The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 28, 2013

Shawn Wood's motorsports column: Lets get more ovals onto IndyCar schedule

When it comes to the issue of the number of oval races on the IZOD IndyCar schedule, Ed Carpenter is not one to shy away from letting his feelings be known.

The former United States Auto Club midget and sprint car driver was one of 14 drivers testing at Pocono Raceway on Tuesday in preparation for the Pocono 400 on July 7, the first IndyCar race at the track since 1989.

IndyCar is at Pocono starting July 4, which is during the heart of the 23rd annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week.

The good news is that the Pocono 400 is slated for a noon-time start on the 7th. That should give folks plenty of time to make the 95-mile trip back to Selinsgrove Speedway for the Jan Opperman Memorial, the final race of the Speed Week.

"A lot of NASCAR tracks don't seem like they would make a good IndyCar track, but that's not the case here," Carpenter said. "I am really happy that Brandon and Nick (Igdalsky) worked out a deal with IndyCar to get us back here."

Pocono is one of five oval races on the 2013 schedule. The season-ending race is at Fontana.

Oval winners this year include James Hinchcliffe (Iowa) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Milwaukee), Tony Kanaan (Indianapolis) and Helio Castroneves (Texas).

"I would like to see the schedule be a little more balanced, say 50-50 (ovals, road and street courses), and I think the series would like to see that too," Carpenter added. "But, it is a matter of finding more good partners like what we have found here at Pocono to put them (ovals) on the schedule. We can't just add them if they are not going to be quality races and not promoted properly. I think you'll see the number grow, but it's not going to happen over-night."

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