Apr 28, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT
If you are related to or live with a race fan, and he or she starts to hum ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ don’t be alarmed.
Because for many race fans around the world, the month of May is effectively a second holiday season.
And the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is our Christmas/Hanukkah/Chrismukkah (remember that one?)/Festivus: The Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, and Coca-Cola 600, all in one day.
What neat gifts. But for those who follow IndyCar, they’ll be getting one more present this May.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will still have its homecoming at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it’s gotten bigger – and a bit different. Call it the ‘Mega’ Month of May at the Brickyard, as the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on IMS’ revamped road course (May 10) emerges as a lead-in for our beloved Greatest Spectacle in Racing (May 25).
While I’m not certain that the GP of Indy has been able to capture every heart within the IndyCar fan base, I sense that with two weeks to go, some of the uncertainty has been replaced with intrigue.
It helps that the key players are itching to see what all that construction work inside the Speedway over the winter and early spring has yielded.
“It’s a new challenge for everybody,” said Ryan Hunter-Reay after his win yesterday at Barber Motorsports Park. “That’s the great thing about it, everybody starts from scratch there.
“It may be that the Grand Prix of Indianapolis will have its own type of setup. It may be similar to some tracks [we already race on]. We don’t know yet. That’s the challenge we’re all looking forward to.”
He and the rest of the field won’t have to wait much longer to find out what sort of challenge they’re in for, as the first test on the IMS road circuit comes Wednesday.
But while the GP of Indy is next up on the schedule, the ‘500’ remains the biggest prize of all.
Calendar-wise, preparations for the 98th Running don’t offically get started until May 11, the day after the GP. But they’ll begin in earnest one day before the road course test on Tuesday, when NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch and 1995 Indy champion Jacques Villeneuve tackle the 2.5-mile IMS oval.
Busch, the first driver in a decade to attempt the Indy 500-Coke 600 double, will be working through his Rookie Orientation Program for Andretti Autosport, while Villeneuve will undergo his Refresher Test (the final two stages of ROP) for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
It’ll be a busy two days, and it’ll give us an idea of what we could be in for this May at the world’s greatest racecourse.
So again, if you find that your favorite race fan is busting out holiday carols for seemingly no apparent reason, just give a knowing smile and be on your way.
However, feel free to call for help if they take to sipping egg nog. There are some seasonal lines you just don’t cross, after all.
Aug 29, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Severe looking three-car accident affects Mikhail Aleshin and two others.
Aug 29, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
Harvick earns his sixth Sprint Cup pole of 2014 with the help of some advice from returning boss and teammate Tony Stewart.
Aug 29, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Helio Castroneves on pole; Will Power struggles to P21 for Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying.
Aug 29, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT
The Nationwide Series rookie and Sprint Cup regular top today’s two practice sessions ahead of tomorrow night’s Great Clips 300 benefiting Feed The Children.
Aug 29, 2014, 7:06 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. — According to Jeff Gordon, the last three Sprint Cup races just weren’t quite the same without Tony Stewart. Gordon is glad Stewart is back.
Aug 29, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, and Brian Vickers share their thoughts on Tony Stewart getting back behind the wheel in Atlanta.
Aug 29, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT
The 500-mile shootout may be late Saturday night in Fontana, but still promises a bevy of story lines for the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale.
Aug 29, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT
NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan also reports on the atmosphere around Tony Stewart’s return at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Aug 29, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT
“…[Stewart] being in the race car right now is about him getting through what has been a very emotional two weeks, and what his next step is in coping with this.” – Stewart Haas Racing’s Brett Frood
Aug 29, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT
Brian Vickers and other winless drivers are facing big-time pressure to get a victory in the final races of the regular season.
Aug 29, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Porsche GT-Cup class class to enter into Pirelli World Challenge in 2015.
Aug 29, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Coming up today: More on the return of Tony Stewart at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Aug 29, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Houston gone and momentum grows for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, if a date can be found, for IndyCar.
Aug 29, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
Following an emotional press conference this morning, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion got back to work.
Aug 29, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. — Tony Stewart didn’t just wake up Friday morning and decide he was going to return to NASCAR racing. Rather, NASCAR officials required that Stewart followed procedures and protocols that included him being evaluated by outside professionals.
Aug 29, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. – Tony Stewart is still eligible to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But for that to happen, Stewart must win one of the next two races to get in.
Aug 29, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. — NASCAR president Mike Helton spoke with the media an hour after Tony Stewart read his self-prepared statement Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Aug 29, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero makes his first statement on the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. crash investigation since Aug. 12.
Aug 29, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Ga. – Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch are fully in support of their boss, Tony Stewart, being back in a race car this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Aug 29, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT
After reading from a prepared statement, Stewart left to prepare for Sprint Cup practice this afternoon. Stewart Haas Racing executive VP Brett Frood then took questions from the assembled media.
Video from NASCAR America
- Aleshin conscious following heavy accident in MAVTV 500 final practice 1
- Kevin Harvick wins Atlanta Sprint Cup pole; Stewart qualifies 12th 0
- Castroneves secures crucial MAVTV 500 pole; Power starts P21 for IndyCar finale (VIDEO) 2
- Jeff Gordon: Last 3 races weren’t the same without Tony Stewart 1
- IndyCar has 500 miles to glory, through speed, dirt, tire fall off and unpredictability 0
- How NASCAR determined Tony Stewart was ready to race again 3
- Helton: Tony Stewart still eligible for Chase, but must win to get in 3