Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance Auto racing’s long-standing tradition of grid girls seems to be in trouble. It was early 2015 when the World Endurance Championships (WEC) got rid of them, and Formula 1 may be next. Director Ross Brawn of Liberty Media, the new controlling group of Formula 1, recently said that the tradition of grid girls is being reconsidered. For the uninitiated, “grid girls” are the pretty women who stand beside the race cars prior to many events to hold grid markers and sponsor signs, and, well… look pretty. Traditionally, grid girls have dressed to Read More
Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance The past few years have brought every gimmick imaginable to auto racing. NASCAR holds races that three people can win. The ever-changing playoff system (a gimmick in itself) functions like an automotive version of musical chairs. Indycar’s gimmicks are even worse. They tried mandating overpriced “body kits” to make their field of 33 identical Dallara chassis look like something other than a field of 33 identical Dallara chassis. Their “Fast Nine” and “Fast Six” qualifying gimmick hasn’t revived interest in pole day although it’s proven very effective at totally confusing fans. Instead Read More
May 23, 2017 Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance Indycar fans fell in love with Lyn St. James in 1992 when she won the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award and kicked off a decade-long open wheel career that would eventually include nine starts at the Brickyard. She worked her way up through the road racing ranks, starting with a 1970’s Ford Pinto as her first race car. It took four years of sponsor hunting before she was able to land an Indy ride with Dick Simon Racing, which specialized in bringing new drivers to Indianapolis. Although Read More
Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance As most racing fans know, two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso is slated to run the Indianapolis 500 in a Honda-powered entry from Andretti Autosport. Less well known is the fact that my Electric GT Championship competitor, Stefan Wilson, was bumped out of his confirmed seat with Andretti so that Alonso could inherit the ride. In return for quietly stepping away from a confirmed Indy 500 seat, Wilson was promised a grab bag of favors including preferential treatment for a future ride. This deal makes sense for everyone on a lot of Read More
September 7, 2016
(Read Part 1 by clicking here) Ken Wallis was running out of time. Both of Carrol Shelby's turbine-powered cars were now at Indianapolis but they were nowhere near race-ready condition. His drivers, McLaren and Hulme, had only a six-day window before they returned to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.
In a desperate bid to make the cars competitive, Wallis used a liberal interpretation of USAC's rules to design a new annulus (the engine opening that fed air to the turbine). When measured by technical inspectors, the annulus was under the legal 16-inch limit. But at full throttle on the race track, a variable valve system opened to permit greater air flow into the turbine. At best, this was a careful translation of the rules. If they were caught there was no guarantee that USAC wouldn't immediately disqualify the Shelby/Wallis Turbines. Such a move would be an unmitigated disaster not only for the team principals, but also for Goodyear, their drivers and their sponsors.
August 26, 2016
PART 1 of 2
He wasn't the first to try, nor was he the last. Armed with a huge budget, a massive turbine engine and two of the finest drivers on the planet, in the spring of 1968 Carroll Shelby was ready to steal the Indianapolis 500.
June 28, 2016
“When I was doing it, I got paid to drive. You were judged on your merit as a driver... not the check that you brought,” Darren Manning said while sipping an after-hours beer and relaxing in the lobby of his company's new facility on the west side of Indianapolis.
May 11, 2016
The safety cult storm troopers continue their assault on auto racing and this time, even Formula One cannot escape their regulatory clutches.
In reference to the current effort to mandate either the Halo or Aeroscreen head protection safety gadgets for the 2017 racing season, F1 race director Charlie Whiting said, “If we eventually need to add a couple of seconds to the time required to get out (of the race car), I think that would be a small price to pay.”
December 7, 2015
I began driving race cars in 1985. In the thirty years since, I've had a total of one (1) serious neck injury while racing. It was at Plymouth Speedway in the summer of 1995. I have not had another neck injury since.
October 26, 2015
The Stephen Cox Blog is Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance
Jack Hawksworth is a nice kid and a good Indycar driver.
Some will take this column as a knock on Hawksworth, which is a complete misunderstanding of every word. It is no such thing. Ultimately, this is really not about Hawksworth at all. But his meteoric rise through the ranks exposes Indycar's gravest weakness and tells us a great deal about the inner workings of the series.