9 Indycar Races on NBC

NBC Sports today made their Indycar broadcast schedule ,official. A record nine races will be on NBC, including six of the first eight races. The NBC portion begins at the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park and continues the following weekend. The season finale at Long Beach is slated for NBCSN.

My NBC coverage for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 begins at 11 am Eastern. I assume the race will begin at 12:30 or a little bit later.

Eight broadcasts begin at noon Eastern.

I would prefer the double header at Detroit be moved to NBCSN and Road America and Long Beach replace those two races on NBC. Once again, Roger didn’t return my call.

I’m sure the network is as proud as a Peacock about this schedule.

Here is the schedule with broadcast times:

DateRace/TrackNetworkTime (ET)
Sun., April 18Barber Motorsports ParkNBC3 p.m.
Sun., April 25Streets of St. PetersburgNBC12 p.m.
Sat., May 1Texas Motor Speedway – Race 1NBCSN7 p.m.
Sun., May 2Texas Motor Speedway – Race 2NBCSN5 p.m.
Sat., May 15Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course)NBC2:30 p.m.
Sun., May 30The 105th Indianapolis 500NBC11 a.m.
Sat., June 12Raceway at Belle Isle Park/Detroit – Race 1NBC2 p.m.
Sun., June 13Raceway at Belle Isle Park/Detroit – Race 2NBC12 p.m.
Sun., June 20Road AmericaNBCSN12 p.m.
Sun., July 4Mid-Ohio Sports Car CourseNBC12 p.m.
Sun., July 11Streets of TorontoNBCSN12 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 8Streets of NashvilleNBCSN5:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 14Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course)NBCSN12:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 21World Wide Technology RacewayNBCSN8 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 12Portland International RacewayNBC3 p.m.
Sun, Sept. 19WeatherTech Raceway Laguna SecaNBC3 p.m.
Sun, Sept. 26Streets of Long BeachNBCSN3 p.m.

Note: dates and networks are subject to change

IMS Hosts Mass Vaccination Site

Indianapolis motor Spoeeway has helped the nation as a training ground during the two world wars. It is now helping to combat the coronavirus as one of three staewide mass vaccination clinics this weekend. It will be a drive through vaccination site. Indiana opened vaccinations to residents 55 and older this morning. The three sites will administer the new johnson and Johnson one dose vaccine.

The release from the Indiana Department of Health:

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health today announced that it has partnered with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, University of Notre Dame and Ivy Tech Community College to host three mass vaccination clinics to help eligible Hoosiers receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, effective today, Hoosiers age 55 and older are now eligible to receive a free vaccine.

“Getting tens of thousands of vaccines in arms in a matter of days is a huge undertaking that requires incredible partnerships,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “We are incredibly grateful to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Notre Dame and Ivy Tech for their willingness to meet this challenge head-on to help save Hoosier lives.”

The mass vaccination clinics will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received its Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on Saturday. The vaccine requires only one dose and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials involving nearly 44,000 participants from all races and ethnicities.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine gives eligible Hoosiers a safe, effective and convenient way to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Because it requires just one dose, every shot administered represents a Hoosier who can rest easier, knowing their risk of severe illness from this disease has dropped exponentially.”

The Indiana Department of Health has also begun planning for a future mass vaccination clinic in Gary in collaboration with local health officials. Additional mass vaccination sites in other locations will be planned as more vaccine becomes available.

All clinics will require advance registration through https://ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. Proof of age and residency will be required. The mass vaccination clinics are listed as sites that eligible Hoosiers can select when making an appointment. No walk-ups will be permitted.

Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging, AARP and nearly 70 libraries around the state also can help Hoosiers schedule their appointments.

The clinic schedules are as follows:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis
March 5-7
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Enter through main gate off 16th Street; participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.

Ivy Tech Community College
8204 County Road 311, Sellersburg 
March 12-13
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.

University of Notre Dame
Compton Family Ice Arena
100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame
March 26-27
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Additional dates may be added to each of the above sites depending on demand and vaccine availability.

A separate advisory with instructions for media interested in covering the clinics will be issued closer to the events.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://ourshot.in.gov.

O’Ward Leads Laguna Seca Test; Grosjean 3rd Fastest

Photo: Chris Owens, Indycar

Pato O’Ward had the quickest time in Monday’s test at Weather Tech Raceway Monday. The private test The private test session included seven drivers from four teams. It was the first test day in an Indycar for Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive for Arrow McLaren SP in the Indianapolis 500.

Montoya will be in car number 86 at Indianapolis. The number is a tribute to Peter Revson’s 1971 500 pole winning McLaren.

Romain Grosjean, who recently signed with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR, was third fastest on the day. Grosjean said in an earlier interview that this track was the one he was most looking forward to driving. he had Laguna Seca on a video game when he was younger.

Helio Castroneves also partticipated in the test for Meyer Shank Racing. Castroneves will drive in six races, including the 500, for Meyer Shank Racing.

Indycar’s next official test will at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 8-9 for all entries in the Indianapolis 500. There is no word yet if this test will be open for public viewing.

Results:

RANKCAR NO.DRIVERTEAMENGINEFAST LAPDIFF.TOTAL LAPS
15Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevrolet71.293 83
218Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing With Vasser-SullivanHonda71.529-0.236104
351Romain GrosjeanDale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware RacingHonda71.571-0.278109
67Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevrolet71.600-0.30792
560Jack HarveyMeyer-Shank RacingHonda71.688-0.39581
421Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet71.797-0.504104
886Juan MontoyaArrow McLaren SPChevrolet72.219-0.92675
706Helio CastronevesMeyer-Shank RacingHonda72.812-1.51991

Arrow McLaren SP Sports a Different Look for 2021

All photos from Arrow McLaren SP

Arrow McLaren SP revealed their liveris for the number 5 car of Pato O’Ward and the number 7 car of Felix Rosenqvist today. The cars have a bit of a different look and are not similar as they were last year. In 2020 Oliver Askew’s number 7 had blue end plates and the cars were at times difficult to distinguish.

The team presented the cars in a You Tube video this morning on their social media channels.

Rosenqvist (L) and O’Ward (R) comparison. Slide the arrow for a full view of each car.



The numbers on the roll hoop appear a bit sharper on the 2021 car. Last year the numbers were a hard to see at times. I’m glad they kept the abstract look of the digits.

Juan Pablo Montoya will join the team for 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. His car number, sponsor, and livery will be announced closer to May.

Grosjean’s First Indycar Test: ‘Felt Like Home’

Photo: Romain Grosjean getting ready for his first run in an Indycar. Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Tuesday Romain Grosjean got his first taste of Indycar as Dale Coyne Racing joined four other teams at Barber Motorsports Park in a preseason test. Barber is the site of the NTT Indycar Series opening race on April 18.Overall, he was happy with the day. This was Grosjean’s first time in a race car since his November accident in the Formula 1 race in Bahrain.

The ,main differences Grosjean noticed between Formula 1 and Indycar were the mechanical grip and the lack of power steering.

“I discovered the joy of not having a power steering wheel, and I don’t regret all those hours in the gym, but maybe I’ll do some more just in case,” Grosjean told the media.

“But I observed that the mechanical grip of the car is pretty outstanding and therefore you can try different lines in the corner and you can actually make it smooth in the way you want it.”

Grosjean had no issue with the aeroscreen.

Overall, he felt yesterday was a good learning day. He even learned something from his spin in turn 1.

“…basically I just went too fast in. When I was on the brake I also picked up the throttle which you do in high speed, but because it’s a mechanica ldiff it does open the diff when you do that, and therefore it makes the car lose, whereas in Formula 1 it would actually stabilize the car, so I would say it was a learning experience and then I didn’t do it anymore, and it was better.”

Grosjean’s next test day will be at Laguna Seca. it’s a track he looks forward to driving since he drove it on a video game when he was tounger.

Other teams testing today were Ed Carpenter racing in their first test of the year; Team Penske, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and A. J. Foyt Racing.

Who Was Fastest?

I have seen two different speed charts from yesterday. On One, Rinus VeeKay had the quick time. I learned that this chart was for times with drivers using push to pass. The other chart, without push to pass, had Sebastien Bourdais at the top. Grosjean was the slowest on both charts, as expected. He was, however, within a second of the leader on both sets.

Fans Allowed in May at IMS. Who Gets to Go?

Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 May 30. The number allowed is still a work in progress. With the race still htree months away, time is on the speedway’s side. Positive rates and deaths from COVID-19 are declining in Indiana, and today the state opened vaccine eligibility to people aged 60-64.

The consensus from what i hacve heard is that 50% capacity will be the target. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which will take place mainly in Indianapolis, will allow 25% of capacity attendance. That number is a bit deceiving, since team members, game support personnel, and invited team guests- approximately 420 per game-count towards the 25%. I estimate that leaves room for about 1,700- 1,900 fans per session, depending on the venue.

If IMS follows this capacity pattern, there could be possibly 75,000 or a bit more watching the race in person. The question is who gets to go and who doesn’t? The 2020 race ran without fans, although plans were made to accommodate some spectators. The track ultimately decided to keep the stands closed. Last year, IMS gave fans a choice to keep their tickets or defer them to 2021. They could offer that option again.

My feeling is I missed one race, and I don’t want to miss two in a row. I’m sure many fans feel the same way. I don’t envy the speedway’s position. The question of how many and which fans to let in coukl be a public relations nightmare.I have a couple of suggestions. Of course IMS has not listened to me in the past. Maybe this time?

Survey fans and offer the deferral option again. This will give those fans who still don’t feel comfortable attending the option of waiting another year. The track will have an idea of how many want to attend.

Fans who have held reserved seats for several years should have priority.

Limit general admission and employ the eight foot circles as Iowa did at their races last summer. The circles worked well at Iowa, and the hill accommodated quite a few fans.

I trust Doug Boles and Roger Penske will come up with a fair plan. They have more latitude than they had last year, and pandemic restrictions will probably be a bit looser by May.

Carvana Unveils Livery for Jimmie Johnson’s Car

Photo from @Carvana

Today is turning out to be a big day for cars numbered 48. Earlier Tony Kanaan announced his full time ride in the Brazilian Stock car series. Now, Kanaan’s other 48, the Chip Ganassi racing Indycar, revealed its new livery for the 2021 season. This is actually the livery for Jimmie Johnson, who will drive the car on the road and street courses.

It’s a nice livery, although it looks like a derivative of AMSP’s cars. In some light the trim looks orange. I think it is really a yellow. It might take a race to get used to the distinction between Johnson. O’Ward, and Rosenqvist. The blue deflector in front of the rear wheel should help fans to distinguish this car from the AMSP cars.

The car debuts at the NTT Indycar Series opener March 18 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Kanaan To Race Stock Cars in Brazil

Tony Kanaan will not be sitting around waiting for the Indycar oval races. On Sunday, he announced a full time ride in the Brazilian stock car series. According to a schedule I found, the season has 10 races beginning March 28. There is one race a month through december. none of the dates conflict with Indycar’s oval schedule, where Kanaan will drive for Chip Ganassi Racing. He is driving the oval part of the schedule in the 48 car Jimmie Joh nson will pilot on the road and street courses.

Kanaan will also participate in Tony Stewart’s new SRX series.

Kanaan’s stock car also carries the number 48 with Texaco sponsorship.. Former Formula 1 and Indycar driver rubens Barrichello is involved in the project.

Sato Reveals Borg- Warner Trophy Image

In an online show on IMS.com, 2020 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato got his first look at his second likeness on the Borg-Warner trophy. Sato is a two time winner of the race. He first won in 2017 and finished third in 2019.The race is 100 days from today.

The 30 minute program featured segments with Doug Boles and Rahal Letterman team owners Mike lanigan and Bobby Rahal. Last year was Rahal’s second win as a car owner. He also won the 2004 race with Buddy Rice driving. The third team owner, David Letterman, appeared in a prerecorded video.

The full program is available for viewing on YouTube.

A Good Sign for 500 Fans?

The NCAA this morning announced that the NCCA men’s basketball tournament games will allow 25% capacity at the games, which be played entirely in Indianapolis. The tournament will take place at several venues in Indianapolis as well as at Purdue and Indiana University. The 25% includes the teams and game personnel, which narrows the actual number of fans at each arena. As I am writing this, Purdue just announced 12-13% capacity for the tournament games.

The positive part is that this may signal some good news for fan attendance at the Indianapolis 500. Marion County has been the most restrictive county in Indiana at times, but this allowance may be a great sign for May.