Roger Penske spoke to Jenna Fryer with the AP on Friday in Daytona. While Jenna didn’t get any answers on if the yellow shirts would be converted to starch white shirts. She certainly got an inside look at what Penske and his cohorts are planning for the most famous raceway in the world.
F1 Back At The Speedway
F1 appears to be at the top of Roger Penske’s wishlist for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He mentioned the series in his press conference after it was announced he had bought the speedway. Now he’s mentioning it a few months later, it’s obvious F1 is on his mind.
IMS previously hosted the United States Grand Prix from 2000-2007 however the Michelin tire debacle of 2005 ultimately doomed the series at Indianapolis. Teams running Michelin tires felt the banked corner of oval turn 1 was unsafe for their tires which had experienced failures during the weekend. Michelin teams went to the grid and pulled into the pitlane following the warm-up lap. That left 6 cars to contest the race much to the dismay of fans. The same fans who in 2006 and 2007 decided F1 wasn’t worth their time thus ending the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Since that time IMS has added an infield section in oval turn 1 to avoid using the banked corner.
F1 success in the US
With F1’s growing popularity in the US along with the series success at the Circuit of the America’s in Austin it only makes sense for Penske to want F1 back. The series wants a second and third race in the states, Indianapolis could be the answer. F1 wanted Long Beach, they rebuked. F1 wants Miami, they’re dragging their feet. F1 wanted New Jersey, they built apartments. Indianapolis is a purpose-built facility waiting to be used.
Endurance Race At The Speedway w/Lights
Jenna asked about endurance racing at the speedway and it’s top of the priority list for Penske as well. IMSA hosted a race at the speedway from 2012-2014.
More racing at the speedway is never a bad thing. Penske is even open to the idea of putting lights up at the track. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to light the entire track. Obviously it’s a pretty compact layout so it would make sense to but auxiliary lighting in places would be sufficient. Either way, it’s a safe bet that IMSA will be at the speedway if not next year then definitely by 2022.
Moving NASCAR To The Month of May
One of the most interesting bits of information Penske mentioned is the possibility of moving the NASCAR race to May. Everyone knows the Month of May at Indianapolis belongs to IndyCar and the Indy 500. Penske wants to move the NASCAR date on the oval to a doubleheader weekend with the Indy GP.
Would NASCAR want to play second fiddle to IndyCar during the series’ biggest month? Tough to say but if NASCAR is hell-bent on staying at Indianapolis it’s likely their best move to put butts in seats. You know, since they won’t move seven miles away to IRP.
Bye Bye Bathroom Troughs
The disgusting troughs in the men’s bathroom will be a thing of the past. FINALLY.
Give me a urinal with a divider every day of the week. Penske said you’ll see those changes when we get to the track in May.
Paving Parking Lots
One other thing Penske mentioned is his desire to pave the parking lots surrounding IMS. He’s not a fan of the muddy mess they become behind the grandstand. That’s a great idea under one condition.
Coke Lot stays a grassy muddy mess.
The future is bright for the speedway.