The Why Of IRR, Or: The Answer To A Rather Impertinent Question

TheWhyofIRR

For the first time a fervent though flawed follower inspires IRR to provide even more real world racing answers.

IndyCar’s snoozer of a season finale at Sonoma had just concluded and our work – reviewing the regrettable race – had just begun. Having formulated a concept, we dutifully sent out the usual “coming soon” Tweet announcing our forthcoming Race Review, titled “Ho-hum Edition.” That’s when the impertinent reply from – let’s just call him “Deplorable Paganator” – arrived through the vagaries of cyberspace with a distinct thud. “Do you actually like IndyCar or not?”

IndyCarfriendsIRR

In spite of the innate insolence, it is an interesting question. The answer’s a complicated one, but Continue reading

Advertisements

2017 IndyCar Season Review

IndyGradsIRR

The series’ recently concluded campaign proved predictable – at least to us – and lacked both a sense of rhythm and any real rivalries. While having its moments, overall 2017 missed out on the excitement and drama of previous years.

This season’s highlights included breathtaking oval racing at Pocono and – to a lesser extent, thank you Tony Kanaan – Texas. Even the racing at Gateway was much improved over the last time they visited a decade ago and an additional oval on the schedule – no matter how inadequate its layout – is welcome change.

Gatewaystarttwittercom

Photo from twitter.com

Lowlights involved beyond tedious racing at the usual suspects like Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and the season finale at Sonoma. Even St. Pete was a stinker this year and as usual the Indy Grand Prix was nearly unwatchable. Iowa‘s daytime race – as opposed to the superior night races of years past – earned the biggest flop award, with Phoenix a close second in the balloting. Iowa Speedway already announced a Sunday date in early July, meaning it’ll be another day race next year.

Easily the most absurd moment of the year was f-ing F1 invader Fernando Alonso being gifted the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award over Ed Jones, or “The Great Hardware Robbery,” as we termed it. This was closely followed by Alo’s team owner Michael Andretti’s brief flirtation with Chevy after winning the last two 500s with Honda and Sam Schmidt beginning to mimic Andretti’s dumb Indy 500 decisions.

satoandretti500indycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

The most shocking moment by far Continue reading

What’s Sam Schmidt Thinking? Or: IndyCar’s Scott Peterson Motorsports

samschmidtsbnationcom.jpg

Photo from sbnation.com

This time it’s a well-liked relative newcomer to IndyCar ownership instead of a loose cannon legacy owner who has us seriously wondering.

It was reported this week Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is teaming up with former F1 owner Didier Calmels to run fellow Frenchman Tristan Gommendy in next year’s Indy 500. Why is he a former F1 owner, you ask? Because when he was convicted of shooting his wife in cold blood in 1990 and sent to prison, the wiser F1 heads understood spousal homicide isn’t exactly a positive image for a racing series. That’s regardless of whether it was a crime of passion or not – and the fact that he somehow served less than two years for his heinous crime.

calmelsgettyimages.jpg

Photo from Getty Images

Nearly three decades later, apparently SPM hasn’t gotten the memo. Or perhaps they’re merely joining in our national obsession with ignoring history when not defacing it. The team’s statement read in part, “Didier has fulfilled his obligations and gone on to become a successful businessman and team owner in European motor sport.” Translation: he’s paid his debt to society and is a fine, upstanding citizen now who’s bringing us lots and lots of cash.

While the last part is certainly true, it’s the “fulfilled his obligations” bit with which we take exception. Continue reading

IndyCar Watkins Glen Preview: Wit’s End Edition

IndyCarSeriesHorsesAss

With the season’s end in sight, there’s still plenty of IRR wittiness left in the tank.

Sadly, summertime’s over and with it – even more unfortunately – the rousing oval portion of IndyCar’s schedule. Two wine region, cheesy road courses remain, Watkins Glen in upstate New York and the Sonoma finale in California. In the Glen’s case, the most memorable parts of last year’s race were the ubiquitous paid Verizon plugs. Expect neither venue to excite nearly as much as Pocono or Texas regularly do, as the season slinks toward a less than satisfactory conclusion. It all has us feeling at wit’s end.

Josef “teammate terminator” Newgarden has the championship all but wrapped up thanks to Power and Helio’s witlessness at Gateway. There’s no end to his predictable success this season, taking three of the last four races and holding a 31 point championship lead. Making it worse, Team Penske’s won the last five in row. This marks the first time in many years the IndyCar finale probably won’t hold any title significance whatsoever, even with the gimmicky double points paid in the NoCal conclusion.

josefbadandugly

Similarly, the rookie of the year award has been settled for some time with only a single candidate and therefore no competition. The fact than Alonso was gifted the Indy 500 ROY remains a travesty, truly “The Great Hardware Robbery,” as we termed it. Ed Jones deserved the award finishing third to Fernando’s 24th, just as he deserves the season ROY. Lack of other contenders aside, Jones has been the most impressive newcomer to the series in recent memory. Thankfully a better ROY resolution’s in the offing.

Happily, the end of the awful aero kit era is also in sight. It’ll be good riddance to bad chassis soon, perhaps the most compelling reason to look forward to next season. Continue reading

Indy 500 ROY: The Great Hardware Robbery

alonsoroyenf1icom2.jpg

Photo from en.f1i.com

Fernando Alonso being awarded the 101st Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors over Ed Jones is the  biggest heist since Lufthansa. It shall henceforth be known as The Great Hardware Robbery.

The Dubai born Brit clearly deserved the award after turning in an impressive third place finish in Sunday’s wild ride of a race. Instead, the Spanish born international celebrity who led before retiring with a blown Honda in 24th somehow won the distinction. If you followed the month long Alo saga in the media, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

edjonesindycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

The argument from some voters – more on them later – seems to be about Alonso’s engine failure, a story we’ve been on top of since the beginning. The trouble with that reasoning is that Ed Jones had the same motor, a Honda. Difference is, he not only finished, but also finished on the podium. This coming – remarkably – in his first ever Indy 500 and only sixth IndyCar race.

SebassIndycrashtwitter

Image from twitter.com

Plus there’s Continue reading

101st Indy 500 Practice One: Fly on the Wall

marcoleia

Early Speeds: Marco “practice warrior” Andretti was quickest in today’s first Indy 500 practice at over 226.3 mph, followed by Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Note the two 500 winners in the group. However, the all important non-tow speeds where cars run by themselves saw Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan and Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay both going over 223.5 mph with Scott Dixon topping 222 mph.

alonsobarberseville

Fernando Flew: F-ing F1 driver Fernando Alonso flew in to Indy for practice after finishing twelfth at his home GP in Barcelona Sunday. He’d previously flown through rookie orientation May 5th in a private session. The Spaniard wasn’t exactly flying today at the track though, managing only nineteenth at just over 223 mph. Afterward he mentioned looking forward to “listen[ing]” to his teammates and that “the most difficult thing will be the race itself.” That, or all that flying.

jackharveylincolnshireechocouk

Photo from lincolnshireecho.co.uk

Harvey Wallbanger: Rookie Englishman Jack Harvey suffered the only incident of the first day, Continue reading

Barber Race Review: PSI Edition

josefbadandugly

Young gun Josef Newgarden turned what could have been another hum drum, Penske win from pole into a fairly memorable, exciting race – for a motorbike track.

It was Will “Sour Grapes” Power’s race to lose and he did, handing the newest teammate his first win for the Cap’n and failing to crack the top twelve for the fifth consecutive race. A cut Firestone was the culprit, or rather the hero of the day. Power slowed inexorably, giving PSI an entirely new meaning.

Jonewbarber17indycarcom.jpg

Photo from indycar.com

Ryan Hunter-Reay (with the hyphen here to stay) and Long Beach winner James Hinchcliffe tangled at the start, leading to a third lap caution as RHR’s damaged front wing littered the track. Dale Coyne’s rookie phenom Ed Jones suffered damage due to the debris ruining his day, as well.

dixonbarberindycarcom.jpg

Photo from indycar.com

During the initial melee the aged Tony Kanaan gambled and lost, though his Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon advanced to third and remained firmly in contention all day. Continue reading

Barber Predictions & Prognostications: Alonso’s Cherry Edition

alonsoscherry

Fernando Alonso’s IndyCar cherry is about to be popped in Alabama, and it’s going to be messy for Andretti Autosport.

The former champ and soon to be f-ing F1 invader will be attending his first ever race on Sunday. If as reported he thinks he’s racing with “the least power ever” now in an F1 McLaren Honda, then just wait until the Spaniard’s in an AA Honda come May.

maLBtwittercom

Image from twitter.com

Our special prediction of the race is that Fernando will feel his first time’s somewhat awkward and painful. Join the club, as many of us feel the same way particularly when watching a race at Barber. After all, it is a frickin’ motorbike track. However, we’re certain that at thirty five Alonso won’t publicly admit it.

f1gridgirlsimgthcom

Photo from imgth.com

Our pole prediction is similarly agonizing, Continue reading

Barber IndyCar Preview: The Barber of Seville

alonsobarberseville

Fernando, Fernando, Fernand-o!

The announcement during the off week that Fernando Alonso will be running in the Indy 500 was the biggest news item since another f-ing F1 invader won the 100th 500 as a rookie, running out of fuel and coasting to the finish.

rossi100thsportsusatodaycom

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Reportedly the Spaniard in question will be at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend to watch his first Indy style race in person. It’s just too bad his initial experience won’t be at a better track. A former F1 champ, Alonso unquestionably brings some star power to the states. However, we prefer to focus on those drivers who actually will be driving this weekend rather than merely spectating.

pagsrahalbarberindycarcom.jpg

Photo from indycar.com

Happily some drivers will be working Sunday rather than vacationing, albeit with less attention than Alonso, which brings up several questions. Continue reading

Other Spaniards We’d Like to See at the Indy 500

penelopecruzbauer-griffinonline.jpg

Photo from Bauer-Griffin Online

Following the announcement that F1’s Fernando Alonso will be competing in the 101st Indianapolis 500, here are some other famous Spaniards we’d enjoy seeing Memorial Day weekend.

Penelopecruzgettyimages.jpg

Photo from Getty Images

Topping the list is the lovely and talented Penelope Cruz, for obvious reasons. She’d add some real old world style to a distinctly new world event.

elsapatakywikipediaorg

Photo from widipedia.org

Who knew Elsa Pataky was Spanish? Or an actress? Continue reading