N@$C@R Predictions & Prognostications: Sherman Through Atlanta Edition

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Urgent note from IRR’s Editorial Board – Emergency Session: Snowed in, beyond bored and suffering the effects of cabin fever, our cracked soothsaying division implemented a hostile takeover of the editorial room and insisted these NASCAR predictions be published. We do so very much against our will. They made us do it! Rest assured, this site remains dedicated primarily to IndyCar, but extreme times call for extreme measures. The current situation certainly constitutes that. Need some good news? Feel fortunate you aren’t being held captive in an office building by a bunch of crazed fortune tellers this weekend.

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Now for a word or two on NASCAR. First, a stolen race car?! Come on, fellas. Hire a security guard when you’re in Atlanta, for goodness’ sake. The Friday night fiasco “qualifying session” saw the inspection line resembling Black Friday at Wal-Mart with a number of cars disqualified and unable to post times. Instead they were ordered by owner points. THAT’s what the paying customers want.

Jeff Gordon called the ordeal “embarrassing.” Smoke, who didn’t turn an official lap, Tweeted “Frustrating!” It’s clearly no way to run a circus, even if there are new qualifying rules for 2015. We found the whole ordeal amusing. Our friends at Autoracing1 could hardly keep straight faces while Tweeting about it. Predictions published below were done so under duress –

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Kurt Busch Continue reading

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IndyCar News Week in Review: Keep the Change Edition

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In With The New: Eight drivers tested at Sebring this week, including the Penske Powerhouse tetrarchy of Power, Helio, Montoya and newcomer Pagenaud. The other veteran was SeBass, but new faces drew our attention. 2014 IndyCar winner Carlos Huertas and Venezuelan Rodolfo “Speedy” Gonzalez – who’s twenty eight and an unknown quantity –  tested Dale Coyne’s cars. Huertas drove for Dollar Dale in his rookie campaign while Gonzalez hasn’t driven an IndyCar for anyone, coming from the failed F1 team Marussia’s test program.

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Gonzo almost certainly brings some petro cash to the table from his basket case socialist paradise of a homeland where toilet paper is eternally in short supply. Ryan Phinny from LA tested KV’s second car and seems a perfect fit for fellow Californian Vasser while Swiss Miss Simona de Silvestro is rumored to be close to Andretti’s fourth seat. Sorry Conor, Zach and JWil – the few remaining seats in the series could be taken.

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Changing Numbers:  Continue reading

IndyCar: It’s About Time

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After an unprecedented seven month sabbatical, it’s about time the 2015 IndyCar season began. For fans of artistry on wheels, it’s also about time in a larger sense of the word. Two significant events in recent history – Brazil’s abrupt and embarrassing cancellation of IndyCar’s season opener and a thoroughly critical viewing of NASCAR’s – caused us to look at racing in a new and timely way.

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The old adage remains true – time is precious, valuable and fleeting. IndyCar features shorter races than NASCAR, in part a factor of much faster race cars – as much as thirty miles per hour, or some 15% speedier. A casual viewing of races from both series illustrates NASCAR’s timed tardiness, even on television and with certain commentators attempting to obscure the facts.

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Pit stops, pit in laps, pit out laps and lap times in general are all considerably quicker. Continue reading

Daytona Debrief: A Dystopian Dud

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Penske Racing’s Joey Logano won NASCAR‘s “Super Bowl of Racing” yesterday at Daytona International Speedway. The nicest item we’ve to report? At least the audience wasn’t subjected to Katy Perry parading around on a giant tiger. Also, America learned how many female soccer players it takes to start a NASCAR race. It’s three.

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The Indy 500 it clearly wasn’t, although admittedly the three wide racing in the last quarter of the race was enjoyable to watch. With the Captain in victory circle again for a fleeting moment – after several hours of drinking, mind you – we were almost fooled. Happily, Joey Logano didn’t climb the fence and we quickly regained our senses.

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Like a Lifetime movie – though that could simply be the “Busch effect” –  the ending was painful, anti-climactic and left us wanting. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions and Prognostications: Daytona Edition

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Swept up in the day’s euphoria, we’ve broken down and violated a cardinal rule of ours. Obviously this is a site primarily concerned with IndyCar, although there’s always some crossover in racing and we freely admit Kurt Busch is pure gold. Fully realizing the Daytona 500 is a NASCAR event and not IndyCar, we rationalized by saying at least it’s racing (of sorts). It’s either this or wait another five weeks for St. Pete and frankly our patience has run out.

IRR’s special soothsaying division predicted as much, having its special one off NASCAR prognostications for Daytona ready in advance. From race winner to attendance to levels of violence, our fortune tellers provide a comprehensive vision of NASCAR’s near-future. We predict you’ll be amazed at what they’ve divined.

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Fewer heads will be smashed into motor home walls this year, though the total won’t reach zero with Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski still in the series.  Continue reading

Racing’s Better Off Without Busch

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Friday the 13th came a week late for NASCAR ne’er do well Kurt Busch. A Delaware court issued a restraining order after finding he’d “strangled” his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and repeatedly banged her head into the wall of his motor home at Dover International Speedway in September, 2014. In issuing the no contact order, the judge cited “a substantial likelihood of acts of domestic violence” by Busch in the future. Judging by his past bad acts including making threats, brawling on pit lane and run-ins with the police, if NASCAR has any sense at all then Busch’s career is kaput.

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Busch was immediately suspended by NASCAR for the third time, dropped by engine manufacturer Chevrolet and faces pending criminal charges over the incident, as well. Busch’s attorney Rusty Hardin said they plan to appeal the decision with NASCAR, calling the court proceedings a “travesty of justice.” He boldly predicted Busch will be “fully vindicated and back in the driver’s seat.” The court order and suspension have assured that won’t be the case at least for Sunday’s season opening Daytona 500.

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It’s the Indianapolis 500 that’s our concern. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: ‘Flicks’ Edition

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Aero Kit Anti-Climax: Chevrolet introduced depictions of their road and short oval aero kits at Media Day on Tuesday, grabbing the headlines and beating Honda to the punch. Reaction has been predictably mixed, and a better idea will emerge when we see both manufacturers’ efforts in action in March. The do-dads, flicks or “winglets on stalks” of the new kits created some buzz and according to racer.com the aero changes will reduce down force by almost a thousand pounds. Concerning though is the continued boxy, closed wheel direction IndyCar chassis are headed. It’s an open wheel series and needs to remain that way. It isn’t NASCAR, thank goodness.

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Schedule Stretching: In easily the best news from Media Day, Phoenix International Raceway returns as a possible destination on the IndyCar series schedule. Continue reading

Interview With Will “The Thrill” Owen

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IRR held its own media day on Fat Tuesday, focusing on the all important future of the sport with a young star of tomorrow. Nineteen year old Will Owen drives the number 23 American Medical Response car in IndyCar’s Pro Mazda feeder series, merely a few rungs away from the big time.

Right at the start of our delightful interview we asked him if he intends to race in the Indianapolis 500 one day. Without hesitation Will said, “Absolutely. My goal is IndyCar and the Indy 500. I attended the race the first time last year and what a spectacle. Three hundred thousand people, it was awesome. It’s a great tradition for the city.”

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Will’s from Castle Rock, Colorado and is an intelligent young racer who we liked immediately. Turns out, Will’s quite the pill. It wasn’t just that he’s well spoken, polite and talented that won us over, but hilariously the underclassman nearly forgot about geology lab Tuesday afternoon. Recalling those foggy, fun college days and knowing how expensive an education is today, we happily postponed the interview until the lab session was complete.

There are numerous reasons to root for Will – he’s an American, he’s quick and he’s a genuinely nice guy. Tellingly his favorite television show is “Top Gear,” and although fit he does allow himself the occasional trip to Whattaburger. He also loves the Broncos and Peyton Manning.

Above all else in his particular field, Will’s a winner. In 2013, Will won three races in Formula Mazda to go along with an impressive eight podiums. Last year he raced in USF2000 and won an amazing race at Indianapolis in his inaugural campaign, going from last to first. We asked him what it was like to win his first USF2000 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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“It was a whirlwind, crazy. Continue reading

Media Day Mashup With Live Updates

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Top Story: Chevrolet unveiled depictions of its road and short oval aero kits, stealing the march on Honda with a slick presentation, including a video. It’s been safety checked, tested by Team Penske and TCGR and we must point out looks rather odd with the “flicks” – all the little winglets and doo-dads on the front and rear wings, in particular. IRR asked in a tweet whether the Hondas and Chevys would truly be discernible on track this season, even with the new aero kits. After all that along with increased speeds was the main point of the program.

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Less is More?: Sage Karam was confirmed at Target in the 8 car for St. Pete only, representing a contraction for Target to three cars. Same goes for Andretti, though they don’t even have a fourth car set for the opener. We predicted this here and here.

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Wrong, wrong wrong: Continue reading

IndyCar Predictions and Prognostications – Media Day, Aero Kits & St. Pete

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The publication of this second ever edition of ‘IndyCar Predictions’ proves our propensity for prognostication, as it was foretold in the inaugural predictions that more would follow. Now IRR’s telepathic soothsaying division makes more bold predictions about the future of racing, visions which will no doubt shock and surprise our readers. Be warned that what follows is not for the faint of heart or the mere casual fan. Here are our latest prognostications for 2015 – we predict you’ll be surprised.

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Media Day Meh: Continue reading