IndyCar News Week in Review: Outrageous Hiatus Edition

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Usually reserved for the off season, an idiotic three week involuntary layoff from IndyCar action qualifies. See what we mean about this silly schedule? Purposely not on a break, here’s our latest version of IndyCar News Week in Review.

Flipping Nasty: Hoosier USAC iron man Bryan Clauson was critically injured during a midget race in Belleville, Kansas Saturday night. While leading the twenty seven year old was forced into the wall by a lapped car sending him cart-wheeling down the track. Before even coming to a stop, the three time Indy 500 starter was violently struck in the cockpit by a trailing car. It took them nearly a half hour to remove the cage and extract Clauson from the mangled wreck. He was airlifted to a Lincoln, Nebraska hospital.

Little has been reported on the extent of his injuries, though according to Robin Miller he’s in stable condition and breathing on his own. It appears an unwanted racing hiatus is in Bryan’s future and we wish him a full recovery. His Dale Coyne Racing teammate Pippa Mann, fellow Indy 500 competitor Graham Rahal and many others have expressed their thoughts and wishes. Forebodingly, Mann joined journalist Jenna Fryer in urging against speculation “until his family has something official to say.”

Ironically, Clauson’s last Tweet was sent out Saturday following a previous wreck. “Thanks to and for keeping me safe!”

Bryan’s family issued a statement on Facebook at just after 2:30 pm central time. They confirmed he remains in critical condition and asked for fans “to respect our privacy as we focus on Bryan.”

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Ways to Save Oval Racing: An Open Letter to IndyCar

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Some easily accomplished changes can save the fastest and in our opinion highest form of IndyCar competition, oval track racing. Neither difficult nor expensive to implement, these improvements should be made immediately for the sake of the sport. May God save open wheel oval racing, the closest thing to spectator heaven that exists upon this earth.

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Long time fans of IndyCar racing on ovals, we’ve consistently raised alarms at their steady erosion from the schedule. At first blush the very thought of bettering side by side racing at over 200 mph seems ludicrous, but it can be done and fairly easily so. There are a number of things IndyCar needs more of to attract fans to its oval events – and one less. Among those additions are more comfort and fun. The subtraction involves putting someone in charge who appreciates IndyCar’s heritage.

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First – and this is very important – is give fans in the stands more Continue reading

By George, Tony’s Back

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The return of a familiar face at IMS raises hopes for a brighter future for IndyCar.

News broke Sunday at the breathtakingly boring Brickyard 400 that Tony George has been elected as the new Chairman of the Board at both Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its parent corporation Hulman & Co. George, who founded the Indy Racing League in 1995 and presided over reunification after the end of the split in 2008, is back after a four year hiatus. Start your engines – and your whining – race fans.

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Establishment IndyCar hack Brant James described George’s return to his former positions as “unnerving” in his piece for USA Today, referring to him as “a polarizing figure.” We disagree and call it an extremely encouraging move in the right direction by the board. Continue reading

Toronto Preview: Canadian Token

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Part concrete, part asphalt and completely lined with walls, the streets of Toronto often resemble a Canuck concrete car crusher when IndyCar rolls into town. They’ll do so for the thirty second time Sunday in Canada’s token race of the year.

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We’ve raised alarms about our northern neighbor’s dwindling presence in IndyCar before; like the sport in general, the Canadian situation has shown little improvement. There’s been talk of a new race way out west in Calgary’s oil patch, but who knows? The schedule’s been so chaotic lately it makes nights out in U.S. cities look tranquil by comparison.

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Toronto used to be a double header like Belle Isle, but mercifully they discontinued the practice last year. Consider the move a token of Canadian IndyCar esteem. 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

GP of Indy Preview: Get On With It Already

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Blame Mark Miles and his sclerotic schedule for the long hiatus, not us. Also for the latest IndyCar humiliation with Boston flat out telling the series they don’t want a race in their city. That’s the second cancellation of a race by a city under Mark Miles’ miserable reign and at this rate we’ll be down to the Indy 500 and half a dozen Detroit double headers for a schedule next year. Oh, and we can’t forget the second rate race at IMS, the GP of Indy.

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It’s a tabletop flat 2.4 mile road course with a flabbergasting fourteen turns. Both previous races on the IMS infield – which, let’s face it, was made for partying and not for an IndyCar race – featured fugly first lap pileups. What’s worse, the catastrophic carnage turned out to be the highlight of both. In 2014, Sebastien Saavedra Continue reading

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

St. Pete Preview: Don’t Repeat

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Last year’s race – the “Dawn of the Aero Kit Era” – proved injurious to body work, teammates and most especially fans. Let’s hope this year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete is no repeat.

Juan “buzz kill” Montoya NASCAR’d his way to a victory for Team Penske, tangling with tendentious teammates and innocent competitors alike. Thankfully according to JPM the racing at St. Pete wasn’t “too stupid” like Fontana, largely we suspect because he won. We’re fervently hoping he doesn’t repeat last year’s performance – or the gratuitous ripping of the series that feeds him.

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About those aero kits, which are now in their second generation. They’re almost indistinguishable from one another, excepting Honda’s hokey hump back. One of the original reasons for the ridiculously expensive aero kit experiment was the different looks they were supposed to provide for viewers. We reiterate – aero kits were supposed to highlight differentiation among the cars. Fans will need to do a double take to discern the dime’s worth of differences, if they’re able to do so at all.

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On a full contact street course expect lots of banging, especially with f-ing F1 newbies filling the field. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Media Day Matters? Edition

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Little in the way of actual news emerged from media day 2016.

Sage Replacement: On Monday it was announced that former F1 driver and Indy Lights winner Max Chilton will drive Chip Ganassi’s number 8 car this season, as apparently the issue with Sage “Wildman” Karam wasn’t really funding at all. The 24 year old Englishman was introduced at media day on Tuesday, admitting after the announcement that he hadn’t even met his teammates yet. But he does know Dario Franchitti, who was instrumental in getting Maxie the ride. Looks like Chip’s people had some intros to make at IMS Tuesday, as Ganassi Tweeted he was home sick with the flu. Perhaps his illness was some Karam karma.

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The CFH Racing Marriage Didn’t Last: In still more pre-media day news, Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing dissolved after only one season, as both Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman are out at Ed Carpenter Racing. IRR questioned the all American ownership trio’s fortitude over a year ago when they announced the joint venture, as it always seemed forced. Apparently Sarah’s leaving IndyCar to run an indoor go cart track while Hartman’s fortune has been decimated due to Saudi overproduction, resulting in $30 a barrel oil. Rising star Josef “Just Gimme Some Stability” Newgarden will contest all sixteen races for the new/old Ed Carpenter Racing and his car, like Ed’s, will feature the gorgeous green Fuzzy’s Vodka livery. That’s a definite upgrade over the old crude oil black look, though both Sarah and Wink will be missed. On the upside, what’s not to love about more booze sponsored IndyCars?!

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Ed Carpenter(‘s Not) Racing: According to rumors that again sprang up prior to media day, Continue reading

IndyCar’s Irrepressibly Cool List

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IndyCar’s irrepressibly cool list features impressive impresarios from the pinnacle of motor racing, including personalities, WAGS, tracks and other incredibly cool characteristics of the series.

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Graham Rahal’s fast wife. The newlywed drag racer is among the fastest people on the planet, not to mention she’s downright hot. Having a WAG of Courtney’s caliber in the series is priceless. There’s no denying Mr. Rahal married above his station, which isn’t easy for a legacy IndyCar driver. Just ask Michael Andretti with his many exes.

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Helio’s Twitter handle, @h3lio: It’s clever, brief and to the point – even including his car number – and makes the perfect social media moniker. Too bad most of his Tweets aren’t nearly as interesting as his ID.

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Sage Karam’s fearlessness: Continue reading