It’s Definitely IndyCar Season… My Head is Spinning

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The racing off-season is only named as such because there are no scheduled competitive races taking place in the given series you are referring to at the time. For the Verizon IndyCar Series and it’s fans, the off-season is unpredictable. We can go weeks or months without any big announcements and then suddenly without warning… boom… a tidal wave of information (and emotion) slams into us. Welcome to the week that was:

Worlds Collide

This past Sunday, 6 Verizon IndyCar Series drivers stood proudly across 3 different class podiums at the Rolex 24 in Daytona – the season opener for the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Two of those IndyCar drivers, Scott Dixon & Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing Teams), are Indy 500 Champions and they shared the top of the overall podium with two NASCAR drivers – Jamie McMurray & Kyle Larson. It’s not often that you see so many series pros share the same track on the same weekend AND in the same race… not to mention the same team. This was really something special and the comments of McMurray, when asked about Scott Dixon with about 14 minutes left in the endurance race, made the weekend even more memorable:

“Scott’s done an awesome job. It’s really hard to appreciate the talent that guys have from other series until you race with them. And it’s crazy, the pace that Scott’s been able to have in the car, the amount of time he’s been in the car… I know he’s got to be tired ‘cause I know he’s driven the most out of any of us, and he’s been in there for around 3 hours at this point. It’s the hottest time of the time, everyone’s the weekend they could be and he’s just done an awesome job… I think that Scott is probably the most talented guy in the field this weekend. He is an incredible driver – I watch him in the IndyCar Series and there’s honestly no one I’d rather have in the car or on my team right now.”

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Blast from the Past:

Brian Barnhart has been named the new Race Director, replacing Beaux Barfield who held the position the past three seasons before moving over to the TUDOR Championship after 2014 wrapped up. Barnhart has held this title before, yes – but this time he has company in the booth when making decisions. The three-steward system in Race Control, implemented last season, will be led by Barnhart. He stated earlier this week that, “having that assistance in making calls is a big improvement to the way we officiate INDYCAR events.” Many things have changed since Barnhart last held this position and I have to trust that IndyCar would not make this decision in haste, so let’s wait to see what happens and not be so quick to judge.

Long-Awaited Test Run:

Conor Daly confirmed today that he will be testing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports next week at Sebring Raceway. Daly is a fan favorite and a homegrown Indiana boy… could he & the Mayor of Hinchtown pair up and run for lead of the pack in 2015?

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Wait. Come Again? Or Maybe, Don’t…

Word on the street is that the 2015 Season Opener for the Verizon IndyCar Series in Brazil, has been cancelled. While no official word from organizers has been relayed to IndyCar, the open-wheel series has acknowledged the cancellation announcement by BAND TV, the event promoter, by releasing the following statement:

“Today’s announcement by BAND that the March 8 INDYCAR race in Brasília was cancelled was both unexpected and disappointing. INDYCAR had received every indication that the race was already a success: Two-thirds of the seats available for the event had already been sold; a title sponsor for the event (ITAIPAVA) was announced yesterday; hospitality was sold out; and track construction was progressing and scheduled to be complete in time for the event. Although we have not received formal confirmation from our partners in Brazil regarding the cancellation, economically INDYCAR is protected and the paddock is protected from such action.”

This is the second international race to fall through for the series in the past few years. A race in Qingdao, China was cancelled in 2012. The biggest difference here – IndyCar never saw the promised funds for the China event, but the Brazil race was “financially front-loaded” and the series will not be hurt economically and neither will the paddock.

While I noticed ideas bouncing around on social media in regards to a possible race add-on prior to St. Pete’s – the financial and logistical probabilities of that happening are slim to none. I think it’s pretty safe to say we can plan on hearing those DW-12’s roar for the first time in 2015, along the streets of St. Peterburg, FL. This Cleveland girl will be there with bells on… and the cars will be donning shiny new aero kits. Hope to see you there…

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