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After a pandemic-affected 2020, the Indycar championship is enjoying a renaissance in 2021. The series is back on its regular calendar, and it is thrilling fans all over the world. After the IRL/CART civil war that destroyed open-wheel racing in America, it finally feels like the Indycar series is on stable footing. Under the management of the Penske Corporation, the premier class of single-seater racing in the Americas is returning to prominence.

Exciting action, close competition and unpredictability are fueling this upturn in popularity. The recent Indy 500 was the most-watched sports event that weekend; the race beat the NBA and Baseball in TV ratings. The series is in good health, and here are five reasons to watch the white-knuckle, wheel-to-wheel action that is Indycar.

The Fiercest Competition

Indycar is famous for its competition

Quite simply, Indycar is the most competitive series in racing. So far, in 2021, the series has crowned five different race winners in five races. With all teams using the same standard chassis, control electronics and tyres, the drivers and teams must make the difference. Indycar champions its drivers making the difference on a race weekend.

That is why a driver like Colton Herta can struggle in race one at Alabama and then pitch up a week later to dominate on the streets of Florida. At the start of every Indycar race, a genuine feeling of not knowing who the winner will be, exists. With only 16 races on the calendar, every race feels like a prizefight. However, the way Indycar regulates its technical regulations to keep the cars close allows the drivers to shine. That is why there is so much unpredictability as the grid boats an enormous amount of depth.

The Youth Movement

Pato O’Ward is one of Indycar’s brightest young talents

One of the biggest things driving Indycar’s popularity is the Indy youth movement. The quartet of Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Rinus Veekay and McLaren’s Pato O’Ward are all race-winners under 25. These four drivers bring their panache and style to the championship. Veekay’s fearlessness allied with his daredevil/entertainer character makes him a must-watch TV. Herta’s laid-back, fun-loving smooth racing style will see him get positioned as the American face of the championship. Finally, Ex-Super-Formula pedaller Alex Palou couples quiet confidence with a disregard for veteran drivers.

Lastly, former Red Bull young driver O’Ward is the most exciting driver on the grid. The Mexican with the Irish name possesses insane car control; the Indycar paddock has started calling him the Ninja. Watching O’Ward’s onboard camera is box-office. There is nothing better than watching young drivers come into a championship and shake everything up; these four drivers are here to turn the Indycar series upside down. This stable of youngsters can drive Indycar to more success with their fan-friendly attitude and insane talent.

The Calendar

The Long Beach GP is one of the prestigious events on the calendar

Nowadays, most new race tracks are barren tarmac locales shorn of atmosphere. Luckily, the US race tracks still boast the old-school feel with plenty of atmospheres. After the roaring success of the ‘500, Indycar goes back to another banner event this weekend. The Dual in Detroit returns after missing out last year due to the pandemic. The bumpy, high-speed circuit lined with concrete walls tests drivers to the limit as they perform double-duty by racing on Saturday and Sunday. The Detroit streets will test the drivers’ skill, bravery and eye-balls as they trawl across the uneven roads in the Motor City.

After this weekend, the series will head north to tackle the stunning Road America racetrack at Elkhart Lake. The racetrack often gets labelled as the Spa-Francorchamps of North America, except that gravel and grass still line the outer edge of the track. Add a return to Laguna Seca, another oval race in St.Louis (where a certain Romain Grosjean makes his oval debut) and a season finale at the iconic Long Beach GP, the Indycar calendar will push the drivers. Yet, at the same time, it will serve up high-octane racing on unsanitised, old-school tracks. These circuits are great for wheel-to-wheel racing; plus, they could create some unexpected circumstances that will shape the championship.

The Championship Battle

Scott Dixon is the reigning Indycar champion

After a disastrous Indy 500 reigning champion, Scott Dixon is no longer the championship leader. The six-time champion was making serene progress to a seventh title until the cruel mistress of Indianapolis scuppered his ambitions on race day. While Dixon tumbled, his teammate Alex Palou surged to the top of the standings with a second-place finish. Dixon’s troubles also allowed Pato O’Ward to haul himself into contention. As a result, the top three are now separated by 37 points, with 50 points on offer for a race win; the championship dynamics could dramatically shift as the season hits its busy period through the summer.

Watching how the two youngsters battle with a legend down the home straight for the championship will be fascinating to watch. But, finally, it would be foolish to rule out Simon Pagenaud, Rinus Veekay and two-time champion Josef Newgarden who currently sit fourth, fifth and sixth in the standings. The championship chase for the coveted Astor Cup could get wild in the white-heat of battle this summer.

The On-Track Action

The on-track action in Indycar is almost unrivalled

The actual on-track action in Indycar is fantastic. The similarity across the cars and the constant push to improve overtaking has created an exciting formula in 2021. After two years of racing with the aeroscreen, Indycar has started to iron out its turbulent air problem. Now, the series is back to showcasing breathtaking racing. Rinus Veekay displayed his racing skills as he scythed past the traffic and Romain Grosjean to win the Indianapolis GP.

Josef Newgarden and Colton Herta waged a race-long war for the victory in Florida. At the same time, Pato O’Ward screamed past his opponents on the slippery, dusty tarmac at Texas Motor Speedway. Whether it is on an oval, racetrack or street circuit, Indycar offers stunning action as cars race side-by-side for two hours. It is a spectacle watching Alexander Rossi race around the outside of another driver or witness Scott Dixon dissect his way through traffic. So if you’re after tons of action, brave racing, and exciting overtaking, Indycar is the series to watch.

Helio Castroneves won an emotional and evocative fourth Indy 500 last Sunday. The Brazilian legend joined the four-time club 20 years on from his maiden ‘500 win. The 46-year-old came into Indy after he got let go by Team Penske; Castroneves scrambled for a one-race deal with Indycar minnows, Meyer Shank Racing. The win was the team’s first Indycar win, and they triumphed at the biggest race in the world. The win cemented Castroneves’ legacy as an Indycar legend and left him on the brink of history. But, we’ll come back to that later.

The Speedway Gets Its Soul Back

The 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 was a historical, emotional event. Firstly, 135,000 fans returned to the Brickyard. That number marked the highest attendance for a sporting event since the pandemic started. Seeing race fans return to their cathedral of speed made the pageantry all the more special. After last year’s empty ‘500, the soul and spectacle returned for the 2021 edition.

The emotional singing of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ and the electricity of the driver introductions heightened the atmosphere. Add all the pomp and circumstance to the level of talent on the grid, and the race couldn’t come soon enough. The field of 33 were the fastest qualifiers in Indy history, while nine former winners were on the grid. The blend of youthful exuberance and veteran experience created an exciting cocktail of drama. It didn’t take long; After his twirl at the driver introduction, young Dutchman Rinus Veekay overtook Scott Dixon and Colton Herta to surge into an early lead. Veekay got followed by young American Herta in the early stages. The drivers settled in for the early stint until a dramatic twist shook things up.

A Dramatic Twist and Scott Dixon’s Bad Luck

Scott Dixon is a six-time Indycar champion; he’s won over 50 races, the Kiwi is a bonafide legend. Yet, Dixon has only drunk milk in victory lane once in his legendary career. That sole victory in 2008 looked like it might get joined after Dixon took a phenomenal pole position. Unfortunately, Stefan Wilson’s crash in the pitlane caused an early safety car period. Dixon was waiting to pit a tad later than Herta and Veekay.

Instead, race control closed the pits, and Dixon needed to complete one more lap around the track. Eventually, he was allowed in for an emergency stop. As the Iceman pulled in, his car spluttered to a halt. Dixon went a lap down and tumbled to the last position in their desperate efforts to restart the car. The favourite, the reigning champion, saw his Indy hopes get ripped away from him in an instant. Indianapolis often picks its winner; lady luck was definitely not on Dixon’s side this year.

The early safety car brought Conor Daly into play. The Indiana born-and-raised driver emerged into the leading pack after the pace car period. When the green flag finally waved, Daly went into hyperdrive. Daly took second place away from Herta; he then passed his teammate going into turn three; the roar from the Indiana faithful was deafening. The boy born 20 miles from the speedway was now in the lead; however, Indianapolis and its 230mph Russian roulette would once again change everything.

A Horrifying Crash, Hometown Heartbreak and the Ninja

As the laps continued to fly by, Graham Rahal was quietly moving into contention. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver went on a long stint in an attempt to overcut several cars. His team won the race last year with Rahal’s teammate Takuma Sato, and Rahal’s desire to emulate his father and win the Indy 500 was fueling him. Rahal came to a stop, time was of the essence, and his mechanics hurried their way through.

Devastatingly for Rahal, he left without the left-rear wheel tightened; as he accelerated out of the pitlane, the wheel rolled off, and Rahal crashed into the wall. It was eerily similar to Alex Zanardi’s horrific crash in 2001. Luckily, Rahal was ok. The loose wheel ricocheted back onto the racing line and struck Conor Daly’s car. The aeroscreen arguably saved Daly’s life; however, the resulting damage on his car would prove his undoing. Add that to a late pitstop, and the Indiana racer was out of contention.

Daly’s teammate Veekay was struggling with fuel-saving; it seemed as if the race was down to four drivers: Helio Castroneves, Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Captain America ruled himself out as he got a pitlane speeding penalty. The race had come down to two fearless youngsters and the grizzled veteran.

The Legend’s Flying Finish, but the Young Guns Are Here to Stay

As the race reached its dramatic denouement, the front three were racing for the win. It looked like the Honda-powered cars of Palou and Castroneves held a power advantage. O’Ward got placed on the periphery due to his Chevrolet engine’s power disadvantage. Palou and Castroneves traded places until the penultimate lap when Castroneves pounced. The Brazilian swept around the outside of turn one to pass Palou;

Castroneves then negotiated the longest three corners of his career to cross the yard of bricks before everyone else. The charismatic Castroneves then celebrated in signature style by climbing the fence. Once again, the crowd’s roar was incredible as they showed their affection and admiration for one of the sports biggest stars.

At various points, the Indy 500 got led by Alex Palou, Rinus Veekay, Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward. All four of these drivers are race-winners; all four of them are under-25; these fearless young bucks will get plenty of opportunities to come back and win at Indy. Although it won’t be easy, Castroneves said the old guys have still got it, citing Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson as examples. Spiderman will almost certainly return in 2022 to take a crack at winning ‘500 number five. That would place Castroneves into an exclusive club of one, and a packed house at Indy may erupt. But, the young guys are coming for him and his crown. Can it be May 2022 already? Please?

Indiana is a landlocked state in America’s heartland. It is a quiet, sleepy place full of great people. Unfortunately for the Indiana natives, this hidden gem gets unnoticed for 11 months of the year. Illinois, Michigan and Ohio take the attention. Add all that to a long, harsh winter and, understandably, most ordinary folks ignore this place. That is, except for one group of people. To race fans, Indiana is the Mecca in which they worship. The 200mph altar is where petrolheads make their pilgrimage. Every Spring, Indiana waves goodbye to the Winter, and it welcomes the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the oldest, most famous races in the world. Sine 1911, they’ve raced around the hallowed walls to the delight of fans from around the world. For one month, the eyes of the racing world stay glued to the state of Indiana. One can ignore Indiana for 11 months; however, when the cars’ noise hits, the track begins to reverberate, no one can forget Indy in May. Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen; it’s Indy 500 season.

The Greatest Show on Earth

The pre-race scene prior to the start of the Indy 500

From the driver introductions, the singing of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ and the throngs of fans making their way through the turnstiles, Indy 500 race day is special before the green flag waves. It is the biggest single-day sporting event globally; half a million people pack into the grandstands and infield to witness history. The tradition, the ceremony and spectacle make the race into an event that transcends sports. Quite simply, the Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world. There is something dangerously primal about watching a car weave past the concrete at an average speed of 215 mph—all in the pursuit of racing immortality. Hill, Stewart, Clark, Rutherford, Andretti, Fittipaldi, Villeneuve, Montoya, Wheldon and Castroneves are some of the fabled names who have their faces on the Borg-Warner trophy.

The tradition, the celebration of history and the storied racers that have come before them is unparalleled across all sports. After last year’s race got held without fans, and in August, the first authentic 500 under Penske management promises to be something special. Already, the drivers are out promoting the race and engaging with the fans from Indiana.

The Wheel to Wheel Action Is Unrivalled

For wheel to wheel racing, nothing comes close to the Indy 500

If you are after thrilling motorsports action, the 500 is the only race to watch. The cars whizz by in a blur of noise and colour. The average speed is 215mph, and they follow each other nose-to-tail in the slipstream. To pass someone requires enormous bravery and skill as drivers must thread the needle as they move off the racing line and up alongside the concrete to overtake their rivals. With the Indycar’s all sporting the low downforce oval package, the cars spend most of the race grouped in packs. The drivers dance their cars on an asphalt knife-edge. It is the ultimate test of skill and bravery. Nothing comes close to seeing Alexander Rossi move to the outside and overtake three cars in one action.

Don’t Forget About the Indy Road Course

The Indianapolis GP is the first staging point in the month of May

The Indianapolis Grand Prix is the first event of the month. The oft-forgotten about race forms a vital part of the festivities. The track that hosted F1 between 2000 and 2007 is an entirely different test for teams and drivers. The slow infield complex is a stark contrast to the super-speedway layout for the 500. It is a race that tests the drivers’ endurance as well as a teams strategy. It is a technical challenge that must get mastered. In 2019, Simon Pagenaud won the Indy GP to set up a clean sweep as he subsequently took pole and won the Indy 500. A win in this race can build significant momentum; the race can’t get ignored.

This Year’s Entry List Is Elite

Former two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya is back as he races for Arrow Mclaren SP

Unless something dramatic happens in qualifying, this year’s field is one of the very best in Indy 500 history. Six-time Indycar champion Scott Dixon is the headline name. Former Indy 500 winners Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Pablo Montoya return for another battle with the Brickyard. Then there is the current batch of established racers. Alex Rossi is desperate to add another race win to his sole triumph in 2016. Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is under pressure to keep his drive in 2022; a strong performance this month could save him. His teammate Will Power emerged victorious in 2018; after conquering his oval fear, Power is hungry for more.

Finally, Indycar’s young guns are also fighting for glory. Mclaren’s Pato O’Ward is finally a race winner; the Mexican took a stunning win in Texas, and his Mclaren looked hooked up on the oval at Texas Motor Speedway. Colton Herta is already a race-winner this year, plus his dad is now his race engineer. Bryan Herta masterminded Dan Wheldon’s win in 2011 as well as Alex Rossi’s win in 2016. Add those drivers to the likes of Josef Newgarden (former two-time champion), Alex Palou ( race-winner in 2021), Takuma Sato ( twice a 500 winner), and the ingredients are there for a great month of racing.

The Final Line

The location is unique; the track is historically special, it is a 100-year monument to the pursuit of speed, and finally, the grid boasts a level of talent we’ve rarely seen. From veterans to champions and the young guns, the month of May is ready to entertain millions of fans worldwide. Strap yourselves in; the three-week extravaganza in Indiana is here.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The month of May in Indianapolis means one thing; the Indianapolis 500. The Greatest Spectacle in Racing takes place next Sunday, while qualifying will happen this weekend. The ‘500 is the first checkpoint in the Indycar season. Therefore, it is the perfect time to recap what’s happened so far in 2021.

Crashed Cars, Near-Misses and a Maiden Victory

Alex Palou took his maiden Indycar victory in race one of the 2021 season

After a delayed start due to the global pandemic, Indycar roared into life on the rollercoaster-like Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Reigning champion Scott Dixon came into the race as the driver to beat; however, his young teammate would steal the spotlight. Alex Palou perfected a two-stop strategy to take the checkered flag; first, it was the first win in his career, and it was the first race with new team Chip Ganassi.

The Spaniard broke Mclaren hearts as he denied pole-sitter Pato O’Ward a first win in the championship. Two-time Indycar champion Josef Newgarden caused a massive crash on lap one; that pile-up accounted for several drivers. The podium got rounded out by those two Antipodean veterans.

Team Penske’s Will Power snatched second; meanwhile, Scott Dixon got his campaign off to a solid start with a third place. Rookies Romain Grosjean, Scott Mclaughlin and Jimmie Johnson all made their Indycar debut’s plus they scored points. Round one set the tone; the series quickly moved onto the streets of St. Petersburg for round two.

The All-American Kid Gets Andretti Autosport Back on the Top Step

Colton Herta dominated in St. Petersburg to win his first race since 2019

Colton Herta finally tasted the winner’s champagne after a barren 2020. The Andretti Autosport youngster drove all weekend brilliantly on the Floridian streets to claim the victory. As expected, the race was an attritional affair; Herta stayed calm and patient as he managed the pace-car periods and restarts to perfection. Josef Newgarden enjoyed a bounce-back weekend after sending his Penske machine into the barriers after two corners in Alabama. The Tennesee native harried and chased Herta but to no avail.

Nonetheless, it got his championship kickstarted after a DNF in race one. Penske’s third driver Simon Pagenaud got a much-needed podium to ease the pressure on himself. Briton Jack Harvey shone as he grabbed an exceptional fourth place. Scott Dixon continued to hold the championship lead as the veteran went home with fifth place. He knew his car wasn’t quick enough to win; Dixon took the points and fought another day. Ultimately, the weekend belonged to Herta.

His performance magnified the struggles of the rest of the Andretti drivers. Alex Rossi, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished outside of the top ten. Herta looks like a laid-back, shaggy-haired beach bum; however, he laid down a marker in Florida. He’s not racing for Andretti, just to support someone else’s championship challenge.

The Iceman Stayed Cool In the Texas Heat; Dixon Dominates Race One

Scott Dixon claimed another win at Texas Motor Speedway

We inhabit a world of inevitability. Morning always follows night; rain always follows a sunny afternoon in England, and Mercedes always say that they’re in trouble before winning the first F1 race of the season. Therefore, it surprised no one that Scott Dixon got back to victory lane as he crushed the opposition in Texas. The former Indy 500 winner raced in a league of his own to re-confirm that he is the driver to beat in Indycar. Indycar rookie Scott Mclaughlin impressed everyone as the former Aussie V8 ace broke his oval-racing virginity with a podium finish. Once again, Mclaren’s Pato O’Ward took another podium as he looked comfortable on the tricky Texas track. That performance served as a precursor.

Everyone Remembers Their First Time

After so many near misses, Pato O’Ward sealed his first win in Texas and Mclaren’s first win since returning

Texas Motor Speedway hosted a double-header, the drivers all came back to do it again on Sunday after Dixon’s win on Saturday. This time, one of the younger drivers took home the headlines and winners trophy. After so many close calls, Pato O’Ward finally broke through to snatch his first Indycar win. The former Indy Lights champion and Red Bull rookie looked fast all race; he then pulled off some stunning overtakes to get past Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden. After taking the lead, O’Ward sprinted home as he left his rivals behind in a cloud of Papaya and Black dust.

Also, it was Mclaren’s first win since returning to Indycar, and in O’Ward, the team has a young superstar. The Mexican now gets a test for the F1 team in Abu Dhabi later this year, although he’s said that his heart belongs in Indycar. Overall, O’Ward looked fearless, fast and relentless on the oval in Texas. Indycar’s got a new superstar to lead the championship around the world.

Veekay Denies Grosjean a Perfect Weekend in Indianapolis

Rinus Veekay secured his first Indycar win last weekend at the Indy GP

Move over, Max Verstappen; there is another racing sensation from the Netherlands. Rinus Veekay dashed his way to glory in the Indy GP. The young Dutch racer paired great strategy with some daring overtakes to win at the Brickyard. Veekay was the season’s third new winner out of five races. The performance proved too good for pole position man Romain Grosjean.

The ex-F1 racer stunned everyone as he bagged his first pole since 2008. Grosjean led the early stages; sadly for him and his fans, a slow stint on the harder tyre coupled with traffic was his downfall. Nonetheless, as a rookie driver in Indycar, months after escaping THAT crash, Grosjean underlined how fast he is. Grosjean will now take a few weeks off before he returns for the doubleheader in Detroit. The mercurial Frenchman announced himself as a contender for race wins. Alex Palou finished third as three European drivers stepped onto the podium.

Current Championship Standings

1Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing176
2Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing163
3Josef NewgardenTeam Penske148
4Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SP146
5Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing137
6Rinus VeekayEd Carpenter Racing135
7Simon PagenaudTeam Penske130
8Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske123
9Will PowerTeam Penske118
10Colton HertaAndretti Autosport117
11Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi Racing99
12Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing98
13Jack HarveyMeyer Shank Racing97
14Alexander RossiAndretti Autosport91
15Romain GrosjeanDale Coyne Racing with RWR81
16Sebastien BourdaisA.J. Foyt Enterprises79
17Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti Autosport75
18Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SP71
19Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan67
20James HinchcliffeAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport56

IndyCar and Formula One aren’t that different, right? Racing in circles, some of the fastest drivers in the world speeding through circuits at over 200mph? Wrong.

Both elite racing series in their own right, I’m here to bring you the essential guide for watching IndyCar ahead of their doubleheader in Texas this weekend.

Drivers

In IndyCar, there is no limit on how many or how few drivers can race for each team; for example, Max Chilton returns to Carlin for his fifth season in IndyCar this year and is the only entry for the team. Compared to Team Penske, who has four entries, a solid line-up, I must add.

There are some incredible names in IndyCar. Championships everywhere. Two-time IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, current reigning six-time IndyCar Series champion and Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, to name a few. As well as some exciting talent in Pato O’ward, who is returning with Arrow McLaren SP after an incredible season in 2020. Let’s not forget that Romain Grosjean is beginning his IndyCar career, too, with Dale Coyne Racing this year, racing in all of the street and road courses for the team.

Circuits

IndyCar is known for its astounding, diverse circuits. These drivers race on road and street circuits to short ovals and long ovals. This season will feature 3 ovals and 14 road or street courses. Even more amazing is the ability to configure the cars between these three types of track, from brake ducts to front and rear wings; these changes are there to bring the best setup for each car.

The Car

Dallara is the exclusive chassis supplier for IndyCar, it’s made of carbon fibre and other composites and weighs around 1700lbs or 770kg. Chevrolet and Honda are the two engine suppliers in the series, giving competitors 2.2-litre turbocharged V-6 engines that produce an estimated 550-700 horsepower depending on the type of track.

In Formula One, the cars have the halo. In IndyCar, it’s the aeroscreen. This is a new safety innovation that provides extra driver cockpit protection. It was only introduced into the sport last season. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this new feature. However, endless testing reported it doesn’t make any difference in speed, the temperature in the cockpit and drivers visibility. The Aeroscreen comes with tear-offs like drivers helmets in case it gets dirty – this would be done in the pits if needed. In terms of extraction, in case of a car overturning, endless investigations from the AMR IndyCar Safety Team have been implemented and have proven no difference in extracting.

Tyres

Again, just like Formula One, IndyCar has a sole tyre provider. In F1, it’s currently Pirelli, but in Indy, they use Firestone. These tyres are specifically engineered for the type, of course, they’ll be used on. Oval tracks will use just one type of tyre, whilst road and street circuits can use all three types – primary, alternate and rain. Primary tyres (black) offer a balance between speed and cornering. These tyres can be used on all 3 types of circuit. The Alternate (red) tyres have a softer compound, allowing faster speeds but quicker wear, so these tyres are to be used on road and street tracks only. Of course, we have rain tyres. These were developed for wet conditions and use a grooved tread pattern that improves grip and control in those tricky conditions; again, these are only used on street and road courses.

Pit Stops

IndyCar pit stops can’t be that different to Formula One, can they? The answer: YES! Unlike F1, where around 16 team members assist during a pit stop, only six crew members are allowed ‘over the wall’ during a stop. These include four tyre changes, a fueler and the person responsible for the air jack – a few of these crew members have several roles, like the inside rear tyre changer also helps push the car out of the pits after changing the tyre. Whether they are over the wall or not, each crew member must wear fire suits, fire-resistant footwear, fire-resistant gloves, and helmets. During a typical pit stop, the crew will change the four tyres, add 18.5 gallons of Speedway E85R and make adjustments in less than 10 seconds.

Race Weekend Format

Buckle in; this might get confusing! The format of race weekends changes from race to race. However, the most common is that there are two practice sessions on the Friday, practice and qualifying on a Saturday, and the race on a Sunday – with an additional warm-up session at the road and street courses.

Oval Qualifying: For oval circuits, each car is permitted two warm-up laps before the timed qualification laps. Then, they are allowed two consecutively timed laps. The aggregate time is recorded, and the fastest time earns the pole position – simple!

Road/Street Qualifying: This is broken into three segments to narrow down the field to determine the pole winner progressively. In the first segment, there will be two groups determined by the top time of each car in the final practice session. Each of the two groups receives ten minutes of track time, with the fastest lap by each car determining its qualifying position. The six fastest cars from each group advance to segment two; twelve cars receive another ten minutes of track time again, with the fastest lap determining their qualifying position. The fastest six cars from this group will then go into the Firestone Fast Six shootout (sounds fancy, huh?) The final six cars receive six minutes of track time to get the fastest lap and gain that pole position.

In terms of the race itself, the amount of laps determines race to race. Each race begins with a rolling start in two wide or three wide alignments during the final parade lap. Something else worse mentioning for the race is Push-To-Pass. It’s used in IndyCar on road and street circuits since 2009. It gives drivers a short horsepower boost that assists with overtaking.

Point Scoring

Unlike Formula One, in IndyCar, you are given points for all finishing positions. First – 50 points, second – 40 points, third – 35 points and so on. The lowest amount of points you can get in IndyCar for finishing is 5. There are also extra points up for grabs; pole position gives you an extra 1 point, leading at least one lap, you also get an extra point, and most laps led gets you a cheeky extra 2.

I hope I’ve provided you with all the information you need to tune into the IndyCar Genesys 300 and the IndyCar XPEL 375 this weekend!

Current IndyCar Lights champion, Oliver Askew has had a whirlwind few years from winning the 2017 USF2000 Championship to being announced as an IndyCar driver for the 2020 Season. I was lucky enough to get to speak to him about about his career so far, his achievments in IndyCar and a sneak peek into his upcoming projects.

Hi Oliver! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me. How have you been spending the off-season?
I’ve been trying to find a job for 2021! Staying active is the priority.

What first got you interested in racing?
It happened by accident. Nothing lured me towards it. It was a birthday gift to go out to the kart track when I turned 8 years old. The rest, Is history.

How was the transition from IndyLights to IndyCar?
Not bad! If you can imagine, the IndyCar just does everything better. More grip, better brakes and more horsepower.

You got your very first IndyCar podium in Iowa in July after starting 14th! How did that feel?
Amazing. I live for moments like that, when everything just clicks.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a Racecar Driver?
It’s all about connections, having the talent and working harder than everyone else.

What was it like competing in your first Indianapolis 500?
Great aside from not having any fans there. I hope I can compete there again and get the full experience.

Has F1 ever been a long term goal? If not, would you ever race in any other categories?
It’s never been on the radar. My path was always to IndyCar through the Road To Indy.

Do you have any hidden talents you want to share?
I can play guitar and love to surf!

So, without revealing any secrets, what’s your plans for 2021?
Like I said before, the priority is to stay active in something, but the goal is to continue professionally in IndyCar or in a sportscar.

As a fan of Oliver, I wish him all the best in his future endeavours and I’m very excited to see what comes next for him. A special thank you for taking the time to talk to me!

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