A very brief “Hump Day Report” since I have spent the last two days driving to the St. Pete area.
First, glad to see Tony Kanaan will have a full time ride for 2011, and glad he will be teammate to bot Viso and Sato. (I suspect he will work out better than “First lap wreck” Mario)
Next, it is cool that Paul Tracy will at least have a ride for Indy with Dreyer & Reinbold. Last season at Watkins Glen PT and Justin Wilson seemed to enjoy being teammates. This could be a nice match. If only the deal could have been for more than one race. (I suspect PT will be with them for the two Canadian events as well.)
As for the Versus deal, well my sources had some things right. The whole Jack thing was wrong, although he is still involved with Versus. (I did not ask specifically if he was involved with INDYCAR, but asked is he still with Versus. Now I know to be more specific next time.)
It is nice to know Wally Dallenbach Jr. will be in the booth. While he may have worked for NASCAR last, don’t think Wally has no business in an INDYCAR paddock. He is one of the best SCCA Grand-Am drivers of all time. His father was a well known legend in the sport. Also I do believe he met his wife when she was a pace car driver for CART. The guy is legit, and he can be honest with no concern who he may upset. Win-Win!
Sarah Fisher Racing announced yesterday they are now adding Sears Point to their schedule for 2011, however this is to replace the St. Pete race from the schedule. That is a shame because I can not tell you how many Dollar Generals I have seen down south on this trip. They really should have been at the event for exposure to a section of America over-ini-dated with NASCAR coverage.
On the topic of not being at St. Pete Ed Carpenter said, “I am slightly disappointed that we will not be in St. Pete to be a part of the start of the season, but I am more excited about the progress that we are making as a team. I feel like my history at Sonoma shows better performance compared to St Pete as well. I just can’t wait to get back in the car at Kentucky and to get to the month of May.”
As for my ride down, I left the Poconos 9 AM Monday after clearing 3-4 inches of wet snow. Drove until 7 PM when I arrived at my room in the south side of Charlotte, NC. Then yesterday I drove from 8:30 AM until 5 PM to my Uncle Skip’s house in Florida. I am now about 50 minutes north of St. Pete, and it is HOT! I feel like I am in Pennsylvania between July and August right now.
The local forecast for the race is perfect all weekend. It will be mid 80’s Sunday, no chance of rain. So last years debacle not likely to repeat.
I will be covering Saturday and Sunday live from the course in St. Pete. Check out Open Paddock for daily reports, and follow me on Twitter @SpikeRogan for Tweets from the race during the day.