Monday, June 30, 2008

F1: Mitty’s Magny - 2008 French GP

So just why is the Circuit de Magny cours so overly UN-LUVED? As this tranquil countryside circuit is just three hours south of Paris in the “Nevers-sais-Nevers” (Nevers) region, having been upgraded with a sizeable donation of Francs in the early 1980’s when France’s President François Mitterrand successfully co-erced Bernie Ecclestone in moving the French GP to his home region, in the tranquil Loire Valley… Could it possibly be the influx of Bovines or its propensity for Hay fever? As SPEED’s Peter Winsor was quick to point out how the Circuit plays havoc with allergies… Yet, I was told long ago by some smarmy Brits, that it’s truly a great racing venue, so go figure? (Although Bob Varsha was quick to point out how the track was overflowing with spectators and its now been reported that it’ll host another two years of the French GP…)

And so, Friday’s second practice session wasn’t too much of a surprise, as the field was seeing red… As in the two Scuderia Ferrari’s blitzing the time sheets, but Renault went for a bit of a ruse, by having Fredrico Suave (F. Alonso) end up quickest of all… Suggesting that the Spaniard was running on extremely light fuel tanks in hopes of grabbing some headline space for the Reggie, eh? Thus Felipe Massa was second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, (P3) who was followed by Louise “Jaguar” Hamilton. (P4)

Sadly, the F1 paddock was mourning the loss of Toyota’s Ove Anderson, who’d been killed in a Vintage Rally Raid in South Africa and the Toyota team were donning black arm bands and sporting black stripes across the noses of their two TF108 challengers.

And a good deal of fun was had at the expense of SPEED’s senior commentator, Messer Hobbs, who waxed on a bit about how if he was to ever write a book, his missus said it should be titled; “I Shoulda Won, But!” to which the House of Winsor immediately broke in and said he’d just received a text message from Hobbo’s colleague S. Posey that says the title of Hobbs biography should instead be titled: “I could have been Second!”

Saturday qualifying saw the true formation of the grid come about, when The Iceman (K. Raikkonen) grabbed the pole position ahead of his Brazilian teammate, in what would be Ferrari’s coveted 200th pole… Giving the Scuderia Ferrari another front row lock-out, with Jaguar slotting into P3, yet recall that Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had both been given 10 grid spot penalties for the pit lane contretemps in Canada. And thus Alonso would ultimately start from P3 with Toyota’s Jarno Trulli alongside, while uncharacteristically The Krakow Kid (R. Kubica) was starting from row three.

And while Jaguar was to start from P13, his teammate Heikki Kovalinen was given a five grid spot penalty for supposedly driving too slowly and impeding Nick Heidfeld’s progress, while Rosberg started 15th and Honda’s Rubens Barrichello moved to caboose with a five spot gearbox change penalty.

When the lights went green, Kimi simply shot off into the lead, continuously setting the races fastest lap and pulling away from Massa, (I believe that Kimi set fastest race lap and thus tied Nigel Mansell for third for overall fastest race laps, as it would be Kimi’s 29th) with both Ferrari’s simply leaving the rest of the field in the dust. Then the unthinkable happened when Kimi’s exhaust decided to separate itself from the Ferrari lump. After being held on solely by a sensor wire, the offending exhaust pipe finally disembarked the stricken Ferrari, which enabled Massa to shoot by after having been behind by over seven seconds. Yet, amazingly Kimi held onto second place, while Trulli “Scrumptious” hung onto third to claim his very first podium in 55 races, after a massive blocking maneuver he performed upon Kovalainen, which seems an appropriate tribute to Toyota’s stricken founder.

As for Hamilton, the theme of his day was something to do with Groundhog’s, (Groundhog Day?) as he was forced to attempt passing Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jr. three separate times… And wound up tenth, out of the points for the second race in a row.

And bully on you Nelson Nelson, who pulled off a late race pass on teammate Alonso to secure seventh place, his first Grand Prix points of his young career, with Alonso having to settle for eighth.

Thus, Massa’s third victory of the season now makes him the fourth driver to lead the point’s standings in the past four rounds and the first Brazilian to lead the World Championship since Ayrton Senna did at Monaco in 1993.

Qualifying Results
Pole: K. Raikkonen; 2. F. Massa; 3. L. Hamilton; 4. F. Alonso; 5. J. Trulli; 6. H. Kovalainen; 7. R. Kubica; 8. M. Webber; 9. D. Coulthard; 10. T. Glock

Race Results
Winner: F. Massa; 2.K. Raikkonen; 3. J. Trulli; 4. H. Kovalainen;
5. R. Kubica; 6. M. Webber; 7. N. Piquet; 8. F. Alonso

2008 F1 Point Standings
(Round 8 of 18)

F. Massa 48
R. Kubica 46
K. Raikkonen 43
L. Hamilton 38
N. Heidfeld 28

Ferrari 91
BMW Sauber 74
McLaren 58
Red Bull 24
Toyota 23

So now we’re off to Bloody ‘Ol Silverstone, where Jaguar has just claimed the fastest time in pre-race testing last week and although the race is a reported sell-out, there’s still the BMW Sauber Pit lane Park exhibit to visit in Manchester…

Saturday, June 28, 2008

IRL’s newest poster child?

Although according to the IRL’s Brian Barnhart on Danica being a Menace; “She’s No more of a Menace then some Reporters…”

All I can say is that Princess better be on her best behaviour or a Dan-Dan-Danicker STOMP may just seal the deal!
Why did this portion of Saturday night’s IMS Radio Broadcast bring me so much glee? As I sat smiling and laughing as IMS’s Davey Hamilton reported on the scanner traffic they’d been listening to involving AGR teammates Hideki Mutoh and Danica Patrick, who was seeking a way past the Japanese driver in order to keep from being put a lap down by then race leader Marco Andretti.

Hamilton: We’d love to tell you what Danica’s been saying, but we CAN’T!
Mike King: Yeah, that’s right, but this is a Family Show.
Hamilton: Yeah, it’s definitely NOT PG Rated
King: Yes, and we’d lose our license to the FCC if we told you…

Oh, Princess… What’s duh Matter, Mutoh isn’t just simply pulling over for you?
Unfortunately, Mutoh was forced to retire late in the race when he broke his driveshaft while trying to exit pit lane… And of course the crack IMS broadcast crew were “Johnny on the spot,” asking if he’d been blocking Princess Danicker?

NO, Dan-Dan-Danicker is my teammate… I give her extra room because I know she’s my teammate... To which Hamilton seemed to support saying there really wasn't any issue.
Of course Danica had an entirely different view after completing the race… WHHHAAAAAAHHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Patrick on pole

NO! Not that Patrick… The other Patrick, as in did Y’all notice that “Pat the Carpenter,” (Patrick Carpentier) of whom Eddie Carpentier (Vision Racing) is of no relation too… Captured his very first Sprint Cup pole position this weekend at Loudon, New Hampshire in only his 16th start, as *I BELIEVE!* that it’s the very first pole garnered by one of the Open Wheel warriors who’ve jumped ship to RASSCAR, as NOT even MAC Montoya has done that yet.

Way to go “Pat-reek!”

Straight line testing

This is an interesting article about the secretive straight line “Aero” testing the “Big Three” have been doing to potentially gain “The Unfair Advantage” in IndyCars… As reportedly AGR, Ganassi and Penske have been carrying out straight line testing, which has been done in Formula 1 for several years now.

As most recently I recall McLaren doing this on some tiny little Island last year, while the majority of the F1 Constructors have used this laborious practice to evaluate potential aerodynamic gains. Could this be one small reason why the Big Three have won the last 43 of 44 Indy Car races?

For more, see; Straight line testing

Sarah’s new chariot?

Just spotted this on My Name is IRL… That Sarah Fisher has gone off Elephant riding at the Indiana Zoo and the new mount named Tombi, is quite impervious to El Supremo Blocking Jobs… Not even Marco Andretti can upset this beast! But hey, I hear that at least its got plenty of room on its sidepod’s for sponsors…

Friday, June 27, 2008

SFR update

In regards to the recent query about whether or not Sarah Fisher was still taking donations? (See; Is Sarah Fisher still out there, below) I’ve just received the following reply from SFR…

Donations can be sent to the below address. thanks for the support!!


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Klint Briney
Executive Brand Manager
Sarah Fisher Racing, LLC.
4701 Rockville Rd, Suite D
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Thus, if anybody is still willing to part with a portion of their $timulus check, I’d assume you can just send to Sarah Fisher Racing…

Thanxs for the reply Klint, hopefully we’ll see Sarah racing at Kentucky!


Somebody CAN’T drive 55

This was recently sent to me by AZ Bureau Chief Mary Jane… And if you thought that Louise “Jaguar” Hamilton’s poppa had trouble driving his son’s borrowed Porsche GT; But son, I just wanna take your Mum for a quick spin…

Then you may wish to check out the story of some wanna-be Grand Prix Piloto who managed to wrap his Ferrari F360 Spyder around a pole Down Under!

For more pictures, see; Aussie wrecks his Ferrari

Is GP2 better than F1?

Now don’t get me wrong, as Formula 1 will always be my undisputed Number One Heavyweight in terms of motor racing series, but I find it a bit odd that lately I’ve seemed more intrigued by the first few rounds of this year’s GP2 series vs. F1, (Minus the Canadian GP) to which I’ve been adding to my regimen of auto race viewing recently.

Perhaps this possible interest is spurned by what I found so attractive towards CART/Champ Car, as there were always a dozen plus potential winners on any given weekend, as the IRL tends to be somewhat similar to F1 at the moment. You know that the Big Three; Andretti Green, Ganassi and Penske have won the last 43 of 44 events, (Post Iowa) while Formula 1 routinely seems to be a “Dust-up” between Ferrari and McLaren, albeit Renault stepped into the breach momentarily with some Spaniard named Fredrico Suave… Yet the “Reggie” hasn’t been in the winners (Whiners?) circle since the heartbreaking Japanese Grand Prix; (Oct. 8, 2006) when Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari lump inexplicably went “KABLAMOE!” Most definitely costing him a potential 8th World Championship…

There are currently 17 Nations participating in GP2, which now begins its fourth season, with all three prior GP2 Champions having taken up residency in F1: Nico Rosberg, 2005; Lewis Hamilton, 2006 and Timo Glock, 2007, with other former GP2 competitors Heikki Kovalainen, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Kazuki Nakajima also having graduated to the big league of Formula 1.

This year’s crop of GP2 contestants features several F1 test drivers from Renault: Lucas Di Grassi, Sakon Yamamoto and Romain Grosjean, who was also the winner of the inaugural GP2 Asia series championship this winter; Red Bull: Sebastien Buemi and Toyota: Kamui Kobayashi.

Currently Georgio Pantano and Adam Carroll are the only two drivers to have contested the inaugural GP2 event in 2005 left on the grid, as David Hobbs quips: It’s a development series, which means you’re supposed to move up.

While Carroll has been recently competing in the A1 GP series, at age 29, the Italian Pantano is the oldest driver in the field, who’s made a living in the International F3000 series from 2001-03, which was the forbearer to GP2, as Pantano has been in these stepping stone series for six seasons and has 60 GP2 starts alone to his credit. Pantano has also competed in the Champ Car and Indy Racing League series after making what Bob Varsha noted was a coffee cup stop in F1… Having raced briefly for the faltering Jordan Grand Prix team in 2004 before his sponsorship checks dried-up.

In this year’s season opener at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Portuguese GP2 debutant Alvaro Parente stormed away from the field to win his maiden GP2 victory ahead of Bruno Senna and Andreas Zuber.

In Sunday’s Sprint race, Kamui Kobayashi became the first Japanese driver to win a GP2 event after leader Romain Grosjean was penalized for blocking in the later stages of the event. Having overtaken pole sitter Kobayashi earlier, Grosjean was given a stop-go penalty for his evasive maneuvers after the field had been bunched-up by a safety car.

Kobayashi began the Sprint race from the pole since GP2 inverts the top eight finishing positions from the day’s previous Feature race and having slipped to second in the race was pressuring Grosjean for the lead when the penalty was assessed. Kobayashi has now won a total of three GP2 events, with his first two wins coming during this year’s inaugural GP2 Asia championship.

Round 2 was held in Turkey at the Istanbul Autodrome, where the aforementioned Pantano put on a driving clinic during the Feature race, as Bob Varsha said; Pantano’s taking off like a Scalded Dog!” As I’m now convinced that this was scripted as the following day’s Sprint race would see the bizarre accident of Bruno Senna killing an errant Pooch running about the circuit.

The win was the Italian’s 12th overall, tying him with the legendary Jochen Rindt, who scored all 12 of his victories in F2; prior to becoming the only driver awarded the Formula 1 Championship posthumously. (1970)

In Sunday’s Sprint race, while driver’s Mike Conway and Bruno Senna were busy trying to avoid run-away animals, Romain Grosjean finally made good on his promise, as some pundits have picked him to become the 2008 GP2 Champion, when he won the shorter Sprint Race 2 and thus collected his first GP2 victory.

This year at Monaco saw the GP2 circus host two races for the very first time in the Principality, as Bruno Senna stormed away from the front row and led virtually wire to wire, including a major pile-up by fellow competitors in the downhill chicane. The win was even more special as it comes on the 15th Anniversary of his late uncle’s (Ayrton Senna) final Formula 1 victory in Monte Carlo and David Hobbs claims the young Brazilian not only looks like Ayrton but sounds like him also…

The following day’s sprint race saw Mike Conway run away from pole and hide all the way to the finish to take some solace in a victory after having been punted out of third place during the previous feature race.

While the F1 circus made a brief stop on the Il Notre Dam, GP2 took a brief holiday before resuming competition as part of the French GP weekend, which saw Bruno Senna claim his first pole of the season for the Feature race, while SPEED had an entertaining segment on elder statesman Pantano, who was making his unheard of 100th start in GP2/F3000 competition, with 65 starts alone in GP2…

And while Senna led handily until being forced to retire with gearbox issues, I’m assuming the French crowd was quite enthralled to see countryman Grosjean take over the lead… Until the unthinkable happened and he too was forced to retire with you guessed it! Gearbox troubles, which meant that Messer Pantano was left to take over the lead and cruise home to his 13th victory, tying Mike Thackwell for all time career F2/F3000/GP2 victories according to David Hobbs…

The following days Sprint race was quite a different story as the race was held in varying weather conditions, with drivers starting off on rain tyres and then having to decide when to switch over to slicks for a supposedly drying track which saw Pantano and Grosjean once again finish well outside of the points, upon retiring, while Sebastien Buemi took his first GP2 victory with Senna hanging on to finish fifth, while Pantano holds onto his championship lead over Senna due to his Feature race victory. Pantano leads Senna 35-28, with Buemi vaulting to third with 20 points and Grosjean lies fourth with 19 points.

And there you have it! Eight races and seven different winners… Can GP2 elder statesman Giorgio Pantano do the unthinkable and win the title? Or will somebody else like Grosjean, Senna, Buemi, Zuber or Parente spoil his party…

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Is Sarah Fisher still out there?

Recently a comment was left in regards to whether or not Sarah Fisher Racing was still taking donations? As apparently this info has been deleted from her website… Thus I’m unaware of whether or not SFR is still seeking donations, but since I recently saw a story claiming that Sarah Fisher was seeking $635+ dollars from Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the photo-op Sarah did with her in Indiana… I’d assume that SFR is still in the RED?

Also, I believe that Sarah is still planning on attempting to race next at Kentucky Speedway, so keep your fingers crossed!

Wonder what Sarah thinks about Princesses latest calling out for blocking by Scott “Got Milk?” Dixon and Eddie Carpentier callin’ her the new Scott Sharp of the IRL,OUCH!!!

Guess some drivers NEVER forget anything, eh? Like Ryan “The Dude” Hunter Reay getting in a swipe at Marky Mark Andretti about not getting’ the Chrome Horn from passing him in Cornland…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who’s Dat?

With the recent roasting of some ‘Ol curmudgeon, Err soothsayer journalist extraordinaire Robin Miller… As My Name is IRL has asked the burning question… Doesn’t he look like Mauri Rose? In his thinly guised report on mustachioed wanderers, I thought I’d alert all of uze Miller-pyles that Robin will be keeping self centered windbag Dave Despain company this Sunday evening as co-host…

Despain has billed the show as; “Two Millers for the price of one!” With said co-host and Kevin Miller of USAC as a guest, while Wind Tunnel’s burning question of the week is… What would you say or tell Robin if you met him in a bar? Send your questions/quips to Wind Tunnel…

As I’m sure that Jeff will be riveted to his TV set this Sunday evening, as Mr. Despain asks; Pardon mwah… Aren’t you Booby Ruble?

Broken record

As I’ve previously mentioned… The Google Monster has once again struck havoc upon the No Fenders site and it’ll be in a state of flux for the next few days, as I anxiously await the return to normalcy(?) as soon as my esteemed Blogmeister can complete his daunting task of rebuilding the site…

So, as Derrick Daly would say; “Hang on to your Holly-Hocks!” As hopefully he’ll have the Technical glitch fixed soon…

Thank You for your patience and continued reading…

Le Mans postscript

Whale, it took me nearly one week to finally manage finish wading thru the ten plus hours of videotape I recorded for this years 76th running of the 24 Heurs du Mans, as although I knew which manufacturer won, I didn’t know which drivers…

As I made the mistake of trying to watch some of the race coverage late Saturday evening with my nearly 89 years young Auntie Harriet, who’s still recovering from her cracked ribs and sore lower tailfin…

When I arrived, she asked me; Are there any races on today? Yes, the 24 Heurs du Mans… Oh? Where’s that at? It’s in a place you once had an alleged beer in Sir Frank’s motor home at… You know, Le Mans, France…

As for several years it was recounted to me how she’d been invited into the inner sanctum of Sir Frank’s motor coach to indulge in a Fosters… Although the big man himself wasn’t present, nevertheless, Frank’s coach driver had given them the pleasure, but I digress…

Back to what would become a constantly droning on monologue… As “Auntie” said; Oh? What type of cars are they? They’re Sports Cars… So… What time is the race on at? 6PM… Where’s it at? Le Mans. What time is it in France? I don’t know. So, why can’t we watch it right now? Well because they’re (SPEED) showing some other racing series called RASSCAR right now and I don’t wanna watch ‘dat! So, how long is the race? 24hrs; What time is the race on at? 6PM and where’s the race at? Le Mans… Oh? What type of cars are racing there? What time is it in France? (Are you sensing a pattern here yet?)

So, we finally succumbed to turning on the Telescreen around 7PM to which I was immediately asked; What type of race cars are those? And what time is it in France? (And NO! I didn’t make any wisecracks ‘bout London and underpants… As I was starting to get a headache) When did the race begin? 6AM; Oh? You mean I could have been watching this all day? NO! Where’s the race at? Le Mans; Oh? What type of race cars are those? They’re Prototypes; What’s a Prototype? Who makes those silly ‘lil cars?

When did the race begin? 6AM; You mean I could have been watching this all day? What type of race cars are those? What time is it in France? It looks like the sun is coming up over there… You mean the race goes on all day… What time is it in France? Well, lets see Auntie, its 9PM so there’s another 9 ½ hours of race coverage. You mean it goes on all night? (SHEISA!!! Somebody get me a Fosters…)

And then it was over as surprisingly (Nod Nod, Wink Wink) Auntie Harriet hadn’t woken me up at 5AM to see the finish of the BLOODY Endurance race, go figure, eh?

And what a gripping race it was, eh? As the two main protagonists did not fail to deliver, as this epic battle of the tortoise and the hare was even more pronounced by the constantly changing weather… Although I’d hardly call the Audi R10’s SLOW! But, that said the closed coupe Peugeot’s are just simply stunning and thus we were treated to a real barn burner that went all the way down to the wire…

Yet, while all of the competitors pounded ‘round the clock, here’s just a few of the numerous tidbits I gleamed from the elongated television coverage.

Ex-endurance racer David Hobbs noted how he’d driven a Lola very briefly at the Circuit de la Sarthe back in 1967 as the British specialty auto manufacturer Lola Cars was celebrating its 50th Anniversary… As the future shape of the top echelon of Le Mans prototypes was being displayed by a very slick looking Lola/Auston Martin B08/60, which was described as all Lola from the nose back, and all Prodrive, nee Auston from the rear bulkhead, with the same massive 6.0 liter V-12 that its GT1 cousins were utilizing…

The Charouz Racing Systems B08/60 was the very first Lola produced and its three drivers; Tomas Enge, Stefan Mücke and Jan Charouz are all contracted by Aston Martin Racing. (AMR) which impressively split the Audi R10 TDI’s in qualifying with its production based gasoline engine…

Another interesting storyline was French driver Jean de Pourtales, who competes with an prosthetic left arm, which led “Hobbo” to launch into discourse about another hugely successful Sports Car driver; Archie Scott Brown, who gamed fame during the late 1950’s as an Lister “Nobly” pilot who raced with a right arm stump and needed to shift with his left hand before perishing at Spa in 1958. Even more impressive was the fact that De Pourtales Kruse Schiller Motorsport Lola/Mazda LMP2 entry was even able to compete after the massive cart wheeling escapade Hideki Noda had endured on Thursday night…

And a number of first’s were occurring, when Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnessen scored Corvette’s first GT1 pole position since 1976, although it would be for naught, as the #009 Aston Martin DBR9 would emerge victorious for the second year in a row, with drivers David Brabham and Darren Turner repeating…

Interestingly, Calvin Fish noted several times during the broadcast that “MAG’s” only has one requirement when getting a seat fitting. Can my right foot go all the way to the floor!

There was also the very first Chinese driver competing, along with the very first Spanish chassis entries since 1952 and the first husband-wife driving duo since 1993 on tap…

And talk about making a splashy debut, as Jos “The BOSS” Verstappen was interviewed about his stout driving performance, having driven approximately half of the event for Van Merksteijn Motorsport, which took its purple Porsche RS Spyder to its LMP2 class victory upon the teams, drivers and chassis debut…

And it was entertaining to hear Mika Salo vainly pleading to NOT have to go out again and drive the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 anymore… Although the Finn claimed he’d gotten 4hrs of sleep, as Mika would indeed pilot the class winning #82 to the chequered flag in a Ferrari GT2 whitewash, seeing the Maranello brand taking positions 1-5. It was Salo’s first win in his third start…

Yet, it was amazing to think that at the 22+ hour mark, the #2 Audi was leading the #7 Peugeot by less than two minutes, before the inclement weather struck the French countryside once again… As apparently Nicolas Minassian made a strategic blunder by opting to stay on slick tyres instead of switching to intermediates as the Lord ‘O Le Mans had elected, which would see Peugeot’s chances of overall victory slip from its grasp literally… With Minassian slithering all over the 8.5 mile circuit… And then another very curious call was made when the French team elected to go onto full wet weather tyres as the track was drying!

Thus, Tom Kristensen was able to “cruise” to his record eighth overall victory at Le Mans, alongside co-drivers Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello. As it was even more impressive that Kristensen had gotten away with two mistakes of running into competitor’s and has now run his staggering victory streak to 8 wins in 13 starts…

And while I’m always suspect of publicity inspired, headline grabbing attendance figures… Nevertheless it was noted numerous times how the circuit attracts a quarter of a million attendees, with last year’s record being set at 270,000! Look for an even more epic battle between the French Blue and the Teutonic German “Silver Arrows” next year…

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tracy goin’ Truckin’

Last night on Speed Freaks, Paul Tracy was interviewed about his recent testing outing in Chicago, where Mr. Chrome Horn tested a Toyota Tundra for Germain Racing, after the team asked him if he’d be willing to test for them. Tracy said the test went very good and he’s now set to make his Truck debut at Las Vegas on September 20th in the truck normally driven part time by Chrissy Wallace, with Tracy’s debut occurring in the 39yr old backyard.

Paul also mentioned that he’ll be participating in this years Goodwood Festival of Speed… Basically the Earle of Marcque called me up and asked if I’d want to drive some vintage cars if they paid for me and the missus to fly over first class… And I said sure, I’m NOT doin’ anything at the moment…

PT noted he’d be driving a few ex-Penske Champ Cars along with a few Lola’s, one being driven by Graham Hill in 1966 and the other belonging to none other then his ex-arch nemesis The Hamburgular, a.k.a. Sebastian Bourdais… Of which Tracy noted was pretty funny since he’d be driving the car of the driver he spent the past 4-5 years of his career hating!

And while rumours still abound over Derrick Walker putting together a “one-off” for Tracy to contest the upcoming Edmonton Indy Car event, Tracy seems to believe his long term prospects are more likely to come from the RASSCAR side of the fence, as he sees his Los Wage$ debut as a tryout for a fulltime Trucks gig in 2009…

Future Indy Car calendar

While Y’all wait anxiously for the unveiling of the 2009 Indy Car World Series… schedule Which will hopefully be the “Clean Sheet ‘O Paper” we’ve all been promised… With its 50/50 split of Ovals vs. Road Courses and Temporary Street circuits, dashing the hopes of Y’all Oval Track bleedin’ hearts… I’d like to throw in my two cents on the topic of what I think the calendar should look like in the coming years…

2008 Indy Car Schedule
March 29: Homestead-Miami Speedway; April 6: Streets of St. Petersburg; April 19: Twin Ring Motegi; April 27: Kansas Speedway; May 25: 92nd Indianapolis 500; June 1: The Milwaukee Mile; June 7: Texas Motor Speedway; June 22: Iowa Speedway; June 28: Richmond International Raceway; July 6: Watkins Glen International; July 12: Nashville Superspeedway; July 20: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; July 26: Streets of Edmonton; Aug 9: Kentucky Speedway; Aug 24: Infineon Raceway; Aug 31: The Raceway at Belle Isle Park; Sept 7: Chicagoland Speedway; Oct 26 Surfers Paradise, Australia* (* = To Be Announced)

As you may have heard by now? Robin Miller previously noted that Homestead was most likely off the calendar for next year with either a round at the Mexico City road course or a possible new Oval Track to be named later… As its now been reported that Terry Angstadt, the man behind the curtain, Err, leading the charge as head Scheduler… Has hosted preliminary talks with both Mexico City and Laguna Seca…

While Cleveland has thrown its hat in the ring with Bobby Rahal crashing a recent meeting pitching the necessity of the Burke Lakefront Airport venue returning in 2009. While it would seem quite illogical to think that Mikey Andretti secured promotions of Toronto’s street race without a contract in hand to return the popular event to the 2009 calendar, eh?

Interestingly, both Cleveland and Houston’s street races were promoted by Mike Lanigan, the third hombre at Newman Haas Lanigan Racing… While Houston would be a long shot due to the ceaseless barking of Eddie “The Goose” Gossage and his TEX-ARSE WURLD SPEEDWAY… Cleveland seems a bit more possible, although recent reports have noted how there are currently five tracks hosting events in this region… And thus, I’d happily take Cleveland in favour of Nashville…

Ironically, Mexico City was previously promoted by Gerry “NO MASS” Forsythe and thus would seem a little bit tricky to negotiate, unless perhaps the Mexico City Tourism Board has a change of ownership up its sleeves?

Of course Long Beach will return to its vaunted traditional April date with NO more STUPID Twin Rings ‘O Venus/Long Beach Grand Prix on the same weekend… Which means Motegi will be shuffled, perhaps to coincide with Surfers Paradise, Australia which is also definitely on the calendar…

Thus, this just leaves two classic, important Champ Car races missing from the new ‘N improved schedule: Portland and Road America… And although I’ve never made it to Elkhart Lake, this 4.0 mile road course simply has to be one of the BEST permanent racing venues in Norte Americano… And has long been on my list of must visit tracks! It’s offered some truly great racing over the years and I believe that it’s a true drivers favourite…

And while its old news that I’m a bit prejudiced towards Portland International Raceway, as it’s now my lone home racing track for the “Big Boyzs,” with the demise of Vancouver, BC, there are a few reasons why it should indeed return to next year’s calendar…

First of all, 2008 was scheduled to be its 25th Anniversary for CART/Champ Car competition at the permanent road course located just north of Downtown Portland. Yet, even more importantly is the fact that 2009 will be the 100th Anniversary of the very first Champ Car race… Of which Portland holds the distinction of preceding the Brickyard, as its race was part of the forbearer to what would ultimately become Champ Car. (Circa 2004-07)
“In 1909 -- in Portland -- Howard Covey drove a Cadillac to victory in the first race of what was then called the U.S. National Championship Series, a forebear of the United States Auto Club series and later Champ Car.:
(Source: The Oregonian; 2007)

And while critics will be quick to point out the lackluster attendance Portland has suffered over the past few years due to “The Split” and the watered down product Champ Car produced, I’d expect with the series unification and the proper marketing Portland could once again become a Northwest gem in the Indy Car World Series…

And speculation suggests that next year’s schedule could grow to 19 events with 20-21 making up the 2010-11 calendar, I’ll leave you with my version of the ultimate season…

(Proposed) 2009 IndyCar Schedule1. Mexico City; 2. St. Petersberg; 3. Long Beach; 4. Kansas; 5. Indianapolis; 6. Milwaukee; 7. Texas; 8. Sears Point; 9. Portland; 10. Cleveland;
11. Mid-Ohio; 12. Edmondton; 13. Toronto; 14. Watkins Glen; 15. Kentucky;
16. Chicagoland; 17. Road America; 18. Belle Isle; 19. Surfers Paradise;
20. Motegi; 21. Laguna Seca

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Racing tragedies

Unfortunately it seems to be a fact of life in motor racing, that every year there are tragedies ultimately concluding in death… As I was searching’ the newswires last evening, a cold chill swept over me as I learned of Scott Kalitta’s horrible death… As his Toyota Solara erupted into flames during Saturday night qualifying at Englishtown NJ, while ironically, this weekend’s French GP has made ample note of Toyota F1 founder Ove Anderson’s death, as the 70yr old “Swede” perished behind the wheel during a vintage car race in South Africa… As once again symmetry seems to have worked in its mysterious ways as I wasn’t even aware that Toyota had an NHRA program. While even more ironic was the fact that Kalitta had begun and ultimately ended his NHRA career at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Also, spare a thought for the family of the 49yr old track worker Roy Hiatt who was killed earlier this season at Anderson Raceway, during the annual running of the Little 500. Hiatt was struck by a race car, when for reasons unknown entered the track early during the caution period and had his back to the oncoming racing car.

Also, don’t forget Eric Medlin of John Force Racing having perished in a violent testing crash last year, when his Goodyear tire exploded during a routine 315+ mph pass…

Sadly, I suppose all of the above would tell us that the show must go on…
Last night on Speed Freaks, it was reported that Dino Crescentini had lost his life in a Vintage Car race at Mosport, as newswire reports claim that his car, a Wolf Dallara Can Am once driven by the late Gilles Villeneuve barrel rolled several times on the straightaway…

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Iowa Bleu

Whale, it seems pretty sad that I’m forced to choose between watchin’ the Iowa Cornfest 250 vs. French’s (mustard) Grand Prix… Let’s see, do I go with the Dizzney Shoppin’ Network or DUH FOX channel? Pardon mwah? Dooze uze haves any Grey Poupon? As Y’all will potentially notice that ‘lil Napolean’s Indy Car racin’ series is goin’ head to head with Emperor Bernardo’s creme de la creme (F1) Sunday morning…

And as we all hope for Iowa to dry out for the Pigs sake… And the Eethanol producer’s sake, it seems ironic that the French GP falls just one week after that epic 24 Heurs du Mans race and the upcoming Tour de Farce…

PCM parks DominguezTyler Tadevic; Owner of Pacific Coast Motorsports has announced that his PCM team will be skipping this weekend’s Iowa Cornfest 250 and thus Mario “BOOM BOOM” Dominguez will not take part in the racing activities at the ‘lil house Rusty built.

The team says its re-evaluating its raceing program and that everybody’s still onboard, although after failing to qualify for the Indy 500 and not cracking the top 20 in the past two oval races, the team will regroup for another stab later this season.

Yet I’m assuming that this has something to do with the team’s (and owner) credit cards being maxed-out! Not to mention the frequency of Mario’s addiction towards Safer Barriers, eh? And hence I’ll guestimate PCM’s return to competition will commence at Watkins Glen, since after all, it’s a ROAD course…

Flood Relief
You may have heard by now that the IRL is donating $60,000 to the local Iowa chapter of the Red Cross to help out with the recent ravenous flooding that has occurred in the Midwest… As both “Tarze-Jay” drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon have pledged to donate their weekend’s race winnings to local Disaster Relief agencies, as well as Andretti Green having hosted an online auction last week, raising $10k to benefit Midwest flood victims…

AttritionOriginally the IRL had announced that they’d only be seeking 26 entries for this weekend’s Cornfest, which meant one of the 27 contestants wasn’t gonna look like the others… Then PCM put the kybosh upon Mario Dominguez taking part and viola, problem solved!

Now comes word that we’ll only have 24 starters, as both Marty “TURTLE” Roth and Bruno “Whiney Bags” Junqueira will not be taking the green flag at Iowa… As both drivers have had collisions stemming from broken suspensions, with Bruno collecting Danny Boy “SPIKE” Wheldon, who’ll be forced to start his second race in a row in his back-up chassis.

And while Roth has a spare chassis handy and Dale Coyne could probably cobble something together for Bruno… They’re both sitting the race out. HMM? Isn’t it ironic? That Jay Howard didn’t make the trip to Iowa…

Friday, June 20, 2008



As you may have noticed, the No Fenders site is currently experiencing a RASH of Technical Difficulties… Which it’s most esteemed Blogmeister is feverishly trying to eradicate…Perhaps it has somme-thun’ to dooze with my RASSCAR badgering, eh?

Thank You for your patience.
Kudos Blogmeister…

Now it’s a Record!

Although Rubens Barrichello and Honda F1 Racing have already celebrated the Brazilian’s accomplishment of completing 257 starts at the Spanish Grand Prix, many of us including myself have stuck to the figures provided by F1 Racing and other such sources which have slightly disagreed with the numbers the ageless Rubino used to reach his milestone, while I suppose we could argue over the statistical anomalies for countless hours, eh?

Like all major Formula 1 drivers, both previous record holder Ricardo Patrese and Barrichello both began their motor racing careers by racing go karts and then moving up the junior ranks prior to beginning their illustrious careers in Formula 1.

Patrese made his F1 debut in 1977 for the Shadow team before moving to Arrows the following season, when several Shadow team members left to start-up the Arrows outfit. Due to his overly aggressive driving style, Ricardo was accused of triggering an accident which led to the death of Ronnie Peterson and was subsequently banned by his fellow drivers when the GPDA successfully had Patrese refused entry to the following Grand Prix, (Watkins Glen; USGP East) leaving great bitterness between his fellow competitors, most notably World Champion James Hunt.

Patrese then moved onto Messer Ecclestone’s Brabham team to partner triple World Champion Nelson Piquet from 1982-83, before switching to Alfa Romeo from 1984-85, prior to returning to Brabham for a further two seasons. (1986-87) In 1988, the Italian made the switch to Sir Frank Williams racing team and would stay thru as teammate to Nigel Mansell’s clinching of his lone driver’s title in 1992 prior to spending his last season in Formula One alongside some young German up and comer named Michael Schumacher…

SPEED’s Professor Matchett has waxed on eloquently about being the man to have strapped in Ricardo for those final 16 starts which propelled the Italian to the staggering total of 256 Grand Prix starts, as Patrese holds two lesser known records of scoring points the longest number of years along with longest separation between Grand Prix victories; Monaco, 1982 and Suzuka, 1992, as the likeable Italian scored a total of six wins and eight poles between 1977-93.

Ironically the torch for F1 “Supermen” would be passed from elder statesmen Patrese to a young fresh faced Brazilian in 1993, as Barrichello would begin his rookie Formula 1 season for the Jordan Grand Prix concern that very season, showing up his more experienced teammates Ivan Capelli and Thierry Boutsen by claiming his first career pole at Spa Francorchamps that year before scoring his maiden GP points at Suzuka, finishing fifth, one place ahead of his new teammate Eddie “IRV THE SWERVE” Irvine.

Although I only recall being focused upon the ascending super Star Herr Schumacher in ’93, my first recollections of Barrichello’s talent was aboard those distinctly painted Sasol Jordan’s which the plucky Irishman’s team seemed to continuously make deals with the wrong engine suppliers, which ultimately led to Rubens decision to leave the team and sign-up to drive for the upstart Stewart Grand Prix concern in 1997, where BArrichello scored a superb second in the rain soaked Monaco GP in only the team’s fifth race. Barrichello would remain with the Stewarts for three seasons prior to being called up as Schumacher’s vigilant wingman in 2000, and would score his maiden Grand Prix victory in the bizarre German GP, (Nurburgring) where a nutso priest would wander about the racing line in protest before being tackled and removed forcibly from the tarmac!

Fed up with playing the dutiful number two behind German Wunderkind Schuey, Rubino signed up to drive alongside Honda’s Jenson Button for the 2006 season, where he now looks set to finish out his Grand Prix career at, as Barrichello has scored 13 poles and 9 victories, with the latter all coming during his Scuderia Ferrari days...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

F1 Changing of the guard?

While the hottest story in Formula 1 has cooled considerably now that Sir Maxxum has been given a free pass to collect his $200.00 after having landed on go…

As MAD MAX Mosley will indeed continue to serve out the remainder of his current term as the head of the FIA, having won approval during the recently concluded special meeting in “Gay Paree” on June 3rd,

Interestingly Sir Maxxum weathered the storm over the even more bizarre reporting that a member of MI5’s, (Britain’s counterpart to our beloved CIA) wife, a Dominatrix was the woman who led five prostitutes in the plot to discredit MAD MAX…

Yet, there are also some other developments occurring in the paddock, in regards to the still lingering legal wrangles over chassis cloning, as the original matter involved charges made by Spyker F1 against Super Aguri and Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Yet sadly, Honda has let Aguri-san fall by the wayside, as the team has ceased operations, as apparently “Super Best Friends” were too much competition for the works team, while Honda has been visibly without any major sponsorship the past season plus and its worth noting that Honda F1 only overtook Super Aguri in the 2007 Constructor’s championship at the final race in Shanghai…

Yet, with Super Aguri out of the picture, there have been reports of Force India’s chief executive Colin Kolles being spotted in Salzburg, assume ably meeting with Red Bull officials who are now keen to sell off Toro Rosso, as it appears that whenever the new Concorde Agreement is finally reached, as the current agreement expired on December 31st, 2007, all teams will indeed need to produce their own chassis.

And while rumours claimed that Gerhard Berger, Toro Rosso’s co-owner has been busy racking-up his frequent flyer miles with trips to the Middle East in search of backers, recall that this is the same region from where the Magma Group which pulled out of negotiations to purchase super Aguri resides…

Recent speculation suggests that perhaps the Lancia Company may be interested in acquiring Deeter Majestic’s shares in Toro Rosso and most likely a controlling interest? As this would allow for brand exposure, while the team would still be able to utilize FIAT parent companies Ferrari power train components.

Yet the latest rumours have suggested that perhaps Ultimate Motorsport, a British Formula 3 team with major backing from the Angolan oil company Sonangol, is now interested in the Red Bull satellite operation? And would potentially solve the thorny customer chassis issue by having France’s Mygale chassis constructor as their partner.

Meanwhile, there are now rumours also of a second Honda powered squad returning to Formula 1 for 2009 as an American F1 team, which seems somewhat far-fetched? As reports claim that Ken Anderson was spotted at the Canadian Grand Prix on a reconnaissance mission…

As this rumoured organization would merely revive the role that Super Aguri served, as a satellite program to run Takuma Sato and possibly an American racecar pilot… Perhaps the almighty Princess Danicker? As reportedly Honda is keen to steal some of Toyota’s RASSCAR thunder…

Yet, sadly for the foreseeable future, we’ve returned to a lowly number of just ten Constructors taking part in Formula 1, while Max Mosley was bellyaching how F1 couldn’t succeed if he wasn’t allowed to finish out his term, but let us recall, that Sir Maxxum was the instigator in this dubious customer chassis shamozzle along with selecting David Richards Prodrive organization as the twelfth and final Constructor allowed on the grid for 2008!

Thus, as we sink into a global recession, while the Concorde Agreement remains unsigned… The majority of potential new Formula 1 team owners are loathe to sign-up for the FIA’s premiere racing series, which appears to be somewhat rudderless at the moment as Mosley looks set to become a shrinking violet… But then again; Formula 1 NEVER Sleeps!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Paul Newman

I still don’t know if this story has been confirmed, but it was disappointing to read My Name is IRL’s story about PL Newman possibly having been diagnosed with terminal cancer. And although I’m certain The Split had a lot to do with Newman staying away from the Brickyard all these years, I swear I heard Jack “BRUT” Arute tell a story about the wily pool hustler being denied entry into Gasoline Alley with a golf kart load of non-Speedway food for his crew as possibly a motive for the legendary actor spuring the Brickyard all these years?

While I certainly hope it isn’t true, perhaps this is what ‘Ol Newman was referring to when they ran the piece where he said he may be watching from above when one of his cars finally wins the Indy 500…

Paul Newman has had better days

Another Record

Austin Harris, has just become the very first African American in USAC history to win a race in the series 53 years history of 7,500+ races…

The 17yr old Californian native was signed to drive for Bob East in the USAC Ford Focus Midget series for three races, as East was asked to give the youngster a shot by Ford… As East is no stranger to driving talent, having previously worked with Tony Stewart, Bobby East, JJ Yeley and Bobby Labonte to name just a few…

Harris has driven a multitude of different machinery including a stint in Sports Cars at the Rolex 24 and currently leads the Ford Focus Midget points standings.

And with the hunt on to find more sponsorship to continue his racing, it seems like it would be a really SHREUD move by Tony George to sign up the youngster to a “Developmental” deal of his own to groom Austin for a future career in IndyCars…

I mean, c’mon! Just think of the huge publicity sweepstakes Tony would inherit by having the Princess and Harris battling head to head, as perhaps Austin Harris could be the next Lewis Hamilton in the making…

Harris wins Midget race

Da Matta hungry for more

As you’re probably aware of by now, Cristiano Da Matta recently made his return to professional racing in the cockpit of a Bob Stallings Daytona Prototype at Laguna Seca with his good friend Jimmy vasser as his co-driver. And although Da Matta didn’t compete in the Six Hours at the Glen, he did travel to Watkins Glen with the team and is hopeful of finding the necessary funding to enable him to contest more Grand Am events shortly…

Da Matta hunger’s for more racing

Monday, June 16, 2008

What Diversity program?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Mega” lawsuit against RASSCAR seeking monetary damages of $225 million dollars alleging the series of sexual harassment and racism… Of which on the surface of published media reports looks likely…

Yet, I do know when I smell a SKUNK! As in NASCAR’s top “Dawg” Brian France going into FULL “AH SHUCKS” DENIAL MODE… By claiming that the alleged victim, Mauricia Grant should have gone to Human Resources over her claims…

Of which I can tell you from personal experience are NOTHING more then Human shields for said Corporations and are just one notch below lawyers, Err Sheister’s as Marc fondly refers to them as... And certainly do NOT look out for the employees in their charge… Having been personally SCREWED OUT of my Career job in part by the fine HR folks of my past employer…

And while I’m aware that sexual and racial denigration is still a fact of life in many corporate environments… Calling an African American woman a “Nappy Headed Hoe,” Sheba and inquiring if her work out regimen includes carrying a flat screen TV on her back… Definitely does NOT excuse this type of behavior, which tends to make me believe that there’s probably something truthful to this lawsuit as she was the lone black female in her capacity at the time of these multiple incidents…

As her supervisors are indeed responsible for setting the correct tone of behavior in the work place, regardless the situation and simply telling her to “”Suck it up!,” since she’s working with a bunch ‘O ex military personnel in the South, simply just doesn’t cut mustard in my view…



Jim McKay

Sadly it was reported recently that famous TV announcer Jim McKay passed away on June 7th at the age of 86. Although his legal name was Jim

McManus, he changed his on-air name after being tabbed to host an early TV show called The Real McKay…

For me, McKay is the first voice I recall giving me interest in motor racing, as I’ve previously commented towards hearing him call the Indy 500 way back in the early 1970’s for ABC’s Wide World of Sports before Indy was broadcasted live. You may recall that this was the show with the famous tag line’ “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat,” which legendary producer Roone Arledge first scribbled on the back of an airplane napkin… As Wide World of Sports was originally intended to be a one-off summer television program, yet with Jim McKay at the helm and Chris Schenkel alongside, the show was a smashing success as McKay became synonymous with the Olympics and was the man to tell the world; “They’re ALL Gone!” during the 1972 Munich Olympics…

Jim McKay’s Wide World of Sports

Friday, June 13, 2008

Racin’ round the clock

Well actually I should be saving that title for this weekend’s upcoming 76th; Did somebody say 76? As Ain’t ‘dare some song ‘bout 76 Zambonies, err trombones? Oh yeah, I meant the 76th running of the 24 Heurs du Mans, which by far is my all time favourite endurance race…

And speakin’ of endurance, that’s exactly what was needed last weekend in order to watch the plethora of motor racing going on in Norte Americano… As I think I watched too much racing… If there’s such a thing as TOO MUCHOE RACING?

Six Hours at the Glen
Its funny how parts of the country are apparently having a HEAT wave, while others are flooding and here in the Pacific Northwest we’re still in the midst of a COLD Front, as there’s actually SNOW advisories for all of our Mountain passes, with up to 5’ of SNOW expected! As we’re just 11 days away from Summer Solstice, but as one former well known Northwest weather prognosticator once said; “Summer in Seattle DOESN’T Start until July 12th” As we’re two degrees under the 1917 Record temperatures for this time of year which were 10 deg f below our normal 68+ deg f, and that’s all of the weather chatter for now… As you may be wondering what the Frill’ that has to do with the Six Hours at the Glen?

Well unbeknownst to me, portions of the East Coast were broilin’ HOT, including the Upstate Region of New York, where Watkins Glen is located, as the Gran Am road racing series was contesting the Salem 6hrs of the Glen and the drivers were literally suffocating in the extreme temperatures of their enclosed cockpits…

I only found out about this race since I was tuning into SPEED for the F1 qualifying session from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal and having tuned in a wee bit early got to hear Memo Gidley being interviewed after having made a driver switch and having to compete WITHOUT a COOL-Suit in the sweltering heat… Alluding to something ‘bout frying an egg on the dashboard came to mind here…

So, I’m game and I decided to watch the final portion of the Salem 6hr race which perhaps would have been more appropriately named Salem’s Lot… Of which the original movie with David Soul was a terrific horror flick, but I digress once again! Any-hoo, I decided to go outside in order to beat the RAIN and managed to get back in time to catch the final hours coverage, where Scott “Juicyfruit” Pruett was compared to the Incredible Hulk as he was doing his best “He-man” (Ironman) impersonation by driving the final three hours of the event… And this was apparently WITHOUT a COOL-Suit! As ex-Trans Am sparring’ pardoner Dorsey Schroder was awed by Pruett’s physical stamina… As Pruett won the race along with co-driver Memo Rojas, their fourth victory in six races…

Even better yet, was Max “The Ax” Angelelli’s last minute barging his way forwards to secure the third and final step upon the podium, as it was simply amazing that the SunTrust team was racing at all… As its transporter had burned to the ground on the way home from the preceding race, (In Texas?) thus, the Wayne Taylor Racing team was forced to pull back its older racecar that was currently for sale and hurriedly prepare it for the event, albeit with major assistance from fellow competitor Chip Ganassi…

Psst, Mikey A. perhaps you should do the right thing and throw Sarah Fisher a bone…

Le Mans - 2008 Edition

This weekend will see the venerable country roads of Le Mans, France once again closed to public traffic in order to host the annual running of the 24 Heurs du Mans, which will feature several ex-Formula 1 pilots, along with a few current F1 drivers, as well as many respected Sports Car drivers…

Just to name a few, Olivier Panis will make up part of a three car contingent of Courage-Oreca LC70 Judd’s, partnering cast-off Champ Car driver Simon Pagenaud and although the rules have been tweaked to encourage the continuance of these normally aspirated gasoline powered racecars, they’re still at a disadvantage against the turbo diesels, As this years battle for overall victory will be centered upon the two mighty Turbo Diesel LMP1 behemoths; Audi vs. Peugeot, while the LMP2 Prototype category will be a Porsche RS Spyder shootout most likely.

The Peugeot three car 908 HDi FAP armada looks very formable this year with its stellar cast of Formula 1 talent, with the likes of ex-world Champion Jacques Villeneuve along with Christian Klien, Pedro Lamy, Franck Montagny, Alexander Wurz and Ricardo Zonta.

The three car squad of Audi R10TDI’s will be anchored by ex-F1 men Alan McNish and Emanuele Piro, plus the luminescent Lord of Le Mans, seven time winner Tom Kristensen.

In the LMP2 category, Jos “The BOSS” Versappen will co-pilot a Porsche RS Spyder for Van Merksteijn Motorsport alongside A1 GP standout Jeroen.Bleekemolen

In the GT1 ranks, look for some interesting battles, as the main competition will be the Aston Martins squaring off against the Corvettes, although I’d find it wonderful if either the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT or Saleen S7R could upset the apple cart.

The Works Auston Martin’s will be sporting Gulf Oil colours in deference to this being the 40th Anniversary of their first overall victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with Heinz-Harald (“Heinz 57”) Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger in the #007 “James Bond” DBR9, while David Brabham will co-drive the #009. Christian Fittipaldi will drive a privateer Aston, while Jan Magnessen. Oliver Beretta and Max Papis will compete in the powerful gm Factory Corvette C6.R’s.

The GT2 category looks set to once again be a fiercely contested scrum between the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR’s and Ferrari F430’s, with Mika Salo and Gianmaria Bruni behind the wheel of one of Risi Competizione’s F430’s, while interestingly there are two Spyker C8’s entered… Y’all remember who Spyker is, eh?

For a complete rundown of the starting grid, see; 2008 Provisional Entry List

And to watch the race, SPEED’s massive coverage begins on Saturday morning at 7:30AM, with race coverage beginning at 8:30AM. (Eastern Times)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Will Princess get her wish?

On Tuesday, I received the following teaser from AZ Bureau Chief M.J. with the subject line reading; “Your Favourite Driver.” To which I can say EFFATICALLY, NOT!!!

Thus, according to early reports by Crash.Net, (Still a very catchy name for the IRL don’t uze think?) Princess Danicker would get her wish and test a Honda F1 racecar in the near future… To which I immediately thought; Oh My God! Does this mean Danica is headed to Formula 1 to replace Rubino? Talk ‘bout your earth Dreams, eh? Or as another potent lyric from the Grand Master, a la the GOD of the Skins, a.k.a. Neil Pert; Did I have the Dream, or did the Dream have me? Or as Larry would say; “Nightmares, Freakin’ Nightmares!”

Which is apparently what the Press GOONS at Honda HQ may be having as Honda F1 Boss Nick Fry has now retracted his “misleading” statements… Yeah, that’s the ticket, I was misquoted by the Australian press who also think their countryman Scott Dixon won this year’s Indy 500…

So, will Princess get her way? Of course I believe it’s all a publicity STUNT, as I’m hard pressed to think of any of the current Formula 1 teams looking to take that large of a gamble on drivers… Besides Honda and perhaps Force India? NAH! NO WAY…

So, with great irony the following Racer magazine appeared in my mailbox… (Photo especially for “Juan ‘O” her biggest supporters… Danny B) Yet, I think that powers to be at RASSCAR are missin’ a phenomenal marketing opportunity, when they could have the Asian giants go head to head when Kyle “Faux Intimidator Shrubb” Busch hopes to test a Toyota F1 chassis in Japan by pitting him against Princess Danicker… Nah, it’ll NEVER happen!

The Eyes of Texas are upon you

Well perhaps NOT really, but I was tryin’ to think of something clever to tie into this past weekends Indy Car race at Edward “The Goose” Gossage’s joint… Of which fortunately, Danny B informed me was being tape DELAYED on “The Deuce” do to some minor league Stock Car race… So I decided wisely to tune into the IMS Radio Broadcast instead… Although this way I didn’t get to see Robby Knievel jump 21 Hummers for the pre-race festivities… Anyone wanna buy a used Hummer? I hear they get really LOUSY gas mileage…

Did I hear Mike King correctly? Saying it was 92 degrees at 9:25PM in the Lone Star state.
And although I took two pages of notes during this caution flag infested event, they were primarily devoted to the ever flapping yellow flags, which saw a total of 8 cautions for 52 laps, just shy of the record set in 1997. (58 caution laps)

And although there were 28 cars entered, with Luczo Dragon Racing making another start with Tomas “NO SHOW” Scheckter… Who apparently blew off his second scheduled appearance on Donald Kay’s ‘lil Autosport Radio show this past Tuesday, I was drawn to the fact that John Andretti was still masquerading as an Indy Car regular behind the wheel of Jay Howard’s #24 Roth Racing entry. And although I haven’t found anything to verify this, according to Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B, Andretti will take over the ride for the remainder of the season…

And while some have claimed that CART’s demise can be loosely traced to their attempt to takeover Texas Motor Speedway back in 2001, its worth noting that some of today’s Indy Car World Series drivers were just starting their Oval Track careers at this time in point and the Firehawk 600 race was correctly cancelled due to the drivers exceeding 5G’s, as driver safety was paramount after Dale “Ironhead” Ernhart Sr.’s death at Daytona. Its worth noting that Kenny Brack, the events pole sitter, obtained a top speed of 237+ mph, nearly 25mph faster than this year’s pole speed set by Scott Dixon at 214.878mph…

In a further parity ‘O comedic blunders… Indy Car debutant winner Ryan “Disco Inferno” Briscoe took a page out of EJ “Don’t call me Ernesto” Viso’s playbook, by deciding to stop in the WRONG pit box during the beginning of the race, which dropped him nearly two laps behind. Oh well, at least Eddie “F-Bombs Are Us” Carpentier didn’t make any waves or get fined this time, eh?

And while it was a fairly entertaining event, with multiple passing, as Y’all may know by now, Marco “Marky Mark” Andretti and Ryan “Sniff Petrol” Hunter-Reay apparently decided to disagree on who’d go where in the final laps, causing Vitor Meira too do his best Dario “Where’s my pants” Franchitti summersault impersonation, which saw Scott “The Milkman” (DON’T Go ‘dare fellas!) Dixon claim his third victory of the season…

As interestingly, prior to the races beginning, Dave “The King” Wilson tossed out an impressive statistic. For his Indy Car career, Scott Dixon averages a win EVERY 5.7 starts. And if you take out the forty abysmal Toyota starts, when they were getting WHOOPED by Honda... He averages a WIN EVERY 2.6 starts!

Even funnier yet, according to Danny B, the Deuce made a major boo-boo, when they couldn’t figure out how to stop the live broadcast audio for two minutes during the pre-race portion of the DELAYED broadcast… So, its pretty DAMN funny to read that Tony George & Co. are claiming that this late night/early morning TV broadcast set a record for TV viewer ship on ESPN2…

And speaking of Jay Howard, it was interesting to listen to “Hi, I’m Ron Dixon, Father of Scott” on Autosport Radio this past Tuesday… As apparently the Brit was scheduled to be on the show, but at 5:10PM (ET) had called Mr. Kay to inform him that he’d missed his aeroplane as he’d forgotten to set his watch for the time change and hence, Ron Dixon was pressed into service… Which was actually a very enlightening interview, although I think some of that moisture Indiana’s been having musta seeped into their broadcast equipment as once again I lost the broadcast when it froze during the end of the show!

Ron mentioned how in fact, his son Scott is a “Kiwi” and NOT an “Aussie” contrary to popular media belief Down Under… As Ron works as a spotter for Roth Racing’s John Andretti and previously Jay Howard, interestingly Ron also mentors and spots for three Flinstone Indy Lites competitors… When he’s not busy being threatened by their fathers, since he’s NOT spotting for their sons on said weekends…

Ron also runs some sort of Toyota race team Down Under in Australia and when being asked to comment on Jay Howard’s current situation, Ron noted that he’d had Jay drive for him and he was absolutely brilliant, as he’d never seen the track, nor driven the car and was straightaway on it, leading nearly everything… And was leading by over ¾ lap before the race was red flagged for rain and subsequently punted off on the restart…

As for commenting on Jay’s driving at Roth Racing he tries to stay out of the politics, since he likes keeping his job, but mentioned that things looked good for Jay next year if he’s released properly…

So, once again it sounds like its all down to whoever’s got the largest satchel of dinero, eh? Although Ron eluded to the possibility that Jay would drive for Roth Racing before the end of this season.

Ron also noted he’s got a female New Zealander currently running his Toyota program who’s just itching to test an Indy Lights chassis and she’s scheduled to make her test stateside in about five weeks time…

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

F1: Il Notre Dam - 2008 edition

ILL is exactly what I felt about the flippin’ FOX broadcast of the Canadian Grand Prix… And as I’ve still not watched the Friday second practice session, nor did I take any notes during Saturday’s qualifying, I’m quite behind on my F1 coverage… Of which will only fall further behind with the monstrous amount of Le Mans coverage this weekend on SPEED! Can you say Viva la France?

Obviously, I’d have to say I was most impressed by The Krakow Kid, a.k.a. Robert Kubica, who’s simply KICKED ASS and Taken NO prisoners since replacing the over spoken Jacque ‘O Lantern *Jacques) Villeneuve and I feel a little bit sad for “Quick Nick” (Heidfeld) whom I’m thinking perhaps days are numbered at BMW Sauber? Although the team is obviously keen to keep a German on tap, but I cannot help wonder if Heidfeld’s simply now keeping the seat warm for Sebastian Vettel? Who yes I know has a contract with Red Bull, but as I’ve just recently told Mary Ellen, there’s NO such thing as an iron clad contract in F1… I mean, just ask Fredrico Suave (Alonso)

Yet Kubica, who’s gone to extraordinary lengths to lose weight in order to gain every possible advantage out of the BMW Sauber is currently tied for the fourth best driver on the grid, as he and Heikki Kovalainen squabble over this position, with only Lewis Hamilton, Kimi “The REAL Iceman” Raikkonen and Felipe Massa ahead of him…

And Kubica was momentarily on Pole, until Louise “Jaguar” Hamilton snatched it away from his good buddy, with the Kimster third, just ahead of a very impressive Ferdi the Putz. (Alonso) Even more impressive was Williams Nico Rosberg out qualifying Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, while Mark Webber pulled a “DC” and crashed on the marbles on his way back to the pits at the end of Q2… As the track was breaking up once again and quite tricky off line…

Peter WINSOR: Kimi, quicker of the two Ferrari drivers. You are always in the points here in Canada but it looked like sector three is always a difficult one for Ferrari. The top speed is not quite there relative to McLaren Mercedes.

Kimi RAIKKONEN: The car has been good all weekend. Even this morning it was very good and then going into qualifying it is quite a joke with the circuit. It is always the same thing, the circuit breaks down and you miss the corner because there is so much sand. I lost so much time in corner 10 as I couldn't get around as the car just went straight and didn't give any traction. I am a bit disappointed on that because we had a car that could fight for pole position and we will see tomorrow how it is going to be in the race and whether it is going to be a nightmare when we do 70 laps and it breaks up after two laps. It is going to be quite interesting.

Interestingly, the man made island on the St. Lawrence River, which was built in 1967, was like many of the previous events when you’re never quite sure when or how many Safety Car periods there will be. Recall last years horrible looking shunt that Robert Kubica experienced, miraculously walking away with only a swollen ankle… So, this year’s Safety Car seemed a bit sedate as Adrian Sutil’s Force India came to a stop on the road before his front brakes caught on fire… Which led to one of the craziest incidents I’ve seen in quite some time… As everybody piled into their respective pit boxes after the FOM (Formula One Management) had displayed the graphic that the pits were open, Kimi Raikkonen stopped alongside Kubica, as there was a HUGE RED LIGHT being displayed at pit out… And although I’m not exactly sure why? I’m absolutely 100% positive that when Lewis Hamilton realized his mistake(?) he PURPOSELY chose the Kimster over his good, close, personal friend Kubica to impale with his hurtling McLaren… As obviously he wouldn’t wish for Kimi to gain valuable points on him as the defending World Champion.

With his two main race protagonists out of the picture, the race appeared to be his for the taking, although Kubica’s teammate Quick Nick had other designs after briefly leading and even passing Kubica on pit stops… But The Krakow Kid was NOT to be denied, as he drove 6-7 qualifying laps in a row in order to build up a 24 second lead over Heidfeld, who was now considerably slower after having taken on a large fuel load in order to make his race a one stop event…

Thus Kubica was triumphant, becoming the very first Polish driver to ever win a Grand Prix, as it was quite enjoyable to hear a different National Anthem being played… As Kubica stood proudly during the playing of the Polish National Anthem… And it was a “White & Blue Letter Day,” as Heidfeld followed Kubica across the stripe to give BMW Sauber its very first 1-2 finish in Formula 1, with a very delighted (Surprised) David Coulthard scoring his first podium for Red Bull, while Toyota’s Timo Glock scored his first points and impressively, German Hot-shue Sebastian Vettel held off McLarein’s Heikki Kovalinen for 8th place…

The Canadian Race Stewards later decided that both Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would be docked 10 place grid spot penalties for their roles in the pit lane accident, which will be served at the French GP... And while Raikkonen was busy pointing at the stop light for “Jaguar’s” indiscretion, as Peter Winsor later pointed out, Kimi isn’t to be let off the hook for running into the back of Sutil’s Force India at Monte Carlo…

Qualifying ResultsPole: L. Hamilton; 2. R. Kubica; 3. K. Raikkonen; 4. F. Alonso;
5. N. Rosberg; 6. F. Massa; 7. H. Kovalainen; 8. N. Heidfeld;
9. R. Barrichello; 10. M. Webber

Race ResultsWinner: R. Kubica; 2. N. Heidfeld; 3. D. Coulthard; 4. T. Glock;
5. F. Massa; 6. J. Trulli; 7. R. Barrichello; 8. S. Vettel

2008 F1 Point Standings
(Round 7 of 18)

Driver’sR. Kubica 42
L. Hamilton 38
F. Massa 38
K. Raikkonen 35
N. Heidfeld 28

Ferrari 73
BMW Sauber 70
McLaren 53
Red Bull 21
Toyota 17

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Local Boy Done Good Again!

So I know I should stay away from the “R-Word” as in RASSCAR… But I’m feeling compelled to write the following story for my 88 ½ year old “Auntie” Harriet who recently took a nasty fall that resulted in a cracked rib and very sore lower back, Aye Karumba!

You see, she’s probably one of Kasey Kenneth Kahne’s most vigilant supporters, as Kasey is a local boy from the town of “Een-um-Scratch” (Enumclaw, WA; Population: 11,010 ) and by-gum, they even have a “Big Time Mega” QFC grocery store there… Where we stopped for replenishment of supplies on our long meandering trip home from Eastern, Washington, as Auntie Harriet repeatedly asks; “You mean that little boy from Enumclaw WON Again? Those Big Boyzs really must NOT like him!”

Well actually there are two Homegrown Boyzs currently tearin’ up the Rextail Spirit Cup series (Smells like Teen Spirit, eh? Performed by none other than Kirk “shotgun” Cobain formerly of Aberdeen, WA) at the moment, the aforementioned Kasey Kahne and Gregory Jack Biffle, a.k.a. “The Biff,” (Vancouver, WA) but we’ll stick to the esteemed man of the moment, Casey DON’T SLOW ‘dat Dodge Down “No. 9” Kane… Although Mary Ellen says that “The Biffster” gets her vote in lieu of his outstanding charity work for Canine’s thru The Greg Biffle Foundation.

And having just read Kasey’s bio, it struck me that he was the second driver the Blue Oval let slip thru its cracks… As another notable youngster by the name of Jeffery “Pretty Boy” Gordon was also a member of the Ford Motor Company’s racing fraternity before his rise to Super-stardom. Interestingly this is just one of the many coincidences that Kasey shares with Gordon…

Kasey cut his motor racing teeth at the age of 17 when he began competing in Open Wheel Sprint Cars at Deming Speedway in the little town of Deming, WA, (Population: 210; 2000 Census) where from Deming, Kahne graduated to Skagit Speedway, where he won the Annual Jim Raper memorial Dirt Cup three times and currently holds the record for fastest lap.

In 2000, Kasey drove Midgets for Steve Lewis, who’d previously employed Sprint Cup drivers Jeff Gordon and Kenny Irwin Jr. where Kahne not only took Rookie of the Year honours, but also won the USAC National Midget Championship. Kasey continued in Midgets, along with racing in the World of Outlaws and Toyota Atlantics series before graduating to the Busch Cup where he drove 20 races for Robert Yates.

In 2003 Kahne switched to Akin Motorsports where he claimed his first career pole and victory in the Busch series and also made two starts in the Craftsman Truck series in a Dodge and was victorious in both attempts. At the end of 2003, “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” (B. Elliot) made the announcement that he’d be seeking a limited CUP schedule in 2004 and Kasey was promptly snapped up by Ray Evernham for his Evernham Motorsports organization, which were campaigning Dodges. As Kasey was still under contract to Ford a lawsuit entailed, which eventually saw a cash donation made to the Blue Oval while Kahne went onto capture the ’04 Rookie of the Year title on the basis of his strong results which included a staggering five second place finishes and four poles. Ironically Evernham was the crew chief and guiding force that led the “Rainbow Warriors” who took Jeff Gordon to four Sprint Cup titles…

In 2005, Kasey scored his maiden CUP victory at Richmond, VA, before having his best Sprint Cup season to date, when in 2006 he scored an impressive six victories and beat out Tony Stewart for the final title chase position by a mere handful of points before winding up eighth overall. 2007 was a disappointing year after these lofty accomplishments, yet as we now know, Kasey rebounded nicely as he’s currently one of the hottest drivers in RASSCAR… When the fans voted him into this year’s All Star race, Kasey and his team didn’t let them down as he became the very first voted in driver to win the million dollar event, which guarantees the winner an automatic berth for the following 10yrs. Kasey then added his name to the record books 8 days later, when with two laps remaining “Smoke” (T. Stewart( cut a tire and Kahne swept by to win the Charlotte 600, becoming only the sixth driver to “Do the Double.” Continuing on his hot streak, Kasey secured his third career pole at Pocono before going onto win his ninth CUP event and has won three of the last four races… (Including the All Star event)

Kahne has also won seven Nationwide (Busch) series events to date and has formed Kasey Kahne Racing to field entries in the World of Outlaws, USAC Sprint Car and USAC Midgets series and is also actively involved in charitable work along with serving on the President’s Council, while in his spare time he pilots the #9 Budweiser Allstate Dodge racecar for Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which also fields CUP entries for Elliot Sadler and Patrick “Pat the Carpenter” Carpentier…

So, Auntie Harriet; “This Bud’s for you!”

Monday, June 9, 2008

Can I have the keys to your Porsche?

Pardon me SON! Do you have any Grey Poupon? Err; can I borrow the keys to your Porsche Carrera GT? As the British Formula 1 Ace’s father and manager Anthony Hamilton wrecked (presumably) young Lewis’s German Supercar while trying to impress the Misses… For the full story, see; Hamilton wrecks Carrera GT.

As I’m NOT sure whose incident was worse this past weekend… Oh well, at least The Ronster’s picking up the bill for Lewis’s transgression in Montreal, but I suspect he’ll have to pick-up the tab for his father’s mistake…

Washington Dry lands

Just an escape artist, Racing against the night, A wandering hermit, Racing toward the light.
From the white sands, To the canyon lands, To the redwood stands. To the barren lands, To the barren lands...(RUSH: Vapor Trails, Ghost Rider lyrics)
(Whale it certainly AIN’T DRY here today in Seattle!)

Or as perhaps RUSH would say; “Tastes like Chicken!” In deference to the three rotisseries on stage preparing said fowl while being basted by a “Roadie” in Chef’s regalia…

Otay, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m back from another very enjoyable outing in the Great Pacific Northwest’s abundance of wilderness… Having just spent the past eight days “On the Fly,” after having to partake in another FANTASTIC concert performed by The Kuh-Naidiun Power Trio, a.k.a. RUSH!

And somehow I feel that I should have been awarded double bonus points… As look Ma, NO Hands, Err… NOT only did I use my anxiously awaited “$timulus” check to pay for my outing, but I was seeing a neighboring countries performers and thus promoting Foreign Country relations, eh? Although I suppose some would argue that the moohlah that the Federal Re$erve has been printing up for said occasion was supposed to stay stateside… But DON’T worry you DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue… As unfortunately the bulk of my overly impressive $timulus check (If it ever arrives?) went straight back into the NASTY hands of Darth Vader, a.k.a. DICK Cheney… As Y’all know what the price of a gallon of petrol has been doin’ lately… SHEISE-KOPFES!

And riddle me this? Why in the HELL is the price of gasoline INFLATED 20 cents per gallon just because you’re in the cute little German Tourist-trap villas ‘O Leavenworth? As they’d jacked up the price to $4.29 per gallon, but I digress…

Having arrived at the Gorge around 5PM, we proceeded to the campground area to secure our location and set up our tent… Yet as the winds “Were A Blowin’” Mary Ellen and I laughed out loud when a gust of wind collapsed our tent, knocking it straight down after about only five minutes… And thus decided to leave it collapsed until after the concert was over, while our neighbor’s tent was trying to walk away all by itself! As somebody finally dragged it back towards us, asking; “Is this your tent?”

And like all outdoor concerts for RUSH, its always entertaining to hear the various sound systems blarin’ out their particular choice of the Kuh-Naidiun Power Trio’s vast library of music… As our next door neighbors were crankin’ out a live performance from the 2004 R30 Anniversary tour recorded in Germany…

Finally it was time to make the long walk from the campgrounds over to the venue, which is set against the perfect backdrop, as the mighty Columbia River snakes behind the stage, of which Mary Ellen informed me had three Semi Haulers directly next to it, while she counted a total of five “Newell?” Custom tour coaches and a further three semi’s parked nearby… HMM? Wonder who’s pickin’ up the tab for fueling this fleet of vehicles, eh? (Yeah, I’ll stop GROWLIN’ over those BASTARDOES SCREWING US!) As we sat on the grassy hillside, which seemed moderately filled by concert goers… And oh yeah… Guess what the price of a Schlitz Malt liquor beverage will run yuhz… $12 US Greenbacks…

The concert started promptly at 8PM with the first song being Limelight, a popular cut off of RUSH’s GRATEST Album; 1981’s Moving Pictures… Followed up by a long forgotten song off of the follow-up album Signals; Digital Man, which seemed appropriate in today’s age of portable electronic devices…

And it must be quite daunting to try and decide what 20+ songs to play, when you’re massive library contains hit songs from three decades; 1970’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s, as the band did a fairly decent job of mixing up songs, although they managed to push the boundaries of overplaying their latest studio release Snakes & Arrows by playing eight tracks off of it…

During Geddy’s first obligatory crowd callout; Hello (Insert venues name here) How are uze doin’ out there? Geddy noted that they’d try to play a whole ton of songs if they didn’t get blown off the stage… As the winds were so strong that they actually blew the sound around! Yet, the boyzs would ultimately end up playing the entire side one of Moving Pictures: Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, YYZ and Limelight… As it was another truly impressive three hour cruise thru the annexes of RUSH’s music…

Afterwards, Mary Ellen and I used our patented follow the leader technique of helping me navigate bumpy, gravel/dirt surfaces in the darkness of night, where she simply guides me along by pulling my white cane… Which several concert onlookers were most curious about… As one slightly inebriated man approached us… Asking if he could hug me? To which we were most curious about and asked him why?; “Because I’ve NEVER hugged a Blind person before!”

Otay, I’ll play along and we briefly hugged, to which led into his telling us his whole life’s story in about five minutes… While asking me for repeated hugs…

Can I Hug you?

You guys probably don’t like people who kill deer? Do you like cabbage? I’m a tree murderer… Yeah, I’m a logger from Aberdeen and my wife’s a beautician who paints nails,

Can I Hug you?

I’m 41, how old are you?

Can we hug?; To which I replied; “Dude, we’ve already hugged!”

As we bid our farewells, a second man approached us and asked me if I’d enjoyed the concert? Why yes I did, as I was afraid to mention that it was actually my 16th time to see the venerable Kuh-Naidiun Power Trio…

Yet, after having spent over one hour scouring ze internets for a FRILLIN’ Concert review by our esteemed local newspapers, I’ve given up, as apparently they deemed RUSH NOT WORTHY of said review… And thus I’ll leave you with a review from The Great White North, held two nights prior to The Gorge performance…


Here's a great review sent to me via AZ Bureau Chief Mary Jane;

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fox Bites

Once again it’s the WORST portion of the Formula 1 season as I ABSOLUTELY DREAD the DUMBING DOWN PORTION of Television coverage shown on FOX…

As their Formula 1 coverage is ABSOLUTELY ABYSMAL!!! Although at least this year they’ve wisely decided to utilize the commentating crew from their “Little Seester’s” network SPEED… But unfortunately in deference to mainstream TV programming have opted for only a two hour telecast… Which means NO 30 minute Pre-race show, which includes the brilliant Peter Winsor shuffling about the race grid…

And then once again, FOX TOTALLY BLEW IT!!! As they bludgeoned the post race interviews of which were of historic proportions... Which left me screaming at the Telescreen FOX SUCKS!!! F%%KING ASSHOLES!!!

And what was all of the rush for? Well immediately following the BOTCHED Broadcast was an overwhelmingly STUPID “Info-mercial” for a low budget competitor of the Bosley “Just For Men” Hair Transplant club… As I’d say FOX could use some of this product to cover the ASS WHOOPIN” they deserve…

Show me the money!

During the Turkish GP’s Pre-race show… (Ever heard of those, FOX?) Peter Winsor did an interesting bit about the potential costs of running an F1 team in today’s business climate, while noting how Emperor Bernardo was overly keen to remain “Monosyllabic towards ANY hard numbers…

Yet Winsor ascertains that the average per season price of admission will set you back $200 million… With Bob Varsha commenting during the Canadian GP that the top F1 teams such as Toyota and most likely all of the major auto manufacturers are spending somewhere in the region of $700-800 million per season!

Although the FIA doles out $50m to each team in the form of travel expenses and “Prize” money, with a further $40m being accumulated by all Constructors VIP operations… The various teams are still left seeking to secure approximately half of their working budgets from sponsors… And this does NOT include all of the various other sundry businesses involved, i.e.; Oil Companies, lubricants, tyres, parts specialists, etc. which will potentially chip in to the teams budgets.

Yet, lets consider the costs of building a current racing circuit, as the latest to join the fray is the ultra modern, sheik Istanbul Autodrome, at a cost of $250m. And if we take a look at the latest four “Super” circuits: Abu Dhabi; Bahrain; Malaysia and Singapore, the cost EXEEDS $1 Billion! While ALL of today’s Modern circuits MUST be designed by Herman Tilke, who’s quite lavish over his pit lane complexes, amongst overall venue layout amenities.

And just what does the first three figures pertain to?

Team Budget; $200m
(Average for all ten teams currently competing)
This cost includes: Team personnel, Engines, R & D and Logistics

FIA; $50m
This cost includes: TV Rights, Circuit appearance fees and F1 Endorsements

Team VIP’s; $40m
This cost includes: Admittance into the very exclusive team Paddock Club which sees an average of 70 attendees per event. (Avg. price = $3,000 per attendee)

Overall, Formula 1 is a $2+ Billion per year industry…

Budget capping Italian style
While there are rumours speculating about a new Budget capping system being proposed in Formula 1, which would see the FIA impose a three year cap reduction, beginning at $150m Euros next year, it wouldn’t include Driver and Team Bosses salaries, nor Engines or Marketing costs.
Which ties in nicely with the figures thrown around by the House of Winsor during his Pre-race monologue at Istanbul… Yet, once again leave it to Ferrari to try upsetting the Apple Cart as they may have as much as a $100 million head start

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Back to the WET Stuff

Having just returned from an enjoyable week’s outing in the High Desert Dry lands, a.k.a. the other side of Washington State… Don’t uze just luv makin’ mistakes? As I’ve just spent the early hours of the morning busily hackin’ away at the keyboard, with much knucel bangin’ word butchery in my quest to crank out a story ‘bout Rubino “Officially” breaking Ricardo Patrese’s all time Grand Prix starting record of 256 starts… Only to discover at the end of the story that its still NOT a done dealoe… As although some sources claim this to be the ageless Brazilian’s 260th Grand Prix, they only recognize it as his 256th career start and hence, the definitive 257th GP start will be made at the French Grand Prix in a fortnight from this weekends outing on the Il Notre Dam at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve…

And with the plethora of motor racing this weekend, I’m already behind the eight-ball, having not yet reviewed Friday’s practice session as Qualifying looms on the horizon… Although I do intend to watch this evening’s frivolities at TEXX-ARSE Wurld Motor speedway

HMM? Wonder if promoter extraordinaire Edward “The Goose” Gossage will be putting’ out any bounties for Princess Danicker to toss her helmet?

Friday, June 6, 2008

India’s newest force-Take 2

Editor's Note:
Apparently there was some “Technical Difficulties” with some of the stories recently posted on No Fenders via a remote location, while your humble scribe was out ‘N aboot in the wilds “O Eastern, WA. Sorry for the unknown Gremlins… As we’ll soon return to our Normal Programming at No Fenders...

Thanks for your patience,

BY now you’ve probably heard the news that India’s Tata Motors Ltd has finalized its deal to acquire the luxury British car brands of Jaguar and Land Rover from the beleaguered ford Motor Company for $2.3 billion.

Tata Motors Ltd is India’s largest national automotive producer and currently enjoys a market share of 65% of all vehicles sold. The cash rich Automobile manufacturer, with current reserves of $29 billion, secured a $3 billion bridge loan from Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase in order to acquire the remaining British marcques of Ford’s Premiere group, which once housed the Jaguar Formula 1 team and PI Research group run previously by Bobby Rahal and Niki Lauda.

But just who is Tata Motors? The company is just one of the Tata Group’s multiple holdings as the family controlled business also owns the Corus Group, a Dutch steel giant, currently the sixth largest in the world, the Tetley Tea company as well as a portfolio of American luxury hotels including the Pierre in New York city.

Originally known as the TELCO (TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company), they first began producing locomotives in 1945. Tata Motors then made their very first foray into commercial vehicle production in 1954 in a joint venture with Dalmer Benz, with production of a heavily copied truck model, with the arrangement lasting thru 1969.

Since India’s infrastructure wasn’t set up to accommodate heavy tonnage vehicles at this time, Tata set it’s sights on the Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) market segment instead, producing it’s very first in-house designed LCV vehicle in 1986, the Tata 407.

Tata then set about expansion at a moderate rate by participating in joint ventures and in 1993 formed an alliance with Cummins Engines for the use of high horsepower modern diesel engines. A further joint venture was taken with Tata Holset UK in order to produce turbochargers for its Cummins engines.

In 2000, the company introduced Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) busses as well as launching it’s 1109 Medium Heavy Commercial Vehicle (MHCV) truck, designed to fill the gap in it’s vehicle line-up with this intermediate tonnage truck, along with other new vehicles.

After enjoying a long dominance of the commercial vehicle market, Tata launched its first passenger vehicle, the India. Although this design received less than positive press remarks, nevertheless it’s good fuel mileage, peppy engine and mass marketing made it an eventual sales success, with large quantities being exported to South Africa along with a Rover badged version being sold in the UK. This was the City Rover, a joint venture with MG Rover which lasted briefly as the company went bankrupt before being sold to China.

With the huge success of the various India models, Tata set its sights towards Global expansion and in 2004, Tata purchase the Daewoo commercial vehicles company of South Korea. The acquisition of Daewoo Trucks allows the company to lessen its dependency upon the domestic market sales with production of such vehicles as the Tata Novice, a well selling Heavy tonnage vehicle (TDCV) in South Korea.

Continuing it’s International expansion, Tata next set it’s sights upon the Bus market, purchasing a 21% stake in Hispano Carrocera SA in 2005, selling it’s products in the Spanish domestic market, along with establishing a 51/49% joint venture with Marcopolo S.A, a Brazilian company that is a Global leader in bus body production.

Last year Tata produced approximately 600,000 vehicles and Ratan Tata, the 70yr old Chairman of the Tata Group claims the acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover is seen as a way to diversify itself against the upcoming stiff competition from ambitious Chinese auto makers.

Interestingly Daimler Benz currently holds a 7% stake in Tata Motors, while Tata also has a partnership arrangement with the recently shed Chrysler Motor Company, whose Global Motorcars division currently sells Electric versions of Tata’s popular Ace vehicle, while Tata Motors will also begin production of the controversial Nano later this year, being the world’s lowest priced vehicle ever produced, with a $2,500.00 retail price tag. Tata also has an interesting compressed air hybrid vehicle called the One Cat it’s currently working on.

Meanwhile the Indian Auto giant has also been aggressively unveiling multiple concept vehicles for joint partnership development in multiple Nations and is set to begin mass production in Thailand and Argentina, along with forming an alliance with FIAT to gain access to its diesel technology. With FIAT’s assistance, Tata is aiming to produce its Global pick-up for sales in such countries as Europe along with its debut in the United States slated for 2009.

Prior to Ford selling off Jaguar and Land Rover this March, Tata was listed as the World’s twentieth largest vehicle manufacturer, while Ford’s sale of it’s luxury British marcques also includes the Daimler , Rover and Lanchester nameplates, much to the chagrin of Chinese manufacturers.

Yet this sale is somewhat curious, as this now leaves Ford only with the Volvo nameplate in its stable of foreign Automobile manufacturers. Ironically Volvo’s truck unit currently competes against Tata for sales in India, with Volvo being the “Mercedes Benz” of trucks currently occupying the country’s roads as these two rival companies competes for vehicle purchases in the Tractor Trailer segment, as India’s road infrastructure has been vastly improved by their National Highway Act.

While Vijay Malia was spotted smiling in the Barcelona paddock on Friday over his recent acquisition’s surge to the top of the timesheets,as the Spyker F1 driver’s briefly led all contestants before uncharacteristically settling for top ten runs. Couple This improved performance along with the impending Indian Grand Prix slated for 2010 and hence, Tata could be enticed into purchasing the rival Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team in order to begin its own racing program?

While Toro Rosso’s Ferrari customer engines would give some prestige, why couldn’t Tata revive the stillborn Cosworth V-8 engine program with a little badge engineering to give Tata the global marketing glamour it so desires. Could we once again see the revival of Jaguar in F1?

Of course Tata would need to be careful to avoid the overambitious goals of Spyker Automobiles failed foray into Formula 1, which ultimately led to the team’s being sold to India tycoon Vijay Malia. Yet, such a audacious move could see Malia forced into playing second fiddle in India’s burgeoning Automobile market…