This will likely come as no surprise, but Danica Patrick won’t be making a return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.
Via azcentral.com’s Michael Knight, Patrick has confirmed she won’t attempt a double – a la Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch in 2014 – to coincide with the 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” a race that in 2005 launched Patrick into the national stratosphere.
Patrick said via Knight: “Nothing is in the works and I don’t have any plans to pursue it.”
Danica on racing in next year's 100th running of the Indy 500: "Nothing is in the works and I don’t have any plans to pursue it.”
Patrick raced in the event from 2005 through 2011, her last season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The 2011 race marked the Centennial of the first Indianapolis 500, but was only the race’s 95th running.
While her run to fourth her rookie year with Rahal Letterman Racing garnered national headlines and the following week’s cover of Sports Illustrated, it was actually in 2009 where she scored her best race finish of third, then driving with Andretti Green Racing.
Busch in 2014 was the last NASCAR driver to attempt a double, and won that year’s rookie-of-the-year honors with a sixth place finish driving for Andretti Autosport.
AJ Allmendinger also ran the race in 2013 for Team Penske, albeit in a hybrid partial IndyCar/partial NASCAR campaign.
In a five-minute press conference Monday night at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, the head of INDYCAR’s parent company, announced that IndyCar driver Justin Wilson had succumbed to the head injuries he suffered during Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway. He was 37.
Below is a collection of social media posts from those in the motorsports world reacting to the news.
Michael Andretti – Owner of Andretti Autosport and Wilson’s No. 25 Honda:
My heart goes out to the Wilson family of the loss of Justin. He was a great friend and even greater person. He will be sorely missed.#RIPJW
I don’t remember that day. At the time I was preparing for my junior year at Springdale High School in Arkansas and had yet to write a journalistic word. But MotorSports Talk’s Tony DiZinno was there covering his first on-site race, weeks before starting school at Marquette.
DiZinno: I’ll make this brief. Road America was awesome.
Perhaps it was being a wide-eyed 18-year-old, the first race I could cover after 11 years of being a fan and writing for fun for the better part of eight or nine years.
Perhaps it was the ambiance of the place – practically a state park with a race track carved in-between the trees, with the best track food to boot.
Or perhaps it was the reality that this was the first time I could convert my fandom into work, meeting some of my heroes at the time and hearing the mix of cars from Champ Cars, ALMS and Atlantic over the weekend.
In short, even though it was work, I was hooked – and the memories gleaned from that year still last years later, and laid the groundwork for where I’ve been able to make it today. Some of the people I met that weekend have become instrumental in my career, as valuable friends, colleagues and sounding boards.
It cemented my love for the track so many have spoke so highly of.
Much has changed in the intervening years. Instead of Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” topping the charts, it’s “Cheerleader” by OMI.
In theaters, “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” is the movie to see in the place of “Rush Hour 3.”
Oh, and there is just one major open-wheel series in North America. Seven months after Bourdais won at Road America – for his fifth of eight wins in 14 races that year – the Indy Racing League and Champ Car ended a 12-year war between the two series by merging back under the IndyCar banner.
Eight years later, how familiar is IndyCar, as a single series, compared to that weekend in Elkhart Lake?
Of the nine teams that made up the 17-car field that day, only two team owners’ names could be found in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio: Dale Coyne and Michael Lanigan. Coyne runs his two-car team and Lanigan, who was part of Newman-Haas in 2007, is now the third name of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Another team, PKV Racing, co-owned by Jimmy Vasser, has since become KVSH Racing and KV Racing Technology.
When it comes to drivers, Bourdais, Graham Rahal (finished third), Justin Wilson (eighth), Simon Pagenaud (11th) and Will Power (16th) are the only participants found in IndyCar, though Oriol Servia (fourth) and Alex Tagliani (fifth) can usually be seen in Indianapolis in May. Paul Tracy (finished 12th), is now an IndyCar analyst for NBCSN.
Won by Tony Kanaan – competing for Andretti Green Racing – the race contained six current Indy Car drivers: Kanaan, Scott Dixon (second), Marco Andretti (fourth), Ed Carpenter (seventh), Helio Castroneves (ninth) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (15th).
Also in the field: Danica Patrick, the late Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr. and Sarah Fisher. That weekend, Franchitti’s car went airborne – after the checkered flag – for the second race in a row.
For the Champ Car Series in 2007, Road America represented the 10th race of the season. Here’s a look at the drivers in the field, their finishing order on Aug. 12, 2007 and where they are in 2015.
Sebastien Bourdais (France): 2007 – Owner: Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing; 2015 – KVSH Racing. Two wins through 14 races in IndyCar. Left Champ Car for Formula One in 2008, returned to IndyCar in 2011.
Dan Clarke (United Kingdom): 2007 – Minardi Team USA, last of two seasons in Champ Car; 2015 – raced several times in the in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with LAP Motorsports in a MINI JCW.
Graham Rahal (USA): 2007 – Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing; 2015 – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, second in the IndyCar points, a career high, with two races left after two wins, his first since 2008 at St. Petersburg.
Oriol Servia (Spain): 2007 – Forsythe Championship Racing; 2015 – last raced in 99th Indianapolis 500 with RLL Racing, managing director for Dragon Racing in Formula E Championship.
Alex Tagliani (Canada): 2007 – RSPORTS; 2015 – competed in 99th Indy 500 with A.J. Foyt Racing, will compete in NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio on Saturday for Team Penske.
Jan Heylen(Belgium): 2007 – nine races with Conquest Racing, one podium; 2015 – four races in TUDOR United Sports Car Championship with Wright Motorsports.
Tristan Gommendy(France): 2007 – 11 races with PKV Racing; 2015 – competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Thiriet by TDS Racing.
Justin Wilson (United Kingdom): 2007 – RSPORTS, one win; 2015 – part time IndyCar schedule with Andretti Autosport, one podium in five races.
Bruno Junqueira(Brazil): 2007 – Dale Coyne Racing, three podiums; 2015 – nine races and one win (Laguna Seca) in TUDOR with RSR Racing, what had been RSPORTS in a one-year partnership with RuSPORT.
Neel Jani (Switzerland): 2007 -PKV Racing, three podiums; 2015 – Porsche factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, polesitter and finished fifth in 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Simon Pagenaud (France): 2007 – Team Australia, eighth in points; 2015 – first season with Team Penske in IndyCar, four career wins.
Paul Tracy (Canada): 2007 – 12 races with Forsythe Championship Racing, one win (Cleveland), last season of more than six races; 2015 – analyst for NBCSN.
Alex Figge (USA): 2007 – 13 races with Pacific Coast Motorsports; 2015 – Off-road truck racing, and drove for K-PAX Racing in World Challenge GT in 2014.
Robert Doornbos (Netherlands): 2007 – Minardi Team USA, two wins, rookie of the year; 2015 – Not racing actively.
Katherine Legge (United Kingdom): 2007 – Dale Coyne Racing, 15th in points; 2015 – seven races in TUDOR with the DeltaWing team.
Will Power (Australia): 2007 – Team Australia, two wins; 2015 – Team Penske, defending IndyCar champion, 25 career wins.
Ryan Dalziel (Scotland): 2007 – 11 races for Pacific Coast Motorsports; 2015 – full-time in FIA World Endurance Championship with Tequila Patron ESM; two races in TUDOR with the same team; competing in Pirelli World Challenge with EFFORT Racing.
“If I would suggest names of female drivers who have what it takes to make it to F1, I’d say Simona de Silvestro, Danica Patrick, Susie Wolff or even Beitske Visser, who is performing well in the Formula Renault 3.5 series,” Mouton said.
“These girls have scored very good results in their career. Other less successful girls have managed to climb the motorsport ladder, but that has more to do with marketing strategies and political reasons, and I am not interested in that.”
Ahead of Haas F1 Team’s long-awaited Formula 1 debut in 2016, NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey sat down with team principal Gunther Steiner at the Canadian Grand Prix to discuss the team’s preparations and ongoing growth of operations in North Carolina, England and Italy.
In 12 months’ time, the team will have taken part in its first race in North America, and Steiner hopes that it may buck the trend of new teams in recent years and have some points on the board by this point.
“The first thing is that we get there and ware well prepared,” Steiner said. “We for sure do not want to be last.
“We are working hard for that. I think if everything goes to plan, maybe we have got a few points by this time.”
One of the biggest questions surrounding Haas’ debut is the driver line-up, with a number of names being linked to the two seats. The favorite for one of the drives is American driver Alexander Rossi, and although Steiner was quick to praise him, he explained that a number of drivers were on Haas’ shortlist.
“Correct, he is doing pretty well at the moment in GP2,” Steiner said. “We are looking a a pool of drivers. The pool a lot of people know the pool which is out there that we can get in to.
“We are speaking with them, seeing how confident they are with programme because we want them to be confident with us.”
Another American linked with a seat is IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden, but Steiner suggested that Haas would not be looking for drivers from the series due to their lack of F1 experience.
“I think these guys are not bad, but on the downside of them – and I don’t want to sound negative about it – is they have no F1 experience,” Steiner said.
“By us being a new team, coming out, everything is new. Throwing someone in like this is a big risk for us but also for them.
“We also have to look after these people as they have a career in front of them, they are young guys. They invested a lot of time and money in their career. We don’t want to be the people who don’t deliver. We need to be careful with everything. We evaluate all of this stuff.”
A recurring name linked to the drive is Danica Patrick, given that she races for Gene Haas’ Stewart-Haas Racing Team in NASCAR.
Steiner said that she would always be subject to speculation given he links with the team, but that he would be surprised if she wanted to walk away from NASCAR.
“It will always be,” Steiner said when asked if the story would persist. “She is a Stewart-Haas driver.
“But I think Danica is at the stage in her career where she is doing good in NASCAR. Why would she take the risk to come this way?”
See the video above for the full interview where Steiner discusses Haas’ relationship with Ferrari and the team’s overall progress as the countdown to its debut continues.