Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm not gone ... honest (or, the Jan. 21 newsstand)

... and neither is this blog. (for those of you who don't know ... my day job is high school teacher + basketball coach. I have coached in 11 games since Jan. 3, so time to update this has been somewhat nonexistent).

Anyway, my apologies for being gone during Silly Season madness ...

Some updates
Changes for 2008
Four-lap qualifying at all ovals is one of the biggest changes for the 2008 season.
Road course qualifying will stay the same, with the Firestone Fast 6 deciding the top spots. The multi-position fuel setting will be back ... rather than the "green" and "yellow" setting that existed last year. The Infineon course has also been changed. Major sponsor deals have already been signed with Peak Motor Oil. Coca-Cola and Mac Tools are in the offing.

Drivers wanted
66 drivers showed up at the preseason physical/meet-and-greet/driver meeting last week, both ICS and IPS drivers.

17 did promo photos, including Sarah Fisher. Fisher said she doesn't have enough things in place to announce anything yet, but Sarah Fisher Racing is still being put together.

Going to the dark side

Dan Wheldon is still interested in NASCAR, but his plans are taking a back seat, at least for 2008.
Says Dan: "I'm going to worry about the (Indy) 500, and then we'll evaluate (NASCAR) toward the end of the year. Hopefully, I can put myself in position with a performance next year to push my weight around and say what I want to do." (translation: if he has a good year, he's gone).

Not that we all didn't know this anyway, but Dario Franchitti was going to retire from OW racing after last year. Just to set the record straight, you know.

Who is going to fill the Panther seat?
Champ Car's Speedy Dan Clarke, who has made headlines with his, um, aggressive driving, has been sniffing around for the job.

Who is going to fill the Vision seat?
We know Ed Carpenter is in the 20 car, but who is going to be in the 2? Scheckter & Foyt were both told they could shop for rides in the off-season, but Tomas was MIA when the IRL meetings took place a couple of weeks ago and A.J. Foyt IV is joining Carpenter and John Andretti for the Rolex 24 in Vision's car.

Indy one-offs: Rubicon Racing
We mentioned this team earlier, but Jason Priestley and Jim Freudenberg are putting together a team for Indy 2008. Former IRL team owner Tom Kelley is also on the advisory board. With Freudenberg and Kelley on the docket, could Scott Sharp be the driver?

IPS news
This is HUGE news, with Atlantics champ Raphael Matos turning down $2 million to run in Champ Car and instead signing with AGR to run in the IPS
Says Matos: "I have $2 million and it's two weeks before pre-season testing begins and I had nothing in Champ Car except one offer from a bad team."

Richard Antinucci, the nephew of former Indy winner Eddie Cheever, has tested with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for 2008's IPS season, and has no plans to run in the IndyCar series. Yet. 2009 is more likely for the young American.

There will be lots of estrogen in the IPS pits, withBrazilian Ana Beatriz and Swiss driver Cyndie Allemann joining Leilani Munter in the series.

Star Mazda champ James Davidson has also tested with Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Brent Sherman is one of several drivers who have tested Panther's IPS car

The dancing champ
Newly-minted dancing celebrity Helio Castroneves stopped by the Detroit Auto Show.

People driving elsewhere
The Rolex 24 of Daytona will have an IRL flavor. Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and John Andretti will drive the Vision Racing entry. Alex Lloyd, Scott Dixon & Dan Wheldon are running a Ganassi car. Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves will team with Kurt Busch for the Penske car. Milka Duno and Tomas Enge will drive a SAMAX entry. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Buddy Rice are also entered in two other teams.

Sponsor stuff
Time-Warner is sponsoring the Kansas race this year, which will be the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300

And finally
The 2008 season begins with a salvo from John Oreovicz, who basically blames everything that has to do with the IndyCar Series for all that ails open-wheel racing. Responses predictably flowed in, from ESPN.com readers, and Diecast Dude at Restrictor Plate This. But the best response was crafted by Jeff Ianucci at MyNameIsIRL. That led to a response from Oreo himself, and an interview with MNIIRL.

Meanwhile, Robin Miller thinks Champ Car should just give up the ghost.


2 comments:

Jake said...

Did you see who is sponsoring Milka Duno in the Rolex 24 hour race at daytona?
http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/080122/0350925.html

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