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Overheard at Long Beach - Saturday Another beautiful day in Long Beach, California - they always are. Ran into Kenny Brack who has two kids now and is working with the IndyCar driver development program. He is not doing much races these days, except for a few rally races.......The reason why Paul Tracy never returned to action Friday in afternoon practice after damaging his front wing is because the safety crew pulled his car behind the wall and had no way of getting back onto pit road to do the necessary repairs.....Speaking of Tracy we hear he has sold his house in Las Vegas and is moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix.......We learned that Kroger Supermarkets owns Ralph's Supermarkets, sponsor on Tracy's car for the five races. Rumor has it that Kroger might consider sponsoring Tracy in more races.......Both Newman/Haas cars look like a real team now. Hinchcliffe had to run Servia's backup car today after the fire in Hinchcliffe's car Friday. The car was painted the same Blue as Servia's Telemundo car, but with Hinchcliffe's Sprott sponsorship decal on it.......Rumor has it that NOV.us will soon be announced as an associate sponsor on Oriol Servia's car, but maybe not until Indy. NOV.us (pronounced Novus) is run by a bunch of ex-Dell Computer guys. As we reported previously, Telemundo has a weekly TV show with Oriol Servia and one of those shows draws more viewers than all of the IndyCar Versus race broadcasts combined......While on the subject of TV, we hear the IndyCar broadcasts in Brazil are now just highlight shows.
BMW motorsports boss Mario Theissen is here in Long Beach all the way from Germany to see his Rahal BMW team race this afternoon in ALMS......We ran into Ken Deagle and a couple of ex-Cosworth guys who are now working for Elon Musk's SpaceX program. About 15 other Cosworth guys over working with SpaceX as well located at LAX airport. They tell me the USA government is real excited about what they are doing and the plan is to have them make space flights to the Space Station and take over the chores the NASA Shuttle has been doing. They launch vertical with three 9-engine core 20 story high engine unit and their next launch is in June out of Kennedy Space Center in Florida and it will go to the Space Station. The capsule lands in the water for now (like Apollo used to) but they are designing engines that will allow for a vertical landing on land. Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo program. This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions. It can carry satellites or interplanetary spacecraft weighing over 53 metric tons or 117,000 pounds to orbit. 53 metric tons is more than the maximum take-off weight of a fully-loaded Boeing 737-200 with 136 passengers. In other words, Falcon Heavy can deliver the equivalent of an entire commercial airplane full of passengers, crew, luggage and fuel all the way to orbit......
We reported yesterday that Simon Pagenaud is looking to land a full-time IndyCar ride next year and there has been talk previously that he may hook up with Duncan Dayton's Highcroft ALMS team for the effort. Well even though his team is not racing this weekend in Long Beach Duncan Dayton still came here to talk to people, we assume about putting together an IndyCar team. We spotted him talking at lunch with Robert Clarke who ran HPD's race program and now represents IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan. Hmm.......We hear that XTrac has won the contract to supply the transmission and differential for the new IndyCar......Ran into ex-Toyota Atlantic boss Vicky O'Conner who is now an independent contractor involved in various racing projects.......Ran into Bruno Junqueira who is driving for Paul Gentilozzi's Jaguar team in ALMS and has signed a deal to run the Indy 500 this year. He still would like to land a fulltime IndyCar ride next year.......
Rumor has it that a race in NY City is still a possibility. It would be a 2-day affair only. We hear there are three sites under consideration - around the Jacob Javits Convention Center, at Aviation Field (an old Military airbase but has no mass transit to the site) and around the new NY Mets stadium. The Jacob Javits Center circuit appears to have the most legs and is the best location......Spotted Toyota Pro/Celebrity driver and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz with his hot wife, porn star Jenna Jameson. Ortiz, who smiles a lot and is a very happy guy (wonder why) said driving race cars is a lot like fighting, you must stay focused and be repetitive over and over. Yes, it is physical, but he said the mental aspect was the hardest part. Frankie Muniz, who drives as a professional in the race now, says this is the best group of celebrity drivers they have ever had, making a point that one year one of the celebrities drove the entire race in 2nd gear........Hello Castroneves has a new name for his fast teammate Will Power - Kyle Busch. He's just incredible said Helio after Power won yet another pole, "I have to start calling him Kyle Busch (NASCAR star), he is just incredible." Helio credited his engineer for getting him into the Fast Six. "My engineer did an incredible job, whatever he did to get me into the second session worked. I told him to take the rest of the afternoon off, go sit in the hot tub and have a Pina Colada."......Everyone is concerned about the start and restarts on Sunday as historically they crash in Turn 1. As for the start Justin Wilson said "the driver reps talked to Brian Barnhart and the key is figuring how many cars can you get lined up coming out of the final hairpin before you drop the green flag. You want the start to look good but you also do not want to cost the team owners $2 million in the first corner." And last, I spotted Beccy Gordon carry a cake to dinner Saturday night. Her and Ryan Hunter-Reay are celebrating their 7th anniversary, having met right here in Long Beach, California at the race. Mark C. reporting from Long Beach
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