Friday, December 3, 2010

Pennzoil Returns, This Time With Penske

It's always great to see a major sponsor come on board to help a struggling, underfunded hardscrabble outfit like Team Penske. Finally, the boys from PA can afford a can of corn to go with their bread and water.

I'm not trying to give Penske a hard time... well, OK, I kinda am... but I think we all would have loved to see Pennzoil back on Panther's sidepod, where they found so much success in the Hornish era.

But Pennzoil does has a history with Penske as well -- one that includes a guy named Rick Mears. Congrats to Penske and Helio!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Indycar Assumes the Lotus Position

Confirming one of the worst-kept secrets in Indycar, Lotus will be joining the Indycar series as both an engine and aero kit manufacturer.

Awesome. Just awesome. What else is there to add, really? Lotus has a grand history at the Brickyard, its crowning moment coming with Jim Clark winning the 1965 Indy 500 with the famed green-and-yellow car.

The shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who watched Lotus livery circling the tracks in 2010, but an anticipated announcement nonetheless. Welcome back Lotus!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Bowtie's Back

General Motors has now announced they are returning to Indycar competition with a 2.4L V6 engine. This confirms the info I received back in October.

Welcome back, Chebby!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hot Tip: Chevy Returning to Indycar

According to a few whispers, look for GM to officially announce the return of Chevy as an engine manufacturer in the next 7 to 10 days. Not a huge surprise, but still... Chevy at Indy makes all the sense in the world. It just feels right.

Fingers crossed!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Square Peg Wins a Round Hole

When the first Indycar Oval Championship is won by road-course specialist Dario Franchitti, could a Series Championship be far behind?

I love the three separate Indycar Championship titles because it allows a lower-funded team to compete in a single discipline (like oval tracks) and have a chance at winning a title on a shoestring. But there's still the risk that one driver will sweep all three championships, which would defeat the point. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Indycar and Wine: It's Not Just Andretti

When you think of Wineries with connections to Indycar, Andretti immediately springs to mind. But rough-and-tumble punch-throwing laptop-smashing Texan A.J. Foyt? News to me.

The fledgling Foyt Family Wines is mainly run by the legend's grandson A.J. IV and quattro's uncle Larry. No specifics on where they get their grapes, but I suspect that since A.J. doesn't like to finish second to Andretti in anything, a full vineyard cannot be far behind.

Anyone out there interested in an Andretti v Foyt wine tasting? I'm definitely in.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One Star Rises While Another Sets

As Simona De Silvestro takes seventh in qualifying at Edmonton, Milka Duno gets a finger-wagging rebuke from the league.

The cynical take: The series *needs* a female driver, preferably a good one. Prior to 2010, Milka Duno was the "backup gal" in case Danica bolted for NASCAR. Now that Simona looks like a solid female competitor who's here to stay, Milka is yesterday's fish wrapped in newspaper.

And to clarify for other readers out there like me: the 14th word in that Simona article is "throng", with an "r". Because that's not how I read it the first 3 times.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

...But Will It Be a Classy Chassis?

After much speculation -- probably too much, and most of it far too silly -- the Indycar movers 'n' shakers have announced the 2012 Indycar chassis "strategy".

It's about time for a change. And bonus: it's not the Delta Wing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ryan Hunter Reay Is A Go For Iowa

It's a match made in heaven. A beautiful little slice of heaven, where a top American driver finds support from the American ethanol industry to race at the track where the corn is grown. It's the intersection of Americana and Rightness, a mid-season kismet for the Indycar world.

Andretti Autosport has announced that Ryan Hunter Reay, winner of the Long Beach Grand Prix, will drive the Ethanol-sponsored car in the Iowa Corn 250.

Had the ethanol industry not stepped up to the plate, Hunter Reay was in danger of sitting out his first race of the season despite being 6th in the championship points.

(Photo credit Andretti Autosport.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kim Kardashian Cheers On Graham Rahal

Still no sign of Kim at the Indy 500 yet, but she's weighing-in on Graham's P7 qualification result over at
"225.6 mph!! WOW! That means we are starting 7th in the Indianapolis 500 (inside 3rd row) and I’m going to be there at the race next weekend to watch Graham win!"
OK guys, quick show of hands -- and just the guys, we're not concerned about where the gals' hands are right now: Who doesn't want to have Kim Kardashian gushing over how fast and impressive they are in a race car?

I mean, it's got to be distracting. Every time Graham gets out of the car he has to slide over Kim's body on the sidepod. When he checks his mirrors, there's Kim's face in his peripheral vision. At least she's facing forward, I guess.

But once again, Graham's girlfriend Katie Osborne has nothing to worry about. All Kim's got is world-wide market appeal, her traffic-stopping figure, a saucy attitude that just makes... um... sorry, I wandered off there again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

F1 in Austin? Someone Might Tell the Mayor

So much bluster about Bernie's announced 2012 F1 race in Austin, Texas, and so little actual information. SpeedTV is reporting that the "City of Austin and Austin Chamber of Commerce officials were unfamiliar with race organizers’ plans".

Odd. Seems that you'd want to let these folks in on the secret if you actually wanted construction permits.

With just a handful of Texas dollars know to be available for track construction (at this point), someone will have to appear from the wings with $250M-$300M in hand to make this happen. I'd like to meet this person and buy them a $4 gin and tonic.

They'll have to buy land, design, contract, and build a world-class F1 facility in something like 11 months. You'll need a few months to actually run some laps on the track before the Gran Prix.

Add to the mix all of Austin's political environmentalism, and I don't see this happening. What I do see happening goes something like this: USGP announcements continue to move forward, pressure continues to mount on the Austin planning group (much like it did on Donnington), Bernie will reiterate that F1 will never return to Indianapolis (much like Silverstone), and eventually the Austin plans will implode and the USPG will return to Indianapolis, where -- surprise! -- there happens to be a world-class F1 course already (just like Silverstone).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kim Kardashian Indy Watch

Score one for Graham Rahal. Make that two, actually: he secured a fast ride for the Indy 500 and he landed sponsorship from Quick Trim and their sultry promoter, Kim Kardashian.

Not that we're star struck or anything. I mean sure, she's got a mane of flowing onyx hair, curvy hips like Saharan sand dunes, eyes like a summer's tempest, and huge... hmmmm... wait, sorry, was I saying something?

And now that Sports Illustrated has confirmed that Kim will be at the track this month, the only question remaining is "when"? (Oh, and "what will she be wearing?" So I guess that's two questions.)

Now wait -- what about Graham's current girlfriend, you ask? Don't worry, Katie Osborne... If Kim's too old for Justin Beiber, she's too old for Graham Rahal. Besides, Katie's a Hoosier, and you don't mess with karma during the Month of May.

Anyway, this whole Kardashian conversation is pointless without pictures. So I'm throwing the gauntlet down (or laying it down, or whatever you do with a gaunlet): I want Kim Sightings, Indy 500 bloggers, and I want them immediately.

The clock has started.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Window Over Terre Haute

How's this for a classic "Window Over Terre Haute" satellite image? :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Not Go Back To Charlotte?

Who's up for an evening Indycar race in Charlotte? I think it's time to return.

With Indycar cowboy Randy Bernard's creation of a separate Oval Championship, there's reason to hope for a 50/50 split between oval tracks and road/street courses on the 2011 schedule. If we end up 1 or 2 ovals short of that, then I ask you all to close your eyes for a moment and remember those IRL races at Charlotte in 1997-1998.

Attendance was good, consistently in the 50,000 - 70,000 range. The layout is pretty similar to Texas, so teams can roll off the truck with pretty good setups already dialed in. And with ISC on the outs with Indycar, Charlotte is one more step toward NASCAR independence.

The tragic events of 1999 were a very long time ago, and neither the track nor the current cars are to blame. Let's start a new chapter in this racefan-rich region.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We Were Warned...

At this moment, is down.

They warned us. They told us this was coming. They said that this update package was necessary and the time was very soon. It's for our own good.

But 'fess up now: how many of you TF'ers are staring wide-eyed at the blank browser window, hands trembling just a little, that nervous vein on your neck standing out, wondering exactly how you are supposed to cope with the withdrawal? You know who you are, you 10,000+ post-count members.

I know a thing or two about being responsible for the uptime at a high-traffic web site, and believe me no one want this racing communication institution up more than the operators -- especially when they are paid per-view for every Chevy ad you see.

So switch to decaf, practice your cleansing breath exercises, pet a cat, open a window... perhaps even go outside. Trackforum... it will be back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simona Wristwatch, Anyone?

If you're a bit weary of the typical Indycar merch, like T-shirts, hats, and bum bags, then get a gander at this bit of bling from Team Stargate Worlds: a BRM watch themed for the Simona de Silvestro fan.

It'll set you back a cool $6,995.00, but hey... they take Visa. Now if I was a 24-year-old fan, I'd only drop that kind of cash if it came with a smooch on the cheek from the driver herself, but your mileage may vary.

You can part ways with your cash over at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Barber By-The-Numbers: 53,555

Another successful inaugural Indycar race is in the books, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the usual game of "guess the attendance" -- where one blogger announces that there were 142,000 paid racefans in attendance while another says that there was only 46 including himself -- was completely unnecessary. The Birmingham News is reporting 53,555 in attendance, a very solid number.
"Crowd estimates for the weekend totaled 84,000, with 53,555 for the main race on Sunday. Angstadt said the turnouts were higher at the league's first two races of the year in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and St. Petersburg, but he said attendance in Birmingham was excellent for an inaugural year."
While I certainly don't think that big numbers are everything, the crowd was much larger than I thought would turn up for in the middle of rural Alabama for a non-NASCAR event.

And just to close out Pressdog's new drinking game... "beautiful beautiful beautiful".

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wild Idea for an Indy Lights Venue: Cooper Park Complex

Here's a proposed new oval speedway that's getting lots of buzz here in Central Ohio: the Cooper Park Complex. With it's easy access to the interstate and state-of-the-art facilities, wouldn't this be a great (if not downright wild) venue for Indy Lights?

When the Columbus Clippers baseball team moved downtown into their tony new ballpark, it opened the door for the Cooper Park concept on the site of the old Cooper Stadium. Looks like the proposed track will be a 1/2 mile bullring, with perfect banking for Indy Lights.

The proposal appears to feature a large parking garage and several restaurants with fake names but which are obvious stand-ins for a Rally's, Olive Garden, and a Quaker Steak 'n' Lube. There's also a Marriott Suites, although I'm not sure who wants a room overlooking a race track in this town.

Jeff Gordon Inc. is a partner on the project, and they seem to be downplaying the noise factor in order to get past city counsel. This may be a tough sell, but the proposed Automotive Research and Technology Center may bring in a few jobs that would be tough for the city to pass up.

Check out the video -- I suggest skipping the first 45 seconds, it's unnecessary. :)

Will we see Indy Lights at Jeff's new playground? Unlikely, but it's fun to dream.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Positive Vibes Around The League

There must be pixie dust in the air, because the Indycar world's in a good mood today.

First Kevin Lee teased us all that a big announcement was in the air, saying "R Bernard said presser Monday and if what I hear is correct, its pretty big..." Apparently our new cowboy-turned-Indycar-Tzar is cooking with gas.

Still-dormant Vision Racing tweeted, "Positive vibes from our #IZODIndyCar tweeps has us feeling more positive about the future. Hopefully good things are coming our way."

Then Graham Rahal gives us "Had a killer workout. Really good today. Now heading to the raceshop and about to do an interview with Derek Daly. Beautiful day here." Not sure where "here" is, but if he means at home in Columbus then he's right. Gorgeous here on the northside.

We got news that John Andretti will be back for the 500, EJ Viso's hamming it up onstage for a latino program, and Alex "Pink" Lloyd is tearing it up (in a good way) down at Barber. And Pressdog's got "78 and sunny by afternoon, that makes 2:30 Beer:30" up there in Des Moines.

Perhaps most importantly (ahem), Indy Lights newcomer Carmen Jorda (left) accepted my request to follow her on Twitter. Yep, I'm one of the 22 chosen ones -- eat your heart out, Curt Cavin.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simona and Helio: Separated At Birth?

The more I see from new Indycar rookie sensation Simona de Silvestro, the more I like -- both on and off the track.

Check out Simona's VBlog from St. Pete:

Helio Castroneves' little sister, I say. She has the same natural charm and easy-going speaking manner. The way she says "crazy race", she's almost impossible to dislike.

My favorite part is when she said (about the race in Sao Paulo), "I did a few mistakes, you know... I sometimes hit the drink bottle instead of the radio, so I almost choked there in the car a few times. Sort of funny, maybe not so funny for the team."