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

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.

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-Present)
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 and 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 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 Rookie of the year honours, helped in part by his second place finish at the Iowa Speedway, the highest ever finishing position for a Japanese driver in the series history, besting Takagi’s third place finish in Texas in 2003.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rahal Tribute Helmet

Graham Rahal’s special Paul Newman tribute helmet has just been auctioned off on eBay for the cool sum of $40,900.00 with the proceeds benefiting the Flying Horse Farms foundation...

For the full story, see; Rahal helmet auction raises $40,900

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hamburgular gets robbed!

Otay, so I managed to finish watching my Japanese GP recording and it’s now safe once again to enter cyberspace... As the Mt Fuji event was a very crazy race, eh?

With the two championship rivals managing to bungle their respective race outing, as Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton tangled with one another on the opening lap, along with Lewis giving Kimi Raikkonen the chrome horn treatment...

Yet, later on towards the end of the race, Massa tried a kamikaze move upon the Hamburgular, a.k.a. Sebastian Bourdais, who was exiting the pits and basically rand off the road trying to avoid contact with Massa... Yet, it was Sea Bass who was handed a mysterious 25 second time penalty after the races finish, dropping the Frenchman out of the points, from sixth place to tenth, thus, gifting Felipe another Championship point as the Brazilian inherited seventh place, with Sebastian Vettel moving up to sixth and Mark Webber taking the final point for eighth place...

Bourdais NOT impressed by Massa’s driving

Rubino coming to America?

According to current speculation, Honda F1 piloto Rubens Barrichello could be inline for an Indy Car ride in 2009 and is set to test for Penske Racing on Homestead, Miami’s road course in November.

This is apparently due to current Penske hot-shoe Helio Castroneves current legal woes, having been indicted on tax evasion and fraud charges, although Castroneves $10m bail has been modified to allow the Brazilian to take part in the upcoming Surfers Paradise event in late October, as reportedly the test has been set-up in large part by Honda’s request.

Yet, I’m not quite so sure why Roger Penske would wish to take on such a “Senior” driver like Rubino, as surely the Open Wheel Racing talent pool isn’t that devoid of rising stars? And it will be interesting to see how Helio’s court case proceeds, eh? And even stranger yet, is the comment from the “Dancin’ Fool” himself, claiming he doesn’t expect his court case to go to trial until after the 2009 Indy Car season is over...

F1 websites

During this weekend’s coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix, it was announced during the SPEED TV broadcasts that there’s currently two internets sites available for disgruntled Formula 1 fans... As the first site noted was for ING’s F1 Fan Survey, while the second was in deference of the Canadian GP being pulled from the 2009 F1 calendar, so you may wish to check out the following sites...

F1 Fan Survey

Save the Canadian GP

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hope

Having just spent the majority of the weekend in Tacoma and having just finished watching the Japanese GP qualifying session, I hope to watch the Grand Prix race shortly...

And I hope that Kimi Raikkonen wins the race, I hope to see Sebastian Vettel on the podium again, I hope...

Yet, Mary Ellen asked me to post the following comment I made to her about how wouldn’t it be great if not one but two African Americans claimed “P1” in their respective championships, as in the Presidential and Formula 1 arenas, with Barroc Obama becoming the nations very first Black President and Lewis Hamilton becoming the very first Black F1 World Champion!

Especially on the 40th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination...

CORRECTION
Upon my penning this story, Mary Ellen was quick to point out that Lewis Hamilton is NOT an African American and why are we all so afraid to say the “B-word?”

So, after a little further digging, I discovered that young “Louise” was born in Stevenage, which according to Wikipedia;
“Is a town and district in Hertfordshire, England. It is to the east of junctions 7 and 8 of the A1(M), and is between Letchworth Garden City to the north, and Weldyn Garden City to the south.”

It had a population of 79,400 residents according to 2007 records.

And as we all know? He's half black & half white, like a soon to be certain President of ours... His father is black and originally from Grenada, with his "Mum" being white and British. So what do you BLOODY Brit's call him? (Somebody of mixed race?) Is he simply black or does anybody over there care? As he’s now the sports very first Black F1 World Champion...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

F1: The Arden Forrest - 2008 edition

Continuing on with my theme of slowly recapping the 2008 F1 season, along with borrowing “Press Dawg’s” Beer of the Race tradition, I’d have gone for a most delectable Forbidden Fruit or Duval beverage...

But back to the racing action, as we’re now focusing upon the recently completed Belgian Grand Prix, moving on from the glitter of Valencia to the sublime of Spa Francorchamps... Which definitely has to rank as one of Formula One’s All time greatest tracks, residing in the Arden Forest... Thus it bothers me greatly to hear the rumblings of possible neutering of this momentous circuit... Please DON’T let Herman Tilke get his sweaty palms on another request for a hack job, in hopes of emasculating a legendary venue! As Emperor Bernardo seems quite intent on setting the wrecking ball to all of the Old Guard tracks, i.e.; Silverstone, Hockenheim, San Marino and Spa...

Friday Practice
Once again, this seems to be the most informative program of the week in SPEED’s coverage of the Formula 1 circus, as the opening segment featured Bob Varsha stating that RAIN was coming in 30mins. – Of the 90 minute broadcast, before segwaying into a recap of the various drivers slithering about the confines of the race track in the day’s first practice session.

Prior to Friday’s practice, Nick Heidfeld was pestered about not being so “Quick,” hammering him about his poor performances of late, to which the German replied; “You DON’T have to tell me... I already know ALL about it!”
.
Yet, Quick Nick isn’t the only driver feeling the heat of being an F1 Superstar, as The Iceman, a.k.a. Kimi Raikkonen was nabbed for speeding in the pit lane not once but twice, during the first practice session, incurring total fines of $4,900 Euros ($7,000k US Funds)

And as many of the “Heavy Hitters’ were reluctant to go out onto the track, as it was still damp, as I think only the Toro Rosso was willing to reconnoiter the circuit, this led Peter Winsor to launch David Hobbs into a great segway about driving at Spa; Asking Hobbo what it was like driving in the wet at Spa? As Hobbs had contested the 1968 1000k Sports Car event in the wet behind the wheel of a John Wyer Gulf Oil Ford GT40, while Hobbs waxed on about how it was totally different back then... As there weren’t any Armco (guard rails) run off areas and the trees lined the circuit, edging right up to the track... With Bob Varsha noting how the circuit was then a monstrous nine kilometers and it must have been miserable in the rain? As Hobbs noted how the event had taken over 7hrs...

And Winsor further mused; that’s when you drove with Paul Hawkins? Who was a rather shy, quiet, non-partying type of guy? (As Hawkins was a fellow Aussie)

To which Hobbs chortled back; Yeah, right! The first race I did with him was the ’68 Daytona 24hrs and he stumbled out of his hotel room and said: Uhm? How do I say this? “Swear word; My Swear word (Bleepity-bleep!) Hair!” As he was blutoed from having been up the entire night partying...

But Paul was an excellent driver... He once went into the Monaco harbour, but swam out... Yet, unfortunately he was killed at Oulton Park, behind the wheel of a Lola T70, when he hit a tree and was trapped in the fire...

Continuing with the somewhat morbid theme, SPEED played a very nice montage in remembrance of the just departed Phil Hill, with footage of him racing at Spa in 1961, enroute to victory after having battled all race long with teammate and title antagonist Count Wolfgang Von Tripps. Showed hill passing the yellow Ferrari of Olivier Gendebien, who’d just won the 24 Heurs du Mans co-driving with Hill the week prior... As Hill and Gendebien would share in the spoils of three Le Mans victories for Scuderia Ferrari, with Gendebien scoring a fourth victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe with Paul Frere, who is having one of the track’s corners renamed after him.

And although according to Varsha, there was constant politicking at Ferrari, with Hill never being quite sure if he was supposed to take the victory over Von Trips, but nevertheless, Ferrari squashed the competition that day with an unremarkable 1-2-3-4 finish; Hill, Von Trips, Richie Ginther and Gendebien, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since in Formula 1.

And Varsha further mused that it’s quite hard to find, but if you ever get the chance, check out Phil Hill’s recording from the Sebring 12hrs race, way back when... As suddenly the Belgian landscape was shrouded in precipitation, with driver’s radio’s crackling; “Box-Box-Box!” (Pits) As everybody came in and the session was red flagged?

Saturday Qualifying
As somewhat typical, my note taking seems to slack off the further into a race weekend, as I find that typically the most information is gleamed upon Friday’s coverage and thus, I have very little in the way of notes here...

Although I did jot down that the Hamburgular, a.k.a. Sebastian Bourdais; You know, the other “Sebastian” at Scuderia Toro Rosso shocked the F1 circus by beating everyone in the Q1 “Qualie” session, as the radio crackled to life; Sebastian you’re P1.” As Sea Bass could be heard celebrating, after having picked up an amazing 2.5 seconds over his morning times and would go onto once again make the final Q3 session before ending up ninth.

Surprisingly, both Toyota’s failed to make Q3, while Nick Heidfeld and “KOVY,” a.k.a. Heikki Kovalainen topped the speed trap with an impressive velocity of 192mph...

Yet, it was Lewis Hamilton crushing the field once again, claiming the pole by 3/10th of a second over Felipe Massa, followed by Kovalainen and Raikkonen, as Massa has now out qualified his World Champion teammate 9-4 in the season’s 13 rounds.

Sunday Race
By now everybody knows about the outcome of this most exciting event... With Raikkonen having eased over Massa into Eau Rouge, which once was one of the most feared corners in all of F1, before The Iceman pulled off a brilliant pass upon Hamilton, who’d momentarily spun whilst leading the races early laps. And then there was that most atrocious finish when the skies opened up and Hamilton and Raikkonen played tiddlywinks with each other, before ultimately Kimi crashed into the barriers and Lewis went onto an apparent victory... With Massa gingerly trailing home in second place, while Heidfeld gambled and put on full wets and vaulted himself into third after having been ninth, before the FIA Stewards docked the young Louise a 25 second time penalty... Yet, all of this seems a bit ironic, as it was the 40th Anniversary of team founder Bruce McLaren scoring the team’s maiden Grand Prix victory...


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

Race Results*
Winner: F. Massa; 2. N. Heidfeld; 3.; L. Hamilton; 4. F. Alonso; 5. S. Vettel; 6. R. Kubica; 7. S. Bourdais; 8. M. Webber
(* = Pending outcome of FIA Ruling, regardin McLaren’s Appeal)

Point Standings
(Round 13 of 18)

Driver’s
L. Hamilton 76
F. Massa 74
K. Raikkonen 57
R. Kubica 58
N. Heidfeld 49

Constructors
Ferrari 131
McLaren 119
BMW Sauber 107
Toyota 41
Renault 38

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Grand Am Champions

Recently, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas made history in Endurance racing, as teammates of the #01 Telmex/Lexus/Riley Daytona Prototype, became winners of the 2008 Grand Am Team and Driver Championships, along with giving TCGR team owner Chip Ganassi another racing crown, as “The Cheepster” now has a total of eleven Championship trophies on display... Six Open Wheel titles; Four CART, (1996-99) two IRL, (2003, ’08) to complement his two (2004, ’08) Grand Am Driver’s and three Team titles,

With Pruett claiming this year’s Driver’s and Team titles,, these achievements see the Californian collecting his eighth major road racing Championship, which surpasses the tally of the late Peter Gregg’s record seven titles, as “Scooter” has a long, diverse and distinguished career in Sports Car racing. Pruett captured three titles for Jack Roush behind the wheel of a then dominant Lincoln Mercury product known as the Merkur XR4T , Collecting two IMSA GTO crown’s,(1986, ‘88) with his first Trans Am title sandwiched in-between, (1987) also in the wicked XR4T(i), which I’m assuming utilized Roush Racing’s tube frame Mustang engineering... (Pruett also collected the ’86 IMSA Endurance championship with co-driver Bruce Jennings, behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang)

Pruett then collected a further two Trans Am Championships in 1994 and 2003, first behind the wheel of a Pratt & Miller(?) Chevrolet “Works” Camaro and then later for Rocketsports Racing in a Jaguar, before graduating to the Grand American Road Racing series and becoming the series first repeat Driver’s Champion..

Meanwhile, Memo Rojas, although perhaps not as accomplished as his mercurial co-driver Scott Pruett, nevertheless, has just become the very first Mexican to win a major racing championship in the United States.

Now I've gotta start watching my 5+ hours of Petit Le Mans tape delayed coverage...

Mexico’s newest star

While Sports Car ace Memo Rojas, is currently basking in the afterglow of his just collected Grand Am title, there have been several other Mexicali piloto’s to come before him, with the likes of the Rodriguez Brothers of Formula One fame, followed later by such talents as Adrian Fernandez, Michele Jourdain Jr. and Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez, to name just a few...

And there now appears to be another rising star on the horizon, as 17yr old Monterey, Mexico native Esteban Gutierrez has exploded onto the motor racing scene, storming the Formula BMW (European) series with twelve podiums and seven wins enroute to capturing this year’s title, along with being named Rookie of the Year (2007) in the Formula BMW America’s division.

If Gutierrez can go on to claim victory at the Formula BMW World Championship to be held at Mexico City’s Hermanos Rodriquez circuito, (12/05-07) then Gutierrez will be awarded a test drive aboard a BMW Sauber F1 racing car...

Super League

Ever wonder where ex-Champ Car drivers go, who aren’t lucky enough to graduate to the new unified Indy Car World Series? As it seems that the newly created Super League has become a haven for many of the displaced foreign drivers...

What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of the Super League? Well, it’s a somewhat novel idea, very loosely framed upon the principle of the A1 GP, which bills itself as the Motorsports equivalent of World Cup Soccer, Err, Foosball... As the Super League is the cross pollination of worldwide Foosball clubs and Motorsports, with 17 Soccer Clubs racing against each other in identically prepared racecar’s...

And talk about your “Spec” racecar, as all of the single seaters are produced by Elan Motorsports Technologies and powered by Menard Competition Technologies (4.2 liter) V-12 lump’s producing 750+ bhp.

“While the chassis and components are constructed at Elan's base in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, the final assembly is taking place at the headquarters of Norfolk headquarters for renowned Formula Ford constructor, Van Diemen - also an Elan owned company.”

The driver roll call sheet seems to be a combination of A1 GP, GP2 and ex-Champ Car stars, piloting such notable Soccer clubs machinery as Liverpool, Olympiacos and PSV Eindhoven.

While such notables as Ryan Dalziel, (Rangers) Robert Doornbos, (AC Milan) Tristan Gommendy (FC Porto) and Nelson Philippe, (Borussia Dortmund) which equates to approximately ¼ of the old Champ Car grid… OUCh!

The first round of the six race series was run at Donnington on August 31st, with victory going to Davide Rigon, driving for Beijing Guoan, with Enrico Toccacelo (AS Roma) runner-up and Duncan Tappy (Tottenham Hotspur) finishing third…

Correction
A very astute reader has caught me making another blunder… As I’d incorrectly assumed that the Rangers noted above equated to the Queens Parks Rangers of London, in which “Flavour Flav,” a.k.a. Flavio Briatore is part owner of. But, you know what happens when you ASS-Sume things, eh? And thus Open Wheel star Ryan Dalziel, was indeed behind the wheel of his Scottish Football Club’s entry, the Glasgow Rangers of Scotland and NOT driving for Briatore’s London based club…

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gopher Huntin’

Whale, just returned from a very brief visit to “The Gopher State,” a.k.a. Minn-uh-sota; Yeah, sure, Yuh-betcha! As this stately moniker was derived from its population of the ‘lil striped critter way back when...

Although I didn’t see any of the cute critters, I did learn that the “Mighty Mississippi River originates in the state while doing a very brief search on Open Wheel talent to come from “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” in which I discovered that Flinstone Indy Lites driver Leilani Munter was originally from Rochester, MN before moving to Mooresville, NC to bask in the glow of the Stock Car capitol...

So, it was a timely coincidence that I spotted “Press Dawg’s” glowing commentary upon the Easy on the Eyes Leilani... Who’s apparently having’ some sorta trouble with her new britches, just prior to leaving for Minneapolis, which was a short, but sweet trip, as once again Jefford shoehorned the Motley Crue of aspiring Motocross riders into the Team Shasta motor home, this time setting off for the wide open fields of Meadow Valley, MN for the weekend.

And Team Shasta, Jefford’s trusty 1984 Ford 460 (24’) RV was pulling an impressive armada of dirt bikes behind it, with six of the nasty beasts wedged precariously upon the little open trailer, as the two young boys Dundee and Jonathan were sent to the rear of the motor home several times to check upon the precious cargo...

Thus, we had two “Thumpers” aboard, as Jefford and Mike had brought their brand new Honda CRF450 four strokes along with Mike’s brother Jeffery bringing his recently acquired Honda CR250 two stroke with us, while Dundee and Jonathan’s matching KTM SX 50’s (two stroke/automatic’s) were present as well as Dundee’s Suzuki 65 (two stroke/manual trans.) was along just-in-case Dundee wanted to ride it also? As this “Scooter” has quite the pedigree, having previously been a Suzuki “Works” bike for rising AMA 250 Pro Star Ryan Dungey...

With the weather having been crisp and clear, but cold the previous two nights, we set off for Meadow Valley Saturday morning and were met that afternoon at the facility by Brian and his support crew Anna and Debbie... And we watched Brian bouncing about the gravel road upon his go-kart, which would shortly meet its demise with a broken clutch mechanism from the excessive road travel, prior to Brian joining the rest of the “Boyzs” upon the big track aboard his Kawasaki KX250. Meanwhile the two young boys had the “Kid’s” track all to their selves and I joined Anna and Debbie in the brilliant sunlight grass covered field with the various shrieks of two and four stroke motorcycles assaulting us from all sides of the wide open expanses...

Later that evening, as night fell upon us and the temperature got decidedly chilly, we congregated around a much needed bonfire as tales ‘O yore were swapped about the days riding activities… Before it was finally time for Smore’s… Which of course Jonathan and Dundee were particularly fond of; while much later, as we all tried to catch our “40 winks,” unfortunately around 3AM the skies began to deluge us with rainfall, which always sounds much worse upon a vehicles metal roof… And thus I still cannot get over Jeffery’s less than obvious pronouncement in the wee hours that “It’s Raining!” Uh duh, dude! We already know and thanks for waking us up!

Thus any hopes of getting a little more riding in Sunday morning were completely scrubbed as the drizzle still persisted and we were unwilling to pay the daily $25 per rider fee to go slog about in the mud, and hence, after a leisurely breakfast and returning of the allotted motor bikes to the trailer, along with packing up, we headed back for the big city of Hopkins.

Thus it was of stark contrast to me to spend Monday hanging’ out in Hopkins in peaceful tranquility listening to the tails of Sherlock Holms, while Jefford was busy at work, before returning home with Dundee, who wanted to surprise me… And then Dune Buggy Bill dropped by to take us out for all you can eat Chinese buffet, before that dreaded precipitation returned early Tuesday morning, just-in-time for my return to Seattle Tuesday evening…

Racing Fodder

See what happens when you go on Holiday for a few days? All Hell seemingly breaks loose in the “Vurld der Motorsporten,” Ja-Ja!

Castroneves freed on $10m bail
This by far was the most shocking news of the past week, of which I was totally unaware of until returning from Minnesota last evening. As thanks to Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B, the news was awaiting my return...

As apparently Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves has been charged with several counts of Fraud and Tax Evasion by the Internal Revenue Service and was seen putting on another of his Hollywood cameos in the courtroom, when breaking down in tears...

Obviously, this isn’t the type of publicity that the Indy Car series is seeking, as this could potentially leave a very black mark upon one of the leagues two Prima Dona’s, Err, “Top Stars.”

To read more, see; Castroneves pleads not guilty in tax case

Canada loses Grand Prix
And while I find the Castroneves business quite alarming, I find the cancellation of the 2009 Canadian Grand Prix even more disturbing, as the FIA (nee Emperor Bernardo) has just dropped the longtime Montreal event from its latest 2009 calendar, which will see the North American shores totally devoid of any Formula 1 races next year, which seems certain to cause some rancor with the worlds leading Auto manufacturers, eh?

Apparently the Canadian Grand Prix has ran into the dreaded effects of the ever increasing Global economic crisis, of which is being spearheaded by the United States, yet Montreal’s loss will have a major economic fallout upon the city, which reportedly benefits by the massive $100 million the event pumps into the local economy.

Turkey will now take Canada’s place upon the F1 calendar and allow the Formula One circus a month long break during the summer, of which the teams employees rightfully deserve, but will do little to inspire Canadian fans... Hey, I know! Why can’t Emperor Bernardo give his friend and long time “Kuhnuck” whipping boy Normand Legault, (NOT to be confused with Sir Maxxum...) the event promoter since 1981, a monetary handout, Err, I meant bailout? Oh yeah, that’s right. Bernie NEVER spends any of his money...

“Rafa” called up to the Majors
Interestingly, reigning Indy Lights Champion Rafael Matos has been announced as Luczo Dragon’s chauffer of its #12 Dallara Honda Indy Car for the 2009 season. Matos has been on a quite impressive streak of late, having previously won the 2007 Champ Car Atlantics Championship, along with taking the GT class victory at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Overall victory aboard a Daytona Prototype for Michael Shank Racing at the Gran d Am’s season finale at Miller Motorsport Park and winning the Skip Barber and Star Mazda Championships previously.


Although there’s no word upon Tomas Scheckter’s future with the team, presumably Matos signing leaves the South African driver as a free agent upon the Indy Car driver market, as I’m wondering how this arrangement came about, since I thought that Matos was a contracted Andretti Green Racing driver? Yet, this is certainly good news for aspiring Indy Lights contestants, as yet, none have been able to be given legitimate shots in the Indy Car World Series...

Friday, October 3, 2008

More Open Wheel stars at Petit Le Mans

Not to be outdone by the recent plethora of Open Wheel Racing “Stars” competing in the recently held Grand Am season finale at Miller Motorsport Park, the series rival; ALMS *American Le Mans Series) will have its own gala of celebrity drivers...

Thus, the list of drivers joining 2008 Indy Car Champion Scott Dixon, who’ll be co-driving with Gil De Ferran and Simon Pagenaud in De Ferran’s Acura LMP2 entry at this year’s Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on October 4th, will include:

Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti will co-drive with Frank Montagny aboard Andretti Green Racing’s LMP2 Acura entry, while Kanaan will also drive with Montagny at the season finale at Laguna Seca.

Roger Penske will enter a third LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder for his two Indy Car stars Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe, with the Indy Car team members as the crew for this extra entry designed to help Penske’s regular ALMS drivers retain their American Le Mans Series driver’s and team crowns in a hotly contested battle against their Acura brethren.

And speaking of Acura based LMP2 contestants, Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham and Scott Sharp who are battling to defeat Penske for the driver’s and manufacturer’s titles, have enlisted the services of Dario Franchitti for the event, who’ll now be racing against his brother Marino, who drives one of Rob Dyson’s LMP2 Porsche RS Spyders, with five Porsche Spyders racing at Road Atlanta.

Meanwhile, according to Indy Racing Revolution, 2008 Firestone Indy Lights Champion Rafael Matos will also be competing, but I’ve yet to discover who or what he’ll be racing in.

And while all of the media attention seemingly is focused upon the heated LMP2 category, don’t forget that there’s two significant changes in the Big Brother LMP1 category, as Peugeot will be bringing two of its extremely fast LMP1 908 APHFI turbo diesel coupes to challenge the Audi R10’s for overall victory, while Corsa Motorsports will debut its brand new Hybrid Prototype...

World’s Fastest Mustang?

“Dag-nab it! Can it already be a month since another Labour Day weekend Done blown by?”

As I’d hoped to scribble about this prior to frolicking about the Seattle Center grounds, see: Bumbershoot, which was once home of the Seattle Supersonics for an amazing 41 seasons... Yet, may Clay Bennett & Howard Schulz both LOSE considerable coin over the massive bungling regarding ownership of our be-LUV-ed NBA Franchise, but once again I digress...

As several weeks ago on Wind Tunnel, Dave Despain interviewed Danny Thompson, son of the late Mickey Thompson, who was a true pioneer and icon of Motorsports... And I’m not even gonna try to list all of his accomplishments! Yet, recall that it was Mickey Thompson who entered a tall, lanky Californian rookie racecar driver by the name of Dan Gurney at Indianapolis...

Danny Thompson, with the impetus of a collector owning one of the three 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1’s used for setting nearly 300 land speed records at Bonneville in 1968, wanted to do a special 40th Anniversary retrospective, with Danny simply being lucky enough to get the call for chauffeuring duties of the trick 2008 production based ‘Stang.

Danny claimed on Wind Tunnel that they’d done a “Out the Back Door” pass of 254mph and that the Pony car was running on E85 and that they didn’t even know which class to put him in, since there’s currently no class for Ethanol vehicles, eventually placing him in the Nitro-class. And Danny’s ultimate goal is to recapture the top speed record of “Piston” driven vehicles by going 500mph, as his father had once gone over 400mph in his Challenger 1 slipstreamer, powered by four Oldsmobile V-8’s and constructed in a garage, outlined in chalk on the concrete floor!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Eye Rock 500

Not to be cornfused with the IROC, of which I’m extremely happy doesn’t exist anymore as it had simply become another playground for showcasing the overcrowded cadre of Stock Car drivers permeating the Norte Americana scene... As I prefer the true International ROC instead, but I digress, as always!

I first learned about the Eye Rock 500 sometime last year... And was very excited about it! As Clyde had even promised to help me participate... By surreptitiously donating the vehicle, a flamboyant purple Pontiac Grand Prix; You know? The ones made famous by the Pontiac marketing wide track jingle; “Wider is Better!”

As you see, (Pun intended!) today marks a very significant milestone for Mwah; your humble scribe... Of one I’m not exactly fond of, but nevertheless occurred a decade ago when it was best decided that I NO longer be allowed to operate a motor vehicle...

And as one of the band members of Death Cab for Cutie said during the Bumbershoot performance; NOT to get too heavy, but... My milestone PAILS MISERABBLY in contrast to so many others, as the likes of Alex Zanardi, Davey Hamilton and Wayne Rainey come to mind for starters... As I’m quite certain that those are just the tip of the iceberg, eh?

Yet, while I assume we all marveled at the triumphs of Olympic superstars Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, I myself was much more intrigued by the story of this year’s Paralympics, which were also held in China.

As winning bidder NBC relentlessly pummeled us around the clock with this year’s Olympics, I’m totally unaware of any such Television coverage of the corresponding Paralympics, I mean HELL! Couldn’t they have been hosted on some Basic Cable channel?

And perhaps you’ve heard about South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, along with all of the swirling controversy of whether or not he could compete in Beijing this summer? Of which he ultimately won his legal battle to compete, but unfortunately was unable to qualify due to his time being too slow...

Thus, I found myself compelled to listen daily to the New York Times for any stories about various American athletes, marveling at such examples as; Nick Scandone, Barbara Buchan and Marlon Shirley.

Along with other less heralded names competing. As in just one typically touching story, consider the plight of Nick Scandone, who at age 43 is intent to go out in a blaze of glory vs. his impending death from Lou Gehrig’s disease,

Meanwhile, after spending awhile scouring le internets... With NO luck, I’ve failed to come up with any further results in regards to whether or not the Eye Rock 500 was contested this year, as I simply sit behind the glow of the computer’s monitor as another “Armchair Quarterback” on Monday morning...

And as typical news reporting goes, there was NO follow-up reports that I’m aware of in regards to Scandone and co-sailor Maureen McKinnon-Tucker’s two person Sailboat competition... But I have managed to find out the results in which the duo were victorious...

Scandone and McKinnon-Tucker grab Gold in China

More Vettel-speak


o it appears that young German hot-schue Sebastian Vettel’s star is definitely growing brighter... Having recently spotted the following short interview with Sebastian Vettel on Grid Crasher... (Along with the cheeky Schumacher bros. video)

Vettel interview

And yet, just what does Germany’s top motor racing Ace Herr Schumacher think about all of the buzz surrounding the young German protégé?

Schumi; Vettel is his own star...

Issues for the Blind

On this somewhat symbolic day for me, I thought I’d share just a few of the multitude of thought bubbles bouncing around inside my ever increasing Cranium...

Silent, but Deadly?
These are just two of the countless headlines that have grabbed my attention over the past few months;

Toyota surpasses millionth Prius…
GM projects 85% of all sales hybrids by 2020?


Yet, as I’m becoming increasingly more aware of, blind and visually impaired persons tend to rely on their hearing more likely then their lack of vision... And NO “Heightened Awareness” jokes here, please...

Thus, should Hybrid technology vehicles be required to emit an audible sound? For my part, I’d definitely say YES! But as always, the Auto Manufacturers are most likely squeamish over such ideas and fighting mightily to have any such legislation implemented.

Yet, my favourite solution in regards to this dilemma is the sounds of pounding horses hoof beats being triggered when any pedestrian comes into close contact with the occupants of a hybrid car produced in Italy...

Hybrid car concerns
Digital rules to include the Blind?
As an avid viewer of Motorsports, I constantly fret about the impending switch to all digital broadcasts beginning this February 2009... As I prefer to stay ‘Ol School and utilize my persnickity VCR... As typical, manufacturers tend to NOT take into consideration the needs of the Blind and visually impaired... And thus I’m left pondering how will I manage to record those truly important events such as Formula 1, GP2 and Indy Car races that predominantly come on at all sorts of hours, especially too DAMN early for us Left Coast viewers, i.e.; set the VCR for SPEED’s 3AM GP2 program, etc.