Indycar Stat: Number of starts at 25th pole position start (corrected)

March 25th, 2012

29 March 2012 – @IndycarPR have notified me that Will Power did have the Pole at Houston in 2007 which I didn’t have. Revised list below.

Seb Bourdais 57th start (was 25th from pole position)
Will Power 88th
Mario Andretti 89th
Rick Mears 141st
Michael Andretti 143rd
Bobby Unser 148th
Helio Castroneves 161st
Al Unser Sr 215th
Dario Franchitti 215th
AJ Foyt 216th
Paul Tracy 233rd

** Will Power’s 25th Pole Position start was at St Pete.

Note for Australian media. Indycar does not recognise the Gold Coast 2008 non-championship race in their records, so that is not included on this list.


PROVISIONAL Australian Indycar TV times for 2012

March 6th, 2012

Here are the PROVISIONAL Indycar TV times.  These are unofficial, and have not been approved by Speed TV Australia or INDYCAR, which should be considered the definitive source.

You can watch every race of the 2012 Indycar Series LIVE on Speed TV Australia, available on Foxtel, Austar and Optus Foxtel on Channel 505, or 213 for SPEED HD.  To get SPEED you need the Sports Package.

All times are AEDT for Daylight Saving, and AET for Non-Daylight Saving (in other words, Sydney and Melbourne time). Make your own adjustments!

NASCAR clashes are listed in brackets.  Where the race clashes, usually the race that goes first gets put on the main channel, with the other race on the Red Button. However, this is subject to SPEED’s discretion, and my indications of what channel I think it’s on is purely speculation.


Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Mar 26 03:30 AEDT on SPEED Australia

Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Apr 2 04:00 AET on SPEED RED BUTTON (NASCAR Cup Martinsville 02:30)

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Apr 16 05:30 AET on SPEED Australia

Sao Paulo Indy 300 – Apr 30 02:00 AET on SPEED Australia

Indianapolis 500 – May 28 01:00 AET on SPEED Australia

Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – Jul 4 05:30 AET on SPEED RED BUTTON (NASCAR Cup Dover 03:30)

Firestone 550k – (Sunday) Jun 10 10:00 AET on SPEED Australia

Milwaukee IndyFest – (Sunday) Jun 17 03:00 AET on SPEED Australia

Iowa Corn Indy 250 – (Sunday) Jun 24 10:00 AET on SPEED Australia

Honda Indy Toronto – Jul 9 02:30 AET on SPEED Australia

Edmonton Indy – Jul 23 04:00 AET on SPEED Australia (NASCAR Nationwide 04:00)

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Aug 6 02:30 AET on SPEED RED BUTTON (NASCAR Cup Pocono 02:00)

Indy China Challenge – (Sunday) Aug 19 13:55 AET on SPEED Australia

Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Aug 27 06:00 AET on SPEED Australia

Baltimore Grand Prix – Sep 3 04:00 AET on SPEED Australia

California Championship Challenge – (Sunday) Sep 16 10:00 AET on SPEED Australia (NASCAR Trucks Iowa 10:00)

Melbourne floods: Albert Park copes well

February 5th, 2011

I managed to get down to Albert Park this morning (twice) to take some photos of the Grand Prix circuit after the rain last night.

In Bentleigh East I’m up to 140mm (5 inches and a fair bit of change in the old money) in my gauge (12km SE of T13).  Melbourne City (3km North of T6), got about 82mm in about 10 hours, including 50mm (2 inches) in about three hours.  Keep in mind that Melbourne’s average February monthly rainfall is less than 50mm.

St Kilda, the suburb adjoining Albert Park to the south, was underwater in a lot of places. They even opened up an evacuation centre in St Kilda for some time last night, and Beach Road according to all reports is still unpassable.  Additionally, in Glenhuntly Road off Beach Road in Elwood, somebody was paddling a kayak down the street!

All the pictures are here:

Generally, the circuit has coped quite well, and you could easily run a Grand Prix there at 5pm today, even with some more rain.

Most of the places where there is water is in places where gravel traps will be at race time (e.g. outside of T14, where the synthetic soccer pitch has not absorbed the water that it normally would and created a mini lake.  After that, there’s no real issues other than some standing water on the entry to T6.

Remember that there’s been no “race day maintenance” on the track (i.e. efficient Australian marshals with brooms), so the fact that there is virtually no standing water on the track only 5 hours later is amazing.  With only two or three exceptions, the kerbs have drained well and the drainage holes are generally free of debris.

T15 and 16, where I had water going in the top of my shoes at 5am, were pretty much dry at 10am.

The new section of track, from the exit of T7 through T10, is unaffected by the water, and looks in tip top condition.

Castroneves incident gives Indycar lesson about transparency

July 30th, 2010

Indycar Series officials learned some valuable lessons about transparency during last weekend’s Honda Indy Edmonton.

Two delicate situations relating to activity in the Izod Indycar Series happened on the weekend. One received little attention, one receiving a lot.  If you’ve ever been an official at a sporting event of any kind you’ll know it means the one of little attention was done well, and the one of great attention, means you’re probably getting abused from the sideline.

Situation (a), revolves around the Indycar Series decision to place Milka Duno on probation regarding her conduct as a driver.

Last time the officials had a situation like this, was when Marty Roth was driving in the series.  Marty just disappeared during the offseason, in a way that makes me wonder whether he should consider his own David Copperfield style TV specials.

Nobody really knows what happened there, but we suspect that maybe he was told there would be no licence renewal forthcoming.  Marty would probably suggest that there was no warning, and no options to resolve this issue.

Having learned from that experience, the officials came up with a different tack to approach the Duno situation.  That approach, was transparency.

If Milka Duno’s licence application for 2010 is rejected, there is little doubt why, as officials made it clear in a media statement on Thursday: “Duno’s probation requires immediate and substantial improvement to her driving during the remaining events on the 2010 schedule.

“Substantial improvement is defined as consistently meeting the performance standards set by the league on a particular circuit. On road and street courses this is measured in terms of time (107 percent of lead car), and on ovals it is measured in terms of speed (10 mph of the lead car). In addition to time and speed, other requirements include car control/placement and interaction with other cars on track.”

By putting Duno on probation, with set criteria, the situation is clear.  There can be no arguments; there can be no media posturing by the team. It is what it is.

Situation (b) where Helio Castroneves was penalised with a black flag for blocking on the final restart, is an interesting comparison.

A clear instruction was given in the drivers briefing to the drivers (in this video posted on Youtube). Do not defend your line, if you do so, and you’re in the inside half of the track while not attempting a pass, you will be black-flagged.

Now I know a lot of you don’t like that rule, but there’s no doubt the drivers were told that’s the rule. The video of the driver’s briefing proves this.

The drivers in the briefing had a clear opportunity to question or give feedback on the rule. That is the purpose of the briefing; to bring it to the attention of the drivers, and/or to take feedback. Otherwise you’d just print it in the rulebook.

Here unfortunately, is where the league failed.  When the green flag dropped on Sunday, it appears that only the 30-odd people in that room, the drivers, the league officials, and camera operator knew what the rule was.

I certainly didn’t.  The IMS radio network commentators, including Davey Hamilton didn’t know.  The Versus commentators including Professor B, and one Indycar team owner appeared not to know either.

If that driver’s briefing instruction was printed in a supplementary bulletin, and distributed to the media, then the reality is, we wouldn’t be talking about this today. Because regardless of your opinions on the rule itself, it’s pretty clear, according to the instructions given in the driver’s briefing, the interpretation was 100 percent correct.

Unfortunately for the Indycar Series, what resulted was a post-race media scramble to try and explain to fans why the penalty was applied the way it was. Unfortunately, at this point, the horse had bolted. Helio Castroneves’ antics had already an hour ago won the hearts and minds of fans worldwide.

The unfortunate part for officials was they had all the evidence at their disposal to extinguish this fire before it took hold. They videotaped the briefing, had got the understanding of most series drivers that this was the interpretation of the rule.  They just forgot to tell anybody else.

A situation where that video, or a note about the passing rules, was distributed to the media leads to a very different scenario.  The video that Versus produced post-race showing Castroneves breaking the rules by driving inside the superimposed “half way line” appears on the screen before the post-race interviews, and Castroneves ends up looking the villain, rather than Barnhart.

The Indycar Series now faces a lot of negative feedback.  But the negative feedback you’re reading in the media this week, about the call, about the rule, masks the true issue.  In both instances it was not the rules, or how you interpret them that mattered.  It was transparency of outcome that mattered.

Transparency has made the uncomfortable Duno situation a lot more palatable. But transparency was not a consideration when the driver’s briefing information about blocking was not made public, and that allowed Castroneves to capture the hearts and minds of Indycar Series fans when he had no right to.

Hopefully, the lesson has been learned.

Australian Drivers and Domestic Popularity

June 29th, 2010

My good friends on Twitter: Jeremy Scott and Dylan, just asked me to compare the validity of the statement “Marcos Ambrose one of the most famous racers in your country.”

So to give you all an idea of the most popular drivers, I’ve done a search for the phrase of the drivers name on Google Australia (with the “pages from Australia” checkbox on, so it only returns domestic page). I’ve put the top 15 Australian ranked drivers in the Castrol Driver Rankings as my test.

Without further ado:

Mark Webber (Formula 1): 124,000 pages
Craig Lowndes (V8 Supercar): 81,100
Jamie Whincup (V8 Supercar): 70,300
James Courtney (V8 Supercar): 52,400
Garth Tander (V8 Supercar): 46,600
Mark Winterbottom (V8 Supercar): 46,300
Steven Johnson (V8 Supercar): 38,500
Rick Kelly (V8 Supercar): 31,800
Marcos Ambrose (NASCAR): 26,000
Will Davison (V8 Supercar): 18,200
Will Power (Indycar): 16,200+
Ryan Briscoe (Indycar): 11,300
Daniel Ricciardo (Formula Renault 3.5): 6,470
John Martin (Superleague): 3,390+
David Brabham (Sports cars): 2,800

+ added word “racing” to filter search results to correct level.

This in my view, is about correct in terms of how I think the drivers are known here.  Certainly any of the overseas drivers who don’t race here at all, have no profile, but Webber’s profile as a possible World Champion blitzes any other V8 Supercar driver on the popularity front.

Marcos Ambrose’s position on the list is more about his former career in V8 Supercar, than the impact of NASCAR in Australia. NASCAR the series itself is only marginally higher in profile than Indycar. Before Ambrose left Australia he would have been top 5 on this list, and would certainly have a level of recognition, although that’s tapered off slightly now he hasn’t raced in Australia in a long period.

The list correctly shows the strength of V8 Supercar over other motor sport categories domestically.

Will Power’s scores behind ahead of Briscoe’s is a symptom of both his name (that’s my name: You stay outta this, moustache), but also of his exposure in Australia from the Champcar days, and as a competitor in Australian championships. Briscoe, having less than 5 motor races in Australia total, has a far lower score for this reason.

Shane’s top 10 moments of 2009

December 31st, 2009

My Top 10 moments of 2009:

10 The wonderful hospitality of American Indycar fans. You know who you are. Thank you.

9 My Christmas Cards, and watching everybody laugh when they got them!

8 Helping the CAMS Victorian State Council to get change in Australian club motor sport.

7 Talking my way into the shops of Luczo Dragon/Dreyer and Reinbold.

6 Seeing a racing car turn a corner 350kph for the first time.

5 In the water on a West Coast beach with Holly.

4 Chatting to Ashley Judd in a burger joint in Milwaukee.

3 Hanging with Curt Cavin. Whether it was talking on the radio, or talking over a burger.

2 Watching Holly’s face as she got her 21st birthday present

1 Hearing 320,000 people sing “Back home again in Indiana” in person.

Apologies to Accidentally blowing off Lauren Bohlander, Seeing the Shaq in person, meeting Donald Davidson, fun with the J-Train, and buying myself a new computer for the first time in 14 years.

To my wonderful friends, from Western Australia to West Des Monies: Happy, prosperous and safe new year everybody.

Old CRT’s never die, they just get angry

August 9th, 2009

A common sight these days, a dumped CRT monitor for hard rubbish collection in South Melbourne.

On my way home from work on Tuesday or Wednesday, is when it first appeared.

However, by Friday night, it appears like the CRT managed to summon enough power to communicate one more message for the benefit of the general populus before he leaves this world.

That’s right you 21 Inch, HD Widescreen, Automatic Power save, multiple input LCD: You suck!

Props to the people responsible, you’ve outdone the person that authored this in a toilet block at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the graffiti of the year title.

Blog Update at

August 6th, 2009

Hi Everybody,

Yes it’s been a while, I know. Here’s my take on the past few weeks of Indycar Racing at, where I’m guest blogging.

Webber’s post-race radio words

July 13th, 2009

In case you’ve been living under a rock in Australia.  Mark Webber won his first F1 race overnight.

This article amused me, in which Mark Webber is quoted as saying:

“Yeah, yeh, yeh.” he screeched aloud. “Oh yes. You beauty! Yes.”

I think Reuters might have missed a word.  Between “You” and “beauty”.  I’ll let you figure that out.

I think they also cut off the radio transmission because following the quote above, he said “We’re going to get…”

Which is a shame, because Mark was obviously going to say something like:

“We’re going to get my Dad, and Ann, and then we’re going to have a nice warm cup of tea, mine is white with two sugars, have it ready after the press conference.”

But for some reason they cut that off…

Don’t know why.

International Superstar has left the country

July 8th, 2009


Not quite yet.

I’m sitting at 40 West Coffee Cafe in Indianapolis, chilling out with Pressdog’s race summary before I fly home. Gentlemen start your jet engines at 5:30pm.

To give people an idea of the trip:
Indianapolis to Memphis (On Northwest), Memphis to LAX (On Northwest), LAX to Sydney (on V Australia), then Sydney to Melbourne.  Arriving at Melbourne at 10:30 on Thursday.  Only 29 hours this time with a reduced LAX layover.  Sleep should be nicer too, as I’m in Australian nighttime on the plane, so I will try and sleep.

Wednesday is, well, there is no Wednesday.

I was going to post a thank you post, but if I do that, I’m going to leave somebody’s name out.  I’ll do something once I get back to Melbourne and have time to write something coherent.

Just wanted to say thanks to everybody who helped in making this little vacation the most awesome thing I’ve done in a long, long time.  Whether you were a media person, a team member, an IMS/IRL staff member, a blogger, an Indianapolis 500 historian, a member of the track staff, a hot dog vendor, or a fan I ran into at the track or an airport, or a person I met at a bar while having a feed: Thank you.  It’s been truly a pleasure.

I do intend on coming back. When will depend on when the IRL introduce the new car, whether I can get a job over here, how the credit card is travelling, and/or whether anybody is stupid enough to offer their services as a wife, Will and Grace style (US gov, only kidding about the last bit).

So for now, I’ll see ya in Melbourne.