Friday, May 22, 2015

Indy 500 Bumps 'N Bruises...

Is I-T a red one, pink one; Oh Never Mind! As No Fenders scribe Tomaso poses with another No. 1 at Mother Speedway! (The Tomaso Collection)
By now Y'all are painfully aware that James Hinchcliffe crashed during  Monday's IndyCar practice session prior to Friday's Carb Day practice session, the last  time competitors will take to the track before the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. Which I too, like the OLD-est IndyCar Blogger Geo. Phillips, should be enjoying live right about now!

Obviously, the most important thing is that thee "Mayor 'O Hinchtown" (Hinchcliffe) is ok after his bleeding was curtailed and now will recuperate from his soft tissue and pelvic injuries...

As its good to S-E-E that Cheeps' (Ganassi) racing drivers were providing some levity towards their very dangerous sport by pulling another legendary prank upon Target Chip Ganassi Racing newcomer Sage Karam, with his custom Hot Pink Camaro...

While the idea is somewhat good overall, seemingly IndyCar should have made the new Final Row "Bumping" more understandable to "The Fans," as even IMS Historian Donald Davidson seemed somewhat confused over the format's time allotment, along with whether Buddy Lazier was able to take part or not? Being somewhat confused over whether he'd be permitted after forgoing his initial qualification attempt.

Yet, originally the four contenders fighting for the final three starting positions were actually fighting for No's 30-32 with James Davidson being relegated to 33rd. And with Hinchcliffe's accident, I initially thought that whomever replaces him would G-O to the rear of the grid, ergo Davidson. thus moving everybody one spot forward and leaving only Bryan Clauson, the slowest of the qualified runners on the last row?

alas, I've since read that Curty' Cavin says that the No. 5 entry will be allowed to retain its 24th starting position; Hmm? A-L-L of which makes this new qualifying "wrinkle" Clear as Mud  on  a Rainy Day; Hya! As I'd suggest moving  the Final Row "Boomp Festiva" to Saturday after the Field's "Locked-in."

For which I correctly ARSE-sumed, although having deleted my revised starting grid permanently before this discrepancy was reported late Wednesday afternoon. Hence like Alex Tagliani and Co moving forward one place after Davidson dropped to P33, now everybody from Conor Daly back moves up one spot, as presumably Ryan Briscoe will be 33rd...

99th Indianapolis 500
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Television: ABC
Pre-race Hoopla: 8AM Pacific
Race: 9AM Pacific

As ALWAYS! Check your local listings!~

Meanwhile,  also according to Cavin, there's a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports press conference scheduled for Thursday to divulge who'll substitute  for Hinchcliffe at Indy, with odds favouring the affable 'Aussie Ryan Briscoe, whom I sincerely hope gets the drive. Although I'll be on a couple of B-I-G 'Ol Jetliners all day en route to Indianapolis and therefore, will await No Fenders 'Offical Photographer 'CARPETS bringing Mwah up to speed, so-to-speak; Hya!

As the original IndyStar article I read via my NFB Newsline for The Blind was rudely replaced on Zed Internetz, so went with another  story instead...

As there will NOT be any live coverage from Mother Speedway per usual, since 'Lucy, my 'ARSE-steamed screen reader will be staying put at Tomaso Manor over the weekend instead; Hooah!

Although Tristan Vautier qualified James Davidson's #19 21st originally, Vautier was filling in for qualifying only, as the 'Aussie was busy at his "Day Job," piloting a Nissan GTR NISMO GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge, as Davidson will race the #19 Sunday and therefore go to the end of the field, hence moving everybody behind him one place forward; ergo Briscoe replacing Hinchcliffe, as so much for keeping the news silent pre-press conference, eh?

An in case anybody gets in a Tizzy 'bout Not enough American's in the field, by my count this year's grid is comprised by one-third being 'Yanks! Including the reigning Indy 500 champion.

Marco Andretti, Townsend Bell, Ed Carpenter, Bryan Clauson, Conor Daly, J.R. Hildebrand, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, Joseph Newgarden and Graham Rahal

With a total of eleven countries represented, featuring: Australia, (3) Brazil, (2) Canada, (1) Columbia, (5) France, (2) Great Britain, (3) Japan, 1) Monaco, (1) New Zealand, (1) Spain, (1) Switzerland (1) and USA. (11)

There are a total of five past winners competing in the race with Ryan Hunter-Reay the reigning winner, along with Pole-sitter Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya, all who've one once, while Helio Castroneves is the only multi-times winner in the field with three wins and is seeking an elusive fourth to join the vaunted pantheon of the sport's only four-time winners: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

there are two females: Switzerland's Simona de Silvestro and Britain's Pippa Mann. And there are two rookies: Columbia's Gabby Chaves and Monaco's Stefano Coletti, the lowest number since 2007 when Phil Geebler beat Milka Duno for Rookie Of the Year honours...

(Photo courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

INDY 500: Who's Really Had the Most Entries at Indianapolis?

The late ex-Ferrari F1 driver Michele Alboreto at the wheel of one of Team Scandia's IRL racecars at Las Vegas Speedway, circa 1996; Photo by David Taylor. (Image source:
Did I really only enter five cars or was I-T six? 'Whale Dooze Yuh Feel 'Rucky Mikey A', Dooze Yuh?

While Cliff Durant was the first to enter five cars twice, circa 1923-24, and Lou Moore put together his four car Blue Crown Spark Plug team,  capturing a Hat-trick of Borg Warner trophies between 1947-49, which I labourisly chronicled in;

Nonetheless, whilst Messer Durant may have had eight cars under the Durant Banner (name) in 1923, only five were entered by him and thus, Andy Evans is  the current record holder for single entries by a team owner, a feat which probably won't be beaten anytime in the foreseeable future, if ever...

Longtime CART Team Owner Dick Simon sold his operation to Seattle's Andy Evans during the 1996 season, with Evans Team Scandia setting a record with the most entries ever by a single team, with seven cars making the 80th running of the Indianapolis 500, utilizing a variety of year-old chassis, i.e.; Reynard and Lola's powered by either Ford Cosworth XB's, Ilmor/Mercedes V-8's or the Menard, nee Buick V-6, all three powerplants being turbocharged.

As 1996 was the Indy Racing League's debutant Indy 500, and with TG's insistence of being BOSS! After hastily creating his own series to play in his family's Sandbox, the die was cast for the infusion of new talent in what forever will be known as "The Split!"

Team Scandia's roster was comprised of five-rookies: one ex-Formula 1 driver, one Sports Car Ace, one ARCA driver with an unique name, one teenage Mexican and one Super Modified star.

The team leader most likely was Eliseo Salazar, better known as "Greazy 'Ol Salad Bar!" As Eliseo and Alessandro Zampedri were the only two "Veterans" on the squad, as Zampedri would finish highest with a fine fourth place finish, while Salazar came  home sixth, the only two Team Scandia drivers finishing in the Top-10.

Yet since I didn't watch the race, vehemently Boycotting 'lil Napoleon, aka Tony George and his infamous 25-8 rule, being a CART Diehard, I had NO idea that apparently Team Scandia team-mates Zampedri and Salazar, along with Roberto Guerrero were involved in a last-lap crash which caused  Zampedri to suffer serious injuries!

No. 7, Eliseo Salazar; No. 8, Alessandro Zampedri;  
No. 22, R-Michele Jourdain, Jr.; No. 33, R-Michele Alboreto; No. 34, R-Fermin Velez; No. 43, R-Joe Gosek; No. 90, R-Racin Gardner.

For '97, Team Scandia slimmed down to only five entries before silently leaving the sport after '98, before another team would pick up the mantle of routinely entering five cars at Mother Speedway.

Michael Andretti and his Andretti Green Racing (AGR) squad first accomplished running five entries at Mother Speedway in 2006, with Michael coming out of retirement to race with his son Marco, making his rookie debut at the Brickyard, along with team regulars Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta and Tony Kanaan. Where Marco almost made history with that electrifying runner-up finish!

For '07, Michael made his final drive at the Speedway, before retiring permanently from the cockpit. With son Marco, Franchitti and Kanaan along again with new team member Danica Patrick replacing Bryan Herta.

As how can Y'all forget Ashley Judd skipping to her... Down Pitlane to greet then Hubby Dario in victory lane, scoring Andretti Green Racing's second Indy 500 win,  after the late Dan Wheldon's first triumph in 2005.

Then five years ago, in 2010, AGR's "Fab-5' consisted of Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and John Andretti in the Richard Petty racing alliance.

Twenty-twelve's five car armada was actually a three team, or was it two team affair, as the now renamed Andretti Autosport ran its three primary cars of Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. While AFS/Andretti had Sebastian Saavedra and Andretti Conquest had 'BIA, aka Ana Beatriz in single team entries.

For the first time in eternity, Andretti Autosport's quintet included reigning IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay sporting the No. 1 plate, with EJ Viso, Marco Andretti, rookie R-Carlos Munoz and James Hinchcliffe as his "Wingmen." As the soft spoken Columbian Munoz was an electrifying runner-up en route to winning Rookie Of the Year (ROY) honours.

Last year, the B-I-G' NEWS at AA was the addition of 'RASSCAR's BAD BOY Kurt "F BOMBS R-US" Busch, who'd ultimately be named ROY with his fine sixth place finish. While the rest of the team remained intact with RHR, Marco Andretti, Munoz and thee Mayor 'O Hinchtown (Hinchcliffe) rounding out this gaggle 'O Andretti cars, with Ryan Hunter-Reay securing Michael Andretti's third Borg Warner trophy in that most exciting last lap pass!

And as Y'all surely know by now? This year's Indy 500 field will see Andretti Autosport once again lead the way with five entries for: Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz and part timers Simona de Silvestro and Justin Wilson.

Then in the race to lock-up Chevrolet's last engine Dealio, as both GM and Honda will only supply 17-engines apiece for this year's Indy 500. Surprisingly 'Cheep! (Ganassi) outflanked Kevin "Smiley Face" Kalkoven and "Top Jimmy's" (Vasser) push for this final turbo 'lump... As Ganassi for the first time ever will run five cars at Mother Speedway, with Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Sage Karam and Sebastian Saavedra.

As apparently Chip has decided to one-up his fiercest competitor El 'Capitano, nee Roger Penske, who As we all know has bulked up to four full-time entries for the first time ever in Team Penske's storied history.

Hence, seemingly now, three car teams have become de riggour for the Month 'O May, as the likes of 'Ol SuperTex (A.J. Foyt) Dale Coyne, the "smiley-Jim Alphabet Soup Kx-Vasser conglomeration, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and CFH Racing teams all feature three cars apiece for the 500-race.

While Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will campaign a somewhat paltry two car squad at Indianapolis, with Bryan Herta Autosports, Dreyer & Reinbold and Lazier Partners Racing being the only single car entrants.

As the one-car teams seem somewhat quaint in this era of multi-car teams, which benefit from extra Data acquisition and economy of scales, as I'm not sure when the last true one-car operation won the Indy 500?

As even though the economy's improving, right? Nevertheless, I don't expect to see anybody, even Mikey A' daring to break Andy Evans record of seven entries at Mother Speedway anytime soon! Although I believe this will be the first time ever two teams have entered five cars apiece...