Tag Archives: Auto Racing

Farewell Dan.

I am passionate about motorsports. My friends are too. Today has been a tough day for lots of people I know. Watching Dario Franchitti crying as he strapped himself in to his racecar to run a 5 lap tribute to Dan Wheldon, I started to cry as well.  My wife left the room…she could not watch.

I love auto racing. I love watching cars turn laps, and I love the thrill of speed and the sounds of the track. Today was a stark reminder that while the sport I love can be beautiful, it can also be deadly.

I never claimed to be a Dan Wheldon fan. I did however admire him as an IndyCar champion and a two time Indy 500 champion. He did a great job on the Versus TV broadcasts, and seemed a natural for the commentary booth when he hung up his firesuit.

I think the most important thing to remember is that Dan was a husband and a father to two young boys. He is gone forever, and that is a great loss. To a tight-knit group of drivers that compete in the Indy Series, Dan was a well-liked, competitive, champion and a friend. He will be missed around the track.

There are other things to consider about this crash, but today is probably not the time to talk about that.  I will try to talk to some people and put together some thoughts about what may need to happen in the IndyCar world.  But tonight, lets just take a moment to remember Dan Wheldon at his best…covered with milk in victory lane at the track he loved the best.  Indianapolis.

Keeping with tradition, driver Dan Wheldon celebrated his victory in the 100th Indianapolis 500 with a bottle of milk. Unlike previous winners, however, Wheldon chose to bathe in, not drink the milk. Photographed by: John Sommers/Reuters

Post Petit Thoughts

What started off as an addition to a weekly post has taken a life of its own and moved to a separate post.

Due to the wedding, I did not make the trip to Road Atlanta for the race. This is the first Petit I have missed in several years. I did watch the majority of the race on ESPN 3.

The big controversy to come out of this one will be the dustup between the number 1 Audi R18 piloted by Romain Dumas and the the Number 8 Peugeot 908 driven by Franck Montagny. Check out the video of the incident (Make sure you watch the video before you read any further…I do not want to taint any unbiased opinions).

Now, I am not opposed to calling this particular crash a racing incident. Montangny clearly came over in front of the Audi, but he was still (mostly) in the racing line. Dumas was a bit optimistic about making that move at that point on the track, because he had a great jump on the Pug, and probably could have made a nice drafting pass further down the long Road Atlanta backstretch. Dr. Ullrich (one of my motorsport heroes) was not happy with Franck.

Audi released this series to show that the Pug moved over. Click to embiggen.

I am truly shocked by the number of mistakes made by AudiSport this year. Driver errors in LMS events, big shunts at LeMans…all very un Audi-like.

As for who is to blame for the Road Atlanta crash…I think this is just the latest “racing incident” between the squads. However, I guess my biggest question is how long do we continue to call these “incidents” and not point at least some of the blame at aggressive (and maybe a bit unsporting) Peugeot drivers?

There is going to be a shakeup on both sides of the battle next season as far as factory drivers go. Dindo Capello, who has a fantastic history with Audi has reportedly raced his last race for the make. McNish has had some issues this season, but should be back. It will be hard to move Tom Kristensen anywhere. But Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler, Romain Dumas, Benoui Treuleyer and even long-time test pilot Marco Bonanomi are ready to go. It would be my guess that Mike Rockenfeller will turn laps somewhere but might also be moved on down the road. I have no idea what will shake out with the Peugot drivers, but rumor has it that the French are looking to make some moves before next season as well. I would only say that – no matter what – Anthony Davidson needs to stay.

The embattled Scott Tucker got the LMP2 win for Level 5 Motorsports.

As for GT, it was a nice race there.  Ferrari (AF Corse)  gets a win, The Flying Lizards bang out a hard fought second place (Thanks to Bergmeister), and BMW slots in at third.

LMPC and GTC also saw some nice battles for championships.

Next year’s Petit has seen a date change, pushed back to later in October. (see the full 2012 schedule)  I don’t hate the change, although the late September/early October date always had fantastic weather.