Showing posts from May, 2010

Medical Updates for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway After Their Crash at the Indianapolis 500

I just received this in a press release from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Indy Racing League Director of Medical Services Dr. Michael Olinger gave the following update regarding IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay:

Mike Conway had surgery Sunday night to repair fractures to his lower left leg. He also has a soft tissue injury to his lower left leg and is anticipated to have another surgical procedure later this week. Additionally, Conway has a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae and is being fitted for a back brace, which he will wear for three months and will prevent him from racing.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is scheduled to have surgery today on his left thumb. After surgery, he will be fitted with a carbon fiber splint, which should allow him to participate at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
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Dario Franchitti Wins the Indianapolis 500, End Punctuated by Accident

These are the UNOFFICIAL results of the Indianapolis 500. They need to be confirmed by race officials.
1. Dario Franchitti
2. Dan Wheldon
3. Alex Lloyd
4. Scott Dixon
5. Danica Patrick
6. Marco Andretti
7. Justin Wilson
8. Will Power
9. Helio Castoneves
10. Alex Tagliani
11. Tony Kanaan
12. Graham Rahal
13. Simona de Silvestro (R)
14. Mario Romancini

Finished 199 laps
15. Tomas Scheckter
16. Townsend Bell
17. Ed Carpenter

Finished 198 laps
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay (involved in crash on the last lap of the race)
19. Mike Conway (involved in crash on the last lap of the race)
20. Takuma Sato (R)
21. Ana Beatriz (R)

Finished fewer than 198 laps (in parentheses after driver's name)
22. Bertrand Baguette (R) (183)
23. Sebastian Saavedra (R) (159)
24. Ryan Briscoe (147)
25. EJ Viso (139)
26. Sarah Fisher (125)
27. Vitor Meira (105)
28. Hideki Mutoh (76)
29. Raphael Matos (72)
30. John Andretti (62)
31. Mario Moraes (17)
32. Bruno Junqueira (7)
33. Davey Hamilton (0)

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Sebastian Saavedra Hits the Wall

Sebastian Saavedra lost his line in Turn 1, spun out, and hit the wall. It's an unfortunate accident, because I figured his luck would have held out from Bump Day last week. Saavedra also raced on Friday in the Firestone Freedom 100, as part of the Indy Lights driver development program.

I had the chance to interview him a bit at Media Day this past Thursday. Check back here in a few minutes, and I'll have the YouTube upload here shortly.

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Ryan Briscoe Hits the Wall Coming Out of Turn 4

Ryan Briscoe is okay, is getting out of the car under his own power after hitting the wall coming out of Turn 4. A couple of the guys said something happened as he was coming out Turn 4. He rode it a little high, hit the outside wall, caromed into the pit wall, and just went sliding down the front stretch. I looked up in time to see the smoking husk of Ryan's car go scooting by.

Tough luck for Ryan Briscoe and Penske Racing today, since he had one of the best chances to bring home the checkered flag for Roger.

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Sarah Fisher Is Out

Sarah Fisher is pushing her #67 Dollar General car back to Gasoline Alley (not by herself, I'm sure. She has a crew to help.) Apparently, her suspension is broken, and she doesn't have any working radios. So it's the end of the day for Indianapolis' anti-Danica.

This is especially unfortunate, because a lot of people were hoping Sarah would be the highest placing woman today.

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Indianapolis 500 Rookie Update

After 128 laps, here is where the rookies stand:

17. Simona de Silvestro
20. Mario Romancini
22. Ana Beatriz
23. Sebastian Saavedra
24. Takuma Sato
26. Bertrand Baguette

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How Big Is Tony Kaaan's Comeback?

If Tony Kanaan in the #11 car can win this race, it will be the biggest comeback in Indianapolis 500 history. No one has won from 33rd place.

The closest anyone has come is in 1980 when Tom Sneva moved from 33rd to 2nd place. In that same year, Gary Bettenhausen moved from 32nd to 3rd place, after spending all night rebuilding his fuel system with his crew chief.

We'll see if Tony can repeat history, or even make it.

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Vitor Meira Is Out of the Race With Mechanical Difficulties

Vitor Meira has also left the race. He had some mechanical difficulty and had to pit the car and turn it off. We're not too sure what happened, but he had some problems that forced him out.

This was the 6th caution of the race, and now most of the cars have come in to pick up some fuel and change tires.

Tony Kanaan is now running 2nd or 3rd, depending on how they score Tomas Scheckter, who did not come in for the pit. Tony was 33rd, and has made the biggest damn recovery of anyone in the race. If he can win this year, I think it will be the biggest comeback for any Indy Car driver. I'll have to check on that with my racing expert friend, Ken.

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Indianapolis 500 Leaders after 100 laps

These are the top 20 places after 100 laps, before the green flag pit stops:

1. Dario Franchitti
2. Helio Castroneves
3. Ryan Briscoe
4. Ed Carpenter
5. Tony Kanaan
6. Tomas Scheckter
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay
8. Will Power
9. Townsend Bell
10. Dan Wheldon
11. Justin Wilson
12. Marco Andretti
13. Mike Conway
14. Alex Lloyd
15. Takuma Sato
16. Alex Tagliani
17. Danica Patrick
18. Scott Dixon
19. Sarah Fisher
20. Simona De Silvestro

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Raphael Matos Hits the Wall After 72 Laps

Raphael Matos and the #2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing are out of the race, after putting his car into the wall.

He had already had some problems in the pit, with his left rear wheel, which came off just as he was leaving the pit. He had to be pushed back into the pit and have the wheel put back on. When he got everything put back together, he was back out on the track when he seemed to spin out for no reason, and hit the wall in turn #1.

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John Andretti Hits the Wall

John Andretti just hit the wall. He took a turn a little high, brushed the wall and bent his back rear tire. He got out of the car under his own power, and walked to the ambulance. He appears to be okay, but his day is over.

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway live feed.

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Will Power Loses Piece of Fueling Equipment; Tony Kanaan is 15th

Will Power just lost a piece of fueling equipment during his latest pit stop, and will be forced to come back into the pit to remove the steel spring from the fueling hose. He hasn't come back in as far as I can see, but we're under yellow. He will also be assessed a drive-through penalty.

In the meantime, Tony Kanaan has moved from 33rd to 15th, and is now back to 21st.

Here are the standings during the last yellow flag.

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Bruno Junqueira hits the wall

Bruno Junqueira is now out of the race. He was in 25th place, on lap #8, when he caught some dirty air, and went spinning into the turn, hitting the wall.

My friend, Ken, thought that Bruno was going to do really well today, but a bit of bad luck has dropped Bruno out of the race.

On a positive note, Tony Kanaan has moved from 33rd place to 18th place in just 8 laps.

Davey Hamilton has also been checked and released without injury from the Clarian Emergency Medical Center here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Davey Hamilton Out Before Completing 1st Lap

Davey Hamilton has already wiped out in turn #2.

Tomas Scheckter was on his outside, Hamilton looked like he was surprised by Scheckter, overcompensated, and went sliding out off the track into the field. Davey, who is the race's oldest driver at 48, is out of the race. His right front wheel bent under, and unless they can fix it, he looks like he's out.

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2010 Indianapolis 500 (PHOTOS)

I've finally figured out how to upload and sync all my photos that I'm taking to Picasa, Google's photo sharing site (and main competitor to Yahoo's Flickr, where I also have an account). As I take photos and upload them, they'll automatically sync with this slideshow. It's 11:45 am, and the race begins in about 90 minutes.

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It's Morning Again In Indianapolis

It's morning again in Indianapolis. Today, more men and women will watch auto racing than any other day in the world.

With the largest race in the world converging on Indianapolis, nearly 10,000 people will be passed out at some time today, more than any other time in the past 12 months.

This afternoon, 33 young men and women will drive in the biggest race of their lives. And with the race economy improving, they can look forward with confidence to having a ride again next year.

It's morning again in Indianapolis, and under the leadership of Randy Bernard, the Indy Racing League is seeking to improve, to become prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to watch NASCAR?

(With apologies to Hal Riner, creator of "It's Morning in America.")

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Media Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 (PHOTOS)

It was Media Day at the Speedway yesterday, and although I spent most of my time shooting videos, I did manage to take some still shots as well.

This is an interesting setup. All the drivers get their own little interview booth — basically, a tall table and chair inside a 6' x 10' curtained area — and the different members of the media get to gather around and interview the driver. A few of the booths were always packed (Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves), a few were always busy (Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti, and Hideki Mutoh had a huge contingency of Japanese journalists), but a few of them had drivers who looked either bored or lonely. I was able to walk up, stand with some guy from Obscure Racing Journal Quarterly, and do a quick interview. It was actually pretty cool, and I was able to get some good footage. My only complaint is that the lens filter on my camera made everyone look like a Liz Taylor perfume commercial.

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Celebrating The Retrosexual Man

Celebrating The Retrosexual ManErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man, now back at me. Sadly, he isn't me. But if he stopped using hair product by the pound, he could — and stopped wearing his pink shirt — he could — and didn't accessorize — you know what, forget it. Just forget it.

Look at your man, and wonder exactly when he became more of a woman than you.

That's the problem with today's metrosexual man. They want to accessorize. To use enough hair product that their hair has all the protective quality of a motorcycle helmet. To wear pink shirts, and quietly hum, "I feel pretty, oh so pretty" while they're antiquing with you in the country.

It's enough to make me want to kick Abercrombie in his Fitch.

I just read a recent news article that gave me hope that all is not lost for mankind: the days of the metrosexual may be drawing to an end. That hair sculpting, fashion watching, accessori…

There Are Not Many Racing Rivalries at the Indianapolis 500

Race fans may remember the Marco Andretti - Mario Moraes dustup from last year's Indianapolis 500. Since that one still seems to be on a low boil, I decided to ask a few of the drivers whether they had any rivalries with other drivers.

The three drivers I asked — Tomas Scheckter, Alex Lloyd, and Ryan Hunter-Reay — all said the same thing. "We don't have any rivalries, we just want to beat everyone."

Man, these guys are just too nice. This isn't like NASCAR, where drivers have bitter feuds that have lasted for years. These guys understand the dangers and risks they face on the track, so it brings them closer together, rather than creating any rivalries.

I did like Ryan Hunter-Reay's answer. He's gunning for one guy in particular. Sort of.

Tomas Scheckter, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Alex Lloyd, Dale Coyne Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport

The thing that's really cool about Indy Car racing is that while the competition is fierce, they still watch ou…

Bertrand Baguette Makes Indianapolis 500 History: Second Belgian to Race

Everyone is making such a big deal about there being four women in the Indianapolis 500 this year, everyone is overlooking an equally compelling story: Bertrand "Save it, I've heard them all" Baguette has become the second-ever Belgian to drive in the Indianapolis 500.

Conquest Racing team owner and Belgian native Eric Bachelart drove in the 500 in 1992 and 1995.

So come on, you Belgian haters! What's up? Belgium is a country rich in culture and history. They've given us world-class French fries, exquisite gourmet chocolates, and Hercule Poirot, so it's not a stretch to assume that a Belgian driver can make an excellent showing in the 2010 Indianapolis 500.

We need to cheer for my fellow Lowlander (my dad's family is from Holland, Belgium's neighbor), and get the race media to quit focusing so much on the women, and give the racing fans a little Belgian love. (Okay, that just sounds dirty.)

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Five Indy 500 Drivers You Should Watch This Year

I've talked with a few racing expert friends about the five drivers you should be paying attention to this year, and was given some pretty good names. These aren't your usual Dario Franchittis and Helio Castroneveseses(es) of Indy racing fame — that list is too easy. Just list the first five drivers in the starting lineup, and you've got the quick and dirty "who's gonna win" list that most lazy sports writers tend to cover.

But during the Pole Day press conference, Helio Castroneves said the sports writers should talk about a few of the other guys too — guys like Graham Rahal and Ed Carpenter who made the Front 9, despite some overwhelming odds.

So, while these 5 may not be the favorites to win, these are 5 drivers I'm keeping my eye on this year, and in the future.

1. Graham Rahal: Graham Rahal shouldn't even be here in Indy, let alone sitting 6th. Rahal's #30 Quick-Trim/RLR Special is the result of a deal arrived at with his dad just two weeks befo…

Starting Lineup for the 2010 Indianapolis 500

Starting Lineup for the 2010 Indianapolis 500

From the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Results of qualifying Sunday for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Rank, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.7485 (226.774)
2. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.0024 (226.412)
3. (77) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.0163 (226.392)

4. (10T) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.1825 (226.156)
5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.4367 (225.795)
6. (30) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.5627 (225.617)

7. (06) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.6998 (225.423)
8. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.7409 (225.365)
9. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.8817 (225.166)

10. (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.9313 (225.097)
11. (22) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.9647 (225.050)
12. (2) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.9798 (225.02…

A Letter of Support from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association

I received this letter from Mike May of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association in response to my column, "Ban Aluminum Bats From Youth Baseball."

While I agree with his stats and that aluminum may actually be as safe as wood, I still think wood sounds better than aluminum. I asked Mike which he prefers, wood or aluminum, and he said, "As for the crack of the bat or the ping of the bat, I like it all. I just like to watch and play baseball."

He also wants aluminum bat supporters to check out Don't Take My Bat Away.

Here's his letter.

Dear Erik:

There has been a great deal of research done in recent years on the ‘wood vs. non-wood’ baseball bat issue which bears further consideration. See the comments below which support the idea of keeping non-wood bats.

1.) Dr. Dawn Comstock, PhD (Center for Injury Research and Policy at Ohio State University) compiles injury data on high school sports for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). …

Is This the Future of Indy Cars?

I had chance to talk to Ben Bowlby, the chief technology officer for DeltaWing Racing about this new concept car they've created. DeltaWing Racing is part of the Ganassi Group, and this is a concept car they have submitted to ICONIC, the race car design oversight committee for the Indy Racing League.

If DeltaWing's design is accepted, they will make their designs available to the public, students, the media, and the racing community via their website. Anyone will be able to make any changes, improvements, or suggestions. Racing teams can take the designs, make their own improvements to it and have their very own car design on Race Day 2012.

I was especially interested in the effect social media (my chosen profession) has had on their way of thinking.

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New 2010 Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Procedure

In a rather dramatic departure from the traditional Indy 500 Pole Day qualifications, race officials have introduced "The Fast Nine" shootout to find the top 9 qualifiers for Sunday's race.

Here's how the Indianapolis Motor Speedway explains it:

11 am - 4 pm: The top 24 spots in the 33-car field will be available through traditional four-lap attempts. Each car will have up to three attempts during this time. The times of the top nine drivers from this first segment of qualifying will be erased at 4 pm, with all of those competitors guaranteed to start no worse than ninth in the Indianapolis 500.
4:30 - 6:00 pm: The "Fast Nine" then will be required to make at least one four-lap qualifying attempt, with optional attempts if time permits. Each driver's best run during the 90-minute session will set their position within the top nine spots on the starting grid. If inclement weather prevents the 90-minute shootout for the "Fast Nine," their times fro…

Rick Mears interview (VIDEO)

Rick Mears was one of my stepdad's and mom's favorite drivers when I was growing up. After I took this video, I got to say hello to Rick and pass along some kind wishes from my folks.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21, 2010 (PHOTOS)

These are some photos I took at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 21, 2010.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 20, 2010 (PHOTOS)

Photos from my first day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rain canceled practice around 4:00, but I had a chance to visit the media center, do a video interview with Justin Wilson, and watch some of the garage activity.

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To The Man Cave!!

To The Man Cave!!Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2010

It's been a few years, but I'm finally getting my garage again. Not just any garage though. It is, as my son calls it, our Man Cave.

He has been excited about getting a Man Cave for a few years, because I made him watch a show by the same name one day, and we talked how we could create an awesome Man Cave. His then 5-year-old brain reeled at the possibilities. I think he was envisioning some sort of sports bar with a fire pole, a bar with working beer tap, and secret passageways. Or maybe that was me.

(I capitalize Man Cave, because it's so manly, mere lowercase letters cannot contain the awesome power of the Man Cave.)

When I lived in northern Indiana, I had an awesome workbench. It was 12 feet long, was built with Southern yellow pine lumber (which is stronger and heavier than that wimpy Douglas fir most houses are built with), and the top was made from red oak plywood and had three coats of heavy-duty polyu…

My Interview with Indy Car Driver, Justin Wilson (VIDEO)

I had a chance to do a quick interview with Indy car driver Justin Wilson. Wilson was with Dale Coyne Racing last year, with Team Z-Line Designs, but moved to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing early this year. He kept the sponsorship, but changed teams.

Justin rejoins last year's Indy 500 teammate Tomas Scheckter (driving the #23 MonaVie car), who moved over to D&R after last year's race. He is also joined by Mike Conway (#24, Dad's Root Beer car), and Ana Beatriz (#25, Ipiranga).

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Back at the Indianapolis 500 as a Media Blogger

Every sport has its own sounds, whether it's the CRACK of the bat, the grunts and hard plastic smack of football pads, and the nnnNNNNNNOOOWWWWWWWWW!! of the Indianapolis 500.

I'm back up in my seat in the media center of the the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, listening to the high-pitched whine of the race cars whizzing past at 200+ miles an hour — I just saw Danica Patrick go by in Pit Row, rookie Simona De Silvestro is on the track, and A.J. Foyt IV is sitting in the pit.

It's smaller this year. The whole month of May is smaller. They've had some problems with money at the Speedway, the teams were suffering last year, and so the month has been shortened by nearly two weeks. The most telling sign is this year's media guides are all online, instead of being printed out this year. (And like an idiot, I dumped mine last week in a cleaning fit. Maybe I can still rescue them.)

But the passion is still here. It's just been distilled. Howdy Bell, one of the voices of the…

Living Through History Is No Birthday Party

Living Through History Is No Birthday Party
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

Today, I had the awful realization that I'm turning 43 next month. It's awful for a couple of reasons, mostly because I will no longer be 42.

"Well, duh, Erik. That's because 43 follows 42."

It's not actually turning 43 that bothers me (okay, it bothers me, but more on that later.) It's that I've liked being 42. It's a magical age. It's a fun number. It is, as any fan of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (the greatest science fiction novel ever) can tell you, the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

I will no longer be the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

This saddens me greatly, because I used to take particular geeky delight in telling people that's how old I was.

"How old are you?"

"The answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything."

If the other person got it, if they had read "The Hitch…

Ban Aluminum Bats From Youth Baseball

Ban Aluminum Bats From Youth BaseballErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

Baseball has its own soundtrack. The crack! of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the food vendors with their cries of "COLDbeer! Getcha coldbeer HEAH!"

The sounds of baseball resonates in our brains and in our veins. It echoes in our society's collective souls. Anyone who grew up in this country, whether you played baseball or not, knows what that crack sounds like. In fact, when you started reading this, you imagined that crack!, followed by the roaring of the crowd as the ball sailed over the wall.

When I was a kid, I loved baseball. I played it, watched it, studied it. I talked about it, collected it, and read it. Then, when I discovered soccer, I lost track of it. But I've renewed my love for baseball over the last few years, watching games whenever I can catch them, showing my son and daughters the intricacies of the game. We've even had the chance to go to games for our loca…

Phone It In Sunday: Magic Fart-Proof Blanket Commercial

I'm still not sure whether the Magic Fart-Proof Blanket is a real thing or not. There's nothing in the commercial to make me think it's a joke, but Oh! My! God!

What the blanket manufacturers fail to mention is that it's not the odor drifting up through the blanket and into your loved one's nostrils. It's the fumes trapped inside the blanket that creep over to your partner's side of the bed, like a band of stinky ninjas, and launch the assault from there.

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

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