Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hungarian Grand Prix Pole Scored by Red Bull's Vettel

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Racing on a track highly dependent on vehicle downforce, the 4.381 kilometer Hungaroring hosts the latest round of the 2010 Formula 1 tour, the Hungarian Grand Prix.

For the 11th time in 12 races, a Red Bull Racing is top seated after Formula 1 time trials. Taking the pole for the 4th straight event on the F1 calendar, Sebastian Vettel outpowered his teammate Mark Webber in the Q3 session of qualifying by 4/10ths of a second. On the Red Bull Racing team's website, Vettel complimented the entire race team saying “Mark and I were pushing hard to finish first and second, but this is your moment, enjoy it – you built this wonderful car”.

With Red Bull-Renaults taking the front row, the second row on the Hungarian Grand Prix grid as also an all-team sweep. In 3rd, Fernando Alonso took position over Felipe Massa. One year ago, this grand prix was the site of Massa's frightening accident set off when the Ferrari driver was struck in the helmet by a suspension component turned projectile. With Massa missing the remainder of 2009 season with head and neck injuries, the Brazilian driver returned this season and made the opportunity to personally thank the Budapest hospital. On the Ferrari website, Felipe Massa broadcasted praise to those who looked after him in the once life-threatening situation. " I wish to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone for what they did for me one year ago; they are really extraordinary people.”

Following the controversial German Grand Prix, the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 was left the team $100,000 U.S. lighter after a blatent case of team orders saw Fernando Alonso pass teammate Felipe Massa without contention. The team is still under investigation for the incident with possible remification for Formula 1 driver's and manufacturer's points.

Mercedes-Benz powered race cars complete the third row but are the products of different organizations. Placing the McLaren-Mercedes up ahead of a Mercedes GP car of Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton settled into 5th. Hamilton will work to defend his 2009 victory on the Hungaroring.

Earning admiration of Formula 1 observers for readying a team after losing major funding, the BMW Sauber group has charged into a solid mid-field runner. Lately, this has included contending for a top-10 point paying position at the finish of grand prixs. Continuing a to place their Ferrari-engined vehicles competitively, Pedro de la Rosa brought the BMW-Sauber into 9th place. Despite delivering some excellent Formula 1 which included a 6th place at Silverstone 2 races prior finishes, the second BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi experienced a less than glorious qualifying. Winding up 18th in the time sheet, Kobayashi's car will receive a 5-grid spot penalty for the team not submitting to post-qualifying inspection.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is set for 8 A.M. Eastern Time (2 P.M. local time) on TSN in Canada or Speed for American viewers. set to compete in warm conditions, it is also likely that the grand prix could be run on a wet race track as rain and even thunderstorms are forecasted.

2010 Formula 1
Hungarian Grand Prix
Starting Grid

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari
5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
7. Vitaly Petrov Renault F1
8. Robert Kubica Renault F1
9. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
10. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
15. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
17. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
18. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
21. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
22. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth
23. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
24. Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth

Elliott Sadler Scores Confidence-Building Pocono Truck Series Win

Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

LONG POND, Pa.—Elliott Sadler isn't ready to be written off.

On Saturday at Pocono Raceway, he showed why. Pulling away on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish, Sadler won the Pocono Mountains 125 Camping World Truck Series race from the pole, his first victory since 2004 in any of NASCAR's top three touring series.

Sadler, 35, beat Kasey Kahne to the finish line by .445 seconds in a race that went five laps past its scheduled distance of 50 laps at the 2.5-mile triangular track. With his first truck series victory, Sadler is the 21st driver to win at least one race in each of NASCAR's top three divisions. Matt Crafton finished third, followed by Aric Almirola and rookie Justin Lofton in the truck series' first visit to Pocono.

Sadler's win vindicated the faith of team owner Kevin Harvick and provided a welcome highlight in a two-year stretch that has seen Sadler struggle in a Sprint Cup car at Richard Petty Motorsports. Sadler announced July 9 that he will leave the No. 19 RPM Ford at the end of the season.

"It's hard to put in words what this means to me," said Sadler, whose last NASCAR win was Sept. 5, 2004 in a Cup car at Fontana, Calif. "To have a tough couple years like we've had in the Cup series, and things not go like we want to, as far as running up front, and winning races and leading laps and things like that. …

"You sit at home a lot, wondering if you're ever going to make it back to victory lane. Are you ever going to have that situation again? Are you ever going to be in that position again? This, to me—I know it's recent, and it's today—but this is the biggest win in my career.

"There's a lot of naysayers out there, and there's a lot of people that write me off, not giving me a chance to make a comeback and be a strong presence again in this sport. To be able to come here and sit on the pole and win the race and race against people like Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin (who finished ninth), who I think are two of the best racecar drivers we have in our sport, means a great deal to me."

Notes: Sadler drove Harvick's No. 2 Chevrolet to the lead in the series owners' standings. The No. 2 truck leads the No. 18 of Kyle Busch, driven by Kahne on Saturday, by two points. … Todd Bodine, who tops the drivers' standings, rallied from a spin on Lap 41 to finish 12th. Bodine leaves Pocono 149 points ahead of Almirola in second.

JR Motorsports Fellows and Fitzpatrick Goes to Ottawa

Photo Credit: Max d'Orsonnens

With the two Canadian IndyCar visits for 2010 now in the history books, the NASCAR Nationwide visit to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in late August is one of several major auto racing visits left up north. For the August 28-29th event, J.R. Fitzpatrick will be competing in the #7 Chevy wearing Schick Hydro colours while Fellows will be driving the #88 Canadian Tire Chevrolet Impala SS.

Making a special stop in the Canadian nation's capital, the JR Motorsports teammates for the upcoming Canadian round Ron Fellows and JR Fitzpatrick made a special pitch. Promoting the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge, the event will take place on August 28-29 down the road to Montreal, Quebec just about a two and a half hour drive from Ottawa. Posing on Parliament Hall (Void of many politians as the government gatherings are on summer break), Fellows and Fitzpatrick also made stops at local media outlet including sports/talk radio station The Team 1200.

On a personal note, I have recently had the privilege of meeting both drivers at the recent Honda Indy of Toronto event. While I've written profiles of each driver which resulted in two separate articles (Fitzpatrick's profile graced the inner pages of Canadian motorsport publication PRN Magazine and Fellow's interview can be found on this website.) it was my first face-to-face experience with two of Canada's more talented racers. You can count on XSL Speed Reporter's attention on the upcoming work of these as well as other Canadian drivers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tony Stewart starts on Pocono Sprint Cup Race Pole

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

One week following an interesting Brickyard 400 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes on another 2.5 mile track in the form of the triangular-shaped Pocono Raceway.
Through Friday afternoon qualifying for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 saw driver/owner Tony Stewart sailing his Chevrolet on to the pole for Sunday's event. Taking top spot at 171.393 miles per hour for the his 2nd pole of 2010, driver Stewart remains winless after 20 races. The Pocono qualifying session proved strong for the Stewart/Haas team as Ryan Newman placed the organization's #39 Chevrolet into 5th on the starting grid.
Starting second, Juan Pablo Montoya rolls into this weekend with some popular scars from the past race at Indy. With a car to beat at the historic track, a mistake in pit strategy and a late race crash which collected Dale Earnhardt Jr saw the #42 Target Chevy of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing end in the garage. The intense Montoya secluded himself immediately following his car's retirement from the Brickyard 400 but he returns to Pocono hungry for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup win on an oval.
With less of a trouble finding victory lane, Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin has five wins in the #20 FedEx Toyota including the NASCAR Sprint Cup's June event at Pocono. Hamlin will be starting the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 in 3rd spot ahead of Jeff Gordon, Newman and Jimmie Johnson.
NASCAR Sprint Cup's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 is planned to receive its command to start engines at 1 P.M. Eastern time. However, weather forecasts are threatening the Long Pond, Pennsylvania track race Sunday. A 60% chance of thunderstorms exist in the area according to the Weather Channel.
Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500
NASCAR Sprint Cup
Pocono Raceway

1) 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet
2) 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
3) 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
4) 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
5) 39 Ryan Newman U.S.Army Chevrolet
6) 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
7) 43 A J Allmendinger Insignia HDTV Ford
8) 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
9) 1 Jamie McMurray AXE Twist Chevrolet
10) 5 Mark Martin / Chevrolet

Other Notables

13) 2 Kurt Busch Miller Lite / Vortex Dodge
14) 29 Kevin Harvick Shell / Pennzoil Chevrolet
17) 20 Joey Logano Home Depot Toyota
20) 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy / National Guard Chevrolet
21) 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
40) 33 Clint Bowyer The Hartford Chevrolet

Sunday, July 25, 2010

J.R. Fitzpatrick Wins NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race at Edmonton

Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/NASCAR

For the second straight weekend, the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series play companion to the IZOD IndyCar Series. Offering a stark departure to the open wheel racing on the Edmonton City Airport race circuit, the Canadian Tire 100 presented by Konica Minolta unleahed the clumzy handling full-bodied stock cars around the converted road course.

In a late morning Sunday, 22 NASCAR Canadian Tire series cars started the 100 mile, 32 lap affair was led from pole by the #84 Schick Hydro Chevrolet Impala of J.R. Fitzpatrick. Finishing 8th a week ago on the streets of Toronto, Fitzpatrick's effort was soured in the late stages by a poor restart. Coming back with a vengence at Edmonton early, Fitzpatrick held off second place's #02 Ford of Kerry Micks.

An unique sight seeing the stock cars run within the long and wide airport circuit, the race would ultimately be less attractive in a competitive context. Hindered by only one caution flying through the course of the Canadian Tire 100 presented by Konica Minolta, the stopped #1 car of Daryl Harr on lap 18 would also be in a very short field of non-finishers in the event. Though the Edmonton City Airport circuit did not breeding a large number of quality passing, there were a number of drivers who experienced some impressive runs. Having started 3rd, Anthony Simone would find his way around Kerry Micks for the second place position. Simone would finish in the runner-up spot tying his series-best effort scored at the Trois Riviere event August 2009. In another impressive run after a top-10 in Toronto, Trevor Seibert drove the #69 Dodge to 4th behind 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champ Scott Steckly.

Leading all 32 laps, J.R. Fitzpatrick took the his #84 Chevy to victory ahead of Simone. Defending his 2009 victory, Fitzpatrick's 2010 win at Edmonton comes as he progresses through a hard charge for his first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship (However, Fitzpatrick did win the final CASCAR Superseries title back in 2006 just before the tour was absorbed into NASCAR Canada).

Power Jets to Pole on Airport Circuit for Honda Indy Edmonton Race

Photo Credit: Steve Swope

Honda Indy Edmonton
2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Starting Lineup

12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
2. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
3. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
4. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
5. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
6. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
7. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
8. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
9. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
10. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ de Ferran Dragon Racing
11. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
12. 24 Tomas Scheckter/ South Africa/ Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
13. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
14. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology
15. 15 Paul Tracy/Canada/ KV Racing Technology
16. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
17. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing
18. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing
19. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
20. 36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
21. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
22. 4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
23. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Racing Enterprises
24. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
25. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing

Vettel to Start German GP on Pole

Photo Credit: Lotus Racing

German Grand Prix
2010 Formula 1 Starting Grid

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari
4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
7. Robert Kubica Renault F1
8. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
10. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
12. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
13. Vitaly Petrov Renault
14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
15. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
16. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
17. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
21. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
23. Sakon Yaramoto HRT-Cosworth
24. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Message from XSL Speed Reporter on 1 Year Motorsports Blogcasting

Hello XSL Speed Reporter readers:

As I am entering into the first year anniversary of running my take on motorsport news through this portal, I firstly want to thank everyone who has visited XSL Speed Reporter.

With 12 months of experience producing my own web page,I have aggressively worked on maintaining the latest motorsport coverage. admittedly, as one person splitting my time amongst the good people of PRN(Performance Racing News) Magazine and on a regular basis, I've been challenged by the multi-tasking (but who hasn't been in this day of age).

In the first year of XSL Speed Reporter, I've committed myself in collecting motorsport news and information about NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 as well as sports car racing. Posting over 350 blogs in this year functioning year of this website, it has been my intention to bring accurate, unique insight into the world of auto racing. However, in doing so, I'm certain readers have yet to regard this website with 'speed' in the name as a fast source of news. You must know that when it comes to putting an article together, I do not compromise content for speed.

Along with bringing you my impression on news and views, I have brought to you interviews with Canadian drivers including NASCAR and sports car ace Ron Fellows, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series' Anthony Simone and 1997 Formula 1 World Driving Champion Jacques Villeneuve. More recently, I have also had the pleasure for including current IZOD IndyCar driver Marco Andretti. I want to thank them, along with people involved in arranging these exclusive interviews, for allowing me these opportunities. There are also media partners who have been most helpful in assuring XSL Speed Reporter grows towards becoming an exciting, reputable source.

Striding to grow a profile as a wide-known, reliable source for auto racing news, I welcome you to the continued efforts of my writing. Thank you and please note you can follow this site on twitter at through the future.

Looking forward to my postings through the 2nd year, I hope to share a greater wealth of auto racing news.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Will Power Streams to Exciting Honda Indy Toronto Victory

Photo Credit: Dan Helrigel

Within the heat of an inescapable summer weekend for the metropolitan of Toronto, the 2010 Honda Indy brings 26 IZOD IndyCar Series cars and competitors to Canada for the first of two rounds in the northernmost country of the continent. For Canadian race fans, two native-born drivers Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy again are taking on the challenge of winning in their home country; a bold task which was accomplished twice by Paul Tracy in 1993 and 2003. Attacking the 1.755 mile temporary street course, competitors were challenged for the first time since Long Beach to a track of this configuration.

Showing impressive pace throughout the weekend, the Dreyer and Reinbold Racing regular Justin Wilson had been within the top-2 of the time charts throughout the Honda Indy Toronto weekend winning Saturday's third. Wilson parlayed the effort in his #22 Z-Line Designs Dallara-Honda by locking up the pole through Saturday qualifying beating out superteam challengers led by Will Power and Helio Castroneves in the Firestone Fast 6.

With ambient temperatures hitting 27 degrees Celsius on the Lakeshore, the IZOD IndyCar Series race was set to launch just prior to 1PM eastern time. Justin Wilson took full advantage of his pole position an early lead. Behind him, the field made it through the first corner without incident, an uncharacteristic event for IndyCar races during the first lap through the tight initial corner. Though the first corner was trouble-free, this did not mean there wasn't a moment of contact through lap one. Heading into turn 3, #4 Panther Racing car of Don Wheldon brushed his front wing into the rear of EJ Viso's KV Racing Technology car. The #4 car's damage was easily repairable after a quick through premature pit stop.

Photo Credit: Ron McQueeney

Going caution-free through the opening stages, many drivers were able to launch into better positions. Starting 24th, Paul Tracy driving a #15 KV Racing Technology car sponsored by Honda Canada and Make a Wish Canada shot forward in 6 positions. Near the front, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing #10 of Dario Franchitti made it pass Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay to settle in 3rd place. Making use of a new Honda engine changed since the Saturday qualifying session, Franchitti was spared being dropped to the end of the pack when his race team issued a protest with Honda.

On lap 19, 2 of 4 KV Racing Technology drivers added to a growing number of incidents happening within the 2010 season for the team. In this scenario on turn 3 of the Toronto street course, Takuma Sato's #5 connected with the #32 of Mario Moraes drawing full-course caution. Providing an opportune time for pit stops, leaders pitted led by Wilson but left out 4th as Castroneves, Franchitti and Will Power were sent out quicker than the Dreyer and Reinbold Racing team. However, instead of the #3 Verizon Penske Racing car leading the field to the restart, hometown favourite Paul Tracy took the green first virtue of staying on track as others pitted. the #14 of Vitor Meira also elected to stay out.

Gaining first and second place, those two cars bred a situation which would prove costly to race front-runners. Into turn 3, Meira's lack of grip and braking caught Helio Castroneves by surprise as the #3 car slammed the rear of the #14 before sliding down into the tire barrier off-track. Though the driver was unhurt, the same could not be said for the #3 Dallara-Honda. This full-course yellow coming only a lap after a previous caution period, a pattern developed within this one-third race distance seeing the Honda Indy transformed from a high-speed street race to a parade of $500,000 open wheel race cars. After 5 laps of cleaning up Castroneve's machine, Alex Lloyd wrecked this Dale Coyne Racing #19 in turn 1 immediately following the restart. Dale Coyne Racing was already suffering from a difficult race as their #18 car driven by Milka Duno was unable to meet race speed early on in the Honda Indy event.

Following the clean-up for that caution on lap 32, trouble turn 3 lured another incident race-ending contact as the #34 of Mario Romanchini was spun backwards into the wall by Mario Moraes driving ironically the #32 car. Paul Tracy, who had just lost the lead to Dario Franchitti in the lap, along with Dan Wheldon took advantage of the green remaining out to pit just prior to IRL officials elevating the local yellow to a full-field caution. For Moraes part in the incident, the Brazilian was sentenced to a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

Once the Honda Indy was sent back to green on lap 35, Dario Franchitti ruled ahead the mid-stage with this green Airwick-sponsored #10 car leading for 19 laps. Leading the #12 of Will Power and the #22 of Justin Wilson, Franchitti relinquished the position pitting as the lead pack confronted lapped traffic. The #12 of Power and #22 of Wilson would pit one lap later in a move which eventually proved very beneficial to those competitors. With Wilson's Dreyer and Reinbold Racing team unable to prevent 3 cars from passing their driver through the first pit stop, the crew definitely made up for the early slip on the lap 55 stop as they beat the highly-trained wrenches of the Team Penske to get Justin Wilson out ahead of Will Power. The duo also beat Dario Franchitti for position leaving pit road.

Into the last one-third distance of the 85 lap 2010 Honda Indy Toronto, it was evidently go-time for the IZOD IndyCar drivers. One dicey incident involved the #26 of Marco Andretti and the #06 of Graham Rahal through turn 3. Entered into the first of a six-race deal with former team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, Rahal was driving for his fourth team in the 2010 season. The crowding of the two drivers of auto racing pedigrees did not result in any damage but the single-car incident #15 car of Paul Tracy made for a more dramatic turn 3 moment.

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/XSL Speed Reporter

Attempting to out-brake rookie Simona de Silvestro, Tracy locked up skidding off-track. Slow for most of the Honda Indy weekend, Paul Tracy and the KV Racing Technology team chased handling problems that were discovered until after IZOD IndyCar qualifying. Proving to be a more formidable match for Sunday's race, this late race stall demoted Tracy to a one lap back finish in 13th place. On the same lap, the #8 of EJ Viso and #2 of Raphael Matos collided in turn 6.

As caution was needed, another restart saw Justin Wilson's 3 second lead wiped clean as Will Power was able to challenge the #22 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing car on lap 70. With a perfectly-timed acceleration on the restart, Power launched past Wilson on the frontstretch beating the #22 car into turn 1. Falling to 2nd, Wilson fell deeper in the field when he spun in a slick turn 8 losing a chance at a once certain win. Continuing to an eventual 7th place, Justin Wilson's lost podium finish was not the only disappointment to occur with the front-runners. A contact between the #37 of Ryan Hunter-Reay and the Scott Dixon's #9 Dallara-Honda ended with Dixon's #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car suffer terminal front suspension damage.

With special Hot Wheels sponsorship on his #77 Fazzt Race Team car, Alex Tagliani was having a luck warm outcome in the 2010 Honda Indy of Toronto through much of the event. However, near the end, many of the competitors treated the Hot Wheels much like a youngster. Caught up in the lap 65 crash of Matos and Viso, Tagliani's efforts for a strong finish in Toronto were ended when Tomas Scheckter, driving the #24 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing car, attempted to make a late braking maneuver on the inside of the #77 on lap 73 triggering the final full course yellow. In post race, an angry Tagliani implied that he can't wait to get to Edmonton because 'there are a lot of front wing I would like to damage'.

On the final return to green flag competition, Will Power flew away from the #10 car of Franchitti. 5th through 12th maintained itself as a close, dicey pack but there were no further incidents as the Honda Indy of Toronto ran out of laps. With a higher push-to-pass count and a healthy lead, Power's #12 Penske Racing car took victory for the second-straight race. Dario Franchitti, the 2009 winner of the first Honda Indy under the IRL sanctioning body, held off a late charge from Ryan Hunter-Reay for 2nd place.

With Ryan Hunter-Reay bringing his #37 car to a podium finish, he headed up a rather strong effort by Andretti Autosport as Tony Kanaan achieved a quiet but honourable 4th, Danica Patrick brought her #7 past the line in 6th and Marco Andretti placed 8th at the end of the 85 lap event. Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti, a 7-time winning driver of the Toronto IndyCar event which includes 5 consecutive victories, had a hand in bringing the race back to Toronto in 2009 as a promoter. Since divested from the event promotion, Michael Andretti's former business partner Kim Green took command of the Honda Indy as part of a corporate divorce settlement.

Though the chance to see Dreyer and Reinbold Racing in victory lane was foiled, there were still some excellent efforts put forth by smaller IZOD IndyCar teams in the 2010 Honda Indy of Toronto finishing order. While the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team has historical roots bringing 3 drivers to Honda Indy victories since the race's 1986 inception, their position in the IZOD IndyCar Series is not as strong as it once was in open wheel racing. However, Graham Rahal(son of the inaugural Toronto Indy winner), showed a flash of past brilliance obtaining a 5th place finish. Having started the race 21st, Simona de Silvestro was able to dial a career-best IZOD IndyCar 9th place result taking the Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing #78 across the Toronto start/finish line ahead of the #4 car of Dan Wheldon. After three disastrous races, de Silvestro is back in the rookie of the year fight. Worth honourable mentions just outside of the top-10 is AJ Foyt Racing's Victor Meira who leaped 15 spots to 11th on the day.

Will Power's win in Toronto extends his lead in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar road racing points as well as the overall points. Power holds a 42-point lead over Dario Franchitti and a 78-point gap on Scott Dixon in 3rd place. With 7 races left in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, including the July 25th running of the Edmonton Honda Indy event, points are starting to become much more valuable with Australian in a strong position to win or lose.

In the books, the 2010 Honda Indy Toronto was a complete success almost returning to the fan following of the 1990s where the race received around 140,000 spectators through the three-day weekend. With the 25th anniversary of the Toronto IndyCar race in preparations as of earlier this month, the race's future is safe and will bring the sounds of speed to the waterfront for years.

Honda Indy Toronto
2010 IZOD IndyCar Series
Race Results

1. 12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
2. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
3. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
4. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
5. 02 Graham Rahal/United States/ Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing
6. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
7. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
8. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
9. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
10. 4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
11. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Racing Enterprises
12. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
13. 15 Paul Tracy/Canada/ KV Racing Technology
14. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology
15. 24 Tomas Scheckter/ South Africa/ Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
16. 36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
17. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
18. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
19. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
20. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
21. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ de Ferran Dragon Racing
22. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing
23. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing
24. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
25. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
26. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing

Countdown to the Honda Indy #4: Justin Wilson Scores Toronto Pole Over Penske's Power

Honda Indy Toronto
2010 IZOD IndyCar Series
Starting Order

1. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
2. 12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
3. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
4. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
6. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
7. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
8. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
9. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
10. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
11. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ de Ferran Dragon Racing
12. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
13. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
14. 02 Graham Rahal/United States/ Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing
15. 4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
17. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing
18. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
19. 24 Tomas Scheckter/ South Africa/ Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
20. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology
21. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
22. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
23. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing
24. 15 Paul Tracy/Canada/ KV Racing Technology
25. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing
26. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Racing Enterprises

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Countdown to the Toronto Honda Indy #6: Meet The Support Series

Preparations for the IZOD IndyCar series 85 lap affair on Sunday garners the most attention, The so-called support series are also providing an almost endless choir of engine revving all over the Toronto street circuit for the 2010 Honda Indy. Below are the kinds of cars on site and ready to compete in their own rights for a valuable victory:

Firestone Indy Lights

Car Type: Open Wheel Dallara
Est. Fast Lap Times: 1 minute, 5 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 450 horsepower
Leading Canadians: James Hinchcliffe

The IZOD IndyCar Series' official support level, the Firestone Indy Lights series has grown tremendously in popularity as high-quality future open wheel stars are in the 2010 crop. With hometown hero James Hinchcliffe certain to give his Team Moore Racing #2 an important driver into Sunday's main race, Charlie Kimball and Frenchman as well as leading 2010 Indy Lights point leader J.K. Vernay will also be strong on the Toronto street course.

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

Car Type: Stock Car
Est Fast Lap Time: 1 minute, 20 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 450-500
Leading Canadians: JR Fitzpatrick, DJ Kennington

The first time for which the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be posted on the Honda Indy weekend schedule, this is not the first time that Canada's leading stock car racing tour is competing on the Lakeshore street course.

Based on previous stock car bouts, Saturday afternoon's race will be a certified crowd pleaser as competitors have shown no apprehension to use fiberglass muscle to gain or hold position. Regular 2010 NASCAR Canadian Series drivers JR Fiztpatrick and Jim Lapcevich often show well on road and street course. However, coming from wins in NASCAR K&N Series races in the U.S., 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire champ Andrew Ranger will belt in for the round definitely operating as a ringer.

Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship
Car Type: Production-based Touring Car
Est. Fast Lap Time: 1 minute, 22 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 300 (Touring Class), 400 (Super Class)
Leading Canadians: Super Class- Nick Wittmer and Dave Ciekiewicz Touring Class: Alain Lauziere and Anthony Rapone
2009 Winner: Super Class- Greg Pootmans (2 races) Touring Class- Alain Lauziere, Anthony Rapone

Returning to the Honda Indy after a successful 2009 debut, the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship are competing in races on Saturday and Sunday with two classes of race machines. Cars campaigned in the series include Honda Civics, BMW 3-Series, Volkswagen GTis and even the Mini Cooper.

Acura Sports Car Challenge
Car Type: Production-based Sports and Touring Car
Est Fast Lap Time: 1 minute, 15 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 425-525(GT), 300-400 (GTS), 180-200 (Touring Car)
Leading Canadians: Kuno Wittmer

Adding a second production-based car class to the Honda Indy 2010 weekend has the Acura Sports Car Challenge running a 50 minute timed event on Saturday. Contrary to the Acura name being on the series, the series has a wide-range of manufacturers represented within three classes. Expect to see a strong showing for the Realtime Racing Acura TSX cars in the GTS class as well as a battle for GT led by Volvo S60s of veteran world-class road racers Andy Pligrim and Randy Pobst

SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series
Car Type- Purpose-built Sports Car
Est. Horsepower: 800
Leading Canadians: Kenny Wilden?, Greg Clifton and Blaise Caida

The Trans-Am series had actually visited the Toronto CNE grounds in previous years when Champ Car sanctioned the event. At that time, the Trans-Am series was briefly free from the long-time sanctioning by the SCCA. The standalone Trans-Am series failed in only a few short seasons but the name was revived by the SCCA. A series name which featured Mark Donohue, Parnelli Jones and Canadian Ron Fellows as alumni, the 2010 Honda Indy weekend event will have Tony Ave and Tomy Drissi favoured but Kenny Wilden could spoil if he has been entered in the race.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Red Bull Racing Battle Results With Webber Claiming British Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

The British Grand Prix's running at Silverstone is one of few F1 events which actually predates the inception of the current Formula 1 sanctioning body. Ever since the first running of the event on the former World War 2 Era RAF Bomber airfield, there have been some memorable developments which included the collision with a sheep in the inaugural Silverstone race.

Flashing forward to the 2010 race, the reigning winner Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole ahead of his Australian teammate Mark Webber perhaps thanks to aerodynamic revisions Vettel's Red Bull-Renault wore through qualifying. Showing to be a class above other teams through Saturday's time trial for grid position, the Red Bull Racing drivers looked to once again duke amongst themselves. With both Red Bull-Renaults showing near equal pace within the season, Vettel and Webber have not always shown the best in teamwork when starting close together. Dramatically resulting in a collision at the Turkish Grand Prix, the rivalry between the Red Bull Racing F1 drivers has been bordering on an all-out feud.

First and second on the British Grand Prix grid as the lights went out, Webber found the edge on his teammate Vettel from the standing start. Starting 3rd, looking to spoil the Red Bull Racing party, Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren-Mercedes was aggressive early seeking a move on the now displaced polesitting car of Sebastian Vettel. In result of the contentious start, Vettel suffered a major setback as he lost pressure in one of his Bridgestone tires. With some speculation that the dice from the start with teammate Mark Webber had some direct involvement for the tire puncture, Vettel speculated contact might have been with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren air dam. With Sebastian Vettel forced to make a pit stop on lap 2, Mark Webber was left as the lone Red Bull-Renault left to fight for British Grand Prix victory.

Now in 2nd place, the McLaren-Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton fell into hot pursuit of the Renault-powered Formula 1 leader with another factory-backed Renault of Robert Kubica running 3rd. Enjoying another run near the front in the improved Renault R30 race car, Kubica was one-half of another major race battle. Between his Renault and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, Kubica fought hard to hold back the challenger to the 3rd place position. On lap 17, Alonso speared for the podium spot ducking his Ferrari on the inside of Kubica heading into turn 8. In a defense driving move which appeared that Robert Kubica was squeezing the Ferrari into the corner, Alonso refused to let up remaining alongside into the S-shaped area. In fact, Fernando Alonso would make his way around Kubica's Renault Possibility a controversial decision considering that Kubica played a part in forcing the Ferrari off-track initially, Alonso was assessed a drive-through penalty for the pass off the track surface.

With an impending penalty for Fernando Alonso, Robert Kubica was not free from trouble. Unfortunately for Kubica, his quest to score points in a 9th straight grand prix events was ended when his Renault R30 suffered a left rear driveshaft failure. Kubica's retirement was presided only by the Virgin-Cosworth of Lucas di Grassi for what would eventually in a very light race casualty list.

Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic

On lap 28, the BMW Sauber-Ferrari of Pedro de la Rosa shed debris from a damaged rear wing. Landing within the racing groove littering the Silverstone frontstretch, the FIA pulled out the Mercedes-Benz SLS safety car.

Prior to the safety car period, Webber was enjoying a comfortable lead over Hamilton. With the Red Bull Racing team experimenting with new parts for improving their on-track performance, McLaren was also involved in extracting greater potential from their current car coming with an all-new exhaust system which was planned to improve aerodynamics. Instead, through Friday practice, the team found the new exhaust pieces were actually impeding the car's performance. McLaren team mechanics worked hard to remove the systems on both cars reverting back to another existing exhaust. While improving the McLaren-Mercedes cars, both were ultimately short on catching the Red Bull-Renault of Mark Webber.

Through the last stage of the race as the top-2 stabilized, Nico Rosberg had quietly broke into the final podium spot with the Mercedes GP team car. The British Grand Prix would net Rosberg has 3rd podium finish of the season in another race where he outperformed Michael Schumacher. Schumacher himself finished 9th in the grand prix and has caught the ears of many Formula 1 insiders would have heard dissatisfaction coming from the 7-time world driving champion about the 2009 return to the series. In post race, Schumacher responded "Again a race which I am not really happy about today. It was ok and seeing Nico on the podium is good for the team but my race was obviously less rewarding."

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Coming down to the end, Fernando Alonso's attempt to regain points for the Formula 1 championship encountered another problem as contact with a Force India car resulted with a tire puncture sending him back to the pits for an unscheduled tire change. Finishing 14th in this British Grand Prix, the Scuderia Ferrari team hit a real sour note in the 2010 British Grand Prix as Felipe Massa was one place behind Alonso at the checkered flag.

Webber's Red Bull-Renault retained the lead while the second team car provided some jarring on-track action through the final laps of the British Grand Prix. Finishing 7th after a hard charge after the tire puncture, Sebastian Vettel was aided by the safety car period as well as his own determination to pass the Force India-Mercedes of Adrian Sutil on the final laps. Describing the race in the Red Bull Racing website, Vettel candidly admitted "There are some days where you should just stay in bed. Today was one of those days, or let's say, the beginning of the race was." As for the Webber/Vettel feud, Vettel made no indications of this even congratulating Mark Webber on the win.

Crossing the line to collect his 3rd 2010 Formula 1 win for Red Bull Racing, the Australian driver Mark Webber maintained a marginal gap on the two Mercedes-Benz engines within Hamilton's McLaren and Rosberg's factory-based Mercedes GP car. Another Mercedes-powered McLaren also rolled home 4th place on the Silverstone circuit for an important points day. Making a barn-burning charge within the early stages from a 14th place starting spot, 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button retained 2nd in the Formula 1 standings behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

With the drama for Ferrari and struggles for one-half of Red Bull Racing, the 2010 British Grand Prix was noteworthy for the performance of some of the mid-marker Formula 1 teams. Both Williams-Cosworth cars of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg scored points for a race close to the team's home base. However, the most impressive single driver performance from a mid-marker team came from Japan's
Kamui Kobayashi who brought his BMW Sauber-Ferrari 6th across the line as a career-best for the driver.

Leaving the historic British track, next for the Formula 1 cars is the German Grand Prix where several popular native drivers would try to score victory at the Hockenheimring. The German Grand Prix is set for two weeks on July 25th.

British Grand Prix

2010 Formula 1

Race Results

1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
5. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
6. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
10. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
11. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
13. Vitaly Petrov Renault
14. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
15. Felipe Massa Ferrari
16. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
17. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
18. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
19. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth
20. Sakon Yaramoto HRT-Cosworth
21. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
22. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
23. Robert Kubica Renault F1
24. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth

Countdown to the Honda Indy Toronto #7: Random Shots of the 2009 Event

In little more than one week's time, the IZOD IndyCar Series will be unleashed on the Lakeshore streets of the city of Toronto for the main event, the 24th running of the Honda Indy. With an entire weekend of excitement involved in this year's event, XSL Speed Reporter will attempt to prepare you for this race which is very close to me geographically and personally.

As the 2010 Honda Indy of Toronto is vastly approaching, I welcome you to view some of my pictures of last year's event.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reutimann Breezes to Convincing Chicagoland Sprint Cup Win

Photo Credit: Jon Harrelson/ Getty Images for NASCAR

With many NASCAR fans reminiscing about the wacky and entertaining 4th of July weekend race at Daytona just one week ago, fans planned on seeing a much different race this Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway situated in Joliet, Illinois.

Within the restrictor plate event a week ago, it's accepted to see a few surprise climbs to the front of the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. Unfortunately, the remaining ovals on the series stock car tour are known for their status quo runners. This year, the #48 Lowes Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson, #11 FedEx Toyota of Denny Hamlin and the presence of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Kurt Busch made for a rather uncomplicated winner selection process through 2010. Heading into one of the so-called 'cookie-cutter' 1.5 oval tri-oval, it initially appeared likely that this fate was going to appear at the 400 mile Chicagoland Speedway night race

Assembling the front row of the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway was the #1 McDonald's sponsored Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray and the #48 Lowes Chevy of Jimmie Johnson. Once the green flag started the Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup affair, Johnson wasted no time rushing past McMurray. Taking the lead on lap 1, Jimmie Johnson kept the Hendrick Motorsports-prepped stock car out front through the first 92 laps of the 400.

Racing under the lights for the 3rd time at Chicagoland Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors one team which came to grips of the new style race was the Michael Waltrip Racing organization. Both starting within the top-10 the #00 as well as the #56 Toyota Camrys of David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr were noted for spending the entire race hovering within the group of stock cars.

While fortune found the Michael Waltrip Racing team, another Toyota team was suffering a uncharacteristically off-race at Chicagoland Speedway. The troubles of the Joe Gibbs Racing three-car group starting in qualifying where Denny Hamlin became the high-placed team car in 17th place, one spot ahead of his #20 teammate Joey Logano. Kyle Busch, the 2008 winner of this event, started deep in 33rd place though few observers of the #18 Toyota were concerned that Busch would not find have way to the front. However, in this event, the #18 just never found the pace to move at any point in the night. Fighting hard to branch up to 17th at the end, Kyle Busch proclaimed on Twitter "Rough nite. Fought harder for 17th than most wins. Just didn't hav the speed we needed. Need this wk off to regroup!".

As Joe Gibbs Racing was enduring difficulties through the night, they were not the only juggernaut to experience troubles. Losing the lead the McMurray after leading 92 laps, Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevrolet would fall victim to a tire blow-out through the Chicagoland oval's backstretch on lap 137. Sliding through the infield grass, the Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was little more than a little dirty. Able to continue in the event, the #48 Chevrolet would be removed from front-running competition eventually finishing one lap down in 25th place. Becoming a father to a baby daughter delivered by his wife Chandra this past week, Jimmie Johnson's lose at the track this weekend comes after an enormous, unmatched victory which no race or championship will compare.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images

With Jamie McMurray leading 72 circuits of the 400 with his #1 Chevy, the Dupont #24 Chevy took over the race lead for 165 to lap 200 with Jeff Gordon still attempting to lock his first win of 2010.

With Chevrolets of Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing appearing to be left to their own devices at the front, David Reutimann's Tums-sponsored #00 pushed forward to take the lead with his Toyota. Leading at first for 1 lap as the #24 of Gordon charged back reclaiming the position, Reutimann's Toyota would soon make a more lasting impression in first place. Leading 11 more laps, Jeff Gordon suddenly developed handling issues with his #24 Chevy costing him speed and eventually the race lead to David Reutimann taking a more permanent hold on the 1st place spot on lap 213.

A final round of pit stops for the field saw David Reutimann turn over the lead for 3 laps but his #00 Toyota was recycled back to the front once all teams pitted. Encountering some fierce lapped traffic through the final run, Reutimann sailed to victory at Chicagoland Speedway. The 2nd win in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, the 400 race may prove an even sweeter trophy for the Florida driver. Unlike the first win in the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 where rain played a factor in reducing the race distance, the LifeLock 400 run the full 267 lap duration. Being David Reutimann's 2nd win, it proves that the first win was no fluke which can serve as a major boost to the driver's physique.

Behind Reutimann's #00 Toyota, the Ford of Carl Edwards had reason to celebrate. The highest finish of the year for the driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing team, Edwards and the whole four-car operation of Jack Roush have been struggling to find a winning formula for 2010. Jeff Gordon, the #33 Chevy of Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 5 for the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

In Sprint Cup series points, the top-3 remain in their respected positions but changes pivotal to the fast-approach chase did occur. Clint Bowyer climbed from 13th to 11th while Dale Earnhardt Jr lost two positions in the point standings as a result to a dismal 23rd place run falling out of the 12 driver cut. Rising two spots to 15th place, David Reutimann is also a mathematically close 96 points with still two months worth of races to go.

The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup tour receives a week off before hitting the 2.5 mile Brickyard of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup 400
Chicagoland Speedway
Top-10 Finishers Plus Other Notables

Pos # | Car # | Driver | Sponsor/Car Make
1 00 David Reutimann TUMS Toyota
2 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Silver Ford
3 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
4 33 Clint Bowyer Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
5 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet
6 9 Kasey Kahne Budweiser Ford
7 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
8 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota
9 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot Chevrolet
10 98 Paul Menard Moen / Menards Ford

16 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
17 18 Kyle Busch Snickers Toyota
23 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy / National Guard Chevrolet
25 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet

IndyCar Needs More Dedicated TV Partners

Photo Credit: Christopher Nagy

The 200-plus mile per hour open wheel race cars have been zooming in front of an improved business model. In the past two years, increased field participation, a richer quality lineup of drivers and the IndyCar series title sponsor with high-end apparel company IZOD has shown the the potential of some newfound glory for the American auto racing tour. Acquiring new allies as the sport rebuilds, one aspect which is pivotal to the immediate growth of the IZOD IndyCar series is television broadcast partners committed to the series. In this situation, it's clear the Indy Racing League may not be getting their value from some of the current television package.

Allow me to first exclude the team that puts the IndyCar races together on the American cable channel Versus. While I'm in Canada and forced to settle with what our cable sports channel wants to show, I have been impressed by the play-by-play and the focus directed towards the IZOD IndyCar Series itself. Another network, which I will name later, tends to run IndyCar races in the foreground but covers it as a sideshow to celebrity guests and other shows on the TV station. I wish Versus would be broadcasted directly to Canada since I'll also have a few issues to share with the Canadian sports channel. We know that distribution is an issue with Versus in the United States for Versus as 19.6 million American DirecTV customers missed the Sao Paulo IndyCar opener due to fee disputes. However, the broadcasts are refreshing realizing the IZOD IndyCar Series as a premier racing series.

Witnessing Versus as providing an excellent IndyCar telecast, ABC races for IndyCar stand out as horrendous. I remembered when ABC (or ESPN on ABC) covered the CART/Champ Car series in the early 2000s they pioneered this effort to interview winners while they were on their cool-down lap. ABC were running the races so tight on time they couldn't even broadcast a proper victory lane ceremony.

In the last race broadcast of the Camping World at the Glen, the start caught the ABC team by surprise as they were focused on a pre-race pit report as the green flag dropped. Essentially missing the start of the race, this is certainly a mistake no NASCAR race coverage would dare to make happen.

Backing up claims that the ABC broadcast is working like an advertisement to their other shows, announcers in the race mentioned no fewer than three times of Danica Patrick's NASCAR Nationwide Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire. While it is not unusual to point out other efforts of IndyCar drivers, the talk about Patrick reeked of promoting Patrick in NASCAR rather than her current efforts in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Of course, since the ABC parent company spent considerable monies securing the NASCAR Nationwide Series it seems operative that they plug the stock car racing series.

As bad as ABC can be, imagine worse. In Canada, TSN (The Sports Network) handles the entire coverage scheme of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series doing few favours for the open wheel division. Getting spotty coverage throughout the year, many of the broadcasts were diverted to TSN's digital-only channel TSN2. While live auto racing coverage has become the norm, the June 20th race at Iowa Speedway witnessed the Canadian-based network drag open wheel racing into a wrong direction. Race fans were figurately punted into the wall as the Iowa Corn 250 aired on the digital channel around midnight on early Monday morning. Insulting the racing fateful fans to the IZOD IndyCar, many fans who needed to get up early for work missed Tony Kanaan take victory in one of the most exciting races of the year. Decreasing the effective reach for the series, one full-time Canadian driver Alex Tagliani (two if you include Ryan-Hunter Reay who's mother was Canadian) gets shouldered onto another network as they provide less patriotic sports on the primary channel. Unfortunately, I believe that TSN only picks up sports like the IZOD IndyCar Series in order to insure that a rival network can't. Since several IndyCar races run near the same time as a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, they don't want auto racing competition on the lower-tier cable channels.

In the most recent Watkins Glen race, ABC made one right move by using side-by-side coverage through portions of the race. Meaning that advertisements will be shown on one side of the screen while viewers can still watch the IZOD IndyCar Series race on the other, TSN refused to provide the same experience to Canadian customers. Was the sports channel that desperate to gather every dime of ad revenue?

I criticize only because I want networks to improve on their faults and provide the IZOD IndyCar Series with the respect it has richly earned. For the remaining races of 2010, I'll be watching.

Sebastian Vettel Flies to Silverstone Pole for British GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Storming to his first grand prix victory in Valencia, Spain since the Malaysian Grand Prix early in the F1 season, Sebastian Vettel is determined to relaunch the optimism the German had entering the 2010 campaign. While Vettel has been showing strength, teammate Mark Webber has endured two races which could have ended better for the Australian. Having the overcome a grid position reduction at the Canadian Grand Prix due to a gearbox change and an eye-catching crash in the European Grand Prix after colliding with a Lotus, Webber's momentum following the Monaco Grand Prix win is dimishing.

Competing on Silverstone this weekend, the Red Bull Racing has been an established frontrunner but the team is struggling to find consistency in this year's racing. With each Red Bull Racing driver finding themselves at the top of a speed chart for the two practices on Friday, Saturday qualifying was again going to be another speed battle between the Red Bull-Renault. Taking the top position for Sunday's race is Sebastian Vettel who eclipses Webber by about 14/100ths of a second. The 2009 winner of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Vettel will enjoy repeating that performance as he stands 12 points behind Lewis Hamilton. Definitely a battle amongst themselves, the Red Bull-Renaults' time, led by Vettel's 1 minute, 29.615 second fast lap in Q3, would be the only F1 cars to outrun the 1 minute, 30 second barrier.

With Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber being equal drivers for the Red Bull Racing squad, a team rivalry is clearly in place. When the battle is between the two of them, you simply have to look at the face of following driver to see the most disappointed F1 pilot.

7/10th of a second off the pace of Mark Webber's Red Bull-Renault, Ferrari emerged as the best of the rest with Fernando Alonso slotting into 3rd place. After a disappointing 8th place result from Alonso's home grand prix, the Spaniard and his Italian F1 team are looking for their record-setting 15th victory at the circuit. Currently, Ferrari shares the record for most constructor wins at Silverstone with the McLaren F1 team which happens to have Lewis Hamilton starting alongside Alonso in the second row. However, while Hamilton's McLaren was up to full song, handling problems on the McLaren-Mercedes of Jenson Button meant he could do better than 14th place for qualifying.

Mercedes GP placed Nico Rosberg into 5th place but Rosberg's teammate and seven-time world driving champion Michael Schumacher was 5 grid spots behind in 10th. Starting alongside the BMW Sauber-Ferrari of Pedro de la Rosa, it's interesting to note the ties between the two race teams. When Mercedes returned to Formula 1 in 1993, Sauber moved into F1 backed by the German auto company. It was also Sauber who gave Michael Schumacher his first major motorsport job driving in prototype sports car racing.

Photo Credit: Lotus Racing

Back in Formula 1, Lotus Racing's 2010 efforts are not spectacular but the team is showing incredible commitment to regain the traditions that followed the original Lotus Racing team. Through the weekend, a special visitor to the paddock included the Duke of York Prince Andrew as the racing name returns to Silverstone. With Heikki Kovalainen starting 19th and Jarno Trulli positioned in 22rd, the Lotus Racing team is not a favourite to win in 2010 but victory in the British Grand Prix was difficult even in the glory days of the Colin Chapman-based British team. Lotus last won the British Grand Prix in 1972.

With weather expected to be dry, the British Grand Prix on the grounds of the former RAF runway will start 1 P.M. local time (converting to 8 A.M. Eastern time for the attention many North American racing fans).

British Grand Prix

2010 Formula 1

Starting Lineup

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
6. Robert Kubica Renault F1
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari
8. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
9. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
11. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
12. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
13. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
15. Vitaly Petrov Renault
16. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
17. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
19. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
20. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (Assessed 5 grid position penalty for ruled blocking)
21. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
22. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
23. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth
24. Sakon Yaramoto HRT-Cosworth

Kyle Busch Wins NASCAR Nationwide Series Friday Night Showdown at Chicagoland

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2010) — Kyle Busch beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano in a green-white-checkered-flag finish to win Friday night’s Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch got a break when series points leader Brad Keselowski ran out of fuel on the final caution lap before the last green-flag run, which began with a restart on Lap 202. Keselowski’s misfortune allowed Busch to move to the front of the outside line, beside his teammate.

Busch was able to pin Logano to the bottom of the track and clear his teammate for the win. The race ended under caution because of a wreck on the frontstretch after Busch took the while flag to begin the final lap.

The victory was Busch’s seventh of the season and 37th all time, breaking a tie for second with Kevin Harvick on the all-time list. Braun Racing’s Brian Scott, David Reutimann and Jason Leffler finished third through fifth, respectively, as Toyotas swept the top five positions.

Danica Patrick finished a career-best 24th in her fifth series start.

Busch, who led a race-high 110 laps, took the lead for the first time on Lap 10 and dominated the race—despite a pit-road speeding call that required a pass-through penalty under green—until NASCAR threw a caution for debris in Turn 2 on Lap 141.

Logano took the lead on the subsequent restart on Lap 148 and remained out front in clean air. “It’s over,” Busch moaned on Lap 172, trailing Logano by nearly a second. “There ain’t going to be another caution. The freakin’ race is over.”

As it turned out, Busch was wrong. NASCAR called a caution for debris on Lap 185, and Busch pitted for four tires and a track bar adjustment designed to loosen the handling of his Toyota. He got his chance to win the race when Trevor Bayne slammed the Turn 1 wall on Lap 196.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Will Power Wins IZOD IndyCar Race at the Glen

Photo Credit: Steve Swope/ Penske Racing

On a 4th of July afternoon, a northern New York track was alive as the IZOD IndyCar Series trekked to the Watkins Glen International for this year's open wheel event. Competing on the expanded 3.4 mile Grand Prix course, the Sunday Camping World at the Glen held at the 11-turn road course would be the first time in 2 months that the IZOD Indy cars find themselves battling their left and right turns.

Taking pole on Saturday, Penske Racing's #12 Will Power returned to his dazzling road course form after four races of oval racing where the Australian experienced more difficulty than the first four road courses. Power led a 1-2-3 Penske Racing performance in qualifying with Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe assembling themselves in a position to atone for Penske Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup late race collapse at Daytona the previous night. Starting on the slower but harder Firestone black tires, the Penske Racing group started the race confident to run at the front. In first laps, Briscoe's #6 found his way around Castroneves' #3 with the first non-Penske Racing challenge on the top-3 wouldn't come until lap 4.

Starting on faster, softer red option tires, the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing pair of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti ran down the 3rd place running Castroneves pressuring the Brazilian at one point with a three-wide passing attempt. While the #3 Penske Racing car averted the aggressive Target cars for that instant, Dario Franchitti's #10 car would find his way around Helio Castroneves on lap 6 with Franchitti's #9 teammate of Scott Dixon eager to follow. Through the Esses Dixon thought he saw a chance but ended up colliding with Castroneves. Damaging the #9 car's right front wing plate and the puncturing the left rear of the #3, both cars would continue the race but their early race pit stops required both teams to fall off sequence with the field. Ultimately ending up as a disadvantage dropped them down the leadership late in the Camping World at the Glen running, Helio Castroneves would assess blame to Dixon in post race as "..a little impatience by the #9."

Several newcomers to the 2010 IZOD IndyCar schedule were featured at the Camping World at the Glen race. Starting his first race of the year, Paul Tracy took over the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing #24. Just missing the field for the Indy 500, Tracy's presence at Watkins Glen comes weeks before two races in Canada which he is guaranteed to be a favourite. In this preparation event with the #24 team however, Paul Tracy his way up from 12th to 9th at lap 4 but was dealing with an ill-handling race car deeper into the run which erased those early gains. While the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing crew were able to get the race vehicle more to Tracy's liking later in the race but lost too much distance to become a factor within the event. However, Paul Tracy did have a spirited bout with former A1 Grand Prix driver Adam Carroll. Driving a 5th Andretti Autosport car, team driver Marco Andretti helped the driver get noticed to driver this race as well as the upcoming Mid-Ohio round.

On lap 17, a spin and stall by the #4 car of Dan Wheldon brought out the race's first full course caution. Many drivers pitted to the attention of their pit crews with the #9 of Scott Dixon being one exception to lead the race with #8 KV Racing Technology car of EJ Viso and the FAZZT Race Team #77 driven by Alex Tagliani following, each running on different pit stop strategies. Once the race restarted, the #8 and #77 would pit 6 laps later leaving the participants of the early race incident Dixon and Castroneves in the top-2 spots. As the continued, the #9 and #3 would pit returning the lead to the #12 of Will Power by lap 32.

Following the previous year minor upset victories, the #2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing team car piloted by Raphael Matos was delivering a strong mid-race emergence from 9th starting spot. In past runnings of the Watkins Glen IndyCar round the race was highlighted by the performance of incredible drivers behind the wheel of non-superteam cars. In 2008, Ryan Hunter-Reay drove to a fierce victory in the last full season of the Rahal-Letterman Racing outing. Last season, Justin Wilson delivered another minor upset to win the race for Dale Coyne Racing delivering the popular long-time owner his first win in top open wheel series. The efforts of Matos in the 2010 Watkins Glen race was complicated since lap 17 when his car's telemetry system malfunctioned. Ending up with a convincingly brilliant finish of 4th at the end, team president Gil de Ferran was quick to credit everyone when the de Ferran Dragon Racing team for the season-best run. “First, the engineers made some great decisions overnight and the crew made the car reliable. Second, we have been struggling lately with pit stops, but the crew was flawless today and even gained us a position on one of the stops. And last but certainly not least, Rafa drove a champion’s race today. He was calm, cool and collected. He was extremely fast all day, running at the same pace as the leaders and attacked when he needed. In short he was flawless and drove a really smart race."

Since winning the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award, Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro has been involved in a fire-filled crash at Texas and another terrible run at Iowa Speedway. Hoping to turn her fortunes back on the road courses would not allow de Silvestro to escape the recent streak of poor runs. At Watkins Glen, he #78 car slid through turn 8 on lap 40 and collided with the inner Armco barrier when she attempted to countersteer through the slide. Alright physically, de Silvestro remarked afterwards "...I tried to make up too much time. I made a mistake." Finishing 24th, this race is one the rookie and the Team Stargate World/HVM Racing organization will be working to put behind them as they head for the Toronto Honda Indy.

On what would be the Camping World at the Glen's final restart, Ryan Briscoe led Will Power out of the pits but the #12 of Power immediately put pressure on Briscoe's #6 car before reaching the bus stop. On lap 46, the #10 car of Dario Franchitti moved past Ryan Briscoe through the bus stop as he then mounted a challenge to Will Power. Looking good early for giving Target/Chip Ganassi Racing a fourth victory at the Watkins Glen IndyCar race, Franchitti would only fall within a second of the #12 on two separate laps. Admitting his used too much of his tires to get up to second place, Dario Franchitti would fall back into the clutches of Ryan Briscoe through the final lap passing the worn #10 car on the frontstretch through the final lap.

Taking victory for the first race since St Petersburg, Will Power drove a quiet, dominant race to keep him out front in the #12 Penske Racing car. Briscoe, Franchitti, Matos and the KV Racing Technology #32 of Mario Moraes rounded out the top-5 at the line.

Scoring the majority of points, Will Power pads his lead for the IZOD IndyCar Series overall standings as well as for road racing points total for the newly-named Mario Andretti Trophy.

As the Penske Racing team finished their celebration at Watkins Glen, the race enters 2011 as a question mark. Presenting a struggle for attracting fans and corporate hospitality, the IZOD IndyCar Series is unlikely to award a fourth of July weekend date next year. Unlike the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series which has heavily-invested corporations ready to sure up Coke Zero 400 hospitality to the event, the IZOD IndyCar Series is struggling to find companies and people willing to work through the July holiday weekend leading many rumours to assume the race is at least going to be moved elsewhere in the 2011 schedule. Other suggest the venue will leave the IZOD IndyCar tour altogether next year.

2010 IZOD IndyCar Series

Camping World at the Glen

Watkins Glen International

1. 12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
2. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
3. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
4. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ de Ferran Dragon Racing
5. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology
6. 4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
7. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
8. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
9. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
10. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
11. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
12. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
13. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
14. 24 Paul Tracy/Canada/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
15. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
16. 27 Adam Carroll/Northern Ireland/ Andretti Autosport
17. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
18. 36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Racing Enterprises
20. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
21. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
22. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing
23. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing
24. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
25. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing