. The Stephen Cox Blog is presented by “Corvette Miracle: The 1970 24 Hours of Daytona” Al Unser, Sr. used a hotel lobby display car to win at Indianapolis in 1987. 46-year-old Juan Fangio broke and re-broke the Nurburgring lap record three times during his miracle Formula One victory in 1957. Every motorsport enthusiast can recite a list of the great driving performances in auto racing history. But many of the sport’s truly amazing drives will never be known, not because the feats were less dramatic but because they occurred at amateur events with anonymous drivers. Like this one. Sunday, Read More
“Racers, Save Your Hearing!” Said Indy 500 Rookie of the Year
The Stephen Cox Blog is presented by “Corvette Miracle: The 1970 24 Hours of Daytona” Larry Rice was one of the finest men in auto racing, but I never quite understood why he always wanted to drive my rental car. It was 1999 and Larry and I were co-hosting what then known as the Championship Off Road Racing series (CORR) on EPSN2 for racing announcer extraordinaire and motorsports entrepreneur Marty Reid. I was in awe of Larry. In addition to his twin USAC Silver Crown titles and USAC national midget championship, he had also won the co-Rookie of the Year Read More
So Now the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wants Short Track Fans to Return?
. Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced a new event designed to draw short track fans back to the mecca of motorsports. A quarter mile dirt track will be constructed inside Turn 3 for a USAC midget race, which will be held in the first week of September in an effort to pump up sagging attendance at the Brickyard 400 stock car race. Speedway president J. Douglas Boles told the Indianapolis Star, “The short track community in a lot of ways is the heart and soul of racing, so… we thought, ‘Is Read More
1922 INDY 500: Two Boys, a Train and the Making of a Race Fan
Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance Here’s a short story to help you enjoy this year’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. In the spring of 1922, Alton Hartley was a college student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He and a friend decided they wanted to attend the 10th International 500 Mile Sweepstakes, as the race was then known, on Tuesday, May 30th. Having no car, Hartley and his friend needed a cheap method of transportation for the 65-mile southbound trip to Indianapolis and the local freight train beckoned. Hopping trains was illegal and considered trespassing in Read More
DRIVER EGO: The Key to Building a Successful Racing Series
. The Stephen Cox Blog is Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance The easiest way to increase car count in short track racing and amateur road racing is to keep your drivers happy. Really happy. Fortunately, there is a very effective and affordable way to do that. It was four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, August 29, 2004. It was blazing hot at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit just outside of Tulsa. Although we missed the setup and were posting slower-than-usual lap times, we won the GT-2 qualifying race after the leader retired with a broken supercharger belt. I climbed out Read More
INDYCAR: What’s Missing at St Pete’s Season Opener
The Stephen Cox Blog is Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance Qualifying for an Indycar race is no longer considered a unique accomplishment in the auto racing world. Of course, qualifying well is still valued. But qualifying itself is not, because every team that shows up automatically makes the race. This is one of the unspoken differences between Indycar racing today and Indycar racing of the past. Once upon a time, simply putting the car in the field was a noteworthy accomplishment in motorsports because there were more teams, cars and drivers than available entry positions in America’s highest open wheel Read More
Are Grid Girls the Next Casualties in the War for Political Correctness?
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
THIS Will Bring Fans Back to the Races!
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
INDYCAR: Lyn St. James on Indy, Driving Again & Advice for Today’s Drivers
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
INDY 500: Bump Day Happened This Week And No One Noticed
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