IndyCar News Week in Review: The New And Unimproved Edition


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Rule Book Revisions:  A number of changes to IndyCar’s rule book were announced Tuesday amidst the usual outcry from fans. Double points will be awarded for the Indianapolis 500 and the Sonoma finale only, causing a torrent of upset and gnashing of teeth on Twitter. This is a reflection of displeasure with the finale’s location as much as the attempt to manufacture championship drama. It means the triple crown for 500 mile events sadly is gone. Mercifully there will be no standing starts in 2015, as the “fastest drivers on the planet” couldn’t seem to master them despite numerous, often aborted attempts. Then there was the inaugural Indy Grand Prix start, which spelt the end of both standing starts and quite possibly Sebastian Saavedra’s brief IndyCar career.


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More Rule Book Revisions: New “Promoter Tests” which were formerly called “Open Tests” were announced, allowing fans to watch testing prior to races including the on track debut of the new aero kits at Alabama on March 16. That’s a fan friendly change by the series and one that should be applauded. Pit lane assignments now will be based on entrant points; the new “Ed Carpenter rule” won’t punish teams who rotate drivers. In an adjustment to road and street course qualifying, group one will consist of the quickest drivers in practice. This rule change has no affect whatsoever on Ed Carpenter. Rookie orientation speeds at the Speedway have been upped by five mph begging the question will a “NEW TRACK RECORD” arrive soon?


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Silly Season Updates: Mad Russian Mikhail Aleshin is reportedly out due to sanctions against Putin, Simona remains in limbo and seats are open at SPM, Target, Andretti, Herta, Coyne and KV. We may be waiting until January or in Coyne’s case March until we know the driver lineup for 2015. Will Simona land a ride? Conor Daly? J.R. “wall banger” Hildebrand? Ryan “ESPN wife” Briscoe? All are possibilities, as well as Stefan Wilson, Sage Karam and others. Cavin keeps mentioning Justin Wilson’s ride at Coyne is up in the air too, so we’ll keep an eye on the Flying Wilson Brothers from Britain.


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The Legend’s Health Status: AJ remains in the hospital due to complications from an infection following triple bypass surgery in Houston. He’s been in for over two weeks now, so we continue to keep the four time Indy 500 winner in our thoughts and prayers. UPDATE: AJ was released from the hospital on Wednesday and gets to spend Christmas at home. Huzzah!


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Wedding Bells Are Ringing: IndyCar racer Graham Rahal and drag racer Courtney Force announced their engagement recently from the city of canals, Venice. We hope it didn’t rain on them. They’ve been dating about a year according to reports and make quite the fast couple. There’s no word on whether the Reverend Hinchcliffe will officiate the ceremony.


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Indy Lights Highlights: Reba McEntire’s son Shelby Blackstock will race in Lights next year for Andretti according to the Indy Star. It’s a promotion from Andretti’s Pro Mazda team for Blackstock, who advances up the next rung of the ladder. Also, a European team is switching to Lights in 2015. Carlin Racing (no relation to late American comedian George Carlin of “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”  fame) will field two cars next year with rumors of the team joining the big league eventually. It’s considered a coup for Indy Lights as the team had some success across the pond. The long overdue sexy new cars are having the desired effect.


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