Monday, February 23, 2015

Musings From the Weekend: To Lighten the Mood

From the suspension of Kurt Busch to Kyle Busch's accident which left him with a compound fracture in his right leg and fractured left foot to Fernando Alonso's accident that send him to hospital but fortunately left the two-time world champion with only a concussion, we got to lighten the mood. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

Pace/Safety Car Driver Race
While under caution during the second qualifying race on Thursday night, it was mentioned that Brett Bodine was the driver of the pace car in NASCAR and it hit me: What if there was a race featuring pace/safety car drivers from different series around the globe?

Most have some type of racing experience. Brett Bodine had a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series and he nearly won the inaugural Brickyard 400. It wasn't a stellar career but it was respectable. Formula One safety car driver Bernd Mayländer won one DTM race in his six year career but prior to that was Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion and won the 24 Hours Nürburgring. Mayländer also finished second in the GT class at the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnny Rutherford and Arie Luyendyk split time as IndyCar safety car driver. I think you already know a fair amount about those two. Either one of those two could represent IndyCar. Rutherford is much older so I think Luyendyk would be more likely to participate and would be more competitive.

Other safety car drivers from around the world include Jason Routley, who appears to still be the V8 Supercars safety car driver. Jürgen Kastenholz is DTM safety car driver. Portuguese Bruno Correia is the WTCC safety car driver and he was the safety car driver for the inaugural Formula E race from Beijing.

Unfortunately, I don't know the safety car drivers for FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA, European Le Mans or Blancpain GT Series but they could also compete. And while we are at it, throw in the safety car drivers from Super GT and Super Formula. If you know who the safety car drivers for any of the six series listed above, please let me know on Twitter at @4TheLoveofIndy.

That would be twelve drivers, just like IROC from many years gone by. Unlike IROC, I think this would just be one race, most likely on a road course with a neutral car. Perhaps something like spec-Miatas would be suitable. It would a great race to have in a warm climate at the beginning of December when every season has ended and it could be used to raise money for charity.

The days of IROC are dead but a fun, 45-minute race featuring safety car drivers might be a good alternative. Now we just need a proper acronym. IROP/SCD (International Race of Pace/Safety Car Drivers) doesn't really roll off the tongue. Maybe RPGP (Race Pacers Grand Prix).

The only question is who would be the safety car driver for the safety car drivers race? We would probably have to get an active driver behind the wheel. Jeff Gordon is retiring and looking for work. I am sure he would be a competent safety car driver.

2015 Verizon IndyCar Team-By-Team Previews
Starting this week our first batch of 2015 Verizon IndyCar Team-By-Team Previews will be posted. We are still just over a month away from the start of the IndyCar season but it will be here fast. If Brasilia wasn't cancelled, we would be just under a fortnight but thanks to the Brazilians dropping the ball and IndyCar deciding not to tag along with Pirelli World Challenge at Austin that weekend as a replacement race, we have to wait just a little longer.

At least Two teams will be previewed each week starting tomorrow until the week leading up to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. We will also have previews for the upcoming Road to Indy seasons as well as other IndyCar-related posts that I hope you find interesting.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first preview tomorrow. I will give you a hint of which team you can prepare for tomorrow to read about tomorrow: They have won the Indianapolis 500. That narrows it down... barely considering only three teams haven't won the Indianapolis 500.

Winners From The Weekend
You know about Joey Logano, Ryan Reed and what happened in the qualifying races but did you know...

Chad Reed won the Supercross race from Atlanta.

Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam split the World Superbike opening round from Phillip Island. Jules Cluzel won the World Supersport opener.

Jack Aitken won two of three Pro Mazda races at NOLA Motorsports Park for the first of two Winterfest rounds. Weiron Tan won the other race. Jake Eidson won two of three U.S. F2000 races with Victor Franzoni taking the other.

Tyler Reddick won the Truck race from Daytona, his first career victory.

Coming Up This Weekend
V8 Supercars kick off their season on the streets of Adelaide.
All three NASCAR series head to Atlanta.
AMA Supercross remains in Atlanta for another race.