Mike Shank

Today’s question: The annual INDYCAR Content Days took place Jan. 10-11 in Indianapolis, where the entire NTT INDYCAR SERIES field gathered for media, social media and sponsor content gathering. What was your biggest takeaway from the first gathering of drivers in 2024?

Curt Cavin: All of us have our favorites in the sport, but it’s nice to hear about others deserving of support. One is Linus Lundqvist, a talented rookie driver who is poised to make a big impact over the next couple of years. Linus is a 24-year-old Swede, but his answer to a question about representing The American Legion resonated with me last week. “You’re part of something bigger here,” he said. How he went on to describe wanting to be “integrated” with the veteran community felt thoughtful and genuine, and it will be fun to watch that relationship develop. Another person I was reminded of is Michael Shank, who with his wife, Mary Beth, has literally built Meyer Shank Racing from the ground up. Shank’s new driver, Felix Rosenqvist, summed him up. “If (Shank) found a million dollars under a tree he wouldn’t put it in his bank account, he would probably put it into his race team. That’s the feeling I get from him every day. (There are) stories about him vacuuming the trailers and making sure the shop is spotless before going home. He just lives and breathes that team.” Another who draws high praise in the paddock is Larry Foyt, the AJ Foyt Racing president who is as respected as anyone in the paddock. “A great guy,” Graham Rahal called him without prompting. One more who doesn’t revel in the spotlight: Greg Penske, Roger Penske’s oldest son who seems next in line to lead the sport. Rahal raved about him. “I think the future if very bright (with Greg),” he said. There’s a lot to like about this series. It starts with the people.

Eric Smith: My takeaway wasn’t necessarily what was said, but instead what was worn. I don’t know why, but it seemed like there were a lot of vibrant colors in the room via the fire suits being worn. The papaya on the Arrow McLaren Racing trio seemed brighter than the past. I also liked the trio of Ed Carpenter Racing drivers and their brighter colored overalls. Rinus VeeKay’s bright green firesuit or Ed Carpenter and Christian Rasmussen’s blue on theirs popped. It wasn’t just them. It was the new look on Alex Palou’s red-and-yellow DHL accent or Marcus Ericsson donning dark blue colors instead of the customary Huski Chocolate red and white firesuit. Colton Herta’s new look from Gainbridge. Due to seeing that, my mind immediately went to wondering, “What these cars are going to look like on track?” Essentially, a fire suit is a preview of what the car is going to look like and if they’re this bright in person, imagine the car rolling by at speed. That got me overly pumped than normal on a cold January day in downtown Indianapolis daydreaming what the sight will be on a warm March day in St. Pete.

Paul Kelly: Content Day is always like the first day of school. It’s nice to see everyone back in large groups. But the biggest takeaway from Content Day 2024 is the same as it’s been for all of which I’ve been a part – seeing drivers in new colors and with new teams, especially those who were with a previous team or sponsor for a long time. For example, it was borderline surreal seeing Marcus Ericsson in something besides a red-and-white Huski Chocolate suit. I also had to remind myself a couple of times that he is driving for Andretti Global this season, not Chip Ganassi Racing. The same goes for Alex Palou, who remains with Ganassi but now boasts the vivid yellow-and-red colors of DHL, a longtime Andretti sponsor that joins CGR this season. It was hard to miss David Malukas – and his new Arrow McLaren teammates, Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi – in his papaya suit, which featured color teetering between really popping and radioactive. It also will take some getting used to seeing Romain Grosjean in something besides DHL’s yellow and red and Felix Rosenqvist in something other than McLaren papaya and black. But that’s all part of the fun of Content Days and only whets the appetite further for the season opener March 10 in St. Petersburg.