Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday

For this weeks Throwback Thursday we dug up an old 1963 Milwaukee Mile program
for this photo of Dan Gurney and Jimmy Clark, two Indycar legends.
Mr. Gurney celebrated his 83rd birthday Sunday at the Long Beach Grand Prix. 
 He was instrumental in first bringing racing to that city in 1975.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Brandon Igdalsky - Indycar Behind the Scenes

Best thing about last year’s Indycar season for us….Indycars returned to Pocono Raceway!

Coolest thing…Brandon Igdalsky, President of Pocono,
invited us up on July 4th to watch Indycars test before the race.

Recently we asked him if we could interview him for part
of our ‘Behind the Scenes in Indycar’ interview series.
He said yes!

(Brandon Igdalsky is the grandson of ‘Doc’ and Rose Mattioli, the founders/builders of Pocono Raceway)

Q:  What kind of odd jobs did you have when your grandfather owned the track?

A:  I worked in the sewer plant, I pumped the poop. I did garbage. I’m not allowed to paint anymore, I’m banned from painting. I was supposed to paint the ceiling and after the job was done, we had to paint the whole wall and get new carpet.  

Q:  What are your favorite memories at the track?

I was six or seven and in victory lane for the first time. I had my little pen and notepad and was getting all the autographs from the drivers.  That’s my first big memory.

Q: Who was your favorite driver as a kid?

A: A.J Foyt was actually my favorite driver.  I had my whole room decorated in A.J Foyt stuff.  My brother liked Richard Petty, and I liked Foyt. I also really liked Tim Richmond

Q: What are your favorite memories at the track with your grandfather?

A:  Him firing me…laughs…three times, and I deserved it each and every one of them.

Q:  Did you race karts as a kid?

A:  Yes, I ran Beril Roos, which is here at the track, but I wasn’t that good at it, my brother was faster, so I didn’t race, I would just go out for fun. I would go out and race the go karts, anything I could climb into and have fun.

Q:  Did you always want to work at the track?

A:  Nope. (Laughing) I had always been interested in the restaurant business, but my Grandfather always had me at the track every summer.  When I turned 18, my grandfather said “Go do something else when you get out of college”. Like I said, I had always been interested in the restaurant business, but for some reason like moths to a flame, I wanted to come back to work at the track every summer and have fun at the races.

Q:  What was your first job away from racing?

A:  I was a bus boy at a Mexican restaurant, and I helped my dad.  He had a dental lab and my brother and I would go over there and file.   We’d put the filing cabinet in alphabetical order and organize….Ughh.

Q:  What has been your favorite task at the track?

A:  Well there are a lot of them, but one time at a NASCAR race one of the ad banners on the safer barrier was loose, I ran up the hill, took my headphones off, climbed the fence and fixed it during the race, and the whole fencing was shaking. After I was done I put my headphones back on; called my boss and said “Okay, the ad banners fixed” My boss answered “Don’t ever do that again.”  So the next year it happened again and they made me wait 130 laps until a caution came out to go fix it.  That’s the fun stuff.

Q:  What do you do in your job?

A:  Lots of planning.  Some days are interviewing like today, and others we are in meetings.  We plan for lots of different things that are coming up.  Sitting down on twitter, talking to the fans.

Q:  Do you go to any other races?

A:  Yes. I go to four or five NASCAR races a year and two to three Indycar races. This year I’m going to St. Pete and Indianapolis (Indycar) and I was at Daytona (NASCAR) and I am going to Darlington and New Hampshire (NASCAR)

 Q: As track owner, do you get privileges to interview all the drivers at the tracks?

A:  No.  We don’t ask. We just do it.  (Laughing)

Q.  Are there any tracks you are not allowed to interview at?

A.  No, not yet.  But we’ll get there…I’m sure we’ll be there soon… (Laughing)

Q: As a track owner, what are your duties in the offseason?

A:    We get ready for the season.  There’s a lot of work to do putting sponsorship plans together, selling tickets.   Figuring out what we’re going to do new for the fans and for ourselves.  How we’re going to grow.  We’re all planning all winter long because we have a quick little summer season where everything that you have to do has to get done easily without any snafus and without any issues.

Q:  What about on raceday?

A:  Race day’s non-stop.  It starts before the sun comes up, I walk around to make sure everything’s in its place, and give a lot of high-fives.   I go to the drivers meetings and intros, that kind of stuff.  Then once the race starts I can relax until the end.  So once the race starts I’ll actually go sit with my family and watch the race.  I usually have lunch with my kids, meet with some sponsors and people I have to see, then, after the race I run down to victory lane to hand the trophy to the winner…. Then I go to sleep for the next three days. (laughing)

Q:  How excited were you to have Indycar back at Pocono?

A:  As excited as you were.  I grew up watching Indycar racing here, so to have them back was really great.  But seeing the new fans, that’s great, that’s what makes it more exciting.  That’s what it’s all about.

Q:  What do you think about the new double points for the Triple Crown races in Indycar this season?

A:  It is exciting because it puts pressure on the teams to get up there and run good.  It is also better because Indycar is more weighted to road and street, and it’s like a double header on the ovals.

Q:  What is your favorite thing about Pocono Raceway?

A:  It’s a triangle.  What’s cooler than that? And the fact that everyone is family.  All of our family works here.  Our staff is like family, the fans are like family, you guys are like family, you know, just come over and hang out.  It’s like coming home.
 Here's a video of how much fun we had doing the interview
Catch the Pocono Indycar 500 Fueled by Sunoco 
July 6th, 2014
and Kids (14 & under) can join the new


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

GP of Long Beach Recap

Wow, that was an exciting race!!!
Mike Conway inherited the lead when Scott Dixon had to pit for fuel with just 2 laps left after the top contenders crashed with less than 25 laps left to go in the race.

What was great about the GP of Long Beach

* Paul Tracy was announcing on NBCSports

* A lot of action due to the change that allowed for some blocking and side to side contact

* Josef Newgarden led during the race (our little sister Alex was jumping up and down)

* Great moves by Power, Conway, Munoz and Montoya to avoid the 'big wreck' that took out the leaders (including Josef, which quickly ended the happiness of our little sister)

* Mike Conway started way back in 17th and won the race and did it with a damaged wing since lap 1.

The Top 10 included

* Drivers from 7 different countries
* 6 Different teams
* 3 of the 4 Indycar rookies
* All 4 Columbian Drivers
* 6 Hondas and 4 Chevys

Other Stuff:

*  Mike Conway is the only driver to lead both Indycar races this season

*  Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are the only two drivers to finish in the top 5 in both races this season

* It was Montoya's first top five since he came back from Nascar

* We loved NBCSN overhead shots so we could watch all the action

* It was Carlos Munoz's second podium in just his fifth Indycar start



Gabby Chavez overtook pole sitter Zach Veach at the start of the race and led all 45 laps to win the Long Beach 100.

Don’t miss the next Indycar race,
the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 27th!

2:30 pm on NBCSports
and after Indycars watch
Indy Lights tape delayed at 5:30

Saturday, April 12, 2014

GP of Long Beach Qualifying

Four of the Firestone Fast Six drivers had never won an Indycar pole, but it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who won his 6th career Indycar pole (his first at Long Beach). 

Top Six:

1  Ryan Hunter-Reay

2  James Hinchcliffe

3 Sebastien Bourdais (A three time winner at Long Beach)

4 Josef Newgarden (Alex was a bit excited when he was P1 with under 2 minutes to go) 
5  Jack Hawksworth (rookie)

6  Simon Pagenaud
(Click here for the full results)
Other Stuff:
* Takuma Sato lost his two fastest laps in Round 1 because of a qualifying interference

* Five different teams are represented in the Top Six

* Today was the first time in the history of the Firestone Fast Six (Since 2005) that no Penske or   Ganassi car was in the Fast Six

* Five of the top Six are Hondas


Zach Veach won the pole for the Indy Lights race fresh off the success of his win at the GP of St. Pete


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grand Prix of Long Beach

Almost time for the Indycar race at Long Beach!

Past winners
2013-Takuma Sato
2012-Will Power
2011-Mike Conway
2010-Ryan Hunter-Reay
2009-Dario Franchitti
2008-Will Power
2007-Sebastien Bourdais
2006-Sebastien Bourdais
2005-Sebastien Bourdais
2004-Paul Tracy
2003-Paul Tracy

There's some other great racing at Long Beach besides Indycar:
* Pro/Celebrity Race
* TUDOR Championship
* Indy Lights Race
* Stadium Super Trucks Race
* Pirelli World Challenge Race
* Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Finals

See what last year's winner Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter Reay and Josef Newgarden have to say about the GP of Long Beach

Watch the action on NBC Sports Network

Indycar Qualifying
Saturday (4/12) at 6:00 pm EST

Indy Lights Race
Sunday (4/13) at 2:30 pm EST
The Grand Prix of Long Beach
Sunday April 13th 
4:00 pm EST
Follow along with the practices
on Live Timing and Scoring