RaceSchool.com Podcast Katherine Legge Interview

photo by Brad Bernstein Katherine Legge enjoys a light moment with Larry Mason during their podcast for raceschool.com.

Katherine Legge (of England) is one of the fastest race car drivers around. She is also female (which is not the novelty that it used to be in the world of auto racing). We caught up with her in the morning before her IMSA WeatherTech GTD race at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – a place where she earned her first North American win in her Toyota Atlantic Championship debut! She has competed worldwide in an extremely diverse range of racing cars including Indy cars, Formula E, NASCAR, DTM, the Delta Wing and many, many more. She has an extremely pleasant and humble personality outside the car which by no means diminishes her fierce determination to wring every last bit of performance out of any race car she steps into. Enjoy!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Interview and photos by Larry Mason except as noted below:

photo by Brad Bernstein

photo by Brad Bernstein

Katherine Legge enjoys a light moment with Larry Mason during their podcast for raceschool.com.

Katherine Legge shares the driving duties with Hardpoint Team owner/driver Rob Ferriol in their Porsche GT3R IMSA GTD car.

Katherine Legge shares the driving duties with Hardpoint Team owner/driver Rob Ferriol in their Porsche GT3R IMSA GTD car.

Katherine Legge not only has to fight for position within the GTD class, but has to watch her mirrors for DPi prototypes. She’s shown here as the meat in a multi-class sandwich!

Katherine Legge not only has to fight for position within the GTD class, but has to watch her mirrors for DPi prototypes. She’s shown here as the meat in a multi-class sandwich!

This carbon fiber rear diffuser and tail section show off the hi-tech nature of the current IMSA GTD class.

This carbon fiber rear diffuser and tail section show off the hi-tech nature of the current IMSA GTD class.

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger – Juncos Hollinger Racing Interview

Ricardo Juncos came to the United States years ago as a go-kart mechanic. Living the American dream, he’s made it all the way to the NTT IndyCar Series as a team owner. This year Brad Hollinger came over from being a part-owner of the Williams Formula One team to join Juncos creating Juncos Hollinger Racing. Running the last three races of the 2021 season, the team will compete full time in 2022. They both spent some time talking about their partnership and plans for the future and why now is the right time to be in the NTT IndyCar Series. Incidentally, Ferrari F1 test driver Callum Ilott (who finished out the last three races of the 2021 season for JHR) was just announced as their driver for the 2022 season and he will be featured with his own interview in our next installment!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Interview by Larry Mason

Photo credits below

Ricardo Juncos (L) and Brad Hollinger (R) have teamed up to form Juncos Hollinger Racing and will be contesting the entire NTT IndyCar Series season in 2022 with driver Callum Ilott.

PHOTO by Jose Mario Dias

Ricardo Juncos (L) and Brad Hollinger (R) have teamed up to form Juncos Hollinger Racing and will be contesting the entire NTT IndyCar Series season in 2022 with driver Callum Ilott.

It may be cold and snowy outside in Indianapolis in the winter time but the work is heating up inside to prepare for a full season in 2022. It also looks like they’ll have to change their external signage to add in “Hollinger.”

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

It may be cold and snowy outside in Indianapolis in the winter time but the work is heating up inside to prepare for a full season in 2022. It also looks like they’ll have to change their external signage to add in “Hollinger.”

A beautiful clean shop space with room for two transporters and plenty of bays to work on Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights and IndyCar racing cars, Juncos Hollinger Racing has also prepped IMSA DPi cars here too.

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

A beautiful clean shop space with room for two transporters and plenty of bays to work on Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights and IndyCar racing cars, Juncos Hollinger Racing has also prepped IMSA DPi cars here too.

Although there may not be a lot of people or work shown going on in this photo, this shop is about to get real busy for the coming season!

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

Although there may not be a lot of people or work shown going on in this photo, this shop is about to get real busy for the coming season!

 

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Colton Herta Interview

Colton Herta Turn 9

Fresh off of his win at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Colton Herta shares his insights heading into the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. His confidence was well founded as he won the race!

 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Colton Herta waves to the fans before the start of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He might as well have been waving goodbye to the other 27 competitors as he stormed his way from 14th to 1st!

Colton Herta waves to the fans before the start of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He might as well have been waving goodbye to the other 27 competitors as he stormed his way from 14th to 1st!

Herta pushing hard through Turn 9 extracting all the speed from his Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda.

Herta pushing hard through Turn 9 extracting all the speed from his Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda.

Herta’s rear wing is becoming a common sight to his competitors!

Herta’s rear wing is becoming a common sight to his competitors!

It wasn’t exactly a drive through the park for Herta. He started 14th and had contact with his teammate early on exiting the hairpin. However, he certainly made it look like a nice Sunday drive.

It wasn’t exactly a drive through the park for Herta. He started 14th and had contact with his teammate early on exiting the hairpin. However, he certainly made it look like a nice Sunday drive.

All photos and interview by Larry Mason.

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2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Review

Photo by Larry Mason Josef Newgarden leads Helio Castroneves, Felix Rosenqvist and Romain Grosjean down Shoreline drive at the start of the 46th Annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on their way to Turn One on the preferred inside line while Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud and a trailing James Hinchcliffe are hoping to make the outer line work into Turn 1. Photo: Larry Mason

 

The season finale started off sunny and warm for the first couple of days, but Sunday dawned cloudy, cool and stayed that way for the race. Colton Herta, fresh off his win one week ago at Laguna Seca was quickest in every practice session and the Sunday warm-up. He just missed the cut in qualifying and had to start 14th. The championship leader, Alex Palou, qualified 10th while his next closest rival in the points, Pato O’Ward, was penalized during qualifying for improving his time when a yellow flag flew for Will Power (who got sideways in Turn 9 and then pancaked the wall driver’s left on the exit). O’Ward was not happy since some other drivers also improved their times but didn’t lose their fastest laps. Josef Newgarden showed his intent on winning the race and championship by winning the pole position on Saturday.

WillPower Sideways T9 LBGP21

Will Power gets sideways big time in Turn 9 in qualifying right before he “pancakes” the wall with his left rear on the exit.

        The race started cleanly into Turn 1 (which is somewhat unusual for Long Beach) but it didn’t take long for Ed Jones to try an unlikely pass of James Hinchcliffe into the hairpin. He got inside Hinch but managed to punt and spin O’Ward out of the way. O’Ward was able to continue but rolled to a stop some laps later with what appeared to be a broken half-shaft or CV joint. 

Josef Newgarden T9 crop

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden flies over the curbing in Turn 9 on his way to pole position! Photo:Larry Mason

         Newgarden led for the first stint with Scott Dixon close behind. With different pit strategies, Helio Castroneves led the next stint followed closely by Graham Rahal. In the meantime, Colton Herta, who had climbed his right front tire over the back of his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay’s left rear tire carved his way through the field even though to go straight his hand position was turning right.

Herta LBGP 21 crop

Colton Herta leads Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon after last pit stop on his way to Victory Lane. Note that Herta is on primary “Blacks” while Newgarden and Dixon are on the alternate Firestone “Reds.” Photo: Larry Mason

        Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist and Hinchcliffe all ran strongly in the Top 10 early, but the guy making methodical progress was Alex Palou. At the end of the day it was Herta on top followed by Newgarden and Dixon with Palou in fourth. A great day for Ganassi racing as Dixon was champ last year and the Astor Cup trophy stays with the team this year with Palou. By way of O’Ward’s problems, Newgarden vaulted to second in the championship and O’Ward dropped to third in the standings.

VC LBGP 21 crop

Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta and Scott Dixon hold their trophies high in Victory Circle! Photo: Larry Mason

 

Alex Palou the champ VC LGGP 21 crop

Alex Palou raises the Astor Challenge Cup Champion’s trophy and relishes the moment in IndyCar history! Photo: Larry Mason

        In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on Saturday, Cadillac brought home the win with Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani in the DPi category. Continuing with the General Motors success, Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy finished first for Corvette Racing in the GTLM category. Rounding out the winners in the GTD category were Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in their Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

 

Cadillac DPi T11

The Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr takes a tight line around the world famous hairpin turn en route to victory in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Larry Mason

        All-in-all a great race weekend and it won’t be long until the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach returns on April 8-10, 2022. Don’t miss it!

 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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Back To School Track Day @ Big Willow

Photo by Larry Mason

     It was a great day on Saturday, September 4, 2021 when Fast Lane Racing School hosted a track day for former students, friends and family. Also included were racers from the Sports Car Club of America’s Cal Club region and from the Vintage Auto Racing Association. All those present got together to spend time pounding laps around the “Fastest Road in the West” – Willow Springs International Raceway. There were three run groups that comprised beginner/intermediate, advanced and an open wheel group that rotated every 20 minutes for their on-track sessions during the day. In between sessions, Fast Lane instructors were there to coach and encourage the participants in their quest for speed around the track. 

93Lola WIRPhoto by Larry Mason

      It certainly wasn’t your typical track day as the variety of cars was extensive combining high performance vehicles and open-wheel formula cars and open cockpit sports racing machines. Additionally, it also marked the debut of the Fast Lane Racing School Indy Lights race car on track. The Buick-powered 93 Lola chassis weighs about 1400 pounds and puts out approximately 425 HP! The straightaways get real short with a car like this! Just think, you could be driving this fantastic race car at a future Fast Lane school! 

WS2 2696 Sep0421 221PM CaliPhoto                           Photo by CaliPhotography

     The FSE LA group came out with their beautifully presented Formula 4 race cars and spent the day exciting the onlookers with such cool and fast race cars. There were numerous high performance and exotic cars on track including Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Porsche and Lamborghini along with American muscle cars like Mustang, Corvette and even a Cobra Daytona coupe. Along with a couple of Fast Lane Pace Cars and Scion FRS Pro/Celebrity cars from the Grand Prix of Long Beach, everyone was able to get behind the wheel even if you didn’t drive a stick shift.

WS2 2945 Sep0421 247PM CaliPhoto                 Photo By CaliPhotography

     The morning started off with registration where everyone was treated to a free T-shirt commemorating the day, a lunch ticket, wristband and sticker denoting the run group. A driver’s meeting in front of the cafeteria followed going over procedures, flags and safety information. A free lunch was included in the price of admission and featured track day favorites like hot dogs and hamburgers, along with a trio of salads – potato, regular and fruit. Apple and peach cobbler for dessert made for some full bellies. A cooler filled with water and soft drinks helped wash everything down.

WS2 1290 Sep0421 1117AM CaliPhoto                 Photo By CaliPhotography

       The next Fast Lane Track Day is scheduled for October 31st on the “Streets of Willow” track just behind the big track. If it’s anything like the first one, this will definitely be a treat and not a trick. We look forward to seeing you there! For more information contact Fast Lane today!

 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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2021 Indianapolis 500 Recap, How the Race was Won

indy-lights-2

If you were fortunate enough to watch the Indy 500, you witnessed one of the best races ever. Every “500” has 33 unique stories but only one winner – and in this case it turned out to be a (now) four-time winner in Helio Castroneves.

Are you interested in driving an Indy car? Take a look at our race car rental program - we have Indy lights cars that you can rent and drive! - Editor

Kicked to the curb after more than 20 years at Team Penske with 50 poles and 30 wins on his Indy car resumé, Helio was adamant that his driving days in the open wheelers were not over. After winning his first professional racing championship last year for Team Penske in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, he found a new home for a partial season of six races in the NTT IndyCar Series with Meyer Shank Racing for 2021 starting with The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Team owners Mike Shank and his wife Mary Beth came from humble beginnings to reach the pinnacle of all Victory Lanes in the world and celebrate their first-ever NTT IndyCar Series victory with co-owner Jim Meyer (former CEO of SiriusXM).

With that expansion this year to include a second car at select races, the hunt for a driver was on. Do you go with youth and exuberance or with a veteran and the experience that they bring? After watching the consummate professionalism of the way Castroneves sized up his competition and earned his victory, that decision proved they made the right choice. Castroneves poked and prodded for different ways to pass or even pull ahead just a wee bit at the yard of bricks and it was obvious that he had a clear cut method to extract all the information he needed to make his move at the right time and in the right place. He credited his years of experience with having finished second as not only motivation, but also because he learned what he needed to do to win. His outside pass on lap 198 into Turn 1 over Alex Palou proved to be the key move. Experience, race craft, and understanding how to use the tools in the car to make it better all played a part in his victory. The other part had to do with his MSR crew giving him a good car to begin with and executing their plan throughout the race to save fuel, get track position and have fabulous pit stops.

It’s true that luck also plays a part in that the caution flag didn’t come out when Castroneves was running second with just three laps to go. Typically, there’s a caution with just 10 laps to go at Indy. The race this year was uncommonly clean with only Graham Rahal’s tire leaving his car exiting the pits and putting him into the SAFER Barrier and numerous spins on pit road as multiple drivers locked their brakes entering pit lane. That all added up to a speed record for the 500 in excess of 190 mph average.

Of course at the end of it, ‘Spiderman’ parked his car on the main straight, jumped out and climbed the fence and was joined by his jubilant crew. The largest sporting event crowd since the pandemic started last March of 135,000 strong started chanting, “El ee Oh, El ee Oh” which reduced him to tears of joy with the realization of him becoming only the fourth driver ever to win four times. Even Mario Andretti kissed Helio on top of his head in a congratulatory way. Credit goes to NBC for not breaking to commercials and showing the sheer joy and raw emotion that filled the screen as he soaked in the adoration of the crowd and from fellow drivers and team members. One of the best races ever? You bet. The best post-race celebration? Without question.

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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