Aeroscreen Update

Photos: Mike Hull, Chip Ganassi Racing

New photos out today show the aeroscreen on Scott Dixon’s car in what I presume is its final form. The NTT Indycar Series spent the last few months testing and refining the screen, which they revealed on Carb Day in May.  The PNC Bank car will be on display at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis December 14-15.

I think integrating the livery into the frame of the aeroscren helps a lot with the aesthetics of the car. The overall look is still a bit too close to closed cockpit for my taste, but if it offers improved driver protection, I’m okay with it.

One change is the vent in front of the aeroscreen on the damper cover. The final issue that needed to be resolved was cockpit cooling. I hope this solves that problem. I think the vent helps with the look of the car.


My hope is that we can still see the drivers working the steering wheel through the turns. I hope to get to a test at Sebring next month to check on that. I’m not sure we’ll still be able to identify drivers by their helmets because of the height of the screen frame.

I applaud the series for their hard work in bringing another element of safety to the sport. I know we all get used to the aesthetics of it. Remembering that this is a retrofit and not an established part as it will be on the next chassis helps. The true test of performance and looks will be at St. Pete in March. I do think from the first time I saw the screen on the car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September to now there has already been quite an improvement.


Long Beach is Safe and Other Tidbits

Photo: © 2007 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of



Good news this week about the Long Beach Grand Prix. The  Los Angeles Angels baseball team announced an agreement to remain in Anaheim  through 2050. A major portion of the track was considered for a new stadium for the Angels after their current stadium  contract with Anaheim expires at the end of 2020. A baseball stadium would significantly impact the Grand Prix.  The Acura Grand Prix is the second longest running event on the NTT Indycar Series calendar. 2020 will be the 45th running of a race on the streets of Long Beach.

The Indycar race has fought off other attacks in the past few years. The city council considered proposals to return the event to an F1 race. That idea was voted down. The race is safe for the next thirty years.  I wonder if the Angels were simply using the exploration of Long Beach as leverage to get a better deal from Anaheim.

F5000 Revival

The Formula 5000 Drivers Association will have three Revival Races in 2020, at Road America, Watkins Glen, and Circuit of the Americas. This sounds like something worth an extra trip to Road America for me. Full information is in the link below:

F5000 Drivers Association Unveils 2020 Revival Race Series

Formula 5000 ran from 1967-1976 with 5 liter V-8 engines. Originally under SCCA sanction, USAC joined the Sports Car group in sanctioning the series. The sound of these cars was amazing. If one of these events is near you, I encourage you to attend.

Fred Watch, Part III?

Fernando Alonso has confirmed he will enter the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. He is still uncertain which team he will drive for.  The decision will be between Andretti and Arrow McLaren SP. I see a possible issue with each team. Will Honda allow Alonso to drive for Andretti?  In 2019 Alonso failed to qualify for the race with McLaren. While the team appears to be in better shape than last year.  However, James Hinchcliffe barely made the race last year after missing the 2019 500.

Alonso will not announce which team he will be with until after the Dakar Rally in January.

Back next week with more observations and a special post recognizing some podcasts.

Coyne’s Short List

Three drivers appear to be in the running for the number 18 car in 2020. James Hinchcliffe, who lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP last month; Sergio Sette Camara, who drove in F2 in 2019 and had two wins and eight podiums; and Alex Palou, who scored one win and finished third in the season standings in Super Formula.

While Hinchcliffe would be the most popular choice with the fans, I think the ride will go to one of the other drivers. Palou is likely the front runner. He was impressive at a Coyne test at Mid Ohio. He is also a Honda driver. Sette Camara has done three seasons in Formula 2, and needs to move up. He is also talking with Carlin Racing.

Coyne has not set a deadline for a decision. There may also be a fourth driver in the mix.

Still Quiet at Foyt and Carlin

I’m not confident about hearing any news from Carlin or A. J. Foyt Racing before Christmas. There is simply no news from either camp. We could be in for some surprises from both teams.

Ganassi Out of IMSA for Now

Chip Ganassi Racing will not participate in the IMSA Weather tech Championship for the first time in 16 years. Their GTLM Ford program has ended. Ganassi cars have three overall wins and two class wins at the Rolex 24. The team has not ruled out returning to the series, possibly in the new prototype cars.  More on this story in my Wildfire Sports column tomorrow.



The Pit Window Holiday Gift Guide

It seems as if I did this column just twelve months ago. Anyway, it is that time of year again. If you’re unsure what to get the race fan in your life, here are some suggestions.

Race Tickets

Buying race tickets for friends and family is a great gift and may help someone make it to another race or two next season. Today, December 2,  is the last day for buy one, get one free general admission tickets to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Indy Toronto, and the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.  Websites:;;

Road America also has discounted tickets for now. A general admission ticket includes parking and a paddock access as well.


Two new DVDs are about to release.  Rapid Response, which had a limited theatrical run in late summer, is available December 10. It can be pre-ordered now at a lower price.

The link:

I reviewed the movie September 9-

Uppity, a documentary of Willy T. Ribbs’ career, comes available January 7. It can be pre-ordered at  Adam Carolla is coproducer of the film.


If you enjoyed Ford vs Ferrari and want to learn more about the story, Go Like Hell by A. J. Baime is a great quick read. Baime tells the story from both the Ford and the Ferrari viewpoints. The book is available at Amazon.

My review from earlier this year:


As always, I highly recommend Gentlemen, Start Your Engines, Wilbur Shaw’s autobiography with an updated section written in part by his son Bill; Black Noon; Beast; and Vukovich.

Other Suggestions

Here is one I recommended last year:

Adam’s Wooden Creations makes wooden coasters and other items. He creates coasters with tracks and driver names and numbers. In addition to Indycar tracks, Adam also will do a NASCAR or Formula 1 circuit.

You can order from Adam’s Etsy shop, Adam’s Wooden Creations. Here is the link:

If you have something special in mind, leave Adam a note and he will be happy to discuss it with you.

A gift membership to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Foundation might make someone happy.

Barber Motorsports Park also has a museum membership available. If you know somebody who lives close enough to attend the track regularly, this might make a nice present.

Track Time

Do you know anyone who always wanted to go for a ride in a 2-seater? This would make a nice family gift for someone.  Contact Indy Racing Experience at Prices vary. It can cost as little as $249 through Groupon.

Last year someone asked me if this gift guide was my personal Christmas list.  Obviously not all of it is since I have all of the books.    I hope this helps some of you with your shopping.


A Word of Thanks

I have  a few words of thanks to those who made 2019 such an amazing year.  While writing this column annually seems like a trite exercise, I enjoy expressing my appreciation for those who helped the sport and also those who helped me get through the season.

Thank you to:

The Hulman-George family for their 74 years of stewardship and building the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into the great event and facility it is today. Thanks also for handing the track to someone intent on preserving the traditions of the place.

Roger Penske for buying IMS, The NTT Indycar Series, and IMS Productions. If the track had to be sold, I’m glad it was to someone who understands what this is all about

Fellow media members for their help and advice. In particular, Eric Smith of Race Review Online, George Phillips of Oilpressure, and Mike Joachim of Pit Lane Parley.

The communications staff at Indycar and IMS.

Track PR and communications directors for their assistance in facilitating onsite coverage.

Everyone on “Team Silver” headquartered in G Stand on Race Day.

The wonderful people in my writing class at the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa. They continue to be a huge inspiration in writing this humble column.

Finally, certainly not least, each one of you who take the time to read The Pit Window. I am humbled by your loyalty and very much appreciate it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.