RaceSchool.com Podcast Tommy Kendall Interview

When the history books are written, one name will stand out amongst the greatest SCCA Trans Am drivers of all time – Tommy Kendall. Moreover, he’s had success in a number of different categories of race cars during his career and has raced with and against some of the greatest names in racing history. His comeback from massive lower extremity injuries suffered at Watkins Glen Raceway in June of 1991 proved his desire and determination to succeed no matter what. He won multiple championships after that shunt. Now retired (for the most part) from racing, he parlays his knowledge behind the microphone and in front of the camera to the delight of legions of racing fans.

After his duties as an MC during the “Racing Goes Safer, Driver Safety Seminar” hosted by the Stand 21 Safety Foundation at the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, we had a chance to catch up with Tommy and hear some incredible stories from his racing career. Enjoy!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Tommy Kendall is a Hall of Fame racing champion and is currently a host of The Torque Show.

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Motorsports Hall of Fame of America President George Levy and Tommy Kendall share the lectern for the 2023 class inductees announcement during the Stand 21 Safety Seminar at the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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After the Safety Seminar, Tommy Kendall paused for a quick photo op with Don Taylor (who organized the safety seminar) on his left and Yves Morizot (of Stand 21) on his right.

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Following the Safety Seminar, Tommy Kendall shows off his copy of the book 50 Years with Stand 21 (signed by the author Yves Morizot). Tommy is standing next to George Levy (president of Motorsports Hall of Fame of America) and John Zimmermann (RACER magazine founding editor).

Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Josef Newgarden Interview

Josef Newgarden is a two-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion and a former Indy Lights Champion. He sat on the pole for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in September 2021 and finished second. This year (2022) he qualified second and won the race! After the post-race press conference I walked with him back towards the paddock to grab this interview. He talks about his Indy Lights experience here, his new crew for 2022 at Team Penske and how he thinks his win at Texas Motor Speedway will help him going into Indy. Newgarden is on a roll. Enjoy!

NOTE: By winning at Road America on June12th, Newgarden captured the $1 million PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge bonus. The Challenge rewards the first driver to win on all three types of circuits – oval, street and road tracks – in 2022. The $1 million is split, with $500,000 going to Team Penske and Newgarden and $500,000 donated to Newgarden’s two chosen charities - SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Josef Newgarden looks confident waving to the fans just before the start of the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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Newgarden attaches the HANS device straps to his helmet before getting into his Penske Chevrolet in Long Beach. Although the basic helmet design has remained the same, the colors have hanged during the 2022 season (as seen at Road America in June).

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Two-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden is aiming to add another star to his sleeve at the end of the year that would define him as a three-time champ.

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Part of being fast is pushing the limits of adhesion. Coming into the pits during Friday practice, you can see where Newgarden scuffed the floor and white-walled his right-front tire on the unforgiving concrete barriers that line the Long Beach circuit.

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A full crowd enjoys the action (and food and drink) while watching Josef Newgarden steer his way towards victory at the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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Newgarden pushes hard on his way to victory in the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Notice how his right rear tire (specifically) is shredding over the coarse pavement.

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Newgarden enters the world famous hairpin (Turn 11) on Shoreline Drive in the city streets of Long Beach on his way to Victory Lane.

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Winning any race will always bring a shout for joy, but winning in Long Beach is even better for Newgarden especially after his Indy Lights experience here.

Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Marcus Ericsson, Part 1

Your 2022 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Marcus Ericsson, spent some time chatting with us before Indy this year during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. In this conversation he talks about what happened with the shunt at the AGPLB last year and what he’s done in the offseason to prepare to make 2022 another winning season with a shot at the championship. He also previews the Indy 500 and how his preparation is enhanced by his teammates and experience. He is as nice and unassuming as you’ll find in the IndyCar paddock and is now an Indy 500 winner. Enjoy!

NOTE: He crashed out in this year’s AGPLB with 19 laps to go when he got sideways between Turns 4 and 5 and ended up parking his damaged race car in the worker’s compound in almost the same spot as last year. He started the month of May off well with a fourth place finish on the Indianapolis road course. In Part 2 of the interview, you’ll hear details about what it’s like to qualify at the Speedway and much more.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Marcus Ericsson waves to the crowd before the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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Marcus Ericsson makes a quick adjustment to his glasses before hopping into his race car for Friday practice.

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Ericsson pushes hard through Turn 10 during qualifying on Saturday in his immaculately clean race car. In the race photo of Turn 10 below, notice the rubber tire marks and clumps of rubber lodged in his front wings.

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Early in the race, Ericsson has passed Romain Grosjean and Will Power to run in sixth place down Shoreline Drive behind winning drivers (and  a couple of champions) Alexander Rossi (5th), Felix Rosenqvist (4th), Alex Palou (3rd), Josef Newgarden (2nd) and Colton Herta (not shown). 

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Marcus Ericsson hits his apex perfectly around the fountain.

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Using the curbs in Turn 5 is critical to lowering your lap times.

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Ericsson is shown here late in the race leading Romain Grosjean (who is on the Firestone Red alternate tires) but would crash out soon afterwards.

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Ericsson is not the only driver to have made contact with the wall exiting Turn 4. You can see the tire marks on the wall from someone else. Unfortunately, the upcoming contact would put an end to his otherwise strong run.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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2022 Indy 500 Preview

Who will win? That’s the million dollar-plus question and payday for the one guy fortunate enough to beat the 32 other competitors at this year’s Memorial Day weekend showdown. After a more than a week of practice and qualifying, there’s no denying that a car from the Ganassi armada of five immaculately prepared cars is certainly a favorite. All five of Chip’s cars qualified within the Top 12. Perhaps the favorite is six-time series champion (and 2008 Indy 500 winner) Scott Dixon who’s had a slow start to the year but showed his strength in practice and especially in qualifying to win the pole with the fastest pole speed ever at the Brickyard with a speed of 234.046 mph in his PNC Bank Dallara Honda. His teammate (and last year’s series champ) Alex Palou will start in the middle of row one flanked by Rinus VeeKay from Ed Carpenter Racing in his Chevy powered Dallara. 

It’s one thing to go fast with a tow (draft) and another to be fast on your own for four consecutive laps in qualifying. However, it’s going to be the driver with the best car to get through traffic and having flawless pit stops that will put them into a position to challenge for the win at the end of 200 laps. Of course luck can always play its part as well as good old fashioned race strategy. The race day forecast is for plenty of sunshine and a high of 81 degrees.

Two rookies with plenty of racing experience qualified in the Top 12 – Romain Grosjean, the fastest driver in the five-car Andretti Autosport stable, and Jimmie Johnson, another Ganassi entry. Our previous week’s guest on the podcast, Ed Carpenter, proved again that he can put fast cars on the track by qualifying fourth. Pato O’Ward (also in our previous podcast) who got bumped in 2019, qualified seventh this year and is very happy with his race car. He qualified just in front of his teammate Felix Rosenqvist. Where’s Team Penske? They’re in a better place than last year with Will Power being the quickest of their trio starting 11th after being in the last row last year. Two-time winner Takuma Sato will start in 10th for Dale Coyne Racing.

Who will drink the milk on Sunday? There are plenty of drivers who are capable. Can Helio Castroneves win his fifth? Can Joseph Newgarden continue his hot streak and win his first? There are eight former winners in the field and plenty of over-40 veterans versus the ambitious youngsters with stories spread throughout the field. Colton Herta sat on the pole at Long Beach and won on the Indianapolis road course two weeks ago so he’s also riding a strong wave of momentum. It should be another classic day at the Speedway back home again in Indiana. Enjoy!

 

NOTE: The race will be broadcast live on NBC at 8am PDT on Sunday, May29th. For a complete qualifying lineup and spotter’s guide, visit: https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/events/indy500/event-info/live-grid

You can also visit: www.IndyCar.com for additional information.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Shown in road course trim here (big wings front and rear), Scott Dixon qualified on pole with an all-time Indianapolis pole track record at over 234 mph! Can he convert his fifth pole here to win for the second time?

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If Pato O’Ward has anything to say about it, he’ll take his Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to his second victory this season and the biggest win of his career!

Photos by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Christian Lundgaard Interview

Christian Lundgaard made a very positive impression in the NTT IndyCar Series when he was hired to pilot the Rahal Letterman Lannigan entry at the Indianapolis road course in August 2021 by qualifying fourth quick in his series debut. That drive made a strong enough impression that he was brought on full-time by the RLL team for 2022. At the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, he endured a tough weekend in practice, qualifying, warm-up and the race. We spoke with him on the way from pit lane back to the paddock immediately after the warm-up session and he was frustrated with his qualifying position and pace in the warm-up session. After winning multiple karting championships in Europe, he went on to race cars winning a championship in F4 and winning races in F3, F2 and became an Alpine F1 junior racer. Any driver who’s had that kind of success is certainly not going to be happy when they’re not up front. It’s interesting to hear what he has to say about it. 

NOTE: In the race, he ran out of fuel at pit entry which ultimately put him two laps down at the finish. It was a truly tough weekend.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Christian Lundgaard ponders with his crew what it’s going to take to find some missing speed.

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Christian Lundgaard waves to the crowd just minutes before the start of the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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Christian Lundgaard shares a fist/wing bump with the Firestone Firehawk. It was a nice positive moment for an otherwise tough weekend.

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Although he was pushing hard in Friday afternoon’s practice session with temps near 100 degrees, Lundgaard could only manage the 21st quickest time.

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Lundgaard’s RLL team was one of many Honda powered teams to run a memorial TE sticker (just under the aeroscreen) as a tribute to long time Honda manager of motorsports public relations, T.E. McHale who was instrumental in numerous Indy car driver’s careers and sadly passed away after an illness.

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Christian Lundgaard leads his teammate Jack Harvey at the start of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Harvey would go on to have a mildly better day finishing in 15th compared to Lundgaard’s 19th.

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It wasn’t for a lack of pushing hard that kept Lundgaard down in the race results. Here he’s using the curbs and in a four-wheel drift as you can see that his the wheels are mostly pointed straight at the apex of the corner.

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Rubber tire marks pelted Lundgaard’s car as he worked hard to finish better than where he started.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Review

The best way to describe this edition of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is that it was like a rollercoaster – lots of ups and downs when it came to the weather, racing and emotions. Friday’s temperatures were near 100 degrees with track temps about 130 degrees and while everyone anticipated that the weather would slow everything down, the exact opposite happened. The street circuit rubbered in so well that lap times fell like the temperatures would throughout the weekend.

Practice 1 for the NTT IndyCar Series was done in those really hot temps on Friday afternoon, yet the top time was over two seconds faster than the fastest time in the same session last year. Saturday’s temps were closer to the low 70’s with the sunshine still plentifully abundant when the NTT IndyCar Series took to the track for knockout qualifying. In the Firestone Fast Six, Colton Herta continued his mastery of the seaside street circuit that he won on last year to earn the pole. He waved to the Honda HPD employees in the Turn 10 grandstand on his cool down lap as a salute to all of their hard work. He was followed closely by last year’s pole sitter, Josef Newgarden. Alex Palou rounded out the top three. Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi claimed the next two spots enhancing the outlook on their season. Romain Grosjean completed the top six after losing his two quickest laps due to a shunt into the Turn 5 wall causing a red flag. Without that blunder, he would’ve started second.

At the start of the race, Herta pulled away immediately and opened up a significant gap to Newgarden and Palou. He easily led the first 28 laps until his first pit stop. After all the front runners had stopped, it was Palou who found himself in front until lap 54 of 85. From there, Team Penske did a great job to get Newgarden out front where he would remain for the rest of the race. However, it wasn’t that easy as he had to fend off strong challenges from Herta (who locked up under braking and smacked the wall in Turn 9 driver’s left), Palou and with just a few laps remaining, Grosjean who was on the Firestone “Reds” versus Newgarden on “Blacks.” Neither had any push to pass left and on a late re-start Newgarden took a super defensive line into Turn 1 and kept the lead. With a lap to go, Takuma Sato nosed into the tire barriers in Turn 8 (which collected a number of cars during the race) and so the race finished under caution. In the post-race press conference, Grosean admitted that even if they had a re-start it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

In the IMSA WeatherTech 100 minute race, Sebastien Bourdais started from pole with a new track record and pulled away until overtaking a backmarker in another class at the Turn 11 hairpin. As he went inside on the entrance to the corner he lost grip, went wide on the exit and nosed into the outside wall driver’s left. He had to wait to back up and get going again and dropped to dead last in DPi. At that point he was upset with himself and figured that he had nothing to lose by being aggressive in traffic and charging to the front. In his own words every time he needed to make a pass he was just going to “send it.” He did just that in the drive of the weekend and handed off to his teammate Renger van der Zande who dutifully brought the Chip Ganassi Cadillac under the checkered flag for an exciting win. It was an all-Cadillac podium with the sister Ganassi car in second and the JDC Miller Motorsports entry in third.

In the GTD Pro category, Corvette Racing snared the pole with Jordan Taylor although it was the Aston Martin Vantage driven by Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas that brought home the victory ahead of the Vasser Sullivan Lexus and rounding out the podium was the Corvette.

In GTD, it was the BMW M4 of pole sitter Madison Snow along with teammate Bryan Sellers who drove to victory over a super competitive field. The podium was rounded out by an Acura NSX and Lexus RC F.

The Historic Motor Sports Association Invitational was a real fan favorite with cars from the pinnacle of IMSA GTP and European prototype era. The sensational sleek and sexy looking cars still look modern even 30 years later. Furthermore, the variety of machinery from chassis to engines thrilled the fans ‘round the track. Former Porsche factory driver Patrick Long went two for two in the events on Saturday and Sunday in Tom Malloy’s Leyton House Porsche 962. Tom Long was second on Saturday in the beautiful in look, and in sound, four-rotor, silver and blue Mazda RX-792P. Jerome Rodela rounded out the top three on Saturday in the Eagle Toyota MkIII. On Sunday, McLaren’s Zak Brown brought his gorgeous Jaguar XJR10 home in second followed by the lone non-prototype Porsche 935 of Martin Lauber.

The Porsche Carrera Cup races had Kay van Berlo take both wins over a very large field that also had numerous caution flags throughout both races.

The Speed Energy Stadium SUPER Truck races were won by one family – Gordon. Both Robby and his son Max won with Robby taking the win on Sunday and 13 year old Max being victorious on Saturday.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Colton Herta jumps out to an immediate lead at the drop of the green flag of the 47th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Unfortunately for him, a smack to the Turn 9 wall (after locking his brakes on Seaside Way with 30 laps remaining) ended his chance to win back-to-back.

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Late in the race Newgarden leads Palou and Grosjean. A late restart allowed Grosjean (on Firestone Reds) to get past Palou but he fell just short of winning and settled for second place. Notice the marbles off line.

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Here Josef Newgarden leads Colton Herta after great pit work by his Team Penske crew. Notice the rubber building up in the expansion joint and the marbles off line. 

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From L-R, Romain Grosjean, Josef Newgarden, and Alex Palou share the podium celebration holding up their hard-earned trophies.2022 AGPLB Bourdais T10 crop

Sebastien Bourdais had the drive of the weekend after qualifying on the pole with a new track record, dropping to last in the race and charging back to the lead before it was all said and done.2022 AGPLB HMSA start crop

Patrick Long put on a driving clinic against the other historic prototype drivers to take home two victories over the weekend.2022 AGPLB Max and Robby T10 donuts crop

Robby Gordon and his son Max celebrate Max’s win on Saturday. Dad Robby would win on Sunday!

Photos 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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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

 

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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.

 

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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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© 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! 

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     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.

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     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.

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       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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FastLane Racing School Expands to Buttonwillow Raceway Park

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FastLane Racing School announces that it is expanding to a dedicated facility at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. FastLane will now offer classes and services from both Willow Springs International Raceway, the school’s original location, and Buttonwillow Raceway Park.

May 21, 2021 Santa Clarita, CA

FastLane Racing School (raceschool.com) is pleased to announce expansion to a dedicated facility at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. FastLane will soon offer classes and services from this new location, while also providing driver instruction and other services at its original location, Willow Springs International Raceway.

“We’re excited to be expanding to a new, dedicated facility at Buttonwillow Raceway Park to offer additional programs,” said Sandy Mahle, CEO, FastLane. “Buttonwillow Raceway Park is a track we’ve raced at often, and has a long history of hosting premiere racing events. Recent improvements to the Park, including a new road course and a Tesla Supercharger station, will provide additional support to our ongoing autonomous and electric vehicle testing programs.”

Known as one of the premiere road racing and testing facilities in the United States, Buttonwillow Raceway Park’s versatility has made it popular among club racers, track day clubs, motorcycle racers, professional race teams, car manufacturers, tire companies, media outlets, commercial production companies, and go karters. The track is located just off of Interstate 5 on Lerdo Highway, 28 miles northwest of Bakersfield, California, and offers over 40 different configurations. The East and West loops of the track can be run simultaneously or combined into a 3.1-mile course. The facilities at Buttonwillow Raceway Park include a full service tire center, fuel center with self-service pumps, two-story race control tower with observation deck, restaurant with available catering, RV hookups, day garages, and a gift shop.

“I started my racing career with FastLane” said Mike Miserendino, Event Manager of Buttonwillow Raceway Park. “Having FastLane located at our facility, offering their programs on our track, is a partnership we are very excited about.” Miserendino is a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) championship-winning racer, as well as a member of the CalClub board.

Buttonwillow Raceway Park, a modular facility with over 20 different course layouts, will soon be launching a new track. The new track will meet all the highest FIA track-specific standards. The Track 2 front straight through the first turn is 50-feet wide, and all of the remaining length is 40 feet in width. The “native ground” is near flat, but three hills of varied elevation change have been constructed for additional interest. Plus, the rubberized asphalt to be laid soon will offer superior grip and be a lot easier on tires.

FastLane Racing School has provided high quality driver education programs for over 25 years from the Willow Springs International Raceway in Southern California. Originally founded by Danny McKeever, FastLane has a long and storied history – from developing the first SCCA race school licensing programs to over 20 years of providing complete driver training and support for the Long Beach Celebrity Grand Prix. Along the way, FastLane has trained a wide range of drivers, from teens in its defensive driving academy to seasoned racing professionals.

FastLane has also trained over 600 law enforcement officers in its Emergency Vehicle Operations Courses. Thousands of other drivers have graduated from corporate and fleet driving programs, manufacturer driver training programs, and government certification courses. FastLane has also been a longtime partner for the entertainment industry, having participated in over 100 movies, broadcast shows, and commercials. With its expansion to Buttonwillow Raceway Park, FastLane hopes to educate and support even more drivers and businesses in the coming years.

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About FastLane

For over 25 years, FastLane Racing School has provided high quality driver education in California. FastLane’s programs include SCCA certified racing instruction, corporate driving programs, defensive driving, manufacturer driver training programs, and government certification courses. FastLane also provides extensive expertise in vehicle dynamics and support for the entertainment industry. For the past 20 years, FastLane has proudly provided driver training and support for the Long Beach Celebrity Grand Prix. In 2021, FastLane launched its new Data-Driven Driver Development (DDDD) programs, including specialties in electric vehicle and autonomous driving. Learn more at raceschool.com 

About Buttonwillow Raceway Park

Buttonwillow Raceway Park is one of the premiere road racing and testing facilities in The United States. The track’s versatility has made it popular among club racers, track day clubs, motorcycle racers, professional race teams, car manufactures, tire companies, publishers and media outlets, commercial production companies, and go karters. The track is located just off of Interstate 5 on Lerdo Highway, 28 miles northwest of Bakersfield, California, and offers over 40 different configurations.The East and West loops of the track can be run simultaneously or combined into a 3.1-mile course. The facilities at Buttonwillow Raceway Park include a full service tire center, fuel center with self-service pumps, two-story race control tower with observation deck, restaurant with available catering, RV hookups, day garages, and a gift shop. Learn more at http://buttonwillowraceway.com/

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FastLane Racing School Announces New CEO and Expanded Driver Programs

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After more than 25 years of providing high performance driving instruction at Willow Springs International Raceway, FastLane Racing School (raceschool.com) has hired a new CEO, Sandy Mahle. FastLane has started launching new programs and will continue to do so throughout 2021. They will also continue to expand services for vehicle manufacturers and the film and television industry.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- FastLane Racing School (raceschool.com) announced today that Sandy Mahle has joined the company as its new CEO, and has plans for new, expanded driver education programs in 2021.

As CEO, Sandy Mahle brings to FastLane over 20+ years of technology leadership experience in Silicon Valley, as well as over 100 years of the Mahle family history in the automotive industry.

"I'm thrilled to be joining FastLane to start this new chapter," said Sandy. "The merging of technology with the automotive industry, especially driver development, has long been a passion of mine. With its rich history of top quality driver programs, FastLane was a natural fit. I'm excited to be a part of the new leadership team as our programs and services evolve in the coming years."

"We're thrilled to have Sandy on our team," Eddy Valdez, General Manager of FastLane. "Her experience will be essential to our new data-driven driver development programs."

FastLane Racing School has provided high quality driver education programs for over 25 years from the Willow Springs International Raceway in Southern California. Originally founded by Danny McKeever, FastLane has a long and storied history – from developing the first SCCA race school licensing programs to over 20 years of providing complete driver training and support for the Long Beach Celebrity Grand Prix. Along the way, FastLane has trained a wide range of drivers, from teens in its defensive driving academy to seasoned racing professionals.

FastLane is proud to have trained over 600 law enforcement officers in its Emergency Vehicle Operations Courses. Thousands of other drivers have graduated from corporate and fleet driving programs, manufacturer driver training programs, and government certification courses. FastLane has also been a longtime partner for the entertainment industry, having participated in over 100 movies, broadcast shows, and commercials.

"If it moves – we likely have a program and expertise in it," said Sandy. In 2021, FastLane plans to deepen its existing programs, as well as launch a complete set of new programs.

Sandy is excited to break new ground as a female CEO in an industry long-dominated by men.

"My 20 years in Silicon Valley taught me that there's no limitation to what anyone can accomplish," said Sandy Mahle. "As CEO, I bring my breadth of experience and depth of passion, plan to lead by example and let results speak for themselves."

About FastLane

For over 25 years, FastLane Racing School has provided high quality driver education in California. FastLane's programs include SCCA certified racing instruction, corporate driving programs, defensive driving, manufacturer driver training programs, and government certification courses. FastLane also provides extensive expertise in vehicle dynamics and support for the entertainment industry. For the past 20 years, FastLane has proudly provided driver training and support for the Long Beach Celebrity Grand Prix. In 2021, FastLane launched its new Data-Driven Driver Development (DDDD) programs, including specialties in electric vehicle and autonomous driving. Learn more at raceschool.com

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