Small IndyCar Teams Come Up Big Early In Season Despite Tough Schedule
Smaller Izod IndyCar Series teams are "currently dominating the competition," the latest example coming last weekend when Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud won the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit for Dale Coyne Racing and Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, respectively, according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. The "strong showing from the little guys came on the heels of Tony Kanaan's victory in the Indianapolis 500, the first official win for KV Racing Technology and the second time in three years a small team has won." There have been "six different winners in seven IndyCar races this season and none of them drive for mighty Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske." Pagenaud said, "It's great to see what IndyCar has been able to provide, a product that's helping every team to be able to be competitive." Fryer noted what is "most impressive about this surge from the small teams is that they are doing it with smaller budgets and fewer personnel at a time when the IndyCar schedule is pushing everyone to their limits." It is "implausible to think" Ganassi's Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon and Penske's Will Power and Helio Castroneves "will be kept out of Victory Lane much longer." But the start of the season "has been entertaining and healthy for IndyCar" (AP, 6/5). SPEEDTV.com's Robin Miller wrote IndyCar is the "best form of four-wheel competition anywhere in its current state of spec racing." The best thing about the circuit currently is that "NOBODY can predict any outcome because everything is so close and so equal." Franchitti said, "This field is as deep as the late '90s in CART. It's not outrageous to say but there are 20 drivers who can win one of these races" (SPEEDTV.com, 6/4). Driver Graham Rahal: "The racing now is totally different. It's far more competitive. Used to be, you had good teams and bad teams, and the range was so big. Nowadays, the difference between a good team and a bad team is nothing. There are no bad teams" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/6).
THE LONG VIEW: ESPN.com's John Oreovicz reported IndyCar President of Operations & Competition Derrick Walker recently "laid out the basic elements of a 10-year plan to increase the speed of the cars while maintaining or improving safety." Though it was not "stated directly, it's likely that the controversial" Dallara DW12 chassis -- which has "polarized fans with its ungainly looks -- could be utilized through" the '21 season. Walker said, "Our long-term competition strategy is designed to build on the foundation of our current package, with progressive and methodical enhancements in conjunction with our manufacturers, teams and drivers" (ESPN.com, 6/5).