Sunday, May 30, 2010

Women Of The Historic 94th IZOD Indy 500

The Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

Women Of The Historic 94th IZOD Indy 500

For the first time in its 94 event history, four women have qualified for the Indianapolis 500, motorsport's most sought after and watched auto racing event.

The four women that will appear on the grid of the preset and traditional 33 car field in the following order of qualification are Brazilian Ana Beatriz, driving the Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car #25 starting from Row 7/P21, Swiss driver, Simona De Silvestro, driving Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing car #78 starting from Row 8/P22, American Danica Patrick, driving the Go Daddy/Andretti Autosport car #7 starting from Row 8/P23, and the woman to qualify for more Indy 500 starting fields of 33 cars than any other woman, American Sarah Fisher, driving the Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing car #25 starting from Row 7/P21.

Brazilian Ana Beatriz, driving the Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car #25 starting from Row 7/P21. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

Swiss driver, Simona De Silvestro, driving Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing car #78 starting from Row 8/P22. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

American Danica Patrick, driving the Go Daddy/Andretti Autosport car #7 starting from Row 8/P23. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

American Sarah Fisher, driving the Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing car #25 starting from Row 7/P21. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

There would have been five women to qualify if IRL regular, Venezuelan Milka Duno had qualified her Citgo/Dale Coyne Racing car #18.

What is a bit more amazing is that these four women qualified for a 33 car field that was separated by only 3.0622 seconds from P1 to P33 (the fastest to the slowest qualifiers) - the field for the 2010 Indy 500 is the closest matched field, by time, in the event's 94-year history. Also, the shortened format for this year's Indy 500 offered new and unique challenges to the 41 entries vying for a spot in the coveted 33 car starting field. This is the first year in modern history that the qualifying format for the legendary race was scaled back to a single weekend, making the challenges of car set-ups, weather conditions and the luck of the draw all crucial factors.

Milka Duno and her Dale Coyne team had only two attempts remaining to bump their way into this year's Indy 500. An average four-lap speed of 223.8mph was needed. Trying twice in the last hour a 223mph flat was the best time that could be generated. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

We have come a long way since 1977 when Janet Guthrie became the first woman to ever qualify for this grueling test of man (woman) and machine. She was Top Rookie and set set fastest time of day at Indianapolis on May 7 and May 22, 1977. The very next year (1978), her ninth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500, with a team she formed and managed herself, was the best by a woman until 2005 when Danica Patrick was able to post a fourth place finish.

The only other woman to compete at the "Brickyard" was Lyn St. James starting in 1992, qualifying 27th and finishing 11th. She went on to compete in six more Indy 500's qualifying as high as P6 but never bettering or equaling her first finishing experience.


How They Finished

Pos - Driver - Team - Gap
6. Danica Patrick - Andretti - + 21.7560s
14. Simona de Silvestro - HVM - + 1m01.6745s
21. Ana Beatriz - Dreyer & Reinbold - + 4 laps


Sarah Fisher - Sarah Fisher Racing - 125 laps

... notes from The EDJE

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mercury Brand To End Edsel Ford Legacy

Plans Scraped - The all-new 2011 Mercury Cougar will come with three engine choices and two powertrain choices currently offered. The base engine for the Cougar is Ford's new Duratec 3.7-liter dual-overhead cam V6 engine that will deliver around 305 horsepower and supposed to get 19 and 30 mpg on city and the highway respectively. Originally, the Mercury Cougar was introduced ton consumers in 1967 as an upscale Ford Mustang. The Cougar shared the same platform as the Mustang from 1967 to 1973 when the Cougar was shifted over to the Ford Torino platform in 1974. In 1977, the Cougar and Thunderbird were redesigned and shared the same platforms from 1977 to 1997. Finally, in 1999, the Cougar was redesigned again and downsized to the CDW27 platform and which ran until 2002. Image Credit:

Mercury Brand To End Edsel Ford Legacy

It began as a response to General Motors Co.'s strategy of building a "Ladder" of brand nameplates so that as a customer grew in income and status, so would his choice of GM car. It was a strategy of customer retention, automobile culture development, and corporate growth that propelled GM to pass ford as the world's largest automobile manufacturer.

Mercury, which began life as a responsive idea from Edsel Ford, the son of the founder of Ford Motor Company, Henery Ford, now joins the dust heap of cultural nameplates that carried its own identification just to hear the sound of the name, like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth, Saturn, and this is just since the turn of this century!

The 1967 Cougar was based on that year's refaced first-generation Mustang, but with a 3 inch (76 mm) longer wheelbase and new sheet metal. A full-width divided grille with hidden headlamps and vertical bars defined the front fascia—it was sometimes called the electric shaver grille. At the rear, a similar treatment saw the license plate surrounded on both sides with vertically slatted grillework concealing taillights (with sequential turn signals), a styling touch taken from the Thunderbird. A deliberate effort was made to give the car a more "European" flavor than the Mustang, at least to American buyers' eyes. Aside from the base model and the luxurious XR-7, only one trim package was available for either model: the sporty GT. The XR-7 model brought a wood-grained steering wheel, a simulated wood-grained dashboard with a full set of black-faced competition instruments and toggle switches, an overhead console, a T-type center automatic transmission shifter, and leather or vinyl seats. The GT package, meanwhile, supplied a much larger engine, Ford's 390 in³ (6.4 L) FE-series big block to replace the small-block 289 in³ (4.7 L) standard powerplant. Along with this came an upgraded suspension to handle the extra weight of the big engine and give better handling, more powerful brakes, better tires and a low-restriction exhaust system. The Cougar was Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1967 [ht: Wikipedia]. Image Credit: Eric English

"Mercury is a brand that has lost its meaning in the American automotive marketplace and it isn't worth trying to change that," CEO Jeremy Anwyl said in a statement.

Mercury was supposed to give Ford a mid-priced car that fit between the more pedestrian and inexpensive Ford models and its more luxurious brand, Lincoln. For several decades that strategy seemed to work, with Mercury, especially with breakout models such as the Cougar and the popular Marquis selling well.

As of 2006, one can buy a DeLorean DMC12 built from the ground up using a combination of new, original and reproduction parts for around $42,500, while un-restored but good condition vehicles run from about US$20,000 upwards. Businessman Stephen Wynne has purchased all the remaining parts for the car and plans to build them in Houston. Image Credit:

So Mercury joins all of the other nameplates on the pile that also include Studebaker, Hudson, Packer, Nash, American Motors ... which included the models of Rambler, Pacer, Javelin, Marlin, Ambassador, Spirit, and Hornet ... with Tucker and DeLorean thrown in for good measure.

Today, the only place one might find a Cougar would be as a principle character on a TV sitcom, or trouble on a cruise.

... notes from The EDJE

(ht: WSJ/Bloomberg)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Formula One in Texas

LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX: Robert Doornbos drives his #14 Minnardi Team USA Panoz DP01 Cosworth during the Champ Car World Series Vegas Grand Prix on April 8, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Image Credit: daylife

F-1 in Texas


I remember the Dallas Grand Prix (Trans-Am Race), the F-1 Races held in Vegas and Phoenix blunders.

The race will happen in Texas because the money will be there, but it will be a joke like the last race at Indy was. Clearly someone in Texas is writing a large check to have the race there. I just hope it's some Private money and not the tax payers.

Having a Formula One Race (or any open wheel race) on a temporary Street Course is always a bad idea, and should be limited to Long Beach and Monaco period. So I hope they find a way to use a track already near where they want to hold the race or build one.

The teething problems with a first time race that has promoters and driver's egos the size of the Grand Canyon will only make what has to be a bad idea in the first place much worse. The lone exception I think was the very first IRL race at Disney World in Orlando. Plenty of hotels, great parking, efficient and friendly crowd control, and a staff that said, "Thank You for Coming".

When I heard it, I stopped, went back and said excuse me, what did you say? In over 50 years of attending Motor races all over the World, that was the first time ever, I had heard anyone say "Thank You for Coming". So the secret for sure must be have a staff that handles tens of thousands of people every day, to staff your Race Track.

Long Beach and the fine people who put on the Long Beach GP for all these years know what they are doing, NOW. But it took a few years to get the program correct.

Look at all the ill fated attempts to put on races in the streets and parking lots of cities like Denver, San Jose, Houston, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. One hit wonders never to be seen again. The race needs to be at Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca (sorry Gill & Dean), Road America, Infineon, Road Atlanta or some other fine Road Course. However, the Texas F-1 promoters (who have connections with NASCAR, and) could book a Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or Truck Race on the same weekend in Texas so maybe they would sell more than a few hundred tickets this time.

I look forward to having Formula One back in the US, and I will be there with bells on. But lets get the FIA and F-1 to come back to the US and make a permanent home at a track with trees, hills, shade, and history.

Dicken Wear

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mosport No Match for DG-Spec Scions

Mark Windecker Photo from Robb Holland facebook page.

Mosport No Match for DG-Spec Scions, as Team Wins Round 5 in World Challenge

Robert Stout and Tom Lepper Battle Fiercely to Drive Scion tCs Into Winner’s Circle

In the team’s first trip up to Canada, Robert Stout and Tom Lepper put both DG-Spec Scions on the podium at Mosport, just outside of Toronto. Known as one of the fastest tracks in North America, both drivers were engaged in dogfights in the double-header weekend that saw races on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Touring Cars managed to put on the best show for the fans, as both races had the slimmest margin of victory, with multiple lead changes during the course of the 50 minute sprints. On Saturday it was Lepper, driving the 36 car, who put the Scion tC on the second step of the podium, finishing a scant two-tenths of a second behind Chip Herr in the turbocharged VW. Lepper also ran the fastest lap of the race. On Sunday, Stout, driving the 18 car, would emerge victorious, nudging Herr off the top step of the podium for the big win.

“I’m proud of the whole team for how hard we fought this weekend,” said team owner, Dan Gardner. “If anyone had any question about this team’s ability or mettle, I think it’s been quashed. Robert and Tom did a great job out there. As a driver, I know what it’s like to battle hard, and give it everything you’ve got. Victory tastes so much sweeter when you have to earn it by brining your A+ game to the show. Every member of this team brought theirs to Mosport, and the results speak for themselves.”

The first and second practice sessions on Saturday showed that the Scions had the speed, as Stout was fastest in both sessions in a highly competitive field. Qualifying on Saturday continued to prove the point that the Scions were the cars to beat, as Stout and Lepper put both DG-Spec cars on the front row, claiming P1 and P2.

On the start of Saturday’s race the Scions held their position going into Turn 1, but Shaffer in one of the Jettas would bang up against Lepper on the inside, taking the position away from him, putting himself between the two Scions on the way to Turn 2. On Lap 3, Herr’s VW would go side by side with Lepper through Turn 4, with Jetta getting the best of the Scion going into Turn 5.

With Stout consistently motoring up front, Lepper put his head down and tried to fill the Jettas’ mirrors. Indeed on Lap 11, Shaffer went off track as Herr and Lepper shot by. The Scions were in P1 and P3. A few laps later, Stout would shoot wide in Turn 5, allowing both cars to push ahead as they came onto the back straight.

From there it would be close quarters combat as Lepper repeatedly pressured Herr to make a mistake, sometimes banging on his back bumper to let the Volkswagen driver know the Scion was right there. Lepper got on the inside, but Herr would hold the position. It went this way lap after lap with the Scion and VW nose to tail or side by side. In the end, as the checkered flew, the two cars came onto the straightaway side by side, but it just wasn’t quite long enough, as Lepper was edged out by two-tenths of a second. Still, a hard-fought second place finish was something to be proud of, especially considering the fact that Lepper turned the fastest lap of the race.

“I pushed him as hard as I could,” Lepper said. “Chip drove a very defensive line, and I thought for sure he’d run the tires off the car, but it never quite happened. If I could have gotten in front of him, I think we had a bit more speed, and we wouldn’t have looked back. But that’s racing. It was a good clean battle, and second place is nothing to sneeze at.”

Sunday would be challenging for all teams, as no practice session was on the schedule, and teams would have to qualify first thing in the morning. Stout would qualify well, just two-tenths of a second behind Herr’s Jetta, as the number 18 Scion claimed P2. Lepper was picking up speed, but then lost fourth gear and had to come into the pits.

There would be barely more than two hours before the race would start, but the talented crew of Brad Allen, Sean Morris, David Fredrickson, and John McNulty sprung into action at warp speed. Somehow, someway, the team swapped out the transaxle, reinstalled the sub-frame and supercharger, and had the car ready to go for the race just five minutes before the start. They would miss pre-grid and have to start from the pits, but at least Lepper had a chance to climb back up through the field. And Stout was poised to strike from a favorable P2 spot.

Stout shot the Scion off to the great start, briefly getting in front of Herr, but the VW would hold onto the lead going into Turn 1 as Stout tucked in behind. As the field got through the first turn, Lepper was released from the pits.

On Lap 1 it would be Herr, Stout, and then a GTI that was hot on the heels of the number 18 Scion. Shortly after that the GTI would get around Stout, and from there the two would swap positions repeatedly. When Stout was running in the second spot he put pressure on Herr, but the VW would not make a mistake. Finally on Lap 24 Stout cleverly used a GT car going into Turn 5 to take the position from the Jetta. And he never looked back again, as Herr and the GTI driver battled amongst themselves for the remainder of the race. When the checkered flew, Stout in the number 18 car had brought Scion home yet another big win.

Lepper, in the 36 car, drove a phenomenal race, starting in dead last from pit lane as he worked his way through half the field before the checkered flew.

“This might have been the most intense race I’ve ever had,” Stout said. “Talk about bumping and grinding, swapping positions, a three-way battle for the lead. This was absolute racing warfare. I really had to earn this one, but it feels more satisfying because of it. The team was phenomenal, giving me the best car they possibly could. It’s awesome to be driving one of these Scions.”

After Sunday’s victory, Stout extends his lead in the season points, having accumulated 587. That’s well over a 100-point cushion from Eric Meyer in the RX-8. The team’s performance keeps Scion in the lead for the Manufacturers’ Points, ahead of second place VW and third place Mazda.

Standings and results can be viewed at The race will be broadcast on the Versus Network on Saturday, July 31 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Twenty-four hours later the program can be viewed online at Round 3 of the series can now be viewed at

The team now readies for historic Watkins Glen in upstate New York. The event will take place July 2-4. Saturday’s race will begin at 4:15 p.m. Eastern. Live timing and scoring can be viewed at

The team’s progress throughout the season can be followed at and

The DG-Spec team uses and is supported by:

• AEM sensors, EMS, and dry flow air filter
• Kaminari carbon-fiber roof and composite headlights
• Reflections body work
• America’s Tire Co. tire mounting and balancing
• Racetech Viper head-restraint race seat and 6-point harnesses
• Centerforce clutch and low-inertia steel flywheel
• AIT carbon-fiber hood and hatch
• DG-Spec Wild Pony Motorsports-supplied camber/caster plates
• Goodridge fittings and lines
• Carbotech XP10 and XP8 brake pads
• G-Force racing suit, gloves, helmet, window nets, and other safety and crew gear
• DC Sports header
• Energy Suspension bushings and motor mounts
• HoseTechniques silicone hoses
• Tri-Mountain Racewear team gear
• NST supercharger pulley, Braille batteries, and shifter bushings
• SquareSkull designs
• Sampson Racing Communications (SRC) radio systems

The World Challenge is North America's top production car-based racing championship. Divided into three separate classes (World Challenge Touring Car, World Challenge GTS, and World Challenge GT), races follow a sprint format and are 50 minutes start to finish. Each race features thrilling standing starts, adrenaline filled door-to-door action, and top-notch drivers. Drivers pilot cars from the world's most popular manufacturers, featuring race-prepped versions of the cars we drive on the streets! The World Challenge is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and races at North America's premier road and temporary street courses.

DG Spec is a line of parts designed and endorsed by National Champion Scion road racer Dan Gardner. Gardner draws up the specifications for the parts himself. The parts are then tested and proven on the track. The goal of DG Spec is to provide enthusiasts with parts that have been developed on the track and that have significant performance advantages at an honest price. Parts are offered either in hardcore track trim, identical to what Gardner and his team race with, or in Gardner-specified standards more appropriate for enthusiast use on the street.

Story and Images contributed to by Dan Gardner, published by Dicken Wear for “The Motorsports Report”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2010 American Le Mans Series Test

The American Le Mans Series has named G-OIL from Green Earth Technologies as the official motor oil of the series and the sanctioning body, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). Unlike conventional petroleum-derived motor oils, G-OIL is made from saturated animal fats which have been processed through dehydrogenation. While the stuff may not be good for people to ingest in any significant quantities, the saturated fats apparently make a good lubricant and G-OIL has similar properties to petroleum oils. G-OIL is claimed to be biodegradable and Green Earth sells all its products in fully recyclable containers. The car pictured is the G-OIL ORECA-Courage FLM09 racing car for the newly formed Green Earth Team Gunnar (GETG), driven by Gunner Jeannette whose effort had him finish 14th overall and third in LMPC class. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2010 American Le Mans Series Test

The Monterey hills were greeted with a wondrous, but a little chilly, spring day for the third test of the nine race 2010 American Le Mans Series season. The wind blew at times and the day's temperature never hit 70 degrees causing tire adhesion problems for some of the contenders throughout the day. One car even spun as it entered the front straight ready to take a restart, and another overshot the corner entirely and caused a wreck from which it never fully recovered ... from one of many Yellow Flag Caution periods throughout the race.

All in all, the race was hotly contested throughout the six hours until the checkered flag flew and the fireworks from the Mazda bridge, located just past the Start/Finish line, lit up the sky.

This excerpted and edited from American Le Mans Series PDF report -

At 8:18 pm (5h 48m running), Checkered Flag.

Marino Franchitti (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) crosses the line to take the overall victory.

Christophe Bouchut (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) wins in class by 7.105 seconds over Tom Sutherland (#36-LMPC Oreca FLM09).

Joey Hand, who drives the #90 BMW E92 M3 for Rahal Letterman Racing's BMW team, just before the race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Patrick Long (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) wins the closet battle just 0.365 seconds ahead of Joey Hand (#90-GT BMW E92 M3) and 2.766 seconds ahead of Oliver Gavin (#4-GT Chevrolet Corvette ZR1).

Jeroen Bleekemolen (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) lead flag to flag beating Andy Lally (#63-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) by move than one lap.

Marino Franchitti (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) records his 3rd ALMS win.
Simon Pagenaud (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) records his 7th ALMS win.
David Brabham (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) records his 21st ALMS win.

Christophe Bouchut (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) earns his second ALMS victory.
Mark Wilkins (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) earns his first ALMS victory.
Scott Tucker (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) earns his second ALMS victory.

Joerg Bergmeister (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) now has 31 ALMS wins.
Patrick Long (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) with 17 ALMS wins.

Jeroen Bleekemolen (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) earns his second ALMS victory.
Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) earns his second ALMS victory ... and first in the United States.
Tim Pappas (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) earns his second ALMS victory.

American Le Mans Series Monterey Presented Patrón – Race Quotes:

Marino Franchitti (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) “Procedurally this was a great performance for the team. Simon's drive was just a pleasure to watch. David got in and backed us up and got is a bit more of a lead. I knew the Dyson car was a bit of a terrier and I knew I didn't want to let them go. The guys made a great call not to put on new tires right there at the end. I was definitely hanging on for life, it was a bit like drifting or rally driving. It was great to have no damage and keep it together cause the car leaves Friday for Le Mans. So this is great heading to France.” (about the last stop) “Perry, our Michelin guy looked at our tires and said we were good.
Either way I was going to be happy. I knew I'd still have great tires and new tires were still really good. It was a perfect call because I could drive like I wanted to. Michelin was a big part of the win today.”

Simon Pagenaud in the HPD ARX-01c (lower left, black and green) as he brings the car forward through traffic from a start at the back of the pack. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Simon Pagenaud (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) “Thank you to the Highcroft Racing team, they did a fantastic job. The whole crew in the pits did a great job. The opening laps were pretty exciting. Starting at the back you have to find motivation and that was getting to the front. The ending of my stint was really good, the Michelin tires were working really, really good. We went through the traffic very quickly. We got ahead a lot from the first yellow the went out. It is a great team to be part of the operation like HR. Its great to go off to Le Mans where we're looking for the win.”

David Brabham (#1-LMP HPD ARX-01c) “The last couple of races here have been pretty good. Last year we won the championship here. I cant say enough about the team, today was an absolutely flawless demonstration of endurance racing. Everything happened out there and we made no mistakes in the pits. My teammates performed perfectly. This is the way to head off to Le Mans with this momentum.”

Joerg Bergmeister (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) “It was definitely a bit more relaxing this year. Especially last year being chased down by Jan. I knew Patrick would do a good job because he has been good all week long. There were some who thought it wouldn't work out because the BMW was charging but I knew that Patrick would work it out and pull away. The car was working well all day long. It was a good race.”

Patrick Long (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) ”Laguna Seca has been special. It was always the race we finished up. And of course last year we finished with a literal and figurative bang. This year not quite as exciting but still exciting none-the-less. We had a call if we were going to play for points or go for the win. On the restart Joey left a bit of an open door and I took it 3 wide through 11. Then it was all about running because I knew Joey wouldn't be happy. We came from P8 and worked our way through a very competitive field. We know Risi had a hard day so unfortunately they were in the mix with everyone else in the end because they were so
tough this weekend. I cant say enough about the competitiveness in all the classes in this Series. So many cars on the lead laps at the end and its just tough.”

Scott Tucker (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) “I don't know if there is a secret. I have great co-drivers and a great team. Our manager has a great mind and these guys make it easy for me. They do a great job behind the scenes. “

Mark Wilkins (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) “We had to push really hard to keep up front. Christophe drove a great stint, so did Scott to keep the car up there. Level 5 gave us a great car at Sebring and they did here. We knew if we could run to the end we'd be right there.”

Christophe Bouchut (#55-LMPC Oreca FLM09) “Its a nice feeling to win again here. It was a great race, this time we had to fight really hard until the end. The car was working really well. We had no problems at all. I just pushed the car to the maximum to keep our positions.”

Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) “It feels great. Joroen said, we came here to win. We have a race Monday morning and we fly back home. This track is really sandy, it is the most difficult of the track. There was a car who went off at turn 4. An LMP went off and you couldn't see the track. But every driver knows this course so it's fun to drive when everyone is so familiar.”

Tim Pappas (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) “This is pretty cool. We came out for Long Beach without much preparation. We had a difficult, frustrating race. We went home and worked hard and practice. All the guys at Black Swan are great. The Bleekemolen brothers come over and it was a great race. We didn't put a tire off and made zero mistakes in the pits so that turned out to a race win.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen (#54-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) “I know the guys are great. We had a great start in Long Beach but some things went wrong, today it went really right. Its great to get the win and hopefully move up in the championships.”

Falling back into Spring, this race will rest for at least another year. It was good to be back so soon, now on to Le Mans, then the second have of the North American Tour begins.

... notes from The EDJE

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bobby Rahal ... a multiple team owner with a couple of problems at ALMS

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Bobby Rahal ... a multiple team owner with a couple of problems at ALMS

Bobby Rahal, after witnessing his son, Graham Rahal make the IRL field for one of the set 33 positions in the field at the 2010 Indianapolis 500 yesterday (assumed ... or was he at Barber Motorsports Park?), flew in to the Monterey area to oversee the activities of his Rahal Letterman BMW M3 GT ALMS team. What greeted him was the following bit of damage to the #90 driven by Dirk Mueller ... at the time of this posting, it is unknown if the car will make the field.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

This excerpted and edited from an ALMS track report PDF -

At 10:31 am, Dirk Mueller (#90-GT BMW E92 M3) into the pits with damage to the right front, right rear, and rear end of the car. Apparently the car spun with contact but was able to drive back to the pits. This will be a big repair for the car before the race. There are left-over BMW parts near the tire barrier coming out of turn 6, it looks like this is where the incident occurred.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

... and the curtain is drawn.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

UPDATE: It's just like ... it never happened!

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

... notes from The EDJE

Post Script: Bobby Rahal BMW with friends and Drivers (Larry Koch BMW M-Brand Manager white shirt, Dicken Wear yellow shirt) ... Tom Milner background - image taken at the Monterey Historics a few years ago. Image Credit: Jan Wagner - AutoMatters

Friday, May 21, 2010

Driver Meet-Up & American Le Mans Vitesse Mazda RX8 Ride Along

Guy Smith put Mazda power out front at its home track with the fastest time in Friday’s first official practice session for the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón. Dyson Racing’s English ace posted a best lap of 1:14.335 (108.385 mph) in the Lola-Mazda coupe that he will drive with Chris Dyson and Andy Meyrick. Qualifications Update: Guy Smith (#16-LMP Lola B09 86/Mazda) earns his 1st ALMS pole. Strategy for tomorrow from Guy Smith, "Tomorrow, we are looking for a very boring race. We want to just drive around, drive our own race, not make any mistakes. The Dunlop tires are really good. We've never run them here, it was a bit of the unknown. We knew they'd be good" continued Smith, "but they have exceeded my expectations. Dunlop worked hard in the winter, and worked hard with the Europeans. It's great to show we can battle with the Michelins and the Yokohamas. It's really good competition." This is the first pole position for a non-Michelin team since Mosport 2004 when Dyson Racing's Lola-AER was on Goodyear.Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Driver Meet-Up & American Le Mans Vitesse Mazda RX8 Ride Along

The Vitesse program is a new initiative to demonstrate relevance between American Le Mans Series manufacturers' race entries and the vehicles these manufacturers have available to consumers. It's an opportunity for the public to get up close to the vehicles as well as see them perform and maneuver while undertaking hot laps on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca race track.

My camera shifted to video in compact but I posted it anyway ... PART 1: It was fun to see Patrick Longiver for Flying Lizard Motorsports, talk with another driver about the braking and steering dynamics in negotiating turns 3 & 4 with Pete Brock watching on with affirmative amusement. PART 2: Monterey's Jonathan Bomarito Team SpeedSource's race winning GT class driver (2010 24 hours of Daytona) was a joy to ride with and he turned me on the the fact that turn six is tighter and more challenging than it looks from anywhere else than the track! He also happens to do double duty as a teaching driver for Skip Barber Racing School here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Video Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

The Mazda RX8 is the consumer legacy of the legendary RX8 race car that recently won the 24 Hours of Daytona at the beginning of this year. Much of the technology on the Mazda RX8 was developed through Mazdaspeed Motorsports extensive investment in racing and demonstrates as direct a link between technology transfers from the track to the showroom as exists within the American Le Mans Series.

Other Vitesse cars offered like the Corvette Z06, and also a Porsche Turbo have teams that field racing models in the ALMS, fans and guests of the Vitesse program are guaranteed not just an exciting experience, but an exotic encounter with some of the most desired and rare cars on the road. Attending the next ALMS race in your area to get a glimpse of the Vitesse cars and the 200mph prototypes they've inspired is simply a must.
(ht: SPEED TV)

Monday, May 17, 2010

GMG Open House

GMG Open House 2010
(All Images: Dicken Wear)

GMG Race Team with a Great Finish at Mazda Raceway 2009

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chuckwalla Valley Raceway Opens With A Flourish

Dicken Wear's helmet as it sits on the hood of his BMW 740il Dually at ChuckWalla Valley Raceway (CVR) Media Introduction Day - April 23, 2010. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Chuckwalla Valley Raceway Opens With A Flourish

On April 23rd, members of the automotive press from all over the Southwest were invited to preview this new private racing facility - Chuckwalla Valley Raceway (CVR) - and learn first hand what might be involved in starting up a new racing operation. First impressions and the attentions to detail leave one with the feeling that this effort will be a resounding success.

The facility currently has one road course track operational that is 2.68 miles long (a little longer than the old Riverside International Raceway) and features seventeen (17) turns, is 40 feet wide, multiple elevation changes, a couple of double apex turns, a long banked turn, and a tricky three turn off-cambered section that mimics (to a lesser degree) the famed corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The track was designed by internationally known motorcycle racing school operator, designer, and author ("Features of Race Track Design") Ed Bargy.

The Suzuki SX4 SportBack GTS Test Drive (driven by John Dinkel) begins on the short straight between turns 3 and 4 ... and ends on the front straightaway. Camera car driven by Dicken Wear and new media contributor/co-pilot, Ed Jenks. Video Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Graphic Credit: CVR

The new road course race track operation is now open ... just off an airstrip down California's Interstate 10 between Coachella Valley (Palm Springs) and Blythe at Desert Center.

Desert Center had been famous for mining, a fuel and food stop on the way to either LA or Phoenix, and Palm Trees planted in a circle (gone fallow) to attract attention to passing motorists. Get off and head North toward Highway 62 at the intersection of Interstate 10 and 177 and after four miles turn right at the sign heralding the "Chuckwalla Valley Raceway - Bringing the Future to you!"