Indy Racing League on Any Sport Any Time

Edmonton IndyCar organizers can learn from Detroit debacle

Monday, June 4th, 2012

If you tuned in like I did yesterday to watch the IndyCar race in Detroit, your initial reaction would be is how?

How could IndyCar officials allow the best open wheel drivers in the world compete on such a lousy track?

According to the Associated Press, the track was shoddy. According to me, the track was a lot worse than shoddy. When you literally have large chunks of asphalt and concrete coming off the track with ease, and pot holes and grooves easily being exposed, it is a shame the race even started in the first place.


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Weekend Sports Preview–June 2-3–Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Playoffs, Track _ Field, IndyCar _ French Open

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Dylan Armstrong (Wilson Wong, Wikimedia Commons)

This weekend is a big tuneup for Canadian Olympic medal hopeful Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, British Columbia. The reigning Diamond League Champion is set to compete in the 2012 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon (Saturday, NBC, 1pm) , a major track and field event in Armstrong’s preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games in  London.

Armstrong will also be competing this weekend against a very deep field–reigning Olympic Gold medallist Tomasz Majewski of Poland, and Americans Ryan Whiting (World Indoor Champion), Christian Cantwell (2009 World Champion) and Reese Hoffa (2007 World Champion). Hoffa has the seasonal best throw of 21.73m.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching this weekend:

Saturday–ATP–French Open Tennis– Men’s Third Round–(13) Juan Monaco–ARG vs. (19) Milos Raonic–CAN–9am–TSN–For the first time in his career, Canadian Milos Raonic has advanced past the first round of the French Open. In his win Thursday, Raonic defeated American Jesse Levine 6-4, 7-5, 6-2. Levine, a native of Ottawa, has publicly stated he considers himself 100% American, making him a present day Greg Rusedski (represented Great Britain despite being born in Montreal), as a player that turned away completely from his Canadian roots. Monaco will be the slight favourite due to his experience on the clay. He has been on the ATP Tour now since 2004 and the clay is his best surface.


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Franchitti wins third Indianapolis 500

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Ashley Judd (Wikimedia Commons)

Dario Franchitti of Great Britain is now the history books.

On Sunday, Franchitti won his third Indianapolis 500, joining Helio Castroneves of Brazil, as the only race car drivers born outside the United States to have won the world’s most significant auto race thrice.

Three drivers have had the opportunity to drink milk in the winner’s circle four times– Al Unser, A.J. Foyt and Rick Mears.

But on Sunday it was Franchitti’s time to go into the spotlight. The Target Chip Ganassi rider started 16th, but was able to make up the time. New Zealand’s Scott Dixon finished second. Both Franchitti and Dixon dominated the second half of the race.


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Weekend Sports Preview–May 26 _ 27–Indianapolis 500, Memorial Cup, French Open, NBA Playoffs _ MLB

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

James Hinchcliffe (Wikimedia Commons)

The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 runs this weekend (Sunday, ABC, 9am) with Australian Ryan Briscoe on the pole.

But the big news for Canadian sports fans is who will be driving second. James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario will be starting in the second position for Andretti Autosport. Meanwhile Alex Tagliani of Montreal will be riding 11th.

Not at the 2012 Indianapolis 500 are the defending  champion, Dan Wheldon, who died at a race in Las Vegas and Danica Patrick who is in NASCAR.

However there are three ladies in the race. Brazilian Ana Beatriz is driving in the 13th position, England’s Katherine Legge is 30th and Switzerland’s Simona de Silvestro is 32nd.

Australian Will Power who leads the IndyCar point standings so far this season will start fifth.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching this weekend:


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Power wins eight car accident race in Sao Paulo

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Will Power (Wikimedia Commons)

Four races into the 2012 IndyCar season and Australia’s Will Power continues to be the most dominant driver.

Yesterday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Power, the two-time winner of the Edmonton Indy, won his third of four  races to begin the season after previously winning in Long Beach and Alabama.

Power is trying to also win his first championship of his career after finishing second to Dario Franchitti of Great Britain the last two years.

I will remember this race however for the eight car accident with eight laps to go. I have never seen so many cars connect with one another at a particular instance in an auto race.

Sunday was once again a solid result for James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario who finished sixth, only two weeks after recording his first career podium finish when he finished third in Long Beach. Hinchcliffe is also third in the overall standings.


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Indy 500 Champ dead

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Dan Wheldon (Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images)

The 2011 Indianapolis 500 Champion is dead.

Dan Wheldon of Emberton, England died today at the age of 33 during an IndyCar race in Las Vegas. It was the final race of the 2011 IndyCar season.

A total of 15 cars were involved in the fatal accident. It happened on the 11th lap. The race ended at that point and did not continue.

Dario Franchitti of Scotland won the IndyCar drivers’ championship and James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario was named the rookie of the year.

Wheldon was racing for Sam Schmidt Autosport. He also won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and was the Indy Racing League IndyCar series Champion that year as well. He previously raced for Panther Racing,  Bryan Herta Autosport, Andretti Green Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ironically Schmidt was in a huge crash at the Walt Disney World Motor Speedway in 2000 that left him a quadriplegic.

Wheldon was married with two young sons, aged two and five months.

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Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Happy Monday!

It’s another jam-packed week on 15 Minutes of Fame, as we hit our 50th episode!

This week: Will Sidney Crosby miss time this season? Will the SJ Sharks finally get that Stanley Cup this year and is Drew Doughty going to be a holdout for the Kings? Are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the “real deal” in the CFL? Also: Is this the Year of the Work Stoppage in pro sports?

In this week’s GABBYs: The NY Yankees, the BBC and Sir Alex, BYU, IndyCar and North Korea’s women’s World Cup team!


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Power wins Edmonton Indy

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Will Power (Wikimedia Commons)

Australian Will Power is the 2011 Edmonton Indy champion.

Power, who was second on the pole, passed Japan’s Takuma Sato early in the race and held on for the lead convincingly throughout the rest of the competition.

It was an excellent day for team owner Roger Penske as Power finished first and his teammate Helio Castroneves of Brazil finished second.

Overall, the Edmonton Indy was significantly cleaner than the Toronto Indy, where there were less crashes. But I felt from a fan perspective, it wasn’t all that exciting near the top of the leaderboard. When Castroneves moved his way to second place, he didn’t make a strong attempt to catch Power, basically because they were teammates.

As for Danica Patrick, it was an excellent day for her as she moved her way up to ninth from starting 22nd on the grid. There has been a lot of speculation that Patrick might be moving to NASCAR next season, but she made an attempt to dismiss those rumors while in Edmonton.

As for the Canadians, it was a disappointing day for Paul Tracy of Scarborough, Ontario, who was in a crash with Sebastian Saavedra very early on. James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario was 15th and Alex Tagliani of Montreal was 17th.

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Weekend Sports Preview–July 23-24–Edmonton Indy, RBC Canadian Golf Open, Stamps _ Esks, MLB, Senior British Golf Open

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Tony Kanaan (Wikimedia Commons)

Over the last two years, some of the most interesting IndyCar races have happened in Edmonton. Two years ago, Brazilian Tony Kanaan suffered first and second degree burns to his body when a splash of fuel got into his cockpit and ignited him and his car.

Then last year, Brazilian Helio Castroneves, who was the leader after 92 laps, was black flagged for blocking on the restart and finished tenth. The eventual winner was New Zealand’s Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Fast forward to 2011, where Dario Franchitti of Scotland has been the driver so far on the IndyCar circuit. He won two weeks ago in Toronto, and has also won in St. Petersburg, Florida and Milwaukee. He leads Australian Will Power by 55 points.

Organizers have changed the layout of the 2011 Edmonton Indy, giving competitors more opportunities to pass.

The race starts Sunday at 12:45pm on TSN.

Here are the other events I’ll be watching this weekend:

Saturday _ Sunday–10am–Senior British Open–TSN–I wasn’t go to watch this, but now I will. Rod Spittle of St. Catharines, Ontario is the co-leader with Americans Mark Calcavecchia and Lee Rinker. Spittle shot a -5 on Friday to tie for the lead at -7. The emergence of Spittle, 56 years of age, is remarkable because he never played on the PGA Tour. He won the Canadian Amateur in 1977 and 1978, but decided to sell insurance instead of turning professional. Now he is one of the world’s top senior golfers.


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Franchitti wins controversial Toronto Indy

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Dario Franchitti (Wikimedia Commons)

The Women’s World Cup soccer game between the United States and Brazil was not the only controversial sporting event on Sunday.

On the streets of Toronto, Scotland’s Dario Franchitti won a controversial Indycar race.

On the 57th lap, with Franchitti and Australian Will Power battling for the top position on the track, Franchitti nudged Power and temporarily stalled his car.

Franchitti was initially given a penalty that would have cost him valuable positioning on the track. But race officials later analyzed the incident and changed their minds.

No penalty meant victory for Franchitti. The decision not to penalize Franchitti infuriated Power who was quoted by The Globe and Mail as saying:

“It doesn’t surprise me that Dario doesn’t get a penalty. I’m really disappointed in him. I always race him clean and he always races me dirty.”

The race also had Canadian confrontation as well. Paul Tracy of Scarborough, Ontario and rookie James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario were battling for sixth place at the time when they collided on the track. Tracy got a flat tire and Hinchcliffe had a damaged front wing.

Scott Dixon of New Zealand finished second and Ryan Hunter Reay of the United States was third. Hinchcliffe was the top Canadian in 14th place.

The Power-Franchitti and Tracy-Hinchcliffe rivalries should continue in Edmonton in two weeks time.

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I agree with Villeneuve

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Jacques Villeneuve (Wikimedia Commons)

Canadian auto racing legend Jacques Villeneuve had some interesting comments about Formula One on Monday.

He called the circuit boring. This is the primary reason I have never got up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to watch the sport myself.

Apparently Villeneuve doesn’t like the passing that is taking place on the circuit this year with the drag reduction system or adjustable rear wing.

I admit. I have not watched the Formula One circuit enough since the rule changes were put in place to state a strong opinion, but the lack of passing in the first place is what turned by attention initially to IndyCar.

If there is any one driver to voice a credible opinion on a global scale about auto racing, it is definitely Villeneuve. He has won an Indianapolis 500, Formula One World Championship, and now at the age of 40, has been competing recently on NASCAR’s Nationwide Series for team owner Roger Penske.

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Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Happy Monday!

The boys from “15 Minutes of Fame” are back at it this week with another great sports-filled episode – this week we’re talking about Brendan Shanahan’s new job, the latest on “That Winnipeg NHL Team,” possible landing spots for upcoming free agent Brad Richards, a big rookie mistake at the Indy500 and FIFA corruption!

In the GABBYs: U2 shout outs, first time faceoffs, Jose Bautista, baseball death threats, a bargaining chip for players unions _ more!


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Random Friday Thoughts: NBA Lockout, Riders to Celtics, Real Life Hot Wheels

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

CBA for the NBA?

The NBA’s championship series is all tied up after a couple of games in Miami…and if you’re a basketball fan, you should be glad!

That’s because the NBA and the players union appear to be a trophy presentation away from a lockout that could end up eating up part, or all of the 2011-12 season. By the time the Heat/Mavericks series is all over, we’ll be just a week or two away from an expired collective bargaining agreement and what could be a long summer for sports fans.

League commissioner David Stern said this week that it’s going to be “a challenge” to get a new deal signed in time to avoid a lockout.

The situation is pretty similar to the one that the NHL had back in 2004-05 and the one that the NFL is experiencing right now: basically, the owners say they’re losing money and they want the players to take a big pay cut and the players are saying no! (After the Jump: Will the Heat have to dismantle the Big Three? Prospect goes from the CFL to the NBA and some real life Hot Wheels action!) (more…)

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Wheldon wins 2nd Indianapolis 500

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Dan Wheldon (Jonathan Ferry, Getty Images)

Dan Wheldon of Emberton, England has won his second Indianapolis 500.

A member of Bryan Herta  Autosports, you could argue that Wheldon didn’t win the race, but American rookie JR Hildebrand lost it.

Driving with meters left from the finish, Hildebrand hit the wall and was passed by Wheldon at the finish. Hildebrand finished second for Panther Racing, despite crossing the finish line with only three wheels.

Granham Rahal, son of 1986 winner Bobby Rahal, finished third, despite not racing for his dad, but for Chip Ganassi.

Bertrand Baguette of Belgium, racing for the Rahal Letterman team, and Danica Patrick, were leading the race with about ten laps to go, but each had to make a pit stop late in the race, ending their chances of finishing on top of the podium.

As for the Canadians, it did not go well at all for Paul Tracy, James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani. Hinchcliffe  and Tagliani did not complete the race because they hit the wall, while Tracy hit the wall as well, but was able to finish the race, finishing in 25th.

Notes: This was the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911…Wheldon first won the Indianapolis 500 for Team Andretti Green in 2005.

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