October 2015 News
IMSA 2016

Oct 4 - The Tudor United Sports Car
finished it's season today
at Road Atlanta.  A GT Le Mans team
surprisingly won the championship over
the prototypes.

Many IndyCar drivers competed in the first
race of the year - the Daytona 24 Hours.  
Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais did
as well as the 2nd and this weekend's race
in the Prototype series.

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipladi
won the Driver's Championship.

There will be a new title sponsor and name
for the series in 2016.  WeatherTech has
signed a multiyear agreement for IMSA’s
top series, which now will be called the
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
effective Nov. 1, 2015.
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Most recent news is at bottom of page.
It  was Dan Wheldon’s first race in Japan and I was sitting
in my hotel room next door to his when I got an idea. Dan
wasn’t in his room, so I went down to the front desk and I
pretended I was him. I said, Hi, I’m Dan Wheldon. I lost
my room key. Can I have an extra one? And the girl gave
me his room key. It was that easy. So me and some of the
other drivers went to his room, and when I swung the door
open his room was impeccable. Everything was organized

Dan Wheldon was a perfectionist — no, he was anal —
about everything. He was completely crazy. At his house,
he had all his shoes lined up neatly in a row. In his
bathroom, all his hair products were lined up with the
labels facing out like on the shelf at the drug store, and he
had more hair product than any woman I’ve ever met in
my life. He was always trying to look good and
presentable. You’d never see Dan wearing an old t-shirt.
With Dan Wheldon, everything always had to be perfect.

So me and the other drivers went into his room and
moved everything around. We didn’t trash the place, we
just disorganized everything because we knew it would
drive him crazy. He had three pairs of shoes in his room
and we took one shoe from each pair and FedExed them
back to America so he only had one pair of shoes for the
whole trip — the pair he was wearing. Then we went and
hid in my room and waited for him to get back.

When he got back, he went to his room first, then he
came straight to my room. His hair was perfect, as usual,
and he was dressed impeccably. And he was furious. It
was the funniest thing. The rest of us were just rolling
around laughing like a bunch of little kids, but I’ve never
seen anyone so mad in my entire life.

He got me back — plenty of times. He was a rookie that
year and we were teammates, and we were always pulling
pranks on each other.

As time went on, we became best friends. We hung out all
the time. The other drivers and I joked with him a lot
about how he was so anal, but that’s what made him a
great racer. He was so precise, and his attention to detail
was second to none. I loved Dan Wheldon.
That doesn’t mean we can’t make it safer. After Dan’s
death, we made improvements to the helmets. We made
changes to the car. We got better and we got safer. We
evolved after tragedy. In the wake of Justin’s accident,
we’re brainstorming and testing new ways we can make
racing safer while still preserving the integrity and tradition
of our sport.

But we can’t make it 100 percent safe, and we’re okay
with that. If you made it 100 percent safe and there were
no limits to push and no risks to take and nothing at stake,
then anybody could drive a race car. And if anybody
could do my job, I wouldn’t want that job. To take away
the risk in car racing would take away what it means to be
a race car driver. Nobody wants that. We should always
be looking for new ways to evolve and minimize the risk,
but no matter what we do, there will always be accidents
that we can’t prevent. There will always be risk. There
will always be danger.

I can get in my car and drive to the grocery store and get
into an accident that I couldn’t predict and I could get
killed. Am I going to stop driving a car? Am I going to
stop going to the grocery store? No. I’m going to take all
the precautions I can take, and if an accident happens, so
be it.

The same is true on the race track.

Dan Wheldon and Justin Wilson aren’t the only friends
I’ve lost to racing accidents. Growing up, Ayrton Senna
was my idol. He was a fellow Brazilian and a driver in F1,
and he was the man for me.

He was killed in a crash in 1994 when I was 20 years old.
I felt such loss because he was my racing hero, but also
because when I was a young driver I got to meet him and
he invited me to his home. We became friends.

I cried when Ayrton Senna died, but not once did I ever
think about not racing. It never affected me in that way.

There have been others since. More than I care to count.
But that’s a part of our sport. We’re trying every day to
get better and get safer, and the cars are 1,000 times safer
Why We Race
Tony Kanaan
The day he died after his accident in Las Vegas was one
of the toughest days of my life.

Car racing is a dangerous sport. Every one of us drivers
knows that. When we lost Dan Wheldon, it was a tragedy.
A lot of people outside the sport talked about how
senseless it was. He’d had a lot of success — he’d won
Rookie of the Year, a pair of Indy 500s and an IndyCar
championship. He had a beautiful wife and two beautiful
boys. He had a perfect life.

So people wanted to know, Why was he racing? Why put
all that on the line to race in a sport where you know you
could get killed?

Four years after Dan Wheldon, we lost another great
driver and a fantastic human being in Justin Wilson. And
the day Justin passed — August 24, 2015 — was the day
all us drivers started getting asked the same questions we
got after Dan Wheldon’s death. Our friends, our fans —
everyone wanted to know: Why do you do it? Why do
you still race knowing the risks?

The answer — and it’s not a very popular one — is
because that’s what we do. We’re race car drivers. We
race cars.

Nobody gets into racing because they want to be rich or
famous. We race because we love racing. And to race,
especially at this level, you have to be willing to take the
risks and put it all on the line. A lot of people choose not
to, and those are the guys who either never made it or
never tried. Race car drivers are just wired a little bit
differently than most people. You have to be a little crazy
to do what we do.

In every sport, there are great risks. I understand the risks
in racing are greater, but when you’re talking to an athlete
who loves what he does — whether you’re a football
player in a sport where brain injuries are an issue or a race
car driver where there are accidents that are sometimes
fatal — we don’t think about that stuff. That’s just the
reality of our sport. It’s dangerous, and it’s been that way
since the day they created the first race car.
than they were in previous years. But it’s still racing and
there are still risks. Our families may not fully understand
why we take those risks, but they love us and support us.
If we think being in the car is the best place for us — and
we do — they’re behind us.

The week after Justin’s death was a difficult week. There
were questions and tributes and tears and sadness. The
IndyCar family is just that, a family, and Justin’s loss
shook us all pretty hard.

To be honest, the first time I was able to relax and not
think about Justin after his death was when I got back in
the car the following weekend at Sonoma. Once I got
back into the car, I could focus on racing. I’m more
comfortable in the race car than anywhere else on Earth.
It was that most natural thing for me to do.

For me, Dan Wheldon’s death was devastating. They
canceled the rest of the race that day, and to be honest, if
we had decided to keep racing I don’t think I would have
been able to get back into the car. It had that big of an
impact on me. It happened in the last race of the season,
so I had the entire six-month offseason to think about if I
wanted to keep racing or if I was going to be afraid the
next time I got into the car. I tried to cope the best way
that I could, and when the first race of the following
season came around, I was back in the car competing. It
was in St. Petersburg. Dan’s home.

And I went out there and raced, like Dan would have.

If Dan Wheldon or Justin Wilson or Ayrton Senna or any
of the other drivers we’ve lost in past years could stand in
front of the rest of us drivers and tell us how they’d want
us to cope with their deaths, they’d all say the same thing:
“Get your ass back in the car. Go do what we do and
make it better.”

So that’s what we do. It sounds twisted, but you have to
be a little crazy to do what we do. We’re okay with that.
We wouldn’t have it any other way
Elton John Performing at US Grand Prix

Oct 11 - Formula 1 races at Circuit of the Americas in
Texas next weekend.  Elton John and his new band will be
playing a 2-hour concert after the race.  Watch from the
new festival lawn located in the Circuit’s north infield.

The race is at 2 pm.  The cocnert will be at 6 pm.
IMS to host SCCA Runoffs in 2017

Oct 14 - The Indy Motor Speedway road course will be
the site of the 2017 SCCA National Championship
Runoffs, with race days Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

"Many Indianapolis 500 veterans have their racing roots in
SCCA competition, so hosting the SCCA national
championships at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a
natural fit," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "The
Runoffs will provide drivers who have dreamed of
competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway an
opportunity to do so and will hopefully motivate some
participants to continue on the path to compete in the
Indianapolis 500 someday.  
Mark Donohue and Bobby Rahal earning both a Runoffs
title and an Indy 500 win in their careers. Indy 500 winner
Buddy Rice also competed in the Runoffs; current
Graham Rahal is the youngest Runoffs
champion, and still has a chance to add his name to the
Borg-Warner Trophy.

The SCCA National Championship Runoffs has crowned
Club Racing National Champions in a winner-take-all,
single race format since 1964. Through 27 separate races
over three days, the 2015 edition recently crowned
champions in 27 classes in the pinnacle event of amateur
Helping hands in Speedway

Oct 14 - Last week, Frank Gazvoda, an Indianapolis
veteran who injured his back, now has a new house within
sight of the speedway.  

Responsible was the
Full Center For Housing, a non-profit
that helps families in need.  The labor was provided by
"The Pit Crew" - a group of IndyCar workers formed four
years ago to assist veterans in the Indianapolis area.  They
were joined by trade professionals who volunteered.

Gazvoda has to pay an interest-free mortgage that he can
afford and the proceeds are all used for the next house for
a deserving family.

Joining the hundred people who came for the house
dedication was Gazvoda's great uncle Russ Van Treese,
who says he's attended every Indy 500 since 1923, the
first as an 8-month-old toddler!
Russ Van Treese has attended 89 consecutive Indy 500's!
New American F1 Team Hires 2016 Driver

Oct 25 -  Formula 1's newest team was created by Gene
, co-owner of the Stewart-Haas NASCAR team, and
while their base is in the USA they will also work out of
Banbury in Oxfordshire.  Haas, powered by Ferrari
engines, will be the first USA-owned F1 team since 1986.

Romain Grosjean will move from Lotus to drive for the
new Haas Formula 1 team in 2016.

The Frenchman, 29, is currently in his fifth Formula One
season with Lotus F1 Team.  He has 10 podium finishes in
78 grands prix, with the most recent being a third-place
result in August at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Grosjean has made the switch despite the expected
takeover of Lotus by Renault.

His move leaves a vacancy at Lotus/Renault alongside
Pastor Maldonado, who recently signed a new deal.

The other Haas seat is expected to be taken by former
Sauber driver
Esteban Gutierrez, who is Ferrari's reserve
driver this year.  Haas will formerly announce who the
driver will be during the Mexican Grand Prix.
Romain Grosjean
“We wanted an experienced driver capable of developing
our car and our race team into one that can score points
and better itself each race and each season. We found him
in Romain Grosjean,” said Gene Haas.

The Frenchman will get his first drive with Haas F1 Team
during the preseason test Feb. 22-25 at Circuit de
Catalunya in Barcelona. A second test at Barcelona takes
place March 1-4 before the season-opening Australian
Grand Prix March 20 in Melbourne.
Oct 25 - The action was non-stop in Sunday’s 2015
Formula 1 United States Grand Prix and only on lap 49 of
56 did
Lewis Hamilton move ahead of Mercedes team
Nico Rosberg to seal victory - and with it a second
successive world championship, the British driver’s third
in total.

The only other man who could have prevented Hamilton
tying things up in Austin - Ferrari’s
Sebastian Vettel -
took third place in a race which featured two virtual and
two actual safety-car periods, and one in which the
eventual outcome was never anything but impossible to

"That’s the greatest moment of my life," was how
Hamilton summed up his emotions over team radio after
taking the chequered flag for this tenth win of the season
and the 43rd of his career, becoming only the second
Briton after
Sir Jackie Stewart to become a three-time
world champion.

As the weather gods finally smiled on the Circuit of The
Americas, for a long time it looked like Mercedes’ one-
two in a crash-strewn race was going to be the wrong
way round, with Rosberg seemingly headed for victory.
Hamilton needed to be in front of the German in order to
ensure that he outscored Vettel by nine points.

Rosberg had lost the lead as Hamilton aggressively eased
him aside in the first corner, but retaken it from Red
Daniel Ricciardo during the pit stops on the 19th
lap and held it through various virtual and real safety car
interventions until the 48th lap.

Then, under pressure from Hamilton, he slid wide in Turn
12, and suddenly the roles were crucially reversed.
Hamilton, who had clearly struggled initially on
intermediate tyres on a very slippery track, was thus able
to take not only to his 10th win of the year, but the one
that would allow him to realise his life ambition of
matching his hero
Ayrton Senna’s three championships.

It nearly didn’t happen in Texas, however. Vettel had
driven brilliantly to climb from 13th on the grid to seventh
in a rough opening lap, and was set to run to the finish on
a set of medium Pirelli slicks after his pit stop, until the
safety cars foiled that gamble. On fresh soft tires he was
hounding Rosberg in the closing laps, and had he
overtaken him, Hamilton would have had to wait longer
for his new crown. But a deeply disappointed Rosberg
held on, by half a second.

Fourth place fell to
Max Verstappen, who drove his
usual feisty race as Toro Rosso gambled like Vettel, but
without the final stop for fresh rubber. The Dutchman
was comfortably clear of a fabulous fight between Force
Sergio Perez, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and
the McLarens.

Fernando Alonso fell away towards the end, losing out
to Ricciardo for P10 on the final lap, but when Sainz had
a five-second time penalty added for pit-lane speeding, he
Hamilton pushes teammate off track at first corner.
Hamilton Clinches World Championship at COTA
dropped behind Jenson Button, who chased the Spaniard
and the Mexican home on the road.

Pastor Maldonado was eighth for Lotus, having at one
stage eased Button off the road, and
Felipe Nasr salvaged
two points for Sauber in a forgettable 400th Grand Prix
for the Swiss team which saw him collide with team mate
Marcus Ericsson on the opening lap. The Swede later
triggered a safety car intervention when his car stopped on
track with a loss of power.

It turned out to be an awful afternoon for Red Bull, too.
Ricciardo was very racy in the slippery early going and
overtook Rosberg, team mate
Daniil Kvyat and
Hamilton to lead easily from the 15th to the 19th lap, but
he lost his edge when the road dried enough for slicks
from the 19th lap onwards. He was attacked by Force
Nico Hulkenberg on the 36th lap, with the
German slamming into the side of his car and eliminating
himself, as well as causing damage to the Red Bull. The
stewards investigated the collision after the race, but
decided to take no further action against Hulkenberg on
the basis that his front wing had become dislodged under
braking and impaired his ability to brake effectively for
the corner.

Ricciardo was later passed by Sainz, and a resultant pit
stop dropped him to 12th. Kvyat, meanwhile, spun his
car heavily into the wall heading down to Turn 20 on the
42nd lap, triggering the final safety car which proved so
timely to Hamilton.It was also a day when Marussia
looked a points contender due to the high rate of attrition.
Alexander Rossi took 12th in his home race, as team
Will Stevens joined a retirements list which
comprised eight cars.

Kimi Raikkonen was forced out with overheating brakes,
damaged after he hit the wall at Turn 7 early on. The Finn
had pitted for a new nose and rejoined the race, before his
car cried enough.
Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were
both forced out with technical issues - Williams’ first
double DNF since Brazil 2012 - while Lotus’s
completed the non-finishers.

Hamilton thus came away with an unassailable points total
of 327 - with Vettel on 251 and Rosberg 247 - with three
rounds of the season remaining.
2016 NASCAR Schedule

Oct 26 - NASCAR released the 2016 schedules for two of
its three national series Monday without -- as expected --
any major overhauls going forward. The most significant
development, though, doesn't relate to change at all, but an
added layer of continuity built in for tracks.

NASCAR announced that it has reached sanctioning
agreements with its host race tracks for the next five years.
That means the 23 facilities that host Sprint Cup events and
the 24 tracks that serve as XFINITY Series venues will
remain locked in as a part of the NASCAR calendar
through 2020.
According to an official release, NASCAR and the tracks
will work to determine each venue's place on the calendar
in the year 2017 and beyond. The sanctioning agreement
also does not preclude additional tracks from joining the
Sprint Cup schedule, though such a development would
likely require a more dramatic alteration to the calendar
structure. The premier-series schedule has stood at a
modern-era maximum of 36 races since 2001.

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
IndyCar Changes 2016 Schedule

Oct 27 - The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule -- a
16-race season anchored by the 100th Running of the
Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – spans five weeks longer
than last season and features three new events, while
losing three events.

The season includes the series’ return to staple venues
Phoenix International Raceway and Road America, plus
the debut of an exciting new event on the streets of

IndyCar has experienced a 38 percent growth in both
television ratings and viewership over the past two years
with longstanding TV partners ABC and NBCSN and the
2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season is poised to capitalize
and build upon that momentum.

The most diverse schedule in motorsports features five
races on oval tracks, five on permanent road courses and
six on temporary street circuits.

ABC will broadcast five races in 2016, with NBCSN
picking up the rest.

Races dropped from the 2015 IndyCar schedule include  
the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California,
the Nola Motorsports Park in Louisiana and
the historic Milwaukee Mile.

Oct 29 - IndyCar driver
Josef Newgarden is up
to his funny antics again.  This time he's created a
fake charity to get shirts donated for fellow
IndyCar driver
Sage Karem, who apparently likes
to show off his physique on social media.