Overheard in St. Petersburg – 1

The IndyCar Series has gathered in St. Petersburg, Florida for its traditional season opener under sunny skies and temperatures forecast to be in the mid-80s all weekend. Honda's HPD Racing announced a innovative Refueling Safety Interlock System to be used starting in IndyCar this year. The system has an fuel probe electronic eye that detects when the refueling buckeye is engaged. When it is the car is automatically switched to neutral so the driver cannot accidentally pull away from his pit with the fuel hose still engaged, which leads to huge fires. Software in the ECU signals the Gearbox Control Unit to place, or hold, the transmission in neutral. The cost is $800 per car and will be used this year as well as on the new car. All teams will get it free this year from Honda. Honda is working with Cosworth on the electronics and the software code (free from Honda) that will go into the new ECU on the 2012 IndyCar. The system will be available to other race series as well………Ran into Dale Coyne this morning and he confirmed that Sebastien Bourdais will only run the road course events. We thought he might do the Indy 500 too but Dale said that Bourdais has Peugeot testing in preparation for the 24 Hours of LeMans. Dale said he was still working on lining up a driver to fill in for Bourdais on the oval tracks…….We hear from our Europe sources that Robert Doornbos is definitively trying to lineup an IndyCar ride again, much to the chagrin of Sebastien Bourdais, who has had a heated past with Doornbos in Champ Car. Doornbos will still race Superleague until then……Look for Dan Wheldon to soon be announced to drive for Bryan Herta and Sam Schmidt in the Indy 500. Mark C. reporting from St. Petersburg

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