Brake Glow

An aspiring motorsports journalist’s personal blog.

Category Archives: Sports Cars

Road America Returning to 2014 IndyCar Schedule?

As reported yesterday on Twitter, George Bruggenthies is expected to attend the Long Beach round of the IndyCar series in April.

George Bruggenthies, the President of the 4.048-mile Road America circuit, has long been in talks with the IndyCar series to return to the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track. The two have been unable to come to an agreement since IndyCar merged with Champ Car in early 2008.

Sources suggested Bruggenthies plans to meet with IndyCar officials at the legendary street-circuit layout in Long Beach but would not speak publicly as the information is not yet public.

Road America and IndyCar last hosted talks with then-CEO of IndyCar, Randy Bernard, looking to replace the Chinese round of the calendar that fell through. Talks posed a combined weekend of the American LeMans Series and IndyCar in August of 2012. Ultimately, Bernard decided to do away with the round altogether and, instead, extend the distance of the 2012 season finale at Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, CA, to 500 miles.

With the recently finalized plans to merge the American LeMans Series and the Grand-Am Championship to form United Sports Car Racing in 2014, one can only ponder the massive opportunity Road America may have to host a United Sports Car round alongside of IndyCar next year.

Road America last hosted a major open-wheel race in 2007, the final year of the now-defunct Champ Car series. 4-Time Champ Car champion, and current Dragon Racing driver, Sebastien Bourdais won the race on his way to his final championship in the series.

Check back for more updates as they become available.

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Weekend Round Up (Jan 20-22)

I apologize for a lack of content over the weekend. I was out of town and away from computer access for much of the weekend to attend a baptism for my niece. With that in mind, here’s a brief look at what’s happening in the racing world since Friday night.

Michael Shank Racing Wins Rolex 24: After years of trying, the Michael Schank Racing team won their first Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team, consisting of A.J. Allmendinger, Oz Negri, John Pew and Justin Wilson, fought off a hard-charging Ryan Dalziel in his Starworks Motorsports entry to win the famed event by a mere 5.2 seconds. The narrow margin of victory marked one of the closest finishes in endurance racing history. The win also gives strong momentum to the Michael Shank Racing squad as they begin the endeavor into a new field of racing: IndyCar. Full results from the Rolex 24 here.

Tracy to MSR in 2012?: Speaking of Rolex 24 winners, Michael Shank Racing, there have been strong indications that a deal to sign 22-year IndyCar veteran and 2003 CART Champion, Paul Tracy, to their IndyCar program. Tracy was in Daytona competing against MSR in Doran Racing’s DP. ““I’m trying to do a deal with Michael Shank to start an IndyCar team with himself and AJ Allmendinger,” Tracy told Speed.com’s Marshall Pruett. “We have a sponsor lined up. We need to put together an engine program this week and tie up a couple of other lose (sic) ends of some other contractual stuff, and if we can do that, then we’ll get the car put together and try to get to Sebring to test.” One obstacle facing Tracy and MSR are the sponsor connections Tracy has to Honda-Canada. MSR signed an engine contract with Lotus but, should Tracy bring Honda dollars and connections, the MSR team may be easily coaxed into signing on with Honda instead. Tracy has been on the hunt for a full time IndyCar ride since the last year of Champ Car in 2007 when he drove for Gerry Forsythe’s team.

Paul Tracy last drove full-time in 2007 for Forsythe Racing's Champ Car team. Could Tracy become MSR's driver in 2012 for his farewell tour from IndyCar racing? (Photo: Zach Wenzel)

IndyCar Teams Resume Testing, Barrichello Turns First Laps: A large group of IndyCar teams have returned to a testing regimen to prepare the new DW12s for competitive action. KV Racing, Andretti Autosport, Dreyer and Reinbold and Panther Racing have all turned laps at Sebring today with more expected to join the group this week. The test marks the first time new Andretti Autosport driver, James Hinchcliffe, dons his new GoDaddy.com colors. The one stealing the spotlight in Sebring, however, is an IndyCar rookie having only turned his first laps in an IndyCar but a few hours ago. The rookie comes highly recommended though by much of the paddock, especially Tony Kanaan. Of course, we’re talking about the most experience Formula One driver in history, Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian is evaluating a potential run in the IndyCar series this year following his departure from WilliamsF1. Officially, the test is set only to allow Barrichello to provide his expertise feedback on the new car’s development. But many, including Barrichello, have left open the possibility to run in IndyCar.

Barrichello’s first departure from pit lane in an IndyCar was posted to KV Racing’s youtube channel and can be seen below.

Sutil Attempted Resolution with Lux: German F1 driver, Adrian Sutil, attempted to resolve the bar fight saga with Lotus Team Executive, Eric Lux, out of court it has emerged. Sutil realizes the outcome of the case largely determines what will become of his career. He acknowledged attempts to resolve the situation out of court with Lux, whom he cut with a broken glass in a Shanghai night club. The 28- year old talked to SID news agency about the severity of the situation. “I’m sorry, extremely sorry, I didn’t want it to happen,” Sutil said. The former Force India driver told SID despite appealing to Lux out of court, Lux had no interest and “wanted to destroy” Sutil. Lux received phone calls from Sutil in his efforts to apologize, but Lux never accepted the calls. “I expected him to come to Luxembourg and apologize to me. A call is not enough,” Lux testified. Sutil and Lux did discuss resolutions but none were agreed upon. Sutil claimed Lux’s demands were outlandish and involved a “very, very high amount” of money as well as Sutil’s sitting out of numerous Grands Prix.

Marco in at Starworks in Last Minute Deal

The Starworks Motorsports entry that was set to drop out of the Rolex 24 has made a revival and will be on the grid later today at the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The entry was originally slated with drivers Tony Kanaan, E.J. Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Due to a cut in funding, however, Viso and Kanaan were forced out of the seat and the status of the No. 2 Starworks Daytona Prototype left unknown. Speed.com’s John Dagys reported late Friday night the car will race in the twice around the clock event albeit with a new driver line-up.

Hunter-Reay remains aboard but is the only staple from the initial driver list. The entry will now consist of Hunter-Reay, Michael Valiente, Scott Mayer, Miguel Potolicchio and the surprise, last-minute addition of Marco Andretti. Marco is already in Florida for a private IndyCar test at Palm Beach Raceway and accepted the deal less than a day prior to the Rolex 24’s starting time.

The addition to the Andretti Autosport driver’s already crammed schedule means an IndyCar test Saturday morning with a banzai run to Daytona International Speedway to take his first stint in the Riley-Ford DP. Early Saturday, the 24-year old began to realize the strain that could amount. “Do they make a 40 hour energy drink,” asked Andretti via Twitter. “Going to be a long couple days but there is no better place to be than the cockpit!”

When Marco straps in for his first stint later Saturday, it will mark the first time the third-generation IndyCar driver has seen the Daytona road course (in competition) and his first time in a Daytona Prototype. Saturday’s Rolex 24 is not the first time Marco has seen the cockpit of a sports car however. In 2008, Andretti frequented the cockpit of then Andretti-Green Racing’s Acura LMP2 car in the American LeMans Series.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off at 3:30 p.m. EST live on Speed.

3 IndyCar Stars Rendered Ride-less for Rolex 24

IndyCar stars Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso will be forced to merely spectate at this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. The three were set to drive the No. 2 Starworks Motorsports Ford-powered Daytona Prototype. Due to a last minute withdrawal of funding from the team’s sponsor, however, Starworks has pulled their entry from competition.

Team owner, Peter Baron, spoke to Speed.com about the situation. “The funding was supposed to come through for (the Rolex 24), we were waiting for as long as possible and holding out hope,” he said. Remorsefully, Baron continued, “but it all fell through at the last moment and we can’t funds things out of our own pocket.”

All three drivers took to Twitter to announce the disappointing news. “This will be the first time I have missed the 24hrs of Daytona since 2006! Good news is I’ll be back in the IndyCar Monday in Sebring,” announced Hunter-Reay. Kanaan mirrored that sentiment, “Guys, unfortunately I will not race at the Daytona 24H this Saturday. The funding that the Starworks Motorsports team had went away,” he said before bouncing back with optimism: “On the other hand, I will be testing my #11 KV Racing IndyCar on Monday again!”

After a tweet mentioned all three drivers, calling the team’s actions “classless” to pull their entry mere days prior to the event, Viso took to the team’s defense. “It has nothing to do with the team. They did all they where suppose to,” Viso proclaimed.

Baron, meanwhile, is left to figure out revisions to his other DP entry. As of this posting, that situation remains unclear. Baron did expect to release a statement to the press sometime Wednesday to explain the direction of the team for the Rolex 24.