Overheard in Toronto - Friday (Update) UPDATE Barfield will resume his duties in Race Control at the next IZOD IndyCar Series event, the Honda Indy 200 on Aug. 2-4 at Mid-Ohio. We hear he had passport issues getting into Canada.
07/12/13 It was a nice day with temperatures in the low 70's in Toronto Friday as the IndyCar Series gathered for the Honda Toronto Indy doubleheader. It was a decent crowd but not great given it was "Free Friday" courtesy of Make-A-Wish Foundation. This event sorely misses the backing it had with Molson Beer.
Half of what was the paddock area has been demolished and sits vacant, which has taken away from the 'feel' of the event. Rumor has it that a Casino might be built on the site, which would be a shot in the arm for the race, assuming the Casino does not force the race to move elsewhere.
The pit straight grandstands are now smaller but sections have been moved elsewhere around the track. For example the grandstand at the end of the backstraight is larger than it ever has been. We could never understand why it was so small in past years given all the passing that gets done at that corner.
Word is that James Davison is talking to a couple of sponsors that will allow him to drive for Dale Coyne at Mid-Ohio. When we hear more we will let you know.
Rumor has it that IndyCar and Anderson Promotion hopes to introduce a lighter car in 2015 capable of doing standing starts. They want to land an engine supplier and a tire supplier and have the car run about 190 MPH at Indy. They are looking at either single or twin turbo engine producing 400 to 450 HP.
The goal is for the IndyCar ladder to have the following HP steps:
150 to 200 HP USF2000
400 to 450 HP Indy Lights
700 to 750 HP IndyCars
Rumor has it that Honda and Mazda are be submitting proposals to supply engines for the new Lights car. We hear Honda will propose a production based turbo 4-cyclinder layout and activate their deal around sporty Civics and Accords. Anderson wants the manufacturer who wins the engine contract to activate their sponsorship rather than just supply engines.
Next year will see a modified version of the existing Lights car used, and they hope to get 15 cars in 2014 and a 20-car grid in 2015.
Dan Anderson, the new owner of the Light Series, wants to get IndyCar drivers and retired or out of a ride IndyCar drivers to also race in Lights alongside the rookie drivers.....to help prop up Lights, similar to what NASCAR does with its Cup drivers in Nationwide and Trucks. We hear he is campaigning to all the IndyCar teams to add a Lights program.
An example of a real success story in that regard his Michael Andretti who runs a USF2000, Lights and IndyCar program. If Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske would stop wasting their time in NASCAR they could easily field a USF2000 and Lights program. They should focus their efforts on making IndyCar a success again. The series needs them to do what Michael Andretti is doing - focusing 100% on IndyCar. Do you see Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush or Richard Childress running an IndyCar program?
Rumor has it that Ed Carpenter Racing is trying hard to add a second IndyCar for next year. Carpenter needs a teammate who can help him on the road and street circuits. We hear the team does not want a ride-buyer. They want to do it the right way - find their own sponsor and then hire the best driver they can find.
Everyone is wondering if IndyCar has terminated Race Director Beaux Barfield, who has done an excellent job as Race Director. Barfield is not at the doubleheader race in Toronto and former race director Brian Barnhart will replace Barfield in race control for Saturday and Sunday's races.
Barnhart will have three race stewards with him in the booth. They are Arie Luyendyk Sr., Bill Van de Sandt and Gary Barnard. IndyCar officials gave no further information regarding Barfield's absence.
Some people in the paddock, including driver Scott Dixon and team owner Dale Coyne are asking why the standing start is not for the Sunday race rather than the Saturday race. If a car stalls on the grid and causes an accident, the damage could mean a car cannot be repaired in time for the Sunday race, so it would miss both races for the weekend and take a massive hit in points. Mark C. reporting from Toronto