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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Firestone has agreed to a five-year extension to remain the sole tire supplier for the IndyCar Series.

The deal, announced Wednesday, runs through 2025. Firestone has worked with IndyCars for more than eight decades and enters its 20th consecutive year as the series’ exclusive tire manufacturer. It also is the title sponsor of two races this season: The opener in St. Petersburg on March 10 and the finale at Laguna Seca on Sept. 22.

This announcement follows others series officials have made over the last month, including a deal with NTT to become IndyCar’s new title sponsor.

The Indianapolis 500, another IndyCar race, will be May 26. 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Danica Patrick got her No. 13 car up to speed quickly Wednesday.

She’s still trying to find her comfort level, still hasn’t driven in traffic, and understands it’s going to take some time to get reoriented with the new IndyCars.

If she’s learned anything from her first two days on the track, it’s this: patience.

“I texted Dario (Franchitti) and he said it took eight months,” she said. “So it felt kind of like 14 turbos were in there.”

Much has changed since Patrick last competed on the open-wheel circuit in 2011.

The cars have a new, sleeker look, an aero kit series regulars are still trying to dial in, and turbo-charged engines to make them even faster. But Patrick faces a steeper learning curve than some after competing in NASCAR the past six years.

Admittedly, it hasn’t been entirely smooth.

During Tuesday’s refresher course, she acknowledged she was anxious and apprehensive about the “heavy steering,” and slept better Tuesday night.

By Wednesday’s closed manufacturers test session on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s historic 2.5-mile oval, she was adapting to different padding inside the cockpit, tighter fitting seat belts and helmets, and a different feel in the driver’s seat.

The next big step could be running side by side with other cars and relearning the golden rule of IndyCar racing: Rubbing fenders, trading paint and the bump-and-run style racing prevalent in the Cup Series can be ruinous in this series.

So Patrick, a series regular from 2005-11, is taking it slowly.

“I never saw a car other than when I came in and out of the pits,” she said during Wednesday’s lunch break. “As for a tow, I know that if you can see a car, it’s helping you. But if you see a car it also can upset your car. There’s no need to rush it.”

Patrick won’t be back on the oval until May 15.

Qualifying for the May 27 race is scheduled for May 19 and 20. 35 driver-car combinations are attempting to qualify for the traditional 33-car starting field.

Those who have made the transition from the heavier, more protective Cup cars to IndyCars believe Patrick will make a relatively smooth transition.

“I think with all her experience here, it will be like riding a bike,” said Larry Foyt, who started three 500s after running in the 2003 Brickyard 400 before taking over as president of A.J. Foyt Racing. “Driving here in a stock car, you’re moving around, sliding there in the corners. I felt like it was easier to qualify for Indy 500.”

Experience also might help Patrick in other ways.

Ed Carpenter’s team has a knack for going fast in Indy qualifying, and with a veteran presence in Carpenter and a young, promising American Spencer Pigot, the 36-year-old Patrick seems like a perfect fit for the final race of her career.

“It’s the whole mechanism, the team members doing pit stops seven or eight times under pressure, understanding the communication on the radio to make the right changes on the race car, and it’s staying focused on the big prize, which is the race and not necessarily fast laps,” said Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull, who worked with Franchitti when he switched back to IndyCars. “The cars are not the same cars, but it’s still the same race at the same track.”

And Patrick still has a wealth of knowledge she can use to her advantage.

All she has to do is play it smart.

“It was much better today. The first couple laps I was flat out,” she said. “I wanted to get yesterday over with so I could get on with the job and feeling comfortable and that’s what started today.”

Sebastien Bourdais took the IndyCar pole Friday night at ISM Raceway to join Simon Pagenaud in an all-French front row.

The last driver to qualify, Bourdais had a two-lap average of 188.539 mph on the 1.022-mile oval in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 18 car.

The 39-year-old Frenchman won his 34th career pole and first since fracturing his pelvis and right hip last year in a crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

“Obviously, for me, every time I line up for qualifying, there are always some images that come back. You can’t help it,” Bourdais said. “So, to just kind of be able to put that on the side enough to hang it out to get that (pole) makes me feel pretty good about it.”

Last month, Bourdais won the season-opening street race in St. Petersburg, Florida, for his 37th career victory. He won his first pole since Mid-Ohio in 2014 and the first on an oval since Milwaukee in 2006. The four-time series champion also gave Dale Coyne Racing its second pole and first since Mike Conway at Detroit in 2013.

“We’re still a fairly small organization compared to the likes on the Ganassis and the Penskes,” Bourdais said. “We got a great group of guys working real hard to make it happen. When you do, it’s really sweet.”

Pagenaud qualified second for the Saturday night race at 188.148, a year after racing to his first oval victory at the desert track.

“Pretty cool, a French front row on an oval,” Pagenaud said.

The Team Penske driver topped the afternoon practice session in hotter, slicker and windier conditions.

“The conditions were very, very tough,” Pagenaud said.

Penske’s Will Power was third at 186.852, followed by Andretti Autosports’ Alexander Rossi and Schmidt Peterson’s Canadian duo of James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens.

The 250-lap race is the first oval event for the sleek new car that is designed to improve competition, level the playing field and cut costs.

“There’s a lot of unknowns,” Hinchcliffe said. “First short oval for us, first oval race with the (new) kit. There’s still a lot to be found out.”

Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time Formula One champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, qualified 10th for his IndyCar debut.

The 21-year-old Fittipaldi is making the first of seven starts this season for Dale Coyne Racing in the No. 19 Paysafe ride he’s sharing with Zachary Claman De Melo.


The track is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s 52nd and final Indy car victory.

In addition to the April 4, 1993, race, Andretti also won at the track in 1966, 1967, 1986 and 1988. At age 78, he still gets behind the wheel to help son Michael with Andretti Autosport.

“I’m up to speed on what’s going on,” Andretti said. “I have the appreciation of what the drivers are dealing with today. I know what’s going on because I’ve done some high-speed testing for Michael that nobody knows about. I have an appreciation for what’s going on today firsthand.”

Grandson Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Honda features a retro paint scheme inspired by the winning 1993 Newman/Haas car.


Team owner A.J. Foyt was at ISM Raceway three weeks after surviving a bee attack on his West Texas ranch. “I’m still recovering,” the 83-year-old racing great said. “I have welts all over and I’m not feeling 100 percent.” … Tony Kanaan is making his record 284th consecutive series start. The Foyt driver also will break a tie with Helio Castroneves for third place on the career list with 345 overall starts. … Oriol Servia will split pace-car duties with Sarah Fisher this season, starting Saturday night. The 43-year-old Servia plans to race in the Indianapolis 500 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Scuderia Corsa.


The International Speedway Corp.-owned track has changed its name to ISM Raceway in a rights deal with Ingenuity Sun Media. Built in 1964, it was previously Phoenix International Raceway and Phoenix Raceway. The facility is undergoing a $178 million redevelopment expected to be completed in time for the NASCAR playoff races in November. The start-finish line will move from the front straightaway to near the second turn in front of a new 45,000-seat grandstand. The project includes 51 hospitality suites.


Kody Swanson took the pole for the USAC Silver Crown race with a lap at 142.146 mph. Defending race winner Bobby Santos qualified second for the 100-lap race. Swanson, from Kingsburg, California, has three series championships and 18 career victories. He was second last year in Phoenix.


The high Friday was about 90 degrees in the Sierra Estrella foothills southwest of Phoenix. The forecast high for Saturday is 94, with the race-time temperature in the mid-80s.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Portland International Raceway is back on the IndyCar Series schedule in 2018.

The Sept. 2 race on the 1.967-mile permanent road course will be IndyCar’s first trip to the Oregon track since races were held from 1984-2007 under CART and Champ Car sanction.

The race will be operated by Green Savoree Racing Promotions, which also promotes the IndyCar events at St. Petersburg, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.

Portland replaces Watkins Glen, New York, on the schedule.

There were no other major changes on the 17-race schedule as IndyCar sought stability in assembling its 2018 calendar. The race at Phoenix is returning to the first weekend in April. The race had moved this year to avoid conflicting with the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four taking place in nearby Glendale, Arizona.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) – Alexander Rossi overcame a mechanical malfunction on pit road to notch a big victory. IndyCar points leader Josef Newgarden wasn’t so lucky.

Rossi used a stroke of good fortune to win the IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen on Sunday from the pole, leading just over half of the 60-lap race and easily holding off four-time series champion Scott Dixon over the closing laps at Watkins Glen International for his second career victory. His first one came last year in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

“Today I was finally able to prove what I’ve been talking about the past month, two months, in terms of the step forward Andretti Autosports has taken,” said Rossi, who has five straight top-six finishes. “We have the package in the car and the people to be at the front. Just had things go wrong and we weren’t able to execute fully.”

The win was the 57th Indy car triumph for Andretti Autosport and the team’s first win at Watkins Glen. It was somewhat overshadowed, though, by the sudden fall by Newgarden after a costly error in the pits that relegated him to an 18th-place finish.

Dixon’s second-place finish for Chip Ganassi Racing erased most of Newgarden’s 31-point lead and left the four-time champion just three points behind heading to the season finale at Sonoma next week, which is worth double points.

“I’ve been in situations like that,” Dixon said. “I think you just got to treat next week as another race. I think you can’t overcomplicate it. Obviously, we want to win it. There’s a lot on the line. But, you know, I think if you overthink things too much, then it ends up being a very bad thing.

“I’ve never raced Josef, really, in a championship like this,” said Dixon, who stole the title from Juan Pablo Montoya two years ago by winning the finale to earn the double points. “You can have a pretty hefty swing.”

Newgarden, who has a series-high four wins, took the championship lead for the first time in his career after his win at Mid-Ohio in late July. His victory last week at Gateway Motorsports Park over Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud was his third in four races and seemed to stamp him as the man to beat.

Then his lead in the standings vanished in a flash at Watkins Glen.

After taking his only lead of the day, Newgarden pitted with 15 laps to go around the 11-turn, 3.37-mile natural terrain road course. But he slammed the guard rail exiting the pits when his front tires locked up and he veered left into the blue steel barrier. He was hit from behind by Sebastien Bourdais, breaking part of the rear of the No. 2 Chevy. That brought out a caution and Newgarden had to pit again, his crew frantically working on the car as he fell two laps down.

“It was going to come down to Sonoma,” Newgarden said. “I made a mistake. It looks like a pretty stupid error, but it’s easy to do. I just made a miscalculation …. came out of the pits too hot.

“It was one small thing, but those small things add up at the end of the day. It’s all on me,” he said. “It’s not good for the team, but they’re resilient. I’m sure they’ll give me what I need at Sonoma.”

Other things to know about the IndyCar race at Watkins Glen International:ROSSI’S SPECIAL WEEKEND

Rossi also inked a contract extension with Andretti Autosport that was announced on Friday, and he won his first career pole Saturday by zooming past Dixon on his final lap.

That good fortune seemed to change on lap 24 when he had to pit off sequence because of problems with his refueling adapter. A 12-second stop left him back in 18th, but when the third caution flew one lap later, Rossi regained the lead.

“I thought we were pretty much done,” Rossi said. “We were fortunate … to have that yellow come out to where it negated those little things that had gone wrong.”

Rossi led Dixon on the final restart and it became a two-car race over the final laps between a four-time winner at Watkins Glen and a driver racing at the famed road course for only the second time, but Dixon never threatened.HELIO’S STILL ALIVE

Forty-two-old Helio Castroneves finished fourth and remained in third place in points, now just 22 behind his teammate in the quest for that elusive first career title. He’s finished second in points four times.

“I will do everything to bring the championship home for Team Penske,” Castroneves said. “It’s a big battle right now.”

Also in the hunt is defending champion Simon Pagenaud in fourth, 34 points behind teammate Newgarden after a ninth-place finish at The Glen.WHAT RAIN?

Rain that was forecast never materialized, although the race began with the teams on rain tires due to moisture on the track from earlier showers.RESULTS

1. (1) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 60, Running

2. (2) Scott Dixon, Honda, 60, Running

3. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 60, Running

4. (6) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 60, Running

5. (10) Graham Rahal, Honda, 60, Running

6. (8) Will Power, Chevrolet, 60, Running

7. (5) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 60, Running

8. (19) Max Chilton, Honda, 60, Running

9. (12) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 60, Running

10. (11) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 60, Running

11. (14) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 60, Running

12. (13) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 60, Running

13. (15) Ed Jones, Honda, 60, Running

14. (18) Jack Harvey, Honda, 60, Running

15. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 60, Running

16. (20) Marco Andretti, Honda, 60, Running

17. (9) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 60, Running

18. (3) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 58, Running

19. (4) Takuma Sato, Honda, 56, Running

20. (17) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 46, Contact

21. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 5, MechanicalRACE STATISTICS

Winner’s average speed: 118.865 mph

Time of Race: 1:42:03.9024

Margin of victory: 0.9514 of a second

Cautions: 4 for 9 laps

Lead changes: 8 among 6 driversLAP LEADERS

Rossi 1

Castroneves 2-14

Pigot 15-22

Rossi 23

Hunter-Reay 24-27

Rossi 28-42

Dixon 43-44

Newgarden 45


Newgarden 560, Dixon 557, Castroneves 538, Pagenaud 526, Power 492, Rossi 476, Rahal 466, Sato 421, Kanaan 375, Hunter-Reay 373.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Cars were back on the track Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IndyCar is testing the new aero kit for next season.

The new look is similar to what IndyCar had in the 1990s with a lower engine cover and rear wing. Cars will be more balanced and nimble, with additional padding placed around the drivers themselves. The top speeds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway may see a slight jump next year thanks to the lighter weight.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, left, and Spanish driver Oriol Servia talk in front of the newly-designed IndyCars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Test driver Oriol Servia gave his thoughts on the new ride after getting behind the wheel.

“It just feels right. Doesn’t have any malicious movements out there. Very consistent. My second long run was, I think, one of the most consistent runs I’ve done at this track in all my years. So I don’t know. Feels really good and still looks sexy, fast, and safe.”

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season resumes this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

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NEWTON, Iowa (AP) – Helio Castroneves dominated the IndyCar race Sunday at Iowa Speedway for his first victory since 2014.

The 42-year-old Castroneves led 217 of 300 laps, giving powerhouse Team Penske its first victory on Iowa’s short oval in 11 tries.

It also was the 30th career win for Castroneves, the Brazilian who was winless since the first race of the Belle Isle doubleheader in Detroit in June 2014.

J.R. Hildebrand was a career-best second, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Graham Rahal.

Series leader Scott Dixon finished eighth, two weeks after winning at Road America.

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP/WISH) – The fastest ride at Road America spoke with WISH-TV’s Charlie Clifford Sunday night.

Scott Dixon won the IndyCar race at Road America on Sunday to spoil the Team Penske party on the rural road course.

Dixon edged Josef Newgarden by 0.57 seconds to claim his first victory at Road America. It also gave the Chip Ganassi Racing veteran his first win since Watkins Glen in September.

Dixon’s 41st career victory moved him within one of tying Michael Andretti for third on the all-time list.

Ganassi has a chance for a weekend sweep. Kyle Larson, the NASCAR points leader, started on the pole at Sonoma in a Ganassi car.

In IndyCar’s second year back at the 14-turn course after a nine-year hiatus, Dixon’s No. 9 Honda had an average speed of 123.431 mph. He held off Newgarden and the three other Penske drivers who started up front.

Newgarden’s teammate Helio Castroneves, the pole sitter, finished third. They were followed by Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

The Chevrolet-powered Penske team was the talk of the track all weekend after dominating through practice and qualifying.

Dixon took the victory lap, finishing off a day that started with fuel pressure issues during warmups.

“Yeah we didn’t even know if it was going to run,” Dixon said. “On the warmup lap, we were just trying to see if the car was going to run.”

He was thankful for the work of his crew, which he said had to replace the fuel cell, among other last-minute fixes.

The hard work paid off after a late caution. Dixon held off Newgarden on the restart with eight laps to go in the 55-lap race.

“Toward the end I thought it was a straight up battle, I thought it was going to be tough,” Dixon said. “I knew once it kind of plateaued after five or four laps, we were going to be OK.”

Until that point, Newgarden thought he might have had an edge with Dixon on tires.

“Just an ill-timed caution,” Newgarden said.

Dixon looked more pumped than usual, lifting a fist in the air during a victory lap.

There was much to celebrate this week for the team, which was marking the 25th anniversary of president Mike Hull joining Ganassi. He also serves as Dixon’s strategist.

Hull interrupted a post-race interview with Dixon just long enough to give the driver a celebratory hug.


The series returns to an oval after a break for the July Fourth holiday, with a stop at Iowa on July 9. Newgarden is the defending champion at the nearly mile-long track.

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Fun. Party. America. Those are the three words you hear once you’re deep in the mix of the pit.

That pit of course, is the Indy 500’s Snake Pit. A raucous, boisterous, all out affair held hours before 33 drivers fight for the Borg-Warner Trophy.

“The Snake Pit is something everybody should come to no matter where you’re from,” said Jordan Burrows. “Indiana represents.”

The Snake Pit kicked off at 7 a.m. and featured performances from acts such as Zedd, Action Bronson and Marshmello.

“I really want to see Zedd, but it’s right in the middle of the race,” said one attendee while music from The Trap House played in the background. “I’ll have to figure something out.”

It was hard to not get caught up in the vibrations of music bellowing from the stage toward the front of the venue, but priorities varied when it came to why attendees came out to the event.

“I’m a people watcher for sure,” said a woman who only wanted to be identified as Libby. “We saw a guy stumbling from shots and it’s like eight in the morning.”

The party didn’t go on without a few lighthearted jabs at the fun.

“I don’t know if a lot of fathers would be proud with some of these outfits out here,” said Zach Simmons. “Don’t think they’d be proud at all.”

While the party kicked off at 7 a.m., that didn’t stop some from getting all out loose.

“I saw one woman who fell over dancing. She was pretty hype.”

Whether you’re in the mood for dancing, drinks, or just partying with friends, the Snake Pit looks to remain a staple on race day for everyone to enjoy.

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Watching the Indy 500 is like nothing else. The speed and adrenaline are infectious. But for millions of people the greatest spectacle in racing is an event for the ears.

“The Indy 500 is one of the last great sporting events that still has a marriage to radio,” Jake Query, turn three announcer, said.

“It’s exciting. I mean the brain has to be moving fast, because those cars are traveling at 220 mph,” Nick Yeoman, who will man turn two this year, said.

“Pit lane is a little more hectic than driving a car,” Zach Veach, driver and radio personality, said.

Every May, for more than six decades, as the drivers round the track, race fans turn on their radio to rely on about a dozen voices to bring the action to life.

“I’m the conductor of the most talented broadcasting orchestra in the country,” Mark Jaynes, IndyCar Radio anchor, said.

Jaynes is a full-time teacher and coach, whose baritone voice is just the sixth in 64 years to call the race.

“To be one of them is beyond my wildest dreams and expectations,” Jaynes said.

And even in a world where technology is inescapable and a sport where it means that extra momentum to the finish line, the INDYCAR Radio broadcast seems almost untouchable.

“Even last year when for the first time locally the blackout was lifted and people could watch, I think people still listened because this race and this event is about tradition. It’s the tradition of going to the lake house or working in the yard or cleaning the garage that day and I think that the radio just brings the magic to people and there’s a nostalgia that goes with that,” Query said.

The INDYCAR Radio Indy 500 broadcast is carried on about 400 radio affiliates. The network is also carried on satellite radio through Sirius/XM, and is accessible through online streaming, and downloadable podcasts.

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