Friday, September 5, 2008

Belle’s and Whistles

Main Entry: block
Function: verb
Date: 1580

transitive verb
1 a: to make unsuitable for passage or progress by obstruction barchaic : blockade c: to hinder the passage, progress, or accomplishment of by or as if by interposing an obstruction d: to shut off from view e: to interfere usually legitimately with (as an opponent) in various games or sports f: to prevent normal functioning or action of g: to restrict the exchange of (as currency or checks)2: to mark or indicate the outline or chief lines of 3: to shape on, with, or as if with a block 4: to secure, support, or provide with a block5: to work out or chart the movements of (as stage performers) —often used with out6: to make (two or more lines of writing or type) flush at the left or at both left and right.

intransitive verb: to block an opponent in sports
(Source: Webster’s Dictionary)

Originally I planned to scribble my thoughts about this past weekend’s race upon Detroit’s Belle Isle, you know? The track that The Captain, a.k.a. Roger Penske has personally poured large amounts of capital into in order to return the noted mud bog back onto the Indy Car calendar, with reports of between $5.5-7.0 million having been spent upon its upgrades this year... Although reports claim that the events return on investment nets the city $53m in revenue, but I digress...

And why yes, I was all set to babble on ‘bout Milka-licious and Whiney Bags colliding on lap 1, with Bruno Junqueira being penalized for “Avoidable” contact... Although guest colour commentator Arie Luyendyk Jr. had a hard time stifling his laughter during the broadcast as the leaders came upon Milka Duno and were having a hard time getting around her...

Or how about Tomas “Roc-em Soc-em” Scheckter perhaps needing his nickname revamped to Halfshaft? As Tomas seemingly has a propensity for snapping the large metal objects... As Jay Penske reportedly claimed that the team was 90% certain to run the full calendar next year along with being based in Indianapolis due to a sponsor to be named later, with no word on who the driver would be.

But instead, I immediately SCREAMED HOORAW!!! When Justin Wilson made the move that would ultimately garner him his very first Indy Car series victory, when the league’s “Golden boy,” Err, Golden-shue was rightly penalized for AGRESSIVELY BLOCKING!

And I screamed even LOUDER; BLACK FLAG ‘EM! BLACK FLAG ‘EM! Upon the news that Castroneves was not heeding the instructions to give up the lead to Justin... Of which he finally did, while a microphone was shoved in Tim Cindric’s face about how he felt over the penalty? Well, usually, you get one warning first; Wah-wah-wah...

Yet, this led to an interesting conversation with Mary Ellen, who asked; “Isn’t blocking what everybody does in racing?” Of which the same topic was debated upon Wind Tunnel, as the ‘Ol windbag himself (Dave Despain) noted that blocking occurs all weekend long in a RASSCAR race... Asking Open wheel curmudgeon Robin Miller; “Wasn’t it those Bra-zillion’s who started blocking?” To which Miller retorted; “Yeah, some guy named Ayrton started the whole thing and just look at Schumacher and Hamilton lined up for the start of a Formula 1 race.”

Of which reminds me of Robert Doornbos’s comments towards the Hamburgular (Bourdais) saying” “You’d better get used to it when you go over to F1!” As Sea Bass was sniveling about having been given the chop block treatment during a Champ Car race... To which somme-thung ‘bout dishing it out but NOT being able to take it comes to mind in regards to both Bourdais and Castroneves. (OOPS! DON’T FORGET THE PRINCESS, EH?)

Yet, I appreciated the female midget driver’s comments about how the league, i.e.; IRL’s Brian Braveheart was trying to look out for the driver’s safety, remarking how similar blocking tactics had led to Jeff Krosnoff’s fatality, as Open Wheel racecar’s have a higher potential of driver injury due to the nature of the open cockpit...

Yet, blocking the path of a competitor’s impending progress is nothing new on either side of the pond, as this aggressive maneuvering is quite common in the pinnacle of Motorsports, Grand Prix racing, as demonstrated by Eddie Irvine’s most widely known moniker; “Irv the Swerve.” Yet, I’d argue that in Formula 1, drivers are more ruthless and when said blocking occurs, it routinely leads to both drivers colliding, along with a massive shunt or countless pieces of carbon fibre disintegrating... Along with several trips into the pit lane for either front nose changes or immediately being pushed into the garage and the doors being closed briskly!

So, once again, we’re left with the question over whether or not blocking should be a fundamental part of racing? To which I’d say is simply part of a driver’s craft, yet must be demonstrated in a matter that isn’t overtly obvious, while I prefer to think that Indy Car is more sophisticated then those Tin Top bumpkin’s ‘O RASSCAR! And thus, if you lose the corner to your competitor, instead of chopping his nose off with an aggressive tug of the steering wheel, give up the corner and continue your fight on track instead... Along with the known ground rule of you’re at the indiscretion of the race stewards who can penalize you at anytime for overly judicious blocking jobs! Since anybody can punt an opponent outta ‘duh way...

And I’d say Helio was lucky, since he could have incurred a drive thru or 10 second stop-go penalty, a la Formula 1...

So; Get over it Helio!