Sunday, March 27, 2016



IndyCars are back in the Valley of the Sun this coming Saturday evening for the first time in 11 years. For those so inclined, I've got thousands of words this week in the Arizona Republic / . First up Sunday's blowout feature on Scott Dixon, a great driver, a great person. Monday I'll explain the significance and demands of short ovals in IndyCar history. My notebooks start Wednesday and Friday will be my feature on Ryan Hunter-Reay. Saturday will be my traditional race day Q&A, this one with Mario Andretti. Monday, April 4, I'll wrap it all up. All those links and news from the track all this week on @SpinDoctor 500

POWER PLAYERS for the week of  March 27: This week's 10 most influential
people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight. 

  1. Jay Frye -- NASCAR veteran was IndyCar's key negotiator in bringing the series back to Phoenix. Now, he's in charge of all competition issues. Getting the rules right (like amount of downforce) is essential, because no major race in recent memory needs great "word of mouth" promotion more than Saturday evening's 250 miler.

 2. Alan Johnson -- Nitro cars' greatest tuner got Brittany Force her first Top Fuel victory at the Gatornationals. Can Johnson the consultant go back-to-back at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Force or Steve Torrence?  

  3Kyle Busch -- What will the Sprint Cup champion say, or not say, and how will he say it to the media at Martinsville after NASCAR fines post-Auto Club Speedway Xfinity Series race? 

  4. Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip -- There's always lots to say during Martinsville races. DW and Jeff allowing each other enough time and space to make their points -- with Joy as traffic cop -- is essential. If someone doesn't cooperate, stick a Martinsville hot dog in his mouth.

  7. Lewis Hamilton -- Will the world champion restore "order" at Bahrain circuit after Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg won in Australia? 

  8. Bryan Sperber -- Phoenix International Raceway president has a lot on the line with return of IndyCar. And paid attendance will be . . . ?

 9. Jason Johnson -- The World of Outlaws resumes action Friday night in California after a rare "off" weekend with Johnson coming off a spectacular victory at Placerville Short Track, where he was involved in a major accident that sidelined him for the season at the same track one year earlier. 

 10. Kody Swanson-- USAC Silver Crown champion the last two seasons headliner as series opens Sunday at Terre Haute Action Track.

more next week . . . ]