No. 968
October 17, 2018

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September 5, 2018

(Photo by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)
Takuma Sato 
(No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda Turbo V6 Dallara) won Sunday's Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Portland, his third career victory and first since the 2017 Indianapolis 500. Sato held off Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 Andretti Autosport DHL Honda Turbo V6 Dallara) by 0.6084 of a second to become the eighth different driver to win a Verizon IndyCar Series race this season. "Look at the fans here in Portland, so enthusiastic," said Sato, who started from the 20th position. "I think this is one of the most beautiful days in my life again." The race marked the return of Indy car racing to the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2007. The community's welcome was impressive with a large crowd lining the 12-turn, 1.964-mile permanent road course. Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Gorilla Automotive Products Honda Turbo V6 Dallara) finished third. Spencer Pigot (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet Turbo V6 Dallara) had a strong run to finish an impressive fourth and Scott Dixon (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing PNC Bank Honda Turbo V6 Dallara) finished an eventful fifth. Dixon was among those involved in a first-lap crash in Turn 3, but somehow avoided serious damage in the incident precipitated by the spin of James Hinchcliffe after with Zach Veach. That led to Marco Andretti's car flipping over the top of the cars of Hinchcliffe and Ed Jones. No one was injured and Dixon's car emerged dusty, but relatively unscathed. After making a pit stop to check for damage during the resulting full-course caution, Dixon used a two-stop strategy and fortunate timing with mid-race cautions to get a little more points breathing room for Sonoma. The only thing that went wrong for him was a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 39, but he overcame the drive-through penalty for that as well. "It was a huge day for the team, and (it) feels like a win for us," Dixon said. "The point (separation), whatever it is, is not a huge amount." One double-points race remains: the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma. Dixon and Alexander Rossi are the primary contenders for the championship, separated by 29 points. Team Penske's Will Power and Josef Newgarden lurk in mathematical contention, with each driver 87 points behind Dixon. The 2018 season finale, the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma, airs live at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 16 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: The complete 2019 IndyCar Series schedule has been released. Circuit of the Americas is added; Iowa goes back to being a night race; Detroit retains its doubleheader (which is our least favorite racing format for too many reasons to list); Portland International Raceway returns and Laguna Seca (WeatherTech Raceway) hosts the season finale.
Date: Track 
March 10: Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida
March 24: Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
April 7: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
April 14: Streets of Long Beach, California
May 11: INDYCAR Grand Prix, Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course
May 26: 103rd Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval 
June 1: Streets of Detroit, Race 1, Detroit, Michigan
June 2: Streets of Detroit, Race 2, Detroit, Michigan
June 8: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas*
June 23: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
July 14: Streets of Toronto, Canada
July 20: Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa*
July 28: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
Aug. 18: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Aug. 24: Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Illinois*
Sept. 1: Portland International Raceway, Portland, Oregon
Sept. 22: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, California
(*-night race)
(Schedule subject to change)
Lewis Hamilton (No. 44 Mercedes AMG Petronas) prevailed on Ferrari's home turf to win the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, after having a run-in with Sebastian Vettel (No. 5 Scuderia Ferrari) at the start. Hamilton then passed Kimi Raikkonen (No. 7 Scuderia Ferrari) nine laps from the checkered flag to go into the lead for good. Raikkonen finished second and Valtteri Bottas (No. 77 Mercedes AMG Petronas) finished third. Watch race highlights .
(NASCAR/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Miller Genuine Draft Ford) won the race off pit road under the final caution in Sunday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to seal the win in one of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ marquee races. 
Keselowski’s first victory of the season left Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing DC SOLAR Chevrolet) bitterly disappointed. Larson led 284 of the 367 laps in addition to winning the first and second stages of the race. But the work of Keselowski’s pit crew proved decisive. Keselowski controlled the final restart on Lap 348 and pulled away, as Larson faded to third and had to fend off a determined charge by Kevin Harvick to hold that position. It was Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Pennzoil Ford) who passed Larson for second on Lap 352, giving team Team Penske a 1-2 finish and the organization its first win at Darlington since 1975. “The 42 (Larson) was really strong,” said Keselowski, who picked up his first victory at the 1.366-mile track and the 25th of his career in a No. 2 Ford sporting a throwback paint scheme reminiscent of the Miller Genuine Draft machine Rusty Wallace drove during his tenure at Team Penske. “I felt like whoever came off pit road first at the end was going to win the race. My team nailed the last pit stop. … We stayed in position the whole race with great strategy to keep us from falling back. We didn’t have the long-run speed we wanted, but the short runs were great, and we were there when it counted."
(Pirelli World Challenge)
Twenty-one-year-old Rodrigo Baptista (
No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3) spanked the GT class field last weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Watkins Glen presented by TM Performance with another dominating drive in the GT Round 9 50-minute sprint race Sunday. After winning the pole and Saturday’s Round 8 event, Baptista again started from the pole position and drove away from his competition for a 12.507-second victory over young Canadian Scott Hargrove (No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R) and his K-PAX Racing teammate Alvaro Parente of Portugal in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Hargrove and Parente put on a spectacular duel for second throughout the GT Round 9 contest including racing side-by-side numerous times entering the “bus stop” turn. Parente’s valiant attempts were always fought off by the 23-year-old Canadian and Hargrove held off the 2016 GT champion by just 0.368 seconds at the finish line.