Stop the presses

Posted by Iannucci | 1/31/2009 | 10 comments »
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Literally.

Dear (your name here),

We regret to inform you that IndyCar Series magazine will cease publication with immediate effect. Unfortunately, the last print issue was the 2008 Season Review and the last digital-only issue was the Mid-Winter 2008 Special, published December 2008.

Haymarket Worldwide would like to thank you for being a loyal subscriber and supporting the magazine.

For a limited time, you can still enjoy all the IndyCar Series free digital back-issues available on the Digital Archive page of www.indycarmag.com.

As an IndyCar Series fan, we want to introduce you to RACER, our monthly print magazine packed with the same top quality stories and photography you've come to expect from IndyCar Series. With RACER, you'll still get the inside line on all your favorite IndyCar Series drivers and teams, plus the latest news and views from Formula 1, ALMS, NASCAR and much more. Simply visit www.racer.com to find out more information, or to subscribe.

And for the latest news, results and multi-media content from the IndyCar Series, visit www.indycar.com, the official website of the IndyCar Series.

Once again, thank you. We value your continued support.


Sincerely,

Emma Cecilio
Circulation Manager
Well that totally sucks. Not just because I won't get super glossy headshots of drivers looking like they're about to perform neurosurgery, not just because I'' miss doing the Snoopy Dance four times a year when the issues actually arrive, not just because I love reading 47 different articles by Jeff Olson, but because I NEVER GOT MY FREAKING INDYCAR SERIES LICENSE PLATE FRAME!!!

I really should get over this. I mean, now they're illegal in Arizona, so even if I got one I don't know what I'd do with the thing. Play horseshoes, maybe?



(A free lifetime subscription to My Name Is IRL for the first comment that correctly identifies the drivers in this clip. And no, the guy pouring the milk over his head isn't one of them.)

Quote of the day

Posted by Iannucci | 1/30/2009 | 8 comments »
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The reason I use the black flag, though, is because the American justice system has ruled that I can’t use a high-powered rifle. At races, it would be so much better if I could shoot the tires out from under them so they couldn’t go back onto the track. And it would help with my practice for hunting season too.

Ladies and gentlemen, Brian Barnart has entered the Silent Pagoda.

And yes, those are his actual words. Really. Honest. I've seen the bloodstained calfskin they were inscribed upon.

DirectTV is no longer present

Posted by Iannucci | 1/29/2009 | 6 comments »
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Remember how last year "presented in DirecTV HD" was integrated into all sort of things, including the IndyCar series logo? Yeah, well, umm, scratch that. From The Score:

(IRL Spokesman John) Griffin confirmed that the IRL also lost DirecTV as a presenting sponsor. Griffin said the series’ deal with DirecTV broke down when IRL signed a deal to air races on Comcast-owned Versus cable TV channel.

“One of DirecTV’s biggest competitors is Comcast,” Griffin said. “They felt it didn’t make sense to have their logo and support in a position where it supported a Comcast initiative in any way.”
At last, I finally understand why DirecTV turned down the opportunity to sponsor this site.

Rahal Letterman Racing is not

Posted by Iannucci | 1/29/2009 | 10 comments »
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From Mike Harris of the Associated Press.

Rahal Letterman Racing has pulled out of the 2009 IndyCar Series because it cannot find a sponsor to support its program.

RLR becomes the latest racing team to be affected by the reeling economy. The team won the Indianapolis 500 with Buddy Rice in 2004 and brought Danica Patrick to the IndyCar Series.

"At this time Rahal Letterman will not be in the IRL in 2009," team co-owner Bobby Rahal told The Associated Press in an e-mail Thursday.
This is about as surprising as noticing that the sun rose in the East, as RLR like many other teams has been continuing operations largely from sponsorship packages brought by drivers. Who knows how they would have managed the last few years without Danica Patrick, Paul Dana, and Scott Sharp.

Three years ago this organization was highlighted by a three-car IndyCar team. Now? Well, now they manage the Formula BMW series.

Let's recall a happier time in RLR's history. (Note: It's over 50 minutes long.)

<a href="http://www.joost.com/036000k/t/2004-Indianapolis-500-Buddy-Rice">2004 Indianapolis 500 Buddy Rice</a>

UPDATE: Via a press release, Bobby Rahal would like to clarify something.

“As I said in the quote from the story, as of this time we do not have any sponsorship that will allow us to compete in the IRL in 2009, but by no means does that mean that we are giving up. We are continuing to search for sponsorship to run the 2009 season and to run in the Indianapolis 500 and we feel that there is still time for us to put something together that will allow that to happen.”

Which means, if you have some sponsorship they're definitely interested in helping you achieve your dream of being an IndyCar driver. Act now and you'll also receive a complimentary appearance on "The Late Show". Operators are standing by.

Clearly NASCAR is green with envy

Posted by Iannucci | 1/28/2009 | 11 comments »
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It’s been well over a year so I’m going to go ahead and say the word in just this one post. NASCAR. There. Go ahead and link that baby, Mr Search Engine. Bring the traffic from fans of the “N-Word” series because this will be something they NEED to hear.

I don’t much read USAToday since there’s like 200 words total in each daily publication but my friend Roy Hobbson at The Silent Pagoda indirectly brought this to my attention with his latest post. Not content with claiming ownership of innovations like the SAFER barrier and the HANS device and any number other technological advancements created outside of their series, it appears NASCAR is now attempting to market themselves as, well…just read what Chairman Brian France has to say.

WARNING: THIS IS NOT A PARODY. THESE ARE ACTUAL QUOTES!

"We want to do our part to be a better partner with the environment," France said. "It's really important to our fans, and they've told us that not only are they concerned about preserving the environment, but they're also concerned about high fuel costs, global warming and energy independence."

France said (Dr Mike) Lynch would be tasked with improving the sport's environmental policies to help reduce "this big energy footprint we carry from market to market."

France said going green could help attract more sponsors if an economic recovery is spurred by a renewed focus on environmental policies. He noted the Cup series' four manufacturers all were developing alternative fuel vehicles.
That’s right, NASCAR now cares about the environment. Truly, madly, deeply. What, you don’t believe the forthright and honorable Brian France? You think he names this Dr Lynch guy to be Managing Director, NASCAR Green Innovation just to “attract more sponsors”? You think that just because three of those four manufacturers have been begging for cash before Congress, a Congress told them to make more of those alternative fuel vehicles if they want any loans, that France is just trying to help them out and keep their money in his sport?

You don’t think they’ll be featuring a field full of Priuses anytime soon?

How terribly cynical of you. What about these quotes from France?

It's important to know we embark on this strategy with significant efforts already underway.

Track operators such as International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc. work diligently on the issue of recycling.

And NASCAR partners such as Goodyear, Safety Kleen and Waste Management -- leaders in their respective industries and environmental ambassadors in their own right -- are setting benchmarks for dedication to keeping NASCAR green.
You see that, you non-believers? NASCAR is “embarking on a strategy”, a strategy that includes significant efforts such as RECYCLING! All of those Bud Light cans at the track will now be placed in DIFFERENT bags from the cheese-stained nacho containers. Why, the energy saved from recycled product left at the Daytona 500 alone could be used to pay for the electricity at France's home all season.

And you know what else? They’re “setting benchmarks”. They’re writing them down this very minute, possibly even on recycled paper products. And as for Goodyear, why just this last August they distributed enough used tire product to practically seal the racing surface at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But that’s not all, friends. France has decided that embarking on these “significant efforts” aren’t enough – they need to be viewed through the prism of competition.

The IndyCar Series runs ethanol in its cars, but France indicated NASCAR's green initiatives wouldn't be competition-based in the near future.

"We're trying to be out front industry-wide, not just like some of our competitors of plopping a different fuel in and calling it green strategy," France said. "That doesn't hit any marks we'd consider important.

"We certainly hope that green technologies will be a big part of a new economy. We hope as new technologies need to market themselves, they'll find a cooperative, friendly place in NASCAR to do just that."
That’s right, Mr Tony George; IndyCar is now “some of our competitors”. Let it now be told that battle in the The Great Green War has indeed been engaged.

Two years ago the IndyCar series DARED to run their cars on 90% fuel grade ethanol, then 100%, and now they’re transitioning towards sugar-based ethanol instead of corn, progressing towards using even more sources. And what was NASCAR doing this time? Switching to “Unleaded”, thank you very much.

Oh, you think IndyCar is more friendly to the environment? You don’t see how exactly a series that runs more events with longer races with more cars (heavier cars, even) can attempt to claim the mantle of “Environmentally Friendly Racing"? You’d be surprised. Friends, NASCAR has already taken numerous additional steps to make their series more environmentally friendly.

• Restrictor plates. Forget racing for maximum speed at super speedways like Daytona and Talladega. With these handy gadgets we can curtail speed and make sure everyone drives bumper to bumper and drafts for maximum fuel efficiency – at a lower RPM to boot!

• Reducing car counts. Not only will 35 or 40 cars burn less fuel at a race, but having less than 43 cars guarantees that ALL practice laps will be strictly used for competitors only. No more of these teams that show up, burn some unleaded trying to qualify, then don’t even make the race.

• Reducing off-season practice laps. Hey, you, with the trailer full of flashy sedans with the sticker headlights heading towards Phoenix. You stop right there, mister, and park those gas-guzzlers and start conserving right now!

• Green-white-checkered finishes. By guaranteeing an entire two laps of full throttle racing, NASCAR officials have given themselves the opportunity to add innumerable yellow flag laps to every race, thus reducing overall emissions by race cars significantly.

• Changing Junior’s sponsorship. Budweiser, red. Amp Energy Drink, green!

NASCAR is dead serious about winning The Great Green War, people. IndyCar may think they’ve got the upper hand with their use of ethanol, and partners like Honda who have zero landfill waste and Firestone who use lead-free weights, but NASCAR is already strategically planning with every yellow flag in their arsenal to win this contest. In fact, they may even take the drastic step of eliminating the Truck series altogether. Now just stop and think for a moment how much in emissions THAT will reduce.

That, my friends, is how serious NASCAR is about protecting the environment. Now if any of you green types would please consider bringing them your sponsorship they promise to continue embarking on their strategy for as long as the checks keep clearing.

Bryan Herta returns, sorta

Posted by Iannucci | 1/27/2009 | 6 comments »
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The intrepid Curt Cavin dropped this news item at the start of today's Q&A:

Bryan Herta is back in the Indy Racing League, although not as a driver. The former CART and IndyCar Series race winner has purchased the Firestone Indy Lights equipment of Playa del Racing for his new team, Bryan Herta Racing. Interestingly, the equipment was delivered to Vision Racing's shop in Indianapolis. Herta has not named a driver, or drivers, but expect that information to be forthcoming.
Recall that after being fired from AGR's ALMS effort last year, Herta resurfaced as a road course specialist right-turn instructional provider for Vision Racing. Looks like Tony George may have talked Herta into forming a "partnership" that will allow additional practice laps for Ed Carpenter and any other Vision Racing drivers to be named later.

Further verification (or at least some interesting reading) comes from Bryan's own site.

There are some exciting projects on the horizon and I should be able to formally announce some of them in the near future. For now, thanks for checking back and I hope you are enjoying the off season, but I’m sure you will join me in saying the 2009 season can not begin soon enough!

"Exciting projects", eh? You decide: Does he mean the Indy Lights team or does he mean he's getting back together with "Bräck" for more Sex Pistols covers?



"...IIIIIII WAAAANNNA BEEEEEE ANNNNNARRRRCHYYYYYYYYYY!"

(Photo courtesy of IndyCar.com/Ron McQueeney)

Michael Andretti busts out his strategery

Posted by Iannucci | 1/26/2009 | 11 comments »
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According to an AGR press release Michael Andretti is taking matters into his own hands - and by matters I mean Danica Patrick’s tactical adventures.

Andretti Green announced today that team co-owner Michael Andretti will take over the role of strategist for driver Danica Patrick on the team's #7 entry for the 2009 IndyCar Series season.

Andretti replaces Kyle Moyer, who worked with Patrick in 2008 and will now return to call races for driver Marco Andretti on the team's #26 entry.

Andretti Green's two other entries will retain the same strategist/driver alignments as last season with Kim Green returning to Hideki Mutoh's #27 entry and George Klotz rejoining Tony Kanaan on the #11 car.


To the best of my recollection Mr Andretti doesn’t have any experience as a “Race Strategist”. That’s the guy who among other duties tells the driver when to pit, how much to monkey with the fuel knob, and when to stand on the gas because rain is going to hit the speedway in less than five minutes. An important job, to be sure. I’m sure he’s qualified to do the job, but I was wondering why he would remove Kyle Moyer as Danica’s strategist when the man managed to do what no one else has done – get Danica into Victory Lane.

But then I remembered everything’s about money.

I don’t know how much a race strategist actually gets paid, but my guess is the AGR budget was lightened in these belt-tightening times with one less race strategist on the payroll. In fact, since Kim Green is a co-owner this makes two actual strategist non-owners on the payroll. Hey, every penny counts.

So why would Michael provide race strategy from Danicker and not any of the other three drivers? Glad you asked.

Klotz and Kanaan have worked together for a few years now, and since Kanaan has been fairly successful it’s probably not time for change. Green was actually Danica’s strategist until Hideki came along, so he gets the youngsters of the team. I suppose this is partially due to the fact that he’s really calming and encouraging to listen to, like he should be reading children’s books.

(Side note: Donald Davidson is still the supreme pick for narrating stories to kids, but I suppose Green would be a solid choice as well.)

Moyer moves over to help Marco on the chance that he can help get Andretti 3.0 another win. Now that Danica has that “she’s never won” monkey off her back, it’s time to get down to the business of getting Marco’s career up to the speed of his ancestors. Right now he’s stuck at one win, and although it might seem impossible to try to equate the success Mario and Michael had, Moyer’s going to try.

But even larger perhaps is the hope by the team is that since Michael is actually a co-owner he will provide a voice that Mrs Hospenthal hears other than her own. She can scream at any other employee all she wants because she’s bringing like a zillion sponsors, but with an owner on the other end maybe she tempers that a bit. Perhaps she'll lend him an ear when he shares pearls of wisdom such as:

“Please stay in the car if you’re still on the track.”
“Don’t forget to mention the sponsors in the post-race interview.”
“You know millions of people are watching your hand puppet show right now.”


Then again maybe this all blows up in a series of public confrontations resulting in innumerable closed-door team meetings, because that’s just what happens with the AGR team.

VERSUS shows the IRL some love

Posted by Iannucci | 1/26/2009 | 10 comments »
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Hooray VERSUS! The mere fact that so many folks want to discuss the VERSUS/IndyCar spots that started airing yesterday show the new broadcast partner is already taking a step in the right direction. Right now thousands of hockey fans are already jotting down April 5th in their calendars as the day something fast and loud will happen.

(Nice touch of using raindrops for promoting the St Pete race by the way. Not sure if it was intentional, but I certainly chuckled.)

In case you missed them our buddy Will at Is it May yet? pirated uploaded two of the ads in Quicktime format here and here. Turn your audio WAY UP for the full effect.

Now if we can just figure out out to get a few million more people access to VERSUS through their cable provider we'll be set, right?

The "I Am Mindy Show" returns

Posted by Iannucci | 1/25/2009 | 5 comments »
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After an inexplicably prolonged absence your humble host has returned behind the microphone to chat up a fellow word butcher. This time the guest is the personable Meesh from "So...here's what i'm thinking...", who graciously shared her thoughts for nearly a half hour - without swearing like a sailor.

Here is the show. Enjoy.

Bloggers attempt 24 hours of coverage

Posted by Iannucci | 1/24/2009 | 5 comments »
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Our esteemed colleague FuriousWedge (his parents thought that would be a fine name) is attempting to do the impossible: blog the entire 24 Hours at Daytona. Follow along on at his site The Furious Wedge for frequently amusing updates.

It looks like The Speed Geek will also be joining in on the fun, although that will be on the Twitter simulcast. Follow them with @FuriousWedge and @TheSpeedGeek as they track past, present, and future IndyCar drivers like:
· Jeff Bucknum
· Ryan Briscoe
· Scott Dixon
· Tomas Enge
· Dario Franchitti
· Memo Gidley
· Ryan Hunter-Reay
· Alex Lloyd
· Darren Manning
· Raphael Matos
· Juan Pablo Montoya
· Max Papis
· Danica Patrick
· Buddy Rice
· Jimmy Vasser
· Jeff Ward

All these and Patrick Dempsey, too! Oh, and don't forget Marco Andretti and Robert Doornbos in A1GP racing later today. Might want to pack an extra bag of Doritos for all of these festivities.

Viso has a heart. And a brain.

Posted by Iannucci | 1/24/2009 | 2 comments »
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Despite several driver protests to the contrary, recent test results seem to indicate EJ Viso has a heart, a brain, and is an otherwise fully functional human being. Many tests have been applied and documented on camera for the curious, although it appears this year’s physical failed to provide conclusive proof as to whether or not his braking foot works.

He is however completely cleared of having Mumps, Dysentery or Ebola. Hooray!

I’d love to embed the video for you to watch but it’s not available at this time. Consequently you’re going to have to watch it yourself here. Be sure to compare it to Helio’s physical last year.



“The goal is to make sure your hearing stays the same even though you work in a high noise environment.” What she means, EJ, is that we don’t want you to lose your hearing from being yelled at so much by all of those other drivers you hip-check out of the way. Keep those ear molds in and you’ll be just fine.

Kester family values

Posted by Iannucci | 1/23/2009 | 2 comments »
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In the NHL (that's National Hockey League, not the racing team) there is a pair of brothers who have decided they will only play on the same team. Presumably this prevents Daniel and Henrik Sedin from making more money individually, but they're so full of brotherly love they wouldn't have it any other way.

Perhaps racing now has an equivalent in JC and Kristy Kester, who thanks to a partnership with new IndyCar's Team 3G will be teammates in the Star Mazda series for the second year in a row. Now that's something you don't see every day.

Team 3G co-owner Steve Sudler said "We see this as an opportunity to introduce new marketing partners to the sport at an affordable level and work with the drivers to develop a sponsorship value proposition that leads them towards Firestone Indy Lights and then the IndyCar Series."
You can read more about them in this article from SpeedTV last year. And in case you're wondering, it appears Kristy might be the better driver. She's two years younger but finished 9th in the Star Mazda standings last year to JC's 13th ranking.

Photo: Star MAzda PR

Speed is relative

Posted by Iannucci | 1/23/2009 | 8 comments »
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I swear, this isn’t a slam against stock cars or their drivers. I know it requires not only skill but an immense amount of patience to drive 15,000 laps of caution every year, which is why it it’s so funny when a driver gets down to the business of actually driving fast.

This just in: Greg Biffle hit 218 on the speedometer in testing at Texas World Speedway.

"[It was] very fast," Biffle said. "A little bit bumpy, which is to be expected of a race track that the pavement is that old, but just a very fast place. It's kind of a fun race track, but our cars today are probably pretty dang fast for a race track like that."

Biffle said his Thursday afternoon speeds in College Station on Jan. 15 were the "fastest I've been in a race car before -- 218 miles an hour. That's getting her done, if you want to say -- 195 mile an hour average, so it was a pretty fast place."
Hey Greg, just for reference doing 218 for a full lap might get you qualified for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. If you’d like to turn even faster laps I'm sure there’s always a ride and a pay cut waiting for you somewhere at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May. Come on – do it for your dogs.

Mike King spills the beans

Posted by Iannucci | 1/22/2009 | 3 comments »
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With Curt Cavin absent from his own podcast, Trackside co-host Kevin Lee chatted up the IMS Radio's Mike King, who rumor-mongers so much in th einterview he ought to have his own blog. I mean, you can't just drop stuff like this and be nonchalant, Mike.

"Certainly, Kevin, if you pay attention to what Mike Lanigan from Newman/Haas/Lanigan rcently said, it certainly sounds like that team is going to go to three cars. It looks like Graham Rahal...this is a guy who's gonna have some company on that team. It looks like Robert Doornbos is probably going to wind up on part of that team, and it looks like Sebastien Bourdais...is probably going to be back in the fold there as well."


I thought it was either Bad Bobby OR SeaBass - not both! Doornbos and Bourdais on the same team? In the immortal words of Dick Enberg, "Oh my!" If this happens then move over AGR, there's a new circus coming to town.

Oh by the way, King also fills us in on the latest with Oriol Servia, Buddy Rice and a few others. Lend him your ear.

(Photo: AP/Paul Chiasson)

UPDATE: It appears that once again Mike King's Crystal Balls have failed him. In the past he declared Danica Patrick would win at Michigan in '07 and Sam Hornish Jr wouldn't leave the IRL. I guess we'll add this to the list since reports (thanks meesh) are that Sebastien Bourdais will be driving in F1 again next year.

All of this begs the question: How do I get into Mike King's NCAA bracket?

All a-Twitter

Posted by Iannucci | 1/22/2009 | 4 comments »
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First, a little revisionist history.

Way back before even AJ Foyt walked the earth, mankind’s preferred method of written communication was through hieroglyphics etched on the walls of darkened caves. Soon thereafter it was decided that this wasn’t a fully effective way to communicate with the neighbors, so the stone tablet was created for portability. But like early cell phones that were equal in size to actual phone books the tablet proved too heavy, and so lamb skin and other forms of parchment were developed for the written word.

Then came the printing press, which gave birth to the newspaper, allowing people everywhere to read news and commentary on events that had actually occurred as recently as 24 hours ago. Unfortunately there was nothing to write about, so autos were developed, predominantly for racing purposes.

And so it was until Al Gore invented the internet, which allowed everyone not only to read racing news but actually write about it. That’s where you and I enter the picture. It’s a lot of fun, but it seems the evolution of communication is about to take another step.

Welcome to the age of Twitter, which is basically a way for all of us to talk to at each other all the time, collectively sharing life in 140 characters or less. Yes friends, it’s just like jacking into The Matrix, except you don’t have to actually plug anything into your head. That’s likely the next advancement in communication.

Anyhow, for those of you who have Twitter, you can now follow my EVERY thought on IndyCars by adding @MyNameIsIRL to your Twitter feed. Not that I have that many thoughts, but consider this yet another value-added service your humble host is providing to you.

Also, be sure to add a couple other bloggers (@FuriousWedge, @whatimthinking) since they jump all over breaking news, as well as the official IndyCar series feed (@IndyCarSeries). I'm sure it will all be a hoot once we actually have racing to discuss.

Who dat?

Posted by Iannucci | 1/21/2009 | 21 comments »
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There was a time when Dreyer & Reinbold was a competitive team in the IRL, a championship contender even. That was way back when Mario Moraes was still in grade school, and in the days that have past the team has steadily drifted into a last island of refuge for drivers trying to stay in the IndyCar series. Hey, everyone has a role, right?

Well out of the blue yesterday - while absolutely no one was paying attention - D&R proudly introduced their newest driver, who shockingly appears to be at the beginning of his career.

Dreyer and Reinbold Racing announced today that it has come to an agreement with British racer Mike Conway to become the team's first confirmed driver for the 2009 IndyCar Series campaign.

The 25-year old rookie comes to the U.S.-based open-wheel series after spending the majority of his career in the European formula car ladder. Most recently, he completed his second season driving in the GP2 Series with Trident Racing in 2008. He was also a Honda F1 Racing test driver for the past two seasons.

Conway has been one of the top up-and-coming British drivers for the last several years, having won the prestigious British Formula 3 Championship with Raikkonen Robertson Racing in 2006. That year was also highlighted by a win in the famed Macau Grand Prix. His most recent success was winning a round at the famous streets of Monte Carlo in Monaco in the GP2 Series in 2008.
I gotta be honest - I have no idea who this guy is. I remember reading something about him having a test with Panther Racing last year, but I figured that was for the Indy Lights ride. The again I also figured that Buddy Rice or Milka Duno or Townsend Bell would be driving for D&R. Dude could be the second coming of Michael Schumacher for all I know, although I suspect our British bud Patrick at Too Much Racing might have an actual clue as to what kind of driving we should expect from Mr Conway.

With full humility I ask: Anyone here know anything about him?

Checking in with the dog

Posted by Iannucci | 1/17/2009 | 5 comments »
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As most of you know, I have the utmost respect for our buddy Bill "pressdog" Zahren. His site actually predates this one, so if push comes to shove he can legitimately claim to be the "original" IndyCar blogger*. He can have the title if he wants, and if he wants to use it to print up all sorts of t-shirts, coffee mugs and mouse pads then I'll certainly buy one.

And since lately pressdog has had some fine posts that no one apparently has seen I thought it worth noting what's going on over there. It's the off-season (read: no racing) so no one really ventures around our sites much (check the Site Meter yourself) and as such I just wanted to direct the attention of the five of you here to the more enjoyable posts he's had over the last month.

IndyCar Teams Offer Advice to Ailing Stock Car Organizations

A classic take on the financial perils of running a $25M stock car team.

"Frankly, we have no idea how to get by on less, so we put them in touch with some teams who do," said an AGR spokesperson. "We thought maybe 'shop Danica around for more sponsors' but then we realized they don't have a Danica, so we transferred them to Pacific Coast Motor Sports."
SI, ESPN Puzzled by pressdog Ratings

For real, Bill actually handed over the blog to the Tree Hugger herself, former Indy Lights driver Leilani Münter. As much as I enjoyed her savvy sense of humor in calling Jayski "fendered racing's Perez Hilton", I'm fascinated with the hold prospect of turning over our blogs to drivers.

Think about it - these drivers do everything else. Race, sign autographs, go to sponsor shindigs, try to track down more sponsors - work work work. Let's just have them handle the reporting aspect of it as well. I've said before I'd turn this site over to Tony Kanaan in a heartbeat, but if we can get Dan Wheldon to take over for Curt Cavin or Darren Manning to unseat Robin Miller, then this is a trend that needs to happen.


IndyCar Glitteri Offer Big Hairy Audacious Predictions for 2009


Some predictions for 2009 by Cavin, Miller, Oreo, the braintrust at TSO, as well as a few of the word butchers. Ironically, your humble host was one of the few to actually make SERIOUS predictions. What the heck was I thinking?

Regardless, bookmark that post so you can laugh at our poor prognostications. Truly, I insist, since we don't need to be encouraged any further to pretend as if we have any clue what's going to happen in the future.

(*Technically though, the late Miles Nelson of "Ovalicious" gets this title.)

What day is it?

Posted by Iannucci | 1/16/2009 | 1 comments »
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Did someone forget to get you a calendar for Christmas? No? Well it just goes to show you can't depend on anyone else but yourself these days. Before you go out and start looking for some new friends, do yourself a favor and buy one of these styling 2009 IndyCar wall calendars first.

I've got mine right here *tap tap* and I can see January features a beautiful shot of the excitement that is EJ Viso in a rare moment of driving without aggression. You put this bad boy on the wall and not only will you attract the attention of millions of like-minded open-wheel racing fans, but you will also know EXACTLY what day it is. I tell ya, it's the best entertainment two-fer since Dario and Ashley Judd.



Buy one today. In fact, buy two and give one to Scott Speed since none of his stock-car racing "friends" got him one either.

Fahrvergnügen

Posted by Iannucci | 1/15/2009 | 11 comments »
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I love the Germans. We give them David Hasselhoff and in return they give the world Heidi Klum and Claudia Schiffer. Michael Schumacher as well, but that's not where I was going.

OK, if we must talk about Germany and racing then fancy this: Racecar Engineering is reporting that things are slowly progressing towards the possibility that your favorite driver may soon be behind the wheel of a little slice of german engineering.

Audi Sport’s head of engine technology Ulrich Baretzky confirmed to Racecar Engineering that the Volkswagen Group has been actively talking to the Indy Racing League since the engine manufactures’ round table held by the IRL in June 2008. Although nothing has yet been confirmed, it is looking increasingly likely that VW will join Honda as an Indy Car engine supplier when the regulations are changed, in theory in 2011.
As much as I've been recoiling at the prospect of having Volkswagen developing or even badging engines in the IndyCar series, I've come to the conclusion it's probably best to accept this just as we've accepted the fact that despite his best efforts Vitor Meira will never actually win an IndyCar race. (You just know he's going to finish second at least a dozen more times before his career is through.)

So who am I to be a snob holding out for a name like "Porsche" instead? If they want to roll out Herbie, chop the top, rip off the fenders, and put one of the cute little flower vases in the cockpit, then I say go for it. Go ahead and "un-pimp" the IRL.



And if we can get Ms Klum behind the wheel, well then, all the better.

Bob, Buhl and Beekhuis

Posted by Iannucci | 1/15/2009 | 19 comments »
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After hearing it first from the braintrust at TSO (subscribe TODAY!), VERSUS has officially announced their team for their IndyCar broadcasts in 2009. Get ready to enjoy Bob Jenkins, Robbie Buhl, and Jon "Yon" Beekuis in the booth, with Robbie Floyd (who?), Lindy Thackston (who??) and the immortal Jack Arute (a-ha!) reporting LIVE from the pits.

I realize there are lots of folks who will be displeased by some of these selections. Some will say Bob Jenkins puts them to sleep, others will complain the all knowing (just ask him) Eddie Cheever is nowhere in this group, and Jack Arute's inclusion will drive his 14 ex-wives completely bananas. To this I say: whatever. If you're watching for the broadcast team and not the racing then you're just plain weird. Weirdo. Yes, you with the diet soda. Just mute the TV and pull up IMS Radio if it bothers you so much.

Personal preferences notwithstanding, I'd venture to say this group is already an improvement over the ESPN broadcasts of last year. In fact, I will say this out loud in the presence of no one but myself right now ... OK, now that that's done allow me to empirically prove this to you.

Jenkins v Marty Reid. Marty Reid is a fun announcer, but let's fact it - he makes people nervous. Working with Reid often rendered Scott Goodyear the most boring man on the continent, which wasn't apparent to me until he demonstrated full consciousness in working a couple of races with Jenkins. After further investigation it was obvious why Goodyear was so pensive. Spooky, isn't it? Advantage Jenkins

Buhl v Goodyear. Robbie Buhl is actually a part-owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which means there are good odds he might actually mention Dreyere & Reinbold Racing on the air. Did everyone forget that 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice was still in the league? Buhl will fix this. Advantage Buhl

Beekhuis v no one. For baseball games on radio, no one makes for a great color commentator. This is especially true if the play-by-play man is Vin Scully. For everything else, the more the merrier, unless of course by more you mean "Tony Kornheiser". Fortunately for us "Yon" is not Tony Kornheiser. Advantage Beekhuis

Floyd v Vince Welch. I presume Robbie Floyd speaks English, but other than that I know nothing about Robbie Floyd other than his first name is "Robbie" and his last name is "Floyd". And that alone is enough to make Vince Welch a better pick since there's already a "Robbie" on this broadcast team. Innumerable broadcast disasters lie ahead from the inevitable crosstalk resulting when Jenkins asks "Robbie" a question. Disadvantage Floyd

Thackston v Brienne Pedigo. I'm not going to get into a debate of blondes versus brunettes since it will greatly upset the readheaded readers, so let's just look at the facts. Lindy Thackston.com reads "VERSUS Pit Reporter for the IndyCar series..." while BriennePedigo.com proudly proclaims "Actress, Dancer, Singer, Print Model and Producer". Under many other circumstances the advantage goes to Pedigo, but this is racing. Advantage Thackston

Arute v Arute. There are no losers here, not with the nuclear-tanned Shakespearean musings of the immortal Jack Arute gracing the airwaves. Advantage Arute

No matter how disappointed you might be there's little room to argue that this team won't result in an improvement in broadcast quality and entertainment. Five out of six in the plus column for VERSUS, and if this Robbie Floyd fella starts going by a nickname (I vote for "Scooter") it will be a clean sweep. Now, if we can just get the director to show some shots of passing occurring somewhere other than the front we'll be golden.

LiveBlog: Penske has the Power

Posted by Iannucci | 1/13/2009 | 7 comments »
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Your humble host has returned from a few a glorious days in the beautiful city of New Orleans. I'll spare you the details but suffice it to say you need to go and you need to go soon, because the lack of tourism seems to be hitting the city hard. In short order it will be turned over to pirates - dead pirates - which means a drunken Johnny Depp will stroll into town, drink all available rum previously used for "Hurricaines" and then all hell will break loose.

This is a great town, but even Anne Rice has moved away. That's right, many of the vampires have recently left. Obviously they need your help.

Speaking of help, it appears the "What about Helio" question at Team Penske has been answered, and the answer is...Will Power. Power will be revealed today (and by "revealed" I mean as an employee only - he's still wearing clothes) at a press connference that starts right about now.

2:30pm Waiting for things to get started. The video feed is blurry but I think I can make out huge blogger fan John Oreovicz. Why isn't he wearing his pressdog shirt?

2:33 Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske President Tim Cindric, Will Power and Helio Castroneves enter the room, all dressed in black. Let's have a Black Celebration.

2:34 Bob Jenkins is emcee of the ceremonies. It's nice that they have an announcer for the press conference. Since Scott Goodyear is unavailable I'll be providing color commentary for the masses.

2:35 Cindric says "The most important thing for us is to support Helio." And by support he means hiring a contingency driver from Australia.

2:38 "There's three drivers for Penske in 2009 and we'll determine who drives when...at the appropriate time." Since they only have two cars contractually I suggest they have a televised ro-sham-bo contest during the time trials for each race. Or perhaps competitive eating.

2:39 Will Power speaks for 30 seconds. Hi Will, nice to see you, let's talk to Helio.

2:40 Helio says "It's nice to have friends backing me up..." Sadly, the IMS audio engineers aren't backing him up because the audio then goes dead.

2:41 Audio still gone. Visually I can see everyone has their hands on the table except Helio. He's probably saying a rosary right about now.

2:42 Audio is back, and Tim Cindric is talking about upcoming testing and letting Helio remain focused. Focused on what, paying his attorneys?

2:43 Now Helio is talking again about being strong. Says he's "EEE-nnocent of those charges." Looks like Will Power can't get a word in edgewise at his own press conference.

2:45 Tim Cindric says "There's nothing I'd love more than to come back to The 500 and run Helio." Winning there twice will inspire that kind of confidence.

2:46 No further questions for now. "For those of you on the phone, if you have a question please dial star one." Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

2:47 Wait, here's a question. What if Helio is ready to race at St Pete? Cindric says "if Helio's ready to race the #3 car is his." I wish I could see Power's face now but the feed is kinda blurry. Pity.

2:49 Cindric will not comment on the length of Power's contract. "You know we don't talk about durations."

2:50 Question for Will! Huzzah! "When I was given the offer I didn't have anything signed at the time....Whatever happens I'll come out of this a better driver."

2:51 Thanks Will, but now we're going to talk to Briscoe. Ryan is asked to talk about racing against a guy from Australia. I suppose it's a lot like racing against a guy from Brazil, but what do I know.

2:52 Cindric is asked about hiring another foreign driver. Sounds like someone let Ryan Hunter-Reay's dad into the room.

2:53 Helio is "working on staying feet", which means he's exercising. Six to eight hours of cha-cha per day with some extra foxtrot on the weekends.

2:59 That's it. Bob says "Ryan, Tim, Will and Helio are available for one-on-ones." I guess we're all heading to the court to shoot some hoops. This is Indiana, after all.

Alrighty, friends. Looks like the only real news here is that Helio is still the driver of the #3, but as long as he's indisposed Will Power will be the understudy who steps in for the weekly performances. Not a bad insurance policy to have.

Delay of game

Posted by Iannucci | 1/08/2009 | 4 comments »
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At some point in the last century a "DJ" was considered to be someone who talked in between records. Oh sure, they still have people that talk on the radio in between songs now - they're called "talent" and they have "shows" - but the music they play is no longer contained on those groovy (literally) vinyl discs.

Back then popular music consisted mostly a bunch of two- to three-minute songs, although every now and again one would come along that was much longer in length. No matter what they actually sounded like, cuts that were four or five minutes or morewere actually the DJ's favorites since they afforded them the time to leave the studio and do something else. You know, like eat a sandwich, take a potty break, or step out for breath of fresh tobacco.

For reference, please note the otherwise inexplicable popularity of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda.

And so it is today that your humble host needs to step out of the MNII World Headquarters for a bit and grab a bite to eat. And by "a bite" I mean something at one of the many fine restaurants in New Orleans, Louisiana, because that's where I'll be for the weekend. In the interim I'll leave you with this amazing little time capsule I found that includes well over 6 minutes of IndyCar history. Enjoy!

Quote of the Day

Posted by Iannucci | 1/07/2009 | 1 comments »
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"We await Helio's court date, which is set for the first week of March. Hopefully everything will work itself out so Helio is able to compete at the first race in St. Petersburg (Fla.) on April 5. Helio is a great competitor who has provided Penske Racing with much success, and he is a terrific person. We stand behind Helio as he waits the upcoming date and we hope for a positive outcome." - Roger Penske, letting everyone know in no uncertain terms who he wants driving the #3 car in 2009.

V is very very extraordinary

Posted by Iannucci | 1/07/2009 | 4 comments »
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Ladies, suppose I said to you "Show Me Your V"? What is the FIRST thing you're thinking that I mean by that request? Hang on, don't tell me. Lemme guess. It's ... it's ... it's the Versus network right?

Yes friends, the new "partner" for the Indy Racing League - you know, the super awesome auto racing series that features women drivers like her, her, and her - has collected some of the smartest marketers in the world and fed them nothing but saltines and cheese whiz, resulting in undoubtedly the most bestest way to promote their network's brand. I give you the very real "Show Me Your V" promotion.

So everyone, feel free to go there right now and upload your favorite picture of your "V".

The Milka Standard

Posted by Iannucci | 1/06/2009 | 9 comments »
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To a lot of race fans Milka Duno is nothing less than a pox upon racing. Despite being possibly the most fan-friendly driver around today, Milkalicious isn't thought of too highly as a driver by people who like to make loud proclamations about who they think of as worthy or unworthy to get behind the wheel and drive 220 miles per hour.

Personally, I don't think she's any more of an impending death threat to her fellow drivers than her ridiculously-dressed character was to Speed Racer, but I do recognize the fact that she's clearly one of the lesser-skilled racers. Not only is she not going to win a race anytime soon, she's not even going to break the Top 10. In fact, in 2008 she was the only driver with at least 10 starts to not break the Top 15 of any race she entered.

Even Marty Roth got a 13th at Nashville.

But this isn't about picking on Milka, at least not directly. We're just going to establish her as the barometer for futility in 2008 since, well, her driving was quite futile. So in an effort to make shinola out of her season let's take a look at those who failed to reach "the Milka standard" by finishing behind her in the final standings most often.

You see, as bad as Ms Duno was she never actually finished last in any race because on various days someone (actually, several someones) inevitably had a worse day. In fact, of all series regulars only two managed to never finish behind Milka. Go ahead and guess...OK, don't think too hard because its Mr Dixon and Mr Castroneves. As for the rest of you, you got some 'splaining to do.

3 times behind Milka: Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Vitor Meira, Will Power, Graham Rahal, EJ Viso. What's wrong with this picture? You'd think if someone spotted you a team with any two of these drivers you'd at least have a shot at a podium finish, right? Maybe so, but apparently you'd also have as good a shot at some bent equipment.

4 times behind Milka: Bruno Junqueira, Mario Moraes, Tomas Scheckter. Junky and Eminem were driving for Dale Coyne, a low-budget operation that inexplicably has failed to get a "Dollar Tree" sponsorship, but it's Schecketer's horrendous performance for "Other Team Penske" that left folks shaking their heads and Tomas collecting unemployment this year.

5 times behind Milka: Enrique Bernoldi, Jamie Camara. I'm sure the folks at Conquest Racing are thrilled beyond words that the two guys here were BOTH their drivers. Somewher Dale Coyne employees are silently chuckling. Meanwhile, it's no wonder Alex Tagliani - who barely finished ahead of Milka both times he faced her - is slated to drive in place of these two in '09.

6 times behind Milka: Justin Wilson. What the...? It's as if Milka is some kind of kryptonite to the poor guy. Aside from Surfers, Wilson finished in the Top 10 in every non-Milka ICS points race this year. With Milka on the track he made the Top 10 just once, although that once was his win at Detroit. Go figure.

And the winner is: Marty Roth, finishing behind Milka 8 times. Even though two of them he didn't start because of, uhh, parts shortage (yeah, that's it) let the record show that Marty not only stunk, but did so with unprecedented regularity. Please consider this an award of some sort, Marty, so that you might console yourself with winning something in 2008.

Overkill

Posted by Iannucci | 1/03/2009 | 10 comments »
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If Danica! gets a speeding ticket (it's paid off now) it's a fun little news story, but does it really deserve FOUR headlines at the Indianapolis Star?


And people wonder why newspapers are struggling for readers. Sheesh.

My mailbag

Posted by Iannucci | 1/02/2009 | 5 comments »
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Forgive me for a moment - this has nothing to do with cars, drivers or racing.

Remember when "Spam" was a potted meat product enjoyed with particular fervor in Hawaii? These days when someone mentions that four-letter-word most people don't think of edible material, instead presuming the discussion involves "junk" email. This 21st-century scourge (the junk email, not the potted meat) no doubt affects us all, and friends I'm no different since I've allegedly won at least a dozen different lotteries in Europe in recent months as well as countless wealthy friends in embassies throughout the world.

However, today I received some "spam" that stands above others, not because of any riches promised or any Babelfish-translated broken English contained therein. No, this email is noteworthy because it is a hilariously direct insult to this site. Fully acknowledging that sharing this will invariably result in several days of Googly ads screaming of Dale Jr and such, I am providing it to you anyways in it's entirety - for entertainment purposes only, of course.

Good Morning,

I noticed that your blog, My Name is IRL, has a lot of great information about NASCAR!

I am writing on behalf of my client, Scene Daily. Scene Daily.com is a NASCAR news site featuring daily news, videos, pictures and commentary about the races. They also offer two print magazines – NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.

I was wondering if you would be interested in receiving free issues of either magazine in exchange for a link to SceneDaily.com and to our magazine subscription page.

If you are interested, please reply at your convenience and I will send you free issues of either NASCAR Scene or NASCAR Illustrated.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Mikhaila Clements


Double You. Tee. Eff. Question mark.