Afternoon Update

Davison Crash

James Davison crashed hard in turn two. The back end of the car seemed to snap as he entered the turn. The team was concerned about his speed being fast enough to make the race and they were trying something new. Davison was cle3ared to drive by the medical team.

The tub of the at is okay, but the gearbox is damaged. Making the race has turned very iffy for this team.

Ferucci to Drive Car #19 in Detroit for Coyne

Santino Ferucci and car owner Dale Coyne

Santino Ferucci will replace Pietro Fittipaldi in car 19 at the Dual in Detroit June 2 and 3. Ferucci currently drives in GP2 and is a reserve driver for Haas F1 team. The Detroit race weekend is on a Formula 1 off week.  He will have a test the week after the 500.

Ferucci said the biggest difference between GP2 and Indycar will be the jump in power. His long term goal is still F1. He is looking to gain some seat time since GP2 testing is limited. Ferucci’s last race in the United States was a Formula Ford 200 race at Mid-Ohio.

Practice Update

At 4:15 Marco Andretti continues to lead with a 231.802 lap. Robert Wickens is second at 231.732. Ed Carpenter is the only other driver over 231 mph. Oriol Servia is the only other drive over 230.

At the other end of the chart J. R. Hildebrand and Jack Harvey are the two slowest with speeds in the 226 range.

Will Power leads the No Tow list with 229 mph.  His Teammates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud are second and third.


News From IMS


Cars are about 35 minutes away from being on track. the first segment of practice between 11 and 1 is for veterans. Rookie and refresher tests run from 1-3. The rest of the day until 6 is open practice.

Zachary Claman DeMelo will drive the Dale Coyne number 19 entry. DeMelo was sharing the ride this season with Pietro Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi was scheduled to drive the car in the 500, but his injury qualifying for the 6 hour race at Spa opened the seat. There had been lots of speculation about who would get the seat, but Coyne decided to keep things in house. I think this is a good move for the future of the team.

DeMelo will take his rookie test this afternoon.

My plan is to get a photo of every car today. I will post them as I get them here.

A new “Bump Tales” is coming Thursday.

Season Preview, Part 2- Smaller Teams Look for Bigger Results

First, some personal news:

Beginning this weekend I will be covering Indycar for Wildfire Sports, a sports site carrying podcasts and written content. I am very excited for this opportunity. Please give them a look at I plan to continue this blog, probably with a slight change in content. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog. You helped make this happen.


The four smallest established teams in the paddock expect better results this year thanks to the new aero package. TheHonda teams are especially optimistic that equal aero with superior Honda power will yield higher finishes. Each of the teams featured today have at least one driver new to the team. All but one driver was not in Indycar last year.

A. J. Foyt Racing

Foyt turned over their driver lineup for the second year in a row. They now have former series champion and 2013 500 winner Tony Kanaan and rookie Matheus Leist. Kanaan has struggled the last few years with Ganassi. He is looking for a fresh starts. I’m not sure this is the best team to get better results with, but his talent may help improve the team’s standing.

Leist drove in Indy Lights in 2017 and won the Freedom 100 in dominating fashion. He also won at Iowa. Still, I think he could have benefitted from another season in Lights. Leist spun four times at the Phoenix test. He will have a challenging year.

Overall I don’t look for much improvement from Foyt Racing. The constant change of personnel makes it difficult to produce decent results. Kanaan may be able to get a few top 10s, but anything beyond that would be a major accomplishment.

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan

This team has some unfinished business. Sebastien Bourdais was poised to be a championship contender last year, winning the St. Pete opener and on his way to the pole at Indy when the horrendous crash occurred. Bourdais was sidelined until Labor Day weekend.

2018 begins with a full time sponsor and a partnership with former team owners Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan. This may be the boost that Coyne needs to move his organization closer to the front consistently. Look for Bourdais to be in the thick of the title fight.

The second car will have two part time drivers, Zachary Claman DeMelo and Pietro Fittipaldi. DeMelo drove in Indy Lights last year and had an Indycar debut at Sonoma with Rahal :Letterman Lanigan. After a slow start to the weekend he showed a decent race pace. I thought he was one of the most improved Lights drivers last year, but I still think he could use another year’s experience. DeMelo will run at St. Pete, Long Beach, Barber, Detroit, Road America, Pocono, Toronto, and Gateway.

Fittipaldi is the grandson of former series, world, 2-time 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. He raced in Europe last season and did well. He performed well in testing, but he is still a rookie on a low budget team. I think he will be interesting to watch. Fittipaldi’s seven races are Phoenix, GP of Indy, the 500, Texas, Mid-Ohio, Portland, and Sonoma.

Ed Carpenter Racing

2018 sees some shuffling and one part time addition to the Fuzzy’s Vodka backed team. Owner Ed Carpenter will continue to drive the ovals in car 20 and rookie Jordan King, who comes from F3 and F2 with respectable credentials, will take over the car fro the road and street schedule.

The 21 car will have Spencer Pigot, last year’s road and street driver of the 20. Pigot is a major talent who should do well in a full time seat. Last year a series of mechanical issues cost him some great finishes. I anticipate fewer problems and some top 5s this season.

Carpenter always qualifies well at Indianapolis, but has very little good fortune in the race. Could this be the year their fortune changes?

The 20 and the 21 will have different liveries this year. Last year the two cars were a spotter’s nightmare as they were pretty much indistinguishable in the race. When both cars carry the Fuzzy’s sponsorship, the 21 will be green and the 20 will be black.

Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports

I always start the new season with high hopes for this team.  There are some flashes of brilliance but not a consistent result for the entire schedule. 2018 could be different. James Hinchcliffe returns and his teammate, Robert Wickens, is someone he grew up with. Wickens was headed for an open wheel career which got derailed and spent last year in DTM.  This is the strongest two car lineup SPM has had in a while.

Adding Leena Gade as lead engineer is a huge hire for SPM. She is one of the top engineers in the world. It will not take her long to get these cars competitive. Gade is also a strong, articulate  advocate for equal opportunities for women in sport. I am very glad she is in the Indycar paddock.

There were some issues with Hinchcliffe’s car at Phoenix, which hopefully will be resolved by the April race. Wickens showed good speed at the Sebring test. He has a smooth style.

The team has added several partners in the offseason. The biggest deal is with New Era as the team’s apparel provider.

I think Hinchcliffe will win a race this year as he did last year. Wickens will have several good runs and likely finish second in the season Rookie of the Year chase.

Tomorrow concludes my team previews with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Andretti Autosport. On Friday I will have a full season preview with predictions you can take to the bank, or anywhere else that has a trash can..