No. 938
March 21, 2018

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Horizon #440

April 9, 2008

arrowup.gifGraham Rahal, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. He got punted into a spin by Will Power early in the race, and he had to fight through the rainy conditions and changing track conditions, but none of that seemed to phase Graham Rahal (No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone), who went on to win the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last Sunday, becoming the youngest driver in history to win a major league open-wheel race. Rahal, the son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, becomes just the fourth driver in history to win in his first IndyCar Series start and the fourth rookie to win in their first IndyCar Series season. “It was tough,” Rahal said. “After getting hit by Will (Power) in the rain and everything, it was going to be a tough start. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this; to expect a win in our first race. We had the pace and we pulled away from them, so it wasn’t like we lucked into it. This is just awesome.” Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske H/D/F) didn't have anything for Rahal at the end, finishing second, and Tony Kanaan (No. 11 Andretti Green Racing Team 7-Eleven H/D/F) finished third. HVM Racing’s E.J. Viso and Conquest Racing’s Enrique Bernoldi, both rookies, rounded out the top five.

(Jim Haines/IRL)
Victory was oh so sweet for young Mr. Rahal.

arrowup.gifLucas Luhr, Marco Werner, Audi. Lucas Luhr (No. 2 Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI - Michelin) passed Romain Dumas (No. 7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder - Michelin) on a restart with three minutes to go last Saturday afternoon to win the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio. It was Audi AG's first overall victory of 2008. The 0.818-second victory was Luhr’s first overall in the American Le Mans Series and his seventh victory on a street circuit. Co-driver Marco Werner won overall for the first time since the 2007 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The car made just one pit stop in the race. Dumas and co-driver Timo Bernhard won their eighth straight LMP2 victory dating back to Mid-Ohio in July of last year. The duo was five seconds clear of David Brabham and Scott Sharp in the No. 9 Patrón Highcroft Racing entry, the highest finisher among the three Acura ARX-01b cars.

Publisher's Note: See a gallery of John Thawley's outstanding images from the St. Petersburg ALMS race by clicking on the photo below. - PMD

(Copyright © 2008, John Thawley ~ Creative Communications Group All rights reserved.)

arrowup.gifOliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, Corvette, Pratt & Miller. Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta (No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6R - Michelin) led flag-to-flag for their second consecutive St. Petersburg victory, beating teammates Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen (No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6R - Michelin) to the line by 4.754 seconds. Corvette Racing's win marked the first victory for cellulosic E85 in the American Le Mans Series as both Corvette factory cars are powered by the alternative fuel. “I think we demonstrated not only to our fellow competitors but also to the world of racing that E85R is a viable and powerful fuel,” said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “We're very pleased with how it turned out.”
arrowup.gifDirk Mueller, Dominik Farnbacher, Ferrari. Tafel Racing scored its first ALMS victory as Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher won in GT2 in their No. 71 Ferrari F430GT (Michelin). It was Mueller’s first victory in the Series since 2000 and the first ever for Farnbacher. Mueller crossed the line by more than 13 seconds ahead of the No. 46 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Johannes van Overbeek and Patrick Pilet. The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The green flag is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 19. The race will be broadcast from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 20.

arrowup.gifRaphael Matos, Richard Antinucci. Raphael Matos (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc./AGR) won the Firestone Indy Light’s St. Petersburg 100 Race 1, and Richard Antinucci (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports), the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, won Race 2 last weekend. Antinucci finished second in the first round, followed by Ana Beatriz (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports), while J. R. Hildebrand (No. 25 RLR/Andersen Racing) and Logan Gomez (No. 23 Menards Guthrie Racing) rounded out the podium in round 2. Gomez, a 19-year-old driver from Crown Point, Ind., started in 23rd and passed 20 cars to capture 3rd in race 2, a very impressive run. After his win, series officials penalized Antinucci 10 points for avoidable with teammate Ana Beatriz during the race.

arrowdown.gifThe IRL, Andretti Green Promotions. Much to our disappointment, Andretti Green Promotions, the Indy Racing League, American Honda and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker have reached an agreement to pursue an extension of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for four more years. That is in addition to the one additional year already under contract, for a total of five more years of IndyCar Series racing on the Streets of St. Petersburg. The deal is pending approval from city council. We can think of any number of tracks we would want to see the IRL race on besides the temporary circuit at St. Petersburg.

(Autostock Photo)
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Roush Racing Ford) salutes the crowd after winning last Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards was dominant all day (and his usual annoying self afterwards) as he chastised his fellow competitors for complaining about the current state of the NASCAR machines (and their lousy behavior in traffic). And then he slammed the media for suggesting that NASCAR had become boring and that he was tired of it. You're tired, Carl? See below.

Publisher's Note: Well, guess what, Carl? NASCAR is boring. And you can add the words tedious, monotonous, uninspiring, insipid and downright dull too. NASCAR has become the equivalent of a four-hour infomercial every damn week, and people are getting tired of it. TV ratings for the Texas race were down nine percent from the year before, and that's becoming the norm, in case you haven't noticed, because TV ratings are down every week. But it's not just the declining TV ratings, because there are noticeably empty seats in the grandstands too. The air of boredom hanging over NASCAR exists because it has peaked, and now it's headed on its inevitable downward slide. Too many races, repeat visits to the same tracks, cars that have no relation to the manufacturers involved - with all the visual appeal of loaves of bread (with decals and wings) - pre-programmed drivers (and pre-programmed driver-speak), and a third-generation leader who doesn't have the first clue that things are going south in a big way. Yup, Carl, it's the damn media's fault. - PMD


(Photo by Ondrea Barbe)
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced yesterday that multi-talented singer-actress-dancer (and smokin' hot) Julianne Hough will sing the national anthem before the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hough won the "Dancing with the Stars" title last fall paired with two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

(Photo courtesy of Mazda)
Mazda ran the stunning Furai concept ALMS racer at Long Beach yesterday for the Grand Prix media day, and they will also run it next weekend as part of an alternative energy demo for race fans in attendance. Cool.

arrowup.gifRahal Leterrman Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Rahal Letterman Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that they would work together to field an entry for 2007 Firestone Indy Lights champion Alex Lloyd for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25. “This is something that we have been wanting to do for a while now, and an opportunity with Bobby and his team is perfect for us,” said Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi. “I really think everyone is going to be hearing a lot about Alex Lloyd in the coming years. He is one of the sport’s future stars.” The No. 16 Dallara/Honda/Firestone will be run out of the RLR stable for the month of May, with the Ohio-based team working closely with TCGR to ensure that Lloyd ­ who is under a developmental contract with Target Chip Ganassi Racing ­ receives the benefit of working with engineers and mechanics from both teams. Lloyd will attempt to make his first career Indianapolis 500 start. Lloyd won the Firestone Indy Lights title in dominating fashion in 2007, setting series records for victories (eight), consecutive victories (five) and top-five finishes (13). His 171-point margin over second-place Hideki Mutoh was also the largest in series history, and his 10 career Firestone Indy Lights wins are the most in the seven-year history of the series.

(Jim Haines/IMS)
Chip Ganassi, Alex Lloyd and Bobby Rahal at their press conference today in Indianapolis.

(Ron McQueeney/IMS)
Nicky Hayden with his title-winning 2006 Honda and a 1909 Indian at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hayden was at The Speedway to check out the new circuit for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP slated for next September.


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