August 2018 News
Mazda Withdrawing From IndyCar

Aug 4 - After 9 years as title sponsor for The Mazda
Road To Indy, the giant Japanese car company is
ending its funding for the three ladder series (US
F2000, Pro Mazda, Indy Lights) which develop
potential IndyCar drivers.

Mazda says they will invest in a more grass-roots
type of racing where the cars look like Mazdas and
where their customers can race.  (I thought they
already had that with the MX-5 Cup, a series where
you can buy a racing Miata for under $60k. My
friend who is a super Mazda fan and owns like 5 of
them, watches every IndyCar race but never once
watched the Miatas race, even though he has one.)

Mazda also began racing in IMSA last year and will
continue supporting a team there in the Prototype
class.

Meanwhile, Indycar announced higher payouts for
Indy Lights next year and a reduced budge for race
teams.
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Mazda Prototype Racer
Fernando will not race in Formula 1 in
2019

Aug 14 - McLaren Racing today confirms that double
F1 World Champion
Fernando Alonso will not race in
Formula 1 in 2019.

Alonso, who turned 37 in July, is competing in his
17th F1 season, his fifth with McLaren, and has
amassed 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to
date. Beyond his two titles – in 2005 he became the
then-youngest world champion in F1 history – Alonso
has been championship runner-up three times.

Zak Brown, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Racing,
commented:

“Fernando is not only an outstanding ambassador for
McLaren but also for Formula 1. His 17 years in the
sport, as arguably the pre-eminent driver of his
generation and undoubtedly an F1 great, have added
another layer to Formula 1’s rich history."

Fernando Alonso commented:

“Let’s see what the future brings; new exciting
challenges are around the corner. I’m having one of
the happiest times ever in my life but I need to go on
exploring new adventures."

Alonso will stay with Toyota through next year's 24
Hours of Le Mans, completing the World Endurance
Championship 2019-2020 super season.  That may still
leave room for a run in IndyCar.

Having won the Monaco Grand Prix twice and
securing a maiden Le Mans victory earlier this year,
Alonso needs only an Indy 500 success to complete
the Triple Crown.

Alonso has been linked to an IndyCar future ever since
his 2017 Indy 500 bid in which he retired with just 21
laps remaining after leading portions of the race and
running in the leading pack.

McLaren refused to deny or confirm reports it was
looking into an IndyCar entry in the near future, and
Motorsport.com understands it was considering a two-
car team – with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon a
target before his new deal with Ganassi.

It has also been rumored that McLaren is aiming to
enter the IndyCar series full-time next year through a
partnership with an existing team. Andretti Autosport is
the most likely candidate, though that's not a done deal,
as McLaren and Honda (Andretti's engine supplier)
don't have a great relationship. The Japanese company
supplied McLaren's F1 team with engines that were
notoriously unreliable and underpowered; as a result,
McLaren ended that partnership for the 2018 season.
If Alonso and McLaren were to go to IndyCar, they'd
likely need Chevy power due to the McLaren-Honda
rift.

Racer.com reported that Andretti Autosport is in talks
with Harding Racing—which uses Chevy engines—to
form a partnership. Harding Racing could operate the
McLaren team, which would allow Andretti to maintain
its relationship with Honda.

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, confirmed
McLaren’s entry was in progress.

“Today’s announcement certainly has fueled excitement
among IndyCar fans who hope that Alonso will compete
throughout the championship in 2019,” said Miles.
“McLaren is working to put all the necessary arrange-
ments in place, and we are supporting their efforts.

“I don’t expect this to be resolved until closer to the
end of this year.”
2001: Minardi F1 Team
2003-2006: Renault F1 Team
2007: McLaren Mercedes
2008-2009: Renault F1 Team
2010-2014 - Scuderia Ferrari
2015-2018: McLaren Honda


Aug 19 - At the last race, Alex Rossi zoomed off for
the win and a caution free race at Mid-Ohio.  Today at
Pocono, things got complicated fast, but Rossi once
again was the class of the field, winning his 3rd race of
the season.

No one practiced Sunday morning at Pocono due
to rain.  Also, there was no Friday practices scheduled
as there usually are.  The drivers only had one practice
session on Saturday before Qualifying.

Will Power captured his 53rd pole, tying A.J.
Foyt
for the all-time record.  Josef Newgarden quali-
fied 2nd and Rossi qualified 3rd, while points leader
Scott Dixon would start way down in 13th.

As the cars were heading towards the start, cars got
bunched up in the middle, which contributed toward
Graham Rahal hitting the rear of Spencer Pigot's car.  
This spun Pigot off towards the pit wall and damaged
his car so badly that he only returned later to run a few
laps, before calling it quits.  Rahal got penalized 2 laps
for the contact and finished the race 4 laps down.

7 laps later they were ready to start the race.  As the
cars entered the 2nd turn,
Robert Wickens and Ryan
Hunter-Reay
got together, sending Hunter-Reay into
the wall.  Wickens' car used Hunter-Reay's car like a
ramp and flew up into the air and into the fence above
the safer-barrier.  It slid along, then caught and flipped a
few time along the fence, ripping it apart and sending
debris in every direction.  Luckily the car landed with
the dirty side down, back on the track, and spun an
additional 5 or 6 times across the track.  Wickens' car
was utterly destroyed and only the tub remained.  He
was taken to the hospital by helicopter.  This accident
caused a few others.  
James Hinchcliffe reacted to the
wreck in front of him and spun his car.  
Pietro
Fittipaldi
came along and slammed into him.

The race was red flagged and repairs began on the
fencing.  This took two hours.  
Sebastien Bourdais
complained that the repair job was not good enough,
but race control disagreed and Bourdais relunctantly got
behind the wheel for the restart.

Rossi easily had the fastest car today and pulled out a
big lead over 2nd place Power.  Rossi led 180 of 200
laps.
Scott Dixon worked his way up and finished 3rd.
Indycar later gave an update on Wicken's condition
saying he was being treated for injuries to his lower
extremities, right arm and spine. He also sustained a
bruised lung.

Wickens' wreck was a chilling moment again at Pocono.
Justin Wilson died from a head injury in 2015, when a
piece of debris from a crashed car bounced off the track
and hit his helmet.
Alexander Rossi and Andretti Autosport team
Update: Aug 20 - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens continues to be treated at Lehigh Valley
Hospital - Cedar Crest. An MRI was instrumental in revealing the most appropriate surgical course and
Wickens is
undergoing surgery Monday evening for a
spinal injury.
Robert Wickens
Wickens moved from the
German DTM series to
IndyCar this year.  He has
surprised everyone with
his race-craft, especially
on ovals.
Start
Pos
1
6
10
10
2
18
3
2
4
5
7
10
5
6
Race
Finish
18
2
22
4
3
9
8
6
19
5
5
3
2
19

Event
St. Petersburg - He was robbed of victory by dirty driving from Alex Rossi.
Phoenix          - His first oval race!
Long Beach     - Only completed 73 of 85 laps.
Birmingham     - This wet race was ran over two days.
Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Indy 500
Detroit 1
Detroit 2
Texas               - crash
Road America
Iowa

Toronto
Mid-Ohio
Pocono             - crash
Robert Wickens' Rookie Year Results in IndyCar
7 Top 5's
Long Beach Grand Prix Needs New
Sponsor

Aug 16 - Toyota has ended its 44-year partnership with
the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Grand Prix of Long
Beach Association must now find a new title sponsor –
and automotive sponsor, which Toyota has also dropped
– which helps cover some of the expenses of the three-
day Grand Prix.

But for some, including Mayor Robert Garcia, Toyota’s
departure wasn’t much of a shock.

“Once they made the decision to move most of their
operations out of Southern California and over to
Texas, I think a lot of us wondered if that relationship
would continue,” Garcia said. “So it’s unfortunate, but
we’re very grateful to them. They were here for a very
long time, and I’m confident the Grand Prix will find
another great sponsor.”

In 2018, the Grand Prix brought in $33 million to Long
Beach and $63 million to the region. It drew a record
185,000 people.

But the Grand Prix also costs a lot to put on. Long
Beach charges the Grand Prix association a $91,757
permit fee and a $47,524 reimbursement fee for
administrative costs, according to a staff report from
December, when the City Council approved a new
agreement with the association, which runs through
2023. The association must also reimburse the city for
police, fire, refuse, traffic, sweeping, sewer, inspections
and other services. It was not immediately know how
much the association paid to Long Beach for the 2018
race.
From Formula 1 to CART to IndyCar, the driver with
the most wins at Long Beach is
Al Unser Jr  -
with 6 wins in 8 years!
The 2019 Grand Prix is set for April 12-14.
Mario Andretti won Long Beach once in 1974 when it
was an F1 race.  He won it three times in Champ Car
in the mid-80s.
Update Aug 21 - Robert Wickens underwent surgery Monday, Aug. 20 at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest to
stabilize a thoracic spinal fracture associated with a spinal cord injury.  Titanium rods and screws were placed
successfully in Wickens' spine during the surgery, which was performed without complication. The severity of the
spinal cord injury is indeterminate at this time. Wickens is expected to undergo further surgeries to treat fractures in
his lower extremities and right forearm. He remains in stable condition.
Pocono IndyCar Race - Wickens Injured