Coyne jokes about TBA for his second car; all but confirms Pippa Mann for fourth at Indy 500

Associated Press

Dale Coyne is notorious, legendary or both for holding his cards close to his vest about the identity of his second driver for his full-time entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series. We’ve poked fun at TBA before.

This year, that TBA will be the No. 19 car, with Conor Daly confirmed earlier Friday in the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Honda, and Bryan Clauson added in an extra car for the Indianapolis 500.

Coyne though went with the joke during today’s announcement at the Performance Racing Industry trade show, which was brilliant.

“I think we’ll know by the Thursday of St. Petersburg,” Coyne told assembled reporters to much laughter.

He also looks set to retain his 2015 oval driver and four-time Indianapolis 500 starter, Pippa Mann, in a fourth Coyne entry for the Indianapolis 500, which would make sense for all parties.

Without making it a full confirmation, Coyne said the plan is four cars at Indy and specifically mentioned Mann as the fourth driver.

And with Daly and Clauson having a combined four Indianapolis 500 starts between them – Daly’s 2015 start barely counts as his engine grenaded before the green flag, and Clauson has failed to finish both – they’ll need an experienced driver somewhere in the team, and Mann’s pedigree and history with the team would pay dividends.

Mann has started the last three Indianapolis 500s with Coyne, the last two with support and partnership from Susan G. Komen.

So, now, officially, we have entered the most important portion of the IndyCar offseason.

The countdown has officially begun to see who kicks TBA out of his or her most elusive debut next spring in the second Coyne car.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”