Posts Tagged ‘ Nascar ’

To start, I have a confession to make. I test drive cars with no intention of buying them. If it’s a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon and I have nothing better to do, I will haul myself up to a car dealership part of town (yep, you know the areas I’m talking about, where you can hit up six dealerships on the same road) and I will happily park my 2005 Ford Taurus (it’s the ugliest shade of green) and locate a salesperson.

I’ve driven BMW’s, Jeeps, Nissans, Honda Pilots (my secret first choice for when I’m a full-fledged soccer mom), and a variety of Cadillacs (always with the windows rolled down and rap music blasting). Yet for six years now, I’ve driven the very same Ford Taurus and have no immediate intentions of selling my “whip” and to much chagrin, I’m sure, from the many salespersons I’ve encountered on my Sunday drives.

My confession having been made, when I heard that Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Jamie McMurray were about to swap rides for the day at Barber Motorsports Park I thought, wow, I get it. (Not sure what I’m talking about, read more on the swap here and check out video of the swap here.)

Scott Dixon and Jamie McMurray

Scott Dixon gives Jamie McMurray pointers on handling an IndyCar

What do I get? It’s that secret thrill of sliding into the driver’s seat of a car that isn’t yours and attempting to get comfortable in an awkward and different environment. How do the brakes feel? Can I go from zero to sixty (well, okay, in their case a bit faster) in under a minute? How do I shift? Do I need to adjust the mirrors?

Scott Dixon climbs into a Stock Car

Scott Dixon climbs into McMurray's stock car

These questions and more run through your mind when testing a different car but so does the important question, “Is this the kind of car I can see myself in for years to come.” For Dixon and McMurray, it’s no different. The question, which they may joke about after getting out of the cars, still surfaces in a far corner of their mind. In racing, it does happen. Drivers go from open-wheel racing to stock cars and back again. In even some cases, such as Danica Patrick, both.

Jamie McMurray and Scott Dixon at Talladega

Jamie McMurrary and Scott Dixon pose together at Barber

Perhaps the drivers emerged the same way I did when I test drove a Subaru. It was great, handled well but I could not picture myself taking on the lifestyle decision that a Subaru driver must make. It’s a stigma. One that says I kayak on the weekends and always have a bag of granola and my Five Finger running shoes in the trunk. Which, scary enough is true, but was I willing to let the world know? I stuck with my Taurus that day and have yet to look back. However, there’s always that thought in my mind saying someday…. someday I’ll be ready for a change.

Fans of NASCAR spent years preparing for the “Car of Tomorrow.” During the 2007 season, as NASCAR worked to integrate the “COT” and teams tested the new design, analysts would remind the viewers watching at home what changes were coming with the Car of Tomorrow. The supposed improvements did little to instill confidence in viewers as it was always in reference to whichever car was in last place, struggling to keep up with the field, or out of commission before the final lap.

In February 2008, the Pittsburgh Tribune recorded video of the Car of Tomorrow chassis as presented by a NASCAR tech inspector. The inspector listed the benefits of the new chassis as safety and less costly. Safety meaning that the wider, taller design was created to make it easier to pull drivers out of the car in the case of a severe accident and keeping costs down not just from less-costly frame rails, but by requiring the rails to stay within 1/4 inch of NASCAR’s regulations. In other words, keeping teams on a level playing field.

NASCAR’s intention was to improve performance and competition with the Car of Tomorrow, but fan reviews state otherwise. So in July, when Randy Bernard announced new engine regulations and a new chassis design, who could blame race fans for airing concern that the changes would have the opposite effect intended? Fortunately, the impact was crystal clear- that rather than move the IZOD IndyCar Series closer to a spec series, we were moving even further away. The changes emphasize the value of competition and collaboration as the direct sources of innovation. Similar to NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, the new chassis, produced by Dallara, will reduce costs for teams. It is also designed to be lighter and safer than the current chassis.

Mayor Greg Ballard, Randy Bernard, Graham Rahal and others

Dallara breaks ground in Speedway, Indiana

But then came the engine manufacturers. Helping to fuel the competition and joining Honda in 2012 will be Lotus and Chevrolet. Most exciting? Each of these engine suppliers not only represent a different continent, but they also bring unique memories from racing history along with their names.

Green and yellow, a beautiful sight

Lotus Display at the LA Auto Show

And don’t forget about the aero kits. Teams will be able to personalize the product they place on the track with custom aero kits produced by Lotus, Chevrolet, and Dallara. The diversity in these kits will help avoid a situation similar to NASCAR’s announcement in early 2010 that spoilers would be reintroduced to their cars to help improve races and, admittedly, return to a more-comfortable look on the cars.

In the coming year, keep an eye on IndyCar.com/2012 for updates and announcements on what changes are coming to the IZOD IndyCar Series and voice your opinion on how these changes will affect the quality of racing for the fans. Submit your own design for the Future IndyCar or connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter and tell us what you think of the IZOD IndyCar Series efforts to increase competition and improve the quality of racing on the track, you might even see your comment right back here on the IndyCar blog. What other announcements are you hoping to hear during the 2011 season to make for a better 2012 season?

Another fan design

Future IndyCar Design Submitted by Rick Jones

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.

Live Blog from NH

Posted on: June 27, 2010 | Comments(2) | Race Tracks | By: Jarrod

Today we are going to give you a special semi-Live Blog of today’s announcement.  Follow along all day for updates, photos, videos and more as indycar.com invades New England.

1:23pm: That’s a wrap. IZOD IndyCar is packing up and heading to the plane. See you next week at Watkins Glen

1:15pm: Dario Franchitti takes over the track before the start of the Lenox 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

12:15pm: Chip Ganassi answers questions about IZOD IndyCar’s return to New Hampshire.  His driver Juan Montoya sits on the pole for today’s event.

10:39am: Flash from the past.  Check out the last time IZOD IndyCar raced at New Hampshire

10:21am: Randy Bernard-”Our Fans like Short Ovals”

10:15am: IZOD IndyCar Series announces a return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  IRL CEO Randy Bernard is joined by 2-time Indy 500 and IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti, SMI CEO Bruton Smith, New Hampshire GM Jerry Gappens and New Hampshire Gov. Lynch.

9:56am: Target Chip Ganassi team members unload Dario Franchitti’s #10 Honda/Dallara IndyCar from the IZOD IndyCar Series transporter

What's going on here?

9:30am: IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard chats with “the morning buzz”  in the media center at New Hampshire  Motor Speedway.

9am: Flying in.  Name that track?   I had not removed the film off the back of my iPhone, so the image is a little hazy.

6am: Wheels up from Indianapolis Airport and heading to New England.