Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Testing and Daly at Indy

IndyCar has the weekend off for the Easter holiday before heading to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. However, some teams, especially the rookies have a busy day today at Texas Motor Speedway.

Testing At Texas
8 drivers will be testing today at Texas Motor Speedway, 3 of which hope to complete their oval rookie orientation programs for the 2013 Izod IndyCar Series Season. Tristan Vautier, Carlos Muñoz and AJ Allmendinger will hit the high-banked mile and a half oval for the first time in an IndyCar today. They are joined by Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, James Jakes, Takuma Sato and Ed Carpenter. Vautier and Muñoz both raced on ovals last year in Indy Lights, with both winning on an oval. Vautier took the win at Milwaukee with Muñoz taking the season finale in Fontana. Allmendinger's last open-wheel race on an oval was Milwaukee in 2006, where he finished 4th in his final race for RuSport in ChampCar before heading to Forsythe. In his five oval starts in ChampCar, Allmendinger average finish was 6th, with a top five in each of his three starts at Milwaukee. Allmendinger has raced at Texas Motor Speedway 10 times, all in the NASCAR Cup Series. His best finish is 10th on two occasions at the track. 

Conor Daly and Foyt at Indianapolis?
According to Robin Miller, AJ Foyt is believed to be on the verge of hiring the American Conor Daly for the Indianapolis 500. Daly tested for the Texas team at Sebring in December. Daly won the 2010 Star Mazda Championship and ran a hand full of races in the 2011 Indy Lights season where he won at Long Beach, had 2 podiums and won a pole at Baltimore. Since 2011, Daly has primarily spent his time in Europe and the GP3 Series, where last year he won a race, had five podiums and finished 6th in the points. Last weekend, Daly made his GP2 Series debut at Sepang, where he finished 7th in race two of the weekend, scoring two points, becoming the first American driver to score points in a GP2 race since Scott Speed at Spa in 2005. Daly's points also came in the debut weekend for Hilmer Motorsport. Daly also won the MRF Challenge in India over the winter. 

Daly could be looking at a potential full-time season in either GP2 or GP3, both of which would interfere with an attempt at Indianapolis. Should he choose GP3, he would miss the opening day at the Speedway due to the season opening round at Barcelona. However that appears to be the only potential conflict with the next round not scheduled for mid-June. Should he choose GP2, not only would the Barcelona round and opening day conflict, but the Monaco weekend coincides with the Indianapolis 500 itself. 

Stay tuned.

Other News
Denny Hamlin is scheduled to be out for the next six weeks after his accident on the final lap of the Cup race at Fontana. He suffered a L1 vertebra compression fracture after colliding with the inside wall in turn four. Hamlin was battling Joey Logano for the lead when the accident happened.

Canadians are having a good couple of days. Hinchcliffe wins at St. Pete and Robert Wickens was the fastest at the DTM test at Barcelona for Mercedes.