Updating some non-NASCAR racing news | NevadaAppeal.com

Updating some non-NASCAR racing news

Roger Diez

Here’s wishing a happy 2016 to everyone, and may your favorite driver win the championship this year! Last week I did a brief preview of the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup season, so I’ll update the news on some other series this time.

One major piece of news for the Verizon IndyCar series is “push-to-pass” horsepower is going to be increased for 2016 on road and street courses (it’s not used on ovals). It’s a pretty simple matter to add horsepower in a turbocharged engine simply by changing the boost level. The new level will increase normal engine boost from 44.3 inches of mercury (HGI) to 48.72. The previous push to pass boost level was about 1.5 HGI less. The result will be the addition of approximately 20 additional horsepower, bringing the total push to pass increase to about 60 horsepower for 2016. The number of push to pass uses per race and their duration will remain unchanged from last season. The added horsepower should make for some interesting overtaking maneuvers. It will also play into race strategy, calculating when and where to use it, particularly in the closing laps.

We will see at least one new full-time driver in IndyCar in 2016, as 2010 Star Mazda champion Conor Daly has signed with Dale Coyne Racing for the full season. Daly, son of IndyCar and Formula 1 driver (and broadcaster) Derek Daly, substituted for the injured James Hinchcliffe last season in four races. He also ran the Indy 500 for A.J. Foyt in 2013, and subbed in a Coyne Racing car last April at Long Beach. While subbing for Hinchcliffe, Daly led laps and had a best finish of sixth at Belle Isle.

Some of the IndyCar stars will get an early start to the season at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of January. Defending IndyCar and Rolex 24 champ Scott Dixon will once again be in the Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Ecoboost prototype, joined for the second consecutive year by fellow IndyCar star Tony Kanaan. The four-driver team will also include Ganassi NASCAR drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. The sound of racing engines will shatter the winter silence at the speedway on January 8-10, as the “Roar Before the 24” pre-race testing session will take place next weekend.

A third NASCAR driver entered for the endurance classic is A.J. Allmendinger, this year driving a Ligier P2 Prototype for Michael Shank Racing. Several IndyCar regulars are also entered, including Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay in Corvette Daytona Prototypes. Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe will drive Ford GTs, and Jack Hawksworth will be aboard an Oreca Prototype Challenge entry.

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The Rolex 24 is going to see the unveiling of the massive $400 million Daytona Rising development project, which seriously updates the spectator amenities at the venerable facility. Five expanded and redesigned entrances, along with a series of escalators and elevators, will speed access to and from the facilities. Once there, fans will experience wider and more comfortable seats, 101,000 of them. The number of concession stands has been tripled, and the restroom count has been doubled, presumably to deal with the concession stand residue. There will also be three separate concourse levels, featuring social areas the track is calling “neighborhoods.” I’m not sure if there will be turf wars, but I wouldn’t advise a Jimmie Johnson fan to encroach on the Junior Nation ‘hood.