Iowa Race Review: Feel Good Edition

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A real feel good story emerged Sunday evening in Iowa, with Josef Newgarden winning his third IndyCar race and first since sustaining serious injuries at Texas in June. As usual, Iowa Speedway provided plenty of passing and thrilling oval track racing. In still more good news, the series announced its return for at least the next two years. The positive vibes were everywhere.

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Newgarden was feeling good in the car Sunday, despite his broken clavicle and hand still healing. He lapped and ran away from the field in the Fuzzy’s Vodka machine that was clearly the class of the field. Starting second, he took the lead from pole sitter Simon Pagenaud on the first lap and never let up. Mad Will Power battled his way up to second, while Scott Dixon equaled his best finish at Iowa in third. Racy Russian Mikhail Aleshin was top Honda in fifth for SPM.

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In a largely clean, green race there were three cautions, two for engines and one for a spin. Ryan Hunter-Reay did his best Simona de Silvestro impersonation Continue reading

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Simona Seeks Series Return, Ride Rumors Revving Up

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The silly season rumor mill has been working overtime lately as IndyCar’s game of musical seats cranks back to life. Since saying a week ago she’d made a mistake in leaving and wanted to come back to IndyCar with all forgiven, Simona de Silvestro’s been a hot um, topic. Speculation has swirled as many wondered where the twenty six year old from Thun, Switzerland might end up if indeed the jilted series were to take her back with open arms.

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IndyCar News Week in Review: The Not Dead Yet Edition

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A.J. Goes Under the Knife: Four time Indianapolis 500 winner and racing legend A.J. Foyt underwent successful triple bypass surgery Wednesday in Houston, Texas. The seventy nine year old has been recovering at Baylor Saint Luke’s Medical Center and likely causing the doctors, nurses and staff a Texas-sized amount of grief. A.J. had suffered chest pains recently and already had stents inserted into his arteries a few years ago, according to his team’s website. Foyt’s survived numerous brushes with death in his nearly eight decades, including multiple racing accidents during his storied career, many surgeries, a staph infection, a bulldozer rollover and even a killer bee attack on his ranch. Now it’s his ticker. We wish the feisty near octogenarian a speedy recovery, as May at Indy wouldn’t be the same without him.

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Silly Season News: See possible, potential, rumored return of a foxy former series driver below.

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Brazilian Bikini Botch?: Warning flags regarding holding a race in Brazil have been raised on this site before and with good reason. Brazil is a third world country with numerous problems, far beyond attempting to host international soccer matches and races. Coming as no surprise to our readers, there appears to be a snag in the renovations of the circuit IndyCar plans to run the season opener at in March. Meanwhile, perfectly fine ovals in the United States go unused by the series. Mark “mini” Miles, are you reading?

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F1’s Broker & Loonier Than Ever: As we noted in “Czar Bernie’s Against New Ideas and Reforms,” F1’s Bernie Ecclestone opposes new ideas and reforms, just like the imperious Czars of old. This week he royally rejected one team’s innovative approach to funding shortfalls in his ludicrously over-priced series “no one can afford” according to the Telegraph. Caterham, facing bankruptcy and unable to field cars in the last few races, turned to web based crowd funding to make ends meet and rather impressively raised over half a million dollars so far. Czar Bernie thinks this way too radical and doesn’t give his official seal of approval, sneeringly referring to the effort as “a begging bowls” approach. Perhaps Bernie could open up his own royal coffers and be generous with his billions for the good of F1 as we near the holiday season. Nah – never happen.

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Swiss Miss Back At IMS?: Speaking of IndyCar’s foreign sister series featuring even funnier accents, F1 wash out and former IndyCar pilot Simona de Silvestro’s back in the headlines albeit through a second hand source. Crazy ol’ Curt Cavin reports that IndyCar honcho Derrick Walker says Simona’s desirous of a return to the series. The twenty six year old speedy siren supposedly said at the U.S. Grand Prix that it was a mistake to leave IndyCar and chase F1. Since she never started a race in Czar Bernie’s glamorous, overpriced series we’d have to agree. Heck, we’re so welcoming of Sim’s return to the States we’d even let the fast, foxy fraulein bunk with us.

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NASCAR Runs Amok: No additional riots, fights or domestic assaults have taken place down south in NASCAR-ville, at least in the last couple of days. This subject already has been covered here lately more than we’d like to admit in “NASCAR: ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Series.” Here’s an idea – maybe King France could schedule a race in or near Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis suburb plagued by recent NASCAR-esque violence and mayhem of its own. We’re certain that hell hole of a track Gateway Speedway nearby is available. They could invite the rioters to a post-race mixer in the infield with Busch and the boys. Imagine the ratings that smack down would generate for NASCAR. And the revenues.

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IndyCar News Week in Review

  • Pags to Penske: The most significant IndyCar news of the week wasn’t even a close race – it was a Penske sweep. The championship winning team landed the hottest free agent on the market in 2014, ironically a Frenchman. Pagenaud to Penske is major news, creating a four car powerhouse team, a first for Penske for a full season. Looks like the Cap’n grew tired of watching Andretti’s and Ganassi’s cars outnumber his on track, so he’s upping the count. For fans of underdogs, this adds another reason to root against the former CART Cardinal turned Captain and his dominant team.

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  • Hinch Marries Kimball?! On September 27, Charlie Kimball married long time girlfriend Kathleen Thompson in a ceremony in Indianapolis officiated by Canadian James Hinchcliffe. Apparently the madcap mayor obtained a ministerial license online from a shadowy group known as American Marriage Ministries. We wish the newlyweds all the happiness in the world and the Mayor of Hinchtown a very  blessed day in his new career. It could really pay off for him if his on track performance doesn’t improve.

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  • Other Silly Season News: Mayor/Minister Hinch remains unsigned, but Pagenaud’s vacant seat at Schmidt is said to be his for the taking. Schmidt has tested several lesser known drivers recently, although signs point to the quirky Canadian being paired with the mad Russian for next season. This should make an intriguing international combination for one of the few IRL era teams left in the paddock. Speaking of the good ol’ days, as predicted here at IRR months ago Sato’s ride with AJ Foyt Racing is apparently in jeopardy, as other drivers including rookie Englishman Jack Hawksworth have been rumored to be under consideration by the King of IndyCar.

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  • Career Change? Former series driver Swiss Miss Simona de Silvestro’s Formula 1 dreams have been obliterated, as Swiss team Sauber announced it’s moving in a different direction. De Silvestro departed IndyCar in 2013 after scoring her first podium finish with a second place finish in Houston. Enduring several unsuccessful seasons in IndyCar, Simona’s latest failed F-1 venture is considered by some as her last chance in big league racing. We wish her the best in her future endeavors and would enjoy seeing her return to IndyCar, though we’re not holding our breath.

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  • Odds & Ends: There was a Firestone tire test at IMS recently, and it was uneventful according to reports.  Ed Carpenter, whose team is transitioning to two cars as he merges with SFH, participated in the test while his new teammate Josef Newgarden watched. Newkid Tweeted some snaps of his boss and it looked to be a perfect fall day in Indianapolis, the Rome of motorsport. Testing of the new aero kits hasn’t begun, but will be a crucial component for teams this off season. In other news, Honda’s scrambling to keep up with Chevy as they continue to hemorrhage top drivers and teams, most recently Pags.

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