Morris Nunn, a engineering guru who teamed with team owner Chip Ganassi to win four consecutive CART championships from 1996 to 1999, died on Wednesday. Nunn died after losing a battle with Parkinson's disease.
Nunn's racing career went well beyond Champ Car, however. His career in major racing started as a racer in Formula 3. Unable to find much success in the cockpit, Nunn turned to a career as a team owner, first in Formula 3 before founding the Ensign Racing Team in Formula 1 in 1973.
Ensign competed in 102 F1 races, according to ESPN, between 1973 and 1982, with a best finish of fourth place at the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix with driver Marc Surer. Others from a long list of drivers who raced in F1 for Nunn during that decade included Nelson Piquet, Jackie Ickx, Derek Daly, Clay Regazzoni and Danny Ongais.
In America, Nunn took on the role of engineer and became one of the top engine gurus in major-league open-wheel racing, winning the 1989 Indy 500 and CART championship with team owner Pat Patrick, Patrick Racing and driver Emerson Fittipaldi.
Nunn, an Englishman, had even greater success when he aligned with Ganassi to form what proved to be an Indy-car dream team. With Nunn, Ganassi won four consecutive championships -- in 1996 with driver Jimmy Vasser, in 1997 and 1998 with Alex Zanardi and in 1999 with Juan Pablo Montoya.
Following his championship run with Ganassi, Nunn formed Mo Nunn Racing in 1999. The team fielded two cars in 2000 -- cars driven by Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta -- in CART.
Nunn closed out his career in the Indy Racing League, and his team scored its lone victory in the IRL in 2002 with driver Felipe Giaffone. Giaffone finished fourth in the championship that season.
For many years I went to the Mid-Ohio track at Mansfield and it wasn't my first rodeo. I had already been going to races around the country for about 25-30 years. Well, today I went into shock to find out that Mid-Ohio's opening season was 57 years ago and their first Indycar race was 34 years ago. I spent a lot of time there as it was a great track and a fairly straight shot from Detroit. A couple of years ago I ran across some pictures that I took from some sports car races there in the early 70's. Today's win was presented by Alexander Rossi. Second place went to Robert Wickens who is still waiting for that first win and Will Power in third.
Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan ended up in 17th and 18th. The Ed Carpenter Team came in 12th and 13th.
I like seeing other drivers win once in a while, but it isn't going to be today. No matter what you think of Lewis Hamilton the man can drive. What is worse he makes it look so darn easy. Toppling record after record that were mostly held by Michael Schumacher 15 or 20 years ago. Which probably means that Hamilton's name will be on the books for another 20 years after his retirement. With his win I think that he is at least 25 points ahead of Vettel for the championship. Vettel and Raikkonen followed him across the finish line.
Hulkenberg finished in 12th place and the Haas Team came in 7th and 10th. Nice for them since they were both in the point numbers.
As for 'Driver of the Day' I probably would have given it to Daniel Ricciardo for his run from 12th or 13th up to 4th. The other that was certainly in the running was Pierre Gasly who held off everyone else for the spot considered the 'The Best of the Rest,' sixth place. In each case that is their job, but I think I will go with Ricciardo because coming up through the crowd is a very hard job especially on these older tracks.
Awful news about the passing of Sergio Marchionne, the former Ferrari chairman and CEO who has died at the age of 66 following complications from shoulder surgery.
A colourful and charismatic fellow, Marchionne had huge shoes to fill when he replaced Luca di Montezemolo in 2014. But his reputation within the parent company was second to none, having turned around Fiat’s waning automotive fortunes.
Ferrari’s recent on-track fortunes certainly owe a great deal to him too, and just look how Sauber has thrived following his decision to push Alfa Romeo its way. He’ll be remembered as a great motivator who got things done, who fought his corner in Ferrari’s best interests and spoke as he found, and a giant of the car industry as a whole.
Apart from the great human loss, the fact that it’s taking two people to replace him at Ferrari speaks volumes for his vast capability and expertise.
Mercedes-Benz, the German home team, pulled off a one-two finish. In the beginning it looked like it would be Vellel (Ferrari) all the way, but this is racing and things change at the drop of a hat. Hamilton came all the way from 14th to win, it has not been done before. Not without help though.In what appeared to be team orders, Bottas was asked to hold on to second. Not only did he get them, so did Raikkonen before Vettel crashed out. As far as I remember teams are not supposed to give orders. They still do it, but they are in hidden messages now days. Raikkonen put Ferrari on the spot by asking them to give clear orders by asking them what they wanted him to do. So, orders and all, they ended up with Hamilton - Bottas - Raikkonen.
Nico Hulkenberg finished in a very solid 5th and I was very happy to see that. The Haas Team finished in 6th and 11th.
The world’s first all-electric racing car series finished its fourth season in New York over the weekend, and while Formula 1 is asking itself questions about identity and relevance, Formula E knows exactly where it’s going.
Next season FE has a new car and race format, with the car swaps – which always highlighted the deficiency of ‘range anxiety’ – gone as battery technology improves. I spoke with a CEO of a major manufacturer recently, and he made it abundantly clear where the road car market is going in the next decade: the focus is on hybrids right now, but full electric is the destination we’re all heading to.
Crucially, Formula E is perfectly placed to take full advantage. BMW and Nissan join for season five; then it’s Porsche and Mercedes entering a year later, along with the already-present Audi, DS (Citroen), Jaguar, Mahindra, NIO, Penske and Venturi.
If that glittering line-up of automotive giants doesn’t prompt F1 to truly nail its sense of self over future regulations, I don’t know what will.
As I said a few weeks ago I have been extremely lax about catching the Formula E races. Over the weekend they had their final race for this season. Jean-Eric Vergne took the lead right out of the box and didn't stop until the finish. He was also the champion for this season. Second place went to Lucas di Grassi and third went to Daniel Abt. I think this was the end of the fourth season and it looks like Formula E will be around for a long time. Electrics really excited me forty years ago and they certainly have come a long way.
I always loved going to races in Canada, large crowd, great people, just plain fun. Scott Dixon, on his 44th win, won the race by a full 5.27 seconds. A large margin considering this bunch. Simon Pagenaud came in second and third went to Robert Wickens who is still on the hunt for that first win.
Tony Kanaan finished in sixth place. Takumo Sato, after running in 4th and 5th for most of the race ended up in 22nd. The Ed Carpenter Team ended up in 11th and 20th.
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