The oft overlooked team upped its performance thanks to its fickle yet fast Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais. They had reason to celebrate this year, as well as reason for concern. The vino intake of owner Jimmy Vasser – dressed above as a burglar – alone makes this the most wine loving team on the circuit, and that list includes several winery owners.
Bourdais had a solid season, winning the rust belt races in Detroit and Milwaukee – the latter because he got high – and contending for wins elsewhere. Tenth in points, he turned in four top fives and eight top tens, running at the end of fourteen races. These eye catching results include a fourth place finish at the GP of Indy and fifth at Toronto. Bourdais now owns thirty four major open wheel victories in his long career, tied with Al Unser, Jr for seventh on the all time list. Wine and cheese, indeed!
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California has played host to some thrilling IndyCar races over the two decades since it opened. Built on the site of an old steel mill that helped the arsenal of western civilization save itself in World War II, the track was completed in 1996. It began hosting CART races the next year. On the other side of the split the all oval IRL began holding competing races there in 2002, with the re-unified series holding its first race at Fontana in 2012. In an age of oval subtractions from the schedule, the addition of Fontana made imminent good sense.
Photo from ap.org
Previous winners among former drivers include KV Racing owner/wine connoisseur Jimmy Vasser who, like Sam Hornish, Jr won twice at Fontana along with recently retired Dario Franchitti. Ed Carpenter, Will Power and Tony Kanaan are the active winners in the field this year, while Juan Pablo Montoya will be a threat to take his second five hundred mile win of the season in as many attempts. Interestingly, Scott Dixon and Carlos Munoz both won SoCal’s fiesta in Indy lights, the quick Colombian winning consecutively in 2012 and 2013. We can’t help but wonder if those wins were simply “OK.” Hmmm, Carlos?
IndyCar’s had an interesting season from a dangerous start with flying aero kit pieces to the emergence of a certified new American star. Although we at IRR admittedly tend to bitch a lot we’ve enjoyed the year thus far for the most part, though a rain-marred race at NOLA and cars flipping in practice at Indy were highly forgettable moments.
How’s ten races into a fifteen race schedule in any way mid season, you ask? The schedule‘s simply too short and we feel cheated out of several races – Brazil and Toronto #2 to name a couple. Don’t get us started on the lack of ovals. Plus, in college the timing of midterms varies widely and since the IndyCar Series sometimes resembles a frat house, we find the break in the schedule to be a good time to assess individual teams’ performances this season.
Photo from indycar.com
Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing: B+
Josef Newgarden’s breakthrough wins at Barber and Toronto have made the team’s merger look brilliant and established a genuine American star – a non-legacy star, at that. The team’s 1-2 finish in Ontario almost made up for a string of bad luck that stretched from Indy to Texas. Newgarden’s success is no fluke and this new team’s best days lie ahead.
There were several interesting items to come out of the storm cancelled qualifying session including Target’s resurgence and particularly Kanaan’s, a swamp becoming even swampier, and the mouth of the north Paul Tracy squeezing back into the broadcast booth. Heck, NBCSN even put Robin Miller on television again this season. Yet there were two still curiouser stories that emerged Saturday evening that caught our eye.
Photo from indycar.com
The first story of note was a controversial call made by IndyCar’s race control penalizing KV Racing’s Sebastian Bourdais for impeding TCGR driver Tony Kanaan’s lap. Turns out it’s all a moot point with qualifications being called off, but race control docking SeBass his fastest laps looked questionable particularly considering the poor conditions. Bourdais ran off track into a runoff area, turned around and then re-entered the fray ahead of Tony Kanaan who he then let pass. Both cars were set to advance until race control acted with an iron fist. Twitter – partly due to IRR’s instigation we admit – was immediately set alight.
Photo from autosport.com
Owner Jimmy Vasser was livid. Flustered and on live television – always a compelling viewing combination – Continue reading →
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.