IndyCar Fans Just Love To Bitch

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The wine and cheese crowd of open wheel auto racing – like most Americans – finds much to complain about these days. Rightfully so.

As regular fans who love the sport, yet at the same time wish to see it bettered, we at IRR freely admit loving to bitch at, to and about all things IndyCar. Doesn’t everyone? IndyCar fans’ bitching easily puts that of NASCAR fans to shame. It’s another tremendous tradition that all followers of artistry on wheels share, no matter the era – or the issue – in question. For devotees of speed, it’s practically a point of pride. In fact, the IndyCar series may well enjoy (or is it endure?) the bitchiest fan base in all of sports, certainly per capita. Considering Philadelphia Eagles rooters are on that list, it’s quite an impressive feat.

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Whether it’s their 500 tickets not arriving in the mail when they feel they should (or worse – the horror! – they arrive after a fellow Twitter user got theirs), the series’ so called schedule, its poor promotion, inept leadership, woeful owners, crappy streaming, questionable ride buying talent, lack of ovals, ad hoc rule enforcement, lousy coverage, or any number of other things, fans of fast love letting their disapproval be known. Why shouldn’t they? After all, they’re the ones paying for it.

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Over the last twenty months, IRR alone has published countless articles critical of the sport we adore – and with good reason. Alas, for lovers of Indy there’s plenty to bitch about. Continue reading

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Frenchman Bourdais’ Big Rig Bursts Into Flames En Route To Phoenix; Pags Prime Suspect

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In an ominous start to IndyCar’s first oval race in eight months, KV Racing’s Hydroxycut hauler does its best impression of a matchstick.

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The semi truck hauling Sebastien Bourdais‘ IndyCar caught fire near Peoria, Arizona today. It had nearly completed its journey to Phoenix International Raceway for this weekend’s festivities before suddenly bursting into flames. There were neither injuries nor damage to the car once the flames were extinguished by fire crews, although the team may want to invest in some Febreeze. No immediate cause for the suspicious incident was released, but longtime Bourdais rival and fellow fast and feisty Frenchman Simon Pagenaud is a prime suspect. Here’s an IRR artist’s depiction of the Cap’n’s seafood special, so be on the lookout.

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This level of alleged French on French crime is appalling, particularly as the media continue to ignore the story. Bourdais, Continue reading

Phoenix IndyCar Predictions And Prognostications: Red Hot ‘Readymade’ Edition

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Photo from motorsportsnbcsports.com

Seems to us that for one IndyCar driver, Phoenix is “Readymade, readymade. Steady as the river rolls. Readymade, readymade. And this is how the story goes.”

On an entertainment note, PIR’s hosting the ’90s “rock” band ‘Better Than Ezra’ for Phoenix’s fans of fast. Really? Since they’re reaching back into the last millennium for music for IndyCar’s return to Arizona, the ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’ – playing at Lollapalooza this year – are a much more appropriate band for the occasion on many levels. Just click the above video as you read along and you’ll hear why.

Our special prediction for the race in the desert – IndyCar’s first since 2005 – is a lot of dry, dusty heat. Not only weather wise, but also like the wine those f-ing F1 invaders at the rear of the field enjoy so much. It’s at the back where Max “Paris” Chilton and the others will remain at Phoenix – or, if you prefer, with the backwash at the bottom of the bottle.

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“I got a cousin making beats deep down in Arizona. We’re gonna rocket to Ramone’s in the city of Pomona.”

Another prediction concerns NBCSN, Continue reading

Why Menard’s Indy 500 Decision Is So Disappointing

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In the past, John Menard placed his immense IndyCar sponsorship money for the good of the sport with drivers and teams who needed it – not with super teams who don’t.

On Tuesday Team Penske announced a partnership with the Midwesterner Menard for three races this season, including the all important 100th Indy 500. His sponsorship dollars will go to the irascible Frenchman Simon Pagenaud‘s 22 car for three races, culminating at Road America in Menard’s home state of Wisconsin. This decision by the “Save Big Money” man is highly disappointing, to say the least.

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In one sense, we at IRR appreciate Menard’s recently announced IndyCar backing, which used to be a staple of the series. Like many, we welcome the prodigal billionaire back. Also appreciated are his cars’ distinctive day-glow paint schemes, adding much to open wheel racing’s aesthetic. Last but not least, the billionaire’s backing of the 100th Indy 500 admittedly is also a gracious, though self serving, gesture. But that’s where the rub comes in, as his backing in this case is badly misplaced.

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Citing a lack of “fun,” Menard jumped ship to NASCAR back in 2004 after sponsoring IndyCar teams for twenty five years. Menard’s IndyCar drivers included the late Scott Brayton, Greg Ray and a younger, slimmer and more sane Tony Stewart. Continue reading

Phoenix IndyCar Preview: Reclaiming The Desert

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As IndyCar returns to Phoenix for the first time in over a decade, fast paced surprises await race fans in the springtime desert.

Phoenix International Raceway’s been the sole haunt of those nattering NASCAR nabobs since the speedy set split after last racing there in 2005. IndyCar’s kiss off saw Sam Hornish, Jr. win for the second time at Phoenix, beating Tony Kanaan who’d won the previous two. Helio‘s also won at PIR for the Cap’n – once – in 2002. In all of IndyCar, TK and Helio are the only two still in the field old enough to ever have run in the desert. Question is, can these two codgers reclaim their former glory?

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The first IndyCar race occurred at the brand spankin’ new PIR way back in 1964. Not surprisingly, it was won by the bigger than life A.J. Foyt in a Watson/Offy. Phoenix was favorable for the never dry Foyt, as he went on to win three more times during his long career. He’s joined by other multiple winners and legends of the sport including Lloyd Ruby, Mario Andretti, Al Unser and perhaps the best named racer of all time, Gordon Johncock. Here’s to reclaiming IndyCar history in Arizona.

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PIR is an oval – albeit a dog legged, relatively flat one – so we’re loyally, though levelly enthusiastic. At least Miles and company haven’t eliminated all of ’em yet. Continue reading

Indy Rivals We’d Like To See

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Just as IndyCar’s speed is wantonly wasted on road courses – and Marco – the series seriously under utilizes rivalries. IRR aims to change that with some actionable ideas for a brand new set of Indy rivals.

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Sure, a few rivalries may still exist, but they’re neither good nor old fashioned. Today they generally start – and end – on social media, often failing to last long enough even to make the television coverage. Compounding this crisis of (a lack of) contention is the fact that Sage Karam remains in IndyCar exile. Sage and half the field last year aside, nowadays rivalries pale in comparison to A.J. and Mario – or even A.J. and Arie. Hell, A.J. and anybody. This mirrors the state of the sport as a whole and that’s just not good enough. It’s something the drivers and owners under their own initiative can do to better the show. Above all, improving IndyCar is what we’re all about.

For the good of IndyCar, here are some Indy rivals we’d like to see:

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Josef and Ed – The ECR teammates should turn nemesis and there are plenty of reasons why. Owner Ed “prince” Carpenter crashed Josef out at Fontana last year and Sunday at St. Pete didn’t even bother to run a teammate for him, while he of course only drives on the ovals. Continue reading

What’s Wrong With Juan? An IRR IndyCar Inquiry

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To the chagrin of many IndyCar aficionados, the unpopular, immodest and crotchety Colombian repeated at St. Pete after doing so in last year’s Indy 500. So what’s wrong with this prickly Penske provocateur who spends a few weekends every year as a pilot?

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Juan Pablo Montoya’s a man who’s becoming legendary as of late, whether you like it or not. Or to cite his standard throwaway quote, “you know?” He missed taking the 2015 championship on style points to Dixon, with the consolation of winning the world’s greatest race, again. From the Brickyard to the beach, fans of artistry on wheels are aware of JPM, if not exactly celebrating him.

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His first Indy 500 win way back in 2000 was truly tough to watch for non-Juan fans, as he dominated the entire race, leaving little room to realistically root against him. Continue reading

St. Pete Race Review: Pete & Repeat, Sitting On A Podium

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Series devotees who secretly suspect Penske will win every single Sunday – but yet repetitively hope it isn’t the case – have seen this race before.

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Riveting racing made a brief appearance in the 2016 IndyCar series season opener, but vanished more surely than Dale Coyne fans’ momentary folly that the team has the remotest chance of winning a race. The combination of the cavernous street circuit, the still overly weak aero kits and highly aggressive and inexperienced jockeys made for a predictable race – and one reminiscent of other sucky street course events. Leaving us at one point wishing for rain – anything! – to liven up the show, it just seems all those beautiful horses are wasted running in a bumpy alley – not to mention the duplicate body work bills.

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Juan “schoolgirl giddy” Montoya forced his way around Coyne’s young Hoosier Conor Daly – the favorite of underdog lovers everywhere – just past mid race to repeat in St. Pete. It was the Cap’n’s zillionth IndyCar victory and started his fiftieth anniversary year off right. Continue reading

Cringeworthy Cavin Calls Out Concerned Customers

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Indy Star IndyCar reporter gets it wrong on Rossi, dual allegiances between IndyCar and F1 and paying customers’ credible concerns.

News broke yesterday that f-ing F1 invader Alexander Rossi – who’ll be driving for (who else?) Andretti/Herta this season, when he’s not too busy – will fill a dubious dual role also serving as F1’s Manor Racing’s substitute driver. Rookie Rossi, an American, only recently came to IndyCar after failing to find the podium in five Formula 1 starts in 2015.

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In IndyCar for all of zero races, double agent Rossi derisively deemed the series “foreign,” which didn’t exactly endear him to IndyCar enthusiasts. After taking the seat away from reigning Rookie of the Year and good guy Gabby Chaves, it’s crystal clear that he’s not fully committed to IndyCar at all. He’d rather be with Bernie. According to Cavin though, we’re all wrong for pointing out this fact.

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Move along, Curt advised readers from behind his pay wall, there’s nothing to see here. Continue reading

St. Pete IndyCar Predictions And Prognostications: For Pete’s Sake!

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IRR’s crystal ball has been polished and readied for another scintillating season of predictions and prognostications. Let’s hope they’re worthy of ol’ Saint Peter himself, or at least a third rate beachfront community.

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Unlike last year, the season opener actually will take place and won’t be rudely cancelled by the host. Oddly enough, St. Pete welcomes IndyCar with open arms – despite last year’s horrific fan injuries that made “Shaun of the Dead” look tame. Luckily after being showered with flying aero kit debris nobody was shown the pearly gates.

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Propitiously, there’ll be fewer casualties among the paying fans this year. Not because the aero kits are any better, but because Continue reading