GOING TO CHINA?: IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said he’s close to resolving both the August race in China _ he has admitted it may not happen, and suggested an answer “could be three or four days” away _ and whether or not the series will move forward with its plans to introduce aero kits next season.
Team owners are vehemently against the aero kits, citing additional costs.
Although Bernard has pushed for the aero kits and has deposits from three unidentified manufacturers, he seems to have cooled on them since a meeting last weekend at Belle Isle with the team owners. He cited the strong competition with the new Dallara DW12 through six races this year as reason to hold off on aero kits.
“This car has raced so well this year, is the aero kit that important?” he asked.
As for China, Bernard said he has an option if the race is scrapped, but it would likely become the new season finale. California on Sept. 15 is currently the scheduled finale, a spot it inherited when IndyCar canceled Las Vegas after Wheldon’s death.
“There is a possibility of that, I am not ruling that out,” Bernard said, adding track president Gillian Zucker has inquired about the schedule.
“Unfortunately, until we have resolution on this, I’ve been very careful. I think Gillian has done a great job promoting and I want to make sure she has a very successful event.”
CONWAY CHANGES: Mike Conway earned his best qualifying spot on an oval, but will start 18th instead of eighth because of a 10-spot grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change in A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 car.
The team opted to change the engine before it reached its 1,850-mile rotation schedule due this weekend.
Conway also had a new fueler for Saturday night’s race.
Fueler Rodney Klausmeyer suffered second-degree burns to his right hand during practice Friday when fuel spilled out because of a malfunction with the hose that popped out of its connector. The fuel caught fire when it came in contact with the hot exhaust headers.
Klausmeyer was treated at the track’s infield hospital and released.
Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden and Simona de Silvestro also had 10-spot grid penalties.
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