On Saturday night, 32-year-old Frenchman Simon Pagenaud drove away with the checkered flag at the 250 lap Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, AZ. Team Penske drivers led all 250 laps of the race. This Phoenix Grand Prix victory marks Team Penske's 450th win, their 189th series victory, their 100th win in open wheel racing on an oval, Simon Pagenaud's 10th win overall, and his first win on an oval.
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On a day with 30 mile per hour wind gusts through the late afternoon, the buzz around Phoenix Raceway (Avondale, AZ) was about whether the Verizon Series IndyCars would be able to safely navigate the evening’s qualifying session. But the winds relented and Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) piloted his Chevy powered Verizon car to pole position, breaking his own track record in the process.
RTR Motorsports announced Chelsea DeNofa, winner of last year’s Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach, has joined the team and will compete in the 2017 Formula Drift season alongside Vaughn Gittin Jr. in a 2017 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D.
Ryan Newman earned first place driving the No. 31 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway after staying out late with worn tires and riding a final restart with two laps remaining to the checkered flag.
Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet, was victorious at Phoenix Raceway after leading 85 of the 200 laps, and he also claimed $100,000.
Dodge Vipers line the entrance of the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. They seem ready to strike at any moment. Meanwhile, menacing Dodge Hellcats stare you down.
After two days of testing at Phoenix International Raceway, here is what IndyCar drivers have to say:
“Overall, it’s really great to be back in the car. We spent some time at Phoenix working in a few different directions, and you can’t take too much away from the times because the whole field is working on different things. The hhgregg boys looked good on practice stops, Bryan (Herta) and I are getting along great and we’re learning some things about the car. Not a bad start to the season so far.”
JR Hildebrand returns to a full-season this year with Ed Carpenter Racing and claimed the honor of the best lap at 193.234 mph (19.0401 seconds) in the No. 21 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet. The lap was better than the track record established last year by Helio Castroneves, however, Hildebrand's lap is not considered an official record because it did not take place during qualifications or the race.
An upcoming segment of "Jay Leno's Garage" put the comedian and former "Tonight Show" host behind the wheel of an INDYCAR Experience single-seat car at Phoenix International Raceway during IndyCar test sessions with instruction from Scott Dixon, four-time IndyCar Series champion.
Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet and a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, became the “Speed King” at Phoenix International Raceway last year when he won the Phoenix Grand Prix's pole position by setting a new track record lap speed of 192.631 mph and a two-lap average of 192.324.
NOS Energy Drink has been named the “Official Energy Drink” of the Black Magic Formula DRIFT Pro Championship presented by BlackVue as part of a multi-year agreement with series. Sponsorship of the series will begin with the 2017 season includes NOS branding, activation, and more beginning at Round 1: Streets of Long Beach in April 2017.
All four Ford GTs competed on track together for the first time since the Le Mans 24 in 2016. The team qualified p1-2-3 in GTLM.
All I needed to hear were the words “Skyline,” “Laguna Seca,” and “track day” from Jose Robles and I agreed with no hesitation to ride along in his 1989 Skyline GTS-T Type M as he traveled from Phoenix to northern California for the Skyline Syndicate’s inaugural R’s Day.