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INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, December 29, 2013 – A statement from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles on the passing of Andy Granatelli, who passed away Sunday, December 29, 2013 in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 90.

“Andy Granatelli – known appropriately as “Mister 500″ – understood better than anyone the spirit and challenge of the Indianapolis 500 and had a remarkable ability to combine innovative technologies with talented race car drivers to make his cars a threat to win at Indianapolis every year,” said J. Douglas Boles, IMS. “Andy leaves a legacy of historic moments that will live forever in Indianapolis 500 lore including his famous turbine that dominated the 1967 Indianapolis 500, the Lotus 56 of 1968, and giving the great Mario Andretti a kiss on the cheek in victory lane after his 1969 win. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family, friends and legion of fans.”

Things haven’t been very active on this site this season, and there’s a mile-high pile of things I had planned for it sitting on my desk. Good intentions thwarted by life and health.

At this point, the best thing for me is to pause my participation in blogging and focus on putting things right elsewhere. My plan is to resume blogging, commentary and attending races in 2014.

Thanks for your patience, for reading and retweeting the IRP newspaper on paper.li (which runs itself and will continue) and I hope enjoy the rest of the season.

You can still find me on Twitter and Facebook if you want to get in touch. In the meantime, hope you are all happy and healthy and have a great  rest of 2013.


It’s been quiet here at the IRP blog, and it will be for another race or so. Due to health issues, I’ve not been able to follow closely enough to do any real commentary here. I’m hoping to resume more active posting starting with Toronto. Thanks for hanging with me.


Here’s a sampling of the coverage from the opening weekend of Indy 500 practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Indy Star: Curt Cavin and Phillip B. Wilson talk with various participants throughout the day at IMS.



Indy Star: Motor sports coverage



IMS: Live from IMS shares press conferences on a daily basis from the speedway.



IMS: Take a live look at what’s going on the the garage area.



WFNI: Hear the weekend edition podcasts of the Talk of Gasoline Alley with IMS Historian Donald Davidson.



WTHR: Indycar coverage



RTV6: Indycar coverage.



RTV6: Oriol Servia interview.



WISHTV: Indycar coverage.



FOX59: Sports coverage.



Blogs, web-based media: See our”You Should Read…”  links on the left to view news from the weekend.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

(Apologies to Edward Pola and George Wyle.)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With opening bombs booming
And IndyCars zooming
As fans stand to cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With Firestones gripping
And racers all slipping
To stay off the wall
It’s the hap-happiest season of all

There’ll be parties for hosting
Last row ‘ers for roasting
And spectators raring to go
There’ll be thrilling old stories
And tales of the glories
Of five hundreds long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be tearful milk drinking
And princesses winking
As spectators cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year



Happy May, IndyCar fans!

Many moons ago, back on April 9, I posted that my Barber thoughts were coming soon. Best laid plans met with a full-on bout of arthritis in my hand – what little typing I could do had to be saved for my 9-5 content strategy job. Still struggling a bit, but I wanted to at least drop by for a few lines as The Month of May arrives.

About Barber – I thought it was very entertaining. Since the DW12 was introduced, the racing has vastly improved at this track and now I look forward to this weekend for more than the scenery. And it was good to see the Penske lock on this race be broken by Ryan Hunter-Reay, especially after his rough start at St. Pete.

And then….Long Beach. It was weird not being there in person, covering the race for one site or another. On the plus side, I was able to find a private spot at home very easily so I could breathe into a paper bag during the race. Thrilling stuff, and I was delighted to see “smaller” teams on the podium and the historic win by Takuma Sato.

Brazil can be so unpredictable, so we could have another edge-of-the-seater this weekend. I need to replenish the paper bag supply…

If my hand permits, there will be more typing here in a couple days. Maybe I should get some speech-to-type software. :)

Thanks for your patience.


Blame baseball, but I missed the race Sunday to see my San Francisco Giants get their 2012 World Champions rings. The race is waiting for me to view and as soon as I can, I’ll get some thoughts down here. Thanks for your patience!

James Hinchcliffe c. Lisa Bash Beard

Yeehaw! The season is finally underway!

I have my 68th cold of the winter, so my note taking during the race was filtered through a NyQuil haze. With apologies for any giddiness or illogical meanderings, here are my random thoughts captured during the Grand Prix of St. Pete:

I always watch the start of this race through my fingers, but everyone survived to get a clean first segment of the race completed. Surprised that Dario slipped into the wall on cold tires after his first stop, bringing out the first yellow. And yes, Dario doubters, he took responsibility for it. :) On the restart, cars went spinning and contact happened. And yellows bred yellows as they always do.

Susie Wheldon waved the green. She’s been popping up in my dreams the last month or so, always in the company of a certain current IndyCar driver. I must be dreaming about it because I think it would be a good pairing. #NotStartingRumors

Simona de Silvestro, James Hinchcliffe and Tristan Vautier impressed all weekend. Takuma Sato also had a strong weekend, starting second but dropping to around 10th about midway and hovering there the rest of the race.

It was fun to see Oriol Servia (he with fellow Spaniard Salvador Dali on his helmet) leading the race midway in Daliwood, USA. (There’s a Dali museum inside the course in St Pete.) Servia then pitted and his car quit – it took several laps to get him re-fired. Ryan Hunter-Reay had problems at the same time and shut it down in the pits. Something about yellow cars?

Lots of clutch in this race – malfunctioning clutch, that is. Josef Newgarten fell out about the same time as Servia and RHR were having their troubles. Electronics – gears, throttle issues, system issues – seemed to dog a lot of cars today and took Vautier out near the 2/3 point in the race. At this point, Newgarten could scour pit road and find enough drivers out of the race to make the Florida edition of his Harlem Shake video.

Sebastian Saavedra crunched his nose into the Turn 10 wall. Add another dancer to Newgarten’s video. A few laps later, we saw JR Hildebrand somehow drive up and over the side of Will Power during caution and crunched the wall as well. Power came in for a new right rear tire and and left without his right rear tire guard and right rear view mirror. Power made a second stop for further adjustments and labored to a 16th place finish. Hildebrand looked sheepish back at his pit box for a bit, then joined Newgarten’s Harlem Shake dance team.

Hinch powered past Helio Castroneves on the lap 85 restart and grabbed the lead, and that was all she wrote. While great battles raged behind him, including a strong drive from Marco Andretti to grab the third spot on the podium, Hinch drove on to his first IndyCar win. Oh Canada! Hopefully, a star is born, because Hinch has what it takes on and off the track.

Overall, it was a typical narrow street race with a side of carnage and some excitement at the end courtesy Marco’s advance and Hinch’s win. But it’s good to get the season underway. With that, I’m off for more NyQuil and a nap. Thanks for enduring my goofy mood.

We’re ready for this season to go GREEN GREEN GREEN!

This is how the thugs and gangstahs line up for today’s race, courtesy INDYCAR.

st pete lineup


We repainted, swept and cleared out some clutter. Hope ya like our new look!

We highly recommend attending the WIT – it’s an epic way to chase away off season blues and rev up for INDYCAR 2013! Details and a link to sign up for events are here:


Don’t dally around…sign up today before the tickets run out!


All the best to IndyCar fans around the globe – here’s to a great 2013!

We hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season and wish you a safe and happy 2013!

After endless rumors, Tony George trying to buy the series and then resigning from the Hulman board due to “conflict of interest” and even more rumors, Randy Bernard is out at INDYCAR. We think he’d have stuck around if the environment was welcoming, but it doesn’t make sense to work so hard for an organization full of actors willing to place obstacle after obstacle in your path.  Here’s the release on the IMS site:


We need to take some time to let the steam pouring out our ears die down so we can actually think about this. We are supremely disappointed by Randy’s departure – no CEO is perfect, but he had the sport heading in a good direction and understood a lot of what it was lacking as an entertainment entity.  We’re now very concerned about the future of the sport and wary of who might be placed in control next.

Over the last year, life has made it very difficult for us to do this site and our coverage of IndyCar true justice, and we have to wonder if it will be worth the effort to continue trying. We’ll have to see how we feel after our heads stop spinning.

The 2013 schedule will be officially announced and discussed on SPEED’s ‘Wind Tunnel this Sunday, but Jeff Olson spilled the beans in USA Today this morning. Here’s a link to the article, which has details about double-headers, standing starts and a return to Pocono:


From the article, here’s the schedule:

March 24–St. Petersburg, Fla. (street course)

April 7–Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. (road course)

April 21–Long Beach, Calif. (street course)

May 5–Sao Paulo, Brazil (street course)

May 26–Indianapolis 500 (oval)

June 1-2–Detroit doubleheader (street course)

June 8–Texas Motor Speedway (oval)

June 15–Milwaukee (oval)

June 22–Iowa Speedway (oval)

July 7–Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (oval)

July 13-14–Toronto doubleheader (street course)

Aug. 4–Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (road course)

Aug. 24-25–Sonoma Raceway doubleheader (road course)

Sept. 1–Baltimore (street race)

Oct. 6–Houston (street race)

Oct. 12–Fontana, Calif. (oval)

What do you think about the tracks, the balance of twisties vs ovals, length of season, etc.?

Thanks for your patience…bed rest has helped with health issues, so we can now take a little time to sit down and type about the last three races of 2012.


First, Sonoma.

The racing this year was definitely something new – the DW12 car is more nimble around the course, and the reconfiguration of turns 7 and 11 led to some excursions. Turn 7 in particular led to spins, taps and incidents that had championship implications. Will Power finished second to team mate Ryan Briscoe, widening his point lead due to Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon having incidents/resulting penalties. It looked like Power was finally going to lock down the championship as the trucks packed up and headed cross-country to Baltimore.

Here’s Bash’s coverage of Sonoma for other sites:


Bash’s Saturday thoughts

Bash’s Sunday thoughts


Sonoma observations

TracksideOnline.com (photos)




On to Baltimore.

Wow – As the Wheel Turns could be the name of this one. Chicanery! Drama! Weather! Carnage! Like last year’s debut, the Baltimore Grand Prix was a gripping weekend of track changes, flying over the railroad grade and bouncing into the wall, unpredictable results and fascinating racing. Last year’s chicane was gone – at least at first. Street grinding didn’t help smooth the dip, so the chicane was re-installed. Cutting the chicane as drivers will do ended with cars getting airborne over *it* and careening into the walls, so tire stacks were also added. It rained during the race, on part of the course, for just a few minutes. Teams were split about 50/50 on who stayed on slicks and who went for wet tires and their decisions affected the championship race. Ryan Hunter-Reay won a nail-biter with a late pass on Ryan Briscoe, who was running on fumes. Will Power ended up 6th and saw his points lead cut to 17, which turned up the heat on the Aussie to the boiling point. He was angry about strategy decisions, other people’s actions that were deemed within the rules, and ended up swearing on live radio and paying a stiff fine for it. As confident as were after Sonoma that this was Will’s year at last, we were equally convinced after Baltimore that the pressure was getting to him and his team again. Fontana was going to be veddddddddy eeeenterestink.


Oh, Fontana!

It was a million degrees, and we were honestly glad our plans to attend this race had to be canceled due to health. The race was exciting enough watching from home, as JR Hildebrand and Ed Carpenter took turns leading a good part of the race. Sadly, JR brushed the wall and had to spend several laps in the pits getting repairs. The pace was quick, the passing was wild, and then, a quarter of the way through the 200-lap race, it happened: Will Power lost the rear of his car, spun and crunched the wall, ironically almost taking Ryan Hunter-Reay out with him. For the next half of the race, Ryan Hunter-Reay pushed forward, struggling with his car and not quite making it to the 6th-place position he needed to win the title, while Team Penske thrashed on Power’s car. They’d done the math and figured if they could gain one spot (to 24th), they would force Hunter-Reay to need 5th-place or better to take the championship. Power rejoined the fight and slowly clawed up that one spot before retiring for good. Hunter-Reay, with an overheating race car and just not quite enough speed, spent the last quarter of the race hovering around 6th. Most race fans we saw commenting on Facebook and Twitter at this point were hyperventilating from the drama.

At the front of the field, vying for the race win, we had the Target cars of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, as well as Alex Tagliani, Ed Carpenter and Takuma Sato. It was a fight that had an intermission as a caution flew with 8 laps to go when Tony Kanaan hit the wall. Just a few blinks later, the red flag was displayed. Many bewildered fans were looking for SAFER barrier damage or hoping that something serious hadn’t happened to TK while the cars filed into the pits and shut down. Michael Andretti was livid – his team’s number 28 car was overheating, its driver just on the edge of winning the title, and here was something we hadn’t seen before – a competition red. Fortunately, the wreck was cleared in short order and all cars re-fired and resumed the race. Dario Franchitti was being challenged for the race win, Takuma Sato crashed at the last moment, stopping Helio Castroneves’ valiant attempt to overtake Hunter-Reay and push him out of the title win. When it was all said and done, Ed Carpenter was celebrating his second career win and his new team’s first victory while Ryan Hunter-Reay made it an all-American night with the championship win. A dizzying, ever-changing scenario as exciting as the race itself, we think it was a perfect cap to what was a positive season for IndyCar.

We’re still glad we watched from the cool climes of San Francisco, though. :)

We’ll take a little while to let the season sink in, then come back with some thoughts about it as a whole. But before we go we want to say a couple-three things. First, we weren’t crazy about that competition red. Races sometimes end with a caution flag – we’d rather see that (real) than a non-safety-related stoppage (artificial, contrived) all for the sake of the show. The show was good enough as it was, thanks. Secondly, congrats to Ed Carpenter and his team for capturing their first win in their first season. Second year in a row Ed’s captured the season’s last trophy (last year at Kentucky for Sarah Fisher Racing) – he’s gotta be loving that. Thirdly, respect and congrats to Ryan Hunter-Reay and Andretti Autosport for persevering, digging and fighting for a terrific championship win.


…we’ll share links to coverage we did all over the place, and share a few thoughts here as well. Right now, sitting in a chair long enough to type it up isn’t possible due to lower back problems. Give us another day or two. Thanks!

Just a quick note to let you know – we’ll be at Sonoma tomorrow and Sunday, bad back and all, providing coverage for @MoreFrontWing, RIS-news.com, and a weekend wrap-up of silliness here on IRP. We are following today’s action from home and prepping for the weekend. Follow @SpeedFreakBash for tweets from the track starting tomorrow, and @MoreFrontWing for links to updates all weekend!



Well, Robin Miller survived another grid run (at least until the commercial break) and the weather looks fantastic in Alberta, so we’re settled in and ready for some racing.  Live blog – start your engine!



Well, that’s all for this live blog. Thanks for reading!


Yikes – take 30 seconds from @CharlieKimball for spinning @SimonPagenaud on the last lap. We’ll have to see how that impacts the standings.


@h3lio needs an energy drink. :)


@h3lio wins, @RyanHunterReay finishes 7th – tightens up the points race and keeps Helio in the hunt for his first championship. Next up is Mid-Ohio…we’re curious to see if the DW12 can help  with passing at that track. It’s usually a parade…


Wow – somehow we got all the way through that one without Bob Jenkins jinxing it – green flag-to-flag. And @h3lio has already gotten the fence-climb over with!


And it’s @h3lio for the win!


Last lap starting – it’s go time!


@h3lio and @takumasatoracer arestill fighting. @BobRahal is coaching Taku to save his last overtake push for the last lap.


@12willpower on the button to stay ahead of @GrahamRahal for 3rd.


Taku is fast through the rough section!


Oh, man – @takumasatoracer almost got @h3lio!  This is a dog fight!


LOL @BobRahal said @h3lio “starts blocking when he picks up his car at the airport.”


oooh, @h3lio close on fuel too, but they just told him he could use overtake as defense. @takumasatoracer is really dogging him in the turns.


@12willpower may not have enough fuel to get to the end. They think they do, but it could be close.


Looks like @GrahamRahal also got @tagliani, who’s now in 5th. Maybe he shoulda kept the blacks….


annnnnd here comes @12willpower – he’s by @tagliani and setting sail…


Just 20 laps to go – @edcarpenter20 was holding up @h3lio for a bit as he put Ed a lap down. @takumasatoracer has taken second from @tagliani.


So now we’ll see if @tagliani can catch @h3lio. @sidesilvestro was offroading a bit. @12willpower could not catch the top of the leaderboard as he left pit lane.


@tagliani in for his last stop now…Scuffed reds and a quick stop, but @h3lio just gets him!


So far, clean race and clean stops. And @h3lio is in early!


@Hinchtown in for a stop – taking on more reds. @OriolServia stalled it twice on his stop. Make that three times.


Crikey – these guys/gal are all going to be sore when this one is over. Bumpy mayhem.


Looks like bona fide speed bumps on that one spot on the track. Yeeee hawww!


Bob Jenkins jut mentioned that there have been no full-course yellows…did Jenks jinx it? We shall see…


(Also, we are completely stoked that the Olympics start Wednesday with women’s soccer. Bring on the sleep depro – we’ll be watching as much as we can.)


(We are creeped out by this cars.com woman with the singing hair.)


We love it – @scottdixon is up to 12th.


@takumasatoracer on the button to gain on and pass @dariofranchitti.


@TonyKanaan back in the pits for his second stop. He’s on a 3-stop strategy.


So, @BourdaisOnTrack gets a penalty for pit exit violation, and @12willpower does not. @RyanHunterReay is livid.


Pretty good race so far – we could use even more green-flag passes stops and passes. Hopefully it gets hectic near the end of the race. It’s great to see @tagliani leading, and we like it that he’s not pulled away, so it’s sill very much a race.


@DarioFranchitti went for the lead, locked it up, and @tagliani and @h3lio are now both past him.


@RyanHunterReay wants a penalty for @12willpower – Wally in the booth calls it “pretty dirty” and “obnoxious” as Power rejoined from the pits.


Same order leaving as entering – great work by all three teams.


Follow the leader into the pits – the top 3 are in.


Nice clean race so far – it’s @tagliani leading the way. We can’t help but hear “Ooooh, Barracuda…” Canadian music for a Canadian leader at a Canadian race. #BOOM


Pit stop chaos could ensue any moment…sure hope the clown music isn’t needed.


@CharlieKimball and @MarcoAndretti are tooth and nail back in 19th and 20th – love it that @NBCSN is showing us this battle. The other network would probably have still be talking about the girl who used to drive the Go Daddy car.


Twenty laps in, it’s been @tagliani, @dariofranchitti and @takumasatoracer in the top three spots.


(And now we sing along with the “Crazy Train” Honda ad…full screen commercial break.)


Ah, man – @scottdixon9 is falling back to 20th. Sucky birthday so far…


@12willpower took a couple positions on the track and walled it a bit on the exit of the turn. Gotta keep an eye on that car…


(Commercial break – we’re running to the kitchen to grab some lunch!)


We also don’t like seeing birthday boy @ScottDixon9 in 17th. That’s not much of a present.


We hate seeing @TonyKanaan having a rough time. He just pitted and is 24th, just in front of last-place @JRHildebrand.


@RyanHunterReay and @SimonPagenaud both using overtake, RHR manages to get by him. He’s up two places from the start, chasing his fourth straight win.


Keeping our eye on @rubarrichello and @BourdaisonTrack – thinking it might be good days for them.


Bummer that @JRHildebrand had a bit of damage on the first lap and had to come in.


@Tagliani is into the lead as he passes @DarioFranchitti – the Canadian crowd goes bonkers!


He won the pole, but got a 10-spot grid penalty and starts 11th. Can @RyanHunterReay will his fourth in a row?





Hiya – good to have another IndyCar race day to celebrate. We miss doing the Virtual Grid Walk, but time constraints and the headache of multiple grid penalties makes it close to impossible to do it right and get it done before the race starts!  Since we’ve managed to carve out time to watch races live, we’ll just live blog it. Open up a tab to our site and follow along – we’ll share a direct link when we get started. See ya at prerace!