Jul 18, 2013, 9:20 AM EST
With the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader in the books, we again had the chance to catch up with our NBC Sports Network IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell for his thoughts on the weekend. With a busy schedule that’s also included his racing three other types of cars just since the last NBCSN race at Milwaukee, we definitely thank him for his time. Without further adieu, the latest from Townsend (see all prior installment links here):
-Toronto had a crazy first race, little quieter second. Do you think doubleheader format worked well here or is this place crazy enough that they better to pack all the action into one race?
I thought it worked well although I don’t want doubleheaders to start reducing the overall number of events on the calendar. Clearly with Jakes’ accident on Sunday we are finding the limits of driver fatigue in doing both races. Electric power steering might be a good consideration going forward. That’s the intelligent solution to the problem I think.
-Standing starts – pass or fail?
Pass. But let’s not pretend we are trailblazing here. Let’s adopt the FIA F1 process for standing starts, lock, stop, and barrel and just replicate everything. From how to treat aborted starts to what the lights look like and where they are placed. It works, fans understand it, and it frees the series up to put their talents into greater challenges. I think standing starts should become the standard on road/street, rolling starts on ovals.
-How much of Scott Dixon’s incredible last eight days do you put down to him, and how much to the team and what they may have found both in new engine spec and from their test at Sebring?
You have to give Scott full credit here. He is executing on another level than the rest right now. No mistakes, no dramas, just cleaning up. He has been capable of that since Indy Lights.
-Should Helio be shaking in his boots at Dixon’s form or do you think that will motivate him and the Penske team to fight back harder?
He should be nervous. Ganassi looked untouchable at Toronto in both races for pace and consistency and we have a stretch of road and street circuits coming up. Helio should be proud where he performed relative to Will Power- the standard bearer for Penske. I think that shows Helio has studied Will and raised his game.
-Do you expect RHR to bounce back from a tough weekend? We’ve seen him be resilient before.
He always does bounce back. He didn’t like my assessment of the accident with Power on Sunday but I’m always impressed with how he bounces back from drama. Regardless of blame. He is a quarterback-pedigree guy now and will lead his team down the stretch.
-From what you know about Tom Brown and his experience level, how much has his presence helped Bourdais and the Dragon team? Impressed at how quickly they have gelled?
I would say it’s been everything to do with the results. Tom is among the very best in the sport and it’s a powerful combination when you pair him with a championship caliber driver. I think they’re just getting started. Have to respect Jay Penske’s passion for being the best too. He is driven by one thing: winning. Actually two things: winning and beating his Dad.
-Biggest surprise and disappointment from Toronto weekend.
Biggest surprise: Carlos Munoz- zero experience in an IndyCar on a street circuit, zero time to prepare. Mistake free run and a star of the future. Credit to John Barnes for giving another Lights guy a chance.
Biggest Disappointment: Probably Mike Conway in qualifying because we all were expecting and hoping for another miracle like Detroit. He still did a very solid job given the circumstances. Nobody pushes harder than that guy.
-With so little track time for IndyCar on these doubleheader weekends, what could be done to improve the amount of track time other than slashing number of series on track or dropping the second race?
Don’t need it. I only had 3 laps of practice in SST before our standing start. And there were two new ramps that we had never even seen on course for the race! Why should IndyCar drivers get it any easier??!
-You’ve driven a little bit of everything since we last chatted with GRC, ALMS Ferrari at Lime Rock and Stadium Super Trucks at Toronto. You’d been used to the Ferrari but what did you make of your GRC and SST opportunities, and their horsepower amounts?
Xgames Munich with GRC was awesome. Cars are amazing. Super fast. I was so stoked to win the LCQ and finish 6th in the main in my first attempt, especially with new sponsor- Royal Purple- on board. Great event all around. Plus I get mad street cred for banging doors in the air with Ken Block.
SST in Toronto was simply insane. Insanely fun. Robby and PT were my IndyCar idols growing up for their brash and wild demeanor. So to roll out for practice with both of them, with 600 hp trucks and steel ramps was the ultimate joy ride! The crowd loved it and we had a blast.
I’ve been very lucky this year to get to do so many different cool things behind the wheel. Indy, Ferrari ALMS, GRC, SST, even a 3 million dollar vintage Indycar at Milwaukee. I feel like Jim Carey in “Yes Man”. Let’s hope it continues.
-Lastly, what was working with Steve Matchett like on the IndyCar side?
Very good. I have worked with Steve in the past with F1 on SPEED Channel and we picked right up where we left off. His natural technical curiosity serves the fan well I think as he is literally exploring under the hood right along with the viewer at home. I think that makes for good TV. Hope to work with him again. Also thoroughly enjoyed scaring the $%#@ out of him in the pace car. Does that mean I need therapy?
Jan 30, 2015, 5:02 AM EST
After a disastrous 2014, Sauber aims to hit back this year with a new image and two new drivers.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
When he went looking for a new crew chief to replace the soon-to-be departing Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ultimately didn’t have to look very far.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EST
Kasey Kahne looks for success with new crew chief… and another Super Bowl for his Seahawks.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway was arrested last week and charged with indecent exposure and lewdness.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:09 PM EST
Conor Daly finally set for an IndyCar test this offseason, with SPM.
Jan 29, 2015, 6:33 PM EST
After coming so close last season, Ryan Newman is ready to fight for the Sprint Cup championship in 2015 — and he’s bringing his brass knuckles to give him a hand.
Jan 29, 2015, 6:01 PM EST
Car owner Rick Hendrick said he consulted with Jeff Gordon about if to retire the No. 24 after this season.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:42 PM EST
One week after announcing he was retiring after the 2015 season, Jeff Gordon told NASCAR America that he wants to win his final Daytona 500 and also walk away with his fifth career Sprint Cup championship.
Jan 29, 2015, 4:42 PM EST
IndyCar’s Brasilia, Brazil race set for March 8 has been canceled.
Jan 29, 2015, 4:35 PM EST
Jimmie Johnson will again embark on a quest for his seventh Cup title, but he acknowledged and embraced Thursday he’s not the story at Hendrick Motorsports for 2015.
Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Jeff Gordon in final season, he just has to win 14 races and championship
Jan 29, 2015, 4:12 PM EST
There’s nothing like putting a little pressure on a guy, especially in his final season. Team owner Rick Hendrick expects Jeff Gordon to win 14 races and the championship in 2015!
Jan 29, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
Today’s NASCAR AMERICA runs for an hour and has a heavy No. 24 theme.
Jan 29, 2015, 3:15 PM EST
Ganassi, Sabates praise McMurray’s start to 2015.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:41 PM EST
Although he grew up a Jeff Gordon fan and was counseled by Gordon on his future, Kyle Larson will watch someone else drive the No. 24.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:35 PM EST
Fresh off a team win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Kyle Larson not only is keeping time better, he says it’s also time to win some races and contend for the Sprint Cup championship in 2015.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:52 PM EST
The 2014 Xfinity Series champion is announced as Jeff Gordon’s successor a day before his father, Bill Elliott, is inducted in the Hall of Fame.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
British youngster will combine this role with a full season in GP2 with DAMS.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:10 PM EST
The 2014 Xfinity Series champion will make his Sprint Cup debut in March before moving full time to NASCAR’s premier series in 2016.
Video from NASCAR America
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- Track executive arrested, charged with lewdness with 19-year-old 0
- Why Hendrick won’t retire the No. 24 6
- Brasilia IndyCar race is canceled 3
- Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Jeff Gordon in final season, he just has to win 14 races and championship 4
- Column: Chase Elliott’s promotion perfectly timed for NASCAR 11
- Chase Elliott will replace Jeff Gordon as No. 24 driver next season 5