Friday, March 4, 2022

Jumping the Shark: IndyCar Speeds past St Pete

So much for “Christmas in July!” As I think the month is actually May for Indy Cars…


Yeah, I know, we’re All supposed to still be Ah-Flutter’ over last Sunday’s St Pete IndyCar Season Opener, which I’ll tackle shortly. Since after all, it’ll feel like another month until Round 2.! Yeah, I know, it’s only three weeks, but still.


And then another three weeks Off ‘til Long Beach, and another three weeks Off until a uncharacteristically late trip to Ye Barbers’, before Jamming six straight weeks of IndyCar racing Down our Gullets…


Instead, just a few languishing thoughts that struck me a Fortnight before the big Dust-up in Saint Petersburgh, since surely there was gona be the usual Opening season Brain-fade’s! Y’all know when those drivers are itching to stomp on the loud pedal and say Playing Thru after five months of Not racing!


Firstly, is it just Mwah? But I find it Funny when Racer’s Marshall Pruett is already telling us about the upcoming 106th running of the Indianapolis 500’s grid being almost Full some three and A-Half plus months before the race! Or is that just one more example of how the IndyCar season is just Filler for the Month of May?


Since according to Marshall, there were 5 entries apiece from Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing. With A.J. foyt, Arrow McLaren Sp, Ed Carpenter Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske fielding 3 cars each. Dale Coyne and Company, Dreyer & Reinbold and Meyer Shank Racing are 2 Car entities, and Juncos Hollinger Racing and Top gun Racing/TBD are the two lone One Car entries.


giving us a total of 33 Known entries as of February 14th. With 16 bowties’ and 17 Hondre’ engines claimed, with both manufacturers saying 18 engines is their Maximum for Indy.


Although the interesting scuttlebutt suggests that Top gun Racing is currently without a Chassis, since driver R.C. Enerson has split from the team, and apparently RC’s father Neal Enerson owns the Chassis and spare tub the team raced last year…


Kerbing’ Enthusiasm

Speaking of Dallara DW12 Chassis and the upcoming switch to the new, larger 2.4-liter V-6 twin turbo lumps’ mated with IndyCar’s first ever Hybrid system next year.


It seems some noise was made over Scott Dixon’s comments during the recent Media Days, when Dixon’s answer to a question was turned into a Soundbite. Claiming the current IndyCar is akin to a “Junior” Car vs. CART’s “Golden Era” of 900+ Horsepower Reynard/Lola’s…


Reportedly teams will need to spend between $250-500,000 per chassis upgrade next year, to implement All of the necessary modifications to the Ageless DW12 chassis to accommodate it’s ever increasing weight!


As Marshall Pruett notes that the new Spec Mahle Super capacitor Energy Recovery system (ERS) is initially expected to Add 120lbs to the Dallara’s rear. Although switching to a brand new Magnesium Bellhousing is hoped to cut some 35lbs off the ERS unit.


And while the Dallara DW12 keeps getting Heavier and Heavier, it’s worth remembering that it’s been around since 2012 and has done what Team Owners mandated most, i.e.; keeping costs down by not having to buy new chassis each season.


Although I’m slightly Cornfuzed over how the upwards number of a Half Million per chassis can appease Owners since I’m pretty sure it’s at least 100-grand more than a brand new Dallara goes for? Since the last number I recall for a brand new DW-12 was roughly $390k…


Making me wonder how or why Owners would want to have to buy brand new cars two years in-a-row? Since we’ve been led to believe that Dallara’s DW12 replacement is supposed to be slated for 2024? But it’s an interesting “tease” by Marshall over next year’s Indy Cars mechanical challenges and potential solutions.


Although now Marshall says Not So Fast! As it’s those dreaded few words we’re All becoming so accustomed to; Can Y’all Say Supply Chain Issues? Since IndyCar has just Scrapped the first intended test session of the new 2023 2.4-litre V-6 twin turbo ERS set-up.


As Mahle and Xtrac have both run into delays, not to mention another issue with the new Magneti Marelli electrical Fuel Pumps. As could we see a further Delay until 2024 for the roll out of the new Hybrid motors?


Come On down…

Naturally All Team Owners are Always having to look to the future regarding drivers, hoping to be able to Hire the next Hot, Upcoming talent, since Winning is the Name of the Game!


So I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated over Cheeps’ recent Evaluation Day outing at Sebring with Kevin Bacon’ Magnussen. Where the Dane’ ran a Mega’ 136-laps running thru a list of engineering evaluations for the team, instead of simply going for outright lap-times.


But may be it’s because of Kevin’s unbridled enthusiasm over the DW12 being an Absolute Beast of A Car to Drive! Making it sound like Kevin thoroughly enjoyed his day’s outing and would like to continue…


Presumably Chip Ganassi Racing will have one vacancy of it’s current four cars when Jimmie Johnson decides to Hang up his Helmet? Since I have Zero clue if JJ’s just on a two year contract that ends this year?


As it seems that Marshall’s also previously speculated that the upcoming Hottest property for 2022’s IndyCar Silly Season is none other than Alexander rossi, and that Rossi could end up at CGR since He’s been a Honda driver his entire IndyCar career.


Whilst I also know a fellow IndyCar blogger has speculated that Rossi could be bound for Team Penske’s #12 seat with Will Power moving onto Penske’s Porsche Sports Car project?


And how many more years will Scott Dixon, who turns 42 this July 2nd race in Indy Cars? Although He’s currently a “Spring Chicken” compared to Hulio,’(Castroneves)  Johnson and Takuma Sato, although I’m not sure if that’s a compliment? Meaning Cheep’ could potentially need two new drivers?


Naturally when El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske Calls, you Answer the phone! But I’m not sure how deep Rossi’s ties to Honda are? Since reportedly He skipped going to Penske previously since He felt obliged to Mikey A’ and Honda.


But I would enjoy seeing Magnussen race Fulltime in IndyCar, along with the Young Turks Kyle Kirkwood and David Malukas All in Top flight rides!


And I just had a really Bizarre thought! What if Rossi went to RLLR as Graham Rahal’s replacement? Yeah, Crazy Shit Maynard’, but that’s what happens when you’re waiting for the St Pete season opener and have been reduced to just being able to watch a single day’s coverage! By the way, Ain’t if Fantastic Paying extra for All of those commercials on Peacock?