Reverse Youth Movement at MSR First Silly Season Volley

Don’t tell me you saw this coming. Buoyed by Helio Castroneves’ fourth win in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500in his second car, Mike Shank has decided to bump up his usual schedule to becoming a full time two car entry. Meyer Shank Racing announced that 47 year old Castroneves will drive the number 06 car full time next year. If the team had stuck to the plan as they did with Jack Harvey, Castroneves, who is running six races this season, would have entered 10 races next year.

In this season where the younger drivers have had a lot of success, Shank decided to go the other way. It is a bold move, and I am curious to see how it plays out.

A bit of irony in the second part of the announcement is that Jack Harvey will race elsewhere in 2022. Harvey has been with Meyer Shank Racing the Indycar program began. No one knows where harvey will end up next season. My guess is he will replace Ryan Hunter-Reay in the 28 car at Andretti Autosport. The 2021 season for Harvey has been marked by good qualifying and not so great results, partly due to team strategy.

Here is the story from Indycar:

Helio Castroneves will return for a full NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in 2022 with Meyer Shank Racing (MSR), driving the No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.

Castroneves’ attempt to become the first five-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner will be a highlight of the season for MSR, and the Ohio-based team is using the “Drive for Five” theme in 2022.

Brazilian Castroneves, 46, joined A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears in the exclusive club of four-time “500” winners with his emotional victory for Meyer Shank – the team’s first win in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – on May 30. He also is racing this season for MSR at Nashville, Tennessee (Aug. 8), the Indianapolis road course (Aug. 15) and in the season-closing West Coast swing at Portland, Oregon (Sept. 12), Monterey, California (Sept. 19) and Long Beach, California (Sept. 26).

“I am thrilled to get the chance to go for a fifth Indianapolis 500 win and so excited to fight for the INDYCAR championship again with a full season of races next year with Meyer Shank Racing,” Castroneves said. “Mike (Shank) and Jim (Meyer) have developed some incredible sponsorships with AutoNation and SiriusXM, and having that support is critical. I have been missing racing in INDYCAR full time so much! So, I cannot wait to get a head start on next year with some strong races to finish this season.”

With the full-time addition of Castroneves, MSR plans to field two full-time entries in 2022. The No. 60 AutoNation/ SiriusXM Honda, which has been driven by Jack Harvey for the past few seasons, has been renewed for two years, with a new driver who will be announced soon.

“We wish Jack much success, and we know he will continue to be a driver to watch,” MSR co-owner Mike Shank said. “MSR is excited to have Helio on the 06 car next season, and we’re looking forward to adding a driver, who will turn heads in the 60 car.”

In just 42 INDYCAR SERIES races, MSR has collected an Indianapolis 500 victory, two podium finishes, two-front row starts and 12 top-10 finishes. In addition to the team’s on-track accomplishments, MSR is also in the final stages of building a brand new 43,000 square-foot shop in Pataskala, Ohio.

“There are so many people around us that have given us the opportunity to expand to two full-season entries for next year,” Shank said. “My partner Jim Meyer and I have done this in a way that makes sense for us. I am very excited to have Helio onboard for the 2022 season, and I think there will be a lot of excitement around our second driver when we make that announcement, as well.”

Notes

  • Castroneves career stats:

31 Indycar victories and 50 poles

Second in the points standings four times- 2002, 2008, 2013, 2014

  • The 2022 full time grid might be as high as 27 cars.
  • Dario Franchitti will be the Grand Marshall for the Music City Grand Prix

NBC/Indycar Package-A Peek into the Future

The future is upon us. In the extension of the current broadcast package with NBC Indycar has kept the traditional television component and is dipping its toes into the future. I am ecstatic about the 13 races on NBC. It will save a lot of time and angst every race week. I can pretty much know where to find the race.

The two races on USA, one of which I assume will be the Texas night race, should be easy to remember, as should the two races on Peacock. Which races will be on USA and Peacock? Besides the Texas night race, I’m guessing another nioght oval joins the schedule. As for the other two, I have no idea right now.

Streaming two races is quite a gamble for both the series and the network. Mark Miles said yesterday showing races exclusively on Peacock is an attempt to draw in younger fans, who are more likely to watch on their phones. I applaud the strategy. I have no desire to watch a live race on my phone, but if others do, great. Regardless of the broadcast channel, give me a television set.

I do see streaming as the wave of the future. Broadcasting and viewing is changing rapidly. The races on peacock are just the beginning. Eventually, our viewing habits will change. As long as I can watch on a large screen, I don’t care how the race is delivered.

Miles also said something about being able to follow the race on your phone while you are at the track. If I am at the track, I’m not going to be looking at my phone. I might take a look during a caution to get some details of what caused the yellow, but otherwise, I will just watch the live action and the video boards.

Next year will be interesting as afr the race broadcasts go. I hope NBC keeps improving the race graphics. I really like the pit stop clock and the tire choice images they have begun showing. I like all the information given in Formula 1 races and I would love it if Indycar races got to that point.

Notes

Josef Newgarden led testing at laguna Seca yesterday. The test included Team pernske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Each of the remaining six races should have at least 25 cars on the grid. Helio Castroneves will participate in every race except Gateway. Romain Grosjean is expected to race at gateway, but i’m not sure if he will be in the 51 or a third car.

Miles hinted that some of Indiainpolis 500 qualifying will be on NBC as it was last year. All qualifying qwill be on Peacock in 2022.

Indycar, NBC Ink New Deal; More Races on Network

The new television deal announced this morning between Indycar and NBC is perhaps the best deal Indycar has ever had. I will have more on this after the media conference later this morning. Here is the official announcement with key points highlighted.

INDYCAR, NBC Sports Agree
to Multiyear Media Rights Extension
Key Points:NBC Sports remains exclusive home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 50013 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on NBC in 2022; remaining races on USA Network, PeacockPeacock to stream all races; home of qualifying, practice and Indy Lights
INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, July 20, 2021) – INDYCAR and NBC Sports today announced a multiyear extension of their media rights agreement.NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will see a significant increase in network exposure in 2022, with 13 races broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.
Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.
“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports. “We have demonstrated NBCUniversal’s ability to make big events bigger with our presentations of the Indianapolis 500, we have worked closely with Roger Penske, Mark Miles and the entire team to expand INDYCAR’s reach across the U.S, and we are thrilled to build upon our collaborative successes of the past few years.”
Said Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Entertainment Corp.: “NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500. This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.
”The media rights extension comes on the heels of viewership milestones for NBC Sports’ coverage of both the Indianapolis 500 and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on NBC was the most-watched edition of the race since the 100th Running in 2016, and NBC Sports is off to its most-watched NTT INDYCAR SERIES season ever through the first nine races of 2021, with viewership up 30% vs. comparable coverage in 2020.
The partnership between NBC Sports and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES dates back to 2009, when NBCSN (originally VERSUS) became the cable home of the series and televised the majority of its races each season. NBC Sports became the exclusive home of INDYCAR in 2019, which also marked the year of NBC’s inaugural Indianapolis 500 broadcast.
The full 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES coverage schedule on NBC, USA Network and Peacock will be announced in the coming months.
All coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be available on Peacock Premium. Viewers can sign up and learn more here. Peacock is currently available across devices; more details here. Peacock Premium is included at no additional cost for Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers.About NBC SportsNBC Sports Group serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Audio Network and NBC Sports Digital, which includes NBCSports.comNBCOlympics.comGolfChannel.com , the digital assets of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports EDGE, the NBC Sports Talk franchise, multiple apps, and two transactional sports businesses, GolfNow and SportsEngine, and two direct-to-consumer products — NBC Sports Gold and GolfPass. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of media rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the NFL, NASCAR, INDYCAR, PGA TOUR, The R&A, PGA of America, USGA, Churchill Downs, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, and many more.
About INDYCARINDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including six-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time series champion Josef Newgarden and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2021 season consists of 16 races in the United States and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.
About PeacockPeacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service. Peacock delivers a world-class slate of exclusive originals, on-demand libraries of hit TV shows, plus critically acclaimed films from the vaults of Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and Hollywood’s biggest studios. In addition, Peacock taps into NBCUniversal’s unmatched ability to deliver a broad range of compelling topical content across news, sports, late-night, Spanish-language and reality. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. For more information on Peacock, click here.

Ferrucci Returns to RLL for Music City Grand Prix

Photo from RLL Twitter accountSantino Ferrucci returns to the number 45 car at Nashville. Despite only appearing in handful of races, the 45 is in contention for the Leaders’ Circle, which awards the top 22 entrants at the end of the year. Ferrucci has finished in the top ten in each of his four Indycar races this season.

From Rahal Letterman Racing:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 19, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the team to compete in the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry at the inaugural Music City Grand Prix of Nashville, August 6-8. Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – is the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full season associate and was the primary sponsor of Ferrucci’s car at the Indy 500, doubleheader races in Detroit and the Mid-Ohio event.

At the Indy 500, Ferrucci piloted the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda to his third straight top-seven finish with a sixth-place result, finished sixth in Race 1 and tenth in Race 2 in Detroit and ninth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m super excited to be back driving for RLL and Hy-Vee,” said Santino Ferrucci. “It’s going to be an incredible race as it’s our first time racing in the streets of Nashville. The track has an incredible layout that has us racing over a bridge. I have been to the track before on a scooter so I at least know a little about the layout. I’m excited to get the chance to continue with consistent top-10 finishes for the team but I definitely think we can challenge for a win if the weekend goes smoothly.”

“Our partnership with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team has continued to bring excitement to our employees and customers,” said Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee. “We look forward to teaming up with Santino Ferrucci again to drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry in Nashville.”

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 five races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Ferrucci and at Road America with Rahal.

After two full INDYCAR SERIES seasons in 2019-2020 and a partial one in 2018, Ferrucci joined RLL for the Indy 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix races. To date, his best Indy car start is second place at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) in 2020 and he has finished in fourth place four times. In 2021, Ferrucci competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season continues with the Music City Grand Prix of Nashville which will be broadcast live on NBCSN on August 8 at 4:30 p.m. EDT. All future on-track action can be seen on NBC, NBCSN or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 280 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 85,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

About Santino Ferrucci
Ferrucci began his karting career at age five and was a multi-time champion by age 11 and was featured in an article in GQ magazine on being a karting prodigy. He also competed in six Formula 2000 races, never finishing worse than fourth in any race. In 2013 he competed in the Skip Barber Racing Series, winning his debut race at Homestead and collecting five wins, two poles and three fastest laps. His career took him to England in 2014 where he competed in British Formula 3, winning two races – both at Brands Hatch, which made him the youngest winner in British Formula 3 history at 16 years, 2 months and 30 days. In 2015, he finished third in the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand with a win and five podium finishes and also competed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In 2016, he competed in the GP3 Series as a rookie with DAMS with a best finish of third place at Spa-Francorchamps and joined Haas F1 as a test driver for a July test at Silverstone and became the first American driver to test an American F1 car since 1977. He also made his sports car debut that year, winning his first race in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America event at Circuit of The Americas. In 2017, he continued his role as a development driver with Haas F1, testing at Hungaroring in August. He also made six GP3 starts with DAMS before moving to FIA Formula 2 with Trident. In 2018, he competed in FIA Formula 2 with Team Trident, scoring a best finish of sixth at Baku and served as a Haas F1 development driver for a third consecutive season. He also made his debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Dale Coyne Racing in 2018 with a best finish of 11th at the season-finale at Sonoma and competed in a total of four events (Detroit doubleheader, Portland). In 2019, he competed in the full INDYCAR SERIES season and finished 13th in series standings for Dale Coyne Racing with a best finish of fourth at Texas, Pocono and World Wide Technology Raceway. He was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after an impressive performance en route to a seventh-place finish. Ferrucci returned for his second full season in the series in 2020 with Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan with a best finish of fourth place in the Indy 500 and 13th place, season-ending rank. Always open to new challenges, Ferrucci currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

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.

Music City Grand Prix Adds to Schedule

Update on Marti- Sometime this morning Marti will be flown to Vanderbilt medical Center in Nashville to see a specialist on her blood pressure issue. We hope they have an answer and she can return to a mostly normal life. I will drive down later this morning. Thanks for your continued thoughts, prayers, and cards.

The Music City Grand Prix released a revised schedule yesterday. The weekend looks jam packed. Here are the daily schedules:

When things settle down in Nashville, I will post another update.

New NTT INDYCAR SERIES Video Game Racing to Consoles, PC in 2023

Big news from Indycar. I know many fans have been asking for this for several years. The news release:

Esports Competition Also Included
in New Partnership with Motorsport Games

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, July 15, 2021) – INDYCAR has formed a new, official partnership with leading racing game developer, publisher and esports ecosystem provider Motorsport Games Inc. (NASDAQ: MSGM) to create and distribute INDYCAR video games, with a debut title expected to launch in 2023 on Xbox and PlayStation consoles and PC.
In addition to the new game, an NTT INDYCAR SERIES esports competition featuring potential driver participation and collaborations could begin as early as this year. Details will be announced at a later date.
“Our partnership with Motorsport Games will bring the fierce competition of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to a global gaming audience hungry for quality motorsports content,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Entertainment Corp., the parent company of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “Like the talent and depth of our field, INDYCAR’s universe continues to expand and grow rapidly. Motorsport Games is an industry leader with a track record of innovation, and we know our fans will have 2023 and the debut of this new NTT INDYCAR SERIES video game circled on their calendars.
”Motorsport Games’ partnership with INDYCAR will produce a brand-new franchise that has been eagerly anticipated by racing and gaming fans. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ bold, audacious and unapologetic style of racing is primed for a video game franchise built entirely around its expanding brand.
North America’s premier open-wheel racing series features a growing roster of rising young stars and talented veterans with global name recognition. These defiant athletes compete across a uniquely challenging and diverse set of ovals, road and street courses.
“I am super excited our fans will be able to bring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES into their homes with this new video game franchise,” Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward said. “This is such a great opportunity for fans to connect to our series even more, from watching us on the weekends to playing as us on their favorite tracks whenever they want.
”Motorsport Games, a Motorsport Network company, combines innovative and engaging video games with exciting esports competitions and content for racing fans and gamers around the globe.
The company is the officially licensed video game developer and publisher for iconic motorsport racing series and events, including NASCAR, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Motorsport Games is an award-winning esports partner of choice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E, BTCC, the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, among others.
“Motorsport Games and INDYCAR are thrilled to provide fans with a long-overdue dedicated gaming experience,” said Dmitry Kozko, CEO of Motorsport Games. “After decades of world-class racing, we cannot think of a more deserving league for a video game franchise. INDYCAR shares our commitment to bringing authentic experiences to motor racing enthusiasts. Fans can anticipate the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to meet the same level of excellence and immersive gameplay they expect from Motorsport Games.
”Information about the new NTT INDYCAR SERIES video game will be available in the future at https://indycargame.com. For more information about Motorsport Games visit: www.motorsportgames.com.

Eraced: Charlie Wiggins’ Story on Film

Charlie Wiggins, the Indianapolis mechanic and race driver who starred in the Colored Speedway Association in the late 20s and early 30s, is the subject of a new film biography which begins production next spring. The film will be produced by Welburn Media Group, headed by Ed Welburn and Madisun Leigh.

Welburn, the former Vice President of Global design at General Motors, said he was inspired by For Gold and Glory, the documentary and subsequent book about Wiggins and the Colored Speedway Association.

“Watching the documentary about Charlie, I was excited and at the same time deeply saddened that such an amazing piece of African American history, of American history, of car history, could be completely unknown to me, my enthusiast friends, and most auto racing experts,” said Welburn. “I decided that I had to bring Charlie’s story to life.”

Leigh is helping to adapt the screenplay from the documentary.

“It’s yet another missing piece of the puzzle that is the contribution of African American ingenuity and genius to our country’s rich history,” said Leigh. “Charlie was a humble yet daring man who, despite the stifling impediment of Jim Crow laws and unimaginable personal tragedy, rose again and again to meet those challenges and obstacles.”

The project has received production support from the NTT Indycar Series and from Firestone.

Wiggins won the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes at the Indiana State Fairgrounds four times, and also worked on William Cummings’ car in 1934, when Cummings won the Indianapolis 500. The crew explained to the speedway guards that Wiggins was their janitor. After the track closed for the day, Wiggins and the rest of the crew worked on the car. On Race Day Wiggins had to watch from the “Coloreds Only” section of the track.

In december, i wrote about including CSA records in the all time Indycar records as baseball did with the Negro leagues:

thepitwindow.blog/2020/12/28/the-next-step-in-diversity-recognizing-thecsa/

Wiggins won several other races during the Colored Speedway association’s brief time as a racing series. Following Wiggins’ career ending injury in the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes, the association’s attendance dwindled and the league folded in 1936 at the end of the season.

The Youngest Champion?

Photo: Alex Palou celebrates winning the Rev Group Grand Prix. Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

Alex Palou holds a 39 point lead in the NTT Indycar Series championship over Pato O’Ward with just six races left in the season. Veterans Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden sit third and forth and have a chance at overtaking him in the final stages. I think Palou will prevail. At Mid Ohio he showed that he can maximize points playing the hand he has been dealt on a particular weekend. Would Palou be the youngest champion in Indycar Series history? He would only rank third. Sam Hornish, Jr. was just 22 years old when he won the IRL championship in 2001. Jacques Villeneuve was slightly younger than Palou will be when the 2021 season ends.

Sam Hornish, Jr.
Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve, born April 9 , 1971 was 24 years, 154 days old when the 1995 season ended on September 10. Palou’s birthday is April 1, 1997, and he will be 24 years, 178 days old when the current season ends on September 26. The 1995 season had 17 races, In 2021 the schedule called for 17 races, but the cancellation of the Toronto race has reduced this year to 16 events.

We need to look back to 1960, when A. J. Foyt won his first championship at age 25. The next youngest series winners since then were Sam Hornish, Jr. in 2006, and Al Unser, Jr. in 1990, who were both won at the age of 27. Hornish, Jr. was 27 years, 100 days at the final race of 2006, while Unser, Jr. was 27 years, 185 days old at the conclusion of the 1990 season.

In the year of the kids, crowning the third youngest champion in the last 61 years seems appropriate. I’m anxious for the year too resume anbd to see how everything plays out.