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INDYCAR Considering ‘Canadian Triple Crown’

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 13 2012

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe fought in the battle of Toronto last weekend. INDYCAR is considering adding a third Canadian race to its 2013 schedule. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

The “Black Hole/Black Eye” created in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule by loss of an ambitious street race in China might be filled next season by a third event in Canada.

In the wake of another successful running of last weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto, INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard confirmed that he is considering an event north of the border to complement Toronto and the Edmonton Indy on the City Centre Airport circuit later this month.

“It’s no secret we would like to have that third race (in Canada), (but) not at the expense of Toronto and Edmonton,” Bernard said from the race site. “It needs to be a market that we can continue to grow INDYCAR. I know many people would like to see that ‘Canadian Triple Crown’ again.

“This is the right time to build (the series) up here. When you have someone like James (Hinchcliffe) – who is up there kicking butt, who has a great personality, a great sponsor and is with a great team – you want to build around him.”

A native of Toronto, Hinchcliffe drives the No.27 Team GoDaddy.com Dallara/Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport.

Green Savoree Promotions marketed Sunday’s 26th running of the event at Exhibition Place. Toronto

Toronto is one of two current Canadian races on the schedule. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

Mayor Rob Ford estimated the race weekend generated a $50-million economic impact for the city.

Additionally, INDYCAR is in discussion with Rogers Sportsnet to be its Canadian broadcast partner. TSN/TSN2 currently broadcasts IZOD IndyCar Series races.

Bernard expects the 2013 schedule to be finalized by Sept. 1. Chief among the unsettled issues is whether the series will return to the high-banked, 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth next season under contract with Eddie Gossage, TMS president/promoter.

Bernard was to meet this week with Bryan Sperber, president of Phoenix International Raceway, about a return of the 1-mile oval operated by International Speedway Corp. in the future. PIR was a fixture on the INDYCAR schedule from 1996 to 2005, with three-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr. (2001-05) and 2004 champion Tony Kanaan (2003-04) emerging as two-time winners.

Bernard added that Brandon Igdalsky, Pocono Raceway president, is “doing a complete analysis” about the prospects of hosting an INDYCAR race at that recently repaved 2.5-mile trioval. While INDYCAR has not sanctioned a race at Pocono, the track’s open-wheel history dates to a July 1971 event won by the late Mark Donohue.

Meanwhile, the 2012 schedule will continue with the Edmonton Indy at Edmonton City Centre Airport on July 22. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Edmonton 100 on July 21 at Edmonton City Centre Airport. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network on July 22 before coverage of the Edmonton Indy.

Seven months after Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman drove shovels into the frozen December earth, heavy equipment moved onto a lot on Main Street in Speedway, Ind., Thursday to get construction of the

Sarah Fisher's team has a new home. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

team’s stand-alone race shop underway.

The IZOD IndyCar Series team co-owners unveiled plans in mid-December to construct a two-story, 37,000-square-foot race shop adjacent to Dallara Automobili’s new U.S. headquarters that will include a visitor area and training facility. Earlier that winter day, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing took delivery of its new Dallara DW12 chassis for rookie driver Josef Newgarden.

“The new SFHR headquarters in Speedway will allow us the ability to further include our fans and promote our team as it grows into the future,” said Hartman, who was introduced as a team co-owner in early December. “Having gift shop and interaction areas on top of a first-class business center and training facilities will contribute to the support of our current and future partners as well as demonstrate our long-term goals to everyone who walks through the front door.

“It will be a vital asset to our team as we look into the future.”

Fisher, who retired as an IndyCar Series driver in 2010 to focus on building the team, said the facility will ramp-up the team’s race-day preparation.

“We look to really increase the competition side of our team after moving several departments of our everyday preparation under one roof,” Fisher said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity that our partner, Wink Hartman, has given us to expand in this capacity. It will certainly enhance the ability to deliver an on-track product that rolls off the trailer ready to win races. The excitement of the location is infectious at all levels of our organization, knowing that we are the team next door to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’ ”

Dragon Racing teammates Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge completed a one-day test session on the 12-turn/2.303-mile road-course in Sonoma, Calif., on Thursday. It marked the first full test of the season for Bourdais, who will compete in the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 24-26. Legge tested earlier this season on the Iowa Speedway oval.

Bourdais and Legge completed 127 combined laps during the session, with Bourdais logging 83 laps. Legge never has competed at Sonoma. The team reportedly did very little in qualifying and race trim, instead focusing on the setup of its lone Dallara/Chevrolet.

“It’s nice to have time to get stuff checked and settled in, and do our job,” said Bourdais, the four-time Champ Car World Series champion who finished sixth in his Sonoma INDYCAR debut last year. “This is a very specific track. You almost approach it more like a street course. The pavement is slippery and low grip, so the car has to work very hard.”

Dragon Racing, along with many INDYCAR teams, will return to the raceway for a full test on Friday, Aug. 17. Will Power of Team Penske qualified on-pole last summer en route to the INDYCAR victory. The race weekend also will also feature the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge and Formula Car Championship.

Tickets are priced from $10 to $65 single-day/$65 to $85 for the weekend. Parking is free, and children 12-and- under will be admitted free on Friday and Saturday. Garage passes are available for purchase. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit racesonoma.com/indycar.

Marc Koretzky has resigned as INDYCAR’s Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Koretzky joined INDYCAR in May 2011 as Director of Business Development and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in December, overseeing day-to-day organizational operations.

Numbers worth noting from the Honda Indy Toronto:

1 _ Podium finish for Charlie Kimball of Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Kimball finished a career-best second at Toronto.

2 _ Drivers to win three-consecutive races in 2012 _ Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport and Will Power of Team Penske.

3 _ Straight podium finishes for Ryan Hunter-Reay at Toronto. He had finished third in the previous two races at Exhibition Place.

4 _ Consecutive front-row starts for Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

8 _ Career wins for Ryan Hunter-Reay in Indy-car competition.

10 _ Different teams represented in the top 10 positions at Toronto.

15 _ Different drivers to finish on the podium in the first 10 races of 2012.

16 _ Positions gained by James Jakes of Dale Coyne Racing en route to his career-best eighth-place finish at Toronto, most of any driver in the field.

18 _ Different drivers with at least one top-five finish in 2012.

29 _ Poles for four-time/reigning series champion Dario Franchitti, eighth on the all-time list.

34 _ Points separating Ryan Hunter Reay (334) from Will Power in the IndyCar Series point standings.

43 _ Races between podium finishes by a driver from A.J. Foyt Racing. Mike Conway’s third-place result was the team’s best finish since Vitor Meira placed third at Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2010.

135 _ Laps-led by Ryan Hunter-Reay during the last three races, all victories.

191 _ Consecutive Indy-car starts for Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology, dating to the 2001 Championship Auto Racing Teams event in Portland, Ore.

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 13 2012
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