Title Chase Heats Up at Pocono

Good morning. It’s practice and qualifying day at Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500.

Today’s schedule: All Times Eastern

Practice 1- 9:30-10:30

Qualifying   12:30-1:45

Practice 2   4:00-5:00

All sessions are streamed on NBC Gold. Qualifying will be shown delayed on NBCSN at 2:30.  My Quick Thoughts will post after the television broadcast.

The race is the first of the last four races of the season and the first of three consecutive weekends of racing. After all the wild nes of the past ten days, it will be great to re-focus on the championship. After tomorrow we should have a clearer picture of how many drivers will still be in contention. I still thin k going into Portland we will be down to a two man battle between Alexander Rossi and Josef Newgarden.

I will be back after the first practice with a summary and some thoughts on the latest news.

Daly Confirmed for Carlin Seat on Last Two Ovals of the Season

Carlin Racing announced today that Conor Daly will drive the 59 car at both the ABC Supply Co. 500 at Pocono and  the Bommarito Automotive Group 500k at World Wide Technology Raceway.  From Carlin’s Twitter page:

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Daly will have driven in every oval on the 2019 schedule. He drove for Andretti Autosport in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, finishing 10th.  Daly also drove for Carlin at Texas and Iowa.He finished 11th at Texas and 13th at Iowa. He finished fifth in 2017 driving for A. J. Foyt Racing  in the inaugural race at Gateway.

Daly will return to Andretti in the season finale at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. His seven races this year is the most he has driven since his season with Foyt.

Thoughts on McLaren

Silly Season was straightforward this year. Alexander Rossi stays with Andretti. Done. Wrap it up. Look to next year. Today, with McLaren’s announcement that they are joining Arrow Schmidt Peterson for 2020, the dam has burst. There are ripples throughout the paddock. Here are some of my thoughts about this development.

McLaren has a lot to prove after their debacle in May. Will partnering with Schmidt Peterson help them?

I’m disappointed that McLaren does not add to the car count. I’ve said before they are looking to come in the easy way, becoming part of an existing team instead of building their own team with  a technical alliance with an established team.

It’s a shame the way Honda’s hand was forced to make this deal happen. I can’t think of a Chevy team that would be a good match for McLaren. I’m not sure they even considered one.

My first concern was for James Hincliffe and Robert Wickens.  In Marshall Pruett’s story, he said that the commitment to Wickens will be honored. Later this morning, Hinchcliffe issued the following statement:

hinch statement

I hope he also  has a contract extension. Hinchcliffe’s current contract expires after the 2020 season. He also is losing his Honda commercial deal. I hope that he receives compensation for that.

Marcus Ericsson was likely going somewhere else anyway. he may be in a carlin car next year. Which brings up the question- who will drive the second car for the new team? Fernando Alonso said he is not interested in a full time Indycar ride.

Colton Herta may be available, but I think he will become the fifth driver at Andretti Autosport.  If he is, is Conor Daly once again out of a potential full time ride? It’s those paddock ripples splashing up.

With whom  does Meyer Shank now partner with as they prepare for a full schedule in 2020? The team is committed to Honda. An alliance with Andretti or Coyne seems most probable. I don’t think Ganassi is interested in being anyone’s partner.

The new team name is Arrow McLaren Racing SP. It bothers that mcLaren comes before Schmidt and Peterson and that the two founders names are reduced to initials. Since mcLaren is buying the team or acquiring the shares of either owner, I guess it’s a name recognition thing.

The biggest positive in today’s events is that Indycar now has a worldwide name in its paddock. it should help with recognition in Europe and may cause a bit of a bump in the United States.

I will keep updating as i learn more.  Everything I just wrote could be incorrect by now.