Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Motorsports Standouts Honored At 40th Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame

Newly re-designated / renamed Los Angles Sportswalk Of Fame, in its 40th year, honors 11 athletes from several disciplines and special levels of accomplishment from Hall Of Fame caliber to Olympic Gold Medal quality - from High School "Prep" to the highest levels in professional ranks of competition.  All hail to the inductees. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Motorsports Standouts Honored At 40th Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame

Of the eleven inductees to the 40th edition of the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame, three athletes of incredible accomplishment and dedication were from the annals of motorsports competition.

Pre-event orientation where Johnny Campbell (left- red shirt), Christopher Forsberg (center right), and Robbie Gordon (center right, back to camera) are given introduction performance demonstration rules and instruction by a member of the Port Of Los Angeles Police Department (left, sunglasses) at the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

The 2018 motorsports inductees include multiple sport series, event competitor, and series promoter Robbie Gordon, Motorcycle off road and Baja 1000 11-time champion Johnny Campbell, and original American Formula Drift driver and champion Christopher Forsberg.

The San Pedro Sportswalk Of Fame has been renamed the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame this year compatible with a larger overall plan to bring attention to the redevelopment of the Los Angeles harbor community which includes the USS Iowa Museum and a newly re-envisioned Ports O' Call Village restaurant and retail center.

Robbie Gordon (with son Max, left) helps to push back his custom 2015 custom Dakar Rally off-road competition vehicle, the Gordini, a shorter version of the Hummer H3, is backed into position at the Los Angeles Sportwalk Of Fame induction event. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

This is the first year this many inductees from Motorsports have graced the annual ceremony. Previous inductees over the previous 39 years show only five names, so to be able to add three more to the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame is a great honor.

Football Inductee, Lynn Swann (right) shares a moment with sportscaster, Ed Arnold (center right) while standing in front of the Formula Drft Nissan 370Z of Christopher Forsberg. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

The balance of the class of 2018 inductees included Lynn Swann (Football - Hall Of Fame), Mike Scioscia (Baseball), Frank Manumaleuna (Football), Don Horn (Football), Tony Dobra (Prep Softball), Ralph DeQuebec (Paralympic Hockey Gold Medalist), Ray Deeter (Posthumous Prep Multi-Athlete), & Joe Bird (Water Polo, Prep Swimming, LA County Lifeguard).


Robbie Gordon, with son Max, show the commemorative plaque of the Los Angeles Sportwalk Of Fame. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Robby Gordon has made legendary contributions to the field of motorsports, and he has truly earned his place on the Los Angeles Sportswalk of Fame. One of the most talented and diverse drivers in racing today, Gordon has delighted race fans for years, at the Long Beach Grand Prix, in NASCAR, IndyCar and Off-Road.

Gordon, the son of off-road racer, “Baja Bob” Gordon, got his start in off-road racing and won five consecutive SCORE championships from 1986 to 1990, a sixth championship in 1996, and a seventh in 2009.  The Southern California native has raced and won in Indy Cars, NASCAR, sports cars and off-road racecars. He has victories in the Trans-Am Series and the Formula Off-Road Series, the Inaugural Stadium Super Truck Championship, the Baja 1000 three times and the Baja 500 four times.

In June of 2012, Gordon announced that he was founding a stadium truck racing series, which he would own. The Stadium Super Trucks Series launched in 2013 and Gordon, an owner-driver, won the inaugural season championship. The series has since expanded worldwide and included races in Great Britain and Australia.

Christopher Forsberg is one of the most successful drivers in the relatively new motor sport of drifting, a technique where the driver intentionally oversteers to lose traction in the rear wheels while still maintaining control.  “It’s been a crazy ride,” said Forsberg during the induction ceremony. “I was just someone who had a dream and chased it.” Here he relaxes before the ceremony with a display Evel Knievel motorcycle, an animated Robbie Gordon, and the USS Iowa behind him. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Christopher Forsberg is an American self-taught, drifting driver from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He is the most successful driver in the sport’s history, having won 3 championships and 57 podium finishes.

He was 21 when Formula Drift announced they were coming to America, so he packed up his RX-7 and towed it 3,000 miles to California. Competing with drivers from around the world, Forsberg became the Formula DRIFT Champion in 2009, as well as a Triple Crown Winner. He reigned supreme in 2014 as he again won the coveted FORMULA DRIFT Championship but this time with a record breaking 5 podiums. Forsberg holds the ALL-TIME podium record in Formula Drift.

In 2016, while competing in Okayama, Japan, Forsberg piloted his V8-powered Nissan 370Z to again be crowned the Formula Drift Champion, which made him the most successful driver in the history of the sport. Now, sponsored by: NOS Energy Drink, NISSAN Motors & Hankook Tires and managed by Agajanian Motorsports Management, Forsberg operates and manages his own team, which proved successful after winning Round Two of the 2018 season in Orlando.

Offroad motorcycle competitor Johnny Campbell stands for official presentation photograph with District 4 representative on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn & Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

There is no motorcycle rider with more success than San Clemente native Johnny Campbell. This 11-Time “Baja 1000” Champion is truly one of the Kings of the Desert. Campbell’s success at the Baja 1000, where riders navigate their way across 1,000 miles of rugged Mexican terrain, is unparalleled. Just racing in the Baja 1000 is crazy enough, but to win eleven times at insane speeds on a motorcycle is beyond explainable and is a feat many in the sport consider to be untouchable.

There are two sides to him. There is the “11-time Baja 1000 Titleholder,” Johnny Campbell, who is depicted in the films “Dust to Glory” and his biography “True Champion.” And there is the deeply spiritual and private Campbell -- a story rarely told to the media. At age 16, Johnny suddenly lost his father and best friend, John Sr., while he was racing in Riverside, CA. Campbell decided to be a champion for his late father and stopped at nothing short of letting any obstacle stand in the way of his goal.

It is a goal he achieved. Campbell is truly a living Baja Legend.

2018 Los Angeles Sportswalk Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place Monday at the USS Iowa in the Port Of Los Angles in San Pedro, California October 8th, 2018. Inductees included Robby Gordon, Mike Scioscia,Frank Manumaleuna, Lynn Swann, Tony Dobra, Johnny Campbell, Joe Bird, Chris Forsberg, Don Horn and Ralph DeQuebec. Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino and Los Angeles Supervisor Janice Hahn took part in the ceremony. Image Credit: Chuck Bennett, Daily Breeze (2018)

The initial San Pedro Sportswalk opened October 5, 1978 in a ceremony that also marked the revitalization of San Pedro’s Downtown Commercial District. The Sportswalk was initially sponsored by the Trani Family of San Pedro, whose Restaurant was on 6th Street near the Waterfront and was a gathering place for famous athletes from around the world.

The Sportswalk to the Waterfront Foundation represents community recognition of local and regionally produced individuals who have achieved exceptional and outstanding collegiate, Olympic and professional athletic success.

Past inductees from the discipline of motorsports over the previous 39 years:

One of America’s most respected motor racing personalities, J.C. Agajanian was universally acknowledged as the “dean” of Indianapolis Motor Car owners. 

He set an all-time record with 36 consecutive entries in the Indy 500 race and twice he stood in the victory lane. In 1971, Agajanian was honored at the White House as America’s premier race car owner and motor sports promoter. Ascot Park, where “Aggie” served as president was referred to as the busiest race track in America. Agajanian passed away in 1984.

Sons of one of auto racing’s greatest car owners and promoters, J.C. Agajanian, and as successive owners and operators of Ascot Park, the storied raceway in Gardena, CA, which launched the career of Evel Knievel, the Agajanian brothers produced over 160 events a year and boasted crowds of over a half a million loyal fans annually. 

In 2016, the boys succeeded in stacking up a win at the Indianapolis 500 with a dramatic finish, as their rookie American driver, Alexander Rossi, brought the famed #98 IndyCar across the finish line first. This thrilling win gave the Agajanian family four of the most coveted victories in motorsports, the 1952, 1963, 2011 and 2016 Indy 500s. 

To this day, three winning #98 racecars are displayed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, while the fourth car, the Dallara DW12 chassis Rossi drove to victory at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, sold for $1,127,500 at the 2018 Mecum Auctions event held in Monterey during the week of the Concours de Elegance of Pebble Beach.

Gary Gabelich held the world land speed record of 622.407 mph over the measured mile in the rocket-powered Blue Flame from 1970 to 1983. He was the 34th man to hold the record since 1898. He completed more runs over 600 mph (six) and more runs over 500 mph (16) than anyone else. 

A native of the harbor area, Gabelich attended school at Mary Star of the Sea in San Pedro. He became involved with racing at age 17 and won numerous racing events. Gabelich was killed in an accident in 1984. Gabelich is additionally honored with a brass medallion in the sidewalk in front of the Long Beach Convention Center at the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame.

Born in Texarkana, Arkansas, and raised in Torrance, California, Parnelli Jones is one of the most famous names in auto racing, having won nearly every major auto event in the United States. 

In 1962 and 1963, Jones won the pole position at the Indianapolis 500, and in the latter year was the first driver ever to exceed 150 mph, setting a mark of 151.153 mph for his lap qualifying run. He went on to win the race. Away from the track, Jones is a highly successful Firestone Tire dealer. Also honored locally at the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame.

The most famous name in unlimited hydroplane racing, Bill Muncey was killed October 18, 1981 in an accident during the final heat of the World Championships in Acapulco. 

A resident of La Mesa, California, he won more unlimited hydroplane races than any other driver. Muncey amassed 61 victories, including a record eight Gold Cups and seven national titles. He was a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

The San Pedro Sportswalk mission and purpose was organized to:
** Promote and vitalize sports through education in the Los Angeles Community.
** Provide a scholarship program for youth of the South Bay Area Community.
** Continuation and expansion of the Sportswalk concept thrughout the Waterfront Area.

With this 2018 start of the Los Angeles Sportswalk of Fame, the recognition event has expanded to include Local, Regional, National Athletes along with Coaches (Trani Award), and Veteran Services Members (Tillman Award), and Special Individuals Sports (Sports Humanitarian Award).

After 40 years, this recognition event is sure to grow in stature with the geographical expansion of candidates of inductees and become the additional tourist draw to the revitalized, rich, and diverse waterfront community of San Pedro ...

... or as it has always been locally, and affectionately, known as ...

... "PEA - DROW" - Go Pirates!

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: San Pedro, Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame, USS IOWA, Robby Gordon, Christopher Forsberg, Johnny Campbell, Mike Scioscia, Lynn Swan, Don Horn, Frank Manumaleuna, Joe Bird, Ralph DeQuebec, Tony Dobra, Petros Papadakis, The EDJE 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Racing Safety United, Formed From Diverse Group In Competitive Motorsports, Advocates for Racing Safety

Ryan Briscoe during gridwalk at the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway. This MAVTv500 run in 2015 and had Graham Rahal win on a pass in the final lap, became the race with the most passes for the lead at over 80 and featured a crash on the final lap that involved Briscoe who's car launched into the air and came to a stop on the Start/Finish line - 9 images to follow. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Racing Safety United, Formed From Diverse Group In Competitive Motorsports, Advocates for Racing Safety

When it comes to racing safety, drivers, sanctioning bodies, safety organizations, clubs, series, track owners, circuit designers, safety personnel, equipment manufacturers, coaches/HPDE groups, insurance companies, journalists and every other motorsport constituent play an important role.

Ryan Briscoe's car launched into the air and came to a stop on the Start/Finish line - Image 1 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Stakeholders may perform different jobs, but they all converge on a race course.  That’s why a diverse group of safety advocates has united to form a cohesive, collective and more impactful voice for the greater good of everyone in motorsports.

Image 2 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Racing’s history is studded with shining moments, but is also fraught with terrible tragedies.  There have always been heroes on the track, yet there have also been many others behind the scenes.  Over the years, a handful of brave souls have championed for safety improvements and saved many lives, but progress has been painfully slow.

Image 3 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Because the industry is so diverse and siloed, safety changes don’t easily proliferate. Thus, the necessity for an all-inclusive platform comprised of influencers from an array of motorsport segments.

Image 4 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The idea to form an industry-wide advocacy group was originally spearheaded by RJ Valentine, a racer with over 400 pro starts, multiple podiums, top 10 finishes, and a 24 Hours at Daytona championship, who personally witnessed much devastation on tracks.  The final straw was losing Jim Fitzgerald to basilar skull fracture and, since then, Valentine has been on a quest to evoke track safety improvements. He envisions a future where serious racing casualties are rare if not a thing of the past.

Image 5 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The working title for this unofficial alliance is Racing Safety United (RSU). Motorsports has many participants, but RSU has only one mission—To make racing as safe as possible, protecting lives and vehicles by reducing damage, injuries, concussions and casualties for drivers at all levels, and paving the way for the next generation.

Image 6 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

RSU is currently made up of 27 members, but the list is growing by the day.  Independently, each advocate is outstanding in their respective field, and many are safety leaders in their own right.  Together, they form a dynamic force campaigning toward a unified safety goal.

Jerry Nadeau – Monster Energy Cup Series Winner, 5-Time Barber Dodge Pro Series Winner, $100,000 Big Scholarship Winner, Former Teammate to Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson

Don Schumacher – NHRA Team Owner, Former Champion Funny Car Driver, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductee, Concussion Legacy Foundation Brain Research Donor

John Mills – SCCA GT3 Pro Racer, Race Car Fabricator, TBI Advocate & Survivor, Public Speaker promoting Brain Injury Awareness, Motivation and Inspiration

Larry Dixon - 3-Time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, Team Owner, Spokesperson

Randy Pobst – Motor Trend Track Test Driver, SCCA Columnist & Champion Pro Racer

Ian James – Champion Pro Racer & Ambassador for The Heart of Racing

Darren Law – Flying Lizard Motorsports Championship Sportscar Racing Team Owner & Former Pro Racer

Randy Lajoie – Safer Racer Founder, Former NASCAR Champion Driver & The Joie of Seating President

Andrew Pilgrim - Traffic Safety Advocate/Public Speaker (, Pro Race Driver, Contributing Writer to Automobile Magazine

Dr. Preston C. Calvert – Pirelli World Challenge Medical Advisor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Assistant Professor, Neuro-ophthalmology Consultant, Champion Pro Racer, Published Author and former U.S. Army Medical Corps Major

Chuck Lessick – IndyCar Ministry Chaplain, Former Belardi Auto Racing Team Manager & Indy Lights Crew Chief, Owner & Driver in USF2000 Series

Kevin Butterfield, D.C. – BrainForest Center Founder/CEO, Wellness Racing Corporation Founder/CEO & Creator of AvOID System and ReTINA system, Cortical Impact Solutions Founder/CEO, Motorsports Safety Blogger

Dr. Julia Daly, PT, DPT, ATC – Athletic Trainer, Physical Therapist, Motorsports Performance Specialty, Public Speaker & Creator of Return to Competitive Race Car Driving after Concussion

Thomas Woods – Veteran, Warriors on Track Founder, The Brain Treatment Center Military Care Coordinator for MeRT (Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy) & Racer

Mike Semel –U.S. Grand Prix Retired Fire Chief, Watkins Glen International Safety Director & CART IndyCar Safety Team Member

James Penrose – Former FIA Driver Safety Environment Consultant, Initiated FIA 8860 Helmet & Hans introduction to F1 & FIA Series, Drivers/Teams Consultancy through Penrose Safety for Audi WEC, Level 5 & many others

Charlie Frank – The Activation Group (TAG) Partner, Motorsports Event Marketing for BMW, NASCAR, Indy Car and Many Others, Former racecar driver

John Gorsline – The Gorsline Company CEO, Driver Protection Insurance, Family Assistance, Scholarships & Logistics Support

Bobby Seymour –Seymour Performance Products CEO, Former USAC Champion Driver & Racer’s Expo Co-Founder

Kip Zeiter – International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) Outreach Coordinator

Mike Brockman – Previous Motor Trend Road Test Editor for 13 Years, Former Pro Racer & GT Class Winner at 24 Hours of Daytona, & Connecticut’s Own Volvo Dealer Owner

Tom Baker – Race Chaser Media Founder / CEO, Race Chaser Radio Host

Joe Chisholm – Race Time Radio Owner/Host & Eastbound International Speedway Race Director

Michael Cummings – Port Imperial Racing Associates CFO - Grand Prix of America Formula One Race Promoter, Motorsports Capital LLC Founder - Motorsports Financial Advisory & Capital Placement, SCCA National Competition License Holder

Jay Heid – Summit Midwest Drag Founder & Promoter, ProQ Motorsports Management Software Founder for Events such as Sturgis Camaro Rally, etc., Founder (A Motorsports Safety Foundation Partner)

Eric Bagdikian – Array Sports Motorsports Operations, Former CODE 3 Animal Disaster Response President, Retired Boulder County Sheriffs Reserve Lieutenant

RJ Valentine – Champion Pro Racer, Race Track Owner & Founder of Impact Safety Systems

RSU initially plans to focus on track safety, particularly the need for improvements at race courses and speedways nationwide. 

Image 7 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The first order of business is to raise awareness about antiquated walls as the root cause of many injuries or fatalities.  As expenses can be a sticking point, RSU has already begun working on financial aid options for underfunded tracks in need of safety upgrades. 

Image 8 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Another immediate priority is to identify ways of minimizing racing-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). 

Additional RSU initiatives include research surveys, educational outreach, seminars, track safety analyses, creating guides and resources like comparisons or buffering strategies, consulting on safety product development, and other programs. RSU’s scope of services is expected to evolve as the group continues to expand.

Image 9 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The depth of member involvement will vary based on availability and expertise, but could include disseminating information, social media messaging, spreading the word via broadcast interviews or articles, presenting safety solutions to drivers or tracks, collaborating on proposed safety projects, public speaking engagements, medical advisement roles, etc.

In turn for supporting the group’s racing safety cause, RSU will assist its advocates in furthering parallel safety initiatives, resulting in a cooperative ecosystem universally geared toward increasing driver protection.

Valentine recently created an RSU micro site, which also highlights its Medical Advisors, as well as advocates who are making inroads into preventing, diagnosing and treating motorsports concussions and TBIs. 

For now, this will be home to RSU details and developments.

Though altruistic, the RSU alliance isn’t unrealistic about the industry’s adversity to change.  Racing will continue to be inherently dangerous despite safety advancements.  But every participant has an obligation to do what they can to eliminate unnecessary risk and preventable harm. 

RSU represents an outlet for safety activists, and all are welcome to join. The greater the number of voices, the better the industry will hear, and the more drivers will survive.
(ht: RSU)

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: RSU, Racing Safety United, Karting Safety, Motorsports Safety, Athlete Safety, The EDJE

Friday, August 24, 2018

George Barris - The Passing Of Motor Culture Icon And The Signs Of The Times

Photograph of Barris Kustom City museum and garage on Riverside Drive just East of Lankershim Boulevard the day after the passing - November 5, 2015, just fifteen days away from his 90th birthday, of movie motor culture standout, George Barris. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

George Barris - The Passing Of Motor Culture Icon And The Signs Of The Times

Two movie displays on the same advertising billboard that presents itself in the airspace over the garage and museum of George Barris impart different, but cohesive coincidental messages on two eventful occasions that involved this unique location.

FIRST - The passing of George Barris:

Billboard over Barris Garage the day after it was announced that he had passed away [displayed above]. The billboard was advertising The Peanuts Movie, other than the date, imparts the message "Dream Big" - that was exactly how George Barris lived his motor culture based artful life.

This excerpted and edited from Barris Kustom Ind. -

George Barris is known throughout the world as the 'original' King of Kustomizers. His creations are legendary in the world of television and motion pictures including the likes of the original television series Batmobile, Munster Koach, Beverly Hillbillies, KITT from Nightrider and more! His personal Star Collection includes the General Lee, Starsky & Hutch, Torino Green Hornet and Monkee Mobile.
The movie studios had taken note of Barris Kustoms on the streets and at races and came to George for cars for their films. One of the first films Barris made cars for was called "High School Confidential". The success of the initial movie car venture motivated George to seek business in Hollywood. This included customizing the personal cars of the stars as well. As the past forty plus years have shown, this association with the studios and stars has been long and fascinating.
[Reference Here]

Billboard over Barris Garage the first day of the Barris Garage auction - August 17, 18, 19, 2018. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Second - The Barris Garage three day Estate sale managed by Again L.A.

This is most interesting because it was well known that George Barris was a person who was of short physical stature - maybe 5' 6" at best, so this billboard seemed rather poignant given the fact folks were lining up to purchase George Barris memorabilia and creations. The billboard reads "Get Shorty" - just can not make this up.

Here is a cool shot of George Barris, flanked by a couple of exceedingly creepy looking fellas, unveiling his line of custom bikes [as seen] in a 1970 trade rag. Image Credit: Johnny Tillotson via (2017)

This excerpted and edited from Auto Classics - 

George Barris: possibly the most remarkable garage sale ever!
By Evan Klein - Aug 22 2018

A sale of memorabilia from the late legendary Hollywood customizer George Barris was never going to be ordinary – but who knew it would be this crazy...

Barris Kustoms just had the greatest garage sale on earth. Not an auction but a tag sale, first come, first served. First day, full price, second day 20% off, third day 50% off.

It took George's daughter Joji Barris and her son Jared a year and a half to prepare for this sale at the Barris Kustoms HQ in Los Angeles. George never threw anything away, right up until his passing in 2015. Everything here relates to George’s career and his cars, so many famous from TV and movies.

Car magazines from the 1950s on up. Gossip magazines, Playboys, every Bo Derek magazine imaginable; he would study all his clients so he could design something just for them. If a magazine mentioned George he had it.

The far wall is filled with actual 8x10 publicity photos, the Munster Machine, the Sex Machine, The Pink Panther, Batman and Robin sitting on the Batcycle. Everywhere you look is filled with popular culture that we grew up with. You don’t realize how much of an influence George was until you see it all in one room.

Crafted from a 1955 Lincoln Futura prototype purchased from Ford for $1.00, the Batmobile became the most iconic of movie cars and set the template for a genre of custom car creativity. As of December 2017, exact replicas of the Lincoln Futura are being produced by Fiberglass Freaks, a company in Logansport, Indiana. Image Credit: Ken Freund (2018)

Dan Jordan from Again LA Estate Sales shows me some of George’s personal sketches, a dune buggy, a 1970s Muscle Machine and a Baby Doll. Who’d have thought George was designing dolls? George loved toys. All the toys reference something related to what George was working on. Signed items? We got 'em. There’s the Austin Powers Jaguar, signed by George, $50.
George was a master, and his warmth and kindness showed through in all his designs. His Barris Kustoms shop was his home, always open to anyone that stopped by. Today was no different. Thanks for sharing George.
[Reference Here]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Barris Kustom Ind., George Barris, Batmobile, Munster Koach, Beverly Hillbillies, KITT, Nightrider, General Lee, Starsky & Hutch, Torino Green Hornet, Monkee Mobile,  Lincoln Futura, The EDJE

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lexus ES 300h, What The Socially Responsible Moderately Rich Will Be Driving Next

ES 300h In Sunlit Green - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Lexus ES 300h, What The Socially Responsible Moderately Rich Will Be Driving Next
by: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications

Winding and scenic roads just outside of Nashville, TN provided an ideal setting for the media introduction of the seventh-generation Lexus ES. For 2019 the lineup features the V6 ES 350, ES 300h hybrid and for the first time the ES F-SPORT. At time of writing there is an embargo on the driving impressions of the three models tested. This is a preview of the features of the ES line-up with a close up focus on the ES 300h. A shorter version first appeared in print at Ron Cogan’s Green Car Journal. 

ES 300h "Provocative Elegance” - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Project Chief Designer, Yasuo Kajino sums up the newly designed ES in two distinct and fitting words as “provocative elegance”. ES has the all new Global Architecture-K platform resulting in 2.6 in increase in length, 1.8 in width and a wider front and rear tracks. Perhaps for customers the most useful increase is the two-inch longer wheelbase to 113 inches. The ES  most striking angle is its profile that shows low hood and roof lines, made possible by the new GA-K chassis slated A and C pillars.

ES 300h In Profile - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Lexus with its Hybrid Drive is the luxury hybrid leader.  The ES 300h has earned a new title for the mid-level executive sedan segment, as the newly crowned “Class Leader in Fuel Economy with 44 mpg” this is Lexus ES 300h”. The manufactures estimated figure is 44 mpg combined.estimate to a range of nearly 600 miles.

The ES 300h is what Prius and Prius Prime owners will be naturally be moving up to as move up in life while staying socially responsible.

ES 300h Ample Rear Compartment - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The rear compartment of the ES has increased size and headroom usually only found optional in long-wheelbase high end cars. This means its easier for anything from adding a baby seat, to easy entry and exit for elders to being more suitable for a double date on the town.

The ES 300h ’Spindle' Grill and L-Shaped Projectors - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

From the front it’s the 'Spindle' grill dominates and is enhanced by the slim L-shaped  LED projector headlights.

ES 300h View Form the Drivers Seat - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Tranquil, free of exterior noise is how I found the interior to be, 93% of the floor has sound deadening insulation. There are three color schemes, four trims, and three material options for the seats.  The trim can had in three kinds of wood plus Striated Black and metallic. The trim can had in three kinds of wood plus Striated Black and metallic. To please audiophiles there’s the optional Mark Levinson audio with 1,800 watts through 17 speakers. The standard audio has ten speakers and will satisfy most needs. The new suction-type ventilated cooling seats had me as comfortable and entertained as any at the new movie theaters.

ES 300h Hybrid Powerplant - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The 2019 ES 300h layout is front engine with front wheel drive. Power is derived from a 2.5 liter in-line 4-cylinder running on the Atkinson cycle with an aluminum block and heads producing 176 hp @5700 rpm. The compression ratio is high at 14.0:1yet only 87 octane unleaded is required.  Fuel is delivered by direct and port injection. Torque is (SAE) rated at 163 lb.-ft.@3,600 rpm. The emission certificate is SULEV 30.

ES Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The nickel-metal Hydride battery has 204 cells and produces 29.1kW/39hp. The electric motor is smaller and more dense and is mated to an all new hybrid transaxle. Combined total horsepower is 215. Important for the improved handling was the moving of the battery from the trunk to under the rear seat. This improves front to rear weight distribution while adding trunk space equal to the gas ES at 16.7 cu ft.  Auto Glide Control (AGC) has been added for drivers who misjudge drag imposed by regenerative braking by moving back and forth between pedals approaching a stop sign. The AGC slows the ES 300h at a more predicative rate by entering a “coast “ mode adding to overall energy efficiencies.  Sport mode enhances acceleration by boosting torque at low speeds.

ES 350 F-Sport - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The 0-60 mph is 8.1 sec for the ES 300h, as compared to 6.6 sec for the 302 hp ES 350.  Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph with the ES 300h and 131 mph with the ES 350. The coefficient of drag of these sleek ES sedans is a highly efficient 0.29 and drops down to an exceptional 0.26 for the F SPORT.  The low CD contributes to the outstanding fuel economy of the entire ES line-up.

ES 350 In Moonbeam Beige Metallic - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The six-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters is electronically controlled and continuously variable. Final drive is 3.389 compared to the 2.561 of the 8-speed V6  ES 350. The steering is electric rack and pinion with 2.7 turns lock to lock and positions the assist directly on the rack for more precise feedback. . The curb to curb turning radius is outstanding at under twenty feet. Weight distribution and curb weight were not available for the 300h. However, the ES 350 weight is a  light 3,649 lbs, distribution front to rear is 61/39.  Expect the ES 300h to be approximately a few hundred pounds heavier.

A 12.3 Inch Wide Multimedia Screen is Optional - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)
The Multimedia System is positioned high enough not to distract. Standard is a 8 inch wide and 12.3 inches with the optional Navigation package. The ES is the first Lexus offering Apple Car Play allowing for controlling a iPhone via the dash display or Siri Eyes Free voice control.  ES is also Amazon Alexa enabled for Android phones and iPhones in October.

ES 300h Standard Spoke Wheel Pattern - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The standard wheel is 17 x 7.5 J split 10-spoke aluminum w/machine finish. There two types of optional 18 x 8J aluminum wheels offered one with a machined finish and the one with Hyper Chrome coating. The standard all-season tire is 215/55R17 with a 235/45R18 all-season as an option.  Trie suppliers will be Michelin and Bridgestone.

The Sleek Lines of the ES 300h - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

One of the ways Lexus demonstrates it strong commitment to safety is with its standard braking and control systems, ones that are usually only found on considerable more expensive vehicles. Along with the expected four wheel disc brakes all around with ABS are Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Front discs are 12 in ventilated discs. and the rears are 11.1 in solid discs. One-third of the sales are projected to be conquests from other manufactures with the ES 300h representing 15% of US ES sales.

ES 300h Looks At Home in This Prestigious Driveway - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Outstanding fuel consumption, a striking design, first class amenities with rear compartment space found in limos.  Starting at $42,000 the ES 300h will have buyers considering switching brands.

TAGS: Lexus, ES 300h, ES F-SPORT, Hybrid Powerplant, Green Car Journal, Michelin, Bridgestone, James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications, @TheEDJE

Sunday, June 24, 2018

John Dean II Is 2 For 2 In Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Weekend At Road America

Floridian John Dean II, the 2015 series champion, survived a one-lap shootout in an otherwise wild drafting battle to sweep the weekend. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

John Dean II Is 2 For 2 In Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Weekend At Road America

The weekend was, for John Dean II, was a tale of two different races. Dean had an excellent qualifications session setting him up, due to having the two fastest laps against the times of all other drivers, to secure the pole position for both races held at Road America.

One featured classic positioning and car placement allowing the cars behind his No. 16 Black Sick Sideways prepared Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Miata to rub and scrub each other while not being able to get enough kinetic energy in the draft to complete a pass.

The other had all of the drivers focused on one thing in passing the leader with some success yet never actually putting the No. 16 away.

Dean sure knows how to work the challenges behind him and bottle them up to stay in the lead in Round 5 race 1 at Road America. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

This excerpted and edited from #SundayGroupManagement on behalf of Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup News -

Dean Sweeps Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup at Road America

Dean earned a flag-to-flag victory in Friday’s Round Five race, but the MX-5 Cup competition wasn’t about to let him do the same thing in Saturday’s Round Six. Though he started from pole in the No. 16 Sick Sideways Global Mazda MX-5 Cup entry and held his lead in the opening laps, it wasn’t long until he fell victim to the massive drafting potential presented by Road America’s 4.014 miles. 

“That was a tough battle,” Dean said. “I tried to do the same thing I did yesterday and run the same lines and same defensive technique, but obviously the other guys weren’t having it! It was good though and it made for a fun race.”

“Starting on pole in an MX-5 Cup race at Road America means you are probably going to be passed – probably at the start!  If you get passed, you have to then try and get back in line and pass back. Otherwise, you will just keep losing spots. It’s still a pretty long race for a sprint race and anybody in the top ten can win. It’s that kind of race,” stated John Dean II after qualifications. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

Global Mazda MX-5 Cup continued to demonstrate incredible competition, with 305 passes for position in the 40-minute race, including six official lead changes. The top 10 were nose-to-tail all race long and nobody was able to break away from the pack, Dean included.

“For a minute there, those guys got by and I was trying to size them up and figure out where I’m going to make a move and how to get by,” Dean said. “I was a little confused on what to do; it’s really difficult here with the big drafts and cars in a line. We’ve raced here a lot over the years and we’ve always been fast and our setup has worked well, but I’ve had a ton of bad luck here over the years. This year, finally the karma gods smiled on me.”

That smile came with eight minutes left in the race, when a full-course caution was issued for a car stuck in the gravel at Turn 14. Dean found himself in the lead behind the safety car, with teammate Nathaniel Sparks behind him.

“Sparky disappeared and I don’t know where he went, but it must have been one heck of a battle to get back to the front,” Dean said. “When I saw him behind me for the restart, I felt pretty confident that we could hold the positions. We’ve raced a lot here together. I know what he’s going to do and he knows what I’m going to do, because we’ve been teammates for so long.”

Last lap and it is Sick Sideways P1 (Dean) and P2 (Sparks) in a contentious Round 6 race 2 at Road America. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

When the green flag came back out, the white flag was waved with it to single one lap to go. The Sick Sideways teammates worked together to hold off the rest of the field and crossed the finish line with Dean out front and Sparks in second.

It was an impressive comeback for Sparks in the No. 8 Sick Sideways car, who started second, but tumbled down the order in the opening lap. He spent nearly every lap thereafter door-to-door with another car, clawing his way back to second.

Finishing a hard-fought third was Robert Stout in the No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing machine. His teammate, Joey Bickers, led briefly in the No. 34 McCumbee McAleer car, but just missed the podium, finishing fourth.
Improving a remarkable 10 positions in the race, Keith Jensen earned the Battery Tender Hard Charger of the Race award. He finished 13th after starting 23rd and collected $1,000 and a Battery Tender charger for both himself and his crew chief.

“The Global MX-5 Cup has great drivers and Road America is a beautiful track,” Jensen summarized. “For me it’s fun to be a part of the series, and to win the Hard Charger makes it a fantastic day.”
Robert Noaker, the youngest driver in the series at 14 years-old, was the highest finishing rookie. His No. 13 Sick Sideways crossed the line in 10th, earning him valuable points toward the $75,000 prize for Rookie of the Year. He trails Selin Rollan in that contest, but Rollan exited Round Six early.

Nikko Reger, who finished runner-up in Friday’s race continues to lead the Championship points ahead of Bryan Ortiz. Dean moves up to third with his Road America sweep.
[Reference Here]

Round 6 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup podium celebration at Road America where no one remains dry. Image Credit: Myles Regan - Regan Digital Images (2018)

For the last year, Mr. Dean, as owner of the “Mazda prep shop” and MX-5 Cup race team, took to the track for only two races, taking the year off from full series competition to concentrate on the expansion of Sick Sideways into a new location near the Sebring International Raceway.

Really a bit of the theme here - John Dean II (as in two), top two qualification lap speeds securing two pole positions, 2 races, 2 wins, with the last race having Sick Sideways race car at the top two positions on the podium. What breaks this thread up is that Dean entered the weekend at P9 in the points and leaves Road America at P3 in the points - no 2's here. With this surge, Maybe John Dean II will secure his second (as in two) Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series Championship.

Replays of this weekend’s doubleheader at Road America can be found at the Mazda USA YouTube page.  Next on the schedule for the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup is Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 27 – 29.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Road America, John Dean II, Nathaniel Sparks, #SickSideways, #SundayGroupManagement, Battery Tender, Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, Myles Regan, Regan Digital Images, @TheEDJE

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Marco Polo Motorsports Nicolai Elghanayan Post PWC Lime Rock Grand Prix Interview

Nicolai Elghanayan driving the Marco Polo Motorsports, Reiter Engineering, Muellerized, Performance & Racing Tech Talk No. 71 KTM X-Bow captures a nearly perfect weekend of performance with Pole starting position for both Round 5 & Round 6 races in the Pirelli World Challenge Lime Rock Grand Prix topped by 1 hour and 56 minutes of dominating driving performance. Elghanayan raises the trophy he earned in Round 5 for winning the race in front of 30 other GTS SprintX GT4 class cars. Image Credit: PWC (2018)

Marco Polo Motorsports Nicolai Elghanayan Post PWC Lime Rock Grand Prix Interview

Welcome Nicolai Elghanayan ...

You are a first year race car driver for a first year team competing in the Pirelli World Challenge in the GTS SprintX Class driving an Austrian manufactured KTM X-Bow GT4 and have been able to drive at two event venues in the 2018 season. We are conducting this interview after a fairly successful two-race event weekend at Lime Rock Park at the Lime Rock Grand Prix - but more about this later.

The first venue was the two-race weekend of the Grand Prix of Texas at the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA). A quick review of the event shows that a field of 38 cars participated and that in the first practice your car was P30 and the second practice had you placing at P21 and Qualifications at P25 of 37 cars. Tell us about your impressions on being at and preparing to race at COTA before any races were run after driving in the Lotus Cup USA Series where you were Champion for 2016 and 2017.

The racing at COTA was probably a bit tougher than all of the build up and preparation given that at Race 1 the Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow finished at P28 of 37 cars.

Race 2 had the Marco Polo Motorsports No. 71 KTM X-Bow Grid at P30 and finish at P25.

You needed to complete your studies at USC in Architecture, and graduate - then it is off for preparations for the Grand Prix of Lime Rock.

Marco Polo Motorsports two KTM X-Bow Pirelli World Challenge GTS SprintX GT4 cars preparing for Rounds 5 & 6 to be run at Lime Rock Park. The cars sit around the garages at Willow Springs International Raceway. Image Credit: Thomas Stahler via Facebook (2018)

The shake down preparations were held at three tracks. Two in California and one in Oregon [at Portland International Raceway]. The two sessions in California were held at Willow Springs International Raceway and Buttonwillow in California's Central Valley. In both of these sessions you were joined by former Formula One and KTM staff driver, Tomas Enge as a driving coach.

What core precepts did you learn from Tomas and what is your best memory of those three days of Grand Prix of Lime Rock preparation?

You arrive at Lime Rock Park [in Connecticut] - what are your first impressions achieved from the track inspection walk?

In Practice 1 you place P6 of 33 cars, Practice 2 a P4, and in Qualifications a Pole position at P1. Through the two practice sessions, did you feel you had the car and set up given the improvement from the two sessions to race for the Pole position? Walk us through this.

Race 1 was a fairly close race, without telling us the result, review with us the basics of transition of starting from the Pole and having to defend this position at a place like Lime Rock Park.

Yes! You won your first Pirelli World Challenge race and did it by a margin of only 3.3 seconds. How was that?

Race 2 / Round 6 started off really tight for the first stint of the race. Before you had to come in for the mandatory pitstop, a pair of Audi R8s were dogging you at .1 to .5 for the laps leading up to the stops. Tell us what you learned by being in such tight quarters since they were basically in your tailpipe?

Through 56 minutes of a 1 hour race, you were able to pilot the No. 71 KTM X-Bow to as much as a 16 second lead then something went wrong. Tell us your thinking over the last 4 minutes as you struggled to finish the race.

Still, you finished at P9 in a field of 31 cars. It would have been nice to capture both races in a two race weekend but heck, there are 2/3rds of a field that would still loved to have your race at the end, and more than this many drivers would have loved to have the full weekend.

Next up - Road America - basic thoughts on another first time track.

Nicolai Elghanayan, thank you and safe travels.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Marco Polo Motorsports, Pirelli World Challenge, GTS SprintX, GT4, KTM X-Bow, No. 71, Nicolai Elghanayan, @engeracing, #marcopolomotorsports, #reiterengineering, #muellerized, #limerockpark, Willow Springs International Raceway, Buttonwillow, Portland International Raceway, @The_EDJE

Monday, May 21, 2018

#TeamIndyCar Secures Historic Place In The INDY500 11th Row Society Side-By-Side

Opening title shot of the helicopter that was ferrying Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan to the introduction and starting point of the 30th season of The Amazing Race. One might say that the Month of May and the INDY500 in itself after 101 editions looking to add one more Sunday, May 27th 12:00 PM ET, is The Amazing Race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

#TeamIndyCar Secures Historic Place In The INDY500 11th Row Society Side-By-Side

CAN'T ... make this stuff up - #TeamIndyCar - Alexander Rossi | Conor Daly - of the 30th season of The Amazing Race are side-by-side again this year at the INDY500 after starting the 2018 season side-by-side at viewing parties in several locations throughout the nation earlier in the year.

So how did Alex and Conor end up on the 30th season of The Amazing Race? Host Phil Keoghan put it this way:

"The idea was: what would happen if you brought together the most competitive teams in Amazing Race history? Where you had an eclectic mix of hyper-competitive people who are used to winning in their chosen field. What would happen if you brought them all together in a race? So you’ve got such a mix of bonified champions, like Indy 500 winners. Then you’ve got world champion eaters. You’ve got the best of the best, the hot dogs and the hot shots. Team Big Brother [consisting of season 19 contestants Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf] was kind of the paprika thrown in for good measure. They’re a bit of a polarizing choice; they’re a couple whose fans absolutely adore them and some are absolutely not warmed to them. We’ve put together a really interesting mix. I say it at the starting line, it’s the most competitive group of teams we’ve had at the start of an Amazing Race."
[ht: AMG/Parade]

Alexander Rossi & Conor Daly appear as #TeamIndyCar during the opening scenes of Season 30 Episode 1 on a monitor during a viewing party on the Sunset Strip. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

This last weekend saw a most unusual occurrence happen during qualifications for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Alexander Rossi has had a very strong season so far, in that he has placed P3, P3, P1, P11, and a P5 in five races and sits just 2 points away from leading in the season championship points at P2 going into the INDY500. During qualifications on Day 1 (and all through practice leading up to Day 1) Alex had great pace and just missed out at re-qualifying for the pole on Day 2, where only the top nine positions are eligible to compete, by 4/10th's of one-second after 10 miles at P10.

RaceControl graphic from - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Conor Daly, on the other hand, was not able to secure a full season ride but was able to put together a sponsorship deal with United States Air Force for a Dale Coyne Racing and Thom Burns Racing No. 17 Honda Dallara for the biggest race of almost any season. This late deal, without having the kind of testing and experience with the new Universal Aero Kit Dallara that was introduced this year, had Conor clinging on to make the show at the end of Day 1 of qualifications at P33 of the limit of thirty-three positions allowed to race in the INDY500 no matter how many cars show up.

The unusual occurrence was that on Day 2 final qualifications, Conor Daly was unable to improve upon his starting position of P33 with another four-lap run, but Alex, who was expected to repeat his strong run at the top of the P10-P33 grouping in the Field of 33, was sent out with a right front tire set at an under-inflated level causing his NAPA Auto Parts No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara to decrease in speed in each lap of his four-lap run placing his car at the back of the field at ... P32.

RaceControl graphic from - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Joined at the hip yet again, race car drivers and friends Alex and Conor of #TeamIndyCar share the final row at P31 with British auto racing driver, and a former member of McLaren's Young Driver Programme Jack Harvey piloting the Meyer Shank Racing With Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 60 Honda Dallara as members of the "11th Row Society" which is an integral part of the culture surrounding this amazing 102 year (being run Sunday, May 27th 12:00 PM ET) race.

To honor this society and its new members, the 46th Annual charity event known as the "Last Row Party" will be held on Thursday, May 24.

Race car fans can meet Indy 500 drivers at the Last Row Party on Thursday, May 24 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. This annual event — in its 46th year — honors and roasts the three drivers who make up the last or 11th row of the Indianapolis 500 race.

This year's honorees are Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly.

In partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Last Row Party is in the 160-foot-high Pagoda, which sits at the start and finish line of the Indianapolis 500.

One of the 500’s best events, fans can eat, drink and laugh as drivers are roasted at the Pagoda. (4790 West 16th Street -- enter through Gate 2 off 16th street). Last Row Party T-shirts will be sold for $20 each.

Past years' last row drivers have included Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ana Beatriz, Sebastian Saavedra and Takuma Sato. All were Last Row Party honorees and instant crowd favorites.

Tickets are $60 per person. Attire is casual.

Tickets include entertainment and food. There will be two cash bars. Tickets can be ordered through this website at Questions: Call 317-701-1130 (ask for Jenny) or 317-439-2252 (ask for Linda).  A portion of each ticket is tax-deductible since the event benefits the Indianapolis Press Club Foundation, which provides journalism scholarships, awards and fellowships for Indiana college and university students.

For more information, please visit our website at:

Facebook: Last Row Party

Twitter: @LastRowParty

$45 of each ticket is tax-deductible since the event benefits the Indianapolis Press Club Foundation.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: #TeamIndyCar, Historic, INDY500, 11th Row Society, @The_EDJE, @TheEDJE, @LastRowParty, Last Row Party