Paddock Buzz: Strength perseverance to reach the top

It was a recovery day for the best competitors for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP, and it started with Will Power.

Penske’s No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet driver survived a serious collision with Colton Herta and Pato Award on the opening lap of the Gallagher Grand Prix on Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Evidence for scrap was a sign on the side of Bauer’s car, and Hertha had a sign as well. Number 5 in O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet looks better, but it was the one spinning. Soon, the power was reeling as well, and she was called to dig the road earlier than expected.

“Definitely a tough start,” Bauer said. “I pushed on the first turn, was pushed into Pato, who spun him, and then Helio (Castroneves) made a big move and shoved me onto the pavement.”

The call to the pit came on lap 3 during Dalton Kellett’s parked No. 4 K-LINE/AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet warning. Being the first to stop in the 85-lap race, Power was at the back of the group, trailing points leader Marcus Ericsson, who started in the tail of a 25-car field due to a mechanical issue on Friday. Qualifying session.

The very early stop meant that Power had to spend the rest of the race conserving fuel significantly, and he did that perfectly. Power has had great achievements in his career, led by his decisive victory in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by Ginbridge, but his third place in the circumstances deserves a place somewhere on his list.

“Great recovery, man,” he said with a smile as big as the speedway itself. “You can never anticipate all of that in INDYCAR, even as good three-way driving as I can… I was like, ‘I doubt (I made it through unharmed).’ “

“It was just one of those things. Everyone is so aggressive, and it’s so hard to win this series. It’s the hardest series in the world, so everyone is fighting really hard for the center. You have to keep (the car) clean.”

The irony of Bauer getting third place was that he started fourth. On paper, it was just a buzz, but the reality was a lot more complicated.

He said, “It’s amazing to be able to get back out there (on the field) and then recover to third. I’m so happy for that. Thanks Chevy for the fuel mileage.”

The reward from the last race to the podium was a 17-point gain on Ericsson, turning the two drivers up in the standings heading to next weekend’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville (3pm ET, Sunday, Aug. 7, NBC and NBC). INDYCAR Radio).

Power estimates his lead by nine points, but knows there are still miles to go before the Astor Challenge Cup is awarded on 9/11 after the Firestone Grand Prix in Monterey at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“You just have to do what you know,” said the 2014 series champion. “That’s what I’ve been doing. I know this game very well, and I know (the standings) can change very quickly. You have to take what you can get every day, every race day.”

Ericsson saves something too

The Indianapolis 500 given by Ginbridge Award-winning Ericsson similarly turned something good into what wasn’t very promising when the race started.

Ericsson was the last car to carry the green flag because the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda needed to close as Turn 5 approached on the first lap of Friday’s qualifying session. According to INDYCAR rules, displaying a red flag in qualifying costs the driver his two fastest runs – Ericsson did none – and rules him out of the course.

25th was the lowest in Ericsson’s four-year NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, but he moved steadily on the field, reaching second place in the alternative tire strategy. In the end, he took 11th place, achieving 14 positions, and most importantly 14 points.

“I think it was a good day for us,” Erickson said. “Obviously what happened (in qualifying) was not a good situation, but[10th place]was our target – we almost got there.”

A warning flag on lap 36 of Ericsson’s predicted pitstop Simon Pagenaud’s strategy would have propelled him to eighth in the final standings. However, he is still nine points behind the leader Power with four races remaining. Erickson is the defending champion in Nashville.

Other rescue functions

The championship battle remained tight – the top five drivers were separated by just 46 points – because they all managed to get what they could from the Gallagher Grand Prix.

Joseph Newgarden, who came to the event unsure if he would get medical clearance to participate, finished fifth to hold a dispatch with the leaders. Penske Chevrolet’s #2 PPG driver Scott Dixon (#9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) jumped into Nashville 32 points off the series lead. Newgarden is looking for its third title in the series.

Dixon finished eighth on Saturday, but that was tolerable after qualifying troubles reduced him to 20th. Erickson has 14 spots, Dixon 12. The six-time series champ trails the power with 38 points.

O’Ward rushed back to twelfth place. 46 points deficit.

Odds and ends

  • Honda completed the 2022 IMS race on Saturday, winning the GMR Grand Prix with Colton Herta, the “500” with Marcus Ericsson, and the Gallagher Grand Prix with Alexander Rossi.
  • Power finished 92nd in his career on the podium, tying with Dario Franchetti for seventh on the all-time sports list.
  • IMS gathered its Indianapolis 500 champions presented by Gainbridge and Brickyard 400 on Saturday for a group photo at the Yard of Bricks. The drivers accounted for 24 victories in Indy and 20 victories at Brickyard, led by AJ Voight, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, Jeff Gordon, Dale Garrett and Jimmy Johnson.
  • Mario Andretti, who was pictured, joined the line at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES signing session on Friday and got Scott Dixon to sign his champion tag. On July 17, Dixon tied Andretti for second on the all-time winning list with a score of 52.
  • Johnson had one of the funniest lines that day in an NBC post-race interview with Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The topic was his learning curve at INDYCAR. “I learned here that it’s fun to run better,” he said with a laugh.
  • Another funny line came from former TV talk show host David Letterman about one of his drivers, rookie Christian Lundgaard, who finished second. “He’s a kid,” Letterman said. “I had to bring him into nursery.” Lundgaard turned 21 last week.
  • Three-time NTT INDYCAR Series Champion and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. were among the previous winners. He arrived with his 8-year-old son, Sam III. Two months ago, Hornish became a father again, the fourth child of the family.
  • Pagenaud, the 2019 “500” winner, played early strategy well and climbed from 12th to sixth, but his #60 Meyer Shank Racing’s AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda ran out of fuel before stopping on lap 35. He finished last in Field of 25 cars.
  • Marco Andretti was in the moto on Saturday, a week after he broke his wrist during the race in which he won the SRX Racing Championship.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Bellows, who will retire as medical director for IMS and INDYCAR after this season, will wave the green flag for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, the Verizon 200 in Brickyard.

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