Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shrinking North American Sports Car Terrestrial TV Coverage continues...



What Cable TV channel Fox Sports-2 looks like on Seattle television...
So are Y'all as surprised as I was when learning three weeks out that the Oh, So Silky Smooth, Superlative voice of Bob Varsha wouldn't be calling this year's Rolex 24; CRAP!


Sadly, as noted above, thy legendous' Bob Varsha wasn't at the microphone during this year's minuscule (Fox Sports) FS1 24 hours of Daytona TV coverage, albeit NO idea if he filled in during the (Fox Sports)) FS2 time slots which I, like most of the nation aren't privy too!

As the powers to be at IMSA, and more importantly FOX, which BASTARDIZED their brilliant 'RASSCAR-centric racing channel Speed into a Stick 'N Ball competitor to ESPN; BARF! Have gone on the cheap and watered down their Sports Car coverage significantly!


Reportedly, as of February last year, a whopping 39% of U.S. Households with TV's, a paltry 45-million viewers actually had access to FS2, which still doesn't include Seattle; SHEISA!

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW COMCA$T!

As immediately following the miniscule 80min coverage of actual racing upon FS1, before disappearing to FS2, where the Rolex 24's playing second fiddle to the following programming: UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Preview, UFC Fight Nite, College Basketball, Motorcycle Racing, Fox Sports Live and UFC Post-fight - Obviously IMSA was Kick-boxed into Submission!

With the first racing action of the year on FOX having its lead-in shorted ten minutes due to the FREAKIN' College Basketball game double dribbling past its advertised finishing time of 11AM Pacific!

Yet at least it was FAST EDDIE'S', aka Ed Carpenter's Alma Matter Butler playing, albeit his Bulldogs lost to Marquette.

Or perhaps as typical, IMSA wasn't willing to spend the necessary money to ensure proper placement of their product? Or were FOX's prices simply too high? Since this shoddy practice of NOT showing the racing action on an easily accessible Cable TV Channel broadcast AIN'T new, but at the very least, IMSA  should have bucked up 'N paid FOX to at least show the first two hours of actual racing on their B-I-G' KUHOONA FS1.

As I'd given U-P upon Sports Cars television coverage a long time ago, ever since ALMS botched placement of their racing series on the Disney Shopping Network 'Wayback in 2011...


Meanwhile, with NO disrespect to IMSA's new Sports Car Booth Boyz' Greg Kramer and Calvin Fish, when I think of Sports Cars announcers, I fondly reminisce over my favourite trio of Bob Varsha, Dorsey Schroeder and Calvin Fish, along with Hobbo' (David Hobbs) Leigh Diffey and Brian Till doing stellar work during past Rolex 24 race broadcasts.

Yet I've always admired Greg Kramer, as he brings a certain level of knowledge to all of his broadcasts without sounding superior - as I became a 'Mega fan 'O Kramer when recognizing his voice as the lead announcer over Circuit Of The Americas PA system during the past few Formula 1 weekends, whilst Calvin Fish is also a joy to listen to as colour commentator. And I'm glad that Brian Till's voice will be heard? Whilst Justin Bell's always seemed a better Pitlane reporter then Booth voice to Mwah...

As suppose  it's just one more sign of the inevitable, eh? As it's funny how not only IndyCar, but Sports Cars too are being forced to accept the fact that Stick 'N Ball sports are King! And not only do they struggle to escape the shadows of Football in the fall, but also wait for its climax in early February before giving way to 24/7 SCREACHIN' Roundy-round Taxicab action from DayToner, where the Rolex 24 simply serves as the Opening Act for Daytona's Speed Weeks and Thy Daytona 500.


And if Y'all thought FOX's Rolex 24 TV coverage was dismal, then Y'all gots another thingy' coming regarding the Sebring 12hrs race which plays second fiddle to Daytona's 24hr event. As I scribbled 'bout how the most dramatic finish between my Home-team Team Seattle's Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 v both Dodge Vipers knock down, Bar-room brawl for the GTD )Daytona) class victory wasn't even shown on television last year!


And  I DON'T expect any improvement this year either in regards to  watching Thy race on readily available cable TV; Oh Never Mind! As I'll just skip FOX completely and stick with IMSA.com and the wondrous call by John Hindhaugh & Company instead...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ganassi's Carnival ride...



Hmm? Talk about Damage Control, eh? After Thy Cheepsters' squad had a fairly disappointing weekend at Daytona, specifically the Rolex 24 where all four of Chip Ganassi's Ford "Eco-boost" powered entries had less than stellar outings...

Tuh-Duh! bright 'N early Monday morning came news of Chip Ganassi Racing having signed Great Britain's 24yr old Max Chilton as the newest chauffer of its fourth car, the No. 8 Dallara-Chevy shared last year by "Flotsam 'N Jetsom;" Hya! Err Sage "Dangerboy" Karam and Sebastian Saavedra, with NO word on whether or not Joey Hand uses the same hair gel as Sebastian; Hooah!

Chilton, the ex-Marussia F1 driver who was the late  Jules Bianchi's team-mate spent the bulk of last year piloting one of Carlin's Indy Light entries in what apparently was a tune-up season for IndyCar, along with being a Nissan Factory World Endurance Championship driver where he took part in le 24 Heurs du Mans last year.

Meanwhile, Sage Karam who dispatched Ryan Briscoe from the No. 8 Ganassi ride last season, who was subsequently let go by Chip has signed on with Lexus to partner Scott Pruett aboard Paul Gentilozzi's F Performance Racing Lexus GT3 Sports Car entry, along with a most interesting alliance at DRR.

As Dreyer & Reinnbold Racing in Kahoots with Davey Hamilton and his Kingdom Racing affiliation will run Karam aboard the #24 Gas Monkey Garage Special for this year's 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

And with Ganassi's four cars filled for the season, that leaves Saavedra looking for employment elsewhere, as perhaps he'll fill the vacant fourth seat at Andretti Autosport that was originally planned for Justin B-I-G' UNIT Wilson this year? Since after all Saavedra's longtime backer Gary Peterson and his AFS Fire Sprinkler brand have a long affiliation with Mikey A's team.

Then again, I'd rather see the vacant fourth Andretti seat go to Jack Harvey, who seems better qualified than Saavedra, but as always it largely comes down to that ugly word Sponsorship! While I suppose Saavedra could always run the "Double" at Mother Speedway this year for Cheep',  a la last year's fifth wheel at Indianapolis.


 just hit me, why not put Sebastian into one of Ganassi's Ford "Econobox" Global Rally Cross entries with the caveat being a ride at both Indianapolis races this May, eh?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

RETRO: Daytona's Inaugural 24 Hours race - 50 years ago




Long forgotten programme cover from the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours event. (Image source: racingsportscars.com)
Was totally unawares' that this year's Rolex 24 is the golden anniversary of the now yearly twice round-the-clock endurance classic...

It's pretty amazing that 50yrs ago B-I-G' Bill France proclaimed that his Daytona International Speedway would host its first-ever 24hr endurance race in part to mimic the success of France's 24 Heurs du Mans which was then the only 24hr race. Although the Daytona combined Oval and Infield road course's overall length was 3.81-miles, slightly longer than today's recognized 3.56-mile length.


Interestingly, the two featured marques fighting for outright victory were Ford vs. Ferrari, with the "FoMoCo's" (Ford Motor Company) effort being spearheaded by 'Ol Shell, aka Carroll Shelby, one of 'Il Commendatore's (Enzo Ferrari) fiercest rivals. With Shelby American fielding three NASTY Ford GT 40 MkII's with NASCAR Stalwarts Holman & Moody running a further brace 'O GT 40's vs. Luigi Chinetti'sNorth American Racing Team's (NART) potent Ferrari 365P's.

Alas, it was Ford scoring a clean sweep of the podium, with Lloyd Ruby and Ken Miles aboard the Shelby entered #98 taking victory, followed home by team-mates Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant's #97 and Mark Donohue and Walt Hansgen finishing third in their No. 95 Holman & Moody entry.

As it was Hansgen who initially spotted the raw talents of the man who'd later on affectionately become "Captain America" at Penske Racing, which I've chronicled last summer in;




Breaking up Ford's stranglehold of the Top-5 finishing places was some Dude named "Super Mario," nee Mario Andretti with co-driver Pedro Rodriguez taking fourth in their No. 21 NART Ferrari - with Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren finishing fifth aboard the #96 Ford GT 40.


Whilst another interesting tidbit about the '66 race was the fact that the first  female to race at Mother Speedway, aka Indianapolis - Janet Guthrie was part of two all female racing teams piloting  Sunbeam-Alpine's...
Thus  ironically we're being treated to a rematch of those epic battle royale's between Ford and Ferrari today, albeit in the second tier or is it third? As this year's scrum between the Ford GT and Ferrari 488 GTE is taking place in the GT Le Mans class - for which I've had ZERO idea how they're doing during the race - largely due to the LACK of Terrestrial TV coverage; GROAN!

And unless you're one of the lucky few who's privy to Fox Sports-2, then you MISSED Thy majority 'O television coverage! Which as far as I can tell won't even have its finish broadcasted on Fox Sports-1: SHEISA! Since my TV guide says FS1 IMSA TV coverage will be from 4-7:30AM Pacific - which theoretically would be less than 24hrs since the Green flag supposedly flew Saturday at 11:40AM Pacific.



Since the final two hours of the race's conclusion on FS1 wasn't listed on my TV Guide when I originally scribbled this. As hopefully Y'all caught the final 2hrs of Fox Sports-1's paltry Rolex 24 coverage...

And hopefully the most affable Aussie' Ryan Briscoe is still savouring the taste 'O champagne with his No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi team-mates after taking GT Le Mans class honours!


Post race

Unfortunately, as the most enjoyable lead broadcasting voice of IMSA.com's most Excellante round Thy clock coverage John Hindhaugh pointed out. The Hypefest over Ford's return was a huge disappointment! As Briscoe was forced to bring the car in just after the first 10min while stuck in sixth gear. And then they had not one, but two rear tyres go down on the banking NO less! Which thrashed the car's exotic aerodynamics.



As Hindhaugh noted that Ford was probably astounded with how stout the GT Le Mans competition was and perhaps, Briscoe & Co are using thee anticipated champagne to drown their sorrows before obviously bucklin' down for Sebring and beyond...



Ford GTs disappoint as Chevy Corvette wins Rolex 24