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IndyCar Notes: Friday morning at Detroit

May 30, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

ConwayGPI Getty Images

I caught up with a number of drivers at Thursday’s Verizon IndyCar Series media availability at a media lunch in Detroit, ahead of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans.

Some news and notes to follow:

  • Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was relieved, despite a penalty mid-race, to still end P8 in the Indianapolis 500. “Considering it’s double points, thank God I finished eighth,” he said.
  • Power reiterated his frustration with double points, adding he prefers the doubleheader format. “The good thing about them is that you’ve got another shot,” he explained. “Double points to me is way off. It spreads the championship out, now Dixon is 140 back, it’s insane. Where a doubleheader, at least you can come back the next day if you have a bad day.”
  • Juan Pablo Montoya continues to get more comfortable with Firestone’s red alternate tires, and reckoned he had a shot for his first pole of the season during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. “I felt like in the Grand Prix I had a shot at the pole to be honest,” he said. “I was fastest in my group, but we didn’t put any downforce on later and paid the price.” Montoya qualified on pole in both of his two prior Detroit appearances, on this course configuration, in 1999 and 2000.
  • Ed Carpenter and Mike Conway are stuck in a rut until Iowa, July 12, in terms of their pit positioning in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Because a rule in the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook states that any driver change ahead of the weekend requires the team to go to the back of pit lane, Conway will be at the back here in Detroit (2 races), then Carpenter will be at Texas, Conway at Houston (2 races) and Carpenter at Pocono. Carpenter told me it’s unfortunate given they’ve had their lineup planned, but he’s unsure whether INDYCAR will be able to do anything about it.
  • Although he won’t be racing at Le Mans, Conway will head to the UK on Monday before heading to Le Mans a week later where he’ll be on hand in support of the Toyota Racing team. Conway is the team’s reserve driver.
  • Conway, and fellow defending race winner Simon Pagenaud, both have had extended media work to do this week ahead of the Grand Prix weekend. “It’s a nice boost,” said Conway, who a year ago only found out on the Tuesday he’d be driving the unheralded No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and then promptly stomped the field in Race 1 of the doubleheader weekend.

  1. Jeff - May 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Power doesn’t complain about double points for Detroit, Houston and Toronto. And according to Briscoe, IndyCar should have penalized Power for dangerous driving, cutting off Briscoe late in the 500. All in all Penske’s drivers seem to get preferential treatment not only from IndyCar but also the media as well.

    • Tony DiZinno - May 30, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Because Detroit, Houston and Toronto aren’t double points races. It’s just double races. There’s a difference.

      • Jeff - May 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        Yes, I get your point Tony, but there are still double the amount of street- and road-courses to ovals.
        That said, when I first heard of IndyCar changing the points system, I was skeptical. Why mess with a good thing when it had previously worked so well with the championship not decided until the last race.
        Yet, the new system, double points for the 500s, seems fair and equitable when considering the lack of scheduled ovals and IndyCar’s heritage – racing on ovals like back in the 60s and 70s when in addition to Indy they had tracks like Pocono and Ontario. It’s a way to balance the impact of different types of courses. Which is great, especially since IndyCar markets itself as having the most versatile, fastest drivers in the world.
        After all this series is IndyCar. It’s not LongBeachCar or Mid-OhioCar.

  2. testover6370 - May 30, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    The rule about going to the back of pit lane if a driver is changed seems odd. Does any other series have this rule? It should be based on the car/entrant, not the driver.

  3. manik56 - May 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    IndyCar pit lane selection rules have always been stupid. NASCAR actually has them on this one by a mile. Pit lane selection should be based on qualifying results based on that weekend (race). He who is fastest should select where they want to be first. It doesn’t need to be complex. Each race should be its own entity. What happens last week should have no bearing on the next.

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