Scenes from Richmond - Night racing is the best from the pit of Mike Conway (Ctrl-Click photo to launch trackside video). Caption & Image Credit: Jeff Olsen
Richmond Racing At Night, IRL Style - Tweet By Tweet
This race will be the second race in a row that the Transition Player hopeful will be disappointed. Last week saw only five drivers who merged into the IRL from the ChampCar World Series drive the short oval in Iowa, with dismal results - only Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing was running at P11 in the end. The other four drivers, Robert (Bobby D) Doornbos - Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, Mario Moraes - KV Racing Technology, Justin Wilson - Dale Coyne Racing, and EJ Viso - HVM Racing managed to get on the track, but only Rahal's teammate drove enough laps to gain one point in his charge to become Rookie-Of-The-Year in the IndyCar Series for 2009.
The hat The EDJE will be wearing throughout the race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)
Richmond is another short oval, but instead of being in operation for only three years as the track in Iowa ... Richmond has been a racing venue since 1953 and has seen some of the most fierce racing over the years from NASCAR. The IRL comes to this venue to race at night which at the end, will mark the halfway point in the IndyCar Series 2009 championship season.
Scenes from Richmond - If I had a recliner and a cocktail, I'd never leave. Caption & Image Credit: Jeff Olsen
So we begin the day knowing that Dario Franchitti, the winner of the race last week in Iowa, is on the pole here tonight with the first four places on the grid being (sung to the tune of Ol' McDonald - Dixon, Castroneves, and Briscoe) Ganassi, Ganassi, Penske, Penske - E-I E-I Ohhhhhh! He leads a field of only 20 cars, with 25% of the field filled with Transition Players, lining up to qualify in P5 - Rahal, P7 - Viso, P12 - Doornbos, P15 - Wilson, and P19 - Moraes ... kind of a disappointing spread.
The championship points race at this point in the season for the first five positions as follows - Briscoe - 241 / Franchitti - 2 behind leader / Dixon - 15 behind leader / Castroneves (who missed the first race of the season) - 29 behind leader / Patrick - 52 behind leader.
The only Transition Player to make it into the top ten is Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Graham Rahal who is 9th in the points - 96 behind leader. The other TP's in this race and concieveably can gain points are 14, Wilson - 122 behind leader / 15, Doornbos - 122 behind leader / 16, Moraes - 133 behind leader / 19, Viso - 156 behind leader.
Arguably, the best Transition Player not driving in this, or any race in the predictable future, is Will Power, driving for Penske, who had to give up his ride when Castroneves came back to claim "his seat". The Penske organization ... to their credit, provided a ride for three races that included the month of May in Indianapolis and the INDY 500. Power sits at 17 - 142 points behind leader.
Well, that is the set-up for Richmond, the ninth race of the season ... let the tweeting begin!!!
Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing gets a check for winning pole ... at this point in the season, he is only 3 points behind the leader. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2009)
TWEETS & Commentary:
VisionRacingRT @edcarpenter20: just getting ready for the race. it is a great night for a race!
PlanetIrldotcom@indy44 That's where I am usually. No Tv this time
MyNameIsIRL@VisionRacing The new site is very nice. In fact, I just learned I own the same breed of dog as Lauren George. Who knew?
SpeedJournal(Indy)6/27 :: SunTrust Indy Challenge Daily Trackside Report -- June 27- http://tinyurl.com/l8rb4f #autoracing
taglianiHeaded back to Vegas, gonna miss the race coverage, bummer!
The half of the track that is open is pretty packed. 40 min to green. Image Credit: furiouswedge via Twitpic (2009)
FuriousWedgehttp://twitpic.com/8mjh6 - The half of the track that is open is pretty packed. 40 min to green
pressdogbeer, timing and scoring, note pad, Jenkins just said "markers" .... let's light this candle.
indy44Both laptops on,timing and scoring up,indycar race control standby,ready for the green! Please be smart drivers,patience patience patience!!
the500Join our live chat and follow all the action during tonight's IndyCar race with Race Tracker at http://www.indystar.com/rac....
MyNameIsIRLCan I get a filter on my TV that doesn't show Danica signing "man boobs"? Even P1, huge Fanica that she is, said "that was GROSS!"
DRRIndyCarCell phone battery fully charged - will do our best to keep you updated! Driver introductions over for our guys, now with their crews.
MyNameIsIRLOK, I need to ask - Did any of the bloggers on site get one of these massages?
TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL JACKSON: Mario Moraes made a wardrobe adjustment to honor Michael Jackson before the SunTrust Indy Challenge, and tweeted to let his fans know what he was doing.
His twitter posting: "Hey guys ! I have a SILVER right hand glove for the race ! hope have a good luck on this ! RIP Michael !" Maraes, who qualified 19th out of the 20 cars in the field, crashed in late practice Friday night and started in the back in the race.
PlanetIrldotcom@MyNameIsIRL If you could hear it over the sound of multiple tanning beds and the leagues of adoring fans.
VisionRacing"Drivers to your cars." Nice evening in Richmond. Sun is starting to set. Crews getting ready for the L+GSYE command under the lights.
20:36:17 GMT-0400 All drivers are in there cars.
MyNameIsIRLWOW - SunTrust dude did a good job with the "Driver's Start Your Engines!"
20:41:21 GMT-0400 All cars have been fired.
IndyCarPRWelcome to tonight's Tweetcast of the SunTrust Indy Challenge from Richmond International Raceway.
20:41:48 GMT-0400 All cars are away from the grid. Green flag fourth time by.
GREEN, GREEN, GREEN - We're racin' folks! On the shortest track that the IRL faces this season - just may be the shortest track in all of openwheel racing!
kvracingGreen Flag, for 300 laps of racing at Richmond
YELLOW Flag - Jaques Lazier spins by himself in the first lap! Hits wall.
FuriousWedgenot sure what you saw on tv but jacques engine didnt sound right as he passed the line
GREEN, GREEN, GREEN - We're racin' folks - again!
20:50:01 GMT-0400 Lap 8: Back to green flag racing!
TheEDJERahal and Viso - P6 and P7 #irl #ics #indycar
IndyCarPRLap 10: #10 Franchitti leads #9 Dixon by .4835 of a second.
VisionRacingEd working on moving forward. Currently P13. He has @TonyKanaan in his mirrors. A red car is P1. Does it matter which? Okay Dario.
TheEDJEJaques Lazier interviewed - "It just snapped around on me!" #irl #ics #indycar
chunter16Looks like a good crowd but I don't like those empty seats in the back. #irl
MyNameIsIRLWhen's the last time Jaques Lazier got interviewed on camera? I'm thinking 2005.
YELLOW Flag - Briscoe by himself, puts power down and slides after banking.
DRRIndyCarLap 25: Tomas is 10th, Mike is 16th. The whole field is already getting spread out. Or it was - yellow for Briscoe crash.
20:59:26 GMT-0400 Lap 32: Ryan Briscoe appeared to get loose out of Turn 2, hitting the wall at the exit of the turn.
21:00:51 GMT-0400 Lap 34: Last available lap to pit.
RacingNationWell, looks like it could be one of those nights, attrition is adding up. This will mix up the points. #Indycar
luczodragonMutoh and Danica stayed out so we will be 6th at restart
GREEN, GREEN, GREEN
kvracingBack to Green Flag racing, lap 39
21:03:11 GMT-0400 Lap 38: Dario Franchitti takes P2 from Danica.
indy44Marco and Graham introduce their tires to each other - Graham wins this one.
DRRIndyCar23 guys watching their stop. Always looking to improve! http://yfrog.com/0y2jioj
kvracingMoraes has moved to 17th
21:05:53 GMT-0400 Lap 47: Mario Moraes and Justin Wilson are off the pace at the back of the field.
21:08:13 GMT-0400 Lap 56: Dario seems to be waiting to make his move on Hideki Mutoh whose riding along at P1.
IndyCarNationLap 50: #27 Mutoh leads #10 Franchitti by .4112 of a second.
RacingNationHideki Mutoh is no "King Hiro" nice run by highest finishing AGR driver last week in Iowa, 3rd. #Indy car
21:10:56 GMT-0400 Lap 65: Justin Wilson is closing on Ryan Hunter-Reay for P16.
IndyCarPRLap 70: #27 Mutoh leads #10 Franchitti by .4112 of a second.
indy44Lap traffic,this will get interesting
VisionRacing75 laps of 300 complete at Richmond. No.20 Menards car is P12. Leader is Mutoh. He did not pit nor did Danica (P3). Dario is P2.
21:14:38 GMT-0400 Lap 77: Danica and Hideki Mutoh are on different pit strategies than the two Target cars.
luczodragonIf it stays green we will make it to lap 131 before we pit
indy44@MyNameIsIRL Women lining up at Mutoh's rig as we speak
IndyCarNationLap 81: #27 Mutoh leads #10 Franchitti by .3434 of a second
See pitstops for Mutoh and Patrick on Lap 105 or so
FuriousWedgedont know what it looks like on tv but follow the leader is boring as hell in the stands
TheEDJE@FuriousWedge Trust us out here in TV land - aside from the chatter, the images aren't much better #irl #ics #indycar
MyNameIsIRLLap 98: First "Michael Jackson" reference. From Arute, of course.
RacingNationMaybe Moraes should be working on set-ups a bit more than sequined gloves. Jimmy Bryan is whirling underground right now.
VisionRacingTeams (+fans) have big screen in infield that we watch. Watching cars go by on track makes you a little dizzy @ Richmond. 100 laps complete.
21:22:08 GMT-0400 Lap 102: Helio Castroneves is gaining some ground on the lead four.
21:23:08 GMT-0400 Lap 105: Hideki Mutoh gives up the lead to make his next pit stop.
IndyCarNationLap 110: #10 Franchitti leads #7 Patrick by 2.1780 seconds. Lap 111: #7 Patrick pits for four tires, fuel and added one turn of front wing.
21:25:02 GMT-0400 Lap 111: The alternate pit strategy doesn't pay off yet as Danica comes into the pits.
VisionRacingCarpenter is P10. Mutoh and Danica pitted on a different strategies. 115 laps complete. Decided against extra front wing on next 20 car ...
Mutoh is currently pacing 1/2 second quicker on new tires but gives up the lead and a lap!
MyNameIsIRLArute's rolled up his sleeves, just dying to break out the gun show.
21:30:07 GMT-0400 Lap 128: Hideki Mutoh is running some of the fastest laps, but is down in the standings due to pit strategy.
21:30:37 GMT-0400 Lap 130: The lead cars are getting into some heavy lapped traffic.
luczodragonPitting lap 131, smooth stop
PlanetIrldotcomReady to nominate this for best oval race of the year! Can't wait til' Kentucky though.
VisionRacingCrew is setting up in pitbox. Coming in on next lap for green flag stop.
21:33:37 GMT-0400 Lap 138: Yellow for contact out of Turn 4 by Mike Conway. The damage doesn't appear to be heavy.
VisionRacingWe don't BEAT our fueler by the way. Yellow. That messes our strategy. Bugger
DRRIndyCarMike has brushed the wall. We're not really sure what happened there.
Franchitti comes in for a quick splash and out!
21:34:36 GMT-0400 Lap 140: Pits are open.
TheEDJERahal, Dixon, and Franchitti get pitstops under Yellow - they are 7/8ths of a lap ahead of all others at this point. #irl #ics #indycar
IndyCarPRLet's catch up here: Lap 121: #10 Franchitti leads #9 Dixon by 1.1637 seconds. Lap 126: #06 Doornbos and #14 Hunter-Reay on pit road.
VisionRacingAfter the wave around 7 cars will be on lead lap. 11 cars one laps down (including 20 car in P13)
DRRIndyCarThis is not how we want to get airtime on Versus. Jack Arute about to interview Mike.
21:43:46 GMT-0400 Lap 153: One lap until back to green.
21:44:11 GMT-0400 Lap 154: Back to green flag racing!
kvracingGreen Flag, Moraes is now 17th, lap 156/300
21:44:57 GMT-0400 Lap 156: Scott Dixon gets a great restart and already has a lead over 1 second.
chunter16Mutoh and Moraes driving like they care, very nice. #irl
21:47:33 GMT-0400 Lap 165: The Target cars are running some of the fastest laps of the race.
IndyCarPRLap 170: #9 Dixon leads #10 Franchitti by .8191 of a second. Lap 180: #9 Dixon leads #10 Franchitti by .7201 of a second.
TheEDJEDixon, Franchitti, Rahal, Mutoh, Patrick, Castroneves, Matos, Kanaan, Andretti, Weldon are the top 10 positions - LAP 173 #irl #ics #indycar
MyNameIsIRLSo...we're all done passing tonight. Thank you very much, red cars to the front please.
chunter16Castroneves hasn't had much face time tonight
VisionRacingBTW those keeping up with baby count in the Indycar series, (Scott's) Emma Dixon is at her last race. She is due in 3 weeks. All our best!
pressdog@MyNameIsIRL only 115 more laps of lock step!
21:55:21 GMT-0400 Lap 191: Each driver should have to make one more pit stop.
FuriousWedgeWhy is this bad for ICS? I`m watching more than a few fans get up to leave with over 100 to go
21:57:06 GMT-0400 Lap 197: The lead cars are working their way through lapped traffic.
kvracing100 laps to go. Moraes is still 17th, fastest speed 155.336mph achieved on lap 159.
MyNameIsIRLRT: @FuriousWedge: Why is this bad for ICS? I`m watching more than a few fans get up to leave with over 100 to go
VisionRacing40 laps to our next pitstop at Richmond.
“It was a frustrating race, said Ed Carpenter - Vision Racing. You could run a decent pace on your own but this was like no Richmond race I have ever run before. The No. 20 Menards car was really affected by dirty air and loss of grip in traffic. We didn’t have much luck with cautions coming out of the pits either. Finishing in 13th place is nothing to be happy with, but we made it through in one piece when others didn’t. Caption & Image Credit: Vision Racing
Mutoh in the pits the same time Dixon leads about as many laps (73 laps) as he did.
22:00:44 GMT-0400 Lap 208: Dario Franchitti seems content to follow his teammate and wait until the end to make a move.
PlanetIrldotcomI can't wait til' we get to a road course. Never thought I would say that. We need passing and we need it now. #kyspeedwaysucks
kvracingMoraes just pitted, ties, fuel and also front wing taken out. Lap 218/300
22:03:57 GMT-0400 Lap 219: The top two cars will likely have to pit with around 50 laps to go.
TheEDJEDanica Patrick in and out on a Green Flag stop - Good to go to the end! #irl #ics #indycar
IndyCarPRLap 220: #9 Dixon leads #10 Franchitti by .4707 of a second. Lap 224: #7 Patrick pits for four tires and fuel and front wing adjustment.
VisionRacingDo we need to tell you? Leader is a red car. You're going to make me aren't you. Okay. Fine. Only because we like you. Dixon leads Dario.
VisionRacingThere are 4 red cars in top 5. But one is not a regular: Dixon, Dario, @grahamrahal then helio and Kanaan. Ed is P11. 1 lap to pitstop
indy44Yellow for Helio,Ganassi gets race on silver platter!!!
YELLOW Flag Lap 242 - Less than 50 laps to go!
16AndGeorgetownPenske's not having a good day
pressdogglad I didn't pay money to see this
kart58Another gift to Ganassi, tied up with a big red bow. Booooooo. #IndyCar
22:15:55 GMT-0400 Lap 252: The Target cars have the advantage as the yellow came out right before they had to pit.
MyNameIsIRLI'd say the Penske cars conspired to give this race to the Ganassi cars, but that would be ludicrous.
TheEDJE@MyNameIsIRL - No! It is a gift for having won the INDY 500 Ganassi thought he would win #irl #ics #indycar
22:19:22 GMT-0400 Lap 257: The entire field except Dixon, Franchitti, Rahal, Kanaan and Andretti are waved around.
GREEN, GREEN, GREEN Restart
luczodragonBlew by Wilson, now time to get after it with 40 laps, chasing Marco and Tony
indy44Dixon 162 Dario 160 BUBBYE!!!!!!!
22:21:40 GMT-0400 Lap 262: There are many cars between P3 - Rahal and P4 - Mutoh.
VisionRacingEd is stuck in dirty air (traffic) and uses some choice words. His choice of words is not as clean as the air he is stuck in.
22:22:29 GMT-0400 Lap 265: The two Target cars are easily pulling away from the field.
FuriousWedgeStands are gonna be less than half of what we started with by the finish at least traffic wont be an issue
22:27:38 GMT-0400 Lap 283: Scott Dixon is getting into some lapped traffic with Dario looking to take advantage.
22:30:19 GMT-0400 Lap 291: No one has been able to work the highline very well tonight.
luczodragon8 laps left, could be another top 10 finish for Rafa and the team
CrashGladysI can't blame Dixon for being frustrated... this is just plain boring racing!! I just don't want him to leave next yr...
chunter16Did I hear "push to pass?" I don't like it, personally, but if it keeps people interested it's okay.
22:32:18 GMT-0400 Lap 299: White flag. Scott Dixon leads Dario Franchitti by .2422 seconds.
pressdogMercifully, it's over. White flag is a symbol of truce in this case. Emma has gotten more air in this race than anyone. Floyd is all over it
22:32:33 GMT-0400 Scott Dixon wins the SunTrust Indy Challenge! - This ties Dixon with Sam Hornish for ALL TIME WINS in the ICS!
luczodragonChecker flag, Rafa finishes 8th
chunter16Congratulations to Viso for breaking the streak - he finishes his first race of the season!
VisionRacingCheckered flag + congrats go to Dixon. Maybe we should consider painting our car red for a race. At the very least we might get some breaks.
kvracingMoraes finishes 16th at Richmond.
RacingNationMercy, Mercy, thankfully its over. Dixon over Franchitti, Rahal trails in 3rd. Mutoh and Danica round out the top-5. #Indycar
MyNameIsIRLAt least Viso finished. Congrats @HVMRacing!
indy44Thank God Dario didn't win,if I had to listen to his wife again my head would immediately burst
kart58Zzzzzzz. Wake me up when they get to Watkins Glen. G'night.
pressdog300 laps of Fail
FuriousWedgeafter race fireworks most exciting thing tonight at the track.
PlanetIrldotcomBREAKING NEWS! Danica is itching for a win.... #viewingenhanced
MyNameIsIRLDario says "I really apologize to fans because that was a dreadful race tonight."
alex_lloydA day of lots of pics with the rented lense. Very nice.. Will try to tweet a pic tomorrow. Just watched race.. Boring but still a cool track
On Versus right now - EJ Viso places 12th in fist finish of the season. Image Credit: hvmracing (2009)
HVMracing12th! 'Nuff Said! (EJ Viso)
SpeedJournal(Indy)6/27 :: Dixon wins- http://tinyurl.com/nk9vfk #autoracing
Road courses are next with Watkins Glen's 3.4 mile classic driving challenge! Can ... Not ... Wait!
How the field of 20 fared - (** denotes Transition Player)
Pos Driver Team Gap
1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 300 laps
2. Dario Franchitti Ganassi + 0.3109s
3. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan + 2.4085s**
4. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green +13.5302s
5. Danica Patrick Andretti Green +14.1111s
6. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green + 1 lap
7. Marco Andretti Andretti Green + 1 lap
8. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon + 1 lap
9. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan + 1 lap**
10. Dan Wheldon Panther + 1 lap
11. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold + 1 lap
12. EJ Viso HVM + 1 lap**
13. Ed Carpenter Vision + 1 lap
14. Justin Wilson Coyne + 2 laps**
15. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt + 2 laps
16. Mario Moraes KV + 3 laps**
Helio Castroneves Penske 245 laps
Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 135 laps
Ryan Briscoe Penske 26 laps
Jaques Lazier 3G 0 laps
Unlike the race last week on the short track in Iowa, NO Transition Players retired.
All former ChampCar drivers finished the race in rolling fashion ... even EJ Viso!
... notes from The EDJE