Chaves Confirmed To '500' Ride With New Team

The worst kept secret in INDYCAR was finally announced...

Napa Returns With Rossi

A.J. Foyt Racing announced...

Carpenter Signs Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing announced...

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Day To Forget

What a disappointing day in Kentucky. Most of all I'm sad for the fans that paid $25 hard earned dollars at the gate which opened at just 5pm.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that they have had a ton of rain the last few days. But considering that the track was just build in 2000, today was ridiculous. When I woke up around 6:30am in my hotel just west of Kentucky Speedway it was wet, but the sky was clear and a drop didn't fall for the rest of the day.

When I got to the track around 11:30 the crews at KMS were obviously working hard on the weepers, particularly the ones in turns 3 & 4. But as the day wore on, while listening to the crews on the scanner, they were obviously losing hope of any track activity. At one point around 2:30 the workers were even arguing whether it was water or oil on parts of the track.

Throughout the day as the schedules kept getting pushed back and changing minute to minute, the rumors began to spread throughout the paddock that not a lap would be turned all day. After talking with several crew members and drivers around 5pm it quickly became apparent that the cars would remain parked. Yet the fans kept flowing in paying $25 a pop, only to turn around and walk out the same gate just a couple hours later.

Around 8:45, Kentucky Speedway announcers finally spewed the words that they should of used hours earlier, "There will be no track activity today". Props do go out the the KMS staff for offering a "rain check" for an unspecified date on the 2010 Kentucky Motor Speedway schedule for each of the several thousand paying customers. But it should of never came to that.

As of now there is scheduled to be practice in the afternoon with the Indycar green flag still dropping at 8:45, but rain is supposed to hit Sparta tomorrow night not ending until Sunday afternoon. If this is the case, in all likely hood Sunday will be a wash as well. Let's just hope Tomorrow will be handled better than today.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

REPORT: Indycar Schedule Unveiled

According to Robin Miller:

  • Rio de Janeiro-Twisty
  • St. Petersburg-Twisty
  • Birmingham-Twisty
  • Long Beach-Twisty
  • Kansas-Oval
  • Indianapolis-Oval
  • Texas-Oval
  • Iowa-Oval
  • Watkins Glen-Twisty
  • Toronto-Twisty
  • Edmonton-Twisty
  • Mid Ohio-Twisty
  • Sonoma-Twisty
  • Chicago-Oval
  • Kentucky-Oval
  • Motegi-Oval
  • Homestead-Oval

With the loss of ovals Richmond and Milwaukee and the addition of Brazil and Birmingham, by my count, thats 9 road/street and 8 ovals.

Kentucky Preview

By: Tony Donohue

The Indy Car Series hits the lights Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway for the Meijer Indy 300. Twenty three drivers will run for the win, including three women, Indy Car regular Danica Patrick as well as part timers Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno. This year’s race has plenty to get excited about.

Last year, Helio Castroneves inherited the lead under yellow, but didn’t play the fuel mileage card in his favor as Scott Dixon passed Helio coming to the checkered flag. It was Dixon’s sixth win of the year. This year, Dixon is tied with teammate Dario Franchitti for wins with three a piece. Marco Andretti finished third, which was his last podium in the Indy Car Series. The only two drivers in the field this week with victories at Kentucky are Dixon and Tony Kanaan.

Kanaan desperately needs a win, or at least a top 5. After the fire at Edmonton, Kanaan is 9th in points and hasn’t finished in the top 5 since Kansas back in April. The bad luck continues to strike for TK, who has only lead 80 laps this season, compared to last year at this time where he had led 367 laps and was 3rd in the Championship standings. He finished 8th in last year’s Kentucky race and hopes to break back onto the podium.

This marks the first oval since the Indy Car’s snooze fest at Richmond. Some great changes have been made for the fans to look forward to. Rear tire ramps, side pod extensions and wheel backing plates will all help passing at this weekend’s race and no the “overtake assist.” All these things will help down force, passing and the ability of a trailing car to follow closer.

The Indy Lights Series will take center stage first at Kentucky Speedway. A tight points battle has J.R. Hildebrand with a 69 point lead over Sebastian Saavedra. The Lights Series will be celebrating its 100th race in Kentucky with a 100 mile race. Hildebrand has won three races this season, and looks to hold off the rest of the fiend for the win Saturday evening.

Prediction Time. In the Lights Series, Hildebrand and Saavedra are the favorites, but watch out for The Panther drivers. Panther was in victory lane last year at Kentucky, and Martin Plowman and Pippa Mann are looking to turn their seasons around. Wade Cunningham and James Davison will be front runners all night and in contention for the win. I think Davison will pull out a win after finishing 3rd last year.

In the night cap, the Indy Car race should be exciting. It is really hard to pick again Scott Dixon, but I will take Helio Castroneves to avenge his heartbreaking loss last year in Kentucky, and put Penske in victory lane for the second consecutive race after Will Power won in Edmonton. My dark horses are Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter. Carpenter, has three career top ten’s and Kentucky, and Vision has finished in the top 5 there twice. Ed couldn’t be happier to return to an Oval. Scheckter, who was 5th at Kentucky two seasons ago, has always ran well there, dominated the race back in 2005. Look for Scheckter to run top 10 and challenge for a top 5.

You can catch the Meijer Indy 300 on Saturday night at 8 p.m. on Versus, and if you are at the race like I will be, I hope you enjoy and feel free to say hi!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wheldon Out At Panther??

In Robin Miller's recent Q&A mailbag, he had this answer replying to a question about Dan Wheldon:

First off, do you really think he left Ganassi? Chip had a verbal commitment from Kanaan before he did a 180 and then Dario got the seat. Wheldon didn't have many options, not to get paid what he's making, but now I understand he wants out of Panther as quickly as possible. I asked him a couple weeks ago about going back to AGR and he just smiled and said he had a contract with Panther. But his agents were in Toronto and there's been talk of missed payments and some heated conversations so I'd say he's out of that ride regardless of what happens in the next couple months. It's puzzling he's so good on ovals and struggles so much on the road courses he grew up on. But it doesn't look like there's much out there for 2010.

Will Panther go crawling back to Vitor? If so, will Quatro get the #14 ride?

Let the silly season begin!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

REPORT: Tagliani Leaving Conquest

According to RDS, Canadian Alex Tagliani has decided to leave Conquest racing. Conquest has ran Tags on sponsorship dollars from the Edmunton Indy race which obviously ran dry now that the race has been run. Alex says that he's now looking for and Indycar ride in 2010.

"Despite the good performance early in the season, I do not feel that the team leaned to 100%" -Alex Tagliani

Push To Pass To Be Implemented For Kentucky & Beyond

Curt Cavin of Indianapolis Star fame is reporting that the Indycar Series will implemented a push to pass system for the remainder of the 2009 season.

The system will include:

  • 20 uses per race

  • Additional 5-20 Horse Power per use depending on fuel mixture

  • Will last 12 seconds

  • Mandated 10 seconds of down time between uses

The push to pass option should be very interesting this weekend, with the boost lasting 12 seconds and a complete lap at KMS lasting about 24 seconds.

As I reported 5 weeks ago, Honda has been testing the system with strong results.

"If you're on the rich side, you get 5 horsepower because the engine already is producing close to its maximum, where you can get up to 20 horsepower if you're running lean. It's to provide the driver, if they're already making a passing maneuver, an additional tool to complete the pass. It provides the teams options which they have to choose how they're going to run the race so it brings more strategy from a team aspect." -IRL Senior Tech Director Les Mactaggart

Q&A With Robbie Floyd

16th And Georgetown: Now that were about half way through the 2009 season, what's been your favorite moment?

Robbie Floyd: It may sound cheesy, but seeing Helio at Long Beach. Everybody had their thoughts on what would happen with his trial. But for him to be in Long Beach around the the people that really care about him, and that he cares about was special. A day earlier his life was in the juries hands. I can't even fathom what that must have felt like. But when you saw the emotion that he had after being acquitted, it was real.

16th And Georgetown: How was your first Month of May in Indianapolis? Was it what you expected?

Robbie Floyd: At the time when you looked at our on-air schedule it seemed like the month would last forever. The week after the race it felt like it flew by. With the amount of time we were on each day covering qualifying, you could have showed more than two full NFL games. Six and a half hours is a long rip on live TV, but the fans that came up to me during and afterwards seemed to appreciate it. Was Indy what I expected? Absolutely. I have been to several Olympics and new that Indy would be on that level for the motorsports world. Everyone who is a racing fan needs to go at least once in their lives, and if you do make it, you'll want to go back again.

16th And Georgetown: Unfortunately VERSUS doesn't televise every race.C2 So, what kind of homework do you have to do on the off weeks to help prepare for your next race weekend?

Robbie Floyd: Read as much as I can, but also watch the ESPN shows that I recorded. That is an awkward part of us not covering every race. You don't want to lose touch of what happened during the race before. Then when I do arrive at our next race I try and ask the drivers all of the questions that I wanted answered. All of the drivers and crews know the situation we are working with, and have been very helpful.

16th And Georgetown: You've worked for several networks and have covered both the Summer and Winter Olympics, Bull Riding, Supercross, Motocross, freestyle skiing, and the Bassmaster Classic among others. Is there anything you couldn't cover?

Robbie Floyd: In one word, NO. I hope not at least. I came from a racing background and I really enjoy finish lines. There is nothing to be judged except who crosses the line first. It is pretty exciting covering a variety of sports though. An athlete is an athlete, and I have so much respect for everything that each one does in there respective sport.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Barber Confirmed For '10 And Beyond

After multiple reports that Barber Motorsports Park will be on the 2010 Indycar Series schedule, it became officially official when Curt Cavin reported via twitter that the reports are indeed true. Cavin says that BMP will be inserted into the April 9-11 slot, and that it is a 3 year contract.

Expect the full 2010 IRL schedule to be released by Sunday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Edmonton Preview

By: Tony Donohue

After a well deserved weekend off after a wild and crazy race at Toronto, the Indy Car Series stays north of the border for the Rexall Edmonton Indy. The 1.96 mile temporary street course set at Edmonton City Centre Airport hopes to pick up where Toronto left off.

In 2008, Paul Tracy returned to open wheel competition, finishing fourth for Vision Racing. This year's Edmonton Indy will be Paul's fifth start this season as he will once again drive for KV Racing Technology.

In the inaugural Rexall Edmonton Indy, Scott Dixon took the checkered flag on his way to winning the title later that season. Helio Castroneves and Justin Wilson rounded out the rest of the podium. Dixon and Castroneves dominated last year, leading 65 of the 91 laps around the fourteen turn course. The scheduled distance for the race is 95 laps, but last year was cut short by four laps due to a one hour and fifty minute window of racing.

The Rexall Edmonton Indy can be seen on Versus live Sunday July 26 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. The qualifying show for the Rexall Edmonton Indy will air Saturday July 25 at 6 p.m. also on Versus.

Well my predictions are up in the air this weekend, which can be said for every other street or road course. All the pit strategy, wrecks and lap cars can all come into play on decided who wins on a road course. I hope the competition is as fierce as it was in Toronto two weeks ago. I will take Ryan Briscoe to bring home the checkers, with Dixon and Castroneves rounding out the rest of the podium. I think Andretti Green Racing is in need of some good showings out of all four cars, and I think Marco Andretti will have a great run this weekend as well. My dark horses are Mike Conway and once again Alex Tagliani. Both need to show patience, Conway had a strong run in Toronto, qualifying 6th, only to end up wrecked, and same for Tags, if he can eliminate dumb mistakes, like the wreck with Tomas Scheckter in Toronto, he could pull off a solid top 5.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Joie Quits & Chit Hits The Fan

Just a day after Joie Chitwood resigned as President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quatro Gets Hitched

Anthony (A.J.) Foyt IV and Casey Irsay were married Saturday evening in a simply elegant ceremony held at the Calistoga Ranch resort in the Upper Napa
Valley wine country.

With a wedding theme of black and white, the couple exchanged vows amidst a spectacular backdrop of Lommel Lake and the surrounding canyon with family and friends attending from all over the country.

Radiant in her Caroline Herrera-designed wedding gown, the beautiful flaxen-haired bride appeared to glide to the white rose laden wedding bower escorted by her father Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team.

Dabbing at tears of joy (as did most of the guests) during readings and the exchange of vows, the couple beamed wide smiles as they strode out to the Beatles tune “In My Life.”

Larry Foyt served as Anthony’s Best Man while Casey’s sisters, Carlie Irsay-Gordon and Kalen Irsay, were the matron and maid of honor respectively. The bridesmaids were Casey’s friends Cara Kneer and Megan Noel and Anthony’s sisters Tonia Poe and Casie Foyt. Anthony’s groomsmen werelifelong buddies Chase Ramsey and J.T. Gilley, his brother-in-law Monte Poe, ex-NFL Colts tight end Bryan Fletcher and Chris Beaty. Anthony’s nieces Isabella and Claire Poe were the flower girls and his nephew Blake Straten was the ringbearer along with “Mugsy,” (Casey’s 13-year-old Boston Terrier).

Following the wedding ceremony, the guests were then escorted to the resort’s Wine Cave, an actual cave that was turned into an intimate room illuminated by candles to create a warm atmosphere where guests imbibed in fine wines and hors d’oeuvres. The six course gourmet dinner (paired with appropriate wines) was served at the Poolside Patio.

Following the traditional cutting of the wedding cake and the featured Candy Bar (all white chocolate candy assortment), guests were then treated to dancing in the Wine Cave which was transformed into a disco/nightclub.

A Sunday morning breakfast was held before the couple departed for their honeymoon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. -A.J. Foyt Racing

Joie Chitwood Resigns As President of IMS

(Photo Courtesy of IndianaRacing.net)
According to Curt Cavin, Joie Chitwood has resigned as President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway taking affect August 6th. Chitwood will become Vice President of business operations for ISC (International Speedway Corporation)

Jeff Belskus who became IMS CEO after Tony George resigned the position on July 1st, will oversee Chitwoods's former responsibilities.

"This is a disappointment for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Joie provided the leadership you would expect for a facility that hosts the largest sporting events in the world. With his history in the sport combined with his business acumen, Joie was well-suited for the role of president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we appreciate how he has represented IMS. We wish him all the best.” -Jeff Belskus

“After last fall’s successful Red Bull Indianapolis GP event and the successful launch of the Speedway’s Centennial Era, I began to start thinking about new challenges. Because of my family’s history here at the Speedway, it was very difficult to make this decision to leave. Since my grandfather started bringing me here when I was young and knowing he raced in the ‘500,’ I had a lifetime of memories for this place before joining the company in 1996 as an Indy Racing League employee.” -Joie Chitwood

Sunday, July 19, 2009

RIP Henry Surtees

After finishing on the podium for the first of two home races, 18 year old British driver Henry Surtees son of 1964 F1 Champion John Surtees, was killed in a freak accident during the 2nd race in todays Brands Hatch GP double-header.

In a press release sent out by Formula 2 they said:

"Henry was driving between Westfield Bend and Sheene Curve when he was struck on the head by a wheel and tyre from another car which had hit the tyre wall ahead of him just before. Henry was immediately knocked unconscious and his car failed to negotiate the following Sheene corner and collided with the barriers.

The race was red flagged and the medical team were with Henry as soon as possible. He was removed from the car, stabilised and taken to the medical centre where the medical team prepared him for transfer to the Royal London hospital, the regional trauma centre, by helicopter."

2010 Schedule Update

All via Curt Cavin:
  • Watkins Glen and Kansas are looking good for a '10 spot
  • The glen will probably move off July 4th weekend
  • Richmond and Homestead are in question
  • IRL officials will be in Brazil next week to finalize season opener in Ribeirao Preto and to consider a 2nd in Rio de Janeiro
  • Expect full schedule by Aug. 1

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Q&A With Jack Arute

16th And Georgetown: How do you like your new position as VERSUS "pit stratigest"?

Jack Arute: It has been something that I have discussed with ABC & ESPN for several years. When VERSUS took over the bulk of the IndyCar coverage, they were very receptive to the concept. They have supported the spot and have worked hard to develop it as we continue our coverage. It is something that really needed to be included in IndyCar coverage because so many winning decisions are made on pit road.

16th And Georgetown: What track on previous open wheel schedules do you mis the most?

Jack Arute: I always enjoyed the trip to Australia. The Aussies love their racing and they always put on a great event.

16th And Georgetown: If you could go back and pit report any race in the 100 years since the inagural Indy 500, which would it be?

Jack Arute: Why not the first one! Just think. To have been part of an event that has endured for almost 100 years. Now that would have been something.

16th And Georgetown: You served as Vice President for Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1980. If you were president of IMS for a day, what are some of the first changes you would make?

Jack Arute: I would continue on the path that they have created. I might consider coming up with some sort of 21st Century "Snake Pit" because so many young people are first exposed to the 500 and to IndyCar by partying in the "Snake Pit". I think I would also expand the Victory Lane area. The current location is a bit crowded.
16th And Georgetown: Any plans for another Book?

Jack Arute: Maybe some day. I’m presently working on a College Football Book that traces the heritage of the top 25 College Football Traditions. Texas A&M's 12th Man, The dotting of the "i" by the Ohio State Buckeye Band, etc.

16th And Georgetown: You have interviewed some of the greatest drivers in the world while in Victory Lane on Memorial Day weekend, does any one post-race interview stick out over the rest?

Jack Arute: Two. The first was Al Unser Jr's first win when he tearfull told me "Jack you just don't know what Indy means to me." I did know. Al and I were good friends (still are in fact) and we had talked a lot about his winning the 500.

The second was when Bobby Rahal won the Indy 500. The circumstances were not ideal, from the rain delay and postponement to his pass of Kevin Cogan and then his long time car owner, friend and benefactor, Jim Trueman's terminal illness. If you look closely at the Victory Lane photos you can see just how frail Jim was at the time. He held on to my neck to stand up and I can still feel his grasp whenever I think about it. When the interview was done, Jim whispered to me "I can go now" and shortly afterwards he indeed did succumb to his cancer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Danica Tours Stewart-Hass Racing

According to Fox Sports, Danica Patrick toured the race shops of 1997 Indy Racing League Champion Tony Stewart. Stewart was reportedly not there, but she did meet up with Ryan Newman among others.

Unlike other top Stock Car teams, SHR who is only a two car operation, will have a couple seats available next season if they decide to add cars.

Bourdais Out

According to multiple reports, 4 time Champcar/Cart Champion Sebastien Bourdais will be brought back down to reality as he's finally lost his F1 ride after a year and a half of abysmal results.

SeaBass, who has been continuously out performed by his teammates last season (Sebastian Vettel) as well as this season (Sebastian Buemi) will be replaced in his STR ride ending his 27 race F1 career.

STR will buck the trend of signing "Sebastiens" as 19 year old Jaime Alguersuari, will become the youngest ever to pilot a Formula 1 ride after his start in the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Twisties = Great Equalizer

Starting Grid

  1. Dario Franchitti (Ganassi)
  2. Will Power (Penske)
  3. Graham Rahal (NHL)
  4. Justin Wilson (Coyne)
  5. Alex Tagliani (Conquest)
  6. Mike Conway (D&R)
  7. Robert Doornbos (NHL)
  8. Scott Dixon (Ganassi)
  9. Raphael Matos (LD)
  10. Helio Castroneves (Penske)
  11. Ryan Briscoe (Penske)
  12. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Foyt)
  13. MarioMoraes (KV)
  14. Tomas Scheckter (D&R)
  15. Paul Tracy (KV)
  16. E.J. Viso (HVM)
  17. Marco Andretti (AGR)
  18. Danica Patrick (AGR)
  19. Ed Carpenter (Vision
  20. Tony Kanaan (AGR)
  21. Dan Wheldon (Panther)
  22. Hideki Mutoh (AGR)
  23. Richard Antinucci (3G)
  • 6 Diffrent teams qualified in top 6
  • 9 Diffrent teams qualified in top 13
  • 5 of the top 10 qualifiers have never won and Indycar race
  • All 4 AGR cars qualified in bottom 7 spots
  • Power out qualified other 2 Penske's for the 2nd time in only 4 races.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Toronto Preview

By: Tony Donohue

The Indy Car Series heads north of the border for only the second time in series history. This time though, at the very bumpy and tricky Toronto circuit. The Inaugural Honda Indy Toronto will be the first of two races held in Canada this year.

The Champ Car Series has ran in Toronto for many year's now, and there are alot of drivers in the Indy Car Series with experience their. The last time an open wheel event was ran in Toronto, Will Power came home the victor. This weekend, Will returns to the Penske Truck Rentals #12 car, in search for his first Indy Car win of the season. Last weeks winner Justin Wilson, who was one of my darkhorses, won in Toronto in 2007. Paul Tracy, who will be in a KV Racing Honda this weekend, is a two time winner in Toronto. Dario Franchitti also won their back in 2000.

This weekends race should be very competitive. A slight advantage goes to the drivers who have ran their before and know the race course. 85 laps around this temporary street course can call for alot of mistakes, so expect the unexpected. It is really hard to preview an Inaugural event.

No one really knows who will be fast until the practice sessions are in. Unlike Watkins Glen or Kansas, it is very hard to call who will be atop the charts at the end of the race. Paul Tracy will be strong, and exciting to watch all race. Justin Wilson is very hard to bet against, and really is no longer a dark horse on the road courses, especially Toronto where he has won. Will Power, who has not finished outside the top 6 in his three starts this season will be in the hunt at the end. Expect the Penske and Ganassi boys to be up their as well.

I will take Will Power to win it. It is really hit or miss with him. His crew has seemed to be fairly strong this year, and if doesnt push it into the wall, or make a mistake like we have seen him do in the past, he can pull it off for Roger Penske. The Penske's will be hard to beat this weekend, and with the right luck could pull off the podium sweep. My darkhorse are Alex Tagliani and Robert Doornbos. Taglian, a Canadian native, hasn't ran since his Rookie of the Year performance in the Indy 500, and will prove he is worthy of being in the car, and Conquest can contend on the road courses. Doornbos has to do something good. Big expectations comming into the season have yet to be fulfilled. He has the talent, just needs the patience, I think he can pull off a top 5 this weekend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Power's New Paint Scheme

(Photos courtesy of Penske Racing)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Does Indy Need Change?

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)
By: Tony Donohue

This article is solely the opinion of myself (Tony), and fellow Indy Car fan TJ Halsema. Many of you may think this is a crazy and bizarre proposal, but please take the time to read this, and give it some thought.

Everyone knows the Indianapolis 500 is the greatest race in the world, but since the split between Champ Car and the Indy Racing league, it just has not been what it was in the early 1990s. And for all of you realist who say there is nothing wrong with the Indy 500, put your guard down for a minute, nothing about the 500 and the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” is going to change, it will still be the greatest event in the world, but let’s face it, it is not 1970 anymore. So why mess with tradition?

Here is why. Move the Indianapolis 500 to Saturday night, with about a 6:15 start. This would benefit many aspects of the event. First of all, the T.V. rating for the Indy 500 are nowhere near where they were at one point. Since ABC has started running the race live, the best rating was in 1987 with an 11.2. This year’s 500 came in at a 4.2. Running the 500 in a prime time slot on ABC would boost ratings as more people could tune in, sell more ad’s, and could give an added twist to the race, attracting more viewers to watch. Also, to viewers overseas, the race would run late at night, instead of it being aired very early in the morning.

Running the race at night would give drivers in Nascar that have the talent to run the 500, a chance to do so. Regardless of what series you love or hate, the 500 should be the best drivers in the world. This would allow Sam Hornish Jr. Juan Montoya and Tony Stewart (barring weight loss) a chance to return to the speedway in May. Other drivers could give the 500 a shot that have expressed interested, such as Kyle Busch or Jason Leffler. If the qualifying format would be adjusted a little bit, these drivers could also have the chance to qualify for the Pole.

With the concern on fuel and tire costs, and the cost to lease engines for the month of May being a burden on many teams, why not move Opening Day back to the 1st Sunday in May. The Rookie Orientation Program could be all day Saturday and early Sunday morning. Let all the drivers get on the track at noon and run to six for the first day of practice. This would allow all drivers the chance to get on course. For Qualifications, why not have a Pole weekend? Put the top 22 spot up for grabs on Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, to the drivers attempting the double, they could run the Nascar race Saturday night and fly to Indy Sunday, and still have a chance at grabbing the Pole for the Indianapolis 500. Eliminate the 3rd day of qualifications, and leave Bump Day that Sunday before the 500. Then, have the finally 11 spots up for grabs, and let the bumping begin. Leave Carb Day how it is, but have the parade in late after Friday, sometime in the evening, with the Public Drivers meeting being right after the pit stop competition on Friday. Move the Miller Lite Concert to race day at about 11 am, and have the pre race festivities start around 4:30.

Lights at the track would be a very expensive project, but rumor has it when the speedway was repaved, it would be fitting for lights to be installed. This would lead to the All State 400 possibly ran at night due to the warm temperatures in late July, and possibly bring in an ALMS race the weekend of the Moto GP.

A lot of changes do need to be made, and to all the traditionalists, which to an extent I am, we all are still going to have the Indy 500, we would bring in the greatest drivers in the world, have a prime time slot on ABC, and give a new twist to the world’s greatest race. It is the Centennial Era, and with a new era brings new things to the Speedway, why not the biggest change of all, a prime time, excited night even at the “World’s Greatest Race Course.”
James' Take:

First off, I love Tony's "Pole weekend" idea. With both Saturday and Sunday to run for the pole, you'd see everybody who had any kind of shot at the top spot making 3 attempts. If your a top notch team like Penske or Ganassi, who cares if the driver puts it into the wall with 2 minutes left until the gun. They'll just roll out the backup for Sunday.

I'll be honest, not a big fan of the night race idea but I could deal with it. But it does'nt really matter because unlike a track like Kentucky, IMS is in the middle of the city. There not going to allow 400,000 spectators to flow into the streets/neighborhoods of Speedway at 10p.m.

I wouldn't mind running the Greatest Spectacle in Racing on Memorial Day. It would allow some of the stock car drivers who have expressed great interest in the race to drive including guys like Earnhardt Jr., Kahne, and the Busch brothers. Personally I don't care if they drive, but it would attract a ton of viewers.

It'll be very interesting to see over the next few years how much the Month of May schedule changes. With the Centennial era upon us, and the recent mix up in IMS management I could see anything happening. No matter what happens, as long as there's a 500 mile, open-wheel race at the end of May on the corner of 16th and Georgetown, I'll be in attendance.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Congrats Justin

Congratualtions to Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne and the entire DCR crew for (atleast temporarily) dethroning the Ganassi/Penske domination.

Top 10 rundown
  1. Wilson
  2. Briscoe
  3. Dixon
  4. Castroneves
  5. Andretti
  6. Conway
  7. Viso
  8. Kanaan
  9. Doornbos
  10. Wheldon

Friday, July 3, 2009

Penske Drops Verizon For Power's Additional Races

Penske Racing confirmed today that Will Power will be running 5 additional races this season, but not with Verizon sponsorship. Power will be piloting the #12 Penske Truck Rental Dallara in the fallowing races:
  • Toronto (July 12)
  • Edmonton (July 26)
  • Kentucky (August 1)
  • Infineon (August 23)
  • Miami-Homestead (October 10)
"Will has done a terrific job for Penske Racing and he has earned the opportunity to compete in more races. Will is a great asset to the team and we are excited to have him compete at these additional five races in the Penske Truck Rental Indy car." -Roger Penske

"I am really looking forward to getting back on the track and driving for Penske Racing. I have learned so much working with everyone on the team this season and I plan to make the most of this opportunity to drive the Penske Truck Rental car at these five upcoming races and help the team however I can." -Will Power

"We help hundreds of thousand of families move ahead every year. The similarity in quality of product, people and dedication at every turn between Penske Truck Rental and Penske Racing creates great brand-building opportunities. We're excited about seeing a proven success like Will Power drive the bright yellow Penske Truck Rental No. 12 in the IndyCar Series." -Jim Feenstra, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Penske Truck Rental

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Watkins Glen Preview

By: Tony Donohue

The Indy Car Series has finally finished up the streak of ovals, and I think that everyone can agree, it is about time. Whether you’re a fan of ovals or not, the racing was sub par compared to previous years, and hopefully the competition and passing will be fiercer starting this weekend at Watkins Glen.

Last year, Ryan Hunter-Reay took the win after benefiting from Scott Dixons spin under yellow that collected pole winner Ryan Briscoe. Dixon recovered to finish 11th after being top three all day. Ryan went on to score his first and only career Indy Car Series win, driving the Ethanol Rahal Letterman Racing Honda.

What a difference a year makes. RHR has bounced from Vision Racing to the #14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda after Rahal Letterman Racing couldn't fund a full time team for 2009. Don’t over look Ryan Hunter-Reay this weekend though. Right behind him last year was Darren Manning driving the #14 ABC Supply Company Honda. A.J. Foyt Racing is expecting a great run in Sunday’s race at The Glen.

This weekend, Paul Tracy returns to the Indy Car Series to run his third event of the year, this time for KV Racing once again sponsored by Geico. Richard Antinucci will make his debut for Team 3G. The Indy Lights graduate will bring the car count to twenty one cars. Antinucci won last year’s Lights race at the Glen, and his three other Lights Series wins also came on road courses. Milka Duno will be back piloting the Dreyer and Reinbold 23 car as well.

Scott Dixon is defiantly the man to beat this year, or if you can’t beat him on the track, hope he beats himself, which is unlikely. Dixon won the first three events at the Glen, leading 58 laps over those three victories. He knows how to get it done on the road courses where he has scored six of his nineteen careers wins, more than any other driver.

My pick to win this weekend is Ryan Briscoe. I think Dixon will have another great run, defiantly in the top three, but Briscoe needs a win after falling to 3rd in the points after wrecking out at Richmond. My picks last weekend were not too far off as Dario came home 2nd and E.J. Viso finished. This weekend, I am picking Ryan Hunter Reay of course to be a dark horse even though he is the defending winner, and my other dark horse is Justin Wilson. He could pull off an upset and get Dale Coyne his first Indy Car Victory.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Honda Flip Flops, Want's To Be Sole Engine Supplier

According to the always reliable Bruce Martin, it appears Honda may want to stay the Single engine supplier for the Indycar Series. Martin wrote this in his recent VERSUS article:
Sources within the IndyCar Series believe HPD has moved away from its stance of wanting a rival automaker to compete against and may see value remaining as a single-engine supplier to the series.
Supposedly both Audi and Volts Wagon are interested in supplying an engine for the next generation Indycar, but they don't seem to agree with Honda on the type of engine. Long story short, Honda wants to run the V-6 Turbo while Audi and VW want the 4 cylinder Turbo.

The next engine meeting is set for July 10th

“I do know that we are all focused on driving the costs of participation down. This is a very expensive engine; it was built for competition. As a sole supplier, you don’t need this kind of engine and the cost that is used to rebuild and maintain. I don’t think anyone is thinking of an equivalency formula at this stage. The final call on engine size has not been made yet but I think it would be next to impossible for us to run both an inline 4-cylinder and aV-6.” -Terrry Angstadt

“We need to know soon who is in and who is out and what kind of engine we will be using. I don’t think anyone believes an equivalency formula between an inline 4-cylinder and a V-6 would be ideal.” -Les Mactaggart, Senior Technical director for the IRL