Reader Request: The Speedway’s Greatest Cars

Originally published May 25, 2016

I’ll admit it. I am biased on this topic. I love the old front engine cars. Maybe it’s because growing up they were what a race car was. Unlike the rear engine cars, front engine machines came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most rear engine cars look basically the same to me. I’m not talking about today’s Dallara.  The early rear engine cars were noticeably distinct from one another. A sameness crept into the design, especially after wings were added.

What were the greatest cars? My criteria is part objective and part subjective. Cars that won more than once easily make the cut. Design and livery are a big qualification as well.  I prefer the simpler liveries. Here are my top five greatest cars, front engine division.

5. Belond Exhaust Special.  The car designed by George Salih won back to back to back races in 1957-58. The engine is laid on its side, allowing a lower profile. Note the fin

Note the fin behind the driver’s headrest.Hulmanclubfavcars 006.jpg

4.  Blue Crown Spark Plug Special.  This Offenhauser powered, front wheel drive machine won in 1947 and 1948 with Mauri Rose driving to victory both years. Car owner Lou Moore is second behind Roger Penske in victories by an owner with five.

Hulmanclubfavcars 009

 

 

 

3.  Sheraton-Thompson Special. The 1964 winning car is a A. J. Watson built roadster driven by A. J. Foyt to his second 500 win. It was the last front engine car to win the race.Hulmanclubfavcars 011

2.  Fuel Injection Special.  Bill Vukovich dominated in 1953 and 1954 in the original “roadster”. Note the cockpit offset to the right. The car was leading in 1952 when a steering rod broke with eight laps left. Vukovich led 435 laps in this car. Hulmanclubfavcars 008.jpg

  1. Boyle Special (top of story  photo) Another car that dominated the 500. Wilbur Shaw won in this Maserati in 1939 and 1940. He was leading in 1940 when a wheel collapsed late in the race. After the war, Ted Horn drove it from 1946-48  to finishes of third, third, and fourth. Future winner Lee Wallard took the car to the lead in the 1949 race. Bill Vukovich took his 1950 rookie test in the Maserati, but did not attempt to qualify it. This car was truly the chariot of the gods.

Revised Schedule: Thoughts on a Historic Route to the Championship

Who thought a jigsaw puzzle could be put together a different way? The NTT Indycar Series revised schedule is impressive on several fronts. To change a race date involves many moving pieces- sponsors, promoters, television networks, vendors- all to agree. To move three races to accommodate one big is a feat only Roger Penske could accomplish. Here some of my mostly incoherent thoughts about yesterday’s events.

Could anyone besides Roger Penske pulled this off? Not likely. His connections across auto racing greatly aided everything coming together. Penske and the series took full advantage of the gap left by the postponement of the Olympics to work in the complete Indianapolis 500 program minus one practice day. My thought was when the race was rescheduled that there would be a day of practice, a day of qualifying, a day off then the race. I’m glad the entire schedule stays intact.

There is still some historic tradition left despite how much of the new schedule enters unfamiliar territory. The season starts May 30. 22 times in the past the Indianapolis 500 was the first race of the year. The last time it opened the season was 1957. The 500 has never been run outside of the month of May before. I’m not sure how to deal with May 24 yet.

The inevitable Indycar/NASCAR double header has become a reality a couple of years earlier than I expected. The GMR Grand Prix will run on July 4, the day before the Brickyard 400. The Xfinity series will have the first stock car road race at IMS following the Indycar race. I think this will be the model for future doubleheaders. I don’t think it’s to NASCAR’s advantage to run on an oval after Indycar runs a race the day before on that same track.

If you like all types of racing, the first five days of July will be heaven. Midgets, Indycar, Road to Indy, and NASCAR all at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s the type of race meet Carl Fisher dreamed of.

Could this  be the new date for the GMR Grand Prix in the future? I don’t think so. The May lead in is important to the Speedway. If it is successful, who knows? I think it is worth the consideration. Add the two days in May back to the practice schedule for the Indianapolis 500.

Will the 500 lose another practice day going forward? When the series sees that the cars can get along fine with just three days, I could see the May schedule shrink again. I would hate to see it happen, bet I’m not going to bet against it.

I hope the race at World Wide Technology Raceway the week after the 500 can be moved to NBC. The move would help continue momentum from the 500. I love that the 500 is followed by a short oval. It will be just like the old days when Milwaukee followed Indianapolis.

I’m impressed that  Indycar still has 14 races scheduled. I originally thought 12 was the most that could get in, if any racing occurred at all in 2020. Keep in mind, that nothing is certain as we are still at the mercy of the coronavirus.

Seeing St. Pete at the end of the schedule was a huge surprise. Green Savoree has worked hard to keep this event on the calendar. I know Mayor Kriseman is a big advocate for the race. October is a good time to hold a race in St. Pete. It is before the snowbirds arrive in great numbers. It will also relieve some of the economic hit caused by the abbreviated Spring Break.

Now that an October race is on the schedule, can we keep at least one there in future years? Maybe two?

The thing that doesn’t thrill me about St. Pete is ending the season on a street course. Qualifying is key there, although St. Pete usually jumbles the order with yellows at some point. It really bothers me to award double points for a street race.

Let’s hope that this schedule can run in its entirety. Everyone stay safe and be well.

Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix Moved

104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge Rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move to Fourth of July Weekend

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 26, 2020 – The Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) announced today. The 104th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air live on NBC, with the official green flag time to be announced at a later date.

The GMR Grand Prix will transition to Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course as part of a historic double-header featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR. This first-of-its-kind racing event also will be televised by NBC on Independence Day.

The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, in its traditional spot on the calendar during Memorial Day weekend. The GMR Grand Prix was scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 9.

“The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” Roger Penske said. “However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing. We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”

“Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “This August, we’ll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. We’re grateful for the patience of our fans as we’ve navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule.”

On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC, providing more network coverage of qualifications for fans than in 2019. A full broadcast schedule will be released soon.

The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20 and include Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, a significantly expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 22 as part of Legends Day presented by Firestone.

As a result of the schedule changes at IMS, the INDYCAR races scheduled for Aug. 16 and Aug. 22 have been rescheduled. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is now scheduled for Aug. 9, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is now scheduled for Aug. 30. An updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar is available at this link and can also be found at the bottom of this release. 

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move

The GMR Grand Prix will take the green flag Saturday, July 4, before the first NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the IMS road course – the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. The unique holiday racing lineup will mark the first time that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will compete at the same track on the same weekend as both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Immediately following the live telecast of the GMR Grand Prix on July 4, NBC will air the first NASCAR race on the IMS road course with the Xfinity Series cars in action at the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.

“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We appreciate our friends at NASCAR for their flexibility and support in this matter and will work with them on a memorable, exciting weekend of racing action.”

Tickets already purchased for the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix and associated on-track days such as Miller Lite Carb Day and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will be valid on the rescheduled dates. Individuals already in possession of those tickets should use them for entry. To learn more about the adjusted on-track schedule, review customer FAQ’s and submit questions, fans can visit www.ims.com/COVID19.

Important Indy 500 Race Weekend Concert Update

All concerts scheduled for the original Race Weekend in May have been canceled. This includes REO Speedwagon and Styx on Friday, May 22, Luke Bryan on Saturday, May 23 and Martin Garrix on Sunday, May 24.

This decision was made to provide the maximum flexibility possible to complete the Indianapolis 500 by Sunday, Aug. 23 and provide room for any contingency plans necessary. IMS appreciates the understanding of fans and regrets that the COVID-19 situation has caused the cancellation of these events.

Fans who made concert-specific purchases will be able to access a credit for any IMS event, including the Indy 500, or choose to receive a refund. IMS concert customers will receive further communication on how to exercise their ticketing options.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures at IMS

IMS and INDYCAR officials will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health representatives to ensure a safe and healthy experience for spectators. Enhanced measures that will be in place once activity resumes at IMS include:

•Increasing housekeeping staff at the track to elevate frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces

•Using cleaning products that meet current EPA and CDC guidelines for registered disinfectants to be used against COVID-19

•Educating all employees on CDC prevention guidance, including proper handwashing technique and requesting that all vendors communicate strict hygiene protocol to staff

•Increasing public hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, containing sanitizer that meets or exceeds the CDC standard for alcohol content

•Reducing required hand-to-hand interactions between customers and staff at concession areas and other key IMS locations

Updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule

Saturday, May 30 

Streets of Detroit Race 1 

Sunday, May 31

Streets of Detroit Race 2 

Saturday, June 6

Texas Motor Speedway 

Sunday, June 21

Road America 

Saturday, June 27

Richmond Raceway 

Saturday, July 4

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course 

Sunday, July 12

Streets of Toronto 

Saturday, July 18

Iowa Speedway 

Sunday, Aug. 9

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 

Sunday, Aug. 23

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race 

Sunday, Aug. 30 

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

Sunday, Sept. 13

Portland International Raceway 

Sunday, Sept. 20

WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca 

TBD Expected Finale

Streets of St. Petersburg

104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge Rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move to Fourth of July Weekend

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 26, 2020 – The Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) announced today. The 104th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air live on NBC, with the official green flag time to be announced at a later date.

The GMR Grand Prix will transition to Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course as part of a historic double-header featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and NASCAR. This first-of-its-kind racing event also will be televised by NBC on Independence Day.

The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, in its traditional spot on the calendar during Memorial Day weekend. The GMR Grand Prix was scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 9.

“The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” Roger Penske said. “However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing. We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”

“Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “This August, we’ll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. We’re grateful for the patience of our fans as we’ve navigated this situation, and we extend our thanks to NBC for its terrific partnership and diligent work to maximize broadcast coverage with this new schedule.”

On-track action in August will begin at IMS with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC, providing more network coverage of qualifications for fans than in 2019. A full broadcast schedule will be released soon.

The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20 and include Indy Lights practice and qualifying. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, a significantly expanded Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place on Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day, followed by the public drivers’ meeting and full-field autograph session on Saturday, Aug. 22 as part of Legends Day presented by Firestone.

As a result of the schedule changes at IMS, the INDYCAR races scheduled for Aug. 16 and Aug. 22 have been rescheduled. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is now scheduled for Aug. 9, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is now scheduled for Aug. 30. An updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar is available at this link and can also be found at the bottom of this release. 

GMR Grand Prix Makes Historic Move

The GMR Grand Prix will take the green flag Saturday, July 4, before the first NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the IMS road course – the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. The unique holiday racing lineup will mark the first time that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will compete at the same track on the same weekend as both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Immediately following the live telecast of the GMR Grand Prix on July 4, NBC will air the first NASCAR race on the IMS road course with the Xfinity Series cars in action at the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.

“For very good reason, this historic pairing will be circled on the calendar of every motorsports fan,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We appreciate our friends at NASCAR for their flexibility and support in this matter and will work with them on a memorable, exciting weekend of racing action.”

Tickets already purchased for the Indianapolis 500, GMR Grand Prix and associated on-track days such as Miller Lite Carb Day and Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will be valid on the rescheduled dates. Individuals already in possession of those tickets should use them for entry. To learn more about the adjusted on-track schedule, review customer FAQ’s and submit questions, fans can visit www.ims.com/COVID19.

Important Indy 500 Race Weekend Concert Update

All concerts scheduled for the original Race Weekend in May have been canceled. This includes REO Speedwagon and Styx on Friday, May 22, Luke Bryan on Saturday, May 23 and Martin Garrix on Sunday, May 24.

This decision was made to provide the maximum flexibility possible to complete the Indianapolis 500 by Sunday, Aug. 23 and provide room for any contingency plans necessary. IMS appreciates the understanding of fans and regrets that the COVID-19 situation has caused the cancellation of these events.

Fans who made concert-specific purchases will be able to access a credit for any IMS event, including the Indy 500, or choose to receive a refund. IMS concert customers will receive further communication on how to exercise their ticketing options.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures at IMS

IMS and INDYCAR officials will continue to work closely with local, state and federal health representatives to ensure a safe and healthy experience for spectators. Enhanced measures that will be in place once activity resumes at IMS include:

•Increasing housekeeping staff at the track to elevate frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces

•Using cleaning products that meet current EPA and CDC guidelines for registered disinfectants to be used against COVID-19

•Educating all employees on CDC prevention guidance, including proper handwashing technique and requesting that all vendors communicate strict hygiene protocol to staff

•Increasing public hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, containing sanitizer that meets or exceeds the CDC standard for alcohol content

•Reducing required hand-to-hand interactions between customers and staff at concession areas and other key IMS locations

Updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule

Saturday, May 30 

Streets of Detroit Race 1 

Sunday, May 31

Streets of Detroit Race 2 

Saturday, June 6

Texas Motor Speedway 

Sunday, June 21

Road America 

Saturday, June 27

Richmond Raceway 

Saturday, July 4

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course 

Sunday, July 12

Streets of Toronto 

Saturday, July 18

Iowa Speedway 

Sunday, Aug. 9

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 

Sunday, Aug. 23

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race 

Sunday, Aug. 30 

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

Sunday, Sept. 13

Portland International Raceway 

Sunday, Sept. 20

WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca 

TBD Expected Finale

Streets of St. Petersburgv

Are All the Good Alternate Dates Gone?

I am still hopeful that the 104th Indianapolis 500 can be run on its appointed date. The hope is mixed with a touch of skepticism as dates for other races in other series have been moved further back on the calendar. IMSA’s Weather Tech Championship and Le Mans have postponed events and taken three September weekends, two of which conflict with scheduled Indycar races.

If the 500 has to be moved, September would be the perfect time in Indianapolis. Around the middle of the month, temperatures moderate and it can be very pleasant. The only September weekend open would be the weekend of September 11-13. That would be the ideal weekend for a postponed 500. Unfortunately, Roger didn’t take my call.

An opportunity for filling in missing races arose last week with the postponement of the Olympics. Indycar has a 29 day gap in the schedule between the Iowa race July 18 and Mid Ohio August 16. NBC is looking to fill airtime in that period now. Indycar’s first priority should be running the 500.

August in Indiana can be hot and humid. I think fans will still turn out for the race. There have have been some very hot race days in May in the last few years, too. No decision on postponing the 500 has come forth as of yet. I think a decision needs to come fairly soon.

Alonso at Barber?

In a story from Marca.com last night, Fernando Alonso said he had planned to race at Barber with Arrow McLaren SP as a warm up for May.  It is bad enough for the series to miss Barber, but to miss a chance to see Alonso race on a road course doubles the frustration. Maybe he could run at Road America instead.

Documentary Binge Watching

I have spent my week watching racing documentaries. I have seen A Life of Speed- The Juan Manuel Fangio Story, The Gentleman Driver, Shelby American, and The 24 Hour War. I reviewed the Fangio documentary at the link below.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/90591962/posts/2636637235

The Gentleman Driver follows four amateur drivers, Ed Brown, Paul Dalla Lana, Ricardo Gonzalez, and Mike Guasch through a season on the IMSA and WEC circuits. They are amateur drivers who own the teams they drive for. The four are highly successful businessmen who are not afraid to continue pushing hard. Racing gives them an escape and an outlet for their excessive energy. I found this a touching study of human nature. I also admire the heck out of all four of these men.

Shelby American is an excellent biography of Carroll Shelby. I learned a lot about him. He was quite the salesman. It was another film full of vintage footage of endurance races and interviews with some of the sport’s legends, including Dan Gurney and John Surtees.

The 24 Hour War mainly rehashes the Shelby film but goes more in depth about the battle between Ford and Ferrari. Some of the same clips are in both films. I watched this after watching the Shelby film. If you’re planning to watch the two films , I would recommend watching The 24 Hour War first.

Fangio- A Life of Speed

He didn’t start racing until he was 27 years old. His first Formula 1 race was at age 39. Not the way a career would begin today, but in 1950 the racing world was different. Juan Manuel Fangio would go on to win five world championships in a span of eight years. A new documentary, A Life of Speed – The Juan Manuel Fangio Story, is currently showing on Netflix.

I found the film fascinating mainly because I love watching racing films from long ago. There is a lot of  footage of Grand Prix races from 1950- 1958. The black and white film adds an air of romance to the contests. I’m always shocked to see the three wide standing starts F1 used at that time. The first turn wasn’t the calamity you would expect.

The film proceeds in a chronological fashion, following Fangio from his childhood in Balcarce, Argentina, all the way to the European racing scene. He began his Formula 1 career the same year what we know as Formula 1 began, 1950. His first victory came at Monaco that year, driving for Alfa Romeo. The Alfas won all 11 races that year. Fangio’s teammate Nino Farina won the championship.

Fangio won the title the following year, then won four straight titles from 1954-1957. He is the only driver to win championships in four different cars- Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Maserati. The title was  up for grabs in the final race of 1957. Fangio needed to finish third or fourth to win. His car developed handling problems. The team asked driver Luigi Musso to step out of his car so Fangio could win the title. Musso refused, but his other teammate, Peter Collins, gave his car to Fangio, who finished second. Collins was also in contention for the championship.

The film has interviews with retired drivers including Jackie Stewart and Nico Rosberg. There are also interviews with former employees of the car factories for which Fangio drove. I was impressed with Rosberg’s appreciation for the drivers of the past and the history of the sport in general. When he spoke of Collins lending Fangio his car, Rosberg asked, “You think Lewis Hamilton would do that for me?”

I was disappointed that there were no words from Sir Stirling Moss, although he was mentioned. I have been a Moss fan since I first heard about him.

Was Fangio the greatest driver of all time? Andrew Bell of Sheffield University in England did a study to find out. He used several metrics and concluded that Fangio indeed was the greatest driver. I’m not sure how one compares eras because of how different the cars are today. But a very strong case supports his findings in favor of Fangio.

Two other segments of the film need to be mentioned. The first is footage I had never seen before of the fatal accident at LeMans in 1955 which killed 82 spectators. If you’ve seen film of the Sachs-McDonald accident at Indianapolis in 1964, you have an idea of what it looked like. It is frightening to watch.

The other feature I liked was the end of  season television graphic of the year’s standings . I enjoyed seeing the names of the Formula 1 drivers of that era like Mike Hawthorn, Alberto Ascari, Jean Behra, and Hans Hermann. Hermann also is one of the interviewees.

Each year nestled somewhere between fifth and seventh place was that year’s Indianapolis 500 winner. From 1950-1960 the Indianapolis 500 results counted toward the world championship. The nine points earned for the win was good enough for the top ten in Formula 1. Some years just 34 points was enough for a world title.

A Life of Speed is a great film for fans who love the history of Formula 1 and racing in general. It is a comprehensive glimpse of one the sports greatest drivers.

Monaco Cancelled; Indy Still Hoping to Run as Scheduled

The Grand Prix of Monaco, the Formula 1 equivalent of the Indianapolis 500, is cancelled for 2020. The two other Formula 1 races in May, the Netherlands, and Spain, have been postponed. Monaco could not find a feasible replacement date.

Can the Indianapolis 500 be far behind? Per Adam Stern, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is making contingency plans in case the race needs to be postponed, but the goal is still to run the race May 24.

I’m hearing July 4 weekend in conjunction with the NASCAR race at IMS, which I think is a horrible idea. It just sounds like a logistical and scheduling nightmare. I’ve also heard some people thinking of Labor Day, but there are too many negatives there as well. The Kentucky Derby is now set for the Saturday of that weekend. The NHRA US Nationals aree scheduled at Lucas Oil Raceway, just 20 minutes from the Speedway. Indycar also has a race scheduled at Portland that weekend. Moving the Portland race is probably the easiest problem to solve of the three conflicts.

A decision needs to be made soon, probably within the next couple of weeks. Given the current situation, I don’t see the 500 running May 24.

Waiting is the Hardest Part

I am not a patient person by nature. Waiting for word on the start of the Indycar season, which is a long way off, has been a real test for me. I have some thoughts on the way things might work out.

The Indianapolis 500 is the big domino. As the days go by, I think it is less likely the race will be run on May 24. While the date is past the eight week window the CDC established, there is nothing to say it won’t extend the window. The Kentucky Derby’s postponement until September 5 is not a good omen for Indianapolis.

The series should probably make a decision on when the 500 can run before any other race is rescheduled. If there is just one race this year, this is the one that it has to be.

How Many Races for a Legitimate Championship?

To crown a series champion I think there would have to be a minimum of 10 races. Remember the three race championship of the IRL’s first season? I never thought that was a legitimate championship. I can’t see getting in that many races this year. perhaps Indycar would consider carrying over this season’s results into 2021. If that’s what they decide to do, if the 500is run this year it cannot be double points. That would be too much of an advantage for the winner.

What We Have Missed So Far

We may have lost the chance to see Felipe Nasr race for Carlin. With IMSA also postponing events, more conflicts may arise. He was one of the new drivers I was looking forward to seeing last weekend. I have always enjoyed watching him drive at Daytona and Sebring.

Sebastien Bourdais has lost three of the four races he had scheduled to drive for A. J. Foyt Racing. His fourth race at Portland, like everything else, is not certain at this point. I’m disappointed that we may not see him in Indycar at all in 2020. The misse time with Bourdais in the car is also a setback for the team. Bourdais would have helped them sort out their car for the rest of the year. Foyt has lost invaluable feedback.

Will we still see Scott McLaughlin this year? Australian Super Cars is also shuffling their schedule. Another talented driver may have to defer his Indycar debut until 2021.

How many of the smaller teams can afford this hiatus? How many teams that were planning 500 only programs will still be able to enter?

Teams’ Generosity

Per Jenna Fryer of AP, unused food from the Indycar teams’ hospitality at St. Pete was donated to The Rescue Food Ministry, an organization which donates leftover food to local community shelters and agencies. They usually donate to St. Vincent DePaul, but there was so much food that they also contacted the Salvation Army to help distribute all of it. McLaren alone donated nearly 380 pounds of food.

The teams in all gave away nearly 1,200 meals.  In Indianapolis I volunteer at Second Helpings, a food rescue and redistribution organization.  They would be ecstatic with a donation of that size. Second Helpings received a substantial donation of food after the Super Bowl in2012, and they also receive good sized donations during May.

What Do You Want to See Here?

During this time of no racing activity, what content would you like to see in this space? I began reposting “Bump Tales” yesterday, and I plan to still do that on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I may put in a couple of new ones I was planning for May.

I would like to know what else you might want to see. Please respond in the comments section of this post.