Thursday, July 30, 2009


Dario Franchitti, 2007 Indy 500 winner and IRL champion and currently second in points, was the Newsmaker guest on Wednesday night's The Race Reporters radio show on Robin Miller, of, and Gordon Kirby, United States editor of Motor Sport, joined me in the questioning and we had a roundtable discussion on the future of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500, and IRL. Tony Kanaan made a brief surprise visit to update us on his health following a pit fire last Sunday at Edmonton.

Here's some of what Franchitti said:

On rules changes starting in Saturday night's race at Kentucky, intended to improve competition (read that: entertainment):

"I don't know how effective they will be. I don't really know enough about the aerodynamics of the car, to that degree, to say. What I do like about it is, it's going to give us choices. That was one thing we really were missing. They gave the teams a very tight window to work in. It will give all the teams a bunch of choices to what to do with the car and that should give us some separation. Some people are going to get it right and some people are going to get it wrong . . . As far as 'Push to Pass,' the biggest problem with that I see is with a normally-aspirated engine, it's so difficult to gain the kind of horsepower figures that are necessary. They are talking between five and 20 horsepower. With the turbo it's easy because you ramp the boost up when you hit the button and get 100 horse. I'm going to wait and see."

On problems passing this season in IRL races:

"Indy this year was weird. I think what we're seeing is the Sprint Cup cars are making the track quite bumpy. As soon as you go below that white line to try to get some air on the nose of the car to get you some grip, the car snaps sideways, because it's so bumpy down there. That's something that has happened since '07. The line at the Speedway, which already is narrow, has narrowed up even more."

Use this link to listen to the entire show:

The Race Reporters podcast is available on iTunes:

Upcoming guests:

August 5 -- Newsmaker: Tony Schumacher. Panelists: Dave Kallmann, Susan Wade, Jon Asher.

August 12 -- Newsmakers: Vicki O'Connor (Atlantic series), John Doonan (Mazda), Clark Campbell (VW). Panelists: Jeremy Shaw, Mike Kerchner, Jamie Reynolds.

August 19 -- Newsmaker: Brian Wolfe (Ford North America motorsports director). Panelists: TBA.

August 26 -- Newsmaker: Ashley Force Hood. Panelists: TBA.

[ more next Tuesday . . . ]