Thursday, May 21, 2015

Racing Datsuns - The Happy Coincidence Of Adam Carolla And Paul Newman

Banner on the back wall of Adam Carolla's Picture Lab Entertainment and garage facility in Glendale, California - Adam Carolla and Nate Adams recently held a private screening of the documentary WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN. Much of the archive footage and images have never been in wide release of seen in public and through interviews with those people closest to Paul Leonard Newman exposes a very personal insight to the little-known side of this very public life of an iconic actor and brightest stars of Hollywood. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Racing Datsuns - The Happy Coincidence Of Adam Carolla And Paul Newman

Adam Carolla, who bounded onto the entertainment scene (for many) when he partnered with Jimmy Kimmel for the cable broadcast television show "The Man Show" (1999-2004) and as his career progressed, became noted for finding, restoring, and racing historic race cars, has put together a compelling and entertaining documentary about the automobile racing life of iconic actor Paul Leonard Newman.

Adam Carolla discusses one of his current restoration projects - 1988 Trans-Am 300ZX 2+2 - with those gathered at the pre-release screening of the new documentary about Paul Lenard Newman's racing life. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

At a recent pre-release screening of the documentary, WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN, Adam Carolla shared that his interest in restoring winning Datsun/Nissan race cars became the "Happy Coincidence" (stated by Adam at 15:15 in the Q&A) that led him to discover this somewhat unknown life about how Paul Newman, after becoming one of the brightest stars in Hollywood through his acting, in his late forties ... late in life for a race car driver, focused his pursuits at being a standout race car driver and top level racing series team owner.

The Paul Newman raced, Bob Sharp built, and Adam Carolla restored #33 IMSA GTX 300ZX Twin-Turbo. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The following sixteen minutes is what Adam Carolla and co-producer Nate Adams had to say in a post-screening Q&A about their film effort involved in the making of WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN.

Adam Carolla & Nate Adams Q&A Audio File


Release Date:
VIDEO ON DEMAND – Release Date – May 22, 2015

Directed by:        Adam Carolla and Co-Directed by Nate Adams

Produced by:         Nate Adams, Adam Carolla and Mike August

Exec Producers        Norm Pattiz, Matt D’Andria

Edited By:        Simon Sandquist

Cinematography By:    MÃ¥rten Tedin

Runtime:    83 Minutes

MPAA Rating:    Unrated

Distributor:    FilmBuff

Starring:    Paul Newman (archive footage), Robert Redford, Patrick Dempsey, Mario Andretti, Jay Leno, Robert Wagner, Joanne Woodward (archive footage), Arthur Newman, Tom Cruise (archive footage), Michael Andretti, Bob Sharp, Sam Posey, Sebastien Bourdais and many other racers,

Synopsis:    The world knows Paul Newman as an Academy Award winning actor with a fifty-plus year career as one of the most prolific and revered actors in American Cinema. He was also well known for his philanthropy; Newman's Own has given more than four hundred and thirty million dollars to charities around the world. Yet few know the gasoline-fueled passion that became so important in this complex, multifaceted man's makeup. Newman’s deep-seated passion for racing was so intense it nearly sidelined his acting career.

His racing career spanned thirty-five years; Newman won four national championships as a driver and eight championships as an owner. Not bad for a guy who didn't even start racing until he was forty-seven years old.


Twitter:            @NewmanRaceFilm
#:            #NewmanRacingFilm, #PaulNewman, #WinningMovie

For additional information please contact:

New York
Lee Meltzer – – 212.373.6142
Nina Baron –  – 212.373.6150

Los Angeles
Tiffany Olivares – – 310.854.3272
Jazmin Sanchez – – 310.854.3267

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Documentary, Adam Carolla, Nate Adams, #NewmanRacingFilm, #PaulNewman, #WinningMovie, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Patrick Dempsey, Mario Andretti, Jay Leno, Robert Wagner, Joanne Woodward, Arthur Newman, Tom Cruise, Michael Andretti, Bob Sharp, Sam Posey, Sebastien Bourdais, The EDJE

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

99th Indianapolis 500 Qualifications Exemplify A Disastrous Start To 2015

Verizon P1 Pole Winner sticker as it was placed on Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon's No. 9 Chevrolet-powered Dallara IndyCar. Notice the lack of attention to detail on how the sticker was placed. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski

99th Indianapolis 500 Qualifications Exemplify A Disastrous Start To 2015

After having a fairly interesting week of watching the Verizon IndyCar Series work in, and understand, the new aerodynamics kits for large oval racing that were added to their Dallara DW12 racing platforms, and after the weather elements washed out any chance of holding the scheduled 4-lap qualification runs used to decide where the drivers would line up for the INDY 500 race, then, lastly, a third Chevy chassis spun and turned around backwards causing the chassis to lift off of the track surface, Race Control saw fit to shut down all of the team and driver development understanding achieved over hundreds of laps logged at the old Brickyard.

The third Chevy-powered accident damage on Ed Carpenter's Dallara DW12. It was feared that the new aerodynamics body work led to having cars become airborne when they spin and present the rear of the car toward the wind. Image Credit: Mike Young

One might say ... IndyCar Race Control "Bricked" the 99th Indianapolis 500 qualifications.

The 2015 season at this point has had more going wrong with the competition and fan enjoyment than at almost anytime during these merger years.

To understand and gain a perspective on how the decisions made for Sunday's augmented qualifications session played out, one needs a brief review of the 2015 season.

2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season had its opener in Brazil canceled ...

its second scheduled race at St. Pete ended up in a non-passing crash fest with the first time implementation of new aerodynamics body work with restricted testing imposed on all teams ...

its third scheduled race, Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, at NOLA (a brand new venue) ran almost having more laps run under YELLOW Flag with the rest of the timed-race laps being a mud bath ...

Long Beach Formula E Race winner Nelson Piquet Jr. - NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team - at the beginning of the FIA Formula E electric car open-wheel race as he negotiates Turn 3 at the end of Shoreline Drive at Pine Ave.. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

the fourth scheduled race at The Beach becoming a snoozer as a lack of passing ruled the day (two weeks earlier the FIA sanctioned Formula E had more interesting competition) ...

the fifth scheduled race at Barber Motorsports Park finally had some excitement - and passing, imagine that - passing ...

and finally, if this idiocy of INDY500 decision-making keeps up, the crown jewel of Speedway, Indiana during the month of May might become the Grand Prix of Indiana as opposed to the INDY 500 because, again, the Race Control by committee crowd allowed competition to break out (OH! ... and it was a road race).

Announcement of modified and augmented INDY 500 qualification's procedure at IMS delivered by CEO Mark Miles (L) and Race Control Director Derrick Walker (R). Image Credit: Bret Kelley

This excerpted and edited from Racer Viewpoints -

MILLER: Barnum & Bailey spotted at IMS
By Robin Miller - Sunday, 17 May 2015

It wasn’t as big a circus as 1997, when every bit of integrity and competition got kicked to the curb so the Indy Racing League could avoid the public relations nightmare of not starting the fastest 33 qualifiers.

But Sunday’s sideshow at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would have surely brought a little smirk to Barnum & Bailey. A lot of panic, a little knee jerk, possibly some politics, a little confusion and a lot of “WTF?” summed up a very forgettable and embarrassing day in IMS history. From the time Ed Carpenter flipped in morning practice to the inane Last Row battle, it looked more like the Speedrome instead of Speedway.
Carpenter’s crash was the third in which a Chevrolet­powered Dallara driver wound up on his head. Helio Castroneves got upside down on Wednesday, followed by Josef Newgarden on Thursday. All three drivers escaped injury but not speculation. Why were their Indy cars suddenly sailing?

The finger was pointed at the new aero kits with the angled tire ramps and ramps inside the rear wheel pods or the vertical wickers on the nose but was countered by the Physics Police who reasoned as long as there are tunnels under a car and it goes backward there is going to be lift. Everyone seemed to have a theory except IndyCar, which offered nothing publicly until Sunday. “We knew the cause of the first two wrecks were very different and that probably obscured the overall concern,” said Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles, who at least chose Indy qualifying over golf this weekend.

IndyCar did mandate those vertical wickers be removed from all Chevys, but not the Hondas, after Helio flew.

Of course Carpenter crashed with no wicker but using the extra boost for qualifying while Castroneves had the wicker and normal horsepower before a tank­slapper sent him into the wall. Newgarden had no wicker and no added boost in a crash caused by a deflated tire. Even though Carpenter snapped loose before climbing the wall backwards and flipping over, it was his accident that suddenly sent IndyCar officials into DefCon 1. So when IndyCar sent out the word that it was taking away the extra power for qualifying and all the cars would have to start the race in the aero package they used to qualify (which instantly slowed the cars by several miles an hour), it created some predictable emotions in Gasoline Alley.

“We look like a bunch of pussies,” said one driver.
“It’s amateur hour, they’re throwing darts at a board,” said a former IndyCar champion of the process.

Honda drivers and teams bit their tongue but the obvious question was why did Honda have to abide by the edict?

Competition director Derrick Walker replied: “Just because we’ve seen three incidents happen with a Chevrolet doesn’t mean that there aren’t three Hondas out there that are likely to happen [fly while going backward] or could happen. I can assure you that Honda doesn’t believe that they have any issue, but then again, they will admit right now that we don’t have that answer.
Was it more about safety or competition? Chevy has clearly been ahead of Honda in pace this season and this month (with or without extra boost) so it’s not like Honda lost any advantage, other than its cars weren’t flipping at any speed or under any configuration.

Three accidents force a total change in philosophy? Sending drivers out with a combination they hadn’t run all month for a short practice session before qualifying hardly seemed safe but that’s what happened.

Some people blamed IndyCar for not doing more testing with the oval­track kits, which prompted one veteran mechanic to say: “We could have run for two weeks but unless somebody spun backwards, how would we know if there was a problem?”

Of course nobody wants to see anybody hurt when it can be prevented and nobody crashed Sunday afternoon ...
And naturally the day ended with some head shaking stupidity. Instead of letting the Fast 9 at least get one chance to battle for the pole, the hearty but tiny gathering of fans that hung around had to endure the dramatic duel to see which one of the 34 drivers was [to be] sent home. IndyCar opted to have the slowest four drivers go back out to eliminate one of them in an effort to keep the insulting “Bump Day” theme alive.

How pathetic.

There’s no Jim Nabors this year so my suggestion is scrap “Back Home Again in Indiana” for “Send in the Clowns.


Charlie Kimball and former champion Dario Franchitti pose for fan pictures at IMS. Image Credit: Forrest Mellott

Robin Miller (Racing, Viewpoints) was very correct to cite the 1997 IRL embarrassing INDY500 event because - and this is the reason - The Hulman/George decision-making Race Control by committee of 2015 was what had the event of last weekend's 99th INDY 500 qualifications feel so similar and familiar.

We are reliving the Tony George inspired competitive attitudes that the IRL gave American Open Wheel Racing right now in 2015. We have a racing series that is being run by a committee of pussies and one of them has been brought back (TGBB) after being replaced (with reason) a few years ago ... need we say more?

Robin Miller​ spanks the system but does not call them out as morphing into the IRL of old ... running the present day.

Comment/Observation From FB:
Ira Fierberg · Friends with Dicken Wear and 82 others - If you watched the coverage on Sunday, Roger Penske was interviewed and several times during the interview he referred to the sanctioning body as "The IRL"!

Can the reinstatement of Tony George as Chief "Clown & Mucky-Muck" be far behind?

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Verizon IndyCar Series, 99th INDY 500, Indianapolis, Qualifications, Aerodynamics, Chevrolet-­powered, Honda-powered, Dallara, Testing, Hulman & Company, Mark Miles, Derrick Walker, Race Control, Boost, The EDJE,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015, 4:18 PM EDT
(Photo courtesy John Force Racing/Monster Energy)(Photo courtesy John Force Racing/Monster Energy)
When NHRA legend John Force hinted he’d have a “monster” sponsorship announcement Wednesday for daughter Brittany’s Top Fuel dragster, he wasn’t kidding – literally or figuratively.
Father and daughter Force were ecstatic when they were finally able to reveal a major deal where Monster Energy drink will become the primary sponsor for Brittany’s dragster for all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events for the next three years.
Sister Courtney’s team, as well as those of brother-in-law Robert Hight and team patriarch John Force, will also carry Monster as an associate sponsor.
“This is honestly a dream come true,” Brittany Force said in a Wednesday afternoon teleconference. “My sister and I have been chasing Monster for a while. To see it all actually happening, it’s pretty surreal. I’m beyond excited about it.
“Monster’s all about living life on the edge. I think our sport ties in perfectly to that because there’s nothing more extreme than driving a Top Fuel dragster. You’re racing down the track 330 miles per hour. I don’t think there’s anything more extreme than that. I honestly think we are really a perfect fit.”
John Force, who had been financing much of Brittany’s dragster this season out of his pocket, is both excited – and financially relieved.
“Well, it’s a big relief to me not just financially, but a relief that we’ve kept this a secret for a year,” Force said. “You know me, I can’t keep a secret.
“The problem I had was my next generation, my driver, my daughter, didn’t have a home (sponsorship). You could see the teams, as hard as they work night and day on the racecars at the races, having a trailer that’s not branded with a sponsor’s name.
“Everyone knows you’re underfunded. Everyone knows financially you don’t have everything that it takes. You want that name. It’s an honor badge that you wear.
“To land a company like Monster, that’s huge. … The kids got it done. Unbelievable. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”
Monster was previously an NHRA sponsor with the now-retired Kenny Bernstein.
“Monster’s marketing is built on three things mainly: that’s racing, music and girls,” Monster vice president of sports marketing Mitch Covington said in a Wednesday afternoon teleconference. “We think that fits great with drag racing. We’re just super excited to be back in this sport.”
Brittany Force will debut her new sponsorship and colors at this weekend’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.
“John Force Racing, we don’t have to tell anybody, is synonymous with winning,” Covington said. “Monster’s brand is really built on a culture of winning. Man, we just can’t wait till this weekend to unveil that car.”
Covington went on to tell a funny story of how the deal first began to take shape.
“As to how we got in with John Force Racing, you guys all know John Force is one hell of a salesman,” Covington said. “I actually met him at a wedding party. This dude (Force) chased me down the whole time.
“But I got news for everybody. John Force didn’t sell this deal, it was his daughter Brittany and his other daughter Courtney.”
Brittany Force, in effect, will become Monster teammates with several dozen athletes that the company sponsors, including NASCAR drivers Kyle and Kyle Busch and reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg.
Follow @JerryBonkowski  (Reposted by: Dicken Wear, "The Motorsports Report".

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

At GP of INDY It's Rayhall vs. Rahal ('RAyHALl') ... Is There An Echo In Here?

Fans walk the frontstretch during the post-race track invasion at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski via VICS

At GP of INDY It's Rayhall vs. Rahal ('RAyHALl') ... Is There An Echo In Here?

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) during the final day of competition during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the only name heard, it seemed, was the sound made by the last name of a one-time Indy 500 winner (1986) - Bobby Rahal. In this case the name heard belonged to two different drivers in separate open-wheel series, although sounding the same, was spelled in two different ways.

Fans observe on track road course action on the mounds at IMS. Image Credit: Dana Garrett via VICS

The first session of the day belonged to a first-time driver in new IndyLights Series (that features a new Dallara racing platform powered by Mazda that looks like disturbingly like the ChampCar DP01 - down to the louvers in the sidepod) by the last name of Rayhall ... Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports).

Sean Rayhall leading IndyLights Race 2 at IMS. Image Credit: Tim Holle via VICS

He began the two race event by qualifying third and finishing second in Race 1 where he received a Podium trophy. on this final day of the event weekend, he began Race 2 in P2 along side of season series points leader and polesetter Ed Jones ... drafted his way down the front straight to put on a clean pass in Turn 1 and young Rayhall was never seriously challenged after the second GREEN Flag flew for the balance of the 35 lap race.

Sean Rayhall wins the IndyLights Race 2 at IMS. Image Credit: Doug Mathews via VICS

Post Race Quote:

Sean Rayhall  (#8 Bass Egg and Edvisors-8Star Motorsports): "In my head, that was longer than the six hours I've driven in endurance races! Jack was probably faster than me, but I was trying to save my tires for the end in case he got close. The restart had me nervous but I used a little trick I picked up driving Late Model (stock) cars to keep him back. After that, the only thing that was going through my head was to keep hitting my marks. I never expected this. Racing against guys like Max, RC, Ed, these guys have been doing open-wheel racing for the last five or six years, while I've done endurance racing. I'm inexperienced compared to them; it was an honor yesterday just to be on the podium with them so to be able to win, I'm just blown away. In the end, it's another race car. It's a switch in your head; you go from one to another, you drive different styles and push in different ways but you get to a point where you can flip it on and flip it off."

He improved all event weekend long at the IMS infield road course where he posted a P5 in Practice 1, a P6 in Practice 2, A P3 in Qualifications, A Podium P2 in Race 1, a P1 in Practice 3, and brought home the Podium hardware in Race 2 with the winner's trophy and bragging rights for next year if he is still driving IndyLights.

P1 Rayhall, P2 Enerson, P3 Chilton at IMS Race 2. Image Credit: IndyLights

As reported by IndyCar:

Rayhall crossed the finish line 4.9438 seconds ahead of RC Enerson (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian). Max Chilton (Carlin) finished third. After seven of 16 races, Ed Jones (Carlin) holds the provisional points lead (176), 14 ahead of Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian).

After only two races, Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports) has P11 in the points (81) out of 14 drivers with points.

Which brings us to the main event of the weekend, the fifth race of the Verizon IndyCar Series - Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the other Rahal ... Graham Rahal.

This excerpted and edited from The Columbus Dispatch -

IndyCar: Graham Rahal trying to make the best of slower car
By: Tim May - Friday May 8, 2015 10:44 PM

Coming off a stirring run to a second-place finish in the previous IndyCar race, Graham Rahal spoke of renewed momentum for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan race team headed into Saturday's second Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

He stuck with the momentum on Friday, but after qualifying he wasn't happy. Neither were most of the other 11 drivers in the 25-car field who are using Honda engines and aerodynamic devices.

Chevrolet drivers smoked them. Team Penske's Will Power led the way, taking the pole for the race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The "fast six" final qualifying was all Chevy; the top 12 who advanced to second-round qualifying included just one Honda, Jack Hawksworth from the Foyt Racing team, who wound up 11th.

It was like taking a "knife to a gun fight," said Rahal, who will start 17th.

This year, IndyCar moved from stock bodies for all of the cars to aero kits (the downforce-inducing wings and pods on the cars) designed and produced by the two engine manufacturers in the series. If a team uses Honda engines it also uses the Honda aero kit. The same with Chevy.

Through the first four races and headed into the fifth, all on road or street courses, Chevy aero kits routinely have produced the faster times.

"It's demoralizing," Rahal said. "There's nothing we can do; it's out of our control. Our team has done the best job, I think, of driving the Honda all year (he's eighth in points, up from 19th last season), but we've got to get the cars better."

The Chevy drivers know there is a disparity. There is a chance of rain for the race today, which could close that gap.

"If it's wet, absolutely," Power said. Honda has "a lot of good drivers in their camp. Right now, they just don't have their aero kits side of things together. ... I hope they bridge that gap. It is more competitive when it's an even playing field, which it isn't right now."

The race was run and it wasn't wet ... just a little messy at first, and fast (only one Full Course YELLOW Flag).

Seven cars were visibly involved in the Turn One incident, at race start, when the pack funneled down into the sharp first corner. Others got banged and bent. Third place starter, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, rear-ended second place starter, Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. At least two cars stalled and had to be started - Jack Hawksworth/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt and Josef Newgarden/No.21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet. Everyone else continued, eventually, but some had to pit for repairs. Image Credit: Eric Schwarzkopf


Lap 1: GREEN flag at 3:49 p.m. 1-Power leads the field into Turn 1. FULL COURSE CAUTION, contact in Turn 1 involving 9-Dixon, 3-Castroneves, 41-Hawksworth, 5-Hinchcliffe and 21-Newgarden. 3-Castroneves and 5-Hinchcliffe keep going. 9-Dixon, 41-Hawksworth and 21-Newgarden are stopped in Turn 1, assisted by the Holmatro Safety Team, restarted and return to the field.

Lap 2: Pits are open. Pitting are: 25-Wilson (replace front wing), 83-Kimball, 5-Hinchcliffe, 3-Castroneves, 7-Jakes, 9-Dixon (replace front and rear wings), 21-Newgarden (replace rear wing), 18-Huertas, 41-Hawksworth (replace front wing).

Lap 4: GREEN flag. 1-Power leads 22-Pagenaud. 15-Rahal has advanced 11 positions from the start to sixth place.

A photo posted by Edmund Jenks (@the_edje) on

This excerpted and edited from NBC Sports Motorsports Talk -

Graham Rahal bridesmaid again in Grand Prix of Indianapolis
By: Daniel McFadin - May 9, 2015, 7:14 PM EDT

It never rained and Rahal didn't require its services. Thanks to a Lap 1, Turn 1 crash involving Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Jack Hawksworth and Josef Newgarden, Rahal was able to go from 17th to sixth before he made it to Turn 5 on the opening lap.

"I said I'll go as far left as they can, I'll have a great angle to cut to the apex," Rahal said of his plan for the first turn. "Worst comes to worse I'll do the shortcut. It'll be fine. Sure enough it worked perfect. I saw smoke everywhere. Next thing I know I see (Scott Dixon). I got (JR) Hildebrand into four. That definitely went our way."

Then a strategy of pitting a lap later than the leaders put Rahal into the top three and within reasonable distance of Power. He led nine laps during green flag pit stops, but afterward was never able to make up full deficit due to lapped cars.

"I feel good about it. We've come away from finishing first by like three seconds combined," Rahal said. "This tiny little one car team is fighting with Penske and that feels pretty good."

It should feel good, though finishing second is undoubtedly getting old.

Still, Rahal, now fifth in points with his single-car team, has multiple podiums in a season for the first time since the 2011 campaign when Rahal notched three with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Angie's List #GPofINDY Podium (middle - Will Power P1, right - Graham Rahal P2, left - Juan Pablo Montoya P3) - This is Will Power's first victory this season and 25th of his career, which ties him with Gordon Johncock for 15th place on the all-time list. It comes in Power's 144th career start. Power is the fifth different winner in as many races in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season (following Juan Pablo Montoya, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden). The #GPofINDY race featured six different leaders (Will Power, Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes). None of the six led a lap in the inaugural 2014 Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Graham Rahal finished second for the second straight race, tying his season-best finish. Image Credit: Eric Schwarzkopf via FB

This Verizon IndyCar Series season now has had 5 races with the last two showing great promise for the rest of 2015. Some complaints about the lack of Mushroom Busting or Trailing Turbulence which reduces an ease in passing with one of the most vocal drivers in the on-air post race comments being Sebastien Bourdais (starting P7 and finished P4).

Don't tell this to Graham Rahal (race's most improved 15 positions - started P17 - Finished P2) or, Helio Castroneves (started P3, booted Dixon in Turn 1, dropped back to P23 or P24 on Lap 10 pitstop, finished P6), or for that matter, the Verizon IndyCar Series PR department who is boasting 192 passes for position on the track, 11 lead changes and six leaders in the 82-lap race.

Podium Press Conference >>>

No matter how it's spelled (Rayhall / Rahal) it all sounds the same and that "RAyHALl" sound heard throughout the paddocks, for most all of the day, Saturday, is the sound the of success few other names have at the 2nd annual Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

What a way to start the "Month Of May" at IMS. Next up ... practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin May 11 (

Qualifications will be May 16 - ABC @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET and May 17 - ABC @ 1:00 pm - 3:00pm ET - includes V E R I Z O N  I N D Y C A R  S E R I E S - Q U A L I F Y I N G - F A S T 9 (

Coors Light Carb Day will be May 22 (

The INDY 500 race will be May 24 and televised at 12:00pm ET on ABC Networks and

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Sean Rayhall, Graham Rahal, Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Month of May, 8Star Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, IndyLights, IndyCar, Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, RC Enerson, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Curb-Agajanian, Max Chilton, Carlin, The EDJE, Verizon IndyCar Series, Indianapolis Motor Speedway,

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Inside Rolls-Royce, An Automotive Lifestyle POV

"Spirit of Ecstasy" iconic Rolls-Royce hood adornment. Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

Inside Rolls-Royce, An Automotive Lifestyle POV
By: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications for the The Motorsports-Report - May 9, 2015

For people drawn to luxury motoring, style or design the event to attend this Saturday evening in Los Angeles was at the swank, hip SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Present by Rolls-Royce the event was entitled ‘Inside Rolls-Royce’.  Our invitation was a preview for the Motor Press Guild; the largest group of professionals in Automotive Journalism and Public Relations. Gregory O’ Shea Experiential, Manager added several Roll-Royce owners to our group to give us their perspective, some owned classic models others current models.

“Inside Rolls-Royce” was presented in the manner of an art exhibit by our knowledgeable tour guide in from the UK, Lars Klawitter, General Manager, Bespoke. As it turned out an art exhibit format is the perfect manner to display the many unique accouterments combined in Rolls-Royce motorcars. 

Lars Klawitter General Manager, Bespoke (with wood and extended arm). Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

The taking the spotlight at the entry was a Wraith ‘Inspired by Film’ finished in Sliver and Jubilee Silver with handcrafted solid silver ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ a top of its grill. Those colors being two of the 44,000 in their color palate for customer to select. .

Exterior of Sliver Wraith ‘Inspired by Film’ - Image Credit: Rolls-Royce

This Wraith edition celebrates the acceptance of the film ‘And The World Stood Still’ by the British Film Industry into its National Archives. The film won a Gold Award at the 26th International Visual Communications Association Awards. BFI Senior Curator, Patrick Russell “We selected it for preservation as an outstanding award winning example of modern corporate promotional film making…” Wraith ‘Inspired by Film’ also celebrates their long association with the film industry, one that has prominently featured Rolls-Royce models in the iconic films Goldfinger, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Yellow Rolls-Royce to highlight a just a few.

Thomas Crown Affair's Two-door 1967 Rolls Royce Sliver Shadow with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Image Credit: Phantom Wick via tumblr

Interior of Wraith. Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

This film was used to introduce Wraith as the most powerful and technologically advanced Rolls-Royce in history. Wraith’s power comes from a 624bhp twin-turbo  V-12 capable of 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. This puts Wraith’s performance in the exotic sports car field.

RR V-12 Motor. Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

Wood Samples - Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

The rare and exotic woods used to create the dash and the interior trim’s warmth where on full display.  Sam, a young talent in a nearly lost art form, is one of the few craftsmen that can take a customer’s vision and bring it to life.  Sam spoke about how these seductive interiors develop through the imagination of owners and craftsman’s expertise that can include adding a family crest or logo into the veneers.

Sam behind wood sample. Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

Custom Woodwork - Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

This exhibit is an interactive multi-sensory experience focused on engineering, design and craftsmanship.  The motion capture technology allows guests to become the statuette on top of the grill by creating themselves as the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ on screen.

Trinh’s flowing moves creating the "Spirit of Ecstasy" as she feels herself to be.

A public showing is also offered. I see the public showing as a smart PR move to give an everyone an understanding of what goes into creating these most luxurious of motorcars.  If people appreciate the craftsmanship, the exotic materials or design they will tend to also have a favorable view of the owners, not as just wealthy but as people of unique style and ways of expressing it.  Others may show their personal tastes with a Renoir or Picasso in their homes while some fill their garages with mobile-art like the Wraith.

Wood dash interior of Wraith. Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

Gravity Seed Soap Box Car - Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

With the public showing Rolls-Royce is also thinking long-term by having a dedicated children’s area along with interactive displays intended to engage children’s participation, exciting them and educating.

Following afternoon tea and the tour Trinh and I spent quality with time with Gerry Spahn and Elizabeth Williams of the US Communications department gaining insights on the latest models.  The feature that I found most interesting is the Rolls-Royce Satellite Aided Transmission System. 

The system is unique to Rolls-Royce Motorcars. SAT acts as a navigator does in a rally car by calling out the turns and degree of difficulty ahead of time.  Except in this case SAT does without someone in the passenger seat.  Using GPS mapping the system collects data based on location and current driving style and selects the appropriate gear from its ZF 8-speed transmission ahead of the turn to a degree that the driver isn’t aware it’s being done. Driver and car remaine poised at all times for the road ahead. I imagine that this system in addition to its safety factor would have the benefit of making the driver more skilled and feeling additional confidence.  Mr. Spahn agreed and added that system also saves fuel. 

Brewster/Springfield Rolls-Royce Automobiles - Image Credit: Dicken Wear

Motorsport-Report Publisher, Dicken Wear joined us later.

Any Rolls-Royce event is of interest to Dicken since he is able to trace his family’s  involvement with Rolls-Royce back to the 1920’s when his grandfather (J.S. Inskip) Managed the Springfield, MA. USA Rolls-Royce factory, and built the bodies for Rolls-Royce. 

During World War II the Inskip Engine Shop in New York City would rebuild the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines used in the Spitfire fighter planes after they were shipped across the Atlantic. After servicing the engines, they would be shipped back to the UK where they would be put back into service for the war effort. After the war, the Inskip operation became an Importer, Distributor, and Dealer for Rolls-Royce/Bentley Automobiles.

Brewster/Springfield Rolls-Royce Automobiles - Image Credit: Dicken Wear

The pedigree of Roll-Royce is as long as the industry itself and goes back to 1904, with the stated intent to build the finest motorcars.  Sir Henry Royce summed up the founding principles as ‘Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better.  If it does not exist, design it’.

Pick you adjective Best, Most Exclusive or as Rolls-Royce states, the ‘Pinnacle of Motorcars’.  So successful has the company been in creating its Brand that their history of accomplishment could sever as their advertising campaign forever….

Directly following the closing of the exhibit Rolls-Royce will host its dealers for their annual meeting.  Everyone should be in an upbeat mood after the companies fifth consecutive year of record sales, now topping 4,000 automobiles annually. The United States is its most important market representing thirty percent of global sales.  There are thirty-six US franchised retailers and interesting enough and only the thirty-six Rolls-Royce US employees.  The staff had a New York introduction of the Wraith ‘Inspired by Fashion’ edition just the night before and flew in today for the Wraith model ‘Inspired by Film’ edition. 

The challenge then is to continue to make the Rolls-Royce band relevant for today’s market and in the future. Fortunately more people are newly wealthy because prosperity is coming to previously underdeveloped nations in the form of mineral deposits, oil or in the case of China realizing Capitalism is a more effective way to grow their economy than Communism. Judging by the current direction, strong dealer body and design expect to see Rolls-Royce rack up another century of success.

We were there to be enriched by the experience of Roll-Royce Motorcars, their charming hosts and educated by knowledgeable craftsmen, all done in the exquisite surrounding of the SLS Hotel.

Mission Accomplished.


RR Ghost in White - Image Credit: James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications

As I am writing this article I got a text from good friend Kevin showing his new Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Talk about a conquest sale, Kevin has been driving an Audi R8, Lambo, or Porsches along with riding Ducati motorcycles for decades ... and today he sends me a photo of white Ghost parked next to a new, bright orange and black, four-door Mini. Looking forward to a night out with them in their Ghost…

TAGS: Roll-Royce Motorcars, Rolls-Royce Ghost, Rolls-Royce Satellite Aided Transmission System, Wraith, Lars Klawitter, Bespoke, SLS Hotel, James Groth, Motor Press Guild, Gregory O’ Shea, Dicken Wear