Latest News About Formula 1 In Austin, TX

I had been wondering about the latest progress about Austin, Texas really getting the Formula 1 to start racing in June 2012.  Here’s some information from the official promotion folks, Full Throttle Productions, LP.

Full Throttle Productions, L.P.

Welcome.  Thank you for your interest in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™.  As you are aware, Austin, Texas, will host the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ from 2012 through 2021, bringing Formula 1 racing back to the U.S.  This milestone project has been in the works for several years and has involved significant collaboration between Formula One Management and Full Throttle Productions, LP.

In addition, here’s an e-mailed response to an inquiry:

Subject: Thank you for interest in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix(TM).
Reply-To: info@fullthrottleproductionslp.com

Dear Formula 1 Race Fan,

Thank you for your interest in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™. As you are aware, Austin, Texas, will host the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ from 2012 through 2021, bringing Formula 1 racing back to the U.S. This milestone project has been in the works for several years and has involved significant collaboration between Formula One Management and Full Throttle Productions, LP.

To keep all interested parties up to speed, we will launch a project website within the next week or so. We will be sharing information about the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ in Austin as well as F1 Grand Prix events being held across the world. Over the course of the summer, we will be releasing information on our website and to our fans regarding:

  • Site location
  • Master plan
  • Facility renderings, and
  • Track layout

We look forward to sharing more with you soon!  Stay tuned…

Full Throttle Management

Hmmm – very sanitary & a tease, too!  Racing Ready wants some REAL answers, as I’m sure you do as well…stay tuned!

Dan

Think Fast, Racer’s Why-To Guide To Winning

Neil Roberts harkens from the Austin, TX area.  He graduated from Texas A&M & worked for Jim Hall’s Indy Pennzoil Indy car during the 1990’s.  He’s since worked for Swift Engineering.  He just published his first book about racing preparation & why you do it!

Neil Roberts is an aerospace engineer, a 25 year SCCA member, and a professional race car design engineer. Neil competed successfully in autocross and SCCA club racing for 20 years, then worked as a professional race engineer with the Hall/VDS Racing Indycar team for 4 years. Neil has been a major contributor to every Swift race car design since 1996, specializing in suspension and structural design optimization. Additional projects that Neil has led at Swift include chief engineering the design and construction of the Eclipse Concept Jet in 200 days and designing advanced concepts for DARPA and the military services.   [Book details here]

Think Fast, a book by Neil Roberts

Here’s what Neil has to say as an introduction to his book:

The Racer’s Why-To Guide to Winning
by Neil Roberts

If you are determined to WIN but you have more motivation than money, Think Fast is the book you have been looking for. Neil’s clear and entertaining guidance will show you how to overcome your competitors’ bigger budgets and finish ahead of them. Unlike any other auto racing technology book, Think Fast is not about the technology, but about WHY TO use some technologies and avoid others in your quest to WIN races. Think Fast can help any race car driver or race engineer tackle the big challenges and cross the finish line FIRST.

Think Fast is a professional racing industry insider’s detailed description of his unique process that makes racing drivers and race cars faster and work together more effectively. Both driver and car development techniques are covered, including very cost effective approaches to problems faced by every motorsports competitor. There are numerous ideas that will help any racer, from an autocrosser on a shoestring budget to a top echelon racing team engineer with extensive, state of the art engineering development resources.

Both road course and oval track racers can benefit from the many original concepts that are included in Think Fast. Highly technical subjects are presented clearly, while mathematical equations are avoided entirely.

Think Fast is intended to complement other racing technology books that are already on the reader’s shelf. Think Fast is divided into two sections, Fast Fundamentals and Fast Physics. Fast Fundamentals presents the short list of challenges faced by the racer that matter the most and includes an extensive, clear discussion about each challenge. Fast Fundamentals includes an extensive chapter on highly innovative race car driver development techniques. Fast Physics is more technically oriented and presents hundreds of lessons learned, engineering concepts, tips, and tricks that have never been revealed in print until now.

Racing Ready reasons that this book should be required reading for all of us wannabe racers!

Dan

The Origin Of The Term NASCAR?

A big LOL from this Father’s Day card my younger daughter gave me – check it out!

How NASCAR was invented?

..and here’s the closer line inside that ties it all together!

Real Nice! "NASCAR"...

We have to thank this card company for the good chuckle I got & I’m sure you did, too!

Zero-Gravity, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC - RECYCLED Paper Greetings

Racing Ready really appreciates a good sense of humor 🙂 !

Dan

P.S. – Now is that a ’64 Pontiac GTO or what?

Texas Motor Speedway Firestone 550K Review

Texas Motor Speedway Suites, - Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

While I was at Thunderhill Raceway on June 5th, 2010, my older daughter, Katherine, attended the Texas Motor Speedway IndyCar Firestone 550K race, an IndyCar night race… I had asked her last minute to provide a casual review of her impressions of this IndyCar night race.  Here’s what Katherine recorded.  She did a really great reporting & picture-taking job!

Two weekends ago I attended the Indy Firestone 550k race at Texas Motor Speedway with my boyfriend, Matt, and his family.  My boyfriend’s family had been to this event several times before and knew it was a great one to experience, thus they invited us to join.  Although I had watched Indy car races in my younger days with my Dad, I had no idea what to expect as a spectator at the event.  Little did I know that I would have a wonderful time experiencing the race.

It was a sweltering hot, 100-something degree weather day in Fort Worth, TX, but once in the shade of the creatively built stands, the heat was much more tolerable.

Texas Motor Speedway, thoughtfully designed grandstands...

One thing that was very different and was not televised prior to the race was the way the drivers were announced.  It was unlike what my boyfriend’s family had experienced in prior years.  Prior to the start of the race, the drivers were strategically placed to walk through the stands down to the track, according to their starting position in the race.   We were sitting in section 107 and as you can see from the picture, Tony Kanaan, started in row 7 and walked right by our section.

Tony Kanaan parting the waves of fans as he makes his way to the IndyCar Firestone 550K starting grid at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Just like many other Indy fans, Matt’s younger sister, Lindsay, was excited to give him a high five as he walked past.  Each driver made his/her way down to the track and was placed in a beautiful, classic Corvette to be driven once around the track, waving in parade style until they made their way back to the pit lane to get situated in their Indy car.

Preparing the Firestone 550K starting grid at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Just like every other sport, there is no comparison to watch or hear the game on the television, radio, or internet than to be there live in the action.   It was incredible to hear the engines rev as the race started with the vigorous wave of the green flag.   Surprisingly it wasn’t dull to hear the cars as they passed us by all 228 laps.

Texas Motor Speedway Firestone 550K green flag race start...

IndyCars on the front straight of the Texas Motor Speedway, racing by at speed...

And luckily, Matt’s father had thought ahead for all of us and brought along earplugs.  Never having attended an Indy car race before that is something I would have not thought of doing.  I am not sure what other tracks are like for spectators, but it was very handy for the TX motor speedway to have two towers at each side of the track which displayed the laps passed and remaining and the position of the cars in the race.  This was very useful when the cars started to spread out all over the track and when cars would get behind a lap or so due to pit stops.

Here's the white flag, the last lap of the Firestone 550K at the Texas Motor Speedway...

Unfortunately for the drivers and their teams there were 3 accidents that took out 5 of the 26 cars.  The scariest one involved rookie Simona de Silvestro, who hit the wall after the second turn on lap 99.  The right side of her car quickly became engulfed in flames.  It was awful being a bystander that could do nothing but hope that the safety & medical team would quickly extinguish the fire and safely remove her from her car.  After what seemed like a lifetime, she was finally yanked out of her car and the medical team took her in their care.  Later she was interviewed and her right hand had been burned from not being able to get out of the car quickly enough.

Even at the beginning of the race it was apparent that driver No. 6, Ryan Briscoe, was undeniably the fastest driver of the race.  For the majority of the race, driver No. 7, Danica Patrick was close behind him in her bright green Go Daddy sponsored Indy car.  My boyfriend, his family and I were all rooting for her.  She came in second place after Briscoe and the entire crowd was thrilled.

The race was an amazing event that I will never forget!  I loved the noise the cars made every time they passed us by-it’s indescribable!  The experience from start to finish was very fun! I truly hope I will be able to attend another Indy car race in the future.

Briscoe Bounces Back - Wins IndyCar Firestone 550K Race in Texas! [Photo by Donald Miralle - Getty Images]

Racing Ready appreciates bi-location with the help of guest blogger, especially those who happen to be family members.  Thanks again, Katherine!

Dan

Simona de Silvestro’s Scary IndyCar Fire: What The Hell Happened?

Uninspiring (Non-Racing) US Driving Method

I just arrived home from the airport, after a ho-hum drive in after work traffic .  Jeesh!  American driving is SO non-eventful.  It seems so VERY appliance-like, just going through the motions, navigating from point A to point B.

Appliance-like driving...so simple, a dog could do it!

After only 4 days of being driven around & riding in a variety Central Mexico traffic (which I don’t particularly prefer), coming back to driving in the States was a big let down.  It occurs to me that recent USA-sourced Formula 1 drivers never made the cut.  Could it be the lack of the daily need for competitive point A to point B driving?  Hmmm…

I guess I will have to go back & forth between both driving worlds (USA & Mexico) that I have experience in.  Some have told me that Mexican driving is lame, compared to that of Mumbai, India.  Some  of the stories I’ve heard about their driving is enough to make me quiver.

Mumbai, India - "normal" traffic congestion...

Racing Ready is back in the saddle (of the USA variety) again, moving forward about regional motorsports.  No more international driving/racing-inspired posts for awhile…

Dan

Driving (Racing) Method In Mexico

Almost a year ago, I visited rural Mexico to attend a function with my wife’s family.  We’re now back for more, for another function & long weekend in my wife’s hometown in Mexico.

'Normal' Mexican traffic congestion...

Thirty years ago I learned to adapt to the Mexican style of driving, in Mexico City.  During that time I spent almost 3 years living in Mexico.  One of the cultural differences I embraced at the time was a “south-of-the-border” driving style.  I might even suggest it can assist you in being a more aggressive driver for racing.  But on the other hand, I’d give negative points for courtesy & common sense.

A common theme on the street of Mexico is that your car is “narrower” here.  That is, you and other drivers can seem to fit your car most anywhere.  You will find yourself on an on-ramp designed as 1 lane, with 2 parallel lanes of cars.    Now, this does NOT occur at anything close to parking lot speeds, but at any speed you care to be at.  A parallel phenomena is the mostly universal disregard for painted road lanes.  You go where you need (want) to, whatever gets you there faster & easier.  For example, on a 3 painted lane boulevard, you’ll find 4 or more lanes of traffic darting in and out…

'Topes' warning sign - pay attention when you see one of these!

One of Mexico’s answers to lack of lane respect are what they call “topes”.  These are round, cast metal speed bumps, about 6″ in diameter & about 4″ high.  They are used as strong suggestions of where you need to drive, or not.  These are not at all lame creatures if you hit them them at any speed above crawling.  Bang against or run over one of these once at speed & you’ll never do it again!

Metal 'topes' on a street in Mexico...

Racing Ready has been out of pocket for these past couple of days for much needed R & R.  But at the rate we’ve been going since we got here, I’m going to need to rest up once I get back to work this next week!

Dan

Texdive Motorsports Racing @ Thunderhill

Okay, I know you’ve been waiting for it.  You want to see the Runcos actually do some racing!  If you’ll have just a little patience, this video shows the 9 Allison Legacy race cars impounded after post-qualifying inspection.  Also, Texdive is showing their AMSOIL Racing colors!

(Click on the lower right YouTube logo, you’ll see the video “non-squished”.)

During the race, all I did was record digital video (& learn more how to best record these events – it’s a work in progress).  Enjoy the ongoing commentary by Cole & Lauren’s Dad, Pete Runco.  He was on the radio with his kids!  You can also hear their Mom & Kali, Special Operations Coordinator.

This race was a challenge for both Cole & Lauren.  Cole finished 2nd & Lauren 7th.  As you saw in the videos, both cars suffered some contact.  The guys will be busy in the shop this week.  Here’s some of the minor carnage.  Most of the damage is aesthetic fiberglass.  Cole’s car #19’s air box for the radiator will need to be reworked.

Cole Runco's Texdive Motorsports car #19, radiator air box damage...

Lauren’s car #56 got hit hard & the J-bar (like a Panhard rod for the rear suspension) got whacked – it pushed the suspension out a good 1/2″, at least!

Lauren Runco's Texdive Motorsports car #56, rear suspension & body damage...

Post race, not unlike after qualifying, the cars were inspected.  The Technical inspectors can verify what they see fit to review.  After this race, they had the teams top 5 cars disassemble the cars’ rear axle assembly.

Post race disassembling the Texdive Motorsports car #19

Specifically, they took off the rear wheels & disk brake hubs, the rear axle half-shafts & the driveshaft.

Detail of the post race disassembling the rear axle of the Texdive Motorsports car #19

All were weighed & measured to make sure they did not deviate from the standards.  Pete Runco, Texdive Motorsports Team Manager (Cole’s & Lauren’s Dad) said, “I like good, thorough inspection!”  He was alluding to the fact that it keeps all the teams honest & that’s a good thing!

Race tech inspector measuring the Allison Legacy car #19 axle half shafts

After the post race inspection, the members put cars & equipment away.  I was able to get a good picture of the Runco Racers of Texdive Motorsports, Cole & Lauren.

Cole & Lauren Runco of Texdive Motorsports in the Thunderhill Raceway pits

We watched some of the other events.  I though watching the Mini Stocks racing was fun.  It was intriguing to see & hear the compact, FWD cars squealing their stock tires around the track’s banking.  More on that in a future post.

Both Texdive Motorsports Allison Legacy race cars loaded in the trailer - nice!

Racing Ready will follow up with more progress of the Texdive Motorsports Race Team as developments unfold.

Dan