Autonomous Cars at IMS: Some F1 Thoughts

Photo: The winning car in the Indy Autonomous Challenge from the Technical University of Munich. IMS photo.

Saturday’s Indy Autonomous Challenge provided an interesting look at the future of cars-driverless, computer controlled machines, best suited for regular driving, but not for racing. I found it unnerving to see a car controlled by a team of people sitting around a computer instead of being driven by someone in the cockpit. I hope racing never comes to this.

For the record, European teams dominated the day, making the final three in a shootout looking for the best two lap average. The fastest lap was by the Europe team at just over 139 mph, but a programming error caused the car to slow to about 90 mph on its second lap. The team programmed one lap too few into the car.

The winning speed achieved by the TUM team, from Munich, Germany was 135.9 mph. Some cars hit 155 mph down the front straight.

I would not be concerned about these cars running in the 500 in our lifetime. They did have engines, and it was nice to hear the sound on the track, but I don’t see the same rooting interest for a machine as there is for a driver.

Andretti and F1-Deal or No Deal?

First reports said the sale was complete. Then another report said that Michael Andretti needed another 250 million Euros to complete the purchase of the Alfa Romeo team.

The anticipated announcement of an American F1 team did not happen in Austin over the weekend. Having a team from the USA announced at the US Grand Prix would have been most appropriate.

We might know something by the time of Grand Prix of Mexico in two weeks, but I’m thinking the deal is off the table. Colton Herta fans can relax for now.

The Crowd

Attendance at the USGP in Austin was mind boggling- 140,000 yesterday for the race and 400,000 for the weekend. The race day crowd exceeds the 135,00 who were allowed to attend the Indianapolis 500 in May. Can the USGP repeat this number next year?I think that is what we need to keep it in perspective.

I’m seeing a lot of hand wringing by some outlets and on social media about how F1 is now more popular in the US than Indycar is. Let’s consider some things, though.

I’m not dismissing the great job the organizers did in getting a crowd of that size, but here are some circumstances that may have led to the huge attendance. First, this was the first US Grand prix since 2019. Many fans are thrilled at the return of racing and don’t want to defer going to a track they have always wanted to visit.

Second, COTA has always had huge draw from Mexico, which also lost its Grand Prix in 2020. There may have been an even larger contingent from south of the border. The crowd in two weeks in Mexico City may be even bigger.

Third, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have brought legions of fans to every grand prix this season, and those fans at the last five races will continue to grow.

Some people credit the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” with an increase in F1’s popularity here. It may have something to do with it, but to swell the Austin crowd that much? I’m not sure.

My question is, how many fans were from the United States?

The Race

As far as the race goes, it was one of the better USGPs. It was a strategy race, which I enjoy. Max Verstappen’s tire strategy of pitting early gave him an edge over Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen increased his lead in the standings to 12 points over Hamilton with five races left.

Barber Test

Indycar etsting continues at barber today. The weather should be decent- temperatures in the mid 70s with only a 15%chance of rain.

Andretti will eb testing with Devlin DeFrancesco and Kyle Kirkwood. DeFrancesco is rumored to be set in the 29 while Kirkwood’s status for next year is still uncertain.

AMSP will test former F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg as the team considers a third car for 2022, perhaps part time before a full time run in 2023.

The A J Foyt Racing test with Logan Sargeant has been cancelled as Sargeant signed late last week with the Williams Driving Academy.

Andersen Promotions Announces USAC Sanctioning

PALMETTO, Fla. – Andersen Promotions today announced a new agreement with the United States Auto Club (USAC Racing) to become the sanctioning body for the three racing series owned and operated by the organization – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires as well as the new USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires.

Both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 are key steps on the highly visible Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, a scholarship-supported driver development platform to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 500. The recently announced USF Juniors is a pre-step to the ladder system offering its champion a scholarship package to enter USF2000.

USAC Racing has enjoyed a storied history since being formed in 1956 as a sanctioning body for the United States National Championship and the Indianapolis 500. While its portfolio is best known in the circle track arena with Silver Crown, Sprint, Midget and .25 Midget sanctioning, it now governs a diverse motorsports platform which also includes the SRO World Challenge, Porsche Sprint Challenge and the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks.

“Thirty years ago when I first announced the USF2000 series launch in 1991, USAC stepped up and was my first sanctioning body,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We’ve come full circle and I am very pleased to be back with them and look forward to a long-term relationship. USAC Racing is widely recognized for its operation of Midgets, Sprint cars and Silver Crown cars but they are also becoming increasingly prominent in road racing with Porsche and SRO. This is a great sanctioning body and we are proud to be with them.

“I would also like to thank INDYCAR, which has sanctioned the Road to Indy since its inception in 2010. INDYCAR’s focus is, understandably, on series it owns and operates. We’ll continue to use their services on race weekends and look forward to our ongoing relationship as a support series where our drivers continue along their path toward the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”

USAC Racing sanctioning services will include licensing and membership management, which will result in cost savings for teams and drivers. Andersen Promotions will continue to contract the services of INDYCAR for Race Control, Timing & Scoring and the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team with all events on its 2022 calendar for USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

The Road to Indy will be back in action later this month with its traditional Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on October 30/31. The outing will feature all three levels of the ladder including Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, which is owned by INDYCAR and will continue to operate under its sanction.

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Autonomous Challenge- The Future of Racing?

This Saturday Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a competition for autonomous cars. The cars are the products of engineering teams from 21 universities from nine countries. $1 million in prize money is at stake. My understanding is that this is not a race. The event hopes to encourage high school STEM programs as well as develop the driverless car concept.

While autonomous cars seem to be making some inroads on the streets and highways, are there implications for racing? For now, no one thinks so, but perhaps someday in the very distant future? I hope it happens after I am gone. I don’t think there will ever be an Indianapolis Autonomous 500.

I assume the track is open for viewing, but the IMS website doesn’t sya anything about spectators.

Notes

Sebastien Bourdais has signed with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive one of his Cadillac DP1 cars in IMSA fulltime in 2022. He hopes to still race for A J Foyt Racing when his schedule allows. The IMSA schedule has five conflicts with Indycar. Both series share weekends at Detroit and Long Beach.

Bourdais plans to continue helping develop the 14 car. Foyt is still putting together sponsorship for next season and will take a look at other drivers as well.

Monday’s test at Barber may provide more focus for the 2022 grid. Seats are getting filled, and some of the drivers testing may end up on the grid at St. Pete.

Foyt will be testing Logan Sargent, who has been on the F1 ladder the last two years.

David Malukas, 2021 Indy Lights runner-up, will test for dale Coyne Racing.

Ryan Hunter Reay is scheduled to be in the 20 for Ed Carpenter Racing. Hunter-Reay may run the road and street courses for ECR if Conor Daly doesn’t return.

Former F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg will have a test for Arrow McLaren SP. This is an exploratory test. Hulkenberg may run a few road races for AMSP in 2022 in a third car. He may be more interested in a full time ride in 2023.

Indy lights champion Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco will be in Andretti Autosport cars. DeFrancesco is thought to be locked into the 29, while Kirkwood is still looking for a full time spot. Nothing against DeFrancesco, but this seems backwards.

Lundgaard Embraces Indycar’s ‘Pure Racing”

Photo of Christian Lundgaard by James Black, Indycar

Christian Lundgaard had just a few hours to get a taste of Indycar last August, but it was enough to set him on a path for a full time ride in the series. Luindgaard and team owner Bobby Rahal talked about the differences between Indycar and Formula 1, and why they think Indycar presents greater opportunities for younger drivers.

He told the media this morning after Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Lundgaard as the 2022 driver of car 30,

“In the end it actually came down to what do I personally
want and what will I enjoy, and for me when I did the race
over here, that’s what I enjoyed the most. I haven’t
enjoyed a race weekend as much as that one for years,
except obviously when you have a very good weekend in
whatever you’re doing and you are winning and
dominating. . .
Over here it’s pure racing. I like the racing over here.
Yeah, that’s what attracts me and the racing itself, so I’m
definitely positive for next year.”

Lundgaard understands the challenges he faces on ovals, but is eager to run on them. He counts on his experienced teammates, graham Rahal and Jack Harvey, to help him. LKundgaard appreciates Indycar’s oval history.

“…when I think about INDYCAR, I think about the Indy 500. When you’re
sitting at home and someone mentions INDYCAR, you
think of the oval tracks, so you know what comes with it.
I think the road courses I know. I know how to drive
around a road course, but the ovals will definitely be a
challenge.
I think it’s something that I will have to prepare as much as
I can on. I think it’s great to have Graham and Jack with
me. They’ve got the experience. The team has got the
experience on the oval tracks, so I think for me, it’s about
taking it step by step, but at the same time trying to see
how much I can learn before getting on to the track.
And I’m sure the team has got everything ready for me.”

Lundgaard explained the difference between Formula 1 and Indycar and why he is taking thuis direction.

“INDYCAR is a series where they do this Indy 500, they do
ovals. It’s very mixed. It’s a mix of street circuits, road
courses, ovals. It’s such a big mix, where you have
European tracks, they’re nice and smooth, big runoffs.
Specifically in F1 you’ve got some are faster than others
and you’ve got to be in the right car to be able to win.
Looking at Romain, he came over here and he started
winning and performing. I never doubted that he was a
good driver even in F1 because I know Kevin as well and
he was his teammate and they were fighting each other
because that’s the only thing I could do. Over here
everyone fights everyone. Everyone has an opportunity to
win. That’s what racing stands for.
So for me to come over here, I know once I jump in the car
I’ve got an opportunity to win no matter which track I’m at,
and that’s what racing is, and that’s why I’m here.”

Rahal was asked why he thinks young European drivers ould be attracted to Indycar.

” Well, first off, I think INDYCAR is what
Formula 1 used to be, to a large degree. Clearly we don’t
have the politics. Clearly we don’t — there’s a lot of things
that don’t exist in the INDYCAR paddock that exist in the
Formula 1 paddock.
You look at how many really good guys are in F2 who
maybe are frustrated now because they can’t make that
next step, and yet they’ve kind of proven their abilities.
As Christian mentioned, I think that — if I’m a young guy in
Europe and I look at the potentials, I think the potential for
my career is much greater here in INDYCAR than it is
there.”

Lundgaard joins Callum Ilott of Juncos-Hollinger Racing as the first two confirmed rookies for 2022. Young drivers in Europe will watch their progress closely next season. Indycar may be on the verge of another European wave.


Lundgaard Completes RLL’s 2022 Lineup

Another grid spot for the 2022 NTT Indycar season is now filled as Rahal letterman Lanigan racing announced Christian Lundgaard as driver of car 30. Lundgaard drove in one race for RLL in 2021,starting fourth and finishing 12th at the second road course race at IMS in August. The news release from R:LL this morning:

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BROWNSBURG, Ind. (October 20, 2021) – After an impressive debut in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in August, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that FIA Formula 2 Championship driver Christian Lundgaard, 20, will join the team as the driver of the No. 30 Honda-powered entry beginning in 2022 in a multi-year agreement. Further details for the racing program will be announced at a later date.

Lundgaard, who is a member of the Alpine Academy, a program originally created by Renault F1 in 2002 to support young racing drivers through their careers, had limited preparation before his Indy car debut at IMS but turned heads when he qualified on the second row in fourth place and went on to finish 12th despite a condensed event schedule.

His ability to adapt quickly will be an asset as he learns the nuances of oval racing and also competes in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2022.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 25-27. The 17-race schedule includes the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 on Sunday, July 24 – both at Iowa Speedway. Team partner Hy-Vee will provide broad support for the doubleheader event through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, located near their headquarters in Des Moines, after a one-year hiatus. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

QUOTEBOARD:

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, Driver of the No. 30 Honda: “I’m very excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in INDYCAR. They are a fantastic team who made me feel very welcome earlier this year when I made my debut in the series. They are the perfect choice and I’m happy to join them on this next chapter in my career. I was very much open minded when I raced at Indianapolis in August and the experience then only grew my hunger to give it another go, so to have the opportunity as a full-time professional racing driver is a privilege. I can only thank Bobby, Piers and the team, as well as my investors and Alpine for putting it all together. I’m determined to repay that faith with on-track performances beginning when the season starts in February. Of course, this will be a completely new challenge for me, especially with oval racing, which I’ve never done before. I’d like to think I’m a fast learner, so taking this on is going to be an awesome experience. For now, I’m not setting too many expectations other than working hard and enjoying the racing and hopefully the results will follow. For now, though, my focus is on finishing the Formula 2 Championship before fully committing to taking on INDYCAR. I can’t wait for the experience to begin.”

BOBBY RAHAL, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I’m very pleased that Christian will be joining us for the next several years. His performance on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway certainly surprised everybody. For him to do the job he did was tremendous and certainly beyond our expectations. With a little more time under his belt, I think the performance would have been even stronger. Everyone within the team was very pleased and it created a lot of excitement and positive reactions from the fans on social media and online as well as a positive buzz in the paddock. Some may not know, but he had food poisoning so he wasn’t feeling 100 percent that day and yet to have the kind of weekend we had was great. I look forward to a long relationship with Christian. He’s a great young man who fit well with the team immediately and we are all excited about what we can do together.”

MIKE LANIGAN, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “The team is very excited to have Christian on board beginning with the 2022 season. With our current line up with Graham and Jack, I believe the addition of Christian will take our team to the next level in competing for a championship.”

DAVID SALTERS, President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development: “Christian impressed us all in his INDYCAR debut earlier this year, on the IMS road course with Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Great to see a ‘youth movement’ in INDYCAR and high quality talent transfer from F2 and F1 programs. From Honda’s perspective, it’s delightful to see the upward trajectory of INDYCAR with a super competitive field, we relish this as we race to challenge ourselves through competition. We look forward to watching Christian continue to develop and perform in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2022.”

About Christian Lundgaard
Twenty-year-old Christian, from Hedensted, Denmark, races in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the primary Formula 1 support series. He is also a member of the Alpine Academy, having joined the program in 2017 following an impressive career in European and World Karting Championships. Christian’s first year in single-seaters led to two Formula 4 titles – NEZ and Spanish – before he finished runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup as a rookie. In 2019, Christian stepped up to Formula 3, finishing sixth, before progressing to Formula 2 last year.

In 2020 he stepped up to Formula 2, securing two wins. So far in 2021, Christian has three Formula 2 podiums to his name. He finished second in Race 2 at the season opener in Bahrain before claiming third place in Race 1 in Great Britain in July. After his debut in INDYCAR, he made a sensational charge from 19th on the grid to finish third in Monza in Race 1. He has tested the R.S.18 on one occasion this year at Silverstone. The final two races of the championship will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 2-4 and Yas Marina, United Arab Emirates, December 9-11.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time
IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2021, the team begins its 30th year of competition and will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 107 podium finishes and 1992 series championship. The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 91 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team will compete for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Just a Few Indycar Related Notes

Seems I have been away for a bit. It has been a hectic week with Marti coming home after 118 days, three hospitals, and two rehab centers. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers the last four months. We are readjusting to a more normal life. This week is also Heartland Film G=Festival week, so I’ve been spending much of my free time in a movie theater. Okay, Back to work.

Dan Wheldon

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident in Las Vegas. I am not going to rehash that horrible day. It was a tragedy compounded 10 days later by a much deeper, personal loss.

I was a big fan of Wheldon’s, and his death was a huge loss to Indycar. However, the good that came out of it was the new safer chassis that he helped develop. I think he would have continued to be a great ambassador for the sport after his retirement fro racing.

Tony Stewart Buys into NHRA

The news should not be a surprise. Tony Stewart likes to own racing related things. He owns a NASCAR team, a race track, and now he owns an NHRA team. Leah Pritchett, his fiancee, will be the driver.

I wish Stewart well in this venture. I hope his next acquisition is an Indycar team.

Weight and Heat-An Issue for 2023?

At a Firestone tire test at Mid Ohio last week, Josef Newgarden had a chance to drive with added weight simulating the 2023 car with the larger engine (2.4 liters) and the hybrid KERS system.Overall, Newgarden was pleased with the test, but, according to an article on Motorsport.com, Newgarden voiced concerns about the physicality of the car, especially during races in the heat of summer.

From the Motorsport article:

“I think we’re starting to push over the edge of what some of the drivers can do physically, in some conditions, and we need to be cognizant of that. It’s something I’ve spoken to IndyCar about.”

Newegarden believes the added weight- 120 pounds or so of the new power package in addition to approximately 60 pounds of the aeroscreen is “excessive.” Indycar will have added 180 pounds to the car over a span of four years.

A new chassis with an integrated aeroscreen would help reduce weight. I hope Indycar looks at other areas where some poundage can be removed from the racecar.

Kirkwood Tests for Andretti

Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood tested a car for Andretti Autosport at Sebring. Kirkwood felt right at home in the Indycar, and he set the day’s fastest lap. He will test again at Barber on October 25th.

There is still no word on Kirkwood’s plans for next season, but I think Andretti may be looking for a way to get him a full time ride. There may be an announcement by the end of the month.

Ferrari Prances to Pole for Indianapolis 8 Hour Sports Car Race

www.IMS.com           Indianapolis Motor Speedway Press Release Pole Shootout Results

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021) – The Prancing Horse strutted with authority Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Alessandro Pierguidi drove the No. 51 AF Corse-Francorchamps Motors Ferrari 488 GT3 to the pole for the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS.Italian driver Pierguidi climbed to pole on his first flying lap in the 15-minute pole shootout for the top 15 cars in earlier rounds of qualifying, stopping the clocks at 1 minute, 33.456 seconds to topple the No. 32 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT from the top spot. No other driver could go quicker in the final six minutes of the session. The No. 25 Audi Sport Team Sainteloc will join the No. 51 Ferrari on the front row after Patric Niederhouser of Switzerland turned a top lap of 1:33.514 in qualifying. The No. 99 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG GT3 just missed a front-row start by one-thousandth of a second after a best lap of 1:33.515 by Jules Gounon of France.Joining the No. 99 Mercedes in the second row will be the teammates of the pole-sitting No. 51, as Antonio Fuoco of Italy qualified fourth at 1:33.556 in the No. 71 AF Corse-Francorchamps Motors Ferrari 488 GT3. NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Callum Ilott is a member of the three-driver team for that car.
Just one-tenth of a second separated the top four cars in the taut, 15-minute session under sunny skies and moderate breezes at the Racing Capital of the World.The Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli endurance sports car race starts at 10 a.m. (ET) Sunday on the 2.589-mile IMS road course layout, with the 41-car field taking the checkered flag at 6 p.m. It’s the largest-ever field at a North American event for the global series.
Tickets are available at IMS.com.Marvin Dienst of Belgium drove the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the Silver Cup class pole with a top lap of 1:34.013, good for seventh overall. Mikael Grenier of Canada won the Pro-Am class pole at 1:34.232 in the No. 75 SunEnergy 1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, good for 10th overall.

Jack Harvey Joins RLL in Car 45

The announcement isn’t a shock; it has been talked about for months. What is a bit of a surprise is that Harvey will drive the number 45 Hy-Vee car. The 30 is still open, although an announcement for that ride could come soon. The official announcement from Rahal is below:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (October 11, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Bassingham, England native Jack Harvey, 28, will pilot the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda beginning with the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in a multi-year deal.

Hy-Vee, Inc., an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states, has been the primary sponsor of the No. 15 and No. 45 entries for 11 races with the team since 2020, and will expand their program to become a full-season primary sponsor of the No. 45 entry beginning in 2022 in a multi-year agreement. They will also be a team-wide associate sponsor.

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at 9 races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Santino Ferrucci, at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway with Graham Rahal and at Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach with Oliver Askew.

In 2022, Harvey will begin his third full season in INDYCAR. His best start to date is second place in the 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and his best finish is third in the 2019 Indianapolis Grand Prix. In 2021, he earned four top-five starts with a best of second place on the Indianapolis road course and earned six top-10 finishes with his best coming at St. Petersburg and Portland of fourth place.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 25-27. The 17-race schedule includes the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 on Sunday, July 24 – both at Iowa Speedway. Hy-Vee will provide broad support for the doubleheader event through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, located near their headquarters in Des Moines, after a one-year hiatus. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

QUOTEBOARD:

JACK HARVEY, Driver of the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. I’ve been working towards this moment for my entire career and I’m so honored and thankful for the trust Bobby, Mike, David and Piers (Phillips, president) have placed in me. Hy-Vee has massively committed to elevating INDYCAR as a series and I’m honored to be representing their brand on track in the No. 45. I’m eager to get to work with Graham and the entire team. We have common goals of competing for wins and championships, and I’m confident we’ll be contending from the drop of the green flag next year.  This is an exciting next chapter, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

RANDY EDEKER, Hy-Vee’s Chairman of the Board, CEO and President: “Our ongoing partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing continues to be a success. Over the past two years, we’ve enjoyed being a part of a sport that continues to see its fan base grow substantially year after year. Now, as we look ahead to the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, we look forward to hosting our own doubleheader event at the Iowa Speedway and seeing the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda take the track in the nationally televised event.”

BOBBY RAHAL, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I can’t tell you how pleased I am to welcome Jack to our team. I first heard of him during his time in Indy Lights. He has a great record of success over the years in all forms of racing so I’m pleased that he agreed to join our team. He and Graham will work well together and be a strong foundation for our driver lineup that will raise not only the level of each driver individually but of the team as a result. I respect and appreciate his commitment and work ethic to racing on and off the track which is so key. And I also respect the way he deals with people – friendly and respectful. I think we’re going to have a lot of success together and I very much look forward to having him with us.”

MIKE LANIGAN, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I have heard nothing but good things about Jack and I think he will work well with our driver line up. I think its important that they mesh well together, and I know Graham has a lot of respect for him. He has shown a lot of potential and we’re looking forward to building on that. We welcome him to the team.”

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 90,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

About Jack Harvey
Harvey will begin his third full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2022. The 2021 season marked Harvey’s fifth year of competing with Meyer Shank Racing (MSR). He began his Indy car journey in 2017 with MSR at the Indianapolis 500. The relationship grew into a partial six race season in 2018 which saw Harvey’s best finish of 12th on the streets of Long Beach. In 2019, MSR expanded its IndyCar program to 10 races with Harvey. He got off to a fast start, making his first top-10 finish at the season opener in St. Petersburg. The Brit’s success didn’t end there as he went on to score his first ever IndyCar podium finish during the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) road course. The 2020 season was Harvey’s first full-season IndyCar campaign and he made two back-to-back front row starts at the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Road America. Despite several instances of bad racing luck, Harvey closed out the season with six top-10 finishes. In 2021, he earned four top-five starts with a best of second place on the IMS road course and he earned six top-10 finishes with his best of fourth place coming at St. Petersburg and Portland.

Prior to joining the INDYCAR SERIES, Harvey was the Indy Lights runner-up in 2014 and 2015, winning six races over the two seasons. He is one of six drivers who have won on the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – winning one of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis races and the Freedom 100 in 2015 while racing in Indy Lights. He has won 10 racing championships in his career, including the 2012 British Formula 3 Championship.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2022, the team will move to a purpose-build, 115,000 square foot, state-of-the-art racing headquarters in Zionsville, Indiana and compete in its 31st year of competition. The team will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 108 podium finishes and 1992 series championship.  The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 93 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team is competing for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

IMS Tire Test – Looking Two Seasons Ahead

Photo: Pato O’Ward will represent Chevy in today’s test.

Today’s schedule:

Tire testing 9-12

Break 12-1

Tire testing 1-5

Today’s tire test won’t have the drama or excitement of Wednesday’s Rookie Orientation, but it has importance for the next two seasons of the NTT Indycar Series. In addition to testing next year’s tire compound for the Indianapolis 500, Indycar will add weight to the cars, simulating the added weight in 2023 of the larger 2.4 liter engine and the hybrid energy recovery system. The new components should about 125 pounds to the cars. The extra weight will give the series an idea of how the balance of the cars will change under more weight.

I am very interested to hear what Jay Frye and the technical crew says about today’s results. We are a long way from the final configuration for 2023.

Helio Castroneves after winning his fourth Indianapolis 500 in May

Meyer Shank Racing with Helio Castroneves will represent Honda and Arrow McLaren SP with Pato O’Ward will test for Chevy. are the test cars. The oldest driver in the series and one of the youngest drivers providing input reflects the 2021 season and the generational transition Indycar is going through.

As far as I know the turn 2 mounds are open. There is no streaming for today’s activity.