IndyCar News Week in Review: The More Things Change Edition

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New Year, New Look . . . Next Year: So-called “uniform body kits,” spec chassis set to replace the aborted IndyCar aero kits, will be previewed in a test on February 10th at PIR. Unfortunately, they’re not set to debut in action until 2018. Brant James recently agreed with us on the egregious aero kits, writing of the “unpopular and expensive assemblies” going away after this season – and none too soon.

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He also quoted IndyCar president of competition ol’ Jay Frye on the mysterious appearance of the forthcoming chassis, who cited “cool” looking “bits and pieces” from “the past twenty years,” with “a lot of retro.”  Encouragingly, Frye claimed the new design would be “lower, sleeker, what an IndyCar has historically looked like.” Perhaps over-promising, the competition president predicted the experience would be “aesthetically exciting for the fans.” Depends upon the quality of the grid girls, obviously. Chassis that aren’t aesthetically appalling would be an improvement, and we hope he’s not speaking of NASCAR fans.

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Optimism Abounds, Apparently: Between Frye’s gushing about the next generation of chassis and Mark Miles‘ ebullience about Continue reading

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Frenchman Bourdais’ Big Rig Bursts Into Flames En Route To Phoenix; Pags Prime Suspect

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In an ominous start to IndyCar’s first oval race in eight months, KV Racing’s Hydroxycut hauler does its best impression of a matchstick.

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The semi truck hauling Sebastien Bourdais‘ IndyCar caught fire near Peoria, Arizona today. It had nearly completed its journey to Phoenix International Raceway for this weekend’s festivities before suddenly bursting into flames. There were neither injuries nor damage to the car once the flames were extinguished by fire crews, although the team may want to invest in some Febreeze. No immediate cause for the suspicious incident was released, but longtime Bourdais rival and fellow fast and feisty Frenchman Simon Pagenaud is a prime suspect. Here’s an IRR artist’s depiction of the Cap’n’s seafood special, so be on the lookout.

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This level of alleged French on French crime is appalling, particularly as the media continue to ignore the story. Bourdais, Continue reading

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

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Photo from motorsportsnbcsports.com

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

IndyCar News Week In Review: Carousel Edition

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As the season draws near, IndyCar’s merry go ’round of race stewards spins on amidst furious circular testing in the desert.

 

Ford Joins The Fast Cars: We wish, although former Ford racing honcho Dan Davis actually is joining Indy 500 winner and AJ assault victim Arie Luyendyk as well as self described “NASCAR driver” Max Papis in the new IndyCar steward triumvirate. These three could well make for yet another hilariously awful season of officiating. Shouldn’t be long before the steward wheel spins’round  again – hell, they could even bring Beekhuis back.

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PrixView Poop, Part 1: Papis was recently seen huddling with Team Penske at Phoenix, as it looks like the Cap’n‘s already getting the newly reconfigured race control firmly his corner. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week In Review: Money, Money Edition

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

Money, money makes the racing world go ’round. As usual, for many teams there isn’t nearly enough of it.

Andretti Swallows Herta, Spits Chaves Out: In yet another case of contraction for IndyCar teams following the CFH Racing divorce, Andretti Autosport’s absorbed Bryan Herta Autosport, subtracting another team from the grid – not to mention an Autosport. Herta’s tiny, underfunded one car effort will now comprise AA’s fourth car, with former F1 driver American Alexander Rossi as the driver. Rookie of the Year Gabby “Pat” Chaves was unceremoniously dumped despite Herta’s earlier intimations that he’d be back. Obviously the price wasn’t right.

 

Money, Money: Funding was reportedly the issue at BHA, as was the case with CFHR reverting back to Ed Carpenter Racing this year. For a switch, instead of Michael it’s Herta who makes us ask, “what’s Bryan thinking” in casting his lot with the troubled Andrettis? Perhaps he’s planning a driving comeback and wants to takeover Marco’s seat, given the money and the fact that Marco’s not been using it effectively.

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Phillips Out, Pappas In: In a further shakeup at 16th & Georgetown, longtime engineer Bill Pappas is taking over as VP of Competition, Race Engineering for IndyCar. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Finally Edition

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With the season still a month away, some tidbits – testing, staffing and the like – against a background of finality.

IndyCar Rising From The Ashes in Phoenix: The exhilarating sound of IndyCar engines roaring to life finally returned to PIR this week with pre season testing by ECR‘s Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden. Penske’s four ponies also ran. Afterward, Will “Sour Gapes” Power mumbled something about “history,” as if. No fan of oval tracks, the “wot are we doing?” wanker who hates Fontana has never even raced in the desert. He certainly doesn’t know anything about history. When’s The Cap’n finally gonna get rid of this malcontented marsupial once and for all?

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Miles of Madness: Unsettlingly, we noticed that on the schedule, publicity pieces and raceway website it’s being referred to as the “Phoenix Grand Prix.” This is odd for an oval race and certainly could be confusing for fans. Hopefully Mark “Meandering” Miles isn’t trying to turn the race into another regrettable road course event. IRR wants to know, when is Miles’ final performance review and where can we comment?

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Foyt Choo-Choo Chooses New Engineers: Among a plethora of engineering changes at AJ Foyt Racing, Dan Hobbs has arrived from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to work with regressing Englishman Jack Hawksworth. Apparently Mr. Hobbs has been too busy to update LinkedIn to reflect his recent career changes. 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