Archive for the IndyCar Category

ICS: Fontana Tries to Beat the Heat—And the Odds Against It

Posted in Column, IndyCar with tags , on June 22, 2015 by Martin Henderson

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana deserves better. Deserves a better date, deserves a better time, deserves better attendance. The superspeedway that Roger Penske built is a reminder of bygone days, a cousin—or maybe the younger brother—of the legendary Ontario Motor Speedway.

Ontario was a facility ahead of its time. The oval layout was the same as Indianapolis. The amenities from 1970—even by today’s standards—would make it an outstanding venue in 2015.

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ICS: Penske Dominates, But Not Like People Thought

Posted in Column, IndyCar on June 16, 2015 by Martin Henderson

After Roger Penske’s drivers dominated the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the Verizon IndyCar Series, speculation turned to a sweep of the series.

It may  not have been the most insightful thing to consider—a single team winning all 16 rounds of racing—but when Penske’s team of four drivers finished in the top 5, it was certainly relevant if for no other reason than a storyline. This was not KV Racing Technology taking the opener and wondering if the two-car team of Sebastien Bourdais and Stefano Coletti would sweep. This was the all-star Penske powerhouse with the early lead in the series and everyone else playing catch-up from then onward.

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ICS: Rahal Beginning to Live Up to His Name

Posted in Column, IndyCar on June 2, 2015 by Martin Henderson

He needs a victory in the worst way. Graham Rahal knows how to drive. He knows how to interview. He knows how to raise money and give it away to the needy. He knows how to win, too. He just needs to actually do it.

Without question, if Rahal’s ride was powered by a Chevrolet engine and the accompanying aero kit, he would be a contender for the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. How could he not be?

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ICS: Paul Newman’s Influence Makes Rahal His Own Man

Posted in Column, IndyCar on May 13, 2015 by Martin Henderson

The presence of Paul Newman can still be felt around motor racing, particularly Indy cars. Newman, an actor by trade but a racer at heart, co-owned a team that won 107 races and eight championships. It employed champion drivers Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Michael Andretti, Christiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais, who won four titles.

Newman/Haas Racing is no longer in the series. Newman died in 2008 at age 83, but it was not before he saw Graham Rahal win the second race of the unified IndyCar Series earlier that year. In his first start and driving a car carrying the livery of Newman’s Hole In the Wall Camp charity, Rahal became the youngest winner in the history of major open wheel racing at 19.

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ICS: For Newgarden, the Green Flag Drops Now

Posted in Column, IndyCar on April 27, 2015 by Martin Henderson

It is suggested to Josef Newgarden that his career might go a little better, at least marketing-wise, if he dropped the European spelling of his first name. Joe Newgarden is definitely American. Or at the very least Canadian, which is good enough for most people. Lacking any sort of Canadian accent, America would be happy to claim him, just like Martin Short, Michael J. Fox and Alex Trebek. Well, mostly Alex Trebek.

Yet Newgarden’s accent hails from Tennessee, and his name is “the one my parents gave me, so that’s what I’m sticking with,” he answers. And so the name, the brand and the career must go it the hard way, with casual fans of the Verizon IndyCar Series wondering about the background of Josef Nicolai Newgarden.

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