IndyCar: Post-Mid-Ohio news and notes roundup

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There’s been no shortage of items to discuss in the immediate aftermath of the Honda Indy 200 weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Here’s a quick roundup from what’s been making its way around the web:

  • The 2016 schedule is starting to come together. Broken out into a separate post here, the puzzle pieces are starting to align to produce elements of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
  • Mazda Road to Indy drivers get to test in IndyCar. It was kind of a “super secret, but not really” topic of discussion at Mid-Ohio, but it is cool news: several drivers from the Mazda Road to Indy will get to test in the Verizon IndyCar Series in the coming weeks at Sonoma Raceway. There is a rule in the INDYCAR Rulebook – Rule 6.2.3 – allowing for current Indy Lights drivers to test. The pairings mentioned on the CNBC broadcast included: Chip Ganassi Racing – Sean Rayhall, Team Penske – Spencer Pigot, Nelson Piquet Jr., Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Ed Jones, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Jack Harvey and Mikhail Aleshin. Schmidt and Andretti Autosport – Matthew Brabham.
  • Derrick Walker news kicks off “Silly Season.” Thursday’s semi-bombshell that INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker (pictured) would be leaving the series at year’s end has a two-pronged effect. We have to ask what’s next for Derrick, and who’s next for the position in the series. Paddock rumors suggested Chip Ganassi Racing’s managing director Mike Hull as a frontrunner but Hull denied interest, telling USA Today Sports, “You would have to move heaven and earth for me to leave.”
  • Driver silly season. No movement yet although with our first story on Josef Newgarden’s future (posted Friday) from an on-site interview this weekend, it stands to reason he’s the domino that will fall. Movement could occur within the couple weeks before Pocono; if it doesn’t, the news cycle in September and October might get busy.
  • Oh yeah, the Mid-Ohio race itself. There were a number of good post-Mid-Ohio stories related to the race itself, who finished where and the like. With a near 12 hour drive home on Monday (had multiple stops including a quick trip to Columbus), we’ll have time to break those out over the coming days on MotorSportsTalk.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).