The Speedway’s Makeover: IMS announced numerous changes to the Month of May’s schedule, including open aero kit oval testing and longer practices leading up to the 500. The earlier starting and later ending sessions are not only to allow more track time but also to recapture the old, pre time change happy hour conditions on track. More shadows on the front stretch equals higher speeds. The change is aimed at setting a “New Track Record!” and corrects a chronological mistake. Between practice and qualifications, there’ll be eight straight days of action on the famed oval prior to the 500. These changes represent precisely the sort of ideas we’ve been advocating at IRR. We applaud the Speedway’s moves and highly encourage more of them for next year’s hundredth running.
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Florida? Sounds Fun: Hoosier Indy hopeful Conor Daly tested Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s coveted second car at Sebring on Tuesday and Wednesday, impressively keeping pace with veteran Canuck crazy man James Hinchcliffe. IRR fervently hopes the young American gets his break and lands a full time ride at SPM, as he’s a deserving driver and it’s a quick car. Rumors have a certain Swiss Miss wrangling for the same ride. Notably, without Simona’s return to the series IndyCar’s unlikely to have a full time female driver again this year. Is there a possible Danica return in the offing?!
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Further Florida Fun: Andretti Autosport’s three drivers tested too, with the fourth still TBD. The second car from KV Racing – which our most valued sources suggest Sebastian Saavedra may be returning to, for some strange reason – and of course Coyne’s lineup remain unannounced. Interestingly the testing involved the old chassis – as will next week’s test at NOLA – before the advent of aero kits at the Barber test in March. Ryan Hunter-Reay seemed to question the value of testing obsolete cars, as do we. The DW-12’s lifespan reached the predicted three years with only minor modifications, so bravo for Dallara for providing racy chariots.
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Welcome to the Club: CFH Racing announced that Luca Filippi will pilot the road portion of the schedule in Ed’s #20 car. The Italian’s a solid choice and was presciently predicted weeks ago by a Brian Carroccio on this very site. Colombian Gabby “Pat” Chavez became the latest driver to join the series landing the ride at Bryan Herta Autosport this week. He won four races on his way to last year’s Indy Lights championship and represents Herta’s latest young driver project. Funnily and not merely because of his name, Gabby’s been mistaken for a woman by more than a few folks.
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Upset in Indiana: Apparently a number of fans are upset about the cancellation of the drivers’ autograph session at Community Day at the Speedway. Cavin wrote that while it’s been hosted by IMS, it isn’t their event and had become too taxing on the committee. We at IRR say what we did about the Brazil bust: tough tittie. If fans want autographs, then the drivers should be there with smiles on their faces – and tired committee members should seek out easier glamour postings.
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Huzzah! for the Old Guys: CFH Racing co-owner Ed Carpenter was named to IBJ’s “40 Under 40” list for central Indiana professionals. Born in Paris, Illinois Ed’ll turn 34 on March 3. In L.A. news, it was announced that Motley Crue’s front man Vince Neil will perform at the Long Beach festivities in April. Vince isn’t exactly youthful anymore, though he does remind us of ours. “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”