Photo from Indy Race Reviewer
Little in the way of actual news emerged from media day 2016.
Sage Replacement: On Monday it was announced that former F1 driver and Indy Lights winner Max Chilton will drive Chip Ganassi’s number 8 car this season, as apparently the issue with Sage “Wildman” Karam wasn’t really funding at all. The 24 year old Englishman was introduced at media day on Tuesday, admitting after the announcement that he hadn’t even met his teammates yet. But he does know Dario Franchitti, who was instrumental in getting Maxie the ride. Looks like Chip’s people had some intros to make at IMS Tuesday, as Ganassi Tweeted he was home sick with the flu. Perhaps his illness was some Karam karma.
Photo from usatoday.com
The CFH Racing Marriage Didn’t Last: In still more pre-media day news, Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing dissolved after only one season, as both Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman are out at Ed Carpenter Racing. IRR questioned the all American ownership trio’s fortitude over a year ago when they announced the joint venture, as it always seemed forced. Apparently Sarah’s leaving IndyCar to run an indoor go cart track while Hartman’s fortune has been decimated due to Saudi overproduction, resulting in $30 a barrel oil. Rising star Josef “Just Gimme Some Stability” Newgarden will contest all sixteen races for the new/old Ed Carpenter Racing and his car, like Ed’s, will feature the gorgeous green Fuzzy’s Vodka livery. That’s a definite upgrade over the old crude oil black look, though both Sarah and Wink will be missed. On the upside, what’s not to love about more booze sponsored IndyCars?!
Ed Carpenter(‘s Not) Racing: According to rumors that again sprang up prior to media day, another former F1 driver – someone humorously named Pastor Maldonado – may handle the road course duties for Ed Carpenter Racing’s second driver Ed Carpenter this season. Lucca Filippi partially enjoyed the partial season ride last year in an unsuccessful campaign for the now defunct CFH. There remains some doubt about enough funding materializing for a full season campaign though, and therefore it’s everyone’s duty to seriously up their premium vodka intake.
Honda Hangs In: Amateurishly holding media day during Super Bowl week – on Groundhog Day, no less – and six weeks in advance of the season opener, IndyCar did manage to announce one near news item, at least. It finally confirmed that Honda will be back for the next two seasons, with an option for possibly three more. Interestingly, there were rumblings amongst the drivers about the “political” engine and aero kit advantages Honda leveraged out of the series. Chevy – signed only through this year – isn’t happy at apparently being surpassed due to series rules changes midstream. You’ll certainly be reading more about this issue in the months leading up to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. See our “Under-Reported Rules Changes” here.
Photo from twitter.com
IMS Improvements Inching Along: It was made known that a thousand new seats in three rows are being added to the upper deck, or penthouse section, on the front straight in the Brickyard’s improvements spending spree. For those readers who’ve never viewed a race from these outdoor skyboxes, they’re tremendous seats and well worth the price, offering nearly unimpeded views of the entire two and a half mile oval (pagoda and video board blockage notwithstanding). Prepare to pony up a pretty price for the privilege, though.
Photo from bostonherald.com
Odds ‘n Trends: AJ Foyt Racing‘s Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth tested recently in Sebring, Florida for the first time in 2016, while other teams including SPM will test next week at Sonoma . . . The Chipster‘s bringing back the classic lightning bolts livery for Scott Dixon‘s number 9 Target car, reminiscent of the old Zanardi days . . . Canuck comic and crash survivor James Hinchcliffe actually said publicly during media day that winning the 100th Indy 500 is no more important than winning say the 105th and that it just “doesn’t matter.” Seriously? Are they not drug testing this guy? . . . Finally, Mark “Middling” Miles addressed the “schedule” and said of the controversial new Boston race “I think the show’s going on” [emphasis IRR’s]. This mere months before the supposed street race is set to take place. Furthermore, Madcap Mark boldly predicted that, assuming it does occur, the event will be a success. Yeah, right. Like Brasilia was a success?