Skip to content

Ten with Townsend: St. Petersburg debrief

Apr 2, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg - Day 3 Getty Images

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.

-Biggest disappointment? 

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.

 

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR AMERICA: Matt Kenseth confident as Loudon looms (VIDEO)

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Speeding To Read Kickoff Getty Images

    The 2003 Sprint Cup champion talks with NASCAR AMERICA’s Marty Snider about how he’s now looking forward to racing at New Hampshire more than ever before.

  2. Crew chief changes on the way at Joe Gibbs Racing

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT

    Bojangles' Southern 500 Getty Images

    Joe Gibbs tells the press that the details have already been decided, and that an announcement could come within the next few weeks.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: Critical Sunday coming for Hamlin, Kurt Busch (VIDEO)

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Camping World RV Sales 301 Getty Images

    Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch are currently in position to make the Contender Round, but need big results this weekend at New Hampshire. NASCAR AMERICA’s Frank Stoddard explains why.

  4. Michael Waltrip avoids early “Dancing with the Stars” elimination

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    TV Dancing with the Stars AP

    Waltrip and partner Emma Slater are moving on to Week 2 despite a shaky opening performance.

  5. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA with Matt Kenseth and Steve Letarte at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also on tap: Chicagoland edition of “Scan All 43″; learning the best lines around New Hampshire.

  6. NASCAR: Crew chief earns 1-week suspension after Truck Series rule violation

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    NCWTSLogo

    The No. 20 Truck failed to meet post-race body height requirements following Saturday night’s Truck Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

  7. Staying balanced in Chase critical for Kevin Harvick, No. 4 team

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick AP

    Needing two more good races to make the Contender Round, knowing when and when not to take a chance on the track will be important for the 4 camp.

  8. Singapore GP, Red Bull GRC highlight weekend’s NBC motorsports coverage

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Marina Bay circuit illuminated at dusk Reuters

    Singapore GP and two Red Bull GRC races to watch this weekend, among other items, on NBC TV times.

  9. NASCAR: Richard Petty Motorsports committed to two-car program in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Sprint Showdown Getty Images

    RPM also announces that it will stay with Ford, and also continue chassis/engine supply deals with Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines respectively.

  10. CFH confirms Chevrolet power for 2015 IndyCar season

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Ed Carpenter AP

    Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, under new CFH Racing banner, will run Chevrolets in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.

  11. Ferrari shifting focus, will test 2015 components on current car

    Sep 17, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Italy F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Team engineering director Pat Fry says some new components for 2015 will be tested on the current F14 T car during the final stretch of races this year.

  12. NASCAR: STANLEY, DEWALT join JGR in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing

    DEWALT and STANLEY join Joe Gibbs Racing, for Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, in 2015.

  13. GP2 announces DRS for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    GP2 adds DRS for 2015.

  14. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series adds another oval race for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    whelen euro

    NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announces 2015 schedule, which includes another oval.

  15. NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Corey LaJoie AP

    Lajoie will run his first Cup race at New Hampshire, while Justin Boston will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky and Dover in the Nationwide Series.

  16. NASCAR AMERICA: One Sprint Cup title not enough for Keselowski (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Brad Keselowski AP

    Will experience or hunger help him capture his 2nd Sprint Cup title? The NASCAR AMERICA gang debates the topic.

  17. NASCAR AMERICA: The possible outcomes for Tony Stewart (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    NBC Sports legal analyst Jack Furlong breaks down what could happen now that a grand jury will decide whether Stewart will face charges for his involvement in the accident that killed sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr.

  18. Red Bull GRC: Layout, entry list set for L.A. doubleheader

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    RedBullGRCLA

    The nine-turn Port of Los Angeles circuit will feature the longest joker of the 2014 GRC season.

  19. FIA clarifies new Formula One team radio restrictions

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Christian Horner AP

    Teams now know what radio messages can and cannot be made heading into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

  20. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA has the latest on Tony Stewart saga at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also coming up today: What’s more important in winning a Sprint Cup title: Experience or Drive?; rookie phenom Kyle Larson on dealing with the hype; NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott to be honored next month.

Video from NASCAR America

Looking ahead to New Hampshire
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1562)
  2. K. Harvick (1246)
  3. B. Keselowski (1198)
  4. J. Gordon (1119)
  5. D. Mayhew (1098)