Last night Indycar presented its end of season celebration, an elegant award presentation at the Hilbert Circle Theater in downtown Indianapolis. Simon Pagenaud was the star of the show for his incredible year. He received the Verizon P1 Award for the most poles and the Astor Cup for winning the series championship. Will Power and Helio Castroneves also received trophies for second and third place.
Conor Daly won the Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award for passing the most cars during the year. That award title needs work. Charlie Kimball received an award for completing the most laps.
Several drivers were not present. James Hinchcliffe was occupied with Dancing With the Stars, and some drivers from Florida were at home preparing the coming hurricane.
The highlight of the ceremony was the Most popular Driver Award, won by Bryan Clauson.His fiancee, Lauren Stewart, accepted the award.
” He would say he’s not really an Indycar driver, and he would be honored that you think of him as one, ” she told the crowd following a standing ovation.
It was a fun night. I saw many friends from out of state who came in for the presentation. It was nice to catch up with them one more time before Indycar’s still too long off season. It’s only five months and seven days until St. Pete.
The Red Bull Air Race
Last weekend IMS hosted the Red Bull Air Races. It was strange being at the track and seeing cars drive around. But there were many typical elements of a race. Pilots made mental errors and tactical mistakes. Matthias Dolderer, the race winner who clinched the season title Sunday, was Will Power-like on his determined runs to set the best time.
The format of the race is similar to Indycar road course qualifying. It is a three round knock out system, ending with a final round of four. The planes fly on their sides until they come a gate, where they must become level with only a ten degree tolerance. It sounds easy, but it wasn’t always. I was impressed with how quickly the planes straightened out as they approached the gates.
While the racing was fun and exciting, there was two hour gap between the first round and the last two segments. When they return next year, I would like to see some more track activity to fill some of the down time. The races are quite short and something needs to keep the fans entertained between rounds.
Other than the down time, it was another great event put on by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The crowd was around 40,000. It will be interesting to see if it grows next year. With more activity, I think it’s possible. Next year’s event is slated for October 15-16.
Silly Season Update
This morning the worst kept secret in the paddock became official. Josef Newgarden will drive the 2 car for Roger Penske next year. This was long rumored and may have been a done deal sometime during the season.
Late last week, Alexander Rossi was confirmed to stay with Andretti-Herta Autosport in the 98.
Seats that are or may still be open by car number:
21, 20(road course), 41, 14?, 10?, 19, 18? 11, 26?, 8?
Stay tuned. Newgarden’s signing is just the beginnning.