On Father’s day Indy Car gave all the dad’s a gift by bringing back the Milwaukee 225 at the famous Milwaukee Mile raceway this past sunday. This track holds a lot of history for Indy Car, especially with the Andretti family (Mario won at the mile 4 times and Michael won 5) young Marco is the only Andretti who hasn’t reached the podium at Milwaukee. When race day came many were expecting Dario Franchitti to be on a mission since he was screwed over by the lottery at the twin Texas races. Those predictions turned out to be correct. Once Dario got out in front he never looked back and he led almost every lap until he crossed the checkered flag first. Although his rival Will Power still managed to nab third spot on the podium so despite his win Dario was not able to pass Will in the points. Another notable performance was Graham Rahal who nabbed a second place finish. Young Rahal consistantly kept himself in the top 10-15 all day and as the race wound down he pushed himself up front. He didn’t have anything for Dario but he was still able to put the rest of the 13 lead car laps behind him! Check out the video below for all the race highlights. You can also get a full post-race report from the Indy Car website.
After the F1 race I’m sure most of you tuned into the centennial Indy 500 race that took place just a few hours after. I have to admit I was a bit more excited for the Indy 500 than I was for the Monaco GP. I still have a soft spot for American open wheel racing! While previous years could have been criticized as a snore-fest this year’s 500 was anything but. First, there was the incredible and emotional pole day in which Alex Taglianai took the pole away from the monster teams like Ganassi and Penske. Then once the race started there were so many incidents and lead changes that it was like a game of musical chairs at 200mph. Everyone from Scott Dixon to Danica Patrick had a run at the front, even Graham Rahal had the lead for a bit. However at the end it was Indy Car rookie (and Mazdaspeed Ladder graduate) J.R. Hildebrand who inherited the lead with just 5 laps to go and was on his way to bringing his car to what would be a historical Indy 500 victory. J.R. made it to the last lap seeing the white flag and he was just about to come around turn 4 to see the checkered flag when he went to the outside of the turn, lost grip, and hit the wall allowing Dan Wheldon to blow by him as J.R. literally slide across the line then Graham Rahal followed behind to take third. Check out the full post-race report on the Indy Car website and check out the video of the dramatic finish below.
Indy 500 Finish:
Indy 500 Highlights:
[Photo: LAT Photo USA]
Tags: · 2011 Indy 500, 2011Indy500, Centennial Indy 500, CentennialIndy500, Dan Wheldon, danica patrick, DanicaPatrick, DanWheldon, Graham Rahal, GrahamRahal, indianapolis 500, Indianapolis500, Indy Car, IndyCar, JR Hildebrand, JRHildebrand, News, Racing
The third and final day of the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach is my personal favorite day because this is the day of “the big race” where the Indy Cars finally go at it full speed on the streets of downtown LB. Another reason why its a favorite of mine is because since the ALMS race is done by Saturday, they clear out their paddock by Saturday night and in its place there is a corral of exotic supercars! It’s like a Cars & Coffee event on a Sunday without having to wake up at the crack of dawn! There were some amazing cars on display in the corral. In fact, some cars were so good that they will be getting their own posts! Sunday is usually the day where I turn off reporter mode and get into fan mode to watch the race, which was pretty crazy by the way! If you didn’t make it out this year I highly, highly reccomend getting tickets and coming to the Grand Prix in 2012. Even if you aren’t local, if you are a racing fan I promise you it will be worth the trip! Below are a few pics from the car corral. If you want to see the rest just head over to our Facebook gallery.
Tags: · 2011 Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, 2011ToyotaGrandPrixOfLongBeach, Events, Features, Indy Car, IndyCar, izod indy car series, Long Beach Grand Prix, LongBeachGrandPrix, Racing, ToyotaGrandPrixOfLongBeach
I waited all year and the time finally came for open wheel racing to come back to town in the form of the IZOD Indy Car Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Last Sunday was race day and I was parked in my usual spot in grandstand 29 along the main straight of Shoreline Drive and waited for the cars to come blasting by me at 180mph into turn 1. With 2 races in the season already completed (St Petersberg and Alabama) victories were split between the Target Chip Ganassi team and Penske Team with one each so fans were playing the “Ganassi or Penske” game coming into this weekend. With Will Power scoring pole position it was looking like the round would go to Penske but then we were reminded that Long Beach is a street course and street courses almost always equal chaos.
The first bit of anarchy started when Helio Castroneves spun Justin Wilson by making contact with him in the hairpin coming on to Shoreline Drive. That mishap brought out a full course yellow which bunched up the field and destroyed any gap that Will Power had built up on the rest of the field. A double file restart was attempted once Justin was clear but the drivers caught stage fright and for the most part stayed in a single file line when the race went green again. Ryan Hunter-Reay managed to snag the lead from Will Power but just when Ryan was starting to get used to being out front another incident with EJ Viso and Danica Patrick brought out another full course yellow which again bunched the field back up and killed any gap that the front runners put on the pack.
This time race control made sure the Indy Cars really did make a double file restart when the track went green again. The result of which was everything going wrong! Helio Castroneves struck again but this time he got into his own teammate Will Power causing both to spin around which totally screwed up Team Penske’s day. Then inexplicably Takuma Sato got a flat and ran into the tires just past the convention center, and a few other rookies mysteriously spun out in the same area just after Sato came to a stop. It was all absolute madness. With all the carnage another full course yellow came out and once things were cleaned up they went for the double file restart once again. This time things went more cleanly, yet things still kicked off with a surprize as Alex Tagliani, Dario Franchitti, and Mike Conway all put pressure on front runners Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay on the start. First Tagliani seemed to get the jump on the two Ryans but out of no where Mike Conway makes a move on Dario Franchitti then weaves past Tagliani just as Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car decides to take a dump. Then Conway puts a brilliant move on Briscoe to take the lead in the last 6 laps or so and holds on to take his first ever win in the Indy Car Series! It looks like the rest of the season could turn into a three way battle between Ganassi Racing, Team Penske, and Andretti Autosport!
Scroll down for a few highlights from the race and stay tuned for more Grand Prix posts coming up!
Tags: · 2011 Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, 2011ToyotaGrandPrixOfLongBeach, Andretti Auto Sport, AndrettiAutosport, Dario Franchitti, DarioFranchitti, Events, Indy Car, Indy Car Series, IndyCar, izod indy car series, IZODIndyCarSeries, Long Beach Grand Prix, LongBeachGrandPrix, Mike Conway, MikeConway, News, ryan briscoe, RyanBriscoe, Target Chip Ganassi, TargetChipGanassi, Team Penske, TeamPenske, toyota grand prix of long beach, ToyotaGrandPrixOfLongBeach, Video, will power, WillPower
Indy Car made a stop in Alabama this weekend at the famous Barber Motorsports park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix Of Alabama. The track is a favorite among the drivers but most were visibly restless and apprehensive about the start of the race. Many wondered if there would be a repeat of the opening lap pile up that happened at St. Pete with cars flying over each other and folks turning upside down. To help remedy the problem race officials moved the “acceleration line” back an additional 125 feet and during the driver’s meeting the race stewards had a simple message for all the drivers: “grow up”. It was made clear to all the drivers that they should know how to handle the situation without going to pieces, literally.
The message must’ve gotten through because the race started off without a hitch. Especially for Will Power who was the pole sitter for the event in a intense qualifying session the day before. Thanks to his new training regimen he was able to lead the race from flag to flag taking the win with Scott Dixon following behind to take second and Dario Franchitti taking third spot on the podium. A notable result was Marco Andretti who managed a 4th place finish. Now that Alabama is in the books the next race on the schedule is right here in our back yard at the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach. We’ve got our tickets! Get yours!
Tags: · Dario Franchitti, DarioFranchitti, Events, HondaIndyGrandPrixOfAlabama2011, Indy Car, Indy Car Series, IndyCar, indycarseries, News, Scott Dixon, ScottDixon, TargetChipGanassi, Team Penske, Video, will power, WillPower
For the last 5 years Mazda has invited journalists to have lunch and discuss Mazda’s standing in the world of motorsports through their Mazdaspeed brand and activities. Usually they incorporate a fun event into the luncheon like electric kart racing at K1 or having a special screening of movies like “Driven To Race“. This year Mazda went all out and roped off a huge area at Hidden Valley park and set up not one but two autocross courses complete with Skip Barber Racing school MX-5 Miata’s, Mazda3′s, and even a full race-spec Mazda2 to thrash!
Also, for the first time since Mazda started the luncheon, drifting was represented at the event with the BMI Racing 4 rotor RX-8, the Bergenholtz Racing/Full Tilt Poker RX-8, and the Kyle Mohan Racing/Nexen Tire RX-8 all on display. Although, none of the RX-8′s seemed like they were quite ready to rock yet it was nice to see the RX-8′s making an appearance.
Once the first session of autocrossing was over we sat down under the canopy of the Star Mazda racing rig and had a chat with Senior VP of Product Development Robert Davis on how Mazda is holding up in the uncertain economy and how their progress is still tied to motorsports. For the most part things seemed to be the status quo for Mazda which is a very good thing in their case. They haven’t lost market share, the Miata has become the #1 selling roadster in history, they’re still the #1 road raced brand in America, and to date over $75 million worth of Mazdaspeed parts have been sold since 1990. It’s also worthy to note that this year marks the 20 year anniversary of Mazda’s overall 1991 win at LeMans with the 787 4-rotor race car. After all this time Mazda is still the only Japanese company to win the event outright! It was hinted that some special events to celebrate the occasion were in the works but no specifics were revealed. I’ll try to keep you posted on that!
It was also pointed out that despite the shaky economy Mazda’s motorsports involvement is still going strong. The Playboy MX-5 Cup is still fiscally one of the most rewarding racing series around with a $250k purse up for grabs (which is more than what you’d get for winning the Ferrari Challenge Series!). Star Mazda has reached its 21st year of competition which makes it the longest running road-racing series in America and the Mazdaspeed motorsports ladder is going on its 26th year. That last bit of info led to the news that despite the demise of the Atlantic series throwing things off Mazda maintains their open wheel ladder by being the official partner for the “Road To Indy“. Which is the path from amateur racing all the way up to Indy Car Series competition.
The next big announcement was Mazdasinvolvement in the new “B-Spec” racing class (sanctioned by NASA) with the Mazda2. In fact the “race spec” Mazda2 at the autocross course that I mentioned earlier was the very same Mazda2 that ran the B-Spec class at Thunderhill. Right now they’re current competitionin “B-Spec” class racing is Honda withthe Honda Fit but Mr. Davis said that he would welcome more competition from other manufacturers like GM (likely with the Chevy Aveo).
When the floor was opened up to questions I asked if B-Spec class racing would be folded into the Mazdaspeed Motorsports ladder. The answer I got from Mr. Davis as well as Alternative Marketing Manager Jim Jordan was that while the B-Spec class wont be an “official” part of the ladder if you win a B-Spec class race in a Mazda2 you will be eligible to compete in the annual Mazdaspeed shoot out which can lead to entrance into one of the Mazdaspeed ladder series. So in a way B-Spec class racing is something of a foot-stool that can help you get to the ladder. Looks like I’m going to need to get myself a Mazda2!
Based on what I heard at this year’s lunch, Mazda is going to continue to make a respectable dent in motorsports. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out! Thanks to Mazda for the invite and for letting me get behind the wheel of a Skip Barber MX-5!
Tags: · @MazdaUSA, auto cross, autocross, AutoX, BergenholtzRacing, BMIRacing, Drift, Drifting, Events, Indy, Indy Car, JoonMaeng, KyleMohan, Mazda, mazda2, Mazda3, Mazdaspeed, mazdaspeed motorsports, mazdaspeedmotorsports, Miata, MX-5, mx5, MX5Miata, News, RX-8, RX8, star mazda, StarMazda
At the last press day of the LA Auto Show I was floating around the Mazda Exhibit getting some last minute pictures when I noticed Townsend Bell taking a walk around the exhibit with a buddy. As they were checking out the new Mazda5 I thought I saw the words “KV Racing” on Townsend’s show badge. Could he be part of the three car effort that Lotus announced earlier that day? I wasn’t sure if I really saw what I thought I did so I approached Mr. Bell as a fan (which isn’t a lie) and took a picture of him. Thanks to the almighty “crop” feature in Photoshop I am able to confirm that he was attending the show under KV Racing’s association. He was also wearing a “Herbalife Racing” shirt could they be a new sponsor for the KV Racing team?
So far I haven’t found any official statement to confirm my suspicions but I think it would be awesome to see T. Bell back in Indy Car and driving for a quality team like KV Racing.
Tags: · 2010 LA Auto Show, herbalife racing, Indy Car, indy car racing, Indy Car Series, izod indy car series, kv racing, LA Auto Show, LAAS, lotus cars, lotus indy car team, lotus racing, News, rumors, townsend bell
I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend! I’m sure some of you, like me spent some time on Saturday watching the Kentucky Indy 300. For those who didn’t here is a quick run down of how things played out. Going into the race many were thinking that this was the weekend that Will Power was going to increase his points gap and pretty much lock in his 2010 championship title. However after a near crash due to washing out while trying to pass lapped traffic shook him off the lead and after he recovered the best he was able to muster was an 8th place finish. That didn’t bode well for him as his closest rival Dario Franchitti finished 5th, closing the points gap to just 17 points with two races left.
So who took the win? None other than Will Power’s teammate Helio Castroneves. Yeah, I know we haven’t heard his name in a while have we? Early in the race Helio’s crew botched a pit stop. So his race strategist decided to turn the misfortune into an advantage by going off sequence thus giving Helio more fuel than the rest of the field which enabled him to take the lead late in the race and capture the win. Check out the rest of the race highlights in the video below.
The 2010 Indy Car season is starting to wind down and the points race is starting to get closer and more dicey than it has been all season. On Saturday the Indy Car grid lined up at Chicagoland speedway for an oval battle royal (there are no more road courses for the rest of the season). This race was Will Power’s chance to increase his points lead and give himself a cushion going into the last few races of 2010 but his plans for that were totally dashed when Power was forced to give up fighting at the front to come into the pits for a splash and go since a malfunction in a previous pit stop prevented him from getting the fuel he needed.
It was none other than Dario Franchitti who took advantage of Will Power’s misfortune to take the lead and eventually the win. With Dario’s win and Power finishing 16th Dario was able to shorten his gap to Power by a scant 22 points. This is a dangerous position for Will Power since there are only two races left (Twin Ring Motegi, Japan and Homestead Speedway, Florida). It looks like things have gotten interesting again folks..
The Indy Cars hit up wine country over the weekend for the last road course race on the schedule AKA the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Things continued with this race as they have for most of the season, with Team Penske and the Target Ganassi team trading blow for blow. However in this round it was Will Power with Team Penske getting the last punch in by taking the win and the Andretti road course trophy. From this point on its all ovals to see who is going to take the big prize! Check out the race highlights below.