The Indycar grid is now back intact as Rinus Veekay joins Felix Rosenqvistat Mid Ohio this weekend. Both drivers missed road america because of injuries. Rosnqvist also missed Detroit Race 2 after his accident in Race 1. The announcement from Ed Carpenter Racing:
INDIANAPOLIS (June 30, 2021) – Rinus VeeKay has been medically cleared to resume driving and will return to NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Following a cycling accident, VeeKay underwent successful outpatient surgery on June 15 to repair a fractured left clavicle. He was re-evaluated this afternoon and was given clearance to return to racing by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR’s director of medical services. VeeKay will be back in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet for this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. VeeKay is eager to get back behind the wheel. “First, I need to say thank you to the INDYCAR medical staff, including Dr. Webber, who did my surgery. I am very excited to race this weekend at Mid-Ohio, especially after missing the last race at Road America. I am more motivated than ever!” stated VeeKay. He continued, “I have been working incredibly hard on my recovery, doing all kinds of treatment. I feel I will be right back at the level I was before. I sat in the car earlier this week to make sure I was comfortable and I was in the simulator yesterday, I have no pain and feel as good as ever.” The 20-year-old is in the midst of a breakout sophomore season with Ed Carpenter Racing. VeeKay earned six Top 10 finishes in seven races, including his first career victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in mid-May. One week later, he became the youngest front row starter in Indianapolis 500 history as he qualified 3rd. In his most recent event weekend, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, VeeKay returned to the podium with a second-place finish in Race 1. While VeeKay was recovering from surgery, Oliver Askew stepped into the No. 21 Chevrolet at Road America. Despite not being able to compete, VeeKay remains sixth in the overall championship standings. A solid performance by Askew at Road America has Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet fourth in entrant points. VeeKay will rejoin his teammate Conor Daly, road and street course driver of the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be a three-day event, beginning with practice on Friday, July 2. Saturday, June 3 will consist of a second practice session, qualifying and final practice. The 80-lap race will be broadcast live on NBC, with coverage starting at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 4.
About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) is in its 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2021. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both were entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR made its eSports debut in the 2020 iRX World Championship with Jim Beaver eSports. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.
Indycar and NTT have extended their title sponsorship agreement. This is great news to kick off the 10 biggest days of the season with qualifying and the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. The agreement calls for enhanced data, and more information during the race on the giant video board on the back of the pagoda.
The official press release:
NTT and INDYCAR Extend Entitlement Partnership, Welcome Fans Back to the Indy 500 with Smart Venue Operations at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
NTT and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES set to enhance the Indy 500 viewing experience by powering real-time, data-driven technology at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 20, 2021) – NTT is continuing its multi-tiered partnership with INDYCAR, signing a multi-year extension as the entitlement sponsor of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. In doing so, NTT will continue to deliver the smart technology backbone that will enhance the race experience for INDYCAR fans attending the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 – and from wherever else they may be watching – on Sunday, May 30 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Technology from NTT will further enable the return of fans to the iconic race after last year’s event was postponed until August and held without fans on-site due to COVID-19 precautions. This year, additional solutions and services will help bring the race to life for those in attendance, as well as the millions of fans following the race around the world. NTT, a global technology and business solutions provider and Fortune Global 500 company, became the title sponsor of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at the start of the 2019 season and has extended this agreement, and its Official Technology Partner status with INDYCAR, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard Weekend. “With world-class technology and innovation, NTT has helped take the INDYCAR SERIES to the next level,” said Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman, Penske Corporation. “Over the first two years as entitlement sponsor of the series, the dedicated team at NTT has helped INDYCAR become more efficient and effective through smart technologies. As our sport continues to grow by connecting with a new generation of fans, NTT helps take us down new roads by creating more engaging experiences through our shared digital platforms. We thank NTT for the long-term commitment to the INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we look forward to driving the future of our sport forward, together.” NTT remains committed to accelerating the future of smart communities and has developed an enhanced digital experience powered by real-time, data-driven insights, analytics and machine learning that will enable race fans to enjoy the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” like never before across multiple channels and environments. At this year’s Indianapolis 500, fans will experience a whole new level of engagement, whether they plan to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in person, or to soak in all of the excitement from the comfort of their homes through an amplified, virtual experience. “With no spectators at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for last year’s Indianapolis 500, due to the pandemic, we were set a new challenge – to think outside of the box in terms of leveraging our technology to bring the race to fans at home,” said Simon Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, NTT Ltd. Americas. “Enhancing the viewing experience and creating the next generation of INDYCAR followers – wherever they are – is a critical objective for INDYCAR and NTT, and we look forward to continuing our work with INDYCAR and the broader Penske Corporation and serving as a trusted partner to help the organization continue their digital transformation and achieve their ambitions.” “The past year has significantly changed the way people engage with sports. NTT is helping INDYCAR adapt by creating new ways for fans to engage and connect through digital,” said Bob Pryor, Chief Executive Officer, NTT DATA Services. “We’re excited to enhance the enjoyment and experience of motorsports for more fans. As the digital partner of choice for our clients, NTT DATA is proud to grow with INDYCAR and help fans enjoy their racing experiences—on and off the track.” The key to this unique fan experience is NTT Smart Solutions . The secure, distributed platform captures data via sensors and micro data centers in designated areas through video and sound. The platform also integrates historical data sources, such as traffic, weather and social media to leverage cognitive analytics, learn regular patterns and detect and alert operations teams to the presence of abnormal ones. Dynamic visual environments featuring the most exciting data-led content and storylines are enabled by machine learning and AI to bring the race to life for fans both at IMS and off site. New features and enhancements this year include: NTT Smart Venue: AI-enabled optical detection technologies, combined with real-time entry gate flow rate data, give the IMS operations and security teams better visibility into current and possible scenarios, enabling them to see a bigger, more real-time picture of the venue that includes visitor and vehicle traffic flow and congestion, social distancing, etc. These enhancements will allow the event teams to optimize their resources in real time with faster, more data-driven decision making to focus their resources on areas where race attendees can benefit the most. At-gate IMS personnel also now have mobile POS capabilities at their fingertips for digital ticketing and parking transactions – all to help manage the event venue more safely and efficiently, providing a more positive and consistent experience for attendees at the world’s largest sports venue, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. INDYCAR Data Experience: Powered by NTT, fans can now engage with more race and driver data than ever before via multiple channels, including the INDYCAR Mobile App , the IMS Media Wall (a 100-foot wide, high-resolution LED data display on the Pagoda) and more as they engage with real-time, data-driven racing insights powered by NTT. The multiple track views stay up to date with real-time leaderboards and provide access to more exciting, easily shareable data and stats coming off of more than 140 different data points from each car and the track itself. Among other events highlighted by the data experience will be a live race view of all competitors, biggest movers, featured head-to-head battles, race team and pit stop performance impact, as well as highlighted race events such as the green flag, yellow flags and the checkered flag. INDYCAR Mobile App: Powered by NTT DATA, fans can now enjoy an enhanced user experience and virtually ride along with their favorite driver athletes and teams as they tear down the course at 200+ mph. With additional live, in-car cameras and new video feeds, users can see up to five drivers from a first-person perspective. In addition, fans this year will also get to enjoy live streaming and a more integrated INDYCAR Fantasy League and e-commerce experience. Global usage of the mobile app continues to expand, with usage during live racing events continuing to grow. The free app is available for year-round use around the world via download from the iOS App Store or Google Play.NTT’s proprietary Smart Solutions consumes, analyzes and transforms massive amounts of data (supporting an organization’s full data lifecycle) to deliver valuable insights driving technology-enabled business outcomes and helping organizations like INDYCAR further along their digital transformations. NTT Smart Solutions can be applied in a multitude of environments, whether a sports venue, like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a city, like Las Vegas, a national landmark, like Chicago’s Navy Pier, or a major transportation center such as Edmonton International Airport. NTT is committed to developing and delivering disruptive technology that helps solve challenges and deliver the best outcomes for its clients. About NTT
NTT believes in resolving social issues through our business operations by applying technology for good. We help clients accelerate growth and innovate for current and new business models. Our services include digital business consulting, technology and managed services for cybersecurity, applications, workplace, cloud, data center and networks, all supported by our deep industry expertise and innovation. As a top 5 global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse teams operate in 80+ countries and regions and deliver services to over 190 of them. We serve over 80% of Fortune Global 100 companies and thousands of other clients and communities around the world. For more information on NTT, visit www.global.ntt. About NTT Ltd. NTT Ltd. is a leading, global technology services company. To help our clients achieve their digital transformation goals, we use our global capabilities, expertise, and full-stack technology services delivered through our integrated services platform. As their long-term strategic partner, we help them enhance customer and employee experience, transform their cloud strategy, modernize their networks and strengthen their cybersecurity. And across their transformation priorities, we automate their business processes and IT, drawing insights and analytics from their core business data. As a global ICT provider, we employ more than 50,000 people across 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries and regions. Together we enable the connected future. Visit us at hello.global.ntt. About NTT DATA
NTT DATA – a part of NTT Group – is a trusted global innovator of IT and business services headquartered in Tokyo. We help clients transform through consulting, industry solutions, business process services, digital & IT modernization and managed services. NTT DATA enables them, as well as society, to move confidently into the digital future. We are committed to our clients’ long-term success and combine global reach with local client attention to serve them in over 50 countries around the globe. Visit us at nttdata.com.
Photo: Romain grosjean hug chief mechanic Olivier Boisson after winning the pole. Photo by Mike Silver
Romain Grosjean leaping from his burning car in Bahrain is finally put away. Grosjean won the pole for tomorrow’s GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He did not win the pole by default. Grosjean had to hold off two time series champion and multiple pole winner Josef Newgarden to achieve the top spot for the race. The pole is just the third all time for Dale Coyne racing and the first on a natural road course. Sebastien Bourdais won a pole on the oval at Phoenix in 2018. Mike Conway took the pole for Detroit Race 2 in 2016.
In a qualifying session which saw points leaders Scott Dixon and Pato O’Ward struggle and pokle master Will Power cause a red flag in Round 2, Grosjean joined three other fast six newcomers- Conor Daly, Alex Palou, and Scott McLaughlin to fight for the pole along with Jack harvey and Newgarden.
“Amazing,” Grosjean said. “When I saw the (first qualifying) group I was in, I was like, ‘Oh, dear, if we can get out of the first group, we’re going to be OK,’ and we did. That last few laps, we were on it. What a day for us.
“I’m happier than I have been in a very long time.”
In the only other natural road course run this year, at Barber, Grojean started 10th and finished seventh. His getting to the Fast Six wasn’t much of a shock, but earning the pole was.
Notes on a Strange Day
The wierdness wasn’t reserved for qualifying. The practice sessions had some odd happenings as well. In session 1, Alex Palou’s team discovered a water leak before he got on the track. Palou missed the entire session. Palou bounced back to get in the Fast Six.
During the first practice we learned that Max Chilton and Carlin Racing withdrew from this weekend. Chilton was unable to return from England because of a travel issue. Today’s issue has no effect on their 500 entry.
Scott Dixon developed a clutch issue during the afternoon practice, Unlike Palou, he did not recover in qualifying and will start 16th. two spots ahead of Pato O’Ward. Dixon and O’Ward are first and second in points. Newgarden and Palou,, third and fourth in points, start second and fourth.
Juan Pablo Montoya looked quite uncomfortable in the third Arrow McLaren SP entry. He struggled to get the car through the final turns.
Conor Daly made the Fast Six for the first time. It has been a long time since Ed Carpenter racing has been in the Fast Six.
Newgarden and Palou were the only members of the Fast Six who have won a race. The series is on about as level a playing field as it has ever been.
Team Penske still does not have a pole this season.
A. J. Foyt Racing had a promising beginning to the season. All thee cars will start 20th or worse tomorrow.
I’m kidding. It was one of the best weeks the series has had since 2008 reunification. The announcement of NTT as series sponsor was the week’s biggest news, but three announcements followed, strengthening two events and one team. Friday’s news about the new ASPM team, in my opinion, is just as big as the NTT announcement. It could very well change the dynamic in the paddock.
The Road to the Title Begins and Ends with Firestone
Firestone has sponsored the opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the last few years. The tire supplier now will also sponsor the season finale at Weather Tech Raceway at Laguna Seca.
Firestone and Indycar have been together virtually since the beginning of racing in America. It is a relationship fans almost take for granted. It’s great to see that they continue to increase their support of the NTT Indycar Series.
REV Group Helps Road America Keep it Local
REV Group has replaced Kohler as title sponsor the race at Road America. REV is a Milwaukee based company that manufactures RVs and emergency vehicles. REV Group plans to have a hospitality area to salute first responders who attend the event.
The new race sponsor replaces Kohler, who held title rights for the first three years of the race. It is one of the most popular events on the schedule.
The REV Group Grand Prix is June 21-23, and is one the eight races televised on the NBC network.
Arrow Steps Up Commitment to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Schmidt Peterson is now Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. In a Friday announcement in Denver, Arrow became a team partner and primary sponsor of both Schmidt Peterson cars. James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson will drive in 2019. A third car will be ready for Robert Wickens when he is able to return.
The relationship between Schmidt and Arrow goes back to 2013 with the develoment of the SAM car, a semi- autonomous vehicle which has allowed Sam Schmidt to drive a street car again. That partnership led to Arrow sponsoring Hinchcliffe and ultimately to a stake in the team.
The new team structure brings a huge infusion of resources to Schmidt’s organization, which should see better results from the entire team. It might take a year for them to be really strong, so I’m looking at a great season in 202 for this outfit.
Arrow is one of the classiest sponsors in the paddock. They stood by the team when Hinchcliffe failed to qualify for the 500 this year, and they are supporting Wickens by holding a seat for him.
To me, this announcement is nearly as big as naming the series title sponsor. It is another large company investing heavily in Indycar.
Aero Tweaks Should Improve Racing at Indy, Pocono
In an effort to improve the superspeedway package the NTT Indycar Series is introducing aero options for both Indianapolis and Pocono. The new Universal Aero Kit introduced last year greatly improved the road and street course racing, but the speedway configuration didn’t produce the hoped for results.
Teams will have more aero tuning freedom on both the front and rear wing of the car.
The rear wing will have a 3/8 inch tall Gurney flap. One option is 13.2 inches wide and adds 50 pounds of downforce. The other choice measures 24.5 inches across and adds 100 pounds of downforce. there is a third flap which covers the entire length of the wing and adds 200 pounds. The full wing flap will only be allowed at Texas.
Extra downforce should allow cars to pass easier.
The front wing has a 3/8 inch tall flap which is 5.5 inches wide. Teams may use this flap asymmetrically. One problem in the 500 last year was the front end washing out as cars attempted to pass.
Sad news today about the death of Glen Wood, of the famous Wood Brothers racing team. Wood, 93, drove until 1964 and began his race team with is brother Leonard. His team also was Jim Clark’s pit crew in 1965 when he won the Indianapolis 500. Their pit stop routine became the norm for Indycar.
The Wood Brothers team is the oldest team in NASCAR. They have won 99 races including 5 Daytona 500s
We’ve come a long way from Northern Lights and Pep Boys. Izod got off to a decent start as a title sponsor, but slowed down quickly and left early. Verizon was a great partner although their track activation slowed after three years. Indycar’s new title sponsor, NTT, is a great match for the series. I’m sure there was some financial consideration, but the technological advances NTT can provide for the paddock, the series, and the fans will take all of Indycar to another level. NTT will continue the technological evolutionary path the series has chosen to take.
It was amazing how quickly this deal came together. This would not have happened in the old days of Indycar. Naming a sponsor before the season begins keeps Indycar’s credibility as a serious major racing series intact.
NTT spends $4 billion annually on research and development. I’m excited to see what the new mobile app will look like given that level of investment.
The new sponsor and the new television deal with NBC has Indycar set for an incredible 2019.
Indycar fans can always find a cloud in every silver lining. I saw a lot of complaints about the logo on social media yesterday. I don’t have a problem with it. I think it is less clunky than the Verizon logo. It has a hint of the old USAC badge. The curves help as well.
Indycar just landed what looks to be a terrific sponsor that can help grow the series and some fans just want to bash the logo. No professional sports league has a logo that blows me away and I wasn’t expecting one here. Let’s enjoy this terrific get for the series.
Miles mentioned that this sponsorship continues pursuit of Indycar as a global brand. Is this a hint at more international races? Pretty sure Australia will happen in 2020. Is a race in Japan also in line for a return?
Robin Miller of Racer Magazine wrote an interesting piece on how the deal came together. Here is the link:
On Twitter yesterday, Gateway president Chris Blair is doing what Indycar isn’t. He has offered fans who have a Chili Bowl Nationals Monday-Friday ticket stub free general admission to Coors Light Pole Night the night before Indycar’s Bommarito 500k.
Indycar has long needed a presence at the Chili Bowl. This is a great move by the best promoter in the series.