Start Times – 30 May

I forgot. I can only find times for TV coverage of the two NASCAR races rather than the actual race start time, so those are marked with *.

UK Time Duration Series Venue Event
GMT+1
Sat 7pm* 300 miles Nationwide Series Charlotte Motor Speedway Tech-Net Auto
Service 300
(200 laps)
8.25am 15 laps GP3 Istanbul Park Race 2
9.35am 23 laps GP2 Istanbul Park Race 2
1pm 58 laps Formula 1 Istanbul Park Turkish Grand Prix
(TV 12.10)
6pm 500 miles IZOD IndyCar Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis 500
(TV 5pm) (200 laps)
10.45pm* 600 miles Sprint Cup Charlotte Motor Speedway Coca-Cola 600
(400 laps)
Monday
7pm 2hr 30m GrandAm Rolex Lime Rock Park Memorial Day Classic

Sunday will be fun – enjoy!

Vote for the IndyCar Road/Oval Trophy

IZOD IndyCar Series (4C) 5in 300dpiFor the 2010 season, and counting retrospectively back to the start of the year, the IZOD IndyCar Series will be awarding a trophy to the driver who scores the most points on road and street courses, and the driver who scores the most points on ovals.

I think this is a fantastic idea. This is something no other major series can legitimately offer, the NASCAR Sprint Cup could do it but it only has two road course races. It doesn’t detract from the main championship and gives teams and drivers another means of generating publicity and sponsorship, something this series has been doing (or not) woefully inadequately in the past.

It also gives us fans (and bloggers) something else to talk about, and that’s never a bad thing. Fans of all sorts of sports love talking about different strengths and weaknesses and slicing up wins/points in different ways, and racing fans are no different. Now we can talk about drivers doing well in the oval points year after year and struggling on road courses, or vice versa – just as we always did of course, but this time we have a barometer to measure it with. Fairly arbitrary of course because it depends on the points weightings, but what sports ranking isn’t arbitrary, really?

Perhaps the only other type of racing the concept could apply to is rallying, they could offer a gravel trophy and an asphalt trophy. I wonder if that is something the WRC should consider? That’s potentially a whole other blog post.

The interesting twist to these two trophies is the fan interaction. The trophies themselves will be named for famous and/or notable drivers from the over-100 year history of Indy racing. The IndyCar media whittled down a large number of names to a choice of 5 in each category, and now it is our job to vote. Here are the choices:

Oval Trophy:

  • Mario Andretti
  • Rick Mears
  • AJ Foyt Jr
  • Ted Horn
  • Bill Vukovich

Road Trophy:

  • Alex Zanardi
  • Mark Donahue
  • Dan Gurney
  • Al Unser Jr
  • Mario Andetti

Such a selection encompassing drivers from most eras, and a broad smile crossed my face at the inclusion of Zanardi. I’m not sure he’s right for the trophy but it was right that he was nominated. Mario is rightfully included on both lists, the only driver with that honour.

My picks? I reckon the Bill Vukovich Trophy and the Mario Andretti Trophy sound pretty damned good.

HERE is the voting page. Two polls on the page, and you can vote once per day in each poll.

The winner of the vote for the oval trophy will be named next weekend during the Texas weekend, and the road trophy will be named over the Watkins Glen round on the first weekend in July.

Interestingly while these will be named and of course the Indy 500 victor wins the Borg Warner Trophy (or a replica of it), the main series championship doesn’t have a name. Will that be next?

We are at the rebirth of Indy racing after many years of division and distrust. Now everyone is positive and looking forward and coming up with all these creative ideas, and it is such a delight and pleasure to behold. I’m really enjoying it.

Quote of the Day

Shamelessly ripping off Jeff’s long-running series of posts featuring quotes from IndyCar personalities (and sometimes others), I bring some interesting words from Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren and Chairman of the Formula One Teams Association, who was talking about the future of F1 to Autosport.com’s Dieter Rencken in a paywall article published Thursday. (While it may be from an F1 guy it touches on GP2 and NASCAR so that fits my vague cross-motorsport remit).

There’s this continual balance about it. If you’ve got the best drivers and best cars on the circuits that we’ve got, it’s going to be difficult to overtake. You can see it in GP2, you can see it in lots of formulae. If you’re a bunch of hooligans, and bad teams and hooligan drivers, then you get a lot of mistakes, overtaking and crashes and incidents.

With all due respect, it’s easy to say, ‘Right, where’s the spectacle?’ or whatever. Is the sport right at the end of the day? No, it can be better, yes, and we’ve just got to fine-tune it.

So, do we want to create NASCAR? NASCAR is a good product for that market, they do it well, [but] we ain’t NASCAR. Maybe I shouldn’t say it: NASCAR doesn’t do it for me in that there are three box cars overtaking. You talk about it, and say how many changes [of position] there are, but maybe there are, but an overtake takes three-and-a-half laps to pull off. It doesn’t have me holding my breath.

But they do many things [right], they are marketed much smarter than we are. I think they do the TV show better than we do, they’re commercially and in business better than we are. We can learn lots of things, and what they do is appealing to a certain demographics and a certain market. But that’s not where we are.

Martin Whitmarsh of Mclaren, in his role as Chairman of FOTA, talking to Dieter Rencken

The boss of one of the biggest F1 teams reckons GP2 drivers are hooligans. In fairness he’s quite right, many in the midfield are.. I just thought it odd he’d come out and say it, normally the F1 bosses are quite PC about GP2 as it is one of Bernie’s babies.

He does make some valid points about what F1 should be – I agree that it can and should learn from NASCAR’s marketing, to an extent (without going completely overboard).

If you subscribe to Autosport you should read the rest of the feature, there’s a lot more in there, and part 2 of the interview goes up next Thursday.

**

I might continue with more in this series in future, not specifically on F1, whatever I stumble across really. Primarily because it is an easy way to get content out without writing a ton of words and I am inherently lazy.

TMR Game – Week 18

Welcome to Week 18 of the Too Much Racing Game!

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=ALMS+Laguna+Seca&iid=8883108″ src=”0/c/7/d/American_Le_Mans_c455.jpg?adImageId=12986157&imageId=8883108″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

I wasn’t able to watch either of this week’s eligible races as the ALMS went on until 4am and the DTM was on at the same time as the MotoGP. The GP was moderately good – the first half featured a great battle between Rossi and Lorenzo but after halfway or thereabouts when it had been settled, I lost interest in the whole thing. I spent much of the weekend watching qualifying from Indy which was fun especially in the closing stages of each day, and I plan to write about that later in the week.

[Photo: American Le Mans Series at Laguna Seca; via Picapp]

Quick-Start

Racing this week:

IndyCar – Indianapolis 500;

F1 – Turkish GP;

WRC – Rally Portugal;

NASCAR Sprint Cup – Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte;

Usual restrictions apply, pick up to 10 drivers, no more than 7 from one race.

The cutoff is Saturday 29th May at 4.59am BST (British Summer Time = GMT+1), that’s 11.59pm Friday night US EDT.

For the full results from Week 17, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 18”