News for the Week of March 31 – April 6, 2014

If you missed the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete, you can listen to the radio broadcast HERE, or watch a full race replay on-demand on ESPN3.

Matthew Brabham’s RACER Column: Learning Curves – In this installment of Matthew Brabham’s RACER.com column, he discusses the steep learning curves of this season, and even lists how his expectation of being one of the faster cars with a great chance of fighting for a top spot was diminished due to unexpected circumstances. Brabham remains confident going into the next race at Long Beach. Check out Mathew’s solid column on RACER. – RACER – (4/5/14)

Conor Daly starts GP2 season in 12th – Conor started 18th and finished 12th in Race 1 of the GP2 series in Bahrain.  His teammate started much 20th on the grid and ended up not finishing the race.  His fellow American Rossi finished 22nd. – GP2 – (4/5/14)

Zach Veach writes about St. Pete – Great perspective from the Indy Lights points leader on his off season training and his preparation for the first race weekend of the year. – RACER – (4/5/14)

RACER’s Marshall Pruett recaps St. Pete – Recaps Power’s methodical win in detail.  Speculates on Honda’s workaround for anti-lag bans.  Includes a wonderful rant on the stupid removal of double-file restarts.  Notes Kimball was limited to 5 cylinders. – RACER – (4/4/14)

Awesome old open wheel racing commercials – Sure it’s not news but there are some great old ads on here.  Be sure to read the comment section to catch them all.  Hopefully the addition of Verizon as a sponsor leads to increased attention and promotion from all associated sponsors.  These are very entertaining. – Jalopnik – (4/4/14)

David Letterman News – David Letterman announced today that he will be retiring from his “day” job of hosting the “Late Show” on CBS sometime in 2015. David Letterman, part owner of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar team, will be having a special IndyCar Series segment on his show tonight, so be sure to watch! UPDATE: Click the link to watch the segment on YouTube. – CBS/YouTube – (4/3/14)

INDYCAR Lists Manufacturer Point Breakdown – After one race INDYCAR has released a breakdown of the manufacturers points. Chevrolet earned 122 points, while Honda scored just 72. The format mirrors points awarded to the top five drivers and entrants in each race when running one of the four assigned engines allotted for the season. Bonus points are awarded for earning the Verizon P1 Award, leading the most laps and All drivers/entrants leading at least one lap. See the actual race breakdown on INDYCAR.com – INDYCAR – (4/3/14)

IndyCar Series to Remain at Long Beach Through 2018 – The contract for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be extended through 2018, according to the race’s organizer, but the city will open up bidding for the event in a move that could bring Formula One back to Southern California. – Long Beach Press-Telegram – (4/3/14)

Finish for Conway Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story – Conway, who started 12th in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car, charged to third midway through the 110-lap race and was poised to make a run on race leader Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay. But as others in the top 10 ducked in for service on Lap 77 under the first caution of the race, Conway didn’t hear the radio communication from the team’s pit stand and remained on the 1.8-mile street circuit.  He was credited with leading a lap but accidentally passed the pace car to enter the pit area on Lap 78, which led to a drive through penalty that essentially took him out of contention. – INDYCAR – (4/2/14)

Dario Franchitti will be on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” This Week – Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will be the guest this week on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” which was taped at the Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. – INDYCAR – (4/2/14)

RACER: St. Petersburg IndyCar Race Roundtable 2014 – The RACER Channel’s Robin Miller and rising IndyCar, GP2 and GP3 start Conor Day recap the opening round of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at St. Petersburg, FL – RACER – (4/2/14)

Conor Daly to race in GP2 this weekend – Conor will drive the No. 25 machine for Venezuela GP Lazurus in Bahrain.  Conor tested for the team in the offseason often outperforming his now-teammate. – Sky Sports – (4/2/14)

IMS and INDYCAR projecting revenue increases – Expected increases are said to be around 20-25%.  The main reasons for the increase added ticket sales (and a potential title sponsor) for the inaugural GP of Indianapolis, bigger concerts for the month of May, and the Verizon deal. – IBJ – (4/2/14)

RACER’s Robin Miller’s 4/2/14 Mailbag – Robin’s weekly Q&A covers a LOT this week.  Starts with the typical post-race topics of race control controversy (restarts and yellows) and commentary on the quality of TV coverage (which has good feedback).  Moves on to schedule possibilities, Robin’s thoughts on the Jr/Rahal swap, IndyCar promotion to young fans (mainly sprint/midget fans), and much more.  A good read after the first race of the season. – RACER – (4/2/14)

April 1st Edition of “Trackside” – Tonight, Curt and Kevin recap the season-opener at St. Petersburg. Later on, Kevin is joined by Robin Miller of NBCSN and RACER Magazine. Kevin and Curt also discuss Paul Tracy being added to the NBCSN team as an analyst, race ratings, and much more. You can listen to the podcast via iTunes or on 1070 The Fan’s Podcast Page. – 1070 The Fan – (4/1/14)

Hawksworth’s impressive debut cut short – Jack Hawksworth put on quite a show at St. Pete.  Though he won here there in 2013 in Indy Lights he came to the race as a massive unknown after being added to the BHA team late in the “silly season”.  He then finished mid-pack in each practice session and narrowly missed out on the fast six in qualifying.  Come race time he attempted the most exciting pass of the race going three wide with Marco and Montoya.  His race come to an unfortunate end when he and Marco were the victims of the accordion first restart.  “It wasn’t the end to the race that we wanted, unfortunately,” said Hawksworth. “It was really out of our control and took us out of the race. I just want to say that the guys did a great job. We had some really good pace on the reds and I think that’s promising, going forward. Now we just go to Long Beach and hopefully we get what we deserve but overall it was a positive day up until then.” – NBC Sports – (4/1/14)

NBC announces their Verizon IndyCar Series TV Schedule and commentary team – Paul Tracy will serve as an analyst for six races this year starting at Long Beach.  Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, and Wally Dallenbach Jr. all return from last year; though Dallenbach Jr. will be there for only select races.  Kelli Stavast will be a pit reporter on-site at all races this season.  The Texas race on 6/7/14 will be on CNBC now. – NBC Sports – (4/1/14)

Chevy Might let Dale Earnhardt drive a Honda – Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star reports that Honda will consider letting Dale Earnhardt Jr. drive a Honda if the “Ride Swap” talks continue. Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles for Chevrolet, at St. Pete stated: “At the time Kurt did his (IndyCar rookie test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year) we were aligned with Andretti (Autosport),” Campbell said. “We were certainly hoping Kurt would be able to find a Chevy team to run with this year, but we understood that these deals take a long time to work out.” – Indianapolis Star – (3/31/14)

“Four Decades of Racing” Exhibit at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – A special “Four Decades of Racing in the Streets” display is available to the public in the Promenade Atrium of the Long Beach Convention Center. – RACER – (3/31/14)

Power restart OK’d by Derrick Walker – “We all thought that first restart looked very slow but, after looking at the replays and car data following the race, there was no brake checking by Will or slowing down,” said Walker, IndyCar’s president of competition and operations. “He brought the field down at the pace car speed and accelerated exactly where he was supposed to and it was a good restart. And Johnny (Rutherford, pace car driver) did exactly as we asked him and pulled off late.” – RACER – (3/31/14)

Ganassi considering adding Karam for fifth car at Indy – American Sage Karam is with Chip’s sports car program and has performed well this season.  He says Sage is the only driver he’d consider for a fifth car for the 500.  “Not yes, not no,” Ganassi said. “We’re working on it. We have a driver that obviously deserves a shot at it.  I don’t have any issue about getting a fifth car qualified at Indy. That’s not my concern at all.  My concern is getting him out of the pits six or seven times cleanly, and getting him out of the pits in a timely manner.” – AUTOSPORT – (3/31/14)

Derrick Walker talks about INDYCAR’s future – Walker talks about the future including the possibility of standard tubs and gearboxes and allowing modifications to the rest of the aerodynamic parts.  “I think we need to have different looks and shapes and brands, but I’m not sure that the key components shouldn’t be consistent on all cars. I see that as a practical, safe and cost-effective way for us to manage the diversity and creativity that we’re looking for without having to go all the way back to the way it was in the nineties. Quite frankly, I just don’t see any other way until we get much stronger, healthier and richer, and more people are watching.”  Then shifts his focus to the need for increased safety and improvement on INDYCAR’s street courses.  “We make recommendations to the promoters who get FIA approval to run their races. They’ve done things in a certain way for years and we’re not asking them to change the world, but there is some low-hanging fruit we can address.”  There’s much more in the whole story.  A must read for any fan of the sport! – Gordon Kirby – (3/31/14)

Motor Sports Talk notes from the Firestone GP of St. Pete – Quotes from RHR, Helio, Sato, and Montoya. – NBC Sports – (3/31/14)

Highlights from the Firestone GP of St. Pete – Below. – INDYCAR – (3/31/14)

Montoya solid in return to IndyCar – “I thought it went pretty well,” Montoya said. “We were just burning up the rear tires. We learned. We passed some people, some people passed us. There’s a few things we have to do better. But I didn’t feel my pace was too bad at the end. When I was pushing, my pace was good. I was keeping up.” – USA Today – (3/31/14)

Will Power wins the first race of the season – “Man, I am drained mentally, that was a tough race,” said Power. “But it’s a great way to start the season and the series relationship with Verizon.”  The race did have some drama when Power slowly led the field to the green after the first caution resulting in a crash involving Andretti and Hawksworth. – RACER – (3/31/14)

Official Results from the Firestone GP of St. Pete – Full results at the link. – INDYCAR – (3/31/14)

Zach Veach wins his first Indy Lights race – American Zach Veach won his first Indy Lights race of his career at the season opening event at St. Pete. He used a first turn pass over Gabby Chaves to bring home the victory for Andretti Autosport. “This winter I spent a lot of time trying to get more physically strong because I felt that was my weakness, and spent a lot of time doing mental things and came into the season with a whole new attitude. I think it paid off for us,” said Veach. – Indy Lights – (3/31/14)

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