Monthly Archives: July 2019

Editorial,Susan Frissell, Publisher

What was once very much a ‘rite of passage,’ obtaining a driver’s license was first on the list of most of my friends when we turned 16. Perhaps not so in other cultures, but very much so in American culture.  What was once so exciting, has become a nerve-wracking event for teens and parents alike. Motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among drivers aged 16-19. This age group is also the group with the highest risk of crashes.

Hand in hand with this fact are the financial implications. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 15- to 19-year-olds made up only 6.5% percent of the population. Yet, they were responsible for 8.4% percent of all costs resulting from motor-vehicle injuries. This percent does not include the costs of auto maintenance, insurance premiums, possible traffic citations and other vehicular incidents, big expenses that can increase over time.

To work on this reality, WalletHub analyzed the teen-driving environment in all 50 states using a collection of 23 key metrics. The data includes ranges from number of teen driver fatalities to average cost of car repairs to presence of impaired-driving laws.

Although teens are responsible for their own driving consequences, much of the emotional and financial burden goes to the parents. In those areas, the study determined, it is up to lawmakers to implement programs and policies to reduce the numbers of accidents, fatalities.  a panel of experts were asked to share their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What tips do you have for parents of teen drivers?
  2. What is the biggest risk that teen drivers face?
  3. What tips do you have for minimizing the costs (insurance, etc.) associated with having a teen driver in the household?
  4. Should we increase the age at which an individual is eligible for a license to 18?
  5. What should policymakers do to increase the safety of teen drivers?

Among some of the findings of the WalletHub study were states with the most teen DUI’s: Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and South. The states with the fewest DUI’s included Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. And those with the highest number of teen fatalities included South Dakota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama and Wyoming.

Those states providing the best teen driver’s graduated driver-licensing program laws include Delaware and New York. Those states with the worst programs were Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.

Formula E Championship Shayk’n and stirred during Season Finale in Brooklyn

The Driving Range….Dani Ben-Ari

Bradley Cooper’s ex, Russian supermodel Irina Shayk certainly got motors racing  when she showed up for the ABB FIA Formula E season finale at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook Sunday July 14th. In fact, drivers and fans alike found her electrifying as she posed along side several drivers, as well as Formula E Founder and Chief Executive Officer Alejandro Agag after the pair took a spin together in a BMW i8 safety car.

“Driving the car with Alejandro was so exciting. It’s amazing to see how far Formula E has come in the 4 years since I was at the race in Los Angeles. The positive message Formula E brings regarding sustainability and renewable energy is commendable and I’m honored to be here for the final race of the season,” commented Irina .

While Shayk cheered on Nissan e-dams’ driver Sebatien Buemi, who won the first half of the double-header event on Saturday, and Robin Frijins of Envision Virgin Racing who captured the checkered flag on Sunday, neither driver was able to prevent last year’s Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne of the TECHEETAH team from taking his the championship title in the ABBA Formula Series for the second consecutive year. Vergne won the series thanks to the sport’s complicated points system.

Keeping Score

In addition to using the standard FIA 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1, three points are awarded to the driver who captures the pole position. Meanwhile the driver who sets the fastest lap (provided they finish in the top ten) receives another point. A driver’s end of season total comprised his best results.

Meanwhile, each of the 11 competing teams’ total is calculated by combining the scores for their two drivers throughout the season. As the this year’s finale, five teams still had a shot at winning the season’s two-day finale set on a temporary track along Brooklyn’s waterfront Races are run on temporary tracks from 1.2-2.1 miles long set up in cities around the world beginning the season at the Ad Diriyah Grand E-Prix in Saudi Arabia and continuing on in Santiago, Chile; Mexico City; Hong Kong; Rome; Seoul, Paris, Berlin, London; Los Angeles; and New York. An additional site is set to be announced for China for the 2019-2020 calendar year.

Each event commences with two practice sessions in the morning, an opening 45-minute session followed by a further 30-minute session. Qualifying sessions (lasting a total of one hour) are held later in the day. During that time, the racers are split into four groups of five or six, with each group having six minutes to set their best lap. Full power of 250 kW is available throughout. Since the second season, the six fastest drivers then go out again, one-by-one, in the Super Pole shoot-out to determine the top six grid positions.

Note: Founded in 2011, Formula E, is the first major battery-electric motor sports series. Formula E is similar to Formula 1. However, while E–race cars may appear to look like their Formula 1 counterparts they do not have their speed or endurance. Each team designs and builds its own drivetrain all Formula E cars which are now powered by an 800 lb electric battery capable of going from 0-60 in 2.6 seconds, but only have a top speed of 175 mph. Races, themselves, last only 45 minutes plus one lap.

NASCAR Driver McKenna Hasse Sprints to Become America Ninja Warrior

Dani Ben-Ari

Twenty-two year-old Sprint Car racer McKenna Haase recently switched lanes competing on America Ninja Warrior during city tryouts in Tacoma, Washington in May (seen on TV June 24). Although she had been training as a Ninja for more than two years, the rookie was only able to make it to the third obstacle before crashing into the water.

“All of a sudden, I was trying to hit the mat and I just had a bad dismount. It was really, really upsetting because it’s something if I had just taken my time, I could have easily done it,” Haase said during an after event interview.

In fact, Mckenna’s family nickname is “Monkey” due to her incessant love for climbing on rocks, jungle gyms and other daredevil stunts, according to relatives.

While making it through the course and hitting the buzzer would have been a dream come true, Haase stated that one of the main reasons she decided to become a Ninja Warrior was to improve her driving skills on the track, by helping her develop full body strength. In turn, she feels that her training as a driver also helped prepare her for the physical and mental rigors of the games. Not only does driving race cars at top speeds require a lot of upper body, as well as core and neck strength to steer the cars, it also involves a great deal of cardio exercise to keep them under control.

Keeping things under control on the trace track is something McKenna Hasse has been learning to do well, ever since a chance encounter with Kasey Kahne at a shopping mall inspired her to begin racing on the dirt and then Go-Karting st the age of 13. Today the Des Moines, Iowa native is now a 360 division racer, who also operates her own team, Team Haase Racing (THR) LLC , as well as runs Compass Racing Development LLC mentoring kids on how to become race car drivers, managing safety gear, and how to obtain sponsors.

Her own sponsors presently encompass a wide variety of businesses including: MidAmerican Energy, Wyckoff Heating & Cooling, Wreckamended Collision Center, Iowa Select Farms, Casey’s General Stores, Hooker Harness, Larry Huff, Klug Insurance Services, Eagle Motorsports Inc, Pro-Line Building Co., Bell Helmets, Nice Curbs & Concrete, Lamo Footwear, My Race Pass, Champion Signs, Trixies Salon, Drain Tech Plumbing, Des Moines Industrial Products, Tom and Terry Wilson, MPI Steering, Essentia Water, Bubbl’r Water, Auto-Jet Muffler Corporation, Vinyl Cup Records, Shade Tree Auto, Gabus Automotive Group, Delta Dental of Iowa, K&C Drywall, and Lutheran Church of Hope.

While becoming the first and only female feature winner at Knoxville Raceway in over 100 years (2 times) is currently the highlight of McKenna’s racing career to date, other 360 Sprint achievements over the past seversal years include: 2 Sprint Invaders trophy dash wins; Breaking the Knoxville 18-lap track record ; Becoming Knoxville Nationals B-Main Qualifier, and being named Junior Fan Club Driver of the Year. Before that she won 3 heat wins as a 2017 Rookie; 1 quick time w/ASCS National Tour Knoxville Nationals B-Main Qualifier; Junior Fan Club Driver of the Year (3 years in a row) in 2017-2018. In 2016 McKenna earned 1 quick time; as well as 6 podiums; 10 top fives; 13 top tens and 4 heat wins in 305 Sprints at Knoxville Raceway.

Note: While McKenna is the first female race car driver to compete on America Ninja Warrior, she is not the first to NASCAR driver to try and race for the buzzer. Previous contestants during past seasons have included Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ben Kennedy, while Indy drivers have included Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden. Meanwhile, it should be mentioned that American Ninja Warrior co- hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila acted as joint-grand marshals of this year’s 103rd  Indianapolis 500.