Posts Tagged ‘ Racing ’

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

[More]

Charlie Kimball – 11 in 11Charlie Kimball has joined the IZOD IndyCar Series for the 2011 season and before he ever turned a lap he was setting records.  Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2007, he is the first IZOD IndyCar Series competitor to have driven with the disease.

Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball

Charlie uses a complex set of tools and rigid self-discipline to maintain his edge as a competitor.  We were lucky enough to catch up with Charlie at Barber Motorsports Park for a few minutes and asked him questions submitted by you, the fans.  Sit back, enjoy the video, and get to know one of the young, up and coming stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Earlier this week, on our Facebook page we posted a photo and asked fans to provide captions for the image. We’ve selected the top five submissions (from a whopping total of 404 comments — and yep, we read and enjoyed every single one of them) and are now asking fans to vote for their favorite. The winner with the highest number of votes by 11:59PM EST on Sunday, April 3 will receive an IndyCar Prize Pack. Fans can Tweet @IndyCar their favorite caption or leave their choice below!

Congratulations to our winner Bob McBride for captioning this photo of Simona de Silvestro:

Thoughts?

“Anyone know if Mike Cannon took something with him when he left this week?!?!”

1. Bob McBride- “Anyone know if Mike Cannon took something with him when he left this week?!?!”

2. Brian Lekander- “Visualization exercise of the new 2012 chassis…”

3. John Greenup- “I said change the TIRES!”

4. Chris Johnson- “Wonder woman, aint got nothing on me!”

5. Bill McAllister- “I’ve heard of “Indy Lights” but this is ridiculous!”

You may find this hard to believe, but there are actually people who don’t care for racing – I’ll pause here while you gasp in horror. When I come across these rare creatures, I generally recommend they go to a race to see what the hoopla is all about and if they don’t care about the cars to at least go for the party. What better place to combining racing and partying than at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg? (Okay, turn three of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is some stiff competition but work with me here.)

Scenic

2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete

Kicking off the 2011 IndyCar Season, the Honda Grand Prix or the ‘World’s Fastest Spring Break Party’ as it’s been dubbed, is one of the most well-attended events on the IndyCar Series schedule. From the Friday night festival to the post-race events on Sunday night, this is a weekend full of non-stop action both on and off of the track.

Dario and Fans

Dario Franchitti greets fans at the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete

New to the event this year is the Trackside Club in Turn 10 where individual race goers and private groups can pay a fee to sit in the luxury of air conditioned club or adjacent grandstands; a more economical version of the Pit Lane Suite’s VIP Club. It’s the perfect place to introduce a racing newbie to the sport, entertain clients, or keep your high-maintenance girlfriend happy.

However, any real race fan knows the best way to watch a race is to be right near the track – or in this case the lovely streets of St. Petersburg. If your race guest remains unconvinced after that, you should really reconsider your company. Where ever you decide to stand or sit for this spectacular weekend of racing have fun and party safe. That means remember to hydrate, wear your sun block, and please – just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Local Flair

Driver banners at the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete

When race fans think of the Iowa Corn Indy 250, they think of Father’s Day weekend and a Sunday afternoon treat. But if you were to ask race goers in Iowa — and short track fans across the country — when a race should take place, a vast majority will tell you “At night, under the lights.”

We at Iowa Speedway agree.

At night, under the lights at Iowa Speedway

At night, under the lights at Iowa Speedway

So the only race on the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule featuring cars fueled by 100 percent corn ethanol has been shifted to the weekend following Father’s Day, June 24th and 25th.

Wait! I said the 24th and 25th. Not just the night where the fastest and most versatile drivers in the world ascend the stage for the June 25th Iowa Corn Indy 250.

Friday, June 24th will also produce high speeds, if not world records, when USAC’s best start their engines and power around the Rusty Wallace-designed 7/8-mile tri-oval. It’s the first time ever USAC’s best join the multi-talented stars of IndyCar on the same weekend at Iowa Speedway. Both sanctioning bodies have been making an annual stop at the super speedway (to USAC) or short track (to IndyCar), since the first full racing season in 2007. USAC also raced in the inaugural fall race weekend in 2006.

Iowa Speedway

Iowa Speedway - The 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 225

Needless to say, we’re excited about bringing together USAC, The Mazda Road to Indy and IZOD IndyCar Series drivers for one thrill-packed weekend – and think you will be, too.

Seeing dirt Midgets and Silver Crown cars take to the track Friday night, and Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights and IZOD IndyCar drivers battle it out all day Saturday will truly be something an action junkie won’t want to miss.

Casey's General Stores USAC Triple Crown race in Newton, IA.

Casey's General Stores USAC Triple Crown race at Iowa Speedway

Heads or Tails? Why not both? Come out to Iowa Speedway and enjoy the 48-hour open wheel racing extravaganza. It’s also the second and last night race of 2011 for the IZOD IndyCar Series, providing the perfect cap to a best of both worlds weekend!

If you can’t tell, we’re stoked. Thanks for reading. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. We’re listening – and thanks again for the support!

Simona de Silvestro had the opportunity this week to tour Entergy’s Grand Gulf nuclear energy plant in Port Gibson, Miss., to learn more about nuclear power as a source of carbon-free electricity and the company that is sponsoring the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car for HVM Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Simona de Silvestro visits with her sponsor

 The tour included the reactor control room.

“People are amazed at the complexity and safety protections of the redundant, operational and safety systems that are built into a nuclear plant,” Browning said. “Simona had great questions and was quick to tell me that her home country of Switzerland gets 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.”

The HVM Racing group, which also included team owner Keith Wiggins, received an introductory education program about nuclear energy.

“I didn’t realize that the volume of greenhouse gas emissions prevented at the 104 nuclear energy plants in the U.S. is equivalent to taking nearly all passenger cars off America’s roadways. That was an eye-opening statistic,” Wiggins said.

Following the tour, de Silvestro signed autographs for employees at the plant.

“I was so impressed with the amount of security that we went through and the enormity of the electricity produced 24-7 without interruption,” said de Silvestro, who returns to the track Feb. 28 for testing on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval. “It didn’t take long to see how well-managed the plant is by really impressive engineers and other nuclear professionals.

“I really am lucky to get inside and see a nuclear facility making electricity. That is something that most people don’t get to do. But I think that if they did, people would understand more about the process and appreciate getting clean electricity to use any hour of the day. We definitely need to have more clean nuclear electricity in the U.S.”

The week started with a celebration of life service for long-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address announcer Tom Carnegie. Fans could view Livestream coverage of the event, which included eulogies by Sarah Fisher and Ed Carpenter, online and archived footage of the event can still be viewed here. Fan memories and tributes from Teams, Drivers, former drivers and notable members of the racing community continue to pour in. Carnegie truly was a legend.

On Tuesday, fans were given the second photo in our series of photo caption contests. This time, Helio Castroneves could be found talking race strategy. While that’s what was really happening, fans submitted some clever, funny, and, at times, off-beat captions for what Helio could possibly be saying. From over 200 comments, tweets, and messages, the field of captions was narrowed to five. Congratulations to our week 2 winner, Jeff Chiszar who wins an IndyCar prize pack and, most importantly, bragging rights. Keep on submitting those captions, we have a good photo in store for you this week.

This weekend the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Premier Series kicked off. Read more here about this INDYCAR sanctioned, 16-race, 36-week series contested online on oval road courses on alternating weekends.

In case you missed it, Chip Ganassi Racing followed up last week’s IndyCar.com race shop  (Read about it) visit with an updated Twitter handle this week. They can now be tagged @CGRTeams. Follow them for updates on @INDYCAR and drivers Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball, and Dario Franchitti.

Speaking of Dario, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion was inducted into the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame during ceremonies this past week in London. Read more about the honor and find out which of your favorite drivers are also in the Hall of Fame by clicking here.

Franchitti is not the only driver picking up accolades this past week. Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power was voted Road Racer of the Year by the readers of RACER Magazine (Read more).

More signs of the season have emerged as work on the circuit layout  for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Read more here) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway announced plans to enhance the fan experience with more race footage and replays on a new, $1.2 million Panasonic scoreboard and video system in the middle of the infield (Full story here).

Conor Daly, Shannon McIntosh, and Bryan Clauson all found their way across the web this week. Shannon will join the Mazda Road to Indy in 2011 as part of the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda. She’ll drive the No. 2 Mazda for the 12 events for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (More here). Bryan Clauson continued to catch fans up with an inside look at his experiences on the Mazda Road to Indy. Find out more about what he’s already doing to prepare for the season by reading BC’s Blog here. 2010 Star Mazda champion Conor Daly  (Twitter @ConorDaly22) is moving up to Firestone Indy Lights in 2011. Find out more about what the 2011 season looks like for the son of former Indianapolis 500 starter Derek Daly here. All three, Daly, Clauson, and McIntosh are drivers to keep an eye on.

Late in the week, we let it leak that this Tuesday, IndyCar.com will give fans a chance to win something cool. Hundreds of messages poured in to say what the ideal prize for an IndyCar fan would be. Imagine our surprise when, yep, someone guessed exactly what we’re giving away. Glad to see we’ve nailed it and came up with a great prize, so stay tuned to IndyCar.com and our Facebook and Twitter pages this Tuesday to find out how you can win.

Racing is right around the corner — 32 days until the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg!

IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball welcomed members of the INDYCAR staff to Brownsburg, Indiana for an inside look at the new Service Central-Norvo Nordisk Ganassi Shop. Read more about the visit and discover what their teams are doing to prepare for the 2011 season. There’s also a complete Flickr set available for fans with a photo tour of the shop.

A birds eye view of the new headquarters

Birds-eye view of the new Service Central-Norvo Nordisk Ganassi Shop in Brownsburg, IN.

It was a busy week for tracks with Iowa Speedway asking fans what they hope to see at this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250, the series saying “Sayonara” to Twin Ring Motegi and drivers reacting to the newly unveiled Edmonton Indy circuit layout. Following the announcement, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe (@RyanBriscoe6) tweeted that the new layout looked great for passing opportunities.

Ryan Briscoe on Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Add us @IndyCar for more exclusive updates through the week!

Justin Wilson (@JustinWilson22) replied to agree with Ryan and add that the new layout will have some brake zones and looks like fun.

Justin Wilson on Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Add us @IndyCar for more exclusive updates through the week!

The online IndyCar fan community jumped on this week’s Photo Caption contest. Fans were asked to provide a caption to a unique Sarah Fisher Racing photo. Over 213 Facebook submissions were received and fans even saw Sarah Fisher Racing leave a message saying the contest was funny! The field was then narrowed down to the top 5 captions and fans voted for their winner (click here to see the final votes). Congratulations to Colleen Ney McGuire for her winning submission “I don’t care if you say ‘pretty please.’ You’re not driving the car!” Colleen will receive an IndyCar prize pack in plenty of time for the 2011 season.

The online community stayed busy with activity when news broke that Barber Motorsports Park was offering a special Groupon discount for fans of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Fans could save $110 on two, Sunday General Admission tickets when buying into the exclusive deal. The Groupon deal brought a subtle reminder that just 53 days remain until the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Honda Grand Prix of Alabama Groupon

Fans could save $110 when purchasing Two, Sunday General Admission tickets for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

The racing community was rocked this week by the passing of long-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway public address announcer, Tom Carnegie (read more here).

“Tom Carnegie was a true gentleman and a legend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and throughout the state of Indiana.  For so many years his unmistakable voice signified the beginning of the month of May and the Indianapolis 500. We will certainly miss Tom and his spirit, his unique style of announcing and his passion for racing.” -Roger Penske

Click here to see more of what the IndyCar community has had to say about the track legend this week. There’s simply no more-fitting way, so I will close this week’s recap with a video tribute to Tom Carnegie:

It’s not every day that we start working with a driver new to the team. When we do though, it’s always an adjustment for everyone involved—the driver, the crew, engineers and the whole team. The driver relies on not only his skills on the track during a race; he also puts his life into the hands of the team’s crew, engineers and equipment every time he straps into the car.

It starts with building the relationship between the driver and the team. There are usually 10-12 new faces, from the strategist to the engineers to the over-the-wall guys. Because the driver is in constant contact with the strategist during races, it’s always helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page before even getting into the car. The same goes for spotters and me—the crew chief. We, as a team, talk to the driver a lot about his expectations and what he wants to get out of the season.

There are physical differences for the driver, too. Each IndyCar team operates in its own way and sets up its cars slightly differently. The layout of the cockpit and even the placement of the steering wheel may be specific to the team. We spend a lot of time with the new driver to make sure he is comfortable with the car so he can control it on the track.

For example, Mike Conway came into the shop this week for his seat fitting. The seat fit is a big part of adjusting the car for the new driver. Race car seats aren’t ‘one size fits all.’ If you’ve ever had the chance to sit in a race-ready IndyCar, you know what I mean. Each seat is designed and molded individually for the driver. We also check the height of the seat, the position of the pedals, and the position of the mirrors.

Andretti Autosport's Josh Freund

Josh Freund prepares for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at Andretti Autosport

For the team, it’s not just the driver-crew relationship that has to work. All of the crew members must gel together in order for a good team to form at the shop and track. It takes time and sometimes rearranging to get the right mix of guys. Our team manager Kyle Moyer looks at a lot of aspects to build a good crew: experience, practice, over-the-wall timing and the general chemistry. Some mechanics go over the wall while some don’t, and vice-versa. From season to season, Kyle typically keeps the same guys on the same crew for consistency. However, when a new driver is added to the team lineup, there can be some shuffling necessary to get the right mix.

This year, I will be working with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Though he’s not new to the team this year we haven’t worked together as crew chief and driver, which means we’ll go through some of the same adjustments as Mike and his crew chief, Jeff Simon. Even though there’s always a learning curve, I think we’ve got the right tools and people to get good results right away.

Andretti Autosport's Josh Freund

Josh Freund prepares for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at Andretti Autosport

Iowa Speedway – the IndyCar Series’ shortest circuit – emerged, literally, from a corn field.

Small wonder, then, the Iowa Corn Growers Association has been the title sponsor of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 – which will again bring the established stars and hungry upstarts of the IZOD IndyCar Series to Newton’s fast 7/8-mile tri-oval on June 25.

We’re proud of our agricultural roots, from the rich soil beneath the facility to the high-performance fuel powering the car engines.

Iowa Speedway

A fan demonstrates their pride for Iowa Speedway's agricultural roots

Extreme excitement – from the grandstands to the garage – has rippled through the first four renditions of the popular event and the spirited crowd has topped the 35,000 mark each time.

Drivers hail the 7/8-mile Rusty Wallace-designed track as racy, ultra-demanding, and a pleasure to navigate.

“I love the track and I love the fans at Iowa,” Tony Kanaan, who won the 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250 after three hard-luck runs/DNFs at Newton. The place is always packed – beyond packed – with people everywhere.  It is a track that races both like a short track and a super-speedway, so it is a lot of fun to drive.”

Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves at Iowa Speedway

Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves jokingly celebrate at Iowa Speedway

And despite being carved out of prime farmland, there’s plenty of fun - racing and otherwise – to be found in Newton and within a half hour or so from here. The venerable “Sprint Car Capital of the World,” Knoxville Raceway, surrounds a hallowed half-mile ring of dirt a mere 30 miles from Iowa Speedway. Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines, is about the same distance away and a straight shot on Interstate 80. We draw from central Iowa and beyond – with fans from 26 states enjoying the speedway.

And rest assured, if there’s a race, Iowans line up to attend.

They tailgate enthusiastically. They get involved – cheering, discussing, dissecting the day’s (or night’s) action. They’re knowledgeable, but not snobbish about it. They’ll say, ‘Hi,’ and ask how you’re doing with a genuine interest in your answer. You’ll feel right at home here, on IndyCar’s only short track of less than a mile in length – nestled in small town Iowa, but criss-crossed by well-traveled, coast-spanning interstate highways.

Yes, there’s that corn, both around the track and fueling the car’s engines. And that’s a good thing – for the economy, for the environment, and for performance.

We think when you come see us, you’ll heartily agree. We look forward to seeing you all at our facility, and are determined to help make the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 the best one to date. So tell us your ideas below– Have you attended a race at Iowa Speedway? Tell your fellow fans what sets Iowa Speedway apart!