Indianapolis motor Spoeeway has helped the nation as a training ground during the two world wars. It is now helping to combat the coronavirus as one of three staewide mass vaccination clinics this weekend. It will be a drive through vaccination site. Indiana opened vaccinations to residents 55 and older this morning. The three sites will administer the new johnson and Johnson one dose vaccine.
The release from the Indiana Department of Health:
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health today announced that it has partnered with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, University of Notre Dame and Ivy Tech Community College to host three mass vaccination clinics to help eligible Hoosiers receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, effective today, Hoosiers age 55 and older are now eligible to receive a free vaccine.
“Getting tens of thousands of vaccines in arms in a matter of days is a huge undertaking that requires incredible partnerships,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “We are incredibly grateful to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Notre Dame and Ivy Tech for their willingness to meet this challenge head-on to help save Hoosier lives.”
The mass vaccination clinics will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received its Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on Saturday. The vaccine requires only one dose and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials involving nearly 44,000 participants from all races and ethnicities.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine gives eligible Hoosiers a safe, effective and convenient way to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Because it requires just one dose, every shot administered represents a Hoosier who can rest easier, knowing their risk of severe illness from this disease has dropped exponentially.”
The Indiana Department of Health has also begun planning for a future mass vaccination clinic in Gary in collaboration with local health officials. Additional mass vaccination sites in other locations will be planned as more vaccine becomes available.
All clinics will require advance registration through https://ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. Proof of age and residency will be required. The mass vaccination clinics are listed as sites that eligible Hoosiers can select when making an appointment. No walk-ups will be permitted.
Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging, AARP and nearly 70 libraries around the state also can help Hoosiers schedule their appointments.
The clinic schedules are as follows:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis March 5-7 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Enter through main gate off 16th Street; participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.
Ivy Tech Community College 8204 County Road 311, Sellersburg March 12-13 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.
University of Notre Dame Compton Family Ice Arena 100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame March 26-27 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Additional dates may be added to each of the above sites depending on demand and vaccine availability.
A separate advisory with instructions for media interested in covering the clinics will be issued closer to the events.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 May 30. The number allowed is still a work in progress. With the race still htree months away, time is on the speedway’s side. Positive rates and deaths from COVID-19 are declining in Indiana, and today the state opened vaccine eligibility to people aged 60-64.
The consensus from what i hacve heard is that 50% capacity will be the target. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which will take place mainly in Indianapolis, will allow 25% of capacity attendance. That number is a bit deceiving, since team members, game support personnel, and invited team guests- approximately 420 per game-count towards the 25%. I estimate that leaves room for about 1,700- 1,900 fans per session, depending on the venue.
If IMS follows this capacity pattern, there could be possibly 75,000 or a bit more watching the race in person. The question is who gets to go and who doesn’t? The 2020 race ran without fans, although plans were made to accommodate some spectators. The track ultimately decided to keep the stands closed. Last year, IMS gave fans a choice to keep their tickets or defer them to 2021. They could offer that option again.
My feeling is I missed one race, and I don’t want to miss two in a row. I’m sure many fans feel the same way. I don’t envy the speedway’s position. The question of how many and which fans to let in coukl be a public relations nightmare.I have a couple of suggestions. Of course IMS has not listened to me in the past. Maybe this time?
Survey fans and offer the deferral option again. This will give those fans who still don’t feel comfortable attending the option of waiting another year. The track will have an idea of how many want to attend.
Fans who have held reserved seats for several years should have priority.
Limit general admission and employ the eight foot circles as Iowa did at their races last summer. The circles worked well at Iowa, and the hill accommodated quite a few fans.
I trust Doug Boles and Roger Penske will come up with a fair plan. They have more latitude than they had last year, and pandemic restrictions will probably be a bit looser by May.
In an online show on IMS.com, 2020 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato got his first look at his second likeness on the Borg-Warner trophy. Sato is a two time winner of the race. He first won in 2017 and finished third in 2019.The race is 100 days from today.
The 30 minute program featured segments with Doug Boles and Rahal Letterman team owners Mike lanigan and Bobby Rahal. Last year was Rahal’s second win as a car owner. He also won the 2004 race with Buddy Rice driving. The third team owner, David Letterman, appeared in a prerecorded video.
The full program is available for viewing on YouTube.
A Good Sign for 500 Fans?
The NCAA this morning announced that the NCCA men’s basketball tournament games will allow 25% capacity at the games, which be played entirely in Indianapolis. The tournament will take place at several venues in Indianapolis as well as at Purdue and Indiana University. The 25% includes the teams and game personnel, which narrows the actual number of fans at each arena. As I am writing this, Purdue just announced 12-13% capacity for the tournament games.
The positive part is that this may signal some good news for fan attendance at the Indianapolis 500. Marion County has been the most restrictive county in Indiana at times, but this allowance may be a great sign for May.
Correction: In my post about the entry list for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, I left out the Paretta team with Simona DeSilvestro driving. I have updated the post. Thanks to reader Matthew for bringing this to my attention. If yoyu missed the story, here is the link:
The Music City Grand Prix begins ticket sales next Tuesday, February 23. there is a lot of buzz about this new race on the Indycar schedule. Their website does not list prices as of yet. there several choices of three day packages. Follow them on Twitter if you haven’t done so.
Andretti Empire Expands and Looks for More
Andretti Autosport has partnered with Michel Jourdain in a touring car entry in the Mexican Super Copa Series. The partnership makes Andretti a part of seven different racing platforms. The organization has cars in Indycar, Indy Lights, Formule E, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Australian Supercars, Extreme E, and Super Copa.
Michael Andretti said they are also exploring the new LMDh formula which begins in 2023. The prototype formula is a car that can race in both IMSA and WEC. This class is wide open for right now with at least three manufactyurers committed to the new spec.
Alonso Released, Should Be Ready to Start Season
Fernando Alonso has been released from the hospital following surgery for a fractured jaw. Alonso sustained the injury in a bicycle accident while training for his return to Formula 1 this year. He will finish recuperating at home and expects to be ready for the first formula 1 race in Bahrain. The delayed start to the season has helped him have time to recover.
US Grand Prix Returning to IMS?
Formula 1 continues to seek expansion to a a second race in the United States. Except for 2020 the series has raced at Circuit of the Americas every year since 2012. Formula 1 held the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 2000-2007. It was widely assumed that Miami would host a second race, but according to Stefano Domeicali, F!’s CEO, they are ;looking at other venues. He said that “Indianapolis is in the equation.”
When Roger Penske bought IMS, he expressed the desire to host Formula 1 again.
I am taking a wait and see approach. Formula1 and its teams are notorious for mentioning possibilities just to play different entities against each other. The one advantage IMS has going for it is Penske. Stay tuned.
Bob Jenkins, longtime broadcaster at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, shared on Doug Boles’ new show “by the Bricks’ that he has brain cancer. The video is linked below. He begins talking about how he discovered the cancer around the 19:45 mark. The entire video is worth watching.
I have seen two very important people in my fight cancer, and I have a friend who is fighting it now. I know what Bob has ahead of him and I wish him the best.
I have copied two Tweets. The first has an address where you can send a card to Bob. The second has the link to the video. Please keep Bob in your thoughts.
We are just 104 days from the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, and the entry list for the race stands 29 confirmed cars and drivers. This is a great number for this time, and while bumping is not guaranteed yet, it seems more possible then it ever did in 2021. Here is a rundown of who has committed:
Team Penske (4)-Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott McLaughlin
A. J. Foyt Racing (3)- Sebastien Bourdais, Dalton Kellett, Charlie Kimball
Carlin Racing (1)- Max Chilton
Arrow McLaren SP (3)- Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Juan Pablo Montoya
Ed Carpenter Racing (3) – Ed Carpenter, Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly
Paretta (1)- Simona De Silcvestro
Andretti Autosport (5)-Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti
Chip Ganassi Racing(4)- Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Alex Palou, Tony Kanaan
Dale Coyne Racing (1)- Ed Jones, 2 TBA
Meyer Shank Racing (2)- Jack Harvey, Helio Castroneves
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2)- Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal
Other entries may come from a third Rahal entry,
Other entries may come from a third Rahal entry, Dreyer and Reinbold with one or two cars, and possibly a sixth Andretti entry. These possible additions would get the field to 33 or 34.
It would be great to have at least 35 cars and have a bit of a battle for the final two spots. How qualifying is set up this year remains to be seen. I will discuss my ideas in a later post.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge, set for October 23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ushers i n a the next wave of automotive innovation. IMS used to be a proving ground for safety and other aspects of passenger vehicles. Modern racing has pushed that mostly to the side. This event, featuring autonomous vehicles, seeks to return the Speedway to its role as a developer of advanced automotive progress.
The primary goal of the IAC is to advance technologies that can speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), leading to increased safety and performance. In addition, the IAC is a challenging competition to excite the best and brightest university students from around the world to engage in hands-on engineering firsts.
“The Dallara-built IAC race car is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”
The IAC is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races, awarded by IAC sponsor, Ansys.
More than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software have responded to the challenge, representing 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.
Inspiration for the IAC was the DARPA Grand Challenge, as explained by 2005 winner, Sebastian Thrun: “The DARPA Grand Challenge proved that robots can drive themselves in very confined environments, but that they don’t have the agility and skill of a really well-trained human racecar driver to act in extreme situations. IMS is the best place in the world to challenge the robotics community to test self-driving cars. By going into a racing context, we will stretch self-driving cars to the absolute limit.”
The Modified Dallara IL-15 Autonomous Race Car
Since 2002, Dallara has been the sole race car supplier of the Indy Lights series, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.
“Dallara is the best race car engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”
The modified Dallara is retrofitted with hardware and controls to enable automation to enhance safety, control and performance. Components include rugged-edge on-board computing, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, perception systems, high-end graphics processing units (GPUs), drive-by-wire, and artificial intelligence acceleration and powerful central processing units to run IAC teams’ software and algorithms in the racecar.
One of the challenges for autonomous racing is solving edge case scenarios – challenges that occur only at extreme operating parameters, such as avoiding unanticipated obstacles at high speeds.
“We know how the world’s best race car drivers react in the Dallara, in high-speed scenarios, but now we have to anticipate the actions of a robot,” added dePonti.
IMS has been a catalyst and proving ground for motorsport and transportation innovation since its inception in 1909. IMS hosts the crown jewel of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis 500 — annually the world’s largest single-day sporting event. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is North America’s premier open-wheel racing series.
“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”
Indiana Economic Development Corporation, ADLINK, Ansys, Aptiv, AutonomouStuff, Bridgestone, Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), Dallara, Microsoft, New Eagle, PWR, RTI, Schaeffler and Valvoline. See IndyAChallenge.com for more information about these amazing companies realizing autonomous mobility.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), organized by Energy Systems Network and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is a $1.5 million prize competition among universities to program modified Dallara IL-15 race cars and compete in the world’s first autonomous head-to-head race around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 23, 2021. Racing at speeds of up to 200 mph, the primary goal of the IAC is to advance technology that can speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). These enhancements will lead to increased safety and performance in all modes of racing and commercial transportation. In addition, the competition is a platform for students to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Merry Christmas, Happy belated Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa- whichever you celebrate, I hope you enjoy your holiday. I want to thank all of you for reading and for helping The Pit Window smash all records this year. In keeping with tradition, I have some gifts for the racing community.
For Roger Penske, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Doug Boles-
An Indianapolis 500 run on the scheduled date with fans.
For the NTT Indycar Series-
A full 17 race schedule.
For Indy Lights-
A 15 car field at every race.
For Scott Mclaughlin and Jimmie Johnson–
A successful first year in the Indycar Series.
For Jack Harveyand Pato O’Ward–
Your first Indycar wins.
For A. J. Foyt Racing and Sebastien Bourdais–
A consistent season with better qualifying and stronger race results.
For the Music City Grand Prix-
A successful debut event.
For Scott Dixon-
A seventh championship.
For Josef Newgarden-
An Indianapolis 500 victory.
For Graham Rahal-
A return to the winner’s circle.
For the fans-
Going to the races you want to as conditions approve.
And for all the readers of this humble column-
A safe holiday and a happy new year.
I will be back next with two columns as i end this year.
Carlin Racing will field two cars on the Indy Lights grid in 2021, marking a return to the series in which the team began its journey into Indycar. Carlin first entered Indy Lights with drivers Max Chilton and Ed Jones. The goal was to move into Indycar while maintaining an Indy Lights program for driver development. Carlin’s return gives a little more prestige to the series and insures that the the 2021 field will have more than 10 cars. The official release:
Carlin return to Indy Lights with Peroni
2016 Indy Lights Champions Carlin will re-join the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series for the 2021 season with former FIA F3 driver Alex Peroni. The Anglo-American team are joining forces with the Australian born racer as he makes his debut in US racing.
21-year-old Peroni comes to the US having raced in the FIA Formula 3 Championship in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Peroni missed the final round of the 2019 season following a horrific crash at Monza but came back strong in 2020 to claim three podium finishes and two fastest laps to take 10th in the standings in the 30-car field.
Carlin return to Indy Lights with a two car team following two years out of the series as the team became established in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Working in conjunction with former Indy car driver and Indy Lights champion Jay Howard, the Carlin team will also serve as the top rung of Jay Howard’s Driver Development (JHDD) and will be based out of Carlin’s US base in Delray Beach, Florida and run alongside the team’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES operation.
“I’m seriously pumped to be joining the 2021 Indy Lights field and to be doing it with a team such as Carlin who I know have been successful in the series before and of course I know well from Europe,” said Peroni. “I’m so thankful to Blundstone and the state of Tasmania for their continued support and for allowing me to follow my dream.
“No doubt there will be a lot to learn in terms of both the car and the different circuits, but I am absolutely ready for the challenge and know I will have a great team behind me to bring me up to speed.”
Speaking about the team’s newest signing, Trevor Carlin said, “We’re really excited to be back in Indy Lights having been so successful in the series in the past. It’s a fantastic series to prepare drivers for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and it was always our aim to return to the junior formula once we had become more settled in INDYCAR.
“We’re very proud that Alex and his sponsors have chosen Carlin as the team to take his first steps into US racing. We know having raced against him in the immensely competitive FIA Formula 3 Championship what he is capable of and I can’t wait to see his potential evolve in the Indy Lights field.”
Bill Marvel, longtime IMS public relations, died last night at the age of 90. I have never known the Speedway without Bill Marvel being a part of it. USAC, where Bill had several positions and was one of the founding members, released his obituary Sunday evening:
BILL MARVEL PASSES AWAY AT 90
BILL MARVEL PASSES AWAY AT 90
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (December 20, 2020)………They broke the mold when they made Bill Marvel.
There have been few individuals who achieved as much in as many different realms in their lives and did so with as much passion and dedication from start to finish than did Bill Marvel, who passed away Sunday evening, December 20, 2020, at the age of 90 years old.
From the day of his birth to his last breath, Marvel was one a of a kind. With an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, his contributions to the sports world and the subsequent impact he’s made on others, are the kind of which that will be forever admired.
Marvel, a charter member of the United States Auto Club, was there on the scene of the very first USAC event ever held, a National Midget race on January 8, 1956 at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind. Marvel was on hand to greet feature winner Gene Hartley in victory lane with a Hoosier Auto Racing Fans jacket, an organization of which he was the president of at the time.
With USAC, he has served in the official capacities as a Corporate Advisor from 1978-1982 as well as a Vice President/Corporate Affairs from 1983-1997. Marvel dedicated much of his life to assisting injured drivers in need of financial aid through the USAC Benevolent Foundation as the Executive Director.
In 1997, Marvel was presented the Ross Hadley Achievement Award for his dedication to the United States Auto Club and the sport of auto racing. In 2014, Marvel was the recipient of the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, presented annually by the President of USAC in memory of USAC Executive Vice President and former champion driver Roger McCluskey, recognizing the standards of excellence he set in the sport of auto racing.
Born on June 21, 1930, Marvel graduated from Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, Ind., class of 1948, then set forth on serving his country as a United States Marine between 1948-1955 with active duty for three years between 1950-1952 in the Korean War.
Following his honorable discharge from the military, Marvel set forth on a 60-plus year journey in management, public relations, editing, publishing (magazine and newspaper), radio, public address, television announcing, retail sales, marketing and sales.
Marvel was the News Media Liaison Officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between 1953 and 1967 and was an Off-Track Coordinator for major accessory companies.
Marvel was there at the introduction of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway in 1969 in the role of General Manager & Director of Public Relations, as well as the General Manager for Texas World Speedway, New Jersey’s Trenton Speedway, the World Series of Auto Racing, plus the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Indiana’s Winchester Speedway, where he was also on the track’s Public Address system as an announcer.
His media prowess expanded to all aspects as he was the Editor & Publisher of Charger Auto Racing News, the National Racing Editor of U.S. Auto Sports Magazine and the Midwest Racing Editor for National Speed Sport News. On the radio, he was an auto racing reporter for WIBC in Indianapolis as well as the Color Commentator & Coordinator for Indianapolis 500 activities on WISH-TV in Indianapolis.
Marvel also had his hand in the movie business as a consultant with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward for the 1969 racing movie, “Winning,” starring Hollywood heavyweights Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner.
In addition to his racing duties, Marvel was the Sports Information Director for Butler University and served as the Director of Public Relations for the Indiana Pacers during their ABA and NBA days during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. He served in the same role for the World Hockey Association’s Indianapolis Racers during the 1970s, the team best known as the first professional stop for future NHL greats and Hockey Hall of Fame players Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
Marvel was also in charge of Marketing & Sales for the Indiana Loves, a charter franchise in World Team Tennis.
He was Director of Public Relations for the sports management and public relations firm, Sports Headliners, where he represented such racing figures as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Jackie Stewart, Rodger Ward, Billy Vukovich, Roger McCluskey, Graham Hill, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Jim Clark, as well as NFL Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and O.J. Simpson.
In addition, he also was the Director of Special Events for the Houston Astrodome where, among his duties, he organized the driver lineup and the marketing of the mega USAC Midget events inside the building known as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” beginning in 1969.
He was the President of Marvel-ous Racing Promotions and had a tenure as the President of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and also coordinated public relations and publicity for three-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Johnny Rutherford during his successful relationship with the Gatorade/McLaren Racing Team in the 1970s.
A man of many talents, and boundless motivation to succeed, Marvel also found time to own and operate his own personal business, Bill’s Unclaimed Freight, in which he too served as President.
While Bill had a brief race driving career in his younger days, his sons Brad and Billy Marvel Jr. were talented wheelmen in their own right. Brad Marvel won a USAC National Sprint Car feature event at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in 1996 during Indiana Sprint Week while Billy Jr. was just beginning his sprint car career when he tragically lost his life in an accident at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind. in 1983. An award in Billy Jr.’s memory is still presented to this day by HARF to the top “first year driver” in the state of Indiana each season. Bill’s grandson, and Brad’s son, Justin Marvel, was the victor of a USAC National Sprint Car feature at New York’s Canandaigua Speedway in 2006.
An inductee of both the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Hall of Fame and the National Association of Auto Racing Fans, Bill has been honored with the Tom Carnegie Legacy Award from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club; the Angelo Angelopoulos Memorial Award by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association; the Unsung Hero Award presented by Andy Granatelli at the Indy 500; the Indy 500 Old Timers Club Officials Award; the Bob Russo Founders Award from AARWBA; and the Louis Meyer Award for individuals who have contributed significantly to the success of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.