By: Spencer Neff and Tanner Watkins
February 22, 2019 | 6:45 AM
We hope everyone has had a great week. The offseason is finally winding down. With preparations heating up for the 2019 season, news continues to flow from all realms of the IndyCar world.
Starting with the Indianapolis 500, drivers will have additional cockpit protection from potential crash debris.
On Tuesday, IndyCar unveiled its plans for the implementation of Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP). Open-Wheels’ Owner/Editor Tanner Watkins details plans for the titanium piece created by Dallara. He also covers driver reactions to the news.
This week, the lower rungs of the Road to Indy ladder also made headlines. Tuesday morning, Juncos Racing announced the addition of driver Sting Ray Robb to their USF2000 team, and last Friday, Newman Wachs Racing and Cape Motorsports also added drivers to their programs. NWR added Cameron Shields to their team, while Braden Eves signed with Cape Motorsports.
February 15 also marked 100 days until the Indianapolis 500. On Saturday, Watkins caught up with Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles to discuss the “100 Days Out Party” and other preparations for the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
In a related development, renowned sportscaster Mike Tirico has been confirmed as the prerace host for NBC’s telecast of the Indianapolis 500. It will be the first for NBC and Tirico.
Additionally, if you have had a chance to follow Open-Wheels on our social media platforms, you have seen our daily posts of “100 Moments of the Indianapolis 500”.
Continuing with the Indianapolis 500 excitement, Assistant Editor/Senior Contributor Spencer Neff profiles the 2012 Indianapolis 500 in this week’s IndyCar Flashback.
The Milwaukee Mile will also play host to the Vintage IndyCar Registry on June 15 and 16.
St. Pete is almost here, so get caught up on all the latest news with IndyCar Roundup.
Today it was announced that INDYCAR will move forward with a new driver protection device which will improve cockpit safety for all drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Beginning at the April 24 open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, all NTT IndyCar Series teams will be required to fit their cars with Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP), which is a titanium piece designed by Dallara. This protection device measures just over three inches in height (with a width of three-quarters of an inch) and is designed to deflect debris away from the driver.
The device will be positioned in front of the cockpit to protect the driver and is to be placed on the chassis centerline. INDYCAR reports that the piece has passed the same strength tests that were administered on the current Dallara chassis’ roll hoop.
“Safety is a never-ending pursuit, and this is INDYCAR’s latest step in the evolution,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “There are more details to come about the phases to follow.” READ MORE
Header image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.
Following Tuesday’s announcement of a new INDYCAR safety feature, drivers across the NTT IndyCar Series paddock weighed in with their opinions on what is largely considered a first step towards more definitive safety measures.
The debris deflection piece, titled Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP), is a titanium upright created by Dallara which will be mounted on the top of the current-generation IndyCar chassis. At just over three inches high and 0.75 inches in thickness, the center-mounted plate is designed to deflect debris entering the cockpit area.
As the afternoon wore on and news of the introduced piece began to spread, drivers across the series added their thoughts on the plate – which will be mandated for all races in 2019 beginning with the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
“Proud to be associated with IndyCar, and seeing them take action,” said Graham Rahal. “While this isn’t the ‘end game’ it’s progress and will help lead us to the right final decision on this critical driver safety enhancement. Lots of hours have been poured into this, no doubt!!” READ MORE
Header image by Stephen King/INDYCAR.
Juncos Racing is pleased to announce today that Sting Ray Robb has joined the team for the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Sting Ray is the second driver announced by Juncos to the reigning 2018 Indy Pro 2000 (former Pro Mazda) champions line-up.
Robb, a young 17-year old from Payette, Idaho, joins Juncos Racing after collecting one podium, four Top-5’s and recording the fastest lap at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg during the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 season.
“I am excited about the 2019 season as I return to the Road to Indy with the series standout, Juncos Racing.” Sting Ray stated. “Juncos has proven to be the best in the industry and will, I’m sure, be challenging me to sharpen and hone my race craft to even higher levels. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be racing among this very deep and talented pool of competitors.
“I plan to be extremely demanding of myself as I learn from this team and we progress together throughout the season. I am confident that as a driver for their awesome team, we will see success at many levels. I stand amazed at how I have seen God work in every aspect of my life. I’ll keep Him number one in my life and I’ll drive that #2 car to all my God-given ability. Let’s go racing – Godspeed!” READ MORE
Release courtesy of Juncos Racing. Image by Road to Indy.
Newman Wachs Racing is thrilled to announce that Australian Cameron Shields will join the team for the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
The Toowoomba, Queensland, native may be new to the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, but he’s no rookie in the world of racing. In just short four years competing in cars, Shields has built an impressive resume that includes an impressive 52 wins out of 154 races entered, running in Australian Formula 3, Formula 4 and Formula Ford.
Shields sampled the waters in the US last September by testing an Indy Pro 2000 car at the 2018 Chris Griffis Memorial test, but found that a USF2000 car would be a better fit for this year.
“I’m very excited to have Cameron signed with the team for the 2019 season,” said Brian Halahan, NWR Team Manager. “I think his racing history speaks for itself and I expect to be fighting for wins right out of the box. The combination of his experience and our engineer John Hayes’ knowledge should be a powerful combination. St. Petersburg cannot come soon enough!” READ MORE
Release by Newman Wachs Racing. Image by Road to Indy.
With the opening round of this year’s Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires less than a month away, Cape Motorsports is excited to announce their second driver for this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
New Albany, Ohio’s Braden Eves will join the multi-time series champions for 2019, having gained additional experience in F4, F1600 and USF2000 last season. The 19-year-old karting champion has won at some of the biggest karting events in the United States, including the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour.
Eves’ enters his first full season of USF2000 competition with wins in F4 and F1600 on his resume as well.
“We are extremely happy to announce Braden as part of our 2019 line-up,” commented Nicholas and Dominic Cape. “He has the background we look for and we both feel that he will excel in our team environment. We can’t wait to get started at St Pete.”
New Albany, Ohio’s Braden Eves will join multi-time series champions Cape Motorsports for the 2019 USF2000 season, having gained additional experience in F4, F1600 and USF2000 last season. READ MORE
Release courtesy of Cape Motorsports/ProMedia Motorsports. Photo by Road to Indy Media.
On an icy-cold Friday in the middle of February, the Indianapolis 500 was buzzing with thoughts of May and milk. Last night, nearly 2,000 fans descended on the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to celebrate the fourth annual Indy 500 “100 Days Out Party.”
The tradition began in 2016 as a way to build excitement towards the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, and its growing success has made the event a staple in the IMS February calendar ever since.
Each year the gathering has featured driver appearances – on Friday it was Alexander Rossi, Marcus Ericsson, Zach Veach and Spencer Pigot – free food and beer, a cash bar, a racing simulator and autograph sessions.
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR.
Well race fans, the end is in sight. And in a good way!
The NTT IndyCar Series has been on track at iconic circuits such as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Circuit of the Americas over the past week, and in less than a month they will tee it up on the streets of St. Petersburg for the 2019 season opener.
With the first green flag of the year just a few weeks away, that also means that the 103rd edition of the Indianapolis 500 is just around the corner – 100 days from today, in fact!
While the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is celebrating the occasion with its annual 100 Days Out party this evening, Open-Wheels is kicking off its own celebration today. READ MORE
Header image by James Black/INDYCAR.
Each year, the Indianapolis 500 presents an interesting cross-section of past, present and future. The race’s history, dating back to 1911, is celebrated with the esteem of events like the Kentucky Derby and the Masters.
Thousands of fans flock from around the world to see the race and witness a part of history each year. They do this with the knowledge that they are witnessing some of the greatest racers on earth. Fans and many other observers of the race also look forward to the evolutions and revolutions prevalent in each race.
The race distance has remained the same, 200 miles around the 2.5-mile rectangle-shaped track. However, that is one of the few elements of the race that has remained a constant. In the 102 runnings, almost every element of the Indianapolis 500 has changed.
For this week’s IndyCar Flashback, we recall the 2012 Indianapolis 500, a race that exemplifies this cross-section more than almost any of recent times. READ MORE
Header Image By LAT Photo USA
Fans of IndyCar’s past will enjoy the news coming out of Wisconsin today as the Vintage Indy Registry announced it will appear at the historic Milwaukee Mile on June 15 and 16, 2019.
The Milwaukee “Legends at the Mile” event will run alongside the ARCA Midwest Tour’s Father’s Day 75 as the historic Milwaukee Mile hosts racing for the first time since 2015 this summer.
The Milwaukee date is the second event announced for the Vintage Indy Registry’s 2019 season, joining the August 23-24 “Open Wheel Icons” showcase to be held during the NTT IndyCar Series race weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park.READ MORE
Header image courtesy of Forrest Mellott/INDYCAR.
Feature Image By Chris Beatty Design