Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aug. 22 newsstand

Today's big news: P.J.'s back
What we've speculated before -- that Marty Roth is running two cars at Chicagoland in the season finale -- has now been confirmed.

The first car was for Roth. The second was for the IPS points leader, but when Alex Lloyd couldn't test it (he tested with Ganassi at Sebring instead), P.J. Chesson was offered the ride. Both cars will carry Dussault Apparel sponsorship, and have very unusual paint jobs. story
Some stuff from P.J.: "Marty is just so enthusiastic; you can tell how much he loves the sport. He wants to be competitive at the highest level and he's really committed to it. I wouldn't mind racing with him full time."

The Dussault Apparel press release has this from Jason Dussault ... "Fast cars, passion, rock and roll and fashion, it all works so well together."

Gene Simmons is undoubtedly behind the deal -- his name is on the car. The cars have a huge green monster on them, and they are hosting a contest at Dussault's site and to name the monster. Roth is planning to run two full-time cars next year.

My take: More cars on the grid is always good news for the IndyCar Series, and I've always thought Roth would be a better owner than driver. This looks like step one in getting to that point. It's also *great* to see P.J. Chesson in the car again -- he's quite possibly the strangest, but one of the most engaging, personalities in motorsports. Why hasn't he been in a car since he and Jeff Bucknum wiped each other out at Indy last year? It's easy to speculate that it's because there aren't a lot of sponsors that would care to have someone of P.J.'s personality wearing their company's logo next to his tattoos. Dussault seems to be a *perfect* fit for P.J., and if they stay with Marty, I could see P.J. being their driver.

If Milka starts, this brings the car count to 23 for the final race (the usual 18 + Roth's 2 cars + Milka + Mutoh + Herb).

Race preview
Everything you ever wanted to know about the upcoming Infineon race, from the Kansas City Star.

Firestone is bringing its softest, highest-grip tire (also used at Mid-Ohio) to this race.

Other stuff
AP: Power steering could help Danica & others on road courses
A tech story from the AP. This story seems as stale as the bread in the back of my fridge, coming from WG, but SI is apparently running it today.

Scott Dixon says the cars are hard to turn. "Once you go so fast, you create a ton more downforce, and that makes the steering wheel a lot heavier to turn. It definitely is a big car for anybody." Adds Helio, "Hopefully, they look into that. If not, we're just going to have to become like big weightlifters."

IRL tech guru Les MacTaggart says the ICS hasn't installed power steering for a good reason -- largely in that the bigger drivers would still have an advantage, and it would just be a more expensive advantage. However, MacTaggart also said paddle-shifters are almost a certainty for next year's cars.

AutoWeek: BB is yelling at the drivers, and Helio & TK are talking about forming a driver's association, because of the stuff from the last couple of weeks.

Helio Castroneves was on the IRL teleconference this week.
Among the good stuff:
*-He's committed through 2008 to Penske. He just doesn't know what his teammate is doing.
*-A lot of stuff about his relationship with Tony Kanaan, whom he calls a "special" friend.
*-Getting married in December, at his fiancee's church. "There are a lot of politics involved."
*-On Dario, "People are talking about him retiring this year. He’s feels like he’s not ready to retire. It is good to see. I have to say that now he’s in a tough situation because he’s only eight points in front of Scott (Dixon), and it’s definitely going to produce a great finish at the end of this championship, and hey, the best man will win."

IPS notes
RLR/Andersen has a new driver, as J.R. Hildebrand will run the Infineon weekend.

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