Archive for February, 2011
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
The IndyCar Series is putting up $5 million for any driver who thinks he or she can beat the open-wheel professionals at their own game in their championship race in Las Vegas.IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard has issued the invitation, as the series announced its season-ending world championship would be held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.
“A very important element of our sport is that these are the best, fastest, versatile race car drivers in the world,” he said. “Well, we’re here to put our money where our mouth is.”
Up to 5 outside drivers can compete in the race if they’re picked by a selection committee and qualify on the track the weekend of the race, then win the race outright to collect the $5 million, he said.
“There’s some pretty big steps in there. But we’re looking for the best drivers in the world and the selection committee’s not going to let [just] anybody have an opportunity to race against the best drivers in the world,” Bernard said in an interview after the announcement at the Crystals mall at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip.
Star power and ability will be considered as the committee issues invitations, he said.
Given the criteria, the list of drivers who might consider the crossover challenge is short.
Drivers would need an IndyCar ride capable of winning the race, and would likely enter just for a shot at the cash — which they’d only get with a win.
NASCAR drivers like Juan Montoya and Tony Stewart would be naturals, as Stewart’s a former IRL champ, and JPM is former CART champion and Indy 500 winner.
Other possibles include multi open-wheek-winner AJ Allmendinger, and Kurt Busch, who has shown interest in sliding into an IndyCar cockpit.
All of the above have been guests on Raceline Radio by the way!
Allmendinger though says a one-off in an IndyCar without testing first would be uncomfortable.
The invitation adds a wrinkle to a race that drivers say is sure to deliver a close finish because of the speed and banking of the oval track.
The world championships are the finale of a 17-race schedule, with points going toward the title.
Would it not be great to have drivers from NASCAR and IndyCar crossing over between series on a regular basis?
Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt would be proud!
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
We really have created a MONSTER, and it’s a good one!
They’re back for another season of partnership and we could NOT be more pleased!
Our long time and loyal friends at Subaru Canada have joined Tissot Swiss Watches, re-signing as a title presenting sponsor of our 19th season of Raceline Radio!
We were trying to determine how long this partnership has been flourishing, and I figure it has to be at least 10 of the 19 years!
In that decade, we have sold a LOT of WRX’s, the MONSTER we’ve created, and covered a few thousand rally stages, Subaru’s high performance arena.
If you listen to the show starting this Sunday and next week, you’ll hear what we mean by a MONSTER!
Subaru has their fingers in a lot of pies, but when it comes to radio marketing of their Impreza WRX and WRX STi marks, The Raceline Radio Network has been, and continues to be the perfect fit!
I’m writing this at the Toronto Auto show having just had another look at “our” Subaru display, in particular the WRX, and I am very proud of the company and this street-legal rally car!
It IS a MONSTER, and an absolute gas of a car to drive!
Special thanks to a list of people at Subaru who make this partnership roll along with the beauty of symmetrical all-wheel-drive:
Our original good buddy Brian Hyland, who set up the Raceline deal in the first place. BH saw the value in the show to help sell cars through Subaru’s rally stance. Brian now handles Subaru parts Canada-wide, but he’ll always been chairman of the board with us!
Geoff Craig is the marketing manager for Subaru Canada, the man who spends the budget and makes sure we get paid! Geoff is a solid man who has one of the best senses of humour in the car bizz. Geoffie, who likes to run marathons, is a big fan of Raceline Radio and we are big fans of his in return!
Tod Sullivan is central region director at Subaru and works with Craig on the marketing side. Tod’s into the rally thing too, and that’s good for us! His sense of humour is almost as good as Geoff’s.
Special thanks to Elaine Griffin. She used to handle Subaru Canada Media Relations, before she left that post at the end of the summer after 20-plus years at the helm. Elaine was that bridge to the corporate side of the information we needed to air on Raceline in terms of sales figures and the high points of Subaru’s Canadian, North American and world-wide rally efforts.
Ken Giller was Elaine’s side-kick, and she has also has since departed the fold, but I wanted to mention what a pleasure it was to work with those two ladies.
We look forward to continuing our work with Joe Felstein and the media relations think-tank at Subaru!
From all of us at Raceline Radio, a most sincere thank you Ladies and Gentlemen at Subaru!
We also need to tip the Raceline beanie to Tim Webb of Raceline/FAN 590/Rogers Sales for applying the glue that holds this deal together! He likes wings and beer too, and that makes Webbie a good guy!
We literally could NOT do this without you!
Erik Tomas Raceline
Thursday, February 24th, 2011
We had TK and Gil on Raceline Radio just after the deal was announced, but sadly, it’s not going to happen!
Gil de Ferran’s squad had announced Andretti Autosport refugee Kanaan as its 2011 driver last December, but Kanaan now says this plan has fallen through.
“I came up with some money, but not enough,” Kanaan told the Indianapolis Star.
“The bottom line now is, who will give me a deal and for how many races?”
The IndyCar season is due to start in St. Petersburg Florida in a month, so the scramble, that now includes the very personable and often hilarious Kanaan, multi-time champ Sebastien Bourdais and Canada’s own Paul Tracy, is on big time!
“It’s hard to take, especially a month before the championship starts,” Kanaan added. “It’s sad, but I’m going to keep fighting and go find something to drive.”
TK, the 2004 IndyCar champion, parted company with Andretti Autosport at the end of last year after 8 seasons.
In a familiar refrain, the move was prompted by the loss of the primary sponsor on Kanaan’s car, 7-Eleven Stores.
His old car will now be driven by Mike Conway, who’ll be a guest on the next edition of Raceline Radio, this Monday night at 7 on SportsNet Radio The FAN 590.
We need TK in this series, PT as well…
ET with thanks to Autosport for the photo and the Indianapolis Star for the quotes.
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
I just finished editing our interview with Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne for this weekend’s/next week’s Raceline Radio show.
He’s a very religious and spiritual young guy.
But he’s not the first driver to work God and Christ into their racing.
You will find most NASCAR drivers say a prayer before they strap in.
Jeff Gordon used to be very big on this, and I believe he still is, he just doesn’t mention it much.
One big proponent of religious faith in NASCAR is Darrell Waltrip. DW and his wife Stevie used to go around with little prayers on stickers and they’d lean in and slap ‘em on the dash boards of the cars.
They were able to pull Dale Earnhardt into the flock before we lost him.
Morgan Shepherd has always worn his faith on his sleeve.
NASCAR, and most racing sanctions have pastors who are around to conduct Sunday morning chapel on race weekends, and to ensure the spiritual well being of the drivers, their families and teams. Fans too.
NASCAR uses MRO, Motor Racing Outreach, headed by Billy Mauldin. NASCAR’s pastor is Steven Keller.
Hunter Floyd has been IndyCar’s pastor or chaplain ( in Canada we use the terms minister, pastor or Padre, although Padre is more a military term ) for as long as I can remember. Father Phil DeRea handles the Catholic side of the movement, and is the Andretti family’s priest.
Hunter and Father Phil have been guests on Raceline Radio.
You get a nice warm feeling talking to these guys. They’re good hearted people with big faith.
As we cope in a world where they’re constantly trying to separate Church and State, you might have your own views on drivers mentioning their religious beliefs all the time.
Some get a funny uneasy feeling when they hear that stuff.
I am not an overly religious guy, but I say my prayers every night, and know that too many strange things have happened that make me believe somebody else is steering the boat, whether he, or she, is up there, down there, or over there!
But one thing is very clear.
People who live their lives through Christ are always happy, never stressed, and take a very logical and easy-going path through life’s trials and tribulations.
That in itself…. is a blessing, in or out of a race car!
Monday, February 21st, 2011
The right decision, as in light of the political unrest, an automobile race seems so un-important!
Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have announced the event will not host the opening round of the 2011 Formula 1 season, after days of uncertainty following political unrest in the country.
The decision was finally confirmed by the track organisers on Monday.
The Crown Prince informed Bernie Ecclestone of the decision by telephone.
“At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain,” Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.
“Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain’s to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula 1 race to a later date.
“I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding.”
“After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”
Ecclestone added: “It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.
“The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon.”
The postponement of the race means the season will now start in Australia on 27 March, two weeks later than originally scheduled.
Renault boss Eric Boullier said his team fully supported the decision.
“The recent situation in Bahrain has been very difficult for the country. We feel the decision taken by the Crown Prince is wise and we fully support it,” he said.
“The Bahrain Grand Prix has always been welcomed with enthusiasm from the Bahraini people, and we’re looking forward to going back there when they have healed their country. We will now amend our logistics accordingly and will get ready for Australia.”
No decision has been made on a new date for the rescheduling of the race.
Heal fast Bahrain.
We’ll come back when the wounds have scarred over.
ET with quotes, with thanks….. from Autosport
Monday, February 21st, 2011
Ok, this one didn’t last 6 hours, but for the second year in a row, NASCAR served up a rotten launch to their season with a very messy and sloppy Daytona 500.
The only thing that saved it was 20 year old kid Trevor Bayne and the shoe-sting-but-proud Wood Brothers winning it, as many of the high prices boys got collected in an early “big one”.
Good to see an upset, but for a fan of the Wood Brothers and David Pearson back in the day, that got me interested in NASCAR in the first place, the best was seeing the Wood Bros back in victory lane at Daytona for the first time since “The Silver Fox” shot past dominator Richard Petty in 1976!
Glen and Leonard Wood invented the quick, fast, orchestated pit stop to get cars out of the pits faster, an express to checkered flag.
G and L were so good at it, Lotus hired them to work Jimmy Clark’s pit stops at Indianapolis.
The Wood Brothers torch has been passed to Eddie and Len Wood, the next generation, and it was very cool to see that red and white # 21 win the 500!
Ironic from 2 standpoints. One, they only have the budget for a partial CUP schedule, and Bayne has declared he’s going to run for the Championship in the Nationwide Series, and under new NASCAR rules, you have to pre-declare what series you’re committed to, Cup, Nationwide or Trucks.
Bayne, the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500, as he celebrated his 20th cake the day before, was giddy in the post 500 media gaggle. He apologized for jumping around with his answers, but said it didn’t matter because since it’s all a dream, he can do what he wants! The room erupted into laughter!
But I’m not laughing at that mess of a race.
It’s almost expected now that the drivers will go spastic and crash for multiple yellows close to the finish so we have to endure that joke called the green-white-checker finish!
Despite the new pavement, The Daytona 500 has NASCAR stumbling out of the gate for 2011.
It can only get better…. we hope!
Monday, February 21st, 2011
By Erik Tomas, The Raceline Radio Network. __________________________________________________________________________________
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Sunday Feb 20th: 2011 Season Opener: 53rd Daytona 500. Biggest upset in NASCAR history! 20 year old Trevor Bayne of Knoxville Tenn, at age 20, is the youngest driver ever to win the 500, and the 7th driver to make the Daytona 500 his first CUP race win. While some of the high priced boys like Johnson and Gordon got collected in that 17 car BIG ONE early, Bayne survived, and 2 green-white-checker re-starts for the win. First win for the Wood Brothers since 2001, and the first at Daytona since 1976 with David Pearson!
Formula One World Driving Championship:
2011 Season Opener: March 13th: Bahrain. Race in doubt due to political unrest. 2010 champion: Sebastien Vettel. Red Bull Renault wins the Constructor’s championship.
Indy Racing League IZOD IndyCar Series:
2011 Season Opener:
March 27th, St. Petersburg Florida. Toronto July 10th, Edmonton July 24th 2010 champion: Dario Franchitti, his 3rd career championship.
American LeMans Series:
2011 season opener:
Sebring Florida March 19th. Mosport Toronto: July 24th.
Canadian Rally Championship presented by Subaru: Event # 1: 2011 season: Feb 5: Rallye Perce Neige: Antoine L’Estage wins to open defence of his Canadian Championship and North American Triple Crown perfectly. Subaru’s Pat Richard breaks a wheel and finishes 4th.
Rally America Series: 2010 champions: Antoine L’Estage and Natalie Richard.
World Rally Championship Opener: February 13th. Winner: Mikko Hirvonen. Frenchman Sebastien Loeb/Citroen defending his 7th-straight WRC title!
COMING UP ON RACELINE RADIO on SportsNet Radio The FAN 590:
Monday Feb 21st, 7:06 PM: GREG MCPHERSON, Inside Track Motorsport News reports LIVE from The Daytona 500… BOBBY RAHAL comments on his up coming induction into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, and the Tissot/Raceline E-Mail Bag contest!
Monday Feb 28th: Daytona 500 winner TREVOR BAYNE, and IndyCar’s MIKE CONWAY after that scary crash at last year’s Indy 500, plus the Tissot/Raceline E-Mail Bag contest!
-Guest scheduling is subject to change.
Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Tony Stewart wins the NASCAR Nationwide race at Daytona. Danica 14th, and the lone Canadian at Daytona this year, JR Fitzpatrick qualified 42nd and stayed there all day, finishing 42nd.
That was Patrick’s best NASCAR finish by the way….
Michael Waltrip won the Truck race.
Ok, who’s with me… who’s picking Jeff Gordon to win the Daytona 500 tomorrow?
We’re at the Auto show. Done for today, back tomorrow Sunday 12 to 4, and next Saturday and Sunday, same times!
Come on down and bench race!
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Jeff Burton won the second Daytona 500 qualifying race by beating teammate Clint Bowyer to the line.NASCAR sensation Brad Keselowski also pushed his unheralded older brother, Brian, through the field Thursday and into a transfer spot that earned him his first spot in the Daytona 500.
Keselowski who is two years older than his brother, cried in his car. He’ll make his Sprint Cup debut in NASCAR’s biggest race of the season.
Kurt Busch won the first of the qualifying races, which set the field for the Daytona 500.
Bill Elliott and J.J. Yeley earned the transfer spots in the first race, while Michael Waltrip joined Brian Keselowski with spots from the second race.
The first Duel set the starting order for the inside row (odd-numbered positions) in the 53rd running of NASCAR’s most important race. Smith, who finished second, will start third in the 500. Harvick, Kenseth and Kahne finished third, fourth and fifth and will start fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively, on Sunday.
Bill Elliott and J.J. Yeley claimed the two transfer positions into the Daytona 500, thanks to Duel finishes of 15th and 17th. Because Elliott won’t have to fall back on his qualifying time, Michael Waltrip also will race on Sunday, based on his fourth-best qualifying speed among those not locked into the 500.
After pushing Harvick from a Lap 6 restart until the cars came to pit road together on Lap 45, Kenseth swapped positions with Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet and led the race until Juan Montoya pushed Kasey Kahne into the lead on Lap 56.
That lead change coincided with the second caution of the race for Michael McDowell’s blown engine. Busch surged into the lead on Lap 61 and held it to the finish, as the race finished with a two-lap dash that took the event to 62 laps, two beyond its scheduled distance.
The 21 lead changes were a record for the Duel since the races were lengthened from 125 to 150 miles in 2005.
ET with copy from NASCAR.com
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
NASCAR announced Wednesday morning they will change the carburetor restrictor plates on the engines to reduce speeds for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The opening of the plate will be 1/64th of an inch smaller (to 57/64ths) to greater restrict the air flow, which will give the engines about 10 to 12 less horsepower.
The change is effective immediately, starting with the first practice session Wednesday morning.
Speeds reached more than 206 mph in the Budweiser Shootout Saturday night at Daytona.
They cannot have these cars going 200 MPH due to the risk of kiting, and getting into the fence.
NASCAR already made two rules changes Sunday to cause the engines to heat up faster and limit some of the pairs racing that took place in the Shootout, which enabled the cars to reach higher speeds.
The front grill opening was reduced and NASCAR mandated lower radiator pressure so the engines would get hot faster. The rear car pushing the car in front could overheat in a few laps with the rule changes.
NASCAR did the right thing!