Tag: Motorsports

Motor Racing Welcomes Electric Cars

John Jellinek The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced in 2012 that it was considering developing a racing series for single seat, electrically powered cars. When the idea was first introduced, environmentalists were concerned that one of the gains they had made within the automotive industry had been exploited for recreational purposes. On the other hand however, racing enthusiasts were hesitant when they hear the news, understandably skeptical about a motorsport series without any of the sounds commonly associated with motor racing. Even the CEO of Formula E Holdings, Alejandro Agag, termed the new car “the silent revolution in motor racing” when the car was introduced during the 2014 Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, when former Formula 1 racer Jarno Trulli was entrusted with testing the Spark-Renault SRT_01E racing car, he was impressed with the sound of the motor behind the cockpit. Although the car was not on par with the sound of a the turbo V6 engines used in traditional Formula 1 racing, it was decidedly louder than an average passenger car.

FIA, hopes that the Formula E Championship, the electronically powered racing series Formula 1 equivalent, will create the peak of electric car development and competition, incorporating 10 two-driver teams that will compete in 10 races over the fall and winter racing seasons. Races are currently planned for in Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Rio de Janeiro, Punta del Este (Uruguay), Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Miami, Monte Carlo, Berlin and London.

Each race will have a duration of 60 minutes on various city circuits ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 kilometers in length. In order to keep the cost of cars down, builders are required to make the cars available to at least two other teams with a capped cost of 480,000 U.S. dollars. Each team must enter four cars in a race and be prepared to engage in pit stops that will require each team’s two drivers to switch from a car with a depleted energy level to a fully charged one.

For more information about the new electric car racing please visit http://digitaljournal.com/sports/the-buzz-around-new-electric-car-racing-series/article/378684.

Danica Patrick is Looking for Luck in Las Vegas

Nascar, Motorsports, RacingAfter experiencing two tough weeks on the track, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is hoping that the upcoming race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will turn her 2014 season around. Her first two weeks of racing ended with damaged racecars. The first wreck in Daytona was not so surprising, because collisions are not uncommon for NASCAR drivers, but when she was involved in a wreck that stunted her performance for a second consecutive week while racing in Phoenix, Patrick became understandably frustrated.

In her first race of the season, Patrick finished 40th. At her second race, she placed 38th. Still, Patrick is optimistic going into her third race of the season in Las Vegas. In 2011, Patrick attained a fourth-place finish in the Nationwide Series race in the same location. That fourth-place finish was the highest finish for a female in any NASCAR national series race.

Patrick is hoping Las Vegas will be a good luck charm for her, and with good reason. Patrick is 41st in owner standings and, starting next week at Bristol, 2014 owner points will determine which drivers make provisional. The top 36 cars in the first qualifying session each get the chance to race, followed by seven other spots which will be filled by drivers in the 2014 owner standings. To put things into perspective for Patrick, the first driver to go home last year was ranked 42nd in the 2013 owner standings.

Last year in 2013, Patrick started in the top 20 twice and in the top 30 sixteen times. At Phoenix, she started at 33rd. Patrick and her crew chief, Tony Gibson, are looking ahead and excited about the car that will be racing in Las Vegas. Between Patrick’s enthusiasm and the power and speed packed into her new car, the two are confident that Patrick can turn things around in Las Vegas.

For more information about Danica Patrick’s 2014 season and the upcoming race in Las Vegas please visit http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2014-03-06/danica-patrick-las-vegas-race-phoenix-crash-daytona-sprint-cup-standings.

NASCAR appoints Brent Dewar as Chief Operating Officer

According to an article at USA Today, NASCAR has named Brent Dewar as the new COO.

Before NASCAR, Dewar worked at General Motors for more than 30 years. He retired from GM in 2010 when he was Vice President of Chevrolet. Over the last year, he has been working with Nascar as a consultant on “transforming its competition with new approaches on rules, penalties, officiating and inspection.”

According to Nascar chairman Brian France, “In Brent Dewar, we will add a seasoned leader with deep experience in the automotive sector, plus intimate knowledge of and passion for NASCAR as well as various other forms of motorsports. Brent brings creativity, drive, intelligence, operational acumen and a clear understanding of our assets and challenges to NASCAR. He’s a leader who’s naturally collaborative, an essential trait as we work more closely with the (manufacturers), teams, tracks, broadcast partners and others to grow the sport over the next decade.”

While at GM, one of Brent’s responsibilities was to oversee the companies motor sports program. He also was instrumental in launching the volt electric car as well as adapting initiatives in digital and social media. These areas will be key for NASCAR as they will look to Brent Dewar’s guidance in an effort to rebuild its fan base.

Since 2006, NASCAR has functioned without a COO. The last person to fill the role was George Pyne.

Brent Dewar will begin his new role on January 6th in Florida. His goal in the first few months is to solicit as much information from the industry as possible.

Nascar Goes Back To Dirt Track

John JellinekI recently read an article in USA Today about Nascar transitioning back to racing on dirt tracks. The last time Nascar featured races on a dirt surface as opposed to asphalt was back in the 1970s. Some people equate racing on dirt to “the NHL playing a regular-season game on rollerblades and pavement.” It does seem a bit unordinary because Nascar racing has become so synonymous with asphalt tracks, but a race on the dirt will be exciting non the less.

Some drivers are unsure of how the race will turnout. One driver thought the race will be the coolest or the dumbest race he has ever spectated. What is interesting is a lot of drivers grew up racing on dirt tracks instead of asphalt. Drivers like Gordon, Stewart and Bowyer are just a few to name that have grown up racing on the uniquely different surface. Some teams in preparation for the event had the drivers experience the dirt before hand. Other teams decided to hire ringers who have more experience with the different surface.

Asphalt unlike dirt allows for drivers to travel faster and really grip the track. Dirt tracks are a more slippery and slick surface. The race will be fun to spectate because it hasn’t happened in so many years. I think for the sport of Nascar it is good to keep things fresh and new. A dirt race might give the sport an extra hop in its step to keep drivers and viewers more interested in the race.

Change can be a good thing for some sports and you won’t know until you give it try. Similar to Nascar races on dirt, the NHL started introducing outdoor events for their viewers with the Winter Classic. Although skaters are still skating one an ice surface, the stage and environment in which the game is played is new and fresh. I will be interested to see how the dirt race pans out.