100th Indy 500 Race Review: Out of Gas Edition

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

American IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi stunned IRR and the rest of the racing world Sunday. The Californian – who we predicted would do well – won the most significant race in history after running out of gas, coasting for nearly the entire final lap. When asked on television, the twenty four year old rookie classily mentioned it being “a huge honor and privilege” to have won the 100th.

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Photo from indycar.com

Juan Montoya‘s crash on his own in turn 2 was within IRR’s view at the track and a real highlight of the day. Sage Karam‘s wreck occurred right in front of us, while former 500 winner Buddy Lazier‘s problems went completely around the track. Continue reading

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100th Indianapolis 500 Preview: A Race Worthy Of The Hype

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Excitement approaches a crescendo as the 100th Indianapolis 500 draws near. It’s no exaggeration to call it the most important race in history. Over a century of tradition, the race of the year, the winner’s name and face etched in silver, all at the world’s largest single day sporting event. Expectations are for the greatest spectacle in racing to be even greater this year. After a long wait and lots of buildup, let’s hope the race lives up to the hype. We think it will.

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Consequently, the IRR crew will be on hand for the sights, sounds, smells and feel of Memorial Day Sunday at IMS. Unless you’ve actually attended an IndyCar oval race in person, you don’t realize the sheer force of the machines, the magnitude of the power and the absolute rush of the cars screaming past you. Simply put, dozens of cars doing over 220 miles per hour isn’t something normal to behold. The Indy 500 amplifies everything five fold – the higher speeds, the larger field, the awe inspiring Speedway. Come race day, three hundred thousand race fans are in for the treat of a lifetime.

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IMS is sold out as it should be, which necessarily means a traffic nightmare on race morning. Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Qualifications Day Two: Mayor of Indy

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Photo from twitter.com

Canuck comic and IndyCar pilot James Hinchcliffe completed a comeback story for the ages Sunday evening, going in the span of a year from the edge of oblivion to pole position for the 100th Indianapolis 500 mile extravaganza. He edged Americans Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay, the former by thirty four thousandths of a second over four laps, or ten miles. The series wanted drama for pole day and they got it.

In an early qualifications incident, A.J. Foyt Racing‘s Alex Tagliani “got really loose!” as he said on the exit of turn 4, spun and ended up clipping the pit lane wall attenuator. He’s fine, but the car’s not and receiving a DNQ they’ll start last in 33rd. AJ should be particularly thankful for the Monday practice session.

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Earlier Scott Dixon blew a Chevy engine, which is normally a death knell on the final day of qualifications, except there are only thirty three cars there. In almost super-human fashion, Ganassi’s teams changed the engines out in less than two hours, enabling him to qualify fairly well in thirteenth. That’s one better than Marco and one helluva team effort during a difficult week. Mike Hull, Ganassi’s head honcho on Dixon’s team, gave a different version. He said Chevy “asked us to change” the engine, citing “absolutely zero concern with our race engines,” when we asked. 
Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Qualifications Day One: Mayor of Indy?

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

After more a.m. rain, weepers on the track caused a delay in the first day of qualifying for the greatest spectacle in racing. IMS extended the track window by an hour setting up a helluva climax for ESPNews. Boy, was it a Duesie. The Mayor James Hinchcliffe stole the show – and the pole – in a riveting late happy hour run of 230.946 mph.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Prior to that, Max Chilton was involved in the first accident of the day in practice, losing the car in turn 2 and smashing Chip’s half million dollar bill board up pretty well. Calamity next struck Pippa Mann when her rear wing end fence failed during a qualifying attempt, spinning her out in turn 2. She almost saved it with an evasive maneuver before lightly brushing the wall.

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Photo from ap.org

ABC’s two hour window missed almost everything except Pippa’s spin and the final few qualifiers like 500 winner Buddy Lazier. Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Predictions and Prognostications: History Yet To Be Made

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Photo from si.com

Auto racing’s most important race ever is mere days away, the 100th running of the Indy 500. A fixture at Indianapolis, one thing’s always certain: history will be made come Memorial Day Sunday.

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Photo from heavy.com

Our special 100th Indianapolis 500 prediction is a whole lot of yellow – the angular 100th 500 emblem, countless canary cars, hordes of yellow shirts and yes, also a goodly number of caution flags. In IndyCar, that means lots of twenty minute snack and bathroom breaks for the spectators. With six full fledged rookies, another who barely started the 500, several more Month of May one offs and Takuma Sato in the field there’s bound to be some crashing. As for nearly half the field being yellow liveried, despite the odds we’re predicting a non-yellow car to win.

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Photo from twitter.com

There’ll be no track record again this year, far from it. The pole speed won’t hit  Continue reading

Fast Friday Fun

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

The day was incident free (though barely) and with additional boost added to the engines the speeds increased, as some topped 231 mph. Over half the field bested 230. Fast Friday was interrupted by rain and for the second time this week track time was lost due to precipitation. But the skies cleared in time for happy hour, which is always fun.

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Photo from dailytelegraph.com.au

Team Penske’s resident lunatic Will Power jumped out to an early lead with a top speed of 231.47, while quirky Californian Townsend Bell had the best speed by himself at 231.06 in the early going. The top drivers didn’t change by the end, funnily enough.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Power put up the day’s – and week’s – fastest lap of 232.6 with a tow during happy hour and Josef Newgarden soon jumped to second quick. SPM’s James Hinchcliffe Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Practice 4: Cautionary Edition

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Photo from indycar.com

The normally rideless Rookie of the Year Gabby “Pat” Chaves found him/herself atop the speed charts on the fourth/third day of practice. This extreme oddity – in a Dale Coyne car, to boot! – continues a Honda sweep at the top of the charts. There’s a cautionary note or two that accompany this story, though. First, the speed was tow assisted. Plus, a third Honda engine blew up in as many days of practice, never a good sign. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s AA machine belched smoke rolling to a halt on the warm up lane during the afternoon session.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

After Spencer Pigot’s wreck in his yellow car Wednesday, the series was taking no chances. Perhaps they were being overly cautious, like last year. Either that, or an inordinate amount of debris somehow found its way onto the racing surface. Seemed like an awful lot of cautions Thursday, despite the happy absence of wrecks. The speeds were slower, too. Pigot still hasn’t made it back out in his RLL backup car, which he’d described as “bare.” Probably the cautious thing to do.

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Photo from autosport.com

Add another yellow and blue car to the field, as f-ing F1 invader Alexander Rossi – who’s been quick this week for Andretti Autosport – makes the field practically half yellow this year. Ray Harroun’s probably spinning in his grave. We took it to the highest levels.  Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Practice 2/3: Tow Edition

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Honda may own the fastest speeds of the month in a tow, but they also own the first two major engine problems as well as the first crash.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

After a washout Tuesday the track was green Wednesday at the shrine of motorsports. Things got off to a wacky start with the numbering. According to IMS, the second day of practice which occurred Wednesday is actually – and officially – day three, not day two. Got that? So we’re using the Lazier/Burns slash and calling it practice 2/3.

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Photo from Jason on twitter.com

RLL rookie Spencer Pigot received a rude welcome to the ancient and unforgiving Speedway. Pigot became the first and only crash victim thus far, spinning in turn 1 and slamming into the end of the safer barrier with his left side. Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Preparations: 1st Practice Blues

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Photo from Honda on twitter.com

Chevy couldn’t have been happy with the first day’s results, as Honda swept the top four spots. In fact, Andretti Autosport claimed the four fastest cars, with Marco quickest at almost 229 mph. Townsend Bell – who wins ugliest car of the year award, hands down – piloted the fastest non-towed car at just over 223. Even AA’s f-ing F1 invader Alexander Rossi was quick. Scott “Gump” Dixon wound up as top Chevy in fifth at 226.8. None of which made us very happy – but it’s early.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

All thirty three entries appeared on track Monday, the most cars on opening day in years. [In Robert Duvall’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ voice] “Smells like – the hundredth!” Had to be the most yellow cars on track in a long time too, including those of Helio, Pags, Marco, Hunter-Reay and Pigot. Oh, also the aforementioned Bell – and probably a few others, too. Often and rather oddly, the yellow liveries are combined with blue.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

The other category of cars is red, white and blue ones. AJ was in the house, Continue reading

100th Indy 500 Preparations Underway: ‘Ex-cellent’ Lazier/Burns Racing

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The most important race in history rapidly approaches as drivers and teams frantically prepare themselves for the 100th running of the greatest spectacle in racing. IRR’s crack staff has assembled some thoughts on the subject as anticipation builds like a Speedway official spending taxpayer dollars.

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Photo from motorsport.com

There are six former winners in the field and as is our wont we’re focusing on the most obscure. Fierce competitor and 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier is back for his nineteenth extravaganza, with a brand new team called Lazier/Burns Racing. We immediately came up with a signage suggestion for the fledgling outfit, as Buddy and Burns-ie will need all the help they can get this year.

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Lazier’s a sentimental favorite for many, having failed to qualify for the 500 no fewer than six times – including last year. Buddy even finished last once, in 1991. Continue reading