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Pole Day Wrap Up; Yawwnnnnn………Ed Carpenter wins the Indianapolis 500 Pole…….WHAT?!!!

19 May
credit GForcePaul

credit GForcePaul

I got a little tradition busting to share with you, pal. Consider this: The qualifications ‘traditionally’ end at 6pm local time in Indianapolis. In a smooth transition of television schedule adjusting and shell game type of hidden moves, NBCSN bounced the pole qualifying and showed us the last few qualifiers in a made for television, drama filled session. The Fast Nine competition was set to run at 4:30pm and give cars multiple runs at a pole shot. Due to weather, this final qualifying segment was ran at 6:30 pm in Indianapolis on Saturday and in a further break with ‘tradition’, a small budget, one car owner/driver combination literally kicked BIG TEAM derriere (insert your favorite Death Star team name here).

Yes, Virginia, David slayed Goliath, there IS a Santa Clause and if you are an open wheel fan that follows the sport even on the most distant of periphery, you realize that this is big time upset in the making. Now, if you are more than just a casual fan of American open wheel racing and know some of the recent, non-traditional history of the sport, you have heard the behind the back whispers about Ed Carpenter; he eats from the Hulman silver spoon, never had a real job, has had everything handed to him. Well, Ed first came to the speedway at the age of 10 when he watched Rick Mears win the pole in 1991. Fast forward to 2013 and EFFING- KA- BOOM. Super Team Death Star literally explodes and as some of my fellow blogging scribes like to say, death star shrapnel reigns down on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am still in shock and it is 12 hours later. Oxygen, please…..Doctor? Doctor?

This topic will be covered by many far better word smiths than I but I can guarantee, none of them have been walking the hallowed grounds of the speedway as long as I, searching for that long lost upset similar to the ones we saw in years gone by. Yesterday at the speedway held so many story lines, drama and fairytale ending that I can tell the traditionalists, maybe, just quite maybe, there will be a return to the glory days of a small team swigging milk after the end of 500 long miles. This with just 33 and a half cars on the property!

So, hit these links and follow the musings of the folks that hang out at the Blogapalooza Deck at pit out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They got ALL the good read!

http://www.indycaradvocate.com/ (Zachary Houghton)

http://anotherindycarblog.wordpress.com/ (Eric Hall)

http://newtrackrecord.com/ (Mark Wilkinson)

http://www.openwheelworld.net (Steve Wittich )

Here is a shot of what I hope the the erst of the field sees during this years’ running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Sweepstakes Motor Car Race. Yeah, it’s the back of Ed Carpenter’s car….

credit GForcePaul

credit GForcePaul

Thanks for reading and we will talk to you next time!

GForcePaul

Tuesday 05/14/2013 Brickyard Cliff Notes: A Toe IS A Tow Is A Race Set Up Tow

14 May

 

 

credit gforcepaul

credit gforcepaul

Based on all that transpired today at the Hallowed Ground (5565 miles ran in a 6 hour period by 34 different driver/car combinations) it sure smelled like a race set up kind of throw away day on the speed charts for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. Let me be clear; long range forecast for Sunday, May 26th look a lot warmer than the 52 degree temperature experienced early in the opening gambit of this year’s race. So, with engine miles running out on some leased engines it makes sense to see what your car will do with track temperatures approaching 130 degrees amidst 30 mile an hour buffeting winds coming out of the south. When I left the day job to hit the track today it truly did feel like we went from late spring to mid-summer in Indianapolis, all within a 24 hour period. If I am an Indy Car engineer I am either pulling my hair out or referring to last year’s notes when it was unseasonably warm (sauna like to be exact).

Kanaan Engine Change

Kanaan Engine Change

Consequently, I found today to be reminiscent of past years in following a well laid out plan to successfully run the month of May at the Brickyard. There seems to be a slow, albeit steady rhythm to building speed for the upcoming Pole Day. Today revealed itself and the schedule (the internal metronome that is the month of May) became more apparent. Fast teams tend to let the slower teams on “short lease” engines go out and rubber the track for a few days seeking speed and car and driver  feedback. Better heeled and funded teams are able to let hold on station, run slower race set ups and when everyone gets fresh engines to qualify, out comes the qualifying trim and set ups. BOOM; down goes the smaller teams, all the while it looks like the other guys with more funding are sandbagging……

Which brings us to exhibit ‘A’;  Hizzhonour Da Mayor of Hinchtown gets into the car usually driven by Marco and posts BIG times and speed of 224.210.

To Hinch or Not to Hinch

To Hinch or Not to Hinch

(Actual speed chart for today can be found  here) . From that point, Marco gets into Hinch’s car and posts a 221.972 lap. It gets even spookier from here; then Hinch gets into his car and posts a 221.781 lap. HUH? I suspect that the set up on Hinch’s car was similar to a race set up and Marco’s car still enjoyed a qualifying set up.

From here on out I am thinking that the plan and work list for each car will be to run Wednesday in race trim and Thursday in qualifying trim. When I win the lottery and run my own race team, searching for my glass of milk after 500 miles at Indy, I certainly will use this map to get through the pre-qualifying week at Indianapolis. And on a further note, some reported seeing all of the Andretti  Autosport vehicles today sans front wing wicker bills. That is rather freaky…….

On a different note, it is easy to see and observe the aero dynamics that make up the design of an open cockpit vehicle. It almost takes on an artistic aspect that I like to call speed in motion while standing still. To wit; I present some aerodynamic eye candy of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s ride. It really does look fast standing still.

Aero Kits need not apply????

Aero Kits need not apply????

I particularly enjoy some of the body work that was so much maligned during its debut. Imagine the pole day to come this year. We already have folks knocking on the 225 mph door early in the game in RACE TRIM for God’s sake! Fast forward to when the boost is kicked up from its current 18.84 psi to a resounding 20.29 psi. I remain confident that we will see a 230mph time come pole day. This will be on display on Fast Friday, May 17th. Call in sick and drop by Friday to feel the buzz return!

Take care and we will talk to you next time!

GForcePaul

Monday 05/13/2013 Brickyard Cliff Notes

13 May

 

The Mayor; will he make it a 3rd win at Indy?

The Mayor; will he make it a 3rd for 2013 win at Indy?

With the best of the very best Indianapolis based blogging scribes relentlessly posting either minute by minute @Twitter updates in preparation for their blogs or completing professional writing assignments, I thought I would slide in a few Cliff Notes and photographic highlights from this past weekend at the hallowed grounds.

As I alluded to last week, thirty three is just a number; however, I had no idea that the quality of the IndyCar pilots that comprise this year’s gathering would make for such closeness on the daily speed charts. Here it is late on a Monday night and there are still folks trying to get into the field (hello, Buddy?) I was doing some quick night time catch up reading after an afternoon jaunting around the garage area and came upon these little gems and jewels on a fairly busy third day of track activity;

Tows remain the best method of gathering top of speed chart notoriety and media attention. If you were young Marco, then you lead the crew, posting a lap of 225.100, after inhaling (being pulled by) 3 other Andretti Autosport vehicles. This makes one ask the question, “Will we see 230.001 this Pole day?” Hello….Buhler? BUHLER?…..

Up the boost, Scotty, we need more power. ..Kirk….out.

Now I am not a fan of the TOW being n indicator of true speed and capability BUT, consider this; About 30 hours prior to his posting a 219.044 lap, Conor Daly was running in Spain in a GP2 event. After that adventure, he flew back to Indy and was 28th on the speed chart. What will he possibly do with 8 hours of rest? But the best indicator of how pole day will go could be a very scary outcome such as this one where Dario Franchitti and Pippa Mann posted frighteningly similar times on Monday. Rounding out an arbitrary group of four folks from positions 21 through 24, we get this stuff:

POS:21 CAR: 60 Bell, Townsend 221.137
POS:22 CAR:10 Franchitti, Dario 220.549
POS:23 CAR: 63 Mann, Pippa 220.500
POS:24 CAR:9 Dixon, Scott 220.419

DSCI0212

Well, who is zooming who? I realize that this is so very early in the game prior to the running of the greatest spectacle in racing, but imagine if we actually posted a grid that reflected today? So, Having said all of that, I wanted to share my vote for the best paint scheme at the track for 2013. The ballot is in and I voted for Badd Ass Seabass. You bring your fanny out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this 2013 racing season and I guarantee that you will have to wear shades to look at this McAfee car when it is in the sun!

DSCI0193

Take care and we will talk to you nest time!

GForcePaul

A Little Soul Searching Or 33 Is Just A Number

8 May

Thirty two names, thirty THREE cars. Too much emphasis is being placed on the magical number of 33. Traditions die hard and yet, they do have a way of being slightly altered. Recall when 34 cars started the Indy Racing League’s grand show in the not too distant past? I seem to recall that the sun did come up the next day! It also came up the day after that…..

I love tradition as much as the next guy does, but guess what? I love the racing that has taken place this year (and last) even more. Quick, tell me, how many cars started at St Pete? How many started at Barber, Long Beach and Sao Paulo? Granted, restrictions are placed on the number of entries when pit road requires the governing body to do so, but I do not see 33 cars on any of those entry lists. I would go so far as to say that even the 600 pound gorilla that is NASCAR is struggling to make 43 cars show up each and every week. One thing is certain; you will NEVER see a start and park entry in ANY Indy Car competition! I cannot think of a single driver that would even allow such shenanigans.

So, the whole thing boils down to ‘field fillers’ and do we or don’t we? Now, here is where we are going to differ a tad, so I am going to say this slowly; t h e r e  a r e  m a n y  d r i v e r s  n o t  e m p l o y e d  and  F E W  A R E  F I E L D  F I L L E R S.

If you want to insult a Pippa Mann, good luck with trying to classify her as a marginal driver. Take a shot at Townsend Bell (more on him in a minute). Do you really think that Buddy Lazier is not a good enough talent regardless of his being a former winner? Call him a field filler if you want. I call him by his title, Driver Coach last year to Jean Alesi. So, this year he gets to run the chassis that Jean ran last year with a lotus turd for an engine. Did you know that on Thursday, May 9th, KUBU or as we affectionately call him Kurt Busch, brother to Rowdy, will be attempting the full ‘O’ program? This was reported by Dave Furst via that all informative social platform, Twitter. I cannot wait to see how all of that pans out because he has been in an Indy car before and running a full rookie orientation program to set bench mark data is quite cool.

Credit IMS and Andretti Autosport

Credit IMS and Andretti Autosport

Which brings me to my point, best expressed by a direct quoting of the recent post by Zach Houghton on http://www.Indycaradvocate.com and you had best RUSH to add his link to your favs bar! My aquaintenance, Zachary always takes the high road and delivers an opinion that always makes sense. Regarding Mr. Townsend Bell, on May 8th Zach wrote, “In short, while I welcome Townsend Bell in the booth and hope he remains a big part of the team for the foreseeable future, I also appreciate his record at Indianapolis, and his well-deserved reputation as a fantastic one-off or part-timer there. Far from being a field-filler, Bell is a valuable add to this 500 list of hopefuls in terms of competition. He’s in a good spot; a veteran driver that can show up and be a welcome addition to a team. We’re to a point where we expect to see Bell each May, and at least throw him in the discussion. There’s no reason think he doesn’t have at least a few more Indy 500 runs in him, and I’m excited to see what he can do with them.”

Well said, Zach. My dark horse for the past several Indy 500’s has certainly included Townsend in the mix! I hope he turns out to be a great field filler….OOPS! A great competitor……my bad!

Take care, thanks for reading and of course, we will talk to you next time.

GFoercePaul

And Its PIPPA In Just Under The Wire!

30 Apr
Credit GForcePaul

Credit GForcePaul

Professional reporting hat – ON

(Indianapolis, April 30, 2013)
Pippa Mann, a 29 year old Indy Car pilot from London, England is about to embark on her second run at the Yard of Bricks in hopes of taking that famous swig of milk in victory lane. Pippa Mann today was confirmed as the third entry for Dale Coyne Racing, after a lengthy and exhausting search to complete a program (read: find a sponsor). Mann, who last competed in the Indy 500 two years ago was almost in a seat on Bump Day last year, but never got the call to suit up.

Pippa Mann was the first woman to win a Pole at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She also lead and won from the pole in one of her last races in Lights at Kentucky Speedway in 2010.

Professional reporting hat – OFF

I have mentioned it many times before in this blog; HIRE PIPPA, dammitt! I only need to share a well quoted line from Dale Coyne (credit to IndyCar Staff writers for this piece):
“We have known and followed Pippa from her first interest in coming over to America and the IndyCar series,” Coyne said. “Her hard work and dedication are commendable and have shown results. She has qualified for Indy, qualified on pole at Indianapolis for the Indy Lights race, won an Indy Lights race at Kentucky and has been a great asset for the sport.”

A re you kidding me? Pippa Mann has been an UNSUNG hero and ambassador for IndyCar racing and open wheel racing in general. What do you do if you do not have a ride for Indy? You follow Pippa’s lead, get up and off your arse and go….. to…… work. You pound your feet on the concrete, you get up at 5am and hit the gym, you hit the concrete for sponsors some more, you help Glass Hammer Racing develop young ladies into race car drivers (in your copious amounts of spare time), and always find time to do show prep for her gig as a member of the Indy Lights broadcast team.

In other words, this lady GETS IT. You do whatever it takes and, in amongst all of the turmoil that is ups and downs of sponsor search, Pippa found time to marry a gent we shall continue to refer to as….”Himself”. Not too bad for a lady that is, ah, shall we say, unemployed. My job search took me about 6 months; Pippa has been at this for two years and this is just at the IndyCar level, not counting efforts in years prior.

So, once the excitement wears off, make sure to drop by the garage area and tell Dale Coyne, Thanks, man! He has made a ton of true IndyCar fans happy today! I cannot wait to get a picture of Pippa standing next to Justin Wilson. Should make for great optics!

And to Dale, once again, my thanks, Sir!

Thanks for stopping by and we will talk to you next time.

GForcePaul

A little Eye Candy From Sonoma

3 Mar

J.R. Hildebrand at Sonoma in early March. See how green Sonoma is? What a great place to follow up the Barber race with on the way to PHOENIX. Now That’s a schedule!
(All credit to speedtv.com and Marshall Pruett @marshallpruett)
http://bcove.me/j5jyuqzg

More to come from Barber testing!

GForcePaul

Just What You Need: My Worthless Opinion(S)

17 Feb

With apologies to Mr. Mark Wilkinson (Twitter: @newtrackrecord) as he posts some really provocative views and thoughts on all things IndyCar, here we go:

I have been taking a sabbatical for the past 60 days in what I like to call “IndyCar Fans Held Hostage as Offseason Grinds On”. The silence has been deafening; the lack of methanol in the air has left me literally gasping and the lack of color save for winter snow white, has left me visually numb.

I felt that last off season was pretty interesting and filled with palace intrigue, but then came the off season of 2012/2013. Sweet Jesus, will this carnival of change and aimless wandering EVER end? Let’s review, shall we?
-The only friend IndyCar fans ever had since the days of Anton Hulman was unceremoniously dumped
-Steve “Shuncky Monkey” Shunck is dumped in an attempt to save the bottom line
-Jeff Belskus steps into the void left by the demise of the Cowboy/Bull Rider
-Mark Miles steps into the void caused by a rudderless ship
-Doug Boles is kicked up stairs to become COO
-Robby Greene, formerly head of IMS Productions is appointed COO as well

At this point, I am in serious need of a score card. I have not even touched on the froth released upon the racing public, regarding the sad state of Jay Penske. At least my racing tweeps pumped out onsite pictures of the building of the course that will become again the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Finally, the dull ache of the off season’s manufactured drama will give way to the whine of turbos and the aroma of combusted methanol. That is what really matters and I wonder how many members of Randy Nation will REALLY boycott the sport.

It seems to me that the state of Indy Car is a lot like life, nothing is ever permanent. Change is inevitable, relentless and occurs at its own pace. Hey, it took over a decade, but the DW12 came to be and based on last year’s results the vehicle sure seemed pretty racy. I believe that folks got used to the look of the Karashians in road course trim, but it sure looked like a pre baby fat Jessica Simpson in speedway trim. And no, please do not try to engage me in a discussion about aero kits as I don’t drink that koolaide. The days of building a backyard engineered vehicle and attempting a qualification run at Indy ain’t gonna happen any time soon, folks. The cost is just too prohibitive for the small fry fabricator these days and no, you cannot borrow my autoclave…… So that leads to the hated spec car and spec series. That all will be forgiven with the first turn of the wheels come May, perhaps as soon as the Barber test. Besides, the car looks so good in speedway trim.

The bottom line to my current rant is this, people: these so called IndyCar life ending issues will all come to pass. Racing will continue for the foreseeable future as most of the direction and vision for the 2013 season was in place before the changing of the guard. Long term contracts between the vendors and stake holders are settling down and the necessary discussions about parts is out of the way…..for now. I see a 2013 season with racing even better than the fabulous contests of 2012, with a close finish again for the championship.

As a point of reference I present the following link to the inaugural event for the newly formed Indy Racing League:

Thanks for reading! I strongly encourage you to go view Mark’s site ( http://Newtrackrecord.com ) so hit the link that will definitely get your mind flowing.

We’ll talk to you next time!

GForcePaul

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