FPW15D28IMS 7338

FPW15D28IMS 7338With Michael Shank Racing confirming to RACER on Thursday night that it will not enter a car for the 100th Indy 500, the field of hopefuls has narrowed. After MSR's efforts to put together a program for Chaves fell through, the Ohio-based team is focused solely on making its debut next month at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In light of Shank's news, and with the first practice session for the Indy 500 set to start in 10 days, here's an updated list of the known entries as of May 6:


1 Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske
2 Will Power, Penske
3 Helio Castroneves, Penske
4 Simon Pagenaud, Penske
5 Scott Dixon, Ganassi
6 Tony Kanaan, Ganassi
7 Charlie Kimball, Ganassi
8 Max Chilton, Ganassi (Rookie)
9 Josef Newgarden, ECR
10 Ed Carpenter, ECR
11 JR Hildebrand, ECR
12 Sebastien Bourdais, KV
13 Matthew Brabham, KV (Rookie)
14 Stefan Wilson, KV (Rookie)
15 Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold
16 Buddy Lazier, Lazier Partners Racing (Rumors of a budget shortfall continue to circulate. The LPR team has new bodywork in hand, but will they have the funding to reach the track?)

17 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti
18 Marco Andretti, Andretti
19 Carlos Munoz, Andretti
20 Townsend Bell, Andretti
21 Alexander Rossi, Andretti Herta (Rookie)
22 Graham Rahal, RLL
23 Spencer Pigot, RLL  (Rookie)
24 Takuma Sato, A. J. Foyt
25 Jack Hawksworth, A. J. Foyt
26 Alex Tagliani, A. J. Foyt
27 Conor Daly, Dale Coyne
28 Bryan Clauson, Dale Coyne
29 Pippa Mann, Dale Coyne
30 TBA, Dale Coyne (Luca Filippi is in the car at the moment, but will he remain in the seat after the Grand Prix of Indy? Gabby Chaves, James Davison, and a money-wielding Mario Dominguez share hopes of landing the entry.)
31 James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson
32 Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson
33 Oriol Servia, Schmidt Peterson-Marotti

34 Grace Autosport (As we've written on a few recent occasions, team owner Beth Paretta is known to be working on a program behind the scenes, but has refrained from commenting on those plans.)

red bull lede

I was once told a story about Helmut Marko. He grew up with Jochen Rindt, and in their younger years the two soon-to-be racers would borrow their fathers' cars late at night and go racing around the snowy, icy Austrian hills. No permission was sought, so perhaps steal is a better description. Either way, the rules were simple. If you crashed, you were on your own. The other guy wouldn't wait for you. He wouldn't help you out of the snowdrift, tree or ditch into which you'd planted yourself. And he'd never admit to being there. The responsibility was yours. You were alone.

I cannot say that I know Helmut Marko (below) well. But this story, from someone who does, illustrates to me the foundations of the manner in which he goes about his business. No second chances. No handouts. No help. You are on your own.

Thus has it ever been in the Red Bull driver program. The company gives its drivers support by way of finance. For the emotional stuff ... well, you'd better have a phenomenal support network behind you. Or a backbone made of titanium.

markoWas Dany Kvyat relegated to Toro Rosso for his first-lap misdemeanors in Russia? I don't believe so, but the timing hasn't done Red Bull any favors.

At the Chinese Grand Prix, Christian Horner was full of praise for the podium-finishing Kvyat, telling the world that the Russian was riding the crest of a wave and "driving fantastically." Twenty days later, the same man said the same driver needed to return to Toro Rosso to "regain his form and show his potential."


The treatment of Kvyat by Red Bull Racing has upset a fan base already disillusioned with the outfit. This once PR-savvy, marketing-led fan favorite lost a huge amount of public goodwill after petulant outbursts against its engine supplier, rival teams and the sport itself in 2015, coupled with a threat to quit the sport if it didn't gets its way. Its dumping of a driver two weeks after he took a podium and was voted "Driver of the Day" has further cemented Red Bull and Dr Marko into the role of Formula 1's pantomime villains.

But this treatment of drivers as throwaway collateral is nothing new. From its first years in F1 through to today, from its junior ranks to its top teams, every driver bar one has been eminently disposable. Only three drivers have ever won races for Red Bull or Toro Rosso: Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo. How many others were let go that might have done better?

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sebastian Bourdais, Jaime Alguersuari – all had race wins in them. It's hard to argue that Robert Doornbos, Christian Klien, Sebastian Buemi, Jean-Eric Vergne, Scott Speed and Neel Jani didn't have at least podiums in them. Wins on their day. Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Dean Stoneman, Brendon Hartley and Tom Dillmann could have shone. Some of them never had the chance to taste F1 machinery. Of those listed who did, few were given the time to develop, mature and become the complete racers who might have achieved so much.

But Red Bull's bar is set by the best that they have. As such, it is constantly being raised, and thus the requirements for remaining in a seat and on the program grow ever higher. Expectations go from being high, to nigh on impossible. And those who can't keep up are chopped immediately. Because Red Bull aren't looking for someone as good as the best that they have; they're looking for someone better. And when the best you've had is Sebastian Vettel, it's a very high barometer.


Mark Webber was an able No. 2, but he was not a Vettel-beater. Whenever Red Bull felt they had someone on the same trajectory as Vettel, they sped him through the junior ranks to F1. Alguersuari is a fine example; so too are Vergne and Ricciardo. But Ricciardo for me was always the one in which Red Bull and Marko held the most hope. Because when they first brought him to F1 they did so not with Toro Rosso but with HRT. They placed him alongside Tonio Liuzzi, who had fared favorably alongside Vettel when teammates at STR. If Ricciardo could get on terms with Liuzzi, it said much about his prospects.

Of course Ricciardo compared more than favorably with Liuzzi, and his promotion to the top table was almost guaranteed from that point. What nobody could have expected, however, was that he would so dominate Vettel when they finally became teammates. Nor that Vettel would then walk away.

Was Ricciardo Red Bull's new benchmark? Or had Vettel had a bad year? It follows that if Ricciardo had beaten Vettel over the course of a season, under Marko's cold and ruthless assessment structure, Seb might have been close to the chop. But Vettel is Red Bull's untouchable. Even now, his opinion holds sway with the top management. His departure left the team hurt, and with a dilemma.

kvyat vettelKvyat (left, during Russian Grand Prix) was only a year into his Toro Rosso gig against Vergne, but the team already knew Ricciardo to be a better prospect than the Frenchman. In an ideal world Vergne would have been pitched, Carlos Sainz brought in alongside Kvyat and time taken to see which driver had the measure of which at STR. Instead, Kvyat would be promoted as the only option the team had, with Sainz moved to Toro Rosso alongside new signing Max Verstappen to once again pitch the new blood against each other.

Kvyat was a stopgap. A necessity. He might have outscored Ricciardo last season, but much of that had to do with reliability. Ricciardo is one of the megas. He's up there with the Vettels, Hamiltons and Alonsos. Was Kvyat ever a world-beater? I don't think so. Would he have been a Sainz-beater? Again, I don't know. Despite seemingly having the upper hand against Sainz when the two were teammates in Formula BMW, Formula Renault and GP3, I think Kvyat might have struggled with F1-spec Sainz. He's a far more rounded driver than the often-wayward-if-fast young buck we saw in junior series. Certainly, the Spaniard has compared more than favorably with Verstappen, and so Kvyat should be under no illusions that his task for the remaining 17 races of 2016 will be a tough one.

Marko has said that Kvyat has not been demoted. But he has. And this move could very easily signal the end of his Formula 1 career. Red Bull knows that he is not as fast as Ricciardo. Why then would he be moved back to the A-team? Even if Ferrari gets its wish and pries Ricciardo away from Red Bull with a ludicrous buyout, why would the team now put someone they don't believe to be good enough back in its top team? It's Vergne syndrome.

So what awaits? A reserve driver role and a Formula E drive would seem the most likely 2017 outcome. Some people have mentioned Renault, but with Esteban Ocon in the wings and a speedy, rich Russian in Sergey Sirotkin already on their books, Kvyat wouldn't get a look in. Sadly, as Kvyat is a great guy, it looks like the Formula 1 dream will be over. Aged just 24.

For Max Verstappen, the dream continues. Twenty-five months ago he was making his first open-wheel starts in the Florida Winter Series. Today, after just two full seasons of open-wheel racing, the 18-year-old finds himself at the wheel of a four-time world-championship-winning team's car.


Things hadn't been right at Toro Rosso for a while. Verstappen (above) started outgrowing the outfit almost as soon as he arrived. The signals were all there, from denying team orders to the frustration that bubbled over in multiple races, both on the radio and behind closed doors. Marko brought ex-Manor F1 team boss John Booth in at Russia to oversee the operation, a kick in the pants for Franz Tost, who had ruled over a decade of mediocrity at a team which has never made the step forward it perhaps should have.

Verstappen and engineer Xevi Pujolar became so disillusioned that they went against Tost and dictated their own Sochi qualifying strategy. Tost hit the roof. And perhaps at that moment the wheels were set in motion. Verstappen had to be moved before discontent with the manner in which Toro Rosso was run started to make the Dutchman consider other options. No sooner had the news about Verstappen moving to Red Bull hit the headlines than Pujolar was no longer with Toro Rosso, a Night of the Long Knives by Tost against those he believed to have stood against him. All very messy. All very political. All very sad.

As I understand it, Verstappen signed for Toro Rosso on a 2+1 contract. In other words, a two-year deal with a one-year extension option. This week, Verstappen is believed to have signed a new contract in which the plus one has become a plus three – at Red Bull Racing. Guaranteed. So Verstappen will be a Red Bull Racing driver not just for 2016, but 2017-19 too. He won't be a free agent until 2020, a season he will begin aged just 22.

If he doesn't perform, he will be out on his ear. As so many of his forebears have discovered, Red Bull and Dr Marko do not have time for those who do not come up to expectations. There is a very real chance that Verstappen could crack under the pressure, fail to live up to the hype and be on that Red Bull scrap heap before hitting his twenties.

But I don't think that he will. From the first time I ever saw him in an open-wheel racecar one thing has been certain in my mind. Verstappen isn't just good. He isn't just great. If designers can take a car to the edge of what is physically possible, Max Verstappen can make that car dance to the point of appearing to go beyond the realms of what we know to be physically possible.

He isn't a once-in-a-generation talent. He's a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

Time to shine, Max. But be careful what you wish for.

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Max Verstappen says he sees no reason to consider interest from rival Formula 1 teams following his mid-season promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull.

The teenager will swap places with Daniil Kvyat from the Spanish Grand Prix onward, with Red Bull claiming the move takes the pressure off the Russian as well as easing tension that was building at Toro Rosso between Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.

It has also been speculated that the switch safeguards Verstappen, who is in the middle of a three-year contract, from considering offers to join rival teams.

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"To be honest, I was always very happy at Red Bull," said Verstappen during a visit to the main team's Milton Keynes, UK factory. "I never saw reason to change and of course with this opportunity there is no reason to change so I'm happy to be here.

"This team is very competitive and I'm also a very competitive person, so hopefully it'll be a perfect match. It's a great honor and it's a top team and that's where every driver wants to drive."

Verstappen said the news came as a shock to him, just four races into the 2016 season.

"Of course I was very happy – a bit shocked as well," he said. "I didn't expect it, but yeah I'm very happy with the opportunity. I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr. Helmut Marko and now I just can't wait to jump in the car.

"I go [to the Spanish GP] with no expectations. I wouldn't say more pressure. I just want to adapt to the car, understand it better and see what my teammate [Daniel Ricciardo] is doing, because the most important thing is to score points.

"I just hope to feel comfortable in the car – I've never driven the RB12 before, so we'll find out in Barcelona."


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14INDY1rl4793If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the one Amy Swindell recently posted on her Facebook page cannot be calculated.

It showed her son, Kevin, getting ready to walk again only 10 months after being paralyzed in a sprint car crash in Knoxville, Iowa.

"Better than any Victory Lane photo I've got," said the wife of sprint car legend Sammy Swindell.

swindellSteadied by therapists Cassidy and Derrick at Frazier Rehab Institute (left), young Swindell was standing with the aid of walking canes and about to embark on an achievement that made winning four straight Chili Bowls look pedestrian.

"We walked 370 feet without a break today," he revealed to RACER on Thursday evening. "I never would have thought that walking the length of a football field in 15 minutes would be so hard.

"But it's so nice to be standing up again. I got so use to looking at things from such a low point of view that it felt like I was 7 feet tall."

It looked plenty bleak on Aug. 13, 2015, when his car slammed down on the frame rails after a flip during a heat race at the Knoxville Nationals.

One of the best all-around racers in the country broke the L1 and T7 vertebrae in his back. The damage was so bad to his L1 that doctors removed a rib and used it to build a new vertebra during a pair of eight-hour surgeries at Des Moines Mercy Hospital.

"They told me after the first surgery that I was paralyzed from the belly button down and I'd never have feelings again and probably never walk again," Swindell said from his apartment in Louisville, just a few minutes away from the Frazier Rehab Institute where he's been since September.

"So considering my prognosis, I think we're making good progress."

Amazing is more like it. Thanks to his youth, physical condition, fiancée Jordan Armstrong, friends, family, the therapists in Louisville and some of that good 'ol Swindell spunk, the 26-year-old second-generation racing star is beating the odds.

"I think it helped that I was in pretty good shape and had some good doctors in Iowa so when I got here they handled me a little different," he continued. "I got more treatment earlier and we just kept plugging away.

"I got a little more hope with each movement."

Even though his age and condition was a big assist, the inactivity still took its toll, and he was noticeably frail during our visit last October.

"Things atrophy when you lay there for a few weeks and I lost all my strength," he said, "so it's been a matter of rebuilding it, and I feel stronger every day."

Swindell was operating a three-wheeler and pushing the car he owns a couple weeks ago, so the natural question is, when does he think he might be able to start racing again?

"I'm not interested in driving if I can't be as competitive as I was," he responded. "Winning is why I raced and I'm not interested in just driving around. I want to get healthy and healed as much as I can and then I'll take a look at everything.

"I was a crew chief at the Chili Bowl and I enjoyed that. I think I'd be pretty good at it and I'm not opposed to doing it."

For now, Swindell is literally taking life a step at a time, and that's a wonderful sight.

"The hardest part is that you can't feel much so balance is difficult and knowing your feet are under you. I feel a little more here and there and sometimes in places I didn't feel before.

"But you can't make it come back; all you can do is keep working and pushing yourself and hope you keep improving. They've never given me a timeline here. They just said they'd keep working with me until I reached a plateau.

"I got around decent with a walker and now I'm using these walking canes and hopefully I'll get down to a single cane. And maybe someday I'll be walking around again on my own."

LAT BJN31048It started with a majority of IndyCar team owners expressing their interest in a world free of aero kits. Citing high costs and a lingering competitive imbalance between Chevy and Honda, most team owners told RACER they would welcome a return to a common set of bodywork and wings to clothe the Dallara DW12 chassis 

IndyCar has listened to the feedback from its teams and aero kit manufacturers, and appears to be headed towards a single kit in 2017.

"We have agreements between Chevy and Honda where the competition will continue," IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told RACER. "But there are conversations about whether or not we are at a place where we have learned a lot and we should at least consider ending that competition and finding a way forward where we have a kit which is the best of both."

Provided it happens, we're left to ponder the 'best of both' solutions for the paddock and the series as it jettisons the custom (and costly) bodywork made by its engine manufacturers.

The first question is whether IndyCar should revert to the stock DW12 bodywork and wings teams used from 2012-2014 (and still have in inventory), or if the series should commission something new. Let's start with the age of the vehicle that will carry IndyCar's final decision.

lat ge 14son3318Introduced in 2012, the DW12 will be entering its sixth season of duty in 2017, and while most team owners aren't in a position to purchase new cars, it wouldn't be a surprise if IndyCar announced a timeline to replace the ageing chassis with a DW18 or DW19. With a new car on the horizon—sometime before the end of the decade, I would imagine—the expense to dress the DW12 in something new could be a waste of money for a chassis heading towards retirement.

I cannot recall a time where more teams have struggled to assemble a full budget that, today, stands at approximately $6 million per season. IndyCar hands out just over $1 million to most entries through its Leaders Circle program every year, which accounts for roughly 17 percent of an annual budget, leaving teams to find the other 83 percent on their own. Driving that figure up with the need to buy the third unique set of bodywork for the DW12 in 2017 could be met with heavy resistance.

The other option, and the easiest fallback position, would be to dust off the original DW12 body and use it until the entire car is replaced. It would take time and labor, and paint (or a wrap), but reinstalling the old pieces would come at a minimal cost. The only new effort required would involve the interaction between the 2014 sidepods and the new hole in the floor that was introduced in 2015. Plugs were made which could fill the holes if desired.

When I spoke with Miles, he suggested that the 2012-2014 Dallara bodywork, above left, will not return, which suggests a new, universal aero kit is where IndyCar has focused its energies.

"I don't see us going back to 2014," he said, adding that a final answer is still a few weeks away. "Whatever anybody thinks about aero kits, there have been real performance enhancements, and I don't see [us] giving that up."

Although it might not be the news some team owners wanted to hear, there are few who would argue the looks and performance attributes offered by the stock DW12 bodywork can be improved.

If a bodywork change is going to happen, why not take everything Chevy and Honda have learned with their aero kits, and apply the knowledge to freshen IndyCar's look? And with all the gains that have been found in drag reduction and overall efficiency, it's clear Chevy's aero team at Pratt & Miller, and the Honda Performance Development aerodynamicists, are capable of advancing Dallara's original design from 2011.

 lat lepage 160424 bhm 4283

The next question is who would design the 2017 aero kit. Both brands have different preferences and needs to feed and cool their 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engines, which means adopting the current Chevy or Honda aero kit as the spec solution won't work. Something new would be required, and while Dallara is the obvious and neutral party to consider, I've had more than one Honda team admit they'd welcome having Pratt & Miller handle the project on IndyCar's behalf.

"I'm not telling you that [a new aero kit] is going to happen, and whatever happens we would expect that Honda and Chevy would both have to be comfortable with it," Miles said .

"Is the opportunity there to make changes to the look of the car without going to a new chassis? How that gets answered would eventually affect your attitude about how soon a whole new car might or might not be top priority."

lat lepage 150521 IMS 07133My guess is that IndyCar has already decided to move to a single kit and that the real dilemma facing Miles, right, and his competition department involves selecting an acceptable vendor for all parties involved. But who will pay for the design, testing, and mass production for the kit? And how much will it cost?

The answer could be found within the companies supplying the current kits. Chevy and Honda have committed untold millions to bring their kits to market, gone on expensive hiring sprees to fill out their aerodynamic departments, and pour frightening sums into continual computer and wind tunnel testing to find advantages.

If IndyCar turns off the need for those sizeable annual expenses, it would, in theory, require much smaller investments from the two companies to assist the series in a joint aero kit project for 2017. Whatever the costs happen to be, it will be a fraction of what they'll spend this year.

And with Chevy and Honda teams bracing for another long offseason of searching for money, I've heard a new single aero kit deal could include a clause where both brands would agree to supply their teams with the first kit for free. Assuming all of these plans are adopted, a free kit would ease the financial burden for each entry to some degree.

I've also heard the 2017 aero kit would ditch rear wheel guards—the 'Kardashians' - except for the superspeedways, and if that's true, the DW12's visual appeal would increase at most rounds. With the new beam wing flaps in place for Indy, Texas, and Pocono, IndyCar would need to use the rear wheel guards because they are part of the beam wing structure, but at road and street courses, fans would have a more traditional IndyCar shape to enjoy.

It would make sense for IndyCar to hold a press conference during the month of May to announce its future aero kit strategies, which would also be tied to the timing of the DW12's successor, but Miles says a public decision might have to wait until after the 100th Indy 500 is complete.

"[A May announcement] would be good, but I don't know that we are going to be able to do that," he said. "If we can, we will. I would like an answer sooner or later, because we don't want people spending money on next year and ending up changing directions after that, so the sooner the better."

If we're lucky, the countdown to a day where we're free from grousing over aero kits, Rule 9.3, and all of the other bodywork-based distractions isn't far away.

Max Verstappen's promotion to Red Bull was done to ease "the considerable unrest" at Toro Rosso between the teenager and Formula 1 teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, according to Helmut Marko. Marko has also claimed Daniil Kvyat's return to Toro Rosso to make way for Verstappen was in order to ease the growing pressure on him following his poor start to the year.

In light of the unrest between Verstappen and Sainz at Toro Rosso, and with Kvyat's collisions with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Russia on Sunday, Marko felt the time was right for the duo to swap seats. Explaining the switch, Marko told "It was primarily a measure to take away the pressure off Daniil."

"This year he has not been near the same performance as last year," he said. "He has been on average three to five tenths [of a second per lap] slower than [teammate Daniel] Ricciardo. Last year he was at eye level. He has been very inconsistent, had many ups and downs, and the crash in Sochi was as a consequence of the internal pressure he had built himself. It did not come from us.

"Romain Grosjean was once in a similar situation when he had crash after crash. We wanted to avoid that, and our luxury is we have the ability to set him up for Toro Rosso again. On the other hand there has been considerable unrest at Toro Rosso between Verstappen and Sainz, so we have solved several internal problems. And we have not removed Kvyat. He is still with us in the squad, and Toro Rosso is a good midfield team."

Suggested to Marko Verstappen's move was a timely one given Ferrari has long been interested in the 18-year-old, he replied: "As you know we have long-term contracts so there was no need for action. But now we have Ricciardo and Verstappen side by side, and we can accurately assess how the two perform, and we have Kvyat against Sainz. This makes future decisions easier, but as mentioned, all four drivers have long-term contracts."

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Max Verstappen will replace Danill Kvyat at Red Bull from the Spanish Grand Prix with the Russian taking the Dutchman's seat at Toro Rosso.

Kvyat collided with Sebastian Vettel twice at the start of the Russian GP last weekend, with the second contact resulting in the Ferrari ending up in the wall. After the race, Red Bull boss Horner said Kvyat "accepts he made a mistake" and apologized to the team. But following talks, Red Bull has taken the decision to drop Kvyat in favor of Verstappen from the Barcelona race nward.

"Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. "His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing.

"We are in the unique position to have all four drivers across Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso under long-term contracts with Red Bull, so we have the flexibility to move them between the two teams. Dany will be able to continue his development at Toro Rosso, in a team that he is familiar with, giving him the chance to regain his form and show his potential."

Verstappen is believed to have a three-year contract with the Red Bull family, which runs until the end of 2017. It is understood this move is seen as an opportunity to evaluate him sooner with a view to sign him longer term if he delivers.


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IndyCar could return to Watkins Glen or the Gateway oval in place of its canceled Boston race, with a decision due next week.

The inaugural Boston street race, scheduled for the Labor Day weekend on Sept. 2-4, was cancelled by the promoter last Friday because of difficulty gaining the proper local authority approval. Hulman and Company CEO Mark Miles is "very confident" a replacement race for the same date will be finalized in the coming days.

Though he stopped short of confirming a venue, Miles spoke highly of Watkins Glen – the famed road course that last hosted IndyCar in 2010 (pictured) and was once America's Formula 1 home – and Gateway International Raceway, which was last on the calendar in 2003 but has been pushing for a return.

"We've had an ongoing conversation for many months with Gateway, we think very highly of them," Miles told Autosport. "If we looked at that as a possible replacement for Labor Day weekend this year we would want to make sure they have ample time to do it right.

"You only get one chance to make a first impression and that consideration would be foremost in our mind of possibilities. It's much more likely an existing circuit with an existing staff and fanbase can do it right."

Watkins Glen International president Michael Printup visited the Phoenix IndyCar race in April to assess whether to invite the series back to his track.

"Michael has checked in with us annually the last few years to check the level of interest," Miles said. "That was probably not reciprocated by us because we didn't see a great opportunity."

Miles ruled out three other mooted possibilities – a return to Monterey or Fontana, or a new street race in Providence, R.I.

"It's simply too late to be starting from scratch trying to develop a street race in Providence so we aren't going to do that," Miles said. "As for Fontana, no for the same reasons it came off the schedule. It's not that we don't think it's a great track and appreciate the events that have been there but you have to allow for the temperature out there. That pushes them for a night race – and a night race on the West Coast is difficult for us as we are building for the climax of the championship and a finale."

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been ruled out due to its proximity to Sonoma, which hosts the final round later in September.

"We have not been able to find a time when it would work without giving us concerns about Sonoma," Miles explained. "We have looked at both ends of the calendar for that and have not found an opportunity."


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