IndyCar PrixView Test at Phoenix: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

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An unmistakable aroma of change could be detected in the methanol perfumed desert air.

2018’s first full field open test of the new cars on the famed Phoenix oval concluded on an unexpectedly expensive note for a few teams, while RLL Racing’s Takuma Sato emerged as the quickest car of the weekend.

Nearly seven thousand laps were turned in the PrixView Open Test in total. Chip “Gangsta” Ganassi‘s veteran Scott Dixon became the second man ever to seriously test the new cars’ safety features – after Hinchcliffe broke the cherry in a previous test – as his car got loose and the rear end hit the wall in turn two. Dixie was fine afterwards, citing traffic – specifically “Andretti cars” – as a factor.

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Photo from twitter.com

Dixon wasn’t alone though, as a number of cars grew familiar with the SAFER barrier during the final session Saturday night. 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

IndyCar News Week in Review: Turkey Day Edition

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Introducing IndyCar’s Turkey Power: It’s best plucked, washed and Jay Fryed.

UPDATE: IndyCar finally heeded IRR’s advice and significantly altered its aero kits after nearly a year. Changes include tethers, flaps, a domed undercarriage and a Rahal at Fontana change to new engine control units for pits stops. Read all about our long time take on the kits here and here.

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Needs More Sage: Distressing news emerged from the Ganassi camp over the weekend which had nothing to do with dressing. Mike Hull said a fourth car for next year is iffy due to a lack of funding, which means Sage “Wild Man” Karam could well be out of a ride, at least with Butterball Chip. That’s disappointing, as the irascible rookie had a solid albeit partial season – Ed Carpenter, Graham Rahal and race control’s opinions notwithstanding. The probationary Pennsylvanian scored a couple of top five and top ten finishes, including a thrilling race to third at Iowa (of all places) for his first ever podium result. This PLUS impressively managing to piss off half the field, all within a mere twelve races. We say to hell with shirts, how about A RIDE for Sage?

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Courtney’s Gone a Courtin’: As previously reported rather wistfully by IRR, the talented and gorgeous Courtney Force Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Seconds Edition

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Rahal’s Reeling ‘Em In: With his surprising hometown win at Mid-Ohio, Graham Rahal jumped to second pulling within nine points of the championship lead with two races to go. It’s been an incredible year for Rahal, who’s won twice, scored multiple podium finishes and an impressive eight top fives. At the same time, Montoya’s fading in the homestretch not even having appeared on the podium in months. JPM did win Pocono last year though, and can’t be counted out yet – no matter how much we might like to do so.

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Television Ratings Rise: For the fourth race in a row on NBCSN, viewership of IndyCar was up for Mid-Ohio. The combined numbers for the live showing on CNBC and the later re-air on NBCSN rivaled ABC races with nearly seven hundred thousand viewers. That’s the highest ever rated IndyCar race on the cable sports network, which now also shows NASCAR. For a sport where seconds count that’s an outstanding trend and one that could continue, though it’ll have to withstand a withering three week break before Pocono.

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Return of the Mad Russian: SPM announced Mikhail Aleshin Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions: Phoenix Felonies Edition

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Notice: Due to poor recent performance, IRR’s NASCAR soothsayers have been permanently reassigned to much harder and less desirable positions. Please excuse the mess while our crystal ball is being polished. Nevertheless, we persevere. The “BUFF” cars visit Phoenix this week, site of Superbowls, sandstorms and one tough Sheriff, so here are this week’s prognostications –

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Photo from sports.yahoo.com

Kurt Busch won’t win, therefore all RV walls and any WAG who unfortunately happens to be around him should beware. Of course he won’t be prosecuted either, as KB enjoys special privileges and immunities his lowly fans do not.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

After offering shocking support of terror group ISIS last week in a possible high profile case of Stockholm syndrome, Tony Stewart Continue reading

NASCAR Visits Vegas: Vegetative Tedium

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

The racing again on Sunday was better off without Busch and we fervently hope it remains that way. Frankly we didn’t watch the Las Vegas race except for the last forty or so laps and happily it doesn’t appear as though we missed much. NASCAR‘s version of race killing turbulence called  “aero push” made another appearance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway making passing difficult and watching the race even more so. It’s a real shame IndyCar no longer races at LVMS after the aborted 2011 finale that tragically claimed Dan Wheldon’s life. Unlike NASCAR, which by the way enjoyed a huge crowd Sunday, open wheel cars put on a hell of a show in the desert.

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A predictably tedious NASCAR race, we bet on boring and it turned out to be the smart money. There were a total of five cautions over the four hundred miles, though not in the early going as long stretches of green flag racing and “aero pushing” set the tone. Surprisingly there were no debris cautions or flags at all for that matter late in the race, which Kevin Harvick dominated. Continue reading

Circular Reasoning: Fitting a Square Series into Round Tracks

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

While infiltrating a Masonic-like meeting of top notch racing writers recently, a topic arose in conversation over cocktails that’s very near and dear to our hearts. Of course we rather rudely elbowed our way across the bar for a better hearing, careful not to spill a single drop of libation. Surprisingly with all the stuffed shirts in attendance it turned out to be a most interesting IndyCar sort of evening. Breaking all rules of journalistic ethics we now bring the gist of what transpired to you – unedited and as it happened – because we care.

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Photo from Indy Race Reviewer

Sad as it is, the diminished state of IndyCar oval racing is a subject worthy of serious discussion and serious drinking. It received plenty of both on this unforgettable night at a secret undisclosed location. From being the only tracks on the Indy Racing League’s schedule a decade ago to making up barely a third of IndyCar’s venues today, the phrase precipitous decline doesn’t do justice to what’s occurred to oval racing. For a significant number of IndyCar fans, oval racing with its thrills, chills and spills is the preferred type of open wheel racing. To put it mildly, these fans aren’t pleased that ovals are going the way of the Tasmanian devil, either.

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Photo from Indy Race Reviewer

Among the ace race writers at the bar was our friend Brian Carroccio of AutoRacing1.com, one of the most well spoken, thoughtful and sober scribes in the place. As a favor to him we kept our distance, not wanting any guilt by association to tarnish his good name. When someone mentioned that oval tracks are being threatened with extinction, BC immediately offered up his thoughts. As usual, his views on this distressing issue made imminent good sense and were – although entirely off the cuff – impeccably delivered.

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Photo from Brian Carroccio

Continue reading