Mostly Racin' Stuff
By Tom Avenengo
Some personal/family stuff:
I believe I owe an apology to my readers – especially the females. I neglected to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mothers Day in my column last week! So, I hope that they all had a great, stupendous and happy day – this past Sunday!
I’ve been doing these weekly column and/or articles for quite some time now. In a way, I’m somewhat disappointed. I’ve put out “quiz” type questions and I’ll be dam*ned if I can actually recall anyone getting back to me with any kind of answers. This leads me to a couple of options.
1: No more quizzes or
2: Not continuing these weekly columns.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought about ending the weekly stuff and maybe doing something bi-weekly or maybe once a month.
Time will tell.
Damn! “Mother Nature” sure is being a pain in the (you-know-what) so far this racing season! I’ve checked the AccuWeather forecasts and it sure looks like Friday will be a complete wash-out. Saturday – looks ok. Some places on Sunday have showers in the forecast. I won’t mention any particular tracks on the Sunday thing, just that one of them is close to me and has a big race scheduled. I do not think there is a rain date, either.
Last Saturday we had a guest at our house. Still, I was able to put on ABC to see the start of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. My main intent was to see how many would crash as they got into the first turn, even with a standing start. Well, when one of the cars on the front row doesn’t go, you just know that mayhem will result, and it sure did. Not too long after that, I changed channels, although we really weren’t watching it.
Sorry, but I just can’t get into the Indycar racing – especially when there are so few American drivers anymore. One Indy driver that has run on dirt and ovals, and is still sort of still competing – Ed Carpenter, who is also the owner of his Indy car, was on the sidelines – mainly because it wasn’t an oval race. I doubt that any of the drivers in that race last Saturday has ever been on a ¼ mile dirt track in a Midget or Sprint Car. To me, that is sad.
Another thing I noticed – the entire lower section of the grand stands along the front stretch at Indy was E M P T Y! Oh, and other stands were the same way too. Sad, real sad.
And, try to find an entry list for this years 500. I couldn’t. For a long time the Indy 500 was billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. Not anymore.
Further down in this weeks column, in my emails racing related section, are some emails that have been sent out from members of the Yahoo! Race History Group. Some interesting things said – IF you’re an old fart like me and was brought up on the racing back in the day – when dirt tracks also meant something to do with the national championship. They were great days – now, lost forever, so it seems.
Note: IF you’re a fan of Indycar racing, here’s a link on the current and possible future of the cars that was in one of the latest emails in the Yahoo! Group:
Sad news: I got this via an email from a Yahoo! Race History member, on Monday morning:
“"Fellow Rhers, it is with deep regret
that I have to pass along this sad news. We have lost one of the greats at
Indy. This morning at 2:30 am Indy time, AJ Watson has worked on his last race
car. On May 8th he had his 90th birthday and was in failing health at that
I'd like to ask that until noon tomorrow Indy time that we only post our feelings and comments about AJ Watson on this site.
We can go back to the thoughts of the current Indy car state after that., please.
Thank you and RIP AJ.
A.J. Foyt on passing of A.J. Watson
Master mechanic and race car
designer and builder extraordinaire A.J. Watson passed away today at age 90. Foyt drove and won with Watson-designed and built roadsters in
the 60s. Eleven of his 67 victories came in either Watson or Watson-Trevis roadsters, including his first two Indy 500s (1961
and 1964). Foyt drove Watson’s sprint car in 1960
winning the USAC Eastern Division title that year. Foyt
continued to drive Watson’s sprint car off and on through 1968, winning his
final race for Watson at Ascot in
A.J. Foyt: “I was very good friends with A.J. Watson and his wife Joyce. He picked me up to drive his sprint car years back. We worked right there at his house, took the 220 Offy and built the Chevrolet. He was a pioneer. He came out against Kurtis and built the Watson roadster and I was lucky enough to win with it. In his day right here at the Indy 500, there was nobody that was going to beat the three W’s: Watson, Wilke and Ward.
“It’s hard to believe he’s gone. I’m just glad I was able to go see him on his 90th birthday [May 8]. We did talk about old times. He had a picture of me and him with his sprint car on the wall and I teased him, ‘A.J. were we ever that young?’ He said, ‘It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?’”
From Gordon White:
A.J. Watson was a friend. I only came to know him after his race mechanic days were over, but he was certainly approachable and had his ego well under control. In fact later, when I wrote my Leader Card book, he was a hard interview because he was so honest. He told me he just took Frank Kurtis' roadster design and improved it. He had to be coaxed to talk about the things he did. You had to know a lot about A.J. in order to draw out just what he did do.
I recall talking to him about the aerodynamics for his rear-engine cars, when the big money teams were using wind tunnels he was in the back of a pickup truck on Rt. 36 with a wing mounted on a scale, trying to see how much downforce it created.
We also lost this past week, restorer Dave Hentschel, one of the good ones.
R.I.P. both of you, A.J. and Dave.
For those that might be interested:
Saturday, May 17 QUALIFYING DAY 1 - $20 admission, 12 and under free
7 a.m.-6 p.m., Public Gates Open
8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Group 1 Practice
8:30 a.m.-9 a.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Group 2 Practice, 500
Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard Begins
9 a.m.-10 a.m., Verizon IndyCar Series (All) Practice
10 a.m., Chevy Pin Distribution Begins -
10:15 a.m., Qualifying Pre-Race Show,
11:00 a.m.-5:50 p.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying
2 p.m., LIVE Concert,
Sunday, May 18 OLD NATIONAL ARMED FORCES POLE DAY - $20 admission, 12 and under free
7 a.m.-4 p.m., Public Gates Open
8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
9:45 a.m., Enlistment Ceremony Begins - Plaza Stage
10:15 a.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Group 1 Qualifying Begins (Positions 10 - 30)
11 a.m. Rapid Fire Concert, Plaza Stage
12:15 p.m., American Dairy Pin Distribution
12:45 p.m.-1:30 p.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Group 2 Qualifying Begins
(Positions 31 - 33)
2:00 p.m.-2:45 p.m., Verizon IndyCar Series Fast 9 Qualifying
3:00 p.m., Verizon Pole Award Celebration
Monday, May 19
10 a.m.-6 p.m., Public Gates Open
Noon-5 p.m., Practice
Tuesday, May 20 NO TRACK ACTIVITY
Wednesday, May 21 AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE 500 FESTIVAL COMMUNITY Day (No Track Activity) $10 gate admission, 6 and under free
9 a.m.-6 p.m., Public Gates Open
10 a.m.-10:50 a.m., 500 Festival Pin Distribution,
11 a.m.-Noon, Indy Lights Drivers Autograph Session, Pagoda Pavilion
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.,
3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Pagoda Pavilion. (Wristbands Required)
4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Pagoda Pavilion (Wristbands Required)
Thursday, May 22 INDY LIGHTS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING - Free
8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Public Gates Open
9:00 a.m.-Noon, Indy Lights Practice
1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m., Indy Lights Qualifying
Friday, May 23 COORS LIGHT CARB DAY - $30 admission, 12 and under free
8 a.m.-6 p.m., Public Gates Open
8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., Vintage Car Exhibition
10 a.m.-11 a.m., Firestone Pin Distribution,
11:00 a.m.-Noon, Verizon IndyCar Series Practice Begins
12:30 p.m.-1:20 p.m., Indy Lights Race Begins
1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Pit Stop Competition Begins
3:30 p.m., Carb Day Concert
Begins Featuring Sammy Hagar and the Wabos and Sublime With
7:00 p.m.–9:30 pm., Meet Angela Savage, daughter of the late Swede Savage, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Saturday, May 24 LEGENDS DAY HONORING MARIO ANDRETTI PRESENTED BY FIRESTONE - $10 admission, 12 and under free
8 a.m.-8 p.m., Public Gates Open, Vintage Car Display, Memorabilia Show
8:45 a.m., Rookie Chat -
9:00 a.m.-10 a.m,
9:30 a.m.-10:15 a.m., Vintage Race Car Laps
10:30 a.m.-11 a.m., Public Drivers Meeting, Tower Terrace
12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m., Legends of IMS
1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Former Driver Autograph Session A, North Chalet
2:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Q&A with Mario Andretti -
3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m., Former Driver Autograph Session B, Mario Andretti Meet and Greet (Wristband Holders Only)
5:30 p.m., Tyler Farr Concert Begins followed by Jason Aldean Concert at 6:30 p.m. on Turn 4 Stage (Separate Admission)
Sunday, May 25 98th INDIANAPOLIS 500 RACE DAY - Tickets start at $40
5:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Public Gates Open
8 a.m., Parade of Bands
10:50 a.m., Vintage Car Laps
11:33 a.m., Driver Introductions
Noon, Start of 98th
2014 ticket information : Ticket information is available for the four
events in 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Grand Prix of
Fans can order tickets at
www.ims.com/tickets , by calling 800-822-INDY or
317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting
the IMS Ticket Office at the
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
Kligerman to stand by for Busch in
Is there one special race that I’d love to see in person? You bet! No, it isn’t the Indy 500, or LeMans 24 hour, or another Sebring 12 hour but the CHILI BOWL.
However, I’m afraid it’s one race that I’ll never see in person. How I wish it was televised nationally and not on a PPV deal.
The Great Question: How do I get Chili Bowl Tickets?
National Guard Spends Millions Sponsoring NASCAR, But Fails To Get New Recruits
In part: "In 2012 alone, for example, the Guard spent $26.5 million on NASCAR sponsorships, which generated 24,800 potential recruits. However, of those people only 20 actually met the Guard’s qualifications — and none of them chose to enlist.
Results worsened in 2013, with only 7,500 prospective recruits coming out of the NASCAR sponsorship.”
Since I’ve been a royal pain in the azz for OCFS, they seem to not want to respond to my emails and I can’t post on their Facebook page – can only “share”. Nevertheless, I still put things out about the track and drivers. This coming Sunday the World of Outlaws – Sprint Cars, will be at OCFS, along with the Sportsman cars. I hope the weather is good for that show. It’s highly doubtful that I’ll be there, however. Methinks I’d get more enjoyment if they took the wings off. On top of that, barring any cautions – the price is a tad high for a feature race that might be about nine minutes in duration.
Note: No, the link to the OCFS MyLaps on the OCFS website still has not been corrected, as I expected. It’s a shame, too. I doubt that I’m the only one that would like to see those lap times.
Also, on June 7th is “Nostalgia Night”. I’ve seen up to 59 former driver names listed as possible attendees. ACOT (Atlantic Coast Old Timers) also come to OCFS on that day, too, with some members bringing their restored race cars with them. Yes, they are supposed to get some track time. Did you know that the very first time ACOT had exhibition runs on a race track – it was at OCFS? And, the very first time that Nofri (Nick) Fornoro, Sr. flagged a race was also at OCFS/
Vintage Racing Celebration
Friday, August 01 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 | 9:00am - 5:00pm
Road Course Days: Aug. 1-2
Oval Days: Aug. 3-4
Note #1: My daughter, Judy, and I are planning on attending this years show. I’ve heard rumors that if there is not a good turnout (car wise), it could be the last Vintage Meet at Loudon. Sadly, since the track has changed hands, it has – shall I say, been “NASCARized” and now it cost those that go there for their track time a lot more, money wise than it was back in the day.
The same thing happened at
Note # 2: Last year, when they had the Indycar 400 mile race at Pocono, there were some Vintage cars there – mostly Indy cars. I understand there will be more this coming July for the Indycar 500 Mile race at Pocono.
Former OVRP Dirt Oval runners:
With “Mother Nature” pulling her usual weekend stunt last weekend, and a good many Friday and Saturday races falling to the weather, there are not a big amount of results to show ya. Mostly I’ve picked them up via the AARN and it’s being available on the Internet, on Tuesdays. Some tracks are kinda slow in getting info out tat they were cancelled or even with their race results.
Tyler Dippel was
6th and Anthony Perrego 9th at
Billy VanInwegen was 5th in the Modified feature at I-88, but was a DQ due to being light on the scales. Brittany Tresch was 3rd, Chuck Alessi 15th, Emily VanInwegen 16th, Joe Kata 17th and Josh Pieniazek 20th in the nights CRSA 305 Sprint Car feature.
AJ Filbeck was 2nd in the Sportsman feature at U/R.
Brett Wright was 18th and Alex Bell a DNS in the Modified feature at A/S. In the Sportsman feature, Brian Krummel was 5th and Hunter Bates 25th.
Kyle Rohner was 5th in the Wingless 600 Micro Sprint feature at the Airport Speedway.
Molly Chambers was 9th in the Wingless 600 Micro Sprint feature at Linda’s.
Only 20 names this week.
A little trip back in time # 1:
May 15th has not been a very good day at the Indianapolis Speedway, as you can see, below:
Chet Miller ... Died ... AAA
driver 1928 to 1953. He ran the Indy 500 sixteen times with a best finish of
3rd in 1938. He was killed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice
for the 1953
Keith Andrews ... Died ... He
started racing on oval tracks in 1946 driving Roadsters, progressing to midgets
in 1947 and winning three feature races at Lakeside Speedway. He won the
Colorado Midget Championship three years running from 1952 to 1954. In 1955 he
moved up to big cars and entered in the
Gordon Smiley... Died ...
American race car driver from Omaha, Nebraska that ran SCCA Formula Atlantic,
Can-Am, Formula 5000, Formula Super Vee and Indy
cars. Smiley raced in the
A little trip back in time # 2:
Yes, back in the day, if you
were not fast enough to qualify for an Indy (Champ) car race, you went
home. Even the great AJ Foyt had it happen on some occasions, like the Champ car
Some interesting threads on the DTD forum –
Note: An interesting post by Jeff Lambert on the subject.
OOPS! Forgot to put this first item in last week!
Nine race fans settle over
Nine fans injured when a race
car flew into a safety fence and sprayed debris in the grandstands at Daytona
International Speedway last year have reached a settlement with the track.
International Speedway Corp. will not release the amount of the settlement with
the nine claimants represented by the Morgan & Morgan law firm, said Lenny
Santiago, ISC senior director of public relations.
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race
Indy 500 practices underway for Kurt Busch:
The runs Kurt Busch had made up to Sunday in the #26 Suretone Honda for Andretti Autosport were solely single-car runs, where he had a chance to acclimate simply to the nature and handling of the lighter, less powerful IndyCar compared to the heavier, more brutal and higher horsepower NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Sunday marked Busch's first chance to run in traffic, in dirty air, in a moment he appreciated. He banked 31 laps on the day, with his fastest on lap 29 of 220.352 mph good for P12 on the time sheets. "It was a nice rookie day to go play in traffic," said the 2004 Sprint Cup champion. "The Andretti Autosport guys ramped up where we are with the levels, to get in dirty air. Today was a nice shakedown, and the second run was a baseline run. It was nice to have a champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay, take me around, and then with Munoz and E.J. Viso. It's just neat to move to the next step, which is to go out there in dirty air and draft with teammates." Busch described the difference of running in traffic in NASCAR versus traffic in IndyCar as "times 10," in IndyCar, so he could easily catch the car in front of them. With less horsepower, it's a lot to digest. Busch and the rest of the five-car Andretti Autosport effort resume practice on Monday.(NBC Sports)(5-12-2014)
Edwards not commenting on contract negotiations:
#99-Carl Edwards talked to the media Friday at Kansas Speedway:
You mentioned contracts. Has there been progress? "You guys know that I don't like to talk about that stuff in the media. To me, that is business and I have made the mistake of letting that turn into a big media thing before so I would rather not talk about that and keep that between me and Jack and Steve Newmark."
Are some teams more enticing that others? "Part of me not talking about it would be not answering that question."(Ford Racing)(5-10-2014)
#99-Carl Edwards has played
his cards extremely close to the vest on whether or not he'll remain with Roush
Fenway Racing once his contract expires at the end of this season. But before
Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway, Edwards was left
flustered and stammered a bit when Fox Sports announcer Darrell Waltrip came right out and asked Edwards bluntly, "Can
you win a championship at Roush?" It was rather obvious Edwards was taken
back by Waltrip's question and was not prepared for
it. "That's a good question," Edwards said. "I think we can, I
mean we've been very close. We sure looked real close at it, but we just
haven't got it done. It's been 10 years and really, overall that's my goal. I
believe if I work hard enough and Roush works hard enough, I believe we can do
it." But then Edwards may have inadvertently slipped and gave what
appeared to be a potential hint that he very well may be in his last year at
RFR. "There's not a better year than this year with Jimmy Fennig, the Chase format, and finishing Ford Championship
2014 Sprint Cup Driver Chase Championship Points Standings:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon [1 win], 394
2) #20-Matt Kenseth, 379, -15
3) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win], 373, -21
4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [1 win], 368, -26
5) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 367, -27
6) #22-Joey Logano [2 wins], 346, -48
7) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 340, -54
8) #31-Ryan Newman, 332, -62
9) #16-Greg Biffle, 328, -66
10) #55-Brian Vickers, 327, -67
Other drivers with at least one win, likely will make the Chase:
11) #2-Brad Keselowski [1 win], 326, -68
12) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 318, -76
15) #4-Kevin Harvick [2 wins], 302, -92
28) #41-Kurt Busch [1 win], 211, -183 (52 pts ahead of 31st)
See UNOFFICIAL drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf).
See the UNOFFICIAL owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).
5-Hour Energy "good" with NASCAR:
After questioning NASCAR's
integrity last season, the president of 5-Hour Energy said the company's
sponsorship extension with Clint Bowyer is an endorsement of the Sprint Cup
Series' direction. "We're good," 5-Hour president Scott Henderson
said Friday at Kansas Speedway, where the company launched a new flavor that
will help benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. "Obviously,
we wouldn't have signed up for three more years if we weren't OK with it."
Last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway,
Television ratings for
NASCAR's spring race at
See past races for 2013 and 5-year comparison chart on the 2014 NASCAR TV Ratings page.(5-11-2014)
Sad News –
Patricia Petty: Patricia Petty, wife of Maurice Petty and sister-in-law to Richard Petty, passed away Sunday, May 11. Richard Petty offered the following statement: "We all love Patricia. She was another cornerstone in the Petty family and was always there for Maurice and allowed us to do what we loved to do. She was just another special part of the family. We'll miss her and give our love and support to Maurice and his family at this time."(Richard Petty Motorsport)(5-12-2014)
Kurt Busch 2nd in Tuesday's Indy 500 practice:
Andretti Autosport teammates EJ Viso and Kurt Busch were the speed demons at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tuesday when heavy rain arrived at 1:30pm. Viso field-leading lap was 224.488 mph. Busch was second at 224.159 mph. This is his first IndyCar event. Two other of Michael Andretti's cars were fourth and fifth: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, respectively. Hunter-Reay ran 223.612 mph with Andretti at 223.605 mph. Third was Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya at 224.115 mph. There still have been no accidents on the oval portion of this month.(Indianapolis Star)(5-14-2014)
From Track Forum:
Grand Prix of
Found on the Internet – racing related:
Everything you need to know
for Saturday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at
emails – racing related:
Below are some emails that came out in the Yahoo! Race History Group:
I am for anything that helps racing. Indy needs something more, I am not sure what. I can't believe all of those empty seats.
I am from
I have to agree that more is needed. But most definitely, not another "road race" in front of what was mostly empty stands. I'll still stand by what I've said - not enough American drivers - drivers that we've heard of, in the series.
I saw the downfall of this
series start when I was attending races at
I think one reason there
aren’t more American drivers is the same reason all forms of professional
racing are in trouble because Napcar has bled all the
sponsorship and talent to their series and nothing is left for anyone else.
Owners want to win, and the last generation of best
We like to make fun of Napcar here, but IMHO, they DO have the best drivers in the
world. Times have changed since Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Nigel Mansel put our boys on the trailer. We have seen Montoya,
who won in both Formula 1 and Indy Car, come crawling back to Indycar with 2 victories (both on road courses) in Napcar over several years. Almost all the Napcar drivers are US born. If they had been evenly split
between Napcar and Indycar,
things might be different. Personally, I don’t care where a driver comes from
as long as he puts on a good show. I think
I did watch last night, BTW and the thing that struck me most was how ugly the cars are. I realize the rear bodywork is a reaction to interlocking wheel accidents, but I think there must be a more aesthetic way to solve the problem. The fact is, with one of the most heavily policed spec series in history, the racing is too close, since someone has to do something stupid to pass, since the cars are too closely matched to do it on a rational basis.
I live about 2 1/2 hours east of the
On the other hand Tony Stewart has spent some money to let me know what is happening at Eldora.
If you think that the promotion of the 500 to the fans (or TV fans) is poor……
How about getting 33 cars (plus backups) and 33 drivers ENTERED. Those 33 machines/drivers are going to be knocking themselves out to compete to be the fastest 33 in the starting field…… yawn.
I also wonder how many of those are either fully or partially subsidized by IMS and the family?
Maybe the promoter figures like the baseball story: "Build it and they will come."
Just out of curiosity I pulled my file on the 1969 race. I received the entry list on April 23 (according to my date stamp). Listed are 84 cars with 42 assigned drivers as of this date. The most challenging name to pronounce is Lothar Motschenbacher!
and IIRC Lothar spoke pretty good English too
The other side of the “too many foreigners” argument is this:
Back in the 60’s and 70’s when they started coming over many of them (not all) also raced in other North American series such as the Trans-Am and Can-Am – even Formula 5000 and sports cars. While not oval track upright cars, their names were more familiar to the fans through their other venues.
Today, we are getting more of the totally unknown and unheard of driver (who might be very talented) but also comes with a big sponsorship and support package. This seems to have blossomed in the 90’s and it continues today.
When you can garner ONLY 33 real entries for the “greatest spectacle in racing”, you’re dependent upon the money alone -- almost. Somebody should bring back that rodeo cowboy or Speed Racer….. Otherwise, somebody is just blowing some smoke up someone’s butt…..
I will not argue that
yesterdays race had a dismal start, and I think the use of NASCAR starting
cones is a joke, but discussing all the foreigners in champ car sounds like a
discussion from 1950. I'm not really sure what an American name is suppose to
look like keeping in mind that in the past years we saw names like Bettenhausen, Vuckovich, and
Andretti. Oh, and what an accent that guy had. Champ car has always drawn a
wide group from many countries for drivers and auto manufacturers. IMHO the
last great driver we have seen from anywhere that is as well rounded as a Foyt, Andretti, or a Parnelli
Jones in as many different racing types is our own Tony Stewart. He just
happens to be North American born (my wife makes me differentiate that since
she being from
Now I bet I opened a can of worms.
Here is a link to an interesting article discussing the design of Indy cars in terms of ‘transition’.... I was really interested in the gamma titanium-aluminum alloy on the turbine wheel..... now that really makes me want to go to Indy next year! My interest in the Indy 500 is centered in the 60’s, both in terms of the personalities and the cars. It started to fade in the 80’s, flat-lined in the late 90’s. The last Indy 500 I went to was in 1993. I get my Indy 500 fix these days by building Offy models, enlarging my book collection, racing vintage cars, reading Kevin’s blogs, and mining nuggets from this Group
I’m not blaming Napcar for anything, I’m just stating the obvious re the economic situation. Since Napcar has cornered almost all the big sponsorship, Indycar is left with a situation were last year they were paying for the TV time as if they were running an ad. If there’s no sponsorship money, the budget has to come from somewhere. Foreign countries and corporations are willing to back their drivers in a way that ours aren’t. That’s how we got where we are.
There is no way to sugar coat this. Indy car and the Indy 500 aren't dead, but they are on life support. I know most of the guys on this site are old enough to have seen Indy and the "Championship Trail" when it was the premier racing circuit in the nation, and we long to see that again. It ain't gonna happen because the powers that be won't let it happen. There is one way to breathe some life into this series, but there isn't a snowball's chance of it happening. Add 4-6 1 mile dirt track races into the championship, and make it a requirement that you compete in these races to be eligible for the Indy 500. That will thin out the foreign accents in victory circle and provide our open wheel drivers with an opportunity to move up the ladder without going to NASCAR.
Blaming NASCAR for Indy Car's
woes is ridiculous. NASCAR markets a
product that features friendly, accessible drivers that fans can relate
to. If you watched last night's race
You are absolutely
correct. There is NO name recognition
with most of the drivers. Most have
established themselves in
They all go about their careers like going to work. No promotion, no excitement and most of all.......very little personality. One of the most popular drivers is Castroneves. What a personality. We see all sides of him. Of course, IndyCar works overtime in suppressing these types of drivers. Well, that terrible person said our official was an idiot. Fine that boy. Teach him not to be the center of attention. This is about IndyCar, not the drivers. NASCAR makes sure I know everything about every driver. IndyCar? Top secret stuff! NASCAR needs to be careful with that type of suppression. At least they recognize that.
They all need to look at NASCAR as a model to learn from. Not an enemy. NASCAR, much to my chagrin, has a formula that is working. IndyCar has no format at all. They just make changes to be making changes. I just read the new format for qualifying at Indy. Ridiculous.
The fact that they cannot get 33 cars for the biggest race in the world tells you something.
Every year, new engine rules. Just set a formula for the engines and let them run whatever they want as long as it conforms to the formula. Leave the formula in place until it is absolutely necessary for some reason to change it. Same thing with chassis design. Would spark more interest, more participants etc. How excited can I get when they are all the same chassis manufacturer, same engine manufacturer. Just let them race. Let innovation come back. Control the technology growth to help control costs. Hell, NASCAR just allowed fuel injection. Hasn't t seemed to hurt them. And they get those sleds going 200 mph also. Innovation. Don t stunt technology, just control it's growth. Hell, NASCAR hasn t changed the engine rules since Christ was a child.
That s my rant. IndyCar used to be really important. It could be again
I did not like the DW12 cars ... at first. But they have grown on me. But then again I always liked MT’s “pancake” cars too.
Those “buggy bumpers” on the rear end kinda clean up the look of the rear of the car.
I do agree about the drivers not being able to see but feel it is as much a factor of rear engine design as anything.
We have the driver sitting so low in an effort to reduce drag it is becoming ridiculous. Shoot, they can barely see over the dash panel!
Of course they COULD always move over and quit drafting couldn’t they?
I find myself becoming more and more of a NAPCAR fan these days. More side by side racing and way fewer “parades” like we had Saturday.
Just my nickel
I was unable to watch the Indy GP live but have now caught up and watched the replay. IMHO there were several problems some of which have been addressed:
1. The Spec DW12 machines are ugly and with the giant rear wings and built up cockpit structures make it difficult for the drivers to see around the car in front of them making restarts onroad courses dangerous.
2. The spec engines don't emit sounds like powerful race cars
3. The last problem is more systemic what I call the "the internationalization" of IndyCar. The Indy series that we all remember and grew up with has been replaced by international drivers and car builders. Each year IndyCar becomes more and more like Formula one. An example is standing starts.
All that said it's still better than watching NASCAR tintops drone around for hours on end.
With the recent threads about the Indy 500, is this what we want? Full disclosure, this is not what I want, but a commentary about "What if...."
1- The Indy speedway resigns from the FIA and removes the FIA international sanction.
In response to The questions:
1. Why not?
2. Why not?
I'd suggest some basic chassis dimensions with some leeway (wheelbase, width, etc.)
Simple engine rules (I'd suggest 5 litre or less pushrod V8s because there plenty of people who can build them), normally aspirated — no turbos. Wouldn't have to be V8s, just something that a little money and and some ingenuity could make go.
All metal chassis (again because lots of people could build them). Very strict rules and inspections concerning safety. Use as much of the current safety rules as possible (wheel tethers, fire suppression, crush zones, etc.). I'd personally say no rear motors but that's me. I wouldn't want to see Oswego-style offsets either but some offset would be OK.
No wings or other aero stuff beyond smooth, racy-looking bodies. Also only vertical flat panels no higher than maybe 18" from the ground to keep from having wedge-shaped cars).
Narrow tires. Add that to no wings and you'd have to be skillful and brave to go fast.
I have no real idea about how much such a car would cost but I'd be willing to bet it would be a fraction of what the cars cost now.
My idea's not aimed at eliminating foreign drivers. If they'd want to run for the money — c'mon over.
My thoughts on the current condition of the Indy 500: Indy was what it was (a pretty big deal) and now is what it is (just another race and that's not going to change for a long time).
Note # 1: Yes, there are more, but I figured I’d stop now.
Note # 2: Another email that was sent out on Tuesday had an attachment that showed the entry list for the 1950 Indy 500. Yes, it was quite lengthy.
If anyone is interested, email me and I’ll send you that email.
“Here is the entry list for 1950. Ninety plus percent of these drivers raced at our local track (at one time or another).”
Note # 3: When is the last time you saw an Indy 500 driver compete at a track in your area in a Midget or Sprint Car?
Found on Facebook – racing related:
From last week:
Facebook on 5/6/14:
One Driver held an AAA, USAC and CART license in his career.....Who is it??
Think ya know? You might be surprised!
Answer: No, it isn’t AJ. It’s Bobby Unser
From the AARN:
305 Sprint Driver,
Is Seriously Burned
Cromary Family Has Kept
Outlaws Vs. Posse:
Open Comp Asphalt Mod Race
At Lee Goes To Matt Hirshman
Brett Hearn Wins Third Straight
Supermod Season As Winner;
Bond Sets New Track Record
Finally Gets Open;
Mike Blose Wins Big
Wet Weather Continues To
Plague Many Tracks
Kyle Lear Gets First Win
New BD Motorsports
He questions whether the National Guard sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is worth it?
Note: If you've seen it, you know that it's being questioned by some government people - especially one who is a big NASCAR fan. Latest I've seen is that the National Guard is going to look into it.
Ernie makes mention of a
phone call he got the other day from a race driver. Said driver was making mention of why we're
seeing less and less as far as car counts go.
Some reasons: Getting tougher and
tougher to get crew members. Race
drivers are not in a position to be able to pay the crew members pit entry
fees. Wives are getting upset when some
racers are using "house" monies for their race cars. Some tracks are not enforcing their rough
riding rules, and there are track favorites that seem to get away with
everything. The cost of aluminum parts
have gone high - something that one needs to be competitive - so some teams
can't afford the lighter parts. Ernie make s mention of a website - CompetitionPlus.com - a drag
racing website. It has this posted: "The act of cutting and pasting articles
from this publication to a message board is a clear copyright violation as is
pulling photos to post on social media sites.
All published articles and photos are protected by
Makes mention of driver Eric Korman teaming up with Brett Deyo to put on a race at the Georgetown Speedway on August 26th. So far (Knowing Brett Deyo) the purse is $24,000.00. That's for a 35 lap Big Block Modified race that would pay $4,000.00 to win.
He has quite a good sized article about how the WoO Sprint Cars have done against the "PA Posse". Among the four speedways - Williams Grove (186 races), Lincoln (43), OCFS (28) and New Egypt (5), there have been 257 races, since 1978. The Posse has won a total of 63 WoO A-Mains.
Steve also had a pretty good sized article about race driver Darren Pifer getting seriously burned when his 305 Sprint Car caught fire and Pifer could not get out of his car because he could not remove his steering wheel and his legs were stuck in his car.
Note: Are Sprint Car steering wheels bigger now than they were back in the day, and that's a reason some drivers get stuck? Back in the day, I'm pretty sure they did not have the quick release steering wheels as they do today. I can't recall a driver being stuck in his car, back then. Heck, many got thrown out!
John informs us that Steve Kinser has won 577 WoO "A" Mains over his career, and is a 20-time WoO champion. Steve did win the very first WoO Sprint Car race that was held at OCFS back in 1983. John also thinks (as do I) that maybe the NASCAR Truck Series should maybe try some other venues other than what they've been running on these last few years. There was a time when they ran at tracks like Flemington.
Note: I'm not sure if that would be a good thing, or not. Drivers like Kyle Busch and Joey Logano might not be able to run IF there's a truck race far enough away from where the Nationwide or Cup races are held.
He starts of his column with
the news that third generation driver Randy Green won his first ever Sportsman
feature last Saturday at the 5 Mile
USAC Sprints coming east:
Orange County Fair
FOR RELEASE BEGINNING MONDAY, MAY12
TWO RACE MEETS THIS WEEKEND
AT ORANGE COUNTY FAIR
The World of Outlaws Sprint
Cars and Steve Kinser Invade
First up on Saturday, May 17, the final 18 laps of the Johnstons Toyota Modified feature from May 3 will take to the track. Then race meet sponsor Superior Building Supply presents a full program of heat and feature races for the DIRTcar Modifieds, the Rookie Sportsman, and Street Stocks. Racing gets underway at 7:00 pm.
On Sunday, May 18, all time WoO winner and champion Steve Kinser
and the rest of the traveling Outlaws, bring the Greatest Show on Dirt to
Presented by Dana Distributors and Superior Building Supply, the night’s racing action also includes the Orange County Sportsman division. On Sunday, the pit gate opens at 2:00 pm, stands and drive-in at 3:00 pm, and racing begins at 6:00 pm.
Fans should call the Speedway Office, 845-342-2573, for tickets.
Information for all Orange County Fair Speedway action is available at the speedway website, www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net,
or from at the
Note: Steve Kinser won the very first WoO Sprint Car race held at OCFS, back in 1983. Also on that day, Chuck LoPresti won the Go-Kart race that was also held on the big 5/8 mile track.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 13, 2014
RETURNS TO THE
Rain interrupted last year's change
of date for the traditional "Hoosier Hundred" in
Opening the four-day barrage of
motorsports events in the racing capital, the 100-mile USAC Silver Crown
Championship race on the historic one-mile oval has a checkered history not unlike
The Indiana State Fairgrounds actually hosted a 100-mile National Championship race in 1946 won by Rex Mays, but the Hoosier Hundred tradition began seven years later when Sweikert emerged the winner in a four-car blanket finish.
The ensuing years have produced some
This year's race is round three of an 11-race series schedule incorporating both dirt and paved ovals. The series will be coming off the May 17 USAC "Hall of Fame Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway where 12 inductees will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The two races five nights apart will certainly have a profound impact on the 2014 points race.
Former race winners Dave Darland and Jerry Coons Jr. will return to try to grab yet another victory on the mile oval.
The Hoosier Lottery Grandstand opens at 3 p.m. on May 22 for the Hoosier Hundred with practice at 5 p.m., qualifying at 6 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m. UMP modifieds will also race. To purchase tickets, please call 217.764.3200. For more information go to www.trackenterprises.com or www.hoosier100.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway Under the Lights at Historic Friday Night Opener
“Fans First” free admission program begins at Whelen/Mobil 1 event
For Immediate Release DBS-051314-1
WEST HAVEN, VT – History will be made on Friday, May 16, as Devil’s Bowl Speedway opens for the first time in its 48-year run with a Friday night “under the lights” event. Whelen Engineering and Mobil 1 present the groundbreaking NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stock car show at 7:00 p.m.
The event will honor fans as
much as competitors as Devil’s Bowl Speedway begins its new “Fans First”
program for 2014, granting free general admission to residents of selected
locales throughout the year. Residents
of the track’s hometown in
“The Fans First program is a
way for us to thank all of the loyal race fans who have supported Devil’s Bowl
Speedway not just in the new era, but for many years,” track co-owner Alayne Bruno said.
“There’s no better way to kick it off than with the folks who live right
Regular general admission is $12 at the gate for adults, $10 for seniors (age 62+), and – as always – free for children 12 years old and under.
Three champions will open the
defense of their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
titles at the Whelen/Mobil 1 Night race. Todd Stone of
In addition to those three divisions, the open-wheel SK Light class will take to the fast half-mile for its first appearance. Expected drivers include veterans Bruce Jaycox and Kenny Cantlin, along with rookie sensation T.J. Bleau.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is
located on Route 22A in
Contact: Justin St. Louis Phone: (802) 355-3282
Phone: (802) 265-3112
This week’s photo:
One has to wonder – what if they had used a heat treated piece in the steering system of the car that Bill Vukovich drove in 1952 at the Indy 500, rather than the “cold” one, which broke? He might have won three in a row – 52, 53 & 54.
Vuky hitting the wall with 8 laps to go in 1952, giving the win to Troy Ruttman.
Kyle Larson Sweeps
Kyle Larson's dominating
night at Kokomo Speedway in
Note: At times, I watch some country music videos on my computer. Believe it or not, when I was watching one the other night, the above video was listed over on the right, along with other music videos. Hey, ya never know!
Not racing related:
While watching the Mets/Yankees on Tuesday evening, the announcers were talking about the rash of Tommy John surgeries this season, already. I thought I’d do a quick search:
What's with all the Tommy John surgeries?
A staggering 25 different pitchers have had Tommy John surgery in 2014, including several big names.
New restaurant strikes put spotlight on the minimum-wage debate
Joe South – born on February 28, 1940. Left us on September 5, 2012.
Joke of the week:
I never really liked the term "Old Person"
but this makes me feel better about it.
And if you aren't one, I bet you know one!
I got this from an "Old Person" friend of
OLD PERSON PRIDE
I'm passing this on as I did not want to
be the only old person receiving it.
Actually, it's not a bad thing to be called,
as you will see.
Old People are easy to spot at sporting
events; during the playing of the
National Anthem. Old People remove
their caps and stand at attention and
sing without embarrassment. They
know the words and believe in them.
Old People remember World War
II, Pearl Harbor,
Hitler. They remember the Atomic Age,
the Korean War, The Cold War, the Jet
Age and the Moon Landing. They remember
the 50 plus Peace-keeping Missions from
1945 to 2005, not to mention
If you bump into an Old Person on the
sidewalk he will apologize. If you pass an
Old Person on the street, he will nod or
tip his cap to a lady. Old People trust
strangers and are courtly to women.
Old People hold the door for the next
person and always, when walking, make
certain the lady is on the inside for
Old People get embarrassed if someone
curses in front of women and children
and they don't like any filth or dirty
language on TV or in movies.
Old People have moral courage and
personal integrity. They seldom brag
unless it's about their children or
It's the Old People who know our great
country is protected, not by politicians,
but by the young men and women in the
military serving their country.
This country needs Old People with their
work ethic, sense of responsibility, pride
in their country and decent values.
We need them now more than ever.
Thank God for Old People.
Pass this on to all of the "Old People"
I was taught to respect my elders.
It's just getting harder to find them.
Please don’t forget:
Kinda looks like
Until my next column – not sure just when it will be! Please keep checking either Dirt Track Digest or New England Tractor/Race Report on Thursdays!
I can be reached, via e-mail, at: email@example.com