MILLER: IndyCar 2020 mid-season report card

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Having only been to one race in 2020, time kinda slipped way and Marshall Pruett reminded me that I hadn’t written a mid-season report card and since I’d done it 36 years in a row, maybe I needed to cobble one together for the sake of posterity.

With nine of the scheduled 14 races already in the books it’s easier to give grades because a pattern has pretty much been established. The other plus is that because I’m a cancer patient and grounded from traveling, I don’t have to look anyone in the eye after giving them a C or D. Sure, they can still give me the finger in a text or send me a nasty email but it’s not the same as being confronted in the pits by an angry driver or owner.

So here’s the two-races-past-mid-season grades and if you feel slighted, mistreated or insulted, please write

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Dixon ‘should have been more aggressive’ with Sato in Indy 500 – IndyCar

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Scott Dixon says he should have been “more aggressive” with IndyCar rival Takuma Sato for victory in the Indianapolis 500, having spent the latter stages on a lean fuel mix.

Sato passed Dixon after the final round of pitstops, holding his position at the head of the field as Dixon cautiously probed around Sato for a way back in front.

But although Sato was resolute in defence, Dixon was also managing fuel mileage to make it until the end of the race.

Spencer Pigot then crashed with five laps to go, hitting the pit-in attenuator at high speed to bring out a caution and neutralise the race, with Sato taking his second Indy 500 victory.

Five-time IndyCar champion Dixon said after the race that he “can’t see” how Sato would not run out of fuel at the pace he was running in the lead had the race stayed green.


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Sato: Indy 500 win for Rahal “mission completed” after 2012 near-miss – IndyCar

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato says his victory in this year’s race with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was “mission completed” after his near-miss with the same team in 2012.

The ex-Formula 1 driver, who previously won the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport in 2017, was running ahead of Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing car and team-mate Graham Rahal – son of team founder Bobby – when a heavy crash for the third RLL entry driven by Spencer Pigot exiting Turn 4 caused the race to finish under caution.

Sato admitted afterwards that while his “personal ambition was achieved in 2017”, it didn’t wholly make up for the ending to the 2012 race when his attempt to pass Dario Franchitti on the final lap at Turn 1 ended in a crash.

Sato felt he had “disappointed” team co-owners Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan, and was satisfied that he

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Dixon “can’t see” how Sato would have finished Indy 500 under green – IndyCar

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Scott Dixon expressed doubt that 2020 Indianapolis 500 race winner Takuma Sato had enough fuel to go the distance if the race had run green until the finish.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Sato, who previously won the 500 in 2017, claimed his second victory under caution after Spencer Pigot crashed heavily into the pitwall attenuator exiting Turn 4 with five laps remaining.

Sato had passed long-time leader Dixon in the final stint, and repeatedly defended his position before pulling away in the closing stages.

He had a one-second advantage when the yellow flags flew for Pigot’s crash, but despite expectations of a red flag, race officials decided to allow the race to play out under caution.

Having led over half the race, Dixon admitted that defeat was “a hard one to swallow” as his long wait for a second 500 win to add to his solitary triumph in 2008 continues.

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Lapped Alonso “could not achieve anything more” in Indy 500 after clutch issue – IndyCar

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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso said “we could not achieve anything more” than a lapped 21st place in the Indianapolis 500 after losing his clutch in the pits.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver started a lowly 26th after a crash in practice and went off-strategy early in the race following a caution for James Davison’s exploded right-front brake, but soon went back on schedule with the rest of the field under the second caution for Marcus Ericsson’s Turn 1 crash.

Alonso struggled with oversteer in the opening phase of the race and was trailing at the end of the lead lap, just ahead of leader Scott Dixon, prior to another caution for Dalton Kellett’s Turn 3 crash.

But clutch problems in his pitstops meant he was unable to take advantage of his reprieve and was trapped one lap down for the remainder of the race, which was won

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Newgarden “cautiously optimistic” about Indy 500 prospects – IndyCar

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Defending IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden believes Team Penske will be a contender for the win on Sunday – but is wary of putting too much stock in its Carb Day performance.

Newgarden will start 13th, having outqualified his three Indy 500-winning team-mates Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, and in Friday’s two-hour session he clocked the seventh best speed – again as top Penske runner.

He said afterwards: “I wanted to almost go back to the garage after 30 minutes and just leave the car the way it was. It felt really good. Carb Day is one of those days where if you car feels good, you almost don’t want to use it up. If it doesn’t feel good, you’re going to use the whole session.

“I feel confident [but] you can’t go in with too much confidence. You have to be cautious. [We were] trying to make sure

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The Week In IndyCar, Sept 2, with James Hinchcliffe

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Cantrell/Motorsport Images


It’s the Week In IndyCar guest show with Andretti Autosport driver, NBC Sports reporter, and co-host of Off Track with Hinch & Rossi’s James Hinchcliffe who joins in after the doubleheader at World wide Technology Raceway to dive into a bunch of questions submitted via social media.

A sampling of the items posed this week:

  • “What were your first thoughts when the producer told you to go interview Alexander Rossi after the debacle of the start in the first race?”
  • “James, any hope of seeing you back in a car in 2020? Andretti and Genesys have to be happy with you!”
  • “Hinch, your Indy 500 mask was awesome! Have you worn in it in public? I think you should get similar mask of other drivers and wear them like a hybrid Lee Corso/Leatherface
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Alonso provided “two-way exchange” to help Arrow McLaren SP at Indy 500 – IndyCar

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Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso’s previous Indianapolis 500 experience provided a “two-way exchange” within the Arrow McLaren SP team to help improve set-up, according to Robert Wickens.

With Alonso returning to the Brickyard this year for this third attempt at the Indy 500, aiming to secure the triple crown of motorsport, he teamed up with Arrow McLaren SP as the third driver alongside regulars Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew.

Given O’Ward failed to qualify for last year’s Indy 500, missing out alongside Alonso, while Askew was a rookie, it meant he came into the race as the team’s most experienced driver at the event having made his debut in 2017.

As a result, Wickens says Alonso provided valuable set-up feedback to the team from his previous experiences, while O’Ward and Askew could offer insight racing with the aeroscreen.

“He has a lot of useful experience in motorsports, even

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Have a go hero: How a World Cup winner’s Indycar dream went awry – IndyCar

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Andretti Autosport is renowned as one of the top squads in IndyCar, but a two-race outing for the team in 2010 didn’t allow one of Britain’s most underrated talents to shine, as he tells JAMES NEWBOLD

Everything was going right for Adam Carroll in June 2009. The Northern Irishman had wrapped up the A1GP ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ title for Team Ireland and five years after a testing opportunity with BAR-Honda, a long-awaited Formula 1 shot looked a distinct possibility for 2010 – if Lola’s entry was approved. Carroll even got to appear on a chat show with Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz.

That Lola didn’t make the cut for 2010 didn’t seem to matter all too much though, because he had attracted the attention of A1 Team USA seat-holder Michael Andretti, and an IndyCar debut in 2010 was a distinct possibility.

It had been a long time in the

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The Week in IndyCar, Sept 1, Listener Q&A

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Cantrell/Motorsport Images

It’s the first of a two-part World Wide Technology Raceway doubleheader wrap-up episode of the Week In IndyCar Listener Q&A show as we dive into a bunch of questions submitted via social media.

A sampling of the items posed this week (Q&A begins at the 8m31s mark in the episode):

  • “Michael Andretti seemed especially mad at Zach Veach after he piled into that race 1 crash. Have you heard anything about Zach’s chances of staying at Andretti? If he leaves, who gets that seat? Hinch? Conor Daly? Kevin Magnussen? Scott Tucker?”
  • “I saw that Dave Furst is the new VP Of Communications for IndyCar. This seems to be a bit of a revolving door position with Curt Cavin and Mike Zizzo having the job the past couple of years and Zizzo in the
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