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 2

Marcus Ericsson won two races in 2021 and so far this year, the biggest race in the world – the Indianapolis 500! We spent some time chatting before Indy this year during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. In Part 1, he talked about his injury at the Grand Prix last year and his preparation coming into the new season. Here in Part 2, we focus exclusively on the Indy 500. He talks about his first laps ever at the Speedway and also what it’s like to qualify there using the tools within the cockpit. Enjoy! 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Marcus Ericsson’s smile grew much bigger after winning “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indy 500!

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This car (minus the road course wings and Firestone Reds) is what took Ericsson on his 500 mile journey into the record books as an Indy 500 winner.

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Marcus Ericsson has a great sponsor in Huski Chocolate. Currently only available for retail sale in Sweden and Norway, hopefully his American fans can enjoy the drink stateside soon.

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This is pretty much the view (minus the Firestone Reds and the road course wings) that Pato O’Ward had for the last couple of laps of the 2022 Indy 500.

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Ericsson made that two thumbs up after winning Indy and his $3.1 million share of a record purse of over $16 million!

Interview and photos 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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RaceSchool.com Video Blog/Podcast Ed Carpenter Interview

Ed Carpenter has enjoyed a lot of success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s earned the pole position three times, had five front row starts in seven years, and his team placed three cars in the Firestone Fast 9 in 2019. He won the Indy Lights race at the Brickyard in 2003. Carpenter also has three wins at other tracks in the NTT IndyCar Series. He’s also led a race in 14 of the last 15 years. Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) always seems to have their cars dialed in to go fast at Indianapolis. Ed took time out of his busy schedule and joined us on a Zoom call interview to talk about what the April open test would mean to their team and how they approach the Speedway for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Without getting into trade secret details, he opens up about aerodynamics and other ways they prepare their cars for the challenge of going fast reliably at Indianapolis. Enjoy!

 

NOTE: It was announced soon after this interview was completed that Paretta Autosport with driver Simona de Silvestro have formed a technical alliance with Ed Carpenter Racing. ECR will supply a car and several crew members to augment Beth Paretta’s team from last year’s Indy 500. They tentatively have three races planned for this year starting in June. Additionally, ECR driver Rinus VeeKay, won the pole at Barber Motorsports Park and finished third. ECR driver Conor Daly qualified in the Firestone Fast Six at the Indianapolis road course two weeks before the “500” and finished fifth – good momentum leading into the “500.”

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Ed Carpenter shows off his new race suit before this year’s Indianapolis 500.

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Carpenter’s Dallara Chevy is prepped and ready to go – fast!

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Ed Carpenter Racing, Photo credit

Ed Carpenter Racing will be fielding three cars for the Indy 500 in 2022. Could this be the year that one of them visits Victory Circle?

 

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Pato O’Ward Interview

Pato O’Ward came into last year’s 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with an outside chance to clinch the championship. After contact early that ultimately led to his car’s retirement; that put a sour note on the ending of an otherwise strong, two-race winning season. In fact, his race wins earned him a McLaren Formula One Team test during the off-season.  Leading into this year’s race, O’Ward had disappointing finishes on the street circuit in St. Pete and on the oval at Texas (where he had a fast car). He was hoping to have better luck here on this picturesque seaside street circuit where he receives a lot of fan support around the track (especially the Mexican fans). We spoke before the race weekend and he shared his thoughts on a number of subjects leading into this race (where he would end up finishing in fifth place). That was good momentum for him going into the remainder of the season. Enjoy!

 

NOTE: In the next race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, O’Ward would go on to make a decisive pass late in the race and take the victory. He’s now won on a street course, permanent road course and an oval. Keep your eyes on this young lion.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason

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Pato O’Ward waves to the crowd just minutes before the start of the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach where he qualified 11th and would go on to earn a top five finish.

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Pato O’Ward is on a mission this year to earn his first NTT IndyCar Series championship. After a rocky start to the season, things picked up in the right direction at Long Beach.

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Pato O’Ward rockets down Shoreline Drive early in the race. Notice how pristine and clean the car is. Later in the race the massive amount of rubber “marbles” on the track would take its toll on that clean car.

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O’Ward pushed hard in the race to earn his first top five finish of the year. Notice the rubber build up not only on the track but even on the body ramps in front of the rear tires.

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Late in the race, O’Ward’s still pushing hard to gain every position he can. Rubber tire marks makes for a filthy car, yet it always looks better when you have a strong finish.

 Interview and photos Copyright © by 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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