Sunday , September 21 2014
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Toni Montgomery

Pace Laps: Daytona Storylines That Won’t Go Away

Pace Laps: Daytona Storylines That Won’t Go Away

Did you miss an event during this busy week in racing? How about a late-night press release, an important sponsorship rumor, or a juicy piece of news? If you did, you’ve come to the right place! Each Monday, The Frontstretch will break down the racing, series by series, to bring you the biggest stories that you need to watch going forward for the week ahead. Let our experts help you get up to speed, no matter what series you might ... Read More »

2014 Sprint Cup Predictions: Our Staff Tells All

2014 Sprint Cup Predictions: Our Staff Tells All

JOIN OUR FANTASY RACING LEAGUE!! The Frontstretch has a big league on Yahoo!, once again and we’d like you to be a part of it. Come compete with your favorite racing experts by clicking here and signing up. Our Group ID is 10532 and the password is stenica… so don’t miss out! Let’s not waste any time. Here’s a look at some of our columnists’ predictions for 2014, along with a peek at where you’ll be able to find them ... Read More »

IndyCar In-Depth: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300

IndyCar In-Depth: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300

*What’s News?* Longtime series participants Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have announced the No. 22 car driven by Oriol Servia will continue to run through the Indianapolis 500; then, the team will be shutting down with hopes of regrouping for a return in 2014. Servia finished sixth in Long Beach and will be running in Sao Paulo this weekend; however, his plans beyond this month are unknown. DRR formed a strategic alliance with Panther Racing prior to the Indy 500 last season and notes that Panther’s operations will be unaffected by this decision. Read More »

Open Wheel Wednesday: Score One For The Little Guys … Or Two Or Three

Open Wheel Wednesday: Score One For The Little Guys … Or Two Or Three

Takuma Sato's win last week in Long Beach was a real feel good story for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series. A.J. Foyt's long-struggling team hadn't won a race since July of 2002, when the team went to Victory Lane with Brazilian driver Airton Dare at Kansas Speedway. For the last road / street course victory for the operation, you have to go all the way back to October of 1978, when Foyt himself won at Silverstone in England. It was also the first IndyCar Series win ever for a Japanese driver. Before I go any further, those are all wonderful things and I don't mean to decrease the significance of any of them in the least. It really was a win that was a long time coming, for both team and driver and it was great to see. (Although I really wish A.J. had been present for the moment; instead, he was at home preparing for back surgery.) It was a David slew Goliath kind of day. Read More »

The Offseason Might Never Be The Same

The offseason. That time when we at first breathe a collective sigh of relief and take a break from devoting our Saturdays or Sundays to races. We all plan things around races on occasion, don’t we? Especially on a certain Sunday in May. No, the winter months are for getting away from that and spending time with our families and friends, especially those poor souls who don’t get the attraction of fast cars and non-stop action. At least the early part of the offseason is like that; toward the end we all get a little bit antsy–just a little anxious. For pity’s sake, can’t we start racing yet? NASCAR types don’t have to endure quite the wait the IndyCar crowd does. They race until mid-November and they are back on track in earnest by February. Well, we last saw cars turn laps in anger in September and we won’t see it again for another three weeks. That’s the end of March, for crying out loud! I’m going to forget what the drivers look like by then! <div style=\"float:right; width:275px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14308.jpg\" width=\"275\" height=\"183\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Who wouldn't want to see this guy (Will Power) chair racing to help waste away the INDYCAR offseason? Photo courtesy INDYCAR LAT USA.</p></div> Ah, but INDYCAR had your back on that front this year. No, there isn’t any racing, but thanks to _The Offseason_, there was a chance to enjoy some of our favorite drivers this year. For those who have not been following, INDYCAR has been running a series of short videos called _The Offseason_ featuring Will Power, James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden that depicts the quartet of bored drivers running amok around INDYCAR headquarters. Sure, it’s fluff, but it’s just the right amount of fluff to give us a “fix†when we don’t have racing to enjoy. It’s also a great move on the part of INDYCAR. The clips range from a few seconds to a couple of minutes long. They probably filmed these in a day or two, but they’ve gotten several months of fresh content to keep their drivers in front of fans. They dole them out one by one each week, right in that period of winter doldrums when fans start itching for the season to start. I’d call that a great return on a minimum investment. They are \"posted on YouTube\":http://www.youtube.com/user/indycars so fans can find any clips they missed simply by searching \"The Offseason IndyCar\" and can enjoy their favorites as many times as they want. And I don’t know about anyone else – maybe I’m just some sort of geek – but I’ve lately found myself eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the newest clip every week. A minimum of effort was needed to keep fans engaged and showcase driver personalities, but it gave them something to follow all winter. Why doesn’t NASCAR do something like this concept? Maybe they just haven’t thought of it. Maybe they don’t think the offseason is long enough to need something fluffy to engage fans, especially since they are back on TV by mid-January with preseason testing. I can think of one other reason but I don’t think putting it out there is going to make me very popular in stock car circles. NASCAR fans would hate it. They don’t want fluff. They don’t want drivers doing silly skits or engaging in staged antics. They make that clear every time one of the networks airs something of this variety. It’s undignified. NASCAR drivers are not clowns, they are here for business and we don’t want silly stuff going on instead. To put it bluntly, they can be sticks in the mud and sometimes take this whole racing thing too seriously. Whatever. Do I really think Will Power \"chair races in the halls\":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_KIVEdU2HU of INDYCAR headquarters? OK, scratch that one. That might be a bad example because he might do that if given a chance. Do I really think Will Power \"listens to Justin Bieber on his computer\":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8olE3ERiHg in his cubicle at headquarters? Good Lord, I hope not. My point is, I realize these guys are just goofing around and I don’t think they really spend the winter months running around the office doing silly things while wearing their driver suits. I realize someone put these skits together solely for publicity purposes. I also think it was a great idea because when I can’t watch real racing and be serious, it’s just fun to cut up and watch them act silly when there’s nothing better to do. And it gets fans to engage and look for content when they might not normally even be thinking about INDYCAR. Additionally, serious news is also beginning to flow again. The league has announced a few rule changes for this year aimed at allowing team strategies to become a bigger part of the game. Teams will be able to start the race with any amount of fuel in the tank they choose instead of being required to have it full. Distances in a handful of races have also been changed, and it's all in an effort to allow for more varied fuel strategy and take mileage races out of the equation. Teams will also have more tire strategy at their disposal. Previously, only one set of new tires was allowed during each of the three segments of road/street course qualifying, but now teams will be limited only by their allotment of tires. That means they can decide if they want to use fresh rubber to get a better starting spot, or choose to save it for the race. They will still be required to use both the primary and the alternate tires for at least two laps during each road/street course. For the double-headers, one set of each must be used during each of the two races. Teams have been testing, although \"Hildebrand’s pink Caddy\":http://www.frontstretch.com/tbowles/42488/ provided some light moments there. Driver and car combos have been coming together, some of them harmoniously, some of them dubiously, and some of them contentious on at least some fronts. Katherine Legge isn’t done having her say about Dragon Racing releasing her in favor of Sebastian Saavedra and keeping her sponsor True Car. Either way, the long offseason is almost over with one perk, perhaps; the offseason next year won't be quite as long because we'll be racing until October this year. In the meantime, thanks INDYCAR for coming up with an idea to keep some of our favorite drivers in front of us until the real action begins. I think fluff is fun. Racing is supposed to be a sport. It's supposed to be fun and I think sometimes fans and participants forget that. _The Offseason_ was a good reminder. And if we're honest, who doesn't want to have chair races in the hallway? *Connect with Toni!* <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/ToniLMontgomery\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/6502.jpg\"></a><br> \"Contact Toni Montgomery\":http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14351/ Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: MAVTV 500

IndyCar Race Recap: MAVTV 500

*In A Nutshell:* Now that's how you end a racing season! The race featured 12 different leaders with cars coming and going all night and a number of different faces running near the front. In the end, Ed Carpenter had just gotten by Dario Franchitti when a caution froze the field on the last lap and he took the win. Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves completed the top 5. As far as the championship, points leader Will Power crashed on lap 55 and had to watch as Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had to finish fifth to beat him, pushed all night and in the closing laps finally got there to take the big prize by three points. Read More »

Five Hundred Miles For All The Marbles

Five Hundred Miles For All The Marbles

For the seventh year in a row, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship will come down to the final race of the season. For the third year in a row, Will Power will be trying to win his first series championship. Power, driving for Team Penske, leads Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving for Andretti Autosport, by 17 points. "I definitely like the position we're in, chasing. We've been doing that for most of the year. I think we've been getting better at it,” said Hunter Reay this week. “We need to go out and focus on winning. That's really what it's going to be about.” But there is a new wrinkle in the story this year, other than Hunter-Reay, who is making his first run at the series championship. It's a wrinkle that may make focusing on the win even harder than usual. Read More »

IndyCar Roundtable: Season Grades, Schedule Tweaks, And Possible Title Upsets

IndyCar Roundtable: Season Grades, Schedule Tweaks, And Possible Title Upsets

*This Week's Participants*: Toni Montgomery (Frontstretch IndyCar Editor / Michael Annett Driver Diary) Danny Peters (The Yellow Stripe / IndyCar Writer) Matt Stallknecht (Frontstretch IndyCar Writer) *We're actually a little past halfway into the season so let's share some thoughts on how things have gone so far.* Matt: Well I think the oval races have been outstanding. Last week's race in Iowa in particular was one of the best motorsport races of the year in my opinion. The road and street races have been lacking in excitement, but I've been very pleased with what I've seen so far on the oval side of things. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: Hunter-Reay Makes It A Repeat Performance

IndyCar Race Recap: Hunter-Reay Makes It A Repeat Performance

*In A Nutshell:* Ryan Hunter-Reay makes it two in a row with a convincing win at Iowa Speedway. Hunter-Reay started seventh and had a fast car all night, as did all the Andretti Autosport drivers. He was strong all night and simply motored to the front in the end and stayed there. Teammate Marco Andretti finished second, followed by Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, and Simon Pagenaud rounding out the top five. The victory also bring Hunter-Reay within three points of series points leader Will Power. *Key Moment:* Scott Dixon's car wasn't quite what he wanted it to be all weekend so he used pit strategy to get to the lead in hopes that he could hold off all challenges by being in front. Hunter-Reay's faster car was just too strong and on lap 238, he motored right on by Dixon to take the lead for the final time. Read More »

IndyCar Race Recap: Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ

IndyCar Race Recap: Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ

*In A Nutshell:* Ryan Hunter-Reay gave team owner Michael Andretti a win in his own race in Milwaukee. Andretti's company Andretti Sports Marketing was the promoter of the race. Hunter-Reay was strong from the beginning, starting the race in second and staying in the top five pretty much all day before taking the lead for the first time on lap 142. He never gave up the top spot after that. Tony Kanaan came home second followed by James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia and EJ Viso. *Key Moment:* Helio Castroneves went with an alternate strategy and stayed on track to gain the lead when pretty much everyone else pitted under caution on lap 97. Hunter-Reay patiently ran him down and passed him when Castroneves' older tires started to wear out. Once in the lead, Hunter-Reay flexed his muscle and held off all challengers for the final 84 laps. Read More »