Brian C. reporting from Phoenix International Raceway
04/02/16 We're just over an hour from the drop of the green flag for tonight's Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. One topic of conversation throughout the weekend has been what kind of crowd we might see tonight at Phoenix International Raceway. While I'm not good at guessing such things, I've heard the number 15,000 quoted a few times.
In what may or may not be telling, I asked a member of the track PR staff what traffic would be like after the race, noting my red-eye flight back to the East Coast tonight. She very casually said "traffic won't be a problem." So make of that what you will.
While our previous intel suggested Katherine Legge and Grace Autosport were working on a deal with a Honda team for this year's 100th Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, we now hear they have finalized a deal with KVSH Racing. This would certainly lend credence to our report yesterday linking Gabby Chaves to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the 500. We await official announcement.
A continued topic of conversation throughout the weekend has been the aero kits; in particular Honda's disparity to Chevrolet and the realization the Honda teams are starting at that they will handcuffed in their ability to close the gap to Chevrolet. I caught up with AHA with Curb-Agajanian co-owner Bryan Herta who spoke about the kits.
"The fatal flaw in the system is the inability to change," said Herta. "We can alter some of the parts, but once they're homologated, we're locked in. And really what we've locked in a huge advantage or disadvantage and I don't think that's good for anyone."
To be clear, Herta was not firing criticisms at anyone, and spoke in his usual measured, thoughtful manner. He simply closed the conversation saying about the decision to introduce the aero kits, "it's hard for me to say it's worked."
Herta also confirmed his Red Bull Global Rallycross team would once again field a car for Patrik Sandell, and is undecided about fielding a second entry.
Brian Carroccio reporting from Phoenix International Raceway