Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Hmm? Has anybody seen my No Fenders T-Shirt lately? Hya! As I’m off to my SECOND Centennial 500 celebration – earning my “Rookie” stripes circa ’09. Which Y’all can read a very LONG winded four part harmony, Err Story ‘bout in Surviving Indy...

Since I’m NOT as technically savvy as THEE ‘DAWG or any other TWITTERHEADZ; they’re will NOT be any posting on No Fenders until my return upon June 1st, so enjoy the races...

Please Support Taku’s Charity at Indy...

If you’re so inclined to support Takuma Sato’s cause towards the displace Children of Japan’s most devastating Earthquake and Tsunami March 11th, then you may desire to obtain a With You Japan T-Shirt at Indianapolis.

With you Japan T shirts are available in 11 shops at the Speedway. In addition KVRT has a stall in the Plaza near the pagoda – where I plan to obtain mine hopefully on Carb Day...

No Fenders Feel Good MoJo...

So I know somebody who’s giving out a friendly wager upon a Big Mac, Coke ‘N Fries, Hmm? Does a HappyMeal count? On Thee “Big 5” Hombres vs. Thee Field for this year’s I500.

Ryan Briscoe, H. Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Will Power.

Do I take the bet or not? You Make the Call!

Meanwhile my Sentimental favourites to win this year’s race are:
1) Alex Tagliani; 2) Oriel Servia; 3) Tony Kanaan; 4) Vitor Meira; 5) Paul Tracy; 6) Buddy Rice. HELL! I’d even enjoy seeing Ryan Briscoe win – as it’d help him continue awhile longer at Team Penske – although it goes against the Cheeseburger wager, eh?

INDYCAR: Paddock Notes – May 25th Edition

By now I’m sure Y’all have heard the news over Ryan “The Sundrop Kid” Hunter-Reay replacing Bruno Junqueira in the A.J. Foyt Enterprises No. 41 second car entry for this weekend’s 95th running of the Indianapolis 500 Centennial3.0.

And while I’ll always have a BEEF with ‘WhineyBags (Junqueira) for having stiffed me in Portland... I do haveda admit I feel somewhat mildly disappointed for the Brazilian who’s now been ‘BUMPED not once – but twice at the Speedway through NO wrongdoing on his part... As I’d like to think perhaps Mikey Andretti could do a recipical dealio a.k.a. Tagliani last year as a thank you to Bruno – perhaps a second AFS Racing entry, eh?

Speedway Mistress Slays DragonFlies...
And is it just Mwah? But, I’m getting a little bit tired of all of the outpouring over how horrible Mikey’s (Andretti) month ‘O May was; Hmm? Hold on a moment, just exactly how many cars did Dragon Racing wad up? Not to mention Scotty “IRL IS BORING!” Speed’s ‘Daniker HissyFitt with his Engineer... As it was MOST ironic that Saturday evening I was discussing Patrick (“Pat-the-Carpenter”) Carpentier when she asked me who was ‘TAG’s teammate when we used to watch them racing in Vancouver, BC?

As perhaps this should point out just how difficult it is to run an Open Wheel Racecar ‘round the hallowed Speedway grounds, eh? As I’ll count ‘Dat as STRIKE TWO for the TaxiCab Boyz. As I’d say that Jay Penske’s month was far MORE terrible then Mikey’s!

Psst Jay! Perhaps you’ll wanna give Bruno a call and sign him up for next year, eh? Or see if the other Foyt car’s available...

Girl Power!
And NO! I’m NOT speaking ‘bout Princess PermaPout – who I hear has her very own F%%KING FLORESENT GREEN POPE MOBILE!!! To protect her from her adoring Fans; like ‘DAWG. (Pressdog) YAWN!

NOTE TO DANICA! “Simona-Simona” spent several hours signing Autographs personally in her Pits with bandaged & latex gloves to protect her BURNED hands whilst you were busy hiding in your Bus; but I digress...

As I meant to talk ‘bout Pippa Mann, who not only out qualified her Fulltime Conquest Racing teammate “S-SQUARED”, (Sebastian Saavedra) but also Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway, all three who didn’t manage to qualify their way into the race – so way to go Pippa!

Meanwhile it seems that ‘BIA, nee Ana Beatriz had the most low key Under-the-Radar weekend outta the four Femme Fatles making the show, so it’ll be interesting to see who’ll be top female, eh?

Rookie Honours
Otay, my Sentimental favourite Hands Down would be Ye Mayor ‘O Hinchtown, nee James Hinchcliffe... Who’s not only the Mayor of said town, but proverbial Kitty-in-a-Tree Saviour too! Or was that a Planking splinter upon his Schnoz, eh?

And obviously it’d be great for Pippa Mann’s career, as she’s probably one of the least funded drivers, right? While it would be beneficial for the League if J.R. Hildebrand won it, since he’s a product of the Road-to-Indy, i.e.; Indy Lights Champion. Not to mention Charlie Kimball, who’s also from the Indy Lights series – and would most definitely be a “Feel Good Story” due to his Diabetes angle...

But my personal choice is none other then Jay “Funnyman” Howard, who’s finally made the race after two abortive attempts, not necessarily by his own making and hence, I’d like to see the Englishman get some long overdue notoriety; so GOOD LUCK JAY!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

INDYCAR: Have You Bought A Ride Lately?

So I just had to shutdown Trackside with Kevin & Cavin, who once again seem to be wide of the mark over the supposed backlash over the Ryan Hunter-Reay insertion for Bruno Junqueira deal made to solely appease Andretti Autosport’s No. 28 primary sponsors DHL & Sundrop...

And I just finished discussing the Hypocrisy of ‘Ol Super Tex belabouring the fact that he’s been payin’ outta his own pocket all month for Junqueira... Hmm? Then why did Bruno publicly admit that this was the first time he’d been offered a paying ride to show up and drive at Indy? Yeah, I get it, the driver’s probably getting a mere pittance vs. the guaranteed finishing position of 33rd, but still don’t tell me how Yuhs had to pay to enter your second car if you went out and  hired somebody who legitimately made the show... Which for Mwah, has always been what Indy and Bump Day have been about, as there’s a reason I used to call it ‘BOOMP DAY, when it was a SAD excuse for taking fans money and staging a variety Gong Show; Hmm? Wasn’t A.J. Foyt involved in a pathetic Tony Stewart last gasp Bump Day Melodrama?

Fortunately I do NOT drink soda pop, nor is Sundrop available in the Pacific Northwest, and I NEVER willingly choose to use DHL for package delivery’s – so I WON’T haveda worry ‘bout Boycotting them. (Hmm? Perhaps they’ll be buying Foyt’s AeroKit’s whenever they come up for grabs, eh?)

But, I’m just wunderin’ – wouldn’t it haveda been a lot cheaper for Jay Penske to have bought Bruno’s seat at Foyt for Scott Speed instead of having Patrick Carpentier thrown into the deep end ‘N WAD up his second racecar? But A.J.; We’ll give Yuhs ALL of the FREE Fuzzy Zellar’s Premium Vodka you can drink!

And lastly, so does this mean Chip Ganassi can buy the winning racecar in Gasoline Alley in order to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing? As I certainly didn’t agree with Bob Kravitz upon needing to keep Princess Perma Pout, but I’d say he’s definitely 100% ON target ‘over his latest piece...

INDY LIGHTS: 2011 Primer...

Otay, I suppose I should leave this to Ryan the Expert – of Junior Open Wheel Talent, albeit I’d originally intended to do a season preview, just ran outta time – like always – as this story, amongst a TON ‘O ‘UTTERS... Has been festerin’ in the NFWHV; (NoFenderz WormHole Vortex...) a somewhat nebulous black hole that appears to be reminiscent of that other place  called the Bermuda Triangle – NOT to be Cornfuzed with another Sand dial-ish instrument known fondly here as an I.U.T. – another measurement ‘O time, being a clever takeoff of the “DAWG’s A.U.T. BUTT! I digress...

Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist, since after all this is where many aspiring drivers seeking to graduate to the INDYCAR BIG BOYZ’ come from. And I really enjoyed my last FIL race, the ’09 Freedom 100. As we’re off to a good start with three different winners in the first three races...

Rd 1: Streets of St Pete, FL
(March 27, 2011)
Since your humble scribe was outta the country – ‘Down Under in OZ, I missed all coverage of the Road to Indy’s final stepping stone, a.k.a. the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. Where I believe 15-cars took part in the season opener? With first blood being drawn by Josef Newgarden winning his inaugural Indy Lights start at St Pete ahead of some Hotschue named Conor Daly... As Newgarden becomes only the ninth driver to win in his series debut...

Rd 2: Barber Motorsports Park, AL
(April 10, 2011)
Victor Garcia led Wire-to-Wire from the Pole to claim his inaugural Indy Lights victory over a tantalizingly close Stefan “STORK JR.” Wilson by scant 0.312-seconds, with Peter Dempsey claiming his second consecutive Podium by finishing P3; whilst not so entertainingly for SSM team owner Sam Schmidt, his drivers Esteban Guerrieri and Josef Newgarden collided with each other early in the event and collected fellow teammate Victor Carbone
 In the aftermath, whilst fourth Hombre Conor Daly had a Dust-up with James Winslow – making it a very long day for perennial FIL Powerhouse Sam Schmidt Motorsports...

Rd 3: Streets of Long Beach, CA
(April 17, 2011)
The weekend started off with Esteban Guerrieri capturing his second Pole position, while Peter Dempsey kept the Sam Schmidt Jugernaught from sweeping the first four grid slots by claiming the outside of Row-1, (P2) with Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly filling out Row-2 respectively.

Yet it was Daly’s countryman Dempsey passingGuerrieri for the lead on lap-1, only to throw it away by overcooking the entry into the Turn 8-9 complex, *which I believe is the second overtaking opportunity just prior to the signature Hairpin Turn-11...) giving the lead to Josef Newgarden, who’d demoted Guerrieri to third previously. Then the Argentine was passed by Daly into Turn-1 with a perfect overtaking move, thus moving into the runner-up slot whilst Sam Schmidt’s Boyz held down the top three positions. As Sam told Jake Query – we just don’t want them taking out each other. (A la Barber Motorsports Park...)

Then the un-Tinkable occurred, as Newgarden effortlessly pulled away from the slip-slidin’ Daly, with just 5-laps remaining, Newgarden suddenly overcooked his entrance into the same Turn 8-9 complex, later commenting he thought he’d caught the drainage ditch there? And wallah! Leader number two was off on the side of the road – thereby gifting Noblesville, Indiana’s 19yr old Conor Daly his first Indy Lights win in just his third start, to which I thought I even, heard Conor saying over his radio: “We’ll Take It Boyz!” SSM teammate Guerrieri was runner-up with Stefan “STORK JR” Wilson taking the podium’s final step, albeit under some controversy from fourth place finisher; “the Yak,” a.k.a. Gustavo Yacaman - ccalling foul upon the Englishman for using the run-off’s too many times...  

Has Anybody Seen PDM Racing?
Having had the good fortune of a very entertaining interview opportunity with Paul Diatlovich, who’s very high upon his latest charge MR – I was disappointed to finally thumb thru the round-1 results and discover his name missing. Adding further insult to injury, PDM Racing has vanished from the 2011 Indy Lights Season WICKEDpedia page...

Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Definitely THEE Team to beat! Proverbially Thee TCGR/Penske ‘O Indy Lights at the moment...

As Obviously (SNAP! O-L-D My Name is IRL joke...) it’ll be interesting to witness reigning USAC National Champion Brian Clauson’s Baptism-under-Fire, as recipient of Indy Cars Road-to-Indy Scholarship program. Where the series will dole out 300-large ($300,000) for Clauson to contest all six Firestone Indy Lights Oval-track events this year, with his debut coming none other then at The Speedway...

No. 3) Victor Carbone; Brazil
Don’t know anything ‘bout this Dude ‘cept he won the 2010 FF2000 Series Championship for Alegra Motorsports...

No. 7) Esteban Guerrieri; Argentina
Heard this aspiring Argentine for the very first time after winning the Pole at Long Beach via’s webcast – where Nick Yeoman interviewed him upon capturing his second Pole of the season. Ex scored his maiden Indy Lights Pole position at the season opener at St Pete and then followed it up with a second place start at the Barber’s, nee Barber Motorsports Park...

No. 11) Josef Newgarden; USA
First heard of this dude when JOWT reported upon his winning the Kent class of the British Formula Ford Festival way back in 2008; then it seems Josef’s name was bantered ‘round during the House ‘O Windsor USF1 potential US-driver candidates... As somehow I’d forgotten that Newgarden went off to contest the GP3 series with Carlin Motorsports last year – whilst I’ve just discovered he’s from Nashville, Tennessee; thus Geo-Phillips should be pullin’ for him at Indy, eh?

No. 77) Road to Indy Car
Conor Daly; USA (Road courses/Street Circuits ONLY)
I’m gonna pass upon scribblin’ anything about the young Conor – other then he appears to be a total “STUD!” And I cannot help thinking how much he makes me think of his father Derek every time I hear him interviewed; as I haven’t looked yet to see how he faired in his GP3 debut in Istanbul – where a very sharp-eyed Leigh Diffey spotted the elder Daly in the Pitlane during the GP2 action...

Wally Dallenbach, Jr.; USA (Edmonton ONLY)
So my initial reaction to hearing this news live on Versus – as Willy T. Ribbs was giving him grief for being an OLD man; saying Yuhs gotta takes what’s Yuhs getz! Was you’ve gotta be joking, right? As I can only surmise this is some sort of payback to ConversNBC (Catchy ‘DAWG! Nee pressdog...) Err Versus’s airing’s of all FIL races in conjunction with it’s ‘BigCarz broadcasts, eh? As when is the last time Wally drove a racecar? Or is this just another way to garner some schmoozy footage for that really pathetic jingle  Wally’s World??? Oh Never Mind! As hopefully the series will reap some benefits from potential Dallenbach exposure...

Bryan Clauson; USA (Ovals ONLY)
I’ve only listened to Bryan on Autosport Radio, where he seemed pretty humble ‘bout making his Indy Lights debut at NO less the Speedway’s Freedom 100 event on Carb Day this May... Thus I was unaware that Clauson was some Cat’s back-up/fill-in for Dario “REO SPeedwagon” Franchitti on Chip Ganassi’s Nationwide No. 40 entry. Then Clauson moved to somebody nicknamed ‘Smoke’s (Tony Stewart) Midget team to capture last year’s Midget Championship enroute to becoming USAC’s very first-ever National Champion... As Bryan will contest all six Indy Lights Oval races as  part of his award for winning the title last year, as Randy Bernard is hopeful of re-creating the Past linkage of USAC drivers competing at the Brickyard...

Team Moore Becomes Bridesmaid?
This is the squad that rand the Mayor ‘O Hinchtown last year – finishing runner-up to J.K. Vernay and Sam Schmidt for the title, as it appears Garcia may be the better of the team’s two drivers?

No. 2) Gustavo Yacamán; Columbia
The ‘Yak needs to quit yacking off ‘bout his competitors and get busy racing, as it seems that Yacaman is getting a bit Long-in-the-Tooth as an aspiring Indy Lights driver, who’s now in his third(?) season without any major results to speak of...

No. 22) Victor Garcia; Spain
Another of the Plethora ‘O “Junior” Drivers I don’t know ‘bout before hearing of his debutant Indy Lights victory at the Barber’s ahead of Stefan Wilson & Co. As I believe Garcia’s already accomplished something his “senior” teammate hasn’t; can you say victory!

O2 Racing Technology
Don’t know anything ‘bout these Catz – other then they seem to have a pretty good Irish driver behind the keyboards of one of their two racecars...

No. 36) Peter Dempsey; Republic of Ireland
The only thing I knew ‘bout this Dude was I could swear he raced alongside John Edwards in the ALMS last year? (As apparently he was another driver looking for a Full-time ride...) As this Irishman has shone so far to date in the Indy Lights car, beginning the year with two back-to-back Podiums, both third places, whilst he appeared to be on his way to a possible victory at Long Beach? Unfortunately Dempsey threw it all away with an unforeseen error upon his part. Yet look for Dempsey to be at the “sharp-end of the Pack” in regards to the rest of the season’s races...

Balardi Auto Racing
A newcomer team to the FIL ranks which I know very little ‘bout...

No. 9) Anders Krohn; Norway
You haveda like some Dude with the Huevos to proudly enjoy calling himself “The Viking,” which is exactly what Messer Krohn  has done. Don’t know how his season’s gone to date, but I LIKE IT!

Don’t Forget Mikey’s Team...
Always a Front-runner, having captured multiple FIL Crowns in association with Gary Peterson’s AFS Racing concern, as I’d enjoy seeing the Red No. 5 in victory lane...

No. 5) Stefan Wilson; United Kingdom
Nice ‘Juan Stefan, as I believe that was somebody named BLOODY NIGE’s car number, eh? As STORK JR was fastest in the Freedom 100 practice session...

No. 26) James Winslow; United Kingdom
This ‘Bloke’s obviously got talent to match his speed, having won four Stepping-stone Championships between 2004-08, along with having driven briefly for Team GBR in the former A1 GP Series. He was also supposedly set to become a Champ Car driver in ’08 after having tested a DP01 at Sebring in ’07 – before becoming another victim of the Mergification. James drove on the Road Courses/Street Circuits for Sam Schmidt in last year’s Indy Lights series before moving to Andretti Autosport this year, as it appears Winslow’s on the Ryan Hunter-Reay “Rent-a-Race” plan and hopefully will continue past the first three races – which was all he was confirmed for...

Davey Hamilton Racing
Henry Clarke back? Whale, it appears not, albeit DHR is running past FIL winner Brandon Wagner again this May at Indianapolis, who was P12 during the Freedom 100 test session.

Yet I’m just somewhat intrigued by Messer Clarke since hearing him last year on Autosport Radio and confessing he’d taken up four wheel racing vs. his ‘Scooterz two wheel regime after having broken way too many bones by the tender age of 17!

And there Yuhs have it, a somewhat brief(?) smattering of some of this year’s Flinstone Indy Lights talent – along with some potential  Freedom 100 competitors, so check it out if you get a chance, eh? As we’re assured of having a new winner with last year’s victor and Pole-sitter both being off to the ‘BigCarz ranks; as you can catch the race live in its entirety on Versus during Carb Day – As I’m looking forward to watching the race in “Living Colour!” (And NOT some PEECOCK colours Yuhs Hear?)

Monday, May 23, 2011

INDY 500: the DannaWho? Quotient

Go Daddy’s Swimsuit Girl Diving into her Rookie Rahal Letterman racing car; photo courtesy of Sounders FC’s Numero Uno Fan Randy...
So once again the “Mainstream” Media seems to be getting into a rich, lustrous, full lather over IndyCar’s Princess Perma Poutt  ‘N weather or not, as your humble scribe was doin’ his best Pippa Mann RAIN dance whilst chortlin’ over the thought of how rich it’d have been if Daniker didn’t make the field due to precipitation...

While that frenzied Mainstream media I mentioned was busy ponderin’ if this could be her very last Indianapolis 500 before she goes off to the lore, i.e.; Greenbacks ‘O RASSCAR! And in case Y’all weren’t aware? I’ve just got two words for DannaWho? GOOD RIDDANCE! As just how many races will she win in the TaxiCabs via precocious fuel sipping strategy?

Thus, whilst listening to the great Trackside Talking Headz pontificate ‘bout which drivers should or shouldn’t have made THEE GREATEST 33 Poll, it seems I heard Somme-thun ‘bout number of laps led being a good yardstick and hence this led me to ponder just how many laps the Great ‘Juan named Danica had run in P1 – as in perhaps DannicaMania has more to do with just how boring the Indy Racing League was circa ’05, eh? As somehow I’m guessing DannaWho will be hard pressed to add to her lap leading total – and if she does; CRAP! I can already hear Marty ‘NationWide Reid going into a lather; Oh Never Mind! As I’d expect No’s 21-24 to move up the leaderboard, eh?

No.   Name                     S        RL     laps   W
1. Al Unser Sr.                         27        11        644      4
2. Ralph DePalma                  10        6          612      1
3. Mario Andretti                      29        11        556      1
15. Jim Clark                           5          4          298      1
20. Mauri Rose                        16        7          256      3
21. Dario Franchitti                 7          5          255      2
22. Dan Wheldon                    8          4          234      1
23. Helio Castroneves            10        7          231      3
24. Scott Dixon                       8          5          230      1
28. Tony Kanaan                     9          7          214      0
99T. John Paul Jr.                   7          1          39        0
101. Teo Fabi                          8          2          37        0
108T. Bobby Marshman         4          1          33        0
112. Marco Andretti     5          4          31        0
113T. Mark Dismore               7          1          29        0
115. Jimmy Vasser                 8          3          26        0
122. Danica Patric                  6          1          19        0
126T. Ryan Briscoe                5          2          16        0
130T. Mike Conway                2          1          15        0
          Vitor Meira                     8          2          15        0
134T. Billy Boat                       7          2          13        0
139. Justin Wilson                  3          1          10        0
153T. Will Power                    3          1          5          0

No. = Overall ranking, xxT = Tie; S = Starts; RL = Races Led; W = Wins.

(Statistics compiled thru 2010 Indy 500 race...)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


WOW! Is all I can say ‘bout Alex Tagliani’s ‘Mega Throwdown upon the ‘Bigboyz today – capturing the Pole not once but twice! I mean, when is the last time you’ve ever seen NOT one but two Ganassi cars run otta fuel during their final qualifying runs, eh? And the top Penske in P5 isn’t your Dancin fool ‘HULIO! Nor Ryan “The Izod Dude” Briscoe... Hmm? Somehow I’m guessing that isn’t quite the type ‘O exposure IZOD was banking on when switching allegiances’ to The Captain; as really? The “Twisty” guy Will Power was your top gun at Roger’s track...

And like Geo Phillips, I typically DON’T predict the outcome, although I know Y’all will be hard pressed to believe this; BUTT! I did originally choose TAG for Pole today – too bad I didn’t call Vegas, right? As it’s really kOOL to see three Sam Schmidt cars in the Top-9, along with Sarah fisher and I’ll even go easy upon Mr. 4-OH Barnes – having put HotRod back in a car, not to mention how ‘bout that No. 2 Newman Haas Racing car...

As I haveda say I was more impressed by Tagliani’s “Humbleness” upon his ‘Mega accomplishment of winning his first Indy 500 Pole – plus the overwhelming support from all of his rival IndyCar drivers, especially Dixon’s classy congratulations afterwards, along with Dario being happy for his ex-Engineer; Hmm? Wunder if it was Castroneves who filler up’ed those Target cars? As somebody sent me a photo of ‘HULIO pumpin’ gas in Indy last week...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Herky Jerky Shuffle?

So I sat down to watch the RALLY-RALLY-RALLY B-I-G PickEmUp Trucks race from Charlotte, NC, where two BraZillian’s, ‘Juan Italian ‘N ‘Juan FINN were all competing in the NCTS race...

As none other then The “REAL” Iceman, nee Kimi Raikkonen was making his ‘RASSCAR Trucks debut, with ‘Sparrin pardner Nielsen Pickett (Nelson Piquet Jr.) & MAD MAX Papis in the field... As Thee Kimster started 31st, before hittin’ duh wall, albeit he faired better then reigning PickEmUp Trucks Champion ‘The Onion, a.k.a. Todd Bodine did... Who smacked the wall heavily, albeit I’m now scriblin’ this having missed out upon the action after a rousin’ phone-call ‘bout all of the SCINTILATIN’ action out at duh Speedway todayz...

Hmm? Wunder if perhaps Jay Penske should see if he canz doooze a dealio with KBM and there sponsor Herkey Jerky for their number two driver Scotty THE GOOSE! Speed, eh?

As The Kimster managed to hang on tight all night ‘N bring his Herky jerky Toy ‘Yoter Tundra; Hmm? Kimi, Finland ‘N Tundra’s; Oh Never Mind! As Räikkönen wound up 15th in his first Roundy ‘round race – and will theoretically continue his Campin’ Wurlds experiment next at Martinsville, before finishing off his Left-turns-Only schedule at Homestead – where Speed is supposedly gonna be Juan ‘O Randy “The CandyMann” Bernard’s B-I-G 5 NON INDYCAR STARZ in ‘Dat World Champ-pee-OnShips at Los Wages... Hmm? Wunder if Papis is available for next weekend – as perhaps Jay Penske may wanna give him a call?

INDY 500: Spotlighting Four New Speedway Musketeers...

Indy RookieHo-Pin Tung’s No. 8 Schmidt-Dragon Racing entry at the Speedway; source:
Although technically none of these entities are brand new outfits, nevertheless they’re relatively newcomers to the IndyCar ‘BigBoyz ranks – with one having a very promising full season effort with lead driver ‘TAG. Another being resurrected and running a partial season, while the other two appear to be on somewhat lesser-known season plans... One rumoured to be in the running for the ‘Two-oh-Twelve Spec Dallara testing regime after a One-off at Indy, with the others racing schedule TBD after its Speedway outing...

AFS Racing
I was unaware that team owner Gary Peterson, who’s Automated Fire Systems company is what AFS stands for was a previous Indy Lights competitor, finishing seventh in the Indy Pro Series back in 2002.

Peterson, in conjunction with Michael Andretti & Andretti Green Racing successfully captured two Indy Lights title back-to-back between 2008-09; first with ‘RAFA, a.k.a. Raphael Matos, and then “Cap’t Frapa Americana,” )Ask either ‘Jeffie or Graham Rahal to explain...) nee J.R. Hildebrand. Thus, talk ‘bout being a hard act to follow for the team’s ’10 drivers Martin “Plowie” Plowman and Charlie Kimball, eh? Although Kimball’s made the leap to the BigCarz this season with the ‘Cheepster’s (Ganassi) satellite squad and Plowie’s seeking a ride in Indy Cars himself currently.

AGR/AFS Racing ran a fifth-wheel, Err racecar for Frank “The Tank” Montagny in ’09 before running Adam Carroll in two road course events last year. The team has since hired ex-Forsythe Racing Big Gun Neil Micklewright and engineer Tom Brown at the beginning of this year, upon jettisoning from its AGR/Andretti Autosport partnership, and I think I heard Kurt Cavin claim they’ve moved into the ex-Forsythe shop in Indianapolis...

Cavin also seems to think they purchased one Dallara from Sarah Fisher Racing, along with a second used chassis from somebody else. And there’s also the rumour of the team having purchased two tubs, which I don’t know if these are just spares or the current chassis in use?

The team has begun the 2011 IZOD Indy Car season with ‘RAFA at the controls – and Cavin seems to think they’ll stick around with Matos at least thru the month of May, as I’m guessing this is a tune-up year prior to moving forward with a new chassis in 2012... Whale, at least a new Dallara Safety Cell; Oh Never Mind! As AFS is just one of two “True” One-car Teams running at Indianapolis – and reputedly its continuation after Memorial Day is TBA...

Bryan Herta Autosport
Still know virtually nothing ‘bout this start-up Indy Car team which is campaigning just its second ever ‘BigBoyz race, having made its Indy Car debut one year ago at the same venue – known as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing... As obviously the team’s Figure-head is ex-Indy Racing League driver Bryan “High Speed Hurdles” Herta; DON’T ASK! It’s reference to his ‘Ol CART Dazes at Team Rahal, but I digress...

Herta’s team partner is Steve Newey, an ex-F1 Engineer, so they should have the technical know how to run these chassis, along with having massively upgraded its driver with this year’s addition of Daniel (“Danny Boy)” ‘SPIKE Wheldon.

Recall that rookie Sebastian Saavedra watched from a hospital bed to learn that he’d qualified for last year’s race when everybody else was shooting themselves in the foot by withdrawing their qualifying times. Of course Saavedra’s relationship ultimately soured when he abruptly quit his Day-job with the BHA Indy Lights team and has since moved onto Eric Bachelart’s Conquest Racing concern.

And reputedly I thought I heard ‘Kurty claiming that Dan Wheldon & BHA would be doing the ’12 Dallara chassis testing this summer after Indy... So perhaps this is a tune-up for a full season Gig next year?

Dragon Racing
Another team that little seems to have been known when I began scribblin’ this around the Long Beach GP weekend; although I’m guessing Y’all know about the perils of the team formerly known as “Gil’s team,” a.k.a. De Ferran-Dragon Racing, which unfortunately shutdown earlier this year when sponsorship couldn’t be found to campaign new team driver Tony Kanaan.

Yet original Luczo Dragon co-founder Jay Penske, son of some Cat known as The Captain, (Roger Penske) has resurrected the floundering team with a  five-race deal to campaign ‘PT, “The thrill from the West Hill” – better known as Paul Tracy.

Tracy, at 42-years young, had previously signed to contest this year’s Indy 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – although it sounds like PT’s been grumbling ‘bout the teams Second-tier partial week status already... Can only imagine what he’s saying upon his TWIT-ER account, eh? (Although I’ve since learned that PT has a full month High mileage Tier-1 program courtesy of Dennis Reinbold...)

With Tracy having allegedly seen his relationship sour with buddy Jimmy Vasser, who’s KV Racing Technology hired TK (Tony Kanaan – NOT Tommy Kendall) to a full season ride sponsored by Geico just 6-days prior to St Pete, as the Gecko was previously Messer Chrome Horn’s Indy sponsor...

Thus, Tracy’s exodus from KVRT left the door open for the younger Penske’s Dragonfly outfit to seek PT’s services, whilst his previous commitment to DRR gave Jay Penske the opportunity to seek another driver to chauffer the team’s ride at 16th & Georgetown May 29th, with whispers of Sam “I AM” Hornish Jr. as a possibility?

Instead, I was absolutely shocked by this third generation Upstart when Dragon Racing pulled out a ‘Flyer by announcing its pair of I500 rookies, with Chinese hopeful Ho-Pin Tung being announced as the chauffer of its No. 8 primary ride, and then just days later Scotty ‘THE GOOSE! Speed was announced as the driver of its second entry, the No. 20, as this seems like the Brashest Squad on the Grid at the moment?

And while Tracy reunites with Eric Zeto, his ex-Forsythe Engineer for a further four outings beginning at Texas - in his largest part time campaign of six total races this year, Jay & The Dragonflies looks to build for the future; Hmm? Could this become a potential co-ownership deal for The Chrome Horn somewhere down the road?

Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Many will know the Sam Schmidt story, having been paralyzed in a testing accident aboard an IndyCar way back in the Fall of ‘99. Yet this hasn’t slowed Sam down ‘Juan iota, as he’s not only become an Indy Car ‘BigCar Team Owner again, but also is tied for the most Dallara’s entered this year with Mikey Andretti’s Fabulous-5, albeit technically Sam only has four drivers entered – as I don’t know if it’s a New Track Record... For number of Driver/Team combinations? As Schmidt has apparently attempted to corner the alphabet; Hya! As I’ve heard Cavin say that SSM has a technical alliance with BHA, hence being its fifth car/driver combo, as here’s Sam’s four drivers below...

No. 77) Alex Tagliani; Canada
The  Numero Uno driver at SSM undoubtedly is ‘TAG, a.k.a. Alex Tagliani who came Part & Parcel of Schmidt’s acquisition of the FAZZT Race Team early this year. As this ‘Kuhnadiun is the only Fulltime driver on Schmidt’s books currently. Having finished as Indy Rookie Of the Year in ’09, along with a stout qualifying result last year, TAG looks set to be Schmidt’s flotilla’s lead Oar...

No. 99) Townsend Bell; USA
, Townsend Bell makes his yearly One-off appearance at the Brickyard aboard SSM’s second entry, hoping to follow-up upon his impressive Top-5 finish two years ago...

SSM with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR)
No. 88) Jay Howard; Great Britain
Schmidt has farmed out the services of Jay “Funnyman” Howard to the RLLR Gang this year, as it’ll be Jay’s third attempt to qualify for the race, albeit definitely his best chance to date and hopefully he’ll take advantage of driving an RLLR prepared car this month...

Schmidt-Dragon Racing
No. 8) R-Ho-Pin Tung; China
Otay, this is the driver I know the very least about, albeit knowing of his European single seater forays in various series – along with his F1 testing duties. Yet I’ve just watched a very enjoyable video interview with Messer Tung answering a variety of questions which is well worth checking out, as I’d enjoy seeing Ho-Pin dust off fellow teammate Speed this month at the Speedway!

No. 98) Dan Wheldon; Great Britain
Per the Trackside interview with Sam, who Kevin Lee lightheartedly claims has half of the field’s entries – Schmidt is doing a reverse Ganassi-SSM partnership with BHA; as in SSM is leasing a car/cars to Bryan Heerta’s outfit along with an Engineer...  

And don’t forget that Sam’s got another Indy Lights Champion waiting in the wings to make his ‘BigCar debut, somebody named Wade Cunningham who’ll begin his limited season at Texas shortly...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

RETRO: Bettenhausen’s “N Vukovich’s – Unsung Heroes...

So I first thought ‘bout scribblin’ this way back when I published my riveting interview with ‘Ol Indy Car Curmudgeon Robin Miller; some two-plus years ago – who told me he has lunch with a bunch of the Old timers... Like “Gordy” (Gordon Johncock) and “Vuky,” (Bill vukovich II) although I’m not sure I’d wanna be known as part ‘O Millers ‘RatPack, eh? Hya!

So I Never saw the family Patriarch Tony Sr. race – but gleaned a ‘Wee bit ‘bout him during my Stillborn interview for the Blue Crown Spark Plug Saga story. (Which is still awaiting to have pictures re-inserted after turned them into Broken Images...) Which is perhaps why I pondered acquiring a 1/18 Carousel tony Bettenhausen Watson Roadster, although I’m not usually enamoured by the front wheel Roadsters... Having scribbled the following previously way back in ’08 in a three part harmony titled: Brothers in Arms;

BETTENHAUSEN; Gary, Merle and Tony Jr.
This truly has to be one of the most ill-fated families in Open Wheel Racing, as first father Tony Sr. perished and subsequently Merle had a horrible accident, followed by Gary’s accident. And ultimately Tony Jr’s death, while Tony Sr. raced pre and post WWII, winning the National Championship twice, along with 21 wins before perishing at the Speedway in 1961 while testing a friend’s racecar.

Gary, the eldest of the three Bettenhausen brothers, was 19, with Merle 17 and Tony Lee 9 when their father died in a horrific accident that fateful day in May 1961, yet Gary would go on to race at Indianapolis a total of 21 times, earning his Rookie Stripes in 1968, with a best finish of third place in 1980.

Gary briefly drove for The Captain, (1972-74) and while driving for Roger Penske immediately retired from the 1972 USAC Championship Car event at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) where his brother Merle was making his paved racing debut and would be seriously injured in a Kingfish, (McLaren knock off) losing his right arm in a violent accident on lap three, effectively ending his Indy Car career, although Merle would continue to drive Midgets.

The following year, Gary broke his arm in a Sprint Car race following Indy and Roger Penske offered the drive to some chap named David Hobbs, but the Englishman was unable to accept due to sponsorship conflicts and ironically, 1972 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Mike Hiss would fill-in for Gary, as it had been Hiss who had collided with Merle at MIS the previous year.

Tom Sneva; “The Gasman,” a fellow Dirt Tracker himself, was hired as Gary’s replacement at Penske Racing for the 1975 season after The Captain had grown tired of Gary being constantly injured in what Roger deemed unneeded Dirt Car accidents, as Gary would suffer severe nerve damage to his arm in one of these Dirt Track events.

Gary’s Brother Tony made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1981 and would finish seventh, his best finish of his eleven starts at the Speedway. Tony started his own CART team in the early 1990’s with ex-Formula 1 piloto “Stevie Johnson,” a.k.a. Stefan Johansson being his first hired gun from 1992-96, as the team would primarily campaign year old Penske equipment. Other such notable drivers as Helio Castroneves and Patrick Carpentier would drive for the AMAX/Alumax sponsored team, with Gary and Tony last competing at Indy together in 1993.

After a very tough 1999 season, the team took on Michele Jourdain Jr. and his Herdez sponsorship for the upcoming campaign, yet sadly, Tony, along with his wife and two business associates would perish in a small plane crash enroute to CART’s spring practice at Homestead, Miami on Valentine’s Day, 2000.

And somewhat Karmically, I’ve since learned that Tony B Jr’s Shop – ironically became the O’Brien Carpets store – which sadly is now out of business, due to that ‘lil ‘Ol economy thingy...

And I know even less ‘bout the Vukovich clan, albeit the tiny tidbit that when I think of the word Vukovich I immediately think of the 1955 Indianapolis 500 in which he lost his life, albeit I’m also aware that he was in search of a ‘ThreePeat that year – having won the previous two years 500’s. (1953-54) Thus I had to laugh at myself – having just learned recently via Geo Phillips two part harmony, Err story incidentally titled vukovich Part I & Part  II...

Oil Pressure: Vukovich Part I

That obviously Vukovich Sr. didn’t take kindly to being called the “Mad Russian.” Thus, alas - like the Bettenhausen’s, the Vukovich’s suffered a similar fate... As I was totally unaware that Billy Vukovich III was killed racing a Midget Dirt Car... Which seems even more ironic – perhaps it’s the Karmic-whip smacking me upside the head, eh? You see – I’d just done my interview with Paul Diatlovich – who ran Vuky III to Rookie Of the Year honours a scant 23-years ago upon resuming penning of said story; Aye Karumba!

And although they’re not related – why do I get an ominous feeling when I think of how the late Al Holbert’s death mimics Tony Junior’s...

Father - Tony Bettenhausen Sr.: 1916-61

Gary; 11/18/41 - present
Merle; 6/9/43 - present
Tony Jr. 10/20/51-2/14/2000
Father - Bill vukovich: 1918-55
Son: Bill vukovich II; 3/29/44 - present
Grandson: Billy vukovich III: 8/31/63-11/25/90