RECORD SET IN INDYCAR RACE AT NOLA

Dateline: Avondale LA.

The IndyCar Series set a new North American record for fan expense per green flag lap.  The detailed numbers are not in yet but it is clear that this event will surpass any previous North American racing event.  The European record is still held by the 1984 Monaco GP; and the International by the 1991 Australian GP (as adjusted for inflation).

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STILL SNOOZIN’

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Last March I published a post here titled “Another Wake Up Call” about the National Speed Sport News Reader’s Poll on track popularity.  Essentially, the point was that IMS had fallen to a new low of 6th in the poll.  The 2015 Poll has been released and unfortunately I missed it, but thanks to Bob Gangwer at “Wing Side Up” I was reminded to check it out.

The results are in and IMS has fallen into a 7th Place tie with Williams Grove Speedway. It isn’t the highest ranked oval (Eldora being 1st); it’s not even the highest ranked paved oval (Oswego being 4th).  At this rate it will be out of the top 10 in just a couple of years.

How accurate is this poll?  It certainly doesn’t represent the casual fan who only attends one race every year when it comes to town like the circus.  It obviously doesn’t represent the NASCAR fan since Daytona, nor any other Cup track is in the top 10.  It DOES represent the most knowledgeable North American open wheel fans, the core IndyCar fans.  It also represents the fans who could become the future IndyCar core fan base.  The ownership and management of IMS and IndyCar are more concerned about promoting rock concerts than racing.  Clearly they are STILL SNOOZIN’.

THE TOP 10

Eldora

VIR

Knoxville (IA)

Oswego

Road America

Kokomo

(TIE) IMS

(TIE) Williams Grove

Lucas Oil Speedway (MO)

New Jersey Motorsport Park

Copywrite 2015    Photo Credit – Author

St. Petersburg IndyCar

What did we learn Sunday at St. Petersburg:

–  Penske has things figured out

– JPM will probably win the 500 and the championship unless Will Power gets a personal trainer

– Grahammy and Little Marco are still mid packers

– Dale Coyne didn’t get enough funding from his drivers

– I want the wing concession

– IndyCar will need to bring larger dumpsters to the street races

– many teams will be running wings constructed with duct tape at NOLA

– Andretti Autosport and Ganassi Racing are underfunded this year

– Team Penske may win every race this season

– the aero kits don’t mean squat

– Scott Goodyear’s favorite phrase is “as we call it”

-IndyCar venues will be paying larger insurance premiums for flying shrapnel

UPRIGHT

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The 1952 Indy 500 was the scene of several historic events. The race was won by Troy Ruttman who remains the youngest 500 winner at 22 years 80 days. He also was the youngest driver to score points in the World Driver’s Championship (F1) for his 52 Indy win until eclipsed by Fernando Alonzo in 2003. Between 1950 and 1960 Indy was part of the World Driver’s Championship but most teams based in Europe did not compete at Indy. In 1952 only Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari appeared at Indy. The 1952 pole was won by Fred Agabashian in the Kurtis Kraft Cummins Diesel which has the distinction of being the first turbocharged car to be raced in the 500. In addition to the 33 starters there were 31 non-qualifiers.

Just as historic as Ruttman’s win was the number 98 “Agajanian Special” he drove for the legendary owner A. J. Agajanian. Agajanian entered cars at the Speedway from 1948 through 1971 and scored 3 poles and 2 wins – the other win coming in 1963 with Parnelli Jones at the wheel of the Watson roadster “Old Calhoun” also numbered 98. Ruttman’s ride was a Kuzma Offy Dirt Car which was commissioned by Agajanian from Kuzma’s shop in late 1950. It first appeared in the 1951 500 as the “Grant Piston Ring Special” driven by Walt Faulkner carrying the number 2. It was the only Kuzma car in the 1952 race and was the last upright dirt car to win the 500. Powered by a standard period Offenhauser engine it sported a springer “suicide” front suspension then common on dirt cars. The car continued to be campaigned on both dirt and pavement tracks by various owners until at least 1965. I was unable to find any evidence of participation after 65. In 1964 Bobby Unser, driving the car for the “Lynch Mob”, qualified 7th for the pavement race at Phoenix, still sporting its famous “A” front nerf bar. It was restored to its 52 Indy livery by Bruce Meyer who traded it to the IMS Museum in exchange for the Wittington Brothers LeMans winning Porsche 935 and is now in the Hall of Fame Museum.

They sure don’t build them or race them like they used to.

© Through the Catch Fence 2015