Racing season is finally, truly here as we gear up for the 2018 IndyCar season kicking off in St. Petersburg, FL. While we can speculate how that race is going to end, those new, racier body kits promise a mix-up compared to prior seasons. From St. Pete, get ready for a race weekend, just about every weekend.
Photo by Chris Jones from IndyCar media. Conor Daly on the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with U.S. Air Force’s Major McKnight and Sergeant Williams.
Conor Daly will run in the Indy 500
The #TeamIndyCar, coined “former IndyCar” driver through his stint on The Amazing Race this season, is no longer former, but after tireless months of working for ride, will be back on the field in May with Dale Coyne Racing driving the No. 17 U.S. Air Force-sponsored Honda. Daly, son of former F1 and IndyCar driver Derek Daly, was informed he lost his seat on A.J. Foyt’s team after having finished fourth on the reality show.
From The Mayor to Off Track
This week, James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi announced the upcoming debut of their “Off Track with Hinch and Rossi” podcast. The new podcast debuts March 22, highlighting the lives of drivers, as well as talking to people on how they’ve achieved their greatness.
The show replaces Hinchcliffe’s “The Mayor On-Air” podcast, which featured Hinchcliffe talking to drivers nearly every race weekend about not only their performance on the track, but featured quizzes like “How Canadian are you?” and a segment called “Trick or Tweet,” of which drivers could perform an elaborate magic trick for the audience OR answer tweets from fans.
IndyCar in St. Pete
The time is finally here and IndyCar kicks off the 2018 season in St. Petersburg, Florida. If you had a chance to listen to GpGrl’s other home, “The Extra Mile” podcast this week, you heard us talking about the upcoming season opener. The playing field is somewhat leveled with the new Dallara body kits. What to watch: Penske’s No. 1 driver, Josef Newgarden will be hoping to defend his 2017 IndyCar Champion title going into the weekend. Sebastien Bourdais, should be back and stronger than ever after his horrific crash during Indy 500 qualifying last May. Bourdais had a spectacular win in St. Pete last year and had a promising season until his crash. Other drivers to look out for is anyone on the Penske side of things, being Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, as well as the usual other top contender, Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon. Two other promising and possible first-place finishers would be Andretti’s 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi and Ganassi’s Ed Jones, who earned Rookie of the Year for the 2017 season and had an impressive 3rd place finish in last year’s Indy 500. Both had close and promising finishes last season, and with the new cars and another year, could be title contenders for 2018. But with the new car, it could really be anyone’s game.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Sunday at 12:30 p.m. EST
Find it on ABC.
F1 Testing, Week 2
Things continually get more interesting on the Barcelona circuit as the Formula 1 teams continue into their second week of testing. Things to be excited about: Red Bull has been showing incredible improvements on their cars from last year and appear to be keeping up or bettering Mercedes’ times. Daniel Ricciardo posted some of the best times last week. This means a potential third contender for the 2018 Championship, if Ferrari can recover with the new car and start strong like they did last season. Toro Rosso continues to run impressive laps on what was thought to be the poorest performing engine on the grid. As of last week, the second Red Bull team ran the most laps of the entire first week of testing sans the woes of McLaren’s miserable 2018 season. Meanwhile…things to be wary on: McLaren problems continue and the issues keep coming. The problem isn’t looking to be caused by a faulty engine/power unit, which was the whole of the complaints during the 2017 season, and the reason for the ugly breakup between the team and the Honda supplier. As noted, Toro Rosso is performing without fail on the 2018 Honda engine, and Red Bull has seen considerable performance on the Renault engine. Is it actually McLaren?
New starts for the 2018 season
New from Formula 1, it was announced this week a new regulation has been issued concerning restarts after a red flag, where race director Charlie Whiting will be able to choose whether cars will restart the race from a standing start like the race start, or continue with a rolling start that has been used in prior years. The decision will be based on track conditions. Restarts from a standing stop could be concerning seeing as proper tire heat will be lost at the stand-still.
Australian GP, March 27
Abt takes exciting first win in Mexico
The Mexico E-Prix finished with a surprise as Mahindra Racing’s Daniel Abt took his first-ever win for the Audi team. The race looked to be in the hands of Mahindra driver, Felix Rosenqvist, until his car stopped on track on the 15th lap, ending his lead and race. Abt is now sixth in the Championship, while Rosenqvist, although having not finished, is still holding onto second place with 69 points. Stay tuned for more surrounding the Mexico E-Prix later this week.
2018 CBMM Niobium Punta del Este E-Prix, March 17
IMSA returns next week for the 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.