Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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The Indycar season kicks off in St. Petersburg, a 1.8 mile street course with 14 turns. Accompanying the IndyCar race will be Stadium Super Trucks, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda Championship, USF2000 National Championships and Pirelli World Challenge. Spectators can enjoy a weeklong festival that features and abundance of entertainment.

Date:28-30 March 2014
Time: 04:00pm ET
Location: Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

First IndyCar Win for Takuma Sato

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After leading for fifty laps of the eighty lap Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach on Sunday, Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver ever to win an IndyCar championship race. Driving the #14 car for AJ Foyt Racing, Sato crossed the finish line ahead of Graham Rahal, with Justin Wilson, Dario Franchitti and JR Hildebrand taking third, fourth and fifth places. Sato started the race in fourth position and clocked up an average speed of 85.763 mph, scoring 53 points for the race. In a post-race interview Sato noted that it had been a perfect weekend, commending his team for doing a tremendous job and saying that he had been comfortable in the car and was able to “push everything”.

Born in Toyko in January 1977, Takuma Sato started his racing career on two wheels, winning a number of national junior championships for bicycle racing. He was 19 when he starting karting in Japan, moving up into the All-Japan Formula Three Championship for part of a season before moving to England in 1998 in pursuit of a European racing career. After competing in the British Formula Three Championship for two full seasons during which time he won the championship in 2001, Sato graduated to Formula One in 2002, enjoying a measure of success during his seven years, but losing his seat when Super Aguri withdrew from F1 due to financial difficulties. Sato signed with KV Racing Technology, driving for the team in both 2010 and 2011, finishing the season 21st and 13th respectively. In 2012 he drove for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, finishing 14th for the season, and signed with AJ Foyt’s team for 2013.

The current top five in the 2013 IndyCar Championship are Helio Castroneves (99 points); Takuma Sato (93 points); Scott Dixon (89 points); Marco Andretti (87 points); and Justin Wilson (81 points). The next IndyCar Series event is the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Sao Paulo, Brazil – the home country of Helio Castroneves.

MAVTV 500 IndyCar Series 2012

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This will be the first time since 2005 that the 2-mile oval will be hosting the IZOD IndyCar Series, and the first time ever under the lights. Previously known as California Speedway, the name was changed, along with title sponsorship, in February 2008. For more information on this exciting event visit the Auto Club Speedway Website

Date: 15 September 2012
Venue: Auto Club Speedway
State: California
Country: United States

GoPro Indy Win for Briscoe at Sonomo

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Will Power took pole position for the third straight time in the 85-lap GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma this weekend, but it was team mate Ryan Briscoe who took the checkered flag, with Penske Racing claiming first and second place in this popular annual auto racing event. Briscoe crossed the finish line 0.4408 of a second ahead of Power in an exciting battle for first place. Calling his win a ‘confidence builder’, Briscoe was quoted as saying that he has always done well at Sonoma, having earned his first-ever pole position at the track in 2005, and it was great to finally get a win. As the seventh different winner in the thirteen race IZOD IndyCar Series this season, clearly the competition is stiff and the final two races are going to provide plenty of action.

Power had been in the lead for most of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix, but was caught behind slow traffic following his pit stop which cost him precious time. The hold up was as a result of a crash involving Josef Newgarden and Sebastien Bourdais where Bourdais lost control of his car, reportedly due to cold tires, and slammed Newgarden into a barrier. Both drivers escaped serious injury, with Newgarden injuring his left index finger. Briscoe took his pit stop on the following lap, giving him an advantage over Power and from there on out kept first place, noting that he had a ‘great battle with Will at the end’.

Other incidents in Sunday’s race included Alex Tagliani connecting with Ryan Hunter-Reay, spinning him out of the race with only ten laps to go. Hunter-Reay finished the race in 18th place. Driving for Penske Racing, Helio Castroneves finished sixth and picked up a penalty for making contact with Scott Dixon on the opening lap of the race.

The top ten in the IZOD IndyCar Series GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma were, in order: Ryan Briscoe, Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Rubens Barrichello, Graham Rahal, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, JR Hildebrand, Alex Tagliani and Tony Kanaan. The final two races of the season are the Grand Prix of Baltimore on September 2, and the MATV 500 at Fontana on September 15.

Daytona Rolex 24 Victory Goes to Mike Shank Racing

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Traditionally the racing season’s starter event, the Rolex 24 at Daytona celebrated its 50th anniversary with plenty of nail-biting action on the track this past weekend. Mike Shank Racing from Pataskala, Ohio, took the checkered flag in the Daytona Prototype class, breaking NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger’s almost six-year dry spell as he completed the final stint of the race. This was the ninth try at the championship for Mike Shank racing, with other team members being Justin Wilson, Ozz Negri Jr. and John Pew.

With 2 hours and 8 minutes of the race remaining, Allmendinger took the lead in the MSR Ford-Riley, doing battle with defending champion Scott Pruett driving for Ganassi Racing. Allmendinger also managed to outrun Ryan Dalziel in the Starworks car as he headed for the finish line. Although it was Allmendinger who claimed the victory for the team, other team members had made the win possible with their driving skills earlier in the race. In fact, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson turned in the fasted lap of the race. Allmendinger took over from Negri, and had a close shave with Allan McNish in the Starworks car as he banked in turn four and connected bodywork with Allmendinger’s car. However, the latter was undeterred and continued in his pursuit for first place. With 19 minutes left of the race, and the Shank team enjoying a lead of 11 seconds, a GT car sliding into an inside wall caused some anxiety. Fortunately for the leading cars there was no call for a full course caution, which would have resulted in a bunched up field for the final sprint and Allmendinger crossed the finish line with a 5.198 second lead over second-place Ryan Dalziel in the Ford-powered Starworks car.

As runner-up in the 2011 Grand-Am championship, SunTrust Racing was well prepared for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but unexpected engine trouble saw driver Max Angelelli enter the pits only 25 minutes into the race. The car entered the race five minutes later, only to return shortly after to be declared out of the race. Team owner, Wayne Taylor, noted that it was the first time they have had engine trouble since using Chevrolet, and as the race began their only concern was the traffic, the engine trouble had caught the team by surprise. Angelelli had started the race in second place, and will be awarded some points for completing 30 minutes of the race. While it was a disappointing start for SunTrust Racing, the season has just begun and anything can happen in the months ahead.

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