Rosenqvist to AMSP is Official; Dragonspeed Closes Indycar Program

Arrow McLaren SP officially confirmed felix rosenqvist as driver the number 7 car for 2021. The Swedish driver completed his second year in the Indycar series with Chip ganhassi racing. Rosenqvist finished 11th in the season standings and got his first Indycar win at Road America in race 2.

The announcement from the team:

Felix Rosenqvist joins Arrow McLaren SP for 2021

Felix Rosenqvist will join Arrow McLaren SP for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the team confirmed today, piloting the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Rosenqvist will get his first run in the car and begin duties with the team during an upcoming test at Barber Motorsports Park on November 2nd.

“I can’t wait to take the next step in my career and join Arrow McLaren SP. The team has shown itself to be a consistent challenger this year and I’m looking forward to working with Pato to help take it forward,” said Rosenqvist. “I want to thank Sam, Ric, Zak, and the entire team for giving me this opportunity and I’m already working to be as prepared as possible for next season. It’s going to be fun.”

Rosenqvist, a 28-year-old from Sweden with a diverse motorsport background, will start his third season in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, with his career accomplishments already including eight top five finishes and a win at Road America this year.

“We’ve been watching Felix since he came over to Indy Lights in 2016 and have been constantly impressed by his performance over the past two years,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt. “We think that he and Pato complement each other well and together we believe they will help us on our journey forward as a team.”

“It’s not very often that you get the opportunity to combine two young, established talents like Pato and Felix,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “I think this pairing gives us a strong driver lineup and I’m excited to see what they can do together on and off the track.”

Rosenqvist will team up with Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward, who finished his first full season in fourth place and looks forward to combining efforts with his former on-track rival.

“I am looking forward to working alongside Felix. He is a driver I truly respect, in and out of the car, and I’m sure we will work well together,” said O’Ward. “I think we can learn a lot from each other to develop the strongest package possible at every race weekend together with the team.”

Follow along with the team on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube at @ArrowMcLarenSP.

Dragonspeed Closure Benefits Meyer Shank Racing

Dragonspeed has closed the doors on its Indycar program. The team debuted at St. Petersburg in 2019 with Ben Hanley. Dragonspeed appeared in the Indianapolis 500 the last two years, finishing 23rd in August.

Team owner Elton Julian cited COVID as a factor in the decision to focus on their sports car program. Julian said the pandemic set his team back two years.

Dragonspeed sold its Dallara chassis to Meyer Shank Racing. The move accelerates MSR’s plan to field a second car in the Indycar series. The plan is to build the schedule gradually as they ddi with Jack Harvey’s now full time entry.

It’s sad to see a team leave the series, but the silver lining could be Meyer Shank adding another entry to the grid.

IMS Test Postponed to Friday

The scheduled Thursday Indycar test has been postponed to tomorrow, Friday, October 3,0 due to inclement weather. Trust me, it’s not clement. Fans are welcome to watch from the turn 2 mounds.

Enter at gate 2, where you will indergo a temperature screening. Facial coverings are required at all times and no food or drink is allowed on the mounds.

Scheduled to participate in the test are Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, and Pato O’Ward.

Newgarden and Sato tested Wednesday as the series experimented with some nose pieces.to create more front downforce and improve passing ability.

Yesterday Scott McLaughlin completed his Speedway Rookie Orientation Program.

Rosenqvist Move to AMSP Leaves Gap at Ganassi, Scrambles Silly Season

Photo- Felix Rosenqvist on his way to his first win at road America. Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Arrow McLaren SP continues to dominate the 2021 driver lineup. Their third announcement this week blew the lid off the simmering kettle of Indycar Silly season. Felix Rosenqvist wil move from Chip Ganassi Racing to the second year team to drive the number 7 car vacated two days ago by Oliver Askew. Askew will drive for the team in the season finale at St. Pete if he is medically cleared to drive. Rosenqvist will complete his contract with Ganassi at that time as well.

Rosenqvist celebrates his first Indycar victory at Road America in July. Jos Skibinski, Indycar

Chip Ganassi Racing has an agreement with 7 time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to run the road course portion of the 2021 schedule. Before the Rosenqvist announcement, ti was assumed that Johnson would be in a fourth Ganassi car. Does he now move to the 10? If so, who drives the car at the four oval races next year?

Helio Castroneves was thought to be a strong candidate for a third car at AMSP. Is that still an option? Will Castroneves now go to Ganassi? I can’t see him being willing to run an oval only program. Tony Kanaan is a possibility for the oval portion of the Johnson ride.

Both AMSP and Ganassi looked as if they would each expand by one car for 2021. That possibility is now in question. Two more cars on the grid would leave more room for drivers looking for work.

Meanwhile, team Penske is expected to run four cars next year with the addition of Scott McLaughlin, who will make his debut at St. Pete.

Andretti Autosport, which ran five cars this season, has only Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta locked in for 2021. Will veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay retire or became an Indy only driver?

Other drivers with uncertain status for next year are Conor Daly, Rinus Veekay, James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball, and Dalton Kellett.

The 2021 lineup, which just a couple of weeks ago appeared to have some minor tweaks plus the possibility of a larger grid, now looks like there may be some major shuffling.

O’Ward Stays with Arrow McLaren SP for 2021

Photo: pato O’Ward at World Wide technology Raceway. James Black, Indycar

A day after Arrow Mclaren SP announced that Oliver Askew would not return to the team next season, the team today announced that Pato O’Ward will return for the 2021 NTT Indycar Series season. O’Ward has one pole and a second place finish this year and is currently 5th in the points standings.

The official announcement from the the team:

Pato O’Ward to continue with Arrow McLaren SP in 2021

October 13, 2020

Arrow McLaren SP announced today that Pato O’Ward will continue to race for the team for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, once again piloting the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. 

“I am beyond excited to be racing with Arrow McLaren SP next season to build on what we have accomplished so far this year. Such a great group of people who truly have welcomed me like a second family,” said O’Ward. “Given how much change I have seen in my career to this point, it is invaluable to get the opportunity to put down roots and build on a foundation year over year.” 

O’Ward will continue with the team after a strong showing in his first full season in INDYCAR, currently sitting fifth in the championship standings with one race remaining. The Mexican driver, who is still only 21-years-old, will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in 2021, which he has raced to one pole position, three podiums and nine top 10 finishes in 2020. 

“The entire team and I are thrilled to have Pato back in the car next year,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt. “He has shown incredible form this year and has kept himself in the championship hunt all season long. I think he has the potential to compete at the highest level in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for a long time.”

Arrow McLaren SP’s 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES full driver lineup will be announced in due course. 

The team has one race remaining in the 2020 season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on October 25. Tune in on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET and follow along on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube at @ArrowMcLarenSP. 

Askew Leaving Arrow McLaren SP at End of Season

Photo: Oliver Askew from Arrow McLaren SP twitter account

In a release this afternoon Arrow McLaren SP announced that rookie driver Oliver Askew will leave the team at the end of the 2020 season. Askew has not driven for the team since the doubleheader at Mid Ohio, where he placed 19th in race 1 and 15th in race 2. Following the race Askew complained of dizziness. It is believed the issue began after his crash in the Indianapolis 500 August 23.

From the news release:

“It’s been a steep learning curve this year but I appreciate all of the experience I have gotten with Arrow McLaren SP. I’ve certainly had to develop very quickly as a driver and I know I have shown my speed and capability when able to this season. However, I think it makes sense to pursue the next chapter of my career outside the team,” said Askew. “I am grateful for all the support I’ve received from my crew, the team and all the fans. I wish the entire team well in the future.”

Askew at Mid Ohio. Indycar photo by Matt Fraver

Askew did not participate in the Harvest Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway October 2 and 3. Helio Castroneves drove the 7 car in those races. Castroneves has been pursuing a full time Indycar ride for 2021, and this opens a spot for him The team had been talking about a potential third car for next season as well.

Askew’s best finishes this year were third at Iowa in Race 1 and a sixth at Iowa in Race 2.

If Askew is cleared to drive by the Indycar medical team, he will drive for Arrow McLaren SP in the season finale, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, on October 25.

Askew Withdraws from Harvest GP; Castroneves to Fill In

Photo: Oliver Askew at Indycar Content Day in February

From Arrow McLaren SP:

Helio Castroneves to pilot the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet at Indianapolis

Arrow McLaren SP driver Oliver Askew will withdraw from the INDYCAR Harvest Grand Prix, after being declared not fit to drive by the INDYCAR Medical Team.

Following the INDYCAR race at Mid-Ohio, Oliver reported a balance and coordination issue, which triggered an examination from the INDYCAR Medical Team. As a result, Oliver is not medically cleared to race and is subject to INDYCAR’s Return to Racing Protocol.

“This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the INDYCAR Medical Team and my doctors. My priority right now is focusing on my health,” Askew said. “Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”

Askew will be replaced in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet by Helio Castroneves for the upcoming doubleheader Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“The welfare of Oliver, our team members and fellow competitors is paramount,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt.

“We therefore support Oliver and the decision of INDYCAR. Withdrawing to focus on his health and recovery is the right thing to do.”

Helio will join Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, to complete the team’s driver lineup in Indianapolis.

“First and foremost, we wish Oliver the best and that he is able to take time to recover,” said Helio. “I look forward to getting back on track and helping to build on the great progress that Arrow McLaren SP has made this year.”

Arrow McLaren SP returns to action at the Harvest GP, a doubleheader of races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The races will take place on Friday, October 2nd at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and Saturday, October 3rd at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC. 

Alonso’s Entry for the Indianapolis 500

Arrow McLaren SP and Fernando Alonso revealed the two time Formula 1 champion’s car for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 this morning.  It’s a different look for Alonso, with only the mirrors in the McLaren papaya orange.
The car is sponsored by Ruoff Mortgage, which was the sponsor on Takuma Sato’s 2017 winning 500 car.

A couple more views

 

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10:20 AM · Jun 30, 2020Twitter for iPhone

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#66

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10:20 AM · Jun 30, 2020Twitter for iPhone

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Fernando Alonso
@alo_oficial

Love it

😍

!

#66

car it’s ready. #indy500

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10:20 AM · Jun 30, 2020Twitter for iPhone

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#66

car it’s ready. #indy500

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10:20 AM · Jun 30, 2020Twitter for iPhone

Guest Appearance Cars and Other Thoughts

An article in Motorsport on Monday reported that in addition to Fernando Alonso driving for Arrow McLaren SP in the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, he would also drive in the GMR Grand Prix at IMS two weeks prior to the race. The article went on to say that former NASCAR champion jimmie Johnson would be in the third car at some point in 2021, and that 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button might have been driving at Road America in 2020.

The hitch in these plans is the Coronavirus pandemic. the lack of testing may not allow Button to race this year. Since the GMR Grand Prix is not coupled with the 500, it remains to be seen if Alonso will also drive on July 4 weekend. Reports today say Alonso is not interested in a full time Indycar ride. I never thought he was. I’m not sure Alonso knows what he wants to do other than flit from series to series.

Arrow McLaren SP’s plans and Team Penske’s plans for Scott McLaughlin to participate in some Indycar races this season present a “special guest star’ look to the grid. I don’t have a problem with this idea. I think it can help in several ways.

First, there will be more cars on the grid. While Indycar seems to be able to consistently have 23-24 cars each race, a couple more doesn’t hurt. Races might be better if the leaders have more traffic to negotiate. More cars means a stronger series, which may lead to even more teams.

I am always in favor of drivers  racing in  different series other than their primary one. In the 50s and 60s, even into the early 70s, I believe, this was commonplace. Today it is a big deal when a driver tries something new. Drivers coming to Indycar from other series has the potential to increase viewership of the races. Jimmie Johnson would definitely bring fans. Alonso has a following who would watch. I’m not sure what Button’s following is.

I like that Arrow McLaren SP can field a third car for these guest drivers who apparently have no plans to join the series full time. This might become a way for smaller or newer teams to gain funding quicker than just running a couple of cars for the entire season.

Starting the Season

States are beginning to allow Indycar race teams to return to work as the June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway is still scheduled. I assume the race will be run without fans and with limited team personnel. Like you, I am anxious to start watching races again. However, it needs to be done in the safest way possible. I hope if Texas does happen, the NTT Indycar Series does a thorough, critical evaluation so more races can be safely run.

I think Road America is a possibility with fans. I’m not sure about Richmond occurring at all right now. This is such a wait and see time period.

Bump Tales Returns Tomorrow

Beginning tomorrow, Bump Tales returns for another May, which should excite two of you. I plan to have one each Thursday during May just to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

Tomorrow-2010. If there is a year you would like me to write about, please let me know.

 

Indycar Season Preview, Part II: Teams That Should Improve

Here are four teams I think should show improvement over their 2019 performance. They are presented in no particular order.

Meyer Shank Racing

Michael Shank has finally reached his dream of a full time entry in the NTT Indycar Series.  Jack Harvey did well early in 2019 when the team ran virtually every race, culminating in a podium at the Indycar Grand Prix. When the team had a gap before their next race, their performance dropped off. The consistency of a full season will help the team do well in 2020.

Not hurting their chances is the technical alliance with Andretti Autosport. Colton Herta had this same arrangement last year, and he did all right.  Harvey had three top 10s in his first six races. He was 13th in points after the Indianapolis 500. I think he may have moved up a spot or two had he run every race in 2019.

Arrow McLaren SP

On the surface, it appears this team is doing everything the wrong way. They signed a rookie driver and one with eight races of experience. In the process, they fired their most veteran driver. They are bringing in a new engineering staff. Even the ownership has seen a shakeup. In the team’s favor is that all of the new pieces have a lot of talent.

Rookie Oliver Askew is a steady driver. The 2019 Indy Lights champion is  focused and analytical behind the wheel. Pato O’Ward had a roller coaster season bouncing from series to series. I think he will show his appreciation for having a full time ride. Both drivers were in the top 10 at Spring Training.

The third element that will help AMSP is engineer Craig Hampson, who joined the team after working with Sebastien Bourdais. Hampson and Bourdais won several championships together, and the pair gave the Dale Coyne team some relevance. The team may need a race or two to get their footing, but I think they will have enough good results to call their season successful.

From Yesterday- https://thepitwindow.blog/2020/02/27/indycar-season-preview-part-i-coyne-foyt-carlin-look-to-improve/

Rahalk Letterman Lanigan

This group seems to always be looking for consistency. Graham Rahal said on Content Day, “When we were strong at a track, both of ttling battling tus were strong. When we struggled at a track, both of us struggled.”

Takuma Sato was ninth in the final standings and Rahal finished tenth. They are not that far off from moving up in the top 10. Sato won twice and earned two poles. Rahal started on the front row at Barber but was sidelined by mechanical problems. It was a steady season for two drivers who still weren’t satisfied.

RLL should have a few better race results, but moving up in the final standings may be difficult battling the three teams that make up half the grid. Both drivers can win a race and I could see that happening in 2020.

Ed Carpenter Racing

The oval program is solid, especially at Indianapolis. Two spots on the front row last year and three poles in the 500 are a great qualifying record. The team is still looking to improve their road and street course performance. I think they are on their way to doing just that.

The road/street team of Conor Daly and rookie Rinus VeeKay are capable of turning the  team’s fortunes around. Daly seems to make any car he drives better. With a full season at the same team ECR should improve as the year goes on. VeeKay, the Indy Lights runner-up needs to focus his energy and adapt quickly to the nuances of Indycar. He is a talented, consistent driver.

How many more seasons will Ed Carpenter drive the oval races? Only Ed knows that answer. His runner-up finish at Gateway last August shows he isn’t ready to step out of the car yet. I think in a couple of years he will cut back to Indy only, but for now there isn’t any good reason to stop.

A good season for this team on the road courses would be some second round qualifying results and a few top ten race finishes. The talent is there. I can see this team putting it together, especially after Indianapolis.

 

Monday I’ll preview the Big Three. Tomorrow- a summary of all the great news that happened this week in Indycar.

Alonso Goes “Home” for Indianapolis 500 Ride

The announcement from McLaren:

https://www.mclaren.com/racing/team/arrow-mclaren-sp-and-fernando-alonso-join-forces-104th-indianapolis-500

Thoughts

I hope this team has its act together this year. Missing the race two consecutive years would be embarrassing.

Interesting that Alonso had a former Andretti sponsor on board.

We probably won’t see the same level of Fernandomania this time around. It’s great to have a former F1 champion enter the race, but I think the buzz of 2017 is totally gone.

What a strange relationship Alonso and McLaren have.

I hope fellow countryman Oriol Servia joins the entry list as well.

From Earlier:

A Bonus for Fans and penalties for the Grid: More Changes for 2020

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/90591962/posts/2601821392