Image138RACER's Robin Miller and Marshall Pruett check in with a report after the 2018 superspeedway bodywork test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Image136IndyCar competition president Jay Frye speaks with RACER's Robin Miller and Marshall Pruett after a successful first test for the 2018 superspeedway bodywork.


 aero lede story MPIt started out a little shaky, but Tuesday's first test of IndyCar's 2018 universal bodywork wound up being a rousing success.

Oriol Servia and Juan Pablo Montoya turned over 100 laps each in the old DW-12 that sported new-for-2018 universal bodywork, wings and a significant portion of new electronics.

Other than a small electrical hiccup with Montoya's Chevrolet in the morning, it was smooth sailing for both IndyCar veterans.

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"I'd say it was a 10 and for the first day, honestly it could not have gone any better," said Servia, who is driving the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda during a series of tests that stops next at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 1. "In the old days when we had a new car every year you would hardly get anything done on the first day because of all the little glitches.

"But today we got everything accomplished we wanted to."

Montoya, whose only IndyCar races to date this season were in May for Team Penske while he reportedly awaits duty with The Captain's new IMSA sports car team, checked all the boxes too and finished running about an hour after Servia.

"You don't know what to expect but the car felt very stable and it was a good day,'' the two-time Indy 500 winner said. "Not having those rear pods is a plus and I think we should be able to run even closer than we do.

"I think it's a little more old style."

Jay Frye, the president of competition for IndyCar who orchestrated this new, three-year aero kit plan, paid tribute to all the people involved.

Honda MP test

"Tino (Belli, IndyCar's director of aerodynamic development) and Bill Pappas (VP of competition and race engineering) did a great job, as did Dallara and both drivers and teams," said Frye. "The cooperation has been fantastic and everything has gone like we've hoped to date.

"We're not done yet, but it's a good start."

Servia was timed at 219mph and Montoya 218mph, but neither was using qualifying boost or trying to go fast.

"This wasn't about speed today, it was about testing," Servia said. "And the car felt a little different because the weight distribution is a little further forward. But I was flat out of the pits which shows how not smart I am but it felt very comfortable.

"I just love the way it looks. It looks like an Indy car."

Image130Juan Pablo Montoya checks in with RACER after completing the first test of IndyCar's new 2018 superspeedway bodywork for Chevy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Image1322Oriol Servia speaks with RACER's Marshall Pruett and Robin Miller after completing the first test of IndyCar's new 2018 superspeedway bodywork with Honda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Hamlin labountyThere are many ways one would have expected Toyota Racing to react after Denny Hamlin put Joe Gibbs Racing back in Victory Lane for the first time in 20 races on July 16. Non-stop celebrating. The guttural scream of joy. A big sigh of relief.

There might have been those moments, but as the always straightforwarded and focused David Wilson told RACER, the victory did something much more important.

"As much as anything, just removing that distraction. That constant 'Joe Gibbs Racing hasn't won a race' [talk]," said Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development. "It becomes a soundbite that just haunts you every weekend. So I think it was more of a psychological obstacle removal than anything else."

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Wilson gave Hamlin credit for keeping things in perspective, even as he was still basking in glory.

"He had a very balanced perspective, and it's that, 'Hey, it's great that we won, it's great that we can relax a little bit [but] we're not quite there yet,'" said Wilson. "Looking at those two or three cars that are up front every single week, the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.), the 42 (Kyle Larson), the 18 (Kyle Busch), the 11 team is closing the gap, still have a little bit of work to do, so I thought that was a good balance perspective.

"But again, for me, it was OK, we can stop talking about JGR."

Make no mistake, Wilson openly admitted it was frustrating to watch more than one potential win slip away. Especially when it comes to Kyle Busch, who has experienced just about everything when he's found himself running up front late in a race. Now through 20 races, including Sunday at Indianapolis, Busch has led over 1,000 laps without a win.

busch55Before Hamlin's New Hampshire win, Gibbs had not earned a checkered flag since last November at Texas Motor Speedway.

"I can go through the stats and laps led and all that, but we come every weekend expecting to win and so not having that finish, it's maddening," Wilson said. "I think the biggest challenge is more of a leadership challenge, and that is to make sure that our collective family, our team, that we don't get down on ourselves. Believe me if we were in the exact same spot with four wins yet we were struggling to lead laps I would be a lot more concerned. We would be hitting it a lot harder.

"Right now, we just have to keep our heads down. We know we're on the right path, we're continuing to get better, we're bringing better and better cars and engines to the track, so it's staying the course. It's not beating ourselves up and believing that the end results will start coming our way regularly."

Not only does Wilson believe as much, he says Toyota Racing is primed to do just that going forward.

"I honestly believe that we're in one of our sweet spots of the calendar if you look at the diversity of races that we're in right now," Wilson said. "Should have started at Sonoma with Martin Truex winning if we didn't let him down, he had an engine failure, and I think he was the best car there.

"But I can see the summer, these few weeks, where we can go on a tear. I believe we have the capability, the performance to win some races."

IndyCar 2018 lede copyIndyCar's new universal 2018 aero kit saw its first action Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Here's a first look at the Chevy and Honda cars.

For a closer look at the test action, click here.

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Keselowski LATBrad Keselowski will remain with Team Penske for years to come as the two sides have agreed on a contract extension.

Team Penske announced the news Tuesday morning, but did not specify the length of the contract other than to say it was a multi-year deal. Keselowski will continue to drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, which he drove to the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, the first in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series for Roger Penske.

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"In the time that Brad has driven for Team Penske, he has risen to the top echelon of stars in NASCAR," Penske said. "Brad and [crew chief Paul Wolfe] have established a terrific, winning combination and they are both real leaders within our team.

"More than just wins and championships, Brad is an important part our relationship with Ford Performance and his work with the Checkered Flag Foundation shows what kind of person he is away from the track. There is no question he continues to be a great fit for our organization."

Of his 23 career wins, Keselowski has won 22 of them since joining Team Penske in 2009. He has also won 29 Xfinity Series races with the organization as well as the 2012 championship. Over the last few years, Keselowski has been a part of Team Penske's three Xfinity Series owner's championships.

"Roger and everyone at Team Penske have given me everything we need to win championships at the highest levels of NASCAR," said Keselowski. "As I have said all along, Team Penske is where I want to be and I am thrilled to continue with the organization well into the future. I have a lot of years left in the sport and I truly feel our best years are ahead of us."

The Keselowski-Wolfe will remain intact as Wolfe also recently signed a contract extension. With two wins already this season, the No. 2 team is locked into the playoffs with a chance to compete for another championship.

"There is no one I want helping make my racecars go fast more than Paul Wolfe," Keselowski continued. "We have a lot of continuity between the two of us, and really the entire No. 2 Ford team, which is so important in today's NASCAR. With partners like Miller Lite, Alliance Truck Parts, Wurth, Autotrader, Fitzgerald Glider Kits, Discount Tire and Ford Performance in our corner, I feel like we have the strongest overall program in the sport."

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