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Carpenter-Texas3 wins (2 for Mike Conway, 1 for Ed Carpenter) and 1 pole (Carpenter).

Predictably, given their split roles, Ed Carpenter and Mike Conway fell outside the top 20 in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings, but their combined total of points for the No. 20 car would have put them eighth in the standings.

Marshall Pruett says…

If we had five things reaffirmed by ECR this season, it’s that Ed Carpenter (ABOVE) is as smart as he is fast, Mike Conway is the most frustratingly inconsistent winner in the series, Tim Broyles is one hell of a leader of men, Matt Barnes is an amazing engineer and chief mechanic Bret Schmitt oversees a stellar pit crew.

Conway-LongBeachStarting with Carpenter, the Butler University graduate made the best business decision of the year by stepping out of the car on road and street courses, and with that remarkably bold move, he was soon rewarded with wins by Mike Conway that would have never been possible. Only Team Penske did better than ECR’s 16.6 percent win ratio in 2014. How’s that for a statistic that speaks to ECR’s year-to-year improvement.

Conway was a blur at some events, but as has been the case throughout his IndyCar career, there were too many weekends when the street course ace was buried deep in the pack. There were far too many events where I expected to see Conway in the mix up front, and left wondering what went wrong. If he wasn’t winning, he was outside the top-10, and while we’re using numbers, Conweezy’s not-in-the-top-10 finishes happened 83.3 percent of the time in 2014. Those weren’t always his fault, but it’s a significant figure to consider. If Conway returns to ECR under the new CFH Racing banner, improving his starting and finishing position will be key to maintain their form.

Broyles brings the perfect tone of professionalism, high expectations and character to his post as team leader, and it shows in everything ECR accomplished. The tight-knit team has a blue collar approach to their craft, and it clearly produces results.

Like Conway, Barnes will need to come up with setups that allow the team to practice, qualify and race with a greater likelihood of a strong finish, but that’s far from an indictment of his talents. Switching between two drivers all year and achieving what they achieved can only be done with a high-caliber engineer, and it’s great to see Matt receive some of the credit he’s due. Finally, Schmitt’s pit crew cranked out fast stops and reliable cars all season.

We didn’t know what to expect from ECR this year, but by the time Fontana was over, they had the look of the next Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. With Carpenter, Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman pooling resources, and Broyles as team manager, CFH Racing is primed to challenge SPM for their position as IndyCar’s David among Goliaths.​

 

Robin Miller says…

A smart move by the owner before a wheel turned, consistently good racecars and excellent pit stops combined with good strategy made Ed Carpenter Racing one of the best littleteams in all of motorsports.

The lone driver/owner in the Verizon IndyCar series put aside his pride and took one for the team by hiring Mike Conway to do all the road races in 2014 and the result was three victories for his squad and miles of respect.

Conway paid instant dividends by winning the Long Beach Grand Prix in only his second start for ECR as hedodged a multi-car pileup that wiped out the Top 5 and held off Will Power to notch his second W at IndyCar’s most cherished race behind the Indianapolis 500. Then he used a good call for slick tires on a drying track in Toronto to score an unlikely triumph from 11th position.

But it was feast or famine for the laid back Brit as he struggled on road courses and only qualified for the Fast Six once all season in 10 tries. So, considering their woes in qualifying, making it to the top step of the podium twice was quite an achievement.

Carpenter continued his oval-track prowess by capturing Texas and winning his second straight pole at Indianapolis, where he was primed for a win before being taken out in an accident. He also finished third in the season finale at Fontana and fifth at Iowa – pretty damn impressive for only five starts.

Engineer Matt Barnes and Carpenter have become formidable on any oval and Barnes is getting a lot ofinterest from around the paddock but will be back with Ed in 2015. Still not sure about Conway’s future, as a WEC sports car offer from Toyota could be too temping to turn down and that would conflict with IndyCar. J.R. Hildebrand is waiting in the wings if Conway chooses to leave.

When you consider ECR’s tiny budget, compared to Chevrolet’s two big dogs Ganassi and Penske, it was a testament to the team Tim Broyles and Ed assembled and how they executed.
 

David Malsher says…

The third year of the DW12 was supposed to see the big teams stretch their advantage over the little ’uns, wasn’t it? So how come Ed Carpenter Racing looked more convincing than Chip Ganassi Racing for much of the year, ended the season with as many wins as the reigning champions, and car No. 20 had as many victories as car No. 12, as piloted by the new champ?

“They weren’t that fast on street courses, they just got the strategy right a couple of times,” said one grumpy rival at season’s end…and he has a point; Mike Conway’s wins came from 17th and 11th on the grid respectively. But he had tomake his way forward via passing maneuvers as well as pit strategy. And let’s not forget, he was the first person brave enough to call the right strategy at Toronto (BELOW).

He had anonymous weekends (Houston, Barber) and races where he made errors (Detroit), but show me a driver who was consistent this year and I’ll show you one who was slower than he should have been. This was the year where you had to live on the limit at each race or you'd be swallowed up.

Ed Carpenter, for various reasons, jumps up in my estimation each year, and that Texas victory was very well deserved. Only Will Power was in the same league in being able to make his car’s tires last a whole stint that night…which really does make you wonder what this team could achieve with two sets of data. Well, thankfully, at Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing, we’re going to find out.

Conway-Toronto

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The opportunity to add one of the best drivers in the series was the only impetus Penske needed to go after Simon Pagenaud.

"This is a business where you have to be looking ahead," said Tim Cindric, Team Penske president, during a conference call Monday after it was confirmed Pagenaud would be the fourth driver in Roger Penske's IndyCar armada of Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Juan Montoya. Simon had been in the back of my mind all season long because I knew his series obligations and, fortunately, we have an owner committed to winning and opportunity."

Team owner Roger Penske, who now has the four of the top five drivers in the 2014 standings, said sponsorship was never a factor.

"You've got to make the move when you've got the opportunity and I feel really good about what we've got," said Penske. "Simon has certainly performed well and I think we're in good shape for the future."

As first reported Sept. 16 on RACER.com, this is Pagenaud's big break and a shift in the power of the Verizon IndyCar Series since the 30-year-old Frenchman won four times during the past two years for the small Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team.

"It's a very special day in my career, the next step in my career and perfect timing," he said. "I've always admired 'The Penske Way' and it's an honor to be part of Team Penske. As a driver you always hope you will get the best opportunity and the decision was pretty easy for me."

Even though Pagenaud had a deep connection with Honda and SPM, the chance to drive for the Chevrolet-powered Penske was impossible to resist.

"I can't thank Honda enough for everything they helped me achieve in sports cars and Indy cars and I'll always appreciate the opportunity that Sam gave me," he continued. But I don't know of any driver who would turn down the opportunity from Roger Penske."

Team Penske finished 1-2-4 in the 2014 championship with Power edging Castroneves, and Montoya making a strong comeback to open-wheel racing. The addition of Pagenaud gives Chevrolet the double-barreled quartet of Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske.

It will be the first time The Captain has ever fielded four cars in his 46 years of Indy car competition but Cindric said sponsorship was secondary to securing Pagenaud.

"We have potential beyond our existing sponsorships and more time available to raise those budgets and it's a challenge but we're willing to take that chance. We took notice of Simon's competitiveness back when he was driving for Gil [de Ferran] in ALMS and this is the first opportunity we've had to bring him on board."

Pagenaud Power BeachDriving No. 22 next year, Pagenaud now will be paired with his on-track nemesis of this past season.

"We had our contacts on track but Will is the champion and a tremendous driver and we were good teammates in Champ Car [in 2007] so it's our job to make it work," Pagenaud said. "I don't see any problem or reason it won't work."

Asked if he'd spoken with Power, Pagenaud replied: "Not yet but we've got a Verizon event tomorrow so it should be interesting."

who where2I've thoroughly enjoyed the momentum IndyCar's Silly Season has gained in recent weeks. After noting we could be in for a rather boring offseason with minimal movement in my traditional pre-Mid-Ohio Silly Season post, not only have I been proven wrong, but the volume of potential hirings and firings has quadrupled.

We've been waiting for the first major domino to fall with Simon Pagenaud's move from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to Team Penske since RACER broke the story weeks ago, and with the journeyman now locked into a lucrative and long-term contract, the rest of the dominoes are ready to fall behind him.

With Pagenaud vacating his SPM seat after three years, the Sam Schmidt- and Ric Peterson-owned outfit needs to hire a replacement – a new leader – and Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe has been at the center of the team's attention. The popular, race-winning Canadian is a perfect fit with the Honda-powered team, and with a Canadian co-owner in Peterson to his close ties to Honda Canada, the planets seem to have aligned for the Mayor of Hinchtown.

SPM has what Hinch needs – financial stability and a multi-year opportunity, and it should allow the 27-year-old to put the constant funding and contractual concerns aside and focus all of his efforts on driving. As long as sanctions do not prevent the Russian SMP bank from continuing to support Mikhail Aleshin, The Mayor and Mikhail Show could be a potent combination.

Bourdais paddockSPM won't have a clear and easy path to Hinch thanks to interest that continues to come from KVSH Racing. 2014 was excellent for KVSH driver Sebastien Bourdais, yet the other half of the program with Sebastian Saavedra was an absolute disaster. From Saavedra's father coming to blows with his son's engineer at Sonoma to a season-long divide between both camps, it wasn't a year to remember for the young Colombian in the KV AFS Racing entry.

If KV co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser, and SH Racing owner James Sullivan have their way, Hinch would join Bourdais in a second KVSH car, but it's a race against the clock to secure the necessary sponsorship. SPM has the ability to pull the trigger today, making a Hinch-to-SPM a stronger possibility. If KVSH end up losing their man to SPM, you can count on every open-wheel driver with a pulse to chase the opportunity to partner with Bourdais.

Granted, there's no guarantee a second KVSH car will materialize, and with the existing KV AFS relationship, there could – and that's a very thin 'could' – be room for a retooled Saavedra program to return as a second or third car depending on what happens with the KVSH expansion plans.

Following the domino trail, Penske created a new seat for Pagenaud to fill which left a seat open at SPM, and with Hinch likely to fill Simon's old ride, that could open his seat at Andretti Autosport. Speaking with the Andretti team at Fontana, everything from staying at four cars, provided the budget could be secured for Hinch's No. 27 Honda, to reducing to three cars was listed as an option.

If the funding can be secured to keep Hinch, which has been Andretti's goal all along, the timeline to complete that process is expected to extend into October, at least, if not November. Based on what you now know about his options and the timelines those other teams are working from, it would put Andretti near the bottom of the pile.

Regardless of where Hinch ends up, the team continues to work on making the fourth car happen for 2015, and if they can pull it off, it would have the team in an envious position where it has money to spend and a deep pool of talent to choose from. Provided he can exit Dale Coyne Racing, Justin Wilson is thought to be atop Andretti's shopping list.

Wilson's coming off of a tough season at DCR, and while it's believed the team has an option on one of IndyCar's best all-rounders, it might be time for both sides to start over. If that happens, Wilson becomes a prized asset for the likes of SPM, KVSH, Andretti and others to pursue.

As RACER revealed at Fontana, GP2 driver Daniel Abt has an interest in IndyCar, and if his test with Andretti Autosport next month ticks all of the boxes he's looking for, the young German would certainly have the funding to lock down Andretti's fourth car.

If Abt were to sign with Andretti, it wouldn't preclude the team from chasing dollars for a fifth car – something Michael Andretti has openly stated as a goal for next season. Although that scenario would seem like a remote proposition if Abt joins the fold in the fourth car, it would keep Wilson and other key drivers in place to join the program.

The situation with Ganassi Racing continues to build interest as one of the biggest dominoes in the series continues to teeter and shake, but isn't quite ready to fall.


Briscoe indyRyan Briscoe rallied to finish 11th in the standings in his first full season back with Ganassi, but the NTT Data-sponsored car was expected to run with team leaders Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. Instead, the No. 8 car was rarely in the mix with the red cars. The team was confident about his position for 2015 leading into Mid-Ohio, but something changed, leading Ganassi and their sponsor to table discussions on taking up the Aussie's option.

Briscoe continues to float in limbo as Ganassi and NTT Data decide which direction to take next year, and with young badass Sage Karam waiting in the wings, the Pennsylvanian's hunger could be exactly what the team needs. Facing Penske's scary four-car effort with Pagenaud situated alongside Will Power, Juan Montoya and Helio Castroneves will take more than the two Target cars running up front, and it makes 19-year-old Karam a fascinating alternative for Chip to ponder.

Another domino could fall at the Ed Carpenter Racing portion of the newly christened Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing team. Mike Conway wasn't the most consistent driver in the paddock during his 12-race stint for ECR – 10 finishes were outside the top-10 – but his two wins were mightily impressive, yet with the Toyota Racing factory LMP1 team evaluating the Briton for a race seat next year, Conweezy could be taken off the table as an option for CFH.

He made his race debut for Toyota at Circuit of The Americas earlier this month and said he'll likely race at least one more time before the WEC season ends on Nov. 30. With the potential of a lucrative seat with a manufacturer, Conway will obviously wait until Toyota makes its intentions known before signing with CFH, and that could push Carpenter's plans deeper into the offseason than expected. If he inks a deal with Toyota, IndyCar could become a distant memory.

JR Hildebrand continues to work with the team on some sort of program for 2015, and depending on where Conway lands, he could be primed to step into Carpenter's No. 20 on road and street courses, or in a car of his own if sponsorship can be found. One way or the other, Hildebrand should factor into CFH's plans, but we won't know the level until later in the year.

Dale Coyne Racing has been busy renovating the team's shop in Illinois which can only help as the veteran outfit looks to fill one or two seats for next season. Houston winner Carlos Huertas is an ongoing mystery who has yet to declare his intentions for 2015, and with the team recently testing GP2 stalwart Rodolfo Gonzalez, you can see Dale isn't waiting for the Colombian to pick up the phone. A return by Huertas also wouldn't surprise me, and with Wilson possibly looking at the front door, Coyne could have a need to hire an ace for the primary car and to sign a funded driver for the second.

Hawksworth SatoA.J. Foyt Racing will most likely continue with Takuma Sato in the ABC Supply-sponsored car for a third season, and three top-6s from the last five rounds definitely helped the Japanese driver's case. The most interesting situation could be with the second full-time entry Foyt has been trying to field for the past few years.

Team director Larry Foyt has been close to making a second car happen on more than one occasion, and it's believed the team is preparing to green light a two-car program. Numerous drivers have been chasing the seat, and as of late last week, some I spoke with were told a driver has been signed. In this ongoing theme of falling dominoes, it could point to the next team on my list having a new vacancy to fill.

Bryan Herta Autosport has been in the midst of some changes lately with team founders Steve Newey and Bryan Herta parting ways, according to multiple sources. Newey's exit leaves Herta in control of the IndyCar program, and with the financial strains delivered last season, including losing a chassis when Jack Hawksworth crashed in practice at Pocono and the default by their primary sponsor heading into Toronto, Herta has a budget to find and a new driver to sign with Hawksworth likely to be announced at Foyt.

Although we haven't heard much from BHA since the season ended, the team is indeed pressing ahead could have something to announce later in October. An expansion into Global Rallycross is also high among the probabilites for BHA.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing also has a sizeable budget to secure for Graham Rahal's No. 15 entry, and the team will continue with at least one car.

A roster of other hopefuls are looking to land a seat in IndyCar, and whether it's due to openings or additions, we know reigning Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves has some money to spend on a partial season; Matty Brabham intends to return for a second season of Indy Lights while his management team shops a limited IndyCar program – three to four races, including the Indy 500 – to teams; 2013 Freedom 100 winner Peter Dempsey is also looking to do a short IndyCar program similar to Brabham's; Stefan Wilson expects to have answer shortly whether he and the Fan Force United team will be able to step up to IndyCar.

And with a few Formula 1 drivers needing to find work after their season concludes, the Jean-Eric Vergne's of the world have been making inquiries within the IndyCar paddock. Conor Daly, Martin Plowman and Luca Filippi have all been in discussion with teams about opportunities, yet have nothing in place at the moment. There's even rumors of a re-appearance by Katherine Legge, and talk of Alexander Rossi coming to IndyCar has been making the rounds in Europe, but the Californian told me he's working hard on landing a seat in F1 next year.

There are lots of dominoes about to fall, and with the Silly Season gaining momentum at a rapid pace, next year's grid could look decidedly different. In my business, that's a good thing, and if we're lucky, new faces in quality seats will add some fireworks while some of the old guard transition to sports car racing. The numbers should be up thanks to Penske and Foyt expanding their operations, and if some of the other deals come to pass, the opening race at wherever that ends up being could have 24 or more cars in place.

Now, if only we had a schedule.

dover 053014 stewartTony Stewart met with the media in a press conference organized by his Stewart-Haas Racing team. It was his first open Q&A with reporters since his involvement in the sprint car incident in which Kevin Ward Jr. died. Full transcript:

 

Q. Tony, since the accident, when you think of Kevin Ward Jr., what comes to mind?

TONY STEWART: Honestly, before the accident I didn't know Kevin. I don't even know how many times I had raced with him. I race with that group a couple times a year. They've always been a great group to race with, but I didn't know him. Obviously, after the accident I've read a lot about him, and from what I've read, I think he had a really promising career as a sprint car driver. It sounded like he was doing a good job and learning a lot at a young age, so I think he had a lot to look forward to.

Q. Do you want to and need to talk to the Ward family to have any sort of closure? If so, can you talk to him or will it be years before all the legal stuff is done before you can talk to them?

TONY STEWART: You know, I think at this point it's – I want to be available to them if they want to talk about it. At this point, I don't need to talk to them for closure. I know what happened, and I know it was an accident, but I'm offering to talk to them to help them, if it helps them with closure. So I said it when we were in Atlanta, and I still believe that I want to be available to them if and when they ever want to talk.

Q. On the topic of closure, at some point the focus will turn back to your career as a racecar driver. Have you thought about when or how that can happen?

TONY STEWART: Well, I mean, we've been racing since Atlanta, obviously, but it's not been business as usual by any means, and this is going to be a healing process for me. It makes you think about a lot of things other than driving race cars, but the one thing that's probably helped me more than anything is being back at the race track and being around my racing family and remembering that I have a passion for what I do. So that's probably helped me more than anything when it's come to trying to make that next step to move forward.

Q. If you could do anything differently over the past couple months, what would it be?

TONY STEWART: I'd have stayed at Watkins Glen that night. You know, I do this stuff and I go run those cars to have a good time and that's all I wanted to do that night. I wanted to go have fun. I had just spent the week at Knoxville, and it gives you the edge and desire to want to go race. It wasn't a big paying race for sprint car standards. I just wanted to go run my sprint car for a night. I do it to have fun, and it didn't end up being fun that night.

Q. How have you been spending the time since the accident happened, and will your routine change now that you've been exonerated?

TONY STEWART: Since we went back to Atlanta, basically, I go from the motorhome to the car, and the car to the trailer, and the trailer back to the car, and that's literally all I've done since I came back. Even after Wednesday here in Charlotte, I haven't left my house. It's just an awkward feeling. I think now I'll start doing some more things. I mean, I've got a lot of friends who have been supportive through this entire thing, and there are a lot of people that have shown how much they cared and it would be nice to go and visit and talk to those people again.

Q. Have you reconsidered or considered stopping driving sprint cars as a result of this and your injury the year before?

TONY STEWART: At this point I don't really have – I'm not going to say I'm never going to get in one. But when I got hurt, it was as soon as I got healed and as soon as things got settled in with the Cup car I was set that I was wanting to get in one, but right now I wouldn't even be able to give you a small idea of if and when I'll ever get back in a car. So at this point I won't be in one for a while.

Q. The life of a driver and an owner is extremely busy. Press conferences, commercials, appearances, fan things, you haven't done – have you done much of that? When will you think you'd get back to that life?

TONY STEWART: I haven't done any since the accident. I think after talking with you guys today we'll start getting back into doing meet-and-greets and appearances again. I think it's important for me to do that and to take – I think that's another step of making forward progress is getting back to trying to resume what was the best of a normal life before this. I think it's important for me to do that and get back to doing it as soon as possible.

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Q. What has been the biggest change within you and the biggest impact upon you as a result of this past month and a half?

TONY STEWART: I honestly think that when you're – and I'm not going to speak for professional athletes in different forms of sports, but as a racecar driver, driving a racecar is all that consumed my life. It's all I thought about, it's all I cared about, and everything else was second on down the list of priorities for me. I think this has given me the opportunity to sit here and think about other aspects of my life and what they're going to mean to me in the future.

Not that I don't love what I do, because I do love it, but it's not – just like you guys, it's not what we do all the time. There are more things to our life than what we have as a profession. So it's made me think about some of those other aspects of my life that kind of have been put on hold for years.

Q. How would you characterize the weeks at home, Tony, following the accident? You basically were in seclusion. What was that like for you to go through that and what did you do?

TONY STEWART: I didn't really do much of anything, to be perfectly honest. I think the first three days that I was home I really didn't do anything. I didn't get out of bed. I didn't care if I took a shower. I left my room to go get food, and that you almost had to make yourself eat. It's the first three or four days I didn't want to talk to anybody. Didn't want to see anybody, I just wanted to be by myself.

You finally get up and you finally start moving around a little bit and every day got a little bit easier, but it was a big, drastic change from what I was used to, for sure, not having the desire to do anything. All you thought about is what happened and asking yourself why. Why did this happen? So you just sat there for entire days on end asking questions and trying to come to terms with what happened and why it happened.

Q. At Loudon a couple weeks ago Jimmie Johnson talked about how people are starting to take sides, and I'm wondering during this process if things coming out on Twitter or people making comments in the media, did you keep yourself insulated from that or did you follow any of that? How did that impact the time that you were at the track?

TONY STEWART: I tried to do my best to insulate myself from that. But I finally started reading what was out there and what people were saying, and you didn't control that. Last Wednesday the facts came out and people still through the weekend, some people that had the same opinion before the facts came out still have the same opinion, no matter what side they think about.

To me it's worthless to pick sides. A young man lost his life, and I don't care what side you're on, it doesn't change that. His family's in mourning. I'm in mourning. My family is in mourning. Picking sides isn't solving or fixing anything. It's a waste of time to pick sides. Instead of honoring a young man that had a promising racing career, people are picking sides and throwing – it's like watching people throw darts at each other. It's disappointing at this point, honestly, because instead of supporting each other and the racing community is such a strong family, that it's dividing people that on a daily basis would help each other. There is no point in it. It doesn't solve anything. It doesn't fix anything. At the end of the day, it's not going to make anybody feel any better about it.

It's just people that – everybody's entitled to their opinion, and we know that. But everybody, and I've seen this for the last seven weeks now, everybody has made their decision and picked their side off of 100 percent of the information that they got, which is about 10 percent of all the information that's truly out there. And we all do it. Our society does it. We do it every day. Whatever we see on the news we make our decision as people about what we see. But it's not -- I don't think any of us any day whatever topic we're trying to come to a conclusion about, ever get all the facts.

So you understand why people think the way they do, but I think more than not, I don't think people realize that there is more information out there than what we all get on a daily basis about whatever it is.

Q. (inaudible)

TONY STEWART: I guess it was more disappointing to me than anything. Even from people that were supportive of us. I mean, listened and reading comments about the sheriff's department and the district attorney, they did a good job of taking the time that they needed to do to get all the facts and to come to a very thought out conclusion of this. You want to sit there and tell people, hey, let them do their job. But it just shows how passionate people are.

I mean, if they are on our side or on Kevin's family's side, they were passionate about that. That's something I don't want to see go away. I don't want to see people lose their passion, but I think people need to understand that there are a lot more facts that they didn't understand and haven't seen.

Q. Tony, obviously the season is moving on. Yesterday Kevin Harvick, great run, Kurt Busch, not as great. How much have you let yourself be engaged in that side of the process right now as far as being the Stewart of Stewart-Haas Racing?

TONY STEWART: I've let my team down from that standpoint. I've been a little bit of a cheerleader, but that's about all I've been able to contribute here the last seven weeks. It's just, like I mentioned earlier, it's been hard for me to function day-to-day. There hasn't been anything normal about my life the last seven weeks, so it's been very hard to try to do anything to be productive to help those guys. You try to be a cheerleader, you try to keep them pumped up about what they're do being, but other than that, I haven't been able to contribute too much.

Q. You talk about being in seclusion and all that that's meant. What does today represent for you having us all here? You called us all here together. What does today represent for you in terms of going forward?

TONY STEWART: We knew everybody had questions and we knew that everybody was going to want answered to what's going on. But I think more than anything we wanted to be able to tell everything from the beginning. But it's, like I learned Wednesday, everybody's got their opinions about what happened. Obviously, the facts didn't matter to a lot of those people. They still had their opinions one way or the other. We haven't let anybody know what's been going on the last six weeks. We just kind of went through the motions as far as we're concerned, and we knew a lot of you would have questions about what's been going on the last six or seven weeks and how have we handled it.

Q. What was it like to learn from the district attorney that in the toxicology report, Kevin Ward was under the influence?

TONY STEWART: Honestly, for me, it didn't change anything. To me a young driver lost his life. Didn't matter why or what was going on. The end result was the same. No matter what was said, it was still a tragic accident. I just know in my heart that it was a hundred percent an accident; that detail didn't mean anything to me personally.

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Q. You mentioned earlier the awkward feeling that's come over you the past several weeks. Can you explain that a little more? Also, talk about will that ever go away given that Kevin Ward has passed away and that will not change?

TONY STEWART: It's just been awkward because I know what a typical day was like for me and the things that were on my agenda for each day and what I thought about you kind of get in that pattern. This was something that obviously changed that pattern drastically. Everything you thought about, everything you worked on, you stop thinking about. You stopped working on, and this is all you thought about.

Ask me the second part again.

Q. Do you think that will eventually go away?

TONY STEWART: I think it will. The reason I say that is I've had other people that I've known for years that have come to me and told me personal stories of tragedies that have happened in their life that a lot of us don't know about. Their experiences and their advice really has hit home for me. I do believe as time goes on it will be different every day. It may. I don't know if it will ever get back to normal, but it will get better.

Q. Since getting back in a car, rate your performance as a driver?

TONY STEWART: I could rate a before and after almost the same. My year hasn't been a stellar year by any means. When we came back, we had a decent day started in Atlanta, and had an incident that derailed it. But I think yesterday was probably the best overall race from start to finish that we've run. Probably one of the best ones this year that we've actually run. I struggled on restarts. I couldn't get going very good the first three or four laps, but it seemed like after 10 laps or 15 laps we were settling into a pace that was a top-5 racecar.

So we didn't have any major dramas on either side during the whole race. We actually put a whole race together. I know the 14th- or 15th-place finish isn't anything to brag about, but considering where our season has been, we finally put together a whole day that was consistent, and that meant a lot to us.

Q. Your short track industry, your empire with Eldora and your USAC teams, and the World of Outlaw teams, what's that been like for you over the last seven weeks?

TONY STEWART: I've watched and paid attention to what was going on, but I haven't been engaged in it. I've watched our races that we had online at Eldora. I've watched the sprint car races online and listened to them online, but haven't been engaged with the teams, haven't been engaged with the drivers. Just kind of been an non-deal.

Q. I don't know quite how to phrase this, but racing inherently is a dangerous sport. You've seen guys get killed in accidents over the years. If this would have been a situation where you guys were racing and he crashed, and he perished in the crash, would it be something you would feel different about? Or does the nature of him coming out on the track, did that change at all for you? Does that make sense?

TONY STEWART: Yeah, it does. For me, I don't think it would change anything. I've worked really hard, especially when I got hurt last year, while I was healing, I spent all that time trying to defend sprint car racing and help – try to help other drivers through the off-season. I do it because I'm passionate about it and I love it. We all know what can happen every time we get in a racecar, whether it's an Indy car, stock car, sprint car. Anybody that races anything knows what that is and what that danger is and what can happen.

I've had close friends die in racecars. I've had teammates die in racecars, and there is nothing easy about it. Like I said, the racing community is a very close-knit family. Anytime you lose somebody in that family, there are drivers and team owners and crew members from other sports that may not have ever met that driver but feel for that family and that driver in their tragedy.

So no matter what the circumstances, the end result is something that nobody ever wants to see. Like I said, I've spent a lot of time trying to defend it and try to help promote the sport, and none of us want that to happen to anybody under any circumstances.

Q. This is a secondary thing, but it will be important if it hasn't been already, how are you dealing with sponsors? How are you talking to sponsors about moving forward and what kind of concerns do you have about them being loyal to the team after this?

TONY STEWART: It's a legitimate question, for sure. Our organization has stayed in close contact with the sponsors through this whole ordeal, and I've been able to talk to a couple of them as well. Johnny Morris was one of the people that came to my house to see me while I was in Indiana. We spoke to people from Mobil 1, and they came to see us the last couple weeks at the race track. The support from them has been amazing.

It's obviously a tough circumstance for anybody to be a part of it, for a corporation to be part of it as well, but they've been very supportive through this whole process. I can't speak to what the future will be for them. They've been supportive to this point and that's something I've been very grateful for.

Q. You own sprint car teams and own tracks and specifically Eldora. It was almost a therapy for you to get to go up and ride around on a four-wheeler and get the shoes dirty and the hands dirty. Has this incident taken away from the cleansing properties of that therapy? Do you think you'll ever be able to ride Eldora in the four-wheeler and feel the same again?

TONY STEWART: I'm sure I will. It's just not right now. That's an important aspect of my life and something that's very important to me. Right now at this moment today there are other things that are important to me right now, and they still are. But I'm not ready to go do that yet. Going around in a Cup car right now is important to me, and the great thing Eldora and the dirt track teams and our drivers that do great things there, and that's given me -- afforded me the time to think about what I need to do right now.

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lat-lepage 140928-dvr04847 

Q. You talked briefly about your race yesterday. It's been the best race you've had in your five back. Is there any correlation personally in how you performed yesterday to being able to move forward in the decision Wednesday?

TONY STEWART: I really don't know if it does or not, to be honest. Honestly, at the race track on Friday and Saturday we struggled. Our qualifying effort was the best that I qualified at Dover in a long time, but we really struggled in practice leading up to that, and Saturday all day we struggled. I thought Chad and the engineers did a good job Saturday night of taking all the information they learned on both days, and I could tell right off the bat on Sunday that the car was quite a bit different than the rest of the weekend.

I don't think it had anything to do with that, honestly. I think getting back in the car every time I've gotten in there, it's given me a chance to focus again, and that's something that I've needed as a diversion. But I think from the time that I went back to Atlanta, the first session there the car felt really good, and we had a good weekend in Atlanta until it got derailed.

But I think at this point in my career as a driver, when you make that decision to put the helmet on you have to know in your heart that you're ready to go, you're ready to do it, and I felt comfortable in the car from Day 1.

Q. You're a championship level driver on the track, and sort of a larger-than-life figure off of it, which is responsible for all of this. Can you get back to that person that you were, that gregarious, likeable sort of guy, or is it going to be a while that you're that personality that fans have been drawn to all these years?

TONY STEWART: I think the support we've had from our fans, I don't know if they even care if we get back to that. They're just happy that we're back right now, and that's been very comforting for us and for me. I've really appreciated their support and how they've helped welcome me back to the track.

It's hard to say, to be honest. I appreciate the fact that you said I was a nice guy. This is a process that's day-to-day. You take it one day at a time. Before the accident happened, a day would fly by, and now a day seems like two or three days. The clock seems like the batteries are running low on the clock. I honestly think every day things will get better, and things will get easier, and I think it will for Kevin's family as well. Time heals.

Like I said, I don't know that it will ever be normal again, but we'll find a place to settle into and we'll do the best we can like we have to this point. Whether I ever get back to that or not, hopefully through this I will somehow be a better person. That's all I can hope for.

Q. Until last Wednesday, there was the very real possibility of facing charges, which seems very scary. In your grief or in getting over what happened in the accident, were you able to separate that part? Were you fearful of charges, and how did you deal with that aspect of it?

TONY STEWART: I think you said it best yourself right there. Anytime you're facing something like that and your fate is in someone else's hands, it's natural to be fearful. But all along I knew what the facts are. I knew what had happened, and I know what happened. I think through the process of the sheriff's department and the district attorney and going to a 23-person grand injury, all the facts were presented and their decision spoke. It was what I knew.

So I can't say that – I would be lying if I said there wasn't a piece of relief, but that was very short lived in my heart. Because as quickly as it was relief in my heart, it was at the same time it went right back to the fact that we lost Kevin. We lost a young driver that had a lot of talent.

Q. You discussed the early days and not wanting to do anything but being secluded. What thought have you given to hanging it up all together and being done driving?

TONY STEWART: You know, even with the decision right now, I don't know if and when I'll ever get back in a sprint car. I said the support from the fans and the support from peers and people that were around every day, I've had drivers I've raced with every week and drivers that I haven't raced with for months that said don't let this keep you from doing what you love.

This is what I've done all my life. This is what I've done for 36 years, and I wouldn't change anything about it. I love what I do. I love driving racecars, but I think it might change right now as far as how much of it and what I do, but there was never a thought in my head about stopping. That would take the life out of me.

Q. How often do you think about the events of what happened? How often do you replay it in your mind? And for a guy that's passionate about this sport, did it wane at all for the sport?

TONY STEWART: I don't think your passion ever goes away. Probably more than anything over (no audio), and I wish I could say it was once a day, but it's not. I think about it a lot every day. That's the great thing about getting back in the race car because it gives me time to forget about it for a minute and to stop thinking about it. After you get done at the end of the day, you start thinking about it again. It's not something that goes away. It will never go away. It's always going to be part of my life the rest of my life. That's the unfortunate part.

It's going to be a part of my life. It's going to be a part of Kevin's families life, and it's never going to go away for any of us, but hopefully it will get easier for all of us.

Q. You mentioned replaying what happened in your mind. Have you watched the video of what happened?

TONY STEWART: I've seen the video of it, yes.

Q. You said you were disappointed by some of the reaction, but are you hurt by what's been said about you and your role in this tragedy? Since it's a sponsor-driven sport, do you feel you need to do or can do anything to repair your reputation?

TONY STEWART: Initially, yes. Initially I was hurt by some of the things I read. But then I looked at who they were from, and it's people that never met me, never spent time with me, don't know me, and they're making a judgment off of either what they – either what was presented or what the facts were that they had, and they were people that didn't like me to begin with and it didn't matter what the facts were.

I really stopped wasting my time worrying about it. Like I said, I know what happened. I know what the facts are and that's all that matters.

Q. A lot of these press conferences that have happened throughout the past few weeks, a lot of your fellow drivers asked about this situation. Some of them saying they attempted to reach out to you and talk to you. Some saying they haven't heard back and that kind of thing. Have there been certain ones that have leaned on and talked to you and helped you get through this?

TONY STEWART: There have. It's been done behind closed doors and that's the way I want to keep it on their behalf and my behalf. Yes, there's been a lot of support, especially when the accident happened. Like I said, I didn't want to do anything. So there were a lot of text messages and people that have reached out that I'm now starting the process of getting in touch with them and thanking them for their support and explaining why I didn't get back to them.

That's probably been one of the hardest parts. The hardest part for me is not having that contact with my friends and my peers, and going to the racetrack was the first step in reconnecting with a lot of those people and being able to thank them for their kind words and their advice. There's been so much that I've learned from my peers, my friends through this whether it's been through personal experiences or just kind words that they've said. That is the advice that they've given us that's really meant a lot. And that's something that the rest of my life I don't think I could spend the rest of my life and accurately thank everybody for what they've done to help us get through this.

Q. Would you say it's people inside NASCAR or outside NASCAR?

TONY STEWART: Both. It's been all across the racing community. Inside NASCAR, outside NASCAR, people I've met along the way that aren't involved in racing at all but are people that understand. So that's been a huge, huge part for me.

Q. I imagine a substantial moment of vulnerability for you must have been that introduction in Atlanta. First time you've been in public, you don't know what people are thinking. What was it like to walk up there and hear what you heard from the grandstands?

TONY STEWART: At first I thought I accidentally walked out in Dale Jr.'s spot, but it was very overwhelming. I'm glad I had sunglasses on. But it was probably the most flattering and humbling part of my career was to walk out there and have that kind of reception. Riding around in the back of the pickup truck and seeing people against the fence that were cheering for us and they had Jeff Gordon shirts on and Carl Edwards shirts and Matt Kenseth shirts. Didn't matter what they had on, it really showed the support. Hearing about at Bristol how something that I was really happy with was the fact that on the 13th lap, people held up 13 for Kevin, and on the 14th lap held it up for us. And I think it shows the kind of bond that race fans and the racing community have with each other.

It was very flattering in Atlanta, for sure. I'll never forget that moment.

I think our whole life, I don't think any of us ever read anything in a book at school or read anything on how to deal with a tragedy like this. To have somebody there that could help us through that and help us be able to make forward progress was very important, and it's still – we're still using them. It's not something that gets back to normal overnight.

It's something we'll deal with a for a long time, but it's nice to have that kind of support and that kind of guidance that will help you learn how to cope with it, deal with it, and start moving on.

Related stories:

usa1After intense deliberations, Aaron Telitz of Birchwood, Wis. (pictured at above right), and Michai Stephens (at left) of Evanston, Ill., were named Monday as winners of prestigious Team USA Scholarships for 2014. The pair will travel to England next month to carry the patriotic red, white and blue colors in the traditional Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on Oct. 25-26 and Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on Nov. 1-2.

They were chosen from a group of six candidates – like the two winners, all Skip Barber racing alumni – who took part in a shootout aboard Allen Berg Racing Schools FR1600 cars at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on September 8. The other finalists were Ben Auriemma, from Manhasset, N.Y., Tristan DeGrand, from St. Louis, Mo., Garth Rickards, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Kenton Koch, from Glendora, Calif.

The panel of judges included former Team USA Scholarship winners Neil Alberico and Brett Smrz; two-time Rolex Sports Car Series champion Alex Gurney; ex-F1 driver Allen Berg; David Cook, Business Development Manager, Mazda North American Operations; veteran IndyCar/Indy Lights team owner Jack McCormack; RACER Magazine founder Paul Pfanner; accomplished race engineer Geoff Fickling; and World Speed Motorsports team owner Telo Stewart.

"It was a difficult decision and there were many factors which needed to be taken into account," said Team USA Scholarship President Jeremy Shaw, who founded the program in 1990. "All of the six candidates can be proud of their efforts; each has what it takes to forge a successful career in this sport. I want to thank my fellow judges for their considerable input and everyone within the North American racing industry for making this program possible."

Telitz, who won rookie-of-the-year honors in the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, and Stephens, a standout from the Skip Barber Racing School Summer Series, will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jimmy Vasser, who secured the first Team USA Scholarship in 1990, Bryan Herta (1991), Buddy Rice (1997), Andy Lally (1999), A.J. Allmendinger (2001), Charlie Kimball (2003), J.R. Hildebrand (2005), Dane Cameron (2006), Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly (2008), Spencer Pigot (2010/2011), and Tristan Nunez and Matthew Brabham (2012).

"It is a huge honor and achievement to be chosen as a winner of the Team USA Scholarship," said Telitz. "Not only do I now have the opportunity to race in Europe, I get to do it representing the United States of America. If you look at the history of previous winners of the Team USA Scholarship you'll see there are some big shoes to fill. I look forward to the challenge and learning as much as I can during this awesome experience."

"Being selected to represent the Team USA Scholarship in 2014 is mind-boggling to me," added Stephens. "I will forever cherish this honor with the understanding that with great opportunity comes greater responsibility. I encourage everyone who has a vision to go out there and take it! My dream will be taking me as far away from my home as anyone in my family has ever gone. I look forward to taking full advantage of this opportunity and the many others that may lie ahead."

michaiMichai Stephens, pictured here with his father (right) during the 2014 Summer Series Race Weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park, won the INDYCAR Academy in 2013.Stephens began his motorsports career in 2012 by participating in the first Skip Barber INDYCAR Academy shootout held in Sebring, Florida. The Skip Barber INDYCAR Academy is designed to provide aspiring racers without prior racing experience the opportunity to  launch a career in motorsports. In the Academy, drivers are tested in equally-prepared cars on a demanding circuit. Racers applied for the Academy after graduating from a three-day Skip Barber Formula Car Racing School and are required to follow that training with an Advanced Two Day Racing School. Past participants included students, U.S. military personnel, salesmen, doctors and Olympic gold medalists.
In 2012 INDYCAR Academy, Stephens finished fourth. Determined to make his dream happen, Stephens shook his defeat off and decided to restart the process. In 2013, he took another 3-Day Racing School and enrolled in the 2013 Indycar Academy Shootout. This time, Stephens emerged as the champion. Michai garnered the fastest lap time and lowest average time in six of the eight sessions to earn a sponsored ride in the Skip Barber formula race series in 2014. Stephen’s success is a testament to Skip Barber’s system of providing talented drivers an opportunity to pursue their racing dreams regardless of finances.
“If I had to pick one thing or moment that stood above the rest,” said Stephens recalling his first time in a Skip Barber racecar, “I would have to say was the pure enjoyment of being able to live out my dream.”
Stephens’ scholarship winnings allowed him to participate in the 2014 Skip Barber Summer Series. He is now in championship contention in the series, with only 9 points separating him and 2013 Karts to Cars Scholarship winner Australian Luke Gabin. The series only has two race weekends left before the champion will be crowned.
Telitz won the 2013 Skip Barber Race Series Championship Shootout after coming back from placing 3rd place in the 2012 Championship Shootout and a second-place finish in the 2012-'13 Winter Series.
"The Skip Barber Racing School team is ecstatic about the TEAM USA Scholarship selection of Aaron Telitz and Michai Stephens to represent our country on the world stage," said Skip Barber CEO Michael Culver. "Skip Barber sees the very best talent in open-wheel racing and Telitz and Stephens are no exception. The two came from different backgrounds. Telitz came to us through his experience in karting and Stephens came to us with no experience in motorsports, but within a year in our system, both racers are now champions. All of us at Skip Barber Racing School wish them the very best. They will do justice to American motorsports!"

JeffGordonJeff Gordon claimed an ultimately dominant NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Dover as the original 16-strong Chase field was whittled down to 12.

With the race up front an uneventful affair commanded in turn by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and finally Gordon, most of the interest was in which four drivers would be eliminated from the 2014 championship hunt as the three-race 'Challenger round' of the Chase ended.

Greg Biffle, AJ Allmendinger and Aric Almirola were off the pace all day, and their title hopes duly fizzled out with 21st, 23rd and 28th place finishes. Kasey Kahne had the most nerve-wracking afternoon, dropping two laps down with a loose wheel early on.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver mounted a steady fightback and his eventual 20th position was sufficient to get him through to the next phase at the expense of Kurt Busch, whose 18th place was not enough.

At the front, poleman Harvick led the first 147 of the 400 laps, lost the lead to Keselowski when he feared a problem at the front of his Stewart-Haas Chevrolet, and then retook it at the next pitstops.

But just after half-distance a tyre deflation caused damage and forced an extra stop. That dropped him to 21st, and 13th would be the limit of his recovery.

Keselowski then led until Gordon's Hendrick Chevrolet overtook his Penske Ford with 94 laps to go.

They stayed close initially, before Gordon pulled clear to take victory by five seconds over Keselowski, who was chased home by Gordon's team-mate Jimmie Johnson.

Joey Logano beat Matt Kenseth to fourth as they too kept themselves in the Chase, with Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr the best of those not in the title race in sixth and seventh.

Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr also sealed their places in the next leg of the title battle.

Results - 400 laps:Pos  Driver              Team/Car                      Time/Gap
 1.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet        3h03m51.000s
 2.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                    +5.238s
 3.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet             +6.787s
 4.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                   +10.755s
 5.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota              +11.787s
 6.  Kyle Larson         Ganassi Chevrolet             +15.158s
 7.  Martin Truex Jr     Furniture Row Chevrolet       +16.807s
 8.  Ryan Newman         Childress Chevrolet           +18.855s
 9.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                +18.981s
10.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota              +18.990s
11.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford             +23.445s
12.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota              +24.748s
13.  Kevin Harvick       Stewart-Haas Chevrolet          -1 lap
14.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet          -1 lap
15.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota                  -1 lap
16.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet             -1 lap
17.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet              -1 lap
18.  Kurt Busch          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet          -1 lap
19.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford               -1 lap
20.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet              -1 lap
21.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford               -1 lap
22.  Jamie McMurray      Ganassi Chevrolet              -2 laps
23.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Chevrolet        -2 laps
24.  Austin Dillon       Childress Chevrolet            -2 laps
25.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet         -2 laps
26.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                     -2 laps
27.  Casey Mears         Germain Chevrolet              -3 laps
28.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                     -3 laps
29.  Justin Allgaier     HScott Chevrolet               -4 laps
30.  Cole Whitt          BK Toyota                      -5 laps
31.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                 -5 laps
32.  Reed Sorenson       Baldwin Chevrolet              -6 laps
33.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                 -7 laps
34.  Alex Bowman         BK Toyota                      -9 laps
35.  Landon Cassill      Hillman Chevrolet              -9 laps
36.  Mike Bliss          Baldwin Chevrolet              -9 laps
37.  David Stremme       Circle Sport Chevrolet        -11 laps
38.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                     -11 laps
39.  JJ Yeley            Go FAS Ford                   -13 laps
40.  Mike Wallace        Identity Ventures Toyota      -16 laps

Retirements:

     Michael Annett      Baldwin Chevrolet             361 laps
     Josh Wise           Parsons Chevrolet             197 laps
     Timmy Hill          Xtreme Chevrolet               11 laps

Originally on Autosport.com

 

F1 looking to make cars harder to drive

Formula 1 chiefs have begun a study to look at ways of making grand prix cars more challenging to drive in the future.

As part of ongoing discussions about making F1 more popular, teams believe that one element that has turned off spectators is the perception that modern grand prix cars are too easy to race. This has been fueled by driver complaints that they are no longer as hard to take to the limit – along with the implication that Toro Rosso's decision to promote 16-year-old Max Verstappen to F1 showed how easy the category now was.

F1 looking to make cars harder to driveANALYSIS F1 physical demands not like Senna era

Following discussions in recent Strategy Group meetings, the FIA will evaluate potential rule changes that could make the cars tougher to drive.

The investigation, which will include input from teams, will be completed over the next few months and it is possible changes could be implemented as early as 2016. It is understood that the main areas that will be investigated are tyre grip, car dimension, and aerodynamic performance.

DRIVERS WELCOME BIGGER CHALLENGE

Daniel Ricciardo admitted recently that although the current generation of cars were technically complex, they were not as hard to drive as in previous years.

"Physically, it's not a walk in the park, but it's easier than it was a couple of years ago at least," he said. "If the cars are quicker they'll be physically harder to drive. But what we don't want is to make the cars fast like it was 10 years ago so that you can't even follow another car because of the dirty air.

"I think right now is not a bad compromise but it's probably a few tweaks that could be made."

Former world champion Alain Prost reckons that the time had come for cars to become harder to drive, so that a "proper" F1 returned.

"I don't know what's going to happen with Max Verstappen, but it's true that he's going to be able to drive the car no problem," he said. "This was absolutely not possible in our time – the cars were so difficult to drive.

"Every year we were testing in Portugal, we were stopping sometimes for a month testing. But the first time we went to Portugal it was not possible to make a complete day of testing at all, no way! It was physically really difficult, which is not the case today.

"That doesn't mean you absolutely want to go back to the way it was, but I think the speed of the cars during the races and the grip is not very good. It's quite slow, so you need to have a proper Formula 1."

 

 

 

Originally on Autosport.com

 

Bentley-pitThe spectacular Bentley Continental GT3 made its North American debut in competition in the final five race weekends of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Championships in the capable hands of Dyson Racing Team Bentley. RACER was granted unique behind-the-scenes access by Bentley and Dyson Racing for this series of videos produced for RACER Studios by Jim Perry. Follow the team's rapid progress as it draws to a spectacular climax that positioned the team perfectly for next year's full-season Pirelli World Challenge GT class campaign.

In this second episode, you'll learn about the special opportunities provided to Bentley owners for behind-the-scenes interaction with the race team and drivers at Pirelli World Challenge race weekends like Toronto – and how they benefit both the guests and the team.

Additional episodes in the series will premiere here at RACER.com each Friday.

Video: The Insider Issue

The Insider Issue is on sale now. Click here for more information.

FROM THE RACER CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE

RACER Presents: The Bentley Racing Experience

 

The First 200mph Lap. Episode 5 of "Dan Gurney: All American Racer," presented by Bell.

 

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship: Interviews and insights from Marshall Pruett.

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