Quick Thoughts- Day 2 at COTA

Photo: Colton Herta led part of the afternoon before finishing fifth. Photo by Kyle McInnes

First, I am excited to announce my partnership with Race Fan Heaven for 2020. My stories will also appear on their website, RaceFanHeaven.com. You can also find them on Twitter @RaceFanHeaven. I will be posting when they have new podcasts up, generally Friday evenings, and when they post videos. Give them a follow. They have a lot of fun doing their podcasts and have a great passion for racing.

For a brief moment the top five were four drivers with less than three years experience and Sebastien Bourdais. I thought that was great to see.

Nice that the weather improved today and that the cars got some real testing done.

It hit me watching the live stream what I find odd about the aeroscreen. From the front, the screen looks too round. I know it’s not but that is the illusion I noticed. It’s a round piece on a rectangular base. I understand that there is not much that can be done about it since it is a retro fit. I hope this problem can be addressed in the next generation car.

The newer drivers had fun in the top 10 early, but in the end the veterans led the day. Still, four drivers in the top 10 have less than a full Indycar season of experience. Pato O’Ward was the only one of them who has driven in a race.

Scott McLaughlin is an amazing talent. His last open wheel experience was in a Formula Ford several years ago. To drive a car so different from what he usually races and finish P3 is quite an accomplishment. I hope he can get more than one race this season.

I was also impressed with Alex Palou and Oliver Askew. I realize testing times don’t mean much, but to be in the top 10 today is a good beginning.

I’m looking for a lot of great pole battles this year between Will Power and Colton Herta. We saw a great fight for the top spot in two qualifying rounds at Portland between them. Today Power and Herta traded the top spot for a while.

Speeds were quicker than I thought, within just a few tenths of 2019 times.

There is just one more test day at Sebring before the St. Pete season opener. The track build begins next week.

Back tomorrow with more.




Podcasts: The Fans’ Best Friend Between Races and During the Off Season

What to do to get your Indycar fix when the next race is 10 days away or it’s the doldrums of the offseason and you need some bench racing? Turn to a podcast. Sadly the great  More Front Wing is no more and Push to Pass had a very brief life. But there are some good ones running weekly now . Each one takes a different approach and has some unique features.  Many of you probably already listen to some of these. Today I will profile four of the best. I want to thank the hosts for taking time to answer my questions for this article.

Pit Lane Parley

Mike Joachim and Jess Baker launched this podcast in early December, 2017. The show has seen phenomenal growth in the last year.    Matt Hickey joins Mike and Jess on their weekly episodes which usually are available Friday morning.

Pit Lane Parley provides unique content weekly, including breaking down complicated topics, interviews,  and trivia nights. Each show typically has a trivia segment. The podcast has a three fold mission according to Mike.

” To bring new fans to the sport, to have casual fans understand complicated things by breaking it down for them, and giving hardcore fans unbiased talk.”

Mike said the best show moments were interviews with Jay Frye and Mark Miles. On the flip side, he thinks the funniest unintentional moment was when he called Scott Dixon an American.

You can listen to the podcast on Apple podcasts. Google podcasts, Spotify, and all podcast apps. I listen on the Castbox app.

For 2020 Pit Lane Parley partners with HMD Racing and a team to be announced later for in depth team content on race weekends. The show also is launching a video channel next season.

Race Fan Heaven

This podcast is in its infancy. Race Fan Heaven began in February of this year. Founder and host Ric Clark teams with Mandi Curi and Rhonda Clark.

I met this Austin, Texas based trio at Laguna Seca in September. They have a lot of fun working together and it comes across in their episodes. All of them are passionate about racing in general.

The podcast focuses on F1, Indycar, NASCAR and NHRA. The episodes usually come on air Friday evenings. Currently you can listen on Speaker.com and RaceFanHeaven.com. The show will be available on most major podcast platforms in 2020.

Ric told me Race Fan Heaven’s mission  is ” To cover, comment on, debate, and promote motorsports. We are passionate fans who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to bring our excitement to fans worldwide!”

At selected races they do live Twitter and Facebook videos.

The best moment for the podcast was their in person coverage of the NTT Indycar Series Finale at Laguna Seca.

Ric said the funniest unintentional moment was when Mandi had to make a “pit stop” in the middle of the show.

For 2020 Race Fan Heaven will have more coverage including live video of their shows and interviews and commentary from the tracks.

Fast Cars Fast Girls

You can believe I made sure I spelled the second fast correctly.

Abby and Molly began the podcast in 2017 with an official release date of June 15. They had recorded after the Indycar GP and the Indianapolis 500. The podcast began during 500 qualifications in 2017. They realized that there were not a lot  of women expressing their opinions and thoughts about Indycar.

The podcast focuses mostly on Indycar and each episode features a segment on females in and around motorsport. I find that segment very interesting and educational. The show’s focus coincides with their mission to talk about Indycar and enjoy the sport.

Molly told me that they always enjoy their interviews with IMS president Doug Boles and Mike Ford, who spots for Simon Pagenaud.

The unscripted show doesn’t lead to much unintentional incidents. Molly thinks the most famous ad lib quote was ” Daddy doesn’t do ovals. daddy only does ovals.”  :(It) will forever live on,” Molly says.

Podcasts go live on Wednesday on all apps.

Fast Cars Fast Girls will continue the Unplugged events at races and continue to spend time with other Indycar fans. in 2020.

“:Other than that, we’ll see where the season takes us, ” Molly said.

The Indy SportsCar Podcast

This podcast is I believe the longest running of the fan podcasts. The Indy SportsCar Podcast recently had its fifth anniversary. Sustaining this type of format as a hobby for five years is quite an achievement these days.

Frank and Missy Linker, the hosts, launched their first episode December 3, 2014. They focus on Indycar, the Road to Indy, and Formula 1.

The podcast airs Friday on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Spotify, RedDragonsRadio.com, Tunein Radio , and all other podcast apps.

The podcast mission, Missy said, “…is to get Indycar fans excited about the upcoming races, season, and bring more fans to the sport and bring more eyes to the ladder series to watch the young drivers go through the ladder series and eventually to Indycar.”

Over five years the podcast has had many great moments. Missy notes their interview with Alexander Rossi before his Indycar debut, interviewing the late Justin Wilson, and their interviews with several current Indycar drivers when they were in the Road to Indy, including Oliver Askew, Pato O’Ward, Spencer Pigot, and Colton Herta.

Missy admitted there is a funny unintentional moment every episode.

Missy and Frank are working on some new things for 2020 but are not ready to share their plans at this time.