Sunday, July 29, 2007

INDY 500: Scottish sentiment

Although the racing world has moved on, with several rounds of the championship having been run since the month of May. I’m sure that Dario “R.E.O. Speedwagon” Franchitti is still pinching himself over winning this year’s Indy 500.

And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy than Dario, whose career has seen its ups & downs. Having made another mistake and aged the Scotsman an extra 10 years. Dario actually celebrated his 34th birthday with cake in the face live on TV prior to winning the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

This makes it hard for me to believe how many years ago it was when Dario was fighting for the championship in CART alongside teammate Paul Tracy at Team Kool Green. As Dario was just another “Young Gun” to me back then, while watching him win in Vancouver, BC.

Franchitti’s best career seasons in CART were 1998 & 1999. As the ’99 season saw Franchitti tie Juan Pablo Montoya for the series championship, yet loose on tiebreaker to the Columbian. As I still believe the Scotsman was morally gutted by the death of close friend and competitor Greg Moore that fateful day in California.

And I was unaware that Franchitti was another alumnus of the vaunted Paul Stewart Racing team, which ultimately “morphed” into Stewart Grand Prix before being transformed into the duly departed Jaguar F1 team. Of which has now become Red Bull Racing.

Franchitti was part of an all star cast of Open Wheel racers with Gil De Ferran, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Jan Magnessen and Ralph Firman to name just a few.

Thus it’s funny to note that Dario is clinging firmly to a fast disappearing points lead in the current Indy Car championship. With his main title rival becoming Scott Dixon, with both competitor’s being ex-CART protagonists. As Dario seeks to win his first major championship in the “All Oval” racing series.

So why all the belated fanfare over the Scottish Speedwagon? Well as you finish reading this. I’ll be departing for my trek to Mecca, hopefully to experience the ride of a lifetime. As I’ve secured my time slot to strap on a chauffeured ride in the back seat of Sinden Racing’s two seater at IMS this Tuesday afternoon!

The Sundance Kids

Naw, Not Tony G. & Kevin K. Nor Emperor Bernardo & Mad Max… It was none other than Mario Andretti and Paul Newman. You see the elder Newman was being chauffeured by his one time ex-employee aboard one of the Minardi F1 X 2 Two Seaters on hand during the Edmonton weekend.

As apparently ‘Ol P.L simply showed up on his Vespa scooter to watch the 1978 Formula 1 World Champion taking passengers for rides. When Mario naturally inquired. “Wanna Ride?” So Mr. Newman gladly hopped aboard and reveled in the legend behind the wheel of the 700bhp 3.0 liter Cosworth V-10 derived F1 chassis.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Alberta tarmac

I’d have to say that watching the Edmonton Champ Car race after the wet ‘N wild European GP probably wasn’t the wisest move. As the Champ Car race seemed a little more sanguine. With far less action then the Nurburgring.

And once again the Hamburgular stole the show. First by outlasting everybody on fuel during the first round of pit stops. And then simply running off and hiding from Justin Wilson, who finished 4 seconds adrift of Sea Bass. Wilson was the meat of an Newman/Haas/Lanagin Racing sandwich, with Graham Rahal finishing third, followed by Simon Pagenaudand and Paul Tracy respectively.

Pagenaudand and’s fourth place secured the inaugural Canadian Triple Crown trophy for Team Australia. Which was of little consolation for Will Power who retired with steering rack issues while running in the top three all day.

“Bad Bobby D” (Robert Doornbos) had a sub par day for the first time this season, upon colliding with Alex Tagliani. And with another boring victory. Bourdais now vaults back into the points lead by 20+ points over his rivals. As Champ Car moves from the wide open spaces to the concrete canyons of San Jose, where Seb has been nearly unstoppable. Unless Paul Tracy runs him over.

Porsche power

Hey. This resurgence of Porsche power in American Le Mans might actually make watching the series desirable once again? As I was most surprised to read the headline of Porsche wins its fifth consecutive race in ALMS!

Huh? You mean that the all conquering, unbeatable Audi R10 TDI juggernaut has been momentarily derailed? And there’s actually somebody capable of beating the utterly dominant Audis’. And it’s none other than Roger Penske.

Friday, July 27, 2007

McLaren not guilty?

While we were waiting on tether hooks. Weren’t Yuh? The World Motor Sport Council has ruled that although McLaren has indeed broken sporting article No. 9… (151 C) There isn’t any sufficient evidence that McLaren has breeched the sporting reg’s.

Hmm? Me thinks that the “Ronster” is putting on a brave face while looking into the cameras and saying I did not have sex with…

Yeah, I know. Innocent before proven guilty. And apparently Ron Dennis has a sterling reputation for NOT cheating. (Getting Caught?) Yet it’s hard to imagine that McLaren has made the performance leap this year after going winless last season for the first time in a decade.

Alas, if you think I’m being too harsh on McLaren’s major domo. McLaren isn’t the only sporting entity in the news. I mean just look at the three major “Stick ‘N Ball” sports. As NFL Football is currently trying to escape Vic-Gate. Along with luminary “Bad Boyzs” Tank Johnson, “Pac Man” Jones and the Cleveland Browns.

Then there’s the NBA with its current shady referee problem. You know the one where the Ref was fixing games he was working in order to pay off his gambling debts.

Wile the MLB is shrouded in Steroids controversy as Barry “I didn’t use Roids” Bonds is on the brink of breaking Hank Aaron’s Home Run record.

But all of this seems to pale in comparison to this year’s Tour de Farce… Talk about your taking performance enhancing drugs! As this year’s Tour leader has just been fired from his team and thrown out of the bicycling classic after leading for more than a week.

This comes on the heels of two other teams withdrawing from competition after their top riders were caught with positive “A” samples of blood, along with one rider being arrested by the Gendarme's on the top of a 5,500’ mountaintop at the end of the days stage. Meanwhile last years tour winner is still awaiting the outcome of his legal appeal after testing “positive.”

Whoa Nellie! Guess I’d better watch Hollywood Entertainment tonight?

Singing in the rain

WOW! Was that a crazy European GP or what? As I think the only race to equal it in terms of drama so far this season was the Canadian GP.

And how fast my emotions changed from gleeful humour over the “Shtick” of crass comments over Michael & Kimi’s relationship to Hamilton’s horrifying crash.

You see apparently Michael Schumacher still doesn’t know exactly what his role with the Scuderia is these days. Yet Bob Varsha quipped. “Hope it’s not fuel strategy?” While Varsha wondered out loud if Kimi Raikkonen had run out of fuel during the mad cap race? To which tongue in cheek was noted. “Yes Kimi you can go one lap further!” Crackled the imaginary radio transmission.

As the crack crew of SPEED TV was playing up the fact that the Finn is NO fan of having the German mucking about the garage. And the interview with Peter Windsor was hilarious. Kimi what happened? Aaaahhh. Uuuuhhh. Eee? Err, Hydraulics. Yeah that’s the ticket! As Professor Matchett pointed out how you need petrol to run the lump which makes the hydraulics operate.

Yet all of the playful banter was broken immediately upon Lewis Hamilton’s major shunt during Q3 final Qualifying. As the right front tire quickly deflated and hurtled the McLaren off into the tire barrier. Nearly hitting the top of the structure or possibly high jumping the barricade all together.

That was almost as scary of a crash as Robert Kubica’s Canadian shunt. Of which the Polish driver sustained 73 G’s. Thankfully Hamilton was uninjured after spending a few hours in the hospital for observations and started the race in 10th place.

And as Scott Speed has rightly pointed out, six cars spun off the track while hydroplaning about the circuit. With such names as Hamilton, Button and Rosberg to name a few. Yet Hamilton kept the car idling while a crane reset him onto the track.

This coincides with Windsor’s piece of how the top teams are now able to idle their precious lumps up to 4+ minutes. While waiting at the end of pit lane in order to be first out onto the track in Q3.

Apparently the engine manufacturers are utilizing the same hybrid technology of cutting cylinders as current road cars do. Therefore when sitting at the end of pit lane, these 2.4 liter V8’s are effectively V4 Singer sewing machines.

And is it just me, or was Felipe Massa robbed of what seemed a certain victory? As Fernando has apparently been watching ‘ol PT’s utilization of the Chrome Horn. As Ferdi was heard telling the fuming Massa in parc ferme that “Racin is Rubbin!” Yet I enjoyed Massa’s post race comments better. If I wanted to take him out, I’d have put him in the grandstands! Perhaps you’d better do that next Felipe!

And the BMW Sauber boys were busy breaking the golden rule of motor racing. Whatever you do, do NOT take out your teammate. As both drivers blamed each other for their early race contretemps.

Have Helmet bag, will travel

Looks like Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez knows the way to San Jose. As he’s just been tabbed as Ryan Dalziel’s replacement for this weekend’s San Jose Champ Car race. Dominguez became available upon Tristan Gommendy being medically cleared to resume racing after sitting out the Edmonton event.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Speed speaks out

While I’ve been asked about whether or not Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa got into any fisticuffs in parc ferme upon Alonso’s bump ‘N run in the European Grand Prix. It appears that the real wrestle mania was occurring in the Scuderia Toro Rosso garage.

Although STR’s Franz “French Toast” Tost (Mmmm, Sprinkles… Otay so it must be breakfast time, eh?) has tried to overtly play down any alleged coming to blows with American Scott Speed in the German media. Speed has now gone public with SPEED TV’s Adam Cooper. To which I’ve provided the following link to: Speed says Tost out of control.

Also in the same article Robin Miller has reported that Speed will be dropped shortly from Toro Rosso. Hey I thought Miller was busy Up North, eh? Covering the scintillating Champ Car race…

Enge fired by Peterson/White Lightning

What do they say about letting the Genie out of the bottle? As it appears that lightning has struck Sports Car ace tomas Enge upon his second consecutive altercation in American Le Mans competition.

Enge who was already on probation collided with Mika Salo in the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT. And apparently Salo was so peeved that he retaliated by ramming Enge’s P/WL F430GT. Which the ALMS stewards immediately gave both drivers a trip to the penalty box.

This second infraction by Enge saw him immediately fired from Peterson/White Lightning…

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Apparently Champ Car driver Ryan Dalziel got lost while preparing for his journey to the Silicon Valley. When the Scotsman fell and suffered a broken collar bone.

Pacific Coast Motorsports has not yet named a substitute driver, but there is definitely NO shortage of possible candidates. Although Oriel Servia is currently racing for Forsythe with Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez filling in for the sidelined Tristan Gommendy. Perhaps Andreas Wirth or Ronny Bremmer will get the call?

Stepney Spice

As we eagerly await the results of McLaren’s summons to the World Council gallows… I’m really not sure what to make out of this very entertaining article. Is this just someone’s attempt at satire? Or has the level of mud slinging ratcheted up another notch?

With fresh allegations of an McLaren employee being spotted with wads ‘O dinero in crossed out Ferrari pay packets. Over something to do with the poaching of Vodafone sponsorship from the Prancing Horse.

You make the call

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Speed running out of time?

Apparently frictions between top Scuderia Toro Rosso management and its current race drivers are picking up steam. As it appears more and more likely that the lone American F1 pilot Scott Speed is most likely on his way out of the team. While Vitantonio Luzzi has somewhat better chances of retaining his seat for 2008.
Reportedly Speed and STR’s Franz “Toast” got into a physical altercation a la “Sand Dune” Tracy upon Scott’s return to the pit lane after going off into the gravel during the rain deluge at the Nurburgring. Can you say the Hamburgular, Scott? But hey, perhaps this will help Speed secure a ride alongside the Wiley PT next year

Stepney-gate rolls on

And while I’m still catching my breath upon watching the wild Nurburgring race… It appears that the mud slinging is getting waste deep in regards to the made for prime time industrial espionage who dunnit! I mean what better way to slow your major competitor in the title fight by constantly leaking tidbits to the Italian media?

As new rumours suggest that three top “senior” McLaren personnel were approached by Mike Coughlan while having the said 780 odd top secret Ferrari technical documents in possession… Apparently neither Stepney nor Coughlan are willing to go down alone quietly! By taking one for the team and simply falling on their swords.

Much may be or NOT! Revealed upon this Thursday’s World Council meeting with the two dueling Constructors. Well actually just McLaren will be summoned before the FIA tribunal. With Ron Dennis firmly claiming McLaren’s innocence.

Quick! Somebody pass me the Kleenex…

Simmons gets the Ax

Apparently the “Ethanol Kid” wasn’t passing muster at Rahal/Letterman Racing. As Jeff Simmons has been given his walking papers, being replaced by ex-CART driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. Fittingly Hunter-Reay apparently made his return to Open Wheel racing at Mid-Ohio’s road course which should have enabled a good start for the ex-CART winner a chance to knock off the rust after returning from the hinterlands of Grand Am…

Monday, July 23, 2007

Spyker slip-up

While watching with great glee towards young Markus Winklehock’s dazzling move from last to first in his Formula 1 debut at his home Grand Prix. It was noted that Spyker had instead ceased all development upon its current chassis to focus upon the new “B” spec competitor that will debut in two races from now at the Turkish GP…

Champ Car staff changes

As I’ve been busy gallivanting about the countryside. OTAY! DON’T everyone feel sorry for me at once… And still being “Old School” with limited recording time via my VCR, I’ve had to skip the past few weeks of various SPEED TV programming in order to attempt keeping up with the dueling Open Wheel racing series.

Therefore I’ve missed the latest rantings of the ‘ol Windbag himself (Dave Despain) as well as the satire ‘O Robin Miller. Nor have I had time to read the various scribblings of my foremost news sources… Aw Shucks, Doesn’t everybody still feel sorry for me?

Any Hoo… I managed to miss the following story by Messer Miller on the realignment of Champ Car management, which I’ll simply provide the following link to Derrick Walker’s reply: Walker responds

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thailand Express

We’re on the train to Bankok… Err, the “super Slab” back to Seattle after a rip roarin two day’s RUSH-Athon!
Damn, time once again to get back to the drawing board, so to speak. As I’ve just seen RUSH twice this weekend. NO!!! It weren’t NO STINKIN’ Rush Lin-BLAH!!! It was the AMAZING Canadian Power Trio Rush. As I’ve still got the utterly FANTASTIC sounds ‘O The ringing in my head from attending two concerts back-to-back at Auburn and Vancouver, WA.

With the crooning of Geddy Lee’s signature voice and amazing bass playing, Alex Lifeson’s awesome guitar riffs accompanied by the virtuoso “Professor” on his multiple drum kits… NOT to be confused with the original Professor Alain Prost. Neil Peart Rush’s divine lyricist and drum player extraordinaire… As ALWAYS!!! This is one Rock concert NOT to miss…

While playing in the sun, wind, rain, etc. I’ve once again fallen behind on this weekend’s racing events. While leaving them to be recorded on the trusty ‘ole VCR. So hopefully I’ve managed to set the timer right and will be able to shortly view these events courtesy of the Memorex, prior to scribbling my thoughts about the Formula 1 and Champ Car races…

Although I can still hear Geddy’s voice singing in my head, the local media hasn’t printed their concert reviews yet. So I borrowed a previous review which was pretty much in line with the two shows I saw. And as Geddy sez.

“We can only go the way the wind blows…”

Concert Review

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Super Computer

Previously I’ve written about BMW Sauber’s newest Super Computer, better known as
Super Albert.” Along with recently noting Renault’s major investments to upgrade its facilities with it’s newly formed Computational Fluid Dynamics organization.

Apparently the race has begun in earnest for the Formula 1 Constructor’s utilization of CFD computing technology as an extension of their current wind tunnel programs. This cutting edge technology (CFD) allows the virtual simulations of testing of any new aerodynamic design without having to physically build a wind tunnel model.

This also allows F1 teams to re-invest the huge sums of money and resources required to physically build, operate and maintain wind tunnels into the future wave of simulated F1 chassis in the never ending demand to continuously create the latest winning designs.

The only drawbacks to CFD is that it requires humongous computing capability, i.e.; Crey-type super computers which are extremely expensive as well as the massive amounts of electricity to operate these ginormous machines, hence the long standing process of F1 teams forging technical alliances/partnerships with major computer companies.

Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to receive the following press release the other day in regards to AT & T Williams latest CFD development. This is encouraging news since I’m a big fan of Nico Rosberg and would enjoy seeing Williams return to its previous winning ways.

I have simply copied the news release as sent to me below. Thanks Katherine…

Lenovo Revs Up Supercomputer Power for Formula One
AT&T Williams Formula One Team Selects Lenovo Best-Engineered Systems. Aerodynamic simulation speeds up by 75 percent

GROVE, OXFORDSHIRE, UK, 17 July 2007 – Lenovo today announced the successful installation of a powerful supercomputer for AT&T Williams, now being used in the racing team’s wind tunnel simulation facilities in the UK.

AT&T Williams and Lenovo collaborated on the customized supercomputing solution, designed to optimize the aerodynamics of the team’s Formula One cars.

“Aerodynamics plays a critical role in determining how competitive we are for each of the race circuits we visit,” said Alex Burns, chief operating officer, AT&T Williams. “The optimum balance of downforce and drag varies between different circuits, so the aerodynamics at Monaco -- lots of tight corners with few straights -- are very different from Monza, which has few corners but lots of long straights. The increase in supercomputing power from Lenovo will give us the capability to examine a greater range of design variations between races, which will increase our development rate, bringing more performance to the car sooner.”

The supercomputer is being used for operations in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), performing billions of calculations that simulate airflow around a virtual model of a three-dimensional, on-track racing car. This process will help predict how even the smallest changes in component shape and placement will affect drag and downforce, with resulting impacts on speed and handling.

With a peak performance of eight teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second), the Lenovo supercomputer is four times more powerful than the team’s previous solution. This will enable the team to speed up the process of aerodynamic simulation by approximately 75 percent.

“Aerodynamics has been steadily gaining importance in recent years, accounting for roughly three quarters of the performance of a Formula One car today,” Burns said. “The tremendous increase in power delivered by the Lenovo supercomputer will allow us to perform the same tasks we do today in a quarter of the time.”

The team uses the supercomputer to examine numerous aerodynamic variables, such as surface geometry, wheel turbulence and track surface. For example, the team can analyze the effects of adjusting the curvature of the car’s surface, with the goal of improving the generation of downforce and the reduction of drag.

The aerodynamic simulations are being done in combination with experimental techniques in the team’s two wind tunnels. Computer-generated tests will enable the AT&T Williams team to focus resources on building the most promising solutions for testing in the wind tunnel and on track.

“The high-performance computing solution developed for AT&T Williams is the latest example of Lenovo capabilities in world-class engineering and research,” said Deepak Advani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Lenovo. “We’re excited about providing a supercomputing solution that delivers the power and speed necessary for AT&T Williams to stay competitive in the most technologically advanced sport in the world.”

This agreement is an extension of the relationship between Lenovo and AT&T Williams. At the beginning of the 2007 race season, Lenovo announced its support as an Official Partner of AT&T Williams. The team uses Lenovo PC technology in every facet of its business, from ignition to inventory.

About Lenovo

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is dedicated to building the world's best-engineered personal computers. Lenovo's business model is built on innovation, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction as well as a focus on investment in emerging markets. Formed by Lenovo Group's acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services worldwide. Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, see

About AT&T Williams
AT&T Williams is one of the world’s leading Formula One teams, with 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles and 113 Grand Prix victories to its credit. Today, Williams F1 employs around 520 personnel at a 40 hectare technology campus based in the heart of the UK’s Motorsport Valley in rural Oxfordshire. The company is unique as an entrant in the FIA Formula One World Championship as it is the only organization that exists solely to race. The company’s core competencies are the design and manufacture of Formula One race cars, and the deployment of this expertise in running the team’s entries into the Grand Prix each season. The company was formed in 1978 and is privately owned by Sir Frank Williams and his long-term business partner, Patrick Head. For more information and photographic images of the car, visit:

Canadian Thunder

WOW! Another WET ‘N Wooly Champ Car race in Canada… If I didn’t know better I’d think it always rains in Canada too? So take that Seattle. And unlike RASSCAR which melts in the rain… The Open Wheel warriors simply strapped on Bridgestone full wet’s and put their welly into going quick!

Well everybody except Speedy Dry Dan Clarke that is. As the overconfident Englishman thought he could drive with slicks on ice, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As it was total mayhem on lap one upon Mr. Excitement, Paul Tracy getting a front wing stuck under his nose, which ultimately lodged underneath the chassis. Causing PT to loose control of his steering and walloping the wall at 150mph, causing a multiple car collision behind him.

Refreshingly we had a new leader up front, with Oriel Servia having gotten the better of the front row of the Hamburgular and Justin Wilson. Yep, Sea Bass was on pole once again… But Servia would lead convincingly for the first 34 laps before it went all wrong.

And did I mention that it rained? As this is when all of the fun on track began, with various competitors finding the slippery liquids caused by precipitation. After a few full cautions and various pit strategies. We were treated to having Ryan Dalziel leading his very first Champ Car race. And as Mr. Rick said in-between multiple sponsor shout-outs. Dalziel is used to driving in the rain being from Scotland. Now all he’s waiting for is the fog to roll in!

But what the HELL! Is Ricky Boy doing telling us who won the Formula 1 race while most of us had NOT seen the race since it was going head to head with Champ Car... Smooth Move Benji!

But it wasn’t to last as first Will Power passed the Scotsman, before Wilson uncharacteristically bumper cared his way around D. for third place. This was after Justin had unsuccessfully attempted dive bombing his arch nemesis Bourdais earlier in the race.

And it was pretty funny to watch how many drivers attempted bowling over the brazen Hamburgular, with rookie teammate Graham Rahal even taking a swipe. Yet I found myself laughing out loud when the two points leading protagonists Bourdais and “Bad Bobby D” (Robert Doornbos) collided during the final moments of the race. Ensuring Team Aussie’s Power his second victory of the season. With Power’s post race comments fitting, as he said “Sock it too them!”

Schuey Day Trippin?

Previous to winging his way towards Monnocoe where the proverbial SHIT hit the fan over Ferrari’s disastrous race weekend earlier this season. Michael Schumacher was spotted tooling around Germany.

Yet a sighting of a Ferrari circulating around the Nurburgring is not exactly newsworthy. Except as David Hobbs would often tells his colleague Professor Matchett. You must have Eyes like a proverbial Rat!

As some sharp eyed observer noticed that the pilot of said Ferrari circulating the Nordschleife was none other than Herr Schumacher.

And while young German F1 hopeful Winklehock is busy making his Grand Prix debut, Schuey will be on hand for the dedicating of his brand new grandstand at the Nurburgring this weekend…

The Penguin strikes again

Holy Icebergs Batman! As I’m still Dumbfounded that the irresistibly benevolent T-Rexx better known as Emperor Bernardo pulled the plug on the USGP!!!

And although I’ve finished my video tape of the previous events “Just-in-Time” for this weekend’s race action. I have still not had nearly enough time to scour the internets in search for the scuttlebutt upon Mr. Muppet’s going for the green. Can you say Dinero? As apparently Bernie’s coffers aren’t full enough…

And with NO disrespect towards the new Formula 1 calendar events for 2008, I sincerely hope that they get their money’s worth upon paying thru the stratosphere to Ecclestone. Who’ll undoubtedly be crying all the way to the bank… Crocodile tears that is as the “Penguin’ flaps his arms feverishly in search of another continent to plunder. Now that three major nations have been scuttled from their rightful place on the Grand Prix stage. With France, Italy and the United States all missing next year!

Meanwhile the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has begun construction work upon the new 16 turn Moto GP track improvements which will see the 800cc “Scooters” circulating counter-clockwise like the oval events do. As it’s speculated that the two wheel machines will possibly hit 215mph on the straightaway! And the new road course will be able to host Formula 1 if Messer Bernardo so desires to come back again?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Those poor Brits

Just finished watching the pathetic FOX TV broadcast of the Silverstone Grand Prix. And I was extremely happy with the outcome, as the “Kimster” seems to have regained his ‘ole McLaren rocket ship form. Showing his ex-employer Ron Dennis that indeed the Iceman is the fastest driver on the grid!

It was a gripping race as it was hard to tell who was running what type of fuel loads at the very beginning before the McLaren duo of Ferdi & Louise showed the cards McLaren had dealt them. With Alonso taking a short fill to cycle ahead of Raikkonen.

Yet on both occasions, when Kimi needed to run demon laps to gap himself ahead of first Hamilton and then Alonso, the Finn brilliantly demonstrated his abilities of hammering out the fastest laps a la Michael Schumacher.

And what an excellent drive by Felipe Massa after stalling the engine on the first start, coming from dead last to finish 5th as well as running in the lead briefly during pit stops.

And did I hear the announcers correctly? Honda brought LAST year’s car to the British GP in hopes of securing some further desperately needed points. Yet “Super Best Friends” still is ahead of Big Brother Honda F1 in the Constructor’s championship.

So Kimi Raikkonen has now surpassed everyone while becoming this year’s first three race winner, while McLaren still leads both the Driver & Constructor’s championships. But as Peter Windsor so politely pointed out. Kimi rained upon Hamilton’s parade, which will hopefully take a little edge off of the Lewis Lunacy?

One race down, one left to go… As next in the queue is the Toronto Champ Car race…

Perhaps Tony really should hire Hornish Sr.

Otay, I’ll admit that I missed out on the fisticuffs as I was somewhere in the high desert plains of Terry, Montana. Hey they got cactus there…

So I didn’t get to see the lowlights, err… Highlights ‘O Hornish Sr. doing his best Lou Ferigno Incredible Hulk impersonation at Watkins Glen. Yet from the sounds of the newswire. Hornish Sr. doesn’t hold a candle to “Sugar Ray” Tracy…

Then again as Danny B so profoundly pointed out, (in IRL Should Hire Hornish Sr.) this is exactly what the IRL could use while in search of a more mainstream pitchman than Geme “I AM INDY” Simmons. Aw shucks! What NO Princess in the shoving match?

You can see all of the chest thumping action via the U-Tube video link Danny B has provided me. See: Hornish Sr. shoves TK

Time to watch the Silverstone race…

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Land ‘O 10,000 Lakes

Ah, back home by the Sea again. The COOL breeze intermixed with precipitation and a 30 degree temperature drop not to mention the lack of any humidity or pesky Mosquito’s…

So why all of the memory lane scribblings last week? As you were finishing reading those “Day Tripin’” stories. I was somewhere in the heartland on my third “Coast to Coast” journey.

And everyone always asks me what race are you going to? Since my travels usually incorporate some sort of major automobile race. Yet this time I was simply taking the opportunity to ride with family aboard a 24’ Shasta RV, circa 1984 headed for the white four door Buick capital of the 50 states. None other than Minnesota.

“Team Shasta” took the scenic route east, mosey’ in thru Montana in three days prior to a detour to Langdon, North Dakota before reaching Minnesota…

And the highlight of the trip for me by far, was getting to ride aboard a Dodge Viper roadster! Which was utterly fantastic. Now I need to unpack and watch 8hrs ‘O video tape of the previous F1 qualifying & race + Champ Car race before checking the internets for the latest motorsports happenings…

More later…

Monday, July 16, 2007

Indy day trippin’ (Part 3)

Der Great Nico!
And did I mention how hot it was? As the first two days had been 90+ degrees, with Sunday’s event even hotter. I marveled to myself upon our passing block after block of parked cars on private lawns while nearing the Brickyard, as we’d decided to come later in the day since we had reserved parking. (So I thought! But, Oh NO! The Handicap parking fills up by 8AM…)

It was rough sledding as we had to follow the coolest road car ever produced by the Ford Motor Company… Yes. The Ford GT! As I just sat gaga watching the ass end of the black Ford GT with Indiana dealer plates directly in front of us. With Harriet telling me to quickly roll down the window. In order to listen to the syrupy sweet exhaust note as we handed our parking pass to the IMS attendant.

And then we had a really fun time trying to find where our seats were as the Yellow Shirts were baffled to why they’d parked us where we were. Finally getting driven by golf cart to the opposite end of the race track as we’d been forced to drive past our grandstand!

Sitting in the scorching sun several hundred yards away from the first corner complex, it was wild watching the seven car melee caused by Juan Pablo Montoya in what would be his very last F1 start. Yet I was extremely happy to watch Schuey wax the entire field pulling away by nearly a second per lap… In fact he was so far ahead that I could hear him downshift 5 gears into turn 1 before his second place wingman Felipe Massa would enter the corner.

And I cannot recall ever sweating so much before, while I did my best impersonation of a “Little German Boy on the podium!” Gleefully whistling the Italian National anthem while waving my conductor’s baton upon Herr Schumacher’s victory!

During the whole race I couldn’t figure out what all of the fuss over M. Schumacher winning five times at Indy was about… Oh, I get it! He’s the first driver ever to WIN 5 times at Indy. Surpassing a trio of drivers named Foyt, Unser and Mears.

Returning to our hotel, it was interesting how the stigma of Le Michelin fiasco still hung over the event. As a patron asking us about the race seemed primarily concerned about whether or not the Michelin shod cars ran? Telling him there was a seven car shunt on lap one didn’t do much to impress him as I realized that not too many more cars were around at the end this year compared to 2005. I recall telling Clyde how hilarious it would have been to see the Michelin Man walking around Indy deflated with bandages all over him! As Harriet really likes the Michelin Man, so we shook hands with him on Saturday.

Dropping Harriet off at the airport Monday morning Clyde & I watched two Sharp Dressed Men in black suits pass thru the airport while awaiting her flight departure. Hey that’s Ross Brawn of Ferrari. Then we talked to a very friendly German journalist, who said it’s a good thing Michael won. That way there’s still interest in the championship and they’ll keep sending me to cover the races. Then on our way out of the terminal Clyde noticed approx. 25-30 people in identical white uniforms standing in the check-in line. It was the Panasonic Toyota team getting ready to fly home.

Upon returning from another 2.5 day mad dash across the country and having only stopped at Old Faithful and Devil’s Tower. It was nice to be back home where I watched the race tape, I found Nick Heidfeld’s barrel rolling down the main straight quite scary. I also learned via Bob Varsha that it was 97 degrees (+ Humidity) race day. As well as being the start of the second century of Grand Prix racing…

Calling Auntie Harriet, I was most shocked to hear her story about who’d sat next to her on her flight home. At the very last moment a young whipper snapper sat down next to her, as it was the last seat on the plane.

Noticing that the young German kid with long blond hair had a slightly funny sounding accent. Harriet inquired, so where are you from? What are you doing in America? After a long pause the kid said. “Ja! I am Nico Rosberg! I have just been at Indy to race in the USGP. SHEISA!!!
Harriet had to sit next to F1 Williams Rookie driver Nico Rosberg on her flight from Indy to Chicago as this was the only flight poor Messer Rosberg could find in order to make his connections back home to Germany.

Harriet told him how she’d just attended her very first Formula 1 race and how I was a huge Formula 1 fan… Just before landing the young German who’d turned 21 during the break between the Canadian and USGP reached for his briefcase and pulled a card out. Then of course neither of them had a pen, so they frantically searched for a writing utensil and finding a pencil. Nico scribbled an autograph onto his race card for me.

SHEISA!!! How come I never get to have anybody famous sit next to me, eh?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indy day trippin’ (Part 2)

This time one year ago, I had just returned from my second “Coast to Coast” road trip to the Brickyard. Which was entirely different from my first trek to Mecca with Mary Ellen.

Clyde & I made an obscenely fast jaunt across the country, driving from Tacoma, WA to Indianapolis in 2.5 days! Stopping only briefly to visit the Corn Palace, a car model museum and a brief portion of the Badlands…

With the USGP now being held in the summertime, (July 2, 2006) it was obviously much warmer then when I’d attended the fall 2001 event. Yet I was once again fortunate enough to partake in another full three days of Formula 1 action.

Being a “seasoned” veteran of the USGP, albeit five year’s prior, we once again parked inside the race track and partook (Parkay, No Butter, Parkay…) in the days festivities via the grassy knolls (burms) while avoiding the Brickyard Crossing sand traps.

The supporting cast this year was the Formula BMW USA and Indy Pro Series with guest driver Graham Rahal. Along with the Porsche Supercup. Yet as always, my favourite performers were the Formula 1 cruise missiles!

And we even managed to escape a heavy downpour which began as we were meandering our way thru the Formula BMW paddock upon the end of first day practice.

Friday night Clyde & I picked up “Auntie” Harriet at the Indianapolis Airport. You see, I’ve been spending the past several years kibitzing about Formula 1 with my 87 ½ year old Aunt, whom always refers to Formula 1 as the “Big Boyzs.” Which recently has left me pondering if this is an age or generational thing? As I also heard a senior Indy Car owner refer to this term when describing the higher echelons of the Indy Car fraternity this past May, i.e.; Penske, Ganassi, etc.

And I suppose its HELL getting old? As I myself am getting old-ER! Yet every time I talk to Harriet on the telephone she’ll ask me, Ok, now when is the next race? Where are the big boyzs racin’? May be I should write it down? When is the next race? You know the Big Boyzs… Oh Saturday on channel 33… No the RACE is Sunday on SPEED… Qualifying is Saturday… When is the race? May be I should write it down. Oh, you’d better call and remind me again. Now where are the Big Boyzs racin…

Yet somehow Clyde managed to convince Harriet to fly alone to Indiana and meet us in order to attend her very first Formula 1 race at the tender age of 86! So that was pretty cool… Not to be confused with the weather which was NOT cool! But I digress.

Saturday morning we got up early to attend practice and qualifying and we even managed to get front row parking with Harriet’s handicap parking pass. Meandering about the infield section we spotted a beautifully restored 1928 Duesenberg Indy 500 racer parked outside, where we posed for a quick photo. Fortunately the “Yellow Shirt” IMS worker convinced us to check out the Hall of Fame museum which I’d been hoping we’d get a chance too… Where all Harriet wanted to see at the museum was Barney Olfield, who isn’t in the museum. And we spent way too LITTLE time in the museum; flying thru the various displays in less than an hour, prior to the morning’s qualifying session.

The museum had totally rotated the collection of race cars on display. Pulling out various Indy/F1 vehicles like Jimmy Clark’s 1965 Indy 500 winner, A Stewart Grand Prix chassis, etc. And this time once again I was drawn to the wonderful hues of a Day-Glo orange turbine race car. Yet I was even more mesmerized by the wedge shaped Lotus 56 Graham Hill chassis then the 1963 STP turbine driven by ‘ole Parnelli Rufus Jones I’d seen 5 yrs earlier. In fact I was so awed by this car that I forgot to snap a picture of it!

Sitting in a grandstand with the F1 cars coming straight towards us, Harriet could barely be heard above the din of these fabulous creatures. Who’s the white car? Which one? As there were four teams in white livery. (BMW Sauber, Honda, Toyota, Williams) Yet you could always tell when Michael Schumacher was coming as the air horns sounded all around the Speedway…

For qualifying we tried a totally different vantage point, which became quite comical when asking for directions from the Yellow Shirts on how to get to the elevators to get above the pit lane. NO! This elevator is ONLY for Emperor Bernardo…
Finally arriving at the handicap seats, some 35+ minutes later. We enjoyed the sounds and sights of all ten final Q3 combatants screaming out of the pits to begin burning off petrol! Even more impressive was listening to the various F1 drivers simulating standing start launches at the end of the pit lane! And the weekend was shaping up quite nicely with the two Ferrari’s at the top of the time sheets, once again headed by Michael Schumacher. It was even cooler getting to watch the qualifying press conference live via closed circuit TV as we were departing. As I remember fondly watching Michael speaking German, Felipe speaking Portuguese and leaving as Giancarlo Fisichella was speaking in Italian...
To continue reading, see: Indy Day Trippin' (Part 3)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Indy day trippin’

You know that old saying. “Time flies by when you’re having fun!”
Which is why I guess another year has already slipped by…? Since this time one year ago I was making my last trek to Indianapolis for the USGP. This was my second trip to the fabled Brickyard, having made my first visit to these hallowed grounds in 2001. Which was an interesting trip as the USGP was a fortnight after 9/11.

Departing six days afterwards via Mary Ellen’s trusty ‘ol 1978 Ford Econoliner van. We had NO way to discover whether or not the race would be cancelled? As we were driving coast to coast.

Yet my first memory prior to leaving was how I couldn’t figure out what was different as it was so quiet. I finally figured it out when upon day four of the NO Fly zone; our local TV stations were flooded with calls of panic. As I was surprised to hear a F16 Fighter Jet making a bonsai pass down one of our major freeways. (I-5)

Oh! That’s it; there’s been absolutely NO aircraft in the skies… Not even the pain in the ass obnoxiously loud “Mc Chopper/Chip’s” Snohomish Co. Sherriff’s helicopter that flies directly overhead my Apartment at anytime of the day or night.

Yet by far, the worst memory was the accident that occurred to Alex Zanardi at the Lausitz Ring in Germany on September 15th. Correctly CART, nee Champ Car had decided to commence with its scheduled event in lieu of 9/11. Unfortunately the day would be forever marred by the horrific incident between Zanardi and Alex Tagliani, where Zanardi almost lost his life along with both of his legs.

And it was an absolutely fantastic 17 day vacation of exploring the countryside with M.E. making stops at Custer’s Last Stand, Devil’s Tower, “Jellistone” (Old Faithful) Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Battle of Wounded Knee, standing in the Mississippi and finally Grand Coulee Dam. These stops coincided with three full days of a great Formula 1 race sandwiched in-between.

Arriving at the Brickyard in time for the very first practice of Friday morning, I was overwhelmed by how Frilling Huge Indianapolis Motor Speedway is. As I just stood in awe looking down the length of the 5/8th mile straightaway… As the grandstands just seem to go on and on. And it was even harder to comprehend what it must be like when they’re all filled up with spectators.

Yet I couldn’t get over the disparaging difference between the inside and outside of IMS. As the Brickyard sits in the middle of run down streets directly next to the race track. Dirt parking lots, uneven sidewalks interspersed with gravel. Trailer parks and make shift RV facilities along with temporary vendor booths and Honey Buckets! While inside the Speedway seems fairly up kept wherever a camera may pan.

And apparently if you live anywhere near the Brickyard, you supplement your income by charging for parking on your front lawn. As the further we drove away the price dropped. After forking out $10.00, we headed off for Indy.

And where else can you pay $25.00 (General Admission) for two full days of viewing Formula 1 chassis! As we wandered the infield burms Friday & Saturday, which I still feel are some of the best F1 viewing I’ve had access to. Along with thoroughly enjoying watching the vintage Formula 1 cars of the three liter Cosworth DFV V-8 era perform.

Of course everything paled in comparison to the Star’s of the show, the F1 circus. As I still chuckle to myself today while recalling how pitifully SLOW the Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge cars looked after having just watched 22 of the fastest race cars on the planet scream down the 22+ second full throttle straightaway of Indianapolis at over 200mph. DAMN! Those “liddle” Ferrari’s just seem like their walkin’ at 170mph!

And we also made a trip to the infield Hall of Fame museum which definitely has to be the best $3.00 I’ve ever spent on a museum! Hell, I even had my picture taken in the “Enemy’s” (IRL) chassis which you were allowed to crawl into for pictures. And the museum is simply overflowing with wonderful memorabilia intertwined with a staggering cross sample of vintage race cars. As I was drawn to the row of rear engine chassis of Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Al & Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock to name just a few. And it seemed odd to have Jacques Villenue’s 1995 car parked next to my very favourite. The Andy Granatelli 1963 STP Turbine driven by Parnelli Jones.

Saturday & Sunday we arrived bright ‘N early at opening of the gates in order to park inside IMS, which is pretty cool to drive underneath the Brickyard and park in the infield. And I recall being part of a fairly large throng of spectators holding up the Ferrari Challenge cars trying to make their way back to the pits as we ventured towards the burm adjacent the banked final corner of the F1 circuit. The Ferrari’s along with the Porsche Supercup series, identically prepared Porsche 911’s supported the Formula 1 race as the three days of speed seemed to blur by.

The pre-race hoopla in support of the USA upon 9/11 was overbearingly NAUSEATING!!! Although I did enjoy the driver’s parade as they were whisked around the track in vintage automobiles.

The most humorous thing to me was the sound of a P.O.S. Harley Davidson trying to sound cool preceding the Grand Prix, as the torturous sounds of an uncorked Fat Boy resonated off of the grandstands as some goofball roared by on the adjacent street. Yet there is just simply NOTHING that can compare in sound to the symphonic rhapsody of a modern era Formula 1 car! Especially what I consider to be some of the finest machinery ever unleashed on the F1 Championship. The full tilt boogie 3.0 liter unrestricted V-10’s…

And although being a huge Herr Schumacher fan, I was absolutely delighted with the outcome, as I’d be on hand to witness Mika Hakkinen’s final Formula 1 victory. While being overly impressed by rookie sensation Kimi Raikkonen driving for Sauber alongside Nick Heidfeld. As this would ultimately become the passing of the Finnish torch in F1…
To continue reading, See: Indy Day Trippin' (Part 2)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

IRL Should Hire Hornish Sr.

They have tried everything from Jason Priestly to John Mellenkamp to Gene Simmons and failed miserably each time. Perhaps it is time for Tony George to see the writing on the wall and hire the one man who brought some sizzle in to his lifeless series this past weekend at Watkins Glen and let him patrol the pits every race looking for someone to step out of line so he can shall we say, push the issue. You betcha, I am talking about Sam Hornish Sr who looked like famed wrestler Bruno Sammartino in the pits at Watkins Glen last Sunday as he gave TK a love tap to remember Sam Jr by as he flees to NASCAR. Just what the IRL needed to create a buzz you say? Put some breath in to a series on life support right? Well maybe, but the real debacle here is the IRL needs something to happen ON THE TRACK as well and the show lacked in that department greatly. A historic venue such as Watkins Glen generally provides for some great racing and that just was not the case for TG and company at this famed course. The racing itself did not come close to being as competitive and exciting as the annual Nascar event usually is and that is being kind. Before you hang Hornish Sr for his bad behavior, lets look at the marketing opportunity the IRL has here. You can sell Sam Sr action figures to the kids and plaster his menacing image on soda cups and tee shirts as well. In a race that put me to sleep more than once, Hornish Sr gave me hope for the next IRL event in Nashville. Hopefully TG will have the good sense to restore his credential and give him a nightstick so he can roam the pits and bop any driver that exceeds the posted pit lane speed limit. I mean would that not be more exciting that a stop and go penalty? Got a drunk in the stands who will not sit down? No problem as Sr will go up there and give the guy a choice between sitting down or getting smacked around before being yanked out of the stands. Hey these are dangerous time we live in and we need to know there is a man tough as nails at the track who can keep the peace in exchange for an all access credential and a twenty two ounce beer. So all you good people in Nashville head out to the race this weekend (All 1,500 of you) and relax as Sgt Hornish will be on patrol all weekend at the track. TG, you better sign him long term before Vince McMahon does.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lewis the First

Are the times really a changing? With the spotlight firmly affixed upon young British phenom Louise Jaguar Hamilton this weekend at Silverstone. It’s quite hard to believe that the same year that Hamilton was born, Bernie Ecclestone was giving another Black race car driver a very brief tryout behind the wheel of one of his Brabham F1 Team’s chassis.

Yet I recall piling on the bash wagon towards an aspiring Black race car driver of a previous generation… You see I used to call him Willy T. “Mc Ribbs.”

William Theodore Ribbs Jr. was a man of many firsts in motor racing, as he was the first African American to contest several different major league series.

In what seemed to be an omen of things to come. I witnessed my very first person being shocked with defibulator paddles while walking towards my grandstand seat. Naively I couldn’t figure out why they were so concerned about moving the metal crowd control barrier out of the way. And the paramedic’s bus pulled away slowly without any lights or sirens on.

A day later while seated at the first turn hairpin chicane “kitty corner” to what could arguably be deemed Ribbs worst moment of racing, which was clearly NOT his fault! I was on hand that terrible moment a corner worker darted out in front of Ribbs while attending to another stricken competitor at the inaugural Molson Indy CART race. And unfortunately the corner worker was killed on the Vancouver, BC temporary street circuit in 1990.

While Ribbs would become the first and to date only African American to qualify and compete in the Indy 500, he still bore the brunt of my jokes alongside the back marker affectionately known as “King Hiro.” Or the rolling chicane Hiro Matsushita. As both of these competitors along with Lyn St James continuously languished at the back end of the CART grids…

Yet I suppose that time has a funny way of changing your perspective. As I know I never gave Willy T. his just due, for whatever reason… As Robin Miller notes, Ribbs was apparently too brash for American race fans, teams and sponsors alike to give the overly talented African American his true shot in racing.

Although Ribbs had the backing of none other than Bill Cosby, he was never afforded a chance to shine in top notch front line equipment. Instead struggling at the back of the grid in the under funded Raynor Cosby. Which I can no longer recall if that was a Derrick Walker or Dick Simon entity? But I’m fairly certain it was part of the always struggling Walker operation, since Matsushita, St James and Scott Brayton were all Dick Simon Racing teammates.

Surprisingly, I was unaware of Ribbs competing and winning in Trans Am for Roush Racing. And even more intriguing was Ribbs forays into RASSCAR. In his first outing after missing two practices, he was replaced by another knucklehead. None other than ‘ole Ironhead himself, better known as the late Dale Earnhart Sr.

Yet sadly nobody wanted to take the brash Mr. Ribbs seriously as a race car driver, albeit a few visionaries such as Jim Trueman and Dan Gurney. As Willy T just simply faded from the Open Wheel fraternity in 1994.

Today Willy T is a top level skeet shooter while his new found protege Lewis Hamilton is leading the World Championship…

More Silly Season fodder

Not surprisingly Ralf Schumacher is rumoured to have offered to take a $17 MILLION pay cut to stay employed with Toyota next season. You may recall that Ralfanso earlier claimed he was the third best driver on the grid. To which Peter Windsor retorted. “Cynics in the pit lane suggest he’s the third best driver in his family!” Yet don’t be too worried about the salary reduction as Ralfanso would still receive $5m next season.

Peter Windsor noted that in the paddock on the “QT” (Quiet) were rumours that BMW Sauber was potentially trying to shop Sebastian Vettel around. With Windsor thinking it meant that Vettel may be falling out of favour, with second test driver Timo Glock gaining… I’d tend to side with Steve Matchett in the respect that BMW wants to get the young German some race seat time. Also recall that Vettel is still contracted to Red Bull. So does this mean that “Quick Nick” will retain his seat for 2008?

Not surprisingly is the story that young Jaguar Hamilton has demanded a pay rise from McLaren upon leading the World Championship standings at the midway portion of the season. Lewis is currently making $300,000 with points scored pay incentive, while his father has asked the “Ronster” to increase his pay packet tenfold!
And lastly, this doesn’t make “Juan” iota ‘O sense to me… As Red Bull Racing has just re-signed the elder statesman, err senior Scotsman David Coulthard to a one year contract extension. And it seems improbable that RBR will dismiss Mark Webber next year. So this would imply that most likely both current Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers are out of the frame for 2008

Friday, July 6, 2007

What goes up must come down

So the action from Silverstone was somewhat entertaining, as I rose early to watch the practice. Which was enjoyable to see “Jaguar” struggling a bit to keep up with the Ferrari’s. Of course as the ever sharp Peter Windsor spouted. Perhaps they were just keeping a low profile in regards to the current Stepney Gate fiasco.

Of which a little bit more was divulged. Bob Varsha recounted the main talking points, while stating that they weren’t going to try rehashing all of it. Since obviously the blogosphere was in high gear and there was still more to follow undoutabely.

But Varsha did note that its now been revealed that Nigel Stepney met with Mike Coughlan in April and reportedly passed along a packet containing roughly 500-700 internal Ferrari technical documents… Supposedly an Italian got suspicious upon request being made for copying of the documents which sported the official Ferrari masthead.

While Windsor stated that he was ready to go onto record over knowing that this type of activity occurs all of the time. It seemed obvious to me that Professor Matchett was extremely choked up over the matter as it involves the very man that gave him his start as a Benetton mechanic. Ultimately it sounds like this level of industrial espionage occurs when team members have sour grapes with their employer.

Meanwhile in Toronto it was business as usual with that dreaded Hamburgalur stealing provisional pole position once again. And he really did literally steal it today, as Oriel Servia was only .018 seconds behind Sea Bass. While Justin Wilson was a solid third with the Minardi Team USA teammates Doornbos and Clarke respectively rounding out the top five. It’s funny to note that Wilson claimed that he and Oriel both had trouble with traffic… Uh traffic in Champ Cars? With a decimated field of ONLY 17 entries… Yet Bourdais did state that the track was quite slippery, which can become a bit hairy between the concrete jersey barriers.

And in a similar occurrence that previously transpired during a Champ Car race this season. The SPEED TV posse was wondering aloud if McLaren had put a mixed set ‘O Bridgestone’s on Hamilton’s chassis as one front tire had the white “softer” marking while the other didn’t. As you’re not allowed to run mixed set of tires.

Turns out a similar thing had occurred when the Champ Car driver in question was spotted with only three red sidewall tires and “Juan” black. As he’d rubbed the paint off while scraping a wall.

In young Jaguar’s situation apparently the graining of the softer compound was so severe under lengthy running, that the tire’s black rubber had simply covered the painted white stripe…

From Modena with love

In another made for TV mystery theater who dunnit… You know those types ripped straight from the headlines and then neatly solved in an hour. The ever continuing saga of the Scuderia’s “Stepney Gate” seems to have taken a new twist.

In case you haven’t heard, McLaren has put a senior technical staff member on suspension for allegations of receiving “Top Secret” documents from one of its competitors.

This is believed to involve the ongoing Nigel Stepney court proceedings that Ferrari has taken against the former employee.
Quietly and without fanfare. The Prancing Horse has given Nigel Stepney his walking papers. Simply noting that the long serving Englishman is no longer in the employ of Ferrari.

Meanwhile the spotlight seems to now be focused squarely upon McLaren, which is cooperating fully with the FIA and Italian authorities. Hmm? Ron Dennis on the brink ‘O tears while being investigated for the second time this season by the FIA!

Canadian Triple Crown

With Champ Car in the midst of a three race swing thru Eastern Canada, it’s been announced that Canada has created its own version of the Triple Crown trophy. The awards will be given to the top three placing teams of these events, with maximum points being awarded a la Formula 1’s Constructor’s championship. Champ Car has just announced the artist commissioned to create the trophies, while Team Australia leads after round 1…

Thursday, July 5, 2007

FOX Finale

Hoorah! This weekend’s British Grand Prix will be the final bastardized FOX version of the Formula 1 races for the season… So I cannot wait for the German, err European GP when we’ll be back to our normal extended race coverage, i.e.; Pre-Race, Race + Driver’s interviews which the SPEED channel does.

And while nearly everyone is fawning over Mr. Hamilton, two other Brits will be in attendance, with both Nigel Mansell and Johnny Herbert making demonstration runs aboard a BMW Sauber F1.07 on Friday and Saturday…

Helicopter tragedy

Although I didn’t hear anything about it. This past weekend during the Formula 1 event at Magny Cours there was a Helicopter incident which unfortunately resulted in two of the four passengers dying as well as the helicopter’s pilot.

Miracously Bridgestone’s PR Director Nicolas Duquesne, has been stabilized from his facial injuries, with French doctors considering transferring him to a local hospital closer to his Brussel’s residence. Meanwhile his niece whom received multiple leg fractures has been released from the hospital...

Ferrari birthday cake

Oh goody! We here at No Fenders can once again return to our regular programming! Now that the yea hoo’s with too many bottle rockets have finished shooting their…

Like all great parties… They must eventually come to an end. Which was the case for Ferrari’s around the world celebration of its 60th Birthday.

Why do I always manage to miss these affairs? Having now missed both the big 5-Oh as well as number sixty…

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bahrain seeks “Illegal’s”

In what seems to be a different side of Formula 1. There have been reports of several persons being sought by the Bahrain government for not leaving the country upon their Formula 1 visa’s expiration.

Reportedly 9,000 F1 visas were issued, but the government estimates that 700 people have not left the country upon the visa’s expiring. It’s also claimed that apparently this tactic has been used previously for women of the night posing as F1 race fans to gain access into the country.

Bernie bashes Brits

Does Mr. Muppet ever stop? I mean first the continuous slams towards the numerous American Formula 1 Tiafosi. Stating that F1 doesn’t need to be in the US, and there are many more important countries to be racing in. (Which to Emperor Bernardo all I can say is “Go Fuck yourself!”)

And while we wait for an announcement from Tony George upon the fait of whether or not F1 returns to Indianapolis next year. Messer E. is busy juggling barbs at all various venues with contracts reaching their end. As now Bernie has taken to task the British Government by crying for their financial assistance to keep the venerable Silverstone event on the calendar.

With Ecclestone claiming that if Britain is willing to drop several billion pounds to host the Olympics, then a further quarter billion pounds to pay for Silverstone renovations should be hardly noticeable to the countries coffers!

Which makes me think of another temporary street circuit that was wiped off of the map in order to make way for the Olympics. Hey Vancouver, BC. Hope you get your money out of those Winter Games after scuttling one of Champ Cars most successful events…

What not to do in Baja

This story was sent to me by Danny B And I have to say it’s one of the strangest stories I’ve read about in quite a while. When a stricken competitor in the Baja was killed while obtaining a lift to a nearby checkpoint. This occurred when the vehicle he was riding in unsecured rolled down an embankment...

Singapore Funding

While Mr. Ecclestone -- is busy plundering various countries over who will pay the most to the pied piper for a shot at a Formula 1 calendar spot. .
In its bid to improve its image, while keeping up with the Joneses… Err, India, Valencia, etc. The Singapore government has revealed that it will pay up to 60% of the funding for the newly granted Grand Prix race awarded by Emperor Bernardo.

The interesting part is that there’s a “profits” cap in place for the private side of the race financiers. With a further hotel tax being levied upon the beneficiary hotels that will make attending the race quite prohibitive. Yet Singapore is intent to use the newly granted Formula 1 race to showcase its city and hopefully attract tourism…

Calling Dudley Duwright

So I’ve finished watching the tape of the Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race which was pretty entertaining. I mean when is the last time that the Pole sitter was unable to fire his engine and not take the start of a Champ Car race? Unfortunately this is exactly what happened to Pole debutant Tristan Gommendy who was sidelined with electrical gremlins for two laps. And then on Champ Car’s third standing start, Will Power who had the front row to himself stalled. As well as his Team Aussie teammate, along with Jan “Van Hagar” Heylen.

Thus it appeared that it would become a pretty boring processional with the Hamburgalur leading once again. Yet as Robin Miller said. About 30 laps in we need a little rain to make it interesting… And Walla. The track was half wet/half dry. As I laughed gleefully when Sea Bass went slithering off track upon being the first to find the “slippery liquids.” (Rain fall)

And I think that Alex Tagliani’s Wall$mart du Canada WON the Ricky Boy sponsor shout-out sweepstakes this race… Although it’s always hard to tell who Mr. Rick calls out most.

Apparently the place NOT to be was in the lead of this race, as several drivers held the point briefly. Bourdais led until hitting the wet stuff. Robert Doornbos took a brief turn before his car got a little too squirrelly. Justin Wilson ran up front in the rain before getting it all wrong. This saw rookie Graham Rahal leading on perfectly planned pit strategy before the “Lucas Lectric’s” got the better of him. Thus handing the lead to rookie Simon Pagenaud before he made a slight bobble into a corner handing the lead back to Doornbos. With a total of seven lead changes.

And if you think the only rookie Open Wheel driver who’s having a phenomenal season is young Lewis Hamilton, think again. Ex Red Bull F1 driver Doornbos scored his fifth podium in six starts while holding off Bourdais to score his maiden Champ Car victory.

And I had to immediately mute the remote as Seb started WHINING! So I was quite happy to hear that the French Canadian crowd started BOOING Bourdais upon hearing his crying ‘bout Doornbos blocking him…

As Jon Beekhuis called him, “Bad Bobby D.” Hit the nail on the head, upon telling Bourdais he’ll be seeing a lot more blocking in Formula 1! So you’d better get used to it Sebastian.

And Paul Tracy had an eventful day, trying to use the Chrome Horn once again. Having to start dead last after wrecking his primary car in the morning’s warm up session. Yet it was not to be as PT hand grenaded his T-Car’s lump.

The Team Aussie duo of Power and Pagenaud recovered quite nicely to finish third and fourth respectively, with Justin Wilson rounding out the top five. Doornbo’s victory sees him tied with Bourdais for the Championship lead. Wouldn’t it be funny if Paul Stoddart’s Team Minardi USA was the team to end the Hamburgular’s title streak?

Robin Miller’s: This Ain’t your Grand Pappy’s Minardi

Outfoxing the competition?

And although I’m suspect of Tony G’s hometown paper, The Indy Star. Nevertheless they claim that the IRL had a 1.1 share vs. Champ Car’s .06 share in the Nielsen ratings during June 24th,s “Mano E Mano” race day TV coverage. (Cleveland vs. Iowa) See Hard Rock vs. Corn

Which makes me wonder what this past weekend’s ratings will be between F1 and Nextel Cup? As it seems a bit funny for the F1 circus to get the mainstream channel vs. cable. Although I found myself jumping over to the Champ Car race during commercial breaks in the later stages of the F1 race. As Champ Car was on ABC’s Family ‘O Networks “premiere” cable outlet ESPN.

But I’ll eave the explanations of what the Nielsen share ratings mean to Indiana Bureau Chief and SPEED TV Lightning Rod bearer Danny B, as it doesn’t mean “JACK” to me.

Meanwhile as Tony George publicly continues his “Sand in the Line’ rhetoric of holding a deadline of July 12th over Emperor Bernardo’s head. HA-HA- HA- HA- HA!!! Good “Juan” Tony… Rumours claim that Mr. Muppet spent the days preceding the French GP in Los Vegas trolling the Wynn Casino over a possible return to the streets ‘O “Los Wages…” Which held a pathetic little ‘ole Grand Prix in the Caesar’s Palace parking lot 25 years ago.

Yet Robin Miller has reported that George & Co. have already secured their fallback plan, by reportedly having inked a deal for Moto GP to compete on Indy’s road course beginning in 2008. And I for one would be willing to see the creme de la creme of Scooter’s racing at the Brickyard. After all, the Moto GP 2 wheelers are the Formula 1 of Motorcycling!

Rumour du Jour

In case you haven’t noticed. I enjoy the rantings of a certain Open Wheel reporter. So I’ll admit it… I’m a Robin Miller fan, which means I look forward to each weekend’s SPEED news programs in hopes of seeing the gift ‘O gab… As I enjoy getting the story straight from the Horse’s…

And Miller was chock full ‘O speculation on Wind Tunnel Sunday night, having done the Open Wheel double, Richmond and Mont-Tremblant. As Dave Despain noted he’d wracked up his air miles last weekend.

Despain wanted to know what happened to Miller’s main squeeze Milka Duno. Or as Danny B originally called her “Milk ‘N Doughnuts.” As apparently her CITGO sponsored car got plenty of air time whenever the leaders passed her before simply disappearing. As Miller said, the IRL finally got wise and parked her. Although Duno said her wrist was hurting her. Miller retorted… Probably from waving EVERYBODY By! As she almost caused 40 wrecks in 45 laps. I saw her team owner in the airport this morning. And he wasn’t drinking, but he should be…

Despain then wanted to jump into the Silly Season rumour mill. Miller started off by saying that Sam Hornish Jr. is gone from Indy Car and will replace Curt Busch’s teammate next year in RASSCAR. Ryan Newman is tired of loosing and is down the road. So who will take one of the IRL’s premiere seats? Miller noted that Tony Kanaan is fairly unhappy at Andretti Green Racing and Miller’s spies said that TK had been spotted having a 1 hour chat with the Captain. So perhaps TK and Spiderman will have to patch up their relationship sooner than planned?

And I enjoyed the part of Miller stating that he’d gotten his Montoya leaving RASSCAR early story wrong. Doing a bad “Cheep” Ganassi impersonation… See Miller, Montoya won and you don’t know what the HELL you’re talking ‘bout… To which Robin snorted. You heard it here first Kids! Monty will quit Nextel Cup to join the World ‘O Outlaws this September…

And while P.L. Newman and Carl Haas would be happy to have Marco Andretti as Bourdais’s replacement, Miller’s pretty sure that both Poppa Mikey and the IRL won’t let that happen. So Robin said why not Justin Wilson? Who apparently is eager to get out of RSports with his CDW sponsorship!

If Dario wins the Indy Car title this year will he gracefully retire to go run the American Le Mans Series with the Indy 500 as a one-off?

And Dan Wheldon wants to go where the bleachers are full every weekend… You know, Moto GP! Err, RASSCAR. Will Ganassi partner the feisty Brit with MAC Montoya?

And note to Despain… While YES you’re a shill… NOT for Champ Car or the IRL. You’re a SHILL for RASSCAR!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Ferrari to the Fore

Ah, how a change of scenery seems to have done the Scuderia good. As the Prancing Horse was comfortably quickest during the final Formula 1 outing at Magny Cours.

With Louise Jaguar Hamilton the meat in the Ferrari sandwich, it was even more impressive as we learned during the course of the race that Kimi Raikkonen was on a heavier fuel load. Which made his start even more impressive when overtaking Hamilton for second.

And what a difference live vs. “canned” FOX TV coverage makes… As by far, this was their best showing of an F1 race this season. They actually had time to do Peter Windsor’s grid walk as well as read the names of all starting positions. Along with vastly improved camera shots as well as reducing the size of the dreaded black positions box. Damn, never thought I’d actually be impressed by a FOX TV broadcast.

And speaking of television coverage. I found it interesting that Champ Car, Formula 1 and RASSCAR were all going head to head via staggered pit strategies yesterday. Err, slightly staggered broadcast times, with F1 taking the green flag first.

Apparently Alonso’s maladies in final qualifying were attributed to transmission failure, as it was most interesting to hear Professor Matchett state that the McLaren mechanics had to wait a full 2.5 hours for the unit to cool down before they could even attempt to chisel it off the back half of the Mercedes Benz lump. Therefore “Ferdi” kept his tenth place starting position, chasing the sharp end of the grid the entire day. As I yelled at the TV for Quick Nick to keep him behind. As Heidfeld gets my Mark Webber Tough Bloke of the weekend award. Racing with a very sore back/bruised ribs incurred in recent testing. Yet Alonso finally managed to overtake Heidfeld with a bonsai maneuver where neither Nick nor the announcers were expecting.

Meanwhile Felipe Massa was leading a Ferrari procession with only Jaguar able to hang on in third place. And the TV coverage seemed quite endured with Alonso, who struggled mightily to make his way forward. Having several epic battles including a tussle with ex-Renault teammate Fishy Fella… As I found myself oddly cheering Giancarlo Fisichella to hold off that pesky Fernandoe!

While Raikkonen’s extra fuel load came to his advantage while allowing him to go three laps longer then Massa. By building up a 23.5 second lead, the “Kimster” was able to do enough demon laps along with a quicker final pit stop to leap frog Massa into the lead. And although the two red cars had to thread their way thru traffic, Kimi led Felipe home in Ferrari’s first 1-2 finish of the season. With Raikkonen scoring his first victory since Australia!

Third place Jaguar had a good scrap with his friend and rival Robert Kubica who finished fourth in front of teammate Heidfeld. Fishy Fella brilliantly held off Alonso for sixth with “Jense” (Button) securing his and Honda’s very first championship point of the season in eighth place.

Yet Super Aguri still leads Honda in the Constructor’s championship, while now only Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spyker F1 have failed to claim any points.

And speaking of Spyker, was that insane when the car went screaming down the pit lane with the fuel hose still attached to it! As the “Red Mist” seemed to get the better of Cristijan Albers while ripping the fuel hose clean off of the refueling rig.

Now the F1 circus makes its annual pilgrimage to Silverstone for the upcoming British Grand Prix, which should see all of the UK media in a tizzy over “Homey” Lewis Hamilton. Can the Scuderia keep the pressure on? Or will Alonso rain on Jaguar’s parade. Although I’m still waiting to see if the BMW boys can pull a rabbit out of their hat at the Nurburgring…