VIDEO: What it's like to ride in an Indy car with Mario Andretti It's a story you'll only see on ABC15 -- and it's a story I'll never forget. (Watch video)
On Saturday, before the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway, I had the honor of spending the afternoon with the only man in history to win a Daytona 500, Indy 500 and the Formula One World Championship, Mario Andretti -- one of the greatest drivers to ever grab a steering wheel.
Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Joe Leonard, the 1968 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, a two-time USAC National Champion and one of the great motorcycle racers of all time, passed away Thursday, April 27. He was 84.
The longtime San Jose, California, resident, who had been in ill health for some time, had nine consecutive starts in the Indianapolis 500 between 1965 and 1973, leading the field for 52 laps and finishing third in both 1967 and 1972.
Ferrari F40 turned to ashes. Hmm, something smells fishy - same guy has two rare cars burn to the ground?
We have some grim news to report on this Monday. A Ferrari F40 ended up as nothing but a pile of ashes and some charred metal after the car caught fire.
The F40 was part of a cavalcade of Ferraris passing near Villanova d’Albenga, Italy when the fire broke out. The incident happened early last month.
The car is believed to be an uber-rare F40 prototype first shown at the 1987 Frankfurt auto show and later converted into an F40 GT race car by Italian engineering outfit Michelotto. The chassis number for this prototype-turned-racer is ZFFGJ34B000074047, and the last time the car was sold was during an auction in 2012.
DuraMAX Powered by RelaDyne Partners with Andretti Autosport for Indy Lights Effort
The No. 27 Mazda of Nico Jamin will have a different look when it takes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week for the INDYCAR Grand Prix. Cincinnati-based national lubricants and fuel distributor, RelaDyne, will add its blue and red colors of its automotive brand, DuraMAX, to the Frenchman’s car for both the Grand Prix and Freedom 100 later this month.
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Sweeps Memphis Season Opener
Scott Speed flies through the air
Herndon, VA — Looking every bit the champions that they are, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross returned to the season-opening round of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship in fine form, claiming a 1-2 finish in Saturday’s Final. Scott Speed led teammate Tanner Foust across the line, earning his 13th career win to take the early lead in the 2017 championship battle.
Speed started the season off strong with a commanding performance in qualifying, putting his Beetle GRC on pole position. The reigning double-champion followed up his qualifying run by completing a nearly perfect weekend, earning wins in two Heats, his Semifinal, and the Final race.
IMSA expands international TV reach Since the formation of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in 1969, the sanctioning body has taken great pride in its relevance to international audiences and the large number of fans from around the world.
Many of the world’s greatest manufacturers have deep-rooted history in IMSA competition, as well as the very best sports car drivers and teams from the U.S. and abroad, drawing attention from race fans all over the world. And through several new IMSA partnerships and initiatives, those fans now are receiving unprecedented access to the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in 2017.
These 6 fans won't be returning to see IndyCar (Update)
Until they remove the wings from IndyCars the oval races will continue to be borefests
UPDATE But the worry is, how do you get anybody who paid for Saturday night's abysmal show to come back in 2018?
"I think the fans deserve a better show than we gave them," said Tony Kanaan. "I hope they give us another chance."
Rookie Ed Jones is good racer doing a damn good job for Dale Coyne, but in his first-ever oval race he managed to keep Dixon, Tony Kanaan and three-fourths of the Team Penske armada behind him for 20 laps - they could not pass him, no matter how hard they tried. Downforce is the enemy of good racing.
Editor's Note: Take the wings off the cars. Go slower, but put on a real race.
04/30/17 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Can you ever to Jay Frye at Indy Car? I attended Phoenix last night -- boring -- no passing -- stupid first turn accident (thanks Aleshin!!). Worst race I have ever attended in 27 years of IndyCar racing.
Hamlin comments on smaller crowd at Richmond (Update)
Some parts of the grandstands were rather empty. When are they going to learn that two races a year at most NASCAR tracks are too many?
UPDATE Richmond Int’l Raceway, which has been trimmed to around 60,000 seats, was "half-full at its peak" for yesterday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Toyota Owners 400 and "far emptier” when Joey Logano crossed the finish line. Driver Denny Hamlin said, "It’s 90 degrees and the coverage on TV is pretty excellent.” Attendance is a "pressing concern” for RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. He said that "‘everything’s on the table,' including a potential move back to night racing. RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH
05/01/17 RICHMOND, Va. – The grandstands were scattered with numerous bare spots Sunday at Richmond International Raceway, at least compared with marquee races and events.
The Toyota Owners 400 is no different than any other race, though. A win is still a win, and the drivers are still awarded NASCAR's new stage points. So why were so many seats not filled?
The world's longest race track will soon be found in Vegas
It may be longer, but this track in the middle of the desert is no Nurburgring
It sounds like something out of a James Bond novel, but it's all true. It turns out that a madman is building the world's greatest racetrack out in the middle of the desert west of Las Vegas. He even has a jetpack.
It's not a secret lair, though, and it's quickly becoming a playground for the world's wealthiest racing enthusiasts. The Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club is the brainchild of multimillionaire entrepreneur John Morris, an iconoclast in the mold of peers like Richard Branson or Elon Musk. He bought the burgeoning Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch racetrack in 2004 and recently paid $5 million for an adjoining property to accomplish an ambitious plan: building the world's longest professional racetrack.
Google working with NASCAR to test new high-speed wireless technology Google's wireless broadband team has a new target market: NASCAR racecars.
The company is seeking permission from the FCC for an experimental radio license to test "the transmission of broadband data from racecars to transportable/fixed base stations located at racetrack facilities."
It's all happening this summer at four events in NASCAR-loving locales like Tennessee, Michigan, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Inside Formula E's push for ever-better electric motors
Formula E - next year the Andretti team will have BMW on its side
Now in its third season, Formula E has yet to shake some of its detractors. Sure, the batteries in each car aren't sufficient to complete an entire race distance, but the series is packed with talent, and the racing is pretty good. It's now also getting a lot of interest from OEMs and electric vehicle startups. Even though the budgets are a fraction of those in Formula 1 or the World Endurance Championship, the series is still able to provide a test bed for EV innovation and technology transfer to our future road cars.
BMW is the latest manufacturer to commit to the series, and it will join the grid in 2018 by partnering with the Andretti team. We recently spoke with the team and another one of their technical partners--TE Connectivity--to get a better idea of the kind of engineering demands involved in the sport. TE provides Andretti with connectors, sensors, and cabling, and it even embeds engineers in the team on six-month rotations, something that helps expose the rest of the company to lessons one learns in the high-pressure world of racing.
The new owners of F1 will have to deal with the fallout from Bernie's ways
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office is "reviewing material" after it emerged that Formula 1's commercial rightsholder paid the FIA $5.1M in a payment that "may have breached the Bribery Act," according to Jack de Menezes of the London INDEPENDENT.
Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee Chair Damian Collins asked the SFO to investigate the payment that was made to the sport's governing body.
Fernando Alonso said he was going to have an ice cream while waiting for his plane to Indy for Wednesday's test. Before that he expressed his sadness after failing to complete a fourth race in a row, but would not criticize the team after his latest setback.
The Spaniard pulled up toward the end of the formation lap with a suspected ERS problem, just to add to the mountain of issues that McLaren-Honda are currently faced with.
"Fourth race of the championship and fourth DNF," Alonso told BBC Sport. "It's frustrating.
Artwork by NASCAR Artist Sam Bass To Sell at Auction UPDATE "To the NASCAR fan base and all of the great people who have supported myself and my work over the last 36 years, I wanted to address the many story gaps and questions that have resulted from the recent news about both me, personally, and my company.
"Since the economic downturn in 2008, like many in the industry, we've witnessed a slow decline. Some clients have had to withdraw from the sport, while others view graphic design services as more of a luxury than a necessity to the competition on the track. There have certainly been some upswings, and last fall, I was very excited about a new location and the increased exposure and traffic that it brought.
Alex Job's wife dies (Update) UPDATE Statement from International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) President Scott Atherton regarding Holly C. Job, who passed away today at the age of 66 after a 19-month battle with cancer.
"All of us at IMSA are heartbroken to hear of Holly Job's passing," Atherton said. "Alongside Alex from the beginning, Holly was instrumental in building Alex Job Racing into one of the most successful professional sports car racing teams in the industry. Her warm smile and engaging personality will be missed in our paddock. Our thoughts and prayers are with Alex, Holly's many friends and family and everybody associated with Alex Job Racing."
Bestwick (R) with Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever at the Brickyard.
UPDATE Dr. Jerry Punch has also been sacked. Those that remain on the team (for now) are Cheever, fellow analyst Scott Goodyear, and pit reporters Rick DeBruhl and Jon Beekhuis. However, when you consider that Beekhuis is primarily employed by IndyCar and DeBruhl only works open-wheel races for ESPN/ABC, less of the team is secured at this point but one has to question whether ABC/ESPN is getting out of motorsports altogether.
04/29/17 Longtime NASCAR TV announcer, and later Indy 500 anchor for ABC, Allen Bestwick, has been giving his walking papers as part of the major layoff by ABC subsidiary ESPN.
He had been with the ESPN family of networks since 2007 and was the lap-by-lap broadcaster of ABC's coverage of the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500.
Bestwick is perhaps best known for his work covering NASCAR, which he did for many years for such organizations as ESPN, Motor Racing Network, NBC Sports, and Turner Sports.
Power wants drivers to lift for oval track corners. None of this 100% throttle no talent required stuff.
Team Penske's Will Power wants the Verizon IndyCar Series to allow road course turbo settings on oval tracks so the cars have at least 700 HP.
"I do tell the series we need less downforce, give us road course horsepower, you know, speedway wings," he pleaded. "Let us leave dark marks on the exit of corners (from the wheelspin). Here, your corner speed is about the same as your bloody [straightline] speed.
Will Larson stay loyal to Ganassi or replace Earnhardt Jr.?
Kyle Larson met with the media Friday at Richmond International Speedway and was asked about speculation that he could move to Hendrick Motorsports after Earnhardt, Jr's retirement.
Q:When You Got Signed By Chip Ganassi, He Looked At You For Your Talent And Not What Money You Had. Your Dad Said He Would Love For You To Stay With Chip Ganassi Your Entire Career And Be The Impetus For Changing That Team Into Something That's A Huge Powerhouse. Is That Wishful Thinking Or Is That Something That You Actually, Too, You Want To Believe?
Russian GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in final practice
Sebastian Vettel getting it done for Ferrari
Could Mercedes still be sandbagging? "We've never done that intentionally," Mercedes' Hamilton said Friday. "There's no benefit to doing that. We were just trying to find the right balance in the car, but today it was not easy," he added on Friday. "But the reality is that Ferrari is just very fast.
Indeed they are fast. Sebastian Vettel turned the fastest lap in final practice Saturday morning for the Russian GP at Sochi. The Ferrari driver's fast time of 1m34.001s was 3/10ths up on his teammate Kimi Raikkonen who was 2nd at 1m34.338s.
Millican, C. Force, Coughlin, Savoie Lead NHRA Qualifying at zMax
Courtney Force raced to the top of the Funny Car ladder in Friday's qualifying session for Sunday's 8th-annual Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C.
Force re-wrote the track ET record with a low pass of 3.851 seconds at 323.27 mph in the second session which was dominated by warm tracks temperatures and top speeds nearly five miles-per-hour faster than the earlier afternoon session.
Force knocked her father, John Force, off the provisional pole, while her teammate Robert Hight took second with a time of 3.873 at a track record 333.91 mph.
Clay Millican led the Top Fuel ranks with the quick pass of 3.716 at 325.77 mph. Jeg Coughlin was quickest in both sessions in Pro Stock, finishing the day with a 6.578 at 210.24 mph, while Jerry Savoie swept both sessions in Pro Stock Motorcycle, running 6.849 at 195.79 mph.
Exactly How Slow is the 2017 McLaren-Honda F1? Three years into their partnership McLaren and Honda are still having huge difficulties remaining seemingly uncompetitive in the 2017 Formula One season. Comment
Newgarden leads Chevy 1-2-3-4-5 in Phoenix practice
Penske Chevy driver Josef Newgarden turned a lap of over 192 mph to lead practice for the Phoenix IndyCar race which will be run Saturday evening.
JR Hildebrand was 2nd quick just 0.0427sec with Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power making it a Chevy 1-2-3-4-5. This was expected as Chevy cars are not towing a parachute around the track like the Hondas.
Shirley Muldowney's son dies John Muldowney, the son of drag racing icon Shirley Muldowney, died of Thursday at the age of 59 in Springfield, Mo., as the result of a blood clot.
John Muldowney was the only child of Shirley Muldowney and her first husband Jack. He worked on Shirley Muldowney’s dragsters throughout her driving career and has since worked for a variety of other teams, machines shops and fabricators.
Video: NASCAR Richmond Pre-Race Q&A Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Arris Toyota); Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford); Kyle Larson (No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet); Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota); NXS Dash 4 Cash: Elliott Sadler (No. 1 Golden Corral Chevrolet), William Byron (No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet), Matt Tifft (No. 19 Wastebits Toyota), Daniel Hemric (No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet) Comment
Russian GP: Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2 in 2nd practice
Sebastian Vettel fastest on Friday
Everyone thought the Mercedes would perform better than Ferrari in the cooler temperatures at Sochi but so far Ferrari has dominated both Friday practice sessions for the Russian GP. Sebastian Vettel led his Ferrari teammate 1m34.120s to 1m34.383s.
Once again Valtteri Bottas was faster than his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton 1m34.790s to 1m34.829s while Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were 5th and 5th respectively for Red Bull.
On race setups both Ferrari and Mercedes appear fairly evenly matched, which should make Sunday interesting.
Weekend final TV ratings (Update) UPDATE Monday’s rain delayed Bristol Monster Cup race drew a 1.5 rating on the FOX broadcast network. This was down from a 3.2 rating last year, though that edition of the race ran as scheduled on Sunday. The last rain-postponed event for NASCAR on FOX was at Texas in April 2014, a race that ran on a Monday earning a 2.2 rating. Overall, no direct comparison can be made between Monday’s race and either of these two events.
Regardless, these are more numbers that are not favorable for NASCAR. What’s more concerning is that a major city’s FOX affiliate decided to skip the race for syndicated programming, shifting the race to a secondary affiliate. The question becomes, will things improve in the coming weeks for NASCAR? Some fan favorite tracks like Richmond and Talladega are coming up, plus the two-week stop for the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. However, trends say that those numbers will be down as well. Stemming the tide, potentially, could be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement announcement.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen turned a lap of 1m36.074s to top opening practice for the Russian GP ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas (1m36.119s) and Lewis Hamilton (1m36.681s). They were the only drivers in the 1m36s bracket.
Max Verstappen was 4th for Red Bull while Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top-5 in the second Ferrari.
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