Photo: Action at Road America, photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar
Marti Update: Marti is still in the hospital. progress is not where we would like it to be, but she is in good spirits. She will probably move to a rehab facility next week. We are trying to arrange for her to be seen y a doctor at Vanderbilt medical center. They are well regarded specialists on this issue. Thanks for all your thoughts and concerns.
For 10 years, basically since the beginning of Mark Miles’ tenure as head of Indycar, there has been constant talk of a third engine manufacturer joining the series. There have been teases, most recently the unlikely Ferrari chatter, and I heard that Lamborghini was close to a deal once, and several other names have been mentioned. But since Lotus withdrew its non competitive engine in the early 201s, Indycar has been a one or two horse show.
Marshall Pruett interviewed Roger Penske on the subject in a Racer magazine story published this past Tuesday. All Penske would say is that talks are ongoing, and there people who are “very interested.”
With a new 2.4 liter V-6 twin turbo coming on board in 2023, I 2ould have thought someone might have committed by now. Perhaps a new OEM may want to wait a year to see how things develop. A third engine has many advantages for the series.
It would bring another marketing avenue for Indycar, it could increase car counts by attracting new teams, ad with three engines, a 36 car or more an Indianapolis entry list of 36 or more cars would virtually be guaranteed.
there are thing Indycar can live without, but a third OEM is a key part of the future of the series.
In another Pruett article in Racer, Penske discussed adding more ovals to the Indycar schedule with a possible expansion to 18 races. The 2021 lineup with four oval races at three venues did not make me happy.
Penske is looking to balance the schedule with more ovals. And he wants a mix of superspeedways and short ovals. The Captain specifically mentioned Iowa, which would be my first choice of an oval to return to the rotation. The pandemic cost Indycar a chance to have a place in the southeast when last year’s Richmond race fell victim to the shutdown. I am still puzzled as to why it was not considered for 2021.
The bottom line is Indycar should have 5-6 ovals at 5-6 venues. The 2021 schedule has now 16 races at 12 venues. The problem is that the sport does not reach several areas of the country. Three races at IMS is too many. One of the road course races has to go.
I am sure we will see more ovals in 2021, hopefully without any double headers.
Staying on NBC?
Indycar may be close to a new broadcast deal. I am hoping NBC remains the exclusive partner of the series. Overall the network has done a good job, Detroit Race 1 this year notwithstanding.
I am happy with Peacock. I would like to see full race replays there instead of just a highlight reel.
NBC has been a good partner. Nine races will be on NBC this year. It would be nice to get that number to double digits.
That’s probably a thing for my dream world racing series, just like Indycar races in October.
Thoughts for Robin
Based on a letter published by Racer on Wednesday, Robin Miller’s health issues have put his mailbag and other postings on hold. I am hoping he recovers and returns soon. Robin has been very kind to me in my short time in the media centers. Please keep Robin in your thoughts and prayers. He is the soul of Indycar reporting.
It is nice to be back. I am hopeful that things will settle down and I can write more often.