Monday, April 12, 2021

INDYCAR: The Penske Chevrolet years (2017-2020)

As Hope Springs Eternal as a New IndyCar season is almost Set to Commence…

 

Continuing this meandering theme, regarding how long it’s been since somebody other than Team Penske has won an IndyCar race with a Chevrolet engine? The answer should be pretty obvious with my Oh, So Cleverly crafted story title, Hya!

 

As I know that Ye Oldest IndyCar Blogger Geo. Phillips of Oilpressure Fame is hoping he hasn’t drunk the annual A.J. foyt Koolaid with the addition of SeaBass’ this year, who could finally give ‘Ol superTex’ a long needed IndyCar victory?

 

But my Money’s on a different bowtie team to end Team Penske’s Streak, when Pato O’Ward wins his maiden IndyCar race this season for Arrow McLaren SP!

 

Oh Yeah, if you’re Ah-Waitin’ the answer to this trivia? The last non Team Penske Chevrolet win was scored by Josef Newgarden some Gory 5 years ago  for Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) at Iowa on July 10, 2016. Some Bloody 71 races ago, aye Karumba!

 

2020

Season: June 6th to October 25th

Races: 14

 

Surely everybody knows about the fractious Breakup, Uhm firing of James Hinchcliffe by Sam Schmidt who formed a new alliance with McLaren to become Arrow Mclaren SP, affectionately known as SPAM! And switching to Chevrolet engines from it’s longtime association with Honda. Giving Chevy five Full-season Bowtie teams in it’s fold.

 

As Arrow McLaren SP ran two Young Guns with Pato O’Ward returning from the Wilderness and Rookie Indy Lights Champion Oliver Askew alongside him. And Pato came Oh, so tantalizingly close to not only scoring his maiden IndyCar win, but also ending Team Penske’s Streak when being passed for the lead at Road America with a lap and a half to go by eventual winner Felix rosenqvist, now his newest team-mate.

 

Otherwise Team Penske claimed seven wins, led by Josef Newgarden’s four, who finished runner-up to eventual Six times IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

 

Will Power won twice with Simon Pagenaud scoring a lone victory. As Power wound-up 5th, and Pagenaud 8th Overall respectively.

  

2019

Season: March 10th to September 22nd

Races: 17

 

The tide for most wins by a manufacturer swung back to Chevrolet’s favour with Team Penske winning nine of that year’s 17 events, albeit Honda won the Engine Manufacturers Crown again. Arse-sumedly due to it having more Teams Overall and thus scoring more points.

 

The IndyCar Series championship results mirrored the 2017 season, with Josef Newgarden claiming his second IndyCar Series title, followed by Simon Pagenaud. As these two Penske drivers scored seven victories with Newgarden claiming four wins, a la his 2017 Championship season.  

 

Whilst Pagenaud’s crowning glory was sweeping Ye Month ‘O May by winning that year’s Indy GP and Indianapolis 500, where he started on Pole No less! Before securing his third W’ at Toronto.

 

Will Power scored two W’s during the year at two venues that start with the letter P, i.e.; Pocono Raceway and Portland International Raceway en route to finishing 5th Overall.

 

2018

Season: March 11th to September 16th

Races: 17

 

This was the third and final year of Verizon’s title sponsorship along with ABC’s final IndyCar season. And with the introduction of the Universal Aero Kit (UAK-18) standardized bodywork, the tides of winning dramatically reversed, swinging to Honda’s favour for the first time in years.

 

As Hondre’ runners won 11 of that year’s 17 events en route to claiming their first Engine Manufacturers Championship since 2011. With five different teams, i.e.; Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

 

As Sebastian Bourdais won the season opener at St Pete for Dale Coyne and his alphabet Soup Brigade. While alexander Rossi had a Breakout year at Andretti with three wins, with team-mate Ryan Hunter-reay “The dude:” scoring twice. Thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown’ (James Hinchcliffe) won for his good Buddy Sam Schmidt at Iowa.

 

Takuma Sato won at Portland, which finally returned to the IndyCar schedule for the first time since 2007, winning for RLLR, and Scott Dixon won his fifth IndyCar title with three W’s.

 

As interestingly, this was the latest season that Bourdais, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe have won races in the IndyCar series.

 

Meanwhile Team Penske once again was the lone Bowtie winner, taking six W’s evenly split between Will Power and Josef Newgarden. But it was Power’s emphatic  Indianapolis 500 win that was the Cherry on top for Chevrolet that year!

 

As Penske slimmed down to just three Fulltime entries with Open Wheel Racing vetrans Hulio’ (Castroneves) and JPM’ or Monty’ (Juan Pablo Montoya) moving over to Penske’s newly formed Acura DPi Sports Car team. Although Castroneves was given a drive for Thee Month ‘O May’s events, i.e.; Indy GP & Indianapolis 500 aboard his traditional No. 3 entry.

 

Perennial European Feeder Series Champions, and 2017 Indy Lights Champion Carlin joined the Bowtie Brigade with Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton as it’s drivers, giving Chevy four different teams in the series.   

 

2017

Season: March 12th to September 17th

Races: 17

 

This was the final year of the now forgotten IndyCar Aerokit era, for which Team Penske was the only one of the vaunted “Big 3” flying the Bowtie’ flag. Leaving just other such “Dreamers” as Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) with Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot sharing driving duties for the #20 with J.R. Hildebrand Fulltime aboard the #21. And the beleaguered A.J. foyt enterprises with Young Guns Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz attempting to best El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske’s Chevrolet Juggernaut.

 

As Penske drivers Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power won 10 of that season’s 17 races, albeit missing out once again at Mother Speedway’, where Takuma Sato Defeated Hulio’, (Castroneves) for andretti Autosport and Honda. Which is still one of my favourite Indy 500’s!

 

Team Penske expanded to four Full-season entries with the addition of Newgarden moving from ECR, who promptly went about winning his first IndyCar title with four wins, followed by a bitter team-mate Pagenaud, who felt Newgarden had done him wrong during the Gateway Oval-track race if I remember correctly?

 

As “Symone,” nee Pageantry’ (Pagenaud) finished the season as series runner-up with two W’s as the defending IndyCar Series Champion. And although Power scored the second most wins for Penske that season with three. DJ WillyP’ (Power) came home sixth Overall, one position behind Castroneves. As the Brazilian won his final IndyCar victory at Iowa that year. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

IndyCar Bowtie’ Brigade Year-by-Year: 2013-2016

As can Anybody Best El Capitano’s illustrious Team Chevy Juggernaut?

 

Although I’ve been pondering this awhile now, since I know it nagged at me All last season whilst rootin’ for Pato O’Ward at SPAM’, aka Arrow McLaren SP. I suppose after reading one of IndyCar’s Oldest Blogger Geo. Phillips, Hya! Oilpressure Posts back in February about is there really A Big Four in IndyCar’s? ?

 

Oh Swell! Now George has jumped on the Pato O’Ward Bandwagon, which makes me wonder if he’s given him the Dreaded Oilpressure.com Curse?

 

Although when I hear the term Big Four, I always think of Formula 1 instead, when it had it’s Big Four which I tend to recall was McLaren, Ferrari, Williams and Lotus.

 

Uhm, the Questione I’ve been ponderin’ a really really long time is: Has there been Anybody besides the Big Three, i.e.; Penske, Ganassi and Andretti, albeit primarily Penske since Ganassi and Andretti have been Hondre’ runners a longtime as ‘Ol Leigh Diffey would say to win an IndyCar race with a Chevrolet engine?

 

As Michael Andretti switched to Honda Wayback in 2014 and promptly rewarded Honda and HPP by winning that year’s epic Indianapolis 500 when Ryan Hunter-Reay passed Castroneves in the grass to Win! While thou Cheepster’, nee Chip Ganassi switched back to Honda in 2017 after initially being part of the Bowtie’ Brigade from 2014, effectively giving Honda two “big Guns” vs. Penske and Chevy.

 

Originally I could only remember Tony Kanaan’s victory for KV Racing Technology at the 2013 Indianapolis 500 being aboard a Non Big-3 Bowtie’ runner. Yet after I started researching thou Record Books and reacquainted Thyself with le Hamburgular’, Formerly Sealmeister B’, aka Sebastian Bourdais took over Kanaan’s KVRT seat and won at Toronto in 2014, I foggily remembered SeaBass putting a Beatdown upon the IndyCar field at Milwaukee Wayback in 2015, even if they got penalized monetarily afterwards for a technical infraction.

 

2016

Season: March 13th to September 18th

Races: 16

 

Team Penske and Chevrolet thoroughly Waxed the competition, with Penske claiming ten of Chevy’s Decimating 14 wins! While four different Bowtie runners found Thar way into victory lane, albeit only when Team Penske wasn’t busy monopolizing the rostrum’s top step.

 

Juan Montoya claimed his lone W for Penske at St Pete, while relative Penske newcomer Simon Pagenaud won a total of five races en route to winning the title, including three in-a-row between Long Beach and the Indy GP. With past IndyCar Series Champion Will Power nipping at Pagenaud’s Heels with a further four W’ and finishing runner-up Overall.

 

Scott Dixon claimed a modest two wins for Ganassi. With Sebastian Bourdais winning once at Detroit’s Belle Isle, now in the rebranded KVSH Racing outfit. And Josef Newgarden once at Iowa for Ed Carpenter Racing. (ECR)

 

2015

Season: March 29th to August 30th

Races: 16

 

Although this is probably my favourite Championship of the past several years, as I still recall sitting in the Dark over the weekend we’d had an unexpected Windstorm knock our Power Out for 48-plus Hours! Which I suppose was Nothin’ compared to Texas, especially since it happened during Summer… As I blindly found an old portable AM/FM Cassette “Walkman,” and if I sat just right next to the patio’s sliding glass door and held the headphone’s wire just right without moving, I could listen to the Sonoma IndyCar Finale coming off an Everett, WA Radio Station!

 

And although I delighted in Montoya seemingly “Choking,” but obviously the entire season was Overshadowed by the Death of my Numero Uno IndyCar Driver Justin B-I-G UNIT’ Wilson at Pocono.

 

There were four different Chevrolet winners that year claiming a total of 10 victories. As Scott Dixon scored three W’s for Ganassi en route to his fourth IndyCar title, with Penske claiming three W’s; Juan Pablo Montoya netting two, including that year’s Indy 500 and Will Power winning once.

 

Josef Newgarden capped his first two IndyCar career victories for CFH Racing (Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman) at Alabama and Toronto. Whilst Sebastian Bourdais won twice for KVRT at Belle Isle and Milwaukee.  

 

2014

Season: March 30th to August 30th

Races: 18

 

It’s Funny to Mwah, since all I really remember now about this season is that Ryan Hunter-Reay Beat Hulip’ (Castroneves) at Mother Speedway, and that I got to tell DJ Willy P’ (Will Power) in person at the Sonoma IndyCar race Autograph session: Beat this guy! When pointing to Castroneves who was seated next to him. Where Power very diplomatically said I’m Trying!

 

Which I suppose is why I’ve forgotten that four different Bowtie runners won races that season, as Chevrolet Dominated with 11 wins. With Penske scoring five, Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) three times, Ganassi winning twice, having switched this year and KV Racing Technology one W.

 

Will Power won three times for Team Penske en route to his lone IndyCar Championship, with team-mates Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya winning once apiece; Hulio’ at Belle Isle’s Double Header second race and JPM at Pocono.

 

Mike “Ice-Ice, Baby!” Conway won at Long Beach and Toronto’s Double Header second race for ECR. Whilst his boss Fast Eddie’, nee Ed Carpenter won at Texas Motor Speedway, the latest of his three IndyCar career wins to date.

 

Le Hamburgular’, nee SeaBass’ or just good ‘Ol Sebastain Bourdais won Toronto’s Double Header Race-1 for KVRT. With Scott Dixon winning twice for Ganassi.

 

2013

Season: March 24th to October 19th

Races: 19

 

Andretti Autosport and Team Penske won nine of the ten races won by Chevrolet over a 19-race season, with the only other Bowtie winner being TK’ Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan’s victory at Mother Speedway for KV Racing Technology, giving Chevy a total of 10 wins vs. Honda’s 9. As Chevrolet won Indianapolis, but Scott “the Iceman 2.0” Dixon won the Championship, his third of an eventual six titles to date.

 

As Thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown, aka James Hinchcliffe won three times for Andretti, i.e.; St. Pete, Sao Paolo and Iowa, with his team-mate The Dude’, Ryan Hunter-Reay winning twice, netting Mikey A’s Squad five W’s. While DJ WillyP’, aka Will Power led Team Penske wit three wins, along with Helio Castroneves notching one victory. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

F1: Brawn ‘N Brown Duet with some Suaviness’ Thrown in as Background Noise

Cause’ Sometimes You Feel like a Nut, and sometimes, Uhm…

 

Just a few Bits ‘N bobs as Grizzled F1 Journo’ Joe Saward would say following the Bahrain Grand Prix…

 

Brawn says Tsunoda Super!

FIA’s Sporting Director Ross Brawn, writing for F1.com has given Japanese F1 Rookie Yuki Tsunoda glowing praise upon his Debutante outing in Bahrain. With Brawn proclaiming the 20 year old Tsunoda is the Best F1 Rookie in years! And was totally Smitten with Yuki’s Ontrack performance, also claiming that Red Bull has Hit a Home Run with Tsunoda!

 

Whilst Grizzled F1 Journo’ Joe Saward noted that Yuki was his Driver of The Race after Tsunoda had fallen down to 16th place after starting P13. Then methodically worked his way forward, including passing Sebastian Vettel twice and his Boyhood Idol Fernando Alonso before overtaking Lance Stroll for ninth on the race’s final lap!

 

As Tsunoda became the 65th Formula 1 Driver to score points on his Debutante F1 race. Along with becoming the first Japanese driver to score points in F1 since Kamui Kobayashi in 2012 when driving for Sauber F1, arguably Kobayashi’s best season in Formula 1.

 

As Kamui became only the third Japanese F1 Driver to ever stand atop the podium upon finishing third in that year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

 

Yuki’s ninth place finish is the best since Kobayashi’s sixth place finish for Toyota F1 at the 2009 Inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as a rookie F1 Pilote, while Kamui also finished P9 upon his Formula 1 debut at that year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, while Deputizing for the injured Timo glock. But didn’t score any points since they were only awarded down to eighth place then.

 

Tsunoda becomes the first driver to score points on his debut since Stoffel Vandoorne finished 10th upon his F1 debut in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix for McLaren when Deputizing for Fernando Alonso, who’d been ruled Medically unfit to drive.  

 

Zak Brown Doubles Down on ricciardo

Marketing Guru and McLaren F1 Boss Zackery Brown has done it again by teasing McLaren New-boy DannyRic’ with not only a miniature replica of the aussie’s Boyhood Hero, but also now promised him in a drive aboard the “Real Deal” upon scoring his first F1 Podium for McLaren.

 

    As  Brown as promised Daniel ricciardo a chance to drive his 1984 Dale Earnhardt Wrangler sponsored Chevrolet Cup car when Ricciardo records his latest team’s first podium finish. As Ricciardo chose  the No. 3 in deference to being a Huge Fan of the late Intimidator’s when growing up.

 

As Brown has a tastefully modest, Mega’ car collection, including various Street and Racing Cars. From the likes of a Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach, a Bugatti  EB110, a pristine, original Acura NSX, Porsche 959, 2017 Ford TT and so on.

 

But it’s his small armada of vintage racing cars that one must truly appreciate. Running the gambit from an ex-Mario Andretti Lola T332 F5000 Single Seater to Sir Jackie Stewart’s March 701 and the 24 Heurs du Mans Pole winning Lancia LC2 Sports Car driven by the late Bob Wollek to name just a few.

 

Whilst Brown is apparently a Huge Senna Fan, owning two of Ayrton Senna’s Formula 1 racecars, i.e.; 1984 Toleman TG184 ana 1986 Lotus Renault turbo along with his ’81 Go Kart. With further Formula 1 chassis from the likes of “Mika the Finn’s” (Hakkinen) 2001 McLaren MP4/16A, “Red 5” Bloody Nige Mansell or Il Lione’s 1987 Williams FW11B and Jacques Villeneuve’s 1996 Williams FW18 also part of his impressive Heritage Collection.   

 

And the Bet or Dare isn’t Ricciardo’s first. Since last season Daniel got to choose what Tatoo former Renault F1 Team principal Cyril Abiteboul would get after claiming his first podium at the Eiffel grand prix.

  

Eskimo Pies in the Desert?

Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, Alpine noted that Fredrico Suave’, aka Fernando Alonso’s car had been retired out of safety concerns following a Sandwich wrapper becoming impaled in it’s rear brakes, presumably the brake ducting.

 

But thar were  No word on what type of sandwich wrapper it was, i.e.; plastic wrap or paper? Hmm, could it have come from the Iceman’ (Kimi Raikkonen) having an Ice Cream sandwich during the race?

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Is IndyCar’s Cable TV Arrivederci Tour Set to Commence?

And is this just one more sign of how Impotent IndyCar truly is?

 

Sorry Folks, No Gory funny business today, just my somewhat Morose thoughts upon the impending Demise of NBC Sports and what it means to a longtime visually impaired, Uhm ergo Blind Open Wheel Racing Devotee…

 

Why Do Motor Racing TV Channels Always get Screwed!

 

First Thar were the wonderful Speed Channel with IndyCar and later Formula 1 Live Practice, Qualifying and Races, which I finally Broke Down and purchased  my One ‘N Only Satellite system some 20 years ago, subscribing to the Dish Network solely in order to be able to obtain the Speed Channel, which then became known simply as SPEED.

 

But as we All know, the GURR-REAT Brainchilds at FOX decided to turn it into a Soupier Doopier “Stick ‘N Ball” TV Channel called Fox Sports One, also known simply as FS1instead, albeit still airing that Dreaded 569lb gorilla RASSCAR’, Urgh!

 

And now us dedicated Open wheel Racing Fans will lose our second Motorsports TV Channel when thoust Bastardos at Comcast shutdown NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at the end of 2021, with IndyCar, IMSA Sports Cars, MotoGP and World Superbikes to name just a few of the many racing series it currently Airs on our “Home of Motorsports.”.

 

Naturally I’m pretty Perturbed over this development, especially since almost three years ago now, when signing up for my current Cable TV provider Spectrum’s service, I specifically signed up for the Higher priced Silver package to make sure I could get NBCSN on thy Telie’, which naturally I’ll “See” my Cable TV Bill Decrease when NBC Sports Disappears, Righto?

 

And I already know what two of my fellow IndyCar Bloggers will say upon this matter, especially since some two years later it still Nastily Sticks in My Craw! When one of them Bellowed that I should either Put Up or Shut Up when it came to needing to subscribe to NBC’s Gold Bricks Pay Wall service, Uhm NBC Sports gold Pass “Streaming” service in order to watch IndyCar’s Practice and Qualifying sessions live.

 

Yet what Nobody will understand or get, unless you’re Freakin’ Blind like your Humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso is… Thar Ain’t NO Streaming service that easily works, i.e.; Interfaces “Seamlessly” with Screen Readers! A la how trying to sign up for COVID 19 Vacination is Impossible for the Blind, But I Digress…

 

Since Everybody wants to throw away $50 playing Russian roulette that the necessitated Streaming Service will Work with Thar Gory Screen Reader, El Correctomundo?

 

And I also recall one respected Motorsports Journalist saying to Mwah: Why would anybody want to listen to a race on the Radio?

 

After I’d lamented to him ‘bout IndyCar taking Away our Access to the IMS Radio Broadcast Network for Practice and qualifying sessions, when IndyCar signed a contract with Comcast prohibiting that. Whilst I’ve never tried listening on Race Day’s  since it’s 11 Kuh-gillion percent easier to simply use Thy TV Remote vs. trying to locate ‘N click upon the teensy  weensy Play button icon wherever Indycar.com was Hiding It! Since if you’re Blind, Oh Never Mind!

 

Yet I understand why Everybody wishes to “cut the Chord,” as Holy Overpriced Cable TV Prices Batman! As my Spectrum Bill has increased by nearly 12 George Washingtons, i.e.; $11.76 per Month in just over Two and One Half years, OUCH! Although I do have the required Bundling option of Telephone, Internet & Cable TV included, albeit supposedly I  signed up for a three year NO price increase “Contract.” So WTF?

 

Whilst the other IndyCar Blogger as already Decreed that it makes perfect “Business” Sense to him for NBC to move the NBC Sports Cable TV portion of Indy Cars coverage to their “New & Improved” Peacock Streaming service. Noting how the service is Free if you’re a Comcast Premium Subscriber, BLEEP!

 

As I particularly like and wholeheartily agree with what ‘Ol Statmann Carruthers of Speed Freaks fame mentioned awhile ago when discussing NBCSN going away, by noting: “We’re all gonna $5.99 Ourselves to Death!”  

 

As there’s several issues with this logic, even if it’s the way the world’s turning towards the “Thetherdd” traditional TV model controlled by Overzealous, Greedy, Capitalistic TV Behemoths that control what we’re able to Consume on a Daily Basis in the name of Entertainment.

 

Firstly, this implies that you need to be a Comcast customer, which many people either won’t be able to do so due to where they live or are unwilling to pay for it’s exorbitant pricing! Not to mention that this is a Monopoly and that it also possibly requires you Paying More to go behind it’s Paywall, regardless of what others will say about it Not being a Paywall!

 

As IndyCar would be wise to notice how much of a Beating Formula 1 has taken over it’s insistence of forcing F1 Aficionados behind the various Countries different Paywall choices for viewing Formula 1 and how many Viewers they’ve LOST due to this practice!

 

Since I’d argue that IndyCar desperately needs every stinkin’ Gory Eyeball it can get right now, which Arse-sumedly the easiest way to do this is by continuing to be easily available upon Terrestrial Cable TV Channels…

 

Thus what would be the best outcome possible for longtime Fans like Mwah, since I’ve been religiously following IndyCar’s for over three decades now, would be to simply move the NBC Sports portion of IndyCar coverage onto Comcast’s USA Networks TV Channel, which according to reports has a slightly higher number of U.S. Household viewers than NBCSN does.

 

Since surely, Nah,  No Shirley Aeroplane’ Jokes Here! Thars plenty of room over the weekends when Law and Order Criminal Intent Marathon rerun sessions occur to host a few hours of motor racing, Righto? Ahem, besides Bloody NASCAR!

 

As I feel sorry for Sports Cars and Motorcycles getting the Boot from Cable TV, which I’ll miss watching MotoGP since it’s one of the most competitive forms of motor racing right now! While I can always access Sports Cars via Zed Internet at IMSA Radio, which Fucking A Ray, is FREE and doesn’t include ANY Commercials! Can You Hear Me Now IndyCar?

 

But if IndyCar’s Cable TV portion does migrate to el Stupidio Peacock “TV” Streaming service, then I’ll either attempt to simply listen to it just on Race day’s on Ye Intrawoods’ IndyCar Radio Network or just Not bother at all! Which will be a Sad, Sad Day for a longtime IndyCar enthusiast!

 

And if IndyCar’s thinks it’s viewership numbers are Pathetic right now, just wait ‘til you lose a further large Chunk of your loyal Fanbase…