Saturday, June 24, 2006

First Up, IndyCar At Richmond

Richmond International Raceway is displaying a collection of racing memorabilia, including an open-wheel car driven by Al Fleming in the inaugural race at the Atlantic Rural Exposition (aka Strawberry Hill Speedway) on Oct. 12, 1946, in the midway area this weekend.
Image Credit: IRL

Richmond International Raceway opened in 1953 and the track has been reconfigured five times to its current 0.75 miles. Lights were added in 1991. The IndyCar Series has been competing at the D-shaped oval since 2001.

The cars, tonight, will average over 150 mph per lap and do a lap in about 17 seconds - It is just a "bull ring".

This from the IndyCar Website -

Blogs from the track.

Drawing a crowd in the Richmond garage area
Posted by Patrick Stephan - Saturday, June 24. 2006

There are three ways to attract attention in the garage area and just a few minutes ago, we saw all of them. Of course, the first way is to be fast, and there are some fans desperately seeking an autograph from pole sitter Helio Castroneves.

Unfortunately, Buddy Rice and his crew have drawn a crowd because he invoked the second method for getting attention at the racetrack - he crashed in the final practice session.

Several dozen fans have camped on the edge of the Rahal Letterman garage to watch Buddy’s team rebuild the rear end of his race car.

The team is in the process of fixing the gear box, rear wing assembly, rear undertray “wheel flip,” building a new left-rear and left-front suspension and changing the engine. The engine change alone requires breaking the car into three pieces, unbolting the engine from the tub and bell housing, then sliding the new powerplant into the middle. Fans seem fascinated by this hurried work, and many have been stationed there since the car came off the tow truck.

Of course, the other way to draw a crowd is to be famous. Danica Patrick was hanging out at the back of her transporter signing autographs for the hundreds of fans gathered there waiting for the sophomore IndyCar Series driver.

Eventually though, she had other meetings to attend to, so off she went on a scooter to head outside of the track where the motorhomes and hospitality areas are located. Before she left though, Danica caused another mini-commotion. She stopped at the infield exit gate to chat with Dario Franchitti and his wife, Ashley Judd. Took a good ... oh ... 15 seconds for the fans to see Danica with her competitor and the movie star and start heading that direction.

After signing a few more autographs, the trio disappeared into the tunnel on their respective scooters, and the fans went in search of other drivers such as Felipe Giaffone, who was talking with the Brazilian media outside of his transporter.
Link Here>>

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