Friday, February 27, 2009

It’s Comcastic

Whale, I suppose I just met the Karmic Whip again... After having spouted off about my overpriced cable TV provider this morning... As I decided to go to the store for some refreshments and was quite taken aback as I stepped thru the automatic sliding double glass doors and at the very last second noticed that there was a wooden ladder parked directly in the main aisles walkway... Whoa Nellie, that was close, eh? As apparently my only saving grace was having decided to bring somebody’s grocery cart inside the store...

Having successfully navigated the ladder, I was next blocked by some ‘Ol Codger who was oblivious to my trying to get by; Blah-blah-blah...

And after I noticed the errant grocery employee immediately come along after me and move the ladder. Hmm? A bemusing smirk came to my face as I thought to myself how some Corporate entity is really missing the boat in the IRL right now with EJ” What, Me Worry?” Viso’s decision to switch over to the lucky No. 13... As I’ know I’m not the first to notice this, but I mean C’mon, can’t you just picture the Putnam Rolling Ladder Co., Stanley Tools, Ace, True Value or even Genie Garage Doors jumping upon this marketing bonanza... Or even better yet, how about the Eveready 9V as a primary sponsor... I tell yuh, the possibilities are endless here, eh? Oh and how ironic; another mindless Comcast commercial is blarin’ in the background... Only our low-low-low introductory price ‘O $19.99 for the first six months, and what’s ‘dat? Dare’s RASSCAR the whole day today on duh SPEED channel...

Du-Du’in duh comca$t shuffle

So, have you ever had a Clark Griswold day where you feel like you’re at Wally World?
Yeah I know this is frivolous... BUTT! Although I Believe, that the switch to versus will be worthwhile for us Open Wheel Racing fans... So far I’m NOT the least bit impressed by my local affiliate office of the company that owns them...

You see, comca$t has been trying to get me to switch over to Diige-It-TULL for the past few years now... As I made the mistake once of being suckered by them and having the “Freebee” Digital Coercion box mailed to me, of which I DON’T FRILLIN’ WANT!!! And thus I ended up paying $5 to mail it back to them... (Smooth move, eh?)

You see, after witnessing Aunty Harriet trying to work the darn blasted new fangled remote... As you’ve gotta go way up high and then work your way all the way down to 13... Hello? Hello? Oh, that’s NOT the telephone, is it?
Thus, being visually impaired, I’m EXTREMELY content with my Universal Remote with nice medium size buttons that’s very simple to operate during channel surfing, etc. As why does every new blasted device have to be smaller ‘N smaller? So call me Old School, but the equipment I already have works quite nicely for Mwah!

BUTT NO-OOOOOOhhhhhh!!! Thanxs to duh “Gubbernment” we gotta switch over to Diige-It-TULL immediately, whale I think so, I mean isn’t that happening February 17th? So after watching the Telescreen’s “Homey” comca$t commercials assuring me that I wouldn’t have to do ANYTHING for the upcoming changeover the last six months... Imagine my surprise when on the evening of Feb. 16th I received an automated phone call from comca$t informing me that in about 4hrs I’d be LOSING all of my channels above 30... WTF? As I won’t even begin telling you the story about being forced to drop my DISH TV service and sign-up for the flippin’ comca$t service... As the ONLY reason I went back to comca$t was in order to receive the SPEED channel, which yep, you guessed it is #33 on my dial, with #34 being Versus... ACK!

So, I turned to the channels on the intended brownout day and wall-lah nothing had happened and all channels were intact so SHEISA! What in the HELL is going on, eh?

Then the real fun begins... On Wednesday I received another phone call from comca$t; this time from a live person asking me if I’d gotten the memo about my service changes? Yeah – but everything’s’ still hunky dory; well Sir, I’m afraid you’ll be losing all of your “Preferred” Sports channels unless you act immediately and take us up on our special one time offer... Of which you’ll now need a Diige-It-TULL converter to receive these channels as (FUCKING!) comca$t has decided that to remain upon basic cable you’ll only be receiving a limited number of channels, i.e.; 20 or get with the program bubbah! SHEISA! (And pay the HIGHER FEES!) Would you like me to mail out one of our self installation kits?

NO! I’m visually impaired and will NOT be able to install the BLOODY F’ in Box, so how ‘bout sending out one of your friendly neighborhood helpers your commercials always talk about instead? Sir, I have NO idea what you’re talking about, but I can schedule you an appointment for a Technician to come out and install this... Fine; ok Sir, that’ll be $9.99, say what? Why in the BLOODY HELL should I have to pay to have a box I do NOT want but am being force to get due to your corporate policies... Well, Sir; do you have any friends? NO! Ok, well I cannot do anything about your dispute on the charge but would you like me to set up an appointment? Yes; Fine, go ahead please. Ok there will be a Technician coming out to install your converter next Tuesday (NO Hamburger jokes here...) between 8AM-Noon. Please feel free to call the following 1-888# I’ll give you to discuss this matter further.

So, the next morning I call the phone number and an automated voice say’s Hi, I’m ready to activate your new account... BUTT I don’t have any FRILLIN’ new account to activate, I just wanna speak to a customer representative... So I play the game of NOT answering any of the prompts hoping to get a live person eventually? Sir-Sir; how may I help you? I tell the first lady my issue and she asks if I may hold while she directs my call elsewhere... (Isn’t this where you magically get dumped while listening to the groovy musak?) Ok Sir, I’m transferring you to Sales, please stay on the line... Go ahead Amanda. Sir, how may I help you? So I explain my dilemma in regards to not wishing to have to pay for something I didn’t want in the first place... Uhm? Do you mind holding one moment Sir? Ok, I’m going to transfer you to somebody else that can help you with your problema... Really, Honest!

Hello, this is Dave; may I have your name, rank, serial number and shoe size please? Dave’s Not here right now... Open the door, its Dave... (Ro-Ro; Cheech ‘N Chong flashback ‘dare, eh?)

So, I tell Dave for the third time what I think STINKS... Whale Sir what number did you call? When did you call it? Ok Sir, I can write a 10-473-996/86PDS to credit your account and then schedule an appointment for a Technician to come out and perform the service... But I already have an appointment; You do? Yes it’s for Tuesday and now I’m rally-rally-rally hunkerin’ for a hamburger today! NO Sir! There are absolutely NO records of any appointment in our system...

BUTT! We have just mailed you out via UPS the self install Diige-It-TULL converter box... So, let me get you a different number to call when your box arrives and then you can set up an appointment!


All I want is my SPEED channel! (And Versus, although I suspect I’ll end up listening to qualifying via the IMS Radio Network) And is this all going to occur prior to the April 30th transition date that comca$t has imposed? (In order to keep their hugely INFLATED bottom line in the upper stratosphere!) Oh yes Sir, it’ll take NO time at all to schedule your appointment and have somebody come out and install your shiny new box... Is there anything else I can do to help you Sir? (Schedule the FRILLIN” appointment now? Oh yeah, that’s right, Dave’s NOT home right now...)

So, in case you haven’t figured out? I’m really looking forward to joining this Digital Revolution... Sure hope the leap is worth it, eh? And where in the HELL is my Diige-It-TULL conversion bailout, huh? Say, has anybody seen my remote? And what’s ‘dat? There’s gonna be a Princess Dan-Dan-Danicker special on Versus on March 7th...

Can you hear me now?Do you want Fries with that? And where’s the Beef?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Role reversal?

Whale this morning us Sleepless Seattleite’s awoke to the sight of GASP! SNOW... As it was a frigid 31deg f with light snow falling, snow flurries today and a balmy high of 42f forecasted. Meanwhile in Tony g’s backyard it was 47deg f with light fog and a 37 degree (Low) and 55 (High) forecasted with rain... Hmm? That weather forecast seems a bit backwards to me.

And speaking of role reversals, the second and final day of testing at Homestead saw Ryan Briscoe in his No. 6 Penske supplant Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Ganassi at the top of the time sheets, with Marco Andretti aboard his No. 26 AGR racecar taking the tests final podium slot. Thus, while awaiting the snow to dissipate... For more test speeds check out 16th and Georgetown’s report; and notice whose numbers 16-17 respectively. Although I don’t believe there was any towel throwing, glove slapping, Chihuahua yapping or Pit lane stomping occurring, eh? As after all this was just a test session for Milka and thus the No. 23 NHLR Hand Towels could not be officially debuted...

Homestead Test Breakdown

Indy Cars sold in Arizona

While the majority of the Indy Car teams are hightailing it back to their respective race shops after having just visited Homestead, and hopefully won’t suffer any Hi-jinx’s on there way back... I thought I’d take a moment and ramble on ‘bout a few Old IRL mounts that recently crossed the block at Barret Jackson this past January. As Miguel and I (mostly me) were rubber neckin’ over the few ‘Ol Timers IRL chassis on the West world grounds, I couldn’t discern any lot numbers or any other identifying features towards the history of these racecars. Since my trek to the Valley of the Sun, I’ve received my ’09 Barrett-Jackson catalog from AZ Bureau Chief Mary Jane, which ironically did NOT shed any clues upon the un-numbered Indy Cars up for sale either... Yet, fortunately she also grabbed a supplementary brochure titled The GM Offering which basically listed all of General Motor’s Heritage Collection offerings up for grabs and finally provided me with the clues towards the unknown Indy Car offerings, which I’ve been pestering Jeff about, since I’m not an Indy Racing League aficionado... Having been a CART/Champ Car guy instead and thus I know very little about the 1996-2007 era of Tony George’s Open Wheel circus...(Other then I’ll always think of that ominous era as the This is your Brain: CART vs. This is your Brain on Ovals: IRL!” as one feverish CART supporter’s T-Shirt proclaimed.)

Racing cars at Barrett Jackson

Lot No. # Team Engine Sponsor Description
1357 4 Panther Racing Chevrolet Pennzoil IRL Show Car*
1586 4 Panther Racing Chevrolet Pennzoil IRL Show Car
1588 - Unknown Oldsmobile Aurora None IRL Cut-away Car
1604 5 Unknown Oldsmobile Aurora None IRL Cut-away Car
1607 8 Cadillac Cadillac Northstar --- ALMS LMP1 Race Car
(* = Post 9/11 w/American Flag on engine cowling)

And here’s what Jeff of My Name is IRL had to say... (Lot#) “1604 Sunday Oldsmobile/Aurora IRL Cut-away car: $38,500. Holy smokes, I think this was Arie Luyendyk's Indy winner from '97. Possibly a different car from that year though.” Thanks for the help Jeff; as “Now its all clear as mud on a rainy day!” As the Chevy-esqe theme makes sense as all of the Chevy race cars were part of the GM Heritage Collection as noted above. And if any of you IRL soothsayers wish to chime in upon the aforementioned Indy Car chassis, please feel free to leave a comment...

GM Racing Cars
Lot No. Day Chassis Description Total Price
1357 Saturday Panther/Chevy IRL Show car $53,900
1586 Sunday Panther/Chevy IRL Show car $18,700
1588 Sunday Oldsmobile/Aurora IRL Cut-away car $18,700
1604 Sunday Oldsmobile/Aurora IRL Cut-away car $38,500
1604 Sunday Cadillac ALMS LMP1 Race car $159,500
(Total Price includes 10% Buyer Commission)

Aye Karumba! As I sure don’t know what makes up the difference in prices between two equal looking show cars/cut-away chassis...

Hmm? Wonder if any of these were snapped up by any Indy Racing League teams as spare part mules? Or even better yet, conversion for this years upcoming Spectali? Nah, I doubt it...

Now back to the weather channel, eh? Where I hear it’s a toasty 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the Valley of the Sun, where some dude name Tiger’s hangin’ out this week...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the wall

Whale perhaps it’s just me, but isn’t it ironic? That on two Rally-Rally-Rally Big News Dazes... First being the Princess Danicker show Up North, eh? And then the House ‘O Winsor briefing, there was also some dude by the name of Obama busy holding court. Coincidence? As Peter Winsor even made a soft jab about the President bailing out the USGP...

And while perhaps Y’all are in a lather frettin’ over the latest testing times from Homestead, I for one have been way too DAMN busy in order to write anything overly clever on the matter, as the off season testing in formula 1 is fondly known as the “Winter Olympics,” rarely shedding any light upon whom will be the following seasons winners. So can anyone really take too much meaningful out of the IRL’s very first test day? Besides; YAWN! The Ganassi and Penske cars were atop the time sheets. Thus I suggest you check out the Open Wheel Word Botcherer’s Association instead for a plethora of Homestead coverage...

United Open Wheel Word Butchers Association

Homestead Day One times

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Indy race car Stolen

And I thought it was bad enough that Clay Bennett STOLE our Beloved Sonics... But talk about starting the new season off on a bummer... As apparently USAC Silver Crown team owner Eugene Nolen had his #20 Dirt Car stolen upon his way towards the series kick-off event in Arizona.

The 2005 white Ford F350 hauler and matching white 48’ Gooseneck trailer; both with Indiana plates and race car inside were stolen from a Red Roofs Inn in Oklahoma City on February 16th and therefore driver Shane Hollingsworthwas unable to compete at theManzanita Speedway season opener, while Nolen is doubtful if he’ll be able to continue competing as his race car was uninsured...

Race car’s theft slows Indianapolis businessman’s passion

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bobsledder makes good

Perhaps you’re wunderin’ why I’m scribblin’ about bobsledding... Whale, after all it is winter, eh? And this piece, albeit from Jeffy’s favourite fish wrap; the USA Today was of keen interest to me, since I’m a visually impaired hack. (NO, nuttin’ to due with my Vurd Botherin’ skeels which have been finley honed over duh years...)

You see... (Pun intended!) I was unaware of the fact that TEAM USA’s best bobsledding hope for medal contention is also visually impaired, as Steven Holcomb, who at 28yrs old has recently had experimental eye surgery in order to save his diminishing eyesight, as he suffers from keratoconus, and his 20/500 vision could no longer be corrected with contacts, while apparently he cannot use prescription glasses while driving... As I’m guessing this has something to do with fogging?

For USA, bobsledding world title in sight
Having voiced his concerns to Brian Shimer; Team USA’s Bobsledding Director, Shimer had no idea just how bad Holcomb’s vision was.

Brian Shimer:
“I think he's gotten to where he is because he doesn't rely on eyesight as much as feel of where he needs to be,"

"Things happen so fast that vision isn't really clear a lot of times anyway. … People would come down, and they'd be complaining about the fog or the snow. You'd ask Steve, and he'd go, 'I don't know what they're talking about. It was fine for me.' "

After consulting with Dr. Scott Stoll, a former bobsledder turned doctor, Shimer subsequently told Holcomb about a new surgery where contacts are implanted behind the irises. Although the surgery could potentially lead to future blindness, Holcomb was willing to take the risk...

I especially enjoy the part about now having to use a scuffed ‘N dirty face shield to limit his new crystal clear (HD) vision as he’s seeing competitor’s sled tracks on course for the very first time!
Holcomb takes Bronze in New York “World’s”

Virgin to the rescue?

As the clock continues ticking down on the impending 2009 Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne, there’s been a flurry of rumours flying about le internets over the current state of the Honda F1 team.

Speculation has suggested just about everything (minus the kitchen sink) including Carlos Slim buying the team, Brazilian Oil money, Bruno Senna being signed, etc. As the perceived notion was that having missed Honda’s Jan. 31st deadline for deals; Nick Frye and Ross Brawn were leading a management buyout of the team from parent company Honda...

Yet, apparently at the eleventh hour, a new bidder has entered the fray, which will potentially see Richard Branson and his Virgin Group outbidding Frye & Brawn’s deal, as even Emperor Bernardo has publicly welcomed Branson’s addition to the F1 circus, claiming he’ll do whatever possible to get hold of Virgin’s money!

And although some pundits are pondering the advantages of Virgin joining the Formula 1 paddock, consider that departing F1 sponsor ING has reported a global marketing presence up tick of 16% during its tenure in the sport, while Branson may be keen to use the sport to his advantage to market his Virgin Fuels, a company targeting commercial aircraft biofuel production, or simply draw brand attention overall and ultimately make a profit upon a future sale-off of the team? (Not to mention perhaps potential write-off?)

The interesting part of this deal if true, is whom will lead the Technical aspect of the operation, as scuttlebutt has linked David Richards in the deal, while reputedly Branson’s next door neighbor and friend is some bloke named Adrian Reynard... Thus would this make Ross Brawn the odd man out? Or just send Nick Frye packing...

Friday, February 20, 2009

USF1 countdown

Perhaps you’ve heard the news about a new United States Formula 1 team in the making... As the team shrewdly used the name Danica to create publicity surrounding its impending launch

According to the teams website:, something “Rally-Rally-Rally” Big will be happening in 04 Days; 04 Hours; 56 Minutes; 23 Seconds: as there’s a countdown clock upon the homepage for what I can only assume is the teams’ official launching, occurring on SPEED TV February 24th.

As the website now proclaims the launch will occur at 1300, *how European, eh?) As I’ll ASS-Sume that’s Eastern Time... Although according to my TV listings, currently there’s AMA Motorcycle racing from Atlanta at 10AM (Pacific) and Chop-Cut-Rebuild; 1PM PDT, (Hmm? Sound’s like a good title for this year’s IRL season, eh?) With NO mention of this upon SPEEDTV.Com’s Formula 1 section...


According to Wind Tunnel which Peter Winsor co-hosted, the announcement will be at 12 Noon. (ET) And I'll leave it up to Y'all to find it either via le internets or the Telescreen...

For humorous takes upon the Toronto Autoshow scene from Up North, Eh? (Princess Danicker gawkin’) Check out “Kuh-Nuck” Bloghead's The Other side & So Here’s what I’m Thinking, along with Pressdog for the latest BUZZ upon Princess Danicker being flattered by the USF1 team...

I have just received the following information regarding my inquiry towards the upcoming USF1 “Lauch” promo this coming Tuesday:

I’m afraid you are mis-informed: this is not a “gala presentation” but a live TV show in which Ken Anderson and I will be talking publicly for the first time about our team and our future in F1. You can download and watch the show from

We will in the course of the year be achieving several milestones – moving into our new building, hiring our drivers, announcing our engine partner, etc – so log on to for all further information.

Best regards
Peter Windsor

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rotterdam time?

“As I was walking down the street one day;
A man came up to me and asked me what the time;was that was on my watch, yeah;
And I said;
Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care...”
(Does anybody know what time it is? Lyrics by Chicago)
Don’t know if you’ve heard ‘bout Bad Bobby D’s “Really-Really-Really Big” announcement yesterday... Uhm? Or is that perhaps today? As our expert resident IRL super-sleuth Jeff of My Name is IRL has a very funny piece about Robert Doornbos’s impending seat fitting at the once almighty Newman Haas Lanigan Racing team...

As Bad Bobby d’s (translate this page) claims that we’ll all know of his plans yesterday and it’ll be worth the wait... Yet apparently Jeff didn’t get the memo, as he really meant Thursday in Rotterdam. Let’s see, when the big hand is on the twelve...

Yet, I believe... That Bad Bobby D will gladly pay you a Big Mac today for a story on Thursday - Eh, Jeffy?

And contrary to popular belief that “Milk ‘N Doughnuts” (You shoulda trademarked ‘dat Danny! As I heard Robin Miller usin’ it Sunday night on wind Tunnel...) is apparently awaiting the outcome of some Caracas election results verification... Err, perhaps awaiting for N/H/L's woefully out-of-date website to be revised? I mean C‘Mon, they’re probably using the same crappy win-DOUGH’s software as the rest of us?

Actually, I believe perhaps there simply waiting for the ink to dry on the teams new Double Zero (#00) hand towels... since Milka-duh-licious will potentially go thru a large Qty. of 'dem this upcoming season... (Sheez, at least it ain’t duh Princess we’re talkin’ bout now, eh?)
UPDATE:“Bad Bobby D.” and N/H/L Racing have just confirmed (FINALY!) Doornbos’s addition to the team for the upcoming 2009 Indy Car season and Robert will make his Oval debut during the upcoming Homestead test session. Now all we need is for Milka to be announced, eh?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Danica this... It’s working!


Please DON’T even get me started on this terrible hyperbole ‘bout Princess Dan-Dan-Danicker going to Formula 1... (I mean HELL! She can’t even race in A1GP!) Although I feel like I’m doin’ the Tony Stewart shuffle here, as he retorted to a fellow media member as “Rocket Scientist” after just having crashed into fellow Hoosier & Teammate Ryan Newman during the big race’s final warm-up... As Stewart said he wasn’t even gonna talk ‘bout Goodyear NO more and then repeated the Akron rubber giant’s name 47 more times... But I digress.

Although I like the majority of the Blogger’s comments toward this subject, i.e.; “Danica + F1 = DUMB! Formula 1 races on the tellie at OH-DARK-30 and How do you say "Go Daddy" in Hungarian?”

I’d just like to point out one issue making its way around the Blogosphere in regards to the potentially new US F1 team that will apparently be launched via the SPEED channel on February 24th.

In regards to the “Paltry” $64 million annual operating budget; NOT to be cornfuzed with the $64m question... The reason behind this number, along with the 100 member staffing level is that this is predicated upon what FIA Whipping boy Sir maXXum, nee MAD Max Mosley is currently seeking in his proposed cost containment scheme he’s trying to get implemented for the 2010 season. As this is in the hopes of attracting new teams into the sport which currently has two vacancies on the allowable grid maximum of 12 Constructor’s, barring Honda’s demise...

Bringing down the F1 Budgets
Yet, this amount of money and manpower seems to be doing exactly what Max wants, as in they’re pandering to the FIA’s Dreamscape of teams running upon $65m and 200 staff. But with the upper echelon Constructor’s reportedly spending in excess of $200-400m; this will presumably be only enough capital to run a “Minnow” team at the back end of the grid in 2010... And thus, as much as I’d like to see the project come to fruition and be successful, so far it all seems to be Smoke ‘N Mirrors... (Albeit the former Minardi team under Paul Stoddart was reportedly running on a $40m budget).

Yet, I’d have to say that 16th & Georgetown seems to be on the right track in regards to potential drivers, as Ryan “The Dude” Hunter-Reay is probably the most logical candidate for one of the seats, as the other names being bantered about don’t make a lot of sense to me. (Including Princess). Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden and Scott Speed all seem to be a stretch to me, as the first two are lacking in experience, while the latter has already “Been thar – Done ‘dat!” And Speed seems to have cooked his own goose abroad... So, I’m not really sure who the drivers should be, if we’re truly seeking an All-Americana line-up. (Although I’d pay to see Kyle Busch in F1!) Hey, how about Richard Antinucci after he potentially wins this season’s Firestone Indy Lights championship.

Then again isn’t it amusing how every bodies already forgotten about how Marco Andretti was slated for a ride with Honda F1...

Monday, February 16, 2009

New season, same show

Whale, its ‘dat time again... For what is being bombarded over the airwaves as the Great Norte Americano Race... And Uhm? Isn’t there also that Greatest Spectali back home in Indiana? Hmm? Two warring entities with the greatest race in duh nation... Go figure?

Yep, one of them I’m referring to is the URGH! RASSCAR Day-toner 848k... Err, the Daytona 500 which features about 848 commercials and perhaps should be renamed the 612k this year? As once again the race consisted of a Motley Crew ‘O competitors, as there was an entertaining mix of Open wheel Stars ‘N Road Race Ringers trying to make the field along with the usual suspects.

Of the two Formula 1 refugees, MAC Montoya fared far better then Scott “Whoopee!” Speed, as Monty started 8th while Scotty “the Goose” languished in 38th.

Out of the four IRL Starz’s; Tony “Smoke-em if uze Got-em” Stewart started P5, while Sam “I Think I Am” (A RASSCAR Driver?) Hornish Jr. found himself mired in 29th. But at least he was ahead of Robby “Dirtman” Gordoun, who runn his toy-yoter from 31st. Hey Robby, it’s a good thing there’s only four manufacturer’s in RASSCAR since you’ve tried all of ‘dem now... While I didn’t even know that “Gentleman John” (Andretti) had been released from his Roth Racing contract in order to roll off from P37...

Meanwhile AJ Allmendinger drove his way into the show with ostensive help from his teammates, lining up in 20th place, while Marcos “Croc” Ambrose piloted the #47 Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox Toyota, starting 23rd. Hmm? Just heard a comic brotherly duo refer to ‘Lil Debbie as the Retarded cousin of Sarah Lee when it comes to snack foods! And Marcose will enjoy usin’ up his free supply of Kingsford while puttin’ another Shrimp on the Barbie... while ‘dat Clorox should help-em get ‘dem barbeque sauce stains outta his uni, eh?

And let’s not forget our Pacific NW “Warshintonian Homeboy’s; as Casey No. 9 Kahne rolled off 15th in his BUTT-Wiper Dodge, while The Biffster, a.k.a Greg “Bow-wow Biffle started P35. But do NOT expect a race report from Mwah! After all I’m supposed to be an Open wheel pundit!

Quote of the Weekend!
“The “racing” itself is about as exciting as watching paint dry”
So here’s what I’m Thinking

(Glad I’m NOT the ONLY one who feels that way, eh?)

Daytona’s new kids
And you know you’re desperate for some Racin’ action when you elect to watch a Campin’ Wurld Pickem-up Truck race instead of some vintage Memorex taped Open Wheel Racing, a la Formula 1 or even GASP! A really old CCWS race...

Yet, for reasons unknown, I did indeed decide to watch what will always be the Craftsman Trucks series to Mwah Friday night. And fortunately I tuned-in late as there was a hideously long pre-race segment which I missed the bulk of! But I was unaware of some of this year’s Rookie crop which includes Ricky “the GOAT” Carmichael, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Taylor Malsam.

And I still like Willy T. Ribbs comment upon Carmichael’s knickname: The Greatest of All Time, (GOAT) as Willy retorted: NO you’re NOT son! That title’s already taken... It belongs to Muhammad Ali. Although Ricky does have 15 titles and 150 wins to his credit, but I’m sure James “Bubbah” Stewart is happy to have the spotlight to himself now in Supercross.

Fitzpatrick is an unknown “KUh-naid-iun,” who’s driving for TRG. Yep, that’s the same TRG *The Racers Group) who kicked ASS in this year’s Rolex 24 GT class, with a 1-2 sweep, as apparently team owner Kevin Buckler is feeling his Roundy-round oats with a Campin’ Wurld Pickem-up truck and Sprint Cup car, that Mike Wallace was unable to make the show in.

And Malsam is another homegrown product, as he tries to become Washington’s third active RASSCAR star, since Derrick Cope will always be stuck in my mind after his improvable victory when Dale “Ironhead” Earnheart Sr. hit a Seagull in the closing laps of the race while leading! Hence, I also don’t know much about this youngster either, other then he drove the Thunder “Hydro” Truck late last season and now drive’s for Randy Moss Motorsports.

And of course “Racin’ still is Rubbin!” As it took only five laps before somebody had smacked the wall and brought out the yellow flag... And then Carmichael got tangled up in DUH Big-Juan, as the whole rear half of his Khebbie got done torn off, as the SPEED talkin’ heads nailed it saying its still got two wheels...

Yet, most impressive was Fitzpatrick’s fourth place finish, as reportedly he’s the youngest ever winner of the Canadian CASCAR series, while Malsam finished a respectable 10th.

Now somebody stop me please!

UOWWBA: Weekly Question

Many IRL drivers from last season have not been officially signed to a deal for 2009. This includes Ryan Hunter-Reay, Oriol Servia, Justin Wilson, Darren Manning, Buddy Rice, AJ Foyt IV, Bruno Junqueira, Enrique Bernoldi, Jaime Camara, Milka Duno, Townsend Bell, Mario Dominguez, and a few others. How many of these drivers will be driving in the IRL this season?

My Answer
Once again this will be fairly brief? As I find it rather silly to play Silly Season prognosticator... Although obviously I’d really like to see Justin Wilson continue on in Open Wheel Racing as he’s a proven winner and NO offense to Ryan “the Dude” Hunter-Reay; But I believe he’s got a better CV, mate. And as far as I’m aware of, (Shush Danny!) there’s only four bonafide seats available... Otay, perhaps as many as seven if all of the rumours were to happen, i.e.; Philippe Motorsports, RLR, etc.

Thus, in no particular order here are my predictions: Justin Wilson to KV Racing Technology... Sorry PT! But look for him to get a limited ride with somebody named Tony. While “Huntin’ for a Ride” will pardner EJ “Where’s my Pit Stall?” Viso at HVN.

“Suitcase” Servia will be Bruno “Whiney-bags” Junquiera’s teammate at Dale Coyne, with Enrique Bernoldi teaming up with “TAG” (Alex Tagliani) at Conquest, while Mario “Boom Boom” Dominguez will be Nelson Philippe’s dancin’ pardner. Townsend Bell will wind-up alongside D ‘N R’s new recruit Mike Conway and Milka-duh-licious will spot for Bad Bobby D and Son ‘O Stash... Oh yeah, almost forgot ‘bout Quattro, who after stickin’ his boss on the wedding guest list will get his seat back alongside Edward “F-Bombs R ‘Us” Carpentier!

Then again there’s always URGH! RASSCAR, eh? Or may be NOT!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Barrett-Jackson ’09 (Con’t)

After having spent an considerable amount of time perusing the upcoming vehicles for sale to the highest bidder, during the second Preview day (Monday) I was most curious to see the results via the Telescreen, and thus decided to drop-in both Friday & Saturday nights for extended viewing periods. (3.5+ Hours each night) Thus here’s what I jotted down as SPEED gave us an extra 30mins of coverage both nights, with the emphasis upon “Super Saturday” when all of the Really-really-Really Big sales occur, hence my notes are primarily from Saturday night...

Super Saturday’s Top 5 Sellers
No. Vehicle Price
1. 1929 Ford Tri-Motor Aeroplane $1.1m
2. 1955 Ford Thunderbird $600,000
3. 1970 Dodge Superbird $501,000
4. 2006 #24 Chevrolet racecar $500,000
5. 1996 Buick Blackhawk $475,000

The top two vehicles were sold to Arizona House builder Magnate Ron Pratt, while the ’70 Superbird was a re-creation built off of a Dodge Satellite body and finished in Richard Petty blue; selling for the extra $1k in order to beat Jeffery “Pretty Boy’s” Gordon’s race car, as both were sold for charity. The Dodge also garnered an additional $175,000 large in additional donations...

Friday; Jan. 16, 2009
My very loosely scribbled notes start off with one of my personal favourites, a 1969 BOSS 302 Mustang; Lot #979 which fell for a hammer price of $97,000. Then a 1959 Corvette “Fuelie;” (Fuel Injected) Lot #1019 was sold for a staggering $200,000!

Saturday; Jan. 17, 2009
Lot #1248, a beautifully restored Brittany Blue 1968 Shelby GT500KR was hammered away for the sum of $150,000, while Lot #1251, a 1929 Rolls Royce paled in comparison, rolling off stage for the tune of $87k,

Then there was the Dodge Superbird re-creation in “Petty Blue” and driven onstage by “The King” (Richard Petty) no less… And this was the first of several auctions which began to piss me off! As they kept stopping lead auctioneer Spanky in order to stall for time to stroke the bid higher… As now hold on Spanky, we’re even gonna throw in a Richard Petty “signature” hat; Blah-Blah-Blah! While Ron Pratt was quick to throw in an extra $100k large, as this rusted out ’70 Dodge Satellite was transformed into the killer Superbird stuffed with Ray Evernham power train and body massaged by Year One, finally rolling off stage for the amazing price of $501,000…

Next, Ron Pratt took center stage by laying down a staggering sum of $600,000 to obtain a very unique “Baby Bird.” As the Ford Thunderbird he won was the very first production 1955 T-Bird with serial #005. (The very first production Thunderbird created in late 1954)

A very small sampling of racing celebs in the house included “The R “N R Indy Car Bros.” Ryan “The Dude” Hunter-Reay and Ryan Dalziel; Err, better make that Sports Car drivers, since both are racing in the Daytona 24hrs… Hmm? Was Hunter-Reay hoping to find an Indy Car ride at the show, or simply commiserating with Buddy “Hot Rod” Rice over their potential Indy Car seats going up in smoke?

Also spotted were Gas Rhonda and John Force, as the two NHRA pilots actually raced each other for the honors of driving a Ford Mustang Comp Car on stage.

Then again, perhaps “The Dude” was checkin’ out Lot #1302, a late 1980’s Corvette, which had actually been built as a rolling test lab/prototype, featuring a built-in roll cage for high speed testing at the GM Proving Grounds, as the 1989 Corvette ZR1 “Snake skinner II” fetched a hammer price of $67,000.

A most interesting show car was up next, as Lot #1303 featured the 1996 Buick Blackhawk specifically created by GM to recognize Buick’s Centennial in 2003. And the Blackhawk went for big money, as the #5 top seller of the show at a whopping $475k! Has anybody driven a Buick lately?

Lot #1304 was a most unique automobile, as it was a rare 1947 Allard Hill Climb Special, which was the ’09 Barrett-Jackson auction catalog’s cover car, (Which will only set you back a mere $15...) Adding provenance to this eclectic vehicle was the fact that it was built specifically for Sidney Allard himself and featured “Dually” style rear wheels in order to gain extra traction, along with an Austrian built air cooled V-8. The Allard netted $185,000.

Then next up was a true modern Super car… A true beast, as this 2005 Saleen S7 was the only street (legal) car version of 15 racecars built along with 50 turbos for Homologation and this beast was a Narly 1,000bhp twin turbocharged version of the plain Jane “stock” 560bhp S7! This freakish Saleen boasts a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds along with a top speed of 250mph… Lot #1305 hammered away for $375,000.

And the hits just kept on rollin’ as Lot #1306.2 featured a ’67 Plymouth Barracuda, selling for charity and included lunch with some cat named Indiana Jones. (Harrison Ford)

And then the Barrett-Jackson show stopper, Lot #1307 wasn’t an automobile, nor in the building… As the pristine 1929 Ford Tri-motor Aeroplane replete with Pearl Harbor bullet holed parts was sold for $1.1m to you guessed it! Ron Pratt… And I thought the Housing bubble had burst?

Lot #1316 was another unique item, as GM was hoping to cause a stir by selling the number one production 2010 Camaro with the caveat of the winning bidder getting to deck out the car however they wished from the GM catalog. So it shouldn’t be surprising that “Mega” GM dealer Rick Hendrick won the bid with a price of $360,000 large.

Continuing with the re-creation/clone theme, Lot #1317 was a Shelby Eleanor Mustang, but not just any ‘Ol Eleanor ‘Stang. Nope this was 1 of 3 remaining Automatic Eleanor’s from the actual movie Gone in 60 Seconds, while it’s believed that a fleet of 11 Eleanor clones were produced for the movie. The ’67 Mustang Fastback sold for $97k.

Lot #1319 was the first 1969 BOSS 429 that I managed to notice crossing the block. As the SPEED talking heads duly noted, this BOSSes price was visibly lower then previous years, netting a paltry $190k.

Then for something different, a ’94 Porsche 911 Speedster entered the building. (Lot #1321) But this Porsche happened to formerly belong to someone by the name of Seinfeld, as in Jerry Seinfeld, who’s reportedly a hardcore Porsche-aphyle… And not content with the stock motor had Andial install a European RS-spec 911 lump in it. Also apparently Jerry didn’t have much time to drive his Porsche’s as the Speedster’s odometer noted only 9,800 miles upon it, as the ex-Seinfeld Porsche was sold for $98,000.

And it’s always funny how Barrett-Jackson gets the bulk of attention, with its massive 40hrs of live SPEED coverage, which portrays it as the ONLY auction going on... While there were three other auction companies in town: Russo & Steele, RN Auctions and Gooding & Company, with the latter selling two pristine exoticar’s for a staggering sum of $8.5 million...

’09 Gooding & Company Auction notes

One sold, one returned

Previously I scribbled about the fates of two different “Rare Byrds,” two valuable classic cars... As the 1937 Bugatti Type 57 has just been sold in Gay Paree... While the second vehicle awaits a hoped for similar fate, now that the current Seattle owner has agreed to ship the 1919 Turcat-Mery roadster back to France, since its Government had declared it a national treasure back in 1991.

As part of the settlement reached, Mr. Charles Morse (70yrs old) has agreed to ship the Turcat-Mery to France where he will either store the car permanently or hopefully sell it to another buyer under the condition that it remains in France, as Morse is hoping to recoup his $1m investment...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barrett-Jackson ‘09

Otay Race Fans! Bear with me just a little bit longer as I try to exorcise the 2009 Barrett-Jackson festiva outta my psyche... (And try to load this MONSTER file onto my "BLOB!")

But first...
Stealing the phrase out of the Saint Louis Rams playbook, I’m certain that the Barrett-Jackson folks would take kindly to being called “The Greatest Automobile Auction on Turf!”

After having seen the Auction via the Telescreen over the past several years, in which I scribbled about in Fast Cars, along with my Blogmeister Miguel having attended last year’s show... I told him; “I WANNA GO!” And thus, this was my excuse for going to Arizona this January, in order to finally see in person what all of the fuss was about.

Arriving mid-morning Monday, Miguel & I boarded the Greyhound like shuttle bus from the nearby parking lots of 10 soccer fields, which drove us towards the show after being instructed to remember; “You’re in the Offsite Red parking lot.” Offside-red light, Offside-red light, Offside-red light I repeated out loud.

Presenting our tickets we immediately entered the beginning of the massive vendor display tent, which stretches on for miles ‘N miles, as the very first display was an awesome gathering of six 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustangs parked three abreast at 45 degree angles. And these are some BAD ASS looking mother’s! All adorned with the traditional twin stripes treatment, as a few were convertibles, with the rest being coupes. (Suggested retail price of $46,000 MINUS Dealer Mark-up!) And I even got to sit behind the wheel of one convertible...

But even wilder yet was the two Shelby Mustang’s on roller’s set up for a Mano E Mano (Stoplight) drag race... As the two participants both chirped the tires in their first trial run. Then it was time to rumble as the lights went green and more rubber could be heard being laid down as the winner from New York made a quarter mile pass of 13.86 seconds @ 101mph, while the loser cut a slow time of 16.20 seconds.

While I hung out briefly next to the Black Shelby nearest the racing stage, the traditional Odor ‘du burnt rubber wafted past me inside the tent as smartly the door was locked upon the black “Stang; DAMN! So, my day was totally made and we hadn’t even looked at a single car yet. Aye Carumba! This is gonna be fun as we made our way past the Ford booth and into a long cavernous room filled with even more automobiles, not to mention boats, planes and helicopters... As I was simply blown away by the staggering display of Hennessey Performance Vehicles, with a few showroom Beasts on deck! A Narly 1,000bhp Dodge Viper, a Killer twin turbocharged Ford GT with a top speed of 240mph, a Corvette ZR1, a Freakish 2010 Camaro with ZR1 power plant and a bad ass Nissan GTR. Opposite of this was a Koenigsegg CCX from Sweden and a bright yellow 2006 Gumpert Apollo, of which I’ve never heard of... As it looks more like a race car then street car, being extremely low and wide, thus I had to marvel at myself as I pronounced how extraordinarily “Plain” the bone stock rosso Ferrari parked in the middle of the aisle looked. Crikey’s when has a Ferrari ever looked dull?
Past that poor plain Jane Ferrari was the Chevrolet display, which I’d have to say that the brand new Corvette ZR1 looks Awesome, while alongside was the 2010 Camaro. Hmm? And I thought we were in a recession? So are we now paying for the “Big 3’s” R & D costs? Thus, after marveling over the new Camaro, (Can you say 21st Century Pony car Wars?) we elected to skip the rest of the never ending vendor tent and instead go look at some of the auction-mobiles outside

We passed thru a row of Newell custom coaches and semi’s for sale, before running into the Roush/Superformance display booth. This was sweet, as a brace of Ford GT40 Replicar’s grabbed our attention. As not one but two Gulf Oil #6 winning 24 Heurs du Mans chassis stood parked, ready to race. As we got chatted up by a salesman trying to interest us in a Cobra replicar, I didn’t even notice the black #2 Ford GT40, as I was focusing upon the #98 Cobra Daytona Coupe re-creation with another cobra roadster parked alongside it.

"Make your Pony stand out with a Mustang racing stripe like the one in the picture above,"

 There were five massive tents with four rows of cars parked underneath them... As it seemed quite funny that the 150-200 vehicles approx. per tent were parked upon either grass or dirt, with some owners trying to wipe away all of the dust particulates from their respective vehicles, most notably the owner of a custom 1973 De Tomaso Pantera with a gold plated 4 cam Mustang mod motor behind the firewall... Yeah, that’s right, solid gold plated! Not to mention the paintwork.

The first two tents up for perusal, were numbers 4 & 5, as we began with tent #4 which appeared to be a “Chevy-esqe” affair as the nearest row to the outside of the tent featured a plethora of past racing cars, with the very first two sightings being past IndyCars... These two bright Pennzoil yellow No. 4 chassis turned out to both be old Panther racing cars with one adorning the name of some past Indy 500 winner... Sam Hornish Jr. While the second vehicle sported both Hornish and Tomas “Rockem Sockem” Scheckter and sporting a large American flag decal on the engine cowling, as these IRL chassis both turned out to be ex-Show cars propelled by Chevrolet V-8 lumps.

Another really cool racecar was the Cadillac ALMS Prototype which was, you guessed it! Extremely low to the ground, as Miguel noted the 2-3 inch ground clearance of the front splitter... Looking quite striking in its silver body colour, while a third IRL Indy Car was parked alongside. This was a most interesting chassis as it claimed to be a cut-away car, although completely assembled and painted white/red/black... Hmm? That reminds me of an old Honda CART paint scheme; possibly Parker Johnstone/Mike Groff? (Woah Nellie! Way back machine, eh?) As this chassis didn’t sport any car number, etc. yet, the sidepod was resplendent with the word Oldsmobile... Thus I’m assuming this racer was powered by an Oldsmobile Aurora V-8 lump. (As we never did spot the second IRL Cut-away chassis up for grabs)

There was then a small smattering of ex-Trans Am, IMSA and Off Road racecar’s for sale, including a duo of Larry Raglan Desert vehicles... And this doesn’t even include the production based cars in the tent, as the hour of high-noon fast approached we decided it was lunchtime...

(Having received my ’09 Barrett-Jackson catalog from AZ Bureau Chief Mary Jane; it finally provided me with the clues towards the unnumbered Indy Cars up for auction...)

After some high priced sandwiches, no tenderloins here bubbah; as in “Where’s the Beef?” We set off for the final three tents which held a staggering number of “Muskel-carzs.” Actually the word stimulus overload (NO! NOT Stimulus package, eh?) came to both of our lips quite frequently, as I’d say about 60/70% of all vehicles up for auction fit this genre., intertwined with a heavy dosage of 1950’s Detroit Iron... Hey look, there’s another Corvette, Mustang, GTO, ‘Cuda, etc. But don’t get me wrong, the majority were the crème of their respective marque’s past offerings and many would once again obtain six figure prices, although I just DON’T get it!

Some rarities included a small smattering of Porsche’s and Ferrari’s, although I’d guess that the Ferrari Mondial didn’t garner large dinero, while there was a beautiful 930 slant nose, along with another re-creation and a 928 on the grounds... Yet I was most entranced by a solitary 1948 Ford cab over pick-up stuffed with a 429 big block and a Boyd Coddington Quarter Midget on its flatbed. This gem would go for $75,000 on Friday night.

Then we stumbled upon the Park Place Motors Ltd booths which held sentimental value to me, since I’ve been in their store before which is located in Bellevue, WA. Walking inside the miniature showroom, a beautiful Lotus 211 was holding station alongside a trio of Spyker’s, which were all retailing for $235,000+. Outside a duo of Porsche Speedster replicar’s sat with a second Park Place display housing several top flight auto’s including another Spyker and beautiful metallic silver ’95 Ferrari 355 spider (Lot #1239.2) which sold for $88k on Saturday.

Gumpert Apollo (PBM)
Having finally looked at all five tents, we’d still not seen any of the top dollar “Super Saturday” cars, which I’m assuming were housed in the Showcase Pavilion, which houses a further 200 vehicles, that we never did manage to get too. Although we encountered a consignment tent while scouring the grounds for the Showcase Pavilion, where I’m still assuming the blue ribbon BOSS Mustang’s, Shelby’s, Cobra’s, Camaro’s, etc were hidden in... Yet, we managed to spot our very first Lambo, a Lamborghini Diablo VT roadster, while off in the distance was Robosaurus... But, while trying to work our way towards the Showcase Pavilion, we were told we couldn’t enter the tent... Why’s that? Because it’s a quarter to four! And the show closes in 15mins. Yikes! A full five hours had passed us by... And you already know about the rent-a-cop NAZI’S at the exit!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pace Cars walk the plank

Just one small slice of the numerous activities at Barrett Jackson revolved around the considerable amount of past Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pace Cars on hand for this year’s auction held at Scottsdale, AZ. (Jan. 11-18) Yet, we only managed to spot two of the many up for grabs under the numerous tents filled with vehicles: A 2008 Emerson Fittipaldi Corvette and a 1969 Camaro...

Indy Pace Cars at Barrett-Jackson

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rare Bugatti fetches big bucks

As I previously scribbled about in Rare “Byrd’s” different fates; the 1937 Bugatti Type 57 with Atalante coachwork was hammered away over the weekend at Bonhams' Retromobile car show in Paris for approximately $4.4m to an unnamed European collector, as the Bugatti has previously been stationary in a garage for 50 years, was 1 of 17 built and previously owned by noted racer Earl Howe...

Red Bull RB5

Adrian Newey’s latest creation, the Red Bull RB5 broke cover Monday at Jerez, prior to the upcoming test session, with new “Shue” Sebastian Vettel being given the honours of running the new car on its installation laps, as Mark Webber who was on hand is still recovering from his broken leg, but plans to be back in action shortly.

Vettel ran a modest 14 laps before the initial test session was halted due to rising gearbox oil temperature... Hmm? Wasn’t that one of RBR’s Achilles heels last season? Yet, interestingly the RB5 ran with its KERS system fitted, but not activated, as the team simply wished to see what the added weight characteristics were along with any potential harmonics troubles.

And like all of the new 2009 F1 challengers, I’m assuming the front nose is very flat looking, which seems to be part of the designer’s solution to clawing back aerodynamic losses due to the radical rules changes.

Look for the RB5 to run during testing this week in Jerez with both Red Bull regulars behind the wheel, alongside a quartet of their fellow competitors, while Ferrari, BMW Sauber and Toyota will go testing in Bahrain. Thus, Force India and the hoped for rebadged Honda F1 outfit are the only two teams to have not broken cover as we close in upon the season opener in Melbourne...

Sebastian Vettel:
"The guys did a fantastic job to get the car here and ready for this first run. I was happy to be driving again, but don't ask me to comment on the feel of the car as it's far too early for that. With the shakedown out of the way, we can get down to developing the car starting tomorrow and over the next few days. Stopping early today was the right decision, as you really need to understand exactly what causes any problem on a brand new car."

Launch notes

ore damaging cutback news

And ironically while Deeter Majestic’s Red Bull Racing concern is soaking up all of the PR over its new car launch, another disturbing sign of our global economic crisis has reared its ugly head with the dismissal of Austria’s premiere Formula 1 sportscaster...

Voice of Formula 1´ Heinz Prüller gets the chop

Monday, February 9, 2009

Duno ‘N the Crashers

Whale, apparently once again I’m behind on ALL ‘O le internets rumour-thon’s in regards to who’s going’ where, etc. As I’ve just learned that Danny B’s favourite driver Milka-duh-licious... (Milka Duno) is shopping for a ride with Egads! Newman Haas Lanigan... Err, this just in; Breaking News! Duno will partner with Mario “m ‘N m” Moraes, as the KV Racing Technology team will now be fondly known as the Melts in your Hands team, with Mr. Chrome Horn, a.k.a Paul Tracy fillin’ in during the month ‘O May... So that’ll be three, count-em three large M’s at the revamped MMM Motorsports... As in Milka, m ‘N m and Monster!

(NAH! Just Joshin’ Y’all!)

Yet, I recently commented to one esteemed scribe Up North, Eh? As a long time CART/Champ Car fan... I’d say for the final four years of the series lamented fate (2003-07) I fondly referred to the off, nee pre-season: As duh Chump Carzs Vurld Turns... As we’d routinely go up to the very week of the season opener without knowing who’d be making the race or how many teams/drivers would participate. I mean Crikey’s mates... Can you count how many cars look the same as last year’s?

And although the Champ Car World Series (CCWS) was contractually obligated to running 18 cars per race, I seem to recall that the final season’s tally slipped to only 17, with a low of a paltry 15 chassis taking the grid once...

And thus, I suppose it was destined to happen, as there’s this ‘lil economy thingy goin’ on right now...

So be it, if NHL has to take on Mrs. Citgo... Who knows, perhaps DanDan-Danicker can use those towels? After all I hear she’s now takin’ 5 showers a day! Yet does this mean that the sky is falling if one of Open Wheel Racing’s most storied teams decides to gravitate towards Venezuelan dinero? Although I still think it STINKS that Indy Car winners like Justin “BIG UNIT” Wilson and Ryan “the Dude” Hunter-Reay cannot land a ride, while “Suitcase” Servia will hopefully unpack his highly used helmet bag and end up somewhere in the Indy Car World Series...

And why in the H-E Double Hockey Sticks AIN’T NOBODY HAMMERIN’ Tony George who has NOT ponied-up to hire “Quattro” (AJ Foyt IV) back for the upcoming season? Hmm? Wonder if that means Quattro will leave ‘lil Napoleon OFF of his wedding guests list, eh?

Like Eric Bachelart recently said, we’ll see what happens by Homestead... And then wait for the other shoe to drop as I hear there’s still gonna be a race at St. Pete on April 5th!

2009 IRL car count
This is by NO means a confirmed grid... Just my best guess NON-Scientific attempt at trying to figure out how many cars will really be racing this season? As Brian Braveheart claims he expects to see 22-24 entries for the season opener in Florida...

Committed:(1) AJ foyt enterprises
#14 Vitor Meira

(4) Andretti Green Racing
#7 Danica Patrick; #11 Tony Kanaan; #26 Marco Andretti; #27 Hideki Mutoh

(1) Dreyer & Reinbold
#15 R-Mike Conway; #23 TBA

(1) Sarah Fisher Racing
#67 Sarah Fisher
(1) HVM Racing
#33 EJ (Ernesto) Viso; #XX TBA
(1) KV Racing Technology
#5 Mario Moraes; #8 TBA
(1) Luczo Dragon Racing
#12 R-Rafael Matos

(3) Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
#02 R-Robert Doornbos; #06 Graham Rahal; #00(?) Milka Duno
(1) Panther Racing
#4 Dan Wheldon

(2) Target Chip Ganassi Racing
#9 Scott Dixon; #10 Dario Franchitti
(2) Team Penske
#3 Will Power/Helio Castroneves; #6 Ryan Briscoe
(1) Team 3G
#XX R-Stanton Barrett

(1) Vision Racing
#2 TBA; #20 Ed Carpenter

(2) Dale Coyne Racing
#18 Bruno Junqueira; #19 TBA

(1) PCM/Rubycon Racing
Xx. Buddy Rice

Unknown:(2?) Conquest Racing
#34 Alex Tagliani; #36 Enrique Bernoldi

(?) Philippe Motorsports (Ex-Roth Racing team)
#XX Nelson Philippe; #TBA?

NOT Happening:
(1) Rahal Letterman Racing
Although the team may make a token appearance at this year’s Indy 500?

Thus upon lookin’ into my crystal ball and using my Kal-cue-lator... My math shows a total of 18 “Confirmed” entries for St. Pete, as I’ve left out Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno for the time being... While there’s a total of five “Probable’s” and two most Unlikely entrants...

UOWWBA: Weekly Question

Did Danica Patrick's commercials promote the IRL?

Although I did indeed watch 85-90% of the big herkin’ Football game... Albeit turning off the TV twice when I could no longer stomach the fact that it appeared the Cardinals would indeed lose... (And I’m NOT even a Stick ‘N ball fan to begin with!)

But, I must confess that I CANNOT stand the CRA$$ OVER-Commercialization of television and hence, mute as many advertisements as possible... thus I didn’t have the good fortune of catching the IRL’s media darling exclaiming her enhancement... Now if she could only do something to enhance her personality to Mwah, then perhaps I’d be slightly more impressed with her supposed talent...

Thus the answer is HELL NO!!! Princess Danicker didn’t do one damn thing to promote the IRL... And she never has; as ALL of her commercials are strictly aimed towards promoting her self image...

Woah Nellie! DON’T get me started, eh?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Red Bull preview

While ‘lil sister Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed that Sebastian Bourdais will retain his seat for 2009... This just appeared in my inbox... From the fine folks at Red Bull Racing, as apparently its designed to give you a sneak peak at the upcoming launch of the RB5 this coming Monday...

Enjoy and Kudos Dave!

Red Bull Racing preview

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Racing Team bites the dust

And the hits just keep on coming... When many of you are up in a lather over the reported installation of Milka-duh-licious at N/H/L... Word comes that a fifth Auto Manufacturer has decided to pull the plug upon its Motorsports activities, with word that Mitsubishi will cease all cross country Rallying competition, most notably the Dakar Rally...

Thus by my counts(?) that now makes four Japanese giants plus one European concern to leave the Motorsports arena: Audi, Honda, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki... Ok, so that last one ain’t too painful to swallow and technically Audi will still show up sporadically, while Honda is still hopeful of spinning off its F1 concern to somebody willing to pay the bills...

So at least we’ve still got an Open Wheel Racing series to critique, eh?

Williams FW31

The Williams FW31 broke cover on January 19th at Portimao Circuit, with test/reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg at the helm, with no major difficulties occurring during its shakedown run. The FW31 to date is the only 2009 F1 challenger to utilize a flywheel driven KERS system, as opposed to the battery storage systems of its rivals and the mechanical system utilizes a flywheel spinning at an incredible 64,000RPM’s; of which the Williams concern has filed for patents upon.

Racing driver Nico Rosberg then put the FW31 thru its substantial paces by doing a Herculean test session where he ran a staggering 145 laps before inclement weather scuttled further testing.

And in case you’re wondering about the dark blue livery, Williams claims that this isn’t their final colour scheme, which will be revealed at the end of the month. But don’t look for any signage from the Bogger group, as the Icelandic corporation has just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy...

Launch notes

Renault R29

Also taking the wraps off of its newest challenger at the new Portugal circuit, was the ING-Renault team, as the “Reggie” rolled out its 2009 challenger, the R29 at Portimao, alongside Williams on January 19th. Test/Reserve Driver Romain Grosjean was given the duties of shaking down the brand new R29, of which some cynics have suggested could see Ronal McDonald becoming one of its future F1 Piloto’s, due to the garishly familiar burnt orange colours of Le Happy Meal! Hmm? Let’s see, there’s already the Hamburgular floating around the paddock for Scuderia Toro Rosso... So, if Nelson-Nelson doesn’t cut the Gray Poupon this season, could we see a Sea Bass at the Reggie? (Although it’s been claimed that Bourdais came to America partly since he didn’t wish to be micro-managed by Flavour Flav...) But I digress...

Reportedly, the development of the new R29 was thwarted by the chassis failing the mandatory FIA crash test, of which I’m assuming its since passed, as both Fredrico Suave (F. Alonso) and Nelson-Melson (N. Piquet Jr.) have also put in testing laps in Portugal, when the weather permitted and the R29 will be helped significantly by the FIA’s granting of engine upgrades in order to bring its competitiveness on par with the top three teams.

And before you shed a tear for Williams deepening sponsor woes, take note that Renault’s title sponsor ING isn’t exactly immune from the credit crunch either...

Trouble at ING

Launch notes

BMW Sauber F1.09

And while rivals Renault and Williams were busy debuting at Portimao the day before, BMW Sauber launched its newest contender, the F1.09 at Valencia on January 20th with Robert Kubica getting the honours of first drive.

As BMW Sauber enters its fourth season, Team Boss Dr Mario Theissen was quick to drone on about the requisite Launchspeak; “We’ll be better this year, we’ll fight for the title and our car will jump over the Moon!” Blah-blah-blah...

Yet, the F1.09 is a strikingly good looking chassis and according to BMW Sauber managing director Walter Riedl:
"The development of the F1.09 centered on three key areas: aerodynamics, optimum tyre utilization and the integration of KERS."

As I’ve read somewhere on le internets... (So it must be true, eh? Thanks Al Gore) that it reportedly features a novel sidepod design, of a wedged shape a la early 1970’s F1 design. *Think of Gordon Murray’s wonderful Brabham BT44) Yet, as I’m a visually impaired pundit, I’ll leave the keen technical scruntinizing to Messer Collantine over at F1 Fanatic, whom as “Hobbo” would say; Has the eyes of a certain type ‘O rat!”

2009 F1 Car comparisons: BMW

Launch notes

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Teddy Mayer

This past weekend, Teddy Mayer passed away in England at the age of 73. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? As he was the guiding force that helped Bruce McLaren begin his own racing concern in 1963, when Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd was formed. And when Bruce died in 1970, it was Teddy who took over the reigns of Team McLaren, leading the organization to the dizzying heights of Formula 1 World Champions; with Emerson Fittipaldi winning the 1974 Driver’s title and James Hunt securing the 1976 Driver’s crown, along with hitting the trifecta in ’74, as it was to be Team McLaren’s very first F1 Driver’s title, Constructor’s crown and Indy 500 victory.

Yet it was also Teddy who guided McLaren Cars into the realm of Indy Car racing, which I’ve scribbled about previously in McLaren at Indy. And it was Mayer who ultimately hired Johnny Rutherford as his team’s lead driver, while it was Peter Revson who provided McLaren’s first Indy 500 pole position in 1971, before finishing runner-up. Yet it would be Roger Penske’s customer chassis with Mark Donohue at the keyboard who’d give McLaren Cars their first Indy 500 victory in 1972.

Thus the stage was set between the AAR Eagles of Dan Gurney’s construction vs. McLaren Cars during the early 1970’s, as they’d swap turns in victory lane the next four years, as Rutherford and Team McLaren would be victorious in 1974 and 1976, with Johnny scoring his second 500 victory from the pole, along with being runner-up in 1975. Yet rules changes would make the mighty Offenhauser obsolete, as Tom “The Gasman” Sneva would break the 200mph barrier in 1977 when capturing pole aboard Team Penske’s customer McLaren powered by the Cosworth V-8 lump.

Thus by 1979 the bloom had gone off of McLaren as the ground effects era had been unkind to the once dominant team and Teddy would ultimately leave the McLaren concern in 1982...

:For those of us who had the honor to meet Mayer, two things stand out: his sense of humor and his ability to include anyone he saw at a race track with a warm hand-shake or a smile as he greeted them, be it a volunteer worker to the drivers to team owners and series chiefs.”


For more on Teddy Mayer, see; Teddy Mayer, a remarkable man, passes away

Donohue Trivia Answer

Previously I asked all of you vastly astute No Fenders readers the following trivia question:
Do you know what David Donohue’s connection to the Pacific Northwest is?

Whale du Yuh’s?(Do uze feels lucky?)

So did you figure out David Donohue’s connection to the Pacific Northwest?

BBUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!! Times up, put ‘dem pencils down...
Whale, listening to the Speed Freaks program Sunday night, (Jan. 25) I learned another piece of useful(?) trivia... As both David Donohue and Crash Gladys have something in common...

They both worked for PacWest Racing... Where David drove a Dodge Stratus in the extremely short lived North American Touring Cars series in the late-1990’s alongside ex-CART driver Dominic Dobson. As I can still vividly see the red, white & blue(?) paint scheme with massively huge Dodge script letters covering the entire bodywork... And remember watching the 12 car grid take the green flag at Portland (1996) with at least one of the two Pacwest Dodge Stratuses on the front row, as the import engine buzz-saw’s merrily revved away in anticipation of the standing start, before rocketing into the Festival Curve... Yet, this racing series never seemed to have any true support behind it and only lasted from 1996-97, before falling into oblivion, with a meager nine entries contesting the final season.

Pacwest Racing was the factory backed Dodge racing team, with Donohue winning the final season’s title, while the other high profile squad was Tasman Motorsports, which campaigned Honda Acura’s and won the title in 1996 with driver Randy Pobst. You may recall that Tasman was created & owned by former Truesports team boss Steve Horne and briefly flourished in CART from 1995-98.

During this period, Tasman was one of the first Champ Car teams to successfully campaign a Honda engine with Adrian Fernandez and Andre Ribero scoring four career victories during its short lived incarnation. Ribero who subsequently drove for Penske Racing is now “Bia’s” (Ana Beatriz) manager.

After the demise of the North American Touring Car Series, Donohue took a brief foray into the Craftsman Truck Series before ultimately aligning himself with the Brumos Porsche organization, having contested every single race of the Grand Am’s Daytona Prototype series, as he and his teammate Darren Law are the only two drivers to have contested the 80 events to date, while I’m not aware of what Crash’s role was at the now defunct PacWest Racing organization.

As for David Donohue’s thought’s upon winning on the 40th Anniversary of his father’s Daytona 24 victory, I enjoyed his view of it being neat, but he was more impressed by the countless hours the guys at the shop had spent to put him in the position to finally win the epic event, as he was just a wee lad of 2yrs old when Mark Donohue claimed victory for Roger Penske and sadly was only 8yrs old when his father perished in 1975...

Monday, February 2, 2009

De Ferran on Autosport Radio

With the just completed Sewer-dooper-bowl over, while Danica is busy getting’ squeaky clean... And SPEED having stooped to running an all day marathon ‘O Pimp-Me-Ride... I’m feeling a tad bit similar in announcing the fact that ex-Indy 500 and double CART Champion Gil De Ferran is slated to appear as a guest upon Danny B’s most favourite radio show... Autosport Radio tomorrow...

(Weather providing, eh? As I’m not certain to what the latest snowdrift predictions are for the Indiana area...)

Wither Indy Car team owners

By now I’m assuming Y’all have heard bobby Rahal’s terseful words of RLR’s impending withdrawal from running a full season campaign in this year’s Indy Racing League due to the fact that he and side-kick funnyman David Letterman have been unable to locate a title sponsor for Ryan “The Dude” Hunter-reay’s past Ethanol sponsored mount, yet is still hopeful of finding somebody to throw them a bone for a partial season, or at leas the month of May.

Following upon the heals of this announcement come word via Robin Miller that KV Racing Technology has just laid off more of its remaining staff and is currently slated to only field a single entry in 2009, while Eric Bachelart has offered his small outfit a salary pay cut or closing of business, while still seeking sponsorship for either of his two racing cars, as an Indy Car spokesman has acknowledged that there currently appears to only be 18 entries slated for full season competition... But as Bachelart said, we’ll see where things stand, at the upcoming series test Feb. 23-25 at Homestead, where both the Firestone Indy Lights and Indy Cars will participate in open testing upon the Miami Speedway...

UOWWBA: Weekly Question

Here’s another potential UOWWBA situation:
If Lewis Hamilton and Scott Dixon switched places for the 2009 season, how would each driver fare in the other's league? Who would be more successful in 2009?

I find this to be a very entertaining question, as let’s recall that our current “Kiwi” Indy Car Champion has previously put the wellie to a Formula 1 chassis.

Scott Dixon (March, 2004)
"I'm very excited about heading to Paul Ricard at the end of next week for my first taste of a Formula One car, although the real test will be in April in Barcelona,"

These words were gleamed from a 2004 BMW press release, as Dixon was given a brief taste of F1 By the Williams/BMW team, whom at the time were running the great Ralfanso, a.k.a. famous brother of Michael Schumacher, along with Juan “DON’T call me MAC!” Montoya... In which apparently Dixon didn’t do enough to impress the overly stiff lipped Sir Frank, as Scott would retain his employment for the Cheepster (Chip Ganassi) instead.

Yet, other notable Indy Car talent have tested for F1 over the years, with Willy T. Ribbs, Paul Tracy and Al Unser Jr. coming to mind, while I can think of four former CART champions who’ve had varying degrees of success in what is considered the pinnacle of motorsport. (Formula One)
These four drivers are none other then: Michael Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya. (Although Zanardi had a previous stint in F1 prior to making the switch)

And as we know, Mikey didn’t have the best of times during his lone aborted season in 1993; after all he was teammates with somebody named Ayrton... Although he did finish on the podium in his final race at Monza, Italy; but obviously Jacques was the most successful of this quartet, by winning the 1997 F1 World Championship, with Montoya being second best, having notched up seven career wins, 13 poles and 30 podiums before making the audacious jump to URRGH! RASSCAR... Although his Sports Car career isn’t going too badly either, eh? While Zanardi never seemed to be in the right place at the right time in Formula 1, having less than stellar rides at Lotus and Williams.

And a long overused quote claims: “You can make an oval racer outta a road course specialist a HELL of a lot easier than the other way round!”

Just ask triple world champion Nelson Piquet about this, eh? Yet, I’m not certain that applies 100% of the time, as I’m guessing that Lewis Hamilton would adapt quite quickly, while I’m certain that Dixon would be no slouch Across the Pond, given competitive equipment, since the jury’s still out upon the MP4-24 after F1’s radical rules revision this year...

So, I’m guessing that both drivers would succeed in either discipline, but I’d have to give the nod to the young Messer Louise “Jaguar” Hamilton...