What’s old is new again.
Paul Page is returning to the radio booth as the “Voice of the 500″ for the IMS Radio Network. Page’s return comes nearly a month after Mike King announced that he was leaving the network. Page will be the radio voice for the IndyCar series for every race next season.
Page first joined the network in 1974, and stayed until he moved to the TV booth in 1987. In 1977 he replaced the legendary Sid Collins, after his passing. Page told me last month that he would have loved to return to TV, as ABC began their search for a new personality. They seem to be headed in a different direction though. They would like to have someone younger, so that they won’t find themselves in this same situation again in the near future. Still, Paul is very happy about his return.
Page reflected on the opportunity earlier today. His quote in Curt Cavin’s article said it best. ”The Speedway made me who I am. It’s probably time to give something back to the Speedway,” he said. Though he just turned 68 years old, Page is confident he’ll be able to handle next year’s IndyCar schedule, which features two races at IMS in the month of May.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has signed 26-year-old Russian Mikhail Aleshin to drive their second entry for the 2014 IndyCar season. Aleshin will be replacing Tristan Vautier, who is now without a ride for the upcoming season. The news caught some by surprise, as Aleshin’s first time to ever sit in an IndyCar came just four days ago when he tested with the team at Sebring.
Mikhail will become the first Russian driver to join the IndyCar series. While some may see him as a ride-buyer, he clearly has some talent. He won the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship in 2010, and did some Formula 1 testing with Red Bull before he decided to make a move towards the IndyCar series. The opportunities just aren’t there in F1.
Aleshin referred to “change” as a major reason for his move to IndyCar. He wanted new competition, new tracks, and a new car. He’s got all of them now. While he admits the competition will be fierce, he said he believes that he’ll be competitive. “Ovals will be hard, but I’m here to learn and compete for good results.” He will have a good teammate in Simon Pagenaud, who will help get him up to speed as quickly as possible. Pagenaud won 2 races last season, and finished in third place in the championship standings.
In addition to F1 testing and competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, Aleshin has raced in GP2, the Formula 2 series, and Sports Cars since 2006.
Carlos Munoz has signed a contract with Andretti Autosport for the full 2014 IndyCar season. The Columbian driver transitions to the team full-time after running in last year’s Indianapolis 500, where he turned heads, starting and finishing in second position. Although his primary sponsorship is not yet known, it will be announced later. Munoz will be the replacement for EJ Viso, as the Venezuelan driver will not return.
Coming up from the Firestone Indy Lights series, Munoz is primed to make a big splash in IndyCar next season. His performance in Indy last year was nothing short of amazing. After being at the top of the speed charts on most practice days, Carlos qualified on the front row, led 12 laps, and easily won Rookie of the Year by finishing runner up behind Tony Kanaan.
Munoz competed in a total of 3 IndyCar races last season. He replaced Ryan Briscoe in the Panther Racing machine for the second race in Toronto, after Briscoe suffered a broken wrist in the first race. He also filled in for Viso in the season-ending race at Auto Club Speedway, where he ran up front in the early stages of the race. Carlos scored four wins and five pole positions in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season. He now joins Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, and Andretti at AA, where the team is set with four ful-time drivers next season.