Ed Carpenter says no to potential Fernando Alonso deal at Indy 500

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AUSTIN, Texas – INDYCAR team owner/driver Ed Carpenter told NBCSports.com that he has been approached by a representative of Fernando Alonso to potentially run the 104th Indianapolis 500 but said he will stick to his current plan.

That means Carpenter will field three Chevrolets in the Memorial Day Weekend race, including himself in the No. 20, Rinus VeeKay in the No. 21 and street and road course driver Conor Daly in an extra Chevrolet.

Carpenter does not want to expand to a fourth car for Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion. The Spaniard was set to announce a deal with Andretti Autosport before Honda’s worldwide headquarters in Japan said no to Alonso two weeks ago.

That leaves Alonso trying to line up a deal with a Chevrolet team. Carpenter’s operation seemed a likely candidate, but the owner/driver will not overextend his operation to accommodate Alonso.

“There is one person that has reached out to me about it, but it wasn’t Alonso or anybody that works for him,” Carpenter told NBCSports.com. “It’s been surprisingly quiet. I think it’s because they know we are not positioned to run more than three. We are a two-car team.

“If we doubled the size of our team for May, it wouldn’t be good for everybody.”

What would it take to consider four cars?

“Money, people and time,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter said he wasn’t surprised that Honda Japan shut down his attempt with Andretti Autosport because of the driver’s comments about the Formula One engine in 2017. Alonso was part of McLaren, and that team also was prohibited from lining up with Honda.

“It had happened before,” Carpenter said. “The difference is Fernando is separated from McLaren. It was pretty surprising they got that far down the road before they realized it was going to become an issue with how public that dispute had become.”

Team Penske is the top Chevrolet team and will expand to four cars for the Indy 500 with Helio Castroneves’ return. That leaves Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Carlin Racing and A.J. Foyt Racing as the only Chevrolet teams left that could potentially add an entry for Alonso.

Day 1 of COTA test: Because of cold temperatures and steady rain, Tuesday’s first day of track activity at Circuit of the Americas was abbreviated. The track was open for just 10 minutes in the afternoon session, giving teams a combined 35 minutes of track availability.

It was scheduled for seven hours of track action.

There were just 17 total laps run on the wet track, but zero green flag laps were turned. The 17 laps were installation laps under yellow.

Team Penske driver Will Power was on the track and said the new aeroscreen had great vision in the rain, but he had to get used to where the water flowed into the cockpit.

“I wish someone had run in the wet, wet so we could see where the water came in,” Power said. “The aeroscreen is great, but we will get the area where the water came into the cockpit sorted out. We had water leaking from the bottom, but it will be an easy fix.

“It would have been nice to see some cars run the aeroscreen when it was really raining.”

Tuesday’s test was the first time all 25 cars had the aeroscreen installed on the Dallara chassis.

There was a lot of anticipation among the drivers about finally getting back in the race car after a long offseason. Instead, they’ll have to wait another day before getting a chance to try again Wednesday.

The drivers were like a child knowing what they are getting for Christmas but having to wait an extra day to play with that gift.

“It was very tough,” Power said. “We will have a lot of sets of tires to burn up tomorrow. It will be a long day.”

Wednesday’s revised schedule has the track open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time with a half-hour break for lunch.

“Yesterday, all the drivers were excited about getting back on the track today,” Pato O’Ward said. “Today, we got one lap.”

Track limits at COTA: When the teams return to COTA for the April 26 AutoNation INDYCAR Classic, INDYCAR officials will be enforcing the track limits in Turn 19. Last year, there were no track limits, and it made for a “wild, wild west show.” Drivers were allowed to use all of the paved area in Turn 19 as part of the course.

This year, lines will be painted to keep teams on the actual racing surface.

“You will get a penalty if you cross it,” Power said.

O’Ward said it will be slower in that area by about 30 to 40 mph.

“When you are in the car, it feels better to not have the track limits, but it looks ridiculous,” O’Ward said. “You have to follow where the track goes.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series

After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi