Monday, April 2, 2007

Street racing in St. Pete

Yeah, I know I’m not being a very loyal Champ Car fan by watching my second IRL race in a row… But, hey this “Juan” was a street race. And it sure looked like the good ‘ol “Salad Days” of CART to me… With Penske, Ganassi and a Andretti up front. (Minus the lack of entrants)

And I know it’ll sound a bit funny but I prefer the days of racing car drivers actually having to take their hand off the steering wheel and shift.

Perhaps that’s why I decided to watch today’s race… Of course some of you out there will say that I’m simply fixated upon Danica.

But imagine having to wheel around a 650bhp land shark with NO power steering, manual (sequential) shifting and extremely unforgiving concrete canyons to carve your way thru for 100 laps! All the while having to keep a look out for your nearest competitor waiting to run over you…

Perhaps this is why the announcers noted drivers making 25-35 shifts per lap and talked about the traditional acres of gauze and tape to protect their hands… “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”

And yet the drivers actually enjoy playing jokes upon each other… As Marco Andretti was being interview for the pre-race show, Marco’s answers sounded very “clipped.” Then the announcer pointed out how Helio Castroneves was busy untying Marco’s boots during the interview! (Would this ever happen in a Formula 1 race?)

“Quick, where’s Danica Now? Has she finished powdering her nose…”

At the drop of the green flag, Dario “R.E.O. Speedwagon” Franchitti and Tony “Oh Thank Heaven” Kanaan broke the cardinal rule of racing against your teammate. Dario clipped Kanaan’s tire and they both spun out… Dario getting the worst of it, needing to pit to replace a damaged toe link.

And “KuhZuki” Gesundheit (Kosuke) Matsuura was fantastic today! After being a hapless victim of Jeff “Say Ethanol five time here” Simmons, (NO relation to IRL punch man Gene “I AM INDY” Simmons) Kosuke was first seen giving the angry hand gesture as Simmons passed by. Then during the interview I broke into laughter as Kosuke cussed out Simmons live on air calling him a FUCKING idiot…

And it was even funnier hearing the announcer apologize later during the program saying “NO, you did hear something offensive in Kosuke’s accent!”

Quick Danica’s up to ninth place now… Roll the Danica interview.

And I found it humourous how the IRL seems to be borrowing both from Formula 1 and Champ Car.

Danica’s car had the nose wing camera that F1 has been using for awhile now. Along with Scott Dixon having a side mirror mounted camera pointed at the cockpit a la F1…

And the Indycar website seems to be copying multiple in-car “Directors” views available along with live timing & scoring (Uh Duh?) from Champ Car

Yet it was interesting to hear that the Indy cars have only one inch of ground clearance…

And what gives with all of the “RASSCAR” comments? Apparently ESPN thought they needed to “Dumb it Down” for viewers… Even explaining that understeer is the same thing as a “Stocker” being tight. And even Chip Ganassi had to throw in a quip about RASSCAR during a pit interview when Castroneves bumped ‘N runned Dan Wheldon…

Not to be outdone by Andretti-Green Racing, AJ Foyt IV clobbered teammate Ed Carpenter which should make for a fun debrief.

Poor Darren Manning! It looked like he was on course to capture his first podium for AJ Foyt’s mid-field squad. Manning had qualified 5th, which was the highest starting position for “Super Tex” since 2001. Yet Manning spun off course under pressure from Kanaan in the closing stages of the race…

And before I forget, Sarah Fisher finished her very first road course/street race… With the battle of Danica vs. Sarah at 1-1.
Danica Start: 11th/Finshed: 8th. Fisher Start: 18th (LAST_/finished: 15th)

Meanwhile Pablo Perez, who suffered multiple foot & leg injuries when impacting the catch fence at Homestead’s Indy Pro Series race, continues to have multiple operations to try saving his legs…


  1. It was a one man show in St. Pete! Now are you ready for a little Milkamania!

  2. Milka ROCKS! Err, actually Robin Miller thinks she SUCKS... *Driving-Wise) And perhaps he has a point, yet Indy is desperate for any story angle that will give them International media attention. And the CITGO sponsorship dollars won't hurt either...