By: Spencer Neff
November 30, 2018 | 10:11 am
We at Open-Wheels hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. With 100 days separating us from the 2019 season opener at St. Petersburg, the new season is still a ways away. That has not done anything to deter the news cycle from continuing to spin.
Although a title sponsor has yet to be announced for the series moving forward, IndyCar did announce a new fuel sponsor. Speedway will take over as the official fuel supplier of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, taking over from Sunoco.
Also this week, Open-Wheels owner and editor Tanner Watkins caught up with INDYCAR race director Kyle Novak. Novak discusses his first season at the position and his thoughts on the 2019 season and beyond.
Lastly, we took a look at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s offseason changes following a sub-par season. While the two-car outfit won the penultimate race of 2018 at Portland with Takuma Sato, the team did struggle at times last year and has since hired engineer Allen McDonald and team president Piers Phillips.
Start your weekend off right and check out the latest from the world of IndyCar in this week’s IndyCar Roundup.
While the writing was on the wall, fans will still be surprised to hear that fueling giant Sunoco is out and the Midwestern-based fuel chain Speedway is in as the official fuel of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The news was confirmed this morning by the sanctioning body.
Over the course of 2017, Sunoco began downsizing its operation by selling off the majority of its convenience stores to focus its efforts on basic fuel sales to other convenience stores around the country. While Sunoco remains the official fuel of NASCAR and the NHRA, it is expected that those deals will not be renewed after they expire.
Speedway is a brand owned by the recognizable Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Stores featuring the Speedway name are most commonly found in the midwest, and the new INDYCAR partner will supply fuel to all IndyCar Series teams as well as Hulman & Company employees. The deal also lists Speedway as the Official Convenience Store of INDYCAR. Read More
One of the greatest challenges an employee faces when moving to a new company is finding a seamless transition that allows for instant progress and efficiency.
In just under a year, Kyle Novak has done just that – and then some – in becoming the newest INDYCAR race director.
Hired on January 5, Novak rejoined the American open-wheel ranks after his most recent stop included three years spent with the International Motor Sports Association. Novak’s IMSA stint came after an assortment of experiences that included Champ Car, drag racing and the Sports Car Club of America.
What Novak has brought to the IndyCar Series – as demonstrated by a successful and relatively quiet 2018 for race control – is a fresh outlook on how to sanction an open-wheel event while embracing the viewpoints of respected individuals in the industry. Read More
While 2018 wasn’t a disastrous season by any means for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the Brownsburg, Indiana-based team surely left Sonoma Raceway wishing for more at year’s end.
What the organization has done this offseason signals a continued commitment to climb the IndyCar Series ladder in 2019.
As RLLR shifted to a full-time two-car operation for the first time since 2013, the team still managed to place two drivers inside the top-12 in points with a few podiums to their name in 2018.
Sure, the Honda-powered group won only once last year. With that being said, the pairing of Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato still led laps in eight of the 17 races, while Rahal himself was often commanding the attention of ABC and NBCSN for dazzling passes while rebounding from poor qualifying positions.
Sato made his mark by winning that lone race for RLLR last season, taking victory in IndyCar’s return to Portland International Raceway. Read More
Header image by Walter Kuhn/INDYCAR