Q: What’s going on with Carlin? From what I understand, Max’s dad is out as CEO at Gallagher. Does that mean his sponsorship is gone? We know Novo Nordisk took a step back this season a little bit for Charlie Kimball, and he hasn’t been re-signed yet, either. Are there question marks for this team returning with the same two drivers in 2019? It seemed a little odd that ECR announced Spencer Pigot’s return but not Jordan King’s, even though both sides have nothing but good things to say about each other. Is King on a full-time seat or bust path this off-season, or is he likely back in a part-time role at ECR? If not King, is there anyone else in contention for the road/street role? Is there any chance of a second full time ride at ECR in 2019? Dreyer & Reinbold… anything more than the 500 for Karam and Hildebrand there?
Juncos claims to want to run two cars next year. Do enough ride-buyers with deep enough pockets exist to make that feasible? Juncos, like Harding, really seems to be struggling on the sponsorship train. Guessing the well has finally run dry for Lazier Racing. Nobody wants to drop $1 million on a car that likely won’t qualify for the race. Does Chip have a back-up plan if the Rosenqvist deal falls apart, or is it a done deal and he doesn’t need one? Perhaps the craziest off-season story will be who is going to be in the No.19 car at Coyne, and is there so much interest that they are going to run the No.17 as well? By my count there interest is at least, but not limited to, Santino Ferrucci, Pietro Fittipaldi, Conor Daly, Zachary Claman de Melo, Ed Jones, Gabby Chaves, and we’ll even throw in RC Enerson. Who did I miss? Also assuming Pippa will be in the No.63 again for the 500.
Ryan Ward, San Jose, CA
RM: Read RACER.com’s latest story with Trevor Carlin. There was talk that Ed might put somebody in the No.20 car and he’d just run Indianapolis so King would be full-time, but evidently that’s not going to happen and Jordan wants to run the whole season. Talked to Dennis Reinbold for 20 minutes the other day and he’s still trying to put a full-time effort together, but only if he can do it right, so I’d guess it’s 50/50 on 2019. Just love to see Ricardo field one full-time effort. Bob Lazier said he’s working on some investors to get a new car for Indianapolis. All quiet at Ganassi, sounds like there might be some complications with Felix but he definitely wants to run over here. As for Coyne, you pretty much nailed it, so anyone with a couple million may be in the mix for a few races.
Q: First off, I want to say what a great year of IndyCar racing we had. The cars looked great and raced great! I saw some of the best racing I have ever seen and IndyCar has proven you do not need cautions to make a race exciting. It seemed like nearly every race had an increase in attendance, and I can personally say that from the races I went to (St. Pete, Iowa, and Gateway) there were plenty of new and young fans. Also, I am glad I got to chat with you for a couple of minutes at Gateway, and loved all your work on RACER this season. I finally got to meet JoNew and I have to say IndyCar has got two great young Americans in he and Alexander. I can’t wait for next year and see what NBC can do to better the series. Oh and, I like your pinstripes and pit stops line – I see some great things coming from that. Whatever happened to the rumors of a race in Omaha? Was that just talk, or could something ever happen?
RM: I’ve heard Oklahoma City, Tulsa, San Antonio and Norfolk, Va., but I never heard Omaha. Anything is possible if the city gets behind it, but it’s an expensive proposition without a big title sponsor, and that’s one reason Gateway succeeds. Between Bommarito Automotive Supply and the boys at Gateway, it’s a year-round promotion with people who know the business.
Q: Will IndyCar ever do road course or a street race under lights? I always enjoy Singapore GP for being under the lights in a city, as well as IndyCar oval races at night. Maybe the Indy Grand Prix could do it under the lights to give the event a boost. As a bonus, make it a throwback livery event like NASCAR does.
RM: It’s been discussed and it would be cool, but obviously the expense to light a track might be astronomical (IMS has no lights, BTW). Champ Car tried it at Cleveland once, but it was still daylight until there were about 20 laps left so it didn’t get the desired atmosphere.
Q: So the only thing wrong with this Indy Car season is that it is over! What a great season. We had multiple winners, the championship came down to the wire, many of the races were down to the wire and we got Portland back and it did not disappoint. As a lifelong fan, I could not be more pleased. I would also like to thank you for your take on the political correctness BS that Conor Daly was exposed to. What a load that was, losing sponsorship over something his father said 35 years ago? How stupid, and thank you for calling it out. That crap does not belong in racing! Do you know what the long-term goal is in terms of how many races IndyCar is willing to put on the schedule? Do we really have to end the season so soon? Too bad we can’t have Sonoma and Laguna; maybe one at the beginning of the season and one at the end? Also, has a new sponsor been found for Long Beach yet, and what is the situation on a new title sponsor for the series?
Bruce Davison, Santa Clarita, CA
RM: I think 20 would be the max, and that would include starting much earlier, be it Mexico City or maybe Down Under like CART used to do in Australia (and add New Zealand). Richmond and Montreal could be in play in a couple years, but the season will still end by mid-September. No word on a new title sponsor for IndyCar, but Long Beach will be just fine and might even have a title sponsor and presenting sponsor.
Q: I keep reading that Scott Dixon “tied” A.J. Foyt with five IndyCar championships. Doesn’t A.J. have six titles?
Dan Scott, Murrieta CA
RM: No, Super Tex has seven, and I saw that headline as well. Made no sense.