Archive for the IRL Category

NASCAR: Danica succeeds even when she doesn’t

Posted in Column, IRL, NASCAR with tags , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by Martin Henderson

I find myself looking at the results.

It may not be Saturday night after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. It might be Sunday, or Monday, or maybe even later in the week depending on how busy I am with my day job.

But I look at the results. Usually start in the lower half the top 10 and scroll down until I see the name.

“Danica Patrick.”

I never jumped on the Danica bandwagon. Always thought the attention she received was far greater than her talent commanded. Felt bad for better drivers who were lesser personalities.

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IRL: Sarah Fisher makes the right call

Posted in Article, IRL with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by Martin Henderson

Sarah Fisher laughed. “I had my big-girl pants on that day,” she said.

“That day” was the one when owner/driver Fisher decided to give up her seat and put a more competitive driver in it for the first two American road/street courses of the Izod IndyCar Series season.

Fisher called on one of the series’ rising stars, American Graham Rahal, who finished 10th in his debut for Sarah Fisher Racing in St. Petersburg and gave the young program its best finish in 11 races.

“Big time, big-time decision,” perennial contender Helio Castroneves said this past weekend in Long Beach,

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s story for ESPNLosAngeles.com on Fisher’s defining moment as a team owner, click here.

IRL: RHR gets a special win at Long Beach

Posted in Article, IRL with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by Martin Henderson

Fans of open-wheel racing have been clamoring for American drivers, and an American star who could back it up on track. Ryan Hunter-Reay may have answered the call.

The former Dana Point resident won the 36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, the marquee event in the IZOD IndyCar Series that isn’t the Indianapolis 500. He is guaranteed only another three races in the series, but he’s going to make it difficult for team owner Michael Andretti to park him should funding run dry.

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s story for ESPNLosAngeles.com on Hunter-Reay’s victory at the 2010 Grand Prix of Los Angeles, click here.

IRL: Sweet opportunity for diabetic Kimball

Posted in Article, IRL with tags , , , on April 17, 2010 by Martin Henderson

He bypassed Stanford so that he could race cars, only to discover he had diabetes. That’s when Charlie Kimball’s education really began.

Taking a small page from the Magic Johnson playbook, Kimball has shown that a chronic disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence to one’s dream.

Kimball will race this weekend in Long Beach for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport in the Firestone Indy Lights Series, a step down from the Indy cars that will highlight race action Sunday. But after two races, including second place last week, he is second in the championship and hopeful that he will one day be racing in the marquee event at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s story for ESPNLosAngeles.com on Kimball and his drive to beat the competition and diabetes, click here.

IRL: Ryan Hunter-Reay’s time is now

Posted in Article, IRL with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by Martin Henderson

He has model good looks, a model good-looking fiancée and the kind of talent Danica Patrick wishes she had. Now with Andretti Autosport, Ryan Hunter-Reay will finally get the opportunity to define himself as America’s best red, white and blue open-wheel race car driver.

He is not driving for a shoestring budget team that took stock in moral victories against the big boys.

Hunter-Reay has, in the first three races of the IZOD IndyCar Series, outscored all three of his higher-profile teammates, former champion Tony Kanaan, Andretti racing heir Marco Andretti and media darling Patrick.

If you would like to read racescribe author Martin Henderson’s story for ESPNLosAngeles.com on Hunter-Reay and the opportunity to prove himself, click here.

IRL preview: Dario an investment in the future

Posted in Column, IRL with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by Martin Henderson

What’s so special about the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season?

Will Power.

The third driver in the Penske stable should help the Captain, Roger Penske, win a championship.

The key word is should.

Extra technical information should be an advantage to Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe, and there are times when Power will wedge himself between a Penske car and one owned by Chip Ganassi.

But if you’re projecting to early October, the championship comes down to Castroneves, Briscoe and Power vs. Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.

Franchitti won the title last season. He also won in 2007 while driving for Michael Andretti’s team. In between was his foray into NASCAR, which didn’t go very well. In fact, it went pretty badly, and reflected more poorly on open wheel racers than it should have.
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NASCAR: Patrick’s performance is reality show

Posted in Column, IRL, NASCAR with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2010 by Martin Henderson

They desperately want her to succeed. Hard as it may seem, they may want it more than she does. But make no mistake, Danica Patrick wants her NASCAR experiment to cure cancer, generate free energy and correct global warming.

Yet after she finished 31st at Auto Club Speedway in  Fontana in her non-restrictor plate debut — on a track where a driver can make a difference — you were left with a few thoughts and NASCAR suits must have been wondering, at least for a split second, “My god, what have we created?”

Was this much ado about nothing? Yes.

Is she as good as advertised? No.

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