Friday, May 24, 2019

INDY 500: An International Star plans upon Outshining the rest of the One Offers' this May

Sage Karam's #24 Wix Filters Dallara-Chevrolet in front of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's garage during the 2018 Indy 500 Qualifying weekend. (The Tomaso Collection)
Although Fernando's learning that Mother Speedway calls the Shots...

Not surprisingly, McLaren Racing is learning that competing in the Indianapolis 500 is a whole new Ballgame when you're actually running your own programme, instead of just showing up 'N driving somebody else's racecar...

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
#24. Sage Karam, USA
First Race: 2014
Starts: 6

Sage Dangerboy' Karam got his nickname from the Wily PT', nee Thrill from The West Hill, aka "Sugar Ray" (Paul) Tracy before debris from his car rained down upon Justin Wilson at Pocono that fateful day in 2015, which seems to be Sage's Dubious Claim to Fame...

The 2013 Indy Lights Champion made his Indy 500 debut aboard a Dreyer & Reinbold "Satellite Squad" effort for thee Cheepster', nee Chip Ganassi Racing, en route to his career best finish at Indianapolis, (to Date) finishing Ninth, but being out-voted for Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours by some Taxicabland Bombers' Driver named Kurt Busch.

Otherwise his last four results have been mostly unforgettable, with a brace 'O 32nd's followed by another lackluster finish of 28th.

While last year, Karam was once again out of the race due to contact, this time finishing an unmentionable P26 after Smacking the Wall on lap 154.

As Karam had a very stressful weekend at Mother Speedway, ultimately "bumping" his way into thee Show on Sunday, during the Last Row shootout for which he was fastest, qualifying 31st at 227.740mph...

#48. J.R. Hildebrand, USA
First Race: 2011
Starts: 8

Unfortunately, this likeable Yank', the 2009 Indy Lights Champion is mostly remembered for his failures, most notably his last lap crash during his inaugural race at the Brickyard. Or his being unceremoniously Fired by Panther Racing Owner John "Fans R Us' Barnes! And losing his ride after a single season at Ed Carpenter Racing, (ECR) as Josef STUD! Newgarden's replacement. Having been subsequently replaced by Spencer Pigot.

Yet the 32yr old Californian, who's a "Brainiac" who graduated High School with a 4.12 GPA, and was accepted to multiple Colleges including M.I.T. - which he let his 3yr Deferral lapse in order to pursue racing. And was chided for letting his "Hair Down" and face grow long during the 2017 season, certainly has the Speedway figured out.

As John Randal ("J.R.") has obviously seen both sides of Mother Speedway, from the near thrill 'O victory to the absolute Agony of Defeat! Since we All know how he came Oh, So tantalizingly close in 2011, finishing a Dejected runner-up to the late Dan Wheldon, before his 33rd place finish for Panther Racing two years later resulted in his immediate Dismissal.

Next, Hildebrand strung together a trio of Top-10 finishes for FAST EDDIE', nee Ed Carpenter between 2014-16, improving each year with finishes of 10th, 8th and 6th before being hired Fulltime at ECR in 2017, when he could only muster a 16th place finish.

For 2018, J.R. returned home to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, (DRR)  who gave him his IndyCar start when running him in a pair of 2010 races at Mid Ohio and Sonoma.

Hildebrand, running the No. 66 DRR Dallara-Chevrolet Rolled off from the outside of Row 9, *P27) and finished a very respectable 11th last year.

As it's hard to believe that it was ten years ago now, when I had the pleasure of "Interviewing" J.R. Hildebrand, then fresh off his Formula 1 Testing Adventure...

McLaren Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
#66. Fernando Alonso, Spain (DNQ)
First Race: 2017
(Last Race: 2017)
Starts: 1

Although I'm guessing Yuhs Don't needs to be a Rocket Scientist to figure this out. Nonetheless, enjoyed Racer's Marshall Pruett's take upon Fernando Alonso, and more importantly McLaren Racing's momentous genesis to gel into a competitive race team in the very compressed Month 'O May.

As I was listening to Pruett's (May 14th) Podcast with Conor Daly, where Marshall correctly eluded to the fact that he's curious to see if their cast of All Stars can conform into a cohesive team effort?

As McLaren Racing is obviously climbing a much steeper mountain this time, versus their first effort two years ago with a Turn Key Andretti Autosport entry, which saw Alonso lead the race before his Hondre' engine Done Blown up!

And it's certainly been a taxing month's outing for the McLaren concern. First dealing with a litany 'O E-E-E' lectrical Gremlins, NO "Prince 'O Darkness" Lucas Lectrics' Jokes here; Hya! Before Fernando became the first driver to Smack the Wall at Mother Speedway!

Although surely thoust Mighty McLaren would rebound and make Thee show, El Correctomundo? As just the Pomp 'N Circumstance of the Glitz surrounding the storied Woking based racing concern would leave Y'all believing this was a foregone conclusion, Ci?

Whilst I'll spare Dissecting what happened, causing McLaren and Fernando Alonso to Fail to Qualify for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, since arguably it'll be the Biggest Story of thou Month 'O May.

Having already scribbled my preliminary thoughts over the wonderful accomplishment of the Minnowesqe Juncos Racing and Kyle Kiser sending Fernando & McLaren back Across thou Puddle in;

For the other One Off Drivers in this year's Indy 500 field racing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing thru Team Stange Racing with Arrow SPM, see; INDY 500: A Wookie', A Three-times Champion and Journeyman Driver round out this year's Cast of One Offers'

(Photo c/o No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer CARPETS')

Thursday, May 23, 2019

INDY 500: Can Any of These Underdogs' pull A Wabbit' outta Thar Firesuits for an Upset W' over Thee Big Dawgs?

A Beaming Conor Daly, now Driving for Andretti Autosport claimed P1 on Fast Friday with a speed of 231.704mph is joined by a not so jubilant Gil de Feran and Fernando Alonso, now running their own Works McLaren Racing Programme. (Image source:
Although Conor Daly at thoust proverbial Powerhouse Andretti Autosport, winner's of 3 of the past 5 events shouldn't exactly be an Underdog, should he?

Otay motor racing Fans, welcome to Thee No Fenders second annual "Award Winning" Indy 500 One Offers' preview, which this year sees eight teams fielding a total of Nine cars to round out a fairly stout 36 Contendahs' for the 103rd Indianapolis 500. Seeing an increase of one entrant vs. last year's tally of 35, when Pippa Mann and James Hinchcliffe failed to qualify.

And due to their running earlier at Circuit Of The Americas, (COTA) and possibly a few more events this year? Certainly Laguna Seca? I'm not categorizing Juncos Racing as a "One Offer" for Indy, even if that's what they're beginning to look like this year...

(Team/engine/Car #/Driver(
Andretti Autosport
Engine: Honda
#25. Conor Daly, USA
First Race: 2013
Starts: 6

Sadly, like many drivers who go to A.J. Foyt enterprises, it becomes an IndyCar career Killer, for which seemingly sapped Conor Daly's Open Wheel Racing career.

As Conor's been bounced from two IndyCar teams now, first losing his Dale Coyne Racing ride after the 2016 season, then being Dumped from Foyt following his dismal 2017 campaign.

Whilst unfortunately, when I think of Conor, who was my former Numero Uno IndyCar Driver until losing his Fulltime ride in 2018.

Will forever be thou irony of chauffeuring the Smithfield Foods "fueld by Bacon" Special , whilst driving the iconic #43 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports during his second outing at Mother Speedway. When the car Done Caught On Fire during the Parade lap; YOUCH!

Nah Folks, N-O "Fueled by Bacon" Grease Fire Jokes Here!

Interestingly, Conor's best finish at Thee Brickyard to date, since Obviously, SNAP! He's expecting a big improvement this year, by stepping up into a Platinum ride with Mikey A',

Was last year's mostly unnoticed finish of 21st after starting Dead last for the Minnowesqe Dale Coyne Racing concern! Partnering with longtime Indy 500 car sponsor Tom Burns, who previously joined forces with Lazier Partners Racing to form Lazier Burns Racing in 2016.

As Daly's previous Indianapolis 500 career best finish was P22 during his rookie outing for 'Ol SuperTex', (A.J. Foyt) along with finishing last in 2015 and finishes of 29th & 30th from 2016-17 respectively being nothin' to write home about.

And whilst I'm happy for Conor to once again be racing in a competitive ride at Mother Speedway, unfortunately I simply cannot get too excited about his draping the Flag round himself and racing for the Military this May...

Even if Y'all cannot find yourself enjoying his ah Shucks' Demeanour. Not to mention getting a Raw Dealio from Eli-Lilly last year, when wrongly pulling their Sponsorship from him, regarding his Father Derek's controversial Firing...

Clauson-Marshall  Racing
Engine: Chevrolet
#39. Pippa Mann, UK
First Race: 2011
(Last Race: 2017)
Starts: 7

Pippa Mann, who'd become a fixture at Dale Coyne Racing for the Month of May for the majority of her Indianapolis 500 career, has moved to a brand new team this year, in hopes of rebounding from last year's agony of failing to Qualify

Previously, Pippa had been steadily improving each year since her worst finish of 30th in 2013, before last year's setback. With her past two Indy 500 starts netting finishes of 18th & 17th respectively.

And while we're all accustomed to seeing Pippa sporting the colour Pink, she changed hues last year with her then new sponsor. And now will attempt making the stout field with the never raced before Clauson-Marshall racing concern - Sporting the No. 39 in honour of the late Brian Clauson.

As the team's comprised of Tim Clauson, Brian's father and co-owner Richard Marshall, longtime sponsor of Brian's. Although I fear this team is on a shoe-string Budget and will be hard pressed to make the Show, which I noted previously on No Fenders prior to Qualifying.

As Congratulations to Clauson-Marshall Racing and Pippa Mann for triumphantly locking their selves into Thee Show, by Qualifying 30th on Saturday's Pole Day activities, since I certainly didn't think they'd make the race this year...

Dale Coyne with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi
Engine: Honda
#33. James Davison, Australia
First Race: 2014
Starts: 5

Dale Coyne and his Alphabet Soup Brigade once again returns to Mother Speedway with one of his multi-car entries being in conjunction with Jonathan Byrd's Racing, Hollinger Motorsports and Belardi Auto Racing this May.

With the trio effectively  switching Thar allegiance from A.J. Foyt Enterprises to DCR this year, after campaigning the No. 33 entry with James Davison at the Keyboard of Foyt's Dallara-Chevrolet.

Whilst still not exactly sure why, perhaps it's his "Aussie Grit?" That finds Mwah always Rootin' for this underrated Aussie', even if he seemingly got lambasted last year for running Tail-gunner Charlie, before getting into Taku-san's, nee Takuma Sato's way.

As Davison's previously driven for Dale Coin Racing, in what will now be his third time at Mother Speedway. Most notably when filling in for le Hamburgular', nee Sealmeister B', aka SeaBass' or commonly known here in Nofendersville as Sebastain Bourdais. After the frenchman's Uber Nasty shunt during 2017's Indianapolis 500 Qualifying!

Davison has a decade's-plus association with Indy Cars, having contested the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season for Sam Schmidt Motorsports before finishing runner-up to 2009 Indy Lights Champion J.R. Hildebrand, driving for lil Napoleon, or simply TG', aka Tony George's Brand New Vision Racing team.

and my 'Ol Memory recalls that James took the number 33 for his rookie outing at Mother Speedway in 2014 for KV Racing Technology,  in deference to being the 33rd and final Indy 500 entry that year. When he finished 16th, his best Indy 500 finish to date.

For the other One Off Drivers in this year's Indy 500 field racing for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and McLaren Racing, see; INDY 500: An International Star plans upon Outshining the rest of the One Offers' this May