Top Gun to Debut at IMS Road Course

Photo from Top Gun Racing’s twitter account

From Top Gun Racing’s Twitter account:

Top Gun Racing will compete in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on the 2.439-mile road course at @IMS on August 14th #INDYCAR / #BigMachineGP

The team has scheduled a test for later this month to prepare for the August 14 Indycar road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. R C Enerson is presumed to be the driver.

Top Gun entered the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500his past May but failed to qualify. he Big machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix will be the team’s first race in the NTT Indycar Series.

Top Gun is seeking sponsorships. the information is below:

Indycar Notes: Chasing Unicorns: A Third OEM and More Ovals

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.

More Ovals?

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.

Indycar, Road America Sign Multi Year Extension

A release from Indycar and Road America:

NTT INDYCAR SERIESAnnounces Extension with Road America
-Historic Elkhart Lake Road Course To Remain on Calendar in Multiyear Agreement-
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., July 6, 2021 – INDYCAR and Road America announced today a new, multiyear extension designed to keep the NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing at the legendary 4.014-mile permanent road course for years to come. The series began racing at the picturesque layout in 1982. After a brief hiatus, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned in 2016 to packed grandstands and campgrounds. This year marked the sixth consecutive year Road America has hosted North America’s premier open-wheel series. “INDYCAR is pleased to continue its relationship with Road America,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles. “It is clear that NTT INDYCAR SERIES events in Wisconsin’s scenic Kettle Moraine have developed into exciting and favored weekends for our fans and athletes, as well. “Last year, Road America became a central figure in the series’ return to racing during the global pandemic and the first to host a doubleheader. It has been a fantastic addition to our championship, and it is gratifying to know that it will remain a mainstay on our calendar.” A stellar list of INDYCAR champions have claimed victories at one of the world’s fastest permanent road racing tracks. Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti are three-time winners at Road America. Double winners include Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy and Scott Dixon. Danny Sullivan, Alex Zanardi, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power and Josef Newgarden have also visited victory lane. This year, Alex Palou thrilled a massive crowd with a daring drive and a late-race pass to win the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR on June 20. “The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is clearly one of the greatest forms of open-wheel racing ever to grace our beautiful 4-mile road course,” said Road America President and General Manager Mike Kertscher. “We’ve had a strong relationship since its return in 2016, and we are very proud to continue the tradition. The response from our fans has been tremendous over the past five seasons, and as part of showing our appreciation to them, we are offering a special four-day ticket package for $122. This special is only available online as a print-at-home ticket, and the special price ends on Sept. 30, 2021, so go to roadamerica.com and get yours today.” The 2022 race date will mark the 33rd appearance of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at “America’s National Park of Speed.” The entire 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date.
###
About Road America: Established in 1955, Road America is conveniently located between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The world’s best racers have competed at this legendary four-mile, 14-turn road circuit for over 65 years. Along with over 500 events held seasonally at the 640-acre facility, several major weekends are open to the public, which include the IndyCar Series, the MotoAmerica Series, three vintage racing events, numerous Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and NASCAR. Road America’s park-like grounds offer amazing viewing opportunities, numerous camping options, fantastic concessions, and high-speed excitement to hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. Fans can also stay and play in cabins conveniently on the grounds and find all sorts of souvenirs, collectibles, and apparel at the 7,500 sq. ft Paddock Shop. Affectionately known by many as America’s National Park of Speed, Road America can accommodate groups of all sizes, including weddings and corporate events in the Tufte Conference Center. In addition to public race weekends, Road America offers various group event programs, including geocaching, disc golf, and off-road adventure tours, karting, and the Road America Motorcycle and Driving Schools. For more information, visit http://www.roadamerica.com Follow Road America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube or call 800-365-7223 ‌  ‌  ‌  ‌
Elkhart Lakes Road America | N7390 Hwy 67, Plymouth, WI 53073Unsubscribe tutorindie@yahoo.comUpdate Profile | Constant Contact Data NoticeSent by media@roadamerica.com powered byTry email marketing for free today!

Mid Ohio- Finally Team Penske Finds Victory Circle

Photo by Matt Fraver, Indycar

Charlie Brown got to kick the football at last. On his third try to win a race from the pole, Josef Newgarden hung on despite rapidly fading tires to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio. Marcus Ericsson made up much of the eight second gap he had with less than 10 laps to go to finish just 0.8 seconds behind.

Newgarden;s win ended a season of frustration for himself and Team Penske as both took their first victory of the year. In Detroit race 2, Newgarden lost to Pato O’Ward as his tires could not maintain pace in the final three laps. At Road America gearbox issue with two laps to go caused Newgarden to fade to 21st from the lead. Will Power had Detroit race 1 in hand until his car would not restart after a red flag.

The race was a decent one for Mid Ohio, with a nice battle for positions third through sixth in the middle of the race.

Some Thoughts

Marcus Ericsson once again stood ready to take advantage of a Team Penske misfortune, but Newgarden was able to hang on this time. Ericsson is becoming a great teammate to points leader Alex Palou and Scott Dixon, who is third in points. He sits 5th in points, 104 points behind Palou.

Palou did what he needed to do in what I thought was a championship drive yesterday. He got the most points he could, and he only lost points to the contending driver farthest away from him. Newgarden still trails Palou by 69 points with six races to go.

Pato O”Ward picked his way through the field from 20th to finish eighth and maintain second place in the standings. He trails Palou by 39 points.

Will Power’s season of frustration continues. Yesterday’s lap 4 crash ended what could have been a very strong day for the 2014 series champion. I’m not sure there is any blame to assess here. he and Dixon had a great duel through turns 4 and 5.

Santino Ferucci has driven in four races in 2021 and has four top ten finishes with a ninth place yesterday. Has Rahal found his third full time car? The sponsor, Hy Vee, has to like what they’re seeing. Ferrucci started 22nd.

Romain Grosjean continues to impress with a great save in the keyhole after being blocked by Sebastien Bourdais. His seventh place finish rom 18th on the grid was one of several great drives yesterday. Grosjean has four top tens in seven races.

Ryan Norman had a respectable outing in his Indycar debut. Although he finished 20th, he had worked his way up to 15th at one point and seemed to be on a good pace.

I find it sad that Simon Pagenaud is not a in the conversation for agood finish anymore.

Are the hot seats getting hotter for Felix Rosenqvist, James Hinchcliffe, and Ryan Hunter-Reay? Sunday’s first lap incident involving all three drivers didn’t help their causes any.

Colton Herta’s race woes continue. Two bad pit stops knocked Herta out of contention yesterday. He qualifies well, but the team needs to work on the race setup.

Jack Harvey’s team needs to rethink their strategy. Once again, they chose an off strategy move which didn’t pay off. The Meyer Shank team seems too eager to try something different instead of seeing how the race will play out. They have been in a funk since winning the Indianapolis 500 with Helio Castroneves.

Side Bars

It was a profitable day for the Ohio State Troopers, who were busy all day, “welcoming” motorists to Ohio on Interstates 71 and 70.

The crowd was near the normal size for Mid Ohio. Indycar races on July 4th have not been well attended in the past. While I would prefer to celebrate the 4th in some other fashion, I was okay with the relatively short drive in the same day.

I liked the early start time. Even if Mid Ohio returns to its traditional date next year, I hope they retain the noon start,.

Race Day at Mid Ohio

i should be on the road to Mid Ohio as you read this. It is going to be a very warm day, which might affect tire wear.

The teams made their starting tire selections after final practice yesterday afternoon.

Car Driver Name C/E/T Tire
1 2 Newgarden, Josef D/C/F Alternate
2 26 Herta, Colton D/H/F Alternate
3 8 Ericsson, Marcus D/H/F Alternate
4 12 Power, Will D/C/F Primary
5 9 Dixon, Scott D/H/F Alternate
6 27 Rossi, Alexander D/H/F Primary
7 10 Palou, Alex D/H/F Alternate
8 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F Alternate
9 29 Hinchcliffe, James D/H/F Primary
10 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F Primary
11 21 VeeKay, Rinus D/C/F Alternate
12 14 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F Primary
13 7 Rosenqvist, Felix D/C/F Primary
14 3 McLaughlin, Scott (R) D/C/F Primary
15 22 Pagenaud, Simon D/C/F Primary
16 18 Jones, Ed D/H/F Primary
17 59 Chilton, Max D/C/F Primary
18 51 Grosjean, Romain (R) D/H/F Alternate
19 30 Sato, Takuma D/H/F Primary
20 5 O’Ward, Pato D/C/F Primary
21 4 Kellett, Dalton D/C/F Alternate
22 45 Ferrucci, Santino D/H/F Primary
23 60 Harvey, Jack D/H/F Primary
24 20 Daly, Conor D/C/F Primary
25 48 Johnson, Jimmie (R) D/H/F Primary
26 52 Norman, Ryan (R) D/H/F Primary

Interesting choices by Rossi and Power. There will be a race wrapup tomorrow. Enjoy the race. Green flag is at 12:05 EDT on NBC.

Front Row Show Renewed for Third Straight Week

Photo of Josef Newgarden by Matt Fraver, Indycar

Indycar’s longest running show, Josef Newgarden and Colton Herta in the front row, has been renewed by the series for a third straight week. Newgarden edged Herta this time by just 0.004 seconds in a wild qualifying session that saw lots of sliding and dirt thrown around, it had a controversial ending to Group 1 in Round 1.

Jack Harvey looked to be safely the top six ubtil he spun and came to halt just ahead of the timing line. Alexander rossi and Simon Pagenaud sped by, but did not slow enough according to race control. At the checkered flag, Harvey and Pagenaud were in and Rossi was out. Harvey lost his best lap, and Pagenaud and Rossi lost their final lap. As a result, Harvey and Pagenaud did not advance, but Rossi did. Rossi would go on to make the Fast Six.

The question now is, can Newgarden win? His last two poles looked like dominating wins, but tire and gear issues cost him each of the last two races with just a few laps to go. Herta has finished fourth and second in the previous two races.

Some Thoughts

Rinus VeeKay had a nice return race from his injury. The second year driver advanced to round 2.

The Fast Six seemed like old times with two cars each from Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti.

Will Power had to scramble in Round 1 to get his car fired again. He finally got on track with just four minutes left. Power, the active leader in pole positions, made it to the Fast Six. Power still does not have a pole this year. This is not the first time the 12 car has had electrical issues.

I hope Jack Harvey has his bad luck for the weekend out of the way now and can get a decent finish tomorrow.

Points leader Alex Palou starts seventh, while Scott Dixon starts fifth. Pato O’Ward, second in points, starts 20th.

Results:

Final practice begins in just a few minutes. Enjoy.

Mid Ohio Saturday

Today’s Schedule:

An early start for Indycar today. Kyle Kirkwood is on the pole for today’s Indy Lights race. I will have a post qualifying report and possibly reports on other sessions.

Yesterday was about 20 degrees cooler than the predicted temperature for Sunday, and today is supposed to be in between Friday’s and Sunday’s highs. It should make for interesting tire choices to start the race.

Enjoy your Saturday. Back later.

Newgarden Paces First Practice

Is this the weekend Josef Newgarden gets to the finish line first? The team Penske driver served notice that he is ready to grab his first win of the season, leading today’s only practice session by a bit less than 0.03 seconds over Pato O’Ward.

Jack Harvey was third, not too far behind points runner up O’Ward. Harvey hopes to reverse the team’s race day misfortunes this weekend.

Points leader Alex Palou finished ninth today with a lap he set early in the 45 minute session. Scott Dixon was seventh, putting the three top title contenders in the top ten.

Felix Rosenqvist spun and stalled exiting turn 1, causing a red flag which lasted about three minutes. Colton Herta went off track in turn 11, somehow kept the car away from the wall, and returned to the track. It was a wild ride nd quite a save. Takuma Sato went wide in the final turn in the final minute of the session and bumped the tire barrier, but he was able to drive back to the pits.

Results:

Indycar’s next practice is at 9:05 am EDT on peacock with Qualifying at Noon, also on Peacock. Qualifying will be aired on NBCSN at 8 pm tomorrow night.

Mid Ohio Preview- Fighting for the Title and Next Year’s Seats

Photo from Mid Ohio Sports Car Course

Update on Marti- She is still in hospital and working hard to improve. She began a new treatment yesterday which should yield some results by the weekend. Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts.

Today’s Schedule:

Indycar Practice- 2:30-3:15 pm EDT. On Peacock and Sirius XM 205

The Honda Indy 200 (actually 180) has three levels of importance in 2021. As the unofficial start to the second half of the season, the race could determine the shape of the battle for the Astor Cup. Some drivers unsure of their futures are auditioning for 2022, and everyone wants to enter the month long break w]on a positive note.

Alex Palou has a mildly comfortable 28 point lead over Pato O’Ward with Scott Dixon 53 points behind. Some think Josef Newgarden has a chance, but 88 points is a lot to overcome in just seven races. Track position is key at Mid Ohio, with the pole sitter winning four of the last six races here, including both races of last year’s double header. Where the contenders start might determine where they finish in relation to one another.

2022 Tryouts

Felix Rosenqvist returns to his full time seat after missing the last two races after suffering injuries in Detroit Race 1. Rosenqvist is 24th in the point standings with a best finish of 12th at St. Pete. He is thought to be the driver most likely to be looking for a ride next year. Rosenqvist needs seven good performances.

James Hinchcliffe and Ed Jones also need to have solid second halves to retain their seats at Andretti Atosport and Dale Coyne Racing.

Ryan Norman makes his Indycar debut in the 52 car for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR this weekend. Norman is seeking a full time ride this year.

Three Indy Lights drivers have plans to move up in 2022. Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, and Linus Lundquist, the htree title contenders, all are good enough to go to Indycar. The Lights champion will have at least three races next year. the other two need a budget. At least one of this trio will probably get a chance at an Indycar race in August or September.

The Wild Card

Santino Ferrucci returns to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Mid Ohio. Ferrrucci has three top ten finishes in his three races this season. Last year for Race 2 here, he earned a front row starting spot with an amazing lap in the rain. He never got to show what he could do in the race after a first lap scuffle with pole sitter Bryan Herta. I look for Ferrucci to be a factor this weekend.

The race at Mid Ohio is usually a processional affair with pit activity determining the outcome. in 2021 we have seen several tracks known for this type of racing spring to life with good racing. There have been some good races here. The last lap of the 2019 event when Felix Rosenqvist chased down and nearly caught Scott Dixon was one of the best laps of racing I’ve seen.

Will the 80 lap distance change strategy? It should allow for more options. I’m not a fan of shortening races, but this might save us from having a fuel saving affair. Full course cautions will also be a factor in strategy. Yellows seem to be occurring at strange times this year.

Scott Dixon did win after starting last in 2014, but qualifying position usually goes a long way toward deciding the winner.

I think we will see a Penske car win at last this weekend. I’m not sure which driver, but Josef Newgarden has been on a qualifying tear lately, but he has lost leads late in the last two races.. Will Power has five poles at Mid Ohio, including Race 1 last year when he went on to win.

Green flag is at 12:05 pm EDT on NBC.