An article in Motorsport on Monday reported that in addition to Fernando Alonso driving for Arrow McLaren SP in the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, he would also drive in the GMR Grand Prix at IMS two weeks prior to the race. The article went on to say that former NASCAR champion jimmie Johnson would be in the third car at some point in 2021, and that 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button might have been driving at Road America in 2020.
The hitch in these plans is the Coronavirus pandemic. the lack of testing may not allow Button to race this year. Since the GMR Grand Prix is not coupled with the 500, it remains to be seen if Alonso will also drive on July 4 weekend. Reports today say Alonso is not interested in a full time Indycar ride. I never thought he was. I’m not sure Alonso knows what he wants to do other than flit from series to series.
Arrow McLaren SP’s plans and Team Penske’s plans for Scott McLaughlin to participate in some Indycar races this season present a “special guest star’ look to the grid. I don’t have a problem with this idea. I think it can help in several ways.
First, there will be more cars on the grid. While Indycar seems to be able to consistently have 23-24 cars each race, a couple more doesn’t hurt. Races might be better if the leaders have more traffic to negotiate. More cars means a stronger series, which may lead to even more teams.
I am always in favor of drivers racing in different series other than their primary one. In the 50s and 60s, even into the early 70s, I believe, this was commonplace. Today it is a big deal when a driver tries something new. Drivers coming to Indycar from other series has the potential to increase viewership of the races. Jimmie Johnson would definitely bring fans. Alonso has a following who would watch. I’m not sure what Button’s following is.
I like that Arrow McLaren SP can field a third car for these guest drivers who apparently have no plans to join the series full time. This might become a way for smaller or newer teams to gain funding quicker than just running a couple of cars for the entire season.
Starting the Season
States are beginning to allow Indycar race teams to return to work as the June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway is still scheduled. I assume the race will be run without fans and with limited team personnel. Like you, I am anxious to start watching races again. However, it needs to be done in the safest way possible. I hope if Texas does happen, the NTT Indycar Series does a thorough, critical evaluation so more races can be safely run.
I think Road America is a possibility with fans. I’m not sure about Richmond occurring at all right now. This is such a wait and see time period.
Bump Tales Returns Tomorrow
Beginning tomorrow, Bump Tales returns for another May, which should excite two of you. I plan to have one each Thursday during May just to maintain a semblance of normalcy.
Tomorrow-2010. If there is a year you would like me to write about, please let me know.