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  • #16
    Thanks for taking our questions, this is great!

    What is the reason Indy Lights isn't joining the other RTI series at NJMP?

    What was the feedback from yourself and the teams regarding NJMP?

    As a foodie, did you find anything you liked in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area last October?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Myopia View Post
      Thanks for taking our questions, this is great!

      What is the reason Indy Lights isn't joining the other RTI series at NJMP?

      What was the feedback from yourself and the teams regarding NJMP?

      As a foodie, did you find anything you liked in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area last October?
      I wasn't part of the decision for the Indy Lights program not to be on the NJMP weekend, but I'd assume that the initial reasoning would be that the cars are likely too much for this track, and that the desire was to finish the season on an IndyCar weekend to take advantage of the marketing and media opportunities. The Indy Lights champ will be in IndyCar next year, so it makes sense to have the champion decided at an IndyCar race. Unfortunately, with the cancellation of Toronto and the need for two more rounds for all three series, Indy Lights will be wrapped during our stand-alone weekend at Mid-Ohio on the October 1-2 weekend.

      As for NJMP as a facility, there are positives and negatives. The stand-along event puts all of our teams in the garages, which is cool. The track is fun to drive, but it's extremely tough to pass on, so it makes qualifying incredibly important.

      Food-wise, if you time your flight arrival correctly coming into Philadelphia, you're going to get to grab an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. We stayed in Philly one night, so we grabbed one from Cleavers, and I really enjoyed it. There's also one of the &Pizza locations in the same area, and we had that for dinner. I'm a big &Pizza fan and often fly through Washington-Dulles with enough of a layover to make sure I can enjoy a pizza without having to rush. ;-) Locally, we went to the Red Eyed Crab one night last year, which is a little seafood 'shanty' within 15 mins of the track. It was great. That said, the restaurant at NJMP has great food and a solid beer menu. Also, the track set-up a food tent in our paddock, and they made incredible breakfast burritos (as I recall) and their own Philly Cheesesteaks, which were awesome.
      Respectfully,

      Rob Howden
      IndyCar Radio Network
      www.roadtoindyinsider.com
      Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Announcer
      Twitter: @robhowden / @RTI_Insider
      Instagram: @robhowdenracing

      Comment


      • #18
        Rob, as others have said, thank you! this is an awesome idea, and I do have a couple of questions.

        1. The new Indycar game coming out in 2023, I'm sure it's in the EXTREME early stages, so perhaps too early to ask this. But do you know if anything with the RTI will be included?

        2. Do you think the Freedom 100 will ever return in the future?

        3. I've always been curious as to what the budget would be to run a Indy Lights car. Let's just pretend I'm wanting to call Juncos for example, to race in Lights for 2022... what is an estimate of what type of budget is needed to run the full season competitively?

        4. Have you heard anything about Roger Penske talking to Ernie Francis Jr to maybe get him a Indy Lights test, or do you see that as a possibility as part of the new diversity scholarship?

        5. If you had to guess, how many cars would you expect for 2022?

        6. From an outsider point of view, this is the healthiest I've seen the series in a long time, great drivers, healthy fields, good teams, great tracks. So this is an opinion question, but do you agree?

        7. Assuming that Indycar adds more ovals, will Indy Lights be part of those races?

        You da man Rob! Thanks for stopping by from time to time to give us on TF some additional info, we love ya!
        RHR: "I'm a proud American boy right now!" -2014 Indy 500 Victory Lane

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by RHR Fan Always View Post
          Rob, as others have said, thank you! this is an awesome idea, and I do have a couple of questions.

          1. The new Indycar game coming out in 2023, I'm sure it's in the EXTREME early stages, so perhaps too early to ask this. But do you know if anything with the RTI will be included?

          2. Do you think the Freedom 100 will ever return in the future?

          3. I've always been curious as to what the budget would be to run a Indy Lights car. Let's just pretend I'm wanting to call Juncos for example, to race in Lights for 2022... what is an estimate of what type of budget is needed to run the full season competitively?

          4. Have you heard anything about Roger Penske talking to Ernie Francis Jr to maybe get him a Indy Lights test, or do you see that as a possibility as part of the new diversity scholarship?

          5. If you had to guess, how many cars would you expect for 2022?

          6. From an outsider point of view, this is the healthiest I've seen the series in a long time, great drivers, healthy fields, good teams, great tracks. So this is an opinion question, but do you agree?

          7. Assuming that Indycar adds more ovals, will Indy Lights be part of those races?

          You da man Rob! Thanks for stopping by from time to time to give us on TF some additional info, we love ya!
          Damn....you're not messing around. Seven questions??? LOL Here we go....

          1. The new Indycar game coming out in 2023, I'm sure it's in the EXTREME early stages, so perhaps too early to ask this. But do you know if anything with the RTI will be included?

          RH: I don't have any information on this right now. I hope to learn more over the next few weeks.

          2. Do you think the Freedom 100 will ever return in the future?

          RH: I truly hope that it will, but I think we'll be on hold until Roger gets his first 'Roger Penske Indy 500', meaning a fully-attended event that has zero restrictions. I have to believe that Roger wants to have the greatest Indy 500 ever as part of his personal legacy. He's invested so much into the facility, and I completely understand his sole focus on having that sold-out Indy 500 with his name on it. Parking the Freedom on hiatus eliminates any issue or effect that our race could have on the 500 in terms of scheduling or atmosphere (a bad wreck, for example). Once that race has been achieved, it is my hope that a Freedom 100 conversation could be put back on the docket.

          3. I've always been curious as to what the budget would be to run a Indy Lights car. Let's just pretend I'm wanting to call Juncos for example, to race in Lights for 2022... what is an estimate of what type of budget is needed to run the full season competitively?

          RH: To race a season in Indy Lights, you would need a budget between $1m-$1.2m, depending on the amount of testing etc.

          4. Have you heard anything about Roger Penske talking to Ernie Francis Jr to maybe get him a Indy Lights test, or do you see that as a possibility as part of the new diversity scholarship?

          RH: I have heard nothing about this. I have personally communicated with Ernie, and he'd definitely love to make a career in IndyCar, and if that is the case and he could find backers to make it happen, a season or two in Indy Lights would be a no-brainer. He's a talented driver for sure, and I truly hope that he can leverage the success and exposing he's enjoying in the SRX program.

          5. If you had to guess, how many cars would you expect for 2022?

          RH: Based on the work I'm doing, what I'm hearing from all the discussions I'm having, and the news that will be coming soon, I'd predict that we'll have between 16-18 cars in Indy Lights in 2022.

          6. From an outsider point of view, this is the healthiest I've seen the series in a long time, great drivers, healthy fields, good teams, great tracks. So this is an opinion question, but do you agree?

          I think it's the best the ladder has been in the 20 years I've been open wheel racing as a journalist/commentator. The caveat is that we're in a different time, cost-wise and economy-wise, so it's tough to compare against the late 90s when there were 40 cars in USF2000, or when there were 20+ cars in Indy Lights (partly due to the fact that the investment in the old cars had amortized by the teams, there were a lot out there used and for sale, and you could test with a few Indy Lights teams for $10k or less. Those days are long-gone). All three car equations (chassis-engine combos) have been sorted so we have reliability and competitiveness. There is also a wave of positive momentum for IndyCar, which means more drivers want to get into the RTI to work their way to the big show. The success of graduating drivers through the RTI to IndyCar is proof-positive that the system works, and that too will draw more races. I want to see 28-30 in USF2000, 24-26 in Indy Pro, and 18 in Indy Lights. That's a perfect balance to me.

          7. Assuming that Indycar adds more ovals, will Indy Lights be part of those races?

          I expect that Indy Lights would be part of another 1-2 IndyCar oval events. I fully expect that Dan (Andersen) would like to get at least one more oval on the schedule for the Indy Lights series, and then the Freedom 100 would get us back to three, if it could return.
          Last edited by Rob Howden; 07-16-2021, 01:03 PM.
          Respectfully,

          Rob Howden
          IndyCar Radio Network
          www.roadtoindyinsider.com
          Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Announcer
          Twitter: @robhowden / @RTI_Insider
          Instagram: @robhowdenracing

          Comment


          • #20
            There's really no such thing as Gary the Moose, Sybil.

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            • #21
              It's obvious you've been to many race tracks. What track has the best food in your opinion?
              "The only good horsepower is usable horsepower.."

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              • #22
                Thank you, Rob!!!

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Hitokiri View Post
                  It's obvious you've been to many race tracks. What track has the best food in your opinion?
                  I've been to a few tracks, that's for sure. When it comes to tracks with actual concession stands, I don't think that any facility can match what's available at Road America. Aside from that, I'm a big fan of tracks bringing in food trucks for events. Toronto always does a great job bringing in one just a couple, but a dozen or so tracks to have an awesome spectrum of choices. I like that Toronto puts them all into one confined area so you don't have to search all over the grounds. St. Pete does this as well. And, while I haven't been to Long Beach in a few years, when I go, I NEVER miss King Taco. I'm a huge street taco addict.
                  Respectfully,

                  Rob Howden
                  IndyCar Radio Network
                  www.roadtoindyinsider.com
                  Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Announcer
                  Twitter: @robhowden / @RTI_Insider
                  Instagram: @robhowdenracing

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Love that King Taco reference, Rob! Mrs. GHF and I made a point of enjoying their trackside concessions in our one-and-only visit (so far) to the Long Beach venue. I’m looking forward to it again in September!

                    Completely agree with your take on Road America’s concessions, too. Every morning for breakfast, and a couple lunches, we enjoy the variety of fare offered. High quality food at decent prices, and a great atmosphere to boot!

                    Comment

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