Penske’s IndyCar leader comments easier said than done

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Roger Penske has been in racing, specifically open-wheel racing, long enough to know how frequently the series’ leadership structure changes.

Penske told Autosport this week that IndyCar needs to follow NASCAR’s standard set in terms of leadership.

“We’ve never had a strong enough leader as they do in NASCAR,” Penske said. “They say, ‘Hey, guys, here’s the rules, here’s how we’re going to race. Guess what? If you don’t like it you can park your car outside and sit in the stands.’ And that’s what we need. We need some leadership. And I think that we can develop that as we go forward over the next 12 months.”

Compared to NASCAR, which the France family has ruled since the series’ inception in 1948, IndyCar has had a revolving door of presidents and CEOs.

IndyCar has not named a permanent replacement for its departed CEO Randy Bernard, the head of the series from 2010 to 2012. Mark Miles, the new head of IndyCar parent company Hulman & Co., attended his first race outside the Indianapolis 500 last weekend at St. Petersburg.

The long standing perception in IndyCar has been one where the team owners, not a head of state, run the series. The perception was reality in the CART era, when team owners helped to create the series and later served on its board of directors.

When CART as an entity folded at the end of 2003, it was a group of team owners that purchased the remaining assets to create the Champ Car World Series, which lasted through 2007 before its acquisition by IndyCar.

The owners, collectively, hold more power in IndyCar than do the same owners in NASCAR or even Formula 1. Both have dominant leaders at the top, and it’s with that premise that Penske’s comments are easier said than done in IndyCar.

Ferrari junior Ilott victorious in Macau F3 qualification race

Theodore Racing
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Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott will start the 64th Macau Grand Prix from pole position after beating his Formula 3 rivals to victory in Saturday’s qualification race.

Ilott, 19, started third on the grid on Saturday behind pole-sitter Joel Eriksson and McLaren junior Lando Norris, but made a good start to rise to second early on.

Ilott hounded Eriksson for position for much of the race before battling past at Mandarin on Lap 7 as his Swedish rival struggled to keep his tires alive.

With Eriksson unable to respond, Ilott ultimately crossed the line more than seven seconds clear to take his first Macau win and secure pole for Sunday’s main event.

“We started quite strong as I got up to second from third which was not too bad. Then in the middle part of the race I had a good pace and I got past Joel for P1,” Ilott said.

“After that I managed to pull away. It was a good race, even quite relaxing at the end. I’m really happy for the result. Thank you SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, they did a great job and it should be good for tomorrow too.”

Eriksson held on to second ahead of Sergio Sette Camara, who completed the podium ahead of Maximilian Günther in P4.

Ferdinand Habsburg finished fifth ahead of Pedro Piquet, while Norris was left to settle for a lowly P7 after a clutch issue off the line caused him to drop down the order.

You can see full results from the Macau F3 qualifying race here.