Track Talk: IndyCar News and Notes

Football is done, which means racing season is right around the corner! We’re less than a month away from the first practice session in St. Petersburg. We recap the latest news and notes from the IndyCar paddock in this week’s Track Talk.

JR Hildebrand fires the first warning shot: JR Hildebrand makes his return to fulltime IndyCar racing this season, and did it in style by finishing last week’s Phoenix open test with the fastest overall time. Oval teammate, boss, and car owner, Ed Carpenter, was right behind him in second.

Watch the driver in third: Ironically, Josef Newgarden finished third behind his former boss and the guy filling his former ride. It was his first open test for Team Penske, and he finished directly ahead of new teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power.

Keep your eye on Daly Coyne Racing: I love a good underdog story, and Dale Coyne racing never disappoints in this department. My personal favorite was when, with Mike Conway as a part time driver, they spanked the field in the first race of the 2013 Dual in Detroit. Coyne has brought back 4-time Champ Car champion, Sebastien Bourdais, and teamed him with reining Indy Lights champion, Ed Jones. I wouldn’t bet on them to win the championship, but I do expect Bourdais to visit victory lane at least once, and be competitive at most races.   

Welcome back to Honda: Chip Ganassi racing had an OK showing in Phoenix, with Tony Kanaan the fastest of the four Ganassi drivers in seventh. Remember, they’re not just learning a new engine; they have the Honda aero kit to understand as well.

And speaking of Tony Kanaan: 7-11, who sponsored Tony Kanaan from 2003 through 2010 (which included 14 wins and the 2004 IndyCar championship) has signed on as an associate sponsor at Chip Ganassi Racing for select races. If you look carefully at the video, you can catch a glimpse of the new paint job. The first chance to see it in action?

Meet the new drivers of AJ Foyt Enterprises: New AJ Foyt teammates Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz, sat down’s Robin Miller to chat about their 2017 prospects. Check out the interview.

Got Milk? 2016 Indy 500 Champion Alexander Rossi certainly does. They say winning the Indy 500 changes your life, but they way you have milk with your breakfast? Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicGenova