INDYCAR News and Notes — Jan. 18, 2016

Photo Credit: Ashley McCubbin

1. Pagenaud looks forward to Grand Prix of Boston
2. Clauson finishes close second in 30th Chili Bowl
3. Indy 500 veteran Harkey dies at age 85
4. Nuptials for Plowman in Florida

1. Pagenaud looks forward to Grand Prix of Boston: Simon Pagenaud had his first encounter with a pair of Boston sporting venues over the weekend – the track layout for the upcoming Grand Prix of Boston powered by LogMeIn and a Boston Bruins NHL game at TD Garden. The Team Penske driver was impressed with both.

The inaugural Grand Prix of Boston weekend is scheduled for the streets of the city’s Seaport District along the South Boston Waterfront on Sept. 2-4, INDYCAR’s first venture into Beantown and the penultimate event on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.

Racing will take place on a 2.25-mile temporary street course around the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The circuit, which Pagenaud drove in a passenger car Jan. 16, includes a tunnel under a portion of the convention center, which has Pagenaud particularly excited.

“The underground aspect is very unique,” Pagenaud said. “I mainly look forward to hearing the sound of the car as I drive under it. The layout is very fun and the track itself is in a fast-growing area with a great dynamic. I should be able to get good speed because the wide track, fast corners and smooth roads after all of the work (is completed) will most likely make this track one of the fastest tracks there is.

“The Verizon IndyCar Series is very excited for the potential that Boston brings as a whole,” he added. “It is exciting to be able to reach out to another population in a great area and hopefully see its economy change for the better as a result of the race. I would really like to thank the city of Boston for this opportunity.”

Pagenaud was also looking forward to seeing his first Bruins game that evening against another long-time NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I’m very technical in my approach of any sport,” he told an NESN reporter before the game. “I’m looking forward to seeing the reflexes of the players, how fast the game is, the tactic behind it and, obviously, artistically it’s pretty cool to watch.”

Pagenaud made a visit Jan. 17 to the New England Auto Show, where he met fans, tested out a racing simulator and found his way into a beautiful new Chevrolet Corvette.

Race weekend in Boston will include both the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition. For more on the event, including how to sign up for ticket information, visit Indycarboston.com.

2. Clauson finishes close second in 30th Chili Bowl: Bryan Clauson nearly claimed the biggest win of his planned 200-race “Circular Insanity Tour” in 2016.

A night after claiming his fourth preliminary night win in the Vacuworx Global Qualifying Night on Jan. 15, Clauson finished second to Rico Abreu in the 30th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals finale on Jan. 16 in Tulsa, Okla.

Clauson, who won the 2014 Chili Bowl and will attempt to qualify for his third Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in May with Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, started the 50-lap feature from the pole and inherited the lead on Lap 9 after Christopher Bell tangled with a lapped car.

The Noblesville, Ind., native built a huge lead until finding traffic near the race’s midway point. His lead gone, Clauson was locked in a three-way battle with Abreu and Zach Daum. Abreu was able to take advantage of a late restart and made the pass for the lead with 10 laps to go. Clauson battled Daum for second and closed on Abreu, but was unable to win his second Golden Driller trophy.

CFH Racing team co-owner Sarah Fisher’s night ended with a sixth-place finish in the second I-Main feature, while Indy Lights veteran Kyle O’Gara – Fisher’s brother-in-law and SFH Racing Development teammate – made it to the H-Main before his night ended.

3. Indy 500 veteran Harkey dies at age 85: Bob Harkey, whose racing career included six starts in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race from 1964 to 1976, died Jan. 16 at the age of 85. J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, released a statement on Harkey’s passing.

“Bob Harkey competed during one of the most transformative times in Indianapolis 500 history as the cars moved from front-engine to rear-engine and from no aerodynamic devices to wings and downforce,” Boles said. “But what made Bob Harkey special was his continued involvement in and around the Speedway each May after his racing years. He always had time for our fans, young and old, and his passion for the Indianapolis 500 was evident in every fan interaction. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”

4. Nuptials for Plowman in Florida: Martin Plowman, a veteran of five Verizon IndyCar Series races including the 2014 Indianapolis 500, married longtime girlfriend Nicole Pollard on Jan. 16 at the Vinoy Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla. Plowman, 28, also drove two seasons in Indy Lights, finishing third in the 2010 championship with a win from the pole at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Guests at the ceremony included drivers Charlie Kimball and Stefan Wilson and Chip Ganassi Racing team director Mike Hull.