8/7/09

More Street Circuits... Sigh

According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, it seems like Terry Angstadt thinks running in Baltimore in 2011 is a good idea. He has sent a letter to the mayor of Baltimore, indicating that the IRL would like to sanction an event alongside Camden Yards in 2 years time.

"I am taking this opportunity to convey to you, collectively, how interested the Indy Racing League is in the possibility that our organization would sanction an IndyCar Series event in Baltimore starting in 2011," said the letter received by city officials July 20 from Terry Angstadt, president of IRL's commercial division.


"I respectfully ask the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland to partner with [Baltimore Racing Development] to make the Baltimore Grand Prix a reality," said the letter to Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Council members.

A race in the north-east appeals to the IRL, and it is an unserved market with a historically decent fan base. And the layout doesn't look bad, and Al Unser Jr. has a hand in designing it so it should be alright and it's another course with right turns.


On top of all that, it seems like this thing is ready to go. City Council members can't find any issues in regards to not staging the event. They all seem to think that it is a nice way to bring money into the area and promote the city. Hell, Mayor Sheila Dixon might even be a long lost relative of Scott Dixon which must be a sign.


But this is another twisty course on a road circuit. Why? We have plenty of tracks that we can go to that must be better then this. If Terry wants to grab a hold of the north-eastern market, Loudon is sitting un-used by Indycars, Pocono is sitting there un-used by Indycars, and a permanent road course facility in New Jersey is sitting there un-used by Indycars. It bothers me that the IRL seems to want to push these street circuits (don't forget this supposed New England/Gillette Stadium street course for 2011).


Why the sudden addiction to street circuits by the IRL? I'm all for the twisties, but, at some point, why waste the good permanent ovals and road courses for these temporary circuits that usually end up in a lack of action and excitement.


Luckily, St. Pete and Toronto usually put on a good show, and Long Beach can do it sometimes, and atleast Long Beach has the heritage to fall back on. But all these new street circuits like the proposed Baltimore and New Hamshire and Nashville tracks seem more likely to go the way of Denver, Las Vegas, and the non-existant Pheonix race then of the great street circuits on the ICS schedule right now.


It almost seems, asides from St. Petes, that street events need some history behind them to make them work, and the time where street racing was a niche event is over I think.


It just bugs me when we could see a schedule filled with a 50/50 oval/street-road mix with awesome historic Road America, Cleveland, Michigan, Loudon, Laguna Seca, Milwaukee, and Fontana instead of these temporary street circuits in Baltimore, Nashville, and New England.


Street circuits can be fun, but there isn't a whole lot of room for a bunch of room on the schedule for them when they take away other tracks spots. And I realize that a whole lot of people are getting mad that we are dumping ovals for street circuits and road courses. So, let's keep the small group of IRL fans happy and keep some ovals on the schedule.

Paul Tracy Officially In at KVRT

Paul Tracy is in at KVRT for Mario Moraes who will not be attending the event due to the passing of his father earlier this week.

Curt Cavin has just confirmed via Twitter that PT is in the number 5 car at KVRT for Mid-Ohio.

Tracy has experience at Mid-Ohio, and he will be in the primary car. He could make some waves this weekend if everything goes according to plan. I wish I was able to watch the race as it turns out it will be a pretty good one with Oriol back at NHL and Doornbos at HVM.

By the way, add another car to the usual car count as both HVM and NHL are running 2 cars this weekend.

Boy, I haven't been this excited about a race since Kentucky!

8/3/09

Doornbos to HVM?

Well, Autoracing1.com has posted alot of rumors, but this one is pretty good and it's getting alot of play from ICS types.

AR1.com is running a rumor that HVM is preparing a car for Robert Doornbos of NHL Racing. Obviously, things have been rocky over at NHL Racing with reports that the relationship between Graham Rahal and Bobby D was frosty at best. Graham could be heard on TV during the Watkins Glen telecast complaining about his teammate blocking him.

We've heard all year long that Doornbos was tight on having the money to run the full season for NHL, and it makes sense that if he is low on money, HVM would be able to make it work for a little bit less dough. Let's not forget that Doornbos has history with Keith Wiggins. Doornbos ran for Minardi - Team USA in the Champ Car World Series which was partially owned by Wiggins.

Hell, if I were Doornbos, I'd be fed up playing second fiddle to Graham. It's quite obvious that Graham is getting the better equipment, and it must be tough for an older driver to see a younger budding star out shine him in what the public must think is equal cars.

If this is true, it would be the meeting of two financially strapped items. Both Doornbos and Mr. Wiggins are hurting for money, so hopefully this works out for them.

Obviously, this increases speculation that Sebastien Bourdais will be returning to NHL Racing, possibly in time for Mid-Ohio. If so, awesome. If not, there is no big loss here since we aren't losing any cars in the field.

Seeing Sebastien Bourdais running at Mid-Ohio would be amazing. That is the type of course he excels on, and it would be awesome to see him dicing it up with the Penske's and Ganassi's. Add to that, +1 car on the grid and it's a good situation for the depth of the field and the fans sitting at home.

I'm going to make a stop at the Gryphon tonight, and hopefully our good bartender can shed some light on this situation for us.

Conquest Confirms 3 More Races


With Alex Tagliani leaving Conquest, effective immediately according to his column for RDS in Canada, Conquest have landed a couple of other drivers to fill their driver line up for the rest of the year.

Nelson Philippe will compete for Conquest at the snoozer called Sonoma and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sonoma will be the first race Nelson has competed since Indy where he finished 25th for HVM Racing alongside E.J. Viso, and it will be his first road course race in a Dallara. This will be Nelson's third stint with Conquest after about 1 1/2 seasons with the team in the Champ Car World Series. It's unknown at the moment if Nelson is bringing his "i drive green" sponsorship (if there was even any money involved in this sponsorship) with him to Conquest.

And 2004 ICS Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 ROTY Kosuke Matsuura will run for Conquest in Japan at the Motegi track Jack Arute so elegently describes as an egg. Matsuura is a veteran of 64 ICS races. He is the second Japanese driver entered into the Motegi event alongside Roger Yasukawa with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

The car count for Motegi actually looks pretty good for an overseas race. Looks like we'll have atleast 21 for the race, and if you still believe Takuma Sato will run the race with someone, it would make three Japanese drivers in the race, which would tie the most ever Japanese drivers in a CART or IRL race at Motegi.

It's good to see Conquest getting a couple more races in, but it's too bad it can't be full time from here on out. They seemed to have something set up for 2010 though according to Tags, but it involved multiple drivers. We'll see what happens.

Tags is another question mark for 2010. He seemed pretty confident that he would have a full time ride in 2010, and he mentioned his strong runs at Indy and Toronto opened some doors for him. Maybe AGR wants him to help set cars up for their younger guys? He can be quick, but he really has a knack for setting cars up. It's what he was known for in CCWS and CART, and Conquest raved over how much they learned from Tags running their car.

By the way, Homestead should be a nice turn out for cars. I'm counting 25 or 26 right now if Vitor is able to get back in the car in time.
Editor's Note: Nelson Philippe will be carrying the "i drive green" colors for Conquest as per Racer.com.
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