Friday, September 30, 2011
Al Unser Jr.'s Demons Bite Him ... AGAIN!
What is it with guys named Al (son of a famous Al) and speeding at triple-digits? Last night, Al Unser Jr. was pulled over driving as fast as Al Gore, III, who a few years ago was caught pacing his car at over 100 miles per hour (the irony in Al Gore III's case is that he was driving a Toyota Prius). The problem other than speeding in both of these cases was that the driver was operating the vehicle at over 100 mph under the influence of a mind-altering substance ... in Al Unser Jr.'s case, he was drunk ... AGAIN.
A couple of years back , Al Unser Jr. was participating in what any racing fan would agree was one of Al's best post career weekend's ever. The scene was the 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach week which started off on Thursday late morning with Al Unser Jr. being honored with a brass medallion with his name and accomplishments (a six-time winner at "The Beach") being placed in the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame (along with Bobby Rahal) in the West side sidewalk of the Long Beach Convention Center on Pine Avenue.
The section of the Wyland Mural on the side of the Long Beach Convention Center that was to be re-dedicated after its restoration earlier in the month of April. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)
On Friday, he was given the honor of re-christening the Wyland whale mural on the side of the Long Beach Convention Center which had been re-conditioned by the original artist, Robert Wyland. Al christened the mural the first time it was commissioned and opened to the public.
A usually accessible Al Unser, Jr., signs a tee-shirt for a fan as he walks from the pits to an appearance at a sponsor event at the track. Image Credit Edmund Jenks (2009)
On Saturday, Al Unser Jr. participated in the famed Toyota Pro/Celebrity race which raises funds for charity and is a weekend crowd favorite at the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend. This being the best weekend ever, Al Unser Jr. came through by crossing the finish-line first ahead of all other drivers in-spite of having to start in the delayed start of the Pro grouping ... but last behind all of the specially prepared-matched Toyota cars.
Al Unser, Jr. sits at the driver's seat in the ceremonial Toyota convertable pace car as IRL Dallaras line up behind him in order to begin the warm-up laps before the 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)
This best week ever for an acclaimed driver and Indy 500 winner as Al Unser Jr. would not have been complete unless, of course, on Sunday he was the Grand Marshal of the 35th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach. He was able to lead all of the Dallaras off of the grid and around the track to the cheers of the 100,000 plus Californians gathered to start the spring off in a fine fashion with a premiere open wheel race event that is unequaled.
Due to Al Unser's problem, he is almost like the decorated war hero who's money is no good in any bar or social gathering. Life for Al Unser Jr. is really just one big party ... until the party begins to damage relationships (divorce, days in jail, a smashing of an earned good reputation when sober, and etc.) and place other people's lives in danger.
I feel for, and relate to, the problem Al Unser Jr. has and know what it takes to eclipse them. I have to agree with Michele Rahal in his videolog posted here. This behavior is a much larger problem for IndyCar Race Control (Al is a member of the crew managed by Brian Barnhart who has had his own documented problems in on-track decision-making this year) as it relates to the public image of the IZOD IndyCar Series and it is time for the whole crew to take a time-out ... go to rehab, and come back to the world, clean, sober, and ready to face the challenges of this life with a clear head.
It is time to clean house and enter the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season with a completely new staff and a fresh focus to compliment the new shape and approach to open wheel racing in North America ... this opinion, from a person who is still sober after 19.5 years of facing life ... one day at a time!
... notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as - Al Unser Jr.'s Demons Bite Him ... AGAIN! - at Technorati]
Thursday, September 29, 2011
A Virtual Lap At The 1.5 Mile Kentucky Speedway Tri-Oval
Check out what it's like to be leading the field while driving an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Kentucky Speedway. Find out what the challenges are as one drives this unique, banked tri-oval and what one has to do to keep the competition behind them.
Power has recaptured the season points lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series (ICS) championship with only two races left with an 11 point margin over the second-place, and potential repeat ICS champion, Dario Franchitti, who drives for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.
The Verizon Penske Racing driver is confident he may maintain this lead because he's had another year of experience navigating oval speedways, which included his first oval win at Texas Motor Speedway in June. The 30 year old Power has six wins overall this season.
The series' last two races are Sunday at Kentucky Speedway and Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, both 1.5-mile oval tracks.
"I really didn't have the experience" on ovals a year ago, Power revealed in a telephone interview with the LA Times, "I'm just going to focus on the job and the things I can control."
And if the championship slips away again? "All we can say is that we did everything we could do to win it, that's all we can do," concludes Will Power.
Tune in Sunday, October 2, 2011 to see the IZOD IndyCar Series Kentucky Indy 300 - 200 Laps - Broadcast TV, Versus Live @ 2:45 ET.
(ht: LA Times / Immersion Media for the video. http://www.imsports.com)
... notes from The EDJE
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Road Atlanta ALMS Race Hosts A Field Of LMP1 Champions
This weekend's motorsports action features the running of the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda contested at Road Atlanta. Le Mans Series prototype cars from all over the world are lined up to take their shots on the 2011 European and American Le Mans Series Manufacturers' Championship cars in a 10 hour endurance race that ends the American Le Mans Series 2011 season.
Even though the seasons are not over for both the European and American 2011 series of Le Mans specification cars, the Lola-Toyota of Switzerland's REBELLION Racing and the Lola-Mazda of America's Dyson Racing have locked up the respective Manufacturers' Championship in races held two weeks ago. A field of 13 cars that include these two manufactures championship cars feature the 24 hours of Le Mans winning team of Audi Sport Team and its chief competitor Peugeot Sport ... both are powered by the impressive TDI diesel fuel propelled technology engines.
This excerpted and edited from ALMS -
DUMAS' FLYER MAKES AUDI FASTEST IN MONDAY TESTING
Preview of an epic battle for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta
Audi Sport’s Romain Dumas waited until the second-to-last lap Monday to set the fastest time in the second day of testing for the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda – a 1:08.394 (133.696 mph) lap at Road Atlanta. The Frenchman set the time in the diesel-powered Audi R18 TDI that he will share in Saturday’s 1,000-mile/10-hour race with Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fassler.
Dumas’ time ended what had been a day of dominance for Peugeot Sport Total, which sat 1-2 for most the afternoon. The No. 7 entry of Sebastien Bourdais, Anthony Davidson and Simon Pagenaud ended Monday second at 1:08.569 (133.355 mph). The second Peugeot of Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz sat third at 1:09.311 (131.927 mph).
Petit Le Mans, the final round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, marks the resumption of a Road Atlanta battle between the two diesel powers that dates back to 2008. Peugeot won the last two years, and both factory teams are back with first-year prototype coupes. The Audi bested Peugeot in June at the 24 Hours of the Le Mans and the French manufacturer is looking for retribution this weekend. The 908 was fastest at Road Atlanta on Sunday with a 1:08.291 (133.898 mph).
If this were not enough for just one of four classes of racing in 10 hours, the LMP1 Class Aston Martin powered entries from Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing and ALMS Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca winner of two weeks ago MEX Aston Martin Racing Gulf are ready to pounce.
The diesel-powered Audi R18 TDI driven by the team of Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fassler. Image Credit: ALMS (2011)
LMP1 Class Entry List
CAR NO. - DRIVER(s) / HOMETOWN - TEAM NAME - SPONSOR - CAR TYPE - ENGINE - TIRE - FUEL
1 Timo Bernhard / DEU Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 TDI Michelin Diesel
Marcel Fässler / CHE
2 Tom Kristensen / DNK Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 TDI Michelin Diesel
Allan McNish / SCO
6 Lucas Luhr / Koblenz, Germany Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing Muscle Milk/ Biedermann Technologies AMR/Lola Coupe B08 62 Aston Martin Michelin E-85
Klaus Graf / Dornhan, Germany
7 Anthony Davidson / GBR Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 Peugeot Michelin Diesel
Sèbastien Bourdais / FRA
Simon Pagenaud/ FRA
8 Franck Montagny / FRA Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 Peugeot Michelin Diesel
Stéphane Sarrazin / FRA
Alexander Wurz / AUT
10 Nicolas Lapierre / FRA Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP Peugeot Michelin Diesel
Nicolas Minassian / FRA
Marc Gené / ESP
12 Nicolas Prost / FRA Rebellion Racing Lola B10/60 Coupé Toyota Michelin E-10
Neel Jani / CHE
Andrea Belicchi / ITA
15 Matthieu Lahaye / FRA Oak Racing Oak Pescarolo Judd Dunlop E-10
Guillaume Moreau / FRA
Pierre Ragues / FRA
16 Chris Dyson / Pleasant Valley, NY Dyson Racing Team Inc. Mazda/ G-Oil/ ModSpace/ Lola B09/86 Mazda Dunlop Isobutanol
Guy Smith / Beverley, UK Construct Corps/ Dunlop/ Thetford
Jay Cochran / Palm Beach, FL
20 Humaid Al Masaood / Abu Dhabi, UAE Oryx Dyson Racing Mazda/ Dunlop Lola B09/86 Mazda Dunlop Isobutanol
Steven Kane / Newtownards, Ireland
Butch Leitzinger / Reberburg, PA
24 Jacques Nicolet / FRA Oak Racing Oak Pescarolo Judd Dunlop E-10
Jean-François Yvon / FRA
007 Adrian Fernandez / MEX Aston Martin Racing Gulf/ Hackett/ Lowes/ Michelin AMR/ Lola Coupe B09 60 Aston Martin Michelin E-10
Stefan Mücke / DEU
Harold Primat / CHE
012 Tony Burgess / Toronto, ON Autocon Namesilo/ TDM/ Redline/ Cyclo Lola B06/10 AER Dunlop Isobutanol
Chris McMurry / Phoenix, AZ
Bryan Wilman / Seattle, WA
For those who focus on driving talent who have Open Wheel experience through the now IndyCar asorbed ChampCar World Series, one will recognize the names of Sebastien Bourdais (four-time CCWS Champion), Simon Pagenaud, and Franck Montagny driving for Peugeot, Neel Jani of the European Manufacturers' Champion REBELLION Racing Lola-Toyota, and Adrian Fernandez driving the MEX Aston Martin Racing Gulf.
The #7 and #8 Peugeot 908 LMP1 racing Lolas at Road Atlanta as they get ready to compete in the 10 hours of the Petit Le Mans. Image Credit: ALMS (2011)
Quotes from LMP1 competitors on the reaction to the track and the upcoming race:
Adrian Fernandez, Aston Martin Racing
Lola B09/60-Aston Martin (LMP1)
“It’s been a tough year but the win in Monterey was really good. We didn’t get the car until a month ago. There were some new rules for this year and we had to make some changes. We made more after the first session at Laguna and it really improved the car.”
Alexandre Premat, Oak Racing
Oak Pescarolo-Judd (LMP1)
“This is my first day here so everything is new to me. I like this track a lot; it reminds me a lot of the Nurburgring with lots of ups and down. I have heard a lot about the track and racing in America so I’m really excited to see it. For sure there are already a lot of teams here testing but it is the same for everyone. I can imagine as the race gets closer the track and the traffic will be amazing.”
Romain Dumas, Audi Sport Team Joest
Audi R18 TDI (LMP1)
“The car was quite quick this morning. The Peugeot did a (1:09.5 in the morning) and I did a 9.5. So it is already very, very close. We did much testing over the winter in preparation for Le Mans so I got to drive the car many times. But it is nice to be back in the Audi R18. Already there is a lot of traffic. It will get much worse later in the week. I do think that this will be most difficult race of my career.”
Stephane Sarrazin, Peugeot Sport Total
Peugeot 908 (LMP1)
“At first we had a problem finding the best setup on the car for the race. But in the afternoon I was very happy with the progress and balance. It felt really good. Yes the car is new but the track and the job are still the same. My last three years here have been very good with a runner-up in 2008 and wins in 2009 and 2010. Physically the race should not be too difficult because it is a shorter track. But you have to be extremely careful with traffic as it could quickly end your race.”
The 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is set for a 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1 from Road Atlanta. The race will air on ABC at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 2. Live coverage will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3 or outside the U.S. on americanlemans.com.
... notes from The EDJE
(First published as Road Atlanta ALMS Race Hosts A Field Of LMP1 Champions at Technorati)
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Lola-Mazda Wins America's Le Mans Series Manufacturers’, Team, And Drivers' Championship
In the 2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season, Lola-Mazda locked up all three LMP1 championships – manufacturers, team, and drivers. By finishing with a second-place podium finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) during last weekend's ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron, the late season two car Dyson Racing team were able to lock up the triple crown of points races across the board.
Chris Dyson and Guy Smith took home the season’s top honors in their Mazda-powered #16 G-OIL ModSpace/Construct Corps Lola. In addition, Mazda won the Engine Manufacturer title and Dunlop took home the Tire Championship with one race to go in the ALMS season. “I have been doing this a long time and have won a number of championships in the past three decades,” said Rob Dyson, “But these today are very, very special.”
The Dyson Racing #16 G-OIL ModSpace/Construct Corps Lola-Mazda as it charges up the Rahal Straight between turns #6 and #7. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)
The #20 Oryx Dyson Racing entry with Humaid Al Masood, Steven Kane and Butch Leitzinger came in third, leading 35 laps in the course of the event. Between the two entries, Dyson Racing led over 70% of the six-hour MRLS event.
The two Dyson Racing LMP1 Lolas are powered by a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder Mazda MZR-R engine against the runner-up Aston Martin with their V12 prototype.
The #20 Oryx Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda chases down the #007 Aston Martin Racing works-Lola entry, along the short chute between turns #3 and #4, late in the race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)
Al Masaaod had a competitive stint in the #20 car battling the #007 Aston Martin. “The tires came in well and I had a good pace and felt very good about my time in the car. For me, it was a good benchmark to be mixing it up with experienced drivers in good cars.” Leitzinger shared the same satisfaction with his run: “It was great fun, especially in the beginning when there were four of us in a very tight pack racing very hard. It is satisfying as a driver when you have a car that handles this well and everyone is racing fairly and competitively.”
“This is a day to be savored,” said Chris Dyson. “I am really thrilled with the team. It is a great accomplishment to have the team back on top. We have had the equipment everywhere this year with our Lola Mazda and our Dunlop tires and the AER engines have been strong all year. It has really been a culmination of a three-year program with Mazda. They have shown unwavering support through it all. We could not be happier to reward them with a championship today.” “Our guys back in the shop and the guys on the road have shown incredible application this year. And Lola has been pushing the edge on the development – we have not sat still once this year. I won my first championship in 2003 but think I was too young to enjoy it and thought things were going to come easily but have had the last eight years to learn the lesson that this is not something that comes around without a lot of hard work from a lot of people. I am so happy for Guy. He has been my partner through all this and he is like my brother. When you get down to it, it really is a family affair and our team is as much a family as it is a team.”
The Dyson Racing #16 G-OIL ModSpace/Construct Corps Lola-Mazda on "The Corkscrew" ... 'nuff said. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)
Guy Smith commented, “I would just like to say a big thank you to the Dyson Racing Team and to Rob and to Chris, my co driver since 2005. We have worked very hard and had a lot of highs and lows through our time driving together. This year has been phenomenal and Greg Pickett’s Muscle Milk team has been great competition. We have enjoyed every battle with them. They are true sportsmen. The Mazda engine has been reliable and strong all year and the Dunlop tires – some would say it was a gamble two years ago to go with them, but they have proven this year to be the tire of choice. G-OIL came on board this year and we are pleased to give them their first championship along with ModSpace and Construct Corps. We are very happy for everyone who has made this happen. This is truly a team championship.”
During the course of the 2011 season to date, the Dyson team has racked up two overall wins including a one-two finish at the Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix where they also won the Green X Challenge. The points gained in their two-three finish here at MRLS put them in the multi-championship position they share today. The ALMS season will conclude with the ten-hour Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on October 1st.
(ht: MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Dyson Racing)
... notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as Lola-Mazda Wins America's Le Mans Series Manufacturers', Team, and Drivers' Championship on Technorati]
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Willpower Of Will Power Vaults Driver To Championship Lead At Motegi
It was just a few short races ago when all looked as if the IZOD IndyCar Series championship was coming down to a one-man race to re-crown Dario Franchitti as its best driver for a fourth time ... third time in a row.
Penske Racing's Will Power lost the title on the last race of the season last year after leading the points race most of the year ... but was unable to maintain the lead when ever he had to race on an oval track.
Nearly out of reach of a surging series points leader Dario Franchitti a little over a month ago, Power not only has erased a 62-point deficit in only four races (New Hampshire - oval, Sonoma - road, Baltimore - street, and Motegi - road/normally oval), he used his focus and will power to vault to the top spot by 11 points with two oval races to go (Kentucky and the season closer at Las Vegas).
Say what one will, but the season for Will Power comes down to one thing, has he learned to win on an oval enough to out pace his chief nemesis, Dario Franchitti?
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon as he leads Will Power through the track overpass section on the road course at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series
This excerpted and edited from Sports Illustrated -
Not so fast: Dixon makes it 3-way race for title
Just when it looked like Dario Franchitti and Will Power would run away from the field in the race for the IndyCar championship, Scott Dixon got back in the mix with a win at the Indy Japan 300.
Dixon's victory in the last IndyCar event to be held in Japan moved the Target Chip Ganassi driver to within 59 points of Power with two races to go.
Power and Franchitti (48 points ahead) still have a large advantage, but Dixon, who won the championship in 2003 and 2008, isn't about to concede anything just yet.
"Dario and Will have both had strong seasons, but we have been creeping up and staying within striking distance,'' Dixon said. "I think sometimes that gets overlooked. We want this to be a three-horse race for sure.''
It wouldn't be the first time a driver came from third place to win the championship with two races to go. Sam Hornish Jr. was third with two races left in 2002 and went on to win the championship, winning the last two events.
Dixon is hoping for a similar scenario this year.
"Hopefully everyone will continue to focus on those other two and we can sneak in under the radar and get to the front in these final two races,'' Dixon said. "The Target cars have been strong on ovals this season and we're looking forward to finishing 2011 on a high note."
While Dixon's win in Japan kept his title hopes alive, it was who finished second and eighth at Motegi that threw the championship race wide open.
Franchitti went into the race with a slim five-point lead over Power. But a poor qualifying effort put the No. 10 Ganassi Racing Dallara on the fifth row. The Scotsman's chances of holding onto the points lead took a major hit when he made contact with the right-rear of Ryan Briscoe's Team Penske car entering Turn 1 on the 26th lap.
Race officials levied an avoidable contact penalty on the reigning series champion, sending him to the rear of the field before he worked his way back to finish eighth.
"It was a stupid move on my part," said Franchitti. "I did a lot of hard work to get from ninth to fifth, and I'd been saving fuel the whole first stint. I thought there was a gap and Ryan was going wide on the entry and that was that."
Power, who started from the front row, couldn't catch Dixon but was able to do the next best thing by finishing ahead of Franchitti.
"I just need to keep finishing in front of (Franchitti) the rest of the way and we'll be fine," Power said. "We'll keep chipping away like we have been."
The last two races of the season are on 1.5-mile ovals. Franchitti has two wins on ovals this season compared to one for Power. But the Australian driver, who is bidding for his first championship, is confident about his chances at the last two tracks.
"Ovals, that's what I enjoy the most racing, mile-and-a-half racing, Chicagoland last year, Texas this year," Power said. "Even Kentucky last year we were really strong, just didn't end up with the result. We're pretty focused on that this year."
Franchitti held a 47-point advantage before Power won the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 28, and the gap narrowed further at the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 4, where Power captured the pole and led for 70 of 75 laps in a runaway victory.
Whatever happens at Kentucky Speedway on Oct. 2, Dixon figures the championship will come down to the last race in Las Vegas on Oct. 16.
"The championship, I think going back to every year since 2006, has been decided in the last race so I don't think it's fair to count anyone out until the last lap of the season," Dixon said.
Ok, fine ... for fan interest, we'll just say it's a three-man race - RIGHT! It becomes a three-man race when Franchitti and Power take each other out ... of BOTH races.
Just as it was in 2010 for the Verizon Penske Racing driver, does Will Power have the willpower to stick it to Dario Franchitti and finish ahead in the points on oval tracks? The ChampCar World Series faithful believe this is the year he can.
Motegi By The Numbers - highlights:
6 – Finishing position for Sebastien Bourdais, who finished sixth for the fourth time in the past six races.
7 – Consecutive races led by Will Power, who led the only one lap not led by Scott Dixon at Motegi.
12 - Positions gained by JR Hildebrand, Danica Patrick and Simona De Silversto, who finished seventh, 11th and 14, respectively, most of any driver in the field.
14 – Points separating Sunoco Rookie of the Year point leader JR Hildebrand (284) and James Hinchcliffe (270) with two races remaining.
49 -- Consecutive races running at the finish for Danica Patrick, extending her series record.
147 -- Consecutive starts for Tony Kanaan.
1,903 – Laps completed (of 1,911) by fifth-place finisher Oriol Servia, most of any driver this season.
Uncountable -- Autograph requests of Takuma Sato over the race weekend.
... notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as The Willpower Of Will Power Vaults Driver To Championship Lead At Motegi on Technorati]
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Lola-Toyota Wins Europe's Le Mans Series Manufacturers' Championship
With a back to back win at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on 11th September, following their victory at Imola in July, REBELLION Racing have scored enough points to secure victory in the Le Mans Series Manufacturers’ Championship for Lola-Toyota with one race still to go.
This first Manufacturer win for Lola-Toyota has been achieved less than 12 months since the team’s Lola-Toyota test car completed its first evaluation tests in Spain and Portugal.
The team’s Lola-Toyota LMP1 cars have secured two wins, at Imola and Silverstone, and five podium finishes in just eight Le Mans Series starts this season.
At the Le Mans 24 Hours this year one of the team’s Lola-Toyotas won the unofficial LMP1 petrol classification, with sixth place overall.
The team will be in action again this week at Estoril in Portugal for the finale of the Le Mans Series, with the target of winning both the Teams’ and Drivers’ championships.What is best for ALMS fans here in America ... REBELLION Racing will have this championship car competing at the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 11:30 a.m. ET. This race is held near Atlanta, Georgia.
Image Credit: lemans.org
Alexandre Pesci, REBELLION Racing Team Principal:
"I am very pleased for all the Rebellion Racing members and fans to achieve such an incredible result. Winning the Manufacturers' Championship in the first year of our relationship with TMG, and also for the last year of LMP1 cars in the Le Mans Series, is a great reward for all parties involved. I am extremely happy for what Bart and the whole team have achieved this year thanks to their dedication, professionalism and efforts. I am sure that Hugh would be proud of them. I would like also to thank the drivers; Nico, Neel, Jean-Christophe and Andrea for the wonderful job they have done this year in the LMS. Now we have to stay focused on the last leg of the LMS where Teams’ and Drivers’ titles are still to be settled and battling against the immense Pescarolo team is no small job".
Bart Hayden, REBELLION Racing Team Manager:
"We are delighted that we have won the LMS Manufacturers’ Championship for Lola-Toyota in the first year of our collaboration. This achievement is the best way to establish a strong and long term relationship. I would like to include Michelin in the Manufacturers’ Championship win, they have provided us a first class service all year with quick, consistent and durable tyres."
Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman and Owner of Lola Group:
"The Le Mans Series LMP1 Manufacturers title is just reward for the skill and dedication of every Lola, TMG and REBELLION engineer and team member. It is especially rewarding to work with professional customer teams such as REBELLION Racing and engine suppliers such as TMG, who like Lola have a meticulous approach to the LMP1 programme."
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, President of Toyota Motorsport GmbH:
“Congratulations to the REBELLION Racing team on this great achievement. We are proud to share the Le Mans Series Manufacturers’ Championship title with Lola. From the beginning, our cooperation with REBELLION and Lola has been very fruitful and a great experience for everyone involved. Now we will keep our fingers crossed for the last race in Estoril where hopefully REBELLION can finish the season by securing both the Teams’ and Drivers’ Championship titles.”
(ht: Toyota Motorsport GmbH)
... notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as Lola-Toyota Wins Europe's Le Mans Series Manufacturers' Championship on Technorati]
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Team Falken Tire Turns Heads And Wheels At The Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix
Yes, just as it was in Mid-Ohio, at least three other teams with six driver pairings were supposed to lock the Derrick Walker managed Team Falken Tire out of any podium finish in the seventh round sold out ALMS GT Class race through the streets of Baltimore. The drivers Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler captured their second and most impressive victory in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR this weekend at the 2011 Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.
The team's first order of business was to move up from its P5 qualifying position, while remaining clear of being involved in any collection of machinery, that has a tendency of happening on a tight and bumpy closed street course. Sure enough, just after the Green Flag dropped to start the race, driver Wolf Henzler, who started the first stint, managed to wiggle through carnage in Turn-1 of the narrow 2.04-mile circuit, picking up two positions before the first lap was over.
Team Falken Tire's Wolf Henzler maintains the inside passage at race start (left-inside) to gain two positions on the opening lap of the Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron
Henzler showed a strong pace and his equipment proved to handle well on the rough temporary course near Camden Yards baseball stadium in downtown Baltimore. After putting the pressure on the leaders for many laps, the German driver then pulled a daring outside pass toward the lead around Turn-1 and got the position ... now P3.
At the mandatory pit stop for a tire change, fuel, and a driver change on Lap 35, the Team Falken Tire pit crew, lead by crew chief Nico Castellaccio, performed the quickest pit stop of the whole GT field and sent team-mate Brian Sellers out with one hour to go in the timed race.
A few laps transpired and the action on the track was placed under a Full Course caution to fix a loose manhole cover ... after the restart, Sellers took advantage of contact between the final two top running GT Class cars (the #55 BMW and #3 Corvette). The Turn 1 incident and penalty issued to Tommy Milner driving the #3 Corvette created enough separation where the Walker Racing managed driver led the remainder of the race and took the checkered flag for the second time this year.
Team Falken Tire's Brian Sellers leads the GT Class during the Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron
The team’s first victory came at Mid-Ohio earlier this year where the Walker Racing led Team Falken Tire drivers took advantage of their superior Falken rain tires to survive monsoon conditions at the picturesque road course. This win thrust Derrick Walker back into the limelight where he had been before in his previous life as a ChampCar World Series team owner. On 7 April 2007, Walker won his first race as a team owner since 1999 with the then Team Australia's Will Power (the IndyCar winner of the 2011 Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix) won the CCWS's inaugural (and only) Las Vegas GP.
Funny how the cream always rises to the top in these inaugural races ... even when the cream becomes separated.
Derrick Walker's Team Falken Tire takes the trophy in the GT Class (photo left) at the podium ceremony at the Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron
Results - 71 laps (Class Leaders In BOLD):
Pos - Class - Drivers - Team/Car - Time/Gap
1. P1 Al Masaood/Kane Dyson Lola-Mazda 2h01m03.170s
2. P1 Dyson/Smith Dyson Lola-Mazda + 6.961s
3. PC Marcelli/Drissi Intersport FLM + 25.760s
4. PC Lux/Julian Genoa FLM + 58.462s
5. PC Bennett/Montecalvo CORE Autosport FLM + 1m00.861s
6. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 1m16.935s
7. PC Jeannette/Gonzalez CORE Autosport FLM + 1m19.921s
8. GT Muller/Hand BMW + 1 lap
9. GT Gavin/Magnussen Corvette + 1 lap
10. PC Nicolosi/Boon Performance Tech FLM + 1 lap
11. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche + 1 lap
12. GT Auberlen/Werner BMW + 1 lap
13. GT Melo/Vilander Risi Ferrari + 1 lap
14. GT Beretta/Milner Corvette + 1 lap
15. P1 Burgess/McMurry Autocon Lola-AER + 3 laps
16. GT Neiman/Law Flying Lizard Porsche + 3 laps
17. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari + 3 laps
18. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari + 3 laps
19. GTC Pappas/Bleekemolen Black Swan Porsche + 4 laps
20. GTC Sweedler/Keen Alex Job Porsche + 4 laps
21. GTC Potter/Stanton Magnus Porsche + 4 laps
22. GTC LeSaffre/Davis Green Hornet Porsche + 4 laps
23. GTC von Moltke/Bunting TRG Porsche + 4 laps
24. GTC Ende/Pumpelly TRG Porsche + 4 laps
25. P1 Dumas/Graf Muscle Milk Lola-Aston + 7 laps
26. GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche + 15 laps
PC Ducote/Ducote Intersport FLM 52 laps
PC Dobson/Lewis PR1 Mathiasen FLM 14 laps
GT Jones/Moran RSR Jaguar 1 lap
GT Junqueira/Wilden RSR Jaguar 0 laps
(ht: chart - autosport.com)
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron will now head west to Monterey, California for the ModSpace American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patron. The six-hour race will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 17th, and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com at 3:15 PM ET, and tape delayed on ESPN2 on September 18th at 1PM ET.
... notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as Team Falken Tire Turns Heads And Wheels At The Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on Technorati]
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Inagural IZOD IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix - Tweet-By-Tweet
A first-time new event on the IndyCar schedule deserves a report that, in itself, is a New Media approach to describe the Inagural IZOD IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix - Race 15 of 18 for the 2011 season.
Welcome to an internet based exercise that this author/editor calls Tweet-By-Tweet. It is a form of New Media reporting on an event from the perspective of mostly well informed and rabid followers of a particular discipline that happen to be communicating LIVE at the same time, sharing their reactions to the happenings of an important event.
The following "Tweets" (entries from Twitter social media portal) come from those who have an account on Twitter and become followed by people of similar interests plus specific #hashtag searches. Contributors who "Tweet" (create an entry made on Twitter) come from many backgrounds such as racing team communications personnel, writers, drivers from other series, bloggers, and just plain fans.
This excerpted and edited from Twitter with entries added from IndyCar Race Control and the author -
pressdog Bill Zahren - Let's light this candle ... and all tighten our helmet chin straps ...
IndyCarInsider IndyCar Insider - How many laps r they gonna run before they start the race?
Commentary: Lap 1: #28 - Ryan Hunter-Reay improved to 5th from 6th.
Safety Crew almost caught in the race start.
SBPopOffValve Mr. Pop Off Valve - TWO PASSES IN TWO CORNERS. That's more than Sonoma had ALL RACE.
toomuchracing Pat W - Power takes it back
Commentary: Lap 2: #82 - Tony Kanaan improved to 26th from 27th.
AllenWedge Allen Wedge - Using the chicane looked stupid, but they likely did that on purpose to avoid turn 1 carnage
pressdog Bill Zahren - Iron savored ... Conway getting MASSIVE air in the B Dub's car that I am watching in B Dubs because I asked them to show it.
pressdog Bill Zahren - Might take a while before drivers are confident enough to drive like idiots.
LAP 8 of 75 – top 10 settle in as Power, Rahal, Franchitti, Briscoe, Bourdais, RHR, Conway, Viso, Dixon, and de Silvestro
pressdog Bill Zahren - Graham did not DEFEND when Power tried to retake the lead. Are we angry about that? No we (I) am not.
AllenWedge Allen Wedge - Drivers starting to find rhythm, T&S says half the field keep putting up their fastest lap of the race almost every lap
Sebastian Bourdais has a problem and comes into the pits
toomuchracing Pat W - Bourdais in the pits with a problem, he's stuck in 3rd gear
supermotoD50 Dennis Anderson - Watchin' Indy Car...... One question ....... WHY does Open Wheel ANYTHING insist on running on street circuits??
First round of pit stops for tire changes – back markers looking to change things up by going out of fuel window sequence. Sheckter, Andretti, Patrick, Servia, & Castroneves pit to name a few.
toomuchracing Pat W - Kanaan passes Patrick, right in the place his brakes failed this morning, brave
kvracing KV Racing Technology - After 20 laps, Viso is running P6, Sato P14 and Kanaan P24
AllenWedge Allen Wedge - Sato has already close 2 seconds of gap off of Hildebrand, telling you, Sato is moving big time (hopefully he can control it)
LAP 21 Will Power and Graham Rahal come in to the pits leaving Dario in the lead.
Power out in P3 behind Briscoe and RHR.
HVMracing HVM Racing - This butterfly [photo above] just landed on crew guy Miguel's shoulder! Is that good luck?! ow.ly/i/gMcq
LAP 25 of 75 Top 10 – Power, Rahal, Franchitti, RHR, Briscoe, Viso, de Silvestro, Dixon, Meira, and Pantano.
LAP 30 - Penalty charged to Power for skipping Chicane – 3 seconds
BeccyGordon Beccy Gordon - Power ran the chicane & his penalty was to slow 1 lap time by 3 seconds.
Marco Andretti in 24th place is holding up the leaders in turn #9
SBPopOffValve Mr. Pop Off Valve - Man, what is up with Marco Andretti lately on roadies? Dude needs a Herta spin just to stay on the lead lap.
YELLOW Flag – Full Course Caution at LAP 32.
danicaracing Danica Racing Online - Full course caution, pits closed.
kvracing KV Racing Technology - Full course yellow for Scheckter in turn 8
SBPopOffValve Mr. Pop Off Valve - Holmatro Safety Team gets to Scheckter belatedly. Probably tooling around somewhere on the track.
GREEN, GREEN, GREEN
Commentary: Yellow Flag at: 15:54:26.530 Contact
Viso and RHR spinning, gets through and Dixon has flat tires … bunches up the field with 7 cars needing assistance in Turn 3.
EJVISO E.J. Viso - P4 en el reinicio. ...... Vamossssssss (via bix)
Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay started the collection – RHR out, Hinchcliffe out, Janes Jakes out, Vitor Meira nose damage repaired and back out in P18.
Tony Kanaan started dead last and is now up to P8.
LAP 40 of 75 – Top 10 are Power, Rahal, Dario, Viso, de Silvestro, Servia, Briscoe, Kanaan, Kimball, and Hildebrand.
kvracing KV Racing Technology - Kanaan and Sato pit under yellow. Viso is P5, Kanaan P11, Sato P19. Lap 43 of 75
shagers Shane Rogers - I'll tell you the smart thing though. Race Control set the order *before* they opened the pits. That was a heads up move by race control.
Top 10 in reset running order - Power, Rahal, Dario, Briscoe, Viso, de Silvestro, Kimball, Hildebrand, Beatriz, And Servia. Additional delay to clean up gearbox oil laid down by Marco Andretti as he ended his race coming into the pits.
toomuchracing Pat W - A whole lot of cement dust down to cover that oil
AllenWedge Allen Wedge - People, calm downb, TK gained half the positions back when everyone pitted and will get the rest when those other pit too
LAP 49 - GREEN, GREEN, GREEN
AllenWedge Allen Wedge - Servia and Kanaan racing for the win it sounds like
kvracing KV Racing Technology - After 20mins of yellow we r back to Green. Lap 49 of 75
NewmanHaas Newman Haas Racing - O is now P6. SERVIA! SERVIA! SERVIA!
IndyCar IZOD IndyCar Series - Current Top 10 with 23 laps to go [52 of 75]: Power, Rahal, Franchitti, de Silvestro, Viso, Hildebrand, Servia, Kanaan, Dixon, Beatriz
TonyKanaan Tony Kanaan - Lap 52, P8 (by Benito)
P6 through P10 sees a real dogfight breaking out between Servia, Hildebrand, Kanaan, and Dixon.
toomuchracing Pat W - Rahal pits from 2nd [Lap 56]
NewmanHaas Newman Haas Racing - Ok. One bullet dodged. O got by on track before GR exited the pits
Will Power pits on Lap 58 – Lead goes to Franchitti – Viso pits
Franchitti pits and Simona de Silvestra takes the lead followed by Power, Servia, Kanaan, Franchitti, Dixon, Tagliani, Patrick, Sato, and Meira
Simona Pits - Power, Servia, Kanaan, Franchitti, Dixon, Tagliani, Patrick, Sato, Meira, and … RHR!
BeccyGordon Beccy Gordon - I'm so confused on strategy, but RHR is ahead of Graham. Go Ry go!!'
NewmanHaas Newman Haas Racing - O has P2P for almost every remaining lap. We are P2 now and all have stopped.
One-Half a second separates P6 – P8 – Sato, Tagliani, and Patrick.
10 laps to go and Will Power is in another world flying by at over 9 seconds ahead of P2 Oriol Servia.
kvracing KV Racing Technology - 10 laps to go, Kanaan is P3, Sato P6 and Viso P15
If Dario Franchitti looses another position, Will Power will come aeway from the BGP tied for the season championship! This may not happen because he is being followed by his team-mate Scott Dixon.
BeccyGordon Beccy Gordon [RHR's lady takes photo, above] - Our pit lockerz.com/s/135871147
Patrick passes RHR to take over P7 on Lap 73.
kvracing KV Racing Technology - 3 laps remain, TK is still P3, Sato P6 and Viso P15
NewmanHaas Newman Haas Racing - To O: Use your overtake
danicaracing Danica Racing Online - White flag! One more to go!!IndyCar IZOD IndyCar Series - Will Power wins the Inaugural @BaltimoreGP! P2-P10: Servia, Kanaan, Franchitti, Dixon, Tagliani, Patrick, Hunter-Reay, Meira, Rahal
toomuchracing Pat W - Chequered flag - Power wins! Servia 2nd, Kanaan an amazing 3rd, Dario 4th
KVRT-Lotus disaster in the hairpin when Viso takes out Sato – WHEN is this guy going to lose his ride!
Will Power started from the pole, led the most laps and rolled on to win Sunday's inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix IZOD IndyCar Series race. Power, who has dominated qualifying in the series this season, tallied his record-tying sixth victory of the year. The IndyCar Series championship points race tightens to only 5 points separating points leader Dario Franchitti and Will Power with three races to go - one street/road course and two oval courses!
toomuchracing Pat W - Rahal very unhappy with the 10 lap yellow
pressdog Bill Zahren - Sounds like they herded the goats off the track and finished strong(er). Festival of Outrage at the IHJ tho.
SBPopOffValve Mr. Pop Off Valve - So does Danica get penalized for passing under a yellow condition? You know what, never mind.
indy44 Matt Archuleta - Describing the traffic jam "It was just confusion, we looked like a bunch of idiots out there." -Scott Dixon
TerryBlountESPN Terry Blount - by IndyCarGarage - I'm not a big fan of most street races, but a great crowd today in Baltimore and a thumbs up for the inaugural event.
IndyCar to Danica as it relates to moving on to NASCAR next year … don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
SBPopOffValve Mr. Pop Off Valve - The biggest winner is Baltimore. My goodness, did they ever put on a great event. Well done.
TonyKanaan Tony Kanaan - TK, P3! [on podium, right] (by Benito) yfrog.com/mm74ngj
In the end, at the winner’s podium, the crowd at Baltimore gathered around as if it was at a stage door waiting for a rock star to show up … Will Power gains 57 points in three races which eclipses Darion Franchitti’s 55 points over four races gain on Power last year to win the championship.
People estimate the crowd to be larger than Long Beach over the last three days … wake up Long Beach!
In the Podium post race interview, a deeply superstitious P3 Tony Kanaan reflected that after the warm-up crash where his car lost its brakes while traveling approximately 170mph (no injuries, on-board video here), he noticed every engine has a number assigned to it by Honda and that since the team planned to use the engine and transmission in the back-up car, he looked at the number … it was #99. It turns out the car number that Greg Moore drove was #99 … Tony stated he took this as a sign that Greg Moore was not ready to have him be side-by-side with Greg in heaven.
… notes from The EDJE