Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Moving Along The Dark Tunnel

A few days have past since Randy Bernard was let go by the board. And I still feel he got the shaft, he was wrongly fired by the board and people crucified him too quickly.

From reading Marshall Pruett's article, those within IndyCar viewed him as an outsider and after a minor hiccups, were ready to throw him overboard.

All the positive things done by Bernard are being scrutinized for not being picture perfect.

For example: We got new cars... but we wanted this new car.
We got turbocharged engines... but we don't Honda is getting special treatment.
We are looking to lower the tire bill for the teams... but it has to be Firestone.

I do think the decision about the new car should have been handled differently.

As for Honda's special treatment, Chevrolet won nine of the thirteen race after allowing Honda the larger cool air inlet, not to forget mentioning winning the manufacturer's championship, driver's championship and having seven of the top ten drivers in the final driver's table. What was the problem in the end?

As for the lower tire bill. Yes, Firestone has a great safety record, but the company originally did not plan on supplying tires for 2012, then worked out a deal for 2012 and 2013 with an increase in the tire prices. There are plenty of tire companies out their with fine history of safety. The teams backlash at the series looking for a substitute for Firestone is a conservative fear about potential tire failures. Yes, it is nice not having to worry about a blown tire in the corner at Texas or Indianapolis, but with proper testing, there are many companies capable of producing a safe tire.

I am going to see this through with IndyCar. Why? Because I love the sport, the drivers and the racing. However, I want the owners to have a better relationship with whoever is in charge. Whether he has a racing background or not. The tunnel is very dark as we move into the future.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Goodbye Randy Bernard

For the first time, the first time in my life, I have lost all faith in the Hulman-George family. How Tony Hulman, one of essential figures in saving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and forming USAC, is related to the current members of the board is beyond me.

The facts that the tracks brings in 250,000 people each Sunday Memorial Day weekend and has never, NEVER, asked the city government for any money, not even a money is gone. When running a business you put FAMILY aside and make decisions for the BUSINESS. The Hulman-George family clearly can no longer run a business with their decision to remove Randy Bernard as CEO of IndyCar.

The man who worked to save races at Milwaukee and most recently Baltimore, brought back Pocono and Fontana and GOT THE SERIES A NEW CAR AND ADDITIONAL ENGINE MANUFACTURES AFTER ALMOST A DECADE OF A SPEC SERIES. Not to forget mention that new car and the multiple engine manufactures put on some of the best racing since the mid 1990s.

The man turned IndyCar from hemorrhaging money to on the brink of breaking even. He has been doing his all with a less than ideal television package to get viewers to watch the races, including a very popular move of putting Texas and Iowa on ABC in 2013.

Despite not coming from a racing background, Randy Bernard work harder each and every year to better his knowledge and work better with the teams and drivers. He hired Beaux Barfield as chief steward, a popular decision with the fans, and Will Phillips has done a great job with the development of the DW12. Was the man perfect? No, nobody is and no one ever will be. But he was a damn fine man and he was better than his predecessor.

Despite all the positive things Randy Bernard did for IndyCar and the Hulman-George Family it is clear as day: Blood is thicker than water, but that is how you should run a business. The decision was made by a family who could not shut out one of their despite, despite the lack of competency of the one family member. Randy Bernard did more in 2010 than Tony George did from 1996-2009. Bernard has lapped Tony George 20 times as of today but sadly blood is thicker than water.

I am truly sorry Randy Bernard. You are going to be missed. No hard feelings. Don't be a stranger.

As for the Hulman-George family: Way to f@$k up IndyCar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To Randy Bernard

Dear Randy Bernard,

Where shall I start? The current situation you are in is not ideal for anybody. The constant rumors of you being terminated from your current position is just wrong.

The job you have done as CEO of IndyCar has been very fulfilling and a change that this fan has welcomed. Things will never be perfect for everyone but you have clearly been trying to better the series and bring back the many fans lost over the past 17 plus years. You got Milwaukee back on the schedule after financial struggles killed the race for one season. Fontana came back and was a fantastic season finale, better than many expected. Pocono is coming back next year and as someone who lives ten minutes from the Pennsylvania-New Jersey state border during the summer, you can bet your house I will be there and do all I can to bring a few people to their first IndyCar race. Sure, there are other tracks the hardcore fans (including myself) want on the schedule but it is not as simple as clapping your hand and it will magically appear.

You are trying new things. Some fans are not sure about doubleheaders but I look at it this way, IT IS MORE RACING! WHO IS AGAINST THAT? Heat races were popular at Iowa and I hope they return and are added at other ovals. The new car provided really good racing. Removing downforce from the cars turned Texas from two hours of holding your breath and saying the Rosary to probably the best race of the year and that is very tough to say because both Indianapolis and Fontana featured a lot of passing and great battles for the win. The USAC National Driver's scholarship bridges the gap for  the American dirt track drivers. Hopefully it can expand and give more USAC drivers a shot in the IndyCar ladder system.

Ratings may be less than desired but the product is great. Eventually people will have to see how great the racing is and watch. NBC Sports Net has a great broadcast crew that is engaging with one another and are truly excited when calling the race. Next year looks good for ABC as they have arguably the top races and will show Texas in prime time.

It is disappointing all of this is being over looked. The media cannot stop spreading the same gossip. No talk about the season we just had, or the championship race we just saw (by the way, Ryan Hunter-Reay won the championship for all those who forgot), or the what is ahead for 2013. A man that has worked as hard as you is constantly being shown the door by those on the outside looking in. The past keeps getting in the way of the future and that is not good for the sport.

No matter what happens Mr. Bernard, I would like to thank you for all that you have done for IndyCar and, if you are let go, I apologize for your untimely end as CEO. You will be missed by all and I hope there are no hard feelings between you and the fans, who are grateful for everything. But until the board of directors come forward with their decision, we can only hope and pray for the best.

For The Love of Indy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Dark End to An Even Darker Week

Last week, we reflected on the life of Dan Wheldon, one year after his fatal accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. One year ago today, we lost not one, but two souls.

October 23, 2011: It had been one week since the accident at Las Vegas. The funeral had just happened yesterday and a memorial service for Dan was schedule for later that after noon at then Conseco Fieldhouse. Thanks to NBC Sports Net (then Versus) and ESPN3, I was going to be able to watch the service but I had set my alarm for 4am. The MotoGP race was going to be on from Malaysia and it was the first major race since Las Vegas. I was slow and a little groggy as a rolled over to find the remote. I turned my television on just in time for the first replay and it the first 30 seconds of my Sunday I could not believed it had happened again.

Marco Simoncelli is a name many American race fans, let alone average Americans would not know. The Italian rider was one you could notice from a mile away with his massive afro but on the track, he was fast and extremely talented. After winning the 250cc title in 2008, Simoncelli debuted in MotoGP in 2010, where he was consistent all year long scoring points.

2011, Simoncelli stole the show at times. Fast and up front but with one flaw. He had a tendency to lose the bike when he was in a great position to win or get a podium. At Jerez he high-sided while leading, the following race at Estoril he started second and had an accident on lap one. He won poles at Catalunya and Assen but at Assen he got caught up with Jorge Lorenzo in a lap one accident. The race before Assen, he fell while running third at Silverstone, granted in the wet. And he was doing all this on a customer bike. Imagine how fast he would have been on a factory Honda.

Towards the end of 2011, he had reigned in more control. Got a podium at Brno, three consecutive fourths before a second at Australia. Everything looked to be up heading into the final two rounds of 2011 and all of 2012. Malaysia, Marco ran wide while running fourth, did all he could to save it, and came across right into Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards. Just as in Vegas, the race was cancelled, everybody went home. Unlike IndyCar, MotoGP went back to racing at Valencia just a few weeks later. Instead of a minute of silence for Super Sic, they had a minute of noise. That was his personality.

The other soul was that of Iron Man Michael Wanser, son of Target Chip Ganassi Racing's team manager Barry Wanser. Michael was only six year's old when he lost his year long battle with leukemia. All of IndyCar supported Iron Man Michael in his battle and his death, shortly before Dan's Memorial Service was the final sucker punch to end what had been a dark week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

IndyCar Drivers Racing, ALMS Schedule Release, New Jersey Postponed And More

IndyCar Drivers Racing This Weekend
From the United States to Australia to Brazil, IndyCar drivers are keeping busy. Let's start at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans. The last two champions are competing but in different classes. Ryan Hunter-Reay is driving the SRT Viper in the GT class with co-drivers Dominik Farnbacher and Kuno Wittmer, while Dario Franchitti will drive an HPD ARX03-b for Level-5 Motorsports with his brother Marino and Scott Tucker in the LMP2 class. Townsend Bell is also competing in the GT class for Alex Job Racing in a Lotus Evora. The DeltaWing is making its second appearance of 2012 with Lucas Ordonez and Gunnar Jeannette as co-drivers. 

Other past drivers from American open-wheel racing at Petit Le Mans are Neel Jani (Rebellion Racing/LMP1), Bertrand Baguette (Oak Racing/LMP2), Martin Plowman (Conquest Racing/LMP2), Luis Diaz (Level 5/LMP2), Scott Sharp (Extreme Speed/GT), Bruno Junqueira (RSR/PC) and Ryan Daziel (CORE Autosport/PC).

In Australia, nine IndyCar drivers from the 2012 season will compete in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 from Surfers Paradise. In the final practice for international drivers, Ryan Briscoe led all IndyCar driver and was second overall behind German sports car driver Marc Lieb. Simon Pagenuad was second amongst the IndyCar crowd (3rd overall) and Sebastien Bourdais was third from IndyCar (8th). The remaining IndyCar drivers looked like this, Will Power (12th), James Hinchcliffe (14th), Justin Wilson (17th), Mike Conway (21st), Graham Rahal (22nd) and Marco Andretti (26th). Other Americans in the field are Ricky Taylor (23rd) and Boris Said (24th). Former IndyCar driver Max Papis was 28th overall. 

In Brazil, Rubens Barrichello will take part in the StockCar Brasil series from Curitiba. This is the first of three StockCar Brasil races Barrichello will being running in. 

2013 American Le Mans Schedule
Released last night, the American Le Mans series will run 10 races next season starting with Sebring March 16 and ending with Petit Le Mans October 19. New to the schedule will be Austin on September 21, one day before the World Endurance Championship round at the track. ALMS and IndyCar will run the same weekend at Long Beach and Baltimore. Mid-Ohio will not be returning to the schedule. 

New Jersey and F1 Postpone Race Until 2014
The Grand Prix of America has been pushed back one year. Bernie Ecclestone confirmed it. Delays in construction have caused the one year delay. SPEED's Will Buxton came up with a good idea for New Jersey. Instead of canceling the race weekend all together, why not run it else where? Buxton mentioned tracks such as Sonoma, Laguna Seca, Road America, Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen as possible replacements. Sadly, Buxton is not in charge and making a educated decision such as that are not common in Formula One. 

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season ends this weekend at Hockenheim. Three drivers are contending for the title. Mercedes driver Gary Paffett leads BMW's Bruno Spengler by three points with Mercedes' Jamie Green eighteen points behind. In Friday first practice, Spengler was fastest with defending DTM champion Martin Tomczyk and the Audi's of Mike Rockenfeller and Mattias Ekström rounding out the top four. Paffett and Green were sixteenth and seventeenth respectively. American Joey Hand was twelfth fastest. 

MotoGP returns to Malaysia this weekend, almost one year removed from the fatal accident of Italian rider Marco Simoncelli. Jorge Lorenzo leads Dani Pedrosa by 28 points with three races remaining. Pedrosa was fastest on Friday ahead of his Honda teammate Casey Stoner and Lorenzo. The Americans were sixth (Ben Spies), eighth (Nicky Hayden) and fifteenth (Colin Edwards). Valentino Rossi was eleventh. The Gresini Honda, Simoncelli's former team, of Alvaro Bautista was ninth. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oh, Danny Boy, The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

To be honest, I do not know where to begin. I have many feelings. Sadness, confusion, curiosity.

One year later, I still miss Dan Wheldon.

It was going to be an exciting day. A championship battle, an interesting wager, the final race of the season. I still feel the prize Randy Bernard had create was worth it. It was a side story for the championship battle. It put the Indianapolis 500 winner in the field, after unjustly missing all but two races of the season.

After Dan won Indianapolis last year, I was adamant with my friends that Dan had to be in a car full-time. I was mad that a proven winner was not handed a ride in victory lane. He earned it, he should not have had to buy a ride. 

After the accident, I cried. I did not want to do a damn thing. The following morning, I did not want to go to school. I just wanted to cry. The week slowly went by. I really sat down and thought about racing. What it meant to me, if my heart was still in it. After thinking for a couple of days, I determined my love for racing was just as strong as ever. Death is apart of racing. It's there, just as it follows us in everyday life. We don't think about it, we'll never know when it is coming or how it will get us but it is there.

What do I miss most about Dan? His smile. It is the first thing I think of him as a human being. As a racer, it is clear. Two Indianapolis 500 victories, an IndyCar championship and an impressive career nonetheless. I remember Richmond 2004. He started 20th and going in was not fully comfortable with short ovals. He ended up winning the race after nearly falling one lap down. Looking back, it is hard to believe Dan struggling on any oval during the his career. I remember the golden days for Andretti Green Racing. Four teammates, four different nationalities, but all acting as if they were all brothers. The reign they had during 2004 and 2005 where they were the best team and nobody came close.

After the season we just had, I cannot help but think about what it could have been like with Dan's presences. His would have been teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay won the championship, James Hinchcliffe was competitive all year. We will never know what the results would have been, what races he would have won, if any. The car that Dan had a major hand in developing though, did not let us down. And I am sure, Dan is happy about that. We owe him thanks for the great racing produced, even though he is no longer with us.

I miss Dan, but the memories of him racing will remain, the joy he brought many fans, including myself will never go away. He has a special place in history.

As bad as I feel, I cannot begin to imagine how his widow Susie feels today. God bless her, Sebastian and Oliver and the rest of the Wheldon family. 

Coming up this weekend, twenty-eight drivers, including nine from IndyCar, will compete in V8 Supercars at Surfers Paradise for the Dan Wheldon International Driver Trophy. Is there any better way to honor Dan than racing? I do not think so and I am sure Dan approves.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NASCAR, WEC, Formula One Weekend Review

Bowyer Wins at Charlotte
Clint Bowyer stretched his fuel mileage to take his third win of 2012. He held off Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch.

With the victory, Bowyer jumps to fourth in the standings, 28 points behind the points leader Brad Keselowski. Keselowski led a race high 139 laps, only to come home 11th. His points lead is now only four over Johnson and fifteen over Hamlin. Kasey Kahne came home eight and is fifth in the points (-35 back). The points go as follow from sixth to twelfth, Biffle (-43), Martin Truex Jr. (-49), Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon (-50), Kevin Harvick (-58), Matt Kenseth (-67) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-86).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat out this past race and will miss Kansas with a concussion. Regan Smith is substituting for Earnhardt Jr. AJ Allmendinger returned to racing, driving for James Finch's Phoenix Racing. He finished twenty-fourth, four laps down.

Toyota Beats Audi On It's Home Turf
The Toyota TS030 Hybrid, driven by Alexander Wurx, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima, won the Six Hours of Fuji, holding off the Audis. This is the Toyota's second win of the year in the FIA World Endurance Championship, they won earlier this year at Sao Paulo. Both wins have come from pole position.

André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler lead the Driver's World Championship by 16.5 points over their Audi counterparts and elder statesmen Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen. The final round of the 2012 WEC season will take place in two weeks time from Shanghai.

Also to note, the American Starworks Motorsport clinched the LMP2 class championship at Fuji. The entry has been split this year between Ryan Dalziel, Stéphane Sarrazin, Enzo Potolicchio and Tom Kimber-Smith.

Vettel Retakes Point Lead in Korea
With his third consecutive win and fourth of the season, Sebastian Vettel retook the points lead for Fernando Alonso. He leads by four points with four rounds remaining. The German held off his Australian teammate and pole sitter, Mark Webber for the win. Webber set fast lap. Alonso came home third, with his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa finishing behind him in fourth. Kimi Räikkönen started fifth and finished fifth, ahead of Nico Hülkenberg. Romain Grosjean finished seventh ahead of the Toro Rosso teammates Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniel Riccardo. This is second race of 2012 in which both STR drivers have scored points, the other being Spa. Lewis Hamilton rounded out the points in tenth.

Formula One's next stop is the Indian Grand Prix in two weeks.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apocalypse Now

It could all be going to hell for racing in the United States:

1. SPEED is getting slaughtered.
2. Tony George wants to buy IndyCar (Robin Miller was right, why do we doubt him at times).

Let's start with the top. SPEED is dying. It is a sinking ship, Formula One is gone, Wind Tunnel will die as well, lots of good guys and gals are going to be out of jobs, we are probably never going to see coverage of any type of dirt racing, touring cars and bike racing again on American television. Will Buxton found out on Twitter, but he is open to IndyCar.

Bright Side: Formula One could be heading to NBC Sports Net. Bob Varsha is now open to become IndyCar's new lead play-by-play guy and multiple replays of NASCAR practice and qualifying could finally being coming to an end.

Now to the other point. It's IndyCar's (for a lack of a better term) herpes. If it isn't Sports Business Journal, leaders in IndyCar coverage, it's Jenna Fryer. They can't stop talking about Tony George buying IndyCar. Robin Miller mentioned it months ago, we as fans revolted the idea and that was that. But these two must be five years old and keep picking at the scab. Nobody wants to go through the Tony George Project again. Randy Bernard is doing fine in a tough situation. He got the best races (sans Belle Isle) on national TV, including a prime time race with no fear about going head-to-head with the NBA and (if they workout their labor strife) NHL playoffs.

Ok, maybe I got ahead of myself. Maybe it is not the apocalypse, but things could be better. The series is not for sale and that is what matters. Tony George can offer all the money he wants but the answer seems to remain no and that is probably for the best of all humanity.

Maybe we should stay the course and hope it will all work out. If this is the apocalypse, it has been a good ride, I enjoyed it, best of luck to all you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mugello Bound? FIAT Interested?

Recently reported by SPEED's Robin Miller, IndyCar and the Mugello Circuit in Mugello, Italy are in talks about staging a race at the 3.259 mile road course in September 2013. The Italian course currently plays host to the MotoGP Italian Grand Prix.

Also mentioned has been talks of Fiat potentially joining IndyCar as an engine manufacture. It is unclear if Fiat would enter IndyCar next year if Mugello is added to the schedule. Also unclear is if Fiat would take over the Judd engine program, which appears to have been abandoned by Lotus, and what the engine badge would be. Fiat currently owns Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Abarth, Ferrari and majority interest in Chrysler Group, which includes Dodge and SRT.

American open-wheel racing has not been to Europe since 2003, when CART raced at Brands Hatch and EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The current governing body has never sanctioned a race in Europe. The Formula One Italian Grand Prix from Monza is scheduled for September 8, 2013, leaving the 15th and 22nd as the most likely dates for any IndyCar at Mugello.

Other races that have been thrown around to fill the September gap in 2013 are Kentucky, Montreal and Providence.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

One Thing IndyCar Can Be Happy With: Equal Opportunity For All

She is a World Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist and looking to take on the boys. If she was a racing driver, American skier Lindsey Vonn would be openly welcomed to IndyCar. Vonn has stated to the International Ski Federation that she would like to compete against the men at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada in November and why shouldn't she be allowed the opportunity? 

I know, I know. Unlike IndyCar and racing as a whole, sports such as skiing, golf, tennis, basketball and soccer all have separate leagues/associations for women. You will never hear Rafael Nadal say he would like to compete in the WTA or Kobe Bryant want to spend a season in the WNBA. But in my opinion, and let me emphasis my opinion, in certain sports (racing, golf and maybe even skiing), men and women should have an opportunity to compete against one another. 

Babe Zaharias and Annika Sörenstam, while not lighting the would on fire, both played respectable against the men in the small sample of PGA events they participated in. We all know women's history in racing. From Shirley Muldowney to the Ashley Force Hood and her sister Courtney in drag racing, and from Danica Patrick to Lella Lombardi in circuit racing, women have been competitive.

Just a couple years ago, IndyCar could brag about having five women in one race and four regular competitors. Two of the past three Indianapolis 500s have seen four women qualify. While other forms of racing search for women drivers, IndyCar and let's not forget about the NHRA, have had women step in and perform well. There wasn't a push to keep these drivers out of the seat due to their gender. Through years of karting, lower formula racing and working their way through the ladder, these women have earned their spot just as the men have. 

While reading the Reuters' article on Vonn's request to take on the men, it was stated and I quote, "Experts believe the 2010 Olympic champion may lose as much as five seconds to the fastest men."
That very well could be the case but the belief of experts should not be good enough of a reason to keep Vonn from competing. Besides, if experts' beliefs kept Danica Patrick from competing in 2005, how foolish would they have looked?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mulling Doubleheaders

We have had four days to really think about the doubleheaders on the schedule. The fans seem split on where they stand and those who are not in favor have legitimate points of why doubleheaders are not a good idea.

1. They are all on street courses. Other than Toronto, the other two are big question marks. Detroit makes sense from the marketing side with large support from GM, but the racing has never been fantastic. Even with the longer course used during the CART days, the racing was barely any better than it was today. Houston was never a great track and it has been quiet on any possible layout change. Toronto, while yes having some dull races, has produced a good show at times.

2. It is just away to get 19 races. That may be but it is not like doubleheaders have never been done before. USAC did them at Mosport, IRP, Mont-Tremblant, as well on the ovals of Trenton, Michigan and Langhorne.

3. Fans may pick one day over the other and the attendance will overall be down. That is another possibility but if they keep Saturday prices lower than Sunday and a reasonable two day price, I think attendance could be up overall.

4. Creates a greater unbalanced between ovals and street and road course races. Can't argue there but we do have more ovals than less year. Yes only by one, but six is more than five. There seems to be a lot of ovals the series, fans and drivers want being talked to. Phoenix, Michigan, Kentucky, Richmond. The gap could be closing in the next year.

There are plenty of reasons to be for doubleheaders.

1. It is more racing, what real race fan is against more racing?

2. Both Detroit races are going to be on ABC. That is only a plus (unless the track comes apart and the races are moved to ESPN News). Detroit is in the middle of ABC's stretch of six of seven races, hopefully two race on one weekend can get people interested for Texas just six days later.

3. It is different and gives fans reasons to show up on Saturday as well as Sunday. IndyCar needs something different.

4. This goes with three but it may help the Saturday crowd and if the promoters can make more money than that is good for IndyCar. Also, what a way to make new fans. Two races in two days. Twice the party. As long as the price is right of course.

There are still a few questions about the doubleheaders.

1. How is the grid for race two going to be set? Inverting the top 10 doesn't seem popular, nobody wants one qualifying session determining both grids, or two separate qualifying sessions. Fastest lap from race one is being brought up but I would hate to be the guy taken out early and has to start at the back in race two, possibly because someone ran over them from behind in race one.

2. What will the race length be? Detroit was scheduled for 90 laps, Toronto 85 laps and Houston was scheduled for 100 laps during the CART years. Are we going to see two races at those lengths or will we see two races at let's say at 75 percent of the normal distance? These races aren't going to short sprints with only one pit stop or a sprint on Saturday, feature on Sunday. These races are going to be the same distance but that distance isn't currently known.

3. How much will this cost the teams? Even if these races are 75 percent of the normal distance, the teams are going to be putting a lot of miles on the engines. I'd hate to see a team dominate race one, have a really good race two going and have an engine failure. Also, I'd hate to see a team have an accident race one and miss race two.

Plenty of time for these questions to be answered and plenty of time to decide whether doubleheaders are the right or wrong thing to do.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2013 Schedule: What Is It Competing Against?

We also look at a race when it rolls around and say "oh, it's going against NASCAR" or "oh, were going against golf." I took an early look at what IndyCar will be up against and what it won't be.

St. Pete (March 24)- NASCAR is at Fontana that day. The race should get in by green flag for NASCAR.
Barber (April 7)-IndyCar will be up against NASCAR at Martinsville and of course baseball season will have begun by then.
Long Beach (April 21)- NASCAR is at Kansas that weekend. Race should be close to over when Long Beach begins. Other than that, NBA playoffs will have just started and the NHL playoffs (if the season ever starts) could also be going on.
Sao Paulo (May 5)- Going head-to-head with NASCAR at Talladega.
Indianapolis (May 26)- Who cares? It's Indianapolis.
Detroit (June 1 & 2)- NASCAR will be at Dover that weekend. Good news: Detroit Tigers will be out of town that weekend.
Texas (June 8)- NASCAR is at Pocono the next day, as is the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. If it is anything like 2012, we will be deep in the NBA playoffs and in the middle of the Stanley Cup finals.
Milwaukee (June 15)- NASCAR is at Michigan the next day. Formula One is in New Jersey but won't be racing until the next day. Milwaukee Brewers will be in Cincinnati that weekend. This will be the third day of golf's US Open.
Iowa (June 23)- NASCAR will be in Sonoma. Race should get in before the green flag there.
Pocono (July 7)- NASCAR races at Daytona the day before. Philadelphia Phillies are home that weekend, as are the New York Yankees. Should be the day of the men's finals at Wimbledon but that should be over or close to over by the green flag.
Toronto (July 13 & 14)- Will be going against NASCAR at New Hampshire on Sunday. Toronto Blue Jays are in Baltimore that weekend.
Mid-Ohio (August 4)- Pocono will be hosting there second NASCAR race that weekend. Good news: No Olympics in 2013.
Sonoma (August 25)- NASCAR races Saturday at Bristol. NFL preseason will be going on.
Baltimore (September 1)- Labor Day weekend. NASCAR is at Atlanta, but they normally run that as a night race. Baltimore should be well over before going green flag there.
Houston (October 5-6)- NFL season will be a month in already. Hopefully the Houston Texans are scheduled as off or playing on Thursday or Monday night that weekend. NASCAR will be at Kansas that day.
Fontana (October 19)- Saturday night means going against college football. This year USC is playing home that weekend and UCLA is off. NASCAR is racing Sunday at Talladega.

Scoreboard says six races definitely head-to-head with NASCAR, with possibly another three races. Not against any final rounds of golf majors. One grand slam tennis men's final. Two races in the middle of football season. It would be nice to see IndyCar capitalize on NASCAR's off weekend in July but there is no word that there will be late additions.