6/6/09

Gotta Feel For Ryan


You know, Ryan Hunter-Reay probably thought he was set for this season once he landed that gig with IZOD over the fall and winter of 08/09. He must had figured he'd be in the Rahal Letterman Racing car, with Ethanol and IZOD sponsoring the car. He would contend for wins on most courses again, pushing the RLR car to the top of the grid.

He was happy at RLR, and RLR was happy with him. Then it all started to unravel.

All of a sudden with the worsening economic condition, RLR loses Ethanol sponsorship, and with the sudden loss, are without a major sponsor for 2009. After looking around, making efforts to sign a new primary sponsor for the car, they are unable to find the funds nessicary to run the full season. Instead of taking lesser funds to run around near the back of the pack, Rahal decides to pull his team for 2009 and tells Ryan to look for another ride.

Right about at this moment, I'm thinking something along the lines of "&$%#" went through RHR's head.

A race winner from 2008 at Watkins Glen, an American, an awesome driver, and the face of the biggest marketing promotion the IRL has ever seen, he was out of a ride for 2009. So, what now?

Tony George, realizing the need to have RHR in the series for 2009, if for only the IZOD campaign, began making some phone calls. All of a sudden, rumors of RHR to HVM Racing start up, and things get serious when HVM announces they are putting Ryan in a car at a Sebring test. Just as that happens, Dale Coyne also jumps into the mix and tries to land RHR for the '09 season. However, when the deadline comes to put a deal together, and either HVM or DCR were unable to do so, Tony George snapped him up and put him in the number 21 car at Vision Racing.

Well, this is a positive for Ryan, as Vision is probably ranked higher then HVM and DCR for most drivers. He is getting a ride in a decent squad with a teammate and some real money behind him. Not only is Ryan happy, but IRL fans are pleased with the inclusion of RHR in the 2009 ICS.

So a week before the season, Ryan is confirmed, and gets fitted for a seat at Vision. All of a sudden, St. Petersburg is upon us, and Mr. Hunter-Reay puts in a performance no one, including himself, expected. Ryan finishes runner up to Ryan Briscoe during his first week in the Vision car, and all of a sudden, expectations for 2009 sky rocket. Ryan Hunter-Reay, whether realistically or not, is not considered a major player for the 2009 championship, and fans of the Indycar Series are thrilled with his result.

But ever since, Ryan has been plagued by less then expected results. A string of races out of the top ten has put Ryan in tenth place, 59 points back of points leader Scott Dixon. A terrible month of May and a rough race at Kansas has put Ryan behind the 8-ball for the '09 season. A promising start has turned into a dissapointing streak of races, and it has continued with another difficult qualifying performance at Texas, where he struggled to out pace Jacques Lazier in the Team 3G machine.

Whether it is the car, the engineering team put around him, or perhaps difficult communication amongst the team, RHR is not where he should be right now. He has to be wondering how he got to this point, when over the winter, he and RLR were considered the next team to jump into the Big 3/4 status.

Unless things change for the better, RHR will be stuck in the mid-to-back of the pack for the rest of '09. And that isn't where this great, young American deserves to be right now.

6/3/09

Scheckter to Quit Racing, Become Monavie Salesman

Sources at The Other Side have learned that Tomas Scheckter's big announcement tomorrow is in fact not what people are expecting.
People around the country are waiting on Tomas to announce either his part time or full time entry into the Indycar Series for the rest of 2009 with either Dreyer & Reinbold Racing or Dale Coyne Racing. However, we have learned that Mr. Scheckter will do just the opposite.
"He's done, he has found a new passion and we can't figure out why" said a source who asked to remain anonymous since nothing has been announced yet. "It is like that Monavie stuff has brainwashed him. He went into a meeting with the founder of Monavie with a Monavie Gel in hand, and walked out of the meeting a different person."
Tomorrow, Tomas will announce that he is taking a short hiatus from racing to pursue his new goal, being the top Monavie Salesman in North America (excluding Texas and the province of Quebec).
Apparently, part of his deal to run the Indianapolis 500 included him becoming a key distributor and salesman of Monavie products. As you can see above, Tomas was a walking billboard for the start up company during the last week of May as he pushed Monavie on everyone.
Further evidence of his decision to leave racing for the foreseeable future hit Twitter earlier today as Tomas was advertising job openings in his distribution team through tweets.
Email me at tomasenergy@googlemail.com if you interested in been part of my
monavie distribution team !!!!!!
Obviously, this story will not be confirmed until the press conference tomorrow at Texas Motor Speedway, but we this is all but confirmed. Also, rumored that Eddie Cheever will be joining this new distribution team as Scheckter's right-hand man.

6/2/09

Shake 'em up

Well, Milwaukee is done, and count that towards another race I missed due to my terrible lacrosse schedule that this past weekend, included a 5 hour bus ride to Ottawa to play a team we knew we'd beat, and we did. Unfortunately, game time was race time, which meant I had to go have rubber lacrosse balls hurled at me while Indycars flew around the Milwaukee Mile a couple hundred plus times.

Anyways, Dixon won, Briscoe continued his strong performances at Milwaukee, Danica finished top 5 again, and PT had a rough day. It's all over now, time to move to to Texas for this coming weekend and the Bombardier Learjet 550k/341.75m at the Cheesegrader Texas Motor Speedway. I like Texas, but something tells me the drivers fear that track. Hitting the wall there at 210ish can't be very much fun, and it has the reputation for tearing cars apart.

However, let's not forget the positives from Texas, the great side-by-side racing it provides us, the great crowd they pull in, the wide array of winners it produces, and drive through liquor stores.

As for the driver line up, there are a couple shakeups. First of all, PT is out, which seems mutual after AJ was embarrassed by the car he provided PT, and after PT realized he would be a lapped car in the Foyt equipment at Texas. Instead, AJ Foyt Numero 4 will pilot the ABC Supply Co. machine at Texas.

Stanton Barrett has finally stepped out of the car, for now anyways. Jacques Lazier will drive the car in Texas after Greg Beck said his Dallara needed an experienced driver right now. Atleast J-Laz will be up to speed and running with the back half of the field instead of being lapped every 10 laps. Beck did say Barrett will be back in the car at some point this season, just not sure when yet. I guess whenever the car doesn't need an experienced driver?

Conquest hasn't announced their driver yet. It will most likely be Alex Tagliani, Tomas Scheckter, or they won't show up. If you believe the rumor I threw up from the Bartender last week, they just won't show up.

As for the aforementioned Scheckter, he was on Twitter saying he is "looking forward to Texas" which led to rumors he would be driving in Texas obviously. Options are limited, either a second DCR car (please, please, please!), a third DRR car which has been rumored by Indyinformer as the number 43 car, or the open seat at Conquest. Hoping it isn't Conquest as this will raise the car count by one if both Conquest and Scheckter show up seperately.

Milka Duno is back in the number 23 car this weekend after stepping out for T. Scheckter last weekend. Milka will provide ample challenges for the leaders, she will most likely get about as much exposure as a top 5 car will, as she will be on camera about once every 10 laps as the leaders lap her.

By the way, all these shake ups are adding to the suspense of the "The Other Side - Weekly Poll". With Stanton Barrett and PT out, with Milka and Schecks in, the point standings will change a little bit. Make sure you vote, there are only 4 days left.

For now, this is how it has shaken out. I'm sure we'll hear more possibilities as we get closer to qualifying on Friday afternoon/night. Anything changes, I'll let you know about it.
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