IndyCar – One Freaky Friday!

So as we were sitting here just waiting for the season to end, we figured that most of the news bombshells would likely be waiting for after the Year-End Banquet. Well, we were wrong! There was a ton of stuff that went down yesterday, some of it not so good unfortunately. Here’s a quick rundown of yesterday’s events.

Saavedra is Back

After he jilted Bryan Herta Autosport on race day morning of the Firestone Indy Lights race at Chicagoland Speedway, it was assumed by most of us in the fandom that El Seb was out of the American open-wheel racing game. Now I don’t know all the details, politics, and considerations that went into the decision, and I’m certain that it wasn’t purely El Seb’s action but a response by his managers and sponsors. A lot of folk have been quick to lambaste Saavedra for what appears on the surface to be a very classless decision. As I said, I don’t know all the details, so although I’m disappointed by the decision made at Chicago, I’ll withhold judgement on the matter until I know more of the story.

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As it turns out, we were wrong in assuming that Saavedra’s tenure in open-wheel racing here was done. Late yesterday evening, Saavedra announced a one-race deal with Conquest Racing to drive the #36 car at the IZOD IndyCar Series Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. I’m sure that there will be a few boo-birds around during driver introduction, but I for one am happy to see El Seb back in the cockpit. He’s a talented kid, and a nice one at that. He really is a good driver to have in the series.

I’m happy to be working together with my bro @BerBaguette which I believe is going to be a good combination. !! Homestead here we come 😉 — Twitter, @sebsaavedra

HVM Locked Out

Simona's conspicuously empty sidepods. --Photo by Chris Jones,
On a serious down note, Trackside Online discovered yesterday that the landlord of HVM’s race shop on Gasoline Alley in Speedway, IN changed the locks on all the doors and has posted security. That can’t EVER be good. TSO didn’t have any more information than that, but hopefully this bit of sketchiness won’t affect Simona de Silvestro’s ability to race at Homestead. Her and Alex Lloyd are still in a battle for Rookie of the Year with Simona a mere 18 points adrift of Alex. A good run by Simona and an early mishap by Alex, and the RoY title could be her’s. …if she and her team can get to the track. Perhaps a telling precursor to this turn of events is the fact that the Stargate Worlds decals were absent at Motegi. We had our doubts about the solvency of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment before the season, see our article from February, but after such a long season it seemed our fears were unfounded. Well, maybe they weren’t so unfounded afterall, it just took a while for CME’s financial trials to trickle down to HVM. We’ll keep our ear to the rail this coming week and let you know if we hear anything.

Bia to run Homestead, Conway Still Out

Ana Beatriz will race in the IZOD IndyCar Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, replacing the still convalescing Mike Conway in the #24 car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. This will be Bia’s fourth race of the season, and Homestead should be a good track for her. We’re not expecting a race win or anything, we doubt that you’ll find her at the back of the grid, either.

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“I am very excited to get back in the car and race at Homestead. The only time that I’ve raced there was in 2008 when I debuted in Firestone Indy Lights. It is a tough and very challenging oval. I would like to thank Robbie, Dennis and Larry for the confidence and our partners, Roll Coater, OX and Bardahl in making this happen. Also, after not being able to sign up for the entire season, Andre Ribeiro, Augusto Cesario and I planned on running four races this season and I am very happy and proud that we have achieved that. This is very important in growing my experience in the IZOD IndyCar Series and it will help me a lot for next year,” stated Beatriz. — DRR Press Release

Conway had hopes of being cleared by medical in time for the season finale, but he, the team, and especially the medial staff with the league agreed that focusing on 2011 would be the wisest move. Can’t say that I disagree, really, as much as I’d like to see Conway back in action. The good news is that the tone of the press release from DRR seems to indicate that Conway will be back with the team for 2011.

“It’s great to be back in the US. It’s been three months since I’ve been here and I’ve been itching to get back. I’ve been watching most of the races from home and I’ve been following what’s been going on, so it’s good to see the guys. All is going well and I’ve healed up nicely. I have been working with a great team of people for my rehabilitation and can’t thank all of them enough for their hard work and support. Obviously, it’s an ongoing process and I’m just keeping on with my training, physio work and rehabbing so that when I get in the car I will be as good as I can be. My main focus is to be 100 percent with my fitness before I come back. It would have been nice to compete in the last race, but I think that it’s more important to look at the long-term goals. I want to stay in the IZOD IndyCar Series for a long time and I think to rush back to one race wouldn’t be a smart move. Now, I’m just focusing on future plans and I can’t wait to get back in the car. Although I won’t be racing, I will be at Homestead to catch up with everyone and to support the guys,” commented Conway. — DRR Press Release

Conway had a decent start to the season and certainly showed some pace. I know of at least one person who really thinks he could be fast and win races. My wife is persuasive and she’s been bringing me around to her point of view! We’ll see what 2011 holds for the young Brit.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Announces an Announcement

Keep your eyes on the internet today! There was some buzz on Twitter yesterday that the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was set for a “major announcement” sometime this morning. We’ll see, but if true, could this be the announcement for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series Season Finale? I’ll be making my reservations at the Golden Nugget straightaway if it is!

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