Feature: June Fab 5
Topic 1: RHR won the Indy 500 and then Andretti Autosport and Honda dropped a bomb with the double at Detroit and Texas. This has allowed Willy P and Helio to pull away from the pack. Has Honda fixed the engine problems in time for Houston and can Andretti Autosport rebound to keep their drivers in the hunt for the championship?
TonyD: RHR has a big hill to climb to be in the running and will need help from Will Power and Helio. It seems to be a trend that the 500 winner normally struggles the following week. Unfortunately for RHR, the following week is a double header. Honda hasn’t looked very good since Indy, especially with Marco dropping out at Texas. I am sure Honda will get it straight though.
Tomas: I’m not sure what to think of it at this point.
Rick: I don’t know, but am sure we will find out. But if they haven’t this will become a two horse race very quickly, if it isn’t already.
Topic 2: The weather is going to be a big factor for the upcoming Houston race with temperatures around the century mark. This will be an issue for the fans, drivers and teams. How do you think this will play out and do you see this race next year either being a night race or finding a different spot on the schedule?
TonyD: If they could make the Houston road course race at night that would be awesome. Shouldn’t be a huge factor for the drivers, the crews will be tough, sitting in the hot, sunny pits. I think it will play a huge role for the fans to not want to come out.
Tomas: Night street races are very cool. The cost in lighting up the track properly is not cheap. Temps on street tracks are tough on drivers and fitness will play a big roll throughout the race. Fans should drink more beer and keep properly intoxicated, I mean hydrated.
Rick: The scheduling of this event was impossibly crazy. Houston in the middle of summer during the day. It will be miserable for the fans sitting on metal, temporary seats in the sun. If this event is not moved to a different date, it will move it off the schedule. It is hard to maintain an event when so many people come disguised as empty seats.
Topic 3: CEO Mark Miles has indicated that there will be two international races in 2015 at the beginning of the schedule. The first race seems to be Dubai and the second would be in Brasilia, Brazil. Will this benefit IndyCar and would you like to see more races on the international scene?
TonyD: Yes. I think anything new and more racing for the series is a good thing. As long as it’s on TV for us to watch, I think it will be fine. Any foreign following Indy Car can add is also a bonus, especially if these promoters are paying IndyCar and the traveling costs.
Tomas: As long as it either increases tv viewership or sponsorship its a good thing. If it does not do that you might as well keep races in the USA to keep sponsors happy.
Rick: I would like to see more international events. It would be cool to add Australia back to the schedule. The more exposure the Series can get the better. The more International exposure the series gets, the wider the range of sponsors that can be attracted. All are good things. Now let’s figure out how it is going to be paid for.
Topic 4:The new owner of Nashville Speedway would like to see IndyCar back at the track. What are your thoughts on a return to Nashville?
TonyD:Repave it and go. It’s a bit of a corky track, but the series is thirsty for more ovals.
Tomas:I like Nashville although the high line there can get very slippery.
Rick:Bring it on. While we are at it, lets add Road America, COTA and Road Atlanta. Taking a month off in the middle of a summer season does nothing good for the series. We seem to fear the NFL but fully embrace apathy.
Topic 5:How important is a third engine manufacturer in IndyCar? Cosworth wants to get in but needs help. Chevy and Honda have both said they need a third manufacturer. Can Verizon help make this happen?
TonyD:Competition in the engine department would be great if that engine provider is ready to roll and wont be 20 mph off the pace.
Tomas: Cosworth is not an manufacturer they are a tuner. They did my infinity powered engines in 2002 and they were great engines.
Rick: A third engine builder is a great idea. I would hope that whomever it turns out to be, Cosworth or Lotus or Mercedes, they come with the willingness to make the investment in time and resources to make the venture worth it to them. Not sure what Verizon is going to do to make it happen. Having a title sponsor that is innovative, progressive and marketable should make it more palatable for entities on the sidelines to get in the fray. But I have no idea what Verizon could, would or even should do to get a third engine builder.