Monday, May 28, 2012

Kahne Tames Early Hendrick Woes to Win Coca-Cola 600

Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

NASCAR's Memorial day Sunday counterpart to the Indianapolis 500, 43 Sprint Cup Series cars were readied for a race into the night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The longest race on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series calender, the Coca-Cola 600 started under the early evening sun with the #43 Ford of Aric Almirola leading the field to a green flag for 400 laps. In the Thursday qualifying, a strong effort by the Richard Petty Motorsports cars of Almirola and the #9 of Marcos Ambrose secured the front row positions at the 1.5-mile Charlotte track.

When green fell on the Coca-Cola 600, the Richard Petty Motorsport Ford Fusion stock cars would exchange the lead on three occasions in the first 6 laps. On lap 9, another member the Ford brigade would break Richard Petty Motorsports very early hold of the 400-lap event. The #16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Greg Biffle pass on Ambrose amounted to what would be 204 laps leading the Coca-Cola 600. After another brief exchange of the first spot with Marcos Ambrose's #9 car, Biffle's #16 Ford would lead from lap 23 for 90 consecutive circuits around the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval.

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Greg Biffle's domination in the first quarter of the Coca-Cola 600 was aided by the lack of a yellow flag slowing the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. Completing 113 caution-free laps opening the race, debris on the racetrack finally slowed the stock cars. After not seeing a caution for the race's first 169.5 miles, lap 113 to lap 179 would see the yellow flag pop out for what was four of the five caution periods during the Coca-Cola 600 event. All but one of the yellow flags in the event were a result of debris (Travis Kvapil's #93 Toyota scraping with the turn 4 wall on lap 174 was the only exception).

Past the halfway point of the event, the race-contending #9 Ford of Marcos Ambrose was brought to the garage due to a damaged hub on his racing machine. Though the determined Richard Petty Motorsports team were able to return Ambrose to the racetrack after losing just 13 laps to the garage, the effort by the #9 car resulted in a 32nd place finish for the Tasmanian driver. A similar hub failure was also connected to a loss of laps for the #22 Penske Racing Dodge of AJ Allmendinger.

The season for Kasey Kahne started with 4 finishes of 29th or worse in the first 6 races. After a 38th place finish at the Martinsville race, Kahne and the #5 Hendrick Motorsport team turned their fortunes around by placing in the top-8 in each of the five NASCAR Sprint Cup races leading up to the Cola-Cola 600. Taking the lead of the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 for the first time on lap 220, Kahne's #5 Chevrolet blazed to the front of the field just as the lights brightened the Charlotte Motor Speedway. A race Kasey Kahne had won twice before, the pursuit of his first win with Hendrick Motorsports was coming fruition in the second-half of the Charlotte Motor Speedway event.

In the last 180 laps of the Coca-Cola 600, it was largely a battle between the #5 Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne and the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle. On lap 357, the race's final lead change resulted in Kahne out front of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Crossing the line with a 4.3 second advantage over second-place, the win for the #5 Chevrolet is the second win of the season for Hendrick Motorsports. For driver Kasey Kahne, he has now won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race driving for all four active manufacturers on the 2012 stock car tour.

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Unseating Greg Biffle from the top-3 in the Coca-Cola 600, Denny Hamlin finished a strong second in the #11 Toyota and #18 car of Kyle Busch came across the line third for Joe Gibbs Racing. With Biffle finishing fourth, the Roush Fenway Racing driver holds onto the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead by 10 points over teammate Matt Kenseth. Brad Keselowski's #2 Dodge rounded out the top-5 in a race that was completed at a record average speed of 155.687 miles per hour.

Winning the last two races on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour, Hendrick Motorsports delivered a strong overall performance with all 4 cars in the top-11. Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 6th and Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevrolet finished 7th (only Gordon's 3rd top-10 result in a difficult 2012 season. While Johnson did not lead a lap during the 600-mile event, the #48 Hendrick Motorsports car was considered a contender for the throughout the course of the Charlotte Motor Speedway event based on the previous weekend's performance in the Sprint All-Star race. However, a late pit miscue by the #48 crew caused by a stuck fuel can resulted in a penalty that would prevent Johnson from climbing any higher than 11th place.

Next race for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour is the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 3rd. Matt Kenseth is the defending winner of the last Spring race at the Dover 1-mile track.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race Results

1 5 Kasey Kahne Quaker State Chevrolet
2 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota
3 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Red-White-Blue Toyota
4 16 Greg Biffle Fastenal Ford
5 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
6 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard-An American Salute Chevrolet
7 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
8 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet
9 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
10 17 Matt Kenseth Fastenal Ford
11 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet
12 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
13 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
14 39 Ryan Newman US ARMY Chevrolet
15 27 Paul Menard Menards/Serta Chevrolet
16 43 Aric Almirola US Air Force Ford
17 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
18 83 Landon Cassill Burger King Real Fruit Smoothies Toyota
19 31 Jeff Burton Wheaties Chevrolet
20 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
21 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Arctic Cat Chevrolet
22 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford
23 20 Joey Logano Dollar General Toyota
24 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Ctr. Ford
25 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
26 38 David Gilliland Mod Space Ford
27 51 Kurt Busch Phoenix Construction Services Inc Chevrolet
28 47 Bobby Labonte Kingsford Charcoal Toyota
29 93 Travis Kvapil Dr. Pepper Toyota
30 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet
31 32 TJ Bell Green Smoke Ford
32 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
33 22 AJ Allmendinger Shell Pennzoil Dodge
34 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Armed Forces Foundation Toyota
35 34 David Ragan Al's Liners/Scorpion Coatings Ford
36 98 Michael McDowell Presbyterian Healthcare Ford
37 95 Scott Speed Jordan Truck Sales Ford
38 30 David Stremme Inception Motorsports Toyota
39 33 Stephen Leicht Little Joe's Autos/Precon Chevrolet
40 36 Dave Blaney SealWrap Chevrolet
41 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy / SWM Toyota
42 74 Cole Whitt Turn One Racing Chevrolet
43 26 Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford

Focused Franchitti Fulfils Third Indy 500 Win


A 500-mile, 200-lap celebration where people gather around 33 speed-oriented automobiles at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 is a titanic struggle that one who prevail with the ultimate prize of the Borg-Warner trophy.

The 96th edition of what is one of the motorsport community’s most sought-over events on the planet started under some of the hottest Memorial day temperatures in the Indiana area. Either slightly below or above records according to weather measurements, the National Weather Service reported the mercury at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Providing for a challenge to the drivers and pit crew members of the 33 individual teams, everyone suited-up ready to accept the heat as another variable to contend with on the Sunday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Steve Swope /(C)2012 Steve Swope Photography

Without a hitch, the first Indianapolis 500 with the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series’ new DW12 Dallara and engine formula was set to roll off after the traditional remembrance of armed forces. The pre-race also involved a special tribute to the 2011 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon with his race-winning race car being piloted around the track by the Brit’s team owner Bryan Herta. A moment that was both beautiful and somber even with the roar of the car’s Honda engine deaden by the ongoing grieving of the driver lost last year at Las Vegas. A memory coinciding with the tribute to lost military defenders and the living veterans, there was definitely a heightened human connection that the auto racing community would enter the 2012 Indy 500 acknowledging.

Lining three-wide for the green flag, the field was led by the Australian Ryan Briscoe joined by Canadian James Hinchcliffe and American driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. An Indy 500 led by a row of non-race winners, the race started with those 3 of 33 drivers wanting Borg-Warner trophy as they prepare their first of 200 laps. Right from the start, the #27 Andretti Autosport-owned vehicle of Hinchcliffe secured a momentary advantage over Ryan Briscoe’s #2 Penske Racing car. From the start of the race to lap 18, Ryan Briscoe and James Hinchcliffe exchanged the lead on 6 occasions.

Photo Credit: Steve Swope /(C)2012 Steve Swope Photography

The first Indy 500 for Chevrolet since 1993, the first 44 laps featured Penske Racing and Andretti Autosport sending their 2012 engine supplier a message of firm support. Between Hinchcliffe, Briscoe and later the #26 Andretti Autosport car of Marco Andretti, the chances of one of those drivers being the first bowtie brand pilot to victory lane since Emerson Fittipadi in 1993 looked good. It was on lap 45 that Honda Racing Development led their first race lap. French-Canadian driver Alex Tagliani (driving for the Bryan Herta Autosport team that won the 2011 Indy 500 with Dan Wheldon) led two laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during a green flag pit stop exchange.

For the two Lotus-engined vehicles driven by HVM Racing‘s Simona de Silvestro and former Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi, the 2012 race was what would constitute as an embarrassment. By lap 10, both race cars were black-flagged for lack of pace in the Indy 500. Jean Alesi would finish 32nd while 2010 Indy 500 rookie of the year Simona de Silvestro finished last in the 2012 event. "I'm disappointed, but we didn't have speed from the beginning. I understand the call. We have to have more horsepower to be competitive.” said de Silvestro after her very short 9-lap race with the #78 HVM Racing car. The Indy 500 race results cap what has been a disastrous month-long of efforts with the Lotus engines in 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series competition.

In the first 80 laps of the Indianapolis 500, the performance of the Dallara DW12 race car in competition was demonstrated to much success. However, it would be on lap 80 where the new racing vehicle was tested in a serious crash at the Brickyard. Contact between a the #12 Penske Racing car of Will Power and a damaged vehicle of Mike Conway that spun on track resulted in a big turn 2 crash. Both drivers left their cars unhurt, the Australian driver Power was rather upset with his retirement coming after three IZOD INDYCAR Series race wins coming into the event. "(Conway) said the team sent him out with a broken wing. I don't understand why they would do that.” said Power who holds a best finish in the 500-mile race of 5th place coming in 2009. While the oval was never a strong-suit for Will Power, the 2012 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was his first retirement in competition at the track.

As the race entered into half-distance, the Honda-powered race car of Scott Dixon began showing impressive pace at the front. The #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing was competing at the front while teammate Dario Franchitti was recovering from an early race pit road incident on lap 18. Franchitti was spun when the KV Racing Technology car driven by EJ Viso impacted the rear of the #50 Target car. By lap 91, Dario Franchitti had been revived to a 2nd place run behind Dixon.

Aside from the Target Chip Ganassi Racing machine, the #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car had emerged as a frontrunner in the hands of Japan’s Takuma Sato. Sato took the lead of the Indy 500 from Scott Dixon on lap 119 to lead for the first of three occasions in the second-half of the race.

Past the halfway point, the 96th Indy 500 was a wide-open affair where at least 6 drivers were able to seriously contend for the win. While the Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars and Sato’s race vehicle were favourites, James Hinchcliffe was one of the drivers in the hunt for a victory. In what was only his second Brickyard competition in IZOD INDYCAR Series vehicles, Hinchcliffe ran steady in the top-10 throughout the 2012 Indianapolis 500. While fast, James Hinchcliffe was hampered on restarts or a set of slow pit stops including one on lap 166 where dropped from 5th to 11th place. James Hinchcliffe would work has way back to 6th place at the end of 200 laps still pursuing his first IZOD INDYCAR Series race win with his #27 Andretti Autosport car.

Three cautions occurred through the final 20 laps of the 2012 Indianapolis 500 including one involving early race favourite Marco Andretti. Crashing his #26 car on lap 187 on turn 1, Andretti’s 24th place finish was the end result of a frustrating second-half of the event for the driver. Expressed through animated radio chatter, Marco Andretti pressured himself and his father’s race team to what he hoped could be his first Indy 500. In post-race, Andretti indicate the Dreyer and Reinbold Racing car of Oriol Servia was the reason for his race end. "(Oriol) Servia decided to run two-wide at Indianapolis for two consecutive laps and makes me turn in from the white line. I had no hope of making that corner because not only am I turning in from the white line, he just crossed my bow, so I was completely out of it. Nothing I can do. I'm disappointed. I definitely rang my bell” said Andretti shortly after his retirement from the 2012 Indy 500. Marco Andretti would recant his criticism later on Twitter messaging, “Sorry for blaming @OriolServia. Was frustrated and totally out of it. I made my own bed there. Very sore. Unlucky but lucky.”

With a restart on lap 194, it was the two Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti who were in immediate position to achieve victory at the Brickyard. Swapping the lead twice ahead of the final lap, the Target cars battle for track position allowed Takuma Sato to stay close to the leaders through the last run of the Indy 500. With Dario Franchitti in the lead, Sato passed second-place #9 car of Scott Dixon and promptly mounted a charge on the #50 into turn one. With Franchitti and Sato sailing into the narrow first corner side-by-side, the tight battle resulted in the #15 traveling low into the turn and would lose control of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car. Impacting the turn 1 wall, Takuma Sato’s attempt to beat Dario Franchitti resulted in a full-course yellow that preserved victory for the #50 car.


Dario Franchitti crossed the start/finish line after 200 laps of the Indianapolis 500 just ahead of teammate Dixon. The Scottish driver’s third Indy 500 victory, Franchitti dedicated the victory to the late Dan Wheldon. For many competitors in the 2012 race, the thought of having their face image on the Borg-Warner trophy beside Wheldon’s would have been a high honour to a past racer that was a friend of many drivers.I think racing is emotion. “Life is, as well. But racing I think really exemplifies that, if that's the right word. And Vegas was the lowest of the low.” said Franchitti in post-race describing on the emotions involved in the sport of auto racing. “Fontana '99 and Vegas last year were the lowest of the low. I think the reason we all got back in the cars, the reasons all the mechanics got back in pit lane, the fans came back to the races, is days like today, the emotion of something like today. That's certainly why I got back in the car.“ said Franchitti. Dario Franchitti captured car owner Chip Ganassi’s 4th 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


With Honda winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500, they have won their 9th consecutive victory in the event. Facing firm competition from Chevrolet, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon finished ahead of the bowtie powered #11 car of Tony Kanaan. The high-finishing Chevrolet engined car at the end of the 2012 race, the effort for Kanaan and KV Racing Technology is much-needed momentum as the Brazilian continues to seek consistency through the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series season.

Converting to Chevrolet power just ahead of the Indy 500, the #22 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing car driven by Oriol Servia ended a solid 4th after qualifying 27th. Ryan Briscoe completed the top-5 in the finishing order of the 96th Indianapolis 500.

2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series
96th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Race Team Engine Supplier
1 50 Dario Franchitti Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
2 9 Scott Dixon Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
3 11 Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
4 22 Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
5 2 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet
6 27 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
7 18 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda
8 83 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
9 99 Townsend Bell Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda
10 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet
11 8 Rubens Barrichello KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
12 98 Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Honda
13 38 Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
14 4 JR Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet
15 19 James Jakes Dale Coyne Racing Honda
16 77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda
17 15 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
18 5 EJ Viso KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
19 30 Michel Jourdain Jr Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
20 7 Sebastien Bourdais Lotus-Dragon Racing Chevrolet
21 20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
22 6 Katherine Legge Lotus-Dragon Racing Chevrolet
23 25 Ana Beatriz Andretti Autosport/Conquest Racing Chevrolet
24 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
25 67 Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
26 17 Sebastian Saavedra AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
27 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
28 12 Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet
29 14 Mike Conway AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda
30 39 Bryan Clauson Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
31 41 Wade Cunningham AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda
32 78 Simona de Silvestro Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus
33 64 Jean Alesi Lotus – FP Journe – Fan Force United Lotus

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Webber Wins Tight Monaco GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

The streets of Monte Carlo is the most exotic Formula 1 racing locale in existence. The 2.075-mile street course is one of the slowest but most mentally testing circuits for Formula 1's drivers as they race within the wealthier sects of European culture.

With 5 different winners in the opening 5 races for the Formula 1 tour, the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix's unpredictable nature for competitors has historically resulted in some bizarre outcomes to the prestigious event. Even before this 6th race of the year started, the plot of the Monaco Grand Prix was one of intrigue. Saturday qualifying session's fastest car of Michael Schumacher was required to serve five-grid position penalty resulting from an incident at the Spanish Grand Prix. As the race's pole-sitting Mercedes GP racing machine was demoted to a 6th place start, Mark Webber was able to take the top position on the 24-car starting order.

When the green lights turned off to start the 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix, Webber's Red Bull-Renault got the necessary launch to hold off his fellow front row starter Nico Rosberg's Mercedes GP car. As two of the leaders got away safely into the first corner on the tight street course, the 4th and 6th place races cars in the Monaco Grand Prix would be involved in one of the race's early skirmishes. An altercation between Michael Schumacher and the Lotus-Renault of Romain Grosjean resulted in the Frenchman coming on the losing end of contact. Grosjean would fall out of the event without completing a single lap. In a separate incident on the start, the past grand prix winner Pastor Maldonado was also taken out of the Monaco race early with damage to his Williams-Renault.
The Monaco Grand Prix was an event that just took a turn for the worse for the 7-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher since winning pole in qualifying. The initial grid position penalty served at the start of the grand prix cost Schumacher the top position at the start with his Mercedes GP and a fuel pressure problem last in the event cost the German a solid race on a circuit he holds 5 previous victories. Parking his Mercedes GP car after 63 laps, Michael Schumacher has failed to finish 4 of the first 6 races in the 2012 Formula 1 season.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Rain was in the forecast through the afternoon event at Monaco. As race cars circulated around the Circuit de Monaco, the anticipation for showers steered the pit stop strategy which most teams planned only a single tire change. Most of the leaders pitted between lap 27 and lap 30 of the Monaco Grand Prix but Sebastian Vettel experimented with a different plan during the race. Compelled to be in position to take advantage of potential incoming rain showers, Vettel stayed out on track as him and his Red Bull Racing team gambled that rain could fall and they can pit for a set of wet weather tires. The strategy was abandoned on lap 46 when Sebastian Vettel pitted.  

With 10 laps to go, some light precipitation fell on the streets causing at least one car (the Toro Rosso-Ferrari of Jean-Eric Vergne) to pit for intermediate tires. The rain in the late stage of the Formula 1 event would not be effort to significantly phase drivers in the final laps and Vergne's intermediate tires was unable to capitalize.

The top-6 cars were only within 6.1 seconds of each other as Mark Webber took the checkered flag of the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix. Only 0.6 of a second ahead of the Mercedes GP team's Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber records his first win since the Brazilian Grand Prix Formula 1 finale last season.

While Webber is the 6th winner of 6 grand prix races in 2012, an equally impressive streak came to end at the Circuit de Monaco. The 2012 Monaco Grand Prix ends the 5-race run of different teams winning Formula 1 rounds as the Red Bull-Renault becomes the first car to hold repeat victories in the series. The win for Red Bull Racing extends their continuous streak of victories on the streets of Monaco to three. Mark Webber won the 2010 race while Sebastian Vettel took last year's event with his Red Bull-Renault. Intending to take advantage of the weather, Vettel settled with a 4th place result at the end of the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix.

Photo Credit: Eric Vargiolu/DPPI

The final spot on the Monaco Grand Prix podium went to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso will started 5th in the event. Alonso's embattled teammate Felipe Massa had a very respectable outing at Monaco collecting a 6th place finish for a double point day for Ferrari. It was also a double manufacturer's points day for the Force India squad as Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta secured spots inside the top-10. Lewis Hamilton captured 5th in the event for what was a disappointing event for his McLaren-Mercedes team.

Noteworthy, Sergio Perez was allowed by the formula 1 racing stewards to race the Monaco Grand Prix after a serious crash in qualifying that derailed the Sauber F1 team from entering a lap time. Starting from 23rd spot, Perez improved to 11th place, just missing a points-paying position. Bruno Senna (who's Williams-Renault in Spain was in the midst of a garage fire) took home the final point in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula 1 teams next race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian Grand Prix.

2012 Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix
Race Results

1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
5 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
7 11 Paul di Resta Force India
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
9 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
10 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
12 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
14 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
15 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
19 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
21 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
23 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
24 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault

Pirelli's Miles and Meals Serves Up Formula 1 Inspired Food Art

Photo Credit: Pirelli & C. S.p.A

When it comes to Formula 1, the notion of ingenuity is not lost in the sport. The 1960s through to the 1990s were eras where some of the most drastic advancements revolutionized the sport. From rear-mounted engines, aerodynamic aids, turbochargers, right up to computer-controlled suspension, the progress either became a benchmark or such a threat it was banned from the Formula 1. The search for the extra amount of track performance now transpires on a more sudtle scale as the decades of innovation has pressed the motorsport sanctioning body to develop strict regulations. Defining human creativity, Formula 1 has merged with culinary arts highlighted inside of a unique, upcoming book from Pirelli.

Inside of a limited edition book called Miles and Meals – handcrafted by Pirelli”, Pirelli's hospitality motorhome that attends Formula 1 races and test sessions has realized the spectacle of the premier open wheel racing in the form of food. Organized under the guidance of hospitality manager Cristian Staurenghi and crafted with the culinary masterpieces of head chef Fabrizio Tanfani, the "Miles and Meals – handcrafted by Pirelli” book will detail recipes of fine food delight. Tire company Pirelli likens the recipe book to their core business in formulating tire rubber compounds.

Photo Credit: Pirelli & C. S.p.A

Perhaps the most drawing component to this cookbook is the photographs depicting food assembled in the images of Formula 1. Cars, racetrack and racing symbols such as the podium have been sculpted through recipes. Sea salt becomes a sand trap and basil leaf becoming a green light are some examples for how ingredients double in providing taste as well as artistry to dishes. For what could be the most eye-catching, an octopus takes the role of a mechanic in one recipe.

At Monaco, Formula 1 drivers Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean were guest celebrity chefs at the Pirelli motorhome to celebrate the pending launch of the "Miles and Meals – handcrafted by Pirelli”. The recipes from this food compilation will be made available on the website in the near future.

Included below are some of the culinary creations found with the "Miles and Meals – handcrafted by Pirelli” recipe book.

Photo Credit: Pirelli & C. S.p.A

Photo Credit: Pirelli & C. S.p.A

Photo Credit: Pirelli & C. S.p.A

Photo Credit: Pirelli & C. S.p.A

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Schumacher Wins Monaco GP Pole But Webber Starts Out Front

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

An event unmistakably immersed in the glamour and pomp that Formula 1 aspires to capture with every trip on the premier open wheel racing tour, the Monaco Grand Prix has been since 1929 as one of the pinnacle events in motorsports. Manoeuvring the tight streets of the 2.075-mile (3.340-kilometer) circuit de Monaco, the unpredictable 2012 Formula 1 racing series braces for 78 laps for Sunday with the three-session time trial Saturday.

On the initial Q1 session, Nico Hulkenberg with his Mercedes-Benz powered Force India race car was at the top of the time chart. Hulkenberg’s lap time of 1 minute, 15.418-second, the Force India lead race car would later just miss the cut for the Q3 top-10 placing 11th in Formula 1 qualifying.

The Q1 session was marred by the crash of Sergio Perez’s Sauber-Ferrari. “I was on my first lap, so was not pushing a lot.” said the Mexican driver who has been wearing a special helmet at Monaco honouring Roberto Gómez Bolaños. Perez went on to detail the incident by saying, “I went into the tunnel and had a lot of understeer and then I went into turns 13 and 14. Thirteen was quite fine but in 14 I just went straight and didn’t get the car to turn.” Colliding with the retaining barrier, Sergio Perez was sent to a nearby hospital. Medically cleared for Sunday’s race but unable to post a qualifying lap, Perez and the Sauber F1 team will have to rely on the race’s stewards approval to run. The second Sauber-Ferrari piloted by Kamui Kobayashi will start in 12th for the team at Monaco.

Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Felipe Massa took the Q2 session of Monaco Grand Prix qualifying by entering under the 1-minute, 15-second lap time range. Driving his Ferrari to a 1-minute, 14.911-second lap around the Circuit de Monaco, Massa was more than a tenth of a second faster than the Mercedes GP car of Nico Rosberg. In the final Q3 session at Monaco, the Mercedes GP cars came to life.

At the top of the qualifying time sheet, Michael Schumacher claimed his 69th career Formula 1 racing pole. Performing a 1-minute, 14.301-second lap, Schumacher outran the Red Bull-Renault of Mark Webber by 0.080 seconds on Pirelli supersoft slick tires. However, due to a penalty during the last Formula 1 race in Spain, Michael Schumacher will be serving a five-grid position drop down the field. “It is simply a wonderful feeling to set pole after such a long time, and particularly here in Monaco. Okay, it has taken a little bit longer than I might have wanted in the second chapter of my career, but that makes it even sweeter. It’s just beautiful.” said Schumacher simply embracing his first qualifying triumph with the Mercedes GP team. “We already thought that this circuit should suit us, and it’s the perfect confirmation of all the work from every team member in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart - a big thank you to every one of them, because this is a team result. Of course, it’s unfortunate that I won’t start from the very front but that’s how it is. I will do as well as I can. We know that overtaking is tough but with DRS and KERS, you might as well try it - and you can be sure I will.” declared the German driver.

Promoted to the preferential starting spot, Mark Webber will try to re-establish an effort that resulted with the 2010 race victory. Webber’s teammate Sebastian Vettel did not mount a Q3 qualifying effort and will start 10th. Red Bull Racing has won the past two Monaco Grand Prix events.

Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes GP car will be starting alongside Mark Webber itching to recapture the top spot once the lights go out to commence the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix. Mercedes-Benz will also have the added effort of McLaren in the second row of the race as Lewis Hamilton will start third. Hamilton’s row of the grid will also feature the Lotus F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean. Fast throughout the weekend in Monaco, Grosjean first serious Formula 1 campaign has been one of great progress. Romain Grosjean’s fourth place starting spot while Fernando Alonso's Ferrari will be the last spot ahead of the pole-winning entry Michael Schumacher.

A race set 2pm local time (8 am Eastern time), the Monaco Grand Prix will start Sunday with a possibility of light rain.

2012 Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix
Qualifying Results

1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
3 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
8 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
11 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
13 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
15 11 Paul di Resta Force India
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
22 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
24 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari

Michael Schumacher will serve a five-grid position penalty.
Pastor Maldonado will serve a ten-grid position penalty as a result of a practice incident at Monaco.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Indy 500 Starting Grid


As the first 24 starting spots for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s most prestigious race were locked in during Saturday’s Pole Day, Sunday put drivers and teams otherwise not secured in the field into position to gain one of the last 9 spots the Memorial Day weekend running of the Indianapolis 500.

A day long known as Bump Day as it was the session where cars would often compete to make or miss the Indy 500 field. For 2012, the face only 33 cars and drivers were fighting to make the race meant there was no actual bumping this year.

There was several drivers posting new time qualifying efforts to better their starting position in the 2012 Indy 500. First out on the 2.5-mile oval racetrack was the #78 HVM Racing car of Simona de Silvestro. In the four-lap run, de Silvestro posted a 214.393-mile per hour average speed. One of only two Lotus powered race vehicles qualifying for the 2012 edition of the Indianapolis 500, the #78 starts second-to-last alongside Jean Alesi’s #64 car. Alesi’s average qualifying effort is 16.4 miles per hour slower than the pole speed. A four-lap speed of 210.094 miles per hour, Alesi at 47 years of age enters the 2012 Indy 500 as the oldest driver to compete for rookie honours.

On the other side of the speed coin, the Dragon Racing cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge made some great progress in finding qualifying pace other only receiving their Chevrolet engines midway through last week. Katherine Legge posted a respectable average speed over the 220-range while her teammate did even better. Driving the #7 race car for Dragon Racing, Bourdais posted a stunning 223.760 mile per hour four-lap average. One day earlier, that speed would have been good enough for 15th on the starting grid. However, based on the limitation of Bump Day, Sebastien Bourdais will start 25th ahead of Wade Cunningham. Cunningham and teammate Mike Conway gained their spots through Bump Day after difficulties in day before where the #14 car’s time was disallowed when the Dallara DW12 failed inspection.

At 1:15 pm, Bryan Clauson driving a second Sarah Fishing Hartman Racing car hustled into the 2012 Indy 500 with a 214.455-mile per hour effort. With 32 cars recording times, the last remaining car needing to time into the field was the #20 car of Ed Carpenter. Carpenter needed to set a time on track following a crash on Pole Day. Little past 2 pm, Ed Carpenter (driving a back-up car that was feverishly built in order to make the Indy 500) was the last driver to post a time on Bump Day at Indianapolis Motor Speed. The 33rd car that filled the Indianapolis 500 field, the four-lap speed of 222.324 miles per hour of the #20 race car was the final qualifying run posted on the race track. After almost four additional hours, the 33-car field of the 2012 Indianapolis 500 was cemented.

On May 27th, the 96th Indianapolis 500 will start with Ryan Briscoe leading the three-wide parade to the green flag on Memorial Day Sunday.

Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Starting Grid

Pos # Car # Driver Race Team Engine Supplier Average Speed
1 2 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet 226.484
2 27 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 226.481
3 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 226.240
4 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 225.456
5 12 Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 225.422
6 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 225.172
7 67 Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda 224.037
8 11 Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 224.751
9 5 EJ Viso KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 224.422
10 8 Rubens Barrichello KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 224.264
11 98 Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Honda 224.000
12 38 Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 223.959
13 25 Ana Beatriz Andretti Autosport/Conquest Racing Chevrolet 223.920
14 83 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 223.868
15 9 Scott Dixon Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 223.684
16 50 Dario Franchitti Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 223.582
17 19 James Jakes Dale Coyne Racing Honda 223.482
18 4 JR Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet 223.422
19 15 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 223.392
20 99 Townsend Bell Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda 223.134
21 18 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda 222.929
22 30 Michel Jourdain Jr Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 222.893
23 77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda 222.891
24 17 Sebastian Saavedra AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 222.811
25 7 Sebastien Bourdais Lotus-Dragon Racing Chevrolet 223.760
26 41 Wade Cunningham AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda 223.258
27 22 Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 222.393
28 20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 222.324
29 14 Mike Conway AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda 222.319
30 6 Katherine Legge Lotus-Dragon Racing Chevrolet 221.624
31 39 Bryan Clauson Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda 214.455
32 78 Simona de Silvestro Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus 214.393
33 64 Jean Alesi Lotus – FP Journe – Fan Force United Lotus 210.094