|Josef Newgarden has everyone guessing|
It's about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday evening. Below, are a few notes I was unable to get to earlier today.
CFH Racing's Josef Newgarden spent a few minutes in the media bullpen area following his qualifying run. After taking a bit of a ribbing from Team Penske's Will Power, who posted a slightly quicker time, the Tennessee native was asked about a few topics; one, his potential participation in the Indy Lights finale in three weeks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Newgarden admitted some "discussions" had been had. However, he did not seem to think it would be likely noting he didn't exactly feel comfortable participating in a race in which he might affect drivers running for a championship.
Newgarden was also asked about some of the fun he's been having on social media of late concerning his possible landing spot in 2016. For example, on August 11th Newgarden speaking of Bobby Rahal BMW in Cannonsburg, PA tweeted it was "definitely a good place to get a new ride." He also tweeted last week visiting Nashville Speedway "Would any Nashville peeps come out to cheer if I raced here?"
Essentially, Newgarden has been rumored to possibly drive everything from a Haas F1 car to stock cars, in addition to staying in IndyCar. He has likewise hinted at nearly every possible landing spot on social media.
Newgarden admitted he was "having fun with it," but was somewhat reflective when speaking about the reaction. "You have to be careful because people will read anything into it."
Well, here's what I read into it.
I'll start by saying I don't know exactly where Newgarden is headed in 2016. However, it will not be Haas F1. The Haas brass have repeatedly stated they want drivers with F1 experience, and Newgarden doesn't qualify for a super-license anyway. So, as far as I'm concerned the Haas rumors are completely unfounded.
I likewise have to think it won't be his current team CFH Racing. For one, we discussed some developments with them in this overheard earlier today. Plus, I doubt Newgarden would be dropping such hints if he was returning to CFH Racing.
To find out for sure, Newgarden says "people will have to keep tuning into my social (media) to see what I'm doing."
Dale Coyne Racing's Pippa Mann turned in a career-best qualifying effort today, and will start tomorrow's race on the inside of Row 9. Mann said that she feels more comfortable at Pocono, saying "it's really cool to come back to place I've had starts before." Mann, of course, ran the 2013 race at Pocono. "I still less starts than most of the rookies and people forget that sometimes…it was a lot of fun at Texas, a lot of fun at Fontana."
Mann also noted that both she and teammate Tristan Vautier found something in the telemetry they believed would correspond to both their race setups.
Overall, after struggling mightily last month at Milwaukee and Iowa, Mann appeared much more confident following today's run.
Earlier in the day we ran into Scott Taitleman and Lee Williams of Daedalus Motorsport Management. You might not be familiar with DMM now, but you will be at some point. At 3 of the last 4 IndyCar race weekends, the Mooresville, NC-based group has been discussing their unique approach to driver management and sponsor activation with IndyCar teams.
Currently, they are looking at opportunities in a number of racing series for 2016 and count American Jonathan Summerton amongst their clients. Summerton is driving Porsche Super Cup this weekend at Spa.
I did a moderate amount of digging regarding potential tire wear during tomorrow's race. From what I've gathered tire wear will be more like Indianapolis than say Texas. In other words, we don't expect tire degradation to be a major factor.
Also, every single driver we've spoken has said overtaking is going to be difficult.
Brian C. reporting for AutoRacing1