INDIANAPOLIS – The Verizon IndyCar Series season is nearing. We’re just a little over a month until the season opener at St. Pete on March 11. But, since the calendar has turned to 2018, there’s been a lot more noise coming from the series these days. Since Jan. 9, there’s already been six test days for the new car, as well as the official debut of the 2018 concept in Detroit a few weeks ago too. Add that to how well INDYCAR drivers did at Daytona during the 24 hour endurance race, and you certainly feel a buzz heading into the spring months.
Now, expect all that buzz to really ramp up soon.
Next week there will be two crucial tests for the series and their teams, as the first once takes place next Monday, Feb. 5 in Sonoma. Seven teams will take to wine country, the site of the season finale, with hopes of gaining as much information as possible.
AJ Foyt Racing (Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist), Dale Coyne Racing (Sebastien Bourdais, TBA), Ed Carpenter Racing (Spencer Pigot, Jordan King), Harding Racing (Gabby Chaves), Michael Shank Racing (Jack Harvey), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (James Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens) and Team Penske (Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power) will take part in the test.
For ECR, Harding, Shank and Penske, it will be their first time on track in 2018. While Penske and ECR have previously tested this new car before, it will be the first time on track for Harding and Shank. It will also be the first time on track in an INDYCAR for rookie Jordan King too.
Plus, the “TBA” with DCR should be known by then, because team owner Dale Coyne has previously said that he hopes to have a driver for the No. 19 Honda announced by Monday’s Sonoma test.
After Sonoma, the teams stay out west and head to Phoenix from Feb. 8-10. The three-day test will be the first “open test” of the season, with every team competing in the series on a full-time basis showing up to the 1.022-mile Arizona oval. It will serve as the first test on an oval not of superspeedway stature, one that will hopefully see how the possibly of the aeroscreen will work too.
Nevertheless, it’s a very important test and information gathering weekend session, one that will hopefully improve the racing on the short oval.
On top of that, Phoenix serves as INDYCAR Media Day too, so expect several stories to come out of the west coast trip next week.
Fans are encouraged to attend the test at both tracks for free as well. Sonoma is opening the gates for free on Monday, while Phoenix will host the “Prix View” on Saturday.
So, if you’re looking to fill your INDYCAR void, next week will certainly fill your appetite,