Finally! We have Indycar racing this weekend! Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal sat down with the Indycar media cats and gave their thoughts on racing in St. Pete’s.
Shortly before bed last night I heard that Dean McNulty at the Toronto Sun had reported that the Edmonton Indy was dead in the water. McNulty has been known to jump the gun on occasion. He has also been known to be wrong on occasion. I went to bed and thought nothing more of it.
This morning, I awoke to have a look at my twitter feeds and saw the following gem from Paul Tracy:
“had a real hard time sleeping last night , this edmonton race cancel has f,ed things up for my sponsors”
Sarah Fisher is a very classy lady. I will explain the reasons I consider her so classy later but first a little history about her and one of the very few owner/driver teams in Indy Car racing.
Sarah was born Oct 4 1980 and was in her first race car at 5 in a 1/4 midget. She came from a racing family as her father was a sprint car driver and her mother raced karts. Sarah started racing karts at an early age and won many major championships. At age 15 she started racing dirt track sprint cars. For those that don’t know they are 410 cu. inch 850 Hp fire breathing methanol burning winged monsters. Weighing only about 1200 lbs and front engined they can actually smoke their tires on dirt.
She ran with the World of Outlaws, the toughest series going and with the All Star Circuit another tough touring group. In 1995 she was named Dirt Track Rookie of the year. Among her accomplishments was a 2nd with the All Stars at the famous Eldora Speedway and a lap record at Winchester. She ran sprinters through 99 but also ran with ARCA, NAMARS and USAC. In 99 she won 5 A Main Midget races. This background explains why she has, at least so far, rarely run road races in the Indy Car Series.
People are funny in that they always want to point out the negative side of anything anyone else has done. Nowhere is that attitude more prevalent than in the coverage of motorsports events. This past weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto was by no means an exception to this. Sometimes I think that some people want to see the event fail. From what I saw, the event is well on pace to have a revival of its glory days.
Part of what made the old Molson Indy such a huge part of the Toronto summer scene was the fact that there were all kinds of events that drew the public in and got them wrapped up in the hype. This year, organizer Charlie Johnstone’s team planned a full schedule of fun functions around the city in the weeks leading up to race weekend. These activities were capped off with free admission on Friday to re-introduce Toronto to the Indy.
Earlier this afternoon the boys and I headed down to Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square for the unveiling of Alex Tagliani’s ride for the weekend courtesy of Hot Wheels and Fazzt Racing. Of course Tagz was on hand to meet the media and the fans, though the media had a tough time getting to him through the long line of little kids waiting for a chance to sit in the Hot Wheels race car. Tagliani took it all in stride, like the pro that he is as little people clambered all over him and the car. For the Montreal based driver, it is all about the fans.
Many will disagree with me, but for years I have believed that the absolute best time for a spectator to visit a pro race weekend is on Friday. Yes, I know that the best racing action happens on Sunday, but Friday has so much to offer. First off, the crowds are usually a third of the size they are on race day which makes the day more relaxing and often those gold seats are unguarded, meaning good seats are yours. While teams are busy with practice and qualifying, there are fewer interruptions, so they have more time to talk with the fans. You might even get to have a chat with your favorite driver.
This year at the Honda Indy Toronto there is an added bonus: Friday admissions are free!
There was a time when the Toronto Indy was THE event of the summer in Toronto and all 3 days would be jam packed with fans. A few years of lackluster promotion and organization, followed by a year with no race caused some to wonder if the glory days of racing on Toronto’s waterfront had come and gone. For any number of possible reasons, attendance seemed to be quite low last year and Friday was actually very quiet. That was a shame, as there was some incredible on track action, not only from the Indycar folks but the support series as well.
Organizers have listened to the concerns of fans and have been hard at work correcting some of last year’s flaws. The biggest development was yesterday’s announcement that the Ontario Honda Dealers would be providing free admission for race fans on Friday. Not only that, but all of the best seats in the house are open for visitors to scope out the action.
If you’ve never been to the Indy, this is a great opportunity to see what the buzz is about. If you haven’t been in a few years, now is the time to get down to the lake again.
Full details and Honda Indy Toronto press release after the break
Toronto racing fans should be proud today, as home town boy James Hinchcliffe has won his first ever Indy Lites race and doing it in style. Not only did Hinch win at Long Beach, but he won from the pole. In fact, he led every lap! That isn’t to say it came easily, as he had to fight off Californian Charlie Kimball who was pumping hard to please his hometown crowd.
One item that is receiving surprisingly little attention in the motoring press is the problem of the tire supplier for F1 for next year. I am sure the FIA and the F1 teams are more than a little concerned. Bridgestone are adamant that they are pulling out of F1 at the end of the year. So do the teams run down to the local Canadian Tire for Motomaster Specials?
The FIA are obviously working to get at least one supplier and are busily wooing some of the Korean Companies along with others.
However, at the present time, the only Company to really show open interest is Michelin. They admit they are ‘negotiating’ with the FIA. Michelin have no great love for the FIA after they basically got the shaft when the last 5 year exclusive contract was awarded to Bridgestone. That may have been under Mad Max Mosely but I expect that Michelin will be demanding a guarantee ensuring them of being a supplier, if not the sole supplier, for at least 5 years.
Bro in law to The Garage, Scott Simmons received a pretty sweet B-Day gift from my Sis this year. Tickets to the Indy 500! This shot was taken halfway through lap one.
Keep the shots coming dude!
“Could you do me a favor? In our motor home, in the bedroom, go to my closet. All the way in the back of the closet, there’s a blue dress. Maybe you should wear it next time you qualify!”
Find out what Pregnant beotch said that to her hubby following qualifying for last year’s IRL race at Mid-Ohio at Jalopnik.