The Tires They Are A-Changin’- New Procedures for Texas

The NTT Indycar Series has added two tweaks to the June 6 schedule at Texas Motor Speedway. We have already seen the event shortened to 200 laps/300 miles from its traditional 248 laps/360 miles. This isn’t the first time we have seen the Texas race run a bit differently. Remember the twin races where the drivers spun a tire to determine Race 2’s starting position? That was fun. For this race, it’s nothing that drastic. One change I like, the other I’m not excited about, but I feel is necessary for the season opener.

The day of the Genesys 300 will begin with a 30 minute test session for  rookies Alex Palou, Rinus VeeKay, and Oliver Askew. The 80 minute practice session begins immediately at the conclusion of the rookie test period. With testing cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Indycar felt the rookies should get extra time on the 1.5 mile oval.  This is a great and necessary move by Indycar. It doesn’t completely erase my concerns for the event, but it does help lower them a bit.

The second change is a 35 lap maximum stint for tires during the race. Several factors led to this decision. First, the divers haven’t been on track in nearly nine months except for testing almost three months ago. Second, tire supplies are down because of the changes in work time caused by the pandemic pandemic. And the new aeroscreen creates a change in the center of gravity which will affect tire wear.

I don’t like mandated stints. Indycar did this at Texas a couple years ago when tire wear became an issue. The decision came after the race had started. At least the rule is clear for the entire race. The tire rule takes fuel strategy out of the race but when the yellows come could dictate tire strategy. Teams get nine sets of Firestone tires for the entire day. The team that manages their tires the best should do very well.

More Details on Texas Race Move to NBC

From Indycar:

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NTT IndyCar Series News Release
For Immediate Release
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Set for NBC Network Primetime Debut June 6 at Texas

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Set for NBC Network Primetime Debut June 6 at Texas

INDIANAPOLIS (May 24, 2020) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be broadcast in primetime on NBC for the first time when the season-opening Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway is televised starting at 8 p.m. (ET) Saturday, June 6.

The race is moving to NBC from its originally scheduled window on NBCSN. It’s the first INDYCAR race on broadcast television in primetime since 2013.

“We’re pleased the daring nature and bold skills of INDYCAR’s athletes will be displayed to a network primetime audience in just a few weeks’ time,” Penske Entertainment Corp President & CEO Mark Miles said. “INDYCAR’s first season on NBC in 2019 was marked by significant audience growth, and this marquee broadcast slot reflects both our continued momentum and strong partnership with NBC Sports Group.”

NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR broadcast team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), Townsend Bell (analyst) and Paul Tracy (analyst) will call the Genesys 300 on NBC.

“America has a thirst for live sports, so we’re thrilled to showcase the spectacular racing of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in primetime on the broadcast network,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN.

Live comprehensive coverage of practice and qualifying June 6 from Texas Motor Speedway will stream on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass. Race coverage on NBC streams on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The Genesys 300 will be the first race of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign as the series gets #BackOnTrack. This kicks off NBC Sports’ second season as the exclusive home of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, including the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which will now take place Sunday, Aug. 23 on NBC.

The second race of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, July 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also will be broadcast to a network audience on NBC. A full-season broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.

Today’s news also will be announced on network television, during NBC’s four hour “Indy 500 Special: Back Home Again.” NBC Sports Group also has provided significant TV exposure to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES during the break in competition caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, airing five races of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on NBCSN.

Texas is a Go; Shortened Race, No Fans

News release from Indycar. I will have some thoughts later.

For Immediate Release
NTT INDYCAR SERIES season kicks off June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway

NTT INDYCAR SERIES season kicks off June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2020) – The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin Saturday, June 6 with the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. INDYCAR’s stars will take the green flag at 8:45 p.m. (ET), with broadcast coverage provided by NBC Sports via NBCSN.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, INDYCAR will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day. The event also will be conducted without fans in attendance. This will be the 24th consecutive year in which INDYCAR has raced at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We’re excited and ready to kick off the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at Texas Motor Speedway,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “We’ve worked closely with Eddie Gossage, the entire TMS team and public health officials on a plan of action that will ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.”

“America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas,” said Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway. “One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems. Typically, the Genesys 300 results in a 220-mph photo finish.”

Other steps to protect the well-being of participants have been identified through close consultation with TMS and public health officials. These include:

• Strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site

• A health screening system administered to all participants

• PPE equipment provided to everyone entering the facility, along with guidelines on usage

• Social distancing protocols in place and carefully maintained

• Revised competition layout to increase distancing

To accommodate the one-day schedule, the length for the race at Texas Motor Speedway has been adjusted to 200 laps rather than the previously announced 248 laps. The full on-track schedule for the Genesys 300:

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice: 1:30-3:30 p.m. (ET)

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifications: 5 p.m. (ET)

Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway: 8:45 p.m. (ET)

The remainder of the updated, 15-race INDYCAR calendar for 2020, announced April 6, remains on schedule for competition.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2020 season, which runs from June to October, currently consists of 15 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 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.

For Immediate Release
NTT INDYCAR SERIES season kicks off June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway

NTT INDYCAR SERIES season kicks off June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2020) – The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin Saturday, June 6 with the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. INDYCAR’s stars will take the green flag at 8:45 p.m. (ET), with broadcast coverage provided by NBC Sports via NBCSN.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, INDYCAR will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day. The event also will be conducted without fans in attendance. This will be the 24th consecutive year in which INDYCAR has raced at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We’re excited and ready to kick off the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at Texas Motor Speedway,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “We’ve worked closely with Eddie Gossage, the entire TMS team and public health officials on a plan of action that will ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.”

“America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas,” said Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway. “One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems. Typically, the Genesys 300 results in a 220-mph photo finish.”

Other steps to protect the well-being of participants have been identified through close consultation with TMS and public health officials. These include:

• Strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site

• A health screening system administered to all participants

• PPE equipment provided to everyone entering the facility, along with guidelines on usage

• Social distancing protocols in place and carefully maintained

• Revised competition layout to increase distancing

To accommodate the one-day schedule, the length for the race at Texas Motor Speedway has been adjusted to 200 laps rather than the previously announced 248 laps. The full on-track schedule for the Genesys 300:

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice: 1:30-3:30 p.m. (ET)

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifications: 5 p.m. (ET)

Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway: 8:45 p.m. (ET)

The remainder of the updated, 15-race INDYCAR calendar for 2020, announced April 6, remains on schedule for competition.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The 2020 season, which runs from June to October, currently consists of 15 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 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.

Genesys Assumes Sponsorship at Texas

It makes sense now. I wondered why one of James Hinchcliffe’s three races with Andretti Autosport was Texas instead of Toronto. His sponsor is the new title sponsor of the June 8 NTTINDYCARSERIES race, now known as the Genesys 600. The company replaces DXC Technologies in the title role.

It’s nice to see a new sponsor jumping in with both feet like this. I would have been happy with their three race sponsorship for Hinchcliffe. That would be a nice beginning for a new Indycar partner. I hope their involvement leads to a full time of half year sponsorship for Hinchcliffe and Andretti.

Earlier today, the Firestone Grand of St. Petersburg announced Frontier as the official television and internet provider of the season opening race. I posted the announcement here:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/90591962/posts/2603641037

I love days like this when there are several announcements, especially when they concern more companies getting involved with the series.

My season preview will start tomorrow. It will be a three part series where I assess each team’s outlook for the 2020 season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hinchcliffe Gets Funding; Looking for Ride

James Hinchcliffe has the funding to run the Indianapolis 500 and possibly afew more races. Thanks to Genesys, a technology firm providing cloud services, he now has the money to take to a team. But which team? I assume he would want one of the Honda teams.  Andretti is full as they already have seven cars for Indianapolis. The other Honda teams, Ganassi, Coyne, and Rahal, are possibilities. I would think either Coyne or Rahal would be more likely than Ganassi.

The news comes just two months after Hinchcliffe was told by Arrow McLaren SP that he would not be driving for them. The team signed Pato O’Ward and rookie Oliver Askew and  for the 2020 season. Hinchcliffe still has a contract with the team and will do personal appearances on their behalf. My understanding is he can still drive for another team.

I have to give Hinchcliffe credit for working hard to secure the money needed for the 500 in just two months. Some drivers work on this aspect of racing all year and come up short. Hinchcliffe qualified 32nd and finished 11th in 2019. He failed to qualify in 2018. The sponsors will announce further details at a later date.

Hinchcliffe is one of the most popular drivers in the NTT Indycar Series. It’s great knowing he will be at IMS during May.

Indycar at the Chili Bowl

Indycar has its best representation at the Chili Bowl in several years. Santino Ferrucci, James Davison, and Conor Daly are entered in the week long midget event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Daly drives for the first time tonight.

Ferrucci did well in his first ever midget event. He started 11th and finished fifth, just one spot short of transferring to that evening’s feature round. Davison was 10th in his debut last night.

The Chili Bowl finals are on Saturday night from 8:30-11:30 Eastern Time on MavTV.