Friday, May 30, 2008

Kuh-Naidiun Crunch

Some of you may have heard by now that John Rutsey is “No longer a Working Man…” As the following story was sent to me by Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B, whose favourite RUSH song is Working Man… Since I didn’t hear of the “Kuh-Naidiun Power Trio” until 1979, I never saw the band perform with their first drummer…

John Rutsey, Rush's First Drummer, DiesAOL
Posted: 2008-05-14 18:10:52
Filed Under: Star Obituaries, Music News
(May 14) - Rock drummer John Rutsey, who co-founded progressive rock band Rush but left because of health reasons after recording the group's debut album, died over the weekend at age 55, their management company said.

Yet… We’re only immortal -- For a limited time
As; Time is a gypsy caravan that steals away in the nightTo leave you stranded in dreamland


And; Distance is a long-range filter and Memory a flickering light(Lyrics: RUSH; Roll the Bones, Dreamline)
The Power TrioAlthough it was just one year ago that I saw the band perform twice; White River & Clark County Amphitheatre’s… With an EXCELLENT show performed at Vancouver, WA, I just cannot seem to resist hearing my most favourite rock band perform…

Thus, I’m off once again to see RUSH KICK ASS at the Gorge Amphitheatre… And to do some camping with Mary Ellen for a few days, as there’s a storm a brewin… NO WAIT! That was some STUPID Indy 500 Pre-race banter... But!

As sun goes downOn the western shoreThe wind blows hard from the eastIt whips the sand into a flying spindriftAs the sun goes downOn the western shoreIt makes me feel uneasyIn the hot dry rasp of the devil windsWho cares what a fool believes(Lyrics: RUSH; Snakes and Arrows, Spindrift)

Indiana Fever

Just a few final thoughts towards this year’s 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, with IMS claiming the “BUZZ” is back in INDY!!! Whale there’s certainly been a buzzin’ over Danicker’s theatrics on Pit lane… Somme-thung ‘bout a Bee in a Bonnet? But I’ll refrain from any further digs towards the Princess for at least the rest of this story…

So you wanna be an Indy Car mechanic? Well it’s NOT all glitz “N glory while your driver potentially pours the milk over his head in victory lane… As one article in the USA Today noted that the KV Racing Technology crew members had been doing 14 hour days straight for several weeks since the unexpected merger became official in late February. As their shop manager said they spent 5,400+ man hours preparing their first two Dallara chassis, as the strain has apparently gotten to some of the crew as three employees have now left the organization. But, all of this hard work seems to have paid off, as I’ve noted previously, KVRT was the highest finishing Champ Car Refugee squad at Indy with Servia 11th and Power 13th.

And not to be outdone, Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, CA has also been running non-stop the past five months, working employees up to 14 hours a day to build-up enough of their vaunted Fire Breathin’ Eithanol consumin’ Lumps for this years Unified Indy Car World Series… With HPD producing around 93 engines alone for the Memorial Day classic.

HPD started off with 80 engines produced prior to Homestead and is projecting to build a total of 365 engines for the season… As part of the Unification talks incentives was the offer of free $250,000 Honda lumps…

Also, said Open Wheel curmudgeon Robin Miller has noted that with the dyer scarcity of completed Dallara chassis… As several of the Transitioning teams don’t even have spares… We’ll most likely see a dip in the number of entries for this weeks upcoming ‘Ol Milwaukee speedfest on the Milwaukee Mile…

And amazingly USA Today had a total of nine articles printed in their sports section on the Friday before the greatest Spectali in racin,’ which seems pretty impressive to me… While according to the Indy Star, which I believe is a Pro-IMS news rag… The Nielsen Brothers (Inside Joke; As I believe there’s an outfit by that name that sells carpet up here…) Err, Nielsen ratings claim an overnight rating of 5.1 for this year’s Indy 500 vs. the Charlotte 600’s 4.4 rating, with the final tallies being a 4.5 rating for Indy and a 4.7 for Charlotte… While I believe that IMs’s number for last years overnight rating was a 4.8? And although initial reports claimed that the ratings were up this year nationally, they’ve now gone silent on the part about the local Indiana results being down… But, hey, like Danny B always tells me… Nielsen ratings DON’T mean CRAP!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Danicker does Indy!

Reading Jeff’s scribblings of his from the seats viewpoint at the Brickyard, he mentioned some slightly intoxicated Yeah-hoo telling Sarah Fisher to get off the track… After first stalling her Honda lump and then by NO fault of hers T-Boning a pirouetting Tony Kanaan… As yes, indeedie… Sarah did break into tears during her shortened interview with Jamie Little…

Yet, I gained even more respect for TK, who told Fisher to cry her head off on his shoulder in the Ambulance, but please don’t cry out there for me… As Kanaan said she was apologizing to him as it WASN’T her fault and he was totally aware of her situation… So, thankfully they cut the interview short when she started crying… Which was totally warranted.

As for Princess Danicker, it was entertaining to hear Judy from Seattle, WA tell Dave Despain on wind Tunnel that evening; Danica has done a public INJUSTICE for ALL Women with her behavior on Pit lane… C’mon Dave, was she having PMS, Judy asked! As it was hilarious hearing Despain trying to back pedal and defend CRYBABY Danica’s actions by saying she had NO idea the cameras were focused upon her to which I screamed BULLSHIT!!! THEY’VE BEEN ON HER THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ MONTH, GOMER! (You mean Danica isn’t aware of the media’s frenzy over her?)

Yet, as for “Dust-ups” between (Male) drivers, let’s NOT forget one of Champ Car’s most infamous… Alex Tagliani vs. Paul “Chrome Horn” Tracy at San Jose, (2006) as TAG rightly dropped the F-BOMB ‘bout 17 times on live TV after PT had stupidly pulled out straight in front of him after having gone off on an escape road… Which I’m sure gave TAG flashbacks of Zanardi at the Lausitzring… This was then replicated at Denver the next race with PT taking out the Hamburgular, a.k.a. Sea Bass on the final corner of the final lap, which saw Bourdeau saunter across the tarmac and slap PT before walking away. This in turn led to Tracy’s crowd pleasing tactics in Montreal as the French Quebecer’s had been up in arms over Tracy’s comments about how they couldn’t fight without taking their helmets off… As Mr. Chrome Horn took advantage of the situation while donning a blue wrasslin’ mask and cape, but I digress…

As once again the Danica divide will undoubtedly grow even larger after her command performance at Indy this year… While Danny B. noted shouldn’t she be FINED for walking down Pit lane? As ironically wasn’t it Princess’s chassis which struck an out of place Charles Buckman… As for the Danicker mania fervor, you can read a different perspective in; Once again Fisher can’t catch a break.

And does anybody know where I can pic ‘em-up a Princess Danicker Bobble head?

INDY 500: Spectali du jour


So did everybody watch the Big race at the Speedway? As it was perhaps “Juan ‘O” the most hilarious events that I’ve made the PAIN Staking effort of sitting thru four and one half hours plus to watch… As I made the mistake of watching the Pre-race follies, which immediately made me reach for the phone and leave Danny B a message of how ABC had already pegged the BARF-OH-METER!!! With the sinister, scary, dramatic theme of “Thar’s A Storm Brewing!” As Danica, Helios, Marky Mark and Graham all try to thread the eye ‘O the needle as “The GREATEST Drivers in North America are now all United!” SHEISA!!! Where in the hell are my Rolaids?

Will Danica Patric win the Indy 500 in only her fourth start? Hi, I’m Brent Mess-Burger and what about Danica! As she’s sweeping the nation… After talking aboot the “Earle’s” Poster children, Mess-Burger segwayed into the two Target boyzs, with NO mention ‘bout Tony Kanaan…

And then FINALLY it was time to hear my good buddy Gomer Pyle sing Backhoed in Indiana once again… As curiously I find this to be the BEST part of the entire pre-race festivities… Back Home Again in Indiana! As I can see the sycamore… Yeah, James Neighbors was back again after his one year hiatus and he sounded a HELL of a lot BETTER then Julie Ann “Recola” Hawk…

And then the drama began, as Sarah Fisher couldn’t get her Honda lump to cooperate… Which kinda summed up her entire month of May, eh? As she finally got the reluctant engine to turn over; musta been ‘dem Diehard batteries and thus we were off!

And as I was trying futilely to get the blinkin Indy Car.com website to open as I’d already had too much of ABC’s drama… I missed the first yellow flag which waived on lap 8 for debris… Which apparently was attributed to Bruno Junqueira’s mirror falling off! And since the crew didn’t have any spares on hand, it would take 14 laps to complete repairs… Yet I seem to recall this same fate happening once before, years ago to perhaps one of ‘Ol Super Tex’s cars?

And Justin “STORK” Wilson wasn’t able to hear his radio telling him Pit-Pit-Pit and thus was forced to stay out with Buddy “Jordache” Rice, with the pair running 1-2 while everybody else headed for the pits, yet meanwhile as le internets failed to cooperate, I returned to luh Telescreen to see Fisher parked sideways in the warm-up lane in some corner as Eddie Under-A-Cheever noted you should never be trying to scrub the tires in a corner… Yet, Eddie did get the comment of the day by calling Scott Goodyear “The Nerd from Kan-a-Duh!”

Then it was time for the next caution as rookie Alex Lloyd grazed the wall and slowed dramatically in front of Graham Rahal causing him to hit the wall… Hmm? What was that about some Storm thingy? As those in RASSCAR land like to say, cautions breed cautions… As my notes seem to bleed together

Where’s Danicker now? Oh one of the tire changers has had trouble with the nuts…

And geez, how ‘bout ‘dat? Although Darren Manning gave Buddy Rice a love tap while leaving the pits, these two guys managed to keep from crashing in pit lane… (Note to Princess)

And spare a thought for AJ “QUATTRO” Foyt IV… that had NOT one, but two fires this month of May, (Queue up the Great Balls ‘O Fire song here!) as suddenly during another yellow flag pit stop, Quattro’s vision of a decent finish went up in flames… As My Name is IRL noted, you’d think perhaps Tony could land some Tabasco sponsorship, eh? Although Foyt IV was ok, adding insult to injury was the fact that he’d need a new helmet as the fire had apparently damaged (melted?)his first crash helmets visor. DAMN! Who forgot the marshmallows for S’mores…

(Young Anthony would be 19 laps in arrears due to the fire… But, I think it would be hilarious if he sported a FLAME job on his helmet for the Milwaukee Mile event…)

Then it was time for Marty “TURTLE” Roth to smack the Safer Barrier… As he likes to traditionally end his races this way, while H. Dancing’ Fool Castro-neeves collected a piece of debris from Roth’s accident and would need a new nose… (Careful, NO Ron Dennis jokes here) At the same time Team Penske would uncharacteristically give Ryan “The Dude” Briscoe too many turns of opposite lock on his front wings… Not allowing him to catch-up to Danica?

Where’s Danicker now? Has she said anything on the radios… What’s that? Her car is SLOW? And she CAN’T pass anybody? That’s a big 10-4 Rubber Ducky…

Yawn… Hey, we haven’t had a caution in a few laps now. Shuh-Zamm! It’s Jamie Carnuba smacking the wall! While fellow South of the Border rookie Mario Morises apparently was having trouble finding the “Majic Rings” that help you get around the Speedway.

And then the leading the race at halfway curse struck again… As Marty “Move over Boyzs, Here comes Danica” Reid noted that ONLY three drivers leading on lap 100 had gone on to win the race, as Tony “Follow your snauz” Kanaan was the hapless victim of an overly aggressive teammate… Spinning out in the marbles and being T-Boned by the unlucky Fisher. As I swear it sounded like Marco was crying when they played the radio transmission of the young Andretti saying” Tell him I’m SORRY!” (To which TK responded; He better be!)

Where’s Danicker now? How’s her hair? Have we played her Who’s your Daddy commercial lately? Yet I broke into great laughter as apparently all of ABC’s Princess Danicker on the Brain caused Brent Mess-Burger to have a “Senior Moment” when he proclaimed after the commercial break that Tony Kanaan had just been taken out by Danica Patrick!

And what’s this? Jeff Simmons has just spun out and tapped the wall during another caution.

And then Tomas Scheckter who’d been leading the Penske’s all day was out with a broken driveshaft, while the other little team that could saw Vitor Meira go from third to first with 40 laps left approximately… If only Princess could have stayed outta The Dude’s way! Yet, the class of the field all day, Scott Dixon who led for 115 laps was superbly serviced by his Ganassi pit crew and beat Meira off of pit lane and would cross the yard of bricks first…

Dixon who was the first New Zealander to win the Pole would also become the first Kiwi to have his face put upon the Borg Warner trophy… As only 19 drivers have won from P1 in the 92 runnings of the Indy 500, but were those the Greatest Drivers or what? As they’d run up a total of 69 laps of yellow for eight cautions, which I believe is the second most in history? Yet, with Dixon’s dominance the whole month of May, the Kiwi would happily collect a record $2.98 million at the awards banquet, which featured a record $14.4m purse, increased 26% over last years payout, with every driver guaranteed a minimum of $270,000.

And isn’t it Hilarious that the leagues two “Biggest Starzs” (Princess ‘N Dancing’ Fool) were both warned about BLOCKING! While even funnier whas the fact that ABC’s big four favourites had mixed results…

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

F1: Monn knockoe - 2008 edition

Ok, although I’m sure there were more interesting tidbits discussed during this past weekend’s Formula 1 race… Here’s what grabbed my attention all those days ago, as it was rough sledding having binged out on the Indy 500, Monaco GP and Monte Carlo GP2 races…

Thursday tidbits
Monte Carlo is so SMALL that you could fit the ENTIRE Principality easily INSIDE of Indianapolis, as its ONLY ¾ square mile and is the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City.

Listening to the Krakow Kid’s (R. Kubica) radio transmission, about the apparent problems in setting up the chassis, Peter Winsor wanted to know if he should go ask Ron Dennis if he had any more advice for Robert on where to LOSE some more weight after the “Ronster” had made jokes about how large Kubica’s nose was on the grid in Istanbul…

Top trap speeds; Lewis Hamilton hitting 291kp/h (180mph) while setting fastest Thursday practice time, as the cars scream around the two mile circuit in just under 80 seconds per lap at an average of 100mph! In a city you can completely circumnavigate in just over one hour…

Favourite Circuits
Steve Matchett:
Whenever anybody asks me what Formula 1 circuit should I go to? I always reply Monza and Monaco. Monza simply because of the passion of the Tiafosi and Monaco because its so unique…I mean every night you can go walk around the streets that the race is on, have a drink in the bars and eat at the restaurants all surrounding the course and get as close to the mechanics as possible while they’re working on the cars…

But Monaco is FERROCIOUSLY EXPENSIVE!

David Hobbs: But if you want to watch open racing then Spa. Although it’s a long circuit and the weather’s a bit dodgy and not very well attended, once you’re inside you can walk from nearly every corner to corner…

Bob Varsha:
Now you’ve got me thinking what’s my favourite circuit and to gain me some extra time I’m going to defer to Peter.

Peter Winsor:
Well Bob, I MUST SAY I’M ANNOYED! That we’re NOT going to Indianapolis this year… Although I’m NOT saying that Indy is my favourite circuit, but what a Major race that was and Formula 1 NEEDS to be in America…

As May turns to June and we’re going to Canada, but NOT the United States, I think it’s TERRIBLE! And I’m SICK about it and I’m rather SICK about the Team Owners who prattle on about how we NEED to be in America, how they love America, etc. but are NOT doing ANYTHING about it! As they should be out there ACTIVELY PROMOTING IT! The Drivers should be out there, the Top Three should be out there doing long media conferences selling Formula 1 to the American public and sponsors and as an F1 economy there NOT doing it and I think they’re remiss for NOT doing it…

Matchett:
Well I totally agree with you Peter to a large extent… Although BMW Sauber did indeed have there pit complex in Las Vegas this January. (Consumer Electronics Show) And there were tons of people there… And I think you’re 100% right on we need more Teams promoting it. Why couldn’t McLaren, Ferrari and others be alongside BMW’s Pit Lane Park? Except for perhaps the Commercial aspect of it, as Bernie Ecclestone may raise his hand and say I NEED a piece of that!

Hobbs:
It is after all the largest market for all of the top manufacturers… Definitely Ferrari and BMW, Mercedes, Honda… It’s the BIGGEST single market and F1 NEEDS to be there!

Saturday tidbits
The opening montage was sprinkled with comments from past and present Formula 1 luminaries, as “The Wee Scot,” a.k.a. Sir Jackie Stewart began the sequence by stating; Monaco hasn’t changed at all; Still the most glamorous, still the most colourful. It’s still the most exciting!

Felipe Massa; Its like racing a go kart in your house.

Kimi Raikkonen: If you don’t push, you don’t get the lap; but if you push too hard then you end up in the barriers.

Ayrton Senna; You position your wheels with the Armco ALL the time and you’re cutting it that close.

I don’t know why, but I found it just a tad bit eerie to be hearing Senna’s voice once again… As Bob Varsha had marveled earlier how Senna had once claimed that he’d look over at the giant video monitor while racing up the hill at “Bo Ravage” to see where his competitors were…

Mika Hakkinen; It’s very exciting, I mean you’re so close to the barriers all of the time.

David Coulthard; You cannot push 100% here, because if you go 101% then you’re into the barriers… Which were prophetic words as DC had a huge shunt towards the end of Q2 and although he was 10th quickest, advancing to the final Q3 “Qualie” session, he’d go NO farther due to the obvious damage he’d done against the Armco…

And Triple World Champion Nelson Piquet, who never managed to win at Monte Carlo once said; its like trying to fly a helicopter in your living room… While it was fun to hear Keke Rosberg, who’d won Monaco 25yrs ago for Williams telling Peter Winsor during his grid walk that he wouldn’t try telling son Nico anything because he wouldn’t listen to him anyways…

And “Quick Nick” Heidfeld’s record run of 28 consecutive Top 10 qualifying positions was snapped this weekend, when the German could do no better then 13th place in Q2 qualifying…

Thus, it was a very surprised Felipe Massa, who’d earlier said he didn’t like Monaco very much, snatching his 12th career pole over the REAL Iceman, a.k.a. “The Kimster,” nee Kimi Raikkonen. Massa’s Pole was the first for the Scuderia in Monaco since Michael Schumacher’s in 2000, while the surprising lockout of the front row by Ferrari was the teams first since 1979, which was also the last time a Scuderia pilot had won from Pole Position. (Jody Scheckter) Forlornly, Team McLaren took the second row on the grid after having been faster then the red cars during practice.

Adding more drama to the race was that it would become a wet/dry affair as it began raining just prior to the start of the race and everybody was using Bridgestone’s “Wet” intermediate tires as Massa shot off the line with Louise “Jaguar” Hamilton making his way around the Kimster, while fellow Finn, Heikki Kovalainen stalled on the formation lap and was forced to start from pit lane.

And I still don’t know how he got away with it, but Hamilton kissed the Armco with his rear tire, having to immediately duck into the pits for a replacement, as he’d later comment that you couldn’t see where you were going in the spray and everybody was aquaplaning…

Meanwhile Massa made a mistake while leading and handed the front spot over to Kubica, who led for quite sometime in the BMW Sauber, yet after pit stops Hamilton built up a massive forty second lead before Nico Rosberg slammed heavily into the swimming pool complex’s barriers, bringing out a safety car, which evaporated Lewis’s lead. By this time, Fredrico Suave (Alonso) who’d been the first to bravely switch over to “Slicks” on the drying track had shown that this was the preferred tire as he began setting fast lap times, while his hapless rookie teammate Nelson Nelson (Piquet Jr.) who’s reportedly under increasing pressure over keeping his ride managed to slide off track after they’d thrown dry tires on his mount…

And just prior to the restart, we heard Force India’s Adrian Sutil’s radio transmission note that he was the meat in a Scuderia Ferrari “Works” sandwich, with Massa ahead and World Champion Raikkonen lurking directly behind, as the young German had driven an amazing race from P18 to fourth, being on track to garner Force India’s and his first career points…

Yet, With everybody having made the switch over to the dry grooved tires and the laps winding down in what would become a timed event, the Kimster got a little too overaggressive and punted Sutil out of the way, to no avail! As Kimi would ultimately end up out of the points after his multiple race transgressions, including a drive thru penalty for Ferrari failing to have his tires mounted prior to the three minute board…

Thus Hamilton led Kubica and Massa across the finish line and the win was “Jaguar’s” first victory in the Principality as an F1 pileto and he seemed genuinely taken by his accomplishment as he was the first Englishmen to win on the streets of Monte Carlo since Graham Hill had done so for Lotus in 1969.

Meanwhile, Rubens Barrichello, who was starting his 256th Grand Prix, celebrated by scoring his very first points in over one year, while the hapless young German hot-shue Sebastian Vettel finally righted his miserable season with an impressive run to fifth place…

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

Race Results
Winner:L. Hamilton; 2. R. Kubica; 3. F. Massa; 4. M. Webber;
5. S. Vettel; 6. R. Barrichello; 7. K. Nakajima; 8. H. Kovalainen



2008 F1 Point Standings
(Round 6 of 18)

Driver’s
L. Hamilton 38
K. Raikkonen 35
F. Massa 34
R. Kubica 32
N. Heidfeld 20

Constructors
Ferrari 69
McLaren 53
BMW Sauber 52
Red Bull 15
Williams 15

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dali-style

Although I cannot say that current Indy Car and former Champ Car driver Oriel Servia has ever topped my list of most liked racecar pilots, nonetheless, I do appreciate his perseverance and devotion to honoring his home country with a Salvador Dali-esce motif on his crash bucket. And who would have known that Servia and Tony Kanaan were way ahead of the curve towards Unification, as the Brazilian driver lent a hand towards Serbia’s development as detailed in; Servia’s long journey from Spain to Indy.

Starting from the inside of Row 9 in 25th place, Servia made Marty Reid shriek twice during the elongated broadcast… Saying he’d almost had two accidents in less than one straightaway… While apparently Helio “blue suede shoes” came over the radio and said “WOAH-WOAH-WOAH!” As Servia was doing some edge trimming… But Oriel managed to keep the car intact and ended up as the highest finishing Champ Car refugee in 11th place, as KV Racing Technology had the best results of the Transition teams, with Servia heading home teammate Will Power, who’d started in the middle of Row 8 (23rd) and finished 13th.

Now I’ve gotta go watch this weekend’s “Monn-Knockoe” GP2 action…

The Great Race

Well, I don’t know about Y’all out dare in Raceland… But, while although certainly entertaining, I’m NOT to certain about this year’s running of the Indianapolis 500 qualifying as the greatest Spectale in racing? (Yet Princess Danicker improved her patented STOMP as she got ready to rumble with Ryan “the Dude!” Briscoe…)

Thus, one must marvel at what could be considered one of The Greatest Races in history, the New York to Paris race, held a century ago…

Imagine having only a short 12 hours time span to prepare for an unexpected around the world journey, as that’s exactly what happened to eventual winner George Schuster, who was summoned to New York’s Times Square to participate. Although thirteen vehicles were entered in the competition, only six took the green flag before more than 250,000 applauding spectators cheered them on, with the vehicles reaching the breakneck speed of 30mph along Broadway Avenue on Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th, 1908…

At the time of this unprecedented motoring event, only nine men had ever driven across the United States and Schuster had merely been sent at the last moment to ride along and represent his employer, the E.R. Thomas Motor Company, out of Buffalo.

It was hoped that the competitors would reach the West Coast in 22 days, yet this turned out to be fairly optimistic as no one had ever attempted the cross country trek during the winter… As it would take 41 days for the Flyer to reach San Francisco! And while the main protagonist, the Protos had been built by a workforce of 600 for the Kaiser Wilhelm II, specifically for this event, the Thomas Flyer was primarily a “Stock” car, as that’s how the 1907 Model Flyer Roadster, 60 horsepower four cylinder automobile had come off the Thomas production line…

(As obviously the Thomas Flyer (Has to be one of my most favourite named vehicles, eh?)

Without Schuster’s perseverance and mechanical abilities, the vehicle WITHOUT Heater or Windscreen! (Consider how refined today’s racecars are) Would have never made it to the finish line… Being declared the victor when the Protos was given a one month penalty for such infractions as having skipped portions of the trip, like Seattle to Japan and having been transported by railroad from Idaho to Seattle!

Interestingly, my memory wishes to recall seeing said Thomas Flyer in the Reno Automobile Museum several years ago, when the city actually hosted an SCCA Pro Trans Am event…

On May 30th, there will begin a 100yr Anniversary re-enactment of this great race begun once again from Times Square(?) in the 2008 Edition of the New York to Paris race

Indy’s newest Pace Car?

Hey, this is just an idea for next year’s Indianapolis 500 Pace Car… Although it certainly doesn’t outperform this year’s “Eithanol Chebbie” Corvette, nonetheless it’s suited for either land or sea duty and thus would fill in nicely during the inclement Month ‘O May!

Then again, NAH! WE DON’T WANT NO STINKIN’ Amphicar as the Pace Car, since we’ll be hoping for Sunshine and as a few of the local Amphicar owner’s noted towards their vehicles performance;

"In the water maybe 5 mph max," said Capron, an auto repair shop owner. "No water skiing." Added John "Capt. Jack" Hein, "I don't think these cars can go 70 without going out of control. We like to think of it as the fastest car on the water and fastest boat on the road."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another Unser competing


NO! This ain’t no story ‘bout “Lil Al making a further comeback at the Speedway. Nor one of the other countless Unser’s like Johnny or Robby… Or ah shucks… Alfonse “Just Al” Unser III, who’s currently trying to re-invigorate his Open Wheel career by contesting the Indy Pro, Err, Firestone Indy Lights series…

No, its just my clever tie-in for the very enlightening story; Al Jr.'s daughter champions her own causes, Which is about Cody Unser, the daughter of Al Junior and Shelly, who at age 12 was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare degenerative spinal cord disease, yet still has the Unser’s need for speed in her blood, albeit she has a lead hand instead of lead foot!

Fisher announces new sponsor

First of all, for everybody who’s donated to Operation Support Sarah… KUDOS! To Y’all, as SFR has divulged that approximately $30,000 has been given by admiring fans across the nation… As Sarah Fisher stated; “It gives me goose bumps,”

SFR announced on Thursday that Text 4 Cars.com will be its new primary sponsor for this Sunday’s race and you can read more about Sarah’s trials as a owner/driver in the following NY Times article: “When Driver’s Sponsor Disappears, Her Resolve Doesn’t”

Women in Racing (2008 Edition)


I’d say that the majority of today’s mainstream media attention is firmly affixed upon the IRL’s Danica Patrick, having FINALY WON her first major car race with some precocious fuel mileage strategy in Motegi, Japan this year…

Yet with my NON Politically Correct stance towards Princess Danicker and Milka Duno’s ride buying, while I sit firmly on the Sarah Fisher side of the Danica divide, I thought I’d shed some light on the REAL women of motorsport once again, As these female pioneers truly paved the way for Danica to live the “Good Life.” Interestingly the first women racers were in Grand Prix, prior to the modern day Formula 1 championship which began in 1950. As the earliest reports of female race driver’s centers upon a trio of women, with Eliska Junkova and “Helle Nice” being the most flamboyant. While Kay Petre made her impression due to her small stature behind the wheel of the day’s monstrous vehicles. Junkova caused quite a “stir” when it was discovered that a woman led the opening laps of the 1928 Targa Florio. While the lady behind the wheel of the Bugatti leading the event was quickly named the “Queen of the Steering wheel” by the adoring press, as the Czechoslovakian is the only woman to have ever won a Grand Prix which she accomplished at the Nurburgring in 1926.

Junkova retired from racing immediately after her husband was killed in 1928 at the Nurburgring while piloting the vehicle the couple were co-driving in the event. Helle Nice was Mariette Hélène Delangle’s stage name, as she made her fame and fortune as a Paris “Show Girl.” Amassing wealth and popularity as a dancer, she reportedly enjoyed “Life in the Fast Lane.” As rumours suggest she had a long list of multiple suitors including Philippe de Rothschild and Jean Bugatti. She competed in several Grand Prix’s during the early 1930’s. Yet sadly after the war, Louis Chiron accused Helle Nice of being a Gestapo agent which effectively ended her career. (Along with ruining her life!) Helle Nice died “penniless” in Paris in 1984. Kay Petre stood 4’10” tall, making many marvel at her physical ability to manhandle a 10.5 liter V-12 Delage while setting speed records at the famed Brooklands circuit. Petre was most likely the first female to compete in the 24 Heurs du Mans, finishing 13th overall in 1936. She competed in three Grand Prix’s in 1937 before being injured. Petre went on to become a motor journalist along with being an automotive fabric designer. After two decades of no women participants, Maria Teresa de Filippis contested three Grand Prix’s between 1958-59. While it would be almost another two decades before a quartet of female drivers attempted participating in various Formula 1 races from 1974-1992. (Lella Lombardi, Divina Galica, Desire Wilson and Giovanna Amati). Lombardi raced twelve times, becoming the only woman to have ever scored a World Championship point in 1976. Finishing sixth in the rain shortened Spanish GP, where Lombardi was awarded a half point. Lella also finished seventh at the Nurburgring. Galica, Wilson and Amati were entered, but didn’t qualify for their races. With quite a fuss caused when multiple females were entered for the 1976 British GP. Amati was the last female to enter a Formula 1 event for the struggling Brabham team before being replaced by Damon Hill, with Amati’s F1 test coming courtesy of playboy Flavour Flav… (Flavio Briatore) Meanwhile Janet Guthrie began her racing career in Sports Cars and won two class victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring, prior to getting her big break, when in 1976 Rolla Vollstedt gave her a test drive at Indianapolis, although she didn’t qualify for that year’s race. Yet in 1977 Guthrie would not only become the very first female to race in the Indianapolis 500, but also make history as the first woman to race in the Daytona 500. Guthrie would compete at Indy three times (1977-79) with a best finish of 9th in 1978 before disappearing from the Speedway’s horizon. It would be a further 13 years before a second female would participate in the Indy 500. As although Desire Wilson passed her Rookie test on May 11, 1982, she failed to qualify for that year’s race, thus it was a further decade before Lyn St James made the first of her seven appearances. St James became Indy’s first female rookie of the year in 1992. This debut race would also become her best finish of 11th place at the Speedway.
As the new millennium dawned, (2000) the third female to crack the Brickyard’s entry list was Sarah Fisher driving for Derrick Walker. Fisher has since gone on to become the only woman driver to win a Pole in the Indy Racing League and holds the records for fastest one and four lap qualifying speeds at Indy. (2002: One lap = 229.675mph; Four lap average = 229.439mph)
Next, in 2005 Princess Danica burst upon the scene, causing instant Danica mania while flirting with capturing the pole at Indy and finishing 4th in her rookie year for Rahal Letterman Racing, which is the highest finish ever by a female.

Last year, another first was recorded, when the Brickyard saw three females take the green flag for the very first time in the Speedway’s history, as Venezuelan Rookie Milka Duno driving her CITGO sponsored Team SAMAX racecar joined Sarah Fisher and Danica Patrick in the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.

For this year’s event, much has changed for all three of these female contestants, as we’re all painfully aware that Princess Danicker still basks in the glow of winning her first victory just over one month ago, having now driven for Andretti Green Racing the past three seasons. Her #7 Motorola racecar will roll off from the middle of Row 2, having qualified 5th at 225.197mph.

Meanwhile, the driver of this trio struggling the hardest financially to make her record tying seventh Indy 500 start, without a doubt is Sarah Fisher. After a disappointing 2007 season as Buddy Rice’s team mate at Dreyer & Rein bold, Fisher decided to accomplish another first by starting her own race team and thus becoming the first female Indy Car owner. Hoping to have her team backed by Gravity Entertainment and ResQ energy Drinks adorning her sidepods, both entities have failed to wire her any money to date and Fisher has since moved on, as I’m expecting to see Her #67 Dallara’s sidepods emblazoned with her new associate sponsors, as Sarah qualified 22nd at 221.246mph and will start from the inside of Row 8.

Milka Duno has uncharacteristically “Flown under the Radar” this Month of May, having switched teams in the off season and is now part of a three car effort fielded by Dreyer & Rein bold Racing and is still backed by CITGO, Duno has eagerly taken to constantly asking her teammates Buddy Rice (2004 Indianapolis 500 winner) and Townsend Bell for advice on how to master the Brickyard. Duno qualified 27th at 220.305mph and will start from the outside of Row 9.

Thus, as Virginia Slims would say, “You’ve come a long way Baby…”

(PS: If anybody has seen Danny B’s Milka Duno lunch box laying around the grandstands at Indy, please return it to Lost ‘N Found…)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Joining the 200 Club

While Rubens Barrichello basks in the glow of perceivably having broken the all time Formula 1 career starts record held by Ricardo Patrese: 256 (1977-93) Another driver is set to join the very exclusive club of drivers to have made 200 Grand Prix starts, as Giancarlo Fisichella will add his name to the growing list this weekend in Monaco.

“Fishy-fella” will honour the accomplishment by donning a special set of overalls and special liveried “200”logo helmet, as the 35-year-old Roman said in a recent statement;

“I still feel young, I still feel happy to work in F1, to be an F1 driver."

"The only problem is traveling around the world all the time! But apart from that, I still enjoy F1. I wouldn't still be here if I didn't," Fisichella added.

Here’s a quickly compiled listing of the various drivers to accomplish the rare feat of showing up for 200 Grand Prix’s…

200 Grand Prix Starts Club
Driver Races Starts Active Years
1. Ricardo Patrese; 257, 256, 1977-93
2. Michael Schumacher; 250, 249, 1991-2006
3. Michel Alboreto; 215, 194, 1981-94
4. Andrea de Cesaris; 214, 208, 1980-94
5. Gerhard Berger; 210, 210, 1984-97
6. Nelson Piquet; 207, 204, 1978-91
7. Jean Alesi; 202, 201, 1989-2001
8. Alain Prost; 202, 199, 1980-91, 1993


Active Drivers
Driver Starts Year Debut GP
1. Rubens Barrichello; 256, 1993; South African GP
2. David coulthard; 234, 1994; Spanish GP
3. Giancarlo Fisichella; 200, 1996; Australian GP
4. Jarno Trulli; 187, 199;7 Australian GP
5. Jenson Button; 141, 2000; Australian GP
6. Nick Heidfeld; 138, 2000; Australian GP

Toro Rosso debuts New STR3


Scuderia Toro Rosso will roll out its definitive 2008 F1 challenger on the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend, where the team will deputize its Adrian Newey Red Bull derivative STR-03 chassis.

While many would consider this a very poor choice of venues for unveiling a teams new chassis, as the Principality is lined with kilometers of Armco intertwined with multiple kilos of concrete, Toro Rosso’s technical director Giorgio Ascanelli claims that he is both mad and simply brave in this endeavor, as the team is already struggling with the older STR-02B chassis.

Ascanelli predicts that the new STR-03 should be approximately 0.3-0.5 seconds a lap quicker then the STR-02B, of which production of parts has ceased and thus the team must get on with running the new car and building up its very low inventory of new parts. Recall that the new chassis was originally scheduled for debut at Istanbul prior to the “Hamburgular” (S. Bourdais) crashing heavily in testing…

Sir Frank triple’s Fisi

While various statistician’s quarrel over whether or not Rubinoe has indeed broken the all time F1 career starts tally, along with Fishy-fella set to become only the ninth driver to make 200 Grand Prix starts, Sir Frank Williams will make a bit of history himself this weekend at Monte Carlo, as;

Monaco marks Sir Frank Williams's 600th World Championship Grand Prix as an entrant, his first race having been the 1969 Spanish Grand Prix when he entered Piers Courage in a Brabham BT26. In the course of his career Frank's cars have won 113 races, seven Drivers' titles and nine Constructors' titles. He has been knighted in England and received the Legion d'Honneur from the French.
"Reaching 600 Grand Prix means very little to me," says Frank. "I do have to admit, however, that there have been some brilliant moments over to 40 years that I've been racing, and there have also been some moments of great sadness. If I was 40 years younger I would still choose the same path to where I find myself today."
(Source: Grandprix.com)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Operation Support Sarah

First of all, I’d like to give a big “shout-out” to Full Throttle; My Name is IRL; Indy Racing Revolutions and Press Dog for all writing about Sarah Fisher’s financial plight caused by the delinquency of her proposed sponsors Gravity Entertainment and ResQ failing to honor their commitments.

Now according to Press Dog, you can get your very own limited edition Support Sarah Fisher Racing T-Shirt by attending this year’s Community Day;

“INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) announced today that fans participating in the Community Day autograph session would receive a limited edition SFR “I Support SFR” shirt for donations made to the team for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.”
For those of you like myself who are unable to attend but may be wishing to help support Sarah, you can send donations to:

David A. Noyes & Co.
Attn: Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR)
111 Monument Circle, Suite 300
Indianapolis IN 46204

And yes, your humble scribe has already sent in his contribution and is also a sponsor of this year’s #67 SFR Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry…

Good Luck this Sunday, Sarah!

UPDATE
Just received the most ultra SWEET Thank You Card ever from SFR! As I was totally blown away to open the card with personalized note from Sarah herself plus a piece ‘O “MY” NOT! (Sarah’s) racecar; Aye Karumba!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ganassi drives Indy

By now I suspect that everybody’s painfully aware that Chip Ganassi’s two Tarz-chey”Indy Car drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon have secured the first two grid positions for this year’s Indianapolis 500, with Dixon becoming the very first Kiwi to ever claim the Pole Position at the Speedway…

But were you aware that once, long ago, in what I’m sure feels like a different lifetime… Their Team Boss, a.k.a. “The Cheepster” actually was an aspiring Champ Car racing driver? (Otay, I suppose some of you Die Hard Indy Car fanatics out there did indeed…) But quick! How many Indianapolis 500 races did “Cheep” contest?

Even more impressive is Ganassi’s Rookie Class alma matter of 1982, for which I count there being nine fresh face Rookies joining the ranks of the CART Championship, as this grouping has some fairly well known names upon it.

Notice from the list below the names of Rahal, Sullivan and Unser Jr. for starters… Other notables are Hector REbaque and Chris Kneifel. As of course we could debate tirelessly over who was the most successful of this group?

Consider Bobby Rahal who burst onto the scene, finishing runner-up to Rick Mears in the championship in his debut season. As we all know, Rahal would go onto win three CART/PPG Championships (1986-87, ’92) along with winning the 1986 Indy 500. Interestingly, Michael Andretti finished runner-up to Bobby during all three championships along with his Indy 500 victory. Rahal won an impressive 24 times and has since won the 2004 Indy 500 as a team owner with David Letterman and Buddy Rice as the driver that year…

Or how about Al Unser Jr.?As ‘Lil Al would win the Indy 500 twice, 1992 and 1994, (Galles, Penske) along with two CART/PPG Championships in 1990 and 1994 for Galles and Penske respectively. And while last years running aboard AJ Foyt’s second entry at Indy was a very sad state of affairs, I’m sure we all recall that ‘Lil Al’s 1992 Indy 500 victory aboard the Galmer chassis was the closest finish in Indianapolis history. (0.043 seconds) Over some ABC Broadcaster named Scott “What Pace Car?” Goodyear…

Another sentimental favourite has to be Mr. Hollywood, a.k.a. Danny Sullivan, who began his IndyCar career driving for Forsythe in 1982 before completing a tough season in Formula 1 driving for Ken Tyrrell in 1983, returning to IndyCars with Doug Shierson’s outfit in 1984.

To most, I’d assume that Danny’s most defining moment was becoming the victor of the 1985 Indy 500 during his famous Spin ‘N Win drive, passing race leader Mario Andretti not once but twice.

At this time, “Sully” was driving for The Captain and would continue on until 1990, having won the 1988 CART/PPG Championship before becoming part of Penske’s “Super-team,” consisting of Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears and Sullivan. (With Emmo bringing Marlboro sponsorship)

While playing third fiddle, Sully ended-up odd man out and moved onto Pat Patrick’s fleeting operation with the recalcitrant Alfa Romeo turbo power plant in 1991, a derivative of the stillborn Ferrari CART 2.65 liter turbo engine project.

Danny then moved onto partner “Lil Al at Galles before finishing his CART career with the fledgling PacWest Racing team…

As I’ve previously scribbled in Cinco de Mayo, Hector Rebaque was one of four Mexicali’s to contest Formula 1 before trying his hand at Open Wheel Racing stateside. Driving for Gerald Forsythe’s own “Super team” (Rebaque, Sullivan and Unser Jr.) he won a lone race at Road America before having a big shunt at MIS and deciding to hang-up his helmet. Interestingly, Forsythe’s triumbrant was headed by REbaque, finishing ahead of Unser and Sullivan.

Jim Hickman, Chris Kneifel, Patrick Bedard and Chet Fillip are lesser known talents who briefly plied their trade behind the wheel of various high speed machinery, while Indy only rookie Dale Whittington is a sad story…

Hickman, an ex-Air Force fighter pilot and Car dealer was the Rookie of the Year at Indy (1982) but would lose his life at the Milwaukee Mile on August 2nd, 1982 with just five minutes remaining in the final practice session and was the second driver to perish that season, as Gordon Smiley died while trying to qualify at Indianapolis.

Kneifel’s name was familiar to me from the Trans Am days, but interestingly holds the honor of being the very last driver to qualify for Indy under 200mph, as he took Jacques Villeneuve’s Sr. (“Uncle Jacques”) starting slot when the Canadian injured himself prior to the 1984 Indy 500 and was forced to withdraw.

Kneifel’s name was also familiar to me as he became the Chief Steward for CART from 2001-04 after finishing his racing career by winning the 2001 Daytona 24hrs with Ron Fellows, Frank Freon and Johnny O’Connell and if memory serves me correct, Chris was in the Justin Wilson over six foot club, may be even taller than Justin?

I guess if I went into the way back machine I should recall Bedard’s name, since he’s been employed by Car and Driver magazine since 1968 as a contributing journalist. Patrick drove for Jaguar in endurance racing before switching to CART and contested the Indy 500 twice from 1983-84, finishing 30th both times. He was involved in a massive shunt during the ’84 race, cart wheeling several times and decided to retire afterwards…

Fillip is a name that doesn’t ring a bell with me, having driven briefly in CART (1982-85) before moving to RASSCAR for two years. Next Chet raced USAC Sprint cars, winning eight times including the prestigious little 500. (1999) in 2006 after 28yr’s of competition he won his very first Championship in the inaugural Premiere Racing Association (PRA) series…

Whittington is apparently another “One Hit Wonder,” as apparently he made only one dubious start at Indianapolis in 1982, when the Whittington Brothers made history by being the only trio of brothers to qualify the same year.

Recall this was the year that Kevin Cogan broadsided Mario Andretti just prior to the green flag being thrown. Whittington, who was starting from 23rd position incorrectly assumed that the slowing cars trying to avoid the accident were an opportunity to pass them and slammed into a slowing Roger Mears.

Allegedly Mario was so incensed by the results of what triggered the four cars being retired that he threatened to expose Dale and his brothers smuggling hi-jinx, thus Dale never returned to Indy.

Unfortunately the Whittington Brothers along with the John Paul’s (Jr. and Sr.) and Randy Lanier were part of IMSA’s notorious 1980’s “International Marijuana Smuggler’s Association” which later led to several arrests, with Dale being the only suspect to not go to jail.

Whittington died of an apparent Drug overdose in 2003 after being found deceased by his son on Father’s Day…

And while I cannot recall what I was searching for last year, I stumbled upon an interesting article reflecting upon Bill Papis in Bob Jennings Indy 500 Diary (Feb. 2002) with some interesting tidbits on the Cheepster’s first attempt at the Speedway…

“Jack Rhoades, an airplane dealer from Columbus, Indiana, entered a 1981 Wildcat chassis in the 1982 "500" for rookie Chip Ganassi. The young driver from Pittsburgh qualified eleventh for the 1982 race with an average speed of 197.700 mph. That was the fastest qualifying speed by any member of the 1982 Indianapolis rookie class which also included Dale Whittington (197.690), Danny Sullivan (196.290), Jim Hickman (196.210), Herm Johnson (195.920), Hector Rebaque (195.680),Chet Fillip (194.870), Bobby Rahal (194.700) and Roger Mears (194.150). Ganassi finished 15th in the 1982 "500," falling out of the race after 147 laps with engine problems.”

Note:
Herm Johnson: Drove in 1981 for Menard/Cashway and Kraco Car Stereos in CART.
Roger Mears: Competed in USAC/CART from 1978-84.
Dale Whittington: Apparently a “One-off” at Indy in 1982. Part of the only trio of brothers to ever qualify for Indy.

1983 Indy 500 Rookies
Patrick Bedard; Steve Chassey; Derek Daly; Teo Fabi; Chris Kneifel; Al Unser Jr.

(The Indy 500 was NOT part of the CART Championship calendar in 1981-82, due to the CART-USAC WAR, precursor to the CART-IRL SPLIT; 1996-2007)

Interestingly Jennings notes that Ganassi’s mount was apparently an ex-Mario Andretti chassis;

Allegedly the Jack Rhoades entry driven by Ganassi was the same Patrick Racing STP Wildcat chassis driven to second place in the 1981 "500" by Mario Andretti. Perhaps you remember Mario's "500" car in 1981. It was a beauty, painted in a dark shade of (almost navy) metallic blue that sparkled in the sunlight like a deep blue diamond. With the contrast of the STP day glow red trim, Andretti's car 40 had one of the all time great paint jobs in racing in my opinion. Remember Mario was declared the winner of the 1981 "Indianapolis 500" the day after the race when a penalty was assessed to Bobby Unser by USAC officials for passing cars coming out of the pits. In October, 1981 a three man panel voted to restore the victory to Unser, reversing the earlier USAC decision. But for nearly five months Andretti's STP Wildcat was the winning "Indianapolis 500" car. “

Ganassi would go onto race in a total of five Indy 500’s (1982-86) and graduated from college the week after his debut at the Speedway. In ’83 Floyd “Chip” Ganassi signed to drive for Pat Patrick and showed some signs of driving prowess with a second place finish before having a major accident at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) with Al Unser Jr. Although I’ve never seen any footage of this, it’s fairly spectacular and Ganassi was lucky to get away with it…

Pat Patrick replaced the injured Ganassi with some guy named “EMMO,” while Chip recovered and competed in the ’85 Indy 500 for AJ Foyt, followed by his last Indy in the Machinist Union car. Afterwards, Ganassi first was a partner of Patrick’s, with Fittipaldi winning the 1989 CART/PPG Championship along with that year’s Indy 500 in a customer Penske chassis, before going on to form his own team which subsequently won four consecutive CART/PPG championships, before jumping to the IRL.

And while Ganassi’s reign as a team owner has been much more successful than a fellow competitor’s at least Dale Coyne has beat the Cheapster” in one category, by racing at Indy six times…


1982 CART Rookies
Bobby Rahal; Hector Rebaque; Al Unser Jr; Danny Sullivan; Jim Hickman; Chip Ganassi; Chris Kneifel; Patrick Bedard; Chet Fillip.

(Team/SR*/Driver/Chassis/Engine)
Truesports/Red Roof Inns
(2) Bobby Rahal
March 82C/Cosworth

Forsythe/Carta Blanca/Newsweek
(15) Hector REbaque
March 82C/Cosworth

Forsythe Racing
(21) Al Unser Jr
March 82C/Cosworth

Forsythe/Brown
(22) Danny Sullivan
March 82C/Cosworth

Rattlesnake/Stroh’s
(26) Jim Hickman
March 81C/Cosworth; March 82C/Cosworth

Rhoades/First Commercial Corp.
(34) Chip Ganassi
Wildcat Mk. VIIIB/Cosworth

Metametix
(36) Chris Kneifel
Eagle 82/Cosworth

Escort Radar Detector
(41) Patrick Bedard
Penske PC7/Cosworth; Wildcat Mk. VIII/Cosworth

Circle Bar Track Corral
(44) Chet Fillip
Wildcat Mk. VIII/Cosworth

1982 CART Season Standings
SF Driver
2nd Bobby Rahal
15. Hector REbaque
21. Al Unser Jr
22. Danny Sullivan
26. Jim Hickman
34. Chip Ganassi
36. Kris Kneifel
41. Patrick Bedard
44. Chet Fillip

SF = Season Finish (Overall Points Standings)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flambeaux

Former McLaren Double World Champion Mika Hakkinen’s French country estate Mhas gone up in flames, according to published reports, the mansion outside the village of Callian, near the town of Grasse, in Provence, broke out in flames early Saturday morning and nearly three fourths of the recently completed house was destroyed in the fire.

Hakkinen wasn’t home during the blaze, but his girlfriend and her friend escaped uninjured, as apparently Mika and ex-wife Erja have indeed split, as one report in the German national daily Bild-Zeitung noted;

"I am very surprised," said German motor sports commentator Hans-Joachim Stuck.

"To me they always seemed like the Finnish version of Michael and Corinna Schumacher -- a perfect couple," he added.


Thus it appears the couple did indeed divorce this past February, having split amicably. I’m assuming the Hakkinen’s two children, Hugo and Aina-Julia Were with Erja.

The fire’s cause was later traced to an electrical short in one of his display cabinet lights, but doesn’t say if any of his prized trophies were in the house at the time of this incident…

Monday, May 19, 2008

Troxel bumps Danica


While Princess Danicker was busy snubbing The Deuce’s interview requests by leaving early to “Pump up” Indy in the Big Apple, prior to the rest of the 33 drivers arriving… Well ok, she did go along with Helio “Blue suede shoes” after all.

Another female racing driver was making her own news, as Avon, Indiana resident Melanie Troxle became the second female to win a Nitro Funny Car race yesterday at Bristol, Tennessee. Melanie’s winning pass of 5.06 seconds in the rain delayed O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, makes her the first female in NHRA history to win both in Top Fuel dragster’s and “Flopper’s,” a.k.a. Funny Cars, while becoming the 14th person overall to accomplish the feat.

The final round against Mike Neff, who’s John Force Mustang erupted in a fireball at the 400 foot mark, was the first finals to feature two non-winners since 1995. Another historical first was accomplished when Troxel, a five time Top Fuel winner defeated Ashley Force in Round two, the very first All Female race in NHRA Funny Car eliminations.

Another entertaining note about Mrs. Troxle, is that she’s married to fellow NHRA Funny Car competitor Tommy Johnson Jr. and I’ll assume now holds bragging rights at home for the time being…

Way to go, Melanie!

I Am What?

Last night on Wind Tunnel, Dave Despain wouldn’t let intrepid Indy Car reporter Robin Miller leave without addressing the current SEX tape video of IRL Pitchman Gene “I AM INDY” Simonize… As Mr. Despain said wait a moment, do I hear something as the much ballyhooed I Am Indy song gently serenaded us in the background, as Mr. Despain said we’ll get to that Sir Maxxum business some other time… Now, this was entertaining as Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B had previously mentioned to me said video tape and a legal wrangle ensuing over the likeness of Mr. Simonizes jewel’s…

To which Miller gleefully deadpanned on camera, this is an SPEED exclusive Davey; I hear that the IRL is changing all of the I Am Indy decals to I AM INDECENT! To which Miller further noted how Tony George had shut down the renowned Snake Pit in order to end the full frontal nudity that was prevalent, also noting the incessant use of foul language by the current Rock bands gracing the infield section and how Mary Holman George would probably be offended by this…

Miller then urged George to re-open the Snake Pit where Mr. Simonize could perform, unless his current video was helping to sell out the Speedway? To which a chuckling Despain said; I’ve seen the still shots of the video and there’s NOTHING there to be overly impressed by…

So, be sure to get your I Am Indy memorabilia, which is destined to soon be a collectable, eh?

Qualifying's over

Whale! That’s the most Indy “BOOMP DAY” coverage I’ve watched in a long, long, time… Having decided to spend the majority of the day planted in front of the Telescreen… Listening to the sardonic voices of Messer’s Reid, Goodyear and Cheever call the action after listening to the IMS Broadcast’s first hour prior to the television coverage. And on a SUNNY day in the Pacific Northwest no less, as we’re in the midst of a mini HEAT wave…

Apparently I missed the “Shout-out” from the IMS’s Mark James to the small cadre of (Cover your ears, Mr. Olson) Bloggers crooning for Sarah Fisher support… Which would have been cool to hear, so I really shouldn’t give Mr. James too hard of a time, eh? But how ‘bout his prediction of who’d be the hardest pressed to make the big show this year… Recall that James thought that: Jaime Camara, Milka Duno, Mario Moraes and Marty Roth would be the four drivers hardest pressed to qualify, although he almost got the last one correct.

It was nice of “The Deuce” to give Sarah her do, by talking about her and actually showing her qualifying run, albeit one day late, but hey! Better late then never, eh? As Sarah solidly made her way into her seventh Indy 500 by qualifying 22nd, while I found it most ironic that I was rooting for Mario “BOOM BOOM” Dominguez, NOT once, but twice during the last hour of final qualifying… As I must admit, I was pulling for this ex-Champ Car, Err, Transition team to make the race… You know the one that had the audacity to ride skateboards in Gasoline Alley! Before Tony George put out a memo banning skateboarding. As I’m sure we’ll never know all of the personal sacrifices individuals truly persevere thru in order to make the big show. But the $50,000 final qualifier bonus check could have come in handy for the various PCM crew members who maxed-out their credit cards in order to get to Indy.

Interestingly, Phil Giebler was trying to make this year’s Indy 500 in a Panoz chassis, which seems odd after hearing the sentiments of Buddy Lazier’s team owner Ron Hemelgarn, who claimed it would have been a HELL of a lot easier and cost LESS if they’d just purchased a brand new Dallara instead of trying to bring their old car up to date… Which I’m a little unclear on since I thought I caught Jack “BRUTE” Arute telling us that you could no longer run a year old chassis, since the rules changes made it prohibitive?

And according to Mr. Cheever, the hit that Giebler suffered on Saturday would have definitely broken his back 10yrs ago, to which Mr. Goodyear was quick to tell us about the time he’d broken his back… As Giebler would spend the night in Methodist Hospital under observation for a bruised lung, along with a sore neck obtained from whiplash during the violent crash, as Giebler has since been released and team co-owner Eric Zimmerman says the team will acquire a Dallara chassis for Jacques Lazier to race at Texas on June 7th.

So, at the end of the day we had a “Kuh-nuck” making the show, albeit Marty “TURTLE” Roth, (NOT the Thrill from the West Hill) who’s bubble speed of 218.965 was a full 7.4mph SLOWER then Pole sitter Scott Dixon’s 226.366 mph.

Meanwhile, the hard luck story of the month has to go to AJ Foyt IV, who was the very first qualifier today, initially bumping Mr. Roth’s “Tail-gunner Charlie” four lap average. As I thought perhaps initially it was just a cruel way of getting back at Davey Hamilton for being so outspoken about the current Qualifying procedures, when I heard that his Honda engine had gone “KABLAMOE” during practice and the crew wasn’t in any big hurry to replace the lump. Yet, Foyt number Four, who’d previously spun and had a gearbox go south on him during the final minutes of Day 3 qualifying… Was the hapless victim of having the fuel bullock come loose, with flames erupting before slamming into the wall after having finally qualified! As there was apparently some slippery liquids squirted onto his rear right tire. And why in the HELL wasn’t he wearing his balaclava? Will he be fined for this? As he was lucky to get away with just singed hair and neck…

Thus the final 30 minutes of “Happy Hour” centered around Roger Yasukawa, Max Papis and Mario Dominguez, while the Torontan resident Mr. Roth nervously paced the pit lane, biting his nails after having re-bumped his way into the field by knocking out Buddy Lazier’s first qualification time… As Yasukawa was in and then bumped by Dominguez, who in turn was bumped out by Lazier’s stellar run before Dominguez spun into the wall after the team had dialed more wing out and he’d just laid down a speed of 219.7mph with two minutes left to go… Saying he wasn’t gonna lift! As Eddie Cheever declared this time period to be the cruelest in all of Motorsports in N. America, while also noting that hopefully the gun would fire today? As the previous day’s shooter had been unable to make the closing gun fire, yet when asked the night before if he’d be able to get any sleep? Yasukawa explained how Japanese people can sleep standing up, something their akin to doing on subway trains.

And with the wet weather Indianapolis has had, all of the teams were nowhere near using up their allotment of 35 sets of Flinstone rubber for the month, nor would I assume close to the maximum mileage permitted on their Honda engines, thus several drivers took advantage of this by running extended laps, with KV Racing Technology’s Will Power running 114… Which he seemed quite content about while being interviewed and even showed off his snazzy driving boots… Which of course Spike (D. Wheldon) had a quick quip about as he was next in the interviewing queue, as the funniest clip of the day had to be AJ Foyt, the elder’s “Senior moment” as driver Jeff Simmons called it upon seeing the tape for the very first time when ‘Ol Super Tex forgot to waive the green flag for his qualifying attempt. As AJ deadpanned; Oh, was I supposed to waive the flag? I’m sorry! As Simmons said he didn’t know what Foyt was doing as it looked like he was waiving to him as he went by… Thinking perhaps it was Tex’s other driver Darren Manning having just finished his run?

Of course there was also another funny bit about a prank pulled upon Helio Castroneves several years ago, just after he’d won the pole in 2003… As Helio was the victim of a staged traffic stop for reportedly going 40mph in a 30mph zone… And as Castroneves pleaded with the cop, who said I don’t know who you are… It was entertaining to hear Helio trying to bribe his way outta the ticket as the cop said, oh I recognize you sir, and you’re Gil De Ferran, correct? As even Tim Cendric got in the act before they finally showed Helio where the hidden camera was. And that’s a wrap folks, as we now await next Sunday’s running of the Greatest Spectale, which will see three females competing for the second consecutive year…

Final Qualifying Results for the 92nd Indianapolis 500

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Da Matta’s Corkscrew


As I’ve previously noted, former Toyota F1 and Newman Haas CART Champion Cristiano Da Matta will indeed make his return to competition this weekend at Laguna Seca.

Da Matta will partner with his friend and ex-teammate/boss Jimmy Vasser in the #98 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley, as the Bob Stallings Racing Daytona Prototype team makes its first two car entry in Grand Am competition.

The race will be Da Matta’s first action behind the wheel since his horrible testing accident at Road America when a wayward Deer high jumped an eight foot fence topped with barbed wire and got too up ‘N close with Da Matta’s speeding RuSPORT Champ Car…

Good Luck Cristiano & Jimmy!

Toyota’s melting pot?

According to published reports, RASSCAR’s current BAD BOY Kyle “Shrub” Busch has announced that he will test a Toyota F1 racing car in Japan later this year and would like to potentially race in Formula 1 before he’s 30.

Busch who’s currently 23yr’s old, drives the M & M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing and is known to prefer the regular black M ‘N M’s, although he also enjoys the NUTS type too…

But inquiring minds want to know if his hands will slip off of the steering wheel, even though the candy manufacturer claims that they melt in your mouth, NOT in your hands!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Countdown to Speedy Saturday

At the tone, in one minute we’ll begin the next IMS Radio Network Broadcast… Get ready to roll tapes, at the next tome will equal 45 seconds…

We’re countin’ down the hours ‘til “Speedy Saturday,” a la “Fast Friday.” And there’s actually been a FULL day of practice this weekend, with 35 cars taking to the track yesterday and another full day of practice expected today, but did I mention that the forecast for Saturday is now THUNDERSTORMS with Sunshine & Showers for Sunday…

Indy live
Last night I listened to Indy Live for the very first time, which was somewhat amusing as it featured five drivers competing in this years Indy 500. First up were the Target Chip Ganassi boyzs and this was a fairly straightforward interview, albeit Scott Dixon got a hearty chuckle out of the audience upon saying that EVERYBODY KNOWS who Danny “SPIKE” Wheldon is… As HE tells everybody and I had him figured out in about one minute…

Next up were the Vision Racing trio and I enjoyed the question of what’s it like driving for AJ Foyt? AJ Foyt IV deferred to Davey Hamilton since he’d driven first for ‘Ol Super Tex back in 1996, before Foyt IV said reluctantly that things had gone pretty sour for him, while Davey could be heard laughing in the background… What do you mean by this, asked the show’s host Mike King? Well, let’s just say it didn’t go too good and fortunately Tony George had the “Vision” to hire me and now my relationship with AJ is much better… Now what do you mean exactly by souring? To which Ed Carpenter broke in saying; What time did you go to bed last night Anthony in a high pitched nagging voice, while Davey sat laughing some more…

And Davey must have supreme faith that his Kingdom Racing deal will lead to something next year as he continued to vocally put down the current qualifying procedure… From no less the Brickyard Crossing’s restaurant; Doesn’t he know that Tony doesn’t like being criticized, eh?

Kicking Barron to the CURB
As previously mentioned, the CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports ride was up for grabs between Alex Barron and Roger_Yasukawa, with Greg Beck saying it was down to whoever’s money showed up first… As Yasukawa managed to get his Yen wire transferred in time to climb aboard the #98 Dallara when practice finally commenced at 5:19PM Wednesday…

Fisher lands new sponsor
Sarah Fisher got some much deserved good news in her never ending quest for sponsorship, by announcing Wednesday that she had just obtained associate sponsorship from IUPUI. (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis)

“The sponsorship of Sarah Fisher Racing and her No. 67 Honda-powered Dallara is a collaborative effort between the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, and the IUPUI campus administration.”
Fisher is still hopeful of finding the necessary budget to compete in further races this season and ultimately a full schedule in 2009, while ironically, my latest Speedgear catalog features a picture of the Sarah Fisher model, part of the 2008 Greenlight diecast release with the #67 sporting ResQ on the sidepods… Which obviously is INCORRECT!

And with all of the Energy Drinks companies failing to hold up their end of the bargain, makes you wonder if Tony George is second guessing having Frank’s Energy Drink as the “Offical” Drinks sponsor of Indy…

Cutting it close
As usual, the second week programs are scrambling to get their drivers on track in the nick of time in order to possibly practice before having to hold their breaths for four laps, as Buddy Lazier and Phil Giebler had still NOT been on track at the end of practice Thursday.

As Lazier said earlier to the IndyStar’s intrepid reporters; Cabin & Ballard; (Although I’m still NOT sure Who’s who? As in who’s Batman and who’s the Boy Wonderer?)

“The guys have put a nice car together considering six days ago it was just a pile of pieces."

This makes me wonder just exactly what the gang at “Johnson ‘N Johnson” (Hemelgarn Johnson) have been doing? Or is this just one more example of how thinly stretched the supply of Dallara chassis is?

Toronto gets race
Michael Andretti has added a second race to his portfolio of race promotions with the announcement that Andretti Green Toronto, a newly formed subsidiary of his burgeoning empire has landed the rights to promote the Toronto street race beginning in 2009.

Andretti Green currently promotes the St Petersburg street race. Now all Mikey needs to do is start his own wine company, eh? Nah, he’s busy running two racing teams in the American Le Mans Series along with his four car IRL stable, but then again he’s got the perfect spokes-model…

(Quotes from IndyStar.com)

Ernesto Fan Club

Perhaps this will make Edward Carpenter feel a little better about the $5,000 he donated to his boss Tony for spouting off about one of his new competitors…

School of hard knocks
By Kurt Cabin and Steve Ballard
Posted: May 16, 2008
Indy Star
Dan Wheldon has been where the Indy newcomers are now, and the 2005 race winner can spot at least one who has more to learn about the Speedway.
"The craziest by far is (E.J.) Viso," Wheldon said Thursday. "Dude, he looks nuts. You can tell he hasn't hit the wall yet.
"When he hits the wall, you'll know because (from then on) he'll pull out slowly from the car in front (of him), then move back nicely."
Wheldon speaks from experience. His first 500 ended with his car flipping after a bold passing attempt on Hornish on lap 187.
"In 2003, I came out of the box swinging," he said. "Then you hit the wall and you just start to calm down a little bit."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Indy videos

WOW! How COOL is this? As I’ve just received the following three videos from Tom of IgotShotgun.com. Although I’ve never heard of this particular video entertainment channel, Tom was kind enough to send the following videos they’ve just produced for GM.

Personally I’d go for the 180MPH ride around the Brickyard with Massimiliano (“Mad Max”) Papis… Although perhaps Massimiliano DOESN’T like being compared with Sir Maxxum, better known as the “Littlest Curve,” but then again, its NOT everyday you can have a former Formula 1 driver (Footwork, 1995) as your chauffeur in arguably Corvette’s “BADDEST” Ever production model!

Thanks once again Tom

The Sarah Fisher Saga

I was gonna try writing something further about the continuing saga of Sarah Fisher’s struggle for funding, as previously written in; ALL WET? But the good doctors of said blunted knuckles (Humor) at Full Throttle and My Name is IRL have already done the heavy lifting instead…

According to Jeff, you can Help save the Flying Fish; Err help a THIRSTY Honda engine consume fast amounts ‘O Ethanol. Or as Mr. CHiP’s has pointed out; You can send a portion of your Stimulus check to the Save Sarah Fisher Fund;

David A. Noyes & Co.
Attn: Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR)
111 Monument Circle, Suite 300
Indianapolis IN 46204


And speaking of All Wet… That’s exactly what I am, having to trek to the Post Office whose once again raised the price of stamps, but hey! “The checks in the mail!”

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

Ever think you’re having “Juan ‘O ‘dem” Dog Day Afternoons?” As the following story was sent to me by AZ Bureau Chief Mary Jane…

Driver Forced Out After Killing Stray Dog
By PAUL LOGOTHETIS, AP
Posted: 2008-05-11 13:14:46


ISTANBUL, Turkey (May 11) - Bruno Senna was furious after having to abandon the GP2 race on Sunday with car troubles.

As Bruno Senna was involved in one of the most bizarre accidents ever witnessed at a motor-racing circuit. The Brazilian driver hits and kills a stray dog at the Istanbul Park track during a GP2 Series race that was part of Turkish Grand Prix weekend.
The problem?The front-right section of his car was mangled after he hit a dog that had made its way on to the Istanbul Speed Park circuit."It's unreal that something like this can happen at a Formula One event," said Senna, who is the nephew of three-time world F1 champion Ayrton Senna. "You expect an accident or retirement to take you out. Not this."Mike Conway of Super Nova just clipped the canine before Senna killed it on impact with 12 laps to go after working his way up to sixth from a 15th-place start.A second stray dog managed to get off the track during the race and escape through an exit.

And having just finished watching the tape of the Turkish GP2 race weekend, I can tell you that none of the SPEED TV announcers were very impressed by this unnecessary incident, with Professor Matchett being the most critical, saying that chief FIA delegate Charlie Whiting will be more than likely to bring it to the attention of the Race organizers that stray animals shouldn’t be wandering about the racing circuit! As this immediately makes me flash back to Cristiano Da Matta’s horrific incident when striking an errant Deer at Road America.

NO Dogs were injured, maimed or killed in the making of this story…
Update
Fore more on the various animals that have caused unintentional chaos with racing carssee; its Not just a Dogs life

F1: Felipe’s Kastle - Turkey, 2008 edition

Once again the F1 outing at Istanbul was fairly sanguine… With Scuderia Ferrari putting on another clinique, as Felipe Massa scored his third Pole and Victory in a row in Turkey, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Michael Schumacher did so at, aghast, the USGP. (2003-04-05*-06) Well, actually Herr Schumacher WON the USGP four straight years in a row, including the infamous 2005 Michelin tyre DEBACLE… While also becoming the very first driver to ever WIN FIVE times at the Speedway, (2000, 2003-06) but I digress…

Perhaps I’m just trying to watch too bleepin’ muchoe race coverage, since with the euphoria of Indy Pole Day along with the Turkish GP, I seem to be having trouble remembering exactly what grabbed my fancy from Istanbul…

Although I found it ironic to hear Bob Varsha describing Massa’s domination as an Istanbul Massacre, or was that deliberate by Mr. Varsha?

As I’ve previously mentioned, the Turk’s have been busy bombing the buh-jesus outta the Kurd’s (Can you say higher crude oil prices?) and to date REFUSE to recognize the word Genocide in regards to the savage butchery or acknowledge the Armenian Massacre (Holocaust) of 1.0-1.5 million Armenian’s (Approx.) between 1915-17, with the anniversary being considered April 4, 1915.

But once again I digress, so back to the racing action, as impressively Heikki Kovalainen secured his very first front row starting position after his massive shunt two weeks ago at Barcelona, while row two saw the potential 2008 World Champion protagonists lining up, with Hamilton getting the nod over the Iceman. Even more impressive? Was the fact that both Red Bull runners made it into Q3, albeit by the time it came around, Coulthard had already used up his allotment of “soft” option tires and both drivers made only last minute runs with Webber grabbing 6th place behind the Heavy Hitters…

I did enjoy the comments between Professor Matchett and Peter Winsor over the slickness of their past race teams, when Matchett was discussing the mistakes of Toyota crew members using the radio to tell Jarno to pit at Barcelona when nothing was wrong with his car.

This led to Winsor telling a story about Patrick Head screaming into the radio for Nelson Piquet to PIT- PIT- PIT… F%%KING BLOODY PIT!!! As Peter noted that Messer Head got so enraged that he threw off his headset in disgust, before it was discovered he was NOT pushing the transmit button…

Which segways nicely with the best (Only?) Radio intercept of the race
Toyota Engineer to Jar no; “You’re 3 seconds behind DC and NICO’s a further +1 seconds, try to catch up to them…

Truly: “I’m pushing like HELL!” (YOU BLEEPIN’ IDIOT!)

Another excellent comment came from Messer Winsor in regards to the very KOOL thermal imaging camera that was used for the very first time during qualifying and then again during the race…

As the House of Winsor asked during qualifying; What colour is it showing for Nico Rosberg’s head? As there’s smoke pouring out of his helmet right now after not being able to make it into the Q3 final “Qualie” session…

And according to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa upon his Turkish hat trick, during the post race interview hosted by none other than SPEED’s Peter Winsor;

Q: Felipe, you like winning from pole. The Turkish Grand Prix always results in a winner from pole and everything delivered for you today.

Felipe Massa: It is just fantastic. Today was a very difficult race actually and Lewis was pushing me hard a lot for the whole race. Then when I did my pit-stop he was there straight away, so I thought maybe he had put less fuel in or something. I then realised and my team told me straight away he was on three stops. For sure, that was a little bit of help as he was very strong and I couldn't hold him on the track and he passed me. But then I knew I still had a good chance to win the race as three stops were a little bit optimistic. But anyway I created a reasonable gap to be at the front after the pit stops. It was difficult, but we made it three times in Turkey which is just fantastic…

“I think I can get a passport here already!”

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

Race Results
Winner: F. Massa; 2. L. Hamilton; 3. K. Raikkonen; 4. R. Kubica;
5. N. Heidfeld; 6. F. Alonso; 7. M. Webber; 8. N. Rosberg

2008 F1 Point Standings
(Round 5 of 18)

Driver’s
K. Raikkonen 35
F. Massa 28
L. Hamilton 28
R. Kubica 24
N. Heidfeld 20

Constructors
Ferrari 63
BMW Sauber 44
McLaren 42
Williams 13
Red Bull 10

Monday, May 12, 2008

ALL WET?

Not to try and RAIN on Joey Chitwood’s parade of how Everything’s Better at the Speedway… With the redundant Attendance is UP rhetoric…

But is it just me who thinks we’re definitely in a recession, or have you noticed the apparent LACK of $ponsorship MISSING from the sidepods of several of this year’s aspiring IndyCars, as Graham Rahal, Sarah Fisher and John Andretti come to mind. Not to mention the Townsend Bell Olive Green machine…

Yet, out of this group, I really feel bad for Sarah Fisher who apparently may need a Collection Agency to get promised sponsors Gravity Entertainment and ResQ, to pony up the intended money they’ve promised her.

Don’t know if Sarah’s accepting donations, but her website address is: http://www.sarahfisher.com/faq/faq.html


Good Luck Sarah, hopefully we’ll see you tying Lyn St James record for most starts by a female at the Speedway this May!

Playa Del Racing sold

Once again I’ve apparently missed the memo… But since hearing Davey Hamilton comment upon Phil Giebler’s new ride, I’ve been scourin’ the newswires for any related stories…

My first hint came via a tiny news blurb on Brian Barnhart claiming he expected to see some new second week IRL program’s taking part in practice this week at the Speedway;

Speaking after he had confirmed that the second scheduled day of qualifying at the Brickyard was to be abandoned because of rain, Barnhart confirmed that he expected several teams and drivers to embark on limited practice before this weekend's qualifying and 'bump' procedures.“I think, with the 33 that have run so far, there are at least three or four that have scheduled short programmes that begin next Wednesday," he reckoned, "I think you'll probably see a second Foyt car come out. Greg Beck is scheduled to start running, although he hasn't named a driver yet, Hemelgarn will come back with 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier, and American Dream Racing has talked about doing a programme as well. So, I think you might see us up around 37 combinations by the end of next weekend.”
(Source: Crash.net)
So, with that tiny speck of news in hand, I searched for whomever this new American Dream outfit was and have indeed come upon the following tidbit:

“Majority ownership of Playa Del Racing has been purchased by former Indiana Boxing Commissioner William T. Kelsey and Arizona businessman Eric Zimmerman and will be known as American Dream Motorsports.”

Thus it appears that the former Playa Del Racing Indy Car team will now have 2007 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year driver Phil Giebler attempt to qualify the #21 entry this upcoming weekend…

Credentials

CREDENTIALS??? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ CREDENTIALS!!!

For obvious reasons this thought came to me while watching the Turkish GP Pre Race show, when the House of Winsor noted that the efferfesant Emperor Bernardo, nee FIA issues OVER 4,000 Press Credentials per event…

HMM? Hey Mr. Jeff Olson, what do uze think of ‘dem apples, eh? DON’T suppose those are BLOODY WANKERS just having fun or dare I say it? Knuckle bashin’ Butchers ‘O Wurds Bloggers, as it seems that the FIA isn’t too concerned over the number of media? Types obtaining precious F1 Press Credentials at the moment. Hope they aren’t making too much of a deafening racket wherever they show up at, eh?

Rainy Days

Whale, I must say that Speedway, Indiana is beginning to resemble Seattle’s notoriously WET weather patterns a little too much lately… As there has now been a total of 3.5 days WASHED OUT at the Speedway, including Day 2 of qualifying…

Yet, I decided to tune into the IMS Radio Network’s “Happy Hour” Sunday afternoon coverage just to see what they’d have to say, while filling in an hour of air time, as it was nice having interviews with drivers Davey Hamilton and John Andretti,

Davey mentioned that he thought there’d be possibly 37 Drivers ultimately competing for the 33 starting positions come next weekend and it would be tough for him along with the others trying to make the show, since they’d have to split whatever track time they got during this week’s practice (Wed-Fri; 6hrs each day) between Qualifying simulations and Race Day set-ups… And Oh Yeah, it’s likely gonna rain again on Wednesday…

Mike King playfully poked fun at John, who took it all very good naturedly… Saying it was hard to imagine it was his 20th Anniversary of first coming to the Speedway in 1988, since he was ONLY 24yr’s OLD! As he’d started at a very young age and while wrapping up his interview John playfully said he’d try to get his ‘Ol Bod’ outta the way with his walker, as King said take your time getting to the elevator, we’ll have a golf kart waiting for you at the bottom…

But seriously, as John said; “He’s NOT trying to steal anybody’s ride.” As he’d given up contesting Darlington and the All Star shoot-out for a chance at running once again at Indy and had gone to bed Friday night with his tail between his legs so to speak as he felt totally out of place with NO ride… As the Roth deal came together early Saturday morning…


Injury UpdateGood News for both Alex Lloyd and Chuck Buckman, as both have been released from Methodist Hospital. Lloyd is expected to return to the wheel of his #16 Ganassi-Rahal/Letterman entry for practice on Wednesday, while Buckman is expected to return to work as Mario Moraes’s Crew Chief…


Pop goes the Driver’s?
While being interviewed, Davey Hamilton mentioned that Phil Giebler and Jeff Simmons had landed rides along with John Andretti for the upcoming Indy 500 race.

Giebler has apparently landed the Playa Del Racing seat, with comments being made to the team having been sold, while Simmons takes over Larry Foyt’s spot in the (#41) second AJ Foyt entry.

Meanwhile Jimmy Kite and Roberto Moreno have been seen sauntering about Gasoline Alley in search of any potential rides, while the #98 Beck Motorsports ride is rumoured to be a toss-up between Alex Barron and Roger Yasukawa. Other possible race car pilots looking for employment are Jacques Lazier, while I’d guess that Stefan Gregoire must be on the grounds? Yet, NO mention of the PJ Bro’s… As in PJ Jones and PJ Chesson, while there’s still NO word on whether or not Derrick Walker will pull an AJ Foyt last minute surprise attempt with left out in the wilderness “Kuh-nuck” Paul Tracy?

Of course my math seems to NOT be matching up with Davey’s as I’ve managed to come up with a total of 38 possible Car/Driver combinations. (Minus Derrick Walker’s LONG SHOT) Yet, perhaps it is indeed only 37 cars as the PDM Racing entry seems to be a complete mystery…


James speaksIMS Radio Network’s Mark James has gone out on a ledge, predicting that the following four drivers are on the outside looking in towards making this year’s field… Well, actually I DON’T think he’s gone that far out on a ledge… Since James has concluded that Marty Roth, Milka Duno Jaime Camara and Mario Moraes are his picks to most likely NOT make the Big Show… But hey Mr. James, didn’t Marty “Turtle” Roth out qualify both of the Penske Racing cars at Kansas? (Yet Johnny Parsons Jr thinks you’ll need a 222.5mph average to feel comfortable about making the race)


Miller Time
According to SPEED’s Robin Miller, who didn’t seem overly impressed by this weekends lack of action, claiming Pole Day is reserved for the Big Three; Andretti-Green, Ganassi and Penske, nor was he bemused by the need for the multiple qualifying chances to lock-in a paltry eleven cars per day…

Miller noted during The Speed Report that with the current lack of spare Dallara chassis, drivers such as Jacques Lazier, Roberto Moreno, PJ Jones and Paul Tracy may be on the outside looking in during the final weekend of Indianapolis Qualifying as there may simply NOT be enough chassis to go around for desiring competitors…

Obviously we’ll know which 33 cars have made the field by the end of “BOOMP Day,” 6PM this coming Sunday. (Weather permitting, eh?)