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Highlights of IndyCar State of the Union Address
The full transcript can be found on our Home page, but below we summarize the highlights of yesterday's IndyCar State of the Union address in Indianapolis.
  • Indy Racing League, the name synonymous with destroying IndyCar Racing, has been officially changed to IndyCar, the name CART used so successfully for over 25 years.
  • Drivers now will have to go faster to start a race, qualifying at 105 percent of the fastest lap time. Previously, it had been 107 percent. The move is designed to keep drivers from going too slow and causing race day problems.
  • On ovals IndyCar will now use double file restarts like NASCAR.  When the outside lane hits the marbles and crash they will throw another caution to clean up the carnage.  IndyCar restarts will start closer to the start/finish line. Previously, they started in the third turn of the oval tracks.
  • Pit selections now will be based on qualifying performance at a previous race rather than entrants points. But the results will come from the previous event on a similar venue, or road course to road course and oval to oval. 
  • Drivers will have to use the same tires during a qualifying segment on road courses. They can switch between segments, just not during them.
  • Children as young as 9 years old now can purchase tickets to go into the garage area of all races except Texas.
  • At Indianapolis, children 12 and under will be admitted free when an adult buys a general admission ticket to the race.
  • And Bernard said he will consider looking at ways to set new track records, if the series can keep it safe for drivers.
  • Two new slogans for this season also were unveiled Tuesday. The series will use Real Drivers, Real Racecars, Real Fast. The Indy 500 is being dubbed “the most important race in history.”
  • In an attempt to get IndyCar more of a presence in the media and entertainment realms, the sanctioning body and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have announced the future opening of an office near Hollywood in Santa Monica, California.
  • Engine displacement for the new turbo engines in 2012 have been dropped from the previously announced 2.4 liters to 2.2 liters. Engine regulations have been published, but for manufacturers only. (At this time). There will be three power levels for speedways, short ovals and road/street circuits will be adapted by different boost levels
  • The Fuel cell will be 5-6 gallons fewer
  • Aero kit information for the new 2012 car will be made public closer to May.  At least 4 aero kits are expected in 2012.  From May to October of each year Aero kit manufacturers can commit to providing the pieces the following year.  Manufacturers must commit to at least a 2-year deal.  Expect to have 2 show cars with aero kits on display at IMS in May
  • The first session of a race weekend will be 75 minutes, with rookies and cars outside the top 10 on the track for the initial 45 minutes followed by all cars for the duration. As a complementary rule change, an extra set of tires will be made available to those participating in the 45-minute session.
  • With regard to the albatross around IndyCar's neck, Versus TV, Robby Greene, the senior vice president and general manager of IMS Productions, said the company been told, presumably by NBC, to "hold off" on contract negotiations. The Comcast-NBC merger could be finalized within a month or so, and IndyCar is tied to ABC through the 2012 season. But all the latter means is that ABC would have the right of first refusal if another network wanted to televise races. No one within the IndyCar community is looking to sever ties with ABC, which will broadcast five IndyCar races this season, including the Indianapolis 500, but having a second network involved would be beneficial.  For 2011 ABC will show events from St. Petersburg, Fla.; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Loudon, N.H.; and Las Vegas. Versus will air the rest of races, plus qualifying for the 500.  All Firestone Indy Lights events will be aired on VERSUS. Broadcasts will be on Wednesday following the race at 6pm est
  • New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Iowa will include additional track time on the Thursday.  Milwaukee will include an additional practice on Friday.
  • All 269 living Indianapolis 500 veterans invited back for an autograph session the day before the race, which will include a 'Unique' flyover
  • Stage the 'most powerful and mind-boggling stunt ever performed at an auto racing facility'
  • ourgreatest33.com, a site to vote on the greatest 33 drivers of all time from a list of 100 nominees organized by experts and media will be launched in March.
  • 70 of the 74 surviving Indianapolis 500 winning cars on display in May
  • Sports Illustrated will produce a commemorative 100th anniversary Indy 500 issue
  • A Spanish-language version of the Indy 500 broadcast will be available on WEDJ in Indianapolis
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