Edmonton: Friday Notebook
The IZOD IndyCar Series will compete in the Honda Indy Edmonton, a 95-lap race at 4 p.m. (MT) Sunday (live on VERSUS). The Firestone Indy Lights series will compete in the Edmonton 100, a 50-lap race at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Live timing and scoring reports from the Honda Indy Edmonton and Edmonton 100 are available on the Internet at www.indycar.com. The live timing and scoring module provides statistical information, including track segment speeds, lap information and much more.
Feature stories, reports, driver quotes and notes, and photos will be posted on the site each day. More detailed information, including media advisories and VNF coordinates, is available at media.indycar.com.
IZOD IndyCar Series technical information for the Honda Indy Edmonton:
Honda overtake assist
Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make its debut at Edmonton City Centre Airport in the Honda Indy Edmonton.
The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.
For the 1.973-mile, 14-turn Edmonton City Centre Airport course:
18 seconds duration each use
10-second recharge period between uses
Firestone Firehawk tires
Each car receives six sets (24 tires) of primary tires and three sets (12 tires) of the alternate (red-sidewall) tires.
Firestone Racing has developed an all-new primary tire specification for Edmonton this year, while the alternate was previously used at Barber Motorsports Park. The primary is on the more durable end of Firestone Racing's road/street course spectrum, while the alternate is in the mid-range of its tire lineup. The rain is the softer rain, and is the only rain tire we will be using for the 2010 season.
AL SPEYER (Executive Director of Firestone Racing): "This track is one of the bumpiest and fastest of the road and street course races, so we are bringing a durable primary tire to withstand the challenge. The alternate spec is a few steps softer than the primary, so it should create a noticeable difference in speed and durability."
Edmonton is in the road course/short oval category of aero packages for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Here are mandatory and optional items for teams:
Rear wings: Tire ramps and sidepod extensions are optional.
Front wings: Wing flaps are open development area. Maximum of two elements per side is permitted and a divider is mandatory.
Andretti Autosport driver Danica Patrick is among the three top female sports stars in the nation, according to an annual Harris Interactive poll. Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams are Nos. 1 and 2.
Team Penske has won the pole in Edmonton each of the past two seasons (Ryan Briscoe in 2008 and Will Power in 2009) and it's earned three podium finishes and one victory (last season with Power).
"It's a very tough, fast circuit and the No. 3 Team Penske car has done well, finishing second the last two years," Helio Castroneves said. "I love the fans in Edmonton. They appreciate our racing and they always seem to draw a big crowd."
Penske Racing earned its 150th open-wheel racing victory as Power won on the Toronto street circuit. Sixteen drivers have combined to produce the record number of wins since 1968.
Tony Kanaan of Andretti Autosport and Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing incorporate cycling into their workout regimens. On July 21, they rode in Colorado with triathlete Julie Dibens, who the 2009 champion in both Xterra and 70.3 triathlons. Kanaan will compete Oct. 30 in the Rohto Ironman 70.3 in Miami.
JULIE DIBENS (Professional triathlete): "It's great to see how other professional athletes can be so passionate about the sport of triathlon."
Xtrac, a global leader in motorsport transmissions, this weekend marks its 2 millionth mile run in IZOD IndyCar Series races, practices and tests as it prepares its specification for a lightweight transmission for the new chassis being introduced in 2012.
The UK- and U.S.-based gearbox manufacturer has been an exclusive supplier to the series for the past 10 years.
"Passing this momentous milestone marks a highly successful decade and longstanding relationship with one of the greatest race series in the world," Xtrac president and managing director Peter Digby said. "We now look forward to submitting our proposals for a new lightweight transmission and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dallara for winning the contract to supply the new chassis. We have already indicated to the series' promoters that we are willing to relocate to the new Speedway (Ind.) redevelopment area, which is very close to our existing facility in Indianapolis where we've been based since 2003."
As a major international customer, the IZOD IndyCar Series typifies for Xtrac the global nature of its business and represents a significant contract that has been successfully renewed six times since 2000 and which extends to the end of 2011.
The targeted minimum weight of the IndyCar Safety Cell is 1,380 pounds - almost 200 pounds lighter than the current car.
"This will require a significant weight saving for the transmission without compromising reliability and our well-established low running costs," Digby said. "This will be an interesting and exciting challenge for our technical capabilities, and we'll draw heavily on our experience in other premier motorsport series.
"It's serious business, but it's also tremendous fun and deeply satisfying designing a gearbox able to handle the prodigious power of a 650 horsepower race car capable of reaching speeds in excess of 230 mph," Digby said. "We also applaud the ICONIC's mission to reach out and challenge the automotive and aerospace industries to join in and enhance the relevancy of the series with advanced and innovative technology. We are fully supportive of technology transfer between industry sectors as demonstrated by our recent success at transferring motorsport technology into the military sector."
Kevin Martin toured the IZOD IndyCar Series garage area July 22 much like Danica Patrick did during the opening night of the Taste of Edmonton - incognito.
The Olympic gold medal-winning skip of Team Canada, however, was the center of attention (and it wasn't because of the gold medal from the Vancouver Games he was toting) of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing assistant engineer Daniel Louks, who just happens to be president of the Circle City Curling Club. Indianapolis? Who knew?
"It's always something I've been interested in and now it's one of my passions," said Louks, who attended the Games in February specifically to watch the curling competition. "We've been trying to get more people in Indianapolis involved. It's a sport you can play at almost all ages and it's a great way to get people active in the winter. It's less an individual sport; it's a full-on team sport. A lot of the things that interested me in racing apply to curling."
Martin, an Edmonton resident, is grand marshal of the Honda Indy Edmonton.
"I don't get star-struck very often, but it was pretty cool."
Martin received tutorials about the speed and technology of the cars and multi-functional steering wheels from IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Justin Wilson and Will Power.
"To be asked by Northlands to serve as grand marshal for both the Capital EX Parade and the Honda Indy Edmonton is a huge privilege," he said after leading the annual parade watched by more than 200,000 people lining the streets July 22. "I'm really looking forward to be able to tell the world's best and fastest open-wheel race drivers to start their engines."
De Ferran Dragon Racing's Raphael Matos received some coaching from longtime friend and former open-wheel champion David Empringham during last week's Honda Indy Toronto. They used to work together in the Atlantic Series. Matos swept the Atlantic doubleheader at Edmonton in 2007
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): "He is the kind of guy who pushes me very hard and he sees the specific areas I am lacking. He made me focus on one problem at a time. You cannot fix all the problems in the car at once. You have to fix the main issue and go from there. That really helped me focus on what was working and better communicate what I was feeling with the engineers."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti are two of nine current IZOD IndyCar Series drivers to make at least four starts on airport courses (CART previously held races at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland). Of the nine, Franchitti and Dixon are among only four to have recorded a victory: Franchitti in Cleveland, 2001; Dixon in Edmonton, 2008; Paul Tracy in Cleveland, 1993, 2005, 2007; Will Power in Edmonton, 2009.
Defending Honda Indy Edmonton winner Will Power has ties to Edmonton though he hails from Australia. Power's paternal grandmother, Jean Ella (Buchan) Power, was born in Brandon, Manitoba, but grew up and worked in Lethbridge, Alberta. Power's grandmother met Doug Power while he was stationed in Edmonton for flight training for the Edmonton Air Force. They were married in Montreal in 1944.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mario Andretti will be at the IZOD Haskell Invitational on Aug. 1 - along with vintage Indy cars - at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, IRL medical director: Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Pippa Mann, who suffered a broken bone in her left hand during the Toronto race weekend, has been cleared to drive in the Firestone Indy Lights Edmonton 100.
Canadian Web hosting company BlackSun (www.blacksun.ca) will be sponsoring Team Moore Racing in the Edmonton 100 during the Honda Edmonton Indy event July 23 to 25. TMR, which is co-owned by Calgary native Tom Wood, fields cars for Canadian James Hinchcliffe and Spaniard Adrian Campos Jr.
"BlackSun is excited to be on the TMR car again this year," BlackSun chief executive officer Steve Rogoschewsky said. "The race weekend will also be a re-branding of our 'FAST, Reliable, Web Hosting' slogan, in conjunction with the 'accelerate your business' initiatives that have recently been announced at BlackSun."
Walker Racing's Dan Clarke is making his first Firestone Indy Lights start in Edmonton, but he has two prior starts Edmonton City Centre Airport. Clarke recorded a pair of top-10 finishes in Champ Car races in 2006 and 2007.
The flames that briefly engulfed the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car on the City Centre Airport pit lane during last year's race was "one of the scariest moments of my career," Andretti Autosport driver Tony Kanaan recalls.
Quick action by pit crews and safety workers to douse the car and driver with water, along with Kanaan having the presence of mind to stop the car, was credited with minimizing damage and preventing potential serious burns.
"I said that I wanted to have a different kind of a shower this year," Kanaan jokes. "I want to have a champagne shower."
The fuel hose spewed ethanol on the car as it pulled away from the pit stall and a spark ignited the fuel.
"We always look back on incidents like that to find out what really happened," Kanaan said. "I've been around a long time and between the crashes and some accidents that have happened, you always go 'Wow, that was close.'
"Thank God our equipment is very safe, the driver's suit and the helmet did its job and I just burnt a tiny bit of my hand and my face."
Honda Performance Development has been testing a first gear lockout system, in which sensors on the fueling hose and car will disengage the gears until there is appropriate separation between the two. It is expected to be introduced yet this season.
Kanaan, with a victory at Iowa Speedway in June and coming off a fourth-place finish in the Honda Indy Toronto, enters the Honda Indy Edmonton in seventh place in the standings.
HPD parts and services division expands to Canada
Honda Performance Development is expanding its Honda Racing Line program to make HPD parts and services available to amateur and entry-level professional racers in Canada.
Launched in July 2009, the Honda Racing Line is a program targeted at licensed participants in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing. Licensed Canadian competitors may register for the Honda Racing Line through HondaRacingLine.com.
Former Firestone Indy Lights driver and Indianapolis 500 competitor PJ Chesson became a father July 22. Cash Alan Chesson weighed in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces.