INDIANAPOLIS — Friday was a wild news dump kind of day. It all started with the announcement that the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend wouldn’t happen this year. See, Toronto and Canada had to crack down on COVID protocols and for the second consecutive year, the NTT IndyCar Series’ visit north of the border was scrapped.
Then, Formula One announced that their race in Turkey was canceled. See, Turkey replaced the already canceled event in Montreal and as a result of travel restrictions, the series can’t race in June in Turkey. So, France now moves up a week while Austria will host a doubleheader to make up for that.
Speaking of travel restrictions, Indy Car driver Max Chilton is having troubles getting to the United States and will have to miss this weekend’s GMR Grand Prix. The team is here and set up, but due to the last minute issues for the England native getting here, they announced that they’ll just skip the race weekend and focus on the Indy 500.
Chilton, admitted during his media day availability that he’s commuting this year from England again.
“We could have got there, obviously, because I’m going to get out there for the racing, but the challenges are just for one Content Day, I would have to get a negative test 72 hours before I fly, then I would have to obviously do the Content Day, then I would have to find a negative test before flying back to the UK, and then once I’ve gotten back into the UK, I would then have to quarantine in my house for 10 days before leaving,” Chilton said then on why he did his media day from England instead of from here in the US.
“Training wise on the buildup to the season I didn’t think it was worth it for a Content Day when I can do these Zoom calls and we can get the photos done at the track nearer the time. Thankfully INDYCAR were open to allowing that to happen.”
I actually specifically asked him that with the condensed schedule, would he just stay here once the season got started until after the ‘500.
“So the plan is to commute less, but I will still commute,” he told me. “Last year actually was unbelievably easy. The planes were absolutely desolate going across the Atlantic. There was never more than 40 people on any of the crossings I did last year. We didn’t need to take any negative tests in either direction.
“This year is a lot more complicated, negative tests in either direction, and at the moment the UK has been in lockdown for over six months. Nothing is open, and we have to quarantine when we come back. I’m hoping that’s lifted.
“At the moment the U.S. isn’t on the red list as we call it so I don’t have to land and go into a hotel for 10 days, I can just quarantine at home for five days and then take a negative test. Again, that takes up a bit of my time. So we want to do that as few of times as possible.
“I think I can do the whole season in five trips. If they put America on the quarantine list where I have to stay in a hotel, then I’ll do a couple of long stretches. That’s the plan.
“Again, as I said earlier, the world is quickly changing. Hopefully the amount the UK and America are getting the vaccines out, they’ll start to lift things soon after or soon before the Indy 500.”
This wasn’t the only news today. It was also unveiled that Justin Haley will miss Saturday NASCAR Xfinity Series race due to COVID protocols. Zane Smith will sub for him.