Thursday, September 20, 2012 16:11
Unbelievable in Fontana The 2012 IndyCar finale was to be an epic struggle between a snarling underdog and a snake bit champion in waiting. Championship leader Will Power was being pursued by a hungry Ryan Hunter-Reay for all the marbles. Both started deep in the field because each wanted fresh bullets in the engine bay. Neither showed any inclination to charge when the green flew. All Power had to do was keep RHR in his sights and the championship would finally be his…after crashing out of contention for two consecutive years.
All was well until Lap 55 when Power got caught out by one of the notorious Fontana seams filled with gooey black asphalt filler with the traction coefficient of goose rope. The ensuing spin sent Power backwards into the wall, nearly collecting Hunter-Reay in the process. Now, all the Andretti Autosport driver had to do was finish in sixth place to take the crown as the crestfallen Power climbed out of his crumpled car. It was over…again.
Giving up was not something Power’s crew had in mind as their driver headed for the coach lot and a change into civvies. Every Penske Racing mechanic from both teams descended on the Number 12 and repaired the crash damage in a manner Navy vets would call “****holes and elbows.” Power was summoned back in uniform to continue the fight. The pit lane erupted in applause as the Verizon Dallara took to the track, wheels akimbo. Power completed 12 more laps and retired for good, but the effort bumped the ante to P5 for the Andretti bunch. More...
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 01:40
Say what you want about Danica Patrick. Yeah she gets a lot of press. Some say more than her performance deserves, but she has single-handedly generated more column inches of copy than the other five Nationwide Series drivers combined. The reason? Behind the lip gloss and glamour, Danica Patrick is a real racecar driver.
That fact sticks in the craw of many of her competitors. Take her performances in the past two weeks at Watkins Glen and Montreal, as examples.
She was headed for a great finish at The Glen when an overbearing Canadian took her out. A week later the bright green “Go Daddy” Chevy shared the second row with its newest antagonist.
It was no fluke as Danica proceeded to lead several laps and was a legitimate contender to score her first win when a “not so cute” shoe was hurled onto the track. While TV announcers thought it might have damaged her car, post-race analysis proved otherwise. More...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 00:47
Valvoline NextGen Fords Sweep Texas Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won their respective races at Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend. The Valvoline-supported Roush Fenway Fords were favored, and The Biff’s win broke a 49-race drought for the No. 16. Many fans said the race was flat-out boring, largely due to the lack of wrecks and cautions (only 2). This bumped the race-average speed to more than 160 mph and gave the Texas race the largest number of Superspeedway green-flag laps in this century. Unfortunately, Rick Hendrick will have to lug the “200th Win” box of hats top yet another race. Jimmie Johnson led 160 laps but was no match for Biffle. The No. 48 scraped the wall in pursuit of the 3M Ford, finishing more than 3 seconds behind at the checkers.
Will Power: A Dang Houdini Nobody would have given a Chevrolet-powered IndyCar a ghost of a chance to win the Long Beach Grand Prix after the series-imposed 10-spot penalty for an engine change—unless, of course, if your name is Power, Will Power. Penske’s Aussie just put his head down and drove a methodically brilliant race from his 12th place start to win. It’s still a mystery how he was able to fend off a charging Simon Pagenaud as the race wound down and not run out of ethanol. Penske team boss and Power’s race strategist said, “I don’t know how he (Power) does it. We just give him a fuel number and he does it.” Could it be some kind of Aussie magic? The win leaves the Honda teams completely flummoxed.
Racing’s Back at the Rock Hats off to Andy Hillenberg for bringing NASCAR back to Rockingham Speedway after an 8-year hiatus. Hillenberg got the bug to buy the track after working on the movie “Talladega Nights.”It was such a shame to see weeds growing on a track with this much history,” Hillenberg said. “It grabbed my heart.” Several years and $4.4 million dollars later, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolled onto the iconic “cheese grater” asphalt surface. The near sellout crowd watched Turner Motorsports put on a driving clinic as pole sitter Nelson Piquet Jr. led 107 laps, only to get busted for pit-lane speeding. It knocked him out of contention. Meanwhile, dog-tired teammate Kasey Kahne was working his way from the back of the field a couple cars at a time—this after a 500-mile race in Texas Saturday night. James Buescher, Turner’s other regular driver could not hold back the adrenaline pumped Kahne at race end. More...
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 09:26
Powerless in St. Pete? The IndyCar series is showing signs of growth not seen in decades. Insiders think there may be more than 30 entries for the season opener in St. Petersburg. That’s great news in my book—and an alternative to NASCAR mania. If you haven’t noticed, the stock car series is headed downhill, showing weaknesses in team sponsorship, TV ratings and track attendance. The problem at IndyCar is the very real prospect that there may not be enough of the new turbo engines to go around. While the established teams have no worries, it’s the new guys who may be holding the short end of the stick.
This is baffling given the fact that there are three engine manufacturers. Small teams have offered engine suppliers every penny they have (and their first-born male child), yet have heard nothing but the droning hum of the phone line going dead. Hopefully, IndyCar brass will light some fires under the recalcitrant engine manufacturers—or have to add a big “soap box derby” style hill to the St. Pete road course, and add a “Coaster” class for the engineless entrants.
Ford Unveils the 2013 Racecar Ford scooped all the other Sprint Cup manufacturers when they unveiled the 2013 Fusion racecar during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. The new design departs from NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow “kit car” that basically required all manufacturers to run identical bodies. The only difference comes from manufacturer specific decals on the noses and tails of the COT. The 2013 Fusion racecars now have real bodywork. They look a lot more like their street-going brethren. 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...