IndyCar team mates clash and new TCR series debuts

Weekend Racing Wrap

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In this week’s racing wrap Penske are the team to beat as the new IndyCar season begins, an ex-F1 driver steps down to Indy Lights and a new championship supports the Malaysian Grand Prix.

IndyCar round one

Streets of St Petersburg

Juan Pablo Montoya got his second season back in IndyCar off to the best possible start by beating Will Power to victory in St Petersburg. Power was bearing down on his Penske team mate in the closing lap of the race but dropped back after clipping Montoya’s car in a failed overtaking attempt.

Contact was a major theme of the day as the first half of the race saw several caution periods while marshals collected various bits of the new aero kits while fell off as the drivers tangled around the narrow St Petersburg street course.

Indy Lights round one

Streets of St Petersburg

IndyCar’s feeder series was also back in action and had a new winner in the shape of Carlin, who’ve crossed the Atlantic to expand their successful single seater racing operation. The blue cars duly locked out the front row, although Ed Jones out-qualified ex-Marussia driver Max Chilton. Jones went on to win both races while Chilton retired on the opening lap of race one and came home fourth in race two.

Australian V8 Supercars round two

Symmons Plains

The V8 Supercars powered into Tasmania for the second championship round of 2015. After qualifying on pole, Red Bull Holden driver Craig Lowndes took a commanding victory in race one, and repeated this feat in race two, before seeing team mate Jamie Whincup take the honours for race three, and with it the championship lead heading into the third round, at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth.

Highlights available on the V8 Supercars website

NASCAR round six


Denny Hamlin managed to take the 25th victory in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career at Martinsville, after holding off last week’s Fontana winner Brad Keselowski in the fifth round of the championship. The eventual winner was hit by Keselowski on the last lap, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Joe Gibbs Racing driver from taking the spoils.

Championship leader Kevin Harvick’s run of top two finishes came to end at eight, as he finished down in eighth place.

TCR International Series round one


The TCR International Series made its debut on the support bill of the Malaysian Grand Prix with a 17-car field featuring cars from Seat, Honda, Audi, Opel and Ford. Stefano Comini had the honour of winning the first TCR race ink his SEAT Leon ahead of Pepe Oriola and Sergei Afanasyev.

The third Bamboo SEAT of Jordi Gene took a lights-to-flag victory in race two, with Oriola taking second once more, and the West Coast Racing Honda of ex-F1 racer Gianni Morbidelli rounding out the podium.

Elsewhere in racing

An accident which claimed the life of a spectator led the opening round of the VLN endurance series at the Nurburgring Nordschleife to be abandoned. Jann Mardenbrough’s Nissan lifted off the ground seemingly of its own accord at the Flugplatz, demolished a barrier and landed in a spectator enclosure. Mardenbrough was unharmed and several other spectators were treated for injuries.

Over to you

Next weekend we have the Long Beach round of the Formula E championship at Long Beach, while Brands Hatch kicks off the new British Touring Car Championship season.

Will you be watching any of these races? And what did you watch last weekend? Have your say in the comments.

Thanks to @Mathers for contributing to this article.

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50 comments on “IndyCar team mates clash and new TCR series debuts”

  1. A Step Backwards

    I usually really enjoy Indycar racing but with the introduction of the new aero kits I think they have taken a step backwards.

    Was it just me or did anyone get fed up with the frequency of the the full course yellows caused by bits of the new aero kits littered across the racetrack?

    1. Yep, a bit ridiculous. It takes 5 laps to remove a bit of debris?

    2. It happened too often that’s for sure.

      1. I think an hour can be subtracted due to yellows.

    3. Same here – it felt really tedious and I started doing other things and eventually switched off.

      1. I think its fair to give them 2 to 3 races to sort out the debris clearing workflow so races don’t get interrupted too frequently… It is a new concept afterall…

    4. Isn’t that pretty usual in American racing? I guess it’s a consequence of their vast experience in terms of safety on oval tracks were everything is sorted out with a pace car and for a very good reason.

      That, and the fact that those guys in Indycars race in very tight and bumpy street tracks almost all the time, which in turn raises the possibilities of crashes, bumps, bits of car falling off, and the lot…

      1. Not to this degree. On the road side, 2, maybe 3 cautions could be considered normal. This was far too frequent and as someone else mentioned: took way too long for simply clearing away some bits and pieces.

    5. I agree, it just wasn’t a patch on the races with the Dallara aero package. There is a reason why the racing in spec series’ is close and interesting. They are trying to emulate some elements of F1 and it hasn’t worked. There are way too many wings and bits on the cars, they look ridiculous and are way too fragile.

    6. Yeah, it was very frustrating. But I don’t know if the aero kits are at fault or the drivers. In the first half of the race the driving standards were pretty poor, so many drivers misjudged the lenght of their car and destroyed their wing. Obviously all those winglets didn’t help, but I think I’ll wait a few more races to judge the new aero kits.

    7. Was it just me or did anyone get fed up with the frequency of the the full course yellows caused by bits of the new aero kits littered across the racetrack?

      If they could stop crashing into each other, that would help too. Seriously, it looks like a field full of Maldonado’s.

    8. Also it was clear by looking at the pictures that the chevy aero kit is better not to mention the track. Nick Wirth spreads mediocrity in everything he touches, one must wonder how could so many heavily funded projects fail in F1, people like Nick Wirth are the answer. No shout out for motogp, can’t we watch motorsport in both 2 and 4 wheels, it was pretty good by the way, no spoilers.

      1. @peartree Indeed. Why no love for MotoGP, @keithcollantine ? The master won again in spectacular fashion…

        1. @peartree @fer-no65 You have to draw a line somewhere, and for the purposes of this we’re sticking to four wheels. But I may be open to persuasion.

          1. i agree with that view. Sure MotoGP is interesting too, but it would really need a complete section with someone to follow bike racing intensively to make that work. Certainly not part of the same motorsport overview IMO.

          2. more motogp, wrc and lemans! they are all “world championship” race series. i think more skill is needed for motorcycles, and a different, perhaps also higher level skill (mental skill, over mechanical skill) for Rally cars.
            One day i would like a combined motorsport world championship or all different vehicles, – races in each series, the champion of the series would be the most worth “world champion” imaginable.

          3. @bascb @keithcollantine I understand. I understand that at times there’s too much motorsport to single out, especially in the coming months. I would not differentiate between 2 and 4 wheels though, above all, f1 and motogp are world championships run by similar organisations following similar standards albeit the # of wheels unless if you are a tyrrell. Also these 2 championships generally don’t clash. On a side note there’s no F1 and World rally champion throughout history but there are many legends on 2 and 4 wheels throughout the times.

    9. Well, I would think that they will improve durability of the kits over the next weeks, it was only the first race … Its not that big of a difference though if you look back at the pretty horrible amount of laps behind the SC in past races here. Remember all those situations where the track was blocked by cars in some tight corners?

      What is more of a worry to me is Penske being pretty dominant and altogether the cars with Honda engine and aero package seeming to lag behind.

      -yes the cars are ugly, but allowing aero updates made this happen, the series will no doubt clean up the cars in the coming seasons by being more stringent on what is allowed on the actual aero kits, like f1 did to stop similar uglyness.
      -aero development is allowed – that is a great thing for a series with one chassis, it makes the manufacturers still compete, and the competition has it the same way – plus the series saves money from not allowing full chassis development.
      -the lap record of 2003 was broken by Will Power – that is not going backwards – that is going more forward then f1 has for lap times! the lap times needed to get faster, a lot of fans probably these days see this series as probably slower then gp2, whereas previous it was within 110% of f1, with a 200kg heavier car. the series can now regain its position as an interesting alternative to f1. they have the drivers, the tracks, and now they have the downforce.
      -the series is getting more noticed by f1 and general motorsport sites (this site has always shown an appreciation which is nice)
      -back to the falling carbon pieces on the road, i think a lot of it had to do with the cars making contact with each other, ie driver era, the drivers will have to get used to giving 10cm more space to the other car no doubt, look at the incidents in malaysia on sunday, even f1 drivers get it wrong up close and cut each others tyres with their front wings. for both the series, it is hard to see the front wing from the cockpit, the indycar drivers are used to different wings, and will now just have to change a tiny bit in close racing and it should be fine.
      -as for safety cars – safety first. f1 is the same now when it rains, they are extra cautious and have huge delays, the sport waits for the track to be dry enough for intermediate tyres, so full rain tyres are basically obselete now, and we dont get real wet weather racing anymore.

    11. Even without the aero bits the safety car is far to prominent in US racing, and of course bunching up the field leads to more collisions, and so it goes. If it is even worse they will have to ban widgets or penalise cars for loseing bits.

  2. The most amazing thing about the race was how Montoya kept control when Power absolutely torpedoed him right at the apex of a corner. When I saw that move coming I thought they would both end up in a heap but somehow Montoya just drove through the slide. That old man has still got it.

    1. How did you manage to catch all of the race? ESPN on BT sport cut to basketball before the end as the full course yellows had wasted so much time.

      1. You can watch the full race on YouTube if you search for it.

    2. @dmw – Totally agree, great control there and superb race by Montoya. Credit to Will Power as well being OK with it all in the post race interview, even laughing a bit.

  3. FlyingLobster27
    30th March 2015, 19:24

    I listened to the second Indy Lights race, and I was rather appalled by Max Chilton. Considering he has a factory drive at Nissan (when their LMP1 finally gets going), to call his move to race in Indy Lights a step backwards is putting things very diplomatically indeed. I know Romain Grosjean did the “step back” thing, but his case shows precisely that if you’re trying to re-graduate to F1, you’ve got to come out with all guns blazing. Fourth, while not displaying the racecraft to overtake a fellow beginner just ahead, is not good enough. It looks more like the beginning of Narain Karthikeyan’s AutoGP campaign in 2013.

    1. Narain Karthikeyan’s AutoGP campaign was highly successful, wasn’t it? He just lost the championship due to various penalties he received throughout the season, the final race disqualification and the inefficient functioning of the Zele team from which he shifted to Super Nova from the 4th round. 5 wins and 4 poles is certainly a stellar effort though that is to be expected from a former F1 driver. It was Karthikeyan’s 2014 Super Formula campaign that was highly disappointing…

    2. Personally I follow Jack Harvey and i’m pleased to see he’s got off to good start. Shame he hasn’t had a chance in F1 considering he been Carlos Sainz jnr and few others now competing.

    3. that is being disrespectful to the other drivers in indy lights and other series. not everyone can make it to f1, and when a driver steps back from f1 to a lower series, people expect them to dominate, but they often can not, as the other drivers also have great driving skill.
      Narain did well in AutoGP by the way.

  4. A crucial thing to note with regards to the St. Pete GP is that this is almost par for the course as number of yellows are concerned. In fact, it is still below the record for number of yellows.

    You might say: “But few people watching will know or care to do that”

    I reply to this by agreeing with that point and it is precisely for that reason that St. Petersburg should not be the first race of the season and instead be preceded by a track with some more room to maneuver and with fewer disappearing gaps so that both new and returning viewers get a better first taste of the season.

    As a final suggestion from this, I encourage people to come back and watch the race at NOLA motorsports park in two weeks as I feel it will give a much better race with fewer yellows.

    1. I agree – I’m not a fan of the St Petersburg track at all. As a venue it looks great but the course generally does not produce good racing.

      Looking forward to seeing what NOLA’s like though.

    2. Very good point. I remember tuning in for the first time with the new cars to see those rediculous “corner is full of cars who braked and are now stuck” full course yellows 2 years (or is it more?) back. St. Pete really is not that great a track to show off the series.

  5. So happy for JPM! I just hope he can sustain a title challenge.

    I need to watch this race..if only I have the time!

  6. Was anyone else watching the ESPN coverage in the UK? I thought that they weren’t even going to show the end of the race as they kept cutting back from the ad breaks to show basketball!

  7. Valentino Rossi won the first race of the new MotoGP season. Are motorbike sports not covered in these wrap-ups?

    1. The site is called F1Fanatic. Why complain about someone creating something for you to read? Did you pay for it? No.

      Perhaps you could write about MotoGP if the lack of a MotoGP wrap up bugs you?

    2. No, its just 4 wheels motorsports @estesark, see Keiths comment above

      1. Which is a shame, as that motoGP opener was one of the most exciting races I’ve seen in a while. I was literally holding my breath for the last lap! If you enjoy racing, you should deffinately watch that race! @keithcollantine

    3. @bascb, thanks, I asked my question before Keith wrote his reply. I understand there has to be a line somewhere.

      tim, why so rude? I wasn’t complaining, just enquiring. And while I don’t pay to read articles, I do support the site financially every year. Have you considered doing the same?

  8. NASCAR had an interesting dynamic unfolding in the last stage of the race.

    Denny Hamlin took Matt Menseth soon after the last restart (of restart, there were as many as usual on the tight short tracks such as Martinsville), but his car wasn’t as good out front in clean air as was in traffic. Brad Keselowski went after him and reeled him in with superior corner entries and mid-corners, but he was too tight on exit so couldn’t muster enough speed down the straights to claim the inside line from the well-defending Hamlin.

    Now in NASCAR, in such cases, as it is pretty much a full contact sport due to the enduring nature of stock cars, it’s pretty usual to just bump your opponent out of the way on corner entry, if you’re quicker, but he blocks every attempt.

    Keselowski, interestingly, refrained from doing so, a decision which may have a series of motives behind it.

    First of all, he was already in the Chase with his Fontana win last week, so didn’t need the mental stress a controversial finish would’ve resulted in. Second, he simply wasn’t quick enough on the straights, as mentioned earlier, for Hamlin to really defend apart from the last two laps. Third, it was Hamlin he had an infamous altercation with after the Chase race last fall in Charlotte.

    He still did a bit bump, but, crucially, that was on the exit of the final turn of the final lap, after he took an extremely wide corner entry and tried to undercut Hamlin out of Turn 4. This is exactly what Keselowski needed to show: it wasn’t enough to push the opponent wide and make room for a pass, just a sign that “I was a gentleman for not wrecking you on the entry and I just showed you that. I essentially decided whether or not you’ll win this race and I let you won.”

    It was very interesting to see. I’m sure the dynamic would’ve been different if this sequence of events took place during the Chase race of this track in the fall.

  9. On a sidenote, Max Chilton is even poorer than I thought: he was just outqualified by someone in the feeder series of IndyCar in the same car…

  10. That last sentence of the IndyCar highlights really shows why up to 4 cars in a team is not a great idea “All 4 of the penske cars were in the top 5”. Just imagine. Talking about “dominating”

  11. Will Power has to be one of the biggest idiots ever to drive a racing car. He constantly complains, constantly hits other cars, constantly threatens to beat up other drivers and clearly causes 99% of his own problems.

    1. Will Power is a legend, he would have kicked ass in F1 if given the oportunity.

    2. Aussie Aussie Aussie……Oy! Oy! Oy! :-)

  12. No one talks about TCR ?

  13. I’d encourage anyone who loves motorsport to watch a replay of the opening round of the MotoGP season in Qatar. It’s one of the best races that I’ve seen of any series.

    1. Cracker race, but thats the norm in Moto-GP, dull races are the exception, not the rule.

      1. Best race of the weekend by a mile, not the norm to see two Yamahas duking it out with two Ducatis though…..
        Were the commentators correct in pointing out The Doctor was the only one of the four with harder tires ?
        Marquez coming through the field was spectacular too…almost!

  14. I moved from the UK to Florida just last summer. A lifelong F1 fan, I went to the F1 race in Spa in 2013 as I knew I was moving away from Europe soon and whilst the race was boring and processional (thank you RedBull domination), the experience of attending was superb.
    So I went to the Indycar race in St Petersburg last weekend. As a spectator, it was an awesome weekend!
    I bought grandstand tickets at turn 10 for my family (2 adults 2 kids) and paddock passes for the weekend for about half of the cost of F1 grandstand tickets for Spa. Food & drink prices were reasonable.
    We had an awesome view of the track and the paddock passes were so cool. We got to see all the cars being prepared for the race, and being wheeled to and from the track. Most of the drivers were available too, signing autographs and talking to fans. Simona de Silvestra was an inspiration to my 9 yr old daughter.
    Mario Andretti was there too and took time to talk to my family whilst he was signing autographs.

    The support races were also good too. The Super Stadium trucks were wildly entertaining. Chilton in IndyLights was disappointing, especially in the first race when we saw his damaged car coming back from the track on a flatbed truck!

    For entertainment and value for attending a race weekend, I would vote Indycar first every time. It’s on it’s way back!

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