New Start Procedure; Rossi Leads Final Practice

Indycar as updated the starting procedure for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Portland. Cars will be allowed top accelerate at the exit of turn 12. BY doing so, the series hopes to avoid what has become annual first turn carnage by spreading out the cars. The start may look more ragged than ususal, but avoiding the first turn chaos is better.

Alexander Rossi had the fastest time in this afternoon’s final warmup. The 30 minute session ran without incident.Most cars took a couple drives through the escape road in turn1 for practice.

The crowd today seemed a bit down from the last time I was here, and there looked to be fe3wwer food vendors than I remember.

This will do it for today’s coverage. thanks for following along.

Results

Rossi, Team Penalized After Win

The NTT Indycar Series announced this afternoon penalties for Alexander Rossi and the team of the number 27 car for a post race infraction. The cxar did not meet minimum weight.

The statement from Indycar:

Gallagher Grand Prix Post-Event Infraction

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022) – INDYCAR is announcing a post-event infraction from the conclusion of the Gallagher Grand Prix, which was completed Saturday, July 30 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
INDYCAR has fined Andretti Autosport $25,000 and penalized the team 20 entrant/driver points after the No. 27 entry of Alexander Rossi was found in violation of the following in post-race inspection:

Rule 14.4.1.1. The minimum weight shall include the car in ready-to-compete condition excluding Driver, Driver Equivalency Weight, fuel and drink bottle content.

Rule 14.4.1.1.1. Minimum weight for Road/Street Events – will be 1700 pounds.

“From a sporting perspective, the car met minimum requirements,” said INDYCAR President Jay Frye. “From a technical perspective, the way they achieved the weight is not allowed. To meet minimum weight, the drink bottle and its contents were used as car ballast, which is not permitted and why the team is being fined and penalized.”
Members may contest the imposition of the penalties detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES rulebook.
 

Rossi Returns to Victory Lane; Thoughts on the Gallagher Grand Prix

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

It took 49 races and more than 1,100 days for Alexander Rossi to once again see the checkered flag first. It happened to be in the same venue where he won his first race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The track layout was different than when he won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, but a win is a win.

It’s not that Rossi forgot how to drive. He endured a telephone book’s worth of issues n the pits, bad luck, and untimely mechanical failures. How did he keep going through all of the frustration?

He told the media,

“It’s human nature to start to question things when it continually doesn’t kind of fall your way. You just have to remember that you’ve done it before, you can do it again.”

Rossi tried to take the lead on lap 2 with a bold move on Felix Rosenqvist going into turn one, but ended up off course and fell back to third. He later passed Rosenqvist and set off after teammate Colton Herta, who had charged from ninth to take the lead.

It appeared to be Herta’s race, but he slowed on lap 42 and barely coasted into the pit entrance. Rossi inherited the lead and never looked back.

Rossi’s eighth career win comes as his time with Andretti Autosport nears its end. He was happy that he could win for his crew. Rossi spoke about what winning at IMS means/
“…it’s a hard one to put into words. Every time I come here, I just appreciate it more and more, whether it’s for an event — I mean,
obviously the 500, but whether it’s this event, a
sponsorship thing, a media thing, giving laps around the
track. Like it’s just such an amazing place for us.
For me, being my seventh season in the series and
knowing what it means to the NTT INDYCAR Series, as
well, yeah.

I kind of was hoping on the Road America
weekend for it to kind of start and end this drought or
whatever there, but it actually ended here was actually kind
of a cooler story. To be able to go up on the lift with the
guys and let them experience that because that didn’t exist
in 2016, there’s a lot of special things about this place. The
fan turnout here for us as INDYCAR drivers is always
amazing, and seeing everyone with the merch and the
autograph session, it’s just a very special thing today for
sure.”

I have a feeling the gap to his next win will not be as long. Arrow McLaren SP will be very happy to have Rossi driving for them.

Great day for RLL

Overshadowed by Rossi’s win was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s best day of the season. The team has struggled for results all season, but today rookie Christian Lundgaard finished a career best second, and Graham Rahal came home in seventh. It would be great to see this team become a factor over the last four races of the year.

Christian Lundgaard

Lundgaard extended his lead in the rookie standings to 27 points over David Malukas.

Power Leads- For Now

Will Power retook the points lead over Marcus Ericsson. The difference between them is just nine points. Ericsson won at Nashville, the next race on the schedule.

The top five in points are separated by just 46 points. This race is still wide open.

Notes

Colton Herta may not want to race on Saturday anymore. Last Saturday in Iowa he made a great run through the field from his 17th starting spot only to have a mechanical issue and finish 24th. Today he took the lead from ninth and was in control at the halfway point when another issue put him out of the race.

I will have a race wrapup post tomorrow where I will discuss the call to stay green with a car stalled on track, whether three Indycar races at IMS is too many, and if this current shared weekend format should continue.

Thanks for following along. I appreciate you.

Rossi Leads Practice

Alexander Rossi led the lone practice session for the GMR Grand Prix at IMS with a lap of 1:10,091. Josef Newgarden was second quick. Newgarden showed no ill effects from his crash last Sunday but still needs to be evaluated before he is allowed to continue the rest of the weekend.

The session run without interruption, although several drivers had some off track excursions and some half spins.

Top 13 Results:

Rossi Leads Toronto Practice 1

Alexander Rossi had the fastest lap in the first practice for the Honda Indy Toronto this afternoon with a lap of 1:00.6090. Simon Pagenaud was second, just 0,0901 seconds behind. Graham Rahal was third, 0.0941 seconds off Rossi’s lap.

The session stopped four times. The first red flag was for a track inspection of a manhole cover in turn 2. Callum Ilott tagged the wall his front wing to cause the second halt to action. Jimmie Johnson spun in turn eight, just lightly brushing the barrier with the end plate of the front wing, and Helio Castroneves caused the final red flag when the went into the tire barrier n turn eight and stalled his car.

Alex Palou put aside this week’s controversy and turned in the10th best time. He told the media this morning that he will not make further comments on the situation. Palou said he is concentrating on repeating as series champion.

Points leader Marcus Ericsson finished the session in fourth place, ahead of his two closest rivals. Will Power ninth and Josef Newgarden was fifth.

Rahal’s third place is the first time this year the team has been in the conversation at the end of a session. He said that a test at Sebring gave the team a good idea of what would work at Toronto. Rahal would like to find more pace on the red alternate tires.

Graham Rahal

Notes

I had forgotten how tight and narrow the Toronto circuit is. There is little room for error anywhere on the track.

Pit entrance and exit look very tight. Pit boxes have been reduced to 35 feet from their normal 40 foot space to accommodate the extra entries. The grid is expected to be even larger in 2023. The series is working with the promoter to redesign the pit lane for more cars..

It was great seeing the Princes’ Gate again. I have always thought that the track should be driving through it at the start of each lap rather than it being part of the runoff area.

Results

Rossi’s Black Strategy Pays off with Road America Pole

It worked for Josef Newgarden last year at Road America, and it worked again for Alexander Rossi in 2022. Rossi ran the entire eight minbutes of the The Fast Six on sticker primary tires, and he becomes the eighth pole sitter in eight races this season.

Rossi’s pole winning lap of 1:44.8656 edged Newgarden by0.0715 seconds.

Rossi explained the tire choice in the post qualifying press conference.

“I think the Firestone blacks, the
primaries, were a pretty easy decision based on what Josef
did last year. I think you saw quite a few guys besides
myself on them as well.
It’s just with the nature of the track, it being so long, a new
black is usually a little bit better than a used red. That
being said it was still a lot of work to get it done. Happy we
were able to achieve it.”

Rossi backed up his second place finish at Detroit last weekend with two strong days in practice and qualifying. The last time Rossi started on the front row at road America, in 2019, he led flag to flag and won by 28 seconds. I’m not expecting that kind of blowout tomorrow, but Rossi does know how to control a race.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden looked to have the strongest car going into qualifying, but he chose to run used red s. It was an odd choice considering he used the black tires to win the pole last year.

Will Power, who won Detroit from 16th on the grid, will have to nearly duplicate that feat Sunday as he starts 15th.

The only incident came at the start of Round 2 when Callum Ilott locked up the reartires in turn 14 and slid off track. Ilott made the second round after sitting out last week with a hand injury.

Notes

The Fast Six had cars from what we can now call the Big Four- Team Penske, Arrow McLaren SP, and two cars each from Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport.

The last time eight different pole winners began the season? 1961. That year the first nine races had a different pole winner. No, I cannot name them.

Colton Herta had the fastest lap of the entire session, 1:44.4038 in Round 2.

A final 30 minute practice is scheduled for 4:20 pm. Rain is expected around 4:15.

Rossi Leads Practice 1

Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta led an Andretti 1-2 in the openeing round of practice yesterday afternoon at road America. The teammates exchanged the top spot a couple of times in the last few minutes of the extended session.

Much of the session saw few cars on track as teams tried to save their tires for the race. In the end there was about the same amount of activity as in a 45 minute practice round. The 75 minutes was an experiment, and I would rather see two shorter sessions on Friday than one long one.

Results:

Today’s Schedule:

Saturday, June 11, 2022 All Times Central
7:00 a.m. Gates Open
8:00 a.m. Indy Pro 2000 Q2
8:45 a.m. INDY LIGHTS P2
9:45 a.m. INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 Peacock
11:00 a.m. USF2000 R#1
12:00 p.m. INDY LIGHTS Qualifying

12:45 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying/Firestone Fast 6 Peacock
2:15 p.m. Indy Pro 2000 R#1
3:20 p.m. USF2000 R#2
4:20 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES Final Practice Peacock
5:05 p.m. RADICAL CUP R#2
6:10 p.m. Vintage Indy Registry

I will probably get to the track in the middle of the morning practice,and I will have a more detailed report.

Rossi Tops Race Warmup

Alexander Rossi had the quickest lap in the 30 minute warmup session for today’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. He also was fastest in yesterday morning’s practice session.

This morning’s practice was the cleanest of the weekend, stopped just once when Jimmie Johnson spun and stalled with about 15 minutes left.

The red alternate tires appear to degrade rather quickly. The teams have some big decisions to make on when to use them. Tire choices will be coming soon, and the starting tire could be the key to the race. There are many options, including a third stop.

The top 13 results:

Second Non Surprise This Week- Rossi to AMSP

As usual, news breaks while I’m in transit. Here is the release from AMSP.

ALEXANDER ROSSI TO JOIN ARROW McLAREN SP IN 2023

“I see the commitment this team has to each other and to me”

Indianapolis, Ind. | June 2, 2022

Arrow McLaren SP has signed American driver Alexander Rossi to a multiyear deal for him to drive for the team, starting in 2023. The arrival of Rossi underpins Arrow McLaren SP’s long-term strategy to become a consistent race winner and championship contender.

Rossi, from Nevada City, California, has secured seven wins, six poles and 25 podium finishes since arriving in IndyCar in 2016. His most notable win came as a rookie when he won the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in dramatic fashion, coasting across the finish line on fumes.

The American is a versatile driver who has also made five starts in Formula 1, raced the famed Bathurst 1000 in Australia in 2019, won the Baja 1000 in 2021, and took an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2021.

Rossi will join the team following the completion of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

Arrow McLaren SP will hold a press conference tomorrow (Friday, June 3) at 10:30 a.m. ET with Alexander Rossi and Taylor Kiel, President of Arrow McLaren SP, at the Detroit Grand Prix Media Center.

Alexander Rossi, said:

“First, I want to thank everyone at Andretti Autosport for an incredible seven years. It has been a great ride with an awesome team, and it has been an honor to race for the Andretti name and for Michael for so long. The time has come for a new challenge, with a team that is growing in the sport. I look forward to contributing to the development of Arrow McLaren SP and helping them reach the top. I see the commitment this team has to each other and to me, and I’m looking forward to getting started. It’s time for me to race for another one of motorsport’s biggest names: McLaren.”

Taylor Kiel, President, Arrow McLaren SP, said:

“As we look forward to 2023, we are looking for a driver that will be a great fit and bring experience to the team. Alex is a driver who knows what it takes to succeed in this sport and will strengthen our talented driver line-up. He shares the same winning mindset that I see every day across Arrow McLaren SP and I think we will find a lot of success together in the years to come.”

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said:

“Alex is a proven race winner and an Indianapolis 500 champion, who shares our desire to win. It is essential that we put the right talent in place, both inside and outside the car, so we can consistently compete for championships and race wins as a team. He is someone we have had our eye on for some time and we’re excited to see what he’ll do as a part of Arrow McLaren SP.”