6.17.14 – The current Indy Lights championship points leader, Zach Veach, made a special visit to Austin, TX Tuesday in support of Texas Department of Transportation’s (TXDOT) Distracted Driving Summit. The 19-year-old started the day before the sunrise in pit lane of the gorgeous Circuit of the Americas (COTA) facility with local media and families of those affected by distracted driving accidents to share their personal stories. Following the early morning hits, Veach was given the opportunity to tour the 3.4-mile permanent road course, even getting the chance to view the track from its iconic observation deck.
Leading off the summit was TXDOT Operations Director Carol Rawson who introduced the “rising IndyCar star” to the crowd settled into the COTA media center. The Ohio native spoke to the summit attendees about his personal story of losing a community member and schoolmate to a distracted driving accident. Veach also expressed that while driving at 180 mph as a race car driver, it’s imperative to be 100% focused, and should also be the same for drivers on the freeway even if they’re driving at just 60 mph.
In Texas alone in 2013, of the 94,943 traffic accidents that were caused by distracted driving, 459 of those were fatal, according to TXDOT. One in five accidents in Texas is caused by distracted driving – not limited to texting while driving or even talking on the phone albeit on a hands-free device. Changing the radio station, turning around in your seat to speak to passengers, cognitive distractions, in addition to phone usage are all means of distracted driving. Did you know that employers nationwide are liable for distracted driving accidents caused by their employees if the employees are operating a company vehicle, are using a cellular device provided by the company or are doing company business on their phone while operating a vehicle?
Although the driver of the No. 26 RePLAY XD Indy Lights machine may drive at speeds that are uncommon for everyday motorists, his 100% focus at the task at hand is what keeps him safe and helps him beat the competition. All operators of motor vehicles should be just as focused so they can keep themselves and those around them safe.
For more information on Zach’s advocacy efforts, please visit www.ZachVeach.com. To hear more about TXDOT’s efforts in reducing distracted driving, please visit http://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/distracted.html.
6.11.14 (via USA Today) – Ryan Hunter-Reay caught up on sleep and sent links to funny videos to teammate James Hinchcliffe. He was even thinking about catching a movie while waiting out the rain Wednesday at the Milwaukee Mile.
Hunter-Reay's life has slowed down just a tad since winning the Indianapolis 500 a few weeks ago. He wouldn't mind bouncing back from three disappointing finishes since his milestone victory.
A 19th-place finish last weekend at Texas. Finishes of 16th and 19th the previous week in dual races in Detroit.
"Absolutely, a tough run, but we've had more difficult times, that's for sure," Hunter-Reay said.
He has followed a breakneck pace since the highlight-reel finish at Indy on Memorial Day weekend, the first American to win the race in eight years. The media spotlight has been intense, though he'll gladly take the attention that comes with victory.
There is a break in the race schedule until dual races in Houston on June 28-29, though testing is ongoing. Hunter-Reay is third in points among drivers behind first-place Will Power and Helio Castroneves.
6.7.2014 (via thecheckeredflag.co.uk) - VW lead the way on the opening day of the Red Bull Global Rallycross at X Games Austin as Scott Speed, Anton Marklund and Tanner Foust all took victories in their first heats; Travis Pastrana was the only non-VW win as he piloted his Subaru to a win in his heat.
Joni Wiman set the pace early on in the day as he gained the top seeding after qualifying but an accident in his heat sent him head-on into the hairpin wall. While Wiman was not injured, his car was wrecked and had to sit on the sidelines for the rest of the race.
“We’ve had a lot of pace here,” said Scott Speed to GlobalRallyCross.com, “We’re trying not to do anything stupid. I took a very conservative start, and Isachsen was super aggressive, so I let him have the spot. Then I ran around until I got close enough to pass him on the joker without any incident, and just tried to go as easy on the car as possible.”
Speed took victory in his heat as he finished almost a second faster than the two Subaru’s of Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek. Lasek will be doing everything he can to win tomorrow after missing out on a medal in the Skateboarding Vert final. Brian Deegan finished in fourth place while Pat Moro registered a DNF.
“I was on the outside, which I think isn’t seen as the favorable spot,” said Foust. “I got by (Patrik) Sandell and was in the lead, but then there was a red flag because (Steve) Arpin stalled it in the hairpin. So we did it again, and lightning struck twice there—I got by Sandell on the outside that time.”
Foust would finish the race 1.5 seconds ahead of the Olsbergs MSE Ford of Sandell, with Rhys Millen finishing in third place ahead of Liam Doran in his Citroen DS3. Steve Arpin rounded out the 5-car field in last place, 6.2 seconds down.
Anton Marklund took a win in his round ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr, who is also taking part in the GRC Lites races this weekend. Austin Cindric would finish third while Wiman failed to finish after colliding with the wall.
X Games legend Travis Pastrana took the win in his heat to break the VW clean-sweep, ahead of a hard fought battle between reigning GRC champion Toomas Heikkinen and Ken Block. While the Gymkhana icon took the second place, Heikkinen will be looking to make up for lost time tomorrow. Ricky Johnson and Emma Gilmour rounded out the field.
6.5.2014 (via thecheckeredflag.co.uk)
Red Bull Global Rallycross has officially arrived in Austin, Texas as part of the X Games package after drivers shook down their cars in first practice.
With a 19-car strong entry list (was previously 20, but Sarah Burgess will not be taking part) featuring the likes of Tanner Foust, Ken Block, Scott Speed, Brian Deegan and Britains very own Liam Doran the X Games moves to Austin, Texas and the Circuit of the Americas.
“We look forward to participating at X Games this weekend in Austin as part of our multi-year collaboration,”said Colin Dyne, Red Bull GRC CEO. “Circuit of the Americas is one of the greatest race circuits in the world, and we are proud to be competing at a venue of such incredible caliber.”
Talking after first practice Scott Speed told fans “Practice in the books, we have a ton of speed, just need to stay clean through the weekend” via his Instagram account. Speed will be hoping to add another victory to his 2014 season after winning in Barbados.
6.5.2014 (via fiaformulae.com) – Franck Montagny is the first driver to be confirmed for the Andretti Autosport Formula E Team and we spoke with him following his first outing in the fully-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E…
How does it feel to be announced as a Formula E driver for the first fully-electric racing championship?
Well I’m very happy to be part of it and I’m proud to be here at the beginning of the story. It’s a new championship and it’s completely different with a unique approach to racing. It’s not only a new racing series but a new era of motorsport.
Having driven the car for the first time during the shakedown at Donington Park, what are your feelings of the car?
The car is very special and honestly I have had a smile on my face since the first lap I stepped into it and I still can’t stop. It’s good fun to drive and if I have fun inside the car I think people outside will like it.
With the different levels of power available have you had the chance to experience a variety of feedback from the car?
I’ve tried full power once on an in-lap just to get a feeling and it’s fantastic but I guess this is not the way we are going to run the race. The power is not the most important thing, we have to bring the show to the people and I think we can do that.
6.4.2014 (via fiaformulae.com) – Teams competing in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship got their first chance to familiarise themselves with their Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars today during a shakedown session at Donington Park.
The teams completed a full-day of systems checks at the Leicestershire track in wet conditions using a modified configuration of the National Circuit, which included an additional chicane on the main straight.
The seven confirmed drivers – Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi (Abt), Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing), Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing) and Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport) – were all in attendance together with several new drivers under evaluation.
Rob Arnott, Team Manager at Andretti Autosport, said: “The car has run exceptionally well for us, almost like clockwork. We’ve had virtually no issues which say a lot for a car straight out of the box and Franck [Montagny] has been really surprised with the car and its balance, especially in the wet. I was concerned the tyres wouldn’t be able to cope being a ‘one-stop-shop’ so to speak but they are very impressive and a good compound. Tomorrow we’ll debrief and analysis the data but it’s apparent battery management is going to be key.”
5.31.2014 (via RACER.com) – The Indy Grand Prix and the Indy 500 have come and gone, and the month of May is almost over; it has certainly gone by in a flash. I have been absorbed solely into racing and nothing else during this time and it feels nice to finally have a little bit of a break before the next race at Pocono in July.
There have been some highs and lows, but it has been an amazing experience. It was very gut wrenching and saddening for my whole family to lose my grandfather, Poppy. I know he would have been very upset with me if I had let his passing interrupt my focus for the Freedom 100, as racing was everything to him. So, I tried to look on the positive side and stay clear-minded.
Poppy's life was absolutely amazing; he lived in a great era and what he achieved during his time on this earth was incredible. I'm completely blown away from all of the support and condolences from everyone. It has made me incredibly proud, especially when I went to Lucas Oil Raceway and saw that all the USF2000 and Pro Mazda competitors had the same tribute sticker that I ran at the Freedom 100 on their cars. It was hard to keep my emotions in check. I had a strong month racing-wise and I felt Poppy was with me all the way.
There was a great deal of expectation leading into the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race. The hype of the Indy 500 and everything else going on around us was hard to totally absorb. We also only had two days on track; I wish we had more time on The Speedway as it was such a blast to drive on. It went by so quickly and it was all over before I knew it.
Practice didn't start out so well for us. We all did qualifying simulations in the only morning practice session on Thursday, and straight away it became apparent that the Sam Schmidt cars were very quick. The team and I were still confident we could go out and be in contention for pole, but it was a little disheartening when that didn't happen. Zach Veach and I spent the rest of the session working together on our race setups. My racecar felt very good in practice, and Zach and I worked really well together, but it was hard to tell how we both compared to the rest of the field.
Qualifying went as we thought with Zach and I lining up in the second row behind Luis Razia and Jack Harvey. Everyone was very close except for Luis, who absolutely smoked us, which was a worry. I figured it would be really hard to break the draft in the race, and I felt as though my race setup was really good so I remained confident.
Carb Day was amazing! I was surprised at how many people were at IMS. I almost missed the drivers briefing because it was chock-a-block traffic getting into the track. It was a really cool experience to be competing in front of such a big crowd. They gave us all the pre-race lead in's and introductions, which was really special. It made it a little more nerve-wracking before the start of the race, but once we pulled out of pit lane, all my emotions and butterflies disappeared; I was only focused on the race.