Rosenqvist Cleared to Drive, Will Race at Mid Ohio

From Arrow McLaren SP Twitter account:

Felix Rosenqvist has been cleared to drive by the INDYCAR Medical Team and will return to pilot the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet this weekend for the Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. https://t.co/3R6p88evvQ

The team and driver expressed appreciation to Dr. Billows and the Indycar medical team for their help in Felix’s recovery.

The Honda Indy 200 is it n NBC Sunday at noon Eastern time.

Magnussen in for Rosenqvist at Road America

Former Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen (above) will drive the number 7 Arrow McLaren SP car for the injured Felix Rosenqvist this weekend at Road America. Rosenqvist suffered injuries in a crash during the first race last Saturday in Detroit. Road America will be the second race Rosenqvist will miss.

Magnussen drove for McLaren and Haas in F1. He currently drives for Chip Ganassi Racing in IMSA as one of the drivers of the DPi Cadillac team. Magnussen’s team won the IMSA race at Detroit last Saturday.

The team’s announcement on Twitter:

Following an evaluation by the INDYCAR Medical Team, Felix Rosenqvist has not been cleared to race at this weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.

Felix Rosenqvist

Felix will continue to be supported by the team as he progresses in his recovery… https://t.co/nVFcXB7PFF

Felix will be replaced for the REV Group Grand Prix by Kevin Magnussen, who will be making his INDYCAR debut. Magnussen made 19 starts for the McLaren Formula 1 team in 2014, including a career-best finish of second at the Australian Grand Prix that year. https://t.co/deZpO5a6E7

Felix will be replaced for the REV Group Grand Prix by Kevin Magnussen, who will be making his INDYCAR debut. Magnussen made 19 starts for the McLaren Formula 1 team in 2014, including a career-best finish of second at the Australian Grand Prix that year. https://t.co/deZpO5a6E7

O’Ward Powers Through to Pole at Barber

Photo: Pato O’Ward by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Pato O’Ward began his title quest by winning the pole for the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park. The Mexican driver in his second full time Indycar season set a track record in round 2 on the way to the first starting spot for tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. O’Ward led the round of 12 with record lap of 1:05.5019.

Qualifying began five minutes late after a power outage postponed the USF2000 series second race. The race ran after Indycar qualifying.

O’Ward earlier this year declared his intention to have his Arrow Mclaren SP Chevy contend for the series title, and today gave credence to his goal. In two practice sessions and two qualifying rounds where some top drivers had issues, O’Ward stayed focused on the task at hand. He also had to survive the more difficult qualifying group.

Alexander Rossi will start on the outside of row 1. Rossi led the second practice session earlier in the day. He abandoned his usual qualifying strategy when he is a pole contender. Instead of waiting to get in one hot lap as time runs out, Rossi was one of the first two cars out at the start of the Fast Six. He stayed out the entire time. Will Power was the first car out for the final round. Power’s tires seemed to fade as could not improve his times from early in the session.

James Hinchcliffe slid into the tire barrier in turn 5 causing a red flag in the second group. The round restarted with just a bit more than 4 minutes left. As time ran out, Felix Rosenqvist went off track in the final turn. He lost a spot in the final round for affecting another driver’s lap.

Notes

Rookies Scott McLaughlin and Romain Grosjean advanced to the second round. Grosjean finished second in his group, and McLaughlin was fourth. Grosjean starts seventh tomorrow and McLaughlin will roll off twelfth.

I can’t remember the last time Chip Ganassi Racing had three cars in the Fast Six. Alex Palou led the first practice session, and Marcus Ericsson had an impressive qualifying. Scott Dixon begins his title defense from fifth place.

The biggest surprise in qualifying was Josef Newgarden finishing eighth. He usually does very well here. Starting position is generally a big factor in the race results at Barber.

I think we will see a first career win tomorrow, but it may not necessarily be Pato O’Ward. Alex Palou looked very strong all day.

Results

Montoya Carries Iconic Number and Colors on 500 Ride

Photos from ArrowMcLarenSP Twitter page

Juan Pablo Montoya will drive car number 86 in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 in a car trimmed with the famous McLaren papaya orange. The 86 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1971 pole winning McLaren of Peter Revson, who stunned the crowd with his average time of 178.696, which beat out Mark Donohue for the pole. Revson finished second in the race to Al Unser.

Peter Revson prepares for his qualifying run in 1971
Top view

Montoya, 500 winner in 2000 and 2015, will also drive in the May 15 race on the IMS road course.

Arrow McLaren SP is the third team Montoya will have driven for in the 500. He won the 500 while driving for Chip Ganassi in 2000 and for Team Penske in 2015.

The three car AMSP effort at Indy, with full time drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, should be a strong contender in May.

O’Ward Ready to Fight for the Championship

Photo: Chris Owens, Indycar

Pato O’Ward left no doubt about his plans for the 2021 Indycar season.

“We want to win races. We want to be consistently fighting for podiums, and we want to be there. We want to be contenders every single race weekend.I think in doing so, that’ll put us in a position at the end of the year to fight for the championship. That is the goal. I want to get to Long Beach having a possibility to win the championship,” The Arrow McLaren SP second year driver said on Indycar Content Day yesterday.

O’Ward finished fourth in the season standings in 2020, winning his first career pole at road America. While he has yet to win a race, that will happen this coming season. I have a feeling he will stand on the top step of the podium more than once this year.

O’Ward spent time in the off-season watching his races from 2020, focusing on the races he felt he should have won. His goal this year is to qualify better and to minimize pit errors, which hurt him in a couple of races last season. O’Ward told the media,

“Man, I rewatched every race where we were in contention, both Iowa races, both Gateway races,Road America. Just from things that I learned last year,you qualify up front, you make your life so much easier.Another thing is that pit stops are huge in INDYCAR racing. I lost a lot of my race wins because we didn’t execute in the pits, and that’s huge. I feel like our pace was very, very strong. I think we were very strong in many places that we went to all year.But where we need to push this year, and we may need to make sure if we have a mistake it has to be minimized, is in the pits, and me as a driver just do my job.”

Motivation has never been an issue for O’Ward, but he seems even more determined to succeed this upcoming season.He feels that he and his team are ready to mix it up with the big three of Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti. He does acknowledge it’s a tall order.

“I feel like last year we left a lot of unfinished business. We were close to winning four races, and we didn’t get it done. We didn’t get it done. There were tough pills to swallow,and I felt like that left everyone in the team so hungry. I can see it from the off-season, just how much work has been put into the development of trying to make the cars go faster at the speedway and road courses.Me as a driver, I truly don’t think I’ve ever been fitter, more ready to try and win the thing. I have lots of faith in the team. I have lots of faith in what we can accomplish as a group. It’s going to be ridiculously hard, but it is possible.”

The addition of Juan Pablo Montoya for the Indianapolis 500 should help him as a driver and the team overall, O’Ward believes. He also thinks having gone through a complete Indycar season as ateam and knowing what to expect, will improve their chances of success.

“I think having a year under our belts and the engineers knowing what I like and how I go about things, I think that just helps everyone work better and more efficient. I have lots of faith that all those small guys behind the computer doing all the analysis and the developments of either it can be a road course, street course, superspeedway for drag,aero, whatever it may be, I feel like in this off-season they had a direction and they had more of a clear picture of where they had to work, to work at or see where there was massive improvements to be made.”

The Indianapolis 500 is where O’Ward really wants to improve. Last year the superspeedways were “like driving into a black hole,” he said. He believes the team, with Monotya’s help, will be stronger at the brickyard in 2021.

I am putting O’Ward on my list of title contenders. This is the first of a series on each of the drivers I think has a shot at the Astor Cup in 2021.

O’Ward Leads Laguna Seca Test; Grosjean 3rd Fastest

Photo: Chris Owens, Indycar

Pato O’Ward had the quickest time in Monday’s test at Weather Tech Raceway Monday. The private test The private test session included seven drivers from four teams. It was the first test day in an Indycar for Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive for Arrow McLaren SP in the Indianapolis 500.

Montoya will be in car number 86 at Indianapolis. The number is a tribute to Peter Revson’s 1971 500 pole winning McLaren.

Romain Grosjean, who recently signed with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR, was third fastest on the day. Grosjean said in an earlier interview that this track was the one he was most looking forward to driving. he had Laguna Seca on a video game when he was younger.

Helio Castroneves also partticipated in the test for Meyer Shank Racing. Castroneves will drive in six races, including the 500, for Meyer Shank Racing.

Indycar’s next official test will at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 8-9 for all entries in the Indianapolis 500. There is no word yet if this test will be open for public viewing.

Results:

RANKCAR NO.DRIVERTEAMENGINEFAST LAPDIFF.TOTAL LAPS
15Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevrolet71.293 83
218Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing With Vasser-SullivanHonda71.529-0.236104
351Romain GrosjeanDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda71.571-0.278109
67Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevrolet71.600-0.30792
560Jack HarveyMeyer-Shank RacingHonda71.688-0.39581
421Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet71.797-0.504104
886Juan MontoyaArrow McLaren SPChevrolet72.219-0.92675
706Helio CastronevesMeyer-Shank RacingHonda72.812-1.51991

Arrow McLaren SP Sports a Different Look for 2021

All photos from Arrow McLaren SP

Arrow McLaren SP revealed their liveris for the number 5 car of Pato O’Ward and the number 7 car of Felix Rosenqvist today. The cars have a bit of a different look and are not similar as they were last year. In 2020 Oliver Askew’s number 7 had blue end plates and the cars were at times difficult to distinguish.

The team presented the cars in a You Tube video this morning on their social media channels.

Rosenqvist (L) and O’Ward (R) comparison. Slide the arrow for a full view of each car.



The numbers on the roll hoop appear a bit sharper on the 2021 car. Last year the numbers were a hard to see at times. I’m glad they kept the abstract look of the digits.

Juan Pablo Montoya will join the team for 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. His car number, sponsor, and livery will be announced closer to May.

O’Ward Fastest in Sebring Test

Pato O’Ward had the fastest time in yesterday’s Indycar test at Sebring, topping 13 other cars in his Arrow McLaren SP machine. Other teams testing included Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and Ed Carpenter Racing.

O’Ward and Alexander Rossi were the only two cars to post laps under 52 seconds.

New Liveries

While the Arrow McLaren cars used their testing camo livery, the cars of Scott McLaughlin and Alexander Rossi unveiled new paint schemes for 2021. Will Power also had a variation os last year’s scheme on the 12.

Rossi. Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar
McLaughlin. Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar
Power. Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

The times

RANKCAR NO.DRIVERTEAMENGINEQUICK LAPDIFFERENCETOTAL LAPS
15Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevrolet51.790 124
227Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda51.928-0.138122
32Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevrolet52.055-0.265138
426Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda52.061-0.271116
529Oliver AskewAndretti AutosportHonda52.240-0.450109
67Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevrolet52.258-0.46891
739Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda52.302-0.512139
820Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet52.311-0.521123
915Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda52.356-0.566157
1021Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet52.358-0.56899
1112Will PowerTeam PenskeChevrolet52.362-0.572145
1222Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeChevrolet52.378-0.588120
1328Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportHonda52.464-0.674106
143Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevrolet52.469-0.679130

Montoya Returns to the 500; Hoosier 100 Gets Another Reprieve

Two time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya will once again drive in the Indianapolis 500, this time with Arrow McLaren SP. Montoya will pilot a third car for the team, alongside reglkar drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

Montoya spent the last three season driving for Team Penske Acura in the Weather Tech Championship Series, winning the championship in 2019. He also has won a CART title. Montoya has driven just about everything. He will drive next season for Dragonspeed in the WEC. Monotya has also .won races in Formula 1 and NASCAR.

With Montoya’s entry into the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, the field has the potential to include eight former winners. Montoya’s former Penske teammate, three time winner Helio Castroneves, will be driving for Meyer Shank Racing. May 30 will be the first time the pair will be driving on different teams.

Hoosier Hundred Gets Another Chance

The Hoosier Hundred returns to the USAC Silver Crown Schedule at the Indiana State Fairgrounds May 27. 2019 was expected to be the final running of the 65 year old race. The track was schedule to be resurfaced for the sole use of the trotting and pacing horses which normally run during the Indiana State Fair. The COVID pandemic has prevented the track work from being done. The longer the work is delayed is more time to convince the fair board to keep this race.

The night following the Hoosier Hundred is the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway/ The schedule also includes the Silver Crown’s first visit to Winchester Speedway.

The full schedule:

Gift Ideas

My friend Johanna, (@writebend) has compiled a list of some small businesses that sell racing related items. These businesses have had a difficult year and could use any support you can give. Here is the link to her post:

https://write-bend.blogspot.com/2020/11/supporting-motorsport-related-companies.html?m=1