Just a few notes on an otherwise sedate Tuesday morning:
-With the season finale at Fontana now a 500-mile race, it sounds like the IZOD IndyCar Series should have a good and proper stage set if the points are still close going into the last race. I'd still like to see tracks like Milwaukee add 25 laps or so--I know IndyCar has to work on a TV window, but bumping up the laps next year would be a nice indicator to the fans that they're getting an even better value with the price of their admission. I'd love to see Texas or Pocono back as a 500-mile race next year as part of an oval Triple Crown, but this is a good first step. 400 miles vs. 500 miles might not sound like a huge difference to the outside fan, but it makes for a totally different race--especially considering the continuing engine competition. Yes, the 500-mile threshold is partly psychological, but it does count for something with a lot of fans.
-I really would have liked to go to Road America, but I can appreciate the Powers That Be not trying to force a race without enough time to properly plan for it. IndyCar knows its bottom line better than fans, but they definitely need to have a solid schedule announced early for 2013.
-In regards to whether or not the 15 race limit means IZOD has an out, it sounds like IndyCar has already been looking to Firestone or Verizon to take over at least presentation sponsorship of the Series. Right now, IZOD's Mike Kelly is quoted as being OK with 15 races, and I can't see IndyCar doing anything that would result in a default breach. There's got to be negotiations going on with IZOD, and we'll see where it ends. Even though their management has changed directions this past year, it's been nice to have them on board. Still, INDYCAR needs sponsor activation, not just sponsors.
-In driver news, Pippa Mann confirmed publicly yesterday that she is working on a ride for Sonoma, Baltimore, and Fontana, though the team this would be with was not mentioned. We'll have to see what comes of it. I'd like to see more cars at Fontana for the 500-miler, in any case.