September 2012
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RACE NEWS & VIEWS
Latest news is at the bottom
IndyCar Drivers Endured Tough Baltimore Course
Sept 2 - There are railroad tracks cutting across the Baltimore street course which makes for rough pavement and dangerous driving.  
Last year in the inaugural race, a triple speed bump chicane was installed to slow the cars through that area.  
However, the drivers did not like that either and so this year the area was left alone at first.  
Something had to be done and workers tried to grind the
pavement to smooth it.  Also a make-shift tire chicane was
put in.  This did not work.
Ed Carpenter and Justin Wilson going airborne during Qualifying
which resulted in wall smacking.
At any rate, Will Power started from pole and immediately began pulling away from the pack.

There was some rain and some great passing. Pit strategy, tire strategy and clever restarts
helped create an exciting and surprising race.

In the end,
Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race in what he said was the toughest one he had
ever ran.  This keeps his championship hopes alive for the last race of the year in Fontana.
In Friday's practice session, the cars became airborne over
the spot.
Simon Pagenaud experienced a shock wave up his back
after landing from this 2-foot jump over the tracks.
Tire chicane attempt
For Sunday's race, a tire wall was placed in front of the
chicane installed yesterday.  Also, more concrete barriers
were put along the wall where the cars had been crashing
to try and create a glancing blow for cars that still went
wide.
So on Saturday, IndyCar had two speed bumps installed to
create a little chicane for qualifying.  

This created worse problems.  If the driver entered the chicane
too wide, they would bounce off the second bump and be
thrown wide and into a concrete barrier.  A half dozen Dalaras
were wrecked.
For the most part it worked.  However, Ed
Carpenter
ran through there wrong and
smacked the wall hard, ending his day on
the 9th lap.  Pity, as he had qualified at P8,
which is the best starting position he's had
all year.

It occurred to me that IndyCar just needed to
move the  2nd bump a few feet further down
the track from the first bump of the chicane.
Alonso Loses Part of Point Lead At Spa
Sept 2 - There was no rain in today's Belgium grand prix.

At the start,
Romain Grosjean squeezed Lewis Hamilton
as they approached the first turn, wrecking each as they ran
over
Sergio Perez and slammed into Fernando Alonso,
taking the point leader out of the race as well.  

Alonso slammed into
Kamui Kobayashi and then Hamilton
drove over the top of his front right.  Miraculously Kobayashi
was able to continue.

Sebastian Vettel started a lowly tenth, but finished in 2nd.

Jenson Button won after leading the entire race from pole.

Alonso holds onto the point lead by 24 points over Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen was 3rd on the podium and is now 4th in
points, 1 point back from
Mark Webber.

Later, Grosjean was given a one-race ban for causing the
first turn accident.  That means he will miss next weekends
race at Monza.  He was also fined 50,000 euros.  This was
the first time in a many years that a driver was banned from a
race.
First Turn Melee in Belgium
Historic Sports Car Merger
Sept 5 - Grand-Am and American Le Mans announced a
merger Wednesday that will join them as one series
beginning in 2014. Grand-Am founder
Jim France and
ALMS founder
Don Panoz said in a joint statement at
Daytona International Speedway that the new series will start
with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2014 and likely include 12
races.

The merger involves a total of eight North American sports
car series.

Grand-AM sanctions and operates the Rolex Sports Car
Series, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the
TOTAL Performance Showcase, and sanctions the Ferrari
Challenge.

IMSA is the sanctioning body for the ALMS, the IMSA GT3
Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series, the Cooper Tires
Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series and the Porsche
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin.
Grand-Am began racing at IMS this year during the Brickyard
400 weekend.  

For a description of the cars in Grand-Am
CLICK HERE
IMS Hosts Hot Rod Show
Sept 12 - The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association is
holding their 2nd annual event at the Indy Speedway
September 21-23.  2,500 cars expected.

Event includes autocrossing, live music, taking a track lap
and a car show.

Event Hours
Friday, September 21: 8am to 5pm
Saturday, September 22: 8am to 5pm
Sunday, September 23: 8am to 3pm

For more information, visit
WIX Filters Speedway Nationals
2011 show
Will Power, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride
Sept 15 -  In 2010, the IndyCar Championship came down to
the last race of the season.  
Will Power was ahead of Dario
Franchitti
in points, but Power crashed halfway through the
race at Homestead and Franchitti cruised to his third IndyCar
championship.

Power led Franchitti by 11 points heading into the 2011
season finale, but pit road contact on Lap 49 of 200 – after
starting from the pole – significantly impacted his
championship aspirations. He finished 19th, Franchitti was
second for a 29-point swing.

The championship would be determined at the last race of
the 2012 season at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana
California.  Will Power entered the race tonight in the lead,
but he spun and crashed.  
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished the
race in 4th place and won the 2012 IndyCar championship.

Power has his success on the road courses but has had bad
luck on the ovals.  This year he had 3 DNFs on ovals.

Power had this to say, "Racing is tough.  IndyCar in particular
is tough.  It's easy to go and point fingers and all that as why
we didn't win, but at the end of the day, Hunter-Reay did a
very solid job.  Won more races (four) than anyone.  Won on
ovals, road courses, and he's definitely a deserving
champion.  There is no question.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay consoles Will Power on his loss of the IndyCar
championship.

The day before the race, Hunter-Reay inked a new 2-year contract with
Andretti Autosport.    Hunter-Reay  has driven for Andretti Autosport
since 2010.  He is the new IndyCar Champion.

NOTE:
Marco Andretti won his 2nd career IndyCar pole for this race.
Ed Carpenter won Fontana and in his first year with his own team!

2012 IndyCar Final Points
Formula One Driver Changes
Sept 28 - The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team has
hired Mexican driver
Sergio Perez away from the Sauber
team.  He has been signed to a multi-year contract and will
now be teammates with
Jenson Button.  Perez has been in
Formula One for two years, where he has had three podium
finishes.

This move has freed 2008 F1 Drivers Champion
Lewis
Hamilton
from the McLaren Team.  While Hamilton still has
his driving chops, he was probably considered for termination
after some Twitter posts that revealed more information than
McLaren would have liked.

The Mercedes factory team then hired Hamilton, signing him
to a 3-year deal.  He will partner with
Nico Rosberg.  This
move has freed 7-time champion
Michael Schumacher to
find another team, or retire again.

Since Mercedes bought the Brawn team three years ago,
they have only had one victory.
Race Announcer Retires
Sept 15 - Hoosier Bob Jenkins called his last IndyCar race
today.  He is retiring.

Jenkins reported on NASCAR and Indycar on ABC, ESPN
and Versus (NBC Sports Network).  He also worked at the
Indy Speedway calling some races over the PA system.

Jenkins was a friend of the speedway and IRL fans.
In The Pits
Sept 28 - Chris Economaki's gravelly broadcast voice and
prolific pen narrated the rise of auto racing from county-fair
dirt tracks to a global multibillion-dollar business, died on
Friday at age 91.

He owned and wrote for National Speed Sport News since
1934.  He also called races, often from the pits, on TV.  He
worked for ABC, ESPN and CBS; the latter firing him in 1995
over a politically incorrect phrase in a column.

Although he was never a racer, he preferred the
single-seaters of the 1930's because the winners were
determined more by the driver than the car.

While still in high school, he saw Tazio Nuvolari win the 1936
Vanderbilt Cup.  He saw the 1938 Indy 500 and the 2012 one
as well.

He was known as the Dean of Motorsports.