Apr 2, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
Following a gripping start to the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, we asked NBC Sports Network analyst Townsend Bell for his thoughts and overview of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It’s a new element we hope to feature regularly on MotorSports Talk. Without further adieu, here’s the first “Ten with Townsend.”
-Biggest surprise of the weekend?
Hinchcliffe driving a perfect race to notch his first win. We knew he was talented but that was perfectly executed like a guy that has been winning all the time! Great to see. With Craig Hampson on his program, expect many more front running performances going forward. Honorable mention goes to Marco for working hard over the off season to refine his craft.
JR. Nobody is more frustrated than he is with the result. He needs to get things on track and he knows it. I’ve been in his shoes before and its not fun. But you can’t jump your way out of a hole. Its one foot in front of the other. A steady climb.
-Your most improved team and driver?
KV Racing. They are looking very strong with a lean and mean org chart.
-What did you make of the gap between Firestone’s black and red tires?
It was a little bit of a mystery here. Not much of a gap in qualifying but more noticeable on some cars in the race. The biggest story was Penske’s ability to make the red tires last over long distance where most other struggled with wear- i.e Simona.
-Hinch: One-hit wonder or do you think this will be the first of many victories?
More to come.
-What do you make of Andretti’s engineering additions, Craig Hampson and Michael Cannon?
They made a big time response to losing two talented engineers in Allen McDonald and Tino Belli. They stepped up and secured two of the best available. That’s the sign of a team that is serious about winning.
-Simona: How did you rate her weekend? What areas of improvement beyond the obvious (new engine, team) can you see in her?
Super impressive but frankly not many were surprised who have followed her career. When she has equal equipment, she runs with the best of them. Sector times (where horsepower was not a factor) last season showed that the driver and engineer (Gerald Tyler) were strong.
-Why do you think Target Chip Ganassi Racing struggled as much as they did? Honda on the back foot? Dario’s driving style/braking still not meshing with the DW12?
I think Sato proved that Honda’s performance was capable of top-5 qualifying. In fact Sato’s qualifying lap was one of the more impressive one lap performances of the weekend. Several teams struggled to adapt their 2012 setups to this front tire. I’m putting Ganassi in that grouping. They’ll get it right and it won’t take long.
-Thoughts on JR’s mistake, if any?
Simple distracted driving. When everyone is doing burnouts and slamming brakes before a restart there is a massive accordion effect. It’s an easy mistake to make if you glance down at the knobs or data on the wheel at the exact wrong time. But he won’t ever make that mistake again I’m sure.
-And lastly, any off-the-wall observations you witnessed around the paddock.
A hot lap as Wally’s passenger, on a race track he’s never driven, can lead to PTSD.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
With a grid of 69 confirmed cars for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, split between 29 prototypes and 40 GT cars, and a further nine cars listed as alternates, no one will suggest the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is lacking quantity or quality of entrants in its four classes. Still, after compiling an entry list…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
Now that we’ve completed our IndyCar and NASCAR season reviews, it’s time for us to focus on everything that went down from Albert Park to Interlagos in the 2013 Formula One World Championship. If you’ve been following us this off-season, you know the drill by now. We’ll start with our respective Top 5 stories of…
Dec 11, 2013, 10:15 AM EST
There really doesn’t appear to be much middle ground on Lotus F1′s Twitter account and the rest of its social media strategy. You either love it or hate it; personally, I choose the former but it does have its detractors. Still, after seeing the brilliance the team has come up with in response to F1′s…
Dec 11, 2013, 9:33 AM EST
Sauber has officially passed the 2014 homologation test with its new C33 chassis. Good news for the veteran Swiss team. “The chassis of the C33 has passed all static and dynamic tests of the FIA and is officially homologated. The rear crash test, which is not part of the chassis homologation, will take place separately at…
Dec 11, 2013, 12:11 AM EST
One day after the FIA named McLaren and Force India among the six teams taking part in next week’s Pirelli test session in Bahrain, both squads have pulled out of the three-day session. Among the multiple regulation changes that were released on Monday, the FIA granted Pirelli an opportunity to develop their 2014 tires at…
Dec 10, 2013, 8:17 PM EST
Former Red Bull Racing Formula One driver Mark Webber has closed out Porsche’s testing program for 2013 on its new LMP1 car that will debut next year in the World Endurance Championship. Webber, who announced his move to the WEC this past summer and closed out his F1 career with a runner-up in Brazil last…
Dec 10, 2013, 6:00 PM EST
Preliminary plans from Hulman & Co. to invest state funds into upgrades for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been approved by the Indiana Motorsports Commission. The ambitious plans focus on three areas: track modifications, fan experience and technology. In regards to the track, upgrades identified include the installation of an apron for use in the…
Dec 10, 2013, 5:00 PM EST
IMSA and officials at Sebring International Raceway have confirmed Open Test dates in February for both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Both series will have morning and afternoon test sessions on both Thurs., Feb. 20, 2014 and Fri., Feb. 21, 2014 to prepare for the Mobil 1 12 Hours…
Dec 10, 2013, 4:05 PM EST
Darrell Wallace Jr., who became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race in almost 50 years this past October at Martinsville Speedway, is set to return to the Camping World Truck Series is 2014. Fox Sports’ Ray Dunlap said via Twitter this morning that Wallace will once again drive for Kyle…
Dec 10, 2013, 2:35 PM EST
In an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, former Sprint Cup team owner James Finch (pictured, left, from 2009) announced his intentions to field a car for the 2014 Daytona 500. Finch sold Phoenix Racing in August to Harry Scott, Jr., a co-owner of NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series outfit Turner Scott Motorsports. But…
Dec 10, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
We ordinarily don’t touch too much on the automotive sector here on MotorSportsTalk, but two big pieces of news regarding General Motors have just come down in the last 24-plus hours. Via CNBC, on Monday the U.S. Treasury Department sold its final shares, and announced it had recovered $39 billion of the $49.5 billion it…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Rounding out the 2013 Chasers in 13th place…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:15 PM EST
After a successful 2013 in both IndyCars and sports cars, British driver Mike Conway is looking forward to getting 2014 underway in earnest with a test session next week at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway for Ed Carpenter Racing. Conway, who won Detroit Race 1 for Dale Coyne Racing and also claimed four race wins with…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Collecting two wins this season but finishing 12th…
Dec 10, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. In his final year with Stewart-Haas Racing, Ryan…
Dec 10, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Finishing 10th in the standings with the Colorado-based…
Dec 10, 2013, 11:43 AM EST
Sebastian Vettel has spoken up on the FIA’s idea of double points for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And he’s not a fan. “This is absurd and punishes those who have worked hard for a whole season,” Vettel told the German newspaper Bild. ”You can hardly imagine that on the last match of the Bundesliga season, (soccer)…
Dec 10, 2013, 11:10 AM EST
It’s obvious Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing’s dominance of Formula One over the last few years has now triggered the FIA to make some changes. While most F1 fans can agree changes are needed, it’s the kind of changes being implemented that are rather stupefying at first read-through. With history as a guide, we…
Dec 10, 2013, 10:12 AM EST
Juan Pablo Montoya. In a Team Penske IndyCar. At Phoenix International Raceway. This is as close to a stocking stuffer as could be possible for IndyCar fans this time of year, especially considering that the series itself won’t be racing at the flat, challenging 1-mile oval anytime soon. But Montoya’s testing there today, in what…
Dec 10, 2013, 10:01 AM EST
Yesterday, the FIA announced a raft of rule changes that ran the gamut from double points being offered for the season finale in Abu Dhabi, permanent numbers for drivers, a yet-undetermined number for a cost cap for 2015, and five-second penalties being introduced. When we asked for your thoughts on Twitter, you responded in great…
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