Pucky the Whale

Racing Of The United States Variety

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Milka Duno had butt implants over the off-season. I imagine that's hindering her driving a bit.

Beyond that, well, she doesn't belong in a series with such high speeds, but the IRL issued her a license and have usually parked her at road courses (but rarely at ovals). Sorry, but her blocking is so much more dangerous on the ovals, and she's always had a knack for changing the outcomes of battles for the lead by picking the wrong line to ride around in (or, better yet, riding in all three lines at various times in the same corner). Unfortunately, without changing the licensing policy, the IRL cannot fairly ban her, and Dale Coyne's team will go under without the CITGO funding that will leave with Milka. I imagine the IRL will revise the policy this winter, giving Dale a little more time to find a new source of funding.

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Milka has no talent. She is slow at every track and I'd even place her as a safety hazard (See the Nigerian Prince's comment above about her conveniently 'parked' on road courses).

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Yes, i too think of her as a hazard. Enough is said of the new F1 teams being hazards due to their speeds, I've thought Milka was more akin to a set of mobile road spikes compared with them.

So she has a sponsor that gets no tv coverage.....what a dumb a## sponsor. If they think that they need a woman to get coverage then they should be behind someone like Simona.

And speaking of sponsors, i find it impossible to read their logos on the cars in IRL, which is weird considering the cars are bigger than f1 cars.

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Well, her sponsor, CITGO, is really the Venezuelan government's cute little oil company. And government's aren't known for spending money on things that make sense. Plus, Milka's husband is close to Hugo, so I'm sure that plays a role. There is more to sponsorship than TV coverage: special interests and activation. I doubt there's much of the latter, so it's all the former.

As for reading the logos, I totally agree. No wonder they struggle to get sponsorship. The camera angles, the speed, the shape, the size, whatever it is...I really doubt the average fan has a clue what's on the side of any of the cars until an on-board or pit road close-up is shown. I imagine this was a concern addressed with the 2012 car, even if it certainly isn't the biggest one.

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Dominoes.

Once a pizza chain with a prominent sponsorship of open-wheel racing; now the things falling down into each other until there's nothing left.

A big one hit hard yesterday: 7-Eleven is ending their primary sponsorship of the 11 car and moving to an associate sponsorship (for the non-NASCAR guys, this means a small decal) on Danica's car (the Indy one; 7-Eleven were talking to NASCAR officials in May, so perhaps we'll see them on the Nationwide side). Allegedly, the sponsorship began as a clever way around tobacco advertising laws, with KOOL paying the bills to put 7-Eleven on the Team Green cars in return for in-store promotion and prime shelf space. After that contract expired, KOOL decided it was no longer in their interest, so 7-Eleven stepped up and then farmed the space out to brands they sell (over the years, we've seen various hot dog and beverage companies plastered on the car for one-race deals). Internet estimates put it at a $6,000,000/year deal.

Well, that deal's dissolved, and so is Tony Kanaan's contract. He's a free agent.

So is his ex-teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay. IZOD are not going to fund his ride for any portion of the year, and the Ethanol subsidy can only waste so many dollars before voters get all p***y (they already are, and should be, but anyway).

As if Andretti Autosport's troubles didn't stop there, the Snapple (under the Venom brand) deal on Marco's car is linked to 7-Eleven. Wonder how that's going to work out.

Not to mention Danica's likely to bolt with her funds at the end of the year to do NASCAR.

What happens next? Ride-buyers (or, "fully-funded racers" if we like them) fill the gaps at Andretti's team, meaning less competition for the Ganassi/Penske cars, and less personalities to promote. That doesn't work out really well for the IRL.

This news isn't likely to be where the collapse ends, of course. The ratings suck and attendance is just as bad, maybe worse (the Homestead race was not promoted due to the ISC tracks being cut from the IRL schedule; I'd say about 8,000 showed up. I've seen many more at my high school's American football games and my local stock car track). They don't appeal to the majority of people, even though the oval racing has actually been fun to watch.

It's a sport with no identity. It's not F1 and it's not NASCAR. It's just a poor (in the eyes of most people) alternative to both simultaneously. It won't be Americana, it won't be Euro, so it won't be anything.

That new car in 2012? It's a step in the right direction, but how many teams can really afford it when even Penske and Ganassi are worried? Hell, how many teams will be around to afford it after another year of waning interest and dissolving sponsorships? And where will the new car race when more and more events are becoming Honda company picnics, and more and more big-time oval tracks are becoming enemies of the IRL?

Will open-wheel work in the U.S. again? Should they reset and just run Indy, putting their massive budget into creating a super-event with record purses that would provide incentive for teams to build one-off, innovative Indy specials? Would the fans take to that and justify the costs, or would that just lose money like the IRL? Should the 500 just become a NASCAR race?

And when there is a solution, it has to get past the Hulman-George family, which, after years of incest, cocaine, and financial mess, is so out-of-touch with the world around them that they'll surely reject anything that might grow the sport and its marvelous race.

I'm glad I don't have Randy Bernard's job. The off-season's just begun and it's already ugly.

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Dominoes.

Once a pizza chain with a prominent sponsorship of open-wheel racing; now the things falling down into each other until there's nothing left. Just a pizza chain here...

A big one hit hard yesterday: 7-Eleven is ending their primary sponsorship of the 11 car and moving to an associate sponsorship (for the non-NASCAR guys, this means a small decal) on Danica's car (the Indy one; 7-Eleven were talking to NASCAR officials in May, so perhaps we'll see them on the Nationwide side). Allegedly, the sponsorship began as a clever way around tobacco advertising laws, with KOOL paying the bills to put 7-Eleven on the Team Green cars in return for in-store promotion and prime shelf space. After that contract expired, KOOL decided it was no longer in their interest, so 7-Eleven stepped up and then farmed the space out to brands they sell (over the years, we've seen various hot dog and beverage companies plastered on the car for one-race deals). Internet estimates put it at a $6,000,000/year deal. Sounds pretty sucky....I was just thinking the other day that Andretti used to always be sponsored by K-Mart (or was it Wal Mart) and wondered why he didn't still have that...and then starting thinking of the likes of Kenny Brack in the Kodak car, and JV/Montoya in the purple cars whose sponsor I can't recall, and Mansell coming over and teaching others to drive and eat burgers at the same time....and then I realised it was 2010 and not the glory days....and I sighed...

Well, that deal's dissolved, and so is Tony Kanaan's contract. He's a free agent. Third driver at Ganassi? The red cars need a third driver or Penske WILL win the title next year

So is his ex-teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay. IZOD are not going to fund his ride for any portion of the year, and the Ethanol subsidy can only waste so many dollars before voters get all p***y (they already are, and should be, but anyway). Ryan is a not half bad driver...and he's young enough to cut his losses and head to Europe...but maybe he just doesn't have the balls to do it....a season in GP3 or F2, then into GP2, and by 2014 knocking on an F1 door

As if Andretti Autosport's troubles didn't stop there, the Snapple (under the Venom brand) deal on Marco's car is linked to 7-Eleven. Wonder how that's going to work out. Monster waiting in the wings? Don't see their brand anywhere...

Not to mention Danica's likely to bolt with her funds at the end of the year to do NASCAR. I dunno...I think she likes open wheel better, and she's pretty sucky in the tin tops...she had a good race at homestead I thought...shame about Will, maybe next year he'll be able to drive ovals.

What happens next? Ride-buyers (or, "fully-funded racers" if we like them) fill the gaps at Andretti's team, meaning less competition for the Ganassi/Penske cars, and less personalities to promote. That doesn't work out really well for the IRL. Nope, two teams dominating doesn't bode well...kinda like F1 which is normally just two teams and then the rest. The bonus with IRL though is that they allow single car teams, and that's where you get someone going well that you may not have considered previously. However, they do need to get some more parity between Ganassi and Penske and the rest...though Andretti does sometimes mix it in there. I know they get balloted engines at the start of the year, but all the best wrenchers are working for either Penske or Ganassi that the just make the cars go faster. Maybe the new car will equal the field for a season, but those two teams have the money to get the best crews, and thus the best cars, so they will soon dominate again.

This news isn't likely to be where the collapse ends, of course. The ratings suck and attendance is just as bad, maybe worse (the Homestead race was not promoted due to the ISC tracks being cut from the IRL schedule; I'd say about 8,000 showed up. I've seen many more at my high school's American football games and my local stock car track). They don't appeal to the majority of people, even though the oval racing has actually been fun to watch. It has been a good season...a couple of races were flat, but for the most part was quite good. Motorsport will never stack up to football, especially your yankee-doodle version, not because the game is all that good, but because y'all lost ya brains :P

It's a sport with no identity. It's not F1 and it's not NASCAR. It's just a poor (in the eyes of most people) alternative to both simultaneously. It won't be Americana, it won't be Euro, so it won't be anything. This is true...sadly. But there is still a strong open wheel culture of racers in US, from F500 to Formula Continental to Mazda Star and FFords etc. Open wheel won't die.

That new car in 2012? It's a step in the right direction, but how many teams can really afford it when even Penske and Ganassi are worried? Hell, how many teams will be around to afford it after another year of waning interest and dissolving sponsorships? And where will the new car race when more and more events are becoming Honda company picnics, and more and more big-time oval tracks are becoming enemies of the IRL? As one door closes, another opens....

Will open-wheel work in the U.S. again? Should they reset and just run Indy, putting their massive budget into creating a super-event with record purses that would provide incentive for teams to build one-off, innovative Indy specials? Would the fans take to that and justify the costs, or would that just lose money like the IRL? Should the 500 just become a NASCAR race? That would be cool, and DOF would like it, coz it would sort of be like the 1960's in a way...unfortunately, far too expensive to contemplate as a one off business model, and they already have this sort of thing run out on some salt flats, don't they?

And when there is a solution, it has to get past the Hulman-George family, which, after years of incest, cocaine, and financial mess, is so out-of-touch with the world around them that they'll surely reject anything that might grow the sport and its marvelous race.

I'm glad I don't have Randy Bernard's job. The off-season's just begun and it's already ugly. No...you're ugly....and your mummy dresses you funny

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1. A bad one, at that.

2. You're losing your mind. The glory days occurred in 0. NASCAR wrote their 2010 regulations that year, you know. A real pivotal year in racing.

3. Ganassi was the most successful team in the United States this year. Why change anything? They'll only pull the third car out if someone with funding (Rahal and Service Central) pay for the whole thing. Besides, Ganassi might be involved in some DeltaWing funtime series in the future, and uses his NASCAR profits to fund his "hobbies" (IndyCar and Grand-Am). Target's only forced along, and see no value in it beyond Indy, so they sell the space to suppliers. Kanaan will only get it if he brings money. I think de Ferran is more likely for him, or Panther.

4. He'd be 34 in 2014. He'll find some money in Grand-Am.

5. Monster back Paul Tracy, Robby Gordon, and Ricky Carmichael stateside. They've also been funding that tool in WRC and Mercedes in F1. I don't see it. Michael will get something for his son. Maybe a puppy, or perhaps just ask Randy Bernard to loan a series sponsor out to him.

6. She seems much happier on NASCAR weekends than Indy ones, and likes the money. GoDaddy.com will leave if she doesn't stick with NASCAR, and she really seems to enjoy it more than the road course-heavy IRL she's been vocally against. Bill Power was fine on ovals minus the one mistake; most of the time, his team screwed him over. He could have had a few wins on them this year, and will next.

7. There's nothing wrong with the teams being better, other than the fact they use questionable methods to get there. I've heard from many inside the sport that they have "special" treatment from the IRL; it makes sense, Roger Penske controls the sport and has for years. If he leaves, the engine leases go with him, as he owns them all. More freedom would cost more money, but would allow smaller teams to find ways to get ahead.

8. :lol: Well, it doesn't have to stack up to football, but it could at least stack up to...say, a TV blackout, when they show nothing. That draws a 1.0, the IRL draws a 0.3. They need to be at a 1.5 or the sponsors will keep bolting; a 3.0 if they want real competition; a 5.0 if they want no problems. But at this point, a 0.5 would be promising.

9. Open wheel won't die, but it won't be much of a business here.

10. Usually, but sometimes, stuff dies. The IRL's getting dangerously close, and any replacement series (i.e. DeltaWing) seems like denying the fact so few care. Sometimes, things need to just go away for everyone to move on and be more productive.

11. Depends on how much interest they could get. If they would just give up already and sell the title sponsorship of the Indy 500, they could get a lot of money. Sell advertising space around the track, too, for the race. Make better TV deals. Consider that the whole season takes about $120,000,000 to fund, and they have, on average, lost $60,000,000 per year. So let's play with $120,000,000, since that's what they like to spend. $20,000,000 to the winner. $15,000,000 to second. $10,000,000 to third. $7,500,000 to fourth. $5,000,000 to fifth. $1,000,000 to everyone else. That leaves $35,500,000. Pay $500,000 to those who fail to qualify, which could be around 10 or so, leaving $30,500,000. Will that cover everything else? I don't have a clue. The current Indy 500 budget is included in the $120,000,000, so maybe. I don't know where all of the Speedway's spending comes from (TEAM money is close to half, NASCAR, IRL, MotoGP races, special deals to subsidize races and teams...) But the individual race does turn a profit, and would even more-so if it became the "Miller Lite Indianapolis 500 presented by IZOD" or whatever they want it to be. It's not perfect, or well thought-out, but I'd love to see them do something risky for once. They've been too textbook for too long.

12. Oh come on. You've just seen bad pictures of me. I wore this to prom, and it looked mighty fine.

Edited by Eric

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1. A bad one, at that. Yeah, but aren't they all

2. You're losing your mind. The glory days occurred in 0. NASCAR wrote their 2010 regulations that year, you know. A real pivotal year in racing. Ya wally. Guess you were too young to be watching CART when it was better than F1, IMHO. But today's series really is a shadow of it's former self. It's a pity about the split. Even though they kissed and made up, it put open wheel back about 25 years.

3. Ganassi was the most successful team in the United States this year. Why change anything? They'll only pull the third car out if someone with funding (Rahal and Service Central) pay for the whole thing. Besides, Ganassi might be involved in some DeltaWing funtime series in the future, and uses his NASCAR profits to fund his "hobbies" (IndyCar and Grand-Am). Target's only forced along, and see no value in it beyond Indy, so they sell the space to suppliers. Kanaan will only get it if he brings money. I think de Ferran is more likely for him, or Panther. I know they won everything, but they only just squeeked it in IRL. I like TK...I hope he can get a good drive.

4. He'd be 34 in 2014. He'll find some money in Grand-Am. Really? And here I was thinking he was a young-un...bet he gets asked ID at the bar....

5. Monster back Paul Tracy, Robby Gordon, and Ricky Carmichael stateside. They've also been funding that tool in WRC and Mercedes in F1. I don't see it. Michael will get something for his son. Maybe a puppy, or perhaps just ask Randy Bernard to loan a series sponsor out to him. Guess NASCAR has all the sponsors pretty much tied up....again attributable to the split all those short years ago. From the racing I've watched of NASCAR and IRL, i'd take IRL any day...NASCAR just seems so.....dull.....I dunno...maybe it's just that they are tin tops. Obviously it's still a hard thing to do, as it's taken Montoya an age and a half to get any good results, and he was never shabby on the ovals. Alot of the nuances are hidden from the spectators I think...the commentry is pretty dumbed down, which is sad honestly. Just explain it as it is...then people learn, aye?

6. She seems much happier on NASCAR weekends than Indy ones, and likes the money. GoDaddy.com will leave if she doesn't stick with NASCAR, and she really seems to enjoy it more than the road course-heavy IRL she's been vocally against. Bill Power was fine on ovals minus the one mistake; most of the time, his team screwed him over. He could have had a few wins on them this year, and will next. Problem with her going to NASCAR is she'll be at the back, and her girl thing won't work a second time around. Road racing ain't that hard...I'd actually say oval was harder in that the setups are just so different to road where you look for a neutral car, but on the ovals, you need an asymetric setup, and thus too your driving style must change. I certainly don't fall into the, if they don't turn right too, there is no skill involved clique. There is skill, from car set up to driving style to working out how not to get tunnel vision to being able to drive scary fast three wide thru an oval bank. I think Will will do OK next year too...this was his first full year, and he didn't do half bad. Franchitti really only got it thru his 22 bonus points.

7. There's nothing wrong with the teams being better, other than the fact they use questionable methods to get there. I've heard from many inside the sport that they have "special" treatment from the IRL; it makes sense, Roger Penske controls the sport and has for years. If he leaves, the engine leases go with him, as he owns them all. More freedom would cost more money, but would allow smaller teams to find ways to get ahead. Flip that over and you get Ferrari in F1...but they are still beatable...and Penske hasn't had it all their way out on the track, which is where it counts.

8. :lol: Well, it doesn't have to stack up to football, but it could at least stack up to...say, a TV blackout, when they show nothing. That draws a 1.0, the IRL draws a 0.3. They need to be at a 1.5 or the sponsors will keep bolting; a 3.0 if they want real competition; a 5.0 if they want no problems. But at this point, a 0.5 would be promising. See, that's the problem with ratings...people actually believe them....maybe they need to change their sample pool and choose open wheeler fans over drunk red necks :P

9. Open wheel won't die, but it won't be much of a business here. Nope it won't. Possibly what would be better done is to align with FIA and have a GP2 USA or something...and have the FIA open up GP2 to a few chassis and engine choices. I know they like to think of GP2 as a stepping stone to F1, but old racers and racers that never got the lucky break need to race somewhere. Heck, bring back the F5000's, but with modern tech....now THAT would challenge F1 and get alot of people going ooooo and aahhhh (not to mention having their eardrums popped). The problem really with formula racing is that something somewhere always changes and one formula becomes better than the other, be it because the chassis manufacturers become lax, or too expensive, or it just simply stagnates, which is where IRL is at the moment...they have had the same chassis for so long, that they have got the most they can possibly ever get out of them. Whilst people moan that F1 keeps changing the tech rules, it's actually for that reason that F1 has never died....the racing sometimes is an absolute bore, but the engineering side and the fascination over the CARS brings in the punters....no one is really too intrigued by an IRL car these days...and thus the interest goes out the window. At least NASCAR got Toyota involved.....something that was different and new, and something to keep the interest up. I like IRL, don't get me wrong, but I'm not so misty eyed about it to think it ain't broke. Had they gone the way of the Delta Wing, however, it would have been the laughing stock of the motorsport world. Even Tata-Car racers would be laughing at them.

10. Usually, but sometimes, stuff dies. The IRL's getting dangerously close, and any replacement series (i.e. DeltaWing) seems like denying the fact so few care. Sometimes, things need to just go away for everyone to move on and be more productive. Which is what happened with F5000 in effect....just whimpered out. IRL is never going to have the pull of F1, so there is no point trying to match it...but they should do something different....they have to. The Delta Wing was not the right thing, but it got people talking, which is good, and they are changing the cars. Personally I would have said both Dallara and Swift got to supply cars. They are taking a gamble on what they have chosen to do, and we shall see how the cookie crumbles. It may result in a rejuvenated series, or it may be the death. We shall see.

11. Depends on how much interest they could get. If they would just give up already and sell the title sponsorship of the Indy 500, they could get a lot of money. Sell advertising space around the track, too, for the race. Make better TV deals. Consider that the whole season takes about $120,000,000 to fund, and they have, on average, lost $60,000,000 per year. So let's play with $120,000,000, since that's what they like to spend. $20,000,000 to the winner. $15,000,000 to second. $10,000,000 to third. $7,500,000 to fourth. $5,000,000 to fifth. $1,000,000 to everyone else. That leaves $35,500,000. Pay $500,000 to those who fail to qualify, which could be around 10 or so, leaving $30,500,000. Will that cover everything else? I don't have a clue. The current Indy 500 budget is included in the $120,000,000, so maybe. I don't know where all of the Speedway's spending comes from (TEAM money is close to half, NASCAR, IRL, MotoGP races, special deals to subsidize races and teams...) But the individual race does turn a profit, and would even more-so if it became the "Miller Lite Indianapolis 500 presented by IZOD" or whatever they want it to be. It's not perfect, or well thought-out, but I'd love to see them do something risky for once. They've been too textbook for too long. It's just the story of the old guard still running the show...it'll be a generational shift that results in something different.

12. Oh come on. You've just seen bad pictures of me. I wore this to prom, and it looked mighty fine. Cute

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To beat the dead horse one last time...;)

The glory days, in my mind, were 1996-1999. I think the racing aspect (but not the others) was best in that time; I've watched pre-split stuff and while it's better than today, it doesn't quite excite me like the late 90s racing. That said, I watched in the late 90s, so it may just be nostalgia clouding my judgment. That said, though, it can't be what I want from open-wheel, or what you want from open-wheel, or what Nigel wants from the McDonald's menu. It has to appeal to either the U.S. American masses or a smaller group of super-rich people. The latter isn't going to be achieved with cars going in circles, so they have to go for the former. Something tells me enough damage has been done that no form of open-wheel is going to have that mass appeal; open-wheel is a regional sport contest on short ovals with sprints/midgets in the Midwest, modifieds in the Northeast, and supermodifieds bridging the gap between the two, only cared by those with a tradition in caring and those who want to see the next generation of NASCAR stars in their open-wheel days.

I totally agree that NASCAR is presented in a very repelling television format, and they're finding out the hard way with declining TV ratings. Programs that condense the race into an hour with added insights are gaining popularity. As a lot of the casual fans move away (it was "cool" for a while), NASCAR will have to get back to catering to the enthusiasts with more intelligent broadcasts (like they used to have as recently as the early 2000s; believe it or not, Darrell Waltrip used to be a solid commentator, until his producers told him to be a stereotypical redneck. Another issue, without trying to sound like a jerk, is that a lot of people tend to just assume people with accents aren't as intelligent. A lot of the ex-driver and ex-crew chief commentators know so much about the sport, but have a hard time presenting that). Likewise, as all sports gear toward the next generation of fans, shorter races/shorter broadcasts need to happen. The races are hopelessly drawn-out.

Danica...well, sponsors are flocking to her in NASCAR, and that's what the teams want. She has a seat if she desires one, and those same sponsors might not want to do the IRL. We'll see if she improves. Bill ran full-time in 2008, for the record, and finished fifth at Chicago in the KV junkbox. He'll be very dominant.

They can be beaten, but they were only beaten twice this year. In a spec series. That's concerning.

:lol: Reality is, sponsors largely use ratings to make decisions. Whether accurate or inaccurate, a 0.3 is all they know, so they avoid it. Most sponsors just get suckered in to a full-season by savvy teams who tell them that's the only way they can get the 500 space.

DeltaWing was not an attractive car, but it was the most interesting of all the options. Doing 230 at Indy and the same times around Long Beach with 300 hp is incredible, and doing so with a lot of efficiency is even better. The open-source idea is what inspired the actual choice where bodykits could be changed. It was too radical for 2012, I suppose, but it was a great idea. Of course, like any car, it would need a competitor, and I think that was a big issue: which of the others could race in the same series? DeltaWing are working hard to race somewhere in 2012, so we'll see. I'd love to see one race.

The fact is, allowing Dallara, Swift, and Lola would have been great. Teams are going to close up for 2012 regardless of what they did; new ones will join if they make it worthwhile. The only issue, though, was that Dallara wanted exclusivity, Swift wanted exclusivity, and Lola wanted to supply two different cars to race against themselves. None of them were willing to play with others because it would have been a money-loser.

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In more interesting news, let's talk IRL hot stove. With this being the IR5's last year, a lot of interesting entrants might show up.

de Ferran Dragon Racing

#2: With Brazilian ownership and sponsorship (hp), Raphael Matos may be safe, but nothing is guaranteed. Despite some flashes, he's spent two years not driving like an Atlantics/Indy Lights champion, which has to be concerning for a team with such high-profile owners. Ryan Briscoe may be farmed back out if Penske cannot support three cars. Other rumors suggested Scott Dixon, though that died after his Homestead win and subsequent interview. Tony Kanaan has become an increasingly interesting possibility following Andretti Autosport's issues.

#21: No word whatsoever on the second car.

Team Penske

#3: Hélio Castroneves returns to go for his fourth Indy 500. The only change may be Verizon Wireless logos on the sidepods; rumor has it they prefer being the big fish in the IRL pond to playing second fiddle in NASCAR (where they cannot sponsor a car in the highest level series due to Sprint, the title sponsor, who have exclusivity rights).

#6: Ryan Briscoe is expected back, but some rumors say Penske doesn't have the funding, and is more focused on getting Sam Hornish, Jr. a NASCAR sponsor. The car may disappear altogether.

#12: Will Power and Verizon Wireless return; hopefully the mistakes don't.

Panther Racing

#4: Dan Wheldon is in an odd situation: he's gone, but could still come back. Graham Rahal was rumored, though now that he has funding of his own, a fully-sponsored effort such as the 4 seems less likely. Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, and Sam Hornish, Jr. have all been linked to the seat, though no rumors seem particularly strong at this point.

#20: Unsure whether the Panther Vision car will return, and to what extent if it does. Ed and Fuzzy's may team up again for an ovals-only program, which would be great, as they certainly can mix it up on the speedways. Another rumor places Rahal in this car full-time with the Service Central backing.

KV Racing Technology

#5: Lotus Cars will continue to back this vehicle, but will they back the crash-heavy Sato? Dan Wheldon's been rumored as a replacement, as have every other Brit under the sun. However, Sato may be safe, considering he's been working with Lotus as a test driver, along with team owner Jimmy Vasser and sports car racer Johnny Mowlem.

#8: No word. A crash-heavy season for E.J. Viso could lead to his exit; even the PDVSA money didn't cover this disastrous year's repairs. Lotus are rumored to increase their involvement with the team, too, so they may add another car (I'd prefer it to be re-numbered 82) for Wheldon, James Rossiter, or whomever else.

#15: It's not very likely we'll see this car or Paul Tracy back.

#32: Mario Moraes nearly lost the ride last season, so once again, it will depend on his funding. KV would be wise to downsize to two cars, especially if Lotus are going to sponsor both.

Andretti Autosport

#7: Danica Patrick and GoDaddy.com return for another year of fun; hopefully one that goes more like Homestead or Texas and less like the rest of the year. She can race, but the NASCAR distraction has to be hurting her confidence, and the big decision about her future surely will make her a little less focused.

#11: This car likely dissolves unless money is found. Tony Kanaan has not been "released," but has been given permission to explore other offers. Apex-Brasil could help fund something for Kanaan. Graham Rahal has also been rumored with his Service Central funding, but the Andretti/Rahal dynamic doesn't make this likely. Some say Wilson and Z-Line may end up here, too. There's even talk of Paul Tracy, but I find that to be wishful thinking by those in denial.

#26: Marco Andretti will return, but will Venom? Boost Mobile could end up on this car in the event Venom goes out the door with 7-Eleven.

#37: IZOD will not back Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is a free agent. Ethanol? Boost Mobile? We'll see how it shakes out.

Chip Ganassi Racing

#9: Scott Dixon should be back.

#10: Dario Franchitti will be back.

#xx: Some say they may bring out a third car for Rahal and Service Central, or even Kanaan, if funding is found (Tony, for the record, used to drive the McDonald's car...McDonald's is a Ganassi sponsor...hmm).

A.J. Foyt Enterprises

#14: Quiet on talk, so I assume Vitor and ABC Supply return for 2011.

Dale Coyne Racing

#18: Milka Duno is a topic of off-season discussion for Randy Bernard and his associates. If her license goes, so does the CITGO money, and so does this car. E.J. Viso could move here, as could Mario Moraes, or any number of ride-buyers.

#19: Without the CITGO money, the Boy Scouts funding is insufficient, leaving this car in jeopardy as well.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

#22: It seems logical that Wilson and Z-Line stay, but the Andretti temptation could land them elsewhere. No news really, though.

#23: They could field it full-time, or part-time, or not at all. No word. There's talk that Paul Tracy has put some funding together for this ride. Ana Beatriz, J.R. Hildebrand, Tomas Scheckter, etc. could also try to get this ride for some kind of program (or the 22 if Wilson goes).

#24: Mike Conway's expected to be back, though we'll see with Dad's Root Beer, who were absent from the car for a while.

AFS Racing

#27: They will go full-time, but the driver has not been announced. Adam Carroll seems to be the leading choice, unless Michael has the funding to move him to the big team. J.R. Hildebrand, Martin Plowman, and Charlie Kimball could also be players.

Rahal-Letterman Racing

#30: It's possible Graham will take the Service Central funding to Daddy. If he doesn't, however, the QuickTrim sponsorship will stay with the RLR team, meaning they could field someone else, at least at Indy.

Conquest Racing

#34: Bertrand Baguette will be back if his funding is.

#36: This is up in the air. Saavedra's possible, though he may end up at Walker. J.K. Vernay is also rumored.

Sarah Fisher Racing

#66: Unless Rahal is just going to stay there with Service Central, the funding's gone, and so is the car.

#67: Sarah Fisher is likely to retire, yielding the ride to someone else. Will Dollar General stay, and for how many races? Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, J.R. Hildebrand, Oriol Servià, and a million others have been rumored.

FAZZT Racing

#77: I haven't seen anything, so I assume nothing's changing.

HVM Racing

#78: Despite recent issues with paying bills, they say they're back in 2011, and Simona de Silvestro is, too. Her funding, however, is not.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports

#99: J.K. Vernay is likely to be in the IRL next year, and it could be with Schmidt. Still, it seems unlikely they'd expand now, when they have sights set on 2012.

Newman/Haas

#02: Graham?

#06: Hideki? Graham?

SH Racing

#xx: They'll be Indy-only in a partnership with KV Racing and sponsorship from the shady Redline XTREME energy drink. No word on drivers.

Walker Racing

#xx: Jonathan Summerton seems to be the most likely candidate, but Sebastián Saavedra is managed by Walker.

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In the "Good Men" thread, I mentioned a driver named Shane Hmiel, who was an aggressive, young talent, climbing the NASCAR ladder and attracting the attention of big-name team owners. Unfortunately, Hmiel and his doctors never figured out that he was bi-polar; unaware of his condition but aware that something was different, Hmiel spent most of his life in confusion, and in response, self-medicated with illegal substances. Hmiel was suspended in 2003 for failing a drug test, but returned in 2004 after completing NASCAR's reinstatement program. Sadly, the problem was not resolved, and Hmiel's NASCAR career ended after second and third failures in 2005 and 2007, leading to a lifetime ban.

Following this misfortune, Hmiel determined he was bi-polar, got help, and worked extremely hard to climb from rock bottom to turn his life around. Hmiel has been substance-free for years, and has fought hard to get back into a healthy state to return to racing. He's been winning races in USAC's open-wheel short-track cars, and had a deal to join the Indy Lights series with the ultimate goal of running the Indy 500. The FILS deal was set back, however, after Hmiel suffered a back injury.

Those who know Hmiel know him as a straightforward, friendly man with a great outlook on life following the wake-up call and subsequent turnaround of 2007-2009.

Sadly, though, Hmiel's dream comeback to motorsport and his ambitions of starting in one of America's greatest sporting events has been put on hold, after a terrible accident today.

http://www.popoffval...-at-terre-haute

Hmiel is in stable but critical condition (conflicting reports suggest he is in grave condition, but that term is not commonly used in the medical field, and the report suggesting such was found to be erroneous). Stay strong, Shane.

I know he'll return, and I really hope he gets to do the 500. I imagine it will be one of the greatest moments I'll witness in motor racing when Shane Hmiel takes the green at the Brickyard. The kid's fought so hard. He'll fight back again.

Edited by lewistEric

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Update on Shane Hmiel:

Everything seems okay head-injury-wise, but they need him to wake up from sedation to really know for sure. He re-broke his back, and broke his neck in two places.

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Huge relief:

No head injuries for Shane.

He's regaining feeling in his body, and is able to move his arms. He has not moved his legs, but they are very swollen, so it's too early to say anything about that.

Because Shane is going to make it through 100% mentally, I'll post the video (on a side note, those cars sound so good).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm8vv25-jY0

Such is the world of short track. The track's don't have the budget for modern walls, yet sometimes, they really need them. The rollcage on the car itself is not supposed to crumple like that. They do use the HANS device in the series, though it's hard to see if that made a difference. Without being too critical on a sensitive subject, the safety response was rough.

What's important, however, is that the every update on Shane is more and more promising. :)

Edited by lewistEric

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Hmiel had surgery on his neck last night; he had rods installed. He's now going to undergo an extensive back surgery. The doctors are worried about spinal cord damage.

One thing that I did find interesting in all this news was Kyle Petty talking about how Hmiel has a tattoo in memory of Adam Petty; Shane, like many others in the NASCAR community (including Brian Vickers and Justin Labonte), was good friends with Adam. I never knew that; Shane was around 19 or 20 when Adam passed away. I know it's a long road ahead for Shane, and racing can't possibly be on anyone's mind right now, but boy would it make me smile to see him in racecar after all this he's been through.

For those unfamiliar with Adam...watch this video.

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Huge relief:

No head injuries for Shane.

He's regaining feeling in his body, and is able to move his arms. He has not moved his legs, but they are very swollen, so it's too early to say anything about that.

Because Shane is going to make it through 100% mentally, I'll post the video (on a side note, those cars sound so good).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm8vv25-jY0

Such is the world of short track. The track's don't have the budget for modern walls, yet sometimes, they really need them. The rollcage on the car itself is not supposed to crumple like that. They do use the HANS device in the series, though it's hard to see if that made a difference. Without being too critical on a sensitive subject, the safety response was rough.

What's important, however, is that the every update on Shane is more and more promising. :)

Is that a Sprint Car (you lot call them Outlaws, I think), but without the roof wing? And why is he the only guy on track? Didn't know you autocrossed on the dirt tracks too....

I agree regarding the rollcage...have witnessed many midget, TQ, and Sprint cars flip, roll, hit barriers, hit each other, and hit catch fences and not one of the cages collapsed.

You probably won't know, but I'd say that that was an alloy roll cage....which just "go" once yield is reached....steel on the other hand will bend and retain a degree of the structure. Though that was a pretty much head on hit...most cages are designed for glancing and longitudinal loading...not so much direct compression, which is what his cage appears to suffer.

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They do race wingless sprint cars (the Outlaws term refers to the World of Outlaws series) at some tracks, but that's not entirely what the car is. It's a USAC Silver Crown car, which races both pavement and dirt. They're essentially big midgets. USAC has to be one of the only major sanctioning bodies that doesn't use wings on dirt tracks (since they run both paved and dirt); likewise, I can only think of NEMA using wings on pavement midgets. A wing definitely would have been beneficial.

They do single-car qualifying, which is why he was out there alone.

USAC mandates the roll cages are made of 4130 steel alloy (aircraft quality). The car and its cage were a few years old.

On another note of safety, the SAFER barrier would probably cost $150,000 or so to put it in the corners. Tire barriers even less. Either would be nice. Short tracks need to get creative and find ways to get safety at an affordable rate; they don't need to be NASCAR state-of-the-art in safety, but they really need to do better than concrete walls when speeds are become increasingly high, especially at a flat 1/2 mile track like Terre Haute. I've seen plenty of short tracks that care; I've also been to quite a few with glaringly stupid hazards. One track around here has a big opening in the wall for the safety team...unfortunately, they put the opening at the exit of the corner so if a car runs wide, it goes head-first into the wall. A few years ago, a driver in a winged midget hit there. It was written off as a "freak accident," which, to me, is what happened at the same track back in 2000 when a driver's seat-belt ripped, not when someone's car finds a terribly obvious design flaw in the track. Another track around here has steep banking, but after the banking, there's a big drop-off in the gap between the top of the corner and the wall. That, too, creates some really wretched angles for hitting (the car's essentially on it's side) the wall; two fatalities since 2004 there, though I'm not sure if they were in the corners. In short, I don't expect they upgrade the tracks to meet the FIA's highest standards (which aren't as high as people pretend they are), but some of the stuff you see at the tracks isn't from a lack of money; it's a lack of foresight.

Good news, though: Shane's second surgery went well. Doctors are encouraged by his progress.

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HVM Racing will join the American Le Mans Series in 2011 with a Lola chassis. Simona de Silvestro was confirmed as an HVM driver, though they never specified IndyCar; I wonder if they're going to pull the IRL program altogether and take Simona to ALMS with them (though they say they're committed to IndyCar, but they don't have the funding to do both...they hardly have the funding to just do one).

Two Lamborghini Gallardo GT2s will be fielded in ALMS as well by the Mexican West Racing team; Yokohama will provide funding.

2010_ALMS_ANnonceWestRacing.jpg

A Panoz Abruzzi (or two) will also join GT2 full-time for 2011. No one else likes this car, but I do, in a weird way.

2010_ALMS_PLM_AbruzziGT2.jpg

ALMS will divide LMP back into P1 and P2, which implies they expect to have enough entries to do so. I'm disappointed, personally. I know they want to comply with the ACO, especially with the Intercontinental Cup expanding (inlcuding two ALMS rounds), but it was pretty exciting to see the HPD battle the Aston for a class and overall win at Long Beach, meaning it counted for points, too, and not just pride.

Other ALMS stuff:

They plan to do more endurance races (sorry, not for me...I love the 1:45 ones, personally. Endurance racing can lead to a lot of strategy, which is interesting, and periods of less action as they have to conserve the cars more for the end. I don't know; maybe I'm just dumb and get bored too easily, but I loved the short races this year, while, excluding Laguna Seca, the endurance races weren't even worth watching).

They also plan to reduce TV coverage; those horrible docu-dramas one week later appear to be it for TV next year. I just don't get it. If you condensed the race into an hour program the next week with extra insights, fine, I'll watch that. But I have no interest in watching a human interest program where the only shots of racing are slow-motion artsy pictures and not the real battles. The broadcast needs to be racing with human interest stories, not human interest stories with racing. If they have to do time-buys (they probably will), then do a highlights program to reduce time.

90% of ALMS fans think developing automotive technology through racing is important.

52% of ALMS fans are willing to pay a premium price for cars with technology developed through racing.

75% of ALMS fans are more willing to buy series sponsors' products over competitors'.

60% of ALMS fans switched to Tequila Patrón due to their title sponsorship; brand preference of Patrón is six times higher than the second highest spirit among ALMS fans.

Viewership by the 18-34 market (the coveted one all sports are seemingly losing) has gone up 100% over the last two years (so now they'll squander that with silly docu-dramas).

Riley, Lola, ORECA, and Norma will build low-cost LMP2s; Roush-Yatesm, HPD/Honda, and Judd will supply LMP2 engines.

Highcroft will run LMP1, meaning no more HPD...

LMPC and GTC remain, though some LMPC teams are going to LMP2 (Level 5, for example), and the GTC field will be capped at 10 (2011 and 2010 Porsche 911s only).

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HVM Racing will join the American Le Mans Series in 2011 with a Lola chassis. Simona de Silvestro was confirmed as an HVM driver, though they never specified IndyCar; I wonder if they're going to pull the IRL program altogether and take Simona to ALMS with them (though they say they're committed to IndyCar, but they don't have the funding to do both...they hardly have the funding to just do one).

Two Lamborghini Gallardo GT2s will be fielded in ALMS as well by the Mexican West Racing team; Yokohama will provide funding.

2010_ALMS_ANnonceWestRacing.jpg

A Panoz Abruzzi (or two) will also join GT2 full-time for 2011. No one else likes this car, but I do, in a weird way.

2010_ALMS_PLM_AbruzziGT2.jpg

ALMS will divide LMP back into P1 and P2, which implies they expect to have enough entries to do so. I'm disappointed, personally. I know they want to comply with the ACO, especially with the Intercontinental Cup expanding (inlcuding two ALMS rounds), but it was pretty exciting to see the HPD battle the Aston for a class and overall win at Long Beach, meaning it counted for points, too, and not just pride.

Other ALMS stuff:

They plan to do more endurance races (sorry, not for me...I love the 1:45 ones, personally. Endurance racing can lead to a lot of strategy, which is interesting, and periods of less action as they have to conserve the cars more for the end. I don't know; maybe I'm just dumb and get bored too easily, but I loved the short races this year, while, excluding Laguna Seca, the endurance races weren't even worth watching).

They also plan to reduce TV coverage; those horrible docu-dramas one week later appear to be it for TV next year. I just don't get it. If you condensed the race into an hour program the next week with extra insights, fine, I'll watch that. But I have no interest in watching a human interest program where the only shots of racing are slow-motion artsy pictures and not the real battles. The broadcast needs to be racing with human interest stories, not human interest stories with racing. If they have to do time-buys (they probably will), then do a highlights program to reduce time.

90% of ALMS fans think developing automotive technology through racing is important.

52% of ALMS fans are willing to pay a premium price for cars with technology developed through racing.

75% of ALMS fans are more willing to buy series sponsors' products over competitors'.

60% of ALMS fans switched to Tequila Patrón due to their title sponsorship; brand preference of Patrón is six times higher than the second highest spirit among ALMS fans.

Viewership by the 18-34 market (the coveted one all sports are seemingly losing) has gone up 100% over the last two years (so now they'll squander that with silly docu-dramas).

Riley, Lola, ORECA, and Norma will build low-cost LMP2s; Roush-Yatesm, HPD/Honda, and Judd will supply LMP2 engines.

Highcroft will run LMP1, meaning no more HPD...

LMPC and GTC remain, though some LMPC teams are going to LMP2 (Level 5, for example), and the GTC field will be capped at 10 (2011 and 2010 Porsche 911s only).

We get 1-hour docu-drama's of the European LMS, and talk about a frigging bore...like you say, some artsy shots, followed by a driver in the pits, followed by an artsy shot, followed by a team owner scratching his nose in the pits, followed by an artsy shot, followed by a drivers GF in the pits, followed by an artsy shot, followed by a driver in the pits, followed by an awards ceremony.....

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COT got freshened up for 2011 with a new nose...

14burgerking-shop.jpg

It certainly looks better, though it's still an odd vehicle.

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If it's the car of tomorrow....why are they racing it today?

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If it's the car of tomorrow....why are they racing it today?

Because the parents of Brian France's ex-wife (who had been sued by Mr. France in an effort to get them evicted from a home he owned) testified under oath that Brian, while drunk in California, called Mike Helton during the 2006 Brickyard 400, ordering him to black flag Jeremy Mayfield, who NASCAR have always been out to get (like the time he tested positive for meth and then got a ban from the sport; talk about injustice), which was funny because Mayfield wsa not black-flagged during that race and Brian France was in Orlando, Florida.

Therefore, it's the Car of Tomorrow, because NASCAR, unlike Mayfield (as he deals with the six lawsuits he's in right now...him suing NASCAR over his drug test, him suing his step-mother over murdering his father and using a loan for building a barn to do things that weren't related to barn-building, NASCAR suing him for violating NASCAR's driver-sport agreement waivers, Arrington Racing Engines suing him for not paying his engine bills, his attorney suing him for not paying his legal bills, and the IRS suing him over unpaid taxes), will be racing it tomorrow and into the near future.

Okay, yeah, the name's stupid. :P

Edited by Eric

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Soooo....long story short, it's the car of today, and they'll be racing it tomorrow?

So what are they using next week?

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Soooo....long story short, it's the car of today, and they'll be racing it tomorrow?

So what are they using next week?

They're racing NZ stock cars next week. Here they are racing in the pack at Talladega. The restriction plates really keep them close.

Next year, though, Ganassi won't be racing three IndyCars (in NASCAR or in IndyCar). Just two. Dario and Scott. Kanaan and Rahal continue to search. And they won't land at Newman/Haas, who are quietly trying to sell their team.

2012, well, who knows who will be racing IndyCars. Some say the DeltaWing break-away series is gaining some ground; Audi allegedly support the idea. That's exactly what the U.S. racing scene doesn't need: another series to further divide the road racing fan-base. It needs to be one or the other.

7-Eleven are aiming to move to NASCAR with Hendrick Motorsports. Expect them to take on some races with Jeff Gordon and maybe even a few in Nationwide with The Danica. Certainly a lot of exposure in backing those two, so I can see why they left. Meanwhile, the real 7-Eleven (the Japanese one) keep finding themselves on Red Bull F1 cars at Asian races.

NASCAR's ratings are tanking. The first 13 races (on FOX) averaged a 4.8 (excluding Daytona, they averaged a 3.37, but this included two races shown on Monday due to rain-outs, which scored 2.1s. Most Sunday races were in the 4s). The next 6, on TNT, averaged 3.0. 11 races into ABC/ESPN's coverage, the ratings are getting even worse. Even with decent ratings to begin, the Chase ratings are as good as the FOX rainouts: 2.1, 2.4, 2.7, and 2.9. I wonder if it's time to admit that the Chase is a bad idea, and racing on Sunday afternoons during football season is an even worse one.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month always means a few pink-ish cars, but finally someone's just done a proper one:

7PinkChltteFall10.jpg

Speaking of liveries, both UPS and FedEx have updated theirs for 2011, and they look good.

Jeff Gordon is now third all-time for poles won with 69; Richard Petty leads with 123, while David Pearson has 113. With 69 poles, 82 wins, and 4 championships in the most competitive era of the sport, it's hard to say Gordon isn't the best ever (or damn close).

Last NASCAR tidbit: E15 Ethanol for 2011 (lolwtf) and fuel injection by July 9, 2011 (the all-new Kentucky race).

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http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/87473

That's been known for a while, but finally confirmed. Good stuff.

EDIT: Nevermind, read the article closer. It's not replacing Grand-Am. Eh. It should. Doing both isn't very sensible on NASCAR's part.

Edited by Eric

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