Driver swap at Circuit of the Americas
Published on Apr 23, 2013
V8 Supercars/NASCAR Driver Swap:
The boys have been out on track for the Driver Swap at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin – with James Courtney and Kurt Busch hitting the track.
Courtney tweeted after the experience: "That was nuts… Felt like I was wrestling a bear."
Wednesday 24 April 2013 16:30
By: V8 Supercars
Today in a prelude to the first ever event in North America, 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Kurt Busch and 2010 V8 Supercar Champion James Courtney drove each other's cars around Circuit of The Americas.
The Australian V8 Supercar is 400lbs lighter than a Sprint Cup car, but only has 650 horsepower compared to 950 in NASCAR.
The NASCAR was faster accelerating in a straight line but the V8 Supercar far quicker through corners, making it a relatively equal contest between the two.
Furniture Row-Racing's Busch had to adapt to sitting on the wrong side of the car, a sequential shift gearbox and a dramatically smaller steering wheel. Courtney also found himself on the other side of the car from what he is used to and had to revert to using a H-pattern gearbox that hasn't been used in V8 Supercars since 2007.
The only similarities between the Chevrolet SS NASCAR and the Holden Commodore V8 Supercar comes from their road-going versions – the same car is sold in both markets in respective left and right hand drive versions.
"It's amazing, there are similarities and differences between the two cars," Busch said.
"Sitting on the right side, shifting a bunch of gears with my left arm, you're not in your comfort zone and it's hard to understand what task of the car is next until you start checking things off your list that you learn the racetrack as well. So there were quite a few things going on. Information overload, to say the least.
"But it definitely makes it interesting to drive both cars on the track at the same time.
"The quickest way I can compare an Australian V8 Supercar to what people are familiar to in the States is it's a muscle car but it's a sports car at the same time.
"Much more power than what you see in the GT classes in the Grand Am series. And the ability, though, for what I see on TV, for these guys to run side-by-side, nose to tail, is the control of the cars, the balance they have makes it a treat to drive."
Holden Racing Team's Courtney and fellow Championship contender Lockwood Racing’s Fabian Coulthard were on hand at the Circuit of The Americas for today's activities as well as last weekend's successful inaugural MotoGP event where they undertook demonstration laps at the venue.
For the vastly experienced Courtney, today's track action was a dramatic twist for the Australian who has driven a wide range of machinery including Formula 1, Le Mans and Japanese Sportscars, Formula 3 and Formula Ford.
"It was pretty wild sitting on the other side of the car and shifting an H-pattern gearbox," Courtney said.
"The car was bigger and heavier. It has so much power. It's really quite an experience. It was also quite cool to blow past the V8 car on the straight. It was really good. I'm forever grateful that the team gave me this opportunity.
"The steering wheel, it feels like it's massive. But to run side-by-side I was pretty nervous because it's moving around a bit more than what I'm used to.
"But the car was excellent. Changing with an H-pattern gearbox is different; it's done almost automatically in the car at home so you never think about it. But another thing that is quite different is the braking performance.
"It's built for Speedways, not really road courses. It's a very different machine."
Courtney and Coulthard will return home this week to prepare for the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship, the Chill Perth 360 in Western Australia, on May 3-5.
For tickets for the inaugural US event, visit the Circuit of The Americas website at http://circuitoftheamericas.com/v8-supercars.
Mike "FossilMedic" Ward
Several Race Cars Destroyed
Update, 10 pm: Injury reports updated. Scroll down.
A SPECTACULARLY DESTRUCTIVE CRASH on the final lap of the Nationwide Series NASCAR race Saturday afternoon launched one of the cars into the catch fencing and breaking apart sending car parts and wheels into the spectators.
The early reports say at least five spectators were injured and transported plus another two racefans in the upper level. Several of the race cars were left in pieces on the track. This video was taken from the tv broadcast and shows the wreck from the beginning and some of the destruction:
An early report from USA Today tells:
It was unclear immediately how many people were injured or how seriously after several cars crashed and disintegrated in front of the grandstand at the end of the Nationwide Series race. Radio transmissions indicated helicopters were being brought to the pits to transport the injured.
The engine from Kyle Larson's car, which flew high and tore into the fence at the start-finish line, was seen burning inside an open area in the fence afterward. A wheel and lots of debris also were seen in the stands, where safety crews were working on at least five people, including four who were strapped to backboards. And at least two people were injured in the upper deck, where another safety crew with an additional two stretchers were sent.
AP / Graham
The crash involved
11 12 cars and one driver has been reported as needing hospitalization.
Update, 10 pm:
More than 30 spectators were injured by the wreck, but the exact number is still unknown. There were 14 fans transported by ambulance and at least 12 people treated at the speedway, probably a few more than that.
AP / Graham
The racetrack already had dozens of medics stationed around the grandstands for the gathering of more than 100,000 spectators and they were able to assemble a large contingent on the accident scene within a few minutes.
ESPN has posted this video update that includes crash footage from a different location from the video above:
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Last Remnants of Legendary Race Car Shop Gone
Daytona Beach News-Journal
THE LAST, REMAINING BUILDING of legendary race car mechanic and engine-builder Henry "Smokey" Yunick's former complex went up in flames Monday night in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The suspicious fire started around 7:30 pm in the vacant garage and the Daytona Beach Fire Department, after determining there was no life hazard, maintained exterior operations. The concrete building had a tin-covered, wood joist roof and nothing of value inside.
Smokey Yunick died in 2001 and following his express wishes that the garage not become "no damn shrine," his family had long since sold off all his tools, etc. and the real estate was sold in 2004.
Yunick was from New Jersey and following World War II when he was a B-17 bomber pilot, he migrated to Daytona Beach and opened a truck mechanic shop. Considered to be an automotive engine genius, he went on to build racecar engines for famous drivers while piling up an impressive list of inventions that are still utilized in automobiles today.
This morning's STORY HERE in the Daytona Beach News-Journal has a good, concise history of "Smokey's Garage" and a 14-image photo gallery of the fire.
WOFL-TV Ch. 35 Orlando filed this video report on the fire:
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In Case You Missed It
by Tom Bowles
New Jimmie Johnson Video Big Hit For Kobalt
A new Kobalt video from Jimmie Johnson made the rounds Thursday that had NASCAR fans up in arms. Fearing the footage was real, the one minute, 37-second clip shows Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson on a commercial set only to have his race car unhinge itself and crash right on top of a Kobalt toolbox.
A frantic Jimmie and Chad run outside the camera shot feigning surprise; seconds later, they reemerge in awe that the Kobalt toolbox didn’t break with the weight of the car on top of it.
Turns out Jimmie and Chad knew what was happening all along, doing an “A”-level acting job as part of a promotion to show the toughness of Kobalt’s tools. No word on when the footage will be edited into a 30 or 60-second commercial.
Mike “FossilMedic” Ward