Friday, October 11, 2019

James Dyson Backs Away From Becoming A Mobility Solutions Manufacturer

Our undergraduate accommodation is as cutting edge as our technology. The Dyson Village is home to our undergraduate engineers in Malmesbury, UK. Each 'pod' comes with inventive Dyson technology as well as bespoke furniture and fittings designed by James Dyson. Image Credit: DYSON via Facebook (2019)

James Dyson Backs Away From Becoming A Mobility Solutions Manufacturer

Back in May of this year, when patents for an electric car applied for by the British technology company, Dyson (known for its innovative vacuum cleaner and air movement solutions), became public knowledge, CEO James Dyson showed some real interest in having his company become a inventor and manufacturer of cars powered with electricity.

At the time, James Dyson said that even though this was the beginning of a long and serious process, he was realistic about the potentials for this agenda's success.

Cover art for vehicle patents submitted by Dyson. Image Credit: MobileSyrup (2019)

This excerpted and edited from MobilSyrup -

Dyson is thinking beyond the vacuum with electric car ambitions
By: Brad Bennett - MAY 9, 20194:33 PM EDT

Now that its vehicle patents are public the company is quick to point out that its vehicle might never see the light of day, but beyond that, it seems confident and excited about the EV technology it’s working on. In an email from the company’s CEO James Dyson to its employees, he says “developing new technology is an energizing and exciting experience: our vehicle project is just that. It will be entirely designed by Dyson, manufactured by Dyson, and sold by Dyson.”
[Reference Here]

Fast forward to mid-October 2019 and the seriousness of this project hits the wall of economic reality.  British inventor Sir James Dyson, said its engineers had developed a "fantastic electric car" but that it would not hit the roads because it was not "commercially viable".

Reported in May 2019 - The U.K. team is working at the secretive Dyson Hullavington Airfield, and the CEO says, “Hangar 181 is now complete with testing facilities including climatic chambers and a rolling road, and Hangar 85 is where we will construct vehicles for the latest phase of testing, starting next month.” In addition to this space, the company is about to break ground on another testing facility in Singapore. Image & Caption Credit: MobileSyrup (2019)

This excerpted and edited from a press release posted at BusinessWire -

Dyson has scrapped its electric car project - 11 October 2019

In October 2018 Dyson revealed plans to build the car at a new plant in Singapore. It was expected to be completed next year, with the first vehicles due to roll off the production line in 2021.

Dyson wanted to make something revolutionary - but also needed to make it pay. And the sums simply didn't add up.

In terms of wheels, Inventor James Dyson says that “the patents show a car with very large wheels, giving a low rolling resistance and high ground clearance. This makes a vehicle suited to city life and rough terrain but could also contribute to increased range and efficiency — vital in a vehicle where every joule of power must be used wisely.” Image & Caption Credit: MobileSyrup (2019)

Sales of electric cars are climbing rapidly. Yet they still cost more to make than conventional cars, and generate much lower profits - if any.

Major manufacturers like VW can afford to plough tens of billions into the EV industry - on the basis that economies of scale will ultimately make the technology cheaper and generate returns.

Even the upstart Tesla, widely credited with showing everyone else just how good electric cars could be, has burnt through mountains of cash and had to go cap in hand to investors [and Governments].

Dyson has concluded it simply can't afford to play with the big boys - although its efforts to make a quantum leap in battery technology will continue.
[Reference Here]

Until the verifiable case for commercial viability can be made for something more than a Golf Cart, real electric-powered car manufacturing will operate under the dual cloud of true advancements of "Clean & Green Mobility" and Commercial Viability once government subsidies run out.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: James Dyson, Singapore, UK, Battery Technology, Mobility, Clean & Green Mobility, commercial viability, The EDJE

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Firestone GP Of Monterey Locks Down A Make American Great Again NTT IndyCar 2019 Season Finale

Checkered Flag from the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Start/Finish Line tower ends a winning weekend American-style for the NTT IndyCar Series 17 race season in history making fashion. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019) 

Firestone GP Of Monterey Locks Down A Make American Great Again NTT IndyCar 2019 Season Finale

Really, how good can a season finale in American open-wheel racing get? The sanctioning history of the top professional racing series season if rife with agendas and policies to promote the development of winning American-born race car drivers.

To be honest, this was one of the main reasons for the split-up of the extrodinaridly successful CART into ChampCar and the Indy Racing League. Now, eleven years after the re-unification announcement of American professional open-wheel racing, IndyCar has a final race of the season that all Amerifiles can be proud of, and over-the-moon about, because not only did an American rookie win the P1 Pole Award and race ... an American driver secured the IndyCar Series championship.

Josef Newgarden wins the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Championship - Celebrates with Team Penske - Kisses the Astor Cup. Images Credit: Ken Manfred (2019)

Colton Herta wins the race in a perfect weekend for team Harding Steinbrenner Honda after beating out the four season points leaders for the NTT P1 Pole Award at the end of the "Firestone Fast Six" third round Knock-Out qualifications format.

Colton Herta as he guides his Honda-powered Dallara DW-12 with modern aerodynamic road course body work through Turn 8a toward 8b, also known as the Corkscrew. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019)

What placed a cherry on top of this innaugral Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS), the first top level professional open-wheel race at this iconic track in 15 years, was Team Penske Chevrolet American-born driver Josef Newgarden matching his 2017 season performance at Sonoma Raceway by finishing with a 25 point margin over teammate Simon Pagenaud for the 2019 Championship honors in the form of the Astor Cup.

Andretti Autosport's INDY500 winner Alexander Rossi as he felt great about his chances in the race qualifying withing a good striking distance of NTT P1 Pole winning Colton Herta. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien - Motor Driven Images (2019)

Adding just a touch more Make American Great Again to the mix, Andretti Autosport Honda driver Alexander Rossi entered the race one point ahead of Pagenaud for second most points garnered in the championship race - this, after losing out in 2018 to Ganassi Racing Honda driver Scott Dixon.

“It is the way it goes,” said Rossi on the team's race strategy. “We started on the used Firestone reds. We knew ultimately the guys [to beat] were Scott [Dixon] and Colton [Herta] because we knew we needed to win the race. We went opposite of them on tire choice on the grid. It was a gamble. We made the decision this morning if we were going to go for it, we would rather finish third [in points on the season championship] than second and be complacent. It is the way the chips fell."

Rookie NTT P1 Pole Award winner Colton Herta leads out the rest of the field at the start of the Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey contested at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time since 2004 [recap here]. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019)

Monterey Speed Week's Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey season finale logged in the following numbers - 90 Laps for 201.43 miles - Seven changes for the lead, Time of race: 1:53:57 - Average speed:106.057mph - Pole speed: 114.867mph.

This excerpted and edited from IndyCar-State-Of-The-Sport season-ending press conference held at WRLS -

Mark Miles - IndyCar CEO:
I'd start by saying we believe IndyCar is the most compelling form of motorsport on the planet, and I think that's more true, more defensible every year. Under Jay's [Jay Frye - IndyCar President] direction, with the combined expertise and experience of our teams of Dallara, Honda, Chevy and all of our suppliers, we just keep getting better, the racing improves, it's more competitive, and it's all done while being very attentive to managing costs for the team.

Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey 2019 Start - Polesitter and Rookie Colton Herta leads the field through the short chute between Turn 3 to Turn a - Firestone Banners stack up and act as a photo tunnel and back drop - Ken Manfred (2019)
So on the track, what can you say? We do believe it's great competition, probably the most competitive form of racing. The number of cars, as you know, if you follow the sport, has been solid on the grid for IndyCar races, 22 here to 24 throughout the year, and at the Indianapolis 500-mile race, we continue to add to the number of entrants. 36 this year trying to get in, and from my perspective, Bump Day is back, and I think the fans loved it.

Looking beyond that, we have had seven winners so far, seven pole winners and seven wins for Honda and nine wins for Chevy so far, a great balance in terms of the result between the manufacturers.

And for the 14th consecutive year, I'm sure most of you have written this, the championship has come down to the finale, and we're thrilled about that.

Team Penske's Will Power had designs on breaking up the all-American Pole/Race Win/ Season Championship by challenging Colton Herta in the final laps of the Firestone GP Of Monterey. Rookie Herta did not place a foot wrong while under pressur to win his second race of the 2019 season. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019)

Jay Frye - IndyCar President:
Thank you, Mark. So we've been working on this aero screen since 2016, so I guess you'd call this an overnight sensation. But the real game-changer for us this past year was when we partnered with Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

There's been no stone unturned on this program, this project, from driver cooling, driver expectation, clarity, glare, impact.
We believe this is an industry-changing total safety solution for driver cockpit protection. We're very excited to get it on the track because we always say the data doesn't drive, drivers drive, so the next step in the process is to get it on track and see where we're at.

The first test will be coming up at IMS on October 2nd. We'll go to Barber on October 7 and Richmond on 10/15. So it's a very aggressive schedule, but the ball is in motion for a 2020 implementation.
In regards to the hybrid piece, it's very important that we remain true to our DNA, and our DNA is fast, loud, authentic and unapologetic, so when we put together this product or put together an RFP for this product, that had to meet all those criteria. A couple of things we're working on with this piece is one is for safety so the cars will have electric starters, so the driver spins, they stall the car, they'll be able to start the car into 1 so the driver is not exposed. Another will be our AMR guys out there with an umbilical cord having to start the car, so they won't be exposed. Another thing that's really a byproduct of the whole system is hopefully we'll keep the pace of the race going, so there won't be as many yellows, so that will help, too.

But one of the bigger parts, the biggest part in our opinion is horsepower, so our goal, our stated goal is to get over 900 horsepower. This product will give us at least 50 of that, so we remain true, again, to our DNA. We want to have less downforce but have more horsepower. We're excited about this. We've got 10 current RFP's out, so the plan is to have a chosen partner in the first quarter of next year for a 2022 implementation.

These projects are big. I think they're game changers for the sport ... we've got to be who we are, and that's fast, live and authentic.
[ht: NICS]

Marco Andretti, Team RC Cola Chevrolet, No. 26 beats out Ryan Briscoe for the pole position by a mere 2/1,000th of a second. Andretti won his second career IndyCar pole position today for the season-ending MAVTV 500. Andretti last won a pole at Milwaukee in 2008. He turned two laps at an average speed of 216.069 mph on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway. This is the second pole position of the 2012 season for Andretti Autosport. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Not since the 15th race of a 15 race 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season, in the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway when we saw American Marco Andretti in a Andretti Autosport Honda take the P1 Pole Award, American Ed Carpenter in a Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet cross the Start/Finish Line first after 500 miles, and have American Ryan Hunter-Reay in his Andretti Autosport Honda finish P4 with a lead in the IndyCar Series championship points of 3 points over Will Power, have we been witness to a Make American Great Again triple (Pole, Race Win, Championship) be captured in the final race of the season.

The end of the 2012 season for Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay (RHR). RHR jumps out of his #28 DW12 as he comes home to win the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship, A.J. Foyt Oval Course Trophy, and first MavTV 500 Auto Club Speedway night time race! Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Twenty-nine changes for the lead, Time of race: 2:57:34 - Average speed: 168.939 mph - Pole speed: 216.069 mph, run under the lights at night.

The Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey was historic and a grand contest for a finale, but that race above, right there - the season-ender at Fontana? That was a finale that actually was Fast, Live, and Authentic!

MAGA baby, with a larger than 17 race season and a season-ender on the record-holding Fontana, California superspeedway with date-equity in October! It is time to make American open-wheel racing great again - MAOWRGA ... maybe we will just stick with the simple branding that can, at least, be pronounced - as in IndyCar MAGA.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: NTT IndyCar Series, Open-Wheel, Professional, MAGA, American drivers, Make America Great Again, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey, Josrf Newgarden, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, The EDJE

Thursday, August 15, 2019

NTT IndyCar Series Championship Predictions Four Races Out

Beginning of the last race of the 2017 season with Josef Newgarden in command as the field gets ready - 2 by 2 - entering Turn 11 at Sonoma Raceway for race start. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2017)

NTT IndyCar Series Championship Predictions Four Races Out

Predictions are a tricky business since this is always about placing odds on human outcomes. Variables are all over the map from driver talent and mistake performance involvement, equipment preparation and in-race support performance, track layout combined with prevailing weather, to the old adage of past performance is the best predictor of future performance and outcomes.

That being stated, there is a great portal for information about future chances that allow predictions to hit their mark much better than not. This portal is titled The Single Seater and the reason they are so good at what they do, they eliminate emotion as much as they can through mathematics ... statistics ... all that include the adage stated above.

Winner's Circle celebration as caught by NBCSN at 2:01:05 - from left to right is GoPro Grand Prix Of Sonoma race winner Simon Pagenaud being congratulated by 2017 NTT IndyCar Series Championship winner Josef Newgarden, Motorsports Journal Managing Editor Edmund Jenks, and NBCSN's Broadcaster Jon Beekhuis. Image Credit: NBCSN telecast via screengrab (2017)

This excerpted and edited from Single Seater -

State of the Championship: Assessing Newgarden’s Weak Spot
By: Drew Bennison - Aug. 8th, 2019

There are four races left in the IndyCar season. The finale at Laguna Seca has double points on offer, meaning there are at most 266 points available to any one driver. The Single Seater model currently has Newgarden in control of the championship with a 66.4% chance of winning the series title. Rossi has around a 30.9% chance of winning as he sits 16 points behind Newgarden, and Dixon and Pagenaud both hold a 1.3% chance of pulling off a late-season upset.

The helmet, gloves, and HANS device of Josef Newgarden just a minute before J-New puts them on for the final practice at the 2019 Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach. The Team Penske driver finished this fourth race of the season P2 at about 20 seconds behind Alexander Rossi, his chief rival going into these final four races. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019)

Newgarden holds the lead
Newgarden has led the points standings for most of the year thanks in no small part to his qualifying efforts. He has the second-best average starting position this year (5.8) just behind Rossi (5.5) and was the fifth most consistent qualifier as judged by average starting deviation. Newgarden qualifies for races incredibly well, but he doesn’t start races well at all. On average he loses -0.9 places in the first two laps of the race and has only retained his starting position on 54% of race starts. Ryan Hunter-Reay is the only driver in the top-10 of the points who retains his starting position at a worse rate. This could pose a threat in the final quarter of the season as two of the last four races are on road/street courses where passing is tougher. Giving up a good qualifying effort in the opening laps puts Newgarden at greater risk of getting involved in a crash or simply being unable to pass a championship rival back. Even on the ovals where it’s traditionally easier to overtake, giving up free track position obviously isn’t an ideal way to close out a tight championship battle.

Andretti Autosport celebrates its 200th win as a racing organization in the Long Beach Grand Prix Victory Circle. This mark was secured by Alexander Rossi as he won his second consecutive Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach (2018 & 2019). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019)

Rossi’s advantage
Rossi has been an even better qualifier than Newgarden with two pole positions and retains his starting position at a much higher rate than Newgarden — doing so 85% of the time. Attacking Newgarden’s weakness on the start is going to be a solid approach for Rossi to claw back the 16 point deficit. Newgarden is not a driver that makes a ton of mistakes in the race — his overly optimistic dive to Hunter-Reay’s inside on the last lap at Mid Ohio is not a move you’ll see him go for again — so being in front of him early is so important. All drivers are aggressive at the start of the race, but Rossi can be more tactfully aggressive since he knows Newgarden struggles in the first two laps. And what might be an even bigger advantage for Rossi is if Newgarden knows he struggles on starts, leading to out-of-character driving in an effort to retain his position that could cause him to make a mistake. Winning a championship is as much a mental game of keeping your concentration high as it is a physical battle on track.

So what could Newgarden do to improve this weakness in his profile? I’m not a driver coach, but I would think that taking some time in practice to simulate the start and running on cold tires could only serve to benefit him. His teammates both retain their starting position more than 75% of the time, so maybe they have some advice for their fellow driver too. With only four races left, it would do more harm than good to try to do much more and risk psyching himself out at race starts. It’ll be a problem to deal with in the off-season.

Chip Ganassi Racing's 5-time IndyCar Racing Series Champion takes the pre-race fan greet ride just as every other driver. Here Scott rides around with sunglasses and his PNC Bank hat on backwards as her tracks around infamous Turn 9 at the Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach circuit. Vantage thanks to Doug Mockett, from his special trackside suite sponsored by Doug Mockett & Company - Fine Architectural Hardware. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2019) 

Pagenaud, Dixon round out the top-four
Pagenaud and Dixon are both longshots to win the title as they sit 47 and 62 points out of the championship lead. Their success in the title hunt is going to come down more to what mistakes Newgarden and Rossi make more than anything they can do. 

INDY 500 winner for 2019 had a hot hand at IMS winning everything the track had to offer - IndyCar Grand Prix and the INDY 500. Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher - NTT IndyCar Series (2019)

Pagenaud has actually been the luckiest driver this season already according to Expected Points. He is outperforming his xPoints through Mid Ohio by +72. That means he’s scored 72 more points than we would have expected him to as judged by his average track position in races. For example, in the Indy GP Pagenaud had an ATP of 6.6, led only five laps, and was in the top-five for just 41% of the race. We would have expected him to score 28.5 points that race (about a sixth-place finish) but instead he scored 51. We see drivers who overperform compared to their expected points for a stretch of time eventually regress back to the mean. This could be over the next couple of races or next season, we don’t know exactly. But if Pagenaud is really riding a somewhat lucky sequence of races, it could mean Dixon has a good shot of at least overtaking him in the points in these last four races if Pagenaud’s results start to line up with how he has been driving. Right now, our model has Pagenaud with an expected championship finishing position of 3.3 compared to Dixon’s 3.4.

Pocono is up next
In the 50,000 simulations we did of the last races of the IndyCar season, no other driver won the championship besides these four. Newgarden and Rossi head into Pocono with a combined 97% chance of winning the title. There have been just three oval races so far this year, but Newgarden has the edge over Rossi in average starting (6) and finishing (2) position on these types of tracks. He also scores better in ATP (4.2) and ATP25 (1.9). A good weekend at Pocono could give him some breathing room in the points, but it won’t be easy. Rossi has had a good start to his career at Pocono with two podiums including a win in three races there. Newgarden has two podiums and no wins in six attempts.

These aren’t huge sample sizes, and I’d say these guys are about even. Newgarden with the advantage at ovals this season and Rossi with the advantage at Pocono the past few years. A DNF from either Rossi or Newgarden would probably flip the championship odds from “lean Newgarden” to “likely Newgarden” or to “lean Rossi” depending on who DNFs, so Rossi has more to lose than Newgarden does when it comes to a strategy gamble or risky overtake opportunities. I expect both of these guys to play it relatively safe (no high-risk-low-reward moves like we saw with Newgarden at Mid Ohio) at Pocono with three races still to go after. Pagenaud and Dixon might try to shake up the race a bit with alternative strategies given their longshot status too.

The Current Championship Odds

“Expected Championship Position”
The Expected Championship Position for each driver is the average championship finishing position we would “expect” from a driver if the end of the season were repeated infinite times. It is useful to get a point estimate forecast for each driver.

Statistical Information & Image Credit: (2019)
[Reference Here]

Sitting on the sidelines is only fun when one is engaged and informed.

So, with four races remaining in the 2019 season - ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway - Long Pond Pennsylvania, Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway - Madison Illinois, Grand Prix Of Portland at Portland International Raceway - Portland Oregon, Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca - Monterey California it's GREEN, GREEN, GREEN and may the best of outcomes prevail for all, even if the odds strongly favor Team Penske's 2017 NTT Series Champion to chalk-up a number two for his career in the double-points race at Monterey.

... notes from The EDJE


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Historic Formula Atlantic Cars To Race 2020 Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach Weekend

No. 75 Al Lader - Brabham BT40 followed by No. 2 Craig Hill - BT40 No. 91 Archie Snider - BT29 at FBRace-Spdwy-73-4. Image Credit: Mike G. Adams via FB Page, ‎An appreciation of Formula Atlantic

Historic Formula Atlantic Cars To Race 2020 Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach Weekend

Next April 18-19, Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach fans will get a double dose of nostalgia when the Historic Formula Atlantic Challenge, featuring open-wheel race cars from the 1970s and 1980s, lights up the track for a doubleheader weekend.

The twin 20-minute races will run Saturday, April 18 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 19, the same day as the NTT IndyCar Series race, with practice and qualifying on Friday.

The Formula Atlantic series ran at Long Beach from 1978-82 and 1989-2008 as one of the premier “feeder” series to top-level open-wheel racing. Drivers such as Bobby Rahal, Michael Andretti, Willy T. Ribbs, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser and Jacques Villeneuve all raced at Long Beach as they worked their way up through the Formula Atlantic ranks. Two former Formula Atlantic drivers, Keke Rosberg and Villeneuve, became Formula One World Champions, while 1979 Long Beach Grand Prix winner Gilles Villeneuve was also a Formula Atlantic graduate. Several other Atlantic drivers were Indy Car champions over the years. The Rosberg, Villeneuve and Rahal cars – along with many others – are expected to be in the race field at Long Beach.

The historic event at Long Beach will be sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA)

“Hosting the historic Formula Atlantic cars are a natural at Long Beach,” said Cris Vandagriff, president of the HMSA. “Many of the ‘movers and shakers’ in IndyCar today got their start in Formula Atlantic. It will be so exciting to see these cars on the Streets of Long Beach again and have many of the former drivers attend the Formula Atlantic autograph session. All the cars will be authentic in every detail including the livery they ran in-period.”

“We are excited to be able to showcase these vintage Atlantic cars to our fans in a doubleheader format,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “This will give our fans more on-track action and that added race will be a big part of an enhanced Sunday schedule that we are putting together for the 2020 Acura Grand Prix.”

Off the track, the Acura Grand Prix will have evening concerts, free to Friday and Saturday race ticket holders, along with the popular Lifestyle Expo and Family Fun Zone, the Food Truck Experience, Mothers Exotic Car Paddock (Sunday only) and driver autograph sessions from all race series. Fans will also see lower beer prices and healthier food options throughout the venue.

Tickets will go on public sale beginning Oct. 21, with fans able to renew their 2019 seats beginning Aug. 19. Ticket prices range from $34 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $155 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT IndyCar Series Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages.

Fans can also follow the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach.
[ht: AGPLB]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Formula Atlantic, HMSA, Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach, #AGPLB, Cris Vandagriff, Jim Michaelian, The EDJE

Friday, July 26, 2019

Da Kine Will Rogers Competes In NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race At Sonoma Raceway

Will Rodgers (Orange No. 40 Ford Fusion) lines up through Turn 9 for a restart behind the Sonoma Raceway Official Pace Car Toyota Camry. Image Credit: Kai Robertson (2019)

Da Kine Will Rodgers Competes In NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race At Sonoma Raceway

Yes! You read this correctly. It doesn't happen that often but a person born in the state of Hawaii finds himself competing at the beginning rungs of high-level American motorsports competition, in the Levin Racing No. 40 Ford Fusion sponsored by Risk Management / Port of Tucson.

Third car from the front (Orange No. 40 Ford Fusion), Will Rodgers exits Turn 6, The Carousel, setting up for the long, uphill straight toward a potential passing opportunity at the right-hander at Turn 7. Image Credit: Kai Robertson (2019)

Will Rodgers, 24, shares a very memorable sounding name with a writer and cultural humorist from the first third of our last American century - Will Rogers, and although that he may posses a sense of humor & wit, Will is looking to make his mark as a race car driver ... from Maui!

While he competed a full season in the K&N Pro Series West in 2017 and finished 5th in points within a field of 14 drivers who drove every race in the season (total drivers who scored points - 64), his first and only race in the 2019 K&N Pro Series West season was at Sonoma Raceway's Procore 200.

Will Rodgers during pre-race press conference at Sonoma Raceway before the Procore 200, Will first K&N Pro Series West race of the 2019 season. Image Credit: Kai Robertson (2019)

During the Q & A Session on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway Will Rodgers was asked how is this year's track configuration different than last year. Rodgers stated, "With the carousel, one needs to be more conservative at coming down to the carousel [from Turn 4 through Turn 5], it's a huge rise getting over from the top [entering Turn 6] and when you do it right, the car stays planted; but if you do it wrong, it comes up out of the race track, you start to wheel hop and then you're trying to get it to land in the right spot."

Noah Grayson wins Procore 200 NASCAR Pro Series West at Sonoma Raceway. Image Credit: Kai Robertson (2019)

This kid could use a full-time ride, in many ways he has earned consideration - in this, his first race of the season, in an unfamiliar car, prepared for him by a new team, he qualified at P8 and finished the race advancing two positions ahead at P6.

Race Results >>>

This, in itself shows progression, especially understanding that the track Rodgers raced at and won on before was now in a new and more difficult configuration, he was additionally passed by two drivers from behind which means he actually bested four drivers in order to finish in this strong P6 in a field of 32 drivers who competed in the K&N Pro Series West Procore 200.

Will Rodgers leads a gaggle of cars through Turn 8. Image Credit: Kai Robertson (2019)

Aloha in the Hawaiian language can be understood as either Hello or Goodbye. For a car owner and sponsors who like to see a consistent top ten finish, Da Kine Will Rodgers should hear a welcomed Aloha before the end of the season because, for Will, there will not be an Aloha heard in regards to becoming a full time Kamaaina race car driver who hails originally from our 50th state - Mahalo.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Hawaii, Maui, Will Rodgers, Sonoma Raceway, K&N Pro Series West, Procore 200, Levin Racing, No. 40, Ford Fusion, Risk Management, Port of Tucson, Kai Robertson, The EDJE

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Lessons Learned In The Needs-Satisfaction World Of "Chasing Perfect"

Lessons Learned In The Needs-Satisfaction World Of "Chasing Perfect"
The first half in a life lived as a motorcycle competitor, artist, pursuer of nature, perfectionist and ... mobility solutions designer, Frank Stephenson.

"Chasing Perfect" is a documentary style film production by Salon Pictures and Lionsgate UK that is a biographical look behind the curtain of the creative and commercially productive life of Casablanca born, Frank Stephenson.

So, just who is this man who was placed into our everyday mobility consciousness?

Listing of the documentary that Salon Pictures, with a distribution partnership through Lionsgate, found as the working title of an active project on the Salon Pictures website. Image Credit: Salon Pictures (2018)

Many people are not aware, but they are met with Stephenson designed solutions when outside of their homes through the traveling designs of the Ford Escort, the BMW X5, the re-birth of the MINI, the modern version of the Fiat 500, as well as the establishment of McLaren in the world of (can this be said?) everyday drive and affordable supercar - a calculation most supercar creators and purveyors do not consider when they create a near 200mph, or better, transportation solution that is meant to be reliably driven (as opposed to being tinkered with in the tune-up shop) everyday.

To label Frank as an artist minimizes the totality of what evolves through the many influences and points of information designer Stephenson has to consider and digest before he is given a target assignment objective and places a drawing instrument to a sheet of paper.

Caught in the act of enjoying pursuits of perfection in the McLaren presentation space along the 18th Fairway at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance - Frank and his wife, partner, best friend, co-pilot of "Riverbreeze", and co-lover of Bernese Shepherds, Linda Stephenson. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

This documentary evolves into an enticing study in the life of an eternally young man who understands that perfection is elusive but for one convergent moment, achievable, given that ultimately, what's produced has to deliver its desired effect, one customer at a time.

This is the very reason why anyone who engages in pursuits that are designed to hit their target, be it a grocer, a lawyer, a boat builder, a healthcare specialist, a government services employee, a salesman, a teacher, a small business owner, or even a CEO would benefit from sitting down and investing an hour and thirty-one minutes experiencing "Chasing Perfect" with one who is never satisfied ... even when the project is over.

These viewing minutes will deliver many lessons when one wishes to become competent at chasing the concept of perfection throughout one's life.

"Chasing Perfect" can be acquired in North America as of July 9th, 2019 via digital download order, streaming, and DVD purchase through the following resources.

Google Play

... or, just Search for your favorite portal of choice.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Frank Stephenson, Chasing Perfect, Salon Pictures, Lionsgate UK, Head Gear Films, Metrol Technology, 1091, Ford, Escort, McLaren, Ferrari, Maserati, BMW X5, Mini, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, ArtCenter College Of Design, Stewart Reed, The EDJE

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Carlin Dunne Dies Doing What He Did Best At The 97th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Carlin Dunne, 36, as he gives a segment of his preparations on the final day of practice before tackling qualifications and the 97th Running Of The Race To The Clouds. Image Credit: Ducati via video (2019)

Carlin Dunne Dies Doing What He Did Best At The 97th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Santa Barbara's preeminent motorcycle dealership, Ducati of Santa Barbara, lost one of its partners last Sunday while challenging a new record time for a motorcycle on the 97th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Carlin Dunne.

Dunne was a four-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner. Having been crowned the motorcycle winner in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018, Dunne had achieved legendary status at the Pikes Peak race. He set the course record in 2012, though that was eventually broken in 2017 by Chris Fillmore. Dunne became only the seventh person to die during events related to practices and/or class races related to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in it 97 year history.

The race is run on a 12.42-mile public toll-road and is comprised of 156 turns as competitors climb 4,720 feet, from the 9,390 feet start line to the 14,115 feet finish line at the mountain’s summit.

We've arrived. After a long road to get here, we are starting the race week today. Stay tuned for daily updates from the crew and I. #ducati #ducatistreetfighter #ducatistreetfighterv4 #v4 #carlindunne #pikespeak #colorado Image Credit: Carlin Dunne Instagram (2019)

Simply stated, Carlin Dunne lost control in a highsiding movement of his prototype Ducati Streetfighter V4 at about 20 yards (initial reports had this at about 1/4 of a mile) from the Finish Line at the top of Pikes Peak.

At the time of the loss of control and the Ducati flew off of the mountain, race officials announced an order to all photographers - LENS CAPS!

Landscaping the corners is just one of the many techniques used to gain time on the climb up the mountain. Image Credit: Carlin Dunne FB Page (2019) 

This excerpted and edited from The Gazette -

The hour without media: Pikes Peak Hill Climb shuts down press after Carlin Dunne's crash
By: Evan Petzold  Jul 2, 2019

The moment Carlin Dunne crashed, everything changed.
In a moment when the only way for anyone to find out about the crash was via news reporters and photographers on the scene, race officials silenced them. For one hour and 20 minutes, there was no official information on social media or the live radio broadcast about the crash.

Photographers were told not to photograph; reporters were told not to report.

"As with all incidents on Pikes Peak, we need the scene to be clear from media and spectators so the safety team can attend to the victim in a quick and effective manner," PPIHC Executive Director Megan Leatham said.

However, the media at the time was more than 50 feet from the safety team and was never told to clear the area, just stop reporting.

Here's what happened inside the hour without media at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, told by photographers Parker Seibold and Katie Klann, reporters Lindsey Smith, George Stoia and myself.

10:29 a.m. – Dunne crashes
Katie Klann: I could hear the final racer making his way up the final stretch. I looked through my lens and saw the man waving the checkered flag drop his flags and raise his right hand to his head. I looked over my shoulder to see shrapnel, parts of Dunne’s bike, fly over the edge of the mountain roughly 20 yards before the finish line. The man at the finish line immediately started to yell into his headset for an ambulance and ran over to the outside edge of the road. Human instinct led Parker and me to follow.

Parker Seibold: I heard what sounded like a crash and saw Carlin Dunne and his bike both fly through the corner of my frame before disappearing over the side of the mountain. In those seconds that the crash happened, I captured 22 images chronicling a man at the finish line lowering the checkered flags and grabbing his head as Carlin and his bike flew across the road and approximately 30 feet down the side of the mountain.  I held my shutter down unsure of what I was even really capturing until after the moment had passed.

Lindsey Smith: I was talking to Rennie (Scaysbrook) outside the Summit House right after he had finished, and I saw the helicopter start circling. I asked a Pikes Peak official if that should be concerning, and he said, 'No.' Then he said, 'Well, maybe' and ran away. I ran over and saw ambulance lights flashing at the finish line, so I went to listen to the radio broadcast in the Summit House where I found George.

Katie: The ambulance arrived, coming from the top of the mountain, and a man and woman hopped out and looked over the edge. They put on gloves, opened the back of the ambulance, grabbed a few supplies and headed over the edge towards Dunne.

George Stoia: I was sitting in the Summit House when the crash happened. I was expecting Dunne to be the winner and was writing the quick race story when the radio broadcast said, ‘Carlin has yet to cross the finish line.’ Lindsey came in and said she thought Dunne had crashed and was going to the finish line. I kept listening to the radio, which just kept saying he hadn’t crossed the finish line. There was no mention of a crash or what exactly happened.

Lindsey: I told George to stay in the Summit House to listen to the broadcast, and I ran to the finish line. I saw stretchers being pulled out, but there was no sign of Carlin or his bike. At that point, I was midway up the pile of boulders and pulled out my phone to tweet. I was told to put my phone away. I responded that I was just going to tweet, but a female Pikes Peak worker said it didn't matter and that I couldn't report anything I saw. She said it would be better if I just left.

By the time Lindsey was getting ready to depart the scene of the accident, I had made my way to the finish line from the final turn, which is where I took the last published video and picture of Dunne. Sprinting at 14,000 feet wasn't easy, but I knew something was fishy when I hadn't received a text message from Lindsey.

When I got to the scene, Lindsey was there – clearly frustrated about the shutdown of media coverage.

In order to have a reporter at the spot of the accident, I took Lindsey's place. The moment I came into the sight of race officials, I was told to put my camera away. I didn't even have time to digest what I was looking at. When I tried to access my phone in order to message my co-workers, I was promptly told to get rid of that, as well.

10:41 a.m. – Cameras, phones away
Katie: I sent a text saying, “I’m about to cry. He wrecked right in front of me."

Parker: I climbed up a pile of rocks and got five frames of the ambulance that had just come down from the summit before hearing someone yell, “LENS CAPS.” The phrase was repeated over and over again before the race officials were sure all cameras were either turned around or had lens caps. After pulling my cameras behind my back, an official asked me to turn around a camera that was on a tripod in the rocks. I told her it wasn’t mine and tried to explain the camera was off, and she said she didn’t care. I turned it around.

While the photographers put their cameras and phones away, I spent my time chatting with a race official about what happened. By that time, there were 10 cars – three race safety trucks, one ambulance, two search and rescue vehicles, three Jeeps and one other car. Since I was at the final turn, I did not get a chance to see the accident. However, the race official's story aligned perfectly with that of our photographers. He spent time talking with two videographers from Bentley and myself, uncovering every piece of detail.

Of course, I decided to write it all down, since pen and paper don't have a camera.

10:51 a.m. – Pen, paper also banned
George: When I got to the finish line, I was immediately told to put my phone away, which I had been using to text Lindsey about what was happening. As I walked up, Evan was told to put his notepad away or else it would be confiscated.

I was confused.

George: Evan asked why he couldn’t take notes, to which a race official responded, "Hey buddy, you need to calm down or else they will escort you off the mountain." At this point, they were starting to repel down the side of the mountain to find Dunne.

Frustrated at my inability to do my job, considering we were the only print media covering the event, I argued back. Nobody from The Gazette was breaking the law or disobeying the media regulations set in place before the event, so I didn't see a reason why we weren't allowed to work in order to tell the story of Dunne's accident.

Instead, everyone sat in silence.

10:58 a.m. – Rescuers recover Dunne
George: After being told he might be escorted off the mountain, Evan finally left the finish line. I stayed and kept time stamps on my Apple Watch. Thankfully, that doesn't have a camera. At 11:01 a.m. Dunne was pulled off the mountain on a stretcher. At 11:04 a.m. he was put into an ambulance.

Katie: I told Parker that I felt sick and my knees were shaking. Parker and I looked to the top of the mountain and saw a motorcyclist who had completed the race sitting with his head in his hands. As the search and rescue team pulled Dunne up over the ledge, they moved him from one stretcher to another and put him in the back of the ambulance.

11:06 a.m. - Dunne leaves mountain
George: Everything was silent. I couldn't see Dunne. At this point, it was completely silent. Nobody was talking except for the guys pulling him up. Once they got him up, they immediately put him into the ambulance on his stretcher. I couldn't see him, his body or if he was moving. All I saw were the ambulance doors open and shut. None of this was allowed to be photographed, videotaped or posted online. Or, in Evan’s case, written on a notepad.

Katie: The officials with PPIHC announced that no one was to cross the road to take photos of the bike, which they left in the rocks as the race started up again. They sternly asked who ran across the street and wrote down our vest numbers.

While all this was occurring, I was briefing Lindsey in the shuttle bus that got us to the summit.

Lindsey: I was writing the story and was just really concerned if our credentials were going to be pulled for what we witnessed.

George: It just felt like we were walking on eggshells with what we were writing because of the sensitivity of the topic and the threatening nature of how it was being handled by race officials.

After Lindsey published her story, she instructed George to go get Parker and Katie from the scene of the accident. They returned to the bus to give an eyewitness account of what they saw.

Parker: Katie and I had a conversation about the ways we could have told the story tastefully with images of the search and rescue team, or other moments following the accident without having the ethical dilemma of running images of a racer and their bike after the crash. We discussed the censorship that was occurring and both had the realization that the censorship was putting us and the race officials in a worse situation because we now had to decide if we were going to run images of the accident itself, rather than a tasteful image of first responders doing their job in order to do the story justice.

11:42 a.m. – Dunne pronounced dead, PPIHC officials stay silent

We didn't know anything. Nobody did. I assumed Dunne might have been OK. In reality, he wasn't. 

The time of his death was not made known until Monday.

PPIHC Executive Director Megan Leatham: The time of death was not called on Pikes Peak and no one informed us he passed until much later in the afternoon. Once we heard, we were in touch with his family and Ducati North America, and then we started on the press release.

Carlin Dunne - 16th May 1983 | 30th June 2019 - May God Be With You

11:52 a.m. – Race resumes

The race resumes following a lengthy delay. Robin Shute was the first to drive up Pikes Peak following Dunne's crash.

Dunne is dead. Nobody knows.

George: I felt like there was a cloud over the race. The day was fun and quickly turned into a terrible day. It was one of the most mentally draining events, especially since I didn't know if he was alive or dead. It was a thought I had in the back of my head the whole time.

12:30 p.m. – Teammate has no clue

I went to talk with Codie Vahsholtz, Dunne's racing teammate with Ducati North America. The two are close and spent countless days training together for the Hill Climb.

Even 48 minutes after Dunne's death, Vahsholtz thought he was alive and well.

Codie Vahsholtz: I heard from another teammate that he's going to be OK. That relieved some nerves from there.

12:58 p.m. – Family member reaches out

A member of Dunne's family reached out to Lindsey and was unaware of Dunne's status, even though he had already died. The Gazette updated the family member with what Vahsholtz said in the prior interview.

Lindsey: Since there was no official information from Pikes Peak officials, I had 10 different people ask me via Twitter what was going on regarding Dunne.

1:55 p.m. – Another message from Dunne's inner circle

Nearly an hour after the first message, Lindsey received another. This time it was from another person close to Dunne's family stating the racer died in the accident.

3:37 p.m. – Everyone must leave summit

Pikes Peak officials announced on Twitter that the Hill Climb was going to a shortened course due to weather. Everyone on the mountain was quickly rushed to their vehicles , ultimately separating themselves from the scene of Dunne's accident.

3:37 p.m. – Media is informed of Dunne's death

At the exact same time as Pikes Peak officials were intently moving racers and media to their vehicles, an announcement hit the email accounts of those covering the race. The radio also reported the news at the same time: Dunne was dead.

From the moment Dunne crashed to the time he died, 73 minutes passed.

From the moment Dunne was pronounced dead to the time his death was announced, 162 minutes passed.

July 1 – No new information released

July 2, 2:40 p.m. – Dunne's accident information announced
It had been nearly 48 hours since the media was informed of Dunne's death when Pikes Peak officials sent out a press release regarding the internal investigation of the fatality. The report said there were no signs of mechanical failure, but "it appears that the rider highsided coming into the last turn before the finish line," the statement said.

Highsiding is when there is a quick jolt of the bike around the steering axis point.

The report said nothing about a bump in the road at the spot where Dunne went down – though a bump was mentioned Sunday by other racers, Vahsholtz, Lucy Glöckner and Chris Fillmore, and such a bump can cause a highside accident.

Vahsholtz: I would call it a whoops section. It's pretty smooth until you get to where Carlin went down.

Glöckner: The end of the complete track, like the last one or two miles, it's really dangerous for the bikes, and the cars. But you never control the bike because the bumps are so deep and you want smooth and fast.

Fillmore: There are a lot of bumps. This whole course, that's what makes this place unique. It's not a polished track where everything is perfect. You're battling the road and the conditions that are served up.

Race officials said they didn't consider stopping the race after word of Dunne's death.
[Reference Here]

Born into motorcycling, Dunne’s father, a South African road racer and former Isle of Man competitor, made sure there was a small bike waiting for Carlin when he was born. Living above his family’s 1,000 sq. ft. motorcycle repair shop until the age of seven, it’s no surprise that his toys growing up consisted of old engine parts.

For Dunne, a life dedicated to two and four-wheeled motorsports was almost inevitable. Being a professional motorcycle racer himself, Dunne's father understood the hardships that came along with the profession and thus never forced the same life upon his son. As a result, Carlin dabbled in all different discipline's during his youth. Competing out of desire and not out of necessity allowed for Dunne to develop a lifelong obsession for perfecting his craft.

With a storied career that has more twists and turns than Pikes Peak, Dunne has seen both brilliance and despair, spending time atop the podium and on occasion, a hospital bed. The culmination of which has honed a radically diverse skill set. One that requires a no B.S. approach to getting the job done as safely and efficiently as possible.

Rest In Peace, Carlin Dunne.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Carlin Dunne, Pikes Peak, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Ducati, Santa Barbara, Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype, The EDJE