Usually reserved for the off season, an idiotic three week involuntary layoff from IndyCar action qualifies. See what we mean about this silly schedule? Purposely not on a break, here’s our latest version of IndyCar News Week in Review.
Flipping Nasty: Hoosier USAC iron man Bryan Clauson was critically injured during a midget race in Belleville, Kansas Saturday night. While leading the twenty seven year old was forced into the wall by a lapped car sending him cart-wheeling down the track. Before even coming to a stop, the three time Indy 500 starter was violently struck in the cockpit by a trailing car. It took them nearly a half hour to remove the cage and extract Clauson from the mangled wreck. He was airlifted to a Lincoln, Nebraska hospital.
Little has been reported on the extent of his injuries, though according to Robin Miller he’s in stable condition and breathing on his own. It appears an unwanted racing hiatus is in Bryan’s future and we wish him a full recovery. His Dale Coyne Racing teammate Pippa Mann, fellow Indy 500 competitor Graham Rahal and many others have expressed their thoughts and wishes. Forebodingly, Mann joined journalist Jenna Fryer in urging against speculation “until his family has something official to say.”
Bryan’s family issued a statement on Facebook at just after 2:30 pm central time. They confirmed he remains in critical condition and asked for fans “to respect our privacy as we focus on Bryan.”
Photo from indycar.com
Not Everyone’s Vacationing: Testing took place last week in preparation for the next IndyCar race on August 21 at Pocono. Of course the ever cheeky Graham Rahal called the experience “tricky.” Hopefully they improve the show as well as the adjectives, for the racing’s been forgettable in the series’ three years back at the track apart from last year’s tragic death of Justin Wilson.
Photo from twitter.com
Everyone but Penske, KV & Coyne‘s teams tested on Wednesday and our friends over at Dark Side of the Paddock reported that there were no problems among the fifteen participants. Problem is, there was about as much raciness. AJ Foyt Racing‘s Englishman Jack Hawksworth barely attempted the “tricky triangle,” while others like American Charlie “everyone hates me” Kimball proved somewhat more engaged. Let’s hope there’s more riveting racing – and fewer empty seats – come race day. In another two weeks.
Photo from indycar.com
Mediocre Mid-Ohio Most Watched?: NBC Sports reported the telecast of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was its most watched race ever, or at least since first airing IndyCar in 2009. The fact that it was simulcast on two channels – CNBC and NBCSN – due to a NASCAR rainout can’t be ignored. Happily NASCAR can be, though.
The race drew about a million viewers per sources, the most for the series on cable and satellite since ESPN aired the Richmond race in 2008. In other words, back in the good ol’ days of awesome ovals. It’s just too bad all those viewers didn’t tune in for a decent race, like Texas (at least until the flood), or Iowa. So far this year viewership’s up about a quarter over last season on NBCSN, despite some lackluster racing and a rare rain out.
Photo from indycar.com
Silly Season Non-Update Update: American star Josef Newgarden remains the top free agent prospect, as he’s widely rumored to be bolting the struggling Ed Carpenter Racing. With Ganassi’s slow motion, years’ long loss of sponsor Target and an aging driver in Tony Kanaan – who like that crotchety uncle insists he’ll back again next year – the team’s clearly undergoing a period of adjustment. At the same time Penske‘s stock has risen even higher in the race to land IndyCar’s ace new face. Man, we sure hope not.
IRR Is Indisputably Ideas Oriented: We published “Ways to Save Oval Racing: An Open Letter to IndyCar” and it received quite a reception from our readers – and a non-response from the series. Views ranged from total agreement – which we like – to those who enjoy the current mix of road courses and ovals. A story we broke last year, this year’s ratio is an outlandish two to one in favor of road courses. Oval haters should be happy with this “travesty of a joke of a schedule,” to paraphrase Monty Burns.
Unpacking Leftover Parts: Drivers will be testing again at IMS this week, including Rahal and presumably even Marco. Why Marco is bothering is truly anyone’s guess. . . . We celebrated our second anniversary last month, so if you haven’t already be sure to check out a brief look back at our first two years. If you have already, then do it again. . . . Meanwhile, Mark Miles‘ outrageous hiatus drags on, and now it’s football season.