The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports Columns

August 14, 2013

Ken de la Bastide: IndyCar silly season heating up

The silly season for 2014 has started in the IZOD IndyCar Series with just a handful of races remaining.

The series will be in action this weekend on the road course at Sonoma, followed by a street race in Baltimore, the doubleheader weekend in Houston and the season-ending race at the Auto City oval.

Alex Tagliani has been released from his ride with Barracuda Racing, a team he helped bring to everyone’s attention by winning the pole position for the Indianapolis 500 a few years ago.

J.R. Hildebrand, the former Panther Racing driver who crashed while leading the Indy 500 on the final lap in 2012 and the first lap of the 2013 race, has been named to drive for the team this weekend and in the season-ending event.

Rookie Luca Fillippi will be driving for Panther Racing at Baltimore and Houston, no doubt as a tryout for the 2014 season if the team decides to field two cars.

Ryan Briscoe, who lost his ride with Penske Racing this year, tested the Panther Racing car. Briscoe is looking for a full-time ride next year.

With Helio Castroneves leading the chase for the championship, the four street and road courses could be just what he needs to capture a first title. He is chased by Scott Dixon and defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

If Castroneves enters the final race weekend with the points lead, I don’t envision him melting down on the oval as his teammate Will Power has done the past two years.

I’m always amazed at the amount of statistics that people compile for NASCAR drivers, most of them the average fan would have little or no interest in.

Someone has decided to pay Joyce Julius, the company that tracks sponsor mentions and air time, to determine which Sprint Car drivers have been mentioned the most this year.

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