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IndyCar’s off-track stories to come over the next few weeks

Sep 11, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

Michael Andretti, Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe AP

It might be – scratch that, is easier – to ask the questions yet to be determined in the IZOD IndyCar Series season, and silly season, over the next few weeks before the Shell Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader October 5-6.

It’s been a year for the series that has featured an excellent on-track product for the most part, save for a couple caution-infested wreck fests. Still, there’s a number of things on-and-off track to sort out here between now and Houston. We’ll just rattle them off; the on-track ones are in this linked post and the off-track below:

OFF-TRACK

  • How many for Andretti? Michael Andretti’s team is on the verge of doing its best LeBron James imitation because it could be “Not 3, not 4, not 5” and maybe as many as 6 cars in 2014. It’s likely going to be four again, or perhaps five cars from the stable. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti will return, and here are the question marks. James Hinchcliffe and sponsor GoDaddy are free agents. E.J. Viso is only on a one-year contract. Carlos Munoz has been rumored to step up. And several media outlets are saying the team is courting Juan Pablo Montoya from NASCAR. Six into four doesn’t go; this will be interesting to watch.
  • Hinch and TK as dominos. On the Hinchcliffe front, he is in a rare position to choose from several viable options. A shot at Chip Ganassi’s fourth car, if it returns, is possible as is a return at Andretti. Kanaan, meanwhile, has said he needs to find funding to stay for 2014, which doesn’t seem right considering he’s the Indianapolis 500 champion. He’s likely teasing a move to NASCAR as leverage.
  • Schedule angst. It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, when schedule projection is all the rage. The first report of the year regarding the 2014 calendar came from Robin Miller, with the likely addition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (in which configuration remains to be seen) planned and the schedule condensed to end by Labor Day. Baltimore seems the only race likely to move, assuming it stays. Stay tuned.
  • Commercial (president) movement. New Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles has moved many of the pieces in place on his leadership staff side this year, notably with the addition of Derrick Walker as INDYCAR’s President of Competition and Operations. Now, he needs to find someone who can advance INDYCAR’s commercial cause and oversee the marketing side. Easier said than done, of course, as one potential candidate, ex-San Diego Padres President Tom Garfinkel, has taken on the same role but with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

  1. Jeff - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Well I’m really disappointed IndyCar is adding yet another road, street course. That said, it’ll be cool if the road course race kicks off the Month of May. I want IndyCar to race on more ovals, not fewer. Yet, I know I’ll hear a it doesn’t make business sense for IndyCar to race ovals. If that’s the case then IndyCar is doing something wrong. I talk to plenty of fans who want to see more ovals. In fact I talk to more fans who want more ovals than ones who don’t. It just doesn’t make sense to me that IndyCar can’t make ovals work.

    Regarding drivers, I’d rather see TK stay in IndyCar and JPM stay away from IndyCar. If Andretti Autosport has too many drivers to choose from, I’d say JPM needs to be the first to go. I’d rather see RHR, Andretti, Hinch, Viso, Munoz stay with AA. If they add another driver why not TK instead of JPM. That’s another aspect of IndyCar that doesn’t make sense. Why accept a driver who turned his back on IndyCar, instead of one who’s remained loyal to IndyCar, and a fan favorite.

    • indycarseries500 - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      You make it out to any oval races this year outside of Indianapolis?

  2. snoopyo - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    Jeff I am an oval fan but the problem is people just don’t show up to them. If the amount of people who scream for more ovals would show up to them heck we might have a sellout. I use to go to couple oval races but they are gone because they didn’t draw but I went to Mid-Ohio and there was way more people there then the last oval race outside of INDY I went to.Thanks to Randy Bernard we got Pocono back which I was so happy about and I think its an oval that can grow because the owners of Pocono are trying to make it succeed.People at Fontana are trying to grow that race as well, Texas is still around. I wish we could have Michigan, Phoenix, Loudon, Lausitz ,Rockingham UK or Rockingham North Carolina.I could care less to go to a 1.5 mile ovals because they are not designed for INDYCAR and the owners of those tracks don’t care about INDYCAR. I am glad we have Pocono, Milwaukee and Fontana but if people don’t go to those races they could be gone.

    • indycarseries500 - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Actually the 1.5 mile cookie cutters (Chicagoland, original Kansas, Kentucky, original Vegas) were designed with IndyCar in mind. The idea of them was to be long enough for the cars to stretch their legs and with the semi-intimacy of a short track. Of course the IndyCar in mind had a lot more horsepower and a fraction of the grip.

      • snoopyo - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        I know that Kentucky was built mainly for nascar because the original owner Jerry Carroll’s main goal was nascar and not INDYCAR.

  3. snoopyo - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Keeping TK in this series is a must he has been a great ambassador for the sport. TK doesn’t want to go to another series unless he has to unlike Princess Sparkle Pony and Hornish who couldn’t get to nascar fast enough. We need to keep TK before bringing back Montoya. Kalkhoven has tons of money why doesn’t he fork up some cash and take care of TK. It is so screwed up that our INDY 500 champion and most popular driver might not have a ride next year because he doesn’t have enough money while some scrub like Saavedra will have a ride. Hey car owners wake up and sign TK or you will have some more angry fans and this is a series that can’t afford to lose many more fans.How do you expect the sport to grow if you can’t keep your most popular driver. Hey Hulman George family why don’t you help TK the current 500 champion and give him some money because if you don’t have him in the series don’t expect ApexBrasil to stay around much longer to give money to the series.

  4. bigmattintheboot - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Oh how I wish they would figure out the ISC stuff and come back to Watkins Glen. Indycar belongs there, watching the open wheel cars during the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix just last weekend was a strong reminder of that.

    Also, who in their right damn mind wouldn’t pony up the dough to get TK a sponsor? It’s just insane. You talk about folks winning the lottery and not knowing what to do with it? There’s your freakin answer.

  5. Jeff - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    I am scheduled for the Cali race, but work obligations kept me from Iowa, Milwaukee and Pocono this year.
    You?

  6. 1994i500pushrodpower - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Finding rides for JPM, TK, Munoz, and Allmendinger would be awesome in 2014.

  7. teamo68 - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    The problem with the ovals, other than Indy, is too many try to make the comparison to NASCAR. While Pocono was spectacular this year (hope they can keep it in the rotation) Indycar works better as a combination of road courses and ovals. Obviously the 500 is going nowhere. Keep Pocono and the Milwaukee mile and add MI and Phoenix. Love the idea of an IMS road race niw that Balt is gone. Need to bring back The Glen and Burke Lakefront Airport. IndyCar could draw if they worked it right.

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