By: Spencer Neff
December 21, 2018 | 7:39 AM
Open-Wheels would like to begin this week’s IndyCar Roundup by wishing everyone a happy holiday season. While on-track testing for the 2019 season will not ramp up for a few more weeks, off-track news has been busy.
On Monday, the biggest headlines of the week were made. First, longtime sports car entrant DragonSpeed Racing announced their foray into the IndyCar Series.
The team’s five-race effort in 2019 begins at the St.Petersburg season opener in March, with hopes of a full-time effort for 2020. We also have an overview on DragonSpeed’s history.
On Monday afternoon, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar’s parent company, Hulman and Co., announced several administrative changes.
Most notable of these changes is the promotion of Jay Frye to IndyCar President. Frye, who was hired in November 2013 as Chief Revenue Officer, has served as competition director since 2015.
There was some big news for one of IndyCar’s technical partners as well as BorgWarner extended their contract as the series’ sole turbocharger supplier.
On the Indianapolis 500, we have an update on where things stand with this year’s car count after DragonSpeed’s announcement.
Open-Wheels owner and editor, Tanner Watkins, also caught up with 2013 Indy Lights Champion Sage Karam to discuss his love for sim racing. Karam also took some time to discuss how his plans with Dreyer and Reinbold are progressing for the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
We also have another addition to the USF2000 field. Get your holiday weekend off to a great start with this week’s roundup.
The list of part-time IndyCar Series entries in 2019 just got larger as traditional sports car organization DragonSpeed announced its plans to go open-wheel racing on Monday.
Employing longtime endurance driver Ben Hanley for a five-race slate next year, DragonSpeed will compete at St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, Road America, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
The team will be powered by Chevrolet, and this is the rumored first steps towards a full-time IndyCar program in 2020.
“INDYCAR is enjoying a major upswing thanks to the quality of the racing produced by the current regulations,” said team principal Elton Julian.
“The fans see it, the teams see it, the manufacturers and sponsors see it, and I think NBC saw it when they decided to take on the (exclusive) television coverage. With so much interest from new entrants, we’re also grateful for INDYCAR’s support of our bid to join the series and to Chevy for making room for us in their engine program.”
DragonSpeed was founded in 2007 and has enjoyed success in the sports car ranks. In 2015 the team won the Pirelli World Challenge GTA championship and two years later they were crowned the European Le Mans Series LMP2 champions. Read More
Yesterday, the IndyCar paddock was expanded. DragonSpeed Racing announced they will compete in five IndyCar races in the 2019 season before the fledgling team employs plans to expand to a full-time schedule in 2020.
Powered by Chevrolet engines with Ben Hanley behind the wheel, DragonSpeed will make its first appearance at the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10. The team will field an entry at Barber Motorsports Park, Road America and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in addition to the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in May.
Following a path carved by the likes of Michael Shank Racing and Scuderia Corsa, DragonSpeed made its name in sports car racing.
Founded in 2007 by driver Elton Julian, the Jupiter, Florida-based team would not make its on-track debut until the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona, where they finished 29th (15th in the GT class). Read More
On Monday afternoon, current INDYCAR president of competition Jay Frye saw his role with IndyCar expand as he was named president of the sanctioning body. Beginning in 2019, Frye will also oversee the Marketing and Communications departments as part of his expanded role.
Current Hulman & Company president and CEO Mark Miles announced the day’s changes.
Since November 2015, Frye has served as its President of Competition and Operations departments. He previously served as IndyCar’s Chief Revenue Officer, a role he took on in 2013.
The move comes in response to C.J. O’Donnell’s resignation at year’s end. O’Donnell has served as the Chief Marketing Officer for IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) since November 2013. Read More
Long time IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 partner BorgWarner will stay integrated in the open-wheel community through 2020, in an announcement released by the company this morning. BorgWarner is slated to continue as the series’ official turbocharger supplier for the next two IndyCar seasons.
“BorgWarner is honored to continue its partnership with INDYCAR and the IndyCar Series, America’s premier open-wheel racing series,” said Scott Gallett, vice president marketing, public relations, government affairs and internal communications, BorgWarner Inc.
“Our EFR turbochargers are the perfect match for INDYCAR, with their advanced engineering, low weight and proven durability, they truly are engineered for racing.”
The official turbocharger provider since IndyCar changed engine formulas in 2012, BorgWarner has completed a self-reported “1.25 million trouble-free miles” as the dedicated part provider. Read More
Following the addition of DragonSpeed to IndyCar’s list of part-time teams in 2019, now is as good a time as ever to update the entry list for next May’s 103rd Indianapolis 500.
When we last visited the entry list on November 10 there were 29 entries confirmed with some question marks still hovering over teams such as McLaren, Harding Steinbrenner Racing and Dale Coyne Racing.
Those hazy situations have found clarity in the last month and help paint a more defined picture for May. The prospect of bumping is alive and well while projections show that there will be more than the 35 entries we saw at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2018 Indianapolis 500.
At present, there are 30 confirmed entries for the 2019 Indianapolis 500. These are teams that have announced their intentions to be at Indianapolis in May and their cars are accounted for. Read More
Just like The Little Engine That Could, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is plugging away at a return to the Indianapolis 500 – and eventually – full-time IndyCar Series competition.
Since its final full season in 2012, Dennis Reinbold’s team has spent the last six years building around the month of May at Indianapolis. With drivers such as Oriol Seriva, Townsend Bell and Sage Karam leading the way, DRR has recorded finishes as high as 9th (Karam, 2014) and as low as 32nd (Karam, 2016).
This past May, the team expanded to two cars for the Indianapolis 500 when veteran J.R. Hildebrand was brought aboard to run alongside Karam. It was the team’s first two-car effort at the Indianapolis 500 since 2011.
When asked about his Indianapolis 500 plans for 2019, Karam was confident he would return with Dreyer & Reinbold as the team aims for a similar program employed in 2018. Read More
Across multiple disciplines and levels of racing, Sage Karam has participated in (and flashed success at) some of the most coveted events in motorsports.
After winning multiple karting championships, the 2010 USF2000 title with Andretti Autosport and the 2013 Indy Lights championship with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, it’s no surprise that the Pennsylvania native still has a strong following in IndyCar circles.
Karam’s only multi-race season in the IndyCar Series came in 2015, competing in 12 of the 16 races that year for Chip Ganassi Racing. His other four years have been spent as a one-off Indianapolis 500 specialist for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, banking a career-best finish of 9th as a rookie in 2009.
Considering his track record, fans may be interesed in learning that Karam finds just as much success and enjoyment in another diverse and radically unique form of motorsport: sim racing. Read More
Pabst Racing has announced the signing of 15-year-old Yuven Sundaramoorthy for the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
Sundaramoorthy, who will turn 16 years of age on February 22nd, was born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where Pabst Racing is based. He found his love for the sport while spectating at a Formula One race in Shanghai, where he lived for six years.
Sundaramoorthy’s career began in karting on the other side of the world and led him back to the United States four years ago, which opened the door to competition in the F1600 Championship.
After a productive and successful two seasons (earning a 4th and 3rd place in the points championship), he decided the next step for the high school junior’s motorsport career would be the Road to Indy. Read More
Feature Image By Jason Porter/INDYCAR