Saturday, August 30, 2014

Final Practice Nets Tragedy For SMP Racing And Aleshin

SMP Racing's Mikhail Aleshin as he prepares to be the first of 22 cars to run qualifying laps for the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
SMP Racing's Mikhail Aleshin as he prepares to be the first of 22 cars to run qualifying laps for the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Final Practice Nets Tragedy For SMP Racing And Aleshin

A crash involving three drivers happened in the final practice for the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Safety crew extracts Aleshin from cockpit of his DW12. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Wheel ensconced in catchfence. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The three drivers were Snapple Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, NovoLog FlexPen Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball, and SMP Racing's Mikhail Aleshin. Two of the three drivers were able to walk away but the rookie driver from Russia, Mikhail Aleshin (pronounced Ah-lotion), needed to be helped through the efforts of the Holmatro Safety Team out of the Dallara DW12 and onto a stretcher.

Aleshin being helped to the stretcher. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Aleshin being helped to the stretcher. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The first report issued at the track is that Mikhail is conscious and being transported by Helicopter to Loma Linda Hospital in San Bernardino County complaining of right shoulder and right foot pain/injury. He is listed in Serious Condition.  


harlie Kimball's Dallara DW12. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Charlie Kimball's Dallara DW12. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The photos from the video feed at the track suggested something a bit more tragic than the first reports on Aleshin's condition because one of the cars was seen as flying up into the air into the catch fence.

Further images showed that a tire from a car was embedded in the fencing material with the car Aleshin was driving in shambles further down the track exiting Turn 4.

Tony Kanaan (center), Scott Dixon (right), and Helio were shaken at the images shown at the track, saying to each other  ... it looks bad. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Tony Kanaan (center), Scott Dixon (right), and Helio were shaken at the images shown at the track, saying to each other ... it looks bad. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The last time cars flew into fences at an oval IndyCar event, the results cost us all with the life of Dan Wheldon which also happened at a season ending event.

The initial reports are promising and we all pray for a positive, and life affirming result from this final practice crash.

... notes from The EDJE

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Auto Club Speedway's President Gillian Zucker Talks All Things ACS

Auto Club Speedway’s President Gillian Zucker shares a moment with Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves during a media PR stop with the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center, Carson, California. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Auto Club Speedway's President Gillian Zucker Talks All Things ACS

For those of you who may not be familiar with folks who run and manage racetrack venues, Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker is the first female president of a track that hosts auto racing’s most popular event, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and was recently named by FOX Sports and MSN as one of the top five most powerful women in motorsports.

The Verizon IndyCar Series will be holding their third championship season ending, double points paying, 500 mile race at Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, with the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships - this coming weekend, ending at night, under the lights, Saturday, August 30.

Gillian Zucker, Welcome ...

Gillian Zucker, Auto Club Speedway with IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves and players from LA Galaxy promote the MAVTV 500, August 30, 2014. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)


1) First off, what training and background does one have to have to become a person to occupy a position as president of a major racing facility? What road did you travel to get at this point?

2) Just what was the interest in this challenge - are you a fan? a good business manager, both?

3) In this economic climate ... what are the challenges to drawing fans from the greater Los Angeles/Orange County basin for NASCAR and IndyCar?

4) There are other forms of racing held at Auto Club Speedway - for example, most people seem to think the only drag-racing that takes place in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County basin is another Auto Club sponsored facility in Pomona, but there are actually a couple more ... and Auto Club Speedway is one. Please tell us more about the drag-racing program at Auto Club Speedway's Auto Club Dragway - how professional is the activity?

5) Another program at Auto Club Speedway is a bit more fan interactive - Exotics Racing gives one the opportunity to drive their choice of exotic super cars on a race track with 1-on-1 coaching from driving instructors! How has the Ă‹xotics Racing¨venture worked out so far?

6) The facility at Auto Club Speedway has a large infield, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indy 500 is held, has successfully transformed its infield into a very compelling road course race track reminiscent of the layout pace found at the track in Portland Oregon ... is Auto Club Speedway planning on attracting professional sport-car racing through a road course addition as IMS has done?

7) The IndyCar competitors resoundingly enjoy testing and racing at Auto Club Speedway but for 2015, the series management is considering different options for a venue to hold the season finale ... given the banter in the broadcast booth during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma -

Do you see the Verizon IndyCar Series remaining on the calendar as the season finale? ... or any date, for the foreseeable future?

8) Lastly, what do fans need to be on the look out for while attending MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships - this coming weekend?


... notes from The EDJE

Post Script:
This was written by Tony DiZinno at NBC Sports Network - Aug 27, 2014, 1:23 AM EDT - about the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season schedule where ACS President Gillian Zucker states what she said in the interview above at ... notes from The EDJE:

Lastly we come to Fontana, to come full circle from where this post began nearly 900 words ago. Frankly, and despite a strong and committed level of promotion from Auto Club Speedway, ISC, and track president Gillian Zucker, INDYCAR has done ACS zero favors in terms of a consistent date for date equity since its return to the calendar after a seven-year absence.

Yeah, it’s been the last date of the season for three years. But that last date has been September 15, 2012, October 19, 2013 and now August 30, 2014 in three consecutive seasons. How can most locals know when the race is if it changes on them three straight years?

This year, Zucker has justifiably spoken out, confirming to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that a Labor Day date – one Miles has held firm the IndyCar Series needs to end by – won’t work for the track. It’s going to be a challenge because the NBCSN race telecast doesn’t start until 9 p.m. ET Saturday night, with the race scheduled to start at 7:20 p.m. local time (10:20 p.m. ET).

So suddenly one of the big things we have to watch this weekend is how Fontana deals with the date, and what could happen about its date changing again for the following season.

Essentially, here’s where we’re at for the IndyCar 2015 schedule.

Confirmed dates, as announced either by the track or series include:

March 16-17, Barber open test, March 29, St. Petersburg, April 19, Long Beach, May 9, Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 16-17, Indianapolis 500 Qualifying, May 24, Indianapolis 500, May 30-31, Detroit Belle Isle, June 6, Texas Motor Speedway

Likely dates, based on projections and similar weekends as in 2014:

June 20, Iowa, August 2, Mid-Ohio, August 23, Milwaukee, August 30, Sonoma

Question marks, where the date or venue could change:

Barber (should be either side of Long Beach in April), Houston (currently last weekend in June, not yet confirmed for same date in 2015), Pocono (possible from either last weekend in June through second weekend in July), Toronto (as mentioned above, neither venue nor date is confirmed), Fontana (date TBD; we’ll see how this week shakes out)

Wild cards, either new venues and/or the proposed international races:

Canada’s date du jour. Assume the Canadian Grand Prix occurs June 7, and with IndyCar at Texas June 6, that potential Toronto-Montreal date conflict is averted. Either late June or one of the July weekends could work for a CTMP, Mont-Tremblant or other random Canadian venue date. Toronto’s streets could work June 13, potentially, but that seems a likely off weekend.

New Orleans is possible for 2015 – Michael Andretti’s group seemed keen on it happening next year during his Milwaukee pre-race media availability.

The two locations mooted for the spring international races, likely in February or early March, are Dubai and Brazil. Details on those would need to be forthcoming, but they wouldn’t feature the new-for-2015 aero kits as they’re not delivered to teams until March 1. Of course, we’ve been down the “international race” path before without it actually going anywhere.

Road America. As mentioned above, unlikely for 2015, but we can dream, right?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ed Carpenter Talks MAVTv500, ECR Team Performance, & CFH Racing 2015

Ed Carpentet - Driver, Team Owner, Oval Track Specialist. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Ed Carpenter - Driver, Team Owner, Oval Track Specialist. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Ed Carpenter Talks MAVTv500, ECR Team Performance, & CFH Racing 2015

Ed Carpenter has been racing since he was 8 years old and balanced racing and education throughout much of his career. Carpenter graduated from Butler University with a degree in Marketing in 2003, a few weeks before he won the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Carpenter always has been interested in things with engines.

Carpenter started Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2012 season and is the lone team owner/driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He is driving in the oval races for 2014, while Mike Conway is driving the street and road courses. In their second event together, Conway won the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

This past weekend in Milwaukee Ed Carpenter finished in the top 10. Carpenter is successful at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. He won ACS's 2012 MAVTV 500 INDYCAR Race. Last year, he came in 2nd for ACS's 2013 MAVTV 500 INDYCAR race (lost to Will Power). He also won the pole position for back-to-back INDY 500 races - May 2013 & 2014. As an INDYCAR driver and team owner ... over last weekend, he announced that that his team (Ed Carpenter Racing) is merging with Sarah Fisher Hartman racing for the 2015 season.

As we go into the final two races of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) championship season, Ed Carpenter answers a few questions and expresses his hope that Ed Carpenter Racing team ends the VICS season in the Top 5 in points accumulated.

One and a half weeks before the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale MAVTv500 race at the AutoClub Speedway, Ed Carpenter attends a USC Football practice and attempts a Field Goal. Image Credit: Albert Wong (2014)
One and a half weeks before the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale MAVTv500 race at the AutoClub Speedway, Ed Carpenter attends a USC Football practice and attempts a Field Goal. Image Credit: Albert Wong (2014)

Interview Questions:

(1) This year has been a pretty good year for Ed Carpenter Racing if one looks at the points the Fuzzy's Vodka DW12 has been able to post up with only 2 races left - Mike Conway's road course at Sonoma and Your Auto Club Speedway's super oval. The two of you are ranked right next to each other - Mike Conway is sitting at P22 and you are at P23 ... but the car's total points have the effort ahead of 3 out of 4 drivers on the two 4 car teams - Ganassi and Andretti - at P7 with 1 Pole and 3 wins.

A) Has this unusual team mix of specialists delivered the results that you expected? B) Has this mix of fielding a car with specialists for a season been done before?

(2) How do you see the team/car finishing the season with these two races that are left? - First, Mike Conway's road course at Sonoma and Second, Your Auto Club Speedway's super oval performance.

Last weekend, before the race was held in Milwaukee, the announcement came out that Sarah Fisher Racing, a team you use to race for and Ed Carpenter Racing were going to merge to compete in the 2015 season and form a 2-car team.

(3) With announced merger forming CFH Racing, what do you see as the advantage in a multiple car team over your present one car/two driver efforts which are impressive on their own? (4) Did the use of the new aerodynamic kit packages for 2015 enter into your decision to merge and grow the team? (answered in context of previous question - skipped)

(5) Does this merger forming CFH Racing allow your current sponsor Fuzzy´s Vodka to gain more exposure?

(6) Do you see the multi-car teams having an advantage in this area of sponsorship and racing platform changes?

(7) Sarah Fisher's driver, Joesef Newgarden seems to be becoming a hot commodity right now in the paddock. Do you intend to try and retain Joesef Newgarden as a driver on this new 2-car team?

(8) Will you continue with the 2-driver line up in one DW12 with Mike Conway taking up duty on the road courses as part of this 2-car team? ... or will you eventually join Sarah in a team management role?

MAVTv500 Tickets >>>

... notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spoken word documentary "Racing Through the Forest" at Pebble Beach delivers a 'Must See'

Crowd of motor culture enthusiasts gather to see the premiere screening of “Racing Through the Forest – The History of the 1950-56 Pebble Beach Road Races”. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Spoken word documentary "Racing Through the Forest" at Pebble Beach delivers a 'Must See'

Boxes that contain photographs arranged in albums (not just images) of times shared in a lifetime are nothing more than just books with photos. It takes other humans who have courage, patience, acumen, and heart to attempt to capture context and tales associated with the lives and times of a bygone era so important to our modern day motor culture ... here, and throughout the world.

Race car driver, Rick Knoop is one such person who, with the support and talents of film-maker Dean Kirkland, Rick's wife Cydette Vikander Knoop, and the rest of the organization at K&K Productions, who stepped up to the challenge to bring forward the stories behind the images stored in book placed in a box then conducted and edited over 50 interviews, 100's of photos, and archive film into one 1 hour 16 minutes piece of informative movie entertainment.

Fred 'Frosty' Knoop as he appeared during an interview in the film presentation of "Racing Through the Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

For those who may have been unfamiliar with Rick,  he is the son of Fred 'Frosty' Knoop who also happened to be a driver of sport cars while ranching, raising and judging horses in Northern California. Rick came by his skill through his DNA, in that Frosty raced sport cars in the formative years of modern road racing through the woods of the Monterey Peninsula.

For Rick's contribution to motor culture, as a driver, Rick consistently won and placed in the world’s most challenging and prestigious sports car races that include his victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to winning at Daytona.

Rick Knoop as he winds up the V8 engine of the 1972 Can Am McLaren M8F on the front straight of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the 2014 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Image Credit: Thomas Stahler (2014)

Today, Rick still straps on his similarly colored Bruno Junqueira helmet (or should this be stated the other way around) in an effort to keep alive race cars from past series so that the memory of these engineering marvels never fades.

Here, Rick moves from a qualifying position of 11 to finish on the podium in P3 at the 2014 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Movie Poster - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

 This excerpted and edited from -

Pebble Beach race track remembered in 'Racing Through The Forest'
By Amy Larson - Aug 15, 2014 - UPDATED 11:48 AM PDT

"Racing Through The Forest," which premiered at The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach on Wednesday during Monterey auto week. 

The film revealed never-before-seen footage of the Pebble Beach Road Races, held from 1950-1956.

Before there was Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, young brilliant mechanics in California who had dreams of becoming race car drivers wanted to compete in their Jaguars, Ferraris, MGs, and Alfa Romeos, and they needed a place to race.

Photo of the track shown in the film presentation of "Racing Through the Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

They chose 17 Mile Drive to be their dangerous track.

The public road had sharp turns and dramatic elevation drops. Del Monte Forest's dense pine trees lined the road and created a strobe light effect. Dark shadows from the trees sharply contrasted against a bright white sky, and the visual effect distracted drivers.
The 1950s is now considered the romantic time of American racing, before the sport became a business for car manufacturers and competition between athletes for sponsors. The Pebble Beach Road Race's entry fee was $15, and drivers were only semi-professional because sports car racing was just being born in America.

Graphic of the original track layout as shown in the film presentation of "Racing Through the Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Each race, the men behind the wheel got better, the pits become more innovative with designs, and some drivers went on to become world champions (In 1961, Phil Hill became the first American to win the Formula One World Drivers' Championship. Carroll Shelby went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 and design Shelby Cobra and Shelby Ford Mustangs).
Crowds of fans were nine-people deep along some parts of the Del Monte Forest track, and the only barriers between fans and the track were a few bales of hay. There was always an undercurrent of adrenaline and danger, fans said.

Crowds and the track as a Triumph TR2 misses a corner as shown in the film presentation of "Racing Through the Forest" at Spanish Bay. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Pebble Beach's race track ended in tragedy, when driver Ernie McAfee crashed a Ferrari into a tree and died instantly. A race in Pebble Beach never happened again.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was built on Fort Ord in 1957 and became the modern day successor.

The goal behind making "Racing Through The Forest" was to unearth what these pioneering, fearless young drivers did in the 1950s and gather film footage that would otherwise be lost over time. The film was written and directed by filmmaker Dean Kirkland and produced by renowned race car driver Rick Knoop.
[Reference Here]

Invited guests watch the screening of "Racing Through the Forest" at Spanish Bay. Here, Bill Pollack imparts some memories in the movie as Bill Pollack (end of front row) watches. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014) 

This seminal set of races also placed in motion the process of finding lighter, faster, more powerful, nimble cars from around the world and helped to fashion a racing resource template used today that has its motor culture roots firmly based in the forest around Pebble Beach.

"What began as a tribute to my father, Fred Knoop, has evolved into a celebration of one of the world’s greatest road races," Rick Knoop said at the Spanish Bay movie premiere. "We’re thrilled to share this incredible story with audiences at the Pebble Beach Concours. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to explore this incredible history, especially just feet from the road where the men and machines did battle."

Rick Knoop and Dean Kirkland delivered on the promise these photographs stored in an album and held in a box to be brought back to life with heart in a way an image could never do ... through film.

A must see film where the heart of the making of the presentation comes through in every frame and leaves an indelible and permanent impression.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Rick Knoop, Cydette Vikander Knoop, Dean Kirkland, Fort Ord, Fred 'Frosty' Knoop, MAZDA Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey Peninsula, Motor Culture, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Road Races, Spanish Bay, The EDJE, K & K PRODUCTIONS

Friday, August 8, 2014

Helio Castroneves visits SoCal to promote MAVTV 500

Helio Castroneves explains to fellow Brazilian and 3rd year L.A. Galaxy midfield player #8 Marcelo Sarvas where a driver needs to look in order to key the Dallara DW12 to a corner ... the tires are the frame. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Helio Castroneves visits SoCal to promote MAVTV 500

With only three races left in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season, Auto Club Speedway teamed up with their sponsored driver Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves. The last race of the season is a double-points paying event that is scheduled to run for 500 miles at Auto Club Speedway in just 21 days on Saturday, August 30.

The event is called  MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships and rightfully so. Helio, who currently is in a strong position to get his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship, sits only four points behind points leader and team-mate Will Power who is also looking for his first title.

It turns out that with only three races left in the 2014 season - Milwaukee, Sonoma, and Auto Club Speedway - roughly 11 drivers are within mathematical striking distance of capturing the Verizon IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy, the Astor Cup. Helio felt that a driver would need a 75 point lead to feel safe ... that would be 75 points ahead after the next two races of the 1 mile bullring at Milwaukee and the 2.52-mile road course at Sears Point near Sonoma.

Helio points out that he is beginning to gain a collection of shoes to the gathered media. First, of course, are driving shoes ... then dancing shoes because of his winning appearance on Dancing With The Stars ... and now a set of professional soccer shoes with this L.A. Galaxy/MAVTV 500 promotion. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

At StubHub Center, formally Home Depot Center, in Carson California, a group of Brazilian athletes came together to draw media support to have folks become aware of the L.A. Galaxy soccer season and the end of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Three-time INDY 500 winner, Helio Castroneves was joined by L.A. Galaxy players Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho along with Auto Club Speedway President, Gillian Zucker.

The next two home games for the L.A. Galaxy feature the first Friday Night Fireworks & Lights Show, presented by Best Foods tonight with L.A. Galaxy meeting the San Jose Earthquakes - 8/8 7:30PM PDT and Back to School Night where the first 15K fans will receive a tin lunch box courtesy of The Flame Broiler with L.A. Galaxy meeting the Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 8/23 7:30PM PDT.

After about three tries, Helio Castroneves strikes an LA Galaxy practice soccer football toward the net situated on the practice pitch at StubHub Center. Fellow Brazilians and LA Galaxy Midfielders Juninho (left) and Marcelo Sarvas (right) look on. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

The joy of GOOOOOOOOOAL was expressed by Helio Casterneves (flying off of the pitch) as he placed the ball through the upper right corner of a protected practice net. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Helio Castroneves started his day showing his interest in Little League Baseball at the opening of a contest in San Bernardino. He met with the teams gathered and threw out the first pitch prior to the Southern California/Nevada Little League Western Regionals at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino.

The coastal North San Diego County club Encinitas Little League, along with 11 others, take their first steps toward Williamsport, as the West Regional and the Northwest Regional begin with four games at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino. Helio Castroneves gives the team a thumbs-up! Image Credit: Albert Wong (2014)

Here, Helio Castroneves follows tradition as he removes his cap in observance to the pre-game playing of the National Anthem. Image Credit: Albert Wong (2014)

This excerpted and edited from Press Enterprize - 

Instead of entering Al Houghton Stadium in a single file line, Bonham said players will walk in more as a group and closer to the stands. Instead of the usual picnic the night before the opening ceremonies, this year’s regional teams have a planned night out Thursday at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino for a professional minor league game involving the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League.

“This is showtime for these kids,” Bonham said.

In the West Region, teams come from California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Utah to compete. In the Northwest, teams hail from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Most arrived Wednesday and will stay at the on-site dormitories during the duration of the two tournaments, which wrap up with championship games Aug. 9. The Little League World Series begins Aug. 14 in Williamsport.
[Reference Here]

Image Credit: Albert Wong (2014)

Encinitas Little League catcher gives Helio some tips on throwing out the first pitch. Image Credit: Albert Wong (2014)

After his So Cal MAVTV 500 Auto Club Speedway promotional swing, Helio participated in a test at Sonoma Raceway.

This excerpted and edited from San Jose Mercury News -

Eleven IndyCar drivers completed a one-day test session at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday.

Participants included Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan and this year's Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport. Power won last year's Sonoma race.

It marked the final test scheduled for the 12-turn, 2.38-mile course before race weekend. The Grand Prix of Sonoma is Aug. 24.

"Driving a Verizon IndyCar here is a rush. There's really no comparison to driving a stock car here," said Montoya, who won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma in 2007.

[Reference Here]

Then after the Grand Prix of Sonoma, the season comes to an end ... in August ... at Auto Club Speedway ... Saturday, August 30.

Come one and come all to see just who will celebrate winning the new 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Astor Cup.

... notes from The EDJE