Overheard in Las Vegas - Sunday
It was good to see that Sunday morning's Las Vegas Review Journal had IndyCar front and center on Page 1. Not sports page 1, the main section page 1. The weather is hot and sunny today with a high forecast to be 92 degrees, so it will be interesting to see how many fans brave the heat, but regardless, you cannot hide the crowd on oval tracks so it is probably going to look bad, which is too bad.........We talked from someone connected with Honda and apparently the President of Honda wants IndyCar back at Motegi, but they want them back on the oval after they fix the earthquake damage in a couple of years.
According to my sources Dale Coyne will hopes to run James Jakes and Sebastien Bourdais full-time in 2012 and we hear he is hoping to land Honda engines and should have an engine deal by the end of the month. This morning we saw a KV Racing Dallara painted Lotus green in the Dale Coyne garage. It turns out Coyne rented a spare car from KV Racing because of the damage to Jakes car when the right rear suspension failed on Friday sending the car hard into the outside wall. No time to repaint the car so they will run KV Racing colors today.
I hear that Oriol Servia is close to re-signing a full-time deal with Newman/Haas next year with Telemundo back as the primary sponsor. And we hear that James Hinchcliffe will probably be Servia's teammate.
I ran into Pacific Coast F2000 driver Ira Fierberg in the garage this morning and he tells me he is close to putting together a deal for next year to race in the Road to Indy USF2000 series next year.
I heard again today that Conquest Racing will run Lotus engines next year and Eric Bachelart is confident of running two cars next year, but so far he has only ordered one car. Speaking of Lotus, we hear their new IndyCar engine will run on the dyno for the first time next week..........And Derrick Walker tells me he is seeing a lot of interest in IndyCar and there is a possibility he will be back in some form next year. Meanwhile he has laid off his ALMS staff that ran the Falken Tire Porsche this year in ALMS waiting to hear if Falken will be back in ALMS next year. I do hear that Falken will also do a deal with the V8 Supercar series as well.
Another team that has not announced their engine deal for next year is Dreyer & Reinbold. Dennis Reinbold told me this morning that he is still talking to all the engine manufacturers and with several drivers. He is fairly confident of running two cars full-time in 2012 and possibly a third car for the Indy 500.
And I hear that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing may be running one car full-time in 2012. We did see Bobby Rahal talking to Honda HPD boss Eric Berkman this morning, but we are not sure that means anything. Although Rahal does have a big Honda dealership in Ohio, so......hmm.
I spotted Drag Racing legend Don Prudhomme wandering around the paddock this morning but did not have time to flag him down to see if the rumored IndyCar deal he is trying to put together is going to happen or not.
Rumor has it that Honda and Chevy are helping out some of their teams with drivers salaries to ensure they get the best drivers. I do not hear Lotus doing any of that, at least not yet.
Although the series still has some issues to work out, like changing the look of the new car (no one likes it) we have never seen so much deal making going on behind the scenes for car/driver combinations for the next year in a long time. As such I will stick my neck out and say that we will see over 25 cars at every IndyCar race next year, and possibly as high as 30.
Indy Lights driver Esteban Guerreri from Argentina hopes to put a deal together to run IndyCar next year and so does Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden from the USA.
Also spotted in the paddock Sunday was Mexican driver Adrian Fernandez with another Mexican driver Michel Jourdain Jr. and there is some speculation that they may be trying to put something together in case IndyCar returns to Mexico City, which has been rumored. Mark C. reporting from Las Vegas