February 2019 News
RACE NEWS & VIEWS
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Sam Schmidt Receives America’s First
Semi-Autonomous Driver’s License

Feb 3 - Sam Schmidt began racing in the Indy Racing
League in 1997 at the age of 32.  In 1999, he became a
pole winner and race winner.

Schmidt was in the midst of off-season testing when he
endured a massive hit at Walt Disney World Speedway in
Orlando. He was paralyzed from the chest down after the
accident, but he went on to create
The Conquer
Paralysis Now
foundation as well as Arrow Schmidt
Peterson Motorsports in 2001.  That team fields cars in
both IndyCar and Indy Lights.  (
Dan Wheldon and
Simon Pagenaud are among racers who have driven for
SPM in the past.)  
James Hinchcliffe and Marcus
Ericsson
are driving for the team in IndyCar this year.

In 2016, Schmidt stunned the world during the month of
May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he drove
a modified Corvette around the track!  Not only that, but
he took the car up to 150 mph!

Engineers have continued testing and work on this special
Corvette Z06 to perfect it.

Schmidt has now been issued a driver's license - the first
one for a semi-autonomous car!  Now, he can drive the
Vette on the streets in addition to race tracks!
Schmidt uses an air tube with his mouth to control the
car's acceleration and braking.  Turning his head controls
the steering.
Long Beach Picks Up Sponsor

Feb 6 - Toyota ended their 44-year partnership with the
Grand Prix of Long Beach last year.
(
See August 2018 News)

The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach announced they
have reached a multi-year agreement with Acura to become
the title sponsor of the Grand Prix of Long Beach starting in
April.

Acura's U.S. headquarters are in nearby Torrance.  
Acura is a Honda brand.  American Honda was considered
a natural replacement as title sponsor, since it powers more
than half the IndyCar field in addition to Acura’s involve-
ment in IMSA, which shares the bill with IndyCar every
April at Long Beach.

Honda-powered IndyCars have won six of the last 10
races.
2018 Long Beach winner - Alex Rossi
See More IndyCar Action in 2019

Feb 8 - You do not have to pay for cable TV any longer
in order to watch all of the IndyCar action broadcast by
the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

This year, 9 of the 17 races will be broadcast on the cable
channel NBCSN.  (The rest will be on NBC.)

NBCSN offers various "GOLD" subscription packages for
streaming specific sports.  

For the first time, they now offer a subscription for
streaming IndyCar, called
INDYCAR PASS.
The subscription fee is $55/year.

INDYCAR PASS lets fans watch every IndyCar practice
,
qualifyer
and every Indy Lights race Live and on demand.
Races are on demand only.

There are n
o Commercial Interruptions either!
Harding Racing To Remain 1-Car Team

Feb 11 - IndyCar’s annual media day on Monday began
with major news when  it was learned that promising
rookie driver
Patricio “Pato” O’Ward has parted ways
with Harding Steinbrenner Racing.

O’Ward, who won the 2018 Indy Lights championship,
was expected to be part of a two-car team at HSR with
fellow rookie
Colton Herta, who finished second to
O’Ward in the Indy Lights battle last season.

Harding Racing began racing IndyCar in 2017 and has
been a one-car effort.  Joining forces with Steinbrenner,
it was anticipated that sponsors would be found to fund
a 2nd team for 2019.

But that didn't happen and when O’Ward found out there
was no car for him yet, he asked to be let out of his
contract so that he could look for another team where he
can spend the million dollar scholarship money he won
last season.  

Sadly for him, the first race is just 27 days away.
Pato O’Ward now looking for new team
IndyCar Holds Test at COTA

Feb 12 - While Formula 1 has been racing at the Circuit of
the Americas road course in Austin Texas since it's creation
several years ago, IndyCar got it's first taste of it today.

There was a 2-hour and a 3-hour practice session.

25 race car drivers showed up for the "Spring Training."

Colton Herta, a rookie, was the fastest in both sessions.  
Herta drives for Harding Steinbrenner Racing.

Some rookies with F1 experience was among some of the
fastest drivers of the day.

Session times can be downloaded off of the
2019 IndyCar Schedule
Colton Herta pleased to be fastest of the day
Update Feb 12 - Michael Andretti says he offered O'Ward
a 8-race deal last weekend but was turned down because
O'Ward wanted a full-season ride.

O'Ward claims legal issues are making him stay mum.
IndyCar Adds Safety Device

Feb 20 - IndyCar has decided to add a deflector to the
front of the cockpit on all Indy cars.

They are calling it "Advanced Frontal Protection" (AFP).  
It only sticks up 3".  It looks like the satellite radio
antennaes found on many street cars.

The hope is that it can deflect dangerous debris from a
wreck flying toward the pilot.

The new part will be fitted to all cars participating at the
April 24 test at IMS and the first race it will be used is the
Indy 500.

IndyCar has previously tested a windshield.  They say
work remains to be done on that project before it can be
implemented.
DragonSpeed Hustling to Prepare Their
First Indy Car

Feb 23 - The Sportscar team DragonSpeed is running a
little behind getting ready for their first attempt at racing
in IndyCar.
They missed Spring Training at COTA, but expect to have
the car ready for the Shakedown test at Sebring March 4
which is prior to the first IndyCar race March 10th in St.
Petersburg Florida.

Owner
Elton Julian says his biggest problem is keeping
driver
Ben Hanley distracted, as he is so anxious to test
the car!
On the topic of paralysis, there is a good documentary called "Williams",
currently showing on Netflix.  It is about F1 team owner
Frank Williams,
who was paralyzed after a road car accident in 1986.
Formula 1 has a subscription service called F1 TV.  
They have two packages, the more expensive offers
more racing shows.  Customers either pay by the
month ($3 or $12) or by the year ($27 or $100.)
Note: All F1 races will be broadcast by the cable
channel ESPN, except the U.S. and Mexico Grand
Prix, which will air on ABC.
Pippa Mann Lands Indy 500 Ride

Feb 28 -  Tim Clauson has experienced the Indianapolis
500 as a father - watching his son
Bryan Clauson
compete in the race three times. This May, he will
experience the race in a whole new way.

Clauson-Marshall Racing, which fields entries in the
USAC midget series and won USAC’s sprint car title in
2018, announced that it will enter the 103rd Indianapolis
500 with
Pippa Mann driving the team’s No. 39
Driven2SaveLives Chevrolet.

The Clauson-Marshall Indy 500 entry is the first for the
reigning USAC Sprint Car championship team since
Jeff
Stoops
entered a car for Steve Butler in 1989.

Tim Clauson said seeing how Mann handled the
disappointment of missing the Indianapolis 500 last year
yet still supported her partners with Indiana Donor
Network and Donate Life to honor his son, made her the
first and only choice
Indiana Donor Network is one of 58 designated organ
recovery organizations in the United States and coordi-
nates organ, tissue and eye donation throughout the state.

The IDN launched the
Driven2SaveLives racing
campaign in April 2016 to elevate the conversation about
organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation through
motorsports by honoring IndyCar donor hero
Justin
Wilson
. Today, the campaign also honors IndyCar and
USAC driver donor hero
Bryan Clauson. Both drivers
died in racing accidents and as registered organ donors,
were each able to save five lives.