A Way Forward for Ovals?

Bud Denker and Randy Edeker want to help ovals succeed. Denker, Of President of Penske Corporation, and Edeker, chairman and CEO of HyVee. have created a festival surrounding the Indycar double header at Iowa Speedway July 23 and 24. In a conference call with Indycar media yesterday, Denker, Edeker, and Graham Rahal talked about the Iowa weekend, which will feature four concerts, headlined by Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Gwen Stefani, and Blake Shelton. \In addition the venue features a village with 75 food trucks, and a kids’ activity area on Saturday.

Ticket sales have been brisk, Denker said.

” We only have about 12,000 to 15,000 tickets to sell each
day because ticket sales have been pretty good so far. I’ve
never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen a lineup like
this before. I’ve been in motorsports for a long time. To
see what they have for that weekend in Iowa, Newton, you
can’t get a hotel. Good luck anywhere around the area.
Some people ahead of time must have known about this so
already secured all the hotels, which is a good thing.”

Iowa Weekend details

thepitwindow.blog/2022/03/07/hyvee-indycar-weekend-adds-huge-entertainment-package/

I asked Denker if the type of programming planned for Iowa could be a model for other ovals to help draw more fans.
“That’s a real good question because we’re
already thinking about ’23 and ’24 in terms of what we’re
going to do.
We want to have a variety, always have a variety, as long
as we own this series, of the races we have today, the
ovals, short ovals, long ovals, road courses, street courses.
That obviously shows the competitiveness and the world
class nature of our drivers more than any other series in
the world.
The model we’re creating in the urban markets as you’ve
seen in Nashville, Detroit next year, the streets of Detroit.
Whole different model than we have on Belle Isle.
Patterned a lot of what will be done in Nashville, St. Pete,
other markets.
As we get to these markets like Iowa, you need to create
that event. Without the attachment to an urban market,
you have to have the event to draw you in. You’re spot on
in terms of what this model will look like. We want to take it
and apply it to other tracks we go to in the future.
You also see unique tracks like Road America, it lives on
its own. For these other tracks that are not attached to an
urban market, don’t have their own iconic nature, as
Graham said you have to circle it with other things going on
other than what’s going on on the racetrack, and that’s our
model for the future.”

Edeker announced that HyVee will also be a sponsor of the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville as part of their marketing strategy. The Iowa based retailer chose Indycar because Iowans are big fans of the sport.

“I think it fits with our initiatives, with what we want to get
accomplished. I think that it’s a sport that it’s accessible to
us and it’s local.
If you look at the state of Iowa, I don’t have the current
numbers, but several years ago when I was over at
marketing I looked at open-wheel racing in the state of
Iowa. Per capita, Iowa had the largest number of
open-wheel racing fans in the United States.
You look at the Midwest and the dirt tracks, the open-wheel
races that happen all across. I think it just fits the fan base.
Most of those fans, they turn to Indy, they turn to
NASCAR, they also turn to Indy as an open-wheel racing
fan. I think that’s part of what appealed to us.
I agree, I just look at some of the things in talking with Bud
and Roger, some of the strategies they have that they’re
working on. I believe you’re going to see INDYCAR start
driving. You’re seeing us also invest in our driver. We
came out with a dozen TV spots that we’re going to be
using from now until September that are labeled ‘You Don’t
Know Jack.’ Jack (Harvey) is our spokesman. “

HyVee is also an associate sponsor on the cars of Graham Rahal and Christian Lundgaard.

Rahal commented on the racing at Iowa. Some have expressed concerns about both races scheduled for daytime. many fans hoped for a night race. Rahal said,

“The thing is both are good races because it’s such a
demanding track, whether it’s hot on the surface or a night
race where it cools down. I mean, certainly the night race I
would say broadens the amount of competitive cars,
meaning at Iowa you’re going to have the talent pool
deeper and deeper. You’ll have 10 to 15 cars that are
battling at the end. At night that may expand by 20% or
something like that.
The truth is with the variety of lanes, you have three lanes,
turn three and four is a two-lane racetrack, but you have
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cars all over the place, guys on new tires, guys on old tires
that want to go home, forget about their day. That’s
common at Iowa. I think that will continue.
I don’t think it really matters day or night, frankly.”

HyVee Indycar Weekend Adds Huge Entertainment Package

My thoughts at the end of the release.

From Iowa Speedway and HyVee:

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (March 7, 2022) — Hy-Vee, Inc. and INDYCAR announce that four award-winning music acts will perform live during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, July 22-24, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Tickets for Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend are on sale now and can be purchased online at http://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com or by calling the race ticket office at (641) 417-6007.

Three-time Grammy award-winning country music superstar Tim McGraw will perform prior to the start of the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 presented by DoorDash NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on Saturday, July 23. Following Saturday’s race, Billboard record-holding country music duo Florida Georgia Line will take to the stage at Iowa Speedway. On Sunday, July 24, three-time grammy award winner and multi-platinum artist Gwen Stefani will perform prior to the start of the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. A performance by nine-time Grammy-nominated country music artist Blake Shelton will provide a memorable ending to the turbocharged weekend following Sunday’s race.

Both pre- and post-race concerts are included with Saturday and Sunday Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend tickets as each artist will perform on stage trackside, in front of the main grandstands at Iowa Speedway. Both pre-race concerts will feature 50-minute performances while each post-race concert will feature a 90-minute show. Ticketholders can also purchase a Post-Race Concert Pit Pass for both the Florida Georgia Line (Saturday) and Blake Shelton (Sunday) live performances. The Post-Race Concert Pit Pass will provide access to an exclusive area near the start/finish line for an up-close view of the live performance. To purchase a Post-Race Concert Pit Pass, visit http://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com.

“We want this event to be one of the most talked about events of the year by providing race-goers with an unforgettable experience,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman and CEO. “We are thrilled to work with our sponsors to bring this caliber of musical entertainment to Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. Iowa will be the place to be this summer with these live music acts coupled with nationally televised INDYCAR races and a festival-like atmosphere that has something for everyone to enjoy.”

In addition to premier on-track action with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as well as the rising stars of racing competing in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend will include a festival-like atmosphere with three days of music, food and family-focused entertainment, including:

A Food Truck Village featuring dozens of Midwest food trucks
Kids’ games and activities on Saturday, July 23
Special activities to honor the nation’s farmers on Sunday, July 24
And much more!

“What an incredible music lineup for fans to enjoy during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend,” said Bud Denker, president of Penske Corporation, which owns INDYCAR. “With some of the biggest names and best performers in music, combined with great racing at the ‘Fastest Short Track on the Planet,’ the weekend is going to deliver an experience unlike one we have ever seen in INDYCAR. Thanks to the continued support of our partners at Hy-Vee, fans in Iowa will be part of something special during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend.”

Special thanks are extended to the following Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend sponsors: Accenture, ACI Worldwide, Carrier Access, EMC Insurance Companies, GK Software, Holmes Murphy & Associates, Hussmann, Iowa Lottery, John Deere, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, MercyOne, Mittera, Musco Sports Lighting, Pella Corporation, POET, Prairie Meadows, Principal Financial Group, RSMUS LLP, Salesforce, Seneca and Sukup Manufacturing Co.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee first became involved in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES when the supermarket chain was the primary sponsor for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing’s No. 15 car in Race 2 of the 2020 Iowa Speedway doubleheader. In its third year of sponsoring RLL, Hy-Vee provides primary sponsorship of RLL’s No. 45 car, which will be driven by Jack Harvey, and associate sponsorships of Graham Rahal’s No. 15 car and No. 30 car, which will be driven by newcomer Christian Lundgaard.

Thoughts

Very Thankful for a sponsor like Hyvee and sponsors like Bommarito Automotive Group at Gateway. These groups have jumped into Indycar full bore.

This is the type of programming ovals need to attract more fans. Ovals need to mimic street course races and become festivals. This is the way it needs to be.

How many people will stay for a Sunday post race concert? With a huge draw from Indianapolis, how many fans who need to work Monday will want to head home right after the race instead?

The food truck village is very welcome. Concessions at Iowa have been woefully lacking since 2013.

A kids’ activity area is also something that has been missing from tracks lately. I’m glad to see it added here.

The only thing I’d change about the Iowa weekend is to make Saturday’s race a night race. I don’t care if it has to be on USA or Peacock. This track was made for night racing.

Doordash, Google Join HyVee for Indycar at Iowa Iowa

From Iowa Speedway and HyVee. Big sponsor news as the weekend gains more support.

HY-VEE AND INDYCAR ANNOUNCE PRESENTING SPONSORS FOR HY-VEE INDYCAR RACE WEEKEND

February 16, 2022 | By INDYCAR

Hy-Vee, Inc. and INDYCAR announce that Google and DoorDash will be the presenting sponsors for the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, July 22-24, 2022. PepsiCo will be a key event sponsor, as well as the sponsor of Hy-Vee’s No. 45 car throughout the race season. Tickets for Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.hyveeindycarweekend.com or by calling the race ticket office at (641) 417-6007.

INDYCAR will return to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, for the first time since 2020, with three days of turbocharged action, July 22-24. Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend will feature the only doubleheader race event on the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule. Saturday’s series race will be the
Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 presented by DoorDash, and Sunday’s action will be highlighted by the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google.

Hy-Vee will build on its support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as Hy-VeeDeals.com – the company’s website that aggregates all weekly ads, digital coupons and hot deals – will be a featured on-air sponsor during each race broadcast on the NBC family of networks during the 2022 season. A QR code will pop up on screen allowing race viewers to scan it with their phone for a chance to win $25,000. One winner will be awarded following each race broadcast.

In addition to premier on-track action with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as well as the rising stars of racing competing in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend will include a festival-like atmosphere with three days of music, food and family-focused entertainment.

“The economic impact this race weekend is creating for the Midwest will be like none other, and we are proud to team up with these incredible partners to ensure that the fans who come to the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend truly have an amazing experience,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman and CEO. “We look forward to creating an exciting atmosphere leading up to and during the race – both in our stores and at the track during the event.”

“Google is proud to call Iowa home and honored to support initiatives that make it a great place to live, work and visit,” said Kirsten Kliphouse, president of North America, Google Cloud. “We recently announced Google’s investment in our Iowa data center has reached $5 billion, and we’re committed to making an impact beyond the data center walls by partnering with organizations like Hy-Vee on events that bring economic opportunity to local communities.”

“DoorDash is proud to sponsor the inaugural INDYCAR race weekend with Hy-Vee, a longstanding partner and supporting champion of our mission to empower local communities,” said Christopher Payne, president at DoorDash. “As consumer expectations for convenience, speed and selection continue to grow on and off the raceway, we’re committed to expanding access to Hy-Vee’s unparalleled assortment to even more cities across the state of Iowa and nationwide. We look forward to continuing to offer Iowa residents the best of their neighborhoods directly to their door.”

“PepsiCo is thrilled to be part of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES — this year bigger and better than before. Our beverage brands — led by Mountain Dew — will bring exciting experiences to INDYCAR fans and Hy-Vee customers at home, in store and at the track,” said Neil Pryor, president, PepsiCo Beverages North America Central Division. “There is no better way to enjoy the thrill of the race than with a cold Mountain Dew in your hand, and we’re proud to bring that joy to neighbors across Iowa, a state in which nearly 2,000 of our employees live and work.”

Known as “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” the 7/8 of a mile Iowa Speedway oval is a favorite with drivers and race fans alike. Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden is a three-time race winner at Iowa Speedway and the most recent driver to celebrate in Victory Lane in 2020. Other Iowa winners include four-time Indianapolis 500 champ Helio Castroneves, along with NTT INDYCAR SERIES champions and Indy 500 winners Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti.

“As we continue to build excitement for Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend and the return to Iowa, what a great opportunity to welcome premier companies in DoorDash, Google and PepsiCo as sponsors of this special event,” said Bud Denker, president of Penske Corporation, which owns INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Our partnership with Hy-Vee and the support from these industry-leading brands demonstrates the continued growth of INDYCAR and the commitment to hosting an impactful event in Iowa.”

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee first became involved in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES when the supermarket chain was the primary sponsor for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing’s No. 15 car in Race 2 of the 2020 Iowa Speedway doubleheader. In its third year of sponsoring RLL, Hy-Vee provides primary sponsorship of RLL’s No. 45 car, which will be driven by Jack Harvey, and associate sponsorships of Graham Rahal’s No. 15 car and No. 30 car, which will be driven by newcomer Christian Lundgaard.

“It’s exciting to see the Hy-Vee races at Iowa Speedway building momentum with announcements like this. Welcoming household brands like DoorDash, Google and Pepsi as sponsors is a great indication of how big of an event this will be and how big of a splash Hy-Vee is going to make. And this is just the beginning,” said Harvey, driver of the No. 45 Hy-Vee car.

For more details about weekend activities, visit www.hyveeindycarweekend.com.

Iowa Returns with a Double Header Weekend

Iowa Speedway is back. The 7/8 mile oval in Newton, Iowa, sorely missed this year, will return for two race in 2022, on July 23 and 24.

The official announcement:

  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Returns to Iowa Speedway for 2022 Doubleheader
    Hy-Vee To Sponsor NTT INDYCAR SERIES Races on July 23-24, 2022, in Newton, IowaWEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Hy-Vee, a grocery chain based in the Midwest, have announced a new multiyear agreement, which returns the excitement of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to the Iowa Speedway. Hy-Vee will provide broad support for next year’s doubleheader event set for July 23-24, 2022, through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875 mile oval after a one- year hiatus.
Indycar image
  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES was among the first to race on the D-shaped layout when it made its debut in Newton, Iowa, in 2007. Quickly known as a favorite of fans and drivers alike, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has held 15 races at the track known as “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet” since it opened in 2006.Drivers will now have another chance to race at Iowa Speedway as Hy-Vee and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES announced that the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 will take place Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 will occur Sunday, July 24.
  • “We’re extremely pleased to return Iowa Speedway to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar,” said Roger Penske, founder and chair of the Penske Corporation and owner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. “Over the years, Iowa has proven to be a fitting showcase for North America’s premier open-wheel series. A key oval and a hallmark on our schedule, we deeply missed seeing our fans in Iowa this year and look forward to what’s ahead.
  • ”Plans for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES event include several additional entertainment activities, making for a festival-like atmosphere throughout the weekend.“With our strong connection to local communities and involvement in the state, we plan to host an event that will receive national attention and make Newton an annual destination for racing fans,” said Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee. “The weekend will be filled with multiple attractions and events that celebrate everything that is great about Iowa and NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing.”
  • West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee was first involved in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES when the supermarket chain was the primary sponsor for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing’s No. 15 car in Race 2 of the 2020 Iowa Speedway doubleheader. Driven by Graham Rahal, the Hy-Vee Honda finished third. It later sponsored the team’s No. 45 car driven by Spencer Pigot in the 2020 Indianapolis 500. In 2021, Hy-Vee provided primary sponsorship of RLL’s No. 45 car, driven by 2019 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci, for the Indianapolis 500 and other selected events, and was the primary sponsor of Rahal’s entry at Road America as well as this Saturday’s race in Madison, Illinois.
  • “The state of Iowa made a commitment to the sport of racing when the Iowa Speedway was built, and today’s exciting announcement of Hy-Vee’s partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES reaffirms that,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “Iowa is well suited to be an INDYCAR destination for racing fans nationwide, and I encourage Iowa businesses and organizations to support the success of this event in whatever way they can.”
  • “The state is rich with racing history and has a strong appreciation for INDYCAR and its terrific drivers and teams,” Penske said. “The fantastic addition of Hy-Vee and their commitment to our sport underscores the added value. Thanks to Hy-Vee and the State of Iowa for welcoming the return of INDYCAR racing to Iowa Speedway.”
  • Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden is a three-time winner at Iowa Speedway and the most recent to celebrate in victory lane. Other champions at the track include four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves along with “500” and NTT INDYCAR SERIES champions Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti.The entire 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date. For more details about this event and to sign up for ticketing information, visit www.INDYCARatIowa.com.Source: Series PR

Notes

Is having oval double headers at fewer venues the only way to get more ovals on the schedule? This may be the wave of the future. I assume the Texas double header will return. If so, the 2022 schedule would have six oval races, although I would prefer to see six different venus. I guess there aren’t that many that are interested.

I hope the Saturday race is a night race, and that the Sunday race is early enough for those from Indianapolis who want to get back for work Monday.

I understand Indycar is renting the track and doing the promotion. Thios could also become a trend for ovals, but Indycar shouldn’t be in the promotion business.

I am happy to hear that there is a multi year agreement.

I will have more details later.

A Strong Fan Safety Effort by Iowa Speedway

Iowa Speedway met the challenge this weekend,  taking  proactive measures to allow fans to attend the Indycar doubleheader this past weekend.  The crowd limits for each race were appropriate, as were the limited hours that the track was open to spectators.

Each day was limited to 5, 000 fans. They may have been able to handle another ,00-1,500 or so, but in these uncertain times it is always better to err on the low side. As cars entered the grounds, three lanes were available for temperature checks of all fans. I didn’t see anyone not allowed to enter the the track. A secondary screening station stood ready to work with anyone whose temperature was too high.

Fans were required to wear a face mask to enter the grandstand area. Masks and hand sanitizer were available at the screning stations and at the gate. I didn’t notice much resistance, but many masks came off after fans passed through the entrance.

Concessions were limited to three stands plus just a couple of drink stations. Food vendors at Iowa have steadily declined over the years. it is the only thing I think the track needs to improve overall. Considering the pandemic, I was okay with the concession situation this year.

Grandstand seats were assigned with plenty of space between groups. In addition to the sadly now standard signs about COVID -19 safety, placards asked fans to sit only in their assigned seats. It appeared most fans did. The spacing in the stands you saw on television was by design. It looked as if the speedway left two rows vacant between seats.

Iowa Speedway staff ensured social distance in the general admission areas on the hills in turns 1 and 4. Eight foot circles about seven feet apart marked where fans could sit.  I sat in turn 1 for Race 2. All the fans in the are respected the boundaries.

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Turn 4 didn’t look to have as many fans as turn 1. I liked the view, and may look to sit there again next year. It seems to be a more unobstructed look at the track.

In the men’s restroom every other urinal was taped over. Every other sink was also closed for use. I’m wondering how the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will handle this situation with the new improved troughs. I assume the sink situation was the same in the women’s restroom. Even in the interest of journalism I was not allowed to enter.

One thing I didn’t notice were hand washing or sanitizing stations, but given the size of the crowd and the facility going into a restroom to wash your hands  was not difficult to do.

Overall, it was a great job by Iowa Speedway. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe at any time. The two tracks I have been to the last two weekends each ahndled fan safety in ways unique to their facility. The larger the track and the bigger the crowd, the more variable there are to consider.  I know IMS was watching and learning. There are some good ideas from from both Iowa and Road America they should consider.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about my visit to the National Sprint car Hall of Fame.

Quick Thoughts- Iowa Race 2

Dr. Newgarden has reopened his Iowa clinic.  His 214 laps led tonight give him close to 1,000 laps led at Iowa Speedway.  Newgarden is the first driver to win at Iowa from the pole. His third victory at the track ties him with Ryan Hunter-Reay for most wins  here. Newgarden also joins Hunter-Reay as the only back to back winners.

Newer teams and drivers stood out this weekend. Carlin and Conor Daly had a pole and finished eighth Friday. On Saturday, Daly started third and was definitely  a contender until being caught out by the second yellow. His 13th place finish does not reflect the great race he ran tonight.  Sadly, Daly has only one more race scheduled with Carlin this season, August 30 at Gateway.

Arrow McLaren SP ‘s pair had two good races, contending at times both nights. oliver Askew was on the podium Friday, giving the team podiums two races in a row. Pato O’Ward’s disastrous pit stop probably cost him his second top 5 finish of the weekend. We have not heard the last from either of these teams.

Both yellows seemed to take a long time.  I’m surprised there weren’t more.  Both cautions played havoc with several teams pit strategies.

After a series of frustrating races, Graham Rahal finally gets a podium. He has been strong all year, but has had a difficult stretch of getting a good result.

Colton Herta’s repaired car was a handful tonight. I don’t know how he avoided hitting the turn 4 wall early in the race.

Two top 10s for Rossi  couple with his third at Road America should help his and the team’s morale. Like last year the team doesn’t seem to have the overall pace to contend. Rossi needs another strong Indianapolis 500.

If you are surprised that Team Penske suddenly came alive this weekend, don’t be. Some years it takes them a race or two to get going.  Penske usually gets to the top eventually.

Simon Pagenaud improved 41 spots from his starting position over the two races. He didn’t seem to have the pace he had on Friday, yet still managed a 4th place finish. He trails Scott Dixon by 49 points, gaining just 1 point on Dixon tonight.

Doubleheaders are great, but they shouldn’t be overdone in a normal year. As a fan I loved it, but the toll on the drivers and crews has to be heavy. I realize this is not a normal year. I could live with another double header at Iowa.

I’ll be back Monday with a report on how Iowa Speedway handled its COVID plan. Wednesday a story on my visit to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Thank you for following along this weekend.

 

 

Quick Thoughts- Iowa 250 Race 1

Photo: Pagenaud at Road America last week

Last night should remove any doubts about the aeroscreen. It saved Rinus VeeKay’s life and probably kept Marcus Ericsson from serious injury.

Herat’s crash is one of the worst I have ever seen. Thank goodness for the aeroscreen and that the SAFER barrier at Iowa is in front of the fence. We could have seen another Wickens type incident otherwise.

A driver going from starting last to victory lane is quite an accomplishment, but Simon Pagenaud has had lots of practice this year. Last night he improved eight places in the first 25 laps. His average starting position through last night was 17th. His average finishing position is 6.2

Pit strategy played a big part of the outcome. Once again, the timing of the yellow thwarted some great strategy by Takuma Sato, Oliver Askew, and Pato O’Ward.

Up until last night I have been praising the newer drivers. Yesterday was a big day for the newer teams. Carlin, a single car entry, won the pole with Conor Daly, who finished eighth. Arrow McLaren SP, with  Askew getting his first podium and O’Ward finishing fourth, had a shot at the win. Don’t count them out tonight either.

It is hard to believe that it took five races for a Penske car or a Chevy to win this season.

Askew’s third place finish gives him a top 10 and a top 5 in the two oval races to date.

I’m hearing that Andretti will repair Herat’s car, and VeeKay will go to the backup. A badly damaged car in race 1 is a risk on a double header weekend.

Dixon”s try for career win 50 fell less than half a second short. Like Pagenaud, he started near the rear of the field and will do so again tonight. The task might be a bit more challenging with Josef Newgarden and Will Power on the front row.

It was a great race. Once again, the television schedule didn’t work out in Indycar’s favor. This would have been a really nice one to have had on NBC.

I’ll be back with tonight’s starting lineup and practice results later.

Today’s schedule:wp-15946845127371256326842750687973.png