Tuesday, July 15, 2014

IndyTech 101

Here's a fun way to put the amazing performance of an Indy car into perspective. 
Check out this cool infographic from Verizon.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Verizon & IndyCar: Racing Into the Future Together

Turn back the calendar a few months and I thought, fab, the IndyCar Series nabs a title sponsor with more than 103 million retail connections, 1,700 retail locations, and $81 billion dollars in revenue--this is promising for raising the profile of the sport.    

But after having recently participated in a Verizon Tech Tour, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it turns out the relationship is about much more than just sponsorship. This is a real partnership. A partnership aimed at speeding both organizations into a high-technology future.

For IndyCar
They get a crack at innovative Verizon LTE Multicast. Introduced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, over a commercial 4G LTE network, it delivers rich, multi-faceted media content to multiple devices at once rather than sending it in a separate stream to each user.

Right. What does that mean? With a series of cameras deployed trackside to capture the cars as they travel around the circuit, combined with in-car cameras that get unparalleled views of what the drivers see, the content delivered over LTE Multicast gives IndyCar teams, using a special app, pictures and angles in real time they may have never seen before. 

Unprecedented, split-second decision-making capabilities. That's cool.

The ultimate goal and what's in it for you: The idea is to roll this technology into a solution for the ultimate fan experience. Large audiences in specific locations--like race tracks--would have access to the same live video and data on their personal devices that teams now have in the pits. Think of it as an evolution of the current IndyCar14 app with multiple channels of live video, and more, added. Much like the same technological amenities you might enjoy on multiple devices in your living room brought right to your seat at the race track. Fastastic.

For Verizon
They get to use IndyCar as a springboard to what clearly appears to me to be a transition from solely a mobile provider to a full-fledged tech company.

A few examples of Verizon advancements already available:

Connected Car (Delphi Connect with 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot)

  • Transforms your car into a wi-fi hotspot
  • Access vehicle diagnostics, including code meanings
  • Use your mobile phone as a key fob
  • Get speed alerts
  • Locate your vehicle

Connected Home (Nest Home Thermostat, Belkin WeMo Insight Switch, and more) 
  • Control the temperature in your home remotely
  • Turn home electronics on or off from your smartphone
    or tablet
  • Control lights remotely
  • Video monitoring
Connected Home illustrated in the Verizon IndyCar Fan Village 

Isis Mobile Wallet
  • A free app that allows you to use your smartphone to pay for purchases. You can add payment cards and have it hold your offers and participating store loyalty programs, so they’re always with you.
So there you have it. A peek behind the barriers at how Verizon and IndyCar are shaping their futures together. Things look bright.


Verizon kiosk, located in the IndyCar Fan Village, engages racing enthusiasts and
showcases the entire Indycar/Verizon technological partnership

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Everyone Needs a Rookie to Root For II

Continuation of our wildly popular [blatant exaggeration] inaugural rookie roundup from 2013.

This year sees a healthy class of seven newbies who have qualified to contest the world's greatest race. From a NASCAR champion, to a Russian rock guitarist and speedy upstart who grew up across the street from the Andrettis, there's a little something for everyone.  

As we rev up for the 98th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," take a moment to meet this year's crop of fast learners—because everyone needs a rookie to root for. Who's your favorite?


Mikhail Aleshin
SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports #7
Age: 27
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Nicknames: "The Russian" "Mike Allen" 

The scoop: The first Russian driver ever to compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. A former World Series by Renault champion, in Europe, he had never been to the United States prior to joining IndyCar. He's shown flashes of speed, thus far, but the jury's still out. Guitarist in a Russian rock band. \m/

Kurt Busch
Suretone Andretti Autosport #26 
Age: 35
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Nicknames: "KuBu" "Outlaw" "Double Outlaw"

The scoop: Like a box of chocolates! A NASCAR champion, he currently drives for Tony Stewart's team, in the stock car series. Focus of much attention, this May, he's the first to attempt "The Double" (Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day) in, like, a while. Unforgettably hateful rip on poor TV commentator, Dr. Jerry Punch, in the day, but he's been well behaved, this month.

James Davison
Always Evolving Racing KV Racing Technology #33 
Age: 27
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Nickname: "Big Jimmy" [???]

The scoop: A late add to give KVRT a 4-car Indy 500 lineup, Davison's been around: A couple of Indy Lights wins, at least one IndyCar start for Coyne at Mid-Ohio, Rolex Series, Carrera Porsche Cup, and so on. Racing is in Davison's genes—his grandfather Lex Davison won the Australian Grand Prix four times, while his father Jon raced Formula 5000. Can't speak to current status, but he once dated Tony George's daughter, Lauren.

Jack Hawksworth
Energee Bryan Herta Autosport/BBM with Curb Agajanian #98 
Age: 23
Hometown: Bradford, England
Nicknames: "The Hawk" "sHAWK and Awe" "J-Hawk" 

The scoop: Coming off an admirable season of Indy Lights, he was the surprise pick of Bryan Herta for a full season of IndyCar competition. So far, so fast. The kid appears to be good. Here's one: He was so convinced he wouldn't have a race ride for 2014, he nearly tapped out and got his personal trainer's license. Rich, old-world accent...

Carlos Huertas
Cafe de Colombia Dale Coyne Racing #18
Age: 22
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Nickname: "[your favorite here]" 

The scoop: Tested by Panther Racing, then picked up by Dale Coyne, when Panther folded, he's one of four Colombians in this year's '500' field. Four IndyCar starts to his name, a lone top 10 is the highlight. Once drove for a team owned by Formula 1 superstar Kimi Raikkonen. Such a media darling, reckon I've never heard him speak.  

Sage Karam
Brantley Gilbert/Comfort Revolution Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing #22  
Age: 19
Hometown: Nazareth, PA, USA
Nicknames: "SK$" "Kid Karam"

The scoop: High school senior—that's right—Karam is hot off a 2013 Indy Lights championship. His notable performances for Chip Ganassi's sports car program have him in a development deal with the owner, but with four cars already in the Ganassi IndyCar stable, Karam's been farmed-out to Dreyer and Reinbold for the '500.' Sage dates former Indy car driver Gil de Ferran's daughter, Anna. 

Martin Plowman
ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing #41
Age: 26
Hometown: Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England [fancy]
Nickname: "Plowey" 

The scoop: The wee Brit stepped out of the sports car shadows to contest the Indy Double of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indy 500 for the legendary SuperTex. He's had a total of four IndyCar starts, with unremarkable results, but has claimed a 24 Hours of Le Mans class win and FIA World Endurance sports car championship. By all reports, a likable chap. Married to a former Miss Indiana and likes to be called, "Marty." [part of that statement is true]

photos ℅ IndyCar.com

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is an IndyCar driver coming to your town?

In my case, YES. Tomorrow, Tuesday May 20th, Pippa Mann will pay me a personal (well, not actually) visit in the great city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The other Indy 500 drivers will also fan out over North America to spread the good gospel of the world's greatest race and IndyCar.

Check out the graphic, below, to see if one will be near you.


2014 Driver
Charlie Kimball
Bristol, CT
Helio Castroneves
Juan Pablo Montoya
Scott Dixon
Pippa Mann
Columbus, OH
Takuma Sato
Tony Kanaan
Dayton, OH
Alex Tagliani
Justin Wilson, JR Hildebrand
Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Buddy Lazier
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Jack Hawksworth, Plowman, Sage Karam, Carlos Huertas, James Davison, Mikhail Aleshin
Carlos Munoz, Sebastian Saavedra, Oriol Servia
Ed Carpenter, James Hinchcliffe
Josef Newgarden
New Orleans
Graham Rahal
New York
Kurt Busch, Marco Andretti
Sebastien Bourdais
Jacques Villeneuve, Simon Pagenaud

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Historically high stakes on Indy 500 qualifying

There's a lot more than bragging rights and a cozy starting position on the line for Indy 500 qualifying, this weekend.

It's about points. Lots and lots of Verizon IndyCar Series Championship points.

Take a look, and don't miss a minute of the action.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Have a better IMS experience and share it easier

I hear that loud and clear. You?

Recently, IndyCar Series title sponsor, Verizon Wireless, offered a special sneak preview, to tech and track bloggers, of the myriad upgrades they've made at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to enhance the fan experience.

Following is a summary of highlights, along with a handy glossary of terms. 



Revving Up the Wireless Experience
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Verizon is enhancing the fan experience through the power of our 4G LTE network by adding significant upgrades to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May.

IndyCar and Verizon have teamed up to deliver innovation and performance for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indy 500 and throughout the series, ensuring a winning experience for fans at the races and across the country.

What We’ve Done
  •  Installation of in-building DAS (Distributed Antenna System) technology with a base station and more than two hundred small antennas placed throughout the Speedway for improved coverage.
  • A 250 percent increase in 4G LTE capacity.
  • Two COLTS (Cell on Light Truck) stationed in the area surrounding the Speedway for extra capacity.
  • Deploying AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) to enhance the customer experience on AWS-enabled devices.

What it means for customers and visitors to the Speedway:
Verizon is delivering a superior customer experience on the nation’s largest, most reliable wireless network to fans, drivers and officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  • Our teams have been working to ensure customers can use their smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices not only to send pictures and texts, and post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, but also search for and watch news on their favorite drivers, and access the INDYCAR 14 app — including listening to race radio while sitting in the top row of the bleachers or on the crowded infield — or IndyCar website. Our focus on network prep and coordination with public safety means emergency response teams on site will have the vital connections needed to ensure safety and quick response to the thousands of fans attending the races and other events at the Speedway. 
Indiana Network Facts
  • Verizon is the first wireless carrier to complete building its 4G LTE network in Indiana, which started at Purdue University in the fall of 2010.
  • In 2013 alone, Verizon invested $130 million in the Indiana network.
  • Verizon is now focused on adding Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) for additional capacity and greater speeds.
  • Verizon has been recognized this year as best overall wireless carrier in Indiana and the nation by independent testers RootMetrics and J.D. Power and Associates.
Commonly-used network terms

4G LTE stands for “Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution.” Years ago, this term introduced Americans to the high-speed wireless service that has revolutionized mobile phones by enabling super-fast connections that help deliver high-speed data services such as video on demand and instant turn-by-turn directions.

Spectrum: Radio frequencies travel over the air via spectrum, providing invisible pathways for wireless signals – everything from commercial radio programs and cellphone calls to data transmissions and the signal that allows you to change the channels on your TV with your remote control from your couch.

AWS (or AWS-1) means “Advanced Wireless Services” and is the name of one of the wireless telecommunications spectrum bands used by Verizon Wireless to deliver mobile data services, video and messaging over the air. Verizon Wireless uses AWS spectrum to supplement its existing 4G LTE service, which also uses the 700 MHz spectrum band originally deployed in 2010 when the company first introduced one of the world’s first commercial LTE networks – the largest in the U.S. 

Carrier aggregation allows a wireless provider to operate two spectrum bands as one so that smartphones, tablets and other devices can take advantage of airwaves on either band at the same time. By combining the spectrum of Verizon Wireless’ 700 MHz and AWS bands as well as any future spectrum as one asset, carrier aggregation increases the network’s ability to provide consistent performance along with increased capacity.

LTE Advanced is a combination of more than 15 network enhancements and performance features that are designed to create greater performance and capacity on 4G LTE networks in the future. Two of the more important features are carrier aggregation and heterogeneous networks. Engineers at Verizon Wireless today are beginning the work of deploying these capabilities around the U.S.

Heterogenuous network describes the complex interoperation among macrocell, small cell, and in some cases WiFi network elements used together to provide a mosaic of coverage, with handoff capability between the different network elements.

DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems, sometimes pronounced “dass” as in “pass”) are networks of cables and antennas that can be installed in high-traffic areas – stadiums, convention or shopping centers, office buildings, train stations, airline terminals, and even dense, outdoor urban areas such as midtown Manhattan – to create additional capacity when many users are accessing the wireless network at peak times. Verizon Wireless installs many DAS systems to provide additional capacity where it is needed, including one for IndyCar fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Small cells: Small cells are like mini cell towers, smaller scale units generally deployed on lamp posts, utility poles and building walls to relay cell phone signals through fiber optic cables. Small cells are used primarily to enhance localized capacity and coverage where there is concentrated traffic, such as in a business district, shopping mall or a college campus.

Monday, April 14, 2014

So, what's the real story?

It's not Jacques Villeneuve. It's not Juan Montoya—or even Kurt Busch. The real story of this year's 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 is Mr. Sage Karam

Perplexed? Don't be. Sure, JV, JPM, and KuBu will make a bit of a splash within the racing community, but the Verizon IndyCar Series needs new eyes. Enter high school senior, Sage Karam.

photo courtesy SageKaram.com
That's right. If Karam makes this year's '500' field, he'll compete before he's heard the first note of Pomp and Circumstance. That's a compelling storyline the masses can relate to. And that's why IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, et al, should milk it for all it's worth. Pander it to the mainstream press like there's no tomorrow.

"High School Senior Competes in Biggest Race in the World." There's your headline. Let's roll.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

We Should Have Waited

If you've hung around here for any length of time, you know we have a simmering bromance with Dario Franchitti—living Indycar legend and most accomplished driver of his time. Opinion. 

But honoring his legacy by inviting him to wheel the pace car at this year's Indianapolis 500 is too soon. Should he have the opportunity? Absolutely. But a year down the line...or two.

It feels many are still reconciling the abrupt end to Dario's career, in their minds, and, in fact, he is still healing from his injuries.

For an honor to come this early smacks of—dare I say—pity. Waiting a wee bit puts everyone in the "right" mindset and, perhaps, makes a celebration of Dario a larger, more impactful event.

So, will I blow it out for D in May? Damn straight.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Big Bang Theory

We're believers. 

Everyone likes getting a deal and, in this writer's opinion, there's none better than that offered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.

What you'll receive: 
3 days unapologetically crammed, start to finish, with Verizon IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy goodness. One formula giving way to another in a near-seamless ballet. 

schedule courtesy of indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This Day is FREE and Open to the Public
9 am - Gates Open - IMS

10 am - 10:45 am - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice - Track

11 am - 11:45 am - USF2000 Practice - Track

12 pm - 12:45 pm - Pro Mazda Practice - Track

1 pm - 1:45 pm - Indy Lights Practice - Track

2 pm - 2:45 pm - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice - Track

3 pm - 3:30 pm - USF2000 Practice - Track

3:45 pm - 4:15 pm - Pro Mazda Practice - Track

4:30 pm - 5:15 pm - Indy Lights Practice - Track

5:30 pm - Celebration of Automobiles Track Laps - Track

6:30 pm - Gates Close - IMS

Friday, May 9, 2014
9 am - Gates Open - IMS

10 am - 10:45 am - Verizon IndyCar Series Practice - Track

11 am - 11:45 am - USF2000 Qualifying - Track

12 pm - 12:45 pm - Pro Mazda Qualifying - Track

1 pm - 1:45 pm - Indy Lights Qualifying - Track

2 pm - 3:10 pm - Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying - Track

3:30 pm - USF2000 Race #1 - Track

4:30 pm - Pro Mazda Race #1 - Track

5:30 pm - Indy Lights Race #1 - Track

6:30 pm - Gates Close - IMS

6:45 pm - Rev Indy - IMS

Saturday, May 10, 2014

7 am - Gates Open - IMS

7 am - 6:00 pm - Celebration of Automobiles - Pagoda Plaza

10 am - Indy Lights Warm Up - Track

10 am - 2:00 pm - IMS Kids Zone Open - IMS

11 am - USF2000 Race #2 - Track

12:10 pm - Pro Mazda Race #2 - Track

1:30 pm - Indy Lights Race #2 - Track

2:45 pm - Verizon IndyCar Series Pre-Race Festivities - Track

3:30 pm - Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Track

6 pm - Gates Close - IMS

What you'll pay: 
Uh, nothing for Thursday—it's FREE. That's right. Friday general admission is just $20. Saturday—race day—only $25. 

Sure, you can spend more, if that's what balloons your tires, but the point is, you don't have to to have a fantastic time—and be a part of history. Full deets on tickets here.

ATTENTION PARENTS. Class is in session:

Children 12 and under will receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2014 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder. Any individual, regardless of age, must have a ticket for a Reserved Seating area.

Well, I'll be darned.

Racing, and that includes simply watching it, can be pricey. If you like getting the most bang for your fandom buck, sure seems like the #GPofIndy has some explosive potential.