Friday Mid-Ohio news and notes: Walker fallout, Honda update, an extra Sonoma car?

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – There have been various news and nuggets floating around the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend. Hers’s a quick roundup.

  • Potential extra car? At least one current IndyCar team is planning to run an extra car for the season finale at Sonoma. Provided it materializes, it would bring the field to 25 cars.
  • Walker news fallout: Emotions ranged from surprised to expected when it came to Thursday’s announcement that Derrick Walker would resign from INDYCAR at season’s end. The general paddock consensus is that this has been brewing for weeks, if not months. The name that has circulated most as a possible replacement is Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Mike Hull, although in Hull’s case, with CGR’s four-car IndyCar program and with its Ford GT WEC/TUDOR program coming online next year, it would be a surprise to see him move on from his current role. As for one name you can rule out, former Honda head and current SCCA president Robert Clarke won’t be someone taking the position. Clarke told me on Friday in the paddock that while he would be flattered, he acknowledged it’s a tough, almost thankless position and he’s happy with where he is at this point in his life, with the SCCA.
  • Honda update – none yet: It was possible that Honda Performance Development would announce an extension with INDYCAR on Friday, however, that proved not to be the case. Still, per HPD president Art St. Cyr, the manufacturer and the series are close if they can work through a couple remaining outstanding issues. “I’m happy to say that we have resolved and we have written in writing resolution on a lot of those technical issues. Some of them we have verbal agreement. There’s still one or two issues that we’re trying to work through.”
  • Two shy of a Baker’s Dozen fit in the new Honda Fit: There’s 12 Honda Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, and all but two of them fit in the new-for-2015 Honda Fit TCB-spec car, which made its public debut on the Bluff outside Honda hospitality at Mid-Ohio on Friday. The two that didn’t were Ryan Briscoe and James Jakes, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports pair who showed up a fraction of a second late to the photo op. Meanwhile the remaining 10, plus Conor Daly, who made five starts earlier this season and is a driver of the Honda Fastest Seat in Sports two-seater, made it 11 drivers who fit inside the Fit – including relative giants like Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter-Reay. A quick photo roundup is below, with more to follow.

  • Galloway named Grand Marshal: Graham Rahal isn’t the only individual with an Ohio State University connection on site at Mid-Ohio this weekend. Former standout Ohio State wide receiver Joey Galloway will serve as Grand Marshal for the Honda Indy 200 on Sunday. “Ohio State pride runs deep here at Mid-Ohio and our team kooks forward to welcoming Joey to the track,” said track president Craig Rust.

More to follow throughout the weekend.