The Final Countdown…!

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I’d be lying to all of you if I didn’t admit that I was singing the title of this article multiple times while writing it. Thankfully, my rendition of Europe’s The Final Countdown is sans perm, mullet and leather pants. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I feel confident in saying that this is the first time an IndyCar piece has been introduced with hair band references and Seinfeld taglines… and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Seriously though, the past week has inundated us with a ton of news & information and I decided to organize it with a countdown format, as we prepare to say farewell to the off-season and kick off the much anticipated 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season!

10 Days until the First Race of the Season

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is Sunday, March 29th, 2015 on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL. The race will air on ABC with coverage starting at 3:00pm EDT and the green flag waving at 3:30pm EDT. What better way to say so long to this brutally cold winter than with the heat of Florida, the roar of twin-turbo engines and the incredible battle that is sure to ensue along the shoreline of downtown St. Pete?

9 Days until Qualifying & the First Verizon P1 Award of 2015

Before they race, they must qualify. This will be the first race weekend with road & street aero kits, and this week’s testing has already given some insight into how setups can shave time off time on previous lap records & pole speeds. Will we see records break in St. Pete’s? Takuma Sato was the Verizon P1 winner at the 2014 race with Will Power clinching the victory. Both drivers return with the same teams (AJ Foyt Raching & Team Penske, respectively) and are undoubtedly looking to continue their success at this track as well as start the new season off on a high note. It should be one heck of a show!

8 Minutes Trying to Think of Something that the Number 8 Signifies

Yep. This is what I came up with. Then I ended the sentence with a preposition.

7 is the Number of Races Justin Wilson has won in Champ Car & IndyCar Series

Floored. I am floored that Wilson has not been signed for this upcoming season. He has dedicated the past decade to the premiere open-wheel series in North America and placed 6th in overall points for the 2013 season. I’m not alone in wanting to see Wilson in an IndyCar this season – I assume he will have a seat for the 500 if nothing else, but a full ride would be better. He attended the test in Barber earlier this week but did not have a ride to pilot; however, he has a ride this weekend in Florida. Wilson will drive in the 12 Hours of Sebring with Michael Shank Racing for the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship Series.

6 Fun Facts about the New LED Display System

We had our first glimpse of the on-board LED Displays at Barber Motorsports Park this week. The TUDOR USCC has already implemented a similar display and while some features are shared, IndyCar is making sure that the displays used in the open-wheel series have unique features; they promise that this new feature will cater to a more engaged fan experience. (1) Track position would be displayed on the LED screen as well as (2) showing the gain or loss of positions that the car has experienced. One of the expressly “IndyCar” features is (3) showing when the driver has engaged their Push-to-Pass. (4) The panel current has 2-color capability but the series is looking at a third in order to expand features. (5) The brightness of the display can also be altered, even with programming based on speed for pit stops, etc. IndyCar is still in the testing phases of the LED display and (6) hopes to have it implemented in the first half of the 2015 season.

5 Cars for Andretti at this Year’s Indianapolis 500?

The idea of five cars in the Andretti fleet is not a new idea. It’s been thrown around for quite a while now and it seems the timing and resources are right to try it at the 99th Running of the Indy 500. The Andretti full-season crew consists of 2012 IndyCar Champion & 2015 Indy 500 winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, Carlos Munoz, who had 8 top ten finishes in his first year, and Marco Andretti, the namesake who has two career wins and placed 9th overall in the points last year. There are rumors that Justin Wilson could take a seat with Andretti in May as well as a certain young woman who is making her return to IndyCar after a season away…

4 Years of IndyCar Racing Already Completed by Simona de Silvestro

That young woman I mentioned is known as the “Swiss Miss”, and she is back in action thanks to Andretti Autosport. The fan favorite has developed quite a loyal following and with a podium finish in her most recent season (2013 Shell Penzoil Grand Prix of Houston, Race 2). She’s proven she has the talent and now it’s time to prove that she can get the results consistently. Simona is poised to do just that with a team like Andretti Autosport, and you can bet that she’s going into the opener with aspirations to stay on track all season.

3 Headlining Acts Confirmed for Carb Day in May at IMS

Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that they will host three bands on Carb Day in 2015 – Jane’s Addiction, .38 Caliber and O.A.R. In similar fashion, the Indy 500 Snake Pit will feature three entertainers on raceday. Steve Aoki, Kaskade and A-Trak will take turns on the stage of the Turn 3 party atmosphere that always draws a huge crowd from the 20-something demographic.

2 Drivers Confirmed by Dale Coyne Racing

A week before the current season and we have official word on the drivers for Dale Coyne Racing. Carlos Huertas returns for his second full season with IndyCar. As a rookie last year, he impressed at the Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston by leading the field to the checkered and taking home a win! He achieved 2 top ten finishes – in Long Beach and at Race 1 on Belle Isle in Detroit. The second driver for Coyne is confirmed for the first four races. Francesco Dracone is not a stranger to IndyCar – he has 2 previous starts with Conquest Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course & Sonoma Raceway in 2010. Coyne commented on Dracone’s enthusiasm and Dracone echoed those sentiments,

“It is good to be back in America and great to be back in IndyCar. I feel that it is the best single seater series for a driver to be in. Working with Dale Coyne is an honor and a privilege because he is one of the most experienced team owners and he runs a great team.”

1 Week Until I Fly to Florida!

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I am thrilled to be starting my second season as a media member covering the greatest race series in the world. Same rules apply as last year – if you, as fans, have a suggestion, a question for a team or driver, a photo request of your favorite car, etc… please let me know throughout the season. I will be attending the majority of the races and will do my best to accommodate your requests. Engaged & educated fans are a huge aspect of racing and I love the passion I see all year long – let’s keep it strong and kick this season off right! See you at the track…

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