January 2018 News
More Camera Angles

Jan 3 - IndyCar and its broadcast partners
announced an expanded use of in-car cameras to
bring fans the thrilling action of the race series
from a variety of new angles in the upcoming
17-race season.

ABC and NBCSN will utilize never-before-seen
views of the intense racing that the series offers
with cameras strategically placed on the universal
bodywork kit that is new for all cars in 2018.
Home           Contact             About              Site Map            Privacy                               Copyright © 2018  IndySpeedway.com   All Rights Reserved
Most recent news is at bottom of page.
In addition to the traditional in-car position above and behind the driver’s head, cameras will be
mounted to the nose, sidepod and rear attenuator. There also will be expanded use of the popular
visor cam mounted on the driver’s helmet and pioneered by IndyCar.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring the sport even closer to the television audience,” said Mark
Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co.  “IndyCar has experienced 38 percent growth in audience over the
past four years and providing a firsthand look at the exhilarating action is a way to win over even
more fans.”
Alonso Sets Sights on Triple Crown

Jan 6 - Two-time Formula1 World Champion
Fernando Alonso is practicing this weekend in the
"Roar Before the 24" at the Daytona International
Speedway.  He is driving a Ligier JS P217, a LMP2
Prototype car.

He plans to compete in the Rolex 24 Hour Race of
Daytona January 27-28.  This exercise is to get him
experience in a endurance series and car as he hopes
to race this year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Le Mans forms part of the Triple Crown Alonso has set
his sights on winning, along with the Indy 500 -- which
he famously contested last year -- and the Monaco
Grand Prix, where he was victorious in 2006 and 2007.
This year it does not clash with an F1 race, meaning
Alonso could take part in the event without it over
lapping with his McLaren commitments as Indianapolis
did last year, forcing him to skip the race at Monte

As usual, many past and present IndyCar drivers will be
racing in the Rolex 24.

In his quest, Alonso has joined the England-based United
Autosports team, the reigning European Le Mans Series
LMP3 Champions.  He is teaming with two 18-year-olds:  
Lando Norris and Phil Hanson.
Fernando Alonso
One of United Autos LMP2 Cars
IndyCar Hires New Race Director

Jan 8 - IndyCar has named veteran race official Kyle
as race director for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

As race director, Novak will lead operations in Race
Control at all Verizon IndyCar Series events. Race
Control utilizes a variety of video, audio and data
communications to oversee all aspects of competition
and assure a safe, timely and competitive event. Novak
will also work in conjunction with IndyCar’s race
stewards to initiate reviews of on-track incidents,
though it will remain with the panel of stewards to
decide whether a penalty should be levied against a
driver or team.

“Throughout our extensive search for a race director,
one name was mentioned repeatedly – and that was
Kyle Novak,” said
Jay Frye, IndyCar president of
competition and operations. “We have been aware of
Kyle’s work for the past couple of years. He’s clearly
impressed those he’s worked with and, after meeting
with him, we knew he would be a great fit for our Race
Control team. Kyle has a great future and we couldn’t
be more excited to have him as part of IndyCar.”

Novak has spent the past three years as a race director
or steward for various sports car series sanctioned by
IMSA, but the 36-year-old attorney by trade has a
lengthy motorsports resume. It began in drag racing,
where for years he has joined his father and brother in
amateur bracket racing competition near their home in
Dexter, Mich., outside Ann Arbor. They own two cars.
“Always been a gearhead,” Novak said. “Always
working on cars; muscle cars, mostly. That’s how I got
my feet wet, and then one thing led to another. And here
I am.”

Novak’s introduction to Indy car racing came as the
operations manager and director of operations for the
group promoting Champ Car races in Cleveland, Denver
and Houston from 2004-08. His jobs in the years that
followed were as a program manager for the Volks-
wagen Jetta TDI Cup Series with the Sports Car Club
of America; a team manager for the Battery Tender
Global MX-5 Cup Series now sanctioned by IndyCar;
and then IMSA, where he has been race director for the
Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, Porsche GT3
Cup Challenge and Continental Tire Sportscar Chal-
lenge, while also serving as a race steward for IMSA’s
top series, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Novak said the chance to work with Frye and other
staff members he already knows simplified the decision
to join IndyCar.

“Jay and I hit it off immediately – it’s the fresh outlook
he brings that is a huge part of it (for me),” Novak said.
“Ironically enough, three people who work in IndyCar
Race Control are some of the first people I met in the
industry, and that goes all the way back to 2004. Those
are among the key people I’ll be working with on a
day-to-day basis. There’s a great deal of familiarity with
Carpenter Hires British Driver

Jan 8 - Since 2014, team owner Ed Carpenter stopped
racing on road and street courses and began sticking to
just the ovals.  He began hiring drivers to race his #20
car at all IndyCar races not on an oval.   That year,
Mike Conway drove the #20.  That would be the Brit's
final year in Indycar and he left to pursue endurance

Carpenter Racing merged with another one-car team in
2015 -  Fisher-Hartman Racing.  While this partnership
dissolved a year later, Carpenter retained not only the
second race team, but the driver too -
  Newgarden would drive the #21 car at all
the IndyCar events that year and the next.

To replace Conway, Carpenter hired
Luca Filippi, an
Italian GP2 racer.  That lasted a year, then Fillipi moved
to Dale Coyne Racing in 2016.

Carpenter was unable to find a replacement for Filippi
until June.  That position went to
Spencer Pigot, a
major standout from the IndyCar feeder series - The
Mazda Road to Indy.  Pigot had won more races there
than any driver previous, as well as the Indy Lights

Unfortunately for Carpenter, Newgarden was hired away
by Team Penske for the 2017 season.  Newgarden, of
course, went on to win the 2017 IndyCar Championship.  

Carpenter hired
JR Hildebrand to run the #21 car in
2017 and Pigot continued his role in the #20 car.

For 2018, Pigot is moving to the #21 car and will
compete in all the IndyCar races.
Jordan King
Carpenter has just hired 23-year-old Jordan King to
drive the #20 car at road and street courses while Ed
Carpenter continues to race the car at the oval tracks.

King won the 2013 British F3 championship.  He was
racing in Formula 2 last year.  His goal has been to break
into Formula 1.  As a test driver for Manor Racing, he
got to spend 5 days in their F1 car in 2016.
Harding Racing Update

Jan 13 -  Harding Racing made official today its
commitment to run it's first full season in IndyCar this
year.  Their driver is
Gabby Chaves.

This confirmation brings the total to 22 full-time entries
this season in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

So what’s a realistic goal for Harding Racing?  “The
competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series is so deep, it’s
unreal,” Harding Racing president
Brian Barnhart said.
“There are so many competitive cars and so many cars
capable of winning races. ”

Ten different drivers celebrated victories in last season’s
17-race schedule.
“Even though there’s a reset with aero kits for every
body, we still have a steeper hill to climb than they do
just for the fact that we don’t have near as deep a data
base as they do with racing in general and the tracks. ”

Barnhart also said that Chaves and the other young drivers
may be at a disadvantage with the new aero kit because
high downforce is all they've known.  The veteran drivers
will have had more experience racing IndyCars with less

Private team testing is underway now ahead of the first
series-wide open test set for ISM Raceway outside
Phoenix on Feb. 9-10.
Dan Gurney
1931 -2018
Jan 14 - “With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan
drove off into the unknown just before noon today,” read
an email signed Evi Gurney, the Gurney family and AAR
teammates. “In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our
hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your
time on this earth, we say, ‘Godspeed.”
Dan Gurney, the tall, handsome, all-American driver
from California, who had success in almost every kind of
road racing there is, and who drove in the golden age of
Grand Prix and sports car racing in Europe and America,
passed away today of complications from pneumonia at
the age of 87.

Gurney began racing in 1955 and drove competitively for
15 years. He competed in and won in just about every
form of racing he tried. In Formula 1 he drove for Ferrari,
BRM, Porsche and Brabham before forming his own
team and designing and engineering his own cars. He won
the Belgian Grand Prix in 1967 in his own car, the first
and only time an American has won an F1 race in a car
of his own design, and a feat matched by only a small
handful of other driver/designers. In that same year,
1967, he co-drove with AJ Foyt to win the 24 Hours of
Le Mans in a Ford GT40, after which he invented the
tradition of spraying the champagne from the podium.  
He also saw success in Indy cars, sports cars, Trans-Am,
Can-Am and NASCAR.

He retired from driving in 1970, having won 51 races, but
remained in the sport as owner of All-American Racers.
AAR is still in business, having branched out to a number
of other engineering endeavors, including aerospace.

Funeral arrangements are to be private but the family
suggests donations be made to the Hoag Hospital
Foundation in Newport Beach, Calif.
Dan Gurney drove his Eagle to 2nd place in the 1968 Indy 500
Big Brother Is Watching You

Jan 17 - IMS has decided to deploy some creepy
robots to patrol around and spy on you.

SWAT snipers on stands and roving bands of police,
some on horseback, some with German Shepherds,
wasn't enough.
The speedway did not say what exactly their
robotic security force were going to be looking for
or how much it cost.

In an interview with Robotics Tomrrow last
October, Sharp says they will both lease and sell
the robots and will determine prices for each
prospect - but they did say, "Traditional human
guard services nationwide average $16/hour.  The
INTELLOS cuts that cost in half over a three-
year period."

"The expectation is that the robot will operate day
and night, during all kinds of weather conditions
and in the company of people."

With 25,632 hours in 3 years, at $8/hour, that
comes to over $200,000 - or - 12,816 hours they
are not paying a human for.
The Sharp company commented, "The Sharp INTELLOS A-UGV
is a multi-terrain, mobile sensor, data-gathering robot that can
capture video, audio and environmental information while
providing a visible deterrent without the aid of a human driver...
and has a semi-autonomous mode for incident
"  What?!  Is the thing armed?!  Does it defend itself?
Danica Lands Sponsor For Both '500s'

Jan 18 - Danica Patrick announced in November that she
was retiring from racing but she planned to compete in
both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 this

So far, no team has hired her, but that will probably
change now that she has secured a sponsor for both

Her main sponsor from her last two seasons in IndyCar
and first six seasons in NASCAR, has come to her aid.

Internet domain registrar GoDaddy has reunited with
Patrick, whom used to figure centrally in their advertising.

GoDaddy's commercials try to be humorous and sexy.
Go Daddy also pays the big money to televise their ads
during the Super Bowl.
New 500 Promotion Kicks Off

Jan 18 - Takuma Sato helped to start a major
promotional campaign for the 102nd Indy 500 by
unveiling a large 92' x 20' banner over Gate 2 of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"THIS IS MAY." will be the centerpiece of the Indy
500 advertising campaign this year.
DJs for Indy 500 Snake Pit Concert

Jan 23 - The star-studded lineup of global EDM
heavyweights will perform in the infield adjacent to Turn
3 of the IMS oval during the 102nd Indianapolis 500 on
Sunday, May 27

“The Indy 500 Snake Pit has become a phenomenon in
both the music and sporting worlds, producing a sold-out
event two years running,” IMS President
J. Douglas
said. “This year’s concert will feature another
world-class lineup ready to party with more than 30,000
Turn 3 fans, showing once again that Race Weekend
offers fun and unforgettable opportunities for everyone.”

General admission and VIP tickets for the Snake Pit are
on sale for $45 and $125 at ims.com.  All Snake Pit
ticketholders must be at least 18 years old and hold a
valid Indy 500 general admission or reserved seat ticket.
Packages that include Race Day general admission tickets
are available. Ticket holders should be prepared to show
proper identification to enter the concert.
Axwell Λ Ingrosso
Patrick Gets Ride for Daytona 500

Jan 23 -  Danica Patrick has found a ride for the
Daytona 500 that helps complete the closing of her
racing career in appropriate fashion.

Patrick will drive for Premium Motorsports in next
month’s Daytona 500, her final NASCAR race.
She also plans to race in the Indianapolis 500 in May.

The one-race deal for next month’s NASCAR show
case will put Patrick in the seat of the No. 7
GoDaddy Chevrolet, the same number she drove
when she entered stock-car racing in 2010.

Her former crew chief,
Tony Eury Jr., will return to
Patrick’s pit box for her finale.

“I keep saying, ‘I couldn’t have written a better story
about how this would all fall into place’ … Going
with the flow is working out beautifully,” said
Patrick. “I’ll be back in GoDaddy green, driving the
No. 7 Chevrolet with Tony Jr. in my ear again. It all
makes my last NASCAR race just that much
Danica Patrick announcing her full transition to
NASCAR at the GoDaddy.com Headquaarters in 2011.
The Differences Between the 24-Hour

Jan 28 - While Fernando Alonso is competing this
weekend in the Rolex 24 at Daytona to gain experience
in endurance racing for his hoped for run at Le Mans,
there remain things for him to adjust to if he makes the
24 hour race in France one day.

While the cars are similar, the tracks are not.  The
Daytona track includes the high-banked turns that are
part of the oval; Le Mans is a flat track.  This makes
racing at Daytona tougher as the teams have to adjust
the cars for the transition to banking.  

None the less, the cars at Le Mans reach much higher
speeds (153 mph vs 129 mph).  This is because the
track is much longer.  The Le Mans course is 8.467
miles (13.362 km).  The Daytona course is 3.56 miles
(5.73 km).  

Since the Daytona course is so much shorter, that trans-
lates to more traffic that the drivers have to deal with.

While rain is a possibility at either track, more of the
action at Daytona occurs at night!  There is only 10
hours and 46 minutes of daylight racing at Daytona,
compared to 16 hours at Le Mans.

The first 24 Hours of Le Mans was ran in May 1923.  
The first 24 hour race at Daytona was in 1966.
Le Mans
Rolex 24 - The 1st Race of 2018!

Jan 28 - While most of the country freezes, Florida
allows America to get an early start to the racing season.  
The 24-hour endurance race at the Daytona Interna-
tional Speedway took place this weekend.  

Like the 24-Hours of Le Mans, the Daytona race
consists of several different classes of cars, which are
each driven by a team of drivers.  

The Rolex 24 of  Daytona pulls a lot of drivers from
other series to compete.  Joining many IndyCar drivers
this year was F1 driver
Fernando Alonso.

The two Action Express Cadillac DPi Prototypes
dominated the race, with the No. 5 Mustang Sampling
car taking the win and setting an all-time distance record
in the process.  Driven by
Joao Barbosa, Christian
and Filipe Albuquerque, they completed a
record 808 laps, finishing one minute and 10 seconds
ahead of the 2nd place car - the No. 31 Action Express
team car driven by
Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran and
Mike Conway.

In the GT Le Mans class, the two Chip Ganassi Ford
GTs were absolutely dominant, and had other compet-
itors grousing that the Fords seemed much faster than
they were at the pre-event Roar Before the 24 event.
Taking the win was the No. 67 car of
Ryan Briscoe,
Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon, 11 seconds
ahead of the No. 66 of
Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and
Sebastien Bourdais.

The two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs were third and
fourth. The fastest laps of the Ford GTs and Corvettes
showed the Chevrolets running about a half-second

In GT Daytona, the No. 11 GRT Grasser Lamborghini
Huracan GT3 of
Mirko Bortolotti, Franck Perera,
Rolf Ineichen and Rik Breukers, took the brand’s first
24-hour class victory.

Alonso's Daytona debut was hardly a bust, as Alonso
and co-drivers drove competitively until mechanical
problems, mostly braking issues, slowed the No. 23
United Autosports Ligier. It finished 38th. Fifty cars
were entered.

Alonso complained that the rules didn’t favor the Ligier,
but he had fun, and learned a lot for a possible run in
the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “I love driving,” Alsonso said.
“When you can drive eight or nine hours in one race, it’s
better than when you can only drive one hour.” He said
he expects to come back: “It’s an iconic race, a presti-
gious, and it occurs in a part of year when we are quite
relaxed, preparing ourselves for the upcoming season.
But instead of being in the gym on a bicycle, you’re out
here driving.”

Certainly the biggest disappointment of the race was for
the two-car Mazda Prototype team, which quit racing
midway through the 2017 season to regroup, by firing
the SpeedSource team and hiring
Joest, the European
team responsible for multiple Audi Prototype wins.
Some new drivers were hired, the Multimatic chassis
was tweaked, the engine was modified, but the Mazdas
were in trouble from the opening hours on, starting with
losing a front wheel immediately after a pit stop, to a
serious fire in the engine bay. The No. 55 finished 46th,
and the No. 77 finished 47th.

Also a disappointment was the final race in the career of
five-time overall winner
Scott Pruett, co-driver of the
No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3. Pruett and the
rest of the team finished 36th, 33 laps behind the class
winner. “We hoped for a better outcome,” Pruett said,
“but I can’t complain about the career I’ve had here.”

After winning 10 karting titles and two IMSA GTO
championships, Pruett added CART to his resume and
won three SCCA Trans-Am titles. He won two races
with Pat Patrick and competed in four Indianapolis 500s
before Cal Wells recruited Pruett for his foray into
NASCAR in 2000.

Despite facing the challenges inherent to a start-up team,
Pruett qualified for 28 of 34 races that year. Over the
next eight seasons, he ran 12 additional races—all but
one on the road courses at Sonoma Raceway and
Watkins Glen.

But Pruett continued to shine the brightest in sports cars.
He amassed 60 wins and tied Hurley Haywood with a
record-five Rolex 24 at Daytona victories en route to
five Rolex Grand-Am championships.
Scott Pruett Retires
Jerry Sneva Dead at 69

Jan 29 - Jerry Sneva, the 1977 Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year, died Saturday, Jan. 27 in
Indianapolis. He was 69.

Sneva, a younger brother of 1983 Indianapolis 500
winner Tom Sneva, made five career starts in the
Indy 500.

Sneva went on to start in 28 Indy car races, placing in
the top 10 six times. Two weeks after finishing fifth at
Milwaukee in June 1979, Sneva posted his best career
finish with a fourth in the Pocono 500. He finished the
1979 season seventh in points.

Sneva was one of a dozen or so drivers who came to
the Midwest via a very competitive supermodified
series in the Pacific Northwest called the Canadian-
American Modified Racing Association. Other
notables from that series included Tom Sneva, Art
Pollard, Billy Foster, Jim Malloy, Dick Simon, Eldon
Rasmussen and Cliff Hucul.

Sneva is survived by his wife, Kathy, and children TJ
and Shelby.