Thursday, July 2, 2015

Who Stands Where After Fontana

The 2015 MAVTV 500 has been the most talked about race outside of an Indianapolis 500 in a very long time. The thrilling action, intense racing, and obvious danger led to many drivers and team spokesmen to speak out about what they thought about the race and the 'pack racing' that we saw. So much has been said that I've compiled a rundown of tid-bits of what drivers and officials have said. This comes after Mark Miles in a teleconference said that he was displeased with many of the comments made by drivers and officials after the race.

So as the dust is settling from one of the best races many of us have ever seen, let's see how many drivers and other big names have reacted from the race days after its completion (sorted alphabetically by last name):

Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti told the media after the race, "It's definitely crazy; pack racing's always like that. You've got guys that just don't want to back off, guys going forward, guys going backward, inside, outside. I find it quite fun but extremely dangerous, but that's what we sign up for. We put on a heck of a show for the fans, that's for sure."

Michael Andreti
Michael Andretti said after the race, "That was not good. It was back to the old IRL days. I'm sure it's exciting in the stands or on TV, but for us, as team owners and drivers, it's not fun at all."

Sebastien Bourdais
Sebastien Bourdais spoke with John Oreovicz of ESPN after the race, and had this to say: ""I'm not a big fan of that racing by any stretch, but we don't get to decide. We haven't been consulted or anything, and the series has trapped itself because of the way the aero kits are. It could very well be the same at Iowa because the amount of downforce we can run at Iowa is crazy. The speedway and superspeedway kits definitely have some issues."

Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media

Ryan Briscoe
Ryan Briscoe interviewed with Chris Jenkins of USA Today, and said, "“I was really enjoying the race. I thought it was great. It’s a really wide track so it gives you a lot of options to look for clean air. So I thought there were a few drivers, and not to name any, that looked like they were deliberately trying to chop people in the middle of the corners and stuff. That’s just the kind of business you don’t need. I think there were some close calls on the straightaways sometimes just with lane changing and that kind of stuff. You’ve just got to be really heads-up. Other people sort of compared the race to what we experienced for 11 laps in Vegas a couple of years ago, and I didn’t feel like it was anything like that at all. Vegas was just easy, it was kind of like anyone could just run under the rear wing. Here you couldn’t do it. You had to look for clean air, you had to expose your front wing to get through the corner and stay close. It’s not like we’re all running nose to tail in a pack. We were all close together but you sort of experiment with different lines.

I wouldn’t want to do it every weekend, but I thought that it was an exciting race and if anything, I think there could have been a bit more discipline amongst the drivers. And I wasn’t 100 percent innocent, either. I’ve seen some of the highlights and I wasn’t 100 percent innocent. But I don’t think anyone was out there. And I think if we were going back to do it next week, in the drivers’ meeting, there would just be a lot of conversation, hey, we just need to look after each other a little bit more out there. But I don’t see that sort of racing continuing a whole lot. I don’t think the series wants to take that risk on a regular basis. I’d probably expect to see aero kit changes … the next one coming up is Pocono. I’d probably expect the league to make changes so we won’t be able to run as close to each other. But for me, I thought it was an exciting race. Just an unfortunate ending.”

Briscoe also tweeted this after the race:

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter, who is notoriously a strong proponent of this kind of racing, told Bob Kravitz of WTHR 13 Indianapolis, "We're never going to be able to grow the sport if we're tearing it apart from the inside out. I'm not saying any of those guys shouldn't have an opinion after that race. We're all entitled to an opinion but how you deliver that message is the important thing. You don't need to deliver it to the fans first…Someone wrote to me on Twitter, 'I spent three hours watching that race and enjoying every minutes of it, but I struggled listening to drivers that I love saying they hated it.' That's confusing for fans.

My mentality on what we do is, it's all dangerous,'' he said. “And that's part of my frustration. Any time I get in a car, I know it might be my last day. There's no guarantees in what we do, ever. That's what frustrates me, some drivers who think the only way we're going to get hurt is in some kind of pack racing. To me, that's ridiculous. Dario (Franchitti's) career was ended on a street course, not a pack race. Dan (Wheldon) died in a pack race. Plenty of others have died on road courses. Tony Renna died at the Speedway and he was the only car on the track. What we do is dangerous. So for me, I'm okay with that. This is what I want to do."

Carpenter also spoke with John Oreovicz, saying, "This is a great sport, and this was a great race, The fans were screaming after the race. So don't get out of the car and slam the sport. If you don't want to do it, go do something else. I love IndyCar, and I want to do it, no matter what type of racing it is. There's plenty of other guys who would give an arm to be out there in a car."

Tim Cindric
Tim Cindric, President of Team Penske, told Jon Beekhuis on the NBC Sports broadcast, "It's really disappointing because we sat down after Las Vegas with Indycar and we all sat there and discussed the fact that we could never have a race like we had there in terms of the pack racing that goes on or used to go on in Indycar. And why we are doing it here today I have no idea..... It was very obvious to use after the first practice that this is the way it was going to be. We voiced our concerns, our drivers voiced their concerns... Running open wheel cars like this is very difficult."

Derek Daly
Former Formula 1 and Indycar driver and father of Indycar driver Conor Daly, Derek Daly, was asked on WISH TV what his thoughts on the race were. He said, "I think yesterday's race was the finest Indycar race I have ever witnessed. I was on the edge of my seat every lap. As for Will's (Power) comment, I think that is an emotionally laden that will grab headlines, but I think he's absolutely wrong to say something like that. This sport that we all love and are involved with is inherently dangerous. Yes drivers could lose their lives. It's part of the attraction to come into this sport; it's part of the attraction to watch this sport. And because it was fast and because it was close and because there was a couple of incidents, I think you can't take a race like that and just suddenly say, 'We can't do that anymore because of something in the past. And I think a call like that by a champion, you've got to be very careful because someone might listen to you, and then that would be really detrimental to the sport."

Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon told the media after the race, "That was kind of a mess of a race.... I think the levels of downforce were too high and it needed to be spread out more."

Dixon also told John Oreovicz of ESPN, "They (Indycar) definitely buggered it up."

Photo: Chris Jones / Indycar Media

AJ Foyt
Team owner and legend AJ Foyt told NBC Sport's Kelly Stavast on air, "I enjoy this type of racing when I was doing it, it's not that much fun watching.. No, I think it's great racing. At least you can race. That's what I like about racing. When you can race, you can race."

Dario Franchitti
Former Indycar champion Dario Franchitti tweeted this:

Chip Ganassi
Chip Ganassi told the San Francsico Chronicle, ""Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt — (but) you can't touch wheels with open-wheel cars and for some reason these drivers think you can do that these days. I think somebody needs to sit the drivers down and tell them they've got to stop chopping other guys and stop touching wheels and stop racing every lap like it's the last lap. Some of the drivers don't want a pack, I think it's pretty obvious, the older guys don't want a pack and the younger guys don't really care."

Jack Hawksworth
Jack Hawksworth told MotorSportsTalk's Tony DiZinno, "I wouldn't say it was crazy. It was exciting I think. There was a lot going on; granted, I would have been like to been in the thick of it a bit more. I was at the back end of it. But I thought the racing was good. It was close, right? Everyone was going and pushing hard. The crazy thing was only when people made crazy moves with 70 laps to go still, when everyone's that close. It doesn't matter with 50 or 70 to go. Doing some do-or-die early on, that was strange.

I never thought it was too bad; they raced worse than this for like 10 years with the old car, right? I think you have certain drivers and teams who would like it to be a certain way, because it gives them more of an advantage. If it is pack racing, then everybody is very close and anything can happen, or certainly it gives everyone a shot.. You don't know what will happen 'til the end.

If you take the downforce off the cars, and it’s single-file, and the fastest car goes to the front and pulls away, it’s not as exciting. If you’re one of those guys who thinks they could run off into the distance, you’d probably be against it in my opinion. I don’t understand how it can be super dangerous now, but yet they raced the old car four-wide every single week for God knows how long, right? Obviously the Las Vegas incident was horrific, but racing is inherently dangerous. A freak accident can happen in any condition. It doesn’t need to be ‘pack racing’ to cause it.

The big thing for me was reaction to people who watched the race was exciting, which is a good thing, right? That’s my opinion. If people thought it was exciting, the racing was good… let’s be honest, it was much more exciting to watch than Texas. Yeah, the incident at the end was unfortunate, but I thought the race was exciting.”

Tony Kanaan
Tony Kanaan told the media after the race, "That was one of the most nerve-racking races I've ever been a part of..."

Kanaan also told John Oreovicz of ESPN, "In the middle of the race, I thought, 'Man, the fans must be loving it, so hopefully we can pack this place when we come back if we're going to keep racing like this. But for us, people have to understand how stressful it is. Obviously, we get paid, and we are who we are because we can do this, but we can't forget that we lost ‑‑ I lost my best friend [Dan Wheldon] in exactly the same way in 2011.

After the race talking to Kevin Lee on air, Kanaan said, "It's a new (aero) package so we keep guessing. We guessed it on the wrong side. I think it was a great race for the fans but, you know, I get criticized a lot when I talk about these kind of things but people aren't in the race car to see 215 mph doing this. I would like you to try, the people who criticize us. It's tough, stressful, and it makes you wonder if you want to keep doing stuff like that. Hopefully we can get together and create a better solution and move on."

Sage Karam
Sage Karam told the media after the race, "It was pack racing, which is difficult. It's a battle and you're in survival mode."

Juan Pablo Montoya
Championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya told the media after the race, "Honestly, I was not a fan of the racing we saw today. What I told Indycar yesterday was that we shouldn't be racing like this. This is full pack racing and, sooner or later, somebody is going to get hurt. We don't need to be doing this. It was a hell of a show and we did what we needed to do."

Photo: Chris Owens / Indycar Media

Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden told the media after the race, "Everyone was using four lanes. It's a lot of tight quarters, it was dicey racing so we just got together and kind of got caught out."

Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud told the media after the race, ".... But I'll be honest, I am not a fan of this kind of racing. We don't need to run in a pack at over 220 mph. There is so much drafting in those cars, you get luck if there is a hole. You slice through the hole and you push people out of the draft. It is just not safe racing. That is my personal opinion."

Pagenaud also tweeted this:

Roger Penske
Team owner Roger Penske spoke mid-race with Kelly Stavast of NBC Sports, "I think it's great racing and it shows the quality of drivers running this close together lap after lap with no yellows; we're hoping for a little rest for these guys. It's great racing out there and everyone is taking care of each other and our guys are up front."

Will Power
Will Power told the media after the race, "When you have pack race like what we had today, you have to take a lot of risks to gain track position. As exciting as it is, it's intense at the same time. I'm just glad that no one got hurt out there and that everybody is OK,"

Power also said on the NBC Sports broadcast, "You've been around racing a long time, so you know what real racing is. And that ain't real racing, is it? And it doesn't require talent. (Juan Pablo) Montoya, Simon (Pagenaud) and myself, we told them from the beginning of the weekend that this would be a pack race, we promise you. And they said, 'No way.' They did not want to listen, and now this."

John Oreovicz of ESPN asked Power what it would take for Indycar to listen, and Power said, "Someone to die. That's what happened last time. Poor old Dan (Wheldon) lost his life, and they don't react until someone is seriously injured or into the catch fence."

Photo: Chris Owens / Indycar Media

Graham Rahal
Graham Rahal, who won the race, told the media after the race, "Man I haven't been four wide in six or seven years. It makes you nervous for sure. You trust the guys.... It was a hairy race."

Takuma Sato
Takuma Sato told the media after the race, "The last 25 laps was a crazy race, three wide and sometimes four wide, which I enjoyed myself."

Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy, the commentator on the broadcast, said during the race, "If you don't like this kind of racing, there is something wrong with you. This is about as good as it gets in terms of Indycar racing. It is fast, it is competitive, you can't pull away, guys are going two, three wide. What more can you ask for?"

Is there anyone on this list you agree or disagree with? Share your thoughts with me!

-Matthew Hickey

Monday, June 29, 2015

Winners and Losers: Fontana

Here are the winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2015 MAVTV 500 at the Auto Club Speedway:


Graham Rahal
Graham Rahal finally gets a win some 7 years after his first and only win in Indycar. It didn't come without controversy, as Indycar's new precedence with pit infractions is to handle the situation the week after the race. While I appreciate the fact that Indycar has stuck to their precedence they've suddenly established, they should have never started it in the first place. Take care of the situation in the present rather than the future. Still, this isn't to detract from the fact that Graham drove a hell of a race. It's refreshing to see him final back in the winners circle.

Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti has been quietly having himself a great year. While my only complaint about Marco as a driver is his lack of wins, he continues to prove that he has the skills to put the car up in the top-ten each race. Hopefully at some point either this year or in future years he'll fight for a championship.

Juan Pablo Montoya
For the umpteenth time this year, Juan Pablo Montoya makes the winners list not necessarily for what he did, but what he didn't do. With rivals Will Power and Helio Castroneves getting few championship points from the race, Montoya once again capitalized, putting more points in the vault for the title. He's been the quickest and most consistent guy all year, and, in my opinion, is the overwhelming favorite to win the title.

Indycar Fans
Indycar fans and random outsiders tuning in, including a couple of NASCAR drivers, were in awe of the dramatic, intense, close racing that we saw at Fontana. I thought the race was doomed after a terrible race at Texas. The cars raced so much better and the race was so heart-poundingly awesome that I want to watch it over and over again. Great job by Indycar and whoever put the aero specs for the race, we need more of this!!


Sage Karam
Sage Karam may have finished P5, but he cut off, endangered, and pissed off many drivers in the field along the way. I would also pin the last wreck, which saw Ryan Hunter-Reay collecting Ryan Briscoe, who violently flipped, on Karam. This isn't the first time his race craft has been called into question. Karam received warnings in St. Petersburg for blocking. He was later penalized in Detroit for the same thing. He has also had several incidents throughout the year. Karam was a standout in Pro Mazda and Indy Lights, but he needs to start realizing that driving an Indycar takes a lot more skill and finesse than the MRTI cars.

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter needs to reevaluate himself. Ed has raced in three races this season, and he has a whopping zero finishes. Two crashes and one retirement from mechanical issues is turning Ed's season into a joke. Of course this latest crash, in which he managed to collect the one guy he didn't want to crash, his teammate and car that he owns driven by Josef Newgarden, wasn't his fault. Ed pinned it on his spotter, who forgot to help him. Honestly, I'm tired of Ed as a driver. He should retire and focus on owning. Though, I do appreciate him supporting the style of racing we saw at Fontana.

Helio Castroneves
As far as the championship goes, Helio Castroneves took a huge hit on Saturday. Helio got into a tough situation, as Graham Rahal lifted, causing a ripple effect. Eventually, Ryan Briscoe and Helio made contact, causing minor damage to Helio, who made no contact with the wall. Still, the contact was enough to force Helio to retire. He'll need one hell of a second half of the season, especially at Sonoma, if he wants a championship.

Dale Coyne's crew
I would honestly be afraid for my safety if I was a crewman for Dale Coyne Racing, as they've had a rough year. The year got worse on Saturday, when driver Tristan Vautier hit the left front tire changer right in the knee. Thankfully, the crewman is doing really good. Still, this marks the third time this year that contact has been made to the crew. Francesco Dracone spun on a wet NOLA pit road and clobbered a crew member, who was fortunate to come out relatively clean. At Indianapolis, an incident involving all three entries saw a couple crew men injured but nothing serious. Still, how much more does this poor crew have to endure for the remainder of 2015?

Cone of Shame

Will Power
I know I'm not Will Power's biggest fan, but by Power's standards, he's had a pretty low key year as far as controversy goes, but it's hard to not give the guy I love one week and hate the next the Cone after his actions on Saturday. Power got into an accident with Takuma Sato. On replay, it looks like Sato was a victim of a brash move by Scott Dixon as well as some lane movement by Power. The result was a big hit for Sato and a retirement for Power. Upon getting out of his car, Power shoved one of the Safety Crew members who was there to make sure he's okay. Now, I know things happen in the heat of the moment, but that is something that is completely unacceptable. Credit to Power, who did apologize both on Twitter as well as in person to the crewman he shoved, but it should have never happened in the first place.

Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fantasy Indycar Picks: Fontana

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner for the 2015 MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (championship leader highlighted in blue, those in the elimination zone are highlighted in red):

Name Twitter Handle                                Fontana
Alan Stewart _alanstewart Carpenter Newg Kanaan Kimball Dixon
Amy Woedl OpenWheelMom Carpenter Munoz Kanaan Power Newg
Andy Nagel Gabbahey75 Kanaan Munoz Carpenter Helio Newg
Chris Blackburn  chblackburn23 Andretti Carpenter Kanaan Helio Kimball
Chris Mienaltowski CPMski Kanaan Carpenter Briscoe Newg Power
Conor Daly conordaly22 Carpenter JPM Kanaan Power Andretti
David Leiting Jr. Dlite_47 Carpenter Kanaan JPM Munoz Helio
David Redner IndyCART JPM Helio Kanaan Kimball Carpenter
DJ Jordan djordan3223 JPM Carpenter Munoz Kanaan Helio
Eric Hall Erock_in_Indy Helio Newg Munoz Karam Carpenter
Gina Navarra  gmnavarra Rahal Bourdais Andretti Pagenaud Kimball
Jake Neely indycarfan25 Kanaan Munoz Andretti Karam Kimball
James Alban TheKing0fSwing Carpenter Helio Munoz Kanaan Rahal
James Sedlmayr dfd827 Briscoe Karam Carpenter Munoz Helio
Jason McVeigh jasekm Carpenter JPM Sato Dixon Newg
Jerry Cruz Indycar_Raider Munoz JPM Carpenter Andretti Pagenaud
Jessica Baker bakerjm13 JPM Helio Kanaan Andretti RHR
Johanna Husband writebend JPM Dixon Sato Briscoe Carpenter
Justin Mann mannbeast Carpenter Mann JPM Andretti Kanaan
Kieran Brughelli  kieranbrughelli Kanaan Helio Karam JPM Power
Kyle Lewis kylelewis1 JPM Andretti Kanaan Dixon Carpenter
Lynn Weinberg lynnweinberg Kanaan JPM Dixon Helio Power
Mathew Gruenholz IndycarSTIG Kanaan Helio Dixon JPM Mann
Matthew Hickey Indycar_MN Briscoe Dixon Newg Kanaan Munoz
Mike Crawford 7BigMike Helio Dixon Carpenter Andretti Rahal
Mitch Robinson mitchrobinson_ JPM Munoz Kanaan Power Briscoe
Paige Hill paigehilll Karam Andretti Kanaan Power Carpenter
Rick Snodie  rickfromwi Carpenter Andretti Munoz Karam Rahal
Sam Klein sklein31 Kanaan JPM Dixon Munoz Briscoe
Sandy Lamparello npssandy Mann JPM Power Dixon Briscoe
Sarah Hall flywheel011 Carpenter Andretti Kanaan JPM Dixon
Sophie Hanson Sophie_Hansons3 Helio Kimball Munoz Carpenter Sato
Steven Jenkins ukindyfan Dixon Kanaan Helio JPM Briscoe

Penalties: N/A

Top 3 most picked: 1) Tony Kanaan - 23 2) Ed Carpenter - 22 3) Juan Pablo Montoya - 18
Not picked: Stefano Coletti, James Jakes, Tristan Vautier, Jack Hawksworth, and Gabby Chaves

Time for the strategy portion of the season! Those who saved big names may vault themselves to the top, while those who burned picks early in the season will have to hope their wild card picks pay off.

-Matthew Hickey

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Six Critiques

I always love some Indycar racing, but as with everything in life, there are things I don't like about it. If I liked everything about Indycar and went with everything they did with an approving mindset, I would be a puppet. Like I've said before, if you don't like that mindset, feel free to stop reading my opinions. If I don't like something, I will speak out about it. Rather than writing multiple pieces about multiple issues, I've put it all into one blog.

No one will deny that Indycar's on track product has been stellar ever since the introduction of the DW12 in 2012. But still, there are some things I don't like about Indycar and thus I would change. Here are six things I have observed recently and that I would fix ASAP:

1) The Schedule
My biggest ciriticsm of Indycar since 2011 has undeniably been the formation and execution of Indycar's schedule. In my opinion, Indycar had great schedules between 2008-2011, but since 2012, Indycar's schedule has been woeful. I don't like the doubleheaders. I don't like the castration of 1.5 mile ovals (since the loss of downforce on Indycars, I highly doubt we will see a repeat of Las Vegas). I don't like the fact that we've lost Baltimore, Chicagoland, Edmonton, Houston, Homestead, Kansas, Kentucky, Las Vegas, Motegi, Nashville, New Hampshire, Richmond, Sao Paulo, and Surfers Paradise since 2008. Now, there's news swirling that NOLA's future may be in doubt.

This isn't counting the fact that Indycar is missing out on other great venues, like Road America, Laguna Seca, Portland, Gateway, Rockingham, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Michigan, Streets of Denver, and many others. Indycar has managed to cut corners, like adding doubleheaders to inflate the schedule count. They've also added a second race at Indianapolis. While that's a good race and well liked, it again seems like a temporary fix to a big problem: lack of venues.

It's about that time of year where rumors regarding next year's schedule begin to swirl. First on the block is Road America, which happens every year. Mark Miles has been saying for a while now that 2014 and 2015 were place holders for a great schedule in 2016. If he and the entire Indycar team fail to execute, Mr. Miles might be out of a job. Get the schedule right and put races on the calendar that people give a damn about.

2) Economics of Aero Kits
Aero kits. All the hype for several years finally came to fruition in 2015, where manufacturers could create custom designed kits to implement on the DW12s to increase speeds and downforce. While manufacturers (Chevrolet and Honda) got to show off their innovative skills and compete against one another, they've been a large burden on teams.

The aero kits have aided downforce levels and have increased speeds and broken many track records this season, While the only objection I have to them on the track is their fragility, I do have a big problem with the cost of the kits. Two big team owners, Michael Andretti and Sam Schmidt, have voiced their criticism, Michael Andretti said, "Millions and millions of dollars have been spent by manufacturers and the teams, and I don’t see that it has put one more person in the stands."

Sam Schmidt said, "We tried it and it's not working. If we lose a lot of Honda team sponsorships it's going to be really a bad thing...  The biggest thing is I've never had anyone tell me what's it for, why we are doing this. It's not putting butts in the seats and increasing the TV ratings... You can't recover the money that we have spent, but we can still keep pissing it away on development."

Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600
Tony Kanaan representing Chevrolet (right) and Takuma Sato representing Honda (left) displaying the
varying Aero Kits introduced in 2015 (Photo: Sean Garden / Getty Images North America)

I see what Indycar is trying to accomplish with aero kits, but aero kits could kill off several teams that aren't doing well financially. Rather than pour money into the kits, I would rather see engines with more horespower. Aero kits seem like a great thing to try in a series that is doing great economically great, and, well, Indycar isn't doing great economically.

And since Honda doesn't have a contract signed for 2016 and beyond, if the aero kit decision doesn't pay off, it could spell the end of Indycar. Chevrolet can't carry the load like Honda did for several years. Honda is one of the most important sponsors and partners that Indycar has, and we cannot afford to lose them.

3) Yellow Flag Procedures
Indycar is notorious for taking their sweet damn time under yellow flag conditions to clean up whatever it is that needed to be taken care of. But I've ranted about this more in length following the travesty we saw in NOLA, and if you would like to read more on that, click here.

4) More Teams / Third Engine Manufacturer
One way to increase the size of the field and to actually have a Bump Day at Indianapolis is to have more teams and a third engine manufacturer. For the past several seasons, it seems like Indycar's current teams are expanding and keeping the car count average levels, rather than new teams jumping in.

Obviously there's more than a third engine supplier (like increasing revenue for teams or adding incentives for new teams to come in) to increasing the size of the field, but a third engine supplier could help add entries and bring down the costs of leasing engines. Manufacturers like Mazda (strong affliation with Indycar), Toyota, Alfa Romeo, and Kia would be great fits in the sport.

About the new teams and expanding teams; we've seen teams like Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, AJ Foyt Enterprises, and more expand in recent years, while other teams, like Ed Carpenter Racing, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, HVM Racing, and other teams have merged. Since 2008, Indycar has lost full-time teams and entries, including Conquest Racing, Dragon Racing, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, HVM Racing, Newman/Haas Racing, Panther Racing, and Vision Racing.

Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 Practice
Justin Wilson of Newman/Haas Racing leads Ed Carpenter of Vision Racing, both teams which
have since closed shop, at Kansas, a track which no longer hosts Indycar, in 2008
(Photo: Marc Serota / Getty Images North America)

Hopefully new teams will be on the horizon. The all-female Grace Autosport has announced their intentions to run in the 2016 Indianapolis 500. Carlin Racing, a top class racing team in many formulas and a team who has employed Indycar aces like Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Charlie Kimball, Conor Daly, Mikhail Aleshin, and Carlos Huertas, has joined Indy Lights in 2015 with the ambition of joining Indycar in 2016. Juncos Racing, a team that has a history in the Mazda Road to Indy, is building a factory in Speedway, Indiana with the hopes of fielding an Indycar team in the next couple of seasons.

Hopefully more teams come back and/or start up operations soon, because current Indycar teams can only expand for so long before the money dries up.

5) TV Deal
One way to get more teams is to increase team revenue, and one way to do that is to get more sponsors, and one way to do that is to get a better TV deal so more eyes will be focused on Indycar making the sponsors happier. Now, I never have and currently don't presume to have all of the answers to all of Indycars problems, and this is one of them. I don't know how TV contracts work and I'm not sure anyone other than ABC and NBCSN is currently interested in broadcasting Indycar races, so I don't exactly have a solution to this problem. However, Indycar can't brag about its great on-track product if no one watches.

6) Starts and restarts
Standing starts were a hoot! I loved them. However, the were ditched before the 2015 season, and I don't really blame them. The bad clutch systems on the car and the anti-stall system that does nothing to prevent the car from stalling have made standing starts dangerous and tedious for drivers. Still, they were a thrill to watch and I wish the clutch systems would be improved to make standing starts an option again.

I have been impressed (for the most part) with starts and restarts this year. However, I miss double file restarts. I don't think they are the best idea on road courses, but on ovals, they work like a charm. Also, Indycar should not be afraid to throw the yellow flag if the leader takes off before he is supposed to, causing the field to spread out (90% of the time, this leader is Helio Castroneves, who doesn't believe restart procedures apply to him).2

lat abbott toronto 0615 5705
Picture of the failed restart at Toronto (Photo: LAT Photographic)

Thanks for reading folks! Let me know if you have any questions or if you want anything cleared up.

-Matthew Hickey

Monday, June 15, 2015

Winners and Losers: Toronto

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner from the 2015 Honda Indy Toronto:


Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden may have caught a lucky with a caution, by Newgarden got out front and stayed out front like a boss. Many have been waiting for Newgarden to have these types of results from the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion, and with two wins, many are declaring that Newgarden has arrived and is on the radar for years to come.

Luca Filippi
Even though he has received criticism from many (fans are quick to claim that JR Hildebrand should be in the car), Luca Filippi shut the haters up with a P2 finish in Toronto, the highest of his short Indycar career. He helped complete the CFH Racing 1-2 finish. And, had it not been for a lucky yellow for Newgarden, Filippi may have won the thing.

Helio Castroneves
Despite getting into an incident with Takuma Sato and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves used strategy and short fills on pit stops to gain track position on his way to a P3 finish. It's this stretch of races that Helio needs to capitalize on if he finally wants to win an Indycar title.

Chevrolet once again flexed their muscles despite opposition from drivers like Carlos Munoz, Graham Rahal, and even Rodolfo 'Speedy' Gonzalez. Despite some hard charging from those three and others, Chevrolet quashed any Honda chance at winning, taking the top-eight spots in the final results.


Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud's 2015 season in a couple words: 'Insanely fast in qualifying, no results.' Growing pains continue for the new stud at Team Penske, who is fourth on the pecking order at the moment.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay is having one of the worst seasons I have ever seen a champion and Indy 500 winner ever have. It's not that he's crashed a lot or made many mistakes, rather he's just been mediocre this season. Brake failure with two laps to go kind of put into a nutshell the type of season he is having.

James Jakes
James Jakes continues to unperform. His latest mishap was a nudging into the tires at Toronto. With Conor Daly outpacing Jakes every step of the way, it makes one wonder why Schmidt Peterson Motorsports doesn't go with Ryan Briscoe-Daly squad the rest of the way.

Carlos Munoz
Carlos Munoz was shaping up to have a result just like his win in Detroit. Sadly, Munoz suffered an engine failure. A solid result would have flung Munoz into the top-ten in the championship. Given his early passes and his the pace he showed throughout the weekend (P1 in final practice), I thought for sure Munoz would snag a top-five.

Cone of Shame 

Stefano Coletti
Stefano Coletti is having one of the more underwhelming seasons in recent memory. Every race, he seems to have an incident of some sort. This was no different in Toronto. The first lap, he and Tristan Vautier came together. Later on, he would make contact with Charlie Kimball. Shortly after that, Coletti slammed the wall, ending his race. The guy has been fast in the past and in some Indycar sessions, but overall, his race craft has been terrible his ability to finish a race in a solid position.has been lacking. Not impressed with Coletti yet.

Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey