Thursday, January 29, 2009


Yeah, I know it’s NOT racing related... But then again, several Indy Car *Starz* live in the Valley of the Sun... Most notably Princess Danicker, whom according to Danny B; her racy Go Daddy Super bowl adverts have already been leaked to the public via le internets.

Also having family ‘N friends there I’d like to see the Arizona Cardinals WIN this year’s Super bowl on account of two reasons...

1. No Fenders logo Artiste Dave (Who’s been a life long Arizona Cardinals fan, even when there were only 19,000 fans during the hot days of summer at Sun Devil Stadium...) was kicked off of his school bus several moons ago for telling his fellow riders that Pittsburg*H* SUCKS!
(OOPS”! Was just informed that ‘duh *H* in Pittsburgh is silent just like duh H in Herbs... So it’s a good thin I’m a mimmber of duh Wurd Botcherer’s Club, eh?)

2. the Steelers defeated our beloved Seahawks in a very questionably officiated Superbowl, which we still contest that the Hawks won; thus PittsburgH still SUCKS!

And having just learned of fellow blogger My Name is IRL’s affliction for the USA Today, here’s a few related stories with potentially more then 200 words apiece...

A son shines while father glows, works

Grim reality, NFL's fantasy worlds apart

Student-of-the-game Card is acing all tests

Rolex 24 Postscript

Whale, by now I’m sure you’re all aware of how this year’s Rolex 24 nail biter ended, with David Donohue piloting the #58 Brumos Porsche, holding off a (whimpering) Juan Pablo Montoya by a scant 0.167 seconds! Hey Juan; Get Over It! You really don’t think you can go undefeated at Daytona Beach indefinitely, eh?

And I was glad to spot Too Much Racing’s Twiter, Tweeter, Err Twitter post proclaiming that Grand Am’s “Live” Timing & Scoring for this year’s Rolex 24 wasn’t working... Since I was beginning to wonder why in the HELL I couldn’t make it work either... As I was trying to get the scoop upon Car #88...

Farnbacher Loles Racing Hour 18 report:
“The No. 88 Porsche was a solid seventh in class, driven by Steve Johnson, Dave Lacey, Robert Nearn, James Sofronas and Richard Westbrook.”

Yet, while riveted to the Telescreen, I was able to learn Robert Nearn’s #88 Farnbacher Loles RacingPorsche 911GT3 Cup racecar was in 7th place in the GT class at the 18hr mark – and was holding station at the 21+ hour mark... And that one of his co-drivers is an ex “Dancin’ pardoner, as I seem to recall Robert sharing driving duties previously with Steve Johnson, an ex-NFL Dallas Cowboys Tight End, while racing for Synergy Racing in the ALMS... As the No. 88 soldiered home to 15th place Overall and 7th in the GT Class...

So, I was quite elated at the turn-out of a most nail biting finish... As I’ve previously stated that I was rooting for the #58 Brumos Porsche... Since I’d wanted David Donohue to cap a win on the 40th Anniversary of his father’s victory and Buddy “Hot Rod” Rice definitely deserved a Rolex timepiece after just having been most likely dumped from his D “N R Indy Car ride, eh? And as much as I like Scott Pruett, it was nice to see somebody else win the big race after TCGR’s three year lockout...

Daytona 24hrs race report

Rolex 24 Results

Aston Martin on the prowl

While many had been holding out hope that Aston Martin’s current head honcho David Richards would indeed purchase the assets of the declining Honda F1 operation... Richards has decided that in this continuing global economic crisis that he will instead focus his company’s efforts upon a return to Circuit de la Sarthe this June instead, as Aston Martin will build a brand new LMP1 V-12 petrol powered challenger to go head to head with Audi’s R15TDI’s and Peugeot’s AP908’s turbo diesel’s in this summer’s 24 Heurs du Mans Sports car classic.

Aston Martin will return to Le Mans with two striking Gulf Oil livered challengers upon the 50th Anniversary of the firm’s victory in France, when Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori were victorious behind the wheel of a DBR1, as the David Brown Racing entries gave Aston a 1-2 sweep in 1959.

Richards Prodrive organization is no stranger to the top step of the podium at Le Mans, having scored multiple GT class victories, including the last two years with his DBR9 and the step up to the Prototype ranks will be in collaboration with Lola, as plans call for his key driver nucleus to consist of expanding upon the efforts of last year’s Privateer entry campaigned by Charouz Racing System, as Antoin Charouz will join the works efforts, with his 2008 teammates Stefan Mucke and Tomas Enge as co-drivers. Aston will also retain the services of Darren Turner, adding Harold Primat to the mix with a final driver to be named later...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Versus limbering up for ’09 IRL season

Whale... Although the verdicts still out upon the forthcoming Versus Indy Car TV coverage, I’m assuming by now Y’all have heard of the Versus Indy Car “Talking Heads” stellar line-up, with two of my favourites having made the cut: Bob Jenkins and Jon Beekhuis.

Versus announces Indy Car Broadcast line-up
And like Mr. CHiP’s (Chris) Estrada of Indy Racing Revolution, along with many others, I too received the IRL press release mass email from Arni, supposedly containing the new Indy Car “teaser” adverts played this past weekend. Unfortunately, I too was unable to download these and was busy watching the Rolex 24, so I didn’t have a chance to view the 11 second spots...

Yet, versus has already scored a line drive with Mwah... Upon the heads-up from No Fenders reader Too Much Racing whom alerted me to the fact that the comca$t owned channel would indeed be providing us with a 30mins daily highlights package of Dakar race action, which I’ve been unable to check out in previous years after SPEED pulled the plug upon this TV segment, so I’m already impressed by Versus and we haven’t even gotten to the meat ‘N the sandwich... A.k.a. 2009 Indy Car racing!

Monday, January 26, 2009

IMS Revs up for Centennial

I’ve just received a very cool email from IMS Communications, with a link to their Centennial website, having been given the go-ahead to knock myself out with any video links I’d like to post... (Danny!)

The series features video clips and historical IMS photos including Indianapolis 500 legends A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Gordon Johncock and many more. New videos and photos will appear daily, Monday through Friday, until the Centennial Era Gala on Friday, Feb. 27 in downtown Indianapolis...

Kudos Paul!

IMS Centennial Era Moments

UOWWBA: Weekly Questions

Whale, I’m still basking in the glow of Sunny Arizona, although I must confess there’s been an overly large amount of the bright yellow thingy up here in Seattle since my return, which seems most out of place after our previous winter storm of ’08, as last nights forcast called for another dusting of SNOW... But I digress...

And thus, I’m still trying to figure out which day to work the weekly United Open Wheel Word Butcherer’s Association (UOWWBA) question into the No Fenders weekly rotation as well as playing Ketsup with the previous items, as Joel asks the tough questions – And I try to answer.

Pop goes the Driver
(Hypothetical Question)
If Ryan Hunter-Reay or Justin Wilson were offered a full-time seat at the newly rumored Pacific Coast Motorsports/Rubicon racing team, should they take the ride or hold out and hope for a ride with Rahal, N/H/L, or Penske?

In this uncertain time of sponsorship dollars, I’d think it would be prudent to grab any potential ride that is a reasonable offer as the chances of another Penske seat becoming available is now certainly no longer an option, as well as it appears that Newman Haas Lanigan will potentially take either The Hamburgular (Bourdais) or Bad Bobby D (Doornbos) who would appear to be in the driver’s seat since he’s actually got dinero to spend!

And although Ryan “The Dude” Hunter-Reay would most likely wish to return to Rahal Lettermen Racing, I’d think it was most paramount for him to land an Indy Car ride, thus taking whatever decent opportunities are available.

Hell, why couldn’t Justin Wilson wind-up at RHR instead? Although I’m still a bit perplexed why KV Racing Technology isn’t giving the British “Big Unit” a glance? As Paul Tracy is the rumoured target.

Then again how come Servia’s name isn’t being mentioned and is it really possible that Tony George won’t scrounge into his pockets and field a second car for “Quattro” (AJ Foyt IV) on his own team? Or perhaps dump Quattro in favour of Justin? Yet it seems that Team 3G is being completely left out of the equation, since they’ve been rumoured to be putting together a two car effort? Not to mention the open seat at HVM Racing... And then there’s always Dale Coyne Racing, which could potentially see the unlikely tag team of “Whiney-bags” and Mr. Chrome Horn with sponsorship from Monster... Now all we’d need is some sort of Monster Truck tie-in, eh?

Aw, its just like the Good ‘Ol Dazes of As the Chump Car Vurld Series Turns!

Tastes Great vs. Less Filling?
Is the prominence of foreign drivers in the league hurting the IRL?

Obviously, that Is the short answer to this somewhat loaded question. Thus without getting into any great dissertations on Foreign vs. Home Grown talent, suffice it to say, this is simply a fact of life. If Y’all will recall; ‘lil Napoleon set up his liddle racing sandbox to be made up primarily of American drivers racing around in circles... Hmm? ‘Dat sounds a bit like somme-thung called RASSCAR! Although the IRL has had a steady stream of foreign (paying) drivers since its inception; Hell, I bet Y’all don’t even recall that it had Nissan engines to begin with, eh?

And like its predecessor CART, there have always been foreign drivers and there ALWAYS WILL BE! As long as mega amounts of dinero are required to compete in the higher echelons of motor racing, as I wonder how many of you were fans of BLOODY NIGE, EMMO, Alex Zanardi, JPM, etc.

No, to me the question isn’t the nationality of drivers, it’s the total lack of attention from our mainstream corporate entities who’ve all been smitten to plunk down millions upon the perceived “Good ‘Ol Boyzs” turnin’ left in Roundy-round, which due to Tony George’s arrogance, sucked the lifeblood out of Open Wheel Racing!

Ironically the split is 50-50 on top name drivers currently seeking rides in the IRL (excluding Paul Tracy) with AJ Foyt IV, Ryan Hunter Reay, Oriel Servia and Justin Wilson all wandering around the garages of Gasoline Alley... And that’s not including Jay Howard, Alex Lloyd or Tomas “Rock-em, Sock-em” Scheckter... With no word on Milka Duno or Townsend Bell’s return to Dreyer & Reinbold this season, thus putting the score of currently unemployed drivers at 7-3 Foreigners vs. Americano’s...

Well, Ok, looks like the tide has shifted a bit once again with D & R’s announcement of hiring Britain’s Mike Conway, which would seem to leave Buddy Rice out in the cold, but it now appears that the N/H/L seat may be up for grabs again with rumours claiming that The Hamburgular will retain his ride at Scuderia Toro Rosso... and the Pacific Coast Motorsports gig may not include Mario “Boom-Boom” Dominguez?

And after all... Weren’t we all Foreigners to begin with?

So, two down – One to go, as I’m now partially up to date, along with taking suggestions for which day I should post “My Take” on the weekly UOWWBA question. So as Derrick Daly would say; “Hold onto your Holly-hocks!”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rolex 24 nail biter


I’ve just finished the second of two dazes veggin’ in front of le Telescreen... Gorging myself on the crown jewel of Grand Am, the Daytona 24hr endurance race, which was a real barn burner, as I haven’t been that “Jazzed” over a race since last season’s Formula 1 finale at San Paulo!

Thus, the coverage began on the RASSCAR channel, more commonly known as FOX, with a 30min. pre-race bantering, as I was unaware of the fact that David Donohue’s snatching of pole position in the #58 Brumos Riley/Porsche Daytona Prototype (DP) came upon the 40th Anniversary of his late, great father Mark Donohue’s pole... Before the elder Donohue went onto victory for somebody known as “The Captain,” while just a few of the tidbits Mwah gleamed from the 16hrs of television coverage... Was the rumour that Ferrari is potentially working upon a V-8 powerplant suitable for DP competition... That would be cool, eh? And there were two Ferrari F430 Challenge cars in the race, with Max Papis at the keyboard of one entry.

And Chris Neville did a fascinating piece about the monstrous tyre programme Pirelli goes thru in order to supply the entire Grand Am grid, as tires come into the Pirelli compound and are immediately scanned for their bar code... As there’s a total of 75 tire buster’s (runners) bringing the black rubber to 70 awaiting tire changers in the Italian booth, where there’s 3,000 rain tires on hand. Not to mention the 7,000 “slick” tires, for a total of 10,000 black doughnuts... Of which every team is allowed a maximum of 30 sets for the entire race week, while this massive tonnage of black rubber constituted 15 semi-trailers. And when the race is in the thick of competition, the Pirelli boys can crank out 60 sets of tires per hour! But let’s not forget that somebody has to pick-up the tire bill, which will set back each team owner $60,000 per vehicle... So, I’ll let you do the math for the TRG & Farnbacher Loles Racing five car armadas.

And two of the best quips of the weekend both centered around “The Cheepster’s” (Chip Ganassi) unprecedented attempt of capturing four consecutive overall Rolex 24 victories.

So Chip, how do you prepare your team to run in the 13+ hours of dark at Daytona? “Turn out the lights!”

And Dario Franchitti reflecting upon why his boss Chip went back to a three driver line-up per car vs. last year’s four... Well I think Chip want’s his own watch... Since they only hand out four per winning car and Chip didn’t get to have one last year...

Thus, it was amazing to turn on the tellie this morning and see the top four DP’s running nose to tail with just over two hours remaining, as Buddy Rice went no holds barred on passing the Iron man, a.k.a. Scott Pruett, whom Kyle Petty reckoned was the Mark Martin of Grand Am competition... He just keep’s getting younger and better each year... With the TCGR Boys getting Juan Pablo Montoya out ahead of the #58 Brumos car with 1hr 46min. remaining... As I began screaming at the TV; C’mon Garcia! C’mon Garcia! C’mon Garcia! Get Juan, as I really wanted to see the Brumos car win for several reasons... Like the Donohue Anniversary, the Buddy “Hot Rod” Rice connection, Brumos NOT having won a race since 2003, etc.

And thus with 53mins left, under record caution flag #24, Garcia handed off to David Donohue, the sole driver change made by the top four entries during the races final pit stop. And I sat with all four fingers crossed yelling GO DAVID! For the last 38mins, after he’d skillfully passed JPM... And then with 5mins remaining Donohue was told to ignore the dashboards various alarm bells going off! And on the white flag lap he was instructed to switch over to reserve on his fuel, as his co-driver Darren Law had been victimized by running out of fuel at Montreal last year 20’ shy of the chequered flag, while MAC Montoya continued breathing down his gearbox and neck literally...

Oh, by the way... Do you know the trivia answer to what is David Donohue’s connection to the Pacific Northwest?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rolex 24: 2009 race commences this weekend

YIPEE! Its finaly time to kick off the new year’s racing season whit the 47th running of the 24hrs of Daytona endurance race. (Saturday - Sunday)

As previously noted in Grand Am tests at Daytona, there will be the usual plethora of “Big Names,” with RASSCAR and Indy Car drivers aplenty, along with a personal favourite, as Robert Nearn is set to take part once again.

This year Robert’s with the Farnbacher Loles team, aboard the #88 car in the GT category. (Porsche 911) And according to Robert: The test went well – “We actually ended up 2nd in the final session and the car ran with no problems. We should be able to qualify in the top 6 so we are in good shape for the race.”

So be sure to check out all of the racing action which kicks off on FOX at 3PM Eastern Saturday before switching over to SPEED at 4:30PM Eastern...

Also, you may wish to check out the following story that describes the abundance of Racer Blog’s SPEED will conduct this weekend...
Interestingly, as one of the two Porsche GT teams sporting 5 car armada’s, as The Racers Group (TRG) battles against Farnbacher Loles Racing, (FLR) it was the little car that could that swept to the GT pole position instead, with the #70 Speedsource Mazda RX-8 of Sylvain Tremblay starting 20th overall.

Andy Lally scored first blood for TRG, by putting his #67 Porsche 911 second on the GT grid, (21st Overall) while the highest qualifying FLR Porsche was the #85 with Wolf Henzler behind the wheel. (4th in class; 24th Overall) This is the same Farnbacher Loles entry that will race for charity, racking up laps for the Children's Tumor Foundation this weekend. And if you’re wondering where the #88 of Robert Nearn lined-up... Their Porsche slotted into P37 (Overall) as apparently it suffered from set-up issues, which are now reportedly cured, as Richard Westbrook will be taking the green flag Saturday...

Rolex 24 Starting Grid

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Conway signs with D & R

Mike Conway has signed to drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in this year’s upcoming Indy Racing League Championship, thus becoming the series third confirmed rookie driver, as the 25yr old “Brit” joins “Rafa,” a.k.a. Raphael Matos and Stanton Barrett.

And like that ‘Ol Sesame Street song; which one of these doesn’t look like the other? The signing of the ex-GP2 contestant puts into doubt the return of either one or two of last year’s Piloto’s, as its unclear whom of last seasons triumberant of Townsend Bell, Milka Duno or Buddy Rice will be Conway’s teammate... Although I’d guess that “Hot Rod” (Rice) may be out of a ride? Yet its worth noting that Conway was originally hopeful of landing a seat as Dan Wheldon’s teammate at Panther Racing...

Monster Jam fatality

Somehow I suspect this will not make the SPEED Monster Jam highlights reel... As a six year old boy was killed Friday night in the Tacoma Dome during the Monster Jam weekend...

6yr old boy dies at Monster Jam

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Willy T. speaks out

This past Sunday night on the Speed Freaks, they hosted an all Black theme in deference to today’s inauguration of Barack Obama... Featuring drivers Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Lester and Antron Brown, along with musician John Butcher, with Willy T being first up and was a great interview, continuously calling out RASSCAR for its lack of diversity, as well as making a brilliant comment regarding his comparison between motor racing and skeet shooting; “Well, nobody can pull a plug wire when you’re skeet shooting.” This was followed up later by a great one-liner remark about Bernie Ecclestone, thus I strongly suggest you check it out...

Miller Time: An Interview with Robin Miller

Whale I must say that I feel a bit like a big game hunter... Having previously seen pressdog’s interview with the irrepressible Robin Miller last year, whom apparently Jeff of My Name is IRL is a HUGE FAN ‘O, amongst others... I sought to obtain my own “exclusive” interview from OWR’s leading curmudgeon.

Having sought this interview from Robin, we’ve exchanged several emails regarding the matter, thus some of my questions have become a tad bit dated, but nevertheless here’s what Robin had to say on January 5th, just prior to my going to Arizona to visit this year’s just completed 38th Annual Barrett-Jackson auction.

Tomaso (T)But seriously, one of my favourite parts of your stchick on Dave Despain’s Wind Tunnel show is the segment affectionately known as; HELL Yes or BS! Would you care to play another round here?

T)1. Paul Tracy will have a full time ride in Indy Car next year?

Robin Miller (RM)Not unless AGR or George come to their senses or PT hits the Power Ball. Talked to him yesterday, (Jan. 4) he's got nothing. Very sad, he's 40 and has been worth the price of admission his whole career, he deserves a farewell tour in a good car. My answer: No.

2. Portland will return to the Indy Car calendar in 2010?

RM: It's got an outside chance but I think Cleveland, Birmingham and a street race in Nashville are the leading contenders. I've received a bunch of email in my weekly Mailbag from Oregon fans who want it back but it's probably going to take a major title sponsor or getting back with the Rose Festival like the good old days.

T)3. Justin Wilson will race for Newman Haas Lanigan in ’09?

Doesn't look like it. Paul Newman and Carl Haas spent their own money the past few years on two cars and it's possible Robert Doornbos could bring a sponsor to be Rahal's teammate but I think Justin has the inside line at Penske.

(Tomaso: Obviously this answer was before Penske announced Will Power’s signing and now the scuttlebutt is that the Hamburgular, a.k.a. Bourdais will return to N/H/L in ’09)
4. Derrick Walker will purchase the assets of Roth Racing and campaign the Mansell Bros. next year in Indy Car?

RM: No and no. Derrick's got plenty of assets, he just needs money and sponsors. The Mansell boys are going sports car racing where they belong.

T)5. Will an “Up ‘N Comer” USAC Silver/Gold Crown Dirt Car driver contest the Indy 500 in the near future?

RM: There's a project going on right now that could get Cole Whitt or Brad Sweet or maybe Tracy Hines to the Indy 500 but I can't talk about it yet because it's a work in progress. I'd love to see Dave Darland or Jerry Coons Jr. get a shot as well but if any of these guys gets a ride it will be a great story and a long shot.

6. Formula 1 will return to Indy in 2010?

RM: I said it was coming back in 2009 so what do I know? But, yes, I think it will be back, proving Bernie and Max haven't run everybody off by then.

T)7. Will we see three engine manufacturers competing in IndyCars in 2011, i.e.; Honda, Porsche and Alfa Romeo?

RM: You'll see Audi join Honda but not Porsche and maybe Alfa. At least that's what I've been reporting for the past couple months.

8. Davey Hamilton will contest next year’s Indy 500?

RM: If he gets Hewlet Packard as his sponsor again, yes.

(Obligatory Danica question)
9. Will Princess Danicker win another race for AGR?

RM: I think she can but it's going to have to be an oval.

T) And speaking’ of Ye ‘Ol Windbag, a.k.a. Dave Despain, besides getting his coffee, how long have you known him; and any funny Despain stories to share?

RM: I met Dave in the late '60s when he was the AMA PR man and I was covering the motorcycles on the Mile at the Fairgrounds. I guess my best story is when he was trying to make it as a flat tracker and they were at DuQuoin one day. It was real rough and dusty and Gene Romero, the national champion, told the officials he wasn't going to go out and bust his ass getting the track in shape. He pointed to Despain and said: "Send out the novices, they don't know any different." He still laughs about that.

T) “VUKIE” called Castroneves, Hulio... Which I’m sure is NOT new. Besides Hulio, Princess and Graham Rahal, what other “Big” name potential Indy Car stars do you see on the horizon?

RM: I think Ryan Hunter-Reay given a good car and maybe somebody like a Jonathan Summerton if somebody gives him a chance. Derek Daly's kid obviously has a world of potential and he's an American just like Summerton.

T) You mentioned how if ‘Ol PT doesn’t race in Canada next year, Toronto will have a hard time selling tickets. But Tracy’s getting a bit long in the tooth and “TAG:” (Alex Tagliani) isn’t exactly a spring chicken, while Andrew Ranger was given the boot. Does Canada have any future Open Wheel talent on the horizon?

RM: Not sure about any young Canadians but PT showed last year at Vancouver (Edmonton) he can still peddle and Tags also turned in some dandy runs. Ranger had plenty of potential but no backing.

T) What do you think about Robert Wickens, James Hinchcliffe and Kevin Lacroix, along with John Edwards, Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden, and Connor Daily? Will any of them wind-up in IndyCars?

RM: Like I said earlier, you would hope some of these kids get rides but Alex Lloyd, Jay Howard and Jonathan Bomarito all have talent and nobody is knocking down their door.

T) Do you think Formula Atlantic, nee Toyota Atlantics should be absorbed into the Indy Lights series?

RM: No, I think they should run together at the IRL races just like they did in CART's heydays.

T) What do you think about the current crop of females in the Indy Lights Championship; Ana Beatriz, Cyndi Allemann and Christina Orr, along with newcomer Pippa Mann?

RM: Beatriz seems to have some ability and she made some nifty passes last year, on ovals and road courses. Don't know much about the others.

T) Do you think “Bia” (Beatriz) can win the 2009 Indy Lights title and when will Ana make her debut in an Indy Car?

RM: If Andre Ribeiro (her agent and former Penske driver) can find her money, sure.

T) Was your start in 1969 at the Indy Star newspaper your very first professional Journalism job, or had you done something similar previous? How did you get your start in Journalism?

RM: I was 18 and answering the score phones at The Star when a couple guys got drunk on their lunch hour and didn't come back to take the football games. I begged the sports editor to let me help and he really didn't have any other alternatives. So I took some games on the phone and never left the sports department for 33 years until the Gannett Nazis took over.

T) I read that you think the Indy Star is the last place to go for any worthwhile motorsports news, yet you began your career there and stayed for over three decades... So there must have been something worthwhile besides the free Indy 500 tickets?

RM: I hired Curt Cavin in the mid-80s because he was enthusiastic and hungry and wanted to learn about motorsports. But I'm afraid he's gotten real lazy in the past few years and Steve Ballard is a nice guy and a good feature writer but between the two of them the only real story they've broken in the last few years was unification in 2005. Oh yeah, it didn't happen then did it? What bothers me is that their Friday notebook is nothing more than a lot of press releases and seldom to they use it to tell us anything we don't already know.

T) Although you claim to mostly shy away from Blogs, albeit Press Dog, do you think that blogging is a viable way to garner a new, youthful, potential Open Wheel Racing fan base?

RM: Hell I don't know, I just think the internet and blogs in general have ruined reporting and journalism.

T) In closing, I’d really like to thank you for granting me this (long winded) interview, is there anything else you’d like to say?

RM: Thank god I got to be on Indy 500 crews in the '70s and race USAC midgets and stooge for Jim Hurtubise and watch Parnelli, AJ, JR and Mario in the '60s. And thank god for Dick Wallen's videos so I can always watch racing when it meant something. And I'm thankful I got to cover Indy in those days when it meant something to make the race...

Monday, January 19, 2009

BMW Sauber up next

Before tomorrows BMW Sauber unveiling, the team's YouTube channel is giving an exclusive insight into the F1.09, which is still a closely guarded secret. The first sneak preview went online just a few minutes ago and this video is titled:

Titel: BMW Sauber F1.09 - The countdown is on. (Part 1/3)

This will be followed by another video at 10:00 CET tomorrow, before the video of the actual unveiling of the car goes online at 10:00 CET on Tuesday...

Kudos to Andreas for sending me the Youtube link

Ferrari launches F60

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has once again beaten their Formula 1 brethren to the punch in the spate of upcoming 2009 F1 launches, when the team debuted the F60 at Mugello on January 12th, as the launch was originally intended for Fiorano, which was blanketed in snow.

Felipe Massa was given the honours of taking the F60 out for its debut laps, as Ferrari has chosen to christen its 2009 challenger the F60, in deference to its continuous 60yrs of participating in the modern F1 Championship.

Massa was quoted as saying it reminded him of an F3 chassis as the racecar is much more diminutive then the previous F2008...

Launch notes

F60 Technical Specs

Toyota TF109

The Colone based Toyota F1 team chose to take the less traditional route towards being the second Formula 1 Constructor to launch its twenty-oh-nine challenger, by presenting the TF109 via le internets.

And while skipping the mandatory “Launchspeak,” its worth noting that Toyota has secured a new three year contract with title sponsor Panasonic along with a new major sponsorship deal with Re/Max’s European subsidiary...

Launch notes

McLaren MP4-24

Keeping in the theme of being different, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes debuted its brand new MP4-24 race car at its Woking factory on January 16th. The 2009 challenger sports the Number 1 plate for Lewis Hamilton along with the numerous mandatory rules changes for the upcoming season.

Also of note, The Ronster, a.k.a Ron Dennis will step down from his long held position of Team Principle effective March 1st, with Martin Whitmarsh inheriting the position while Dennis will focus upon other company priorities...

Launch notes

Friday, January 16, 2009

Desert Oasis

So in case you haven’t figured out my latest scribblin’s theme... I’ve been enjoying the above average climate of Arizona... Having trekked to the Valley of the Sun; My Gawd! What’s that bright yellow stuff was all I could vacillate as the Airbus A320 banked right on final approach as everybody on the left side of the Aeroplane quickly yanked their window shades down... Hey! Leave them up; I wanna see that bright stuff, you know? I believe that it’s most commonly known as the Sun! Something that is most fleeting up here in the Pacific Northwest... As we’re currently ensconced in dense fog with a low temp. of 32 deg. f, after having spent the past week in low 70’s; But I digress...

Thus my excuse for traveling to Arizona was to partake in the 38th Annual Barrett-Jackson auction, of which I’d never been too... And it was pretty damn cool! With an overly staggering display of automobiles awaiting their fate upon the auctioneering gang plank, as it seems pretty funny to see so many pristine vehicles sitting parked in either the dirt or grass of the mammoth grounds of Westworld...

With the only strike AGAINST the event being the ABSURDITY of the two F%%KING Rent-a-cops judiciously positioned in front of two large garbage cans and stopping everyone leaving the event and telling us it was VERBOTTEN to take our OVERPRICED water off of the premises that we’d all paid for from the show’s “Approved” vendors... Thus we were detained until throwing away our aqua which seems overly STUPID in such an arid state, eh?

And although perhaps some of you are growing a bit tired of my look upon the world of fendered vehicles; alas, I’ll provide a quick show report shortly... While also trying to play Ketsup upon the world of motor racing, as I see that The Captain has obtained the services of Will Power, while Ferrari and Toyota have launched their twenty-oh-nine challengers and Dakar Rally leader Carlos Sainz has thrown away his lead upon rolling over into a ravine, not to mention having missed the past weeks Open Wheel Word Butcherer’s question of the week...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The missing Daytona

This is a story I stumbled upon a very long time ago, but still rather amusing, as it pertains to the discovery of one of the BADDEST American racing cars ever produced!

Missing Daytona Coupe Found!
In case you haven't heard, the missing Daytona Coupe was recently discovered in Southern California. As far as Shelby cars and history, this is unquestionably the most significant discovery ever. The car appears to be completely intact and untouched for over 20 years!
This Coupe (CSX2287) was the prototype car and the only Coupe constructed in the USA. The other 5 Coupes were shipped to Italy where the bodies were built by hand and installed on modified 289 roadster chassis. CSX2287 was raced many times in Europe as a Shelby team car during the 1964 and 1965 seasons. In its final competition appearance it set several land speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats with Craig Breedlove behind the wheel.
After changing hands a few times, CSX2287 landed in the custody of a reclusive woman in the mid-1970's. At that point the woman and the Coupe vanished and became the object of many futile searches by Shelby fanatics......until now.
Scott Hirose
(Source: NVSAAC: Nevada Shelby American Auto Club)
Missing Daytona Coupe Found

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The 50 Worst Cars?

NO Comments from the peanut gallery... As for some strange reason, I’ve always liked this car... Perhaps because it’s Italian, much unloved and lambasted by the motoring press? Hmm? In that case, I’m assuming that there’s plenty ‘O space for FIAT here, eh? What did that stand for once again? Oh Yeah! Fix It Again Tony...

1984 Maserati Biturbo
"Biturbo" is, of course, Italian for "expensive junk." At least, it is now, after Maserati tried to pass off this bitter heartbreak-on-wheels as a proper grand touring sedan. The Biturbo was the product of a desperate, under-funded company circling the drain of bankruptcy, and it shows. Everything that could leak, burn, snap or rupture did so with the regularity of the Anvil Chorus. The collected service advisories would look like the Gutenberg Bible. The only greater ignominy was the early 1990s Maserati TC, a version of the Chrysler Le Baron (a flaccid, front-drive, four-cylinder loser-mobile) with the proud Mazzer Trident on the nose. Finally, sir, have you no shame?”

Then again, its hard to believe that its almost a quarter of a century now, that this much maligned chariot first arrived, since its also the same year as one of my all time favourite Ferrari’s was launched... Better known as the 288 GTO!

Thus, while hunting for trivia upon the source of this story, i.e.; the Maserati Biturbo, I ran across the following link, which I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not this list is all it’s kracked-up to be?

50 Worst Cars of All Time

WOW! Even some hot shot whipper snapper named Tanner Foust has just been seen on a re-run of SPEED’s Supercars Exposed throwin’ down on the much maligned Mauser Biturbo; calling it Maserati’s ugliest car and then making fun of it, as a warmed over Rosso Biturbo is seen first being crushed and then grinded up into tiny recyclable bits at a junkyard. OUCH!

Who is Tanner Foust?

Ugly Duckling

“HOW many workers did it take to build a Trabant?
Two — one to fold and one to paste.”

“How do you double the value of a Trabant?
Fill its gas tank.”

“How do you measure a Trabant’s acceleration?
With a diary.”

So, these are just a few of the jokes that have apparently floated around in regards to the much unloved Trabant over the years. And I’m not sure which is worse? The Yugo or the Trabant, as I’ll leave it up to you to make the call! As for some odd reason, recently the New York Times published a bevy of articles upon the most maligned former Eastern Bloc “People’s Car,” As the Trabant seemingly is a icon of the mostly forgotten Eastern Bloc society, before some ‘Ol Coot demanded that some great wall be torn down...

Where have they gone?

Red Menace

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rare “Byrd’s” different fates

With the now traditional frenzy of New Year car auctions in the Valley of the Sun just around the corner, as SPEED will soon be beaming 437hrs of “live,” riveting and spellbinding coverage of the 38th annual Barret-Jackson auction, in which your humble scribe is off to spectate. Alas, it seems only fitting that a few tales ‘O lore regarding lost classic timepieces are making the headlines...

France wants le Automobile returned
Interestingly, a local Seattle Classic Car collector seemingly has found himself in somewhat “Hot water” with the French Government upon the discovery that he’d absconded with one of their nation’s prized possessions... As the 1919 Turcat-Mery wound up in the hands of Charles Morse.

Apparently the Turcat-Mery was once the pride ‘N joy of a descendant of the royal Bourbon dynasty and thus has been deemed a national treasure of France, although it mysteriously made its way to the Netherlands before coming to Seattle and only its public showings at the Pebble Beach’s Concours de Elegance helped bring the vehicles whereabouts to the French governments attention, as Mr. Morse is willing to return it to France as long as he’s reimbursed his $927,500 He’s shelled out for this classic automobile...

Seattle classic-car buff losing prize to France

Rare 1937 Bugatti found
Amazingly, I had two people tell me about the same automobile discovery this past Saturday whilst attending a family gathering, as it indeed is most rare to hear of another extraordinary “Barn-find,” as perhaps you’ve caught wind of the exceedingly rare 1937 Bugatti just unearthed in a British garage...

And although its whereabouts were reportedly known, the Bugatti Type 57 with Atalante coachwork has sat idle for some 45+ years, with its owner having parked the vehicle in the early 1960’s.

Making the Bugatti Atalante, of which only 17 were ever produced even more valuable is its impeccable history, having originally been owned by Earl Howe, a prominent British race car driver whom won the 1931 24 Heurs du Mans along with being co-founder of the British Racing Drivers Club and is virtually intact in its original condition with all of its original equipment...

More on rare Bugatti Barn Find

Monday, January 5, 2009

UOWWBA: Marco Andretti re-signs

Marco Andretti re-signed with AGR for the 2009 season a few weeks ago but this begs a question that has been asked many times: Does Marco Andretti improve or hurt his teammates at Andretti Green Racing?

I really don’t know how to answer this question... Is Marco the best driver out there currently available? Will he and Danica Patrick continue their High School shenanigans? Will Marco win another race soon? Will he challenge for this year’s championship? Should he have waited to sign with Roger Penske? Obviously only time will tell, as it’ll be interesting to see if Hideki Mutoh outperforms him or not this season, as I’d currently rate Marco as either the number 2 or 3 driver at Andretti Green Racing, with Dan-Dan-Danicker bringing up the rear... As I’d have to rate Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Oriel Servia ahead of him in driver talent, but hey, what are yuh gonna do when you’re the bosses son, eh?

Grand Am tests at Daytona

Anticipating another classic race around the clock, the majority of Grand Am teams will complete three days of testing at Daytona Beach, today, with the usual suspects towards the top of the time sheets.

As previously mentioned, Roger Penske has switched from his duo of Porsche factory backed RS Spyder’s in the ALMS to a single Riley/Porsche Daytona Prototype, which ended up fourth on the time charts during the opening days testing, with Ryan Briscoe, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas behind the wheel, as apparently Penske will only be fielding a single entry for this year’s contest with no sighting of Curt Busch or “Hulio Castro-nervous” on the premises, while approx. 52 challengers took part in the test session.

On Sunday, “The Captain,” a.k.a. Roger Penske showed up at Daytona and confirmed he’d only be running a single car in this year’s Rolex 24, while Dumas set the fastest time of the third session on Day 2.

Chip Ganassi’s championship winning squad is looking for an unprecedented fourth consecutive overall Rolex 24 victory, along with the victor’s matching Rolex chronograph time piece. As “The Cheepster” (Ganassi) will once again return with a Telmex Riley/ Daytona Prototype with Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and “MAC” (Juan Pablo) Montoya at the controls, whilst TCGR’s second entry, featuring its stable of Open Wheel Racing stars Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Alex Lloyd took to the track on Sunday and were fastest in the middle of three practice sessions with Dixon behind the wheel.

Indy Car driver Buddy “Hot Rod” Rice was part of the Brumos Porsche DP driving strength along with David Donohue and Darren Law who wound up third fastest on Day 1.

Meanwhile perennial title challenger Wayne Taylor has switched from Pontiac power to the ever improving Ford lumps, which Michael Shank Racing (MSR) has put to good use in the past. Thus, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Taylor’s entry Was fifth quickest on Day 1 of testing, while the MSR Daytona Prototype piloted by Michael Valiante once again headed the timesheets, with Valiante’s co-drivers including AJ Allmendinger, John Pew and Ian James. MSR’s second entry posted the third quick time during one of Sunday’s practice sessions, as “OZ;” Oswaldo Negri Jr, will be partnered with Ryan “The Dude” Hunter-Reay, Colin Braun and Mark Patterson.

Other Sunday runners included Darren “Danger Mouse” Manning, Kyle Petty & Leo Hindery Jr. aboard the Orbit Racing BMW Riley, whilst ex-Indy Car drivers Ryan Dalziel and Tomas Enge, were making hay with co-drivers Chapman Ducote and Carlos de Quesada, behind the wheel of their Alegra Motorsports BMW Riley.

Showing up fashionably late was three time RASSCAR Champ-pee-on Jimmy Johnson, who’ll once again be contesting the Rolex 24 alongside Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy VASSER, ABOARD THE No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.

And wait! We cannot forget to mention Princess, who having just paid the $196 Arizona speeding ticket has apparently decided to seek some compensation by deciding to be part of the new Childress-Howard Pontiac/Crawford DP line-up, which lead driver Andy Wallace had a tire let go at 194mph during the day’s first testing session.

No word on whether or not Dan-Dan-Danicker was issued any further citations on her way to Florida...

In the GT ranks, Kevin Buckler’s TRG effort will field an armada of five Porsche 911GT3 Cup race cars, with five Porsche factory drivers including Patrick Long as part of the driving strength, while reigning GT champions Banner Engineering returns with its potent Pontiac GPXR’s and the always quick Mazda RX-8’s will be seeking a repeat GT class victory.

So who will win this year’s Rolex 24? Tune into FOX/SPEED TV on January 24th, as the race kicks off on FOX at 3PM Eastern time before switching over to SPEED for the remainder of TV coverage beginning at 4:30PM Eastern, with the Rolex’s being doled out on Jan. 25...

The Dakar returns

After being cancelled in 2008 due to fears of potential terrorists, the world’s most daunting rally event returns, albeit on a different continent, having moved from Africa to South America.

Having completed their scrutineering checks, the 710 European racing and support vehicles, (approx.) along with Administrative and Media vehicles were prepared to see a massive 820 vehicle armada loaded upon the 'Grande Benelux,' in the Le Havre harbour, on December 1st, in preparations to sail to Zarate, the Argentinean capital, where the remaining competition vehicles will ultimately undergo final scrutineering between December 31 – January 1.

The rally will start and end in Buenos Aires and includes Robby Gordon once again competing under his Team Dakar USA banner aboard his trusty Hummer, soon to possibly be a collector’s item?

And I hope that Robby Gordoun does better then his website... As I was gonna throw in the link to Team Dakar USA, but after twice being serenaded by Safari theme music I had multiple script errors which locked up my confuzer screen, so I gave up!

While the Volkswagen “Works” team armada will flex its muscles as it tries to finally be victorious in this most demanding event, which will see competitors racing from the scorching heat of the South American summer to the frigid heights of the Andes Mountains twice, while trying to unseat the reigning Mitsubishi stalwarts. But don’t expect any TV coverage of the Dakar, which will rampage thru Argentina and Chile January 3-18 stateside, as SPEED is too busy airing mega bloc’s “O Pinks, Unique Whipes and Hot Import Nights...

Dakar Stage 1 report

Friday, January 2, 2009

F1 Launch Fever

Whale, it’s almost that time again... Although I’d assume this year’s Formula 1 Launch parties will be somewhat subdued in spite of the current economic situation, as some F1 teams will simply debut their new (interim) 2009 challengers at upcoming test sessions, while others will host traditional launches, with apparently the Heavy Hitters all launching in January, whilst others will wait until February? Thus, here’s what’s been speculated upon so far.

January 15
Ferrari: fiorano Test Track - launch
Toyota: Pictures made public

January 16
McLaren: Woking Factory - Launch

January 19
Renault: Portugal – Test Session
Williams: Portugal – Test Session

January 20
BMW Sauber: Valencia – Test Session

Force India
Red Bull Racing
Scuderia Toro Rosso

And perhaps a further team to be named later, nee Honda F1’s decision to pull out of Formula 1!