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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 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.


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.


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 and Marshall Pruett @marshallpruett)

More to come from Barber testing!


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 ( ) so hit the link that will definitely get your mind flowing.

We’ll talk to you next time!


As we speed towards Christmas, some of my presents have already arrived!

5 Dec
Will they be second again?

Will they be second again?


A few shots of winter testing eye candy from Fontana as you cruise through some of my off season “Cliff Notes”. All photo credit to Steve ‘Shunky Monkey’ Shunck.

-Simona has tested with her new team in California and loves her new team mate, not to mention her new found horsepower.

-Conor Daly to test an AJ Foyt car at sebring December 13th. This ain’t an oval folks so look for the kid to kick major butt on rookie time sheets.

-Zach .boy-man. Veach steps up to an Andretti Autosport Indy Lights rocket as he takes his final development steps leading to the BIG show.

-Star Mazda series that feeds the road to Indy dodged a huge bullet and is about to obtain a new naming sponsor to keep the series rolling on.

-IndyCar continues to reach out to the fan base in an attempt to reconnect and engage

-@TakumaSatoRacer is close to a deal with Larry Foyt and Mr. Luyendyk will undoubtedly provide info on how to avoid AJ’s left hook.

-Lotus is dying on the vine as Sebass posts BIG times at the test at ACS in Fontana in celebration of his unshackling to a slug.

-Many miles to go for Mr. Miles,newly appointed head of Hulman and Company. He has been there as well as done that. This is VERY positive, for now.

-Fuzzy Zoeller really stepped up and after an undisclosed sum of cash changed hands, voila, the 2013 Fuzzy’s Tripple Crown was born.


Those unmistakable FOCUSED eyes

Those unmistakable FOCUSED eyes

And then there is the hype-a-palooza called Smoke to Indy. Folks, I seen this movie before a few years back on an extremely slow “bump” day at the hallowed grounds, as Smoke walked around in a barely fitting fire suit and, well, you know the rest. I liken this to AJ announcing his return to the 500. Now THAT’S a killer story!

As always, my glass is more than half full. I appreciate the even handed approach taken by Steph at More Front Wing as she lays out her case for getting the IndyCar series off of life support. Between her detailed analysis, along with the monster rants of guidance and wisdom offered up by Pressdog, there is no need for me to expound on this topic. It remains a “FAN” issue and how to engage them!


Who IS that in Ed's car?

Who IS that in Ed’s car?

The sun will come up tomorrow, this too shall pass and it is only 117 days until engines roar at St Pete. Question for my readers (and no looking at Google); this is the what numbered running of the St Pete Grand Prix? It kind of surprised me as well!


The REAL Ed Carpenter

The REAL Ed Carpenter

Take care and we will talk to you next time!


The Current State of IndyCar: Everybody with an opinion has a blog. Did I say that backwards?

3 Nov

In Better Days

The die is cast, the palace guard has been changed. Indy Car is dead. Indy Car is reborn. Indy Car dies yet again. What is killing Indy Car, one day at a time and yet, allows it to limp along on life support? That, my friend, is a four letter word that begins with the letter “F”. In fact, this blog post is completely brought to you by the letter “F”.

With the posting on by the incomparable Marshall Pruett, the mammoth, two part investigative journalistic piece lays out the how and part of the why things have changed at 16th and Georgetown road. Sadly, it does not educate the members of the paddock as to the ins and outs of the “F” word. For seemingly being adults, these folks inside the chain link fence at all racing venues treat the “F” word as some snickering induced preteen activity. A direct quote or two from Marshall’s tome for your edification:

  • [As one driver told me, a public uproar over losing a CEO, rather than an equal or greater uproar to solve IndyCar’s problems or promote its drivers, has been troubling.
  • “Can you imagine NASCAR fans getting pissed because [NASCAR president] Mike Helton was fired? They wouldn’t give a damn as long as Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson and the rest are out racing on Sunday.
  • “Maybe the drivers need Randy’s PR machine because I don’t remember this much backlash when even a top IndyCar driver lost his job.”]

Wait a minute here. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. Ummmm; a PR machine, for a chief executive? Yeah, almost every large corporation has a communications department that functions as the mouth piece for the office in addition to officially dispensing the corporate kool aide. I do not recall whom was the communicator in chief that headed said PR machine for Mr. Bernard and am going to go out on a limb here and say he did not have one. That little oversight did NOT prevent the affect, real or imagined, resulting from engaging said PR machine.

The magic is not too difficult to figure out here, folks. With even just a childish understanding of what makes people happy, connected and engaged, one could even develop something as benign as bull riding into a box office smash, filling arenas all over the country. When such a captivating sport can fill a 16,000 seat arena in Indianapolis, of all places, one has to take a look at what lead to that type of outcome.

As a public service, I am going to reveal the “F” word that seems to elude these busy, frantic paced lives of people that comprise owners in the IndyCar series. That nasty, four letter word is……..wait for it……

Every sport needs them. Every sport craves them. Every sport lives and dies by either choosing to engage them or dying slowly on the vine should they be ignored or marginalized. Granted, Randy Bernard stumbled, made some poor or unpopular decisions and alienated his owner base. However, it galls me when paddock members cannot pronounce the word fan, let alone spell it. Engaging them may have been Randy’s most egregious sin in their eyes…………

IndyCar owners on their way to vote on something…

It has been said many times over that the most sincere form of flattery is to mimic or emulate another. I intend to do just that by quoting the highly esteemed blogger, Bill Zahren who wrote in his post that is dated November 03, 2012:

“Fans (who share my attitude) are sick of this crap, frankly, and we want you to SHOW us the love (you figure out how to do that), not just tell us you love us, because we are pissed off and tired of being taken for granted. There are lots of competitors out there that want our money”.

Get the good stuff from Bill here:

With that mini rant, I guess I will talk to my dwindling constituency next time!

Take care…..


Tony George Completes Purchase Of Indy Car: Re-Brands it Deltawing Indy Car Kaleidoscope Series

20 Oct

2012 Petite Le Mons

Date Line Indianapolis
October 31, 2012

Former Hulman family board member Tony George appears to have completed a silent coup of the Hulman palace and wrestled away control of what used to be called the Izod Indy Car Series.

With dwindling television ratings, a one sided, LENGTHY TV contract wedding them to a network that started out as a back to nature, camping outdoors outlet, and with one marque event left on the schedule, the Hulman Companies succumbed to an undisclosed offer of “Silly Money” and sold ownership of the series to Mr. George. This is despite comments by the president of the company stating that the series is not for sale.

Within a few days of word surfacing again that Tony George was behind an offer made to the board of directors to purchase the series, a silly season unlike any in the history of ALL sports was launched. Many called Mr. George to task for an obvious conflict of interest. The final analysis will show that Tony did the right thing by resigning from his membership on the board. Said Mr. George, “I realize that my recent efforts to explore the possibility of acquiring INDYCAR represent the appearance of a conflict”. With those words, he left and put together his consortium that became known as the gang of ‘33 is just a number, yo’.

With only a single event left to promote that would allow the purchasers to grow the series, Mr. George hinted that one could line cockroaches up on the grid in May at Indianapolis and still call it the Indy 500. With just that philosophy, Mr. George appears to be in communication with the recently minted builder of the wining vehicle at the Petite Le Mans which took place back on October 20th at Road Atlanta. Word has leaked out that the conceptual developer for the soon to be re-launched motor sport series is changing the name to better reflect the forward thinking evolution of motorsport which is defined by the Deltawing.  Hence, the series looks like it will dump its current title sponsor, Izod and refer to the new series as D I C K S.

Dario in the 055 NOT DeltaWing

Critical and MUST READ IndyCar Links week of 10/01/2012

1 Oct

How did 2012 go, Son of Stache? I see…….

On returning to Pocono:

WOW, a double hit of spot on topics in the first paragraph. The passing of the Iconic Chris Econamaki AND the smooth lead in to a perspective on Pocono and IndyCar. A great link to “” sportstalk section. Randy just bumped his brand here quite nicely…..

Subject: Indy Car Schedule 2013
My favorite bench racing, coffee guzzling, IndyCar Nation submitting blogger, Zach Houghton, weighs in on the realities of Sunday night’s Speed TV hosted 2013 IndyCar schedule release. Compact, concise and all 100% unadulterated truth. Hit the link for the posting on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Why the F*#K can’t Indy Car secure season opening stuff, something along the lines of this and also, PLEASE NOTE THE SYNDICATED AUTHOR, Hmmmmmmm:

Finally, Best Pic of the week:

Mario warns Helio that if he makes one single solitary misstep, then he should step aside and let a true course “master” take over…..He even did some practicing at Sonoma last month with Chelse just to warn Helio that he still gots it.

Mario scares Helio should he screw it up; new man in town!

Finally, there will be far better reporting and in a more timely fashion than I will post in this space. For now, here is my take on the recently completed off week I like to call ‘IndyCar fans held hostage’, week number 2 of 24 until St. Pete. The schedule hole in September really concerns me. ABC picking up SIX IN A ROW will certainly put more eyes on the sport and Aero Kits will not make a difference for two more years. Stand to start all you want, but even the first two cars off the line will race into turn one.

I already got cabin fever over missing the sport I love. You must too or why else would you read this space?

Just my two cents worth and we’ll talk to you next time,

The Open Wheel World Is Turned On Its Head…..AGAIN!

20 Aug

Hello there again race friends,
With the conclusion of the recent weekend’s racing activity, Oh, wait! The Izod IndyCar Series had a rare off weekend. No news there, now is there? Yeah, move along, nothing to see here folks. Even F-1 is off……for a freakin MONTH! I imagine they don’t have to stress about falling off the race fan’s radar, especially after taking a mid season break. How do you keep in front of the face of the average race fan unless you are KrapKar, or F-1 on a month long break? You fashion news, of course!

I was very impressed with her Highness smoking off the boyz in the Busch series. Isn’t that the series owned by the Bush Brothers PR Machine? I mean, one could honestly look all the drivers in that field in the eye last Saturday and say to each one; You………..Got……Passed……By……A……Girl.

One can only vision the frothing Mr. PDog throwing all kinds of objects at his television when the other Go Daddy driver passed all the boyz and legitimately kept them at bay. Lap after Lap. I have to take note and give credit where it is due; the lady drove her a$$ off like she does every race day. Robin Miller was captured on live radio in Indianapolis Monday afternoon talking about Princess Sparkle Pony in a flattering (for him at least) way. When asked if he thought she would win a race eventually or not, he responded with a well thought out “Shit yeah”. Run this audio link from the show down to the 5:30 mark. Too funny! The show is podcast posted 8/20/2012 5:19pm. Give it a listen for some local talk about a TV sportscaster and then the gems begin to unfold from Robin and JMV.
There is some very fine wordsmithy taking place based upon a rumor or comment or inside scoop or UNABRIGDED TRUTH depending on how one looks at Robin Miller’s remarks Sunday night on Wind Tunnel. Hence the lead in to this article and fine segue to News; Reported or CREATED? I can distill the argrument down to one common denominator and that is control. I have seen this movie before several times now and it usually has the same ending. Big league owners want race series. Big league owners buy said race series. Big league owners disband in financial ruin.

One of the writers I mentioned last week scooped some of his peers and posted on the topic of the selling of the open wheel series in North America. I could sit here and write words to the effect of nodding my head in agreement or perhaps just send you the link (Mark Wilkinson hit this one out of the park). On that note, this needs to be a short post anyway due to the tempo of things developing for the open wheel series we all love and admire. And no, I don’t mean Bernie the Troll’s series over “there”…… You know what I mean. So, without further ado I present the link to “The IMS Garage Sale”:

Ponder this a while and reflect. I love the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is so unusual to see fighting and pandering and postulating going on once again. Like I have said, I have seen this movie before.

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


Just How Early Can A Silly Season Begin, huh?

12 Aug

Where will they be in 2013

Just had a long overdue visit with the bench racing posse yesterday and covered a lot of ground in a few hours. With the wrap up statements about Mid Ohio, in depth analysis of the improved turn radius at Sonoma out of the way we began the difficult task of handicapping the silly season. Let’s see, Foyt signs a second driver for next year’s Indianapolis 500 and he has a ton, a boat load, well, SOME open wheel experience. Smooth one, Larry Foyt. Maybe he can share some oval experience with ConWheezy…..Nah, perhaps not.

I see that Zach Veach got his lights car fitting. Great story by Zach in, of all things, The Huffington Post:  Zach The Scribe  (Please see previous paragraph for a theme here). I mean, yeah Zach the man/kid is good, but certainly more than a few rookies, looking for their next step, have to ask themselves this: is little Seabass Savadra ready for prime time, take duex? I mean, he walked from his first experience with the ladder system while just a little minnow, or at least his father yanked him to a different team. While he has made progress this year in lights, has he been there too long? I was hastily reminded that Hinch did 2 years in Atlantics and three in Lights! Woa, I had forgotten all of that and thought that James just arrived at the Go Daddy Offices one day saying “I got next”.

Speaking of the ladder system; if you have followed Clint Briney’s charge Shannon Macintosh, you will know these stats; finished 8th in the 2011 season. She enjoyed her two best finishes of eighth plaace during the USF2000 championship run that year. In 2012 Shannon has cracked the top 10 only once season to date. Granted she did change teams, but as Adele sings, ‘RUMOR HAS IT’ that Clint is shopping some tin top type of work in the future. What True Car and their dollars do next year is going to be very interesting based on the different levels of motorsport that they are involved in.
Shall we move onto the big league players and the revolving seats?

I always love this part. Now, if the Izod IndyCar series can just get to 19 races in 2013 we will not have to write such silly season nonsense so early in the late summer. I am still working on my base tan for God’s sake! I just want to know how Gil De Ferran snags Rubino and TK and where in Brazil does the money come from? Gil’s finest moment can be found here: Fast Gil, VERY fast
My questions have more to do with some of the obvious changes that will take place and some subtle changes that may fly under the radar. Current wisdom (or lack of it) indicates that one Penske car may not have a certain television pre-race hostess’ hubby behind the wheel. The Vega$ money is leaning towards Son of Stache getting the Penske nod, since Graham, ahem, er, Chippy did not exercise an option year…… To this I say blah blah blah. You think only Graham performed the option year exercise? Really? Well then, like smoke another one, dewd. No, there is no need to share……enjoy!
Of course, wild speculation centers around Michael Shank, Dinger (a non entity unless it is his partially owned sports car team) and engine type. Obviously, Lotus is out, Ford is still not talking too loudly about the near future and now the question becomes, can Honda and Chev-ro Lay absorb the increased team count? If there are obnly two engine suppliers and a lowly one car team wants a second engine, well then buddy, see the last 2 sentences of the previous paragraph.

The only thing that is more exciting today as I write these silly season comments is the breathless Twitter Feed reporting being done by Her Majesty, Jenna Fryer. AP assigned her to Olympic coverage and this morning she fills us in on the lengthy lines attending Madame Tussauds latest wax figure offerings. Yeah, Indy Car really needs to get to 19 races next season. We need to keep Jenna relevant………I mean engaged.

I would like to thank the bench racing posse for their inspiration over coffee. You need to get off the couch, turn off the remote control that is locked on broadcasts of CrapKar and begin following these guys because they are:
1. Wired In
2. Well written, qualified wordsmiths
3. Funny
4. GREAT ambassadors of the sport we all love.
Hit their blogs and Twitter feeds for a treat!
Mark Wilkinson writes “New Track Record”
Zacahry Houghton writes “IndyCar Advocate”
Eric Hall writes “AnotherIndyCarBlog”
Last but not least, you had BEST follow @Stevewittich on twitter. Don’t be a twit, just do it! If you need the inside scoop on feeder series, Steve is your man. Besides, we all could not thank Jay Penske enough for giving us something else to laugh at!

Thanks for reading! Talk to you next time,


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