Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WE ARE EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES


The computer that Tomaso uses to post his stories has encountered the "Blue Screen of Death".

His technical team is working hard to resolve this issue. Tomaso will return in the very near future with a new super powered "Confuzer" (computer) to continue his Formula One and other racing rants.

Thank you for your patience as we resolve this error.

Posted by:
Blogmiester in AZ.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strange Bed-fellahs

Right Matey's, yes indeedie... Your Humble Scribe, who’s still on BST (British Standard Time) and NOT necessarily at his “BeST” wit is spending the wee hours of the early morning staring away at that most hideous greenish blue hue of le confUZer screen since returning home from a most enjoyable trip abroad. (After a 24hr trek... Whale at least it feels like it!)

And thus, I just couldn’t resist, upon having made sure that “Lucy” was still with me and not a jilted lady after having been surrounded by several British Tarts the past week...

Thus I found it most bemusing that Farah Fawcett (Majors) Michael Jackson and Sir MAXXUM all made the major newswires in the same 24hr spin cycle, having been told the news of both Michael Jackson’s and Farah Fawcett’s deaths on the same day by one of my Airport “Handlers” (Assistants) as she escorted me from O’Hare’s Int’l Airports “Wheelchair Lounge” to my gate for the final leg of my day’s extremely long journey homeward bound from Jolly ‘Ol London... (12Hr flight duration + 4Hr+ layover) Of which I had the extremely good fortune to attend this year’s British Grand Prix where my man ‘ZEBB (Sebastian Vettel) simply “WALKED IT!” (Poor ‘JENSE, NOT!)

Then an extremely quick look around that World Wide Web thingy a few hours ago revealed some truly gratifying news... As the headlines said that (MAD MAX) Mosley was finally standing down... To which all I can say is:

HURRAH! BRILLIANT! ABOUT FUCKING TIME!!!
One down, one to go, eh? As now all we need to complete the sweep is for Emperor Bernardo to hand over the purse strings to whoever the New Boss is? (Hopefully NOT Jean Todt) Perhaps his good chum Flavour Flav, eh? (Flavio Briatore) Although scuttlebutt Across the Pond suggested that perhaps Bernie has already given ex-wife Slavica; the woman behind the initials SELC (Slavica Ecclestone) a tidy some of $1.0 Billion British Pounds in their divorce settlement; as you may recall that SELC is the Umbrella Holding Company for the various FIA entities that Bernardo has his mitts on, i.e.; controls...

Ah, isn’t it great to be back to the usual spin cycle of News, Sports ‘N Weather, eh? As those BLOODY Starling babies are madly squawking outside for their morning feeding cycle which begins promptly at OH DARK THIRTY (5:15AM) each ‘N every summer morning... As I might as whale stay up and watch the morning sunrise, eh?

Max Mosley to Stand Down?

Hey Sir MAXXUM! QUIT being a tottering ‘Ol NUTTER and get on with it... Time to go on PERMANENT Gardening Leave...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bloggers invade Indy


Whale Otay; first of all excuse me for writing this after the fact... But I just cannot seem to squeeze-in everything going on around Der Motorsporten Vurld in a timely matter... I mean its HELL tryin’ to keep up with the Blogosphere as there’s several great Motor Racing Bloggers to choose from.

Secondly, forgive me for not being Bold enough to introduce myself to the other fellow “Blog-arati” (I like it Jeffrey...) whilst being fortunate enough to be granted access to the inner confines of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Media center this past May, which was a totally KOOL experience for Mwah.

Case in point, I missed the following Blog stories during the Month ‘O May, as I’ve just stumbled across Erik Decker’s Laughing Stalk blog totally by accident, having never heard of it or him... as Erik actually dropped a quick line about the esteemed “Blogger’s Alley” in the Media center this May, of which I only met two of the noted eight... (OOPS! Sorry ‘bout ‘dat!) Especially since this was the very first time Bloggers were granted access...

Other Bloggers at the Indianapolis 500

Also, since I was away from ze confUZer while gallivanting about Speedway, Indiana... And “Lucy” in the sky with Diamonds in particular... better known as my esteemed? (Or Steamed! Hey uze try reading’s this stuff constantly...) Screen reader, I missed Jeffery’s (My Name is IRL) post about our excellante trek around the Speedway grounds; as Jeff isn’t NO slouch when it comes to the Indy racing League and its support series...

Friday at Indianapolis

And I recommend you check out all of the Blog-arati listed upon Erik’s list for some great writing and the latest ‘N greatest info on (primarily) what’s happenin’ in the Indy Car World. Not to mention the frozen Tundra brigade from Up North, Eh? As in:

Matt Chamois: The Other side
Meesh’s: So Here’s What I’m Thinking;

Better known as S.H.W.I.T. according to Pressdog, not to forget Mark, Ryan and whomever else I’m forgetting...

Marc: Full throttle
Ryan: Junior Open Wheel Talent

So it just goes to show Yoose’ (me included) that ‘Juan can simply NOT keep up with the explosion of information floating freely about Al gore’s invention thingy, eh? As now I’m even further behind! Having the good fortune to be traipsing around Jolly ‘Ol England at the moment...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Postcard from the Med

Recently I received an email transmission from aboard the HMS Pinafore, Err Carnival Cruise liner from Maria Antoinette... A.k.a. Katherine who was sailing about the “Med” in search of Sunshine and Solitude from our dreary Pacific Northwest...

Maria:
Well, I don’t have time to check your No Fenders blog, but I imagine you have a word or two to say about the two tiered system F1 is proposing that’s pissing off Ferrari among others. Sounds like plain old cost cutting perhaps disguised as something else? It’s getting a fair amount of coverage over here. There was a rally of little vin-vins, as William calls them, in the Azores when I was there. Lots of goofy looud little matchbox cars with sponsorship plastered on them. But we didn’t get to dock in Portimao due to rough seas, so I can’t report on cars there. But I’ll look for that hairpin turn in Monte Carlo.

As perhaps all of this has blown over by now with the recent announcement on June 12th of the FIA 2010 Formula 1 Entry list, eh? Ah but just what did those two highly paid athletes at the Scuderia say? And would they really go against the Prancing Horse’s Company lines? Nah!

What Kimi and Felipe think... (Whale Sorta, May be? NOT!)

Meanwhile I’m still awaiting my Rascasse Corner Hairpin Postcard that was accidently sent to Auntie Harriet instead...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Petition supporting the FOTA launched

If you’re LESS then impressed by the recent tirades of the Max ‘N Bernie Show... A la Sir MAXXUM and Emperor Bernardo whom seem HELL bent on destroying the sport currently known as Formula 1... With the ceaseless rules changing and endless display of making everyone conform to their every wish... Then you may want to sign the petition supporting the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) stance regarding the 2010 FIA rules debacle... As we’ll potentially know who’s NOT gotten the memo this Friday...

Support FOTA Petition

Hulio’s still the Dance leader

So I finally watched my tape of this year’s Indy 500 this past Thursday... And GULP! That Flippin’ Hulio still won the DAMN Race... As it seemed a bit funny to hear Act fast now, Hurry-Hurry-Hurry! One Day only for this weekend’s Memorial Day sale...

And its interesting what the live TV feed picks up audibly vs. being there live... As I had to laugh when hearing the only driver to get BOOED during Driver introductions... Was, Yep! Yuhs guessed it... Mr. Chrome Horne, Err ‘Ol PT. (Paul Tracy) As it was really funny hearing the ABC announcers totally go off on a tangent about how bad the Penske’s were doing, or how much of a sleeper to win “RAFA” (Rafael Matos) was for nearly half of the Broadcast... Or the total irony of Pit Reporter Vince Welch telling us how much of a candidate for victory Mario Moraes was just moments prior to the Green flag being waived. (Twice)

And Man ‘O Man! What a wicked hit TK (Tony Kanaan) endured... As I’m still amazed how someone can do an interview standing up so quickly after such a brutal Wall Smack! Or Miera catching fire and then being sent off without even losing a single lap... Although perhaps they’ll wanna have some of Dale Coyne’s Sonny’s BBQ on hand next time? Or perhaps break out the Marshmallows? Umm... Can Y’all say S’Mores!

But seriously Folks... It was noted during a recent interview with Donald Kay that the reason Miera’s head can be seen hitting the steering wheel which apparently appeared in the Indy Star the following day was due to the fact that his seatbelts actually stretched due to the G-Forces and sudden deceleration...

And just how many Caution laps did we have? Seemed like at least 50, which is Yikes. One quarter distance of the race...

Now all I’ve gotta watch is 11hr of Le Mans plus hopefully 5hr of the British GP this weekend if all goes well with the Trusty ‘Ol VCR! Hmm? Did somme ‘Juan say Well? As in I’ll take my Sonny’s Eethonal flavoured Ribs Well Done, Y’all...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Surviving Indy (Lap 151-200)


Graham Hill Lotus 56 Turbine chassis

L200: Aftermath; Mon, 5/25
So it was nice to sleep in and not have anywhere important to go... Although originally Danny was gonna try taking me to the Winners interview Media-throng at the track, but told me that rain was definitely on the way and just minutes after hanging up two police sirens whailed by which were immediately followed by a massive crackling of thunder... as soon the entire area was under a deluge of precipitation and a long running thunderstorm... As Danny would later tell me that they’d gotten soaked at the Speedway... See Hulio? It’s NOT nice to fool Mother Nature...

And thus, I sent a large chunk of the day listening to as much of AM1070’s THE FAN race recap as I could stomach... Although amused to here one caller say he was still waiting for Danica to drive harder! While the overlying theme seemed to be that the race was BORING and NO one could pass... But by far the number one complaint was Mrs. Brady’s singing... Something about being put out to pasture.

And as Krabitz ‘N Eddie interviewed “RAFA,” it was the first I’d learned of his accident with Vitor Meira, thus I was surprised to hear Rafael Matos saying he’d gone to visit his friend Meira in the Hospital and that Vitor had broken his L2 vertebrae... As apparently Meira’s broken two vertebras and will be out of action for 4-6 months...

And Bill Martin of Sports Illustrated is blathering on about the race and bashing the Media center... Calling it an Aquarium Fishbowl, while later on in the show its none other then Mr. Dancin’ fool himself, as I’m sure Y’all have heard the sound bites of Hulio informing everybody that he just wants to make it absolutely clear that the $3.2m isn’t all his... Although he’ll now be able to pay his lawyers; Yuk-Yuk-Yuk...

And I’m starting to get a stomach-ache over ALL of the Danicker RASSCAR CRAP!!! I mean would she rather be a big fish in a small pond (IRL) or a small fish in a big pond? (NASCAR) Oh, but the IRL NEEDS her, whah-ahhhhh................ (But nary a peep about Sarah Fisher’s race, eh?)



Returning from dinner with Dave & Danny at the Union Jack Pub, as everyone’s been raving about their Pizzanoes since I arrived... Danny sez; hey look! There’s Justin Wilson’s truck... Huh? As sure enough there were two gleaming white Dale Coyne Racing team transporters parked discretely in the North forty as ironically I was sporting my J. Wilson RuSport T-shirt... So off to get ye ‘Ol camera while Danny softened them up... As I was introduced to DCR’s main truck driver Mike and back-up driver Scott, who’d previously worked full time for DCR for 16yrs before leaving last year, as they’d just spent the entire day at IMS breaking down the garages and getting ready to drive the four Dallara/Honda chassis back to Dale’s shop in Chicago, which was a 3hr drive, which they’ll do tomorrow, have a day off and then probably leave for Milwaukee on Thursday.

And Mike is a bit of a “Handyman,” not ony driving the Semi, but also being a tyre buster and doing the Hospitality suite... And although he offered to let us take a peak inside, he said it’s pretty dark and the cars are up above. Hey, hang on a second; let me see if I’ve got any Hero cards? Better yet, Mike came back with a Justin Wilson Press Kit for Mwah, COOL!


Tues, 5/26
About 8:11AM I hear that low grumble of a Diesel Semi-hauler pulling away as it works its way up thru the gears outside my rooms window; there goes the Dale Coyne Boyz... Before listening to more Hulio fodder on AM1070 while awaiting Danny’s arrival, as today we’re off to one of my favourite Automobile haunt’s; the IMS Hall of Fame museum.

After sauntering about the two gift shops where Danny’s asked two clerks if they have the Jimmy Neighbors blender? You know it’s from 1962 and has all those speeds; dicing, chopping and puree... Whale I could go look for you Sir? Then Danny notices that the esteemed Donald Davidson is sitting on a bench near the museum’s entrance bantering on about yesteryear with a few friends, so we stop and introduce ourselves and I thank him for all of his assistance on my Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials story... And I still cannot believe it’ll only set you back three smackeroos ($3) to get into this most Historic museum!



Naturally I had to ask the Docent at the entryway if they had Mauri Rose’s 1947-48 INDY 500 winning Blue Crown chassis on display. Yes, its right in there turn left at the first hallway... As Danny took off to blast thru the museum I decided to start at the end of the row after we’d briefly viewed Rose’s mount... Thus as I stood admiring ‘Ol Parnelli Jone’s ’63 winner Danny returned, looked behind me, did a double take and then asked; Do you want to meet Will Power? Uh Duh! As there was a group of three persons standing directly behind me; and as I turned around Danny introduced me to Will and before I knew it I was shaking hands... And then I sheepishly asked him how far he’d gotten up to? I think I heard third over the PA system, to which Power replied; I’ got up to second and was chasing down Helio. Then I mentioned to him how I’d heard something about his insane training regimen? You’re doing a Triathlon shortly aren’t you? NO! All of that was my Trainer’s idea, but I did do the Mini 500 this month. Any chance we’ll see you in anymore races this year? Well hopefully I’ll be doing about six more? And then we said our goodbyes as I overheard Will telling his party that an old friend had told him about the museum...

Next we made a brief sweep down what Danny called “Winner’s Row,” which featured a great selection of INDY 500 winning chassis; from Eddie Cheever’s ’98 mount, Arie Luyendyk’s ’97 Tredway car, Gordie Johncock’s ’73 STP Special, Big Al’s (Al Unser Sr.) ’86 Penske, Mark Donohue’s 1972 Sunoco Special, which Donald Davidson had previously told me is the real one... Mario Andretti’s ’69 Brawner Hawk and Bobby Unser’s ’68 Risoline Special... and I can’t remember if Tom “The Gasman” Sneva’s ’83 Texaco Star was in there or not?

On the opposite side of the room was the magnificent 1968 Lotus 56 Graham Hill Turbine car, which is stunning and thus it only seemed fitting that Herr Schumacher’s (Michael) 1991 Camel liveried Benetton B191 whas holding station alongside. And the rest is a blur, as there was the same Porsche and Peugeot Sports Racing Cars as I once again gravitated to Alberto Ascari’s Ferrari and the awesome Mercedes Benz 196(?) Silver Arrow, not to mention a bunch ‘O pristine turn of the century touring cars, etc; and that doesn’t even include the massive display cabinets filled with all sorts of memorabilia. Then a very brief gander at the Marmon Wasp, AJ Foyt’s ’67 winner and URGH! Danica’s 2005 Rookie RLR Argent car complete with firesuit and helmet as Danny said it’ll cost you plenty for me to take this picture...

Then that evening it was off to McGilvery’s, as Dave picked me up early for my impending “Big Interview” on Don Kay’s ‘lil Radio Show, of which I’ve already scribble ‘bout in: Tomaso on Autosport Radio. After my 15min ‘O fame “Dr. Who,” a.k.a. Tim Wardrop joined our table and I congratulated him on their two Indy Lights victories at St. Pete, as Tim briefly told us stories about the season, working for Porsche, etc before taking off. When I asked him about the Long Beach fiasco, Tim mentioned that it’s an old car, seven years old to be exact and that new flat crank causes some massive harmonics... And I’m assuming there’s also body flex in the chassis? As Tim said that the electrical system caught on fire as the whole wiring loom let go! On our way out of McGilvery’s Dave briefly introduced me to “Doc,” who’ll be 93 in two weeks and has been alive for every single INDY 500! As Doc is an old Hemelgarn man and a fixture at McGilvery’s for Don’s show.


Wed, 5/27
Wednesday morning was pretty low key as I’d already packed the night before and simply was awaiting Danny’s arrival, who took me out for a late brunch at a local restaurante called “Charlie Brown’s.” NO! I’m not making that up, but it’s a popular joint and has good food... Before we headed off to make our rounds at the IRL’s Administration Buildings of which I’ve previously scribbled about in; Back from Indy. And then alas, it was time to go to the Airport and begin the long process of going home...

And how can one put into perspective the full brunt of the Speedway’s shadows... Or adequately sum up the euphoria, expectations and pageantry of the INDY 500? As it dawned on me whilst standing outside on the fourth floor of the Media center how the 500 made me think of the Rose Bowl... And how they have many similarities, i.e.; Parade, Glitz ‘N Glamour, event Princesses, Marching Bands, a Massive event and are both each other’s respective Super Bowl each and every year... As one must simply go and attend in order to get the Full Monty of the spirited Spectale that Fisher & Co. built a century ago.

Now I’m exhausted and “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” From typing madly away at le confUZer the past few dazes...

Kudos to Danny, Dave, Jeff and Carl for making my week in INDY so enjoyable!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Surviving Indy (Lap 101-150)


Balloon Release (Dave O'Brien photo)

Sun, 5/24 (Con’t)
CHECKERS OR WRECKERS...

Have pestered Danny all morning about being outside for all of the Pre-Race Hoopla and notice the melody of multiple Marching Bands, while standing outside prior to the beginning of the festiva, as we continue to countdown to Drivers introductions before going back inside where JMV, a.k.a. John Michael Vincent; NOT to be cornfused with Jan Michael Vincent of WNDE - AM1260 (Mon-Fri; Noon-4PM ET) was doing a special live broadcast of his show “The Drive” from inside the Media center and was situated directly behind and three seats to the right of my assigned chair and was talking quite loudly... And as he began his interview with 2009 IMS Celebrity Pace Car Driver Josh Duhamel, there were suddenly video cameras next to me along with multiple flashes from Photographers...

As the interview ended, I noticed Crash Gladys tracking down Josh alongside the floor to ceiling windows, as I assume she did an interview for Speed Freaks. Stick around folks JMV blares out, as we’ll be joined by Robin Miller and Jimmy Neighbors shortly...

“Attention in the Media center. Thomas Kinkade, the artist of this year’s INDY 500 program will be available for interviews for a few minutes.”


Danny & I went to lunch in the Cafeteria where various comments were made about the Turkey’s tenderness..; “Tastes like Chicken!” As the two Gentlemen sitting across from me informed me when I told them the only East Coast Hockey team near their city of St. Louis that I could think (Think Pink!) of was the (Chicago) Blackhawk’s which I knew was wrong; they said those are fighting words, Son!

Walking back upstairs a small throng of people headed towards us as Jeffrey said; you just missed Jimmy Neighbors right behind us... As the Media center was now completely cleared out. But I did manage to catch the majority of JMV’s interview with Miller, John Oreovicz (ESPN) and Chris Hagen of FOX59’s Indy Car Nation.

Oreovich:
“Luczo Dragon Racing’s Jay Penske is a Hip, Cool, Californian version of Roger Penske and all of the Stars like Shaq wanna be seen with him until they get the bill the month later and say this is how much it costs to go racing?”

And now its almost time for Driver introductions kiddies, as I made my way outside to get situated as there was already a small crowd along the fourth floors railing towards the front straightaway... And everybody’s talking, hooting ‘N hollering as the crowd is massive and there’s a slight buzz of anticipation in the air... And now IT’S SHOWTIME!

Starting 33rd, Alex Tagliani, as there’s a modest amount of applause as the PA announcer slowly works his way forward up the grid... And HOLY SHIT!!! The crowd erupts with electrified intensity as Princess Danicker’s name is announced... With only Dancin’ FOOL Hulio receiving a louder ovation as one spectator turns around to tell me that;

“They’re cheering because he beat the IRS!”

While I guess that Dario Franchitti got the third loudest cheer from the massive audience opposite us...

Then its time for the singing, with three singers doing traditional pieces, including Mrs. Brady, a.k.a. Florence Henderson doing her usual Gospely, harmonically challenged tune before the piece de la resistance... Gomer Pyle singing Back Home Again in Indiana, which I’d wanted to hear live, but strangely it seemed way shorter then when I listen to it on the Telescreen! Perhaps because the crowd drones out the wind-up of the song’s beginning? And where’s the Balloons... Oh CRAP! Cannot see a Bloody thing because the Media center’s roof is in the way (although the shade it provides is greatly appreciated...) and thus I was unable to see the AWESOME fly over by vintage World War II Bombers... Which were simply electrifying as the massive piston powered air cooled radial engines rumbled directly overhead, passing the Pagoda at the very moment the National Anthem finished! As I couldn’t even hear Mrs. Hulman George say those famous words, with the crowd erupting and 33 Honda Lumps suddenly coming to life...



And the whirring of the overhead camera on a cable mounted above the length of Pit lane was only audible during the 21 gun salute as three volleys of seven shots rang out... Before the camera which annoyingly entered my field of vision the rest of the afternoon made me think of a giant black/grey Teradackle scooting by on a wire while its whirring motor could no longer be heard over the roar of engines and crowd...

As the eleven rows of three cars roll away! And like an old fashioned steam Locomotive the cars continue to pick up speed before there’s a massive crowd eruption as the Green flag’s waived... But I cannot hear a single BLOODY thing over the PA System as suddenly the cars slow down and the people around me say; Caution-Caution-Caution...

Well at least they managed to squeeze in two laps as apparently Mario “The High Line ISN’T the Right Line” Moraes tangles with Marky-Mark (Marco) Andretti... As later I’d be informed that the first lap had been waived off, so a Yellow flag before the conclusion of Lap 1 summed up the whole race to Mwah, as I went into hysterics over the RASSCAR style blunder... As the following day AM1070’s THE FAN’s Krabitz would tell the following joke:

“What do you get when you put Mario, Michael and Marco (Andretti) in a basement? A WHINE Cellar...” (Hee-Hee-Hee... Hey I’m just repeating it!)

But back to the race as we’re Green again and I decide that the massive blur of 33 Indy Car projectiles in close lock-step sound like a high speed Freight Train passing by; Vump- Vump- Vump- Vump- Vump- Vump- Vump- Vump- Vump... Vump- Vump- Vump! Albeit of a higher frequency pitch before the Freight Train begins to get strung out... And I find it hilarious how everybody gets up and runs over to the windows inside the Media center anytime there’s a Pit Stop or Caution... As Crikeys! Graham Rahal has crashed again, SHEISA! In what Robin Miller would later describe as a Lucky Milka! Instead of a Lucky Dog pass where you get your lap back ala RASSCAR... The IRL sticks you behind Milka for two laps and sees if you can keep from crashing... Oh Robin, you’re such a Heathen... And although the Media center is very pleasurable temperature wise; yet as Meesh sez: it’s become Morgue-like as its totally silent, except for the tapping of keyboards only overcrowded by the blaringly loud live ABC feed on all of the TV’s and the air conditioning... But Hey! At least there’s NO COMMERCIALS!!! And hence I’ve been deprived of the plethora ‘O Princess “Whose your Daddy?” Danicker adverts as I simply haven’t watched my race tape yet...

And then like a claxon bell a voice rings out over the room’s loudspeakers... Graham Rahal has been checked-out, released and cleared to drive.

OH SHEISA! Davey Hamilton’s just slid up the track into the marbles and hit the wall...

TK (Tony Kanaan) has a massive crash as everybody says OOH! As they watch Hulio’s in-car replay, showing sparks trailing before impact with the Safer Barrier at 190mph... They play Danica’s radio transmission; “I hope he’s Ok?” To which Mikey (M. Andretti) calmly replies; “Yeah, he’s alright, Pit-Pit-Pit.”

Attention: Davey Hamilton’s been released and cleared to drive. And then I break into silent laughter when the same monotone voice informs us that Tony Kanaan has been released and cleared to drive... As is it just me? Uhm, excuse me Mister Announcer-man, while I’m happy that TK’s been cleared to drive... I DON’T think his car’s going anywhere...

And then finally, I’d had enough of being inside, trying to see my chicken scratching and told Danny I was going back outside for the duration of the event and would meet Dave & Rob after the victory lane celebrations... While Jeff came out and joined me briefly... Having asked me earlier if I could disconcert the sickly sweet smell of Popcorn, which was his description of the cars Ethanol... But I couldn’t seem to pick up this scent over the proliferation of cigar and cigarette smoke.

AH FUCK! HOLY SHEISA!!! The WRONG three Drivers finished on the Podium... Podium? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ PODIUMS!!! Do we Eddie “The Goose” Gossage, eh? As the crowd simply erupted over Hulio climbing the fence... As I particularly enjoyed Jimmy vasser’s outtake on the whole Hulio-mania hysteria, saying” Helio’s my favourite ACTOR!

I mean C’mon, why couldn’t it have been Will Power, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy, Tomas Scheckter, TAG, Justin Wilson or Graham Rahal instead? As now I’ve gotta listen forever to Hulio being referred to as a Three Time INDY 500 Winner... SHEISA!!!

And it was amazing to see how many people were now making a mass exitous, as the Gordon Pipers began playing their victory song prior to the celebrations before the entire Speedway was filled with the booming sounds of the three precocious whiners, Err winners interviews over the PA system... Oh Danicker, put a sock in it will yuh!

And then Dave helped me navigate our way towards the exit, having left Rob at the Hall of Fame Museum in order to do a bit of last minute shopping... And yet although packed, seemingly the large population of pedestrians seemed to be flowing fairly well as we were outside of the Speedway grounds in a matter of minutes... Walking on 16th Street before the “Coppers” told us to get on the sidewalk as they’d opened up all four lanes to traffic, as the floodgates seemed to open for cars, trucks, vans, busses, etc while waiting for the Police to let us cross the intersection. Yet Dave’s shop O’Brien Carpets is just a half mile away from the Speedway and we were quickly there, before Dave whisked us away to his house for a most excellante barbeque dinner upon Rob’s arrival, as we’d stay up until 12:15AM discussing the race, albeit overshadowed once again by Rob an my never ending Formula 1 conversation...

To continue reading, see; Surviving Indy L151-200

Friday, June 12, 2009

Le Mans 2009

And sadly, lost in the entire hubbub over the Max “N Bernie Show... Along with my elongated coverage of this year’s Indy 500, I’ve simply not had anytime to discuss the best Sports Car race in the world, commonly known as le 24 Heurs du Mans, which takes place this weekend upon the Circuit de la Sarthe, in Le Mans, France, of which Y’all can catch a most impressive 18+ Hours of coverage upon SPEED, beginning Saturday morning at 5:30AM Pacific...

2009 Le Mans Entry list

And on a historical note, this year’s 77th running of le 24 Heurs du Mans marks the 50th Anniversary of Aston Martin’s historic 1-2 sweep, with Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori taking the winners laurels...

Carroll Shelby remembers 1959 with Aston Martin

Whilst this year’s three car Aston Martin LMP1 squad faces a decidedly uphill battle in repeating victory vs. the all conquering Audi’s and Peugeot Turbo Diesel juggernaught...

Aston Martin goes back to the future

And Don’t forget to root for Team Seattle and their magnificent Ferrari 430 GT2 Entry, as I should really be at their Race Day party, eh?

Patrick Dempsey & Team Seattle join forces

Will the real 2010 F1 Teams please Stand Up!

Whale I don’t know about Y’all, but! This has to be one of thee most topsy-turvy Formula 1 seasons ever... Not only due to the radical rules revisions turning the conventional pecking order upside down, with BRAWN GP’s total mockery of the “Big Four:” BMW Sauber, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault...

But along with Sir Maxxum’s steadfastness over the impending installation of the 2010 Budget Cap Formulae; whilst Emperor Bernardo quietly sits in the background counting his millions, as I found it most revealing when David Hobbs pointed out the absurdity of it all,

As everybody’s being asked to slash their costs, throw people out on their ears, yet the cost of hosting a Grand Prix is going UP instead of down... As Hobbo’ pointed out that the Hungarian GP organizers would be force to pay an increase in yearly hosting fees from $21m to $36m (Approx.) as the CVC Bankers, Bernie ‘N Max are loathe to lose any of their residual income in the future and are apparently intent upon wrecking the sport once known as F1?

So just who are the potential players on this day of reckoning? As deadline for entries into the 2010 Formula 1 Season were due upon May 29th and are set to be revealed (Provisionally?) today.

Well, there’s the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) with eight of its current ten 2009 F1 Team Members (BMW Sauber, BRAWN GP, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso and Toyota) having posted conditional entries based upon reverting back to this year’s rules package instead of MAD Max Mosley’s Budget Handicapping Formulae... As Williams has now been joined by Force India in filing an unconditional entry for the 2010 season, breaking ranks with their FOTA brethren... As Max ‘N Bernie seek once again to crush all opposition, i.e.; FOTA, as the two Henchmen seek to drive a wedge between these Constructors.

And then there’s the New Kids on the Block, seeking entry into the exclusive Formula One Fraternity, whilst perceivably squabbling over a potential two or three new grid slots up for grabs...

As the three most promising teams appear to be the much ballyhooed USF1, Err USGPE entity of Ken Anderson & Peter Winsor alongside David Richards Prodrive operation, with Lola bringing up the rear?

Meanwhile the remaining “Supposed” entries run the gambit of true potential entrants to the inevitable “Paper Tigers...” As there are supposedly entries from: Brabham Grand Prix Team, Campos Racing, Epsilon Euskadi, Lightspeed/Team Lotus, Manor Motorsport, March, SuperFund and Wirth Research.

Thus, Its interesting to note that reportedly both USGPE and Lightspeed have already put down deposits for supply of Cosworth V-8 Lumps for next year’s Championship, while speculation suggest that Prodrive could be renewing its association with McLaren and Mercedes Benz? While we all eagerly await the revealing of the proposed 2010 F1 Entry list...

As I’m pondering if Sir Maxxum will be so bold to preclude the heavy hitters from this list in order to try continuing to make the FOTA bow to his every wish? Would the FOTA really start-up a Break-away league after the tumultuous results of the past CART-IRL Split? Or will common sense prevail.

As I’m suddenly stuck pondering whether or not I’d watch Formula 1 if BMW, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Toyota walked away...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Toyota selling used F1 Bits

Apparently the Toyota Formula 1 team is getting a jump upon Friday’s imposing 2010 FIA Constructor’s Entry list debacle by having just announced that they’re now selling authentic used pieces of past Toyota Formula 1 race cars... As you could be the very first on your block to own a Toyota F1 rear wing, front nose, brake rotor, etc.

So is Toyota jumping the gun by having a Fire sale on used race car bits and will the other eight FOTA Teams follow suit?

Toyota F1 Team Sells Parts Online

Thanks to Tzan for bringing this to my attention...

Toyota F1 Team Shop

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Surviving Indy (Lap 51-100)


Justin Wilson’s Dale Coyne Racing mount

Fri, 5/22 (Con’t)
Back at the Hotel I listened to the majority of the Krabitz ‘N Eddie Radio program that was being broadcasted “live” from the IMS Pagoda Pavilion on AM1070 THE FAN; later in the program they interviewed “Whale Goll-leeeeeee” Jimmy Neighbors. They also chatted with Robbie Floyd on “Hangin’ out” with Graham Rahal... Playing Golf and he was most impressed by how some Drivers know they’ve got it. (Talent) And Graham’s DEFINITELY GOT IT!

Originally before arriving, my plan was to meet Jeff at Kurt Cavin’s Hamburgers ‘N Hotdogs, Err Milkshakes event Friday evening, before I pondered attending the Last Row Ball hosted by Bob Jenkins, but instead Carl “Fuller Brush” took me to Broad ripple instead to listen to the harmonious blowing ‘O Bagpipes at the Gordon Pipers Tartan Ball... As unbeknownst to Mwah, the Gordon Pipers have participated in over half of all INDY 500’s and these are the majestic Bagpipers you heard on race day if you were at the track. I also was unaware that four Gordon Pipers are situated in Victory Lane and play to the races winner upon victory, as the four Bagpipers represent good luck and there’s four for four wheels coming home...


Sitting inside the large banquet hall, my eardrums were soon pierced by the high pitched tones of several bagpipes, most notably the one standing about five feet away from me, as there were three bands on hand that night. The first from Ohio was started by an ex-Gordon Piper, with the second band being from Ingersoll, BC and the third band was the Gordon Pipers, which I’m told are referred to as the Gordon 500 Pipers during the Month ‘O May. And thus they formed the nucleus of a mass band including the first two plus the 500 Pipers...

And the master of ceremonies was an absolute hoot, as Wallace Gordon Diel (an ex-Vet nary Doctor from Ingersoll, BC) would call out; Pipe Major present yourself! Aye, and take your whiskey... Before saying; “Schlog, Schlog, Scaliwog... Drink! As apparently Bag piping includes generous doses of whiskey, before Dr. Diel would say you may now retire and tune up the rest of the Band!

Dr. Diel also explained that the two final tunes of the night were of significance as the first; Scottish Way? Was for the Drivers and the second Mary Hill? Was in honour of Mary Hulman George, but she didn’t know that...

Upon my return around 10:30PM, I called the Night Desk clerk to reserve me another Taxi for Saturday morning at 7:30AM; BUTT! I had my doubts upon his responses to my inquiry, telling me I’ll see what I can do?


Sat, 5/23
HALF DISTANCE
So incase you didn’t guess... The Taxi Cab never arrived and hence my best laid plan of seeking Princess Danicker’s (PSYCH!) NOT! As I’d been hopeful of getting Row 5, (Tracy and Wilson) Row 8 (Hamilton) Row 10 (John Andretti) and Row 11 (Tagliani) autographs in a “Perfect World!” (Order) Instead I took a nap and then awoke to turn on the Telescreen in order to catch some I500 Festival Parade action, perhaps? And by total accident I lucked into the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying replay with about 5min remaining in Q2, witnessing “Fishy-Fella” shortcut the chicane. OOPS! Sorry Fisichella, your times disallowed... After The REAL Iceman *K. Raikkonen) sets the fastest lap in Q2, ‘JENSE (Button) steals Pole in Q3 by mere tenths of a second ahead of The Kimster; who although had an extra qualifying lap in hand apparently ran wide into Turn 1 and decided it was wisest to back off and not damage the car!

Birthday Boy Rubino (R. Barrichello) was third on his 37th B-Day and shirkingly said that he wished to be two spots better tomorrow if he couldn’t have P1 on his birthday... While Jenson claimed that the final Q3 session/Pole lap had been MANIC!

Afterwards, I caught some pre-parade coverage including a great interview by Dave Calabro (The voice of the 500; PA Announcer) on Gomer Pyle, along with a short piece about whether or not Sponsorships were effective on Indy Cars in today’s economy? Claiming that a primary sponsorship, i.e.; Verizon Wireless on Will Power’s Penske would cost $2-5 million, while an Associative sponsorship, i.e.; Mobil 1, also on the Penske’s but less prominent would run you only $500,000 instead. Yet RASSCAR would cost you four times as much; $20m and the pinnacle ‘O Motorsports, Formula 1 would cost you $30-50m as a Title sponsor.



There also was a brief piece upon my Numero Uno Indy Car Driver Justin “BIG UNIT” Wilson, noting how he’s the tallest Driver in the field at six feet, three and a half inches vs. Danica’s diminutive five foot two stature. At eight years old in Go Karts (in England) he felt about twice as tall as rival competitors Dan Wheldon and Jenson Button. NO! I’m NO Good at Basketball, I can’t jump... And none other then Sir Jackie Stewart told him he was simply too tall for Motor Racing when driving for Jackie’s son at Paul Stewart Racing. Proclaiming that Justin would simply never fit into the car! And although I made my goal of getting into F1, I NEVER enjoyed it! Then there was a great example of Justin showing how his knees are virtually touching the top of the underside monocoque and when he turns the steering wheel his elbows have to go somewhere...

And speaking of “The Wee Scot” *Sir Jackie) “JENSE’s Pole and subsequent victory at Monte Carlo was the first by a British Driver since Stewart accomplished the feat in 1973 aboard a Tyrrell/Ford...

As I caught all of this while awaiting Dave & Rob’s arrival for a leisurely lunch at the Union Jack Pub just down the street... It’s a pretty cool place with lots of racing memorabilia plastered on the walls, as I was particularly intrigued by a photo of Jimmy Clark in a Cooper... And the place was packed! As you’d never have guessed there was a parade going on as I could swear I heard Ralph sheheen’s voice as we walked towards our table, where I had a good time talking Rob’s ear off ‘bout Formula 1. (OOPS Dave!)

Also, I failed to mention that prior to Graham Rahal’s Friday press conference; I was saddened to hear over the rooms loudspeaker’s a moving tribute by Bob Jenkins regarding Larry Rice’s death after his bout with lung cancer... As you can catch a recent interview by Don Kay including Rice’s pal Gary Lee on Autosport Radio.

Along with failing to discuss Lloyd Ruby’s passing, to which Dave “CARPETS” O’Brien told a great story about one day Lloyd being in the Flag Room and was unafraid to finish off the beer can pyramid that nobody was willing to attempt... In his trademark Cowboy hat and drawl; what’s goin’ on feller’s? Apprised of the situation he simply picked up a beer bottle, stepped forward, stuck it on top, said ‘dare uze go boyz and simply walked out while the Bartender looked on nervously towards the impending mess...

On the way home from Dave’s family outing, he showed me The Circle in Downtown Indianapolis, which I’d never been to before and a few blocks prior there was an Verizon Wireless shin-dig going on. As we circumnavigated the Circle for the first lap, there were a few Police cruisers with roof lights strobing in front of an Indy Car set-up as Dave said it was a Show car with a Show girl in front of it as we completed a second lap around the circle before heading back to my Speedway Hotel, where I caught some of the tape delayed I500 Festival Parade coverage and was amused to hear Derrick Daily pulling Parade duty, while it was claimed earlier in the day that some 300,000+ spectators were on hand...


Sun, 5/24; RACE DAY!
Caution-Caution-Caution...
So it’s finally hear, what countless, untold thousands clamour for each year, as Danny picked me up at 6:45AM in order to beat the traffic... And it’s sure nice having infield Media parking, eh? As another Yellow Shirt held the door open for me after checking our Badge’s and said; don’t you feel like one of the Drivers, Sir? While holding the door open... Before Danny introduced me to JMV upon arriving at the fourth floor of the Media center, with JMV retorting; we need to get you out to the races more!” After I benevolently decreed with a wry smile that I was picking Milkalicious to win... Then it was time for the unthinkable, as Danny introduced me to Open wheel Curmudgeon Extraordinaire, drum roll please... Tuh-Duh! Yeah, that’s right kiddies, you guessed it; Robin Miller in the flesh... Albeit a very brief introduction as Miller was being sought for an interview as he told the Handler that NO! He wasn’t Gordon Kirby; he’s right over there before making some jokes with us and then dashing off...

Back downstairs to the Cafeteria for a low key breakfast and while sitting alone Walt from New Jersey said out loud; No Fenders must be a Formula 1 site? As I was sporting one of my limited second edition No Fenders T-Shirts on race day... (Shameless promotion, eh?) Then Walt said he’d noticed the white cane and told me about a previous Blind Reporter who wrote a Colum called Thru Borrowed Eyes? Too bad Chris Economaki isn’t here... He’d know exactly who the person was and his name as we kibitzed about the relatively new New Jersey Motorsports Park before Walt told me to ask him for help if I needed anything upstairs. I’m in the back of the room...

As Danny returned and we shared a table with a fellow Journalist, he replied to my announcement of picking Milka to win; that’s a bold pick... To which Danny retorted; did you mean bold or BULL?

And speaking of the Media center, what an interesting room, as there’s an old style typewriter affixed to one of the 30+ rows of tables to permanently honour Mr. Economaki, as the room is fairly Spartan, reminding me of a High School classroom (minus the chalkboards...) with low grey tables and blue chairs and dim lighting conducive to the hoards of “Vurd Botchere’s,” err Word Butchers, Journalists or Hacks feverishly poondin’ away on their laptop kee-boards, as every few rows has banks of large close circuit TV’s overhead and the only noise that can be heard over their loud droning of the live ABC feed is the constant warble of the air conditioning between the howl of Indy Cars screaming by. As all of the chatter and pre-race banter seemingly turned to silence during the actual race. Of which Meesh described as being Morgue-like whilst sitting next to me while silently tapping away at her Live Blog...


Yet during the early morning hours prior to all of the race festivities, the Media center is awash with lively banter, chatter and typing noises while preparing race reports, etc. As I ponder how difficult it would be to use “Lucy” my screen reader in here while noting how HARD it is to try taking notes in the dark... While I think I can hear the very muted scream of the F1 cars over the room’s din, as Jeffrey of My Name is IRL is chatting’ with Crash Gladys of Speed Freaks... Before Danny introduces me to the ‘DAWG! As Press Dog, a.k.a. Bill Zahren is in the house... As I AIN’T sure if Tony G. would take kindly to it being called the “Hizzy, ‘DAWG!”

Next, Danny tells me that they finally fixed the channel as he’s convinced them to turn the sole TV monitor with the Versus fishing show on it over to the Monaco Grand Prix like the rest of the room... As I inquire to Danny whether or not they caught the fish? Then I hear some Brazilian’s a few rows ahead of us discussing the F1 race, while some Brit’s in front of us make a smarmy comment about Jenson waxing the field again... “Where’s Bourdais? Is that Kimi? Where’s my Vodka!” Yuck-yuck-yuck, as it seems universal to hear; oh you mean the BRAWN’s are running 1-2 again? As I sit idly listening while resplendent with Ferrari cap affixed. This is going to be entertaining as HELL! Or may be not?

And what are the odds that Crash Gladys of Speed Freaks TV would be assigned the seat directly behind Mwah! As she was chit-chating with some one (Chris “Throttle” Jacobs?) over some recent BRAWN GP scuttlebutt; what? Richard Branson was hitting on Jenson Button’s girlfriend? Hey can you launch this Tweet for me? Blah-blah-blah... So I interrupted Jeffrey and Crashes chit chat and introduced myself... (Pregnant pause!) So Danny and I decided to go outside and I manage to knock over one of the small waste paper baskets hidden underneath every few aisles...

To continue reading, see; Surviving Indy L101-150

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lost in Translation

Recently, of all places... While in Speedway, Indiana and no less then on AM1070 THE FAN’s Krabitz ‘N Eddie Radio Show, it was mentioned how the era of Customer Service has profoundly disappeared forever...

Thus with this in mind, I found it somewhat irksome, that first my Hotel clerks were quick to simply answer “YES” to all of my questions, as I’ve now found this to also be true with my current attempt to get my Old Fashioned “Koda-chrome” developed.

As apparently I’m really outta the loop on this Digital Camera revolution... Since I’ve fallen afoul of the once per week Film development schedule... Having dropped off my roll of 29 exposures on May 28th and being told they’d most likely be back on the following Tuesday/Wednesday... So imagine my surprise when on Wednesday afternoon I was told they’re still not back, but most likely by Thursday. So, I was even more surprised to learn upon Saturday morning they’re still NOT in Sir; you’ll wanna check back in on Tuesday, as you must have missed our delivery schedule of every Tuesday morning... And thus they sat for a week before being sent out... You’ve gotta be kidding, eh?

And thus, my very elaborate Surviving Indy story will be lacking some shots taken by Danny in the Garages whilst awaiting their overly LONG arrival!

And do NOT even get me started upon my recent win-DOUGHS internets EXPLODER V8 Shenanigans...



SHEISA!

Surviving Indy (Lap 1-50)


Otay, so here goes the LONG winded rant upon my most enjoyable trek to the Hoosier state... And I won’t even tell Y’all any Hoosier jokes like who’s your Daddy... Not to be cornfused with Danicker’s Go Daddy!

Thurs, 5/21
GREEN FLAG; GO-GO-GO!
Departing from SeaTac Int’l Airport early morning, I was assisted from check-in onto my connecting flight by six Airport/Airline employees who were all very nice to me, as I was given my third ride in a wheelchair to my first gate and as we passed one of the countless cart Drivers, my assistant started laughing and informed me that he’d just been called “Peanut” in Indian...

Then I pondered on the first leg of my journey if this is what Motorsports Journalists, Reporters, etc were forced to endure every time they sped off to cover an event for us?

Transferring onto the Embrarer 140, I was seated next to Bill on the “Puddle-jumper” to Indianapolis, where we disembarked into the brand new Indianapolis Int’l Airport which is a welcome upgrade from the old, worn out Airport... As Bill offered to assist me to Baggage and then give me a ride to my Hotel in Speedway, IN, as this was to be my first hint of what Dave would later describe as “Hoosier Hospitality!”

Heading towards Baggage Claim, Bill pointed out the 1936 Cummins Special on static display, as the Indy 500 Diesel race car was obviously on loan from the IMS Hall of Fame museum to promote that weekend’s upcoming Speedfest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, eh?

Checking into my luxurious Hotel in Speedway, IN, which I won’t say its name, except that its former owner (the late Jim Trueman) once owned a CART race Team that “Stash Senior” (Bobby Rahal) drove for early in his Indy Car career, enroute to capturing his first two CART Championships along with the Indy 500...

While the evening Desk Clerk made my Taxi Cab reservation for the following morning. When I inquired on nearby eating establishments in walking distance, he told me I’d probably wanna wait awhile for traffic to die down before trying to cross the exceedingly busy four lane uncontrolled intersection on a curve coming off of the I-465 Freeway... Uh, NO F%%KING WAY! (Welcome to Speedway, home of NO sidewalks...)


Fri, 5/22: “CARB DAY!”
My Taxi arrived and whisked me over to the IMS Administration Building at the corner of 16th and Georgetown, )Hmm? I’ve heard that address somewhere before, eh?) shortly before 8AM, where I was issued my Media credential... Uhm, I’m now like the rest of those “BIG DAWGS” struttin’ their stuff around the Media center; Aye Karumba!

After having my picture taken for my Photo I.D., Scott walked me outside to an awaiting Golf Cart which whisked me over to the Media Center building, as the first of multiple overly courteous “Yellow Shirts” enquired where are you going? Ok, and what are you doing there? Whale I don’t exactly know as I’m brand new to all of this... As the Yellow Shirt lady instructed me to stay off of the road as we scooted underneath the track thru the underground causeway.

After being dropped off and having the door opened for me, another Yellow Shirt took me up to the fourth floor and the Check-in area where I introduced myself. Standing there with my white cane in hand, the lady behind the desk said;

“HI, I’M DANICA!”

(Which totally cracked me up!) Yes, I’m, how old am I Tim? 29, yeah that’s the ticket... As the very nice lady got up and said let’s go find your seat and showed me around the starkly empty Media center, she said I’m not really Danica... My name’s Kay Totten and I’m 76yrs old. Later I’d find out that Kay has been working there for 50yrs and she’s truly a great person to have working there... And thus I sat in my seat at 8:09AM all alone...

While awaiting Danny’s arrival, I was able to listen to two Disk Jockey’s in the back of the cavernous room doing a live broadcast as they teased the audience for an interview just moments away with four time INDY 500 winner Rick Mears. Unfortunately it was a one way conversation as I could only here the DJ’s questions as Rocket Rick was calling-in from his Motor coach somewhere on the confines of the Speedway’s expansive grounds.

“So Rick does it seem possible that it was 30 years ago that you scored your first Indy 500 victory?” (Silence)

I’ve gotta ask you what all of the fans are wondering? Do you have your own key to the Penske Hospitality suite so when you get hungry for a midnight snack you can let yourself in?” (Silence) And then Danny walked up to me...

Oh-Oh! As Danny Bridges sauntered into the Media center at 8:14AM, he proclaimed; “Hey Tomaso your cell phone will work much better if you TURN IT ON!”

(And Thanxs to Jeff Iannucci of My Name is IRL for letting me get away with being Cell Phone challenged!)

Shall we go check out the Garages Danny asks? So I’m off to Gasoline Alley for the very first time and as we stride towards the gate Danny says; there goes Milka, (Duno) as a Driver whizzes by on a motor scooter. Milkalicious is followed next by EJ “What, Me Worry?” Viso and “Rafa” *Rafael Matos) both on Scooters followed by Hulio (Castroneves) in a Golf Cart, as we’d later discover they were off to a Driver’s briefing.

Then I asked Danny to take the first of many pictures for Mwah... (Hey, uze guys do want the car in the picture, right?) As the first Garage we approached was the Target/Chip Ganassi Boyz, with a few snaps on my ‘Ol School film camera taken of Dario Franchitti’s mount before continuing on past Alex “Pink” Lloyd’s car, Oriel Servia’s ride and then a bunch ‘O Dallara/Honda’s in the Tech line awaiting inspection on the Tech pad.

Then back to the Media center and as we exited the elevator there was the “Son ‘O Stash” (Graham Rahal) himself in the flesh standing in the breezeway with a few others, of which I quickly surmised was his esteemed PR lady; Cathy as Graham was set to hold a press conference very shortly... (9:45AM) Hey Danny, let’s stick around for this as I mused to myself silently how DARN LONG his legs were. As it appeared the stool he was sitting on was set for some of the shorter drivers URGH! Like Danica... (5’ 2”) As he sat there with his legs bowed out in an inverted “V” (Nah, I wasn’t checkin’ him out...) position. Graham was on hand to announce the formation of his own Foundation to honour the late, great Paul Newman and his Hole in the Wall Gang camps, as the young Rahal felt that they were no longer being adequately represented... I tell you, this guy is just so amazing at the tender age of 20yrs old! It’s a 503C Corporation and Kathy chimed in that teammate Robert Doornbos’s car would be featuring a special motif in conjunction but she just hadn’t been able to get the press release published yet...
Any questions? So Graham will the Ferrari be used for your Charity? NO! The Ferrari’s already been sold, but we did raffle off my commemorative helmet last year and I’m pledging $10 for every lap I lead... And Cathy’s doing likewise. *Graham said Jokingly!) I think I’m up to a grand total of 30 Bucks so far, so hopefully I can lead a whole bunch of laps on Sunday.

May be we’ll have a celebrity golf charity tourney next year since we have a bunch of extra days when we’re not on track anymore... Before Danny asked if his primary sponsor McDonalds would be involved in his Foundation; well that’s probably a bit premature as we’re still finishing all of the paperwork, but we’ll certainly run it by them...

Then as we rode the elevator down to go here “Cheep” Ganassi speak at the Pagoda Plaza, none other then Graham Rahal and his assistant stepped into the elevator with us as Danny said; nice shoes, are those Pumas? Yeah, they’re custom, as we had them incorporate the McDonalds colours into them before we all stepped out of the elevator...

Walking outside once again, Danny said; Hey there goes Chip in his Golf Cart, as we pondered listening to “The Cheepster” next door... Nah, lets go look around Gasoline Alley some more instead.

Then we headed back to the Media center to watch the Indy Car practice from 11AM-12 Noon, which we watched from outside upon the third floor Handicap section, as my notes say that the Indy Racing League cars actually sound good; somewhat in-between the ultra high pitches of the 2.4 liter normally aspirated 19,000 RPM Formula 1 cruise missiles and the old, dearly missed whoosh of the Turbocharged 2.65 liter Cosworth Champ Cars... As this was my very first time witnessing the IRL chassis in the flesh and they sounded much better then those ‘Old Nissan Crap Wagons! Funnier yet, was the fact that they sounded louder when rumbling down pit lane at reduced speed vs. shrieking by at 220mph plus; E-Ow, Yee-Owwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhh!!!! In between the not so kind sounding warbling down pit lane noises of super sized Honda daily drivers with soup can mufflers, minus that music they call RAP...

And then a cackling Brack Brack as the throttle was blipped before dumping the clutch and leaving pit lane with squealing tyres... And a brief wafting of burnt rubber, as there goes a white one and I think that really bright one was may be pink?

Then after a quick lunch in the Cafeteria, I called Jeffrey who said; in about sixty seconds I WON’T be able to hear you! As the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 was about to begin, nevertheless Jeff came downstairs and graciously allowed me to hang out with him for the remainder of the afternoon, as we went outside to watch the FIL race from upon the third floor deck, as Jeff kept me abreast of who was crashing into who via the Jumbotron across the way as I asked Jeff if there were actually people in the Front Straightaway Grandstands? As it was kind of odd seeing them completely empty during the IRL’s final practice session, albeit the top deck still being unoccupied, while unfortunately all of my picks didn’t win the race, as “Bia” *Ana Beatriz) had a nasty crash with her teammate and Jay Howard ran outta time to pass the leaders... As there was a furious amount of passing all race long with many side by side racing down into Turn One... (Unlike the “Big Carz” race) Lot-so CARNAGE! Eleven cars on the lead lap with Sam Schmidt Motorsports four car armada finishing 1-16-17-18...

“Hinge’s” car sounds un-god fully off song and sickly, as James Hinchcliffe would be forced to retire after several laps of running on five cylinders? As I believe they’re still utilizing the modified Q45 Infinity 3.5 liter normally aspirated V-8 “Lumps” producing 420bhp in the long in the tooth Dallara FIL chassis...

Oh Yeah! Earlier that morning Danny & I rode up in the elevator with Mark James of the IMS Radio Network and Danny asked him; so did Paul Tracy win the race back in ’02? NO! Helio definitely won the race; they used Audio to confirm it... (Yet, if my memory serves me correct? This was when I stopped watching the INDY 500 for the next few years, until Sam “I AM” Hornish’s triumph in ’06... )

After the FIL race Jeff introduced me to “Mister Trackside,” a.k.a. Patrick Stephan, as I mused to myself; hold on, where do I know that name from? I’ve heard it somewhere before... Oh yeah, that’s right he’s one of the IMS Radio Network pit reporters. Shall we go check out the Garages, Jeff inquired? And stepping off the elevator and walking outside; “Whoa Nellie! Where did everybody come from? Its FREAKIN’ PACKED! Bodies everywhere, as later media reports would claim that the 70,000 fans was the largest Carb Day attendance ever and while walking towards the Pagoda, Jeff said; wanna say Hi to Paul Page? After introducing us, Mr. Page said that he was at the track doing work as the Official “Essayist.” (Whatever that is, he mused) As I wryly noted; Oh, you mean like Sam Posey? To which there was silence... After Jeff told him we’re Bloggers, (NOT to be cornfused with Buggers...) Page replied; “We’re all doing Blogs and making NO money!” As he was simply waiting for a friend to show up, but it was good to be interrupted by fans stopping to shake his hand and thank him for his years of service while we chatted...

Walking thru the Pits, Jeff noticed Jay Howard and we waited a bit to get a word in while a young kid waited for an autograph, but we trudged off since he was in heavy discussion with somebody. Then past some of the Big Carz pits as Jeff asked if I wanted to say Hi to Oriel Servia who was sitting on his Scooter, but first Jeff stopped to take some action shots of Eric Bachelart overseeing the placement of sponsor “Deckles” on the nose of TAG’s ride, as Jeff commented; he’s a real “Hands On” Owner... And thus when we got nearer Servia he was already cornered by another fan.

Rounding the corner Jeff pointed out three IRL chassis including Sarah Fisher’s mount. It has a really nice paint scheme and the bright yellow ‘N black Dollar General Livery reminds me of those ‘Old “Buzzin ‘N Hornets, Err Benson & Hedges “EJ” Jordan Grand Prix cars, as we sauntered our way back to the Media center, where we learned that the elevator was out of commission... As Jeff made his way upstairs to write some Blog Entries?

And as everyone entering the building groaned over having to take the stairs... The Yellow Shirts kindly allowed me to sit inside at their desk while awaiting the Golf Cart to come over and pick me up. “Sir, it’ll be about 30min due to the large crowd on hand.” No Problema, as another Yellow Shirt told me she thought it was their biggest crowd in years. Then the Golf Cart arrived and she bobbed ‘N weaved her way thru the crowds before dropping me off at the gate at the corner of 16th & Georgetown. She got out of the Cart and escorted me to another Yellow shirt who walked me out, saying; Hold that Cab! As I was whisked back to my Hotel by the Cabbie just waiting for me... Pretty Damn Slick, eh?

To continue reading, see; Surviving Indy L51-100

Saturday, June 6, 2009

F1 moves to FOX

GASP! Once again it’s the part of the Formula 1 season I detest the most... Besides the winter break, when FOX TV takes over the race coverage and we get to indulge in four DUMBED DOWN Broadcasts... Beginning with this weekend’s Turkish GP in Istanbul, which FOX will air in its abbreviated format at 12 Noon Pacific.

Where are you Varsha, Hobbs, Matchett and Winsor? We needs Yuh!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Portland’s Centennial

Sorry folks, but I just cannot let go of the fact that Portland has been majorly “Dissed” by the Indy Car World Series... Although I suppose I should understand by now that IMS rules the roost and will not play second fiddle to anybody! Yet, while much ado has been made over the fact that this year’s Indy 500 marks the famed Speedway’s Centennial, (Part One) little noise seems to be made about the fact that Portland, Oregon is also celebrating its own Open Wheel Racing Centennial, as its AAA sanctioned road race pre-dates the series first visit to Indianapolis, with Portland’s inaugural race being held on June 12, 1909; while today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Speedway hosting its inaugural event; the National Balloon race, of which IMS founder Carl Fisher was participating in... So, it’s a bit funny to me how I’m assuming that there’ll be NO mention of this fact by Indy Car, which seems sad to think that there still is an unspoken rift between CART/Champ Car and the IRL, of which I suppose will linger on for several years to come, sorta like the Civil War?


Truesports; Scott Pruett
And although my earliest memories of Open Wheel Racing cars is those bygone days of the early 1970’s with ABC’s Wide World of Sports Jim McKay at the microphone over Memorial Day weekend... much of my zest for this unique series spawn’s from traipsing about the grounds Of PIR for over two decades and the yearly pilgrimage on Father’s Day weekend to watch the Champ Cars.

Portland celebrates 90th Anniversary
It was here that battle lines were drawn over whether you were an Andretti or Unser “Hater!” As the elder generation gave way to the mighty skirmishes between Mikey and Little Al, although John and Jeff Andretti would also take turns at Portland, along with Mario’s farewell tour, whose teammate was none other than “Il Lione,” a.k.a. Nigel Mansell or better known as BLOODY NIGE! There was Scott Pruett persevering in the struggling Truesports chassis, which always seemed to be one step behind on engine choice, while Randall was always quick to give a driver a new nickname like “Stevie Johnson” (Stefan Johansson) and Raul Boesel being the originall Boom-Boom Smash-Smash BRAHMA! Who was at the time being sponsored by Brahma Beer. Yet, one of my most favourite memories is the Pub we made our yearly destination sporting a life-size cardboard cutout of Bobby Rahal, who I used to call “Boobie Ruble,” of which Meesh has a much more diabolical spelling of... As Rahal senior was resplendent in his Miller High Life racing overalls and somebody had cleverly stuck a note underneath his arm saying “Need two tickets for Indy!” Since this was the year that the Three time CART Champion had switched to Honda “Lumps” and looked set to fail qualifying for the 1994 Indy 500 before making the painful decision to switch to a customer Penske/Ilmor chassis instead to satisfy his sponsors... Then there was the year when a person by the name of Robby Gordon asked me if the seat next to me in the Grandstands was taken? As he and his girlfriend sat thru the entire Trans Am race, as I tried having a casual conversation with him, while my friends tried heckling him... As this was his Rookie season in CART, driving for ‘Ol Super Tex... Before I got his autograph the following year when he’d jumped to Derrick Walker’s “Team Valvoline” and Robby seemed none too impressed with me when discovering my pen was running dry of ink! Or watching a very “Young Lion” named Jon Beekhus kicking ARSE in the ARS... (American Racing Series) which I believe was the pre-cursor to the original Indy Lights series, as the ARS chassis were motivated by normally aspirated Buick V-6’s...

Dorsey Schroeder; Tom Gloy Trans Am Mustang
And then there was the SCCA Trans Am, which just had some of the NARLIEST Pony Cars going fender to fender, as this was during the era of Factory backed “Works” teams featuring the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Avenger(?) With Tommy Kendall, Dorsey Schrader, Ron Fellows, Scott Sharp and the Archer Brothers to name a few; while there was our local PacWest Racing team making good, as Mark Blundell captured the team’s very first victory in what must arguably be Portland’s closest finish, beating Gil De Ferran in a drag race, with Raul Boesel in third for CART’s closest ever 1-2-3 finish in its history.

Patrick Racing; Alfa Romeo

And witnessing “Mr. Hollywood” or “Sully” (Danny Sullivan) going from the highs of CART Champion in 1988 in the beautifully prepared gold Penske PC-17/Chevrolet Miller High Life to the lows of struggling while driving for Pat Patrick in the hugely uncompetitive Alfa Romeo powered Lola T91/00 chassis.
Along with Marlboro Team Penske’s three car armada simply crushing everybody in its wake, while “My Boy Dirtmann” (Robby Gordon) Pipped ‘Ol Bloody Nige for fourth place on the final lap coming onto the front straight... (Remember that Randall?)


Danny Sullivan
Then the tide turned red, as those pesky Target/Chip Ganassi cars ruled the roost in CART, winning an unprecedented four consecutive Championships (1996-99) as Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya flexed their muscles on track, before Kenny Brack had what was deemed a sub-par season driving for The Cheepster!” Or watching De Ferran take an improbable victory in the low budget Walker Racing entity vs. the big Guns of Penske, etc. by putting his Goodyear tires to good use over the opposition, as Derrick Walker called another crafty race for his charge, while Team Rahal triumphed at Portland with Max Papis, with Brack and Vasser driving that wonderful looking white/yellow Shell car, along with Mexican Michele Jourdain Jr’s brief tenure with the team. And I’ve completely left out the “Kuh-Nuck’s” (Not on purpose Meesh & CAM-Wow) as there was Scott Goodyear, Ross Bentley, and John Jones off the top ‘O my noggin... Not to mention somebody named PT, as Mr. Chrome Horn (Paul Tracy) and Dario Franchitti were always a force to be reckoned with at Team Kool Green, along with some cats nicknamed Jack Vanilla, (Jacques Villeneuve) Pat the Carpenter (Patrick Carpentier) and TAG. (Alex Tagliani) And let’s NOT forget the late, great Greg Moore, whom I recall watching cause a massive seven car pile-up into the Festival Curves by going into the corner on the start overly aggressive and ultimately flying off track... Or “Shorty” (Cristiano da Matta) scoring his final Champ Car victory whilst driving for PKV Racing before his horrendous testing accident at Road America, while Portland was also the site for first time CART/Champ Car maiden victories for: Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi (Mark Blundell) and AJ Allmendinger.


Justin Wilson; ruSport

And lastly, all of the years making countless sarcastic cracks at “King Hiro” (Hiro Matsushita) Lyn St. James, Scott Brayton, Willy T. Ribbs and all of the other perennial back markers who drove for Dick Simon Racing and Dale Coyne Racing respectively, of which was totally uncalled for, but, hey! If we knew now what we didn’t know then, eh? Thus Salute Portland! And may be some day (SOON?) in the hoped for near future the leadership of the Indy Racing League will see fit to return to the Pacific Northwest of which could potentially once again attract its dedicated fans from California, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC, eh? As it’s now going on three years without a FRILLIN’ race...
Past Race Winners: Portland Champ Car Event
June 17, 1984 Al Unser Jr; June 16, 1985 Mario Andretti; June 15, 1986 Mario Andretti; June 14, 1987 Bobby Rahal; June 19, 1988 Danny Sullivan; June 25, 1989 Emerson Fittipaldi; June 24, 1990 Michael Andretti; June 23, 1991 Michael Andretti; June 21, 1992 Michael Andretti; June 27, 1993 Emerson Fittipaldi; June 26, 1994 Al Unser Jr.; June 25, 1995 Al Unser Jr.; June 23, 1996 Alex Zanardi; June 22, 1997 Mark Blundell; June 21, 1998 Alex Zanardi; June 20, 1999 Gil de Ferran; June 25, 2000 Gil de Ferran; June 24, 2001 Max Papis; June 16, 2002 Cristiano da Matta; June 22, 2003 Adrian Fernandez; June 20, 2004 Sebastian Bourdais; June 19, 2005 Cristiano da Matta; June 18, 2006 A.J. Allmendinger; June 10, 2007 Sebastian Bourdais...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Phoenix’s Iceberg

With the recent firestorm raging over the 2010 Budget Cap Formulae, its hard to believe that it was twenty years ago today that I attended my very first Formula 1 race in “the Valley of the Sun,” as this venue was the new home of the USGP, with Bernie Ecclestone and the City of Phoenix having inked a five year deal to host a temporary street circuit race around the Downtown corridor of Phoenix, Arizona.

And thus, just like May 1, 1994, I can still fondly recall where I was on June 4, 1989, as the inaugural Phoenix Grand Prix was being contested in 104 degrees HEAT! To which Jeffrey sez; “In the shade, may be?” And although many like to say it’s a DRY HEAT... So is your Oven! Yet I recall thinking how cool was it to be standing in the middle of a concrete jersey barrier canyon with the BADDEST FREAKIN’ Racing Cars on the planet whizzing by whilst a much younger Tomaso was cradling an ice cold Foster “Oil Can” in his hands to battle the oppressive heat! As ironically the promoter’s title sponsor was Iceberg! As the Formula One experiment would go the way of the Titanic, albeit at least having a three year run, as fast forward some 18 years when Champ Cars (Remember them?) Phoenix Promoter Dale Jensen, part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks said that economic turmoil had prevented the landing of major event sponsorship. With the city of Phoenix seemingly indifferent to another street car race in the Downtown area, (After the long defunct Iceberg Grand Prix: 1989-91) still lingering on and the Phoenix Champ Car event is stillborn... As I still recall the sediments of the Arizona locals:

“I CAN’T get to my Bar! There’s some funny ‘lil cars blockin’ off the streets. What are all these Damn Foreigners doin’ here…”
Thus, while this most magnificent circus of Formula 1 machinery played its majestical symphony of mechanical noises, unbeknownst to Mwah, across the Pacific Ocean, in the nether regions of China, a totally OBSCENE and uncalled for event to be known around the world as Tiananmen Square was unfolding…

Yet, back to happier circumstances, as your Humble Scribe has previously scribbled about encountering the GODS of F1 in Phoenix, circa 1989 in May Day, while my most entertaining memory of the Iceberg Grand Prix is Roberto’s yarn about riding the elevator with a clueless friend alongside Alessandro Nannini and asking Sandro; So, are you like one of the Team Mechanics or what? As Sandro was at the time a rising F1 Star, prior to his devastating Helicopter accident in which surgeons successfully reattached his hand!

But let’s cut to the chase, shall we? As I recall unknowingly sitting in the Media section on the front straightaway with Hall and taking an unbelievable amount of photos before we were summarily dismissed due to the lack of proper credentials… WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ MEDIA CREDENTIALS!

As this was the first year of the return to a Normally Aspirated (3.5 liter) engine formulae, which brought a variety of different engines, i.e.; V-8, V-10 and V-12 “Lumps,” as Ford/Cosworth and Judd (a collaboration between John Judd and Sir Jack Brabham) led the V-8 Brigade. Meanwhile Honda and Renault were the only Manufacturers to take the V-10 route, With the “Regies” soon to be all conquering pneumatic valve V-10 making it’s debut, whilst Ferrari and Lamborghini (then owned by Chrysler) carried on with wonderful sounding V-12’s… As the Scuderia Ferrari’s shrieking V-12 was instantly recognizable, prior to its sighted arrival by the fact that the Scuderia was the only Constructor utilizing the soon to become de rigor semi-automatic paddle shift gearbox, while the remainder of the field trundled on with manual shift crash boxes… Giving the Ferrari’s an unmistakable shrill pitch that resonated above all of the rest on the 2.36 mile Temporary Street Circuit…


DriversMcLaren’s Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were clearly the class of the field, arguably head ‘N shoulders above the remainder of contestants, as only “Il Lione” or “BLOODY NIGE, better known as Nigel Mansell was able to regularly challenge the McLaren duo, while his teammate Gerhard Berger also occasionally joined the party. Ford’s Benetton “Works” Driver tandem of Alessandro Nannini and Rookie Johnny Herbert were an interesting pair, as one had to be impressed by Herbert’s fortitude... Having suffered a massive crash the year prior with harsh damage to his legs and feet, as I recall reading how bits of rubber from the race track’s tarmac were to exude their selves from his feet years later!

Williams Thierry Boutsen and Ricardo Patrese had the aforementioned Renault powerplants, while the rest of the field was primarily populated by Ford and Judd V-8 Lumps, with Tyrrell sporting such drivers as Dr. Jonathan Palmer, Michele Alboreto and rising star Jean Alesi. Ligier had the controversial Rene Arnoux and the rebadged March team, now known as Leyton House Racing featured Ivan Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin... while Larrousse was the sole Lamborghini customer, with my favourite new team at this point for reasons unknown being the Moneytron Onyx team spearheaded by the irrepressible “Stevie Johnson,” a.k.a. Stefan Johansson, partnered with Belgian Bad Boy Bertrand Gachot...


Teams
1) Honda Marlboro McLaren; 2) Tyrrell Racing Organization; 3) Cannon Williams Team; 4) Motor Racing Developments (Brabham); 5) Arrows Grand Prix International; 6) Camel Team Lotus; 7) Leyton House March; 8) Osella Squadra Corse; 9) Benetton Formula; 10) BMS Scuderia Dallara; 11) Lois Minardi Team; 12) Ligier LOTO; 13) Scuderia Ferrari; 14) Larrousse Calmels; 15) Coloni Racing; 16) EuroRacing; 17) West Zakspeed Racing; 18) Moneytron Onyx Formula One; 19) Rial Racing; 20) Automobiles Gonformaise Sportive (AGS).


RaceAyrton Senna set blistering times during qualifying, nearly 1.5 seconds ahead of rival teammate Alain Prost, with some cynics suggesting Senna surely must have cut thru the Sheraton parking lot? And Senna would have most likely won the race if he hadn’t suffered from “Electronics” failure, as even then Auto Manufacturers were loathe to state their engines had failed, as Prost who overcame overheating (engine, NOT Driver) problems of his own to take the chequered flag ahead of Ricardo Patrese and local oy Eddie (“Underachiever) Cheever in a Arrows/Ford, while an extremely low number of Drivers finished the event; as Christian Danner in a Rial/Cosworth was fourth, Herbert fifth and Boutsen sixth... With the rest of the field either retiring from mechanical troubles, accidents or driver fatigue; as Nannini was overcome with exhaustion, Gugelmin being DQ’ed, with the others either failing to qualify or pre-qualify as the oppressive heat took its toll.

Ironically, the 31,000+ attendees were grossly overshadowed by the 70,000 Arizonan’s taking part in that year’s inaugural Ostrich Festival in nearby Chandler, AZ... YES! You read that correctly, a Freakin’ Ostrich Festival was more popular then the Formula 1 event... Which would be moved to March the following year to beat the Desert heat... While my favourite headline from the myriad of newspaper clippings Arizona Bureau Chief MJ sent me proclaimed after the 1991 race that major improvements would make next year’s race even better! Which I’ve tucked away in a drawer somewhere, as the race was to be cancelled and the USGP would take a nine year hiatus before debuting at Indianapolis...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Johnson seeking 300

Tonight in the other Washington, known as the Nation’s Capitol... The original “BIG UNIT,” a.k.a. former Seattle Mariner pitcher Randy Johnson will attempt to join the very elite company of MLB 300 Game winners against the Washington Nationals... Ironically the franchise that originally drafted the 6’ 10” left hander when they were the Montreal Expos, when Johnson was still a dimond in the rough and more of a menace to opponents with his uncontrolled pitching style, as it would be years before he became the dominant left hander of today who won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks... And although I think I saw the BIG UNIT in the Kingdome way back when? I seem to remember more hoopla being made over Gaylord Perry who scored his 300th Game victory as a Mariner... thus, if randy is successful tonight, he’ll become only the 24th player to score 300 victories and only the sixth left hander to do so...

Go Get-em Randy!

Mannequin called up for batting duty against Johnson

Johnson’s season with the Tribe

Monday, June 1, 2009

Great Balls ‘O Fire

Although I cannot say that yesterday’s Milwaukee Mile Indy Car race was overly exciting, as I fell asleep halfway thru the race... Primarily tuning in to see how Mr. Chrome Horn (P. Tracy) would fair in ‘Ol Super Tex’s mount... Or could the Son ‘O Stash (G. Rahal) potentially score his first Oval Track victory? But I did find the following Q & A with defending winner Ryan Briscoe entertaining...

q) Your fiancée (ESPN'S Nicole Manske) gets paid to pay attention to NASCAR. Would we have to pay you to care about NASCAR?

A) I do pay attention to it, I think just because with Penske Racing having everything under one roof it's like we're just one big team. I see the NASCAR drivers all the time. Justin Allgaier and Kurt Busch and (Sam) Hornish, obviously. (David) Stremme. I might not sit down for the entire 17 hours of a race, but I will definitely pay attention to it.(Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

To read the full story see; Getting to Know... Ryan Briscoe

Women in Racing: The Centennial Years (2009 Edition)


I’d say that the majority of today’s mainstream media attention is firmly affixed upon the Indy Racing League’s Danica Patrick, having FINALY WON her first major car race with some precocious fuel mileage strategy in Motegi, Japan last year. Yet with my NON politically correct stance towards Princess Danicker and Milka Duno’s indecision upon which car to drive? I continue to sit firmly on the Sarah Fisher side of the Danica divide, thus I thought I’d shed some light on the REAL women of motorsport once again, As these female pioneers truly paved the way for Danica to live the “Good Life.”

Interestingly the first women racers were in Grand Prix, prior to the modern day Formula 1 championship which began in 1950. As the earliest reports of female race driver’s centers upon a trio of women, with Eliska Junkova and “Helle Nice” being the most flamboyant. While Kay Petre made her impression due to her small stature behind the wheel of the day’s monstrous vehicles. Junkova caused quite a “stir” when it was discovered that a woman led the opening laps of the 1928 Targa Florio. While the lady behind the wheel of the Bugatti leading the event was quickly named the “Queen of the Steering wheel” by the adoring press, as the Czechoslovakian is the only woman to have ever won a Grand Prix which she accomplished at the Nurburgring in 1926. Junkova retired from racing immediately after her husband was killed in 1928 at the Nurburgring while piloting the vehicle the couple were co-driving in the event.

Helle Nice was Mariette Hélène Delangle’s stage name, as she made her fame and fortune as a Paris “Show Girl.” Amassing wealth and popularity as a dancer, she reportedly enjoyed “Life in the Fast Lane.” As rumours suggest she had a long list of multiple suitors including Philippe de Rothschild and Jean Bugatti. She competed in several Grand Prix’s during the early 1930’s.

Yet sadly after the war, Louis Chiron accused Helle Nice of being a Gestapo agent which effectively ended her career. (Along with ruining her life!) Helle Nice died “penniless” in Paris in 1984.

Kay Petre stood 4’10” tall, making many marvel at her physical ability to manhandle a 10.5 liter V-12 Delage while setting speed records at the famed Brooklands circuit. Petre was most likely the first female to compete in the 24 Heurs du Mans, finishing 13th overall in 1936. She competed in three Grand Prix’s in 1937 before being injured. Petre went on to become a motor journalist along with being an automotive fabric designer.

After two decades of no women participants, Maria Teresa de Filippis contested three Grand Prix’s between 1958-59. While it would be almost another two decades before a quartet of female drivers attempted participating in various Formula 1 races from 1974-1992. (Lella Lombardi, Divina Galica, Desire Wilson and Giovanna Amati).

Lombardi raced twelve times, becoming the only woman to have ever scored a World Championship point in 1976. Finishing sixth in the rain shortened Spanish GP, where Lombardi was awarded a half point. Lella also finished seventh at the Nurburgring. Galica, Wilson and Amati were entered, but didn’t qualify for their races. With quite a fuss caused when multiple females were entered for the 1976 British GP. Amati was the last female to enter a Formula 1 event for the struggling Brabham team before being replaced by Damon Hill, with Amati’s F1 test coming courtesy of playboy Flavour Flav… (Flavio Briatore).

Meanwhile Janet Guthrie began her racing career in Sports Cars and won two class victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring, prior to getting her big break, when in 1976 Rolla Vollstedt gave her a test drive at Indianapolis, although she didn’t qualify for that year’s race. Yet in 1977 Guthrie would not only become the very first female to race in the Indianapolis 500, but also make history as the first woman to race in the Daytona 500.

Guthrie would compete at Indy three times (1977-79) with a best finish of 9th in 1978 before disappearing from the Speedway’s horizon. It would be a further 13 years before a second female would participate in the Indy 500. As although Desire Wilson passed her Rookie test on May 11, 1982, she failed to qualify for that year’s race, thus it was a further decade before Lyn St James made the first of her seven appearances. St James became Indy’s first female rookie of the year in 1992. This debut race would also become her best finish of 11th place at the Speedway.

Y2K
As the new millennium dawned, (2000) the third female to crack the Brickyard’s entry list was Sarah Fisher driving for Derrick Walker. Fisher has since gone on to become the first woman driver to win a Pole in the Indy Racing League and holds the records for fastest one and four lap qualifying speeds at Indy. (2002: One lap = 229.675mph; Four lap average = 229.439mph)
Next, in 2005 Danica Patrick burst upon the scene, causing instant Danica mania while flirting with capturing the pole at Indy and finishing 4th in her rookie year for Rahal Letterman Racing, which at the time was the highest finish ever by a female at the Speedway and garnered Patrick Rookie of the Year honours.

In 2007, another first was recorded, when the Brickyard saw three females take the green flag for the very first time in the Speedway’s history, as Venezuelan Rookie Milka Duno driving her CITGO sponsored Team SAMAX racecar joined Sarah Fisher and Danica Patrick in the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.

The 2008 event brought many changes for all three of these female contestants, as we were all painfully aware of Princess Danicker basking in the glow of winning her first victory just over one month prior to the 92nd running of the INDY 500, at the Twin Ring Oval of Motegi, Japan. Danica rolled off fifth from the middle of Row 2 aboard her #7 Motorola/ Andretti Green Racing and finished 22nd, with Contact on lap 171.

Meanwhile, the driver of this trio struggling the hardest financially to make her record tying seventh Indy 500 start, without a doubt was Sarah Fisher. After a disappointing 2007 season as Buddy Rice’s team mate at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Fisher decided to accomplish another first by starting her own race team and thus becoming the first female Indy Car owner. Hoping to have her team backed by Gravity Entertainment and ResQ energy Drinks adorning her sidepods, both entities failed to ever mail her the Check! As Fisher has since moved on, as her No. 67 Dallara’s sidepods would be emblazoned with her new associate sponsors, with Sarah qualifying 22nd, starting from the inside of Row 8. Unfortunately Sarah by no fault of her own would be involved in an accident with a spinning Tony Kanaan and end up 30th.

Yet, Milka Duno uncharacteristically “Flew under the Radar” during the Month of May, having switched teams in the off season, becoming part of a three car effort fielded by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and was still backed by CITGO, Duno then eagerly took to constantly asking her teammates Buddy Rice (2004 Indianapolis 500 winner) and Townsend Bell for advice on how to master the Brickyard, as Duno would qualified 27th, lining up on the outside of Row 9. Ironically, Milka was the highest finishing Female, with a classified finish of 19th and Running, albeit only completing 185 total laps.

2009: The Centennial Era Begins
As you may be aware of? This year marks the first part of a three year Centennial celebration at the Speedway, which first hosted races in 1909, albeit a Balloon Race preceding the roar of Automobile engines. These were then followed by the inaugural 500 mile event being held in 1911, which was won by Ray Haroon aboard the Marmon Wasp.

For this year’s event, all three of these female contestants have gone thru more changes... As we’re all painfully aware that Princess Danicker still basks in the glow of winning her first victory just over One year ago, Now entering her third season with Andretti Green Racing, as her Motorola racecar was recently recovered in another media blitz, which will see the No. 7 sporting new Boost Mobile livery, rolling off from the inside of Row 4, having qualified 10th at 222.882mph.

Meanwhile, the driver of this trio showing the most turnaround from last year is undoubtedly Sarah Fisher, who’s in solid financial shape this season thanks in large part to Dollar General, who’s just extended Fisher’s schedule to encompass six Ovals, beginning at Kansas.

Thus, Fisher captures the record for Female pilots by making her record breaking eighth Indy 500 start, as Sarah qualified her No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing 21st at 222.082mph and will start from the inside of Row 7.

Milka Duno has caused the most fanfare early this year with her on-again/off-again relationship when trying to secure a third seat at Newman Haas lanigan Racing, of which apparently her promised sponsorship fell thru.

Duno has since returned to her old haunt; Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, also making her ’09 season debut at Kansas, where she and Fisher shared the same starting row. Milka will be part of a four car armada out of the stable of D & R’s Indiana shop, with the four car Dryer & Reinbold effort sporting two cars for Milka and Rookie British teammate Mike Conway, while Associate programs with Richard Petty Motorsports and Kingdom Racing are being fielded for John Andretti and Davey Hamilton respectively. Milka is being backed by CITGO once again, qualifying her No. 23 “CITGO El Speciale” 30th at 221.106mph and will start from the inside of Row 10 this year, as ironically “Tres hembras”
all start on the inside of their respective Rows...

Yet this year’s Qualifying theme was to withdraw your entry and requalify at a faster time in hopes of improving your starting position which Danica, Sara and Milka all did, with Fisher having the biggest moment in her initial qualifying run, having to get out of the throttle and loosing a whole 5mph from 222 to 217 entering Turn 1!

And the roar of the crowd was unmistakable, as Danica Patrick finished a record third place, besting her previous record fourth position and re-establishing the record for highest finishing Female in the Brickyard’s history, while Sarah Fisher finished a very respectable 17th and was this year’s recipient of the Scott Brayton Driver’s Trophy Award; “Presented annually to the driver best exemplifying the character and racing spirit of the late driver Scott Brayton.”

Meanwhile as Danny Bridges mused, Milka Duno actually finished a career best One lap down, being recorded as the only car to finish 199 laps and being classified as 20th/Running, having progressed steadily forward in her three starts at the Speedway. In 2007, her rookie year, she crashed on lap 65 and in 2008, although finishing 19th and Running, (L185) albeit some 15 laps behind.

Thus, as Virginia Slims would say, “You’ve come a long way Baby…”