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...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

#77 Fined $5,000

The #77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports car of Simon Pagenaud has been fined $5,000 for failing post-race technical inspection following last weeks event at Iowa.

The SHM entry violated rule:
14.7.2 Fuel System (Updated March 15, 2012 via Bulletin)
The maximum capacity of the fuel cell shall be 18.5 U.S. Gallons.
INDYCAR says the fuel cell size discrepancy was not enough to affect the race results.

Monday, June 25, 2012

15-Race Schedule Remains

The IZOD IndyCar Series confirmed early Monday that the current 15-race schedule will remain intact without an addition race to replace the canceled event in China.

"After carefully considering all possible options for an additional race, we felt it was in our best interest to keep our schedule at its current 15-event lineup," said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR. "We want to make sure that when we add events to our roster they have long-term potential and are given every opportunity to be successfully promoted. The more we explored, the more we felt like we were rushing what could be good, long-lasting opportunities for the sport.

"I thank all of the promoters who entertained the possibility of hosting the IZOD IndyCar Series this season. It certainly validated what we already knew - there's a lot of interest from venues across North America in hosting our sport."

The league also announced that the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California will be ran at a 500-mile distance.

"We wanted to do something special to enhance the excitement to the season finale and renew the tradition of 500-mile open-wheel races in Southern California," said Bernard. "We think it's something our fans will enjoy and adds another element to what is already shaping up to be an exciting championship battle."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Championship Title Tightens

Saturday night's struggles in Iowa for point leaders Will Power and James Hinchcliffe tightened up the championship chase.

Despite a crash and 23rd place finish, Team Penske's Will Power is still atop the championship standings with 286 points, followed closely behind by Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Hunter-Reay's back-to-back wins in Milwaukee and Iowa lands him just 3 points behind Power and ahead of Scott Dixon 12 points back, Helio Castroneves 22 points behind, James Hinchcliffe 27 back, and Simon Pagenaud with a 37 point differential.

The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to the track July, 8th in Toronto.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Power, Dixon, Four Others Suffer Penalty

EDIT: Ryan Briscoe has replaced his engine and becomes the 7th unapproved change and 10-grid spot penalty for Milwaukee.

IZOD IndyCar Series points leaders Will Power and Scott Dixon will be starting mid-pack at best for Saturday's Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ.

The Penske and Ganassi drivers each blew an engine during this weeks test at Iowa, resulting in a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change.

A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway and Dale Coyne Racing Texas winner Justin Wilson also suffered engine failures in Iowa, resulting in penalties.

Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden will each serve a 10 spot penalty in Milwaukee for unapproved engine changes dating back to last week in Texas.

5 of the 6 cars with penalties are Honda powered.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

China Cancelled, IMS The Only Answer

With today's announcement that the IZOD IndyCar Series event in China has been cancelled, the prevailing presumption is that another race will have to be added to meet several contract requirements, most notably with IZOD and the NBC Sports Network. So, the hunt begins.

As much as I'd like to return to Chicago, Kentucky, Road America, Richmond, Cleveland, or Phoenix, the logistics of selling tickets, promotions, and endless other hurdles make such an event incredibly difficult to pull off. In my mind there is only one track with any hope of a success, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

I know what you're thinking, and I love the history of IMS as much as anyone but the "contamination" ship has sailed. Prior to NASCAR's first race on the famed 2.5-mile oval in 1994 everyone said "No, only Indy Cars drive at IMS" which quickly transformed into "IndyCar is the only open-wheel series to cross the Yard of Bricks". Then in 2000 the first Formula 1 event was held, but hey, INDYCAR was still the only open-wheel series to run on the oval. Well, that was until 2003 when the Firstone Indy Lights Series turned their first race laps at the Brickyard. MotoGP then held their first Grand Prix in 2008, and Grand Am along with the Nationwide Series will host their inaugural races in July. IndyCar's feeder series USF2000, Star Mazda, and Firestone Indy Lights cars have also taken laps on the infield road course. And don't forget, Dan Wheldon pedaled the DW12 chassis #001 around the 13-turn course during INDYCAR's testing phase of the new formula.

If we could go back to 1993 when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was still relatively sterile from other motor racing events, I'd be 100% against another IZOD IndyCar Series race at the facility, but we can't.

IMS makes the most sense on so many levels.

The loss of China likely leaves a gaping hole in INDYCAR's financial books which would only grow deeper with the addition of another race so late in the season. Would they still lose money hosting their own event? Yes, but taking into account track rental, travel and numerous other variables, the financial hit wouldn't be nearly as severe.

INDYCAR's struggles to draw attendance is well documented, but with the great majority of American Open-Wheel fans in central Indiana and the Midwest, an IZOD IndyCar Series race on the twistie at 16th and Georgetown would have plenty butts in the seats.

Given the schedule flexibility, financial considerations, attendance worries, ability to host a season finale banquet if needed, and just plain convenience, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a no-brainer.

My money is on Road America, though.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Coyne, Carpenter Penalized

Texas race winning team Dale Coyne Racing has been fined and penalized for failing post-race technical inspection on Justin Wilson's victorious #18 entry.

Sighting an update to rule that was sent via bulletin on June 3rd to teams, "The following parts may not be used at Texas Motor Speedway: Sidepod Top Deck IR1225195RH/LH - IR1202A031/32". DCR was fined $7,500 and docked 5 entrant points.

Ed Carpenter Racing also failed inspection and was fined $5,000 and docked 1 entrant point. Updated via bulletin June 8th, ECR failed to comply with rule "A rear wing wicker up to a maximum of 1/8 inch height and full span may be used".

Both teams may appeal the decision.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I May Be Crazy, But An Aero Kit Compromise Could Be Possible

I may be crazy -- that's a very likely possibility, actually -- but there might be a compromise to the whole aero kit situation.

Do I want them? Absolutely, I yearn for contrasting parts and pieces.

Do I understand why team owners don't? I do, the current spec formula has created close racing and many owners don't want, what is in some eyes, unneeded price increases.

But I don't believe INDYCAR has to make a clear-cut, black-and-white, cut-and-dry decision of yea or nay on whether or not to implement the already 1-year delayed aero kit concept.

Instead of the ability to purchase a complete aero kit, made up of front and rear wings, sidepods, and cowlings, the manufacturers could be given the ability to develop just a few pieces to work in conjunction with the current kit.

Let's be honest, given the parameters the manufacturers can work within, along with price, and just plain aero knowledge, even with the ability to develop an entire kit we wouldn't exactly be getting 1970's-esque innovation, anyway.

Is it an ideal situation? No, but I believe it could work.

Get all the aero techies and engine gurus in a room along with a representative from INDYCAR, GM, Honda, Lotus, Dallara and any other interested supplier and lock 'em up. Come out after a decision has been made, unanimous or not, on two or three pieces that could be made available for design, based on performance, ability to differentiate, and of course price.

Easier said than done, I know, but the effort could be worth it.

If no companies are interested in designing the Dallara built pieces, then that's their prerogative. If the companies develop the pieces but have no buyers, fine, best of luck to the teams. But at least INDYCAR would have made the possibility of discrepancy possible, theoretically cut the $75k per kit price dramatically, and all while keeping at least part of their May 24th promise of aero discrepancy alive.

How much different would a Chevy look from a Honda with the current body kit substituting in manufacturer designed, say, mirrors and rear wings? Or 'sponsor blockers' and sidepods? I don't know, probably very little, but it's a start.