Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tony Kanaan Earns Lifetime Achievement Award Through 97th INDY 500 Win

For a decade, Kanaan was IndyCar’s reigning Best-Never, as in “best never to have won the Indy 500.” Sure, he’d won the championship in 2004, but make no mistake: in IndyCar, it’s all about the race that gives the series its very name. More than the Daytona 500 to NASCAR drivers, more than The Masters to golfers, more than Wimbledon to tennis players: This is the race that defines drivers; any second-place challenger isn’t even on the same lap. Caption Credit: Jay Busbee | Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

Tony Kanaan Earns Lifetime Achievement Award Through 97th INDY 500 Win

It is understood that we humans are saps for happy endings – and for those who had invested their emotions in the 97th Indianapolis 500 race over the weekend, the payoff was anything but anticlimactic, even with the race ending under a full course YELLOW Flag caution.

Most of the easy money was on any one of five Andretti Autosport drivers taking the Borg-Warner Trophy inscription/sculpture prize and the lifetime of notoriety that comes with being “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” winner. In the final tally, Andretti Autosport had Columbian rookie Carlos Munoz riding P2 (voted Indy 500 Rookie of the Year), 2012 IZOD IndyCar Sreies Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay – P3, and the current 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Marco Andretti rolling along under the YELLOW Flag at P4.

The easy money did not win but the emotional money paid off big time … if the emotional money were on a deserving previous non-winner of the event, driving for a team that had never won either the INDY 500 or a series championship – 38 year old Brazilian Tony “TK” Kanaan.

TK even had an additional emotional story about luck that presented itself just days before the race.

The Handford Device was created as a way to slow the cars down and try and improve overtaking. The strip or plate was placed on the tailing edge of the rear wing and aided in reducing downforce, increasing drag, and generating a larger wake for the drivers of cars behind to use for a slipstream. Image Credit: f1technical.net

This excerpted and edited from NBC Sports -

Kanaan: Oval racing about “playing the game” given power levels
Tony DiZinno May 27, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

A veteran of open-wheel’s top level since 1998, Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan is well-versed on the various “styles” of racing that have occurred in ovals in either CART, IRL or IndyCar iterations.

The second year of IndyCar’s new Dallara DW12 chassis at Indianapolis once again featured a plethora of passing thanks to the “slingshot” effect created by a tow. The cars punch such a big hole in the air that drivers catch up to each other fairly easily. Passing was as prevalent on Sunday as crushed beer cans in Indy’s new “Snake pit,” Turn 3.

But for Kanaan, who raced in the CART-era “Hanford device” period, the racing now isn’t as random or affected by the aero slingshots as it was then. The device, created by aerodynamicist Mark Hanford, was used in CART from 1998 through 2002 on high-speed ovals at Michigan and California Speedways.

“I’ve driven all types of IndyCars, I would say,” Kanaan said Monday at IMS. “I drove the Champ Cars with the thousand horsepower, a lot of downforce.  Then we went to the Hanford device, which was worse than this as far as drafting.  This car has a little bit less.”

The Dallara DW12’s powerplants have only 550 horsepower for ovals. What that has done is altered the racing, but away from the scary “pack racing” that plagued the IRL era, and made it about positioning compared to the CART days when cars could come from nearly a second back to pass [at will]  someone in one straightaway.

Kanaan would know, given his first major open-wheel win was a 500-mile CART race at Michigan in 1999, and he barely held off Juan Montoya after the Colombian hauled him in thanks to a monster tow.

“My most fun years were the years that we had the big horsepower cars and you just had to go flat out; it was pure racing speed,” Kanaan admitted. “You had the faster car, you’re going to take off and win this thing because you had a chance to lap the field.

“That’s not going to happen nowadays. Now you play the game we played yesterday.  You feel it out, what kind of car you have during the race, and you position yourself to win.”

Greater horsepower is a near universal desire of the field of drivers, but for now, Kanaan and others are playing with the resources at their disposal.

“So I would rather have more horsepower and do that.  But nowadays with the cost, it’s quite impossible for that to happen.”
[Reference Here]

TK drove the Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Racing (KVRT) prepared Chevrolet-powered second-year Dallara DW12 co-owned by Jimmy Vasser, Kevin Kalkhoven and Imran Safiulla.

KV Racing Technology team leader/co-owner Jimmy Vasser knows what it is to be a race car driver w/o INDY 500 recognition. He now has it as a team owner and joins a very exclusive group of drivers who turned to being a team owner to have this kind of success. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

“I never won this race as a driver and couldn’t seem to do so, so I had to hire a driver to do it,” said on-track team owner Jimmy Vasser in a post race interview. “Tony is the consummate professional and he’s been a long time coming here. Starting a year ago, we decided to focus on Indy by taking a chassis and putting it aside. A lot of credit goes to the boys, who have worked very hard over the winter. Tony was right, ‘the stars started lining up for us,’ and we didn’t really get a race set-up until last Sunday [one week before the race] with two hours to go and within 45 minutes, we hit on it. We knew we had the right guy and the right set-up for the race.”

While the race ended under a full course YELLOW Flag caution, everyone invested in the event were treated to a highly competitive, record-setting run for the first 197 laps.

Tony Kanaan celebrates with winners milk in front of team owner Jimmy Vasser (clinched-fists, arms raised) after winning the Indianapolis 500. The American Dairy Association released a milk preference poll for all 33 drivers in this year’s race. Sixteen of them are opting for 2 percent, eight are going for whole, four of them chose skim milk, and five couldn’t care less … so long as they get to drink it. TK signed up for a quart of 2 percent! Image Credit: IndyCar.com

Some numbers of note following the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, including the top three positions at 20-lap intervals (ht: IndyCar.com):

Lap 20 — Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti (-.0077 of a second), Ed Carpenter (-.3487)
Lap 40 — Ed Carpenter (under caution), Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay
Lap 60 — Ryan Hunter-Reay (under caution), Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter
Lap 80 — Will Power, Tony Kanaan (-.3984), Ryan Hunter-Reay (-.6241)
Lap 100 — AJ Allmendinger, Tony Kanaan (-.0473), Ryan Hunter-Reay (-.4544)
Lap 120 — Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti (-.1399), Ryan Hunter-Reay (-.3720)
Lap 140 — AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter-Reay (-.1390), Marco Andretti (-.3408)
Lap 160 — Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti (-.1167), AJ Allmendinger (-.4829)
Lap 180 — Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay (-.2866), Helio Castroneves (-.9251)
Lap 200 –Tony Kanaan (under caution), Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay

68 — Race-record lead changes, breaking 34 in 2012.

14 — Race-record different lap leaders — a third of the field — breaking 12 in 1993.

27 — Race-record cars running at the finish, breaking 26 in 1911.

133 — Consecutive green flag laps (from Lap 61 through Lap 193), the longest green flag period in Indianapolis 500 history since caution flag laps were recorded beginning in 1976.

21 — Caution flag laps, the fewest in an Indianapolis 500 that went the full distance since caution flag laps were recorded beginning in 1976. The 1976 race also had just 21 caution-flag laps, but that race ended after 102 laps because if rain.

187.433 — Average speed in miles per hour, a race record. Arie Luyendyk held the record of 185.981 mph since 1990. It was only the fourth time the race record has been broken.

13 — Positions gained by Simon Pagenaud, who finished P8 from P21, the most in the field.

6 — Drivers who led their first laps in the Indianapolis 500.

9 — Indy 500s led by Tony Kanaan in his 12 starts.

62 — Temperature in Fahrenheit at the green flag, tying the 1930 race for the third-coldest in the race’s history.

226.940 — Fastest overall lap in miles per hour by Justin Wilson (the highest placing Honda-powered DW12 at P5) on Lap 185.

223.651 — Fastest lap in miles per hour by a race leader, Carlos Munoz, on Lap 184.

168 — 2013 series championship points for Marco Andretti after five races. Takuma Sato is 11 points behind.

226.176 — Field qualifying average in miles per hour. It’s the fourth-fastest field in Indianapolis 500 history, exceeded only in 1995, 1996 and 2002. The 2002 field averaged 228.648 mph, the fastest in history.

228.762 — Four-lap average speed by pole winner Ed Carpenter, the fastest since 2006 by Sam Hornish Jr.

Favorite post race Tweet:

E.M.H @elmondohummus
Yes This! No gimmicks in Indycar. RT @TonyJWriter: Oh, and hey, screw green-white-checker finishes. #Indy500orBust #IndyCar #dw12

Longtime American open-wheel writer, SpeedTV’s Marshall Pruett Predicted: He’s come close before and has, in my estimation, another legitimate shot at winning this year. The most popular driver in the field without his likeness on the BorgWarner trophy will likely put on more displays of bravery and miraculous passes—but can his team get his No. 11 car just right for the sprint to the finish? That’s the only thing I see holding TK back from Victory Lane.

Well, they did, Marshall!

Results – 200 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine        Time/Gap

1.  Tony Kanaan          KVRT/Chevy
2.  Carlos Munoz         Andretti/Chevy     + 0.1159
3.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy     + 0.2480
4.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy     + 0.3634
5.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda        + 0.8138

6.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy       + 3.0086
7.  AJ Allmendinger      Penske/Chevy       + 4.0107
8.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda      + 4.2609
9.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda      + 5.6864
10.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy    + 6.8425

11.  Oriol Servia         Panther DRR/Chevy  + 7.8633
12.  Ryan Briscoe         Ganassi/Honda      + 8.9216
13.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda         + 10.2602
14.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda      + 11.3858
15.  Ana Beatriz          Coyne/Honda        + 12.2657
16.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda      + 15.3045
17.  Simona De Silvestro  KVRT/Chevy           + 15.7201
18.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy     + 17.8056
19.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy       + 22.5403
20.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda        + 1 lap
21.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy     + 1 lap
22.  Conor Daly           Foyt/Honda         + 2 laps
23.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi/Honda      + 3 laps*
24.  Alex Tagliani        Herta/Honda        + 4 laps
25.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda        + 7 laps*

26.  Katherine Legge      Schmidt/Honda      + 7 laps
27.  Townsend Bell        Panther/Chevy      + 8 laps
28.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda       + 9 laps
* Not running at finish


Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy       178 laps
Pippa Mann           Coyne/Honda        46 laps
Buddy Lazier         Lazier/Chevy       44 laps
Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy       34 laps
JR Hildebrand        Panther/Chevy      3 laps
(ht: autosport.com)

As Tony was overheard to say during the ceremony at race’s end, “This is it … man, I made it. Finally they’re going to put my ugly face on this [Borg-Warner] trophy.” This inscription and facial sculpture will become a well earned award for a lifetime of achievements.

… notes from The EDJE

**Article first posted as "Tony Kanaan Earns Lifetime Achievement Award Through 97th INDY 500 Win" at Motorsports Unplugged**

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Will The 97th INDY 500 Become An Andretti Autosport Shootout?

A joyous Michael Andretti as he basks in the glow of being the team owner of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay while fielding questions from the press just after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Will The 97th INDY 500 Become An Andretti Autosport Shootout?

The month of May, 2013, at the famed two and a half mile rectangle/oval located at Speedway, Indiana has been dominated by cars prepared and driven by Andretti Autosport. During the week leading up to Pole Day, which took place last weekend, saw all five cars comfortably posting speed times in the top 10 with the consistency usually reserved by Penske Racing or Target Chip Ganassi (who, under their direct banner, have fielded five cars combined).

On Pole Day, Andretti Autosport cars made it to the “Fast Nine” shootout for the pole … the only other multiple car team to place all of its cars in the final cut was Penske Racing (P5. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.8264 (228.099) | P6. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.8342 (228.087) | P8. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy 02:38.0596 (227.762)) leaving Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TGR) locked out – TGR’s Dixon and Franchitti are P16 and P17 respectively (row six).

The Andretti Autosport DW12′s qualified at P2. (26) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.6581 (228.342) | P3. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.7139 (228.261) | P4. (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.7907 (228.150) | P7. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.9614 (227.904) | P9. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy 02:38.5411 (227.070).

Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay just moments after he pits his #1 DHL sponsored Dallara-Chevy at the end of the race that rewarded him with enough points to secure the 2012 IICS driver championship. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

If qualifying position and overall team performance were the solid gold predictors in the outcome of a race run, then one would have to give the inside track to ANY Andretti Autosport team car and driver.

When one adds the calculation of team performance to the winning of races, Andretti Autosport is also given the edge starting the last half of 2012 – when Ryan Hunter-Reay won Race #8 of a 15 race season at the Milwaukee Mile, Race #9 Iowa, and Race #14 through the streets of Baltimore and eventually seizing the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) Driver Championship  – then continuing the performance during the first four races of the 2013 season with James Hinchcliffe winning Race #1 at St. Petersburg and #4 at Sao Paulo, not to forget the win by last year’s IICS champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in Race #2 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama – the team is on a roll.

James Hinchcliffe prays in the cockpit of his Andretti Autosport Go Daddy sponsored Dallara-Chevy before taking to the track. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

Lastly, through four races of the 2013 season, the consistency of performance can not be ignored. The driver championship standings with over 20% of the season being run has Andretti Autosport season regular drivers Marco Andretti standing at  P2, James Hinchcliffe at P4, Ryan Hunter-Reay at P6, and EJ Viso at P11. And, again, the pinch-hitter for the INDY 500, Carlos Munoz sits as the top qualifying driver for the team at P2 – WOW!

A shootout in the INDY 500 by Andretti Autosport drivers is a very real possibility because the team, and the way the second season DW12 cars have been prepared, would allow this to happen.

Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe take to the ‘Brickyard’ for set-ups. Marco sets a speed of 225 on the first day of practice laps leading all cars that ran on the first day of May practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series

This excerpted and edited from SB Nation -

2013 Indianapolis 500: Power ranking the field of 33
By MattWeaver on May 21 2013, 10:00p 

Instead of compiling a traditional power rankings list like we normally do on Tuesday afternoons at SB Nation IndyCar, this week’s post will rank the top-10 drivers most likely to win the Indianapolis 500-mile Race.

Drivers can typically be lumped into three groups entering the month of May:

1.) The top-10 drivers that have the easiest path towards winning the Borg-Warner Trophy.

2.) The group of 10 that will need some help or a little bit of luck.

3.) The final 13 that are best described as a long shot.

Conceivably any of the 33 drivers have a shot after 500-miles, as fuel strategy has generated some surprise winners over the last century. That’s one of the many reasons the Greatest Spectacle in Racing is still the greatest race in the world – it’s still the 500-mile sweepstakes.

And yet, there is still a clear hierarchy led by traditional powers Andretti Autosport, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing. Our top-10 picks to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500 can be found below, with an explanation for each of the top contenders. For reference’s sake, we’ve also included a complete ranking to the last driver.

1. Marco Andretti
The entire month of May seemingly has been dedicated to Andretti Autosport, the Andretti Curse and Marco Andretti’s career resurgence. While just a little off the pole speed on Saturday, the number 25 team appears fastest in traffic, picking up a toe [TOW] and several other deciding factors in traffic.
He’s also number 1 on the power rankings list because he’s shown the most consistent speed at Indianapolis since teams unloaded the DW12 oval model last May, leading the most laps of the 2012 race and dominating the practice sessions leading up to the 2013 race.

2. Ed Carpenter
One of the biggest misconceptions about the buildup to this year’s Indianapolis 500 is that Ed Carpenter is some sort of heartwarming underdog victory after capturing the pole on Saturday afternoon. Sure, Ed Carpenter Racing doesn’t have the same budget as Penske or Ganassi, but he is the most prolific oval racer of the post-split era.

3. Carlos Muñoz
With reservation, a 21-year-old rookie makes the podium in the most-likely to win the Indianapolis 500 power rankings post.
Only Marco Andretti has shown quicker pace in practice, and Muñoz has looked confident running in a pack with his Andretti Autosport teammates. He’s looking to do what JR Hildebrand couldn’t do in 2011, and that is winning this race in just his very first attempt — so don’t be surprised if it actually happens.

4. Hélio Castroneves
If youthful disregard could win on Sunday for Muñoz, experience and patience will do it for Hélio Castroneves. There is more than one way to win this race, and it will be interesting to see how Castroneves approaches another attempt to win his fourth Borg-Warner.

5. Dario Franchitti
Repeat everything that was said about Hélio Castroneves in regards to Dario Franchitti. The only thing placing Castroneves over Franchitti is his Chevy turbocharger which appears much-stronger at Indianapolis. Dario is also looking for his fourth win at the Speedway.

6. Will Power
Based on his championship finishes over the past three seasons, Will Power has inherited the title of Team Penske’s number 1 driver. With that title comes a lot of responsibility at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but not a lot of success thus far.
Will Power can absolutely win this race. And in a season where he has somehow gone winless through four-consecutive road and street course events, wouldn’t a victory in the Indianapolis 500 just make sense?

7. James Hinchcliffe
The Go Daddy Andretti driver has been sneaky competitive at Indianapolis, qualifying 13th for Newman/Haas in 2011 and finishing sixth in last year’s race. Brimming with the confidence off two wins to start the 2013 season and the powerful Andretti Autosport backing his entry in 2013, Hinchcliffe could finally and completely break out of her shadow with a win in the Indianapolis 500.

8. EJ Viso
Andretti Autosport has seemingly concentrated the raw potential of EJ Viso, and that could again show itself with a surprise victory in the Indianapolis 500.

9. AJ Allmendinger
Casual observers were quick to point out that AJ Allmendinger’s lack of results in his first two races back in Indy car was a sign of his inability to drive these cars after six seasons or the result of his mixed commitments to both IndyCar and NASCAR.
Like any Penske car, the No. 2 has speed the driver has shown the ability to wield it for brief practice or qualifying spurts, but can he do it for 500 miles? That’s the only question separating AJ Allmendinger from the Borg-Warner trophy.

10. Scott Dixon
In a repeat of last season, Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing look to be just off the pace set by their Chevrolet rivals. But like last season, Honda and Ganassi will rise to the occasion and will be a constant threat for the lead in the late stages of the race.

The Borg-Warner Trophy – this image never gets old. Image Credit: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Lost in the shuffle between the legendary Dario Franchitti/Takuma Sato duel last year was that Scott Dixon was leading the Indianapolis 500 up until three laps to go. That isn’t likely to change on Sunday.

11. Ryan Hunter-Reay
12. Tony Kanaan
13. Takuma Sato
14. JR Hildebrand
15. Ryan Briscoe

16. Alex Tagliani
17. Charlie Kimball
18. Graham Rahal
19. Justin Wilson
20. Oriol Servia

21. Townsend Bell
22. Simon Pagenaud
23. Simona de Silvestro
24. Josef Newgarden
25. Sebastien Bourdais

26. James Jakes
27. Sebastian Saavedra
28. Conor Daly
29. Tristan Vautier
30. Pippa Mann

31. Buddy Lazier
32. Ana Beatriz
33. Katherine Legge
(Reference Here)

Predictions are a funny thing because when the race is run, the story always takes on an edge that can never be calculated for. This is why we race, and watch American open wheel races – F1 has nothing like this.

Broadcast Information:

The Memorial Day weekend tradition returns with the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26, beginning at 12pm ET from famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

ABC airs the race for the 49th straight year, beginning with a one-hour preview show Sunday at 11am ET. The production will use 84 cameras, including three on-board cameras each on 12 of the 33 cars. Viewers can also choose a live streaming video feed from the on-board cameras on ESPN3. Marty Reid calls the race with analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. Lindsay Czarniak hosts, with Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch reporting from pit row.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article originally posted as "Will The 97th INDY 500 Become An Andretti Autosport Shootout?" at Motorsports Unplugged**

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sean Rayhall Sets His Own Winning Legacy At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Image Credit: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

Sean Rayhall Sets His Own Winning Legacy At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

If one is a race fan and the sound of this last name sounds familiar, it's because this sound ... Rayhall/Rahal/etc., no matter how it's spelled, is the sound of winning.

Image Credit: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

This sound has an additional historic significance at one of California's racing treasures, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS). Bobby Rahal had won more races at MRLS as a ChampCar driver, then team owner, and ALMS sports car team owner (all combined) than anyone else in the history of the storied race track, and since September, 2003 his name is linked to the facility in perpetuity. The challenging section of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from the exit of Turn 6 up the hill and through the Turn 7 kink to the entrance of the Corkscrew was named the "Rahal Straight," honoring one of the true greats of this historic venue.

Image Credit: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

Last weekend had this familiar sound winning yet again, but this sound is not spelled like the name of the back uphill straight at MRLS. Sean Rayhall shares much of the same DNA from Lebanon as the other, more famous Rahal sounding/spelling family, but much more importantly, shares the ways of winning domination at MRLS. First, by posting a P1 in qualifications for the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda two race weekend. Then, by winning both Friday's Round 3 and Saturday's Round 4 of this 2013 Mazda ladder series season.

Image Credit: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

"Qualifications went really well - for the Comprent Motor Sports Machine," Sean Rayhall said. "The Robert Talbott No. 14 got the pole for both races so we are really excited about that.  Me and Mike (Brandon - engineer) worked really hard these past few nights to get the perfect set up and we made a lot of changes. But it ended up being the right way to go!"

At the end of Round 4 on Saturday when asked about the weekend, the 18-year-old Sean Rayhall said, "We had a little competition on the start of the race I guess but I am really happy to come away with Robert Talbott winning both these races. This is an awesome event and it's awesome to be here at Laguna with everyone and to come away with two poles and two wins for Robert Talbott, Comprent Motor Sports and Racing Radios. I really have to thank everyone behind me in my program for giving me a chance to do this."
(ht: prototypelites.com)

Image Credit: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

When pressed about the competition at the start of Round 4, Sean shared, "Me and Ryan Booth had some hard side to side racing [at the start] in the second race. Even a bit of contact going into [turn] two between us, but after that it was clear sailing!"

In a post race question laden conversation with Sean Rayhall, it was discovered that this winning attitude at MRLS was developed quite recently, in that Sean first drove this track "a month ago in a SCCA event actually driving a spec racer. We broke the track record by a second and had a ton of fun learning the track with 3 wins."

What age did you discover that you wished to become a race car driver and what was your first venture in driving competitively (Karts? Sports cars?)?

"I started karts at 7 and wanted to be a race car driver since then. Moved to cars at 12 where I broke the record for youngest driver to win an open wheel race in the states."

Besides the infamous Corkscrew ... what other section of the track do you find challenging? And, Why?

"At Mazda Raceway besides the Corkscrew ... turn 6 [going into the "Rahal Straight" section] and turn 9 ["Rainey Curve"] are interesting turns because of the high speed and elevation changes involved which take a fine setup to handle correctly in those areas."

Image Credit: Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

After Rounds 3 and 4 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, it now can be said of this young, new Rayhall on the motorsports racing scene, the Rahal that has a winning legacy connection with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca isn't just named Bobby ... or Graham (found a P3 finish in Star Mazda 2005 - ?) ... but also Sean with the last name sounding the same but spelled Rayhall!

With continued dominate success, they may have to name the currently unnamed Turn 6, going into the "Rahal Straight", "Rayhall Curve" ... Y? what the L! (the two missing letters from the name of the next section), just a thought.

... notes from The EDJE

**Article first posted as Sean Rayhall Sets His Own Winning Legacy At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at Motorsports Unplugged** 
 ** Republished as "RACING: Rayhall sets own winning legacy" at the Douglas County Sentinel, Douglasville, GA **

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2013 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle - Tweet-By-Tweet

Will Ryan Hunter-Reay break into the top five in season championship points lead or will team-mate EJ Viso have his own designs to try and vault into the top ten without knocking RHR out with a crash? Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

2013 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle - Tweet-By-Tweet

Round four of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) sees its fourth in a succession of road/street courses to kick-off the season before going on with the month of May festivities at IndyCar's home city and the grand-daddy of all left-turn only (do we need to say it - oval) races, the Indy 500.

The Mayor of Sao Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, fought hard to bring the IICS to South America and race here. He even went to the point of declaring Sao Paulo the South American Indianapolis in 2009, or maybe a better characterization might be that they were establishing itself as capital of motor racing in South America - no other city could rival the tradition and race that have defined a city ever since the 2.5 mile track was first laid out in 1909.

Welcome to an internet based exercise that this author/editor calls Tweet-By-Tweet. It is a form of New Media reporting on an event from the perspective of mostly well informed and rabid followers of a particular discipline that happen to be communicating LIVE at the same time, sharing their reactions to the happenings of an important event.

The following "Tweets" (entries from Twitter social media portal) come from those who have an account on Twitter and become followed by people of similar interests plus specific #hashtag searches. Contributors who "Tweet" (create an entry made on Twitter) come from many backgrounds such as racing team communications personnel, writers, drivers from other series, bloggers, and just plain fans.

This excerpted and edited from Twitter with entries added from IndyCar, Race Control, and the author -

To start the race, it is always a good thing to have the initial balance of perspective of how the field will line up to take the Green Flag to start the race.

Qualification Results
Sao Paulo Indy 300 - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Pos. Driver Best Time Round
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:20.4312 Firestone Fast Six
2 EJ Viso 1:20.7380 Firestone Fast Six
3 Dario Franchitti 1:20.8922 Firestone Fast Six
4 Tony Kanaan 1:20.9812 Firestone Fast Six
5 James Hinchcliffe 1:20.9893 Firestone Fast Six
6 Scott Dixon 1:21.1183 Firestone Fast Six
7 Sebastien Bourdais 1:20.8210 Round 2 / Top 12
8 Simona de Silvestro 1:20.9390 Round 2 / Top 12
9 Justin Wilson 1:21.0570 Round 2 / Top 12
10 Marco Andretti 1:21.1716 Round 2 / Top 12
11 JR Hildebrand 1:21.2961 Round 2 / Top 12
12 Takuma Sato 1:21.3618 Round 2 / Top 12
13 Oriol Servia 1:21.7963 Round 1 / Group 1
14 Ed Carpenter 1:24:0203 Round 1 / Group 2
15 Alex Tagliani 1:21.8636 Round 1 / Group 1
16 Ana Beatriz 1:24:8864 Round 1 / Group 2
17 Charlie Kimball 1:22.2482 Round 1 / Group 1
18 Helio Castroneves 1:25:1734 Round 1 / Group 2
19 Graham Rahal 1:22.2998 Round 1 / Group 1
20 Sebastian Saavedra 4:00.2612 Round 1 / Group 2
21 Tristan Vautier 3:20.5417 Round 1 / Group 1
22 Will Power 4:05.5886 Round 1 / Group 2
23 Josef Newgarden No Time Round 1 / Group 1
24 Simon Pagenaud 4:23.1097 Round 1 / Group 2
25 James Jakes No Time Round 1 / Group 2

It's interesting to note that no Penske Racing team car made it to the Firestone Fast Six. This was because the group Will Power and Helio Castroneves were qualifying in, suffered an interruption from an accident caused by Rahal Letterman Lanigan's James Jakes and this cut the time short for a clear run. Power will start from P22 and Castroneves from P18.

Also, former Lotus Dragon Racing team-mates, Sebastien Bourdais and Simona de Silvestro, will be starting next to each other in the fourth row ... just outside of the Firestone Fast Six.

IndyCar Teammates @RyanHunterReay & @EJVISO start on the front row in the #IndySaoPaulo at 11a ET on @NBCSN! #IndyCar pic.twitter.com/NkEJ9zre1m

- The Official Twitter page of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Keep up w/ the latest from drivers, fans &

- Both KV Racing Technology Drivers Qualify In The Top-Eight

- Only five cars are starting on the Alternate tires today:Franchitti, Kanaan, Dixon, Carpenter and Vautier.

- Talladega and Sao Paolo in the same day, quite a tongue twister for American motorsports fans

- Won't be able to see live today per other commitments, so gonna have to stay off social media and avoid spoilers!

- Recuerden hoy el vzolano arranca en 1ra fila en lo que será la 4ta fecha de la temporada de la en las calles de Sao Paulo

- “: Two Drivers and are top 10 in every practice session! Go Guys! ” Thanks Teri!

- My prediction for is: 1.Kanaan 2.Hunter-Reay 3.Franchitti... The lovely Brazil: Boa sorte a todos e boa corrida!!!

- The race in Sao Paulo will start soon. Sato should win again.

- Gonna be a long day in front of screens. in 30mins then, hopefully, they'll get Talladega off the ground i.e. green flag.

- Waiting for the text/call from the wife when she realizes I am recording BOTH races today over her shows. Love the DirecTV app.

- What time does that race start, trying to catch the British GT Quali, but I think it clashes with the :-\

Edmund Jenks @TheEDJE - @jamesf40 - Ahhhhhh! Choices, Choices, Choices ...

- @TheEDJE - Lol! I'm not complaining, its been an epic weekend of motorsport so far, even without the :-)

- GAORAでINDY CAR第4戦を見るために風呂ってきまーす(^o^)《明日は早番ですが^^;》

- Weather seems to be clear for this race for the first time - Internet Radio Broadcast begins -

- Interesting tire choices for start of : all but 5 drivers on primaries (black sidewall) Firehawks.

- [News] Statement on the Future of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing after INDY500

Sad to hear that we may lose a team for the balance of the season - Oriol Servia (starting P13) has to be really unhappy between last season's messed up run with Lotus and now this DRR suspension of race operations.

- Aww "weather isn't a problem". What kind of grand prix in São Paulo is this? No rain? No Interlagos?!

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN - the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle begins

- Green flag has been shown, 75 laps to be run

- Ready to go in we need a fifth country win this year, Brazil or Switzerland would be nice.

- GREEN! Viso gets passed for P2 by Franchitti. Clean start.

- Have we had a lap 1 at Brazil yet with zero contact? My gut says no. 's changes responsible? Thumbs up.

- Power up to three positions in two laps. Now in 19th.

- Tristan moves from P21 to P17 in first 2 laps of

- Clean start and everyone's running. TK and Simona moved up one place each :-)

YELLOW Flag - 7 of 75 LAPS - Dale Coyne Racing's Ana  Beatriz - transmission!

- Ana Beatriz has stopped on track, caution is out.

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN -Lap 9 of 10

Great jumps by RHR and TK!! - Crowd goes crazy!

- Alright back to green we go. WHAT A LAUNCH BY KANAAN! Into P2! Now to track down RHR!

- TK goes to 2nd, blows by Franchitti on the Sambadromo!

10 of 75 LAPS - Top 10 - TK, RHR, Franchitti, Hinchtown, EJ Viso, Dixon, TAKU, Wilson, SDS, TAKU, and JR Hildebrand

- Pretty cool to hear the crowd going nuts when took the lead

- Kanaan is flying , despite damaged hand, amazing!

- I've never tried Itaipava is it good beer?

- Will Power is not going to finish this race. He's driving way too aggressively and way over his head, in my opinion. Has no choice.

- Multiple chargers right now. Sato 12th to 7th, Rahal 19th to 11th, Power 22nd to 14th.

TK represents the 9th driver to lead a race - Scott Dixon is not one of them in 2013 at this point.

- Love the shot of gridlocked traffic right next to race track

YELLOW Flag - Will Power's car is in flames - his day is finished - he will not gain points or become a driver to win four races in a row at a single track - those who were able to complete this feat? AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, and Al Unser, Jr..

20 of 75 LAPS - Top 10 - TK, RHR, Franchitti, Hinchtown, Dixon, TAKU, EJ Viso, SDS, Wilson, and JR Hildebrand

PITSTOPS under YELLOW - Lap 21 - TK loses two positions.

- Sato moves up to P4 after cars pit under caution

- Kanaan falls to third after a fuel delivery problem. He gets jumped by Dixon, & RHR takes the lead. Sato P4!

- Is it too early to say that Will Power is out of contention for the title?

- Maybe - 4 road/street races down and the ovals are coming on strong

1m - Pitstop sob bandeira amarela / Pitstop under yellow (by Benito)
- Seb is now leading the race! // Seb est maintenant en tête de la course!

RESTART - LAP 23 of 75 - Team-mates James Jakes and Graham Rahal get together and bring out the YELLOW Flag

- Wow, bummer for . Got screwed by banzai move by his teammate.

At 3rd YELLOW Flag of the day, the order is - Top ten on LAP 26 of 75 - SeaBass, Tags, Newgarden, Kimball, Pagenaud, RHR, Helio, Dixon, TK, and TAKU

- Tough day for , , #25, just squeezed past a major wreck on restart. Fast start now.

GREEN Flag RESTART - Drivers try three-wide - Helio spins and tucks it back in and pits for flatspots - Kimball picks up a couple of spots - not a good day for Penske racing.

- : With his DNF today, has failed to finish a road/street course race for the first time since Toronto 2011.

30 of 75 - Top Ten - SeaBass, Newgarden, RHR, Pagenaud, TAKU, Kimball, TK, Dixon, Franchitti, and Hildebrand

- That doesn't hurt TK as Kimball is on different strategy

- Remember, Bourdais and Newgarden pitted early. RHR basically has lead, although he's leaning back on fuel right now.

TK passes RHR for P3 - Pitstop flurry - the field is shuffling

- Even with the curbing removed, turn 1 is still a kicker

TAKU passes RHR for position ... due to pitstops was fot the LEAD of the race!

- Wow, Sato's looking pretty damned racy again this week!

- Takuma foi o primeiro japonês a ganhar uma etapa da Indy e hoje está ganhando boas posições, atualmente em 1º!

-  Sato not intimidated by anybody!! Lap 34/75 takes the lead!!!!

- Sato in for service at Lap 38. Stays with the reds, gets fuel.

- Pits are open, full course yellow for debris that fell from No. 15 car of Rahal after contact with the Turn 2 wall.

- That corner where smoked it really needs changing, would've been 2 less cautions and more racing

- was that of his own doing? or did he hit / get hit by someone?

40 of 75 - Top Ten - RHR, TK, Franchitti, Servia, Marco, Dixon, Viso, SDS, Hinchtown, and Wilson

- Based on my calculations, only needs to pit one more time this race. ;-)

- Am I the only one who noticed Ethanol is spelled Etanol on engine cover? Is it a brazil thing?

IndyCar Race control: Nos. 77, 3, and 7 must pit next time by for entering a closed pit. #IndySaoPaulo #IndyCar

Matt@MotoM4TT  - Interesting, the international feed immediately showed RED FLAG after the accident....

- Think Taku could be on for decent result if doesn't need another stop considering how many yellows > 1 yellow/10 laps

Marco Andretti has four less laps on his tank than the cars in front of him - Fuel strategy same a Danica Patrick's in Japan - same strategist.

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN -Lap 44 of 75

Two-wide restart - Marco up to P4

OUTSIDE move by TK past RHR for P1 - crowd goes crazy again!! Superb racing side-by-side

Marco up to P3 then to P1 and becomes the 10th driver to lead a race - passing at the front as RHR has car trouble and fades

- Kanaan does the over under on RHR for the lead. Very nice. Now Marco picks up 2nd then gets around TK. Good stuff!

- Drag race down the backstretch goes to Marco Andretti, who takes the lead from Tony Kanaan. 29 to go.

IZOD IndyCar Series@IndyCar  - . moves into the lead on Lap 47! Hunter-Reay has a flat tire.

- This is freaking awesome racing. who needs

Woodsie@WoodsiesGarage  - RHR supposedly has a tyre going down, so he'll be coming in if he can. Now Marco looks under Kanaan & gets him!

50 of 75 - Top Ten - Marco, Servia, Franchitti, Viso, TK, Hinchcliffe, Wilson, SDS, Vautier, and Dixon

Pit activity - TK may have run out of fuel - WOW!

YELLOW Flag - sixth full course caution - Marco takes advantage and can go the distance

IndyCar - Full course yellow to retrieve Kanaan from the front stretch. Pits are open. #IndySaoPaulo #IndyCar

ForTheLoveofIndy@4TheLoveOfIndy  - Terrible break for Kanaan. At home in his 200 consecutive race.

JR Hildebrand has the lead with the pistops - may have enough fuel to make it to the end - only car at the front that is running on Firestone Blacks

GREEN, GREEN, GREEN -Lap 55 of 75

Two-wide restart - JR Hildebrand was able to get away clean - Graham Rahal cloggs up the restart and gives JR a big break being five laps down

Christopher Estrada@estradawriting  - Sato slams the door on Hinchcliffe out at Turn 11, takes back third...

YELLOW Flag - 7th of the day - James Jakes and Justin Wilson get together and bring out a caution

-This race is FUN but hard to keep up with strategy-glad our ABC can!

Top ten on RESTART - LAP 59 of 75 - TAKU, Hinchtown, Newgarden, Marco, Pagenaud, RHR, Servia, Viso, Franchitti, and Tags

Hinchcliffe drops to fourth as Newgarden and Marco take advantage.

- How the heck did Pagenaud get back up into third?!

TAKU, Pagenaud, and Newgarden as Simon takes P2

-   helluva race going on in Sao Paolo! I'm pissed I didn't schedule to be down there this week.

- Zero Penske or Ganassi cars in the top 5. The only Andretti is Hinch.

- Pagenaud started 23rd and Newgarden 25th and running 2nd and 3rd

Jon@JFDT33 - really is going down hill having Avis sponsoring how to go round a corner, what next, how to drive straight sponsored by KFC?

65 of 75 LAPS - It's TAKU, Newgarden, Pagenaud, Hinchcliffe, and Servia in the top 5 positions

- Look how loose that rear bumper is on Pagenaud. That can't be fun to drive with...

- Newgarden chasing Sato for the lead, hunting Pagenaud for 3rd, this is gonna be a great finish!

Servia off of the pace but the cars in front are racing very hard

- Josef Newgarden is your biggest mover of the day, starting 25th and currently running 2nd.

- Top10 1 Sato 2 Newgarden 3 Pagenaud 4 Hinchcliffe 5 Servia 6 Andretti 7 Franchitti 8 9 Hunter-reay 10 de Silvestro

Hinchcliffe passes Pagenaud and is 2.5 seconds behind Newgarden

Ases del Volante!!!@Ases_DelVolante -  Hinchcliffe pasa a Pagenaud y sube al 3er lugar.

- Hinch to 3rd, Newgarden 2nd and Sato leads, can Sato do it again?

LAP 69 has Newgarden dogging TAKU who is on old Blacks - 1.5 stints

- The margin between 1st and 2nd is .02776 with five laps to go.

Hinchcliffe is pulling back into contention - Newgarden is filling all the mirrors he can find as the GoDaddy car are covered by a blanket

- Battle for the win, Sato VS Newgarden ! 5 laps to go !

Two laps remain and Hinch gets Newgarden and TAKU get a little room - Hinch is pulling in TAKU - WOW, WOW, WOW!

Hinch gets tapped by Sato and may be called for blocking

- NO ACTION from Race Control on Sato for moving in front of Newgarden down the backstretch.

One and a half laps remain and Marco joins the train - Three-Wide for second in the Sambadrome - more WOW!

TAKU remains in the lead through the corners - Hinch is almost a part of TAKU's DW12 - TAKU blocks Hinch but James is persistent and gets past TAKU - a pass on the last corner ... for the win!

Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe wins the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle - TAKU, if there is no penalty, will come away with the season points lead going into the INDY500

- Wow that was a BADASS move by Hinchecliffe!! Very cool!

- WOW!! What a finish at ! Now, THAT, is what racing is all about! It doesn't get any better in IndyCar, congrats !

In four races this season, James Hinchcliffe was P1, P26, P26, and now P1. Hinchcliffe Tweeted from his Mayor of Hinchtown account - @Hinchtown - I don't always finish races, but when I do, l prefer to win - ala "the most interesting man in the world" commercials. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

IndyCar The margin of victory for today's race is .3464, the closest at #IndySaoPaulo and the 13th closest in #IndyCar Road/Street Course history.

It's FEAST or FAMINE for who has a P1, P26, P26, and now a P1 in four races

IndyCar Takuma Sato is the new #IndyCar points leader. Marco Andretti is in second, just 13 points behind.

At LAP 75 of 75 - Top 10 finishers were Hinchcliffe, Sato, Andretti, Servia, Newgarden, Viso, Franchitti, de Silvestro, Pagenaud, and Kinball!

- Race control says no action to be taken on Sato. Agree?

- Congrats@Hinchtown you rock. Best racing action I've ever seen. Final lap final turn FTW; at it's finest!!!

... notes from The EDJE

[Originally posted as - 2013 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle - Tweet-By-Tweet - at Motorsports Unplugged]