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“We want to see racing, passing
and uncertainty. In short,
we want competition”
K, so it’s not factually true but, as race
fans, we’ve always liked the old saying that
the first automobile race occurred a few
minutes after the second automobile was
built. It sums up our deep-rooted need
for speed. It’s why racetracks get more
visitors than car museums and why
racecar drivers become our heroes.
We want to see racing, passing and
uncertainty. In short, we want competition.
That’s why we were thrilled by this
year’s Indianapolis 500, which set a
record for passes for the lead and wasn’t
a done deal in Dario Franchitti’s favor
until the final lap. Few would deny that
the Scot (RIGHT) is right up there with
the Brickyard’s greatest drivers, but it’s a
comparison he himself shies away from.
Given the quality of the opposition that
he beat for the third time in six years at
the Speedway, he’s selling himself short.
As one of Chip Ganassi Racing’s
drivers, Franchitti frequently finds himself
battling with drivers from Roger Penske’s
legendary race team. For the past three
decades, The Captain has defined
competition, and competitiveness, in U.S.
motorsports, so we savored the chance
to talk to him about just some of his
achievements and hopes for the future.
The IZOD IndyCar Series, of course,
provides a high-profile example of
spec-chassis competition, and Andretti
Autosport’s No. 28 Dallara-Chevrolet, as
driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, is the subject
of our In Focus this month. Inevitably, the
phrase “spec racing” triggers debates
about whether that’s the best way to
manage competition in economically
straitened times. So which series has got
the balance right? Eminently debatable.
And which were the most competitive
races in history? Read on…and see if you
can discover a common thread. We can’t!
Less debatable is that the greatest
active drivers in NHRA are Funny Car
legend John Force and Top Fuel superstar
Tony Schumacher. Getting them together
to discuss their competitive natures was
as entertaining as it was enlightening.
BPA Worldwide membership
applied for, January 2010
COLOR SEPS: QuadGraphics, Irvine, Calif.
ELECTRONIC PRE-PRESS: QuadGraphics, Irvine, Calif.
PRINTING: R. R. Donnelley, Pontiac, Ill.
Thanks to Tony Cotman
(ABOVE) for drawing us
his ideal circuit for
If we had the money
and the land, we’d take
that and create the
Grand Prix of Irvine.