IndyCar News Week in Review: Derrick, We Hardly Knew Ye

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Walker Walks: Mark Miles announced Derrick Walker’s resignation as IndyCar President of Competition Thursday, effective at season’s end. Walker’s brief two year tenure leaves yet another void in series leadership, using the term loosely. His biggest challenge was overseeing the introduction of the costly and controversial aero kits this season in an effort to differentiate the look of the cars.

Mike Hull, Target Chip Ganassi Racing team manager

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Walker’s Wake: It’s become a freakin’ turnstile at 16th & Georgetown and speculation about a replacement for Walker has already begun. Curt Cavin pointed to Ganassi honcho Mike Hull as a likely replacement, but we just don’t see it. Hull has the knowledge and experience, but he’s an extremely odd duck and like Walker would struggle as a face of the series with the press. Walker’s impending departure at the end of August also means we’ve a lame duck in charge of race control for the final three races, so don’t expect an immediate uptick in rational calls or a more even application of penalties. Sadly such inconsistency will be Walker’s legacy as competition chief.

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Expected Engine Infractions: Several Honda teams, including Andretti Autosport, Continue reading

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Honda 200 Predictions and Prognostications: Camp Edition

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Maybe several coats of pretty pastel Sherwin-Williams paint could spruce up the fifty something sports car course and campground, but as for the racing this weekend don’t count on much to look at. We at IRR can’t remember the last remotely watchable race at Mid-Ohio and although we’ve been fooled once this season by the racing on a road course unfortunately it’s highly unlikely Sunday. The track’s simply unsuitable for IndyCars and if they want fans squealing with delight then the series really ought to find a better place to camp next season.

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Anticipating abject and unrelenting tedium in the woods we’ll be Live Tweeting the “event” in the hopes of adding some spice and maybe even a touch of camp. Those noisy IndyCars at rustic Mid-Ohio – it’s all just a bit too manly for our tastes. Our special prediction for the race involves the campers at Mid-Ohio, or rather a large contingent of “glampers” invading the track this weekend. Largely city boys out for a thrill, there’ll be some spontaneous weddings break out on the lovely, wooded hillsides where methanol fumes magically intermingle with wispy campfire smoke. Sometimes and especially this year IndyCar needs a feminine touch – and the glampers won’t disappoint.

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Our prediction for pole sitter – such a deliciously descriptive term, isn’t it? – started second last year and has been hotter than a gay pride parade ever since. CFH’s Josef Newgarden – an attractive young man in great shape and with even better hair – has given Americans of all orientations someone to lustily cheer for in 2015. He’s just so cute!

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At the other end of the happy scale, first out of the race will be Continue reading

Mid Ohio Preview: Oh No – Not Again!

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After a hiatus thanks to a half empty Brickyard 400 – making us wonder if those bean counters running Indy Car will ever learn to walk and chew gun at the same time – we’re finally back to racing. Too bad it’s at one of the lesser tracks on the schedule, Mid-Ohio. How’s that for IndyCar building momentum – a week off followed by a trip to a sports car track in the sticks?

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More fitting for a walk than a race, Mid-Ohio’s like Barber without the “beautiful setting” part. At least Barber manages to put on a watchable race every few years. To be fair, it’s nearby Indy and apparently the camping’s adequate. To be unfair, we advocate ditching this race in favor of Road America in Wisconsin plus a few ovals, reiterating our long held view “Down With Mid-Ohio.”

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Making matters worse, the undulating country sports car course is almost always won by Scott Dixon – five times now, yawn – or another Ganassi driver like Charlie Kimball, who broke through in 2013. When asked via Twitter if he expected to demolish the field with a four car sweep, The Chipster Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Rule 9.3.8 Edition

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Boob Tube Views News: Television viewership increased for the third straight race – that’s third straight oval race, thank you very much – on NBCSN. It’s welcome news for the series and network, although at roughly 500,000 it’s kinda like being voted prettiest woman who was formerly a male decathlete. [Rule 9.3.8 violation] Then the rule 9.3.8 controversy – which we had nothing to do with – sprang forth and sucked all the air out of IndyCar’s room. Oh well. We’re already looking forward to the last remaining oval contest at Pocono – the racing’s been superb on the circular tracks, particularly Fontana and Iowa – and predict that Mid-Ohio won’t have either the racing or the ratings IndyCar’s been enjoying. [Rule 9.3.8 violation]

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Iowa’s Intensity: Sage Karam violently burst onto the niche cable sports channel stage Saturday night for the few hundred thousand viewers who tuned in to see the show. Attendance at the track looked off a bit as Ryan Hunter-Reay won again which we’ve all seen before – three times now and twice in a row – but the race itself was outstanding. Bonus drama broke out with Ed “Macho Man” Carpenter getting into “Wild Man” Sage’s face and letting the f-bombs fly. And all completely penalty free, to boot. Finally, it looks like “Indy Rivals” may be starting to get some actual rivals for a change. [Rule 9.3.8 violation]

17-18 July, 2015, Newton, Iowa USA Sage Karam ©2015 Scott R LePage  LAT Photo USA

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Penalties Are Passe: As predicted no drivers were penalized for the mayhem in Iowa, Continue reading

IndyCar Gives Drivers The Finger – And Some Deserve It

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IndyCar’s new addendum to Rule 9 regarding detrimental conduct toward the series and its competitors provoked much wailing and gnashing of teeth Tuesday when it was announced. Judging by the reaction in the press and Twitter environs, we think many of the windier wind bags doth protest too much, as usual. Because common sense once existed and thrived in this country, no major professional sports league allows its participants to publicly belittle the sport. IndyCar only fortified its stance in this regard after a number of drivers did exactly that in California.

Will Power and Juan Montoya‘s utterances following the thrilling MAVTV 500 at Fontana were completely unacceptable. Their degrading judgments were way out of line and as we wrote deserved action. Now action has been taken. Don’t blame IndyCar however, blame Power and Montoya.

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A study of society shows that’s the way it almost always works – a few bad apples, malcontents, idiots or incompetents screw things up for everybody else by bringing about new rules that everyone had lived perfectly well without. That’s why freedom today’s in so much jeopardy. Power and Montoya are those two kids in class who can’t resist eating the paste, so because of them nobody gets craft time. Thanks a lot, losers.

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But wait. IndyCar honcho Mark Miles insisted Continue reading

About Those IndyCar Penalties, Or Under-Officious Jerks

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Seems to us IndyCar’s iron fist of justice has turned a bit well, limp lately. The faceless, mysterious and secretive force known only as “race control” has obviously changed direction this season, taking a delayed approach to penalty enforcement – if bothering at all. Remember black flags? Drive through penalties? Disqualifications? As we all learned in government class and more recently in Ferguson, Baltimore and movie theaters everywhere, lax enforcement leads to disregard of the rules, which in turn leads to chaos. IndyCar’s chaotic enough without adopting Russian mob rules.

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In taking a wait and see approach to penalties, IndyCar is bucking the long standing tradition of penalizing drivers for infractions during the race in which they committed them so as to affect the offending drivers’ outcomes. IndyCar has three stewards and new, supposedly state of the art video equipment, so why not use them? Instant assessment of penalties not only discourages bad behavior and rule breaking – both of which are occurring this season – but also eliminates the speculation, whining and questioning that inevitably lingers long after the incidents themselves. Seen Twitter lately? After all, when it comes to officiating it’s an issue of basic fairness.

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Little was written or said about the Milwaukee winner’s misdeeds as the series ploddingly plowed its way into Iowa. Bourdais‘ team Continue reading

Iowa Race Review: Sage Gone Wild

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Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay won Iowa for the third time Saturday night, but twenty year old rookie Sage Karam stole the show, swerving and chopping his way to third for his first IndyCar podium finish. Clearly on a roll the last several races, in short Sage went wild. Josef Newgarden led much of the latter stages of the frantic race only to finish second while Graham Rahal led another charge from seventeenth to fourth making it an American sweep in the heartland. Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz rounded out the top five in a favorable night for Andretti‘s team.

Jul 18, 2015; Newton, IA, USA; IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) reacts after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-230374 ORIG FILE ID:  20150718_lbm_ad1_319.JPG

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Sparks flew throughout the last half of the race as intense racing and hectic traffic around the tiny oval led to drivers being either exhausted or enraged or both. Karam enjoyed another rocket ride to the front in the number eight car. Were it not for a slow right front tire change during his last pit stop he might have fared even better. At one point Sage simultaneously showed his immaturity and fearlessness, screaming about Jack Hawksworth on the radio. “Dude, I’m alongside him and he won’t back out!” Ed Carpenter appeared high on the list of drivers Karam managed to offend on his charismatic, choppy charge as the veteran gestured repeatedly from the car and then confronted the Ganassi driver immediately after the race.

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Ambling angrily down pit lane with cameras following, IndyCar’s only owner-driver animatedly got in the youngster’s face and loudly lectured him about “respect.” Continue reading

Iowa Predictions & Prognostications: ‘300’ Edition

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There’s going to be a fight of epic proportions Saturday night, one for the history books. The Iowa Corn 300 will resemble history’s bloody Battle of Thermopylae, the heroic stand against invaders made famous to modern readers by the Hollywood movie “300.” As in the film, Spartans in glistening helmets will be bravely battling their enemies, only this time they’ll be on track, knee deep in IndyCar gore and in normal color. We can guarantee gobs of good ol’ gladiatorial gamesmanship in the arena amongst the cornfields near Newton, Iowa. Long live Sparta!

Saturday, July 31, 2010 - Iowa Speedway

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In its shape, size and utility, Iowa Speedway resembles a Greek coliseum and like its ancient precursor the speedway will be filled with screaming spectators ready to see the show. IndyCar drivers bring a warrior mentality to those chariots of theirs as well they should, for another oval track battle royal is about to take place. Here’s what else our oracles ordained to occur this weekend in Iowa.

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Our special prediction for Iowa is Continue reading

Our First Anniversary Thank You Note To Readers

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Will Power can really sum things up nicely sometimes, can’t he? But seriously, we at IRR truly and deeply appreciate our readers, supporters and fan (thanks, Mom!) for all your interest, reading and encouragement. The first year’s been both fun and rewarding, and the performance of the site has surpassed even our wildest expectations.

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For that, the entire staff at IRR wishes to thank you, our loyal followers and we suppose even our occasional readers. Continue reading

Iowa Corn 300 Preview: Edibles Edition

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Iowa’s known for corn, hogs, related edibles and frankly little else. It’s the home of has been IndyCar blogger Bill Zahren, aka “PressdogTM,” as well as the Iowa Caucuses whatever those are. Apparently it’s some sort of beauty pageant for the rather homely political class, proving the old dictum that politics is celebrity for ugly people. Iowa sounds like it’s got a lot going for it, doesn’t it? We kid, we kid. Seriously, Saturday night should prove to be a tasty treat for fans of artistry on wheels.

Saturday, July 31, 2010 - Iowa Speedway

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The best part of the entire god-forsaken state is Iowa Speedway, a 7/8s mile oval located east of Des Moines in the tiny town of Newton. Thank you, Rusty Wallace. Apparently it’s the one track in the country that can handle both an IndyCar race AND a certain other series race within a few weeks of each other. Now THAT’s tasty. It must be all that gooey corn pollen that makes this possible in the Hawkeye state. Or perhaps it’s the intense, wafting smell of hog shit (aka “money”) that has such a wonderfully efficient effect on the locals. They even have a “bar tent” at the Speedway and actually give away sweet corn during the festivities. Beer and corn – it’s not exactly wine and cheese – but what a culinary combo!

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The hors d’ oeuvres sized “speedway” opened back in 2006 and hosted its first IndyCar race the next year. Retired Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti – hailing from Scotland he’s used to horrible food – narrowly edged Marco Andretti to win the inaugural Iowa Corn 250. The race has been expanded to 300 laps the last couple of years and we’re thankful for the extra helping of fifty, gladly taking all the mouth watering oval track racing we can get. After all, egg shaped tracks are the meat and potatoes of IndyCar.

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