No. 992
April 17, 2019

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The Line


APRIL 10, 2019

(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Takuma Sato 
(No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda Turbo V6) dominated the NTT IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday. How dominant was Sato? He finished 2.3874 seconds ahead of Scott Dixon (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing PNC Bank Honda Turbo V6), who finished second for the sixth time at Barber. It was the fourth win of Sato's 10-year NTT IndyCar Series career, with the 42-year-old from Tokyo becoming the third different driver - each from a different team - to pull into victory lane in three IndyCar races this season. "This is because of the team, they did a fantastic effort," Sato said. "My car was superb! (On alternate) red tires, (primary) black tires, I didn't have to worry about it. It's probably the cleanest race I ever won. ... I think we come here with the hopes, always do, but honestly never really, really expected to be this much of a domination." Sato started from pole position after winning the NTT P1 Award the day before and led 74 of 90 laps on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile permanent road course. Track officials announced a healthy three-day weekend attendance of 82,889. About the only time Sato turned a wheel wrong came with five laps to go, when he went wide in Turn 8, going airborne briefly as it rattled through the grass. His car undamaged from the off-track excursion, Sato gathered himself and kept Dixon at bay to the checkered flag. "Outside, (it) probably looked easy winning from the cruising and the pole position, but it wasn't really cruising," said Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner. "So I was really pushing hard using push-to-pass on everything the last 10 laps. So it was tough, and I had a little moment into Turn 8. Anyway, it was not necessary to give the little bit sort of heart attack to the body." The win was the 27th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in its 27th year as an Indy car team. Co-owners Bobby Rahal, the three-time Indy car champion and 1986 Indy 500 winner, and David Letterman, the iconic late-night talk-show host, were on hand and overjoyed with the result. "I'm really pleased for Takuma, he drove beautifully," Rahal said. "The team did a fabulous job, pit stops were great, strategy was great. But I honestly think Takuma was in a league of his own."
(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Scott Dixon came up short again in his effort to win at Barber, finishing on the podium at the track for the eighth time. It was the 42nd second-place finish of Dixon's illustrious 19-year career, moving him ahead of Helio Castroneves and alone behind only Mario Andretti's 56 career runner-up finishes. "We've got to be happy with that," Dixon said. "It's always tough competition. We come here to win, but second place (was) great for points. ... Hopefully, we can try and get a win here one day."
(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan SealMaster Honda Turbo V6) successfully employed a two-pit-stop strategy to finish third. It was the 57th podium finish for the four-time Indy car champion and his best showing in nine Barber races.
(Donald Page/Getty Images)
After recovering from a spin on the second lap of the 500-lap Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing SKITTLES Toyota Camry) patiently worked his way back through the field, took his first lead at lap 384 and went on to win. It was Busch's third win of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and 54th at NASCAR's highest level. “I don’t know, we’re crazy; we just do what we do (to) try to win,” Busch said. Kurt Busch (No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing MONSTER ENERGY Toyota Camry) finished second. “I really wanted to beat him,” Kurt said of the battle with his brother. “I was going to wreck him. … He already won (this year). I figure he could give a little love to his brother. I wanted that one bad." Kyle led 71 laps, including the final 19. He also overcame an early spin that saw his Toyota swept up in a five-car incident on the second lap of the 500-lap race. The race was the eighth of the season; all eight have been won by drivers from either Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske. Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske AUTOTRADER Ford Mustang) finished third.
(IMS photo)
McLaren Racing has unveiled the official livery for the No. 66 McLaren Chevrolet Turbo V6 that Fernando Alonso will run in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Built at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, United Kingdom, the car sports the unique McLaren papaya orange for the chassis, echoing the color chosen by Bruce McLaren for the team’s first Formula One entry in 1966 and reflecting the livery of McLaren's current F1 car, the MCL34. This year’s scheme for both racing series features a complementary blue that nods to the team’s racing heritage. McLaren had previously announced the car’s number, with the No. 66 in honor of McLaren’s first victory at the Brickyard, achieved by Mark Donohue in a Team Penske M16 in 1972. “The reveal of the No. 66 car and livery is an important moment for McLaren Racing’s journey to the Indianapolis 500,” said Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing. “It represents the beginning of the next phase of our program and reflects a tremendous amount of hard work by our specialist Indy 500 team at the McLaren Technology Centre. We are all looking forward to seeing the No. 66 out on track for the first time on April 24 (for an open test at IMS).” Watch a video here.
The Volkswagen Beetle Supercar returns to competition this year in the second season of the Americas Rallycross (ARX) series. Two Beetle supercars will be entered under the Andretti Rallycross banner, with support from Volkswagen R, Volkswagen’s performance division. The season begins June 8-9 at historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where a brand-new 0.7-mile circuit will be built around the “Keyhole” section of the track. The cars will then compete through the rest of the season, taking in races at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois, Trois-Rivières in Canada, and Circuit of the Americas in Texas, before the final round at Mid-Ohio in October. The team will continue to race the Beetle Rallycross vehicles, built by Volkswagen Motorsport in Europe, and developed by Andretti Rallycross in the U.S. The cars will race with the same 2.0-liter 560-horsepower turbocharged engines that propelled the team to success in 2017 and 2018. The ARX series will consist of the following events:

  • July 13-14: Madison, Illinois — Gateway Motorsports Park
  • August 3-4: Circuit Trois-Rivières — Quebec, Canada
  • September 28: Circuit of the Americas — Austin, Texas
  • October 5: Lexington, Ohio — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
(Chevrolet/IMS Images)
The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport will serve as the Official Pace Car for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26 for the 103rd running of the legendary race. It marks the 16th time a Corvette has served as the Pace Car, starting in 1978, and the 30th time a Chevrolet has led the field dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race. No other brand or vehicle has served as the 500 Pace Car more than Chevrolet and the Corvette, respectively. Indianapolis 500 fans also will see 33 2019 Corvette Stingrays on the roads of Central Indiana this spring and in the IPL 500 Festival Parade on May 25 in downtown Indianapolis. The popular cars are provided to central Indiana business leaders and dignitaries and serve an important promotional role for the race, Chevrolet and Corvette. This is the first time since 2007 that matching Corvettes are serving as the 500 Pace Car and festival cars.
The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car features:
· Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat with unique GM Design Indy 500 decal package.
· Full Length Racing Blade Silver Dual Stripes.
· LT1 6.2-liter V-8 DI aluminum engine with 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque.
· 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.
· Dry-sump oil system.
· Performance suspension with Magnetic Ride Control.
· Brembo® carbon ceramic brakes.
· Grand Sport aluminum wheels: 19-inch front and 20-inch rear.
· Carbon Flash painted Carbon Fiber Ground Effects Package.
· Competition Sport Bucket Seats. 
· Performance Data Recorder.
Chevrolet has a long, storied history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur competed in the 1911 race and Gaston won in 1920. Eight drivers have combined to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” ten times with Chevrolet power: Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Jr., Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power. The race will be televised live on NBC for the first time, with the pre-race show starting at 11 a.m. EDT on May 26. Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio will provide live coverage of the race to its affiliates and on Sirius 216, XM 209, and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. Visit to purchase tickets for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26 and for more information on the complete Month of May schedule at IMS.
(Sonoma Speed Festival)
The ten-time Grand Prix winning car of Lewis Hamilton will be run by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport at The Sonoma Speed Festival at Sonoma Raceway on June 1-2, 2019. The Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid car, chassis No.4, which will run on the 2.52-mile (4.06 km) 12 turn road course, is the most successful individual chassis in the history of Formula 1™. It was driven by Lewis Hamilton to 10 wins, nine poles and 14 podiums in 2016 including victories in Monaco, Montreal, Silverstone, Germany, and back-to-back victories (and pole positions) in Austin, Mexico, Interlagos and Abu Dhabi. The Sonoma Speed Festival will feature a fan-friendly paddock, with viewing access to the W07 and the opportunity to interact with current members of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team, who will be arriving directly from the Monaco Grand Prix to prepare and run the car. Chief Mechanic and Head of Heritage at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Matt Deane, will also be on hand. The success of the W07 Hybrid in Grand Prix competition speaks for itself. In 2016, teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took 19 out of 21 victories, 20 pole positions, nine fastest race laps, eight 1-2 finishes and a record breaking 33 podiums. The W07 Hybrid holds the record for the most championship points in a single season with 765 points. At just 1547.6 lb (702 kg), the W07 Hybrid is powered by the Mercedes-Benz PU106C Hybrid turbocharged engine, with an estimated power output between 900 to 950 horsepower (670 kW to 710 kW).