header image
 
 

How it started…

 

Points standings

PositionDriverPoints
1Will Power602
2Helio Castroneves563
3Simon Pagenaud510
4Ryan Hunter-Reay494
5Juan Pablo Montoya488
6Scott Dixon472
7Tony Kanaan425
8Carlos Munoz424
9Sebastien Bourdais418
10Marco Andretti400
11Ryan Briscoe396
12James Hinchcliffe377
13Charlie Kimball357
14Justin Wilson339
15Mikhail Aleshin (R)338
16Josef Newgarden337
17Jack Hawksworth (R)321
18Graham Rahal312
19Carlos Huertas (R)288
20Takuma Sato261
21Sebastian Saavedra251
22Mike Conway235
23Ed Carpenter191
24Oriol Servia88
25Kurt Busch (R)80
26JR Hildebrand66
27Sage Karam (R)57
28Luca Filippi (R)46
29James Davison (R)34
30Jacques Villeneuve29
31Alex Tagliani28
32Townsend Bell22
33Pippa Mann21
34Martin Plowman (R)18
35Buddy Lazier11
36Franck Montagny8

 

Starting grid

PositionDriver
1Will Power
2Josef Newgarden
3Scott Dixon
4James Hinchcliffe
5Ryan Briscoe
6Helio Castroneves
7Sebastien Bourdais
8Tony Kanaan
9Carlos Munoz
10Ryan Hunter-Reay
11Charlie Kimball
12Mikhail Aleshin
13Marco Andretti
14Graham Rahal
15Simon Pagenaud
16Justin Wilson
17Mike Conway
18Jack Hawksworth
19Juan Pablo Montoya
20Takuma Sato
21Carlos Huertas
22Sebastian Saavedra

 

…how it ended…

 

Race results

PositionDriver
1Scott Dixon
2Ryan Hunter-Reay
3Simon Pagenaud
4Takuma Sato
5Juan Pablo Montoya
6Josef Newgarden
7Mikhail Aleshin
8Marco Andretti
9Justin Wilson
10Will Power
11Sebastien Bourdais
12James Hinchcliffe
13Tony Kanaan
14Mike Conway
15Jack Hawksworth
16Sebastian Saavedra
17Ryan Briscoe
18Helio Castroneves
19Carlos Munoz
20Graham Rahal
21Charlie Kimball
22Carlos Huertas

 

Points standings

PositionDriverPoints
1Will Power626
2Helio Castroneves575
3Simon Pagenaud545
4Ryan Hunter-Reay534
5Scott Dixon523
6Juan Pablo Montoya519
7Tony Kanaan433
8Sebastien Bourdais437
9Carlos Munoz435
10Marco Andretti424
11Ryan Briscoe409
12James Hinchcliffe377
13Josef Newgarden366
14Charlie Kimball366
15Mikhail Aleshin (R)364
16Justin Wilson361
17Jack Hawksworth (R)336
18Graham Rahal323
19Carlos Huertas (R)296
20Takuma Sato294
21Sebastian Saavedra265
22Mike Conway252
23Ed Carpenter191
24Oriol Servia88
25Kurt Busch (R)80
26JR Hildebrand66
27Sage Karam (R)57
28Luca Filippi (R)46
29James Davison (R)34
30Jacques Villeneuve29
31Alex Tagliani28
32Townsend Bell22
33Pippa Mann21
34Martin Plowman (R)18
35Buddy Lazier11
36Franck Montagny8

 

…and all the stuff in between…

Simon’s Sad Saturday: Sitting third in the championship as the day started, Simon spent much of both practices sitting in the pits. His crew tinkered at both ends of his car and they just could not get handling and braking to suit Simon at Sonoma. He ended up qualifying 15th, with Helio Castroneves 6th and Will Power on the pole. Since starting position is everything here (no one’s won starting farther back than 5th), things didn’t look great for Simon’s chances after this sorry day.

SHAKEOUT 6.0: About 3:20 a.m. on race day, we all got a specially prepared wake-up call from mama nature and a little-known earthquake fault under Napa (one town east of Sonoma). For more about the aftermath of the quake, I recommend the bay area’s award-winning CBS affiliate, KCBS AM/FM.

Sloppy start: Climbing the hill from Turn 1 to 2 on the first lap, the field sprayed out across the track and runoff like fireworks exploding. Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe got together, leaving Hinch behind and causing Helio Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais to scatter

Spinapalooza: At one point or another, we saw Sebastian Saavedra, Will Power, Helio, Juan Pablo Montoya, Carlos Huertas (and probably others I missed) spin, run off, cut the chicane, etc. After dominating the race early, Power found himself in the back quarter of the field, right behind his teammate and championship competitor Helio.

‘scuse me, coming through: On the lap 40 restart, Mike Conway decided someone else needed to lead some laps during this race, and he muscled his way to the front. The road course specialist impressed but did not surprise anyone with his move. Taking a page from Conway’s book, Graham Rahal passed the #20 machine on lap 64. Great stuff from the young American, but there was this small issue of low fuel that kept him from winning the race…

Scottied: Rahal had to stop for fuel, Conway was trying to to stretch his, and with three to go, Scott Dixon grabbed the lead and did what we’ve seen him do so many times: won the race.

Surprising: What looked in the early stages like a race that would solidify Will Power’s grasp on the championship turned out to keep the door open for Helio, Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay. It won’t be easy, but things could have looked a lot worse for them if Power had led pole to finish like it looked like he might.

Sweeeeeeet!: Talk about a turnaround – Simon’s Sad Saturday was followed by a sweet sweet Sunday with a third place finish. He was playing the same fuel game as Mike Conway but managed to finish the race before the fuel ran out. It definitely turned frowns upside down in the #77 pits.

 

 

 

 

How it started…

 

Points standings

PositionDriverPoints
1Helio Castroneves533
2Will Power520
3Ryan Hunter-Reay464
4Simon Pagenaud462
5Juan Pablo Montoya428
6Scott Dixon387
7Carlos Munoz (R)384
8Tony Kanaan380
9Marco Andretti375
10Sebastien Bourdais358
11Ryan Briscoe344
12James Hinchcliffe330
13Charlie Kimball317
14Justin Wilson311
15Mikhail Aleshin (R)298
16Josef Newgarden288
17Jack Hawksworth (R)287
18Graham Rahal266
19Carlos Huertas (R)265
20Takuma Sato234
21Sebastian Saavedra229
22Mike Conway218
23Ed Carpenter168
24Oriol Servia88
25Kurt Busch (R)80
26JR Hildebrand66
27Sage Karam (R)57
28Luca Filippi (R)46
29James Davison (R)34
30Jacques Villeneuve29
31Alex Tagliani28
32Townsend Bell22
33Pippa Mann21
34Martin Plowman (R)18
35Buddy Lazier11

 

Starting grid

PositionDriver
1Sebastien Bourdais
2Josef Newgarden
3Tony Kanaan
4Carlos Munoz
5Ryan Hunter-Reay
6Will Power
7Graham Rahal
8Justin Wilson
9Simon Pagenaud
10Carlos Huertas
11Juan Pablo Montoya
12Mike Conway
13Mikhail Aleshin
14Sebastian Saavedra
15Helio Castroneves
16Marco Andretti
17James Hinchcliffe
18Jack Hawksworth
19Ryan Briscoe
20Charlie Kimball
21Takuma Sato
22Scott Dixon

 

…how it ended…

 

Race results

PositionDriver
1Scott Dixon
2Sebastian Bourdais
3James Hinchcliffe
4Carlos Munoz
5Graham Rahal
6Will Power
7Charlie Kimball
8Ryan Briscoe
9Simon Pagenaud
10Ryan Hunter-Reay
11Juan Pablo Montoya
12Josef Newgarden
13Mike Conway
14Mikhail Aleshin
15Justin Wilson
16Jack Hawksworth
17Carlos Huertas
18Takuma Sato
19Helio Castroneves
20Sebastian Saavedra
21Tony Kanaan
22Marco Andretti

 

Points standings

PositionDriverPoints
1Will Power548
2Helio Castroneves544
3Ryan Hunter-Reay485
4Simon Pagenaud484
5Juan Pablo Montoya447
6Scott Dixon440
7Carlos Munoz (R)416
8Sebastien Bourdais400
9Tony Kanaan389
10Marco Andretti383
11Ryan Briscoe368
12James Hinchcliffe366
13Charlie Kimball343
14Justin Wilson326
15Mikhail Aleshin (R)314
16Josef Newgarden307
17Jack Hawksworth (R)301
18Graham Rahal296
19Carlos Huertas (R)278
20Takuma Sato246
21Sebastian Saavedra239
22Mike Conway235
23Ed Carpenter168
24Oriol Servia88
25Kurt Busch (R)80
26JR Hildebrand66
27Sage Karam (R)57
28Luca Filippi (R)46
29James Davison (R)34
30Jacques Villeneuve29
31Alex Tagliani28
32Townsend Bell22
33Pippa Mann21
34Martin Plowman (R)18
35Buddy Lazier11
36Franck Montagny8

 

…and all the stuff in between…

Crazy quali: Qualifying started on a wet track and there were pirouettes, sit spins and a couple near double axels as IndyCar drivers took to what was a slick as ice course. It even caught a veteran like Scott Dixon out – he qualified dead last on the grid. Dixie is often-dubbed the “King of Mid-Ohio” for his four wins at this track. Remember that wins here usually come from a starting position very near the front of the grid, so it’s a good bet someone else will take the victory today unless some wild strategy comes into play. The track dried as quals went along, leaving everyone wondering if/when someone would brave going to slick tires. It didn’t happen, but it did have people holding their collective breath.

Crazy start: Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden got together at the drop of the green, spinning TK, who then got crunched by Marco Andretti, who had nowhere to go but into his former teammate. That took both drivers out of the race before they got through more than a turn.

Crazy passing: Wait, passing at Mid-OH? It can happen, and mid-race, Josef Newgarden and Charlie Kimball were challenging and passing the likes of Sebastien Bourdais and Juan Montoya respectively, going side-by-side through a few turns like it weren’t no thang. Let’s have more of this, boys!

Crazy win: Scott Dixon started last, went off-strategy with pit stops and saved more fuel than any hybrid (it seems) and somehow won this doggone race. Call me stunned. It’s the 6th win in a row for Team Ganassi at this track, and Dixon’s fifth career win here. Just a masterful performance that confirms his title as “King of Mid-Ohio.”

 

 

In case you didn’t hear, the race at Iowa Speedway Saturday night got more eyeballs than any NBCSN IndyCar broadcast since early 2012: 444,000, according to the Sports Business Journal. If YOU didn’t see it, you missed a very entertaining race that saw Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden blast out of nowhere in the last 10 laps to beat a very strong Tony Kanaan to the line.

@stevewittich, who tracks IndyCar facts and figures at The Setup Sheet, notes that IndyCar viewership is up 38% this season so far over the last couple of years. The racing product is exceptional, and with a double-header in Toronto coming up this weekend, that trend should continue. The DW12 chassis is strong and capable of withstanding quite a bit of wheel-to-wheel contact, and Toronto’s streets are tight and rough. Highly recommend tuning in.

After losing part of his front wing when he poked his nose past team mate Will Power to take the lead, Juan Montoya won his first race since returning to the Verizon IndyCar series this season. And it was not a surprise to anyone – Montoya started a little slow but has adapted well and contended for the win a few times as the season has progressed.

Other than the restart near the end where Montoya made his move and some other great passing took place, this Pocono 500 was a bit dull. However, the championship implications were huge – Will Power came in leading team mate Helio Castroneves by 39 points, and they left tied. Power racked up another penalty by blocking Castroneves and drawing a drive through, pretty much handing his team mate a raft of points. We’ll definitely remember this if the championship comes down to these two drivers.

As for the dull race – I’m certainly spoiled by the amazing street course racing the series produces. We’ve seen plenty of battles with drivers banging cars two wide through corners and chicanes and continuing their battles on the other side, thanks to the strength of the DW12 chassis. Tight battles and plenty of overtaking make for thrilling viewing, so a strung out affair on a big oval seemed a little uninteresting in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I love ovals – it’s just that not all races are nail biters. This is also true of twisty races sometimes. We’re just lucky to have more races turn out exciting than not these days. It’s pretty special.

Now…if it weren’t such a big secret. Tune in and tell your friends, folks!

Hello, dear readers -

After a year of health issues and unexpected life events, I think it’s calmed down enough to rev this thing up and start chattering about IndyCar again. Look for some words about the season and this weekend’s Pocono 500, coming up tomorrow.

Yay!

 

James Hinchcliffe does Derek Daly – Spot. On.

IMS STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF ANDY GRANATELLI

 

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.

Bash

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.

–Bash

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.

http://www.indystar.com/interactive/article/20130510/SPORTS0107/305100015/

 

Indy Star: Motor sports coverage

http://www.indystar.com/section/sports01

 

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

http://new.livestream.com/IMS/events/2089440

 

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

http://www.livestream.com/gasolinealley

 

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

http://www.1070thefan.com/podcast/Episodes.aspx?PID=2158

 

WTHR: Indycar coverage

http://www.wthr.com/category/65303/indycar

 

RTV6: Indycar coverage.

http://www.theindychannel.com/sports/indycar

 

RTV6: Oriol Servia interview.

http://www.theindychannel.com/sports/indianapolis-500/indycar-driver-oriol-servia-channels-salvador-dali

 

WISHTV: Indycar coverage.

http://www.wishtv.com/subindex/sports/auto_racing/indycar

 

FOX59: Sports coverage.

http://fox59.com/sports/

 

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:

http://winterindytweetup.wordpress.com/

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:

http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/indy500/news/show/51973-randy-bernard-steps-down-as-ceo-of-indycar/

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.