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Posts Tagged ‘Indy 500’

From Track to Street, How Motorsports Improves What We Drive

“Improving the breed.”

by on May.31, 2013

GM President Mark Reuss with the Corvette pace car he'll be riding in during the IndyCar race on Detroit's Belle Isle.

When the field of IndyCars lines up on the grid at Detroit’s Belle Isle race track this Sunday, you can be guaranteed that General Motors will lead the pack. That’s because Mark Reuss, GM’s President of North America, will be riding in the pace car, a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

There’s no way to know who’ll ultimately take the checkered flag but Reuss and GM clearly hope for a repeat of last week’s Indy 500, the maker’s Chevrolet division powering to a 1-2-3 victory, the first time Chevy has won the celebrated race in 11 years.

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That victory has a number of benefits, according to Reuss. “We’re a company that lost what it feels like to win,” he says, recalling with a grimace the bankruptcy that nearly shut GM down just four years ago. But wins like Indy are “giving us a feel of what it’s like to win again as a company.”

There are other payoffs, the executive says.

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Controversial IndyCar Chief Steps Down

Targeted by owner’s coup.

by on Oct.29, 2012

The fiery Las Vegas crash that took the life of Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon was one of many missteps that led to Bernard's ouster.

Randy Bernard, the head of the IndyCar racing series, has stepped down after a controversial, three-year reign following an angry revolt by team owners determined to oust him.

The announcement comes despite widespread praise for the IndyCar Series which was credited with having one of its best seasons ever.  Among other developments, Chevrolet returned to the racing program this past year, a season that saw IndyCar introduce its first all-new car in nine years.

But the series has been plagued by dissent, some owners openly talking of a coup against Hulman & Co., which controls both the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Despite the strong showing this past year, Bernard was blamed for a number of missteps that hurt both the racing league and his own position as its chief executive.  Among the most criticized moves was a decision to hold the series’ final race of 2011 in Las Vegas at a track that some experts felt was too dangerous at IndyCar speeds.

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Indy 500 Winner Wheldon Killed in Horrific Crash

"Like a war scene from Terminator."

by on Oct.17, 2011

A fiery crash takes the life of Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon and brings the IndyCar race in Las Vegas to a halt. Photo courtesy The Las Vegas Journal-Review.

What was supposed to be a celebration of a successful IndyCar season turned deadly when a chain reaction collision sent 15 cars careening like flaming pinballs across the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon pronounced dead two hours later from his injuries.

The two-time Indy 500 winner was caught up in a massive pile-up triggered when two cars touched wheels and spun out of control, Wheldon’s car launching into the air and smashing into a catch fence designed to prevent injuries to race spectators.

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Wheldon, who had been struggling to land a ride this past IndyCar season despite his string of victories, had started near the back of the pack but was rapidly working his way up through a field of 15 cars moving at speeds approaching 220 mph – fast enough that several drivers had complained of the potential risks prior to the race.

There was, “Not much room for error” on the 1.5 mile track, said driver Wade Cunningham, who was near the front of the pack when the accident occurred on Lap 11.

“It was like a movie scene which they try to make as gnarly as possible,” said Danica Patrick, who was in her last race in the IndyCar series.

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GM Reveals New Turbo IndyCar as it Commits to Indy Returning to Detroit

Revived Motor City race series may add new battery car event.

by on Oct.12, 2011

GM's new IndyCar entry will migrate to a high-tech direct-injected turbo V-6.

The roar is returning to Detroit.  With General Motors lending its support – along with race legend Roger Penske – the Motor City will again see a weekend of racing next year with the IndyCar series serving as its high-profile anchor.

To mark its own return to IndyCar racing, meanwhile, GM’s Chevrolet division unveiled an all-new open-wheeled car that will feature a new high-tech turbocharged V-6 engine making as much as 700 horsepower.

But to reflect the changing nature of the automotive market, GM’s top American executive told TheDetroitBureau.com that the partners in the annual event will be looking at the possibility of adding a race featuring battery-powered vehicles.

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“Detroit is a natural for racing,” proclaimed Mark Reuss, president of GM’s North American operations, during an announcement at the maker’s headquarters along the Detroit River.  “The city puts the world on wheels.  The roar of the engine simply belongs in Detroit.”

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McBlog: Splash/Dash

Make that: Nope/Hope

by on Jun.17, 2011

Want to have us clean your windshield and check your oil, too? Dario Franchitti pits at the 2011 Indy 500.

Is it just me or are there more fuel management problems than usual in racing?

Take Chip Ganassi’s team at Indy’s 100th anniversary run. A one-two finish looked to be a lock with either Scott Dixon or Dario Franchitti crossing the line first. Dario had set fastest lap of the race; Scott the fastest lap while leading. Combined they were assured of having led more than half the race already. At worst, with the pair on different fuel strategies, Chip was confident that one or the other of his drivers would be guzzling milk in Victory Lane.

Then the one-two finish turned to five-twelve as the checker dropped. Thanks to bloody running low on gas! (Well, more correctly, ethanol. Indy fuel is E98 with only 2% a gasoline blend.)

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The Tarjay folk were not the only team with blips in their fuel strategy – there was splashing and dashing going on in the pits as the end neared. For instance Danica, leading for ten laps, dropped to 10th after a needed fuel stop. A yellow might have made a difference. But in qualifying both Target cars ran out of fuel. Hello! A teaching moment here? Suggestion: replace some computers or the ones paying attention to them. There’s a mis-connect here.

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Chevy Unveils Camaro Indy Pace Car

No, this one’s not on the auction block.

by on Jan.21, 2011

Chevrolet will celebrate its 100th anniversary by pacing the 100th Indy 500 with this 2011 Camaro SS convertible, 50 copies to be auctioned off.

Usually, the cars that roll under the big tent at the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction are there to go on the block.  But while the Camaro Convertible Chevy brought to Scottsdale might have commanded some big bucks, the maker wasn’t ready to auction it off.

That’s because it will be putting in a stint as the pace car for the 2011 Indianapolis 500, next Memorial Day weekend.  But don’t worry, if you’re headed to the Barrett, you’ll still be able to put in your bid for one of 50 Camaro pace car replicas, officially designated the Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee cars.

The event, on Saturday night, will cap a week of major car collector action in the tony Phoenix suburb – and raise money for the David Foster Foundation, a charity that helps families with children in need of organ transplants.  The foundation was created by 15-time Grammy award winner David Foster, a native of Canada. (more…)

Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Racing, Research and Recognition: the Indy 500 Goes for the Light Touch

by on May.22, 2009

When the most famous words in motorsports, “Gentlemen and Lady … START YOUR ENGINES” are proclaimed, Middle America’s iconic race, the Indianapolis 500 gets underway with classic touches -- and others decidedly out of the ordinary, this year.

When the most famous (modified) words in motorsports, long since made politically correct, “Gentlemen and Lady … START YOUR ENGINES” are proclaimed, Middle America’s iconic race, the Indianapolis 500 gets underway.

When the most famous words in motorsports, “Gentlemen and Lady … START YOUR ENGINES” are proclaimed, Middle America’s iconic race, the Indianapolis 500 gets underway with some classic touches.

Jim Nabors will sing Back Home Again In Indiana, military jets will scream by overhead trailing red, white and blue colors and the mid-field will continue its weekend of excess.

But a new element has been added, bringing Indy Racing to more homes than ever before, maybe … just maybe more than the TV coverage.  Thomas Kinkade, the master artist of paintings bathed in luminous, incandescent, radiant light, has painted a special Indy 500 image that is certain to adorn the living rooms of millions of his adoring fans. (more…)