Ryan Norman Set for Indycar Debut at Mid Ohio

Photo form Dale Coyne Racing Twitter Account

The release from Dale Coyne Racing:

Plainfield, IL (June 24, 2021) – Indy Lights Series graduate and Cleveland, Ohio native, Ryan Norman will be making his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut next weekend at the Honda Indy 200 aboard the No. 52 Koinu Inu / EVO entry of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Norman, who will be representing partners Koinu Inu, EVO and Three Chord Bourbon on his No. 52 Honda, had the opportunity earlier this week to test with the team at his home track alongside Romain Grosjean ahead of his first official appearance as an NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver next week.

“My goal throughout my whole racing career has been to become an NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver,” said Norman. “So many years of hard work and sacrifices have finally paid off and I want to thank Dale Coyne for giving me a shot to show what I can do in the series. It’s an honor to be able to drive for DCR. They have shown over the years that they have created a great competitive program and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together. I’m more prepared than ever before to show that I belong in IndyCar and can fight for podiums and wins. It’s time to get to work!”

The 23-year-old driver started his racing career on two wheels in his native Cleveland, Ohio and was a successful motocross racer. He transitioned to cars in 2015 and found immediate success, winning in multiple classes and winning the SCCA Formula Atlantic Championship.

Norman then moved to the competitive Indy Lights Series in 2017 where he drove for Andretti Autosport and scored podiums and victories over three seasons finishing fourth in the Championship.

Recently, he joined Bryan Herta Autosport in 2020 to compete full-time in the #33 Hyundai Veloster N TCR and won the drivers’ championship alongside co-driver Gabby Chaves. For 2021, Norman joined Parker Chase in the #98 Elantra N TCR.

The former Indy Lights driver will get a first chance to measure himself to the rest of the field on Friday, July 2 from 2:30pm ET during the first practice session. The Honda Indy 200 goes green on Sunday, July 4 at 12:05pm ET and will be broadcast live on NBC.

About Koinu Inu
What is Koinu Inu?
Koinu Inu ($KOINU) is a team-built, community driven ERC-20 token project that combines three of the most popular & rapidly growing industries in the world – DeFi (Cryptocurrency), Video Games + Gambling. The team’s goal is simple and attractive – to become the world’s most popular and profitable eSports Casino & Token Marketplace.

What can it do?
The $KOINU platform will allow holders to wager tokens against others in popular eSports titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch, League of Legends, Valorant, Rocket League & many more. Token holders will also be able to wager tokens on Professional eSports matches to win a portion of a shared prize pool.

About EVO
EVO is a revolutionary athlete-development company which plans to eliminate the financial burdens of tomorrow’s champions and change the way fans experience sports through the power of investment. EVO aims to take skilled professional athletes in individual sports and provide them with world-class development and support, in exchange for a share of future earnings. A portion of those earnings will be shared with EVO investors, and this model will allow athletes to focus on winning, without the burdens of financial constraints.

About Three Chord Bourbon
WHO WE ARE
Founded by music legend, Neil Giraldo, Three Chord celebrates creativity, community, and tradition by bringing together the award-winning musician and producer’s love of whiskey and music with his passion for conversations with family and friends.

Inspired by the simplicity yet infinite expressions of the three chord progression — the foundation of the blues — Neil collaborated with master blender and distiller, Ari Sussman, to bring together notes from a variety of whiskies to create products with distinctive flavor profiles that balances simplicity and complexity in perfect harmony.

WHAT WE DO
Three Chord sources high quality and rare whiskies from the top distilleries in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Indiana for use in blends, single-source bottlings, and special releases. By using carefully selected barrels and combining unique flavor profiles, Three Chord creates an expression that is greater than the sum of its parts. Three Chord whiskies are aged in heavy toast 4 char #1 barrels, French and American oak “hybrid” char #3 barrels, barrels imported from Cognac (not charred), and barrels from Spain, (not charred). After blending, they are returned to the barrels a second time, then bottled in Chelsea, Michigan.

For a full list of states of distribution and availability please visit http://www.ThreeChordBourbon.com

Indycar’s Second Half- More of the Same Would be Fine

Update- Marti is improving as the medical team works out a treatment plan. Thank you all again for your kind wishes and concerns. We will get through this.

Photo: Alex Palou leads Colton Herta at Road America. Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Indycar had itself one heck of a first half- seven different winners, including four first time winners; only two winners over the age of 30; dramatic finishes, and really good racing. Only two drivers have won more than once, and four of the top seven in points are under the age of 25.

Alex Palou holds the trophy for the REV Group Grand Prix. Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Road America traditionally marks the end of the first half of the season, but with the cancellation of Toronto, which will not be made up, last Sunday was the first race of the season’s second half. The loss of the race, which is not a shock, narrows the field for the championship to three drivers-Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, and Scott Dixon.

I think the title fight comes down to a battle between Palou, the current points leader, and O’Ward. Only O’Ward and Palou have won more than one race. Palou has led seven of the nine races. Palou has been on the podium five times, O’Ward finished in the top three four times. The 28 point lead Palou enjoys is essentially the difference in points between the two drivers at the Indianapolis 500.

I think Palou will prevail this season. Here’s why.

O’Ward Oddities

Both of Pato’s wins came in the second race of the two double headers. He finished third in the first race of each double header, and he was on pole for the first race in Detroit. In both of his victories, O’Ward overtook Josef Newgarden late in the race.

There are no more double headers this season It seems the Arrow McLaren SP team needs a bit of a longer window to figure things out. I’m not sure O’Ward wins another race in 2021, and he may have trouble holding on to second place in the standings.

The Iceman Lurketh

Six time champion Scott Dixon sits on the verge of history on two fronts. His next win, which is very likely this season, will tie him with Mario Andretti for second place on the career win list with 52. Winning the title will tie him with A. J. Foyt with seven championships.

Dixon has been competitive, as always, but the car looks to be just a step behind the front runners. The Indianapolis 500, despite Dixon winning the pole, did not turn out well. Dixon is 53 points behind, and 49 points of that gap are from the 500. He has come from larger deficits to win take a couple of his titles, but I don’t see it happening this year. Still, dixon will continue an amazing string of finsihes in the top five in points.

More Winners

There will be more drivers winning a race this season. It is inveitable that Josef Newgarden and/or Will Power will win a race before the season ends. Newgarden has won the last two poles and has had victory in his grasp the last two races. He has lost the lead with three laps remaining in Detroit and with two laps left at Road America. Mechanical gremlins and tire strategy have kept Team Penske out of the winner’s circle so far in 2021, but I think we see that situation change in the next three months. It is hard yo believe we are nine races into the season and wondering when a Penske will win a race.

Look for another win by an Andretti Autosport driver as well. Either Colton Herta wins another time, or Alexander Rossi will finally break through. This team has been just as puzzling as Team Penske. Herta has been the only bright spot for the team.

Nice Surprises

The biggest surprise this year is the overall performance of Romain Grosjean. The former F1 driver has won a pole, took a podium spot, and has been overall competitive in his 6 races in 2021. Grosjean is an outstanding qualifier, starting in the top six three times and seventh twice. Missing the Indianapolis 500 and the two Texas races will probably cost him Rookie of the Year since the award is based solely on points. He would win it if the trophy were awarded based on his performance on track.

No Toronto Replacement; Schedule Stays at 16 Races

The signs were there, and today it is official. The Toronto Honda Indy, originally scheduled for July 11, but cancelled in May due to COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario, will not be replaced on the 2021 schedule.

Mid Ohio and World Wide Technology raceway were two tracks considered to host a second race to make up for the loss of the Toronto race. Each venue had some advantages, but a combination of factors probably led to the decision to stick with the original schedule.

The series decided that a double header would not offer the promoter a good return on their investment. Finding a suitable television slot may also have played a role in the decision.

I think it was a good decision. While I would have liked to see another oval added to the schedule, adding a race that late in the season is a big ask for teams, especially those fighting for the championship. Drivers more than 50 points behind leader Alex Palou have an even tougher task trying to catch him now.

The remaining schedule:

Quick Thoughts- REV Group Grand Prix

Update on Marti- she is vastly improved today. Thank you to everyone for all the good wishes. They mean a lot to us.

I have never seen a race at Road America that good. There were battles all through the field, the lead was in contention all day, yellows figured into the strategy, and another crazy dramatic finish. I don’t know what people want from a race or a series, but if Indycar isn’t it, I can’t think of what would be. This season has been outstanding so far.

A Team Penske driver has lost a race in the closing laps in three consecutive races. I can’t recall that ever happening. All tough self inflicted losses too. Hard to believe this team has just two poles and just eight podium spots this season. In a year with so many different winners,it is hard to believe a driver from this team isn’t one of them.

Romain Grosjean has qualified well all year, but his racing has been a bit overlooked. He is aggressive but clean, and not afraid to mix it up with the established drivers. I really like the way he drives. It is a shame that he will not win Rookie of the Year because of the three races he sat out. He deserves it on performance.

Josef Newgarden sits fourth in the standings, but at 88 points behind he will have a difficult time winning the championship.

Once again, Scott Dixon manages a decent finish. He ends up fourth and is third in points, just 53 behind his teammate Alex Palou.

Palou has led seven of the nine races this season. He is back n top of the standings after a one week stay in second.

Kevin Magnussen and Cody Ware had good debuts. Magnussen did a great job maintaining the lead after the restart until his engine issue. Ware drove around quietly and stayed out of trouble all day. I hope we get to see more of him now that he has had a taste of Indycar.

It is hard to believe a Chip Ganassi Racing driver not named Scott Dixon is tied for the most victories this season and is leading the points.

Oliver Askew did a great job subbing for Rinus VeeKay in the 21 Ed Carpenter car. Askew finished 12th in only his second race of the year. He had more time in the car this week than the 10 minutes he had driving for Arrow last week. the extra time seems to have paid off.

Colton Herta looked like a championship, contender early in the year, but he has faded late in races. Today was a nice comeback to finish second, where he started.

Now, about NBC- a 90 minute pre race show is a bit much, but a five minute post race show is shameful, all because you had to rush to a nascar race at a new venue for them? In a city that Indycar will return to in August? The cut away is especially infuriating after a race as great as this one. We needed to see an interview with Josef Newgarden at the very least.

Today’s post race cutaway by NBC was another slap in the face by the network which claims to love Indycar. After missing the beginning of both races last week, the shabby treatment continues. They are likely the leading contender to keep Indycar because no one else is interested. That is another story and is sad. But if NBC wants to keep the Indianapolis 500, they need to step up their game for the entire season.

Thanks for following along this weekend, and again many thanks for all the good wishes. I will have a follow up tomorrow.

Racing Takes a Back Seat

As I mentioned yesterday when I posted qualifying results, I am back in Indy. Friday I night I could not reach Marti, my significant other. I didn’t think much of it because sometimes she retires early. An attempt to call yesterday morning also went unanswered and I became concerned. I received a text from her just as I got to the track. She said she was in the hospital. I turned in my golf cart, went to back to my Airbnb and packed, and headed for home.

It turns out Marti fainted Friday afternoon. She was able to reach her phone and call 911. We are awaiting the results of one test. The other lab work does not indicate anything serious, just perhaps a severe electrolyte imbalance. She is resting comfortably. Tanks to everyone who reached out with good thoughts yesterday afternoon.

I will watch the REV Group Grand Prix from home today and post my thoughts either later this evening or tomorrow. It looks like a really good chance of rain late n the race. Who goes to rain tires first? In 2018 at Barber in the rain postponed race, Josef Newgarden went to rain tires before the track got slippery. The move paid off as he retook the lead when everyone else had to pit for the treaded rubber.

How will the same front row as Detroit’s Race 2 last Sunday play out today? In consecutive races weekends we have had two multiple pole winners and our first multiple race winner. I see our eighth race winner of 2021 happening today.

If you are at Road America, have fun and be prepared for the weather. For those of you driving back to Indy, Chicago traffic was a nightmare yesterday. Be careful coming back. I will keep you updated on things here at home. Thanks for reading.

Road America Day 2-Qualifying, Weather or Not

Today’s Schedule All time are Central Daylight Time

Qualifying will be shown on NBCSN at midnight. Personally, not my idea of how to build a lead in for the race, but Peacock we must.

The weather looks a bit wet.There is a high probability of a thunderstorm in about an hour (8am local) . Another chance of rain is between 11 am and 1 pm Practice could be wet and qualifying might be damp.Right now it is mostly sunny. High temperature will be around 74.

I hope to have brief post session reports all day and a wrap up later tonight.

Grosjean Tops Practice 1

Photo of Romain Grosjean by Walt Kuhn Indycar

Romain Grosjean led this afternoon’s Indycar practice at Road America with a lap of 1:47.681, beating Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden. The 45 minute session featured the Indycar debuts of Kevin Magnussen and Cody Ware. Ware ended the practice 22nd and Magnussen was 23rd. Oliver Askew, subbing for Rinus VeeKay, had the ninth fastest time.

Ryan Hunter-Reay led most of the session until Grosjean put down his quick lap on his next to last circuit. Points leader Pato O’Ward had the 11th quickest time today.

As we have seen all season, the top ten was split evenly between Honda and Chevrolet.

A second practice at 10:10 Central tomorrow morning will set the qualifying groups for Firestone Fast Six qualifying at 1:30 Central. A post qualifying session follows at 4:30 Central.

Ryan Hunter_Reay led most of the session
Points leader Pato O’Ward was 11th fastest

New Look

After a long construction delayed journey, I arrived at Road America around 2:30 Central time. I had a pleasant surprise at Gate 3. The gravel road is now paved, and there is a large, nice looking sign identifying the gate. I later noticed Gate 4 had similar improvements. In the past, the gate sign was inconspicuous and easy to pass by if you didn’t know what you were looking for. Signage all around the track is upgraded. The look is much improved.

The track also received a makeover. Turns 5, 6, and 14 have a new coat of asphalt.

Overall, Road America looks a bit nicer this year. The changes haven’t altered the character of the place at all, but they have enhanced it.

Road America Preview- Halfway Through a Weird, Wonderful Season

Above: Felix Rosenqvist passes Pato O’Ward in the closing laps to win Race 2 at Road America in 2020

Today- Indycar practice at 5 pm Eastern on Peacock

What a memorable season 2021 has been so far. We have seen four first time winners, seven winners in eight races ,a powerhouse team still looking for its first victory, and a new four time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

Road America is arguably the crown jewel of road courses in America, a race track set inside a national park. It is by far my favorite road course, not only because of the layout and the setting, but also because of the lively, spacious infield. Even last year, Road America seemed to be the track running closest to normal..

This weekend’s race could be the turning point of the year. Pato O’Ward, the only driver with more than one win in 2021, could expand his slim one point lead to a more comfortable margin. If he should get his third win of the season, O’Ward will be in good shape. Series champions usually have at least three wins in a season.

Magnussen Subs for Rosenqvist, Askew for VeeKay

Felix Rosenqvist will miss his second consecutive race. He is still not cleared to drive after his frightening accident Saturday in Detroit. Kevin Magnussen, a former F1 driver currently driving for Chip Ganassi in IMSA will fill in this weekend. Oddly, Magnussen’s father Jan had his second Indycar start at Road America subbing for an injured driver.

Kevin Magnussen

Oliver Askew had just ten minutes in the car last Sunday subbing for Rosenqvist, but with two practices before qualifying, he should be better acclimated to the car.

More Progress for Jimmie Johnson?

Jimmie Johnson seems to finally be getting comfortable in Indycar. Race 2 in Detroit was his best of the season, despite a late spin. Johnson passed cars and was on pace with the field. I see a better finish for him and perhaps a slightly improved qualifying spot.

Penske, Andretti Come back?

Team Penske was on the brink of their first win last weekend. Twice. Still Josef Newgarden grabbed the team’s first pole of the year, and the team seemed stronger overall.

Despite not having a win, Team Penske has seven podiums. Newgarden is fourth in the standings, 51 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

Andretti Autosport is in a funk. The team has qualified well, and they do have a victory and a pole, both by Colton Herta. Yet their races seem to get away from them. Herta, in ninth place and 97 points behind the leader, is the team’s top driver right now.

Both teams need a strong weekend showing.

Cody Ware Debut

In addition to Kevin Magnussen’s Indycar debut,

#52: Cody Ware, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda, portrait

Cody Ware will premiere with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. Ware has spent most of his career in stock cars. He has tested Indycars this year. He will be interesting to watch.

The Points Battle

Pato O’Ward leads Alex Palou by one point and Scott Dixon by 36. Dixon has come from farther back than 36 points to win a championship, and this is the time of the year when he begins to hit his stride.

Will Dixon begin to chip away at the lead this weekend. or will O’Ward and Palou continue to top the charts? O’Ward started race two on the pole here last year and came within a couple laps of his first win.

I don’t think any of the top three drivers wins this weekend. The standings will depend on which driver finishes ahead of the other two. In a season where wins are hard to get, every spot in the race matters.

I think Alexander Rossi finally breaks through for his fist win since won at Road America in 2019.