IndyCar News Week in Review: Derrick, We Hardly Knew Ye

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Walker Walks: Mark Miles announced Derrick Walker’s resignation as IndyCar President of Competition Thursday, effective at season’s end. Walker’s brief two year tenure leaves yet another void in series leadership, using the term loosely. His biggest challenge was overseeing the introduction of the costly and controversial aero kits this season in an effort to differentiate the look of the cars.

Mike Hull, Target Chip Ganassi Racing team manager

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Walker’s Wake: It’s become a freakin’ turnstile at 16th & Georgetown and speculation about a replacement for Walker has already begun. Curt Cavin pointed to Ganassi honcho Mike Hull as a likely replacement, but we just don’t see it. Hull has the knowledge and experience, but he’s an extremely odd duck and like Walker would struggle as a face of the series with the press. Walker’s impending departure at the end of August also means we’ve a lame duck in charge of race control for the final three races, so don’t expect an immediate uptick in rational calls or a more even application of penalties. Sadly such inconsistency will be Walker’s legacy as competition chief.

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Expected Engine Infractions: Several Honda teams, including Andretti Autosport, Continue reading

Iowa Corn 300 Preview: Edibles Edition

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Iowa’s known for corn, hogs, related edibles and frankly little else. It’s the home of has been IndyCar blogger Bill Zahren, aka “PressdogTM,” as well as the Iowa Caucuses whatever those are. Apparently it’s some sort of beauty pageant for the rather homely political class, proving the old dictum that politics is celebrity for ugly people. Iowa sounds like it’s got a lot going for it, doesn’t it? We kid, we kid. Seriously, Saturday night should prove to be a tasty treat for fans of artistry on wheels.

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The best part of the entire god-forsaken state is Iowa Speedway, a 7/8s mile oval located east of Des Moines in the tiny town of Newton. Thank you, Rusty Wallace. Apparently it’s the one track in the country that can handle both an IndyCar race AND a certain other series race within a few weeks of each other. Now THAT’s tasty. It must be all that gooey corn pollen that makes this possible in the Hawkeye state. Or perhaps it’s the intense, wafting smell of hog shit (aka “money”) that has such a wonderfully efficient effect on the locals. They even have a “bar tent” at the Speedway and actually give away sweet corn during the festivities. Beer and corn – it’s not exactly wine and cheese – but what a culinary combo!

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The hors d’ oeuvres sized “speedway” opened back in 2006 and hosted its first IndyCar race the next year. Retired Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti – hailing from Scotland he’s used to horrible food – narrowly edged Marco Andretti to win the inaugural Iowa Corn 250. The race has been expanded to 300 laps the last couple of years and we’re thankful for the extra helping of fifty, gladly taking all the mouth watering oval track racing we can get. After all, egg shaped tracks are the meat and potatoes of IndyCar.

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IndyCar News Week in Review: Karmic Wheels Edition

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New Winner Newgarden: Twenty four year old American Josef Newgarden took his first IndyCar win in fifty five races at Barber last Sunday to the joy of many race fans. Seems as though the racing gods were smiling upon him in Bama. Graham Rahal advanced from eighth starting position to second for an all American 1-2 finish. The race was highly entertaining as Barber shocked many with its raciness, let alone its result. It was a popular event and both Josef and Graham deserve some good karma.

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99th Indy 500 Approacheth: There’s been some Greatest Spectacle in Racing news since our last Week in Review. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions: Feisty Fontana

IRR’s crystal ball crew has been busy celebrating our stupendous success in last week’s prognostications, nailing the race winner and several other lesser predictions. So if our offerings are a bit meandering you’ll understand why. This week the series goes to Southern California, a place the Stranger in “The Big Lebowski” described as “high in the running as one of the laziest places on earth.”

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SoCal’s vibe doesn’t really mesh that easily with NASCAR. It’s tantamount to the Dude attending a cock fight, or even a goat swap. As a consequence, lots of empty aluminum will be on display today in the spring California sun.

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If you’re a regular reader then you know we’re not picking Kurt Busch to win. Continue reading

France’s Series in Phoenix: Feh

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In unspectacular fashion, Kevin Harvick won his fifth race of the last six at PIR just as we predicted. In a bit of a yawner, there were only three leaders the entire race and as expected Harvick pulled away for an easy victory at the end. Surprisingly, we also foretold a crash fest at Phoenix as well as Danica, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart all doing poorly. The race had a total ten cautions with Tony Stewart involved in two of them while Danica’s ass-around spin appropriately caused another.

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“Smoked” Stewart crashed twice and to our knowledge didn’t make any post race ISIS references or announce his conversion to Islam. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions: Phoenix Felonies Edition

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Notice: Due to poor recent performance, IRR’s NASCAR soothsayers have been permanently reassigned to much harder and less desirable positions. Please excuse the mess while our crystal ball is being polished. Nevertheless, we persevere. The “BUFF” cars visit Phoenix this week, site of Superbowls, sandstorms and one tough Sheriff, so here are this week’s prognostications –

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Kurt Busch won’t win, therefore all RV walls and any WAG who unfortunately happens to be around him should beware. Of course he won’t be prosecuted either, as KB enjoys special privileges and immunities his lowly fans do not.

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After offering shocking support of terror group ISIS last week in a possible high profile case of Stockholm syndrome, Tony Stewart Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Stand Pat Edition

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Aero Kit Antagonism: We published “Honda’s IndyCar Aero Kits Also Look Ugly, Silly and New Fangled” immediately upon seeing them Tuesday evening and haven’t changed our take on them. Honda’s kit makes Chevy’s look sane by comparison and that’s saying something. Alarmingly, new cars aren’t due for four years. The saving grace of the aero kits still could be the large oval configuration which hasn’t been seen yet. They should make their debut testing at Texas Motor Speedway in the near future so we’ll see.

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Southern European Silly Season: Swiss Miss Simona de Silvestro and the as yet un-nicknamed Stefano Coletti from Monaco were both announced as IndyCar drivers this week. Continue reading

NASCAR Visits Vegas: Vegetative Tedium

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The racing again on Sunday was better off without Busch and we fervently hope it remains that way. Frankly we didn’t watch the Las Vegas race except for the last forty or so laps and happily it doesn’t appear as though we missed much. NASCAR‘s version of race killing turbulence called  “aero push” made another appearance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway making passing difficult and watching the race even more so. It’s a real shame IndyCar no longer races at LVMS after the aborted 2011 finale that tragically claimed Dan Wheldon’s life. Unlike NASCAR, which by the way enjoyed a huge crowd Sunday, open wheel cars put on a hell of a show in the desert.

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A predictably tedious NASCAR race, we bet on boring and it turned out to be the smart money. There were a total of five cautions over the four hundred miles, though not in the early going as long stretches of green flag racing and “aero pushing” set the tone. Surprisingly there were no debris cautions or flags at all for that matter late in the race, which Kevin Harvick dominated. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions & Prognostications: Lost Vegas Edition

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Our cracked crystal ball crew takes another stab at divining NASCAR’s near future in the “Lost Vegas” Edition. Why lost? NASCAR’s visiting Sin City, the most garish place on earth and location of one of our favorite books and films, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” If you’re familiar with the story then you know why it’s lost Vegas. If you’re not, then rush out for the Terry Gilliam directed classic starring Johnny Depp now.

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The irrepressible Hunter S. Thompson – a true inspiration as the original Gonzo journalist – “covers” a chaotic motorbike race in the desert while destroying hotel rooms and partying on and off the Strip. And all NASCAR has to offer is Darrell Waltrip bleating on about two ton, sub-200 mph glorified safety cages on Fox.

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IRR’s divining division looks a lot like the hotel room in “Fear and Loathing,” with their recent NASCAR predictions in somewhat of a shambles. So with the assistance of a beery, dusty, hazy Vegas stupor – and before hotel management shows up at the door – here goes our latest roll of the dice. Mind you when it comes to many of the following prognostications, we wouldn’t bet on it.

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Kurt Busch will still be watching the weekend’s festivities from his Walter White style meth cooking RV, only this weekend his undisclosed location will be much nearer the actual racing. Look out, ladies of Las Vegas.  Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Over Officious Edition

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Silly Season Standstill: As has never been said by anyone anywhere before, no silly season news is could silly season news. Swiss Miss Simona de Silvestro could end up at Andretti Autosport though nothing’s been announced officially yet. Same with KV and Coyne’s cars – they tested some new drivers as we noted last week but no official announcements have been made. We’ll have more thoughts on Simona in the future, but for now there’s been no movement on the possible final four seats for 2015 or any definite word they’ll all in fact materialize. This will soon change with crucial aero kit testing only a week away.

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Aero Kits Delivered & Desultorily Drubbed: As promised and amidst great secrecy, both Chevy and the ultra secret Honda aero kits were officially delivered last weekend to IndyCar’s nine teams who frantically began assembling the pieces on the cars. They’ve little time to complete their work before testing at NOLA, Texas Motor Speedway or Sebring officially begins March 13. The public Barber test will occur March 16-17 according to indycar.com, when all the teams will gather for the first time to test the new kits.

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The TMS testing option is news Continue reading