Archive for the ‘motorsports’ Tag

Allmendinger Settling Quickly In At Sebring Test   Leave a comment

Good to see former the former ChampCar ace back in his natural habitat…

Former Champ Car ace AJ Allmendinger went into the lunch break at Sebring nestled between Dario Franchitti and Justin Wilson on the time charts, and more speed could be on the way this afternoon.

For all of the drama he’s experienced since the middle of the 2012 season, one where he lost his ride with the Penske Racing NASCAR team after failing a drug test, Allmendinger looked like his old self Tuesday morning in central Florida.

Full of jokes with his Team Penske crew before strapping in, teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves also responded immediately to the 31-year-old Californian’s light and easy demeanor.

Compared to the Team Penske tone last year–one that strayed towards tense and dark at times, Allmendinger’s personality has been a jolt of energy for the veteran open-wheel team.

And for the part that matters most, his performance behind the wheel of the No. 2 Dallara DW12-Chevy was also uplifting. Target Ganassi’s Scott Dixon set the early pace up to the lunch break with a 52.017-second lap, while Penske’s Power ran second with a 52.153, good enough for P2, and Helio Castroneves went P3 with a 52.410.

Allmendinger was a close seventh with a 52.649, mid-pack among the 13 cars testing.

“Once I finally put on a set of new tires, and went out for that new-tire run, to be within a couple tenths of the guys already I feel good about that,” said Allmendinger. “Now I can look at the data and look at small little gaps. I’m happy so far with the way things are going. It’s been a fun process so far.”(Speed Channel)

Now if they can just find the Californian a full-time IndyCar ride for 2013, things would be a bit more interesting in the paddock this season…

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Posted February 19, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Patrick Makes History At Daytona   Leave a comment

Oh, let the conspiratorial theories fly…why, you ask? Danica Patrick made history down at Daytona, qualifying on the pole for next week’s Daytona 500. That sound you’re hearing in the background is the gnashing of teeth from conspiratorialists(the dolts over at AutoRacing1.com are a good example) who just had some righteous crow served to them. Quoting Speed Channel….

Call her Daytona Danica. And call her work historic.

After a week in which her romantic relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has led the news at Daytona International Speedway, Danica Patrick turned the talk – and it was loud – to racing Sunday by winning the pole position for the Daytona 500.

Patrick, qualifying early in the session and technically a series rookie, was clocked at 196.434 miles per hour, running one of the fastest restrictor-plate time-trial laps in Daytona history. The bigger timeline moment, however, is this one – she is the first female pole winner in the history of NASCAR’s top series, dating to 1949.

And she did it in qualifying for NASCAR’s biggest race.

Now, to be fair, this doesn’t mean a whole lot; Daytona is one of two NASCAR restrictor-plate tracks and drivers can win the race from just about every spot on the grid…but considering some of things people have said concerning her over the years, it’s good to see her finally make a little bit of history that the conspiratorialists can’t take away from her.

Posted February 17, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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IndyCar PreSeason Testing Begins This Week   Leave a comment

After a long winter of discontent, IndyCar engines will begin firing in anger once more as pre-season testing begins this week, leading up to the 2013 season opener down in St. Petersburg, Fla. Couldn’t happen sooner as far as I’m concerned; while I’m started to watch more and more NASCAR, my heart, in motorsports terms, belongs to a two-and-a-half-mile patch of centeral Indiana blacktop, topped with a crown of bricks.

Posted February 11, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Allmendinger Ponders Racing Career Reboot   Leave a comment

As a long-time Indycar fan, it saddened me back a few years back when rising open-wheel star A.J. Allmendinger left for the land of stockers(i.e. NASCAR) but if there is a deal in the works between him and his former NASCAR boss, Roger Penske, to run ‘Dinger in several IndyCar Series events in 2013, including the Indy 500, that would be a heck of a shot in the arm for both ‘Dinger and open-wheel racing in North America. Quoting Speed’s Marshall Pruett

I still marvel at what I witnessed A.J. Allmendinger accomplish behind the wheel of Gerry Forsythe’s Lola-Ford/Cosworth Champ Car in 2006.

If you got the chance to see Allmendinger in action, he was pure speed, balls and confidence wrapped in an American flag. Teamed with engineer Michael Cannon, the Californian scored five wins that season and looked like he was destined to a future paved with open-wheel championships.

And then he went to NASCAR.

It’s hard to blame Allmendinger; he cashed in on his name and gunslinger reputation at precisely the right time, depositing ridiculous checks from a variety of teams from 2007 to the midpoint of 2012. His well-documented suspension from NASCAR and firing by Roger Penske aside, Allmendinger’s new free-agent status provided a sliver of hope for those of us who saw the 31-year-old at his best in Champ Car.

Was there a chance he could return to open-wheel, a place he belonged all along?

We’ll find out how much of that hunter-killer swagger remains when Allmendinger gets his first taste of a Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet on Feb. 19th at Sebring. And if all goes well, Penske says the diminutive driver could contest a few races this year in a third entry with an eye to going full-time in 2014.

To this day, like Pruett above, I still wonder why Allmendinger made the jump to NASCAR back then. Yes, I understand the monetary part; even with the backmarkers, stock car drivers pocket a helluva’ lot more cash than all but the top Indycar compatriots but what gnawed at me and most every other AOWR fan at the time was seeing this bright young hot-shoe, an American no less, run with the big-dogs in ChampCar only to chase the dollar signs down south. If the racing gods are smart, they’ll light a path for ole’ Dinger’ to come back to the sport he once raced in…the sooner, the better.

Posted February 8, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Random Thought, 26 January 2013   3 comments

Question: when does the international motorsports season begin?

Answer: when the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins, of course!

A great race at a great motorsports venue…what better way to start the year is there?

Posted January 26, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Diesel-Powered Mazda6 GX Rolex Series Entry Revealed   Leave a comment

If and when this makes it to the racetrack, this could be huge…quoting Speed Channel:

Mazda chose the Los Angeles Auto Show as the venue to reveal the first rendering of its new-for-2013 diesel Rolex Series platform, the SKYACTIV-D-powered Mazda6, which replaces the RX-8 as its flagship entry in the GRAND-AM sports car series beginning at January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The production-based 2.2-liter, four-cylinder, dual-stage turbocharged engine is expected to power a pair of factory entries in the new, semi-experimental GX class, and to have a presence in at least one P2 car at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The SpeedSource-run diesel GX program will be the first of its kind for the Rolex Series. “We have been eager to announce this car for months, but had to wait until the production car was revealed,” said Mazda North American Operations motorsports director John Doonan.

“The SpeedSource engineering team, working with the Mazda engineers, have been flat out for months on engine development. We’re happy to report that the engine is meeting the performance targets for both power and endurance. That means 400+ hp for over 50 hours, with an engine that includes a very long list of production Mazda parts. This is not a pure race engine; it is a production block SKYACTIV-D. We’re excited about having our newest engine powering our newest car.”

Why could this be huge? Diesel technology is already the basic gold standard in sports-car racing; just look at Audi Sport’s success at LeMans over the past decade or so with its’ various diesel technologies at the prototype level. Building a production-based grand-touring racing engine that combines both power and speed….now that would be a winning combination within the GT ranks.

Posted November 29, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Thoughts On F1’s Future…   Leave a comment

As I watched today’s season-finale F1 race in Brazil, a few thoughts popped into my head….

(1)It’ll be weird watching Formula 1 over on NBC Sports instead of Speed Channel, where it’s been for the past 17 years…if NBC’s smart, they’ll take Speed’s F1 cast and bring them over to their network, which according to most reports they’ve already done, (with the exception of lead announcer Bob Varsha) by signing current Speed announcer Leigh Diffey to join current F1 analysts David Hobbs and Steve Matchett and pit-side commentator Will Buxton.

(2)Ironically, today’s Brazilian Grand Prix marked the end of Speed’s arc as the U.S. Formula 1 broadcaster…why ironic? Well, back in 1996, Interlagos was the first race then-Speedvision hosted, with announcers Sam Posey & David Hobbs(yeah, that Hobbs) calling the race albeit in tape-delay. It wasn’t until a few years later that both Bob Varsha and Benetton chief mechanic Steve Matchett came on-board the Speed train, joining Posey & Hobbs

(3)Speaking of Interlagos, the race had just about everything one has come to expect from the “pinnacle of world motorsport”…a great start, a nip-and-tuck battle between two of the sport’s greats(Sebastian Vettel & Fernando Alonso) and a race that went almost literally right down to the last lap; throw in the usual late-year Brazilian weather and it’s a wonder the safety car didn’t lead more than the last couple of laps….

(4)My advice to NBC Sports: don’t change the formula Speed used so successfully over the past 17 years. Let the announcers do what they do best: call the races…but at least let them call the races from the tracks themselves, something Speed Channel was too cheap to do. By contrast, every IndyCar Series race that I can think of that’s ever been run overseas(with the exception of Motegi on NBC Sports Network back in 2010-2011) saw the announce team actually announce from the event site itself. 

(5)Besides F1 moving from one network to another, it’s also a farewell of sorts for “Speedheads”(my unofficial nickname for Speed Channel fans) as by this time next year, what we know as SPEED will become Fox Sports 1, a national sports channel similar to ESPN & NBC Sports Network in scope & nature…like we don’t need another example of Fox Networks’ meddling in something and ruining it…

All in all, I think F1 will do pretty darn’ well over at the Peacock Network….after all, IndyCar’s managed to find quite a home over there; I think Formula 1 will do likewise. 🙂

Posted November 25, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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