Detroit Grand Prix Race Review No. 1: Squirrely Edition

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Fittingly for Detroit the rodents ruled while the racing bit in another atrocious street “race” on Belle Isle. A track already known for enormous rats roaming the island saw a squirrel artfully dodging cars in one of the few highlights of a tedious afternoon of racing.

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Courtney’s dragster blew up Friday and her husband Graham Rahal, not to be upstaged, went out and won his fifth career IndyCar race the next day. Following last week’s horrifying crash, Scott Dixon held on to second for Ganassi and SPM’s James Hinchcliffe recovered from a first lap brush with the wall – which brought out the first caution – to a best ever third place result at Detroit.

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In an easy to root for effort for our veterans, Rahal raised nearly four thousand dollars in the Turns for Troops car. He Tweeted that he was “proud,” at the same time “thankful,” and again “proud.” Continue reading

Phoenix Preview: Unabashedly Unapologetic Edition

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Following last year’s race at PIR drivers sounded like United Airlines after dragging a paying customer kicking and screaming off a flight. While it wasn’t that traumatically awful of a race – no fans were bloodied, broken or concussed, at least – IndyCar better have learned its lessons and get it right on Saturday.

The issue was down force levels and the series can be excused somewhat since it was returning to the track after over a decade hiatus. Next generation, aero kitted cars – soon to be done away with, thankfully – and other variables contributed to the disappointment. Scott “podium” Dixon won going away last year in a so-so race under the lights. No one likes a yellow finish, though. Thanks, race control.

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Unabashed in our adoration of IndyCar oval track action – the highest form, fastest and most entertaining of all racing – we at IRR favor Wild Bill’s (as portrayed by Jeff Bridges) approach: “I DON”T apologize!” It’s also solid advice never to touch another man’s hat, or in this case, helmet. Taking to ovals like Hickock to whiskey, cards and whores, we’re cautiously optimistic that they will provide, as Dixie put it, “a better show” this time around. After all, patience isn’t a limitless virtue.

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Son of ‘stache Graham Rahal Continue reading

Texas (Part Two) Race Review: Ragin’ Rahal Edition

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IndyCar put on its second consecutive extraordinarily exhilarating oval track race in less than a week.

Enduring a year long winless drought, Graham Rahal won the closest race in Texas Motor Speedway history Saturday night charging all the way from lucky thirteenth. The race, started in June and rained out after the first seventy three laps and a horrific collision between Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden, proved an instant classic.

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The restarts were exquisite, the action and passing superb. It was like the good ol’ days of racing at Texas back in the ’90s and early ’00s, with a photo finish and the margin of victory a mere eight thousandths of a second. The race was breathtaking.

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Canuck James Hinchcliffe led the field to the restart, enjoyed as Paul Tracy said “the car to beat” and dominated almost the entire race. Crucially though, Continue reading

Mid-Ohio Preview: Middling At Best

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It’s time again for IndyCar’s annual trek to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the second rate road circuit known for middling racing, surface street speeds and paint-drying-level excitement. Consistently, we say meh to Mid-Ohio.

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Testing at the mediocre track last week yielded one positive development, at least. Actual open wheel IndyCars – or the closest we’ve come in five years – made a limited return. J.R. “wall banger” Hildebrand and the aged Tony “Curly” Kanaan tested their cars sans ass-pods, those unsightly rear bumpers introduced after Dan Wheldon’s tragic death at Las Vegas in 2011. Let’s hope the incompetents running the show at 16th and Georgetown show some common sense for once and get rid of ’em  – permanently.

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There isn’t much else to say about the racing at Mid-Ohio that we haven’t said previously. The track’s inferior, the racing’s sub-par and IndyCar’s artistry on wheels is utterly wasted there. 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

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

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

If Don Rickles Did IndyCar

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The insult impresario of comedy made many laugh, and a few others furious. We only wish the legendary Mr. Warmth had lived long enough to have a go at this IndyCar group. Wait, Rickles is still alive?! OK, then we only wish he still had the mental capacity to rip these guys some new ones. Had he, here’s what it might be like – and how delightfully mean.

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Roger Penske? Greatest owner in the history of the sport, most Indy 500 wins, classy drivers from Emo to Helio. I never really liked the guy.

Don’t get me started on that Will Power fella. What a douche. The guy even manages to give Australians a bad name!

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There’s a ton of talent in this league. It just so happens that Marco possesses none of it.

You know what the problem with today’s IndyCar drivers is? Continue reading