Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Testing at Pocono and 27 for Long Beach

After a great battle between Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves for the win at Barber Motorsports Park, the Izod IndyCar Series takes this weekend off before heading to Long Beach. But some are busy in the Keystone State.

Testing at Pocono
For the first time since 1989, IndyCars will being running at Pocono Raceway. Pennsylvania native Marco Andretti leads Dario Franchitti, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud to the 2.5 mile triangle racetrack in Long Pond, Pa for a Firestone tire test. The aero package they will be using at this test will be the same aero package used at Indianapolis and Fontana, the other two legs of the IndyCar Triple Crown.

Of the four drivers, Dario Franchitti is the only one to have ever raced at Pocono. He started 14th and finished 41st after 137 laps in a NASCAR race in June 2008. Since then the track has been repaved and safety improvements were made. The July 7 Pocono IndyCar 400 will be the first race in the state of Pennsylvania since 2004, when Dan Wheldon won at Nazareth Speedway. The test is open to the public with the gates opening at 9:00 AM.

27 for Long Beach
Though 11 days away, the Long Beach Grand Prix will feature 27 entrants. Besides the 25 drivers who ran St. Petersburg, AJ Allmendinger will run for a second consecutive week after a positive weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. Allmendinger was in the top 10 in every session on Friday and Saturday and was 12th in the morning warm-up before the race on Sunday. He was running in the top 10 before stalling after a pit stop dropped him to 19th. Allmendinger has run three Long Beach Grand Prix from 2004-2006. His best start is 4th and best finish is 8th in the Southern California street race. He did win his first career Atlantics race at Long Beach in 2003 from pole position.

Mike Conway returns to the Izod IndyCar Series for the first time since Baltimore last year. Conway announced his retirement from ovals prior to the Fontana race last September. Conway returns in a third Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan entry and looks to pick up his second career win at Long Beach. He won the 2011 Long Beach Grand Prix driving for Andretti Autosport after passing Dario Franchitti for second and then running down Ryan Briscoe and passing him for the win 14 laps to go. Conway will be one of six past Long Beach Grand Prix winners in the field joining Helio Castroneves, Sébastien Bourdais, Will Power, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Other News
Carlos Muñoz won the Indy Lights race at Barber on Sunday, ahead of Schmidt-Peterson teammates Jack Hawksworth and Gabby Chaves. Americans Sage Karam and Zach Veach were 4th and 9th respectively. In the points, Hawksworth leads Muñoz by 12, with Irishman Peter Dempsey, Karam and Chaves rounding out the top five.

In bike news, Jorge Lorenzo won at the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi and fellow Spaniard Marc Márquez. Dani Pedrosa was 4th with Americans Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies finishing 8th and 10th respectively and Colin Edwards retiring from the event. Next round for MotoGP will be at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on April 21st.

The Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype of Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor won at Babrer on Saturday ahead of Gainsco Racing's Jon Fogerty and Alex Gurney. Richard Westbrook and Ricky Taylor of Spirit of Daytona Racing rounded out a Corvette DP 1-2-3. The Ganassi BMW of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas still leads the points standings. They are 2 points up on Fogerty and Gurney and 5 ahead of Angelelli/J.Taylor. Next round for the Rolex Sports Car Series is Road Atlanta on April 20th.

The 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship begins this weekend at Silverstone. Audi and Toyota are each fielding two hybrid entries in the LMP1 class. Americans to look out for are Chris Dyson and Michael Marsal. Both are competing in LMP2 in the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan. They are teamed with Tom Kimber-Smith, a three-time class winner in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, having won in the LMP2 class the past two editions of the French classic.