It’s MAY. Welcome to the best month in racing. That’s all you need to know.
Also, May the 4th be with you….
(Image: Simon Pagenaud stands with his greatest work of art in the #INDYCARautographbattle. From IndyCar media.)
Just as things were starting to cool off, it appears the shenanigans have hit an all-time high between Penske drivers Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud. Usually the month of May is notoriously filled with many pranks and battles between drivers (note Conor Daly’s RV filled with cups and balloons, or the horn trick played on several of the drivers including Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti).
Newgarden kicked off the week (and month) by awaiting the placement of Simon Pagenaud’s street name (and if you’re not familiar with the tradition, downtown Indianapolis, changes the street signs to driver’s names participating in the Indy 500), and signed it.
Pagenaud, in grandeur fashion, hoisted himself up the side of IMS to paint his signature onto Newgarden’s banner–one of the many driver’s banners that surround the Speedway during the month of May. Pagenaud also signed Josef’s cut-out in Detroit this week, when he visited to throw the first pitch at the Tiger’s game at Comerica Park.
It’s only a matter of time before someone signs the Pagoda….
SPM rally around teammate after house fire
Schmidt Peterson Motorsport is already off to a great start for the 2018 season, with a few podium finishes and both drivers, rookie Robert Wickens, and “The Mayor,” James Hinchcliffe, in the top 10 of the Championship standings. But to really showcase the talent and kindness this racing family has, look no further than the team, who this week, rallied around their transporter driver, Eric Stewart, whose house burned down recently. The team set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help raise funds for Stewart’s family, who lost literally everything.
Rookie testing: Done.
Rookie testing and refreshers are complete and everyone is geared to go for the Indy 500 qualifying weekend on May 19 and 20. Refresher courses were completed by Jay Howard, Sage Karam for Dreyer & Reinbold racing, and the hype of the week was Danica Patrick with GoDaddy for Ed Carpenter Racing. Patrick encountered water temp issues with some handling difficulties, causing her refresher course to take considerably longer. She was able to complete the refresher, as well as her other counterparts.
Rookie testing included Kyle Kaiser, who completed the test for Juncos in less than 30 minutes, Matheus Leist, who is with AJ Foyt Racing and Robert Wickens, who after suffering a gearbox issue, had to resort to running SPM teammate James Hinchcliffe’s car to complete testing. Everyone seemed rather comfortable and all can enjoy a quiet weekend before Indy comes alive the following weekend for the Indy Grand Prix.
Goose on track…
It’s almost too good to be true, but as the Canadians of SPM took to the track during testing this week, a Canadian Goose decided to join the party, on track. The safety crew was able to chase the large bird off track before anyone had to interact with it. Luckily it did not suffer the same fate as the two birds during Fernando Alonso’s rookie test last year. Remember that slow replay?
Fittipaldi injured in Spa
The World Endurance Championship (WEC) returns this weekend, and many drivers from various series have treked to Spa to participate in the opening race. Including that of current Dale Coyne Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi. The rookie IndyCar driver was gearing up to participate in the Indy GP next weekend, as well as qualify and run for the Indy 500. However, Fittipaldi sustained injuries, two broken legs, which will end his driving for the time being. No reports yet as to what that will be, and no announcement from Coyne other than wishing the young driver the best as they (and the rest of us) await updates on his condition.
IndyCar Grand Prix, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 12
(Yes this is the same recap as last week, but you’re gonna read it to keep up on it if you didn’t read it last week.)
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 updates on the Twitter and Instagram pages.
Welcome to Miami
The hottest news of the week, aside from what will happen to Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen after their collision last weekend, is the announcement that Miami may be a next locale for Formula 1, replacing the rather crazy Baku race, but in October. Whether it is a second American grand prix or replacing COTA, but GpGrl will update you as the news unfolds.
Spanish GP, May 13
Prototype handed hefty BOP adjustments for Mid-Ohio
Not all vehicles (or race cars for this matter) are created equal, which is what establishes that thrill of racing. That is, unless you have been a Lewis Hamilton or Mercedes driver in Formula 1, or in this case, a Cadillac DPi car in the IMSA prototype series. Leading into race weekend we see the higher ups at IMSA throwing Balance of Performance (BOP) together for the GTLM series, usually hindering the performance of Corvette. But this weekend, the top Prototype class will be taking a hit so that the bottom half of the field can actually participate in the racing, which consist of the bottom five P2s. As to if it will work or not, we will find out on Sunday, when they take to the track for the shorter sprint of endurance races.
Berlin E-Prix, May 19