Posted 19 May 2018 - 12:27
IMS Museum hosts 20th annual historic racing exhibition
By: RACER Staff | 21 hours ago
More than 70 historic race cars with ties to the Indianapolis 500 return to the Brickyard May 24-26 for the 20th annual Historic Racing Exhibition, presented by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
The event is open to cars that either qualified for or were entered for the Indianapolis 500. The event includes a display of the cars in “Historic Gasoline Alley” next to the Museum and on-track laps for the participants. The vehicles eligible for the exhibition range from 1911 to 1993.
Fans can hear iconic engines from the mighty Miller that dominated in the 1920s and 1930s, to the roar of the popular, hard-luck Novi which participated in the “500” from 1946 to 1965 and the distinctive turbocharged Cosworth of the 1980s.
Some of the iconic cars that will participate in the exhibition include the 1949 Blue Crown Spark Plug Special that powered Bill Holland to victory in the “500,” the 1975 McLaren M16 that finished second with Johnny Rutherford behind the wheel and A.J. Foyt’s first Coyote.
The display is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, and the cars will be on track for exhibition laps on the following schedule.
Thursday, May 24: 2:45-4 p.m.
Friday, May 25: 8-9 a.m.
Saturday, May 26: 11:15 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
Posted 19 May 2018 - 23:34
PRUETT: The silver lining in Rahal's 1993 500 miss
By: Marshall Pruett | 1 hour ago
Graham Rahal wants to emulate almost everything his father accomplished in motor racing.
Winning the Indy 500, as Bobby Rahal did in 1986, tops the list. Becoming a three-time IndyCar Series champion, as Bob accomplished with titles in 1986, 1987 and 1992, also ranks as priority.
Following in his dad’s footsteps on the 25th anniversary of Rahal-Hogan Racing failing to qualify for the 1993 Indy 500? Graham’s doing all he can to avoid adding his name to that family distinction.
Bob’s entry for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing proudly bore the number 1 on its nose and flanks. The Rahal-Hogan Racing chassis, a Truesports 92C that was developed by the defending CART IndyCar Series champions, had been renamed the “R/H 001” in deference to its new owners.
By the time qualifying was over and the popular Indy winner wasn’t part of the field of 33, the R/H stood for “Real Handful,” and the defending series champion was missing from the show. The all-American car, designed and built in Ohio, was powered by a solid Chevy engine – the same Emerson Fittipaldi would use to win the 1993 Indy 500 – but even the Bowtie’s horsepower couldn’t mask the R/H 001’s shortcomings.
(Image by Marshall Pruett)
“Well, if I’m gonna be brutally honest with myself … we won the championship, Rahal-Hogan had a great year … won four races, a lot of great consistency and, foolishly kind of thought, we could, you know, we could do it,” Rahal said, reflecting on the brave move that saw the team move from running Lolas in 1992 to becoming a chassis constructor.
“We had a lot of confidence – me as a driver and as an owner, and we had the opportunity to test the Truesports car that Don Halliday had designed and thought it was a, a pretty good car. And we did that in, I’m gonna say, August or September of ‘92, tested at Mid-Ohio with the car and felt like this might have potential.”
It didn’t. At least not at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
If anything, the troubled 1992 season experienced by Truesports and driver Scott Pruett with the rubber band-like 92C was as a roadmap to where Rahal’s team would arrive at Indy.
“So, then we had the bright idea, and I’ll take full responsibility, but [we] had the bright idea that we should go this direction with our own car, um, because obviously if it was good enough, and we’re the only one that had it, we could win another championship. I had a lot of respect for Don Halliday, and still do, and off we went.”
To Rahal’s credit, the rebadged Truesports chassis showed some speed on street courses where consistent handling was not an expectation. The bumpy, undulating city streets masked the R/H 001’s deficiencies, but once the chassis was introduced to Indy’s long, smooth corners, the flexible car surrendered copious amounts of speed whenever Rahal turned the steering wheel.
“The results; there were some false hopes in the sense that we went to Long Beach, finished second in the car,” he said. “We were sixth in the car in Australia … [and] it was like, hey, that’s not too bad. It’s like, well, we’ll go to Indy and we’ll be right there because the car had been competitive when Scott Pruett drove it.
Pruett had coaxed midfield speed from the 92C, but he had also been vocal about its shortcomings as the season continued. As other chassis manufacturers made progress with their cars, the little one-car Truesports outfit was being left behind at each round on the development front.
Using funds from the significant corporate backing the No. 1 car carried, Rahal hoped to find untapped potential within the 92C as new development projects were commissioned by the Rahal-Hogan team for 1993. Ambition, as he recalls, was never lacking.
“Things change from year to year, but nevertheless we thought we could take that basic car and make a better version of it,” he continued. “We got very heavily involved in producing a lot of components – the gearbox, and actually looking at a new tub. And frankly, in the end, the project was more than we could digest.”
(Image by Pruett)
As two weeks of practice and qualifying got under way, Rahal occasionally found himself toward the middle of the time sheets, but there was a disturbing trend as a deficit of six miles per hour or more was shown to the leaders.
“I think it was up to the fourth lap in qualifying, we actually had the speed to make it into the field, but you weren’t ever quite sure where it was going,” he said. “Kind of an understeer, oversteer, you know. I mean, it was not very confidence inspiring for sure, but we had made our bed, and we had to sleep in it.”
His qualifying average of 221.1mph fell shy of Scott Goodyear’s 221.8mph run to earn the last spot on the grid. After turning 367 laps searching for fractions of a second, a shocking outcome was visited upon the Rahal-Hogan team.
“I’ll never forget before qualifying [team principal] Scott Roembke, who was never prone to sugarcoat anything, said to me, ‘I don’t think we’re going to be able to qualify,’” Rahal recalled. “And I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. What are you talking about?’ I said, ‘Well, there’s no way.’ Well, it became pretty clear that we had a problem. And we did everything we could and it wasn’t enough.”
With heavy investment from Miller Beer and other well-known sponsors for the season, the concept of watching from the sidelines at the sport’s biggest race was never considered.
“It was a very emotional … I remember in our suite, of course, I had a suite then, and we had all of our sponsors up there, and I’m up there with them and they got very emotional,” Rahal admitted. “I’m watching the pace lap thinking, hey, I’m, I’m supposed to be out there, not up here where I am. And that really, that really taught me a lesson.”
Rahal would soon find his calamitous qualifying came with a silver lining.
“Lots of good things came from that experience,” he said. “I mean, here you won the championship in ‘92, and now you don’t qualify in ’93 for the 500, Miller was my sponsor, [and] the idea that you don’t make the Indy 500? I mean, that was the race that had the most importance and still does, and then to not be there…
“I have to say that the head of marketing for Miller at the time was a guy named Dick Strup, and he was amazing. [He] took me on essentially a three-year deal, and so we were in the second year, and when we went home with our tail between our legs, then the next day, a three-year extension came in the mail. Talk about the ultimate sign of faith.”
Another positive would follow Miller’s extension when the team made a pricey investment in new Lolas. Rahal-Hogan’s fortunes improved immediately.
“Of course, after the 500, we bought a couple Lolas and I’m finishing fourth in Milwaukee the next race and ended up having not a bad year, but it really taught me and maybe others – Tim Cindric he was there then – a lot of lessons about overconfidence,” Rahal said. “Hubris is another term for it. So, you know, we felt after ‘92 we could do anything, and it was clear that you couldn’t do everything.”
For 1994, Rahal-Hogan would enter into a new partnership with Honda as the Japanese brand entered the CART IndyCar Series. Using new Lolas, Rahal had removed any chassis concerns at the Speedway, but his new issue was found in the engine bay. High weight and low power would send Rahal and teammate Mike Groff into panic mode as, for the second consecutive year, qualifying for the race was in jeopardy.
“To add onto that story, so in ‘94, we show up with the Hondas, and we don’t have the pace, but with Lolas, you know, so we had the same cars as everybody else, but we didn’t have the pace to qualify,” he said.
“What happened in ‘93 is really what spurred us on to have to lease two Penskes [chassis] from Roger, and obviously, which did not go well – down well with Honda, uh, because we had to withdraw those cars in order to qualify the Penske cars, but I couldn’t go to Miller and say, sorry, we’re not going to make the Indy 500 two years in a row, you know? They didn’t care what motor I had in that car or what chassis I had. All they cared about was being in the race, so the ‘93 experience really spurred things in ’94.”
Rahal in a Penske car, 1994 (Image by Pruett)
With the wisdom of 25 years to reflect on missing the 1993 race, Rahal wonders if it the outcome was a sign from above.
“It was a very traumatic time for us,” he said. “For me particularly, to miss the race, I have to say, I think maybe that was God’s way of keeping me out of the race ‘cause I’m not sure the car was … it was pretty fragile.”
In the aftermath of missing the 500, Rahal received a note from his hero who was also known for pushing boundaries with unique cars.
“I’ll never forget after that, I got a note from Dan Gurney who was always accused of messing around too much,” he said. “I got a note from him that basically said, hey, don’t look back. You tried. He had done the same, and sometimes it works. Sometimes it didn’t, and so at least I took some solace in that.”
After destroying the field in 1994 with his Ilmor-Mercedes Penske PC23s, the Captain would know Rahal’s pain in 1995 when his cars weren’t quick enough to make the show. Just as Penske made cars available for Rahal in 1994, Rahal made his backups available for Penske, but the defending Indy 500 winners missed the cut.
“I took real solace in it when Roger’s team didn’t qualify two years later in our cars, which had qualified, you know?” he said. “So, the same cars … I guess nobody’s too big to fail. Let’s put it that way. They’re not always happy endings, you know?”
Posted 21 May 2018 - 18:49
MlLLER: How Herk gave me my greatest – and worst – week at Indy
By: Robin Miller | 25 minutes ago
It’s the 6th of May, 1968 and I’ve managed to flunk out of Ball State Teacher’s College in only two quarters. I squandered an opportunity my parents of the Great Depression never had, but was oblivious at the time because all I cared about was the Indianapolis 500.
Practice was three weeks back then, and I was perched by the fence at the rear of Gasoline Alley when my hero came walking past. I’d been cheering for Jim Hurtubise since he shattered the IMS track record in 1960. So I started following him to Terre Haute, Eldora, Milwaukee, DuQuoin and the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
After those races I would seek him out, and a few times I stole a beer from any cooler nearby and gave it to him, hoping he might recognize me some day.
So he’s sauntering past me and I yell, “Herk” – and then my life changes. He stops, and after a couple minutes of me explaining why I was his biggest fan, suddenly asks if I would be interested in helping him for the next couple days until his full-time crew gets to town.
He says he can’t pay me anything but he’d get me a silver badge, and then asks how old I was. Eighteen, I replied, but I looked 14 and you had to be 21 to get into the pits back then. He goes into his garage and comes back with a Goodyear jacket and hat, which he pulls down over my eyes as far as possible, and tucks a Mechanic’s Laundry rag in my back pocket.
We walk into Gasoline Alley together and past a couple Yellow Shirts, who amazingly don’t interrogate Theodore Cleaver.
Thus began the greatest, and saddest, week of my life.
Herk had no idea what a mechanical moron I am, and he already had another stooge lined up, a college sophomore from Michigan named Skip, who actually had some toolbox aptitude.
Now, if not having a real crew wasn’t a big enough handicap, Herk was also driving his beloved Mallard that year. He’d missed the show for the first time ever in 1967, but was determined to combat the rear-engine revolution with the front-engine roadster that he and brother Pete had built in their garage in the winter of 1966.
Our assignments were as follows: Skip strapped Herk into the car and ran the starter while I was in charge of getting Jim’s helmet on, fastening the bodywork with a Dzus wrench, running the pit board and helping push the car out of the pits.
His helmet became somewhat of an adventure. He’d left his back in North Tonawanda, N.Y. so he borrowed one from Joe Leonard. Of course it was two sizes too large, so I was instructed to take a few Mechanic’s Laundry rags and stuff them into his helmet so it wouldn’t slide around at speed. Then I had to tape his goggles onto his helmet.
On May 8th his Offy engine blew up in about five laps, and we went back to the garage. Herk and Skip pulled the motor while I handed them tools. A few hours later my hero asked me to go over to a box in the corner and bring him a couple gaskets. All I found were a bunch of paper cutouts, which I dumped on the floor, and I told him there weren’t any. (I assumed a gasket was made out of metal). Jim barked: “What in the hell do you think you just threw on the floor?”
Herk and his stooge, 1968 Indy 500. Image courtesy Robin Miller
That was Strike 1.
He worked alone most of the night and several hours into the next day installing a new shooter: Herk wanted to get out on the track. It was 5:45pm, and we pushed the Mallard out to the pits as fast as possible. I was rushing through the helmet drill but fumbling a bit, and Jim yelled to hurry up. A shock of his hair was sticking out, but I panicked and just taped his goggles and hair onto the helmet.
After two laps, the engine expired going down the backstretch. He was fuming when he climbed out of the car, but even madder a couple seconds later when he ripped off his goggles and that lump of hair went with it. Sorry.
While another engine was installed, I polished everything in the garage and avoided making eye contact with Jim. It rained out May 11, thankfully, so I had no chance to do anything stupid. But May 12 became my personal Armageddon.
Herk had scored a sponsorship with Pepsi and Frito-Lay. They had this bitchin’ paint job with a Pepsi bottle cap, and a couple of the guys that put the deal together were coming to the track to watch practice. Pete had shown up with a couple other mechanics, and everyone was excited to get going.
Because the Mallard was so long, the entire bodywork was one big piece, and it was held in place by several Dzus buttons. A Dzus button can only be fastened with a Dzus wrench. As I was trying to button up the last couple, I slipped and put a gash all the way across the nose and right through the Pepsi bottle cap.
Herk screamed a couple of obscenities, called me an idiot and fired me on the spot. I was devastated. I had failed my hero. I had to give back my badge, and I’d blown my chance to be Jim’s friend.
The rest of the month didn’t get any easier, as Herk blew something like 12 engines and was still outside looking in when qualifying had to be extended to Monday because of rain.
There weren’t many people in the grandstands on May 27, 1968, but I sat behind his pit and cheered like a banshee when he qualified. I ran down to the fence as he was taking his qualifying photos and got up the courage to yell his name. He waved me over and I hopped the fence and gave him a hug, apologizing for my ineptitude. He let me stand in the back row as the last photos were taken, but I didn’t make the official IMS shot. That didn’t matter, because my hero had forgiven me and he’d qualified the last front-engine car to ever run at Indianapolis.
I joined The Indianapolis Star that summer and became fast friends with Herk during the next 20 years. I flew in his Seabee with his faithful dog, Prince, went to lunch with him periodically, and wrote a glowing tribute to the “Rebel without A Pause” one Christmas Day.
And every now and then, usually when he was holding court in his muffler shop on 16th Street, he’d get that grin and point to me and tell the boys: “Back in 1968, Robin was my chief mechanic. For about 20 minutes.”
Posted 22 May 2018 - 02:12
Izvanredan video, Radoje! (gde ih samo nalazis?)
Mada je fokus nejveceg dela na aerodinamici i ground effects, najvise sam uzivao u delu kad Duckworth prica o Cosworthu. Vide se i neke izgubljene/zaboravljene vestine - kad pricajuci o sastavljanju motora, kazu da je zavrsna obrada delova rucna! Takodje, mada ne verujem da ih nisu koristili, nigde se ne vidi moment-kljuc, sve ide po osecaju.
Nema vise tih stvari...
Posted 22 May 2018 - 17:59
Izvanredan video, Radoje! (gde ih samo nalazis?)
Beltoise scores his only win – and BRM’s last – at Monaco
1972 Monaco Grand Prix flashback
24th May 2007, 7:00 | Keith Collantine
The 1972 Monaco Grand Prix was in many ways a strange affair. It produced the debut victory for a man who would never win again and the circuit was in a state of flux.
When Prince Rainier and his entourage arrived in their cars during practice on Sunday, they were waved onto the circuit with scarcely a thought for the circulating drivers…
Monte-Carlo that year was cold and stinking wet – exactly the elements that rob the glamorous venue of its lustre. But it did produce an unusual and memorable race.
Jackie Stewart had won the world championship for a second time in 1971. But the following season by the time of the fourth round he was exhausted and unwell.
Aside from the publicity demands placed on the world champion Stewart had been drawn into a bitter wrangle over the safety of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit where many other F1 drivers had competed in a 1000km sports car race the week before.
It was only after the Monaco race that Stewart discovered he had a bleeding stomach ulcer, which drained him of his energy.
Other drivers missed Monaco entirely. It clashed with the Indianapolis 500, so Ferrari’s Mario Andretti was away, as was McLaren’s Peter Revson.
Carlos Reutemann was also absent and so Emerson Fittipaldi’s brother Wilson took over the spare Brabham to make his second world championship start.
The circuit also saw some changes. The track was still basically in the same configuration it had been when it first held a world championship round in 1955.
But, as a one-off, the pits had been moved to the harbour front. The entrance to the present-day harbour chicane served as the pit lane entry. A separate chicane further down the track slowed the cars into Tabac.
This was unfortunate for spectators who’d bought seats overlooking the start/finish line who could no longer see the pit lane.
But as the race started no-one could see very much of anything. It rained on the final practice session on Saturday and it poured on Sunday – so much so that an extra practice session was put on, which was when Prince Rainier made his ill-timed arrival.
Fittipaldi had pole but it was Jean-Pierre Beltoise who surged into the lead at the start from fourth – guaranteeing himself the only view of the track that was free from spray.
Fittipaldi fell behind Clay Regazzoni’s Ferrari and could see so little that when Regazzoni went straight on at the chicane Fittipaldi blindly followed him and Jacky Ickx passed the pair for second.
Beltoise held the lead for every single one of the race’s 80 laps. This came as something of a surprise especially as Ickx behind him was a renowned wet-weather expert.
There were two scares for Beltoise’s BRM. He lost the back end of the car at Portier but caught the slide – just – and continued. Then at the Station Hairpin (where the station had been demolished and Loews Hotel was being built) he barged into Tim Schenken as he lapped the Surtees driver.
Water logging became a problem for many drivers, including Beltoise and Ickx. Stewart suffered too, and it choked his Tyrrell’s Cosworth engine so badly that the Scotsman lost third place to Fittipaldi and was lapped twice in the late stages of the race.
The race ran its full distance which, in the days before the two hour rule, took 2hr 25m 54.7s. Yet despite the persistent rain, which periodically grew in intensity to further soak the track, only six of the 25 starters crashed out.
One of those was Peter Gethin who hit the new chicane, and while the marshals recoved the wreckage the field was re-directed through the escape road instead.
Beltoise’s win was his only career F1 victory. At the time it was a considerable relief after his bitter 1971 season, when he had been involved in a crash at the Buenos Aires 1000km that killed Ignazio Giunti.
It would also be the last win for BRM. The team had optimistically fielded five cars in 1972 having introduced Marlboro sponsorship to Formula 1.
Ickx finished second but Fittipaldi, third, took over the lead of the drivers’ championship from Denny Hulme. Later that year he would win his first championship, becoming the youngest driver to do so until Fernando Alonso broke his record 33 years later.
Posted 03 July 2018 - 19:56
Dee Ann Andretti passes away
By: Robin Miller | 32 minutes ago
She met him while teaching English to the spindly Italian immigrant in a Nazareth, Pa. school and a few months later Dee Ann Hoch became Mrs. Mario Andretti in November of 1961.
And for the better part of the six decades Dee Ann Andretti raised their three children, tried to maintain some small-town normalcy and stayed in the background while her globe-trotting husband became one of the world’s most famous and successful race drivers of all time.
Although it has yet to be officially confirmed by the family, Dee Ann is understood to have passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 76, after suffering a massive heart attack a few weeks ago and never regaining consciousness.
Mario Andretti left her bedside in Intensive Care last weekend to go to Road America and was noticeably distraught, only saying the next few days were critical and she needed everyone’s prayers.
While her husband was and is still IndyCar’s goodwill ambassador and Firestone spokesman making appearances all over the country, Dee Ann followed him in the early days of his USAC career before their three children entered the picture. Thereafter she became more of a homebody who cheered on her hubby and their sons Michael and Jeff on television as they rose up the open-wheel ranks. She made occasional trips of support to the races but fewer and fewer in the past 15 years.
The Andrettis never left Nazareth and maintained friendships for the better part of 60 years, with Michael and Marco living close by at various times.
Sons Michael and Jeff and daughter Barbie Dee survived their mother, along with seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.