Friday, October 31, 2008

Monster Mash

Spotted this on the Blogosphere
(My Name is IRL & Pressdog)
And it’s quite a hoot, as it’s the latest chapter
In what’s affectionately known as the
PRINCESS DANICKER STOMP!

Yet, the trick’s apparently on me, eh?
As FRIL(WLIN’ Blogger WON’T load the bleepin’ Youtube video...
(Which you may have noticed around 6:30AM PST, eh?)

So, for all uze Goblin’s ‘N Gool’s
You can get your (Danicker fix) treats by clicking on the following link:
Princess Dinicker’s Monster Mash!
And kudo’s to “Scooter’s” assessment of the whole mess...

Fright Nite


Original lyrics from Monster Mash
Performed by: 'Boris Picket and the Crypt Kickers,' 1962
(Written by Bobby (Boris) Picket and Lenny Capizzi)

Ah, where’s Vincent Price when yuh needs him, eh? Move Over "Mr. Goodbar..."

I was working on the “Confuzer” late one night

When my eyes beheld an eerie sight

From my monitor a scary picture began to show
And suddenly to my surprise
The image on my screen began to sing



He did the mash

He did the RASSCAR mash

The RASSCAR mash

It was a graveyard smash

He did the mash

It caught on in a flash

He did the mash

He did the RASSCAR mash


From my humble apartment’s abode
To the room’s cathode ray glow
And amongst the Nabors dwellings
Where the vampires feast

The ghouls all came out from their alcoves
Chanting “Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!”
Hoping to snatch a peak
Of some Roundy-round racin’
Flickering on my TV
(Thru the patio’s window)

They did the mash

They did the RASSCAR mash

The RASSCAR mash

It was a graveyard smash

They did the mash

It caught on in a flash

They did the mash

They did the RASSCAR mash



The “Junior Nation” zombies were having some fun

Hoping “Little E’s” resurgence would soon begin

The guests included Kenny Wallace
Larry MacReynolds, Mr. Goodbar
And the rest of the SPEED TV “Freak Nation” crew

And the building was rockin'

Everyone having to put up with the blare of the next door neighbor’s surround sound TV wailing a pitiful noise
That sounded like Rusty Wallace scratchin’ a chalkboard
While a pair ‘O Beagle’s howled in misery
As Dusk turned to Night
And the little Coffin-Bangers were soon to arrive With their candy bags and dressed up
As "The Crypt-Kicker Five"



And the TV kept playin’

the mash The RASSCAR mash

The RASSCAR mash

It was a graveyard smash

As the TV blared the mash

It caught on in a flash

As it played the mash

It continued to play the RASSCAR mash



Out from my room,

my voice crackled loudly
As once again I was disgusted
Yelling loudly and shaking my fistsI screamed

How long do we have to listen to this?
As the drone of ‘lil Trick ‘N Treaters knocked on the door

As the next door TV still blared the mash

Except It's now more commonly known
As the RASSCAR mash

The RASSCAR mash

But its almost over
That Monster Y’all know
As the Chase...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Branson sets sail


British tycoon Sir Richard Branson, along with his son and daughter, set off from New York harbour, last Wednesday morning around 2AM in hopes of setting a new Transatlantic sailing record aboard Branson’s Virgin Money, a 99 foot mammoth sailboat, featuring members of Britain’s America’s Cup challenge team, in hopes of bettering the current 6 days 17hrs record. But after only two days in storm conditions and being hammered by a “Mega” 40 foot wave, Branson and crew abandoned their current attempt and will sail for the nearest landfall in order to complete repairs and hopefully attack the record in the next 2-3 weeks or next year...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not so Bullish

Although this is a bit dated, I had to chuckle to myself over inadvertently stumbling over the news about Red Bull’s NASCAR driver Bryan Vicker’s Toyota Camry being discovered to be underneath the minimum weight limit and therefore ILLEGAL... OOPS!

Apparently, all of the Red Bull poured into the Camry’s roll bar leaked out... Naw, it was even better yet, as Deeter Majestic’s crew tried an ‘Ol Penske Trans Am trick... Yeah, that’s right! Roger Penske used to cheat back in ‘dem Good ‘Ol Dazes, when his Camaro Z-28’s entered in the SCCA Trans Am series for Mark Donohue were reported to be dipped in acid in order to reduce the Camaro’s weight. And the Penske crew even took it to such extremes that cars reportedly had vinyl roof tops added in order to hold the metal in place...

But, alas, the Red Bull crew was nailed in a random racecar test after the Martinsville event and failed the post race inspection, which will now probably cost Vickers his career best season results. But, what makes this even better is the fact that Red Bull dumped AJ Almendinger in favour of Scott “Lavender” Speed for underperforming this season... Hmm? Perhaps Almendinger was running an up to par Red Bull Toy-yoter?

Vickers fined, Hamlin suspended

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sheila’s

Well you certainly have to laugh over “Press Dawg’s” scandalous scribblings regarding how the biggest disappointment of the Champ Car circuses demise has to be the scantily clad grid girls Down Under;

pressdog;
“A national poll recently found that 87% of former Champ Car fans (an estimated 1729 people) listed "the loss of grid girls" as the most painful part of Champ Car's demise.”

AYE KARUMBA! OUCH!

And this news follows on the heels of Premier Anna Bligh’s hard-line stance upon the longstanding tradition of nude Sheila’s being spotted up ‘N down the entire Gold coast during the Champ Car (Indy Car) weekend, as apparently Mrs. Bligh doesn’t think this bodes well in taste for what she’s trying to turn into a family weekend outing. Even going so far as to claim that tourists don’t find the sporting of the sans clothes Sheila’s easy on the eyes and has asked the Queensland Government to issue stern warnings of possible arrest to the would be sunbathing Hooligan’s...

So, somebody better make sure that Princess get’s the memo, eh?
Surfers Makes its Case Based on Hotness

Where’d they go?

So, this past Tuesday night, my 89yr old "Auntie Harriet" called me, asking if I knew anything 'bout some racing "thingy" on the LIFE channel. Huh? NOPE! I replied, but I'll snoop around... To which I first discovered I think she meant the Lifetime channel?

But to NO avail, I didn't find any current Indy Car shows besides this week's upcoming Surfers Paradise race on "EL STUPIDIO!" Err, El Classico, Err ESPN Classic.

SHEISA!!!
So, next I started huntin' round my usual sources, i.e.; my unofficial "BLOB Network; commonly referred to as “Knucel draggers,” a.k.a. word butchers. (Yeah, I suppose I should let go of Mr. Olsen’s comments, eh?) Or better known as Bloggers, or even better yet; Blob’s! As Harriet likes to call ‘dem, but alas, I found nothin’... As I seem to vaguely recall that there was supposed to be some “Doc-u-drama” on the life of a Indy Car race team sometime this year and perhaps somebody saw this?

But for now, all I’m aware of is that you can only catch the Surfers Paradise race live on El Classico, it you’re one of the four peoples having that channel! Otherwise, like the majority of us WITHOUT ESPN Classic, you’ll have to wait for the tape delayed rebroadcast on The Deuce (ESPN2) Sunday evening. Unless some sorta Women’s Golf or Poker tourney gets in the way! So, I think I’ll listen to the IMS Radio Network broadcast Saturday evening at 10PM EASTERN TIME instead.

And even though it’s a Comca$t channel... Will I be oh-so happy when we’ve finally DUMPED the Disney Shopping Networks and switched over to versus...

Gold Coast airlift

With this year’s unification, come the headaches of extra logistics as the usual cargo of 18 race entrants has mushroomed to 24 competitors for this weekend’s Nikon 300 Indy Car Festival of Speed Down Under.

Thus it was interesting to recently read that Indy Car sent approximately 500 Flinstone tyres, 90 55 gallon drums of Ethanol and three safety car vehicles to Los Angeles to be sent to Australia via ship, after the Chicagoland race, arriving in port on October 9th.

This was done in order to free up space aboard the two 747-400 Freighters, (one each from Air New Zealand & Atlas Air) which took aboard 36 racecar’s, along with the team’s maximum allotment of 9,000lbs (per team) for the “Fly-away” event, as the cargo planes departed from the Indianapolis International Airport, with the thirsty 747’s making stops for petrol in Los Angeles, Honolulu and Fiji, before arriving in Brisbane...

Surfers Paradise entry list

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Standard engines, say what?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the latest NONSENSE coming out of Sir Maxxum’s, Uh? Mouth... As Mad Max (Mosley) in conjunction with his puppet master Emperor Bernardo, have come up with the most LAUGHABLE notion of forcing the Formula One Constructor’s into running a standardized engine in their respective chassis beginning in the near future with bids being open for 2010-12.

Hmm? Isn’t this exactly opposite of what Indy Car and Honda are seeking “Across the Pond? As interestingly this is exactly what Steve Chassey expounded upon last night on Autosport Radio, saying how Indy has lost a sizeable amount of its luster as it’s simply a “Spec” series now. As part of the fun of showing up at Indy every year was you didn’t know what was going to show up? As in there were multiple chassis/engine combinations and they changed every season...

Hey Sir Maxxum, why don’t you give it a rest!

Petit Le Mans postscript

Well it only took me a fortnight to finally sit down and watch the videotape I’d recorded of this year’s American Le Mans Series race at Road Atlanta while I’d been busy on Holiday in Hopkins, MN.

And I have to say it was a pretty enjoyable event, although I was rooting for the lone French Bleu Peugeot 908 HDI turbo diesel to beat the mighty Audi R10 turbo diesel’s... Although two of the Peugeot’s were expected, one was heavily damaged in a previous European Le Mans Series event and thus the team only shipped one racecar to Georgia.

Yet, it was a momentous scrum towards the final stages of the race, when former Formula One ace Allan McNish showed off his massive Sports Car experience by hunting down the leading Peugeot of Christian Klien, whom apparently got quite a scare when trying to repass McNish in the dark of night at 194mph and not realizing that there was a kink in the piece of tarmac they were hurtling towards.

Yet, it was indeed ironic that McNish had the buffer of ex-Toyota Formula 1 teammate Mika Salo in the GT2 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 as a buffer between BMW Sauber F1 test driver Klien as they set about the races final restart, in which McNish drove masterfully and scored a very impressive victory for Audi after having crashed his car on the warm-up lap and beginning the race two laps down...

Race Report

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tracy does Paris

And speakin’ of France; nope, no silly you know what London/pants jokes here... I forgot to mention upon penning my trek thru Gay Paree, that Mr. Chrome Horn, a.k.a. Paul Tracy was spotted doing the rounds inside the Louvre...

Oh Gee! I didn’t think that ‘Ol PT was so cultivated, eh? Perhaps he’s suing Mr. Forsythe for a couple of million in order to pay for his trip abroad?

Well actually I must confess; it was I sporting my French Bleu No. 3 Paul Tracy T-shirt. You know how us Americano’s just luv’ dressin’ up, eh?

Q’est Quasae
Ah Revoir, mon cherie...
(Photo source: Champcar.ws)

F1 Theatre

Perhaps you’ve heard the recent scuttlebutt over the return of Formula 1 to the Norte Americana’s in 2010 that’s currently been making the rounds, having heard this from the lips of “The House of Winsor,” (Peter Winsor) no less, which at the moment seems a bit precarious in light of Canada just loosing its place upon the F1 circuses big wheel! But Winsor was quick to catch Mister E. on the grid in Shanghai and press him on the issue of returning to North America...

Yet, the landing of a Grand Prix is a rather nefarious business... Often handled rather messily, involving exorbitant sums of dinero, crass outbursts, deft ears and ultimately catering to the every whim of Emperor Bernardo! (While his soon to be exiled whipping boy Sir Maxxum runs interference) with Emperor Bernardo saying; NO! There are NO new leads on us coming stateside. Yes, I’d like to be there if a sensible offer can be made... (Note to Tony George; you’re going to have to cough up a lot more dinero!)

Thus, let us ponder two iconic F1 markets;

Britain
BLOODY Britain has played host to Formula 1 since the inception of the current F1 series, with Silverstone being the very first Grand Prix event held on May 13, 1950.

Yet, during the week of this year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the F1 Paddock was rocked by the bombshell announcement that rival track Donnington Park had been awarded a 10yr exclusive contract to host the British round of the Grand Prix calendar beginning in 2010, regardless of the fact that the circuit is currently in no shape to host an FIA sanctioned event and will require a massive makeover in order to meet the current safety regulations... Along with the venue’s emasculation of current de facto F1 designer Herman Tilke, but since this bombshell was dropped, interestingly, the Chief Operating Officer and two other high placed executives have resigned their posts, although Donnington PR “Spin Doctor’s” predictably claim that “Everything’s Fine! We’re on target,” blah-blah-blah...

But I simply must wonder if this is just another part of Ecclestone’s long standing feud with the BRDC and a huge rouge to finally rule supreme over his British track owner rivals...

USA
Meanwhile, even with the current MANIPULATION of energy resources, along with the impending credit crisis looming overhead... (Nah, its ok, DON’T worry ‘bout paying your bills, we’ll simply write you a blank check!) The USA still continues to be the Auto Manufacturer’s largest market and thus the respective entities currently gracing the F1 circus are keen to see a Grand Prix round return to the calendar.

Rumours claim that Chris Pook was spotted in Monza this past September, with hopes of spearheading a new purpose built racetrack in Palm Springs, CA. Yet, I tend to believe this is just one more cog in Emperor Bernardo’s massive negotiating game he’s playing with Tony George, as it seems quite silly to me that you’d be loathe to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Yikes... Never thought I’d say that!

Canada
And I suppose Y’all are aware of the plight of the Canadian Grand Prix, which has been unceremoniously DUMPED from next year’s Grand Prix calendar...

Thus, for a very entertaining expose upon the plight of the Great White shumozzle, see; Canadian Revival?

As there seems to be some discontent between the F1 Team Bosses and their respective Auto manufacturing partners over the loss of access to their LARGEST market, as potentially there will be NO Grand Prix’s held in North America for the first time since 1958!

So, stay tuned to see what the 2010 Formula One calendar ultimately comprises? Or for that matter, what in the HELL the 2009 schedule will ultimately end up as?

French Grand Prix Cancelled

Prior to this past weekend’s Chinese GP, it was announced that the French Motorsport Association (FFSA) has decided to cancel next year’s French Grand Prix in the wake of the mounting economic crisis, as the FFSA is fearful of suffering financial losses if it hosts the Formula 1 circus next season and thus, has decided it better to take one year off and focus upon resuming the event in 2010 at one of four possible venues currently under consideration.

The rub? As Messer E. has just told the fine folks Up North, Eh? If you wish to resume your Grand Prix, you’ll now need to negotiate a new (HIGHER PRICED!) contract, albeit the fact that the French Grand Prix has been in existence since 1906!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Future World Champions?

So, who will be the 2008 F1 Drivers World Champion? Will it be the man pictured above? As Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) currently leads title rivalists Felipe Massa (Ferrari) by 5 points and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) by 12 points with just the Chinese and Brazilian Grand Prix’s remaining.

Who’s your pick?

F1: Viva Italia - 2008 edition

Yeah, I’m still playing Ketsup with my twenty-oh-eight Grand Prix recaps...
So, in this episode, we’re back at Monza, Italy once again... Which without doubt is one of the most famous of le Grand Premio Cirquito’s on the Formula 1 calendar... As the ambiance of the Tiafosi is simply unrivaled, and alas, what should this event’s “Press Dawg” beverage of the race be? How ‘bout a nice, cold, DEL DUCATO NUOVA MATTINA, or perhaps one of the countless fantastic varieties of vino, but none of that cheap Chianti table wine crap, Kapishe...

Friday PracticeSPEED’s on air coverage began with Bob Varsha noting that a Press Release had just been issued moments after the start of Friday Practice by the Scuderia, in what has become Ferrari tradition... Informing us that Kimi Raikkonen’s contract had been extended thru the end of the 2010 season, and thus contrary to popular belief, “Fredrico Suave,” a.k.a. Fernando Alonso would NOT be joining the Scuderia anytime soon. (Although rumours still persist that he’ll show up in Maranello in 2010?)

Then there was a camera shot of Herr Schumacher (Michael) in the pits, to which David Hobbs chortled; “Is that Ralf’s *Ralfanso) brother? To which much laughter was heard, while Varsha said; Yeah, the world famous R. Schumacher...

Professor (Steve) Matchett then digressed into revisiting the savage crash that The Iceman (Raikkonen) had endured one year ago during practice, as several replays were shown while Matchett said it sure looked like a steering failure, as in the steering had broken just prior to impact...

Having begun the session with a damp surface, the track was slowly drying out and The Hamburgular (Bourdais) was the first to throw down the gauntlet of top speed honours, with a registering of 206mph in the speed trap. Yet, compare this to the all time record set at Monza by none other than “Jungle Boy,” a.k.a. Antonio Pizzonia, in a Williams BMW V-10, hitting a maximum velocity of 231mph in 2004!

Yet, Varsha further marveled on about how Alan van der Mewe had managed to go 257.9mph in a slightly modified Honda F1 chassis at Bonneville... Well, actually Bob! The “Bonneville 400,” as the record attempt on the Salt Flats was known as, didn’t manage to officially break the 400kph barrier, but did indeed go 397.481kph. (246.983mph)

Matchett then digressed over the theory of drag vs. down force and how the engineers would love to do all sorts of slick “Aero” things to clean up the drag created by the open wheels, along with noting how the teams build special low down force front/rear wings for Monza only... What’s that about cost cutting?

And speaking about the track’s atmosphere... Peter Winsor chimed-in, by noting how Friday was Enzo’s (Ferrari) day... As speculation suggests that Enzo decided to stay away from the racing action after having egged on an early driver to go faster... Vamoosh-vamoosh...
“Più velocemente! Più velocemente! “
Having tried to inspire the young Piloto to go faster, the driver then proceeded to crash and perish on the following lap and hence Enzo decided he should stay away from the track during the racing action...

And as the track continued to dry, the other Sebastian (Vettel) outdid his teammate for trap speed honours, by moving the bar to 207mph; yet, this wouldn’t last long as Robert Kubica put the hammer down with a sizzling 213mph lap... Yet, “Nelson Nelson” *Piquet Jr.) Wasn’t to be outdone, by uncorking a 214.8mph blast before beaching himself, to which we herd the radio transmission from Renault boss Pat Symonds asking Piquet what he was doing? As Nelson sheepishly admitted he’d gone off track before the radio crackled again telling him to shut it off, Nelson...

Saturday QualifyingIn an interesting comment towards issues regarding keeping drivers face shields from potentially fogging in the wet conditions, it was stated that Arai was now running a heated visor, a la your cars rear “De-Frogger,” with mini electrical strips imbedded in the shields, which now also needed to be registered by being plugged into the corresponding chassis’s common ECU, of which there were some retorts made about this coming about due to Ferrari...

Rubens Barrichello fails to advance out of Q1 for the seventh consecutive race., while Giancarlo “Fishy-fella” Fisichella garners Force India’s very first Q2 session...

But, by far the most amazing aspect towards qualifying is the fact that both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton FAIL to advance out of the Q2 session, as “Louise” made a judgment error in trying to go out on intermediate’s when the track became damper, while Kimi simply was unable to move forward as we’d later find out he was allegedly on a “Dry” set-up. Thus Kimi would start from P14 with Lewis in P15, while Felipe Massa had barely slithered his way into Q3 by winding up tenth. But undoubtedly the surprise of qualifying was the fact that Sebastian Vettel scored his very first career pole ahead of McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen and became the sports youngest ever pole sitter at the age of 21 years and 73 days old.

Teammate Bourdais was knocked out of P3 on the final lap by Big Brother Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, with Sea Bass winding up fourth, as the two Toro Rosso’s would out qualify the mighty Scuderia Ferrari on their home track!

Sunday Race
For only one of the few times ever, the race started off behind the safety car, as the weather conditions weren’t cooperating and the track was most definitely wet. This gave front man Vettel a great advantage when the cars were finally released, as the young German would be the only driver with a clear view ahead of him, while everybody behind battled with the spray of the rooster tails... As Kubica would later comment that he’d never even seen his teammate who he’d passed for position...

And it was simply amazing... Could Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Toro Rosso actually win? As Vettel uncharacteristically continued to pull away from not only Heikki’s McLaren, but the entire field... And I continued to get more vociferous at the Telescreen, chanting for Sebastian to indeed win... Which was quite magnificent to watch the unthinkable happen! As Vettel indeed crossed the stripe ahead of a dejected Kovalainen and fairly happy Kubica, who was running a special helmet paint scheme commemorating his very first podium position he’d scored previously at Monza in 2006...

Qualifying Results
Pole: S. Vettel* (1st F1 Career Pole)
2. H. Kovalainen; 3. M. Webber; 4. S. Bourdais; 5. N. Rosberg; 6. F. Massa;
7. J. Trulli; 8. F. Alonso; 9. T. Glock; 10. N. Heidfeld

Race ResultsWinner: S. Vettel* (1st F1 Career victory)
2. H. Kovalainen; 3. R. Kubica; 4. F. Alonso; 5. N. Heidfeld; 6. F. Massa;
7.; L. Hamilton; 8. M. Webber

Point Standings(Round 14 of 18)

Driver’s
L. Hamilton 78
F. Massa 77
R. Kubica 64
K. Raikkonen 57
N. Heidfeld 53

Constructors
Ferrari 134
McLaren 129
BMW Sauber 117
Renault 43
Toyota 41

Friday, October 17, 2008

Birthday Boy

Now, NO clownin’ around Kimi... I mean NO Monkey suits, Mr. James Hunt esquire... As today marks Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Kimi Raikkonen’s birthday, with the 'Iceman' Being born on 17 October 1979 in Espoo, Finland.

Kimi, who is currently at Shanghai for the Chinese GP, said: "It was nice to see so many fans in the grandstands to celebrate my birthday."

Happy 29th Birthday, Kimi!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Toyota 7



Although I’ve briefly written about this car, which alas does indeed have fenders. I was most fascinated by the discovery of the Toyota 7, which I experienced in Japan in 2007 while visiting the Toyota Automobile Museum.

Having only read about the Can Am championship along with witnessing them barking loudly at various Historics events stateside, I had absolutely no knowledge of this amazing vehicle, which as my Japanese friend Yutaka would say; “Looks Super!”

Toyota 7

Japanese Open Wheel warriors


Hideki Mutoh
Interestingly while the mighty Auto manufacturers of Japan have reigned supreme in all forms of motorsports, including Formula 1, CART/Champ Car and the IRL; Japanese drivers have never quite attained the success of their country’s industrialists.


Japan and Formula 1

With this year’s Japanese Grand Prix having just been contested once again at Mount Fuji, the Toyota owned circuit, and having already panned the Formula 1 driver’s landscape previously in Japan and Formula 1, I thought I’d continue on with a very brief look into the Stateside racer’s, to whom I’ve had the privilege of viewing live in action.

Hiroyuki Matsushita (1990-98)
As far as I can tell, the pioneer for Japanese talent to test the waters of Open Wheel Racing stateside was none other than Hiroyuki “Hiro” Matsushita, who made his foray into CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) in 1990.

Yet, Matsushita began his racing career on two wheels instead of four, racing motorcycles in Japan between 1977-79, before moving to the United States, where he made his Formula Ford debut in 1986. Hiro then work his way up the ladder system, culminating with capturing the 1989 Toyota Atlantic crown, (Pacific Division) where he crushed the competition by recording the largest point’s margin along with four victories.

And as the grandson of Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, (1918) which is more commonly known today as the Panasonic Corporation, Hiro enjoyed the might of financial backing from Panasonic throughout his racing career.

Hiro also was the very first Japanese driver to race at the Indianapolis 500 in 1991, yet quickly garnered a reputation as a “Tail Gunner Charlie,” by continuously running at the back of the field, as he was always outperformed by his teammates at Dick Simon Racing, Walker Racing, Arciero/Wells and Payton/Coyne Racing, in which he made a total of 117 starts for, with a career best finish of 6th in the 1994 Marlboro 500 at Michigan.

And for years I thought a friend of mine(?) was “Ah-so” very clever by always telling me the following story of how he earned his nickname “king Hiro.”

King Hiro:
“Matsushita earned the nickname "King Hiro" from Emerson Fittipaldi, who was complaining about Hiro's reluctance to cede track position when getting lapped by the leaders.[ The nickname came about as a result of Emerson's habit of pressing the "talk" button on his radio about half a second after he'd started speaking, thereby cutting off the first syllable of the first word he used. Fittipaldi, allegedly, had intended to say "F%%king Hiro!”(Nickname source: Wikipedia)


Naoki Hattori (1999)Unfortunately, I simply do not remember this driver, who is also an Automotive Journalist, yet Naoki must have some talent as he was the Japanese Formula 3 Champion in 1990, before very briefly trying to make his mark in Formula One, where Naoki made two unsuccessful attempts to Pre-qualify for races in the minnow-esqu Coloni team in 1991.

He then subsequently spent time sharing a second car with Memo Gidley alongside Walker Racing primary driver Gil De Feran in 1999 without any major results, before dropping out of Champ Car racing.

Naoki is not related to Shigeaki Hattori.


Shigeaki Hattori (1999-2003)Another of the unknown to me Japanese faces in Open Wheel Racing, as Shigeaki had a less than stellar career in CART, where he earned the dubious distinction of having his racing license revoked by Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach Sr. upon having pirouetted his Bettenhausen Motorsports entry a massive 18 times in only seven starts during 1999.

Shigeaki then moved to the IRL in 2000, driving for Treadway-Vertex Cunningham Racing and later Bradley Motorsports and AJ Foyt Enterprises; Huh? (I didn’t know that ‘Ol Super Tex liked Sushi…)

After his brief Indy Racing League career, which included two starts at Indy, (2002-03) Shigeaki spent one unsuccessful season racing in the Craftsman Truck series for Germain Racing, before retiring in 2005.


Shinji Nakano (2000-02)Not to be confused with the current MOTO GP rider Shinya Nakano, Shinji Nakano like most current Open Wheel racers, cut his teeth in go-karts and won several Karting Championships before moving onto single seater racing, where he competed in Japanese Formula 3 & 3000, along with the European Formula Opel series.

Joining the revolving door of aspiring Japanese Grand Prix piloto’s during the mid 1990’s, Shinji made his Formula One debut in 1997 for the Prost team, which was powered by Mugen/Honda engines that season. The following year, Shinji was forced to take refuge at Minardi when Prost elected to campaign Peugeot engines instead and struggled with the perennial back markers. For 1999, Shinji occasionally tested for the Jordan Grand Prix team, who were using Mugen/Honda “lumps.”

In 2000, Shinji tried his hand in Champ Car racing, driving for Derrick Walker in CART as a paying driver, yet Shinji did quite a respectable job before moving onto Fernandez Racing, where he scored his career best 4th place finish in Toronto in 2002, ultimately making a combined 56 starts, before capping his Open Wheel career with a one-off drive at Indy in 2003 for Beck Motorsports.


Toranosuke Takagi (2000-04)
Billed as the next great Japanese hope in Formula 1, Toranosuke “Tiger” Takagi was spotted by Satoru Nakajima as a future F1 star in 1994 and spent considerable time racing for Nakajima’s race team, before being selected as a test driver for Tyrrell in 1997. Tiger then graduated to a full time race drive for “Uncle Chopper’s” (Ken Tyrrell) squad in 1998, becoming the sixth Japanese driver to compete in Formula One.

For 1999, Tiger joined Jos “The BOSS” Verstappen for his second and final season at the faltering Arrows Grand Prix team, before leaving F1 and contesting the 2000 Formula Nippon series for mentor Nakajima.

Following a very successful campaign in Formula Nippon, He copied fellow countryman Shinji Nakano’s example (literally) and moved onto racing stateside, where he replaced Nakano at Walker Racing from 2001-02 and scored a career best 4th place Champ Car finish in Houston.

For 2003, Takagi moved onto the Indy Racing League for Mo Nunn’s squad, and starting seventh and finishing fifth, was named the 2003 Indy 500 Rookie of the year. His second season in the IRL was less fruitful and he returned to Japan in 2005 to contest the Japanese GT series.


Roger Yasukawa (2003, 2005)
Roger Yasukawa began his racing career in go karts in Southern California, winning the state Junior Championship in 1991, before progressing to single seaters, where in 1998 he won the Barber Dodge 2.0 liter title. Yasukawa has also spent considerable time “Across the Pond,” where he raced go karts in Italy along with competing in Formula Vauxhall and contesting the inaugural Formula Palmer Audi Championship in 1999, before returning to compete in Skip Barber and the Toyota Atlantics Championships.

In 2003, Aguri Suzuki chose Roger to drive for the newly created Super Aguri/Fernandez Racing team which was making its debut in the IRL that year and would ultimately become Yasukawa’s best season, upon finishing runner-up in the Rookie of the year Championship behind some spiky haired, shiny tooth dude named Dan Wheldon...

Yasukawa then spent a fairly unproductive year in 2004 with Rahal/Letterman Racing, where he only competed in two events, before finding a full time ride at Dreyer & Reinbold for the 2005 IRL campaign. Since then, Roger has struggled to find sufficient funding for a full time ride and has largely become an Indy 500 “Specialist,” as he raced at the Speedway in ’06 for Playa Del Racing, was the third Dreyer & Reinbold entry in ’07 and attempted to make this year’s race for Beck Motorsports second week program, but failed to qualify after having raced in Motegi as a tune-up for Indy.

An interesting tidbit is the fact that Roger is the son of Minoru Yasukawa, who worked as a Marketing executive for the McLaren and Leyton House Formula 1 teams.


Kosuke Matsuura (2004-07)Having won the Formula Dream title in 2001, Matsuura gained the attention of Aguri Suzuki and was immediately placed in Suzuki’s driver development program, where he competed in Formula 3 and Formula Renault with good results before being selected as Roger Yasukawa’s replacement at Super Aguri/Fernandez Racing for the 2004 IRL season.

In his debut IndyCar season, Matsuura won both the leagues Rookie of the year honours as well as that year’s Indy 500 Rookie of the year and spent the 2004-06 seasons driving for Super Aguri/Fernandez before joining Panther Racing alongside Vitor Meira in 2007 after Aguri Suzuki had transferred allegiance’s. Yet, the 2007 campaign was a rough slog for Matsuura, as persistent rumors about his career future dogged the likeable Japanese driver, who got my vote for dropping the “F-Bomb” of the year when the IRL censured Kosuke for his post race antics on the IMS Radio Network. Adding further insult to injury, Dario Franchitti rammed the hapless Matsuura at Kentucky on the cool down lap, upon failing to realize that the chequered flag had been displayed...

With the arrival of new Honda “Golden Boy” Hideki Mutoh at Andretti Green Racing, Matsuura’s time in the IRL spotlight had come to a close and Kosuke has returned to Japan to take up residence in the Formula Nippon series.



Hideki Mutoh (2008-2010, 2011)
Like earlier aspiring Japanese youngsters, Mutoh was fortunate enough to be signed to the Honda Formula Dream driver development program and ultimately won the Formula Dream title in 2002, before progressing up the ladder of single seater racing.

In 2007, it was announced that Aguri Suzuki’s Autobacs Racing Team Aguri would contest the Indy Pro Series Championship in conjunction with Panther Racing and Hideki as the team’s driver. With Mutoh winning that year’s IPS event at the Speedway during the USGP weekend.

At the end of the year, Hideki made his Indy Racing League debut at the Chicagoland season finale aboard a third Super Aguri Panther entry and finished an impressive eighth, further fueling rumours of Matsuura’s IRL demise.

And in what seems a perfect irony, Hideki was announced as 2007 IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti’s replacement at AGR on Halloween, as Franchitti was off to greener(?) pastures in NASCAR…

Hideki finished 10th overall in his rookie IndyCar series season and held off Justin Wilson for the series '08 Rookie of the year honours, helped in part by his second place finish at the Iowa Speedway, then the highest ever finishing position for a Japanese driver in the series history, besting Takagi’s third place finish in Texas in 2003.


Yet the '08 season was to be the highwater mark of his Open Wheel Racing career, along with his second place finish at Iowa his IndyCar career best result. As AGR was on a Downslide with its quartet of TK' Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan, Queen Danica, (Patrick) Marco Andretti and Mutoh going winless for the year, in 2009, with Ryan Hunter-Reay replacing Hideki for the 2010 season, who ironically was the '08 Indy 500 rookie Of the Year - when Mutoh was one of the 13 Rookies at Mother Speedway that year.

Mutoh ran one further full season IndyCar campaign for the financially struggling Newman Haas Lanigan Racing team, with Graham Rahal his team-mate for portions of the year whilst scrambbling to find sufficient funding, in what apparently was a largely unforgotten season.

Hideki then returned home to Japan and moved onto driving Super GT Saloons' in 2011, having passed the Japanese IndyCar Driver Baton to Takuma Sato, who was driving for the KV Racing Alphabet Soup Gang of Top Jimmy' (Jimmy Vasser) and Kevin Smiley Face' Kalkoven.

On a trivial note, Mutoh (10/10/82) and Yasukawa (10/10/77) share the same birthday...

Mutoh capped his IndyCar career with a One-off' return engagement for Sam Schmidt Racing alongside Alex Tagliani in what apparently is Japan's final IndyCar race at Twin Ring Motegi, albeit held upon the circuit's Road Course in 2011 due to the Oval having been damaged during that year's monstrous Tsunami, which notably wreaked havoc upon Fukushima's Nuclear facility! Not to mention the country overall...

For more Japanese Open wheel Warriors lore, including Takuma Sato & Company, see;
Japan’s latest Open Wheel talents Near and Abroad

(This page was modified on: 9/25/17)

Hideki Mutoh Stock photograph source: alamy.com.