Thursday, July 2, 2020

IMS Triple-Header & IMSA Daytona Has Team Penske's Attention July 4th Weekend

Tee shirt graphic from the first ever triple header race weekend held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The weekend features races by three racing series and two different sanctioning bodies - NTT INDYCAR & NASCAR. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks via IMS Store screengrab (2020)

IMS Triple-Header & IMSA Daytona Has Team Penske's Attention July 4th Weekend

After an extended interruption off-season, Motorsports and Motor Culture gets a boost over the 2020 July 4th Independence Day celebration weekend - sans fans, in the stands.

ZOOM presentation where the flow is regulated - Edmund Jenks asks a question of all drivers - Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, & Ricky Taylor - at 14:20 on the timeline.

ZOOM tile presentation - Will Power, Brad Keslowski, & Austin Cindric


Team Penske Zoom Media Conference Block – NASCAR, INDYCAR & IMSA Drivers


The Fourth of July weekend promises to be a historic time in American motorsports with competition at two of the country’s most-iconic venues, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and Daytona International Speedway. Team Penske is the only team with entries in each of the four series competing during the weekend, including the much-anticipated NASCAR/INDYCAR tripleheader at IMS.


Brad Keselowski – driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang - Winner of the 2018 Brickyard 400 / 2012 IMS NASCAR Xfinity Series Winner

Will Power – driver of the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet - Three-time GMR Grand Prix winner / 2018 Indianapolis 500 Winner

Austin Cindric – driver of the No. 22 Menards / Richmond Ford Mustang - Two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series road course winner

Dane Cameron – driver of the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi - Three-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion

Juan Pablo Montoya – driver of the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi - Current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion / Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner

Helio Castroneves – driver of the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi - Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner

Ricky Taylor – driver of the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi - 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion / 2017 Rolex 24 and 12 Hours of Sebring winner

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Pennzoil 150 At The Brickyard, GMR Grand Prix, Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 499, IMSA Weathertech 240, Daytona, IMS, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske Racing, Team Penske, The EDJE

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fare Ye Well, Dicken Wear

A likely pair. Tom Stahler and Dicken Wear on one of many a lively meal. Image Credit: Tom Stahler

Fare Ye Well, Dicken Wear
A tearful goodbye to a close friend 
By: Tom Stahler, Managing Editor of the Journal - Republished with permission - published originally on July 1, 2020

When I would introduce Dicken Wear to people, I would say, “You know ‘the most interesting man in the world’ (from the Dos Equis commercials)? He’s got nothing on this man. Meet Dicken.”

Dicken may have been one of the most influential characters in motorsports and the automobile business that you never heard of. Some of racing’s biggest stars in the last 30 years were part of his karting programs; his grandfather, J.S. Inskip was the American coachbuilder for Rolls Royce – and one of the founders of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA); he took a group of Pixar animators on a trip on old Route 66 to inspire the backdrop for the Disney movie Cars.

Dicken - In Monterey, (from left) Dicken Wear, Johnny O’Connell, Tom Stahler. Image Credit: Tom Stahler

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Anywhere you went with him, the insiders knew him and respected him. Dicken passed away on Father’s Day morning after an 18-month battle with prostate cancer. Many of us will miss him greatly. For those of you who didn’t know him, you probably would be attracted to his magnetic humor and outgoing nature.

His entire life was spent in the automotive and motorsports industry. For many years, he worked for his grandfather’s dealership which was the importer/distributor of many English makes — MG, Rolls-Royce, Aston-Martin, Austin-Healy, Iso-Rivolta and Iso-Griffith — in just about every position imaginable. When the family sold the dealership in 1977, he took over the family’s Motorsports Division and Racing Team: “The Original Competition Engineering Since 1954”

A night out during the Long Beach Grand Prix (LtoR) James Groth, an unknown gal, Dicken Wear, Tom Stahler. Image Credit: Tom Stahler

He has been a race team manager, race driver and mentor to many “stars to be” in karting. He was also a journalist. He founded the Motorsports Report, which will now continue under the leadership of veteran IndyCar and car culture editor, Edmund Jenks.

With Craig Breedlove, Mr. World Land Speed Record. Image Credit: Tom Stahler

So many great times. So many great stories. So many late-night drives. So many on-track experiences.

Once the last engine was switched off at Laguna Seca at the end of Monterey Car week, the tradition became to make the 20-mile trip north to Watsonville to the Fish House. Come for the fish, stay for the bananas foster (video above - Dicken Wear, Tom Stahler, Charlie Vogelheim, Edmund Jenks ... from a "head's up" message by Josh Farmer).

Tom Stahler, Dicken Wear, John Kraman. Image Credit: Tom Stahler

What I will remember most is a guy who always had time to talk, help and just be a friend.

I’m missing you already, Dicken.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Journal, Dicken Wear, JS Inskip, The Motorsports Report, The Original Competition-Engineering, The EDJE

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Dicken Wear . . . Gettin'​ His Kicks On Route 66

How does one define a Dicken Wear? Neither easily nor shortly. A recognition of a friend and colleague who passed from this life a bit too quickly on Father's Day 2020. Image Credit: John Dinkel (2017)

Dicken Wear . . . Gettin'​ His Kicks On Route 66
By: John Dinkel, Contributor to the SAE's Automotive Engineering magazine - Republished with permission - published originally on June 24, 2020

So . . . how to define a Dicken Wear.  That’s the third thought that hit me after learning from friends back in the north country (the One that is North of Australia) that Dicken had passed away.

My first thought was that Dicken was in a far better place, free of the cancer that had wracked his body for the past two years, and, secondly, great sadness at the loss of a dear friend.

Dicken behind the wheel of a Kidracer at the 2017 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: John Dinkel (2017)

Dicken was amazing.  I don’t know another person who had the knowledge and connections in motorsport that Dicken had.  And seemingly in every area and at every level of motorsport.  And these were not just casual acquaintances from chance meetings.  He literally knew and was friends with motorsports connections from go-karting to Formula 1.

Dicken hauled my Meyers Manx all the way from Arizona when I bought it. And yes, that is "" lettered on the engine-protection bumper. Image Credit: John Dinkel (2017)

But Dicken was much more than a storehouse of motorsports knowledge.  He was a genuinely nice guy.  You got a problem?  Dicken was there to help. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I called Dicken, or he called me, when he wasn’t behind the wheel of a truck or a car . . . typically a BMW.  Someone needed a car or something hauled somewhere.

Question: Did Dicken ever NOT wear a car shirt? Image Credit: John Dinkel (2017)

About 10 years ago [2010], I posted the following words on Dicken’s Linkedin page that are as true today as they were then:

How do you define a Dicken Wear? 

Neither easily nor shortly. An East Coaster, from Road [sic] Island, with deep roots in the auto industry. His grandfather was a Duesey of an enthusiast who built Rolls-Royces and imported, distributed, or sold almost all English sports cars from the 1940s through the mid 1960s. Aston-Martin, Morris, MG, etc. In other words he Triumph-ed over adversity to live a live of Riley, but it was not an Austin-tacious lifestyle. 

Ditto his father. Dealerships, racing, fabrication . . . that’s a small microcosm of a Dicken Wear. 

Wanna design and build a go-kart track? That’s Dicken. Name a dozen top currents racers and more than a few probably attribute their success to Dicken. Formula Atlantic, IMSA, Grand-Am? Dicken has had his hands wrapped around all of them. SEMA, LBGP, PRI? Dicken will be hanging out. LA Auto Show, Grand National roadster Show? Yup, he’ll be there too. Ditto car museums. 

Write him a big enough check and he’ll design and build you a sports racer/track car/hot rod. And that’s not a complete fabrication! Right now he’s got a hot SEMA Dodge Challenger connected to his name. Dicken loves anything dealing with cars and car people. 

He owns more BMWs than most car dealers . . . and most of them need a little work. But they are fast and they handle. He also loves writing and shooting cars, following in the foot steps of one of his heros, Pete Lyons. 

I can’t think of anyone more fun to hang out with than Dicken Wear. Okay, Paris Hilton would probably get me “access” to a few more places than Dicken. Oh, and we have one other thing in common: We’re both pizza snobs! 

You owe it to yourself to know a bit more about this unique human being called Dicken Wear.  I suggest the following links as a start.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Dicken Wear, Inskip, Competition-Engineering, Go-Karts, Rolls Royce, Motor Press Guild, SEMA, PAPA, AARWBA, ASRA, The Motorsports Report, The EDJE

Monday, June 8, 2020

Genesys 300 At Texas Motor Speedway Opens INDYCAR Season Without Fans In The Stands

"Please Come Back - I'm Ready" by Bill Patterson depicts the new Dallara with first season Red Bull Aeroscreen

Genesys 300 At Texas Motor Speedway Opens INDYCAR Season Without Fans In The Stands

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES got off to a late season start in a most grand and professional way. For the first-time ever, the season started the evening of June 6th, 2020 at a first-time venue for a season opener titled the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway - a high-banked mile and a half oval known for 214+mph speeds and close finishes. This event also featured a first-time where no one was allowed to pay money at a turn-style and sit in a seat to witness the competition on the track - in America? No concession's confectionery was allowed to be purchased because there were no fans.

Graham Rahal during the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday, June 6, 2020. Graham tracks along pitlane in his Aeroscreen modified Dallara racecar in oval trim as the field goes to restart without fans in the stands a Texas Motor Speedway. Image Credit: Chris Jones - NCIS (2020)

From the beginning, everyone knew this was going to be a high-stress affair ever since the nation went on a commercial lock-down, due to fears and concerns in readiness over the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in March after the first major event cancellation was ordered by Austin Texas Mayor shut down the rites of late winter South By Southwest (SXSW) music and culture festival. Soon thereafter, the traditional season-opener through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida followed suit setting off a chain of chaotic ripples throughout the potentials of a 2020 racing series season originally set a 17 races ending in September.

Adding insult to injury to this set-up of a natural disaster aided by Human decision-making and control, this was to be the very first season the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) was under the new leadership of Roger Penske, who had purchased the INDYCAR sanctioning body and the track from the Hulman & Co. who had been in control of both the unified series and the track since February, 2008. The IMS track and the INDY 500 event had never been under any other leadership than Hulman & Co. since the facility was purchased by Tony Hulman, November 14, 1945, re-setting the modern history of American motorsport.

Given the chaos created in this era of the hysteria and fear created by the illness and potential ending of life in a newly identified (first isolated and identified on January 7, 2020) virus infection from Wuhan, China, it is probably amazing that this first race of a recently confirmed 16 race 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season (down from 17 races), ending in October at St. Petersburg, Florida, was actually held - fans or no fans.

With all of this as a backdrop, oops - adding that there was a 6 race 2-D gaming race series held in order to keep 3-D driver skills up and fan interest somewhat focused, but this effort, while better than nothing, left most fans with a very large void that real life, with real teamwork and the technology of cars on a dynamic physical forces track (masks, or no masks) could ever be matched in the cyber world.

Again, with all of this as a backdrop, oops - with a week's worth of Black Lives Matter violent protests (riots with property damage, deaths, and fires to 100s of buildings} - masks, or no masks by gatherings of people in very close shoulder to shoulder physical proximity without a Governmental concern of enforcement to their edicts on Social Distancing. As well as the fact that the Governor moved to a stage one open-up crowd strategy of 25% commercial capacity allowed for open air event environments for music and sporting events - whereas, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Texas Motor Speedway decided not to take advantage of for this first-time set of circumstances.

Lastly, again, with all of this as a back drop, the INDYCAR teams put on the event under a 30 some-odd page booklet of COVID-19 protocols including masks, pit crew behavior, number of people in a pit crew, TV interview set-ups and protocols, and etc.. One could sense the tension that was requisite above and beyond just racing in the first race of the season - what comes to mind was watching team owner of the winner of the race - Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi, struggling to keep a mask properly displayed upon his face throughout the event.

Firestone Firehawk tires used during the race came from an interesting sets of background and understanding. First off, this Dallara had never turned laps while in race trim at full anger. This being the first race of the season with a new platform, created some guesswork by the professionals at Firestone. What they ended up with is that the Rightside/Outside tires were the testing tires used to match up with the new aerodynamic stresses and down-force presented with adding the Areoscreen to the body. The Leftside/Inside set of tires chosen were last year's INDY 500 tires figuring that they would be able to handle the Texas track heat (nearly 150F degrees at race time) and speeds of around 214 during Qualifications for the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday, June 6, 2020. Image Credit: Chris Owens - NICS (2020)

The whole of the teams, owners, drivers, emergency support staff, and the TV production crew at NBC put on a real professional event performed at the highest levels of standard and to anyone with a trained eye, not one foot was placed wrong throughout the event.

Were mistakes made? - YES, this is reality with real world consequences. No quick digital pitlane resets here.

Was any of this a distraction to the professionalism of staging a race with a whole new platform of race car with the added safety feature of an Aeroscreen which changed up potentials in tiree wear on a banked oval track with average speed of over 214mph between 23 of the 24 cars scheduled to take to the track for just under 300 miles of tire to tire, side-by-side racing? - NO, in fact this first race of a Penske owned professional racing series at the highest levels of professional challenge in motorsport anywhere in the world was beyond a phenomenal success.

As far as holding a race without fans in the stands, NBC for its part decided to broadcast the race on Saturday evening through its over-the-air general non-cable portal with a tremendous response.

Scott Dixon celebrates with his socially distanced/virtue-signalling team after winning the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday, June 6, 2020. Image Credit: Chris Owens NICS (2020)

This excerpted and edited from IndyStar -

Saturday's 2020 series Genesys 300 that served as the season-opener shown on NBC, IndyCar's first network broadcast in primetime in seven years, averaged 1.285 million viewers across the show, which aired from 8-10 p.m. Unsurprisingly, Indianapolis led all markets with a 4.36 household rating — meaning 4.36% of homes with TVs on during the broadcast were tuned into the race.

On a national scale (and excluding Indy 500s), it was the most-watched NBC-broadcast IndyCar race ever, surpassing last year's race at Road America (1.110 million viewers), and it became the series' most-watched race since the 2016 Dual at Detroit Race 2 (1.397 million on ABC).
[Reference Here]

Bravo to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for a near perfect race under extremely un-perfect circumstances breaking a near 80 day lock-down of society as a whole.


Next up? NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, July 4 on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

One can only hope that this race is attended with people on the grounds at IMS under these understandings: If one is sick and has a fever - report to a hospital or stay home. If one is in an identified vulnerable demographic and fearful - stay home. Outside of this, enter living life at one's own risk, with the exact-profitable-densities the retail establishments had, as if it were New Year's Day 2020!

Lookin' for FANS, not NO FANS come race day at IMS - home at Indiana, Wuhan Red Death be damned.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: NTT INDYCAR SERIES, COVID-19, Wuhan Virus, GMR Grand Prix, Genesys 300, Texas Motor Speedway, NO FANS, Masks, Social Distancing, Professionalism, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Penske Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, The EDJE

Monday, April 20, 2020

NETCODE Meets Up With DIGITAL COURAGE - IndyCar iRacing Challenge & SRO's GT Rivals eSports

NTT IndyCar Series Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Rookie Alex Palou streaks toward the start/finish line in his No. 55 Dallara Honda during the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi, the fourth race in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Image Credit: Chris Graythen (Getty Images) via NICS

NETCODE Meets Up With DIGITAL COURAGE - IndyCar iRacing Challenge & SRO's GT Rivals eSports

Let's be honest around here - digital racing is only racing for those with digits on the electronic messaging input virtual "steering wheel" and not much else.

Those who strive to remain connected to motor racing culture are left with the very inadequate yet colorful familiar impressions of a laser coded two-dimensional racing venue.

In recent successive weeks we were treated to event races, featuring truly professional drivers from IndyCar and IMSA/SRO Series, broadcast online or cable television from places like Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park, Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, Super Speedway Michigan Raceway, Danika Patrick's favorite track outside of the United States Twin Ring Motegi, and a very international circuit in San Marino, Italy Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

When the headlights of big events go out, the passion for engines remains on. As in other important sports facilities, in addition to national and international competitions, Misano World Circuit opens its doors to "Misano Circuit Tour", the program that offers the opportunity to visit the circuit named after the great Marco Simoncelli. Image Credit:

Almost sounds exciting, almost like a travelogue, doesn't it? Well, it is not.

Interesting? Yes - but not exciting.

The expressions of NETCODE and DIGITAL COURAGE are very real functional (or non-functional given one's point-of-view) and potentially the Achilles heel elements of a gaming presentation, in a replacement motor sports event, no matter how good the graphics and on-air talking head ,via ZOOM or Skype pop-up window, color might be.

DIGITAL COURAGE (first put forward in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge Round 1 from Watkins Glen by announcer Townsend Bell) is the recognition that no real consequence happens to a driver or the repair-ability of the car when a competitor becomes too aggressive at Race Start, or within the game other than some program template consequence.

If a digital colorful blob slides off the track due to a move that could be classified as DIGITAL COURAGE, instead of having the "track" come under a Full Course YELLOW (FCY), the colorful blob is simply placed back onto the Pit Stop area of the digital race track and a time assessment of having to wait x-seconds, then the competitor can proceed back onto the track "fully repaired" and resume the fray. This process brings forward just a bit of disconnect for the viewer as well as the competitor because the calculation for a consequence almost goes on completely missing.

NETCODE is technology disconnect of a different nature and can happen even if somehow there was an element of "skin-in-the-game" (like a fee in advance before competition starts in order to bring forward the concept of prize money).

Wikipedia defines NETCODE as a blanket term for anything that somehow relates to networking in online games; netcode is a term most commonly used by gamers when discussing synchronization issues between clients and servers. The actual elements of a game engine that can cause so-called "netcode issues" include, among other things, latency, lag compensation or the lack thereof, simulation errors, and network issues between the client and server that are completely out of the game's hands. Netcode as a term tends to be used only in the gaming community, as it is not recognized as an actual computer science term.

The net effect of a NETCODE issue - if this is an issue that remains localized to the individual competitor/driver - is the ultimate consequence of not being able to compete/play at all, making the experience for both fan and participant unsatisfactory in a way that seems more blasphemous than any real world non-compete definitive occurrence.

This NETCODE "bug" could pop-up at almost anytime in any game and is probably a bigger issue now that most neighborhoods across these United States are under a shelter-in-place order. Since everyone is at home all day, people are online so as to blunt the speed of the Internet as well as infections from a pandemic virus labelled COVID-19 ... which led to the broadcasting of these digital motorsports racing events in the first place. Otherwise ... who'd care?

Well...yesterday [at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca GT Rivals eSports] had some ups and downs! Qualified P2 and pitted from P2. Then after rejoining in P8 and running my strategy, lap traffic decided to race me hard and we had contact that caused a spin. Then after circulating with damage I was P7 and got collected by a driver who let his car roll down the track unattended... Which totalled my car. Thankfully I finished in the top 25 which gets me reinvited to the next event. Hopefully next race is a little cleaner! On another note, learning a lot with setup and what makes a quick car, but also what makes a long lasting car. So much goes into the preparation for these events and to be your own "engineer" against others with more "resources" is difficult. But boy does it feel good to be competitive! I thank my wife @bydanikoch for being understanding during the days leading to these events. Hahaha. Image & Caption Credit: iRacing via Kenton Koch FB Timeline

Another less than satisfactory DIGITAL COURAGE element observed during the SRO World Challenge GT Rivals eSports platform second race of IMSA and SRO Series sportcar drivers held at Misano World Circuit. The race, itself, was very hotly competitive throughout the field but especially up front between the top three podium positions.

A bit past half way through, former Southern Californian Kenton Koch, signed in to his purple metallic No. 59 BSport Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 from North Carolina, was beginning to challenge for the lead with Sim racer Josh Staffin, when the race stewards assessed a Drive Through Penalty (from a passing incident that happened around 1:14:20) to Kenton.

This excerpted and edited from Sportscar 365 -

Sim Racer Staffin Wins GT Rivals Round in Misano
By: John Dagys - April 19, 2020

Staffin took his No. 230 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo to a 30.248-second win over the No. 90 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Kevin Boehm.

It came after incidents for both Bryan Heitkotter and Kenton Koch, who were in contention for the win in the 60-minute race.

Staffin, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, led every lap from pole.

Round 1 winner Heitkotter dropped from second to fifth in his Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 after contact with the curb in Turn 6 that sent him into the wall with less than 25 minutes remaining.

The former Nissan GT Academy North America winner finished fifth.

Koch briefly assumed second after Heitkotter’s incident but was handed a drive-through penalty for contact, which he did not serve and was disqualified.
[Reference Here]

The race stewards assessed the drive through penalty and one supposes that Kenton did not agree, or wished to discuss this with the stewards. He drove on and went beyond the two (or three) lap grace period while challenging for the lead and ...

... B O O M, just like that (at around 1:21:00), his Aston Martin, which was the focus of the broadcast at the time, was proceeding down the front straight in anger, at full acceleration, then it was showed parked in pitlane with the broadcasters, who were caught out by surprise as well, left to explain that Kenton Koch was disqualified.

People watching this could all have suffered a whiplash. Very unnerving to the fan who was interested in the "driving" during the competition.

Sportscar driver and coach, Kenton Koch's virtual racing rig. Image Credit: Kenton Koch via FB Timeline

One can only imagine what was going on in Kenton Koch's mind, to the realtime imagining, the feeling that he was actually driving, in his very fast Aston Martin, while sitting in a room somewhere, then suddenly he sees a view of being absolutely stationary on a track pitlane somewhere in Italy.

This has to give the sensation of an electric SHOCK with no electricity while sitting in a chair, looking at screens, in a room somewhere in North Carolina.

In the IndyCar iRacing Challenge Round 4 FIRESTONE 175 @ Twin Ring Motegi run this last weekend, DIGITAL COURAGE was also on display, but the most noteworthy incident, which did not have an effect on the outcome, came directly at race's end. The race was won by Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud for the second weekend in a row, followed by digital rookie Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, with lap leader Will Power filling out the podium.

Soon after crossing the Start/Finish line, and coming hard at full speed, Scott Dixon rear-ended Simon Pagenaud nearly disabling the digital Chevy Dallara he was in and throwing off the rear-wing and engine cover of his DXC sponsored platform.

What's worse, a now out-of-control Scott Dixon spins in front of a non-contesting Helio Castroneves who t-bones Dixon's Dallara and sails up into the fence to possibly deal Helio a digital career-ending catch-fence injury. Of course, this being digital where the most damaging thing to happen would be NETCODE because nothing is working out properly as planned or engaged, Helio Castroneves finished the race without one hair ever being out of place just like in reality.

This also left Simon to do his digital victory donuts in a very damaged looking car - not a pretty sight. Oh, but this did not stop Simon's wife Hailey, from popping the cork on a bottle of victory champagne. 

Post Race Communications UPDATE:

Turns out there is another element involved with this brave new world of truly Professional 3-D drivers compeating in a 2-D world and it is in-race communications. This can be termed as being an equal partner to NETCODE and it would be NOT-TOLD.

Take the situation that happened in last Sunday's virtual motor sports event put on by sportscar racing sanctioning SRO GT Rivals eSports from San Marino.

Kenton Koch was running in the top three positions for most of the race when  Bryan Heitkotter running in the second position in his Nissan GT-R GT3 behind Josh Staffin in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo (who later went on to win). At around 2/3rds through the race Bryan Heitkotter had a miscue off of the track leaving Kenton in his BSPort Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 to chase down the gaming leader Staffin. Koch's car seemed the better for late race action given that it was gaining on the P1 of Josh Staffin when the race stweards decided that Kenton Koch came too close to lapped traffic cars when passing them on the track and issued a DRIVE-THRU Penalty.

The problem resulted in Kenton Koch being DISQUALIFIED since Kenton was NOT-TOLD and his car was placed in pitlane.

In a post race communication, this is what Kenton Koch had to say via FB private messaging about the DQ.

"I actually never knew I had the penalty... Sorry to burst your bubble [in my imaginary story telling above]. I just never got a notification in my field of view and was focused on driving. I'm new to the game, so apparently I needed to have different boxes checked or something to get the correct notification."

So now there are three things competitors need to be aware of when racing in virtual 2-D:

Last scatological thoughts on virtual motor sports racing events in relation to the everyday seriousness of living life and racing in reality:

2-D destroys the opportunity for awe.

2-D for too long creates the effect of numbness to the tactile effect and excitement of reality.

The longer this virtual shelter-in-place world goes on, hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.

In being a race fan watching digital racing, one begins to get the sensation of banging their head on a beam that's not even there.

... notes from The EDJE

Next Up?

IndyCar iRacing Challenge Rounds 5 & 6 ... the finale
The IndyCar iRacing Challenge returns on April 25 at Circuit of the Americas, and continues on May 2 with a non-NTT IndyCar Series track to be announced. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit

SRO GT Rivals eSports
GT Rivals Esports Invitational returns to action on Sunday, April 26th from the south of France at Paul Ricard. Tune-in on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook for all the action.

TAGS: IndyCar iRacing Challenge, SRO World Challenge GT Rivals eSports, virtual, NET CODE, DIGITAL COURAGE, Simon Pagenaud, Kenton Koch, Aston Martin, Chevy Dallara, Team Penske, BSport Racing, The EDJE

Monday, March 30, 2020

Decisions Made, Digital Games Played

Sage Karam leads Felix Rosenqvist (complete with the 2020 season introduction of the Aeroscreen safety platform addition) and the rest of the field through the esses during the American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International, the first event of the planned 6-Race INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Image Credit: Chris Graythen (Getty Images) via NTT IndyCar Series

Decisions Made, Digital Games Played

The Wuhan Virus | Chinese Virus | Coronavirus | COVID-19 pandemic has had its impact on just about everything in life, and living activity worldwide. In an effort to reduce the speed of the spread of this potential life-ending illness through human contact, it was determined that a policy of social distancing and human interaction through shelter-at-home "lockdown" requests all around, was the first best policy at protecting life of those who has not become infected.

Sports car racing team Marco Polo Motorsports got the 2020 GT4 America season off to a strong start last weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas. The No. 71 KTM X-BOW secured podium finishes in both races with drivers Nicolai Elghanayan and Mads Siljehaug, putting them fourth in the GT4 America Silver Cup class championship standings. Due to pending homologation for the 2020 KTM X-BOW, the team reverted to running the 2019 KTM race car against a highly competitive field of sports cars. Image Credit: SRO GT4 America (2020)

What motorsports enthusiasts across the globe missed due to the timing of the advancement of this invisible scourge was the beginning of every professionally sanctioned season start to the 2020 championships - F1, WEC, NTT IndyCar (under its new stewardship as a Roger Penske led enterprise), NASCAR, and so on. About the only professional series race held, without the planned WEC participation, was the SRO Motorsports GT World Challenge America, GT4 America Sprint, SprintX, and TC America held at Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) the weekend of March 7-8, 2020.

This social distancing and human interaction through shelter-at-home "lockdown" requests wasn't going to end activity, especially since all had to place their motor culture based competitive passions on hold throughout the winter off-season. Fans and participants alike were not going to be held back from their desires to compete and watch competition by professionals each in their own disciplines.

Enter ... the virtual life.

iRacing NASCAR race screenshot as displayed by The Vrege

This excerpted and edited from The Verge -

Virtual replacement races are drawing stars — and tons of eyeballs
By By Sean O'Kane@sokane1 Mar 22, 2020, 7:00am EDT

For many, the cancellation of major sporting events was the moment that made the coronavirus pandemic feel real for the first time. But while fans of baseball, basketball, soccer are left wondering when they’ll see players back in action, racing fans don’t have to wait — because many of their favorite drivers are already competing in online sim racing competitions that were spun up in the days since the first real world races were canceled.

The first few of these substitute sim races, held last weekend, were successful in ways that surprised even the organizers. Now, many of the people who put them on have spent the intervening week trying to figure out how to use that momentum to fill the gap left by real world racing, as fans around the world hole up at home in a collective attempt to slow the spread of a global virus.
The success of these first few replacement races was a testament to how far sim racing has come during the rise of esports (and the era of Twitch), but it also sheds light on a truth that a lot of motorsports fans have become familiar with: that a new age of competitive, virtual motorsports is already upon us.
Within minutes of those [season opening] races being canceled, people like TJ Majors started making phone calls and sending text messages.

Majors is the “spotter” for the #22 NASCAR team, meaning every Sunday during the season, he’s standing on the roof of the grandstands letting the driver know (via radio) what cars are around him, when it’s safe to change lanes, things like that. It’s no surprise, then, that he helped spin up a virtual replacement for the canceled Atlanta race. After all, it’s literally his job to be looking out for other people.
Majors called up iRacing’s executive vice president to get the green light. He started contacting NASCAR personalities, too, like Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who retired last year after suffering multiple concussions), rising star driver William Byron, and Chad Knaus, who was the crew chief for each of Jimmie Johnson’s seven championships.

Majors also called James Pike of Podium eSports, which puts on broadcast-quality productions of sim races. “I got the call from TJ on Friday afternoon, and he told us about the idea that they had put together,” Pike said in a phone call with The Verge. “He asked if we were interested in broadcasting the race, and I said, ‘are you kidding me? Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and all of those other drivers are going to be running in our race? Where do i sign?’”
“One of the funniest moments was [when fellow spotter Kevin Hamlin] calling me asking for a name of the race,” Majors said. He kept thinking about the movie The Replacements, so he suggested that, with a small tweak: “The Replacements 100,” a nod to the number of laps they would run.
One reason for the [virtual racing's] popularity, NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman said, is the similarity of the skillsets. “It’s the only esport that connects in such a parallel with the real world,” he explained. “The reason you see so many real-world drivers doing this all the time is it’s not only fun, but it literally in many ways can feel like I’m doing something that could be helping me as a real driver.”
Even Majors, who watches over a driver going 200 miles an hour every weekend, agrees to an extent. “Real racing requires an enormous amount of skill and bravery,” he said. “Sim racing is still incredibly difficult.”
[Reference Here]

As to anyone who might be skeptical as to the entertainment value to the fan who might be stuck at the issue of "skin-in-the-game" and the full team with pit stops experience, this will take just a bit of transposition - no matter how difficult SIM racing might actually be.

Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, and Kyle Kirkwood go three-wide during the American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International, the first event of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Image Credit: Chris Graythen (Getty Images) via NTT IndyCar Series

This excerpted and edited from Racer -

PRUETT: The eRevolution has to be televised

The numbers can’t be ignored. NASCAR, FOX Sports 1, and iRacing combined to generate a 0.53 Nielsen rating on Sunday, which equated to 903,000 viewers, by choosing to air stock car racing’s first live Esports event on cable television this year.

Even better, 297,000 of those who tuned in for the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series skewed towards a younger demographic, with the coveted 18-49 range making up nearly one-third of the viewers. That’s roughly the size of the crowd that packs into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500 each May, which is hailed as the largest single-day sporting event in the world.

One analyst reckons the broadcast was the most watched Esports event of all-time across North American airwaves, and that alone should have IndyCar, IMSA, Formula 1, and every other major series clamoring to have their upcoming Esports races featured on TV.

IMSA held its Sebring SuperSaturday iRacing event last weekend across its YouTube and Twitch channels, which combined to draw an average of 10,000 viewers or so through live streaming, and IndyCar is set to use the same online delivery outlets for its upcoming race on Saturday. Even with a significant spike over IMSA’s streaming numbers, IndyCar’s audience size will pale in comparison to NASCAR’s wildly successful e-visit to FS1.

The TV component has become a must-have item, and with most sports networks struggling to produce new content, the NBC/NBCSNs and ABC/ESPNs should have the ability to clear the decks and accommodate their various racing series.

And before we hammer IMSA and IndyCar for aiming low and offering nothing other than YouTube and Twitch, there are a few nuances to consider here.

Every racing series has prioritized finding new and younger fans, and venturing into gaming has been among the core strategies employed by most sanctioning bodies.
But life in a coronavirus world is far from normal, and by sticking to the let’s-get-younger-by-streaming-with-Esports playbook, a massive amount of older fans get orphaned in the process. It makes the dual delivery methods chosen by NASCAR and FS1, with cable and streaming options presented to fans of every age, especially smart.
With everything else in our lives seeming to change on an hourly basis, giving folks an eNASCAR race, on the day and time the series’ fans carve out to watch from their living room, was a welcome respite from an uncomfortable reality.
As series and their teams search for ways to give sponsors value while the pause button has been pressed on live racing events, the 903,000/293,000 numbers from FS1 are guaranteed to spur action from the IndyCars and IMSAs.

Some digital artists who develop liveries for various teams have reported an increase in business since last weekend as everyone from professional drivers to auto manufacturers have commissioned iRacing liveries that replicate their real cars.
“There’s the potential for something big here, that can last,” said IndyCar driver Conor Daly, whose passion for all forms of Esports is well-known. “I was watching the eNASCAR race on FOX, but I was also watching one of the driver’s Twitch feed because it was more of a personalized thing. The TV option was great, and they clearly advertised it enough, and the drivers tweeted it out, and people knew to tune in. And it worked.
[Reference Here]

The NTT INDYCAR Series effort was received very well by fans (IndyCar reports 600,000+ online) and driver participants alike. Nothing will ever replace real racing on real track, but the iRACE display over YouTube was very acceptable visually as well as on-track feel in competition.

This excerpted and edited post race comments from the inaugural INDYCAR iRace Challenge effort titled the American Red Cross Grand Prix and run on the virtual Watkins Glen International -

Most informative comment was made by Will Power:
Obviously we all want to get back in the real car, get back testing and all that, but in the meantime this is what we've got, and it's kind of amazing that you can get a bunch of drivers all in different places racing a race in cars that look exactly the same and doing about the same lap times, so it just shows you what technology -- how far technology has come in the last 20 years.

Second most interesting comment was contributed by Felix Rosenqvist:
I mean, my other one was only a steering wheel attached to the desk, so it was very -- like the most simple rig you can have, so I've made a big upgrade this winter because the off-season is so long.

I started to get bored, and I was thinking, what do I need to do to keep up with my driving, and I bought a really good setup here in the U.S., and yeah, it kind of came in handy. I got that in January, so I'm pretty happy I did all that, and I got some practice done the last couple of weeks. So yeah, it's good fun. It's a good way to get into the sport, as well, for young kids.

I really want to stress the point that you don't need a really expensive sim to be competitive. You know, there's plenty of guys out there iRacing who they finish top three in really, really tough races and they only have basically what I had before, just a steering wheel on a desk.

INDYCAR iRacing Challenge News Conference
Saturday March 28, 2020 - Press Conference
Sage Karam - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Felix Rosenqvist - Chip Ganassi Racing
Will Power - Team Penske

LEIGH DIFFEY: Hi, folks. Hope you've enjoyed the inaugural iRacing INDYCAR Challenge, the American Red Cross Grand Prix of Watkins Glen. I think sort of the first one out, it was very enjoyable, and I think that we can call it a success. And we need to congratulate the top three in the race, starting with the race winner from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Sage Karam.

Sage, you're no newcomer to this form of racing. I think it was something like your 144th iRacing road course win, so congratulations. Nice way to come out and start 2020 that way. By the way, if you didn't know, there's going to be a donation made to the American Red Cross in your name, and you're also going to get a ring and a custom trophy from Jostens, so a couple of extra bonuses there for you on a job really well done today.

You had a victory of just over three and a half seconds, and from pole to Victory Lane you looked pretty much in control the whole way. Was that the case?

SAGE KARAM: I'd like to say yeah, but no, it wasn't totally in control the whole way. Had a few moments for sure, especially late in the race, had a lapper spin right in front of me and nearly lost it all there. But no, it was good. I was really worried about qualifying because Will was basically doing qual sims for the past week like every day all day, and I thought he was going to be hard to beat for pole. I didn't really have a perfect lap. It was a pretty good one, but when I saw his first lap, I thought, I think he's going to be able to get me here.

But I don't know if he like went off on his second or whatever, but --

WILL POWER: Yeah, I did.

SAGE KARAM: I wasn't too confident, and then when I just knew I had it, I was like, all right, this is going to make life a little bit easier hopefully. But it seemed like Felix found some speed today where he was able to run really, really good race pace. I was really banking on my race pace to be my strong suit, and when I saw Felix was not going anywhere and not falling back, I was getting kind of worried. I was hoping I could get a little bit of a gap and kind of cruise, but I basically had to push basically the whole race.

Yeah, it was cool to get Wix up front and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and it means a lot to those guys, and during this time where we can't really do much, it's great to be able to get the sponsors out and the teams out and be able to give the fans and the media something to cover and watch and have some fun.

LEIGH DIFFEY: It was a lot of fun for myself and Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Because you've been involved with iRacing for so long, what was your big picture view of it? Typically you would be racing fans, other racers, members of the public. Now you're in here against your INDYCAR peers. How was it in your view and in your mind?

SAGE KARAM: Yeah, no, it was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the rest of them. It's kind of cool, you've got like a complete mixed bag. You've got guys who literally just signed up for iRacing this week, and then you've got guys that have been there forever, since like 2007, like me. You know, it's pretty cool to see and try and help out everybody and get them fully up to speed, and I think it was really awesome to see the amount of time and prep that every driver put into it.

It was almost every single day, all hours of the day for the past week of drivers just in the rooms, doing laps. Even though some guys were new to it, nobody wanted to be that guy that just was out there just cruising around. We're all competitors. We all want to do our best. We all want to win, and it was really impressive to see everybody grab it by the horns and get after it. Big hats off to INDYCAR, big hats off to the drivers, all the teams, everybody who made it happen. It was a really cool event, and I really hope the fans enjoyed it.

Felix Rosenqvist sails up the hill toward Turn 3 during the American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International, the first event of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. The cars are sporting the new Aeroscreen and full sponsorship badging making all to feel a bit more serious - great track graphics from iRace. Image Credit: Chris Graythen (Getty Images) via NTT IndyCar Series

LEIGH DIFFEY: Congratulations on the win. To second place now from Chip Ganassi Racing, Felix Rosenqvist. You had a very kind of parallel race and similar race to the one that Sage had and you got pretty close to him there towards the end. Did you ever think you may have had something for him?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think by just based on pure pace, I didn't really have what it took. I think we did similar lap times, but whenever I got closer, it seemed like Sage was able to react and go a bit faster. So I was kind of hoping for the lapping part to be my advantage, but there were some cars flying and stuff, and every time I thought Sage was collected, he seemed to get through all of them.

In these races you can never really -- you have to do all the laps until the finish because you never know when -- it's very easy to make a mistake on your own or to get together with someone. It's pretty hard to race closely.

But yeah, I think I was also really impressed with the effort that everyone put in and how well it came together. I actually had a look at the TV just to see how it looked, and the cars look amazing and the track and everything almost looks like real. It was cool to see my NTT Data car there, as well. Yeah, in these times it was nice to do something for the fans and for ourselves. We're competitors, and we don't want to sit around all the time just waiting, so yeah, good fun.

LEIGH DIFFEY: Just listening to a couple of things you said there, was there a few times it was a bit wild? Was it a bit of a wild ride?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, my race was pretty smooth. I think Sage had more -- he had more things going on when he lapped other cars, but he never lost any time, so yeah, it was hard to make any advantage doing that. My race was -- I never really had any battle with anyone, just the lapped cars, but I just blew my Push-to-Pass trying to get around people quick, and I think Sage kind of did the same thing.

Will was behind us, so his gap was also kind of static, so he had some quick laps, as well, so he was pretty fast, and I don't know what happened in the beginning, but he had like a 10-second gap to us already from the beginning, so hopefully next time he can get into the fight a bit more, as well.

LEIGH DIFFEY: There will be more questions coming from fellow members of the media here shortly. To third place, Will Power, Team Penske. You've got this ridiculous top-5 finishing percentage on iRacing. I think it's almost nearly half the races you've run you've finished in the top 5 on iRacing road courses. You continued that streak today. How was your race?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it was pretty good. I didn't know that I actually had that many top 5s in iRacing. Every time I do it, I always bloody crash out. But yeah, it was fun. I kind of was really cautious on the first lap and lost a couple positions, and then got stuck behind a couple people and Felix and Sage were able to check out, and once I cleared those guys through a pit stop sequence, it got a little longer. The gap kind of just maintained. They'd catch traffic, I'd close a little and then I'd get that traffic and it would open up again. Yeah, just tried to focus on not making mistakes, and yeah, it was enjoyable.

It was actually not very eventful for me. I kind of kept out of trouble and didn't have cars really spinning in front of me or anything. It was a pretty straightforward race. It would have been nice to have a restart or something close up with those guys, but that may have been bad for everyone watching because maybe the top four would have taken each other out, who knows.

LEIGH DIFFEY: I can't let you go without asking about this: What is this (pointing to mustache)? Is that just boredom?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it is. It's a 30-day lockdown regardless, so by the time the 30 days is up this thing is going to be gone. I might keep it, man. Nigel Mansell has never been the same since he shaved his mustache. All the great things he did with a mustache, he looked tougher; he shaved it off, it just looks weird. So maybe this is to stay.

Continued Press Conference Questions & Answers 
At Motorsports Journal Podcast Above

Needless to say, for most motor racing fans, this is a brave new world without the actual sound and feel of engines. That said, when one is watching real drivers who we have witnessed doing their magic on the track with actual skin-in-the-game, this digital game, oddly, has a place.

Just to keep a level of fan interest and sponsorship up during the off season, a virtual race a couple of times a month with the actual drivers who raced the previous season, as well as drivers who have been advancing up the ranks in advancing feeder series, could put on a scheduled display with post race interviews performed by the on-season broadcast professionals, which can serve for the training and enjoyment to all who participate - fan and driver alike.

The second of six events will be held Saturday, April 4, on the Barber Motorsports Park permanent road course. The event will be held at 4 p.m. ET and streamed through while INDYCAR's YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as iRacing's Twitch will serve as additional outlets for viewing.

Future events will be held weekly each Saturday through May 2 at the following sites: a "Driver's Choice" track (April 11), "Random Draw" track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track (May 2).

... notes from The EDJE

Keep Calm | Wash Hands & Wear Gloves | Bump Elbows Or Shoes

TAGS: Coronavirus, IndyCar, iRacing, Esports, IMSA, IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, American Red Cross, Grand Prix, INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, The EDJE

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Decisions, Decisions - Does The Long Beach Grand Prix Become Cancelled, Or Not?

Top view of  5-Time IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon. Image Credit: NTT IndyCar Series (2020)

Decisions, Decisions - Does The Long Beach Grand Prix Become Cancelled, Or Not?

LET'S ... be clear, since almost every Democrat Political Party controlled city is busy trying to cancel every event and social gathering in sight, without looking into the realities of actual infection in the Wuhan Virus/Corona Virus/COVID-19 ...

... we are looking at the beginning of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season becoming in jeopardy ... more specifically, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach cancellation is rumored to being discussed throughout the halls of the City of Long Beach.

No matter the way these discussions go - this begins the argument on WHY not hold NTT IndyCar races on into the month of October? - no matter the reason - IndyCar could use a longer season.

The first major city to throw themselves on the sword, as it were, was Austin, Texas with their music and cultural festival South By Southwest SXSW. The Mayor is now regretting this decision because the citizens of the city have stocked up and are eating in out of a gripping fear over the action taken by the Mayor - the rest of the city is suffering due to a lack of commerce.

The streets are a ghost town and the Mayor is going on air and TV to urge the citizens to go out and enjoy life ... even though there is no SXSW.


Cities holding events could take a more measured approach, recognizing that Corona Virus is less lethal than most all previous big scares where no cancelling actions were taken - H1N1 comes to mind (1,000 Americans died before the first emergency alarm was sounded and no travel restrictions were ever issued).

This was sent out via email (edited) from The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens:

The Huntington’s gardens and galleries remain open to visitors, but we are monitoring the situation closely. For the safety of everyone at The Huntington, we ask that you please:

•    Stay at home when sick and seek medical attention when needed.

•    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

•    Cough into a tissue and immediately dispose of it.

•    Avoid close contact with people who are sick

•    Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

•    Avoid shaking hands and instead use an alternative greeting protocol.

Thank you.
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens Sunday, March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. (3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
(ht: NICS)

Keep Calm | Wash Hands | Bump Elbows Or Shoes

... notes from The EDJE


Full Story Here >>>

TAGS: Wuhan Virus, Corona Virus, COVID-19, NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, The EDJE