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.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT
Ryan Blaney and James Buescher topped Thursday’s two practice sessions for Friday’s ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
As NHRA closes in on 100 wins by female racers, it all started with one of the greatest, Shirley Muldowney
Apr 24, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT
The NHRA is just two wins away from recording 100 victories by female drivers in the sport’s all-time annals, which could happen in this weekend’s 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway. And while all eyes this weekend will be on drivers such as Alexis DeJoria and Courtney Force (Funny Car), Brittany and Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) as potential candidates to set that significant milestone, it’s also time to reflect back on who started it all, the legendary Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT
If you like vintage cars, collectors cars, muscle cars — pretty much anything that looks great and is on four wheels — you owe it to yourself to check out some of the fantastic rides that were up for sale Wednesday during the first day of the Mecum Kansas City auction.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT
The two IndyCar pilots have a blast at U.S. Space Camp before getting down to business this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park (Sun., 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra).
Apr 24, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT
Brad Keselowski had a dream season in 2012, winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Now Keselowski wants a dream schedule on the Cup circuit – and some of his ideas make sense.
Patrick Carpentier returns to race Quebec’s famed Circuit Trois-Rivieres for first time in nearly 20 years
Apr 24, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT
It has taken him nearly 20 years, but Patrick Carpentier is going back home to race. A veteran of several race series in his career including CART (5 wins), GP3R (2 wins), IndyCar and NASCAR, the Quebec, Canada native will return to the Circuit Trois-Rivieres street course for his first-ever FIA World Championship Rallycross race August 7-8.
Apr 24, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT
Don’t ask Ryan Blaney for directions, period. That’s the message in the latest edition of the Penske Files, in which a Team Penske member asks Blaney for directions to the nearest Discount Tire outlet (Discount Tire is one of Blaney’s primary sponsors in the Nationwide Series this season).
Apr 24, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
According to driver Aric Almirola, team owner Richard Petty is expected to attend Saturday’s NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It will be the first time that Petty has been at a racetrack since the death of his beloved wife Lynda on March 25.
Apr 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations, says that the process of finalizing the ’15 engine package is underway.
Apr 24, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT
Brandon Davis did all he could to keep Swan Racing afloat. But even a multi-millionaire oil and gas industrialist can only bleed so much money before deciding to throw a red flag on the operation. When anticipated funding and sponsorship failed to materialized, the two-team operation sank so fast that Davis had no other choice but to essentially go out of business.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT
Improved qualifying will likely yield greater results for RLL Racing at Barber this weekend.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastian Saavedra seek their best weekends of the year at the Barber Motorsports Park event.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Dale Coyne’s team, plus a handful of others will need to assemble programs shortly to bring the Indianapolis 500 car count number up to 33, and perhaps beyond.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
After Long Beach debacle, Andretti Autosport looks to right the ship, get second straight Barber win this weekend.
Apr 24, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT
Looking for a second straight fast, solid weekend, Josef Newgarden and the SFHR team seek an improvement on P9 in 2013 at Barber.
Apr 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Round 3 of the Verizon IndyCar Series could be a humdinger at Barber with high drama, high tempers possible after Long Beach.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
RPM’s Marcos Ambrose on his start to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT
John Force is your classic workaholic.
Even when he’s on vacation and supposed to be resting and relaxing and taking things slow, the record-setting 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ never stops working. Force was on vacation with his family last weekend in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, a prelude to his upcoming 65th birthday on May 4.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Swan Racing has restructured its two-car Sprint Cup team, the organization announced Wednesday afternoon. Minority owner Anthony Marlowe has merged his ownership stake in the No. 26 Toyota driven by Sprint Cup rookie Cole Whitt with BK Racing, which now expands to a three-car operation. Meanwhile, the No. 30 team has been sold to John Cohen, owner of XxxTreme Motorsports.
- As NHRA closes in on 100 wins by female racers, it all started with one of the greatest, Shirley Muldowney 0
- Brad Keselowski: Changes overdue to Sprint Cup schedule; offers his ideas 4
- Richard Petty to return at Richmond, first race since wife Lynda’s death 1
- NASCAR VP: 2015 Sprint Cup engine package to be revealed before All-Star Race 0
- Too much, too fast, too soon: The sad saga of Swan Racing 0
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