IndyCar: Talks still ongoing with New Orleans, Providence for 2015 events

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Back in May, INDYCAR confirmed that it was targeting the NOLA Motorsports Park road course outside New Orleans for a 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series event.

As of now, that potential race and another 2015 possibility in Providence, Rhode Island are still being worked on according to Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles.

“There’s ongoing work with both to see what’s possible,” Miles said during an interview this morning on Fox Sports Radio. “Neither is done.

“We’re probably further along in New Orleans, but we still have to agree on some improvements at the track – which I think are quite likely to be made – and the event agreement and date. They understand we can’t pick one date until we know more about other dates so it’s kind of the dominoes.

“And in Providence, there’s some ongoing conversation. I’m not going to handicap the chances of both of them happening for next year, but they’re top of mind as we think about putting together the schedule.”

The New Orleans event has the backing of Andretti Sports Marketing, an off-shoot of Andretti Autosport that also handles IndyCar’s annual race at the Milwaukee Mile and used to run the now-defunct Grand Prix of Baltimore.

As part of the May announcement, it was disclosed that upon approval of the Louisiana state legislature, $4.5 million would be put toward enhancing the NOLA circuit. That sum, plus private funding from the track itself, would bring the facility up to INDYCAR standards.

Talk about Providence, however, hasn’t been as plentiful since it first hit the radar as a possible 2015 stop. That said, just because we haven’t seen as much buzz on this potential event doesn’t mean that things haven’t been happening behind the scenes.

But while we wait for confirmation on New Orleans, Providence, or both, we shouldn’t be doing the same for any new ovals in 2015.

“At this point, I don’t think that’s very likely for next year, to be quite frank,” Miles told Fox on the subject. “I’m not going to list them – to me, there’s some great ovals that we’ve had great history with and at the point and time when it makes sense to those tracks and can fit in with our schedules, then it’ll be much more active discussion.

“But at this point – and I don’t think it’s likely to change for the ’15 schedule – I see the number is probably staying pat.”

And that probably won’t make the oval-centric portion of the IndyCar fans base very happy. Currently, the series only races at six such tracks – Indianapolis, Texas, Pocono, Iowa, Milwaukee, and Auto Club Speedway in California.

Toro Rosso at crossroads after Kvyat’s point, Hartley’s strong debut

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In a weekend with something to prove at Circuit of The Americas, Daniil Kvyat rose to the occasion with what he called “his best race of the season for sure” at the United States Grand Prix.

But it may not be enough for the Russian to have saved his seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the three final races this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley capped off his roller-coaster debut weekend in Formula 1 with a solid 13th place finish after starting from the rear of the grid, learning as the race went on and bringing home his Toro Rosso chassis to the flag.

Toro Rosso faces a dilemma of three drivers available but only two seats to fill for the final three Grands Prix, with the Mexican Grand Prix coming up just next week.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly will be back after missing Austin due to his Super Formula commitments at Suzuka in Japan, but ultimately that went for naught as the races were canceled due to a typhoon.

Kvyat qualified 12th, was promoted to 11th by way of grid penalties and ended 10th, scoring a point for only the third race this year and first time since coming ninth in the Spanish Grand Prix back in May.

It was a weekend where he would have been expected to outdo Hartley, and did so, but not by a massive margin. And he was already coming in with a track time disadvantage, losing out in FP1 as Indonesian Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael ran in his chassis.

As it was, he rated his weekend performance highly and didn’t do his chances of staying in the car any harm.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Kvyat said, “Yeah, it was a perfect race. I did everything well. Brought the points home. It was close with (Felipe) Massa.

“We had some energy release issues on the engine. But it was a massive weekend. It was great. I really enjoyed myself. It was a good job by the team to keep it together with very limited running.

Hartley built up confidence throughout the weekend as he learned the car, the Pirelli tires and how an F1 race races versus an endurance race that he’d been used to doing for several years.

Having coming into the weekend with no expectations and just taking the race session-by-session, he felt good at the end of it.

“There’s so many little things to reflect on,” he told NBCSN. “I’ll put the eyes at rest and process it all. I did the standing start and it wasn’t the best… it’s been a long time.

“But yeah, (you’re learning) in terms of following in traffic, what 20 laps on these tires means, how much you can push it. I’m pretty satisfied. The pace was pretty strong. I made the mistake of getting passed by (Lance) Stroll. I couldn’t pass him back. Lots of challenges. I hope I can get another shot at it.

“Up until this moment… I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to do the job. I’m really relaxed. Now there might be some conversations.”

Toro Rosso figures to reveal its Mexican Grand Prix driver lineup early this week.