Photo: Indycar, Chris Owens
For a look at what being at Texas Motor Speedway was like, read this great piece by Racer magazine’s Joey Barnes, one of five media people on site. https://racer.com/2020/06/08/barnes-the-loneliest-race/
It’s probably a good thing the next race is four weeks away. The crews need to rest up after their exhausting day Saturday.
This weekend reminded again of how old I am. I have seen multiple wins in person by the three drivers with the most wins in Indycar history. Before you ask, I never saw Ralph de Palma win a race.
Is it August, er October, er, Next May Yet?
While it was reassuring to hear Roger Penske say the Indianapolis 500 will run with fans present or not at all, I’m still not sure when that will be. August seems too soon, especially with news of the Indiana State Fair’s cancellation. The fair was schedule to run August 6-23.
October, especially early in the month holds the promise of pleasant weather. The race would probably need to start earlier since sunset will be before 8 pm. Also, an October race would likely necessitate a compacted schedule. We could see practice Tuesday-Wednesday; qualifying Thursday-Friday, and the race Sunday. October 11 would be the likely date since the Harvest Grand Prix is the weekend before.
Whither Bronze Badges?
I’m hearing Bronze Badges will be honored at the Harvest Grand Prix since they can’t be used for the July 4 GMR Grand Prix. I’m not sure what the policy is for the Indianapolis 500. Would Indycar or IMS want that many people in the garage area? If they take that access away from badge holders, will something else be offered?
The only thing certain in 2020 is uncertainty.
Numbers are the big story in the NTT Indycar Series this week. A famous car number is switching teams, an increased number of entries may cause problems at certain tracks, and there is lots of speculation about how many entries there will be for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.
We are still waiting official word that J. R. Hildebrand will return to Dreyer and Reinbold Racing for the 500. He not only still needs a car, he needs a number as well. In 2018 Hildebrand drove car 66. Last year, Hildebrand was in car 48. Both of those numbers have gone to Arrow McLaren SP cars. Fernando Alonso will drive the 66, and the 48 will be on the car Jimmie Johnson tests next month at Barber.
A team isn’t going to the trouble of requesting another team to relinquish a car number just for a test. This step makes it fairly definite that Johnson will drive in at least one race next year. I would think he would be in more than one race. I don’t think DRR gave the number to AMSP for free.
Lots of Cars, Not Enough Pits
Marshall Pruett had a story on Racer.com yesterday about the increased number of entries at certain tracks and the possible dilemma that may create with pit space. Mid Ohio and Toronto are the two venues where this potential issue may arise. As usual, Indycar President Jay Frye had anticipated this and was already working on it.
You can read the full article here:
IndyCar venues working to accommodate expanded grids
With 24 full time teams, some tracks are already at their limit. I think we will see 26 cars at several races this year. Pruett states that the finale at Laguna Seca could see 28 cars. I anticipate at least that many for the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis as well.
500 Car Count
For now I an sticking with my prediction of 35 cars for the Indianapolis 500. I will not be upset if there are more. Marotti Racing hinted at an announcement coming soon. That is an entry I didn’t expect.