IMS 500 Plans, Double Header Rumors Top Busy Week for Indycar

Cars haven’t been on track since last Saturday, but Indycar continues to make news- some facts, some rumors, and also bit of sadness. The pandemic has made uncertainty the only certain thing. Other sports are taking the first steps toward resuming while Indycar is at the halfway point of its season which is still scheduled to run into October.

The 88 page plan revealed by IMS on Wednesday for the 500 is very thorough and precise. If you are one of the 87,00 or so still planning to attend the race, it would worth your while to read through it. It is what you would expect from Penske- every situation is covered, every entrance and exit planned down to the tiniest detail in both text and diagram.

More Double Headers?

I’m hearing that Mid Ohio, Gateway, and the Harvest Classic at IMS will become double header weekends to compensate for the apparent losses of Portland and Laguna Seca. Neither track has officially cancelled yet, but Portland is under a crowd limit of 250 or fewer people order, and Laguna Seca does not have the volunteer staff to run the event. The Coronavirus in California also presents an obstacle.

Assuming St. Pete still goes forward, which I am skeptical about, the series would run 14 races with the new double headers. Two races at gateway the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 sounds like a lot for the crews, but it’s really no different than running Detroit the weekend after the traditional 500 date. In addition, the entire month of September would be open. I don’t like the idea of no races for an entire month and then having the series return for its final two or three events. It would be difficult to add a new track in September.

Ralph Liguori

Ralph_Liguori

On Wednesday, Ralph Liguori, itinerant racer, died at age 93. Liguori started more than 130 races between NASCAR and Indycar. His best finish was  second in the 1970 Hoosier Hundred. he passed A. J. Foyt for the spot. Liguori tried to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 six times between 1959 and 1968. He was bumped with 20 minutes left on Bump Day in 1963. Liguori raced into his 70s and won a race in 1973.

Setback for Zanardi

After some good news earlier in the week, Alex Zanardi’s condition has worsened. On Monday the former CART champion was moved to a rehabilitation facility. This morning he returned to ICU as his condition became unstable.

Zanardi suffered facial and neurological injuries in a hand bike accident on June 19.

Trouble for COTA

The FIA announced this morning that Formula will not have any races in the Americas. The cancellations include Canada,Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. this is particularly bad news for the Circuit of the Americas, which had already lost this year’s Indycar race among other events. It is sad to see such a great track in jeopardy.

Whether Indycar or F1 returns there next year remains to be seen. Roger Penske has talked about possibly having F1 return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While the road course has improved since the last time the U. S. Grand Prix was here, I still don’t think it’s a great F1 track.  The course needs some significant elevation changes to be a good track for F1.

Iowa for Sale?

This is strictly a rumor, but it seems Iowa Speedway may be for sale and Roger Penske may consider buying it to keep it on the Indycar schedule. This could be one of the first side benefits of Penske buying the series.

Iowa is a great track for Indycar. I love going there. I have always thought that Indycar should own some tracks, especially ovals, to keep a solid schedule. I think it would make economic sense in the long run.

 

 

 

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