Reports: Wink Hartman set for IndyCar exit

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The oil market has been a big story over the last several months, with dwindling oil prices and barrels a big topic.

That storyline hasn’t really entered motorsports until now, but it appears set to happen in a big way for 2016.

Wink Hartman, an oil man, joined Sarah Fisher Racing first as an associate sponsor, then a primary partner for the renamed Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing prior to 2012 in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

It led to a late 2014 merger with Ed Carpenter to create Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing for 2015 – or CFH Racing for short.

But now, Hartman is set to leave the sport for 2016, per multiple reports.

NBCSN IndyCar contributor Robin Miller wrote earlier Wednesday that the Fisher-Hartman partnership would be “in jeopardy” for 2015, and Wichita CBS affiliate KWCH dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s later Wednesday night, confirming Hartman is exiting ahead of the new year.

“It was just a matter of, racing takes millions and millions of dollars. It’s not wise for me to jeopardize what I’ve worked all my life to build over racing,” Hartman told KWCH in a phone interview, although he did not rule out an eventual return to racing down the road.

The bigger story at play: last October, as part of the merge process between Carpenter and SFHR, the team moved into Fisher’s newer 40,000-square foot team headquarters in Speedway, Indiana (1255 Main St.). Equipment and personnel were amalgamated into the much bigger space.

Carpenter, under its previous guise as Ed Carpenter Racing, worked out of Derrick Walker’s shop instead.

With only one full-time car for Josef Newgarden and Carpenter himself only expected to drive selected oval races, including the 100th Indianapolis 500, it’s a likely net loss of one car for the 2016 season barring any unforeseen further investment to bring the No. 20 car back to full-time status.

What happens to that space and property remains to be seen, if the reduced, and likely re-rebranded, Ed Carpenter Racing were to move out again into a smaller shop.

Coupled with the loss of KV Racing Technology’s second full-time car, leaving only the KVSH Racing No. 11 car for Sebastien Bourdais, it means the IndyCar full-time grid will likely be only 21 or 22 cars.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change