Rethink Restarts for Izod IndyCar Race at St. Petersburg

2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar Race

Indy Car & double file starts didn’t seem to mix at the inaugural Izod IndyCar race at the Honda GrandPrix of St. Petersburg this past Sunday.  Seems to end up as 4-wide tight turns, and THAT doesn’t work!  These two lane file restarts seem to be more suited for oval courses, but not best for road /street tracks!  Jeesh, 5 race cars out on the first turn & 4 cautions within the first 9 laps!  That made for exciting start/restarts for the fans, but very disappointing for the teams.

Then we have 29 year-old Danica who is whining, & is definitely not winning!

Danica Patrick thinks it's not fair!

Here’s good news abut a female racer that proved herself.  This was an impressive showing for 22 year old Simona De Silvestro.  She started from 17th & finished a solid 4th place, just one away from a podium finish…  Even more impressive, she didn’t use ANY of her 20 “push to pass” opportunities…until the final few laps.  Watching her pressuring 36 year old Tony Kanaan (TK, one of my IndyCar driver favorites) on his tail made those last few laps truly exciting.  This made for great racing action!  To me, this was the highlight of the entire race.  Racing Ready looks forward to more great action from Simona during this 2011 Izod IndyCar season.

Simona De Silvestro, Izod IndyCar Driver #78

Also, I’m glad to see TK got a solid sponsorship package from GEICO this year.  Everything has come together for his KV team SO quickly in the last couple of weeks!


Formula1 Austin USGP Track Aerial Views

Look, here’s the newly released aerial footage of the Formula1 Austin USGP track!

Formula1 Austin USGP - Construction aerial view! - Click to play...

The folks from The Austin Grand Prix, released this exclusive video, via the Friends of Formula 1 Austin Texas on Facecloth.  In addition, here’s their T-shirt design you can buy.  Click here to get yours!

COME AND RACE IT - T-shirt Design by The Austin Grand Prix

So, we’ve got another great bunch of folks that will keep us up to date of this community changing event.  They also offer a Newsletter – sign up here!

Racing Ready thanks you, The Austin Grand Prix.


Senna Documentary, SWSX Premiere in Austin

As part of the escalating, winding up promotion and awareness-making of the Formula1 Austin USGP, the SXSW venue was the US debut of the documentary film, Senna.

Senna - a continuous burning passion for racing, & for life!

After seventeen years, the documentary about Ayrton Senna’s life was finally shown. On Jan 28, 2011, Senna originally debuted to the crowds at the Sundance Film Festival.  Last week the new, award winning documentary, Senna, had its US debut at SXSW in Austin, TX.  This film is composed entirely of his vintage footage at speed, & at another speed the world is little aware of – his altruistic side, giving back to his countrymen.

Senna...looking back...

Here’s my favorite image of Senna’s driving ability, called “Where Senna Dares”.

Where Senna Dares

Here’s Aryton Senna seriously at speed racing in the rain at Donington Park F1, a race in 1993.  It’s breathtaking footage showing the driving talent he was capable of!

SXSW is a public forum for the display & release of music, film & other media, every year in Austin, TX.  It’s quite the event, they say…

SXSW logo

Here’s the the trailer for “Ayrton Senna – The Movie [International Trailer]”…

To add fuel to the fire that will be the Formula1 Austin USGP, Formula1 Team Williams loaned their 2011 Williams-Cosworth FW33 race car for promotional display at the SXSW Formula1 reception.  Here’s their official photo…

F1 Williams Race Car Austin - Official Senna SXSW Promational Photo

But I like these Formula1 SXSW Reception pictures much better of my race-enthusiasts friends, Sondra & Jack (Photos by Art Nunes).

Sondra & Jack at Senna SXSW film debut


Sondra, Jack & friend at Senna SXSW film debut

Seeing my two friends really helps to personalize this event.  It makes it more real that this forthcoming race venue & event is really progressing towards occurrence.  But, we must all take time out & think about…

Senna in a rare moment of peaceful reflection...

Racing Ready is reflecting about being a small part of this big picture! The next post you will read here will be special – it’s about brand new, hot Formula1 Austin USGP race track development footagestay tuned!


2011 SCCA Houston Solo Tour – Cone Carnage


As we await Eric’s next & final blogged 2011 SCCA Houston Solo National Tour report, we pause for a moment of silence.  As is the case at all Solo/autocross events, there is always the silent victim, the lowly, but oh SO necessary orange rubber traffic cone.

SCCA Houston Solo Tour Official Cone, courtesy of Jimmy Crawford (FB)

I understand this SCCA Solo National Tour event in Houston suffered it’s appropriate toll of cone carnage.  Unlike local autocross events, these cones are given a bit of special recognition.  Each cone & its associated marked location box are given a number.  If & when a cone is knocked over or hit out of this box, it is logged in the SCCA run report for that driver.  In this way, there is no confusion as to what cone was hit & where.

Autocross cone confusion... ya think !?!

Racing Ready has had the opportunity to hit the errant cone, from time to time.  It’s a major bummer, notwithstanding the 2 second penalty for each sacrificed cone.

Looks like this cone got what it really deserved...


2011 SCCA Houston Solo Nat’l Tour – Prep Day

Eric provides us with his first installment of his participation at the 2011 SCCA Solo National Tour in Houston. This was arrival & prep day.

Today marked the start of the 2011 SCCA Solo National Tour in Houston.  One of the things that competitors learn is that in order to be successful, preparation is key.  Unfortunately, I waited until the night before to mount my new Hoosiers just to discover that one of the valve stems was leaking!  Fortunately, I was able to take it to Discount Tire first thing, costing me $12.95 and an hour and a half of sleep.  By the time I was able to finish packing and getting myself ready for the day, Jay was at my doorstep and it was time to load the car onto the trailer.

Ready to leave from Eric's house - Jay's Pathfinder & Eric's trailered Corvette

After a stop for breakfast at Jim’s, we made the four hour trip to Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, just east of Houston.  Fortunately, we were able to get Sunshine unloaded and through tech in time to make a few runs on the shortened practice course.

Eric's Corvette unloaded at the 2011 SCCA Solo Houston Tour site

Though the two of us only made a total of three passes, it was enough to scuff in our new tires.  The car felt great, and it was a nice change to actually be able to come off the corner, thanks to fresh rubber.  One of my runs is shown below, and while I wasn’t really pushing the car, it was enough for to get a feel for the surface, which reminds me of SASCA’s new/old venue at Retama Park.

Back in the paddock, we had ample time to mount our SCCA required sponsorship decals, along with our spiffy new static clings.

Eric's Corvette, all decaled out - note the striking logo!

Roger “The Real” Johnson designed our courses for this event, the Day 2 map of which is below.  Both courses will be run in the same direction, with each featuring some different elements.  Some of the tighter offset sections have extra added trash cones in an attempt to confuse the driver, and we’ll see what effect (if any) these have at speed.

Course map for Day 2 of 2011 SCCA Solo National Tour in Houston

One of the biggest surprises of this event was the turnout, or lack thereof, in Super Stock.  I’m used to class sizes of 12-14 cars at a National Tour event, but this time we only have eight.  Of course, with several Corvettes, a well-driven Lotus and a nationally competitive Porsche GT3, the class is still going to be as competitive as ever.  It seems that a lot of competitors have flocked to the SCCA’s huge new STR class, which has 15 entrants at this event, including Chris with his blue S2000 in the background.

Eric's Corvette in the company of STR class Honda S2000s, including Chris' blue one

Now, I think it’s time for me to get some rest so I can drive tomorrow without falling asleep on the course!

Thanks, Eric, for a great descriptive start! Racing Ready looks forward to it.  Damn, those cling logos look great on Sunshine, Eric’s yellow 2001 Z06 Corvette!!!


Blogger Eric To Challenge 2011 SCCA Houston National Tour

To all SCCA Solo racing fans.  This weekend, Eric, my Contributing Blogger Extraordinaire, will be competing at the 2011 SCCA Houston National Tour.  We can all look forward to a number of in-depth blog posts and insightful pictures from Eric, this weekend, posted over the next couple of days.

2011 SCCA Houston National Tour logo

On top of that, Eric & co-driver Jay will be flying the colors!  Today I picked up my new logo clings from the printer.  The colors are intense!  You will see them on both Eric’s 2001 Z06 Corvette & co-driver Jay’s Nissan Pathfinder tow vehicle.

Eric's 2001 Z06 Corvette (Sunshine) & Jay's Nissan Pathfinder tow vehicle

So, if you don’t already know, here’s the logo that will be promoted on the sides of Eric’s & Jay’s vehicles. logo art

Good luck Eric & Jay on a challenging SCCA Solo Tour event!  In addition, it will be very interesting to find out what kind of pull this blog advertising will create.  I look forward to this new readership – Welcome to Racing Ready!




SASCA 2011 Autocross #3 – By Eric

This is my Contributing Blogger Extraordinaire Eric’s well-documented submition of last Sunday’s SASCA autocross event.  Enjoy!

This past weekend, I participated in SASCA’s third autocross of 2011, and the club’s second at Retama Park after a many year break.  Every time we change venues, a good crowd always shows up, with 91 drivers taking to the course despite a chilly, think 30s, start.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #3 - Drivers Meeting

More than past events, this one drew a wide variety of cars, with everything from a Street Modified, pro-touring style Buick GS with a 455 to this extremely clean Porsche 914.  This time, might triumphed over light, as they ended up first and second in class, respectively.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #3 - Vintage Porsche 914

Kevin, SASCA’s novice coordinator, designed the course both for Sunday’s event and Saturday’s extremely successful novice school.  Both were similar, with the competition course using elements of the school course but run in reverse.  Per the luck of the draw, Super Stock ran in the last heat, which would provide the best grip, with rising temperatures and grids of other cars cleaning off the surface.  Though not surprisingly, Drew and Steve in the red D Prepared Miata on the left side of this picture would end up with the two fastest raw times of the day.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #3 - The busy autocross grid...

After a great lunch at Rudy’s, it was finally our turn to run.  Jay and me, co-driving my 2001 Z06, was one of only two double driver cars, and with fast times in the mid-30 second range, the pace was brutal.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #3 - Eric's Corvette, Sunshine!

The course was characterized by offset gates, a couple of tight sweepers and a slalom with a weird entry, and I never got my rhythm quite right, with my early times in the high-35 to low-36 second range.  In the meantime, Jay was in the low-35s, eventually clicking off the 35.1 seen below, good enough for first place in Super Stock.

At last, after riding with him a couple times and improving my timing, I managed a 35.4.  Unfortunately for me, this would be third (aka last place) in my class, with Peter in his father’s Lotus sneaking in with a 35.2.  Granted, .3 seconds covering a field isn’t a heck of a lot, and it was fun running against both of them.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #3 - 3 directional autocross cones

Special mention must be made of Federico, whose yellow Boxster is seen below, sporting a fresh AMSOIL Racing decal courtesy of Racing Ready Oil.  He ran in the Street Prepared class last year, but has started down the slippery slope to Super Street Modified-dom, stripping out the car and preparing a swap to a 3.6 liter motor.  He faces some stiff competition, including this week’s SSM winner Beth in her brutal 3-rotor RX7, and I can’t wait to see his car go once he’s done with it.

SASCA 2011 AutoX #3 - Federico's SSM Porsche Boxter - with AMSOIL Racing livery!

See everyone at the Tour in two weeks, when Jay and I will exchange the 60+ run Hoosiers for the fresh set of stickers in my garage.  And if Dan lets me, I’ll be blogging about it all right here.

Eric, of course I’ll be looking forward to a nicely descriptive blog series!  In addition, Eric has offered to carry the Racing Ready “colors” on the sides of his car.  The Racing Ready logo will  look great on Eric’s Sunshine.  It should also bring more of you readers here.

Till then,