February 2017 News
Phoenix Oval Track Gets Facelift

Feb 2 - The 1-mile Phoenix oval track will
undergo a $178 million overhaul with the
demolition of the frontstretch grandstands and
construction of a new grandstand that extends
where the old grandstand ends in Turn 1.

With the change, the track will move the
start-finish line to Turn 2, just before the dogleg.  
The change is expected to create more drama for
NASCAR drivers, but not IndyCar.

The two main entrances will get escalators.
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The infield camping spots are being replaced with a fan zone.  

No more bleachers, though there will be 6,000 less seats.  

A medical center will be built in the infield.  

The midway area will now have a restaurant and bar.   Completion planned for end of 2018.
New McLaren Car Name

Feb 4 - If you are like me, you look forward with great
anticipation each February and March to the launch of the
new Formula 1 cars.  I create a web page each year
showing them each year.  (
2017 F1 Launch)

F1 cars names are letters followed by a number.  Usually
the letters are the initials of the team's name.  The number
is usually either the year or the number of years the car has
been made.

Every McLaren F1 car since 1981 began with MP4.  (Last
year's car was called MP4-31.)  MP4 stands for Marlboro
Project Four.  That was in reference to the tobacco
sponsor that helped engineer in 1981 a reverse takeover of
McLaren by Ron Dennis, whose previous operation had
been Project Four Racing.

With the departure of long-time chief Ron Dennis,
McLaren's new car will be called MCL32.  Obviously the
MCL are the initials for the name McLaren.
SF - stands for Scuderia Ferrari

VJM - named after team owners Vijay
   Mallya, Jan Mol and Michiel Mol

VF - The origin of naming the car
 “VF-16” goes back to the first CNC
 machine manufactured by Haas
 Automation, the VF-1, launched in
 1988. The “V” stands for vertical,
 which is an industry standard
 designation for a vertical mill. Gene
 Haas, founder of Haas Automation,
 added “F1” to the name to
 unofficially designate it as the
 company’s “Very First One”.

W - Mercedes began making their own
race car in 2010, having previously
quit racing in 1955.  However they
had been supplying engines to some
F1 teams.  Mercedes began naming
their race cars with a "W" going back
to 1933.  The W stands for Wagen -
German for car.

RB - Stands for team name

RS - Stands for team name

C - In 1970 when Peter Sauber first set
himself up as an independent builder
of open two-seater racing sports cars.
Out of the cellar of his parents’ home
in Zurich emerged the Sauber C1. He
used the first name of his wife
Christiane as the model designation.

STR - Stands for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
    Scuderia stands for "stable" in
    Italian.  Toro Rosso uses Ferrari
    engines and Ferrari uses the term

FW - Initials of team founder Frank

Force India

Haas F1


Red Bull

Renault Sport


Toro Rosso

Other Formula 1 Car Names
Wehrlein Joins Sauber F1

Feb 4 - The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce that
Pascal Wehrlein will complete the team’s driver line-up for
the 2017 Formula One World Championship. The 22-year
old German started in karting and has proved his potential in
junior single seater racing, but above all with Mercedes-Benz
in the DTM where he drove from 2013 until 2015, breaking
record after record: He became the youngest debutant in
2013, the youngest race winner in 2014, followed by
becoming the youngest champion in 2015. In 2017 Wehrlein
will move on become a race driver with the Sauber F1 Team  
Marcus Ericsson.

Wehrlein drove in F1 last year for Manor Racing, scoring
one point.  Manor Racing may be kaput.
McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, England
German Pascal Wehrlein
Ecclestone Replaced as F1 CEO

Feb 4 - Former FIA president Max Mosley believes that
Liberty Media should have kept
Bernie Ecclestone in
charge of Formula 1 following its acquisition of the sport.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 two weeks ago, with
American executive
Chase Carey replacing Ecclestone as

Carey will run the sport alongside commercial chief
and sporting manager Ross Brawn, while
Ecclestone has been given the honorary position of
chairman emeritus.

Mosley ran F1 alongside Ecclestone during his time as FIA
president between 1993 and 2009, and believes that
Liberty has made a mistake by not keeping the 86-year-
old at the helm.

“I think it may be quite difficult [for Liberty]. I think what
[Ecclestone] was brilliant at was dealing with the
promoters and the organizers and the whole structure of
the championship,” Mosley told ITV News.

“For somebody new to come in without all the personal
relationships it may be difficult. If it had been me I’d have
kept him on doing the things that he’s demonstrably very
good at and concentrated my efforts on doing the things
that up to now have not been done, like interactive
television, virtual reality, social media, the internet and all
the rest of it.

“All of that’s been slightly neglected in Formula 1 and that’s
the sort of thing that Liberty will probably be very good at.”

Mosley was quick to praise Liberty’s decision to make
Brawn F1’s new sporting managing director, saying the ex-
Ferrari and Mercedes team boss will be of huge value to
the sport’s new owner.

“Ross completely understands the sport and he understands
what needs to be done and he’s got an absolutely first class
analytical brain,” Mosley said.

“I think he’ll be an enormous asset to them and that
[sporting] side isn’t really what Liberty should be doing.
Ross is outstanding so they made a good choice there.”
Tony Stewart partners with Schmidt
Peterson for Indy 500

Feb 7 - Did that title make you think Smoke was going to
return and run in the 500?

That's the conclusion I jumped to, before reading article
saying he's just a sponsor.

Darn.  That would have definitely been a big story.
Phoenix Testing - Day 2

Feb 11 - JR Hildebrand, who returns to a full-season
ride this year with Ed Carpenter Racing, claimed the
honor of best lap of the weekend at 193.234 mph
(19.0401 seconds) in the No. 21 Chevrolet. The lap
came early in this afternoon’s session and was better
than the track record established last year by
. Hildebrand’s lap is not considered an
official record because it did not take place during
qualifications or the race.

Ed Carpenter, Hildebrand’s teammate and boss, had
the second-best overall lap of the weekend at 192.404
mph in the No. 20 Chevrolet, also logged in today’s
afternoon practice. The top five spots in the daytime
session were filled by Chevy cars, a day after the bowtie
brigade held the top four spots.

The night’s final practice – when cars were fitted into
race trim – saw five Honda entries at the top.
set the pace in the No. 28 for Andretti
Autosport at 189.716 mph.
Sebastien Bourdais was
second tonight in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing car at
189.495 mph. Honda cars claimed the first six positions
on the speed chart in Friday’s night practice.

Five Crashes Today
Less than five minutes into the afternoon session,
Alexander Rossi, last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner,
spun in the No. 98 Andretti Herta Honda and backed
into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier.

Thirty minutes into the evening session,
Graham Rahal
had a similar spin and impact in the No. 15 RLL Honda.

With 30 minutes left in the night practice,
No. 2 Penske Chevrolet made light
contact with
Sebastien Bourdais as they battled into
Turn 1. Both cars continued after touching and returned
to pit lane.

In the night’s final practice,
J.R. Hildebrand crashed
into the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier with less than 30 minutes
remaining in the three-hour session.

No drivers were injured.
Phoenix Testing - Day 1

Feb 10 - The newest driver for Team Penske ran the
fastest lap this afternoon in the opening session of a two-
day IndyCar Series open test at Phoenix Raceway. Driv-
ing the No. 2 Chevrolet,
Josef Newgarden’s top lap of
190.129 mph (19.3511 seconds) set the pace as the 21
drivers turned 910 laps in the first of four three-hour
practices on the 1-mile oval.

Alexander Rossi was the fastest Honda driver and fifth
overall during the afternoon session in the No. 98
Andretti Herta car (187.611).

Drivers with Honda engines and aero kits recorded the
six fastest laps of the three-hour evening practice, after
Chevrolet drivers nailed down the first four spots in the
afternoon session.

Tonight it was
Marco Andretti, driving the No. 27  
Andretti Autosport racer, who led the 21-car contingent
with a lap of 189.122 mph (19.4541 seconds).

He was followed by
Graham Rahal, whose best lap was
188.642 mph (19.5036 seconds). Rahal, in the No. 15
Honda.  Rahal also logged the fastest lap of any driver
tonight without benefit of a tow from a car in front, at
J.R. Hildebrand Fastest in Testing
Daytona 500 Race

Feb 26 - Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500 with a last-
lap pass.  "My mirror fell off with 30 laps to go and I
couldn’t even see out the back," said Busch.

The driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led
just one lap en route to his 29th career win. He passed
Kyle Larson for the win on the backstretch when
Larson ran out of fuel.

The victory was the first for Stewart-Haas Racing after
changing manufacturers to Ford Performance.

The race was slowed by eight cautions. There were 15
cars remaining on the lead lap at the checkers. Busch
assumed the point lead with a 12-point advantage over
Ryan Blaney.

This was the first race that Nascar began dividing races
up into 3 segments.

Stage 1 - First 60 Laps - Results:
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Joey Logano was the first driver with an issue.  He
developed a loose wheel 14 laps into the race and was
forced to pit while running 20th. When he returned to
the track, he dropped to 40th, but moved up to 37th
and remained on the lead lap with an assist from
.  Harvick pushed Logano to the front of the

When the Stewart-Haas Racing Fords elected to pit on
Lap 30, rookie
Corey LaJoie joined the group but did
not slow down in time. LaJoie missed the entrance to pit
road and slammed into the front stretch wall to ignite the
first caution.

Kyle Busch took the lead on Lap 42

Stage 2 - Laps 61-120 - Results:
Kevin Harvick
Joey Logano
Kurt Busch
Brad Keselowski
Danica Patrick

Harvick won the segment after the race was delayed for
17-minutes after Kyle Busch triggered a six-car wreck
after his right-rear tire blew on Lap 105.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the lead on Lap 105 when
the back end of Busch’s No. 18 car swung out towards
the wall in Turn 3 and collected him along with team-
Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth and Ty Dillon.  
Elliott Sadler, who was running second at the time, also
received damage.

When the race restarted on Lap 113, Harvick had the
lead and held the point to flag.

State 3 - Laps 121-180 - Results:
Kurt Busch
Ryan Blaney
A.J. Allmendinger
Aric Almirola
Paul Menard

Multiple wrecks continued to eliminate some of the usual

Two laps into the final segment of the Daytona 500, a
multi-car wreck occurred between Turns 3 and 4 after
Jamie McMurray bumped Jimmie Johnson out of line
Trevor Bayne came up and clipped the No. 48

Nearly half the field was collected in the wreck including
Harvick, who had led 50 laps of the first 128 laps,

Kasey Kahne took the lead on Lap 136, but the race
was slowed again on Lap 137 when four drivers tangled  
coming off of Turn 4 as Blaney slowed. Caution 7
involved 12 cars. The race returned to green just long
enough for
Joey Gase to slide into Chase Elliott on Lap
149. Gase spun and took
Brendan Gaughan with him.

Larson pulled to the front for six laps followed by
Logano on Lap 162. But Elliott continued to pursue the
No. 22 Ford and made the pass on Lap 175.

Elliott held on for 23 laps and appeared to be setting sail
for not only his first career win — but a Daytona 500
victory. However, he was shuffled out in Turn 3 on
Lap 197 as Truex Jr. moved into the lead. With Truex
in control, Logano radioed he was out of fuel.  Larson
pulled to the lead coming to the white flag, but ran out
of gas on the back stretch with Busch taking the lead.

Elliott, who was clearly disappointed after running out
of fuel and finishing 14th, left without comment.
Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott
Danica Patrick
Kurt Busch Won the 59th Daytona 500
Pit stop, Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford