We’re just a few days away from the month of May, otherwise known as the biggest and best month in racing–in Indianapolis. While IndyCar enjoys a short break before things get going at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there’s still racing to look forward to this weekend. Back to Baku anyone?
Sweet Rainy Alabama
There was a want (and need) to write a full article on Josef Newgarden’s win at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama this week, however, there will not be one. Why? For the race, the most controversial thing that happened was the red flag and postponement of the race to Monday afternoon due to heavy rain showers and incredibly poor, near no visibility.
Newgarden had the race almost immediately and led over 70 of the laps. The craziest thing that happened was Zachary Claman DeMelo pulling off some crazy passes in the first part of the returned Monday afternoon race, and his bump/push “incident” with Spencer Pigot, where he basically was pushing him down the track and then they just split and kept driving. It felt as if like they had a weird cheat code in a video game…. However, this win brings the current IndyCar Champion back to the top of the Championship standings for the 2018 season, with Alexander Rossi only 13 points behind.
This is Indy. This is May.
Now that Barber is done, we can look forward to this coming week, when Tuesday is May 1st and the beginning of the “Greatest Month in Racing” in IndyCar. Rookie testing, followed by the Indy Grand Prix, Qualifying and Bump Day weekend and then the Superbowl of races, the Indy 500 closes out the month. To kick it off, Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and IndyCar team owner (and driver) Ed Carpenter, put the finishing touches to the J.W. Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, with the 102nd Indy 500 graphic, along with “This is Indy. This is May.” The graphic, stands over 16 stories high, and can be seen just about anywhere in downtown. It’s a welcoming feature when you’re headed in for any festivities for the month of May.
Thousands of fans worldwide became more familiar with the rookie testing after Formula 1’s shining Spanish driver, Fernando Alonso, took to the magnificent oval last year for his very first rookie test. This test though, happens every year, not just for Formula 1 stars looking to make their mark on the “Triple Crown” of racing. April 30 – May 2 will be the testing for rookies and the refresher course for some of the older returned drivers, including that of Danica Patrick, returning for a last hurrah race before retiring from racing. Hopefully IndyCar will be airing these tests as they did last year. Stay tuned for more information regarding times and where to find your way to watch testing!
Dixon to challenge on American Ninja Warrior
Remember when Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly put their physical skills to the test on American Ninja Warrior? They didn’t advance past the first round, but they did showcase their uh…physical piqueness, and now Scott Dixon plans to see how far he can get in the competition. The 10th season’s first round will film in Monument Circle in Indianapolis April 29-30, with the actual Indianapolis show airing June 18, just a couple weeks following the Indy 500.
IndyCar Grand Prix, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 12
It’s finally here–the Month of May is upon us and IndyCar kicks it off after a few weeks of rest with the IndyCar GP. Last year was a little on the quiet side and a bit uneventful, with Will Power taking the win, joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon for the podium. Thanks to the new aero kits, there is a ton of promise going into this year’s race. Hopefully this means a little more shake up on track as we also see the likes of (figure out which drivers these are) adding to the group. Also, GpGrl will be there in person, so be prepared for some updates on the Twitter and Instagram pages.
Steiner decides to choose some more fighting words…
As if Guenther Steiner, team principle of the Haas Formula 1 Team, hasn’t said enough to mar whatever relationships he may have had with other series’, he’s certainly making enemies with the IndyCar Series.
This week, in “Things Steiner Says,” he comments on the possibility of making Formula 1 more of a spec series to make it more accessible and competitive for the teams that well, don’t make the money like the winning Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull teams do.
Quoted: “If F1 goes [towards] spec cars I think it is the end of F1.
“As much as we don’t think people are interested, a lot of people are interested in technology, not only in racing. And I think F1 is a good showcase for technology.
“We should not dumb F1 down like IndyCar, because then you have got GP1 and we know where that one is going.”
What Steiner doesn’t understand though, is we’ve had insanely close finishes and a mix of drivers win the races in IndyCar this year already, including a rookie leading two of the races. When was the last time we saw a rookie lead a race in F1? Although, Lance Stroll did get that freak podium in Baku last year…
Azerbaijan GP, Sunday, April 29, 8:10AM ET on ESPN
Last year, Baku entered a Twilight Zone-esque finish. Daniel Ricciardo wins and Lance Stroll gets his first podium? Force India takes each other out, a red flag is issued due to the extreme amount of debris on the track from all the incidents, along with the infamous “brake check” with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Here’s to hoping perhaps it’s not as chaotic, but it is Baku, and between that narrow turn next to the castle among other parts of the circuit–it may just end up a little odd this year as well.
Paris E-Prix, Saturday, April 28 9:30AM ET on FOX Sports 1
Readers, I’ve dropped the ball on Formula E this month, but hoping to catch us back up. If you haven’t already started following the series, take the thrills and competitive edge you see in IndyCar and just throw it into what sounds like a bunch of open-wheel RC cars whirring around for 45 minutes. It’s splendid and you will not be disappointed.
Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, Sunday, May 6
Quick note, GpGrl will be live and trackside watching the special one-off race return to Mid-Ohio next week. Be sure to follow on Twitter @GpGrlTweets, and Instagram @GpGrlPhoto, for live coverage.