Monday, November 13, 2006

Mexico City Finale

Once again the Rick Daly show was bemusing as always… Kind of like the Good, Bad & Ugly… I was amazed how much actual on-track coverage was given between commercial breaks. And even better yet, was the onboard footage of Justin Wilson and the announcers going silent to listen to Justin’s throttle applications in the wet!
This was the final race for the stall hart Lola chassis and the ubiquitous “pop-off” valve. The current Lola chassis has soldiered on for 7 seasons with the pop-off valve in exsistance since 1979. Next year Champ Cars will have a fresh look with the racing debut of the Panoz DP-01. This chassis features Formula 1 paddle shifting and front wing. The pop-off valve will be replaced by electronic controls amongst other powertrain improvements…
At each race venue the Ford/Cosworth’s “Power to Push” ratings are manipulated per Champ Cars requirements. For Mexico City’s high altitude event the “Cosie’s” wee slightly “de-tuned.” During the majority of the season Champ Car has utilized a base output of 750bhp with 60 seconds of “turbo-boost” for a peak power output of 800bhp.
According to Derrick Daly; this weekend the XFE V-8’s base power was regulated to 680bhp with an additional 60bhp of power to push for 180 seconds. Daly noted the extra 60bhp equated to an extra 300 revs, with top speeds of 200+ mph along the long front straight…
Team Australia’s Will Power won Rookie of the Year while claiming his first career podium. Power’s competition “Speedy” Dan Clarke DNF’ed with a broken differential.
Buddy Rice piloted the ex-AJ Almendinger #7 with rookie David Martinez making his Champ Car debut aboard “Sand Dune” Tracy’s #3. Rice spent the entire weekend trying to get used to the unique characteristics of the Lola Ford/Cosworth. Rice mentioned how the turbo lag took a little time to get used to. Yet, Rice’s major problem for the weekend was trying to adjust to the brakes. Apparently Rice was never able to come to grips with how hard and deep you needed to stand on the discs compared to the IRL chassis he’s used to…
The GOOD:
Pit reporters Jon Beekhuis & Cameron Steele. Justin Wilson capturing pole position with a broken right wrist. Justin utilized a custom carbon fiber brace to enable him to drive the entire weekend…
The BAD:
Rick “SMARTWALL” Benjamin just couldn’t refrain himself, having to once again promote Andrew Ranger’s sponsor Wallmart SEVEN times…
The UGLY!
Sebastian Bourdais brazen kamikaze overtaking maneuver of Justin Wilson for the lead… With Justin obviously suffering fatigure from his broken wrist, “Sea Bass” hounded Justin relentlessly during the final 6 laps. Then on the final lap Sebastian “dive bombed” Justin into a corner using Justin as a pool table cushion to take the lead… And contrary to what Ed Hilton (Co-host of Wind Tunnel) said about that being a legitimate move. Sebastian admitted that he used Justin’s car as a side-rail saying he knew he could bounce off of Justin’s sidepod with minimal damaged to his suspension!

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