Thursday, April 3, 2008

Open Wheel notes

Otay, while some of this may be old news to Y’all, here’s a little of the latest OWR tidbits I’ve noticed circulating the electronic airwaves…

As previously mentioned, KV Racing Technology has confirmed that Jimmy Vasser will indeed come out of his semi-retirement and race a third KVRT entry in the Champ Car series finale at Long Beach.

Vasser will pilot the #12 with primary sponsorship from Plantronics, who’s joined KVRT for the current season. Ironically the #12 has been Top Jimmy’s long time CART/CCWS car number. Thus, I suppose it’s a good thing it was already taken in the IRL by Tomas Scheckter and therefore NOT available to adorn either Buckshot Wilson or Darrel Rahal Jr’s chassis, eh? Can you imagine Vasser running the #012, Jeff?

And according to Indy Racing Revolution, with the announcement of David Martinez at Forsythe Championship Racing for the CCWS blow-out, plus Vasser’s announcement there’s now a total of eleven confirmed drivers for the event, assuming Paul Tracy will partner Martinez? YIKES!!! That DON’T sound like a very good farewell party to me, but then again perhaps there’ll be a few more Really-Really-Really Big surprise announcements?

And for any of you wondering where Kevin “Boss Hawg” Kalkhoven was during the inaugural Indy Car World Series race at Homestead, according to Robin Miller’s Open Wheel notebook on Speed;

“Kevin Kalkhoven missed the opening race of the series he helped put together because he’s in a Colorado hospital recovering from a nasty fall on the ski slopes.
The co-owner of Champ Car whose two-car KV Racing entry finished 12th (Oriol Servia) and 25th (Will Power) at Homestead last Saturday night, suffered four broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion after taking a tumble in Aspen.
“Kevin is an excellent skier, he’s been doing it for 35 years, and this is the second nasty fall he’s had in the last couple years,” said Dick Eidswick, the former president of Champ Car and a life-long friend of Kalkhoven’s who was skiing with the 63-year-old Aussie.
“He’s hurting pretty good right now but he should be back for Long Beach.”

(Perhaps he should stick to the Bunny slopes, eh?)

Although Zach Brown appearing on Wind Tunnel confirmed Dave Despain’s comment towards Direct TV becoming a major sponsor of the IRL, which was supposedly being announced this past Monday, it’s now official, as Direct TV has become a Premiere sponsor of Indy Car. Thus, Direct TV will join Coca Cola in the bevy of Really Really Really Big sponsorship announcements being made in regards to the groundswell of support for Open Wheel Racing’s unification… HMM? With Coke becoming the official beverage of the IRL, does this mean that Frank’s Energy Drink is off the table?

And don’t forget the brand new F1-style Knock out qualifying format announced just-in-time for St. Pete…

Meanwhile, you may call me a sucker for anything motorsports related, as I continue to painfully suffer thru episode after episode of KRAPY internets broadcasts of Speed Freaks ‘N Autosport Radio… As for reasons unknown, well then again they are being piped thru win-DOUGh’s media player, (Which I guess is ‘Nuff said, eh?) Yet, the myriad of technical difficulties is really becoming overbearing…

Thus I suffered thru the multiple dead space skipping portions of broadcast to listen to Donald Kay live from St. Petersburg, since he had a smorgasbord of personalities stopping by his ‘lil Ol radio broadcast, with such luminaries as; The Mayor of St. Petersburg and some TV News anchor getting first billing with Just Al #43 (Al Unser III) Jay Howard, Luyendyk 2.0 (Arie Luyendyk Jr) Scott Jasek and Davey Hamilton all waiting in the wings.

Jay Howard, who’s the hired gun at Roth Racing is a bit of a quirky interview, as this Englishman seems to not be wishing to suffer FOOLS easily and thus his responses to Don’s questions always seem to have a bit of an edge to them, like uh, DUH! But it was interesting to hear Jay mention that he believes the team is looking good sponsorship-wise from Indy onwards, with a 90%+ certainty that he’ll actually have a primary sponsor adorning the Marty Roth owned chassis sidepods.

And thee guest I was most interested in listening to was Davey Hamilton, who’d previously had to drop his interview while attending to other business dealings when he’d been scheduled to be part of the Terre Haute Trio interview.

Davey talked very briefly about his 23 surgeries to rebuild his feet and how Scott Jasek and Sinden Racing had been most supportive in his comeback, although everybody said you must be KRAZY to want to go racing once again…

And perhaps I either missed the memo, or it was during one of the OVERLY numerous dead spaces during the interview, but I only heard Davey say that he would indeed be back once again at the Speedway this May in a “One-off” effort, upon being asked if he’d try to run Kansas in preparations for the upcoming Indy 500?

No, with the unification and the great premium being currently placed upon the scarcity of Dallara chassis and Honda engines, there’s just NO way we’ll be able to pull it off, so I’m just concentrating on a single race at Indy this May.

But who will he be driving for? Will it be a fourth Vision Racing entry a la last year when he had the highest finish for Tony George, crossing the yard of bricks in ninth place. Yeah, a fourth chassis alongside Paul Tracy perhaps? Naw, I’ve been told that Davey will be driving a third Marty Roth entry… GASP!!! I’m actually gonna have duh root for Roth Racing!