St. Pete: Dawn of the Aero Kit Era

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The dawn of the IndyCar aero kit era Sunday looked a lot like the previous era except with more cautions, debris and carnage. Dozens of broken winglets, ruined front and rear wings – some teams having to replace multiple wings and even borrow from other teams – and several penalties thrown in for good measure marked the 2015 season opener. Unfortunately a female spectator was hit in the head by flying debris during the race, causing a skull fracture. We suggested trained “debris monkeys” as a remedy for the numerous buzz killing caution periods. Team Penske’s dominance remained unquestioned with Montoya taking his 13th IndyCar win and his teammates finishing no lower than fifth. The only non Penske in the top five was TCGR’s Kanaan in third.

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The day began shakily with race coverage on ABC delayed due to basketball, “a boys’ game played in women’s clothing.” Turned out less Eddie Cheever and Scotty Goodyear wasn’t the worst part of the coverage. Continue reading

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Qualifications: Instant Reaction

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IndyCar’s first ever qualifying session using aero kits occurred yesterday, though few noticed. Fans were forced to watch a dodgy web stream if they cared to see it. As predicted, Mad Will Power won the pole with a new track record and his Penske team mates took the other top three spots. Chevrolet was dominant, sweeping eight of the top ten quickest times. Unfortunately aero kits are bringing greater disparity between teams and Team Penske will continue to benefit from it this season.

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Marco Andretti was out-qualified by a his new part time team mate who was out of the car all last year Simona De Silvestro. Even further back, Graham Rahal‘s starting 15th. It appears there are no legacies in IndyCar, at least not lately. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Burgers, Cars & Money

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Money, Money: IndyCar announced an increase to Leader’s Circle monies to be paid out by about a quarter million dollars plus other larger “bonuses.” The hike brings the total paid per entrant to $1.25 million, reflecting both higher costs and revenues. These funds are paid by IndyCar to full time teams in lieu of decent race purses aside from the ever present Indy 500 exception.

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The 2015 Leader’s Circle includes twenty one entrants, but Simona de Silvestro in Andretti Autosport’s fourth car, Simon Pagenaud in Penske’s fourth car and Jack Hawksworth in AJ Foyt’s second car aren’t covered. These drivers in particular need to perform well for their sponsors and owners, who’ve risked something to provide their rides.

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Questioning the Kits: Will the new aero kits be quicker than the old Dallaras and will track records begin to fall? Continue reading

IndyCar Predictions and Prognostications: St. Pete Effete

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From the Latin, effete is usually defined as either “weak,” “soft” or “ineffectual.” Our initial prediction is that the new aero kits will prove to be all of the above. Why beat around the bush? We came right out and said IndyCar aero kits look ugly, silly and new fangled. We forthrightly continue to stand by those views. After all, when you’re right you’re right. Aero kits will allow the mega teams to separate from the pack due to testing, number of cars, resources and the like. Get ready for the opposite of parity and for plentiful Penske celebrations.

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Prediction number two is regarding the overall show in St Pete on Sunday. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions: Feisty Fontana

IRR’s crystal ball crew has been busy celebrating our stupendous success in last week’s prognostications, nailing the race winner and several other lesser predictions. So if our offerings are a bit meandering you’ll understand why. This week the series goes to Southern California, a place the Stranger in “The Big Lebowski” described as “high in the running as one of the laziest places on earth.”

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SoCal’s vibe doesn’t really mesh that easily with NASCAR. It’s tantamount to the Dude attending a cock fight, or even a goat swap. As a consequence, lots of empty aluminum will be on display today in the spring California sun.

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If you’re a regular reader then you know we’re not picking Kurt Busch to win. Continue reading

Beekhuis Out After Brief Tenure As Race Steward

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Longtime motor sports reporter Jon Beekhuis has confirmed to Indy Race Reviewer that he will not be an IndyCar race steward for the 2015 season. His role will consist of television pit reporter with both ABC and NBCSN only. It’s set to be less busy year for Beekhuis since giving up his race steward duties he acquired late last season. As Derrick Walker recently explained of the new system under Chief Steward Brian Barnhart, three stewards will operate as a committee with majority rule on calls. Walker likened Barnhart’s position to that of a “team manager” who must consider various viewpoints and then make a decision.

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Exactly why Beekhuis left the race control triumvirate after such a brief stay remains unclear, though he cryptically left open the possibility of a return at some point in the future, writing you “never know.”  Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Silliest Season

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Mess Kits: Aero kit testing began Sunday at NOLA and then continued Monday and Tuesday at Barber Motorsports park in nearby Alabama. The Chevys showed the speed as Target driver Scott Dixon topped day one of testing at Barber with a lap time of just over a minute and seven seconds. The NOLA laps were untimed. KV’s rookie Stefano “faster than Andretti” Coletti was second quick on day two behind Power and was in fact faster than Marco by nearly a second. Will Power‘s time of a minute seven point three seconds for Penske topped day two, which translates to a whopping 123 miles per hour on the undulating road course. Dixon’s previous track record without the benefit of aero kit still stands at nearly a second quicker than Power’s Tuesday time.

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Accidents Happen: Rookie Ganassi driver Sage Karam broke a bone in his right hand in a scary accident leaving the track at Barber Monday. We affectionately call it Karam’s carom. Continue reading

Aero Kits in Action

Here’s a look at some IndyCars on track during this week’s testing of the new aero kits. First is Will Power in the champion’s #1 Penske Verizon Chevrolet.

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Next we have Scott Dixon in the #9 Target Chevy. Dixon turned in the quickest time of the first day of testing at Barber with a lap of just over a minute seven.

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Rookie KV driver Stefano “faster than Andretti” Coletti tested out the new LED display which will inform viewers of cars’ positions on track.  Continue reading

France’s Series in Phoenix: Feh

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In unspectacular fashion, Kevin Harvick won his fifth race of the last six at PIR just as we predicted. In a bit of a yawner, there were only three leaders the entire race and as expected Harvick pulled away for an easy victory at the end. Surprisingly, we also foretold a crash fest at Phoenix as well as Danica, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart all doing poorly. The race had a total ten cautions with Tony Stewart involved in two of them while Danica’s ass-around spin appropriately caused another.

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“Smoked” Stewart crashed twice and to our knowledge didn’t make any post race ISIS references or announce his conversion to Islam. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions: Phoenix Felonies Edition

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Notice: Due to poor recent performance, IRR’s NASCAR soothsayers have been permanently reassigned to much harder and less desirable positions. Please excuse the mess while our crystal ball is being polished. Nevertheless, we persevere. The “BUFF” cars visit Phoenix this week, site of Superbowls, sandstorms and one tough Sheriff, so here are this week’s prognostications –

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Kurt Busch won’t win, therefore all RV walls and any WAG who unfortunately happens to be around him should beware. Of course he won’t be prosecuted either, as KB enjoys special privileges and immunities his lowly fans do not.

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After offering shocking support of terror group ISIS last week in a possible high profile case of Stockholm syndrome, Tony Stewart Continue reading