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 19, 2014, 9:45 PM EST
Daughter of legendary Funny Car champ John Force, Brittany Force is out to prove that 2015 will be her year in NHRA Top Fuel racing.
Dec 19, 2014, 6:55 PM EST
Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick Jr., spent a recent testing day in a Formula 4 car, a possible prelude to following in his famous father’s footsteps.
Dec 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EST
Edwards’ Arris car won’t be hard to find in a pack next year.
Dec 19, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Rare, intriguing call for CGR to put two lesser-experienced drivers in No. 01 car.
Dec 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
Williams’ stellar 2014 season, recapped in pictures and words.
Dec 19, 2014, 2:15 PM EST
Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth proved that consistency still pays.
Dec 19, 2014, 1:49 PM EST
The fan-favorite Sprint Experience at NASCAR tracks across the country is apparently no longer, according to a media report.
Dec 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
McMurray shined at the All-Star Race in May but missed out on a 2014 Chase berth.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:57 PM EST
Kyle Larson had a tremendous rookie season in 2014. If he was that good this season, imagine how much better he’ll be next season and seasons to come.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EST
Felipe Nasr’s No. 12 rounds out the F1 grid number choices for 2015.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Jean-Eric Vergne signs with Ferrari as a test and development driver, which means a bunch of simulator work.
Dec 19, 2014, 11:17 AM EST
RC Enerson moves up from USF2000 to Indy Lights.
Dec 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
Multiplatinum artist to rock out before 2015 running of the Great American Race.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:37 AM EST
Party like it’s 1996 in 2015 – Panis and Herta sons signed to deals.
Dec 18, 2014, 9:51 PM EST
It lasts only four months, but there’ll be lots of action on the schedule for the 2015 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
Dec 18, 2014, 9:26 PM EST
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be slinging some pre-Christmas dirt this Saturday in an all-star sprint car race in DuQuoin, Ill.
Dec 18, 2014, 8:50 PM EST
One of Kurt Busch’s sponsors has joined team owner Gene Haas in backing the driver in his ongoing dispute with ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:31 PM EST
Want to have a good laugh or two? Check out all of the bloopers and behind-the-scenes fun from NASCAR America over this past year.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:18 PM EST
NASCAR announced that a Camping World Truck Series crew member has been suspended for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
RoC, Mecum, and two F1 “Road To:” specials make for motors block on NBCSN tonight starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Video from NASCAR America
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