Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review: Think Fast - The Racer's Why-To Guide to Winning

Book Cover - Think Fast author Neil Roberts offers engineering for racers through ThinkFast Engineering. Image Credit:

Book Review: Think Fast - The Racer's Why-To Guide to Winning

Think Fast - The Racer's Why-To Guide to Winning, was written by one of the forces behind the successes at Swift Engineering, Neil Roberts.  Think Fast was first published by the author in 2010, with the most recent edition published June 5, 2012 which can be purchased directly from the author (ISBN 1451558759; MSRP $30;

Think Fast is a collection of Neil Roberts' insights, as a winning SCCA open wheel racer, professional race team engineer (CART) and aerospace engineer. Roberts explores decision-making and time management issues involved with creating and managing a winning racing effort.

The author addresses four major topical areas in this book -- driving skills, the mental game, automobile tuning, and engineering.  Chapters include helpful illustrations and graphs that communicate very effectively.

Included are tips on autocross & track driving, race car set-ups, engineering dos & don'ts, and race team management; however,  this "why-to" softcover could be an inspirational how-to guide for any process-oriented business effort or an individual exploring promising routes to a directed, successful life.

Sections of Think Fast may appear to target engineering-minded race car developers who expect to drive, but they are finessed to allow the non-technical reader to easily understand the dynamic forces involved with each of the automobile subsystems discussed.

I was enlightened by the author's concepts on becoming a winning thinker, person, team member, and controller of one's own destiny.  Neil Roberts effectively communicated nuggets of information he gleaned over a multi-faceted career in competition combined with humor and personal situational anecdotes.

Some of the more compelling and/or enjoyable concepts covered in Think Fast are:

-- "If you are looking for an employee who will get the job done on time every time, who will take full responsibility and pride in the results that he or she produces, and who considers exceeding your expectations to be standard practice, HIRE A RACER."

-- Under Right Of Way - "The car in front of you owns the entire width of the track , even if you are along side, and even if you are about to lap that car. The car in front of you has the right to use any and all of the track, the curbs, and the grass, so any contact is your fault. The instant that the nose of your car edges ahead of the nose of the other car by one micron, the roles reverse. Now you own the entire width of the track, and you can drive anywhere you want."

-- "If your car starts to feel like a faithful servant, you are not driving it hard enough."

-- "There is an easy way to tell whether or not a race car part is too heavy. I you let go of it and it falls down, it's too heavy."

-- "It is just as easy to calculate laps per pound as it is miles per gallon."

-- "The voice of reason has a very hard time competing with the volume of nonsense in the paddock."

-- "Never carry anything around in your head that you can carry around in your trunk."

-- "Despite the title of this book, "Think Slowly" is much better advise when it comes to making handling changes. It takes some effort to take the time to stop, sit down, close your eyes, and think it [the problem] through carefully before you make any race car development decisions."

--  “It takes some effort to separate your ego from the value that your idea offers. People should be treated with respect. Ideas should be beaten to within an inch of their lives. The good ones survive by demonstrating real added value to the program."

-- "Everyone reports to someone, and the boss reports to the customers. If the boss forgets that, disaster is guaranteed."

-- "Given the colossal effort that is required to finish first, it should be completely obvious that victory is earned, not won. Victory is the goal that we all strive for, but it's only one result of many other things that must be earned on the way there."

Neil Roberts knows how to communicate ideas through the written word. If this were just another book written by an engineer, for engineers, watching paint dry might be a better choice of pursuit than Roberts' Think Fast -The Racer's Why-To Guide To Winning. This book is recommended reading for anyone focused on improving their understanding of making cars fast, and on a much larger level, honing one's process-oriented thinking for other, more important tasks encountered through a life lived well.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Book Review: Think Fast - The Racer's Why-To Guide to Winning on Technorati **

Monday, August 27, 2012

GoPro INDY Grand Prix Tweet-By-Tweet

Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves holds a fan Q&A at the Winner’s Circle stage during pre-race activities here at the GoPro INDY Grand Prix of Sonoma. Image Credit: Lauren Bohlander via Twitter @LaurenBohlander

GoPro INDY Grand Prix Tweet-By-Tweet

A lot has changed with the IndyCar Series event at Sonoma raceway: new cars, new engine manufacturers, new track layout, new race sponsor, new race distance … but please do not these facts cloud your impression of familiarity.

Penske Racing and Penske affiliates fill the first two rows of the grid on the track here at Sears Point north of San Francisco. Penske Racing’s Will Power (P1- IICS Season Points) captured pole and he will line up next to teammate Ryan Briscoe followed by Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing’s Sébastien Bourdais, Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves (P3 – IICS Season Points), and Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon (P4 – IICS Season Points). Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (P2 – IICS Season Points) will start from the seventh position on the grid.

The following live entries will be a combination of Tweets from Twitter and comments from the author … welcome to the 13th race of this 15 race IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 season -

Amy @OpenWheelMom
Race Day! Race Day! Race Day! #GoProGP #IndyCar

Bash Beard @SpeedFreakBash
It’s rollout time at @RaceSonoma. The #IndyCar machines and gear are heading to the pits, and the masses are heading to the prerace stage.

Fox Sports 1230 WMML @WMML1230
#IndyCar Racing will air live starting approximately 4:05PM here on FOX Sports Radio 1230.

BRANDed Management @BRANDed
Tune-in for today’s @IndyCar @GoPro race @RaceSonoma. Race at 4pm EDT on @NBCSN #GoProGP #IndyCar

Saturday notebook from #GoProGP – #IndyCar #PirelliWC

Right now we have the Patriots Airshow … a private jet team that emulates what the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angles do. Pretty cool stuff. The crowd seems light with only about an hour before the Green Flag drops

IMS Productions @IMSProductions
Our followers are awesome! Who out there is ready for the #IndyCar #GoProGP @RaceSonoma?? Let’s hear your predictions!!

Will Power, Will Power, Will Power, Will Power, Will Power, Will Power, Will Power, Will Power …

jErEM!@H 15k™ @pistons15
#32 Kendall Hunter in a #49ers #IndyCar

Carl Carson @indyhockey77
@12WillPower is going to put on a clinic at Sonoma! #GoProGP #IndyCar2012

Patrick @TwinCheckers
I pick @tagliani @BHA to win #GoProGP!!! #TeamPositivity

Ryan @mad_mahler
I’ll second that one RT @TOMotorsports: Good-luck to @tagliani and @Hinchtown in today’s @IndyCar #GoProGP

Timothy Weyand @RockChef2
Just saw a T-shirt for sale that said To dumb for opera, to smart for NASCAR. I’m offended and amused! #RaceSonoma #IndyCar

Stacie St. John @Indybrat13
Time to scream my head off. #GoProGP @IndyCar @RaceSonoma

Ash (アシュー) @racingAsh
Yes! It’s almost race time at @RaceSonoma. Broadcast just started on @NBCSN. #GoProGP #IndyCar

IZOD IndyCar Series @IndyCar
Driver intros about to start!! #GoProGP #indycar2012

Megan K Bickel @megankbickel
#GoProGP time!! Love race days! #IndyCar

F1 Fanatic @f1fanatic_co_uk
Just three races left in the #IndyCar season and there’s a very close four-way title fight:

Josh Kelly @bigpapaj2384
I hope @12WillPower blows a motor in the first 10 laps!! Power sucks. #IndyCar

Peter Leung @BaronVonClutch
RT @TylerClary: Thanks for the two-seater ride @ariejr! #IndyCar

Rhett Umphress @rhettumphress
Since 2010, pole sitter Will Power has led 144 of 150 laps with two wins at Sonoma #IndyCar

IndyCar al día @indycaraldiaweb
Resultados de Ryan Hunter-Reay en Sonoma (desde 2007): 18, 18, 19, 8, 10 #IndyCar
In English? … This speaks for itself

IZOD IndyCar Series @IndyCar
Points leader @12WillPower ! #GoProGP #indycar2012

Leonardo Guina @LeoGuina
A IndyCar fez 7 races em Sonoma, Tony Kanaan venceu a primeira (2007), Helinho venceu em 08′ Power venceu 10′ e 11′ e larga da Pole #IndyCar

I agree with Helio – the most prized possession of any racer would certainly be a #DWTS trophy. #IndyCar #GoProGP

Pastor George Luther @PastorG16
Heavenly Father please keep the Drivers, crews & fans safe-We ask this in Christ’s name, Amen #indycar2012 @FollowAndretti @IndyCar #GoProGP

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity … Let’s Go Racin’ … OOPS! wrong series, no fenders

El auto del pole position está listo para la carrera. Caption and Image Credit: Bruno Tarulli via Twitter @BrunoTarulli34

GoPro® @GoPro
And they’re off! Big ups to @XGames Gold Medalist @stevemccann for waving the green flag to get us started. #GoProGP

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
Drivers to your cars! #GoProIndy #IndyCar

Diana Pol @DianaPol1
#indycar Sonoma live straks op RTL 7 :-)

Courtney Boggs @CourtneyBoggs_
Wouldn’t be race day without a fly over… #GoProGP @JMIteam

The command – Mayor Kevin Johnson – Ladies and Gentlemen … START YOUR ENGINES

Michael Duning @MikeDuning
Looking forward to this @IndyCar race at Sonoma #GoProGP — My race winner pick: @scottdixon9

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN … The GoPro INDY Grand Prix of Sonoma race begins

F1 Fanatic Live @f1fanaticlive
Tagliani picks off Pagenaud and Hunter-Reay but Dixon is tipped into a spin at the first hairpin. #IndyCar

Kev @ElusiveKev
Nice and racy early on. Nice dirt kicking up from Tags. #IndyCar #GoProGP

Helio Castroneves is issued a drive through penalty for avoidable contact

LAP3 of 85 – TAKU is off track in the dirt – local YELLOW

T.S. Clayton @TSClayton9919
Sato’s off course? You don’t say. #GoProGP #indycar #indycar2012

SeaBass is still in P3 – All the cars in the field are tracking single file

LAP 6 of 85 – Will Power currently has a near 2 second lead on the field – Dixon P14, Castroneves P21
TAGS up to P5 from P8 … TK is the biggest mover … up to P10 from P16

LAP 10 of 85 – Rubens Barrichello up from P11 to P7

Mr. Lehr @SLehr81
Power leads by 3.5 secs #Indycar

KV Racing Technology @kvracing
11 laps completed, Barrichello P7, Kanaan P10 and Viso P13 #GoProGP #indycar2012

Andrew J. Dixon @thereal_NOX
Looked more like blocking by @scottdixon9 than unavoidable contact by @h3lio. #goprogp

Mandy Valentine @Indy_Mode
Agreed! #IndyCar #GoProGP RT @rkid84: “@kylelewis1: I can’t wait until Simona doesn’t have a lotus.” hear hear

LAP 15 of 85 – TAKU is out of the race – Scott Dixon comes in to pit road … sticker REDS – spins a little on cold tires

Helio in the pits with the same strategy as Dixon

Curt Cavin @curtcavin
Should there be a caution soon, Dixon and Helio would be 1-2. #IndyCar

Shane Rogers @upshifted
If you’re mid pack and further back with pace, now is the time to pit. And hope for a pits closed yellow. #indycar #GoProGP

木代 峰雄 @kishiro26
#INDYCAR 佐藤琢磨 コースアウトしたら エンジントラブルで リタイア 残念です。 早起きして観てたのにねぇ……φ(..) #gaora #indyjp #takumasato

Steve Wittich @stevewittich
Is affecting your enjoyment of watching? NOT MINE!!!!!!! @pressdog: @andhesonit crowd numbers are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. #IndyCar #GoProGP

IZOD IndyCar Series @IndyCar
Cars are starting to take their first pits. Saavedra, Kimball and Hinchcliffe among them. #GoProGP #indycar2012

Ash (アシュー) @racingAsh
Oh boy. Lap traffic for Power. #GoProGP #IndyCar

This is lapped traffic with cold tires … very tricky – PITS

Power in and Power out on scuffed REDS – comes out with RHR giving him blending problems

Simon Pagenaud inherits the lead on the pit stop cycles

LAP 20 of 85 - WOW Bourdais and Andretti are dicing strong before and after turn #7

RHR is in the lead now with the pit stop cycles – gets ready to pit – cycle complete for first pit stops of the race

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
22 laps completed top 3: @12WillPower @Ryan_Briscoe @BourdaisOnTrack #GoProGP #indycar

Top 10 in the order – Power, Briscoe, Bourdais, Franchitti (closing), TAGS, RHR, Dixon (up from P14), Barrichello, Kanaan, and Pagenaud

BradyWestdyke @BWESTDYKE
63 laps to go at @RaceSonoma #indycar #indycar2012 #GoProGP

Race with Insulin @racewithinsulin
Moving up the field nicely… Currently 18th on lap 23 of 85. #IndyCar #GoProGP -PLR

Albert MacKrell @AMacKrell
Brilliant move by Scott Dixon to stop early and then drive the wheels off the car. #GoProGP #indycar2012

Announcers are talking “NO CAUTIONS” and and saying that this may bring one except that they have been talking this way for the last three races

LAP 25 of 85 – Power has a 4.5 second lead on Briscoe
Great dicing going on between Franchitti and Bourdais for SeaBass’ P3 in Carosel and up to turn #7

Anne Proffit @AnneProffit
@12WillPower taking 26 Indy cars to class #goprogp #indycar2012

Ash (アシュー) @racingAsh
Nice. @RyanHunterReay @FollowAndretti into the 1:19s on Lap 24, joining Dixon, Power & Briscoe w/ best laps under 1:20. #GoProGP #IndyCar

LAP 30 of 85 – This is Will Power’s 100th race in IndyCar and it shows … looking for Pole, Most laps and, of course, the win

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
Through the field 1-5: @12WillPower @Ryan_Briscoe @BourdaisOnTrack @dariofranchitti @tagliani #GoProGP #IndyCar

Giu Canbera @Giu_Canbera
BORING RACE at @RaceSonoma @IndyCar #GoProGP . Laguna Seca >> Infineon ..blehhh

Mr. Lehr @SLehr81
32 laps. 0 cautions. Yawn! #IndyCar

Gregory D. Howe @wood_brothers21
I wouldn’t think there would be any shops within the paddock, not that there would be anyone in there now. #IndyCar

E.M.H @elmondohummus
So close to a blog shoutout: Marco with #MoreFrontWing… alas, they said something else. :( #indycar

LAP 35 of 85 – This “Through The Field” segment is about the only thing the announcers can do to keep interest in another NON-YELLOW race

5.5 seconds is the lead that Will Power has over P2 Ryan Briscoe

Michael Williamson @michaelw2000
No penalty for Servia. Hinchcliffe on pit road. #IndyCar #GoProGP

IZOD IndyCar Series @IndyCar
Car No. 27 of Hinchcliffe sitting in the pits. #GoProGP #indycar2012
Hinchtown is out of the car – his day is over – oil line knocked off when Servia spun Hinch around on turn 11

Woodsie @WoodsiesGarage
Hinchcliffe now officially out of the race as we’re a few laps from halfway. Helio makes a stop in the meantime. Lead now 6.93s #IndyCar

David Williams @DaveWilliamsVMM
Drive Through for Sebastián Saavedra #GoProGP #IndyCar

Speeding in pit lane for Sebastián Saavedra

BradyWestdyke @BWESTDYKE
45 laps to go. #IndyCar2012 #GoProGP #IndyCar

Pit stops are beginning with Will Power 5.8 seconds over Ryan Briscoe

Long pit stop for Marco – Briscoe in for pits – RHR has lead – RHR out in the middle of race between Dixon and Bourdais

Ash (アシュー) @racingAsh
WOW! Dixon & RHR! #GoProGP #IndyCar

Michael Williamson @michaelw2000
Dixon is all over the track and damaged his wing hitting Hunter-Reay! #GoProGP #IndyCar

Wing initially damaged with mix up with Graham Rahal … fails with mix up on RHR

LAP 45 of 85 – Top 10 are Power, Briscoe, Bourdais, RHR, Franchitti, Dixon, TAGS, Barichello, Pagenaud, and Rahal

The folks that complain they are bored with this race are NOT watching the action through out the field … or listening to a feed without announcers with passion

209 consecutive GREEN Flag laps t\from Toronto ’till now – Marco Andretti’s car gives up the chase

Dan Brown @19danbrown
I still maintain that the 360-degree on board cameras used in #IndyCar should be used for all open-wheel racing on tv #F1

LAP 50 of 85 – Ruling on Marco – will not get a penalty for engine change by pulling in early … otherwise he would have stayed out until it blew up spreading oil all over their track – Dixon is all out of Push-To-Pass

T.S. Clayton @TSClayton9919
Damn, this @NBCSports crew is so much better than that horrible ABC garbage. #GoProGP #AlwaysBadCoverage

Cooper W @Cynon44
Marco Andretti intentionally blowing the engine so he doesn’t have to take a penalty for the next race. Sneaky. #LoopholeInTheRules #IndyCar

17 cars on the lead lap with Will Power ahead of Ryan Briscoe by 7.45 seconds – Power is walking away with this bad boy

Matt Henderson @MHenderson17
Carcass is a funny word… RT @johncobb40: Is #IndyCar ever going to throw a caution for that tire carcass?

LAP 55 of 85 – Dixon is dropping down the field … now P8

Lap 57/85 @dariofranchitti p5 @scottdixon9 p8 and scheduled to pit in three laps @RaceSonoma #indycar2012

Dixon pit in – Will Power gets 2 points for leading the most laps of this race … CHECK, two down and one to go

Drive through penalty on Car #9 – runs over a hose and ends up having one of his worst days

Race with Insulin @racewithinsulin
Moved up another spot, to P11. Mitch: “Good job, you can catch Kanaan, or we’ll get him in the pits.” #IndyCar #GoProGP -PLR

Kev @ElusiveKev
You would have thought Dixon had encountered a black cat instead of a air hose with his race today. #IndyCar #GoProGP

Tyler Clary interviewed by Robin Miller and messes up the type of stroke the Olympic Gold medal is for

Tony DiZinno @tonydizinno
Robin and breast stroke… make your own joke from there. Gotta love him. #GoProGP

dominetta vitali @dominovitali
#IndyCar commentator: “race car drivers don’t work hard, and chase women.” really? :P #IndyCar2012 #GoProGP

Ross Bynum @therossbynum
Someone throw one of Ashley Judd’s ugly, floppy, gigantic hats on the track. I guarantee it’ll bring out a caution. #IndyCar #GoProGP

Christopher Estrada @estradawriting
RHR hits the pits on Lap 62. Was running 4th. #IndyCar #GoProGP

Big accident while Will Power happened to be in the pits – benefits from Newgarden and Sebastien Bourdais colliding between turns 8 and 9 – Bourdais loses control after dice after turn 7

LAP 65 of 85 – Will Power was held up on pit road giving the lead to Ryan Briscoe on lap traffic

YELLOW Flag – on LAP 66 – Top 5 Briscoe, Power, RHR, Franchitti, and TAGS – This may be a long YELLOW Flag due to tire barrier getting wiped out – Smart driving by Briscoe – Helio Castroneves has moved up to P9 after being dropped by penalty back to P25

LAP70 of 85 – 220 consecutive laps under GREEN Flag before this full course caution – Everyone to the refrigerators – P2P has been instrumental and Ryan Briscoe has a bunch more P2P left than Will Power

Will Power on the radio: you guys in the pits need a push-to-hurry-the-hell-up button. #IndyCar #GoProGP

TJ @Tjamily
The older & wiser I get & the more indycar the more I realize that sadly indycar officials just don’t get how to run a good series. #indycar

Mark Johnson @MarkJ19960
Big crash @RaceSonoma with 19 laps to go. @RyanHunterReay is now P3. #IndyCar…

LAP 72 of 85 – Field reset with the drive through order go out with cars one lap down – RHR in P3 … Dario and TAGS are going to be pushing RHR very hard – Penske being interviewed and he says he will not entertain any team orders … Will Power ought to make a deal

LAP 74 – GREEN Flag Restart – RHR was push/touching the rear of Briscoe’s car – get through turn 2 fine

YELLOW Flag – TAGS goes in too deep and taps RHR, spins him and his car stalls – RHR stalls car dumping the clutch

TAGS will receive a drive through penalty for avoidable contact/aggressive driving into the corner

Feaux Barfield @FeauxBarfield
Whoever is in charge of packing Tagliani’s chutes needs to go visit one of the #NHRA neighbors in Brownsville #GoProGP #IndyCar @RaceSonoma

LAP 76 – GREEN Flag Restart – pretty clean – EJ Viso spins around on Turn 7 – RHR touches and spins
Viso – Drive Through penalyr for RHR

IndyCar al día @indycaraldiaweb
#IndyCar Briscoe sigue adelante… Power quiere el primer lugar.

Ru Barrichello 2012 @Barrichello2012
“@kvracing: Back to green, 8 laps remain, Barrichello P4, Kanaan P9 and Viso P15 #GoProGP”

j.bear @jbananafish
Bringing an #IndyCar virgin to #GoProGP. One of my best moves to date. #PoppedThatCherry

LAP 80 of 85 – Top ten are Briscoe, Power, Franchitti, Barrichello, Rahal, Castroneves, Pagenaud, Hildebrand, Kanaan, and Wilson

Steph@MoreFrontWing @99forever
Feels a bit now like avoidable contact has just become the default for a soon in that corner… #goprogp

Eric Smith @Ericsportsguru… article about @Ryan_Briscoe on Friday. Correct prediction. @RaceSonoma #GoProGP

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
2 laps to go! #IndyCar #GoProGP

Mac McCormick III @KF4LMT
Yes RT @tonydizinno Anyone else want to see @rubarrichello on the podium if Will/Dario channel some 2011 moments? #GoProGP #IndyCar

Adrià Keselowski ;D @aridxon
White flag for Briscoe! #IndyCar

Team Chevy @TeamChevy
Congrats @Ryan_Briscoe & @penskeracing taking the #GoProGP win at @RaceSonoma! #TeamChevyProud #indycar2012

NOTE: Chevrolet clinched the Manufacturers’ Championship as Ryan Briscoe won the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Chevrolet supplied 15 of 27 engines to the starters in the 85-lap race on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course. It has won nine of the 13 IZOD IndyCar Series races.

“We congratulate Chevrolet on clinching the 2012 Manufacturers’ Championship,” said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR. “In a year that saw the debut of a new car, the return of engine competition and some of the fiercest racing this sport has seen in decades, our hats are off to Chevrolet, its teams and drivers on a job well done.”
[Reference Here]

Panther Racing @PantherRacing
Checkered flag!! @JRHildebrand finishes 8th!! #indycar2012 #goprogp

Chris D @chrisd1974
great #indycar race #sonoma @gahdengremlins

Checkered flag @dariofranchitti p3 @scottdixon9 p13 @RaceSonoma #indycar2012

Ross Bynum @therossbynum
Yay! Briscoe wins! @RB_Mrs is a good luck charm! #IndyCar #GoProGP

Tom Bradley @brndout35
Checkered flag! @Ryan_Briscoe wins the #GoProGP of Sonoma! #indycar2012 -- IZOD IndyCar Series (@IndyCar)

Melissa McDonald @MelissaM88
WINNER: Ryan Briscoe! @RaceSonoma #IndyCar #GoProGP

Lewis Dalgarno @lewisdalgarno
I'm guessing Ryan Briscoe will tell us all his radio broke #indycar

IMS Productions @IMSProductions
Congratulations to @Ryan_Briscoe on his win at the #IndyCar #GoProGP of @RaceSonoma!!!

Bobbi S @Sportschickca
@Ryan_Briscoe will win a penalty riddled #Sonoma ....@12WillPower and Franchitti will complete podium. Congrats guys!! #IndyCar

Ricardo Cardoso @ricardo_engsoft
E Ryan Briscoe vence a #IndyCar2012 #GoProGP #SonomaGP

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
Congrats to @Ryan_Briscoe on his win #IndyCar #GoProGP

Peter Leung @BaronVonClutch
It's a @penskeracing 1-2! @Ryan_Briscoe Wins the 2012 #GoProGP at @RaceSonoma! #IndyCar

Michael Williamson @michaelw2000
Ryan Briscoe wins the #IndyCar #GoProGP @RaceSonoma @GoPro @IndyCar Power comes in 2nd and Franchitti in 3rd!

Karl Barth @KarlBarthJr
Yeah!!! Congrats @Ryan_Briscoe & @RB_Mrs on the win!!!! #indycar

nascarcasm @nascarcasm
@RB_Mrs And NOW you can relax! Congratulations! #IndyCar

SSR IndyCar Team @SandSRacing
Congratulations @Ryan_Briscoe, @penskeracing & @TeamChevy on Winning the #GoProGP @RaceSonoma!! #TeamChevyProud #IndyCar2012

Wendy @wendyphil413
Great race by @Ryan_Briscoe!!! Winner at Sonoma! #IndyCar

anthony rock @trock48j
@RB_Mrs Your man did a great job avoiding things today, not much different from Bristol at the end! #IndyCar

Official Results - GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

Official - Results Pos. - Driver - Laps - Running / Reason Out

1     Ryan Briscoe     85     Running
2     Will Power     85     Running
3     Dario Franchitti     85     Running
4     Rubens Barrichello     85     Running
5     Graham Rahal     85     Running
6     Helio Castroneves     85     Running
7     Simon Pagenaud     85     Running
8     JR Hildebrand     85     Running
9     Alex Tagliani     85     Running
10     Tony Kanaan     84     Running
11     Justin Wilson     84     Running
12     James Jakes     84     Running
13     Scott Dixon     84     Running
14     Mike Conway     84     Running
15     Sebastian Saavedra     84     Running
16     EJ Viso     84     Running
17     Simona de Silvestro     84     Running
18     Ryan Hunter-Reay     84     Running
19     Oriol Servia     84     Running
20     Ed Carpenter     84     Running
21     Charlie Kimball     82     Running
22     Sebastien Bourdais     63     Contact
23     Josef Newgarden     62     Contact
24     Katherine Legge     48     Mechanical
25     Marco Andretti     45     Mechanical
26     James Hinchcliffe     34     Mechanical
27     Takuma Sato     2     Mechanical

… notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Tale Of Two Mid Ohio's - How Will Power Secures Championship Chances

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon saved fuel when he needed, kept the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car out of harm's way and took advantage of every opportunity. And his pit crew performed admirably, too. All told, it led to Dixon winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio for the fourth time in the past six years. His 29th victory tied Rick Mears for 10th all time. Image Credit: IICS (2012)  

The Tale Of Two Mid Ohio's - How Will Power Secures Championship Chances

Last Sunday showed how one's fortunes on the track can translate into championship winning drives. Every race at the end of a season carries greater significance in competitive season championship races for the simple fact that EVERY POINT COUNTS.

Last year at Mid Ohio, Will Power was on his way to try and secure his first championship after having a couple of good races on which he was able to tighen up the points differential between him and his chief rival, Dario Franchitti. But last year, one would argue, was the one race on which he lost the championship for a second time to the driver from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

This excerpted and edited from "... notes from The EDJE" -

No Magic For Power In Round 11 Of 17 At Mid-Ohio
By Edmund Jenks - Monday, August 8, 2011

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, Round 11 of 17 delivered a fatal blow to Will Power's chances at getting his first IndyCar Series (ICS) season championship. The Verizon Penske Racing Dallara driver, who was on track to get the ICS championship last year up until the final race of the season when Dario Franchitti was able to eclipse Power's season points total, was looking to climb back into the challenge at 38 points behind and a perfect track for his talents, was caught out twice in pit stop strategy by full course cautions.

"We were making great fuel mileage and we were going to go a lap or two longer than the leaders on the second stop, which would have put us in great position to challenge for the race lead in the last stint," said Power of the Lap 58 incident involving contact between the cars of Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick. "Basically, today we suffered for doing a great job of driving a smart race. We just got caught out by that last yellow flag.”

This dropped Power to P16 and allowed Target Chip Ganassi team-mates to duke it out for the win with Scott Dixon passing Dario Franchitti on a restart to eventually take the win.

It may have been doubtful if Will Power had anything for the Scott Dixon Dallara because of how well the driver and car had been hooked up all weekend long (fastest Lap - 1:09.1271 / 76), but to finish so far down in the order with a competitive car (set 2nd fastest lap late in the race - 1:09.2376 / 85), placed a stake through the heart (a loss of 24 points against Franchitti - at 62 points behind) of Will Power's chances for a ICS season championship. In fact, with the points Scott Dixon gained with his win (he is now just 29 points behind Power with six races left), Will Power may not even become a repeat "bridesmaid" (runner-up) at season's end in 2011.

[Reference Here]

This brings us to Mid Ohio 2012, Round 12 of 15, where Will Power is in contest for the championship for a third year in a row and he enters this late season road course race much as he did last year. Power was displaced by Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and Penske Racing team mate Helio Castroneves by 26 points and 3 points respectively.

As Power put it just after the first practice on Friday as the weekend began, "This new DW12 Indy car feels great here - lot's more power and more downforce - you can really get after a lap. We're bloody determined to get the pole here tomorrow. I think the entire Verizon 12 Chevy Team is very happy with today and the results. The weather is going to change a lot over the next day or so. It was good to get a fast clean lap and get confidence going into tomorrow. For the rest of the year we need to win poles and win races if we are going to win the Championship, it's pretty simple. We need to run well and fast to make up ground in the points race."

The Penske team delivered the best of all results providing that Will Power did not win the race. By securing the pole position in the Firestone Fast Six on Saturday, running the most laps during the race, and finishing P2 behind last year's race winning driver, Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon (who, by winning, became the 10th most successful driver in IndyCar history), Will was able to come away with the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship points lead by 5 points.

Though Power was a little unhappy settling for second, he ultimately was pleased with the result, which put him back in the points lead. “These are such tight pit boxes here and (Dixon) had a clean in. We had a tight in so some of that was me getting in,” he said the pit road exchange. “It’s hard for the fuel to get in clean because he has to step back from my front wing to swing in. Still it’s a very good points day. We’re happy to get the Verizon car on the podium. We’ll keep chasing after it, we’ll get a win here soon and keep going after that championship.” Image Credit: IICS (2012)

This excerpted and edited from Pressdog -

Welcome to Mid-Ohio. Holy confusion! We got the NBC Sports Network team calling the race but it's on ABC. Here's the deal: ABC had the time slot, but not the people to do the race what with NASCAR Nationwide in Iowa and NASCAR Cup in Pocono. NBC Sports Network had the team to do the race but not the air time since the Olympics is taking up every second of their air. So .. BANG, the two worked together.
Pursuant to Rule 15.6.1, Cars 3 and 98 penalized 10 grid spots. Pursuant to Rule, Car 3 will start on Primary Tires. (Rule says: "Within 30 minutes of the completion of final practice, an Entrant must declare via instant message system to INDYCAR which compound it intends to use at the start of the Race. Failure to comply will result in the Entrant being allocated the compound by INDYCAR.")

Chassis: D=Dallara | Engine: C=Chevy, H=Honda, L=Lotus | Tire: F=Firestone

Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis and Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the booth. Pit pees are Kevin Lee, Townsend Bell and Marty Snider. Let's light this candle. 

We're ... GREEN.

Festival of Three Wide into the first few turns. Nobody get bashed! We're through cleanly. The Circus Clowns are visibly upset that they didn't get to make an appearance.

Wilson has slight contact with Barichello and goes off, but keeps it fired and whips it around and back under way. Lot of dirt-tracky sliding out there. Simona De Silvestro and her pigged out Lotus even get some love for navigating the slick-ish track well.

Lap 3 -- Servia may be toast. He's being worked on. Replay of Wilson popping into Rubens and then going ass around. One of them racing deals. JoeNew is up four positions and Conway also up four positions in the first three laps.

Kevin tells us JoeNew has never raced here before, ever, but liked the track after the first practices.

Lap 5 -- Bourdais goes to the power to pass and inhales RHR. Jon gives a viewing-enhancing explanation. The deal is, IndyCar put a five second delay on Power to Pass for this race. When a driver hits the button, the other teams won't know he's on the Power to Pass until it actually activates, at which time it will be too late for the car in front to use P2P to defend. That's the thinking, anyway. Worked like a charm for Bourdais on RHR.

Lot of overtaking in the early going, especially for Mid-Ohio. Extreme amounts of overtaking for Mid-Ohio.

Marty says RHR says something is wrong with his car and he's being inhaled. Marty says he's also in fuel saving mode. Jon said the drivers can't go full rich here because of ... wait for it ... fuel strategy. YAY!

Lap 6 -- Bourdais is on the button (Power to Pass) again and round the outside of JoeNew. CLEAR. More televised overtaking.

Lap 7 -- Wilson overtakes Viso. Wilson has driven from P24 to P18 in about five laps after his spin.

Lap 7 -- Pitting starting. Cars that are going on a three pit-stop strategy will start pitting now. Those on a two pit stop strategy will pit around lap 28. This race is going to be about comparing and contrasting the one-stoppers versus the two-stoppers.

Lap 9 -- Helio pits to ditch primary tires and go to alternates. Alternates are allegedly more grippy but don't last as long as primary tires. Replays of a pit guy almost getting his foot run over by another car coming in due to the tiny pit stalls.

Lap 10 -- Power, Dario, Pagenaud, Dixon, Bourdais, Newgarden, RHR, Marco, Briscoe, Rubens.

Lap 11 -- Kevin says Graham Rahal wants to get a deal done for 2013 in the next couple weeks. Rahal has sponsor cash and is shopping it around to teams, I guess. Not real fond of being one of the Ganassi Death Star Satellite teams, allegedly.

Lap 13 -- Viso got a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit lane. Bob says Sato got one two but the race summary says NO. No penalty listed for Sato.

Lap 15 -- Festival of lock step sets in here. Pagenaud working on Dario for P2. Marty says Dario says his front tires are shit (paraphrasing).

Justin Wilson in. Right rear tire changer has issues! Major long stop. JWill not happy. The right rear must be beeeeyotch to get on this car because we've had about five right rear tire change issues so far this year alone.

I see a Ferris Wheel in the background. Crowd driver!* (*Denotes sarcasm and/or chagrin)

Lap 18 -- Ed Carpenter is up six spots ... (all due to pit stops in front of him).

Replay of Rubens under Marco ... CLEAR. Jon says Dario is on the button! Has used 25 seconds of his 100 allotment. Bog hits us with the points-as-they-run info for the first time today. WITH ONLY THREE RACES LEF.

Lap 20 -- Power, Dario, Pagenaud, Dixon, Bourdais, Newgarden, RHR, Briscoe, Rubens, Marco.

Lap 21 -- Simona pits. Sticker blacks. Wally says a three-stopper is good strategy to keep fresher tires on the car as well, something I had not thought about. Viewing enhanced.

Power is 3.1 seconds ahead. Driving with his feet while eating a Vegemite sandwich.

More lock stepping here.

Lap 26 -- JoeNew is P6. Pits and gets primaries. Was as high as P5. The two-stoppers will start to pit now.

Power may have dialed it back because he's lost two seconds Dario.

Lap 27 -- Dario pits with Pagenaud and others. Power, Dixon and Bourdais stay out.

Lap 28 -- Power, Dixon and Bourdais pit. Power and Dixon come back out P1 and P2. Bourdais back out in P4 behind Hinch who is a three-stopper. Dario slouches to P6.

Festival of three wide as cars overtake struggling Briscoe.

Lap 32 -- TK overtakes Bourdais. Bourdais stayed out until the leaders pit and TK is a three-stopper, so TK will have to pit soon.

Three Stop vs. Two Stop has evolved into The Big Story. If it stays green the whole way, the three-stoppers are screwed.

Lap 34 -- Dixon is pressing Power. Eyebrows raised. Is power "saving fuel?" Hmmm. Both may be saving fuel. Jon said both are "racing to a fuel number." Go about your business; nothing to see her except exhibition fuel saving driving.

Lap 35 -- Power, Dixon, Bourdais, Dario, Pagenaud, Tagliani, RHR, Briscoe, JR, Newgarden.

Lap 38 -- Bourdais hanging around in third. Dario moved up to P4 when cars in front of him made pit stops.

Rahal overtakes Sato ... for P18. Briscoe and Newgarden fight for P8.

Lap 41 -- Wilson has another crap pit stop. Loses SEVEN spots in the pits.

Still no yellows. Back-to-back yellowless IndyCar races? Last happened in 1987.

Lap 44 -- Panther claims -- via Twitter -- that Briscoe is throwing a block party for JR. They have reported same to the authorities.

Lap 51 -- John raises the possibility that people lie on their radio and to the media about if they have enough fuel to make it. Nooooo. I'm SHOCKED* (*I am actually not shocked.)

Marty says RHR has no power. RHR is slowing down. Misfiring. Engine is a festival of shit. RHR is getting inhaled by everyone.

Lap 57 -- Power, Dixon, Bourdais and Dario (P1-4) all pit together. This could be the race ... Dixon out first. Dixon bests Power out. P1. P1. Second race in a row the ultimate pass for what should be the win happened on pitting. This time it was actually in the pits. Bourdais back out in P3. Replays. Dixon Fueler had a fraction of a second harder time getting in there.

Lap 57 -- Jon calls it "definitely a defining moment" of the race. True.

Lap 59 -- Dario bashes into the back of JR as he was trying to overtake. Dario swung out and hit is wing on the rear wheel guards. Will have to pit for a new nose.

Lap 60 --Dixon, Power, Bourdais, Bagenaud, Dixon, Hinch, JR, Newgarden, TK, Tag.

Lap 61 -- RHR into the gravel, gives it the dirt track slide and keeps it going. Back onto the rack. No yellow. Impressive job there.

Bourdais also did some off-roading. Actually cooked a corner and let Pagenaud under him on Lap 61.

Bell says it's easy when you are used to judging passes based on how close you are to the rear gear box to forget the wheel guard things which stick back another foot until you pull out to pass and clip them.

Replay of RHR. Tapped by Sato and went into the dirt track mode.

Lap 64 -- Marty says RHR's engine's fuel injectors are injecting too much fuel, making it misfire, etc.

Dario gets a new wing and is back out. Jay Penske gets air. JAY PENSKE. When Jay gets air you know we got some time on our hands. Next they will talk to Sarah Fisher, right before the sun freezes and drops from the sky.

Lap 73 -- Dixon is three seconds up. Will win barring air strike or horrid fuel calculations.

Kevin says Pagenaud's people are not sure if he can make it on fuel.

Lap 75 -- Dixon, Power, Pag, Bourdais, Hinch, JR, TK, Jakes, Marco, Briscoe.

Lap 76 -- RHR pits. Pull the engine cover. Can't fix it easily. Send him back out. He limps around until there's no more positions to lose then comes in and calls it a race. Jon makes a good observation that by doing that he can claim the engine issue cost him a DNF and won't have to pay a 10-grid-spot penalty to replace it because it technically blew during the race.

Lock step. Dixon told to conserve just in case.

Lap 81 -- Dixon, Power, Pag, Bourdais, Hinch, TK, Maco, Briscoe, JR, Tag.

White flag. Dixon wins. Dixon, Power, Pagenaud, Bourdais, Hinch.

Wow. Last half of that race, not stirring. Just gotta be up front with you. Wasn't putrid, by any means. There was some overtaking well back in the pack and Bourdais choked away P3, but other than that ... The race was caution free, first time IndyCar had back-to-back zero-yellow races since 1987 per IndyCar PR.

Again, pretty classic road course stuff. Fuel saving, some overtaking in the pack (amazing for Mid-Ohio), strategy (two-stop vs. three-stop). A lot of people would hold this race up as "proper road racing." Whether or not you dig that is a matter of personal choice and preference, for sure.

IZOD IndyCar Series - Honda Indy 200 - LEXINGTON, Ohio

Results Sunday of the Honda Indy 200 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.258 mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (4) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
2. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
3. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
4. (6) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
5. (15) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

6. (18) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
7. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
8. (8) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
9. (12) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
10. (14) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running

11. (21) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
12. (9) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
13. (17) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
14. (24) Giorgio Pantano, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
15. (13) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

16. (23) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
17. (2) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
18. (11) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
19. (20) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
20. (19) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running

21. (16) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
22. (25) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
23. (22) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 83, Running
24. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 79, Mechanical
25. (10) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 78, Running

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 115.379

Time of Race: 01:39:48.5083

Margin of victory: 3.4619

Cautions: 0

Lead changes: 2

Lap Leaders:

Power 1 - 57

Hinchcliffe 58 - 59

Dixon 60 - 85

Point Standings: Power 379, Hunter-Reay 374 (-5), Castroneves 353 (-21), Dixon 351 (-23), Hinchcliffe 316 (-58), Pagenaud 311 (-63), Kanaan 307, Franchitti 271, Briscoe 267, Rahal 256.

Results and lap chart courtesy of IndyCar PR.

That's it for Mid-Ohio. Tune in again in three weeks for the race at Sonoma. Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

[Reference Here]

With only three races left, two road/street courses (Sonoma and Baltimore) and one super speedway oval (Fontana) will this be Will Power's year? As Will said himself at Mid Ohio, "For the rest of the year we need to win poles and win races if we are going to win the Championship, it's pretty simple."

Going into Mid Ohio 26 points behind and coming out of Mid Ohio with a 5 point lead, the magic is back in the hopes for Power's first championship after being the bridesmaid for two consecutive years.

... notes from The EDJE

Can A Race Car Simulator Give One A Real Race Car Experience?

Award winning writer Thomas Stahler takes his turn at the wheel while at Seat Time’s Media Challenge. Here Tom negotiates past turn #3 along the short chute to turn #4 at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Can A Race Car Simulator Give One A Real Race Car Experience?

Seat Time is Southern California’s premier simulator center. This environment offers a unique, immersive racing experience utilizing state of the art professional-grade training simulators in the heart of West Los Angeles, at the Santa Monica Airport.

Elliott Skeer is an up and coming driver involved in the Mazda driver development ladder series racing for CJ Wilson Racing in the 2012 Playboy MX5 Cup racing series. In this video, we see him laying down marker laps in order to post a time for writers and photographers who join in the MPG/Mazda MX5 Cup Media Challenge. The drive of for the challenge took place August 5, 2012 beginning at 1:00pm PT. The marker time Elliott posted was 1:42.904.

Elliott did not mention this, but he won the 2012 Race #1 Playboy MX-5 Cup at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca held May. 11, 2012 after qualifying in P2. Elliott’s fastest lap time during the 27 lap race at MRLS was recorded as 1:42.324.

Mazda Media Challenge lap time as posted before the competition on Saturday, August 5, 2012. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
This excerpted and edited from STUART ROWLANDS PR press reports of  the SEAT TIME MEDIA CHALLENGE RACE -

For two weeks of grueling qualifying runs, media members sweating, straining, sawing at steering wheels, systematically stabbing at brakes, and braving the infamous “Corkscrew” once a lap are now history.
From July 15th through the 31st media members from all over the map made their way out to SEAT TIME in Santa Monica, California to test their formidable driving skills against each other … all sim-driving the same exact, identical Spec Mazdas on the rolling hills and steep drops of Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, all the while in the comfort of a club-like salon setting at the very aptly-named e-motorsports establishment.
For the moment the (simulated) tire smoke has cleared and the fantastically realistic CXC racing simulators are getting a well-deserved cooling off period before they are fired up again at 2PM on Saturday afternoon August 4 for the first ever SEAT TIME MEDIA CHALLENGE RACE.  
The event will be a flat-out, 30-minute timed race that pits the four fastest qualifiers directly against each other on the justifiably famous race track for all the marbles.And here they are:  Top qualifier: Jason Isley, from Sports Car/Racer Magazine who turned in a quick lap of 1:44.862.  In a close second: Kurt Niebhur from with a 1:45.330. Third and not  far behind (hey it’s a long race): Preston Lerner from Automobile Magazine who’s best lap was 1:46.349. And … starting from the coveted “south pole” position:’s own Mark Takahashi whose 1:48.837 got him in the big show.

Kurt Niebuhr from went into the lead directly from his outside front row starting spot and handily lead all 30 minutes of the inaugural SEAT TIME Media Challenge yesterday afternoon at the unique Santa Monica sim-racing establishment. Winner Niebuhr had decided to run a conservative race “… No spins, clean driving,” he said in post-race interviews. His win was a popular one and his name will forever be enshrined as the first of what is sure to become a long-standing annual event.
The Saturday afternoon showdown event was the culmination of a two week (plus) qualifying period that saw members of the motoring media stopping by SEAT TIME and laying down a fast lap time on the twisting-snaking race course at Mazda Raceway in Monterey, California.
Sim-driving identical Spec Mazda Miatas, the four fastest media types on the west coast ran a head-to-head final event at SEAT TIME in each piloting their own individual super high-tech CXC Motion-Pro II racing simulator.

Preston Lerner from Automobile Magazine was second in the race.  Lerner was new to sim-racing but has been a successful club sports car racer for many years now.  He was there to have fun but he got down to being very serious about lines and lap times when the green flag dropped.  Lerner ran hard but just could not quite catch the almost flawless Niebuhr.

Another staffer, Mark Takahashi, was running well up when the track just somehow sort of tightened up on him causing him to loop his Mazda at the top of the course; he finished third.

Chris Considine, CXC’s major-domo and the chief designer/brains behind the company’s phenomenal products and matching success, was on hand to cheer the media-types on.  Considine was taking a break from overseeing CXC’s weekend move from their now-outgrown design and manufacturing facilities in Marina del Rey, California to spacious new headquarters on Imperial Highway right at LAX.  

“This is exactly what we envisioned from the start at CXC,” Considine told us.  “We designed and build our machines for the realistic possible racing experience you can have short  of driving the real thing.  It never gets old for me to see a group like this getting so very serious about competition … It’s always cool to be a part of.”
Fastest qualifier, and a prohibitive favorite going in based on his prior racing exploits, SportsCar/Racer Magazine’s Jason Isley had an uncharacteristically bad day on the raceway, looping his little Miata a couple of times and finally retiring in the pits a few laps before the end of the 30 minutes championship runoff.

The highly-experienced racer Isley had words for it: “This is much harder than the real thing,” he quipped good naturedly as he accepted his 4th place trophy and parting gifts from MazdaSpeed’s peripatetic PR-pro Dean Case.

“Mazda’s participation in this first event was of enormous benefit,” said Chas Lawrence.  “They are very serious about young drivers and bringing them along not only as competitors, but as representatives of their company.  Their participation here at SEAT TIME puts us in some very good company.”

At the end of the 30 minute race, and even though they were all competing in a very comfortably air-conditioned salon atmosphere, all four drivers were soaked in sweat.  “That’s a diving simulator AND an exercise machine, Takahashi quipped as he chugged a cold bottle of water.

Young Mazda pro driving champ Elliott Skeer drove up from his home in Vista, California to be on hand to coach any of the contestants who needed a bit of help.  Two weeks earlier, Skeer had stopped by SEAT TIME and set the “official” bogey time (1.42.904). Note: his time was not eclipsed (at least at this event) by this group of hard chargers.  After the race the 17-year old put on an impromptu driving clinic for the media and fans effortlessly running near-record time laps at Mazda Raceway at the “keyboard” of the CXC machine.

Everyone in attendance agreed that the event needs to be an annual happening and SEAT TIME founder/operator Lawrence agreed.  “We really want to thank all the members of the media who took part in this new event … I know that all of them had a great time, and they’re all invited back for Media Challenge II!”
The winner’s podium (L to R) Winner Kurt Niebhur, SEAT TIME owner Chas Lawrence, Jason Isely 4th, Mark Takahashi 3rd, and Preston Lerner. 2nd. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Elliott Skeer is not the only professional race car driver to use Seat Time to gain some track experience. The following partial list have had multiple sessions at the Santa Monica location:

Patrick Long- ALMS GT, factory Porsche driver
Marco Holzer- ALMS GT, factory Porsche driver
Townsend Bell- ALMS GT, Indycar
Matt Halliday- FIA GT1, Australian V8 Supercars
David Heinemeier Hannson- ALMS P2
Michael Avenatti- ALMS GTC
Bob Faieta- ALMS GTC, Grand Am GT
Sean Johnston- IMSA GT3 Challenge (current points leader!)
Daniel “CJ” Calvert-Jones- IMSA GT3 Challenge, Grand Am GT
Fred Poordad- IMSA GT3 Challenge, Grand Am GT
Austin Dyne- NASCAR West Series
Harrison Geron- SCCA Spec Racer Ford
Brian Makse- NASA National Champion, MX5 Cup
Tommy Kendall-retired until last week! now, ALMS GT

Can a race car simulator give one a real race car experience? Judging by the emotional reaction of the automotive media gathered at the challenge, the list of names of accomplished drivers above, and the fact CXC Simulators just completed installing these type of machines at F1 team locations in Europe, one would have to come away with a resounding answer of … YES!

Whether one is an accomplished racer, aspire to become one, or are just an enthusiast looking for a unique experience, Seat Time is the place to come! Call 310.390.3580 or email (from the form at – today for more information or to reserve some … Seat Time.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Can a Race Car Simulator Give One a Real Race Car Experience? on Technorati **

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Callaway full of Surprises.


SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA (August 4, 2012) – Ely Reeves Callaway III, Founder of Callaway Cars Inc. with facilities in Old Lyme, CT, Santa Ana, CA, and Leingarten, Germany surprised auto industry guests, friends and family at the Saturday, August 4th Grand Opening of their Callaway Cars West location in Santa Ana, CA with a surprise wedding ceremony to fiancé, Nicole Jones.

Reeves is the son of Ely Reeves Callaway Jr., Founder of Callaway Golf and Callaway Winery and former President and Director of Burlington Industries. Nicole is a former commercial real estate and business manager with roots in northern California, Chicago and New York City. Together, Reeves and Nikki bring together a family of eight children: Pete Callaway, 30, General Manager of Callaway Cars West, Beany Callaway, Artist, 32, of Oakland, CA, Robbie Jones, 18, entering Whittier College and its basketball team on academic scholarship in the fall, Courtney Jones, 15, Whitney Jones, 13, J.P. Jones, 10, Lili Callaway, 9 and Walker Callaway, 7.

Reeves, Nikki and their children were surrounded with love and adoration by 175 notable friends, staff and family members including Reeves' younger brother, Nicholas Callaway, esteemed Founder of Callaway Publishing and his newly formed company, who stood beside Reeves at the altar along with son, Pete. Guests included racing legend Dan Gurney and wife, Evi, with sons Justin and Alex Gurney and their families, Yves Morizot, President of Stand 21, and his family, Danielle Kelly, Pete Callaway's girlfriend, Jesse Alexander, eminent motorsports photographer, James Sly, renowned master chef, and numerous Callaway car and truck owners.

The new Callaway Cars facility, located at 2441 Pullman Avenue, Santa Ana, CA was surrounded by Callaway automobiles brought in from Callaway owners throughout the United States in honor of the Company's 25th anniversary with Corvette. Inside the showroom were a new RPO B2K 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Callaway Corvette, a 1997 Callaway C7 race car, a Callaway C16 exotic, and other rare, very special Callaways. A new Z06-based Callaway Corvette SC652 rotated on a turntable at the entrance. Presented along with the unique cars, were a charcoal grey and black RPO B2K Callaway Corvette-inspired wedding cake, sushi, sashimi and gourmet delicacies from Vocalist/guitarist Mike Vitale provided the music (, Nikki's family supplied award winning wine from their family winery ( and the showroom and bridal party bouquets were adorned with deep plum Calla lilies.

At exactly 3:00 PM, Reeves announced to his guests that he had a special surprise in store for them. Just then, a sedan pulled up outside the showroom with Nikki and their youngest six children, adorned in wedding attire and beautiful smiles. Daughter, Lili, led the way as flower girl, followed by son, Walker, ring bearer, daughters, Whitney and Courtney, were followed by daughter, Beany, and Danielle Kelly. The bride was escorted by sons, Robbie and J.P., and wore a golden Piccione Italian silk wedding gown adorned with Swarovski crystals. Post event, close family and friends were invited to a small, intimate celebration at the Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach for photography and fun on the beach clad in wedding attire.

Since the company's 1977 inception, Reeves has cultivated a corporate culture that provides discriminating driving enthusiasts with maximum satisfaction, assembling what the automotive press has called "the best specialist engineers in the business". The Callaway Cars companies produce specialty vehicles, engineering services, and performance products that showcase technological sophistication, artistry in design, and beauty in craftsmanship.

Reeves' company consists of three core business units. Callaway Cars designs, develops, and manufactures high-performance specialty vehicles and aftermarket performance products, marketed and distributed under the Callaway brand. Callaway Engineering delivers a full range of contract engineering and manufacturing services, including complete testing and validation services, with special focus on development of high-performance vehicles, systems, and components. Finally, Callaway Competition, based in Leingarten, Germany, enjoys an extensive history of designing and constructing winning race cars, currently campaigning Corvette Z06.R race cars in ADAC's GT Masters series and building Corvettes for several European race teams. Callaway Competition's composite design and manufacturing expertise was instrumental in establishing Santa Ana's Callaway Carbon facilities, which now provides advanced carbon fiber products for automotive, aerospace and medical industries.

The Callaway name has been known for generations to bring world-class quality to numerous industries worldwide. Be sure and visit to learn more about the Callaway family, Powerfully Engineered Automobiles and to schedule your test drive today!

Story and Image Credits to: Callaway Cars.

Monday, August 6, 2012

May the Force be with you !


August 05, 2012

SEATTLE, WA --- Courtney Force won in just her third final round appearance of her rookie year today at the 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest NHRA Nationals. The rookie driver defeated three Funny Car world champions - Cruz Pedregon, john Force and Matt Hagan - as well as veteran driver Bob Tasca III en route to her first win.

As Force took the stage in the winner’s circle NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart introduced Force, she quickly explained why her Traxxas fire suit was completely soaked.

“They dumped a lot of Full Throttle on me at the other end. A cooler of it!” she said.

She is the eighth different John Force Racing Funny Car driver to win a Full Throttle Funny Car national event after John Force, Tony Pedregon, Eric Medlen, Gary Densham, Robert Hight, Ashley Force Hood, and Mike Neff. She is the thirteenth different woman to win an NHRA National event in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Force struggled through qualifying throughout the weekend, making her victory on race day even more rewarding for John Force Racing and the Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car team.

“We struggled a little bit in qualifying, but we got in and that’s all that mattered and just to keep our car consistent and get this Traxxas Ford Mustang to the other end, that’s all we needed to do and we did it for all four rounds,” said Force.

Coming from the No. 14 qualifying position, her worst start of the season, the 24-year-old got his first round win over Cruz Pedregon.

“That was definitely a big run for me. Cruz Pedregon is a tough competitor. I grew up watching him race my dad. It is always exciting racing him. Getting that win light was huge for us. We want to get that No. 6 (points) spot back for this Traxxas Ford Mustang. We needed that run. We are trying to stay consistent,” said Force following her first round victory.

She moved closer to her third final in five races with wins over Bob Tasca III, her father and 15-time Funny Car World Champion, John Force, and Matt Hagan in the final round.

“Every guy worries about losing to a girl, but I don’t at all,” Hagan said after the final.

“She’s a great driver and doing a heckuva job. She’s driving the wheels off that thing,” added last year’s Full Throttle Funny Car Champion.

Force got her first national event win at Seattle in 2009 and suffered her most challenging race of her career here in 2010 when she managed to avoid an accident while racing Mike Austin. Force’s right rear tire exploded destroying a portion of her Ford Racing Top Alcohol Dragster’s rear wing.

Today Force is the national spokesperson for Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life initiative and “Rookie of the Year” frontrunner for Auto Club’s Road to the Future Award, a prestigious award handed over to NHRA’s top rookie for 2012.

“I honestly am still in shock. I think I’m still shaking. I mean, coming back out here to Seattle, there are some good memories and some bad. I had my first win out here in Top Alcohol Dragster which was such a huge accomplishment for me just to even have a Wally in my house. At the moment I was telling my dad, ‘I can’t wait to have a Funny Car Wally in my house,’ because you know what, dad has way more than enough so he can’t be mad at me for taking him out in the semis. It’s been an amazing day.

Force and her sister Ashley Force Hood have similar skills, but the reason people believe Courtney is more like their father is obvious beyond her driving abilities and her gift for gab. Force Hood got her first Funny Car win in April of 2008 during her 27th national event, her 23rd start in the Funny Car class. Courtney has accomplished the same in just 15 races.

“I’m definitely on a learning curve this whole season. I’ve been learning something new at every race track. This one was a little bit more familiar to me, but it’s tough. There’s a narrow groove and this car was trying to pull me over to the left in both lanes and (I was) just trying to keep it straight.

“My crew chief was telling me, ‘well, you kinda cost us a couple of the qualifying runs; you kinda drove it over to the left,’ and you gotta fix that as a driver. They gotta be brutally honest with you and you have to go back out there and do better and that’s exactly what I did and I’m glad. I need them to be honest with me, but I have a great team and great crew chief and my dad being an amazing teacher with me, being so patient with me; everyone this past season helping me learn about the Funny Car all last year so I really couldn’t ask for a better team with Robert (Hight), Mike Neff and my dad and Ashley’s been teaching me too. I wish she was here this weekend,” she added.

After the first NHRA event of the season Force was sitting in the No. 6 spot in the points standing. After a roller coaster of event finishes qualifying for all 15 in 2012 to date, and appearing in 6 semi-finals and 3 finals, Force moves around Cruz Pedregon and reclaims the No. 6 spot.

“There’s still a little bit of pressure there. You’re trying to stay in that top ten and I know I didn’t help my dad out when I took him out in the semis; he’s fighting to get in. I felt so bad, but I told him he’s the one who taught me how to race so I guess it’s his own fault. I told him I’m going to do my best to take Hagan out for him and help him gain those 20 points back.”

“I have an amazing team. This whole group of new guys that came on board with me this season, I’m sure they were hoping for a different John Force car when they joined our team, but they ended up with me; a rookie driver and a girl, but hey, I mean I got them a win and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” said Force.

"A big congratulations to Courtney, the TRAXXAS Ford Mustang Funny Car team and everyone at John Force Racing who has helped in Courtney's development," said Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing. "That apple did not fall far from the tree. With her talent and experience, we knew she'd celebrate her first win sooner rather than later. We and all Ford fans are delighted to see her win the Wally as a rookie."

John Force kept a number of his pursuers at bay racing to the semi-finals before falling to his youngest daughter. Force opened up the day with a tough match-up against Alexis DeJoria. Force had a superior reaction time to the rookie and that proved to be the difference as his slower elapsed time, 4.254 to 4.185 seconds, still got him to the finish line first when it was combined with his stellar .035 second reaction time.

“When you go up against these kids like my own daughter Courtney or DeJoria. She has big money out there. That is a dog fight. I have Hagan breathing down my neck and Wilkerson is coming. This old man is trying to stay in the fight. I have a good race car right now. There is a lot of good stuff happening with our team it is called teamwork. If anybody fails at this it is probably me. My boys are doing good,” said Force.

In the second round Force faced his nemesis Jack Beckman from Don Schumacher Racing. He had dropped the last eight meetings to the former drag racing instructor and he was giving up lane choice. The wily veteran Force once again had a superior reaction time .051 to .111 and he took his second round win of the day and secured his position in the Top Ten for another event.

Going up against his daughter in the semi-finals was tough for Force but at the end of the day in the press room after she won the event the proud father and team owner was beaming.

“She really did it herself out there today. What amazes me the most about her is she really does talk. She is kind of wired up like me but she has that coolness like her mom. Before the final she said dad my helmet has a big old scratch down the middle of the visor. I went into full panic mode on the starting line. She said it was OK because she could see the tree to the right of the scratch. Me I would have been pulling my helmet off. I am just proud of her today. It is funny it took me 10 or 12 years to win my first race. It took Ashley two years and Courtney said at the top end it was the first time she beat Ashley to anything in the Funny Car. I finally did something ahead of her. We won’t even tell her. She is calling her mom but we are making her watch the ESPN TV show,” added Force, a seven-time Northwest Nationals winner.

“I was wired up and on the PA. I am yelling at her and I don’t even know if she can hear me. I stuck my head in her car and said he is the champion over there but you took the other champion out in the semi-finals. I told her she took me out she can take Hagan out. I was just trying to give her positive vibe. She doesn’t need it. The women know their drill. I am also really proud of Erica Enders to go out there and do what she did. Shirley started all this with a number of other women. These are the young kids they are our future. It is awesome where they are going to be in 10 years. I am really excited. It is a sport for the women. It has always been a sport for the men but the rules are changing.”

Even though Robert HIght dropped a first round match-up to last week’s winner Johnny Gray he will leave Seattle with the Full Throttle points lead. The Auto Club team is continuing to work on a tune up and clutch management system that will take them through the rest of the regular season and deep into the Countdown play-offs.

“We knew Johnny Gray would be tough. He has been running really well the past couple of weeks and really most of the season. I am not worried about the Countdown. We have clinched our spot and we want to hold onto the top spot. Hagan did us a favor today stopping Capps in the semis,” said Hight.

The biggest surprise of the day was not Courtney’s win over Hagan but more likely Mike Neff’s upset loss in the opening round to Bob Tasca III. Neff’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang had qualified No. 6 and was looking like it was about to turn the consistency corner. Unfortunately the track did not cooperate with Neff’s tune-up and he surprisingly smoked the tires. He will most likely clinch his spot in the Countdown in two weeks in Brainerd.

The crew chief and driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang is eager to get some time off and prepare to defend his Mac Tools US Nationals title and make a run at his first Brainerd victory.

“This was a tough Western Swing. I would have liked to have picked up a win or go more rounds. Our focus is on the Countdown and the Mac Tools US Nationals. We have two more races in the regular season and then the Countdown starts. I feel really good about where we can be in the Countdown,” said Neff.


FUNNY CAR – 1. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang,1143; 2. Ron Capps, 1112; 3. Jack Beckman, 1003; 4. Johnny Gray, 942; 5. Mike Neff, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 933; 6. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang, 851; 7. Cruz Pedregon, 803; 8. Jeff Arend, 749; 9. John Force, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang, 746; 10. Bob Tasca III, 739

TOP FUEL – 1. Spencer Massey, 1236; 2. Antron Brown, 1231; 3. Tony Schumacher, 1109; 4. Steve Torrence, 1108; 5. Doug Kalitta, 902; 6. Shawn Langdon, 839; 7. Morgan Lucas, 829; 8. Brandon Bernstein, 766; 9. David Grubnic, 756; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 633

PRO STOCK – 1. Allen Johnson, 1324; 2. Jason Line, 1246; 3. Greg Anderson, 1236; 4. Mike Edwards, 1031; 5. Vincent Nobile, 1020; 6. Erica Enders, 941; 7. Shane Gray, 592; 8. V Gaines, 570; 9. Ron Krisher, 558; 10T. Ronnie Humphrey, 550; 10T. Jeg Coughlin, 550


JOHN FORCE, 63, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang

Final Qualifying: 10th at 4.193 seconds, 291.57 mph

Bonus Qualifying Points: 0

Race results: Beat Alexis DeJoria, Jack Beckman, Lost to Courtney Force

MIKE NEFF, 45, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang

Final Qualifying: 6th at 4.161 seconds, 297.16 mph

Bonus Qualifying Points: 0

Race results: Lost to Bob Tasca III

ROBERT HIGHT, 42, AAA Insurance Ford Mustang

Final Qualifying: 13th at 4.226 seconds, 292.27 mph

Bonus Qualifying Points: 0

Race results: Lost to Johnny Gray

COURTNEY FORCE, 24, Traxxas Ford Mustang

Final Qualifying: 14th at 4.237 seconds, 262.44 mph

Bonus Qualifying Points: 0

Race results: Beat Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III, John Force, Matt Hagan



Aug. 16-19 Lucas Oil Nationals, Brainerd, MN

Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 Mac Tools US Nationals, Indianapolis, IN

Image and story credits:  John Force Racing, Inc. (JFR).

Dave Densmore
Elon Werner
Sarah Adams