Sunday, May 24, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News for Wk of 5-25-15

“Gentlemen, start your engines.”
The 99th running of the Indy 500 Sunday gave the crowd its money’s worth. Pre-race pageantry, including the only logical replacement for Jim NaborsStraight No Chaser, singingBack Home Again in Indiana”—plus a little startus interruptus—the first few laps were run under the yellow flag after a three-car crash in the first half-mile of the race—add the usual mechanical demons, and a few more crashes for the complete spectacle that is The Indianapolis 500.

Juan Pablo Montoya jockeyed for the lead in the final five laps, despite a couple of scrapes earlier in the race. His right rear fender and rear wing assembly had to be replaced after being struck from behind by Silvera De Simona, and in Lap 40, he skidded into the pits and had to be backed up to his mark. That pit stop cost him over 12-seconds, which can be a race-losing margin. 

Montoya crossed the finish line 0.1046-second ahead of team mate, Will Power, to collect his second Indy win.

“This is pretty much un-fricking-believable,” he told ABC Sports. “This is what racing in IndyCar is all about. Racing down to the wire,” he said. And then he drank a quart of milk.

Actor Patrick Dempsey was the honorary starter for the race. NASCAR god Jeff Gordon drove the pace car, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Recent retiree David Letterman was honored by his Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan racing team with his likeness emblazoned along the side of Oriol Servia’s yellow #32 race car, with the hashtag, “#ThanksDave.” Servia was sidelined by an accident midway through the race, but team mate Graham Rahal finished in fifth place.
Not a bad way to spend your first weekend in retirement, Dave!

Inigo relation to Juan Pablo
The other race at Indy this year was between Honda and Chevrolet. Half the engines whirring around the track at over 200-mph were built by Honda’s Santa Clarita skunk works. The rest of them were Chevy’s. 

Both companies spend millions to provide the engines for IndyCar that must run 2,500-miles with no more than normal service and maintenance.
For race cars. 

Still… the bragging rights are incalculable. Think about that the next time you consider a new car purchase from one of the companies that builds the engines in those spectacular race cars.
I’m impressed.

Ahead of Sunday’s race, Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic muscle car auction achieved over $42-million in sales of over 900 vehicles. Don Davis’ 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster set the high water mark, selling for $1-million. 

The second-highest price was paid for a 1971 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta.
“The Spring Classic auction brought consignments from 36 states this year and buyers from all over the world increasing sales by more than $2 million over last year,” Mecum said.

What’s your favorite Chevrolet Corvette color? Torch Red, Gray Metallic, and Laguna Blue Tintcoat are among the most popular on the new and improved ‘Vette’s. 

A $439-million investment into Chevy’s Bowling Green, KY assembly plant will include a new paint shop that’s nearly half the size of the original production facility. Corvette is now the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car—at 62-years.

So, it’s rained every day for the past two weeks where I live. Some parts of the Texas Hill Country remain waterlogged, and there’s more rain on the way this week. I need to go wash my car in time for the next rinse cycle.

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