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
(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.
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.
Indycars will be faster this year. Recent testing at Barber Motorsports Park demonstrated that the new “aero body kits” generate far more downforce, which resulted in nearly every car in the field beating last year's pole time.
Brian Vickers is back. Again. After being forced out of NASCAR racing for the third time with a major medical issue, Vickers has returned to Michael Waltrip Racing after a successful heart surgery. I remember Brian well from his days in the Hooters ProCup Stock Car Series, where I was SPEED's pit reporter for nine years.
Many will assume that the title of this week's column is based in sarcasm. It is not. We can debate whether Sunday's Indy 500 was a “good” race, or if the NASCAR-like red flag ruined an honest end to the event (all we need now is “overtime”), but we cannot challenge the fact that it was entertaining.
I grew up in Indianapolis and I live for the Indy 500. I’ve worked as a network announcer on the TV crew during the month of May. I’ve watched Indycar my whole life. But I have no idea how the pole position will be determined today.
“It's all about money nowadays. I don't think it matters about how much talent you've got. It seems like if you've got more money, you get the shot. People like Oriol Servia, he's out of a ride and a talented guy. You've got Alex Tagliani... me... people who could do it. It's really difficult to get funding.” - Katherine Legge, 2-time Indy 500 starter, to Autoweek magazine