Bulletin: Mazda Ends Partnership with Andersen Promotions and Road to Indy

Just announced: Mazda has ended its nine year association with Andersen Promotions, promoter of the Road to Indy which sanctions USF2000, Pro Mazda, and Indy Lights.

A statement from John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports, said it was time for Mazda to focus its “resources on other areas of our motorsports footprint.” Mazda will continue its association with Andersen Promotions through the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup series.

Dan Andersen thanked Mazda for their participation and said his company is committed to maintaining the ladder structure currently in place.

” We are currently in discussions with several potential companies as we actively pursue a new partner.”

I have no doubt Dan Andersen can find a new partner. I have no idea which companies he is talking with. I doubt if Honda or Chevy are involved. Could it be someone who is also interested in being a third OEM for Indycar? Possibly but not likely. A manufacturer involved in both series would give the appearance of having an advantage with the information gained in the Road to Indy program.

Mazda has been a great partner. I hope the next engine partner will further the program and help strengthen Indy Lights.

I will have more as this story develops.

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Quick Thoughts on Mid Ohio

I am so impressed with the drivers that have come into the series the last three years. It was an impressive win for Alexander Rossi, and a good drive to second for Robert Wickens.

Rossi’s fuel saving drive was Dixon-like.

Scott Dixon is now 46 points ahead of Rossi, who leaps to second. Rossi expressed confidence he has time to take the lead.

Disappointed to see Max Chilton not take advantage of his sixth place starting spot.

Conor Daly ran another good race for Harding. A shame he ran out of fuel on the last lap. If a team needs to develop a car, Daly is the driver they want.

The attendance was the best I’ve seen at Mid Ohio since my first year there in 2008.

Sebastien Bourdais put on quite a show coming from last to a top ten on a track where passing is difficult. Not many of his position gains were in the pits.

Dixon did what he needed to do, hang close and get another top 5.

The cloudy skies and cooler temperatures allowed more grip contributing to the surprisingly caution free race..

My more detailed race report will be up no later than tomorrow morning on

wildfireradiosports.com

 

 

Race Day- Honda Indy 200

Good morning race fans. This afternoon’s race at Mid Ohio could be an action packed affair. If the trend of cars going off track that we saw in practice and qualifying continues, we could see several full course yellows.  Depending on when cautions occur, they could have a big effect on pit strategy. A yellow on lap 6 is different than one on lap 15, which would be the start of the first pit window.

Things to Watch For

How much if any will points positions two through five change? How big will  Scott Dixon’s lead be after the race? Dixon still has a chance to win from ninth.  Alexander Rossi looks to become the third multiple race winner this season.

If the race is caution free, who does that favor? Team Penske is known for their great pit work, and Tim Cindric has made some great calls getting Josef Newgarden in the pits at the proper time. however, there have been times at Mid-Ohio when Team Penske has stayed out too long and been caught by a  full course caution. We might see some teams playing it very close to the vest on pit windows.

How will Max Chilton perform from Carlin’s best starting spot? Charlie Kimball finished fifth for the team at Toronto. Can the team keep its momentum?

How will Pietro Fittipaldi do in his first race since his injury?

Can Graham Rahal move up and contend in his home race? His victory in 2015 was a very popular one.

Some Good Schedule News

Iowa will be a Saturday night race again in 2019.  The race is scheduled for July 20, two weeks later than the date it has held. I think we will see a lot of races with new dates next year.  I also heard Detroit may not be the week after the 500.

Quick Thoughts on Mid Ohio Qualifying

Alexander Rossi is the master of the banzai one lap qualifying run. Similar to his pole at Watkins Glen, Rossi waited until he last possible moment to get in one flying lap.

The red flag plague continued in qualifying. Hinchcliffe’s incident probably cost Scott Dixon and maybe one other driver a chance at the Fast Six.  My thought is if you see a trend developing, stay ahead of it. Bourdais’ accident in Round 1 should have served as a warning. get your laps in an don’t wait, especially on a weekend like this.

Great for Carlin and Max Chilton getting their first trip to the Fast Six. Chilton said that testing here helped. Carlin will test at every remaining track except Pocono.

Rossi has three poles this season. He won Long Beach from the pole and was in position to win at Detroit until Ryan Hunter-Reay forced him into a mistake. He should be strong tomorrow.

The red flag stoppages the last two days point to some full course cautions tomorrow. Pit strategy may decide the winner.

Rossi said he knew the tires had just one lap in them. I’m sure it was nerve wracking waiting considering the session could have been stopped before he went out.

A full qualifying story will be up later tonight on

wildfireradiosports.com

 

Mid Ohio Qualifying Day

Welcome to Day 2 at Mid Ohio. Indycar practices at 10 am and then qualifying begins at 1:35. The qualifying session will be carried live on NBCSN beginning at 1:30.

Drivers are hoping for an uninterrupted practice session this morning. Scott Dixon said last night that he was hampered by the red flags in really finding speed.in yesterday’s start and stop sessions.

The track has added some new features this year. First, the main entrance road up to the infield bridge has been repaved.  A new Victory podium has been built. There is a new digital scoring pylon located in turn 6, which doubles as a Verizon cell tower. See the photos below.

I will be back here later with some quick thoughts on qualifying. My full report on the day will appear on Wildrieradiosports.com later tonight. I also posted my Day 1 summary on wildfire last night. Check it out.

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The new Victory Lane Podium at Mid Ohio
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The scoring pylon and cell tower

Good Morning From Mid Ohio

TheMid Ohio weekend begins in one hour with MX5 Cup practice. Indycar’s first practice is ar 11.

I will have quick thoughts occasionally in this site but my full articles will be on wildfireradiosports.com.

I will also be live tweeting action on this site’s account, @PitWindow. If you aren’t following that account, please do.

Enjoy the weekend.

 

Indycar News and Notes

Programming note- Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio will be televised live on CNBC at 3 pm ET and re-aired on NBCSN at 6:30 pm Sunday.

It seems as if Indycar has a news item or two every day lately. Here are a few tidbits.

Mo Nunn

Mo Nunn died last Wednesday after battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Nunn was the engineer who helped Chip Ganassi’s team first taste success with Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya. Mike Hul credits Nunn for his current success Ganassi has.

A former Formula 1 driver and team owner, Nunn also owned teams in CART and the IRL. Tony Kanaaan drove for Nunn in CART before going to Andretti Green in 2003.

My friend George Phillips wrote a nice tribute to Nunn on Monday. you can read it here:

https://oilpressure.wordpress.com/

Mid Ohio Features Return of Three Drivers

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio will see the return of Jack Harvey in the number 60 Meyer-Shank racing entry. This is a home race for Michael Shank, who is looking to eventually become a full time Indycar team.

Pietro Fittipaldi, recovered from fracturing both legs in a practice accident at Spa two months ago, returns to the 19 car for Dale Coyne Racing. His absence allowed Zachary Claman De Melo toget more time in the car. DeMelo did a nice job. I’d like to see him in a full time ride.

Conor Daly will again be driving for Harding Racing. He took Gabby Chaves’ place in Toronto, giving the team its best qualifying and finishing position of the year. Chaves is still under contract with the team through 2019. He will be back in the car at some point. The team is pleased with the technical information Daly is providing. Harding is hopeful of having a two car team next season.

Rahal Says Steak n Shake May Return

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing owner Bobby Rahal said that Steak n Shake may return as a sponsor of Graham Rahal’s car in the future. The company withdrew this year to redirect funds elsewhere. It would be great to see them back. Steak n Shake did a lot of activation with signs and prerace weekend appearances by Rahal at their restaurants.

Wildfire Sports is My Home for Mid Ohio

I will be reporting for Wildfire Sports this weekend Friday through Sunday. You can find my columns at wildfireradiosports.com.

I will post quick thoughts here and live tweet during the weekend. Follow along on the blog’s Twitter account @PitWindow.

Mid Ohio usually produces some big announcements about the next season.  Stay tuned