October 2011
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RACE NEWS & VIEWS
Latest news is at the bottom
Sarah Fisher Racing Grabs First Victory
Oct 2 - Ed Carpenter won in his 1st race on Sunday, giving the Sarah Fisher Racing Team its first victory in the IndyCar Series at the Kentucky 300.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Carpenter of his victory over Dario Franchitti of 0.0098 seconds. “I used push-to-pass and beat Dario to the finish line. I had
one more push-to-pass than he did so I timed them down until the last lap. I started rolling down the straightaway that last time and I had him. There
was no stopping us today. The highest my pulse was after I won. I was screaming and yelling all the way down the back stretch.”
Dan Wheldon Dies In Last Race of Season
Oct 16 - Sam Schmidt Motorsports IndyCar driver Dan
Wheldon
was killed in an accident early in the Las Vegas Indy
300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon's No. 77
Dallara/Honda was caught up in a 15-car accident that sent the
Englishman's car into the catch-fence above the SAFER barrier
between Turns 1 and 2 of the high-speed oval raceway and
back onto the track in a flaming wreck. Safety crews removed
the stricken driver immediately to the racetrack's infield medical
center for resuscitation and Wheldon was shortly thereafter
transported by helicopter to University of Las Vegas Medical
Center where he was pronounced dead.

The accident left the large IndyCar field with only 19 drivable
cars and a huge debris field on the racing surface that took
over 90 minutes to clear. A sense of dread began to settle in
over drivers and crews within minutes of the incident as medical
updates on Wheldon's condition failed to arrive from the infield
care area. A drivers meeting shortly after 5:30 PM EDT
concluded with an announcement from IndyCar Series
President
Randy Barnard that said, "Dan Wheldon has
succumbed to unsurvivable injuries incurred in the accident."


The green flag was unfurled over the field at 3:47 PM EDT and
red-flagged at approximately 4:00 PM EDT. After a drivers'
meeting, IndyCar officials later cancelled the remaining laps of
the race out of respect to Wheldon. The remaining drivers and
crews gathered on pitlane, many of them openly weeping, and
performed a simple five-lap salute to the reigning Indianapolis
500 champion to conclude the race event and weekend.

Wheldon was a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida and began
his IndyCar Series career at Panther Racing in 2002, then
moved in 2003 to the Andretti Autosport team. Wheldon won his
first IndyCar race at Motegi, Japan in 2004 while at Andretti
Autosport. Wheldon went on to win the Indianapolis 500 in 2005
and claim the IndyCar Series season championship for the
Ganassi Racing Team. He finished second in the great race for
Panther Racing in 2009 and in 2010. Wheldon won the Indy
500 for the second time in 2011, driving for Bryan Herta
Motorsports. Overall, he posted 16 victories in 134 IZOD
IndyCar Series races.

Wheldon is survived by sons Sebastian and Oliver, and his wife
the former Susie Brehm who worked with Wheldon as his
personal assistant during much of his career prior to their
marriage in 2008. Wheldon, who hailed from Emberton,
England, was 33 years old. He left behind also his parents Clive
and Sue, as well as three siblings.

“Dan Wheldon was a tremendous competitor, a great racer and
an even better person. It was an honor to have him be a part of
our team. All of us at Sam Schmidt Motorsports are deeply
saddened by his passing. On behalf of everyone at Sam
Schmidt Motorsports, our prayers go out to all of his family,
especially his wife, Susie, and their two children.”
The 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval also determined the
IndyCar Series champion as Ganassi Racing's
Dario
Franchitti
was awarded the title after rival Will Power of Team
Penske was sidelined by the accident. Neither title contender,
Franchitti nor Power, had an on-track advantage going into the
event as they started next to each other on Row 9.

"Right now I'm numb and speechless," Franchitti said. "One
minute you're joking around in driver intros and the next he's
gone. He was 6 years old when I first met him. He was this little
kid and the next thing you know he was my teammate. We put
so much pressure on ourselves to win races and
championships and today it doesn't matter."

"There was a huge accident, and we weren't thinking about the
championship race (when the crash happened)," said
Chip
Ganassi
, owner of Ganassi Racing. "I don't know what to think
about (a situation like) this." Wheldon drove for Ganassi until
2008 when he was replaced by Franchitti.

“Dan was an Indy 500 champion and IndyCar Series champion
with Andretti Autosport -- and one of our closest competitors,”
Michael Andretti said in a statement. “Dan brought such
enthusiasm and passion to the sport not often seen in
motorsports. We will remember Dan’s tremendous racing
accomplishments with our team as well his infectious
personality. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to
Dan’s family, racing team and friends today. Dan is one of
IndyCar’s greatest champions.”

Also involved in the race-ending accident were the cars driven
by
Paul Tracy, Buddy Rice, Alex Lloyd, E.J. Viso, Charlie
Kimball, Tomas Scheckter, Jay Howard, Townsend Bell,
Wade Cunningham, Pippa Mann, JR Hildebrand, James
Jakes and Vitor Meira
. Mann, Hildebrand and Power were
transported via ground to the hospital for evaluation.
Daniel Clive Wheldon (1978-2011)
2-time Indy 500 Winner
New Jersey announces 2013 F1 Grand Prix
Oct 25 - New Jersey's Governor revealed a ten-year deal with
Formula One to stage a Grand Prix in West New York from
2013 onwards. Christie stated the Grand Prix of America at Port
Imperial will be a 3.2 mile road course.

The street track will run along the Hudson River in Weehawken
and West New York, and has been described as ‘a challenging
course, similar to Spa in Belgium, but with the feel of Monaco’
with the spectacular Manhattan sky-line as backdrop.

Formula One and especially the manufacturer teams have
made it no secret they would like to return to the North
American continent which would be of great use for their
marketing strategy, and they can now look forward to two
Formula One races each season from 2013 onwards.

Franchitti and Carpenter waged a heated battle throughout the last eleven
laps of the race, changing places at the front of the field on multiple
occasions. “I couldn’t get past Ed at the end when it counted,” said Franchitti
afterwards. “Scott (Dixon) couldn’t get under my gearbox to push me any
further. I used up all my overtakes. It was exciting and it was clean.”
In the past the Watkins Glen International circuit hosted
Formula One races from 1961 to 1980, and later Formula One
races have been held in Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit,
Dallas, Phoenix and Indianapolis. The last Formula One Grand
Prix held on American soil was the 2007 American Grand Prix
on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, won by McLaren’s
Lewis
Hamilton
.

Next year the Formula One fraternity will return to the United
States on November 16-18 on the still to be built Circuit of the
Americas near Austin, Texas.
Vettel crowned champion as Button wins in Japan
Oct 9 - McLaren’s Jenson Button always wanted to win the
Japanese race at Suzuka, and on Sunday afternoon he finally
did so in dominant style after early leader
Sebastian Vettel
ran into tyre wear. But third place for the 24 year-old German,
separated from Button by Ferrari’s
Fernando Alonso, was
sufficient to clinch him a second consecutive world
championship.

Note: Jenson Button signed to stay at McLaren a few days ago.
Sebastian Vettel 2011
Driver's Champion
Marco Simoncelli Dies In MotoGP Race
Oct 23 - The MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix, held at the
Sepang circuit today, lasted just two laps. On the second of
these laps,
Marco Simoncelli lost the front end of his bike
and slid onto the inside of a turn, into the path of
Colin
Edwards
and Valentino Rossi. The resulting impact
rendered the Italian immobile in the middle of the track, and
Race Direction showed the red flag to stop the race –which
was eventually cancelled. The Sepang circuit doctors
attempted to reanimate Simoncelli for 45 minutes, but injuries
to his chest, neck and head ultimately proved fatal. At 4:
56pm local time, Marco Simoncelli was pronounced dead by
the medical team.  The race was cancelled.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “What has happened today is
immensely sad. It should be said that every Friday before a
Grand Prix, the Safety Commission convenes at 5pm with all
the MotoGP riders to evaluate safety issues at all Grand Prix
circuits. Marco lost the front end and attempted to save the
crash, but unfortunately the inertia of the bike took him onto
the inside of the corner just when Edwards and Valentino
were passing. There was nothing that they could do to avoid
him. Today is a tremendously sad day for the entire paddock
and for those who love motorcycle racing.”

Sic had two poles and two podium finishes in this, his second
year in MotoGP.

The Italian competed in the Road Racing World
Championship for 10 years from 2002 to 2011. He started in
the 125cc class before moving up to the 250cc class in 2006.
He won the 250cc World Championship with Gilera in 2008.
After four years in the intermediate class, he stepped up to
the MotoGP class with the Honda Gresini Team.
Marco 'Super Sic' Simoncelli
20 January 1987 - 23 October 2011