Race Weekend Central

IndyCar Preview: 2012 Honda Indy Toronto

*What’s News?*

After a spell of five races in five weeks that began with an enthralling 96th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Motorsports, the entire INDYCAR Series had a moment to breathe with the off weekend. But it was only a brief moment, as the action heats up again this Sunday with the first of two trips across the border into Canada in the month of July. Just six races remain before the 2012 champion is crowned and there’s sure to be plenty of action, and much to discuss, prior to the checkered flag waving at Fontana.

The other big news this week is …

The Return of IndyCar’s Magic Button

INDYCAR has announced that the push to pass feature will return to the IZOD IndyCar Series for the five remaining road / street course events on the 2012 schedule, beginning this weekend in Toronto. The big question I want to ask about this announcement is why?

No, not just why, more like why on earth did anyone think it was a good idea to monkey with what has been a really good season with happy fans so far by bringing back a completely unnecessary and totally contrived bit of fakery like push to pass?

IndyCar Preview: Iowa Corn Indy 250

*Whats News?*

The IZOD IndyCar Series heads to the fan-friendly Iowa Speedway this week for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Last week, Ryan Hunter-Reay delivered an impressive victory in a race that was promoted by team owner Michael Andretti. Of course, the race was not without controversy as yet another questionable call was made by IndyCar officals, this time a drive through penalty given to Scott Dixon. The incident was just one of many questionable calls made by Beaux Barfield and Co. this season, and one can’t help but wonder when IndyCar will clean up its act on the officiating side of things.

Dictatorship: The Real Reason NASCAR Is More Popular Than IndyCar Today

We mostly learn in history class that a dictatorship is a bad thing. Stalin, Castro, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, Ecclestone. Wait, I got ahead of myself on that last one. Anyway, we’re taught that dictators are evil and they bring nothing but ruin to their realms. Unless that realm happens to be NASCAR, in which case, if your name is Big Bill France, you built an empire that was strong and good and you passed it along to your son Bill, Jr. who continued to grow and strengthen it, so much so in fact that even your idiot grandson hasn’t been able to destroy it completely in the nine years he’s been in charge … but again, I digress.

IndyCar Preview: Milwaukee IndyFest

*What’s News?*

The IZOD IndyCar Series heads to the Milwaukee Mile this week for Milwaukee IndyFest (yes…that’s the name of the race). After a thriller last week at Texas, the historic Milwaukee Mile circuit promises to put on another fabulous show. This race, which is being promoted by the marketing arm of Michael Andretti’s team, it is hoped will be an attempt to recapture some lost glory from the race’s glory days. With the future of this race being murky at best, IndyFest promoters are on pins and needles hoping that the race weekend turns out to be a success.

Pack Perfection: IndyCar Officials Make Right Call in the Interest of Safety

Score one for the drivers. Last Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers finally got their wish and were granted an aero package that at last broke up the much maligned (by drivers at least) “pack-style” of racing that has been a staple of races on the high banked 1.5 milers over the last few years. IndyCar officials settled on a new package that featured less downforce and less wing angle. This obviously led to higher speeds but also less grip, meaning the drivers were forced to lift entering the corners and thus put a greater emphasis on a driver’s ability to find grip through the corners. In short, IndyCar broke up the packs.

IndyCar Preview: Firestone 550K

*What’s News?*

The DW12 will see it’s second outing on an oval and quite a different one from the large and flat Indianapolis Motor Speedway when the IZOD IndyCar Series visits Fort Worth this weekend. Tests were conducted at the Texas Motor Speedway in February and again on May 7, when 11 teams participated to set baselines and confirm the aero package that will be used for the high banked oval. Scott Dixon set the quickest time at the May test.

IndyCar issued a technical bulletin to teams last week outlining the aero package for Texas, which will be different from what was used at Indy. Rear wing mainplanes can be set by the teams within a 5.5 degree range and teams must use the standard speedway rear wing endplate and standard wheel guard. Teams can experiment with front and rear wickers so there are a number of options for how they can set up the cars.

NASCAR And IndyCar: How A Pothole Can Unite Two Series

_Editor’s Note: This column is the first in a new weekly commentary series focused on IndyCar. Let us know what you think of our new “open-wheel” Wednesday coverage in the comments section below!_

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Frontstretch has expanded its reach into the open-wheel world with new coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Formula 1. Scary territory, right? After all, those series are so different from NASCAR, Frontstretch’s main area of focus. How could the readers of a NASCAR site possibly hope to relate to those odd, pointy cars?

IndyCar Race Recap: A Bizarre Day in Detroit

*In A Nutshell:* In a race that was eerily reminiscent of the 2010 Daytona 500, track surface issues were the big story on a day in which Scott Dixon otherwise dominated. The asphalt surface in Turn 7 started kicking up and creating issues around lap 30, and by lap 39, the track was in such poor shape that James Hinchcliffe wrecked going through the damaged area. The race was promptly stopped for 2 hours after this incident. Dixon resumed his dominance and cruised home to an easy 1.9 second victory after the race was restarted. Dixon’s teammate Dario Franchitti came home 2nd to deliver a 1-2 finish for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Oriol Servia rounded out the top 5.

IndyCar Preview: Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

*What’s News?*

Honestly most of the news this week centers around the Indy 500, with the awards, checks, and media blitz being the focus. But wait-leave it to the ongoing engine saga to generate at least one story. Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing put together a deal with Chevrolet for an engine lease after being dropped from the Lotus program and while the manufacturer provided two engines to power the team’s entries for Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge at Indy, the deal is for a single engine lease going forward.

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