RaceSchool.com Podcast Willy T. Ribbs Interview

Ribbs The wide-open eyes of Willy T Ribbs show the look of intense focus – the precise thing needed to be successful at Indianapolis. photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs  

Willy T. Ribbs has forged his way to success in professional auto racing like no other man in his chosen sport. From being the first African American to race at Indianapolis to testing Formula One cars and winning multiple IMSA GTO races, he’s also driven for or been sponsored/supported by some of the biggest names in and out of the sport - Dan Gurney, Jack Roush (via Ford Motor Company), Bill Cosby and many others. They all believed in Willy enough to help him forge his path of success. He was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame just prior to the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach and spent some time talking with us after he had popped in a quick “Hello” during fellow LBMWoF inductee Will Power’s interview.  I would’ve liked to have spent more time interviewing him, however he was interrupted during our chat and told that he had to get to another commitment. Enjoy! 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Willy T. Ribbs and Jim Michaelian (president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach) remove the checkered flag to uncover the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame plaque for Ribbs.

Willy T. Ribbs and Jim Michaelian (president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach) remove the checkered flag to uncover the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame plaque for Ribbs.

Willy T holds up a number one sign right before he kisses the plaque as if he were kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Willy T holds up a number one sign right before he kisses the plaque as if he were kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Anytime you get to be on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s a reason to celebrate.

Anytime you get to be on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s a reason to celebrate.

photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs

The wide-open eyes of Willy T Ribbs show the look of intense focus – the precise thing needed to be successful at Indianapolis.

The wide-open eyes of Willy T Ribbs show the look of intense focus – the precise thing needed to be successful at Indianapolis.

photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs

Ribbs receives great service work from his pit crew during at pit stop at the Indy 500.

Ribbs receives great service work from his pit crew during a pit stop at the Indy 500.

photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs

Interview and photos by Larry Mason except as noted

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Callum Ilott Interview

Callum Ilott Callum Ilott waves to the crowd just minutes before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Ferrari F1 test driver Callum Ilott was picked by Juncos Hollinger Racing to finish out the last three races of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series. He will also be driving for them full time in 2022. Ilott talked with us about how Indy cars compare to the Formula One and GT cars he’s been driving. He also compares the nuances of the Long Beach track to the streets of the Monaco Grand Prix. With essentially a new team and a new (to the series) driver, Ilott qualified P18 (out of 28) for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach which is quite good considering he’s never been here before and how tight the grid is here (he ran as high as sixth before retiring with a mechanical). He certainly has the potential to make a big name for himself here in the states with his skills. Sit back and enjoy this interview!

By Larry Maso

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Callum Ilott waves to the crowd just minutes before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Callum Ilott waves to the crowd just minutes before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Callum Ilott pushed hard in Saturday qualifying and ended up in P18. It was a good result for the small team that’s just getting re-started and with Ilott never having been to Long Beach before.

Callum Ilott pushed hard in Saturday qualifying and ended up in P18. It was a good result for the small team that’s just getting re-started and with Ilott never having been to Long Beach before.

Callum Ilott maneuvers his way around the tight Turn 11 hairpin before rocketing down Shoreline Drive. This hairpin is to the right as opposed to the hairpin in Monaco.

Callum Ilott maneuvers his way around the tight Turn 11 hairpin before rocketing down Shoreline Drive. This hairpin is to the right as opposed to the hairpin in Monaco.

Callum Ilott leads Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly heading into the fountain area of the aquarium. Starting P18 and avoiding the first lap melee, Ilott worked his way up to 6th place at one point in the race.

Callum Ilott leads Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly heading into the fountain area of the aquarium. Starting P18 and avoiding the first lap melee, Ilott worked his way up to 6th place at one point in the race.

Looking down from the Aquarium of the Pacific parking structure through the palm tree leaves, Ilott already has his vision up for the upcoming tricky off-camber Turn 5.

Looking down from the Aquarium of the Pacific parking structure through the palm tree leaves, Ilott already has his vision up for the upcoming tricky off-camber Turn 5.

 Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Judy Kouba Dominic Interview

Judy Kouba Domenick Photo courtesy of Judy Kouba Domenick

Judy Kouba Dominic is Chevrolet Racing’s trackside communications representative. For over a decade Judy has been the go-to person for members of the media to get information about Chevy racing teams and drivers. She brings a fascinating background to her position and is one of the most professional, passionate, hard-working, and caring individuals you’d ever want to meet. We sat down and had a nice chat just outside the media center at the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Judy Kouba Domenick

Interview by Larry Mason 

Photo courtesy of Judy Kouba Domenick

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger – Juncos Hollinger Racing Interview

Ricardo Juncos came to the United States years ago as a go-kart mechanic. Living the American dream, he’s made it all the way to the NTT IndyCar Series as a team owner. This year Brad Hollinger came over from being a part-owner of the Williams Formula One team to join Juncos creating Juncos Hollinger Racing. Running the last three races of the 2021 season, the team will compete full time in 2022. They both spent some time talking about their partnership and plans for the future and why now is the right time to be in the NTT IndyCar Series. Incidentally, Ferrari F1 test driver Callum Ilott (who finished out the last three races of the 2021 season for JHR) was just announced as their driver for the 2022 season and he will be featured with his own interview in our next installment!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Interview by Larry Mason

Photo credits below

Ricardo Juncos (L) and Brad Hollinger (R) have teamed up to form Juncos Hollinger Racing and will be contesting the entire NTT IndyCar Series season in 2022 with driver Callum Ilott.

PHOTO by Jose Mario Dias

Ricardo Juncos (L) and Brad Hollinger (R) have teamed up to form Juncos Hollinger Racing and will be contesting the entire NTT IndyCar Series season in 2022 with driver Callum Ilott.

It may be cold and snowy outside in Indianapolis in the winter time but the work is heating up inside to prepare for a full season in 2022. It also looks like they’ll have to change their external signage to add in “Hollinger.”

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

It may be cold and snowy outside in Indianapolis in the winter time but the work is heating up inside to prepare for a full season in 2022. It also looks like they’ll have to change their external signage to add in “Hollinger.”

A beautiful clean shop space with room for two transporters and plenty of bays to work on Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights and IndyCar racing cars, Juncos Hollinger Racing has also prepped IMSA DPi cars here too.

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

A beautiful clean shop space with room for two transporters and plenty of bays to work on Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights and IndyCar racing cars, Juncos Hollinger Racing has also prepped IMSA DPi cars here too.

Although there may not be a lot of people or work shown going on in this photo, this shop is about to get real busy for the coming season!

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

Although there may not be a lot of people or work shown going on in this photo, this shop is about to get real busy for the coming season!

 

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Jordan Taylor Interview

Jordan Taylor has represented Chevrolet Racing well for many years. PHOTO courtesy of Chevrolet Racing

Wayne Taylor was a very successful driver in his time in IMSA. He’s now one of the most successful team owners as well. Perhaps his greatest achievement is the fact that he’s raised two sons that race and win consistently. Jordan Taylor is the driver of the Chevrolet Racing Corvette IMSA GTLM car and he’s won just about everywhere he’s raced. He spent some time talking with us at the media luncheon for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach about the driving differences between last year’s front engine Corvette and this year’s mid-engine version, compromises with having a co-driver and data analysis.  He also had a little subtle ribbing of his teammate sprinkled in here too!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry MasonAlthough two thirds of the GTLM field is comprised of the Corvette C8.R race cars, the fight between the two Corvettes is always close! Here Taylor’s #3 leads his sister C8.R of Milner/Tandy.

Although two thirds of the GTLM field is comprised of the Corvette C8.R race cars, the fight between the two Corvettes is always close! Here Taylor’s #3 leads his sister C8.R of Milner/Tandy.

At this point the Taylor/Garcia Corvette has been relegated to second place (as you can see on the LED number panel) by their teammates and would soldier on to finish there after starting from pole position in class.

At this point the Taylor/Garcia Corvette has been relegated to second place (as you can see on the LED number panel) by their teammates and would soldier on to finish there after starting from pole position in class.

The beautiful lines of the mid-engine C8.R and the sensational sound of the flat-plane crank, small block V8, keeps the fans glued to the fence to witness this all-American muscle. 2021 will be the swan song for the GTLM class in IMSA. Next year Corvette Racing will switch to the GTD category.

The beautiful lines of the mid-engine C8.R and the sensational sound of the flat-plane crank, small block V8, keeps the fans glued to the fence to witness this all-American muscle. 2021 will be the swan song for the GTLM class in IMSA. Next year Corvette Racing will switch to the GTD category.

Jordan Taylor head shot

Jordan Taylor has represented Chevrolet Racing well for many years.

 

Interview and photos by Larry Mason except as noted.

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RaceSchool.com PodcastMarcus Ericsson Interview

 Ex Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson has had a break-out season this year winning two races. His transition to the NTT IndyCar Series has taken longer than he would have liked but he’s certainly enjoying the journey this year. Marcus took time in the “media bullpen” at the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to discuss that transition, the physical differences between F1 and Indy cars along with his preparation away from the track. With Formula One drivers having a reputation of being aloof and cold, Marcus was the exact opposite with a warm and humble disposition.
 
 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Marcus Ericsson waves to the crowd before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Marcus Ericsson waves to the crowd before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Marcus Ericsson rockets down Shoreline Drive just past the start/finish line on his way to a terminal velocity of nearly 180mph!

Marcus Ericsson rockets down Shoreline Drive just past the start/finish line on his way to a terminal velocity of nearly 180mph!

Marcus Ericsson is shown here holding off two Indy 500 champions – Alex Rossi and Ryan Hunter Reay. Unfortunately, a few laps later Rossi would dive to the inside of Ericsson in Turn 1. Ericsson tried to hold the outside line and skated in the marbles and into the tire barrier.

Marcus Ericsson is shown here holding off two Indy 500 champions – Alex Rossi and Ryan Hunter Reay. Unfortunately, a few laps later Rossi would dive to the inside of Ericsson in Turn 1. Ericsson tried to hold the outside line and skated in the marbles and into the tire barrier.

It wasn’t a super hard hit, but the foray into the tire barriers broke the front wing and ended Ericsson’s race.

 It wasn’t a super hard hit, but the foray into the tire barriers broke the front wing and ended Ericsson’s race.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Charlie Kimball Interview

Charlie Kimball who hails from Camarillo, California, spent some time talking about getting back into an NTT IndyCar Series race car for the first time since his heartbreaking disappointment of not qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 this year. His last street course race was October 2020 at St. Pete.

How does he prepare mentally and physically for the challenge of navigating the concrete jungle and mean streets of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach? Listen here and find out!

Note: Charlie Kimball was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in his junior racing career. He has since gone on to be an NTT IndyCar Series winner along with winning in IMSA and being a beacon of hope for others as he pursues his passion and dream of racing Indy cars.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Charlie Kimball waves to his hometown fans before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Charlie Kimball waves to his hometown fans before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Charlie Kimball pushes hard in Turn 9 during qualifying on Saturday, yet was only able to earn a 20th place starting position.

Charlie Kimball pushes hard in Turn 9 during qualifying on Saturday, yet was only able to earn a 20th place starting position.

Kimball’s AJ Foyt Racing crew practices a pit stop during the Sunday morning warm-up.

Kimball’s AJ Foyt Racing crew practices a pit stop during the Sunday morning warm-up.

Here Kimball is doing about 170 mph down Shoreline Drive which under normal circumstances is a 45 mph speed limit! Notice the sparks flying from under the gearbox and how the rear of the car is super low to the ground thanks to the tremendous amount of downforce and bumps in the road.

Here Kimball is doing about 170 mph down Shoreline Drive which under normal circumstances is a 45 mph speed limit! Notice the sparks flying from under the gearbox and how the rear of the car is super low to the ground thanks to the tremendous amount of downforce and bumps in the road.

Kimball leads Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay heading into Turn 2 during the race where he would eventually finish 18th.

Kimball leads Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay heading into Turn 2 during the race where he would eventually finish 18th.

With only one race under his belt in 2021, it was no drive in the park for Charlie Kimball, yet he still managed to beat some series regulars and 2021 race winners!

With only one race under his belt in 2021, it was no drive in the park for Charlie Kimball, yet he still managed to beat some series regulars and 2021 race winners!

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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What’s My Line, Part III?

In part two; we looked at corner combinations and prioritizing corners. In part three, we’ll expand on that below:

Many tracks feature long esses to go through. Make sure that you apex late enough on the initial turns so that you don’t get “behind” on your steering. The last thing you want to do is to back off early and lose that momentum through the rest of the corner combinations. Keep that rhythm all the way through the esses and balance (like on a tightrope) through the complex of corners and that can be extremely rewarding.

Off camber, on camber, blind and crests are all corners that can all dictate how, when and where you turn in, apex and exit. Again the idea is to carry maximum entry, mid-corner and exit speed that will ultimately lead to a lower lap time. In some instances, you give up speed in one part to gain speed in the other while always keeping the focus on balance and decreasing your overall lap time.

Furthermore, what does your car like? Make your car happy! If your type of car doesn’t handle well in long constant radius corners, consider the diamond line whereby you would enter it more in a straight line (to maximize speed into the braking zone), get it slowed way down to where you can turn sharper than the radius, and then accelerate hard in more or less of a straight line exiting to take advantage of your brakes and horsepower. If on the other hand you don’t have a lot of horsepower, always look at the shortest distance and carrying that mid corner speed.

The bottom line is that there can be many ways to go through a corner and still come up with an identical lap time. Consider which is easier on your tires and equipment over the course of a race. Also consider race craft and how you can use your vehicle line placement in what could be more defensive or aggressive lines based on whether you’re being passed or want to pass someone else.

Rain is another scenario where the normal racing line may not apply. When you go off line in the dry, the “marbles” off line tend to make your life miserable as the car will lose grip faster than you can think about it. However, when the rain comes, that might be the best place to place your car. As opposed to the smooth rubbered down areas of the normal racing line, the outside edge of a track can still have rough aggregate that accentuates the car’s traction capabilities. This of course has a lot to do with the level of moisture content on the track surface and what kind of

tires you’re using. Are they full wet, intermediate or dry tires? Is the rain just starting or is the track developing a dry line. Keep in mind that rain tires will shred themselves an early death on a dry track, so part of tire and line management involves driving off the line intentionally just to get some moisture on those tires to keep them alive that much longer.

If all of these techniques seem to have caveats about them it’s because they do. The best line to take is the one that puts you in the winner’s circle consistently. Most skilled drivers will be smooth and easy on equipment, especially their tires, so that in the long run they’ll have a fresher tire to take whatever line they need to go faster than everyone else. Good luck!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

What’s My Line, Part III?

Photo by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Takuma Sato Interview

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (and Formula One veteran) Takuma Sato discusses the challenges of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit as well as other topics right after qualifying. Sato was not happy with a 16th place qualifying position and his Sunday morning warm-up was one position further back in 17th. However Sato’s motto, “No attack, no chance” served him well in the race as he raced his way to a top ten finish (9th) holding off some of the best Indy car drivers in the sport.

Note: It was announced after the grand prix that Sato would not be returning to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for 2022. Sato is looking to sign with another team and as of press time nothing has been announced.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Takuma Sato waves to the crowd just prior to the start of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Was it also a farewell wave to IndyCar?

Takuma Sato waves to the crowd just prior to the start of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Was it also a farewell wave to IndyCar?

Takuma Sato hustled his RLL car through Turn 9 during qualifying but it was only good enough for the 16th starting position.

Takuma Sato hustled his RLL car through Turn 9 during qualifying but it was only good enough for the 16th starting position.

Takuma Sato looks at data with his crew to figure out how to go faster after the Sunday morning warm-up.

Takuma Sato looks at data with his crew to figure out how to go faster after the Sunday morning warm-up.

It wasn’t exactly a Sunday drive in the park for Sato, but after narrowly avoiding the crash in the hairpin that knocked out Pato O’Ward Sato made the most of the positions he gained to finish ninth.

It wasn’t exactly a Sunday drive in the park for Sato, but after narrowly avoiding the crash in the hairpin that knocked out Pato O’Ward Sato made the most of the positions he gained to finish ninth.

Near the end of the race, Sato leads Ed Jones, Will Power and Scott McLaughlin.

Near the end of the race, Sato leads Ed Jones, Will Power and Scott McLaughlin.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Zach Veach Interview

Zach Veach has had an incredible professional auto racing journey. He climbed the open wheel ladder system and made it all the way to the NTT IndyCar Series. After three seasons with Andretti Autosport, Veach transitioned to the Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 GTD program in IMSA (International Motor Sports Asscociation) and is adapting well to his new “office.” In this interview he talks about his journey and transition into “tin tops” as well as how he prepares for his race weekends.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Zach now finds that part of being an IMSA driver is communicating with your team and co-driver on the radio other than in the cockpit. Zach’s co-driver this year is Frankie Montecalvo.

Zach now finds that part of being an IMSA driver is communicating with your team and co-driver on the radio rather than in the cockpit. Zach’s co-driver this year is Frankie Montecalvo.

There’s never a dull moment in the GTD class! Here, Veach is being chased by the GTD Porsche of Katherine Legge/Rob Ferriol  and the Mustang Sampling DPi Cadillac.

There’s never a dull moment in the GTD class! Here, Veach is being chased by the GTD Porsche of Katherine Legge/Rob Ferriol  and the Mustang Sampling DPi Cadillac.

After qualifying ninth in the most competitive IMSA class, the team was looking forward to a good result, but a puncture on the pace lap led to an unscheduled pit stop to change tires. The team soldiered on to finish 13th. Veach is shown here still holding off the GTD Porsche.

After qualifying ninth in the most competitive IMSA class, the team was looking forward to a good result, but a puncture on the pace lap led to an unscheduled pit stop to change tires. The team soldiered on to finish 13th. Veach is shown here still holding off the GTD Porsche.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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