Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Longest Day In Racing - Monaco, Indy and Charlotte

Nico Rosberg wins Monaco GP

Nico Rosberg and Mercedes Silver Arrow
EVERYWHERE – This was quite a weekend for racing.  Three of the most prestigious races, The Grand Prix of Monaco, The Indy 500 and the Charlotte 600, in the world all happened on Sunday and all were memorable with unique endings. 

S. Vettel at 2013 Monaco GP
Broadcast Sunday morning in the US, the Monaco Grand Prix took place under a clear and sunny day against the backdrop of the beautiful picturesque Cote d’Azur.  For the third race this year, Nico Rosberg placed his Silver Arrow Mercedes on the pole and drove a clean, incident free race to win his first Monaco GP.  This was also the first time that Mercedes Benz has been in the winner circle at Monte Carlo – a truly memorable race.  It was also extra special for Nico as his father, Keke, also crossed the finish line first at this race 30 years ago.  "Today the team gave me a great car and it's fantastic to see how we've managed to improve in a short space of time." About his father’s win 30 years ago, Rosberg continued, "It's special, but honestly that's not what I was thinking of when I was crossing the finish line."  The Infiniti-Redbull cars of S. Vettel and M. Webber finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.   

Tony Kanaan wins first Indy 500The Indy 500 ran next and was probably the most competitive in the 97 year history of this historic race.  Ed Carpenter earned the pole position for the race, but the even money was on Dario Franchitti or Helio Castroneves, both three time winners at Indy.  It was however, Marco Andretti that took the early lead with the intent on being the first Andretti to win this race since Mario in 1969.  But in the end, it was Tony Kanaan, the 12 race veteran that finally finished this race at the top-of-the-podium.  Following a caution period on lap 198, Tony Kanaan made a picture perfect restart to gain the lead.  Then, his good friend Dario Franchitti crashed forcing the race to end under the yellow flag.  Kanaan said the last two laps, particularly the last one, were the longest of his career. He closely followed the pace car, and he held up one finger as he crossed the finish line. (Autoweek)

Kanaan wins Indy 500 on 12th attempt.Sunday’s longest day of racing ended with the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, which ended up to be a long, long race. The weekend favorite was Kyle Busch who was looking for a sweep after winning both the Nationwide and Busch series races earlier in the weekend.  But the race at Charlotte turned out to be an ordeal for the drivers with 11 caution periods and three red flags.  The most bizarre incident was on lap 122, when an overhead cable supporting a FOX TV camera snapped, falling onto the track and injuring several fans.  Busch, leading the race at the time, ran over the cable causing damage to the right front.  Busch said he didn't see the cable when he ran over it.  "I heard a big thump on the right front tire,'' he said.  "I thought the right front tire blew out and that's how hard it felt. It did have an effect of slowing my car down. I couldn't feel it.” (ESPN)
Kevin Harvick comes out of nowhere to win Charlotte 600
Kevin Harvick holds NASCAR Sprint Cup Trophy

NASCAR granted an unusual 15-minute race delay to allow the teams to assess and repair damage to the race cars.  After the restart, Busch looked strong, but an engine failure on lap 257 took him out of the race.  Kasey Kahne then looked to be the favored contender, but a pit stop strategy error left him with worn tires late the end giving Kevin Harvick the edge on the final restart.  Kahne finished 2nd with Kurt Busch following up in 3rd.
Kevin Harvick clicks photo of damage to car after rolling over camera cable at Charlotte 600

Monday, May 13, 2013

Corvette Racing Claims Victory in Monterey!

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – It was a very special week for the #3 Corvette of Magnussen/Garcia as they claimed top honors in GT class at the American Le Mans Series race at Laguna Seca. “I have to say, today was one of the most perfect races we’ve had with Corvette Racing," Magnussen said. "We were under pressure the whole way. We never had a big lead, we really had to work through traffic and not get stopped by the slower cars and lose too much time. It was a matter of being precise the whole race." Crew Chief Danny Binks was elated with his first win in 18 months and exclaimed that “My guys rocked all day. We needed that.” Dave Henninger of GM said “We were not the fastest, just the best!”

Crew Chief Danny Binks was elated with his first win in 18 months and exclaimed that “My guys rocked all day.  We needed that.”  Dave Henninger of GM said “We were not the fastest, just the best!” 

In P1, there was fierce competition all-day between the Muscle Milk Pickett HPD ARX-03c and the Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60.  But with 40 minutes left in the race, the two cars contacted as they tried navigating around a slower GTC entry causing the Rebellion Lola piloted by Neel Jani to pit to replace a punctured tire.  This gave the Luhr/Graf Honda the lead crossing the finish line 6.352 sec ahead of the Lola. Luhr commented that “…we had a little coming together but I think it was by no bad meanings from him or me. It was just unlucky a race situation with a GTC car in between... The way he hit me, I doubt he would have made the corner without me being there!"

Surprise surprise, in the P2 class, an HPD AX-03b won.  The Tucker/Franchitti of Level 5 Motorsports entry finished first in class and third overall with the Cosmo/Sharp car finishing three laps down (16th overall). "It was a perfect weekend and a great way for Level 5 to bounce back after a tough weekend at Long Beach," Franchitti said. "Especially going into Le Mans, this is what we needed. The guys have been working day and night preparing for this race. Scott, myself and Ryan have worked really hard with the engineers on the setup of the car and I think it showed today."  

The all-Porsche GTC-class was won by the RSR piloted by Cisneros/Tandy of NGT Motorsport, followed by Dempsey/Lally/Foster in second place and Keating/Faulkner in third.  “Today was tough,” Cisneros said. “It was one of those nail-biting races. The strategy was to get to the front, but things happen. We had a speeding violation in the pits from first, but we were able to get the car back up front. Then we got the final yellow, and Nick was not going to settle for second.”

Meanwhile, in Barcelona…

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nigel Hook and the Silverhook 48GP at Biloxi

Commencing their 2013 season, the 77 LUCAS OIL team will be testing the SilverHook 48GP at their race shop near Lake Monroe, FL before heading to Biloxi, Mississippi where they are competing in the 9th Annual “Smokin’ the Sound” Super Boat Grand Prix April 26-28. As a warm up to Sunday’s race, the team is looking forward to participating in the “Smokin’ the Sound” Poker Run on Saturday, April 27.

Comprised of a long straightaway with sweeping corners where most of the action is sheltered by the sound protecting the course from any of the Gulf of Mexico turbulence, the Biloxi Grand Prix’s racecourse may prove to be a very smooth, fast track. “Typically this is not my favorite type of course”, says Hook “as we prefer the open ocean and the potential for big seas, but this venue has the attraction of all the casinos and great viewing for the fans”. The dry pits are based at the Grand Casino and the start/finish line in front of the Hard Rock Casino.

From Sanya, China, host of the UIM Class 1 season opener, English pilot, Miles Jennings, will be making his USA debut in Biloxi standing in for Swedish pilot, Michael Silfverberg. Miles, a veteran international powerboat racer, is also racing with the FENDI Racing Team where their next Class 1 race is mid-June in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Stepping into Michael’s shoes won’t be easy”, says co-owner of SilverHook and throttleman Nigel Hook, adding “I have a lot of respect for Miles. We have raced against each other for many years, in many countries, and he has his own very special shoes”. Miles is often compared to former English Formula One Champion, James Hunt and his reputation of always being accompanied by two beautiful models.
What else is new with the 77 LUCAS OIL SilverHook?

We swapped the Mercury 850hp out of the 17 LUCAS OIL Skater into the SilverHook. These engines were originally acquired by the team for the European Powerboat P1 power-to-weight ratio series and run conveniently on pump gas, which makes the 2013 plan of including Poker Runs in to the season more attainable and economical.

Chief Mechanic Ryan Zivitski from Florida and Kieran Ironmonger from Race Technology (UK) are in charge of telemetry. The 77 LUCAS OIL SilverHook team will be extending the offseason R&D to gain knowledge from the new telemetry system to identify issues during the racing to preempt expensive failures and improve efficiencies from high performance analytics.