Posts Tagged ‘ 2011 ’

Simona de Silvestro had the opportunity this week to tour Entergy’s Grand Gulf nuclear energy plant in Port Gibson, Miss., to learn more about nuclear power as a source of carbon-free electricity and the company that is sponsoring the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car for HVM Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Simona de Silvestro visits with her sponsor

 The tour included the reactor control room.

“People are amazed at the complexity and safety protections of the redundant, operational and safety systems that are built into a nuclear plant,” Browning said. “Simona had great questions and was quick to tell me that her home country of Switzerland gets 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.”

The HVM Racing group, which also included team owner Keith Wiggins, received an introductory education program about nuclear energy.

“I didn’t realize that the volume of greenhouse gas emissions prevented at the 104 nuclear energy plants in the U.S. is equivalent to taking nearly all passenger cars off America’s roadways. That was an eye-opening statistic,” Wiggins said.

Following the tour, de Silvestro signed autographs for employees at the plant.

“I was so impressed with the amount of security that we went through and the enormity of the electricity produced 24-7 without interruption,” said de Silvestro, who returns to the track Feb. 28 for testing on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval. “It didn’t take long to see how well-managed the plant is by really impressive engineers and other nuclear professionals.

“I really am lucky to get inside and see a nuclear facility making electricity. That is something that most people don’t get to do. But I think that if they did, people would understand more about the process and appreciate getting clean electricity to use any hour of the day. We definitely need to have more clean nuclear electricity in the U.S.”

Friday at Daytona International Speedway is substantially quieter.  While there appears to be tremendously more fans here today, the teams are a bit calmer and more organized.  Most teams have an idea of what their race strategy is going to be and they’ve built their setup accordingly.  Today is a bit of a dress rehearsal.  Drivers are practicing quick driver changes, teams are practicing pit stops, fans are picking out where they’re going to watch from, and photographers are scoping out their hotspots for race day.

The Friday morning practice session started out rather slowly as many teams were still putting the finishing touches on their cars from last night.  Most of the teams had the cars completely disassembled last night so there was quite a bit to be done this morning.

Crew members disassemble the cars

Crew members disassemble the car

Mechanics work on the motor

Mechanics work on the motor

The biggest portion of the morning practice was dominated by the GT class cars but when the Daytona prototypes made their way back on to track Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates showed that they weren’t concerned with their qualifying efforts yesterday.  Scott Pruett put the car at the top of the leader charts having run a 1:41.019.  Scott Dixon wasn’t far off either, finishing the session with a fast lap of 1:42.464, landing him in 3rd position.  Unfortunately, only four prototypes made it on to the track for the morning session so the other IZOD IndyCar Series competitors were forced to wait for the afternoon session.

During the downtime between practice sessions Chip Ganassi stopped by the media center to discuss his incredibly successful 2010 season.  When asked if he would be disappointed if his success did not continue in 2011 Chip responded with, “We’re always focused on the next race and that’s it.  It just so happens that this (Daytona) is the next race.  After this we’ll look forward to the next one.”

Chip Ganassi in the media center at Daytona International Speedway

Chip Ganassi in the media center

The second and final practice prior to the race took off at 11:00am and it would showcase the entire field.  There was quite a bit of action going on as everyone was making last minute install checks, practicing pit stops, and driver changes.

Crews practice pit stops and driver changes

Teams practicing driver changes

NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson and his GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing team would jump to the top of the timing charts for the first time this weekend with a 1:40.878.  The Ganassi cars would continue to flex their muscles finishing the session with the #01 in 2nd position and the #02 in 9th position.  Ryan Briscoe and his SunTrust Racing team would end the session in 7th place.  Justin Wilson’s team struggled finishing a tough 13th position.

Justin Wilson's #6 negotiates through some slower traffic

Justin Wilson negotiates through some slower traffic

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Raphael Matos’ car, which hadn’t run since final practice yesterday having skipped qualifying, was re-assembled just prior to practice and would finish the session a hard fought 15th place on the practice charts.  There are no more practice sessions between now and the race, so teams have taken to their respective garages once again.  They will spend the majority of the afternoon making sure the car is ready to go, tightening bolts down, changing fluids, and getting it shiny and new for the big day tomorrow.

Here’s where the INDYCAR drivers are starting:

3rd Place: Graham Rahal (with Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, and Joey Hand)

5th Place: Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti (with Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray)

8th Place: Justin Wilson (with A.J. Allmendinger and Michael McDowell)

16th Place: E.J. Viso (with Alex Popow, Romain Iannetta, and Glynn Geddie)

17th Place: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Raphael Matos (with Scott Tucker and Richard Westbrook)

Once again, be sure to follow us tomorrow.  We’ll be live blogging starting at Noon (ET).  The race takes the green flag at 3:30pm (ET) and we’ll be there giving you all the inside info on our IZOD IndyCar Series drivers the entire time!

It’s been an interesting morning and afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. Practice kicked off for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona this morning and there was plenty of action to be seen.

Endurance racing is a different breed from the exciting world of the IZOD IndyCar Series. While, yes, ultimately it is a race and there’s a start and a finish; there are literally thousands of things that can go wrong over the course of 24 hours. As a result, practice for this event is quite a sight. Teams are scrambling to put together race setups as well as find that extra bit of speed for the qualifying session in the afternoon. It takes a high level of preparation combined with dependable equipment and super-fast drivers.

The 2010 Rolex Series Champions Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates 2010 Rolex Series Champions

Showing that they look to continue to dominate the Grand Am series Team Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates jumped to the top of the practice charts in the first session.

Dario Franchitti was behind the wheel of the #02 TELMEX/Target Daytona prototype that he will be sharing with co-drivers Scott Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.

Dario chats with Scott Dixon before practice begins

Dario chats with Scott Dixon before practice begins

Quite a lineup with four Indianapolis 500 wins and one Brickyard 400 win amongst them. Dario laid down a quick lap of 1:40.54 which was good enough for the top position. The #01 Target/TELMEX struggled in the morning session having turned a 1:41.002 which was good enough for 7th place on the charts.

Grand-Am practice is quite interesting to watch. There are multiple classes on track at the same time so it can breed some hairy situations. If you’re ever lucky enough to attend a Grand-Am event or the 24-Hours of Daytona be sure to find a seat at the end of a long straight into a heavy braking zone. The Daytona prototypes have so much more power than the GT class cars that they make massive gains on the straights (and the corners for that matter). As a result as they approach heavy braking zones often times DP drivers have to make last second decisions with the car to avoid contact and negotiate passes.

The SunTrust Racing #10 chasing down some GT Cars

The SunTrust Racing #10 chasing down some GT Cars

Practice two took off later in the day and showed that there were some other forces to be reckoned with in the paddock. Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe’s team for the weekend showed they’re ready to run up front. Ryan, co-driving with Wayne Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli, helped his team post a fast lap of 1:40.340 putting them in P1 for the final practice session before qualifying.

Ryan Briscoes ride he'll be sharing with Wayne Taylor, Jordan Taylor, and Max Angelelli

The SunTrust Racing #10 that will be piloted by Ryan Briscoe

Justin Wilson and his Michael Shank Racing teammates A.J. Allmendinger and Michael McDowell picked up the pace and finished the session in 5th place with a quick lap of 1:40.902.

Justin Wilson gets ready to head out to practice

Justin Wilson gets ready to head out to practice

The Ganassi cars seemed to struggle a bit, compared to the first session, with the #01 finishing in 7th place and the #02 ending up in 12th position. The #95 Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley, which is being driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Raphael Matos in coordination with Scott Tucker and Richard Westbrook, that finished 5th in the first session dropped five positions to end practice in 10th place.

Qualifying in Grand-Am is different from practice in that the classes qualify individually. Daytona International Speedway was recently repaved and post-practice all the drivers were commenting about how much faster the track was. It became clear just how much faster it was in qualifying. Jorg Bergmeister, who is competing in a Daytona prototype for the first time, would show that he’d found the fastest line around the course. Jorg and the Flying Lizard Motorsports team, a first year Daytona prototype team, laid down not only the fastest lap of the qualifying session but also a new Daytona prototype track record with a 1:40.099. Ryan Briscoe’s teammate and co-driver Max Angelelli put in a super strong effort finishing with a fast lap of 1:40.133 which was good enough for second place. Scott Pruett, who’s co-driving with IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal, proved that he still hasn’t lost any pace with a lap of 1:40.245 landing him in 3rd place. Scott Dixon would take the wheel of the #02 for qualifying and would not disappoint. Scott put together a great lap with a 1:40.302 yielding him a 5th place starting position. A.J. Allmendinger would put Justin Wilson’s car towards the front with a 8th place grid spot. Unfortunately the #95 of Raphael Matos and Ryan Hunter-Reay did not qualify and will start in the 50th position.

The teams have now taken to the garages for the day to make changes for practice tomorrow as well as change engines. Tomorrow should be another interesting day. Be sure to check back and MAKE SURE you follow us on Saturday as we’ll be live blogging for the full 24 hours!

For us, the off-season is like pressing a “reset” button. After the checkered flag at the last race of the season, the cars usually aren’t in their full, recognizable, 100 percent form until the green flag of the next season’s opening race.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail

It starts in the composite department of the shop with a body fit. To start, the car is stripped down to the bare carbon to check each piece’s weight and check for damage from wear and tear throughout the season. It’s like bringing the car back to square one. After the car is bare, the composite guys will start to glue the car back together. They make sure all of the pieces have nice seams, so the car is as smooth as possible to create better aerodynamics. The glue is a mixture of a high-solvent and resin, which holds each carbon fiber piece together. The carbon usually sets overnight or bakes in the oven for about 2 hours, depending on our time constraints.

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As we get started on 2011, a lot of things have happened over the last 12 months at JLF Designs. The helmet painting industry has been moving at an amazing pace and lots of new styles have emerged and even though I’ve been painting for 20 years, I have enjoyed my work more than ever thanks to some great projects with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Dan Wheldon and E.J. Viso who always brings us designs that are a challenge – and I love a challenge!

Back of E.J. Viso's Helmet

One of Viso's many designs

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Hello my name is INDYCAR

Posted on: January 11, 2011 | Comments(6) | Random | By: Admin

Hello, my name is...

INDYCAR nametag

Remember the fat kid in junior high that wore sweat pants all the time? The one that carried a Trapper Keeper stuffed full of very organized (and totally awesome) abstract art folders? Imagine if that kid’s name was really unique and rhymed with an orifice located at the very end of the digestive system. Hi. I’m Amos. I’m that kid.

Names are important. In some cases, names are exchanged before a hand is shaken. Fair or not, sometimes lacking all context, a name can be the first impression.

Imagine we just met (which we did). Your friend knows my wife whose cousin played soccer with your college roommate and we’ve gotten together at your favorite local establishment for a beverage.

“Hi, I’m Amos.”

“Hello. I’m John. Synthia mentioned you work in racing.”

“I do. I work for the Indy Racing League.”

“The what league?”

“The Indy Racing League. You know…INDYCAR.”

“Oh! Yeah, yeah. Like the Indy 500?”

“Exactly.”

Why not get straight to the point? Why not just call this operation INDYCAR? Why go with a first, middle and last name when you can go with just your first name? Mario. Coco. Prince. Oprah. They all worked it out. So — INDYCAR it shall be.

Do not fret Indy Racing League fans of yesteryear. It’s still us. We’re just a bit more fit (likely from turning left AND right now) and more prone to carrying iPads now. Yet still the fastest, most versatile athletes and race cars in the world!

INDYCAR and a new logo

Posted on: January 9, 2011 | Comments(8) | Random | By: Dave

It’s no secret that the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights is changing its name to INDYCAR (yes, all caps, but it isn’t an acronym) from the Indy Racing League.

“As I was talking to fans through the course of last season, I realized that we needed to make a name change to reflect the history and heritage of our sport,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR.  “The INDYCAR name has more world-wide recognition and is in-line with our positioning as the fastest, most versatile racing and drivers in the world.”

The formal announcement will come Tuesday, Jan. 11, during the State of INDYCAR program in Indianapolis. Drivers — plus team, sponsor, racetrack representatives – will hear from INDYCAR principals about the momentum of the series, some tweaks to the competition side and a few surprise announcements.

Revisiting the name change, one unveiling will be the new logo for the sanctioning body. Stay tuned.

New INDYCAR logo?

Not quite ready to unveil

11 in 11

Posted on: January 6, 2011 | Comments(29) | Drivers, Fans | By: Daniel

Happy New Year everyone!

We’re all about the 2011 season, thinking about new things we can do online. We’re working on a lot of different digital projects including a revamped IndyCar Nation section to IndyCar.com, a new mobile site, new content and more interaction with our fans – You!

One thing we offer a lot of online is video. Our YouTube Channel has over 1200 videos. Here’s Danica Patrick talking about technology in one of our videos from 2010.  My point is, we produce a lot of video, and that won’t stop.

For 2011, we want to try a new video series, called 11 in 11. We’re going to try and ask all of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar drivers the same 11 questions over the course of the season.

Live on Camera

33 Indy 500 drivers at ESPN

Here’s where you become involved. We want you to come up with the selection of questions that would apply to any of our drivers.

Leave your general question as a comment on this blog. Or send it to us via Twitter (@IndyCar) or through our Facebook page. We need your suggestions by next Monday, January 10. Hey, we move fast.

We’ll pick the final 11 for 2011 and get started soon. You can expect to see these videos throughout the season and we promise to try and cover all of the drivers.

Ask away…

What are your off-season plans?

Posted on: October 5, 2010 | Comments(35) | Fans | By: Daniel

What do you do in the off-season? Do you watch re-runs of all the 2010 races? Start planning for the 2011 season? Work on your Fantasy Racing team? We want to know.

Chip Ganassi and team

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Champions

It’s only been a few days since Dario Franchitti won the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship…but I’ve already noticed some interesting online withdrawal. @IndyCarNation follower @NDcarTwit tweeted: “Think everyone should take a month off, and then let’s go again! Can’t wait till next Spring for more IndyCar racing!”

On our Facebook page, Wendy Gilbert wrote, “I’m in withdrawal already. Can’t wait until March 27th!” And another Facebook IndyCar fan – Leoth Wade, said” I’m ready now for the 2011 Indy 500. I can’t wait for it. Thanks to IZOD for making 2010 a great season.”

You really like your IndyCar racing.

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Baltimore in 2011

Posted on: June 2, 2010 | Comments(12) | Race Tracks | By: Dave

At The Nest on West Pratt Street – across from the Baltimore Convention Center where city and state officials announced that an IZOD IndyCar Series race would be held in Baltimore beginning in August 2011 – lunch patrons were curious, if not outright enthusiastic, that a major sporting event would be coming to downtown.
View Larger Map

As Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said in opening remarks, “You don’t win a race by reversing and going backward. You win a race by putting it in drive and giving it full throttle.”

Over crab cakes and house salad alfresco at The Nest (which overlooks the main straightaway of the circuit and start-finish line; think this will be a hotspot?), Daniel McLaughlin highlights the economic impact projected, the tens of thousands of spectators that will flock to the circuit that includes the scenic Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. A fan, who watched flag to flag coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, McLaughlin sees it as a win-win for the city and the series.

“We have the Orioles, who aren’t that good right now, and the occasional soccer (friendly) match and NCAA lacrosse finals,” he says, “but we miss out on much more because a lot of sporting events like the Final Four go to Washington. Sure there are going to be some people upset when they resurface the streets, but it’s a long-term gain. Plus the streets will be paved.”

The Inner Harbor is a few blocks east – with the National Aquarium, numerous restaurants (former First Daughter Jenna Bush lives in the neighborhood) and nightlife options – will be bustling.

“I might have to volunteer for the weekend,” McLaughlin says. “Maybe I could be the guy holding the umbrella over Danica while she’s in the car.”