Despite broken back, Power says he's committed to IndyCar
After getting about 20 feet in the air that's Power hitting the wall with the bottom of his car. To the left is Dan Wheldon's car with the flames bursting out going headfirst into the catch fence. This photo was taken a split second after Wheldon's head likely hit the pole, so he was probably already dead. The pole also sheered off the rollover hoop behind his head. But given the direction of the car his head probably hit the pole first, then the roll hoop. A canopy over the cockpit probably would have saved him.
Despite breaking his back in the big Las Vegas accident Will Power said Wednesday he's committed to IndyCar and believes the series will become much safer from the investigation into Dan Wheldon's fatal accident.
There were reports from Australia that Power was reconsidering whether IndyCar was too unsafe to compete in, which he said is not the case.
"I am committed, I am staying in IndyCar, simple as that," Power said.
Power suffered a broken vertebra in the accident, his second serious back injury.
But as one of the drivers who went airborne in the accident (see photo), he recognizes how quickly you can be killed driving an IndyCar on high speed ovals. "I remember thinking 'Oh, I'm going to the catch fence; that's not good.'"
It was Wheldon, though, who hit the catch fence (see photo), and Power who was lucky to walk away. Wheldon never knew what hit him.
SMI tracks unsafe for IndyCars?UPDATE We pointed out in June of 2001 below that the catch fence posts at Texas Motor Speedway ripped Davey Hamilton's feet and lower legs to shreds because they were on the wrong side of the fencing. According to this SI.com article, SMI has the fence posts on the wrong side at their Las Vegas Motor Speedway as well and this may have contributed to Dan Wheldon's head hitting the post and killing him instantly. It seems all SMI tracks have the posts on the racing side of the fence, whereas all ISC tracks and the Indy Speedway have the posts on the grandstand side of the fencing.
Texas Motor Speedway fence with the poles on the trackside of the fence - extremely dangerous.
06/12/01 Someone sent us this photo taken through a fence opening just as the Davey Hamilton accident was happening. The person asked how come it appears that the mesh fence mounted on top of the outside retaining wall at Texas Motor Speedway appears to be on the spectator side of the posts rather than on the track side of the posts? That seemed rather strange to us as most tracks have the posts on the spectator side. We are not certain if the posts are mounted on the track side of the chain link fence all the way around the track or just near this opening. Perhaps someone out there can verify if they are this way all the way around. It has been speculated that the front of Davey Hamilton's car was ripped away by one of these posts, but we have no info at this time to substantiate this. We also noted that the steel horizontal reinforcing cabling is mounted outside as well. If the posts are indeed trackside, lets hope that the reconstruction that will be starting any day now includes tearing down all that fencing and putting the posts on the spectator side. There should be no exposed fence posts for a car to get snagged on. It should be smooth chain link fencing of some sort. Safety must be #1.
More than 10,000 fans pay final respects to Marco Simoncelli CORIANO, Italy — More than 10,000 fans lined up in the rain Wednesday to pay their final respects to MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli during a public viewing in the city theater of his hometown.
Behind Simoncelli’s coffin were two motorcycles — one that he rode to win the 250cc championship in 2008 and another used this season. Simoncelli’s number, 58, was seen across town on banners.
“Maybe even we didn’t realize how much he was loved. We thought we knew, but the outpouring of people has really been huge,” said Fausto Gresini, Simoncelli’s team manager, according to the ANSA news agency. “It’s really nice to see, even if we have too much pain inside.”
Simoncelli’s funeral Thursday will be broadcast live on various Italian TV stations. Fans also can gather at the nearby Misano Adriatico circuit, the site of the San Marino GP, to view the funeral on screens.
Indians making F1 teams very unhappy The build-up to Sunday’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix has been soured by a complicated tax dispute - over both import duties and team and driver earnings - which at one stage saw Martin Whitmarsh, chairman of the Formula One Teams Association, suggest that unless it was sorted out there might not be a race.
In the end, organizers The Jaypee Group (JPSI) offered to pay the duty on the freight which teams brought in, a sum which would be largely reimbursed once the event is over.
Franchitti says IndyCar cannot abandon ovals Even though most ovals are a complete embarrassment to IndyCar because you cannot hide the poor attendance, Dario Franchitti thinks IndyCar should not abandon them.
"I love the fact that the IndyCar series is the mix of all the disciplines and to win the championship, you've got to be strong at all of them," the Scot said in an interview with AP. "So we've got to be on ovals, and it's got to be safe. It's got to be a lot safer."
"You can always look back with hindsight, but we've raced on the 1.5-mile ovals before," Franchitti added. "With the information they had, I think they believed what they were doing was right. Going back now, I wouldn't do it, because we know the result."
Franchitti also supported IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard's decision to call off the race in the aftermath of the accident.
There will be two DRS zones on offer for this weekend’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix, promising much overtaking on the Buddh International Circuit which is already expected to throw up a number of passing opportunities.
The first zone start 36 meters down the start/finish straight, with the detection beam – measuring whether there is a gap of one second or less to the car in front, from the third lap after the start or a restart – placed on the exit of penultimate corner Turn 15.
The second DRS section comes on the stretch between Turns 3 and 4, which is the longest straight on the circuit; here, the system can be used after 510 meters of the straight, with a second detection beam placed on entry to the preceding hairpin.
Austin organizers back New Jersey Grand Prix Organizers of the returning United States Grand Prix in Texas have backed the addition to the F1 calendar of a second race, on the streets of New Jersey. The Texas event, staged at the brand-new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, will debut next year before the New Jersey event makes its first appearance for the 2013 season.
In 2013, F1 will stage two Grands Prix in the USA for the first time since 1984, when Detroit and Dallas were the settings. This time, Texas’ event will be government-funded whereas the New Jersey race will be backed by a consortium of investors.
New wing for McLaren in Korea After an encouraging last two races in Japan and Korea, McLaren is looking to further close the gap to rivals Red Bull by introducing upgrades in India, particularly regarding a new front wing.
"We are bringing some new aerodynamic pieces to this event," said team technical director Paddy Lowe in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "We have a new front wing, so that's the main thing and something we hope to take forward through to the last few races of the season. But we are winding towards a close with what we'll bring in terms of updates this year. But things like the front wing will carry forward to next year as the regulations on the front are exactly the same."
Ford's net profit slips to $1.65 billion Ford Motor Co., hurt by accounting changes related to commodity prices, said third-quarter net profits fell slightly to $1.65 billion from $1.69 billion a year earlier. Pretax profits fell to $1.94 billion from $2.06 billion a year earlier.
North American pretax operating profits were essentially flat from the year-earlier period at $1.6 billion.
South America also was in the black, but Ford's European, Asian Pacific and African operations posted pretax losses in the quarter. Profits at Ford's financial operations fell.
More complete Weehawken NJ F1 track map Having driven the circuit ourselves, AR1.com can tell you that this is one sensational street circuit. After a few years of the promoters losing their shirt financially with F1's high fees (because there is no government subsidy, they will absolutely lose a lot of money), don't be surprised if someday it becomes an IndyCar race.
The third driver chosen to represent BMW Motorsport in the coming DTM season has been confirmed: from 2012, Canadian Bruno Spengler will drive one of the premium automobile manufacturer’s BMW M3 DTM cars.
Spengler made his debut in the DTM in 2005, and has certainly made his mark on the series. The 28-year-old has been on the top step of the podium nine times in 74 starts. In addition, the French-Canadian has claimed 11 pole positions and set 12 fastest laps to date. Twice - in 2006 and 2007 - Spengler narrowly missed out on the DTM title, ending up second in the drivers’ classification on each occasion. In 2011 he finished third overall for Mercedes-Benz.
Baltimore GP did not hit all its marks Baltimore Grand Prix attendees spent as much as $25 million — far short of the $70 million projected by race organizers, according to an economic impact survey released this week.
In their report, two Maryland professors also found about three-quarters of attendees came from Maryland and estimated that $10 million of the spending on restaurants and other entertainment over that Labor Day weekend would have happened even without the races as a draw.
"Based on our survey information, the Baltimore Grand Prix was certainly not a game-changer," Dennis Coates, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Michael T. Friedman of the School of Public Health at University of Maryland College Park wrote in their report.
SKF To Sponsor Penske Racing Teams Beginning in 2012 SKF USA Inc. announced today it will be a major associate sponsor of the Penske Racing teams beginning with the 2012 racing season. The SKF brand will be featured in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series next season.
Entering its 15th year as a major associate sponsor of auto racing in North America, the SKF brand will be featured in 2012 on the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch in the Sprint Cup Series; the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the Nationwide Series and the No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 Champion Helio Castroneves.
Varsha talks about NJ Formula 1 raceUPDATE We updated our pictorial lap around the New Jersey F1 circuit with more correct turn numbering and photo captioning. When the article was written Sunday we assumed what would be Turn 1 incorrectly.
10/25/11 Today, a motor sports promotions group led by former YES network executive Leo Hindery, announced an agreement with Formula One to host the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial on the streets of Weehawken and West New York, New Jersey. The temporary 3.2-mile street circuit is situated with a view of downtown Manhattan as its backdrop.
Bob Varsha, the Voice of Formula One on SPEED, talked about the new race, what it means for Formula One and how this new event, set for June of 2013, fits within the already announced United States Grand Prix set for the yet-to-be completed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas next November.
Conor Daly helping develop paddle shifters for Indy Lights Long Beach Indy Lights winner, Conor Daly, did 62 laps of the Sebring short course yesterday with the Team E Indy Lights team helping them develop a new paddle shift system. Team E is independently developing the Pro Shift PS3 paddle shift system for the Indy Lights car and Daly’s experience was tapped into as he is familiar with this paddle shifters having spent a season using it in Europe in GP3.
“Firstly I want to thank Neil Enerson and his team for inviting me to take part in the test. They have done a great job with the system and it worked flawlessly. The biggest advantage to the system is that it allowed me to concentrate more on driving the car more precisely”, said Daly.
Team E will continue development of the system at the upcoming Road to Indy test sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, October 28th - 29th.
NASCAR Confiscates WindshieldsUPDATE NASCAR has issued penalties to the #00, #47 and #56 teams that compete in the Sprint Cup Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during opening day inspection Oct. 21 at Talladega Superspeedway. All three cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-3.2.1A (unapproved modification to an approved windshield) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.
Kraft Foods Announces Renewals With NASCAR, Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR, Kraft Foods and Stewart-Haas Racing today formally announced a deal that extends the designation of Oreo, Nilla and Nutter Butter as the official cookies of the sanctioning body, and of Ritz and Wheat Thins as its official crackers. Also, the Oreo and Ritz brands will continue to serve as associate sponsors of Stewart-Haas drivers Tony Stewart's and Ryan Newman's Sprint Cup Series rides. Kraft Foods, a NASCAR partner since '00, will continue to produce NASCAR-themed packages of Oreo and Ritz and will activate with sweepstakes offers via retail and the Ritz Facebook page. NASCAR
James Stewart talks NASCAR, signing with Joe Gibbs Racing James Stewart said his move to Joe Gibbs Racing to race on Yamaha through 2014, officially announced Tuesday, is like the Beatles "getting the band back together."
With JGRMX, Stewart will rejoin familiar company from his Kawasaki days; former mechanic Jeremy Albrecht, who now is the team manager; engine builder Dean Baker and Spencer Bloomer, JGR's R&D technician who was a support tech at Team Green when Stewart was an amateur.
NASCAR Talladega Truck Series TV Rating According to Nielsen Media Research, SPEED coverage of last Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Talladega Superspeedway scored a 1.12, up six-percent from last year’s equivalent Talladega race (1.06). The event peaked at a 1.35 with HH and 1,347,000 total viewers.
Saturday’s race was up three-percent among M35-54 (1.09 vs. 1.06) and 26-percent among M18-49 (.59 vs. .47) over the 2010 Talladega event. It was the second-highest NCWTS race of the season on SPEED to-date, trailing only the network’s coverage of the season-opening race from Daytona International Speedway (1.49).
Yet another broken back for IndyCar As if the evidence (chart updated to include this injury) wasn't damning enough about the injuries sustained by IndyCar drivers on ovals since the series' inception, today comes word that IZOD IndyCar Series championship runner-up Will Power suffered a back fracture in the Oct. 16 crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Power's injury apparently won't require surgery.
Power, whose car launched over Alex Lloyd's in the fiery 15-car crash, was examined and released from a Las Vegas hospital in the hours after the incident. But he continued to experience pain.
Noted orthopedic surgery Terry Trammell of Indianapolis diagnosed a compression fracture of Power's fourth thoracic vertebra. The cure is rest and rehabilitation.
Indian driver to test Indy Lights with Jensen Jensen MotorSport is pleased to announce that Armaan Ebrahim will join the team for the Indy Lights official series test at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway scheduled for October 28th and 29th. Ebrahim has an extensive resume of racing experience, which includes competition in the Formula 2, Formula BMW, and GP2 series.
While the Formula One World Championship competes in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix this weekend, the 22 year old Ebrahim will make the long trek from Chennai India to Indianapolis in order to participate in his first IndyCar sanctioned event as he transitions his race car driving career to the USA for the 2012 season and beyond.
Derek Daly to Present at Skip Barber Shootout Derek Daly, founder of the Derek Daly Academy, is pleased to announce that he will be in attendance to present his career development, What if it’s YOU, seminar on November 3rd at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway Park during the Skip Barber Racing School Karting shootout. For the second straight year, Daly will be on hand to present his informative and innovative program titled “What If It’s You!” Derek Daly, former Formula One and IndyCar driver, Best-Selling Author and Professional Speaker founded DDA in 1996. After ten years as a racing school, the focus for DDA became career development of new driver talent and guiding them through the transition from kart racing to car racing and beyond.
Mitch Evans leads the way in Barcelona The first post season GP3 Series test kicked off today at Circuit de Catalunya, and there were lots of new faces in the paddock. With the majority of the 2011 field moving on this season it was time to welcome a new batch of drivers hoping to impress teams and grab a coveted 2012 race seat including British Formula Ford champion Scott Malvern, Ferrari protégé Brandon Maisano and Kevin Korjus.
The teams were greeted with thick fog at the Spanish track this morning which delayed the start of the session by thirty minutes. Once underway the twenty-six young drivers hit the track on wet weather Pirelli P Zero tires to complete installation laps and survey the damp conditions. Rookie Tio Ellinas was first to top the time sheets for MW Arden, but before long the drivers got to grips with their new machines and the times started to drop with Lotus ART’s rookie Daniel Abt the first driver under two minutes.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Medical Statement on Driver Pippa MannUPDATE #3 Mann said the goal is to "rebuild the right side of my right hand.” “Hoping I can start getting better,” she said on Twitter. “Need replacement blood vessels, nerves, stealing a tendon from my wrist and a skin graft!”
10/22/11 Pippa Mann, injured in the crash at Las Vegas, said reconstructive surgery on her severely damaged right pinkie finger will be Tuesday in Indianapolis. So traumatized by the horrific accident she still isn't ready to discuss the accident. "I am merely the walking wounded," she tweeted.
10/21/11 Pippa Mann, who was involved in the crash that killed Wheldon, said a second surgery on her severely burned right pinkie finger would come soon, perhaps as early as last night. No official word yet.
10/17/11 Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Pippa Mann had surgery last night to clean and assess a severe burn injury to the little finger of her right hand after the accident in yesterday’s IZOD Indy Car World Championships in Las Vegas. She is being released from the University Medical Center in Las Vegas this morning. She will need a subsequent surgery in 2-3 weeks to fully repair the injury but is expected to make a full recovery.
Ford claims its drivers are not puppetsUPDATE Statement from Jack Roush, co-owner Roush Fenway Racing regarding Sunday’s Sprint Cup Race at Talladega:
“At Roush Fenway Racing we expect our individual drivers to make decisions that put themselves in the best position to win each and every race. That is a philosophy that we have lived by for over two decades, and one that we will continue to abide by going forward.
"Of course, as in any team, we would prefer for our drivers to work together when possible. However, to be clear, we did not micromanage or dictate to any of our drivers, nor any other Ford drivers, how to race with other drivers at Talladega last Sunday. There are unique codes that all drivers establish and have to live by on the track. How they manage their code is up to our drivers as individuals. This weekend, there were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers.
NASCAR eyes races in Austin NASCAR chairman voices interest in Austin's Circuit of the Americas Formula One and NASCAR apparently can mix. NASCAR Chairman Brian France held court last weekend at Kansas Speedway, and one issue he discussed was the $300 million track being built just outside of Austin.
"There's a new facility on the horizon, if you believe what is being written about (it), which is down in Texas, with a big road course," France told reporters. "We have some road-racing products that might be possible, too. Yeah, we'll take a look at that, for sure."
IndyCar drivers defend Bernard IndyCar drivers came to Randy Bernard's defense Monday after a three-hour safety meeting he organized generated "positive and productive" discussions.
Nearly two dozen drivers attended the closed-door session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and several said IndyCar's CEO is being unfairly criticized in the aftermath of Dan Wheldon's fatal accident Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"He had nothing to do with how poorly we were all driving," Graham Rahal said Monday.
IndyCar continues to investigate Wheldon accidentUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, What is there to investigate? Pack racing caused the massive accident and Wheldon's head hit a fence pole which killed him pretty much instantly. At least three cars went flying through the air as if they were planes, and they could have killed three drivers in total. They were extremely lucky. Open wheel cars on ovals have flown through the air since the 1920's. The death and destruction has been horrifying. Countless stars of the sport have died on flat ovals just as much as high-banked ovals. What was that Albert Einstein quote? "The definition of stupidly is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" Drivers died with and without catch fencing. Sure they can add Plexiglas to the inside of the catch fence, but that will cause the fans to see a distorted view of the cars as they peer through the curved Plexiglas at an angle. And then they won't come back - ever again. Either IndyCar is going to add a canopy to protect the driver or more drivers will die needlessly. There really is only one solution if IndyCar is to continue racing on ovals. It befuddles me why they would race on ovals in front of near-empty grandstands, but if they must, then this is not rocket science. Dave Walters
10/24/11 INDYCAR continues to move forward with its investigation into the 15-car accident on Lap 11 of the Oct. 16 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in which two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon sustained unsurvivable injuries.
As part of Phase 1 of the investigation, an internal team led by series safety and competition officials is evaluating data to make a factual determination of the circumstances surrounding the entire incident.
The investigation team will utilize outside, independent experts and consultants for analysis of various aspects of the data. The results of the investigation will be turned over to an independent, third-party group for validation.
India trying for last minute sellout Tickets for India’s inaugural Grand Prix have not sold out, prompting organizers to slash prices in an effort to fill the 120,000-capacity circuit.
Yesterday, tickets were still available online in all but the cheapest category – the 2,500-rupee (US$55) area.
The private Jaypee group, which has spent US$400mil to build the new state-of-the-art Buddh International Circuit and bring the event to India, said it was still hopeful of selling the remaining tickets for this weekend’s race.
“We have sold close to 80,000 tickets which is pretty encouraging considering that its the first F1 race ever in the country,” said a Jaypee spokesman.
Forget about 900 HP A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I laugh when I hear people saying that the new IndyCar should have 900 HP. That is not going to happen with the small displacement 2.4-liter engine IndyCar settled on that is required to cost less than the existing engine and go around 2,000 miles between rebuilds.
You can't get blood out of a stone. In talking to the manufacturers, they are lucky to get 750 HP out of the engine with the parameters they must meet, and that is for road courses, not high speed ovals where the engine is at max RPM for three hours.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup Continues at Martinsville The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for a 500-lap race on NASCAR’s smallest track on Sunday, Oct. 30, airing live on ESPN. The race is the seventh in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the only short track race. NASCAR Countdown presented by NAPA airs at 1 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 1:43 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
Announcers: Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree. Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Dr. Jerry Punch. ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage: Tim Brewer NASCAR Countdown: Nicole Briscoe (host); Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty (analysts).
Instead of possibly finishing 2nd to Jeff Gordon at Talladega Sunday, Trevor Bayne had to take orders from Ford and he ended up only finishing 15th. Is this a sport, man against man, or is NASCAR racing a three-ring circus and the drivers just puppets?
Jeff Gordon was frustrated after Sunday afternoon's race at Alabama track because, as Gordon saw it, Trevor Bayne abandoned him abruptly in the final laps. Until then, Gordon's Chevrolet and Bayne's Ford appeared headed for good finishes. Instead, Bayne finished 15th and Gordon faded to 27th.
Bayne, a Ford puppet, worked well with Gordon early this year at Daytona International Speedway to open the season. But at Talladega, where two Ford drivers were title hopefuls, the Blue Oval reportedly told its racers to not help anyone except fellow Ford drivers. For the record, Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark denied that claim. Regardless, Gordon and Bayne were close enough for Gordon to ask Bayne over the radio if they could draft together to the finish.
Gribkowsky F1 bribe trial starts in Munich A former German banker, charged with selling Formula One rights in return for a bribe with the involvement of the sport’s supremo Bernie Ecclestone, told a Munich court on Monday his decision had saved tax payers million of euros.
“The fact is that our client defused a bomb,” said lawyer Rainer Buessow on the first day of the trial of former BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is charged with bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion over the sale of the Formula One rights.
Quotes of the Week "As you know, the drivers can't stand doing it," IndyCar engineer Michael Cannon told Gordon Kirby when talking about the banked 'pack' racing ovals IndyCar races on. "It's outrageously dangerous and yet the world is collectively yawning. Nobody shows up. The television ratings are laughable. So what's the point of the exercise?
"After every one of these races, all of us go, 'Phew! Got away with it again.' You go into the race saying, 'Oh God! Just let us get away with it one more time.' It's like driving home drunk from a Christmas party saying 'Good Lord, please let me get away with this just once and I'll never do it again.' And yet there you are doing it again."
Bernard hoping for 70,000 for IndyCar's Vegas finaleUPDATE #2 Curt Cavin reports in the Indy Star he was told that at 90 minutes before the start there were more than 17,000 tickets scanned. So perhaps 20,000 or so attended, up from our 15,000 estimate, but still far below the 70,000 Randy Bernard was hoping for.
10/24/11 Only about 15,000 fans showed up for IndyCar's finale in Las Vegas despite the free ticket giveaway, but at least the race drew higher than normal TV ratings, so from that respect it was a success. However, despite IndyCar and the track announcing an IndyCar return to the Vegas oval in 2012, this Las Vegas motorsports writer thinks the race will never happen. The best thing that could happen would be that the race to move to the Vegas strip a year early instead of 2013 like Randy Bernard was planning for.
10/14/11 Izod IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said that “series-run promotional efforts” for the Izod IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas Sunday “are paying off in a big way,” according to Anthony Schoettle of the Indianapolis Business Journal. Bernard predicts 70,000 fans "will attend the race, and added that 117 of 121 luxury suites have been sold for the event.”
He said that the suites “are selling for between $22,000 and $35,000, and he expects the remaining inventory to be sold out” by Friday. Bernard said that attracting a "good crowd is key for series and team sponsors that pay most of the bills."
Bernard: “There’s a real buzz building about the race here. I’m very optimistic about this weekend.” Schoettle noted Bernard tried to “lure drivers from other series to come to the race to take on IndyCar’s best" as part of the $5M Go Daddy IndyCar Challenge, but there was "limited response” despite the financial incentive. Bernard “settled on offering a bonus to Dan Wheldon, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year, but does not have a full-time ride.” Meanwhile, for the first time this year, IndyCar execs in Las Vegas “are renting the track and handling all promotions and operations for the race.”
Mario Andretti On Wheldon, Safety Of IndyCar And The State IndyCar Versatile racing legend Mario Andretti joined Dave Despain Sunday night on Wind Tunnel on SPEED to reflect on Dan Wheldon’s life, and to discuss safety issues facing the IndyCar Series and the stability of the series following Wheldon’s death one week ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Following is a transcript of the interview:
Despain: Tell me how you’re going to remember Dan Wheldon.
Andretti:“Well, specifically, when he first started driving for Michael (Andretti), you could immediately see his personality, laid-back to some degree. Always had something interesting and funny to say. I know how he was always kidding around with Marco (Andretti) and so on and so forth. So again, he was popular because he was so outgoing like that and that’s really what we all remember.”
IndyCar drivers united in need to improve IndyCar safetyUPDATE #2 This ESPN article has a number of quotes from drivers after today's 3-hour meeting between the drivers and IndyCar but does not say specifically what was discussed. A 2nd drivers-only meeting was held afterwards. "The drivers agreed to keep their thoughts and suggestions out of the media," said Graham Rahal.
10/24/11 What the Mario Andretti accident at Indy video shows, and what Tony Renna's single car fatal airborne crash at Indy shows, is that even without 'pack' racing and without a high banked track, an IndyCar can get up into the catch fencing and the steel poles hitting the drivers head can kill them instantly. So either the tracks will have to add Plexiglas to the inside of the catch fencing or canopies to the cars. Anything short of that will see more drivers die in the future.
With its lower sidepods, and driver's head that sticks out of the cockpit more, the new IndyCar's safety will certainly be discussed on Monday when IndyCar drivers meet with CEO Randy Bernard
"I think now is the time for everybody to get out there and say what needs to be said because we've got six months (till the next race), so we have time," Graham Rahal said Sunday on SPEED TV. "There should be no excuses. I just hope that everyone can stand up and work with us. If anybody has been there to help us, and I know he's taken a lot of heat the last few days, it's been him (Bernard)."
"We need to talk about things on a much larger scale," Alex Lloyd told AP, who was advised early in his IndyCar career by Wheldon. "It's not just what happened in this accident, it's all possible scenarios. I think there will be a lot of topics discussed when we meet with Randy Bernard on Monday, and I think it will be very beneficial to all of us."
Randy Bernard's address at the Dan Wheldon memorial Good afternoon.
We have all been devastated by the terrible accident that took Dan Wheldon's life. He was a great champion and personal friend to so many of us. We thank everyone who is here to participate in this memorial service. Thank all of you for attending.
Today we mourn Dan's loss but also celebrate his life. We honor him for who he was.
This turnout is a wonderful tribute to Dan and a reminder to all of us that a single life – well lived – can make a difference to so many other lives. Certainly that was true of Dan.
Not far from here – at the Brickyard – Dan Wheldon made his indelible mark in racing. Though he was still a young man, his two Indy 500 championships had already given him a place in the history of our great sport.
Dan Wheldon Tribute 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup at Talladega Another, very emotional tribute to Dan Wheldon from the NASCAR Good Sam Club 500 Pre Race, it also gives a inside look into a drivers mind when tragedies like this happen, and how the motorsport family comes together. Nicole Briscoe did an exceptional job during the entire Tribute.
IndyCar traded safety for high-risk racing - EcclestoneUPDATE This LA Times article talks about the finger pointed toward Randy Bernard since the Wheldon accident. One website columnist wrote that it "seems almost criminal." Bernard was "inundated with hate mail," Speedtv.com reported. Bernard's contest was variously called a "stunt," a "gimmick" and a "desperate" move that had no place in a dangerous sport. We here at AutoRacing1.com are not one of the groups blaming Randy Bernard. He is taking the heat but in fact the ones to blame are the ones who created this 'pack' racing mentality which IndyCar has had from its early existence and which was way before Randy's time. We feel sorry for Randy because he is being pressured to raise the bar for IndyCar popularity, and he has done so with double-file restarts and other fine tuning, but the $5 million prize for Wheldon and a fan to split at Vegas if he won did not cause his death. Wheldon did not cause the accident, but he had nowhere to go because he was stuck in a 'pack' of cars.
F1 kingpin Bernie Ecclestone slams IndyCar for putting spectacle before safety
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has accused IndyCar of playing with drivers' lives by organizing "wrestling"-style races.
Briton Dan Wheldon was killed just over a week ago in a 15-car crash at Las Vegas speedway, a 1.5-mile oval whose event boasted Indy 500-like speeds.
"We would never have let that race take place in Las Vegas last week," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told the Daily Mail.
"With 34 cars racing on a 1.5-mile oval track, they were heading for disaster."
Attendance Down Slightly For Sprint Cup Series Race At Talladega An estimated crowd of 105,000 attended yesterday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. There were "giant tarps covering thousands of seats in the upper deck in Turns 1 and 4 on the frontstretch grandstands," showing that "while things are looking better in NASCAR this season, there is still a long way to go before it returns to its heyday." But the "larger issue" at the Alabama track is "determining how much of the problem is related to economic factors and how much to fans who have soured on the type of racing that has developed there" Charlotte Observer
IndyCar Las Vegas TV RatingUPDATE #2 The rating actually peaked at 3.8 in the half hour in which Wheldon's death was announced, as people tuned in to see replays of the fiery crash and watch the remaining drivers take parade laps in tribute to him.
10/21/11 The final TV rating for last Sunday's Las Vegas IndyCar finale that only ran 13 laps due to the death of Dan Wheldon was a 1.6 with 2.448 million viewers tuned in. Not counting the Indy 500, that is the highest rating IndyCar has had in years. Now if IndyCar put all their races on ABC they would be averaging over 1.0 per broadcast and sponsors would begin to knock down the doors to get in. Instead they have Versus. Pennywise and pound foolish.
10/17/11 The overnight TV rating for the Las Vegas IndyCar finale on ABC Sunday that saw the unfortunate death of Dan Wheldon was a 1.5. That is the highest non-Indy 500 TV rating IndyCar has had in years.
Malaysian fans chanted for race to continue even after death Exactly a week after British star Dan Wheldon died at the IndyCar 300 in Las Vegas, Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli succumbed to injuries in a crash at the Malaysian Grand Prix at the MotoGP motorcycle race in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Friends and family couldn't help but be mute witnesses to the gruesome crash that took place right in front of their eyes as Simoncelli lost control of his bike on the second lap of the circuit in Sepang and was hit by Colin Edwards and then Valentino Rossi as he slid across the track.
In the crash, the 24-year-old rider's helmet came off and had that not happened, perhaps he would not have been injured so gravely and could have survived.
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