Open Letter from INDYCAR to NASCAR


Dear NASCAR,

We’ve been watching your races over the last year and a half or so and, while exciting, your “Boys Have At It” mentality to let drivers settle their personal vendettas and scores is starting to push the envelope into the ‘danger zone’.

To begin 2013 you had a car impact the catch fence on the grandstands side of Daytona International Speedway injuring fans who paid their hard earned money to sit in those seats for an enjoyable afternoon of racing and, instead, found themselves in an ambulance on its way to a local hospital.  This crash was all caused by a block thrown by Regan Smith because he did not want to give up the position coming down to the finish.  First of all, we can’t remember the last time somebody was penalized for blocking in a NASCAR race.  The blocking issue will resurface later, but the inherent problem with your racing on circuits like Daytona and Talladega is the ridiculous pack racing that ensues on these tracks.  The fans may crave and scream for it but, eventually, they will pay dearly for it.

The race at Bristol opened a new can of worms when Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano took their Twitter feud to a new level when Hamlin nudged Logano into the wall which resulted in subsequent threats of “He’s got it coming” etc.  This past weekend’s race that ended in carnage, bleeped out post-race interviews, and a hospitalized driver is a prime example of how you are losing control of your sport’s atheletes.

Race car drivers are passionate, emotional creatures that desperately want to win.  Especially in these times where sponsorship dollars seem to grow fewer and fewer, the pressure on drivers to win races and championships is ten fold of what it was a decade ago and, therefore, any fellow competitor who interferes in the pursuit of that goal will be the subject of at least verbal jabs if not worse.  What we are seeing is a complete lack of professionalism and respect on the drivers’ part and a lack of discipline from the sanctioning body of your sport and it must stop immediately.  Although there will be differences of opinion and words between drivers periodically, the racetrack is NOT the time or the place to settle any sort of score.  The drivers must respect each other on the track and, if they do not, the management of NASCAR must take swift and decisive action to discipline any driver that steps outside the bounds of what is acceptable behavior with fines, points deductions, vacation of wins, or suspensions if necessary.

In 2011, we had our own version of ‘Boys Have At It’ where poor choices by our series management allowed drivers to take matters into their own hands when it came to settling on-track melees because there was no clear line of what was acceptable behavior.  We paid for the shortsightedness of everyone involved in our sport with our dearest blood when one of our biggest stars lost his life in a race filled with insane pack racing absent of mutual respect between the competitors causing a 12 car crash.

The insanity of the ‘Boys Have At It’ must stop.  You may think it great for the sport as it allows the drivers to “show their character” but showing their character with 3,500 pound racecar circulating a two mile racetrack at 200 mph speeds will come back to haunt you in the deepest, most painful way possible if you do not change the culture.

Change it now before you endure the heartbreak that we did.

Sincerely,

INDYCAR

St. Petersburg Race Recap: Oh, Canada!


2013 St. Petersburg StartIt had been 190 days since the IZOD IndyCar Series went dark for the long, cold winter when the engines fired once again for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to open the 2013 campaign for the series title.  Will Power started from the Pole Position after winning the inaugural Verizon Pole Award on Saturday.  Power set sail early leaving the field looking small in his mirrors.  Things changed on lap 19 when Dario Franchitti, exiting the pits, found his way to the wall on cold black primary tires.  Tires would become a central story as the race unfolded.

The ensuing restart saw Power’s Team Penske teammate grab the lead on a brilliant outside pass, a move that Power questioned Race Control about in a post-race interview.  Nonetheless, Castroneves’ pass was legal and Helio set sail in clean air looking much like his teammate did in the first stint leading the most laps through the middle portions of the race.  Then things got crazy.

Sebastien Saavedra brought out the caution flag when his No. 6 Dragon Racing entry found its way into the tire barrier at the exit of turn 10 bringing out the full course caution flag.  The leaders ducked into pit lane for fuel and tires for the final stint of the race.  The exchange of pit stops saw JR Hildebrand pass Simona de Silvestro under the caution flag putting the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car behind the Verizon machine of Will Power.  Coming to the restart, Hildebrand, apparently distracted, drove over the right rear tire of the car directly in front of him which, unfortunately, all but ended the day for the race’s polesitter.  Power’s car was repaired and he rejoined the fight, but he would find the tire barrier in the wining stages of the race saddling him with a disappointing 16th place result to begin his campaign.

Helio Castroneves made his only mistake of the day on the following restart when he was a fraction of a second late getting on the brakes getting into turn 1 locking the right front tire and opening the door for James Hinchcliffe to claim the lead.  While Castroneves attempted to chase Hinchcliffe down, the battle behind them was the thing to watch in the closing stages of the race.

Simona de Silvestro began her final stint on a used set of the red alternate tires which, according to teams, began losing their grip after as few as four laps at speed.  Chasing her first career podium, de Silvestro was holding on for dear life to keep third position but was unable to hold off a hard charging Marco Andretti who passed her coming to take the race’s white flag signalling the final lap.  Teammate Tony Kanaan followed Andretti through but it was far from over for the de Silvestro as she had to try to fend off Scott Dixon and EJ Viso in a crazy three wide finish back in the pack while James Hinchcliffe captured his first win in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  De Silvestro would bring it home in 6th which is a major turnaround from the 2012 she endured.

UP NEXT:

The IZOD IndyCar Series takes a week off for the Easter holiday after which they load into the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.  Will Power looks for his third consecutive win at the facility where he came from 9th place on the starting grid to win the 2012 race.

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (FOLLOWING ST. PETERSBURG):

1. James Hinchcliffe (Leader)

2. Helio Castroneves (-8)

3. Marco Andretti (-16)

4. Tony Kanaan (-19)

5. Scott Dixon (-21)

6. Simona de Silvestro (-23)

7. EJ Viso (-25)

8. Takuma Sato (-27)

9. Justin Wilson (-29)

10. Alex Tagliani (-31)

14. Will Power (-35)

18. Ryan Hunter-Reay (-39)

25. Dario Franchitti (-46)

CONGRATULATIONS TO JAMES HINCHCLIFFE AND ANDRETT AUTOSPORT

WINNERS OF THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

James Hinchcliffe 2013 St. Pete Victory Lane

2013 Race Preview: Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg


StPete LogoTRACK LAYOUT:

GP St. Pete Track MapOn March 24, the IZOD IndyCar Series awakens from its offseason slumber with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the event’s ninth year of competition.  It is hard to believe that almost a decade has passed since the circuit hosted the IndyCar Series’ first right turn.  The course, a classic street circuit configuration, encompasses fourteen turns with the main straight normally an airport runway.

Now a staple on the IndyCar schedule, the event’s ninth edition has all the makings of the best race in the event’s history.  The IZOD IndyCar Series prepares to grid the most competitive field in history with everyone powered by the horsepower muscle of Chevrolet or Honda.

INDYCAR Spring TrainingTeam Penske’s record at the track is unmatched as the team looks to capture its sixth win at St. Pete and Will Power fired the first salvo winning the Verizon Pole Position recording a record breaking 105.87 mph. Teammate Helio Castroneves will be striving for his fourth St. Petersburg crown starting from the fifth position.

The positive surprise of the weekend is lone rookie driver Tristan Vautier who outqualified his veteran teammate by thirteen positions making the Firestone Fast Six.  Vautier, a graduate of Indy Lights, showed great speed in testing but it was unsure if it would translate to a competition weekend.  His speed is impressive, however, the verdict is out on whether he will be able to translate his speed into finishes that match.

IndyCar’s heavy hitters are spread throughout the field which should mean for some serious excitement with some, historically, fast drivers needing to weave their way through the field using daring passing and pit strategy that could result in chaos on starts and restarts.  These factors are a breeding ground for exciting racing and unpredictable outcomes.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • Chevrolet locked down seven of the top ten starting grid positions, but will Honda find speed to challenge on race day?
  • Chip Ganassi Racing is having a tough time getting their cars to turn through the center of the corners inhibiting their speed
  • Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, and Scott Dixon are starting outside the top-15 so there will be a long day ahead for these drivers
  • Firestone, at the drivers’ request, brought vastly different grip levels on the red tires and black tires so tire strategy will be important to the victor’s race
  • Lap 1, Turn 1…enough said

Enjoy the Race!

 

IZOD IndyCar Series Season Preview: Andretti Autosport


andretti autosport logo# 1 RYAN HUNTER-REAY

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet# 5 EJ VISO (IN CONJUNCTION WITH HVM RACING)

EJ VISO 2012 SEBRING# 25 MARCO ANDRETTI

Marco Andretti, No. 25 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet# 27 JAMES HINCHCLIFFE

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE 2013CAR NUMBERS: 1, 5, 25, 27, TBA (CARLOS MUNOZ; INDIANAPOLIS ONLY)

SPONSORS: DHL, SUN DROP, CITGO, RC COLA, GODADDY.COM

ENGINE: CHEVROLET

Andretti Autosport enters the 2013 IndyCar campaign as the defending IZOD IndyCar Series Champions but find a long road ahead of them on their journey to repeat.  While Ryan Hunter-Reay’s amazing 2012 campaign has been well documented, it almost completely overshadowed the struggles of the other two members of the team.

Ryan Hunter-Reay 2013 shot

When Ryan Hunter-Reay returns to the grid in St. Petersburg he will be thrust immediately into the defense of his title.  By no means should Hunter-Reay’s title be cast aside as lucky or fortunate as he finished the season with a daring win at Baltimore and finished finale at Auto Club Speedway while his rival found the Turn 2 wall.  That being said, Hunter-Reay has the bullseye of the #1 affixed to his DW12 for 2013 and the entire field will be coming after him.  He and his team must do it better this year if he’s to win consecutive championships.  It will be incredibly difficult for Hunter-Reay to have back-to-back five win seasons which he needed to counterbalance some mechanical woes that removed him from contention at Indianapolis, Texas, and Mid-Ohio.  Hunter-Reay enters 2013 with a great deal of momentum as the defending champion, but his teammates are a different story.

Marco Andretti 2013 Shot

It seems that whenever Marco Andretti has a season where he looks to have turned a corner the following campaign turns out much like 2012 did.  Although his first IZOD IndyCar Series win came on a road course, since that time Andretti has suffered from poor qualifying results on these circuits.  Road and Street Courses are notoriously difficult to pass on so starting at the back of the field makes constistent, strong, and points paying finishes almost impossible.  Coupled with Andretti’s competitive pace but tough luck on the ovals, the poor results mounted to a frustrating campaign and a number change for 2013.

James Hinchcliffe 2013 shot

The 2012 campaign for James Hinchcliffe could be described as a tale of two halves.  From St. Petersburg through Iowa, Hinchcliffe had every driver, team member, and analyst in INDYCAR saying that the No. 27 GoDaddy car would find its way to victory lane, but after a difficult weekend in his hometown of Toronto, Hinchcliffe’s season seemed to go dead weight.  The top six qualifying positions and competitive race pace seemed to inexplicably go away.  2013 will be Hinchcliffe’s third full season in the IZOD IndyCar Series and he will be asked to be fast at all times and break through to Victory Lane.  Ryan Hunter-Reay has solidified himself as the lead driver on this team, but Hinchcliffe will look to move to position 1A on the roster.

EJ Viso 2013

HVM Racing suffered the worst season in history in 2012 resulting in the loss of its driver and sponsorship.  Owner Keith Wiggins turned to former driver EJ Viso to see if a program was possible for 2013.  The result is a car fielded by Andretti Autosport in conjunction with Wiggins HVM outfit and driven by Viso with sponsorship from CITGO and Team Venezuela.  Viso has shown flashes of being competitive but has lacked consistency in every seat he has entered.  Perhaps, Michael Andretti’s top-tier team will be able to help Viso find the competitive balance.

Indy Lights veteran will join Andretti Autosport at Indianapolis so stay tuned for news on that entry coming in the next 90 days.

IZOD IndyCar Series Season Preview: A.J. Foyt Racing


a.j.-foyt-enterprises

Takuma Sato Foyt 2013

CAR NUMBERS: 14, 41 (INDIANAPOLIS ONLY)

2013 DRIVER: TAKUMA SATO, CHASE AUSTIN (INDIANAPOLIS ONLY)

2013 SPONSORS: ABC SUPPLY CO.

2013 ENGINE MANUFACTURER: HONDA

Overview:

Move over Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, we have a new odd couple in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2013.  After a season of mixed results in 2012 with Mike Conway culminated with Conway’s resignation from oval racing, AJ Foyt Racing was forced to find a new pilot for its Honda-powered Dallara sponsored by ABC Supply Company.  The free agent list in IndyCar was extensive but AJ Foyt dropped a bomb on the racing world by hiring Japanese driver Takuma Sato as the full-season participant for the team.  An odd couple it may seem, but Takuma Sato could be just the kind of driver needed to catapult Foyt’s operation to a consistent contender on a weekly basis.

The Upside:

Foyt’s team has always seemed to suffer from lack of pace, but if there is anything that Takuma Sato has proven in his three year tenure in INDYCAR that he is anything but slow.  Sato spend 2012 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing showing flashes of being the fastest driver in the Paddock and put his competition on notice.  A brilliant drive in the Indianapolis 500 that ended in the wall caught the attention of everyone on the grid.  Expect to see the No. 14 with consistent, competitive pace but whether they enjoy a breakout season is in the hands of the driver.

The Cause for Concern:

Nobody doubts Takuma Sato’s ability to push a car to its limits getting every ounce of speed but what is open to doubt is whether Sato can temper his aggressive tendencies that have so often resulted in contact with the barriers separating the racing surface from those in the grandstands.  Takuma Sato will, undoubtedly, crack the top echelon of the grid at points in every race this season, however, transferring his quick pace into points paying finishes will be what to watch for.  AJ Foyt is certainly hoping his roll of the dice in signing Sato will result in a major leap forward for his team which has, historically, been mired in the bottom third of the IZOD IndyCar Series grid.

PREDICTION:

Takuma Sato will breathe a shred of new life into AJ Foyt Racing giving them something to be excited about.  Qualifying towards the front of the grid on Road and Street Circuits should be a regularity but Sato will suffer from a lack of engineering expertise to qualify well on the ovals, but should make his way to the front.  Sato will have a difficult time finishing races resulting in a 15th place or lower finish in the final points but could climb higher if the finishes match the potential.

Roger Penske Throws A Life Preserver


 

Roger-PenskeRoger Penske, fresh off his first top level NASCAR championship, never ceases to throw curveballs into the world of Auto Racing.  Penske’s IZOD IndyCar Series operation, appearing hell bent on trimming from three cars to two, never ceases to provide out-of-the-blue and surprising news.  Team Penske came to realize that finding sponsorship to run three cars in 2013 was, quite possibly, and insurmountable task and subsequently released Ryan Briscoe to pursue other options after retaining three time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and perennial championship runner-up Will Power to contest the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series title.  Breaking news last week changed all that.

AJ AllmendingerPenske Racing announced last week that the team’s former NASCAR driver, AJ Allmendinger, would don a Penske Racing firesuit on February 19th to test one of Team Penske’s DW12 IndyCars at Sebring International Raceway.  Allmendinger’s test will be overseen by Penske Racing crew members as well as full-time drivers Power and Castroneves, with the end goal to grid Allmendinger in April at Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach.  The Indianapolis 500 is also on the radar.

Champ Car World Series Powered by FordRecent history will regard AJ Allmendinger as a NASCAR driver, however, the native of Thornton, Colorado etched his name into the minds of team owners in the Champ Car World Series from 2004-2006.  He was forded the opportunity to drive as teammate to Paul Tracy at Forsythe Racing and really made his mark on the series wining four races and capturing fourth in the final points standings and becoming a regular thorn in the side of four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais.

Allmendinger RedBullAllmendinger was given the opportunity to join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2007 as a member of the new Team RedBull operation as teammate to Brian Vickers but his full-time participation only lasted the 2007 season as he was relegated to part-time status in 2008 before moving to Richard Petty Motorsports from 2009-2011.  Allmendinger struck gold with the opportunity of a lifetime when Penske Racing signed him to drive for the team with sponsorship from Shell Pennzoil.  The season started difficultly as team and driver worked to find the same page on setups and just when it seemed they were making some headway, Allmendinger took the proverbial .44 Magnum and shot his career in the foot.  Suffering from the strain of the season, Allmendinger accepted a pill of Adderall from an acquaintance.  The following race weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Allmendinger was summoned for a random drug screening as per the NASCAR rule book.  Allmendinger tested positive for Amphetamines leading directly to his release from his Penske Racing contract as he completed the ‘Road to Recovery’ program and was reinstated.

Team Penske IZOD 2012AJ Allmendinger’s career looks to be headed full circle as he hopes to join the IZOD IndyCar Series in a part-time basis in 2013 eying a full-time drive for The Captain in 2014.  Roger Penske runs an organization built on loyalty and family with ‘once part of the organization, always part of the organization’ as its mantra.  Allmendinger handled his return from his drug suspension with the upmost professionalism which is just the kind of character Roger Penske desires and demands from all members of the Penske brand.  While at the unfortunate expense of Ryan Briscoe, Allmendinger’s opportunity to join auto racing’s most successful team is a fortunate happenstance for INDYCAR as it could put an American driver at the forefront of the IZOD IndyCar Series grid which is never a bad thing when trying to build momentum and exposure.

2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Primer


IZOD IndyCar SeriesAs teams begin testing for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, it is time to get moving on some of the things to watch for as we move into February where testing will be ramping up.  The 2012 season for INDYCAR was a great success with closer and safer competition, solutions to keep oval track races that eliminate the insanity but still manage to bring you to the edge of your seat, and an Indianapolis 500 that could possibly be enshrined as the best in the 101 year history of the event.  But, 2013 is a new season with a lot of new and a lot of remaining the same.  Looking to the new season, here are some ‘hot buttons’ to watch for as another run for the Astor Cup and the Borg Warner trophy begin once again.

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO…

Chevy EngineThe experiment bringing Lotus to INDYCAR as an engine manufacturer lasted only one season as Lotus and INDYCAR negotiated an exit for the European engine marque leaving Honda and Chevrolet with the responsibility to power the grid for the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.  The 2012 season saw some of the most intense engine competition in motorsports history.  So intense, in fact, that it got entangled in legal litigation and threatening lawsuits between series officials and engine manufacturers.

Chevrolet may have won the manufacturers and overall championships, but there is unfinished business as Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars won the Indianapolis 500 as well as the revival of the Grand Prix of Detroit for which Chevrolet is largely responsible.  Chevrolet was caught a bit off guard by Honda’s newest generation engines debut for the Indianapolis 500 and were vastly out dueled on race day.  Chevrolet will look to repeat its success on the road and street courses while improving their overall large oval performance.

Honda, conversely, would undoubtedly regard 2012 as a mis-step in their storied history in auto racing and would probably admit that Chevrolet brought the battle and perhaps underestimated the Chevrolet commitment and resolve in their first year return.  The previously mentioned legal battle took place because Honda was allowed to change their turbo cover to equalize to the Chevrolet on the road courses.  Honda will look to develop their engine to chase down Chevrolet on the road and street courses whilst keeping their advantage on the ovals.

DE SILVESTRO GETS HER OPPORTUNITY AS KV RACING REBOOTS

2013 KV RacingThe casualty in the Lotus debacle was that Simona de Silvestro spent the entire 2012 season handcuffed by a massive horsepower deficiency that saw her parked early at the Indianapolis 500 due to insufficient pace.  For 2013, de Silvestro and sponsor Nuclear Clean Air Energy move to KV Racing to partner with veteran Tony Kanaan.  For the first time in de Silvestro’s IndyCar career she will have an opportunity with a proven winning team and a Chevrolet powerplant to allow her to push her limits higher and, hopefully, turn faster laps.  Also of note, de Silvestro will have a teammate for the first time in her career and couldn’t have chosen a better partner than Tony Kanaan.  This team, KV Racing Technology, has a real opportunity to contend for the front of the grid this upcoming season.

RAHALS UNITE

Rahals UniteGraham Rahal must have thought he had the opportunity of a lifetime when he signed on to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing’s satellite operation in late-2010 but the marriage between Ganassi’s outfit and Rahal was never a stable relationship resulting in Graham Rahal’s release from the team for 2013.  What resulted was a perfect opportunity for Graham to take his sponosorship and team up with his dad at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.  Finally, the Rahals unite with Honda power and look to threaten the top of the grid consistently.

PENSKE TRIMS THEIR GRID

Power CastronevesThe years of a full-time three car Team Penske juggernaut appear to be at an end.  Although unconfirmed, it appears that Team Penske moves forward in 2013 with two cars piloted by perennial championship runner-up Will Power and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves while Champ Car and NASCAR veteran A.J. Allmendinger looks to join the team starting at Barber Motorsports Park as well as Long Beach and the Indianapolis 500.  While at the expense of Ryan Briscoe, trimming the team could bring a less-is-more situation where Team Penske can focus on fielding two competitive cars and beating Dario Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi to the elusive fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.

GANASSI LOOKS FOR A REBOUND

IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 500The four years between 2008 and 2011 could only be described as domination by Target Chip Ganassi Racing encompassing four consecutive championships and two Indianapolis 500 victories.  2012 was a little different as Dario Franchitti had difficulty getting a handle on the DW12 while Scott Dixon suffered some tough luck at points in the season and both drivers entered the season finale at Auto Club Speedway unable to contend for the championship, a situation not seen since 2005.  Chip Ganassi’s team managed to bring home just three wins in 2012, but they did get the most important win at the Indianapolis 500 but all involved would certainly chalk the season as an overall disappointment and they will look to rebound in 2013.  No one in the paddock believes the three cars from Chip Ganassi Racing will suffer consecutive difficult seasons and nor should we.  Chip Ganassi Racing will, undoubtedly, be there until the end in 2013.

HUNTER-REAY, ANDRETTI LOOK TO BUILD ON AMAZING 2012

RYAN HUNTER-REAY IOWA 2012Anybody remember in 2011 when Andretti Autosport spent the month of May at Indianapolis searching like detectives for enough speed to make the show much less contend on race day?  Fast forward to 2012, and my how they turned things around as they, along with Team Penske, held down the first two rows at Indianapolis and Hunter-Reay outdueled Will Power for the championship.  Even with their rapid turnaround, Andretti Autosport will look to put all three cars in Victory Lane and near the top in the points standings.

RACE CONTROL

Beaux BarfieldThe best hire in sports in 2012 was the installment of Beaux Barfield in INDYCAR Race Control replacing Brian Barnhart.  Barfield’s rules package simplified previously ambiguous and judgement-call rules such as blocking and avoidable contact by providing concrete lines in the rules that drivers could not cross.  Barfield made, perhaps, the gutsiest call in sports when he red flagged the season finale at Auto Club Speedway with five laps to facilitating a finish under the green flag.  For 2013, Barfield has further modified the rules to make the series easier to follow and instituted the possibility of standing starts on the double header weekends at Detroit, Toronto, and Houston.  Barfield will be looked to to maintain his resolve from 2012 and police the series’ drivers accordingly.

NEW LEADERSHIP

Jeff BelskusThe final hot button for 2013 is regarding new leadership at the top of INDYCAR.  Regardless of where you fall on Randy Bernard resignation debate, the fact of the matter is that Jeff Belskus is now the CEO of INDYCAR and the IZOD IndyCar Series.  Bernard’s departure was not handle correctly.  In fact, it was downright ugly how the Indianaplis Motor Speedway Corporation proceeded with the leadership change.  Belskus may be the CEO, however, Bernard’s fingerprints will be all over this season of INDYCAR Racing with the schedule and the movie ‘Turbo’ coming out later this summer, which, if handled correctly, could be a huge boost for the INDYCAR brand.  Belskus has been given the foundation to have a great season of competition and only needs to facilitate what Randy Bernard has left right in front of him.  What is desperately needed in INDYCAR is a liaison from the governing body of INDYCAR to its drivers and team owners.  The driver liaison has been, at least partially, fulfilled as Barfield has good relationship with the series’ drivers, but Belskus must institute a bridge between his office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the team owners in the Paddock every weekend if history will record him as a successful leader.