An IndyCar road race at IMS in 2014?


Citing the benefits of racing in front of its home fan base and lower costs for the locally-based teams, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles appears to be mulling a potential 2014 IZOD IndyCar Series finale on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

According to Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star, Miles is in favor of such a race going down in either August or early September of next year. The 2.6-mile road course layout at the Brickyard currently plays host to MotoGP (pictured) and GRAND-AM, and was the home of the Formula One United States Grand Prix from 2000 to 2007. Cavin also writes that Miles is interested in creating a batch of international events.

“The question is, how to align [the schedule],” Miles said to The Star. “And then, it’s the execution of it.”

A season-finale on the IMS road course was among the suggestions made in early March by Boston Consulting Group on how to improve IndyCar’s overall presence for the future. The road race was listed as part of a proposed three-race playoff that also featured Texas Motor Speedway and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which runs this weekend.

As for the prospect of international races, that was part of an idea from BCG to split the IndyCar schedule into a 15-race North American tour (April to August) that would determine the championship and an overseas campaign for the off-season.

Meanwhile, sources have told the Indianapolis Business Journal that Miles has recently offered the job of INDYCAR CEO to Just Marketing International’s Zak Brown and is awaiting a decision. Miles has declined to comment about specific candidates that are being considered.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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