Food City 500

UPDATE: Pre-race ceremonies completed at Bristol

1 Comment

UPDATE (2:43 p.m. ET): Pre-race ceremonies, including the driver introductions, invocation and national anthem, have been completed at Bristol Motor Speedway. It appears we’re ready to go racing in the Food City 500. Keep an eye on MotorSportsTalk throughout the afternoon for coverage.

UPDATE (1:46 p.m. ET): Good news for fans hoping to see the Food City 500 later today. The rain has apparently lightened up to the point where NASCAR has been able to deploy the Air Titan track drying system.

Hendrick Motorsports has passed along word that driver intros are now set to go off just after 2 p.m. ET…

Additionally, NASCAR officials have now made their way to Race Control – another good sign.

UPDATE (12:43 p.m. ET): Steady rains at Bristol Motor Speedway have delayed the start of today’s Food City 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Rain was falling early this morning and has continued to do so as we head into the afternoon. The 500-lap race was scheduled to begin just after 1 p.m. ET.

Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News reported that Bristol general manager Jerry Caldwell was hopeful that the track could catch a break in the afternoon.

And in a brief statement that’s just been released, Caldwell has reiterated that hope…

“At this time, the NASCAR Sprint Cup pre-race and Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway are on hold due to weather. There appears to be a mid to late afternoon window and we are hopeful to begin drying the track at that time for the running of the event. More information on as it becomes available.”

NASCAR policy states that a race becomes official when it goes past the halfway point – in this case, Lap 251 of 500. And once again, it should be noted that Bristol does have a lighting system and NASCAR’s Air Titan track drying system is on hand.

Yesterday, the track stated that they were ready to run the race at Noon ET tomorrow should today prove to be a total washout. Monday’s forecast in Bristol calls for a 60 percent chance of rain that tapers down to 40 percent by nightfall.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
Leave a comment

MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.