Danica goes green

Posted by Iannucci | 11/30/2009 | , , | 7 comments »
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Our long national nightmare is over. At last, there is an official contract announcement from Danica Patrick!

Danica Patrick confirmed a sponsor deal to drive an IndyCar for the next three years on Monday -- and her plans to drive a part-time schedule for JR Motorsports in NASCAR's Nationwide Series in 2010 remain on track as well, a source close to Patrick said.

Patrick unveiled the GoDaddy.com-sponsored Indy car she will drive for Andretti Autosport on Monday in a Good Morning America appearance. The company said in a statement that the deal to drive the car is through 2012.

That, according to the source, had to take place before she could finalize any plans in NASCAR.

(MORE from ESPN.com)
Jay Busbee of From the Marbles calls this news "underwhelming". Sorry, N-word fans. The rest of you can check out her new neon green ride.

Andretti Green Racing is no more

Posted by Iannucci | 11/25/2009 | , | 4 comments »
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A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet and have all those nasty thorns, and with that comes news of the financial rearrangement of the racing entity formerly known as "Andretti Green Racing". The departures of investment partners not named "Michael Andretti" have been finalized, and now what remains shall be henceforth known as (drum roll, please...)

The former shareholders of Andretti Green Racing have completed a transaction that has resulted in the restructuring and rebranding of the Indianapolis-based company, effective immediately.

The racing team, which boasts three IZOD IndyCar Series championships, two Firestone Indy Lights titles and two wins in the Indianapolis 500, is now solely owned by racing legend Michael Andretti and has been rebranded Andretti Autosport.
Andretti Autosport sounds rather regal and the logo looks very American, although I don't know if Michael has considered that now every contract announcement will be greeted with "(driver x) joins AA", which as many of you know relates to a certain support group for those who have imbibed too much. Not that such an association is really a big deal. I mean, does "AA" sound any more snicker-inducing than "TP" (Team Penske)? Roger Penske is certainly not bothered by such things.

At any rate, AA has much remaining to settle, as they currently have one driver officially signed (Tony Kanaan), one unofficially signed (Danica Patrick), one rumored to be signed (Ryan Hunter-Reay) and one presumed to be signed (Marco Andretti).

For the curious, here is an unofficial list of rejected names for AA:
- Three Men and a Little Lady
- (If Only We Were Just A Little Bit Faster At) Racing
- Bunnies & Rainbows Motorsports
- The White Collar Comedy Tour
- Michael Michael Motorcycle
- The Anthony Fedele Motor Militia
- Team Meeting

US F1 - Day 7

Posted by Declan | 11/23/2009 | 1 comments »
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The truth behind Danica Patrick's NASCAR plans and the 'unique' way that USF1 is funded.

Team Penske will have full Power in 2010

Posted by Iannucci | 11/19/2009 | , , | 1 comments »
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It was just a few weeks ago the Will Power was discussing his Wolverine-like ability to heal so quickly from his broken back, saying "I've got so much energy...I can do situps, I'm swimming, I'm wrestling Great White sharks every afternoon". (OK, I totally made up that last part, but it's kind of a been a boring off-season for people not named "IZOD".)

Well, now Will officially has a full-season ride in with Team Penske, and that part I'm not making up.

Penske Racing announced today that winning open-wheel racer Will Power will compete in a full-season entry for the team in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, driving the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dallara/Honda.

Joining forces with Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and Ryan Briscoe, a top contender for the 2009 IndyCar Series championship, Power will complete a powerful three-car lineup in 2010 for Penske Racing.

(MORE from Team Penske)
It just goes to show that if you want to race for The Captain, all you have to do is agree to contract as a development driver, race six times, finish in the Top 10 in every race, win once, podium on half of the races, then break your back in practice in an accident that isn't your fault. A surefire path to a successful career if ever there was one, and Will certainly proved his worth and paid his dues.

And although this is spectacular news for Will, who seems like a great guy and a talented driver, this is great news for all IndyCar fans as the bonus here is now there will be FIVE drivers who can win at any given race. That's like 25% more excitement than we had in 2009, friends.

But there is good news even for prospective fans, as with each win - and Will is destined to win at least a few races in 2010 - sportscasters everywhere in the English-speaking world will be forced to reiterated that "Yes, his name really IS Will Power", providing an extra 5 seconds of coverage money can't buy. It's almost enough to wonder if some other drivers should consider changing their names to something more noticeable like Ben Dover, Adam Baum or Harry Pitts. I mean, look what a name did for the public interest in Dick Trickle.

Come on, which sounds more memorable: Tony Kanaan, or "Chris P Bacon"? You know the answer.

(Photo: TrackSide Online)

US F1 - The Mini Series

Posted by Declan | 11/16/2009 | 0 comments »
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Day 6

Mike Gascoyne of Team Lotus arrives in Charlotte to help out.

There will be some exclusive content coming for members of the new 'USF1 - The Mini Series' Facebook group, so join now!


US F1 - The Mini Series

Posted by Declan | 11/13/2009 | 1 comments »
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Kyle Busch and his jaunt in the Indy two-seater gives Peter and idea.

Night of the Living Bloggers

Posted by Iannucci | 11/12/2009 | , | 3 comments »
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Tonight the Cavin & Kevin show, a.k.a. "Trackside", welcomes a plethora of IndyCar bloggers unto their airwaves to discuss the more interesting facets of the IndyCar series. Or Danica Patrick's unending World Leverage Tour. Or possibly even themselves. Regardless, it's been a year since the dynamic duo last attempted a "blogger night" so they might have forgotten what an utter disaster a smashing success it was.

The guest list of bloggers scheduled to appear tonight includes:

-James from 16th and Georgetown - where Curt Cavin goes to find out news

-Will from Is It May Yet? - the undisputed authority on mustaches in motorsport

-Bill from pressdog - of course

-George from Oilpressure - who in a different era would be employed as a columnist for a national publication

-Monica from The Race gIRL - world-famous fashion model and co-founder of the soon to be epic WinterTweetup

-Paul and Kohl from Planet-IRL - which is a blog, a podcast, a message board, and quite possibly a cable access channel as well.

-Bill from Drive Hard, Turn Left - a fine writer featuring the smallest font in the blogosphere

Your humble host has elected to sit this one out because unlike last year there were a limited number of time slots. Since I haven't had the pleasure of listening to the dulcet tones of most of these scheduled participants I'm greatly looking forward to hearing what my bretheren actually sound like. All of you know what I sound like, and besides I was already graciously afforded time last year on the show...Well, actually I won't be appearing because I'll be stuck in traffic heading home from work here in Arizona while the show is on, but since that doesn't sound terribly noble I'm going to go with my former explanation.

Enjoy the show broadcast live at the 1070 The Fan no matter where you are (as long as you're near an internet connection) at 7pm, Indianapolis Standard Time

US F1 - The Mini Series (Pt 4)

Posted by Declan | 11/10/2009 | 3 comments »
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Ken is worried but Peter Windsor is inspired!

If a picture says a thousand words

Posted by Iannucci | 11/10/2009 | , , | 1 comments »
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I'm not sure I want to know what this one says.

(Photo: Nelson Phillipe twitpic)

Milwaukee still dead, but not as much

Posted by Iannucci | 11/09/2009 | , | 0 comments »
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For the last few months numerous stories have led us to believe that racing - IndyCar or otherwise - was likely to never again appear at the oldest speedway in the country. That too much corruption, mishandling, or plain old bad finances had done in the famed and historic Milwaukee Mile. That the track was going the way of an old, insignificant character in a Monty Python film.

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.

The latest round of "not dead yet" focuses on YET ANOTHER group of promoters who have been tentatively approved to take over promotions at the trouble facility, this time including not only promoters who handled the track in the '90s, but also billionaire John Menard.

The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board unanimously agreed Friday to work with local businessmen Frank and Dominic Giuffre on a three-year contract to promote races at the Milwaukee Mile.

The Giuffre group would become the fourth promoter in six seasons, following State Fair Park, Milwaukee Mile Holdings (2006-'08) and Wisconsin Motorsports.

Still left unresolved is a long list of vendors who worked at the track with previous promoters. Those vendors have not been paid. Frank Giuffre said he has reached out to vendors to see if a settlement can be reached. So far, he said, no vendors have contacted him.
(MORE from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
To misquote Hamlet, "therein lies the rub". Prior promoters piled up quite a bit of debt and ill-will, not just with N****R and the IRL but with "a long list of vendors". As much as you or I would wish for it to be so, hanging YET ANOTHER sign that says "Now under new management!!!" doesn't make all of those unpaid bills magically go away, and it doesn't make any racing series still owed money come back to your track. It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

Perhaps The Milwaukee Mile is the Keith Richards of motorsports, a cockroach-like entity able to withstand such toxicity as to be nearly immortal. Or perhaps it dies tomorrow. As a race fan I certainly hope for the former, but I'm not holding my breath.

US F1 - The Mini Series Pt 3

Posted by Declan | 11/05/2009 | 4 comments »
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SPEED TV come to visit and have some harsh words for Peter

Robin says

Posted by Iannucci | 11/05/2009 | , | 0 comments »
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His latest involves the new title sponsor's favorite driver.

Hidden in Thursday's press conference to officially announce IZOD as IndyCar's title sponsor is the fact Ryan Hunter-Reay looks like he's going to land on his feet thanks to his association with the clothing company.

SPEEDtv.com has learned that Hunter-Reay, the face of IZOD's television and advertising campaign the past two years with his personal services deal, is closing in on the fourth seat at Michael Andretti's team for 2010.

Sources say IZOD is committing $5 million a year to marketing and promotion, $100,000 per car to IndyCar owners and providing seven-figure sponsorship for Hunter-Reay.

(MORE from SPEEDtv)
Whither Hideki Mutoh? And what of his fictitious reality series "Wanna Be My Grid Girl?"

(Photo: TrackSide Online)

A tedious death by tedium - tediously.

Posted by Declan | 11/04/2009 | 4 comments »
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The twittisphere is buzzing (well one tweet so far) about the latest on Danica's latest potential stock car deal. She is in the 'final' stages of an agreement with JR Motorsports. That truly is a match made on Madison Avenue and could bring together America's most over hyped and nauseatingly visible drivers. Maybe they can pool resources and learn to string a coherent sentence together pre or post race?

Anyhow, it reminded me of a piece from Marshall Pruett's excellent 'Triple Stint' column which appears weekly over at www.speedtv.com.

'Rant of the week' this week was as follows:

Hello Triplestint,

After reading about the pending launch of your Danica News Network, I'm confused and I think you may be the only entity that can help.

As I follow Danica Patrick's ongoing and unfaltering tedious flirtation with stock car racing, I have noticed that, amongst her many superpowers, she has the ability to re-invent the mundane as the radical and the fundamentally basic as the intriguingly complex. This would be quite a talent in itself if it were not for the fact that she seems to be able to transfer this gift to those around her. Take her recent visit to Michael Waltrip Racing for example.

After she spoke with Michael with regards to running some Nationwide Series races in 2010 he said the following in something I read on ESPN.com: "The thing I liked about her, and appreciated, was it was intense -- it was just about racing a car. Her people have studied the industry and they've chosen a path for her to get experience in a car. That includes Nationwide."

Notice how a discussion about racing for a stock car team is 'intense' because 'it was just about racing a car'. Straight off the bat she has nailed it, she has made a potential employer believe that the very act of giving her a job has a special quality and intensity because she will, at some point in the future, want to do that actual job she has been hired to do. Genius!

In the world of us mere mortals, the path to Sprint Cup goes through an apprenticeship of Camping World Trucks and Nationwide Series and possibly some early ARCA events on Superspeedways like Daytona or Talladega. But team Danica have turned basic logic into the sort of intense and detailed study that only an expensive agency/consultant can truly deliver. Who am I to question their abilities and it would be simply wrong of me to suggest that 10 minutes on Wikipedia would have delivered all the information they needed on the career path of Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Sam Hornish Junior, Scott Speed and Michael McDowell.

"She got me right off the bat, just with talking about her history in open wheel and what she's accomplished, and the way she progressed to where she is now, and wanting to do the same thing in stock cars, telling the story with passion and conviction and desire. I left the meeting wanting to go race a car. It was that infectious."

If her 'passion' and 'conviction' were all it took to get MW hooked I would suggest she must be using something similar to Wonder Woman's 'lasso of truth'…

The arts and entertainment business has proved that once you have a reputation you can pass any old rubbish off as a work of art/genius. 'Mr. Bean' is a perfect example. The character that Rowan Atkinson has created has made him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams despite being a basic homage to the work of silent movie legend, Buster Keaton and that of the French physical comic genius, Jacques Tati.

Danica Patrick seems to be stock car racing's 'Mr. Bean', keeping her unsuspecting public entertained by passing off an old act as something new and original, convincing them that what she is doing is a fresh and radical approach to success in NASCAR.

So I need to know if it is just me or is she becoming a trail blazing pioneer who has thrown away the rule book only to replace it with the same rule book with a different cover?

You can read the whole column at -


IZOD makes it rain

Posted by Iannucci | 11/04/2009 | , | 11 comments »
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Our long, national nightmare is over. For the first time since 2002 the IndyCar Series will finally - finally - have a title sponsor. The intrepid Curt Cavin broke the news, it's now the "IZOD IndyCar Series" to about the tune of $10 meeeellion per year in an agreement spanning five years.

While we don't know how much of that total amount is going directly to the league, how much involves ad buys, how much goes to help an unnamed driver race for an unnamed team (consult your local rumor mill for your own answers) of that single most over-aired commercial in racing history, we do know that on the surface it appears that commercial was a correct: everything IS gonna be alright, heh heh.

The most obvious side effect of this deal is that there is a lot more money floating around the league, which should serve to attract a bit more competition. And having a title sponsor should make it more convincing for others to join the sponsorship bandwagon. That's the the theory at least, but I'm not entirely sold.

Beggars can't be choosers, but that doesn't mean a starving man wants a handful of cotton-polyester blend to eat. I have nothing against IZOD and I sincerrely hope they can make more than ONE commercial, but let's be honest - the majority of auto racing fans probably don't own any IZOD stuff. They don't shop at Macy's for $60 shirts, and just because IZOD is the title sponsor it doesn't mean they will. It's not so much that it's a bad sponsor like "Bill's House of Crack", it's just, well, maybe it's me but I'm a little uncomfortable with the direction this goes.

Over the past few years we've seen lots of fashion designers sponsor various racers. Companies like Rock & Republic, William Rast, etc., likely because of the speed and glamor of racing. That makes sense for IZOD or all these $100 jeans makers as sponsors, but there's a subtle message here: The IRL is happily coupling their product with over-priced stuff people don't need. Some might argue is a factual message at this point, but the folks at 16th and Georgetown probably aren't actually considering the slogan "IndyCar - we're an overpriced product you don't need." I'm not saying this is the only message here with this announcement, just that this was my first thought. Maybe it's just me.

I'm still glad there's a title sponsor of some sort, because goodness knows there wasn't a huge line of folks waiting to drop wads of cash on this series. It's fantastic for the series to have that finally checked off the to-do list, but the fact remains that until they lower the cost of operation and improve the actual racing they're going to continue to struggle to find sponsors not named "IZOD".