Posts Tagged ‘ racing blog ’

Andretti Autosport recently invited me into Riverside Jr. High School in Fishers, Indiana to listen, along with a class of 25 students, to a presentation on IndyCar aerodynamics. Students in Brad Bill’s Tech Education class had the opportunity to ask Andretti crew member, Kelly Potter, how to make the miniature balsam wood cars they are building this semester go fast.

The classroom setting offered the unique experience to have the high-tech aerodynamic theories in use on IndyCars brought down to a level that 8th graders could understand. A key point among those theories was to focus on the shape of the car. As Kelly put it, think of things that go fast like a jet or even a ship, they always have a pointed front.  He next equated the “drag” created by wind to the force to someone trying to swim in heavy clothing.

Kelly went further in depth to describe the down force effect created by the placement of wings on an IndyCar. He then complimented the students by explaining how cool it was to see them try to apply similar design techniques used on IndyCars because he did not have that opportunity in 8th grade.

When Kelly went on to explain how the logos on IndyCars can create increased drag and weight on the vehicle, Tech Education teacher, Brad Bill, jumped in to connect the same theory to his students’ frustration with the amount of sanding required to perfect their cars. As he told students, there is a purpose after all to the amount of sanding it takes to make a car run smoothly.

Students had the opportunity to view an IndyCar up-close as part of the lesson and show off their own designs to Kelly Potter. His pick for the best student car? The one with the coolest paint job.

Andretti crew member choosing his favorite model car

Andretti Autosport Crew Member, Kelly Potter, critiques the student's car designs


16th Street Racing League: Fast and close

Posted on: November 16, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

As I said last week, Road Atlanta is one of the more difficult race tracks we go to during the season.  It’s a super fast, super twisty, and very narrow course.  Passing is pretty much impossible as there are really only 3 clean passing zones on the entire track.  Patience truly is a virtue around here and the lack there of ended quite a few of the front runners races.

I seem to be having one of my best seasons on the road courses this year.  I worked on my setup for a couple days prior to our race and was feeling confident I would have a decent showing going into practice.  I was amazed when I ended our practice session with a 1:08.952 just under a second behind the leaders placing me in 7th place.  This was quite the improvement considering last season my best lap was a 1:10.6.  Heading into qualifying I was excited to get started.  I knew it was going to be difficult to put down a clean lap with 31 cars on track and I thought if I could  manage to get a fast lap posted I might be able to gain a few more positions on drivers who were slowed by other cars.  The fastest I managed to go was a 1:09.096, not as fast as I had been but pretty respectable.  I watched with anticipation as the qualifying timer ticked down.  With less than two minutes left three drivers posted lap times better than mine.  So, unfortunately, I was pushed back to 9th place.  I would start just behind Highcroft Engineer Ben Bretzman and in front of Firestone Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman.  IZOD IndyCar Series runner-up Will Power would start in 7th position.

Once again the pace lap was scary.  This place is NARROW.  While there’s no cork-screw to drive through like at Laguna Seca the esses are equally as challenging.  Thankfully all 31 cars made it around to take the green.  Yang Ou led the field to the green with Ryan Murray (P2), Andrew Kristensen (P3), Pat Dotson (P4), and Bryan Heitkotter (P5).

Yang Ou leads the field into turn 1

Yang Ou leads the field into Turn 1

I settled in and started to focus on how I was going to pass Ben Bretzman who was just in front of me.  Ben was faster through a few corners than I was but I gained on him coming off the last corner and going into the first corner.  I can’t explain how difficult it is to remain patient in races like this.  More than a few times I contemplated lunging underneath Ben and going for the pass.  I managed to convince myself it was a better idea to hang back, put the pressure on and hope he makes a mistake.

Will Power leading Ben Bretzman and Brian Simpson

Will Power leads Ben Bretzman and Brian Simpson through the esses

On lap 4 Will Power, who was running just in front of Ben, spun giving both Ben and I a position.  I figured I didn’t have to worry about Will too much as when I passed him he was off in the grass.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.   Within two laps Will was all over me.  I was trying to focus on Ben to be sure I didn’t make a mistake and take him out but at the same time I was driving in my mirrors as Will closed on me substantially in every single braking zone.  I tried to be sure I left the inside open when he started to get close, that way if he made a move he could either get by or if he missed the corner I would be able to avoid him.  This went on for about 4 laps before Will spun again coming off the last corner.

Will Power spins coming off the last corner

IZOD IndyCar Series driver Will Power spins in the last corner

I was able to relax again and focus on putting pressure on Ben.  After about three laps Ben made a mistake and spun off allowing me to take his position.  I now had a nice gap in front of me so I could work on putting down consistent quick laps.   On lap 12 leader Yang Ou spun off at the exit of esses and collected second place driver Ryan Murray.

Yang Ou spins into Ryan Murray

Yang Ou and Ryan Murray make contact

While Ryan managed to keep running he gave up the lead to Andrew Kristensen. I was running quite well and had moved up to 5th position by lap 16.  Unfortunately, I started getting the low fuel warning.  I had made a mistake and not filled my car up prior to the start so I was going to have to stop early.  This worried me even more as I wasn’t sure a full tank would make it from there and I was concerned I was going to have to make a second stop while everyone else was on a one stop strategy.  I had a nice gap so I only lost two positions coming out of the pits putting me in 7th place.

I pushed as hard as I could for the next 15 laps and by lap 32 I was up to 6th place.  Disaster struck the next lap as leader Andrew Kristensen made contact with Tim Holgate going through the chicane, effectively knocking Andrew out of the race.

Kristensen spins off and into the barrier

Leader Andrew Kristensen spins off into the barrier

This accident enabled me to slip into 5th place with 8 laps to go.  I was becoming increasingly worried about my fuel.  I had a nice gap on the next car behind me so I went into fuel conservation mode.  I started lifting early going into corners, coasting in as late as I could, and short shifting through the gears on exit.  It seemed to be working although it was going to be close.  To make matters worse on lap 37 I spun off and brushed the wall just slightly bending my front suspension.  Miraculously the car still handled decently and since I was conserving fuel I didn’t have to press the issue too much.  I managed to limp the car home and finish in 5th place.  It’s not a win but with how competitive the road courses are in our league it’s very satisfying.  Last season I was crashed out of this race two laps in so finishing was quite rewarding.

Bryan Heitkotter took home the win with Tim Holgate (P2), Pat Dotson (P3), Ryan Murray (P4), and myself rounding out the top 5.  Firestone Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman finished in 7th place while Will Power finished in 18th.

The lead pack gets racey

Heitkotter, Kristensen, Holgate, and Dotson

This week we head to New Hampshire.  A new track for the IZOD IndyCar Series this coming 2011 season but this will be the second time the 16th Street Racing League has run here.  New Hampshire is a ton of fun.  Short track racing in IndyCars is incredible.  New Hampshire is particularly challenging as you can’t run at the bottom at all.  If you venture down there you have about a 98% chance of spinning.   We should have another full field so it should be a carnage filled event!

Latest Chassis Design

Posted on: November 14, 2010 | Comments(6) | 2012 Chassis Designs | By: Daniel

With all of the excitement——and questions around the Future IndyCar Concept Announcement. We at thought we’d enlist our users to have fun with the open design concept that the 2012 IndyCar chassis will endorse. For more information please visit the page for interviews, car information and of course…the details on how you can design your own concept.

Here is the latest design from Italy and Daniele Sanfilippo (who has already sent us multiple cool designs). Take a look and let us know what you think. AND – remember, you can submit your designs to us. We’d love to see them.

Daniele had this to say about his designs:

In this proposal, I have not given the initial design provided by Dallara. I built this from scratch mistaken some proportion. To be my first 3D design I’m quite happy.

In this car I tried to create a connection between the cars of the late ’70s and what could be the future concepts for the utilization of materials. As you will see on the sides are missing the air intake vents. In fact there are! Are vertical slots that follow the car’s aerodynamic profile. The sides are designed in two blocks. The upper part tapers towards the tail, creating the effect of Coca Cola is already known in F1. The bottom, however, is developed on the other hand, creating the side of safety necessary to avoid “engaging” among the cars.

The rest is all fiction that probably will not make the car go fast, but it certainly makes it pleasant to behold.

New 2012 design by DanSanfy13 front view

New fan submission from Daniele Sanfilippo.


HDR and High Speed

Posted on: November 10, 2010 | Comments(8) | Drivers, More than meets the eye | By: Shawn

As the ice slowly begins to crawl across the lakes here in Minnesota, my mind wanders back to the smell of ethanol and warm sunshine. Simultaneously I also begin to plan and think about next year. Winter is always a season of change and experimentation for me. Most of those experiments happen at the local hockey rink, and make their way to the track come spring. An area I would like to explore next year is the world of HDR (high dynamic range) photography.

What HDR allows is the merging of several photographs into one, in order to better exhibit the range of light between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. Typically this is done through bracketing when you have a still subject to work with, or by editing a RAW file of drivers or track action. Essentially you are taking images which are correctly exposed, overexposed, and underexposed into one image! Once the images are merged you can make a number of adjustments, including definition, contrast, and color saturation you desire. There really is no right vs. wrong at this point…The program I use to merge my images is called Photomatix Pro, and is available for about $100.00. There are a variety of other programs available as well, including one for the new iPhone!

The topic has recently caused a little controversy amongst photography purists… Some see this as a new opportunity, while others view it as cheap photography. Below I have included some early experiments. We have included the original image as a basis for comparison. Let us know what you think?

Dario on Pitlane: f 2.8 at 1/8000

I really liked the increased definition in the firesuit and track here! However, where did those clouds come from?

Dario in pit lane

Dario before...

Dario in pit lane and HDR

Dario after...


Flickr and most comments

Posted on: November 7, 2010 | Comments (0) | Drivers, Flickr | By: Daniel

It’s been four weeks of Flickr related posts and the 2010 IndyCar season – reviewing some of the coolest images, most interesting, viewed, favorited and today, commented. This has been a fun series to write, I  hope you’v enjoyed reading and viewing.

What we learned in reviewing Flickr’s methods of measurement is this -

Most Interesting and views was dominated by our fans – images of your 2012 Chassis Designs.

Most favorited, saw the return of photography.

And most comments? Let’s take a look and start traditionally, with the 99th most commented image.

Sitting front and center

The 99th most commented image - Dario


World Series Wager

Posted on: November 3, 2010 | Comments (0) | Race Tracks | By: Dave

Glide Memorial Church and the needy in San Francisco were the beneficiaries of a friendly wager between Infineon Raceway president Steve Page and Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage over the World Series.

Angled track view

Infineon Raceway

Gossage would send 49 pounds of smoked Texas turkey – one pound for every year of the San Francisco Giants’ World Series drought – to Infineon Raceway if the Giants won the title. If the Texas Rangers had won their first championship, Page would have provided a gourmet wine and cheese reception for members of the media at the stock car events this weekend at TMS.

Well, Glide Memorial Church will serve 5,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day to the needy.

“A terrific day for two great San Francisco institutions, the Giants and Glide Memorial Church,” Page said. “We appreciate the generosity of our colleagues in Texas in helping to make this Thanksgiving a happy one.”

Added Gossage: “It’s usually a bit tough to swallow when you lose a bet, but not on this one since the less fortunate will benefit from it and receive some Texas turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving.”

This past Tuesday the 16th Street Racing League headed to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for 45 laps on the 2.238 mile historic road course.  Laguna is an incredible race track.  It has some of the fastest corners and most extreme elevation changes you will find at any road course, especially in the United States.  The “cork-screw,” made famous by Alex Zanardi and his legendary move “The Pass” when CART ran here in the 90’s, is one of the most difficult and iconic corners in all of motorsports.

We had a total of 25 drivers show up to give it a go around this twisty California race track.


Flickr and most favorited

Posted on: October 31, 2010 | Comments(4) | Drivers, Flickr | By: Daniel

In continuing the IndyCar Flickr Series, we’re looking at the images most “favorited” by you over this year. Flickr offers the option of “favoriting” an image – this will simply place the image into a permanent gallery. You can access it anytime. Kind of cool. You favorite our images a lot. Thank you for that.

In continuing the IndyCar Flickr Series, we’re looking at the images most “favorited” by YOU this year. Unlike the previous two measurements – Interestingness and Views – this category places the emphasis back on photography and the people behind the lens (sorry helmet and 2012 chassis designers).

And continuing this blog series tradition – what’s our 99th most favorited image?

Power Leads

Turn one at St. Pete - 2 favorites


Happy Halloween

Posted on: October 30, 2010 | Comments(3) | Drivers | By: Dave

Halloween is for the young – and the young at heart. Both descriptions could fit drivers in INDYCAR.

Mario Romancini as Mario

Mario Romancini as Mario

Paying homage to one of the video games that started it all – Super Mario Brothers – on its 25th anniversary is Mario Romancini.  Below is Jay Howard, who has the look if not the moves to “Thriller.”

Jay Howard as ......?

Any guesses on Jay Howard?

Wearing firesuits during daylight hours this weekend are Ryan Hunter-Reay, buoyed by a two-year deal with Andretti Autosport, and Marco Andretti. Maybe they’ll stay in character and scare up some fun in Birmingham after testing at Barber Motorsports Park.

Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, James Hinchcliffe, et al, were planning to attend parties so we’ll pass along photos if they dare send. Have a goolish time.

What are you dressing up as?

Flickr and most views

Posted on: October 24, 2010 | Comments(4) | 2012 Chassis Designs, Flickr | By: Daniel

The Flickr blog series continues again this week, this time revealing our most viewed images from 2010. Unlike last week where I wrote about Interestingness, the ‘most viewed’ statistic is easy to understand, simple to measure. It’s what our online community looked at the most.

So let’s start randomly – our 99th most viewed image so far this year?

2012 Fan Design by Phil Frank - overhead view

A Phil Frank Design #99