Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Will the next Driver please step up

C’mon down, you’re the next contestant brave enough to try on the Majic Rings at the Speedway!

Looks like Davey Hamilton’s seat grab for this year’s running of the Indy 500 will most likely hinge upon Tony George’s pallet for running his third racing car with Visionary backing… As the number of remaining open seats just shrank by one with Ron Hemelgarn having signed long time driver Buddy Lazier to pilot the “Johnson ‘N Johnson” mobile…

Lazier, who made his rookie debut in 1991, would become the first IRL driver to taste the milk at Indy in 1996. Last year he drove for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

“I love the Indianapolis 500 and everything about the IndyCar Series,” said Lazier, who finished second in the 500 in 1998 and 2000 and fifth in 2005. “I lie awake at night because I want to be part of it. Ron has given me an opportunity to be part of it. We’ve struggled and we’ve had success together in the past. The two of us have experienced what it’s like to finish 33rd and have a horrible day, and we’ve experienced winning.”
(Source: Speed TV.com)

2008 Indy 500 Open seats
(Car No. /Driver/Entrant)21 TBA Playa Del Racing
22 (TBA/(D. Hamilton?) Vision Racing
77 TBA Team Penske
83 TBA Panther Racing
91 B. Lazier, Hemelgarn Johnson
98 (TBA/R. Yasukawa?) CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports
TBA TBA PDM Racing

Joie Ray

Although I’m not a Dirt Track/Midget enthusiast… There was a very interesting interview on Autosport Radio yesterday, as I’d never heard of racing pioneer Joie Ray, nor the book’s author Pat Sullivan…

What made this so interesting to me was that it’s all about an African American who broke the colour barrier in Motor Racing the same year as Jackie Robinson did in Baseball… Yet, that was NEVER Joie Ray’s concern; he just wanted to race cars!

The author Pat Sullivan has done an amazing amount of research on the subject and also presents the book in great fashion, by telling tales of how Joie made his way into racing with the help of many of the elite Dirt Track Drivers of the day…

The book sounds like quite a fascinating read and you can learn more about it at: American Scene Press: Brick by Brick
Pat SullivanAt a number of tracks where the IndyCar Series runs around the country and at many short tracks in the Mid-West, you are likely to hear Pat on the PA.
When it comes to the history of the short tracks, the drivers and, yes, the history of the cars, Pat is a walking encyclopedia of information. How fitting it is the Pat would undertake the task of putting the history of a true auto racing pioneer... Joie Ray in book form. "Brick by Brick", released April 13th (the first anniversary of Joie's death), is the story from his first days on Earth through his racing career and the influences that made him the man he was. With the attitude in America at the time, Joie never carried a chip on his shoulder, only a smile and a good word to all.”

To checkout the Joie Ray interview, go to the Autosport Radio Archive section and click on the 2006 Archives; December 19th link...
(Source: Autosport Radio)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

F1: Spanish Flies - 2008 edition

Amazingly Heikki Kovalainen escaped Un-Injured from his massive crash during the Spanish Grand Prix…
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As fortunately FIA mandated safety design standards have vastly improved driver’s chances of survivability in today’s F1 racing cars. Imagine if this had been the 1980’s when driver’s lower extremities were placed far forwards of the front axle centerline…

Yet for those of us who watched a fairly processional Spanish GP, we were momentarily stunned by Heikki Kovalainen’s massive shunt against the tire barrier thru a 140mph corner…

According to Ron Dennis and Martin Whitemarsh, the team suspects that a “rogue” piece of stone somehow lodged itself between the front tire rim and suspension, as a sudden, unexplained loss of air pressure sent the hurtling McLaren straight thru the sand trap, impailing the stricken MP4-23 underneath the tire barrier… As it took ten minutes to dislodge Heikki from the cockpit of his heavily wrecked McLaren, which miraculously he would escape without injury!

Once again I found Friday’s second practice session TV coverage more informative then Saturday’s qualifying program, albeit Fredrico Suave did NOT disappoint his fellow countrymen, with a light tanks go for broke qualifying run in the dramatic Q3 Final “Qualie” session…

Paddock notes
Peter Windsor noted how glad he was to have his job and how good it was to see Bernie Ecclestone strolling the paddock, making sure that the F1 team’s palatial “Motor Coaches” were all parked perfectly a half inch away from each other…

Super Aguri was extended a further Grand Prix as it appears that its buy-out from the Magma Group has fallen apart. Honda F1’s boss Nick Fry said that Honda had paid a further 2.0 million Euros for the tiny “B-Team” to race this weekend, but don’t expect any further funding at Turkey…

Various discussions were made about the new aero treatments several teams were running, most notably Honda’s “Rabbit-ears,” NOT to be confused with last years version of “Elephant-ears” which Steve Matchett claimed the team had to discontinue because they were so UGLY!

Professor Matchett also discussed Renault’s new Dorsal Fin treatment on the spine of the rear engine cover a la Red Bull Racing; For more info see Speed TV’s chalkboard section…

While poised to become the most experienced man in Formula 1, Honda’s Rubens Barrichello completed two race distances back-to-back during the most recent test at Barcelona, a feat of 150 laps…

The House of Winsor noted how card playing has become all the rage in the F1 Paddock, as “Fishy-fella,” Tonio Luzzi, both BMW-Sauber boyzs and Ferdi the Putz, a.k.a. Alonso have all taken to playing poker until 11:30PM every Saturday night, while Giancarlo Fisichella is the man to beat…

Adrian Newey’s Red Bull version of the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR-03 is still on track to debut at Turkey despite Bourdais’s big crash…

And speaking of the Hamburgular, a.k.a. Sebastain Bourdeax (Bourdais) he’s managed to steal a better qualifying position ahead of more experienced teammate Sebastian Vettel once again, along with beating senior F1 driver DC!

And it was funny to see the Force India F1 team atop the time sheets for a long portion of Friday’s second practice session, with “Fisi” leading Adrian Sutil, who were then split by The Iceman… Before “Kazoo” Nakajima jumped to the top with Nico Rosberg hot on his heels, before the Spanish crowd went ecstatic with homeboy Fredrico Suave and Nelson Nelson of the Renault squad taking their turn at the top of the page…

But as Sir Jackie (Stewart) so bluntly pointed out on Peter Winsor’s grid walk, NOBODY would beat Kimi Raikkonen from pole… As he became the eighth driver in a row to win from the coveted grid position at Barcelona…

And while Alonso delighted the 132,000+ Spanish spectators, his engine finally “DONE BLOWN UP!” while running in the points… As it had been previously pointed out that engines were reported to cost a cool $250,000 Euros a copy. What’s that David? About $400k large greenbacks Bob Varsha quipped…


Qualifying results
Pole: Kimi Raikkonen; 2. Fernando Alonso; 3. Felipe Massa; 4. Robert Kubica; 5. Lewis Hamilton; 6. Heikki Kovalainen; 7. Mark Webber; 8. Jarno Trulli: 9. Nick Heidfeld; 10. Nelson Piquet Jr

Race results
Winner: K. Raikkonen; 2. F. Massa; 3. L. Hamilton; 4. R. Kubica;
5. M. Webber; 6. Jenson Button: 7. Kazuki Nakajima; 8. J. Trulli

2008 F1 Point Standings
Round 4 of 18)

Driver’s
K. Raikkonen 29
L. Hamilton 20
R. Kubica 19
F. Massa 18
N. Heidfeld 16
H. Kovalainen 14

Constructors
Ferrari 47
BMW Sauber 35
McLaren 34
Williams 12
Red Bull 8

Monday, April 28, 2008

Move over Danica


Oh My God! They’re taking over…

Yeah, that’s right… Another Female racing driver has just WON her very first major race, as Ashley Force defeated her father John Force to become the very first woman to win a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car event.

Ashley, who’s made the final round twice previously, was finally victorious against her legendary father John, who’s won a record 14 Funny Car titles and was making his 500th start this weekend in Atlanta.

The elder Force was also seeking a further piece of history by gunning for his 1,000th round victory, but spun the tires and went up in smoke to Ashley’s winning 4.837 seconds quarter mile pass at 320.36 mph aboard her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.

Ashley also becomes the very first female to lead the “Floppers” (Funny Car) point’s standings…

Hamilton’s vision?

With the next Comedy stop on the Indy Car calendar being the Brickyard… IMS Radio Broadcast member Davey Hamilton teased us further by Eluding that he hopes to have his Indy deal signed, sealed & delivered sometime this week as Hewlett Packard will once again be a sponsor along with the Holy Spirt ‘O Kingdom-come Racing.

And although Davey didn’t mention any teams, it sounds like from Kurt Cabin’s latest Colum that Hamilton is closing in on a deal to drive Tony George’s third Indy 500 entry as both Marty Roth and Andretti Green Racing have NO plans to field additional entries for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

With Hamilton in the #22 Vision Racing entry(?) will George dust off a fourth chassis to run Paul Tracy? Or will the Kanuck land somewhere else…

Wipeout!

Whuh-whuh-whuhh-whuhh-whuhh-Wuhh WHIPEOUT!!!

ALL I can say is watch your ears… As my Eddie Carpentier F-BOMB’s a comin’ F%%K YOU ESPN2!!!
Note to Marty Reid, I think the Indy Car World Series wave has CRASHED… As the “Red Headed Step-child ‘O Motorsports has gotten the SHAFT two race weekends in a row…

As previously mentioned during the Motegi Twin Rings ‘O Venus elongated television coverage, having sat thru 130 minutes of Stork sightings and then having the next days airing on the most DESPISED Broadcast channel I noted;

And even better yet, if you wish to win over us Champ Car diehards… Then don’t put the FRILLIN’ Delayed race coverage on ESPN Classic… Cause many households DON’T have access to that channel…

Thus imagine my DISGUST when sitting down to watch HA-HA! The Roadrunner 300 as there was FRILLING Women’s Golf beaming back at me… As Son ‘O a Bitch! I think the networks are taking this Danicker Patrick LUV-FEST just a little too far… I mean what the HELL! Baiting us with promises of watching the Princess do battle on the high banks of Kansas Speedway and FORCING us to watch a bunch ‘O Women playing “Wackem-mobile” instead… SHEISA!

According to ESPN’s statistics, 63 million households have the iconic Classic channel, by which my math suggests is roughly one-fifth or 20% of the current U.S. population… So, if Indy Car is trying to reel-in new non-gearhead spectators, you’d better get a grip upon your Broadcasting partner…

As I decided to BOYCOTT watching the DELAYED TV Coverage, instead settling for the IMS Radio Broadcast via le internets, but I digress…

Hopefully this years Indy 500 will be a HELLA-LOT BETTER then the three ring Circus carnival held at Kansas… Because if this is the peenacle of Open Wheel Racing, then: Tony, we’ve got a Problem!

Here’s a quick lowdown of race highlights’;
Enrique “Half Gainer” Bernoldi performs his version of Danny Sullivan’s Spin ‘N Win with a solo 360 degree pirouette on lap one.

Marty Roth tries spearing a Luczo Dragon Racing pit worker while sliding into home base, err, his pit box. Which earns the Kuh-Nuck a Stop ‘N Go penalty, while dropping Tomas Scheckter to the rear of the field.

Apparently Mr. Roth was so shaken by the whole episode that he almost collected seven cars when returning to the race track at reduced speed before deciding to pull in and park his car for the day in order to change his shorts!

Milka Duno spins all by herself while departing pit lane.

EJ Viso spins out Tomas Scheckter, which ends the Southern Afrikaner’s 2008 race debut.

Vitor Meira retires once again after having struck a wayward tire during routine HA-HA! Pit stops, as ironically the tire came off of Jay Howard’s car and thus the Roth Racing driver earned a black flag.

Next , EJ “DON’T call me Ernesto” Viso was caught by the crack colour commentator Davey Hamilton throwing a series of blocking moves upon Edward Carpenter, while Dan-Dan-Danicher was displaying her bareback ridin’ skills by visiting the marbles up towards the Safer barrier, before falling fowl to a bizarre race retirement due to broken studs… Err, a broken wheel hub failure.

Next, while Buddy Rice was busy punching the sidepod of his Dallara and doing a half hearted Robby “DIRTMAN” Gourdoun steering wheel toss… Having missed ALL of the on-track competitors still standing… We’re treated to a 19 lap yellow flag caution period to clean the remainder of Rice’s Black ‘N Blue chassis.

And while all of that was going on, EJ Viso was busy pulling into the WRONG pit stall, which just happened to belong to Ed Carpenter who was in the act of pitting! And thus had to overshoot his pit stall and wait to be pulled back before getting nailed for being on pit lane when the yellow flag was thrown. Of which also caused race leader Scott Dixon to get pimped by the caution after having led the first 150+ laps… Dropping to seventh place, thus Dan “SPIKE” Wheldon claimed his very first victory in one year, having last won at Kansas in 2007, followed across the line by Tony “Follow your Snauz” Kanaan, while Scott Dixon rebounded to take the last podium step prior to the Month ‘O May.

And that F-BOMB I eluded to? I could SWEAR I heard Eddie Carpentier say the magic word FUCK while being interviewed immediately after the race about Ernesto is dis Juan mezs pit stall?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Image building

While Dan-Dan-Danicker… May be the hottest commodity on the market right now, nevertheless, rumours abound that seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher is set to cash in on his good looks and charming personality… Well ok, but hey, L’Oreal was indeed after all one of his personal sponsors and he is a legend…

And although his previous acting credits to date are highlighted by his voice-over role alongside Mr. Boogity-boogity-boogity in CARS… The chisel-jawed German will indeed play himself in the forthcoming Michael Schumacher Story according to long time manager Willi Weber.

Meanwhile, Herr Schumacher’s nine year old son Mick, has just completed his first go kart race, using his Mother’s maiden name (Betsch) instead, not to draw too much media scrutiny upon ones self, having finished 8th and 10th in the races two heats. Could we have another Schumacher prodigy in the making?

Danicker on the trot?

While there are apparently rumours making the rounds stateside that Rubens Barrichello could be part of a Honda F1 driver swap in 2009 for the services of Marco Andretti… This seems a bit cockeyed to me at the moment as the past two races has seen the Andretti namesake apologize two weekend’s in a row for “Rookie” mistakes. First having snapped a half shaft at St Pete in a hurry to leave the pits and then clouting the Safer barrier in Motegi on lap one on cold tires all by himself…

No, me thinks that instead Honda will seek the services of one media darling, a.k.a. Princess Danicker… As rumours suggest that Emperor Bernardo is keen to cash in on her good looks, in hopes she’ll become the first woman to succeed in Formula 1…

But seriously folks, although the other top teams, i.e.; Penske, Ganassi, Newman/Haas, Pat Patrick, Rahal, etc have all played the fuel mileage game at one time or another to achieve a win based solely on petrol conservation…

Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen wants to know; Would Danica have gotten her top notch ride if she was UGLY?

And I’d like to know how come other MORE Accomplished Females such as Katherine Legge and Sarah Fisher have NEVER gotten a proper chance aboard competitive machinery? As Motegi was Princess Danicher’s first victory since claiming the 2002 Toyota Celebrity Challenge in Long Beach. Enough said, eh?

And YES! I do know that a win is a win is a win… And therefore for those of you who just wanna know more about Danicker, you can read this “Be still my beating heart” story ‘bout Patrick’s rise to the top of motor racing as retold on the Late Night Show; On Letterman, is it Danica or Danicker?

Mosley standing tall

NO Jokes about a certain portion of Messer Maxums anatomy here… What’s that song about; Cry me a River, Nile? As it has now come to light that MAD MAX Mosley has accepted an invitation to attend the Jordanian round of the World Rally Championship (April 24-27) which is the first time that Rally Cars have raced in the desert since 1975. Hence, this diversionary trip shields Mosley nicely from running afoul of his flock of Seagulls, Err, supporters (nee CRITICS) in Barcelona…

As perhaps I’m the only “Juan” who finds it a bit humourous that Sir Maxxum is touting his business as usual mantra by seeking refuge in the desert oasis of Jordan, having accepted Prince Feisal Al Hussein’s invitation for the WRC event. Perhaps Al Husseinhas offered him to partake in a spirited round of Whack-em-mo-ball, a sport curiously akin to Polo and Cricket I’m told. Or if the heats too much for MAD MAX, perhaps he can cool off with a nice glass of ice tea while settling down to a pleasant game of tiddlie-winks with some of the Prince’s Desert Rose’s, eh?

Psst, Sir Maxxum… Did you see the Wind Tunnel interview with one of your closest allies, Paul Stoddart… It was a great interview saying how he’d be happy to come back into Formula 1 as soon as your head has been served up on a platter and how anybody else would have done the sensible thing and RESIGNED by now. But Mosley ain’t going anywhere soon, decreeing that he’d like to finish out his term and stay in office until 2009 before moving onto greener pastures. Wonder if Sir Maxxum will be popping up at the Hockenheimring this summer…

Friday, April 25, 2008

Open Wheel briefs

Contrary to popular belief… This isn’t a story about MAD Max Mosley, a.k.a. Sir Maxxum… No, just a comment towards an article I’ve seen somewhere recently while scouring the newswires when playing “Ketsup” from my most enjoyable "Puppy-luv" outing this past week. (Unfortunately I’m not High Tech like some of my contemporaries and therefore the Tibetan Pup’s are on Koda-chrome instead of Didge-it-tull)

Closing in on an F1 record
One forgotten source is claiming that Honda F1 pilot Rubens Barrichello will tie Ricardo Patrese’s all time Formula 1 starting record this weekend in Barcelona, but I believe this is incorrect.

Although it will be Rubino’s 256th Grand Prix, it will only be his 253rd start, while Patrese amazingly contested a total of 257 Formula 1 races between 1977-1993, a record that surely would never be broken… As there are currently only a handful of drivers to have eclipsed the 200 starts barrier, therefore my calculations predict that Barrichello will tie the record at Montreal on June 8th and surpass the affable Italian’s total at the French Grand Prix on June 22nd, thus Barrichello will finally have beaten one of Herr Schumacher legendary statistics…

Conquest switches drivers
With primary sponsor Opes Prime Ltd having fallen into receivership, Conquest Racing’s rookie driver (and best buddy of Vitor Meira) Frank Perera has lost his ride as team owner Eric Bachelart has sought the services (nee, sponsorship dinero) of Jaime Camara.

. Being a journeyman graduate of the Indy Pro Series, I have little knowledge of the driver other then he’s another Brazilian looking to find the limelight in IndyCars, which currently has six fellow countrymen competing in America’s top-flight Open Wheel Racing series…

PCM joins Indy Racing League
As previously noted, Pacific Coast Motorsports has announced their plans to join the Indy Car World Series with a single car effort beginning at Indy. Mario Boom Boom Dominguez will pilot the #96 entry sponsored by the Mexico City Tourism board, seeing a total of ten “transition” drivers and teams joining the IRL, with a total of 27 entries…

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dan-Dan-Danica spotting

There’s No place like home, There’s No place like home, There’s No place like home, right Toto?

DAMN! Having to hit the MUTE button so many times last weekend as there she is… It’s Princess, Hail Dan-Dan-Danica… I wore out the batteries in my remote… And every time I turn on the radio or TV there’s another talking head telling me all about the magnanimous feat she’s accomplished! As I growled listening to two bobble-head DJ’s wrestle over whether you needed to pose half naked before or after you win your first motor race first thing Monday morning… Aye Karumba!

So, while Dan-Dan-Danica is making’ the talk show rounds… Look there she is giving us cooking tips with Regis and Kelly… And was that Princess on the View swapping beauty secrets with Bah-bah Walters? And then next she’ll drop by Elaine Degenerous before wrapping up the day with the Queen Bee Oprah…

So, Ize can’ts takes its NO More… And thus I’m off to check out some cute Tibetan Puppies for the next few days…

Kingdom’s Damnation

As some of you will recall, I previously scribbled a story which included the tidbit about Davey Hamilton driving in this years upcoming Indy 500 in a third Marty Roth Racing entry.

I was” simply throwing this out there since I naively took my reputed source’s reply to my enquiry to be gospel… When asking; Who’s Davey Hamilton driving for? Upon having heard Hamilton mention his upcoming drive on Autosport Radio. Thus I ASS-SUMED that it must be old news if he was answering me about this, eh?

And all I can say is I got it from somebody in Indianapolis. (NOT Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B) Who’s obviously much closer to the Heartland of Motorsports than I. Thus, I can only speculate that this was either a bum steer given to a Blogger-head or the deal fell thru?

Thus I’m still in disbelief over the breaking news that Davey Hamilton will drive this May at the Speedway for Kingdom Racing, which Christopher “CHiPs” Estrada first broke the story on last week. As you’ll understandably deduce I’m a little gun-shy of any breaking news driver stories at the moment, having fallen foul to my previous story, although I still do NOT see any Official IMS entry listed for Kingdom Racing. (See; Marty Motegi for list of open Indy rides)

And I’m potentially going out on a limb here, but Mr. Estrada has thrown down the gauntlet so to speak, by asking you & me; What do you have to be Afraid of? (Besides the Boogie Monster, eh?) In his post: A small editorial on racing and religion

Perhaps I’m way off my rocker, (Shush Danny!) but I believe that just like Oil ‘N Water shouldn’t mix, neither should Church and State, nor Motorsports & Religion… Actually I have two major beefs with Motorsports at the moment, as I can hear Y’all saying ONLY Two?

Yet I firmly believe that first of all the Military should be FORBIDDEN from sponsoring racing teams, as I find this akin to Military recruiters frequenting Public Schools, predominantly High Schools, which should be verboten! And that’s without even going into the Tax Dollar$ at work sediments…

Secondly, I do NOT believe that any form of Religion should be allowed to own, operate or sponsor any Motor Racing teams, I mean by God! What in the HELL does this have to do with racing? Talk about the ultimate pitching of a product? While I realize previously Tobacco was a mainstay of motorsports and Alcohol is still quite prevalent, with such major sponsorship deals by Viagra, before taking its hard licks and dropping its sponsorship…

Yet, the thought of a Ministry motivated racing team such as Kingdom to me seems more then just a sponsorship endorsement and more a philosophy statement, of which we should not be forced to have thrown at us. I mean what’s next? I Believe license plates?

Thus in this newly Unified era of Open Wheel Racing, I’m finding it harder “N harder to (Rally behind the Troops) support various teams and drivers, of which I realize isn’t the drivers fault…

Yet, I have NO desire to root for Panther Racing’s Vitor Meira because of his affiliation with the National Guard, while I constantly wrestle with continuing to support my favourite ex-Champ Car, Err, Transition… Oh Crap that’s right, Indy Car World Series driver Justin Wilson who now drives for one of the largest Norte Americana Corporations… Yep, that’s right; I despise those BURNT Orange arches, a.k.a. Mac-Dougal’s.

Which brings me back to Davey Hamilton, who’s a really good guy and I wish him nothing but success, having previously intended to root for him this Month of May. But, now what do I do? As I simply cannot support Davey’s latest affiliation, yet is it Davey’s Vitor’s or Justin’s fault for doing deals to drive with such potentially provocative sponsors/teams? As I realize that they’re all racers just wishing to continue honing their craft in the profession they’ve chosen as careers.

And while I certainly would NOT wish injury to either driver, wouldn’t it be ironic if Paul “Chrome Horn” Tracy’s third Vision Racing entry sponsored by MONSTER Energy just so happened to land atop Davey Hamilton’s Kingdom Come race car at the Brickyard this May? Yeah, I know that supposedly Tracy’s lock on Monster sponsorship has theoretically faded… But I still think it would be funny!

Now, I’ve gotta run off to get my Happy Meal!

Chip ‘N Roger

Perhaps you’ve already heard Sam “I think I can, I think I can stay in the Top 35” Hornish Jr has publicly stated that he will NOT attend this years Indy 500, as he’s a RASSCAR driver now… While the Cheepster recently told the inquiring minds of ESPN that dare ain’t nose ways Dario “Where’s my pants” Franchitti will be stepping into an Indy Car this May.

Thus, if Roger Penske does indeed decide to run his third entry, the #77 car, it’ll have to be somebody else behind the controls… Hmm? Would The Captain help Tony out by letting PT drive for him this May?

And yet, still NO word on where Davey Hamilton will end up, although I’d think Vision Racing would be a logical bet, unless Mikey’s planning to dust off that fifth Dallara chassis…

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wezs luv’s yuh Dan-Dan-Danica


Whale shiver me timbers… The Princess finally won HER VERY FIRST Major race…

As I was pleased to hear Speed Freaks guest Lyn St James set Kenny Sergeant straight on the headline that continues to be popping up about Danica becoming the first woman to win a major auto race… As St James correctly pointed out that Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney, Katherine Legge and Melanie Troxel have all accomplished the feat PREVIOUSLY! As I’d like to point out that Muldowney has even WON multiple Championships.

And in keeping with the Oxygen TV channel theme, after the obligatory Hail Dan-Dan-Danica opening interview, Mrs. Troxel got her moment in the spotlight, as she was talking up a very impressive charity event she’s involved in, dealing with severely medical-challenged children who are sometimes abandoned by their parents who simply CANNOT afford the costs of today’s Healthcare…

And they even interviewed Switzerland’s Simona De Silvestro, as I betcha didn’t know that another female won a major race this weekend, eh? Yes, that’s right; De Silvestro became the second woman to win in Atlantics competition by winning this weekend’s season opening event at Long Beach. For the record Katherine Legge was the first and both Legge and De Silvestro have done something that Danica hasn’t…
Hmm? Strangely the G-Man and his highly tooted IMS marketing staff DON’T seem to wish to share the spotlight with the Mazda Atlantics Championship… Is Tony afraid of a little competition for his vaunted Flinstone Indy Lites?

Even funnier is that “Juan ‘O” Press Dawg’s favourite websites is still alive… As you can read all about De Silvestro’s victory at the half mile marker post of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda website. Try saying that fast five times, eh? To read more see; De Silvestro wins Long Beach opener

Having waited 1.5hrs to hear Long Beach victor Will Power, who’s not a woman, is that ok with you Lyn, said the head cheese Kenny Sergeant... Power tried to answer a question and proceeded to get hammered by the Sarge for taking too long, SHEISA!!! To which Power said I’m your guest as Kenny was talking over him, although Crash Gladys told the Sarge to knock it off…

And then St James stuck her foot in her mouth... By asking; Have you driven an Indy Car yet? Which is almost as big of a foopah as Donald Kay of Autosport Radio asking Sarah Fisher last week what it was like sitting on the sidelines last year?

Then Power tried vainly to tiptoe around St James question of how the two chassis compare? To which ultimately Power conceded that the Panoz DP-01 is a HELL of a lot funner to drive, since it’s faster and has more downforce than a Dallara.

Trying to wrap up a very befuddled interview, Kenny asked Will if he’d be racing at Kansas next week? To which Power shot back Yep! Is that a short enough answer for you? Good on you mate… As I’d be a bit turned-off too after having to wait 90 minutes to get grilled like that.

Shame on you Kenny Sergeant!

Long Beach

With all of the Motorsports world in a lather of euphoria over Dan-Dan-Danica… Wait? Did I hear Helio Castroneves correctly? Saying he was told to PULL OVER for Danica…

But, wait a second we’ve got the second half of our tape delayed Double Header to run in the Sunshine state, where there will be MORE racing cars on the grid for a Champ Car race since 2002…

And while the IRL gang was busy trying to keep dry, Justin “Buckshot” Wilson was busy securing Friday’s provisional pole ahead of Oriel Servia, with Alex Tagliani third fastest, followed by Dominguez and St. Pete winner Graham Rahal. Paul Tracy was eighth quickest while Jimmy Vasser was mired in 15th.

Saturday’s final Qualifying session saw Justin Wilson retain Pole position, as the lanky Brit would be the only driver to run a lap under 67 seconds and eclipsed fellow Mic-Dougal’s driver Sea Bass’s qualifying lap of last year by 0.6 seconds. Meanwhile, the little team that could continued its heady performance as re-united Canadian ace Alex Tagliani finished just 0.182 seconds adrift of Wilson’s time to line-up second for Derrick Walker.

Row two saw Conquest’s Franck Perera edge out ex-Walker driver Will Power, with Mr. Chrome Horn moving up to the inside of row Three with his teammate for the weekend, Franck Montagny alongside.. Rolling off in P7 was Nelson Philippe, the highest placed member of the HVM Minardi triumbrant with Enrique Bernoldi alongside. Starting ninth was Wilson’s teammate Graham Rahal with Mario Boom Boom Dominguez rounding out the top ten in his Pacific Coast Motorsports ride.

And while obviously Dan-Dan-Danica was the headline story, all of the announcers, including Marty Reid did mention that the Stork had indeed stopped by the Wilson household during the opening segment of Sunday’s broadcast, but once again the IRL regulars got first billing.

And dare I say it? I believe there were more lead changes in the Long Beach finale then some Roundy-round race over in Japan? As it was quite entertaining to me listening to Mr. Reid and Scott Goodyear having to explain the Champ Car format of qualifying and racing, with Marty even saying how he liked the idea of having “Turbo-boost…”

And making IRL regulars squirm even further? Long Beach saw the final standing start of a Champ Car race a la Formula 1… With Wilson having apparently chosen the wrong side of the grid to start upon as Power “Willed” his way past the leader into turn one, with Wilson tucked in behind in formation as the cars roared around the tight street circuit. Paul Tracy demonstrated what happens if you’re off by just a few inches when he kissed the wall with a rear tire, which would ultimately lead to his demise as the team would struggle to repair a damaged CV grease boot clip!

And I liked hearing that if TAG’s car looked similar to the leaders… It was because Will Power and Aussie Vineyards had bolted to KV Racing Technology when Craig Gore left Walker holding the bag so to speak… While Newman Haas Lanigan continued the theme with a retro look on the number 06 entry and suddenly Wilson was coasting down the escape road after harassing Power for the lead, apparently victim of an engine failure? Which saw TAG now trying to chase down Power, while Graham Rahal would spend the afternoon demonstrating the laws of physics while trying to force his way past fellow competitors and ultimately end up finishing in the tire barriers on the final lap.

Yet, Power was not to be denied as he led the majority of the race, while Tagliani’s gamble to run the red “Option” tires on his final stint saw him fade, with ex-F1 pilot Montagny the only driver able to somewhat close the gap in the final stages of the race, finishing second. (5.9 seconds behind) Meanwhile some 17 seconds adrift was eventual third place finisher Dominguez, with Bernoldi fourth and Oriel Servia rounding out the top five.

Tagliani wound up falling back to seventh place while Jimmy Vasser finished behind both of his hired guns in 10th and thus Servia will most likely sigh a breath of relief over not having to hear his boss chide him over the radios next week in Kansas, while fellow Nevadan Tracy soldiered home in 11th…

When Two equals One

HMM? Why does the title of this post make me think of that old Three Dog Night song? You know; One is the loneliest number. (Wonder if Tony George has ever heard that song?)

Although I’d thought of doing the Jack “BRUT” Arute double, albeit from the Lazy-Boy recliner late evening with visions of Sugar Plums, Err, Hulio “Dancin’ Shoes” Castroneeves… HMM? Perhaps I should think ‘bout the Princess more kindly? While hoping to be serenaded by the soothing voices of Mike King and Colour Commentator extraordinaire Davey Hamilton of the IMS Radio broadcast via le internets…

Oh, that’s right, Davey’s busy “Stateside” getting his seat fitting for the Hallowed Shalt be thy Name Kingdom Racing team… But back to the pain in the Keister Indy Car website… C’mon where’s the FRILLIN’ link??? Thinking I’d be able to listen to “live” qualifying, even if I cannot master the Japanese Time Zone Conversion + Eastern Time listings. Let’s see, Japan = +16 hours, carry the 9, subtract the 6 and divide by 12.5, then add another 3? Oh never mind, what in the HELL time is it?

But as Y’all know, the TT Gods weren’t smiling upon Motegi and Qualifying was rained out. Neither was the Microphone God for Jack Arute, nor were any of the broadcasters actually in Motegi…

Thus, taking a cue from My Name is IRL.. Although I’ll catch BOTH… Yep, that’s right TWO Open Wheel races from the cozy confines of my rich Corinthian leather couch, which won’t be nearly as impressive as Messer Arute’s racking up of frequent flyer miles this past weekend, (But, Hey! Somebodies gotta do it, right?) I’ll leave the Motegi Twin Rings of Venus weekend’s coverage to my fellow (SHHShshh…. Don’t tell Jeff Olsen) Indy Car Bloggers…

(Good thing Arute wasn’t flying on American Airlines or having to go to Terminal 4 in LAX, eh?)

And just what did we learn over the past weekend’s dubious Open Wheel double header, which thankfully will be the last time we’ll have to put up with that sort of NONSENSE! Well, I believe that the Roundy-round boyzs learned that the “Majic Rings” utilized to propel those Dallara Honda’s don’t seem to do very good on weeper’s... As all of the drivers were wearing coats and Tony “Follow your Snauz” Kanaan told Mr. Arute how he wanted to be somewhere warm… Like California!

And while foolishly sitting thru the entire two hour race delay, it struck me as somewhat bemusing that Bobby Rahal had flown (The Coup?) all the way to Japan in order to leave the track Saturday in order to fly back to California to be the Grand Marshall of the Long Beach Grand Prix.

And if we’re gonna really quit this Open Wheel divide… Then when in the HELL! Is the Dizney Shopping Networks going to start giving the “Transition” drivers equal billing? As I thought I caught Marty Reid only congratulating Buddy Rice and Edward Carpenter on their recent additions… With NO mention of Justin Wilson during the Pamper’s portion of the race delay… I mean C’mon, either give us the silly poop on all of the driver’s wife’s having babies or don’t bother us with the filler crap!

And even better yet, if you wish to win over us Champ Car diehards… Then don’t put the FRILLIN’ Delayed race coverage on ESPN Classic… Cause many households DON’T have access to that channel… Yet even more hilarious was the continuous plugging of the ALMS tape delayed race on ABC which my locoe affiliate has decided NOT to air in favour of Paid Programming, i.e.; Jack Luhlaine Juicers, Sally Struthers Tummy Tucker, etc. Guess I’m gonna get to listen via le internets after all, since that’s the ONLY way I’ll be able to catch the race live…

Thus with all of the extra time on my hands while waiting for the Really Really Really Big Champ Car swan song... I happened to notice the following tidbit courtesy of Kurt Cabin;

“Also entered is Mario Dominguez, who is due to be named to a new IndyCar Series program with Pacific Coast Motorsports later this month.”

And if Jamie Little reports on it during the Long Beach race, then it must be true…

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Miles to go

Hello Mr. Castro Neeves…
Can I have your autograph, please!
Fill ‘er up?
Check your oil Sir?
Check your wipers Sir?
Do the windows for you?
Check your tires Sir?
OOH! Are those the Majic Rings?
No, just a gallon of petrol please, I’m in a bit of a hurry…
Did you see who just went by?
Princess Corni-coppa
But I’m the winner of Dancin’ with the Stars!
I’ll just have to click my heels three times and hope I’m in Kansas...


There’s No place like home, There’s No place like home, There’s No place like home…

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Champ Car on my mind

In regards to this weekend’s Long Beach Grand Prix being the Champ Car World Series farewell event, I was recently asked if (when) ‘lil Napoleon’s takeover, Err, merger of Open Wheel Racing occurred, would I still watch Indy Cars?

Having been a fan of CART/Champ Car for a very long time, I replied that; YES, I’d still watch the series, but I just wasn’t a fan of Ovals… Which inevitably leads to that timeless debate of which came first; The Chicken or the Egg? The Road Runner or the Coyote, Oval tracks or Road Courses, but I digress, since I’ll be watching’ the “Live” broadcast of some ‘lil ‘Ol Street race.

Yet this never ending question between Ovals vs. Road Courses led me to ponder the following? Wasn’t CART full of Oval races? As I recall watching some real doozies on the high banks of Michigan as well as Fontana and ironically, my haziest, early memories of motor racing in general are the yearly summer rides in the back seat of my Grandfather’s white Buick Riviera to the summer cottage on the peninsula, where while the others played on the beach I was busy watching those glorious taped delayed World Wide Sports episodes of the Indianapolis 500 hosted by Jim McKay and Chris Schenkel during the early 1970’s.

It would be nearly another two decades before I’d be re-united with the wail of Open Wheel Racing cars, upon a fellow co-worker informing me about the yearly Championship Auto Racing Teams event at Portland, Oregon, which I first visited in 1987.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to watch the majority of the Open Wheel “greats,” with names like; Foyt, Andretti, Unser, Mears, Sullivan, Fittipaldi, Zanardi, Montoya, Mansell and Villeneuve to name just a few.

And for several years I was even more fortunate to have two race events per season to attend with the addition of the temporary street circuit venue in Vancouver, BC, where unfortunately I witnessed Willy T Ribbs darkest racing moment.

Yet, to be fair, I did attend the 1994 Phoenix Oval race, where Jacques Villeneuve tried to impale himself on the Goodyear pedestrian overpass, a la the Flying Franchitti, but the constant circling of the one mile bullring did little to sway me towards the allure of Oval track racing, as Formula 1 and the Pacific Northwest road racing scene had already firmly affixed it’s grip over me.

But alas, part of what made me so fond of CART and subsequently Champ Car was the variety of circuits they competed on each season; Permanent Road Courses, Temporary Street Circuits and a variety of Ovals, i.e.; Super Speedways and Bull Rings, like the long discarded Nazareth and Phoenix venues. Yet, unlike F1, there were always a multitude of potential victors, instead of just the usual Red cars vs. Silver (Ferrari vs. McLaren) drubbings… Although I did quite enjoy Michael Schumacher kicking der arsen-holes for several seasons!

And I still can remember the bitter distain towards Tony George and his rival Oval only Indy Racing League as one fans T-Shirt in Vancouver, BC read; this is your brain (CART venues) and this is your brain on DRUGS! (IRL Oval track venues) split side by side on the back of the T-Shirt; CART on the Left side and IRL on the Right!

And what truly must be the darkest years of this PATHETIC Split in Open Wheel Racing can be summed up by the following recollection.

Walking to my nearby grocery store in 1998 just hours after the completion of that years Indianapolis 500, while in the check-out line the cashier noted my sundrious racing apparel and asked me wasn’t there a race today? Yeah, the Indy 500 I replied. So, who won? Eddie Cheever, Eddie WHO?

And I swore that I would NEVER set foot in Indianapolis, specifically Tony’s sandbox at Sixteenth and Georgetown, better known as the Brickyard. Thus, while holding fast to this silly mantra, I recalled crowing about how the first seven drivers across the yard of bricks in 2000 were all CART alumnus…

Yet as the years went by, with no end in sight to the pathetic War of Northern Aggression, my stranglehold against Tony faded, as I finally relented and visited the Speedway for the very first time in 2001, albeit for the second running of the United States Grand Prix, NOT the Indy 500, which I still held in low esteem, as I believe I even proudly wore my CART T-Shirt on the property. But, hey Mary Ellen, DON’T tell anybody that you took my picture while I sat in the “Earle” chassis in the Hall of Fame museum that year…

Then I made a second return to Indy for the 2006 USGP, where my “Hero,” Herr Schumacher became the very first driver to ever win at the Speedway five times… Before last summer’s FANTASTIC experience of sitting behind Davey Hamilton in the Sinden 2X Seater, which even if only at 75% throttle, gave me an entirely new respect for Ovals…

And while I still continue to hold 1995 as the last TRUE season of Open Wheel Racing in the US, I hope to attend my very first Indy 500 next year on the centennial of the venerable Speedway’s opening...

Yet, while pondering the future Roadification of the Indy Car World Series that some of you fret about, I decided to look up some past CART season calendars, choosing 1998; since it was 10 years ago, (Circa A.T.S.) While obviously I’d also pick 1995 since I regard this as the last truly great Open Wheel Racing season, as previously mentioned. (Circa B.T.S.)


(A.T.S. = After The Split; B.T.S. = Before The Split. HMM? Has a nice Kingdom-Come ring to it, eh?)

While I do indeed hope for the coming glory and renaissance of Open Wheel Racing, rest assured that Tony ‘N Co. will truly be hard pressed to bring Open Wheel Racing back to the promised land. But (OUCH!)) let’s give him a chance, to potentially right the Good Ship OWR.

Although I will greatly miss my yearly trek to Portland this summer as it’ll be the first time since 2005 that I’ve not partaken in the Open Wheel race, albeit foregoing the worst two years of Champ Car (2003-04) at the Portland venue, thus I’ve already experienced the rebuilding phenomena once and hopefully the 2009 Calendar will have some semblance of the past’s greatest variety of racing venues, including Portland, as Y’all know; it too will be celebrating its centennial in motor racing…


1995 CART SeasonMiami; Surfers Paradise; Phoenix; Long Beach; Nazareth; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Detroit; Portland; Elkhart Lake; Toronto; Cleveland; Michigan; Mid Ohio; Loudon; Vancouver, BC; Laguna Seca.

1998 CART SeasonHomestead; Motegi; Long Beach; Nazareth; Rio de Janero; Gateway; Milwaukee; Detroit; Portland; Cleveland; Toronto; Michigan; Mid Ohio; Elkhart Lake; Vancouver, BC; Laguna Seca; Houston; Surfers Paradise; Fontana.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Marty Motegi

Inquiring Minds want to know if Davey Hamilton will replace team owner Marty Roth at Indy this May…
Kurt Cabin:
“Former IRL regular Davey Hamilton signed Kingdom Racing as his sponsor for next month's Indianapolis 500 but still is looking for a race team.”
UPDATE:
Although I’m still unaware to when the cut-off date is for entries being accepted to the Official IMS Entry list for this year’s running of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing… Currently there’s 39 chassis entered, with 32 drivers nominated, which therefore leaves seven seats available…

(Car No. /Entrant)21 TBA Playa Del Racing
22 TBA Vision Racing
77 TBA Team Penske 83 TBA Panther Racing 91 TBA Hemelgarn Johnson 98 TBA CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports
TBA TBA PDM Racing


SPECULATION:
Although logic would most certainly rule out the number 77 third entry of Team Penske and with Roger Yasukawa contesting Motegi for CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports, I’d assume that he’d get the nod for their Indy entry? Thus this would leave five possibilities available, unless there are to be further last minute additions?

And although I’d still guess that Mr. Chrome Horn will occupy the #22 Vision Racing entry, Danny B has thrown out the suggestion that perhaps Mr. Tracy could end up in the #77? (Could a Monster Panther ride be attractive?)

Thus if the seat remains open, it would seem that one of Davey’s best hopes for a ride would be none other than with Tony George once again, since the Del Pee-Luh car will probably go to one of the Lazier brothers… Although Stefan Gregoire, a.k.a. Stevie George is probably on the short list, while I have no idea who’ll land the “Johnson ‘N Johnson” (Hemelgarn Johnson) and PDM seats…

Yet, I’d guess there are more drivers looking to lock-up seats than chassis currently available… As I’ve noted that Roberto Guerrero; Woah! where in the HELL did that come from? I meant Roberto Moreno is seeking a drive and the PJ Bro’s (PJ Jones, PJ Chesson) whereabouts are currently unknown, likewise, last’ year’s feel good story, Phil Geebler…

While Danny B has also been quick to point out that Derrick Walker had Kent Baker’s last year Whoosh-mobile parked in his workshops prior to the big Open Wheel Unification…

Yet, I’m guessing that 39 cars is the cut-off, since supposedly that’s what Tony George told Honda to ramp-up for as I’m certain there’s only so many 3.5 liter fire breathin’ Ethanol lumps to go around… And you just know that somebody’s gonna wreck there car before the big show! While I’m a wanderin’ who ‘Ol Super Tex will call on his cell phone to come and tease us during “Boomp-Day…”

Long Beach entry list

While Indy may have just scooped up the services of the Gecko and found a new lizard king in Massimiliano Papis. (But do Gecko’s like the wet stuff, you know… RAIN!) Don’t underestimate just how far CCWS is pulling out the stops for its series swan song this weekend in Long Beach…

I mean Hell! We’ve got such luminary characters as the over-loved “Jungle Boy” who’ll be partnering’ with his Rookie sidekick Juho “I Wanna be a Flying Finn” Annala.

Yep, that’s right, Antonio Pizzonia got his nickname Jungle Boy due to the Amazon region he comes from, while Annala is an aspiring Finnish driver who’s looking for a single seater opportunity outside of Formula 1 since two seats are already occupied by fellow countrymen…

Other Really Big names include Bobby Moreno, whose first name at least starts with the same letter as the car’s former driver Robert Doornbos, a.k.a. Bad Bobby D. At 49yrs of age Roberto Moreno will be the oldest driver in the field and hopes to use this “One-Off” as a springboard to another drive at Indy this May. Moreno will hope to outshine his younger teammates Nelson Philippe and EJ “DON’T uze call me Ernesto” Viso…

And I’ve already chronicled the plights of fellow Nevada residents Paul “Sand Dune” Tracy and “Top Jimmy” Vasser, who are both ex-CCWS champions and it seems fitting they’ll strap on their crash buckets for the series finale…

And don’t forget Bruno “Whiney-bags” Junqueira, Alex Tagliani and Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez… While sadly Katherine Legge is MIA! As its even sadder that it takes a series farewell celebration to entice 20 cars onto the grid, which is a higher car count then Champ Car has been able to assemble the past few seasons…

To read the full line-up, see; Field of 20 expected for 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Long Beach tidbits

Whale, you know the saying; the more things change, the more they stay the same… As Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B was having a quiet chuckle at the expense of a fellow co-worker’s predicament yesterday while in Long Beach, as the hapless worker was attempting to lay out the fibre optic HD TV cable… Nope it ain’t NO STINKIN’ Durrect TV cable, just the standard fare ESPN coaxial cable… Looking up, he was momentarily stunned as a Mini-Van complete with “Soccer Mom” and a bushel ‘O waving kids was headed directly towards him… What in the HELL? This stretch of roadway was supposed to be closed two hours ago… As apparently the LBPD was busy taking their requisite doughnut break… That’s a big 10-10 on the roads still being opened, do you copy pardoner? HMM? Wonder what all those detour signs were for…

And according to Robin Miller, The Paul ‘N Jerry show is all patched-up for the moment, as they’ve decided to curtail their long running disagreement over whether or not PT will drive this weekend in Long Beach? As Tracy has been confirmed “Just-in-Time” for the Really-Really-Really Big Farewell party… As the two haven’t spoken since last December… Yet the shyster’s musta worked something out as first Tracy was finally given his back-pay from last season and said they’ll squabble over this year’s $2.5 million salary after Sunday’s event is history.

Still it would seem a tad odd to show up for one last run aboard a piece of high speed machinery for a boss you haven’t spoken to for four months, who doesn’t see eye to eye with you, while his Pit Lane General is no longer on your circle of five calling friends… Thus, I’ll assume that Kenny “Hit your marks, Sebastian” Seewig will be calling the shots for PT…

In an odd mix of pomp ‘N circumstance, this weekend’s Bon Voyage will host and eclectic mix of vehicles, with a gathering of Hybrid “Synergy” on display, in the Long Beach Port’s: Green Pace Car Parade, as Toyota will have a host of it’s current gas sipping vehicles running parade laps, with other forms of alternative energy vehicles showing off there wares, including a Mazda Fura, running on E100 ethanol, the new Ronaele, powered by lithium-iron-phosphate batteries and the SolarWorld No. 1, a solar powered vehicle from Germany capable of 70mph hot laps.

There will also be a very odd Robotic car race, said to be contested between three vehicles, utilizing only on-board computers and GPS in the hopes of completing the single lap event, while the American Le Mans Series will be one of the LBGP’s support events… And I’ll assume that they’ll also host the traditional Toyota Celebrity Challenge.

Paying homage to the past three decades of CART/Champ Car (You’d think they could come up with a bit more than this, eh?) will be three vintage racing cars; An ex-Tom Sneva Skoal Bandit sandwiched between two ex-Dan Gurney’s All American Racer chassis…

And when’s the last time that the USA Today featured a story about Open Wheel Racing, not in regards to the Month of May? Thus, I found it refreshing to find an article about the Champ Car finale and Jimmy Vasser in its sports pages; Vasser's goal: Get in shape for one-race return
It was interesting to note that it was Kevin Kalkhoven who enticed the former Champ Car Champion to make one last guest appearance behind the wheel of a Panoz DP-01… But HELL, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity if able to do so?

And I liked the part about Vasser having to give up his occasional glass of wine, as I was unaware that he has his own vineyard in Napa, CA, while Jimmy’s goal’s are to not only beat his last finish (12th place; Long Beach, 2006) but to outdo his two younger hired guns…

Oriel Servia:“If he beats me, I'm going to have to hear so much BS on my radio the rest of the season, I can't let that happen."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beauty ‘N the Beast?


Don’t know if Y’all have heard the hubbub currently brewing over Jeff Olsen’s recent Speed TV article; Us vs. Them, where for reasons unknown he likened bloggers to a bunch ‘O Butcherer’s of the Journalism profession, as we simply pound away on the keyboards with our knuckles; NOT to be cornfuzed with Knuckel-drager’s, eh? (OOPS! Sorry ‘bout dat, “Juan ‘O” mezs knuckles musta gotten in ze’s way…)

Yet it surely must be somewhat of a big deal if three Top “Blogger’s” have written about it, as I first discovered the story at My Name is IRL and must say that I too feel a little bit taken back by the thoughts of somebody making such discouraging remarks…

Jeff Olsen:
“Add the growing number of untrained and unprofessional word butchers to the clutter, and objectivity goes the way of the front-engine roadster. Apparently this occupation is now open to anyone who can type with his or her knuckles, no education or experience required. No need for a degree or employment, just crown yourself a bloggist, start typing and apply for that credential. “

For those of us out there who tirelessly pound away on the keyboard, attempting to bring our thoughts & opinions into the Limelight that we dearly enjoy kibitzing about, this is a direct slap in the face… Although Olsen isn’t alone in his sediments towards us devoted Blogger’s, as I recall Robin Miller previously harping on Wind Tunnel about how in the Good ‘Ol Dazes you actually contacted people, check your sources twice before having the printing plates set-up vs. today’s environment where it’s ALL instant news as soon as anybody sneezes thanks to le internets…

Do we want Olsen’s job? HELL NO! Unless it includes all the free buffet’s “Juan” can dine at along with unlimited Tenderloin sandwiches and Creme sodas in the IMS Media Center... (Right Danny?)

But seriously, what I find most inspiring about the variety of GOOD Motorsports Blog’s out there is that they keep me up to date in a timely fashion, often before the “Big” Box” websites break the story. They offer raw opinions, not the fluffy Politically Correct jargon all of the Big Dawgs are forced to use and they ultimately offer insights and stories on subjects NOT being provided by the mainstream media.

And for me, Blog’s have an added bonus, if done right, they’re not overly graphic intensive and thus are straightforward to peruse and readable via my specialized software… As Y’all will recall that I’ve jumped on the Press Dawg bandwagon and voted SpeedTV.com the WURST Motorsports website currently on duh Wurld Wide Webb thingy…

As two more websites have joined the list of NON-Performers… (ITV-F1, TSN-Canada) As in they’ve GOOBERED their websites and now my Screen Reader cannot function upon them, but I digress…

(And rest assured Mr. Olsen, you’ve got little to worry ‘bout from the No. 1 scribe at No Fenders, as I very infrequently visit your employer’s site anymore!)

Dare I say it? Do RASSCAR “Hacks” have similar opinions towards fellow Bloggers as I’m quite certain there’s perhaps one-four of ‘dem out there on the Blogosphere… I mean HELL! Could there be something as too many writers scribbling ‘bout Open Wheel Racing, as we’re supposed to just let bygones be bygones… Sure am glad that the War ‘O Northern Agression still desn’t linger on anymore, eh?

Now, somebody pass me a Cheeseburger while I go dig-up some Johnson ‘N Johnson “Smiley Faces” band aids to put on my knuckel’s, ‘cause I’ve got blisters on my fingers from all of these hackneyed scribblin’ Anyone care for a hunk ‘O meat? Or as Mr. Olsen would say; “Where’s the Beef?”

And although I’d already been pondering dropping my RACER Magazine subscription… Which I tend to never read anymore, this seems like the perfect excuse to NOT re-up for any further subscriptions to this table pile making substance.

And it’s NOT just Blogger’s or Yak’s he’s attacking, as I believe one of the brightest Formula 1 pundits also doesn’t have a Journalism Degree? Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He sometimes goes by the handle Professor Matchett, as I seem to recall from reading the first book in his F1 Mechanic’s trilogy, that he simply bought “Juan ‘O’ ‘dem” EVIL confuzers, self taught himself how to use the blasted contraption and viola… Wrote his very first book… Prior to his employment and subsequent writing duties at SPEED.

So what dooze yuhzs thinks ‘bout ‘dem apples Messer Olsen? Psst… You’d better go check out the comments on the other Jeff’s story!

Testing Trouble

While you may think that the Formula 1 circus is enjoying a well deserved break after three “fly-away” races, the rest was short lived, as the majority of teams have been busy participating in this weeks test session at Barcelona, while preparing for the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.

And interestingly, teams have been busy running Bridgestone’s 2009 spec slick rubber… As apparently the FIA may be heading for a return of non-grooved racing tyres next year?

Thus, Scuderia Toro Rosso, which has been running an updated “B” spec of its STR-02 chassis to date, brought its new 2008 model to Barcelona, entrusting Sebastian Bourdais to give the STR-03 its baptism under fire… with the team planning to debut the chassis at the Turkish GP.

Unfortunately after completing 71 laps, the Hamburgular apparently hit a patch “o slippery liquids or stumbled upon a patch of secret sauce… As Sea Bass heavily crashed the new STR-03, which could delay the launch of the new car until Monaco, which isn’t an overly friendly environment for debuting new chassis as the Principality is lined with an overabundance of Armco…

Crude joke

Although I try to hit the mute button as often as possible during the countless barrages of OVER-COMMERICALIZATION, nevertheless I did find it somewhat bemusing to notice last night while waiting “N waiting for Graham Rahal’s presence on the Telescreen… How the Automobile manufacturers have changed their advertising pitch… Playing up the virtues of how various models get the BEST gas mileage…

And ironically as I scribble this quick rant, the Radio DJ has just noted how there’s a current rash of complaints flooding local mechanics over their automobiles not running correctly, which surprise-surprise… Seems to have something to do with the lower grade octane that’s produced during the middle of the year, suggesting… Yep, you guessed it! Switching to a higher grade ‘O petrol! Of which we all know what that means, eh?

Thus, while this latest marketing blitz comes amid the continuing cycle of crude oil manipulation… I find it somewhat interesting that the Detroit News actually wrote a story about this latest phenomenon; Big Oil seems slick

Late Nite comedy

And I still don’t quite get the moniker; “Son of Stash,” a.k.a. Darrell Rahal Jr/Rahal 2.0… But I did indeed stay up late to catch the young Messer Graham on the Late Show with noted funny-man/hack David Letterman…

First we were treated to the usual opening monologue frivolities, of which Letterman seemed to be on a roll, being the first time I’ve tuned into his broadcast this year. Then after a somewhat entertaining Top Ten of Pope Sayings; “Did you bring the wife?” it was time for Dave’s first guest Ulma Thurman…

But hey, Dave… We want Rahal! And talk ‘bout the ultimate tease… As for some reason there was a very stupid mid-show break involving fixing the TV’s reception, which I didn’t get at all. And this allowed for another onslaught of commercials, as we kept hearing, coming up next (Trust me) is Graham Rahal…

Who finally made his way onto the Late Show set, as I sat poised to count how many times Letterman said Newman Haas Lanigan, which oddly enough never happened. But at least Dave did correctly mention a few times that Rahal was the current winner of an Indy Car series race… Well actually as we all know by now, he’s the YOUNGEST Ever winner of an Indy Car race.

And I found Graham to be fairly poised during his interview as Dave never mentioned he was part team owner, instead always playing up the father-son angle… These kids used to steal tires in the pits… Yuck-Yuck-Yuck.

And who was that guy you had on your tail at the end of the race? Did he win some dancin’ thingy? Yeah, Castroneves scares me… I’m not sure when Helio “Blue suede shoes” is ever gonna come down off cloud nine… And I was worried about finishing the deal, since last year Dan Wheldon was leading at the end and Castroneves hit him on the restart to take the win. So, I knew that Helio wouldn’t be afraid to hit me...

And I passed somebodies car for the lead prior to that, a car I think you’re pretty familiar with Dave? As I had a smile on my face from ear to ear when I passed my Dad’s car on track for the lead! Now I wonder what my Dad’s thinking. And it’s pretty good when you get your first win, well even better yet when you get it in your first start, eh?

And then Letterman made a comment ‘bout how they wouldn’t allow Graham any champagne on the victory podium since he’s under age, so we got you a bottle of Dom Paragon… go ahead and give it your best shot… To which Graham proceeded to share the spray ‘O success with various audience members…

Well done Graham!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Texas Flood

In case you’re unaware… The weather in Texas is WACOE! As I arrived in Austin on the first week of March with ALL Flights into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) being CANCELLED due to an amazing accumulation of seven inches of SNOW! But NO, it weren’t over yet, as my flight to DFW would also be cancelled two weeks later due to Tornadoes/Thunder & Lightning storms. SHEISA!

When I arrived on March 6th at 10:30PM (Central time) it was a chilly 35 degrees f, yet by Friday (3/14) it was 94f, which broke a 44yr old record. The following day (when we were supposed to be in Washington DC) it had cooled all the way down to 86f while we were busy traversing the streets of Downtown Austin.

Yet by Tuesday, March 18th, the temperature had plummeted back down to 42f as there was a monstrous Thunder “N Lightning storm with heavy rainfall… As I kept waiting for the lightning to strike the house, as this was the same storm cell causing havoc at DFW!
(And that’s ALL of the weather report for now!) )

Howdy Y’all,
Hope you didn’t think I was finished with the blow by blow report of my most interesting TEX-ARSE Road Trip… But my adventures of trying to get home weren’t over by a long shot and thus, here’s the skinny on the comedy of my attempt to return home early from Austin, Texas…
Originally I was scheduled to return to Seattle on Thursday evening with Mary Ellen, but after she’d been invited to go to the Palenque ruins in Mexico and visit the Pyramids with friends, I decided to revise my return flight home to Tuesday, March 18th, upon paying the requisite $100.00 fee to do so,

Well! At least I thought so…

Having badgered Clyde to make sure he got me to the airport on time for my Tuesday departure, we had a leisurely lunch of Catfish ‘N Chips prior to departing for the nearby airport, which I’d asked to be dumped off there by noon.

Deciding to park in the parking lot we drove past the entire length of the adjoining Check-in area and were bemused to discover that the parking lot was completely full with orange construction cones blocking the entrance… As Clyde muttered “Son ‘O a Bitch!” Hang on; I’m gonna back-up… Huh? Thus Clyde proceeded to reverse the entire length of the roadway against oncoming traffic in order to drop me off at the Check-in area… As we’d simply come to a complete halt, while Clyde waved surprised motorist past us… SHEISA!!! (That was fun)

Temporarily parking outside the American Airlines counter, Clyde took me inside to stand in a horrendous line for check-in… Telling me he’d be right back, after he parked the car. (Somewhere)

Having barely moved forward in line, as I stood there alone with white cane in hand an overly curt gate employee simply ignored me and when I finally reached the next Airline employee, she asked me: Are you traveling alone sir? ) Uh DUH!) Where are you traveling to sir? I’m sorry all flights to DFW are CANCELLED… But I CANNOT do anything to help you sir since I don’t have a confuzer… You can stand in line (awhile LONGER_ and see if the counter agents can help you reschedule your flight? Next, please.

Then Clyde arrived, telling me he’d just gone and moved all of the orange cones and been followed into the “Full” parking lot... Having told him what I’d learned, Clyde scampered off to investigate further, returning to tell me that ALL flights to DFW were indeed CANCELLED. And I found it highly amusing that they’d given Clyde a TINY (4 X 6) piece ‘O paper with American Airlines 1-800 Number to call and reschedule your flight on. (Which I’d overheard the man in front of me saying he’d been on hold for 25+ minutes) As I DON’T know what was worse; NOT Having been given one while standing in line or being expected to be able to read the TINY piece ‘O paper; but, I digress…

SHEISA! After standing in line for one hour with NO help from any American workers and Clyde finally returning after having been given the scrap ‘O paper just mentioned… I pulled out of line since Clyde needed to return to work for his afternoon school bus run,

Pulling up to the Parking lot’s check-out gate, the attendant informed us that we were two minutes over the )30/60 minutes) “FREE” Parking time and that’ll be $2.00 sir… To which Clyde tried explaining to the hapless attendant just HOW FUCKED The whole Parking lot fiasco was… I’m sorry sir, but that’ll still be $2.00…

To which Clyde refused to pay and simply drove forward into the barricade… HITTING it with his trusty ‘Ol Buick, which incredulously made the metal barrier rotate upwards as we sped away!

Later that evening after Clyde brought the cell phone home Nelie helped me call American to reschedule my flight to Wednesday, of which I should have known better, even having questioned the connecting flights time as the Agent had scheduled a very tight connecting flight for me in Las Angeles… (Do yuh smell another Rat here?)

Having woken up at 5:15AM to the sound of the next door neighbor’s crying baby girl… Nelie made me lunch while I had breakfast, before waking Clyde up to drive us to the airport.

Arriving at 6:05AM, Clyde simply dropped the two of us off (NO Parking lot shenanigans today!) and continued on his way to work… Yet, while checking in at American, I should have smelled a RAT as the American check-in desk jockey informed us she could NOT seem to print me a boarding pass for my Alaska flight and I’d need to check in with them in Los Angeles. (LAX)

Since there were very little Airport lines at “OH-DARK 30,” Nelie & I breezed thru security and arrived at my gate by 6:30AM for my 8:50AM departure.

Trying to listen to the final segment of the book on tape I’d previously picked-up at the library seemed almost futile over the din of the passengers, the endless boarding announcements, the monotonous leaving bags unattended security notices, overly loud “MUSE-AK” (Although it was good to hear Los Lonely Boys being played) and the uninspired airport cleaning crew worker Vacuuming, as the vacuum cleaners extension chord was dragged across my foot for several moments as she vacuumed all around me…

Then I overheard the woman behind me saying that our flight had been DELAYED to 9:40AM… Oh FUCK!!! (Here we go again, eh?) So, I decided to go to the check-in counter @ 9AM to find out what was going on since they had NOT made any announcements over the PA system. (Since everybody can SEE what’s going on…) Asking if I’d make my connection and that I didn’t have a boarding pass for my LAX flight. The flight agent tried vainly to remedy the situation. Although she was able to upgrade me to the front of the cabin in order to get a jump start on trying to get off of the airplane, she still couldn’t get the confUZer to cooperate and therefore I was still minus one boarding pass…

We left approximately at 9:40AM, almost one hour late and the pilot told us we’d be cruising at 30,000 feet in order to minimize headwinds while turning’ up the boost on the ‘Ol Super “Dooper” 80’s (MD-80) turbofan’s in order to see if we could make up some lost time as several people on board had tight connections… (Hello McFly!!! Why’d you schedule the connections so tightly, eh?)

Our three hour (cruise?) flight to LAX was fairly none descript as you know you’re on a really OLD aeroplane when it don’t have a single STINKIN’ video screen in the entire cabin… As the pilot’s voice announced triumphantly; Ah-Hah! Ladies & Gentlemen from the flight deck… We’ve made up eight minutes at the last navigation time check point and we’ll be landing at 10:45AM and arriving at our REMOTE parking spot by 10:50am.

Did I mention the remote parking stall? Apparently American’s Terminal 4 was under renovation and we’d have to park out in the boonie’s and catch a shuttle bus to the terminal to make our connections as things were currently under construction… (Are you getting the idea yet that I should have stayed in Austin until Thursday!)

Of course we were far from done with the frivolities of American’s PATHETIC attempt’s to get back on schedule from yesterday’s flight cancellations… As the pilot announced; “Folk’s it looks like our attempts to arrive early are for naught, as there’s currently another airplane parked in our stall…” So, we’ll have to sit on the tarmac until 11:05AM before they can find us a spot to park in. SHEISA! I ain’t gonna make my 11:26AM connection BASTARDOES…

Of course we trundled about the tarmac of LAX (Four lefts makes a circle…) for several minutes before finally reaching our “REMOTE” location. As the lady next to me said there goes Terminal 4, perhaps we could drop you off?

With the forward door opening at 11:20AM and the passengers being asked to let ALL of us POOR sods with connections to disembark first I gathered my belongings and made my way to the stairway where I was met by a very friendly and proficient ground personnel to assist me to my connection. She escorted me down the stairway onto the tarmac towards the waiting shuttle busses and asked me where I was going? (And I just hadda do it, eh?) Well, I’m supposed to be catching an Alaska flight@ 11:26AM… Oh you’re definitely NOT going to make that flight sir as we headed towards the first shuttle bus.

Before I’d gotten off of the OLD McDonald’s Aeroplane… You know the company that bOringZs had TAKEN over in 1997, OOPS! I mean it was a MERGER, NOT a takeover… HMM? That sound’s vaguely familiar to me, but I digress once again…

Thus, I’d completely relaxed over any attempts of making my connection and was NO longer in any hurry, thus I started laughing to myself when the shuttle bus driver came to a complete halt to let a Lear jet cross in front of us… Why aren’t you passed on the tarmac by Lear Jets everyday? We then continued our circuitous route around several parked aircraft before disembarking.

Next we stood inside a shelter with an airline agent to monitor passengers before hopping aboard shuttle bus number two and driving past more parked Aeroplanes… Then we got to board our third and final shuttle bus, complete with a driver trainee and trainer in the front seat.

My very friendly (Black) female ground worker named Keesha asked me if I did much traveling. Then she and the trainer Leroy started chit-chatting and she said we were coming from Terminal 8, but there ain’t NO Terminal 8! Leroy stated, since it says Terminal 7 on the outside… To which I commented to Keeshaa, didn’t we come from Terminal number nine; You know Number Nine? Number Nine, Number Nine?

Pulling up to Terminal number two I noticed that we had to back up in order to not run in to the parked jet aircraft and Leroy said to the bus driver trainee Latesha you’re doing a really good job and I’m gonna tell somebody… As we’d been driving past all sorts of different airlines parked out on the tarmac, before arriving at Terminal 3, where Latesha loudly called out my stop while Leroy said why are you calling that out? These people already know where we are… (Being the only two passengers on the bus)

Feeling like having some fun as we departed, I said because she’s trying to be nice to me… Which got a round of courtesy chuckles. At the front door I asked Latesha if she was stuck with him all day before thanking her… Then a quick jaunt on the tarmac to a flight of stairs to get inside the terminal since Keesha wasn’t allowed access to the elevator, before finally Arriving at the Alaska gates.

Can I help you sir? Yes, I was supposed to be on Alaska flight #501. That flight has already left sir. (I had to say it, you know!) Keesha guided me over to the Alaska courtesy desk where I explained my situation and the lady printed me a fresh boarding pass for my connecting flight to Seattle.

Of course my flight was leaving from a slightly different gate in regards to where I was sitting. Heading for the check-in desk the lady said; Come straight ahead sir, OOPS! Hang on a second there’s a giant post in your way. While trying to pre-board, I was asked to hang on a second as there’s a problem with your seat… The kind gentleman gate worker asked me how’s it going. I replied “Splendid!” To… which he said my day’s going pretty good too… Everyday I wake up is a good day!

Then I was assisted to my new seat on the aisle, one seat from my original locale, where I managed to take a cat nap before we started making our descent into Seattle over Olympia. We landed 25 minutes early and I was the very last off the plane in order to make sure I had assistance to baggage and the shuttle Express after I’d been asked if I wanted the flight attendant to help me off the plane or could I walk by myself?

I had another pleasant female assistant take me all the way to the Shuttle Express check-in desk where I received another surprise! As the fare had been jacked up another $8.00 (Thanks to our continuously RISING gasoline prices!; Butt DON’T Worry, I’ll refrain from my usual comments upon the total manipulation and collusion of the Oil $heisters until my next post)

Thus, exactly 12hrs after waking I was back in my exquisite apartment. Home sweet home, eh? And Tuh-Duh! I even managed to manipulate the VCR correctly as Y’all know how my ‘Ol School machine is stuck on the ORIGINAL Daylight Savings Time change… KNOTS (Back off Sir Maxxum!) the new “Juan, eh?” Thus I was able to catch all of the previous week’s action Down Under in Melbourne, as I finished watching all six hours of Australia “Just-in-Time” before the Malaysian GP on Easter Sunday… Aye Karumba! The life of a Wurldly Jet Setter, eh?

Special Thanks to Nelie for her wonderful Hospitality and Kudos to Mary Ellen…

Petrol Hi-Jinx

As I’ve just mentioned, I was quite shocked to learn that my Shuttle Van’s fare had been increased by another $8.00, due SOLELY to the price of petrol… As I’m sure that everybody is quite aware of the RIDICULOUS PRICE GOUGING currently transpiring at your local gasoline station…

In regards to this current manipulation of energy prices, I was privileged to overhear the two women in the van behind me chattering away nonstop; As one worked for Holland America and said the cruise liner had LOST $25 MILLION last year due to fuel prices, while the second woman said she’d just been to San Francisco to make everybody happy by raising her trucking company’s rate’s… Due to the petrol $PIKE! As her small company runs eight trucks daily on the west coast and their weekly diesel bill is $10,000.00! (Or at least that’s what it was three weeks ago…)

As you may be aware of? On April 1, 2008, the ULTIMATE APRIL FOOLS JOKE WAS PLAYED UPON THE AMERICAN PUBLIC… As five Oil Executive GOOBERS… You know part of Darth Cheney’s Energy Ta$k Force maniacally sat in front of our most impressive Congress and SHEEPISHLY Defended their rights ‘N needs to continue to overly DISGUSTING Energy Tax Credits they receive… Having just been indulged a WHOPPING $18+ BILLION SUBSIDY… As Y’all know how those BASTARDOES Have been raking in RECORD PROFITS with the cost of Oil having gone over $100 per barrel… F%%KING SHEISTERS!!!

Meanwhile as you, me and everyone at the bottom of the food chain is further squeezed by the price of EVERYTHING INCREASING (MINUS $ALARIES) The Independent Truckers were seeking some sort of fiscal relief from Curious George, a.k.a. “Raisin Brains; Chuckle Nuts or Half Man-Half Monkey!”
As I believe we’d seen a price difference of $3.16 per gallon of gasoline vs. $3.84 per gallon of diesel, which obviously is LESS than what today’s current rates are… As the Independent Truckers are supposedly going out of business at a rate of 2,500 per week as they simply cannot compete in today’s markets vs. the MEGA-Tropolis Trucking Companies…

And this doesn’t even go into the debate over how some of these MEGA-Companies operate… First by getting substantially larger fuel price discounts (40+ cents per gallon) by buying in large bulk quantities… Or the Minimal Training new trucking drivers receive… As one Independent Trucker claimed that he’d been approached by a “Rookie” driver who wanted to know how he backed his rig into loading docks. What, you mean you didn’t get any practice…

Or how apparently Swift Trucking, whose own training program churns drivers out as fast as possible and then hires them for a rate of $400 per week… Have been banned from driving a particular stretch of Highway from Missoula, Montana to Lewiston, Idaho because they were having one to two fatal accidents per week on said portion of roadway… Which has nothing to do with the trucks from South of the Border coming across State lines… Since their Trucking regulations are more laxed compared to ours…

Yet, I once read that the current household food supply travels a distance of 2,000 miles to reach our plates, which if true, paints a sorry picture upon our current DEPENDANCY on the Mother of all Evils, a.k.a. Black Tar… “Dares Oil in dem Hills!” Or are we running out of this beloved substance?

And just to complicate matters further… In case you’re getting all excited about Booby Ruble’s favorite sponsor, a.k.a. Ethanol… (I just love the smell of Methanol first thing in the morning!) Perhaps you’ve heard that this year’s planting of the yellow stuff will DECREASE… And thus with the higher demands put upon the current corn crop for the production of Ethanol, Animal Food stock and us Humans… Yep, you guessed it! The price of groceries will indeed continue to rise…

Sunday, April 13, 2008

TERRLINGA ROAD RASH (Part 3)

Pinetop Perkins
You know that old saying: “NO Rest for the Wicked…”
Whale that certainly applied to us, as soon as we’d arrived and unpacked the car, it was announced to us that I’d be going waterskiing… Otay, whatever you say Clyde… So off we went to Paul & Jackie’s where the boat was parked, before hooking it up to the Buick which had just clocked approx 4,000 miles, as it felt ‘bout 17,000 miles after the past 96hrs on our Nation’s “Super Slab’s.” Oh, goody! We get to ride in the Buick some more… And now it was quite hot out, as the thermometer would creep up to 94f.

Having put the boat in the lake, which was actually part of the Colorado River which has been dammed… We had to stop in order for Clyde to jump in as he immediately started making unpleasant noises while swimming as fast as possible back to the boat as the water was still ice cold! Then it was decided that I’d drive Clyde water skiing instead, as Clyde taught me the proper take-off procedures; See this? It’s the throttle and you don’t have to be afraid… Just push it ALL the way forward when I yell go… as we were now hurtling across the lake with me unable to see where in the HELL I was going…

Otay, Mary Ellen will stand behind you and tell you when to turn, stop, speed-up, etc. as Clyde jumped back into the frigid water… GO! So, I mashed the throttle and off we went. And although I’ve driven a boat countless times before, I’ve never pulled a waterskier behind me. To which makes for a very strange sensation, basically feeling like you’re pulling an anchor or you’ve got a parachute deployed. As Mary Ellen would say turn left, I am turning left as the whole boat seemed to slew against my steering inputs. Clyde finally dropped and we circled back around with me killing the motor way before reaching him.

With our “Commander in Chief” successfully plucked from the Artic Ocean, I was given the order to keep driving, as Mary Ellen devised an ingenious way of giving me steering commands. Simply giving me either a single tap on the left or right shoulder for turns or a tap on the head to go straight as we were instantly reminded of Rata-tui… Yet, I think Mary Ellen was just having fun hitting me as I got more bonks on the head than shoulders as we cruised about Lake Austin, while Clyde pointed out the proliferation of Mc-Mansion’s dotting the shores. Of which some of them even had their own elevators down to their waterfront property… Before Clyde said there’s a cactus over on the other side… Do you see the stern wheeler dead ahead of us?

Having made it safely back to shore, I even got to drop Clyde off at the dock in order to go get the trailer and then putt-putted around the boat launch before it was time to bring her in. Although I got the boat all the way in, having killed the motor, I wasn’t squared up on the trailer’s bumpers, so Clyde pushed us out and said try it again… As I turned the key, there was nothing… C’mon Arse-hole, turn the engine on and try it again… To which I made several attempts, but there was NO sound, nothing. Do you have it in gear bozo? And even Mary Ellen tried it, but there was absolutely NO spark to the engine, so Clyde was forced to manually haul the boat onto the trailer via the winch… As Clyde would inform us several days later that the 85hp motor’s solenoid was hanging loose when he’d opened up the engine case!

Having survived another three hour cruise aboard the SS Claudia… Let’s go hear some free music, as I’d had NO idea that Spring Break is also the week long South by Southwest music festival in Austin, of which I was informed on my flight home is impossible to get a room in the city for…

So, yep, you guessed it! Time to pile back into the trusty Buick, Home sweet home, eh? Off we went, driving around Austin looking for parking before wandering around in the dark towards one of the many outdoor music venues, as the band sounded vaguely familiar, before the lead singer rambled on about how back in 1986 there was a channel named MTV that actually played music videos on it and this quirky song came on and had everybody talking about it… The band’s name was The Bodine’s and they rocked the crowd fairly well, before it was time to go home.

Having originally intended to be in Washington DC for the fifth anniversary ANTI WAR Protest Rally, we were forced to settle for the Austin Million Musician March instead, as Clyde asked us what time does it start at. The previous evening he’d been up until 1Am fashioning the “Mother of All signs!” As he was now furiously painting this four X four foot creation… SHEISA! I AIN’T CARRYING DAT SUCKER, NO WAY!

Driving near the Capitol building, it was time to dump us out in the middle of traffic and remove the ‘lil sign out of the trunk… As some nearby straggler’s got quite a chuckle out of my sentiments as Nelie was urging me to hurry up, as I was conveniently stuck underneath a bus stop awning with Clyde’s monstrous sign’s wooden pole sticking up skywards…

Thus I carried the massive sign upside down to the Capitol building’s lawn, where the Rally was to start from, simply from the stand point that the sign made an excellent sail in the light Austin breeze which was most welcome as the ambient temperature was 86f… Nothin’ like a long spiralin’ serpentine march in the heat of Texas… Remember, four lefts makes a circle…

Unfortunately only about a dozen musician’s showed up for our march thru Downtown Austin, but nevertheless it was quite fun, as we had a bagpiper in front of us and an electric acoustic guitar directly behind us… As Nelie later informed me that the singer was walking directly alongside another person pushing the cart with all of the electronic gear aboard it, while the singer and guitar player were using cordless mikes… We ended up having great fun singing along with these musicians as we belted out Not down by the Riverside to many different Peace slogans…

At the end of the march, we sat in some shade and listened to various performers play a melody of ANTI WAR songs before finally departing to go back home, upon which Clyde said he wanted to go hear some more music, to which Mary Ellen and I finally refused to budge from the apartment;

No Mas, No Mas, Err, NO Stinkin’ Buick, comprende!
Sunday we drove around getting Mary Ellen a few trip supplies, as she’d wanted to purchase a hammock with mosquito netting before leaving to return to Mexico City and that evening instead of music, we went out for Chinese, which seemed most out of character, but the food was most excellent. )What? NO STINKIN’ Music?)

Monday Mary Ellen departed for the airport and I hung out listening to a new book on tape we’d picked up at the Austin library, before Clyde and Nelie returned home from work that evening. Hey, Clyde its Saint Patrick’s day Nelie announced. Is it true that you’re supposed to pinch somebody if they’re NOT wearing green? To which Clyde announced he wanted to go hear some St. Pattie’s Day music. Leaving at 9:45PM, Clyde assured us we’d be home by 10PM since they get up at Oh-DARK Thirty to go to work.

Our first loop around the Downtown area was devoid of any Irish sounding music, so we ended up parking the car and walking around town in search of any comparable music, while finally standing outside near some street performers playing fiddle, bass, etc. Then as it started to rain, they packed up their instruments and we were off in search of some new music, with Clyde selecting Numo’s, since it didn’t require a cover charge. It was Jam night at Numo’s and although the musician’s playing were talented, their first three cover songs, including ZZ Top’s Le Grange and a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune just sounded like loud noise to me…

But it just so happened to turn out that there was a special guest in the audience. It was none other then two time Grammy winner Pinetop Perkins… Who was still playing the piano at the tender age of 94! Albeit an electric piano this evening and he actually sounded pretty damn good, especially for somebody closin’ in on the Century mark! Although at the end of the show he played the same song twice… But, hey! Me wonders if I’ll be around then to try typing crazy stories likes’ these at such an OLD age, eh?

Yet, by far without a doubt! The best musician’s heard during the entire extravaganza was Del Castillo, who happens to be a local Austin band that just really ROCKS!

Friday, April 11, 2008

TERRLINGA ROAD RASH (Part 2)

Late Monday evening, Mary Ellen, Clyde and I finally departed for Washington DC, which we were aiming to attend the presumed Five year Anniversary ANTI WAR Rally at the Nation’s capitol, thus Mary Ellen & I followed Clyde who was driving the “House car” (His 24’ RV) with expired Washington plates east on the freeway to ward’s Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, where the Housecar is now serving as the Camp’s lone caretaker’s new ‘N improved housing. Arriving just after 7PM, Carl and his dog were happy to see us, gave us a bite to eat and a ton ‘O Cindy Sheehan T-Shirts to sell in DC as a form of offsetting our petrol expense’s… Like we really needed a hundred frillin’ T-Shirts in the already overloaded Buick, of which Clyde had cleverly taken the back seat out of to allow for the driver to stick their lower appendages into the trunk for sleeping purposes during our marathon non-stop dash eastwards…

Sometime later that evening we were in Arkansas, as I awoke briefly to be informed that we’d just passed Slick Willie’s hometown of Hope and were now making hay past Little Rock, did you want to stop at the Bill Clinton library? NO! Keep going…

The next morning I awoke somewhere towards Memphis, Tennessee, to which for reasons unknown made me start humming Neil Simon’s Graceland as we pulled off of the “Super Slab” to refill the Buick’s fuel tank, to which Clyde informed me upon paying the cashier, that she’d told him; “We’re just-in-time for the RASSCAR race at Bristol!” (Bubbah) The action begins in just two more days; do you want us to leave you here?

SHEISA!!! I’d totally forgotten we’d be travelin’ thru the heart ‘O RASSCAR country as we first drove right past Memphis Motorsports Park, quickly followed by Bristol Motorsports Park… As well as passing’ the place that Elvis built after crossing one of the many nation’s major river’s. (Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Potomac)

Later that afternoon, Clyde had a hunkerin’ for crackers… But NO! NOT just any ‘ol crackers; Crackers? We don’t want NO Stinkin’ Ritz crackers! NO, Clyde wanted Costco crackers… Thus we made a detour to the Nashville Costco, to which we were perplexed upon finding the parking lot completely devoid of any vehicles… HMM? Perhaps everybody’s either at the Grand ‘Ol Opry or the Nashville Super Speedway?

Back on the road again, it was time for Clyde’s second detour, as he’d decided that we’d stop in at the Interstate Trucking satellite headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee and in honour of his brother Tommy, leave a token of appreciation… As in some free Cindy Sheehan T-Shirts. Of course we had NO idea where the building was as we drove around LOST in this little town for approximately one hour plus, with Clyde making repeated stops to ask unsuspecting proprietors and the local fire department in regards to the Interstate locale. Clyde finally got directions after stopping at a Trucking friendly motel and we set off West, back into the fast disappearing sunlight to Galveston Avenue, before pulling into the non descript business park, where Clyde told us to wait there as he’d be gone only uno momento… Mission Accomplished! Thus, we were able to turn back around and resume our easterly travel towards the Nation’s Capitol.

Staring into the darkness, we passed Knoxville, Tennessee before slipping into Virginia… To which I must confess I completely slept thru, not that Virginia is a boring state, but I was busy watching the backs of my eyeballs at this duration of the trip. Mary Ellen, whom seemed to get constantly stuck on the night shift of driving as the “Boyzs” were fast asleep, noted the overly disgusting number of Semi Trucks clogging the nation’s arteries… Proclaiming that it appeared to be a 2-3 to 1 ratio in the number of diesel trucks to cars on the Highway…

And to think we’re gonna wean ourselves off of our dependency of foreign oil, eh? I’m tending to think that the recent story of a Royal Dutch Shell executive’s statement; “American’s UN-Willing to give UP SUV’s” is most likely true. And you can read outgoing US Shell bosses story here if so inclined; President of U.S. operations questions predictions of peak theorists
Crossing the Potomac River, we arrived in the outskirts of Washington DC early Wednesday morning, stopping to make one of our numerous “Pit Stops,” before venturing into the big city. Pestering Clyde to stop for nourishment, we pulled into a Giant grocery store and while Mary Ellen and I roamed the aisles filling up our shopping cart, Clyde disappeared. Checking out, the cashier asked us if we had the requisite “Super Saver” card. To which I told her, nope, we’re from the other Washington, to which she replied’ have fun in this Washington…

Walking back to where the car was supposedly parked? Nope, it’s NOT there anymore… So Mary Ellen left me guarding the shopping cart while she went to scour the parking lot in case the car had been moved? Nope, NO sign whatsoever of the Buick… Oh whale, Clyde’s obviously run off somewhere, so, we’ll just eat our lunch now instead in front of the grocery store while waiting for Clyde to return… About 30 minutes later the Buick pulled up and honked at us, as Clyde had left us since we were taking too long shopping! He’d gone off to get some cash from an ATM machine, but managed instead to have Nelie’s card swallowed by the machine when he couldn’t remember the correct PIN.

Thus, we set off in search of the Navy Federal Credit bank which conveniently happened to be nearby, in order for Clyde to get some necessary dinero, before setting off in search of the Capitol, while instructing me to keep a look out for any Post Office’s…

Having found a non-descript Post Office, we next asked for directions and learned that we were heading towards Maryland… turning around we aimed towards the Downtown corridor of DC, with Clyde repeatedly asking where’s the Capitol? To which Mary Ellen proclaimed it’s right there… See the Dome? I thought Tomaso was the “Juan” with the eyesight problema… To which Clyde then kept asking us; “Where’s the Dome-thingy???” After trying to repeatedly park in Federal employees permit designated parking areas only, we finally secured a street side parking location just around the corner from the Capitol.

Now, we’d driven all the way from Texas to participate in a variety of events leading up to the Rally scheduled for that Saturday, with the first event being a Stop Loss demonstration on the Capitol’s steps. Yet, since Clyde hadn’t exactly explained what we were up too and I was filling groggy, we decided to stay in the car while Clyde went to investigate things… Drifting in and out of sleep between numerous police car/emergency vehicles sirens, we wondered if Clyde would be arrested, since he just loves causing trouble… As we’d learn later that twelve individuals, mostly kids on their Spring break had been arrested for sitting in the road and blocking traffic while trying to force Congress to stay in session, instead of going home for Easter break.

The ANTI WAR Rally was to be held in conjunction with the Winter Soldier hearings taking place in neighboring Maryland. This latest Winter Soldier effort was loosely modeled upon the first Winter Soldier hearings that occurred during the Vietnam War.

When I asked Clyde what it was all about? He replied that it was a take off of Continental soldier’s dereliction of duty during the Revolution. Thomas Payne subsequently wrote four pamphlets that were published in London during the Revolutionary years, which were aimed at restoring George Washington’s beleaguered forces morale. Payne’s first writing became a supposed rally cry for the forces retreating to Trenton, with Payne decreeing;

“These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
The Summer Soldier was a term applied to farmers who’d take up arms during the summer, but then return home to harvest their crops during the fall, while the Sunshine Patriots, were effectively fair weather fighters, who no longer wished to participate in the fighting when the going got tough, with many finding these actions treasoness…

(Payne’s series of four pamphlets entitled The American Crisis were published between 1776-1783)
About two hours later, Clyde returned to wake us from our mid-afternoon slumber and dropped a BOMBSHELL upon us. Guess what? The Rally’s been CANCELLED! What the FUCK??? Well, didn’t uze guys get the memo? Err, Clyde, why didn’t you read the FREAKIN’ memo before we left on this madcap dash across the country, SHEISA!!!
After giving some of the demonstrator’s a ride to the nearby police station to bail their accomplices outta the clink, we said our goodbyes and decided to get the HELL out of Dodge, Err, Washington DC… And thus began another two day drive home. Aye Karumba!

And ever noticed the longer you’re in a car with somebody the worse things tend to get? As Clyde actually told me late one evening on the way home that he was turning the radio’s speaker output ALL to my side and turning it up really LOUD ‘cause he knew I didn’t like having my eardrums blasted out, nice guy, eh?

Once again driving thru the darkness, I slept all the way thru Virginia (must be a really small state?) And the next morning awoke to have Clyde tell me we were passing the Atomic Raceway Park, a small dirt track venue paved with red clay.

Yet, this time Mary Ellen was determined to stop at Graceland for my benefit and she cried out, here come’s Graceland as we crossed the Mississippi River(?) with a giant Pyramid building next to it… Telling her I wouldn’t sing the Elvis song out loud I was currently humming to myself!

“Ah, Un-hun, Ah, Un-hun, A-Uh, I’m all shook up!”
As we took the turn off the freeway and headed for Elvis Presley Boulevard. Pulling into Graceland, we were told it would be $8 for parking, say what? Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes lady… Can we just go in and check-it out first?

So, there I was standing in Elvis’s parking lot having my photo snapped with one of his personal jets parked in the background, while Elvis music was blaring’ out of assorted speakers on nearby telephone poles, courtesy of Serious satellite’s Elvis Radio station. Turning around to leave, Mary Ellen said should I stop and ask for a brochure? Thus we were allowed to park briefly and go inside for more information. While the two of us found out that it was $32 for the entire premises or $27 for the mansion itself, Clyde was busy peein’ in Elvis’s parking lot…

Then again, Elvis was a big car nut as I tend to recall that he took personal delivery of “Juan ‘O ‘Ol Shel’s” AC Cobra’s. So, Mary Ellen asked if I wanted to go check out his car collection. With the price of admission being $8, but it was way too dimly lit, with almost everything being in the dark… SHEISA!!! I could have gotten all three of us into the Indianapolis Hall of Fame museum for the price of myself to walk about in the dark at Graceland!

With our Elvis stop out of the way, we were back on the road again… As bob Seeger’s On the Road Again song eerily played in the background, as I’d been allowed to reverse the Buick’s speaker’s sound direction… We continued our westerly course towards Austin and made Little Rock, Arkansas by late evening. Yet, as we approached Mary Ellen commented that a storm was brewing ahead… To the likes of I have never witnessed, as we were engulfed in a massive Thunder ‘N Lightning storm, with torrential rainfall, as Mary Ellen said the only thing the lightning was good for was lighting up the road! Hey, you frillin’ truckers, SLOW THE HELL DOWN! Pulling off underneath an overpass, as it was simply too hard to see where we were going… As Mary Ellen pointed out the poor sod on a “Crotch-rocket” parking under an overpass… We witnessed over a dozen Emergency vehicles passing by our hideaway,

Then Mary Ellen elected to let Clyde drive in the storm for awhile… As we finally arrived back in Austin mid Friday morning, thus in regards to having just spent four consecutive days in an automobile for a whole two hours in Washington DC, I’m struck by the INSANITY of the closing scene in Smokey in the Bandit, where Burt Reynolds takes the bet to bring them Good ‘Ol Boyzs back some New England clam chowder in under 48hrs in their hurkin’ Cadillac Eldorado convertible with Texas steer horns on the hood…