports cars and it’s going to be cool to be a part of a new chapter with the team.”

Cameron comes from a racing family and brings a winning sports car track record to Team Penske starting next season. The son of longtime winning racing engineer Rick Cameron, Dane is a two-time and reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series champion. He currently competes in the series prototype class for Action Express Racing and he’s earned one win (at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and four podium finishes so far in 2017. Over the course of the last three seasons behind the wheel of the Action Express prototype, Cameron has produced five class victories and he captured the 2016 series title. With 12 career sports car wins across Grand-Am, American Le Mans and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, Cameron also won the 2014 IMSA GTD championship driving for Turner Motorsports.

“Getting a chance to race for Team Penske is like a dream come true for a driver,” said Cameron. “To see all of the effort and resources that Acura Motorsports is putting into this new program to develop and win with the ARX-05, it’s really impressive. I’m so excited for the opportunity to become part of the team and work with a guy who has done all the things Juan has done. It’s going to be an awesome experience to add my name to the list of drivers that have driven for Team Penske. I’m looking forward to a busy off season and coming out of the gates strong at Daytona.”

The Acura ARX-05 [Acura Racing eXperimental, generation 5] is the latest in a line of endurance prototypes to be fielded by the company dating back to 1991, just five years after the 1986 launch of the Acura brand.  Based on the very successful ORECA 07 chassis, the new ARX-05 prototype features Acura-specific bodywork and utilizes the race-proven, production-based Acura AR35TT twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine.

The multi-year program will be administered by Honda Performance Development, the racing arm for both Acura Motorsports and Honda Racing in North America.

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

The Playoff Clock Is Ticking For Joey Logano

Joey Logano
With three races left before the playoffs start, Joey Logano is on the outside looking in. His failure to qualify so far is arguably the biggest surprise of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season in terms of performance!

He admitted at Michigan International Speedway to feeling desperate, but he sees the closing stretch of regular-season races as really good for him, particularly Bristol and Richmond.

“Bristol is probably one of our best racetracks as well, especially in the fall race,” said Logano, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Fusion.

He has two career wins at Bristol in 17 starts. He also has two wins at Richmond. He won there in the spring, but a rules violation meant the win was declared encumbered, so it does not lock him into the playoffs. Darlington is the only weak spot in the group. His average finish there is 18.4, and he has just two top 5 finishes in eight starts.

“I don’t look at that race track (Darlington) and say we don’t have a chance,” he said. “I feel like we’ll still be fine there, it just might be a little bit different.”

Logano is too far back to points-race his way in, so his team is likely to take aggressive chances to try to grab a win.

“Every moment becomes more and more important on the racetrack, and that’s OK,” he says. “That’s where you find out what you’re made of, so I’m all right with that.”

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!

Team Penske Did Not Fare Well At The Glen

Brad Keselowski
Track:                  Watkins Glen International

Race:                   I Love NY 355

Date:                   August 6, 2017

 

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 8th

Finish: 15th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led: 20

Point Standings (behind leader): 6th (-200)

 

Recap: Brad Keselowski started Sunday’s I Love NY 355 at Watkins Glen International from the eighth position before finishing 15th in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion. As the race began, Keselowski quickly moved into the top five despite struggling for forward drive on the exit of each corner of the seven-turn road course. He would maintain that position through the end of the first, 20-lap stage to pick up six bonus points. After coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the break, Keselowski restarted the second, 20-lap stage from the 14th positon. Still, the handling was not quite where the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion needed it to be, but he was able to maneuver his way to a seventh-place finish in the second stage. As the third stage of the race began at lap 45, Keselowski restarted in the same, seventh-place position after not pitting during the break. On the first lap back to green, while entering the interloop section of the track, Keselowski and Kyle Busch made contact that sent them both spinning but able to continue with only slight damage. Unfortunately, Keselowski developed a vibration five laps later and had to come to pit road for four tires, an air pressure adjustment and to work on the damage from the incident. This did not put the team in their fuel window, but Keselowski grabbed the lead when the other competitors began making their final pit stops. The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford continued to pace the field while Keselowski and team needed a caution to make their final pit stop. However, the race stayed under the green flag and Keselowski had to pit on lap 87 of the 90-lap race. To make matters worse, he drove through too many pit stalls upon exiting pit road and had to serve a pass-through penalty that placed him 15th at the end of the event.

 

Quote: “Tough break today for the Miller Lite Ford team. I guess I drove through too many pit stalls leaving on our last pit stop. Gosh, it’s a bummer. We weren’t the fastest car today but we raced real hard and with a lot of heart. That put us in position. I hate that I cost us a top-five to a 15th. Good effort all around.”

 

 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 13th

Finish: 24th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 90/90

Laps Led:  0

Point Standings (behind leader):  13th (-339)

 

Recap:  Joey Logano started 13th and finished 24th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday afternoon’s I Love NY 355 at Watkins Glen International. Logano, the 2015 race winner and 2016 runner up entered the afternoon seeking a victory to secure the 22 team’s place in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. On the initial start of the race, Logano worked his way into the top-10, reaching the ninth position by lap 3, and continuing to push forward through the first stage. At the completion of the stage at lap 20, Logano and company found themselves in the seventh position. On the initial start of the race Logano reported that the balance of the car was loose through turns two and three, while maintaining a tight center in the circuit’s sweeping right handers. Crew chief Todd Gordon elected to adjust the No. 22 Ford with air pressure on the first stop of the day. Unfortunately, the team would battle getting the wheel indexed onto the studs on the right front and drop several positions in the process. In the second stage, Logano started to battle a loss of rear grip, while continuing to be tight through the center of the corners and loose on exit. Despite improved lap times, he reported that the handling had worsened. To complicate matters, contact was made on lap 27 with the No. 10 Ford, which knocked the toe out on the left front of the Shell-Pennzoil Fusion. The team elected to stay out at the end of the second stage and finished in the 12th position. Gordon would bring the team to pit road for the second time of the afternoon when the caution was displayed at lap 51. The stop dropped the team outside of the top-20, with other teams electing to remain on the track. On the restart, Logano was able to work back inside the top-20 but continued to lose ground with an overall lack of rear grip. Not wanting to play the fuel mileage card, Gordon elected to pit the Shell-Pennzoil Ford at lap 75, taking four tires and fuel in an effort to let Logano run hard to the finish in hopes of a late race caution. With the race running green to the completion, the team was forced to settle for a 24th-place finish.

 

Quote “Best case scenario we were going to finish top-10 which does nothing for us. A top-5 or a win is the only thing that is going to help us, so we went for it by pitting and putting four tires on and hoping to get a caution and maybe cycle ahead of cars with new tires. Unfortunately it went green all the way and we didn’t get a good finish. We need to win the next few races here.”

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

Team Penske Let Their Presence Be Known At The Zippo 200

Joey Logano
Track:                     Watkins Glen International

Race:                      Zippo 200

Date:                      August 5, 2017

 

No. 12 Snap-on Ford Mustang – Joey Logano

Start:  1st (33rd career pole)

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 82/82

Laps Led: 0

 

Recap: Joey Logano started first and finished second in the No. 12 Snap-on Tools Ford Mustang in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Logano, who was seeking his third-consecutive victory on the historic circuit, claimed his 33rd career pole earlier in the day in qualifying. On the initial start, Logano dropped into the second position and rode there until the end of the first stage. Crew chief Brian Wilson called for a track bar adjustment on the first stop, attempting to help Logano with the tightness in turn 1 and through the carousel. The changes helped, but only incrementally as Logano reported he had a great short run car, but struggled to maintain forward turn over the long run. The pit stop also shuffled the team back to the 13th position as numerous cars had pitted prior to the end of the first stage. On the ensuing restart, Logano made quick work of the cars in front, moving to the top-five on the first lap, then into the top-three by the next lap. Logano continued forward, ultimately moving into the second position by the end of the second stage. The team would opt to remain on the track, continuing under green flag conditions until lap 49 when Wilson called Logano back to the pits for the final time of the afternoon. Over the final run, Logano reported the car was loose on the left turns and slightly tight on the right-hand corners. Unfortunately, the final caution only allowed four laps of racing so track position became too important to pit the Snap-on Tools Mustang so Logano was left to fight from the third position. On the final restart of the day, Logano was able to battle teammate Brad Keselowski for the second position, where he ended the afternoon.

 

Quote: “It’s fun. Dang, I wish it was for the win and not for second. I had such a good short run car, just in the wrong position to start that last run. I feel like if I was second I could have won the race. I just had a really good short run car. Our long run speed was off a bit and that’s when the 18 and 22 would drive by us and we were a third-place car on the long run but probably a winning car on the short run. By time I cleared the 22 the 18 was gone. If we had another four or five laps (he would have drove off again). I needed a caution”

 

 

No. 22 REV Group Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start:  5th

Finish: 3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 82/82

Laps Led: 6

Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): 1st (+101)

 

Recap: After starting Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International from the fifth position Brad Keselowski fought his way to a third-place finish on the 2.45-mile road course. The 2013 winner of this event, Keselowski raced his way into the lead at lap 17 and would go on to win the first, 20-lap stage that ended under the caution flag. Following a four-tire pit stop during the break the No. 22 team won the race off pit road and line up fourth on the restart, behind drivers that made their pit stops before the end of the stage. The REV Group Ford was very loose at the start of the second, 20-lap stage, but Keselowski was able to hang on to it to finish third in the stage. Crew chief Greg Erwin left his driver on the racing surface during the break between stages as their strategy was to make the end of the race on two pit stops. After racing back into the lead at lap 47, Keselowski made his final pit stop of the day on lap 49. He would cycle to the second position after all pit stops had been completed, behind eventual race winner Kyle Busch. A lap 77 caution gave Keselowski another shot to win but he could not make his way around Busch and would cross the finish line in the third position behind Busch and his teammate, Joey Logano. The finish is Keselowski’s fourth-consecutive top-five finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

 

Quote: “Probably needed a little bit everywhere. I gave it all I had. Joey and I were racing for best in class and he did a good job. It was a heck of a race there at the end.”

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

Joey Logano Must Make Something Happen Soon!

Joey Logano
The current five-race portion of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule couldn’t come at a better time for Joey Logano.

That at least, is the hope that buoys the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford as he tries to force his way into NASCAR’s playoffs.

After a mistake-laden performance last Sunday at Pocono Raceway, where Logano finished 27th after multiple pit road penalties, the 2016 series runner-up is 13th in the standings, 69 points behind ninth-place Matt Kenseth, the last driver, as things stand now, who would qualify for the playoff without a victory.

Logano has a win, from Richmond in April, but an infraction involving the rear housing of his Ford, discovered after the race, means that victory is encumbered and doesn’t count toward qualification for the playoffs.

But the next five regular-season races, give Logano reason for optimism.

“I don’t think we’re at that point yet, but we’re close to the point where we’re going to have to win,” Logano told reporters on Tuesday night at a screening of the Steven Soderbergh film Logan Lucky, in which Logano has a cameo role as a security guard. “The positive side is that the next four out of five races (are at tracks) we’ve won at before.

“We’ve won at Richmond this year. Bristol’s one of our best tracks that we always run up front at. Michigan’s a really good track, but the fastest tracks haven’t really been our forte, at least not this year. And Watkins Glen has been one of my best tracks, honestly, for a couple of years. We finished second last year and won the year before. Our best shot might be this weekend. But we’ll fire away at it and see what happens.”

Logano is right about the Glen – the site of Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 355. In addition to his two most recent Monster Energy finishes at the 2.45-mile road course, Logano is the two-time defending winner of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at WGI. That track and Bristol, where he has won two straight Night Races, probably constitute Logano’s best chances to get to Victory Lane.

“Speed has been an issue,” Logano said. “At Indy (where he finished fourth two weeks ago) we had decent speed, and we were in a position to possibly win that race with the right race strategy, cautions going the right way and all that.

“The speed we had at Pocono, I don’t think you can put the right strategy and think we were going to win the race. We were going to fight for 10th. We’ve got to get faster. No doubt. We’ve got to get faster.”

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!

Team Penske Had A Mixed Results At The Overton’s 400

Track:                  Pocono Raceway

Race:                   Overton’s 400

Date:                   July 30, 2017
Brad Keselowski

 

No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 11th

Finish: 5th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 160/160

Laps Led: 6

Point Standings (behind leader): 5th (-174)

 

Recap: Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion team started 11th in Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway for the second-consecutive weekend, and just like last week they were able to parlay that into a top-five finish after a fifth-place result Sunday afternoon. Crew chief Paul Wolfe made a great call to pick up valuable track position by making a green-flag pit stop at lap 15 to set the No. 2 Ford team up to finish fourth in the first, 50-lap stage of the day to earn seven bonus points. When a quick caution flag was displayed at the start of the second, 50-lap stage, Wolfe again brought his driver down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop that would have given the team a great opportunity to score a win in the stage. Unfortunately, an untimely caution flag flew at lap 70 to disrupt that play, but pit strategy would continue to be a hallmark of the race for Wolfe and the team. After a four-tire pit stop, Keselowski restarted in the fourth position at lap 75, and would finish the second stage in second to score nine additional bonus points. Keselowski began the final, 60-lap stage from the 11th position following his pit stop for four tires and fuel, but with an aggressive restart he was able to race his way into the fifth position in one lap. He would keep the Alliance Truck Parts machine inside the top 10 for the remainder of the race and would cross the finish line in the fifth position. The finish, combined with the 16 bonus points for the stage finishes, resulted in Keselowski garnering the second-most points on the day behind race winner, Kyle Busch.

 

Quote: “A strategy day for sure. Our Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion was okay, decent speed. I thought we had the best strategy out there, we just needed a little bit more speed.”

 
Joey Logano & Ryan Blaney

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 10th

Finish: 27th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 159/160

Laps Led:  0

Point Standings (behind leader):  13th (-298)

 

Recap:  Joey Logano started 10th and finished 27th on Sunday afternoon in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in the Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway. When the green flag fell, Logano worked forward, reaching the eighth position by Turn 2 before the caution flag was displayed for an incident on the opening lap. When green-flag action resumed, he reported the handling of the car as loose on corner entry but tight through the center of the turns. When crew chief Todd Gordon called the Shell-Pennzoil Ford to pit road for the first time at lap 17, the team adjusted with wedge and air pressure in attempt to give Logano both the entry security and the center turn he needed. The adjustments marginally improved the handling, but Logano was stuck battling dirty air until the conclusion of the first stage at lap 50, where he finished 11th. The next pit stop, Gordon would call for additional wedge and air pressure adjustments, however, an issue on the right front would slow the stop and cost valuable track position. The race would be slowed again by caution at lap 59, where Logano reported the handling to be better and the team pitted for fuel only. On the next run, Logano reported that the entry security was better, but the car was still tight in the center of the turn. The team continued to fight forward, but being out of position for stage points at the end of the second stage, Gordon called Logano to pit road at lap 97. The team would wrap up the stage in the 27th position but cycle forward after the leaders pitted at the caution. Running just outside the top-10, Logano reported his car was more competitive, and he consistently ran times comparable with the top-five. On lap 127, Logano pitted again under green, but was unfortunately deemed too fast entering pit road and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty. Further compounding the situation, the tires were flat spotted as he entered the pits for the penalty and required an additional pit stop, thus requiring an additional trip down pit road to serve the penalty. Logano would continue on and bring the Shell-Pennzoil Ford home in the 27th position.

 

Quote“Unfortunately we had too many setbacks today. We had a car towards the middle part of the race that we could run in the top-10 with if we could get the track position and then a speeding penalty cost us the opportunity for that. We just have to execute together as a team and continue to fight on and we can win. We can’t get down on ourselves here, we have to keep looking ahead and trying to get ourselves into the playoffs.”

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!

Keselowski Thinks Adding Blaney To Team Penske Adds Much Needed Depth

Ryan Blaney
In a heavy news week for Team Penske, 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski inked a long-term contract extension, and the organization announced the addition of a third Cup team with driver Ryan Blaney for 2018.

Given the current embargo against discretionary testing in NASCAR’s top-three divisions, Keselowski believes the addition of Blaney’s No. 12 Ford will be a positive.

“Hopefully, it means more depth,” Keselowski said on Saturday. “More ability to extend resources engineering where you can make the car faster. The biggest battle that we have right now in motorsports is aerodynamics. The teams keep pushing aerodynamics further and further to improve that. It’s just really the time and energy that you can spend on it.

“The more people you have, the more revenue you have, the more that you can work in those areas with engineering tools or experiments to get better. There’s a lot of hope with respect to that. It’s not just aerodynamics. It also carries over to the engine side with Roush Yates Engines and a number of other categories of depth, whether it be pit crews or shop mechanics, fabricators and beyond.

“Assuming that it’s pulled off and executed in the right way at those levels it should be a gain for everybody at Team Penske.”

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