Daly, Rossi Looking for Good Results at Gateway

Indycar photo

Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi both enjoy World Wide Technology Raceway, and they are looking forward to good results Saturday. Both drivers said they enjoy racing there. Rossi is eager to race at the track near St. Louis after his team had a very good test there this year. Rossi is anxious to see how the one day event plays out.

” I love that we’re having the night race again,” Rossi said, “I think that’s critical for short
oval racing. Short oval racing but for the 500 is meant to
be raced at night, easier to follow cars. Everything about it is better. Looking forward to that, having the fans back. Yeah, I think it’s going to be an
interesting kind of experiment for us to do a one-day event.
See how that goes.”

Daly added, ” Yeah, it’s one of my favorite tracks. I
couldn’t tell you why. Ever since our very first test day with
Foyt, where we were quickest, we kind of all looked at
each other, This is weird, not really sure why this is
happening.
I love racing there. Love the way that track challenges us
as drivers and challenges these cars. It will be fun. I’m
just happy to be racing, honestly, which is nice.”

Alexander Rossi photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

Rossi talked about his season and how situations have prevented him from showing better results. the last three races have had mostly better results, and he is confident of a strong finish to the season.

” Yeah, I mean, the pace has been great; it hasn’t really
resulted in much. Obviously with the field now, every small
mistake and issue and mis-step in setup decisions from
session to session has a bigger effect than it used to. It
requires everyone to really be perfect throughout the
weekend.
It is what it is. I think the Indy GP, this past race was good.
Nashville we obviously had good pace, but it didn’t result
in anything. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s all down to some
circumstances ultimately/”

, who isDaly talked about the challenges Romain Grosjean driving his first oval race this season, faces.

“… it’s going to be tough without a doubt. I think when you show
up to, like, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it being your
first oval, there’s so much practice, right? There’s so much
testing. Romain obviously got to test, which is great.
When you’re out there, at Indy when we practice, you get a
lot of traffic, you get kind of a feel for what’s going on.
Realistically there’s so little track time in Gateway, he’s
going to be thrust into a very, very new situation.”

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 is scheduled for a green flag start at 8:40 pm EDT Saturday night.

Daly Has Confidence Heading to Belle Isle

Photo by James Black, Indycar

Conor Daly enjoyed his time off from Indycar, but he is ready to head to Detroit for this weekend’s grand prix on Belle Isle. Daly loves this track, and he has had success here, with a second place and he also led laps at the race which follows the Indianapolis 500.

Daly’s Ed Carpenter Racing had a great May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Rinus VeeKay winning the GMR Grand Prix, placing two cars in the Fast Nine, and Daly leading the most laps in the Indianapolis 500. Team owner Carpenter finished fifth, VeeKay eighth, and Daly 13th after a tire from Graham Rahal’s car damaged the nose of Daly’s car.

Despite losing a chance for the win, Daly remains upbeat and confident as the series heads to the halfway point of the 2021 season this weekend. In a very positive press availability Tuesday, Daly outlined his reason for his optimism.

“It’s one of my favorite tracks, even 2015there in the Arrow machine for Hinch after he had the mix-up with the wall at Indy. That was one of my most fun weekends, still to this day. In the rain, leading the race there up against those guys as a complete and utter rookie. I love the track. Love the race weekend. I think it’s done so well.”Daly believes the team has momentum, not necessarily from just the 500, but from the GMR Grand Prix as well.

“…what I look forward to most is the progress we made at the Indy GP. That’s what I’m most excited about. That is such a short weekend, you get right into oval stuff. We made a lot of progress there. I’m excited to see if we can continue that for another good run at Detroit.”

For the first time in his career, Daly is developing continuity with a team. He thinks that has contributed to his success in 2021.

“I think for years I’ve been talking about creating continuity. I think we see right now what continuity is doing for this whole group, both Rinus and I. We get better. Your goal as a driver is to improve constantly, work with your team to just keep building that pyramid up, keep going.Rinus is doing that. I think I’m doing that. I don’t think we’ve been able to obviously translate to results yet for several things that have been out of our control obviously. But we’re in the fight rather than a lot of the races last year we were nowhere even near the talk of anything. But now we’re putting ourselves up there.”

On the progress ECR has made from 2020 to this season, Daly said,

“Leaps and bounds. Massive, massive amounts of progress. Certainly for me personally because I kind of know, obviously not going to give away everything we’re doing, but I know that Rinus and I drive different cars, very different cars. A lot of the times we just haven’t been able to get what I needed out of it. It’s much easier for Rinus. He’s obviously very, very quick, very, very talented.”

Daly summed up his and the team’s approach for the rest of the season:

“We’re just going to keep going at it every weekend, trying to be the best we can be. I feel really good about myself and my team, yeah. That’s the goal, is to just be happy and be ready to execute every weekend.
I mean, I’ve learned a lot about myself I guess. I think I’ve also tried to do a lot of work on my own brain, which I think has been helpful because a lot of the stuff, when you look at a year going into it, none of this crazy stuff is going to happen, it’s just going to be great, every race is going to be great.All this crazy stuff has happened, and you can’t change your attitude. You have to go into Detroit, It’s going to be great, it’s going to be perfect, we’re going to execute.”

Gossage to Step Down at Texas; ECR Gains May Sponsors

Photo of Eddie Gossage from TMS website

Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, announced this morning that he will retire after the June 13 NASCAR All-Star race at TMS.

“The timing just feels right after 32 years with the company,” Gossage stated. “The Smith family and Speedway Motorsports changed my life and I will forever be appreciative and grateful.

 “Before my wife Melinda and I chart our next adventure, I’m thankful that I get to come full circle as a promoter with the NASCAR All-Star Race.”

Gossage has been a staunch supporter of Indycar racing at his facility throughout his 25 years as president of the track. There have been disputes with Indycar over dates and sanctioning fees, but Gossage made sure that the open wheel cars made at least one annual appearance in the Lone Star State.

His retirement might affect Indycar’s schedule in the long run. Texas Motor Speedway is the only track in Texas where Indycar races currently.

VeeKay, Daly Have New Sponsors

Today Ed Carpenter Racing unveiled new sponsorship which Conor Daly will run in this weekend’s GMR Grand Prix. MannKind Corporation will be the primary sponsor of the number 20 car for the fifth round of the NTT Indycar Series.

MannKind has developed an insulin product which is inhaled rather than injected. The “Tired of Pricks?” tagline is abit edgy. Try to keep it in context if you can.

From ECR news release

Rinus VeeKay’s number 21 will carry Bitcoin livery in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Carpenter plans to use Bitcoin in his operation. From the news release:

“ECR will also be the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES team to integrate Bitcoin as a payment option for all of its employees. The first decentralized sponsorship in the history of racing will empower not only ECR on the track but the Bitcoin community off. In addition to the No. 21’s black and orange scheme, Bitcoin will be present on ECR’s other Indianapolis 500 entries..”

From ECR website

I’ll be back later with my GMR Grand Prix race preview.

Daly’s 500 Car Honors Tuskegee Airmen

Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing revealed Daly’s car for the Indianapolis 500 this morning. The car is a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. I’m happy to see this squadron recognized at the 500. The car will keep the number 47 that it ran in the 500 last year.

Conor Daly at Barber. Photo-Joe Skibinski, Indycar

The US Air Force posted a video about the Tuskegee Airmen. Copy the link below:

As a homage to the original trailblazers, the Tuskegee Airmen, our newest paint scheme isn’t just a visual cue, but a reminder that great things can happen when we celebrate our differences. https://t.co/Lguc9b5vUS

Daly Quickest Again in Veteran Session

Conor Daly once again had the fastest time in the veterans only session which just comcluded. The veterans took to the track at 10 am following a one hour session for the Rookies and veteran refresher tests.

Pietro Fittipaldi and Cody Ware completed their rookie tests and all refresher tests are complete as well.

A light sprinkle has the track closed at the moment but the sun has returned and cars should be running again soon.

The speed chart from the veteran’s session:

If you are watching on Peacock, please let me know what you think. I’m impressed with the picture resolution.

Back later with a wrap up of today’s action.

Rain Halts Test; Daly Posts Fastest Time

Photo: Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in an accident shortly after the test session began.

Rain halted the open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just before the end of the two hour veterans’ practice period. 21 drivers posted times in the abbreviated session.

Conor Daly has the fastest time at the moment, a lap of 222.714 miles an hour. Ed Carpenter is second at 221.296. Scott Dixon had the third quickest time at 220.575, followed by Arrow McLaren SP teammates Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward. The top five are the only cars with laps above 220 miles an hour.

The practice got off to a slow start when Rinus VeeKay spun in turn 1 just 10 minutes into the session. VeeKay said he was caught by a gust of wind. His left front wheel got into the grass and the car spun into the outside wall. VeeKay suffered a broken finger in the accident.

The rain has stopped and crews have begun to dry the track. Rookie Orientation and Refresher tests will begin when the track is ready. Cody Ware and Pietro Fittipaldi are the only two who need to complete the three phases of the rookie test.

Notes

It is weird getting used to seeing Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya incars that aren’t owned by Team Penske.

James Hinchcliffe hinted in an interview on Peacock that Robert Wickens is planning something “very exciting.” Hinchcliffe stopped short of saying what it is, but said the fans will love it.

Conor Daly is using number 47 for the 500 as he did last year.

I really like the resolution on the Peacock app on my tablet.

The top 10:

147Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevy222.71418
220Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy221.2969
39Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda220.5759
47Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevy220.36016
55Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy220.23323
610Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda219.96913
726Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda219.8468
827Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda219.64010
912Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy219.63516
1060Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda219.5196

I’ll be back with a wrap up after 6 pm.

Daly Sports Stealth Livery

U.S. AIR FORCE, ED CARPENTER RACING UNVEIL NEW B-2 SPIRIT STEALTH BOMBER LIVERY 
Conor Daly’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet Revealed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Home of the B-2 
DownloadWeb / Hi-Res
(INDIANAPOLIS) March 30, 2021 – Ed Carpenter Racing and the U.S. Air Force are proud to unveil Conor Daly’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. In a brand-new design for 2021, Daly’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES car celebrates the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The No. 20 was painted in ECR’s race shop and features a pattern of silver, blue and black silhouettes of the only stealth bomber in the world.
A group of select Airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing were the first to see the 2021 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet two weeks ago. Daly and members of the Ed Carpenter Racing team travelled to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to meet the men and women who maintain, support and operate the aircraft and displayed the No. 20 car alongside the inspiration behind its design, a B-2 Spirit. The 509th Bomb Wing and its fleet of B-2s serve as part of the U.S. Air Force’s conventional and strategic combat force. Whiteman AFB is the only operational base for the strategic stealth bomber.
“The Air Force’s liveries have traditionally drawn inspiration from the fighter aircraft community, but air power is about much more than fighter aircraft,” said Major Jason Wyche, Chief, National Events Branch, Air Force Recruiting Service. “The B-2 plays a critical role in the defense of our nation, bringing massive firepower to bear, anywhere in the world, in a short amount of time. The B-2 is an iconic aircraft, so we are really excited to unveil this design highlighting the stealth bomber and the Airmen supporting that mission.”
The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Its low-observable, or “stealth,” characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. First flown in 1989, it will continue to provide a strong, effective deterrent and combat force well into the 21st century.
Daly, 29, is continuing a partnership with the U.S. Air Force that originated four years ago. Beginning as a one-off 2018 Indianapolis 500 entry, Daly and the U.S. Air Force have grown to be synonymous in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Daly competed in the full 2020 schedule, splitting his talent between two teams. Daly drove the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing during the road and street course events and the No. 47 in the Indianapolis 500. While ECR team owner Ed Carpenter raced the No. 20 on ovals, Daly stepped into Carlin’s No. 59. In addition to four Top 10 finishes, Daly earned his first career pole position at Iowa Speedway. Known for a desire to sharpen his skills by racing in different disciplines, Daly has recently competed in USAC Midgets, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“To be able to pay tribute to one of the most outstanding aircrafts in the U.S. Air Force fleet is really incredible. The B-2 Spirit represents some of the greatest technology in the modern world and some of the most impressive air power. For it to be on our NTT INDYCAR SERIES car means a lot to myself and ECR, we hope it’s as powerful as the B-2,” Daly stated. “We have such incredible cars every year. We’ve showcased the history of the fighter jet, which is so fitting since our cars look like fighter jets. Now, we’ve got the B-2 on our car in a really cool pattern. We really hope the fans love it as much as we do!” 
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule consists of 13 road and street course events, all of which will feature Daly in ECR’s No. 20. The B-2 Spirit design will make its race weekend debut in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park on April 17-18. It will also race at St. Petersburg, Belle Isle, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Nashville, Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach. Though Daly will sport a special edition livery for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the B-2 scheme will first be seen on-track on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The B-2 car will be branded as the No. 47 during the open test on April 8-9, which will again be Daly’s Indy 500 number. The official design of the No. 47 will be unveiled in April.
DownloadWeb / Hi-Res
About the U.S. Air Force The mission of Air Force Recruiting Service is to inspire, engage and recruit the next generation of Airmen and Space professionals. We are looking for America’s best and brightest to fill nearly 30,000 opportunities in more than 200 Air Force specialties, as well as more than 300 space professionals in space-specific career fields in fiscal 2021. Additionally, our total force partners, the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are collectively hiring more than 19,000 part-time Airmen. Our military recruits to retain, providing tough, highly technical training that gives our future servicemembers the right skills to sustain the combat capability of America’s Air Force and protect our nation’s interests in space. For more information about Air Force and U.S. Space Force benefits and opportunities, go to www.airforce.com.
About Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) will be entering its 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2021. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting seven wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly will share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both will be entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR made its eSports debut in the 2020 iRX World Championship with Jim Beaver eSports. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.

Daly Stays with ECR in Same Role as 2020

Photo courtesy Indycar, Joe Skibinski

Conor Daly will again pilot the number20 car on the road and street courses for Ed Carpenter Racing. He will also enter a third car for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Last year Daly drove for Carpenter on the road and street courses and for Carlin Racing on the ovals. There is no word yet if he will continue his oval only drive for Carlin. Daly won the pole at Iowa for Race 1 in 2020.

The official release from Ed Carpenter Racing:

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. AIR FORCE, CONOR DALY RETURN TO ED CARPENTER RACING FOR 2021 SEASON
Daly Continues as Road and Street Course Driver of the No. 20 and the U.S. Air Force Indianapolis 500 Entry
(INDIANAPOLIS) December 18, 2020 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that the U.S. Air Force and Conor Daly will remain with the team for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.    Daly will continue to drive ECR’s No. 20 Chevrolet for the road and street course events, 10 of which will carry the colors of the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, Daly will again race a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for ECR in the Indianapolis 500. Daly and ECR continue to work alongside the U.S. Air Force to use the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to inspire young adults, communicate the service’s mission and build awareness about career opportunities.   The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule consists of 13 road and street course events, all of which will feature Daly in ECR’s No. 20. The 10 races where the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet will be on track are set to be announced at a later date, as will the primary partner for Daly’s three other races. For the four oval events, Daly will hand the No. 20 back over to team owner Ed Carpenter. Daly will also drive a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500, once again rounding out ECR’s three-car lineup.   “It feels incredible to have another year together with the U.S. Air Force and Ed Carpenter Racing,” stated Daly. “Continuity has always been helpful for me in my career; the fact that we are able to hit the ground running in 2021 already having experience together gives me a lot of confidence. Every day we learn more and develop a stronger relationship.”   Daly continued, “This would not be possible without the support of the U.S. Air Force, who have been an incredibly supportive and loyal partner. I want nothing more than to win races and compete for the entrant championship for the Airmen, the guys at ECR and my boss Ed, who has become a true friend of mine. I can’t wait to get back to work!”   The success of U.S. Air Force recruiting relies on a multi-layered marketing campaign at the local, regional and national level. Involvement in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES reflects the U.S. Air Force’s core values and has a positive impact on generating public awareness about the organization, its people and mission. The strategic partnership enables the U.S. Air Force to leverage and establish STEM correlations with Indy car racing, including teamwork, speed, technology, engineering, math and excellence in competition. Daly and ECR support the U.S. Air Force in its mission to inspire the nation’s brightest, most competitive young men and women for service.   “This partnership draws a parallel with how we fly, fight and win,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service. “Both organizations rely on the principles of science, technology, engineering and math to accomplish the mission. The technology that goes into these cars is similar to what we rely on when flying our fighter jets. Also, teamwork is especially important with the Air Force just like at the Indy 500. Everything just ties in perfectly with how we accomplish our respective missions. That’s what makes this a great partnership!”    Daly, who turned 29 on Tuesday, is continuing a partnership with the U.S. Air Force that originated four years ago. Beginning as a one-off 2018 Indianapolis 500 entry, Daly and the U.S. Air Force have grown to be synonymous in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Daly competed in the full 2020 schedule, splitting his talent between two teams. While Carpenter raced the No. 20 on ovals, Daly stepped into Carlin’s No. 59. In addition to four Top 10 finishes, Daly earned his first career pole position at Iowa Speedway. Over the past seven years, the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in over 60 Indy car races. Known for a desire to sharpen his skills by racing in different disciplines, Daly made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut earlier this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.   Carpenter is thrilled with continuation of this year’s program. “It is a very exciting day to be able to announce the return of both the U.S. Air Force and Conor to Ed Carpenter Racing! We are looking forward to the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, having the same driver lineup to continue our progression back to a race-winning and championship-contending organization.” He continued, “We are very grateful for the support of U.S. Air Force and honored to represent everything that they stand for. We’re thankful for the opportunity to inspire and engage the next generation of men and women who join the U.S. Air Force!”   The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will be Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10th season of competition. ECR began as a single-car organization in 2012, expanding to two full-time entries in 2015. For the first time since having multiple entries, the team will enjoy the continuity of having the same driver lineup from the previous season. The No. 20 maintains its all-Hoosier lineup as both Carpenter and Daly are from Indiana. Carpenter, a three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner, will be driving in his 19th season of Indy car competition. Rinus VeeKay, 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year, remains the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21. The Dutchman’s debut season featured the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history, his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position and three Top 5 finishes. Carpenter, Daly and VeeKay make up the team’s three-car effort in the 2021 Indianapolis 500. The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will open in the streets of St. Petersburg on March 7, 2021.
Conor Daly will continue to drive Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Chevrolet for the road and street course events for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, 10 of which will carry the colors of the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, Daly will again race a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for ECR in the Indianapolis 500, rounding out the team’s three-car lineup. (DREAM Digital/Alex Wong)
Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force are continuing a partnership that originated four years ago. Beginning as a one-off 2018 Indianapolis 500 entry, Daly and the U.S. Air Force have grown to be synonymous in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing continue to work alongside the U.S. Air Force to inspire young adults, communicate the service’s mission and build awareness about career opportunities. (IMS Photo/Chris Owens)
About Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) first entered the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2012. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting seven wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly will share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both will be entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR made its eSports debut in the iRX World Championship with Jim Beaver eSports. More information on Ed Carpenter Racing may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.
About the U.S. Air Force The mission of Air Force Recruiting Service is to inspire, engage and recruit the next generation of Airmen and Space professionals. We are looking for America’s best and brightest to fill nearly 30,000 opportunities in more than 200 Air Force specialties, as well as more than 300 space professionals in space-specific career fields in fiscal 2021. Additionally, our total force partners, the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are collectively hiring more than 19,000 part-time Airmen. Our military recruits to retain, providing tough, highly technical training that gives our future servicemembers the right skills to sustain the combat capability of America’s Air Force and protect our nation’s interests in space. For more information about Air Force and U.S. Space Force benefits and opportunities, go to www.airforce.com.

Indycar Oval Season- Veterans Rule, Passing at a Premium

The NTT Indycar Series completed the oval portion of their abbreviated schedule Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway. It was quite a feat to get in six races of any kind in a season that was delayed until June. Some positive things came from the abbreviated, revised schedule. The double header qualifying format, the competitiveness of Carlin Racing with Conor Daly driving, and that fans were allowed to attend Iowa and Gateway. Sunday’s attendance at gateway is thought to be around 7,500, which would make it the largest oval crowd of the year.

Qualifying Format for Double Headers

The double header qualifying format in which the first lap set the Race 1 grid and the second lap set the Race 2 grid was fascinating and did scramble the lineup a bit for the second race. I was surprised no one swept both poles at an event. Four different drivers won poles at the doubleheaders- Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, and Takuma Sato.

If there are more double headers next season, I hope this format stays. This year it was put in to save time and expense on an improvised program, but it was fun to watch.

Oval Points

It seemed as if Scott Dixon dominated the ovals, but Newgarden was not far behind. Dixon’s 95 point margin is largely based on the road course races. Dixon accumulated 256 points on the ovals while Newgarden has 251. Takuma Sato and Pato O’Ward each have 205 points on the ovals. Sato’s win at the Indianapolis 500 made up for his missing the race at Texas.

Passing

The aeroscreen may be a factor. Less tire degradation might also be a culprit. It seems as if passing is more difficult this year than last year. This past weekend passing was non existent except for a few bold moves, especially Sunday.

The aero package works  very well on road courses. Adjustments need to be made for the oval package. I hope that after a season with the new aeroscreen, the series and teams can figure something out.

Yellows

 The seventeen caution periods this season on ovals is I think, about average. Seven were in the Indianapolis 500. While the timing of the yellows can’t be predicted, several drivers have been caught out by the yellow flags just after their pit stops.

 Conor Daly had just pitted in Iowa race 2 when the yellow flew for Ryan Hunter-Reay’s accident. The rain yellow at Gateway this past Saturday pushed Josef Newgarden back in the field.

Two races have ended under yellow because of accidents with four laps to go. I don’t have a problem with races finishing under yellow. A race has a scheduled distance and that’s when it should end. Baseball doesn’t add an inning when a game ends on a strikeout instead of a home run.

Carlin and Daly

Carlin Racing and Conor Daly have been a great match. Daly has made Carlin competitive on the ovals. His average finish with Carlin is 8.8 with four top tens and a pole. The one top ten he didn’t get was because he was caught by a yellow in Iowa Race 2.

I hope Daly continues his arrangement with Carlin next season.

Rookies

The rookies have looked great on the road courses, but have struggled some on the ovals. Rinus VeeKay, who had a disastrous start at Texas,  does appear to be improving. He had a 6th and a 4th this past weekend. Oliver Askew Had a 3rd and a 6th at Iowa, but hasn’t shown consistency at the other ovals. Alex Palou has a best oval finish of 11th.

VeeKay leads the rookie standings overal with 181 points, while Askew has the most oval points, 126.

I’m sad to see the oval portion end. there are five road or street courses left on the schedule. We are still waiting for final word about Mid Ohio and whether fans will be allowed. There is no word yet about fans viewing the Harvest classic races at IMS. St. Pete I still think is iffy to run and definitely sketchy for fans.