Overheard at Indy - Saturday (Update) UPDATE
Standing Starts won't be going away anytime soon in IndyCar racing because the fans like them and they are the fairest way to start a race. And IndyCar drivers always crash on rolling starts too. They crashed today on a rolling restart just like they crashed on a rolling restart in St. Petersburg and elsewhere. They crashed five years in a row on a rolling start in St. Petersburg and when they used to race in Cleveland they crashed for ten years in row in the first corner on a rolling start, yet when they switched to a standing start the crashes stopped.
|Rolling start crash at the 2011 St. Pete race. Ever see the carnage photos from the rolling starts at Indy and other ovals over the years? Many a driver died.|
And did you ever see the strung out rolling starts at Long Beach and the Indy 500? They are a complete joke. As Helio Castroneves said in the post race interview, "I wish we would do all the starts the same way. This switching back and forth makes it harder. But that is what makes this series unique - we race on street courses, road courses, short ovals and high speed ovals, and we do both rolling and standing starts."
Ryan Hunter-Reay was asked if IndyCar should implement electronic aides to help the drivers on standing starts. He said "no, I like it the way it is, it is 100% up to driver skill."
Have you noticed that Honda has been beating Chevy in the fuel mileage department since about this time last year. Today on the Indy road course they were definitely getting better mileage and it was the difference between winning and losing today. The first and second place Hondas both ran dry after the checkered flag today but they made an incredible 28 laps since their last stop and did not need a late stop for fuel like the others.
Jack Hawksworth in another Honda had the dominant car on Saturday. The 23-year old rookie could have won but the team's pit stop strategy did not work out just right for the sensational rookie. Keep an eye on this kid. He's a winner.05/10/14 The weatherman really cooperated for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis as a large sundrenched crowd turned out to enjoy the start of this historic event. A crowd estimated close to 75,000 enjoyed an exciting event and nearly as many media members turned out as turn out for the Indy 500.
Rumor has it that the new body kits probably will not be used for the first couple of overseas races in February/March next year because that is not what the manufacturers signed up for. Testing begins in October and the body kits must be ready by the first USA race in late March (St. Pete). Expect an increase in speed out of the cars from both the high speed oval body kit as well as the street and road course higher downforce kit.
A big 'no comment' from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing spokesperson regarding their National Guard sponsorship. As AutoRacing1 readers know, the saga of the sponsorship has gone thru battles in and out of court, and last week, a study made the claim that the National Guard sponsorship of motor sports resulted in exactly NO new recruits. Senator Sen. Claire McCaskill, Dem, is holding Senate hearings over the matter. One almost feels sorry for the Rahal people over this one.
Australian James Davison was announced as the 33 driver for the Indy 500. It is a part-time effort, meaning to save money he won't be out on the track until Thursday, which saves on engine and tire costs.
His pit crew will be a hodgepodge of guys from IndyCar and sportscar racing. We hear Buddy rice will be his spotter on race day and Kyle Brennan will be the engineer and his team manager will be Simon Hodson.
Given the situation of limited running and not having ever driven an IndyCar on a high speed oval (he drove two road course races last year) we hear Davison is just hoping for a top-15 finish.
Although Davison had a previous relationship with Tony George and Ed Carpenter's team, JR Hildebrand apparently put together a full race sponsorship program for Indy before Davison could get his together and JR got that ride.
Davison is probably hoping that a 34th driver does not put together a last minute deal as that would mean bumping and extra pressure on him. Given his limited budget and testing, qualifying could be a real challenge.
We hear that Roger Rodas, who was killed with actor Paul Walker in a horrific crash last year in an ex-Graham Rahal Porsche, had taken to Davison and partially sponsored Davison last year at Sonoma. They were talking about doing more when Rodas was killed, however, the partners in his company agreed to sponsor him for this year's Indy 500. Mark C. reporting from Indy