GPLB Predictions and Prognostications: The Bright Side of Long Beach

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To paraphrase Monty Python’s Eric Idle, the Grand Prix of Long Beach often tends to be “a piece of sh*t, when you look at it. The racing’s a laugh and passing’s a joke – it’s true.”

 

First up, we predict lots of celebrities, beautiful people and an out of this world atmosphere this weekend at Long Beach. Everything and more will be on display, except for entertaining IndyCar racing. At Long Beach and certain other left-right-left courses, it’s predictably poor racing. On the bright side, with a schedule chock full of lengthy layoffs almost any race is better than no race at all – unless it’s maudlin Mid-Ohio, that is.

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“When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble – give a whistle. And this’ll help things turn out for the best.”

Expect to see plenty of carbon fiber debris to be generated on the narrow, concrete walled circuit and concomitant lengthy caution periods. There’s also a high likelihood of another infamous hairpin pileup-cum-parking lot this year, especially with so many rookies, f-ing F1 invaders and Marco in the field. On the bright side, Continue reading

IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach Preview: Cheap Trick Edition

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First F1, then CART/Champ Car, and finally IndyCar all have played a cheap trick upon the hospitable “I Want You To Want Me” Southern California destination. Fact is, fairly few edge of your seat races have unfolded at Long Beach during its long history, though you’d never know it. Almost inconceivably, this trickery’s been going on for four decades now.

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Appropriately for SoCal, the Grand Prix of Long Beach always has been upside down, like a wave riding a surfer. The ancient – at least by IndyCar standards – event is known more for its pre-race festivities and “atmosphere” than the race itself. This year’s hoopla will be highlighted by Rockford, Illinois’ own Cheap Trick in concert, a rock band from the ’70s and recent Rock ‘N Roll HOF inductee among whose best songs is, fittingly enough, “California Man.”

 

Included in the fanfare too will be an “ePrix,” a drift race and, perhaps most cryptic of all, a “Lifestyle Expo,” whatever the hell any of those are. One thing IRR‘s sure of, however. Prior to the race a must see Miss GPLB pageant will be held – not to be confused with an LGBT pageant, of course. Strictly for illustrative purposes, here’s a look at last year’s gorgeous finalists. Wonder how many “Southern Girls” are among them? Or cheap tricks?

 

Adding a crescendo to the bawdy buildup is Continue reading

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

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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

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

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’s F-ing F1 Invasion, Part 2

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In part two, IRR examines the current crop of f-ing F1 drivers invading IndyCar, their shocking inexperience and lackluster records as well as the disturbing dearth of overseas oval tracks.

The latest IndyCar invaders from F1 are different from those of the past. Billionaire Bernie‘s boys not only bring zero oval racing experience, but also little knowledge of the IndyCar series or the U.S., its history or its fans. Crucially, these recent raiders have enjoyed much less success and stardom than their forerunners, with no champions and few grand prix winners among them. For lack of a better term, they’re F1 feh.

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Troublingly, today IndyCar represents merely a fallback position for these F1 washouts. Twenty four year old American Alexander Rossi recently called IndyCar “foreign,” and Michael Andretti frankly referred to him as “clueless.” No argument here. Rossi didn’t win a grand prix or score a podium in his five starts last year and served primarily as a test driver in previous years. That’s exactly the sort of high end talent the IndyCar series needs, Michael – way to go. Ditto for CGR’s Englishman Max Chilton, who was winless and podium-less in thirty five F1 starts over two years. Gee, thanks a lot, Chip.

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This crossover is in one sense natural, as both open wheel series share much in common. However, it’s the differences that seem to matter most. Continue reading

IndyCar’s F-ing F1 Invasion, Part 1

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An invasion is taking place in the U.S. and for once it has nothing to do with the southern border. Rather, racers from far flung Formula 1 shores threaten to take over the American open wheel scene at an astonishing rate. The question is, what to make of this f-ing F1 invasion flooding the IndyCar series?

American Alexander Rossi (where’s Martini?) is only the latest in a long line of F1 invaders currently in the IndyCar series, including fellow rookie Max Chilton from England and veterans like Frenchman Sebastien “butterfingers” Bourdais, Takuma “take ’em out” Sato from Japan, and Colombian Juan “too stupid” Montoya. F-ing F1 intruders will make up a quarter of the field this year, with totals possibly rising even higher for the historic 100th Indy 500.

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That’s not counting former drivers like Italian Luca Filippi who tested for F1, started eighteen IndyCar races (finishing a high of second) and may yet return to the mix, or the late British veteran Justin Wilson. Plus, there’s a real possibility of the unfortunately named Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado upping the total to six former F1 faces in the series, or nearly a third of the field (that’s almost thirty three percent for NASCAR fans). Unsettlingly, rumors abound of still more interlopers venturing over in the years ahead as fabulously pricey F1 opportunities dry up.

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There are plenty of other F1 connections to IndyCar too, Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review

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SPECIAL UPDATE: Series Sponsor Verizon settled a damaging lawsuit late this week, agreeing to pay out millions of dollars to customers the communications company overcharged for years. This affected not only millions of Verizon subscribers, but also the rest of us as apparently the entire internet was impacted by Verizon’s shenanigans. Ripping off your customers certainly isn’t the sort of sleazy corporate behavior IndyCar wants or needs to be associated with one would think, nor is slowing down the whole of the web in the nation that invented it, although in light of the 2015 schedule perhaps Verizon’s the perfect sponsor for Miles’ new tennis racket approach to racing.

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The Hawk Has Landed: AJ Foyt Racing announced this week it’s expanding to a two car operation, and we don’t just mean at Indy. Inexplicably, Takuma Sato is back with the team and will be joined as co-recipient of AJ’s wrath by upstart northern Englishman Jack Hawksworth. Hawk is formerly of Bryan Herta Autosport, who formerly drove for AJ Foyt Racing. IndyCar’s a bit like the Hapsburgs of Europe and many modern day workplaces – an incestuous little circle.

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Schedule Announced and Many Pounced: The IndyCar Series unveiled its thinly veiled schedule for 2015 and there wasn’t an abundance to be excited about and even fewer surprises. Initial reaction to it is here and it hasn’t changed much. More ovals, please. Brasilia and NOLA will be new road courses, hurray. We hope everyone makes it back safely from these exotic, crime-ridden third world destinations. Dubai didn’t make the cut, although it appears to remain under consideration for the future. Why? We have no idea. As trumpeted by Curt Cavin and others, “Dollar Dale” Coyne’s driver and race winner Carlos Huertas posted “Dubai Feb 22” on his website earlier in the week. Perhaps he meant in 2016.

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Testing, Testing: Also according to the ever accurate Twitter, Rahal Letterman Lanigan failed to show at the test at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on Monday, possibly significant of larger problems for the floundering team.  Maybe Graham was just hung over, or all loved up by Courtney Force. Graham, Bobby, Dave and company had a horrible year as documented in IndyCar Season Grades and missing off season tests isn’t a positive sign. Apparently the late night talk show business isn’t what it once was, but then again what is?

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Flipping Formula 1: Lesser known F-1 Teams are dropping like bribery charges against Billionaire Bernie Ecclestone lately. First Marussia went bankrupt, then Caterham bowed out of the next two races, also reportedly belly up and entering receivership. Respected British newspaper The Telegraph called F-1 a sport “no one can afford” and described it as being very much “in crisis.” Maybe IndyCar doesn’t look quite so bad in comparison after all.

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Odds, Ends & Tweets: At Monday’s test, unemployed driver/Indy 500 crasher J.R. Hildebrand drove the Fuzzy’s number 20 car normally reserved for Ed Carpenter of newly merged CFH Racing. No grand theft charges have been filed to date, so evidently J.R.’s joy ride was legit. Curiously Kentish Mike Conway was no where to be seen and rumors have him out. In a Tweet from Barber Motorsports Park, Carp’s teammate Josef Newgarden called it “the most consistent track” they race. Perhaps surprisingly to our readers we at IRR wholeheartedly agree. Barber is consistent – consistently tedious and boring. Finally, the flow chart at CFH Racing seems to be taking shape as another official Tweet referred to “Team Manager Andy O’Gara.” Andy is of course Sarah Fisher’s husband. We wonder if Ed knows of the news yet? Incestuous little circles.

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