Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mosport Breaks Streaks And Dims Season's Chances In ALMS GT

GT Class race leaders at Mosport before the final change when a penalty is assessed on the #55 BMW of Auberlen/Werner (pictured leading eventual winner Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen's Corvette, and P2's Jaime Melo/Toni Vilander's Ferrari F458 Italia). Image Credit: ALMS/Ryan Smith

Mosport Breaks Streaks And Dims Season's Chances In ALMS GT

The weather was perfect for a summer's race of exotic, and expertly prepared sports cars at Mosport International Raceway just outside Toronto.

The Abruzzi “Spirit of the Le Mans” racer. The Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” is set to carry on a successful history of Panoz in motorsport. With 10 class victories – including eight overall – in the American Le Mans Series and the 2002 Trans-Am championship, the manufacturer is one of the most renowned in the world. In addition to winning at Sebring and Le Mans, Panoz has won at such venues as Road Atlanta, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sears Point, Portland, the Nürburgring and Washington DC. Image Credit: ALMS/Ryan Smith

Joining the GT Class (but running as Unclassified) for the first time in 2011, Team Panoz returned with the radical Panoz Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ with drivers Ian James and Edward Sandström. The Panoz, however, was not a factor in the race and it's outing showed that getting to learn a new car is never easy. In the morning warm-up before the race, the #50 UNC Panoz Abruzzi driven by Edward Sandstrom stopped at turn 2 with damage to the left front of the car after hitting the tire walls. On a positive note, the Unclassified run of the Panoz had it come in at P9 (if judged as GT) ahead of such notable entrants as the #01 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Scott Sharp/Johans van Overbeek, the #98 RSR Jaguar XKR driven by P.J. Jones and Rocky Moran Jr., and the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 RSR driven Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.

The last notable mentioned is where the hopes for a repeat in the GT Class dimmed. The Flying Lizard Porsche of Bergmeister and Long showed great promise at climbing back into the championship points frey after qualifying well in P3 just behind the two Team RLL BMWs and just .231 seconds behind the season points leading team of the #56 of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in P1.

Joerg Bergmeister driving the Flying Lizard factory Porsche chases down the #56 Team RLL BMW before its driver, Joey Hand is issued a penalty, giving the Porsche a temporary lead at Mosport. Image Credit: ALMS/Ryan Smith

The Green Flag drops At 3:03 pm and race was beginning to come the Flying Lizards way when they were able to run at P2 just behind the #56 BMW. The GT madness began after nearly an hour of tight racing when Joey Hand made contact in his #56 BMW M3 GT with Risi Competizione`s #62 Ferrari F458 Italia of Toni Vilander. A penalty for Hand promoted Jeorg Bergmeister and the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR into the lead. Things were looking great until Bergmeister got his Porsche sideways in Turn 10, handing the lead to Bill Auberlen in the #55 BMW Team RLL entry.

Normally, a racer can recover from a spin but the Porsche was not behaving well.

This excerpted and edited from ALMS Race Notes -

At 4:25 pm (1h 22m running), Joerg Bergmeister (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) has radioed that he has lost power steering and will pit for the crew to evaluate.

At 4:26 pm (1h 23m running), Joerg Bergmeister (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) into the pits. 4 tires, fuel, driver change: Patrick Long . working on the power steering.

At 4:36 pm (1h 33m running), Patrick Long (#45-GT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) into the pits. No fuel, no driver change. Finished repairs on pit lane. Rejoining the race.


This eleven minute repair delay placed the team well down in the field finishing the race at Mosport P12 in GT Class. The #45 Flying Lizard effort entered the race at a real chance of climbing back into the season points race from P3 but leaves dropping to P6.

GT championship leader BMW Team RLL`s three-race win streak came to a close at Mosport as a combo of contact, mechanical woes and penalties jumbled the order throughout the two-hour, 45 minute race. After the final round of pit stops and with Dirk Werner in the driver`s seat, it appeared BMW`s biggest concern would be holding off Magnussen`s #4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. But with less than 20 minutes remaining, another penalty cost BMW the lead once again. Officials ruled Werner's contact with GTC leader Pumpelly at Turn 10 as avoidable and called the #55 BMW into the penalty box. It promoted Magnussen and his Corvette to the GT lead.

Winning Driver's Quotes:

Jan Magnussen (#4-GT Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1) (about the battle with Ferrari) “We were just ahead in the pits stops, and after that we had to hold him off. We were side by side through three, it was really exciting. We were pushing as hard as we could the whole race, same as the Ferrari. It's a really fast car, I had to wait for him to make a mistake for a while. He finally made one in traffic and I was able to take advantage. I knew I couldn't pull away from him on speed, so I knew I had to take some chances in traffic to keep ahead of him. This race had a bunch of different potential winners at different stages, I think BMW looked like they had the most advantage, but we were able to push at the right moments and pull a win out. If you asked us this morning, we'd say, there will only be one winner. It just unfolded that way today. I'm glad we were the ones that got to break the win barrier.”

Oliver Gavin (#4-GT Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1) “It was one of those moments where you see the incident, and you think, in the past the person gets a penalty. It was called that way, and it was something that aided us to get the win. Jan still had to do a lot of hard work out there and navigate the traffic. Traffic does seem to be a really big issue here. Any time you slip and go off the track, you can end up in the wall. That could be a race ending moment. There is no chance to rest here. Hats off to Jan and the team, just a stellar job today. I knew from my stint that if Jan was on the Ferrari gearbox coming out of turn 5, you could probably get a toe coming out and use the momentum to get by. He executed brilliantly and then sliced through traffic to get a 4 or 5 second lead. The rain that came through last night showed a bit today. We were chasing the car all weekend, we weren't the fastest car. What we showed today was winning by team, pit stop strategies, coming in at the right time, having the least amount of mistakes. It comes down to the entire team operating at 100% every second of the race.”

The #01 and #02 Ferrari 458 Italia race cars of Extreme Speed Motorsports. Image Credit: ALMS/Ryan Smith

Going into the next race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge (Race 5 of 9), the season points breakout is as follows:

Position - Drivers - Car - Season Championship Points

1 Dirk Mueller/Joey Hand (#56-GT BMW M3 GT) - 80
2 Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen (#4-GT Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1) - 57
3 Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner (#55-GT BMW M3 GT) - 46
4 Jaime Melo/Toni Vilander (#62-Ferrari F458 Italia) - 41
5 Olivier Beretta/Tommy Milner (#3-GT Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1) - 39

... notes from The EDJE

[Article first published as Mosport Breaks Streaks And Dims Season's Chances In ALMS GT on Technorati]

Friday, July 22, 2011


Mosport International Raceway - 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course - Fastest circuit in the American Le Mans Series. Audi’s Dindo Capello posted the fastest Class qualifying lap (138.116 mph) in 2008. … Three different cars and six different drivers have won overall at Mosport since 2008. … Johnny O’Connell has started every Mosport race. He and Jan Magnussen gave Corvette its first GT2 victory in 2009. … Mosport, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010, is one of four tracks to play host to a Series event in each of its 12 seasons. … Track was Canada’s first purpose-built road course and has held Formula 1, Can-Am, Indy Car and the World Sports Car Championship races in its history. Image Credit: ALMS presented by Tequila Patrón


Here we are at a point with only six races left to make a sizable impact in a trend of lopsided wins in the GT Class.

One may really like the fact that the American Le Mans Series style of closed body, street/road track, timed distance format (sometimes straddling day-part), and multiple performance/body style classes running at different speeds, makes for interesting viewing and tracking, but let's be honest ... the only real competition on the track that exists for the duration of most any season, and certainly this one in 2011, is the class of the Classes, the GT Class.

2010 season marked Jaguar’s first full year of competition in American Le Mans Series with Paul Gentilozzi’s RSR entering a Jaguar XKR in GT. ChampCar open wheel driving refugees Bruno Junqueira and Cristiano Da Matta (past CCWS champion) team up to drive the #99 XKR while motorsport name standouts PJ Jones and Rocky Moran Jr. share piloting duties on the #98 XKR Jaguar in its second season. Image Credit: ALMS presented by Tequila Patrón

The exotics in the LMP1, LMP2 (not at Lime Rock) and LMPC Classes are very interesting but there are not enough players to make this portion of what is going on down on the track, except for style and speed, interesting. The GTC Class has multiple entrants, but do not have the wide representation of manufacturers that the GT ClaSS puts up. So we choose to follow, with interest and some intensity, the GT Class in this round #4, American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón - Mosport International Raceway / Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - July 22 – 24, 2011, contest.

The set up at Mosport is simple, BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) has been running a hot Hand (driver Joey Hand, that is) and former Ferrari stand out, Dirk Muller (Mosport fastest lap holder at 1:18.012 - 113.475 mph, August 2008 - Ferrari F430 GT), with three wins in three races. All other teams need to beat the #56 BMW in order to eat into a possible walk into the championship by season's end by both Hand and Muller.

Those who hold the remote possibility of a chance to even think of a championship is held by the two classic annual rivals, last year's champions, Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Long of the factory Porsche Flying Lizard team and Oliver Gavin / Jan Magnussen of Corvette Racing. The driver pairings and teams are almost tied at 37 points for Corvette, 34 points for Porsche, against the 70 points held by the #56 of Hand and Muller. The biggest and most glaring difference between these two challenging teams is that the 34 points held by Flying Lizard Porsche team was achieved in only two races with one DNF whereas the Corvette Racing challenge of 37 points was achieved in all three races.

Patrick Long stalks Joey Hand as they turn laps at Lime Rock. Patrick Long and teammate, Joerg Bergmeister end up 20 seconds down in P2 and register their first podium of the year. Image Credit: ALMS presented by Tequila Patrón

Porsche Flying Lizard Team Quotes before the race:

Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of motorsport: "Mosport is a track where engine performance is more important than on any other circuit. For this reason we were thrilled to hear that the rule-makers in the USA want to revise the imbalance that disadvantaged our cars. I hope that Flying Lizard and the Falken and Miller teams can continue their upward trend that they showed in Lime Rock."

Joerg Bergmeister, #45 co-driver: "Last year we travelled to Mosport without high expectations and we won. It’s not normally a circuit that particularly suits us and it features too many straights. But if we can manage to make everything come together like in Lime Rock recently then we might bring home a podium result. I’d be very happy with this."

Patrick Long, #45 co-driver: "It’s not easy making a reliable prediction for Mosport. The track is very fast, and very demanding for the driver. It’s unforgiving with mistakes. That should work in our favour. I hope we can use this to our advantage."
(ht: Porsche AG Media Database via Dede Seward)

"Never give up!" was Chevrolet's motto, and the team was true to that credo after a chain reaction accident damaged both Compuware Corvette C6.Rs at just 20 minutes into the two-hour, 45-minute race. After the Corvette crew repaired their battered race cars, Olivier Beretta and Tommy Milner battled back to bring the No. 3 Corvette C6.R home in ninth place while Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin finished 10th in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R. Image Credit: ALMS presented by Tequila Patrón

This excerpted and edited from Corvette Racing website:

Mosport has been the stage for many of Corvette Racing's winning performances. The team has tallied eight victories there, including its first win in the GT2 category (since renamed GT) in 2009. That race featured a spectacular wheel-to-wheel duel between Jan Magnussen and Ferrari rival Pierre Kaffer in the final 30 minutes. Magnussen prevailed by .331 seconds at the finish.

"The whole circuit is a huge challenge, one that I relish," said Magnussen's teammate, Oliver Gavin. "We always go into that race with a strong car and the track seems to suit the Corvette's strengths.

"Our car's balance and braking is very good, and we seem to be quick in the tight Turn 5 area and coming into Turn 8 at the end of the back straight," Gavin explained. "One of the most daunting parts is Turn 2, and it's also the most fun when you get it right. The corner entry is blind, you turn in and the track starts to fall away almost immediately. You need absolute trust in the marshals to tell you if there's a problem ahead."

Corvette Racing has unfinished business at Mosport. Last year's event was red-flagged with 30 minutes remaining when the guardrail lining the high-speed Andretti Straightaway was severely damaged in an accident. The twin Corvettes had completed their final pit stops and were in position to race for the win when officials cancelled the remainder of the race.

"If the race had restarted we would have been in a good position," said Magnussen. "We had a strong car, things were shaping up, and we would have had a shot at it. I'm looking forward to going back there and setting the record straight."
[Reference Here]

There are many more cars on the track, starting with one more BMW (#55 driven by Bill Auberlen / Dirk Werner) from the Team RLL stable which sits fourth in the points overall tied with one more Corvette (#3 driven by Olivier Beretta / Tommy Milner) at 33 points in GT Class, but none have more at stake against another winning performance from the #56 BMW of Hand and Muller than the #45 Porsche and the #4 Corvette.

... notes from The EDJE

Event Broadcast Notes:

EVENT: Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport - Round Four of 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón

LOCATION: Mosport International Raceway - Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course

WHEN: 3:05 p.m. (ET) Sunday, July 24, 2011

LENGTH: 2 hours, 45 minutes (time certain)

TELEVISION: / (LIVE coverage)

Qualifying: Saturday, July 23, 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. (ET)

Race: Sunday, July 24, 2:50 – 6:05 p.m. (ET)

ESPN2 - Sunday, July 24 - 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. (ET)
ESPN Player available throughout Europe
ESPN360 available to more than 12 million households in Brazil, Australia and New Zealand
ESPN Player available to 3.5 million households in 12 countries across Latin America. Mexico added in March (additional 8 million households)
ESPN Star Sports available in Asia
Rogers Sportsnet in Canada (LIVE coverage)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Honda-Powered Dallaras Heat Up The Streets (and driver tempers) Of The Honda Indy Toronto

Will Power leads the field from P1 at the Honda Indy Toronto. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

Honda-Powered Dallaras Heat Up The Streets (and driver tempers) Of The Honda Indy Toronto

Round 10 of 18, the Honda Indy Toronto proved to be one of the toughest tests of man, women, and machine of the season. We are beginning the second half of the season and what was shaping up to be a tightly contested two to four driver series championship points race was undone in part due to timing and, of course, full course yellow flag caution periods.

Will Power, entered the race by securing the pole, but still 20 points down to Dario Franchitti, the driver that took the points lead last year in the last race in order to secure his third IndyCar Series Championship. Will Power has done well here in Toronto (reining 2010 race winner) and he was hoping to climb back in the middle of the race for the season points lead on the strength of his Firestone Fast Six Peak Pole Award starting position.

The flag drops to start the race and everything looked good at the beginning because Will's car and his driving skill had the best of the two red Target Chip Ganassi racing Dallaras behind him. At about lap 27, Dario Franchitti heads into the pits a little early to shake things up and get on a different pit sequence and this became the first chink in Power's hold on the lead. Three laps later, Power teammate Helio Castroneves spins out Alex Tagliani in turn 3 bringing out the second full course caution out of eight in the race. This, on restart, places Dario Franchitti at the lead of the race and in attitudinal control from this point forward.

Double-file restarts become the attention draw they were intended to be, with three-wide contests going into turn one and cleaning themselves up by turn two, only to increase the level of contest going into the end of a high-speed straight at turn three where most of the day's full course cautions were launched.

By lap 54, with the help of a slowing Simona de Silvestro, Power was able to gain enough spots to pass by and get ahead of Dario Franchitti where Power felt he could recapture the lead of the race on pit sequence, but Dario had other ideas. When the next time these two drivers came to turn 3, Dario decided to stick his nose in where there wasn't any room and pulled off a NASCAR style punt on Will ... and spun him around. By the time Will Power was able to get turned back around and running, he was back in the fields at P13. The IndyCar Series Championship points gap between Franchitti and Power enlarges to 55 before going on to Round 12 of 18 at Edmonton, July 24th, 2011.

Helmet of the points leading Dario Franchitti as he and his team celebrates the contraversial win at Exposition place in Toronto. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

This excerpted and edited from Racer -

Power slams Franchitti after clash
RACER - July 11, 2011

Afterward a furious Power said the series officials should have taken action against Franchitti.

"It doesn't surprise me that he didn't get a penalty, because he never gets penalized, it's pretty typical," said Power in an interview with Versus. "It was a pretty dirty move. He just turned me around. Does anyone ever penalize this guy? He's as dirty as you like.

"I left the inside open on the brakes. I'm really disappointed with Dario. I always race him clean, and he always races me dirty. He did the same at St. Pete, though I didn't say anything, and he did the same today. Disappointed in Dario. The guy who mouths off about everyone and whinges about everyone, and he's the guy who races the most dirty, never gets a penalty from IndyCar. It's just not right."
[Reference Here]

There was a lot more that ended up not being right as there was hot action around turn three, the pits, and the rest of the track for that matter.

Alex Tagliani's car goes airborne after colliding with Danica Patrick's car on the streets of Toronto. Patrick was able to return to the race after having the nose of her car replaced with a spare part from teammate Marco Andretti. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

Danica Patrick, for her part, finished yet another race in rolling condition, extending her IZOD IndyCar Series record to 43, but this was not without incident. She ran well all race after starting P21 of 26 cars, concentrating at going fast and had worked her way up to the top 10 when she entered turn three with the Dale Coyne Racing Dallara of James Jakes turned around in the corner on lap 71. To avoid contact, Danica ended up pushing Alex Tagliani's Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara (not his first incident in the race) up on its sidepod along the wall as he, a Canadian crowd favorite, luckily misses injury. This results in damaging Danica's front wing and delivers the eighth and final full course yellow.

Confusion ensues for Danica and her team as they do not have a replacement for her damaged front wing. As it turns out, Andretti Autosport gave the wing away to support the effort of teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay on his way to a podium (P3) finish but did not anticipate another incident. As Danica had wait in her pit, Antretti Autosport found a wing in Marco Andretti's pit (Marco finished in P4) and rushed it over to Patrick's pit and it was installed. One can only wonder, if Andretti Autosport were prepared for the Patrick incident (or just any team incident - bad team management process), where would she have ended the race ... probably a lot better than P19 and the next to the last car running on the track ahead of KV Racing Technologies/Lotus team's Takuma Sato, both ending the race six laps down.

One of many of the picturesque views to be had at one of the premiere temporary street courses in North America - the Honda Indy Toronto. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

The crowd was big and full of the excitement generated throughout the race by the close wheel-to-wheel, carbon-fiber action. Can any standard oval race course deliver this kind of intensity and competition throughout a race?

Street and road courses look great on TV and the action on small bullring (1 mile or less) courses with close open wheel action has fans on the edge of their seats leaving the regular oval track wanting for something other than "event" trappings to bring people to the track or turning on their TV sets! It is a question fair to ask.

... notes from The EDJE

[Article first published as Honda-Powered Dallaras Heat Up The Streets (and driver tempers) Of The Honda Indy Toronto on Technorati]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2012 BMW M5 & M6

Image credit, Dicken Wear
Image credit, Dicken Wear
Image credit, Dicken Wear

Here are pictures of the next generation BMW M5 and M6 out for coffee break at Starbucks in Barstow, CA Monday July 11th, 2011. When BMW doesn't want you to see Test Cars, you don't. These cars they wanted the World to see. Images by Dicken Wear 7-11-2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Honda Indy Toronto - Round 10 of 18, "Tweet"-By-LiveBlog Entry

After winning the pole in Toronto, @12WillPower talks with Versus. #indycarmobile. Image Credit: twitpic - Penske Racing

Honda Indy Toronto - Round 10 of 18, "Tweet"-By-LiveBlog Entry

Will Power's love affair with the Toronto street course continued after he snared pole position for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto.

The Australian, who has claimed pole positions in the last eight IndyCar road race events, checked-in with a 59.577-second best lap on the 2.82km Exhibition Place street course for his 21st career pole.

But while Power is the defending champion in Toronto, taking top spot on the grid was a new highlight for him.

"Man, we really had to work hard for that," Power said after securing the Firestone Fast Six Peak Pole Award. "I've never won a pole here in Toronto and I love this place. When you turn a fast lap here, you're really just exhausted. This is such a physical track. It's a real driver's track with all the different surfaces and all the bumps, you really need to wring its neck out there and that's what I love about it."

Power goes into today's race trailing rival and two-time defending series champion Dario Franchitti by 20 points on the 2011 IndyCar Series championship standings. New Zealander, Scott Dixon sits between Power and Franchitti in qualifying and will start alongside the Australian in the front-row while Franchitti starts from P3.

"It's great to be on pole here but this is a track where you can really pass a lot of cars and move forward from the back," Power said.

Track Map - Honda Indy Toronto temporary street course. Image Credit:

The race started on time with the following entries, initially "Tweets" from Twitter, then direct, live blogging entries during the course of the race. The race transpired as follows:

Meeshbeer Meeshbeer - Green! Green! Green!!

IndyCar IZOD IndyCar Series - We're green!

MoreFrontWing More Front Wing - Can't believe lap 1 was clean! Amazing.

Talked too soon!!! Briscoe and Kanaan make contact on LAP 3.

FollowAndretti Andretti Autosport - Full course caution. Kanaan with a bit of contact.

SBPopOffValve - I am sure @TonyKanaan is going to unfollow me and never speak to me again after I picked him to win this week.

Meeshbeer Meeshbeer – RESTART - Green! Green! Green!!

MoreFrontWing More Front Wing - Awesome restart!

LAP 8 Danica and Taku get together … come to pits

LAP 27 – Franchitti pits.

LAP 30 – Tagliani and Castroneves get together in turn 3, spins Tags – Full Course Caution

Fieldof33 Paul Dalbey - Stop me if you've heard this before... Helio takes another driver out of the race and screws over his teammate.

SBPopOffValve - Helio NERFED Tags. Hmm. Unprecedented HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

After pitstops – Franchitti, Servia, Wilson, RHR, Hinchtown, Briscoe, Meira, Tracy, Andretti, Hildebrand, Jakes, then Power, Dixon, Conway, and Rahal.


LAP 38 Tracy and Hinchcliff get together, damaged front wing on Tracy

Jakes has a problem, spins in turn 9 – Full Course Yellow LAP 39

RESTART LAP 43 - Franchitti, Servia, Wilson, RHR, Briscoe, Dixon, Andretti, Meira Conway, Power, Hildebrand.

LAP 44 cars dive into pitlane – Servia has a pick-up problem, gets passed by Wilson and RHR.

Andretti gets past Dixon and Briscoe to P5

LAP 46 sees Conway get around Meira for P7 then Briscoe for P6 followed by Power around Mreira for P7

LAP 47 Tracy clobbers Meira and takes him out of the race Full Course Yellow

LAP 48 everyone gets into the pits for tires and fuel … may be the last stop.

LAP 49 Graham Rahal leads the field due to an earlier pitstop – then Viso, de Silvestro, RHR, Beatriz, Franchitti, Wilson, Dixon, Power and Andretti round out the top 10.

RHR may be in the best position to go to the end without a pitstop for fuel.

RESTART LAP 52 side-by-side with lapped Tagliani gives Rahal all he can handle – passes Rahal to get his lap back.

Ryan Hunter-Reay gets past de Silvestro LAP 53 and now Power gets past several cars and runs in P6 ahead of Franchitti.

LAP 54 Power passes de Silvestro for P5 – Conway heads for the pits with damage.

Full Course Yellow – Will Power gets turned around by Dario Franchitti in turn 4 Power stalled.

Franchitti now in P5 behind Wilson on LAP 58 during the 5th full course caution.

RESTART LAP 61 side-by-side with Rahal, RHR, Viso, Wilson, Franchitti, Dixon, Servia, Andretti … Power back at P16

Viso locks up his tires and causes a flat when Wilson tries to pass, Dixon now past Wilson.

Graham will need a 44 lap tank full in order to maintain position and win ... or just finish the race.

Top 5 are Rahal, Hunter-Reay, Franchitti, Dixon and Wilson.

Franchitti passes RHR on lap 64

Will Power gets booted into the tire barrier by Tagliani on LAP 66 – possible 45 points down to Franchitti

Yellow helps Rahal on his load of fuel with 18 laps to go.

Top 5 shows Rahal, Franchitti, RHR, Dixon, and Wilson. Will Power out of the car unable to continue and will finish at P 24

LAP 68 Rahal chooses to start from the left on the side-by-side and the restart gets waived off – was this on purpose – for gas?

RESTART LAP 69 – waived off

RESTART LAP 70 – Rahal gets a leap and the GREEN Flag flies – 77 Tagliani goes up on it side as he gets together with James Jakes

Full Course Yellow - can you say destruction derby? Patrick hits Jakes which caused a chain reaction with Tagliani – lost in all of this is that Franchitti gets around Rahal in turn 3 for the lead

LAP 76 RESTART – Top 5 are Franchitti, Rahal, Dixon, RHR, and Wilson.

Three wide into turn 1, Wilson gets turned and collects several cars that include Servia, Hinchcliff and a couple of others. Rahal gets passed by Dixon but it was under Yellow and gets sent back. Andretti causes the chain reaction incident.

LAP 80 RESTART – Top 5 are Franchitti, Rahal, Dixon, RHR, and Andretti.

Rahal almost passes Franchitti through 1 and 2, gets spun by Dixon and Rahal gets booted back to P13.

Dixon charges on to Franchitti and if Dario wins it will be a 55 point lead from 20 before the race over Power going into Edmonton.

LAP 83 of 85 laps it Franchitti, Dixon and newlywed Ryan Hunter-Reay in 1-2-3!

Five car lengths separate Franchitti and Dixon who is closing. Both are pulling away from Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Checkered Flag, Dario Franchitti wins for the fourth time this season and the third time at the Toronto street course venue. 30 career wins gives him 9th all-time and passes Rick Mears who posted 29 wins in his career. Further, Franchitti is now one win shy of tying Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais for eighth on the all-time wins list with 31.

Graham Rahal would have made it on fuel but he believes that if RHR did not hit him, he would have been on the podium. Maybe we should just call this a honeymoon gift.

Marco Andretti gained 16 positions in the race and moves up one position in the overall championship.

An exciting race to watch and listen to but a horrible race for the ChampCar proud fans of Will Power, Graham Rahal, and Oriol Servia. In the end, Sebastien Bourdais and EJ Viso were the only ChampCar transition drivers to make it into the top ten … and this, technically, is one of their tracks.

Dario Franchitti celebrates with his team in the winners podium at the Honda Indy Toronto - Before turning a lap, Franchitti issued a cautionary note about 26 cars squeezing through the narrow twists and turns of the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street course in the Honda Indy Toronto. “Small mistakes will be punished, and in some cases, it could take out multiple cars,” the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader said. Image Credit:

How they finished:

Pos - Driver - Team - Time/Gap

1. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 85 laps
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi + 0.7345s
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti + 6.0144s
4. Marco Andretti Andretti + 7.5671s
5. Vitor Meira Foyt + 9.0117s
6. Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne + 9.3114s
7. Ryan Briscoe Penske + 9.8735s
8. JR Hildebrand Panther + 14.1750s
9. EJ Viso KV + 14.7843s
10. Simona de Silvestro HVM + 15.7603s
11. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold + 16.8992s
12. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas + 19.8736s
13. Graham Rahal Ganassi + 21.3123s
14. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas + 1 lap
15. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold + 2 laps
16. Paul Tracy Dragon + 3 laps
17. Helio Castroneves Penske + 4 laps
18. James Jakes Dale Coyne + 4 laps
19. Danica Patrick Andretti + 6 laps
20. Takuma Sato KV + 6 laps


Charlie Kimball Ganassi 77 laps
Mike Conway Andretti 76 laps
Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt 71 laps
Will Power Penske 66 laps
Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 43 laps
Tony Kanaan KV 2 laps

One final post-race Tweet came across the screen as this posting was being finalized ...

12WillPower Will Power -by toomuchracing - @dariofranchitti hey princess thanks for that nice tap today--appreciate it

The Edmonton Indy, Round 11 of 18 takes place at Rexall Edmonton Indy Speedway - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - on Versus at 2:00pm ET, July 24, 2011.

... notes from The EDJE

(Article first published as Honda Indy Toronto - Round 10 of 18, "Tweet"-By-LiveBlog Entry on Technorati)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rolex Sporets Car Races at Mazda Raceway.

Photo Image, Dicken Wear
Photo Image, Dicken Wear
Photo Image, Dicken Wear
Photo Image, Dicken Wear

There were more photos and a story that went with these nice pix of the Turner Motorsports Team. But the new Media Director of Grand-Am and the Media Director of Mazda Raceway have banned this Journalist from covering Grand-Am events and events at Mazda Raceway.
And since the "Monterey Fish House" doesn't serve "Bananas Foster" anymore, there are not as many reasons to go to Monterey and spend money on over priced hotels as there once was.
Dicken Wear, Editor-in-Chief.
"The Motorsports Report"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dan Wheldon ... Championship Winning Driver, 2-Time Indy 500 Winner, Motorsports Color Commentator

Dan Wheldon when he was riding his wave of popularity at the beginning of the 2006 season (photo of 2006 Indy Downforce fan club promo, with signature - similar to the 2003 trade show handout). The previous year he had won the Indy 5oo and the 2005 IndyCar Series Championship over Tony Kanaan, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti, and Scott Sharp. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

Dan Wheldon ... Championship Winning Driver, 2-Time Indy 500 Winner, Motorsports Color Commentator, Ambassador to American Open Wheel Racing

There was a time, not long ago, that Dan Wheldon was just like any other aspiring driver with some talent, lucky to be associated with a young, but experienced racing team, stood in an exhibition hall, next to a nicely painted Jim Beam logoed car, to sign autographs on images of himself standing next to a race car printed on light cardboard. This image of Dan Wheldon happened at a trade show in Las Vegas a few years back (2003) before he became the championship winning driver, 2-time Indy 500 winner, motorsports color commentator, and ambassador to American open wheel racing Dan Weldon people have become familiar with over the last half decade or so.

Dan was working a promotional appearance at the Las Vegas Convention Center highlighting the fact that he had just became a member of the Andretti Green Racing organization (replacing Michael Andretti as a driver) in the Indianapolis Racing League (now named IndyCar Series) and there he stood next to his Jim Beam Special Dallara happy to meet and greet people as he shook hands and handed out signed promotional printed images of himself in a similar pose. Being a race car driver isn't all "rockstar" glory ... it requires a lot of hard work.

This year has seen a growth in the stature of the gentle, and unassuming British character (the public, promotional persona), who has not only won the 2011 Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but has taken to working races behind the microphone.

Last weekend, the IndyCar Series (ICS) visited the cornfields of Iowa to run the 9th race in a 18 race season. The Iowa Corn 250 is run on a very tight, banked turn, .875-mile oval that, at race speed, takes only about 19 seconds to lap, and through this very fast lap action, Dan Wheldon proved himself as capable an announcer as he is an accomplished driver.

To those who watched the broadcast, carried by VERSUS cable channel for a unique Saturday night-time presentation, Dan Wheldon embraced the fast paced, event-filled three hours as if he'd been doing this microphone stuff for years. The broadcast pre-race featured a Formula 1 style pit lane interview walk with famed auto-writer Robin Miller and Dan, each taking a row of the two-row staging of the cars along pit lane. On the broadcast, first Robin, and then Dan (back and forth) would walk up to drivers, car owners, and engineers and create a quick one or two question interview that proved to be extremely entertaining. It's always fun to be able to catch a Ganassi or Penske off guard, especially since they rarely ever are, but this was the feel and pace of the segment - fairly smooth and spontaneous. Dan was really in the commentator zone when he was interviewing Dario Franchitti, when he said "This is my job" ... Dario graciously retorted "Oh no its not. Ahhh, you know where your job is ... [on the track]!" It makes one ask, just who was caught off-guard now?

During the race, however, is where Dan Wheldon really shined. Even though the cars were going around the oval at under 19 seconds a lap, Dan had the uncanny knack of having the broadcast presence of almost slowing down the action at moments so that the viewer felt as though they were in the cockpit and had the control of the car while it circled the track. The action did not slow down on the screen, Dan did not talk slowly, but the explanation and engagement with the viewing audience in Dan's style, translated itself to a kinda' audio slower (not slow) motion.

Forces have a funny way of working their way into situations. The fact that Dan Wheldon isn't driving for another ICS season championship in 2011 is a tragedy and all American open wheel racing fans see this. Until this situation is rectified, the same American open wheel racing fans may at least be able to have more color commentary from Dan Wheldon in future ICS races this season.

... notes from The EDJE

(Article first published as Dan Wheldon ... Championship Winning Driver, 2-Time Indy 500 Winner, Motorsports Color Commentator, Ambassador to American Open Wheel Racing on Technorati)