Just a Few Indycar Related Notes

Seems I have been away for a bit. It has been a hectic week with Marti coming home after 118 days, three hospitals, and two rehab centers. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers the last four months. We are readjusting to a more normal life. This week is also Heartland Film G=Festival week, so I’ve been spending much of my free time in a movie theater. Okay, Back to work.

Dan Wheldon

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident in Las Vegas. I am not going to rehash that horrible day. It was a tragedy compounded 10 days later by a much deeper, personal loss.

I was a big fan of Wheldon’s, and his death was a huge loss to Indycar. However, the good that came out of it was the new safer chassis that he helped develop. I think he would have continued to be a great ambassador for the sport after his retirement fro racing.

Tony Stewart Buys into NHRA

The news should not be a surprise. Tony Stewart likes to own racing related things. He owns a NASCAR team, a race track, and now he owns an NHRA team. Leah Pritchett, his fiancee, will be the driver.

I wish Stewart well in this venture. I hope his next acquisition is an Indycar team.

Weight and Heat-An Issue for 2023?

At a Firestone tire test at Mid Ohio last week, Josef Newgarden had a chance to drive with added weight simulating the 2023 car with the larger engine (2.4 liters) and the hybrid KERS system.Overall, Newgarden was pleased with the test, but, according to an article on Motorsport.com, Newgarden voiced concerns about the physicality of the car, especially during races in the heat of summer.

From the Motorsport article:

“I think we’re starting to push over the edge of what some of the drivers can do physically, in some conditions, and we need to be cognizant of that. It’s something I’ve spoken to IndyCar about.”

Newegarden believes the added weight- 120 pounds or so of the new power package in addition to approximately 60 pounds of the aeroscreen is “excessive.” Indycar will have added 180 pounds to the car over a span of four years.

A new chassis with an integrated aeroscreen would help reduce weight. I hope Indycar looks at other areas where some poundage can be removed from the racecar.

Kirkwood Tests for Andretti

Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood tested a car for Andretti Autosport at Sebring. Kirkwood felt right at home in the Indycar, and he set the day’s fastest lap. He will test again at Barber on October 25th.

There is still no word on Kirkwood’s plans for next season, but I think Andretti may be looking for a way to get him a full time ride. There may be an announcement by the end of the month.

Road to Indy Final Day Saw Title Hopes Slip Slidin’ Away

Photo: Will Kyle Kirkwood find an Indycar ride for 2022?

David Malukas slim title hopes for the Indy Lights championship got a bit more life as he won the pole for Sunday’s final race of the season at Mid Ohio. The pole was only one of three things that needed to happen for him to take the crown from Kyle Kirkwood.

At turn 1 after the start, however, it was all over as Malukas overshot the turn and was in last place by turn 4. All Kirkwood had to do was finish the race in virtually any position. Kirkwood finished fifth.

Give Malukas credit. he did not give up. He worked his way through the field on a very slippery track to finish second. Kirkwood won the title by 13 points. Malukas had one of the best Road to Indy drives i have ever seen. it was right up there with Spencer Pigot at Sonoma, who was spun out on the first lap and came from last place to finish fifth, which is where he needed to be to win the championship. Linus Lundqvist won the race, and was third in the season standings. Lujndqvist and Malukas both plan to drive in Indycar in 2022.

Kyle Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood is the first driver to win the title on all three levels of the Road to Indy. In a twist of irony, he accomplished that feat on the day he lost a race at Mid Ohio for the first time. Kirkwood had won seven straight open wheel races at this track.

In a normal year, we would definitely see Kirkwood in Indycar next year, but where he drives next year is uncertain. I will have more about that later this week.

USF 2000- Running Out the Clock

Going first can have its disadvantages, and the USF 2000 Series had the worst race and qualifying conditions of the day. Qualifying was abandoned after the time time period ran out. The number of slideoffs and red flags didn’t allow for the guaranteed 20 minutes of green flag running. The grid was set using Saturday’s second fastest qualifying laps.

On lap 1 Josh green got past pole sitter Michael D’Orlando in turn 4 to take the lead. Green kept the position as numerous spins caused the race to run under caution most of the time. The race ended as the time limit expired.

Kiko Porto, Banco Daycoval/Petromega, DEForce Racing, Victory Lane Championship winner

Kiko Porto, the season champion, finished third. Porto will move to Indy Pro 2000 in 2022. It’s nice to see another brazilian driver moving up the ladder.

Indy Pro 2000- Improved Conditions Lead to Best Race of the Day

The final race of the day saw bits of sunshine on a rapidly improving track. It still wasn’t perfect, but the racing was the best of the day. Three lead changes among three driver made for a good event. James Roe won the race for his first victory of the year. He edged Emaan Ahmed by 0.1412 seconds at the line.

Christian Rasmussen claimed the season title just by starting the race. he will be a force in Indy Lights next year.

Christian Rasmussen

Points Leaders On the Verge of Road to Indy Titles

One championship is over and the other two will be when the green flag begins the respective races tomorrow.

Yuven Sunaramoorthy (center) won the race, but Kiko Porto (right) won the season title. Photo from Road to Indy

Kiko Porto, 18, from Brazil, clinched the USF2000 title by finishing third in Race 1 today. Porto qualified fifth and moved t third after an early accident took out the drivers running second and third. Porto has a 45 point lead over Braden Eves, who finished fifth today.

Yuven Sundaramoothy won his fourth race of the year. He passed pole sitter Michael D’Orlando just before the yellow flag came out for the incident between Jace Denmark and Prescott Campbell . Sundaramoothy will finish third in the points.

The USF2000 race was the day’s final event, and it was the best race of the best race of the day. There was lots of passing and quite a bit side by side action in turns 5 and 6.

Christian Rasmussen’s crew cheers him on after winning. He celebrates on the podium. Photo from Road to Indy

Rasmussen Clinches Indy Pro 2000 Title with Win

Christian Rasmussen extended his narrow lead over Braden Eves by winning the Indy Pro 2000 Race 1. To officially claim the title, Rasmussen just needs to start tomorrow’s race.

Kyle Kirkwood gets his seventh checkered flag at Mid Ohio. Photo from Road to Indy

Kirkwood Keeps Mid Ohio Record Perfect

Kyle Kirkwood has never lost an open race at Mid Ohio. He started from pole today and built a six second lead over his nearest competitor, David Malukas. Kirkwood led the entire race. He has ane asy path to the championship- win the pole or if he doesn’t, just start the race.

Kirkwood’s win was his seventh straight at Mid Ohio and fourth straight in his late season run.

A Pleasant Day at the Track

Today was one of the most pleasant days I have ever spent at a race track. The weather was perfect, the races were fun to watch, and the crowd was sparse. It was nice not have to constantly rub elbows with other fans or stand in a long line for anything.

I don’t know if this how the Road to Indy plans to end their seasons from now on, but I hope this continues. After the intense grind of the Indycar season, it was refreshing for me just to watch kids race and not have much rooting interest. Kirkwood was the only driver I was cheering for.

The day was also a good way to get a look at who might be some future stars of Indycar.

Zanardi Well Enough to Transfer; Kirkwood Gets a 2020 Do Over

Some bits of positive news:

Alex Zanardi, two time Indycar champion and paralympic gold medalist, continues to recover from his hand cycling accident last June. Zanardi suffered neurological and facial damage when his cycle hit a truck during a race in Tuscany. He had been in a facility in San Rafaella, but is moving to a rehabilitation center in Padua, which is closer to his home.

“The patient has reached a generally stable physical and neurological condition that permitted his transfer to another hospital equipped with all the necessary clinical specialties and closer to the family home,” said a spokesman for the San Rafaella hospital.

Kirkwood Returns to Andretti for Indy Lights

For 2021 Kyle Kirkwood will be where he was supposed to be in 2020. The 2018 USF200 champion and 2019 Indy Pro 200 champion will finally get to drive in Indy Lights for Andretti Autosport, where his 2020 season was going to take place.

Kirkwood spent the past season in IMSA, which is not a bad alternative. For one thing, he received some experience doing pit stops, which drivers don’t get in Indy Lights. I look for Kirkwood, who will be in car 28 for Andretti, to be a strong contender for the title.

Mazda Leads Day 1 at Roar

Today’s IMSA Weather Tech Championship Schedule:

10:30-11:35 Practice

11:50-12:05 GTLM Qualifying

12:15-12:30 DPi Qualifying

2:45-3:45 Practice

Just like last year, Mazda Team Joest led most practice sessions at the first day of the Roar before the 24. In last night’s final practice Oliver Jarvis in the number 77 Mazda DPi had the quick time of 1:34.753. Ryan Hunter-Reay was 0.445 seconds behind in the 55 team car.

Harrison Newey led  the LMP2 class in the number 81 Dragonspeed entry with a 1:37.372 lap.  GTLM was a Porsche sweep. :

Laurens Vanthoor led in the 912 with a 1:43.513 time, followed by the 911 Porsche driven by Fred Makowecki.

Lamborghini took the top three spots in GTLM, led by Franck Perera in the number 11 GRT Grasser Orange Huracan.

Kirkwood Wins Prototype Challenge

Road to Indy Driver Kyle Kirkwood won the Prototype Challenge race yesterday. The race was run in rainy conditions as a storm hit the track just before the race began. Krikwood, who drive in Indy Lights this year, has won nearly 50% of his races since 2018.

GTD, LMP2 Qualifying

In qualifying for pit and garage stall selections, Frankie Montecalvo led the GTD class. Montecalvo drives the number 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan LexusRC-F GT3.

Ben Keating had the fastest time in the LMP2 sessioin, driving the number 52ORECA Gibson for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports.

Notes

It was odd seeing Jordan Taylor in a Corvette driving suit.

The Roar crowd seems to get bigger every year.

Saw Sebastien Bourdais with a wrench in hand working on his DPi car.

Today will be cool with temperatures in the 50s.

The smaller numbers of cars was quite noticeable in the qualifying sessions yesterday.

 

Quick Impressions- GP of St. Petersburg Kickoff

The first impression walking towardthe Dali Museum is there is no entry gate, no bridge to walk over, nothing that looks like a race track.

The area is huge when it is not confined by walls and fencing.

It was weird to see cars driving the wrong way down Dan Weldon Way.

The event was well attended. It was obvious that Mayor Rick Kriseman is a huge supporter of the race.

With Indycar testing on the West coast, Kyle Kirkwood, Indy Pro 2000 driver, was the only representative of Indycar.

Here are some photos.

Look for more details later today on Wildfire Sports.