Monday, February 22, 2010

Barber Motorsports Park Testing on the Horizon - Five Questions

The IZOD IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights teams will take to the track for the only preseason test of the 2010 season from February 24th to February 26th. IndyCar Garage asks five questions heading into the upcoming test.

1. Who is going to show?

The 2010 lineup for the IZOD IndyCar series is starting to take shape as is Firestone Indy Lights, but there are still several unknowns going into Brazil on March 14th. The Barber test should give the fans an idea of who is going to be on the grid this season and what team will they will be driving for. Look for J.R. Hildebrand to testing with Dale Coyne Racing, and Milka Duno in the second DCR car. Takuma Sato, a former F1 driver will be on the grid with KV Racing and there second driver is still unannounced. Will Power will give Penske his first three car lineup since the mid 1990’s. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti will be looking to continuing the Ganassi Dominance. Hopefully we’ll have more answers for the car/driver lineups at the end of the week. Scary thing about 2010, as of right now, TWO American’s have full time rides in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

2. How will the teams take to Barber?

The park, which opened in 2003, features a 16-turn 2.3-mile (3.7 km) road course designed by Alan Wilson, viewable from several naturally wooded or grass-covered banks. The IRL tested at Barber last year and that test gave them enough backing to sign a three year contract with the facility. It will be interesting to see what teams post fast times and how they take to a new track. Birmingham , Alabama is located in the heart of NASCAR country and just down the road from Talladega Speedway. Capturing a market in the Deep South would be a big benefit for the IRL, or a huge mistake.

3. Graham Rahal's Status?

The IZOD IndyCar Series youngest and most marketable driver is currently ride less heading into the 2010 Season. Graham Rahall’s former team, Newman/Haas/Langin is currently reducing its program to just one car this year, possibly two if Alex Lloyd’s sponsorship gets resolved. Rahal ultimately lost his ride when Paul Newman lost his life and in turn lost the sponsorship package through the salad dressing he helped create for McDonald’s. Bottom line with Rahal, the IRL needs to find him a ride and he can’t be lost to NASCAR. The latest rumor anyone is hearing is a one off with Ganassi for the Indy 500 and a full time ride in 2011.

4. How will Randy land?

Randy Bernard the new CEO of the Indy Racing League officially starts on Monday March 1st. Look for Randy to come in swinging, his background is marketing and everyone knows what he did with the Professional Bull Riding circuit. Randy’s real challenge is to active the IZOD IndyCar Series to a level that is outside the bubble of 16th street and Georgetown.

5. 2012 Car Drama

Until a decision is made on the four current proposals for the 2012 car, the topic will be the hotbed for discussion among fans. The IndyCar nation needs a jolt to recapture fans they lost in the split years, as the wounds are just now starting to heal. The car owners have proposed a radical concept in the Delta Wing Project, they claim it’s the only road left to go down before IndyCar dies a slow death. However the 2012 car decision plays out, lets hope it’s made with the best intentions for everyone involved!

No comments: