Quick Thoughts- HyVee Deals.Com 250

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Another Iowa race, another Josef Newgarden victory. Newgarden dominates this track like Scott Dixon used to rule Mid Ohio.

Chevy has a tremendous advanatge over Honda this year. Several Honda cars challenged Newgarden, but did not have enough to make a serious run. Chevys finished 1,,2,3,4 today.

Colton Herta’s oval misfortunes continued. After his first early pit stop it was fun watching him carve his way through the field. Herta looked like he would be a contender.

What a drive for Jimmie Johnson. He spun on lap 14, recovered to lead 19 laps, and spent much of the race in the top 10 before finishing 11th.

The standings have tightened up. Mafrcus Ericsson’s lead has shrunk to 15 pointsover Newgarden and 22 over Will Power.

Pato O’Ward earned his second runner up spot on an oval. it was a much needed result for O’Ward, who had an average finish of 20th in his past three races.

Overall, it was a good race with many battles for position.

Newgarden, Power, and O’Ward all noted how quickly the tires went away today. They expect the same situation tomorrow.

Some Numbers

Newgarden has won four races in 2022. This is the first year a driver has four wins since 2020. Today’s win was also his fourth at Iowa. His first win here came when he drove for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Indycar announced there were 722 passes on track today, 372 for position.

Only five cars finished on the lead lap.

Today’s race marked the sixth time this year that the driver starting second has won. The pole winner has not won since the first race of the year in St. Pete.

I will have a follow up story with quotes and final results up later. Thanks for following along. Another race tomorrow.

Mid Ohio Practice 1-Newgarden Leads a Very Hot Session

Josef Newgarden led the openeing practcie round for the Honda Indy 200 nwith a lap of 1:07.0549. Alex Palou was second, 0,2061 seconds behind. Newgarden was fastest on both the primary and alternate tires.

Takuma Sato brought ot the only red flag of the session when he spun going into turn 1 about 35 minutes into the session.

The temperature reachede 91 degrees during the practice. Newgarden said he felt it and couldn’t wait to get out of the car. He also felt it affected the grip.

“I think the temp definitely made the track grip low. It felt very difficult to drive the car today, to bring it up to temperature. Firestone has a new tire here from last year, and it’s tougher to bring up to temp.
Feels like a little less grip.”

Colton Herta

Colton Herta, who was fifth fastest today, reflected on last year’s pit issue and what the team hopoes tro find this year.

“We were very fast last year. Up until that pit stop we
were able to stay with Josef. We just need to find a little bit
more time. I think I know what I’m looking for in the race
car, and it’s going to be — if we can find it or not.”

David Malkukas, who had the eightth fastest time, is extremely happy wqith his rookie season.

“…, everything has gonebetter than I was expecting to be honest. I’ve been in here, I wasn’t expecting to be in here at all for this season, and
the fact that we are and being more consistent, it’s making
me very happy, and honestly from start to finish it’s gone
better than I was expecting.”

Tomorrow and Siunday the temperatures will be between eight to ten degrees coolere. Newgarden believes the cooler temperatures will increase the grip.

Results:

Quick Thoughts-Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America

Andretti Autosport is back. With finishes of third, fourth, and fifth today, the team is beginning to regain its form at the front. Alexander Rossi now has two straight podiums and a pole.

Josef Newgarden got rid of a lot of frustrastion today. Newgarden wasn’t happy at Detroit not winning the race after winning the pole. His frustration mounted when rossi edged him yesterday for the pole.

Is Rossi making a lateral move for 2023? Once again today, slow fueling cost him the lead on the first pit stop. He never regained the lead. His new team, Arrow McLaren SP continued their pit stop issues today with some slow fueling.

Rhahal Letterman Lanigan racing had their best day in quite some time. Graham Rahal finished eighth, Christian Lundgaard was 10th, and Jack Harvey was 13th.

Newgarden is the only driver with multiple wins in 2022.

Simona DeSilvestro finished 21st in her season debut, and on the lead lap. It was a fine start for Paretta Autosport.

Marcus Ericsson is beginning to do championship things. He had a third secured, bit got to second and now leads the title fight by 27 points. It is at least the sixth time the leader has changed after a race this year.

Callum Ilott finally had a decent race and fiished 11th. It was nice to see him run without issues today.

The hill in turn 5
Bottom of turn 5

Today’s crowd had to be one of the biggest I’ve seen since Indycar returned in 2016.

Turn 5 saw lots of passing action and a couple of mishaps today, including Alex Palou going off track and Will Power’s spin.

Palou gets out of his car

I will have a full wrap up tomorrow. Thanks for following along this weekend. The next race isn’t for three weeks. Enjoy the break.

Race Day at Detroit

Indycar photo

Today’s schedule: All Times Eastern

10:15-10:45 Indycar Warmup/ Peacock

12:10-1:05 Indy Lights Race Peacock

3:30- Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix (Green Flag t 3:45) USA Network; Peacock

Health Update: I’m feeling a bit better overall today, and I hope to improve as the day goes along.

Belle Isle’s final race begins this afternoon. It is fitting that a Team Penske car is on the pole. Josef Newgarden edged Takuma Sato on his final lap as time expired in the the Fast Six. Newgarden was fortunate to be in the last round.

In Round 2, Newgarden was in the pits as several cars were on laps pacing quicker than his best time. Romain Grosjean clipped the wall in turn 12, breaking the rear toe link and sending the car hard into the outside wall. The cars that might have knocked Newgarden out, including Scott Dixon and Colton Herta, were trailing Grosjean, thus did not get to complete their laps.

Qualifying Results:

DETROIT – Qualifying Saturday for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.35-mile(s) Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:15.2153 (112.477 mph)
2. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:15.3490 (112.278)
3. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:15.3951 (112.209)
4. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:15.4538 (112.122)
5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:16.3301 (110.834)
6. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:16.6104 (110.429)
7. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:15.1043 (112.643)
8. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:15.2279 (112.458)
9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:15.4057 (112.193)
10. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:15.8670 (111.511)
11. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:16.2179 (110.998)
12. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:16.9740 (109.907)
13. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:16.0154 (111.293)
14. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:15.5482 (111.981)
15. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:16.1255 (111.132)
16. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:15.5731 (111.945)
17. (77) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 01:16.1390 (111.113)
18. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:15.6121 (111.887)
19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:16.3068 (110.868)
20. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:16.8347 (110.107)
21. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:16.3374 (110.824)
22. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:17.5499 (109.091)
23. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:16.4265 (110.695)
24. (11) Tatiana Calderon, Chevrolet, 01:18.3657 (107.955)
25. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
26. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:18.6291 (107.594)

Kirkwood’s Up and Down Day

Kyle Kirkwood led Friday’s practice session, but he didn’t get very far in yesterday’s practice. He collided with David Malukas on the first lap of the practice. He rebounded to qualify 15th.

In the afternoon, he was the winning co driver In IMSA’s GTD class, driving the Vasser-Sullivan Lexus.

The Race

I think today’s winner comes from row 2 today. Simon Pagenaud will win his first race in two years this afternoon. Today will be another day which jumbles the points standings. The top four are separated by just 24 points.

Newgarden Leads Day 2

The sun escaped its cloud prison and the Indycar series team got in a four hour practice at IMS today. The session saw cars running in groups and practicing passing. Teams ran together to get a feel for the draft..

Just two caution periods for track inspections interrupted today’s practice period.

Josef Newgarden led today’s session with lap at 229.519 mph. Takuma Sato also had a lap over 229 mph, just 0.0157 seconds slower. The next five drivers had speeds in the 228 mph range.

Newgarden has won the last two races and feels good about his chances in the 500. After the test ended, he told the media<

“I can’t deny things feel really good on the 2 car. They’re just progressing. It’s not like two steps forward, two steps back, or vice versa. I feel like it’s going forward every single time, and we’re just getting better.

We’ve been on a good trajectory at the moment. I don’t want to see it flatten too much; I want to see it go the other way. I feel confident with what we’ve got, feel good at showing up anywhere. Being at Team Penske makes that easier. I always feel confident in our group.”

Unlike Wednesday’s string of yellows for incidents, today was issue free. Drivers completed 3,267 laps. Marcus Ericsson completed he most laps, 148.

Marco Andretti climbs into the 98 to start his day.

The top 10 had three Chevys and seven Hondas. All five cars from Chip Ganassi Racing were in the top 10. Tony Kanaan was the fastest from the team at third place with a lap of 228.767.

Tony Kanaan in turn 2

Helio Castroneves did not run today. He is uninjured, but his car was not repaired in time from yesterday’s crash.

Notes

Marco Andretti was the only Andretti Autosport driver in the top 15 in sixth place. Romain Grosjean finished 16th. Alexander Rossi was 23rd and Colton Herta was 28th. Puzzling results for a team that used to be really good at IMS.

Colton Herta gets ready to start the test session

Sato was not driving the car he will drive in the 500 this week. The team did not want to risk damage to their speedway car.

Santino Ferrucci showed some speed . he finished twelfth today but was in the top 10 for a good chunk of the session. I don’t understand why he doesn’t have a full time ride.

Callum Ilott again led the pure rookies. Keep an eye on him next month.

Will Power pointed out at the end of the day that today’s results mean nothing for qualifying. The cars ran without their qualifying boost, and qualifying is one car on track, not several that can give the trailing car a tow.

“You need (extra boost for qualifying), with everyone going on single runs on exactly the same fuel load with no draft, all that. That’s the only way you’ll know,” Power said.

Thanks for following along these two days. It was great to be back at IMS with cars running on the oval.

Today’s time sheet

Quick Thoughts- Long Beach Grand Prix

Photo: Josef Newgarden earns a hard -fought win

Today’s race showed that a street course can produce exciting racing. Pit stop strategy got Josef Newgarden to the lead. He then had to defend against three challengers- Colton Herta, Alex Palou, and Romain Grosjean. Newgarden brilliantly defended the lines going into the corners to keep Grosjean at bay.

There was a three -way battle for the lead over the last 20 laps. You just can’t ask for more.

Team Penske has swept the season so far, which should worry the rest of the paddock. Scott McLauglin won the opener at St. Pete. Newgarden has now won two in a row heading to Barber, one of his favorite tracks.

Romain Grosjean

Half a Loaf for Andretti

Andretti Autosport hoped to have a much- needed successful weekend. Herta won the pole, and Alexander Rossi and Grosjean joined him in the Fast Six.

A day that looked like a victory, a potential second podium spot, and a top ten dissolved by the halfway mark.

It almost all got away from them. Grosjean’s second place saved the day. Rossi had two forays into runoff areas and Herta crashed. Rossi did finish eighth after running as high as fourth.

As talented as Herta is, he has difficulty playing catch-up. In Nashville last year he also crashed while trying to chase down the leader.

Johnson’s Weekend of Contact

Jimmie Johnson had arguably his most forgettable weekend of his Indycar career. He had wall in every session but one. Johnson injured his hand in Friday’s practice crash. After the first two races and his sixth place result at Texas, I though we might be seeing some progress. Long Beach is a big setback for Johnson.

Kyle Kirkwood

Top Ten for Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood finished 10th today for A, J, Foyt Racing. This will not be his last top ten finish this season. Kirkwood has done a great job qualifying and today the team got a good race result. He was consistent all day.

The other rookies did not have great days. Kirkwood’s teammate Tatiana Calderon finished 16th, her best result to date. The Foyt rookies were the two highest finishing rookies.

The others- Christian Lundgaard (18th), David Malukas ((21st), Callum Ilott (24th), and Devlin DeFrancesco (25th) had contact or mechanical issues. Lundgaard was the only other rookie running at the finish.

Scott Dixon

Dixon has been relatively invisible this season. He started 16th and finished sixth, a decent day for anyone, but below par for a six time champion. Dixon sits fifth in points, but it has been a very quiet fifth. It has been almost a year since Dixon won a race.

Disappointing Days

Besides Herta and Rossi, Scott McLaughlin, Marcus Ericsson, and Simon Pagenaud had hopes for better results.

McLaughlin’s troubles began after two laps of the warmup, when a cracked header ended his practice time. The engine was replaced. He spun exiting the hairpin and recovered to finish 14th but slipped to second in the point standings.

Marcus Ericsson, whom I expected to contend for the win today, spun on lap 66 while fighting for third place and ended up parked in a runoff area for the rest of the day. He will be back and should get a win sometime this year.

Simon Pagenaud did some flower gardening around the fountain and ended the race in 19th. After a promising stat to the weekend on Friday when he led the first practice, Pagenaud seemed to lose some steam with each session. I am puzzled by what I have seen from Meyer Shank Racing this year. I thought they would be much better.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was a success. It returned to its traditional spot on the calendar, drew huge crowds each day, and produced a great race. I will have a weekend wrap up in the morning before heading back to Indy. Thank you all for following along this weekend.

Quick Thoughts- Expel 375

After a processional beginning the race came alive on lap 148 after the last caution period. Staring on lap 150 the lead changed hands four times in 15 laps.

A last turn pass for the win always makes a race better. Josef Newgarden said in the post race press conference that he had conceded the win, but saw an opportunity when he got to turn 3 of the final lap.

The start

There was more passing than I expected. Newgarden said the headwind down the front stretch helped and that the special session yesterday did clean up the high line a bit.

Team Penske has come out of the gate strong this season after a lackluster 2021. In the two races this young season, they have two wins and four of the six podium positions.

Scott McLaughlin is setting himself up for a strong championship run. Two front row starts, a win and a second place finish leaves with a 28 point lead over Will Power.

Great Drives

Jimmie Johnson will get the bulk of the praise for his sixth place finish after starting 18th. He steadily and quietly moved up the field.

But my driver of the day is Santino Ferrucci. Ferrucci replaced Jack Harvey this morning when Harvey was not cleared to drive after his crash in practice yesterday afternoon. Indycar allowed him 15 minutes to shake down the car, which was moved to the back of the grid. For Ferrucci to finish ninth under the circumstances is amazing.

Marcus Ericsson finished third from 14th and being in contention near the end. All four Ganassi cars finished in the top 10.

The season is shaping up to be a shootout between Penske and Ganassi drivers.

Andretti Woes Continue

Andretti Autosport had another forgettable day with three cars finishing in the bottom four positions. Alexander Rossi completed just 11 laps before retiring with mechanical issues. Romain Grosjean went out next with a water pressure problem on lap 103.

Devlin DeFrancesco was involved in a three car crash also involving Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves. It appeared that he had a hand in all three yellows. I’m anxious to see the replay.

Colton Herta came home 12th one lap down.

AMSP Title Hopes Fading Fast

Felix Rosenqvist did not lead a lap despite starting on pole. Her eventually retired and finished 21st after a bad pit stop. Pato O’Ward hit a crewman on a stop and finished 15th. O’ward is 13th in points and he needs a really good result at Long Beach to get in contention. He is also going to need some help.

More Oval Training for Indy Lights?

Two accidents today involved Indy Lights rookies. Kyle Kirkwood spun and hit the wall in turn 4. Devlin DeFrancesco was involved in a three car accident in between turns three and four.

Texas was the first high speed oval for the rookies. The question is, should Indy Lights run more ovals, especially high speed tracks? The absence of the Freedom 100 at IMS took away the one fast oval for the junior series.

I understand that budget concerns about equipment damage is a factor in the schedule structure, but are they really helping the drivers who come to Indycar without any experience on a track like Texas?

Newgarden Leads Final Practice; Harvey Crashes

Josef Newgarden led a final practice interrupted by a heavy crash involving Jack Harvey. Following the cleanup Indycar extended the session time to make up for the lost time.

Before the final practice, seven cars ran high downforce setups in an attempt to make the second lane drivable for tomorrow’s race. Firestone measurements indicate that there is more grip in that lane. How that translates to the racing line remains to be seen.

About 20 minutes into the practice Jack Harvey brushed the outside wall at the exit of turn 2. The HyVee machine darted to the inside of the track and made heavy contact with the inside wall, destroying the front of the car and the left rear side. Harvey was able to walk away from the car.

None of the on track sessions today were during the time that the race will take place tomorrow. I do think Newgarden has a very fast car. His seventh starting spot is not an obstacle to his winning the race. Any of the first seven starters has a good chance to win.

Practice results:

Thanks for following along today. Look for my pre race story in the morning and a post about my ride around the track this evening.

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Just a Few Indycar Related Notes

Seems I have been away for a bit. It has been a hectic week with Marti coming home after 118 days, three hospitals, and two rehab centers. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers the last four months. We are readjusting to a more normal life. This week is also Heartland Film G=Festival week, so I’ve been spending much of my free time in a movie theater. Okay, Back to work.

Dan Wheldon

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident in Las Vegas. I am not going to rehash that horrible day. It was a tragedy compounded 10 days later by a much deeper, personal loss.

I was a big fan of Wheldon’s, and his death was a huge loss to Indycar. However, the good that came out of it was the new safer chassis that he helped develop. I think he would have continued to be a great ambassador for the sport after his retirement fro racing.

Tony Stewart Buys into NHRA

The news should not be a surprise. Tony Stewart likes to own racing related things. He owns a NASCAR team, a race track, and now he owns an NHRA team. Leah Pritchett, his fiancee, will be the driver.

I wish Stewart well in this venture. I hope his next acquisition is an Indycar team.

Weight and Heat-An Issue for 2023?

At a Firestone tire test at Mid Ohio last week, Josef Newgarden had a chance to drive with added weight simulating the 2023 car with the larger engine (2.4 liters) and the hybrid KERS system.Overall, Newgarden was pleased with the test, but, according to an article on Motorsport.com, Newgarden voiced concerns about the physicality of the car, especially during races in the heat of summer.

From the Motorsport article:

“I think we’re starting to push over the edge of what some of the drivers can do physically, in some conditions, and we need to be cognizant of that. It’s something I’ve spoken to IndyCar about.”

Newegarden believes the added weight- 120 pounds or so of the new power package in addition to approximately 60 pounds of the aeroscreen is “excessive.” Indycar will have added 180 pounds to the car over a span of four years.

A new chassis with an integrated aeroscreen would help reduce weight. I hope Indycar looks at other areas where some poundage can be removed from the racecar.

Kirkwood Tests for Andretti

Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood tested a car for Andretti Autosport at Sebring. Kirkwood felt right at home in the Indycar, and he set the day’s fastest lap. He will test again at Barber on October 25th.

There is still no word on Kirkwood’s plans for next season, but I think Andretti may be looking for a way to get him a full time ride. There may be an announcement by the end of the month.