Grandstand finish for IndyCar’s Road America return

Weekend Racing Wrap

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IndyCar’s return to Road America produced the second-closest finish the championship has ever seen at the much-loved venue.

Elsewhere there was carnage at the Norisring in both European F3 and DTM, and the total opposite in the WTCC from Vila Real in Portugal.


Race 9 of 16: Road America

Dixon held second early on before retiring
Will Power got his championship challenge back on track at Elkhart Lake, leading nearly every lap as he won from pole position. But it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that thanks to a late caution period which put a racy Tony Kanaan on his tail.

The Ganassi driver slashed Power’s advantage as they raced to the flag, and was left wishing the race’s only caution period had finished sooner after falling short by less than half a second.

The race’s only caution period came as Conor Daly spun into the barriers at turn one due to an apparent rear suspension failure. The Coyne driver had again been running strongly inside the top ten ten.

Championship leader Simon Pagenaud suffered a rare setback after an electrical problem on his Penske caused him to drop back late in the race. However Scott Dixon, his closest rival as the series arrived at Elkhart Lake, was unable to capitalised having retired with a technical problem of his own early in the race.

European F3

Races 13, 14 and 15 of 30: Norisring

Lance Stroll claimed two wins and a second to further extend his championship lead while his closest rivals slipped up at the Norisring. Among them was Callum Ilott who despite taking his first of three consecutive ten-place grid penalties due to an engine change fought his way up to third in race one, only to collide with race leader Joel Eriksson and hand victory to Stroll.

Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou collided while fighting for third on the restart prompting another Safety Car, and on the second restart Pedro Piquet and Harrison Newey came together. The safety car wasn’t needed again however and Stroll cruised to the win ahead of Niko Kari and Nick Cassidy, though George Russell inherited the podium when Cassidy received a five-second penalty for a Safety Car infringement.

Anthoine Hubert took his maiden victory in the series in a second race heavily interrupted by Safety Cars. Three appearances meant little racing was able to take place, and the podium – Hubert from Stroll and Maximilian Gunther – was the same as the order after the first safety car period.

The Safety Car appeared early in the final race as well but not due to a driving error – the lights on the starting gantry failed and the decision was taken to use a rolling start. However an over-optimistic move by Russell on the luckless Eriksson meant race three was soon neutralised again.

Approaching the restart Piquet hit Ryan Tveter at the final corner and collected Kari. The race was red-flagged so the Red Bull junior driver could be taken to hospital, and after a final restart Stroll collected another win to open up a

Before racing could resume Piquet hit Ryan Tveter – who slid into Kari – and a red flag was thrown. The safety car restarted proceedings again and despite a further collision towards the end – didn’t reappear. Stroll avoided all trouble up front to collect another win ahead of Hubert and Camara – who overtook team mate Zhou after the red flag restart.


Races 7 and 8 of 18: Norisring

A wildly optimistic move by Mattias Ekstrom eliminated the top three drivers from proceedings in race one. The Audi driver clipped Robert Wickens while trying to pass his rival and thumped into Christian Vietoris, who had been on course to end a two-year victory drought. Edoardo Mortara therefore became the first driver to win two races this year, beating ‘Mr Norisring’ Jamie Green to the flag.

Race two saw a new race winner, with Nico Muller holding off Tom Blomqvist from third on the grid. Muller overtook third placed di Resta on the first lap and kept pace with pole-sitting Blomqvist until the pitstops, when Muller set some quick in-laps to take the lead.

World Touring Car Championship

Races 13 and 14 of 24: Portugal

A largely processional first race was won by Tom Coronel, who led from pole position and never looked back. The action that did take place happened at the start, with Jose Maria Lopez jumping Thed Bjork for fifth and Tom Chilton moving past Nicky Catsburg for second. Chilton attempted to pressure team mate Coronel, but failed to find a way through.

The second race was barely any better in terms of action, as Tiago Monteiro won from pole to move back into second in the championship. Catsburg moved from ninth to seventh at the start, while team mate Hugo Valente went to ninth from thirteenth, but up front the podium matched the grid, with Yvan Muller and Norbert Michelisz following Monteiro home.


Round 16 of 36: Sonoma Raceway

Tony Stewart second-guessed a late caution period for debris and made an early pit stop which put him in the lead at Sonoma. But he still had to fend off a late attack from Denny Hamlin and re-took the lead with a bold move at the final turn.

Formula V8 3.5

Races 7 and 8 of 18: Paul Ricard

In race one, Egor Orudzhev fought off a huge challenge from Roy Nissany to become the first multiple winner of the 2016 championship. A late charge from Nissany brought him within half a second of the Arden driver, but he had to settle for second ahead of Lotus team mate Rene Binder.

Louis Deletraz took race two honours ahead of Nissany and Orudzhev, with the former having started from pole position. Deletraz was in third at the pit stops, but an early stop meant he undercut Nissany and Orudzhev to emerge in the lead. The Fortec driver led from there to the end to take the win by 2.9 seconds.

Guest series: Indy Lights

Races 9 and 10 of 18: Road America

Championship contenders Dean Stoneman and Ed Jones came to blows in race two at Elkhart Lake as Stoneman forced his way into the lead despite being pushed almost fully onto the wet grass approaching turn six. Jones nearly spun at the exit of the corner and was hit from behind by team mate Felix Serrales. However the incident left Stoneman with a puncture which dropped him to ninth.

Santiago Urrutia won the wet/dry race and now lies 24 points behind Jones in the championship, with Stoneman 19 points off the leader. Race one was won convincingly by Zach Veach ahead of Stoneman, despite the latter collecting a five-second time penalty for forcing Andre Negrao wide at turn five.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend Formula One, GP2 and GP3 head to the Red Bull Ring in Austria, while the second ever Formula E title will be decided in London. There’s also World Rally in Poland and World Rallycross from Sweden, while NASCAR and IMSA also continue.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

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25 comments on “Grandstand finish for IndyCar’s Road America return”

  1. There’s one good thing about FOM’s reluctance to go with the times: they haven’t brought in those moving cameras used in Indy Car.
    They kill all the excitement, you don’t really sense how the cars are moving relative to each other, and often they are to moving to slow so don’t really see anything at all.

    1. @jon-thereyougo:
      ‘There’s one good thing about FOM’s reluctance to go with the times: they haven’t brought in those moving cameras used in Indy Car.’
      I think you’re mistaken. F1 is using all kinds of moving cameras, including those mounted on the cars, as well.

      1. I’m talking about the car mounted cameras.
        I know that they had one on a Williams 2 or 3 years ago (and I saw the footage), and I think I saw two of them on a Merc recently (one either side on the airbox) but I can’t remember the last time they used it during the TV coverage.

        1. @jon-thereyougo:
          I know. They’re being used in every race. Maybe not as often as in Indy Car (I wouldn’t know) but they’re definitely in use.

  2. MotoGP; Next to Formula One, WEC, WRX, WTCC, Blancpain, etc.. I also follow the MotoGP circus. A friend of mine is a big MotoGP fan and this weekend we finally managed to get a weekend planned to visit a race at Assen. We’re from Belgium so after a three hour driver we were ready to enjoy a sunday of motorracing at its best.

    Now, the racing was great, you most likely watched it if you follow the series. What struck me most however is the organisation of the entire thing. I’ve been to over 10 GPs, 4 rounds of the WEC and many more FIA related motorsport events but none matches the organisation at Assen. How they managed to get 100k people in, seated, and out again was astonishing. As someone working in logistics I always keep an eye on such things.

    Next to that the race was very entertaining (brilliant places at Ossenbroeken grandstand for 80 euro incl parking) be it we had to stand and sit in the rain for a good part of the afternoon.

    It was not only the organisation that baffled me but also the massive crowd coming to see these bikes after the race was over. Over a thousand people were gathered on the road and overpasses to watch the many bikes go home. I have never seen such a thing. I felt like the queen on ‘Koninginnedag’. People continued to gather next to the roads even after we had driven some good fifty minutes from the circuit.

    Great experience, and I advise it to all.

    1. @xtwl Glad you enjoyed your day out. Great result too!
      It was also the first time a satellite team has won a race since October 2006 (Toni Elias – Gresini @ Estoril)!

      1. @eurobrun Yeah, as stubborn as I am I wore my Mark Webber Porsche team cap and was even thinking about bringing my gigantic aussie flag. Shame I didn’t as it surely would’ve caught Miller his eye.

        The Yamaha is still the better bike so good on Marquez to bag those points as this surely keeps him in the hunt. Very poor showing of our world champion Lorenzo though, very poor indeed.

        1. @xtwl Yeah, it seems like Lorenzo simply can’t deal with the rain of late.

        2. Firstly @xtwl, it’s great that you enjoyed a fantastic event. Must be thoroughly enjoyable.

          Secondly, yes, MM has been doing a great job all year. When other Hondas are struggling, he is shining. Hard core fans just started to hate him due to his domination in 2014 and his battles with Rossi in 2015. You see, if you beat Rossi, you’re a villain. Let’s not forget how young Marquez is still and he is already on his way to becoming a legend. Watching him ride is a treat! He is the Max of MotoGP.

          Thirdly, it was really disappointing to see Rossi crash as he looked great in those conditions. Lorenzo I think is suffering more from the psychological issue at Assen post his 2013 FP crash and since, he has never been fast in the rain at this track. Surely, he’ll be back and we’re in for another great season.

          1. @neelv27 We were talking about how crazy it is that Marquez has just done some 60 GPs yet has two world titles, many wins and poles. Honestly I don’t think there is anything going on with Lorenzo mentally, he just couldn’t do it. Relating it to the crash three years back is nonsense in my opinion, most likely he doesn’t even remember that particular crash. Same with Massa, it’s always ‘he hasn’t been that fast since that accident’, don’t think it really affects him that much, if it really would we would’ve seen it more frequently and more severe.

          2. @xtwl Regarding to Lorenzo, I meant it only at Assen. Even in 2014, he made no secret of that during the damp race.


          3. @neelv27 He is an expert at blaming everything but himself,…

    2. Good to hear you enjoyed your weekend despite the weather. I always watch MotoGP and this race didn’t disappoint even though I was cheering for Rossi. MotoGP is the one thing left on my to do list of racing and I’m hoping I can make a race in the very near future.

  3. There was a lot of sillyness in both F3 and DTM at the Norisring this weekend. I love the track, but its just unfortunate that its tight confines can easily lead to a lot of stop start racing and safety car periods.

    I’ve never noticed before how close the F3 and DTM laptimes can be. I always assumed that DTM were at least a step faster. I suppose my only reference point is F4 and BTTC which I guess isn’t an appropriate equivalent.

    I’d love to see an F3 race a DTM (obviously would never happen, not in anger anyway).

  4. @keithcollantine – sorry if this isn’t the place to raise this here, and if it seems like just a criticism (it’s intended to be constructive!).

    I think you and Ben Evans did a great job with the Indycar commentary, but unfortunately it was just lacking the insight that you get with a team at the actual race track. Particularly for a race like that, quite a slow burner, it really needs to team in the US who can fill the time with anecdotes from the paddock, input from pitlane and that unique American humour. Missed all the team radio too. Appreciate you cut to the US feed when they doing an interview, but there were only a handful visible and it was difficult for you both to halt mid-sentence. Not sure what the zipwire was about in the middle either, but I’m sure it would make some sense with the sounds (even if still a bit distracting)

    Admitedly I really enjoy the regular US Indycar commentary (I wish Sky or Channel 4 would go for a three person team, and inject someone with a sense of humour – Croft and Brundle are about as funny as a pile of old tea towels).

    But yeah, considering the limitations of what you had to work with I think it was a decent job, just couldn’t see the need to just not use the US feed and for the UK team to cut in during the adverts.

    Overall though, props to BT Sport for bringing us Indycar again this year and actually putting some thought and effort into the production. Fantastic season so far.

    1. Maybe you should suggest they start flying you out for the races ;)

    2. While I have nothing against the American commentary and have get to sample the delights of a full race with Kieth and Ben, the one thing I hate about the US feed is that its not just commentary, its adverts for other programs on ESPN / NBC / whoever. They come back from an add break, then waste time with cutaways to “recaps”. They wouldn’t need them if they had less ad breaks.
      For me anything that gives us the world feed uninterrupted is already infinitely better.

      1. Justin (@vivagilles27)
        28th June 2016, 18:57

        Don’t know what feed you are watching, but they only have 2-3 “hard” ad breaks during the entire race. The rest of the ad’s are run in a split (side-by-side) screen format with the race still visible on the right. Plus, they try to run all their ads during caution (safety car) periods if possible. The F1 coverage here in the US is done in the same manor. I’d say you easily catch 95% of the broadcast.

  5. Michael Brown (@)
    27th June 2016, 18:58

    I’m not a fan of push-to-pass, fanboost, or DRS, but I think IndyCar does PtP right. It gives just enough of an advantage to the chasing car that it can get alongside in the braking and alongside through the corner.
    I don’t like those things because they’re cheap solutions to over-reliance on aerodynamics.

    1. @mbr-9 “I’m not a fan of push-to-pass, fanboost, or DRS, but I think IndyCar does PtP right… I don’t like those things because they’re cheap solutions to over-reliance on aerodynamics.”

      Agreed. Out of the three I think PtP is the lesser of the evils and in particular the way it’s done in IndyCar.
      It is the driver’s choice when and where to use it at any time during the race. The choices on when and how to use them are completely up to the driver. Use them to pass or defend on any part of the track any time during the race. Your choice, use them wisely. The best thing is that it puts more control directly into the drivers hands.

      DRS on the other hand is more of an automaton type of device. Very restricted usage that takes control away from drivers. If it is available, then it is a given that you must use it. It would be foolish not too. But that is not really a driver choice. With PtP the driver cannot choose to use it lap after lap. They have to rely more on their own skills for how and when to use it, or not use it.

      That said, PtP is unlikely to be used in the future by F1. Their DRS usage seems to be stuck wide open even though they had a chance to reduce dependence on aero with the new regs and chose not too.

      1. @bullmello
        I agree that PtP is the better of the three. Also, people forget that its quite tactical. The boost doesn’t come from nowhere. Boost several times in one stint and you’re gonna have to pit for fuel sooner.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        28th June 2016, 12:00

        Personally, I’d ditch DRS and bring back KERS, or something like it – a regenerating PtP. Just make it more powerful and limit its usage per lap, like KERS was.

    2. I would prefer to get rid of both, but PtP is much better
      – doesn’t break the fundamental principle of equality between competitors (if you are behind me and use the button I can defend, with DRS i am a sitting duck)
      – it’s a scarce resource to be used wisely – as Scott Goodyear says, it’s a bit like a debit card, use it too much and you run out of money
      – doesn’t make the passes too easy

      another thing which is great on Indy is the LED panels with the position of the driver and whether they’re using the button – can’t think of any reason why F1 wouldn’t do this as it’s so much easier to follow positions if you are at the circuit (especially considering the lack of big screens in European circuits). Also much better than the silly system the WEC uses to identify the top 3

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        28th June 2016, 12:08

        I agree on the LEDs. I imagine teams would oppose them because they would take up sponsorship space.

  6. WHAT is going on with those Chevy front wings?

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