Detroit One Race Review: Half Assed Half Race Edition

detroitfoxnewscom

Photo from foxnews.com

After Saturday’s half assed half race, we feel IndyCar owes its fans at least another race this season, if not two. We’ve had a cancelled race and now two rain shortened ones and we’re just halfway through the schedule. Of course the good folks at IMS can’t control the weather – yet – but it does point out how spoiled we’d all become during IndyCar’s years long stretch of good conditions for its races.

detroitusnewscom

Photo from usnews.com

Due to the weather and IndyCar’s recent proclivity to fill up the first half of its tv window, there was no pre race show and cars were already rolling in the rain on ABC at 2:30 Central. Downpours and debris marked Detroit’s first race of 2015 and had it been a complete race there may not have been many cars left to race on Sunday.

For the third race in a row now, a driver committed a first lap pile up. At least this time it was a rookie, Continue reading

Advertisements

Detroit Grand Prix Predictions and Prognostications: Double Down Edition

detroitusatodaycom

Photo from usatoday.com

Our expectations are rolling high for the first race on Saturday afternoon as it’s forecast to be wet.  With heavy thunderstorms expected, there’s the feeling that it could be one of those Houston 2014 double header weekends with all sorts of surprises. Considering it’s in Detroit, rain’s as good as it gets on the coma inducing street course giving the gamblers a better shot at beating the house.

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 28:  Carlos Huertas of Colombia, driver of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Dallara Honda, celebrates with Miss Grand Prix contestants after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race #1 at NRG Park on June 28, 2014 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Photo from Getty Images

It could be the magical kind of weekend where a group like Carlos Huertas and Dale Coyne beat Penske and Ganassi to win defying all the odds. Luckily for race fans, IndyCar in its infinite wisdom has doubled down on Detroit at a time when nearly everyone else has fled.  All this, right there on an international border that’s now one giant casino.

majpcrunchyrollcom

Photo from crunchyroll.com

The special prediction for the weekend is lots of losers – wet fans, most every gambler and once again the Honda teams. Andretti Autosport’s Continue reading

Dual in Detroit Preview: Forget That Motor City

detroittoledobladecom

Photo from toledoblade.com

Already at the halfway point of the season thanks to Brazil‘s cancellation, Toronto’s contraction and an absurdly abbreviated schedule,  IndyCar heads north to its dominant dynamo’s dwelling in destitute, dead-beat and derelict Detroit. Hardly the hub of America’s much less the world’s motor industry since at least the 1970s, today the city’s a bankrupt, decaying embarrassment – an open sore on an unhealthy nation. Oh well, at least a Honda probably won’t win this weekend.

detroitblightidelectuscom

Photo from idelectus.com

Crumbling old Detroit is a relic, a taxpayer bailed-out husk of a once great city. It’s a case study in decades of extremely poor one party rule and union control. It’s also where Roger Penske made his millions and since it’s easier to make a quick buck on a street “race” or two than a real race down the road in the Irish Hills, then that’s where IndyCar races. Because the Cap’n wills it. Penske’s former pride and joy Michigan International Speedway – a tremendous two mile oval southwest of Detroit – hosted extraordinary open wheel racing on and off from 1968 until 2007. Sold to ISC by Penske in 1999, IndyCar disappeared from the schedule completely soon thereafter. It’s the story of IndyCar ovals in a nutshell.

mismichiganorg

Photo from michigan.org

So we prepare to watch two half assed races where top speeds are in the 160s and passing’s at a premium. Oh, we’re back to the winged aero kits this weekend too, so you might want to bring along a helmet if you’re attending in person. Continue reading

Indy 500 Race Review: Foyt’s Foul Ups Edition

Sage Karam, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises crash

Photo from motorsport.com

Veteran driver Juan Pablo Montoya from Colombia won his second Indianapolis 500 Sunday a record fifteen years after a dominating win in his first appearance at the Brickyard. That’s appropriate, as Montoya received two warnings from race control – though no penalties – for running over an air hose and blocking. The ABC commentators said something about a “rules change” regarding the pit equipment which was fitting since rules changes have been the theme of the month at IMS. That controversy wasn’t even close to AJ Foyt Racing’s performance on the sport’s grandest stage though, which was utterly pathetic.

500sportsusatodaycom

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Once it finally got started, the Indy 500 proved to be an entertaining race with a remarkable thirty seven lead changes among ten different drivers. Montoya beat Power to the line by a tenth of a second, the fourth closest margin of victory in race history. It also marked the fifth year in a row there was a last lap lead change. American Charlie Kimball rounded out the podium with a strong third place finish for Ganassi while Graham Rahal was top Honda in fifth. Super sub Ryan Briscoe gained an impressive nineteen spots in James Hinchcliffe’s SPM car and finished twelfth despite spinning.

Ryan Briscoe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda spins

Photo from motorsport.com

Both the weather and the rules tweaks made to the cars cooperated on a gorgeous day in Indy. JPM’s win was Roger Penske’s 16th Indy 500 triumph, both deserved and a bit surprising considering the month he’d endured at Indianapolis. Montoya qualified poorly in fifteenth behind two of his team mates, experienced a horrible Carburetion Day with a serious lack of speed and to top it all off  he was hit from behind by Simona de Silvestro under caution after the failed start of the race.

simexaminercom

Photo from examiner.com

The race was far from perfect with six cautions for forty seven laps as a ragged false start to the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 got things started poorly. Continue reading

Indy 500 Predictions and Prognostications: Humble Edition

500indycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

The Indy 500 remains the most preeminent event on the American racing calendar, whether most people know it or not. Indy represents the high point of the IndyCar season and will be watched by several hundred thousand people at IMS and millions more on television around the globe. Disturbingly, for the first time in many years there exists real doubt surrounding driver and fan safety in the world’s biggest race. It’s a humbling thought, isn’t it?

Photo from Motorsports Snippets

We’re tempted to predict rain for the race on Sunday the way IndyCar’s year has gone so far. Let’s recap the first third of the season – a canceled opener in Brazil, an injured fan due to flying debris and a couple other races that nearly bored viewers to death. Now there’s the somersaulting car problem and most recently Hinch‘s serious injury, both troubling issues indeed. In reality a rain postponement – it’s in the forecast – which would bring out a smaller crowd and shrunken press coverage may be the safest outcome for a series in the midst of another crisis, humbled once again.

James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, hits the wall in the third turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 18, 2015.  (Jimmy Dawson/The Indianapolis Star via AP) ORG XMIT: ININS101

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Conventional  wisdom holds the 500 will be a crash-fest – particularly if practice has been any indication – and it could well be. But we think not. Continue reading

Indy 500 Preview: Aero Fits

500nydailynewscom

Photo from nydailynews.com

Thoroughly entertaining, last year’s Indianapolis 500 ran caution-free for the first three quarters of the race and featured an absolutely thrilling finish. American Ryan Hunter-Reay amazingly edged out Brazilian three-time winner Helio Castro Neves by less than a car length after passing him through the infield grass for the lead. The race was run with spec Dallara chassis, evolutionary cousin to the DW12. Before turning to this year’s 500, we have a serious question to ask. Now that the crown jewel of the sport the Indianapolis 500 has been adversely affected by aero kit madness, why not admit your mistake and go back to the pre aero kit Dallaras of last year, IndyCar?

The car driven by Josef Newgarden slides down the track after hitting the wall in the first turn and going airborne during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Thursday, May 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Joe Watts) ORG XMIT: NAA120

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Practice for this year’s 500 turned out to be a disaster, especially for a number of Chevys which couldn’t manage to keep tires on the track instead getting airborne. The number of Chevys is three, in case you’re wondering. As a result the cars were slowed significantly, everyone was made safe and qualifications went off with a whimper, though there’s no denying the 500 was compromised by the last minute rules changes. Then Monday practice happened and things suddenly took a turn toward the injurious. James Hinchcliffe’s Honda hit the wall in a hard impact, breaking the Canuck Mayor’s leg and eliminating him from the field (and rest of the season) in the painful process. One driver down in the aero kit era at Indy, thirty two to go.

James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, hits the wall in the third turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 18, 2015.  (Jimmy Dawson/The Indianapolis Star via AP) ORG XMIT: ININS101

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Interestingly there are only two rookies in the field this year – Gabby “Pat” Chavez and Stefano “faster than Andretti” Coletti. Both start at the rear of the field. There are plenty of former 500 winners in the field of thirty three, however. Here’s the rundown of the participating victors: Continue reading

Indy 500 Qualifications Instant Reaction: Exorcism Edition

The car driven by Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, is airborne after hitting the wall in the first turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 13, 2015.  (AP Photo/Joe Watts) ORG XMIT: NAA107

Photo from ap.org

An exceptionally odd weekend unfolded at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with weather, aero kit caused crashes and high level closed door meetings all playing large roles in the dada-esque Indianapolis 500 qualifications show. Somehow IndyCar pulled it off in a single afternoon without anyone getting hurt or too many thousands of fans growing irate. Qualifications Sunday were in fact uneventful and even boring, just as the series wanted after a harrowing few days of testing, rain forcing a compressed one day schedule and another scary crash in the final practice. Carpenter’s wreck damaged the wall, delayed proceedings past the television window and eventually changed the Indianapolis 500 mile race.

Photo from Motorsports Snippets

Decreased funding this year from Target helped Scott Dixon as the third driver on track put up the fastest speed of qualifications at 226.76 mph – over 3 miles per hour off last year’s pole. It’s the New Zealander’s second Indianapolis 500 pole – last time in 2008 he dominated the race and won. “I’m so damn happy – for this team,” he blurted after being forced to watch drivers target his speed all afternoon. Continue reading

Carpenter Crashes, 3-peat Pole Possibility Past

Photo from Motorsports Snippets

Owner/driver Ed Carpenter crashed in morning practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at shortly after 8 a.m. local time. The CFH Racing partner lost his #20 Fuzzy’s car in turn 2, spun into the wall and the flipped upside down before coming to rest. Fortunately Carpenter, who’d won the last two poles at Indianapolis and was seeking a record third straight, escaped the accident fully intact though obviously upset. He mentioned the unpredictability of the cars and being “pissed.” It’s the third time a Chevy has been airborne or upside down this month at Indianapolis, as Helio and Josef Newgarden already took wild rides last week. It’s a concern for the race, for certain.

The car driven by Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, is airborne after hitting the wall in the first turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 13, 2015.  (AP Photo/Joe Watts) ORG XMIT: NAA107

Photo from ap.org

Carpenter’s qualifying for the Indy 500 is now in some doubt, as due to rain yesterday the entire schedule has been compressed into today’s sessions. It’s a real shame for the American oval ace who was a favorite to win the race. His hopes of a record third consecutive pole now gone, Carpenter must focus on the race itself which remember was won last year by the 19th place starter Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Indy 500 Qualifying Predictions and Prognostications: No Track Record Edition

arie500legendscom

Photo from 500legends.com

With a disdain for buzz kills, it’s also our aim to provide accurate, insightful and useful information in our regular feature “Predictions” in advance of it occurring. Sadly and like many a lofty goal it isn’t always achieved, much like the quest for a new track record at Indy this year. The current four lap qualifying record of 236.9 was set by flying Dutchman (and unfortunately named) Arie Luyendyk in a Ford/Cosworth way back in 1996. Ah, the good ol’ days. That record’s stood safely for two decades now and we predict it will remain on the books for at least another year.

ariefoytsmackedforumcom

Photo from smackedforum.com

The current combo of small engines and LOTS of new aero kit bits just isn’t going to do it, as the top speeds in practice haven’t even cracked 230 yet without a tow. IndyCar will boost the turbos this weekend, but it still won’t be enough. Worse still, a disturbing trend of cars taking flight has emerged at the Speedway this year, though fortunately thus far the drivers have escaped unscathed. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: “Talkin’ ‘Bout Practice” Edition

macmmotorsportcom

Photo from motorsport.com

Misleading Speeds: Andretti Autosport’s cat-like Colombian Carlos Munoz topped the speed charts at Indy this week with a lap of 230.1 miles per hour on Wednesday. It’s a misleading number, however. Without tows from other cars the speeds had been in the high 220s, compliments of Helio, Pags and Chevy’s special new aero pieces. We stand by our prediction that there’ll be no new track records at Indianapolis this year, at least not in qualifying. Possibly in the number of back-flips by a car down the straightaway, though.

The car driven by Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, is airborne after hitting the wall in the first turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 13, 2015.  (AP Photo/Joe Watts) ORG XMIT: NAA107

Photo from ap.org

Helio’s Bad Day: Wednesday’s practice got expensive and scary for Team Penske’s Helio Castro-Neves, who got sideways, hit the wall and then somersaulted down the straightaway ultimately landing upside down on track. Fortunately and thanks to the safety of the Dallara cars he was uninjured. All this after IndyCar slapped him with an iron fisted though admittedly tortoise-paced reprimand subtracting eight points. Talk about adding insult to injury. The penalty was for last Saturday’s punting of Dixie at the start of the Grand Prix of Indy and was deserved, if not obvious. It came four days later – now that’s some decisive decision making from race control for ya.  Continue reading