(CRC Offline Series) 2020 AT&T Champ Car World Series

Evangeline Porter is returning to a Champ Car cockpit for the first time in four years, replacing the injured Jace Clarke for the 107th Indianapolis 500, as well as races at Texas, Valkenburg, and Lausitz, the site of her last Champ Car win in 2016. For Porter, who has spent the last several years in the team principal role for Black Rose Racing, the return is bittersweet, after Clarke had shown a glimpse of his full potential with his commanding win in Brno earlier in the season. Now facing a car she has never driven, she must come to grips rapidly to make the most of the situation. "I know right now that I'm not ready, and I'll be honest with that. I spent years driving about everything but an open wheel car, working on our GTE, our GT3 program, having a hands on role with those programs while just leading our Champ Car program. I was certain my open wheel career was behind me. But here we are. Nicole has been helping me out with simulator work, and we've spent hours a day in the machine just running me through everything. It's a lot. It's one thing to hear what Jace and Nicole have said about the car being more wild and more untamed, but it's something completely different to climb in after four years and feeling that difference in just the sim. The difference between the Dallara and the Andromeda chassis are nothing short of incredible."

Porter also shared her thoughts on her older sister's Miami controversy and success through it. "There is an aggressive streak that she is showing that I don't think we've seen since she first jumped into the Champ Car scene years ago. But she's not 20 anymore. She's approaching 33 years old at this point. There's a couple things to read out of all of it. She's aggressive now because she's comfortable in the car. But more importantly, she's angry. She won the title in 2016, but hasn't been in the spotlight since. 2017 it was all about my team, y'know, with Nicole taking the role of qualifying ace, and her, Alan, and Andrew winning races all year that year before Andrew took the title. 2018 it was all about Cristine, someone that Steph's never solidly beaten, and 2018 was just a rough year for her. Diego won a lot, and Jamie took several wins, but she suffered a lot and never had a say in any of the races. I think this year, she's driving with the filter removed. I think she cares, but I think she's starting to let her emotion show in the cockpit. Is that good? Not with what happened in Homestead. But that conversation has to go between her and Horizon now."
Florida has two home drivers racing in the AT&T Champ Car World Series, and the bigger of the two has landed in hot water over her cutthroat racing style in Homestead-Miami. Stephanie Porter-Kelley sits on the cusp of being suspended by NAMRA, the North American racing federation, after the initial judgment by Horizon Corporation was appealed by her team, Striker Motorsports. The 32 year old driver, a former World Champion just a few short years ago, doubled down during the week on her actions after not responding to questions in victory lane. "If Horizon is going to go after me for trying to get lapped cars out of the way, then maybe they should consider parking the stupid teams that leave cars on track going 30 miles per hour slower than the leaders. Just because Camyron and Tyler have one win a piece doesn't mean they should be sitting on track being road blocks. If you want to bring up danger, fix that problem first. Fix the problem of having stupid rookies getting themselves hurt because they don't have spacial awareness. Fix the issue of dunces like Cody Blackman languishing in the bottom five every race while people like Tim Kourting have to wait and see if a bad team can afford to keep wasting space. It's broken beyond so many levels, but yet it's my fault that I have to stick my nose around because I still have a race to win. Sure. Just pathetic. If Horizon think I'm the bad girl, then fine. I'll show you every bit of what that looks like."
I am so far behind... I hope this catches everything up with all involved with Phantom Motors.

“Since this was another one of those predictably wild NAMRA Champcar weekends, I guess we’ll start with practice & qualifying. I’m not gonna lie, coming off of Motegi I kind of doubted myself a bit in the first practice session, so I took it easy and just stuck to re-learning the track since I haven’t raced here since 2018. When I looked at the time-sheets and saw how far down I was sitting after that, I owed it to myself and the Phantom Motors team preparing my #13 Lightning Volt Honda to do better and I think I was able to do that. Unfortunately, it seems like were having trouble converting the times from the early practice sessions into something meaningful for qualifying, as the car was just bad and I had to rodeo it around just to get our place on the grid...

"As for the race, well, the first third was pretty chaotic with everybody fighting for position all around me and my car not really running all that well in traffic at first. That early caution helped me out a lot, because my crew chief was able to calm me down and diagnose what was wrong with the car while our team's chief strategist came up with a great plan for both myself and Dave (Wessel) to save fuel and manage our tires from the rest of the race. Despite driving to a certain pace, the car felt really good after that first stop and I made some good moves to haul it up to the front of the field and stay there. Unfortunately, the track surface had a more ravenous appetite for tires than we thought, so I had to slow at the end of each stint to make it to pit-in without any major problems.

“I have to admit that I don’t know what came over me, but when I caught and passed Kaylee Zappa for second place and that I heard over the radio that I had gained close to twenty seconds on the leader doing it, I went into… Well, it was like the course had turned into this big, long tunnel and all I could see was the pavement with the fast line highlighted with a prism of light like off of that one Pink Floyd album cover for a few laps. What’s interesting is that I get like that sometimes on ovals, but not usually on the road courses… Of course, I felt the pull from the engine get a little soft coming out of the last corner and the low fuel light come on and I realized “Ah $***, I need to baby this thing to the end now”. So I slowed down enough that (Kaylee) Zappa and somebody else got by me on the last lap going into Turn One…

“I should’ve just backed off and settled for second place. I’m really kicking myself for thinking I could’ve hauled in the leader with less than ten laps left in the race while being nearly a lap down… Again, from where we started to finish Fourth is great for the team and good for my overall place in the driver’s championship, but I have no one to blame but myself for not getting a podium out of today when it was mine for the taking.”

"I honestly didn't know what to expect coming into this weekend. I figured that David (Wessel) would be leading the charge considering how fast he ran at the Sebring Open Test, but he couldn't get a handle on the car and the baseline set-up for my #13 Lightning Volt Energy Honda was good enough to crack the top ten in practice. The thunderstorms that cancelled FP2 probably helped us, because the car was even better in the first round of qualifying, but I couldn't gain enough time to keep up with the rest of the Fast Twelve runners in the Second round of Qualifying.

"As far as the race goes, I feel bad for the fans that came out here to watch it, because I don't think there was a whole lot of action going on throughout the field. For whatever reason, my car had an incredible amount of understeer whenever I got close enough to pass anybody on track and with the layout not really having any surfire safe places to makes passes anyway, I think a lot of the field just sort of ran around and tried to leap-frog each other in the pits. Fortunately, the Phantom Motors team seemed to have the right pit strategy, but unfortunately so did everybody else and that meant I kind of just stayed in place all day long aside for a few retirements ahead of me.

"I think I learned my lesson from the last race because while my car started hooking up at the end of the race, I didn't want to jepordize a top five finish so I sort of just put the pressure on the #84 car hoping she would make a mistake. Of course, I should've known better and was expecting too much. At the end of the day, that was my third top five finish in a row and I'm sitting second in points without a win or even a podium finish... It just goes to show how competitive this series really is and how hard it is to trully be consistent week-in and week-out. I'm looking foward to Homestead; I like the bigger ovals and if my run at Motegi says anything, the whole team should be competitive there.

"Two Words: No Comment."

“Well, this race was just as wild as I thought it would be. I had a feeling in my gut going to the track this morning that things were going to get crazy, but I didn’t expect it to happen like this. Or maybe indigestion from what I had for dinner last night…?

“Anyway, Practice was like 50-50 because we had a hard time trying to chase the track conditions and the set-up we had for the second round was waaaaay too loose for my liking. Qualifying was better and we gained a lot of time, but so did everybody else… The start of the race was crazy. These red wall tires really have a lot grip early on and I could see people going for it like five laps in, but I think that first caution period calmed everybody down. I was kind of surprised that I got the call to come in, but I guess I was distracted by the cars wrecking behind me under yellow while cueing in for pits. I hope I didn’t cause that, but everybody checked up hard so who knows? I guess everybody ran out of common sense there.

“After the race restarted I kind of settled down and I found a good rhythm, passing people just through sheer momentum than anything else. I had to race to a specific lap time to keep the tires going strong throughout the run and the fuel light enough, which is new to me but I think I was getting a handle on it. We took a gamble to stay out a little later than usual in trying to minimize our tire drop-off and pit when it was less crowded down pit lane, because it got really stacked up on the first set of stops and I didn’t want to have to go through that again. If a caution came out we would’ve been bang on the money, but it didn’t so I got shuffled back a bit going into the last third of the race.

“I’ll tell you what man, I don’t know what was up in the last few laps, but it felt like the car hooked up and I was hanging back waiting for some more cars to make dashes into the pits for fuel… If the race went a few laps longer I might’ve been able to touch the top five, but I’m cool with a top ten today all things considered though.”

“I don't have much to say about this weekend to be honest. I couldn’t get any speed out of the car in practice or qualifying and this track is impossible to pass on, so you can’t really make up ground unless you get the right pit strategy and pull a Jace Clarke. Of course, everybody seemed to have the same strategy so that was a no-go so I kind just sorta zoned out a lot out there… Races like this make me wish I could listen to some music while I’m out racing sometimes you know?

“Anyway, shout outs to Lightning Volt Energy, Tamiya, Adidas, all of the sponsors that keep our team going and keep the cars running. We’ll try to get them next time out at Homestead.”

"What, you’re being serious? No Comment."

“I haven’t been to Eastern Europe in some time and I have to say, it can be quite underrated as a vacation destination. Of course, the topic of the day is about my team and how we did out on track here in Brno, so I’ll cut to the chase.

“I thought things went well. Obviously, I’m heartbroken that Andrew (Draco) had issues at the very end of the race and had to back off to make it to the finish, giving up a podium in the process... I’m also thrilled that David (Wessel) was able to score a top-ten finish and take advantage of B.K. Glover’s crash to make that gutsy pass on Stephanie Porter-Kelly for seventh. This race marks the first time that Phantom Motors has been able to have both cars finish in the top ten in the new era of Champcar racing, another milestone for our team.

“I do think that we need to be better at finding the right set-up for our cars, as it seems that our practice & qualifying times are far too inconsistent and with this series being so competitive, every second counts and every race position matters. Ultimately, I think things will play out well in St. Petersburg for us; Andrew has done well there in the past and David ran very well at the Sebring Test, so he might surprise.”

“This was a rather puzzling day to be honest. Andrew (Draco) was stellar, running in the top ten all day and scoring a top five despite a car that he admitted over the radio was “A bucking Bronco” at times over the bumps. I’m just a perplexed at David (Wessel)’s lack of pace throughout the weekend as David himself. On top of that, I’m astounded that there was so little on-track action out there; It felt like I was watching the Champcar equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix most of the time.

“At the end of the day, Draco scored more points and sits second in the driver’s standings, so I’ll take that and head to Homestead confident in our drivers and cars to make a big impression.”

“Today is a black eye on the sport of Open-Wheel Racing in America, a body-blow for the Champ Car World Series and a wake-up call for NAMRA. In my view this race should have never gone ahead and for it to devolve into the farce that played out here tonight is damning evidence that NAMRA and Horizon have been dangerously complacent with their driver standards across the board.

“I say this because on race day, far before the official drivers meeting, early in the morning I overheard several drivers who were milling around one of my transporters having an emergency driver’s association meeting admit that they didn't think going ahead with the race was safe. Now, while I won’t stoop low enough to name names in public, I will say this: To all of the drivers that were there and went out and raced anyway in spite of what they said, you’re cowards. Each and every one of you.”

“I know that these are hard words to swallow, but personally I feel that by going ahead and racing with the rest of the field, those guys & girls are to blame for whatever happened next. Not the cars, not their crews, not the series, not the fans, not the sport. Hell, after the race I had overheard somebody say that "Someone’s got to take responsibility for how this day & night has panned out." So I ask this: Why is it not the driver that should take that responsibility? After all, no one is forcing them to be in the car. To me, the courage of a driver is not to push his or herself or their car past its limits; Courage comes at seeing where the limit is and having the common sense to say "I'm not crossing that line", knowing that such a decision could quite possibly mean your career is over. If you believe, as a driver, that the risk officially outweighs whatever the reward will be, you have the RESPONSIBILITY to stand up and say "No."

"We're all told at some point in time that we can no longer play this children's game, we just don't... We don't know when that's going to be. Some of us are told at Eighteen, some of us are told at Forty Five, but we're all told… And a DRIVER needs to know when that point is and say enough is enough. After Homestead, what I'm seeing from several of the veterans and most of the rookie class are that while they're all drivers that are GOOD enough to be in the car, they don't have their heads in the game enough to be safe at it anymore. Because the minute you start second-guessing yourself and others at 220 mph is the minute it's time to get off the track. If you don't think it's safe, you need go to your boss and say you're done. That’s what I did and I have no regrets about it."

“You’ll have to excuse me there; I seem to have a habit of droning on and on in these things… Aside from all of what I’ve said, the sheer costs of the crash damage alone could very well tank several teams financially. Both of the primary chassis for Draco & Wessel are write-offs, for instance. Furthermore, several of my team’s sponsors are questioning their association with the sport of Champcar just from this race alone and the series isn’t even past the sixth race of the season… Again, I close with this: Something has to be done to restore goodwill and faith into this series and this sport because if the cancellations of 2019 mean anything, it’s that people and sponsors are fickle things that can quickly move on to something better.”
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The season forCat Devil Racing driver Camyron Jackson continues to be lackluster in results but whereas his main frustration previously was simply a lack of pace, Homestead-Miami drew ire for a far different reason and it showed as Jackson climbed from his car after finally retiring and failed to finish a race for the first time this season. "Absolute bull****. That's what this was. **** driving out there, lack of spacial awareness and moves that absolutely had no damn chance in working. This is what I expect from some stupid kids in a online lobby trying to imitate their racing senpai, not the majority of actual drivers in a actual race." Jackson wasn't too apologetic for staying out, even if it was a dangerous move in itself "Probably was a stupid move but frankly, it was in the Hope's of profiting off of everyone else being stupid. As far down as I am in the points, I stopped caring since clearly no one else did." When it came to the incident involving him and Stephen Porter Kelly, he had some especially choice words for her. "That's a world champion. Not some rookie in over their head or some useless pay driver who is only here because of a rich dad, that is a world champion who made stupid dives and drove into people and is probably going to win because that's apparently ok. She tries that again and I'm make sure she's eating the ****** wall."

It's been over a week since the race and while he's calmed since then, the incident itself is still something he isn't happy about and supports the sanctioning body suspending her "It still boggles my mind that this happened and then she gives the excuse that I should've parked it? And wow, how rich that me being a race winner doesn't mean I should be allowed out there in that shape while its totally ok for a champion and representative of the sport like her to drive like that? Sorry, but I don't bow to that" Jackson said in a phone call. "Last I checked, she's not my boss nor is she any god so her being champion will not make me move out of the way any faster. She's supposedly that good, she should find a way around herself. I've raced against this kind of attitude multiple times and I have never relented so she'll be no different for me. I fully support her suspension, there is no better way to make an example of not taking that type of aggression then doing so with the champ herself, shows people that no one is immune from action" When asked about the race itself now with a calmer head, his opinion didn't change but his tone was alot more calmer. "Its been a long time since I've been in a race that's been this bad. It's not even one of the final races and this is what we got. The driving standards on ovals needs to improve, the amount of reckless moves and general lack of respect for space is just incredible after watching it. Even more crazy is that after that huge accident, nothing changed. This isn't a game where you can just pause and restart the race, actual lives are in our hands every time we go out there. This is what will kill a driver, what will kill multiple drivers and maybe even spectators if things get truly out of hand" He would even admit his decision to stay out in bad shape was illogical. "I let my frustration make decisions for me and it didn't even help. I just gave to the insanity around me and stopped caring, my season was already weighing heavily on my mind so I just lost any semblence of good judgement and threw common sense out the window. If I could go back, I would park it. Spending laps out there being lapped and just fuming in the car ontop of being crashed into as time went on wasn't worth it in the end"
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In a surprise announcement on the run up to the 2020 Indy 500, open-wheel super team Kearny-Fuchida Drive Force have revealed their intent to compete for the very first time at the highest level of American open-wheel racing. In association with long-time sponsor and technical partner Castrol, the Hokkaido-based race team has arranged entries for all three of the Triple Crown events in the ChampCar World Series. Competing under Kearny-Fuchida's banner in the #76 Honda-powered machine is Austrian ex-Super Formula competitor Anastasius von Sonnen, with Superdry and Smart Doll as his personal partners.

Team principal Kotori Kurita made a point of explaining why she felt it necessary to run two major open-wheel programs. "We intend to conquer both the Super Formula and ChampCar championships in the near future. With our technologies, our staff, and our partnership with Honda and Mugen, we believe that is more than sufficient to achieve success in both series." For von Sonnen, his feelings towards entering the Triple Crown were far more personal. "After spending three years recovering from a life-altering crash in 2014, it is time for me to refocus my efforts on the one achievement that will validate myself as a true racer. Money has allowed me to retain positions on teams others would kill for, but I shall not let my past define me."

With little experience in the ChampCar World Series or its predecessors, Kearny-Fuchida's performance as a team will be largely unknown. While having several major technical partners and sponsors onboard, both the team and its driver are complete unknowns even among this year's sizable rookie class.

Team name: Castrol Kearny-Fuchida Drive Force
Home base: Furano, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Team Principal: Kotori Kurita (Japan)
Engine Supplier: Honda
Number/s and Driver/s:
#76: Anastasius von Sonnen (Austria) // Triple Crown only

Team Sponsors:
Castrol (team primary)
Akebono (brakes)
Tein (suspension)
Auto Glym

Driver Sponsors:
Smart Doll
Autosport Japan
Kyosho RC

@Clayton Hardy
One of the drivers that fell victim to Stephanie Porter-Kelley's aggressive maneuvers in Homestead was Cherokee GP lead driver, Alicja Kowalkiewicz, who was taken out alongside Tyler Parker. The Polish ace, still fuming after the announcement that Horizon's intention to suspend Porter-Kelley had been appealed and leaving it in a limbo that could last months, vowed to return the favor if the suspension is reversed. "That style of racing is suiting of someone her age. Usually they just occupy touring cars and silly sedans. That doesn't belong here." The 2 time race winner stated to the media during a conference call. "If the sanctioning body fails to do it's job, then they will have given us all the signal that we can be our own jury and judge. If that is the case, I will act on it. We lost a great chassis, a lot of parts, and now have to restart our progress."
A radical part of Champ Car's schedule is its diversity in oval racing. Drivers coming in from outside of the United States, or American drivers that went through the junior formulas for Formula One, would likely have never driven on an oval before. That could be said for Keisha Fox, who, in her first two oval races, posted a ninth place finish at Motegi, and a fifth place finish in Homestead, in addition to her podium finish in St. Pete. The 25 year old spent nine years in Europe after starting in American karts, so her rapid improvement on the oval discipline has caught some, Fox included, off guard. "The races this year have not been anything like what I have experienced before. The races are grueling, there's no form of assistance in the car, no power steering in the slightest. Motegi is a very bumpy track, and Homestead was insanity. I was expecting to do a lot worse starting out, but coming into Indy, I'm sitting fifth in points. I know Indy will be a unique challenge, and I'm just one of many new faces, but I'd like to think if I could figure Motegi out and survive Homestead, I might be able to figure out the rest of them."
“A lot to unpack after that wreckfest put on by Striker Motorsports and SPK. Honestly, just get her to a point, there are and have in the past, been a lot of cars that should be blacked flagged for running around out on the track. The problem is that the NAMRA points system encourages this behavior, unfortunately. So in Steph’s case, maybe a bit better handling of the traffic is in order for her before swinging blame at other drivers just doing what everyone has done in the past to gain valuable points.
Samsung Racing Team Impulse has come together to announce it will be fielding a fifth and final entry for the 107th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, after weeks of preparation. The team is fielding the #12 car, sponsored by Samsung, and driven by debutante Hazel Lacasse. Lacasse, a close friend of six time Champ Car race winner Jamie Ngaire-Jardine, will be making her first ever race start in the United States when she takes the green flag for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Amidst concerns that Lacasse would be a hazard with her unfamiliarity with the 2020 competition package, team principal Asumi Matsuo explained her choice. "Hazel is a driver of a high pedigree. She is committed, dedicated in her craft, a natural behind the wheel. Having her in our simulator in Osaka is what helped us win at St. Pete, and gave us tremendous opportunities in Brno and Homestead. She understands the car and the way feedback is driven around the entire team. She has worked well with Thomas in getting ready for this opportunity, and in a way it is absolutely a scouting opportunity for 2021 to see what adjustments we need to make for our lineup."
The first quarter of the season has been a rough stretch for the Osaka-based outfit, who's results have not been indicative of performance. Sakura Ishibashi leads the team in the points haul, with two poles and a win. B.K. Glover, who stood in podium striking range at Brno and a position to win in Homestead before over-zealous maneuvers dashed those hopes, sits middle of the road for the team. Tyler Parker, who took pole at Homestead, quickly had those glimmers of hope dashed by a 1-2 punch, first being trapped behind lapped traffic before being taken out by Stephanie Porter-Kelley to sit low on the points total coming into his home race. For Asumi Matsuo, Impulse's team principal, the first five races have been frustratingly difficult. "I preached consistency, and we've found everything but consistency. We've gotten better at qualifying, but it means nothing if we aren't holding onto the positions in the race. We've invested a lot of assets into the Indianapolis 500 and the Triple Crown. Our partners have invested a lot to support this endeavor. We can't throw five cars into a race to simply come home with an eighth or a tenth. We need to podium at least, and we need multiple cars in the top ten. That is the expectation."

Sakura Ishibashi, the driver with the best luck, seems poised to take on that challenge. Four years after the loss of her close friend, Henna Venalainen, the 26 year old is approaching the prime years of her career. Her step sister, Kunimitsu Kino****a, has won the Indianapolis 500 twice, and her team, Cat Devil Racing, has brought the Germain-Espinoza Trophy to Kyoto three times consecutively from 2015 to 2017. For Sakura, the time for her to climb the mountain has arrived. Wins and championships are a must. "This season is a tough competition. This series is in headlines around the world, more than Formula One. No one is talking about Nissan winning in Formula One over Ferrari, Mercedes, and Audi. Eyes are on us. The series with the tougher cars and closer races. The pressure is immense on everyone. Our team has felt it. Obviously others have too. It comes to a peak at Indy, naturally, but it isn't the last race in the season. There's 14 races after it. The goal as a driver doesn't change."

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Horizon Corporation CEO, Ben Lewis: Thank you everyone for staying here in the press center for this length of time. As you all are aware, there was a serious accident that occurred on lap 171 of the race, that included multiple drivers. I am deeply saddened to announce that Tim Kourting and Giuliano Ansaldi have passed away as a result of injuries sustained in that accident. Two other drivers, Mildred Moon, and B.K. Glover, have been transported to local medical facilites for medical treatment regarding their serious injuries. I have two people beside me for more information, to my left is Champ Car Medical Director, Connor Stewart. To my right is FICA's liason to the Champ Car World Series, Alessia Meneghin. I will let Doctor Stewart take the microphone first to explain the medical situations.

Champ Car Medical Director, Connor Stewart: Good evening, everyone. To detail the process of events for our emergency response teams for the accident, the accident itself occured at 2:09 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, marked by the moment the caution was declared for the accident. All of our emergency vehicles in the south side of the track, positioned around turns 1 and 2, were mobile and headed towards the accident scene within 60 seconds of the accident beginning. The accident scene was separated into two areas, area 1 being where the cars of Mildred Moon and B.K. Glover stopped, and area 2 being where the cars of Giuliano Ansaldi and Tim Kourting came to a rest. Three emergency trucks were dispatched to each area, immediately canvasing the accident and working on extracting the drivers while ambulances arrived within 200 seconds of the accident occurring. Vital distress calls from area 2 were received almost immediately upon the response team's approach, urging for more medical assistance than what their current gear provided. The response team in area 2 reported a Code 99, a unique code among our Champ Car emergency response team that indicates that the outside medical personnel had determined a driver was beyond resusitation. The driver in question of this code was Giuliano Ansaldi, and he was subsequently pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in our infield medical center. A Code 90 was simultaneously called for Tim Kourting, meaning that he was alive, but in life threatening conditions. He was extracted from his vehicle at 2:14 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and airlifted to Methodist Hospital, but was pronounced dead at 2:47 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Both drivers were immediately diagnosed with critical blunt force trauma as cause of death, and autopsies are currently being scheduled with local authorities. The drivers in area 1 were in a more stable condition, with B.K. Glover being alert, although in large amounts of pain in his legs and his shoulders. Mildred Moon was unconscious when emergency response arrived at her vehicle, but began to wake up en route to IU Medical, and was moved from critical to stable. Both drivers arrived at IU Medical, and are currently undergoing full evaluations for underlying injuries.

Ben Lewis: Next, I will let Alessia speak on the investigation FICA will begin with immediate effect, with Horizon Corporation, Champ Car, and the North American Motor Racing Association's full support.

FICA Champ Car Liason, Alessia Meneghin: Under normal circumstances, any regional motor racing event will have any serious accidents locally investigated. However, with the Indianapolis 500 recognized as one third of the international Triple Crown, FICA has, and is excersizing, it's authority to do an independent investigation on the accident. All vehicles involved in incidents during the event that are now damaged beyond repairable use have been impounded. Under current counts, the number of vehicles impounded from this race currently sits at seven. These vehicles will be carefully taken to a warehouse FICA owns, where the cars will be examined, telemetry boxes will be extracted, and all evidence will be reviewed. In this investigation, we will be attempting to evaluate the causes of the accident, the roots of the cause, if, and or what, safety devices in the car either worked as intended or failed, steps to improve those faults, as well as if the fatalities would have been otherwise avoidable if all systems worked as intended. This process will take up to seven or eight months, as FICA will be sending in upwards of 600 investigators and examiners to process the various elements.

Ben Lewis: It goes without saying that our hearts and our minds are with the families and teams of Giuliano and Tim, their loss is our loss. Our thoughts remain with Mildred, B.K., and their families and teams. We've lost two incredible drivers, but more importantly, the world lost two amazing people today, and we are working diligently as we speak to learn how to minimize and prevent these kinds of accidents.
The second Sunday in May is traditionally known for being the biggest racing weekend of the year. Formula One has the Monaco Grand Prix, while Chamo Car has the Indianapolis 500. Yesterday, however, was a stark reminder of how suddenly and violently our world can be ripped apart, without warning. In the single worst day in modern open wheel history, two drivers were killed, while three others were injured. In Monaco, Renault's Valentin Trouvé was injured in a crash on lap 65 of 78 when his brakes failed entering St. Devote, plunging into the tire barriers and slipping unconscious from the impact. Trouvé has since regained consciousness and been discharged from a local Monaco hospital. In Indianapolis, a single accident on lap 171 of 200 injured Mildred Moon and B.K. Glover, while also claiming the lives of rookies Tim Kourting and Giuliano Ansaldi. For Kourting, it was his first ever Champ Car race, having participated in all of the pre-season tests. Ansaldi, in his sixth Champ Car race, was tenth place in points after getting a podium in Homestead. Kourting was 23 years old, Ansaldi was 29 years old. Information on injuries received by Moon and Glover has been very limited, with conditions for both simply listed as serious, but stable. Moon, another rookie, established herself as a strong contender, taking two podiums in 6 races. Glover, a 5 year veteran, has 2 Champ Car race wins, as well as being 2015 Indy 500 pole sitter.

For Formula One, Trouvé's accident was a freak accident. The last injury in the championship occurred back in 2009. Champ Car, however, has an even larger, multi-faceted problem on its hands. In two weeks, four rookies have been injured and two others have died, with a seasoned veteran also now on the sidelines. Homestead-Miami showcased that despite Horizon's efforts to increase safety, some tracks are inherent flight risks for American open wheel racing. Indianapolis was, in many ways, just as much a circumstantial accident. Winds were pushing cars around as they entered turn 1, at speeds upwards of 20 miles an hour. With cars going closer to 230 miles per hour, the effects were monumental, with drivers repeatedly grazing the wall between turns 1 and 2 where they were facing headwinds. Tim Kourting, who's car had been plagued with a litany of issues all race, ran out of road while Mildred Moon attempted to save her momentum in the closing laps of the biggest race of her career. Their initial contact sealed the fates of four drivers, with numerous teams and drivers now in shock over the accident and the loss of not just one, but two promising talents. Just one day removed, most of the grid are unable, or unwilling, to even talk about the events. Of those that are, the uncertainty is clear. The next race is another high speed oval, Texas Motor Speedway, a track Champ Car has visited for two decades. Speeds at Texas approach 220 miles per hour, on a much shorter lap. In 2001, the race went ahead after the series had to detune the engines by 150 horsepower after drivers began to lose vision from the g-forces the cars were pulling around the track. That race is the sole reason Horizon has resisted the requests by its engine providers to approach 800 horsepower or more.

Another glaring issue the last two weeks have shown is the absense of a ladder program. Formula One has a ladder program, Formula Two, Formula Three, and Formula Four, with the last two having a World Championship as well as regional championships. In addition, FICA recognizes Champ Car as a viable route to F1, equivalent to Formula Two or the V8GP series in Japan. Champ Car, however, has nothing below it, a staggering problem for a championship that runs faster speeds with less assists than Formula One. New drivers have no ability to properly train for oval racing, which the last two weeks have shown. Veterans have shown an increasing ability to avoid unnecessary situations, while rookies have not developed that same understanding. Horizon has been investigating beginning a ladder system for Champ Car, but their hand may have been forced. Over 750 Dallara HV18 chassis are currently stored in a stockpile warehouse center in Indianapolis, 5 miles away from the Speedway. Fans, teams, and drivers alike may need to come together to further drive the creation of a ladder system to develop the drivers that will eventually compete in the world's fastest and most prestigious motor racing event.

There is no easy answer for yesterday. No easy words for the anguish shared in the Champ Car paddock, or the motor racing world as a whole. A weekend of this horrendous scale has not happened since 1994, and even then the accidents of three time Formula One World Champion Filipe Faria and Joachim Wechsler were separated by a day. The entire Champ Car World Series has a deep self check it must do before it approaches Texas in two weeks.
The first domino has fallen from the Indy 500, with Evangeline Porter calling it time on her open wheel career. The 24 year old Cincinnati native returned after a four year hiatus to compete in the 107th running of the Indy 500, leading laps before being taken out in the melee that followed the tragic lap 171 crash. Porter's car took a hit from Isabel Espinoza as the car of Hazel Lacasse lost power momentarily under yellow. The contact sent Porter's #7 airborne and into a full flip before landing on its wheels. Porter was able to drive it back to pit lane to withdraw it from the race. For Porter, it stands as the last straw, with her original driver, Jace Clarke being injured in Homestead-Miami. "Days like today remind me of why I stepped out of the cockpit. This isn't for everyone. Not everyone has the bravery for it. I used to. But not any more. This is how my open wheel career ends. As much as I wish there were better circumstances, I have to look after my best interests. I will continue to lead my team as a team principal, but my driving efforts will be restricted to closed cockpit cars."

The question now becomes who will fill in the 7 car for the next three races. Jace Clarke is not set to return until Toronto, with Texas, Valkenburg, and Lausitz all in between.
Champ Car's historic Swiss team will be running with a single car for the rest of the 2020 season, the team announced on Tuesday. Per the team announcement, which was released to social media and the team's website; "We openly allowed our drivers to consider their options after the events that unfolded on Sunday. After a couple of long days, our drivers offered their decisions. Rachel Koivuniemi has decided to withdraw from the remaining Champ Car races with immediate effect. Simona Leroux has reconfirmed her commitment to the series and the team will be supporting her efforts in kind. We will be actively looking into selling our now vacant full time entry in compliance with Champ Car regulations."
“Four years later and I still don’t know the answer to how I deal with days like this… I guess the threatening sky above me sums up my mood right now. I suppose I’m just getting older and more jaded about all of it, because on any other race day I probably would have gotten into a fight with the clown behind the wheel of the #80 car (Astrid Krane) on pit road after the race for blocking me, killing my chances to walk away with the win here with fifteen laps to go in addition to being a rolling roadblock for everybody else… But my anger towards that just seems petty compared to what happened on lap 171.

“It’s strange. I grew up watching my dad and my brother race and 20-25 years ago, death could just happen in racing and it was accepted as an occupational hazard; You could never truly escape it or fully delete it from the sport, just lower the odds of it occurring to a point most people could stomach. More and more, as time goes I feel like I’m the odd man out keeping that line of thinking, but as far I’m concerned aside from making some kind of rollcage with a deflector shield framed around the cockpit or a fully-enclosed jet-fighter canopy you can’t really make these cars much safer than they are… Maybe the promises of safer racing and a safer car lead people to stop respecting each other on ovals? I don’t know, it’s just a thought.

“As for the race, early on I felt like I had a car that could win, but there was a lot of understeer so I’d run wide and watch a whole freight train of cars pass me until I got back down into the bottom groove and start to work my way back towards the front. Part of me felt like it was going to play out like 2017; Somebody would make a dumb move and cause a pile-up that would wreck the field… So I kind of focused on watching my tires, saving fuel when I could and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t happen and then the #80 started having problems by lap twenty-five or so, which held up the pack of cars I was in until we all lost the draft to the leaders.

“I never thought I would say this, but have to I somewhat agree with what Stephanie Porter-Kelly said in the run-up to this race: NAMRA and ChampCar need to look hard at changing the points system and the prize money distribution to discourage teams from leaving cars that are well off the pace out on track, especially on ovals where the speed difference is just tempting fate… I’ll get to that later though. Anyway, after I lost the leading pack and got lapped after the first round of green flag pitstops I felt like my race was already over, even though my #14 Lightning Volt Energy Honda was getting great fuel mileage all day long. So I kind of just tuned everything out, went into a little bubble and heard myself say “OK, points day. Just do what you can” until the final caution flag flew.

“Everything changed on lap 171 when that caution. Why the race didn’t get red-flagged from that wreck was beyond me, because while I wasn’t around to see it play out in real time I know David (Wessel) did and coming from him it sounded like Armageddon out there. Watching it after the race was over I can agree that it was truly horrific. I also can’t believe that B.K. Glover and Eva (Evangeline Porter) got involved in separate incidents revolving around that wreck too… Then again, the wind was picking up and it felt like I was arm-wrestling the car every lap from then on until the finish, so those wrecks probably could’ve happened to anybody really. It goes without saying that I offer condolences to the families of Guiliano Ansaldi & Tim Kourting. Even though I never knew them personally, just like with E.C. Gadget and Henna Venalainen, you feel the loss and feel the pain of everybody that knew and worked with them on a day-to-day basis all go through you. I also want to share some words and hope for B.K. Glover to make a quick and safe recovery from his injuries… But to be selfish for a minute, that caution is what helped me get back on the lead lap and ultimately into contention for the win. I was surprised that the final restart went ahead so soon after all of those accidents, especially when I could see bits and pieces of stuff up in the grey near the walls and felt the track was a lot slicker than it was before my last stop… Hell, my spotter didn’t even had a chance to clue me in because I sort of just went with everybody else despite the fact that there wasn’t any pace car to lead us to green.

“I could feel all of the set-up changes made all day were paying off so from there, I just took my time, slowly moved up place after place until I finally made my move. I’ll tell you what, those two laps I lead felt like the best ones I’ve run all year… Then the red mist descended when the #80 car kept blocking me and it was just… I was so mad that if felt like I was in a tunnel, with everything except the track and the cars on it escaping into this inky black void, with the perfect line through each corner like this arc, this lifeline you tried hold onto no matter what… I’ve actually felt it a few times in qualifying sessions, usually when I scored a front-row start or a pole position, but I haven’t experienced something like that in a race for a long, long time.

“At the end of the day… Well, can I say I’m glad to have scored my first podium of the year? Can I be happy that I’m back in the title fight after Homestead going into Texas, where I won my last race there? Am I glad that I was able to get Phantom Motors’ finances back into the black and make peace with my old boss before the start of the race, which got me a handshake and a hug from her afterwards despite the loss of life? … Well OK, on that last one yeah I am happy I was able to let bygones be bygones with Angie (Evangeline Porter). Everything else? I don’t know, ask me in a couple of weeks, assuming the rest of the drivers don’t go and get Texas and every other oval over a mile in length cancelled on safety grounds.”

“Man I don’t even know what to think about today… I mean I always try to keep my spirits up, look at the bright side of things and be a sunny kind of guy but when two drivers lose their lives in an accident, both of them were under thirty years old and one of them was only a few months older than you… It can make you question why you put yourself through all of this. I have nothing but condolences for their families and the teams that are being affected by the loss of those two drivers…

“Even with all of the thunderstorms in the area putting a big damper on things, you can’t help but feel in awe of this place. The build-up to the race day, the energy you can feel inside you and the fans… It’s something special and I think I’m starting to get why people talk about this race the way they do. The car ran good in qualifying, but with the weather out there today being unlike anything we had seen all week in practice, I kind of just winged it and ran it as fast it could go until our first fuel stop. Running in traffic like was just crazy; You could hardly feel the turbulent air at times because of the humidity and I’m astonished nobody slipped up and wrecked. You had to hang on to the low line like your life depended on it because if you ran up the track you would get freight-trained and stumble all the way back to the back of the line. The car was really good running in there, but when the #80 car (Astrid Krane) held us up it was the start of a long day at work, because my car was a slug running at the front of the pack or on my own.

“Then I lost a lap by the halfway point and though I could hang with the lead group no problem, I didn’t have the car to actually catch and pass anybody legit until my final stop just before the caution on Lap 171. My eyes practically bugged out of their sockets when I saw Kourting and a blue & white car (Mildred Moon) collide in front of me, I just shut my eyes and gunned it to hope for the best. I’m kind of shocked I made it out of there, but when I took off my helmet there was a deep black gash of rubber right over the top of it, so I don’t know I guess the mechanics put a four-leaf clover in the car somewhere?

“I made a gamble on strategy at the end of the race to try and get my lap back, because aside from that the car was feeling really good at the end of the race. I was right up there with the lead group until the last lap, when I felt a tire go down when I went high in turn three and made a stop for that. It’s too bad really; If I was on the lead lap I could’ve got the car home in top five or heck maybe even win if (Sebastian) Deveraux caught traffic at the perfectly wrong time… If I hadn’t had to get the tire changed I would’ve gotten my first top ten since Brno.

“I’m kind of wondering if Texas coming up next is even going to happen, because I think a lot of the drivers might be second-guessing why they’re running at tracks like that. Me? I’m a starving, penniless race car driver from New Jersey that needs this ride because I don’t have the backing a lot of the rest of the drivers & teams in this series bring to the table, so where Phantom Motors goes I go.”

“I wish I was in a better mood to talk about the race today. The Indianapolis 500 is hands-down the greatest single-day spectacle in racing, and I for one love being here with two drivers that showed just how good Phantom Motors and our equipment really is. However, the calls the stewards from NAMRA made all day leave me with more questions than answers, as well as the feeling that the drivers, the owners, the sponsors involved and especially the fans deserve better.

“Why were Astrid Krane and Tim Kourting allowed to keep running out there when they were both so far off the pace that they presented a danger to themselves and the rest of the field? Why didn’t the caution come out on Lap 155 when Esther Hoffson and that rookie from Austria collided in the short chute between turns three and four? Why did NAMRA decide to only throw a yellow flag for the fatal accident on Lap 171 and all of the other carnage surrounding it when a red flag was clearly needed? Why did they restart so soon after that with both of my drivers reporting huge pieces of debris sitting inches away from the racing line, puddles of fluids both from the wreckage and from the skies above crying over the loss of Guiliano Ansaldi and Tim Kourting, and no pace car to actually lead them to the green flag? Why did the caution not come out after some Japanese rookie slapped the wall and spun? Was the financial and public perception of needing to get all Two-Hundred laps into the books and have this race end under green flag conditions string enough to have everything be rushed to the point where common sense got thrown out of the window?

“… Maybe we’ll never know about any of those things. What I do know is that I’m glad I never seriously considered racing here as a driver and if I did, I would be tearing my hear out over what I saw out there today. I’ll freely admit that Three Million & Four-Hundred Thousand Dollars in prize money for Third & Thirteenth is a very big help to my team financially, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m spending it in the right place because at the rate drivers are getting injured or worse from all of these accidents and the reluctance of new replacement drivers to hop into these cars… Well, to be honest I’m half-expecting some team to bail Jesus Cristobal out of prison to fill in for somebody in time for Texas. And I don’t whether I should be laughing or crying at the thought of that.”
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"We here at Swift Autosport are deeply saddened at the loss of long-time friend Tim Kourting. Tim has been with Swift Autosport since the beginning. Originally we were gonna try our hand at NASCAR this season but back in late December, Tim came to me and suggested we try our hand at the Champ Car Triple Crown with him at the helm of the car. I told him to find us some sponsorship and I'd consider it. Two weeks later he came to me with 10 sponsors who were ready and willing to support us. After the test at Sebring we felt pretty confident. Fast forward to last week after watching the @CocaCola 300. Tim looked a bit unnerved. I told him it was all gonna be okay as things like that don't happen every week he knew that as well as I did. He seemed to feel better after our conversation. I'd be lying if I said I wanted us to finish the race after qualifying and the electronics failure. I even radioed Tim and asked him if he wanted to retire the car. He declined and said the car was working fine now. We'd spend the majority of the race with me telling him if someone retired and him getting progressively more upset about the cars performance. On lap 150 he brought the car in for the final stop. We both agreed it was time to go. He told me to put the radio away and enjoy the rest of the race. I said good luck and see you at the end. That was the last thing I said to my best friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tim's family and the families of the other drivers involved. Seth Smith signing off."
Nicole Liechti will have a new teammate for the races at Texas, Valkenburg, and Lausitz. Black Rose Racing has come to terms with Razgriz Racing regarding Astrid Krane, allowing the Norwegian to race in Black Rose Racing's #7 Mercedes while Jace Clarke recuperates. Terms for permitting Krane to drive for the team includes $300,000 in exchange, as well as access to Black Rose Racing's state of the art training facilities for driver training for Razgriz Racing. Black Rose Racing team principal, Evangeline Porter, shared some words on the deal, where she praised Krane's ability; "I had the chance to watch Astrid work when she debuted in 2018. She was fast, consistent, and a driver that had that aura, she's a driver you build a team around. To see her at work up close, even for three races, is going to be an experience. It's no secret that our long term plan is focused around Nicole and Jace, but to see how two top-tier talent work on the same team in this current environment will be something to behold."
With the recent passing of long-time friend and driver Tim Kourting. Swift Autosport was left in need of a driver. To find their new driver they looked for someone who has experience with open cockpit racing. They found a washed-up 31-year-old F1 driver from Italy named Brad Nerri. Brad has spent the last 10 years driving for field filler teams. In the last 10 years Brad's stats are 2 Wins(Monza 2014, 2018), 6 Podiums, and an average points finish of 13.5. With those stats one wonders what Swift Autosport are thinking signing such an old unproven driver. We'll just have to wait and see as Brad has been signed to a 3-Year $100,000 contract starting in 2021.

To couple with the signing of 31-year-old Cagliari native Brad Nerri. Swift Autosport have managed to get him a one race deal for this week at Texas Motor Speedway in the LM Competition Mercedes #34. This deal was made in wake of Gerard Perth being injured during the Indy 500 last weekend. The deal is said to be worth $250,000. With the rumors that Swift Autosport are hurting for funds this leads people to wonder where Seth Smith came up with the money. Brad was asked how it feels to be able to race this weekend he was quoted saying "I'm very excited for this opportunity. I'm thankful that my new family at Swift Autosport are so trusting of my abilities behind the wheel I just hope I don't disappoint LM Competition or my new boss at Swift Autosport." With that we wish both Brad and LM Competition best of luck this weekend in Texas.
We would like to announce that we have reached deals to fill both cars. In Gerard Perth's car for 1 race is Bran Nerri who is looking to get his eye in for next year. Then for at least 6 races in the 33 car will be Jesus Cristobal.
Team Impulse's team principal, Asumi Matsuo, has unveiled the lineup plans the team has made regarding the vacancy filled by B.K. Glover as he recovers from injuries he sustained on May 10th at the Indianapolis 500. Matsuo revealed that Glover had received minor fractures to his feet, a lucky escape given his impacts with the car for Mildred Moon as well as the secondary impact with the catch fencing. As a result, Glover is expected to miss four to five races, with both Thomas Rogers and Hazel Lacasse scheduled to fill the team's third entry for the races in question. Rogers, who's first win was at Kentucky, an oval similar to Texas, will race the ovals of Texas and Lausitz, while Lacasse will drive for the team at the new temporary circuit in Valkenburg, Netherlands, as well as Toronto and Belle Isle if the team feels the chance of reinjury remains too high.
2016 Indycar World Champion Stephanie Porter-Kelley has revealed that her current contract will be her last for open wheel racing, in an open interview with Orlando media. The 32 year old went into detail outlining what made her decision so soon after the Indy 500 tragedy; "Obviously, the whispers really crept in after 2017 when I had that bad season. I fought it off, y'know? Like 'I've just turned 30, I got what I wanted out of Formula One, and I have a bunch to do still at home.' But then you take into consideration that I have two young daughters. With the politics forcing the 2019 season to be cancelled, I looked at this season as a refresh, and then reality hit, hard." Porter-Kelley explained, "Homestead was a rough one. I drove with passion, and none of us were told what had happened to Gerard and Jace. We didn't know they were hurt until after the race. So that hurt a bit. I started really thinking about it then. And then Indy happened...I've been in top tier racing for 14 years, and I've seen drivers die. But losing two, and then seeing two more get seriously hurt, I almost retired on the spot. And I will step forward and say that none of what has happened has been Horizon's fault. At Homestead, all of that came down to us on track. It was the first pack race in the new car, and we abused the [expletive] out of it. Indy was, to my understanding, as freak accident as it gets. Winds were tough, and they were creating head winds as you went through turn 1, which generated more understeer than the dirty air was in turn 3 and 4. Tim's car washed while trying to get out of the way and the rest we all know. Horizon, fair play to them for reducing the power at Texas. I think the tires we used would have done enough, but the racing was much more intense strategy wise than it was with the pack racing. But it's all put my life into perspective. I have a family and I don't want to leave them without a mother. If I win the championship this year, then that'll be it, I'll retire on the spot. If not, then I'll honor the next two years on my contract and then step away from open wheel, whether it be stock cars or endurance racing, we'll see, but I want to close my open wheel career sooner than later now."

Porter-Kelley also went in depth about her relation with Striker Motorsports, the team she drives for and owns. "Being able to juggle owner/driver duties for so long has been a miracle. It's created a ton of gray hair, but the success has never wavered. Being able to have drivers like Diego, Jamie, Jacob, all win a fair share of races with the team, on top of the 2016 season, it's spoken a lot about the ability of the team from the HQ crew here in Orlando to the track crews that take care of the cars every race." She shared an interesting viewpoint of her 2020 lineup, in particular of Ansaldi; "Giuliano was someone that I think challenged both me and Natalia. Nattie, she's been my protégé for a long time now, and I knew what she was going to be able to do. Giuliano, however, was a diamond in the rough. He was a master of discipline behind the wheel. Homestead should have been his, and he should have had podiums, but cards didn't land right to make those things happen. Losing him, it's unfair, and it's something that I'll carry with me til I'm gone. He was a tremendous driver, and an impeccable human being. Every team meeting, it was always a blast, the mechanics, us drivers, all having fun and analyzing what we could. For a brief period of time, we were, I genuinely believe, the best team on the Champ Car grid. Which makes searching for a replacement so difficult. You don't simply replace someone like that."
A second tier to the American open wheel ladder has been established, reviving the Atlantic Championship name after a decade long hiatus. The Nissan Atlantic Championship, as the full name suggests, will utilize Nissan as the sole engine supplier, with the Japanese manufacturer supplying naturally aspirated V6 engines that will produce 500 brake horsepower. The series will resume utilizing the Dallara HV17 chassis that were mass produced from 2015 to 2019, with all 754 produced chassis currently owned by Horizon Corporation. Horizon will be accepting teams of two entries, with a grid size open to 42 entries. The full costs of launching an IndyCar team will be capped to $2 million. The cars will be spec, with suspensions coming from Bilstein, brakes coming from Brembo, gearboxes coming from Hewland, and electronic systems from Marelli. The Nissan Atlantic Championship will utilize the same fuel and tires as the AT&T Champ Car World Series, Speedway and Firestone respectively in 2021.

Events for Atlantics in 2021 will be half of the distances run in Champ Car. A typical oval event will be between 125 and 150 miles, with the race at Indianapolis being 200 miles. Road course events will be 100-105 miles in length, and each Atlantic event will take place in North America, with some races being standalone events.

All future Champ Car drivers will be required to do a full season of Atlantic to be eligible for full time Champ Car competition. Exemptions will be made to past Champ Car drivers that have competed from 2015 onwards, and the Atlantic requirement will not be required for drivers participating only in the Triple Crown. For drivers competing in only the Triple Crown, they will have a separate testing requirement.
Explaining the Atlantic Championship outside of Canon: Atlantics in 2021 will be a simpler series compared to Champ Car. Where Champ Car is focused on team building, economics, and strategic advancements, Atlantics is focused purely on the racing. The only difference between any of the cars will be the driver stats submitted by each participant. Shorter races will hopefully make viewing the races easier, and with races being both livestreamed and archived on demand, the ability to maintain a consistent schedule has been made extremely easy. The utilization of the DW12 mod is also intentional. The template for the mod is easier to paint on, and more familiar to many that participated from 2015 to 2018. To those that don't like what Champ Car provides, Atlantics offers a fair balanced alternative. For teams participating in Champ Car and Atlantics, the economic effects will still be tracked, and teams not interested in Champ Car will simply be opted out of the economic details.
Horizon Corporation has sent a letter of intent to current Champ Car teams regarding its plans for 2021. In this letter, Horizon has presented its desire to expand the grid to 28 full time entries, adding two spaces on the grid for teams that did not actively have a full time grid space in 2020. Teams on the list of priority include Razgriz Racing, formerly Eiffel Tower Racing, as well as Kearny-Fushida Drive Force, who made their debut at this year's Indianapolis 500. The letter of intent also states Horizon's wishes to cap the grid spaces for the Nissan Atlantic Championship to 28 entries as well, allowing 14 teams of 2 to participate in the feeder series.
Statement from the Cherokee GP Racing Team regarding the status of Alicja Kowalkiewicz: "Alicja was transported by helicopter to the St. Marien Hospital in southern Berlin following her crash. She was non-responsive to medical workers, but maintained a healthy heartbeat and breathing rhythm during extraction from her car, which rolled 31 times before coming to a rest. Physicians have been keeping round the clock care on Alicja as they have worked to assess all of her injuries, and we can now share those injuries with the world with her and her family's blessing. Alicja suffered a severe concussion, which included the aforementioned blackout period while she was being removed from her car. Additionally, Alicja suffered multiple fractures and contusions to her feet, her lower legs, and her hips, as well as spinal fractures of her C7, T1, T2, and T3 vertebrae. Medical experts are actively trying to figure out the extent of damage done from these fractures, and Alicja is currently awake and alert. She will remain in Berlin until they have deemed her safe for high altitude travel, after which, she has expressed her interest to take the next steps of her medical treatments in the United States.

Alicja has encouraged the team to find a replacement for the rest of the ongoing season to fill her seat. As our number 1 driver, she has always shown values as a leader, and her concern for the team continues to show the competitive spirit she possesses. On those wishes, we will be actively looking for fill in drivers to fill the #96."
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: The first domino in the 2021 free agency has just tipped in a massive announcement from Argentina. For the first time, a member of the Espinoza family will be leaving the immortalized Escuderia Aguila race team for new pastures. Isabel Espinoza let loose after the Champ Car race in Lausitz her displeasure with the team, making it crystal clear that she would not be resigning with the team. "The start of my season was almost perfect. Poles, podiums, and wins. I thought I had made a thorough case for having the team's support towards the championship. That was a mistake. Cristine pulled all of the resources around her so she could pull herself out of 20th, and pulled resources from my car, which is still happening now. The car I had at the beginning of the season has been turned into a scrap heap for her team to pull parts and telemetry from, and I've been forced to run a refitted road course car for ovals. It's evident that Aguila is less about family, and more about her. She's irritated seeing Stephanie and Andrew battling for the World Championship because she wants that attention. So I'll leave her to it. I know my abilities. It's on me to find a new team that can appreciate that and treat me either as an equal or as their number one." Both Escuderia Aguila and Cristine Espinoza declined to comment on the situation.
Paris, France | Siri Lundqvist will be returning to the United States with an immediate effect to compete in the rest of the AT&T Champ Car World Series season, as Renault Sport F1 Racing Team has loaned her to Cherokee GP to fill the American team's vacancy. Lundqvist, prior to joining Renault in F1 in 2016, raced in the United States from 2012 to 2015, last racing for Cherokee GP in the 2015 season. The board of directors for Renault have spoken with Lundqvist directly and feel that this loan during the active racing season will be a needed breath of fresh air without seeing both parties part ways.
The last time Aurora Siri Lundqvist was involved in Champ Car competition, it was the 2015 Izod IndyCar Series season, an infamous season for different occasions. After debuting for Swift Autosport in 2012 for the 100th Indianapolis 500, she moved to Tigersport in 2013, sitting alongside Clayton Hardy and replacing Cayden Shields. The pairing of Hardy and Lundqvist would keep Tigersport afloat for the 2013 and 2014 seasons before Hardy ended up buying out the team to rebrand it as Cherokee GP for 2015. At the end of 2015, Renault Sport offered her a seat on their F1 team, impressed with her resolve behind the cockpit and her ability to take care and carry equipment. Numerous F1 Grand Prix podiums would result almost immediately in 2016, and Lundqvist showed she had class of the field talent each year. However, Renault has struggled to come to grips with the hybrid era cars in Formula One, leaving each year's challenger plagued with reliability issues, and this year, those failures have begun to become publicly evident. After a season where Lundqvist has scored Renault's only points, a bizarre opportunity has been seized. At the age of 26, in her prime, the driver affectionately known as Siri the Super Swede has returned to Champ Car, to the team that paved her gateway to global stardom.

So, what brought Lundqvist back to Champ Car? It is a very multifaceted affair. As mentioned before, reliability failures this year have robbed Lundqvist of the potential of maiden wins, and in her fifth year in Formula One, she has finally begun to be outspoken about the team's apparent failures despite the team's yearly budget of $850M. Renault, having seen and heard her criticisms about the team and the car, have had to look into avenues to keep Lundqvist in the Renault driver program without restricting her to Formula One. Enter Cherokee GP. Clayton Hardy retired from open wheel racing after 2017 to focus on running the team, giving Behrris Windross a run at the Indycar World Championship in 2018, as well as vying to be the lead team for Alpine, which belongs to the Renault family. The battle between Cherokee GP and Team Impulse has been intense this year, with Sakura Ishibashi and Keisha Fox waving their team's banners. But while Team Impulse has a camp of five drivers to work with in 2020, Cherokee GP only had two. With Alicja Kowalkiewicz being severely injured in Lausitz, a door opened to give Lundqvist a chance to compete in a car with more competitive value without forfeiting her contract with Renault. So here we are, with Lundqvist back home. But what happens at the end of the year? Well, it's fairly open to Cherokee GP. If they so choose, they can buy out or arrange a release to keep the Swede in 2021, or the team can let her return to Formula One if they find a different option. The current understanding is that they do not expect Kowalkiewicz to return in 2021, with her injuries to her spine being extensive, but Lundqvist could give a valuable key to evaluate other drivers like Jamie Ngaire-Jardine, or potentially poach a driver from elsewhere in the Champ Car grid. Time will tell, but for now, many will be happy to see the smiling Siri Lundqvist back in the Champ Car paddock.
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Toronto, Canada | A lot of eyes in the racing world were glued to the streets of Toronto for Champ Car qualifying on Saturday, with Siri Lundqvist's return to the series after participating in half of the Formula One season raising headlines around the world. Indeed, the return proved to show some difficulties, as Lundqvist qualified in 19th out of 26 drivers, while her teammate Keisha Fox qualified 13th, having just missed out on making it into Q2 by less than 5 hundredths of a second. For Lundqvist, the car is likely to be a growing pain. The last time she was in a Champ Car, the car had 100 less horsepower, and more aerodynamics at play. The 2020 car utilizes ground effects, a first for regional competitions, instead of relying on over the top aero properties. Coming from F1, hybrid systems, power steering, and other electronic assists are also unavailable, presenting a more raw form of performance. After qualifying, Lundqvist did not shy away from the media, stating; "Today was rough, not what I wanted. I have a lot to adjust to. Traffic was a lot like Monaco for me. It felt really difficult to get a clean lap, and when I did, I ruined it in turn 3. So, yeah, kicking myself badly for how qualifying went. I'll get back into it. It's Toronto, I've been here before. Weird things happen here."
Toronto, Canada | The Escuderia Aguila team is in the midst of a power struggle, on the heels of Isabel Espinoza announcing she was leaving the team at the end of the year. The Espinoza family itself seems to be in a struggle over the control of the team. The root of the power struggle has come between siblings Miguel and Cristine, with Cristine pulling the team's resources around her efforts, starving off Isabel's team of upgrades, spare parts, and telemetry. Despite this, it was Miguel's daughter being the better car on Saturday, with Isabel starting in P2, while Cristine will start from ninth. For Isabel, it marks a very clear statement that she is now among the most lucrative free agents on the market for next season. For Cristine, it marks a possibly pivotal role in the 32 year old's aura as invincible and undeniable. After years of unquestioned authority and dominance, the illusion is waning, and a key to the kingdom may be departing the enigmatic Aguila team. With a rift now a canyon in the team that was tipped as the favorites to run away with race wins, that may be on the downhill side.