Posts Tagged ‘ Emerson Fittipaldi ’

It’s evident when driving through the streets of Sao Paulo that Brazilians are extremely passionate about motorsport.   Ayrton Senna murals are painted on building sides and under bridges all over this massive city.  As a result this South American country has not only produced the world’s most legendary driver (Senna) but also some great racing circuits and outstanding INDYCAR drivers.

One of my favorite racetracks is here in Brazil.  Without a doubt, it was one of the most unique ovals ever built (the exception being Trenton, NJ). The Circuito de Jacarepaguá in Rio was quite a site to be seen in the mid-90’s when INDYCAR came to town.

Rio, in every definition of the word, was a Roval.  Turn 1 was a sharp corner, requiring the drivers to get on the brakes, downshift once (maybe twice) and jump back on the throttle. Turn 2 was wide open all the way to turn 3 which was full throttle for some drivers and then back on to the brakes for turn 4.  The layout produced great passing and promoted aggressive driving.

Rio was also the site of one of the most spectacular shunts in INDYCAR history.  Mark Blundell essentially tore down the outside wall in Turn 1 when his brakes failed going down the front stretch.  He made an attempt to collect his teammate to help soften the impact but he just  barely missed.  The resulting impact is terrifying and miraculously Blundell emerged from the car unscathed.  Fast forward in the above video to the 10:40 mark for video of the incident.

The list of Brazilian drivers who have driven in INDYCAR is long and prestigious.  With names like Fittipaldi, Kanaan, and Castroneves, Brazilian drivers have proved that they are and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Emerson Fittipaldi, one of the greatest drivers in any car, was one of my favorite drivers growing up. “Emmo” was fast, brave, and exciting to watch.  Below is video from one of Emerson’s hard fought battles with Nigel Mansell.

For many people when they think of the IZOD IndyCar Series they think of Helio Castroneves.  The personable, excitable, and energetic Brazilian 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner has been a staple of the IZOD IndyCar Series for many years now.  His personality, passion for racing, and on camera antics have been great for the sport.  What some seem to miss, especially lately, is how impressive Helio is behind the wheel.

Tony Kanaan is without a doubt one of the fiercest competitors in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  The tough driver from Salvador, Brazil has proved this year that just because he’s changed teams it doesn’t mean he can be ignored.  Taking KV Racing Technologies to some of their best finishes in recent memory TK has proudly positioned himself in 3rd position in the overall points standings.  If you watched the Indianapolis 500 last year and didn’t pay attention to Kanaan’s drive you missed one of the most exciting and entirely legendary performances a the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Starting 33rd and passing 22 cars to finish in 11th position was nothing short of miraculous.  TK showed once again that he’s not lost a step and certainly hasn’t lost any of his nerve, the man is still a master of the outside pass.

If you’re thinking there could be more patriotic ways to spend Independence Day weekend than watching twenty-two foreign born drivers battle against each other and three Americans at Watkins Glen – think again. From the rich history the track holds to the exciting events being held there this weekend, there’s no better place for a race fan to spend the 4th of July.

Long front straight

The Glen

Watkins Glen International, or “The Glen”, has been home to a variety of open-wheel road racing events for more than six decades. Known for it’s plethora of twists and turns, The Glen is truly the one of the best road racing facilities in the country. In fact, its one of my personal favorites (that could also have something to do with the local wineries  but more about that later). For more than twenty years, The Glen served as home to the United States Grand Prix, seducing drivers from all over the world with its seductive curves, including Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Stirling Moss (how can you not love that name?). If you’re eager to learn more, the Watkins Glen International website features an informative video timeline. My expertise lies in there here and now.

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What better way to kick off past Indianapolis 500 broadcasts on ESPN Classic than one of the most talked-about races in the history of the event – the 1985 “spin and win” by Danny Sullivan.

The race, to be broadcast at 3 p.m. (ET) May 3, is among the dozen to air on the network in May – all leading up to the Indianapolis 500 on the 30th. A marathon – tailor-made for your DVR – showing is scheduled for May 29.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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