Long Beach Predictions & Prognostications: Environmental Edition

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Photo from indycar.com

Prepare for a festival of fuel saving in sanctimoniously green California – but do fuel economy and racing really mix?

The word most commonly invoked in describing the Grand Prix of Long Beach is “atmosphere,” a catch-all term meant to capture the partying, sites and sounds of the decades old ocean side event. An atmospheric problem for IndyCar is that none of this translates very well to television. Still another is the typically dreadful racing there of late, which leaves fans looking a bit green around the gills.

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Photo from indycar.com

Now for the special prediction of the Grand Prix, which concerns that pesky Penske paradox. The PP reared its ugly head last year when Pags won a real snoozer, apart from some drama over a blown call from race control. Happily last year’s amphibian outrage won’t recur, and the winner will be somewhat less green.

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In twin victories for middle aged people everywhere, Helio won the pole the last two years running after Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (with the hyphen here to stay) claimed it in 2014. Notwithstanding, our pick is Continue reading

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Fontana Predictions & Prognostications: ‘Estimated Prophet’ Edition

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“Rainbows end down that highway, where ocean breezes blow.”

IRR estimates good things at Auto Club Speedway, including a full five hundred miles of ecstasy inducing oval racing on Saturday. IndyCar – when not fouled up by over-officious, busy-body race stewards in the interest of “safety” – provides lots of passing, side by side racing and an edge of your seat, scintillating show. Since it’s California, happily there’s no chance of a rain out in the only place on the planet enduring a years’ long drought that still releases millions of gallons of fresh water into the ocean annually. Only the land that gave us the Grateful Dead could inspire such wondrously wacked “Estimated Prophets.”

“California – a prophet on the burnin’ shore.”

Back to racing and a special prediction we have for this week’s glorious oval race. In honor of California’s own late great Jerry Garcia who famously had his own brushes with the law, we prophesied lots and lots of penalties in SoCal. This season’s been rife with infractions, fines and even double secret probation being handed out by IndyCar’s iron fist of justice, also known as race control. Drivers throughout the field are feeling the heat both literally and figuratively and Saturday’s gonna look like the parking lot at a Dead concert. With twice the usual amount of racing and only five races to go at its conclusion, the MAVTV 500 should keep Brian Barnhart and company busy enforcing all afternoon long.

Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda and Sebastien Bourdais, KVSH Racing crash

Photo from motorsport.com

“Still I know I lead the way, they tell me where I’ll go.”

Pole position – which means less in this race than perhaps any other on the schedule – Continue reading

Long Beach IndyCar Preview: Glitz, Glam and Godly Acts

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Last time the IndyCar series visited California an act of God nearly derailed the whole show. In August an earthquake struck Sonoma valley, rattling and rocking the entire area for several seconds early on race morning. As Juan Pablo Montoya described the ordeal,  “Awful, like awful. Like my shit – my, the bed was shaking. Anything in the bathroom went to the floor. It was bad.”

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Image from galleryhip.com

His team mates were similarly terrified by the experience. Will Power blurted out, “Man I thought it was all over. I didn’t think we’d have the race. Oh my God – such a shock. I thought I was gonna die – uh.” Helio‘s reaction was priceless. “Not what you want. Man, it was amazing. I never knew we had that. Man, wow – that was the scariest thing of my life.” Of course we fervently hope The Big One doesn’t hit SoCal, at least not until next week after teams have cleared out with the cars and haulers.

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Image from pinterest.com

Long Beach is the first of a trio of left coast races on the schedule this year, but it’s by far the glitziest. Continue reading

Scott Dixon: IndyCar’s Tom Hanks

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Photos from stuff.co.nz and moviefanatic.com

To be perfectly up front, we at IRR are fans of our bosom buddies Scott Dixon and Tom Hanks. Who wouldn’t be? If you love excellence – quality racing and entertaining movies – then these are your stars. They both make a huge splash, either in victory lane or at the box office. When you’ve seen one of their performances, you rarely go away feeling as if it was anything less than big.

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Photos from nytimes.com and flickr.com

Continue reading