Thursday , July 24 2014
Home / Open Wheel Wednesday (page 4)

Open Wheel Wednesday

Recent Events Remind Fans of the Risks of Racing

Recent Events Remind Fans of the Risks of Racing

Last week, former Champ car driver Alex Zanardi won two gold medals in handbiking events at the Paralympic Games 2012 in London. His impressive victories (in one race, Zanardi bested the second place finisher by 27 seconds), served as a personal statement of his love of competition and his ability to overcome his terrible accident from 2001 in which he lost both of his legs. His story is an amazing one, showcasing the proverbial indomitable spirit of man and the testament to overcome serious problems. But it is, at the same time, a reminder of the inherent dangers in racing. Read More »

A Tale of Two Title Contenders: The Winding Road to the Championship

A Tale of Two Title Contenders: The Winding Road to the Championship

Seventeen points. That is how many points separate IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power and second place driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. Seventeen points. It always amazes me that we can go 14 weeks into a racing season (much longer than that if NASCAR is your thing) and still have two drivers so close at the top. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been good at math. Who knows. But the point is, we have a hell of a title fight on our hands this year, and for the first time in a long time, I really am undecided as to which driver is truly the favorite to take the title. Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay have been leaps and bounds ahead of the competition all season long. These two guys deserve to be where they are. And they couldn’t have got to where they are now more differently. Read More »

It’s a Real Shame When Drama Overshadows The Racing

It’s a Real Shame When Drama Overshadows The Racing

We should be talking about the great racing we’ve seen this season. We should be talking about the championship and whether Will Power will finally bring it home or whether one of the other three drivers still in contention can mount a comeback. We should be talking about keeping the momentum going and having an even better 2013. Instead, the story that just refuses to die this summer is the alleged effort of some unhappy team owners to put together funding to buy INDYCAR and oust current CEO Randy Bernard. Read More »

IndyCar Round Table: Momentum Killers, Track Changes, and Silly Season

IndyCar Round Table: Momentum Killers, Track Changes, and Silly Season

*With the cancellation of the China race this past weekend, consensus is still that trying to throw together a replacement was a bad idea, but it left the IZOD IndyCar Series with no presence at all for essentially three weeks in the prime of racing season. What does this do to the momentum of the series and how can they get folks back and interested for the run to the championship?* Huston: Prime of racing season? I didn't know there was such a thing. Toni: I think there is. You can maybe get away to a gradual start of the season, and Indy traditionally only has the one race in May, but when it's summer and you are gearing up for a championship battle, it seems like a huge momentum killer to me. I have to confess to me it feels like the IndyCar Series has been out of sight forever, maybe because everyone else has been in full swing. Read More »

Start Times, Consistent Schedule Keys to INDYCAR Success

Start Times, Consistent Schedule Keys to INDYCAR Success

Prior to the Mid-Ohio IZOD IndyCar Series race on August 5, Randy Bernard, the CEO of the series, stated that more races are needed for the series to be successful. He intimated that 15, the number on the schedule this year, is not enough and that he’d feel better if the number of races totaled about 20. Fair enough. That seems like a smart, if not obvious, comment. To keep fan interest up, there must be enough of a product to, in essence, keep them reminded that it’s still out there. That only 15 races grace the schedule this year is problematic, and the swift reaction to reconsider fast oval tracks due to Dan Wheldon’s on-track death last year is a large factor. But it also seems that INDYCAR was caught without contingency plans, and that’s when an organization gives a sense, whether it's true or not, that it is floundering. Read More »

Open Wheel Wednesday: Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Open Wheel Wednesday: Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

The IndyCar series had this past weekend off. And with that break, a couple of questions come to mind: Did anyone really notice? Was it even missed? The Olympic Games have attracted much of the sporting media’s coverage, but that didn’t stop other motorsports. Formula 1 continued as they would, and NASCAR held one of the bigger races of the season, and with coverage of that series switching to ESPN, the race was a showcase event for the network. Heck, even the NBC Sports channel, home of some of the Olympics coverage, took time out to show Major League Soccer – so yes, the show must go on. Read More »

IndyCar Round Table: Push to Pass, More Ovals, and Ending Under Yellow

IndyCar Round Table: Push to Pass, More Ovals, and Ending Under Yellow

*The push to pass feature has returned. What are your thoughts on it--happy to see it, didn't miss it? And also do you like the way they have been doing it this time around, giving a total number of seconds a driver can use?* Toni: I actually got on my soap box on this a few weeks ago. I don't like it. I think it's too gimmicky and didn't really miss it when we didn't have it. It also particularly annoyed me when I was watching the end of the Edmonton race and it came down to who had more push to pass left, Castroneves or Sato. I also thought it was kind of pointless; so they would both lay on the button and it renders itself useless. Huston: Ha. You used my word, gimmicky. I thought it was too much like a video-game feature. Kind of like getting added powers or the like, but I've changed my stance on this one. After watching the F1 races, and their DRS (drag reduction system), I think it adds a different element of strategy. Read More »

The Comeback of the American Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay

The Comeback of the American Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay is in many ways the poster child for the plight of the American driver in open wheel racing. He currently sits atop the driver standings in the IZOD IndyCar Series and if he can hang on to win the championship, it will not only be the realization at last of the wealth of potential Hunter-Reay has always shown, but perhaps it will also signal the comeback of the American driver. Here’s an encouraging stat: of the 21 drivers to win three races in a row from 1979 to 2011, only three (Paul Tracy, 1997; AJ Allmendinger, 2006; Scott Dixon, 2007) failed to win an Indy car title in the same year. In defense of Tracy and Allmendinger, it might be worth noting that in 1997, Alex Zanardi, who also won three in a row, took the title and in 2006 it went to Sebastien Bourdais who won the first four in a row. Read More »

IndyCar In 2013: A Look Ahead

IndyCar In 2013: A Look Ahead

I hear a lot of questions from IndyCar fans on a regular basis. I often field simple questions such as “Is (insert driver here) going to win this week?” or “What is wrong with (insert team or driver, your choice)?” However, the question I hear the most from fans these days is “What is going on with the schedule for next year?” And it is a fair question indeed. After last off-season’s scheduling nightmare, in which race dates were lost and events weren’t finalized until the very last minute, it’s not hard to understand why IZOD IndyCar Series fans are anxious to know what is in store for next season. There have been plenty of rumors, and everything from stops in Phoenix and Richmond to the return of the Michigan 500 have been suggested. Read More »

The Return of IndyCar’s Magic Button

The Return of IndyCar’s Magic Button

INDYCAR has announced that the push to pass feature will return to the IZOD IndyCar Series for the five remaining road / street course events on the 2012 schedule, beginning this weekend in Toronto. The big question I want to ask about this announcement is why? No, not just why, more like why on earth did anyone think it was a good idea to monkey with what has been a really good season with happy fans so far by bringing back a completely unnecessary and totally contrived bit of fakery like push to pass? Read More »