All you need to know about the Firestone Indy Lights race is right here.
You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.
All you need to know about the Firestone Indy Lights race is right here.
You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.
Today, IndyCar announced the Future of Fast S.T.E.M. Education Program. S.T.E.M stands for science, technology engineering, and math. This program is to develop the next generation of IndyCar engineers and crew members.
The students will engage in 5 learning pods. This includes:
Car – the physics of aerodynamics needed to achieve speeds of 230mph
Engine – the technology that translates from racecars to passenger cars
Fuel – the production of ethanol as an effective power source and the role of math in calculating consumption
Safety – ongoing developments to make IndyCar racing safe for the driver, teams, and fans
Tires – the importance of tires in the mechanic and aerodynamics of the car
The program will kickoff at this years Indianapolis 500 and continue at 5 more events: Detroit/Belle Isle, Texas Motor Speedway, Baltimore, Houston, and Fontana/Autoclub Speedway.
For 2014 and beyond, the plan is to expand the cirriculum, developed by Project Lead The Way, to include in-class instruction. The plan is also to extend the reach into additional race markets.
It was a long cold winter in Indianapolis…
The drivers grew restless…Scott Dixon fared the worst freezing his bits off at New Years…
Not Wade Cunningham, he sunned his bits on beautiful beaches along with pal James Hinchcliffe…
James Jakes spent some time making engine noises in the garage….*vroom vroom…blub blub blub…vroom*…
At preseason testing, Helio made friends with new teammate AJ Allmendinger by checking out his…assets. I thought only dogs did that…
Sadly for Helio, AJ had eyes for Hinch. I guess AJ saw Hinch’s leggy pic with Wade. Ah, bromance…
JR Hildebrand resorted to disco moves to pass the time.
EJ Viso was crowned Venezuela’s tallest man. Towering and stunning he stands…
Hinch was at his breaking point. He was seen interviewing Danica. Unfortunately, she was stiff as a board during the interview.
Finally, it was time for 500 practice to start. But not before Kurt Busch tested Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car. Busch had his ear angle trimmed a few years ago in preparation for the test, though it was reported they still slowed him by .01 of a second per lap.
Sebastian Saavedra got the party started with confetti.
Tristan Vautier’s car arrived with a Madonna tribute paint scheme…all white like a virgin. (PS: Madonna turns 55 in August…coincidence?)
Sebastien Bourdais showed up with a new competition tactic. With his chrome car he would blind all his competitors in sunny conditions. Bling-tastic…
Oh no! Rookie Connor Daly was the first to bang the wall. I bet that’s not what he wanted to bang this month…
Daly’s team owner AJ Foyt is like, “Eh…it’ll buff out…”
Eek! Pippa’s car was naked! Luckily the old girl’s hips were covered the next day. The 500 is a family event, no nudity allowed.
Look closely, Dario Franchitti is telling EJ Viso he’s #1. How sweet!
Fast rookie Carlos Munoz is taking the Flo-Rida line around the track. ”…low, low, low, low…”. Unfortunately, Munoz isn’t driving in Apple Bottom jeans and boots with fur.
Oh hey look, it’s Jean Alesi’s Lotus chassis. ”I promise I’m not slow anymore guys, I promise! Can I play, please?”
Katherine Legge decided to join the party in a last minute entry. She’s a honeybadger now. Shoes? She doesn’t need any stinking shoes.
And now, here we are. The 500 is in 2 days. I bet all of these drivers are quite happy. Less crazy, more racing!
NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the 2014 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person group – the fifth in NASCAR Hall of Fame history – consists of Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty and Fireball Roberts. Next year’s Induction Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, broadcast on Fox Sports 1 from Charlotte, N.C.
The 54-member NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2014. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France made the announcement this evening in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”
Next year’s class was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, which included representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders and a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com – which counted for the 55th and final vote. The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.
The five inductees came from a group of 25 nominees that included: Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, H. Clay Earles, Tim Flock, Ray Fox, Anne Bledsoe France, Rick Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Bobby Isaac, Dale Jarrett, Fred Lorenzen, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Maurice Petty, Larry Phillips, Les Richter, Fireball Roberts, T. Wayne Robertson, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves, O. Bruton Smith, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly and Rex White.
Class of 2014 Inductees:
A two-time NASCAR premier series champion, Flock was one of the sport’s first dominant drivers. In 187 starts, Flock had 39 victories, a total that still ranks 18th on the all-time wins list. Flock won his first series title in 1952 while driving Ted Chester’s Hudson Hornet, and his second in 1955 driving Carl Kiekhaefer’s Chrysler. He dominated that season, posting 18 wins, 32 top fives and 18 poles in 39 races. Flock’s 18 wins stood as a single-season victory record until Richard Petty surpassed it with 27 wins in 1967.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series has had a variety of incarnations through the years but when considered collectively, an argument can be made that Jack Ingram is the series’ all-time greatest driver. Before the formation of the series, Ingram won three consecutive championships, from 1972-74, in its precursor – the Late Model Sportsman Division. When the NASCAR Busch Series was formed, he won the inaugural title in 1982 and again in ’85. In his 10 years of competition in what was called the NASCAR Busch Series, Ingram had 31 wins, a record that stood until Mark Martin broke it in 1997. All but two of Ingram’s 31 wins came on short tracks.
Dale Jarrett personified big-stage performances. A three-time Daytona 500 winner and two-time winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jarrett excelled under NASCAR’s brightest spotlights. His 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories – 21st all-time – also include the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jarrett won the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and recorded six additional top-five championship finishes. With father Ned, the Jarretts are only the second father-son combination with NASCAR premier series championships after NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee and Richard Petty. Ned Jarrett was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2011. Ned and Dale Jarrett become the third father-son duo selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, following Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr., and Lee and Richard Petty.
The chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, Maurice Petty becomes the fourth member of the dynasty to be chosen for membership in the NASCAR Hall of Fame – following his older brother Richard, father Lee and his cousin Dale Inman. The man simply called “Chief” supplied the horsepower that propelled Richard Petty to a majority of his record 200 NASCAR victories, plus his seven NASCAR premier series championships and seven Daytona 500 victories. Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton were also among those who won with his engines. Petty had a brief driving career – 26 premier series races with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964 – but was satisfied to work behind the scenes as one of the top engine builders ever seen in the sport.
Glenn Roberts, who got his legendary nickname from his days as a hard-throwing pitcher in high school, is perhaps the greatest driver never to win a NASCAR title. He was arguably stock car racing’s first superstar, an immensely popular prototype for some of today’s competitors who are stars on and off the track. During his career he often came up big in the biggest events, winning the Daytona 500 in 1962 and the Southern 500 in 1958 and ’63. Overall, he won seven races at Daytona International Speedway, starting with the Firecracker 250 in the summer of 1959 – the year the speedway opened.
Yesterday, the IZOD IndyCar series drivers spread out across the US to promote the Indianapolis 500 in various key markets. Lucky for me, Takuma Sato was in Houston promoting the 500 as well as the Grand Prix of Houston that will be October 4-6 at Reliant Park. Takuma drives for AJ Foyt Racing which is located just outside of Houston, so the GPoH will be the team’s hometown race.
The media and fan event took place at Reliant Park in front of Reliant Arena…the site of the start/finish line of the race. Strangely enough, the old start/finish line from the Champ Car days and faded “Champ Car” paint are clearly visible on the concrete. In the distance, the concrete barriers that will make up the walls of the track line the perimeter of the parking lot. Some barriers still had the names of former Champ Car drivers that participated in the final event in 2007 like Neel Jani, Alex Figge, and Ryan Dalziel.
MSR Houston, the road and karting tracks located south of Houston near Angleton, had setup a karting track and had karts on hand. Fans were able to race, and local media, including yours truly, were pitted against Takuma in one final kart race. Who won?
I did of course! I almost lapped everyone in 5 laps. Ok, so it wasn’t necessarily a fair fight. Takuma started in the back. I started up front. But hey, I have the bragging rights, right?
It was a great event, and I also had the chance to chat with Takuma for a few minutes. Here’s the interview:
RB: So, after last year, what’s your strategy going into the 500? Is it still “attack”?
TS: Yes, of course, any circumstance…if there’s any chance you should challenge it. Having had the experience last year, I know what you need to get to the last lap and the environment to get the team leading the race. This has been much more…comfortable…day by day in practice. Obviously, we were a little bit disappointed in the qualifying speed, but the race is a completely different scenario. There’s nothing to worry about.
RB: How has it been having Conor Daly as a teammate? Have you worked together or have you spent more time helping him?
TS: Either way really…we had to help him up after the spin and get him quality data. Having a teammate is very helpful. You don’t have to go through all the test program…we can split the program. He is coming up to speed very quickly and I can trust his data. It’s been nice to work with him.
RB: How important is the momentum that you have heading into Indy?
TS: It helps. It is important to help the team’s motivation and keep it high. But, everything has to be reset…it’s a clean sheet of paper. Obviously the Indy 500 is a very different situation from the last 4 events. So, the team is working together…it’s a very tight group…it’s based on trust and ability…there’s no reason to believe we can’t do the same on the ovals too. To me, it is very important to carry the excitement and momentum into the 500.
RB: When the boost was upped for qualifying, the Chevy’s had an advantage. Do you believe when the boost is lowered it will be evened out? It’s been difficult to discern from practice times up to this point.
TS: We will see. It seems like the trend is similar to last year. With the higher boost, it seems they (Chevy) had little tip on that. This year the increase in speed from both manufactures has been huge. We both really developed and are competing at the highest level. As you said, Chevy was strong during qualifying but in the race hopefully we are strong.
RB: After the Brazil incident, do you feel like, in the 500, the series may be keeping a closer eye on you?
TS: [Laughs] Why would they?
RB: You never know…there were a lot of people that were very vocal about the situation…
TS: It was only really a couple of drivers…did you see the race?
RB: Yes…great race…
TS: That’s it. That’s the racing for me. Ok, you shouldn’t block, but you should be able to defend. What’s difficult to see is the Brazil backstraight is meandering…it’s difficult to see. It was hard…obviously everyone was trying to win the race…it was hard racing. I gave room for the braking. I had no contact during the course of the race. I don’t think I did anything wrong. A couple of years ago, in IndyCar you weren’t really allowed to do any defending either so to that point…it looked extreme. But, to me this is proper racing. Everybody really enjoyed it. I know there were a couple of drivers that weren’t happy about it, but that’s just racing. Having said that, ovals are a lot different and it’s about respect. You don’t want to have too close racing because there are some risky parts. We drive ovals in a different style. For sure, as you saw last year, it’s going to be very exciting for the 500.
This week I had some stuff to get off my chest… I had to go off on some of the Danica haters, Jimmie conspirisist and the luddites who sit beside me in movie theaters.
Plus, I recap all of the action from the All-Star race and give some ideas how to breath some new life into what was once a special night.
You can listen to the show three ways:
2) you can click play and listen here on Q4G.com -
3) OR you can download the show directily to your device by clicking here.
[ via NASCAR Wire Service - by Reid Spencer ]
The Brothers Busch won the first four segments of Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but Jimmie Johnson took the one the counted—the 10-lap dash to the finish—and continued to build his legacy, not to mentioned his bank account.
Speeding away from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne after a restart on Lap 81 of 90, Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series all-star exhibition race for a record fourth time, beating charging Joey Logano to the stripe by 1.722 seconds.
Kyle Busch, who won the second and third segments of 20-laps each, ran third, followed by Kahne and Kurt Busch. The elder Busch brother won the first and fourth segments and was first onto pit road before the final dash but exited fifth with a less-than-stellar pit stop.
Despite changes to his pit crew this week, Johnson’s over-the-wall gang performed an 11-second pit stop that got him out of the pits on the front row, beside Kahne, for the final restart. Ultimately, that made all the difference.
With the victory, Johnson broke a tie with teammate Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for most wins in the non-points race, won his second straight All-Star Race and collected $1 million for his efforts.
“To beat Jeff and Earnhardt, two guys I’ve looked up to my whole life—two massive icons of our sport—this means the world to me,” said Johnson, who started 18th after sliding through his pit box and drawing a penalty for a loose lug nut during Friday’s qualifying session.
“I really didn’t think we had a shot at winning tonight, starting (18th), but we had a great race car and worked our way through there and got the job done. Over time, honestly, it’s just dedication and drive from every member at Hendrick Motorsports, every member on this No. 48 team. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we know we’ve got to keep pushing harder and pushing one another.”
Kyle Busch thought he had the fastest car, but a slower-than-usual four-tire stop put his No. 18 Toyota on the second row for the final restart.
“We just didn’t get the best pit stop there at the end to get us out on the front row, and when you’re back behind cars, you’re getting beat up on,” Busch said. “It is what it is. We’ll just take this as a good learning day and hopefully bring back some speed like this to the (Coca-Cola) 600 (May 26).”
NASCAR’s luck with weather held Saturday night, with a large enough window to complete the race with just one delay.
With Kurt Busch leading from the outset, NASCAR called a caution because of rain after Lap 8 and red-flagged the race after 13 laps when the shower intensified. The drivers came to pit road, parked in their stalls and waited.
The rain didn’t come soon enough, however, to save reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski. On the second lap, transmission troubles sent his No. 2 Penske Racing Ford to the garage.
“Something just broke in the back half of the drive train, either the transmission or drive shaft gear – I’m not sure which one – but it’s one of those deals, unfortunately,” Keselowski said. “We’ll try to learn from it and move on.”
With Keselowski in the garage, the race resumed after a stoppage of 41 minutes 28 seconds. Kurt Busch pulled away from brother Kyle Busch to win the first 20-lap segment by .751 seconds.
Kyle Busch kept the second segment in the family, pulling away from Clint Bowyer after a restart on Lap 29—after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bounced off the Turn 4 wall and knocked Mark Martin for a loop through the grass in the quad-oval.
Jamie McMurray led wire-to-wire to win the Sprint Showdown and transfer into the main event. McMurray, who started second, took two tires during the halfway competition caution after 20 laps and pulled away to beat Cup rookie Stenhouse to the finish line by 1.226 seconds.
Stenhouse transferred into the All-Star Race as the second-place finisher. His romantic interest, Danica Patrick, finished ninth in the Showdown but punched her ticket into the All-Star Race as the winner of the Sprint Fan vote.
“Obviously being out front is massive,” McMurray said during the break between the Showdown and the main event. “When I got by (polesitter) Martin (Truex Jr.) at the start of the race… I was trying to take it easy because I didn’t know with the track being green how quickly the tires would fall off, and even running at like 80 percent it was amazing what a difference just being in clean air was.
“I had a really good car in practice (Friday). I thought honestly the 56 (Truex) and I had the two best cars looking at times yesterday, and then the two tire stop was the right call for us. It got us up front.”
McMurray’s words proved prophetic. Being out front for the final 10-lap run was crucial to Johnson’s record run.
For those outside of NASCAR, his name was punch line for every hack comedian…. for those us of who love racing…. Dick Trickle was the guy that defined what we mean when we talk about a “real racer.”
Rest in Peace Dick. The thoughts of everyone at Q4G go out to Dick’s family and friends.
When the IndyCar ICONIC committee reviewed proposals from Dallara, Swift, Lola, and DeltaWing for the new IndyCar chassis, they were presented with a very intriguing idea from Dallara. They proposed a chassis with specific aero components that could be independently designed and applied to the chassis skeleton. Therefore, 1 chassis would be needed, but multiple “aero-kits”, as they’ve been referred to, could be utilized. In theory, engine manufacturers like Honda and Chevy could design unique kits for their cars. Corporations like Boeing, or even Wal-Mart if they wanted to could design, engineer, and sale aero-kits to teams. A large swath of IndyCar fans would get something they wanted desperately…differentiated looking cars. Now, in its second year, the DW12 still races with only the factory Dallara aero-kit available. What happened?
Unfortunately, IndyCar team owners complained that the new chassis/engine combo was more expensive to maintain and race and they couldn’t afford the additional cost of aero-kits. Fair enough, but there was no set-in-stone agreement that if an aero-kit were offered other than the Dallara kit that you had to buy it. Can’t afford it? Don’t buy it. Many IndyCar fans, including myself, were quite peeved to hear the aero-kits would be delayed indefinitely.
The need for different looking cars has never been that important to me. The main issue is the Dallara aero-kit is so offensive to look at. I always maintained hope that a new kit by another company would at least look better. That’s all I really hoped for…nothing radical, but something not offensive. I get it though. Money is hard to come by these days and the racing is great. No arguments there. But, could this chassis end up helping IndyCar teams save money in the future?
IndyCar teams are struggling for sponsorship money and finding it hard to make ends meet. Meanwhile, in a quickly evolving world, old designs of anything wear quickly and often need freshening more often than in previous decades. Now, automobile manufacturers churn out redesigns of their products faster than ever due to the intense competition in the marketplace. And, let’s face it, we seem to have much shorter attention spans and love affairs with things than we used to. In a few years, IndyCar fans will be clamoring for the “next car”. Can IndyCar teams afford to buy new equipment every 5 years or so? No, they can’t. This is where the ugly-duckling Dallara comes in.
The ability to engineer aero pieces for certain parts of the chassis to create a unique look can be used to, cheaply, update the chassis and keep it fresh. Maybe that wasn’t the original intention, but it could work. Would you rather spend $30,000 on an aero kit or $300,000 on a new chassis? It’s like giving your house a fresh coat of paint, doing some landscaping, and replacing some worn out trim instead of knocking the whole thing down and starting over. Just introduce a couple of new aero kits every year or so and, viola, you have a fresh IndyCar. Plus, it still allows the competition and differentiation aspect that was originally intended. On top of that, keeping a chassis for a longer period of time allows new or smaller teams to enter the series later in the life-cycle of the chassis through purchase of equipment from teams that may have come and gone or just needed to jettison some redundant items. It opens up more opportunity to have more than 33 entries for the Indy 500 (hello Bump Day!) and for event one-offs for up and coming drivers. Maybe a new aero-kit is released, a big team purchases it, and they have old kits they need to sell. This is a perfect opportunity for a small or new team to pick up some equipment at a discount price.
No matter what happens, IndyCar just needs to piss or get off the pot about the kits. It was mentioned today that IndyCar is pondering committing to the kits, but only at the 3 superspeedway events next year. This is due to the fact that Honda doesn’t have a high-downforce kit ready. I say tough tits Honda. Your teams can use the Dallara kits if you don’t have one for the road courses. All I hope is that the new kits are more attractive. The DW12 needs a makeover already. She has an amazing personality, but she sure ain’t pretty. Come on IndyCar, allow some smart folks to turn this ugly duckling into a swan. Oh, and the kits may be the money saving savior you’ve been looking for.
[ via NASCAR Wire Service - by Reid Spencer ]
Unsinkable Matt Kenseth capped a banner week for unsinkable Joe Gibbs Racing with a victory in Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with a substitute crew chief on his pit box—the unsinkable Wally Brown.
The past four days could hardly have been better for JGR, with Wednesday bringing a substantial reduction in penalties on appeal for an engine infraction Apr, 21 at Kansas. On Friday, Gibbs cars ran 1-2-3 in the Nationwide Series race at Darlington, and the organization followed that Saturday with a 1-2 finish from Kenseth and Denny Hamlin in the 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season.
Kenseth took the lead from JGR teammate Kyle Busch on Lap 355 of 367 and pulled away to win by 3.155 seconds over Hamlin, as Busch faded to sixth. Hamlin also had much to celebrate in his first full race back from a compression fracture to his first lumbar vertebra, sustained during a last-lap crash at Fontana, Calif., in late March.
It was a race of significant numbers. Jeff Gordon finished third in his 700th Cup start, all consecutive. Jimmie Johnson ran fourth and extended his series lead to a massive 44 points over seventh-place finisher Carl Edwards. In a race that saw just four drivers pace the field, Kyle Busch led 265 laps but faded to sixth at the finish, thanks to a cut tire on the final 30-lap green-flag run.
Journeyman Brown won his first race as a Cup crew chief, after serving with four different drivers before his one-week shot on the pit box with Kenseth, who will get regular crew chief Jason Ratcliff back next week at Charlotte after Ratcliff’s six-race suspension for an underweight connecting rod was reduced to one event on appeal.
But the day belonged to Kenseth, whose resilience under trying circumstances was emblematic of the organization he joined this season.
“Honestly, I’ve only dreamed about winning the Southern 500,” said Kenseth, who notched his first victory at Darlington, his third of the season and the 27th of his career. “This to me probably feels bigger than any win in my career. I really feel bad that Jason isn’t here. This is obviously his team and his effort, but Wally did a great job filling in.
“We had a fifth- or sixth-place car, fighting loose, (and) those last two adjustments (on pit road) were just awesome.”
For Hamlin, second place was the best he could have hoped for, given the strength of Kenseth’s car in the closing laps.
“For me, we kept grinding away,” Hamlin said, clearly tired from the effort of his first race back at one of NASCAR racing’s most demanding tracks. “Pit crew picked us up some spots, obviously, throughout the night.
“It was one of those days where we got our car better, pit crew picked us up positions, took us to the most optimum spot we could get to—and that was second.”
From a physical standpoint, Hamlin admitted the race took its toll.
“Really, it’s just like starting your season over,” he said. “To start it back over at Darlington for 500 miles, there’s some muscles that have gotten weak. I’ve gotten pretty sore and tired, mentally tired as well. We’ll have a couple of weeks really to rest until the next long event (Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte), and we’ll be good to go then.”
A caution for Regan Smith’s spin off Turn 2 on Lap 302 of 367—only the second yellow of the race—interrupted a cycle of green-flag pit stops. After Juan Pablo Montoya took a free pass as the highest scored lap car, and Harvick availed himself of a wave-around, there were 11 cars on the lead lap for a restart on Lap 309.
By then, Kyle Busch had led 218 laps and had dominated the race ever since he wrested the lead from his brother, polesitter Kurt Busch on Lap 74. But the pit stops on Lap 303 put the lead-lap cars on the edge of their fuel windows.
They need not have worried. On Lap 311, Casey Mears tangled with Kurt Busch and reigning series champion Brad Keselowski off Turn 4 to cause the third caution. All but the top-four cars came to pit road for fuel under the yellow, leaving Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Kasey Kahne and Gordon out front on slightly older tires.
Johnson was first off pit road with new tires and quickly moved to third. Busch fended off a challenge from Kahne right after the restart and held a lead of .850 seconds when an accident involving David Reutimann and Josh Wise brought out the fourth caution and gave the lead-lappers a chance to pit for tires.
Kahne briefly took the lead after a restart on Lap 333, but one lap later, Kahne’s Chevy slapped the wall near the apex of Turns 1 and 2 and the race went yellow for the fifth time.
The result was the same. Busch pulled away after the restart and opened a comfortable advantage, this time over Kenseth, only to have Kenseth run him down and pass him on Lap 355.