Friday, June 28, 2024

Indy Cars race for Leader Circle Funding

But who’ll claim the coveted 22nd and final Leader Circle’s prize?

 

Each year, there becomes a race inside the race over which IndyCar teams will be scrapping for the final Leader Circle prize fund allocation slots. Which IndyCar Doles out a prize of $1.0 million to the Top-22 Fulltime IndyCar team entries. For which I believe that each team is only allowed a maximum of three entries, now that I believe Andretti Global’s lost their fourth “Grandfathered” entry…

 

Much noise has been made about Meyer Shank Racing’s (MSR) Benching of rookie IndyCar driver tom Blomqvist, who we All know has been replaced by David Malukas for the remainder of the year.

 

Although Helio Castroneves, whose a minority team owner tried spinning off Blomqvist’s initial two race sabbatical as an effort to improve the team’s No. 66 points standing in the All important Leader Circle fight.

 

With Hulio’ filling the #66 seat for these two events, where I’d say He didn’t fair any better than Blomqvist would have!

 

As I’d still argue how is a rookie IndyCar driver supposed to progress if He’s Sacked before the Halfway distance of the season? Especially for somebody as raw as Blomqvist, who plys His trade predominantly in Sports Cars.

 

Yet Racer’s Marshall Pruett painted a different picture of Mike Shank seeing a driver lacking confidence behind the seat, who wasn’t improving. With Blomqvist expected to drive an MSR Acura in IMSA GTP once again next year.

 

As here’s a sample of the various Leader Circle point standings I was able to rassle up, albeit I couldn’t find an updated entrant’s standing following Road America…

 

Round 5: Indianapolis 500, May 26th

22. #30, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: 50

23. #18, Dale Coyne Racing: 47

24-26. #66, Meyer Shank Racing; #41, A.J. foyt Enterprises; #20, Ed Carpenter Racing: Tied with 46-points.

 

Round 6: Detroit, June 2nd

21. #78, Juncos Hollinger Racing: 74

22. #30, RLLR: 67

23. #18 DCR: 60

24. #41, foyt: 55

25. #66, MSR: 51

26. #20, ECR: 51

27. #51, Coyne-Ware Racing: 51

 

 

Yet I believe that Ganassi’s Nos. 11 & 4 entries aren’t eligible for Leader Circle funding, meaning Thars’ 25 entries vying for the Top-22 spots. Meaning if I apply this logic? MSR was sitting in 23rd place following Detroit. As good work Hulio!

 

As I’m also Arse-suming that MSR’s #66 is on top of the three way tie via it having the highest place finish of 15th at St Pete.

 

Interesting how Marshall notes in a follow-up piece about Malukas’s joining MSR, which felt like it was defending Mike Shank’s decision as co-owner to park Blomqvist…

 

That Shank has given Malukas a long “leash” and just needs Him to finish P17 or better without destroying racecars, and MSR will be happy with their new driver acquisition.

 

Yet this is a great opportunity for whom has been my Numero doce favourite Indycar driver the past few seasons. As you’d think that driving for MSR will give David a much better opportunity to “Grow” versus the pressure cooker environment of Arrow Mclaren!

 

Although like Shank told Marshall, MSR needs to perform now for the sake of it’s sponsors. So hopefully Malukas can deliver the Goods! Especially with a stupendous six Ovals at season’s end.

 

As Pruett noted recently how the cost of running an IndyCar entry has increased by 30% over the years, costing a minimum extra $2.0 million per entry due to Hybridization and our massive Inflation that we All currently suffer from!

 

Whilst apparently it’s a very poor “secret” that MSR will return to IMSA GTP competition next year with an Acura entry spearheaded by Blomqvist.

 

making me now wonder if the Blomqvist to IndyCar experiment was just a novel way for MSR to keep Blomqvist busy for a year’s time before the IndyCar driver market opened in 2025? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The Hydros’ are Back!

Can Andrew Tate topple J. Michael Kelly from His Championship perch?

 

Once again, it’s time to spool up the Turbines. And even better yet, H1 Unlimited has announced a robust six race schedule.

 

This year’s calendar sees the “Fastest Boats on H2O” commencing with this weekend’s Guntersville Lake Hydrofest in Alabama. (June 30) Followed by stops at Madison, Indiana (July 7) Tri-Cities, Washington, (July 28) Seattle, (August 4)APBA Gold Cup – Detroit, Michigan  (August 25) and San Diego. (September 15)

 

2024 Preliminary line-up

U-1 Miss Beacon electric, J. Micael Kelly

U-6 Miss Madison, Dylan Runn

U-9 Beacon Plumbing, Corey Peabody

U-11 Mercury Coffee, Jamie Milsen

U-12 Graham Trucking Racing, R-Bobby King

U-27 Miss Apollo, Dave Villwock

U-40 Flag-R-Pac, Dustin Echols

U-60 The Beast Unleashed, Gunnar O’Farrell

U-91 Miss Goodman Real Estate, Andrew Tate

 

As not sure of how many of these nine Hulls will show up for the season opening Guntersville Hydrofest?

 

Interestingly, bobby King, whom I believe is an Unlimited rookie, is the son of Jerry King, who mans the tiller of the U-3 Miss Griggs. The lone, remaining piston powered raceboat on the Unlimited circuit.

 

With no word on which races the U-3 Ace Hardware presents Miss Griggs will attend…

 

While apparently the sports winningest driver Dave Villwock simply cannot stay away from behind the keyboard of an Unlimited Hydroplane. As the elder statesman climbs aboard the Miss Apollo, run by Charlie Wiggins of Alabama. Although I cannot tell if this brand new fully composite Hull will campaign the entire season or not? Since you’d think they’d want to participate in their Home race. Even though the press release implies they won’t break cover until the two Washington races of Tri-cities and Seattle.

 

Meanwhile the remainder of the fleet returns intact with last year’s driver line-ups unchanged. With just some of the boats names changing due to sponsorship changes., most notably the U-11.


Update

On June 23rd, just five days before the 2024 H1 Unlimited season begins, the APBA announced that the storied 114th Gold Cup race would be held at San Diego’s Bayfair 2.5-mile course on September 15th, celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary.

 

As the event had been scheduled tentatively in Detroit for August 25th, subject to approval, which obviously didn’t happen.

 

Therefore, this year’s 2024 H1 Unlimited season shrinks to a total of five races, with a six weeks layoff between Seattle’s Seafair and San Diego’s season finale gold Cup event.

 

Whilst I still have no idea how many Unlimited Hydroplanes will contest this week’s Lake Guntersville Hydrofest… 

Monday, June 24, 2024

The Business of Motor Racing!

As why did I think of “Riders On the Storm”, Eh?

 

Sheez, you have company for a scant 72 Hours, tune out of motor racing and News in general and Wallah! A litany ‘O events occur.

 

First ‘n foremost was the Death of Rufas Parnell Jones, better known simply as Parnelli Jones, the 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner. For whom I far more appreciated for His 1970 Trans Am Championship in those Nasty Bud Moore School Bus yellow BOSS 302’s!

 

As I’ll let another past legend, the late Robin Miller do the “Heavy” lifting upon what made ‘Ol rufas so great in the video below…

 

https://racer.com/2024/06/05/from-the-archive-robin-miller-on-parnelli-jones/

 

Meanwhile, seemingly All Hell broke loose on the MotoGP Silly Season! First learning that Ducati had signed The Pinball Wizard, nee Marc Marquez to a “multi-year” contract as Pecco’ Bagnaia’s teammate for 2025. As Marquez had said He would only ride for a Factory team in 2025, apparently forcing ducati’s Hands…

 

As Jorge Martin had apparently seen the Handwriting on the proverbial wall, and signed to ride for the Factory Aprilia team beginning next year. Although I don’t know who His teammate will be? Or why Aprilia would drop Maverick Vinales?

 

While reportedly “the Beast”, nee Enea Bastianini will move to KTM, although I’d expect Him to be riding for the GasGas Tech 3 satellite squad, especially since rumours claim that KTM will provide four latest Werks’ spec scooters for it’s four riders.

 

Since I’m Arse-suming that Thriller Miller, aka Jack Miller will be replaced by Pedro Acosta, the 2021 Moto3 and 2023 Moto2 champion at the Factory team next year…

 

Next, I feel sad for Tom blomqvist. Having mused to myself immediately after hearing the news He’d been “Parked” for two races beginning at Detroit; Can Y’all say Hello David Malukas!

 

But Malukas’s announcement of returning to an IndyCar cockpit was overshadowed by Juncos Hollinger Racing’s driver Augustin Canapino’s Maelstrom!

 

Naturally the cynic in me said this was a move to keep the Out-of-Touch Canapino from having to face the “Music”, Err media during the Road America IndyCar weekend. Following Canapino’s Abhorrent behaviour regarding the social media Death Threats that Theo Pourchaire received after colliding with the Argetinian during the Detroit Grand Prix. For which the IndyCar rookie Pourchaire was told to drop three places during the race for.

 

And while I said Good for You Zak Brown and Arrow McLaren for severing your strategic alliance with JHR. Since it seems that the only way that Ricardo Juncos and Company would understand that Canapino and His Fans were wrong was to Hit them financially, since this is the third time this has happened in 14 months!

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2023/09/stop-hate-argentina.html

 

Nonetheless, as Marshall Pruett points out, there’s 65-70 employees at JHR who aren’t enjoying the undeserved scrutiny! And obviously have families to provide for…

 

Having missed the start of Friday’s Road America practice, I was initially Cornfuzed’ over why IndyCar Radio was saying Nolan Siegel’s name? Not knowing that He’d been asked to step into Canapino’s No. 78 entry just an hour before practice began! And only had 15mins to get acclimated to His IndyCar ride following practicing for the week’s Indy NXT race.

 

Siegel then was “excused” by HMD Motorsports to skip the Indy NXT race and focus solely upon His IndyCar Gig’ instead. With no word on whether or not He’d be back in the JHR cockpit for His second “Home” race at Laguna Seca in a fortnight’s time?

 

As we now know, Canapino has been announced as the driver of the No. 78 for the remainder of the season, after having had an Attitude “Adjustment” during His time off…

 

And I know we’re supposed to believe that Augustin’s seen the light and give Him the benefit of the doubt. But what’s going to happen the next time over the remaining ten races when somebody collides with the Argetinian?

 

Although I did learn during All of this turmoil that Nolan Siegel’s father Mark is a very wealthy Venture Capitalist. Meaning that apparently the lack of IndyCar’s paltry $850,000 Indy NXT Advancement Prize is not a deterrent towards Nolan getting a Fulltime IndyCar ride in 2025. Especially since He’s dropped one place to fourth in the points standings following Road America. Then being 79 points adrift of Jacob Abel, who appears to be locked-in a two way title fight against Louis Foster…

 

As I was told that Siegel’s No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing entry for His failed Indianapolis 500 attempt ran devoid of any sponsorship! Which totally befuddles me, since it’s Indy Cars biggest race of the year! As the Siegel’s must have paid Dale a lot of money to keep His sonny’s Barbeque off it’s sidepods, Eh?

 

Whilst I can only speculate that Nolan’s jump to drive for JHR on a moment’s notice was part of their plan to get Him more IndyCar seat time in preparation for next year.

 

And then there’s IndyCar jumping to FOX for it’s 2025 and beyond Television partner. For which All I can say initially is that IndyCar took the money!

 

Since it’s even sadder that the IndyCar calendar has been compressed once again, ending on August 31st next year! Especially since FOX could have shifted the final September TV Broadcasts to either FS1 or FS2. Nah, Ain’t gonna Happen! As College Football’s way too lucrative, Oh Never Mind! 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Wrapping Up more Father Son Racer Duos

For those who aren’t sick of this Story!

 

Yeah, if you’re still reading my No Fenders tome about Father and son racers, Y’all know it’s time to put this story to Bed! As here goes the last handful of names I thought of when beginning this. Which by All means, is not complete! Since I’m totally Overlooking some of Roundy-rounds greats, i.e.; Earnhardt’s, Petty’s and Allison’s for starters. Or Gurney and Hill, as in both Phil and Graham Hill, Oh Never Mind!

 

Jan Magnussen, better known as MAGS’, is probably far better known for His long, illustrious Sports Car career. Becoming synonymous with Corvette Racing’s Uber’ successful GT racing efforts, including four Class wins at Le Mans. And now is winding down His racing career in LMP2 prototypes.

 

Yet MAGS’ actually began as a Formula 1 Pilote racing briefly for McLaren, followed at Stewart Grand Prix. Before switching Stateside to drive Indy Cars for El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske’s Marlboro Team Penske outfit. Then moving to Hogan Penske Racing and capping off His brief IndyCar spell at Patrick Racing.

 

MAGS’ son Kevin Bacon’ Magnussen is currently in what presumably will be His final year with the Haas F1 Team’s second spell. Having replaced the Fired Nikita Mazepin, also known as MazaSpin’, Youch! For the 2022 Formula 1 season.

 

Kevin began His F1 career driving for McLaren during His rookie campaign in 2014, before spending the following season as the team’s Test and Reserve Driver. Then moving onto Renault for 2016, and His first stint with Haas between 2017-20. Spending the 2021 season driving for Chip Ganassi Racing’s IMSA Sports Car team, which I’d expect Kevin will return to Sports Cars in 2025. Arse-sumedly in FIA World Endurance Championship or IMSA GTP…

 

Gilles Villeneuve is a legend with a brief and fiery F1 career, albeit losing His life behind the wheel of His iconic No. 27 rosso Ferrari at Zolder. Having just concluded another Grands Prix on Il Notre Dam at circuit Gilles villenueve…

 

Whilst Gilles son Jaque Villeneuve is one of only three drivers I can think of to have won both the Formula 1 (1997) and IndyCar Championships! (1995) Along with winning the 1995 Indianapolis 500. And then much later racing in the Daytona 500 and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

 

Oh Yeah, how could I forget one of “Jaque Vanilla”, a la Jacques Villeneuve’s biggest Arch nemesis? Michael and Mick Schumacher, Eh? Uhm, I suppose since Der Terminator’, nee Michael Schumacher’s been Asleep at the Wheel for over a decade now. Having just read that Michael’s wife Corina’s spending an estimated $7.0 million Euros per year to care for Michael, and continue having a glimmer of “Hope” that He’ll recover. What can I say or write about Herr Schumacher, eh?

 

As Michael’s son Mick Schumacher still clings to Dreams of returning to a Formula 1 cockpit after a brief stint with Haas F1 as Mazepin’s teammate. With Mick currently serving as Mercedes F1 Test and Reserve driver, along with racing for Alpine in the FIA World Endurance Championship. (WEC) Racing alongside Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere in the No. 36 Alpine A424 (LMDH) Hybrid.

 

Whilst I believe that Michael featured as the mystery Stig’ driver during one season of Top Gear? As in Stig Blomqvist, the World Rally championship champion in 1984.

 

With son Tom “the Bomb!” Blomqvist, a being a rookie IndyCar this season, albeit having been “Parked” following His first lap accident in this year’s Indianapolis 500. Being replaced by David Malukas beginning at Laguna Seca. And will apparently sit-out the remainder of the season before returning to MSR’s rumoured Sports Car return next year…

 

And speakin’ of Rallying legends, I suppose I’d be remiss for not mentioning el Matador’, aka Carlos Sainz, who at age 61, just broke His previous record for Oldest winner of the Dakar! His fourth Dakar victory, along with His two WRC titles!

 

Whilst His son Carlos Sainz Jr is currently racing for la Scuderia in Formula 1. Although Sainz Jnr will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari next year. While we wait to learn where the young Spaniard lands next year in F1, albeit the Doors are closing quickly on 2025 options…

 

Alas, I’m afraid this riveting No Fenders post could go on and on. Especially since when I first began typing this. I’d just learned when recently completing my American Open Wheel Racing ladder feature about Nicolas Giaffone, winner of the 2023 USF Juniors Championship. Whose father Felipe Giaffone was the 2001 IRL Rookie Of the year. (ROY)

 

Whilst I most fondly recall Felipe being at an Indianapolis Mall the Babys R US store me Thinks? Shopping for son Nicolas when A.J. foyt called Him to qualify a third Foyt entry for the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Which He successfully bumped Arie Luyendyk Jr. from the field. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Celebrating some More Notable Fathers and Racing Sons

Although some of these have more than a Dubious Past!

 

Yeah, I simply cannot scribble a short story here upon thoust Isle ‘O Nofendersville, where the Dazes are long, and the nights cold. Hence the list keeps Mushrooming Y’all…

 

As here’s some more of the Father’s and Son’s who raced with each other in the Post World War II era that I’ve come up with. But I’m just doing this by memory, with the exception of the first duo I learned about when scribblin’ my No Fenders five part Sports Car Triple Crown winners tome last fall…

 

The first Father-Son duo I’ve run across was Louis and Jean-Louis rosier, who won the 1950 24 Heurs du Mans. Of note, father Louis ran almost the entire race solo! With the exception of His son Jean-Louis driving a scant two laps aboard the winning Talbot Lago Grand Sport T26.

 

Louis contested 38 Formula 1 races between 1950-56, scoring two podium finishes, along with running Ecurie Rosier for Himself and other racing drivers.

 

The elder Rosier was also responsible for what ultimately became Circuit Louis Rosier and ran a large Renault car dealership in the same Clermont-Ferrand region. With the race track originally known as Circuit de Charade, and also Circuit Clermont-Ferrand hosting the French Grand Prix on four occasions; 1965, 1969-70 and 1972. Along with the French Motorcycle Grand Prix ten times, amongst other major racing events…

 

Louis sustained Head injuries in the Coupe du Salon Sports Car race driving a Ferrari 750 Monza in Montlkery in early October, and perished three weeks later on October 29, 1956.

 

John Paul Sr and John Paul Jr are another Father-Son duo who raced together. With the Paul’s career highlight being winning both the 1982 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring driving together in their JLP Racing Porsche 935. As the Paul’s were joined at Daytona by Rolf Stommelen.

 

John Paul Jr also won the 1983 Michigan 500 IndyCar race. And subsequently His second Rolex 24 in 1997, along with His lone Indy Racing League victory at Texas in ‘98.

 

As Paul Jr’s first brush with Drug Trafficking offenses occurred when He was a 15yr old teenager. Before His promising racing career was interrupted in 1986. Being sentenced to five years in Prison for refusing to testify against His Father! Ultimately serving 30 months at a minimum security Prison in Alabama…

 

While I’ve never known how ruthless and terrible of a person His father was. Just learning for the first time that John Paul Sr is still wanted for questioning about the mysterious “Disappearances”, first of His former Wife and then later, His Girlfriend. Along with being initially sentenced to twenty years in prison upon pleading guilty to first degree Murder in ‘86! Before His sentence was increased to 25yrs for other various charges…

 

Yet following release from prison after being paroled in 1999, Paul Sr disappeared upon His 55-foot sailboat, after the disappearance of His then Girlfriend. Albeit being spotted in various places around the world as late as 2011. And is still wanted for questioning by authorities for the two women’s disappearances, along with breaking His parole.

 

As the Paul’s were part of what became known as the International Marijuana Smugglers Association, a play upon then the IMSA Camel GTP series in the mid-1980’s…

 

https://racer.com/2018/11/07/retro-the-year-they-all-went-to-jail/

 

To the not-so famous Zwolsman’s duo of “Chuck” and Charles Junior of the Netherlands.

 

As Charles Jnr won the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship with three wins, ahead of title runner-up Tonis Kasemets and third place finisher Katherine Legge. With All three racing in the Champ Car World Series the following year.

 

Zwolsman  Junior made His Champ Car debut at the ’05 season ending Mexico race driving for Team Australia, running the full 2006 season for  Mi Jack Conquest Racing. He subsequently was accused of Money laundering in 2011, before being cleared of All charges five years later.

 

Meanwhile His Father, an accomplished Sports Car racer, who competed in the World Sportscar Championship between 1991-92. Along with racing at Le Mans, where His best finish was 13th in ’92. Co-driving with Heinz 57’, aka Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Shunji Kasuya.

 

Zwolsman Senior was a notorious Dutch Drug Smuggler and Money launderer, having begun His illicit behaviour in the early 1980’s. Reportedly building up a Drug operation employing some sixty people. With the elder Zwolsman receiving a three years Jail sentence, and dying in Prison in 2010.

 

capping off part one of this monstrosity, the name Luyendyk Jr made me realize I’d left out the “flying Dutchman”, aka Arie Luyendyk, Two-times winner of the Indianapolis 500, the Rolex 24 and 12 Hours of Sebring. While Arie’s son, Arie Luyendyk Jr is arguably more famous for His non-racing related television appearances in the Bachelorette and Bachelor, Huba-Huba! Then His Indy Lights career where He finished second-third and fourth. Racing primarily in theIndy Pro Series between 2002-07, before joining the reborn Indy Lights championship in 2008.

 

Ironically, Luyendyk Junior was Bumped from the 2005 Indianapolis 500 in the waning moments by Felipe Giaffone in a third A.J. foyt entry! Although He did successfully qualify for the race in ’06 driving for a team backed by His Father…

 

And Thars’ the legendous’ Mears Gang. Obviously the most famous being “Rocket Rick” Mears, whom garnered the nickname for claiming a record six Indianapolis 500 Pole positions. Who we all know became the race’s third Four-times winner in 1991, after beginning His racing career as a Off-road Desert racer.

 

Rick’s son Clint Mears briefly raced in single seaters. Spending the 1994-95 seasons racing in Toyota Atlantic. After a year’s absence, Clint contested the 1997-98 seasons in Indy Lights. Scoring two wins in ’97 at Milwaukee and Fontana racing for Team Mears alongside cousin Casey. Clint then attempted cracking the Craftsman PickemUp’ Trucks series to no avail. Then worked as a Driving Instructor at Irwindale Speedway before returning to amateur Motocross racing…

 

Roger Mears is the older brother of Rick. Being a prolific Off Road racer. While His son Casey Mears raced in Indy Lights, IndyCar and nearly 500 races in NASCAR. Casey won the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona and Coca-cola 600 driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Happy Fathers Day!

The two Tom’s, ergo Tomas Senor & Tomaso celebrate a different Holiday. (The Tomaso Collection)

 

As what better way to celebrate than with some ‘lil 24 Hours race in the French countryside, Wee-Wee…

 

SO I was never real good at celebrating Fathers Day. Since it will always be inexorably linked to the Portland IndyCar race held that weekend every year during the CART and Chump Carz’ era – which I attended yearly for some two-plus decades.

 

Although I did try Honouring Pops’ with a story about His Porsche. But can it really already be seven years since I scribbled that No Fenders story?

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2017/06/retro-my-fathers-porsche.html

 

Whilst I myself will be celebrating Fathers Day by listening to copious amounts of le 24 Heurs du Mans – like I do yearly, after naturally calling my Father! 

Some Notable IndyCar Fathers and Racing Sons

As what better way to celebrate some symbolic Holiday with a bevy ‘O racing drivers, Eh?

 

Thus like many ‘O No Fenders yarns. My list of veritable Fathers, and their Sons who were or still are racing drivers continues growing. (below) So let’s get this Countdown Ah-Rollin’

 

‘Ol Rufas Parnelli Jones is a legend whom I don’t think needs explaining. Especially since I believe He was part of the late Robin Miller’s “Mount Rushmore” of IndyCar racing drivers!

 

As we All know, Parnelli was the first driver to exceed 150mph at Indianapolis Motor speedway in 1962. Won the 1963 Indianapolis 500, along with coming Oh, so close aboard “Silent Sam” or the Whoosh-mobile. When four years later, Parnelli’s revolutionary STP Turbine broke down with four laps remaining while handidly leading the race…

 

Parnelli went onto become a Formula 1 and IndyCar team owner, with “Big Al” (Unser) winning His first brace of Indy 500’s aboard Jones entries. Won the 1970 SCCA Trans Am title for bud Moore Racing. Plus the grueling Baja 1000 twice in a ford Bronco…

 

Rufas’s sons P.J & Page Jones were racing drivers, albeit I don’t know anything about Page. But P.J. raced in two Indianapolis 500’s during the 2000’s, along with contesting NASCAR, Sports Cars and Stadium Trucks.

 

Yet P.J’s greatest success came when driving for Dan gurney’s All American Racers (AAR) All conquering IMSA GTP Toyota Eagle MkIII. With Jones, Rocky Moran and Mark Dismore winning the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona.

 

Having tested Toyota’s (CART) IndyCar engine, Jones drove for Gurney’s IndyCar effort between 1996-98. Then switched to Pat patrick’s IndyCar team for His final CART season in 1999.

 

Whilst Jagger Jones, who contested the 2023 Indy NXT Championship, is the son of P.J. Jones

 

Naturally having scribbled this story prior to Rufas Parnel Jones Death upon June 4th at age 90. Which I believe now makes ‘ol SuperTex’ the Oldest living Indianapolis 500 winner…

 

What can I say about the legendous’ Anthony Joseph Foyt Jr that hasn’t already been said? Having scribbled briefly about ‘Ol SuperTex’ (Age 89) in a previous No Fenders Sports Car tome…

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2023/10/le-mans-triple-crown-winners-part-3.html

 

While Larry foyt is the adopted son of A.J. Foyt, and His biological Grandson. As I tend to forget that Larry, now longtime Team Principal of A.J. Foyt Enterprises IndyCar team, contested the 2004-06 Indianapolis 500 as a driver for the same team. Along with competing in NASCAR’s top three divisions, i.e.; Cup, Grand National and Trucks…

 

SuperMario’, aka Mario Andretti’s another IndyCar legend whom I don’t need to expound about! With His son Michael gifting Mario an IndyCar victory at Portland International Raceway on Father’s Day 1986!

 

For many years, Michael Andretti was the third most successful IndyCar winner with 42 wins behind Mario’s 52 and A.J. Foyt’s 67. Before Scott Dixon became the second winningest IndyCar driver, currently with 58 wins.

 

As Michael’s gone on to becoming a successful racing team owner, now under the banner of Andretti Global. With Mikey A’s squad having won the Indianapolis 500 five times.

 

Michael’s son Marco Andretti has just completed His 19th Indianapolis 500 this year. And just wants to be His own Man and not live under the shadow of Dad and Gramps…

 

Aldo Andretti was Mario’s identical twin Brother, who passed away on December 30, 2020. Aldo did race, primarily in Sprint cars, but had two nasty crashes. The second seeing Him fracture 14 facial bones and shatter an eye socket! For which He retired from racing afterwards, at Mario’s insistence. As Aldo’s best remember for filling in for Mario in an Indy 500 Drivers photo when Mario was recovering from injuries…

 

The late “Gentleman John” Andretti was one of Aldo’s two sons, the other being Adam Andretti. With John being a very accomplished racer. A true “all-rounder”, since how many IndyCar winners do you know who were also NHRA Top Fuel Drag Racers!

 

John’s son Jarett is an accomplished Sprint, Midgets and Sports Car racer. Currently driving for Andretti Motorsports this year in IMSA’s GTD (Daytona) category. Appropriately driving a famous number His Dad utilized. Beginning the season at the Rolex 24 aboard the No. 43 Porsche 911 GT3 R with co-drivers Gabby Chaves, Scott Hargrove and Thomas Preining.

 

Oops, Y’all are probably saying what about the forgotten Jeff Andretti, Eh? “Pops” (Mario( son and younger brother of Michael? As Jeff was the 1991 CART/PPG IndyCar World Series and Indianapolis 500 rookie Of the Year. (ROY) But after a nasty crash in the ’92 Indy 500 where He suffered leg injuries from a Head-on crash, Jeff was never the same driver…

 

Meanwhile, how could I forget the legendary Unser’s? Although do I have enough space remaining to recite All of their accomplishments, Eh? Being the winningest Family at Indianapolis with a record nine victories…

 

Jeremy Michael Unser Jr was the oldest of the three Unser brothers and the first to compete at Indianapolis. As Jerry raced in the 1958 Indianapolis 500, but was caught up in a 13-car accident on lap-1, flying over the Turn-3 wall!

 

Jerry subsequently died from injuries suffered during practice for the 1959 Indy 500 – suffering burns to over one-third of His body along with a broken neck! As Jerry was 26 years old upon His May 17, 1959 death.

 

Jerry’s son Johnny Unser contested five Indy 500’s and is part of the answer to a Indy 500 trivia question regarding 35 Starters in ’97.

 

Whilst I tend to believe I “spoke” to Him once briefly following a Legends Day outing. When He told us that Uncle bobby was still telling Him how to wind-up the garden hose correctly!

 

Being a super friendly Unser, who I believe is now a race steward for the USF Juniors series. Whom I always forget raced at Le Mans in a Callaway Corvette…

 

What can I scribble adequately about Robert William Unser, better known simply as “Uncle Bobby”. Other than He’s the only Indy 500 winning Unser I’ve ever met, briefly at Mother Speedway. As Bobby’s antics are simply legendous! Including reportedly once setting a Rolls Royce on fire at a Demolition Derby! Along with His three Indianapolis 500 victories.

 

As Y’all can learn about the “real” Uncle bobby from His Hilarious Roast held a few years ago in the following link…

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2023/05/night-before-indy-500-tradition.html

 

Bobby’s son Robby Unser contested two Indianapolis 500 races, both being Top-10 finishes; a fifth and eighth place result. Along with winning what arguably was the Unser’s “Playground”, the Pikes Peak Hillclimb nine times.

 

And then Thars big Al, the quiet one of this bunch. Who did His talking on track by winning the Indianapolis 500 Four times!

 

Oh yeah, Al Unser Sr. who beat His son to capture the 1985 CART Championship has done something that brother Bobby never did. Winning the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona.

 

Al Unser, Jr, better known as ‘lil Al will be infamously noted for saying “You just don’t know what Indy means!” Not to mention winning the race twice in 1992 and 1994. Along with winning the Rolex 24 in those iconic Lowenbrau Porsche 962’s twice. Although ‘lil Al’s seemingly known best for His personal struggles…

 

Alferd Richard Unser, known as either Al III or Just Al, is the son of Al Unser Jr, who ultimately had a mediocre racing career. Competing in the Toyota Atlantics, Infinity Pro Series and Indy Lights, scored multiple Top-5 finishes. But ultimately lost His ride (twice) due to lack of funding and is now a Realtor in Albuquerque… 

Friday, June 14, 2024

LE MANS: Watch Out for those cobblestones!

And don’t forget that the Mulsanne Straight Ain’t Strait!

 

Much conjecture has been made over the past months regarding IndyCar driver David Malukas pre-season mountain bicycling accident which cost Him his seat at Arrow McLaren. For which although as I’ve said. While I’m Sad for Meyer Shank Racing’s tom Blomqvist, I’m very Happy for Malukas’s return to an IndyCar cockpit. Where He’ll drive the remainder of the season aboard MSR’s #66 beginning at Laguna Seca.

 

Thus I missed another Memo initially over former IndyCar driver Mike Ice-Ice, Baby! Conway’s cycling accident some nine days before this year’s 24 Heurs du Mans. As the Toyota FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)Hypercar driver suffered broken ribs and a broken collarbone whilst presumably training for the upcoming Le Mans race!  And will be replaced by former Toyota Hypercar driver Jose Maria Lopez.

 

Lopez’s sudden call-up caused the Akkodis Asp Lexus RC FLM GT3 team to once again scramble to replace Lopez’s departure.

 

As the team confirmed that current IMSA GTD Pro Vasser Sullivan driver Jack Hawksworth will deputize for Lopez in His Le Mans debut in the team’s No. 87 entry.

 

As Hawksworth got the call that Conway had fallen while preparing to compete at Mid-Ohio’s four Hours Michelin Pilot Challenge race, driving a Toyota Supra GT4 Evo. Only having a three day “Kit” packed before hopping an Aeroplane to France, in order to make scrutineering that same weekend.

 

Hawksworth said it’s not quite the seamless “Plug ‘n Play” that you’d Arse-sume for Him being a Lexus driver Stateside. Since there are multiple differences between the IMSA and Le Mans GT3 spec racecars…

 

Most notably going from a High Downforce configuration from racing on Detroit’s ultra bumpy street circuit, to a low Drag Downforcce configuration for the ultra smooth, long High speed straights of Le Mans.

 

As Racer’s Stephen Kilbey notes, the Lexus LM GT3  WEC variant runs torque sensors, virtual energy tanks and upon Goodyear tyers vs. IMSA’s Michelin’s. Not to mention tweaks to the Lexus LM GT3’s Aerodynamics.

 

As Hawksworth noted how different the car felt initially from Detroit’s High Downforce predominaently first and second gear corners to being trimmed out and doing some 290kph! Which I think is roughly 180mph?

 

But “Union Jack” said that the Akkodis Asp Lexus RC F seems to suit le Circuit de la Sarthe well, and the car seems “comfortable” over the nearly 8.5 mile endurance circuit…

 

As I’ll be interested to “See” how the No. 87 fairs this weekend. Yet Hawksworth won’t have time to bask in the afterglow of His maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans race outing. Since He’s already booked His return flight to Charlotte in order to be back to His “day Job” at The glen. Competing in IMSA’s six Hours Enduro’ at Watkins glen on June 23rd, which is just a quarter distance vs. Le Mans… 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

LE MANS: IMSA Hypercar entries

    As can Porsche Add to it’s Wins total at Le Mans?

 

This is just intended to hopefully be a somewhat “brief” rundown on some of the various racing drivers and teams with IndyCar connections. Beginning with the Mack Daddy’ Hypercar entries, All being under the IMSA GTP LMDH guise, i.e.; Le Mans Daytona Hybrid specifications.

 

CADILLAC (3)

Cadillac V-Series.R

Engine: 5.5-litre normally aspirated V-8 (Hybrid)

TEAMS

Nos. 2-3 Chip Ganassi Racing

#311 Action Express Racing

 

For some, the big news for Ganassi’s No. 2 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) entry is the inclusion of reigning IndyCar Champion Alex Palou, who I believe is making His Le Mans debut. As the Spaniard will join regular drivers Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn behind the keyboard.

 

Ganassi will bring their No. 3 IMSA GTP WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entry to Circuit de la Sarthe with season drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Render van der Zande joined by IndyCar driver Scott Dixon.

 

The #311 Action Express Racing (AXR) Caddy’ features regular season drivers Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken joined by Aston Martin F1 reserve driver Felipe Drugovich.

 

 

LAMBORGHINI (2)

Lamborghini SC63

Engine: 3.8-litre twin turbo V-8 (Hybrid)

TEAM

Nos. 19 & 63 Iron Lynx

 

It’s always interesting learning about some obscure bit ‘O history when trying to learn about a new racecar. As reportedly the Lamborghini SC63, so named in honour of the company’s Squadra Corse racing department, along with celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary. Claims it’s predecessor to be the totally unknown Lamborghini Countach QVX, Huh? A Group C racer utilizing a Spice chassis Wayback in 1986…

 

The SC63 is the first IMSA GTP chassis to be produced by Ligier, with the other LMP2 based chassis racecars being built by Dallara, Multimatic and Oreca.

 

Unlike it’s  Cadillac, Porsche and BMW LMDH Brethren. Lamborghini has designed a brand new 3.8-litre 32 valve DOHC twin turbocharged engine for the SC63. Reportedly utilizing a “cold” turbo layout, meaning the turbochargers sit outside of the engine itself. Mated to a seven speed sequential gearbox and the spec Williams Advanced Engineering Bosch Hybrid power unit.

 

Iron Lynx will run a single SC63 entry apiece in WEC and IMSA Competizione, albeit running two cars at Circuit de la Sarthe, and potentially at the forthcoming Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) WEC round. With the SC63 having made it’s competition debut at the Qatar 1,812km season opener…

 

The No. 19 IMSA GTP entry features Matteo Cairoli, Andrea Caldarelli and Juncos Hollinger Racing IndyCar driver Romain Grosjean at its controls.

 

Whilst the appropriately numbered #63 WEC entry sees Mirko Bortolotti, Edoardo Mortara and former Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat behind its keyboard.

 

PORSCHE (3)

Porsche 963

Engine: 4.6-litre twin turbo V-8 (Hybrid)

TEAM

Nos. 4-5-6 Porsche Penske Motorsport

 

Porsche has started out strong this year, first with Penske winning the Rolex 24 in January. Followed by it’s No. 6 WEC entry scoring the marque’s debutante Hypercar victory! When the Porsche 963 unexpectedly swept the inaugural Qatar 1,812km season opening race. With Hertz Team Jota’s No. 12 entry with Callum Ilott at the wheel being the Weinerschnitzel in a Penske sandwich! Leading the Pole sitting No. 5 entry across the stripe by a scant one second!

 

And the No. 6 entry driven by Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor finished runner-up at Imola, just 7.8 seconds adrift of the winning No. 7 Toyota.

 

While Matt Campbell, who put the No. 5 Porsche 963 on Pole at Qatar, competes with Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki, who also finished third at Imola.

 

Meanwhile, there was speculation that after Quadruple Weldmeister, nee four-times Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel had tested a Porsche 963, that the German would become one of Penske’s third No. 4 entry’s drivers. Yet instead, Mathieu Jaminet, Felipe Nasr and Nick Tandy will be it’s Pilotes this June, in the third IMSA GTP entry.

 

And Yes, I’m aware Thars’ a total of six Porsche 963 Panzerwagens competing in this year’s race. But this riveting No fenders yarn is simply about teams or drivers with Stateside IndyCar connections, Ja Volt!

 

Especially since Hertz Team Jota with Callum Ilott at the wheel scored the first privateer victory in the Six Hours of Spa ahead of the No. 6 Penske Porsche 963! As the No. 6 leads the points standings heading into Le Mans…

 

Whilst Nick Tandy pounced on Jack “Achey Breaky” Aitken at Laguna Seca towards race’s end, judging the right way past traffic and taking the win over an obviously disappointed Aitken! Giving Porsche it’s 600th win in IMSA competition.

 

Arse-suming the race this weekend, i.e.; June 15-16 will be aired on Motor Trend TV Stateside. Or Y’all can tune-in via RS2 or whatever Radio Le Mans frequency. Where I’ll be listening to copious amounts of John Hindhaugh and Company… 

Monday, June 10, 2024

LE MANS: Supporting Cast and Other intriguing tidbits

As when’s the last time you read about somebody with the initials JK?

 

These are some of the other “Story lines” that Peaked my Attenzione regarding this year’s 24 Heurs du Man running. Noting half of the six current IndyCar drivers competing this year, along with one fascinating Hypercar entry.

 

Hypercar

This is probably the most interesting Le Mans Hypercar entry for Mwah, due to it’s drivers line-up and unknown Italiano manufacturer. Which Racer’s Marshall Pruett enjoys playfully calling the Flying Franchitti Brothers entry.

 

The racecar inQuestionne is none other than the Isotta Fraschini Tipo C-6, also known as the Tipo 6 LMH-C or LMH Competizione.

 

The chassis was reportedly designed by Michelotto, long time Italian Coachbuilder and Ferrari Motorsport partner. With the Aerodynamics being developed by Williams Advanced Engineering.

 

It utilizes a HWA 2.3-liter 90 degrees V-6 with a single turbocharger rated at some 700bhp, albeit I’m Arse-suming that includes the front axle’s electric motor. Although I thought that horsepower was rated at a maximum of 680bhp. Or was it 681 “Ponies?”

 

The single entry is being run by Dequeine Engineering and it’s drivers features two former Indy Lights racers and a totally unknown Thai behind the keyboard.

 

Jean-Karl Vernay, ergo the initials JK. Who won the 2010 Indy Lights championship for then powerhouse Sam Schmidt Motorsports is arguably the most heralded of this trio. With Kanuck’ Antonio Sarravall being a short lived Indy Lights competitor. Whilst I’ve never heard of Carl Bennett, a Thailand racer who’s made the jump up to Hypercars quickly after toiling in lower category single seaters. And is overseen by A14 Management, run by some Smarmy Spaniard named Fred Alonso…

 

It's hard to believe that I still remember Jean-Karl Vernay going Head-to-Head with another Hoser from Up North eh! Racing against thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown if memory serves me correctly, Eh?

 

As Vernay’s part of an unasked trivia question. Being the second of three Indy Light champions to have never raced in Indy Cars. Having already divulged Steve Robertson, (1994) can Y’all name the third?

 

Times up, it’s Canadian David Empringham, who appropriately won the title for Forsythe Racing in 1996…

 

LMP2

As typical, United Autosports, co-owned by Richard Dean and McLaren Boss Zak Brown, returns with it’s brace of Oreca 07 Gibson powered LMP2 entries. Running it’s traditional Nos. 22-23, for which I’m not sure which of these two racecars drivers line-ups is stronger?

 

The No. 22 has Oliver Jarvis, the 2022 IMSA SportsCar Prototype champion, plus that year’s Rolex 24 winner! Along with the totally unknown Bijoy Garg being joined by Indy NXT and IndyCar driver Nolan Siegel, making His Le Mans debut at the tender age of 19.

 

Whilst the No. 23 sees former IndyCar driver Ben Handley, Bad Arse Sports Car Ace Filipe Albuquerque and standout “Gentlemen” racer Ben Keating at it’s controls.

 

The #24 Nielsen Racing entry sees Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar rookie Kyffin Simpson as part of the driver line-up. Alongside David Heinemeier Hansson and Favio Scherer.

 

As previously noted, my sentimental favourite for the LMP2 Class W’ is the No. 45 IMSA CrowdStrike Racing by APR entry.

 

As it features perennial Sports Car Bad Arse Colin Brown, who made His IndyCar debut for Dale coyne Racing at St Pete, along with the Thermal club “Invitational”, Err Sweepstakes race. With no word on whether or not He’ll get any moreIndyCar opportunities this season?

 

Along with former Factory BMW and corvette driver Nicky Catsburg and Ben Keating’s arch nemesis George Kurtz.

 

The No. 65 Panis Racing features Mathias Beche coupled with Yanks’ Scott Huffaker and Rodrigo Sales.

 

Whilst IMSA GTD Pro Championship winner Ben Barnicoat makes up part of AF Corse’s #183 entry.