The Indy Racing League, or IRL, is a sanctioning body for open-wheel auto racing in America. Best known for the popular Indianapolis 500, the IRL endorses the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and, as of 2010, the U.S. F2000 National Championship.
Tony George was responsible for the establishment of the IRL back in 1994, with racing beginning in 1996. George’s goal was to found a lower-cost alternative to CART, which was only accessible to wealthy teams who could afford the expensive technology. As of 2008 Champ Car racing (previously CART) was merged into the IRL.
IndyCar vehicles look similar to open-wheeled formula racing cars, featuring wings and large airboxes. The cars have strict specifications, with all cars using the same parts. Every three years, the chassis and engine manufacturers are reviewed. Originally built just for oval racing, the new generation of IndyCar machines are made to deal with road racing too.
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or Indy 500, takes place each Memorial Day weekend at America’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One of the oldest motorsport races, the Indy 500 draws large crowds each year. It is an event avid racing fans would not want to miss. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 have included Dario Franchitti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish, Jr. Scott Dixon, and others.
NASCAR is an acronym for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing and the association is currently the largest sanctioning body of motor sports in the US. It is hugely popular with sports fans in that country and has the second highest television ratings in the US. Besides this, various NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries across the globe – proof that the appeal of NASCAR racing is not just limited to the United States.
Part of this relates to the fact that participating vehicles are based on stock cars, which can be bought from a local dealer’s lot. This means that the sport is more accessible to aspiring drivers than other forms of racing. Another factor is that, even though the NASCAR headquarters are based in Daytona Beach, Florida, the sport is widespread with a number of sanctioned races being held at racing tracks across the country on a regular basis. The sport is also well-sponsored since advertisers recognise that NASCAR fans are generally the most brand-loyal of all sports fans.
It all began in Daytona Beach in the early 1900s. During that time, the beach was known for being the best place to set land speed records and many flocked here to watch or prove their worth. As many as fifteen records were set here before the Bonneville Salt Flats were seen as being a decidedly better location. It is said that during this time, many of those with the fastest cars paid for their motoring improvements by means of bootlegging. Their cars doubled as a quick getaway vehicle for their illegal bootlegging runs. Once alcohol was made legal, these wealthy car owners turned to the thrill of racing for entertainment and money and the legacy of NASCAR was born. The actual association was founded in 1948 by Bill France Sr who saw fit to get this burgeoning sport onto closed tracks under one organizational umbrella. Prior to the formation of NASCAR, the various tracks in operation generally made their own rules which made it difficult for drivers and mechanics meet vehicle and engine requirements at each track. Certainly, the organisation of the sport through NASCAR helped to catapult it to new heights.
Today NASCAR racing is clearly one of the most popular sports in the US. There are a variety of noted NASCAR drivers and NASCAR teams who have made their mark on the history of the sport. Many drivers have centred their entire career on the sport, with many enjoying a long and prosperous career. Some even pass on their legacy to their children. There are also a great number of NASCAR tracks which are seen as seasonal favourites and NASCAR racing series which draw larger attendances than normal. This section of Autoracing.com is dedicated to the great sport of NASCAR racing and it’s many different facets.
The history and development of Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR are closely intertwined. Auto racing at Martinsville predates NASCAR, though with very humble beginnings and small spectator capacity. The Martinsville Speedway has matched NASCAR lap by lap, meeting new technology and safety standards, while also providing for the rapid growth of fans for the sport. Every serious NASCAR fan must visit Martinsville at least once, because your appreciation of the auto racing phenomenon in the United States will not be complete without it. Great car racing spirits reside at the Martinsville Speedway, and you can feel decades of NASCAR traditions permeate your bones when you join untold numbers of spectators at this famous site.
History and traditions apart, a special feature of NASCAR events at the Martinsville Speedway is the tent facility, where spectators can interact with top drivers. The question and answer sessions are special treats, and you can treasure your moments in close proximity to your heroes. These sessions can also add to your auto racing enjoyment, because you get to learn of key strategies and tactics drivers employ even as they move at such incredible speeds around the track. The whole thing is conducted in a spirit of friendly competition, and you might find that you enjoy this part of a Martinsville visit most!
The track at the Martinsville Speedway is not exceptional, but it is adequate by NASCAR standards. The length is only about half a mile, and the inclines on the oval do not even reach 15 degrees at any point. These are good conditions for drivers who like to go flat out. NASCAR fans, who know Richard Petty to be a top owner, will be delighted to know that he has driven to victory fifteen times at the Martinsville Speedway.
Since Virginia enjoys so much NASCAR activity, you can combine a NASCAR event at the Martinsville Speedway with trips to other auto racing tracks in the State. On the other hand, the beautiful Virginia countryside is replete with a host of outdoor recreation opportunities. Martinsville has a long history, and people with interests in the Aleutians and the colonization of North America will find plenty of interesting stuff to go nicely with the NASCAR excitement at the Speedway.
Rallying or Rally Racing is a form of point-to-point racing where drivers navigate their way between different sets of points along a circuit. Highly modified production cars are used for Rally Racing and these are generally constructed with particular terrain in mind. For example, cars used in Desert rallies need to be able to cope with much different road and terrain conditions compared to those faced by Winter rallies. Rally racing tracks are usually made up of closed off public roads or off-road areas, which means that a rally car can (and usually does) encounter a wide variety of terrain.
Entrants in Rallies are permitted to scout the track before the race and the co-driver (or navigator) uses this information to his team’s best advantage. The co-driver makes use of “pace notes” which are read aloud over an intercom system in the car to the driver in order to assist him in completing each stage of the rally as fast as possible. The winner of the rally is usually the team with the lowest total elapsed time for the entire event.
Rally cars are unusual in that they must be able to travel ordinary roads and therefore must conform to the road regulations of the host country. This is necessary because often the entrants must drive in un-timed stages from one timed course to another. Rallying has evolved considerably from its humble origins in the early years of the 20th century, and today rallying is immensely popular around the world, especially in Europe. Some sources estimate that Rally Racing ranks second in popularity to Formula One racing. Manufacturers and fans around the globe support the World Rally Championship, and rally events take place in some of the world’s most inhospitable areas such as the Sahara Desert or Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle.
Many auto manufacturers also design and build cars for the race track. Some of these racing manufacturers are Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Porsche, and more. Ferrari, especially, has been at the forefront of auto racing since the early years of the 20th century. The Prancing Horse has been a regular fixture of Winner’s Circle celebrations in many types of auto racing, most prominently Formula One racing and endurance road racing such as the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. Some racing manufacturers, such as Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford, limit their activities to producing specialized racing engines. The Ford-Cosworth engine used in many kinds of race cars is just one of these ventures.
There are many types of auto racing and therefore manufacturers have to create designs for the most efficient function of these vehicles in different situations. Off-road and rally racing cars require excellent suspension and have to be able to handle unusual terrain, for example. Of course, these ventures are very expensive since the volume of cars or engines is low compared to that of regular production vehicles and their parts. Even so, the prestige and fame that accrues to automakers from having their names associated with winning racers is well worth the significant expense.
Racing manufacturers design sports cars for high performance, fast speeds and reliability. They are specially designed for light weight, a balanced chassis and innovative suspension for exceptional handling in extreme situations. Racing manufacturers need to be concerned with precise, exacting design and make use of only top quality components to ensure the safety and success of race car drivers.
Below is a list of links to pages about specific Formula One Car Manufacturers. You are certain to find the details interesting and informative.
FORMULA 1 MANUFACTURERS