Indy racer robbed in drive-thru

Indy Racer robbed at Taco Bell

I’ve long held that one of the charms of Indy racing is that the drivers are more accessible and human to your average fan. Take Scott Dixon for instance: fresh off taking pole position during qualifying for the Indy 500, he headed over to Taco Bell to buy a celebratory late dinner for his entire racing team. I can’t imagine an F1 driver doing that. Well, maybe Kimi Raikkonnen.

Dixon, his wife, and retired champ Dario Franchitti were in the drive-thru when two armed men approached, and demanded wallets and phones. The hour wasn’t particularly late — just 10 p.m. — and the restaurant was just about a couple of kilometres from the racetrack. Scary stuff.

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Happily, guys used to hammering around an oval at 350 km/h are used to remaining cool under pressure, and nobody got hurt. Further, the stickup artists didn’t get away with it — the alleged robbers, aged 14 and 15, were arrested the next morning.

Racing, fast food, and guns. That’s America for you.

MotoGP champ hit by car dies

Kentucky-born Nicky Haden has died from severe brain injuries, not long after being hit while cycling along the Adriatic Sea in Italy. The death of the well-liked rider shocked the motorcycling community.

Motorcycling, and especially motorcycle racing, is an inherently dangerous activity.

Even a rider wearing proper gear faces severe injury in a crash.

But as the summer riding season approaches, Haden’s untimely death underlines how vulnerable cyclists can be, even when wearing the proper headgear.

Haden was undoubtedly extremely talented, with razor-sharp reflexes and a mastery of all things two-wheeled. In this case, sadly, it didn’t matter. Let’s all look out for one another out there.

Subaru testing STI version of BRZ

While it’s riding a wave of sales growth, Subaru can’t afford to become complacent. The one area where they haven’t captured the public’s attention is surprising: hybrids. You’d think that with Subaru’s outdoorsy image, the hybrid version of the Crosstrek would sell well.

Looking globally, Subaru’s planning a plug-in version of the Crosstrek hybrid to make things more appealing to those who use their Subarus in built-up areas.

Plans are to debut the vehicle as early as next year. Further, an all-EV version of the Crosstrek should follow quickly afterwards. Subaru isn’t planning on making any stand-alone models, but adding plug-in and/or EV technology to existing machines.

Also a niche vehicle for Subaru, the BRZ continues to slouch along in the sales department. Part of the problem is perhaps the success of the WRX, which pairs sportiness with practicality, and has a large fan base already.

Still, the BRZ has its fans, and Subaru seems to be ready to give them something with a little more wasabi on it. Spotted recently in Michigan, a BRZ wearing STI badges had everyone all a-flutter. Could we finally see turbocharging for the modestly powered sport coupe?

Probably not. While the STI-badged BRZ has a big wing and upgraded wheels, it seems unlikely that forced-induction will be making its way underhood any time soon. Instead, this is probably a North American version of the Japan-only BRZ tS, which was also tuned by the STI group.

Of course, both ends of the niche spectrum are as nothing compared to the impending Ascent, Subaru’s long-awaited full-size SUV. Planned as a rival to the Highlander and Pilot, the Ascent will keep Subaru fans in the showroom after their family has outgrown the Forester.

The gentleman’s Bond dies at age 89

If Sean Connery is the Aston-Martin DB5 of the Bond films, then consider Sir Roger Moore to be a Lotus Esprit: dashing, self-deprecating, unpretentious. Moore died this week at the age of 89, and even if there is sadness at his passing, you have to consider his a life well lived.

Moore’s Bond was perhaps best associated with the amphibious, white Lotus Esprit that co-starred in The Spy Who Loved Me. He drove another one, equipped with a ski rack and a turbocharger, in For Your Eyes Only. Perhaps less well remembered is the AMX from The Man

With The Golden Gun, and its infamous slide-whistle barrel-roll.

However, for me Roger Moore will always be synonymous with an entirely different franchise, and not a British car but a Swedish one. As Simon Templar, the star of The Saint TV series, Moore found his stardom and his style. He was debonair, quick with a quip, and there to help people.

His car was a white Volvo P1800, and it was the perfect representation of the man. Yes, it had dashing styling, but underneath it was still a Volvo, workmanlike and dependable. Moore and his little white coupe will be missed.

brendanmcaleer@gmail.com

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