CART at Road America – 1999

The last time IndyCar raced at Road America it was under the ChampCar series ten years ago in 2006. Stepping back a further seven years it was the CART series as open wheel racing was at that time divided between CART and the IRL. With unification in 2007, at last the IndyCar series is headed back to Road America for the Kohler Grand Prix on June 26.

The Mecca of Speed did not launch until 2006 but we have been in attendance at a multitude of races at Road America, first as fans starting back in 1989. The camera gear and vantage locations as a spectator were a bit more challenging, but a good sniper can still get a shot off with a bit of preparation. The image quality may not be as sharp as what we currently produce, but it should help bring back some memories.

You can pull out your Autocourse for the full race review, or check YouTube for a replay while quick race stats are listed below. For the most accurate representation of the equipment used each season, the listings will reflect the series running at the Road America at the time.

Pole Position: Michael Andretti

Fastest Lap: Hélio Castroneves

Winning Driver: Christian Fittipaldi

Winning Team: Newman/Haas Racing

Winning Chassis and Engine: Swift / Ford-Cosworth

Chassis in Series: 5 (Penske, Lola, Reynard, Swift, Eagle)

Engines in Series:  4 (Mercedes, Honda, Ford, Toyota)

Tires in Series: 2 (Goodyear, Firestone)

Brad Keselowski Test at Road America

During the IndyCar test on June 15 at Road America Brad Keselowski got the opportunity to turn some laps in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet normally driven by Simon Pagenaud. The following comments by the 2012 NASCAR Cup champion tells you what can be expected in the upcoming KOHLER Grand Prix on June 26.

“It sure was getting in the corners a lot deeper,” he said. “I think the Indy car just pulls so many G’s through the center of the corner and in the brake zone. You have to build confidence in it because the stock car does everything it can to wreck your confidence and in the Indy car it’s important to have confidence. So you have to kind of unlearn everything you learned in a stock car to be good in these cars. That’s a heck of a process but a fun one.”

Simple translation is the modern IndyCar generates a ton of downforce. In car footage has made that very evident. However while places like the run between turns 6-10 and 12-14 are similar to combination at Mid-Ohio the much longer straightaways will benefit those that can trim the car out the most.

MotoAmerica Tease

MotoAmerica has completed the HONDA Superbike Showdown of Wisconsin, round five in the Superbike season at Road America. Cameron Beaubier aboard the #1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha left the circuit with back to back Superbike wins putting him in atop the Superbike points standing, 7 ahead of teammate Josh Hayes.

A full gallery of the weekends action is on the way from Randy Erdman.

Post-Race Showtime

AMA at Road America 2013There is no form of motorsport with a better salute to the fans on the cool down lap than motorcycle racing. I have nothing against Zanardi style donuts but the pure showmanship that will be on display during the upcoming MotoAmerica round this weekend at Road America is not to be missed. Superbike riders will send the front tier skyward at various points around the track. A premium location starts at the exit of Turn 8 where riders in total control ride one wheel all the way down to Turn 9.

Three details I really like about this classic ride by Danny Eslick:

  1. The fan on the right, arm raised in a “Hell Yeah!”
  2. Danny Eslick looking directly at the camera making sure I got the shot.
  3. Sponsorship is placed on the underside of the bike knowing it would receive exposure on the cool down lap.

Life really is different on two wheels.

HONDA Superbike Showdown of Wisconsin

MotoAmerica Honda Superbike Showdown In WisconsinRound five of the MotoAmerica championship comes to Road America June 3-5. Josh Hayes is looking to extend his Superbike points lead of 11 over Cameron Beaubler during the HONDA Superbike Showdown of Wisconsin.

From his first appearance at Road America in 2010 Hayes has won at least one of the weekend Superbike races every year including victories in both the Saturday and Sunday events during 2012 and 2013 for a total of eight Suberbike victories at the circuit.

A full weekend of practice and qualifying are capped off two races in each of the three classes.

  • KTM RC Cup
  • Supersport/Superstock 600
  • Superbike

See the Road America website for a complete schedule.

KOHLER Grand Prix

Kohler Co. has signed on to be the title sponsor for the Verizon IndyCar series event at Road America June 23-26. As title sponsor not only does Kohler Co. bring a financial backing to the event but shows as an industry leader they find significant value in being associated with  Road America and the IndyCar series.

The more primary and associate sponsor an event has can be related to the health of an event or facility. Each sponsor that joins IndyCar is another positive sign on the health of the series.

As an individual that has some past experience working with Kohler Co. doing engine testing I am happy to see the company step forward and back another event at Road America.

Speedway at Nazareth

I never pick a number one but if I had to list my top three race orientated songs, Speedway at Nazareth would be on the list. Mark Knopfler based the lyrics on letters he received by friend and professional racing driver Stefan Johansson over a season racing in the CART IndyCar series.

Racing is full of struggles and triumphs, turn this one up and travel a year on the circuit.

Formula One – Primal Fear

If you start searching the internet you will no doubt find a mix of songs about racing. Over the years I’ve found a few that seem to stick with me for good or bad. With the Monaco Grand Prix this coming weekend I think it’s time to get out your black t-shirts, drop into the world of Metal and pay tribute to the class of kings on highest level, Formula One.

 

Traffic Jam

The Month of May brings back many memories as the beast known as the Indy 500 continues to evolve over time. My current thoughts are back to the mid 1990s when it was common to have 100 chassis registered for The Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing and Bump Day was in full effect.

As the clock ticked and the temperatures cooled on Sunday afternoon a game of poker was being played. The question was when to go all in and make the dash for the tech inspection line and attempt to make it into the show. Teams were scratching for every tenth and the more the track cooled the faster you could go, the hitch is you may have ten cars and if nobody moves soon enough then there would be cars yet in line to qualify when the gun sounded the end of activities.

More then one traffic jam has occurred resembling metro Chicago at 5:00 and heated exchanges about merging into line and who had right of way.

Flurries Can’t Stop Spring Vintage

Racing teaches us many lessons, one of which is to persevere in the face of every challenge. Unseasonably cold May temperatures allowed flurries to make an appearance during the Saturday of the Spring Vintage event at Road America but that did not stop cars from taking to the track.

Vintage racing brings out a mix machinery from American muscle to European sports classics. Vintage liveries can make you ask the hard-hitting questions such as, did that Mustang have Crystal Pepsi sponsorship?

Material from the weekend will be coming thanks to Randy “Pan Master” Erdman who is out covering the event.