Rear View Mirror 5-26-14
To those of you who served our country– thank you for your service. To the rest of you, Happy Memorial Day, I hope your barbeques were bright and the sun shone on whatever festivities you had planned for this U.S. national holiday and three-day weekend.
There is no rest for the wicked, and with a racing weekend like we had, getting an RVM out to you all is my duty, so no three-day weekend for me. With that self-serving acknowledgement of my dedication to your love of racing, I bring you this fine edition of Rear View Mirror.
The 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500
"Great race. Second place is good, but second sucks. Congrats to Andretti Autosports. [Ryan Hunter-Reay] did everything he could. Unfortunately, it wasn't our day. It was great to see an American driver winning." –Helio Castroneves
For the most part, the 98th running of the Indy 500 was the cleanest “500” in a very long time. In fact, one of the many new records set this year was the 21 laps run under caution, the fewest since 1976.
Until lap 149, the race was crash-free. Then a few incidents took out some top contenders. Foremost, James Hinchcliffe, Townsend Bell, and Ed Carpenter approached turn one and Hinch tried to make it three-wide. Bell bumped Carpenter, then Hinch was into Carpenter and the two hit the wall. Carpenter, who set pole and was in the lead pack with Hinchcliffe (who qualified second) was very upset with Hinch, calling the move “amateurish.” Needless to say, the event ended the race for both.
Others involved in off-track incidents resulting in DNF were Scott Dixon, whose rear-end just seemed to slide out from under him. Josef Newgarden was rear-ended by the appropriately-named Martin Plowman who “plowed” right into Newgarden, taking him out. Charlie Kimball also found his way to the infield without help from anyone else.
The final incident involved Townsend Bell on lap 190 and left carbon-fiber all over the track. If not for the solid call to red-flag the race, surely things would have ended under caution, a result that no fan wanted to see.
At the restart, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and Marco Andretti battled for the lead. It came down to Castroneves and Hunter-Reay in a dogfight of epic proportion. The two traded spots at least once per lap. On lap 199 Hunter-Reay pulled a risky inside move, nearly running into the grass. Castroneves was relegated to second for the last five turns, but filled Hunter-Reay’s mirrors to the end, finishing only 0.06 seconds behind. Marco Andretti settled for third after leading the race for 141 laps – the most for any driver to not win the famed race.
The end result is an outstanding outcome for Andretti Racing with a first and third place. This is the third win for Andretti Racing, but the so-called “Andretti curse” still prevails upon the famed three-generation racing family, with the Andretti’s failing to get another win since Mario Andretti’s win in 1969.
In case, you missed the race and my words aren’t quite enough, watch the official IndyCar highlights.
And you can check out some photos Turn 10 staff captured at the Indy 500 on our Facebook page.
Formula One Monaco
Some within Formula One circles will tell you winning at Monaco is as important as winning the championship. While the constructors and FIA may disagree with that assessment, the race at Monte Carlo has a gilded and glorious history. Winning before the wealthy and famous who attend the Grand Prix of Monaco is a separate prize that is cherished and highly regarded.
It was another demonstration of Mercedes dominance but with a twist; Nico Rosberg started on pole and led the entire race. Lewis Hamilton fought to catch his teammate and again questioned the judgment and possibly the loyalty of his team. Despite his best efforts Hamilton finished some nine seconds behind Rosberg. Mercedes has now stated its goal is to win every single race of the season. A goal that has never been achieved, but does not seem unrealistic.
Red Bull made two steps forward and one step back. In the forward column, Daniel Ricciardo charged toward Lewis Hamilton near the end of the race, but was held off to settle for third. On the other hand, Sebastien Vettel retired early with a gearbox that was stuck in first.
Other notables, aside from the incredible beauty of racing through the streets of Monte Carlo: Marussia scoring its first points ever with a ninth place for Jules Bianchi, Nico Hulkenberg and his Force India scoring a fifth place, and Fernando Alonso making the most for Ferrari in fourth place.
Have a lap onboard with Nico Rosberg in this video.
NASCAR Coca-Cola 600
Kurt Busch’s attempt to “do the double” by driving the Indianapolis 500 and Sunday’s NASCAR race at Charlotte ended after getting sixth place at the Brickyard and putting in 406.5 miles in the Coca-Cola 600. On lap 273 Busch’s Stewart-Haas Chevrolet gave up the ghost, causing the sixth caution of the race. Busch’s team owner Tony Stewart remains the only driver to successfully complete all 1,100 miles of the elusive double.
Jimmie Johnson was able to break his eleven-race winless streak. Some were beginning to wonder if the six-time champion had it in him. Johnson’s victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway was his seventh, which broke a tie with Bobby Allison for the most victories at the 1.5-mile track. Johnson and the 48 led for a race-high 164 laps.
After the final restart at lap 384, Johnson tracked down Matt Kenseth, and put some distance between them. Kevin Harvick would also get past Kenseth making the final podium Johnson first, Harvick second and Kenseth third.
Here is a brief video showing Busch’s double dreams going up in smoke.
Canadian Touring Car Championship
A couple of fellow Forza community members have gotten involved in the Canadian Touring Car Championship. XPR (Xbox Pro League) are regular RVM contributors offering excellent organized online racing opportunities. Stephen Hudec – Gamertag XPR Roadrunner – is also the real-life race engineer/crew chief for the Lombardi Honda Racing team. His club mate, Rui Teixeira – GT XPR Rooster – is the driver for the team in the B-Spec class Honda Fit.
Teixeira achieved third place in the first race, then managed to get pole position for the second race where they finished second. In both races Teixeira set the fastest laps of the race.
Congratulations to the team for the outstanding performance. The next race will be held in support of the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks.
For full coverage of the race event check out the coverage at touringcar.ca.
Here is a look at the car Mazda built to go racing in the CTCC in 2014. And look for a Heavy Metal Affliction story on the Lombardi Honda Fit soon.
So Much Ferrari
I am not kidding folks, this video that The Smoking Tire was kind enough to pump into my Facebook news feed shows thirty years of the best Ferrari has offered shot at the Top Gear Test Track.
Take a deep breath, and make sure you are sitting down.
Which is your favorite model from Maranello? Talk about it in the RVM thread.
TheSagaris458 Car Poll Week Two
Last week, Forza community member The Sagaris458 kicked off a weekly poll I am touting as a good off-topic discussion about a set of 1,200 cars in a list he has been building for some time now.
Cast your vote in this week’s poll. I have got to go with the 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth, that car is a blast to drive in Forza games and I have always wanted a Merkur XR4Ti, in fact there was one sitting in a driveway in my old neighborhood. Every time I walked by it with my French Bulldog Lola I thought of knocking on the door to see if they would sell it.
Here is the list of this week’s cars:
1. 2005 Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2
2. 2010 Jaguar RSR XKR GT2
3. 1973 Morris Marina Coupe
4. 2013 Aston Martin DB9
5. 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500
6. 2003 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale
7. 2014 Toyota Corolla S
8. 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
9. 1966 Ford Fairlane GT
10. 1992 Nissan R92CP
That about wraps up this week’s edition of RVM. I look forward to your comments in the RVM thread.