Posts Tagged ‘ racing blog ’

Catching up with Kevin Jonas

Posted on: April 15, 2011 | Comments (0) | Race Tracks | By: Dave

Way back, before the Jonas Brothers phenomenon really got rolling, the group played a gig at Kentucky Speedway before the IZOD IndyCar Series race day got rolling.

Kevin Jonas catches up with Indycar.com

Kevin Jonas catches up with IndyCar.com

“I remember that show,” said Jonas, who is competing in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race – an adjunct to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – this weekend. “We pulled up with all the other busses and then we hung around in the back of the media center. Miss America was there, too. That seems so long ago.”

Indeed. It was before “Camp Rock,” appearances on the cover major magazines, No. 1 songs and celebrity A-list events.

The family grew up in North Carolina and has been auto racing fans of the stock car bent, but Jonas certainly appreciates the focus, stamina, athleticism and competitive nature of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers competing on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street circuit. It was enough for him to handle the Scion tC during practice.

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this and I love,” Jonas said. “It’s a lot of fun but you have to get used to it. How often these days do you drive a manual car? Growing up you get your permit and license, but then you get here and you have to re-learn how to drive. We had four days of training before this practice and coming here you had to find your braking points and get used to the track.”

Kevin Jonas catches up with Indycar.com

Kevin Jonas

Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing For Kids in the name of each celebrity racer and another $5,000 to the winning racer’s charity of choice. Additionally, a $15,000 donation will be made in conjunction with the 14th People Pole Award (sponsored by People magazine).

The celeb racers visited with patients at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach on April 14 as part of the Racing For Kids event. For 22 years, Racing For Kids representatives from the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights have visited children’s hospitals in race markets.

“I walked into one of the rooms and there was a poster of me and my brothers on the wall, and that made me feel good that our music maybe brings some joy to a young person’s life because they’re going through so much,” Jonas said. “No matter how much fun it is to race, it’s really getting out there and doing this for the kids.”

11 in 11 featuring Ryan Hunter-Reay

Posted on: April 15, 2011 | Comments (0) | Drivers | By: Admin

We’re following up on the fan generated video series, 11 in 11. This weekend, we’re featuring reigning Long Beach Grand Prix champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Marco Andretti, Michael Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay

RHR with the Andretti's

Find out what race he wants to win. His opinion on neck pillows, yes neck pillows. The Indianapolis 500. Winning at Long Beach, and more.

Beautiful Barber

Posted on: April 8, 2011 | Comments(4) | Flickr, Race Tracks | By: Daniel

Have you ever been on vacation or visited a place so stunning or picturesque, that it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo?

Not to take away from the work of our professional photographers that work in the IZOD IndyCar Series, but at Barber Motorsports Park, I really do think it’s hard to take a bad photo.

It’s beautiful, with rolling hills, a manicured landscape, a museum and a scattering of art installations.

Haulers are loaded in to the paddock area

A nice wide look at Barber

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2011 and Photography

Posted on: March 26, 2011 | Comments(14) | Flickr | By: Daniel

I’ve lost count of the number of Flickr or photography related posts I’ve written on this blog. As a hobbyist in the area, I have tremendous respect for the people that shoot our IndyCar events. Our photography staff and the numerous photographers that follow the IndyCar circus from event to event, put in long hours to capture ‘the’ shot. They are typically the first and last to leave the track. They spend 10-14 hours in all types of weather, loaded up with equipment, dodging the crowds, teams and fast cars. Then they rush back to the media center to review, edit and upload images. It’s a really tough job. But we reap the benefits. These images appear all over the world, and of course on indycar.com.

Bourdais in pit lane

Bourdais at St. Pete

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Surrealism, Servia and Speed

Posted on: March 25, 2011 | Comments (1) | Drivers | By: Daniel

Yesterday, Newman Haas driver Oriol Servia stopped by the new Dali Museum, located in the heart of the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. He was greeted by the museum’s director, Hank Hines. They toured the museum, talked art, engineering, surrealism and racing. It was an unlikely pairing, but the two hit it off immediately.

Inspiration

Oriol reveals his inspiration

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11 in 11 is here

Posted on: March 24, 2011 | Comments(2) | Drivers, Fans | By: Daniel

Well, the season is here, congratulations, you made it. It’s time for racing. It’s time for racing updates. It’s time for lots and lots of racing video content.

Back in January, we pitched a new video series to you – something we called 11 in 11. It was a simple premise. We would gather 11 of our favorite fan submitted questions and ask as many drivers during the 2011 season. 11 in 11, get it?

You responded with lots of suggestions, lots of questions. You left comments on our blog. You tweeted at us, you wrote on our Facebook wall. As always, you surprised us with your passion and enthusiasm for the sport.

Today we’re bringing you the first video in this series, featuring Target Chip Ganassi Driver, Scott Dixon.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Scott Dixon at the 2011 IZOD photo shoot

Scott Dixon posing during an IZOD shoot

What were the questions we ended up with? Here’s the general outline:

•    Which race are you looking forward to this year and why?
•    Talk about circuit layouts— what makes for a challenging course?
•    Talk about the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 and what it means….
•    From Paige: If you were a cartoon character, who would you want to be?
•    From Ken (possibly in Idaho): What retired Indycar driver do you respect/admire the most, and why?
•    From Gina: which type of track do you prefer- ovals or road courses and why?
•    From Neil: What is your biggest challenge now that you’ve made it to the pinnacle of racing?
•    From Canada: what’s the best prank each driver has played on other drivers/crew members?
•    From Joe: What are you most looking forward to in 2012 with the new car and engine?
•    From Susan: Tell us about the first race that you won (no matter how old you were, what type of race it was) and how it made you feel.
•    Megan wants to know: Everyone wants to win the Indy 500. After that what is the race you would most like to win?

And finally – here is the video. Enjoy. Lots more to follow throughout the season.

Yeah, that’s the ticket

Posted on: February 23, 2011 | Comments(4) | Fans | By: Dave

LAS VEGAS – Racetrack promoters, Phillips-Van Heusen (parent company of IZOD) officials and drivers are on board with the plan unveiled by INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard on Feb. 22 to provide a complimentary ticket to the IZOD IndyCar World Championship on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Certainly fans are on board. They just have to purchase a ticket to any IZOD IndyCar Series race this season to be eligible to redeem for a ticket to the season finale. Full details for the ticket promotion will be announced March 1 on indycar.com and 866-INDYCAR. Tickets to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships go on sale Feb. 25 through Ticketmaster.com.

INDYCAR in Las Vegas

Who's coming to Vegas?

“I think it’s great that the series is giving back to the fans,” said 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship runner-up Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, who attended the announcement at chic Crystals at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip. “To give tickets to this race is a very good incentive because they get to come to Vegas on a holiday. To have the stands full of fans will make for a very good atmosphere.”

INDYCAR is the event promoter; it’s a track rental based on a sponsorship model instead of ticket revenue. The combination of exciting racing on the 1.5-mile oval, the championship component, the final event for the current Dallara chassis-Honda engine package, the glamour and allure of visiting Las Vegas should draw quite a crowd.

“This is a time when INDYCAR can tell our fans that we thank them for their support,” Bernard said. “For entertainment, you can’t get any better than Vegas. Competition, it’s going to be some fantastic racing. The economy is great right now and by offering a free ticket to anyone that goes to another event we think gives our fans great value.”

IZOD VP of marketing Mike Kelly said the IZOD IndyCar series already has given the company great return after the first year of the title sponsorship.

“I think our right place continues to be how can we energize the cities around the race weekends and the three weeks leading up to the race or the five weeks leading up to the race,” Kelly said. “And we are looking at Vegas and we are going to keep working, and I’m going to find money and ways to come in here and really tear it up.

“That’s what we do in markets when we go in and I think it’s a perfect one to do it. I can’t imagine what it could be like in five years when you consider kind of a Super Bowl city if you will, what Las Vegas could be like for a championship.

“It’s such a dynamic location. It’s evidence again that we hitched our wagon to the right horse.  This is just more evidence of growth.”

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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