Motorsport News - US
4th July 2012
1. THE INSIDE TRACK - Honda Indy Toronto
2. Dario Franchitti conference call
3. Push to pass available to test in practice
4. New wishbones available to teams
5. Carpenter featured on 'INDYCAR 36'
6. Dempsey joins Belardi Auto Racing for remainder of 2012
1. THE INSIDE TRACK - Honda Indy Toronto: Click HERE to access the Inside Track, an interactive graphic previewing the Honda Indy Toronto, the IZOD IndyCar Series' event on the streets of Exhibition Place in Toronto.
The graphic contains links to videos featuring highlights of last year's Honda Indy Toronto won by Dario Franchitti, a virtual lap of Iowa Speedway and a driver preview featuring Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe. The entry lists and fast facts for the Honda Indy Toronto and Toronto 100 Firestone Indy Lights race are also available on the graphic.
If the link does not function, it is attached to this e-mail.
We hope you find this a valuable asset in your coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series. We appreciate your coverage of the league, its teams and drivers.
2. Dario Franchitti conference call: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti participated in an INDYCAR conference call to preview the Honda Indy Toronto. Franchitti, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, is eighth in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings and has won two of the last three races held at Toronto's Exhibition Place, including last year's race.
Selected quotes from the interview are below.
Q. What is it about that street circuit in Toronto that suits your style so well?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, I've always loved racing in Toronto. I think it started off in 1997 when I was driving for Carl Hogan and had a pretty good start there, getting my first pole position. I've always enjoyed the track and the challenge of the bumpy surface and the multiple surface changes there. So that's part of it.
Again, I definitely love the fans out there. I think it's something to do with the fact that it's quite a big Scottish and Italian expat community there. It's always been fun to race there and definitely proud of the wins I've managed to have there.
Q. This weekend at Toronto marks the return of push‑to‑pass to the IZOD IndyCar Series. What are your thoughts of adding another wrinkle into the strategy you guys have in the car?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's going to be very interesting, you know, with that push‑to‑pass, how much power are we actually going to get. I know the numbers of boost, but how much will it actually translate on track, I think there's going to be quite a big difference. That, combined with the fact that you are now allowed to defend again this year is going to make for some pretty interesting racing, and I think it will definitely liven things up a little bit.
Q. Obviously you can still have a chance to make history by winning your fourth consecutive championship but earlier this year you became the 10th driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three times, and with your next win in the series you'll become the active win leader, provided Mr. Tracy and Mr. Bourdais don't win before you do that. I know in the past you've mentioned it's awkward for your name to be mentioned with the legends of the sport, but as time has gone by, has it become more normal to see your name mentioned the elites of our sport?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's very humbling when it happens. You know, I'm definitely proud of the four championships and the three 500 wins. You know, I know that the guys on the Target team and the guys at Andretti Autosport, what we did together, it's something that we ‑‑ it's something we very proud of, because it's a hard thing to do.
As far as, you know, what's next, you never know if you're going to win another race, but you've just got to try ‑‑ you go out every weekend and try to win that race. It's tough in the championship right now, we are lying eighth, and we are still definitely mathematically in it, which is somewhat surprising with some of the mechanical failures we've had.
Some of the issues we've had this year, but we are still definitely in the fight and we'll be fighting all the way to the finish.
Q. Turn 3, obviously that's the place where there's a lot of action. How is that going to be different now with the push‑to‑pass, there's no pavement, and you can defend. Is that going to change the way drivers approach that corner and how they fend off somebody who is trying to get by?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, I think you're going to - Turn 1 is pretty action‑packed, too, certainly on the start and the restarts, or the side‑by‑side restarts, Turn 1 is going to be very action‑packed.
Yeah, with the big, long straight into Turn 3, I think you're going to see more guys trying outside passes, because when the car in front goes to defend, that's only one way to go and that's to the outside.
With the push‑to‑pass and the momentum that will give the trailing car, providing, though, the car in front doesn't use it, too, but that's going to give some serious momentum, that; plus the draft, you're going to see more outside attempts at passes there. That's when kind of a gray area forms, because it's one thing defending to the inside but the one thing we don't need is the cars who are defending coming back across into the path of the car who is trying to make an outside pass.
I think it's going to be the usual crazy, physical action‑packed race in Toronto this weekend.
Q. Looking back to last year, can you recall, or does it come to mind, maybe some of the bad blood, you talk about the potential for an action‑packed race this year; do you recall some of the bad blood from last year, and does that enter your mind?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: There was definitely some discussions after the race last year, after several races last year; and I think in a lot of ways, that was good. I think it showed the fans the passion that the teams and the drivers have for what we do.
I think sometimes we have kind of almost kept that passion too hidden maybe, and it was definitely out in the open. That was good. That is definitely a part of it, when you've got people in such a competitive environment, that's going to happen sometimes.
Q. Some of the stuff was directed at you for perhaps a tap; did you take offense, or does that enter your mind going into this year's race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I think that's all in the past. Will (Power) and I had a disagreement about that. I think we have now ‑‑ I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I think we have now kind of realized we both had our part in that accident, and we've definitely moved on.
3. Push-to-pass available to test in practice: INDYCAR will set the engine control unit to allow one push-to-pass activation per run (service stop) in practice July 6 for the Honda Indy Toronto. The overtake assist feature, introduced to the series in 2009, allows a driver to add turbocharger boost and additional RPMs with the press of a button on the steering wheel to complete a pass. It is being re-instated for the final five street/road course races of the season.
Push-to-pass will be disabled for practice and the three rounds of qualifications July 5, but will be re-enabled for the warm-up session July 8 and race.
4. New wishbones available to teams: Dallara will provide one set of revised rear top wishbones to each entry for the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend. The failed wishbone on the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Dario Franchitti at the Milwaukee Mile was analyzed by an independent metallurgist, and the reason for failure was cited as component fatigue.
Dallara quickly underwent a design review of the wishbone and eyelet, and the revised component went into production. The former spec wishbones are safe to run, with a recommended 2,500-mile limit.
5. Carpenter featured on 'INDYCAR 36': Team owner/driver Ed Carpenter will be featured on "INDYCAR 36," which will premiere at 7:30 p.m. (ET) July 8 on NBC Sports Network with replays throughout the week and available on www.indycar.com.
"It was interesting to see the cameras and microphones in various places we don't usually have them," Carpenter said. "It was great to work with such a professional group and I hope the show is enlightening for the viewers. I think they will see an interesting side of the sport of IndyCar racing."
Among the behind-the-scenes shoots was at Adventureland in Iowa, where the Carpenter family spent part of race day June 23.
6. Dempsey joins Belardi Auto Racing for remainder of 2012: Irishman Peter Dempsey will drive the No. 9 Firestone Indy Lights car for Belardi Auto Racing for the remainder of the 2012 season beginning in Toronto.
"Peter has been on our radar since he was a competitor at Andretti Autosport last year," team owner Brian Belardi said. "We saw how immensely talented and quick he was, and mentally put him into consideration for the future. At the beginning of this season we had two great drivers fill our two full-time seats, so things just weren't right at the time.
"Unfortunately, this season has not worked out the way we had anticipated. With Peter now on our team, we expect this to be a step in the right direction. Everyone is looking forward to his first race with us in Toronto."
Dempsey made his debut in Firestone Indy Lights in 2011, splitting his time between O2 Racing and Andretti Autosport and earning four podiums. So far in 2012, Dempsey has competed in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix with Younessi Racing.
"First off, I want to thank the team, Belardi Auto Racing, Brian and (team manager) John (Brunner) for giving me this opportunity," Dempsey said. "As soon as one door closes, another opens, so I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to get back in the Firestone Indy Lights series and have a more solid deal than what I'm used to for the remainder of the season.
"Hopefully, I can bring my knowledge and experience to the team and put us up to the front as quickly as possible and challenge for a couple of good results. Definitely going into Toronto we want to be at the front, and I'd love to finish off the season with a couple of great finishes for the team. I'm really looking forward to Toronto. Jorge has been my teammate before so we should work well together, and we'll see how it goes."
The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series race continues with the Honda Indy Toronto on July 8 at the Streets of Toronto's Exhibition Place. The race will be televised by ABC at 12:30 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Toronto 100 on July 7 on the Streets of Toronto's Exhibition Place. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. on July 12.
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