Podcasts: The Fans’ Best Friend Between Races and During the Off Season

What to do to get your Indycar fix when the next race is 10 days away or it’s the doldrums of the offseason and you need some bench racing? Turn to a podcast. Sadly the great  More Front Wing is no more and Push to Pass had a very brief life. But there are some good ones running weekly now . Each one takes a different approach and has some unique features.  Many of you probably already listen to some of these. Today I will profile four of the best. I want to thank the hosts for taking time to answer my questions for this article.

Pit Lane Parley

Mike Joachim and Jess Baker launched this podcast in early December, 2017. The show has seen phenomenal growth in the last year.    Matt Hickey joins Mike and Jess on their weekly episodes which usually are available Friday morning.

Pit Lane Parley provides unique content weekly, including breaking down complicated topics, interviews,  and trivia nights. Each show typically has a trivia segment. The podcast has a three fold mission according to Mike.

” To bring new fans to the sport, to have casual fans understand complicated things by breaking it down for them, and giving hardcore fans unbiased talk.”

Mike said the best show moments were interviews with Jay Frye and Mark Miles. On the flip side, he thinks the funniest unintentional moment was when he called Scott Dixon an American.

You can listen to the podcast on Apple podcasts. Google podcasts, Spotify, and all podcast apps. I listen on the Castbox app.

For 2020 Pit Lane Parley partners with HMD Racing and a team to be announced later for in depth team content on race weekends. The show also is launching a video channel next season.

Race Fan Heaven

This podcast is in its infancy. Race Fan Heaven began in February of this year. Founder and host Ric Clark teams with Mandi Curi and Rhonda Clark.

I met this Austin, Texas based trio at Laguna Seca in September. They have a lot of fun working together and it comes across in their episodes. All of them are passionate about racing in general.

The podcast focuses on F1, Indycar, NASCAR and NHRA. The episodes usually come on air Friday evenings. Currently you can listen on Speaker.com and RaceFanHeaven.com. The show will be available on most major podcast platforms in 2020.

Ric told me Race Fan Heaven’s mission  is ” To cover, comment on, debate, and promote motorsports. We are passionate fans who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to bring our excitement to fans worldwide!”

At selected races they do live Twitter and Facebook videos.

The best moment for the podcast was their in person coverage of the NTT Indycar Series Finale at Laguna Seca.

Ric said the funniest unintentional moment was when Mandi had to make a “pit stop” in the middle of the show.

For 2020 Race Fan Heaven will have more coverage including live video of their shows and interviews and commentary from the tracks.

Fast Cars Fast Girls

You can believe I made sure I spelled the second fast correctly.

Abby and Molly began the podcast in 2017 with an official release date of June 15. They had recorded after the Indycar GP and the Indianapolis 500. The podcast began during 500 qualifications in 2017. They realized that there were not a lot  of women expressing their opinions and thoughts about Indycar.

The podcast focuses mostly on Indycar and each episode features a segment on females in and around motorsport. I find that segment very interesting and educational. The show’s focus coincides with their mission to talk about Indycar and enjoy the sport.

Molly told me that they always enjoy their interviews with IMS president Doug Boles and Mike Ford, who spots for Simon Pagenaud.

The unscripted show doesn’t lead to much unintentional incidents. Molly thinks the most famous ad lib quote was ” Daddy doesn’t do ovals. daddy only does ovals.”  :(It) will forever live on,” Molly says.

Podcasts go live on Wednesday on all apps.

Fast Cars Fast Girls will continue the Unplugged events at races and continue to spend time with other Indycar fans. in 2020.

“:Other than that, we’ll see where the season takes us, ” Molly said.

The Indy SportsCar Podcast

This podcast is I believe the longest running of the fan podcasts. The Indy SportsCar Podcast recently had its fifth anniversary. Sustaining this type of format as a hobby for five years is quite an achievement these days.

Frank and Missy Linker, the hosts, launched their first episode December 3, 2014. They focus on Indycar, the Road to Indy, and Formula 1.

The podcast airs Friday on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Spotify, RedDragonsRadio.com, Tunein Radio , and all other podcast apps.

The podcast mission, Missy said, “…is to get Indycar fans excited about the upcoming races, season, and bring more fans to the sport and bring more eyes to the ladder series to watch the young drivers go through the ladder series and eventually to Indycar.”

Over five years the podcast has had many great moments. Missy notes their interview with Alexander Rossi before his Indycar debut, interviewing the late Justin Wilson, and their interviews with several current Indycar drivers when they were in the Road to Indy, including Oliver Askew, Pato O’Ward, Spencer Pigot, and Colton Herta.

Missy admitted there is a funny unintentional moment every episode.

Missy and Frank are working on some new things for 2020 but are not ready to share their plans at this time.

 

 

 

 

A Word of Thanks

I have  a few words of thanks to those who made 2019 such an amazing year.  While writing this column annually seems like a trite exercise, I enjoy expressing my appreciation for those who helped the sport and also those who helped me get through the season.

Thank you to:

The Hulman-George family for their 74 years of stewardship and building the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into the great event and facility it is today. Thanks also for handing the track to someone intent on preserving the traditions of the place.

Roger Penske for buying IMS, The NTT Indycar Series, and IMS Productions. If the track had to be sold, I’m glad it was to someone who understands what this is all about

Fellow media members for their help and advice. In particular, Eric Smith of Race Review Online, George Phillips of Oilpressure, and Mike Joachim of Pit Lane Parley.

The communications staff at Indycar and IMS.

Track PR and communications directors for their assistance in facilitating onsite coverage.

Everyone on “Team Silver” headquartered in G Stand on Race Day.

The wonderful people in my writing class at the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa. They continue to be a huge inspiration in writing this humble column.

Finally, certainly not least, each one of you who take the time to read The Pit Window. I am humbled by your loyalty and very much appreciate it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

 

iRacing: Yang Ou Wins Pole for Open-Wheels 500

Yang Ou returned to iracing and picked up right where he left off. Yang won the pole Saturday for the inaugural Open-Wheels 500 Presented by Mitchell Transmissions.  he edged Wilson Neto by 0.009 seconds. Neto had the fastest lap, 39.101 seconds, and both drivers had two laps over 230 mph. Yang’s other two laps were higher in the 229 range than Neto’s 229 mph laps. Both drivers earned their spots on second qualifying attempts.

After receiving the Pit Lane Parley Pole Award, Yang said, It was “a no-brainer to go out again. I was little conservative on my second run, but just enough.” For next Sunday’s race day, he is looking for “a little more speed” and to “learn to drive in traffic.”

Sunday’s race will e his first race in the IR-18. Yang previously drove the DW 12.

Neto had the fastest lap of the day at 230.173 mph. “I knew I had car to be in the top 5,” Neto said. To prepare for the race, he will run a couple of races during the week.

65 cars completed qualifying attempts yesterday. On the bubble in 33rd position is Niall McBride with an average  time of 39.292.

Bump Day is currently ongoing and ends at 5:50 pm, when the field of 33 will be set for the race.

Just Past Mid Day Update

Felix Rosenqvis.

t’s car was back on pit road. They are using an asymmetrical front wing setup with the Gurney flap only on the left side.

Carlin could be in some difficulty after Pato O”Ward’s heavy crash at 12:17 this morning. O’Ward was cleared to drive at the infield medical center. I spoke to Trevor Carlin who said they have another chassis. I’m not sure where that is coming from.

img_20190516_1359137056154703724751272.jpg

O’Ward got a little airborne but didn’t flip over. The holes cut in the floor likely prevented that.  He still slid on two wheels before the car stopped upright.

As of 2:30 pm, Ed Jones, Takuma Sato, and Sebastien Bourdais have the day’s top speeds. Jones’ best lap was 227.843.  He is also first on the no tow rankings. Spencer Pigot and Ed Carpenter are in the top ten, at 5th and 7th. All three ECR cars have consistently been in the top ten this week.

NBC continues to show clips of really bad crashes.  I hope this is not  something planned for the broadcast this weekend and Race Day.

The video boards have not been on today.  I am trying to discover the reason.

A yellow was thrown at 3:10 for Pippa Mann requesting a two in. The car slowly returned to the pits on its own.

Fernando Alonso should be on track by 4 pm. His repaired or rebuilt back up car is in the gararge area.

Pit Lane Parley

Please give a listen to the Pit Lane Parley podcast. They are doing a great job with commentary and special interviews. Their main episode will be up on Friday. Go to piylaneparley.simplecast.com.

 

 

Qualified Opinions

 

Happy New Year, everyone. It’s finally 2018. We are closer to the start of the new racing season. Many Indycar drivers will be testing the new aerokits beginning this month and some drivers get in their first taste of competition at the Rolex 24 at the end of the month.

I have some exciting ideas for this blog for this year. Some are based on reader suggestions, and some come from the responses to types of articles I did last year. Indycar  was very busy just before the holidays with news.

Indycar made two announcements about oval qualifying just before Christmas. One involved qualifying points at The Indianapolis 500, and the other concerned qualifying procedures on ovals.  The details and my thoughts on these follow.

Indy 500 qualifying will not be the point-a- palooza it has been the past few years. In 2018, the Fast nine are the only drivers receiving points. The pole winner gets 9 points and the other eight get points in descending order with ninth place receiving 1 point. No points are given for qualifying 10th or lower.  I have read many arguments in favor of the new format as well as some opposed to it.

My feeling is there were way too many points given for qualifying so I am happy about the change. Did Indycar go too far the other direction? I’m not sure. Drivers  have to make two runs to make the race. There should be a bit of  a reward for that extra effort. Perhaps a larger, separate qualifying purse would help. If there are more than 33 entries, which is a greater possibility this year than there has been lately, a new format altogether may be needed. I would like see cars limited to no more than three attempts on Saturday.

The qualifying change on ovals I do not like at all. On ovals other than Indianapolis, qualifying order will be determined by entrant points. This means by Iowa we will likely have the order at every oval pretty much set. The idea is to give the leaders the best chance to start the race at the front. Why? If the points leaders are slow in practices, why should they get an advantageous qualifying slot that weekend? Having all the points leaders, assuming they are the fastest cars, begin at the front every race could make for some boring races.

A better way would be to use the final practice times for each event as the qualifying order with the fastest qualifying last. In discussions I have had with other fans, there has been talk of having the points leaders go first. I like that idea as well. If they are the fastest cars, qualifying order shouldn’t matter since they will all be going out in a short time fame of one another. I see nothing wrong with having the best drivers race to the front. Eliminating randomness, as the league seems determined to do, could turn Indycar into Formula 1.

News

Carlos Munoz will return for the 500 driving for his old team, Andretti Autosport. Munoz has finished 2nd twice at Indy and always runs very well there. Adding Munoz gives Andretti six cars for the race.

Indycar announced the first on track test of the aeroscreen prototype will be February 9-10 at the Phoenix open test.  The schedule is subject to change.

Carlin Racing announced Charlie Kimball will drive car number 23 and Max Chilton will be in the 59 car. Those numbers haven’t been seen on an Indycar since 2011, when E. J. Viso drove number 59 and Paul Tracy attempted to qualify the 23 car at Indy.

Indycar announced last Thursday that only rookies would get extra tires for the first practice on road and street courses. Last year teams outside the top 10 in points also get an extra set. I like this idea. Nearly half the field received the extra set. The teams in the top 10 usually sat out the first half of practice. Now just the rookies will be on track during the first half of the session. That is something else that needs to be tweaked. Shortening the practices would help. Portland is the only new track on the schedule. Most teams should have enough data for each venue that a shorter practice would be fine. The only teams shorter practices this could hurt next year are Carlin and Harding.  They are new full time teams and do not have rookie drivers. Jay Frye indicated the league is looking at incentives to get more cars out for practice sessions.

Teams will get an extra set of tires at Phoenix, Detroit, Texas, Iowa, and Toronto in an effort to make tire distribution more consistent. These tracks were picked on the basis of tire wear. on track.

Podcasts

I have started listening to a couple of  new podcasts and want to make sure everyone knows about them.  Both are great additions to the Indycar podcast universe. I would start one myself, but I have a voice for the print media. Check them out when you have a chance.

The newest, Pit Lane Parley, hosted by Mike Joachim and Jess Baker, offers insight and commentary on Indycar news. Their podcasts are on the Podbean app.

Fastcarsfastgirls, also available on Podbean as well as other sources, features Abby and Molly with a look at happenings in the racing world. They usually include a bit of history and always have a feature on women in racing.

Enjoy the first week of the new year. Racing is getting closer.