Sunday, December 30, 2007

Speed Freaks

Otay, so I probably should QUIT professing my lack ‘O Technical “Know-how, eh?” Yet, for some reason I just decided to try finding the Speed Freaks radio broadcast via the internets… After I’d accidentally discovered this while in Arizona and wallah! I found it, eureka!

So, even though I missed the first hour of the “Best Of” Holidazes re-broadcast, I still enjoyed listening to the second hour of the show. (MINUS the massive deluge ‘O commercials!)

And they did a montage of previous segments, with all of the members: Kenny Sergeant, Crash Gladys, Lug-Nuts and Stat Man talking to various racing personalities.

My favourite segment was when they talked to “Woody” who was quite confused when Lug-Nuts asked him if the rumour was true about Mikey “Squeaky Clean” Waltrip defecting to Open Wheel… WHAT??? Is that really true, Woody asked.

This was after a segment with Kirk Cabin of Indystar.com, who thru out the suggestion that it was more than “Co-inkydince” that “The Cheepster” (Chip Ganassi) had two international Open Wheel stars in his RASSCAR stable. As they’re both helping Tin Tops saturate foreign markets and Messer Helton & Co. had potentially cut a deal with Chip, giving him a percentage of the TV rights.

And adding further insult to injury was the comment that Dario “REO Speedwagon” Franchitti is way MORE popular in Europe than Dan “Spike” Wheldon…

There was also an interview with Dancing with the FOOLS champ-peon Helioe… Who says he’s still committed to Indy Car, but never say never to a potential switch to CUP. Can you say 2009?

Also for good measure was a quick sound bite clip of an interview with Elliott Sadler, who’s definitely a nice guy and a great interviewee. So guess I know what I’ll be doing’ Sunday nights now that Football’s almost OVER! Hmm, seems kinda fitting that Charlie Daniels Devil in the House is playin’ in the background as I scribble ‘bout the Speed Freaks…

The “Badest BAD Asses”


With the recent passing of Evel Knievel and having listened to a very entertaining interview with the legendary daredevil from 2001 with the Speed Freaks crew, I was inspired to come up with my own version of a survey Evel had been ranked Number two in several years ago.

The survey was published in “MAXXIM” magazine, which I’m told is a gentlemen’s magazine, a softer, kinder, gentler version of Playboy…

(The survey was published in a 1996 Maxim magazine article, picking their Top 50 “BADDEST BAD ASSES” of all time)

So without even trying my list of 10 grew quickly to 20, before “morphing” into 37 names and that was just the first crack at such a list. Therefore I’ve made up the following list of my top 50 BAD ASSES!

My NON-Scientific polling process was fairly simple, they had to have been racers and exude some sort of the following: Personality, COOL Nickname, blazing Speed, outright success or all of the above…

BAD ASSES (26-50)

50. Robby “DirtMann Gordoun”
Although I’ve LOST respect for this racer, He’s definitely one of RASSCAR’s BAD BOYZS! And anyone who competes yearly driving for his own team in the Dakar Rally can’t be all bad, eh?

49. Eddie “Irv the Swerve” Irvine
This flamboyant Irishman always had a barb to throw your way. And made history by getting punched by Ayrton Senna along with making a small fortune driving in F1…

48. ‘Lil Al (Al Unser Jr.)
Although not as famous as his Papa & Uncle Bobby, ‘Lil Al was a force to be reckoned with in his heyday. Unfortunately the spotlight was too great for the famous Unser, whose battle with alcohol and cigarettes led to his eventual downfall…

47. Dick Trickle
Although not amounting to much in RASSCAR, Trickle won a hell of a lot ‘O races in the lower ranks + how can you forget him being caught on in-car camera smoking a cigarette during caution laps!

46. John Force
The un-touchable King of the “Floppers,” (Funny Cars) whose records will most likely never be broken and you gotta love a driver who wears a dirty, stained Nomex driver’s suit, while the only thing to go faster than 300mph is his mouth!

45. Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen
Lesser known than his counterpart “The Snake,” how cool is it to have your own Hot Wheels…

44. Don “The Snake” Prudhomme
Who doesn’t know about “The Snake?” As Prudhomme was one of the most successful Top Fuel driver’s of his era…

43. Kenny Bernstein
Known as “the King” due to his long illustrious sponsorship by Anheiser-Busch, it seemed only fitting to slot him in the “REAL” King’s number. Kenny was the first NHRA driver to win titles in Top Fuel & Funny Cars. “This Bud’s for You, Evel!”

42. Steve Millen
Although perhaps not as well known as his brother Rod, Steve who’s the younger of the “KIWI” Brothers distinguished himself in road racing, most notably with the all conquering Nissan 300ZXT’s. And hey, how much more Bad Ass can you be when you build your own tuner car rocket ship, a.k.a.; The Stillen, an “Amped-up” version of the late model Nissan 300ZX…

41. Rod Millen
Arguably one of the most famous Off Road racing specialist in the world Rod “The Bod” Millen has simply conquered every facet of 4WD racing he’s entered. I mean just look at the Pike’s Peak video clip alone!

40. Bob Bondurant
“Bondo” started out as a Corvette “Hot Schue” before switching over to Shelby Cobra’s and was responsible for capturing America’s only FIA International Sports Car Championship in 1965. Bondurant went on to form his famous school of high performance driving along with producing some of the nastiest Cobra replicar's in existence!

39. Don “Big Daddy” Garlits
Who doesn’t know the name “Big Daddy?” As Don Garlits was the ultimate Top Fuel innovator; C’mon, how cool is it to drive your own rails named Swamp Rat!”

38. Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney
Simply picked since she was probably the most prolific female racing pioneer during Evel’s heyday’s

37. Jeremy McGrath
This was Artiste Dave’s (second) suggestion, as McGrath set the motor cross bar extremely high during his career, re-writing the record books before Rickey Carmichael came along…

36. Bob “Hurricane” Hannah
What more can I say, when you’re nickname’s “Hurricane!”

35. Miguel Doohamel
This was Artiste Dave’s suggestion, as Doohamel has truly been a two wheel warrior for countless years. Hopefully he’ll soon return from his recent big crash…

34. Cale Yarbrough
Cale has always been a “Good ‘Ol Boy,” and seems to be cut out of the same mold as “The Alabama Gang” and Junior Johnson. (Whom I suppose should have been on the list, especially with Junior being a notorious Moonshine runner)

But Yarborough always seemed to be looking to pick a fight on track and seemed tough as nails on his way to winning three championships…

33. “The Silver Fox”
(David Pearson)
The ultimate tactician, as somehow David Pearson whas always around at the end to collect the checkers on his way to the second most ever victories in RASSCAR! Pearson was never afraid to mix-it up with anybody and I suppose you don’t get a nickname like that without good reason…

32. Ivan “Iron-man” Stewart

My “Blog Meister’s” suggestion, as I’d simply forgot about him. Yet he rightly earned the nickname by his countless exploits in the desert, as I believe he was the very first driver to contest the Ba-Jah solo in a center seat Toyota. Sorry for the snub Ivan…

31. Tom “The Gasman” Sneva
(Sentimental favourite) Originally from Spokane, WA; School principal makes good! He earned his nickname by being the very first to record an official lap of 200mph at the Brickyard. Better yet he commandeered a school bus in Mexico City in order to drive the Champ Car drivers back to their hotel…

30. “El Matador” (Carlos Sainz)
You must be pretty “Bad Ass” if you’re known as “El Matador, eh?” And what is Sainz doing for an encore after retiring from the WRC? Why he’s been contesting the Dakar rally the past few years…

29. Eddie Lawson
Although probably overshadowed by his predecessors Roberts and “Fast Freddy” Spencer, I was always a fan of Lawson’s, as he seemed to have hard nose grit ‘N determination while winning four GP 500 crowns his own way…

28. Kenny Roberts
Kenny was a true “Scooter” pioneer, being the first American to win the GP 500 crown multiple times as well as invent the current day knee dragging style he imported from dirt bike racing…

27. “The Doctor” (Valentino Rossi)
This feisty Italian is the Michael Schumacher of MOTO GP; ‘Nuff said!

26. Sebastian Loeb
While other World Rally Championship drivers may garner more “name” recognition, Loeb has put on a clinic enroute to four successive WRC Driver’s titles…

To continue reading, see; THE BADDEST BAD ASSES (Con't)

The “Badest BAD Asses” (Con’t)


As I’ve said in Part 1, this is a NON-Scientific poll, which you’ll notice is weighted towards Formula 1 stalwarts making the top rungs of the list. Yet I included a smattering of real “He-Men,” you know those crazy Off Road Endurance specialists, along with a healthy dose of “Two Wheel phenom’s; a.k.a. “Scooter Pilots,” which seemed only fitting due to this being Evel’s penchant in life…

BAD ASSES (1-25)

25. Gordon Johncock
“Gordie” epitomizes the true Open Wheel professional to me, part of those 1970’s warriors, when Indy Cars still ruled the roost and the Indy 500 truly was the “Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing.”

Johncock is most widely known for winning the Indianapolis 500 twice, along with competing in two of the closest finishes at the Speedway. Johncock also is the last driver to win Indy in an American made chassis, the Wildcat (1982) and it was really “KOOL” to see him reminiscing with the rest of his crew on the 25th Anniversary of that victory, with “Gordie” making a cameo on Robin Miller’s On The Bubble video clips this past May…

24. “Big Al” (Al Unser Sr)
Although not nearly as cantankerous as his older brother Bobby, “Big Al” actually scored the most family victories at the Speedway with a total of four.

Coming up the hard way like the rest of his peer’s, i.e.; Foyt, Andretti, Johncock, Rutherford, etc. Al wasn’t afraid to mix-it up on or off the race track. And he’s quite the funny man, as I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him trade insults with Rutherford on Autosport Radio earlier this year…

23. Rick Mears
Although one of the softest spoken personalities off the track, nevertheless Mears was the ultimate king of consistency on the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis. With his unique smooth style seemingly opposite to his early days as an off road buggy driver

Mears was known for never over abusing his equipment, joining two other legends who’ve won Indy a record four times. Rick is the consummate gentleman and has been loyal to the Captain since landing his ride. Ironically Mears broke Penske protégé Mark Donohue’s closed course speed record during Indianapolis 500 qualifying with a four lap average of 223.885 mph in 1989…

22. James Hunt
Although I don’t know much about the ex-World Champion, I believe he had a bit of a reputation as a Party Animal!” And if KIMI enters a snowmobile race under his name, there must be something behind the inspiration, eh?

21. “Black Jack”
Sir Jack Brabham was as tough a hombre as they come from Down Under. Brabham was the very first driver to win the World Championship in a car bearing his name and was always a threat on track, along with passing the racing bug onto his sons Geoff and David…

20. Mark Donohue
An Engineer by trade, Donohue while employed by Roger Penske coined the phrase; “The Unfair Advantage.” Which he helped Penske hone to a mirror image. And Donohue was a winner in everything. Trans Am, Can Am and Indy, (1972) giving “The Captain” his first victory at the Speedway.

Although most likely known as the pilot of the all conquering Sunoco blue “Killer” Porsche 917/30 Can Am car, Donohue also set a closed course speed record aboard a modified CAM2 Porsche 917/30 on the high banks of the Talladega Super Speedway, with a top speed of 221.120 mph on the 2.66 mile oval. Sadly Donohue lost his life after an innocent looking Formula 1 crash in Austria in 1975, just 10 days after setting the closed course speed record…

19. Peter Revson
To me, “Revvie” epitomizes the classic look of cool during the early 1970’s. This heir of the Revlon cosmetics empire started off his racing career as an amateur, who created his own team with Tim Mayer and quickly graduated to the “Big Time” ranks of top level motor racing, i.e.; Sports Cars, Can Am, Indy and Formula 1.

I especially enjoyed his prominence in the movie “The Quick and the Dead.” Where he portrays himself as a real Bad Ass. Yet unfortunately Revson was killed during F1 testing at Kyalami in 1974 while trying to break away from the shadows of McLaren where his relationship with team manager
Teddy Mayer (Brother of Tim Mayer) had become strained…

18. “IL Lione” (Nigel Mansell)
How can you not love “BLOODY NIGE?” And Nige was definitely a “Scrapper.” As he was one of the few drivers actually able to beat Ayrton Senna. His tenacity while at the Scuderia was so intense that it won him the adoration of the Tiafosi whom called him Il Lione. (The Lion)

Yet BLOODY NIGE also had a bit of a swelled ego in his later stages, along with being an award winning Thespian. My greatest memory of ‘Old Nige, is his waving to the home crowd at Silverstone on his victory lap before killing the “Lump” and loosing the race to his bitter rival Nelson Piquet on the final corner…

17. EMMO
How can Emerson Fittipaldi not make the list, as the only person to be able to pull off wearing Elvis Presley “Mutton-chop” side burns so eloquently! EMMO also happened to be the youngest ever Formula 1 champion of his day as well as being only 1 of 3 drivers to win Formula 1 and CART Championships as well as the Indy 500…

16. Gilles Villeneuve
Another driver I know very little about, but he’s revered around the world, especially Up North, eh? He seemed to have a mercurial spirit which rubbed off on his mammoth contingent of faithful Tiafosi.

I believe I’ve also heard that he liked to party hard and was notorious for his Helicopter hi-jinx. Sadly he lost his life after a brooding rift between his fellow teammate saw the Red Mist overcome him…

15. “MAC” Montoya
Better known previously as JPM, (Juan Pablo Montoya) David Hobbs named him MAC in deference to the jokes making the rounds about his penchant for Big Macs… And it seems quite fitting for the Formula 1 star who DEFECTED to RASSCAR! But, hey he seems to be able to hold his own with dem “Roundy-round Boyzs.” And he certainly waxed them all in Sonoma, CA. (Right, Danny?)

14. “The Iceman” (KIMI)
How can Kimi Raikkonen not be a “BAD ASS!” I mean anyone nicknamed the “Iceman” must be worthy, eh? His off track exploits are legendary; From partying too hard with various women of the night, insane amounts of adult beverages consumed, to drinking champagne and falling off his friend’s yacht, winning a snowmobile race entered under the pseudonym of James Hunt and contesting a local boat race in a gorilla suit! And that’s before we even get to his AWESOME Driving skills, I mean what more can you say about somebody when David Hobbs routinely notes how LARGE the size of his attachments are!

13. “The Wee Scot”
Jackie Stewart is probably the most underrated triple World Champion of his generation, who’s also not too bad with a shotgun.

12. Dan Gurney
One of the true California “COOL” string-back glove boys, Gurney was actually born in New York before moving west. Yet, the lanky Gurney has to be one of Motor Racings truest pioneers, never being satisfied with his machinery. Dan has won in just about everything he’s entered, minus the Indy 500. Although his Eagle chassis have won the race more than once Gurney is also the ONLY American to ever win a Grand Prix in a chassis of his own construction. (Which will NEVER occur again.)

Gurney also made Toyota a dominant force in IMSA GTP before bringing the Japanese giant into Open Wheel racing and now spends his time perfecting his own motorcycles…

11. Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio was the first true conquistador, as the diminutive Argentinean simply out drove all of his contemporaries, even when in inferior equipment! It was a different era when he drove, the likes of which we’ll never know. Yet his drives in the Argentina and Nurburgring Grand Prix’s are legendary…

10. “Schuey”
What can I say about this most legendary Formula 1 driver! As my Blogmeister commented: Michael Schumacher is simply BAD ASS for kicking everyone’s ASS in F1 so long…

Herr Schumacher’s records in Formula 1 will most likely never be broken. (Certainly not in my lifetime) And although retired, what does this German Wunderkind do for amusement? Simple, he rides MOTO GP “Scooters,” goes testing for Ferrari and gives astounded taxi cab drivers the ride of their life!

9. Bobby Unser
Although I’ll always remember Bobby for his famous words ‘O wisdom on ABC’s Wide World of Sports: “That’s because there’s some slippery liquids on the track Sam.” Bobby made the top 10 upon my just hearing the story of his lighting a Rolls Royce on fire!

And Bobby has a bit of a temper, just ask the Albuquerque policeman he punched while being given a citation at the airport! Or how about the time the National Guard were called out to go hunt for him when he got lost snowmobiling on “Off Limits” Forestlands…

8. Richard “The King” Petty
A true American icon, who doesn’t know of the King, ‘Old Number 43!And have you ever seen him without his trademark hat as well as customary shades? As the only man to ever win 200 Stock Car races, Petty has been sought out by Presidents; King’s and even the BLOODY Queen of England…

7. ENZO
Why yes, Enzo Ferrari did briefly race cars before first becoming Alfa Romeo’s racing boss and then ultimately creating arguably the most revered automobile marcque in the world! And this icon always wore his trademark dark sunglasses along with believing he was holier than the Pope!

6. Carroll Shelby
How much badder can you be then to wear bib overall’s in racing while being a Chicken farmer! This lanky Texan could and still can sell you just about anything, especially after its been dipped in his secret Snake Oil! ‘Ol Shel has done it all, from winning Le Mans both as a driver and team owner, to building some of the baddest ass street & racing cars of all time…

5. Mario Andretti
One of Open Wheel’s truest Bad Asses! Nobody messes with Mario, who’s the only man to be kissed in Gasoline Alley by his team owner upon winning the Indy 500! Mario invented the word cool, with his attitude and zest for winning in anything he strapped on. And he didn’t like being beat, especially by some God DAMN Movie Star!

4. Dale “Ironhead” Earnhart
A real Bad Ass, as only men in black can truly be! And when you’re called Ironhead, nobody messes with yuh! Where else did Champ Cars court jester Paul Tracy learn about using the “Chrome Horn, eh?” And who perfected the phrase “Racin’ is Rubbin!”

3. “Super Tex” (AJ Foyt)
What can I truly say about AJ? The man has won virtually everything he’s ever raced in… Yet my fondest memories of ‘Old Super Tex are him thrashing the Dejesus outta a recalcicant pop-off valve with a Craftsman ratchet! Or the time he beat the wholly hell outta an unsuspecting team engineer’s lap top after his car had run out of fuel. And how ‘bout punching Arie Luyendyk in Victory Lane….

So, I only gave the nod to Rufus since he drove Ford Bronco’s sponsored by “Oly” beer in the Ba-Jah; “It’s the Water,” yuh knows? And was a total sour-puss while getting his autograph in 2003 at “PAC-MANN” (Pacific) Raceways!

2. Rufus “Parnelli” Jones
Parnelli is probably best known for his win in the 1963 Indy 500 as well as driving the revolutionary “Whoosh” mobile in 1967. (Andy Granatelli’s STP Pratt & Whitney Turbine car) Yet his NO Holds Bar driving style was feared in most disciplines of motorsports that ‘Ol Parnelli entered. As Roger Penske once noted, he’d stand on the wall just to watch Jones hit the same mark every lap and throw dirt on him…

And the Number One driver is Drum roll Please…

1. Steve McQueen
Although many of you may dispute this, McQueen has always been the King of Cool! Although technically a Movie Star, McQueen was the ultimate speed freak, whom arguably made the best chase scene of all time in Bullit.

Yet McQueen was also an aspiring amateur racer whom almost won the 197x 12 Hours of Sebring, driving with his broken leg set in a plaster cast! True, Peter Revson did the yeoman’s share of the driving, but nonetheless, McQueen & Revson finished runner-up to Mario Andretti who was so incensed over the thought of a Movie Star beating him, that he flogged his winning Ferrari into submission!

McQueen also is credited for making what I consider racing’s finest movie: Le Mans, which featured real racing footage from the Circuit de la Sarthe as well as McQueen flying about in a Porsche 917.

And recently McQueen’s very first Ferrari that he ordered from the factory sold at the RM/Sotheby’s auction in Maranello for a cool $2 million. Hell he’s even got a song written about him by none other than Sheryl Crow; “Like Steve McQueen!”


Honorboale Mention
10. Tom Cruise
9. Boris Said
8. Tommy Kendall
7. Paul Tracy
6. Bob Wolleck
5. Junior Johnson
4. Tony Stewart
3. Fireball Roberts
2. James Gardner
No. 1: P.L. Newman

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Speedy-dry

Recently I read some comments towards the pathetic LACK of interesting programming currently being run on the SPEED Channel, as I too agree that PINKS is a waste ‘O time… As wellas the Unique Whips marathons And a quick blast thru the upcoming programming revealed a further deluge of PINKS, Unique Whips, Novi Tuner Vision and Lucas Oil “On the Edge” filling out the daily line-ups…

Thus it’s hard to believe that it was just “Juan” year ago that I was watching the extended version of Grand Prix (the movie) on SPEED, as this included a lengthy pre-amble with the director and main man James Garner before the actual film started. Interspersed with the requisite overdose of commercials, the program was four hours long! Yet, how I’d sure like to see that movie again instead of 43 hours of PINKS!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where’s Santa?

So, once again, Santa seemed to forget my request for a Ferrari… Guess he knows who’s been naughty or nice? Probably just wouldn’t fit in his sleigh? Oh well, I suppose there’s always next year, eh?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Kringle


‘Twas the day before Christmas, when through all of the paddocks.
Not a motor was idling, not even a single Cosworth “Lump” could be heard.
The garages were swept and tidied with care, In hopes that Roger Penske soon would be there; The mechanics were nestled all snug in their beds.While visions of Championship bonuses danced in their heads. (Not to mention Helioe!)And “Princess” in her negligee, and Paul Tracy in his crash bucket, had just settled down for a quick tryst in the sack.
When out on the lawn there arose such a racket, ‘ol PT sprang from the bed to see what “TAG, Suitcase Servia, Whiney Bags and Bad Bobby D’ were groaning about.

Away to the window Tracy flew like a demon. Ran over the back markers and punted the Hamburgular clear outta the way.

The smoke from between Sea Bass’s ears. Glistened like a smoke signal, without a glow. When, what to PT’s wandering eyes should appear.But a Ferrari ENZO followed by an armada of Prancing Horses in tow.
The ENZO was piloted by an ex-Formula 1 driver, still brutally quick.That Tracy knew in an instant it must be Michael Schumacher.More rapid than a grid full of Bridgestone alternate “soft tyre” Formula 1 chassis in “Qualie Two” light fuel tanks mode. The seven times World Champion whistled and jeered, and called them by name;

Now, Mika now, Coulthard! Now, Rubinoe and Ralfanso!
On, Heinz-Harald! On Villeneuve! On Damion and Irvine!

To the front of the grid! To the head of the pack.
Now burn rubber, burn rubber baby, burn rubber quick!

As tyre tracks that leave ominous black streaks behind. While Herr Schumacher leaves another competitor far behind!

So up to the roof-top the Prancing Horses flew. With trunk loads of presents and Schuey too. And then, came a banshee wail of the ENZO, high atop the roof.

The revving and idling of each assorted Ferrari. As PT rubbed his hands. Down the chimney Schuey forlornly came. He was dressed all in Scuderia Red, from his head to his foot.And his Nomex driver’s suit was all tarnished with ashes and soot; an assortment of winning trophies, he’d stuffed into his back pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His rosy cheeks, how they glowed.
His hair as always was perfect, his jaw like a chisel! His lips clenched in a mischievous smirk. As the smile was reminiscent of a Cheshire cat;

The remains of a Cuban cigar hung limply from his teeth. As clouds of Smoke encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a taunt face and washboard abs. that still showed his youthful physique when he laughed at the dumbfounded PT. He was strong and fit as an ox, a festive and jolly elf; Thus Tracy could only laugh when he appeared
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head. Soon gave PT nothing to fear. As Schuey spoke nary a word, but went straight to his work. Filling all of the stockings with various racing trinkets. (Such as the 2002 Borg Warner Cup, a new two year contract signed by P.L. Newman & Carl Haas along with some of the Hamburgular’s secret winning sauce…)

Before PT could wipe away his astonishment, the famous German turned Quickly, laying his finger aside of his nose. And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his idling ENZO, and to his waiting minions gave a whistle. And the screeching of tortured Ferrari lumps could be heard as they burst away like rocket ships! But ‘ol PT heard him exclaim, as he power-slided out of sight;

"Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good-night."

Merry Christmas!
Tomaso

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bah Hum-bug

Otay, I know I’m supposed to be cheerily singin’ (In the Rain) gleeful Christmas songs, with tidings ‘O joy; Fa-la-la-lah-la, Buh-blah-blah-blah!

“You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

You really are a heel.You're as cuddly as a cactus.

you’re as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch!”


But every year it seems to get FRILLIN’ Worse, with the commercial BASTARDATION of the season now traditionally starting weeks prior to Turkey-Lurkey Day, as I swear I heard a FRILLIN’ X-Mas commercial the day after Halloween, SHEISA!
And putting off my holiday shopping until the absolute final moment, I was bemused to find out that “Juan ‘O” my favourite bands has given into this gross temptation.

Asking the friendly salesman to help me find a copy of the latest Eagles release; Long Road Out of Eden, I was chagrined to hear him reply you can only buy that at WALL $MART Sir…

“F’ing A” I grunted silently to myself and replied to the cashier; Oh you mean the Eagles have finally SOLD OUT!!! (Actually I think they did several years ago with there constant Farewell tours; Part 6, 9, and 43) And it was funny hearing’ the cashier trying to defend the Band.
saying it could be their record label? To which I shot back, the CD was produced by the band.
(Even worse; "it's a little bit Country and a little bit Rock 'N Roll!)
Oh whale; “it’s beginning to look a lot like Chri$tmas…”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Schuey’s Excellent Adventure continues

Although seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher appears to be most definitely “Permanently Retired” from Formula 1, the 38 year old German has been making quite a spectacle of himself lately by celebrating the holidays in non-traditional style.

Schuey decided to brush off the cobwebs by jumping aboard a “Real Scooter” in Valencia, Spain. You see this wasn’t Schuey’s normal bike of choice, as the German has a penchant for Harley’s.

Instead Michael was being handed over 2007 MOTO GP Champion Casey Stoner’s Ducati! Desmosedici GP7. Schuey showed up for testing the day after the MOTO GP’s season finale and ran a total of 58 laps, in what the German claimed was just for fun…

With a best lap time clocked at 1:37.89 seconds. “Astonishingly, the lap was just a nick above five seconds slower than Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa’s new lap record at the circuit, a lap he set while winning the Valencia MotoGP Grand Prix.

Talk about your power to weight ratios, as the Ducati GP7 V-4 800cc, 320lb two wheeler pumps out 200bhp, with a maximum velocity of 192mph! To which Michael said was much more enjoyable to ride over the 999cc Desmosedici he’d previously tested at the Mugello circuit in Italy.

Schumacher told MCN: “I remember the last time I was riding and I was about 15 seconds slower than what you could do, so I thought maybe I could run within 10 seconds that would be nice. But I’m just doing this for fun. I don’t want to race.”
And when asked to compare MotoGP with Formula 1, Schumacher replied: “It’s like being on the Earth and going to the moon.”

After coming back down to Planet Earth, Herr Schumacher blew the field away in Formula One’s first winter test, being fastest all three day’s in Jerez, Spain. Having had so much fun behind the wheel of his normal office confines, Schuey decided to take part in further Formula 1 testing at Barcelona, where the final day saw German countryman Sebastian Vettel top the time sheets.

In-between Formula 1 testing, Schumacher took part in ex-teammate Felipe Massa’s charity go-karting challenge held at the Ingleses kart track in Florianopolis, Brazil. Competing against the likes of Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello, Luciano Burti, Riccardo Zonta, Tony Kanaan, Roberto Moreno, Gil De Feran, etc.

Michael won the first heat, started 8th in the second heat, moving up to second place before finishing 6th, becoming this year’s winner of the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs, his first race outing since retiring from Formula 1.

Then needing to spend a little “Quality Time” with the family, Michael, wife Corina and their two daughters showed up in Coburg, Bavaria to retrieve their newest hoound. On the way back to the airport, apparently Michael found the cabbie’s pace a little too slow for his liking. Thus Michael enticed the cab driver into letting him take over the wheel and gave his passengers a white knuckle drive in order to make their apparently tight flight departure time.

Next Schumacher participated in this past weekend’s Race Of Champions (ROC) outing at Wembley stadium in London. With a crowd of 55,000 spectators looking on, Schuey defeated Henning Solberg in Round 1 in identically prepared specialty Solution F cars produced just for this event. Schuey climbed all the way to the finals in the individual competition. Where he squared-off against last year’s Champion of Champions Mattias Ekstrom.

Schuey ran into trouble, spinning in the final round of three races to finish runner-up to Ekstrom in the individual challenge.

Mattias Ekstrom:
"For me, Michael Schumacher is one of the world's greatest racers. To beat him in the same equipment is an incredible experience I won't forget for a long time," said the elated Swede after notching his back-to-back ROC titles.”

Schumacher had better luck in the Nation’s Cup challenge, beating reigning two time RASSCAR Champion Jimmy Johnson in round 1, before his teammate Sebastian Vettel carried the ball for the duo, winning the Cup title against Finland’s Marcus Gronholm. Schuey and Vettel celebrated by dancing on the roof of their Solution F mobile…

Ah, the lifestyles of the “Rich ‘N Famous!” Wonder what Michael will do next “Just for Fun, eh?”

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winter Follies

How many Andretti’s?Does it take to win the Indy 500? Err, to get to the center of a tootsie roll, eh? As I’ve just read that another Andretti is making his way towards the IRL and the Indy 500 in the not so distant future. As Adam Andretti (Hmm? Adam DON’T sound very Italian to me…) has just joined the Indy Pro Series full time with the brand new FuZion Team making its debut in the IPS in 2008…

Sunday DriveTalk ‘bout your Sunday morning drive, or as Mark Knopfler once sang; “Sunday driver never took a test; Only in the wild, wild West! So Casey Jones better slow that Engine down! Or more correctly Lewis Hamilton,

As “Jaguar” was nabbed by the Gendarmes Sunday morning (12/16/07) near the northern town of Laon, where the McLaren star was vrooming thru the countryside in his Mercedes Benz. The only problem for young “Louise” is that he was clocked at 196k/ph in a 130k/ph zone.

At first the Gendarme was unaware of whom the offending foreigner was, as the officer asked; Just who do you think you are Monsieur? Fernando Alonso?

Actually the police apparently had NO clue whom Hamilton was upon initial requesting of name, license, insurance papers… And Hamilton was relieved of $600 Euros for his offense along with having his license suspended for 30 days in France. But the Gendarmes said the Formula 1 youngster was extremely polite and cooperative during his traffic stop and has subsequently had the “Merc” two seater retrieved from impoundment…

So I’m wondering if Hamilton was groovin’ to “Money for nothing ‘N chicks for free when he was nambbed by those pesky Gendarmes. Perhaps this is why he couldn’t attend this year’s ROC?

Ferrari selling out?

Although I’ve previously mentioned the A1 GP’s “tie-up” with Ferrari beginning in 2008, also announced in the deal was the planned launch of A2 GP. This new “rung” of the World Cup of Motorsports is a regional single seater series which is to begin testing in 2009.

As with the A1 GP supply, Ferrari will be responsible for the design and supply of the A2 GP chassis, which will potentially be a competitor to the GP2 Asia series?

These single seaters will also be powered by Ferrari V-8’s, yet slightly detuned as the A1 GP cars will possess 600bhp vs. the A2 GP cars sporting 420bhp. And I’m fairly certain that the chassis will be manufactured by Dallara, thus seeing Ferrari’s expenditures staying in Italy…

GP2’s Five year plan

The GP2 series has announced that the current 13 entrants will contest the series for the next five years. (2008-12) Left out of the announcement was the purchasing of GP2 by CVC Capital Partners,Which currently owns Formula 1. This takeover solidifies the formal linking between GP2 and F1.

Although GP2 was originally designed as a cost savings series, it’s rumoured that the series is twice as expensive as F3000, the series it replaced.

And with A1 GP’s new link between Ferrari, its unknown if the GP2 Asia series will now be needed? As speculation suggests the series is having a hard time finding potential teams due to the projected high costs of competing in GP2 Asia.

Although the series is scheduled to debut in 2008 with Emperor Bernardo’s Super Car series, as well as being a support series for two upcoming Grand Prix’s. Will this simply become part of an extended GP2 season while going head to head with the upcoming A2 GP series?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rosa Luna


Ironically, I penned the story about Rafael Sperfico’s death this past Friday, thus it was with great sadness that I learned of Rosa Luna’s much too early death upon being struck by an errant motor vehicle last Thursday.

Ok, I realize that its NOT the same thing as a Human being passing away, nor does it compare to the current atrocities occurring in the world, yet Rosa Luna was special to me.

Most likely (If you’re still reading?) are probably wondering just who the Hell is Rosa Luna? Well she was a fantastic German Sheppard/Cattle Dog mix whom accompanied Mary Ellen during her far too short existence on this planet.

Also sometimes known as LUNA-TIC, Luna was an amazing animal, whose unbridled spirit brought great amusement and joy to those who came in contact with her.

Having just made the trek to Canada this past week, I had the privilege of going for one last glorious walk in the woods with Luna, whom truly loved to run as fast as possible and play with anybody or any animal that she came into contact with. Even having gone into the cold Frasier River several times on our “Walk About.”

As I lay down for my evening’s slumber, I had to laugh be-smerchingly at that DAMN Dog, while wiping the dirt left from the day’s trek when Luna had sneakily laid down upon my temporary bedding, as Luna was always the Boss!

Thus it was with great sadness that I received the telephone call Saturday afternoon from the Great White North informing me of Luna’s untimely death, as she was still only a pup in spirit and perhaps two years old?

And I know it’s not how Elvis intended;

but “I’ll have a Blue, Blue Christmas without you: Luna!

Hammer Time

After his baptism by fire in Sepang, Michael “The Hammer” Ammermueller bounced back in dominating style during this past weekend’s A1 GP outing in China. As Hammer-Muller captured his first pole position for the Sprint race, while series point leader Team Switzerland’s Neal Jani claimed second with Team Ireland’s Adam Carroll in third.

Jani then turned up the wick in the qualifying 4 session, capturing the pole for the Feature race, with Team GBR’s Oliver Jarvis snatching second, while Team India’s Narain Karthikeyan slotted into third and the Hammer dropped to fifth for the main event.

The Chinese round was the inaugural running on the Zhuhai International Circuit, which was originally intended for hosting a Formula 1 event, but was quickly forgotten upon Shanghai’s claiming of the Chinese Grand Prix in 2003. Zhuhai has struggled to land a mainstream event with the stillborn Champ Car race slipping thru the cracks before finally enticing the A1 GP series to race on its track after eleven years of existence.

Thus, all 22 nations were starting on a “level” playing field, since none of the teams had any previous experience at the track. On Sunday morning Ammermueller went on to lead the Sprint race wire to wire, claiming his very first victory in A1 GP competition, vindicating his over-aggressive “Panzer” driving style during the previous Malaysian event. Jani finished second while A1 Team China’s Cheng Cong Fu thrilled the crowds by taking the team’s first podium this season. The crowds went wild as Cheng Cong Fu was speechless over his third place finish.

Ironically during the Feature race, Hammer-Muller got pushed wide and dropped several places while Jarvis and Jani fought over the lead. Then New Zealand’s Johnny “Lightning” Reed and Malaysia’s Alex Yooung had another collision, which sent Yooung hard into the wall, thus requiring another safety car period during the day’s action.

Team GBR and Switzerland both encountered problems in the pits, which gave Team India’s Narain Karthikeyan the lead. Recall that Karthikeyan has spent time in Formula 1, first as a race driver for the declining Jordan Grand Prix team before becoming a test driver for Williams. Although Karthikeyan’s F1 aspirations seem to be fading into the sunset, Narain hung onto his lead in the Feature race and went on to score Team India’s very first victory in A1 GP.

New Zealand finished second with South Africa rounding out the podium, all the time being hounded by eventual fourth place finisher Team Germany’s Ammermuller. “Home Boy Cheng Cong Fu finished ninth after incurring a drive thru penalty for speeding in the pits. The series now goes on holiday until the New Year, which will see the debut of the second generation Dallara-Ferrari Ferrari’s…

Point standings after 4 of 11 events:
1. Switzerland, 79; 2. France, 60; 3. New Zealand, 59; 4. Great Britain, 48; 5. South Africa, 47; 6. Netherlands, 41; 7. Ireland, 39; 8. Germany, 37; 9. China, 28; 10. India, 27; 11. Brazil, 22;
12. Mexico, 17; 13. Canada, 10; 14. Czech Republic, 10; 15. Italy, 4. (19. USA, 2)

Here comes the Bride-Postscript

Talk about your incentive to come back to the fold… As SPEED’s resident red head (Nicole Manske) read from the teleprompter that Spanish newspapers are speculating that Renault will pay Ferdi the Putz a GROSS salary of $53 million per year for the next two seasons!

Let’s see, skip the wedding cake, pass the Dom Paragon and go directly to the bank, so much for Honeymoons, eh?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kovalainen confirmed at McLaren

Not surprisingly, upon Renault’s announcement of its 2008 driver pairing, Heikke Kovalainen has been quickly snatched up by McLaren to partner rookie phenom Lewis Hamilton for 2008.

McLaren confirmed the young Finn’s appointment to the seat last Friday, with Heikke being inked to a long term contract. This announcement was followed by the usual PR Speak.

Heikke Kovalainen:
"I am so excited to join a team like Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. So far I have been blown away by the dedication and commitment to winning which is clear through the entire organization and I am really excited about our joint future. As a Finn it’s an honour for me to follow in Mika and Kimi’s footsteps. I haven’t really spent a lot of time with Lewis so far but from what I know I think we will work well together and do our best for the team."

Here comes the Bride


Although it had long been rumoured that Fernando Alonso would rejoin Renault for 2008, the deal has finally been “consummated.” As Team Boss Flavour Flav had previously suggested that it was a 60% certainty that “They’d kiss ‘N Make-up.”

Many pundits thus speculated that Ferdi the Putz would simply stay on “Holiday” until the FIA ruled on the “Reggie’s” infidelities, while Flavio stated that their previous history gave Renault the inside track towards reunighting with the Spaniard. (Prior to the WMSC’s meeting on Dec. 6th)

On November 19th while speaking to Italy’s ANSA Radio, Flav proclaimed that; “Renault would definitely have different drivers next year, [and] there’s a 60 percent chance Alonso will be with us.”

Briatore further commented: “When you marry, split up and get back together it is not easy, [but] we have the intention of finding a solution. This week will be decisive for the marriage."He can choose and he knows us. Last year he chose McLaren and made a mistake. We often forget these are 25-year-olds who have never lived their youths. They'd prefer to stay at home with their auntie than to go doing promotional work in Bangladesh or in Tokyo. Alonso knows us from a human point of view and that is important. The last season has been difficult for him. It may have even changed his personality. We'll talk; I want to see where he wants to go.
At McLaren he arrived as the world champion and he was put in competition against a rookie driver: that way the relationship inside a team is put in danger. You can't have two prima-donnas inside a team. You need to get behind one of the drivers."We have an advantage because we know him. Between today and the day after tomorrow it will be decided.”

Also long rumoured has been the suggestion that Briatore had promised Nelson Piquet Jr. a race seat for 2008, thus it was of little surprise when Renault confirmed that Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr. would be the teams racing drivers for 2008, which sees Heikki Kovalainen being shoved out of his Renault drive.

With Toyota seemingly having secured its 2008 driver line-up, it appears the only reasonable seat left is McLaren. Which would fit Ron Dennis’s philosophy of hiring Finnish drivers.

Yet I find Flavio’s comments about putting Alonso with a rookie driver dangerous; HILLARIOUS, since this is exactly what he’s done for 2008… And don’t even get me started on the Prima Donna quip! Also isn’t it funny to hear the Italian playboy talking about long term relationships? “Hey Flav, how’d things work out with Heidi Klum, eh?”

Bully Boys

In the wake of the World Motor Sport Council’s “NO Decision” against Renault, I find it disturbing that the FIA has filed a libel lawsuit against The Sunday Times in regards to columnist Martin “Billy Bob” Brundles outspokenness in regards to the travesty known as “Spy Gate.”

As Brundle rightly states; He’s given enough blood, sweat ‘N tears as a former Formula 1 driver to be able to give his opinion on the sport.

Apparently “MAD Max,” Emperor Bernardo and the FIA didn’t appreciate the Englishman’s tongue lashing they so rightly deserved in deference to the mockery of their handling over “Stepney-Gate” this past September. Yet “Billy Bob” hasn’t backed down and wrote his rightful opinions the past weekend in regards to the frivolous lawsuit and pathetic handling of Renault’s lack of any penalty…

To read more, See: Brundle makes a Point

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rafael Sperafico

Isn’t it sad how some drivers are afforded less attention then others, even in death? As I suppose it’s near impossible to keep track of and pronounce every racing driver’s untimely passing.

Nevertheless I was unaware of Rafael Sperafico’s untimely passing until coming upon the story buried in the mostly unread sections of a particular website.

At the youthful age of 27, Rafael was killed while competing in the final round of the Brazilian Stock Car Light Championship at the Interlagos circuit. Rafael’s cousins Ricardo and Alex Sperafico were both ex-Champ Car competitors, while cousin Rodrigo was the fourth member of best known Sperafico racers, of which 10 have competed in various forms of motor racing.

With Rafael running second, upon loosing control his car careened back onto the track directly in the path of oncoming competitors and died instantly upon being struck directly on the driver’s side of his race car. Ironically the accident occurred in the very same corner as Fernando Alonso’s heaviest Formula 1 crash to date, which occurred during the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix.

“The race was red-flagged and terminated at the spot. The Stock Car Light championship is a feeding series to Brazil’s top racing rung, the Copa Nextel Stock Car, where several ex-international drivers like Antonio Pizzonia, Ricardo Zonta, Tarso Marques, Enrique Bernoldi, Luciano Burti and Hoover Orsi compete. On the Nextel race that preceded the Light event, Rafael's cousin Rodrigo Sperafico finished fourth to clinch this year's runner-up title…”

Acura stepping up ALMS campaign

While Honda currently is the sole supplier to Tony G’s ‘lil ol racin’ series, the Japanese auto giant is currently upgrading its two other major racing programs, Formula 1 and the American Le Mans Series.

Obviously the verdict is still out on its beleaguered Formula 1 team’s recent signing of ex-Ferrari stalwart Ross Brawn as their new Team Principal, but hopefully Brawn can turn things around for “Jense’s” sake.

Meanwhile in the American Le Mans Series, which is a somewhat forgotten entity, as Sports cars have also been struggling along under a divided category, pitting the “High Tech” ALMS vs. the “Racin’ is rubbin’ UGLY Duckling” Grand Am Rolex series…

Andretti Green Racing has just announced the signing of ex-Formula 1 pilot Christian Fittipaldi to its 2008 American Le Mans LMP2 driver’s line-up. Fittipaldi made 40 F1 starts for back markers Arrows and Minardi before moving to Champ Car and ultimately Endurance racing. Fittipaldi has won both the Rolex 24 (Daytona 24hrs) and 24 Hours of Spa, as well as competing in the 24 Heurs du Mans. Last year he drove an Aston Martin DBR9 for Team Modena. Fittipaldi will partner Bryan “High Speed Hurdles” Herta for the 2008 season.

And Adrian Fernandez will now campaign an Acura ARX-01b chassis for his sophomore season in the ALMS LMP2 category in 2008. Fernandez joins AGR and Highcroft Racing whom campaigned the chassis this season, with AGR scoring a class victory in its debut at the 12 hours of Sebring. These moves are in hopes of getting onto equal footing with the currently dominant Porsche Spyder’s, which have been scoring multiple overall victories in the ALMS series…

Kanaan races at Suzuka

While Tony Kanaan’s “best friend” Helioe Castroneves has been busy carving up the dance floors, TK was winging his way across the Pacific Ocean to Japan.

Kanaan was the invited guest of Honda, given the chance to take part in the Formula Nippon race at Suzuka, where Kanaan found himself at a disadvantage, not having done any standing starts in 12 years. After qualifying 18th, TK steadily worked his way forward and finished a very respectable sixth place in the 51 lap event. Kanaan said he’d really like to be able to compete again next year and hopefully have some added practice time before the race…

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blind Justice

While the bombs have been bursting! And Scott Sharp, “Booby Ruble” (B. Rahal) and the King of Late Night comedy David Letterman have been engaged in spin the bottle charades…

“MAD” Max Mosley, the FIA and the WMSC have been busy their selves with the recent acquittal of Renault, as apparently Flavour Flav has successfully played his Get OUT of Jail Free card…

With Renault being complicit of having broken the FIA’s sporting rule 151C, of which McLaren was previously found guilty of doing and subsequently fined $100 million and stripped of all 2007 Constructor’s points. Surely Renault would face similar draconian penalties having loaded proprietary McLaren technical documents onto its internal computers.

Yet incredulously the WMSC while having found Renault guilty of said offenses (Sporting regulation 151C) has levied ZERO penalties against the French owned team, to which I find absolutely ridiculous! Ok, so Renault & Briatore may have been blustering about walking away from the sport, but c’mon, NO penalty? At the very least Renault should have been stripped of their 2007 Constructor’s points a la McLaren.

As much as I think Ron Dennis & Co. got their just rewards for such Machiavellian doings in regards to Stepney-Gate, one ultimately must declare that the WMSC is being totally UNFAIR in the handing out of punishments of both teams’ offenses.

Adding further insult to injury is the World Motor Sport Council’s decision to keep McLaren on “Double Secret Probation” until Valentine’s Day (2008) while the Reggie is free to go about the business of copying outdated McLaren designs.

As Kojak would say, “Who LUVS yuh Baby?”

Sebastian joins Schuey

And if not busy enough already with his upcoming testing schedule, seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher will contest this year’s Race Of Champions(ROC) at Wembley stadium on December 16th. Joining Herr Schumacher for “Team Germany” will be none other than the latest German “Wunderkind” Sebastian Vettel, whom led Scuderia Toro Rosso’s very first Grand Prix this season at Mount Fuji.

Vettel also scored Toro Rosso’s highest points finish to date, finishing fourth place in China. This result along with teammate Vitantonnio Luzzi’s sixth place finish catapulted STR past Honda in the overall Constructor’s championship.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh Canada!

ACK! Another bleak, grizzly, COLD, WET, Grey, Gloomy day here in the Pacific Northwest… While I was away playing’ Up North, eh? I see that my Most EXCELLENT Blogmeister has restored the site back to working order!

And perhaps it’s just me, but it was a bit galling to go from the cozy, warm confines of Arizona’s 75+ degrees (F) to the “Artic” climes of Vancouver, BC’s +3 degrees (C/21F)

And even more disheartening is the PATHETIC Border crossing… If you’re driving a car, you simply drive up to the Customs Agent booth, hand your papers, *Papers, We DON’T need NO stinkin’ papers!) Answer a few obligatory questions and drive off. But if you’re going Greyhound, (Which is perpetually LATE!) you’ve got to perform a whole different routine. First you have to disembark the bus with your belongings. Then gather your bags from the driver and go inside the customs office and stand in a really LONG line… Then you have to wait for the agents to show up, while the bomb sniffing dog nudges your back pack along with sniffing you… Err, your bags. Then its time for being grilled over the coals upon your reason for ingressing/egressing the States, before putting all of your bags thru an X-Ray machine. So we were only one hour LATE due to this extravagant border crossing procedure, as it will only get WORSE the closer we get to the 2010 Winter Olympics…

As Carmen sez; Blame KANA-DUH!

(Although the entry into the US is way more arduous then going to Canada…)

Soo-Eeeee!!!

In case you thought I was being too harsh towards Champ Car recently, fear not, as the Indy Racing League has their own issues to deal with.

Perhaps you’re not aware of the Scott Sharp/Patron vs. Rahal/Letterman Racing contretemps? In a case of who SUED whom? Sharp, Tequila sponsor Patron and RLR have engaged in a multiple round robin of “spy vs. Spy,” err Lawsuit vs. Counter Lawsuit in their ongoing dispute of contractual mischievous…

While Sharp claims that RLR has been phoning in its IRL efforts with recent staff cuts and lack of testing, Bobby Rahal claims that Sharp cannot simply walk from the team due to having a contract for 2008. Makes you wonder just what Rahal’s other sponsor Ethanol thinks about the whole sorted mess, eh? I mean talk about being full ‘O corn… Hmm, me thinks its time to pass me that bottle of Mescal… Wonder who’s gonna eat the worn?

Meanwhile, according to SPEED’s Robin Miller, Champ Car is perhaps on the verge of making its largest BLUNDER yet! As there appears to be rumours of Forsythe Petitt Racing having sent Paul “Chrome Horn” Tracy an email stating that if he didn’t renegoiate his contract for 2008 he could be given his walking papers.

With the Hamburgular having jumped to Formula 1, Justin Wilson currently without a ride, Champ Car is now flirting with dumping its MOST Popular driver… What in the HELL is Gerry Forsythe thinking? If this occurs, it may be too late to pull out the paddles and shock Champ Car back to respectability! While Indy Car is currently riding the wave of Helioe’s dancing shoes performances. OUCH!

C’Mon Champ Car… PULL YOUR HEADS OUT!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

HOLY JOKER PLAYING CARD, BATMAN!

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->WOW! WHAT A FREAKIN’ NIGHTMARE!!! Sorry for the site’s sporadic behaviour the past few dazes! <!--[endif]-->
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->As I’ve previously mentioned (If the story has finally shown up?) My Blogmeister has spent the past few days TIRELESSLY working thru a litany of Technical Difficulties regarding the intricacies of how the FRILLING Internet works… <!--[endif]-->
Apparently Blogger.com did NOT enjoy my story titled Tora Tora Tora! As it appears that not only did the Zero’s strike Hickman Field 66 years ago on December 7th, <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->but have also strafed the No Fenders site, knocking it clean off the map multiple times… <!--[endif]-->
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->And I’m still guessing that Go Daddy DON’T like me calling their top pitchman, err pitchwoman “Princess!” <!--[endif]-->
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->Hopefully No Fenders will be back to regular broadcasting for the foreseeable future. KUDOS Blogmeister!!! Who’s spent hour after hour trying to rectify the Blogger (Coding ‘N Scripting issues) before completely rebuilding the site… <!--[endif]-->
This Bud’s for you!

Web Site Changes

We have been forced re-install the blogger script due to errors that we encountered with the blogger platform. We appologize for the time the site was down this weekend. Racing links and site navigation links as well as site graphics will be coming online as we recover from this most excellent experience. In the meantime, posts will continue as usual. Thank you for your continued support!

Technical Support Team
http://www.nofenders.net/

Friday, December 7, 2007

TORA TORA TORA!!!

WOW! What a FREAKIN’ Entertaining day today has been! First of all sorry for the site being down for the last 6+ hours…

As I’ve just spent the entire day working thru a litany of Technical Difficulties regarding the intricacies of how the FUCKING Internets work…

Apparently Blogger.com did NOT enjoy my story titled Tora Tora Tora! As it appears that not only did the Zero’s strike Hickman Field 66 years ago today but also strafed the No Fenders site…

With the help of my MOST EXCELLENT Blogmeister along with being bamboozled by “Techno-Babble” from 5 different Tech Support DORKNOES @ Go Daddy… I’ve learned way more about coding and scripting issues then I ever wanted too know!

So where did all of the data go? Is it on the server? Is it in the index file? Did you change the script? How do you publish the story? Sounds like it’s a Blogger issue, since we DON’T have access into your account Sir… Who’s on first? What’s on Second? Did Helioe really WIN the Dancin’ with FOOLS contest… Oh Never Mind!

After all of that, my Blogmeister resolved the issue on his own!

Hmm? Perhaps Go Daddy doesn’t like me calling their top pitchman, err pitchwoman “Princess,” eh?

KUDOS Blogmeister!

Toyota automobile Museum

While visiting Japan, my good friend Yutaka took me to the Toyota Automobile Museum, which was about an hour’s drive from his home in Nagoya, as I’d previously learned about the museum while watching an episode of Car Krazy with Barry McGuire.

And what a wonderful museum it is. Very nicely designed, it features three stories, spaciously laid out with escalators in a sun lit atrium running up the middle of the floors. Stepping off the escalator you’re able to view the fast collection of automobiles (120) housed on either side of the building.

The entry features a replica of the very first Toyota automobile, the 1936 Toyota AA, which was re-created from original drawings. Stepping off of the escalator, on the second floor is another replica, this being the very first “Horseless Carriage,” better known as the Benz Patent Motorwagen of 1886.

The floor starts with an offering of vehicles displayed in diorama style with various period related artifacts, i.e.; magazines, books, photos, prints, paintings, etc. interspersed with various automobiles. There was an olive green US Army WWII Willys Jeep, Nissan Skyline, Porsche 911 and a Toyota 7.

Isn’t it interesting to travel around the world in order to discover an automobile you’ve never heard of or seen? As I was totally unaware of the fantastic looking Toyota 7, which seemed quite similar to the all conquering McLaren Can Am cars of the late 1960’s. As this beautiful “two seater” race car was built as Toyota’s entry for the Japanese Grand Prix, which were originally Sports Car races, (196x-7x) as the first Formula 1 race wasn’t held at Mount Fuji Speedway until 1976.

The Toyota 7 was built to Group 7 standards, which were the FIA rules for (Can Am) sports car racing; hence I suppose the simple moniker of “7,” as this was part of Toyota’s evolution of racing machinery.

And I have to say it’s a very beautiful car, as Yutaka and I stood transfixed at it while his daughter Riona wanted us to hurry up! This would be the first of two Toyota 7’s on display… As we were drooling over the original non-turbocharged prototype, which featured a 3.0 liter V-8.

Finally moving on, there were various Japanese vehicles along with an eclectic array of European and US pre-war vehicles, before we took the escalator to the third floor. This floor is totally dedicated to Japanese vehicles and it was here that I finally got to see a Toyota 2000GT in person! This car as well as the original Datsun 240Z thru the early model 280Z seems to draw much inspiration from the Ferrari 250 GTO…

The Toyota 2000GT was Japan’s first true sports car, which totally changed the world’s perception of Japanese automobile design. A bi-product of this extremely low produced vehicle (337 units) was Toyota’s decision to go motor racing with it. (Along with building two faux convertible versions for use by Sean Connery in the 1967 James Bond movie; “You Only live Twice.”)

Toyota hired some “Texan,” none other than ‘ol “Shel” himself, to turn the little cars into race winners. Although Carroll Shelby had run the tables during his long standing relationship with the Ford Motor Co. (Cobra, Daytona, GT40, GT 350, Trans Am) Shelby had mixed results in the SCCA’s C Production class in 1968 and simply ran out of Snake Oil, with Toyota pulling the plug after only one year of racing.

There was also a second Toyota 7 on display, this one being the twin turbocharged “Monster” 800bhp, 5.0 liter V-8 car built for the 1970 season, but was never raced. “Oh, What a Feeling!” The Toyota 7 is simply AWESOME…

Then we went back down to the main floor to have lunch at the museum’s restaurant, which even had silverware for us to use, as I’m quite rusty with chopsticks…

After lunch, we walked to the museum’s Annex, via a short bridge walkway, which led us into a cavernous single story room which was filled with every sort of item relating to the culture of the automobile and Japan. There was another Willys Jeep along with several “Micro Cars,” large 1/5th diecast models, bicycles, trucks, pictures, trinkets, etc. There were several diorama style settings with a single car parked inside “C” shaped rooms with related artifacts. There was even a large scale model of a “Series 100” Bullet Train engine… (As I’d ridden on my very first Bullet Train to go to Yutaka’s, informing me I’d ridden on a “Series 700.”) As we walked towards the final vehicle, it reminded me very much of a cross between a Shelby GT350 & Mustang II. It was a 1975 Celica lift back.

Next we visited the extremely “Pricey” gift shop, where Riona purchased a small RC mini-van, which we spent several minutes driving around the living room later that evening.

After the Automobile Museum, Yutaka drove us to the Toyota Introduction Center, which is a vast two story building nearby one of the company’s assembly plants. The center of the building is a large room with several new Toyota’s parked for people to try out. This reminds me of going to the Auto Show, yet it’s not nearly as crowded or rushed. There was even a mini-van which side doors close automatically!

Then Yutaka pointed out the two Toyota TF105 Formula 1 cars on display, which I was immediately drawn to. One was quite interesting as it had been turned into a “cut-away” car. For some strange reason the Jarno Trulli chassis had Ralf Schumacher’s crash bucket on its side pod…

After viewing these extensively, we walked thru a corridor which led to a monstrous room that was filled with floor to ceiling projection screens flanking all three sides of the room. There we stood watching the various videos played of the different sequences of producing a vehicle. There was: Painting, Assembly, Welding, etc. And I’m still trying to figure out how I can get a room like this for watching the Grand Prix’s!

There were further displays, like a miniature assembly line model, a prototype 4Runner Fuel Cell vehicle, A smashed up Lexus & Toyota, etc. All this just on the first floor as the second floor is closed on weekends…

Tora Tora Tora!

With today being “A Day of Infamy!” I thought it only appropriate to post
Something loosely relating to our Japanese brethren, since 66 years ago the course of history was forever changed…

(If I’m really clever I’ll have this up by 7:55AM, which I believe is when the initial wave of Zero’s & Kate’s appeared over their intended targets…)

The pictures were originally intended for the story Time Stands Still, which I posted on Veteran’s Day, but my “CONFUZERr” was having “Issues (Technical Difficulties) and hence I’m posting them today instead…

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Arizona Postscript

Ah, isn’t it wonderful when you tell the Airline check-in “Ticket-Jockey” that you hope it snows while you’re away playing in the sunny, warm climes of Arizona… And if there was any silver lining in Champ Car canceling its planned inaugural Phoenix Grand Prix slated for the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 2. It had to be missing out on the massive deluge of rainfall which would have surely cancelled qualifying at the very least.

While Washington and Oregon State were declaring emergencies due to 120mph Hurricane blast winds, snowfall, flooding and a massive pelting of precipitation, with 3 to 6+ inches blanketing the coastlines and outlying towns, Bremerton was flooded with a humongous 10.8 inches! Which would certainly help Georgia along with other parts of the south and southwest that are currently experiencing droughts.

Yet Arizona, known as the Valley of the Sun did not escape the storm as it too was hammered by record amounts of rainfall, as fortunately we sat inside listening and watching the sheets of rainfall flooding the entire backyard as gallons of water spilled off the roof, while nearly overflowing the swimming pool! Scottsdale was deluged by a record 3 inches of the wet stuff in a scant half day, breaking the mark that had stood for 25 years…

Alas, as its almost time to return back home to the “Artic” climes of Seattle, things are pleasantly back to normal in the Arizona desert, having just returned from another enjoyable hike out in the North Mountain Preserve, where we ran across the most amazing sight.

Off in the distance against the ridgeline were a vast pack of horses with about 50 saddled stallions being ridden by a group of women. As we continued our hike the posse of horses suddenly reversed course upon us, appearing to be headed back our way. So we attempted to hightail it back to the trail’s heading before we were overtaken by the stampede of prattling women… As we could hear their banter and the sounds of hoof beats as they closed the distance to us. Finally we attempted to take a side trail, yet we were unable to outrun our pursuing posse ‘O saddled mares… And thus we finally had to stop, sitting down upon some discarded concrete blocks while waiting for the entire posse of 50+ female riders to pass us; which is a sight I’ve never seen before… As some of the lady folk even said “Howdy” too us while we were waiting for the heard to pass.

Reaching our vehicle to return home, we were once again cut off by the massive gathering of horses, before we were allowed to pass. Further down the street we encountered “Trailer-City” where both sides of the street as well as every open spot were filled with horse trailers awaiting the return of their precious cargo.

Blending back into traffic we noticed a sign saying “Arizona Cowgirls.” (This way) Ah-Ha! We’d just been overtaken by the Arizona Cowgirls Pardner… But make NO mistake these Arizona Cowgirls had nothing in common with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, as suddenly the Beach Boys tune "I wish they all could be California girls" pops into my head…

Champ Car MIA

For the past week I’ve been enjoying another very pleasant holiday in Scottsdale, AZ. The trip had originally been planned to coincide with this year’s inaugural Phoenix Grand Prix, which I’d been looking forward to attending, as it was to be Champ Cars seasons finale in the “Valley of the Sun,” Sadly Champ Car was forced to pull the plug on this event, well actually the promoter’s pulled the plug since they didn’t want to loose anymore of their own money! Of course I’d learned of this decision just days after purchasing my airplane ticket to Arizona. (BASTARDOES!) This leads me to ponder the “just completed” season of Champ Car… (Wondering’ how it went overall?) With the “official” tally for cancelled races being three this year, which certainly cannot do much for one’s credibility! Yet the Indianapolis based operation managed to complete another season, albeit with some major speed bumps along the way! As the three events cancelled was the stillborn China race, which has now been cancelled three years in a row… Or has never gotten off the ground, although Roberto Moreno did indeed run demonstration laps aboard the DP-01 at the Zhuhi circuit. Denver lost its temporary street circuit event around the Pepsi Center, which ironically had “stolen” Vancouver, BC’s traditional Labor Day calendar spot… While Phoenix scrapped its planned street race around the Downtown corridor. Perhaps they were worried about Sherriff Joe blocking the track when he couldn’t stand the noise anymore? Then there were the two INSIDIOUSLY LONG schedule breaks… The first six weeks coming this spring while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was garnering “All” of the media attention with their annual Month of May festivities… Overly hyped with the arrival of Danny B’s favourite IRL addition. None other than Milka Duno… The second six weeks break was self-inflicted by Champ Car who STUPIDLY aired both European rounds on ESPN Classic. Hey, doesn’t everybody get that freakin’ channel? (Way to go Comca$t) And it seemed almost foreign to me to sit down and finally watch the Surfers Paradise event via tape on November 3rd. Which means I hadn’t viewed a Champ Car race in two plus months… Although the event “Down Under” was fairly entertaining, since I’d just assumed that The Hamburgular had run away and hid while stealing his 30th Champ Car victory… Yet he’d actually had to work for it, before dusting off Justin Wilson once again, whom theoretically will replace Sea Bass next season? On the flip side the Panoz DP-01 acquitted itself fairly well in its maiden season, albeit a few teething issues with fuel tanks, gearboxes, etc. Not to mention a freakish low speed crash to series “Star” Paul Tracy. And Champ Car unveiled standing starts at Portland this season, which cut down on the number of first corner pile-ups, along with giving us some spirited competition… Alas, nobody seemed capable of beating that DAMN Hamburgular! And with the release of the 2008 schedule, along with Champ Car possibly solidifying its driver line-ups? Perhaps next years championship will be “Muchoe Better!”

Monday, December 3, 2007

Evel Knievel

As many of you may know, the world’s greatest daredevil, none other than Robert “Evel” Knievel has passed away at the age of 69. Evel apparently died due to complications caused by Hepatitis C that he contacted thru one of his countless blood transfusions during his 16-17 operations.

Late last evening by accident, I was able to tune into a radio show I’ve never heard before. (Although I’ve seen it on the SPEED Channel) I got to listen to the Speed Freaks TV show via my “liddle ‘ol” Walkman radio. And it was hilarious as they played back the “Best” 20 minutes chunk of a 45-minute interview they’d done with the legend from six year’s ago. Along with a wonderful interview with J.C. Agajanian Jr., who told two quick but wonderful stories of his father’s dealings with Evel.

The “Juan” I enjoyed best was about a 50-car pyramid that Evel jumped in the Los Angeles Coliseum, which included a “teaser” demolition derby with pristine luxury cars… Such as Rolls Royce, Jaguar’s, etc.

Now these cars which had been used as part of the promotion had been “tweaked” for demolition derby duty, i.e.; all glass removed, fuel tanks drained and disconnected, etc. Driving the white Rolls was none other than Bobby “Slippery Liquids” Unser, whom managed to get the Rolls, stuck on one of the courses hay bales. Supposedly ‘ol Bobby was so infuriate with this that he got out of the car, disconnected the fuel line from the “Jerry cans” in the rear seat… Which immediately sent fuel flowing everywhere into the rear of the burl wood appointed Rolls. Then Bobby lit a match and threw it into the rear seat of the doused Rolls which immediately set the classic car onto fire… To which J.C. claims made every single newswire around the world with photos of this “”Dumb Yokel Yank’s” Rolls engulfed in flames!

Meanwhile, after the conclusion of the demolition festivities all of the cars were dragged into the center of the Coliseum where ramps had been built to the upper reaches of the stadium atop the seating, which Evel utilized to successfully clear the 50-car pyramid…

This was just “Juan ‘O” the countless exploits of the legendary No. 2 “Bad Ass” Evel Knievel, who’ll be truly missed…



Forsythe and Pettit join forces

Surprisingly Gerald Forsythe has just announced that he’ll be joining forces with Dan Pettit, formerly of RuSports to form Forsythe Pettit Racing.

Dan Pettit was originally the “P” in PKV Racing, a joint venture between Pettit, Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven, who’s one of the original three co-owners who bought CART when it went into bankruptcy and beat Tony George’s rival bid.

Kalkhoven along with Forsythe then subsequently bought Cosworth Engineering from the Ford Motor Company to ensure a stable supply of the venerable Ford/Cosworth turbocharged
V-8 engines powering the newly renamed Champ Car series.

When Carl Russo decided to leave Champ Car at the end of 2006, Champ Car was in peril of loosing one of its premiere teams with star drive Justin Wilson, thus Kalkhoven talked his business partner and new part co-owner of Champ Car Pettit into purchasing the RuSports team.

Then unexpectedly Pettit decided to join forces with Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports team, with the two teams running single car entries, yet sharing paddock space together along with pooling engineering resources. Gentilozzi who was the third original co-owner of Champ Car had previously ran a string of “Pay” drivers to fill the second seat of his two car operation, yet both Gentilozzi and Pettit, who’s RuSports team was also a two car entity apparently had been unable to find sponsorship for their team’s second car and thus decided to form RSPORTS with Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani as the teams two drivers.

Although I missed “The Memo,” apparently Pettit and Gentilozzi discontinued their partnership towards the end of this year’s season, which has caused some major strife with RuSports title sponsor CDW, as rumours have abounded that CDW was potentially leaving Champ Car?

Meanwhile Gerry Forsythe had originally threatened to run only a single car entry this season in Champ Car for series star Paul Tracy as he was tired of funding a two car team out of his own pocket, having been unable to find any corporate sponsorship for the teams second car. Shockingly Forsythe Championship Racing started the season with Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez announced as Tracy’s teammate for the first three races. Recall that Super Mario (?) had been FIRED from Forsythe the previous season after twice taking out team leader Paul “Sand Dune” Tracy…

Oriel Servia was then drafted into the team as Tracy’s substitute while recuperating from his back injury suffered during practice at Long Beach. Servia subsequently became Dominguez’s replacement (on a race-by-race basis) upon PT’s return to racing at Portland. Yet “Suitcase” Servia was rudely sent packing for the season’s final two races to make way for Mexican “Home Boy” David Martinez in order to hopefully draw spectators to the Mexico City season finale.

With the season over and both Pettit and Forsythe having endured the rigors of running struggling teams, the decision was made to join forces, thus the creation of Forsythe Pettit Racing which will be based out of Forsythe’s Indianapolis shop, thus effectively ending operations at the former RuSports base in Colorado. Interestingly nothing was mentioned in the press release about either teams marquee drivers Wilson or Tracy, as Wilson has been widely thought to be the Hamburgular’s replacement at Newman Haas Lanigan. So it’ll be interesting to see where Wilson lands, as he seems to be the top domino in the Champ Car driver market currently.

In a further bit of Champ Car news, Kevin “Glass Half Full” Kalkhoven is currently involved in a shareholder lawsuit in regards to his previous Silicon Valley business, which fortunes allowed Kalkhoven to purchase Champ Car and Cosworth. Interestingly I believe that Pettit was also in “cahoots” with Kalkhoven, yet seems to have been left out of the lawsuit. Hmm? Why does all of this news make me think of the song “The future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.” Then again perhaps if Champ Car can shore up its existing teams, stabilize its schedule and have more than 17 cars on the grid next season, Shades may be actually required?