IMS’s Latest Dirty Trick

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Poor decisions and IndyCar leadership have unfortunately become synonymous.

A recent announcement revealed that a midget dirt track of all things is being constructed on the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This lunacy is to honor retiring NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. It’s a filthy, crass idea, a dirty trick and a roundly regrettable decision.

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This turn three tragedy is a retirement gift for the popular though troubled racer with ISIS links, and strikes us a smokescreen for publicity and profit from the speedway cum cash cow. All this – a brand new 3/16s of a mile track built to host exhibition events – for Smoke? Hell, living legend A.J. Foyt didn’t even get a new suite built for him and he actually won the Indy 500 – four times. He never bolted IndyCar for another series, either. Besides, Stewart hardly punches above his weight.

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Several questions arise from this troubling trend in Speedway. Are still more taxpayer dollars to be used for this travesty? How will historic IMS – and the big league racing held there – be affected? Will the fan experience be harmed by this PR stunt? Finally, what’s the point? Couldn’t they find another suitable piece of property nearby for such gimmickry?

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IMS President Doug Boles Continue reading

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Road America Race Review: Good Fun Edition

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Overall the racing in IndyCar’s return to Wisconsin disappointed almost as badly as the eventual winner, though good fun was had by almost everyone at Road America.

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The Kohler Grand Prix turned out to be a fairly boring one caution affair with the unlikable pole sitter cruising to victory. It was Mad Will Power‘s second win in the last two races, after undergoing a year long drought. Frankly, we preferred the drought.

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Nevertheless, the drivers enjoyed themselves, with the injured Josef Newgarden Continue reading

Josef Newgarden Won’t Be Racing Anytime Soon

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The rising American IndyCar star who suffered multiple broken bones in a recent frightening accident at Texas hasn’t somehow discovered a magic healing elixir. It’s flatly irresponsible to suggest he’ll be racing this weekend, or for that matter anytime soon. Sorry to be a buzzkill, but reality is reality.

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Broken clavicles and hands – both of which are fairly important when wheeling around chariots of speed without benefit of power steering – obviously take time to heal. More time than a week and a half. The mere suggestion by some in the press and, what’s worse, from his team owner Ed Carpenter that he could race this weekend at Road America is lunatic fringe stuff.

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The fact that his name appears on the Kohler Grand Prix entrant list is just absurd – something we know all about. But it’s worse than that. It’s also deceptive.  Continue reading

Road America Predictions and Prognostications: Tasteful Edition

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The home state of Miller beer hosts an IndyCar race this weekend and we’re predicting a tasteful, if less fulfilling, outcome for the series’ return to Road America.

It’s been nearly a decade since IndyCar raced in Wisconsin’s haunted woods and then it was only one of two warring camps during the open wheel civil war. Few current drivers have raced there, although those who have include road course aces mad Aussie Will Power and irascible Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais. Fortunately for fans experience isn’t always the key to winning and tasting the champagne in this series.

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It’ll be a packed house in the campgrounds of RA Sunday, as a reported hundred thousand tickets have been sold. That’s all well and good, though we can’t help but wonder where these folks were when the historic Milwaukee Mile struggled to attract a fifth that number. The Methuselah Mile undoubtedly exhibited better racing than we’ll see at Elkhart Lake, yet it’s off this year’s schedule. There’s truly no accounting for taste.

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Our special prediction for Road America is Continue reading

Road America Preview: Racing The Haunted Woods

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A mysterious land of wonderment, danger and frights, Road America’s where AJ‘s leg bones from his terrifying 1990 crash still haunt the foreboding, forested hills. For modern day racers, it’s a lengthy leap into the unsettling unknown.

 

Once upon a time long, long ago IndyCar raced at a magical place called Road America. The scene of flips, collisions and even rear wings flying off, racing last occurred there in 2007 prior to the conclusion of the super scary split. The series first appeared at the frightful facility in the deep, dark woods way back in 1982. Legends including Mario Andretti and Danny Sullivan won races there. It truly was an epic age.

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Only half the field tested in Wisconsin after the Texas flood, as they scattered for vacations from Vegas to Le Mans. Those who did test included Continue reading

A Note To Texas Detractors

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The complaints began with Saturday’s rain out and grew more vociferous and objectionable from there. No one can control the rainy conditions and as Charles Dudley Warner said, “everybody talks about the weather but nobody seems to do anything about it.”

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Like much of the spring in Texas, it rained buckets all weekend. It even continued to rain after the series packed up and left. As anti-climactic as the postponement until the end of August was, it saved the few returning die-hard fans grief and made sense in light of another weeks’ long gap in this year’s screwy schedule.

Then – seemingly out of nowhere – calls began to dump Texas Motor Speedway altogether. All this because of some weepers?! Continue reading

Texas Firestone 600 Predictions And Prognostications: Huge Edition

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Expect high speeds, plenty of passing action and lots of sparks flying on track in Texas Saturday night. As Napoleon said, “that which is large is beautiful,” and Texas Motor Speedway certainly qualifies. Also, there’ll be no preordained Penske parades like we saw Sunday in Detroit. In our eyes, that’s just huge.

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This week’s special prediction for the race is some good old fashioned, hugely entertaining oval track racing. Last year’s race was one of those rare Texas IndyCar contests that failed to fulfill fans. Caution free, Scott Dixon ran away with it cruising to an almost eight second margin of victory. Truly, Dixie did Dallas last year – in a huge way.

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The broadcast will also be noticeably superior to those of the last several races. NBCSN is not only covering the race and qualifications on its air, but also a bonus practice session Friday morning. Continue reading

Dual In Detroit Two Race Review: No Further Action

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Will Power saved The Cap’n’s weekend by winning at Detroit on Sunday. The race became a buzz killing Penske parade with one of the series’ least popular drivers searching for a celebration in victory lane. It didn’t help that his suit was soaking wet.

The race was preceded by wild morning qualifications that included Power and Conor Daly – among others – being penalized, though of course Penske was sanctioned less severely than Coyne. Pags stole yet another pole in the bifurcated session, with the second group dealing with a wet track. Like Saturday, starting P1 did the Frenchman little good.

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Pre-race coverage began with Allen Bestwicke assuring viewers, “This is not a repeat. This is a live, original program.” A heavily made up Goodyear sagely – if slightly contradictory – said, “I think we’re going to see the same thing,” while Cheever again mentioned “all these bumps!” Thank goodness it was ABC’s last IndyCar broadcast of the year.  Continue reading

Dual In Detroit One Race Review: Bumpy Edition

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What started out as another Pagenaud pass-out worthy Penske parade suddenly turned into an interesting race in the second half. Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais won his thirty fifth IndyCar race Saturday – from thirteenth – his second in as many years at Detroit.

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The start was anything but bumpy for pole sitter Pags, who checked out from the field. The first caution of the race came when – as we predicted – CGR’s rookie Max Chilton smacked the wall and exited the race. Apparently a suspension piece broke, as he swerved into the wall on a straightaway. The Englishman then proceeded to drop the F-bomb live on national television. That’s hot!

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Pags and Helio ran one-two on the Cap’n’s home track, thanks – according to ABC’s booth geniuses – to Penske’s special shocks and springs made especially for bumpy Detroit. Extremely bumpy commentary characterized the day’s coverage.  Continue reading

Dual in Detroit Predictions & Prognostications: Double Indignity

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After the glory that was the 100th Indianapolis 500, IndyCar’s schedule imposes upon race fans the double indignity of Detroit. Twice. Thank you, Mark Miles. On the desperately needed upside – and in the midst of widespread Post Indy Stress Disorder, or PISD – after Detroit comes more oval track awesomeness under the lights at Texas. Yeehaw!

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As for the double header on Belle Isle, it’s embarrassing for a number of reasons. A Randy Bernard brainchild, double headers were once an innovative way to stretch the series’ skinny schedule. These throwbacks included double dippers at Texas Motor Speedway – huzzah! – as well as the parking lots of Houston – boo! Now we’re down merely to Detroit’s Belle Isle. Yawn.

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The rat infested island sits in the Detroit River, which falls under the administration of the Water & Sewerage Department. The river’s where Flint residents used to get their water, back when their only worry was drinking treated human waste. Continue reading