Sep 1, 2013, 6:17 PM EST
Championships come through hard work, dedication – and some breaks that wind up going in your favor. Today on the streets of Baltimore, Helio Castroneves certainly got those breaks.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner was forced to pit for a new nosecone on Lap 2 after sustaining front wing damage on the opening lap. Then during another stop under yellow at Lap 41, he tagged one of his own crew members as he was coming into his stall, which brought out the black flag for him.
An outbreak of incidents kept him from serving the drive-through penalty under green until shortly after a restart with 15 laps to go. But even despite all of those problems, Castroneves came home with a ninth-place result.
Meanwhile, his two main title rivals found calamity. Scott Dixon finished 19th after a restart incident with Will Power that put him in the frontstretch wall, while Hunter-Reay lost power on his car and was scored 20th.
Thus, with three races remaining in the season, Castroneves’ lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship over Dixon has increased to 49 markers – while Hunter-Reay fell behind both Baltimore race winner Simon Pagenaud and teammate Marco Andretti to fifth in the standings.
“If you guys had said I was going to finish in the Top 10 after the first lap, I’d be like, ‘I’ll take it, give it to me,’” Castroneves told NBCSN after the race. “I’m still dreaming really, really big. We have three races to go and there are still a lot of points left in the game. We’re just gonna keep doing what we’re doing.”
Following his run-in with Power, Dixon – who had survived an earlier spin on a prior restart after contact with Graham Rahal – tried talking with an IndyCar official about getting his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda back to pit road so his team could fix the damage.
However, that request was ultimately denied and Dixon was out of the race – the latest problem for the New Zealander after a controversial pit road penalty cost him the win at Sonoma one week ago.
“I was just annoyed that – it’s clearly stated that every time, they’ll bring the car back to the pits unless it’s 10 laps to go,” Dixon said to NBCSN at the time. “We’re fighting for every point at the moment. There’s a little bit of suspension damage, but definitely something we can repair.
“I have no idea why they haven’t brought it back to the pits, but that’s just [INDYCAR Race Director] Beaux [Barfield] making it up as he goes every time and there’s absolutely no consistency. Rahal takes me out, there’s no penalty, and then [Power] slams us in the wall. Man, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.”
For Hunter-Reay, the defending race winner at Baltimore, Sunday was a grind. He fell all the way back to 20th at the end of Lap 1 after he had a problem with the anti-stall mechanism on his No. 1 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.
From there, it was all about trying to come back, and Hunter-Reay did manage to make his way into the Top 10. But just after the halfway point of the race, his battery went dead.
With his car unable to get in neutral, he could not return to pit road for a re-fire and his afternoon came to an end.
“I believe in miracles, but that’s probably what it’s going to take now [to clinch the championship],” said Hunter-Reay, who is now 74 points off Castroneves. “Hard work and fighting hard probably isn’t going to do it from here.”
Dec 9, 2013, 8:00 PM EST
Michael Shank Racing has confirmed that John Pew and Ozz Negri will be back with the team for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, co-driving the No. 60 MSR Ford Ecoboost/Riley. Pew finished 14th in last year’s GRAND-AM Rolex Series championship, while Negri finished 17th despite missing several races due to a setback in his…
Dec 9, 2013, 7:00 PM EST
Audi has already banked wins in the 24-hour races at Daytona and Le Mans this year, and also in the 12 Hours of Sebring in March. Now, the manufacturer can add a 25-hour race win to its mantle … even though Thunderhill is basically a NASA club race in December. Still, a win’s a win,…
Dec 9, 2013, 6:46 PM EST
Two of NASCAR’s rising stars were at the center of a major issue during Sunday’s Snowball Derby short-track race in Pensacola, Florida. Chase Elliott, the son of former Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott and a part-timer in the Camping World Truck Series, appeared to have won the prestigious Super Late Model race as he crossed…
Dec 9, 2013, 5:10 PM EST
After an arduous 2013 season, it appears Formula One tire manufacturer Pirelli will have ample opportunity to get it right for 2014. As part of the FIA’s raft of regulation changes issued today, Pirelli was given the green light to stage a three-day test session next week at the Bahrain International Circuit. All F1 teams…
Dec 9, 2013, 3:28 PM EST
For one day, Dale Earnhardt Jr. traded in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for a new ride – a pink, Power Wheels 4×4. It’s all part of Earnhardt’s recent collaboration with star YouTube video producer Devin Graham that involved a “cardboard rodeo” at Dale Jr.’s property in North Carolina. With the help of an…
Dec 9, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
All three Andersen Promotions-run series in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000, are underway in the Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy test this week at Barber Motorsports Park. Some news and notes about the driver/team combinations to follow: INDY LIGHTS USF2000 drivers Michael Epps and Alexandre Baron will…
Dec 9, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
A meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and Formula One Commission today in Paris has yielded approval of several new regulation changes, most of which will take effect in 2014. But perhaps the biggest change of all won’t come until 2015, when a budget cap will be instituted. A working group made up of representatives…
Dec 9, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Williams has continued its efforts to emerge from the back of the Formula One grid with a pair of new technical hires that are making their way to Grove from two of F1′s top teams. Former Lotus member Dave Wheater has come on board as Williams’ new head of aerodynamic performance, while former Red Bull…
Dec 9, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
The outside world is lamenting Nico Hulkenberg’s being passed over, once again, for a top flight seat on the Formula One grid. Yet Hulkenberg is thankful to have any seat in an F1 world where commercial interests have played such a major role in seats of late. “I believe I’m in a good place and just…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Running ninth on the final standings table this…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Coming up eighth after earning his first berth…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Finishing seventh following a…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
FIA Formula E is bringing in some star power for the 10th and final team for its inaugural season, which begins in September 2014. Venturi Automobiles announced a partnership with award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to create the new Venturi Grand Prix Formula E Team. DiCaprio will work in partnership with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, founder of…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:23 AM EST
NASCAR’s planned test at the Charlotte Motor Speedway was originally set for today, but has been moved to Wednesday, Dec. 11 due to inclement weather. Teams will still have the option to be on track from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the afternoon, Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development and…
Dec 8, 2013, 6:00 PM EST
“Red Bull driver No. 1 wins another championship in 2013″ is a headline that can be applied to not just four-time Formula One champ Sebastian Vettel, but also to Australian V8 Supercars legend Jamie Whincup. Whincup captured his fifth V8SC title Sunday in Sydney, for his third straight title at age 30. Whincup won Saturday’s…
Dec 8, 2013, 4:00 PM EST
He may have missed out on one drive, but Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa won’t be rideless in 2014. Following a successful first test, da Costa was named to BMW’s DTM program for 2014 as part of the manufacturer’s annual year-end ceremony in Munich. An official release confirmed him as one of two new…
Dec 8, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
NEW 2014 VERSION (Photo: Audi) 2013 VERSION (Photo: Getty Images) Meet the new Audi, which basically looks the same as the old one. New worldwide LMP1 regulations focusing on efficiency for 2014 means manufacturers and teams have to reveal new cars, and at first glance, the 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro looks remarkably similar to…
Dec 8, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
Prior to Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the always-entertaining “After the Lap” event for fans took place earlier in the week in Las Vegas. And it was there we learned Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a fever … and the only prescription is more eBay. Dale Jr. already has the popular vote locked…
Dec 8, 2013, 10:36 AM EST
Target Chip Ganassi Racing appears close to unwrapping an early Christmas present, in the form of the replacement for the retired Dario Franchitti in its No. 10 Target Chevrolet for 2014 in the very near future. Reports from both Autosport and RACER this week have more or less narrowed the field of contenders, at least…
Dec 7, 2013, 7:00 PM EST
A few minor bits and pieces of news around the IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy have popped up over the last couple weeks. Here’s a quick roundup, since the last one we did a couple of weeks ago: Besides Tony Kanaan having his first running in Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar machinery, Francesco…
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