Archive for September, 2022

Just a Few Tweaks for 2023

Posted in IndyCar on September 28, 2022 by Oilpressure

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The 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule was finally unveiled on Tuesday. Based on the hoopla that was produced on social media starting on Monday, after thinking it would’ve been released a few weeks ago – one might have thought there was a big surprise after waiting this long. If you were anticipating some big announcement on Tuesday, you were sadly mistaken.

The good news is that there were no disappointments. When there is a delay in the release of next year’s schedule, the fear is that there is a giant bombshell that the series is waiting for the right time to drop on us. That didn’t happen either.

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What we did get was a mildly tweaked version of the 2022 schedule, with a couple of date changes even when the order was the same as this year’s. For example, the 2023 season kicks off as usual at St. Petersburg – albeit one week later. Like this past season, Race Two is at Texas – a daytime race. But instead of being three weeks after St. Petersburg – Texas is a full four weeks after Race One. I’m sure IndyCar officials did their best to avoid that long span between the first two race, but to me – that’s inexcusable. Any momentum gained from the season-opener will be lost four weeks later.

For the next two months, nothing changes from the 2022 schedule. But after the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, June changes quite a bit. Detroit will run over the same weekend as last year, but at a different venue. After thirty years, the series will leave Belle Isle for a downtown track full of 90° turns. Since I’ve been scolded for sharing my dislike for Belle Isle on this site, I won’t pass judgment until I see a race from there. Besides, who am I to judge when I live in the city that has hosted the biggest crashfest of the season for the past two years?

Fortunately for those of us that attend every year – Road America has been moved back a week. After a grueling Month of May, it was tough to climb back in the car and drive to Wisconsin just two weeks after three weekends in a row at IMS. Next year, there will be a two-week gap between Detroit and Road America.

July will be almost identical to 2022, except that the Brickyard weekend moves back into August. That eliminates the tough stretch we saw last summer that had five races over four straight weekends.

The biggest changes to the 2023 schedule come in August. The Music City Grand Prix stays on the first weekend in August, after a two-week break following the double-header at Iowa. The Brickyard weekend is back to the week after Nashville, as opposed to before Nashville like it was this past season. There is a weekend break between the Brickyard and Gateway, which will be a week later next year.

The bad news for Gateway is that it will run on a Sunday, which means heat, and an afternoon race. Hopefully, it will be an early afternoon green flag to give those of us in attendance a chance to get back home at a decent hour. That also means there will be no night races for the second year in a row. Had Gateway not been rain-delayed this year, it would have finished in daylight. Next year, it sounds like it will finish in broad daylight. I’m not sure what is dictating the lack of night racing, but it is a big mistake.

The west coast swing begins one week later on Labor Day weekend at Portland; a week before the season finale at Laguna Seca.

The good news is the television coverage. Of the seventeen races, thirteen will be on network television – on Big NBC. Three will be on USA Network (Road America, Mid-Ohio and the Brickyard weekend. Toronto will again be shown exclusively on Peacock. Both days of the Indianapolis 500 Qualifying weekend will be shown on Big NBC, as opposed to only one this past season.

I’m not trying to sound like motorsports journalist with tons of sources, but I did talk to one well-informed person at Gateway that told me the 2023 schedule would be nearly the same as this year. That turned out to be correct. This same person also said that it sounds like the 2024 schedule will be drastically different. When I asked what that meant, he told me it meant some different dates and some different venues.

My take is the schedule is slightly better than the 2022 slate, simply because there are a couple of extra weekend breaks built in. Of course, there is also almost a month between the first and second races of the season. I don’t like the lack of a night race, but I am pleasantly surprised that there are still thirteen races on network television.

As mild as the tweaks were to the 2023 schedule, the conversation I had at Gateway last month has me curious what we’ll be talking about a year ago.Stay tuned.

George Phillips

Hoping For an IndyCar Return

Posted in IndyCar on September 26, 2022 by Oilpressure

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With their financial future a little bit up in the air, I was surprised when Carvana announced earlier this month, that they have agreed to sponsor Jimmie Johnson for 2023 in whatever racing series he chooses to be involved in.

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Leaving the Three-Ring Circus Behind

Posted in IndyCar on September 23, 2022 by Oilpressure

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Who said the offseason was dull? There was enough going on in the IndyCar world this week to last us a month. As has been the case lately, the common theme is McLaren

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Will Power and The Quan

Posted in IndyCar on September 21, 2022 by Oilpressure

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By Anonymous

Note from George:  On Monday night, I received an e-mail from an individual with an unsolicited post as an attachment. This person said I could do what I wished with it; either trash it or use it. If I used it there were two conditions – I would not pay for it, and the person had to remain completely anonymous.

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Having a Dream Snatched Away

Posted in IndyCar on September 19, 2022 by Oilpressure

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I don’t know of many drivers that have gone through the tug-of-war of emotions like Colton Herta has in the past year. Last fall, Michael Andretti was in talks to buy Alpha Romero’s Formula One team, just when it looked like the deal might go through, it didn’t. This past spring, Andretti campaigned for support among F1 teams to expand the number of teams by one. That had some momentum for a while, before flaming out. Colton Herta was the driver in Andretti’s mind, for both of these failed attempts to break into Formula One.

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Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Posted in IndyCar on September 16, 2022 by Oilpressure

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With apologies to The Who; the silliest of IndyCar silly seasons for 2023, got a little less silly on Wednesday when we learned that two high-profile drivers that have been in limbo, were confirmed for the seats they have occupied for the past two years. There is a common thread with both of them – McLaren.

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And Now, the Dreaded Offseason

Posted in IndyCar on September 14, 2022 by Oilpressure

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The last chapter for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series has been written and a new champion has been crowned, as we close the book on this season. The schedule for 2023 has not been released yet, but there are few surprises expected. Some dates may change – especially the season-opener at St. Petersburg. The 2022 season opened in late February. I think that next season may open a week or two later, but we won’t know for sure until the schedule is released.

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