From Indycar as I reported this morning:
From Indycar as I reported this morning:
The ever changing NTT Indycar Series calendar may be about to take another twist. there is heavy speculation that the REV Group Grand prix, originally scheduled for the weekend of June 20-22, will now take place July 10-12, the original date of the now postponed Toronto event.
The switch will mean two consecutive double headers, one on a road course and one on an oval. Iowa is the week following the new Road America date.
If Richmond takes place as scheduled, Indycar will run six races on four successive weekends. After a two week break, the series has four straight weekenddates in August.
I have a feeling this will not be the last schedule change. I will have more, including the revised schedule, when the new Road America date is confirmed.
In a press release from Road America this afternoon, the track announced its May event will proceed without fans. The facility plans to run its June events, including the Indycar REVGroup Grand Prix and is hopeful of allowing fans then. My interpretation of the statement is that they may limit the number of fans in attendance. Here is the complete statement:
Be prepared for a brave new world, race fans. Racing is set to resume, albeit under very different circumstances. NASCAR and Indycar will begin the season with no fans in the stands and strict procedures for teams during the events. This may be how we see racing for awhile. Every track presents a different set of circumstances, so the Texas model won’t work everywhere. It seems to be a good way to run oval races.
While I am as anxious as anyone to get to a race track, I want to be able to attend knowing my health is assured. The teams and drivers are assuming risk by participating in theses early races. Might it be better to wait until the country as a whole has a better handle on the situation? What happens when someone involved in one of the early races tests positive for COVID-19?
Indycar has the luxury to see how things go in the May NASCAR races. Future decisions might be based on what happens this month. The NTT Indycar series indicated yesterday that they are committed to completing the last schedule published April 6.
The governor of Oregon has announced that no fans will be at sports events in the state through September. That means no fans at the scheduled Grand Prix of Portland September 13.
The two Indycar races I see as least likely to happen are Toronto and Richmond. Canada has stricter lockdown procedures than the United States. The end date would not allow enough time for the track build. Richmond’s stay at home order expires June 10, two weeks before the race. It is a Porpermanent oval. In talking to people who live in the area, it doesn’t sound as if fans are going to be allowed at that race, if it goes on.
I also spoke with someone last night about Road America. It appears they are planning to have fans at the Indycar race. Whether that number will be limited has not been determined. The first part of the Indycar schedule could be a race with no fans, a race with fans, and another race with no fans.
Mark Miles said on Trackside Tuesday night that the Indianapolis 500 could be run as late as October if necessary. I would be fine with that, especially if it allows all fans wishing to attend to do so.
In these strange times, don’t expect a race to actually occur until you turn on your television and see it. We can ride this through. Stay safe and wash your hands.
Editor’s Note: This is the first reader request; originally published May 9, 2017
What a fun project this turned out to be! It was fascinating seeing how much those who submitted grids both agreed and disagreed. Some drivers got just one mention, while others appeared on every ballot. There was near unanimous placement for some drivers, and some drivers were near the front on some grids and near the back on others. The driver nearly everyone agreed should be on the pole is Michael Andretti (pictured above, from 1992).
I noticed the rankings were along age lines. Older fans close to my age seemed to have near identical grids, and younger fans as a group submitted similar lineups. Many drivers from long ago in general fared better on the lists from the older group. I was surprised how well the current drivers stacked up against the racers of the past. Another interesting detail is that all 50 driver finalists had at least one mention. I didn’t expect that.
To rank the drivers, I assigned points to the drivers corresponding to their spot on each person’s grid. A driver on pole got 1 point, the last driver got 33. If a driver was listed on pole on five grids, his total was 5. The lowest total won the pole. If a driver did not appear on someone’s grid, he/she was given 34 points. To my shock, there were only two ties. I resolved placement by averaged each driver’s highest and lowest rank of all the grades, with the lowest average getting the higher spot. One of the ties was for 32nd and 33rd. It was just like qualifying for the 1963 500.
The front row- Michael Andretti, Rex Mays, and Ted Horn, is strong. These drivers were in the top 10 on everyone’s grid. Andretti led 431 laps, the most by any non-winning driver. he started on the front row three times and had 5 top 5 finishes. Rex Mays, in the middle of the front row is the only other driver to lead more than 200 laps and not win. Mays was on the pole four times. Ted Horn, on the outside of the front row, finished in the top five 9 times in 10 starts.
So here they are, the Greatest 33 Non-Winners of the Indianapolis 500:
it’s kind of fitting that Snider is last on the grid. his trademark was jumping into a car on Bump Day and getting into the field starting near the back. Thanks to everyone who submitted a grid. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and reasoning as to how yo put your grids together.
I will be back tomorrow with some 500 news and a report on my visit to the A. J. Foyt exhibit at the Speedway Museum. The cars were great to see, but the memorabilia was even more amazing to me. Thursday I will have my Indianapolis Grand Prix preview with my normally inaccurate winner’s prediction.
Above: Pato O’Ward at Road America last week.
Indycar began a three week summer break after Road America last weekend. The Series returns to action in Toronto July 14. What do drivers do in their weeks off? They go to Europe. One may not return. It’s complicated, and we’ll discuss that last.
The week before the REV Group Grand Prix Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais went to Le Mans to participate in the 24 hour race for Chip Ganassi’s Ford GT teams. It was the last Le Mans for this car. Ford is shutting the GT program down. My hope is that they return in another class, preferably the prototypes.
This coming week (July already? Really/) Marcus Ericsson will participate in a Pirelli tire test in Austria on Tuesday. Ericsson is still a reserve driver for Alfa Romeo. When the Indycar season ends he will spend more time at the remaining F1 races.
Pato O’Ward’s weird itinerant season continues. This weekend he is driving for MP Motorsport in Formula 2 in Austria. O’Ward replaces Mahaveer Raganathan, who accumulated enough penalty points to earn a one race suspension. Jordan King is O’Ward’s teammate this weekend. O’Ward qualified 17th Friday, one second off the pole speed and just 0.25 seconds slower than the more experienced King. It was O’Ward’s first time in this type of car, first time at this track, and of course first time on this particular tire. Overall, he did a great job.
F2 runs two races this weekend, a race on Saturday which includes a pit stop, and a sprint race on Sunday.i am anxious to see how Pato does in the two events.
News from japan’s Super Formula that Dan Ticktum is losing his Red Bull backed ride has led to speculation that O’Ward will finish the season there. Nothing is confirmed. Ticktum has scored just 1 point this season. His teammmate has out performed him significantly.
Since O’Ward is under contract to Red Bull, he may complete his season there. That would be a big loss to Indycar, which thought they had a rising star. Considering Ticktum’s struggles, this may be a difficult situation for O’Ward. doesn’t work out, will there still be room for him back in Indycar? Let’s hope so.
I’ll be back next week with a look at another past Indianapolis 500 program.
The post Road America hangover is becoming as bad for me as the post 500 hangover. This is definitely my second favorite track after IMS. I decided this in 2016 after about the first five minutes I was there. This year was the best year for me of the four Indycar events as experience goes for many reasons.
First, my friends Leigh and Bob were there for the first time. They found some places I had never seen in turns 7 and 10. It was nice to see the track through fresh sets of eyes. We also had a great time visiting establishments in Elkhart Lake. I’m sure they will be back.
I also spent some time in the kink and I was impressed by the speed the cars carry before braking for Canada Corner.
The race behind Alexander Rossi was great. Third through sixth were contested all day. Dixon’s charge from the rear after the turn 5 incident was exciting to watch. His teammate Felix Rosenqvist had an excellent drive moving from 18th to 6th. Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe had steady drives and fought hard all day.
Colton Herta had an eventful day. After losing the lead to rossi in turn 3 of theopening lap, he had contact with both Power and Pagenaud in separate incidents and seemed to spend a lot of time off track in turn 5. Herta’s eighth place finish was his second best result of the season.
Rossi was probably not given any consideration for the drive of the day, but he should have been in the conversation. Winning margins like this don’t happen often in today’s NTT Indycar Series. His drive was a thing of beauty.
The crowd looked to me to be the biggest since 2016. I thought the bowl at the bottom of turn 5 was fuller than it had been the last two years.
I’m about halfway through the NBC broadcast and i am very impressed. The cameras were on the Herta-Pagenaud skirmish all the way, including the point when Dixon blew past both of them. Great work.
So I will say good bye to Road America until next year and leave you with some photos.