Monday, May 30, 2016

Rookie Rossi Rolls to Stunning Indy 500 Win

Photo Credit: Dana Garrett

For the 100th time, the event proclaimed "The greatest Spectacle in Auto Racing" allowed drivers, teams and some of the more advanced vehicles on the planet to compete on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's famed 2.5-mile rectangle. The 200-lap open wheel racing classic known as the Indianapolis 500 has only gained in prestige as names like Ray Harroun, Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears and Dario Franchitti represent a few of the challengers of the great 500-miler whose success at the track added a treasure trove of moments. The history of races dating back to 1911 and the promise of a vibrant 100th running of the open wheel competition was marked by sellout audience for the 2016 Indianapolis 500.

In the 99 previous events, 67 drivers have gained the distinction for being an Indy 500 champion. Once the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS pace car piloted by Roger Penske stormed towards pit road, the green flag that fell on the 33-car starting grid was left to decide if there would be an existing Indy 500 driver or a newcomer who would be immortalized on the Borg Warner Trophy.

On the Sunday prior to the 500-mile race, James Hinchcliffe claimed a momentous and emotional pole position after setting the fastest time in his Honda-powered Dallara fielded by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. With the Indianapolis 500's 200-lap distance differing greatly from the four-lap run used by the Oakville, Ontario native to take top honours in qualifying, it was a relief for the fans of 'Hinchtown' to see the #5 car wheeled by the Canadian had race pace to stay at the front. On the first lap, Ryan Hunter-Reay's #28 Andretti Autosport car would immediately take the lead from James Hinchcliffe but the position was heavily contested in the early distance of the 2016 Indianapolis 500. Up to lap 24, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe traded the top spot on 12 occasions.

Photo Credit: Jim Haines

While the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car proved fast, James Hinchcliffe's lost contact with the lead on the first pit stop. During the lap 28 stop, a fueling issue for the #5 car resulted in a pit stop 4-5 seconds longer than typical. The long pit stop dropped Hinchcliffe to 6th place running position but a set of solid pit stops by the #5 car's pit crew and some hard driving by the Canadian insured their efforts of capturing the Indy 500 win were still very much alive.

The first caution flag used to slow the Indy 500 field was deployed on lap 47 for debris. On lap 64, the second caution came as a result of single-car crash resulting when reigning race winner Juan-Pablo Montoya lost control of his Team Penske machine out of turn 1. Montoya's misfortune concluding in a last-place finish is the third time in Indy 500 history that a defending winner of the event came back the following year to finish 33rd. A total of six cautions was used for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 with the only yellow flag shown for a multi-car incident shown on lap 115. Aside from the incident resulting in the caution, the period was also marked by a pit road collision in which two Indy 500 winning hopefuls were effectively defeated. As most leaders pitted for tires and fuel, the scramble back to the track turned tight. Emerging as a potential contender after the first quarter of the race, Townsend Bell driving the #29 car for Andretti Autosport had led for 12 laps. Leaving his team's pit stall on lap 117, he brushed the side of Penske driver Helio Castroneves. Bell's car slid towards the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports while also trapping Ryan Hunter-Reay's exit from his pit causing a collision, The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports pit crew had just completed a stop for driver James Hinchcliffe's car resulting in one crew member having to make a quick move to avoid danger. Both drivers of Andretti Autosport machines suffered minor damage but both were able to continue running though neither were able to match their pace from earlier in the event.

By the end of the race, Ryan Hunter-Reay led the most laps in the race with 52 circuits while James Hinchcliffe recorded the second-highest total laps at 27. Despite their strength through the first half distance of the 2016 Indy 500, both drivers would be denied victory. Due to the positioning of the last race caution on lap 163, it was believed that almost all the front runners would need to make a late stop for fuel. Within the last 10 laps of the race, quick pit stops provided a necessary means to reach the chequered flag. However, one team pulled off a daring gamble that greatly altered the way almost anyone would have seen the race end. The #98 NAPA Auto Parts Dallara-Honda fielded by Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian team surfaced to the top position on lap 197 in the hands of rookie American driver Alexander Rossi. It turned out Rossi and his team made a plan to travel the remaining distance on the fuel left in their vehicle's near-empty tank. Recording some extremely slow late laps, the American's average lap speed on lap 198 was 202.650 miles per hour (roughly 10 miles per hour slower than his previous lap). Despite losing his last fumes of E85 blended fuel before approaching the start/finish line, Alexander Rossi's momentum was enough to claim the 2016 Indianapolis 500 by a 4.49-second margin over Carlos Munoz.

Photo Credit: John Cote

The 24-year-old's first IndyCar Series win coming at the most coveted venue for an open wheel victory was a surprise to almost everyone. “I have no idea how we pulled that off. We struggled a little bit in the pit stops but Bryan came up with an unbelievable strategy. The NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda was fast in the beginning. I can’t believe we’ve done this. I didn’t know (if I could make it to the finish).", said Alexander Rossi who had only competed in five IndyCar races prior to his Indy 500 victory. Despite running the full 2016 IndyCar Series, Rossi is still retained as reserve driver for the Manor Racing Formula 1 team. His Formula 1 organization posted this tweet following Rossi's triumph:

Alexander Rossi's two main team owners Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta have never won the Indianapolis 500 as drivers despite successful, long tenures in open wheel racing. However, both former drivers become multiple winners as car owners. The 2016 victory is Andretti Autosport's fourth win at the Brickyard while Bryan Herta revisited the winner's circle for the second time following the late Dan Wheldon's unexpected 2011 Indy 500 win. “This is unbelievable. Man, it was so close at the end. For a rookie to drive with the poise he did in such a tough situation – I was telling him, ‘Don’t let anybody pass you but save fuel’ – and he did it. A tribute to Alex (Rossi), Michael Andretti and the whole team. We worked so well together this month.”, said Herta in post-race.

Ever since his rookie year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014, Carlos Munoz has been a speed demon on the 2.5-mile track. Emerging importantly near the end of the race, the Columbian driver stood ready to take the win if Alexander Rossi would not have been able to coast his way across the line. Also driving for Andretti Autosport, the Munoz's second place is the second top-5 finish in only 3 Indy 500 attempts.

The highest finishing Chevrolet-powered entrant at the 2016 500-mile classic was driven by Josef Newgarden. Competing for Ed Carpenter Racing, an organization that the driver/team owner sat on the Indy 500 pole position twice, Newgarden gave his Ed Carpenter Racing team their best finish after racing 200 laps. The Ed Carpenter Racing #21 car finished ahead of the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball. With the retirement of Juan-Pablo Montoya and the Only two drivers finishing in the top-10 at the Indy 500 were former event winners. Beside the fourth place for Kanaan, Scott Dixon crossed the line in 8th place.

 Photo Credit: Forrest Mellott

Finishing behind 2011 Indy 500 runner-up J.R. Hildebrand was the pole sitter of the 2016 race. Starting at the front just a little more than 3 hours before the Indy 500 ended, James Hinchcliffe was riding an unbelievable high. Not only was the 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole the first for the popular Canadian pilot on the Verizon IndyCar Series, it came at the same track that almost cost him his life in 2015. Conquering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in qualifying, the race started well for Hinchcliffe and his #5 Arrow-sponsored lost some pace in the latter part of the event. "We were super strong the first half and definitely had one of the cars to beat. It was really just track temperatures that caught us out there. We started losing grip as the temperatures came up late in the afternoon and the last two stints were a real struggle when we tried to make the tires last.", said Hinchcliffe. James Hinchcliffe crossed the line in 7th place. In the grander scheme of the Verizon IndyCar championship, the double-point accumulation does allow Hinchcliffe to jump to fifth place overall.

Entering the Indianapolis 500 as a dominant force in the 2016 IndyCar Series after winning three consecutive races on the tour including the road course-based Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Simon Pagenaud found the 500-mile to be the trickiest challenge of the year so far. Having finished no worse than 2nd in five races, the Frenchman struggled with a misfiring engine through the second-half of the 200-lap event to claim 19th place. Still the point leader in the 2016 overall drivers' championship, Pagenaud has lost ground to Scott Dixon and Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

Photo Credit: Jim Haines

Alex Tagliani, the second Canadian running in the 2016 Indianapolis 500, started 33rd and finished as the last vehicle on the lead lap in 17th. While the result seemed less-than impressive, Tagliani driving for A.J. Foyt Racing actually accomplished two special feats. First, starting from last place and leading on lap 117, the Canadian became only the third driver to go from 33rd to 1st. Alex Tagliani also joins Rick Mears as a driver who has led six consecutive Indianapolis 500 events.

2016 IndyCar Series
Indianapolis 500
Race Results

Pos # Driver Car # Engine
1 Alexander Rossi 98 Honda
2 Carlos Munoz 26 Honda
3 Josef Newgarden 21 Chevrolet
4 Tony Kanaan 10 Chevrolet
5 Charlie Kimball 42 Chevrolet
6 JR Hildebrand 6 Chevrolet
7 James Hinchcliffe 5 Honda
8 Scott Dixon 9 Chevrolet
9 Sebastien Bourdais 11 Chevrolet
10 Will Power 12 Chevrolet
11 Helio Castroneves 3 Chevrolet
12 Oriol Servia 77 Honda
13 Marco Andretti 27 Honda
14 Graham Rahal 15 Honda
15 Max Chilton 8 Chevrolet
16 Jack Hawksworth 41 Honda
17 Alex Tagliani 35 Honda
18 Pippa Mann 63 Honda
19 Simon Pagenaud 22 Chevrolet
20 Gabby Chaves 19 Honda
21 Townsend Bell 29 Honda
22 Matt Brabham 61 Chevrolet
23 Bryan Clauson 88 Honda
24 Ryan Hunter-Reay 28 Honda
25 Spencer Pigot 16 Honda
26 Takuma Sato 14 Honda
27 Mikhail Aleshin 7 Honda
28 Stefan Wilson 25 Chevrolet
29 Conor Daly 18 Honda
30 Buddy Lazier 4 Chevrolet
31 Ed Carpenter 20 Chevrolet
32 Sage Karam 24 Chevrolet
33 Juan Pablo Montoya 2 Chevrolet

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Is More Imagination Needed Towards Indy 500 Pace Car Selection?

Photo Credit: General Motor/Chevrolet

This weekend, the Indianapolis 500 will be run for its 100th time. A primary focus around a 500-mile auto race around a historic 2.5-mile race track has resulted in a far amount of traditions. Some of these traditions such as the Fast 9 qualifying shootout and the honorary starter are newer aspects while one of the oldest is the ceremonial pace setter used to lead the field to the green flag. A staple of the Indy 500 since the first race in 1911, the pace car history ranges from a Stoddard-Dayton roadster to a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 used in last year’s event.

This year’s Indianapolis 500 will feature an all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS trimmed in a special preview of the 50th Anniversary Package. The beautiful Abalone White sixth generation Camaro convertible features a 455-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 LT1 engine perfect for maintaining pace lap speed ahead of a 33-car contingent of machines set to run at speed of 230 miles per hour. A tradition within a tradition, the pace car’s driver for the opening warm-up laps is reserved for a dignified member. Speedway founder Carl G. Fisher drove the pace car himself for the first five Indy 500 races but everyone from auto executives, former race car drivers, TV/movie stars and even a pilot who broke the sound barrier have been entrusted with the honours. The 2016 edition of the Indianapolis 500 will be led to the starting line by legendary race car owner Roger Penske. The Chevrolet Camaro possesses a charmed history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since its introduction. Serving as the Indy 500 pace car in 1967, it took only two years until the Camaro was commissioned again for the role. Counting the 2016 race, the Chevrolet pony car has served as a pace car on nine occasions. While impressive, the Camaro is second to its brand’s sports car the Chevrolet Corvette who has operated as a pace car 13 times.

Although both Chevrolet vehicles have served well on all their Indy 500 pace car appearances, the honours have lost part of its shine since the bowtie car make has supplied the ceremonial vehicle exclusively since 2002. For much of the Indy 500 events prior to the 21st century, various American brands or manufacturers were provided an opportunity to participate in the race. With exception of the 2003 race led by an SSR, either the Camaro or Corvette was named for the role in the past 15 occasions. Before 2002, it was rare that a single brand would supply a pace car in consecutive years. Even before Chevrolet’s 15-year streak of providing the lead vehicle, General Motors had a stranglehold of pace car duties. The last non-General Motors vehicle to pace the Indianapolis 500 was a Dodge Viper GTS for the 1996 race. The lack of pace car variety in recent years of the Indianapolis 500 does beg us to question whether a high-honour for a production car has lost some of its luster.

2011 Canadian International Auto Show 1993 indy camaro pace car
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

If the selection for the Indy 500 pace car could be expanded beyond Chevrolet, the spectacle of the race would again be enhanced by buzz similar to when the Dodge Viper RT/10 was used in 1991. With some impressive American branded vehicles developed since 2002, a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and the latest Ford Mustang are two immediately coming to mind as Indy 500 pace cars. If the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would really want to make a huge scene, why not have a Tesla all-electric car serve in the role? The Model S sedan has demonstrated more than ample performance. The last time a vehicle from an auto company not part of the Detroit 3 automakers served as a pace car was 1962 when Studebaker supplied a Lark convertible pace car.

With the way American auto manufacturing is assembled today, could it possibly be time to consider foreign brands built in the United States. Part of the media frenzy behind the 1991 Indy 500 pace car choice was the plan prior to the Viper to run a Dodge Stealth (Japanese built sports car similar to the Mitsubishi 3000GT). The uproar was regarding the fact a non-American produced vehicle was going to lead ‘The Great American Race’. While the Dodge Stealth was blocked, international influence has increased on the construction of pace cars for the Indianapolis 500. The year after the Dodge Stealth fiasco, a Cadillac Allante was chosen wearing a body built in Italy by Pininfarina. It’s also worth noting that every Chevrolet Camaro pace car produced between 1993 and 2014 were actually manufactured in Canada. Today, there are a number of foreign-badged vehicles who have greatly utilized North American production to the point many popular cars are made. Cars like the Acura NSX could have been openly considered as an Indy 500 pace car. Acura isn’t such a radical choice since its parent company Honda has powered winners of the race 10 times.  

In a less jarring change, why doesn’t Chevrolet or General Motors pick a vehicle other than the Camaro or Corvette to lead the field at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Would it be fun if a Chevrolet Volt could be named to the race? Becoming a newsworthy first electrified pace car for the Indy 500, Chevrolet could historically run a pace lap at full speed (roughly 45 miles per hour)  on all-electric power. Maybe Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500 have a reason against introducing too much change. The last vehicle that was not a Corvette or Camaro to pace the Indy 500 was the ill-fated half-sports car, half-truck called the SSR. In the prior year, Oldsmobile’s final contribution to the Indianapolis 500 was the Bravada sport utility vehicle.

Despite the poor reception of those vehicles, it does make sense one of the biggest annual showcases of automotive greatness should reflect changes of the 21st century landscape.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hinchcliffe Takes Pole Position for 2016 Indianapolis 500

Photo Credit: Chris Jones

One week ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, the 33-car field was structured by two days of time trials. Sunday’s Fast 9 was established on Saturday by the quickest qualifiers of the day one qualifying session. Consisting of five Honda and four Chevrolet powered machines, qualifying for the momentous 2016 Memorial Day 500-mile event gave nine cars the opportunity for the coveted pole position with the best 10-mile run around the 2.5-mile oval track.

The first of the nine cars to post a pole-challenging run, Simon Pagenaud in the #22 car for Team Penske set the early benchmark with a 229.139-mile per hour average speed through a four-lap qualifying run. Carlos Munoz quickly displaced Pagenaud from the top spot piloting an Andretti Autosport machine. Two cars after Munoz, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden posted an effort resulting in a 230.700-mile per hour average qualifying time. Newgarden’s fast effort in the #21 Chevrolet-powered Dallara survived almost every attack.

Josef Newgarden’s hopes for a pole position at the 2016 Indianapolis 500 was defeated by the final car that took time on Sunday. Achieving a four-lap speed average of 230.946-mile per hour during day one qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, James Hinchcliffe was provided with the last available qualifying attempt for the 100th Indianapolis 500 field. Critically injured in a practice ahead of last year’s race at the Brickyard, the Oakville, Ontario native was rescued by the quick intervention of the track’s safety crew. Recovering to the ability he was able to rejoin his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports owned #5 Dallara-Honda for the 2016 season, Hinchcliffe returned to the 2.5-mile track having already proven himself victorious thanks to the support he received over the past 12 months. In a magical triumph, James Hinchcliffe logged a four-lap effort resulting in a 230.760-mile per hour average speed. Also recorded as a 2-minute, 36.0063-second total time, Hinchcliffe’s pole-winning advantage was only 0.0407 seconds better than Josef Newgarden.

Photo Credit: Leigh Spargur

"I came into this month hoping we'd have a new story to talk about after what happened last year and I think we did it," said James Hinchcliffe in a post-race interview in which he claimed to be lacking of words. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter effort was also the first-ever pole won by Hinchcliffe in his 79th race part of the Verizon IndyCar Series. James Hinchcliffe is now the second Canadian driver to start on the pole for the historic 500-miler (Alex Tagliani was the first to do so in 2011 coincidently also achieved in a Sam Schmidt owned race car). Representing Honda power, the pole position is the first for the Indianapolis 500 since an engine competition was reignited in the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2012 season. Four of the top five starters for this year’s Indy 500 will be running Honda engines. Hinchcliffe teammate at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Mikhail Aleshin from Russia qualified in the 7th position. Having suffered a major crash at the high-speed Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, Aleshin’s return to IndyCar was similar to Hinchcliffe.

Josef Newgarden and Ryan-Hunter Reay will join James Hinchcliffe on the front row of the 2016 Indianapolis 500. The second row features Townsend Bell scoring a 4th place starting spot driving for Andretti Autosport and is positioned beside teammate Carlos Munoz.

Will Power achieving a 6th place starting position for the Indy 500 is the highest-positioned Team Penske driver on the grid for the 2016 race. In a rare development at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there will be no Team Penske supported cars on the front row. Since 2005, the only other time a Roger Penske owned entry was not found among the first three cars for the Indy 500 occurred during the 2011 race. Simon Pagenaud (winner of three events so far in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series) will roll off 8th, three-time Indy 500 winner for Team Penske Helio Castroneves is positioned in 9th and defending event victor Juan Pablo Montoya is starting 17th following unusual circumstance for the Columbian. A large black garbage bag on track flew under the #2 car of Montoya permitting the team to make a second qualifying attempt.

Photo Credit: Eric McCombs

Beyond the Fast 9, the remaining 24 cars including Juan Pablo Montoya still needed to perform a four-lap qualifying effort on Sunday. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports #77 machine driven by Oriol Servia recorded the fastest qualifying attempt of the non-Fast 9 cars allowing him to start 10th on the Memorial Day weekend. Servia is one of many limited term Verizon IndyCar Series rides assembled just for the Indianapolis 500. One of those entries is 2011 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year JR Hildebrand who will be starting a third entry for Ed Carpenter Racing in 15th place. Unable to perform a complete qualifying attempt on Saturday due to an accident linked to a potential aerodynamic component failure, Pippa Mann took 25th place on the time sheet positioned ahead of Graham Rahal.

Qualifying difficulties also affected 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon and his #9 Chip Ganassi Racing team. Suffering an engine failure in practice, the race team was able to quickly change to a new Chevrolet powerplant in time for qualifying. Dixon qualified 13th for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 in his 14th career start at the speedway.

Canadians will be sandwiching the 2016 Indianapolis 500 field. With James Hinchcliffe on pole, Alex Tagliani is starting in 33rd place following a warm-up lap crash. A 2011 Indy 500 pole sitter piloting a #35 machine for AJ Foyt Racing for the road course and 500-mile oval races at Indianapolis, Tagliani has been fighting an uphill battle in finding speed from his Dallara-Honda.

Drivers of six nations are represented on the first three rows of the 2016 Indianapolis 500 grid. The entire 33-car field features individuals from 10 nationalities competing for the biggest prize in motor racing. The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 29th set for a 12:12 pm start.

2016 Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Starting Grid

Pos # Driver Car # Engine Average Speed (MPH)

  1. James Hinchcliffe 5 Honda 230.760
  2. Josef Newgarden 21 Chevrolet 230.700
  3. Ryan Hunter-Reay 28 Honda 230.648
  4. Townsend Bell 29 Honda 230.481
  5. Carlos Munoz 26 Honda 230.287
  6. Will Power 12 Chevrolet 229.669
  7. Mikhail Aleshin 7 Honda 229.562
  8. Simon Pagenaud 22 Chevrolet 229.139
  9. Helio Castroneves 3 Chevrolet 229.115
  10. Oriol Servia 77 Honda 229.060
  11. Alexander Rossi 98 Honda 228.473
  12. Takuma Sato 14 Honda 228.029
  13. Scott Dixon 9 Chevrolet 227.991
  14. Marco Andretti 27 Honda 227.969
  15. JR Hildebrand 6 Chevrolet 227.876
  16. Charlie Kimball 42 Chevrolet 227.822
  17. Juan Pablo Montoya 2 Chevrolet 227.684
  18. Tony Kanaan 10 Chevrolet 227.430
  19. Sebastien Bourdais 11 Chevrolet 227.428
  20. Ed Carpenter 20 Chevrolet 227.226
  21. Gabby Chaves 19 Honda 227.192
  22. Max Chilton 8 Chevrolet 226.686
  23. Sage Karam 24 Chevrolet 226.436
  24. Conor Daly 18 Honda 226.312
  25. Pippa Mann 63 Honda 226.006
  26. Graham Rahal 15 Honda 225.847
  27. Matt Brabham 61 Chevrolet 225.727
  28. Bryan Clauson 88 Honda 225.266
  29. Spencer Pigot 16 Honda 224.847
  30. Stefan Wilson 25 Chevrolet 224.602
  31. Jack Hawksworth 41 Honda 224.596
  32. Buddy Lazier 4 Chevrolet 222.154
  33. Alex Tagliani 35 Honda No Time

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Golden First Chevrolet Camaro Celebrates 50th Birthday

Photo Credit: Historic Vehicle Association

May 21st 1966, a coming together of steel, glass and other assorted material converged for the first time to shape Chevrolet's answer to the Ford Mustang. Born in an era when The Beetles, The Righteous Brothers as well as The Mamas & The Papas was freshly-pressed on records, Chevrolet's attention was focused on the construction of their very first example of the Camaro. Launched to compete in a hot sector for the 1960s, it would have been hard to forecast the car's lasting impact over five decades.

Ironically, a Chevrolet Camaro marking the 50th anniversary in 2016 is a golden-colored vehicle. The historic bowtie performance is painted gold and completed with a gold-coloured interior. Documented by the Historic Vehicle Association as the first pilot car (a prototype vehicle manufactured traditionally to test the production procedures and equipment to be used ahead of mass-assembly), Chevrolet Camaro #100001 was preserved intact. Assembled in Norwood, Ohio (just outside of Cincinnati), the first Camaro had been constructed under some secrecy by General Motors who concealed many details of the car at the time. Though the Chevrolet pony car was teased in detail by magazines since late 1965, the automaker didn't even announce the official name of the car until June 1966. Having originally settled on calling the vehicle the Panther, Chevrolet made a crucial name change to Camaro months before the car was destined for dealership showrooms and was reflected on the #100001 Camaro.

A total of 49 pilot Chevrolet Camaro pre-production models were built on the Norwood, Ohio plant. Operating since 1923, Norwood Assembly would play a part in the production of the first three generations of the Camaro operating alongside the Van Nuys Assembly plant in Los Angeles, California. The Ohio plant closed in 1987 and has since been redeveloped as a commercial and retail complex.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Chevrolet Camaro, the #100001 car will be publicly presented at an event in Detroit coinciding with the Woodward Dream Cruise between August 13th and August 20th. The vehicle will be showcased inside a large glass cube prepared by HVA (Historic Vehicle Association) in cooperation with classic vehicle insurance provider Hagerty and oil company Shell. HVA has recently been working to fully document the first Chevrolet Camaro to confirm to guidelines set by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Heritage Documentation and the Historic American Engineering Record. Once completed, the documentation collection will be added to the Library of Congress for permanent historical recognition.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

American Moms Could Receive a Special Gift from Nissan for Mother's Day

Photo Credit: Nissan North America

While auto makers can talk about giving birth to a form, he human form is the ultimate creation. Despite what the automobile means to many, we all owe the existence of the ultimate creation in this world to two people. On May 8th 2016, we pay tribute to the ones who brought life to automotive innovators and admirers.

For mothers in the United States, one auto maker has prepared a very amusing gift. The Nissan Mother's Day Chocolate Contest showcases the versatility of moms through their vehicles and is powered by a medium corresponding with the sweetness associated with that special person.

The specially-created gift boxes feature a total of 15 vehicle-shaped chocolates depicting some of the products Nissan gives birth to in a manner of speaking. Three of Nissan's top vehicles each represent five types of candy with chocolate type and automobile combining to serve a theme. Milk chocolate is used to cast the impression of the Nissan Rogue crossover detail a sweet and adventure-seeking mom. Dark chocolate is used for the Maxima sedan's fun-to-drive, bold persona is used to define some pleasure for schedule-keeping mother. In white chocolate, forms the Nissan GT-R supercar provides is said to be for 'the high-octant mom' who can certainly command respect in much the same manner as a twin-turbocharged V-6 on an all-wheel drive performance car does.

Photo Credit: Nissan North America

The unique chocolates are not available in any store or offered for purchase anywhere. Part of a social media engagement where individuals are encouraged to share a personal, heartfelt reason why their mother deserves the limited edition box of chocolates. Entrants can be processed through Facebook, Twitter as well as Instagram. On Facebook, the posts are submitted through the Nissan USA page while Twitter and Instagram users applying can use the hashtag #BoxOfNissans or #Contest in a comment/reply to one of four Mother's Day related posts. Only one entry will be accepted per person per post will be accepted. Other official rules have also provided on the Nissan Mother's Day Chocolate Contest. The contest is open until the end of May 8th 2016 with winning entries being notified around May 13th.

Sorry Canadian mothers and those wanting to honour their mothers, the Nissan Mother's Day Chocolate Contest is only open to the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Toronto's Motorexpo Auto Show Stalls for 2016

2016 Motorexpo Toronto Allen Lambert Galleria
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

It is a regret to inform Toronto area car enthusiasts there will unfortunately be one fewer attraction for  motorheads in 2016. The premium and exotic cars belonging to Motorexpo Toronto will not be present in the Canadian city's downtown. A chance to view brand-new vehicles from McLaren, Lamborghini, Jaguar, Acura or Bentley in the specious lobbies of the Bay Wellington Tower and First Canadian Place buildings right in the heart of Toronto, the Motorexpo exhibit operated through the work week as a free to visit event. An annual exhibition for five years, Motorexpo Toronto will not take place this summer.

In reviewing the Motorexpo website, the Toronto event is notably absent along with a long-held show in London. In fact, the only location slated to hold Motorexpo for 2016 is New York City. Contacting Motorexpo CEO Graeme Carver, he confirmed there will not be a Canadian stop for the luxury and exotic car show this year. No explanation for the scrubbing of Motorexpo Toronto was provided by Carver but the city is not alone. The news regarding the exclusion of the Motorexpo show in Toronto coincides with the cancellation of the originating automotive event in the United Kingdom. First held in 1996, Motorexpo London at Canary Wharf attracted roughly 400,000 spectators in 2015 and has been flagship event up until this year. In that case, negotiations with the show hosting grounds fell through.

Warm, natural light beaming through the Allen Lambert galleria provided such a captivating sight in past years of Motorexpo Toronto. Not only were the vehicles achieving an raw beauty free of specialized display lighting, the daylight provided near ideal photographic circumstances. I personally will be sorry miss out on the opportunity to view a collection of prestigious badges in one place. Attending the last two Motorexpo Toronto events, the show was certainly not as vast as the Canadian International AutoShow but provided a healthy crop of high-end machines I either had little time or limited access to over the rushed journey that is media day. In my two visits, there was at least one McLaren supercar, a Bentley and Rolls-Royce per event. Last year, a McLaren 12C-Spa F was displayed alongside a McLaren 650S. In 2014, a Tesla Model S was part of Motorexpo Toronto where it was always under the examination of attendees. Another electrified motor vehicle, the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe, appeared in 2015 outside of the exhibition where crowds of tourist and honest working individuals strolled past.

With the cancellation of this year's Motoexpo, there remains uncertainty if the event will return at a future date.

While the 2016 event will not happen, I welcome you to review the following photo compilation I uploaded to Flickr of the previous two Motorexpo displays. Please also enjoy a Youtube video taken of the 2015 Motorexpo show in Toronto.

2014 Motorexpo Toronto

Motorexpo 2014 Toronto

2015 Motorexpo Toronto 2015 Motorexpo Toronto

YouTube Compilation of 2015 Motorexpo Toronto