2020 IndyCar Miscellaneous

Charlie Spencer

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I'm afraid TK is reminding me of DW's last few years, making the show but not much else. I hope it's just the team but I assume if he could get anything better, that he wouldn't be staying where he is.

Call me when AJ has a handshake agreement with a sponsor to replace ABC.
 

FLRacingFan

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Besides the Long Beach/Detroit joint weekends the only conflict looks to be in late June with IndyCar at Richmond and IMSA at Watkins Glen.


 

FLRacingFan

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The whole Hinch/Arrow/McLaren/SPM thing gets a little more bizarre:

He angered sponsor Arrow by appearing in ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” that came out last month and featured photos of Hinchcliffe naked on the Yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, using a checkered flag or tires to cover himself. Hinchcliffe had agreed to be part of the popular annual issue to show the many scars from his near-fatal 2015 crash at Indy. He nearly bled to death and has made promoting blood drives part of his platform.

But Arrow was unhappy with the issue, which nearly cost Hinch his job. The episode led to president Jon Flack’s departure last week, as well as the team public relations representative.

So despite repeated assurance from Brown that Hinchcliffe will be with the team next year, speculation still swirls about his 2020 plans.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/auto-racing/sato-extends-with-rahal-herta-moves-to-andretti/2019/09/21/cbfd16b4-dcda-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html
 

AuzGrams

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Still mad about Pocono
Me too. Completely stupid getting rid of a track that IndyCar is built for pretty much IMO. It's like Talladega to NASCARs Daytona in comparison to Indy. At least that's how I see it.

IndyCar testing at the Roval is cool, but I'm not sold on it for IndyCar period as a road course and if they're thinking of a doubleheader than it should be Chicagoland or something.
 

FLRacingFan

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I still think it is odd they were openly willing to expand to 18 races and had Pocono on the calendar as late as Thursday night before Portland. I’d be very interested to know what variety of factors led to that falling apart so quickly.
 

kkfan91

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Because they want to be champ car with Indy, too many whiney drivers without the balls to run ovals.
 

FLRacingFan

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Because they want to be champ car with Indy, too many whiney drivers without the balls to run ovals.
Well I wouldn't fault drivers if they don't want to run superspeedways, they're obviously dangerous, but most of the big names of the series came out and said they love the place and hoped they'd stay there. I don't know if it was ABC Supply suddenly dropping or they couldn't settle on a date with the goofy Olympic break (Mid-Ohio got bumped back to Pocono's weekend I think) or what, but I'd be interested in knowing what all transpired.
 

FLRacingFan

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Yeah, looking like Hinch is going to have a new ride in 2020.

Askew, who was asked by Arrow SPM if he wanted to take over James Hinchcliffe’s ride in the season finale at Monterey because the team was upset with the Canadian for his spread in ESPN magazine’s annual ‘The Body’ issue, politely declined. He hopes to make his 2020 plans public soon, but a third Ganassi car for selected races and the Indianapolis 500 seems possible.
https://racer.com/2019/09/30/miller-racings-best-ladder-system-delivers-again/
 

FLRacingFan

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Seriously?

You know how petty that is to fire someone for doing a Body magazine shoot? Does SPM really think its bad PR? Goodness.
Yeah, looking like at least three people out of a job because of it. I'm sure Sam Schmidt and Zak Brown didn't want to pull the trigger on those moves but they're (especially Zak, with Arrow's involvement with McLaren F1) at the mercy of the sponsor here really. I've lost a lot of respect for Arrow from this, certainly one of the more bizarre sponsor fiascos I've heard in racing in a while.
 

FLRacingFan

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Got to respect Chip for this move. CGR is now team Swede:
A lot of IMSA crew members moving over. In the RACER article, Chip might add a fourth car.
Ericsson in top equipment is interesting. One year of American tracks under his belt is big and SPM weren't exactly a well-oiled machine overall last year. I suspect he'll be a clear #3 behind Felix but I think we can expect some good results from Marcus next year.

I'm hopeful of that fourth ride now coming together for Askew, sounds like they wanna do at least part-time with around ten races or so? He at least has the $1M bonus to shop around and CGR are really high on him and were hoping to put him in a third car before this Ericsson deal suddenly came together.
 

gnomesayin

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Interesting move. I can't say that I was that impressed with Ericsson this past season, but he showed flashes. Mainly it's just cool to see IndyCar teams adding cars rather than contracting.
 

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Pato O'Ward has been released from Red Bull:
https://racer.com/2019/10/18/oward-splits-with-red-bull-and-enters-the-mclaren-indycar-frame/

It seems like his Lights title does not hold a lot of weight. He was not going to get a super license to move up to F1, so he's more than likely coming back to IndyCar. I'm disappointed about this outcome and the fact Red Bull has no interest in American motorsports. He seems like he's happy to come back to get into IndyCar, so I'm excited to see Pato come back home.

Get this man some sponsors, its insane that Pato struggles with sponsorship woes like this. I hope he has some good news for himself for 2020 onwards.
 

FLRacingFan

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RACER still seems to be the only outlet who believes Hinchcliffe won't be back at Arrow McLaren whatever next year, Stern says here that only the one young driver seat is still available. Weird situation, I guess I could see Hinch coming back for the final year of his contract but an awfully weird lame duck scenario that would seem to be. With Pato and Askew vying among others, lots of good candidates for this quality ride.

 

FLRacingFan

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Pretty slimy if they just told James Sunday night he’d officially be out of a ride.

Not sure two (essentially) rookies is a recipe for success either...

 

Kiante

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Petro-Lubricants is still on SPAM'S website...

I just don't see where Hinch gets a ride, not u less Honda is paying out the ass for him. Andretti is full, Coyne is iffy, and honestly not unless Meyers-Shank decides on teaming with another Honda team. Hinch might be out of the sport for a year or on a part-time basis somewhere.
 

MRM

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Hinchcliffe is a very good on the PR side of things. Granted I don't follow IndyCar as I do other forms of racing, but I look at him as a tad overrated when it comes to wins and performance. Seems to me he'd break through with a win every once in a while.
 

Kiante

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I commented on the thread on the Twitter feed. I feel as if this is a move that can be seen in a couple of ways.

McLaren has turned Hinch into a PR machine for them for a year or keeping him in the eye of IndyCar executives in trying to find a ride...

Either way, this is going to be seen a **** move. At least Hinch is getting paid his salary...
 

gnomesayin

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Weird.

McLaren (and Hinchcliffe) are bound by the contract. The act of paying his agreed salary isn't really a choice, unless they have cause to void, which is why they are shifting his duties from race car driver to PR rep. I would hope they will release him if he secures a seat elsewhere. Then again, $500,000 is a considerable salary in that world, and it depends on what Hinch's priorities are at this point whether he would choose to race elsewhere in 2020, almost surely for less.

What I don't understand, since the Indy 500 is so lucrative, more so than the entire rest of the series, is why they wouldn't just guarantee him a third entry for that race and then keep him on as a reserve driver and PR tool for the rest of it. Would make them look better and possibly satisfy Hinch as well.
 
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FLRacingFan

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Hinchcliffe is a very good on the PR side of things. Granted I don't follow IndyCar as I do other forms of racing, but I look at him as a tad overrated when it comes to wins and performance. Seems to me he'd break through with a win every once in a while.
Hard to disagree there, he hasn't finished any higher than 8th in the championship despite being in good equipment for many years now. He is good for a win every once in a while though, and his work as an ambassador of the sport and his manufacturer is important. The series didn't fall off the face of the earth when Helio got moved to IMSA but you don't wanna see too many of those big names in too short a period of time.
 

FLRacingFan

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It is apparent that Hinch was going to be paired with Askew until Pato O'Ward (who Zak Brown already liked and had met with at Long Beach earlier this year) was released by the Red Bull program. Hinch was doing work for the team as recently as last week and was going to test for them at Sebring. Very unfortunate timing for him this late in the game with most rides already wrapped up, but I suppose the very long offseason could work for him as it relates to cobbling together whatever ride he can if he truly desires. Marshall Pruett has suggested Hinch has somewhere in the range of $2-3M he could bring to teams, whereas a team like RLL would need about $6M to create a new entry. Maybe he could piece something together with a DCR but I just don't see a full-time gig happening at this point. Getting paid $500k to do McLaren/Arrow PR work, maybe some TV stuff with NBC and the occasional NASCAR appearance might not be too bad in the interim. I'm sure someone would be interested in him for the 500 at least, although Zak Brown's suggestion that James will "absolutely" be in consideration for their third 500 entry doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence.

It is also unfortunate that this whole thing seems to cast a shadow over two young drivers getting full-time rides in good equipment. Pato and Askew have gotten rave reviews from most everyone and we all know what Pato was able to do in limited appearances in not-so-great equipment at Sonoma 2018 and earlier this year. I'm skeptical of having two guys no older than 23 carrying a brand like that on their own, but for all I know they could have rookie campaigns like Herta did this season.
 

Kiante

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Hard to disagree there, he hasn't finished any higher than 8th in the championship despite being in good equipment for many years now. He is good for a win every once in a while though, and his work as an ambassador of the sport and his manufacturer is important. The series didn't fall off the face of the earth when Helio got moved to IMSA but you don't wanna see too many of those big names in too short a period of time.
I forgot about his tenure with Andretti and he didn't exactly set the world ablaze with Go Daddy behind him.

Hinch is a marketable face and a solid journeyman, but other than that, I can see why SPAM has decided to move on from him. I feel ****** for Hinch, but his results have been far and in between. Heck, Wickens was a rookie and had his measure already.
 
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