Car Life makes these racers HAPPY

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I am a firm believer that those of us who work in and around the motorsport world have the best jobs on the planet, and yet I have never seen so many people having as much fun at the track as they are in this video.

Shot at a recent Formula Drift/Motor Games event at Fuji Speedway, the video features competitors, crew and even media getting their groove on to Pharrell Williams “Happy”. Popular Super GT racer Max Orido even gets in on the action.

I think we need more smiles in North American paddocks.

NHRA offers up some explosive action in super slow-mo

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Just in case there was ever any question as to what form of motorsport comes the closest to a full on apocalypse, the NHRA has released this compilation of super high frame rate videos that show just how bad it can be when it all goes wrong.

Stay In, Stay Safe – The Kevin Ward Jr. Rule

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By now you no doubt already know that there was an incident at a dirt track in up-state New York over the weekend that resulted in the death of 20 year old Kevin Ward Jr. when he was struck by a competitor’s car. That car happened to be driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.

Unlike seemingly every other media outlet, The Garage Blog will not be displaying the sole video of the incident out of respect to Ward’s family and good taste in general. Viewing the video does nobody any good, especially not those who know nothing about motorsports or more specifically, sprint car racing.

Likewise, I have never seen winged sprint cars race in person, nor have I driven one of the very specialized machines, so I can’t comment on things like visibility and lack of control at low speeds. Nor should you, or any of these other mainstream media talking heads.

What I will say is that the testosterone fueled displays of anger that have become common place at race tracks across the planet have gotten out of hand and have to stop.

There was a time when oval track racers with a beef would beat the tar out of each other in the paddock, pit lane or even the winner’s circle, after a race. At some point that was outlawed and driver’s began showing their displeasure trackside, as the driver they were angry with passed by under yellow. Usually the display includes a shaken fist, a flipped bird or even a thrown helmet. Childish behaviour at best, tragic at worst as we have learned this weekend.

In road racing, it is a very common rule that the driver of a car which is stopped on track must remain in their car, with safety equipment intact, until given the all clear to exit the car by safety workers. The exception to this is when the car is on fire. The reasons for this are many, not the least of which is that inside the car is the safest place for a driver to be while the track is still hot. From an attitudinal standpoint, the combination of rage, adrenaline and possibly even disorientation following a crash is not a good one when it comes to walking around a live track.

Tragedy in motorsport often leads to innovation and the creation of new rules designed to protect those involved in the sport. To that end, musician and oval track racer Derick Hamrick has started a petition to vote for the creation of The Kevin Ward Jr. Rule, with the tagline Stay In, Stay Safe which puts a name to what the road racing crowd has done for years.

I think it is a great idea. If you agree, please click on the link below and sign the petition.

Stay In, Stay Safe – The Kevin Ward Jr. Rule Petition

Ride along with James Hinchcliffe during crazy Mid-Ohio start

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I hate to admit it, but I rarely get the chance to sit down and watch a race on television, even though motorsports is my lifelong passion. The reality is that I spend so much of my week immersed in auto racing news and happenings, that when I am not actually at the track, I’m not likely to sit down to watch. I don’t even PVR most races now, because I just won’t watch them. It would really suck for me when cool stuff happens, but there is the internet and I don’t miss any of the cool stuff my friends do.

Long time friend of The Garage Blog, James Hinchcliffe, is one of the coolest guys on the IndyCar circuit, but he also has the worst racer’s luck of just about anyone. I have my fingers crossed that this epic march through traffic at this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio is the beginning of some great luck.

The Mayor of Hinchtown stayed calm and had some wicked good luck on his side during this one.

Watch Don Garlits break the 200 MPH barrier 50 years ago today!

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Fifty years ago today, a guy they used to call The Floridian, set off down the 1/4 mile strip at Island Dragway in Great Meadows, New Jersey. When he tripped the finish lights, Don Garlits became the first man to hit 200 MPH in the quarter. Fifty years ago! 201.34 MPH in Swamp Rat VI.

That record was not without controversy however, as Chris “The Greek” Karamesines, reportedly topped out at 204.54 in Illinois on April 4, 1960.

Garlits was and remains no stranger to breaking records, having been the first to break 170, 180, 200, 240, 250, and 270. Now, at 84 years young, Garlits is working to be the first to break 200 in an electric dragster.
[Read more...]

Learn your way around Daytona with Jochen Mass and Jim Pace

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The HSR folks posted this on YouTube about a month ago, and I somehow missed it. 24 Hours of Daytona winner Jim Pace narrates as Jochen Mass hauls butt around Daytona in the rain, aboard a classic Porsche 911 from the IROC series. You couldn’t have a pair of better instructors than these two.

BMW M3 driver attacks Lebanese hill climb

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There are those who think they can drive, those who can drive and then there are those who are fast. You could say that Garo Haroutiounian falls into the latter category.

Watch in awe as this dude tears up the Falougha hill climb in Lebanon.

Source: YouTube via Jalopnik

Red Bull Global Rallycross Hits Home

… The home of the Islanders, that is. Red Bull Global Rallycross set up camp at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum on the weekend of July 19-20. Just outside of New York City outerborough borders, the overcast Sunday finals saw some exciting racing as well as some shocking disappointments for quite a few drivers. The New York course was very similar to last year’s Championship in Las Vegas with the Joker Lap on the turn just after the table jump, but a bit tricky for the drivers that had driven the Vegas course as it was a bit wider.

Red Bull Global Rallycross in New York

Aussie Sarah Burgess debuted over the weekend in a Chevy Sonic, but some mechanical issues ultimately kept her from racing on Sunday. Hyundai’s Emma Gilmour didn’t make the finals via the Last Chance Qualifier, though team mate Rhys Millen raced in the final. After the United States National Anthem was sung by Ken Block’s trainer Kit Cope, the Supercars were ready to go.

Red Bull Global Rallycross in New York

Before the first lap was even half finished, a group of cars got banged around before the table jump and Olsbergs MSE’s Patrik Sandell in a Ford Fiesta got the worst of it. The red flag came out, and all drivers went back to the pits. Sandell had too much damage to continue. [Read more...]

Tom Cruise the racer

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Before we started hearing about all of the crazy religious stuff, Tom Cruise seemed like a pretty much normal guy. Except for the whole good looks, fame and getting up close and personal with Rebecca de Mornay on a train thing, but you see my point. He even took some interest in racing cars, before Days of Thunder.

To his credit, Cruise took a pretty smart route to racing, beginning in showroom stock (the American Firehawk series if memory serves correctly) before moving to SCCA GT-3 with a Nissan prepared by Bob Sharp. You might recognize the cars, as this was Paul Newman’s team.

I just came across this video from way back in 1988, as Cruise was racing at Summit Point. It isn’t great quality, but it is worth a watch for all of you celebrity gawkers.

Toyo Tires F1600 Championship brings the excitement to Toronto Indy

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There is a reason that F1600 has long been considered a key element in any serious open wheel racer’s education. The competition is fierce, which means there is tons of on track excitement for the fans.

F1600 participation has been somewhat lagging in Canada in recent years, until Jason Sharpe took over the series and injected an unprecedented level of energy. Sharpe’s efforts have been rewarded as the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship rolled into the Honda Indy Toronto with an impressive field of 28 entries. The series hasn’t seen a field of this size in years and the drivers put on an incredible show all weekend.

Check out some of the high flying (pun intended) action in this great video from 2 in TO.