Tuesday, January 11, 2011

State of IndyCar Liveblog!

Hello, and welcome to the State of IndyCar liveblog!  It's just after 2:30 ET, and I am seriously early.  There are already some events going on behind closed doors, with names like "Driver's Meeting" and "FIL TV Package".  Plebian that I am, I am not in these events, and am focusing on the people-watching and making sure I've got everything set up at the moment. I'll be updating below as I have updates.

Of course, featured prominently on all the screens outside is the new IndyCar logo.


Definitely a lot of this around!

More soon!

3:30: Driver interviews about to start, so need to make this quick. Vitor Meira was a late arrival. Randy Bernard seems to have a nonstop motor, in and out of meetings! Conor Daly is here, will try to get some words with him.Will upload more pics in a bit--internet very slow just now.

Nard Dog In Action

4:00PM: Showtime!  They are starting with a retrospective of AJ Foyt's 4 Indy 500 victories.

We only had about 15 minutes with the drivers, but I got a good Q&A with Ed Carpenter. The lights are dimmed, and the show is on!

4:05PM: MAde the announcement in regards to Starwood Hotels taking over IndyCar stays.  9 different brands, to include the Westin (hint hint).

4:10: Intro video. 14 new partners for IndyCar in last 12 months.

4:15 Big intro for Connor Daly. Fog machine. JK Vernay.

Heeeere come the 2011 drivers!

Alex Tagliani
Scott Dixon
Justin Wilson
Will Power
Helio Castroneves. (the crowd cheers harder)
Tony Kanaan (TK, too)
Vitor Meira
JR Hildebrand (and they play Born In The USA)
Charlie Kimball
Graham Rahal
Danica Patrick
Marco Andretti
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ed Carpenter

Interesting how they did international drivers, then America...


Dario had an awesome intro, played in by the Gordon Pipers.

4:20 I have been hit with confetti and serenaded with bagpipes. Danica is sitting in front of me. RB on stage...must...focus...

Bernard talking about keeping the drivers accessible and making sure they are billed as the best multi-skilled drivers.

Talks about providing stats and stories for the press.

4:26 Brian Barnhart on stage now. Talking about the new partners for equipment. Cotman will cover more.

Uh oh...just said "probably" going to Las Vegas. No confirmation?

Qualification results will determine pit box selection for next like event. Road/street will count for road/street, oval for oval...

No averaging team position for pit selection.

105% as cutoff for participation! Sorry, Milka!

4:33 Talking about moving the restart closer to start/finish. Also will be adding double-file restarts "sometime during season". No moving due to lead lap status.

4:35 Barnhart done at 4:35. Introducing Tony Cotman.

4:39 "At least 4 different aero kits in 2011".  Cotman also mentions the engine reduction from 2.4L to 2.2L.  I am so not a gearhead.

4:40 Cotman talks about using cell technology, in-car cameras, etc. for the fan experience. Two show cars for 2012 design should be at Indy in May.

4:42 Roger Bailey on to talk about the Road to Indy.
Karting>Skip Barber>USF2000>Star Mazda>Lights>IndyCar. Mention USAC as a side entryway of sorts for the National USAC Champion.

Connor Daly doing all the road/street courses for Lights that Clauson won't be doing.

4:47 Jeff Green of IMS Productions on to talk about TV.

ABC: Opener in St. Pete, 500, Milwaukee, Loudon, and Finale.
Versus: All else.

Talking about the NBC/Universal merger. The merger is on as of the end of the month.

Indy Lights on for Wednesday at 6pm after each VERSUS race.

Terry Angstadt just confirmed the Edmonton race is on!

4:56: Talking about marketing with Kasey Coler. The newly-relaunced IndyCar Nation will have both paid and free levels.

Talking about marketing to short-track fans. Scholarships for USAC for Indy Lights will continue. Full marketing partnership with USAC to ensure their fan base returns to IndyCar fans.

Also targeting NASCAR fans. And karting.

Wow, this guy is flying through stuff.  Can't keep up.

5:01PM Here are the PR people!

Sorry, these last folks are really pushing through quickly.

Introducing Denise Abbott, who is going to take on Mainstream/Business PR.

5:04: Steve Shunck talking about combining the record books back to 1905. Nice!

5:07: OK, now talking about sales.

5:11 PM Here comes Jeff Belskus! Talking about the Centennial 500: "The Most Important Race In History"

Every living Indy 500 veteran--all 269--are invited back for World's Largest Autograph Session in May.

Along with Mattel, some mind-boggling stunt planned for the 500, plus the most unique flyover ever.

5:16 Greatest33.com website in March, when you can vote for the greatest 33 drivers in 500 history.

70 of 74 winning 500 cars on display at museum during this May!

Oh my goodness guys, this Month of May is going to be amazing.

Sports Illustrated doing issues DEDICATED to Indy 500.

They will be debuting print-at-home tickets, and a new 500 Fans Program.

5:24 OK, showing sneak of new commercial for the Indy 500. Talks about bricks. I likes it.

Belskus and Bernard on stage together to highlight teamwork, etc.

Wrapping things up in a minute, guys. I'll have to run here in a minute.  Expect more in a bit, if I can.

Later: Well, it was a great day, and a great day for IndyCar. I think the IndyCar blogosphere has plenty to discuss, so I'll just wrap up with a few last minute notes:

-To new readers of this site, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you decide to subscribe or check back with us every now and then. To regular readers of this site, as always, your comments and emails are really and sincerely enjoyed.

-I went up to Connor Daly after the closing and asked him about his new Indy Lights ride. He quite honestly told me as far as he knew, there was no deal in place for him to run Lights next year yet. So that was sort of a head-scratcher.

-Grabbed audio bites with Martin Plowman and Ed Carpenter. There are a lot of genuinely nice folks in IndyCar, but those guys are at the top of my list.

-Spoke to Pippa Mann. Still nothing to announce, and it seems like she's working closely with someone, but there's just nothing there yet. She mentioned we could see a partial schedule of 5 or so races, but she didn't really have much else for us at this point. The #HirePippa Twitter hashtag will remain strong until such time as there is news.

-Ana Beatriz was in attendance, but I didn't get a chance to chat with her. When I saw her, she had a continual parade of Lights and IndyCar drivers coming and up talking with her.

-Dan Wheldon still doesn't have anything yet, but is feeling good he'll have an announcement. Someone brought up Dreyer & Reinbold, which I hadn't heard before. I'm still leaning Andretti, mainly because I don't think there are a lot of seats Wheldon would consider solid drives left. The guy's a champion, and has the pride of one.

-It was a happy, positive crowd that adjourned from the State of IndyCar Address. PR folks, drivers, press, bloggers, and team members all.

-Do whatever physically possible to attend the 2011 Indianapolis 500 and the Month of May festivities. It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Tomorrow will be an all-picture review of the State of IndyCar Address! Thanks again for stopping by!


  1. What is a FIL TV package? lol

  2. Indy Lights :)Hearing on Versus, nothing on ABC/ESPN races.

  3. Of course you should say, featured prominently on all the screens outside is the new INDYCAR logo.

  4. Is this event being streamed live anywhere?

  5. Did they trot out the $34M to $81M increase in sponsor spend line too? Or is it back over $100M again?

  6. "A good Q&A with Ed Carpenter?" That must have been riveting! How many ovals is he going to run this year, TWO?

    Looking forward to some real news from the festivities.

  7. No streaming Compadre.

  8. Any pyro to accompany the drivers?
    Lowered from the ceiling on guy wires?
    Baguettes tossed to the adoring crowd?

  9. Isn't it ironic that Milka's fastest lap in today's ARCA testing (5th fastest & about a tenth of a second faster than she or Danica tested last year) came right as the presentation was starting? I love tabbed browsing, don't you?

  10. Milka got speared by every blogger in this dim-witted circle. All the lemmings jumped right on board.

    Last year they streamed the IZOD announcement.
    And screwed it up.
    This year the improvement is to not bother trying.
    While heralding your new media outreach initiatives at the same time.

  11. Please give us enough horsepower (800?) so the drivers have to actually drive (lift and brake) on the 1.5 mile ovals. That would be fantastic news!

  12. Anonymous said, "we are all Anonymous."

  13. 40 minutes in and has the name "Firestone" even been mentioned?

  14. That problem has almost effectively been resolved by losing the invitation to race at most of the 1.5 ovals. Great move.

    2012 oval HP has been stated as 550. And the ground effects will be enhanced, not reduced.

    And no downforce reduction for 2011.
    Stuck cars, 90% engineering 10% car control.
    So long as you don't run your driver out of fuel, that is.

  15. Firestone would have been the biggest piece of news they could have announced today.
    And that was only to say they had regained what they already lost.

    One of the few relevant job qualifications Bernard brought into office with him was his previous working relationship with event promoters in Las Vegas.

    None of whom will put up the green.
    And I.C. can't even commit to a track rental and in-house promotion to finalize the finale.

  16. This is fun.
    Anybody else noticed that the logo is missing a little aligator?
    Or a big IZOD?

  17. Was De Ferran lifting and/or braking when he turned 240s at Fontana? I don't think so. More horsepower doesn't mean anything. It's how much ground effect cars have that makes you lift or go flat.

  18. That should make current partner ABC happy, to be tossing out speculation of NBC's future.

    Is NBC/U getting into the tire business, too?

  19. FYI on the NBC/Comcast merger: The FCC officially said last week that they will not vote on it in their January meeting. In other words, Jeff Green is, at best, mistaken, and, at worst, lying about the merger closing by the end of January. Add that to Vegas now being a "probably" and this is shaping up to be a newsmaker for the wrong reasons.

  20. Props to my fellow wise and anonymous contributor.
    They should have reduced the tunnels for 2010, and incorporated reduced ground effects into the new chassis design.

    The only move they end up making is the wrong one.

  21. Chris, that's probably you talking about Green?
    A lot of the other comments are mine. I hope the impression isn't created that a lot of people are actually paying attention to this deal.

    Head coach at Michigan and N.D. is the only news being made today.

    Connor Daly running a partial FIL schedule will be big dinner table conversation. At one table.


  22. So I'm watching a guy try to fix his car.

    And he has a decent set of tools to work with.

    I toss him a few suggestions,and he keeps plugging away in his own direction.

    Then I hand him a few tools he is missing: he uses them, and then throws them in his own toolbox.
    And I watch him struggle to fix his broke down crate.
    And see the pile of parts he left off.

    And the good tools scattered on the floor.

    Good luck lighting it up. I won't be around to listen to the rod knock.

  23. Goodness, Anonymous! You were busy! :)

  24. This is a great post. I have been following your blog for around 2 months now and I really appreciate and enjoy reading your insight and analysis.

    As a result of this, I have created my own Indycar blog today. As an international fan of the series from the UK, I want to give me opinions on the series too.


  25. That’s wonderful news! I will check it out tonight!

    Thanks for reading—I really hope you’re enjoying it, and we can continue to bring you articles you like.