I recently signed up for LivingSocial. It’s one of those sites that offers discounts on local services, products & experiences for a limited time. Last month I received one about an “adventure” being held at Andretti Winery in Napa. When I read the part about Andretti I was instantly in, I knew it would be a great thing to write about here and I didn’t even know that Mario Andretti owned a winery. So in addition to writing about tasting the Andretti wines, I also get to tell you about the mustard-making class that was also included.
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I’ve been super slacking on my IndyCar duties so consider this post a catch-all, catch-up on the series.
I fully intended to write a post dedicated to Marco Andretti’s win at Iowa, but got sidetracked with other stuff. I’m still super stoked that he FINALLY got another win, but I’m really hoping he can pull off some of the same magic at Infineon Raceway this year. ‘Cause I’ll be at that race.
Am I the only person that is completely bored whenever Will Power or Dario Franchitti win a race? It’s really boring. I don’t dislike either driver, quite the contrary–I like them both a lot–but it’s so predictable. I think IndyCar might want to think about doing something to their points system to make things more interesting, ala NASCAR’s “Chase” structure.
In couple news… Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay married his girlfriend Beccy Gordon (Robby Gordon’s sister) on Sunday, July 3rd. Congrats Ryan & Beccy!
(all photos courtesy of INDYCAR)
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I’m going to be totally honest with you guys right now. I have never watched “Bump Day” for the Indianapolis 500. Well, until this past weekend. I know, crazy right? Well, I’m never going to miss another one!
It was the most dramatic, heartbreaking, sad and awesome thing I have seen in a sporting event in quite some time. People’s lives were on the line, well not their personal life but ya know, the one thing that matters most to them–participating in the 100th Indy 500.
I didn’t get to see Alex Tagliani take the pole on Saturday, but I didn’t need to see it to know how much it would mean to him. Had you even heard of him before he got it? Exactly. So I’m super happy for him.
But what the hell happened to Andretti Motorsport? After Bump Day on Sunday, only two of their full-time drivers had secured a spot in the race, Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti, and Marco saved himself at the VERY LAST MINUTE. He ended up bumping out his teammates, Ryan Hunter Reay and Mike Conway.
Watching and listening to Ryan Hunter Reay’s reaction to realizing he wasn’t going to be in the race was just the worst, but he’s been able to turn his frown upside down after securing a deal to drive the No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing entry that was originally supposed to be driven by Bruno Junqueira, who qualified the car.
So now Bruno gets to lick the fuzzy end of the lollipop. I can’t imagine what THAT must feel like. You can’t deny that it’s effed up no matter how you try to spin it. Michael Andretti, owner of Andretti Autosport, had to keep his sponsors (Ryan is sponsored by DHL & Sun Drop soda) happy, sponsors that were expecting to be in the Indy 500, so they did this deal.
Anyway, I cannot wait for the race this weekend!
(All photos courtesy of INDYCAR)
There’s a bunch of stuff to give you the rundown on today! But here’s a housekeeping note: My Richard Petty Driving Experience Race Ride contest ends on May 31st, so submit your entry now. Two lucky winners will get to ride shotgun in a NASCAR racecar around Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
In other news…
– Angela and Amber Cope, the twin nieces of Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope will attempt to make their NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway this weekend. They’re attempting to make NASCAR history in becoming the first set of twins to ever compete in a Nationwide Series race. Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer will air on ESPN2 at 4:40pm EST on Saturday, with the race taking place on Sunday at 2pm EST on ABC.
– IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves surprised a bunch of customers at a Shell station in Indianapolis yesterday. Helio showed up unannounced and filled their tanks up with Shell gasoline. He also got to talk to them about the Shell V-Power Fuel My Passion program. Of course!
The Fuel My Passion sweepstakes allow vehicle enthusiasts who submit photos of themselves with their rides holding the two-fingered ‘V sign’ for V-Power the chance to win great prizes, including free gasoline for up to five years. For more information, please visit www.shell.us/fuelmypassion.
– This past Saturday Window World, the primary sponsor of John Andretti’s #43 Indianapolis 500 entry, unveiled “The Stinger” — a 2011 concept show car as a tribute to the 1911 Marmon Wasp and the 100 years of Indianpolis 500 history. “The Stinger” will be on display in the MotoGP garage area near Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the Indianapolis 500 weekend.
“The Stinger” is also raising money for charities through Window World Cares:
To further support the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, the Window World Cares foundation has invited each of the race’s former starters to autograph the car as it sits on display at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For each signature, Window World Cares will make a donation of support.
Since its creation in 2008, Window World Cares is responsible for raising more than $1.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is also a sponsor of the Veterans Airlift Command.
– Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex hosted The 2nd Annual Catwalk for a Cause Fashion Show yesterday. MTJ Motorsports was transformed into a fashionista’s paradise with many of NASCAR’s familiar faces on hand for the event that raised money for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. The fashion show featured apparel from Lavendar Boutique, a women’s designer boutique in Mooresville, NC owned by Sherry Pollex. There are photos here and here. I was able to spot DeLana Harvick, Krissie Newman, Larry McReynolds, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s mom Brenda Jackson, Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo, Max Papis, amongst others.
Dario Franchitti held off Will Power to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance last weekend. But I don’t think Will got too down in the dumps about the whole thing since he was able secure ownership of the first ever Mario Andretti Road Championship Trophy.
Legendary racecar driver Mario Andretti will be on hand at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma next week to present the trophy to Will. As we all know Sonoma was the scene of Mario’s grandson’s, Marco Andretti, first ever (and so far, only) IndyCar win. I was there to see it and I really, really, really, really hope that Marco can find some magic and get a win at Infineon Raceway again. Plus, I always think it’s adorable to see Mario, Michael (Mario’s son, Marco’s father) and Marco together.
I’ll take that or Graham Rahal winning, or Simona De Silvestro winning. I’m also willing to accept Milka Duno finishing higher than 20th place. OK, now I’m being greedy.
hehe I kid, I kid.
And since I brought up the topic of Mario Andretti, how cute is he in those Honda commercials? I love it when the “regular dude” takes Mario for a ride in a Honda, after Mario has taken the guy around a track in a two-seater IndyCar, and Mario says “I’m hungry.” (video below)
Ladies, this is Francesco Dracone. You’re welcome.
Also, Francesco will be one of eleven drivers testing at Infineon Raceway on Friday. I will be there as well, with bells on.
Consider this your warning that I’m going to be posting more stuff about the IZOD IndyCar Series. It’s surely not a bad thing. Quite the contrary actually. I have to thank the Indy Racing League for giving me access to their media site because without that I wouldn’t be able to bring you these awesome photos. Who knows, maybe I’ll go to more races too instead of just the one at Infineon Raceway.
Scott Dixon won the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway this past weekend. He was joined in victory lane by his wife Emma and their super adorable baby daughter Poppy. Her red hair is so cute!
Anyway, you all know how much I love to compare drivers to celebrities and I couldn’t help but think that Scott bares a striking resemblance to the lead singer of one of my all time fave bands, Stephen Christian of Anberlin. Check out the comparison below. Don’t they look like they could be brothers? They were born in the same year just days apart. How freaky cool is that??
|Scott Dixon (left) and Stephen Christian (right)|
In other news…
– It’s time for a Richard Antinucci update. If you remember he’s that super hot racer that carries a dual Italian/US citizenship. I gushed about my sightings of him at last year’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. He was in the IndyCar Series last year for five races and this year doesn’t seem to have a ride. Which boggles my mind considering that Milka Duno gets to cruise around as the resident safety hazard. Anyway, Richard is set to make his debut in the Italian Gran Turismo Championship. He’ll be driving an Audi R8 LMS for Audi Sport Italia in two events at Valleunga this Sunday and Magione in June.
– Check out this great article by Graham Rahal about his stint with Sarah Fisher Racing and his future in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I can’t believe he’s only 21. Racing sure does know how to make young guys grow up fast.
Scott Dixon and his wife Emma celebrate his victory with their daughter Poppy at the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 1, 2010.
A few weeks ago I was given a copy of a new NASCAR DVD set entitled “Full Throttle Adrenaline Volumes 1 & 2″ to check out. I have to say that it’s a really cool and interesting set.
The first disc is hosted by Fox Sports pit road reporter Steve Byrnes who takes you through a bunch of classic race finishes and crashes. There were moments that I hadn’t seen before like the time when Michael Waltrip had a truly gnarly crash into the side of a wall that basically peeled his car a part like a banana. It also shows the moment when Michael proposed to his wife Buffy in victory lane. There’s commentary from drivers like Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch recounting their super close finish at Darlington back in 2003.
The second disc is my favorite. It features interviews with various crew chiefs, owners and drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, Ryan Newman and Boris Said. They talk a little bit about their lives away from the track. You get to see Ryan’s classic car collection and Boris’ adorable blond & curly haired son. I think seeing a driver out of their element is a great way to get perspective on what they’re like as just regular dudes.
The discs also have extras like a trip to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Charlotte and an in depth look at Elliott Sadler’s crazy crash at Talladega in 2003.
I was given three extra copies of this awesome DVD set to giveaway.
Enter the contest today! The contest ends on July 4, 2008.
I think it’s weird to forecast the season or a drivers performance abilities based off of ONE race. I think that at least ten races have to pass before I can tell you if someone is having a sucky or great season. I know people have to write about something other than Tony Stewart’s hair but c’mon.
So I’ve been checking the weather down in Southern California and it looks like there’s a chance of showers on Sunday in Fontana. I’ve never been to a race with a rain delay. So if the rain does come down during the race that could be interesting. I’ll have to figure out where Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s coach is located. Just kidding. Sorta. No, I’m kidding. Maybe.
In other news…
– California Speedway is no longer California Speedway. It was announced this week that it is now to be called The Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. California Speedway was a lot easier to say, but whatever.
– MomLogic has posted an interview with Pattie Petty, wife of Kyle Petty and mother to Adam Petty, a 4th generation NASCAR driver, who was tragically killed in an on-track accident in 2000. How Pattie Petty Honors Her Son’s Memory
– Kurt Busch will be signing autographs at The Palms Hotel & Casino in Vegas next Friday the 29th at 7:30pm, in the Palms Food Court. The Food Court??
– It was announced today that the IndyCar Series and Champ Car World Series have reached an agreement and are merging in time for the 2008 racing season. Michael Andretti says this:
“This is a huge day for the IndyCar Series and for our sport as a whole, for sure. Over the years, whether I was in the role of driver, team owner or promoter, I have always wanted a unified sport. That has been my only goal throughout this entire process and I applaud everyone who played a role in making this happen. So many people have worked tirelessly, both publicly and behind the scenes, to get this done. Everyone can now focus on taking the IndyCar Series to new heights for the good of our sport and everyone involved in it.”
Since it’s Friday I went over to YouTube to try and find something fun and interesting.
I found a show called Indy Insider hosted by a kid named Arni. In this clip he’s at the Honda Welcome Party during the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersberg in St. Petersberg, Florida. He talks to Tony Kanaan (who comandeers Arni’s microphone) and Michael and Marco Andretti (who is apparently shy when it comes to talking to the ladies). [Indy Insider - Honda Party-part 2]
I’ve been wanting to write this entry since Sunday but my grand plans about doing it once I left the track slowly eroded as I was stuck in traffic for 2 hours. That’s the only incredibly irritating thing about going to a race at Infineon, the drive home! It never fails. There’s literally only one lane out in each direction. I forgot to grab a cold drink and a snack before I got in my car so I was parched and starving; trying to sing along with my CDs in the hopes that it would help me to forget my hunger. It didn’t.
Anyway, I’m back at work and there’s so much that I haven’t talked about yet. So let’s get to it.
First off, this past weekend there were about a million times it seemed that I had to stop, look around and say to myself, “Look at where you are, remember this.” The first such moment was with Gene Simmons. Yes, he’s kinda weird but it was pretty surreal to have him just sitting in front of me, blabbering on about how great IndyCar racing is.
The second moment was when Tony Kanaan walked past me after the race. He went into the winners circle to congratulate Marco Andretti and then pushed past me and others to get to the garage area. He came up my chest. He’s short.
The third and final memorable moment of the day was after the race when Marco and Michael Andretti (Marco’s dad) were in the media center answering questions. This was Marco’s first IndyCar win, ever and he’s only 19 (although to me he looks like he’s twelve). He’s the youngest winner of a major open-wheel event to date. So this race, this win, was a huge deal and I was there to witness it. I’ll never forget it.
I’m a NASCAR fan and I’ll watch IRL stuff for a little bit if it’s on, or if it’s the Indy 500. Going to this race really didn’t change that for me. During the national anthem there wasn’t a fly-over! What kind of race is it without a fly-over? The crew members were hot I must admit, especially one particular guy on Dan Wheldon’s team. Hello!
But I digress.
I did get to see Ashley Judd, Dario Franchitti’s wife, and she looked great. I have a great photo of the back of her head, in case you’re interested. I also saw Danica Patrick a lot. There really isn’t anything that great to tell about her.
Infineon wasn’t as packed as it was for the NASCAR race in June, but there were still a ton of race fans on hand for the event. Overall I though, I thought the race was fun, cool and very memorable.
So my heart softened just a little bit for Jimmie Johnson this weekend. Normally he’s on my crap list, especially with that suspect crew chief of his Chad Knaus, but this week I could really sense genuine feelings and emotions from him, like winning this race really meant something to him.
And so it should, it was the Brickyard 400 after all, oops I mean the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This is one of the few times I’ll ever take issue with sponsors but when the race is at Indy it should be called Indy or Brickyard. They’re never going to change the Daytona 500 to the McDonalds 500 at Daytona. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is steeped in history for Indy cars, but not so much for stock cars. But if you watched the pre-race show on NBC you’d think Jesus walked on those bricks. I kid, I kid…
The thing I hated about the race was that the finish wasn’t a nail biter. It didn’t come close to this year