Monday , September 1 2014
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Huston Ladner

IndyCar MAVTV 500:Will Power Clinches First Championship

IndyCar MAVTV 500:Will Power Clinches First Championship

The MAV TV 500 from Auto Club Speedway In a Nutshell: For the ninth consecutive year, the last race of the season determined the IndyCar champion.  This time, Will Power, three times a runner-up, hoisted the Astor Cup by finishing ninth.  Tony Kanaan held strong all night, seemingly in the top five the whole event, and passed Power with 53 laps to go to hold on and win his first race of the season.  With Kanaan’s victory, eleven different drivers ... Read More »

Castroneves earns Pole, Power 21st; Other Post-Qualifying Thoughts

Castroneves earns Pole, Power 21st; Other Post-Qualifying Thoughts

The qualifying session for the IndyCar series race at Auto Club Speedway took place in the heavy heat in the middle of the day in Fontana, California.  Helio Castroneves, going out last, earned the pole position with an average of 218.640 mph.  The track temperature during the session hovered around 136 degrees. Qualifying was based on the average of a two-lap run. Juan Pablo Montoya went out early and laid down an average of 217.621 and then held on as ... Read More »

Happiness Is… Denny Hamlin, the Schedule & Tony Stewart’s Return

Happiness Is… Denny Hamlin, the Schedule & Tony Stewart’s Return

The schedule came out this past week and it gave everyone who follows NASCAR something to gripe about.  In truth, all the criticisms are valid because NASCAR, due to the way the business is run, is unable to make serious changes that would make people feel happy, though that can be a moving target. The one big positive is that the Darlington race, has once again moved back to its fabled spot on the calendar: Labor Day weekend.  In discussing ... Read More »

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 »