News for the Month of December 2017

INDYCAR adjusts tire allotment changes for ’18 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports INDYCAR has adjusted its planned tire allotment changes for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. “The rookies will get an extra set of tires next season, but those outside the top 10 will not,” INDYCAR competition president Jay Frye told RACER. “We got to a situation where, with 22 or 24 cars coming to most events, more than half the field would be getting an extra set of tires, and that seemed like it was a bit much.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/29/2017)

Belardi announces Telitz will return for ’18 Lights season – “Belardi Auto Racing is pleased to confirm its first driver for the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season. The reigning Indy Lights Team Champions will welcome back American star Aaron Telitz for the coming season, with full intent on running the entire 10-weekend schedule. Telitz currently has a partial budget for the season, and he and his management team continue talks with prospective marketing partners. The 26-year-old is confirmed to start the season, and will once again be paired with Belardi’s staff of experienced race engineers to pick up where they left off last year, having dominated the wet weather action in the season finale at Watkins Glen.” Full release at the link. – The Open Wheel – (12/28/2017)

SPM and Enerson resolve legal dispute – From Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and RC Enerson, as well as RC Enerson’s former Indy Lights sponsor, Team Enerson Racing, LLC, have settled their claims against each other on mutually acceptable terms.” SPM owner Sam Schmidt stated “We are pleased to have this situation behind us. For the record, the terms of our contract with the Enersons provided for early exit and that is what happened in this matter. As the terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, we will have no further comment on this matter. RC is a talented driver, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future.” – SPM – (12/27/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/27/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A a great read as always. – RACER – (12/27/2017)

Update on third engine manufacturer progress – AUTOSPORT’s Tom Errington has a great report on INDYCAR’s continued quest towards a third engine manufacturer with quotes from Jay Frye. Full story at the link. – AUTOSPORT – (12/27/2017)

Carlin unveils car numbers for first season in IndyCar – Carlin has announced their car numbers for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series. Charlie Kimball will drive their No. 23 car and Max Chilton will drive the No. 59 car. – Carlin – (12/26/2017)

INDYCAR changes oval qualifying attempt order to entrant points – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying attempt orders will no longer be random for 2018. The order will be decided by entrant points when the series competes on ovals. “We wanted to eliminate randomness, and a random draw for oval qualifying [order] is as far as you can go in that direction,” INDYCAR competition director Jay Frye told RACER. Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/26/2017)

INDYCAR dramatically reduces points available for Indy 500 qualifying – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports INDYCAR has both dramatically decrease the amount of points available for qualifying positions for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and reduced the points-paying positions to just P1 through P9. “There’s a dozen different way to do this, and based on how we’re going to go back and run qualifying as a two-day show, it’s important to make the points you can get for winning the pole something that still has an incentive, but doesn’t go too far,” INDYCAR competition director Jay Frye told RACER. Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/26/2017)

Juncos “ready” to field three cars in Lights in ’18 – RACER reports Juncos Racing is planning to field three cars in Indy Lights in 2018. Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni and Nicolas Dapero are expected to drive for the team. “After three successful years in the Indy Lights championship, I am ready to field three full-time cars,” owner Ricardo Juncos told RACER. “I am looking for drivers who we can develop over a period of time and prepare them for the next step into the Verizon IndyCar Series. Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/22/2017)

INDYCAR plans to test aero screen at Phoenix open test – AUTOSPORT’s Tom Errington reports INDYCAR will test its aero screen head protection design at the Verizon IndyCar Series open test at Phoenix International Raceway in February. “We have an open test at Phoenix in the first part of February in 2018 and our goal is to have some sort of application that we feel really good about and is very far along on a car at Phoenix,” INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye told AUTOSPORT. Full story at the link. – AUTOSPORT – (12/21/2017)

McLaren rules out ’18 Indy 500 return – RACER’s Chris Medland reports McLaren will not be returning to the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2018. “We could have gone to Indy next year as just another Indy 500 entry but that’s not McLaren,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown told RACER. “If we can’t do it right and be a big part of the show, then we don’t want to do it.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/21/2017)

Documentary released on Senna’s legendary IndyCar test – Marshall Pruett and Travis Long have produced an excellent documentary on Ayrton Senna’s legendary IndyCar test with Team Penske in December of 1992. Check it out at the link. – Road & Track – (12/21/2017)

Karam out at Lexus/3GT, hopeful for DRR 500 ride – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports Sage Karam and the Lexus-backed 3GT Racing team have separated and Karam will not drive full-time for the team in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Late in the story, Karam mentions talks are ongoing with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to run in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. “We’re in talks still, and I think there’s a good chance I’ll be back at the Indy 500, at least,” Karam told RACER. “That looks like my highest percentage of racing this year.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/21/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/20/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/20/2017)

Report: Gutierrez edging closer to IndyCar return – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports Esteban Gutierrez has worked hard on raising sponsorship since the close of the Verizon IndyCar Series season and rumor has it he’s closing in on the No. 20 ride at Ed Carpenter Racing. “I’m working on coming back, and things are looking positive,” Gutierrez told RACER. “I have been contacting many people, and I think it’s important to settle down and learn about the opportunities that have come up – good opportunities. I’m excited to work on what I have in front, and keep working on making a reality of things without giving any expectations.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/19/2017)

Andretti announces Munoz as driver of No. 29 at Indy 500 – “A familiar face will make its way back to the Andretti Autosport stable for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race as Carlos Muñoz returns to the team, vying for his chance to kiss the bricks. Muñoz made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut with Andretti Autosport at the 2013 Indianapolis 500, where he finished second, earning himself Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors. The Colombian-native went on to compete full time with the team the following year. In 2016, Muñoz once again finished runner-up when his rookie teammate, Alexander Rossi, crossed the Yard of Bricks on a fuel-saving strategy to win the 100th Indy 500.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (12/18/2017)

Andretti tweets they’ll have six Indy 500 drivers – Andretti Autosport tweeted on Monday that the team will have “Six 2018 Indy 500 Drivers”. That’s big news as the team has only officially announced five with their four full-time drivers (Andretti, Hunter-Reay, Rossi, and Veach) as well as Stefan Wilson. – Andretti Autosport – (12/18/2017)

Kimball details his family’s California wildfire loss – Indy Style had Charlie Kimball on the show and he discussed how the recent California wildfires caused loss at his family’s avocado farm. Full story at the link. – Indy Style – (12/18/2017)

Herta to drive in Formula E rookie test for Andretti – “Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing Indy Lights driver Colton Herta will make his Formula E debut with MS&AD Andretti at the upcoming rookie test in Marrakesh, Morocco on January 14. The second-generation racer will join 2012 DTM Champion Bruno Spengler to test on the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, one day following the 2018 Marrakesh E-Prix.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (12/15/2017)

Wickens impresses in Sebring test – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Robert Wickens tested with the team at Sebring International Raceway this week and showed well according to one interested observer. “I think he’s a good new person to have involved, gave good feedback, put in good times, got comfortable quickly, and got up to speed quickly,” Honda Performance Development race team leader Allen Miller told RACER. “We ran through some programs with him of tuning things we offer, which he seemed to appreciate, and I think it’s working well with Robert.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/15/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/13/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/13/2017)

Trackside podcast 12/12/17 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 12/12/17 is a great listen as always. Trevor Carlin, Brian Barnhart, and Simon Pagenaud are guests on the show. – 1070 The Fan – (12/13/2017)

Carlin officially enters IndyCar Series with Chilton and Kimball – “Carlin is proud to announce their move into the Verizon IndyCar Series in a full-time capacity for the 2018 season. Joining the first season INDYCAR effort at Carlin will be drivers Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball along with primary partners, international insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, Gallagher and global healthcare company, Novo Nordisk. Both Chilton and Kimball drove for the championship winning team earlier in their racing careers. The Carlin entries will be powered by the Chevrolet twin turbocharged direct injected V6 engine.” Full release at the link. – Carlin – (12/12/2017)

Hinch enjoys updated steering wheel for ’18 – Cosworth has rolled out an updated LCD steering wheel for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season and James Hinchcliffe has enjoyed using it in testing. “With the old dash, it was a lot of small, character-saving acronyms because we’ve never had that big screen to do with as you please, and now, it’s full words and all the colors you want and it’s very easy to read whatever’s on there. There’s also more options with automated things that can be programmed to pop up at certain places on the track or if specific parameters have been met. For fans, it’s the going to be a lot clearer to read from the on-board [cameras] so it’s going to help in a lot of ways.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (12/11/2017)

Michael Shank Racing announces part-time IndyCar effort with Harvey and SPM – “After making its IndyCar debut in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 with driver Jack Harvey, the team will build on that effort in 2018 with a select schedule of IndyCar events with the talented Briton. As part of a multi-race program with commercial sponsors SiriusXM and AutoNation, America’s Largest Automotive Retailer, the race program will utilize a technical partnership with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM)…The Michael Shank Racing program with Harvey will be Honda powered and will include outings at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, the Indianapolis 500 and Sonoma Raceway.” Full release at the link. – Michael Shank Racing – (12/8/2017)

SPM announces cancellation of partnership with Calmels for ’18 500 – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Calmels Sport have mutually agreed to end their partnership of a 2018 Indianapolis 500 program. SPM will continue to focus on raising the level of performance of its involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Both parties wish one another well in the future.” Full release at the link. – SPM – (12/8/2017)

Changes at Andretti as Rossi moves to No. 27 and Marco moves to Andretti-Herta No. 98 – “The race-winning partnership between Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport will continue for a third season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Andretti Herta Autosport team will again field the No. 98 Honda, but this season it will be third-generation driver Marco Andretti behind the wheel…Alexander Rossi will transition to pilot the No. 27 entry of Andretti Autosport with NAPA AUTO PARTS returning for a 10-race co-primary package.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (12/7/2017)

CBS officially announces Daly and Rossi as part of Amazing Race cast – “Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have been friends for years, and sometimes housemates since both joined the Verizon IndyCar Series full time in 2016. Now they’re something more: teammates for Season 30 of “The Amazing Race,” the popular, Emmy Award-winning reality competition show airing on CBS. Rossi and Daly form “Team INDYCAR” for the competition that covers 10 countries, 21 cities and more than 29,000 miles in the quest to cross the finish line first and win $1 million. Team INDYCAR is among 11 two-person entries competing in the contest, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 3 on CBS. The 30th season of “The Amazing Race” will conclude with a two-hour finale on Feb. 21.” Full release at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/7/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/6/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/6/2017)

Trackside podcast 12/5/17 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 12/5/17 is a great listen as always. – 1070 The Fan – (12/6/2017)

2018 driver meetings taking place in Indianapolis – 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden shared a cool picture from driver meetings for the 2018 season on Tuesday in Indianapolis. Check it out at the link. – Josef Newgarden – (12/5/2017)

Norman eager to build on Lights experience in year two – Josh Farmer has a nice story on on Indy Lights driver Ryan Norman looking forward to his second year in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport. “I think I’ll be able to, right from the get-go, Practice 1, go out and start working on the practice items that we have set up instead of learning the tracks,” Norman said. “I think that is really going to set me a step forward in the weekend going forward instead of being a step back and having to catch up. That alone I think is going to have a really big difference come qualifying, and I think it is going to help me start up front and be able to stay there.” Full story at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/5/2017)

Sato stars at Honda Thanks Day in Japan – Takuma Sato starred at Honda Thanks Day at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan over the weekend as he ran laps in his Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winning livery on the oval in front of a lot of fans. Check out the cool video at the link. – RACER – (12/4/2017)

Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Montoya, and Newgarden named to ROC roster – “Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will compete for the first time in the Race Of Champions, joining fellow INDYCAR drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya in the prestigious all-star event set for Feb. 2-3 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.” Full story at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/4/2017)

INDYCAR announces it will NOT race in Mexico City in ’18 – “INDYCAR announced today that discussions regarding a Verizon IndyCar Series race in Mexico City are continuing, but that the proposed event will not be added to the 2018 schedule. Future talks will focus on plans to host this event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course as early as 2019.” Full release at the link. – INDYCAR – (11/30/2017)

Hulman-George family statement on passing of Jim Nabors – “Jim Nabors was such a kind, caring man, and we will miss him greatly. Jim was born in Alabama, but he became a Hoosier to all of us almost immediately after he began his superb performances of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ starting in 1972. He loved coming back home to the Speedway almost every May for more than 40 years and seeing his friends and race fans, who loved him dearly. Jim was not only a treasured friend, but truly a cherished member of our family. We will never forget his genuine kindness, sincerity and loyalty. He was wonderful man who inspired millions of people across the globe every May and throughout his entire life.” Full release at the link. – IMS – (11/30/2017)

Jim Nabors passes away at 87 – WTHR’s Dave Calabro reports legend of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Jim Nabors passed away at the age of 87. More at the link. – WTHR – (11/30/2017)

PIR to honor 25th anniversary of Mario’s final win – “Phoenix Raceway will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s final career win with a special reunion weekend April 6-7, 2018 for the Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Grand Prix. As the stars of IndyCar take over the track in Saturday night’s Phoenix Grand Prix, the weekend will be filled with events celebrating Andretti as one of racing’s most iconic and renowned racing legends, as well as Phoenix Raceway’s rich open-wheel history. The event will be highlighted by a reunion of the drivers who participated in the 1993 IndyCar race that culminated in Andretti’s last open-wheel victory, while racing for the legendary Newman/Haas Racing team. Fans can interact with legends of the sport such as Bobby Rahal, Lyn St. James, and Arie Luydendyk Sr. in a panel discussion and autograph session.” Full release at the link. – PIR – (11/30/2017)

Brian Barnhart named President of Harding Racing – “Brian Barnhart has been named President of Harding Racing, effective December 18, 2017. Barnhart, will be based at the Harding Racing corporate office in Indianapolis, Indiana…Barnhart’s tenure in the operational side of INDYCAR began in 1997 where he served in various roles, most recently as Vice President of Competition and Head of Race Control. Prior to his move to INDYCAR, Barnhart spent several years as a crew member for multiple race teams including Al Unser Jr.’s winning teams.” Full release at the link. – Harding Racing – (11/29/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/29/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/29/2017)

Trackside podcast 11/28/17 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 11/28/17 is a great listen as always. Oliver Askew, David Malsher, and Jade Gurss are guests on the show. – 1070 The Fan – (11/29/2017)

Mazda announces Pigot will drive for team at Rolex 24 at Daytona – Mazda announced this morning that Spencer Pigot will drive one of the team’s prototype entries at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. – Mazda Motorsports – (11/28/2017)

INDYCAR held recent meetings for third manufacturer – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports INDYCAR continues to work behind the scenes to add a third engine manufacturer for the Verizon IndyCar Series. “I think the topic of bringing in a third manufacturer does have some momentum behind it,” INDYCAR president of competition Jay Frye told RACER. “Since the season ended, we’ve organized meetings with some prospects and had some follow-up meetings with manufacturers we’d met with before. The good news is they’re paying attention to what we’re doing and have a lot of curiosity in what we’re doing.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (11/28/2017)

Borg-Warner Trophy to make first overseas trip in Japan – RACER’s Mark Glendenning has a full report on the Borg-Warner Trophy heading to Japan with Takuma Sato this week. “We are very happy that the Borg-Warner Trophy is traveling to Japan later this week as part of Honda Racing THANKS DAY at Twin Ring Motegi,” HPD President Art St Cyr told RACER. Full story at the link. – RACER – (11/28/2017)

News From Last Month