Saturday, June 30, 2007

Got Milk?

Well perhaps it may be time to put Fernando’s mug on the back of those Milk cartons after all? As Alonso was MIA in today’s “Q3” Qualifying session... Well actually he was sequestered in the McLaren pit garage with a detonated Mercedes lump, winding up 10th in final qualifying. If the engine needs to be replaced Alonso will incur a 10 grid spot penalty and would start the race from P20! Thak could make for some interesting racing.

And I particularly enjoyed David Hobbs comments about the four Red Bull cars starting together in lock step, positions 14-17. With “Hobbo” wondering if all four cars would knock themselves out on the first lap?

And is it just me or does it seem a bit funny how Lewis Hamilton’s only being second today seems so anti-climatic? Ho Hum, I could have done better, but I made a slight mistake in corner 15… So strange to be disappointed with P2 in only your 8th race, eh?

Meanwhile in the Quebec countryside, a Frenchman was once again busy stealing the pole in Friday’s provisional qualifying atMont-Tremblant. NO! It was not the Hamburgalur as we’ve all come to expect. Instead it was rookie countryman Tristan Gommendy of PKV Racing. This is quite impressive, being both Gommendy’s and PKV’s first front row qualifying position of the season, with Gommendy guaranteed of starting no worse than second on Sunday.

Bourdais admitted he’d made a minor mistake while trying to steal the pole away from Gommendy, winding up just .007 seconds adrift. With Team Aussie’s Will Power third, Justin Wilson fourth and Robert Doornbos rounding out the top five. Doornbos commented that the St. Jovite track reminds him of his favourite race course, Spa Francorchamps, which ain’t too shabby company to be compared with!

Back in France, Scott “Nose” Speed was running Scuderia Toro Rosso’s first Seamless Shift” transmission, making good use of the new box to work his way into second round qualifying. Unlike DC who managed to find a box full ‘O neutral’s from his Seamless Shift unit during “Q2.” Thus giving me thoughts of how much Bourdais may be salivating at the jump to Toro Rosso next year.

And would somebody please tell Peter Windsor to QUIT GOOSING Speed during the interviews! As he sounds like he’s got a frog in his pocket when the microphones are upon him…

Friday, June 29, 2007

Have you seen Fernando?

Well I just had to crack-up over the latest picture Danny B posted upon reading his recent story… And I find the topic of plastering Fernando Alonso’s mug on the back of thousands of Milk containers quite hilarious.

And this brings up the subject of the ridiculous lather over current UK Media Darling, err Sensation “Louise Jaguar” Hamilton. As I keep forgetting that the title of media darling already belongs to “Princess.” Better known to y’all as Danica Patrick.

So I was happy to read that Ron Dennis has CORRECTLY pointed out that Fernando & Jaguar are NOT the 21st century version of Prost & Senna!

All I can think of is Butthead ‘N Beevus… Err, Batman & Robin. And I’m NOT even gonna try guessing which “Juan” is the Boy Wunderer…

DAMM!!! That bothers me when I find the “Ronster” (Mr. Dennis) to be correct. And I DON’T expect Fernandoe & Louise (Not to be confused with Thelma & Louise) to dominate the 2007 season like McLaren did nearly 20 years ago…

Please DON’T let that happen Ferrari, while I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for “Quick Nick” to score BMW Sauber’s maiden victory. When Ferdi & Jaguar finally collect each other, causing a multi-car shunt contesting the first corner, a la Ralfanso…

Danny’s Open Wheel Report

-Hamilton crashes again

And while the bloody UK media is still drooling over Lewis Hamilton’s sweep of North Americana, I found it humorous to learn that “Jaguar” managed to smash up a recently auctioned go kart.

Apparently the British lad wished to give the eBay bidder the full Monty… Ergo, the equivalent of a Darlington stripe. Better known as a Monte Carlo paint scheme. A la Louis’s scrubbing off the Bridgestone letters around Monnocoe while routinely hitting the walls of the Principality...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Schuey’s race return


And while the entire hubbub surrounding Ferrari currently centers on the Nigel Stepney Witch Hunt. It has been announced that seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher will return to the cockpit to compete in the upcoming Race Of Champions…

French bleu

As the Formula 1 circus is busily setting up their garages in the French countryside. It has been announced that this year’s Grand Prix will be the last held at Magny Cours for the foreseeable future. Which is a shame since I was once told by a pair of Brit’s that this was a truly great venue and should definitely be attended.

Yet Magny Cours seems to be too far removed to motivate casual F1 attendees to its much underdeveloped facilities. Especially when Emperor Bernardoe is busily seeking higher (Dinero) profile venues. And although France claims it’s only taking a year off of the Formula 1 calendar. It seems very hard for one to reclaim its calendar slot these days.

Then again Canada and Belgium have pulled this feat off after paying Bernie’s highly exhortative sanctioning fees upon re-writing the venues contracts. As both circuits lost their dates over financial wrangling involving the loss of Tobacco money!

And although Mr. Muppet wants an event nearer Paris, this currently seems unlikely. With both Euro Disney and a Monte Carlo-ish street race along the Champs-Elysees being ruled out, it will be hard for France to save its race…

Speed Bites

With the over abundance of television watching I did on Sunday. I missed SPEED’s program switches, wondering why the Moto GP race was cutting into The Speed Report. Which threw the evening programming off a half hour. Even as SPEED continued playing adds claiming that the show was on at its regular air time…

And since I was busy watching to see if Montoya could win in Sonoma, I’ve just finished watching it on tape. (Since I had to re-record my two shows)

Now strangely, I thought I caught The Speed Report’s Nicole Manske getting in on the Open wheel bashing during the first airing of the show. (Inbetween commercial breaks) When I could swear she told Robin Miller that the 12 Champ Cars finishing the race were more than the IRL had running at the end of the Iowa Corn Bowl. “Whoa Nellie!” Quick reset the VCR!

Yet per usual, Robin Miller’s segment was way too short! As Manske started out by telling Miller that Paul Tracy got some revenge upon Bourdais claiming that he was washed-up! And Miller just said that Hell Yes Tracy needed the win, since he’s nearing 40… (Uh, Robin he’s 38)

Miller’s two scoops of the day were that he believes that the Hamburgalur has a signed deal to drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso next year alongside, drum roll please… Nope, not Scott “Nose” Speed, but none other than Bruno Senna. As it’s worth noting that STR co-owner Gerhard Berger is deeply involved in the young Senna’s career. Does this mean that Vitantonnio Luzzi will indeed replace David Coulthard?

Thus Miller seems to believe that Speed will be trolling the champ Car paddock for a ride next season. Does this mean that we’ll have another Red Bull sponsored chassis on the grid? Hey I know. How about partnering PT next year?

Miller noted this would open up one of the top seats in Champ Car, which could make for interesting driver shuffles. And although Miller didn’t say it on air. Apparently he told Nicole off camera that possibly Marco Andretti would jump into Sea Bass’s seat? Wow! Could you imagine an Andretti, Rahal, Speed and Figge (ALL American’s) in Champ Car?

Meanwhile the usual RASSCAR Posse called into Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Although not to talk about Juan Pablo’s win at Sears Point Raceway. Although one fan did tell Despain that he’s now a Montoya fan… And that JPM has won him over and he’ll be buying the Montoya hat, NOT the Hamilton hat. As Hamilton’s short career doesn’t compare to Montoya’s overall accomplishments.

At least both programs agreed that the Iowa Corn 250 was a “DOG” of a race, as it garnered The Speed Report’s “Un-Smooth Move” award of the evening with Ms. Manske calling it a crash fest. And Despain hammered his loyal IRL supporter over how TERRIBLE of an event it was! Yet in consolation Despain told the female caller that she’s done MORE to promote the Indy Racing League than their hired gun Gene “I AM Indy” Simmons…

For more of Robin Miller's latest, see: Pressing Questions

More on Kubica’s shunt

I still cannot believe that BMW Sauber F1 driver Robert Kubica walked away from his monstrous shunt in Canada with nothing more than a concussion and sprained ankle.

That’s why it’s even more impressive upon learning that Kubica’s impact with the concrete wall registered 75G’s! After launching himself over Jarno Trulli’s rear wheel, Kubica slammed into the wall at 143mph! Yet even more impressive is the fact that Kubica will return to the cockpit for this weekend’s French GP…

Ferrari targets Stepney

If things weren’t bad enough on track. News comes from Modena that the Scuderia “Dream Police” have taken legal action against Ferrari (Soon to be Ex?) Technical Coordinator
Nigel Stepney.

It all seems to stem around the restructuring of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro upon Messer Schumacher’s retirement. As the long dominant Formula 1 team seems to be in a bit of disarray upon the departure of several key members. With Rory Byrne effectively retiring, Ross Brawn on sabbatical and Paulo Martin Elli having moved to FIAT. This leaves Jean Todt feeling a bit lonely these days at the helm of the Ferrari monstrosity.

And this reshuffling included seeing Nigel Stepney being assigned a new non-racing role at Ferrari after being an integral part of the Schumacher Dynasty. As you may recall that Stepney received a broken foot while being Michael Schumacher’s refueler during the glory years. But after Schuey’s departure, Stepney has been assigned tasks at the factory.

Although Ferrari is unwilling to divulge the exact discrepancies Stepney has made. Maranello spokesman claims the action is in regards to the Englishman’s behaviour. While in Italy
Scuttlebutt accuses him of attempting to sabotage the red cars just days prior to Monaco. Which seems highly unlikely.

Stepney has made no secret of his desires to remain trackside and has been shopping himself around to various F1 competitors while still under the employ of the Prancing Horse. Rumours suggest Stepney was keen to take some of the remaining staff with him to Honda.

Stepney’s retorts to Ferrari’s allegations seem to suggest a bit of a “Witch Hunt.” Claiming that Ferrari knows exactly where he is. Upon booking his pre-arranged Asian holiday thru the Ferrari travel office. This comes after Ferrari claimed Stepney was not contactable.

In a recent interview with the UK’s Sunday Times. Stepney said
Ferrari is up to a game of dirty tricks. It’s all in the hands of his lawyer, so let’s wait and see.

Hmm? Wind tunnel fan belt breakages, Flexi-Floor accusations and throwing a key staff member “Under the Bus.” Could this be the root cause of the Scuderia’s recent downturn in performance?

Is this any way to treat the man responsible for giving Steve Matchett his chance as a Formula 1 mechanic?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Miserly Mac

Well I know that Danny B will be extremely happy, since he’s been telling me that one of the RASSCAR races he’s really been looking forward to was the Sears Point event. Being fairly confident the road courses would be MAC Montoya’s best opportunities for scoring his first Nextel Cup victory. (I don’t think he went too far out on a limb there, eh?)

And Monty didn’t start the weekend off real well, as he claimed that he simply “Choked!” In qualifying, winding up 32nd. Yet Juan Montoya (You know it’s hard for dem RASSCAR boys to say multi-syllable words!) put on one hell ‘O a driving clinic, as he late braked his way towards the front. Even doin a little “Racin is Rubbin” with the #48 car amongst others. Careful Son, that’s Ironhead Jr. you’re tryin to carve up… (Do Californian’s throw beer bottles on track if the #8 car get’s taken out?)

Yet MAC found himself sitting third in the waning stages of the race, prior to moving up to second during late race pit stops. Juan Pablo’s crew had been pleading with him to save fuel as their initial calculations showed him 3 laps short on petrol from reaching the checkers.

But Montoya seemed possessed in his desires to take the lead away from pole sitter Jamie McMurray, which he did with a clean pass thru the esses prior to McMurray’s tank running dry… Holy Dodge Chargers, Batman! Juan Pablo Montoya reached the checkered flag much to the chagrin of the entire RASSCAR field. Claiming his very first Nextel Cup victory…

Note to Robin Miller, MAC won in his 17th start which is an entire season in Formula 1. Yet I suspect that this will energize Monty to continue racing since he currently leads the Rookie of the Year standings...

Hard Rock vs. Corn

So it was a pretty entertaining Sunday morning of jumping between two races with the emphasis on the Champ Car race and the IRL as commercial filler…

Having not watched a Champ Car race via TV in two months, I’d forgotten how annoying Rick “Insert $ponsor Here” Benjamin was! As Benjamin made up for my switching during commercial breaks with his NON stop sponsor-fest of every driver’s car speeding thru the frame.

And I’ll leave you to guess who won the Ricky-Boy name a sponsor sweepstakes, as I thought for sure it would be Mr. Benjamin’s personal favourite Wallmart.

With the Hamburgalur once again on pole, I was afraid it would be another boring race. Yet the Team Aussie duo actually kept Sea Bass firmly in their sites thru the entire event, with Will Power running an extra lap over Bourdais to take the lead. And I found Jon Beekhuis’s comments to be as brilliant as always. At one point noting that the Mac Dougal’s car was the meat of a Team Aussie sandwich. Err paddy! To which I would have said was a Bitamite sandwich.

And what more can you say about Sugar Ray Tracy? Using the Chrome Horn not once, but twice in the opening laps. Causing the Forsythe team to have to change nose cones on two successive pit stops. As first PT tangled with Graham Rahal and then punted Bruno Junqueira. Making me wonder if Forsythe would need to start using Tracy’s teammate Oriel Servia’s noses?

And perhaps it’s not wise to have Mr. Rick call out your car’s sponsor too many times as Dan “Speedy Dry” Clarke finally managed to throw it off track after running up front for the majority of the race. Oh well, at least Clarke’s #4 Oz Jet/Ticketmaster won the sponsor-fest race with a total of seven “shout-outs.” With RSports either coming in second or tying Team Minardi USA…

And speaking of RSports, Beekhuis made a very interesting comment towards Justin Wilson. As you may know the lanky Brit is the tallest driver in Champ Car. And apparently Justin’s size is causing his car to be 15lbs heavier than the competition.

Yet for the foreseeable future Champ Car has mandated that all teams remove their onboard starters which way 17lbs. Since some of the identical units aren’t functioning correctly. Yet Beekhuis claimed that Wilson was still +14lbs, which in a spec series apparently makes a big difference.

And every time I flipped over to the Corn 250, it seemed like they were under yellow for another incident. As I managed to tune-in during the big Princess cry fest in pit lane after she’d caused a 7 car pile-up.

And then back to Cleveland where there’s “Whiny Bags” commenting on how PT gave him the Chrome Horn… Yet you have to feel a little bit sorry for “Junky,” whose Open Wheel career seems to be fading fast.

And then I started screaming gleefully as the motor had gone quiet on Bourdais’s car, ultimately leading to his retirement in 12th place. Then everything seemed to come down to fuel strategy. With question marks over the top 5 cars, with guess who leading? Yep it was Paul Tracy followed by Graham Rahal, Robert Doornbos, Neil Jani and the Team Aussie duo. And although Rahal had to pit for methanol, the rest gave chase to PT. Who incredibly held off Doornbos to take his first victory in two years! While Jani scored his maiden podium finish in Champ Car. Scoring PKV Racing’s first third place finish of the seson.

Tracy seemed quite speechless, which is a rare sight to see, since he seemed very surprised to have finally won! Saying it wasn’t pretty, but he’d take it.

Meanwhile in Iowa, Dario “REO Speedwagon” had marched his way to the front with younger teammate Marco Andretti running second. With Franchitti holding Marco at bay to claim his second victory of the season. While Scott Sharp claimed his first podium of the year. Taking third place for Rahal/Letterman Racing’s Corn sponsored team

And Thank God for TV Remotes… As I immediately reached for the MUTE button upon the start of an overly too long jabber with Judd Ashley, err Ashley “My Husband Won” Judd. As I don’t know ‘bout you, but I really don’t know what Dario’s dog running away for 24 hours has to do with racing?

Interestingly Marco alluded to Dario’s car’s having swept the top two spots, saying he made an awesome set-up on my car.

Hey that's kinda funny having the two Ex-Team KOOL Green drivers winning the two Open Wheel races!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Three ring circus

Of course the majority of household televisions will most likely be tuned to the RASSCAR race this Sunday at Sonoma, CA. But interestingly the two rival Open Wheel race series will be going head to head also this Sunday morning.

Champ Car will once again invade the shores of Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport, where the Hamburgalur will try to steal another race away from his competition. It will be interesting to see if the Team Aussie duo, not to be confused with the Hendricks Dangerous Duo. OOPS dose are dem Nextel-Sprint-AT & T-Singular guys…

Yet it would be really nice to see somebody stop Sea Bass’s winning streak of 3 consecutive victories. But if Portland is any indicator, then we’re in for a long sordid processional season of Bourdais leading the way. Yet obviously Justin Wilson & Co. aren’t just giving the races away to Seb, with Will Power only 12 points behind. And one should probably never count out ‘ole PT, eh?

Meanwhile the IRL is taking to the High banks of Iowa, which believe it or not actually has hills ‘O plenty as well as tons of farmland. And that’s possibly part of how the event got its name? As AJ Foyt said when giving the command to start engines in Milwaukee, “Boy’s ‘N Girls!” Will be making Indy Cars debut on the 7/8th mile bull ring that Rusty l. T. O. Wallace built… Which seems a bit silly to me to be having 220+ mph projectiles covering the miniscule track in 17.6 seconds in excess of 182mph!

Danny B was most impressed with the events name, the Iowa CORN 250. Which seems right up there with the Kansas Lottery 300? Yet could the Corn moniker be in deference to the much ballyhooed running of said IRL series on 100% switchgrass… Err, Ethanol. All I can remember about Iowa is that I was told if you see a roll ‘O toilet paper on a Farmer’s cornstalks, then its safe to you-know-what there…

And speaking of Corn… Lastly dem good ‘ole boyzs of “Roundy Round” fame will be struttin their stuff at Ifineon Raceway, one of RASSCAR’s two road course events. Which I’ll admit like Danny B sez. You have to marvel at the fact of trying to wrassle a 3,400lb behemoth thru both right & left hand turns. Throw in a host of “Road Warriors” like Boris Said, Ron Fellows, PJ Jones. Well I don’t know about PJ, but tis kinda funny he made this event but NOT Indy this year… And funnier yet is all of the chatter ‘bout running the COT on its very first road course, yet I prefer Marc’s title for this new Beluga whale better known as the CORN!!! Not sure why, but these cars remind me of the old Chevy Beretta’s…


(I was going to throw in a witty “Juan” liner ‘bout Robert Blake, but I’ll leave the humour department to others…)

You can watch all three races on Sunday with Champ Car (CBS) squaring off against the IRL (ABC) @ 10AM (Pacific) as 17 Champ Cars make their second standing start vs. 18 IRL chassis circulating dizzily past the corn fields. With RASSCAR on TNT sometime later in the day

Friday, June 22, 2007

Toyota’s Klien sheet?

And it never fails. As soon as you push the “Publish” button, you find yourself finding new tidbits of speculation suggesting you’ve gotten your story all wrong!

Which of course could be the case if the rumours of Christian Klien moving to Toyota F1 for 2008 are correct. And it’ll be interesting to see if Ralfanso is dumped prior to the French GP? As this would give France one last gasp of having a “Home Boy” compete in their home Grand Prix…

Champ Car testing

It’s hard to believe that Portland was already two weeks ago. And in-between Portland and this weekend’s race at Cleveland, Champ Car has just completed a two day test at Road America.

And the final day results seem to mirror the season’s standings with once again Sebastian Bourdais on top of the time sheets. Not even competing in the 24 Heurs du Mans could slow down the Hamburgalur… Where Sea Bass finished second overall upon Peugeot’s return to the Circuit de la Sarthe.

With Bourdais running rough shod over the entire Champ Car field, looking to be a “schue-in” for a record forth consecutive title. It seems only natural for “Seb” to pack his bags and make his Formula 1 debut next season. Can anyone beat him? PLEASE!!!

India “Take Two”

As Emperor Bernardo was busy giving Tony George the cold shoulder. Which could just be part of the ruse to take America’s pulse towards continuing the Grand Prix?

News reports claim that India has now given up plans for another “Cookie Cutter” street race and instead will concentrate upon a purpose built track. As Mr. Muppet has just announced awarding India a Formula 1 calendar date for 2009. Of course this is upon completion of the track as well as paying off all of Ecclestone’s subsidiaries.

Yet I don’t see how this project will come to fruition with the entire over redundant political wrangling that seems to be an India trademark. As India’s IOC (Int’l Olympic Committee) will be in charge. And with construction having not even begun. Nor a site chosen, it seems quite a short amount of time to complete a new circuit…

Thursday, June 21, 2007

USGP Postcard (Answers)


Oh Yeah, you’re probably wondering what the DAMM answers to the USGP trivia question are? Or did you manage to figure out all nine venues? As I’m sure one of the West coast locations will not be known. Can you say Riverside?

1. Sebring 1959
2. Riverside 1960
3. Watkins Glen 1961-80
4. Long Beach 1976-83
5. Las Vegas 1981-82
6. Detroit 1982-88
7. Dallas 1984
8. Phoenix 1989-91.
9. Indianapolis 2000-07

Bonus trivia: During the years of 1976-83. The United States was the second country after Italy to host two events during a season. The duel races were known as the United States Grand Prix West and East. With Long Beach being known as the USGP West event from 1976-80. While Watkins Glen (1976-80) and Detroit were USGP East events during the brief period of two races being held in the United States.

The third country to enjoy the two race moniker was Germany with the Nurburgring and Hockenheim, which has now been replaced by Spain with the arrival of Valencia and Barcelona to the 2008 F1 calendar...

(Answers from Wikipedia)

World’s most expensive fan belt

So just what is up in Ferrari land? I mean why the current three race slump. Including the shellacking by McLaren finishing 1-2 last weekend.

And as previously mentioned some astute pit lane reporter. NO! Not Derr-Wreck Daily! But I think Peter Windsor mentioned the fact that Ferrari recently suffered a belt failure to their single rolling road wind tunnel. And it’s interesting to learn that the steel belt that propels this portion of the wind tunnel runs at a speed of 180mph! Which means F1 engines aren’t the only thing that goes KABLAMOE!

Yet surely this single factor cannot simply be the sole reason of Ferrari’s slump? I know that aerodynamics play a crucial role of a Formula 1 race cars success. But I just can’t believe that the lack of a wind tunnel for a few days would indeed be so critical! I suspect it has more to do with the fact that Ferrari is running a long wheelbase chassis. As well as the redesign of the “Flexi-floor.” At least I believe the longer wheelbase was a key issue at Monaco.

Now why is it that every time I write longer wheelbase all I can think of is the old Pontiac commercial. “Wider is Better!” As Pontiac tried vainly selling a “wide-track” Grand Prix model a few years ago…

This downtime of the past 24 hours makes me ponder if Ferrari’s decision to invest heavily in CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) is such a wise thing to proceed with? I mean CFD requires enormous amounts of computing… Which, ergo. Means having your own “Super Confuzer” which NEVER goes off line. Quick, somebody please tell me if the lights are still on in Maranello?

Gremlins

They’re baccccckkkkkkk…….

Ack!!! For reasons unknown, my frilling internets connection once again is NOT working… (But I’m on the Verizon “Free-DUM” plan. You know that plan that I was DUMB enough to sign up for!)

And this is the 3rd time in less than a month that the connection has just magically STOPPED working. And I really don’t know why? Since I’ve tried all of the “tricks” I did last time, (1 week ago) i.e.; Unpluggingg modem/phone/computer; Disabling anti-virus & checking internets connection… SHEISA!!! NO Dice. Err, internets…

Perhaps my ISP is just trying to drive me crazy? And why do I feel like I’m trying to troubleshoot an intermittent automobile problem? You know the type that seems impossible to diagnos. Or perhaps it's those damm Gremlins as they seem to have sturck the spelling above... Yet as I was listening to the radio last evening, the DJ rambled on about Fairy's coming out because it was Mid Summer's Eve.

As a really cheesy Spike Lee “voice” keeps repeating” “It’s gotta be the modem!” But I’ve digressed once again. Simply put, all of this means I’ve been “OFF-Line” for another 24+ hour period and unable to post these brilliant stories…

Meanwhile, I’m just waiting for it (internets) to come back around! Damm where’s Arlo Guthrie when yuh need him. Suppose he’s busy ridin his motor cickle to the pickle store, eh? Since it's the first day of Summer and we're havin perfect riding weather...

(Obviously it came back around Quick! Publish the damm stories…)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

USGP Postcard

And all of the USGP hoopla (jabber) brought Dan & myself to ponder the trivia question of the day. Where have all of the USGP’s been held in the past?

As I’m certain I heard Bob Varsha mention during qualifying that it was the 50th USGP event. Along with being the Grand Prix to be hosted at the most different venues in one country. (9) Can you guess? Dan & I managed to get 8 of the 9 venues, with one of the California sites impossible to guess…

Good luck!

(OOPS! I’ve already given part of it away. Hint: 4 were on the West coast, with one being held in a parking lot. One in-between and 4 more in the East. And NO cheating Danny!)

Cordon bleu

And although I haven’t watched the first 3hrs of this years 24 Heurs du Mans. (Video tape #47 of this past weekend) I have managed to watch a significant chunk of SPEED’s “Mega” 17.5 hours of coverage. I mean what better way to cure insomnia than sitting glued to the TV into the wee hours of the morning watching Le Mans? As ironically the world feed shows nothing more than the front straight and pits during the night hours of the race. This is because the French TV crews DON’T work thru the night, opting to get some sleep instead…

And I found it fascinating as I seemed to tune in when the action got crazy. Like the leading Audi R10 being 3 laps ahead of the field when the right rear tire decided to depart the race car… This was 54 minutes into the R10 TDI’s run. And although Audi claimed it had nothing to do with the car being dropped without the wheel being fastened. Apparently it was some type of spindle failure. As birthday boy Dindo Capello was distraught after careening into the tire barrier. Yes, it was Capello’s 43rd birthday and I’m sure it’s NOT what he wished for!

Or Johnny Herbert going off track while leading GT1 in the Aston Martin DBR9. Yet apparently Tomas Enge also got a bit too carried away and put the same #007 leading DBR9 off track later in the race.

Or how about the window falling out of the leading Risi Competizone Ferrari F430GT. Yet I missed the part when 5 cars went off due to oil being down…

Or the abysmal weather conditions for the final 2hrs which saw torrential downpour. Where leading Audi R10 driver Marco Werner was seen shaking his head in disbelief over the conditions he was being forced to drive in. This was upon Werner dropping his lap times into the 6 minute range in order to keep the invincible Audi “On the Island.” Compare this to the record lap times Allan McNish was setting aboard a sister car of 3:27 in the dry!

Yet I have to say I think the new Peugeot 908 is an awesome looking chassis. And I like it a ton more than the austere Audi R8/R10 TDi’s. So it’s great news that the ACO will require a return to closed top coupes beginning in 2010 for the prototype ranks. Which I assume that the America Le Mans Series will follow suit? And I’m sure that these chassis will be way better looking than the UGLY DP Prototypes.

And I was so DAMM happy to see the Aston Martin DBR9 BEAT the Corvette! As I really tire of the Chevrolet bias of the broadcaster’s towards the GM make. So it was quite pleasing to see the lone Corvette as the meat in the Aston Martin sandwich! Along with David Richards mug on TV after taking a glug ‘O champagne upon the DBR9 breaking its Le Mans Duck! Especially since this was Prodrive’s first major race outing since David Richards & Co. bought Aston Martin from Ford.

And I find it a bit funny, but I found the 24 Heurs du Mans TV coverage far MORE Exhilarating than FOX’s pathetic USGP coverage. For that part I found the Sports Car classic far more intriguing to watch then the Formula 1 race!

Race Report

Weekend Follies

Whew! Now that I’ve finally finished viewing the majority of my insane amount of taped race coverage from the past weekend. It’s finally safe to answer the phone, check my emails and read the internets without learning the results of the Formula 1 and 24 Heurs du Mans.

And Yawn! Ho Hum, another Formula 1 race and another McLaren 1-2 whitewash. As once again British phenom Louis “Jaguar” Hamilton ran away with his second consecutive “Double Double” (Pole & Win) weekend during the F1 circuses North American swing.

Isn’t it funny how opinion’s change so quickly? As I seem to have never minded a good solid 1-2 thrashing by the Scuderia when Herr Schumacher was the victor. Yet even this grew tiresome as Ferrari manhandled the competition for such a long time, that it seems the only thing to end their dominance was Michael’s retirement! (Yeah I know that Renault beat him fair ‘N square…)

And perhaps it was just me? But once again I found FOX’s coverage to be ABYSMAL!!! Upon discussing the matter with Danny B. I suddenly realized that we hadn’t been subjected to Dudley D’s grid stroll. Yet the TV broadcast was PITIFUL… With long distance oblique views of the cars. While I sat screaming repeatedly at the TV to get the “F’ing” box off of the screen that was obliterating my view of the race actions! As FOX(?) seemed fascinated with showing the grid positions in a black box that blocked the oncoming F1 chassis...

FOX was fortunate that the race went down in such a torrid pace that they were actually able to squeeze in the victory podium, the spraying of champagne and top three driver’s interview with Peter Windsor. Which they totally BLEW in Canada due to the silly pace car being dispatched a record 4 times!

Yet, I just had a strange thought? What if this pathetic world feed TV coverage is just another knife twist in Emperor Bernardo’s grand scheme of ratcheting up contract negotiation talks? Nah, Bernie isn’t that shrewd, probably just another way of making more money, eh? (Less cameras + less TV time = LOWER production costs)

And Dan seems quite certain that Tony George doesn’t have the kahoona’s to draw a line in the sand with Mr. Muppet in regards to the announcement that Tony hopes to know Indy’s fate by July 12th. As that would be the most arrogant thing Messer George has ever done in his lifetime! I mean its one thing to blow off Kevin Kalkhoven, but Emperor Bernardo?

And I found myself more interested in whether or not the latest “Wunderkind” Sebastian Vettel could make history… By becoming the very first teenager to ever score Formula 1 points. No less than in his F1 debut! And sadly with the demise of Nico Rosberg who deserved better. His Toyota customer lump went KABLAMOE!!! While running in a solid 6th place. This elevated Vettel into the points upon finishing 8th. Vettel passed youngest point’s scorer Jenson Button…

Race Report

Monday, June 18, 2007

On the bubble?

Although I try to not fall prey to the countless rumours of race drivers impending demise. It seems that the annual “Silly season” get’s underway earlier and earlier each year.

Of course the most celebrated luminary currently on the hot seat in Formula 1 is none other than Ralf Schumacher. David Hobbs has spent countless hours pointing out the fact that “Schuey Junior” makes an estimated $20+ million per season while running behind Adrian Sutil in the much unloved Spyker F8VII. This has led to the rumours that Honda’s golden boy Takuma Sato is being considered as a possible candidate for “Ralfanso’s” seat next year.

Meanwhile Renault rookie Heikki Kovalainen has been under searing pressure since the beginning of the season. With the “Reggie’s” team boss “Flavour Flav” being extremely critical of the young Finn. And one of the SPEED TV crew even mentioned during the Canada weekend that Flavio had offered Sir Frank Williams a sizeable amount ‘O dinero to take Kovalainen off his hands as Alexander Wurz’s replacement.

Of course there’s nothing like a little media exposure to give a driver that extra “oomph” to perform. As Kovalainen started dead last before finishing 4th. And “Ralfanso” managed to eak out a single point upon finishing in 8th. Yet with “Taku’s” brilliant performance in Canada overshadowing these results. I’m sure that Honda, nee “Super Best Friend’s” will NOT wish to loose the Japanese talent.

And with persistent rumours of Flavor Flav implying that Nelson Piquet Jr. would be debuting as Kovalainen’s replacement at Silverstone. Heikki has managed to knuckle down and continue his upward progression by outperforming team leader “Fishy Fella” for the entire weekend at Indy. Kovalainen collected his second consecutive points scoring finish in 6th at the Brickyard.

Meanwhile Ralfanso had another dismal outing at Indianapolis, where he managed to be entangled in a first lap fracas with “Uncle David” and “Rubinoe.” (Barichello) And with David Hobbs pouring on the accolades for German rookie Sutil. Claiming that the lad will be moving up the grid team wise. This makes me wonder if perhaps Toyota will poach the youngster away from the ailing Spyker concern. This could be the proverbial “win-Win” situation, since Toyota would retain a German driver while being based in colone. And Sutil’s retainer would be much lower then “Ralfie’s.” While Spyker would perhaps get some much needed cash for the deal? As well as freeing up a seat for one or two of it’s young gun test drivers waiting in the wings…

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Heat is on

Well, I guess things aren’t so bad here in the Pacific Northwest as it’s cloudy and the temperature has surged to 59… Which should make esteemed Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B. feel a whole lot better?

Having just checked the weather in Speedway, Indiana I had to laugh upon hearing the comment: HEAT! For today & tomorrow. You see its 91+ today with a high of 94+ expected for tomorrow at IMS. And that’s with a major dose of Indiana humidity. Which I for one a not particularly fond of. Having endured 97+ at last years USGP!

And why all the blather about weather? Well as you’re aware of, there’s this little race known as the USGP occurring in Tony George’s backyard. And I’ve just finished getting an excellent day’s report from Danny about the joys of lugging RF Antenna’s around for a full day in a nomex fire suit, complete with balaclava, crash helmet and goggles. Which is apparently the price one must pay for admittance onto the grid at Indianapolis when you’re a working stiff.

Danny has been hanging out all day with none other than my favourite (NOT!) pit lane reporter… Messer Daily. And speaking of Double D, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview he had with Heikki Kovalainen immediately following final qualifying.

DD (Derek Daly) Heikki, are you happy with your results?
HK (Heikki Kovalainen) Yeah it was Ok.
DD: Were you running light fuel:
HK: NO!
DD: Were you running heavy fuel?
HK: NO!

This caused me to break out in laughter as Double D started laughing when he figured out he wasn’t going to get anything from Kovalainen.

And although Danny is forced to deal with some pretty miserable temperatures in order to be up close ‘N personal with the coolest cars on the planet! There does appear to be some advantages as he waxed elegantly about having to eat in the Formula 1 kitchen. Which is all first class dining, with real china plates, crystal glasses along with proper silver wear and linen napkins. And I’m told the food wasn’t too bad either. NO Tenderloin sandwiches for Danny today, who claims Mario (Andretti) was seated nearby with some of the Williams boys during the lunch break. Guess the food isn’t too terrible if Mario is schlepping a free meal there, eh?

Now hopefully Dan won’t get too distracted while following Mr. Daily on his grid walk past the grid girls…

(Excellent picture captions Danny!)

Danny's Open Wheel Report

Jaguar on the prowl

Once again British media sensation Louis “Jaguar” Hamilton swiped pole position away from double world champion Fernando Alonso at Indianapolis.

Alonso had spent the entire weekend at the top of the time sheets, with Hamilton always close by. While I enjoyed SPEED keeping track of Sebastian Vettel’s progress, as well as all of the other “Usual Suspects” chasing the McLaren’s. C’mon Ferrari! You need to cool down those blokes from Woking…

And I don’t know who it was, but the scorecard now reads. Formula 1 chassis: 2, Animals: 0 as somebody took out a pigeon today, which hopefully caused less damage then the “Beaver” walloped by “ANT” last week. Appropriately Davidson’s nose sported a furry critter decal in homage to the slain Marmot.

And once again top speed is not the solution to the quickest lap times. As interestingly the four Red Bull chassis (Red Bull, Scuderia Toro Rosso) demonstrated. As Derr-Wreck Daily discovered in one of his multiple Scott “Nose” Speed interviews. The STR chassis had gone for minimum rear wing in order to get down the front straight. Speed claimed this was their only solution in attempting to challenge their rivals. Yet this caused extreme lack of grip in the infield (“Twisty”) section. (Effectively the back half of the track, including Holman Boulevard)

Bob Varsha pointed out that although the cars spent 23 seconds at full throttle. Which is the longest of all Formula 1 tracks. The cars were at full throttle for only 60% of the lap which ranked 11th overall.

Yet once again those Adrian Newey designed RBR chassis were amazingly quick down the front straight of Indy. With “Uncle David” (Coulthard) grabbing top honors with a terminal speed of 209mph on Friday! Joining the Red Bull speed fest on Saturday was Vitantonnio Luzzi reaching 203.4mph in Q1 qualifying. While Dc cranked out a 205mph burst with Mark Webber reaching 333kph/206mph. Yet Webber was the only Red Bull driver to reach Q3 final qualifying, where he ended up 9th overall.

Professor Matchett made several rounds of the pit garages with his usual insightful technical look at the sport. Yet the highlight(?) of today’s expanded coverage was the overly theatrical piece pitting Matchett against ex-driver David Hobbs in dueling go karts. As all I could do was chuckle as they played “God save the Queen” in homage to Messer Hobb’s victory. This segment apparently had something to do with last year’s competition between Hobbs & Matchett, which I didn’t see.

And although SPEED’s expanded coverage meant an overbearingly insane amount ‘O commercials during the non-racing segment. I did enjoy the extra driver interviews offered by both pit lane reporters as well as the entire qualifying sessions being un-interrupted.

During wrap-up Varsha noted the young German Vettel’s qualifying position when asking if anybody knew what Michael Schumacher’s qualifying debut grid spot was? Yes it was 7th, the same as Vettel’s. But I expect Vettel will most likely go further than 100 yards with gearbox failure as was Schuey’s demise in Spa-Francorchamps 16 years ago. Then again I’m betting on there NOT being a 7 car pile-up on the first corner of the opening lap!

Yet once again Hamilton was the star of the show in today’s qualifying, taking his second consecutive pole position on another track he’s never raced on before. And while Hamilton's meteoric rise continues to see everybody pouring on the accolades. One must recall that a previous rookie named Jacques Villeneuve once in sighted similar outpourings of greatness…

Qualifying Report

Friday, June 15, 2007

Canadian Beaver


Last night while watching the 3 hour cavalcade ‘O Formula 1 Live, during the “Super Best Friends” driver interview. “ANT” (Anthony Davidson) made the remark about hitting “Juan” ‘O those furry critters that was previously viewing “Ralfanso’s” tires up close.

ANT took great glee in saying that they’d had great fun calling it a Beaver. Since that seems to get quite a bit of humour Up North Eh? Hence the reason that Davidson dived into the pits unexpectedly while running in 3rd place, as he’d struck a “Beaver” (Marmot) with the front wing of his chassis…

Kubica stands down

Although Robert Kubica deemed himself fully recovered from his massive shunt at Montreal. Doctor’s felt differently upon the matter and decided on not giving Kubica the green light to compete in this weekend’s USGP.

Therefore BMW Sauber has decided to call up Sebastian Vettel, the 19 year old “Wunderkind” as Kubica’s replacement. The young German has impressed in the past as a Friday test driver. Yet Vettel remains a Red Bull contracted driver, who hold first option upon his services while he test drives for BMW Sauber…

F1: Canadian Bacon - 2007 edition

Ok, so it seems a little late, but I just finally finished watching all of the Canadian Grand Prix action “just-in-time” for this weekend’s “mega” coverage of the USGP.

And I have to say I didn’t find too much out of the ordinary to report. Although I do enjoy the Professor Matchett technical segments. And how many of you realize that John Wheatley, who’s featured in the RPM (Racing Per Matchett) is an old colleague of Steve’s from his Benetton days?

If I remember correctly, Wheatley was responsible for the front end of none other than somebody named Michael Schumacher’s chassis. As each car had a three member crew assigned to it at the factory.

Even though Matchett was the rear jack man during pit stops on race day. Steve was responsible for the front end of Schuey’s teammates chassis during his tenure at Benetton, while the rear end of each chassis had two men assigned to it. You can read all about these characters in Matchett’s first book: Life in the Pit Lane. (Check out Steve’s novels: Life in the Pit Lane, The Mechanics Tale and The Chariot Makers) And although I have his first & third books, I feel like waiting to obtain the middle book of his trilogy before continuing. So as to not pull a George Lucas trilogy of starting with the last first. But once again, I digress.

Interestingly Louis Hamilton and Giancarlo Fisichella had the top trap speeds of 196mph. So there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the Renault’s horsepower. Just handling and dare I say it. Drivers?

And I spent several hours marveling over how in the HELL did “Ralfanso” (R. Schumacher) MISS that Marmot? I mean that was amazing to see the little critter in slow motion looking at the front tires… And being so close that it could read each letter of the sidewall. B-R-I-D-G-E-S-T-O-N-E!

I also enjoyed Professor Matchett’s long discourse on the Toyota’s rakish front suspension geometry. As Toyota’s Jarno Trulli suffered not one but two failures during Friday’s practice sessions. Interestingly Toyota appears to be running the steepest front suspension geometry angles. Which of course produces higher stress loads on the wishbones. And I found it intriguing to hear Matchett comment that Toyota is actually using MMC suspension pieces along with the de rigour carbon fibre. MMC is the acronym for Metal Matrix Composites, which is a blending of metal with other compounds. Apparently the failures were due to kurb hopping which is an integral part of F1 racing.

And speaking of Toyota. Messer Matchett mentioned that he’d heard from 2-3 reliable sources that the Japanese giant was pondering the purchase of Williams in 2 to 3 years from now? This would see the closing down of the Colone facility and moving the entire operation to Grove where Williams is headquartered. Although this is purely speculation. Bob Varsha also chimed in by saying he’d had discussions with a GP2 driver who had picked his team based on the plans to move up to Formula 1 in the future.

Yet without a doubt, my favorite moment of the race was witnessing Takuma Sato PASS Fernando Alonso on track for 6th place. As I screamed gleefully at the TV, preceding the maneuver. “Get him Taku! Get him Taku! Get him Taku!”

In fairness(?) to Alonso. Taku also passed Felipe Massa’s Ferrari on track. So where in the HELL did the mighty dragon slayer come from? I mean a “Super Best Friend’s” chassis passing the top two Constructor’s in a single race?

And talk about a wacky race… Did you notice the safety car skating on the marble’s during one of its four dispatchments. As well as when was the last time two drivers were black flagged for ignoring the red light at the end of pit lane? Somehow I suspect that this week’s USGP may be much more sublime…

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dan's the Man

Ah, everyone say at once how sorry you feel for resident Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B. who’s just been granted his credentials for this weekend’s USGP at Indianapolis.
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Yeah, Danny B. will be forced to muck it up on the grid for 3+ days. Having a catbird seat to all of the live action while being
Literally just meters away from the coolest vehicles on the planet.

And he’ll most likely be “Hobbsnobbing” with the likes of “Flavour Flav” and Emperor Bernardoe… As well as staying out of Derr-Wreck Daily’s way as he makes his ceremonial grid walk just minutes prior to the start of the Formula 1 race.

All of this apparently after Dan’s open letter to Bernie “The Muppet” Ecclestone, questioning why there were no “Yanks” working on the broadcast crew. So it looks like Danny got his wish and will now be busy schlepping Beluga caviar & Dom Perignon for the Emperor. I just hope that Danny won’t become too distracted by Messer Ecclestone’s weekend escort? (OOPS! I've been corrected by Danny that the "Tall Cool One" is none other than Mr. E's wife...)

And see if you can spot Bernie’s credentials. Credentials? “I DON’T NEED NO STINKIN CREDENTIALS!”

Don’t forget to check out Formula 1 Live as well as the extended TV coverage on SPEED & FOX this weekend…
For Dan’s letter see: Danny’s Open Wheel Report

Building Le Mans

Ok, so it’s a cheesy takeoff. But if you’ve ever dared to sit thru a RASSCAR race then you’re sure to suffer thru the barrage of Gene Hackman outtakes claiming “Let’s build something Together” at Lowes.

And just where do struggling IRL drivers go when they can no longer afford to compete in the cobbled together race series? Fortunately with all of his time off. Adrian Fernandez will contest this years 24 Heurs du Mans for his very first time with an interesting line-up.

Fernandez will partner Robbie Kerr and Haruki Kurosawa in the LMP2 category and hopes to contend for the class victory after a very strong showing in final testing.

If you’re interested in watching this epic sports car classic, then you’re in luck! Since SPEED is airing 17.5+ hours of TV coverage, with the qualifying highlights beginning @ 4:30AM Pacific this Saturday. Race coverage begins @ 5:30AM Pacific…

Kubica walks away

I still cannot believe that Robert Kubica suffered nothing further than a concussion and sprained ankle from the horrific accident he suffered at Montreal! Apparently this goes to show once again how impressive the chassis are constructed and the peak physical conditioning race drivers maintain. Even more surprising to me is that Kubica is eager to race at this weekend’s USGP…

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

F1 North Americana

In case you just cannot get enough Formula 1 TV coverage, I noticed that SPEED is airing a program titled Formula 1 Live. (Which seems to be broadcasted sporadically) This Thursday night @ 9PM Pacific. The 3 hour show is the kick-off to SPEED’s “super-sized” coverage of this weekend’s USGP.

And I don’t know if Tony George is a guest on the program or not? But last year’s show was pretty entertaining, with “Ralfie” (Schumacher) getting the most good natured dig’s in, while “Tonio” Luzzi was the best “Sharp Dressed Man…”

Portland Fast Facts

And I’m still in a fog over the past weekend’s trek to Portland, which was most enjoyable. My FUNK has nothing to do with the inclement weather, but the fact that my favourite Champ Car driver Justin Wilson seemed to have outfoxed himself on race day… Although I suspect the blame lies more with the team than driver?

Although its hard to believe that another year has already slipped by, as this yearly migration southward for the sole remaining Northwest Champ Car race, doesn’t always seem to exude warmer “Climes.” Forgive me for waxing melancholy as Pink Floyd’s “Time” plays in my mental background… (You know that fabled tune about Ten years gone by and you’ve missed the starting gun…)

So, just a quick recap of my weekend outing at PIR. Thursday night I decided to attend my very first Champ Car Fan Forum which featured CCWS President Steve Johnson and the “luminary” PT (Tracy) as the guest speakers.

Then a full three days at the track, arriving bright and early Friday morning to take up my position once again at the end of pit exit from inside the paddock. Still cannot believe that we’re allowed approx. 50’ from the race track. This is my personal favourite vantage point for the opening practice session.

Back across the Bridgestone foot bridge to wander the “Manufacturer’s Midway.” After this brief jaunt I watched the Toyota Atlantics. OOPS! Freudian slip as they’ve now been the Champ Car Atlantics powered by Mazda for two years. Actually I think it’s now Cooper Tires presents the Champ Car Atlantics powered by Mazda… (Try saying that fast five times.)

Then I watched Champ Car provisional qualifying from the exit of turn 12 onto the main straightaway before heading back inside the paddock to get my poster signed at the yearly CCWS autograph session, before calling it a day.

Saturday was an absolutely miserable day as I decided to gut it out and sit in a myriad of rain squalls in my cheesy raingear. As I felt that after the euphoria of the prior day and a half, the drivers deserved my support. Which I was happy to see the amount of fans who braved it out in absolutely horrible conditions. After 5 hours in constant rain, I left for the shelter of my dry hotel room across the freeway adjacent the track.

Sunday, the weather was much more cooperative. Although I intended to arrive at my seat for the second Atlantics race. I ended up arriving so early that I caught the entire Champ Car warm-up session proceeding the Atlantic’s. And they put on an excellent second race, which was followed by the Champ Car driver introductions.

After putting the rain gear back on once again for a passing shower during the Atlantics race, the rain basically stayed away for the remainder of the day, although a fellow fan above us told the couple sitting in front of me. DON’T take that off until about 5:30PM! And I did finally take off the rain coat prior to the green flag being dropped. Which was preceded by an overly annoying fireworks blast. This was followed by a wonderful fly over by a lone vintage P-51 Mustang! And I find that the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin piston engine has to be one of the sweetest sounds of Aviation!

And I’m still totally baffled over what happened to Justin Wilson who finished second after taking off from pole like a scalded cat. I mean it just DOESN’T add up for Justin to suffer a 32+ second swing, from leading by plus 17 seconds to finishing runner-up by 15 seconds…

More Portland insights to follow, as soon as my overtaxed fingers can pound away on the keyboard. (Now that I’ve managed to be reconnected to the internets!)
Race Report

More from my Portland weekend

Oh Canada!

WOW!!!

I’m still in SHOCK over the INSANE race I’ve just finished viewing via the “low-tech” VCR… And what can I say? Other than what an ABSOLUTELY KRAZY RACE…

And I’m still trying to catch my breath, as I was forced to watch the action out of sequence, since I’d feared that the race results had been given away to me prior to watching the outcome… And I have so much to write about the past weekend’s action at Portland. Not to mention the Canadian Grand Prix that I suspect I’ll be “working” overtime to “ketchup” prior to another mega action weekend… Well at least for my poor VCR with 17+ hours of Le Mans on SPEED along with the extended USGP Formula 1 action both on SPEED and FOX!

And I’m told that the clarity of FOX’s Canadian GP coverage was extremely POOR! While for my part I found the LACK of ANY driver interviews, SUCKED!!! Especially with Louis “Jaguar” Hamilton scoring his maiden F1 victory… Can you say major FOOPAH, FOX?

And in what was a horrific “shunt” which was sickening to watch, I’m glad to hear that Robert Kubica is relatively unhurt. As I watched the grizzly accident in “super” slow motion on my VCR, all I could think of was Olivier Panis similar horrific crash in his Prost/Mugen-Honda at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which resulted in Panis breaking both legs…

Thankfully Kubica was not more seriously injured in a head on collision with the barricade and I look forward to his return to the cockpit in the near future…

Race Report
(Now back to watching more video tape…)

Confuzer” Gremlins

“Welcome Back Kotter?” Talk about going into the “Way Back Machine, eh?” Nothing like feeling you’re up against the deadline of a clock and your internets access is being uncooperative! Perhaps that’s what happens when you make fun of le internets, eh?

In typical confuzer-speak. It worked fine last night when I posted Riding the Rails, but NOW it DON’T work!

So, as Arlo Guthrie sez in Alice’s Restaurant… “We’re just waiting for it to come back around.” Which is what I’m currently doing in regards to my internets service. And perhaps I didn’t sing the praises of Al Gore’s invention loud enough? Since I’m still waiting for it to come back around…

Although I thought it was only temporary since at least this time the phone line didn’t go DEAD. After 5hrs of NOTHING… I decided to call my esteemed Verizon DSL provider to check on my service. After getting bounced from the main desk to tech support, a nice gentleman walked me thru ALL of the various “quick” troubleshooting tips he knew before finally claiming it must be my Norton Antivirus.

But that wasn’t it… As my most excellent Blog Meister walked me thru disabling it. Then we tried checking the Network Connections and finally I even tried a different phone cord on the modem… And I was all set to give my DSL provider the news that I thought I needed a new modem, when wallah the “Damm Gummit Thing” worked!

I finally posted the following stories (NOT to be confused with going Postal) upon being able to re-establish internets connectivity. (20+ hours LATER!_ which turned out to be a major PAIN in the ASS!!! Sorry for the delay. Hopefully this won’t happen again? Since I have absolutely NO idea what went wrong…

(Ah the wonders ‘O modern technology… Quick, post some stories before logging off!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Riding the Rails

Having just spent the weekend enjoying Champ Cars circulating around a proper road course at Portland International Raceway. I’ve just completed making my way northwards to Seattle via the Best Damm train in Amtrak’s dilapidated fleet. Well the train is really nice, but even this “Express” runs on Amtrak time… As we’re forced to pull over for freight trains.

I really like riding on the Cascade Express, which utilizes the Talbot high speed train, with a top speed of 79mph. (Governed-by rails) This of course PALES in comparison to the French record setting train, which hit a terminal velocity of 357mph earlier this year.

Prior to leaving, I still was undecided over attempting to get the Hamburgular’s autograph on my poster. (Again?) As his group of four drivers were such JERKS last year and sent me off fuming!

I was happy to see that the Atlantics and Star Mazda ’were once again support races, while the verdict is still out on the new Mazda MX5 event. But I’m NOT too impressed to see that “Formula DUH!” Drifting is back once again… (Talk about being desperate for entertainment!)

Damm I miss the good ‘ole days of SCCA Pro Racing’s Trans Am series. When the Factory Backed competitors put on one HELL of a show. These NASTY looking “Pony Cars” were equally fan favorites with CART as we’d all make our way to the Festival Chicane to await the first corner fista-cuffs! That’s back when Tommy Kendall was kicking everybody’s ASS in his Roush All Sport Body Quencher Mustang. While arch nemesis Dorsey Schroeder and Ron Fellows were always close behind. But I digress…

Now if I was savvy enough I’d be filing this report via my laptop aboard the train, but then I’d need to purchase a laptop and learn how to use the darn thing…

Also in order to pen my thoughts about this weekend’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event. I’d have to see who won the Canadian Grand Prix prior to watching it… Which is very taboo for me… But I think the one person I’d NEVER expect to give it away… (My Mother) Has just RUINED the results for me upon briefly checking my emails…

So I’ll just leave you to ponder my thoughts about both Portland and Montreal for a bit longer, while I try to recoup from four days in Oregon as well as catch up on 8 hours of videotape prior to this weeks upcoming events. And although the WRONG driver won the Champ Car race, it was a very good weekend. Albeit a bit too DAMM SOGGY on Saturday…

More from my Portland weekend

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Portland Tidbits


Otay, so now it’s really late… (Or REALLY EARLY!) And I haven’t had my 40 cups of Java today, nor do I have a fancy mahogany table. And it’s raining once again, blah-blah-blah…

Just a quick story about this weekend’s Portland Champ Car race. And suffice it to say, I won’t try reinventing the wheel, err writing what’s already been penned.

But I found this story in the Oregonian, as a prelude to the fast approaching Champ Car race pretty entertaining. The interview with Jimmy Vasser was enlightening, since I didn’t know he’d raced Midgets in Portland in the 1970’s. I’ve always been a fan of Vasser, who seemed like a quality act and always willing to help a team mate. After reading Alex Zanardi’s book I was even more impressed! As Zanardi claimed Vasser was more like a brother to him then team mate. And that’s coming from a two time CART Champion.

Its pretty funny hearing Vasser talk about his two young charges, especially Gomendey. Whom Robin Miller nicknamed “Christian Comedy.” Perhaps Miller was onto something as Vasser comments that when Gomendey gets excited he lapses into French over the radio…

Also of interest, was the fact that Champ Car plans to make its very first standing start at Portland this Sunday. Yet as Champ car doesn’t have traction control like Formula 1, it will be interesting to see if anyone stalls on the grid? .

This seems NOT too hard to do as I witnessed some Champ Car driver stall last year while trying to blaze a path out of pit lane during the Friday morning practice. This caused the session to be red flagged while the chagrined pilot had to wait for his pit crew to pull him back and re-fire the “Cossie lump!”

Of course I was not OVERLY HAPPY to hear that Champ Car has put Portland “On The Bubble,” as this is the final year of its current contract. Champ Car want’s Portland to increase its attendance… Here’s a suggestion Champ Car. Why don’t you get a FULL GRID of MORE than 17 cobbled together entries…

PS: Portland International Raceway. DON’T let Champ Car do ANY scheduling of race dates for you! Just ask China how that worked out!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

School ‘O Fisi

Otay, so it’s late and the draining of wits is quickly overcoming me as I stare into the eerie glow of the confuzer… Yet I found this item entertaining as apparently “Fishy Fella” is planning his post Formula 1 career.

Giancarlo Fisichella who is already partners in a GP2 team is now taking the next step by announcing plans to open a Tadpole, err “Techno-Pol.” Better known as a technical center for training of aspiring motorsport applicants. (Hey, I couldn’t resist the aqua lung fishy theme)

Does this imply that Fisi is already expecting Flavour Flav to give him the boot at the end of the season?

Spyker in trouble?

Will this F1 “Minnow” survive? As Speed’s bob Varsha spent the Monaco weekend blathering on repeatedly about Spyker Cars currently being in financial difficulty.

Apparently the trouble lies in the overly quick “ramp-up” to promote the small specialty automobile manufacturer. (By purchasing a Formula 1 team?) This has seen a Management shake-up at Spyker Cars, while further speculation has centered upon the possibility of Jos Verstappen being given a test drive to attract media attention.

And then there’s the countless legal wrangling's that Spyker F1 is currently in the midst of. With the Guido Van der Garde test driving “scrum.” Along with the customer car legality row. Hence one must wonder if these actions will be dropped in order to save cash (face) or will its Middle East backer’s simply pump further oil profits into the struggling operation?

Hopefully Spyker F1 team boss Colin Kolles recent comments about the Formula 1 team’s financial position being separate from the struggling car company are true. As Kolles insists that Spyker F1 is looking good for the time being…

Zhuhai pickle

As those old Bridgestone commercials used to say. “The wheels keep going round.” As the Champ Car World Series (CCWS) plays its proverbial game of positive “Spin.”

This story seems to sum up the current Management mentality of Champ Car “All roses” theory pummeled on by Kevin Kalkhoven, as it appears quite certain that the Zhuhai Champ Car race has been off of the calendar since April 2nd.

Yet, Champ Car made NO mention of this apparent cancellation of its inaugural Chinese race during its first three events, claiming instead that it was simply working upon a new race date, while leaving the race in all printed media.

Last week I caught a brief little story where the Indianapolis Star reported that the Chinese race promoter has filed a lawsuit against CCWS for breech of contract. The promoter is seeking damages over the $1.6 million fee it paid in advance for the May 20th event that was rescheduled to October 28th.

Hey Champ Car, quit monkeying around with what’s left of your dwindling fan base…

TV Fodder

While setting up the ‘ole VCR for this weekend’s races. I thought I’d pass along the following programming notes.

Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix race coverage is on FOX. The Il Notre Dam event marks the beginning of SPEED’s big brother FOX’s four race coverage.

Apparently this is how FOX will fill its now empty RASSCAR time slot, airing the next four F1 races in a row. With two live and two tape delayed. Yet FOX will not host the usual half hour pre-race show as seen on SPEED, which will host its usual practice and qualifying coverage.

And after six weeks away from the telescreen, Champ Car will make its grand re-appearance on ABC.

As ALWAYS! Check your local listing for race day air times…

Tracy interview

Perhaps you watched the interview on Wind Tunnel last Sunday night? As always I found Paul Tracy to be entertaining and straight talking. With Dave Despain winding up the audience just prior to Tracy’s segment with the Dan ‘N Danica fodder.

It was hilarious hearing Paul Tracy’s comment on the matter as he was a guest on Wind Tunnel. PT quipped “That’s Good Stuff! The verbal exchange was better then me, Bourdais and Tagliani in a Rubber Room…”

If you’re not familiar with PT’s antics of last season, The Canuck earned the nickname of “Sugar Ray” Tracy for fighting with Tagliani at San Jose and scuffling with Bordais while punting him off in the final corner of the final lap at Denver the following race.
Then just days prior to going to Montreal Tracy was quoted saying that he didn’t understand why French drivers ALWAYS fought with their helmets on.

Dave Despain asked PT how he felt about longtime ex-teammate Dario Franchitti winning Indy. Tracy said he hasn’t spoken to him yet, since Dario’s been a little busy doing the “Hat Dance.” But he thought it was great. And he was really impressed by Franchitti’s homage to Tony Kanaan.

Then the scary part. Tracy was complimentary towards his sparring buddy, the Hamburgular. Saying the guy’s won everything there is to over here and that he hopes he gets his shot in Formula 1.

And I was pleased to hear PT put the rumours to bed concerning his potential Busch Series ride at Montreal. As Despain said what’s the deal? Tracy said that Kevin Harvick had called him and initially Tracy thought it would be really cool to race alongside fellow Canadian Ron Fellows. But the more time that went by and sponsor and owner conflicts grew. Tracy came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t happen. Tracy pointed out a little known fact. When he was 15 and purchased his first Formula Ford chassis. He bought the vehicle from a racer having hard times as an Open Wheel racer who’d decided to go “Tim Top” racing instead. The racer was none other than Ron Fellows.

And it was interesting to hear Tracy’s opinions about his latest accident. He was under the impression that because of his position inside the raised nose Panoz DP-01 and positioning of the seatbelts. His body was basically “scrunched” and broke his vertebrae. Tracy noted that both the Lola and Penske were smaller chassis, but Dr. Terry Trammel seemed to think that Tracy has just been lucky all of these years. Getting away with the “Big Ones” that should have also caused serious damage.

So I found it interesting to hear Tracy downplay any design deficiencies towards the brand new Panoz. Although Tracy did admit that they’d changed the seatbelt mounting locations as well as redesigning his seat.

I’d say Champ Car has dodged a bullet…

Champ Car Driver Announcements

Perhaps you’ve already heard the news that Paul Tracy will be back in the saddle at this weekend’s Portland Champ Car race. Yet I’m still pleasantly surprised that Forsythe has decided to keep Oriel Servia as PT’s teammate. Giving Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez the boot. This was a bold move in spite of the potential Mexican audience loss. Unless forsythe has another trick card up his sleeve? By planning to run Dominguez, David Martinez or both in a three car “one-off” for the upcoming Mexico City race?

And the other driver change is the announcement of Jan “Van Hagar” Heyland’s return to the cockpit for the remainder of the season with Conquest Racing, thus giving Belgium a “home-boy” to root for this year at Zolder…

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Dan & Danica Show

Pretty funny to think that when a RASSCAR race gets rained out for the third time in the past few weeks, the Indy Racing League would become the beneficiary!

And I know I shouldn’t be getting sucked into the “Spin Cycle” of “Who HIT whom?” But the talk of the week centers on the Princesses latest THEATRICS in pit lane. When she confronted Dan Wheldon afterwards regarding their on track incident. Yet Princess got wound up and went after “Spike” like an angry hornet. Grabbing Wheldon and shoving him as she walked away.

And what’s up with Penske Racing breaking the rear wings on both of its cars 10 laps apart? I suspect that the Penske gang was seeking the “Unfair Advantage.” And I know that with today’s rules being so tight, teams will do anything to seek the slightest performance gain. Just ask Bobby Rahal who earlier this year saw both of his cars go to the back of the grid for interpreting wing angles differently then the rest of the grid…

Champ Car keeping busy

While sadly all of the Champ Car teams declined to participate in this year’s Indianapolis 500. The various teams and drivers have been keeping busy by testing, racing or going on media junkets.

As previously mentioned, drivers Alex Tagliani, (“TAG”) Bruno Junqueira and Ryan Dalzielall kept busy racing over the incredulous six week “Holiday” break. Dalziel actually competed in two races as Milka Duno’s substitute for SAMAX’s Grand Am entry while Duno was busy wowing the crowds at Indy.

After only half of the Champ Car teams took part in a three day test at Portland, Champ Car has been heavily promoting its upcoming events outside of the border (except China) with TAG and Will Power busy “Up North, eh?” Promoting the Mont-Tremblant and Edmonton races,

The “Fab Five” have been busily winging their way thru a non-stop media blitz. With Champ Car drivers Justin Wilson, “Sea Bass,” (Bourdais) Dan “Speedy Dry” Clarke, Robert Doornbos and Simon Pagenaud all jetting off for Europe aboard Kevin Kalkhoven’s Lear Jet. The driver’s made quick stops in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris in hopes to drum up some support for upcoming Champ Car events.

Prior to Memorial Day weekend, Champ Car held one final test at Circuit Mont-Tremblant. This was Champ Cars first visit to the Canadian race track in 39 years. With 7 teams and 12 drivers taking part. (Almost a full champ car grid) with predictable results as the Hamburgular topped the time sheets on Day 2.

Look for Champ Car to return to action this weekend in Portland, Oregon June 8-10…

GO JUSTIN!!!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Four Car Monty

It appears Formula 1’s future will indeed get Max Mosley’s ultimate version of Gin Rummy, with four car super teams becoming the norm starting in 2008.

This is in regards to Mosley’s desire to see customer cars being allowed to be purchased by rival Constructor’s. Thus forming alliances with the various engine manufacturers, or creating four car operations with the theoretical “B Team” squads currently established.

Thus seeing the alliances between Honda and Super Aguri, Toyota and Williams grow stronger. With McLaren and Prodrive jjoining forces next year. While speculation suggests the current Red Bull-Scuderia Toro Rosso partnership may end?

Rumours suggest Dietrich Mateschitz will possibly sell Scuderia Toro rosso to a consortium involving Nicolas Todt. As previously mentioned, Todt “junior” is the son of Ferrari’s Jean Todt along with being Sebastian Bourdais’s manager.

And although the speculation implies that Mateschitz would seek an alliance with Renault, since they currently supply engines. One must wonder if relations are strained at all after David Coulthard blocked Renault factory driver Heikki Kovalainen in Monaco.

Then again, perhaps Mr. Mateschitz would enjoy aligning himself with “Flavour Flav” (BRiatore) to continue taking his pot-shot’s at Ron Dennis?

Apparently the Austrian Drinks magnate is currently having a spat with Mr. Dennis. Although I have no idea what the row is all about. Reports claim that Dennis has banned Dietrich’s Newspaper from the McLaren monolith (motor home) from Montreal on.

Therefore the Austrian paper took extreme glee in publishing a large glossy colour photo of Mercedes Benz head honcho Norbert Haug reading the banned rag deep inside the bunker of said McLaren mobile palace.

If such a deal did occur, then Toro Rosso would become the Ferrari “B” Team, leaving Auto giant BMW alone in the wilderness. Yet I’m having difficulties seeing BMW-Sauber partnering with the sole remaining privateer on the grid: Spyker F1.

Recall that Spyker currently has an ownership involvement of Middle East concerns which own a 5% stake in Ferrari. And although this new partnership isn’t impossible, it seems unlikely. Thus leaving BMW alone in the four car Monty.

And perhaps this would give Ferrari the trump card with a three team alliance? Ah, how the power struggle for F1 supremacy never ceases. And
With Mosley’s visions of grandeur for the future of Formula 1. Will the new four car teams need to run in the same paint schemes?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

TV Land

Yeah, I know its summer time and I should most definitely be outside enjoying the weather…

But I find it most humorous that I cannot seem to find an unbiased media report upon the battle of the titans over Memorial Day weekend TV ratings.

The general consensus is that the Indianapolis 500 ratings were slightly down while RASSCAR garnered a “higher” share than the Indy Racing League. (Uh Duh!) Which of course should come as NO surprise. Yet even some reports claim that the Coke-a-Cola 600 ratings were also down.

So why all of the bother over TV ratings? Well I just find it hilarious that my “Wunderful” ABC affiliate KOMO has once again chosen to broadcast the Children’s Miracle Network (Children’s Hospital fundraiser) during this weekend’s Milwaukee Indy Car race.

Is this just another sign of how far Open Wheel racing has faltered in the only statistic important to the Networks (TV ratings) or MORONIC programming? Guess I’ll just have to go enjoy the weather instead! Way to go KOMO...

Friday, June 1, 2007

He’s Back!

As Derr-Wreck Daily would say. “Hold onto your Holly Hocks!” As I just noticed that Paul “I Can’t Drive 35” Tracy will be on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday. (6PM Pacific)

“PT” is always an entertaining interview and should be in rare form prior to returning to action in Portland next week. Look for “Sugar Ray” Tracy to be fired up as Despain asks him the tough questions,

Dave Despain (DD) Does it still bother you that you LOST the Indy 500 in 2002?
Paul Tracy (PT) Well Dave, I’m still waiting for Helio Castroneves to wire me the check and Tony George to send me the trophy…

DD: what can you tell us about your upcoming drive in the Montreal Busch Series race this August?
PT: I’ll be racing in Montreal with a really-really-really good team, but I can’t tell you who it is yet…

Yet I’m sure that Tracy will give his brash no-nonsense answers, so check it out!

Andretti goes quietly

Will Little Al follow? And although I was going to leave the gory details to Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B. I couldn’t pass up the chance to announce Michael Andretti’s retirement. Again! (Since Danny is probably busy putting brats on the Barbie in preparation for the “Old” Milwaukee Mile Indy Car race… Or perhaps still savoring some leftover Tenderloin sandwiches?)

Yes, after a rather long frustrating day at “The Office.” Where Andretti was never a factor, Michael has decided to retire for good after a painful day of rain delays and motoring around mid-pack before finally finishing 13th.

Of course Andretti’s finish was much better than Unser Jr’s miserable performance of running caboose the entire race and finishing six laps behind. Yikes! That sound’s like a Milka Duno performance…