Posts Tagged ‘ Dan Clarke ’

With  2 races to go and 5th place in the series getting ever closer the heat was on us to figure out the last scraps of speed in the car on ovals and  keep the awesome streak of top 5 finishes going. Kentucky was up and another demanding 1.5 mile flat out oval challenge we had to tackle with  both hands.

Qualifying went extremely well. Once I’d gotten over the initial running around a new oval flat out at 190 mph we  managed to eek out a pretty decent setup and overall speed to place the  car 5th for the race. Things were really looking up as we figured our car’s strongest point wasn’t in outright speed on it’s own, it was  better suited for running in traffic in the race. It usually stays strong and helps me bring it home in the top 5.

Dan Clarke

Dan Clarke

[More]

Now the road courses are over and done with, it’s time for us to knuckle  down and figure out this 1.5mile oval car. 190 mph flat out banked oval  racing in packs is thrilling stuff and you need to keep your wits about  you at all times because everybody will generally stay in a big bunch  and constantly be dicing for position. You also need a good car to be  fast in clean air and stay flat out in traffic. And that’s what we as a  team had to develop.

I’m not pleading poverty though. I’ve  probably harped on about the disadvantages we’ve faced as a team from the outset enough already. The reality is I’m more than pleased with  what Derrick and his team have provided me with at each race and the  chances I’ve had to really race hard against a lot of good drivers and  teams. I knew at the beginning of the year the advantages of being with Walker Racing would always far outweigh any disadvantages.

Chicago  was a really solid weekend us. Qualifying 11th showed again that some  of these Lights teams know something about Qualifying that we don’t. I  don’t think it comes down to engineering ability, I know I have a really  good engineer, it’s just they’ve ran this car for nearly 10years  already and we are new.

[More]

Back Camera

After Mid-Ohio it seemed we really had some momentum going on in the team. But now an even bigger challenge was facing me; Not knowing Sonoma and having to Qualify on the first day of learning the track. The Rfactor simulator didn’t have the track for me to learn so I had to dig out my iRacing membership and shake the dust off. Some drivers also gave me some tips and heading to Sonoma, I wasn’t sure whether to feel confident or not knowing I was heading to a fast sweeping track with blind cresting turns.

[More]

Dan Clarke is a Firestone Indy Lights driver, nicknamed “Speedy Dan,” the native of Maidenhead, England has been racing since the age of 8. Here Clarke talks about the Mid-Ohio 100 race, where he finished second.

After scoring 2 top 5’s in Canada we were now on a high and it felt like we’d found our speed finally. But next up was Mid-Ohio and a track I’d never driven and others had tested this year AND raced last year. So the most I could do to learn was watch onboard videos, play some rFactor and ask other drivers for tips.

Dan Clarke in action at Mid-Ohio

Dan Clarke in action at Mid-Ohio

The practice sessions went surprisingly well. The car felt great right and that can make your weekend a lot easier. You often hear driver’s victory speeches mention how good the car has been all weekend and it certainly helped me to spend more time putting laps in and learning the track and not having to put to fix a car balance issue. Qualifying was great. We really only just missed out on P2 but finishing top3 again was awesome. I couldn’t figure out how Plowman managed to be half a second faster but in the race expected us all to be the same pace.

It turned out to be one of the longest races so far this year. Just because I was having to drive super hard in 3rd to stop Charlie Kimball catching me for the most part. As a team, we’d missed the boat again with getting the right grip balance for the race, and once the green flag has dropped you only have your front roll bar adjuster to try and help that inbalance. And I was already maxed out on that. So I just had to hold on and maintain a gap from Kimball whilst watching the front 2 cars get away from me. Finally Kimball’s car went away with 10 laps to go and by then I was catching the front 2 a little. Seems like Hinchcliffe gifted me another 2nd place when he made a mistake in front of me into turn4 and slid off. So 2nd place finish for me was great and much needed points again.

Dan Clarke

Dan Clarke

I think the best moment from this weekend, apart from learning a track from scratch on Friday and Qualifying P3 on Saturday, was at the Checkered flag when Derrick said well done. I’ve been working hard a lot this year to change some of the reputation I picked up from Champ Car when I was alot less experienced and made mistakes. This year one of my goals was to show people I can be consistent and clean and bring the car home. Even at the beginning of the year halfway through the first race when I’d overtaken cars from 11th to 7th, Derrick came on the radio and his voice seemed to be urging me to take it easy and consolidate my position now. I remember thinking he was probably concerned I might keep pushing and make a mistake. Maybe like some people expected me to in 2007. But crossing the line on Sunday and hearing Derrick say really great job for

holding on, when he knew from lap5 I had an understeering car, gave me a big sense of relief. Like I’d really made some headway this year showing people I can be consistent.

But for the next race at Sonoma, we have to win. The wins are really what we need as a team this year. It is a tall order to be a brand new team with a car we don’t know and to try to beat the AFS and Schmidt cars but we’ve been knocking on the door for a few races now and with only 4 rounds to go it’s time to bring it all together and get on the top step. Let’s see if we can do it!

Perfect weather here in Edmonton today for a race of any kind, especially an IndyCar race. The weather is perfect for race fans as well. Mentioning the fans, Edmonton has some enthusiastic and supportive ones. They have shown up everyday ready for some IndyCar action and sporting their favorite driver’s colors. Being a newbie here at City Centre Raceway I decided to get some insight from the fans. I wanted to know the best places to be, the favored drivers in Edmonton, and how the fans spend their City Centre race day.

Woo hoo, Qualifications!

Fans in Edmonton!

When I asked the fans the way they spent their time at the track most responded with the Paddock. In the Paddock area fans can be up close and personal with the teams, the cars, and even the drivers. It’s a great place to get pictures of your favorite drivers and racing legends like A.J. Foyt and Rick Mears. What fan wouldn’t want to spend time in the Paddock area?

The best place to be at the Edmonton race track? The answer was unanimous, Turn 1 of course. However, this year the stands in Turn 1 have been removed. Most of the fans said Turn 1 holds some of their favorite racing memories and they are sad to see the stands go.

I then put the fans on the spot by asking them if they could have a ride with one driver who would it be and why? The answers varied. Will Power was one answer, simply because he is fast was the reasoning for one fan. Dario Franchitti was another answer, who wouldn’t want to ride with an Indy 500 champion? The answer for most was Danica Patrick. Answering Danica came as no surprise, especially if you were to walk around the City Centre track today. Danica Patrick shirts are every where you turn!

Then a special pair of people caught my eye. The two were sitting in the stands watching the Firestone Indy Lights warm up and looked as if they were great fans. Father and daughter Ben and Kristina were shaded from the sun in their IZOD IndyCar hats that had been autographed by their favorite drivers. I decided to ask their opinion on Edmonton.

3DRG1196

Father and Daughter Enjoy Race Day

Favorite part of the Edmonton experience?

The race, of course. Ben and Kristina are big fans of the Indy Lights series too. Turn 1 was always a favorite aspect for the two, and they too were sad to see the stands go.

What driver would you like to see win?

For the Indy Lights Edmonton 100 Kristina and Ben would like to see Dan Clarke take the victory. As for IndyCar, Justin Wilson is who they would like to see in the winner’s circle.

If you could ride with one driver who would it be? Why?

Ben’s answer was Paul Tracy. “Tracy is an aggressive driver,” said Ben. For Kristina it would be Graham Rahal. She has always enjoyed watching him.

The fans were great in Edmonton and they all seemed to be dedicated fans. Every one of them had a reason for coming to Edmonton and returning year after year. My first time in Edmonton was made that much better by the willingness of the fans and I’ll be sure to check out Turn 1.  Edmonton is a great stop on the IndyCar schedule, eh?