Verizon Indy Car Series: Phoenix International Raceway: Winners, Wrecks And Proud Moments

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Updated: April 2, 2016

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Drivers Going For Pole

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After only one morning practice session that had 40 mins of caution to clean up separate accidents in turn 1 for Takuma Sato and James Hinchcliffe the teams gathered on the grid to make the run for Pole.  Indycar used single car qualifying for this high speed bull ring in the desert.  The first few runs were clean and drivers continued to prep down the line for their turn.  Sebastien Bourdais was getting into his car when we all heard the sound of Carlos Munoz making heavy contact with the wall in the turn 1-2 area.  Carlos was slow to get out of the car but will race this weekend.  The Honda teams still on the grid immediately put more rear wing into the car to plant the rear end at the expensive of speed.  Juan Pablo Montoya and Bourdais discussed what they had seen on the monitors and how not to repeat and become the 5th incident on the weekend.  The tension in the pole line is seen in the faces of the drivers as they ready themselves for their run on this high speed 1-mile oval.

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Helio Castroneves Wins Pole

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Helio Castroneves broke the 20-year-old IndyCar track record this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway on his way to winning the Pole.  The new King of Speed put together a two lap average of 192.324 MPH lap to win his first pole on the season.  Helio and his team REV/Penske crew perfectly balanced the car allowing Castroneves to aggressively push the car to beat out his teammates and the rest of the field.  There were multiple incidents on the day in the turn 1-2 area after a trouble free test earlier in the year that had the driver rethinking the setups as they sat in the pole line. Helio even had his own moment in turn 4, “I called that ‘code brown,’ ” said Castroneves, “It was scarier than I expected. It was a moment. It was interesting. It was in Turn 4 actually, which was something we never had [before]. The first lap was really big and I was really happy with the balance of the car. I was very surprised actually that it happened. You’ve got to push the limit and we definitely pushed the limit here today. But the REV Group Chevrolet was really, really strong.  Helio was presented with a King of Speed crown by Luyendyk the previous record holder.  Castroneves leads the field to the green tonight.

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Takuma Sato Wreck

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Sam Schmidt Drives Arrow Vette

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Indycar Phoenix Final Practice

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After a day in the rising heat IndyCar took to the track as the sunset and the lights came on for a 30 min practice session to check their race setup.  The fans are in for real treat as the cars were running closely together at 20 seconds a lap.  I have to tell you it is a challenge to get good pics as they fly by.  The cars under the lights are beautiful, the view from the grand stands will be spectacular.  After final practice the crews returned to the garages to make final changes and clean the cars up.  I ran across 2003 Indy 500 Winner Gil de Ferran with Rookies Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi in the garage, they were kind enough to pose for a quick pic.

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