Apr 2, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT
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.
Aug 23, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
The 450 Class championship battle between Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen has come down to the final race of the season. Who will leave Utah with a title in hand?
Aug 23, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Fourth place a welcome surprise for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari.
WATCH LIVE: Utah National qualifying and pre-show at 1 p.m. ET; Tomac, Martin currently top the charts
Aug 23, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT
The final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship has arrived. Watch the second qualifying session at 1 p.m. ET and the pre-show at 2:15 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Aug 23, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
For the second year in a row, Bianchi managed to upset some of the bigger names during qualifying at Spa.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had raced at the track “Too Tough To Tame” on Labor Day weekend from 1950-2003.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
P18 on the grid goes down as the Hulk’s second-worst qualifying result in F1.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Defending world champion qualifies a distant third behind the two Mercedes cars on Saturday at Spa.
Aug 23, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
2008 world champion secures his first top five qualifying result since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.
Aug 23, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Mercedes locks out the front row of the grid for the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June, with Rosberg claiming pole at one of the sport’s most famous circuits.
Aug 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Lewis wants to beat Rosberg when the German is at the peak of his powers, as the two drivers fight for this year’s F1 world title.
Aug 23, 2014, 9:05 AM EDT
German driver takes pole at a damp Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday afternoon.
Aug 23, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
The Ferrari driver took the plunge after being nominated by Felipe Massa and soccer player Juan Manuel Mata.
Aug 23, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
You can watch qualifying from Spa-Francorchamps live on CNBC and Live Extra from 8am ET.
Aug 23, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT
The Daytona round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross is a key one and kicks off the second half of the 2014 season. Here’s more from Kristen Kenney heading into the weekend.
Aug 23, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT
Sainz was expected to get the Toro Rosso drive, but was rejected in favor of 16-year-old Max Verstappen.
Aug 23, 2014, 6:30 AM EDT
Red Bull’s chief technical officer isn’t getting his hopes up for this weekend’s race at Spa.
Aug 23, 2014, 6:03 AM EDT
Williams finishes practice for the Belgian GP with a flourish.
Aug 23, 2014, 4:45 AM EDT
One final chance for the drivers and teams to get to grips with Spa ahead of qualifying later today.
Aug 23, 2014, 1:09 AM EDT
Dramatic day for Pro Mazda, USF2000 Friday in Sonoma.
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