Thursday, November 27, 2008

Open Wheel notes


this is an oversized (Turkey) stuffing of the latest news tidbits going on in the Open Wheel Racing world, just-in-time for that delectable Turkey-Lurkey holiday. (Pass me a biscuit!)
No more SurfersOtay, this is a bit dated, but in case you haven’t heard? The Indy Car World Series and the Queensland Government were unable to come up with a resolution to keep the Surfers Paradise event on the Indy Car calendar for next season and beyond... As the Surfers Paradise event has played host to the CART/Champ Cars since 1991, albeit a non-points event in this inaugural season of unification. Thus, the event will now become home of A1 GP which has signed a five year deal to partner the V8-Supercars Down Under, beginning in 2009...

CRIKEYS!

Will KV Racing Technology survive?And with the loss of the Gold Coast event, will KV Racing Technology also wither? Recall that the running of this event was imperative to KVRT staying on the grid this year as its major funding came from Craig Gore’s Aussie Vineyards. And although speculation suggests that Gore is pondering retirement, nothing has been confirmed to date, although both of KVRT’s drivers Will Power and Oriel Servia are currently free agents.

Miller reports on Driver market
According to a recent article by our beloved Open Wheel curmudgeon Robin Miller, the current Indy Car driver market for 2009 is currently awash with proven “Big Names” talent seeking employment, as Newman Haas Lanagin and Rahal Letterman have not picked up options on Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter Reay, who both scored their first Indy Car victories this season, while both of the aforementioned KVRT drivers Will Power and Oriel Servia are awaiting their Open Wheel future.

Miller also throws in Paul Tracy, Bruno Junqueira, Tomas Scheckter and Darren Manning as free agents seeking rides... Hmm? I thought this unification thingy was to be the end all to the current plight of Open Wheel Racing in Norte Americano? Now explain to me why it sounds like another episode of; while the Champ Car World Series turns, eh?

No more “Corn-ee” Letterman jokes?Also according to OWR soothsayer Robin Miller, there appears to be a 98% chance that title sponsor Ethanol will not be returning to Rahal/Letterman Racing in 2009, leaving Ryan “The Dude” Hunter-Reay without a drive next season. (Unless Penske scoops him up?)

Yet now comes word via the Blogosphere that Brazil will be helping to keep corn based Ethanol in the game next season, so why couldn’t this become RLR’s new sponsor? Heck, may be ‘Ol Emmo (Emerson Fittipaldi) will wish to install another Brazilian driver like Tiago Montero as teammate? Or perhaps “Junky” could land a ride here?

IRL gets sucker-punched
Penske’s New Year plansAnd while The Captain, a.k.a. Roger Penske is still trying to decide what to do over his current Indy Car “Star” Hulio’s pending legal troubles... Hmm? Wonder if Penske will scoop up another Aussie as Ryan Briscoe’s teammate? (Can you say Will Power?) But I digress, as it was announced recently on The Speed Report that Penske will field a two car effort of Porsche powered Riley Daytona Prototype chassis in the upcoming 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Is The Captain mulling a change of venue for his Sports Car operation?

Tracy legal woes continueAnd while the majority of us thought that only Hulio had legal issues to wrangle with, according to crack Indy Car word butcher Will, Paul Tracy may have run into some more funny legal shenanigans’ of his own, as apparently there seems to be some sort of contention over his 2006 contract extension with Jerry “Go F-Yourself” Forsythe NEVER having been signed.

Was Tracy running without a contract?

Sully does BajaDuring one of the final Wind Tunnel shows; Ye ‘Ol Windbag (Dave Despain) had Danny Sullivan as his “Last Call” of the evening, which was pretty entertaining... As “Sully” was calling in to talk about his Trophy Truck program and why he was running the Baja 1000. “Because it’s the only thing I can still race in competitively at my age!” Sully quipped.

And while I don’t know the whole story about Sully’s Baja 1000 trek, I can tell you from the results that he finished an admirable 5th place overall, which is better than Robby Gordon can say.

5. Dan Friedkin, Houston, Danny Sullivan, Vista, Calif./Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., Toyota Tundra, 14:34:55. (2nd highest finishing Tundra)
Baja 1000 results
Marky Mark podiumsAlthough it appears that Princess Danicker has decided to sit out the current A1 GP season, as she reportedly wished to be paid for her troubles...

Meanwhile, “Marky Mark,” a.k.a... Marco andretti, whom some word butcherer named Jeff is hoping to see installed as Hulio’s replacement at Team Penske, has just scored his first podium in this seasons A1 GP race held at Sepang. And although young Marco didn’t get off to a very good start, flipping and crashing out of the Sprint race, Marco atoned for his first race melee by reaching the podium in the Feature race, albeit with a little assistance from Team Malaysia's “Home-boy” Fairuz Fauzy. With Fauzy running in third place and Andretti behind him in fourth, Fairuz made a most unusual mistake, when his radio inadvertently picked up a ghost call to pit, as Fauzy heard Team GBR’s call; Box-Box-Box in his radio headset... And thus pitting behind Great Britain’s car, lost 40 seconds when he showed up in his vacant pit stall! This never seen gaff dropped Fairuz to a disappointing 10th place finish, while Marco grabbed the third step on the podium.

Marco Andretti, Andretti Green A1, A1 Team USA:
(ON THE SPRINT RACE INCIDENT) "You can say its unavoidable but at the time I thought everyone was going and I could only see two rows ahead of me. I couldn't see ahead of the whole field. I was about to grab fourth gear, and as soon as rear tires were hooking up, that was needed to stop the car. There was no hope. In the States you either go or you don't. Here, they went and then stopped. No one was to blame, it was just racing. But ultimately I crashed out two cars ."
.
Hmm? What’s that about not wishing to get in some much needed road racing experience Princess...
Doin’ the “Hulio” two-stepAh, what better way to help digest that “Super-sized” Turkey-lurkey dinner, eh? And instead of unbuckling your belt, taking your shoes off and settling down for a little cat-nap whilst seated in the nearest Lazy Boy recliner, while some smash mouth football drones on in the background...

Why not do the Hulio two-step $heister shuffle instead? Just put your foot to the left...

And I won’t try to recap every nuance of the Helio Castroneves embezzlement shumozzle here; Castroneves indicted Hulio tear jerker, Castro-nervous bail modified, Trial date delay denied, blah-blah-blah... Nope, I’ll leave all of this hullabaloo up to the eagle-eyed Will and his crack reporting at; Is it May yet instead... And you may wish to check out his latest report; Quick Helio update, not to mention his wacky Pin-the-tail on Hulio board game.

Hulio board game

And make sure uze don’t’s steps onz ‘dem Hushpuppies, Yuh hearzs!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Racing tapes find new home

First of all, to those whom responded to the inquiry recently posted upon procuring a new home for a massive racing tape collection; Thanxs...

And thus, it appears that the collection has indeed found a new home, as I’ve been instructed to curtail the Racing tapes offering.

It appears that this collection will now be passed to a current No Fenders reader, as Craig is not only a F1/Indy Car devotee, but also provides us ponderer’s of past displays of the well documented “Red Mist” a chance to review snippets of past races. Hence you may wish to check out his site at http://www.youtube.com/user/racingfan99

Craig also claims that he’s willing to provide copies of races in exchange for copies of other similar races. So, if you’re experiencing a slight hankerin’ for some racing footage, then visit his Youtube page...

Kudo’s Y’all!
Tomaso

Speedy Vintner’s

Having recently par-taken in Wine Fest in TT, along with the fact that the Holidazes are just around the corner, I thought I’d embellish a wee bit about some racing persona’s off-season hobbies... And seeing that I’m NO wine conasuer, what in the HE-Double hockey sticks is a Shiraz? As I’ll stick to Mosel Riesling...

Mario andretti
Everybody knows the name Mario Andretti and probably quite a few know about his burgeoning wine concern in Napa valley, which began in 1996 and I’m led to believe that this is Danny B’s favourite vintner.

Andretti Winery

Frank Arciero
Unfortunately, Arciero Racing was always known as a back marker to me during the CART era, as I missed out on the team’s hey-day’s of the late 1960’s, when such notable drivers as Al and Bobby Unser, Parnelli Jones and Dan Gurney drove for them.

But I’ve heard that they were always a good team to work for, with lots of vino to be had during the team’s year end parties, hospitality chalet’s, etc, as Frank Arciero Sr. purchased the property for Arciero Family Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA in 1983 and EOS Estate Winery is also a part of the Arciero operation.

Arciero Family Vineyards

Kevin Buckler
Kevin is most known as the owner of The Racers Group, (TRG) having scored class victories in the Rolex 24 and 24 Heurs du Mans, the Porsche Cup and overall victory in the Daytona 24hrs as an independent Porsche competitor.

Kevin and his wife also own Adobe Road Wines in Petaluma, CA and their 2002 Adobe Road Wines Herrerias Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir won a gold medal and was chosen as best of its class in the 2005 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Adobe Road Winery

Richard Childress
Although Richard Childress is best known as the team owner of the late, seven times NASCAR champion Dale Earnhart Sr., he also has entered the wine making business.

Childress Vineyards

Tom Hedges
I’m guessing that nobody’s ever heard of this dude, eh? But I had the good fortune of being seated next to him on a flight to Arizona many moons ago... He struck up a conversation with me upon seeing my ALMS Portland Grand Prix T-Shirt with a Ferrari 333SP emblazoned upon it, and I ended up talking his ear off ‘bout motorsports for the next hour.

Tom informed me that he was a vintner and asked if I’d ever heard of Hedges wines? No, but he proceeded to tell me that I could pick up a few bottles at my local (QFC) grocery store. As Hedges vineyards are located in Eastern, WA in the Yakima valley.

Tom was also a Vintage Racer at the time of our conversation, campaigning an early Porsche 911 and he told me an entertaining story about trying to procure dual plug distributor caps from the Porsche factory in Stuttgart, which were going for $1,200.00 a pop. (6yrs ago) So, I urge you to give Hedges wine a try sometime soon!

Hedges Family Estate

Randy Lewis
Reportedly Lewis Cellars is one of Napa valley’s premiere vineyards in California, as Randy, a veteran of five Indianapolis 500 races has traded in his crash helmet and overalls for the more sedate speeds of being behind the wheel of a farm tractor.

Lewis Cellars

Scott Pruett
Although Pruett’s desires to try his hand at grape growing seemingly date back to his agricultural upbringing, its interesting to note that it was fellow racer Randy Lewis who helped make it happen, as its even more entertaining to hear the most successful Sports Cars piloto on the laborious process of wine making...

Scott Pruett;
“The thing that was shocking to me is that my industry, racing, has always been week-to-week and month-to-month. But to get into something where you can't even see your rewards for five to six years goes against everything I've known in my life. So with that, we ordered the plants, continued to get the field ready and waited."

Pruett harvests title and grapes

Jarno Trulli
And it seems pretty entertaining that two current Toyota racing drivers have decided to go into the vino business, as “Trulli Scrumptious” has actually been bottling his various blends of grapes for the past few years, unlike “Scooter,” who’s in the process of bottling his first harvest.

Jarno Trulli: Vintage Racer

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rossi; “I could-ah been a contender!”


Ah, “The Doctor’s” definitely in! As reigning MOTO GP champion Valentino Rossi recently completed testing a Ferrari F2008 at Mugello.

And although the Doctor was full of (himself?) his usual bravado; claiming with a little hard work, he could become an F1 challenger... But with his lap times being two seconds behind Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s team drivers; I don’t expect to see Rossi in the cockpit of a Ferrari F1 race car anytime soon!

And don’t forget, that Rossi’s not the only Championship interloper to recently put himself behind the wheel of a Formula 1 racecar, as “Seb,” a.k.a. Sebastian Loeb, the reigning and only five time World Rally Champion recently said during his interview on The Speed Report; Red Bull gave him a present for winning. As the French ace was shown having a seat fitting and running in the inclement weather of Silverstone in preparations for his full day of running during the recent F1 winter test at Barcelona, where Seb ran 83 laps behind the wheel of a Red Bull chassis. Loeb finished a respectable 8th out of the 17 participants...

To read more about the Doctor’s adventure, see; Valentino Rossi, where you can also follow the link to an accompanying video...

High School radio

Whale now that Wind Tunnel is done for the season, I’ve decided to start listening to the Speed Freaks broadcast full-time... And last night’s show started off fairly slow, with an opening monologue about college football, blah-blah-blah...

Then they got to their first interviewee: Larry Roeseler; 13 time overall winner of the Baja 1000, along with 17 class victories... Ten overall wins in the two wheel class, a.k.a. motorcycles, with Roeseler saying it took him 10yrs to win his first 4WD overall victory in 2004, having now claimed his third Trophy Truck victory in this year’s 631 mile “Loop” race;

SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK (Unlimited Production Trucks)—1. Roger Norman, Reno, Nev./Larry Roeseler, Irvine, Calif., Ford F-150, 12 hours, 40 minutes, 33 seconds (49.81 miles per hour);

Next up was Mark Burnett, who won the class 6 event, driving solo aboard his Ford Ranger, which is pretty impressive considering it took him some 20+ hours to complete due to a litany of mechanical woes. As Burnett told a story about the various booby traps the Mexicali’s enjoy setting up, when he was almost skewered by a steel line tied to two trees during his motorcycle days. As the wire went thru his arms, chest and helmet! And he had to ride back seven miles to get aid, before being flown by helicopter to a hospital...

Thus, this brought the inevitable from “the Sarge.” Nope! Not Tony Schumacher, the other Sarge, a.k.a. Kenny Sergeant, whom seems to have an affliction for the sizes of male attachments... As he once again wanted to know who’s got the biggest hevo’s; Asking both Roeseler and Burnett if they put their manhood out there... Whose are bigger? Scott Dixon, Indy Car; Jimmy Johnson, RASSCAR or those of Baja piloto’s...

Sorry, Kenny, but who FLIPPIN’ cares, eh? How ‘bout some real racing questions instead! Although there was a pretty good slam on Robby “Dirtman” Gordon’s shrinkage due to being a RASSCAR driver now, as he only managed to complete 17 miles...
And it seems somewhat ironic... That the site had been working, albeit it’s usual stuttering and low volume during the non-advertisement periods... But, right when we got to the breaking news on whatever GM is cutting from the motorsports arena, the site CRASHED! And I could never get the dag-nab-it thing to re-connect...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Webber breaks leg

Mark Webber has suffered a broken right leg with multiple fractures during the final day of his annual charity event in Tasmania. Having already undergone surgery, the Aussie is now keen to be fit in time for the 2009 season opening round in OZ, but obviously will miss the majority of winter testing.

Adding insult to injury was the Tasmanian police officer’s comments that both the Nissan 4X4 and driver were uninjured...

Webber breaks leg in Tasmania

Thunder road

Whale! I cannot speak on how good of a show this is, since I don’t have the requisite HBO channel, but Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B seems to find it quite entertaining. After all it’s a show based on local Anderson, Indiana, so you may wish to check it out?

Dirty Driving: Thunder cars of Indiana

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Economic crisis?

While Wall $treet has been routinely losing 700+ points and BURNING thru One TRILLION Daily! There seemed to be little concern in “Los Wage$,” (Las Vegas, NV) during the inaugural Barrett Jackson auction, held at the Mandalay Bay casino, over the weekend of October 16-18; of which I decided to watch after lamenting those immortal Bruce Springsteen words; “57 channels and NOTHING on!” So, thus indeed, I decided to watch a few hours of the final night’s action, with it being Saturday night and NOT a BLOODY thing on the tellie...

And just like buying a car, a cursory look of the dreaded paperwork denotes the following;

“Hammer” prices do NOT include the mandatory Barrett Jackson commission fees: Seller, 8%; buyer, 10%. State/local taxes extra. (Prices include buyer’s commission fee/total auction price)

And being especially particular to Blue Oval products, my notes primarily jotted down the quick facts of various Ford Motor Co. sales, although typically the entire “Muscle Car” segment seemed to be still commanding top dollar, as a total of 40 vehicles were hammered for over $100,000.

Lot #798
1968 Shelby GT 500 Mustang
Hammer bid: $140,000 ($154,000)

Lot #801
1938 Packard
Hammer bid: $190,000 ($209,000)
This was a very nice restored two door Victoria convertible...

Lot #803.1
1969 Ford BOSS 429 Mustang
Hammer bid: $195,000 ($214,500)
First of two BAD ASS BOSSES to cross the stage, still bringing good money, but value has dropped...

Lot #804.1
1967 Shelby GT 500 “E Super Snake” Mustang
Hammer bid: $170,000 ($187,000)
These cars always amaze me, since the “E” suffix means that it’s an Eleanor re-creation, as in the movie; Gone in 60 Seconds (II) yet, I’m not sure what’s up with the “Super Snake” moniker, as perhaps this car had an all aluminum motor shoehorned inside it? Nevertheless, I’d rather plunk down that sorta dinero on a Ferrari, instead of a six cylinder donar Mustang...

Lot 805
1992 Jaguar XK220

Hammer bid: $137,000 ($150,700)
Car #91/280 built. These were amazing cars that simply got lost in the Supercar market downturn...

Lot #805.1
2003 Saleen S7
Hammer bid: $237,000 ($260,700)
This was fairly entertaining, as chief auctioneer Spanky was trying to bump the price up to $250k, a bidder said: “I DON’T care! $242,500!” To which apparently Spanky wasn’t to be pushed around and the car was gaveled for $237K instead...

Lot #806
1973 De Tomaso Pantera
Hammer bid: $100,000 ($110,000)
I’d have to guess this is a record hammer price for a Pantera? As this ’73 “plain Jane” De Tomaso, was rejuvenated by the styling cues of its original designer; Tom Tjaarda, who’d created brand new front & rear carbon fibre composite facia’s for it, also redesigning the interior, along with the requisite “bigger is better” aftermarket alloy wheels. But, I’d definitely have to say the car looked great, along with Mr. Tjaarda, who at 74 year’s young looked quite dapper...

Lot # Unknown
1966 Cobra 427 “E” (Replica)
Hammer bid: $100,000 ($110,000)
This car was being sold by a museum and has a somewhat interesting, albeit tarnished past, as the car was originally passed off as the real macoy. Only problem with this was that the original Cobra later surfaced and hence this car had to be re-licensed as a replica...

Lot #816
1970 Ford BOSS 429 Mustang
Hammer bid: $187,000 ($205,700)
Second of two BAD ASS BOSSES to cross the stage, which are still bringing good money, but below the hammer price listed on Barrett-Jackson’s website for BOSSES: with four cars being sold for a low of $245,000, (2) $300k & $325k at Scottsdale, AZ this past January, which pales in comparison to the “record” hammer price of $550,000 garnered in Scottsdale in 2007! (Which I’m guessing Ron Pratt was the bidder?)

Lot #817
1957 Ford Thunderbird
Hammer bid: $145,000 ($159,500)
This was SPEED TV’s final Fantasy bid car, which was a pretty cool T-bird. Setting the ’57 Thunderbird apart from the rest, was the fact that it was a rare “F” code; 1 of 211 supercharged chassis. Even better yet, was the fact that it was Robert McCulloch’s personal car. As in McCulloch/Paxton Supercharger’s, who made the cars blower...

Lot #819
1949 MG TC
Hammer bid: $285,000 ($313,500)
And while awaiting the start of the featured car’s auction, the telephone rang...

Alas, I didn’t get to see what Shelby’s racing car went for... Which seems a bit of a stretch, since although Carroll did indeed capture his very first victory in Norman, Oklahoma, in this very car back in 1952, when ‘Ol Shel’s good friend Ed Wilkins loaned it to him; but it’s a BLOODY MG after all!

Thus, I had to scoure the internets to learn that Carroll Shelby’s very first race car, a 1949 MG TC, was hammered for $285,000, minus the 10% commission fee.

Yet, this wasn’t to be the auction’s #1 high bid of the weekend, as a car that I missed seeing on the telescreen; a 2006 Ford Mustang GT customized by some cat named Funkmaster Flex pipped Shelby’s MG by a scant $15 grand. (With apparently no commission fees applied)

As seven cars were sold for various charities, totaling over $655,000, including $150,000 for the 2008 Barrett-Jackson Limited Edition Shelby GT; others included a 2006 Ford Mustang modified on the television show Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex that sold for $300,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and a 2007 Dodge Charger raced by Kurt Busch for $85,000...

For a recap of the inaugural Los Wage$ spectacle, see; 2008 Barrett-Jackson las Vegas review.

And to check out all of the over-hyped, over-priced, showmanship, you may wish to check out the official website, (if you can stomach the long winded self promoting video, which has thankfully been shut off!) see; barret-Jacson.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Niceland

While some of us may be singing;
Happy Days are here again
Happy Days are here again


I’d suggest it’s hardly time to roll out the barrel... (Pun intended) as Y’all know, we’re in a world of economic hurt! Just-in-time for the upcoming Holidays, eh? And I don’t think it’ll rebound anytime soon? As the following scenario’s are playing out in the Motorsports arena, having already noted the impending merger of DEI and Ganassi/Sabates in RASSCAR, along with the news that RASSCAR has banned all testing next season, plus the current glut of driver’s on the free agency market in Indy Car’s, not to mention the most likely lower car count next season...

As it should be apparent, that when the economy goes into a tailspin, extra-curricular activities such as motor racing are usually effected, if not hard hit in justifying the multi-million dollar expenditures of running successful racing operations.

Thus, turning our attention to the world of Formula 1, I had to laugh upon catching the gimmicky ING advert that ran multiple times during the season finale in Brazil, where the crowd goes wild chanting Fernando, Fernando in the glitzy promo...

This after the Netherlands largest banking institution posted its very first loss of $500 million euros ($670m USD) since being formed in 1991, with its company roots dating back to 1743. News of the loss seemingly sparked a shares sell-off as ING’s stock price dropped 27% and is down 70%+ this year, as the banking and insurance giant will reportedly sell an 8.5% stake to the Netherlands government in order to secure up to $9b Euros of cash infusion...

Obviously ING is a big player in the world of F1, as it not only is the title sponsor of the Renault F1 team, but also sponsors several current rounds of the Formula One calendar along with substantial race track advertising.

Meanwhile, the Williams team would appear to be in an even deeper threat of financial turmoil, as various sponsors are in economic trouble, with the team relying heavily upon Iceland’s Bogger Group’s Hamleys and mydiamonds.com, RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) and Brazils’ Petrobras sponsorship.

As we’re all possibly aware of; Iceland is in current economic meltdown, as the country defaulted on its national currency and is currently seeking rescue from the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) to the tune of a $6b aid package, (can you say bailout?) which to date, hasn’t been approved as foreign banks seek repayment of current investments, while Ukraine and Hungary also are currently seeking financial aid packages from the IMF in order to stave off potential bankruptcy. Yet, Spain is currently in a major slump and the German government has just announced an $80 billion ($108b USD) financial aid package that allows for 5% to not be repaid...

Meanwhile the Royal Bank of Scotland has been taken over by the British Government in an attempt to recapitalize the Scottish bank, which has two years remaining on its sponsorship deal with Sir Frank Williams.

And lastly, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, will depart the Grove squad in favour of Honda’s Brackley based F1 team for the 2009 season, as it seeks to pursue sponsoring a young Brazilian driver in favour of Williams current driver duo.

Thus, these are just some of the current financial implications affecting just two of the current ten Formula 1 Constructors, not to mention potentially affecting Emperor Bernardo’s bank account... Nah!

Yet, while oil sponsorship may seem impenetrable in some circles, I’m sure that all major corporations are having to rethink their long term marketing plans and perhaps Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro may wish to rethink its rumoured sponsorship tie-up with Spanish bank Santander,, ci? Of course this deal was allegedly on the condition that Fredrico Suave, a.k.a. Fernando Alonso joined the Scuderia as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement, which now seems unlikely until 2011 at the earliest and thus, I’d assume the Spanish bank will continue its original contract with McLaren thru 2009...

Bernie spice

Well, I’m guessing its all over the tabloids and newswires in jolly ‘Ol England, perhaps even garnering front page status upon Rhubarb Murdoc’s The News of the World? That reportedly, Emperor Bernardo’s wife of 24yrs; Slavica Ecclestone is considering filing for divorce. And I liked Dave Despain’s spin on the topic the most; “Does anybody care?”

Yet, the reason for the big deal is the fact that the Ecclestone’s reported worth in the region of $3.5 billion is nesting in offshore bank accounts, or is that Switzerland bank accounts, etc and the majority of their assets are in her name, not to mention the company named after her SLEC, which is the umbrella organization holding the majority of the Formula 1 business organizations under Emperor Bernardo’s control...

Ecclestone’s wife leaves home

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bond-mobile for sale

On the eve of the latest bond, James Bond *007( spy-thriller action packed adventure release, I’ve stumbled upon the news that Roger Moore’s aquatic, ocean going white Lotus Esprit is to go on the auction block next month. To read more, see; Bond Lotus Esprit for sale.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ganassi throws in the towel

Continuing with the bent fenders Tin Top theme, it was announced yesterday that “The Ceapster,” a.k.a. Chip Ganassi has formed an alliance with ‘lil Ironhead’s (Dale Earnhart Jr.) most favourite motherly figure, Teresa Earnhart to form a new four car NASCAR team for the 2009 season.

DEI’s current drivers Martin Truex Jr. (#1) and Eric Almirola (#8) will be joined by Ganassi’s Juan Pablo Montoya (#42) with the fourth driver of the #41 to be named later. (Perhaps AJ Almendinger?)

The new stock car entity will be known as Earnhart Ganassi Racing and most likely run Chevrolet’s, leaving only The Captain (Roger Penske) and Gillett Evernham Motorsportswith three car stables each of Dodge’s, along with the token effort by the Boston Ventures/Petty Enterprises backmarker team.

And with the mighty struggles the Big 3 are currently facing in Motown, I’m wondering when Penske Racing will jump to Toyota and the others to either Ford or Chevy when Dodge decides to pull the plug on its NASCAR effort...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Snobyrd


Howdy Y’all... Yeah, I know it sounds like a broken record... Or should that be CD? As your humble scribe has just returned from a most pleasant trek to the “Valley of the Sun,” where not only does “Mister Jeff,” a.k.a. My name is IRL pontificate, but alas, some other heady big name racin’ type’s like Buddy “Hot Rod” Rice and Princess Danicker reside.

And NO! I did NOT go down to partake in the just recently completed RASSCAR yawn-fest at some ‘lil ‘Ol race-em track named PIR; Phoenix Int’l Raceway... Although it was suggested that I may wish to change my site’s handle to “BENT FENDERS” over all of my alleged interest in those stock car Bombers!

Yet, I did indeed ride past some ‘lil ‘Ol joint off of Interstate 10 named Firebird Raceway, where Bob Bondurant’s high performance driving school is based, enroute to check out the magnificent Kartchner Caverns.

And did you know that the Arizona Highway Patrol even pulls over “Ply-Mouth” Voyager mini-vans... As we encountered the long arm of the law in one of the numerous speed zone changes along this stretch of I-10; is it 75, 65 or 55mph now? As the constant changing of speed limits in a non-existent construction zone make for plentiful poachin’ of would-be lawbreakers...

Yet, it’s the very first time ever I’ve seen an “Ossifer” of the law amicly partake in idle chit-chat about our just concluded trip to the caverns and compare notes on Kartchner vs. Colossal Caverns... As he told us he’d most likely be giving us a warning for going 80-83mph in a 65mph zone; OOPS!

And walah, after awhile of checking our Voyager’s chauffer’s rap-sheet, we were indeed lucky and absconded back on our way towards Scottsdale with simply a warning ticket, as the five passengers spent the rest of the trip hollerin’ out every single speed limit change... “It’s 45! It’s 45! We’re in another construction zone.” So, better slow that Ply-Mouth down...

Crashing No Fenders

Once again I’m chagrined to notice the name of the latest personality to leave a comment upon the No Fenders site... As imagine my surprise to see that the commentator’s handle was Crash Gladys...

Could it really be the Speed Freaks Diva? Whale, it certainly appears so, as the comment left is in regards to Scotty “The Goose” Speed’s RIDICULOUS OUTBURST over Indy Car being BORING...

Hmm? Now explain to me why did Speed LOOSE his ride in Formula 1?
And remember; 7 out of 10 Princess Danicker fans who listen to Speed Freaks know the alphabet...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day - 2008


Imagine a time when it all began
In the dying days of a war
A weapon that would settle the score
Whoever found it first would be sure to do their worst
They always had before...
(Lyrics” RUSH; Manhattan Project, Power Windows, 1985)

Time Stands Still (2008)
Nagasaki photographs

Although I try to refrain from the topic of mainstream politics, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been voicing my opinions a little bit lately, and I’m quite happy that this will be the final Veteran’s Day under the Bush regime...

Thus, it’s hard to believe that it’s already been one year since I had those most appalling thoughts while sightseeing in Japan, now having been to both World War II Atomic Bomb sites; Hiroshima, 2004 and Nagasaki, 2007. Obviously both sites are different, yet both were civilian targets with Hiroshima being a larger city than Nagasaki. Actually Nagasaki wasn’t the primary target on that fateful day, it was a back-up target picked when Kokura was blanketed by dense clouds, obscuring the city.

With Boxcar, the second B-29 bomber assigned to carry a nuclear bomb, being low on fuel and making only one pass over the target before dropping its lethal cargo at 11:02AM. As the bomb detonated above an unsuspecting tennis court...

Thus, I suppose it’s ironic, that the Hanford Nuclear facility, here in the state of Washington, which was built in 1943 specifically for the Manhattan Project was responsible for producing the very plutonium needed for the “Fat Man” bomb...After driving from Sasebo to Nagasaki, Tanja, Albin & I hopped aboard a Tram (Street Car) and rode to a nearby Atom Bomb museum stop. The museum is of an interesting design, as we walked down a continuously spiraling carpeted walkway, into the bowels of the museum. There are several artifacts on display, beginning with pictures of the city prior to the blast. There’s a picture of an entire city street, a school, temple, farming, horses, etc. Then there’s the clock with its hands frozen at 11:02AM, retrieved from a house approx. 3 kilometers from the blast. There are several items of glass & metal that are either twisted, bent or fused together from the bomb’s massive heat. There’s even a piece of roofing you can touch, which shows the affects of the intense temperature afflicted on the ceramic tile. There’s a single wall left of the church that was destroyed in the holocaust, as well as a counterpart of the horrific plutonium core bomb of the original “Fat Man” weapon used on Nagasaki. It’s gigantic and I think it weighed 4,000 tons. Reports differ over the total effects of the atomic wasteland, as Nagasaki like Hiroshima three days earlier was pulverized. And although it was known that the bombing could instantly kill everyone within a 4 kilometer radius, the then unknown effects of radiation were not understood. As countless scores of people simply died in other towns listed as; Dying, causes other than Atomic bombing… There are several gruesome pictures of dead bodies and injured people, as Nagasaki’s population was approx. 240,000 at the impact of Fat Man. Imagine in just 30 seconds, the bombs horrifically radiant heat killed over one-fourth of the population. Another one-fourth was injured along with countless thousands left homeless! Blast damage occurred as far away as 15 kilometers, with shrapnel flying as far as 8 kilometers. The city was leveled 2.6 miles approx. (radius) with anything black catching fire up to 4 kilometers away. As all of the telephone poles left standing were charred on the side facing the blast! On display, a section of wall recovered is quite intriguing. It too was also 4 kilometers away from the blast. Yet the bombs flash and heat was so bright and hot that it fused a man’s shadow and piece of leather into the wall! There’s also the shadow of a picket fence on the wall along with the image of leaves fused into a piece of wood… Various exhibits with time lines of the history of the Manhattan Project are interspersed with other related events. There’s current day Atomic statistics, like every Nations projected nuclear arsenal with Russia listed at 16,000 weapons followed by the US at 10,000. And there’s a display listing every Nations atmospheric and underground Atom bomb tests since WWII. Yet the most chilling display to me was the current day Nuclear weapons facilities, since this included Hanford, WA. I suppose why it sent a chill up my back was because it was the only video playing in English, as person after person discussed the devastating health effects of the “Down-winders.” Ranging from damaged Thyroid’s, cancer and multiple birth defects! (40+ years after being built) Which the U.S. Government is still denying, although supposedly it has now actually admitted that it did indeed release “Mega” amounts of radioactive toxins into the surrounding environment, as Hanford is now the nation’s WORST Nuclear site, containing 53,000,000 gallons of radioactive waste; the nation’s largest amount!

Hanford was responsible for producing the majority of plutonium utilized for our nation’s 60,000+ nuclear weapons, before being decommissioned at the end of the cold war and is currently the nation’s largest toxic waste Super-fund clean-up project...Next we walked to the adjoining Peace Park, which features an elaborate display at Ground Zero, with the grass lawn being interspersed with concrete rings leading inwards to the huge 10 meter tall peace statue adorned by a black marble vault containing the names of the atomic bomb victims and survivors who died in subsequent years. A plaque gives the following statistics:

Dead: 73,884 Injured: 74,909 Sufferers: 120,820 Houses burned down: 11,574 Houses half-ruined, 5,509 Houses partly damaged 50,000
At the south end of the park is a giant flowing water fountain. This Fountain of Peace was created in 1969 giving prayer to all of the people who perished in the bombing while vainly searching for water. At the base of the fountain is a black stone plaque with Lines from a poem carved into it. They were written by a girl named Sachiko Yamaguchi, who was nine at the time of the bombing, It reads:
"I was thirsty beyond endurance. There was something oily on the surface of the water, but I wanted water so badly that I drank it just as it was."

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibit (2000)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Open Wheel Racing teams

This past Tuesday evening’s Autosport Radio Show was fairly entertaining, as it featured key members of the latest two Open Wheel Racing teams to be announced.

First up, was guest Greg Beck, current owner of Beck Motorsports and now part owner of the newly formed Indy Car operation, Team 3G; which stands for: 3 Guys. As many may already know, Beck has inked stuntman and Nationwide series competitor Stanton Barrett as his full time Indy Car driver for the 2009 season, with hopes of a possible second car to be added. Beck is also hopeful of running an Firestone Indy Lights team, being close to having at least a partial season deal for an initial car and further hopes of a second car, which could see Greg ultimately fielding four race cars after struggling to just run a lone Indy Car previously.

When asked how much it takes to run a single Indy Car effort for a full season and does the $1.3 million incentive doled out by Tony George factor in? Greg said yes, we definitely factor the money in and I’d say you can probably get away with a NO Frills, bare bones single car entry for $3.5 million for an entire season, although $5.5-6.0m would probably be more realistic a number in order to do the season correctly.

Stanton Barrett did all of the stunt work for the three Spiderman films and has a long list of credits, along with being the son of Stan Barrett, who was part of the original stunt team for Burt Reynolds Smokey and the Bandit along with Hal Needham. And I believe that Stan also did multiple work as Paul Newman’s stunt-double.

Interestingly, Greg threw out the tidbit that Stan had also been the pilot behind the controls of the Budweiser Rocket car, that controversially tried to become the first vehicle to break the sound barrier nearly three decades ago, while its top speed of 739mph was never officially recognized!
Next up, was Louis “Butch” Meyer III, who’s decided to leave his post as Firestone Indy Lights technical director after six years and form an alliance with Jim Guthrie, as the new co-owner of Guthrie/Meyer Racing. This Indy Lights team has been raiding the workforce of current champions Sam Schmidt Motorsports and features an impressive line-up of its four cars chief mechanics, which includes Mike “Groovy Baby” Meyer, son of Butch; while Butch is the grandson of the late, legendary Louis Meyer, the first driver to win the Indy 500 three times...

Rocky goes ballistic


Nope, I’m not referring’ to Rocky the Flying Squirrel going postal on his good friend Bullwinkle, nor beatin’ the buh-jesus outta the evil Boris & Natasha...

No, while Scotty “The Goose” Speed was getting me all riled up with his SMART ASS remarks, there was also a very brief interview on the Speed Freaks TV show just prior to the top of the first hour with “Scooter” piloto extreme Rocky Robinson, who’s just broken the two wheel land speed record at Bonneville by going 360.9mph...

HOLY SHEISA!

To check out a very cool video on the affair, see; Ack-Attack Streamliner

Speed claims IRL is Boring!

Yeah! That’s right, Scotty “The GOOSE” Speed, the ex-Formula 1 Scuderia Toro Rosso piloto, who was interviewed on the Speed Freaks show this past Sunday, on a number of topics; including Lewis Hamilton and Drag Racing, had the following to say when asked by Crash Gladys if we’d ever see him at the Indy 500, Speed said; “Honestly, I think it’s BORING to hold the throttle full down around Ovals.”

“The IRL is about half as competitive as NASCAR, maybe one quarter as much as F1!”
And then further blathered on ‘bout how you see Open Wheel Racing drivers getting their ARSE kicked by the Bomber piloto’s in the Roundy-round ranks...

Hey, Scotty! Look out, here comes Sam Hornish Jr. And he’s got a present for you, mate... It’s called the Bump ‘N Run! As Rubbin’ is Racin.’ And is it just me, or isn’t his team owner Deeter Majestic currently running NOT one but two F1 teams?

As I’m sure Y’all are wonderin’ what ‘Ol DC would have to say on the matter, eh? You can listen to the whole interview at the link below.

Speed on Speed Freaks

DC’s F1 Curtain call


And while Scott Speed was shooting his trap off on Speed Freaks, as you probably already know, this past weekend’s running of the Formula 1 season finale in Brazil, marked the end of F1’s elder statesman David Coulthard’s career in Grand Prix, after having made 246 starts and winning 13 races...

Thus, I think its pretty cool that DC was granted approval by all of the Formula One teams to run a special liveried white race car to mark the occasion, with the Red Bull Racing chassis not only celebrating David’s final Grand Prix, but paying homage to DC’s charity; Wings for Life.

Although it was a bit ironic as SPEED’s Peter Winsor interviewed the Scot after his first lap accident, that DC mused” “I started my F1 career with Williams and I ended my career with Williams...” As NOT one, but both Williams-Toyota’s played pinball with Coulthard’s RBR racecar.

But as for his charity salute; Good on you, mate!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Black Panthers


So, I’ve been having a few discussions with Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen over the subject matter regarding how it seems that nobody’s broaching the topic of the colour barrier in Der Vurld der Motorsporten...

Of which I recently scribbled about in the story titled Hope, to which Mary Ellen immediately replied by saying; Lewis Hamilton’s not an African American, which indeed he’s not... As I enjoyed the Speed Freaks crew’s assessment; He’s a Black born, British World Champion! While Stat Man Caruthers also immediately corrected Kenny Sergeant when he pronounced that Lewis Hamilton was the first African American to win the Formula 1 World Championship, as Bob Varsha repeatedly commented; Do we bring the matter up? As part of the world wishes to remain colour blind, while the other half thinks it’s important to mention.

As now, that “Jaguar’s” (Hamilton_ done it! It seems that the topic is once again making the rounds, albeit just-in-time for today’s potentially historic Presidential election... Which I thouroghly expect Barack Obama to win and hence, become the nation’s very first Black President!

Brazil Post-race quotes



Lewis Hamilton (5th)
"The most dramatic race of my whole life. It's pretty much impossible to put this into words: I'm still speechless. It's been such a long journey, but I've always had the support of my family, the team, our partners and the fans. We did a fantastic job throughout the whole year and, with all the sacrifices we made, I'm so thrilled to be able to win this for everyone."
"Before it started to rain I was quite comfortable, and I was just focused on having a clean race. Then it started to drizzle and I didn't want to take any risks - but Sebastian (Vettel) got past me and I was told that I had to get back in front of him. I couldn't believe it. Then at the very last corner I managed to get past Timo (Glock) - it was just amazing."
"This was one of the toughest races of my life, if not the toughest. I was shouting, 'Do I have it? Do I have it?' on the radio. It was only when I took the chequered flag and got to Turn One that the team told me I was World Champion. I was ecstatic."

Felipe Massa (Winner)“Well, I think as Kimi said, we did everything perfect today and unfortunately it was not enough. I think we did a great championship, we had some up and downs and we paid for that and we are also paying now a little bit but racing is like that. Sometimes you just have a perfect year with so many victories, a very reliable car, and sometimes you have some ups and downs and that's racing. From one year to the other things change. That was our championship but even if we had some ups and downs I think everybody did a great job. Everybody worked really hard to achieve our goals with the heart and sometimes things don't happen in the way we want. But that's racing. That's the sport, sometimes it is a little bit different than we expect. We need to be happy with our Constructors' championship. It is very important and I am sure our President, everybody inside the team is very, very proud and very happy like me as we need to be. The second thing is we need to congratulate Lewis because he did a great championship and he scored more points than us, so he deserves to be champion. I know how to lose and I know how to win and as I said before it is another day of my life from which I am going to learn a lot. Hopefully we come back here with the title but anyway I think it is part of our experience, part of our life. I am sure everybody here, me, Fernando, Kimi, knows how tough it is to be a driver. Sometimes things are very easy and something happens you don't expect. Sometimes things are very difficult and you win without expecting, so we know a lot about that and that is another day. But as I said I am very happy and I am leaving the track with my head completely up as I think we did everything we could.”
*Source: Grandprix.com)
So, do you think Barack's opponents will be as gracious in defeat as SPEED’s Peter Winsor commended Felipe Massa for being, at the end of the Post-race press conference...

Monday, November 3, 2008

New World Order



Whale! What a truly epic nail biter the 2008 F1 Season Finale was, eh?
As a long time fan of Herr Schumacher’s, a.k.a. Michael Schumacher, the brother of “Vurld” famous Ralfanso, I’ve been a devoted Tiafosi since the German departed my previous favourite Formula One team Benetton, way back in 1995.

Thus being devoted to the Scuderia since the last BLOODY Bloke from Jolly ‘Ol England; Damon Hill finally defeated his arch nemesis “Schuey” behind the wheel of Sir Frank’s Williams-Renault, I recall having cast squared jaw “Brit” David Coulthard as one of the enemies during the Schumacher reign, (Of terror?) while “Jense” (Button) was touted as the new British hope upon his arrival in Formula 1.

Yet, nobody could be the unrivaled mastery of the German, who as we all know, went on to capture a record setting seven F1 Driver’s World Championships, along with helping his two respective teams to capture a total of seven Constructor’s titles, while obliterating the rest of the Grand Prix record book...

And since 2002, I’ve fondly thought of the phrase; “Immer Ferrari,” when Mary Ellen asked the neighboring “huns” at the Nurburgring who’d they’d root for after Schuey had retired. And believe me, I’m NO talent spotter, but the driver that most garnered my attention was a very young 21yr old Fin, by the name of Kimi Raikkonen way back in 2001 when he made his rookie debut driving for Peter Sauber’s privateer outfit. Thus, it was logical that I’d take up rooting for the Iceman when he somewhat acrimoniously took over Michael’s seat at the Scuderia for the ’07 season, which miraculously saw Kimi go on to become World Champion in Brazil by the narrowest of margins.

Another driver “pick” of mine, was the mercurial Brazilian Felipe Massa, having also been suitably impressed by his driving at Sauber, then going off to become a Ferrari test driver before returning for a second stint at the Hinwil based outfit and then picked as Schumacher’s teammate at Ferrari for ’06, when “Rubino” left to challenge for the title with Honda.

And although we didn’t get to have any free crème soda’s while exiting the media center that hot July afternoon, (Danny) one of the coolest things in regards to Felipe, was getting to watch him taking part in the live interview at Indianapolis in ’06, when via close circuit TV, we got to witness the top three post race interviewee’s talking live in their native tongue’s, as race winner Michael Schumacher prattled on in Deutch, with Felipe in Portugese and third place Giancarlo Fisichella in Italian.

Thus, I’ve been facing a bit of a dilemma during the past few races, as in being torn between Massa and Lewis Hamilton, who may not be my favourite piloto, but is one HELL of a driver, as I’d have to say, that since Kimi seems to have gone a bit off the boil this season, I’ve been kind of rooting for Felipe after having resigned myself to the fact that Raikkonen wasn’t going to be a title contender. And I’m still quite puzzled to how Massa has been able to so thoroughly dominate the Finn this year, as the Iceman was once considered the fastest gun on the track...

But, I’ve enjoyed watching how all of these drivers have developed, as I recall vividly how Kimi learned how to do the Schuey “Squeeze,” after Michael had forced him wide at Magny Cours in ’02 enroute to his record tying fifth World Championship, as Kimi would return the favour to Juan Pablo Montoya, while young “Louise Jaguar” Hamilton, seems to have learned similar lessons this season.

So, why am I blathering on about this? Well I found it most amazing that I actually felt “gutted” when I thought Massa had won the title in the most improbable circumstances, as I had decided that I’d really enjoy seeing not one, but two Blacks win their respective contests this year... And thus remarkably, while in all senses of logic, should have been euphoric over the perceived triumph of Massa, I burst out a few expletives at the telescreen instead! Thinking Lewis had thrown it all away once again...

And thus, I was even more spellbound when it was announced that it was the young Messer Hamilton who’d be named the 2008 F1 Driver’s Champion instead, having come out of nowhere in the appalling conditions to grab the title by the single point that he’d given away last year!

Congratulations Lewis!
Hamilton is World Champion

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Brazil F1 Finale

Well, it’s now almost over... As the 2008 Formula 1 season finale will take place tomorrow in san Paulo, Brazil. Will Felipe Massa or Lewis Hamilton be crowned World Champion? Will Fredrico Suave (Alonso) slam into his arch nemesis Hamilton? Will it rain? Will it be Rubino’s” last Formula One start? Will Jarno Trulli score Toyota’s very first F1 victory?

These are just some of the questions inquiring minds wanna know! So, tune in tomorrow...

Qualifying Results

Row 1
Pole: F. Massa; 2. J. Trulli

Row 2
3. K. Raikkonen; 4. L. Hamilton

Row 3
5. H. Kovalainen; 6. F. Alonso

Row 4
7. S. Vettel; 8. N. Heidfeld

Row 5
9. S. Bourdais; 10. T. Glock