Nashville Joins Indycar Schedule

A street race in Nashville August 6-8, 2021 is the first new race added to the NTT Indycar series schedule under Roger Penske’s ownership of the series, and the first new street race added to the schedule since 2013. The fully privately funded event and Indycar have a three year agreement. The 2.17 mile, 11 turn track designed by Tony Cotman incorporates part of Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Some of the stadium suites will be viewing areas for the race.

Today’s announcement is the result of several years of planning by Matt Crews, president of Music City GP, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, and the Tennessee Titans.

Nashville officials are planning a music filled festival around the race.

A unique feature of the track is the section over the Korean War Veterans’ Bridge. I can’t think of another series which has a track crossing over water.

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The track resembles the Big Dipper. It runs counter-clockwise, which is unusual for Indycar road and street courses. The turns 7-11 cluster on the other side of the bridge looks interesting, as do the two long straights over the bridge.

Mark Miles was asked how adding another street course, this this is the fifth street event and sixth street race on the schedule,will affect the balance of types of circuits on the schedule, Miles said next year’s schedule will look a lot like this year’s original schedule. Miles said the full schedule will be released in 2-4 weeks.

Tickets are not on sale yet. Go to musiccitygp.com to sign up for notifications about ticket sales.

Foyt Signs Bourdais for Rest of Season and 2021

Sebastien Bourdais was supposed to start the season with A. J. Foyt Racing, but now he will end the season with them and drive the No. 14 full time in 2021. Bourdais will drive for Foyt beginning with the harvest Classic doubleheader October 2 and 3 at IMS and in the scheduled season finale in his hometown of St. Petersburg October 25.

Bourdais, a four time Indycar champion with 37 wins and 34 poles, hopes to make the team more competitive. He spent this season in IMSA driving a Cadillac prototype. Bourdais is currently in France preparing to drive in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

About the signing, Bourdais said, “This is exciting news for all of us. We waited with anticipation for most of 2020 to put together a deal for 2021. I’m really happy that I’m running the last three races of the year — it is great for us to get an early start on next year. 2020 has been a very strange year so far and I can’t wait to finally get behind the wheel of the AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet No. 14.”

Larry Foyt spoke of the reason for putting Bourdais in the car for the last three races.

“We thought it made great sense to get this started now. Not sure what the testing rules are going to look like for next year, so we wanted to get Seb in the car as early as we could. Good to get this done, announce it, looking forward to the end of this year and 2021”

Dalton Kellett, who had been in the 14 on the road courses, will move to the No. 41 car for the Harvest Classic. The twin races will be Kellett’s last drives this season.

Before the season schedule was altered by the pandemic, Bourdais was scheduled to open the season for Foyt at St. Pete, where he has won twice, in the 14 car. Kellett would take over on the road and street course and Tony Kanaan would drive the ovals. Bourdais also had two more races schedule in the 14. All three of Bourdais’ races were cancelled in the schedule shuffle.

Larry Foyt said a sponsor will be announced at a later date. No driver is set for the No. 4 car for 2021. The team is talking with its current drivers for that seat.

I’m happy that Bourdais will return to Indycar. He adds even more depth to an already deep field. He had success with Dale Coyne’s team. It will be interesting to see if he can help bring the Foyt team up to a more competitive level.

Quick Thoughts- Mid Ohio Race 2: The Weekend Andretti Needed

Photo: Matt Fraver, Indycar

Andretti Autosport took out their season long frustration on the Mid Ohio track this weekend. Outside of Marco Andretti’s  pole at Indianapolis and a third place for Alexander Rossi at Road America in Race 2, not much has gone right for the team. This weekend’s team record: four of the six podium spots, including a podium sweep yesterday; a pole, a victory, two front row starts, and 66 laps led.

Colton Herta owned yesterday. He edged Santino Ferrucci for the pole, and drove a clinical , masterful race similar to his win at Laguna Seca last year. Herta has moved to fourth in the standings with his third career win. Ferrucci’s fast lap in the first qualifying group was amazing. The track was still very wet, yet he easily topped the rest of his section.

Seventh place for Will Power yesterday had to seem like a win for him. After his Saturday dominance, Power spun on his qualifying out lap and started 17th. He could have started further back had  other drivers not had issues as well.

Scott Dixon’s drive after his spin was the most exciting thing to watch the last 50 laps. His last lap pass on VeeKay, who has made some incredible passes himself this year, was a beautiful inside move in turn 4. Dixon got just 1 more point for the effort, but he needs every point he can get. Newgarden has gained 44 points on Dixon in the last three races. Dixon still has a 72 point lead with as many as three races to go.

While there wasn’t much drama at the front of the field, there was again some very entertaining action behind the leaders.

I understand the need to shorten the races on a double header weekend this season, but 5 more laps might have made this pair of races more interesting. It was  obvious they would be two stop races with little room for strategy. The lack of yellows Saturday and the the two very early yellows Sunday didn’t allow for any changes to teams’ original plans.

Ferrucci may be a decent driver ( I’m still not completely sold on him) , but he needs to be a little less impulsive. Coming back on the track the way he did could have made the first lap incident much worse than it was.

Rinus VeeKay was just half a lap short of getting two top tens. Dixon’s pass on the last lap knocked him back to 11th Sunday after his 8th place finish Saturday. Overall, this was one of Ed Carpenter racing’s strongest rtoad course weekends in awhile. Conor Daly was in position Saturday fora top ten until a fuel issue droped him back in the last couple of laps.

Alexander Rossi finally had a decent weekend. Perhaps the most frustrated driver on the Andretti Autosport team, Rossi move in to podium spots quickly both days and didn’t yield his position. I hope he can continue this weekend’s strong run into the Harvest Classic.

Mid Ohio Sports Car Course did a great job with COVID protocols. people kept their distance, staff not only enforced the mask requirement, they also enforced the number of people per square limit. I only saw one group with more than the four person limit in a square, and a staff member asked them to split up. They complied. The track hopes to get clearance for a larger crowd for the IMSA race in two weeks.

I didn’t understand why the grandstands were closed. I thought that have in some of them open would allow the crowd to spread out even more. It seemed as if the majority of the 6,000 spectators were in the esses.

Was this the last Indycar weekend where fans will be allowed? there is no word yet on the situation for the Harvest Classic at IMS. I am still not optimistic about St. Pete happening. With the success that othet tracks have had with limited crowd sizes and the plan IMS produced for the 500, I think a limited number of fans could attend. We should know soon.

 

Herta Wins Pole, Ferrucci on Front Row

Colton Herta survived a wet and wild qualifying session to take the pole for Race 2 at Mid Ohio. Yesterday’s pole winner Will Power spun on his out lap, causing a red flag . He will start at the rear of the field.

Jack Harvey spun and crashed into the there’s causing some damage to the rear of the car. Pato O’Ward also spun but his car was not damaged.

Both group sessions were disjointed with red flag interruptions.

Points leader Scott Dixon will start 3rd. Josef Newgarden, who trails Dixon by 76 points, starts 9th.

Starting Lineup coming in a bit.

Power Looks for Mid Ohio Sweep; Dixon Hopes to Extend Lead

Today’s schedule

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Today’s race is on NBC. Make sure to set your recording on the proper channel.

Can Will Power sweep the weekend? I think he has the best chance to win both poles and both races anyone has had his year. Scott Dixon needs to finish ahead if Josef Newgarden today to regain momentum.

Pato O’Ward had a disappointing day yesterday. I hope he can salvage part of the weekend.

Can Andretti Autosport find that little extra today?

I’ll have a brief report post qualifying. My Quick Thoughts will be up tomorrow morning.

Hunter-Reay Leads Practice

Ryan Hunter-Reay led the only practice session for the Honda Indy 200 with a time of 1:06.3034. The practice period was the strongest for Andretti Autosport fr vers since the Indianapolis 500. Will Power was second and Alexander Rossi finished third. Points leader Scott Dixon was fourth.

The top seven

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Mid Ohio- Busy Day for Indycar

Good morning from the Mount Vernon media center annex. Six races are on tap today, four for the Road to Indy, one for Mazda MX5 Cup, and the first practice for Indycar, followed by qualifying for the first Indycar raceof the weekend. The 75 lap event is on NBCSN at 5 pm Eastern

Today’s schedule (All Times Eastern)

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