Friday, June 8, 2012 09:15
The most prestigious 24 hours in motorsports is nearly upon us, as the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans has completed testing and will qualify this week before the 88th running of the race begins on Saturday.
The race is a marathon, not only for the drivers but the spectators as well. Whether you’re watching at home or from Tertre Rouge or the safety of your living room, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a grueling but ultimately rewarding experience. The initiated will be hooked from the start; newcomers will quickly be bored and slowly give in to the racecars’ euphonic, slow burn. You’ll be sleep-deprived with the cognition of a zombie, and you’ll never be happier.
To some, it barely matters what cars are on the track. But nevertheless there are some fascinating storylines in this year’s Le Mans 24 that deserve your attention.
Audi has won ten of the last twelve runnings since the year 2000, and one of those failures went to an Audi-powered Bentley, so it barely counts as a loss. Still, you’ll never find a sports team more determined to achieve victory, and this year they’ve brought a few game-changing cars into the fold. The Audi R18 ultra is an extremely lightweight prototype, while their R18 e-tron quattro is a hybrid version of the R18 ultra that sends additional power to the front wheels. In practice, Audi ran 1-2-3 with two e-trons leading an ultra. Audi is the hands-on favorite to win the race comfortably with the technology and experience to tackle the world’s most insane racing event. More...
Friday, February 24, 2012 12:27
Less than one year after the Valvoline brand introduced a revolutionary recycled motor oil that stands up to racing's demanding standards and high-quality performance, Roush Fenway has decided to switch all its Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams to Valvoline NextGen motor oil technology for the duration of the 2012 NASCAR season. RFR will kick off the shift at the 54th annual Daytona 500 race on Feb. 26, 2012.
The total shift to NextGen represents the culmination of a rigorous validation process that began last summer with drivers like Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, and is a continued illustration of Roush Fenway Racing's commitment to going green on the track while keeping performance paramount.
NextGen motor oil is made of 50 percent recycled motor oil and delivers 100 percent Valvoline quality, offering optimum engine protection in a product that's also better for the environment. "Closing the Loop" – for professional drivers and everyday consumers alike – is a step towards reducing our dependence on foreign crude oil and preserving our existing resources by collecting and returning your used oil for recycling, and then refilling crankcases with NextGen.
"We couldn't be prouder to have NextGen technology pumping through the engines of the world's elite stock car drivers on the sport's biggest stage at Daytona," said Darryl Gaines, NextGen brand manager at Valvoline. "Having NextGen technology running in all of Roush Fenway's racing engines is just one more way for people to be certain of NextGen quality." More...
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 09:23
And This Is What I Get? Darien Grubb, Tony Stewart’s crew chief, made an extremely gutsy call keeping his driver on the track as long as possible to make the last stop of the race with 55 laps to go. A professional colleague calls it: “Do something that will get you fired.” That didn’t matter to Grubb, he was already fired as Smoke’s crew chief in 2012. The decision was made after the Charlotte race in October, in the middle of a season of lackluster performance for the No. 14. Then came the Chase, five wins and a championship. Perhaps Stewart might want to reconsider. All Grubb would say after the big win was: “My job tonight is to get Tony good and drunk. Then we’ll talk.”
Tires from Tony The beleaguered Morgan Shepard got a boost from Tony Stewart at Homestead Miami. Smoke picked up the tire bill for Shepard, who doesn’t race on a shoestring, it’s more like a very fine thread. That kicks a hole in Stewart’s bad boy persona.
From Benchwarmer to Champion When the 2011 season started, nobody would have given Ricky Stenhouse a snowball’s chance in hell to come from the bench in 2010 to the Nationwide championship at Homestead Miami Speedway. The crash prone driver destroyed so much of Jack Roush’s equipment that the “Cat in the hat” parked his young driver for four races last season. Suitably humbled, Stenhouse mended his wrecking ways to consistent finishes and two wins, including the highlight reel finish at the Iowa Speedway where his engine blew coming to the checkers and getting rammed across the finish line to the win by team mate Carl Edwards. If you missed it, here it is: 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...
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 08:00
“Any woman who marries a race driver is an idiot,” said my wife after watching the racing death of a young man we knew. I have a very dark sense of humor and a fatalistic view of life, so I asked: “Would that include you?” “YES!,” she said. (She didn’t come in blind: Our first date was a test session of my racecar.)
Over 27 years of marriage, we’ve seen many drivers die or suffer permanently crippling injuries of body and mind. We’ve seen others who drank themselves to death when their racing careers—their only purpose in life—ended.
Race drivers, at least the ones I know personally, are NOT thrill seekers. Instead, they are control freaks. They live to control the uncontrollable.
I don’t hold to the notion that racers think it will happen to someone else. When you wear fire-resistant underwear, how can you not think it might or is likely going to happen to you? (A.J. Foyt raced in a single-layer fire-resistant suit and a T-shirt, which will give you about three seconds of protection. So maybe he did think it would happen to someone else.) More...