No. 915
September 20, 2017

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The Line


AUGUST 30, 2017

(Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR)
Josef Newgarden's (
No. 2 Team Penske PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet) completed a ballsy pass of teammate Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 Team Penske Menards Chevrolet) on the 218th of 248 laps on the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval and went on to win the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline by 0.6850 of a second over Scott Dixon (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT Data Honda). This was Newgarden's third win in the past four races and his fourth victory this season and allowed the 26-year-old Tennessean to push his points lead to 31 over Dixon with two races remaining. The race marked the Verizon IndyCar Series' return to the St. Louis region for the first time in 14 years. A packed main grandstand roared when Newgarden slipped inside of Pagenaud heading into Turn 1 for the decisive moment of the race. The cars actually touched mid-corner, forcing Pagenaud to slow as he moved up the track. "Simon gave me a lane to work with," said Newgarden. "I had a good tow on him, put my car inside in the opening, got about halfway alongside of him. One thing I didn't want to do was touch him too hard. I think if I would have stayed too far left, I would have jumped the curb and that would have taken both of us out," added Newgarden, chasing his first series championship in his sixth season and first with Team Penske. "I tried to get Simon to move over a little when we were coming to the opening of the corner. We both had to slow up. Fortunately, (it) worked out well for us on the (No.) 2 car side." Watch a IndyCar video from Gateway here.
(Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Scott Dixon (
No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT Data Honda) felt fortunate to finish second, considering he started seventh and Team Penske had secured the first four spots in qualifying. "I'll be honest, we didn't expect to finish on the podium," said Dixon, the four-time series champion. "But I think we saw in the warmup (Friday night practice) that the gap had closed significantly with the trim level that we were able to achieve. I think mechanically our car was very good. Then also we had some misfortunes (for other drivers) that played in to help us out, especially with Simon and Josef in Turn 1."
(Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR)
Simon Pagenaud's crew goes to work during the race. Pagenaud's loss of momentum on Newgarden's decisive pass opened the door for Dixon to get past for second place. Pagenaud, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, wasn't pleased after finishing third.
"I think on a road course, that was a beautiful pass," Pagenaud said. "But we're not on a road course. There, we are going 40-50 mph (slower). Here, we're doing 190 (mph). It's completely different story. Obviously, I wanted to win. We all want to win. Sometimes, you know, it is what it is." Newgarden led 170 laps in collecting his seventh career win, delivering Team Penske its fifth straight victory and 10th this season. It was also the 196th Indy car win for the team.
(Getty Images/The Telegraph)
Lewis Hamilton (No. 44 AMG Petronas F1 Team) won the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, delivering his 58th F1 win in 200 Grand Prix starts. Hamilton held off Sebastian Vettel (No. 5 Scuderia Ferrari), closing the points gap between the two drivers to just seven. Hamilton also started from the pole position, which was his 68th in F1, tying him with Michael Schumacher. “I told you what I was here for,” he said, after his fifth win this season. And I wasn’t leaving here without it." Daniel Ricciardo (No. 3 Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer) finished third. Watch video highlights courtesy of F1 here.
(Getty Images/BBC)
Andrea Dovizioso (No. 4 Ducati Team GP17) passed Valentino Rossi (No. 46 Monster Yamaha MotoGP) with three laps left and went on to win the OCTO British MotoGP at Silverstone on Sunday. It was
Dovizioso's fourth win of the season, and he took over the lead in the championship from Marc Marquez (No. 93 Repsol Honda RC213V), who suffered a blown engine with seven laps remaining. Maverick Vinales (No. 25 Monster Yamaha MotoGP) finished second, and Rossi finished third in his 300th start. 
(Photo courtesy of Michelin)
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen (No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R) started sixth and used speed and fuel efficiency with a late race push to win the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Sunday. The defending VIR race champions, and 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) points leaders extended their lead in the championship with their victory. Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe (No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) finished second and Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander (No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE) came in third. Corey Lewis and Geert Jeroen Mul (No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) won the GTD class in the GT-only race on the 3.27-mile road course.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Ernie Francis, Jr. (No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang) won the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli at Road America - "America's National Park of Speed" - in challenging, soggy conditions.
Francis, Jr. began the day in second place behind pole sitter Martin Ragginger (No. 50 Goshare Axalta Chevrolet Camaro), before taking the lead only three laps into the race after Ragginger's machine suffered a mechanical failure. Francis led the initial fifteen laps comfortably, pushing the gap well over 20 seconds, despite the efforts of Cliff Ebben (No. 36 Stumpf Ford/McMahon Group Ford Mustang), who was beginning to whittle away at the lead as the field went under a full-course yellow to remove debris on the 4.048-mile natural terrain road course. On the restart, Francis set his fastest lap of the race and began to gap Ebben and the field before securing his sixth TA class win of the season relatively easily. “At the beginning of the race Martin had some pace on the first two laps,” said Francis. “We were just trying to keep him in sight knowing it’s a long race, but his car didn’t last so that took the pressure off there. From there we just turned some consistent laps; it looked like we were building up a pretty big lap on the rest of the field. When the restart came out, the track was drying off so we knew we could push it a little harder. We went for it, dropped several seconds off our best time on the restart. The car felt good, the track felt good, and it came together for another win.” Ebben finished second, and Vinnie Allegretta (No. 41 TA Sights and Sounds Chevrolet Corvette) finished third. Check out all of John Thawley's fabulous images from Road America here in the AE image gallery.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Sheldon Creed (
No. 11 Speedlogix Dodge Challenger) captured his first career TA2 victory over the weekend at Road America in his fourth appearance behind the wheel of the Speedlogix Dodge. Creed began the race in 12th position and worked his way up into second place over the first 10 laps of the race. Creed would then pursue defending race-winner Tony Buffomante (No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang) for ten additional laps before taking the lead with five laps to go. “My dirt background for sure came into play with a bunch of throttle control,” said Creed. “I’ve never really raced a car in the rain other than stadium super trucks. I had to be really mindful of the line out there and the throttle control, just getting the tires hooked up—if you spun them, you were going backwards.  I just tried to settle in at the start. I followed Shane (Lewis) around at the beginning and he showed me a few things. Gar (Robinson) did the same. But they were for sure being cautious and playing the points game. Then I got in behind Tony (Buffomante), and he was fast. He pulled away for a bit, but then it got stupid slick. I capitalized on one of his mistakes and tried to keep it smooth from there on out.” Buffomante would hold on to finish second, whittling away another layer of points as he pursues current TA2 championship leader Gar Robinson (No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro), who finished sixth as the two, along with Shane Lewis, head into the final five races as the primary championship contenders. Justin Haley (No. 99 Justin Haley Motorsports Ford Mustang) finished third after a second-to-last lap pass over Cameron Lawrence (No. 19 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Camaro), who came in fourth. Check out John Thawley's outstanding images from Road America here in the AE image gallery.
(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Journeyman Jeremy Clements (No. 51 Clements Racing REPAIRABLEVEHICLES.COM Chevrolet) and his small team topped big-name race organizations to clinch a first-ever victory in his 256th NASCAR XFINITY Series start. Clements attempted to pass Matt Tifft (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Dragon Alliance Toyota) for the lead on the second-to-last lap of the Johnsonville 180 Sunday at Road America, "America's national Park of Speed." He went for an inside move on Tifft’s Toyota Camry in Turn 14, sending both of them spinning. Clements fired his car back up faster than Tifft and seized the lead headed into the final lap. From there, the 32-year-old XFINITY Series veteran wouldn't be denied, finishing 5.802 seconds ahead of runner-up Michael Annett (No. 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. NULL Chevrolet). Clements, who co-owns Clements Racing out of Spartanburg, South Carolina, with his father Tony Clements, was running in a Chevrolet that was built in 2008. With the victory, he earned a berth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs. “I’m extremely pleased right now, and it feels like a dream,” said Clements, who started 24th in the 40-car field. Tifft finished third. Watch a NASCAR video here.

(Acura images)
The 2018 Acura ARX-05 completed two days of testing at Road Atlanta this week, as Acura Motorsports and Team Penske began an intensive development program for the new prototype in advance of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Juan Pablo Montoya was at the wheel of the ARX-05 throughout the two-day test. The outing was the first for the new prototype following an initial shakedown run last month at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. "Overall, it was a good test," said Matthew Niles, senior engineer and project leader for Honda Performance Development. "We were close to the area of total solar eclipse [on Monday], so we had to stop running for a bit as the sun was dimmed.  We went on to complete all of our run plan, and feel we have a good base to build on going forward." This week's initial run was the first of a series of tests, to be conducted at a variety of circuits, planned by Team Penske and Honda Performance Development, the racing arm for both Acura Motorsports and Honda Racing in North America. The competition debut of the Team Penske Acura prototypes will take place at the season-opening Daytona 24 Hour race (Rolex 24) in January 2018.  In addition to Montoya, reigning IMSA prototype champion Dane Cameron will also be part of the 2018 lineup, with remaining drivers to be announced.