Archive for June, 2009

Sprintcar driving and setup for dummies

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Sprintcar driving and setup for Dummies

1. If it’s tight (understeering) in, then left rear down (shocks) or left front
2. If it’s loose (oversteering) in, then open left rear
3. tight in center of corner: compress right rear and lock left front.
4. Loose in center of corner: open right rear and left front.
5. Loose and tight on exit of corner: same as above


Updates from Richmond (no, not the Tigers)

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Today’s updates from Richmond, where the football team (whoever it is, and whatever league and brand of football they play) is certainly better than the equivalent one in Australia.

My movements:
Another day in the town as the Indycar race doesn’t start until 8:45pm (For at home: TV is on ESPN Australia on Foxtel/Austar at 10am Eastern), so I’m planning on doing some catch up both on blogging and washing before hitting Washington and the big Gwyenth’s kid on the way to Watkins Glen.

Hideki lack of action update:
As reported by 16th and Georgetown, the hunt for a lay for Hideki is going not too well, primarily because Hideki hasn’t accepted my wingman offer yet.  I can understand why Tony has some reliability issues his team spells Hideki, like this:

It makes me wonder, though, the mistake is the in the third letter, which Japanese driver do you know has a third letter in his name which is a ‘k’?  Hmmm…

On Spying, specifically, am I a spy:
As for AGR, apparently, I’m a spy.  Well, that’s what the crew think, and they don’t mind telling everybody within a five mile radius of me when taking photos that this is the case. I think what’s given me away is that I’m the only one in the garage area taking pictures of Danica’s car and not Danica.

Very funny guys.  Look, we can solve this amicably, just tell me which bits are secret.  I can then take pictures and sent them to everybody else and make some money out of this. Track food is expensive you know. Of course, you could just pay me off. A Panasonic plasma would be nice, but Tony K can probably bargain me down to 3 Slurpees, if he can get 6 Miller Lite’s into me first, and he plays his cards right.

Then again, if I draw glasses, a fake nose, and a moustache on my smilie face pass with a Sharpie, it might be enough to throw them off the trail… Ryan Briscoe Consolation Vegemite Update
I’m pleased to report that the Ryan Briscoe Consolation Vegemite has successfully made it through Canadian and US customs during the Canadian swing last week, and is still going down a treat at the compliementary contiental breakfast here.  It won’t get back into Australia, so we may have to work out a way to give it a proper farewell at the Glen next weekend.  If Ryan finishes 2nd again today, there’s no doubt he’s entitled to become the permanent owner of the “trophy”.  Bit like Harry Hartz getting to keep the Wheeler-Schebler trophy.

Props to Vision Racing…
Props to Vision Racing for re-tweeting my Michael Jackson joke. Nice work boys.  Their new website goes live at 3pm today they assure us!  By the way, I have done the Vision wellness tour bus, and yes, I passed.

I distictly remember the experience of the tour bus, because I was in Texas, and the two guys in front of me, are sitting in line and drinking.  One of the guys opens another can and says something like “Better drink this one as well, if I stop drinking, the reading won’t be indicative of my usual state!”  Gotta love those laptop smashing, beer drinking Texans.

OK, time to go, and do some washing.

Iowa Awesomeness and tour update

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Hi Everybody,

A quick post to update on movements and some mild reflection on Iowa.

Firstly, me: After road tripping from Indy to Iowa, a beer with Pressdog, and two awesome days at Iowa Speedway, the “I drive like Paul Tracy but I fight like Alex Tagliani” world tour does a Canadian swing to keep my boss happy catching up with two of our suppliers.

I’m back in Richmond late on Thursday night where I hookup with the Indycar Series once again.

In the meantime, it’s Toronto, and then Montreal.  Only been in Toronto for two hours, but it’s got a degree of familiarity, with the Queen’s mug on the currency, and kilometers on the dashboard. It’s almost like I’ve wandered into a bar on the other side of the planet, to find my mate QE2, with a cold brew that is the equivalent of a pint, but measured in Milliliters.

With respect to Iowa.  The place was awesome.  It’s the kind of track you wish you could fit into checked luggage, but I don’t think they’ll sell it to me for under the duty free limit, so I’m going to have to go without this time.

The racing was tight, close, and action packed. If you haven’t done it, and you’re on this side of the planet, go.  The fans are true racing fans, knowledgeable, stand up and get excited at the right times, and genuinely interested in Open Wheel.

I get the feeling that the Apex Brazil hospitality truck must serve some kind of Brazilian Valium like drug to all the drivers that visit, because without that present at Iowa, all the South American drivers went positively psycho. Every one of them was either out or hit something by about lap 70.  Even the people who normally act like their on a happy drug like Helio went to an extra depth of insanity.

I’m starting to wonder about this 13 thing for Viso, with what is it?  7 or 8 DNF’s now this year.  In the last two races he’s made it the sum total of about one and a half miles.

Good to see no debris caution half way though the race this time, which was refreshing.

Apparently somebody gave me a shout out on the IMS radio network this weekend.  If anybody knows when, can they let me know, I’ll go looking for it tonight otherwise.

See you in a day or two…

Video highlights of Iowa from below:

What Would Danica Think bracelet – they’re real

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Forget all this F1 split in two stuff, there’s a loooong way to go there yet.  This is all sorts of movement of chairs yet to come there my friends.

The real news is here: I have managed to acquire one of the first league-issued “What Would Danica Think” bracelets that were reported first by Pressdog yesterday.

They’re real.

To quote:

Fans should start seeing more green rubber around the wrists of racing professionals this weekend as the league begins distributing “What Would Danica Think?” bracelets.

“We just want everyone from the groundskeepers to random team mechanics to Robin Miller to Tony George to stop and ask themselves: ‘What Would Danica Think?'” said one league official.

I’ve asked myself What Would Danica Think? right now, and the only conclusion I can come up with is that I should be hooking Hideki up with Iowa chicks. Down to the hotel bar to find him a cougar.

In statistical defense of AGR drivers in public spats

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

I’ve been thinking about the whole Marco v Danica frank discussion that happened post Texas.

Having seen it first hand, I was sitting on the outside at the entry to Turn 1.  It seemed obvious to me that Danica was blocking.  Brian Barnhart, after about 5 laps, and quite rightly, gave her a warning to not change lanes mid-corner, and by following the instruction from Barnhart to avoid penalty, that allow Marco to overtake on the inside or the outside, which he eventually did.

Should Danica have been a bit more friendly to Marco?  Well, probably.

Should we care if they have a little heated debate about it after the race and read much into it?  Probably not.

People tend not to take into account the number of driver interpersonal relationships in a team when making assessments on which teams have the most “harmony”.

Take a look at this simple mathematical analysis, which I believe isn’t generally considered by the Indycar media and public:

  • A one driver team, such as Luczo Dragon Racing, has zero interpersonal driver relationships to manage.  At this point, if Rafa is arguing on pit lane with another driver, it isn’t with a teammate.
  • A two driver team, such as Chip Ganassi Racing has one interpersonal driver relationship to manage.  There’s the one between Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, and that is it.
  • A three driver team, such as Team Penske is sometimes these days, only has three relationships to manage.  There’s the Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves relationship, the Will Power and Briscoe relationship, and the Castroneves and Power relationship.

But when you expand a team to four drivers, such as the situation at AGR, the number of interpersonal relationships expand exponentially.  You how have six: Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan, Danica and Marco Andretti, Danica and Hideki Mutoh, Tony/Marco, Tony/Hideki, and Hideki/Marco.

So the reality is, it makes sense that AGR would have more “disagreements” than any other team, because they have six times the number of relationships to manage than say, Chip Ganassi Racing.

In fact, when you look at the results from Texas last week, you find that the AGR 46% of the total number of inter-team driver relationships to manage in the entire field (Penske 1, Ganassi 1, AGR 6, Panther 0, Vision 1, Newman Haas Lanigan 1, Luczo Dragon 0, Conquest 0, Coyne 0, Fisher 0, Team 3G 0, Dreyer and Reinbold 3, Foyt 0, HVM 0).

So with 46% of total relationships, it makes sense that 46% of the total hissy fits between teammates are going to come from Andretti Green.

Granted, this combination tends not to have the relative harmony in the Dario/Wheldon/Kanaan/Herta relationship, but my opinion is that a lot more is made of it than what it is.

So while a little post race public debate gives everybody something to talk about, especially when it involves Danica, we statisticially shouldn’t really be surprised when the team that is involved in a interteam driver ruckus is Andretti Green Racing.

Tyre Experts: You tell me? Is this normal?

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

A sure sign that you’re sports fanastisism is turning into a disease is when you start rocking up at training or practice events.

It was on this basis I found myself at the NASCAR tyre (sic – .au spelling) test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning.

I got there about 9:30am, was there for about 45 minutes before the rain came, and I would guess, washed out proceedings for the day.

The most I saw a car do was about 20 laps.  I did not see a car do more than five laps in one stint, but keep in mind I was in Turn 2, I suggest Goodyear were not *changing* the tyres every time they stopped, rather measuring performance.

However, I did take some rather interesting happy snaps, including this one (if I’ve done this right, you should be able to click for the full size original):

Indy Testing

So, amateur tyre experts out there.  Do you think marbles of that size are normal?  They seem big to me.  They were noticeable enough to appear on my camera’s LCD when I took the original shot…

Critique of Hideki’s pickup technique

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

After detailed research, I may have discovered the problem with Hideki Mutoh’s pickup technique.

Take this scene.

Top signs that girl may be into you:
(1) Girl leans over to show interest (at 0:23)
(2) Girl plays with hair (at 0:32)
(3) Girl gets into your personal space with her hands (1:39)
(4) Girl laughs at jokes that are not really funny. (this especially applies when you laugh after joke, in the hope that she laughs back.) (1:45, 2:41 and 3:05)
(5) Girl completes your sentences for you (1:58) (heck, my ex-wife wasn’t that good!)
(6) Girl asks if you have a girlfriend (2:06)
(7) Girl asks if you hang out with another chick a lot, especially one that looks a bit like her. (2:28)
(8) Girl shows interest in knowing who or where you’re hanging out tonight (2:35)

Hideki, mate.  For goodness sake: GO IN FOR THE KILL!  You can’t expect your pit crew to make up places for you here, you’ve got to try and make a pass!

The message is clear my friend, if you want you’re girlfriend to go from 11T to 36-24-36, you don’t do it by talking to Conquest Racing or Dreyer and Reinbold.

Somebody likes my photos…

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Hi All,

My photo taking ability isn’t too shabby after all…

The guys at Bryan Herta Autosport asked for a few pictures that I took of Daniel Herrington’s car making love to the concrete at Milwaukee, and I was happy to oblige.

Daniel is currently in 8th in the Indy Lights point standings, 52 points behind J.R. Hildebrand.

Check out the post on the Bryan Herta Autosport website here

Pit box one advantage, is it real?

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Hi everybody,

While everybody else has been talking about The Phantom of the Debris, my mind has been struggling with this question: Did Helio win this race at Texas on the back of pit stall number one, or just on good pit stops?

So I’ve done some very, very basic calculations.  I’m happy to have some feedback disputing this, in fact, I’d love it (if anybody from the Indycar series or any of the teams is reading this, I know you have timing and scoring data and telemetry data that would be handy here!)

Take this data on the final pitstop:
On pit in, I’m going to assume that Helio is 1.3 car lengths behind Briscoe. That’s roughly what it looked like on the video. That’s 6.34 meters (20.8 feet).  That distance at the posted pit lane speed limit, 60mph, is 0.236 seconds.  Helio has to make up 0.236 seconds in the stop to beat Briscoe.

On pit out, the video shows Helio hitting the blend line about 0.65 seconds ahead of Briscoe.  I worked this out by timing it off the video, which is dodgy, but I did it a few times, so you can deal with it in the absence of any hard data.

So that means Helio was a total of 0.88 seconds faster than Briscoe.

There are now, three variables remaining.  Deceleration, the actual pit stop, and acceleration.

Let’s look at the pit stop.  Now, I agree, this is manual timing, so there’s a margin of error here, but I did it a few times, and this is what I got.

Time Stopped: Castroneves 6.0 seconds, Briscoe 6.8 seconds.

If you get the total difference of 0.88 seconds, and remove the stop time difference, 0.8 seconds, the net result is that you get 0.08 seconds. plus or minus whatever my error is, as the difference in the deceleration and acceleration.

Let’s assume for a second that I’m on the money with the timings.

0.08 seconds is just short of half a car length, and it’s clear Helio won by a bit more than that at the blend line.

So, my conclusion is I think it’s pretty safe to say that Helio’s crew jumped Briscoe’s crew in the last stop on merit, and not because of an inherited advantage of the number one pit box.

The question of advantage of the number one pit box in general, however, is not something where a conclusion can be drawn based on this data alone.

However, I know people out there have this data (both telemetry wise and timing and scoring wise)…

I still think given the calculations, it’s time to consider doing a random draw of pit boxes.  If only because it stops the debate about the issue, rather than allowing a discussion to fester.

After all, as the IRL have learned this week about the debris, discussions festering isn’t a good thing.

Hideki needs a decent wingman if he wants a girlfriend

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

If you’re looking for a laugh, or a boyfriend, Tony Kanaan has put out the word that teammate Hideki Mutoh needs a girlfriend.

Hideki Mutoh

Hideki Mutoh

Frankly, I think the problem isn’t Hideki, it’s his choice of wingmen.

Let’s see.

Kanaan: Let’s face it. If you saw TK and Hideki in a bar, you’d be thinking it was a scene out of Karate Kid.  “Yes oh master Sensei Kannan, I must approach girl ninja like with sneaky pick up line, ha, ha!”  Conclusion, not even I can pick up hanging out with my Brazilian uncle.

Marco: One of the key elements of picking up in a club is actually getting in.  You don’t want to spend 30 minutes outside the door while the bouncer looks at your mate’s ID with suspicion.  Bouncer 1 asks Marco to speak, Marco replies, Bouncer 2 remarks to Bouncer 1 that his voice sounds nothing like it does on the Gillette Fusion ads.  Conclusion: E.J.Viso has already swept the floor, with the pick up line “Give Daddy a kisssss”, while you’re getting cold outside.

Danica: They say cute girls have cute friends. So what’s the deal Danica? Why haven’t you hooked him up yet? You’ve even got sponsorship from a domain name company, yet Kannan has used  If you’re not going to hook him up, at least use your connections and register with Go Daddy. Lift your game.

What Hideki needs, my friends, is new wingmen.

I’m seeing a dream team as follows:

P1: Me. I’ve got enough looks to get ’em in, and can keep multiple friends amused for hours with conversation about how the toilets flush in the opposite rotation in Australia while HM goes in for the kill with the specified target.

P2: Firestone Firehawk. Has all the prerequisites to get attention at the bar, and attract cute drunken ladies at nightclubs wanting to get photos.  Key benefit: can’t talk, so can’t steal any of HM’s potential targets, while having the ability to have a conversation with Hideki when things get quiet using only hand signals.

Dating Coach: Jimmy Vasser*. Need I say more? The man from CA is still doing the business in the clubs I reckon, even though he’s only a team owner. Has turned Moraes from just another Brazilian to an absolute female attracting sensation.  We could all learn more about picking up if we were more like Jimmy.

You know my email address Hideki.  You know it makes sense.

* Yes, that is Jimmy Vasser – sans sunglesses.