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The IndyCar Series, currently known as the NTT IndyCar Series under sponsorship, is the highest class of regional North American open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars in the United States, which has been conducted under the auspices of various sanctioning bodies since 1920 after two initial attempts in 1905 and 1916. The series is self-sanctioned by its parent company, INDYCAR, LLC., which began in 1996 as the Indy Racing League (IRL) and was created by then Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George as a competitor to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). In 2008, the IndyCar Series merged with CART's successor, the Champ Car World Series and the history and statistics of both series, as well as those from its predecessors, were unified. The series' premier event is the Indianapolis 500, which was first held in 1911.

Broom Time: Newgarden, Penske Complete Iowa Sweep

The brooms are out.

Josef Newgarden completed a sweep of the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway by winning the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade on Sunday, bookending his victory Saturday in the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart.

SEE: Race Results

Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden drove his No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet to his sixth career victory at Iowa by .7050 of a second over teammate and reigning series champion Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The close finish came after a three-lap dash to the checkered flag due to a late caution period.

Newgarden has won all four oval races this season – including the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 28 – and can complete a season sweep of circle-track events at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Sunday, Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway. He has won six of the last seven oval races in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES over the last 12 months.

“We knew we had a great car, and the pressure was there because I think we wanted to execute on it and make sure it was a great weekend,” Newgarden said. “I’m happy now. When you finish the first race, it’s great to have a doubleheader, but you just feel incomplete until you get through today. To be able to come back and do it again, I’m so proud of the team.

“It’s very gratifying because I know how good our car is here. When you show up with a car like this, you’ve got the pressure to just execute and get the job done. When you don’t get the job done, you feel like you did something wrong.”

There’s even more history. Newgarden joined legendary four-time Indy 500 winners A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only drivers to win five consecutive oval races in the INDYCAR SERIES, as Newgarden’s streak started last August at WWTR. Foyt won seven in a row in 1964, and Unser won five straight in 1968 and 1970.

This was Newgarden’s 29th career victory, tying him with four-time Indy 500 winner and fellow Team Penske legend Rick Mears for 13th on the all-time INDYCAR SERIES win list. Newgarden also became the first driver to sweep an INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader since Graham Rahal in 2017 in Detroit.

Newgarden’s victory also polished off a sweep of the weekend for Team Penske, as the team led every on-track session. Newgarden won both races and led practice Friday, while Power won the NTT P1 Award for both races and led the warmup this morning.

Championship leader Alex Palou finished third in his No. 10 The American Legion Honda. Palou’s lead over second place Newgarden slimmed to 80 points with five races remaining in the season. The Spaniard, who finished eighth Saturday, led by 117 points entering this doubleheader weekend. Still, he extended his streak of finishing in the top eight to all 12 races this season.

“I didn’t expect to be on the podium, honestly,” Palou said. “This is a place where we struggle, we don’t really have the package that we would like and that I struggle also personally. We got a lot of confidence today, but there’s still a lot to improve.”

Felix Rosenqvist finished fourth in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, with Scott McLaughlin rounding out three Team Penske cars in the top five in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

Newgarden cantered to a 3.375-second victory over McLaughlin on Saturday. But a second trip to the winner’s circle this weekend wasn’t as easy Sunday even though Newgarden led far more laps – 212 of 250 – after starting seventh than the 129 trips he paced Saturday from the third spot on the starting grid.

It appeared Newgarden would cruise to another dominant victory late in the race, as he was well ahead of Rosenqvist and had lapped the field all the way to sixth place. But Ryan Hunter-Reay side-swiped the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 in the No. 20 Bitnile.com Chevrolet on Lap 240, triggering the third and final caution of the race.

The five cars on the lead lap were moved to the front of field under caution, creating a three-lap dash to the checkered on the restart at the end of Lap 247. Newgarden got a smooth jump into Turn 1 and never trailed. Pole sitter Power passed Rosenqvist for second, and 2021 season champion Palou completed his Sunday salvage job by passing Rosenqvist and McLaughlin to earn his seventh podium finish of the season.

Newgarden took less time to pass teammate and NTT P1 Award winner Power for the early lead today than Saturday. He first got to the front and took control of the race on Lap 31, never trailing thereafter except for during pit cycles.

Newgarden will split $10,000 with Team Penske and his chosen charities, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 6 on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee – Newgarden’s hometown. Live coverage starts at noon ET on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Newgarden Continues To Rule Ovals with Dominant Iowa Win

In one of the most unpredictable, competitive motorsports series on Earth, perhaps the closest to a sure thing emerged again Saturday – Josef Newgarden winning on an oval.

Newgarden dominated the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart at Iowa Speedway, staying perfect in oval races in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES this season in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden also won the PPG 375 in April at Texas Motor Speedway and the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

SEE: Race Results

Two-time series champion Newgarden also has won five of the six oval races in the last 12 months, including this race last year. The only race he didn’t win during that streak was the second race of the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend last year, as he crashed out while leading due to a mechanical failure.

“It’s a great day,” Newgarden said. “My team, they are unbelievable. They always give me a great car. I show up every weekend, and I feel like I’ve got the best of the best behind me. I love Iowa.”

This was Newgarden’s third victory of the season – all on ovals – and the 28th of his INDYCAR SERIES career. He will try to pull off the weekend doubleheader sweep and stay perfect this season on circle tracks in the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade on Sunday, with live coverage starting at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Team Penske finished 1-2 today, as Scott McLaughlin tied his career-best oval finish of second in the No. 2 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet, 3.3755 seconds behind Newgarden. Pato O’Ward placed third in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Marcus Ericsson finished fourth in the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing, and double NTT P1 Award winner Will Power rounded out the top five in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Just five cars finished on the lead lap, an indication of Newgarden’s command of this race. More proof of Newgarden’s dominance: He led a race-high 129 laps on the .894-mile oval, with Power leading 119 to put Team Penske out front for 248 of the 250 laps.

Power led 119 of the first 120 laps, losing the top spot to championship leader Alex Palou only during an early pit stop cycle. Newgarden, who started third, roared under Power exiting Turn 2 on Lap 121 to take the lead and paced the field the rest of the way except for one lap during a pit stop on Lap 126.

Newgarden stretched his lead to nearly four seconds when the field was bunched for the only caution period of the fast, frantic race when Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Blue Compass RV Honda hit the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 4 on Lap 152. Rahal was unhurt.

That hope for the other drivers was fleeting as Newgarden rocketed away on the restart on Lap 166. He built a 5.3-second lead over McLaughlin by Lap 200 and appeared to be on cruise control to the checkered before he was snagged in a thicket of end-of-lead lap and lapped traffic on the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”

“It’s always tough in INDYCAR; these guys that are about to go a lap down, they always run the leader really hard,” Newgarden said. “That’s the name of the game. It’s legal, but man, it’s a little frustrating at times. I’m going to study the tape. I’m going to be better tomorrow.”

McLaughlin pulled to within 1.6 seconds with five laps remaining due to the traffic jam, but he could get no closer as Newgarden threaded through slower cars and powered to the finish.

“I badly want to beat that guy, and I’m going to be trying everything I can to beat him,” McLaughlin said of close friend and “Bus Bros” video series co-host Newgarden. “But he’s the epitome of a great teammate, and I appreciate the help he’s given me.”

Newgarden will split $10,000 with Team Penske and his chosen charities, SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

Palou finished eighth – tied for his season low – in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda. His lead in the championship shrank from 117 to 98 points over Newgarden, who took second in the standings from Scott Dixon with his win.

Despite Team Penske’s dominance up front, the race was a competitive affair throughout the 28-car field. There were 1,502 on-track passes, an INDYCAR SERIES record at Iowa Speedway.



Speed, Strategy Deliver First Win for Lundgaard at Toronto

Christian Lundgaard won the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, mixing sizzling speed and successful strategy for his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory.

Lundgaard, 21, from Denmark, drove his No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Honda to a 11.7893-second victory over championship leader Alex Palou in the No. 10 Journie Rewards Honda. Colton Herta finished a season-best third in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

SEE: Race Results

This was the first victory for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing since Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in August 2020. The team’s last win on a temporary street circuit like the 11-turn, 1.786-mile course around Toronto’s Exhibition Place came in June 2017 when Graham Rahal swept the doubleheader on Belle Isle in Detroit.

Lundgaard became the first Danish driver to win an INDYCAR SERIES race. He also was handed an electric razor in Victory Lane to shave the moustache he grew during the offseason and vowed to keep until he earned his first victory.

“I’m pretty drained from energy right now,” Lundgaard said. “The Hy-Vee Vivid Clear Rx car has been fast all weekend, and I said it before the race that we had a car that was fast enough to win. We pulled it off.

“This team, they do deserve this. If you look at where we were earlier this season and even last year at this point, we were nowhere near this. I’m just extremely happy for everybody right now.”

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon placed fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, the top finisher among a group of drivers who attempted an alternate strategy in the second half of the race to try to counter Lundgaard’s speed.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five in the No. 2 Snap-on Team Penske Chevrolet.

The decisive move came on Lap 61 of the 85-lap race in Canada’s largest city. Lundgaard and Palou dueled side by side for second place behind leader Dixon – on a different fuel strategy – when Lundgaard completed the pass of Palou in Turn 3.

Dixon made his final pit stop on the next lap, handing the lead to Lundgaard. The Dane wasted no time stretching his legs under sunny skies in Toronto, building a 3.1503-second lead by Lap 65.

Lundgaard continued to build his lead over the closing laps and cruised to the finish, ending up out front for 54 of the 85 laps. That left the drama to the fight for the final podium positions among Palou, Herta and reigning series champion Will Power.

Those three drivers raced in lockstep around the tricky, bumpy street circuit for 19 of the last 20 laps. Palou’s drive to keep second was particularly impressive considering he navigated the last 39 laps with a cracked nose cone and a front wing knocked askew by wall contact in an incident also involving Kyle Kirkwood and Helio Castroneves on Lap 46.

Herta couldn’t find a way past Palou over the closing stint, and Power’s chance for a podium finish ended when he was forced to pit just before the start of the final lap to avoid running out of fuel.

2021 series champion Palou, who started a season-low 15th, extended his streak of top-five finishes this season to nine consecutive races dating back to the PPG 375 in early April at Texas Motor Speedway. The Spaniard increased his championship lead to 117 points – a gap of more than two races – over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dixon.

Before the closing stint, Scott McLaughlin, Dixon and Rinus VeeKay stayed out on Firestone’s guayule alternate tire longer than any other drivers, hoping to build enough of a gap and catch some luck with caution flags to steal a victory on strategy.

But those hopes vanished when the race went clean and green for the last 35 laps, as the last caution period came from Laps 46-50 when Kirkwood hit Castroneves from behind in Turn 11 after a restart, incurring a stop-and-go penalty. Lundgaard was among the drivers who made their final pit stops during that final caution period, the eventual successful strategy.

Lundgaard will split $10,000 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and his chosen charity, Feeding America, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES events are the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 presented by Instacart on Saturday, July 22 and the Hy-Vee One Step 250 presented by Gatorade on Sunday, July 23, comprising the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway. These will be the first oval races for the series since Newgarden won the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Lundgaard Tiptoes to Top in Tricky Toronto Qualifying

In a qualifying session full of surprises and mixed conditions, Christian Lundgaard sprung the final twist by capturing the NTT P1 Award for the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday.

Lundgaard, 21, from Denmark, earned his second pole of this season and of his young NTT INDYCAR SERIES career with a time of 1 minute, 4.1567 seconds in the No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Lundgaard’s other pole came at the GMR Grand Prix in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

SEE: Qualifying Results

The pole proved how RLL’s focus on improving its pace on temporary street circuits like the 11-turn, 1.786-mile course around Toronto’s Exhibition Place is paying off. The three-car team’s previous best qualifying performance this season on a street course was 11th by Lundgaard at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding in early March.

“I have a history, at least in go-karts, of being fast in the rain,” Lundgaard said. “I’ve only driven in the rain only once in this car, which was Indy GP last year, and we weren’t competitive.

“The Hy-Vee Vivid Clear Rx car today was there. I can’t thank this team enough. I know this is wet, and it’s tricky, but looking at where we were on street circuits earlier this year and last year, we’ve made huge progress.”

Live coverage of the 85-lap race starts at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network in the United States and TSN in Canada. The 30-minute morning warmup starts at 10:15 a.m., with live coverage on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network in the U.S. and TSN+ in Canada.

Every driver in the Firestone Fast Six session switched to Firestone slick tires on a drying track after using rain tires during the slippery second session. That created some fish-tailing, heart-in-throat moments, as all six drivers scrambled for grip in the few areas where the track remained wet. A handful of drivers brushed the wall during the thrilling, unpredictable final session as the rear of their cars side-stepped and sashayed exiting corners.

Scott McLaughlin will start second, tying his season best, after a lap of 1:04.4790 in the No. 3 Gallagher Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet. McLaughlin spun early in the Firestone Fast Six and lost his best time to that point as a penalty for triggering a local yellow, but he turned his quickest lap in the final moments of the session – like nearly every driver – as the circuit began to dry following an intense shower earlier in qualifying.

Pato O’Ward qualified third at 1:04.5500 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Marcus Ericsson will join him in the second row after qualifying fourth at 1:04.9091 in the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda.

Felix Rosenqvist will start fifth after a lap of 1:04.9423 in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, as Arrow McLaren and Team Penske each put two drivers in the Firestone Fast Six. Reigning series champion and all-time INDYCAR SERIES pole record holder Will Power was the second Penske driver in the first three rows, qualifying a season-best sixth at 1:05.0703 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The three-round qualifying session was almost as noteworthy for who missed the Firestone Fast Six as for those who made the final group.

Championship leader Alex Palou, who leads by 110 points over teammate Scott Dixon, encountered the first hiccup of his dominant season in the first round. He failed to advance as light rain started in the final 90 seconds of his group while he and other drivers were on slick tires and will start a season-low 15th in the No. 10 Journie Rewards Honda. Palou’s worst previous starting spot this season was seventh at St. Petersburg and Texas.

“We really didn’t put together everything we had,” Palou said. “We had a lot more pace than that, and we couldn’t improve on alternates (tires). It’s a shame we’re going to have to start from the back, but we know we have a fast car and can make it from there.”

Reigning Toronto race winner Dixon also didn’t make the Firestone Fast Six, just missing advancing from the second group by .1128 of a second. He will start seventh in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Kyle Kirkwood, fastest in Friday practice and second in practice Saturday morning, will start eighth in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda. Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, third in the standings, will start 11th in the No. 2 Snap-on Tools Team Penske Chevrolet.



Palou Goes Three in Row With Mid-Ohio Race Win

Things could not be going better for Alex Palou, who on Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course won his third consecutive NTT INDYCAR SERIES race to extend his championship lead to a staggering 110 points.

Palou’s victory in The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2023 Accord Hybrid helped him become only the second driver since the 2016 season to score a three-peat. That other driver was Scott Dixon, the six-time series champion who opened 2020 with such a streak.

And if Palou needed more confidence as the season moves to its second half, he should know that the last three times an INDYCAR SERIES driver won three races in succession – Dixon in in 2013 and ’20, Simon Pagenaud in 2016 – the Astor Challenge Cup followed at year’s end.

SEE: Race Results

Yes, Palou is on a major roll, having won four of the past five races. He even could be riding a five-race winning streak if not for contact on pit road midway through the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The incident with Rinus VeeKay dropped the pole sitter to 27th place, and he stormed back to finish fourth.

Palou is humble, but he conceded this stretch of success is “the best moment of my career so far.”

Palou won this race by 5.0242 seconds over Dixon, but it was another Chip Ganassi Racing teammate that helped the series lead swell so large. Marcus Ericsson, who had been second in the standings, ran over the Arrow McLaren car of fellow Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist on the opening lap, effectively ending his race.

Ericsson’s crew was able to make repairs to the front suspension of the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz, but it was too much too late. Ericsson finished last in the 27-car field, losing 48 points to the series lead, and he fell to fourth in the standings.

The incident also ended Ericsson’s streak of eight consecutive top-10 finishes to start the season. Guess who is the only driver with a streak that long: Yes, it’s Palou. Considering he won last year’s season-ending race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the 26-year-old Spaniard has compiled 10 straight top-eight finishes with nine of them record in the top five.

And it could continue. Palou finished third in last year’s Honda Indy Toronto, the next race on the schedule (July 16).

“I know we can have some good couple of races coming up now, and we’ll still try and maximize (points), do the best we can and win when we can,” the driver of the No. 10 The American Legion Honda said. “So, yeah, try and get (the car) on top.”

Palou trailed NTT P1 Award winner and Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) and fellow front-row starter Graham Rahal (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) through the first segment of the race, but he swiped the top position during the first pit exchange. Herta went to pit road first, on Lap 28, and while Rahal waited a lap to make his stop, Palou conserved fuel behind him.

Herta and Rahal came out of the pits with new primary tires, but Palou switched to the faster alternative compound, allowing him to rocket past them to the lead.

Palou had the field covered the rest of the way. His only difficulty came during a sequence when he took several laps to overhaul the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties Chevrolet of series rookie Benjamin Pedersen. In that stretch, Palou’s 8-second lead was cut in half, but he quickly regained all of that advantage once clearing Pedersen on Lap 55.

After Palou made his second and final pit stop on Lap 54, Herta and Rahal came to pit road on consecutive laps, and both had trouble. Herta’s car nearly got away from him at pit entrance, and the errant momentum caused him to exceed the speed limit, drawing a drive-through penalty. Rahal arrived at his pit box without concern, but trouble mounting the left rear tire led to a slow stop. As a result of those bobbles, the fastest two cars in qualifying dropped to the eighth (Rahal) and 12th (Herta) positions.

Rahal finished seventh, Herta 11th as Palou continued on without incident.

“I had a good car and good strategy, honestly,” Palou said. “We’ve got a really fast car, (but) we knew we needed to try something different to the guys starting up front – that’s why we started on primary (tires). Everything went well. The strategy, the pit stops and our pace was pretty good.”

Honda won its sixth race of the year in nine tries.

Dixon did everything he could to remain in contention for a championship that would tie A.J. Foyt’s al-time record. With Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet) finishing eighth after a difficult three-stop charge from the 25th starting position, Dixon jumped to second in the standings. Josef Newgarden (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet) and Ericsson are 116 and 122 points out of the lead with eight races remain. O’Ward is fifth, 127 points in arrears.

Palou’s competitors will need a lot to happen to catch him.

“Anything’s possible,” Dixon said of overcoming the deficit. “Like we’ve always seen, you’re never out of it until you’re out of it. So, we’ll keep trying as hard as possible.

“I know we tied (in points) with (Juan Pablo) Montoya in 2015, and we thought we were possibly out of it (entering the final race). That’s what’s funny about the INDYCAR SERIES and all of the competition, but you’ve got to give them credit, they’re doing a hell of a job.”

Dixon has won six of these Mid-Ohio races, but this was his first second-place finish. The result also was his best of the season as he seeks to extend his series records for seasons with at least one win (currently 20) and consecutive seasons with a win (18).

Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) has similar streaks in play – 18 and 16 years, respectively -- and he earned his third podium finish of the season in third place.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard (No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Honda) and last year’s Mid-Ohio winner, Scott McLaughlin (No. 3 Good Ranchers Team Penske Chevrolet), finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with David Malukas (No. 18 HMD Truck Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD) sixth.

The 40th INDYCAR SERIES race at Mid-Ohio ran mostly as a clean race with the exception of Ericsson’s contact with Rosenqvist, which drew a penalty for avoidable contact. Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood (No. 27 DHL Honda) tried to challenge Palou in Turn 4 on Lap 19 and lost six positions. He finished 17th.

Conor Daly finished 20th while driving the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda as Meyer Shank Racing asked him to stand in for Simon Pagenaud, who endured a wild ride without injury in an accident in Saturday morning’s practice. Pagenaud will be re-evaluated in advance of the Honda Indy Toronto.




Herta, Rahal Lead Honda's First Fast Six Sweep


One second-generation NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver edged another Saturday in qualifying at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and both had Honda behind them.

In fact, all six drivers in the Firestone Fast Six round were powered by Honda, the first time that one manufacturer has swept the final qualifying group since 2016 when Chevrolet did at Watkins Glen International. It was Honda's first such sweep since the format was implemented more than a decade ago. 

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, the son of four-time race winner Bryan Herta, scored the NTT P1 Award in dramatic fashion, turning a lap tantalizingly quicker than Graham Rahal, whose father, Bobby Rahal, was a three-time INDYCAR SERIES champion. Their best laps were distinguished by just .0432 seconds, with Herta’s pole-winning time 1 minute, 6.3096 seconds. It was the second-closest battle for the pole on a road course or street circuit this season.

For Herta, it was the 11th pole of his still-young career and second in as many races as he also earned the top starting position for last month’s Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR. He will seek his first race win of the season Sunday in The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2023 Accord Hybrid.

“Really happy to get two in a row,” Herta said, smiling.

SEE: Qualifying Results

For Rahal, it was a mixed emotional bag. Being second in qualifying was his best effort in four-plus years – since early in the 2019 season -- and he reached the Firestone Fast Six for the first time since late in 2021. But he very much wanted the pole at his home track.

“I’m not going to lie -- it was a good lap, and I knew it was solid,” Rahal said. “I was bummed to not get a pole.”

Rahal was born an hour south of the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course, attended many races here with his father, and scored the signature win of his career in the INDYCAR SERIES race in 2015.

Herta is also a former INDYCAR SERIES race winner at Mid-Ohio, reaching victory lane in 2020. He will be driving for his eighth career series win, which would give him five consecutive winning seasons.

Also working in the favor of Herta and Rahal, along with Honda, is that seven of the past series races at this track have been won by drivers starting on the front row. Rahal hasn’t won anywhere since sweeping the Detroit weekend midway through the 2017 season.

Unique to this Firestone Fast Six were the decisions to use different tire compounds. Herta and series leader Alex Palou (No. 10 The American Legion Honda) of Chip Ganassi Racing opted to finish the session with new primary tires while Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Christian Lundgaard (No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Honda) went with used alternate tires.

Herta’s teammate, Kyle Kirkwood (No. 27 AutoNation Honda), wasn’t even sure Herta made the right choice as Kirkwood earned the No. 3 starting position with used alternates.

“I think it was the right call to split the strategy a little bit,” Kirkwood said. “But honestly, I don’t think that (Herta) made the right call. He still put it on pole and drove super well.”

Said Herta: “It was a tough call. Reds and blacks were pretty close on the second run and new, so it wasn’t an easy (decision). But (the team) gave me a car that was good on both tire compounds, so we had the option to run (either).”

While it was difficult to discern which tire choice was preferred, qualifying proved that both compounds should be close in performance in Sunday’s 80-lap race. Airtime for the 40th such event in Mid-Ohio history is 1:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Not only did Rahal and Lundgaard reach the Firestone Fast Six for the first time this year, teammate Jack Harvey (No. 30 Permco Honda) qualified 11th, which meant all three team cars got to the second round of qualifying. That made Rahal happy.

As the season reaches its halfway point this weekend, Palou, a winner of three of the past four races, holds a 74-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson, who drives the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda. Palou will start fourth Sunday with Ericsson ninth and teammate Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) sixth.

Team Penske did not place a driver in the Firestone Fast Six, and the remarkable aspect is Will Power has yet to qualify in the top group this season. Roger Penske’s organization still does not have a pole this season in nine attempts.

Power, who had the fastest car in the morning practice and finished third in last year’s Mid-Ohio race, will start seventh in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Defending race winner Scott McLaughlin will line up eighth in the No. 3 Good Ranchers Team Penske Chevrolet and Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Josef Newgarden will be 15th in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.

“The car felt very good, but it’s ultra, ultra tight,” Power said of the field.

Pato O’Ward led 28 laps from the pole in last year’s race but dropped out early due to a mechanical failure with the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Saturday, he created his own issue, spinning off Turn 2 in the first qualifying group to necessitate a 25th-place starting position.

“It was all on me on that one,” O’Ward said. “I lost the rear and (the car) got to an angle where I couldn’t save it, and then I stalled it as soon as I got in the grass. It frickin’ (stinks).”

Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was held out of qualifying as a precaution following his Turn 4 incident early in Saturday morning’s practice that saw the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda roll through the gravel trip nearly seven times. The one-time series champion was evaluated and released by the INDYCAR Medical team, although per protocol he was not cleared to return to action Saturday. He will be evaluated Sunday morning. The team has asked series veteran Conor Daly to be on standby in the event Pagenaud can’t drive in the race.



  INDY NXT  series


The IndyCar Series, currently known as the NTT IndyCar Series under sponsorship, is the highest class of regional North American open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars in the United States, which has been conducted under the auspices of various sanctioning bodies since 1920 after two initial attempts in 1905 and 1916. The series is self-sanctioned by its parent company, INDYCAR, LLC., which began in 1996 as the Indy Racing League (IRL) and was created by then Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George as a competitor to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). In 2008, the IndyCar Series merged with CART's successor, the Champ Car World Series and the history and statistics of both series, as well as those from its predecessors, were unified. The series' premier event is the Indianapolis 500, which was first held in 1911.

Rasmussen Takes Series Lead with Close Iowa Victory

Christian Rasmussen earned his second victory of the INDY NXT by Firestone season and took a big stride toward the ultimate prize Saturday at Iowa Speedway.

Danish driver Rasmussen guided his No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car to victory by just .1227 of a second over fast-closing pole sitter Jacob Abel in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports machine. It was the closest INDY NXT by Firestone finish ever on the .894-mile oval.

SEE: Race Results

Rasmussen earned his fourth career win in INDYCAR’s development series after starting second. Perhaps just as important, he took the championship lead by 22 points over Nolan Siegel after entering this event trailing the rookie by 16, a swing of 38 points.

“We had good pace today,” Rasmussen said. “HMD has given me a great car. We’ve been fastest from the test (in June). Didn’t get the pole position but dominated the race.”

Rasmus Lindh earned his first podium finish by placing a career-best third in the No. 76 Juncos Hollinger Racing machine. Matthew Brabham, called in this week as a replacement driver for this event, finished fourth in the No. 75 Juncos Hollinger car.

Hunter McElrea rounded out the top five in the No. 27 Smart Motors car fielded by Andretti Autosport, the last driver on the lead lap.

Rasmussen wasted little time powering to the lead after the green flag. He drove under pole sitter Abel in Turn 4 on Lap 2 and never trailed thereafter, leading 74 of the 75 laps.

The Dane inexorably extended his lead lap after lap, pulling a gap of 8.5 seconds over Siegel by Lap 33. While Rasmussen was in cruise control out front, Siegel, McElrea and Abel engaged in a spirited joust for second through fourth place.

That close racing produced the only caution period of the race, on Lap 60, evaporating Rasmussen’s lead, which had narrowed to about five seconds. The right front wheel of McElrea’s car and the left rear of Siegel’s No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car touched as they raced side by side for second in Turn 2, forcing Siegel into a spin with no contact.

The incident damaged the left rear suspension of Siegel’s car, and he retired with his second consecutive 15th-place finish of the season.

Rasmussen got a big jump on the restart on Lap 65 and started to pull away. Meanwhile, Abel passed McElrea for second and set sail for Rasmussen. Abel gained huge swaths of asphalt on the final lap but fell just short of earning his first career victory.

“I think I used up a little too much tire there at the start,” Rasmussen said. “We were super, super quick at the start, and then the caution came, and then everybody caught back up.”

The next race is the INDY NXT by Firestone Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 6 on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee.



Bold Move Helps Foster Score First INDY NXT Win

The pass for the lead was bold and risky amid a track getting wetter by the lap, but INDY NXT by Firestone rookie Louis Foster knew he had to make it.

Foster locked up his right front tire in the bid to overtake race leader Christian Rasmussen approaching Turn 4 late in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, and he made it stick. Foster then had to hold off a couple of challenges in the four-lap shootout that followed to win his first series race.

SEE: Race Results

Driving the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship entry of Andretti Autosport, Foster became the sixth driver in the season’s first seven races to reach victory lane.

“It’s been a long time coming, for sure,” Foster said of his first series win. “I’m so thankful to get it finally.”

Of the pass on Rasmussen, the 19-year-old English driver said the increased dampness was a factor.

“I think it was starting to rain a little bit or something,” he said. “It was slicker in the back (part of the track). That made Christian make a mistake and then (the hard braking approaching Turn 4) destroyed my front right (tire). Going down the straights and (the car) was shaking.”

Kyffin Simpson finished second with Rasmussen third as HMD Motorsports took the other steps on the podium. Simpson’s No. 21 program is backed by Chip Ganassi Racing, Rasmussen’s No. 6 car is connected to Dale Coyne Racing.

Rasmussen started on the pole and led the first 26 laps of the 35-lap race, but falling to third cost him a chance to draw even closer to Nolan Siegel for the series lead as the season reached its halfway point. Siegel, the winner of the past two races, was running fifth with eight laps to go when he couldn’t keep his No. 39 HMD Motorsports entry on the track in Turn 10. After a long slide through the wet grass, Siegel’s car was stuck and the necessary extraction cost him a lap to the field. He finished 15th of the 17 competitors.

The result of the late incidents helped Rasmussen close to within 17 points of Siegel. Hunter McElrea (No. 26 Smart Motors) finished fourth, and he is now only 39 points out of the series lead. Foster’s victory allowed him to jump to the fourth position in the standings, 42 points behind Siegel.

Rasmussen, who won at Barber Motorsports Park in the season’s second race, couldn’t help but think he should be even closer to the series lead.

“Obviously, not the (finish) that we wanted today,” he said. “It was tricky with the conditions – it was dry and then there was rain and then there was dry. When the rain first came it felt like the car never really came back to me. We were sitting pretty good (prior to that) with a good gap and then the rain came.”

The race started amid dry conditions, but there was contact in Turn 4 just past the backstretch starting line. Contact between the cars of James Roe (No. 29 Topcon of Andretti Autosport) and Danial Frost sent Frost’s No. 68 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing machine into a full spin. Frost was able to resume without assistance.

On Lap 6, Christian Bogle spun into the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 2. With the No. 7 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry beached, a full-course caution period was necessitated. No such stoppage was needed when Matteo Nannini, who won the series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May in the No. 75 Juncos Hollinger Racing machine, pulled off the track at the exit of Turn 5 on Lap 17. The other incident involved Jagger Jones going off course in Turn 10 in the No. 98 Lead Sled car of Cape Motorsports. Jones was able to return to the track without assistance.

Jamie Chadwick finished 10th in the No. 28 DHL entry of Andretti Autosport to become the first female driver in INDY NXT to finish in the top 10 since Pippa Mann finished fifth in the final race of the 2010 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The series’ next race, the eighth of 14 this season, is the INDY NXT by Firestone at Iowa Speedway on July 22 (11 a.m. ET, Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network).




Rasmussen Aiming to Keep Pole-to-Victory Trend Alive

Christian Rasmussen is eager to keep an INDY NXT by Firestone trend going Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Since 2013, 13 of the 16 pole winners have won the race, including six of the past seven. Saturday, Rasmussen earned the prized starting position for the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio (11:40 a.m. ET, Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network).

However, Rasmussen didn’t have much breathing room in the qualifying session, completing his best lap just .0107 seconds faster than that of second-place Louis Foster, a series rookie.

SEE: Qualifying Results

“It’s awesome,” said Rasmussen, the driver of the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car who bounced back from an off-track incident in Friday's practice. “It was kind of a wild session. It was about getting a free lap and then people started to go by each other – it’s kind of a gentleman’s agreement in this series that you don’t do that – but we managed to pull it off.

“On my second-to-last lap I managed to pull a gap but even though I created a gap I caught up to (a slower car) by so much. So, the last bit of the lap I had aero wash. But yeah, we pulled it off. That’s half the battle around here. So, let’s go finish it tomorrow.”

Rasmussen’s victory this season came April 30 in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

Rasmussen could be in for an important day relative to the series championship. He stands 40 points behind pacesetter Nolan Siegel, a series rookie who starts sixth in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry following a best lap of 1:11.9676. Siegel has won the past two races in the series.

If Rasmussen doesn’t win his second race of the season, history suggests the winner will be a driver starting in the first two rows as Mid-Ohio’s other series winners over the past decade have started in the second, third and fourth positions. That bodes well for Foster, Kyffin Simpson and Hunter McElrea, respectively, who will occupy those positions when the green flag waves.

Foster will start alongside Rasmussen on the front row after posting a lap of 1:11.5105 in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car of Andretti Autosport. Simpson, who drives the No. 5 HMD Motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing entry, will grid third (1:11.5905) with McElrea fourth in the No. 21 Smart Motors car of Andretti Autosport.

McElrea won last year’s race from the pole, leading all 35 laps. Kyle Kirkwood, Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward are other recent INDY NXT drivers to win Mid-Ohio from the pole.

Sunday’s race will be the seventh in the 14-race season.






    usf2000 series


the USF Pro Championships: The USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires is an evolution of the Road to Indy, one of the most successful driver development programs in the world. Comprised of USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires, USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires and USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires, the ladder system provides a unique, scholarship-funded path to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 500. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES grid is comprised of numerous graduates and, in 2022, 20 of the 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500 were alumni. The mission of the USF Pro Championships is to develop and advance, and that includes not only drivers but teams and personnel as well. For more information, visit usfpro2000.com, usf2000.com and usfjuniors.com.

Giaffone Heads DEForce 1-2in USF Juniors at Mid-Ohio


LEXINGTON, Ohio – Brazilian Nicolas Giaffone extended his already impressive advantage in the chase for the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires championship by heading another DEForce Racing one-two today in the first of two races that will comprise the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.


Giaffone led from start to finish in the 20-lap race to notch his sixth victory, heading home Australian teammate Quinn Armstrong for the third time this season in just nine races. Jack Jeffers, from San Antonio, Texas, finished third for Exclusive Autosport.




Third-generation racer Giaffone, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, continued his series dominance earlier this morning by posting the fastest lap in qualifying to clinch his fourth Cooper Tires Pole Award.


Ethan Ho, from Los Angeles, Calif., qualified a strong second for DC Autosport, matching his performance during last week’s USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires event at the same Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course venue, only to experience a sudden loss of power on the opening lap of the race which caused his car to stop at Turn Two.


Ethan Barker, from Houston, Texas, who started third, took up the chase of Giaffone before losing out to charging VRD Racing teammate Max Taylor, from Hoboken, N.J., up from sixth on the grid.


Unfortunately, Taylor fell to the back of the field when his car stuttered almost to a standstill just before the completion of Lap 8. He quickly recovered five positions following a brief mid-race caution period, only for the same problem to rear its head with just four laps remaining.


The caution instantly negated Giaffone’s lead, which had grown to almost four seconds, and at the restart Barker saw an opportunity to challenge for the lead under braking for Turn Two at the top of the hill. Giaffone staunchly defended his inside line, then braked a fraction too late which caused Barker to run wide into the gravel and slip all the way to the rear of the pack.


Giaffone narrowly maintained his lead, with teammate Armstrong slipping through into second place, while a major shuffling of positions saw Jeffers vault from sixth place to second ahead of Jimmie Lockhart (VRD Racing), from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


After that initial challenge, Giaffone was able to reassert his authority and ultimately take the checkered flag almost two seconds clear of Armstrong. Jeffers couldn’t match the leaders’ pace but did manage to hold off a spirited challenge from Lockhart for third.


Hudson Schwartz (VRD Racing), from Arlington, Va., finished fifth ahead of Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport), from Golden, Colo., and Barker, who stormed back from 12th to seventh in the final five laps.


A little farther back, Carson Etter (DC Autosport), from Villa Park, Calif., took ninth after starting in 13th to earn himself the Tilton Hard Charger Award.


DEForce Racing’s David and Ernesto Martinez took home their seventh PFC Award as the winning car owners.


The doubleheader weekend in support of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will continue with a second qualifying session at 9:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow which will set the starting order for Race Two at 11:30 a.m.


Provisional championship points after 9 of 16 races:

1. Nicolas Giaffone, 263

2. Joey Brienza, 184

3. Quinn Armstrong, 174

4. Jack Jeffers, 169

5. Jimmie Lockhart, 150

6. Lucas Fecury, 137

7. Max Taylor, 127

8. Brady Golan, 117

9. Ethan Barker, 114

10. Erick Schotten, 113


Nicolas Giaffone (#19 OMNI-DEForce Racing Tatuus JR-23): “This isn’t a very easy track to be honest, especially when you are new here. It’s always changing. All the sessions, the track is going to feel different and you are going to be driving differently. I’m pretty happy with the results we have had. The race wasn’t at all easy. The two yellow flags really got things mixed up, but I think we fought it off with a lot of sportsmanship. I hope we can bring this effort and this performance again tomorrow. A huge shoutout to the DEForce team, my main sponsors and my parents – they support me so much.”


Quinn Armstrong (#16 NDA-DEForce Racing Tatuus JR-23): “It was a tough race. This track always demands a lot. I remember last year that nothing came easy, and it was much of the same story again this time. I dropped back to sixth I believe midway through the race and then I was just chipping away. DEForce provided a nice car for me to drive. We managed to chip away and get to the front and I ended up P2. I’m happy with the result, just looking to go one more tomorrow.”


Jack Jeffers (#92 Corpay Cross Border Solutions-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus JR-23): “Coming in it was kind of a send-it-in mindset. I knew I had to make up positions. It was really about just making smart moves and setting others up. I knew I could make them defend in the Keyhole and get the run down into Turn Four and make an easy pass. I got lucky on the restart. I was able to get by Hudson relatively easy. He raced with respect, and then Jimmie made a mistake and I was able to get by him. From there, it was eyes set forward. I realized I didn’t have the same pace as Jimmie and I just had to defend from him. Luckily, this track kind of makes it easy to defend and that played into my favor. We were able to come home third.”



Rowe Seals his Status with Hard-Earned USF Pro 2000 Win



d’Orlando Earns Dramatic USF Pro 2000 Win at Mid-Ohio


LEXINGTON, Ohio – After experiencing all manner of misfortune during the first half of the USF Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season, Michael d’Orlando now has earned two victories in his three most recent starts for Turn 3 Motorsport. Last year’s USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires champion led from flag to flag in today’s opening leg of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, which included a red-flag stoppage due to a short, sharp rain shower, and finally took the checkered flag 1.5096 seconds ahead of Pabst Racing’s Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz.


Jack William Miller, from Carmel, Ind., completed the podium for Miller Vinatieri Motorsports.




D’Orlando, from Hartsdale, N.Y., continued his run of form by securing his third Cooper Tires Pole Award of the season during qualifying on Friday, and comfortably translated that into the lead at the start.


Brazilian Kiko Porto, who preceded d’Orlando as a USF2000 champion in 2021, started second for DEForce Racing, but maintained his position only as far as the exit of Turn Four where he was unceremoniously bundled off the road and onto the grass by an aggressive Salvador de Alba (Exclusive Autosport), from Guadalajara, Mexico. Matters went from bad to worse for the unfortunate Porto as he inadvertently collected several other cars as he attempted to regain the racing surface at Turn Five. Cue a full-course caution.


D’Orlando once again displayed his superiority at the restart, while de Alba was obliged to serve a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility which relegated him to the back of the field.


Reece Ushijima (Jay Howard Driver Development) and fellow Scottsdale, Ariz., resident Denmark, who today celebrated his 19th birthday, led the chase at the restart, having vaulted, respectively, from sixth and eighth on the starting grid. But a three-wide tussle at the end of the back straightaway soon after the restart saw Ushijima shuffled back a couple of positions, which he maintained until catching the curb and spinning into the gravel trap at Turn Eight after 13 laps.


Rain began to fall during the ensuing caution period, and after two more laps the race was red-flagged and the entire field was instructed to fit wet-weather Cooper tires prior to the restart. With the 50-minute time slot closing rapidly, there was time for merely a two-lap dash to the finish. The storm clouds miraculously deposited only minimal precipitation, and on a damp track d’Orlando expertly negotiated the tricky conditions to cement his win.


The top five positions remained unchanged, with Miller just fending off Sweden’s Joel Granfors (Exclusive Autosport) for third and Bijoy Garg (DEForce Racing) from Atherton, Calif., claiming a season-best fifth-place finish.


German-based Albanian Lirim Zendeli (TJ Motorsport) made up a couple of positions in the closing laps to secure sixth ahead of Canada’s Louka St-Jean (Turn 3 Motorsport).


Championship leader Myles Rowe (Pabst Racing with Force Indy), from Brooklyn, N.Y., slipped from sixth to 11th, but still managed to maintain a healthy points advantage over Granfors.


Ricardo Escotto (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Mexico City, Mexico, picked up the Tilton Hard Charger Award by virtue of finishing ninth and advancing nine positions from the start.


Turn 3 Motorsport’s Peter Dempsey claimed the PFC Award as the winning car owner.


The second half of this weekend’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio is scheduled to go green later today at 5:25 p.m. EDT.


Provisional championship points after 10 of 18 rounds:

1. Myles Rowe, 219

2. Joel Granfors, 173

3. Francesco Pizzi, 167

4. Kiko Porto, 161

5. Salvador de Alba, 154

6. Jace Denmark, 149

7. Michael d’Orlando, 147

8. Jonathan Browne, 146

9. Jack William Miller, 138

10. Lirim Zendeli, 131


Michael d’Orlando (#1 USF Pro Championships/Focused Project Management-Turn 3 Motorsport Tatuus IP-22): “The race was fun. Sometimes you have a battle with another driver and it’s super hectic but, to be fair, I was out front the whole time. I did get a bit anxious when the rain came. I went into Turn One with the new rain tires and didn’t know what to expect. I went in a tad too fast and corrected that but a real moment. It was a great race and the #1 Priority machine from Turn 3 Motorsport was absolutely insane. It has been fast all weekend and I am super proud to put it on top at Mid-Ohio. Huge thanks to all my supporters.”


Jace Denmark (#20 Metal Works Custom Fabrication-Pabst Racing Tatuus IP-22): “Starting eighth, it is really hard to pass at this track first of all, so I am really happy to come out with a podium. I’ve had quite a messy season this year, so getting back onto a podium step feels really good especially on my birthday. On the first start, I made it up to fourth or fifth. I avoided some crashes and made some good moves. I had a run on the restart and got up into third and then de Alba had a drive-through penalty. I was running fast laps and catching up to the leader and then it started raining. You see some drops on your visor and you start getting worried. The series made a good move to call everyone in for rain tires. We finished out the race with three laps to go and I was defending Jack for a long time and that’s it. It’s a good birthday so far.”


Jack William Miller (#40 Patterson Dental/Blue Marble Productions-Miller Vinatieri Motorsports Tatuus IP-22): “We started P9 so getting the #40 Patterson Dental car up on the podium was a big feat, but we made it happen. I am actually pretty proud that when we pitted for rain tires, we were still in P3 so it showed that no external circumstances were the reason we were up there. We drove our way up six spots. I really think we could have won today but just not enough laps at the end. I was passing for P2 and then Granfors put on some pressure from behind, so I wasn’t able to do my magic and get up there. We still have another race and I am going to work at it again. We still need that win.”





Bumper USF Pro Championships Fields Ready for Mid-Ohio


PALMETTO, Fla. – The USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel driver development ladder series heads this week to the scenic and challenging Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio, in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires is enjoying a banner season with no fewer than 13 of the 20 regular contenders already having earned at least one podium finish, while USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires also is enjoying a surge of interest with four new drivers ensuring the largest entry list of the season to date at 24 cars for the Discount Tire Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio triple-header.


USF Pro 2000 Entry List

USF2000 Entry List


Both series are now past the halfway point in the season, with the Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarships valued, collectively, at almost $1.1 million on offer to ensure graduation onto the next step of the ladder in 2024.


Rowe Maintains USF Pro 2000 Momentum

Myles Rowe came agonizingly close to clinching his first USF Pro Championships title last year, losing out only at the final event of the 18-race USF2000 season to Michael d’Orlando. Rowe, a university graduate from Brooklyn, N.Y., who in 2021 became the first Black driver to win a USF2000 race, has since stepped up to USF Pro 2000, and at the halfway point of the season has established a commanding 48-point advantage over his nearest challengers in the quest for a scholarship to move on next year to INDY NXT.


Pabst Racing with Force Indy’s Rowe is currently the only driver to have more than one win to his name. He began the season on a tear, with a third-place finish followed by a hat-trick of wins, and while he has been frustrated in his attempts to add to that victory tally since Sebring in March, Rowe has accumulated points steadily and will arrive in Ohio with the knowledge that he scored two USF2000 wins last year on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.


The third race on the 2022 USF2000 triple-header schedule was won by d’Orlando, who has continued to show his capabilities since graduating into USF Pro 2000. He has also experienced all manner of misfortune. The Hartsdale, N.Y., native finally earned his first win of the season in the most recent event at Road America, where he also became the first repeat polesitter during a remarkably open season. Unfortunately, his hopes of a second win in Race Two were in tatters even before the green flag when his Turn 3 Motorsport Tatuus IP-22 sustained damage following a clash of wheels on the parade lap.


While Rowe enjoys a handy points lead, the pursuit behind him is intense with five drivers blanketed by just 19 points. Not far in arrears, an additional five contenders are separated by a mere nine points. Bear in mind that 30 points are available for a race win, plus single points for pole position, fastest race lap and leading most laps, so the relative order can change very quickly.


Impressive Italian rookie Francesco Pizzi (TJ Speed Motorsports) and Brazilian veteran Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), a winner at Mid-Ohio en route to claiming the USF2000 championship title in 2021, currently hold second and third in the points chase. Both are still chasing their first victories of the season.


Exclusive Autosport teammates Joel Granfors, from Sweden, and Mexico’s Salvador de Alba, a podium finisher last year at Mid-Ohio, are hot on their heels, as is Turn 3 Motorsport’s Jonathan Browne, from Ireland, who secured a long overdue first podium finish at Road America.


Preparation for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio doubleheader will commence with almost two hours of testing on Thursday, June 29. A further 30 minutes of official practice on Friday morning, June 30, will precede a pair of qualifying sessions at 10:25 a.m. and 1:05 p.m. EDT which will determine the starting order for each of the two races at 11:55 a.m. and 5:25 p.m. on Saturday, July 1.


Hughes Vs. Sikes in USF2000

Only three events, totaling eight races, remain in the USF2000 season, beginning with this week’s potentially pivotal Discount Tire Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. Two drivers, Lochie Hughes, from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, and Simon Sikes, from Augusta, Ga., have distanced themselves from the pack and remain locked in combat for the Discount Tire Driver Advancement Scholarship valued at $433,200 to move on to USF Pro 2000 in 2024.


The two protagonists are currently separated by just three points. Each has earned seven podium finishes from the opening 10 races. Jay Howard Driver Development’s Hughes has the edge on wins, four to three, while Pabst Racing’ Sikes has accumulated more pole positions, four to two. Both drivers have enjoyed success previously at Mid-Ohio. Sikes secured three podium finishes during a budgetary constrained partial USF2000 season in 2021, while Hughes won once last year on his way to the United States F4 Championship powered by Honda.


VRD Racing teammates Nikita Johnson, from Gulfport, Fla., and Sam Corry, from Cornelius, N.C., as well as Canadian Mac Clark (DEForce Racing) have won one race apiece after stepping up this year from USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires. Johnson and Clark, the 2022 USF Juniors champion and winner of an advancement scholarship valued at over $220,000, gained some valuable USF2000 experience last year, which has certainly accelerated their progress in 2023, although Corry seems to have experienced more than his fair share of misfortune during his rookie campaign.


A pair of young Ohioans also will garner much attention this weekend. Fifteen-year-old Evagoras Papasavvas, from Loveland, Ohio, has scored a trio of podium finishes for Jay Howard Driver Development. Thomas Schrage, from Bethel, Ohio, is set to make an eagerly anticipated USF2000 debut with Exclusive Autosport.


Schrage, 18, dominated the 2022 FRP F1600 Championship Series with nine wins. He also broadened his horizons by competing in several Kenyon Midget oval track events, winning twice, and secured a fourth-place finish at the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, after earning a coveted Team USA Scholarship.


Logan Adams (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Greenfield, Ind., and USF Juniors regulars Brady Golan (DEForce Racing), from Austin, Texas, and Carson Etter (DC Autosport), from Villa Park, Calif., also are looking forward to gaining their first experience of USF2000 this weekend.

Almost two hours of testing on Thursday will be followed by half-an-hour of practice at 8:45 a.m. on Friday. A busy schedule will continue with a critical single period of qualifying at 11:10 a.m., which will help determine the grid order for all three races, the first of which will see a green flag later in the afternoon at 4:40 p.m. Two more races are set for Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Full coverage can be found on the free USF Pro Championships App, YouTube channel and respective series’ websites.




    usf20000 series  


The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is a racecar driver development program, providing a scholarship-funded path to reach the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.[1] Sanctioned by IndyCar, the Road to Indy is owned and managed by Andersen Promotions. On December 9, 2010 it was announced that Mazda would become the title sponsor of the program and provide scholarships for series champions to advance to the next rung of the ladder with all three series running on Cooper Tires