Thursday, May 21, 2015

Racing Datsuns - The Happy Coincidence Of Adam Carolla And Paul Newman

Banner on the back wall of Adam Carolla's Picture Lab Entertainment and garage facility in Glendale, California - Adam Carolla and Nate Adams recently held a private screening of the documentary WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN. Much of the archive footage and images have never been in wide release of seen in public and through interviews with those people closest to Paul Leonard Newman exposes a very personal insight to the little-known side of this very public life of an iconic actor and brightest stars of Hollywood. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Racing Datsuns - The Happy Coincidence Of Adam Carolla And Paul Newman

Adam Carolla, who bounded onto the entertainment scene (for many) when he partnered with Jimmy Kimmel for the cable broadcast television show "The Man Show" (1999-2004) and as his career progressed, became noted for finding, restoring, and racing historic race cars, has put together a compelling and entertaining documentary about the automobile racing life of iconic actor Paul Leonard Newman.

Adam Carolla discusses one of his current restoration projects - 1988 Trans-Am 300ZX 2+2 - with those gathered at the pre-release screening of the new documentary about Paul Lenard Newman's racing life. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

At a recent pre-release screening of the documentary, WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN, Adam Carolla shared that his interest in restoring winning Datsun/Nissan race cars became the "Happy Coincidence" (stated by Adam at 15:15 in the Q&A) that led him to discover this somewhat unknown life about how Paul Newman, after becoming one of the brightest stars in Hollywood through his acting, in his late forties ... late in life for a race car driver, focused his pursuits at being a standout race car driver and top level racing series team owner.

The Paul Newman raced, Bob Sharp built, and Adam Carolla restored #33 IMSA GTX 300ZX Twin-Turbo. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The following sixteen minutes is what Adam Carolla and co-producer Nate Adams had to say in a post-screening Q&A about their film effort involved in the making of WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN.


Movie poster of WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN leaning against the studio wall. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

WINNING: THE RACING LIFE OF PAUL NEWMAN

Release Date:
VIDEO ON DEMAND – Release Date – May 22, 2015

Directed by:        Adam Carolla and Co-Directed by Nate Adams

Produced by:         Nate Adams, Adam Carolla and Mike August

Exec Producers        Norm Pattiz, Matt D’Andria

Edited By:        Simon Sandquist

Cinematography By:    MÃ¥rten Tedin

Runtime:    83 Minutes

MPAA Rating:    Unrated

Distributor:    FilmBuff

Starring:    Paul Newman (archive footage), Robert Redford, Patrick Dempsey, Mario Andretti, Jay Leno, Robert Wagner, Joanne Woodward (archive footage), Arthur Newman, Tom Cruise (archive footage), Michael Andretti, Bob Sharp, Sam Posey, Sebastien Bourdais and many other racers,

Synopsis:    The world knows Paul Newman as an Academy Award winning actor with a fifty-plus year career as one of the most prolific and revered actors in American Cinema. He was also well known for his philanthropy; Newman's Own has given more than four hundred and thirty million dollars to charities around the world. Yet few know the gasoline-fueled passion that became so important in this complex, multifaceted man's makeup. Newman’s deep-seated passion for racing was so intense it nearly sidelined his acting career.

His racing career spanned thirty-five years; Newman won four national championships as a driver and eight championships as an owner. Not bad for a guy who didn't even start racing until he was forty-seven years old.

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/NewmanRacingFilm 

Twitter:            @NewmanRaceFilm
#:            #NewmanRacingFilm, #PaulNewman, #WinningMovie

For additional information please contact:

New York
Lee Meltzer – Lee.Meltzer@pmkbnc.com – 212.373.6142
Nina Baron – Nina.Baron@pmkbnc.com  – 212.373.6150

Los Angeles
Tiffany Olivares – Tiffany.Olivares@pmkbnc.com – 310.854.3272
Jazmin Sanchez – Jazmin.Sanchez@pmkbnc.com – 310.854.3267

... notes from The EDJE


TAGS: Documentary, Adam Carolla, Nate Adams, #NewmanRacingFilm, #PaulNewman, #WinningMovie, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Patrick Dempsey, Mario Andretti, Jay Leno, Robert Wagner, Joanne Woodward, Arthur Newman, Tom Cruise, Michael Andretti, Bob Sharp, Sam Posey, Sebastien Bourdais, The EDJE

Monday, May 18, 2015

99th Indianapolis 500 Qualifications Exemplify A Disastrous Start To 2015

Verizon P1 Pole Winner sticker as it was placed on Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon's No. 9 Chevrolet-powered Dallara IndyCar. Notice the lack of attention to detail on how the sticker was placed. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski

99th Indianapolis 500 Qualifications Exemplify A Disastrous Start To 2015

After having a fairly interesting week of watching the Verizon IndyCar Series work in, and understand, the new aerodynamics kits for large oval racing that were added to their Dallara DW12 racing platforms, and after the weather elements washed out any chance of holding the scheduled 4-lap qualification runs used to decide where the drivers would line up for the INDY 500 race, then, lastly, a third Chevy chassis spun and turned around backwards causing the chassis to lift off of the track surface, Race Control saw fit to shut down all of the team and driver development understanding achieved over hundreds of laps logged at the old Brickyard.

The third Chevy-powered accident damage on Ed Carpenter's Dallara DW12. It was feared that the new aerodynamics body work led to having cars become airborne when they spin and present the rear of the car toward the wind. Image Credit: Mike Young

One might say ... IndyCar Race Control "Bricked" the 99th Indianapolis 500 qualifications.

The 2015 season at this point has had more going wrong with the competition and fan enjoyment than at almost anytime during these merger years.

To understand and gain a perspective on how the decisions made for Sunday's augmented qualifications session played out, one needs a brief review of the 2015 season.

2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season had its opener in Brazil canceled ...

its second scheduled race at St. Pete ended up in a non-passing crash fest with the first time implementation of new aerodynamics body work with restricted testing imposed on all teams ...

its third scheduled race, Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, at NOLA (a brand new venue) ran almost having more laps run under YELLOW Flag with the rest of the timed-race laps being a mud bath ...

Long Beach Formula E Race winner Nelson Piquet Jr. - NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team - at the beginning of the FIA Formula E electric car open-wheel race as he negotiates Turn 3 at the end of Shoreline Drive at Pine Ave.. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

the fourth scheduled race at The Beach becoming a snoozer as a lack of passing ruled the day (two weeks earlier the FIA sanctioned Formula E had more interesting competition) ...

the fifth scheduled race at Barber Motorsports Park finally had some excitement - and passing, imagine that - passing ...

and finally, if this idiocy of INDY500 decision-making keeps up, the crown jewel of Speedway, Indiana during the month of May might become the Grand Prix of Indiana as opposed to the INDY 500 because, again, the Race Control by committee crowd allowed competition to break out (OH! ... and it was a road race).

Announcement of modified and augmented INDY 500 qualification's procedure at IMS delivered by CEO Mark Miles (L) and Race Control Director Derrick Walker (R). Image Credit: Bret Kelley

This excerpted and edited from Racer Viewpoints -

MILLER: Barnum & Bailey spotted at IMS
By Robin Miller - Sunday, 17 May 2015

It wasn’t as big a circus as 1997, when every bit of integrity and competition got kicked to the curb so the Indy Racing League could avoid the public relations nightmare of not starting the fastest 33 qualifiers.

But Sunday’s sideshow at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would have surely brought a little smirk to Barnum & Bailey. A lot of panic, a little knee jerk, possibly some politics, a little confusion and a lot of “WTF?” summed up a very forgettable and embarrassing day in IMS history. From the time Ed Carpenter flipped in morning practice to the inane Last Row battle, it looked more like the Speedrome instead of Speedway.
----
Carpenter’s crash was the third in which a Chevrolet­powered Dallara driver wound up on his head. Helio Castroneves got upside down on Wednesday, followed by Josef Newgarden on Thursday. All three drivers escaped injury but not speculation. Why were their Indy cars suddenly sailing?

The finger was pointed at the new aero kits with the angled tire ramps and ramps inside the rear wheel pods or the vertical wickers on the nose but was countered by the Physics Police who reasoned as long as there are tunnels under a car and it goes backward there is going to be lift. Everyone seemed to have a theory except IndyCar, which offered nothing publicly until Sunday. “We knew the cause of the first two wrecks were very different and that probably obscured the overall concern,” said Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles, who at least chose Indy qualifying over golf this weekend.

IndyCar did mandate those vertical wickers be removed from all Chevys, but not the Hondas, after Helio flew.

Of course Carpenter crashed with no wicker but using the extra boost for qualifying while Castroneves had the wicker and normal horsepower before a tank­slapper sent him into the wall. Newgarden had no wicker and no added boost in a crash caused by a deflated tire. Even though Carpenter snapped loose before climbing the wall backwards and flipping over, it was his accident that suddenly sent IndyCar officials into DefCon 1. So when IndyCar sent out the word that it was taking away the extra power for qualifying and all the cars would have to start the race in the aero package they used to qualify (which instantly slowed the cars by several miles an hour), it created some predictable emotions in Gasoline Alley.

“We look like a bunch of pussies,” said one driver.
----
“It’s amateur hour, they’re throwing darts at a board,” said a former IndyCar champion of the process.

Honda drivers and teams bit their tongue but the obvious question was why did Honda have to abide by the edict?

Competition director Derrick Walker replied: “Just because we’ve seen three incidents happen with a Chevrolet doesn’t mean that there aren’t three Hondas out there that are likely to happen [fly while going backward] or could happen. I can assure you that Honda doesn’t believe that they have any issue, but then again, they will admit right now that we don’t have that answer.
----
Was it more about safety or competition? Chevy has clearly been ahead of Honda in pace this season and this month (with or without extra boost) so it’s not like Honda lost any advantage, other than its cars weren’t flipping at any speed or under any configuration.

Three accidents force a total change in philosophy? Sending drivers out with a combination they hadn’t run all month for a short practice session before qualifying hardly seemed safe but that’s what happened.

Some people blamed IndyCar for not doing more testing with the oval­track kits, which prompted one veteran mechanic to say: “We could have run for two weeks but unless somebody spun backwards, how would we know if there was a problem?”

Of course nobody wants to see anybody hurt when it can be prevented and nobody crashed Sunday afternoon ...
----
And naturally the day ended with some head shaking stupidity. Instead of letting the Fast 9 at least get one chance to battle for the pole, the hearty but tiny gathering of fans that hung around had to endure the dramatic duel to see which one of the 34 drivers was [to be] sent home. IndyCar opted to have the slowest four drivers go back out to eliminate one of them in an effort to keep the insulting “Bump Day” theme alive.

How pathetic.

There’s no Jim Nabors this year so my suggestion is scrap “Back Home Again in Indiana” for “Send in the Clowns.

[Reference]

Charlie Kimball and former champion Dario Franchitti pose for fan pictures at IMS. Image Credit: Forrest Mellott

Robin Miller (Racing, Viewpoints) was very correct to cite the 1997 IRL embarrassing INDY500 event because - and this is the reason - The Hulman/George decision-making Race Control by committee of 2015 was what had the event of last weekend's 99th INDY 500 qualifications feel so similar and familiar.

We are reliving the Tony George inspired competitive attitudes that the IRL gave American Open Wheel Racing right now in 2015. We have a racing series that is being run by a committee of pussies and one of them has been brought back (TGBB) after being replaced (with reason) a few years ago ... need we say more?

Robin Miller​ spanks the system but does not call them out as morphing into the IRL of old ... running the present day.

Comment/Observation From FB:
Ira Fierberg · Friends with Dicken Wear and 82 others - If you watched the coverage on Sunday, Roger Penske was interviewed and several times during the interview he referred to the sanctioning body as "The IRL"!

Can the reinstatement of Tony George as Chief "Clown & Mucky-Muck" be too far behind?

... notes from The EDJE


TAGS: Verizon IndyCar Series, 99th INDY 500, Indianapolis, Qualifications, Aerodynamics, Chevrolet-­powered, Honda-powered, Dallara, Testing, Hulman & Company, Mark Miles, Derrick Walker, Race Control, Boost, The EDJE,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

At GP of INDY It's Rayhall vs. Rahal ('RAyHALl') ... Is There An Echo In Here?

Fans walk the frontstretch during the post-race track invasion at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski via VICS

At GP of INDY It's Rayhall vs. Rahal ('RAyHALl') ... Is There An Echo In Here?

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) during the final day of competition during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the only name heard, it seemed, was the sound made by the last name of a one-time Indy 500 winner (1986) - Bobby Rahal. In this case the name heard belonged to two different drivers in separate open-wheel series, although sounding the same, was spelled in two different ways.

Fans observe on track road course action on the mounds at IMS. Image Credit: Dana Garrett via VICS

The first session of the day belonged to a first-time driver in new IndyLights Series (that features a new Dallara racing platform powered by Mazda that looks like disturbingly like the ChampCar DP01 - down to the louvers in the sidepod) by the last name of Rayhall ... Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports).

Sean Rayhall leading IndyLights Race 2 at IMS. Image Credit: Tim Holle via VICS

He began the two race event by qualifying third and finishing second in Race 1 where he received a Podium trophy. on this final day of the event weekend, he began Race 2 in P2 along side of season series points leader and polesetter Ed Jones ... drafted his way down the front straight to put on a clean pass in Turn 1 and young Rayhall was never seriously challenged after the second GREEN Flag flew for the balance of the 35 lap race.

Sean Rayhall wins the IndyLights Race 2 at IMS. Image Credit: Doug Mathews via VICS

Post Race Quote:

Sean Rayhall  (#8 Bass Egg and Edvisors-8Star Motorsports): "In my head, that was longer than the six hours I've driven in endurance races! Jack was probably faster than me, but I was trying to save my tires for the end in case he got close. The restart had me nervous but I used a little trick I picked up driving Late Model (stock) cars to keep him back. After that, the only thing that was going through my head was to keep hitting my marks. I never expected this. Racing against guys like Max, RC, Ed, these guys have been doing open-wheel racing for the last five or six years, while I've done endurance racing. I'm inexperienced compared to them; it was an honor yesterday just to be on the podium with them so to be able to win, I'm just blown away. In the end, it's another race car. It's a switch in your head; you go from one to another, you drive different styles and push in different ways but you get to a point where you can flip it on and flip it off."

Sean Rayhall leading IndyLights Race 2 at IMS. Image Credit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

He improved all event weekend long at the IMS infield road course where he posted a P5 in Practice 1, a P6 in Practice 2, A P3 in Qualifications, A Podium P2 in Race 1, a P1 in Practice 3, and brought home the Podium hardware in Race 2 with the winner's trophy and bragging rights for next year if he is still driving IndyLights.

P1 Rayhall, P2 Enerson, P3 Chilton at IMS Race 2. Image Credit: IndyLights

As reported by IndyCar:

Rayhall crossed the finish line 4.9438 seconds ahead of RC Enerson (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian). Max Chilton (Carlin) finished third. After seven of 16 races, Ed Jones (Carlin) holds the provisional points lead (176), 14 ahead of Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian).

After only two races, Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports) has P11 in the points (81) out of 14 drivers with points.


Which brings us to the main event of the weekend, the fifth race of the Verizon IndyCar Series - Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the other Rahal ... Graham Rahal.

This excerpted and edited from The Columbus Dispatch -

IndyCar: Graham Rahal trying to make the best of slower car
By: Tim May - Friday May 8, 2015 10:44 PM

Coming off a stirring run to a second-place finish in the previous IndyCar race, Graham Rahal spoke of renewed momentum for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan race team headed into Saturday’s second Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

He stuck with the momentum on Friday, but after qualifying he wasn’t happy. Neither were most of the other 11 drivers in the 25-car field who are using Honda engines and aerodynamic devices.

Chevrolet drivers smoked them. Team Penske’s Will Power led the way, taking the pole for the race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The “fast six” final qualifying was all Chevy; the top 12 who advanced to second-round qualifying included just one Honda, Jack Hawksworth from the Foyt Racing team, who wound up 11th.

It was like taking a “knife to a gun fight,” said Rahal, who will start 17th.

This year, IndyCar moved from stock bodies for all of the cars to aero kits (the downforce-inducing wings and pods on the cars) designed and produced by the two engine manufacturers in the series. If a team uses Honda engines it also uses the Honda aero kit. The same with Chevy.

Through the first four races and headed into the fifth, all on road or street courses, Chevy aero kits routinely have produced the faster times.

“It’s demoralizing,” Rahal said. “There’s nothing we can do; it’s out of our control. Our team has done the best job, I think, of driving the Honda all year (he’s eighth in points, up from 19th last season), but we’ve got to get the cars better.”

The Chevy drivers know there is a disparity. There is a chance of rain for the race today, which could close that gap.

“If it’s wet, absolutely,” Power said. Honda has “a lot of good drivers in their camp. Right now, they just don’t have their aero kits side of things together. … I hope they bridge that gap. It is more competitive when it’s an even playing field, which it isn’t right now.”
[Reference]


The race was run and it wasn't wet ... just a little messy at first, and fast (only one Full Course YELLOW Flag).

Seven cars were visibly involved in the Turn One incident, at race start, when the pack funneled down into the sharp first corner. Others got banged and bent. Third place starter, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, rear-ended second place starter, Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. At least two cars stalled and had to be started – Jack Hawksworth/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt and Josef Newgarden/No.21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet. Everyone else continued, eventually, but some had to pit for repairs. Image Credit: Eric Schwarzkopf

From IndyCar - ANGIE’S LIST GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS RACE RUNNING:

Lap 1: GREEN flag at 3:49 p.m. 1-Power leads the field into Turn 1. FULL COURSE CAUTION, contact in Turn 1 involving 9-Dixon, 3-Castroneves, 41-Hawksworth, 5-Hinchcliffe and 21-Newgarden. 3-Castroneves and 5-Hinchcliffe keep going. 9-Dixon, 41-Hawksworth and 21-Newgarden are stopped in Turn 1, assisted by the Holmatro Safety Team, restarted and return to the field.

Lap 2: Pits are open. Pitting are: 25-Wilson (replace front wing), 83-Kimball, 5-Hinchcliffe, 3-Castroneves, 7-Jakes, 9-Dixon (replace front and rear wings), 21-Newgarden (replace rear wing), 18-Huertas, 41-Hawksworth (replace front wing).

Lap 4: GREEN flag. 1-Power leads 22-Pagenaud. 15-Rahal has advanced 11 positions from the start to sixth place.

A photo posted by Edmund Jenks (@the_edje) on

This excerpted and edited from NBC Sports Motorsports Talk -

Graham Rahal bridesmaid again in Grand Prix of Indianapolis
By: Daniel McFadin - May 9, 2015, 7:14 PM EDT

It never rained and Rahal didn’t require its services. Thanks to a Lap 1, Turn 1 crash involving Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Jack Hawksworth and Josef Newgarden, Rahal was able to go from 17th to sixth before he made it to Turn 5 on the opening lap.

“I said I’ll go as far left as they can, I’ll have a great angle to cut to the apex,” Rahal said of his plan for the first turn. “Worst comes to worse I’ll do the shortcut. It’ll be fine. Sure enough it worked perfect. I saw smoke everywhere. Next thing I know I see (Scott Dixon). I got (JR) Hildebrand into four. That definitely went our way.”

Then a strategy of pitting a lap later than the leaders put Rahal into the top three and within reasonable distance of Power. He led nine laps during green flag pit stops, but afterward was never able to make up full deficit due to lapped cars.

“I feel good about it. We’ve come away from finishing first by like three seconds combined,” Rahal said. “This tiny little one car team is fighting with Penske and that feels pretty good.”

It should feel good, though finishing second is undoubtedly getting old.

Still, Rahal, now fifth in points with his single-car team, has multiple podiums in a season for the first time since the 2011 campaign when Rahal notched three with Chip Ganassi Racing.
[Reference]

Angie's List #GPofINDY Podium (middle - Will Power P1, right - Graham Rahal P2, left - Juan Pablo Montoya P3) - This is Will Power’s first victory this season and 25th of his career, which ties him with Gordon Johncock for 15th place on the all-time list. It comes in Power’s 144th career start. Power is the fifth different winner in as many races in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season (following Juan Pablo Montoya, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden). The #GPofINDY race featured six different leaders (Will Power, Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes). None of the six led a lap in the inaugural 2014 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Graham Rahal finished second for the second straight race, tying his season-best finish. Image Credit: Eric Schwarzkopf via FB

This Verizon IndyCar Series season now has had 5 races with the last two showing great promise for the rest of 2015. Some complaints about the lack of Mushroom Busting or Trailing Turbulence which reduces an ease in passing with one of the most vocal drivers in the on-air post race comments being Sebastien Bourdais (starting P7 and finished P4).

Don't tell this to Graham Rahal (race's most improved 15 positions - started P17 - Finished P2) or, Helio Castroneves (started P3, booted Dixon in Turn 1, dropped back to P23 or P24 on Lap 10 pitstop, finished P6), or for that matter, the Verizon IndyCar Series PR department who is boasting 192 passes for position on the track, 11 lead changes and six leaders in the 82-lap race.

Podium Press Conference >>>

No matter how it's spelled (Rayhall / Rahal) it all sounds the same and that "RAyHALl" sound heard throughout the paddocks, for most all of the day, Saturday, is the sound the of success few other names have at the 2nd annual Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

What a way to start the "Month Of May" at IMS. Next up ... practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin May 11 (racecontrol.indycar.com).

Qualifications will be May 16 - ABC @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET and May 17 - ABC @ 1:00 pm - 3:00pm ET - includes V E R I Z O N  I N D Y C A R  S E R I E S – Q U A L I F Y I N G – F A S T 9 (racecontrol.indycar.com).

Coors Light Carb Day will be May 22 (racecontrol.indycar.com).

The INDY 500 race will be May 24 and televised at 12:00pm ET on ABC Networks and racecontrol.indycar.com.

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: Sean Rayhall, Graham Rahal, Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Month of May, 8Star Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, IndyLights, IndyCar, Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, RC Enerson, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Curb-Agajanian, Max Chilton, Carlin, The EDJE, Verizon IndyCar Series, Indianapolis Motor Speedway,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mazda Provides Fleet Of New 2016 Mazda6s And CX-5s To Camp Zoom-Zoom



Mazda Provides Fleet Of New 2016 Mazda6s And CX-5s To Camp Zoom-Zoom (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca)

Mazda North American Operations handed over the keys to 13 all-new 2016 Mazda6 and CX-5 vehicles to staff of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during this past weekend's Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda. The cars, emblazoned with Mazda-designed graphics, will become a staple on the Monterey Peninsula landscape and special events.

"We are extremely grateful and fortunate to have Mazda as a partner," commented Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "Their enthusiasm, guidance and ongoing activations throughout the year are remarkable, and enable us to host major international races each year."

Affectionately known as "Camp Zoom-Zoom" among Mazda officials, the automaker regularly uses Mazda Raceway to conduct new product launches, media drives, engineering tests and dealer meetings.

"As we kick off our sixteenth season of partnership with Mazda Raceway, it's always fun to see the new fleet of Mazda vehicles arrive with the track's hard-working team," said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, US Operations, for Mazda North American Operations. "Some companies put their names in places that just don't make sense, but the reason for our ongoing partnership is that motorsport is in our blood, and Mazda Raceway is one of the most iconic race facilities in the world. We look forward to many more years of partnership."

The 2016 Mazda6 is the flagship model in Mazda's new-generation product lineup. It has earned high acclaim in markets around the world thanks to the alluring vitality of the "KODO - Soul of Motion" design language and SKYACTIV Technology's balance of driving pleasure, environmental performance and safety. Mazda went to extraordinary lengths to bring new levels of depth and maturity to every aspect of the 2016 model. In addition to an innovative interior design, the updated refreshed Mazda6 offers the customer greater sophistication and value with enhanced exterior design, functionality, ride comfort, quietness and safety.

Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype Progress - For the second time in four races, the Mazda SKYACTIV Prototype (both captured here during the pre-race Grid Walk) led the race. The No. 70 car of Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito started eighth and took the lead after the 45-minute mark, heading the field for seven laps. They finished sixth in class and seventh overall, matching the best-ever finishes for the Prototypes. The No. 07 car of Tom Long and Joel Miller started ninth but retired with mechanical problems. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 was the first model to fully adopt SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and the "KODO - Soul of Motion" design language. The model offered much more than the basic values of utility and practicality that customers expect from an SUV and it delivers high levels of both driving pleasure and environmental and safety performance. Since the launch of the original model, Mazda has made steady refinements to the CX-5 each year, aiming to deliver customers even greater value and sophistication.

Since Mazda became title sponsor of the iconic motorsports and events facility in 2000, located in the destination-rich Monterey Peninsula, Mazda has had a prolific presence. The Soul Red Metallic vehicles serve a variety of purposes, from utilitarian duties and participating in parades and civic activities, to serving as pace cars. "The Mazdas are instrumental in our jobs," added Campbell.

The next race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the MotoAmerica & FIM World Superbike Championship, GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round July 17-19. For ticket information and a complete season lineup, visit MazdaRaceway.com or call 831-242-8200.

For information on the full Mazda new model lineup, visit MazdaUSA.com.

... notes from The EDJE

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Motor Culture, Social Media, And The Search For Creations Past

Image of a 1963, Derbi 50cc 7-speed Grand Prix motorcycle. Image Credit TOURNESOL via Philippe de Lespinay on his Facebook page

Motor Culture, Social Media, And The Search For Creations Past

Funny what pursuits in motor culture one finds bounding through social media news feeds.

In this case, a submission by driver, collector, historian, builder, standards judge, and artist (more could have been added) Philippe de Lespinay about his past in Grand Prix motocycle racing and the query on a model built and presented to a onetime benefactor to his exploits.

Images of a 1963, Derbi 50cc 7-speed Grand Prix motorcycle. Image Credit: Print Magazine via Philippe de Lespinay on his Facebook page

This was written by Philippe on his Facebook page [edited]:

"52 years ago, I built [a model of] this 1963, 1/8 scale Derbi 50cc 7-speed Grand Prix motorcycle using only basic materials: soldered steel-wire frame, wooden engine and fuel tank, wheels made from plumbing fiber gaskets... those were the days!

I gifted it [the model] to the late Jacques Roca, who had been instrumental in helping me begin my racing career. Not sure if it survived in his estate ... these pictures were found in a period magazine."
[Reference]

Philippe de Lespinay made several models, but to date, it is known that only two have survived as far as Philippe knows. This one being only 3" long and in need of repairs, it is of a 250cc Aermacchi Harley-Davidson. Image Credit: Philippe de Lespinay

If anyone knows additional information on this brief news feed item, please leave a comment (and a link, if helpful) so this can be passed on to Mr. de Lespinay.

... notes from The EDJE


TAGS:  model, Derbi, 50cc, 1963, 7-speed, Grand Prix motorcycle, Jacques Roca, TOURNESOL, Philippe de Lespinay, The EDJE

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Honda Indy GP Of Alabama Gives High Marks To Round Four

CFH Racing's Josef Newgarden sprays ... and gets sprayed with, champagne after winning the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher - VICS

Honda Indy GP Of Alabama Gives High Marks To Round Four

Ever go to a Team Penske Chevy coronation (with a Ganassi Chevy chaser) and have a competition break out? This is what happened during the fourth round of the young 2015 Verizon IndyCar season.

The dedicated road course racing complex just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, Barber Motorsports Park, hosted the sixth consecutive Honda Grand Prix of Alabama this last weekend and all of the activity leading up to the race pointed to a racing domination put on by Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) built upon engine-power and aerodynamics provided by Chevrolet.

Qualifications saw the top 10 places occupied Chevy with Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Will Power filling up the first row followed by team-mate Simon Pagenaud at P3 with TGCR's and Round 3 winner (Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach) Scott Dixon slotted in at P4.

The closest Honda engine-power and aerodynamics packaged Dallara DW12 was piloted by Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Graham Rahal at P8 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Round 2 race winner (GP of Louisiana) James Hinchcliffe rounding out the top 10.

The weather decided not to become the story ... or better, become the over-riding factor of the race because the weather was perfect for the race to be the story of the race.

When the GREEN Flag flew, fans were treated to fast speeds and expert driving without all of that unnecessary carbon fiber flying all over the place. Barber Motorsports Park was originally constructed as a supermoto motorcycle race track so the racing surface provided tends to be a little tight for wide IndyCars but this did not limit expert passing on the many power curves this rolling hills situated track is noted for.

No. 67 Josef Newgarden leads No. 3 Helio Castroneves and the field into Turn 5 during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Image Credit: Chris Owens - VICS

Within the first few laps, people were being treated to a masterful display of race management driving first by CFH Racing's Chevy of Josef Newgarden (starting P5) and in the closing laps by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Honda of Graham Rahal (starting P8).

Newgarden made his intent to win known immediately, passing Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon as the field streamed into Turn 1 after the GREEN Flag. Before the first lap was even completed, he gained another position when he out-maneuvered Will Power coming out of Turn 17.

On Lap 19, Newgarden and race leader Helio Castroneves dropped into the pit lane for their first stops of the race. The No. 67 Hartman Oil crew switched Newgarden to black Firestone Firehawk tires quickly enough to beat the No. 3 of Castroneves off of the pit lane.

Newgarden led the field to the restart on Lap 24 over Castroneves and Graham Rahal. A few clean laps were followed by another full course caution on Lap 34, sending Newgarden back into the pit lane for his second stop of the race. The team believed they were within the window to be able to complete the race on one more stop later in the event.  Castroneves remained on the same strategy as Newgarden, but this time the No. 3 beat the No. 67 out of the pits. The yellow flag split the strategy of the field, with half of the cars electing to stay out.

No. 1 Will Power works his way back through traffic as the field streams through Turn 5 during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Image Credit: Chris Owens - VICS

The next restart on Lap 39 saw Newgarden take the green from the 14th position. Newgarden focused on getting around Castroneves to move back to the first car in line on their strategy.  His goal was accomplished within the lap, when he masterfully overtook Castroneves coming out of Turn 16.

As the second round of pit stops cycled through, Newgarden regained the lead on Lap 51, ahead of Castroneves and Dixon. Newgarden's last stop came on Lap 63, one lap ahead of Dixon's final stop who was running in second. After final pit stops, Newgarden cycled back to the lead on Lap 70 and began building a lead that reached as high as seven seconds.

RLL driver Graham Rahal comes in for his final pitstop seven laps later than Josef Newgarden and one lap later than Scott Dixon which allows him to put on the hardest podium placing charge of the race. Image Credit: Chris Jones - VICS

A hard-charging Rahal, who was on a different pitstop strategy, got new tires and full fuel to the end on Lap 70, caught and passed first, Will Power (ending P4), Ryan Hunter-Reay Lap 81 (ending P5), Helio Castroneves Lap 83 (who finished P15 out-of-gas), then Dixon on the final lap after being as far back as P6 after his final pitstop.

Josef's car sports a 'wheel tag' mark on the left sidefloor kick (presumably from a set of Reds) as he crosses across just over the Start/Finish line proving the tight racing that was experienced throughout the 90 laps of the Honda Indy GP Of Alabama. Image Credit: Chris Owens - VICS

Newgarden took the checkered flag 2.2 seconds ahead of Rahal, adding his name to the record books as a Verizon IndyCar Series race winner.

As far as Chevy domination? ... Andretti Autosport, Honda-powered and aero-modified, finished with three cars in the top 10 at P5, P6, and P10 (RHR, Munoz, and Andretti), add James Hinchcliffe at P7 and Graham Rahal's P2 and the top 10 places are evenly split - five Chevy, five Honda.
(ht: CFH Racing for description contribution on Josef Newgarden, No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet's run)

A photo posted by Paddock Insider (@paddockinsider) on

This excerpted and edited from Motorsport.com -

Five worthless opinions: Honda Grand Prix of Alabama edition
By: Mark Wilkinson, Motorsport.com - April 27, 2015 5:06pm

At times, my WO’s (worthless opinions) can run to sarcasm. Surprising, I know. And the Verizon IndyCar Series always seems to offer snark fodder in abundance.

At previous races this year, the fragile front wings, racing in the rain, and rules interpretations have made it easy for one so inclined. The Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park changed most of that. While not snark free, most of these WO’s celebrate a great race.

1.  All-American Finish

Josef Newgarden winning is a big deal for many reasons. A compelling storyline to recent Verizon IndyCar Series seasons is the lack of a marketable American drivers for a North American series.

F1, noted for drivers from around the world, is a truly international series with venues around the world.  The IndyCar series is not. The international drivers in IndyCar are outstanding, but without sounding all jingoistic about it, having a young, well-spoken, and telegenic American cannot hurt the marketability of the series. If the series chooses to market him, of course.

They had American Ryan Hunter-Reay as both series champ and Indy 500 winner and it would hard to say they capitalized on that.

2.  The Racing

Newgarden and his Chevy were racy from the start, passing Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, and Will Power to grab the lead from a fifth place start. It was the kind of start that had fans using body English to help the drivers maneuver through traffic.

Graham Rahal’s run in his Honda to second after a late fuel stop had fans watching two strategies at once: Newgarden’s slow-paced fuel saving in his Chevy versus Rahal’s hanging-it-out after stopping for fuel near the end. Fans could actually see the interval decreasing by [a couple of] seconds per lap.

And while Newgarden’s early passes were scintillating, Rahal’s outside passes throughout the race were equally spectacular. Great stuff.

3.  Lack of Idiocy/Penalties/Yellows

It was almost life affirming to not see carbonfiber flotsam and jetsam strewn around the track on the first lap. The racing was tight and, for the most part, clean.

For the second race in a row, yellow flag racing was at a minimum. Of course, the last two races simply balanced out the first two in the green/yellow ratio. We’ll see where it goes from here.

It goes without saying that no Verizon IndyCar Series race is complete without grousing and complaining from drivers and teams about the officiating. Both Sebastien Bourdais and Stefano Colleti took exception to yellow flags causing them personal hardship.

Juan Pablo Montoya took umbrage at Rodolfo Gonzalez slowing him down. James Hinchcliffe was upset with Rahal’s line through the turns. Ryan Hunter-Reay is still upset about NOLA and sees inconsistency everywhere. And of course, everyone complained about Francesco Dracone’s pace.

The reality was that Race Control penalized some, drivers, warned others, and called nothing in other situations.  It’s like calling holding in the NFL. An official can do it every play. You can’t call it all in racing, either, no matter how much the drivers whine and complain.

4.  Success of CFH Racing and RLL Racing

Back at the top of the podium, the success of Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing over Penske and Ganassi bodes well for the sport and the team.

The same holds true for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, too. The smaller teams in the series need success to bolster their bottom lines when it comes to sponsorship. While Ed Carpenter has Fuzzy’s Vodka for he and Luca Filippi in their ride share, a win can go a long way to help Sarah Fisher land a season-long sponsorship for Josef Newgarden.

Graham Rahal’s second place finish sure put sponsor Steak and Shake in the spotlight. And Rahal, ever the shill for his sponsors, tweeted after the race that he might stop in for a shake on his way home.

5.  Big Mo Heading to Indy:

There must be something to momentum in sports. Every announcer, coach, and player in every sport talks about its value.  If that’s true, then the month of May in Indy could be interesting.

Chevy certainly has engine and aero kit momentum. They are the class of the field. Penske has some, too.  The team has every driver in the top nine in the standings with Montoya and Castroneves running first and second.

The Ganassi boys are coming on, particularly after Long Beach. With Newgarden and Rahal riding their Barber success, this might be the year for an underdog winner at the 500. And don’t forget about the invisible man, Ed Carpenter.  He knows Indy.

The greatest beneficiary of momentum has to be the Verizon IndyCar Series. After the aero growing pains of St. Pete and the weather woes of NOLA, the series seems to be finding its groove.

All in all, it was a most excellent race.

Let’s hope it sets the tone for a most excellent month of May in Indy.
[Reference Here]

Will Power on course during the final warmup for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher - VICS

The last kudo goes to Will Power for qualifying P2, being passed, sliding back and being penalized with a drive through penalty for hitting Takuma Sato (on "pit out" after the first stop) sending Power to the back of the field, then fighting all of the way back to a respectable P4 finish ... the highest finishing Team Penske car in the field.

The promise of the merger, the DW12 with modified aero body parts, tire selection, fuel management, great weather, along with good strategy and excellent driving all came together at one of America's most beautiful purpose built road courses.

Bravo to Newgarden, Rahal, Dixon, Power, Barber Motorsports Park, and most of all ... the Verizon IndyCar Series for presenting the best road racing action in several years.

... notes from The EDJE


TAGS: Barber Motorsports Park, Round 4, VICS, Verizon IndyCar Series, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Will Power, CFH Racing, Team Penske, Taret Chip Ganassi Racing, The EDJE

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Records Fall As Fastest Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Ends

Scott Dixon: "Today, good start.  Juan [Montoya] sort of crowded me a bit on the left, which sort of gave me an opening to go around the outside of him into Turn 1, which was definitely the key there, and the first pit stop exchange with TK [Tony Kanaan] and Helio, obviously opened up the position for me to try and pass Helio in the pits.  Probably need to buy TK a beer.  Obviously he didn't do it on purpose, but that's the way it happens, and it definitely helped out the scenario with our race." - Question: You saw TK right in victory lane? What did you say, if anything, and did you touch base on his pit stop at the first stop? Answer, SCOTT DIXON: "Yeah, I spoke to TK, he said I need to buy him a beer, even though he doesn't drink ... I'll drink it for him (Laughter)." Image Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar.com

Records Fall As Fastest Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Ends

As the caption on the lead image suggests, there was not a lot of passing for the lead on the track during the running of the 41st Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach (TGPLB). The largest driver position change during the race was delivered by Andretti Autosport DHL Honda's Ryan Hunter-Reay ... backwards 9 positions (P4 to P13).

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Today was a big disappointment for us, probably one of the worst races we’ve had from green to checkered. I had a car I couldn’t drive hard when I needed to. The strategy we went for didn’t work out. Our pit stops did not really work out. Nothing really worked out for us today. I guess sometimes you have those days in racing, but they’re certainly not days we ever want to be accustomed to having. We’ll regroup and move on to Barber." Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

On a positive side, new #IndyCar #TGPLB track records were set when all 23 of the cars entered in the race were running at race end with 19 of the cars being on the lead lap, and overall average race speed of 96.800 mph when the checkered flag flew and Scott Dixon driving the Red #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing aero kit modified DW12 won.

All three previous records were set in the 2013 DW12 era race won by Takuma Sato when 21 cars finished with 18 being on the lead lap while the leader posted an average speed of 85.763 mph.

As far as the hard-charger award is concerned, a field-high of positions gained is held by Conor Daly, who was a late replacement for Rocky Moran Jr., who injured his hand, in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Trench Shoring Honda. He finished 17th after starting P21.

Scott Dixon trails Helio Castroneves after getting past Juan Pablo Montoya on the first lap. Here, Helio is nearly 2 seconds ahead of Scott as they begin the fourth lap ... just before the only full course caution of the race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The most important pass of the day happened in the pits during the first round of pit-stops for fuel and tires on Lap 29. The pass happened with the help of proximity in pit location and timing, in that the pit directly in front of the pit box of the Verizon P1 pole winner and race leader for the first 29 laps, Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves, was being filled by Tony Kanaan (the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate of Scott Dixon) as he came in for his tires and fuel.

Post Race Press Conference:

Question:  Just so we're clear, when they held you in the pits, was that because other traffic coming right behind you and you didn't want to run into them?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah. It was close. It was definitely close. But yeah.

Question: Helio, if that hadn't have happened in the pits, if there was no one in front of you and you were able to go when you were ready, do you think Dixon would have had enough to get by you because I assume you would have been out in front of him?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Again, he was so close. All three cars, four cars actually, but he was much better being in front. I don't think he would be able to get by. After the race was over, we were just talking between ourselves and we can see that he was very consistent, but I have moments of very good and maybe some moments, some laps maybe would be terrible. But in the end of the day, it was ‑‑ it would be very difficult for him to pass. 
ENDS

So this brings the season to a full circle understanding of aero kit modified DW12s after a really tough start to 2015. The 41st Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, by default, was the first near incident free real race test of the new aerodynamically modified Dallara DW12 racing platforms.

The first race on the schedule was to be run in Brazil, but was cancelled just a few weeks before the scheduled date, so the actual first race ended up being the Firestone Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg through the streets of St. Petersburg, FL the last weekend of March. The drivers ended up crashing into each other a lot, sending carbon fiber debris from the elaborate multi-element aero kit front wings to be cleaned up during the many laps run under a full course YELLOW Flag caution.

Brian Herta Autosport Bowers & Wilkins CURB Honda's Gabby Chaves (R) running in clean air at #GPNOLA. Notice how the trailing turbulence is left down on the track surface as opposed to being lifted away from the racing surface. Image Credit: Bret Kelley - Verizon IndyCar Series 

The second race, the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, was held at a totally new venue outside of New Orleans, Louisiana and poor weather placed an inaugural penalty of 28 laps. The race was scheduled for 75 laps but was only able to complete 47 due to the abundance of full course YELLOW Flag caution periods that started happening after the first wet, cleanly run 16 laps. Accidents caused by standing puddles on the track had the race called a timed race after 28 laps and with incident after incident happening during each of the many GREEN Flag restarts had the number of racing laps run under GREEN at only 26 Laps.

Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana race winner James Hinchcliffe trails (R to L) Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz through the "Fountain Turn" (Turn 3) in an evenly spaced parade of very fast cars. Image Credit: Myles Regan (2015)

Welcome to "The Beach" for the third test of the season and the long straightaways of Shoreline Drive (front from the hairpin at Turn 11 to Turn 1) and Seaside Way (beginning at Turn 8 and ending at Turn 9). In St. Petersburg, it was suspected that the trailing turbulence from the aerodynamically modified bodywork would not allow the faster car of Will Power to re-take the lead away from his team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya on any straight line part of the course after Montoya's pass in the pits (sound familiar?) on the last round of pit stops in the race.

At Long Beach, the race supported much of the same evidence that the trailing turbulence was at work again (see above images, last image, and launch YouTube video for car spacing observation).

For a complete race with little race impeding YELLOW Flags, the cars can be seen along each of the straightaways pacing each other with similar spacing between each car without much in the way of challenging through out-braking or aggressive actions seen by fans in previous season races.

After winning the first race at the Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg, Penske Racing's currently holds down the Verizon IndyCar Series season points lead after three races with a different winner in each race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

It really appears that ever since Tony Kanaan came out publicly with statements recognizing the increased occurrence of intensity in the nature of the trailing turbulence, a memo seemed to have been circulated before the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach to all who compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The speculated points contained in the memo instructed competitors to 1) Stiffen-up and reduce the number of exposed aerodynamic parts on the front wings and etc. 2) Do not drive so aggressive as to break anymore pieces of any car given the carnage of the last two races (a reminder that this is an open wheel racing series), and 3) Whatever one does about responding to questions or speculation on trailing turbulence ... DO NOT make this an issue as to reducing the competition on the track - diffuse by saying to anyone who asks about the subject; "This effects everyone the same way so it really is not a problem."


This response was delivered to multiple members of the press who asked questions in the paddock and conference rooms about trailing turbulence and were curious about what had been happening (or not happening) on the track.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads a group of evenly spaced cars into Turn 1 on Shoreline Drive during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Richard Dowdy, Verizon IndyCar Series

Fans who follow the series developments and competition closely know that something has changed and it may not be for the better. To be truthful, any aero-engineer worth their salt would attempt to design a trailing turbulence pattern that would kick ANY competitive car that threatens to take the position away on a long straight ... into the next zip code (if not, the next time zone). This may good for leading cars in protection mode but this effect is not good for the product of racing. Neither is a seven month hiatus from the last race of the season to the first race of the next season and being FEARFUL to hold races during American Football season, but these are the subjects for a different time.

Records fall with the increase of aerodynamics but is the racin' any better if no one can pass even with a stronger car? Ask Will Power why he felt a dive into Turn 10 (or Turn 4) at St. Petersburg seemed to be the only option(s) when he clearly had the faster car.

... notes from The EDJE

Next Race: HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA ||| APRIL 24 – 26 ||| Broadcast NBCSN 3:00 PM ET - Race: 3:30 PM ET - 5:45 PM ET

TAGS: Mushroom Busting, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, turbulence, Verizon IndyCar Series, Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, The EDJE, #IndyCar, #TGPLB, #Highlights, #Toyota, #GrandPrix, #LongBeach