No. 865
September 21, 2016

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The Line


SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Simon Pagenaud (
No. 22 Team Penske Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet Twin Turbo V6) won Sunday's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma to clinch his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship. The 32-year-old Pagenaud finished the 85-lap race at the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway road course 3.2523 seconds ahead of Graham Rahal (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Steak 'n Shake Honda Turbo V6). Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet Twin Turbo V6) finished third. Pagenaud lead all but nine laps in a dominant performance, clinching the series crown by 127 points over teammate Will Power (No. 12 Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet Twin Turbo V6). "It's unbelievable," Pagenaud said. "I think I will realize it more tomorrow. There is so much emotion right now, to be honest, I can't find the words. My whole career has been about this, about today and getting to this point and to this level." Pagenaud started the race from the pole position and surrendered the lead only during pit stop cycles in winning for the fifth time this season and ninth of his Indy car career. Power ran second to Pagenaud until a clutch problem stopped his car on track on Lap 36. Power fell eight laps off the pace while repairs were made and finished the race in 20th place, but retained second in the championship for the fourth time in his twelve-year Indy car career.

(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Roger Penske congratulates Simon Pagenaud after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. The championship was the fourteenth in Indy car racing for Team Penske, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in racing this year, and the race win was the team's 187th in Indy car competition, more than any other team by far. Team Penske completed a 1-2-3 sweep of the championship when Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske Hitachi Chevrolet Twin Turbo V6) finished seventh in the race to edge Josef Newgarden (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet Twin Turbo V6) by two points in the standings. It marked the first time the same team took the top three championship positions since Penske also accomplished the feat in 1994 with Al Unser Jr., Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy. Pagenaud will claim the $1 million prize for the championship at the official presentation of the Astor Cup that will take place Oct. 4 at the INDYCAR Championship Celebration in Indianapolis. Editor-In-Chief's Note: Congratulations to Roger, Simon, Tim Cindric and the entire Team Penske organization. And congratulations to Chevrolet for its fifth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Manufacturer Championship. -PMD

Nico Rosberg (No. 6 AMG Petronas Mercedes) retook the World Championship points lead from Lewis Hamilton following a dominant win in the Singapore Grand Prix. Rosberg held off a late charge by Daniel Ricciardo
(No. 3 Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer), who finished second, while Hamilton (No. 44 AMG Petronas Mercedes) came in third. Rosberg now leads Hamilton by eight points.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki (No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR) delivered their first career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory and led a 1-2 GT Le Mans class sweep for the Porsche factory team in the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas, in front of a nonexistent crowd. Both Porsches battled the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE co-driven by Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella throughout the race before the Ferrari had a mechanical problem with under 30 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race. Bamber drove by Porsche North America teammate Nick Tandy (No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, co-driven by Patrick Pilet) with 20 minutes remaining. "We didn’t have as big of a fight as we hoped, but we got a 1-2 for Porsche,” said Bamber, a 2015 overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “It shows that we continue to fight every weekend. We have to maximize every effort, and when the people are there to make a few mistakes, we are there to be able to get a great result or a podium.” It was only the second GTLM class victory of the season for the Porsche factory team. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen (No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) finished third in the GTLM class. Go here to see a full gallery of John Thawley's terrific images from the Circuit of The Americas.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
ordan Taylor (No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette Daytona Prototype, started by Ricky Taylor) held off a charging Dane Cameron (No. 31 Action Express Racing Whelen Engineering Corvette DP, started by Eric Curran) by 1.421 seconds to win Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas in the Prototype class, and overall. It was the third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season for the Taylor brothers, allowing them to close to within seven points in the Prototype class lead with only one race remaining. “During the strategy meeting coming into this race, we talked about going for the win or going for the points,” said Ricky Taylor, who started from the pole. “Today was all about the win. I think the team did a great job. The stops were all great and the strategy was perfect. I feel like we had a great car the last three times we were here, and it’s great to finally get a win.” Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa (No. 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Corvette DP) finished third. Heading to the season-ending Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 1, Curran and Cameron unofficially have 285 points to 284 for Fittipaldi and Barbosa, with the Taylor brothers third with 278 points.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
ret Curtis and Jens Klingmann (No. 96 Turner Motorsport Spectra Resources/United Steel/Valspar Paint/IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GT3) earned their second GT Daytona (GTD) class victory of the season in Austin. Madison Snow/Bryan Sellers (No. 48 Castrol Edge/Universal Industrial Sales Lamborghini Huracán GT3) finished second, 15.717 seconds behind. Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3) finished third in GTD, extending their lead in the championship standings.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
enger van der Zande (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09, started by Alex Popow) passed James French (No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA, started by Nicholas Boulle) with seven minutes remaining, and went on to score the team's fourth Prototype Challenge (PC) victory of the season, extending their lead in the championship with one race remaining. Van der Zande beat a rapidly closing Tom Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09, started by Robert Alon) to the checkered flag by 0.844 seconds. French and Boulle finished third. Entering the finale at Road Atlanta, the Starworks drivers hold a 10-point lead (329-319) over Kimber-Smith/Robert Alon.

The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley won the 6 Hours of Austin World Endurance Championship race at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Lucas Di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis (No. 8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18) finished second, and Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi (No. 6 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid) came in third.

(Aston Martin)
Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen (No. 95 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE) won the GTE Pro class in Austin. The victory extends their GTE Pro championship lead to 12 points and adds to Aston Martin’s six point advantage in the GT Manufacturers’ title race in the WEC.

(Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry) used a fresh set of tires after a restart in overtime at Chicagoland Speedway and pulled away to win Sunday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400, the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
"We have more races to win—the more we can win, the better," said Truex, who holds the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings for the first time in his career. "What can I say? This is how we want to start off. This feels awesome." Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion) came from sixth to second in the two-lap overtime, finishing .776 seconds behind Truex. Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS) came in third.

(Red Bull Global Rallycross)
Tanner Foust (No. 34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle) won Saturday's Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle final at Evergreen Speedway. It was Foust's fourth victory of the 2016 season, and allowed him to regain the championship lead from teammate Scott Speed heading into the season-ending Los Angeles doubleheader. Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe) finished second and Joni Wiman (No. 31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe) was third.

(Audi Motorsport)
Mattias Ekström (No. 5 EKS Audi S1 RX quattro) won the World RX of Barcelona, the FIA World Rallycross Championship
event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The Swede also recaptured the lead in the drivers’ world championship. Timmy Hansen (No. 21 Team Peugeot Hansen Peugeot 208 WRX) was second and Timur Timerzyanov (No. 7 World RX Team Austria Ford Fiesta) finished third. After nine of twelve rounds, Ekström leads reigning world champion Petter Solberg (No. 1 Citroen DS3) by ten points. In the teams’ classification, EKS now has a 21-point advantage over Team Peugeot Hansen in second place. Round ten of the World Rallycross Championship will be held at Riga, October 1 - 2.

(Photo by John Machaqueiro for GM/Cadillac Racing)
Defending four-time GT Champion Johnny O'Connell (No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R) swept both GT sprint races in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Cadillac over the weekend at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. In addition, Michael Schein (No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) and Alec Udell (No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) scored double victories in the GTA and GT Cup classes, respectively.

Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell (No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C) won Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Championship Circuit of The Americas 150 in the Grand Sport (GS) class. it was the duo's fifth race win of the season. The pair led 55 of the 58 laps – including the final 16 – with Johnson taking the checkered flag 34.517 second ahead of Trent Hindman (No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, started by Cameron Cassels). Paul Holton and Pierre Kleinubing (No. 76 C360R Ford Shelby GT350R-C) finished third.

(Volkswagen of America)
From the "Why The Fuck Not?" File comes word that a specially tuned Volkswagen Beetle LSR, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine, has achieved 205.122 mph over a flying mile—the fastest speed ever recorded for a Beetle. The car was driven by Automobile magazine contributing Editor Preston Lerner on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) 2016 World of Speed event. VW of America says that to achieve the horsepower needed to run above 200 mph at Bonneville, while adhering to Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) G/BGC rules, the powertrain was specially modified by THR Manufacturing, based in Santa Paula, Calif. With new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications, it produced 543 horsepower and 421 pound-feet of torque at the wheels: at the flywheel, that would be more than 600 hp and nearly 500 lb-ft.

Editor-In-Chief's Note: Just how bad are the TV ratings numbers for racing in the U.S. right now? The NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday on NBCSN: 1.6 rating (average household audience of 2.7 million). The Verizon IndyCar Series at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday night on NBCSN:  0.34 rating (averaged 536,000 households). The Formula 1 race from Singapore on Sunday morning on NBCSN: 0.28 rating (an average of 419,000 viewers). Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship from Seattle on Saturday on NBC: 0.24 rating (averaged 340,000 households). And the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on FOX Sports 2 on Saturday averaged 33,000 viewers. Numbers courtesy of SportsMediaWatch. Oh, and by the way? The NFL ratings were in the 11.0-12.2 range on Sunday during the day in case you were wondering. -PMD

Editor's Note: Watch the Lotus 3-Eleven taking on the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife here. -WG

A group of young Honda engineers took to the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah, with the Honda S Dream Streamliner to post the fastest speed ever recorded for a Honda vehicle. Not only did the Honda engineers post a new FIA World Record of 261.875mph (1mile), 261.966mph (1km) for a vehicle in its class (Category-A Group-1 Class-4), it posted a speed faster than any Honda-powered car ever at the iconic venue, including the record established by a Honda-powered BAR F1 car at Bonneville in 2006. The team set the record using a three-cylinder, 660cc engine based on the one designed for the Honda S660 sports car.

(Formula E)
The FIA Formula E Championship will stage a New York City ePrix doubleheader next July in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It
will be the first FIA-sanctioned open-wheel race to take place within the five boroughs of New York City in modern history. The 1.947km (1.21mile) circuit, which remains subject to FIA track
homologation, features 13 turns and will wind its way around Pier 11 and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

(Formula E)