Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rubicon Race Team in 2009?

Last season we got word of the formation of Rubicon Race Team. Their plan for 2008 was simple; participating in the Indianapolis 500. The team was led by majority owners Jason Priestly (former Indy Lights,SCCA racer and IndyCar announcer) and Jim Freudenberg (Kelley Racing, Vegas Grand Prix etc.). It also included many small-part owners including actors Ian Zeiring, Tiffany-Amber Thiessen and NFL players Dallas Clark and Jason Baker.

The team unfortunately ran into the worst of luck, as their driver Max Papis tagged the wall on the final lap of practice before qualifying weekend badly damaging the car. They got the car back together but the transmission failed on bump-day qualification and even before that happened the speed never came back with the pieced together car. Since then we haven't heard a thing...

Well over the past few months we've heard many things: Marty Roth told a Canadian paper that Fruedenberg wanted to sponsor him until he heard rumors the IRL didn't want him to drive, the common word more recently being reported by many has been that Freudenberg was shopping around to possibly buy Roth Racing, Pacific Coast Motorsports or other bits of equipment from anyone or team who had it... We also got word that he was also holding anywhere from $2-$6million in sponsorship for a team in 2009. Would the economy effect it? Was any of it true?

...well I just got the following e-mail from the Rubicon team:
Rubicon Race Team wishes you... every happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year. Thank you for being a team supporter. We look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming year. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements from our team just after the New Year.
Sincerely, Jim Freudenberg and Jason Priestley Rubicon Race Team

We get no clue what that means, but in the past they've never lead on anything without following up so far but this could be any number of things: Back for Indy 500? New part-time team for 2009? New full-time team for 2009? Purchase of PCM or Roth Racing? One car? Two cars? Indy Lights team? Priestly is going back to the announcers booth? who knows?

I'd love to see this team back, and hopefully full-time, at least because they had a great paint job last year and I really doubt they would show up in generic red/white/blue.

So what do you think we're being teased for?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wish for Additional Schedule Diversity

Since we are in the lull part of the news cycle for racing I figured we could propose some realistic thoughts on small further improvement to the Indy Car Series on the chance Brian Barnhart of Tony George happen to randomly cross the blog while searching for neat ideas they can use.

For me, the IRL promotes itself, and rightly so, for having the most diverse schedule in motorsports. The ICS gives you natural terrain, street, airport, rectangle, D-shaped, egg shaped; some banked and some not. Honestly this is my favorite thing about the ICS as a series as Formula One is all road, while NASCAR is all oval.

Formula One (and A1GP, GP2 etc) is all about pit strategy, technology and weather conditions; while NASCAR (and all stock car etc) is about drafting, yellow flag pit stops and endurance.

ALMS & Grand-Am both share the technical aspects of the disciplines but are missing the track diversity; which is why I think the IndyCar Series is much ahead of everyone else.

With the new TV agreement with Versus seemingly opening up the TV windows to a minimum of 3 hours of coverage if not more, here is one simple thing they can do at relatively low to no immediate cost and to the large benefit of fans and track owners.

Add a few laps to three of the ovals!

Now I'm not talking about going NASCAR and making every race 500+ miles, that's boring and defeats the purpose stated above about diversity. Each road/street course is different in its own way making it distinct from the others but take a look at our ovals:

Kansas - 300 mile D-shape oval
Indy - 500 mile flat rectangle
Milwaukee - 225 mile small flat oval
Texas - 342 mile steep banked D-oval
Iowa - 218 miles steep banked D-oval, small
Richmond - 225 mile small bullring
Kentucky - 300 mile D-shape cookie cutter
Chicagoland - 300 mile D-shape cookie cutter
Motegi - 300 miles wide Egg shaped oval
Homestead - 300 mile oval containing 2 straightaways!?

Clearly we have the 225 and 300 mile distance contests covered as well as D-shaped tracks, while losing Michigan (a 400 miler) now puts Texas at 342 miles, our longest non-Indy race. Worse it is right behind Indy meaning our 'distance' races (2 out of 10 ovals) peak together in the middle. We have 3 short ovals and 2 long ovals but 5 mediums? Why not lets differentiate the mediums what we can.

Lets take say Kentucky, Texas and Homestead and make them 400 mile races (differentiating them from the other mid-size 1.5 mile tracks) Keep Motegi at 300 as we don't need to be grueling out the time and equipment overseas in the late TV viewing hours and the shape of that track is plenty unique.

Fans get more action, drivers get more diversity, and track owners get more concession sales, and assuming the Ethanol is still paid for, no additional costs to teams...

This just seems simple enough, and I know some people feel Indy should be the only 500 miler and some don't, but regardless we need some freaking 400 milers before we even talk about 500 milers.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Marco Andretti Does His Best Vitor Meira Impression

For those who wonder what the value in staying up till 4a.m. is, it's watching what was basically the final race of the year until the end of January and not being disappointed by A1GP in Sepang, Malaysia. For those who caught up on sleep here's a few things missed:

Most Notable of the night; Marco in the Team USA car does his best Vitor Meira impression launching his car over Team India's Narain Karthikeyan at the rolling start of the Sprint Race.

Unfortunately there are not many good still shots of this available just yet, but FORTUNATELY THERE IS VIDEO Just click 'Sepang Sprint Race' and watch what still really hasn't been explained by anyone and is most likely just a random racing incident. Was India going too slow? was the field going too slow? Did Marco go too soon? IF so why did Team Brazil/Felipe Guimaraes follow Marco right over India as well as if Brazil was hot on the pedal too.

What is actually impressive about it is that all 3 drivers are still ok with each other, none of them are mad screaming etc. or blaming each other; they very quickly realize it was a combination of misunderstanding where the field started to go but breaked and that didn't come to the back of the field in time but MArco was still apologetic anyway and also thankful as...

What came next was the more amazing part; real comradarie as all teams in the paddock helped out donating whatever parts (Korea even donating an entire rear wing to Team USA) they could to Brazil, India and USA allowing them to not only race in the main Feature race but allowing Marco to take Team USA to its first podium finish of the season, where he then struggled to pop his champagne bottle (not kidding watch the hilarious video), and took Team USA up 3 spots in points as well as Brazil turning around for the 7th place finish and some much useful points.

Oddly enough this may not have been the weirdest part of the race. While in 3rd place in the feature race, suddenly on lap 17 Malysia's Fairuz Fauzy came into the pits. What made it weird was that his team had no idea that he was or why he came in. He essntially lost 10 positions because of this eventually battling back to gain a few, but what caused it. Someone came on his radio and said it was time to pit... apparently he picked up another team's transmission somehow and the series is still trying to figure out how it happpened...

Other than that, race team's nationwide might want to check into Ireland's Adam Carroll who absolutely dominated the feature race winning by over a 10 second margin for his second win of the year. If you missed it just head over to the A1GP website where you can see good video recaps of both races, plenty of good racing going on all over the grid, and now the painful winter...

Next Up a long time away... is a great double header weekend: 24 Hours of Daytona on January 24th into 25th, and A1GP on January 25th in New Zealand (though being in New Zealand it will technically run in the middle of the night during Daytona) hope you can hold up until then...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sound of Music

If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that I'm a big proponent of making every aspect of the Indy Racing League as fan friendly as possible, and that I've gone off on more than one occasion about how obnoxious and un-fan-friendly the sound of the Indy Lights cars have been over the past years with their NASCAR/missing-muffler type sound that is so loud and deafening that really no fan can watch them without some sort of sound canceling headphones or earplugs. Its a real shame because the racing in Indy Lights has been nothing but great over the years. Since surely no one can carry a conversation during a Lights race without sign language, I and many others have felt it was a big hindrance to Indy Lights attendance, especially people with children.

Earlier this month we got the great news that Honda and the IRL would finally be moving forward with the new sound dampening mufflers for the main Indy Car Series, which is great because while someone like me is actually ok with the mian guys, it was still close enough to the range that some people did still complain.

However we never got any word on anything to be done for the Indy Lights cars, which by far had a much bigger problem. With the ICS most could actually go without earplugs and manage a conversation while with FIL you had no choice but to plug the ears unless you wanted to risk serious hearing damage.

Well race-day race fans got some more good news from the IRL today:

Firestone Indy Lights modify engine for 2009:
Firestone Indy Lights engines will undergo a modification for 2009. The 90-degree crankshaft used in the engines since the series' inception in 2002 has been changed to a 180-degree crankshaft.

"We primarily made the change to make the car sound more like they have single-seater racing engines," said Roger Bailey, executive director of Firestone Indy Lights. "The change will help the car's performance as well. It doesn't really change the horsepower, but the drivers will see an improvement in the power-band in the mid-range. And that will help our cars get off the corner better."

"From the outward appearance, there won't be any changes to the motor," said Speedway Engine Development's Jeff Gordon, Firestone Indy Lights program manager. "The noticeable difference is the sound the engine makes is more similar to the IndyCar Series engine.

We'll have to wait and see exactly what audible difference this makes but I can tell you any move in the lower decible direction is a good one and hopefully it'll help start to help improve Indy Lights attendance.

Photos from by Dana Garrett and Steve Snoddy

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Offseason Fun #2: IndyCar Book Club

So it's clear that with the award-banquet now done and most budgets not being set (at least publicly) that we're going to go back into the silent part of the off season with winter arriving and knocking out most practicing, though we will get 1 more A1GP race and the final NASCAR weekend for those interested before we really go officially silent for the winter as we all long await the awesome 24 Hours of Daytona.

So with that done and us officially taking Upside-down Indy car theories as far as we could on Trackforum and Mythbusters both without actually testing anything its time for more offseason fun.

Offseason Fun #2 is book club time. If you aren't a big reader, you're missing out simply on what great stories there are to be told, and if you simply haven't had the time or known what to start with lets make this the place to be to help you out as the Unofficial IndyCar Book Club.

Last year I (like many) caught up with what I think is the most important book for any IndyCar racing fan to read: Rapid Response: My inside story as a motor racing life-saver by Dr. Stephen Olvey. Even for those not big into IndyCars or even racing in general the book is a must read just to learn how far we've come as humans from what we used to have as medical practices and prevention and how a lot of things go into practical use; as well as human learning from stupid error (like hiring a private ambulance service that has no rights to actually leave the track in case of emergency). In addition to this it has great stories just from a racing insider but overall gives you a great appreciation for the sport we all love. So if you haven't read that I'll put that one atop your list.

Me? I have 2 books to start my winter reading list this off-season and am going to 2 different spectrums of the IndyCar timeline...

Book 1 for me comes as per its great recomendation per Jeff at MyNameisIRL during last weeks Trackside with Cavin and Kevin, Tales from the Indy 500 by Jack Arute. and I've got the Revised & Updated version for full enjoyment of learning what "Jackie" has seen and heard from 1969 and forward.

Book 2 came as a complete surprise present from Mrs. Wedge. INDY: Racing Before the 500 By: D. Bruce Scott . Its a book you can't really find anywhere and as such is why I never knew about it, turns out she found out about it because one of her best friend's boss is the guy who put it together. I skimmed it quick to get a jist (because it is a rather HUGE book) and it is an amazing FULL comprehensive collection of pictures race results, stories from every event held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway up until the first Indy 500, meaning we have everything in here from motorcycles, to cars, to planes and balloon races!?

#3, should I get through these quickly, will be My Sweetest Victory, Alex Zanardi's book, and if you even need to ask why, you simply need watch these 2 videos: Part 1 / Part 2

So anyone else have books to recommend for IndyCar/Racing fans?

Monday, November 10, 2008

And It Shall Happen

Wow, talk about calling it; (ok not entirely calling it as there were reports A1GP was offering to replace the IRL should it go)

BUT, Not even a day after my post below and we have now received official word that the IRL and Surfer's Paradise will be letting each other go their separate ways which made a lot of sense for both parties, but to continue making sense in decisions, Surfer's Paradise and A1GP will be picking up where they left off in 2009.

It'll be a shame if this (as we all expect will) adversely affects KV Racing in the IndyCar Series or more directly Will Power's status as a driver, but the unfortunate fact for them is that what has now happened makes too much sense for the 2 series and Surfer's Paradise.

I can't tell you how good all these decisions are for all three parties involved, just read the post below.

I'm a very happy fan, and you should be too if you are a fan of racing. If you liked Surfer's Paradise as an IndyCar Series fan, trust me it will be just as good as an A1GP event, and a great start to the IndyCar offseason.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Why the IRL should let go of Surfer's Paradise

For those of you who didn't stay up to watch the A1GP race all the way to it's conclusion at 3am Eastern, you missed a great race. I can honestly say I've only watched the series here and there in the past but this new car by Ferrari and the upwards car count the series has right now, and the familiarity of a good deal of the drivers has me pumped about its next race.

And with the Queensland Australia and the IRL unable to come to a date and money compromise it seems to make perfect sense at this point for the IRL to concede the race and let A1GP take it over, not just because it makes sense for the IRL to not lose money or crown a champ overseas, but because it just makes too much sense for A1GP to be there.

#1 A1GP is all about inter-nationality, this series exists to race in different countries, they can handle this.

#2 the cars have power boost(push button limited use extra HP) which would greatly help the action at a too-tight track like Surfer's

#3 Most importantly for the fans, it is an incredibly easy series to follow for a crowd like Surfer's, one that isn't all that into a specific racing series, all they would need to do is pick the appropriate country and cheer. I can't tell you how fun and easy racing can be once you break it down like that. Photo: Cheering for Marco last night was so easy when he's racing stars and stripes.

#4 A1GP could really use more dates on their calendar to help fill it up and not make it so spread out as it currently is.

Look, I'm a big fan of the ICS, it is and always will be my #1, but A1GP needs to take over Surfer's, especially considering the date problems the IRL and Queensland can't really overcome; they've been trying to work this out for some time, but so long as the dates are gridlocked this will never fully work for either party no matter the compromise, and that is forgetting about any money loss problems for teams and sponsors of the ICS.

For the ICS it would mean having more time to concentrate on issues easily within their grasp than trying to force this race to happen and force themselves to deal with the problems of money loss for teams and overseas champion crowning possibilities. As for A1GP, the U.S. needs to really look into getting a date on this schedule so we can root for the home team at least once more.

P.S. a note to; A1GP's online coverage is the best thing I've ever seen. ITs completely flawless sound and audio that never buffers and is incredibly clear.

for those of you that haven't seen it check out the race in Malaysia in 2 weeks and tell me what you think.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Upside-Down Indy Cars?

So with the season officially ending we're looking at 5 months of non-race/non-official-practice activity. So what's a fan to do? Well I think I'm going to spend time handing out some fun things for fans to undertake.

So Offseason fun #1:
I think its time we try to get some outside coverage as well as put Scott Goodyear's much repeated downforce' IndyCars on the ceiling' theory to the test; MYTHBUSTERS style!

For those of you not familiar with Mythbusters; it is a Discovery Channel TV show and the name says it all, they take theories/myths/movies and test them as far as scientificly possible. Well today I proposed a theory/myth on their official messageboard (which is actually where they get most of their myths, and where they tell you to submit them for consideration).

MY fun mission #1 for IndyCar fans; go here and stir up you ideas on Scott Goodyear's upside down indycar theory, drive the hits for this part of the board so it'll get some traction and maybe it'll get looked at by the show, who knows? Either way its fun to see all the theories.

Bring in your offseason ideas too and I'll gladly post it and spread the word to whatever IndyCar fans read this thing.

NEXT TIME ON FUN IDEAS: IndyCar Scavenger Hunt!?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just under 24 hours for the IndyCar starved

from IMSOnline:

Yes, we will have live streaming video for Practices and Qualifying.
Below are the times converted to the Eastern Time Zone.

6 PM Practice 1
9:20 PM Practice 2

7:50 PM Practice 3
11:10 PM Qualifying

6:35 PM Final Practice

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The correct course of action...?

For being the off-season, and with only the Surfer's Paradise pre/post-season exhibition coming up you'd think there wouldn't be much news but we've got Rafael Matos signing on to be Luczo Dragon Racing's first full time driver. A good choice by LDR, picking a guy that has won the championship in 4 of the last 6 years in whatver series he was in, clearly he's got talent.

Helio is of course making headlines, but I'll wait for that to develop more before I delve into it. What are to come of Tomas Schecket and Darren Manning and Paul Tracy, who knows, what of Surfer's Paradise's future? no one knows yet, what of that Turks and Caicos pre-season agreement we all saw a while back that never showed up again, anywhere? who knows... but we all most assuredly know this:

To whatever degree or reason given behind closed doors, it looks as if Marty Roth's days as an IndyCar driver are over, and he is closing his team down in anger.

First off, I want to say I will miss Marty the driver. I am certainly of the belief that a person can do whatever they please with their own money, and I can honestly say I am all for a person, and jealous of any person able to, chase a dream that I too share. For this reason I've never felt any ill will towards Marty for being on the track; he had to qualify for each race, and he passed physicals and met whatever demands asked of him these past years.

But for whatever reason, he is no longer meeting the standards required, and that is something he is hardly the first to ever have happen to him; however unlike the many others he is not taking it in stride whatsoever.

My thoughts towards Marty couldn't be more different when we talk about his selfishness, most notably visible in seeing the 2008 operations of Roth Racing. In 2007 we heard the news of the formation of Roth Racing, a new full-time two-car team; one car for Marty, and one to give past Indy Lights champion, Jay Howard, his much deserved oppourtunity in the ICS. RR hired a LOT of the right people and bought all the right equipment to start up a formidable team, it looked as if Marty was immersing himself into what he seemingly loved, motorsports.

It seems, however, that all along Roth Racing was formed solely to be a bargaining chip to hold over the IRL's head along with giving a facade to all of it being a formation of a new team. He's threatened to pull the team if he couldn't race, but worse, he argued with and ran off multiple crew members and throughly screwed Jay Howard out of the oppourtunity he deserved.

Normally I wouldn't be so sure about this except the news now that he has laid off all but 3 workers at Roth racing in anger/retalliation of a decision by the IRL to not renew his racing liscense. This isn't some conspiracy against Marty, just check the history. Of his career 21 starts he's only been running at the finish 10 times, of those 10, he has never finished on the lead lap or even close; and in most cases, dropped like a rock once each race started and in numerous occasions crashed all on his own, and brought out over 10 yellow/red flags at road courses.

I've personally witnessed this exact scenairo myself in my career in the IMPBA; many racers went to lower engine power and speed as they got older or just stopped when they could admit to themselves they didn't have the reflexes required anymore, these guys didn't leave the IMPBA, they became race directors and pit men for other racers, why? because they loved racing.

Again, as a driver, I do not fault Marty... but it seems that all this time its never been about a love for racing, its been about self-love for Marty Roth, and in all honesty that's just fine.

As a race fan however I will say good riddance, because I love racing, and anyone who actually loves racing does whatever they can in whatever capacity for it, even if their driving career is not there; just ask Chip Ganassi, Patrick Dempsy, Larry Foyt, Jason Priestly, Bobby Rahal, Michael Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Robbie Buhl, and the list goes on and on and on...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lots of news for all

Unfortunately very bad news about a lot of people's favorite driver. In case you hadn't heard, Helio Castroneves has been indicted for $2 million in tax evasion; or failure to report $5 million in wages. We really have to wait for more details to come out to know how this will affect Helio's driving, and more specifically, his driving for Roger Penske as most assume the feds will not allow him to leave the area, let alone the country (Surfer's Paradise race).

The fact I can tell you though is this; the feds do not bring out cases they can't win and don't have surmountable evidence for...e.g. Michael Vick.

Of course there is more to this as it progresses, but as more details come out it looks worse and worse...


In College football news, we can say goodbye to yet another top 10 Undefeated BCS conference team as the University of South Florida went down to the staunt unranked Pittsburg Defense, and most likely eliminating the Big East's hopes for a National Championship participant. And to my very delight, Utah managed to get its act together and beat Oregon State in a game containing possibly one of the most understated pass 'interference' calls you'll see...

... or since Utah isn't a BCS conference school and we're all going to pretend that Oregon State, the team Utah just beat, didn't just beat the #1 ranked University of Southern California just last week.

Let's just give a lesson to all secondary defenders; when the reciever stops to turn around for the ball; don't, I repeat, don't just run him completely over and flatten him to the ground... in fact, in this particular case (Utah's 2-point conversion attempt) had you just turned your head slightly to your left you'd have been able to simply intercept the ball that was thrown short of the receiver's route.


lastly, though this has no news about it; Mrs. Wedge and I have been netflixing the TV show 'Las Vegas' and once before I had noticed on an episode that in the sports betting area that the Indy 500 was on one of the TVs and I thought that was cool.

Well we just started the 5th season today and again the Indy 500 was in another episode and I once again though that was cool.... however in that same episode, as the day progresses into afternoon, and then again into night... the live Indy 500 is still on TVs...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Never Been Clearer Words of Wisdom

I've said it before but dabraham227 says it best:


"These "mock" BCS standings are stupid. Why would Alabama not be number one? They beat Clemson and Georgia... who has Oklahoma beat? TCU? Not quite the same as Georgia sorry"

Actually its not stupid, this is how they will look when the real standings come out. If you don't like the fact that Alabama has played better opponents then you should lobby your congressman, oh wait they are busy trying to pass a bailout bill. Everyone hated that OU and LSU played in the 2003 national championship game and USC got left out so the BCS was changed so that media darlings have the upper hand now with the polls counting for 2/3. I will say what I said then, when you put that much emphasis on the polls you are negating the whole reason the BCS was created in the first place (to eliminate the human element and create an unbiased championship game). Now we are right back where we started in 1997, you can blame USC for that.


Have Video Games Fully Arrived?

I mean, I've heard of NFL players being just as addicted to Madden as the rest of the world, and we know how some people use games as training for all kinds of situations, business, army tactical, quarterbacks etc.... but this has got to top them all....

from: IndyStar

"I planned on hitting the wall, but I didn't plan on the wall slowing me down that much," Edwards said. "In video games, you can just run into the wall and run it wide open. That's what I did, but it didn't quite work out the same as the video game."

Here's video if you haven't seen it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something about a Blind Squirrel and a nut..?

I'd like to think I get quite few good ideas in this head and recently came up with one that I thought I'd pass by Curt on the Q&A:

"Question: Obviously he's still concentrating on racing, but whenever he does finish, how do you think John Andretti would be in the broadcast booth? (Allen, Gainesville, Va.)

Answer: I think that's one of the best ideas I've seen in a long time. John would be terrific. He's incredibly versed and witty, and his sense of humor would come across very well in a broadcast, particularly of Indy-car racing. I hope the Versus people read this."

Glad it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks its a good idea. I like John a lot, he's incredibly friendly, smart, versatile and simply a good driver; as we witnessed him get back in IndyCar for the first time in a long time last year and quickly turn the Roth cars this year into contenders. I'd love to have him in the booth too. Versus has my and now Curt's vote.

maybe next I'll unveil my version (trust me there are plenty) for an NCAA Football playoff.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We don't need no stinking playoff?

I take a step away from IndyCar racing to say and ask...

There are currently 24 NCAA football teams still undefeated. Currently there is a mathematical possibility we can end with 9 undefeated teams:

Boise State
Ball State

Realistically if 6 of these teams pulled it off I don't think it'd be a huge shock to anyone... We've seen it happen with 3 before and that's all we need to say...

What then BCS?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

13 Notes from the 2008 IndyCar Season

Yes, technically there is a non-points race at Surfer's in late October, but lets call it what it is, 2009 Pre-season-exhibition; for all intents and purposes the 2008 season is over, and I can say that if this season is a sign of the IndyCar Series future, a HUGE thumbs up from me; but lets break it down to 13 very important notes...

13. Bump-day is Back! The Indy 500 done with field-fillers.
I can't tell you how heartbroken Mrs. Wedge and I were when it looked like Mario Dominguez and PCM had pulled out all their tricks all the stops and had Roth beat, only to end up in the wall. But the simple fact of the matter is that bump day featured 4 drivers fighting for the final spot in the one this year or in future years will be allowed to just show up anymore.

12. Hillary Clinton and Cindy McCain make appearances.
It doesn't matter what your political views are; as an IndyCar fan you've got to be excited that prominent politicos are going to IndyCar races to be seen. No matter what you think about Dancing with the Stars, the fact is two very popular women who were on a show watched by 18 million then went to sing the anthem and wave the flag at the Indy 500.

11. Attendance and TV viewership is up across the board.
Pessimists would like to tell you that the numbers aren't amazing or they aren't 1992 numbers, but thats not what is important. Attendance and viewership was up across the board this year, and gradual increases are still increases; be a pessimist when the numbers are down across the board. Products don't get big by envying others, they do it by building on what they have.

10. With Car counts massivly up, Dallara is spent for parts.
Obviously in the forefront this is bad for teams, but the notion of it existing is great. Last week there were 8 cars out of the race and we still had 20 on the track. Its not only good for fan viewing, but this kind of car count plays to another aspect of fan viewership. The ability for teams to try out strategies. For the last few years its been heavy on the follow the leader strategy but in just the second week this year at mid race we got treated to a Top 5 completely void of the 'Big Three'. E.J. Viso, Enrique Bernoldi, Vitor Meira, Darren Manning & Jay Howard stood their ground at mid-race in St. Pete as no fluke, these guys were there for a good 15-20 laps until a caution and shortened race-time boggled up strategy again.

9. The Series can afford to ask Marty Roth to step aside for 2009.
As it has been rumored in the past few days, Marty Roth has been asked by the league to step out of the cockpit and he should have been, he was simply detrimental on road courses, and while he qualified well on ovals his race manner has been nothing short of always dropping like a rock. Marty aside, the fact that the IRL has such a good talent pool now and can afford to ask Marty to step out is a great thing. Dario was so intrigued that he's returning and there are news/rumors that Anthony Davidson & Sebastien Bordais are interested. Obviously the series is doing something right when drivers are interested in racing in it... The Free agent pool has never been better; and John Andretti, in turning the Roth machines into Top 5 running material, proved it more than ever before that the drivers matter just as much as the cars, on ovals too.

8. Iowa got rubbered in!
Pay no attention to the name on the wall and look at that picture. Imagine I showed that to you a year ago and told you that Iowa would have multiple passes and multiple moments of three-wide racing. You'd never have believed me, but I sure think we've got a new race to highly anticipate watching each year. Now if we could just get some of the road courses to be widened we honestly wouldn't have a guaranteed bad spot on the schedule.

7. Brian Barnhart called blocking!?
Not since Dixon in 2006 can I actually remember blocking being called and we got it twice at Detroit. Not only called but called in regards to a leader. Whether or not you want people to give up positions or a black flag, having blocking called is great for the league and SHOULD have been done 4 different time at Nashville when Helio kept chopping Danica. Now that we finally got to see BB have the balls to call it, lets see if he can make it consistent enough that drivers actually stop blocking.

6. Danica got her first win.
A fan of hers or not, unless you are stupid enough to think you can dispute how she won; the fact is she won, and this couldn't be better for the league. No longer can Danica (who finished 6th in the championship btw) be called a PR stunt by the league. She can now be called an IndyCar Series winner. Now we can just hope at least one of two things happen next season, she wins again and/or contends for the season title.

5. Coca-Cola, DirecTV, Frank's, IZOD, Subway, Natonal Guard, Nintendo, LucasFilms, William Rast, Menards, etc. all try out sponsorship.
Some will stay, some won't, some may upgrade, we may have a title-sponsor on our hands, who knows? The fact is you defnitely havn't seen this kind of sponsor-openness in at least 7-8 years. It not only bodes well for the series and teams financially, but it shows that sponsors, 1 of the 3 most important pieces of a racing for financial and PR reasons, are looking at IndyCars as a very viable option to try out.

4. The IRL is being forced to pick tracks for the IndyCar Series.
Toronto and Edmonton have been added this year instead of trying random experiments like Detroit (which really needs to go). Sure they turned down Cleveland, Las Vegas and New Hampshire; all races fans really want to see, but it shows major health in the series to have that option. How it affects KV Racing aside, seeing the IRL stand its ground with Surfer's Paradise is monumental. In the past 7-8 years we really hadn't seen either the IRL or CART/Champ stand their ground and do what was best for the series in any decision that may have adversly affected a specific shareholder or team. Losing Aussie Vineyards would surely be unfortunate, but holding Surfer's at the end of October is just foolish for schedule cohesion as well as monetarily, especially after we watched scheduling that killed ChampCar each year they took 3-5 week breaks between races.

The only quick fix I think the schedule needs is to make sure the first 2 weeks of racing feature the most important aspect of IndyCar Racing: diversity. We need to start with a Road Course and an Oval in consecutive weeks, those two weeks need to serve as an introduction to the Series' season.

3. IZOD on board AND activating!
Nothing else really needs to be said here, just go read that post... Fans and non-fans (the 2nd part of the 3 most important parts to a racing series) get much needed fashionable apparel and IZOD is activating like no other sponsor has in recent history.

2. Versus plans to give IndyCar and its fans the much needed exposure.
A lot of pepole will gripe about the Versus avilability issue, which I completely understand and is viable, but Versus needed to happen; and happening as a split with ABC/ESPN starting next year is actually the best option, I think. We hear Versus is giving us qualifying, pre-race, post-race, mid-week, and race replays that most likely won't be at the unviewable 7am Monday morning slot on ESPN Classic.

With getting the information and more of it that fans want, ESPN/ABC will inevitably finally be forced to care about their race coverage for their 5 races. The LAST thing ESPN is going to allow, is for Versus to outdo their coverage of anything so publicly, because at the heart of all this remember that Versus is ESPN's competition. Just look at their NASCAR coverage vs. TNT or Fox's. Whether its better or worse in your opinion, its still relatively on par.

1. Some Parity at Last!
(The 3rd piece of the 3 most important parts to a race series):
The best thing we saw this season, There were 10 different winners this year!

That's 10 different driver-specific fan bases that got to see their driver win this season. And for us who just like the racing we'll never complain about parity. But breaking in for a win is one thing for some complainers as they call them flukes but this is even more telling:

22 different drivers garnerd Top 5 finishes. Subtract the "Big Three's" eight and that would be 14 non-"Big Three" drivers that got their way into contention and most did so on multiple occasions. Thats what is importan to fans and viewers, unpredictability, and the hope that your driver can win at any given race. Parity is the biggest key to any racing series and right now IndyCar has it and is building further upon it.

I don't know about you, but as an IndyCar Series fan, I'm happy, anxious and excited!

All photo's from except the one of Ryan Hunter-Reay from IZOD.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now THIS is Activation!

THIS IS EXACTLY what the IndyCar Series needs! This is why they very much need Subway to be the new title sponsor:

"Expect to see IndyCar Series displays and maybe even a driver or two next year in some of the nation’s leading department stores, like Macy’s, thanks to Izod’s new line of IndyCar-branded apparel.

Izod unveiled a new line of vintage jeans and shirts with IndyCar prints last week at the Magic Marketplace in Las Vegas, which is regarded as the leading trade show in the fashion industry."


"Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will be prominent in Izod’s commercials, which were shot Aug. 23-24 at Infineon Raceway, and will run on broadcast and in cinema. Izod also will use IndyCar Series displays in stores to accent its new line of IndyCar-branded wear for men and women."

I'll be honest I owned maybe 1 or 2 items from IZOD already, but this:

"IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway released its nearly 100-year-old archive of images to Izod for use on its clothing. Those images, including the iconic winged wheel, became prints on the apparel." not only the kind of notice and activation the series really needs; but also triply as important, the quality and tasteful apparel the fans so desperately want (instead of the tacky NASCAR/WWE-ish stuff we've got right now).

First Photo by : Troy Plota/IZOD
Second Photo from

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Panther Racing taking after Chinese Government?

Anyone else notice that Panther's Q&A section is now suddenly missing the recent questions where they said they were in the process of re-signing Vitor for 2009 and working on a 2nd car to go along with him?

I guess next we're going to find out that Dan Wheldon's passports and birth certificates do not match the age he put on his Indy Lights entry forms.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Championship Weekend... shoot, Silly Season is upon us!

Again I apologize for the lack of posting; we are still in the process of moving as we are currently guest bedroom hopping as we wait to close on our new home... but lets get right into this:

Sure, we still have a championship to settle coming into this last race but Dario is Back, Wheldon is returning to his roots and stealing Vitor's ride in the process... who was told of all this via an e-mail and Franck Perera is getting his second chance at the big leagues... with A.J. Foyt!?

Silly Season is truly upon us and if you are an IndyCar fan of any kind you've got to be excited. A year ago we had just lost one of the best tracks on the schedule, and were losing our two most recent champions and sponsors and car counts were going by the wayside...

fast forward a year: we're unified with turbos and most likely multiple engine manufacturers coming back in the future, and car counts are very much up to the extent that two races already this year had to remark pit sizes to accomodate the cars, the series is finally getting a TV partner who wants them, and in a position to actually turn down tracks as their are more suitors than there are open slots.

The only thing for me that can complete this picture really only comes down to one final wish for next season...

- Vitor gets hired on somewhere, (hopefully RLR where he once did very well garnering 2 of his three most popular finishes, one a top 5 closest ever finish, the other finishing 2nd at Indy)

- The reason for this wish is simply domino effect... Vitor lost his ride at Rahal Letterman Racing due to lack of carrying sponsorship, and in fact is losing his ride at Panther for the same reason. If Vitor were able to get on at a team for 2009 we would truly see the most important aspect this league needs: teams hiring talent over ride-buyers.

See the full wish list goes like this:

- Vitor gets on at RLR, HVM, Conquest, Coyne, LDR, SFR, Forsythe or Panther etc. Vitor is a good fit anywhere he goes.

- That if he ends up still in the league, wherever Vitor ends up he does better than Wheldon for the year. I don't dislike Panther for letting him go, thats a racing deal, happens all the time, I do however wish they had the balls to talk to Vitor rather than to send him an e-mail.

- Sarah Fisher Racing, Luzco Dragon Racing, Forsythe, Fernandez are all able to put together full time 2009 rides; and HVM, RLR and Foyt are able to put together the 2nd car that they want.

- Hopefully Sarah Fisher whose ambitions really only tie to ovals, would make the car full time and get someone in the car for the road courses and eventually turn the car over to him/her when she decides to start the family with Andy.

- The series lands its title sponsor, but more hopefully, it lands Subway; because of the three potential sponsors we've heard out there Subway really has by far the best activation possibilities.

and the last two most importantly:

- D&R does well enough with sponsors that they are finally able to put Townsend Bell/Alex Barron anyone else but Milka in the second car like we all know they really want to.

- Enough teams and rides are put together that Marty Roth will have no choice but to put John Andretti or Jay Howard or anyone else in his car simply to get the car(s) qualified. I believe this scenairo would work out tremendously for Roth Racing and turn them into something very promising. You see this would allow Roth to bow out looking like he made the decision to go and not having been forced out by the league. I think Roth would truly then see the joy in ownership and take his team to the level we all know it can be at.

Plus then Roth can enter himself in an additional 3rd car for the Indy 500 which we all know is his big dream and he'd be able to still do that without comprimising his teams season and he imself would have a better shot at making the field with a season's worth of great information from real full time drivers.

Thats all... none of it really unrealistic in any shot... but we'll just have to wait and see...

Monday, August 25, 2008

If you didn't like IndyCar's move to Versus before...

You most surely do after yesterday's "coverage" during which we learned the following:

-a pre-taped episode of E:60 (a profile of Reggie Love) then afternoon Sportscenter & Baseball Tonight are way more important than coverage of a live event. I can understand being moved for the overtime in the LPGA event, but why take us to Classic when ESPN had nothing on to begin with?

-I travel a lot and can see the beauty in a lot of things but I think its a bit much of a stretch to constantly call that dry, brown dirt-barren part of California picturesque

- Stay tuned next week, they have NASCAR races!

-the 11 time gold glove shortstop playing for the Giants right now who hung out with E.J. Viso this week is Omar Vezquez?... surely not Omar Vizquel... I mean the dudes only got 7 gold gloves and is possibly one of the best defensive shortstops in the games history, its not like anyone will know if we mess his name up.

- Oh yeah in case we forgot, don't miss the NASCAR races

-For watching Nashville get the axe and Homestead being put on its last chance, Sonoma sure looked like it had upwards of 500 fans... of which maybe 100 were left by the time Helio won and went up into the stands to celebrate with them... which is my new favorite celebration of all time.

-I wonder if NASCAR commentators compare all the things that happen in their races to IndyCar... you know mentioning Indy's tracks layouts, similar racing incidents... oh yeah don't forget there are NASCAR races next week! (Seriously, I gave him as much shot as I could, but Marty Reid needs to go, I really hope he's not around for the 5 races ABC/ESPN gets next season)

- Can someone who DVR'd the race do me a favor, get a stop watch and add up these 2 times, commercials/side-by-side, and then live coverage, because I'm pretty sure we got a lot more commercials than any race coverage yesterday. MY FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE RACE: With 6 laps to go we come back from commercial and I swear to you all we got was 10-20 seconds so Marty Reid could say "Helio is still in the lead and is trying to win the race, we'll be back after this"

-NASCAR has a race next week!!!!!!!

and my personal favorite two moments of the race....

1) There's nothing better than watching Brienne Pedigo be put on the spot when she clearly was not ready
so she could tell us someone was and this is a rough quote "yes he's coming in for fuel and tires, and now he's in, they are fueling and changing tires, and he's away"

2) In case you didn't know Helio is from Portugal, and the Portuguese flag is green with a yellow diamond and blue circle.. a lot like the Brazilian flag...

Friday, August 8, 2008

so the world turns without you...

Sorry about the lack of updates during what is seemingly one of the businest new periods of the season for IndyCar and of course Brett Farve-gate in the NFL...but to make a long story short. We were scheduled to close on the sale of our house Tuesday and be moved to Virginia by yesterday...

In short, the closing has been moved time and again and I've spent the last 4 days in an empty house with no internet, video games, books, and have now finally gotten myself over to the local coffeeshop only to find the TK news storm and the end of the Versus deal details flooding my inbox and news feeds... Since it's a little late to really put in a new update I'll just say this...

1) I wonder how many people will stop either talking to Robin Miller, OR how many stories Miller may stop reporting as people continuously get spooked when he does his job and reports news. I honestly believe Miller reported the truth, and AGR saw the leak and offered the farm to TK to keep him, and also that possible TK used Miller and Ganassi to get that done. AGR saying they wanted to finish up the deal to stop rumors doesn't make sense, if TK was never leaving then AGR has no reason to panic at rumors... I honestly think Ganassi has TK locked in his miond and got scrwwed by TK's tactics or TK getting spooked.

2) I LIKE the Versus deal. Yes I realize Versus doesn't have the immediate recognition ESPN has but, neither did NASCAR and Fox at one point. NASCAR didn't become what it is by only shooting for ESPN and ABC, they went with networks that worked with them and built their product to what it is, and the same goes for just about any other product. This isn't SpikeTV, this is a network run by Comcast, someone with a huge play in this market and someone who has the NHL and a two major (Pac-10/MWC) college football conferences. Clearly the writing is on the wall here, Versus is trying to take a real shot at the sports world and growing itself. They are putting a full effort into IndyCar and that is something we surely have not seen from ABC/ESPN in at least possibly 10 years.

Lastly... I call upon all fans and bloggers out there to make a change. Refer to the sport you love as IndyCars. We are no split anymore and there is no reason to refer to the sport as open-wheel racing just as you don't refer to NASCAR as stock car racing. Not only does it get more recognition immediately but it makes more sense as we've called the cars IndyCars since the sweepstakes became known as the Indy 500.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Indy Quote of the Week

Robin Miller on Marty Roth this past weekend:

"For the record, he was almost eight seconds off the pace most of the weekend and his qualifying speed would have put him 13th in the ATLANTIC field."

Thoughts about the 2009 Schedule

So IndyCar confirmed what we heard from USAToday last night, so now we can delve into this thing:

--The Most Important Thing I think a lot of people may be missing is that the 2009 Schedule, is NOT a bad schedule. We did not lose in the number of races; it maintains a good diversity in tracks and locations AND it was announced with plenty time to spare for teams & the series to go to sponsors and to plan for. After losing so many tracks and waiting so loooong for the announcements in the past thats a great change of pace.

--However, this schedule has left too much to question, and too many puzzling thought processes, especially when all year fans and sponsors and tracks were continually told that 2009 was a clean sheet of paper and it clearly was not, as its the 2008 schedule with 3-4 changes in dates.

--The most puzzling of them all is IndyCar's timid nature in leaving Las Vegas off for fear of not filling the stands (which surely hasn't stopped them from racing at, well name almost any track on the schedule right now). I think they needed to realize that there is nothing embarrassing about 60,000K watching the race in Vegas, the average fan will never catch a thing like the empty stands if they keep us into the action on the track. Even worse here was that they actually asked about racing on a road circuit that, according to friends I've talked to, is barely suitable for sports cars let alone IndyCars.

--Don't mistake this schedule for a 10 Oval/8 Road Course, its 10/9, they just haven't told you yet. While its good to see the IRL is standing its ground on things, it does mean that Surfer's Paradise will have to come to its senses and choose one of the dates the IRL gave them within their schedule (most likely the weekend after Motegi).

--Homestead to take finale, really? While I personally love the layout of that track so I'm glad it is staying, this decision doesn't make sense for a number of reasons.

1) Racing in Florida during Hurricane Season!? Yes obviously its no sure thing, but why risk it? I grew up in New Orleans and I can tell you all it took was one Hurricane Georges forced cancellation of the local music festival and they learned that lesson and no longer schedule the festival near there.

2) One of the best night tracks on the schedule and we move the race to daytime? I mean this is only aesthetic, but what sounds better to you. Sunday Afternoon in Miami, or Saturday Night in Miami?

3) Why are we still using the finale to compete with Sunday afternoon football? I mean I know we'll be competing in some facet but why not choose say 5 or 6pm on Sunday right when the NFL games are off, or even better, lets go Saturday afternoon as we all know early College football is not the time when it draws as everyone is playing their layup games.

4) Two weeks off before the finale? Obviously I expect Surfer's to turn that into one week off, but should it stay, they've learned nothing from watching Champ Car string out the end of their seasons, but this also brings up some puzzles in the schedule:

--We get just 1 oval before Indy? Talk about a lack of build-up; We get 6 ovals in a row? which of course then forces 3 Road courses in a row... It just seems for a series based on diversity it could have been done a little better.

--Why are Iowa and Richmond still right behind each other? Isn't the point of diversity to spread out that parity, give us something new and exciting each week, don't bunch up all the similar contests.

--Why are we waiting till April? We're going to have 7 months off this year, but even worse we've added to the end of schedule moving into football instead of moving ahead to compete with... nothing that is happening in March aside from March Madness. This means we'll get the 24 Hours of Daytona and then have to sit on our asses 2 more months until we see our drivers again.

--Lastly, Any word on Turks and Caicos pre-season?

So while I could nitpick the schedule if I dig far enough, I'll say that I'm happy that the schedule didn't digress from the previous season, but I just think they could have done so much more and that is where they are leaving a lot of fans down.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From Florida to.. "are you kidding?"

Look for updates below

We'll have to wait for the entire schedule announcement for tomorrow, but for now both Curt Cavin at IndyStar and Brant James at the St. Petersburg Times have confirmed that the IndyCar Series will be opening its 2009 season with the St. Petersburg Grand Prix next year on April the 5th.

Cavin also goes on to include that Homestead-Miami is in fact staying but moving from the first race to last. I for one can tell you that (recent attendance aside) I'm extremely happy that Homestead-Miami seems to be staying on the schedule as it is a great track for racing and one that we could certainly use more similar of, (not following the Daytona D shape cookie cut).

However at this same time I'm not sure what this means for Vegas and Loudon being added or Barber and Cleveland for that matter; all races many would like to see added.

We'll have to wait a little over 17 hours for the rest of the schedule, but I can definitely tell you that, in my opinion, waiting until April 5th to start the series is a mistake. As we surely learned this year, fans are begging for a good race once the 24 Hours of Daytona happens and then we're left to sit and twiddle our thumbs when there is great weather to be had at Barber Motorsports Park, Homestead, Mexico City & Vegas. And as learned in the past the IRL seemed to want to avoid football season, and working itself further up into March was the way to do that.

UPDATE: Well not only does it look like Vegas and New Hampshire are no-gos, but it looks like the IRL decided to leave SMI at the altar while they were at it; asking SMI to go an extra mile, and when SMI does, the IRL backed out...?

According to this anyway, specifically New Hampshire's Jerry Gappens says it best:

"I sat in a meeting and watched Bruton Smith ask them for a race here, which they seemed extremely interested in doing, pending scheduling conflicts with Japan. In addition, in that same meeting, they asked him to host the series finale in Las Vegas, which he agreed to and even offered the speedway and financial support to do it this year. Having attended that meeting in early June, it's hard to believe that neither is on the new schedule."

How can it go from possibly one of the best looking scenarios with many tracks begging for a spot, to as ESPN reports one of the worst thought processes possible in this situation "The IRL wanted to use the 1.3-mile road course outside of Turn 1 in the LVMS parking lot instead of the 1.5-mile oval that seats 150,000 spectators."

For a series that is dominated by the Indy 500, an oval track, I honestly can't believe they were looking to begin AND end the series both on road courses, either or is fine but both? One has to hope this was just the IRL's odd way of saying no without saying no to the oval...

And this has nothing to do with an Oval Course bias, it has to do with turning your back on not only one of possibly the most valuable potential long-time partners for the IRL, but someone who was so committed, that they actually offered to pony up the funds and track to get Las Vegas onto the 2008 schedule if needed...

ANOTHER UPDATE: It now sounds as if we're getting the same 2008 schedule for 2009 minus Nashville, plus Toronto and swap around some dates... but I'll reserve comment once the IRL confirms what it looks like USA Today has already told us.

more on this after the full IndyCar announcement tomorrow...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Is it really this bad?

I'll have the post race notes up in a bit but have in the meantime come up on something more important. This article from the Sports Business Journal is, as an IndyCar fan, one of the scariest reports I have seen in a long time.

If this situation: no one wants to broadcast more than the Indy 500, is the actual situation the Series is in right now, then I'd think the best course of action is to secure the title sponsor and force ESPN to the next year that is in place and hope that things continue to go up into next season and re-look at the situation then...

In all honesty, I can understand ESPN's point of view in not wanting to shell out $10 million for it; you can see by the multitudes of commercials being shoved in the broadcasts that IndyCar isn't likely bringing in the big bucks to ESPN, only smaller racing associated ones...

However, I don't think you will convince ANY fan ANYWHERE, that going to another network for 6 races is better than revenue sharing all races with ESPN/ABC; that is assuming ABC/ESPN is talking about all races on that plan. Here's hoping that the times are better than they are looking in that report.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Can IndyCar get publicity for the racing?

Firstly, so sorry I haven't posted in forever; as I said earlier we went on an 11-day roadtrip to go house-hunting only to have our buyers on our house fall off and then get it set again and in there we had the chance to attend the torrential downpoured Nashville 200. Since its two weeks out I'll say only three quick things from Nashville:

1) Its a beautiful track and area, but we didn't see a single smidgen of promotion and the racing was great like a soccer match: only for those who know how to appreciate it, my nephews I can say loved it still though. 2) Brian Barnhart needs to go big time, Danica really should have been in the lead for the first half of the race but Barnhart allowed Helio to take almost 4 or 5 separate very dangerous swipe-blocks at Danica, if I were her I'd have just run into him by the 5th time. 3) This is my second time seeing them live and I can say for certain that the Indy Lights cars are the most obscenely obnoxious loud cars I've heard that wasn't on a drag strip. MY nephews actually asked us to leave the track they were so lound, and we all had heavy duty earplugs in, if the Atlantics, and Indy Car Series can be low enough we don't need earplugs, there is no reason we should go deaf with earplugs for the Lights Series.

now on to Mid-Ohio:
A VERY entertaining race though a crazy kind, but I love nothing more than parity and unexpectedness and we got that for the first 95% of the race. Unfortunately too many yellow's and much good strategy by the Penske Team gave us our much boring 5+ second victory gap for Ryan Briscoe and his team who should be much commended for turning such a decision-gaffe early on into a win.

On another note, I wonder what the record for most laps led without a win are and if Vitor Meira is approaching that mark...?

And now of course for the publicized incident. Theres nothing more to see than that video and the Briscoe incident to tell you Danica is not cool under pressure and cannot contain her wild emotions as right as she may have been in this situation...

to the same token D&R desperately needs to find a sponsor to get Townsend Bell in that car full time, Milka is nothing but dangerous out there, and its especially noticeable now that shes trying out the road courses, where she was supposed to have her experience... in all I can't really say it any better than Kurt Van Der Dussen at Auto Racing

"Duno may have four master’s degrees, but if driver skill in an Indy car were equated to educational level, she’s nowhere close. In a sport where legends A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears and Al Unser Sr. would be the Ph.D.s, the current crop of Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan would have master’s degrees, Danica would be among those with a bachelor’s degree, and Milka would he a high school graduate who just couldn’t cut it in college.

With all the symbolic implications that add weight to this particular incident, the one that at the level of racing as sport and competition should not be lost as the ultimate bottom line is that Milka Duno just does not belong in an Indy car."

Can anyone really say it any better than that?

Monday, June 30, 2008


Whichever way you see it as I previously stated I was away from society during the Richmond race, however from all the reviews, recaps, articles and comments I've seen so far seems like that may have been a good thing.

So while I've been caught up by's recap video and all the news stories I could read I don't think it's really enough to make a full set of notes but is plenty however enough to reiterate the big need for the IRL to fix its start/restart procedures; as now the drivers are openly criticizing Brian Barnhart, and the lack of calls made, publicly and even on the live telecast now and it can only escalate from here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

IndyCar to Return to New Hampshire AND Vegas!?

Few people believed Smith at the time. Many still don't. But sources at SMI close to the situation say a move isn't likely for next year. In fact, New Hampshire may gain a race instead of losing one.

The track is part of a five-facility deal SMI is offering the IRL to stage IndyCar Series events next season. The other tracks involved are Texas, Kentucky, the Infineon road course (all of which have IndyCar events now) and Las Vegas. New Hampshire and Vegas have staged IRL events in the past.

link ESPN

I say

Monday, June 23, 2008

Want to wave the green flag?

And just after I said I may lack mid-week news.. here's some mid-week awesome news.

Have you ever wanted to wave the green flag atop the starter's stand for an IndyCar Race, well Firestone is Auctioning off the chance to wave the green for the Nashville 200 on E-bay with the entire proceeds to go to its local United Way chapter in one of the coolest ideas ever.

FYI: hopefully I'll remember to take pictures

I know I've been missing a lot of mid-week news recently but not without cause as you see Mrs. Wedge & I are being transfered to the D.C./Virginia area.

I'll make every effort to keep getting all the post-race notes done for sure but may be lacking in mid-week updates as my schedule for the next 6 weeks contains:

-fly to Idaho visit family; likely miss Richmond race then proclaimed as the best race ever; fly back, 4 days later leave B.R. in car to D.C./Va - tour for 4 days hopefully find a new home... no pressure there. Leave for Nashville, spend weekend at Nashville IRL weekend; drive back to B.R. family in town for grandparents 65th Anniv., likely watch Mid-Ohio delayed... then a farewell barbeque with Edmonton on TV; pack up life into a PODS container, get in cars and move to Northern Virginia...

It leaves roughly 11-12 'free' days in the next 6 If I miss some blogs or two, hopefully you could be so kind as to let it slide...

I'll make it up to you with full reports and pictures from Nashville!

Notes from a great race-day in Iowa

Though its not a race-action related note I did want to applaud the Indy Racing League and Iowa Speedway for continuing to put on the two races this weekend instead of listening to the countless antagonists who aren’t from Iowa that want to tell Iowans what they should feel and not do.

This comes from a person with very direct experience being from New Orleans (though now Baton Rouge) and our recent tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. I can say from personal experience that after a year of helping my parents gut their own house and sort through everything destroyed and starting new when they were so close to retirement that the re-opening of the Superdome on that Monday Night Saints’ game was a very much welcomed event in the city of New Orleans and especially the citizens of the gulf coast even if not everyone out of the area understood how welcome it was to this area.

I applaud the IRL and Iowa Speedway and the sellout crowd with 4a.m. tailgaters was just proof that it was the right thing to do; not to mention the ability to bring attention and help to what has happened and help raise money and help for the ravaged areas.

-As to the weekend of racing.. I’ll just say you WILL NOT find a sadder person after this weekend in the race world than Arie Luyendyk Jr., screwed by some hard lapped traffic in James Davison, the man outright dominated the Indy Lights race and while yes traffic is part of the race, the block-parties thrown to Luyendyk were especially harsh.

-On the other hand it looks as if Panther Racing has found its now 5th or 6th next big thing in Dillon Battistini who I personally look immensely forward to seeing in the IndyCar Series hopefully soon.

Now for some kudos, props and critique notes.

-HUGE PROPS to ABC/ESPN for having a 30 minute pre-race show that gave us some great interviews news and information; and I among probably everyone else watching hope continues…

-Kudos to the IRL for finding someone that made a lot of sense to call the start of engines. I’m still baffled at Chip Ganassi at Texas but having someone from Iowa’s Corn Growers was perfect and his call was great.

-Racewise, firstly kudos to racing competition. What a great moment around lap 170 or so we were literally looking at a top 5 of drivers who had yet to win this year.

-A call to all the non-big three teams to practice pit stops until you have those things iced down because its doing a disservice to the great driving, and also great engineering being done by at this point Vision, Roth, Rahal/Letterman racing and if N-H-L, KV or Panther can just put together a complete race those guys are easy top 5s.

-Major kudos to the field for not having a single on-track incident.

-Someone needs to remind the IRL that the cars do not need to be up to speed by the 4th corner on a restart, in fact they shouldn’t hit the gas till just before the line, that’s the general idea on going green on that lap, not the half lap before bring back the pace car for that final yellow lap obviously the drivers can’t handle the responsibility.

-Major kudos to TV-production for starting a field run through an “up to speed” segment but major non-kudos for stopping half-way through it and actually drowning out whoever was talking about John Andretti. And though she sounded fine talking non-kudos to the headset, production or Brienne herself for never catching her cues.

-WTF happened with Darren Manning, we are told he “fell out of the seat” and then also that it was a steering rack issue, the same that later took out Buddy Rice.

-A note not many noticed but major kudos to Hideki Mutoh holder of now the highest finish for a Japanese driver and surely only a sign of things to come; and for those who don’t know give that man a HUGE applause for being able to handle interviews so well, many may not realize but Hideki just started learning English barely 2 years ago.

-Can it be any more apparent that John Andretti needs to stay if at least at Roth Racing but most surely back in the IndyCar Series; and at the same time that Marty really needs to put Jay Howard in his car and only run himself in the 500 in a 3rd car.

-Whatever the opposite of kudos is to the IRL for FOUR 6+ lap cautions for non-damage/non-debris cautions.

-Lastly I’d pose this to everyone out there…is Iowa easily replacing or a very close 2nd to Texas as the most dangerous race on the circuit? Easily the highest constant G forces of the season today something more than Texas can say; Iowa is taking a serious toll on the cars themselves. Vitor lost 3 suspensions last year and Dixon had a steering rack issue then Carpenter, Roth, Bruno, Marco and possibly Kanaan all had parts break on the cars simply due to high stress on them…Do we have a new hardest track on the circuit?

And as a p.s. here is a nudge to Rahal Letterman Racing or Luczo Dragon Racing to make a courtesy call to Casey and/or Uncle Rick to find out how they can get Casey Mears, who looks like he is soon to be out of a job in NASCAR, back where he belongs in IndyCar racing…

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The everlong search for a scapegoat

I thought society was crazy when people were leaving get well cards for Barbaro, but it has actually managed to be even crazier now. We're getting massively flooded with stories and analysis of people wondering "what was wrong" with Big Brown that he suddenly wasn't the same horse or didn't give his all to win the Belmont Stakes and I just can't believe that none of these people care to admit to the fact that:


But lets fire the jockey because he didn't whip the horse enough and lets try and find so many reason's why Big Brown lost because there's no way in hell a horse can make a decision to just not run faster because it didn't feel like it...

(and to add to lost faith in mankind, you'll never guess what google turned back to me when I image searched 'Big Brown')

Monday, June 9, 2008

Notes from the Lone-Star Weekend

Firstly, I apologize for never getting notes from Milwakee, by the time I finally caught the replay of the race on classic it felt a little too late to do the notes I'll make it up with some extensive notes for Texas...

WOW, what a bi-polar weekend of racing we had from the IndyCar Series. This weekend was so far away from the middle, we either had some of the closest racing of the year or 30 laps of yellow for a piece of debris… good to even great announcing from Goodyear and Marty only to be partnered with some of the worst producing/editing possible, some great calls from race control actually penalizing speeding in the pits and also letting everyone race it out, and then some of the worst with two phantom yellows as well as 10 lap yellows when there were no debris on the course just someone spinning…. small teams making moves up high or those same teams suddenly having the hands of fate knock them to the back of the field, one of the best finishes in the making only to end under 6 laps of yellow. So without further procrastination and buildup, here are your notes from the weekend:

-Quick note: How many celebrities do you think live and were in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? Why.. seriously... why was Chip Ganassi calling the start of engines at Texas? Shit Robbie Knievel was right there and would have been perfect.

-The two most obvious good note from the weekend were close racing and close racing from outside the big three. It was great to see Ryan Hunter-Reay up there duking it out but to also see Vitor work his way up and to lead for as long as he did to only get screwed by an overly aggressive Enrique Bernoldi.

-For those who missed it Bernoldi got caught within the leaders and was trying to race with them when he lost it bringing out the second to last yellow. It stinks for Bernoldi who was having a good night but man talk about Murphy’s Law for Vitor Meira. Vitor had broken out a 4 second lead over Scott Dixon and Marco Andretti when he went in for his final pit, band yes while he may have lost seconds in neutral Vitor had a full tank and could run full rich while EVERYONE else was conserving and in fact Dixon was the only one remotely close to trying to finish on fumes. Had the race gone green to the end I truly believe Vitor would have gotten his first win.

-Now a bad note for the guys in the cars… someone needs to take the 28 drivers and sit them down on this off week and have a weeklong seminar on how to do a restart. The restarts were embarrassing as I’ve ever seen this weekend and at least give props to race control for calling these guys on it, however a huge thumbs down to race control for continuing to perpetuate the stupidest idea ever in having the pace car leave 1 lap before green. There is absolutely no reason the pace car shouldn’t be leading the field and pulling off at the pit entrance.

-And while we’re on the subject of stupid rules and poor calls by race control I honestly can’t say it any better than pressdog:

“Good thing these flag people weren't running the show when Danny Sullivan pulled his Spin and Win at Indy. Never would have happened. ‘Wait, someone was loose in turn three, better have a 12-lap yellow!’ And yet, when Viso clearly brushes the wall at Milwaukee, a noticeable hit that I saw personally and slowed him considerably, no yellow.” "Mario (I strongly believe Moraes) goes gets into Scheckter, goes around, saves it. OK, you throw the yellow for sure, of course, but why not go back to green in, say, TWO laps if there is nothing to clean up instead of six? Anyone? Bueller? A seven-lap yellow for no apparent reason just so everyone can pit under yellow is ridiculous. Better to give the fans more green-flag racing than make sure all the teams have time for yellow stops, OK? Who pays the bills around here? Ultimately it's the fans through ticket buys and buying sponsor products. “

Well said pressdog, I don’t think you will find a soul who disagrees…

-And while we’re into bad notes lets continue with what was the most disparaging thing from the race. Has ESPN/IMS Productions forgotten how to produce a race? I have been so ready starting with last week and then following up this week ready to commend Goodyear, Marty, Brienne, Arute, and Welch on some really great commentary and heck some things we not only have never heard before but have really added to the broadcasts, especially how they are now talking about all the cars in the race that are putting on any kind of good show. Seriously we’ve gotten EJ Viso updates 2 races in a row, if they start throing in the sponsors of the cars when they mention them it’ll go to, my wife and I also liked the notes about Goodyear's wife and how the wives are much more than spectators... A+

-However on the completely opposite side of it ESPN had the benefit of tape delaying the race yet I’m almost certain we watched more yellow laps than green, never had a single field run-though in all that yellow, and on top of it never should tape delay in the first place but if you do, how in the world do you put the live audio on by accident for more than a few minutes? How do you show driver interviews and go to commercial every time we go to green, and most importantly when you are on tape delay HOW DO YOU MISS IMPORTANT ACTION OVER A COMMERCIAL?

I’ve been hard on ESPN a lot but the booth has really picked up the their end and gone into a really good place while the production has gotten horrible, Chris Estrada really puts the whole thing into perspective:

Small note: Does anyone ever notice how ego driven-hypocritical Danica can be. A week before Indy she says she’s above getting angry and then storms down pit lane then complains about Brisoce in pit lane and then does the same thing to Vitor at Texas only to have Vitor be quick enough to dodge her, and then she’s throwing serious block parties throughout the race and you know if she were on the other end of that we’d be hearing about it…

- I’m fine with fuel knob setting because fuel games make a race intriguing, however maybe there should only be 3 settings instead of 6-7…

-and Finally, I used to say there isn’t a racer in the series I really root against but Marco Andretti is making it very easy to do it right now. The most apparently thing right now is that Marco NEEDS to race for another team to gain some humility because he sure doesn’t have any. He started this season so humble and saying all the right things and now he just seems like a spoiled ego. Think whatever you want about the RHR-Marco incident, its more a racing incident, maybe RHR didn’t need to go to the line but Marco also didn’t need to pinch after establishing that he was running high for the first 98% of the race especially when the incident with RHR was identical to Dixon’s pass only with Marco causing a unnecessary pinch/block. No matter what this quote should never leave any drivers mouth after what was so easily a racing incident.

“there's some guys you can race close with, and some you can't"

(you'll notice in the picture to our left that Dan Wheldon sure made it work)

Especially coming from a guy who had just caused wrecks two weeks/races prior. Ryan Hunter-Reay has won more races than Marco and didn’t need team tactics to win them, he hasn’t caused a single driver to complain up until this point and raced perfectly fine the first 98% of the race so how was he suddenly this horrible driver to be around is puzzling, basically every person on the planet will see this as a racing incident at the end of the day and even more costly as is looked like RHR had the speed to pass Dixon as well…

That quote may be one of the stupidest things to ever leave Marco’s mouth, at least for the manner of a serious case of pot calling the kettle black, he needs to start turning this season around, and quickly.


And now for one note outside of the race itself. Someone needs to explain to Robin Miller that no one cares who gets the news to them first if its only accurate some of the time. People just want news thats reliable. Yet he continues to be bitter in his articles towards other journalists, drivers, and the series and is possibly the most bi-polar writer you will see; one week we need Americans, the next we need diversity, then we need good ovals, then we need road courses... dude seriously just hang it up and become just a fan at this point and let the real reporters do the reporting.

Homestead and Nashville may be gone next year but you sure don't cite a single source for that claim, and even if it happens, wow you guessed right, I'm sure thats what readers are looking for, someone who guesses correctly on occasion; then on to you opinion being put off as a representation of the in the hell is a 13 road course 6 oval course schedule even close to what the fans want, especially when Track forum just polled its fans and barely 93% of the people polled want the series at least 50/50 and 73% want the majority to be ovals... try citing a source or statistic sometime...