Sport IndyCar Notebook: Offseason Week 3, Tracks

22:05  12 october  2017
22:05  12 october  2017 Source:   Read Sport

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There was quite a lot done in the nine days since Newgarden was crowned IndyCar champion, so in this week ’s Notebook we’ll look at the team confirmations from the first week of the IndyCar offseason .

IndyCar Notebook : Offseason Week 1, CGR confirmations. While IndyCar drivers revel in the long offseason to do non- IndyCar related wedding things. Marco Andretti getting married with IndyCar drivers in attendance (Congratulations Marco)

In this week’s edition of the IndyCar Notebook, it is all about the where the cars drive not the cars themselves or the drivers or the teams. In this entry of an all-track Notebook, we’ll look at the tracks that are making headlines this offseason (for better or worse) and a preview of the 2018 IndyCar schedule.

So let’s get to the Notebook!

Phoenix Raceway gets a new name

Phoenix Raceway, officially Phoenix International Raceway is already undergoing a $178 million renovation; scheduled for completion in March 2018. If the IndyCar Phoenix race stays toward the end of April—as in 2017—IndyCar will be the first major race series to drive the newly renovated track. The biggest change for drivers will be a new start-finish line.

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IndyCar Notebook : Offseason Week 1, CGR confirmations 2018 IndyCar will require a tire rethink on some tracks . Firestone Racing’s chief engineer and manager of race tire development, Cara Adams, says that the new universal aerokit will require modified tire

Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport © Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport

It was in late September that PIR will be branded ISM Raceway in 2018. The corporate sponsor is ISM Connect which according to its website, “Is the world’s leading provider of digital engagement solutions for Fans, Brands and Venues.” The naming rights deal is $100 million for 10 years. Possibly done to offset some the renovation costs, which is not uncommon in North American sports.

California fires reach Sonoma

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images Sport © Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images Sport Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images Sport

Northern California wildfires have reached Sonoma Raceway. The IndyCar season finale since 2015. Track officials say the circuit is not in immediate danger and have even opened up Sonoma as a temporary shelter for victims.

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So, there’s been a full week now complete since the Verizon IndyCar Series season ended at Sonoma Raceway. The offseason is now underway. Almost all the first round of pieces have been written or filmed in the wake of Josef Newgarden’s popular first championship

Track president and general manager Steve Page released the following in regards to the fires and the track.

“All of us at Sonoma Raceway extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to those who have been touched by the devastating North Bay fires.

Our facilities team and a number of local fire companies have been battling grassland fires on Cougar Mountain and elsewhere around our property, and at this point it does not appear any of the raceway’s structures or other facilities are at immediate risk. We appreciate all of the good wishes that have flooded in from friends around the state and country.”

Pocono will return in 2018

Pocono Raceway will return in 2018. The Trick Triangle is schedule for a mid-August race. Therefore organizers are expecting an August 18/19 race date. Final dates will be confirmed when IndyCar releases the official 2018 schedule.

Is Watkins Glen causing schedule delays

According to , Watkins Glen may or may not be part of the 2018 IndyCar calendar. Robin Miller of RACER says that if Watkins Glen goes due to a lack of enthusiasm for its return, a Champ Car (CART) throwback might replace it. Portland.

IndyCar Notebook: Offseason Week 2, Driver movement

  IndyCar Notebook: Offseason Week 2, Driver movement IndyCar got back to business this week, the teams anyway, confirming who will drive where and when. There were a few notable names involved in just the last 48 hours. International names. A Briton and two Brazilians. Can you guess who? If not, that’s why I’m here, onto the Notebook! Stefan Wilson gets Indianapolis 500 drive Twitter: Congrats @stef_wilson! #INDYCAR #Indy500 https://t.co/cCDTbzWvLz (@IndyCar) The 28-year-old Briton will get his shot at Indy 500 immortality with Andretti Autosport this year. Wilson’s return to Andretti for the Indy 500 was a foregone conclusion; as the Briton’s exclusion from last year’s Indy 500 was part of the Fernando Alonso deal. It was widely reported that Wilson, the younger brother of the late Justin Wilson, gave up his Indy drive with Andretti to allow space for Alonso with stipulation that he return. It’ll be interesting to see what Wilson can do at the Indy 500 and whether it’ll lead to a full-time drive in the near future. Wilson does have prior IndyCar experience, he drove one race for Dale Coyne Racing in 2013 and drove at the centennial Indy 500 in 2016. In addition, he has four years of Indy Lights experience; his best year being 2011 with Andretti, where he won two races and came 3rd in the Indy Lights championship. Tony Kanaan confirmed at A.J Foyt The 2013 Indy 500 winner will be joining his fifth IndyCar team in 16 years. It announced earlier this morning, that the 42-year-old Brazilian’s move to A.J.

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Darrell Ingham/Getty Images Sport © Darrell Ingham/Getty Images Sport Darrell Ingham/Getty Images Sport

For those too young to remember, Portland was an CART-sanctioned race from 1984 until 2007; a year before CART and the Indy Racing League unified to become present-day IndyCar. If it happens, Sebastien Bourdais would be the only current driver to win at Portland; having done so in 2004 and 2007. Confirmation on whether Watkins Glen stays or if it’s a Portland comeback, when IndyCar releases the official schedule.

Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix © Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix

SPM: Hinchcliffe and Wickens together in 2018 .
After months of speculation and telling reporters that he’s interviewing ‘a multitude of drivers’, Sam Schmidt, owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has confirmed James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens for 2018. The move was expected within SPM. Wickens, 28, coming from Mercedes DTM, was part of a drive-swap promotion with Hinchcliffe and had created a friendly rapport with his fellow Canadian driver and SPM as a whole. The move also comes as Mercedes is winding down its DTM program, choosing to focus on Formula 1 and Formula E. In six seasons in DTM, Wickens won six races, and made the podium 15 times. SPM hope that with Wickens they have a pair that gives the team, stability and speed. The all-Canadian pairing will be one to watch in 2018, as Hinchcliffe and Wickens prepare to take on IndyCar giants Andretti Autosport and Team Penske. The reigning Indianapolis 500-winning team and IndyCar championship-winning team, respectively. Hinchcliffe is excited about the prospect of racing with Wickens, again. Tweeting a photo of the two as team-mates in A1 Grand Prix in 2008-09, with the caption “Welcome to the team, old friend.” Twitter: Welcome to the team, old friend. https://t.co/jmLYWu71DK (@Hinchtown) Schmidt told reporters that Wickens was a driver that they always had an eye on. “We’re all very pleased to have Robert on board, and not just because he’s another Canadian,” he said.

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