Posts Tagged ‘ Dan Wheldon ’

The Final Laps

Posted on: June 7, 2011 | Comments(2) | Race Tracks | By: Iowa Speedway

Thanks for stopping back to the Iowa Speedway blog here on Indycar.com! Like the drivers who will be thanking their sponsors before and after racing in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 25th, we too need to thank some people first before we get into this months topic – our readers. Without you we wouldn’t even be writing this story so thank you!

Watching this year’s Indy 500, which by the way was amazing, and seeing the final pass for the win an idea popped into my head – this month’s topic.

JR took the lead with three laps to go; I thought for sure the race would be over in the neighborhood of 120 seconds since drivers completed laps at just over 40 seconds when running at full speed. Could I have been more wrong?! Maybe. When JR took reins of this year’s 500 and until the winner, Dan Weldon, crossed the finish line there was an elapse time of 128 seconds. Eight seconds is a big deal in the world of motorsports!

A combination of Weldon being behind JR and not running at full speed to conserve fuel makes up that eight second difference. In my opinion, that final eight seconds is and probably will always be the longest of JR’s racing career, sadly.

Shall we compare the last 128 seconds of the Indy 500 to what might be the last 128 seconds here at Iowa Speedway so you can see how vastly different things can be from track to track? Lets!

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Tony Kanaan leading at the Iowa Speedway in 2010

In the time they turned those three laps at Indianapolis they would’ve completed over seven laps at Iowa Speedway. Circuits around this 7/8 or .875 mile oval are 17.5 seconds long at full speed in an IZOD IndyCar. That is a total of 28 turns here compared to only 12 they completed at Indianapolis, plus the lap traffic.

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Kanaan and Castroneves after the 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250

Look back to 2010 when TK took the lead with 10 laps to go, about 175 seconds left in the race, and you can really see there was a greater chance of something going wrong. He had 40 turns to get through while dealing with several lap down cars. The winner is never known until the car crosses the finish line, and never has that been more true following this year’s 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.

Be sure to come out to Iowa Speedway on June 25th to see if we have that same excitement during the final seconds/laps of this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer. Thanks for reading. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. We’re listening – and thanks again for the support!

Inside Shot – Indy 500

Posted on: June 6, 2011 | Comments (1) | Flickr, Indy 500 | By: Chris Jones

In previous Inside Shot entries I have discussed one image from an IndyCar race that was featured in the indycar.com galleries or the IndyCar Flickr site.  For the Indy 500, it is difficult to single out one image.

For most IndyCar race weekends, the activities take place over 2 or 3 days.  For the Indy 500, activities started on May 7 with the Mini-Marathon and weather-postponed Balloon Race, and ended on the evening of May 30th at the Victory Celebration banquet.  During that period, I shot at the track 20 days and took over 9,600 images.  For comparison, at Long Beach where both IndyCar and Indy Lights were in action, I shot around 2,300 images.

You may wonder why we spent so much time at the track given there were only 10 practice and qualifying days.  At Indy, there are so many other activities we covered including the Celebration of Automobiles, the American Dairy Association Rookie Luncheon, celebrity two-seater rides, Emerging Tech day, the unveiling of the Marmon Wasp postage stamp, Community Day, and Rookie Orientation.

My favorite images are those that tell a story.  Although these may not qualify as the “best” photos during the month, they are photos that help tell my favorite stories from the month.

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One of the top stories of the month was the hardship that Simona de Silvestro faced after her accident.  It was obvious her hands were still hurting watching her get in the car after her incident.  She didn’t let the pain stop her from signing autographs even though everyone would have understood if she said she needed to let her hands rest.

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J.R. Hildebrand had a great month – fastest Rookie in the field, first day qualifier, race runner-up and Chase Rookie of the Year.  Unfortunately for him, he would have been the race winner if not for his final lap incident in turn 4.  Similar to Simona, the way he reacted to his adversity showed his class and character.

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To me, one of the big stories that got overlooked throughout the month was the success of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, especially Bertrand Baguette.  Here was a team that hadn’t raced this season, with two drivers that hadn’t raced in IndyCar this season either, and only one previous Indy 500 start between the two drivers.  Both Baguette and Jay Howard were first-day qualifiers, and Baguette was one late caution period away from winning the race.

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Of course, the big story was Dan Wheldon’s win in a one-off ride with Bryan Herta Autosport.  According to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson, Wheldon is the first winning driver at the Indy 500 to lead only one lap, and he probably led less than a quarter of a mile.  It was great to see the pure emotion he expressed after his win.  He should continue to be a great ambassador for the Indy 500.

Next up is Texas Motor Speedway.

A Second Glance at May

Posted on: June 3, 2011 | Comments(8) | Indy 500 | By: Cassie

This May was my second with IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am an intern for the media department where we handle Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and blog posts. I spent a lot of the month captioning the many photos that are taken each day. I decided to choose some of my favorites from the month and pay a personal tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.

Dan Wheldon takes the win

The only thing this photo is missing are the dropped jaws, the wide eyes and the shocked gasps coming from the crowd at the end of this year’s Indy 500 when rookie J.R. Hildebrand crashed while leading the final lap. The photo definitely depicts the controversy that came from the ending. The checkered and yellow flag are out as Dan Wheldon crosses the finish line, but Dan played fair and successfully grabbed his second Indy 500 title. Definitely a twist of fate that made for a memorable ending to a historical race.

Simona De Silvestro signs an autograph

How could I not choose a picture of Simona de Silvestro? Tough is the only word you can use to describe her. There is no way you could have watched the horrifying wreck she was involved in, watch her successfully qualify, and watch her finish the race and not have the most respect in the world for her. I’m not sure we even heard a complaint come from her lips. Being sure not to let down her fans, she continued to sign autographs throughout the rest of the month. Simona, you’re my girl!

Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani

There is no way to look at the picture above and not feel the emotion Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani must have experienced in this moment. After Tagliani grabbed the pole, he couldn’t thank Schmidt enough. You have to love and respect Sam Schmidt for all he’s overcome, and congratulate him because this was his first Indy 500 pole. It was great to see their effort and teamwork pay off.

Dario shakes the hand of Roger Penske

Any picture that includes a member of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske is a great one to me. It’s so easy to create the thought that there is a rivalry there, but this picture goes to show that isn’t quite the case. If you ask me, every IndyCar fan is either a Ganassi fan or a Penske fan. You can’t like both, but you can probably hate both out of jealousy for the numerous success stories both teams have. Dario shaking Roger Penske’s hand in this picture shows the camaraderie that exists between Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. One of my all time favorites for sure!

A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti

I chose this picture and put it last in order for a reason. This year was the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500. This picture includes IndyCar legends and embodies the whole history of the race and the series. A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, and Johnny Rutherford – all legends of the Indy 500 and the IndyCar sport. This picture is everything that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wanted to accomplish during the 100th anniversary – a celebration of the history of those who have made the Indy 500 the “greatest spectacle in racing” and kept it there for 100 years and counting.

To see more pictures from May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway check out IndyCar Flickr.

Now that the IZOD IndyCar Series has finished we haven’t got any IndyCar driver helmets at the workshop, so I’ve posted some pictures of the painting process on one of Ernesto Viso’s helmets.

The designs come from his cousin Juan Carlos in Milan and this is the information we work from on all of EJs’ helmets. We try to keep to the original concept as closely as possible, but we have the final say on colors, effects, etc. as designs often evolve along the painting process. As a helmet progresses we often think of additional touches and paint techniques that will enhance Juan Carlos’s designs.

"SCARECROWd" Helmet

E.J. Viso's SCARECROWd Helmet

The first step is to prep & primer-coat the helmet surface, so that the paint will key to the shell and stand up to the battering the helmets take during a race. Each section of the design is masked off and the colors are then airbrushed in one at a time.

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It all started in Nazareth, PA at IndyCar’s 100th race back in 2004, where like many other start-up companies, we went knocking on every transporter door in the paddock offering our services. The first and only one to open that weekend and accept our service offer was none other than Dan Wheldon’s, whom at that time was still racing for the AGR team. The rest is history, being such a tight knit family, one driver spoke to another and the ball starting rolling from then on.

Scott Dixon with Art

Scott Dixon with Canvas

Even translating into other racing series such as Nascar and the world renowned Formula 1. Many names such as Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Max Papis, Jenson Button, Adrian Fernandez, Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastian Vettel, Patrick Carpentier to name a few. Some of our paintings are also proudly displayed at the Ferrari F1 racing team factory in Italy as well as in Ferrari President Mr. Di Montezemolo’s office.

Sebastian Vettel with the Rotonto Bros

The Rotondo Brothers with Vettel & Canvas

Then from there our helmet painting division started in 2007 when we were hired to design two helmets for Dan Wheldon and from then on we opened the helmet designing and painting division of the company which today accounts for as much for our company as the canvas paintings.

Each canvas painting, which Art creates is completely done using the finest oil paints and completely from scratch by Art.  Our biggest differentiation to other canvas painter’s is that Art is able to capture the thrill and speed of the race car in every one of his paintings. His young age of 30 translates directly into his work, especially being in a Motorsport Canvas Painting industry which mainly consists of older aged painters which prefer keeping their work clean cut.  The ArtRotondo.com company thrives off being ahead of the rest by doing such works of Art, each masterpiece requires between 60-80hrs of work from beginning to end. What is also really interesting is that for any fan who wants to gets close to an original at a lower price, from every painting we produce, a limited edition series of Lithographs becomes available, so that the fans can get their hands on the same image that their favorite driver owns the original of.

Super Friendly Fans

Posted on: September 18, 2010 | Comments(6) | Drivers, Fans, Race Tracks | By: Daniel

Prior to this trip everyone kept mentioning how friendly the fans were in Japan. I believed them – I’ve already seen that at the previous IndyCar races this season. Our fans are passionate, committed and of course, very nice. Motegi is a different experience. For one, it’s a different culture, language, continent and time zone. It’s also the adopted home track for Hideki Mutoh and Takuma Sato – not to mention Roger Yasukawa – and these fans really love these drivers.

Smile!

Happy fans

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Magnum Gives Back

Posted on: August 31, 2010 | Comments (0) | Contests, New Media, Sponsors | By: Admin

Shoes, shoes and more shoes! Recently, we joined up with Magnum Boots USA and ran a Twitter contest to give-away a complimentary pair or boots. Why? Well, we love our fans and we love our sponsors so we figured we better introduce the two…so, kind of like a blind date, but with a prize!

For those of you who don’t know, Magnum, is the sponsor of the IndyCar Series safety and security teams and supports the #4 National Guard car driven by Dan Wheldon. Here is a picture of a pair in action:

Magnum Boots

Magnum Boots in Action

In addition to giving an IndyCar Series fan a cool new pair of boots, Magnum has also found other ways to give back to the community. During various retail promotions, they donate $2 for every pair of boots sold to the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is an intervention programs dedicated to helping at-risk youth have a better tomorrow. Magnum has already donated approximately $20,000 to this non-profit organization – Pretty amazing!

Magnum is just one of our sponsors that is making a difference in the community and in racing. We hope to have more installments like this one, that highlight our relationship with our fans and our sponsors. We also plan on having another give-away contest soon. Good luck! And you should probably follow us both on Twitter:

IZOD IndyCar Series: @IndyCarNation

Magnum: @MagnumBootsUSA

New helmet designs

Posted on: August 27, 2010 | Comments(3) | Drivers, Helmet Designs | By: Jason Fowler

The workshop at JLF Designs has been as busy as ever with more IndyCar helmets being painted for Dan Wheldon and E.J. Viso. Two helmets have been recently painted for Dan with one featuring a design combining his main sponsors NOS energy drink and National Guard which has a camo design which is very time-consuming to paint! Each of the tiny blocks is laid on as masks so that the next color can be sprayed over the top and the process is repeated until all three colours are done. Then it can take over an hour just for the masks to be removed. There are no short-cuts in helmet paintwork!

Dan Wheldon's helmet

Wheldon's camo design

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EJ Viso is a long-time friend and customer of the team at JLF Designs and likes to use different themes for his helmet designs which relate to the track the helmet will be used at. His cousin Juanco is a designer working in Milan, Italy and he comes up with the ideas for the designs which we then translate into the painted artwork.

Side view

E.J. Viso's Nature Inspired Helmet Art

For the Canada races, EJ wanted a design that reflected the nature of the venues from a completely different perspective so Juanco went to work on some ideas and came up with a design featuring the Canadian Danaus Plexippus butterfly. Here’s his explanation of the inspiration behind the design:

Juanco:“Danaus plexippus / evolution baby: this precise family of butterfly is the National insect of Canada, that’s why we thought it would blend perfect on the Canadian scene. After all, to win, one has to move fast and alert on rainy Toronto and almost fly over the bumpy and tricky tracks of Edmonton…As a final detail we added the caterpillar that curls shaping the number 8…good metaphor for EJ’s Indy career evolution…”

E.J. Viso's Helmet Art

Figure Eight Caterpillar

We set to work on the paintwork and the task of making the Butterfly fit the helmet shape without too much distortion. As the colours went on it became obvious that the solid shapes of the original design looked a little flat and not very lifelike so I used some rough airbrush texturing to give the colours a soft transition between the colours. Then when the paintwork was finished I used a gloss base for the white and a matt finish for the butterfly to give a contrast between the two, and to give the butterfly the soft, powdery look they have.

Wings!

Wings for E.J.Viso

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Welcome to my first blog post! The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic with some special designs being produced for some of our drivers. Here are some pictures of Lewis Hamilton’s helmet for the British F1 GP which featured Union Jack flags and a Grenada flag to celebrate his family’s Caribbean heritage.

Lewis Hamilton Helmet, 1

Lewis Hamilton - Helmet Design

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