Report: Providence in talks for 2015 IndyCar Series event

2 Comments

After losing its Baltimore round, the IndyCar Series could be able to re-strengthen its Northeast presence by the 2015 season with a street race in Providence, Rhode Island.

Local radio station WPRO-AM reports that talks are ongoing between race organizers and city and state officials; a spokesman for Providence mayor Angel Taveras confirmed conversations between city officials and the series but stressed to WPRO that, at least currently, “there is no agreement in place to bring the event to Providence.”

Nonetheless, Mark Perrone, the general manager of the New England Grand Prix promotions group, is confident that Providence will soon have a place on the IndyCar calendar.

“The Northeast market is some place [IndyCar wants] to be, especially now,” Perrone told WPRO. “[Providence] will be the only presence from St. Petersburg [Fla.] to Toronto on the east coast.”

The series currently has one Northeast round with its event at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. It last raced specifically in New England back in 2011 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. That race proved to be a one-and-done affair after it failed to meet financial expectations.

A few years ago, Providence had been in the mix for a 2013 IndyCar date but while series officials had high praise for the bid, they felt Little Rhody’s capital city needed more time to get things squared away.

For his part, Perrone seems to agree with that previous decision.

“I think we were trying to rush a lot of things,” he told WPRO of Providence’s earlier efforts regarding an IndyCar event. “We were trying to put a round peg in a square hole.”

The plan for a Providence event involves an 11-turn, 2.1-mile street circuit with a finish line near the Rhode Island State House. A tentative date for the event has been set for Aug. 7-9, 2015.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018