An Afternoon at the Track

I had some free time yesterday afternoon and I drove to Nisissan Stadium to see how much of the track I could see. It was an adventure. The streets of downtown Nashville are very narrow, but the stadium was easy to find. It is a very nice looking stadium.

Not only could I se the track, part of it is still open t traffic, including the bridge. The bridge will be fast. There is a rise in it and a downhill. The turnaround ds at each end could make for some action. As for a car going off the bridge and into the water, I don’t see that even remotely happening. This isn’t Driven.

Here are a few photos I took from my car. I wanted to stop to get some better shots but the cars behind me didn’t realize or care that I was doing important research.

From the bridge

Approaching the bridge

I turned right to enter the track and access the bridge here

Othan than the bridge the track looks very tight. Most passing will be on the bridge or just coming off of it. I’m looking forward to the event and the race.

Grosjean Oval Test; Special Liveries for Nashville

Update- We are in Nashville. Marti is still undergoing tests and seeing many doctors. The two most difficult tests are coming today and tomorrow. Thanks again for your continued thoughts and prayers. I had a nice afternoon yesterday visiting with George Phi.lips. Thanks, George, for the much needed break. If time permits I will go take a look at the track today.

Arrow McLaren SP and the 48 car of Jimmie Johnson revealed special liveries for the Music City Grand Prix next weekend. The designs all had some fan involvement.

AMSP:

Felux Rosenqvist
Pato O’Ward

Johnson:

The Arrow cars look similar to their testing camo liveries. I like the looks of the 48. I think it’s a nice shade of blue. I’m not a huge fan of the dark Carvana car.

Grosjean Looking to Future?

Romain Grosjean complete his rookie oval test at World Wide Technology Raceway a couple days ago. He was eighth fastest in an 11 car test. He has been saying since he joined the series that he wanted to race at this track.

Is Grosjean also looking at next year’s Indianapolis 500?. If the rumors of him moving to another team are true, he would definitely need to run the full schedule.

Jimmie Johnson said this week he wants to do an oval test with an eye toward running the106th 500.

I knew it was just a matter of time before these two rookies would want to try ovals. It’s what racers do.

A Yard of Bricks with Two Feet of Bronze

Photo: The four 4 time winners. Chris Owens, Indycar

  • Marti Uprate. She is at Vanderbilt Hospital and saw numerous doctors today. I had to come home to take care of a problem and will be heading back tomorrow. Her length of stay is unknown, but I might still be there for the race next weekend.

Just Catching Up

It’s the little things Roger Penske thinks of that make him a success. The photo above is an example of one of those little things- getting the four four time Indianapolis 500 winners together for a group photo. There might not be many more opportunities to get this group together. A. J. Foyt, the first four time winner, had a commemorative bronze brick installed in the yard of bricks at the start/finish line. The other three will have their own bricks installed this fall.

It is a fitting tribute to these four drivers who have collectively won 15% of the 105 Indianapolis 500s. Will more of these bricks appear in the future? It will be a long time before that happens, if ever. Only two other drivers in this year’s race, Juan Pablo Montoya and Takuma Sato, have won twice. Whether either of them runs another 500 is uncertain right now.

I will be on the road during tomorrow’s Jimmie Johnson media conference tomorrow, but I will get up to date on it tomorrow night and share what I find out.

Off to Nashville!

This is a Marti Update:

Last night Vanderbilt opened up a space and Marti will go by ambulance to Nashville this morning. She should arrive by noon. I will follow in my car. After 38 days in the hospital in Indy, there is now a chance of recovery. We are hopeful that her issue can be resolved and we can return to a more normal life.

I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers. We really need them this coming week. I’m not sure how long she will be at Vanderbilt, but I plan to post some racing stories and post updates on Marti’s progress in what will likely be copious amounts of free time. Nashville should be an inspiring place to write as it is home to a world famous blogger .

Reverse Youth Movement at MSR First Silly Season Volley

Don’t tell me you saw this coming. Buoyed by Helio Castroneves’ fourth win in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500in his second car, Mike Shank has decided to bump up his usual schedule to becoming a full time two car entry. Meyer Shank Racing announced that 47 year old Castroneves will drive the number 06 car full time next year. If the team had stuck to the plan as they did with Jack Harvey, Castroneves, who is running six races this season, would have entered 10 races next year.

In this season where the younger drivers have had a lot of success, Shank decided to go the other way. It is a bold move, and I am curious to see how it plays out.

A bit of irony in the second part of the announcement is that Jack Harvey will race elsewhere in 2022. Harvey has been with Meyer Shank Racing the Indycar program began. No one knows where harvey will end up next season. My guess is he will replace Ryan Hunter-Reay in the 28 car at Andretti Autosport. The 2021 season for Harvey has been marked by good qualifying and not so great results, partly due to team strategy.

Here is the story from Indycar:

Helio Castroneves will return for a full NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in 2022 with Meyer Shank Racing (MSR), driving the No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.

Castroneves’ attempt to become the first five-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner will be a highlight of the season for MSR, and the Ohio-based team is using the “Drive for Five” theme in 2022.

Brazilian Castroneves, 46, joined A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears in the exclusive club of four-time “500” winners with his emotional victory for Meyer Shank – the team’s first win in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – on May 30. He also is racing this season for MSR at Nashville, Tennessee (Aug. 8), the Indianapolis road course (Aug. 15) and in the season-closing West Coast swing at Portland, Oregon (Sept. 12), Monterey, California (Sept. 19) and Long Beach, California (Sept. 26).

“I am thrilled to get the chance to go for a fifth Indianapolis 500 win and so excited to fight for the INDYCAR championship again with a full season of races next year with Meyer Shank Racing,” Castroneves said. “Mike (Shank) and Jim (Meyer) have developed some incredible sponsorships with AutoNation and SiriusXM, and having that support is critical. I have been missing racing in INDYCAR full time so much! So, I cannot wait to get a head start on next year with some strong races to finish this season.”

With the full-time addition of Castroneves, MSR plans to field two full-time entries in 2022. The No. 60 AutoNation/ SiriusXM Honda, which has been driven by Jack Harvey for the past few seasons, has been renewed for two years, with a new driver who will be announced soon.

“We wish Jack much success, and we know he will continue to be a driver to watch,” MSR co-owner Mike Shank said. “MSR is excited to have Helio on the 06 car next season, and we’re looking forward to adding a driver, who will turn heads in the 60 car.”

In just 42 INDYCAR SERIES races, MSR has collected an Indianapolis 500 victory, two podium finishes, two-front row starts and 12 top-10 finishes. In addition to the team’s on-track accomplishments, MSR is also in the final stages of building a brand new 43,000 square-foot shop in Pataskala, Ohio.

“There are so many people around us that have given us the opportunity to expand to two full-season entries for next year,” Shank said. “My partner Jim Meyer and I have done this in a way that makes sense for us. I am very excited to have Helio onboard for the 2022 season, and I think there will be a lot of excitement around our second driver when we make that announcement, as well.”

Notes

  • Castroneves career stats:

31 Indycar victories and 50 poles

Second in the points standings four times- 2002, 2008, 2013, 2014

  • The 2022 full time grid might be as high as 27 cars.
  • Dario Franchitti will be the Grand Marshall for the Music City Grand Prix

NBC/Indycar Package-A Peek into the Future

The future is upon us. In the extension of the current broadcast package with NBC Indycar has kept the traditional television component and is dipping its toes into the future. I am ecstatic about the 13 races on NBC. It will save a lot of time and angst every race week. I can pretty much know where to find the race.

The two races on USA, one of which I assume will be the Texas night race, should be easy to remember, as should the two races on Peacock. Which races will be on USA and Peacock? Besides the Texas night race, I’m guessing another nioght oval joins the schedule. As for the other two, I have no idea right now.

Streaming two races is quite a gamble for both the series and the network. Mark Miles said yesterday showing races exclusively on Peacock is an attempt to draw in younger fans, who are more likely to watch on their phones. I applaud the strategy. I have no desire to watch a live race on my phone, but if others do, great. Regardless of the broadcast channel, give me a television set.

I do see streaming as the wave of the future. Broadcasting and viewing is changing rapidly. The races on peacock are just the beginning. Eventually, our viewing habits will change. As long as I can watch on a large screen, I don’t care how the race is delivered.

Miles also said something about being able to follow the race on your phone while you are at the track. If I am at the track, I’m not going to be looking at my phone. I might take a look during a caution to get some details of what caused the yellow, but otherwise, I will just watch the live action and the video boards.

Next year will be interesting as afr the race broadcasts go. I hope NBC keeps improving the race graphics. I really like the pit stop clock and the tire choice images they have begun showing. I like all the information given in Formula 1 races and I would love it if Indycar races got to that point.

Notes

Josef Newgarden led testing at laguna Seca yesterday. The test included Team pernske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Each of the remaining six races should have at least 25 cars on the grid. Helio Castroneves will participate in every race except Gateway. Romain Grosjean is expected to race at gateway, but i’m not sure if he will be in the 51 or a third car.

Miles hinted that some of Indiainpolis 500 qualifying will be on NBC as it was last year. All qualifying qwill be on Peacock in 2022.

Indycar, NBC Ink New Deal; More Races on Network

The new television deal announced this morning between Indycar and NBC is perhaps the best deal Indycar has ever had. I will have more on this after the media conference later this morning. Here is the official announcement with key points highlighted.

INDYCAR, NBC Sports Agree
to Multiyear Media Rights Extension
Key Points:NBC Sports remains exclusive home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 50013 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on NBC in 2022; remaining races on USA Network, PeacockPeacock to stream all races; home of qualifying, practice and Indy Lights
INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, July 20, 2021) – INDYCAR and NBC Sports today announced a multiyear extension of their media rights agreement.NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will see a significant increase in network exposure in 2022, with 13 races broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.
Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.
“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports. “We have demonstrated NBCUniversal’s ability to make big events bigger with our presentations of the Indianapolis 500, we have worked closely with Roger Penske, Mark Miles and the entire team to expand INDYCAR’s reach across the U.S, and we are thrilled to build upon our collaborative successes of the past few years.”
Said Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Entertainment Corp.: “NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500. This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.
”The media rights extension comes on the heels of viewership milestones for NBC Sports’ coverage of both the Indianapolis 500 and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on NBC was the most-watched edition of the race since the 100th Running in 2016, and NBC Sports is off to its most-watched NTT INDYCAR SERIES season ever through the first nine races of 2021, with viewership up 30% vs. comparable coverage in 2020.
The partnership between NBC Sports and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES dates back to 2009, when NBCSN (originally VERSUS) became the cable home of the series and televised the majority of its races each season. NBC Sports became the exclusive home of INDYCAR in 2019, which also marked the year of NBC’s inaugural Indianapolis 500 broadcast.
The full 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES coverage schedule on NBC, USA Network and Peacock will be announced in the coming months.
All coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be available on Peacock Premium. Viewers can sign up and learn more here. Peacock is currently available across devices; more details here. Peacock Premium is included at no additional cost for Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers.About NBC SportsNBC Sports Group serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Audio Network and NBC Sports Digital, which includes NBCSports.comNBCOlympics.comGolfChannel.com , the digital assets of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports EDGE, the NBC Sports Talk franchise, multiple apps, and two transactional sports businesses, GolfNow and SportsEngine, and two direct-to-consumer products — NBC Sports Gold and GolfPass. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of media rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the NFL, NASCAR, INDYCAR, PGA TOUR, The R&A, PGA of America, USGA, Churchill Downs, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, and many more.
About INDYCARINDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including six-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time series champion Josef Newgarden and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2021 season consists of 16 races in the United States and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.
About PeacockPeacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service. Peacock delivers a world-class slate of exclusive originals, on-demand libraries of hit TV shows, plus critically acclaimed films from the vaults of Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and Hollywood’s biggest studios. In addition, Peacock taps into NBCUniversal’s unmatched ability to deliver a broad range of compelling topical content across news, sports, late-night, Spanish-language and reality. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. For more information on Peacock, click here.