Friday, October 17, 2014

The Tomaso Files: Buddy, Peter and Eleven 'lil IndyCar boyz...

Program found at Sonoma Raceway. Used to carry my cache 'O  11-IndyCar driver autographs! (The Tomaso Collection)
Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Err Sonoma? Uh, like hows do weeze get to I-5? Cymbal crash please; Hooah!

Thus, upon "Seeing Eye Guide Dog guy" extraordinaire Claudio' who'd just spent some time watching the Milwaukee-Fest IndyCar race on "Peacock-lite" (NBCSN) a week before the annual "Sleepy Hollow" car race at Sonoma Raceway. He called me up following the Milwaukee Mile's conclusion and said: I'm going to see Buddy Guy and Peter "Do You Feel!" Frampton in Medford, Oregon Thursday night and its only five hours from Sonoma, so wanna go to the IndyCar race?

Alas, Y'all know why I haven't been scribblin' as mucho lately here (in September) on 'Der No Fenders Bloggenspotten; Ja-Ja! As I've been 'Oot 'N Aboot ridin' Shotgun in 'Grand Mamah's "Model A" (Dodge Caravan) to Infineon; Err Sonoma Raceway 'N Beyond; Hooah! Followed by another marvelous Roadtrip down to Oregon's mighty Sand Dunes...

Obviously Y'all know how  large 'O a Petrolhead; Err Race Geek I am, right? (Having scribbled relentlessly for eight years now 'bout Formula 1 & Indy Cars...)  So after asking him a bit more trip details 'N being ARSE-sured, kinda like ARSE-suming; Hya! That Sonoma truly was only 5hrs further south; (WRONG!) Naturally I said yes & off we went.

Busing south to Tacoma the night before our departure, Claudio' decided to call up Sonoma Raceway and wrassle' us up some tickets, for which a very amiable customer rep ' named Justin greatly helped us out by advising us on best seating location, etc, telling us "you're all set, your tickets will be at Will Call, Sir."

Yet, the following morning, Claudio was in NO hurry to depart for the 'Uber long day's drive: Yo Tomaso, we won't be leaving for another half-hour plus at the earliest...

As we finally hit the road around 11:30AM Thursday, since its only a six hour drive to Medford, Oregon; WRONG! In what would  be the first of our many travel miscalculations; Hya! Spending A-L-L day flying south at breakneck speeds along I-5 before arriving at The Brits amphitheatre at 7:30PM, as  I waited at the gate while Claudio  parked our trusty Minivan, leaving me hearing Buddy Guy playing in the background before we collected our tickets at Will Call, basically missing the entire short 45min set  Mr. Guy played.

Yet we got to hear  the show's main act of Frampton's Guitar Circus in its entirety; featuring headliner Peter "Do U Feel?" Frampton and special guest Robert Randolph who plays a wicked-mean steel "slide" guitar! As I can still hear their awesome encore performance cover version of  Jeff Beck's I'm going Down, Down, Down playin' in my head, as Frampton, Randolph & Co. were GURR-REAT!

Frampton Comes Alive again! 35th Anniversary cover. (Image source:
While I don't recall Frampton's set-list, other than it all sounded pretty groovy 'N tight, I really was surprised when he launched into his 'Mega '70's Hit Song "Do You Feel?"

Well, woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand.
Whose wine? What wine? Where the hell did I dine?
Must have been a dream I don't believe where I've been.
Come on, let's do it again.

Do, feel like I do?
How'd ya feel?
Do, feel like I do?

My friend got busted, just the other day.
They said,"Don't walk, don't walk, don't walk away."
Drove him to a taxi, bent the boot, hit the bag.
Had to play some music, wonder why's he [brag or drag].

Do, feel like I do?
How'd ya [turns from mic, can't catch it]?
Do, feel like I...

Champagne for breakfast and a Sherman in my hand.
Peached up, Peached Ale, never fails.
Must have been a dream I don't believe where I've been.
Come on, let's do it again.

Do, feel like I do?
How'd ya feel?
Do, feel like I Do...

Song Lyrics from:
Do You Feel like we Do'
Peter Frampton; Frampton Comes Alive, 1976.

Playing the venerable Do You Feel's first rift before stopping 'N proclaiming he'd played I-T about 17-million times; Aye Karumba! And therefore had fun messing us around during the vaunted Talk Box bits, although I appreciated his appropriate nod to fallen ex-band members Bob Mayo (Keyboards) and John Siomos (Drums) after the current keyboardist's brilliant rendition of the song's patented keyboard solo. While even more amazing was Bass Player Stanley Sheldon still twangin' away for Pete since originally joining up with Frampton in 1975...

And naturally, the audience enticed Frampton into an encore, to which as I've mentioned, started off with his and Robert Randolph's excellent rendition of I'm going Down, Down, Down, with the encore being capped off by an AWESOME rendition of the timeless George Harrison Beatles classic, While My Guitar Gently Weeps! Which I can't find anything for this duo on Youtube, but did discover this recent Buddy Guy & Frampton version from the same Guitar Circus tour...

Leaving immediately after Frampton & Randolph's brilliant encore we drove SOUTHWARDS awhile before sleeping overnight some where's in the Siskiyou mountains, as I think Claudio said we were at 4,000+ feet elevation; where we could smell a heavy layer of fire smoke all night long before drifting off to la-la land.

Then we drove the ENTIRE following day before finally arriving at Sonoma Raceway at 5PM Friday afternoon, after 'bout 10hrs driving - to check out the track, parking, etc before departing for our next overnight's locale: Guerneville.

As our only roadblock of the day was when traffic came to a crawl on the freeway just prior to the roadside sign warning us to expect HEAVY traffic on Raceday! Which was caused by a massive Industrial complex buildings(?) being on fire, with acrid smoke wafting skywards; while we pondered just what type 'O nasty, toxic  pollutants we were breathing! Since, have I mentioned yet how the Dodge Caravan doesn't have (working) AC! As we opted for the 2/5 version instead, i.e.; 2-windows DOWN at 5mph, as we lumbered by the warning sign; Hya!

Yep, we stayed at a friend's fabulous 'lil rustic cabin's Lodging & camping resort; along with getting lost in Petaluma 'N stopping at Taco Bell for dinner each nite in Santa Rosa, along with buying various sundry supplies at Lucky's; Hey! NO Do You feel 'Rucky jokes here; Hooah! (visiting two different stores) Along with visiting the local Safeway, Trader Joes, Costco,etc.

And although I thoroughly enjoyed Sonoma Raceway, I equally enjoyed my stay in the tranquility of Guerneville, spending two night's sleeping underneath the Redwoods at our friend's peaceful resort!

2014 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma ticket stub autographed by A-L-L 3 Team Penske Boyz, i.e.; 'Monty, 'HULIO & DJ WillyP, aka Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves & Will Power. (The Tomaso Collection)
As little did I know, the following day I'd be procuring half of this year's starting grid's "John Hancock's" during the "obligatory" autograph session, including procuring A-L-L three Penske Boyz signatures on the only thingy in my possession, the day's  ticket stub, with Juan Pablo Montoya, (2000 Indy 500 winner)  Helio Castroneves (2001-02, 2009 Indy 500 winner) and soon to be 2014 Indy Car Series champion Will Power all gladly signing I-T!

To continue reading, see; The Tomaso Files: Buddy, Peter and Eleven 'lil IndyCar boyz - Rollin-rollin-rollin'

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The 'Rooskie's Are Coming, The 'Rooskie's Are Coming - Honest!

Toro Rosso's teenager Daniil Kvyat  at the 2014 Australian GP. (Image source:; Photo by: Peter Fox / Getty Images)
And like A-L-L good stories produced here at Nofendersville, once again this lookie-see' for aspiring Mother Russia racers has morphed into two-part harmony; Hooah! As Y'all are saying, but what about the Russian Big Boyz, right?

In 2013, RT Russian Time was finally admitted entrance into GP2, effectively replacing I-Sport International who'd run into financial difficulty. As Russian Time made a brilliant debut by capturing the team's title along with Sam Bird finishing runner-up to series champion Fabio Leimer, who's currently contesting the World Endurance Championship for Rebellion Racing, a la Bird who's also embarked upon an endurance racing career.

Russian Time also contests the lower GP3 category, while Bird's replacement in GP2, the "Other" Mitch Evans, NOT the Unlimited Hydros' driver;  Hya! But 'Kiwi Mitch Evans instead, has garnered his inaugural GP2 victory for the squad earlier this season...

Although this year's season has mostly snuck by, for which I've previously lamented its lack of television coverage Stateside, hence being unawares' that the series would be racing at the just concluded Russian GP in Sochi. The championship's final outing will take place upon Yas Island this November alongside the STUPENDOUS Double Points F1 finale...

Alas, during the midst of this story, I've just discovered "Johnny-come-Lately" that 2013 German Formula 3 championship runner-up for Lotus, 20yr old Russian driver Artem Markelov is currently contesting this year's GP2 series, appropriately for Russian Time Racing, and thus, surely must have his sights set upon Formula 1...

Although Mikhail Aleshin is indeed the first  Rooskie' IndyCar pilot, having just completed his rookie campaign for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the 27yr old Muscovite' wasn't the first Russian driver to ply his trade Stateside, as previously unknown driver Sergey Mokshantsev briefly contested the Indy Lights championship 'Wayback in 2009 for the long forgotten Brian Stewart Racing team, having fallen off the radar screen since then.

Aleshin's biggest claim-to-fame most notably is capturing the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 series championship, yet the Moscow native, like all aspiring  racers has a wealth of single seater experience, having raced in GP2 Asia and GP2, the long forgotten A1 GP series along with the requisite Feeder Series, which saw him win the 2004 FR 2.0 Italy Winter series title along with finishing third overall in the '09 FIA F2 championship.

 Ironically, in 2011 as Mikhail was fighting the inevitable cash woes afflicting many drivers worldwide, forcing him to abandon his Carlin GP2 ride, he landed a part-time seat back in Formula Renault 3.5 which came at the expense of Anton Nebylitskiy, who he replaced.

After a ghastly winter's GP2 Asia campaign, upon having won the Formula Renault 3.5 title with Carlin, Mikhail only raced sporadically alongside Max Chilton, who's gone on to become a Marussia F1 racing driver! As Aleshin tested for Renault in the 2010 Abu Dhabi Young Drivers test - believing he'd advance to the pinnacle 'O motorsports the following year, which saw countryman Vitaly Petrov retaining his seat instead as the only Rooskie on the F1 grid.

thus, having apparently grown overly frustrated with Formula 1's doors being closed, Mikhail headed Stateside  instead for this year's Indy Car Series season, where he became the sport's first ever Russian to podium - taking a fine second place at Houston behind then team leader Simon Pagenaud.

Mikhail Aleshin "Hero Card" obtained at this year's Go Pro Sonoma Grand Prix. (The Tomaso Collection)
Having had the pleasure of "meeting 'N greeting" Mikhail this year at Sonoma Raceway; 'Whale Otay, I didn't  actually shake his hand or nothing, since my "Seeing Eye Guide Guy" extraordinaire Claudio  was busy talkin' smart to him about being a fine Russian Ambassador instead, the last thing I knew about Aleshin was that horrific crash he suffered during night practice at Fontana for the IndyCar season finale, which I posted the following;

As Mikhail's subsequently been released from hospital and says he's recuperating nicely and will see us behind the steering wheel in 2015, presumably once again driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports...

Funny how our brains work, eh? Musing to myself when purusing the list of Russian Drivers, why does Nikolai Fomenko's name sound familiar to Mwah? Yeah, guessing Yuhs already know, right? Can Y'all say Marussia! Although I know I scribbled 'bout Fomenko selling off his controlling interest in the team to unknown backers  in;

Yet I was totally unawares' that Fomenko had once been a burgeoning Sports Car driver, having contested the Rolex 24 and Le Mans twice, interestingly teaming at Circuit de la Sarthe  with another unknown driver, Frenchman Patrick Bourdais; Hmm? Who I've just learned is the father of le Hamburgular, or SeaBass, nee Sebastain Bourdais.

Hence, following his endurance racing career, Fomenko turned his Attenzione towards the production of Super Cars and SHUHZAMM! The Russian Super Car producer Marussia was born! Alas, in the time honoured tradition of brand exposure,  Nikolai first sponsored the then Virgin F1 team, which became Marussia Virgin Racing  before Fomenko utilized his controlling interest to rebrand the team into its current day guise as Marussia F1...

Although Vitaly Petrov was indeed the first Russian to contest the modern day FIA World Championship, nonetheless, Prince Igor Nikolayevich Troubetzkoy was the first Russian to  drive a Ferrari in Grand Prix motor  racing, piloting a Tipo 166 in the 1948 Monaco Grand Prix, having won the prestigious Targa Florio the same year also for la Scuderia in a Ferrari model 166 Spyder.

Troubetzkoy was briefly married to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, one of the richest women in the world at the time, and if her name sounds familiar, then perhaps Y'all recall her only child's name, that being her son Lance Reventlow - as I feel another story coming on here...

Also beating both Petrov and Daniil Kvyat to the confines of a modern day F1 chassis was Sergey Zlobin, who was a test driver for Minardi in 2002, although never actually taking part in a Grand Prix. As Zlobin has an interesting back-plot to his racing career, having been the victim of a car bombing 'Wayback in '07, which he survived!

And while I can only surmise this ended his brief racing career, or at least effected it? Reputedly he's got a (half) brother named Daniil Move, who is one of the countless aspiring Russian drivers and was a Formula Renault 3.5 "Journeyman," who's apparently moved on, possibly to Sports Cars? Also, Sergey has a son named Nikita who's an aspiring racing driver...

And as Y'all know, this year's Formula 1 season saw the addition of then teenager Daniil Kvyat at Scuderia Toro Rosso who broke somebody named Vettel's record for youngest ever driver to score points in an F1 race, which is exactly what he did with his fine ninth-place finish Down Under in Albert Park; ironically being elevated from tenth after his soon-to-be Red Bull team-mates exclusion.

As apparently I'm not the only one who's been impressed by the junior category championship winner's talent, as he's the rookie who's impressed me the most this year...

Since Y'all know that Kvyat's just been promoted to be Daniel Ricciardo's team-mate at Red Bull Racing next year in the wake of Sebastian Vettel scurrying off to la Scuderia! Which as Grizzled Journo' Joe Saward said, was fortuitous - with the Russian GP then being a week away, not to mention the 22% growth rate Russia's experiencing market-wise, apparently, as DAMN! That's a whole lotta Red Bulls, so drink up Boyz; Hooah!

And Yuhs already know that  S2, aka Sergey Sirotkin made his debutant Formula 1 outing during this  year's Russian Grand Prix, where the current Formula Renault 3.5 driver, who won Round-1 of this year's series championship's outing at Moscow Raceway, drove for Sauber F1 during Friday's FP1 (Free Practice) session; hence being the first time ever that two Rooskies' had been On-track during an F1 session together...