Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Completed : 1909
Distance : 2.5 miles
Shape : Oval
Banking : 9° turns
0° straights
Frontstretch : 3,330 feet
Backstretch : 3,330 feet
Seating : 250,000+

Built in 1909 as an automobile proving ground, the speedway was built as a 2.5-mile rectangle by its four founders because that was the largest track that could be constructed on the land available.

The first event was a hot-air balloon race, followed by three days of racing in August 1909. However, the crushed stone and tar track was so dangerous that work began immediately on repaving the entire surface with more than three million bricks.

The track hosted three separate race weekends in 1910, but poor attendance forced management to re-think its plans for 1911, choosing to run one large event instead.

The first 500-Mile International Sweepstakes was held on May 30, 1911, and with the exception of two world wars, remains a Memorial Day fixture.

Ray Harroun took nearly seven hours to complete the 500-mile distance in 1911, while Arie Luyendyk won the 1990 edition in a record two hours and 41 minutes.

The track and grounds deteriorated badly during World War II -- and plans were made to replace it with residential housing. But Terre Haute businessman Tony Hulman stepped in and purchased the speedway and began a series of improvements to the facility that continue to this day.

Several NASCAR teams were invited to a one-day test session at the speedway by track president Tony George in 1993, and the inaugural Brickyard 400 was held one year later.

Sprint guys were off this past weekend

Dale Jr and the other Sprint Cup drivers were off this past weekend, however, the Nationwide Series did race at Gateway on Saturday night. Congrats to Brad who won the pole after being the last driver in the top 35 to qualify. Brad's car was good, and got him a 8th place finish. He remains 3rd in the Nationwide standings and his brother Brian is showing some improvement this year. Brian's current spot is 22nd, which is much better than his finishing spot last year, which was 53rd. This coming weekend the Sprint Cup Series goes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where anyone who was watching that race, whether at home or there in the stands, can remember how horrendous that race was due to the tires. Hopefully Goodyear has brought a much better tire to this years race and we won't see and competition cautions or guys with very good cars blowing tires like they did last year. As for the Nationwide drivers, they're across town at the O'Reilly Raceway Park. Brad, as always, will be driving the #88 GoDaddy.com Chevy and the #5 Fastenal Chevy will be driven by Scott Wimmer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

LifeLock.com 400 Results

Dale Jr had a strong car all day, and commented on it afterwards -- "It was pretty good. We messed way up bad at the end the last 70-80 laps, we screwed the pooch on all of the adjustments. We had it too tight and we had it too loose. I don't know really what we weren't doing right. We did a great job I thought up until that point in the race. We had some pretty good highlights and maintaining pretty good. We should have finished a little better but we were getting there." He finished 15th and is still 21st in the point standings. Brad K was having a great day with the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy. Running at high as 10th at one point, Brad (if I remember correctly) hit the wall towards the end of the race and finished 32nd.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

LifeLock.com 400 Qualifying

Dale Jr had a great qualifying run on Thursday and will start in 13th tonight in the LifeLock.com 400. Brad is running the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy for Rick this weekend and qualified 29th. I'm hoping this good starting position for Dale will be a sign of how he runs tonight.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chicagoland Speedway

Chicagoland Speedway

Completed: 2000
Distance: 1.5 miles
Shape: D-shaped oval
Banking: 18° turns
11° frontstretch
5° backstretch
Frontstretch: 2,400 feet
Backstretch: 1,700 feet
Seating: 75,000

The plan to build a superspeedway in the third-largest market in the nation had been rumored for years. Auto racing executives and major-league sanctioning bodies had long maintained that the untapped market of Chicago was perhaps the most lucrative in the country.

The race to build a major speedway in the Windy City took its first step toward becoming a reality during an informal meeting between Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George and Bill France in late 1995.

The Motorsports Alliance, consisting of George, France and home-remodeling magnate John Menard, was formed in the spring of 1996 and immediately began considering sites that summer.

The first effort to begin the project was to focus on a 500-acre plot of land less than 30 miles from downtown Chicago, near the Dupage County Airport. Faced with constructing a facility that would be able to host NASCAR and the Indy Racing League on a small parcel of land, the trio decided that the extremely high price of real estate would not fit properly into the budget.

The Alliance was contacted by several communities that were interested in building the facility and even looked at sites as far west as Rochelle, before turning their attention to the small farm community of Plano, about 70 miles west of Chicago, in the fall of 1997.

Unfortunately, Illinois annexation laws at the time prevented Plano from incorporating the land. The project was abruptly stalled.

Menard then withdrew from the Motorsports Alliance, citing an increased demand to attend to his business affairs. However, as auto racing's visibility continued to skyrocket, the desire to begin racing in Chicago grew. Then came a call from Dale Coyne, who was raised in nearby Plainfield. He had successfully negotiated with Joliet to build the ultra-modern Route 66 Raceway there in 1997.

When it opened in 1998, Route 66 Raceway was the best state-of-the-art facility built for drag racing. The facility was an instant success, not only with race fans and participants, but in Joliet as well.

Aware of the trials and tribulations Motorsports Alliance were having in building a superspeedway, Coyne suggested Joliet officials meet with the ownership group to discuss the possibility of building a 1.5-mile state-of-the-art speedway adjacent to Route 66 Raceway property.

In May 1999, Raceway Associates was unveiled. Coyne relinquished his position of chief operating officer of Route 66 Raceway, and was appointed president of Raceway Associates, joining George and France as partners in building a premier, multi-purpose motorsports complex in Joliet.

With all of the pieces finally in place, development of the 930-acre dream began in August 1999.

The news that all of Chicago was waiting for was finally revealed on May 8, 2000, during a press conference at scenic Navy Pier. The onlookers learned the name of the track: Chicagoland Speedway.

Coke Zero 400

I am really sorry, I would have had the results from Saturdays race up earlier, but it's been pretty busy this week. Anyway, Dale and Lance had a fast car for practice Thursday and Friday, but come Sunday night, the car would just not do anything they wanted it to do. By the time they finally got it to where Dale could start moving forward, Junebug got caught up in one of the big ones. David Reutimann got hit and slide up in front of Dale. Dale had no where to go and after spending a little over 20 laps trying to get it fixed enough for Dale to at least run it, Dale finished 39th and dropped in the points. Now that he has pretty much said that his chances for making the chase are slim, I'll go ahead and say it on here.


What some of these reporters are forgetting is the mid-season crew chief change that took place going into the Dover race. Dale and Lance are still building a driver/crew chief relationship and it going to take quite a while before the results of this time period are truely seen in race results. I have heard from several people, Mike Davis (Dale Jr's publicist) included, say that Dale has seemed happier and even had fun racing at Infineon. (I about fell outta my chair when I read that!!) So while the reporters (continue to) tell us that Dale won't make the chase this year, I will continue to support Dale no matter what, and JR Nation will prove Kyle Busch wrong. Dale Jr will once again be voted the sports most Popular Driver!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Notes: Junior not ruling out N'wide team going to Cup

Earnhardt concedes Chase spot; no foreign brands soon

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- With his Nationwide Series driver, Brad Keselowski, saying he wants to be in the Sprint Cup Series next season, JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday he still loves the Nationwide Series but he's open to all options.

Earnhardt was the 1998 and '99 champion of what was then known as the Busch Series, driving for his family's Dale Earnhardt Inc. team. After partnering his team with Rick Hendrick this season, he's been considering moving his operation to Cup in 2010.

"Going into the Cup Series is going to be quite a challenge for anybody to find the kind of financial support that you need," Earnhardt said. "The Nationwide Series is still as exciting to me as it was when we first got into it. Although the parity and the makeup of the series changes it seems year to year, it's still an interesting series with a lot of great personalities and it's still fun for me. We've been able to bring Brad in and progress him through the series and he's got a great opportunity to move on and he'll hopefully be a fixture in this sport, as a whole, over the next several years -- and that's really what we wanted to achieve. Hopefully, we'll have that opportunity again with someone else once Brad has completed his cycle, if you will.

"I enjoy that. I enjoy kind of bringing people in and having a part in getting them there. So that's what's exiting about the series for me as an owner. It's easier to secure financial support for that series when you're talking about the entire sum of money that it takes to compete. It's a little bit of a challenge to convince corporate America why that series versus any other series. But nothing comes easy."

And that's certainly the case as NASCAR continues to consider bringing a version of the new Sprint Cup chassis to the Nationwide Series in some form, perhaps as early as next season.

"I don't know what the Nationwide cars will look like next year," Earnhardt said. "I haven't had any conversations with anyone in the sport about the car. I haven't had any diagrams or ideas or drafts in front of me to look at. So I'm just waiting in the wings like everybody else, I assume.

"I'm sure that we as a company sort of didn't turn our nose up at it but we really didn't involve ourselves any in the equation of developing the car. We have our budget worked out to where we can run this year with what we have but we don't have the money to develop this car. You'd be lucky to be able to do it just under $150,000 in just an early or pre-season development. So before you even run a race, you've spent a couple hundred thousand dollars and we do not have that as a company. So we can't involve ourselves in the development of it so we are sort of like everyone else, waiting on whoever that team is -- whether it will be RCR or Roush or whoever that is that will be a part of developing that car with NASCAR and building this car and seeing what kind of car they produce. Without a doubt I'm sure it'll be a safer race car [but] the car we have now in the Nationwide Series, in my opinion, is the ultimate race car."