Brazilian Bust: IndyCar Told ‘Tough Tittie’

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The latest IndyCar scheduling disaster had local Brazilian authorities unilaterally cancel the March 8 season opener barely a month before the nearly sold out event. The announcement Thursday afternoon by the promoter in Brazil took the series completely by surprise and has overshadowed all other news this week, including a drivers’ meeting and the announcement of Brian Barnhart’s return as race director. It’s not the kind of news IndyCar needs, representing yet another crisis at 16th and Georgetown.

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The league’s point man in Brazil Tony Cotman has been telling us for months that construction on the circuit is “on schedule” and would be completed in time for the event. Continue reading

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IndyCar News Week in Review: Goaaal! Edition

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UPDATE: AP is reporting the season opening IndyCar race scheduled in Brasilia, Brazil has been canceled by local authorities. The costly construction and renovations at the race course have been ongoing for some time and could well be the issue. This is truly a crisis for IndyCar and makes an already short season even shorter. We’ve offered alternatives to a race in Brazil as well as skepticism towards holding a race there for months now. It was another poor decision by the series to schedule a race in Brazil to begin with and now once again it’s the fans who suffer due to a further abbreviated schedule.

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Brian Barnhart Battles Back: IndyCar announced Wednesday that Brian Barnhart will resume his former duties as Race Director. He’d served in that role from 1997 until 2011, after which ‘Beautiful’ Beaux Barfield took over due to controversies at New Hampshire and elsewhere. The system, described as being like a “jury,” will consist of three stewards who make the calls and assess the penalties collaboratively. Mindful of the anti-Barnhart and anti-IRL sentiment that exists in some quarters, we say anybody but Beaux.

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Drivers’ Meeting in Indy: The Barnhart announcement was made at the winter drivers’ meeting at IMS. Of note were some of the drivers in attendance, including Americans Conor Daly and Zach Veach, British brothers Justin and Stefan Wilson, and Colombians Carlos Huertas and Sebastian Saavedra. Continue reading

If We Owned an IndyCar Team

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If we owned an IndyCar team, it’d be called 1st Place Racing

We’d have a portable bar and shiny metallic cars

For our drivers, who would excel at pacing

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If we owned an IndyCar team, it would rival Penske and Ganassi

It would smoke Coyne, Foyt and Schmidt – or else that’d be it

And be focused on stomping the Andrettis

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Continue reading

IndyCar’s Chopping Block: A Gory Recent History

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It’s a bloody business ending people’s careers, although not so long ago it was a good deal worse when one’s fate literally rested in the executioner’s hands. At the risk of sounding unsympathetic or even – gasp! – ‘mean spirited,’ IndyCar’s a business and personnel changes are a grim but necessary aspect of the sport. Besides these folks get paid handsomely to ‘work’ in IndyCar, which would be a dream job for millions. Sentimentality aside, let’s cut to the chase and review the recent terminations and potential axing of some of IndyCar’s more recognizable faces.

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Living the dream until lately, Sebastian Saavedra made fifty seven big league starts and has absolutely no results. Never coming close to a win, the quirky Colombian failed to crack the top five and only recorded three top tens in the equivalent of four seasons. He’s finished at the very bottom of the field with KVSH two years running now. You may recall his one highlight turned out to be a disaster, as pole position at the inaugural Indy Grand Prix led to a stall and spectacularly expensive carbon fiber shower. In SeSaav’s case as in others it was high time a quick cut was made.

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Ryan Briscoe had a decent IndyCar career over the last decade with seven wins, but it appears to be in the past tense.   Continue reading

Sunday Rolex Roast

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The Rolex 24 hours of Daytona: Any race that’s so long you can’t continue drinking throughout it to conclusion is too long. Also, sports car races are confusing with no fewer than four different classes of cars running at the same time, seeming more like an exercise for manic mathematicians using traffic camera footage than a race. Besides, who can afford Florida, much less a Rolex?

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Plus, the cars are exceptionally weird looking – closed wheels and cockpits, yuck! – and IndyCar fans are already set for enough weirdness with the coming aero kits. At IRR we’re IndyCar purists – snobs some may say – who consider the real season worth the wait. Today we recommend getting outdoors instead of watching what we all know is merely a poor substitute for actual racing. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Double Secret Edition

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Aero Kits Finalized, On Strict Need To Know Basis: If you’ve already hit the pay wall you may have missed Indy Star’s wacky ‘reporter’ Curt Cavin’s piece on the more hype than substance IndyCar aero kits, Chevy and Honda’s soon to be introduced body work. Apparently the series has finalized the designs and decided to keep them secret for at least a few more days, with Derrick Walker promising a release of photos – something! – from the manufacturers “soon.” We recommend you prepare yourselves for a major let down when we finally are allowed to see them.

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Irritatingly, Walker admitted that the designs of Chevy and Honda  may not even look that dissimilar. Continue reading

Which Chip’ll Turn Up? Or, Ganassi’s Two Sides

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There’s no disputing Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s heavyweight status in the IndyCar series, even among the team’s most ardent detractors (which are legion). Heck, Chip alone accounts for nearly three hundred pounds of that hefty tally himself.

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But there’s something rotten in Target-land beyond the Chipster. The up and down nature of TCGR’s season merits some attention from series observers, for it perhaps portends the success or failure of their upcoming campaign. After an uncharacteristically off year on track, there have been some rather unsettling corporate issues at chief sponsor Target lately, as well. All of these troublesome facts beg the question, which Chip’ll turn up in 2015?

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The god-awful start for Ganassi Racing last year at least was followed up by a vastly superior ending. That is unless your data was stolen in that horrendous hack of Target. Continue reading

IndyCar Predictions and Prognostications – Silly Season, Andrettis, AJ & More

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For the debut of this visionary new column – one we foresee making sporadic appearances on this site with varying degrees of accuracy when it comes to the predictions ventured – IRR’s special soothsaying division offers some shocking statements about the future of racing.

Why wait for IndyCar news when our crack staff can divine it ahead of time? So without further adieu, here are our presumptuous prognostications for IndyCar in January.

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His birthday over, AJ lays off the sake and English brown ales – unlike his drivers – for at least a few more weeks.

Dale Coyne Racing will be making no announcements, media appearances or any other racing related moves whatsoever. Continue reading

An Homage to A.J. in Honor of His 80th

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There’s precious little that can be written about legendary racer Anthony Joseph Foyt that hasn’t been said before, which itself speaks volumes about the ornery octogenarian. The man’s an institution and we at IRR admire the hell out of him. After all, he’s the reason we’ve loved IndyCar our entire lives. With legions of fans to this day, the Texan’s popularity is unparalleled in the American racing world and with good reason.

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The first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and only winner of racing’s Triple Crown – Indy, Daytona & Le Mans – most of Foyt’s records likely never will be eclipsed. How many sports record holders can you realistically say that about? A.J. won sixty seven IndyCar races, seven IndyCar championships, twelve overall championships and a gasket blowing one hundred seventy two major league races. Incredibly, he also raced in thirty five consecutive Indy 500s and very nearly a thirty sixth.

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Our fondest memory of Foyt – bittersweet though it was – is seeing his IndyCar driving farewell at Indianapolis in 1993. Continue reading

An Interview with Brian Carroccio Previewing IndyCar’s 2015 Season, pt 2

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The conversation moved to one of our favorite topics, the Indianapolis 500. We asked Carroccio who he thought would win the ninety ninth running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

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BC: “Montoya. Penske is due for a win at Indy and Montoya was in my opinion the best driver in the three 500 milers last season. So, if I have to pick someone right now to win Indy give me JPM.”

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IRR: Do you think Busch will be back with Andretti Autosport for Indy in light of his legal troubles? Should he be asked back to Indy?

BC: “To be honest, I haven’t followed the Busch case closely. It was sad to see that things went south for him, because at Indy last year he seemed to be in a really good place. Whatever ends up happening is a matter for the courts to decide. The one thing I’ll add is that last May went about as well as could have been expected for Andretti Autosport, KB and IndyCar. I was amazed how well Busch seemed to adapt and his approach was very professional. I think if they do give it a second go, it will be hard to replicate the success they had.”

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The IRR crew composed ourselves as best we could for the mere mention of Busch makes us fighting mad – though not nearly as angry as what would come next. Continue reading