Toronto Sunday Notebook – 8

A perfect day for racing in Toronto, cool, dry with high fluffy clouds. The 15,000 grandstand seats were about 80% full at the start of the race, but some people were stuck in a traffic jam caused by parking attendants collecting $22 to park…….Polesitter Dario Franchitti was fastest in morning warm-ups……..All drivers were starting on the softer red tires except Matos, Castroneves, Briscoe, Patrick and Mutoh……….The IRL purchased nice looking Taiwan made Kymco Super 8 scooters for use around the paddock by IRL personnel, but why not Hondas? Is it the IRL's first commercial contract with the Chinese?………We spotted new IMS and IRL CEO Jeff Belkus going into a private meeting with KV Racing boss Kevin Kalkhoven. We wonder what the topic of conversation was? Engines we bet……….Someone should suggest the IRL switch to the Cosworth turbo engine used in Champ Car. If we recall correctly from Champ Car's last year, that would cost the teams around $750K per year including testing, almost half the cost of the current Honda engine if you include testing. But what manufacturer might want to badge the Cosworth, but that would take business away from Penske's Ilmor company, so that won't happen…….Several teams told us the value of the series from a sponsor perspective is about $3M per year but with the current car and current engine it costs $6M per year to run a full season and if you want to win the title you need to spend $9M per year. Now we understand why the teams want to change to the new car and engines ASAP, but can Honda do an engine for $700K and will the IRL source the new car to Panoz or Swift here in the USA so the teams don't get socked with artificially expensive cars because of the dollar exchange rate with the Euro (Dallaras are built in Europe – ouch)?……..Spotted ex-CART/Champ Car drivers Stefan Johannson and Mark Blundell. Blundell is driver coach for Mike Conway. Blundell is also managing two F1 drivers………EJ Viso broke a driveshaft in morning warm-up……Met Paul Tracy's father for the first time this weekend. He is quite the character…….Rumor has it that Marco Andretti's Venom Energy Drink sponsor is not signed for next year and there is some question as to whether they will continue…..ESPN commentator Brienne Pedigo is happy to see the end of this race. It's not that she doesn't love her job… but she is obviously expecting a child, and running up and down pit road isn't exactly for her right now. Impact racing was faced with the task of providing a maternity-style fireproof driver's suit for her to wear. Brianne plans on returning next season, noting that many of the IRL drivers have babies (or are expecting) and child care shouldn't be an issue……Mark C. reporting from Toronto

Leave a Reply