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Barnhart strikes again
Brian Barnhart strikes again
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It only took Brian (IRL) Barnhart one race and one qualifying session to prove, once again, why this man has absolutely no business being part of race director and why he was removed from the position years ago. However, the brain trust (maybe a recommendation by the Boston marketing group?) in Indy for some unknown reason decided to reappoint this polarizing figure to the same position again from which he was removed from, with much celebration, two years ago.

In probably one of the dumbest, least common sense calls in recent memory, Sebastian Bourdais, who qualified pole was removed from pole completely and sent to the back of the entire field (not simply losing his fastest two laps as is a common penalty for impeding a driver) for coming back on track and partially costing Tony Kanaan 2-3 tenths on one of this middle of the session timed laps. Bourdais, who could not see anything in his rear mirrors due to the wet spray, was told Kanaan was approaching over the radio, and immediately let him go by.

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Woman injured by debris at St. Petersburg IndyCar opener plans to sue
Attorneys for the woman injured by a piece of flying debris at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29 have informed city officials of their intent to sue, the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday.

Brigitte Hoffstetter, who is sixth months pregnant, was struck while in a concession areaseveral hundred feet from the race track, fell backwards, according to court documents, and suffered a depressed skull fracture. She was released from Bayfront Medical Center on March 31.

Lawyers for Hoffstetter claim the city committed "negligent acts or omissions" in failing to "adequately protect spectators and/or individuals from the dangerous condition of flying debris or other projectiles." Florida sovereign immunity statutes limit damage rewards from government entities to $300,000.

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Alonso tells rivals to enjoy his downfall while it lasts
Is Alonso still bitter from losing his job to Vettel at Ferrari?
Fernando Alonso has told his rivals to enjoy seeing him failing to exit Q1 because it won't last forever and soon it will "time for him to enjoy" success.

The Spaniard, who starts this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix from 18th, chose to exit Ferrari for the new McLaren-Honda partnership, but has seen his former team win a race already this season whilst he's yet to even finish one.

However he claims he is happy to take the riskier option because he believes it will soon pay off.

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IndyCar post-qualifying quotes
Marco Andretti to start 10th tomorrow

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "I thought we were better than 10th in the wet, I just can only go as quick as the spray ahead of me because I couldn't see. I start 10th on points, and would have been 10th based on what little running we did do - so it was a toss up either way. We'll work hard tomorrow and make something happen from there."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet): "It was wet. So we had issues with the dry and in wet. The team is doing a phenomenal job. The Hitachi car was actually very consistent, but unfortunately it was consistent in the back. The good news is, it sounds like the race is going to be wet and we have some stuff we could have done. For me, I couldn't see very well. I was actually following Juan Pablo (Montoya) until he spun out and I said 'Oh, no man, you were my reference.' It is just one of those things. We have two of our boys in the hunt. Roger will have to throw very good strategy on Sunday and see what happens."

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Jamin Romps to Debut Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Victory in New Orleans
Avondale, La. - Frenchman Nico Jamin scored an emphatic maiden victory this afternoon when the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda made its first visit to NOLA Motorsports Park for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Louisiana.

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IndyCar NOLA grid set by owner points
Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying has been cancelled due to inclement weather. The field for tomorrow's Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will be determined by entrant points.

Provisional starting grid:

Row Inside Outside
1 Juan Pablo Montoya Will Power
2 Tony Kanaan Helio Castroneves
3 Simon Pagenaud Sebastien Bourdais
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay Jack Hawksworth
5 Luca Filippi Marco Andretti
6 Graham Rahal Josef Newgarden
7 Takuma Sato Carlos Munoz
8 Scott Dixon James Hinchcliffe
9 Gabby Chaves Simona de Silvestro
10 Sage Karam Stefano Coletti
11 Charlie Kimball James Jakes
12 Francesco Dracone Carlos Huertas


IndyCar Group 2 Round 1 Qualifying results
A few things before we get to Round 1 Group 2 times below:

1. Sebastien Bourdais was issued a penalty during round 1 and lost his time. He will start the race 23rd tomorrow and not advance to the second round. Team owner Jimmy Vasser referred to the call as "chicken shit" on NBC Sports, and we 100% agree.

2. The session is now delayed due to lightning. No word on if/when we will restart.

Group 2 times:

P No Name Time Diff Gap Laps Speed Engine
1 67 Josef Newgarden 1:43.878 0.000 0.000 2 94.957 Chevy
2 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:46.763 2.8844 2.8844 2 92.392 Honda
3 9 Scott Dixon 1:47.162 3.2834 0.3990 2 92.048 Chevy
4 83 Charlie Kimball 1:47.478 3.5996 0.3162 2 91.777 Chevy
5 27 Marco Andretti 1:48.019 4.1409 0.5413 2 91.317 Honda
6 8 Sage Karam 1:49.147 5.2687 1.1278 2 90.374 Chevy
7 14 Takuma Sato 1:49.657 5.7787 0.5100 2 89.953 Honda
8 4 Stefano Coletti 1:50.777 6.8990 1.1203 2 89.044 Chevy
9 20 Luca Filippi 1:51.793 7.9151 1.0161 2 88.234 Chevy
10 98 Gabby Chaves 1:52.648 8.7698 0.8547 2 87.565 Honda
11 15 Graham Rahal 1:54.727 10.8489 2.0791 2 85.978 Honda
12 41 Jack Hawksworth 1:55.969 12.0902 1.2413 2 85.058 Honda


IndyCar Group 1 Round 1 Qualifying results
Top 6 advance to round 2
Pos No Name Time Diff Gap Speed Engine
1 11 Sebastien Bourdais 1:38.013 0.000 0.000 100.640 Chevy
2 10 Tony Kanaan 1:38.367 0.3543 0.3543 100.278 Chevy
3 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:38.442 0.4295 0.0752 100.201 Chevy
4 26 Carlos Munoz 1:38.553 0.5401 0.1106 100.089 Honda
5 1 Will Power 1:38.577 0.5641 0.0240 100.064 Chevy
6 7 James Jakes 1:39.161 1.1489 0.5848 99.474 Honda
7 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:39.790 1.7773 0.6284 98.848 Honda
8 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 1:39.816 1.8032 0.0259 98.822 Chevy
9 18 Carlos Huertas 1:40.186 2.1739 0.3707 98.456 Honda
10 3 Helio Castroneves 1:40.208 2.1955 0.0216 98.435 Chevy
11 25 Simona de Silvestro 1:40.215 2.2029 0.0074 98.428 Honda
12 19 Francesco Dracone 1:40.665 2.6528 0.4499 97.988 Honda


Dramatic Austin qualifying as Marquez takes pole in final moments with record lap
Marquez speeds to pole
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has taken his first pole position of 2015 in sensational fashion for tomorrow’s Red Bull GP of The Americas. His teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama – standing in for Dani Pedrosa – qualified in 18th for the twenty one lap race.

With rain threatening to arrive at any time, the MotoGP riders were thankful to have a dry day at the Austin track after yesterday’s difficult conditions. Marc led this morning’s FP3 and FP4 and confirmed his place in Q2. Hiroshi improved throughout the day but was unable to reach Q2 and sealed his 6th row start from 18th place with his time of 2’05.086.

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Saturday p.m. report from NOLA Saturday afternoon practice was a bit mixed up.  The session was delayed 15 minutes for track cleanup from the prior MX race.  Strangely the only Penske car in top 10 was Will Power.  Ganassi Racing has all 4 of their cars in the top 10.  Helio did have an off course trip to the gravel pit which took him a bit of time to get out of, but did so without assistance from the safety team.

I talked with Gabby Chavez after practice.  The 21 year old was third in the session and the fastest Honda.  He said "We made a big change to the car and it worked.  I love the high speed straightaways here and the fast corners."  The team's expectation is to qualify in the top 10 today.

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INDY Grand Prix of Louisiana - Qualifying Groups
Group 1
#22 Simon Pagenaud
#1 Will Power
#26 Carlos Munoz
#10 Tony Kanaan
#67 Josef Newgarden
#5 James Hinchcliffe
#2 Juan Pablo Montoya
#18 Carlos Huertas
#3 Helio Castroneves
#25 Simona de Silvestro
#7 James Jakes
#19 Francesco Dracone (R)

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IndyCar New Orleans: Dixon leads practice 3
P No Name Time Diff Gap Laps Speed Engine
1 9 Scott Dixon 1:18.554 0.000 0.000 16 125.570 Chevy
2 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:18.612 0.0581 0.0581 20 125.477 Chevy
3 98 Gabby Chaves 1:18.722 0.1682 0.1101 21 125.302 Honda
4 1 Will Power 1:18.725 0.1708 0.0026 17 125.298 Chevy
5 8 Sage Karam 1:18.774 0.2203 0.0495 19 125.219 Chevy
6 26 Carlos Munoz 1:18.823 0.2688 0.0485 20 125.142 Honda
7 67 Josef Newgarden 1:18.842 0.2884 0.0196 19 125.111 Chevy
8 10 Tony Kanaan 1:18.857 0.3033 0.0149 15 125.087 Chevy
9 83 Charlie Kimball 1:18.881 0.3273 0.0240 16 125.049 Chevy
10 11 Sebastien Bourdais 1:18.956 0.4026 0.0753 19 124.930 Chevy
11 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:19.013 0.4589 0.0563 19 124.841 Honda
12 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:19.054 0.5001 0.0412 15 124.776 Honda
13 4 Stefano Coletti 1:19.118 0.5638 0.0637 19 124.675 Chevy
14 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 1:19.216 0.6617 0.0979 18 124.521 Chevy
15 15 Graham Rahal 1:19.240 0.6860 0.0243 22 124.483 Honda
16 18 Carlos Huertas 1:19.251 0.6976 0.0116 20 124.465 Honda
17 20 Luca Filippi 1:19.430 0.8765 0.1789 22 124.184 Chevy
18 3 Helio Castroneves 1:19.567 1.0133 0.1368 18 123.971 Chevy
19 27 Marco Andretti 1:19.589 1.0355 0.0222 19 123.936 Honda
20 25 Simona de Silvestro 1:19.700 1.1463 0.1108 19 123.764 Honda
21 41 Jack Hawksworth 1:19.866 1.3124 0.1661 18 123.507 Honda
22 7 James Jakes 1:20.159 1.6052 0.2928 16 123.055 Honda
23 14 Takuma Sato 1:20.386 1.8322 0.2270 14 122.708 Honda
24 19 Francesco Dracone 1:21.241 2.6871 0.8549 19 121.417 Honda


NASCAR opposed to use of bleeder valves
In other forms of motorsport, including short track and dirt racing, bleeder valves [for tires] are commonplace and allowed. That has been the number one question in the aftermath of the tire tampering penalty handed down to Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing and the #31 Sprint Cup Series team last week.

This had prompted numerous drivers to suggest that NASCAR would be better off allowing bleeder valves as well. Jeff Gordon has been perhaps the most vocal proponent of bleeder valves in the Sprint Cup garage. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck [says] the technology is too inconsistent for use in NASCAR.

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Gordon wants NASCAR to eliminate pit road timing lines
Friday Jeff Gordon was asked about the increased number of penalties issued to teams this season:

Jeff Gordon: "I think the camera system speaks for itself. It's black & white if you want to put it that way. When things roll out of the box or guys leave over the wall too soon or you drive through too many boxes, it's going to bust you.

And so it's made all of us have to be that much cleaner and do our jobs that much better and pay more attention to more things than we used to. That didn't have anything to do with what I did last week [when he got caught for speeding late in the race at Martinsville].

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Military family receives year of groceries from Eckrich
On the set of "Good Morning Texas," Army Sergeant Robert Morgan and his wife Ashley were honored by Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and delimeats, after being surprised with a special invitation to be VIP guests of theirs and the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports race team during this Saturday's race in Ft. Worth.

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Saturday a.m. report from NOLA (update) UPDATE Quick late morning update here from NOLA Motorsports Park.

It's much cooler this morning today, 70 degrees, under cloudy skies with a pretty good chance of rain before qualifying. Although, it should be noted the weather forecast for both today and tomorrow has improved. If/when the rain does come, we expect it to be thunderstorms that move out relatively quickly.

Despite the track being flat and built on swampland, they seem to be able to dry it quite quickly. They have an Air Titan truck on site which you see at many NASCAR races.

Many team members arrived at the track at 9:30 am, which is really late for us who have followed this series for a long time. But given the relatively late practice time (12:30 pm start) it makes sense.

Lucille Dust reporting for AutoRacing1.com

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Tan wins Pro Mazda pole
P No Name FTime Diff LapTime Gap FSpeed Team
1 22 Weiron Tan 1:34.827 0.000 1:34.897 0.000 104.021 Andretti Autosport
2 81 Santiago Urrutia 1:34.980 0.1533 1:35.853 0.1533 103.853 Team Pelfrey
3 10 Florian Latorre 1:35.174 0.3466 1:35.174 0.1933 103.642 Cape Motorsports w/WTR
4 6 Timothe Buret 1:35.190 0.3627 1:35.624 0.0161 103.625 Juncos Racing
5 82 Pato O'Ward 1:35.258 0.4307 1:38.348 0.0680 103.551 Team Pelfrey
6 5 Garett Grist 1:35.387 0.5599 1:35.387 0.1292 103.411 Juncos Racing
7 7 Jose Gutierrez 1:35.397 0.5699 1:35.790 0.0100 103.400 Juncos Racing
8 23 Will Owen 1:35.458 0.6310 1:35.516 0.0611 103.334 Juncos Racing
9 3 Neil Alberico 1:35.474 0.6469 1:35.630 0.0159 103.316 Cape Motorsports w/WTR
10 19 Raoul Owens 1:35.510 0.6832 1:35.528 0.0363 103.277 JDC MotorSports
11 28 Dalton Kellett 1:35.680 0.8527 1:37.167 0.1695 103.094 Andretti Autosport
12 2 Daniel Burkett 1:35.903 1.0756 1:35.923 0.2229 102.854 Cape Motorsports w/WTR
13 14 Alessandro Latif 1:36.229 1.4025 1:36.358 0.3269 102.505 World Speed Motorsports
14 26 Parker Nicklin 1:37.612 2.7853 1:39.419 1.3828 101.053 JDC MotorSports
15 13 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:39.221 4.3940 1:44.750 1.6087 99.415 World Speed Motorsports
16 91 Kyle Connery No Time --- --.--- --- --- JDC MotorSports


Jamin wins U.S. F2000 pole
Below, are the qualifying results for the Cooper Tires U.S. F2000 Series powered by Mazda at NOLA Motorsports Park.


No Name FTime Diff Gap Team
1 2 Nico Jamin 1:38.218 0.000 0.000 Cape Motorsports w/WTR
2 3 Aaron Telitz 1:38.234 0.0162 0.0162 Cape Motorsports w/WTR
3 22 Jake Eidson 1:38.239 0.0210 0.0048 Pabst Racing
4 94 Jordan Lloyd 1:38.572 0.3542 0.3332 John Cummiskey Racing
5 33 Anthony Martin 1:38.894 0.6767 0.3225 John Cummiskey Racing
6 17 Victor Franzoni 1:38.992 0.7746 0.0979 Afterburner Autosport
7 80 Parker Thompson 1:39.143 0.9255 0.1509 JDC MotorSports
8 5 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:39.167 0.9488 0.0233 ArmsUp Motorsports
9 82 Luke Gabin 1:39.258 1.0407 0.0919 Team Pelfrey
10 23 Yufeng Luo 1:39.470 1.2522 0.2115 Pabst Racing
11 81 Ayla Agren 1:39.492 1.2743 0.0221 Team Pelfrey
12 83 Garth Rickards 1:39.536 1.3183 0.0440 Team Pelfrey
13 84 Nikita Lastochkin 1:39.734 1.5166 0.1983 Team Pelfrey
14 6 Max Hanratty 1:40.383 2.1649 0.6483 ArmsUp Motorsports
15 16 James Dayson 1:41.351 3.1333 0.9684 ArmsUp Motorsports
16 12 Augie Lerch 1:42.515 4.2972 1.1639 JAY Motorsports


Mercedes using split strategies to defeat Vettel's Ferrari
Does not matter what strategy Rosberg is on, he's not going to beat Hamilton
Nico Rosberg admits he's concerned about how split strategies at Mercedes could impact his battle with Lewis Hamilton.

Until now the team has tried to be fair to both drivers by usually running near identical strategies, but after losing out to Ferrari in Malaysia Toto Wolff admitted that it was time for a rethink.

Rosberg said that while it could work both ways he'd prefer it didn't have to happen.

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WEC: Porsche sweeps front row at Silverstone
Mark Webber on pole
Porsche will start Sunday's Six Hours of Silverstone from the front row as the German manufacturers put it to the Japanese (last year's champions) in qualifying, but could they beat them in the race?

Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber took their No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid to a best two-lap average of 1:39.721, outpacing their sister entry by more than six-tenths in the revised-for-2015 qualifying format.

It marked a dominant run for the second-year LMP1 operation, capitalizing on the single-lap advantage of its 8 MJ hybrid system, and also using two sets of tires, another new option allowed this year.

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Long Beach Grand Prix: Everything you need to know
The 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is next weekend
It’s April in Long Beach, the month when drivers like Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr. and Paul Tracy have written their names in racing history by winning the city’s biggest event, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Here’s a quick survival guide to the 41st annual running of the race April 17-19, which is again expected to draw more than 150,000 attendees over three days:

TICKETS: General admission tickets for all three days cost $77. Friday-only passes are $30, Saturday is $50 and Sunday is $57.

Seating packages run from $90 to $135 for all three days for adults, and $72-$105 for children under 12.

To purchase tickets, call 888-82-SPEECH or 562-981-2600, email tickets@gpalb.com or visit gplb.com.

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Daniil Kvyat blames lemon Renault engine for poor qualifying
Daniil Kvyat
Problems with Daniil Kvyat's Renault power unit hampered him in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix and contributed to him missing the cut for Q3.

Kvyat will start from 12th on the grid in Sunday's race after struggling with brake issues with his Red Bull throughout practice this weekend. However, he said a reoccurring power unit problem disrupted his performance over qualifying. 

"Our qualifying was all the time interrupted by small issues with the power unit and we still have to investigate what happened," Kvyat said. "Our only proper run happened at the end of Q2 and with everything so tight, finding those extra 0.2s or 0.1s was not possible like this. I needed a normal session."

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The outright pace is not there – Button
Button and Alonso strapped with inferior McLaren Honda
Jenson Button admits he’s surprised by McLaren-Honda’s lack of outright pace after he and team-mate Fernando Alonso once again failed to progress through to Q2 in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Button had been impressed with McLaren’s one-lap performance during Friday’s free practice, but both MP4-30s missed the initial cut by a couple of tenths and will eventually line up on the penultimate row of tomorrow's starting grid.

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Seb - The best we could do against superior Mercedes
Vettel watches the superior Mercedes pass by
Sebastian Vettel: "All in all it was a good session for us. We had only one real run in Q3 and were able to nail this run and put the car on P3. It is a shame that we couldn’t put both cars side by side. As far as I was told, Kimi had some issues with traffic on the warm up lap and with these temperatures everybody is relaying on the out lap, to nail it on the flying one.

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IndyCar racing is safer than ever ... but that doesn't mean it's safe
"Gentlemen, start your coffins."

Fortunately, motorsports safety has come a long ways since the late, great Jim Murray penned those words before the 1966 Indianapolis 500.

But the danger that is inherent to the sport, and the unspoken thrill that it brings to some fans — there's a reason "Furious 7" is the No. 1 movie in the world this week — will never disappear.

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Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
  • Vettel: Our first goal is to be first after the Mercedes
    Ferrari plays down title hopes
  • Verstappen 'more Dutch than Belgian' - father
  • Williams slams Force India over wind tunnel jibe
  • Lauda tells Rosberg to 'sort himself out'
  • McLaren-Honda ready to race away from Q1
  • Manor leaving 107pc headache behind - Merhi
  • Quirky Chinese F1 enthusiasm spills over
  • Hamilton 'not worth $200 million' - Rosberg
  • F1 would thrive with '20 Mercedes engines' - Lauda

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Chinese GP: Mercedes romp in practice 3
Using his superior Mercedes car and engine, Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg on Saturday morning to make it a clean sweep of all three Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 practice sessions.

Hamilton was three tenths up on medium tires and 0.23 seconds after the qualifying simulations on softs.

Ferrari was again Mercedes' closest rival. Sebastian Vettel got within a tenth of Rosberg on mediums but on softs the gap to Hamilton's pacesetting time grew to 0.7s.

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