Friday, November 15, 2013

The Natural

The legacy of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing #10 could suffocate every driver in the IndyCar paddock but one. Scott Dixon. And that's whether he ever wins another race in it, or not.

Here's why: He's a seasoned Target representative, established team member and teammate to Dario, and he's the only one that gets a "pass" in that car until it or he retires. In other words, he's the only driver that doesn't draw unnecessary scrutiny and allows TCGR to carry on its winning ways without a hitch.

The rest stay right where they are. Charlie already has a close tie to a sponsor other than Target and hasn't fully proven he's a rising star. My opinion. Tony Kanaan is in the twilight of his career and will do just fine without the pressure of being in the "9" or "10."

So who fills the hole Scott leaves behind? A young shoe that clearly shows all the signs of super stardom. Pick a name, but it's not clear to me, yet. Or, an available vet that's a proven winner. I threw out the first two that came to mind in my tweet.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Get Creative, Do a Little Good

I'm passionate about IndyCar, and I enjoy seeing those that need help getting it. An opportunity to combine both interests? HELLA.
Grab your Crayolas and help those kids. Please.
[GRF release] 
Graham Rahal Foundation Announces
Second Annual Helmet Design Contest
Graham Rahal Foundation to auction race worn Bell helmet after final IndyCar race
Indianapolis, IN –Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal announced today that the Graham Rahal Foundation will be hosting its second annual helmet design contest. Fans will have access to a pre-made helmet template where they can create a unique design. The template and rules are available online at Designs must be submitted electronically on betweenAugust 24, 2013 and September 8, 2013 in accordance with the official contest rules.
At the conclusion of the submission period, Rahal will select the top five designs and post them on both the contest website,, and his mobile application, which is available on all iPhones and Androids. Fans will then be able to vote for the winning helmet design from September 9, 2013 through September 16, 2013 via either or Rahal’s mobile application. When voting concludes, the design receiving the most votes will be painted by Art Rotondo (, who provides the artwork for all of Rahal’s Bell helmets. Rahal will then wear the helmet during the IZOD IndyCar Series finale at the Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, California on October 19, 2013.
Following the race, the Graham Rahal Foundation will auction the helmet at to raise money for both of its charities, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and SeriousFun Children’s Network.
About The Graham Rahal Foundation:
The Graham Rahal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization founded by Graham Rahal. The Graham Rahal Foundation is dedicated to work for a cause that was significantly important to Rahal’s former race team owner and friend, the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman -- helping children with medical conditions. Through various fundraising events and activities, the Graham Rahal Foundation helps Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and SeriousFun Children’s Network. For additional information, please visit

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mid-Ohio Day 2: The reception was BETTER THAN YESTERDAY

Those of you that follow us on Twitter know that. Couldn't get any pics out, but saylavee.

Editor's note: Alcohol is being consumed during this writing--exercising Citizen Journalist Privilege. BOOM.


Means Street: If you've ever suffered a moment of Brain Fade and thought Chip, Roger, Michael, Graham, H3lio, et al, were just regular Joes, take a stroll down Motor-home Row (where you can, here, but you can't at Indy). STRONG.

I'm no Curt Cavin... But if the size of today's crowd on the mounds is any indication, you'll be fighting for elbow room, tomorrow. Nice. Yeah, Honda, blah, blah, blah...

#TheBoys: They work their arses off, and I don't miss my little foray a smidge, from that perspective.

It's a keeper: The fans love Mid-O, the drivers love it, too. We'll see how it plays on the telly, tomorrow, but I hope it's around for a long, long time.

It's not a hill, it's a HOLE: Pit #24, at the far end of pit road (Barracuda), is the short straw. Incredible elevation change and a distinct disadvantage. Sure the others near it aren't a lot better, but I was amazed. Luca's gonna need to deliver a clutch performance. Winky face.

What We'll Be Watching
  • When engine changes happen after qualifying, it's ridiculously hard to follow because of the penalties, but... If H3lio--your points leader--rolls off last-ish, tomorrow, instead of 15th, does he take a haircut in points with Dixie (2nd in points) starting 3rd, where he can easily kiss the grass--or whatever they do here?
  • Ryan "I was born in America" Hunter-Reay nabs pole. 3rd in points, can he turn the trick and make a magical run for the championship, like he did last year?
  • Shout-out to Charlie's boys, Charlie, and the entire Ganassi organization. He stuffs it, they thrash, think better of it and go to the spare in time for qualifying, where he makes the Fast 6 and whoops up on his teammate, Dario, settling for 5th.  
  • Speaking of the Franchen-monster, he was more than a wee bit miffed after quals. With the year he's having (P7 in points), I seriously hope it isn't dragging down his desire to race--I want to see him race for as long as possible. My personal opinion.
  • I love me some, Tag, but I also enjoy a good underdog story. Luca Filippi isn't from around these parts, but he's shown early speed in his debut IndyCar weekend. Nothing would make me happier than to see him mow down the field. Forza Italia.
Five and five--seems like a good place to stop.

Don't worry about television ratings, don't fret over the number of passes, or even if your fave shoe doesn't have such a stellar day. Relax. Enjoy tomorrow's race.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Mid-Ohio Day 1: The reception was PANTS

For a dude that likes to tweet that's...uh...unfortunate. Saylavee.

Let's dispense with the formalities, and get right to it [we never have formalities].

Stream of consciousness observations from an American racing original: The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Go home, Weather, you're drunk: Sun, clouds, spitting rain, wind...but it all went off. YEA.

Key viewing spot: The Keyhole. Not only can you see a nice chunk of track, the height of the viewing mound provides a glorious peek at the stellar Ohio landscape, as a backdrop.

Watch out for the Gators! In keeping with its rural location, Mid-O uses ATV Gators, hauling people wagons, as their shuttle vehicles. Earthy.

Freshen-up: MO needs one. And that's all I'll say about that.

Own it: Saw Kim Green of Green/Savoree fame (proprietors) on site... See above. 

Fan me: Saw several peeps sporting Mid-Ohio T-shirts, etc. Much like IMS, lots of fans of the track. I love that.

"INSIDE": ...Turn 1--another nice area to take it all in.

Stalking victims: A few random celebs we saw. Geoff Brabham (Matthew's dad), Plowey, Conor Daly, and PIPPA.

Did you know? Indycars have convex mirrors? I didn't. At a minimum, Graham has them  on here...

Stacked: Graham Rahal's team has everything in place to be successful.

Nationwide is on MO's side: Pleased to see a company of that stature have such a nice presence on the grounds. Headquartered in Columbus? Not certain.

TGIF: The best day to go to a race track, in my opinion. Plenty of action, not so many of your fellow fans. BOOM.

Rare bird: One of the nice things about Mid-Ohio is that you have a lovely view of the pits from above. Maybe it was just me, but there seemed to be an excess of males panting--er, observing--Hinchtown's pit. Winky face.

Unique whips: Sam Schmidt has a badass wheelchair--trimmed in livery bits from Pagenaud's car. 'Nuff said.

Watch and learn: Incredible what you can see and absorb by just watching the activity in the pits. Next time you're at the track, stand in one place for awhile. You won't regret it.

Thanks to Jessie Ghiorzi and the staff at Mid-Ohio: Tzit.

Like a kid again... Get a wicked buzz out of seeing kids excited about meeting and getting an autograph from an accommodating IndyCar driver. It's just cool.

The bromance is OVAH: Well... at least, it has changed. Against my will, I pressed the flesh with Graham Rahal, today. Frankly, I don't know how to proceed. To be continued...

All I got. As always, thank you for reading.

Stay tuned...


Friday, July 26, 2013

Who is James Davison?

Racing is awesome in its own right, but when you know the players, it's twice as nice.

It was announced, this week, that James Davison will make his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in next weekend's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, driving the No. 18 for Dale Coyne Racing.

So, who is he? Let's check his vitals:

Nationality: Australian (Melbourne)

Age: 26

Curriculum Vitae

2004 — Victorian State Formula Ford Championship (Australia) 
  • 1 win, 1 pole 
2005 — Formula BMW USA Junior Series 
  • 1 win (US Grand Prix, Indianapolis), 4 podiums
2007 — Star Mazda Series (Velocity Motorsports) 
  • 2nd in championship
  • 3 wins, 3 poles
2008 — Indy Lights Series (Sam Schmidt Motorsports)
  • 1 win (Mid-Ohio), 1 pole 
  • Sunoco Most Improved Driver
2009 — Indy Lights Series (Vision Racing)
  • 2nd in championship
  • 1 win (Mid-Ohio), 3 poles, 4 podiums 
  • Driver coach for Milka Duno in the IndyCar Series
  • Grand-Am Rolex Series debut, 6 hours of Watkins Glen (Starworks Motorsport) 
  • Grand-Am Rolex Series race, Laguna Seca (Michael Shank Racing) 
  • Maiden IndyCar test with Andretti Autosport
  • Porsche Carrera Cup debut, Australian Grand Prix
  • Bathurst 12 hour Sportscar race, Class B Porsche GT3
  • IndyCar test with Dale Coyne Racing (Mid-Ohio)

If you actually read that, you'll see Davison has won twice at Mid-Ohio in Indy Lights, as well as tested there in an Indycar.

Good luck to James and DCR, next week. 

Get your Mid-Ohio tickets HERE.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No Comparison

Following, is a list of the common elements of NASCAR and IndyCar racing:

  1. Both the NASCAR and IndyCar series are based in the United States

That's all... So, at last, can those that consistently look to NASCAR for inspiration in "saving" IndyCar please cease the practice?

Is NASCAR more successful than IndyCar? Yes. But NASCAR has built its fan base on a blend of racing and entertainment that's unique in the world. Good for them. 

The fact is, the vast majority of race series across the globe survive/thrive without using the NASCAR formula—whatever that is.

Why must we confine our search for useful tools to grow North America's premier open-wheel series to our own shores, just because it's familiar and easy? The answer is, we don't have to, and we shouldn't. 

If Formula 1 has a great idea, super. If V8 Supercars does, awesome. And if NASCAR incorporates an element that truly suits us, so be it. But, to me, that doesn't include the "entertainment" tools they lean on—you decide what those are.  

It's becoming increasingly less arguable that IndyCar has some of/the best racing on the planet. So perhaps some of our issues lie elsewhere.  

If you will allow me, I would like to end with a quote from the eminent English essayist, Sir Alex Lloyd, who once said, "Gimmicks don't grow a fan base. Better promotion does."


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Night-before Nuggets

I had a full-fledged post going, and it was tentatively titled, "33 1/3." It was to go on at intestinal-turning length about how having exactly one-third of this year's Indianapolis 500 field as Americans is the perfect balance between domestic and import. But, AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

It's the night before The Big Show, so let's get on with some random musings, shall we?


We're doing our part. My fellow Social Media Garage grease monkeys and I "interviewed" the director of Turbo, yesterday. Nice man. Anywho, I make a point to say there's an incredible buzz in the IndyCar community about his new animated film about a snail that dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500. His response: "Oh, really? Great!"


Look, I've been pounding the idea that the tide about this movie needs to swing back toward IndyCar for it to do us any good. The fact David Soren had no idea we've been pimping Turbo, like we have, is certainly disappointing, but we're doing the right thing and it's all we can do. Frowny face. Keep on keeping on.   

Tha-tha-tha-thrilla... You lingering Paul Tracy fans--"Hi, I'm Chris, and I'm a PT fan"--he is at The Speedway, working the Canadian telly broadcast. Good to see him in the environs, regardless of the circumstances. By the way: Their broadcast stage is at the exit of turn 4 on the inside. Cool location, though, I'll prolly never see shots from it.

Peace and quiet. Made mention of it on Twitter, but worth stating, again. IMS on Legends Day is a joy--a crazy dichotomy in comparison to the day before, Carb Day. Unrestrained debauchery is (thankfully) replaced with a refreshing dose of measured reverence for the Indy 500. A great day just to wander and soak in the magic. If you haven't made it to one, make it a point.

Write it down. Number 8, Ryan Briscoe, is your 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion. Yeah, he starts 23rd. Yeah, it's a Honda. Yeah, it's a one-off, but he's capable. I made the prediction at the start of May and I'm sticking to it.

The only way to start race day. 9:30 in the Social Media Garage, of course. Steph Wallcraft, of More Front Wing fame, is pulling together an informal tweetup to kick off race day and provide us all a chance to connect before the month ends, way too soon. Simply, if you're on the grounds, no reason not to be there. Hope to see you.

Can you hear me, now? It's always difficult for me to get tweets out on race day, so you may get a well-earned day off--or not. Stay tuned. 

Early to bed... Tomorrow begins early--like, tonight, to be exact. I've heard arrival times anywhere from 4:00 am to 6:00, depending. SIMMER. This is not a complaint. Just a testament to the deep-seated love folks have for this venerable event.  

Go for a drive. If you can appreciate grand, vintage architecture, take a spin up Indianapolis' Meridian St. Just beautiful, and long--the homes just keep going.

Pay homage to Thr3e Wise Men. Located in Indy's trendy Broad Ripple district, 3WM is a micro brewery and eatery. House-made brews and tasty sandwiches and pizza. Nod to Steve Wittich and his better half, Liz for the intoxicating tip. 

More than just a job. If you don't think Mr. Randy Bernard was emotionally invested in the IZOD IndyCar Series, check out his last few tweets. What exec trods back to the execution grounds, just because he cares? And keeps his former employer's name in his Twitter handle? Not dredging up an argument, just saying...

Monster Bash. Curt Cavin tweeted, today, that in its 6-year existence, the Carb Night Burger Bash has raised nearly $100,000 for charity. STRONG. On top of that, it's become a must if your in town on Indy 500 Friday. Proper recognition to Mr. Johnny Rutherford, Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani, Conor Daly, and Pippa Mann for showing up, last night, to give the fans a little bit of payback.

That's quite enough. This was supposed to be short.

Look. Whether your at home or at the track, tomorrow, just have a great day. If it's not an awesome race, I'll eat my hat. The most wonderful time of year doesn't come around often enough, so savor every moment.

Thanks for reading and following.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Message from IMS

Understandably, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants you to have a blast taking in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.

So... the smart folks at IMS have highlighted a few tools that will enhance your experience, whether you're at the track or enjoying the race from home.

Just hit this link for all the deets >>


Friday, May 17, 2013

Everyone Needs a Rookie to Root For

It's only natural, with the approach of the Indianapolis 500, that the attention of many focuses on those drivers that have achieved the greatest amount of success at the corner of 16th and Georgetown.

This year, four previous winners of the '500' are scheduled to participate: Three-time champions, Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti, as well as one-time winners, Scott Dixon and Buddy Lazier.  

But at the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some very talented first-time entrants in this year's race that deserve there own measure of recognition.

On the eve of qualifications for the 97th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," take a moment to meet this year's crop of fast learners--the rookie class of 2013--because everyone needs a rookie to root for. Who's your favorite?


A.J. Allmendinger
IZOD Penske Racing #2  
Age: 31
Hometown: Los Gatos, CA, USA

The scoop: Allmendinger left a promising career in the ChampCar Indy car series (5 wins) to pursue NASCAR, where he would record 29 top-ten finishes and two pole positions. He's back in Indy cars, on a part-time basis, with his former stock car owner, Roger Penske, in an effort to resurrect his racing career after violating NASCAR's drug policy. Allmendinger continues to race Sprint Cup, part-time.

Conor Daly
ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing #41 
Age: 21
Hometown: Noblesville, IN, USA

The scoop: Son of former Formula One and Indy car driver, Derek Daly, Conor grew up in the shadow of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He's poised to realize a lifelong dream by qualifying and racing in his hometown event. Daly also aspires to reach Formula One and is competing full-time in the European junior formula, GP3.

Carlos Munoz
Electric Energy Straws Andretti Autosport #26 
Age: 21
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

The scoop: After honing his craft in multiple European-based series, Munoz moved to the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2012, finishing 5th in the championship. He is currently leading the 2013 Indy Lights points, notching two wins, thus far. Early signs indicate Munoz is aggressive on the Indy oval and should be fun to watch, going forward.

Tristan Vautier
Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports #55 
Age: 23
Hometown: Corenc, France

The scoop: Vautier brings an impressive resume in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system to this year's '500.' He won the Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights championships in successive years and has already shown impressive speed in his rookie year in the IndyCar series. He and his SPM teammate, Simon Pagenaud, comprise two-thirds of IndyCar's three-man "French Connection."  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

70 Hours of Indy 500 Programming on ESPN Classic

New and lasting memories will be made with the running of the 97th Indianapolis 500 on May 26th, but why not get tuned up for this year's race by reliving some of the great moments of the past?

The ESPN Classic network will air 70 hours of Indy 500-related programming, in the coming weeks, beginning on Tuesday May 21--complete schedule, below.

Take time out. Watch and enjoy.


[ESPN release]
ESPN Classic Off to the Races with Indianapolis 500 Marathon
The ESPN Classic network will get race fans ready for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26, with a marathon of programming related to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Beginning Tuesday, May 21, and continuing through Friday, May 24, ESPN Classic will air 70 hours of Indianapolis 500-related programming, including 60 hours of highlights of past races as well as episodes of the signature ESPN series SportsCentury.

The 2013 edition of the race will air live on ABC beginning at 11 a.m. ET on May 26.

After the race, ESPN Classic will feature more Indianapolis 500 programming on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, May 28-30, with races airing on their actual anniversary dates.

The schedule (all times Eastern):

Tuesday, May 21
Midnight -- 1992 Indy 500 (Al Unser Jr-1st win)
2 a.m. -- 1994 Indy 500 (Al Unser Jr-2nd win)
4 a.m. -- 2006 Indy 500 (Sam Hornish Jr)
7 a.m. -- 2000 Indy 500 (Juan Pablo Montoya)
9 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Tony Stewart
10 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Mario Andretti
11 a.m. -- 1977 Indy 500 (AJ Foyt-4th Win)
Noon -- 1989 Indy 500 (Emerson Fittipaldi-1st win)
2 p.m. -- 2011 Indy 500 (Dan Wheldon-2nd win)
4 p.m. -- 2006 Indy 500 (Sam Hornish Jr)
6 p.m. -- 1991 Indy 500 (Rick Mears-4th win)
8 p.m. -- 1999 Indy 500 (Kenny Brack)
10 p.m. -- 2005 Indy 500 (Dan Wheldon-1st win)
Wednesday, May 22
Midnight -- 1967 Indy 500 (AJ Foyt-3rd win)
1 a.m. -- 1977 Indy 500 (AJ Foyt-4th win)
2 a.m. -- 1981 Indy 500 (Bobby Unser-3rd win)
4 a.m. -- 1975 Indy 500 (Bobby Unser-2nd win)
8 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Mario Andretti
9 a.m. -- SportsCentury: AJ Foyt
8 p.m. -- 1992 Indy 500 (Al Unser Jr-1st Win)
Thursday, May 23
Midnight -- 1991 Indy 500 (Rick Mears-4th win)
2 a.m. -- 1988 Indy 500 (Rick Mears-3rd win & 25th Anniv in 2013)
4 a.m. -- 1984 Indy 500 (Rick Mears-2nd win)
7 a.m. -- 2001 Indy 500 (Helio Castroneves-1st win)
9 a.m. -- 2002 Indy 500 (Helio Castroneves-2nd win)
11 a.m. -- 2009 Indy 500 (Helio Castroneves-3rd win)
1 p.m. -- 2007 Indy 500 (Dario Franchitti-1st win)
3 p.m. -- 2010 Indy 500 (Dario Franchitti-2nd win)
5 p.m. -- 2012 Indy 500 (Dario Franchitti-3rd win)
Friday, May 24
Midnight -- 1998 Indy 500 (Eddie Cheever Jr – 15th Anniv on this date)
2 a.m. -- 1979 Indy 500 (Rick Mears-1st win)
3 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Rick Mears
4 a.m. -- 1967 Indy 500 (AJ Foyt-3rd win)
5 a.m. -- 1969 Indy 500 (Mario Andretti)
7 a.m. -- SportsCentury: AJ Foyt
8 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Rick Mears
9 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Al Unser Sr
10 a.m. -- 1978 Indy 500 (Al Unser Sr-2nd win & 35th Anniv in 2013)
Noon -- 2003 Indy 500 (Gil de Ferran – 10th Anniv in 2013)
2 p.m. -- 2008 Indy 500 (Scott Dixon – 5th Anniv in 2013)
4 p.m. -- 1998 Indy 500 (Eddie Cheever Jr – 15th Anniv on this date)
6 p.m. -- 1988 Indy 500 (Rick Mears-3rd win & 25th Anniv on this date)
Tuesday, May 28
35th Anniversary of Al Unser Sr’s third Indy 500 victory in 1978
10 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Al Unser Sr.
11 a.m. ---1978 Indy 500
1 p.m. -- SportsCentury: Al Unser Sr.
2 p.m. -- 1978 Indy 500
4 p.m. -- SportsCentury: Al Unser Sr.
5 p.m. -- 1978 Indy 500
7 p.m. -- SportsCentury: Al Unser Sr.
Wednesday, May 29
25th Anniversary of Rick Mears third Indy 500 victory in 1988
30th Anniversary of Tom Sneva’s victory in 1983
1 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Rick Mears
2 a.m. -- 1988 Indy 500 (Mears)
4 a.m. -- SportsCentury: Rick Mears
9 a.m. -- 1983 Indy 500 (Sneva)
Noon -- 1988 Indy 500 (Mears)
2 p.m. -- SportsCentury: Rick Mears
4 p.m. -- 1983 Indy 500 (Sneva)
6 p.m. -- 1988 Indy 500 (Mears)
8 p.m. -- SportsCentury: Rick Mears
Thursday, May 30
40th Anniversary of Gordon Johncock’s Indy 500 win in 1973 after rain shortened the race to 133 laps
20th Anniversary of Emerson Fittipaldi’s 2nd Indy 500 win in 1993
3 p.m. -- 1973 Indy 500 (Johncock)
5 p.m. -- 1993 Indy 500 (Fittipaldi)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Notes from the Cathedral of Speed: OCD Meltdown & More

Despite knowing I'll spend hour after hour at the track over the next weeks, I found myself having an internal struggle, at the end of the day, trying to decide whether I should leave or stay.


But that's what happens. It's occurred more than once. "Should I stay for the last 10 minutes? Maybe just one more sweep of the garage area... A few more minutes in the stands?" 

I'm afraid I'm going to miss something--it's crazy. I don't know what else to say. Indianapolis Motor Speedway just does that to you.

That's quite enough about that...

In other news, great day cutting the ribbon on the 2013 Social Media Garage. Connected and reconnected with all kinds of people I never thought I would meet when I dove in to Twitter/"blogging," but it's been a true joy. Can't thank Cassie Conklin and IMS enough for inviting me back. Friendly reminder to please follow @Erock_in_Indy @OpenWheelMom @nascarcasm and @KelseyUSA--kicking out the juicy content like mad men and women. 

BTW: Josef Newgarden is a beast--all the way around. No other way to put it. Thanks to him and Pippa Mann for pulling in to the SMG, today. They lit it up.

Hmmm... Got nothin' else--other than this: The best thing? It's only day one. All kinds of theater to play out, in the coming days.

As always, thanks for reading and following. Sincerely hope you guys get even a smidge of the enjoyment from this blather as I get from putting it out there.

Stay tuned...


Notes from the Cathedral of Speed: Opening Day

Not much to say, really.

You've waited a's opening day...just GET HERE, if you can.

Not lucky enough to be in the vicinity?

Engage on online...soak it all in.

The quest for victory in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 starts NOW.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

When in Doubt, Touch Home

1home noun \ˈhōm\ 
3 a: a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment
Everyone needs a home, even when they're not at home. Consider the Social Media Garage that home away from home, while you're visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this May.
Meeting up with friends? Set a date for the SMG. Centrally located on the Pagoda Plaza, it's a breeze to access and a natural location to connect.
Want to have a little fun in between other activities? The SMG is the answer: Interactive Facebook & Twitter contests, racing simulators, and more.
Want to get up close and personal with the drivers? Helio, Pippa Mann, Wade Cunningham, Gordon, Stewart, and Johnson have all appeared at the SMG.
Want to catch a little shade? The SMG... You get the point!
It just makes sense that the Social Media Garage is the centerpiece of your activities at IMS.
Back and better than ever. After successfully spinning off the smash, inaugural 2012 Indianapolis 500 SMG into Super Weekend and MotoGP weekend franchises, the 2013 Social Media Garage is destined to be the best yet. List of stuff to do, below. Full deets on the official Social Media Garage web page
  • Interactive Facebook & Twitter Contests
  • Exclusive Interviews with the biggest drivers
  • Test your knowledge with Trivia to win prizes
  • Take laps at IMS on our Racing Simulators
  • Bloggers and VIP's on location
  • Tweet us and watch your feeds live and more!

NEW VIP's in the house. This joker returns, along with my bud, Eric Hall (@Erock_in_Indy But here's where it gets interesting. Wiseacre, @nascarcasm--along with his 40,000 Twitter followers--joins the fray. Plus, Kelsey Minier (@KelseyUSA #SteelOvaryNation) & Amy Woedl (@OpenWheelMom openwheelmom's Blog) bring a fresh, female perspective.

Of note: The Social Media Garage is FREE, and despite some folks' understanding, the #SMGarage is not in the IndyCar garage area. No special pass or badge necessary--it's as easy to access as an Indy Dog.

Special thanks to IMS and the SMG luminaries for inviting us to participate, again. It's an honor and a privilege.
Here's what to do next: Hit up the SMG link at the top of our homepage, tune up your smartphone, and head out to the greatest race course on the planet, beginning May 11th.

See you in the Social Media Garage!


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Pass

My gammy and her Pacer Wagon can pass in Turn 5 at Barber Motorsports Park, but it takes wicked skills—and elephantine orbs—to do what Charlie Kimball did in Turn 13 (aka no-man's-land), last Sunday.

Behold, what future generations will simply refer to as The Pass.

Corner Entry: "I got this!"

Hounding Will Power (he's pretty good) for 4th, Chuck's going like STINK. Mortals would trail the leading car through this tight turn, but Super-K pulls out?! Wait, wha? Brake? wacky funster. 

Apex: "Whaddup, princess?"

Textbook. Fully alongside Power, Charlie owns everything but the mineral rights to Turn 13.
Message to Will: "Back. Off." [visualize Yosemite Sam mudflaps, here] 

Exit: "Merica."

[grabs tear-off...lets it flutter...lets it fly]

Most memorable overtaking maneuver I've seen in awhile...

Have we mentioned Charlie Kimball does a great deal of good for diabetes?


Editor's note: I am not a professional driving instructor. In fact, I'm not really anything, at all. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Beware the Slippery Slope

Scott Dixon drives in the shadow of Ryan Hunter-Reay at the finish of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. With the introduction of innovation, is he even in the frame? 

"We all miss innovation but would it make more people watch? Or is there a better chance it would fracture the competition like in days gone by? I imagine you could try a more open set of rules for the Indy 500 and buttoned-down set for IndyCar’s regular season but at what cost? It’s a slippery slope for the new leadership."

--Robin Miller

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Get over The Hump, do a little good

The Hump: That moment of indecision late, late in the IndyCar off-season when withdrawals have you weighing ice-picking your eardrum and tying your uvula to a top-fuel dragster. LEAVE YOUR UVULA ALONE. Relief is in sight. 

The good people at Indy Cars and Coffee, the Graham Rahal Foundation, and the Dallara IndyCar Factory have come together to save you from despair. A one-off special has the ICC folks rolling their glorious rides up to the Dallara Factory on Main Street in Speedway on March 9th. The occasion? IndyCar driver meet-and-greets, factory tours, iRacing challenges, and more! 

But wait. We're just getting to the good part. All proceeds of this special, one-time event go to the official charity of, the Graham Rahal Foundation, benefiting Alex's Lemonade Stand and Serious Fun

Kids. It's for the kids.
So... cram the fam into the Family Truckster, roll up on the Dallara Factory around 11:00 AM, and have a blast. Graham will be there, Tag and Pippa, too. 

Cost is a measly ten-spot, and once you drop a little something extra into the kitty for kiddies, even Old Man Winter can't put the chill on the warm and fuzzies you'll feel.  

A few deets:
  • iRacing challenge is $5/5 minutes, and the fastest time of the day wins a SPECTACULAR Grand Prize—a 185 MPH grand prize, to be exact. Oh, what could it be?! 
  • Get your picture taken with an IndyCar
  • Take a 2-seater ride
  • Generally have fun, communing with your fellow fans, getting warmed up for the start of the IndyCar season.
Seriously. Why not? Get past this last bit of excruciating inactivity, have some fun, and do a little good. It's a win-win-win! 

A grand time shall be had by all.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Taking the World to School


IndyCar shoes are "the best drivers in the world!" Alright, perhaps overstating the case, in some respects, but they are hardcore badasses, nonetheless—no question. And, apparently, well enough thought of that they're routinely sought out for a gaggle of rides in the venerable Rolex 24 at Daytona Grand-Am race, each January. 

This year is no exception. An amateurish tally says there are no less than 27 drivers in this year's field that have some sort of connection to IndyCar—from past ChampCar pilots, like Jan Heylen, to Mazda Road to Indy ladder climbers, such as Spencer Pigot.

So... if you find yourself idle, this weekend, park yourself in front of the box and watch the superstars, below, take the rest of the world to school. Coverage begins at 3:00 PM ET, Saturday the 26th, on SPEED. And you can get full deets on who's driving what, HERE.


Scott Dixon
Charlie Kimball
Juan Montoya
Scott Pruett
Dario Franchitti
Sebastien Bourdais
Ryan Dalziel
Christian Fittipaldi
Jorge Gancalvez
Gustavo Yacaman
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Simon Pagenaud
A.J. Allmendinger
Justin Wilson
Paul Tracy
Memo Gidley

Scott Sharp
Rubens Barrichello
Felipe Giaffone
Tony Kanaan
Alex Figge
Max Papis
Rafa Matos
Jan Heylen

Spencer Pigot
Tristan Vautier
James Hinchcliffe

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's a Santino Ferrucci?

A revvy Italian sports car? Nope. A velvety red with a floral nose and backnotes of sweet oak and nutmeg? Unh-unh.

It's a kid--a 13-year-old kid.

Which brings us to why we're here. Dario Franchitti retweeted this:

First car race ever and won by 5 seconds. Stoked. Started P1 in 16 car field at Homestead.

When Dario speaks, I listen. I had never heard of Santino Ferrucci, but the retweet piqued my interest. I figured there was some sort of Scawtlund connection--perhaps one of his buddy's kids, or something, but not so.

A little investigative journalism (even this rooster [What up, Wade?!] can work the Internet) revealed Ferrucci shares the same management agency as Dario. And Allan McNish. And Pedro de la Rosa. And Sebastien Buemi. Huh. Fast company.

So, who is this kid? Well, we know he won his first car race, recently. And word on the street is he's a kick-ass karter. Well, let's not get carried away. McLaren signed him as a developent driver, but... Wait. WHA?! That's right. Like Lewis Hamilton, part deux.

And one other thing. He doesn't hail from Milan or Modena--Santino Ferrucci was born in...wait for it...Woodbury, Connecticut. And his parents' names are Mike and Val. Makes complete sense. 

BREAKING. Literally just discovered this while writing:

Won SBWS homestead by 9 secs from last (14th) Had to start last cuz got taken out while in lead of prior race A great w/e winning 2 races

Let me get this straight. Modest, not, but Santino Ferrucci is a 13-year-old development driver for Mclaren who won a pair of races--going away--in his first weekend of car racing, and he lives in Connecticut? WINNING.

Get a load of this:

So, he hangs with Smoke, too? Redic...

Where's this kid been? He clearly has his eyes set on F1, which is cool, but maybe after he retires to NASCAR, he'll re-retire to IndyCar. Who knows.

All I do know is he's now solidly on our radar.

BTW: I would have titled this post, "The Great Santino," but GQ Magazine beat me to the punch. Read their take on the mighty Ferrucc, here.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To win, IndyCar must ENGAGE the Turbo


If chatter is the telltale, the new animated movie, Turbo—which centers around a snail that aspires to race in the Indianapolis 500 and is scheduled for release in July—is the greatest thing to happen to the '500' and IndyCar racing since...well...whatever the last great thing was to happen to the Indy 500 and IndyCar racing.

But here's the rub. In my opinion, if open-wheel racing in America is to properly capitalize on the opportunity, IndyCar has to leverage it—proactively.

Just hoping a bunch of kids trot out to see it (which they will) and instantly become IndyCar fans (which is up for debate) isn't enough.

When you watched Hoosiers, did you start following high school hoops? Maybe. When you saw Ricky Booby take on Jean Girard, did you become a NASCAR fan? Perhaps.

The point is, the odds are better if you activate.

As much as I'd like to think there's a buzzing war room at 16th and Georgetown dedicated to making the most of the opportunity, I doubt there is. If I'm wrong, tell me—I'll be happy to take the hit.

For my part, here's four random ideas on how to convert Turbo fans into IndyCar aficionados.
What good is a turbo, if you don't light it up?

Give credit where credit is due
Pay to be in the movie. It's simple: Once the credits roll—or whenever—the 2014 Indy 500 logo pops up, with the date of the event, and the verbiage, "To learn more about the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar racing, visit" Maybe throw in some authentic turbo whine for an aural element.

The Turbo trailer trailer
Loaded with flat-screens, blasting the movie's trailer; crazy cool graphics; simulators; some real Indy-cars; and more, it travels to all the races, goes to kids' museums, and other highly populated locales spreading the gospel of the almighty open-wheel car.

Premiere I
In Hollywood—of course. Get cars out there—old and new—like we did for IZOD [weeps]. Lots of drivers: Dario, Hinch, RHR, Helio, Sim, and Pip (a natural with the little ones) for starts. Be VISIBLE. Make people understand that IndyCar racing is a real-life discipline they can actually experience. It's obvious to us, but it may not be to them.

Premiere II
At the Speedway. Of course! Picture this: It's nighttime...the pagoda is replete in lights...there's a movie screen nearly the size of the one at Marco's crib—let's say, like 300' wide (work with me here)—positioned on the front stretch, and the stands are PACKED with anyone that wants to attend. FREE. This time, the stars come to us—red carpet, Entertainment Tonight, main-stream media, real-life snail races, whatevs! Again, your relating the imaginary to the real.

Will it work? Can we afford it? Hell, I don't know, I'm just the idea man.

Look. I came up with this fluff in an hour or so, when I should have been working. The point is, what if some peeps who are actually smart really thought about it? Then we make the most of the opportunity. But if you don't activate, it's a fail...and if you wait too late to activate, it's a fail. The planning needs to be done NOW, and the promotion needs to start NOW.

C'mon, IMS & IndyCar... We got this! Pssst... will relocate for funds.


Be the one-billionth person to watch the official Turbo trailer, here.