Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Summary 4/10

It was a busy weekend in motorsport.  One event I forgot to mention in my preview was the opening round of Formula D in Long Beach.  The top american drifting series features production based vehicles with a high degree of customization, and loose rules on modification.  Anything from showroom fresh Mustangs to super modified Nissan 240s compete against each other in tandem competition to outscore their opponents on factors of speed, angle and style as they slide their cars around sometimes treacherous courses.  This weekend's winner was Justin Pawlak in his Roush powered Mustang.  His final battle was against Matt Powers, who in the off season grafted an LS7 Corvette engine into his Nissan S14.  Dai Yoshihara in another Nissan (an S13 I believe) rounded out the podium.

Formula 1 had quite the adventure in Malaysia this weekend.  Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel once again prevailed over the competition.  A near perfect start and solid pit stop strategy, as well as  a little bit of luck with the weather helped him pull away from the field and stand atop the podium again.  Jensen Button of McLaren took advantage of the same conditions in a run to second place.  He finished about three seconds behind Vettel, which could be a sign of the other teams beginning to catch up to Red Bull's pace.  Nick Heidfeld, a man who was rideless until Renault's Robert Kubica was injured in a pre-season rally accident drove brilliantly to a third place finish.  Wearing a black helmet matching the new black-gold livery of the Renault chassis he drove calmly and steadily throughout the grand prix, never making a mistake in the sometimes slick conditions.  Heidfeld's team mate Vitaly Petrov however would not be so lucky.
  
Mark Weber in the second Red Bull had a good result, finishing 4th despite a poor start and a non-functioning KERS boost, adding 30 kilos of weight to the car with no benefit.  Ferrari's duo of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso finished 5ht and 6th despite a penalty on Alonso for avoidable contact.  Kobayashi from Sauber, Hamilton from McLaren (also penalized for the Alonso incident), Schumacher from Mercedes, and rookie Paul Di Resta from Forec india round out the points paying positions.

GT1 had a weekend of either great success of disappointment in Belgium.  After a first lap incident by a number of cars in race one, the Lamborghini Murcielago wove through the carnage to the front of the field.  There was turning back as the duo of Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng won both the qualifying and championship races.  Savvy race fans will remember Winelhock as the nearly unknown driver from Spyker F1 back in 2007, who used an early call for rain tires to lead the field around Nurbergring in a race where some of the sports top tier made the wrong call and got washed into the gravel traps by a sudden downpour.  As Lamborghini transitions to a new top flight car this year, it is a great feeling seeing race wins on the eve of a great car's career.  The Nissan GTR, which was expected to be the car to beat this year had a disastrous showing this weekend.  The two teams running the Japanese super car are running 4th and 7th in the championship.  After managing 3rd and 4th in the qualifying race the marque fell apart in the championship race.  Of the four cars entered the best finish was 9th place, the only GTR to finish the race. 

Grand-Am competition was much calmer at Barber than I had expected, with most of the problems occurring when a pack of the faster prototype cars was overtaking the slower GT class.  The GT's were the victims in these cases, with Nonnamaker's Mazda RX8 taking a hard hit into the guardrails.  The Chip Ganassi racing car, a Riley chassis with a BMW engine started slowly but made no mistakes, as driver pair Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett used fuel mileage and reliability to make a strong run deep into the race, where Pruett used his extensive experience to overtake his remaining opposition one by one.  In the GT class BMW prevailed again.  The M3 of Turner Motorsports ran it's iconic yellow and blue liveried car to the win once again.  I think the reduction of size from last year's M6 is the biggest key to Turner's success.



Indycar shared the track at Barber, running their race Sunday.  The Indycar chassis is viciously fast around this course's long sweeping sections but this gives very little room for error.  When added to indycar's new two abreast start contact was frequent.  Australian Will Power found the way to success, by leading all 90 laps of the race (a feat not accomplished since the 2009 season).  A pair of cars fielded by Ganassi, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, finished 2nd and 3rd.  Marco Andretti, the third generation of that family in racing, made up for a first lap retirement last week with a 4th place finish.  Other notable drives included Tony Kanaan, who until a week before the season was not sure if he even had a ride, qualified 24th and fought through the field, securing a 6th place finish, showing that the KV-Lotus racing cars are more than just a pretty paint job.  Simona de Silvestro had another solid run, finishing 9th after passing indycar's other female driver, Danica Patrick in the closing stages of the race, this puts her 5th in the points standings.  Sebastian Bourdais, an alumni of the now defunct Champ Car series, and a factory driver for Peugeot's endurance team was supposed to compete last race in St. Petersburg, but had a fiery crash in morning warm-ups and didn't make the grid.  He managed an 11th place finish and made good passes in the backfield.  Expect his experience in other series to come to light soon in this series.
                          

Well its was a busy weekend, but next week is going to be just as hectic.  Formula 1 on China, with American Le Mans and Indycar in Long Beach.  Also I might do a little Nascar write-up for Talladega if I get some requests.  I'll leave you guys with one last picture of those roadside sculptures from Barber, have a good week everybody.



28 comments:

  1. As always, thanks for the update and spiders. I really want to get into Rally racing and this is making me even more interested.

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  2. Oh god, that crash video looked pretty mental. Thanks for the update! followed...

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  3. I was going to comment on your post but then AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH SPIDERS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

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  4. them spiders are huge! where's david arquette when you need him?!?

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  5. loving the giant spiders!

    keep it up

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  6. Vrooooooooooooom! How many laps did the spiders do?

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  7. wasn't expecting those spiders!

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  8. holy shit those are real sculptures? like to see more of this, so i followed brother.

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  9. im writing this comment with 1 hand, while the other 1 is used to kill that spider

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  10. awesome post, scary spider, tho!

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  11. thanks for the post, really informative.

    work on sundays so I don't get the chance to watch the F1

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  12. would love to go out and try ra.... AAAAAAAA SPIDERS!!!!!

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  13. oh fuck spiders. good blog and content im comming back for more

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  14. I used to follow this a lot more then I do now. I really need to get back into it.

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  15. I'm really impressed with Jensen Button.

    Also wtf spider.

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  16. pooped myself at the spiders! Also, imagine it was your job to drive a Lamborghini!

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  17. I feel like it would be fun to race an indy car.

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  18. yo those spiders were crazy! wish i could see them haha

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  19. Love it how everyone got distracted by the spiders lol...

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  20. how often do you get to go to race days?

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  21. ^@ Abletonian: I get to about one indyrace a year, pennsylvania is a tough spot to get to and from the various tracks. This summer I'm planning on making at least two races, maybe a drifting event too. Might make the trek to Austin Texas when their formula 1 track opens.

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  22. that really was one busy weekend you had there, cool spiders too

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