IndyCar Leadership’s As Existent As Bars On Mars

1Indyproblem

Combining the words “IndyCar” and “leadership” in the same sentence goes beyond oxymoronic – it blasts into “Total Recall” territory (the good one with Arnold, not the remake). Put another way, the likelihood of sound decisions coming out of 16th and Georgetown is roughly equivalent to the chances of getting some water to go with that bourbon on your next visit to the red planet.

3boobsmirrorcouk

Photo from mirror.co.uk

Derrick Walker still hasn’t been replaced as President of Competition months after his resignation, there’s no announced schedule for 2016 and the interminable six month off season has only just begun. The sport’s been hemorrhaging fans, forgetting its own past and merely managing to limp along. Mark Miles was supposed to be the savior; instead he’s proven to be a dud. Otherwise, things are going well – no disaster to see here.

rocketexplosionabsnewsgocom

Photo from abcnews.go.com

In fairness it’s not all doom and gloom, just largely. Positives include competitive racing most of the season, an uptick in viewership Continue reading

Advertisements

An Interview With Indy Sun’s Carl Cavern

Carl Cavern

Photo from Indy Race Reviewer

The Indianapolis Sun’s Carl Cavern is the star IndyCar reporter for the new-ish news site courageously challenging Circle City’s monotonous media monopoly. Ever the scamp, Carl’s Twitter profile reads “IndyCar, culture and everything else reporter and Curt Cavin’s existential nightmare.” Sounds fascinating, doesn’t he? We thought so, too.

alicecooperbillboardcom

Photo from billboard.com

So in response to the tremendous demand from our readers to find out more about the mystery scribe that is Carl Cavern, we managed despite a great deal of difficulty to wangle an interview with the elusive writer and Tweeter extraordinaire. It was an intriguing experience, to say the least.

1IndySun

IRR: Tell our readers about yourself. They probably only know you through your colorful Tweets about racing, if at all.

Carl Cavern: I’m a Hoosier, born and bred. Love IndyCar, God, country, Indiana and my family – in that order. I’ve seen too many races to count, going back to when I was a kid growing up in Terre Haute. Continue reading

IndyCar’s Presidential Search: Where’s Trump When You Need Him? Or, Making IndyCar Great Again

trumppopdustcom

Photo from popdust.com

A couple of things struck us while reading Curt Cavin’s story in the Star on potential candidates to replace Derrick Walker. Fortunately it wasn’t flying shards of aero kit debris. The first striking item was how unfamiliar and frankly unremarkable the names on the list seem to be. Talk about vanilla! Where’s The Donald-like figure to step in and take control of IndyCar, make some waves and generate some buzz?

cc1070thefancom

Photo from 1070thefan.com

IndyCar needs a guy who can turn things around – or at least act like he can – and at the same time turn a profit. Heck, IndyCar needs a president who can turn methanol into Mojitos. That guy wasn’t on Cavin’s list, at least as far as we could tell. Suggesting a NASCAR guy for God’s sake?! Come on, Curt.

grinchwalker

Image from Indy Race Reviewer

It’s certainly not that we support Trump – or Lord knows that hairdo – although it would be a vast improvement over Walker’s Lucas Oil dome. Like many Americans however, we do admire his moxie, his tell-it-like-it-is, can-do attitude. That’s what IndyCar needs, not some mealy-mouthed, tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear politician type. That and a good dose of “you’re fired” both would help IndyCar immensely.

bbindycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

The second striking thing from the piece Continue reading

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

grinchwalker

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

Photo from motorsport.com

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.

chevroletcom

Photo from chevrolet.com

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

Iowa Race Review: Sage Gone Wild

sagekaramusatodaycom

Photo from usatoday.com

Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay won Iowa for the third time Saturday night, but twenty year old rookie Sage Karam stole the show, swerving and chopping his way to third for his first IndyCar podium finish. Clearly on a roll the last several races, in short Sage went wild. Josef Newgarden led much of the latter stages of the frantic race only to finish second while Graham Rahal led another charge from seventeenth to fourth making it an American sweep in the heartland. Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz rounded out the top five in a favorable night for Andretti‘s team.

Jul 18, 2015; Newton, IA, USA; IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) reacts after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-230374 ORIG FILE ID:  20150718_lbm_ad1_319.JPG

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Sparks flew throughout the last half of the race as intense racing and hectic traffic around the tiny oval led to drivers being either exhausted or enraged or both. Karam enjoyed another rocket ride to the front in the number eight car. Were it not for a slow right front tire change during his last pit stop he might have fared even better. At one point Sage simultaneously showed his immaturity and fearlessness, screaming about Jack Hawksworth on the radio. “Dude, I’m alongside him and he won’t back out!” Ed Carpenter appeared high on the list of drivers Karam managed to offend on his charismatic, choppy charge as the veteran gestured repeatedly from the car and then confronted the Ganassi driver immediately after the race.

iowa2sportsusatodaycom

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Ambling angrily down pit lane with cameras following, IndyCar’s only owner-driver animatedly got in the youngster’s face and loudly lectured him about “respect.” Continue reading

Indy 500 Predictions and Prognostications: Humble Edition

500indycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

The Indy 500 remains the most preeminent event on the American racing calendar, whether most people know it or not. Indy represents the high point of the IndyCar season and will be watched by several hundred thousand people at IMS and millions more on television around the globe. Disturbingly, for the first time in many years there exists real doubt surrounding driver and fan safety in the world’s biggest race. It’s a humbling thought, isn’t it?

Photo from Motorsports Snippets

We’re tempted to predict rain for the race on Sunday the way IndyCar’s year has gone so far. Let’s recap the first third of the season – a canceled opener in Brazil, an injured fan due to flying debris and a couple other races that nearly bored viewers to death. Now there’s the somersaulting car problem and most recently Hinch‘s serious injury, both troubling issues indeed. In reality a rain postponement – it’s in the forecast – which would bring out a smaller crowd and shrunken press coverage may be the safest outcome for a series in the midst of another crisis, humbled once again.

James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, hits the wall in the third turn during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 18, 2015.  (Jimmy Dawson/The Indianapolis Star via AP) ORG XMIT: ININS101

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Conventional  wisdom holds the 500 will be a crash-fest – particularly if practice has been any indication – and it could well be. But we think not. Continue reading

GP of Indy Race Review: The 500 It Isn’t

GPIpileupindystar

Photo from indystar.com

Eddie Cheever summed up the early portion of the season succinctly during Saturday’s ABC broadcast, saying “Come next week, they’re in their Indy cars.” We had to chuckle and also agree – enough of the road courses already, let’s get to some entertaining oval track racing. The abbreviated ABC pre-race show was highlighted by a Nancy Hulman George appearance as she joined Mary onstage for the traditional command to start the engines. We’d very much enjoy seeing more of the beauty/heiress, perhaps even an extended photo layout.

nancygeorgeindynmotorspeedwaycom

Photo from indymotorspeedway.com

For the second year in a row on the IMS road course a first lap pileup marked a messy start. At least this year the pole sitter Power didn’t stall it, though overly aggressive driving by others up front led to cars going off course and another shower of carbon fiber debris. The first turn, first lap collisions ruined the races of Dixie, Newgarden and others while helping Rahal and Bourdais move up due to the carnage. A French civil war erupted on track as Pags and SeBass battled back and forth and Penske’s Simon Pagenaud ran up front most of the day until his Chevy blew up. The defending race winner screamed “Something’s burning!” over the radio as he stopped and hurriedly exited the car.

GPIpileupstartindystar

Photo from indystar.com

The crowd looked sparse on television in the quarter million seat facility, sparser than the estimated 40,000 and down from last year. For the second race in a row Graham Rahal had the drive of the day only to fall just short. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Karmic Wheels Edition

jonewbarberwheelfoxsportscom

Photo from foxsports.com

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.

NewgardenALusatodaycom

Photo from indycar.com

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

NOLA: One Stop’s Enough

Hinchnolausatodaycom

Photo from usatoday.com

Searching long and hard for positives to report about yesterday’s embarrassment of a race, NOLA featured the only Ferris wheel in the world located in a swamp. On Sunday IndyCar ran half a race that consisted of over half caution periods with half the field going off course and called it good. The race was so slow that Canuck funnyman James Hinchcliffe won it for Sam Schmidt on one pit stop. Summing up the entire weekend the winner tellingly said afterward, “I feel bad for the fans.” We agree and say one stop is enough for NOLA. Surprisingly we also concur with Michael Andretti who referred to it all as “a nightmare,” and even with Chip Ganassi who apologized to the fans for the fiasco.

chipmotorauthoritycom

Photo from motorauthority.com

The IndyCar season so far has seen the first race cancelled and the next two filled with crashes and cautions. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Second Thoughts Edition

chevroletcom

Photo from chevrolet.com

Chevy’s Been Very, Very Naughty: The bow tie brand was slapped with penalties this week for switching out faulty valve springs on their engines following their sweep at St. Pete. Hundreds of points were deducted in the manufacturer’s championship for what amounts to a parts recall. As a result Chevy has negative points after one race despite dominating it. The IndyCar manufacturer’s championship rewards reliability as well as wins and the series requires 2500 miles before “non-minor” changes can be made to the power plants. In this case Chevy took the penalty for the early valve spring change rather than risk engine failure. The points deduction approach makes more sense than last year’s ten grid position penalty, which confused fans and those responsible for reporting the starting order alike.

kimballstpeteindycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

Already Aero Kit Updates: In the wake of the St. Pete embarrassment and serious injury to a spectator, IndyCar ordered first Honda and then Chevy to strengthen their flimsy aero kits with still more parts and pieces. Honda’s even strengthening their rear tire guards or “ass pods” in the temporary fix, as well. These remedies will supposedly strengthen the cars, though both drivers and manufacturers have pointed out that they aren’t designed for contact and should be driven accordingly especially with a price tag of $20,000. We’re not overly confident the bumping on the road courses in the IndyCar series is going away anytime soon – or the flying near lethal pieces – but we are glad IndyCar heeded our warning about the danger of the new kits.

StPetedebristampabaycom

Photo from tampabay.com

Who Got JR?: Famous 500 wall banger J.R. Hildebrand will drive the third car for CFH Racing in both Indianapolis races in May. Continue reading