Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Fool on the Hill

OOPS! I have to admit that I must have been desperate for some motor racing action… As I was writing about Milka Duno’s big announcement, I thought to myself, hey those chaps should be on the “tele” by now…

And all I could think of as I sat down to GULP! Watch the IRL season opener on a Saturday evening was Bruce Springsteen’s” “There was 57 channels and NOTHING ON!”

So I got a really good laugh as the race was RAIN Delayed for 72 minutes… And how the announcers kept trying to build up the start any moment now. Of course they had to talk about you know who… (For those of you who can’t guess. It was time for more “Danica Mania!” Yet I found it amusing that Danica was starting five places behind the other female. Sarah Fisher was slotted in 8th, while Danica was the SLOWEST of the four AGR (Andretti Green Racing) entries in 13th…

And it was funny how the more things change; The more things stay the same as the announcers tried building up all of the usual story lines. Will Danica finish higher then 4th? Will Marco (Andretti) win the race… Announcer: “I’ve been saying all winter long, He’s a contender.” Can anybody beat the Red and White cars? (Ganassi & Penske) Hey Jack (Arute) has a first. He’s got both Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske together…

Interestingly Ganassi made a frank comment about how they’d like to see the two series get back together (Champ Car & IRL) in the future, which could really turn around Open Wheel racing. Then Jack had to ask “whose Jet is faster?”

Yet I found it disappointing that the IRL’s self promoted pitchman Gene “I AM INDY” Simmons wasn’t anywhere in sight or one of the interviewees… And good riddance as Rusty “Left Turn Only” Wallace wasn’t in the broadcast booth!

Continuing with the “filler” interviews was AJ Foyt who is celebrating his 50th season in motor racing this year and was the Grand Marshall of the race. And I had to ponder as AJ drawled on ‘bout his driver Darren Manning, what did “Super Tex” think about “All ‘O duh fuss over Danica?” Recall that AJ was instrumental in getting the very first female an Indy Car ride some 30 years ago. Does anybody remember Janet Guthrie?

And it was fitting that they “segwayed” from one legend to another as the next interviewee was Mario Andretti… Who of course was full of nothing but praise for his grandson Marco.

And then AJ said “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your Engines!” And I found it hilarious that the team sponsored by Ethanol was starting both of its car’s on the final row of the grid.

Apparently Bobby Rahal’s squad had interpreted the rear wing rules differently then the rest of the entire field and the IRL scrutinizers didn’t agree with their interpretation…

Talk about egg on your face as this was the very first 100% Ethanol powered race in the IRL’s history along with Ethanol being the races co-title sponsor… And while I see nothing wrong with running on “Switch Grass ‘N Stuff,” the Ethanol “hype” seems a bit too politically motivated to me…

Yet I did find it interesting that the IRL has gone to a new smaller 22 gallon fuel cell due to Ethanol’s increased gas mileage. Also it was pointed out during the races first caution on lap 8 that these racing cars can get up to 12 mpg during a caution flag period. “Quick, where’s Danica now?”

Back to action and wow, something’s really wrong with Marco! He’s way off the pace exclaimed ABC’s announce team. “Marco’s only running laps of around 186 (mph) while the leaders are running about 209! And then Marco parked his racing car and later spouted that was the scariest race car I’ve ever driven in my life!

Then on lap 66 the second caution flag flew for another rain delay… Back to racing and Dan Wheldon is just motoring along out front, nobody can touch him. And then time for our first accident after showing Tomas Scheckter fist waving at Marty “Can’t Keep Up” Roth…

It was amusing to hear Scott “Don’t pass that pace car” Goodyear… (What NOT to do when you’re leading at The Brickyard!) proclaim that Wheldon who’d commented about his car going loose could actually feel Sam Hornish Jr. messing with his “Hair,” err, “Air” by sucking up directly behind him. Hornish is learning from his Busch Series experiences*?) About taking the wind off of a competitor’s rear spoiler…

It was also pointed out that it was Hornish’s 100th start and he’d notched 18 victories in that time frame. Yet he probably wouldn’t be getting No. 19 tonight! Only three drivers have won more races in their first 100 starts: AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti and Rick Mears. Which is some pretty good company to be joining…

And yet during the races latter pit stops both Hornish and Wheldon had uncharacteristic problems. Hornish stalled in the pits while Wheldon had a wheel nut dropped. “Where’s Danica now?”

Oh DAMM! Danica “MUFFED” it coming in for her final pit stop. Trying to slow down to the 60mph pit lane speed limit, Danica locked the rear wheels, looped it and smacked the pit wall Jersey barrier! Round 1: Sarah Fisher finished 11th; Danica 14th. (Marco 20th)

Meanwhile Wheldon carved thru the field from ninth to first in 11 laps and ran away from the rest of the field. And who said that it would be any different? Once again Ganassi and Penske “waxed” the field…

You know it’s a sad day when a die-hard Champ Car fan watches an entire IRL race… Well OK, I had the TV on the whole time, even if I was busy gallivanting about. And I’m afraid that Champ Car will lay a rotten egg on Easter in “Los Wage$” since they still DON’T have a full field! Think I’d better stick with Formula 1 instead, eh?

I wonder what Robin Miller will have to say about this doozey of a motor race…

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