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OFFICIAL: Indycar at Texas Motor Speedway


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#1 Risil

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 20:33

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The Firestone Five Hundred and Fifty, at Fort Worth, TX. We're gonna get 228 laps, which on this highly exciting cookie-cutter one-point-five mile oval brings us to a race distance of 342 miles. Why is it that you Americans only use kilometres when you want to make the numbers look bigger/alliterate with your sponsor's name?

Pre-ramble
As every race fan (or tennis-watcher) knows, there's nothing quite like a sporting event with a long, unscheduled break in the middle. Think of it like Bob Dylan post-motorcycle accident: the red flag at Detroit gave the race time to go away and think about its career, its songs, its audience. And when it came back it had a new direction and new energy, and Franchitti worked his way up to second after some restarts. That analogy may not have worked but the important thing is that some of us were still watching the race at the end.

Last year the Texas race also had a long gap in the middle, although apparently in that case it was scheduled. The race was famously hijacked halfway through by the producers of Deal or No Deal, who made the drivers spin a plastic tyre around, the obverse of it revealing their grid position for Part Two. Here's a video of Will Power celebrating his good grid draw, while simultaneously wrestling with his awareness that doing so and claiming this feat of blind luck as his achievement is to scale the heights of ridiculousness. In a way, perhaps, a few Indycar winners at this methadone-for-accelerator-pedal-junkies speedway have felt this feeling, but with nothing like the intensity visible in Will's awkward, halting, slow-motion jumps and fist-pumps.

No breaks this time, though. If the other previous events are anything to go by, the racing is likely to be fast, close and continuous. Unless it rains. And there'll still be advert breaks. And though after the Debacle In Detroit we are some way above base camp in the Heights of Ridiculousness, it's possible that we might see some actual real racing at Texas. They're taking away a lot of the downforce for Saturday, and with the bumpy track surface we might actually see the best drivers doing their best driving. Or if that's not possible, maybe they can channel Robbie McGehee and Scott Goodyear.

Important information
It's a Saturday race. Friends don't let friends miss racing on unusual days.

Schedule below. (That's Texas time, bros and sistas)
Friday 8th June
12.30-13.45: Indycar practice one
15.30-17.00: Indycar qualifying
18.45-19.15: Indycar practice two, in the evening.
20.00: My union rep says I don't have to talk about anything NASCAR-related; look at OLB's thread. It's trucks or something.

Saturday 9th June (I'm going to pad this one out a bit)
19.00: NBC Sports coverage begins
~19.06: NBC Sports' first advertising break begins
~19.09: NBC Sports' first advertising break ends, we're back with our Indycar-loving friends Bob, Jon and Wally.
19.45: "Ladies and gentlemen! Start your engines!!"
19.50: Green flag

Ganassi's back
Sing His praises. Chip's team has recorded two consecutive one-two finishes. Chip Ganassi, I set you the target of three consecutive one-two finishes, which I will name in honour of Atari's greatest puzzle game (like me, it's 23 years old this year), Chip's Challenge. Chip, I challenge thee.

Tsingtao Watch, part II
Interesting news for all lovers of the lustrous Orient. Miller's Mailbag this week states that it's Robin's understanding that the old mayor was a big supporter of the Indycar race, the new one is not. However, there is a contract in place so the race is on. This is exactly the sort of sensible and professional business dealing that Indycar needs to build upon.

Interested in Aero Kits?
Marshall Pruett, Speed.com's Sundance Kid to Robin Miller's Butch Cassidy, has spoken to Honda and Chevy. (Surprisingly Lotus didn't return any of his calls. Soon they'll be able to go to the same parties and not flicker an eyelid, but right now it's still a little painful, okay?) Chevy are worried about the expense of complex aero development that has little directly to do with auto marketing; suggest instead styling modifications to differentiate the cars. IIRC Chevrolet had pretty precise styling requirements for their factory-supported IMSA cars in the '80s, as did Ford, so this is perhaps standard Detroit Thinking. The performance-orientated Honda, of Senna, Spencer and Parker Johnstone, want the aero kits to go ahead as a way of showing their in-house expertise. (Apparently they're in talks with Wirth Research, which made me go "Hmmm" a little. But they do turn out those nice Highcroft Acuras in ALMS.)

Both parties are agreed, however, that a decision needs to be made soon and that the decision must be final. Lotus would probably also agree, but they're too busy deleting all of Speed.com's numbers from their phone and preparing a big document wallet with "International Journalist Conspiracy" written on the front.

That's your lot
From what I've heard, Texas is a pretty interesting place. Post your Texas-related anecdotes below! vvv

Edited by Risil, 07 June 2012 - 20:47.


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#2 red stick

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 20:43

The drivers are so enthusiastic about racing here they might be channeling Dylan: "There must be some way out of here, Said the joker to the thief . . . "

And is Lotus not returning calls? Or trying to get service reinstated after defaulting on its phone bill?

#3 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 21:35

What's this about lower than low downforce?

#4 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 21:44

So, first race on a high banked cookie-cutter with the new cars. Hopefully they work as well as they have on the twisty stuff and at Indy. Now we'll find out if they did their sums right with the new car as I'm not looking forward to more pack racing.

On to happier thoughts. We'll have one long race again, avoiding the controversy of the grid draw lottery. I'm sure the cars will look great under the lights. I'm going to make the effort to stay up and watch the race live, and hopefully post on here in the ad breaks like I usually do.

#5 Risil

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 21:50

What's this about lower than low downforce?


A line of Robin Miller's from the Mailbag I was reading this afternoon, "They are taking downforce away for Texas." I assume that means they're going to run more or less Indy spec, which was low enough to keep the cars on edge in the corners, despite the huge drag on the straights. But the series tends to like to legislate individual aero rules for each oval, so there may be more. If anyone's got some more detailed info, please share it. :)

#6 King Six

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 21:51

Well it was pretty inevitable that the aero kits were not going to happen. IndyCar was a spec series for far too long for the teams to now start abandoning their old ways. I'll give the series 2-3 years maximum before they are all running a single engine again. Motorsports lost its relevance a long time ago but especially for Indy/Nascar and nobody even wants to try anymore.

Edited by King Six, 07 June 2012 - 21:52.


#7 Bloggsworth

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 21:51

The drivers are so enthusiastic about racing here they might be channeling Dylan: "There must be some way out of here, Said the joker to the thief . . . "


So that's where the spotters sit.


#8 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:02

Plus Legge has swapped with Bourdais for the next three weekends.

#9 Ali_G

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:11

Well it was pretty inevitable that the aero kits were not going to happen. IndyCar was a spec series for far too long for the teams to now start abandoning their old ways. I'll give the series 2-3 years maximum before they are all running a single engine again. Motorsports lost its relevance a long time ago but especially for Indy/Nascar and nobody even wants to try anymore.


I read that the DW12 was originally supposed to cost $325k but has inflated to $800k. Stunning management accounting by Dallara. Some team owners cribbing that this is going into former CART cost territory. At least CART cars weren't shit waggons.

#10 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:13

They're not that bad, they're only a second off the last CART pole on that version of Detroit. And back then there was a tire war.

#11 Ali_G

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:19

You getting those figures off of Forix ?

Best I can find outside of Forix is Indy times. 2012 pole was 6mph slower than the 1995 pole.

#12 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:26

It's going to fluctuate depending on the circuit. They're terribly underpowered on the ovals. They run their lowest boost levels.

#13 Ali_G

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:54

Somone explain to me how the qual time at Indy in 1996 was a full 5 mph faster than in 1995 ?

Were the IRL running more boost as some sort of stunt ?

#14 Risil

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 22:57

They were running the full 1995 equipment for a start. And those Menard V6s were just about the quickest things around a qualifying run at IMS, 1995 or 1996.

Edited by Risil, 07 June 2012 - 22:58.


#15 Ali_G

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 23:13

Still though, 5mph was a huge gain from one year to the next. Luyendyk did a 239mph lap in 1996 which is the fastest ever lap of Indy seemingly.

Edited by Ali_G, 07 June 2012 - 23:13.


#16 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 23:16

But look at the gap in 1996 from Menards cars to the next quickest ones. They had a special engine. And perhaps not an entirely legal one.

#17 Ali_G

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 23:27

Luyendyk set by far the fastest qual lap though for Treadway Racing. 3mph faster than the fastest Menard.

Edited by Ali_G, 07 June 2012 - 23:28.


#18 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 23:56

He was day 2 and had some better conditions. But if you look at the grid, it was only 3-4 cars that had the really big speeds. Everyone else was in the 'normal' range that they were doing even several years ago.

#19 HaydenFan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 00:09

1996 was the first year of the Indy Racing League. Tony George had to do something huge to justify to the fans and the people giving him money that his product was "better".

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#20 gm914

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 01:28

Fantastic opener Risil.

Great weekend if you're a local and planning on heading over.
The Camping Workd Truck series is being held at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday too.

#21 Rob G

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:03

Somone explain to me how the qual time at Indy in 1996 was a full 5 mph faster than in 1995 ?

Were the IRL running more boost as some sort of stunt ?

The track was repaved between the 1995 and '96 races.

#22 Ali_G

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:09

The track was repaved between the 1995 and '96 races.


I think we have a winner.

#23 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:32

btw for TV confusion

-Dario is in the black Energizer car(one of my favourite liveries, seems to appear each year at Texas. And btw why is it always the #10 that does alternate paintjobs? Dixon never has to my memory)
-Newgarden is blue/black like Clauson's car at Indy. I assume they converted Newgarden's primary car for Detroit, and are using the Clauson car for the ovals. Texas this weekend, Milwauke next, and the Iowa heat races the following.
-Jello Castroneves is back in the blue/white AAA car.

#24 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:33

I take it back, Dixon ran an alternate paintjob at Texas 09.

#25 dweller23

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:43

I can never make myself stay up for Texas. 3-4am is just too late for me... What is worse, from what I've seen, the season finale will be even later.

Also, since it was so hard to break away from the pack at Indy, I presume it's going to be even harder here. Let's just hope that everything will go fine and there won't be any bad incidents.

#26 sblick

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:22

Somone explain to me how the qual time at Indy in 1996 was a full 5 mph faster than in 1995 ?

Were the IRL running more boost as some sort of stunt ?

The IRL ran a stunt to make sure an IRL driver had the outright record for Indy. The boost was turned up to get a faster lap time and voila no more CART record

#27 sblick

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:26

The rear wing setting for Texas used to be set at a minimum 10 degrees. They are now able to adjust from a negative 5 degrees to a positive 15 degrees. At Indy the rumors were the fast guys were around negative 9 degrees. Must be way to much underbody downforce if you can go negative on the rear wing.

#28 Risil

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:37

Best idea will be to watch the practice sessions closely. Open-wheel racing at TMS has always been scary, and every technical change is in some way or other a step into the unknown. In this case the unknown is quite a bad thing. Sblick, do you mean the rear wing setting was a minimum +10 degrees? I don't like the idea of Indycars running aeroplane-style lifting-wings (front or rear) to cancel out the ground effects. In fact I think it's ****ing stupid and if any of the cars take off big-time the people who let it happen should face severe repercussions.
[Edit: see Ross's comment two below this. Things are cleared up a bit and my knowledge is imperfected.]

if....
And if the drivers come away on Friday night and say the same sort of things they said after Vegas practice last October, for God's sake listen to them this time. The top runners in this championship have dedicated most of their careers to open-wheel racing in America. Franchitti, Dixon, Castroneves, Kanaan, Power, even Hinchcliffe -- the Indycar series is as important to them as it is for Randy Bernard, the team owners, Will Phillips or Bruton Smith. Listen to them. Like the CART race there in 2001, until they all start running together this weekend there's no guarantee that anything will go wrong. There's not even a guarantee that there'll be any particular problems. But from everything I've read and heard there's reason to be uncertain about the safety of racing at Texas in these cars, perhaps even moreso than the old cars. Let's hope they have a safe race. And if anyone refuses to take part, please let's respect their decision.

Edited by Risil, 08 June 2012 - 13:51.


#29 red stick

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:44

And if the drivers come away on Friday night and say the same sort of things they said after Vegas practice last October, for God's sake listen to them this time.


:up:

Anybody know what Servia's complaint was?

http://www.indystar....-Motor-Speedway

Because F*** Texas is kind of general (and as a Louisiana resident, not something I don't regularly hear  ;) )--something particular about the event?

Edited by red stick, 08 June 2012 - 13:47.


#30 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:48

He literally said "**** Texas" but later clarified he meant the track/promoter.

About wing angles...

They're running the standard oval wings, not the Indy package. So they have the normal endplates.

And we need to be careful about 'negative angle'. -10 degrees isn't really making lift, because that still makes drag, -10 is the setting. Because at that level the front of the rear wing is then at 0-ish, it's the lip at the rear that's -10.

#31 sblick

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:55

Best idea will be to watch the practice sessions closely. Open-wheel racing at TMS has always been scary, and every technical change is in some way or other a step into the unknown. In this case the unknown is quite a bad thing. Sblick, do you mean the rear wing setting was a minimum +10 degrees? I don't like the idea of Indycars running aeroplane-style lifting-wings (front or rear) to cancel out the ground effects. In fact I think it's ****ing stupid and if any of the cars take off big-time the people who let it happen should face severe repercussions.

And if the drivers come away on Friday night and say the same sort of things they said after Vegas practice last October, for God's sake listen to them this time.

Yes that is a positive 10 degrees on the rear wing. The drivers like this since it will separate people more. With a minimum 10 degrees everyone was flat and it encouraged pack racing. With an adjustable rear wing he set up is more important and driver skill comes back into equation. I really don't know when they started running negative wing, but I only heard it when the IRL started. My idea is a car that can take negative wing is way over designed for down force. The rules to me should say no negative rear wing.
Servia was busted for complaining about the pole and fence configuration at Texas. All drivers were his was just a lot more vocal and not professional if I read Curt Cavin's story right. As was found out during the Dan Wheldon investigation most ovals run on by IndyCar have catch fence and then the pole and Texas and Las Vegas are the opposite. Whether this was the reason Dan died is debatable but Texas says they have plenty of studies that say it is just as safe as Indy's catch fence. Once you are riding the fence I think the fans are the most important people to protect.

#32 Option1

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 14:05

Pre-ramble
As every race fan (or tennis-watcher) knows, there's nothing quite like a sporting event with a long, unscheduled break in the middle. Think of it like Bob Dylan post-motorcycle accident: the red flag at Detroit gave the race time to go away and think about its career, its songs, its audience. And when it came back it had a new direction and new energy, and Franchitti worked his way up to second after some restarts. That analogy may not have worked but the important thing is that some of us were still watching the race at the end.
...

Risil, you sir are on a rollllllll! :up:

Neil

#33 Risil

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 14:09

Servia was busted for complaining about the pole and fence configuration at Texas. All drivers were his was just a lot more vocal and not professional if I read Curt Cavin's story right. As was found out during the Dan Wheldon investigation most ovals run on by IndyCar have catch fence and then the pole and Texas and Las Vegas are the opposite. Whether this was the reason Dan died is debatable but Texas says they have plenty of studies that say it is just as safe as Indy's catch fence. Once you are riding the fence I think the fans are the most important people to protect.


Agree. I imagine wherever the pole's situated, the fence itself would bend a lot when a car flies into it at high speed.

But "control" is important for racers in all sorts of ways. If you can find a safety feature which they can point to as the root of their fears, then it seems to be pretty hard to persuade them otherwise. Like this "pack racing" -- I think what makes it so frightening is that once a crash gets going, there's nothing a driver further back can deliberately do to avoid it. The only choice you get is whether to pack or park. So the older guys preferred racing Champ Cars at Michigan or Indy, even though the speeds were higher then and the crashes themselves just as severe. Same reason probably why drivers worry much more about a car which might break down without warning than about a car that's very difficult to drive on the limit. One's theoretically within their control, the other very much not. Perhaps statistically the chance of them having a big accident is the same.

Edited by Risil, 08 June 2012 - 14:09.


#34 PayasYouRace

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 16:22

To hopefully clarify the issue of wing angles:

The wings have camber. For a wing that means it's basically curved front to back, don't get confused with wheel camber. If the wing had no camber it would basically be a flat plate. I'm simplifying here, because the thickness could change. Camber provides a better lift/drag ratio, and it means that at a wing angle of 0 degrees the wing will still produce lift, or in this case, downforce.

The angle that a wing produces minimum drag is the angle which it produces no lift. For a wing with camber that means the wing has to be set at the opposite angle slightly to produce least drag. On an oval like this you would want to set up the car for minimum drag, so you want the wings to be producing no downforce or lift at all if possible. If they go to far and produce lift then they'll start creating extra drag again, and it's not really a case of cancelling out the underbody effects.

Hope that helps.

#35 Bloggsworth

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 17:09

To hopefully clarify the issue of wing angles:

The wings have camber. For a wing that means it's basically curved front to back, don't get confused with wheel camber. If the wing had no camber it would basically be a flat plate. I'm simplifying here, because the thickness could change. Camber provides a better lift/drag ratio, and it means that at a wing angle of 0 degrees the wing will still produce lift, or in this case, downforce.

The angle that a wing produces minimum drag is the angle which it produces no lift. For a wing with camber that means the wing has to be set at the opposite angle slightly to produce least drag. On an oval like this you would want to set up the car for minimum drag, so you want the wings to be producing no downforce or lift at all if possible. If they go to far and produce lift then they'll start creating extra drag again, and it's not really a case of cancelling out the underbody effects.

Hope that helps.


Do you mean angle of attack, with a fixed position wing, it is the only way to alter the lift/downforce? Camber is the difference in curvature between the two surfaces of a wing, which may, or may not, be a flat plate. If a wing has no camber it is a symmetric airofoil, which could still be induced to generate lift by varying the angle of attack - the amount of curvature is irrelevant as long as it was symmetrical about its longitudinal axis.

#36 PayasYouRace

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 17:18

Do you mean angle of attack, with a fixed position wing, it is the only way to alter the lift/downforce?


In a nutshell, yes. If you can't change the shape of the wing the angle of attack is the only way to change the level of lift/downforce.

Camber is the difference in curvature between the two surfaces of a wing, which may, or may not, be a flat plate.


Indeed. I couldn't find the right words.

If a wing has no camber it is a symmetric airofoil, which could still be induced to generate lift by varying the angle of attack - the amount of curvature is irrelevant as long as it was symmetrical about its longitudinal axis.


Bingo!

I was never that great at explaining these things. I'm better with the numbers side of it.

#37 jonpollak

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 17:20

Think of it as the never ending, wheel's on fire, don't quit, get back on that old horse kinda thing right?

Practice 1 is minutes away (conflicting somewhat with FP2 @Montreal though :down: ..)
Jp

#38 Risil

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 17:39

Autosport.com: IndyCar adjusts Texas downforce levels again in further push against pack racing

Good sign. Briscoe, like everyone else, is setting a great deal of importance by these two practice sessions.

"I've never been here and thought, 'I'm going to have to start working on the racing line, and breathe it going into the corners' or whatever. And when you get the whole field going out and running wide open for at least 20 laps in a stint, that's when you get pack racing.

"We're on a bit of a mission as drivers to try to improve the safety of the series, and this is the first 1.5-mile oval after Vegas, and we want to make the right steps towards making it safer, and get it away from having cars running right on top of each other."

Briscoe believes that if the reduced downforce works as planned, it will result in a completely different style of racing at Texas.

"We'll have to see how the cars are in the first [practice] session, but I expect there to be a little bit of a spread between cars," he said. "It's probably going to change our philosophy of how you win a race around this track. It's going to be kind of a new event for us all. I'm excited about that, and it has good to see all the drivers work together on the safety."



#39 PayasYouRace

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 17:45

Sounds good.

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#40 Bloggsworth

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:11

I lit up Live Timing, and it said no activity... Has practice been cancelled?

#41 Risil

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:28

I lit up Live Timing, and it said no activity... Has practice been cancelled?


Rookie orientation is going to start in a minute. They're going to put Katherine Legge on the track by herself for a few laps. Just for you. ;)

It's quite difficult to get the requisite information from the Indycar website without looking at its Twitter feed. Maybe that's the future. :well:

Edited by Risil, 08 June 2012 - 18:29.


#42 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:31

There was some water on the track. Don't know if from the weather or the Global Rally Cross water-hazards.

#43 Bloggsworth

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:32

Didn't realise that her 490 miles at Indy still left her a rookie...

#44 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:46

Rookies get extra track time in certain situations, I don't blame her or the team for making use of the most laps possible.

#45 HaydenFan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:51

There was some water on the track. Don't know if from the weather or the Global Rally Cross water-hazards.


From what I saw in Charlotte for the GRC, it has to been the most stupid thing in motorsport. A fake water hazard.

At least Bernie's idea of using sprinklers on the track has been implemented. So we at least can have a joke about it's uselessness now.

Edited by HaydenFan, 08 June 2012 - 18:51.


#46 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 18:57

I liked it. It penalised them for trying to cut the corners too close. Keep hitting those barriers, the track is going to get more and more wet.

#47 HaydenFan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 22:27

Avoid the autosport main page if you're planning to watch qualifying on Ver... NBC Sports later.

#48 FerrariAlonso

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 07:24

Why are this and the new two races scheduled on Saturday?

#49 PayasYouRace

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 09:06

Why are this and the new two races scheduled on Saturday?


The night races are always on a Saturday night. It makes it easier for fans to attend and still be back home for work on Monday.

#50 Risil

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:12

Right, after all the practices Indycar reckon they've got a situation where the cars have enough downforce to handle predictably, but not enough to make the lap flat all the way round. Which must be a first for any sort of Indy racing round Texas, IRL or CART.

Qualifying and even practice times aren't law here, especially when everyone's so close in speed. But the Hondas look quick.

http://www.autosport...t.php/id/100222