Miss the Indy 500 over the weekend? Did you record it? If you did you should immediately stop reading this post! Go to another one, or better yet go watch your recording so I don’t have to keep worrying about spoiling it! If you didn’t record it and you live in a cave then read on.
I’ll start off by telling you that this year’s 500 had the most cautions I’ve seen in a while! It was almost like the track was angry at the drivers for some reason. Heck, there was a crash in the first lap and even the last lap with plenty of other incidents sprinkled in-between. Because of all the cautions, the strategy boiled down to fuel and pit stops. It was all about picking the right sequence and predicting yellow flags to make sure you had more fuel than the other guy.
In the last 20 laps or so it came down to a battle between Dario Franchitti, Dan Weldon, and Marco Andretti. Marco fell just short enough on fuel that he couldn’t fight with Dario and Dan. However Dario was also running pretty low on fuel since he built up a huge cap but as he came on lapped traffic he was forced to slow down during the last 5 laps while Dan who was more than adiquate on fuel tried hard to work his way through the traffic and catch Dario. Alas he Wheldon couldn’t quite make it, then a horrific crash involving Ryan-Hunter Reay and Mike Conway turned the white flag lap yellow thus solidifying Dario’s second career Indy 500 win. Check out the race highlights below.
I didn’t want to put a spoiler in the title since the race might re-air soon so if you don’t want to know who wins I suggest you click on another post! Fresh off the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach the Indy Car grid made their annual stop in Kansas for the Road Runner Turbo 300. This race is the last race before the Indy 500 so not only is it important for points but it serves as a test bed for oval strategies that teams might use in May.
If this race is any indication of how the 500 will play out then its safe to say that Scott Dixon will be the odds on favorite to win since he absolutely spanked the entire field in Kansas over the weekend. There were a few cautions but nothing too serious and Dixon didn’t waver at all. His team mate Dario Franchitti did his best to keep up and Tony Kanan stole third place from Helio Castroneves at the last moment making the official end of the race a Target-Chip Ganassi 1-2 with Kanan’s Andretti Autosport car bringing up third. Check out the race highlights below.
The “Thrill From West Hill” is coming back to Indy with KV Racing. He made the announcement during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend. It looks like he wants another shot to get an “official” win. Check out his brief interview in the video below.
Someone has finally decided to step up and be the next company to title sponsor an American open wheel racing series. Clothing company IZOD has decided to step up their sponsorship from “official apparel” to full on title sponsor for the Indy Car Series in 2010. Check out the video below for the press event and official announcement.
For those who are unaware the term “Grand Prix” typically means a combination of different motorsports over a weekend. Last weekend was the Indy Grand Prix Of Sonoma and for the first time Formula D was a part of the Indy Car festivities. This provided a rare opportunity for a meeting between two highly popular figures in two disciplines. Formula D points leader Chris Forsberg and Indy Car Series driver and Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon are both sponsored by NOS Energy Drink. So they got a chance to hang out with each other for a while and ask questions about their respective motorsports. Here are a few quotes from the meeting.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring the Formula DRIFT big show to the IndyCar crowd. It gives us a chance to showcase our professional sport to the IndyCar Series and their fans. We wish Dan, my NOS Energy Drink teammate, the best of luck this weekend.”
“It’s always good to meet with somebody else that has a great relationship with NOS, and it’s always interesting to meet with some body that’s in a different racing discipline from you and to be able to answer the questions they have about the IndyCar Series and like wise I had questions for him. It was an interesting experience for me, and Chris is in the latter stages of what will hopefully be his first championship, so it was nice to be able to give him some words of encouragement and I wish him all the best for the weekend. And as a fellow NOS drinker, he’s a great person and somebody that I’ll continue to follow with a lot of interest.”
I just saw the report on Autofiends that Ford has allocated three Ford Fiestas to Sweedish rally team Olsbergs Motorsport Evolution to run in the rally stage at X Games 15. Tanner Foust and former Indy Car Champ Kenny Brack will each run the new 2010 Ford Fiesta and Brian Degan will run a 2008 Fiesta. Both Foust and Degan will fly Rockstar Energy Drink colors while Brack’s will run Olsbergs’ team colors. Check out the press release below.
FORD FIESTA TAKES ON ESPN’S X GAMES WITH ALL-STAR DRIVER LINEUP
• Ford Fiesta, which will makes its U.S. motorsport debut with the Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution race team at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in mid-July, has added a second North American event heading to ESPN’s X Games 15 on Aug. 2.
• All-star Fiesta driver lineup includes Kenny Brack, Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan.
• Ford makes its X Games debut in the new Ford Fiesta; production version set to hit showrooms in 2010.
DEARBORN, Mich., June 30, 2009 – The new Fiesta Rallycross cars have already created plenty of buzz in the enthusiast community with word of their North American motorsport debut in July’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.
Now, the anticipation will be even greater as the Swedish Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution (MSE) team has announced it will compete in ESPN’s X Games 15 in Los Angeles, Calif., July 30 – August 2. Olsbergs MSE is entering the race with the famous Swedish driver Kenny Brack. The team will also field two Ford Fiestas for ROCKSTAR Energy Drink with drivers Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan. All three Fiestas will comply with Rally America Open Class specifications.
Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution will utilize BFGoodrich Tires at both the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and at ESPN’s X Games 15.
“The new Fiesta is already creating headlines around the world,” said Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North America Motorsport. “The announcement that it would compete at Pikes Peak was greeted so positively by enthusiasts everywhere. Now, to back it up with competition at the X Games will just create even more buzz for the car.”
The X Games, considered the premier action sports event in the world, features athletes from across the globe competing in a variety of sports, ranging from skateboarding, motocross, BMX and rally car racing. X Games 15 will be covered live on ESPN’s family of networks, including ABC, as well as across ESPN’s many digital media assets, including Xgames.com (or you can use ESPN.com/action or simply ESPN.com) and ESPN360.com.
The three Fiestas will be driven by an all-star lineup, which includes an Indy 500 winner, a former X Games rally champion and a 10-time X Games medalist.
The 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack, who will drive the 2009 Fiesta 3-door hatchback, is making his X Games debut. Brack was the 1998 IndyCar Series champion and was a factory driver for Ford Racing’s Champ Car entry Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR). Brack sustained significant injures in a major accident at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003 while driving for RLR, but he returned to the car at the Indy 500 in 2005, subbing for the injured Buddy Rice and posting the fastest qualifying speed (227.598 mph) of the field. Brack has been retired since 2006, pursuing his music career, but still drives competitively in special events. Olsbergs and Kenny Brack have had a long-term partnership and at present Kenny and Olsbergs are acting as mentors for a new promising Swedish racing star, 17-year old Markus Eriksson.
ROCKSTAR Energy Rally driver Tanner Foust will drive a race-prepared 2009 Fiesta 5-door hatchback. He is a winning competitor in rally, drift, ice racing and time attack with a proven track record of multiple podium placements and national championships. Foust has seen success in Drift and Rally in the last few seasons. In addition to winning the both the 2007 and 2008 Formula Drift Pro Drift Championship, he also took the Silver medal as runner-up in the 2008 Summer X Games Pro Rally race.
Foust won the 2007 X Games Gold Medal in the Pro Rally for the ROCKSTAR Energy Rally team. He was selected to represent Team USA in the annual Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium in London, UK this past December. He teamed with Ford Racing NASCAR star Carl Edwards to do battle with the world’s fastest drivers and riders from Formula One, World Rally Championship, Superbike and Touring Car racing.
Joining Foust will be Moto X star Brian Deegan, a 10-time medalist at the X Games, including three gold medals for Moto X Best Trick (2002, 2003, 2005). Earlier this year, Deegan launched a Pro-Lite class off road truck team in Championship Off-Road Racing (COOR) under a newly formed ROCKSTAR/Metal Mulisha/Caffaro Motorsports banner. Named one of the Top 100 Action Sports Stars by ESPN in 2004, Deegan has competed at every X Games rally event and will drive a 2008 Fiesta 3-door hatchback.
This will be the first time a Ford race car has been part of the X Games’ Rally competition.
“We are very excited to see the Fiesta competing not only at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, but also at the X Games in LA,” said Jost Capito, director of Ford Global Motorsport Business Development. “The competition will be extremely strong in both events, but we’ve put together a strong team with the ROCKSTAR/BF Goodrich Tires Fiestas and our all star drivers. The Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution race team is doing an outstanding job in preparing the cars for both of these world famous events.”
The Indy 500 is so huge that when its over sometimes it feels like the end of the season when really its still just the start. One week after Helio Castroneves drank the milk in victory circle the Indy Car caravan hit the Milwaukee Mile for the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225. After having such a great run at Indy Helio Castroneves hit just the opposite in Milwaukee as he had trouble in qualifying and had to start way from the back. His teammate and last year’s winner Ryan Briscoe had much better luck as he captured the pole position.
On race day Briscoe lead much of the race while Helio, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Graham Rahal chased him down and for the most part he fought them all off. However towards the closing laps of the race Scott Dixon was able to grab the lead away from Briscoe and take it home for his second win of the season and to take over the overall points lead. It was a pretty awesome race. Check out the video below for the highlights.
In the days leading up to the weekend many were questioning if the Indy 500 still held the same relevance that it had in years past. Heck Autoblog even put up an online poll asking if anyone still “cared” about the 500. It seemed that with the 24 Hours of Nurbergring and the Monaco GP happening in the same weekend the American tradition of the 500 was taking a backseat in the minds of many motorsport enthusiasts.
Yet now that the weekend is over and checkered flags have waved in different parts of the world I honestly have to say that I had a better time watching the 500 than any other race this weekend.
Sure the Monaco GP is prestigious but it was also a snore fest this year with Jenson Button practically winning from the pole position.
Yet this year’s Indy 500 did not disappoint. Helio Castroneves earned the pole position but he certainly didn’t lead a parade for 200 laps. There were at least 4 lead changes through out the race with 33 drivers all fighting to get their faces embossed onto the famous Borg Warner trophy. However despite the best efforts from some of the best drivers in the world Helio battled back to take his third Indy 500 win.
That, in and of itself is a pretty impressive feat but when you think about how earlier this year Helio missed the first race due to being on trial for tax evasion and facing up to 35 years in prison it suddenly increases the gravity of the win. Long Beach was Helio’s first race back and he made that race fresh off the plane from leaving the trial. We all thought his comeback would have lost all its steam there but then he shows up at Indy wins pole position and then wins the race!
If I try to take you through everything that happened this is going to turn into an article instead of a blog post so check out the highlight video below to catch anything I might have missed.
After two horrible finishes in the first two races of the season (15th and 16th respectively) the reigning champ Scott Dixon finally found his way back to victory circle. He didn’t start in the front though. Actually the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team propelled Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos to the front row. This was the second pole position for Graham Rahal this year and equally surprised with himself was Robert Doornbos who has limited experience on ovals. Although Robert (AKA “Bobby D”) had some help since Long Beach winner Dario Franchitti had his fast run disqualified due to dropping below the white penalty line during qualifying.
Scott qualified fourth but come race day he didn’t stay there for long. Once he inherited the lead he held onto it for 134 laps to take the victory and some desperately needed points. Now every driver on the grid has to pack up their things and move to the great state of Indiana because the next race on the schedule is the big one. The Indy 500. May is going to be a long month so we’ll try to keep you as up dated as possible on all of the Indy news
Yeah, I know this news is breaking a little late but we had to make sure we didn’t spoil it for anyone waiting for the re-airing of the race. So as you can see in the picture above Mr. Dario Franchitti took the checkered flag at the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach last Sunday.
The race started with Will Power (top qualifier) up front and as usual with the top qualifier at Long Beach he lead a good portion of the race. However his team had problems with their radio and telemetry which threw them off just enough for Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick to cycle their way to the front with pit strategy and a few full course cautions. By lap 55 of 85 Dario captured the lead and held onto it for the remainder of the race.
This is the first time Indy Car ran the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach and I have to admit I was a little skeptical of it since I was so used to the turbo V8s of Champ Car running the streets but I’m glad to say that Indy Car did not dissapoint! If you haven’t been to this race yet I highly reccomend you come to Long Beach next year and check it out.