Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser

"Best Buy" - 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G Sedan with 5-speed shift-selectable 6-speed automatic SkyActiv transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointment package is judged to be an amazing mileage miser that delivers on many surprising levels. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser

A common problem beginning to present itself to many premium sedan owners in this 21st century America is summed up with this question: What Miles Per Gallon (MPG) car can one buy in order to get through a continuing era of increasing fuel prices, increasing number of EPA regulations, and low economic growth expectations - yet retain some of the advantages found in the decade old premium vehicle that is needing replacement?

The overall age of the personal fleet of automobiles careening around the country's roads is the oldest it has been since records have been kept and is reported to be nearly 11 years old. Many of these cars are a proud-but-aging rolling stock of premium sedans that featured rear wheel drive, leather interior, remote keyless entry, electric everything including fully adjustable seats (with heat) for both front bucket riding positions, named manufacturer audio systems with about as many speakers as room would allow, and power to spare from a stout V6 or better (0-60 in under seven seconds or better), at not much better than 20 mpg average, etc.

When one purchased these cars in pre-2001, the selling prices of a new or slightly used vehicle may have begun at around $25,000 and ranged upwards to $40,000 for the most well equipped standard premium quality vehicle with marques of Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, and the like.

2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission Grand Touring trim level appointments touchscreen interface.  This 5.8" full color touch-screen controls and informs the driver of navigation w/real time traffic thru Traffic Message Channel, Blind Spot Monitoring System, 265-Watt Bose Centerpoint 10 speaker surround sound audio system, HD Radio, Pandora audio application, audio menu voice-command, E911 automatic emergency notification, Radio Broadcast Data System program information, SMS text message audio delivery and voice reply. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

An owner as described above is faced with a decision. It would be easy to continue investing in the current car especially since a direct replacement would set one back with prices starting at around $35,000 and ranging to $50,000+ for any mid-size or better marques … or better, bite the bullet and decide to invest in the reality of a worsening future picture of fuel prices, regulation, and economic growth opportunities social environment.

With this view in mind, one has several options to consider. First, one has to consider if the path to greater MPG and fuel consumption efficiency will be through the current fuel delivery infrastructure or be aided through the evolving electric-power delivery systems (hybrid or all-electric) which may add cost and disposal issues in maintenance-process of the vehicle.

For buyers seeking to purchase a new car that has as its principle value low fuel consumption and current fuel delivery infrastructure, there appear to be only a couple of options that can promise some of the profile functionality of premium sedans. 

 Rearview - 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointments. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

After careful evaluation and test, one car sticks out as the best premium vehicle replacement choice to get through the next four years and beyond. That car is the 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G with automatic transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointments package.

By opting for the Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G ... what one gives up not investing in a new premium vehicle is spending at least $7,000 more for leather seats, V6 engine, rear wheel drive, 0-60 in under 7 seconds, a little more elbow room, a couple of more speakers, fuel consumption that would never exceed 30 mpg, and possibly a little quieter riding passenger cabin.

S L I D E S H O W

What one gains through a strategy of settling with a scaled back expectation in favor of high MPG, is an average MPG of about 34 miles per gallon combined city/highway, 0-60 at just under 8 seconds ... enough to not be run over by others getting onto the freeway or being a little shy on power once one enters the freeway lanes at speed, leather interior, a Bose 10 speaker sound system (with Bluetooth wireless, USB, and 3.5 connector Auxiliary port connection capability), push-button and remote keyless entry, with electric everything including a fully adjustable seat (driver's side) - with heat for both front bucket riding positions.

More importantly, one gains a driving experience that is very surprising for a car that competes with a mix of "hyper-mile" mavens that put all of the other vehicle choice options to shame - Fiesta, Focus, Fit, Accord, Altima, Leaf, Corolla, Hyundai and Kia. The car carves through corners with strength and anticipated (even expected) ease. The ride is less stiff or "road bed imperfection sensitive" than heavier entry level premium cars of a couple of years ago ... as in the Infiniti G35, for example. Sadly, the roadways in Southern California are not as well maintained, therefore stiffness of ride must be figured into vehicle purchases going forward.

Downtown Los Angeles and the Christmas Tree atop the Capitol Records building in Hollywood can be seen in the background of this Mulholland Drive Hollywood Bowl Overlook view of a 2013 Mazda3 in Velocity Red Mica. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

As tested on Los Angeles area freeways and surrounding hills including the twisty Mulholland Drive during the day and at night (thanks to a loaner arranged through Galpin Motors in Van Nuys, CA), the 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G Sedan with 5-speed shift-selectable 6-speed automatic SKYACTIV transmission and Grand Touring trim level appointment package is judged to be an amazing mileage miser that delivers on many surprising levels, but mostly it delivers a pleasant driving experience for having a car that is rated at near 40 miles per gallon fuel efficiency (Hwy), especially if one is having to procure new rolling stock, replacing an older premium vehicle that has delivered a long, pleasant, useful ride.

… notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV-G: The Amazing Mileage Miser on Technorati **

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oval Track Racing Events Return To Irwindale Speedway For 2013

Just about everything with wheels can be found racing on the Irwindale Event Center twin ovals ... Stock Cars, Sprint Cars, Midgets, Supermodifieds, Legends, Trucks, and more can all be seen in wheel-to-wheel competition action at this great new facility! Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Oval Track Racing Events Return To Irwindale Speedway For 2013

"We're very pleased to announce that oval track racing will return to Irwindale for the 2013 season." With that direct statement, Team 211 Entertainment's President/CEO Jim Cohan ended a long 11-month period of uncertainty about regular racing competition at the well-known Southern California motorsports and family entertainment facility.

"Our master lease with the property owners, Nu-Way Industries, has been broadened and now includes all forms of racing activities on the 6,500-seat twin oval track. We are now working very hard to put all of the pieces together to be able to run a 2013 racing season," said Cohan.

"Our company name has the word 'TEAM' in it," he pointed out. "We need everyone to understand that name is not an affectation. It's a statement of our commitment to the process of re-building the legacy of Irwindale Speedway."

This Thursday - 12-20-2012 - is the final Thursday of Drag Racing in 2012. The next year of Thursday night Drag Racing at the Irwindale Event Center begins on January 10th 2013. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

"We've re-named the entire property 'Irwindale Event Center' to better reflect the wide range of public and private events that can be accommodated here and invite everyone to join us in what we feel will be a great new era of operation for this venue.

Corporations, businesses small and large, competitors, individual fans, everyone: you are all welcome, if you want to be a part of this facility, we'll find a place for you." Cohan concluded.
Cohan's announcement also indicated that long-time employee Bob Klein has been named the event center's Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, and that veteran publicist Doug Stokes would be re-joining the facility on the first of the year as the Vice President of Communications. Both men will report directly to Jim Cohan.

At the same time, experienced competition manager Mike Atkinson was named the track's Race Director. Atkinson has been working behind the scenes with representatives of the new Kern County Raceway Park track to put together a common set of technical rules which will allow racers in a number of divisions to compete fairly at both tracks.

"We know that we're starting out a couple of laps behind," Cohan candidly admitted. "But we also know that we have the support of a great number of former racers, sponsors, and most importantly, our fans who have stood by waiting for this track to come back on line again. We'll really need everyone's good will and support, and we'll be trying very hard to return the favor by running a facility that always puts the customer first."

A 2013 oval track competition event schedule will be published shortly.

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as Oval Track Racing Events Return To Irwindale Speedway For 2013 on Technorati **


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Dean Batchelor Award Is Snagged By "Porsche - Origin of the Species"

Book category finalists for the Motor Press Guild's Dean Batchelor Award. The annual award banquet singles out individuals demonstrating outstanding achievement in the profession of automotive journalism. Each year MPG presents the Dean Batchelor Award to the journalist judged to have produced the single piece of work which best represents the professional standards and excellence demanded by Dean Batchelor during his life as an editor, writer, and chronicler of the automotive industry. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

2012 Dean Batchelor Award Is Snagged By "Porsche - Origin of the Species"

Every year since 1995, when the Motor Press Guild decided to bestow it's true highest honor by naming the prestigious process of recognition on the efforts of its community of communications professionals after Dean Batchelor, the Dean Batchelor Award has set the standard of  automotive journalistic recognition.

Dean Batchelor's career spanned many disciplines, from aircraft builder, B-17 flyer, to race car driver and automotive journalist and through it all he proved to be the consummate historian, editor, racer, designer, and hot rodder.

The award builds from a series of awards honoring three publishing categories defined as Best Article, Best Book, and Best Audio/Visual.

Dean Batchelor Awards Images Slideshow (20 images) >>

The three finalists in each category are culled from potentially tens of nominations submitted by Motor Press Guild members who have seen an outstanding published effort and thought it worthy of recognition with in the year of the honor.

Best Article Dean Batchelor Award 2012 presentation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

This year, the following finalists for Best Article were "Tambay: The Phoenix" By Thomas Stahler (Vintage Motorsport, May/June 2012) | "The Dillinger Trail" By Peter Egan (Road & Track, March 2012) | "The World's Fastest Hot Rod" By Greg Sharp (The Rodder's Journal, Spring 2012) with the Article of the Year Award going to "The World's Fastest Hot Rod" By Greg Sharp.

Best Book Dean Batchelor Award 2012 presentation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The following finalists for Best Book were "In The Red" By Jade Gurss (Octane Press) | "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen (Bentley Publishers) | "The Stainless Steel Carrot: An Auto Racing Odessey - Revisited" By Sylvia Wilkinson (Brown Fox Books) with the Book of the Year Award going to "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen.

Best Audio/Visual Dean Batchelor Award 2012 presentation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The following finalists for Best Audio/Visual were "Corvette ZR1 Review - Exotic Driver" By Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker (EverydayDriver.com, September 27, 2012) | "A Look At London's BMW Art Drive" By Alistair Weaver (InsideLine.com, August 6, 2012) | "KBB Races A Mazda Miata" By Micah Muzio and Michael Delano - Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com, February 22, 2012) with the Audio/Visual of the Year Award going to "KBB Races A Mazda Miata" By Micah Muzio and Michael Delano - Kelley Blue Book.

The 2012 Dean Batchelor Award is bestowed upon a choice from one of these three category award honorees Article of the Year Award going to "The World's Fastest Hot Rod" By Greg Sharp | Book of the Year Award going to "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen | Audio/Visual of the Year Award going to "KBB Races A Mazda Miata" By Micah Muzio and Michael Delano - Kelley Blue Book with the 2012 Dean Batchelor Award going to Book of the Year Award going to "Porsche - Origin of the Species" by Karl Ludvigsen.

Book of the Month at Bentley Publishers becomes Book of the Year for Motor Press Guild. Image Credit: Bentley Publishers (2012)

This edited and excerpted from Bentley Publishers (and was included in the presentation from the podium during the award presentation) -

Classic and Sports Car - December 2012 
BOOK OF THE MONTH

Porsche - Origin of the Species
 

by Karl Ludvigsen

It's hard to imagine that there's a Porsche stone unturned for respected marque historian Karl Ludvigsen. But, inspired by an early 356 - comedian Jerry Seinfeld's treasured Gmünd coupe 2-040 - the American historian set out to reveal the story of the landmark 1950s sports model. And top studio photographer Michael Furman provides a superb set of the historic survivor.

Ludvigsen's journey of fastidious research took him from factory archives to owners and specialists while unravelling this fascinating tale. This hefty, 344-page title covers the evolution of pre-war streamliners through to the early operations in the wooden sawmill in Gmünd, Austria. Putting Porsche's development in context, the book also covers VW Beetle-based specials and coach built variants.

Ludvigsen's writing style is a captivating joy to read, plus the main text is accompanied by fascinating panels including Robert Cumberford on styling, Miles Collier on preservation and Alex Finigan on ownership. The final pages are devoted to a complete reproduction of Porsche's trial reports on '040', and an early 1949 356 Betriebsanleitung (operating manual).
[Reference Here]

A wonderful time spent with like-minded folks and meeting new friends. The Petersen Automotive Museum provided the backdrop for the evening's presentations and all of the finalists from all categories were equally honored to be mentioned along side of the eventual 2012 Dean Batchelor Award honoree.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Sponsors for the evening included Hyundai, Mothers, Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda, Ford, Audi, General Motors, Infiniti, Mazda, Porsche, Subaru, and Toyota - Thanks.

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as 2012 Dean Batchelor Award Is Snagged By "Porsche - Origin of the Species" on Technorati **

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Super Drift Challenge And Toyota GP Of LB Agree To Night Races

Formula DRIFT has announced a special charity event to benefit the American Red Cross’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts on December 13 at Irwindale Speedway. Professional drift ride-alongs from Formula DRIFT stars will be for sale to the public with proceeds to going to the relief fund (CLICK HERE to purchase a ride-along). Caption and Image Credit: Formula DRIFT


Super Drift Challenge And Toyota GP Of LB Agree To Night Races

For the first time in its 39 years, the world-famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 19-21, 2013, will offer night racing with the inaugural Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights during race weekend.

The Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge, which will take place at 7 p.m. both nights on the eastern end of the race circuit – turns nine, 10 and 11 – is expected to feature 16 of the sport’s top cars and drivers.

Committed to compete are 2012 Formula DRIFT champion Daigo Saito, 2011 champ Daijiro Yoshihara, plus Frederic Aasbo, Aurimas Bakchis, Michael Essa, Conrad Grunewald, Ken Gushi, Tyler McQuarrie, Robbie Nishida, Justin Pawlak, Matt Powers - more are expected to make announcement to compete soon. Friday’s action will include practice and qualifying runs, while Saturday will see the teams compete for a $25,000 prize. On Sunday, the Super Drift Challenge cars will drift the entire race circuit after the featured IZOD IndyCar Series race.

A view one gets from a ride-along - here, the trailing car is just leaving turn #9 and looking down the short chute toward turn #10. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

“We are excited to change up the drifting action during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend from an exhibition show to a competition. By doing this we will be able to showcase the true form of competition drifting to the Grand Prix fans," said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. "The icing on the cake comes in the form of night time drifting on the streets. We are truly honored to be the first Series to be competing on the streets of Long Beach at night!”

“The Grand Prix has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Formula DRIFT and this newly designed event takes it to a new level,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “And all this added excitement will be presented at no additional cost to our race attendees. Plus, because of its unique location, there will be no impact in any way on the businesses around the rest of the track.”

Grand Prix fans that purchase any admission ticket for Friday or Saturday racing activities will be able to see that day’s Super Drift Challenge.

Seating for the Super Drift Challenge will be in Grandstands 16, 18, 24, 25 and 26 on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the Super Drift Challenge, the 2013 Grand Prix will again be headlined by the IZOD IndyCar Series®. Also featured will be the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series, the fan-favorite Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Firestone Indy Lights and Pirelli World Challenge.

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first posted as Super Drift Challenge and Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach agree to night races at Examiner **

Monday, December 3, 2012

DeltaWing Recieves The 2012 Autosport Award For Pioneering And Innovation

Nissan DeltaWing on display at the LA Auto Show Press Days. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

DeltaWing Recieves The 2012 Autosport Award For Pioneering And Innovation

The 2012 Autosport Awards, the motorsport industry's 'Oscars' held last night at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane, provided a night of delight for Nissan when the Nissan DeltaWing received the award for Pioneering and Innovation.

The Nissan DeltaWing is currently settling in for its close-up near Hollywood, at the LA Auto Show which runs now through the end of this next weekend on December 9th. One will find it on display at the Nissan booth in the South Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center ... of course.


The Nissan DeltaWing has grabbed headlines, turned heads, and divided opinions wherever it has gone. For Nissan, a company known for delivering innovation that excites, this project has gathered great momentum throughout the season, providing excitement for fans of motorsport but has also caught the eye of non-motorsport fans, intrigued by the car's unique design.

The first Nissan DeltaWing driver, Marino Franchitti, presented the award to DeltaWing Designer Ben Bowlby during the star-studded evening.

Image Credit: Nissan (2012)

"While the car wasn't eligible to collect any trophies in its two races so far, it is very rewarding that the industry and the media recognize the significance of the project," Bowlby said. "I can honestly say I've never done anything so cool in my life. The Nissan DeltaWing is all about efficiency and we hope this car can play a part in shaping the future of the sport.

"There are many people who have played key roles in the development of the car but I have to say a big thanks to Don Panoz's Garage 56 consortium with DeltaWing Racing Cars, and of course the ACO. Nissan and Michelins' contributions were imperative. It took a huge leap of faith from them to really make this car possible. Both signed on at a time when we had plenty of doubters saying the car wouldn't go around corners."

The unique Nissan DeltaWing features the performance of contemporary Le Mans sportscars but consumes only half their fuel and tires, using half of their power, aerodynamic drag and weight.

"What made the car stand out from other contenders for the Pioneering and Innovation Award is traditionally the winners are for something underneath the skin of a race car which the man on the street would really struggle to see or even understand," Autosport, Editor-In-Chief, Andrew van de Burgt said.

"No matter whether you are a hard core motorsports fan, or somebody who doesn't follow the sport at all – one look at the car and you can tell that it is totally different from anything seen before. It really is a credit to everyone involved in the project. It has generated great interest amongst our readers and we look forward to seeing the car compete again in the future."

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The plaudits don't stop there for the Nissan DeltaWing. The car has already won EVO magazine's Innovation Award; it was voted Automobile magazine's Racing Car of the Year and received the Popular Science Best of What's New Award. Ben Bowlby has also received the Simms Medal from the Royal Automobile Club and the Dino Toso Award for the world's top racing aerodynamicist, awarded by Race Tech magazine.

"Last night was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people who weren't scared to use their imaginations," said Nissan's Darren Cox. "The Nissan DeltaWing is clearly innovative in terms of the car's design but the entire project and the way it has engaged the interest of the fans is also innovative. We have all enjoyed the challenge."

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as DeltaWing Recieves The 2012 Autosport Award For Pioneering And Innovation on Technorati **

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mazda Burnishes New Mazda6 Clean-Diesel Reputation

Mazda announces its participation in the 2013 Grand Am racing series in front of the media crowd gathered at the LA Auto Show during Press Days. Image Credit:Edmund Jenks (2012)

Mazda Burnishes New Mazda6 Clean-Diesel Reputation

Mazda North American Operations, in a move to further enhance its reputation as a company that builds cars that are fun to drive, announced that the new, redesigned Mazda6, Mazda's flagship mid-sized car, will be entered into the Grand Am series running on Mazda's SKYACTIV technology clean-diesel.

The 2014 Mazda6 will make its motorsports debut at the Rolex 24 endurance race on January 26-27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Mazda6 racecar will be powered by a Mazda SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine (video) and is being developed to compete in the new GRAND-AM GX class.

This announced entrant marks the first time a diesel-powered vehicle of any type will have ever raced at the Rolex 24. Mazda will be seeking their 24th class win in the American endurance classic, having most recently won in 2008 and 2010.

John Doonan, Motorsports Director, Mazda North American Operations noted that:

“We have been eager to announce this car for months, but had to wait until the production car was revealed. The SpeedSource engineering team, working with the Mazda engineers, have been flat out for months on engine development. We’re happy to report that the engine is meeting the performance targets for both power and endurance. That means 400+ hp for over 50 hours, with an engine that includes a very long list of production Mazda parts. This is not a pure race engine; it is a production block SKYACTIV-D. We’re excited about having our newest engine powering our newest car.”

A few of the Mazda Young Guns 2013 - Kenton Koch, Elliott Skeer, Gustavo Menezes, Joey Jordan, at LA Auto Show. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

The Mazda6 was one of the first models declared eligible for the GX class, along with Lotus Evora GX and Porsche Cayman. The class will help nurture emerging technologies such as alternative fuels.

When one first sees the redesigned Mazda6, one is struck at the overall upgrade to the styling, primarily with the front end grille and rear tail light configuration. The front impresses the eye with a look similar to a blending of a Mercedes and a Volvo (not bad styling company), with the rear leaving one with the feel of a high-end Lexus without the ridging jut of the tail-light ... the Mazda6 being smoothed and rounded, say sophisticated.

Strongly influenced by the TAKERI Concept, the Mazda6 makes no excuses for its style, safety and spunk – qualities usually absent in a mid-size sedan. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012) 

The GX racing version of the Mazda6 is being developed by SpeedSource and Mazda engineers. The challenge expects to have two factory entries ready to compete at Daytona.

GX will join the Daytona Prototype and GT classes in events sanctioned by Grand-Am Road Racing in 2013, the last year before Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series merge in a single organization that has yet to be named.

Models eligible for GX besides the Mazda6, Evora and Cayman include the Audi TT, BMW 1 Series, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus sedan, Hyundai Genesis, Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, Nissan 370Z or Altima, and Volkswagen Eos.

The KODO "Soul of Motion" design language commands and creates every facet of the vehicle's handsome sheet metal, from its alluringly swept elongated hood and cab-forward proportions to the chiseled steel shaping its frame, the Mazda6 suggests power and elegance before the gas pedal is even floored to go. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

In making its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the highly-anticipated mid-size sedan will go on sale in January 2013 and be equipped first with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine.  The SKYACTIV-D-equipped version will follow suit during the second half of the year, making Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to offer a modern-technology clean-diesel engine in a non-commercial vehicle. The 2014 Mazda6 also will be the first production vehicle to feature Mazda's capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP.

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as Mazda Burnishes New Mazda6 Clean-Diesel Reputation on Technorati **

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ford To Display Tanner Foust Signature Focus At LA Auto Show

The new TF logo-ed very high-powered Foust signature Ford Focus at the Irwindale Event Center (SEMA Video HERE). Image Credit: Doug Stokes (2012)

Ford To Display Tanner Foust Signature Focus At LA Auto Show

Multi-discipline race driver, movie stuntman, TV star, and now car designer, Tanner Foust, visited the Irwindale Event Center on Sunday to "break in" a (very) special, limited-edition Focus that not only looked like something Foust would be driving on the streets, but that had his name and his distinctive TF logo emblazoned all over it.

Close up of the "TF" logo-ed racing stripe on the new signature Ford Focus. Image Credit: Doug Stokes (2012)

The car was just "off the boat"(actually it had come over to LA by truck) from an award-winning turn as one of the stars of the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The four door hatchback had barely 50 miles on the clock, and, although Foust had been behind the wheel for a whole bunch of publicity shots at SEMA ... He had not yet driven the sexy-bad prototype.



That's where an off-day on the vast, empty East parking lot at IEC came in handy. At 'Vegas the car was never even fired up, or let alone driven, so there was some interest in breaking it in and getting a bit of actual seat time before it was to be on display at the LA Auto Show scheduled to open to the press on Wednesday, the 28th.

As one might expect, the car ran flawlessly. There were no formal specs officially available at the IEC shakedown runs.  But, we can indicate that this special Foust-signature model was "loaded" with cool features, and that the horsepower rating for this very special edition turbo-charged 6-speed Focus ST model was (and we quote:) "Oh ... somewhere around 300."

Close up of the "TF" logo-ed rocker panel racing stripe on the side of the new signature Ford Focus. Image Credit: Doug Stokes (2012)

Foust's willing co-conspirator in the custom body, trick semi-gloss silvery paint, and cool interior work was none other than Mike Spagnola, chief instigator and grand major-domo of Street Scene Equipment the well-known southern California custom body parts manufacturer. The basic look here is best explained as "stylistically belligerent". Subtlety is sure not the strong suite here. They WILL see you coming in this one (and a millisecond later they'll see you going).

All of the (by now) frothing at the bit Focus fans will have to wait for the magazine articles and web reviews to get all of the specs as well as to find out the information on where to buy one of these way cool little Ford supercars designed (and now test-driven at Irwindale) by Foust, who admitted to being much more familiar with the race track than the parking lot, having tested many cars for TV and raced successfully there numerous times in pro Drifting and Rallycross events there over the past years.

See the Tanner Foust signature Ford Focus on display at the LA Auto Show which opens on November 30th, 2012 and runs through December 9th, 2012.
(ht: Irwindale Event Center)

... notes from The EDJE 


** Article first published as Ford To Display Tanner Foust Signature Focus At LA Auto Show on Technorati **

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Animated Feature Channels Ed Wynn

Wreck-It Ralph and cast pose in their fantasy life travel congregation area that mimics New York's Grand Central Train Station - Game Central Station. Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Wreck-It Ralph Animated Feature Channels Ed Wynn

The recently released animated feature length movie from Disney Studios, Wreck-It Ralph,  is a really fun and high concept movie that can be seen with, or without kids (not good fare for kiddos under the age of 9).

The antagonist character King Candy, who is voiced by Alan Tudyk, does a pretty good job at channeling/capturing some of the voice expressions and sounds of a very famous character and comedic actor ... Ed Wynn.

Ed Wynn (L) and King Candy (R) side-by-side. Notice the bow tie, the stripes in the cloth adornments, the zest of hair, the fun of finger positioning, smile, and smallish "hat" each character image holds. One can not separate the influence of the voice-over actor from the animated character, and we are all the richer for it. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - combination between IMDb (Ed Wynn in "The Perfect Fool," 1959 - ) and Walt Disney Studios (2012)

Modern Hollywood does not have many memorable iconic actors that embody the likes held by Ed Wynn ... check out Jerry Lewis' Cinderfella someday.

 It is reported in a Disney wiki that they had the animators use Mad Hatter from the 1951 animated film, Alice in Wonderland but had very little mention that it was the voice of Ed Wynn that actually brought the character of Mad Hatter to life.

On the voice-over and the visage of the animated character, the producers have done a good job at capturing some of what Ed Wynn brought to the big screen (even though Ed Wynn really never had a dark side).

King Candy, formerly known as Turbo, is the main antagonist of the film Wreck-It Ralph. He was the ruler of the kingdom in which the game Sugar Rush takes place. He is voiced by Alan Tudyk. King Candy is incredibly eccentric and flamboyant. Throughout most of the film, he portrays himself as a bubbly, yet somewhat strict, ruler. As Turbo, he was said to have loved the spotlight, but the moment that was all taken away, the racer became demented, and he was determined to remain beloved, even if it meant ruining another game. Caption & Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios

This excerpted and edited from Wreck-It Ralph IMDb Storyline -

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Rated PG - 101 min - Animation | Comedy | Family - 2 November 2012 (USA)

Wreck-It Ralph (voice of Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game's perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of McBrayer).

Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes... so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness.

He sneaks into the game with a simple plan -- win a medal -- but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade.

Ralph's only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Silverman), a young troublemaking "glitch" from a candy-coated cart racing game - Sugar Rush - who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy.

But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it's "Game Over" for the entire arcade?
[Reference Here]

As far as the central character, Ralph, some of us have all had times that we were cast in a place as Ralph and wish we could be something different.

Key line delivered by Wreck-It Ralph while visiting a 12 step style meeting: I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be then me.

Vanellope von Schweetz seated in her favorite place to be ... in a vehicle racing in Sugar Rush. Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Also, the movie, while pretty ingenious and original, has moments where one thinks it borrows some of the programming used in another successful Walt Disney animated feature, Cars. A secondary character, Vanellope von Schweetz - voiced by Sara Silverman, found in another video game, Sugar Rush, loves to race cars in one of the central activities of the game world she occupies - Candy Land. One sequence in the picture features Vanellope racing around a track built by Ralph with Rihanna's "Shut Up And Drive" playing in the background, music video style.

It would be easy to envision Disney Orlando creating a section of fantasy world called Candy Land and install the same kind of vehicle racing ride Disneyland's California Adventure Park has with Radiator Springs and Cars.

RATING: 8.5 out of 10


** Article first published as Wreck-It Ralph Animated Feature Channels Ed Wynn on Technorati **

Monday, November 19, 2012

RIAM Joins New Era Circuit Of The Americas F1 Viewing Faithful

Riverside International Automotive Museum hosted an opportunity to hear the thoughts and experiences of Tony Settember (center) and Don Nichols (right) as interviewed by RIAM Public Relations director, Thomas Stahler (Left). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

RIAM Joins New Era Circuit Of The Americas F1 Viewing Faithful

This last weekend, the United States saw the return of Formula One international open wheel racing to the series' world hopping schedule. The race held at the new purpose built Circuit of the Americas (COTA), 3.427-mile (5.515 km) motor racing circuit south of Austin, Texas, marked the return of F1 racing to the United States after a four-season hiatus.

Recognizing the pent-up demand for viewing and sharing time with like-minded individuals of this inaugural event, the Riverside International Automotive Museum (RIAM) in Riverside, California ... located not too far from the site of the famed Riverside International Raceway purpose built road circuit and was set up, in part, to archive and honor the history of this great track ... opened its doors and hosted a viewing party.



During the broadcast of the COTA USGP from Austin, Texas, SPEED Channel's Bob Varsha mentioned that there were many viewing parties being held throughout the United States and that one of note was the gathering being hosted by the Riverside International Automotive Museum which featured Tony Settember and Don Nichols and had on view many great historic open wheel racing cars created from the Dan Gurney Eagle operation. Varsha's YouTube mention HERE.

On the podium at the Circuit of the Americas, four past champions celebrate the running of the first Formula One race held in the United States in four years - pictured from left to right: Sebastian Vettel, Mario Andretti, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks via projection TV from SPEED Channel (2012)

This excerpted and edited from the Bleacher Report -

Formula One: Hamilton Wins USGP, but Circuit of the Americas Is the Real Star
By Craig Christopher (Featured Columnist) on November 19, 2012

Formula One racing has made a triumphant return to the United States after a four-season hiatus, only to find that some things just haven’t changed.

Lewis Hamilton was the last F1 driver to stand atop the podium at a U.S. Grand Prix when he claimed victory at the final Indianapolis race in 2007.He stood atop the podium again in Austin as he held Sebastian Vettel at bay to claim a hard-fought race win.

While the race winner may not have changed, everything else has.

The fans were treated to a great race, with lots of overtaking, some outstanding wheel-to-wheel action, breathtaking pitstops and Ferrari even delivered a little bit of the intrigue and shenanigans that F1 is famous for.

And it all happened on a track deep in the heart of Texas.
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With F1 finding difficulty securing a permanent home since the 20-year tenure at Watkins Glenn, all hope turned to the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas.

It didn’t disappoint.

The circuit is a custom F1 track, designed—as are nearly all new tracks—by German racetrack architect Hermann Tilke. At first glance, it has all of the hallmarks of every other Tilke track—the big runoff areas, the flowing combination of corners, long straights followed by a hairpin—but it worked.
----
It was a race that F1 had to get right.

With the 2005 Indianapolis debacle still lingering in the American fans' memory and with no American teams and no American drivers, the product had to deliver on its own terms. It had to bury the perception that F1 is boring and lacking in excitement.

Any lingering doubts were put to rest, despite the dominance of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, with action from one end of the field to the other.

Hamilton took the most of a momentary distraction for Vettel, as he got tangled behind a back-marker, making the pivotal pass that Vettel was unable to recover from.

While Hamilton claimed the victory, it was the Circuit of the Americas that was the superstar of the weekend, aided and abetted by a massive crowd of 117,429 fans (via CircuitoftheAmericas.com).

The drivers loved it [all three - Hamilton, Vittle, and Alonzo respectively], and probably would have said so without prompting, even if Mario Andretti didn’t pleadingly fish for praise in yet another pointless podium interview by an ex-driver [and champion].

Hamilton told F1.com:

There are a couple of Grands Prix that are somehow out on their own: there’s Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Now you can this circuit to that list - it’s already one of the best racetracks in the world, maybe even right up there in the top three.

Then again, he won the race—he would say that.

[Reference Here]

The museum moved many of its 200 mph cars it has on display, set up a 9'X 12'projection screen and tables on the floor, prepared an Italian salad and sandwich lunch, invited a car constructor and some drivers of F1 and sport car racing note for post race interviews and schmoozing ... thus turning the museum into a social rumpus-room of F1 joy.

On hand were F1 winning chassis constructor Don Nichols, who created the Shadow cars that raced in F1 - and would spawn the Arrows F1 Team, Formula 5000, and Can-Am in the 1970's and 1980's (Alan Jones recorded his first win at the Austrian Grand Prix, a result which also provided a welcome boost to the lesser-funded teams as it was Shadow's first victory), Shadow Cars team crewman Gene Lentz, F1 driver Tony Settember (1962-1963), with legendary road racers John Morton and Davey Jordan.

Discover how this "five stripe" helmet adornment came about through the stories related by Don Nichols and the Shadow Cars effort to become a part of F1 history - Listen to Audio File linked below. Image Credit:  "F1 Biography: Still in the shadows"

Interviewed in the post race festivities by RIAM PR Director, Thomas Stahler were Tony Settember and Don Nichols with a presentation to RIAM by Gene Lentz a donation of memorabilia from Shadow Cars to museum President, Doug Magnon. AUDIO FILE HERE (43 min.)

There's a saying in Texas. "I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I could." This is the first proper U.S. race since Watkins Glen and, at last, COTA represents a worthy home for the USGP event.

That could also be said of this Southern California RIAM viewing party event. Here's hoping the COTA F1 USGP viewing party becomes an annual Southern California tradition. A Grand Prix time was had by all.

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as RIAM Joins New Era Circuit Of The Americas F1 Viewing Faithful on Technorati **

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Extreme Speed Motorsports Qualifies at Petit Le Mans P1 And P2 - UPDATED

During the Petit Le Mans race week, ESM, The Patrón Spirits Company and Ultimat Vodka launched the 2012 campaign “Race to Erace” hunger throughout the world. As part of the special livery at Petit Le Mans, fans can contribute to Action Against Hunger. Image Credit: ESM

Extreme Speed Motorsports Qualifies at Petit Le Mans P1 And P2 - UPDATED

The Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferraris dominated Friday’s qualifying session at Petit Le Mans – qualifying 1-2 and locking in the front row for tomorrow’s season finale at Road Atlanta.

Setting new records for the team and race circuit, Guy Cosmo, co-driver of the No. 02 Ultimat Vodka Ferrari 458 Italia, earned his first career pole position, the second consecutive pole for ESM, and set a new qualifying track record for Road Atlanta for the season finale of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón.

In the brief 15-minute session, the chrome and blue Ultimat Vodka-livered Ferraris were fixtures atop the charts. At the conclusion of the session, Cosmo and Toni Vilander, co-driver of the No. 01 Ultimat Vodka Ferrari 458 Italia, were listed as the front row starters for the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda on Saturday.

The 1-2 qualifying effort is the first time team history that the Ferraris will start side-by-side from the start of the highly competitive GT class.

Cosmo earned his first career ALMS pole on Friday afternoon by lapping the No. 02 Ferrari around then 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit in 1:18.677 (116.222 mph).  Cosmo will pilot the No. 02 with season-long teammate Ed Brown, and Atlanta native Anthony Lazzaro.

Vilander qualified the No. 01 car less than a tenth of a second behind Cosmo with a best lap of 1:18.729 (116.145 mph). Vilander, a factory Ferrari driver, joins season-long regulars Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek.

The final race of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race from Road Atlanta is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct 20. Full, live coverage starts at 11:15 a.m. ET on ESPN3.ABC’s broadcast begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 21.

UPDATED:


The ESM #01 that qualified P2 comes home after 10 hours of racing in P1 of the GT Class 30.68s ahead of Antonio Garcia driving the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. On the last leg, Toni Vilander piloted home the Ferrari F458 Italia he had shared driving duties with team owner Scott Sharp and season co-driving teammate Johannes van Overbeek. It is a bit fitting that the factory driver from Ferrari, who flew in from the mother country of Italy, was able to be the cherry on top of the American campaigned Ferrari team's cake of a win in the Petit Le Mans which serves as the final race of the 2012 season. The #55 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW E92 M3 driven by Bill Auberlen came in third.


The #01 Ultimat Vodka/Action Against Hunger Ferrari 458 Italia started from the GT Class pole and was the dominant race car to beat during the endurance event. In his closing stint, Vilander had a 42 second lead with eight laps remaining in the race, but as the race came to a close, fuel strategy became an issue.
Vilander responded to the challenge and claimed his decisive win with only two liters of fuel remaining in the Ferrari’s tank.

The overall finishing position for the #01 Ferrari was 12th overall, out of 42 total entrants.
This win marks the second win for the #01 this season, with the other in July for Sharp and van Overbeek at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

The ESM #01 Ultimat Vodka/Action Against Hunger Ferrari 458 Italia co-driven by Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Toni Vilander won the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans. Image Credit: ESM

This season, the #01 team has earned five third place finishes (Long Beach, Lime Rock, Road America, Baltimore, VIR) and two wins (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta). Based on this strong showing, Sharp and van Overbeek are ranked second in the very challenging ALMS GT driver’s championship.

The accolades continued at Road Atlanta with the #01 receiving the Michelin Green X Challenge Award for being the cleanest, fastest and most efficient race car in the GT class. ESM received the award during at Long Beach in April and at Virginia International Raceway in September.

On the other side of the ESM paddock, Ed Brown, Guy Cosmo and Anthony Lazzaro co-drivers of the #02 Ultimat Vodka/Action Against Hunger Ferrari 458 Italia. Cosmo initially qualified the #02 machine on the pole, but was forced to the back of the field at the start of the race after ALMS officials deemed to the #02 too low in ride height (by millimeters), thus failing post qualifying technical inspection. The low ride height was a result of a broken splitter that occurred during Friday’s qualifying session.

Cosmo wheeled the Ferrari and charged through and was running fourth before handing the Ferrari over to Brown. Unfortunately, time was lost in a driver change due to a problem with seatbelt adjustment, as well as an on-track penalty for Cosmo for “avoidable contact” with another competitor. Due to the time lost, the #02 finished the race in ninth place in the GT class.

A two hour recap of the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans, the final race of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season, will air today, Sunday, October 21, at 1 p.m., on ABC.

… notes from The EDJE

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Andretti Prediction In Baltimore Becomes Reality For Hunter-Reay In Fontana

After surviving a Lap 55 near miss take out by Will Power's out of control #12 Penske Racing DW12, Ryan Hunter-Reay puts in a steady 250 Lap drive in the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships at Auto Club Speedway to win it all, run the table, and take home all of the chips. Welcome the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion, the A.J. Foyt Trophy honoree for most points scored in a season on oval courses, and first American born driver to become American open wheel racing champion since 2006. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Andretti Prediction In Baltimore Becomes Reality For Hunter-Reay In Fontana

With 36 points separating Ryan Hunter-Reay (RHR) from the championship points lead and two races to go left in the season, the Andretti Autosport driver wins on the temporary street circuit race promoted by the recently formed Andretti Sports Marketing ... the Indy Grand Prix of Baltimore. This left RHR with a tall, but not impossible mountain to scale of 17 points to overcome in order to clinch the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship.

Immediately after Ryan crossed the finish line at the inner harbor track location, in a post race interview on NBCSC, team owner Michael Andretti came out with a strong prediction - "We are going to win the championship in Fontana at Auto Club Speedway."

This isn't the first time this motor culture legend, in his own time, came forth with a prediction that paid off - and Michael Andretti never was the kind of personality to boast.

Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport becomes the first American born driver to win a race in this 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2010)

This excerpted and edited from "... notes from The EDJE" -

Toyota GP of Long Beach: Owner Andretti Predicted Hunter-Reay Win
By Edmund Jenks - April 19, 2010
 

With the confidence that comes from being a multiple time race winner here at motorsports premiere temporary street course race at Long Beach, Michael Andretti predicted that his recently signed driver (a test for a few races to begin), Ryan Hunter-Reay, would win the race.

What makes this prediction almost astounding is that none of the cars had set a tire anywhere on Shoreline Drive and he made this prediction at a post induction ceremony interview on Thursday, April 15, 2010, where he, along with Danny Sullivan, were honored with an achievement medallion in the sidewalk along the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame located in front, and the West side, of the Long beach Convention Center along Pine Avenue.
----
Add the fact that in the post race interview in front of the gathered press, Ryan Hunter-Reay cited his previous Formula Atlantic (2002) and CCWS experience with his positive feelings for the track (which he considers his "home" track) at Long Beach ... one could say Champ Car has never left ... in this, the sophomore year for IndyCar at the famed streets in Long Beach ... for at the end of the race it was P1, P2 , and P3 on the podium for former ChampCar World series experienced drivers!
[Reference Here]

The set up seemed insurmountable. Penske Racing's Will Power, who had been here in this same position of having to finish off the year on an oval racing course ahead of his next leading points owner the previous two years, looked as though all he had to do was finish the race on the same lap as Ryan Hunter-Reay. He had all the confidence of being the only driver to ever hold the Mario Andretti Trophy for the most points scored on road/street courses ... three years running.

For Ryan's part, in order to have any chance at all, he needed to finish the race P6 or better to have any of the championship scenarios to play out. Further, RHR was tied in the points for the season championship trophy for most points scored on oval courses with KV Racing Technology's  Tony Kanaan ... so he also had to finish ahead of this competitor as well.

Again, the prediction by Michael Andretti, that his driver would win the IICS Championship at this final race, when the new DW12 chassis had never competed at this track and that no American open wheel races had been run at Auto Club Speedway since 2005 seemed astounding being that it came directly after the Baltimore win.

Andretti Autosport racing team came to the Auto Club Speedway track loaded for bear. In qualifications, the DW12's go out for three laps with the final two laps (5 miles) total time used for formation to the grid (baring any penalty for engine changes - later). Michael's son and third generation racing Andretti, Marco bested the next closest competitor, Penske' Ryan Briscoe, to gain the championship point and the check by .2614 of a second. Hunter-Reay did not do so well. His time combined with the fact that most all of the top competitors changed to fresh engines for the 500 mile race, had him starting at the back of the grid at P22 with Will Power at P13.

The pre-race odds for the top five drivers to win the race were published (in the newsroom) as follows - Will Power - 2/1, Ryan Hunter-Reay 5/2, Scott Dixon 7/2, Ryan Briscoe 5/1, and Dario Franchitti at 6/1 odds.

All Will had to do was basically stay on the same lap and dog/stalk RHR around the track, have clean pit stops, and finish the race. The start of the race saw Will Power struggle with the handling of his car and eventually, Ryan and Will were running with each other. After about a fifth (of the laps in the race ... not the bottle), Will Power responded to calls from his team over the radio in his ear to pass RHR. On Lap 55 in turn #2, Will dropped down low and according to his view, caught a seam in the pavement that got his car loose and he spun up into the safer barrier wall, just missing the #28 of Ryan Hunter-Reay - WOW!


Ryan Hunter-Reay pulls into pit box #25, takes off his helmet and is first greeted by a member of his team ... believe it Ryan, you are the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion! Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

This excerpted and edited from IndyCar - 

Drama, intrigue, excitement: Hunter-Reay grabs title

For the third consecutive year, contact in the season finale altered the title aspirations of the Aussie. The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car "caught a seam" in Turn 2 of the 2-mile oval, spun and made contact with the SAFER Barrier while running 12th -- a few car lengths ahead of Hunter-Reay's No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car.
 ----
Click it: Box score | Hunter-Reay signs two-year extension

Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti relayed to a surprised Hunter-Reay, who 18 hours signed a two-year contract extension, that he had to finish sixth to claim his first series championship by one point.

But wait. In this season of surprises, ultra-tight competition and high drama, all three collectively focused on the Team Penske garage as the crew converged to repair the Dallara chassis and collect 11 more laps to finish 24th and ahead of the retired car of E.J. Viso.

That's exactly what transpired, forcing Hunter-Reay to finish at least fifth. Crews from rival teams cheered as the No. 12 entry was wheeled onto pit lane.

"It's fantastic," said Power, who quickly changed back into his firesuit.

But as Power maintained throughout this three-race duel with Hunter-Reay, "You can on focus on what you can control." So he watched the remainder of the race unfold from the team transporter, hoping that others would occupy the top five positions.

That went by the wayside as Alex Tagliani's engine expired with 20 laps left and then Tony Kanaan's car made contact with the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier on Lap 241. That created a red flag, with the restart on Lap 244. 

Hunter-Reay was running third on the restart, lost two positions, but the 31-year-old Floridian regained one spot when Takuma Sato's car crashed on the final lap. The difference in over 15 events on the most diverse set of racetracks in motorsports was three points over Power.
[Reference Here]

Driving legend, team owner, sports marketing operations magnet, and excellent prognosticator, Michael Andretti as he congratulates Ed Carpenter on his first win as a driver/owner of the Fuzzy's Vodka #20 DW12 Chevy-powered Dallara at the post race press conference at Auto Club Speedway. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

At the post race press conference, Michael was reminded about this penchant he seems to have to predict and then deliver on the prediction. Michael bristled at the suggestion that he might like to take this 'talent' to Las Vegas with the attitude of a person who never gambles and frowns upon it.

This is a funny reaction to attribute to a past open wheel driving legend who would gamble on the track and, for the most part, win (or as on that 1998 Mid-Ohio day when he flipped head long into the run off at the end of the straight) or survive! Now, as an owner, expands his operation through the formation of Andretti Sports Marketing to include promoting the Milwaukee Mile (which his driver won) and picking up the Grand Prix of Baltimore (oh yes, that's right, his driver won the race the team Andretti operation was promoting for the first time this year as well).

All anyone can know, with this kind of track record, if one hears Michael Andretti blurt out a prediction of an outcome, and the Andretti Autosport operation has a hand in controlling some of the variables ... TAKE THAT BET ... the odds are good for a Michael Andretti predicted outcome!

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as Andretti Prediction In Baltimore Becomes Reality For Hunter-Reay In Fontana on Technorati **

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ryan Hunter-Reay Has The Most To Gain And Lose At IICS Final

Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay pose next to the trophy they will be fighting on the track for at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night. The MAVTV 500 is scheduled to go GREEN Flag at 8:45 p.m. (ET) and be broadcast on cable on NBC Sports Network. Image Credit Edmund Jenks (2012)

Ryan Hunter-Reay Has The Most To Gain And Lose At IICS Final

Most people who have been following the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) know that this last race of the season will see one of two drivers crowned champion between Penske Racing's Will Power and Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay. Only 17 points separate these two drivers and the margin of victory begins to get shaped with qualifications on Friday with one valuable point up for grabs.

What seems to be getting lost in the shuffle is another championship trophy awarded in this very same series ... the A.J. Foyt Trophy for being the driver to accumulate the most points during the season on oval racing circuits.

The IZOD IndyCar Series awards three trophies - the overall championship, the Mario Andretti Trophy for the highest points total on road/street courses, and the A.J. Foyt Trophy for most points total on oval racing courses.

This trophy is still up for grabs and the current points achieved is tied between two drivers - Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and KV Racing Technology's Tony Kanaan.

What's pretty amazing about this is that this contest isn't even being focused upon by the IICS, or most of the major writing outlets.

For example, today has a special media event being held by the IICS at the very end of Route 66 (the Marisol Restaurant located on the end of the Santa Monica pier ... over the Pacific Ocean) to have the media be able to interview the drivers who are racing for the championship but the one name that is absent is Tony Kanaan.

Tony has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship season. He is getting no respect.

 
Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay pose next to the trophy they will be fighting on the track for at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night. Unless something strange happens that would not allow these drivers to finish the race, the winning of this championship trophy is between these two competitors. The MAVTV 500 is scheduled to go GREEN Flag at 8:45 p.m. (ET) and be broadcast on cable on NBC Sports Network. Image Credit Edmund Jenks (2012)

This excerpted and edited from Paddock Talk -

Tied atop the standings for the Oval Track Championship are Hunter-Reay and KV Racing Technology driver and former Series Champion (2004) Tony Kanaan. James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport, is sitting in third position in the Oval Track Championship standings.

"Having a 500-mile race as the season finale is a great way to close out the IndyCar season,” concluded Berube. “It requires a significant effort from everyone involved; the race teams and drivers, Firestone tires, Sunoco fuels, the Somatro safety team and countless others that make the race a show of skill, strategy and grit. It is also good practice for another piece of unfinished business - that other 500-mile race in May."

Chevrolet clinched the Series Manufacturers’ Championship following the 13th race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. That same weekend, Power was crowned the Road Course Champion for the third consecutive season.

Saturday night’s 250-lap/500-mile race will be the first appearance for IndyCar at the Fontana, California track since 2005. Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 105 races which included two victories at Auto Club Speedway, 2002 and 2003. The wins powered Chevrolet to six driver champions, and included seven Indianapolis 500 victories.

The IndyCar season finale is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. PT (8:45 p.m. ET) Saturday night with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network.

The live radio coverage will air on the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at www.indy.car.com.
[Reference Here]

The person that has the most to gain ... and lose may well be Ryan Hunter-Reay. For Hunter-Reay’s part, he needs to finish P6 or better (assuming he doesn’t win the pole or lead the most laps) and finish ahead of Tony Kanaan just to get into his championship scenarios.

By winning and having Will Power place at least 10 (uncertain) places behind him, Ryan wins the 2012 IICS championship and the A.J. Foyt Trophy. Any scenario that has Tony Kanaan finishing ahead of Ryan, he is out on the oval championship.

For Will Power's part, a finish somewhere between P10 and P15 maybe just fine. This is not a win-or-go-home scenario for Power. It’s a finish-moderately-well-or-go-home one, which seems like a far more certain proposition for a driver whose forte is Road/Street courses.

Notes:

The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. this week for the final race of the season, the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships.

Four drivers are still mathematically in the hunt to capture the series title. For the seventh consecutive season, the final race will decide the IndyCar Championship.

From L to R - Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Scott Dixon as they pose for the media photos next to the IICS championship trophy these drivers have a shot at winning Saturday night. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Will Power holds down the top spot, 17 points ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, while Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves and Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon are 52 and 53 points back respectively. Although Power has led heading into the final race of the season the past two years, he has yet to capture the championship.

This is the 11th Indy race at Auto Club Speedway and the first since 2005, when Dario Franchitti captured the checkered flag. The CART and Champ Car held six Indy car races at Auto Club Speedway from 1997-2002. PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin won the pole (and the fastest world qualifying lap speed - later eclipsed by Gil deFerran at this same track) for the first Indy car race at Auto Club Speedway in 1997. PacWest teammate Mark Blundell won the race ... and still holds the record for the world fastest lap recorded during a race. Franchitti (2005) is the only driver to win at Auto Club Speedway from the pole position.

KV Racing Technology's (KVRT) Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 196th consecutive Indy car start, dating to Portland in 2001. KVRT team owner, Jimmy Vasser holds the all-time record of 211.

The 2013 IndyCar season is set to begin March 24 in Florida for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Helio Castroneves is the defending race winner.
[ht: Kansas City Star]

... notes from The EDJE


** Article first published as Ryan Hunter-Reay Has The Most To Gain And Lose At IICS Final on Technorati **