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Author Archives: Huston Ladner

Huston Ladner
Promoted to editor this season, Huston works through some of the site’s biggest columns while writing one of his own: Happiness Is… (Fridays). “Stranded” on the islands of Hawaii, the aspiring college professor also helps anchor our IndyCar and Formula One racing coverage while coordinating Pace Laps, our multi-series news update (Mondays) each week.
Open Wheel Wednesday: Thoughts On The IndyCar Finale

Open Wheel Wednesday: Thoughts On The IndyCar Finale

The Verizon IndyCar championship will be decided this weekend.  The race, being held at Auto Club Speedway, on Saturday night, is likely to be captivating, with a battle down to the end between Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves.  Should they both find a banana peel on the racetrack, Simon Pagenaud is lurking, sitting just out of the main picture. Last year I went to the finale with a confounded mind and it’s one that will accompany me again ... Read More »

IndyCar Recap: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

IndyCar Recap: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma started under rather inauspicious circumstances, as a massive earthquake nailed the Napa/Sonoma area around 6 am.  The IndyCar series let it be known that the event would go on as scheduled.  Hence, as the on-track festivities began, with the IndyLights race and the air show, one would never know that Napa was digging itself out of the rubble and looking at the damage that had been done. But as the adage states: the show ... Read More »

Happiness Is… Bristol, the Pole & Another Soap Opera

Happiness Is… Bristol, the Pole & Another Soap Opera

So, let’s rewind for a moment and go back to Michigan. OK, that may not be the best way to put it, as most fans are happy to put Michigan in the rear-view mirror and look toward Bristol, where the hope is that the track might restore some of its past flavor and produce some good ol’-fashioned dust-ups and some angry drivers. But the Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan deserves one quick moment of review. Brad Keselowski bounced off ... Read More »

Open Wheel Wednesday: Is Will Power the un-likable Favorite?

Open Wheel Wednesday: Is Will Power the un-likable Favorite?

Will Power somehow extended his lead from four points to 39 over Helio Castroneves at Milwaukee.  Somehow?  Well, Power has frequently struggled when racing on oval tracks, something he has frequently admitted.  At the Milwaukee Mile, however, he displayed a rare sense of calm and confidence, earning the pole and then leading for much of the race – only pit stop strategies seemed to take him out of the lead. Now, with two races left, Power sits in the prime ... Read More »

Pace Laps: Jimmie Johnson Success, First Time Nationwide Winners and Powers’ Power

Pace Laps: Jimmie Johnson Success, First Time Nationwide Winners and Powers’ Power

Sprint Cup: A normal race at Michigan for Jimmie Johnson usually means that he runs out of fuel in the final laps after leading for most of the day and having the best car.  Johnson, however, did the other Jimmie Johnson thing at Michigan.  That usually means falling way back in the field and then seemingly arriving like a magician in the top ten as the race comes to its conclusion. Sure enough, Johnson started in the back, then had Chad Knaus put ... Read More »

Happiness Is… Napping, the Fight for the Chase & Cheese and Beer

Happiness Is… Napping, the Fight for the Chase & Cheese and Beer

Ugh. Yep, that’s the best opener that Happiness Is could deliver to start the column. The tenor of the past week has been deflating.  The Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward, Jr. incident has loomed large over auto racing, finding itself a continual headline in the news outlets.  Even Yahoo had coverage of Ward’s funeral on its homepage Thursday. What is to be made of all of this stuff? Too difficult to tell, and the one person that could bring any clarity – ... Read More »

IndyCar Preview: ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest

IndyCar Preview: ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest

It’s the beginning of the end. After a weekend off, the IndyCar Series is primed to resume – and in doing so will bang out three weeks of rather varied kinds of racing.  When looking at the schedule and some of its silliness (double race weekends, double points for select races), it’s easy to question aspects about the series.  With that being noted, there’s reason to embrace the end of the IndyCar season.  Short track, road course, big oval.  Three ... Read More »

Pace Laps: Settling Safety, Farewells At Watkins Glen

Pace Laps: Settling Safety, Farewells At Watkins Glen

Sprint Cup: Watkins Glen Odds & Ends - One of the things that makes Formula One racing successful is the commitment the series expects from its viewing constituency.  Races typically conclude in a two-hour window, and when it seems that might not be the case, due to weather, an accident, or some other issue, F1 switches to a timed format.  Might this kind of practice be suitable for NASCAR? The airing of the Cup race at Watkins Glen seemed to last ... Read More »

Happiness Is… Indifference Darian Grubb & The Glen

Happiness Is… Indifference Darian Grubb & The Glen

Well, Pocono was fun.  Or something. At one point it seemed more like bumper cars at 200 mph than actual racing.  Then again, who ever expected the Big One to happen at the triangle, a track long considered one of the most boring?  The overall culmination felt like a disjointed mess of a race, which means it’s not all that surprising that the ratings once again equaled those of a daytime re-run of Covert Affairs. No need to harp on ... Read More »

IndyCar Breakdown: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

IndyCar Breakdown: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

In a Nutshell: The race began with a bang as drivers eager for the green flag got a bit excited as they hit the gas.  The wreck brought about a rare caution for IndyCar at Mid-Ohio.  Scott Dixon cruised home for the win, his fifth at the track in the last eight races.  Polesitter Sebastien Bourdais earned second, followed by James Hinchcliffe, who got his best finish of the year.  Carlos Munoz took fourth, and Graham Rahal followed in fifth, ... Read More »