IndyCar Recap: June 2017 Pt.2 – Texas and Elkhart Lake

Texas 600 and Road America

Advertisements

2017 Verizon IndyCar Series

2015_Verizon_IndyCar_Series_logo

The 600km oval race at Texas – just one week after the Dual in Detroit – then a week off followed by the Grand Prix at Elkhart Lake’s Road America.

Rainguard Water Sealers 600

7th June 2017 – Race 9 of 17 – Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Video: Full Race (3h12m video, race starts after 30min)

Charlie Kimball started from pole and led a close-fighting Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon in the early running. Ed Carpenter gained 7 positions in 6 laps.

Tristan Vautier took Sebastien Bourdais’ car and was very quick all day, even challenged for the lead, not bad for not racing in IndyCar for 2 years! By lap 35 the Penskes were marching forward, Newgarden and Power cutting through.

On lap 36 Rossi was in the wall after being pinched between the two Ganassi cars of Dixon and Kanaan. Three-wide doesn’t work, or wasn’t working yet, none of them wanted to back out, something we’d see again later. In this yellow James Hinchcliffe spun leaving the pits, hit Helio Castroneves who was knocked into Takuma Sato. Hinch got a green-flag drive-through penalty, while Newgarden was moved to the back of the restart for pitlane speeding.

We had a long phone call on the TV coverage from Fernando Alonso live from Montreal! I’m not really sure the point of that, it kind of got in the way.

Lap 91, Castroneves hit the wall. Tyres were struggling at the end of a 50 lap stint, several cars generating blisters, it seems this was the cause. At the restart Carpenter went for a wild spin which he saved!

At lap 124 – halfway – darkness fell. This is when it got tense! Night racing under the lights, temperatures falling, the race turned into one we haven’t seen at Texas since 2011, with the old cars – tight packs, not always as close as the old packs, but still incredibly tense and nervous.

At lap 153 there was 3-car crash – Kanaan moved up into Hinchcliffe who happened to have team-mate Aleshin on his outside. I don’t think TK knew they were 3 wide at the time, and Aleshin as the last man in probably ought to have backed out of it first. Happened so fast and with 2 of 3 drivers sharing blame it can only be a racing incident in my eyes, but it was Kanaan given a 20-second stop/hold penalty dropping him 2 laps, probably because Hinch and Aleshin were out.
Also out of the race were Vautier, Jones, Munoz and Hunter-Reay. Carpenter and Hildebrand were also damaged but were able to resume delayed after repairs. An expensive incident, especially for Coyne Racing who have suffered a lot of damage this year.

After a 30 minute red flag the race resumed with a mandatory competition caution for every 30 laps of green due to the tyre blisters, just 11 cars left in the race, 13 once the Carpenter boys resumed. Incredibly this didn’t matter, the show they put on was unreal!

Newgarden pitted a lap before the yellow but the series insisted he pit again along with everyone else. Not that it mattered, 10 laps after the stop he tried to go 3-wide through the last corner and he hit the wall. Safety car and another restart.

Cars side by side, passing, re-passing. Sounds fun but it was intense, really. At any moment the pack could’ve wiped itself out. Still, watching Power versus Dixon for the lead, Sato versus Pagenaud for 3rd… you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

Sato could’ve won, he actually made the 3-wide pass work twice in two laps! As he was going for 2nd or 3rd, with 5 laps to go he just put a wheel on the grass which sent him into the wall, taking out Dixon and delaying Chilton and Daly. There weren’t enough laps for a clear up so the race finished behind the safety car.

Worth watching? Yes, an event-filled race but watch the last hour between your fingers! Texas produces incredible action but the margins are so tight it is a scary watch.

  1. 12 Will Power (Team Penske Chevy);
  2. 10 Tony Kanaan (Ganassi Honda);
  3. 1 Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske Chevy);
  4. 15 Graham Rahal (Rahal Honda);
  5. 88 Gabby Chaves (Harding Group Chevy);
  6. 27 Marco Andretti (Andretti Honda);
  7. 4 Conor Daly (AJ Foyt Chevy);
  8. 8 Max Chilton (Ganassi Honda);
  9. 9 Scott Dixon (Ganassi Honda);
  10. 26 Takuma Sato (Andretti Honda);

Just 10 cars running at the end, officially Dixon and Sato were out of the race (DNF) with the last runners being the repaired Carpenter entries of Ed Carpenter (11th, 24 laps down) and JR Hildebrand (12th, 33 laps down).

Kohler Grand Prix

25th June 2017 – Race 10 of 17 – Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Video: Full race (2h18m video, race starts at 35 minutes).

A very different race! This time we saw IndyCar’s best attempt at a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Championship contenders up front racing different tyre and fuel strategies. Still something to enjoy albeit in a totally different way to Texas, showcasing the strength of IndyCar that it can do both types of racing inside 2 weeks. A thrill to see these cars flat out one of the best tracks in North America, and to see such a crowd out to see them.

Helio Castroneves started from pole, Power was 2nd but had a bad start such that Newgarden passed him into turn 1. Graham Rahal make a bold move on the outside to move up, but got penalised 1 place for blocking. Team Penske ran 1-2-3 with Dixon 4th.

At just lap 7 drivers came in early to try a 4-stop fuel strategy. Later, among the 3-stoppers, Newgarden and Dixon ran a lap longer than other 3-stoppers and gained time.

Newgarden made a brilliant pass on the outside of Castroneves on lap 20! Staying out longer meant he had more fuel to burn. Meanwhile you could see Dixon closing in, 5 laps later and Scott was on Helio’s tail.

At the 2nd stops Dixon jumped Castroneves. It looked like a 3-stop strategy but staying out longer than your competitor was preferable. But right after this the Safety Car came out for Sato off course at the kink – I have no idea how he missed the wall.

At the restart, Scott Dixon swooped into the lead around Newgarden! A lead he would hold to the flag. At the same time Hinchcliffe and Power touched, Hinch’s front wheel damaged. Castroneves also passed Newgarden.

At lap 44, just after the last stops, Tony Kanaan was into the wall hard at the kink, not a place you want to go off. He and Rossi had got together as TK overtook, just a glancing touch which was enough to damage TK’s wing and send him to the wall. The second race in succession these two hit each other..

  1. 9 Scott Dixon (Ganassi Honda);
  2. 2 Josef Newgarden (Team Penske Chevy);
  3. 3 Helio Castroneves (Team Penske Chevy);
  4. 1 Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske Chevy);
  5. 12 Will Power (Team Penske Chevy);
  6. 83 Charlie Kimball (Ganassi Honda);
  7. 19 Ed Jones (Coyne Honda);
  8. 15 Graham Rahal (Rahal Honda);
  9. 8 Max Chilton (Ganassi Honda);
  10. 7 Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Honda);

Finally Dixon gets a win this year! And look at it, this was supposed to be a Penske domination.

Points Scored at TMS & RA

Tex RA JUNE Pt2
Will Power 53 30 83
Scott Dixon 23 53 76
Josef Newgarden 28 41 69
Simon Pagenaud 35 32 67
Graham Rahal 32 24 56
Tony Kanaan 41 9 50
Helio Castroneves 10 37 47
Max Chilton 25 22 47
Conor Daly 26 15 41
Marco Andretti 28 12 40
Charlie Kimball 11 29 40
Ed Jones 13 26 39
Mikhail Aleshin 15 20 35
JR Hildebrand 18 14 32
Takuma Sato 20 11 31
Carlos Munoz 12 19 31
Gabby Chaves 30 30
Ryan Hunter-Reay 11 16 27
James Hinchcliffe 16 10 26
Alexander Rossi 8 17 25
Ed Carpenter 19 19
Spencer Pigot 18 18
Tristan Vautier 15 15
Esteban Gutierrez 13 13
  • Power made the best of these two races with a win and a 5th. Dixon scored a win and a 9th.
  • Newgarden and Pagenaud also continued their good seasons.
  • Kanaan’s Road America DNF cost a potentially great swing.
  • Rossi had a poor couple of races.
  • Hunter-Reay’s year isn’t improving.

Points Total To June 30th

Pos Pre +/- Name Pre   Total Wins
1 1 0 Scott Dixon 303 76 379 1
2 4 2 Simon Pagenaud 278 67 345 1
3 2 -1 Helio Castroneves 295 47 342  
4 5 1 Josef Newgarden 259 69 328 1
5 3 -2 Takuma Sato 292 31 323 1
6 8 2 Will Power 233 83 316 2
7 6 -1 Graham Rahal 251 56 307 2
8 9 1 Tony Kanaan 223 50 273  
9 7 -2 Alexander Rossi 246 25 271  
10 11 1 Ed Jones 215 39 254  
11 12 1 Max Chilton 204 47 251  
12 10 -2 James Hinchcliffe 216 26 242 1
13 14 1 Marco Andretti 182 40 222  
14 15 1 Mikhail Aleshin 177 35 212  
15 13 -2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 183 27 210  
16 16 0 JR Hildebrand 173 32 205  
17 17 0 Carlos Munoz 168 31 199  
18 19 1 Charlie Kimball 132 40 172  
19 21 2 Conor Daly 114 41 155  
20 20 0 Spencer Pigot 124 18 142  
21 18 -3 Sebastien Bourdais 136 136 1
22 22 0 Ed Carpenter 105 19 124  
23 23 0 Juan Pablo Montoya 93 93  
24 25 1 Gabby Chaves 53 30 83  
25 24 -1 Oriol Servia 61 61  
26 26 0 Fernando Alonso 47 47  
27 29 2 Esteban Gutierrez 27 13 40  
28 27 -1 Sebastian Saavedra 33 33  
29 28 -1 Pippa Mann 32 32  
30 30 0 Jay Howard 24 24  
31 31 0 Zach Veach 23 23  
= 32 0 Sage Karam 23 23  
33 33 0 James Davison 21 21  
34 34 0 Jack Harvey 17 17  
35 36 1 Tristan Vautier 15 15  
36 35 -1 Buddy Lazier 14 14
  • Dixon’s win increases his points lead to 34, this time over Simon Pagenaud who moves up to 2nd from 4th. Castroneves drops to 3rd, now the only one in the top 7 without a win.
  • Newgarden is up to 4th at the expense of Sato.
  • Power’s win moves him to 6th from 8th after Detroit.
  • Rossi dropped 2 places to 7th.

Points graph (click to open):

IndyCar 2017 June pt2

Next Month

The next post in the series covers July, continuing IndyCar’s relentless run of races with another 3 in 4 weeks, starting at Iowa’s oval, immediately followed by Toronto’s street race, with Mid-Ohio road course finishing off the month.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s