84 episodes

THE WEEKLY DRIVER PODCAST IS AN EXTENSION OF THEWEEKLYDRIVER.COM, ONLINE SINCE 2004

THE WEEKLY DRIVER James Raia and Bruce Aldrich

    • Leisure
    • 3.7 • 3 Ratings

THE WEEKLY DRIVER PODCAST IS AN EXTENSION OF THEWEEKLYDRIVER.COM, ONLINE SINCE 2004

    #204, New Book: The Checkered Past of Al Unser Jr.

    #204, New Book: The Checkered Past of Al Unser Jr.

    Al Unser Jr., born into one of motorsports' most prominent racing families, won the Indianapolis 500 twice and two IndyCar Championships. But he was also troubled.



    Unser abused alcohol and drugs and it destroyed a marriage. Friendships ended and he was arrested multiple times for drunken driving and domestic violence.



    Unser's struggles and his winding road in recovery is the subject of the new book, "A Checkered Past."

    Al Unser Jr.: A Story To Tell

    The race car driver, recently re-married, tells his story to author veteran motorsports author Jade Gurss.



    Gurss is our guest on this episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast



    Al Unser Jr., tells his story to veteran automotive writer Jade Gurss in the new book, "A Checkered Past."



    Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with the author the difficulties of writing the book.



    "It was very challenging," says Gurss. "I had just come off finishing a book with John Andretti in the final months of life. Sadly, John dies of colon cancer. When I was contacted about doing Al's story, he was very upfront. He said, 'I am going to be open; I am going to be honest and I am going to tell the truth."



    "I knew that it was going to be a challenge to write something that obviously had very, very tough issues and very, very tough stories about what he had gone through battling with drugs and alcohol."

    Al Unser Jr.: 'Not So Heroic'

    A two-time New York Times best-selling author, Gurss' latest book is his sixth, and it's now available on Amazon.com from Octane Press. A native of Topeka, Kansas, Gurss resides in the Charlotte, NC area.



    "I give Al full credit for being so open and willing to talk about things that don't paint him in such a heroic light," says Gurss. "A lot of my previous books had a much more positive attitude, I guess, for a lack of a better term. And this one certainly has a sense of sadness."



    Gurss has been involved with a long list of motorsports sponsors and racing categories. He has represented Anheuser-Busch, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and many other major motorsports sponsors.

    Al Unser Jr.: His Story Writer's Sixth Book

    In his work for Budweiser, Gurss was a publicist for Dale Earnhardt Jr. from 1999 through the end of the 2007 season. Gurss was also Director of Corporate Communication for Andretti Autosport and Andretti Sports Marketing. Hw co-authored "Driver No. 8" with Earnhardt Jr., which became Amazon's top-selling sports book of 2002, and spent 17 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.



    Veteran motorsports author Jade Gurss has written his sixth book, "A Checkered Past."



    Please join on this episode as the author provides an inside look at his writing formula as well as his working relationship and friendship with Al Unser Jr.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners. Please forward episode links to family, friends and colleagues. And you are welcome to repost links from the podcast to your social media accounts. The idea of more eyeballs on more content works for us.



    Support our podcast by shopping on Amazon.com. A graphic display at the bottom of the post links to automotive selections of the online retailer. But there's also a search function for anything available directly from the site.



    If you shop via this site, we receive a small commission. It helps us continue to produce independent content. The site began in 2004 and includes more than 700 reviews.



    The podcast is in its fourth year, and we've had a diverse collection of guests — famous athletes, vintage car collectors, manufacturer CEOs, automotive book authors, industry analysts, a movie stuntman and episodes from auto shows and car auctions.

    • 30 min
    #207, Live at the LA Auto Show: Back to the Future, Maybe

    #207, Live at the LA Auto Show: Back to the Future, Maybe

    The LA Auto Show advanced to the second and final media day Thursday and The Weekly Driver Podcast was back in the vehicle showcase halls at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It was a day for a visit back to the future — maybe.



    Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia visited with representatives from a variety of concept vehicles, some from established manufacturers, others from new carmakers.



    VinFast of Vietnam debuted two electric SUV at the LA Auto Show. All images © James Raia/2021.



    As in previous years, concept cars showcased at the LA Auto Show are tentative at best. None of the concept vehicles we viewed and discussed are predicted to be publicly available until at least the fall of 2022.



    Some of the vehicles are not expected until as late as 2025. Other EVs, like the Byton, a concept that debuted with Rivian in 2018 and filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, will never be manufactured.

    LA Auto Show: Concepts Galore

    VinFast, the first "mainstream" manufacturer from Vietnam with plans to distribute two sport utility vehicles in the United States, had the largest presence of the pending electric vehicle manufacturers at the LA Auto Show.



    From its unveiling on the opening day of the show to its evening reception and further show presence, VinFast made a committed presence.



    According to its marketing, VinFast in Vietnamese stands for Style, Safety, Creativity, Pioneer. It touts its vehicles as the "product of our inspiration to launch a distinctive, world-class automotive brand with Vietnam and demonstrates the ability of the Vietnamese people to skillfully implement cutting-edge technology."



    The Canoo concept family vehicle debuted at the LA Auto Show.



    Like other pending vehicles, VinFast has neither definitive production plans or pricing for its SUV crossovers, the e35 and e36. Both are designed by Italy's famed Pininfarina.

    LA Auto Show: Can You Canoo?

    Two names new to the EV marketplace are Canoo and Mullen. The former is promoted as an autonomous "Lifestyle Vehicle." Its marketing material reads in part: "Fully electric, highly versatile and offering more utility, inside and outside for city explorers, businesses, families and adventurers."



    The Canoo, also touted as a "Loft on Wheels," is scheduled for late 2022. It's named the Canoo, according to a company spokesman, because it resembles an upside-down canoe. Its front end and rear look interchangeable.



    Canoo, based in Los Angeles, says "there is no need for electric vehicles to look like traditional cars, yet today they still do. Canoo plans to change that." It did.



    Canoo said its first vehicle will have "the exterior footprint of a compact car, with the interior space of a large SUV."

    LA Auto Show: Come Back in 2024

    Mullen, based in Brea, California, is promoted as the first "Pure Electric SUV Crossover." The Five has an estimated range of 325 miles, it's electronically limited to 155 miles per hour and with an estimated 0-6 mph of 3.2 seconds. It's not predicted to be manufactured until 2024 will be sold in kiosks called "Lounge Points."



    We also discuss the Hyundai Seven concept, arguably the most unique concept at the show. While the Canoo may be promoted as a loft, the Seven is better defined as a futuristic lounge. It has sterilization lights, newfangled ambient lighting and enough fancy interior to be best-suited for an interior design magazine layout.



    Lastly, we chat about the Edison Future and its two luxury concepts, both combinations of utilitarian, off-road, futuristic SUVs, plushly attired and replete with technology overload and 35-inch wheels.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners. Please forward episode links to family, friends and colleagues.

    • 25 min
    #206, Live from the LA Auto Show; It’s Electric

    #206, Live from the LA Auto Show; It’s Electric

    The 2021 LA Auto Show media days began Wednesday, Nov. 17, marking the first major automotive show of the season after a two-year COVID-19 pandemic. The Weekly Driver Podcast was in attendance for the first of our daily episodes.



    A few minutes after the show opened, co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia visited various halls at the Los Angeles Convention Center. We viewed the new models of legacy brands, Ford to Chevrolet, Honda to Chrysler. And we viewed a slew of current and pending (maybe) electric vehicles — high-end Porsche to moderately priced Hyundai, the Mullen Five (2024?) to the 2022 Lucid Air, the MotorTrend Car of the Year.



    The LA Auto Show featured many current and pending electric cars  and also  new Nissan Z.  All Images © Bruce Aldrich/2021



    As the first LA Auto Show since November 2019, differences in this year's show were readily apparent from the last edition.

    LA Auto Show: Electric Cars Galore

    The emphasis on electric vehicles from more manufacturers is an overriding theme. Matted color palates are also more prevalent.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast has hosts offer our opinions as we meander from manufacturer to manufacturer.



    We observed the new Mustang Mach E, the new, bigger and the more plush Lincoln Navigator and its competitor, the Jeep Wagoneer.



    As for electric vehicles, newbies include the Kia EV9, Fisker Ocean, Nissan Ariya, Subaru Solterra, Toyota bX4X and Vietnamese startup VinFast.



    A vintage racing Porsche was showcased at the LA Auto Show.



    Of course, where's the new, there's usually old. Among the vast array of new Porsches in the Germany manufacturer's segregated hall, a wondrous barn find — a vintage 1960 Porsche 356, 1,600 Super 90 resplendent in dents and patina.

    LA Auto Show: Public Show, 10 Days

    Following another media-only day, the public show will be held Nov. 19-28. For show details, visit: www.laautoshow.com.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners. Please forward episode links to family, friends and colleagues. And you are welcome to repost links from the podcast to your social media accounts. The idea of more eyeballs on more content works for us.



    Support our podcast by shopping on Amazon.com. A graphic display at the bottom of the post links to automotive selections of the online retailer. But there's also a search function for anything available directly from the site.

    LA Auto Show: All Podcasts Archived

    If you shop via this site, we receive a small commission. It helps us continue to produce independent content. The site began in 2004 and includes more than 700 reviews.



    The podcast is in its fourth year, and we've had a diverse collection of guests — famous athletes, vintage car collectors, manufacturer CEOs, automotive book authors, industry analysts, a movie stuntman and episodes from auto shows and car auctions.

    Please send comments and suggestions for new episodes to James Raia via email: james@jamesraia.com.



    All podcast episodes are archived on theweeklydriver.com/podcast



    Every episode is also available on your preferred podcast platform. Several of the more prominent platforms are listed below.



    Amazon.com

    iheartradio

    Spotify

    • 26 min
    #205, 2021 LA Auto Show back with electric vibe

    #205, 2021 LA Auto Show back with electric vibe

    After one delay and one cancellation, the LA Auto Show is back for the first time in two years.



    Like many businesses, the automotive industry has suffered. But its first major auto show since the Covid-19 pandemic began will be held Nov. 19-28 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.



    The 2021 LA Auto Show will emphasize auto mobility but will feature its traditional large selection of vehicle debuts.



    David Fortin, Head of Consumer Marketing for the event, is our guest on Episode #205 of The Weekly Driver Podcast. Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with Fortin the pending show and the expected highlights.

    LA Auto Show: It's Back

    Founded in 1907, the LA Auto Show has built its reputation as one of the world's most prestigious auto shows. It hasn't been held since November 2019.



    As it did two years ago with further emphasis, the LA Auto Show will focus on the continued electrification of the automotive industry.



    The LA Auto Show always has its share of prototypes one-offs, including designer Jeremy Scott's Smart Car Concept.



    From startups to established brands, the 10-day show with packed days of test drives, never-before-seen vehicles, custom and exotic cars, all-new zero-emission vehicles, interactive activations and one-of-a-kind experiences.

    LA Auto: Plenty of Test Drives

    Influencers and shoppers can test-drive vehicles from brands such as Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, ElectraMeccanica, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, Ram, Subaru and Toyota.



    Featured this year is the inaugural ZEVAS award program. It's the first people’s choice award program of its kind that celebrates the top zero-emission vehicles available for sale or pre-order."



    The Byton all-electric sedan concept debuted at the 2018 LA Auto Show.



    "The ZEAVAS is probably one of the things we are there most proud of," said Fortin. "It was born within our company. Our owner and CEO, Lisa Kaz, really has always been connected to where vehicles are and where they are going.

    LA Auto Show: Future Is Now

    "As the EV mandate started to come into play even as a whisper and now as a true mandate she recognized that the LA Auto Show has always had a place in history, almost an obligation, to inform, educate and inspire people to ask 'what does mobility look like in the future?"



    Among the several additional attractions:



    • Camp Jeep (Outdoor): The long-standing manufacturer will present in a 25,000-square-foot indoor exhibit test course the opportunity for attendees to experience the off-road capabilities of Jeep vehicles.



    Product specialists, sometimes called Ambassadors, are an integral part of the LA Auto Show presentation of new vehicles.



    • EV Track Powered by Electrify America (Indoor): The largest open ultra-fast DC charging network—is the show's exclusive sponsor of the all-new indoor electric vehicle (EV) test track and charging provider for the automotive brands and vehicles featured in this year’s outdoor test drives.



    Please join us as Fortin provides details about the much-anticipated return of the LA Auto Show.



    The event will be operated in full accordance with all safety protocols required by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.



    Vaccination cards or a negative COVID test within 72-hours of arriving onsite at the LA Convention Center along with masks will be required for entrance to the show. Free onsite rapid testing will be available to those who wish to test onsite.



    For additional information, including further COVID protocols, ticket information, show hours and parking, visit: www.laautoshow.com.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners.

    • 37 min
    #203, PitStopConnect.com helps predict, prevent auto tragedy

    #203, PitStopConnect.com helps predict, prevent auto tragedy

    Ben Auslander, vice president of sales and marketing for PitStopConnect.com, is enthusiastic about all things related to predictive analytics in automobiles. And he has been for a long time.



    Auslander, our guest this week on The Weekly Driver Podcast, worked on the GM Onstar program for more than 12 years. He helped launch VW's connected car program in North America. He also worked for Charge Point as its Automotive Director.

    Pitstopconnect.com sees the driving future

    "It's allowed me to see and understand a broader picture around mobility," Auslander says.



    Predictive automotive analytics is what pitstopconnect.com does best.



    Co-host Bruce Aldrich and I discuss with Auslander the ever-changing world of car connectivity.



    Based in Toronto, Ontario and Detroit, Mich., the company's platform, according to its website, has:



    "Over 500,000 connected vehicles and is growing more than 800 percent every quarter. Our industry-leading AI platform is a flywheel that only ever improves with more data and time, providing increasingly better predictive analytics insights to our customers.



    "This puts Pitstop in a unique position to not only service existing markets, but also play a leading role in the emerging EV and autonomous markets that will soon become ubiquitous across the world."

    The future of driving? PitstopConnect.com gets it

    Please join us as Auslander provides insight into what automotive predicability means for consumers, manufacturers and related industries.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners. Please forward this episode's link to family, friends and colleagues. And you are welcome to repost links from the podcast to your social media accounts. The idea of more eyeballs on more content works for us.



    Support our podcast by shopping on Amazon.com. A graphic display at the bottom of the post links to automotive selections of the online retailer. But there's also a search function for anything available directly from the site.



    If you shop via this site, we receive a small commission. It helps us continue to produce independent content. The site began in 2004 and includes more than 700 reviews.



    The podcast is in its fourth year, and we've had a diverse collection of guests — famous athletes, vintage car collectors, manufacturer CEOs, automotive book authors, industry analysts, a movie stuntman and episodes from auto shows and car auctions.



    Please send comments and suggestions for new episodes to James Raia via email: james@jamesraia.com.



    All podcast episodes are archived on theweeklydriver.com/podcast



    Every episode is also available on your preferred podcast platform. Several of the more prominent platforms are listed below.



    Amazon.com



    iheartradio



    Spotify

    • 20 min
    #202, Joe Wiesenfelder of Cars.com talks future of EVs

    #202, Joe Wiesenfelder of Cars.com talks future of EVs

    Joe Wiesenfelder is the executive editor of Cars.com and he's immersed in the future of EVs — electric vehicles.



    According to the website's recent data, about one-third of car buyers are actively looking to purchase their first electric vehicle. But many questions remain with the anticipated growth. Wiesenfelder and his colleagues are counting on it.



    Wiesenfelder is our guest on this episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast.



    Rivian and it electric trucks and SUVs are potential competitors for Tesla and are part of the new segment of EVs entering the automative marketplace. Images © James Raia.

    EVs: Marketplace will expand

    Co-host Bruce Aldrich and I discuss with the long-time journalist the future of the electric vehicle market and the goal of Cars.com to assist consumers with their buying decisions.



    "Cars.com bought its first plug-ins a decade ago, a Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, and we have since continued to evaluate scores of other electric models," Wiesenfelder said. "Expanding beyond just how the cars drive, we live with EVs and test the range, as well as the cost and setup associated with home charging."



    "With all the buzz surrounding EVs, our team will cover everything from charging setup and other considerations to our thoughts on some of the more popular EVs.”



     



    The Tesla Model X, which debuted in 2015, is part of  current leader among EVs.



    Electric vehicle information comprises only about five percent of the current searches on Cars.com. But by its calculations, more than 100 new options are expected to join the market in the next five years.

    EVs: West Coast Growth Expected

    The EV market share is predicted to grow, notably Cars.com believes, in Denver, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle.



    With the pending market expansion, Cars.com hosted a live webinar: Guide For The EV Curious, on Oct. 28.



    We interviewed Wiesenfelder before the event, but his thoughts on the industry are relevant anytime.

    EVs: Buying, Leasing, Charging

    With other editors and contributors to the publication, Wiesenfelder discussed the rise in consumers’ interest in EVs, buying/leasing EVs, charging barriers and the most popular new EV makes and models.



    According to Cars.com, local dealerships also have to prepare to meet demand. Currently, only 37 percent of local dealerships are selling electric vehicles, while 63 percent are actively planning for EV sales, service and training.



    On Cars.com 41 percent of new car dealers listed inventory of new electric vehicles.

    EVs: Uncertainty Remains

    “On Cars.com, searches for EVs have almost doubled since last year — however, sales of EVs are growing at a slower rate," said Wiesenfelder "There’s no doubt that consumer interest in EVs is growing, especially as more major automakers commit to the category and offer more SUV and pickup truck options for shoppers, but to the average person, uncertainty still exists."



    Please join us for an insider's look into the EV industry.



    The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners. Please forward episode links to family, friends and colleagues. And you are welcome to repost links from the podcast to your social media accounts. The idea of more eyeballs on more content works for us.



    Support our podcast by shopping on Amazon.com. A graphic display at the bottom of the post links to automotive selections of the online retailer. But there's also a search function for anything available directly from the site.



    If you shop via this site, we receive a small commission. It helps us continue to produce independent content.

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

Eltomaja ,

The Weekly Driver

Easy to listen podcast about cars, trends and notables in the auto world. The two hosts have good knowledge and ask good questions.

Indydogforme ,

Automotive talk that is fun.

I like these guys. What they say makes sense. Valuable insight into all things automotive. Interesting guests as well.

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