Tuesday, May 29, 2012 17:28
Memorial Day is a veritable feast for the motorsports glutton. The day begins with Formula 1 cars on Monaco’s narrow streets, opens up to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in Indianapolis, and ends with a 600-mile metal grinder in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Imagine putting a swarm of huge Northern Minnesota mosquitoes into a jar and shaking it up real good. That’s not unlike the sound of Formula 1 engines bouncing off the buildings in Monaco. While racing modern F1 cars there has been questionable for a long time, tradition outweighs that notion the minute the starting lights go off. Seven-time champ Michael Schumacher should have been on pole, but a penalty from the previous race dropped him five grid spots at the start. Defending F1 champion Sebastian Vettel had a snit with the Red Bull team and did not compete in Q3, so he started in 10th. Neither driver was given a ghost of a chance to win on the “ultra slim fast” street circuit. Red Bull’s Mark Webber took off like a JATO rocket at the start leaving a melee of million dollar bumper cars at the first turn. Scratch four cars.
When the race restarted after the safety car period, it became a strategic tire battle as the fuel-heavy cars shredded their super soft tires and made an already narrow racing line even skinnier as the “clag” built up off line. It’s the F1 equivalent of “the cushion” at Eldora. You could plainly see bits of rubber rolling off the tires in the incredible super slo-mo video shots. More...
Monday, January 16, 2012 14:07
NASCAR Daytona WFO Borrowing Speed’s new mantra, “Wide Freakin’ Open,” Daytona test-speeds raised eyebrows in the NASCAR trailer. Penske ex-patriot Kurt Busch topped 206 in Thursday’s testing, prompting NASCAR to reduce the restrictor plate by 1/64th of an inch. That change alone dropped two-car pod speeds to 201-202. NASCAR is trying to eliminate the trend by various means and, every time they do, the guys in the garage find a workaround. NASCAR wants to return to the pack racing days of yore, which the drivers hate and the fans love. Quite frankly, I hope I never see another “Big One” that wipes out half the field. Here are the Preseason Thunder test results.
Revving It Up—Literally Move over Tebow, NASCAR’s A.J. Almendinger is an ordained minister. Darrell Waltrip announced the Dinger’s ordination during the Speed telecast. Waltrip said Reverend Almendinger finished his seminary studies and took all the final exams in order to marry a friend after the Homestead finale last year. It remains to be seen if the blessings carry over to his new ride in Penske’s No. 22 Dodge. More...
Friday, December 2, 2011 12:39
Video games aren’t just toys any more––professional race drivers use the increasingly sophisticated simulations of real tracks to train for races and sharpen their reflexes. But it’s a pretty good bet you won’t find a Formula 1 driver slumped in a beanbag chair while he hot-laps a virtual Monaco. If that’s where you sit when you play racing video games, you need to upgrade to the Playseat.
The Playseat isn’t just a chair, it’s a racing simulation cockpit, complete with a seat reclined to the correct angle for each type of racing, a steering column angled correctly with your choice of steering wheels, and a pedal box.
The Playseat is compatible with digital driving steering wheels from MOMO, Logitech, and ForceGT, works right out of the box with PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii gaming systems. The only drawback is that so far it’s available only in Europe. But if you really want to race, either digitally or for real, an ocean won’t stop you from getting one.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 08:08
Head Games Sauber Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi is auctioning his race-worn helmet to support the victims of the Japan tsunami and earthquake that struck his home country earlier this year. The helmet was designed by Joe Hahn, producer and band member of the Grammy-winning band Linkin Park. The team media release dated November 24 says the auction opens “this Thursday.” Not to worry, it closes on December 19. Go to http://bit.ly/kamuihelmet to place your bid. The helmet without the design is valued at 3,500 Euros (approximately $4,700).
In other helmet news, Sebastian Vettel tried out a new in-car camera-mount attached directly to his helmet. Formula 1 producer experimented with it during practice only. The shots give viewers a better perspective from the driver’s point-of-view. You see the effects of wind, vibration, and g forces. The only better shot would be from inside the driver’s helmet.
Turn Out the Lights, The Party’s Over Formula 1 held the last race of the 2011 season on November 27. Sebastian Vettel scored his 15th pole this year, breaking Nigel Mansell’s 19-year old record. However, the Wunderkind could not back it up. He handed the lead over to teammate Mark Weber who scored his first win of the season. Formula 1 fanatics will not hear the 19,000 rpm shriek for almost four months. The only way to hear something spinning that fast would be to buy one of those overpriced Dyson vacuums. More...
Thursday, November 17, 2011 09:17
Edwards and Stewart race to a push Many railbirds thought the new Phoenix configuration would stymie drivers and crew chiefs. The effect was nowhere near the problem the analysts predicted. When the checkers fell, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart became the last combatants standing going into the Homestead finale. Stewart still trails Edwards by three markers and both drivers will put everything on the line in Florida. Edwards has won at this track and Stewart’s mile-and-a-half track program has been very strong of late. I’d hate to be one of the odds makers on this wager. Here’s some rough video of the final laps:
The Red Bull snorts It was good to see Kasey Kahne win one for a dedicated and talented bunch of guys. Rumors abound of an 11th hour bid for the team. It would be a shame to see another 150 guys pushing their tool chests onto the Mooresville, N.C. streets with nowhere to go. There could be quite a traffic jam as they merge with an equal number of displaced team members from Germain Racing. Reminds me of the anti war folk song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” The NASCAR version would be “Where Have All the Ratchets Gone? More...