Saturday, July 31, 2010

Was it a Full Moon last Sunday?

(Nicky Hayden & Ben Spies; Source:

I haven’t tried looking up any Astrological charts or nothin’, so I’m unaware of whether or not there was any Full Moon Fever affecting both the Indy Car and Formula 1 races last weekend, eh? As you already know about the HULIO shuffle in Edmonton, whilst after watching 5hrs of Memorex yesterday I was fairly DISGUSTED with the outcome of the Scuderia’s Hockenheimring Hi-jinx! While the only Hi-jinx at Laguna Seca came from the leading rider “Low-siding” his “Scooter” while trying to run-away from the eventual race winner...

And thus, just when I started thinking Fredrico Suave, a.k.a Fred Alonso was a worthy rival, he’s slipped back into his Ferdi-the-Putz physique... After WHINING on the radio “This is ridiculous...” NO Ferdi, you are! As don’t get me wrong, as I wasn’t surprised by the very blunt “Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge Coded” instructions for Felipe Massa to pull over and let Alonso by to give him the victory... As Team Orders have been in F1 since way back when. It was just that it was so BLATANT that I immediately found myself DISGUSTED with the races outcome whilst flashing back to that Austrian GP Debacle between Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro teammates Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello way back in ’02, which was the catalyst for the STUPID NO Team Orders rule... Although apparently Ferrari was fined a cool one million Euros that time instead of the paltry $100k, which I’m guessing Maranello will gladly shill out for the victory, right?

Fernando Alonso's Formula One Victory Ignites Controversy

Meanwhile in Monterey, CA, those MOTO GP ‘Loons were dragging their knees ‘N other various Body-parts along with grinding down various bits of carbon fibre bodywork thru that illustrious Zanardi corner, more commonly known as The Corkscrew, where Honda’s Dani Pedrosa gifted FIAT-Yamaha’s George Lorenzo the victory when he crashed out of the lead on lap-11, leaving Lorenzo to disappear off into the distance for his sixth victory in the season’s first nine races!

Ducati’s Casey Stoner, after having several close calls of his own, decided discretion was the better part of valor, settling for a runner-up finish, while ‘The Doctor, nee Valentino Rossi surely turned heads by snatching his first Podium finish in third place since breaking his leg in Italy. Rossi battled with fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who dejectedly noted he was unable to keep pace with The Boss on the races final lap and had to settle for fourth place.

Meanwhile Rookie Ben Spies continues to impress, with another Monster Hole-shot seeing the Texan rocket into third place before eventually slipping back one spot behind The Kentucky Kid Nicky Hayden, who finished in P5 as the Top U.S. rider, while Colin Edwards finished seventh and Nicky’s brother Roger Lee Hayden took a Wildcard Honda entry home to 11th place... As next up is the Czech Republic round before the bikes return Stateside to Indianapolis at the end of August...

Lorenzo wins Laguna Seca MOTO GP

De-Cypher this

Although not overly surprising, the second somewhat mysterious U.S. hopeful F1 Team has pulled the plug upon its lofty aspirations of becoming a Formula One Constructor, as the Cypher Group has withdrawn from the FIA’s “Lucky 13” Grid Slot Derby...

Thus it would appear the running for this dubious distinction now falls between Durango Corse and , Epsilon Euskadi, with No Fenders putting its 43 Pesos on the latter which is after all Joan Villadelprat’s Operation, who once was Professor Steve Matchett’s Boss at Benetton. Albeit Durango is dangling the ‘Jackoe (Jacques Villeneuve) carrot in front of Uncle Bernaughty, Err the FIA, while theoretically Stefan GP is still in the running...

Cypher gives up F1 entry quest – but when will the FIA make a decision?

Hey! Then again Cypher could always go into the IndyCar Body Aero Kit business, right?

Miller HipCheck’s BB into the boards

Although I cannot say I agree with the Curmudgeon ‘O IndyCarz... I also haven’t seen any video footage of ‘The Block by HULIO, which has apparently brought the ICS’s Brian Braveheart under the wrath of Robin Miller who busts-up on ‘Ol Braveheart by denoting how a Truck Driver ‘N Parts Changer has schmoozed his way to the top of the Indy Racing League. To read Miller’s story, click here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back from ‘KanaDuh sorta...

So your Humble Scribe just rolled back into Town (yesterday afternoon) from a very entertaining 10+ day sojurn to Edmonton ‘N Back; two busses, one Amtrak Train and three days in ‘Ol Yellur, (each direction) as in Over the Woods ‘N Thru the Hills... “I’ve Been Everywhere Man!” As it seemed like perfect timing to hear CBC1 play that Johnny Cash song in Edmonton Sunday evening after three days at the City Centre Airport... While I’ve been in a total News Blackout for 10+ Dazes now, only knowing what occurred at Edmonton, Alberta... Where Will Power got HOSED by HULIO! Thus I was very HAPPY that Castroneves got the Black Flag and rightly sent to the REAR of the Queue! Since I personally believe that Dancin’ FOOL should be SUSPENDED 1-race for pushin-pullin’ on NOT ‘Juan but two Officials!

As leave it to Dario “R.E.O. Speedwagon” Franchitti to offer up another of his typical ‘Juan-liners by saying he’d put 50 ‘Smackeroos (Looneys?) on Charles; Hya! As in Mr. Ex-Marine Charles Burns, head of IRL Security vs. HULIO...

Helio Castroneves' Edmonton Outburst Still Under IRL Review

Thus I’ve got NO clue on what happened at Hockenheim or Laguna Seca... Where those MOTO GP Madmen raced thru the Corkscrew and DER TERMINATOR was possibly running his final Home race(?) both the same day as HULIO was showing Power his newly learned ‘Kuhnaidiun Hip-check Dance move...

Having been forced to choose between F1 ‘N Indy Car to record, I chose the first and hopefully 5hrs of Memorex are awaiting me? As thankfully it was the LAST Horrible FOX broadcast of the year! As I’ve got the Friday practice-2 coverage all queued-up at the moment

So many miles to go as I’ll try watchin’ the tape footage shortly in an ‘Uber-rare Formula 1 “Movie Marathon” by stayin’ stationary for a brief day’s rest, and then try getting back in the swing ‘O things sometime next week...

Penalty costs Castroneves win - Further action likely after he grabs official

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When is a Dallara NOT a Dallara?

So I almost missed it... (Kinda like tonight as I’m busy playin’ Ketsup on the No Fenders ‘BLOB during Trackside, Eh!) Since I’m still not a regular listener of Trackside with Kevin ‘N Cavin, as I wanted to hear what these two Pied Pipers would have to say over that RALLY- RALLY- RALLY-B.I.G! New for 2012 Indy Car ICONIC $ponsored by Verizon Announcement... (7/15 Trackside episode)

Whoa Buddy, hang on here a moment... Wasn’t that two weeks ago just one day after Bastille Day? Why yes it was, and hopefully by the time I’ve gotten back from Edmonton to post this it’ll be a fleeting moment, as I weren’t surprised, just definitely NOT impressed with those ICONIC BOYZ “Solution.”

As I was left immediately ponderin’ after that ‘Mega Dog ‘N Pony show; did somebody say Pony? Like in where was Princess Sparkle Pony? Oh yeah that’s right she was Twitterin’ away ‘bout her next B.I.G. ‘By-gummit Woo-Hoo RASSCAR LITE race... Nice job DannaWho???

Uhm, back to my questions though, eh?

So how long is the new car chassis/exclusive “GUTS” contract for? (Did Dallara just pull a Master-stroke and lock up chassis control for another 10yrs?)

Does this mean 2011 is a “Lame duck” season? i.e.; why starts a new team then if you’ve gotta shell out cash for new equipment in 2012? I mean I get it that the BIG ‘DAWGS will wanna peddle their obsolete equipment, but what good does it do for the Series to have a bunch ‘O “Juan Hit Wanderer’s?

And will Lola/Swift really be willing to produce Aero kits? As I can see Delta Wang, since it’s a Body-by-Cheep!” in-house effort... Even if Ben Bolby apparently went away from the Media thingy with smoke pourin’ from his ears... And even BAT could possibly do something as a “Third” Party for Penske? BUT let’s drop the BULL Boyz; (Hmm? Randy Bernard + PBR, Oh Never Mind!) C’mon Lockheed Martin, Boeing GM, Ford... WE NEEDS YUHS!!! PLEASE, PRETTY PREASE??? What I wanna know is who is Smokin’ what there, eh?

Lockheed-Martin is way too busy makin’ Jet Fighters, etc for an overly profitable NON-STOP OCCUPATION of two Countries... Boeing is years behind on its 787 Dreamliner and over a year behind on its 747-8 Delivery schedule. Although Boeing did run a Demonstration U-787 Hydroplane last year with Chip Hanauer at Seafair, it was to demonstrate its hoped for Bio-fuels production, which AREN’T Ethanol, while can you imagine the uproar over ‘Gov’t Motors going IndyCar racing?

And I sat there getting’ pissed off at Kurt Cavin who seemed like he was tryin’ to spin the Good Ship IndyCar... As this is really good SHIT Y’all! You’re gonna like it, trust me...

Yet I just cannot get over that overused quip ‘bout a Pig in a Blanket, Err, I meant a PIG with Lipstick... As please Indy Racing League; DO NOT try to dress this up as something it AIN’T!!!

Since why does this simply make me think of when I was a kid growing up in my Slot Car dazes? When you could simply snap-on a Daytona Superbird body or a Porsche 917 car ‘lickidey-split as they both were utilizing AFX “GUTS!” Which that term simply makes me think of what I get to dislodge every time I go Dungeness Crabbing...

And a “State-of-the-Art” Facility in Speedway to build Dallara Racecars... Which I tell Yuhs it seemed like Jeff Smith; Director of Marketing for the Indy Racing Experience on Autosport Radio the week prior let the Cat outta the Bag, as I was unaware that IRE also doubles as the exclusive North American Dallara parts supplier... Which I’m assuming will continue?

While Cavin ‘N Lee seemingly made things as clear as Mud on a Rainy Day with all of their hypothesizing... You’ll haveda wait ‘til my story tomorrow in the IndyStar... Which had Randy Bernard saying that Penske would only have to produce five “Body-by-Penske” Aero-kits and will control who can buy them... Uh, sorry ‘Cheep! NO Sale...

And I’d find it more appealing if there were gonna be multiple engine manufacturers? As it would be cool to see an Audi straight five cylinder turbo lump find its way into the mix, or an Alfa romeo twin-plug four cylinder lump or Porsche, Mazda, etc pushing Honda? But I don’t see it happening... Hmm? Any of yooze remembers that all conquering itsy-bitzy toy-Yoter turbocharged four-banger in the back of those annihilating Dan Gurney AAR IMSA GTP cars that simply crushed GTP into extinction...

So go ahead and do your Body-by insert name here thingy Indy Car... Just please don’t try passing it off like they’re truly distinct, separate, unique from-the-ground-up Single Seater Open Wheel Racing Cars! I mean SHEISA! AIN’T RASSCAR tryin’ that with those Nationwide-mobiles... Oh lookie ‘Dar, they’re slappin’ Mustang ‘N Challenger noses on whatever to try cashin’ in on those nameplates popularity... Only problem with it is; they’re “Pony Cars” with there long standing roots resonating in Road Racing and NOT ‘Roundy-round Yuh Hear?

So welcome Race Fans to the 2012 AFX AeroKit Era! As why does that CHEEZY advert By Mennen come screaming into my head as I finished Scribblin’ this?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Penske’s ‘willPower (Con’t)

Now entering his third decade of Indy Car racing, Roger Penske would experience a flood of emotions from more hallowed victories at the Speedway to multiple Drivers’ deaths. Yet as always, once again The Captain has come out smelling like a rose with the inking of Will Power to a full time ride at Team Penske!

TELECONFERENCE: Penske first to the Barber

Rocket Rick became the very first driver to ever capture five Pole positions at the Speedway that May aboard a Penske PC-18/Chevrolet, having tied Rex Mays feat of capturing four poles the previous year, in which Mays had accomplished back in 1948!

Yet, it would be Emerson Fittipaldi capturing his first Borg Warner trophy for Pat Patrick and Chip Ganassi in a customer Penske PC-18/Chevy that year, with “EMMO” enroute to the CART Championship crown at year’s end.

Having been beaten by the customer “BAD HABITS” Marlboro team of Patrick/Ganassi... Penske did the sensible thing and hired reigning CART Champion Fittipaldi to drive for him, hence forming a three car line-up for the season.

And EMMO immediately repaid The Captain by claiming the Pole at Indy, securing Team Penske’s third consecutive Pole position at the Brickyard, with Rocket Rick starting from “P2,” while “Sully” (Sullivan) rolled off from ninth, but it was to be some cat named “The Flying Dutchman” Arie Luyendyk’s day at the Speedway instead.

Rick Mears now looking somewhat out of character, in Marlboro red and white versus his most recognizable Pennzoil yellow, albeit having made the switch the year prior, garnered the sixth and final Pole of his storied career at Indianapolis that May, becoming the only driver to date to accomplish the feat.

Thus starting from Pole, in what has to be my most favourite Rocket Rick win at the Speedway, when he made the move affectionately known as “The Pass” upon Mikey Andretti enroute to his record tying fourth Indy 500 victory at the Speedway during the 75th Memorial Day classic, Mears would only contest a single Indy 500 afterwards before announcing his retirement.

Rick Mears was replaced by a young, brash Canadian named Paul Tracy, who qualified seventh before crashing out on lap 94, while team leader Emerson fittipaldi started ninth.

Emerson went onto score his second and final Indy 500 victory after a late race tussle with Little Al, then driving for Rick Galles, as Unser Jr. stood by his wrecked racecar waiting for EMMO to pass by and then flashing him two thumbs up before going to the awaiting Ambulance.

Yet, I believe more noise was made over the Brazilian shirking tradition by drinking Orange juice in Victory Lane instead of Milk in deference to his burgeoning OJ concern back home in San Paolo vs. winning Indy.

Truly an epic season for Penske Racing, as The Captain’s Indy Car team was nearly unbeatable, with Al Unser Jr. winning a total of eight races, including that year’s Indy 500 with the all conquering Mercedes Benz “Stock Block” engine enroute to his second CART Championship, while Paul Tracy scored two victories and Emerson Fittipaldi managed to secure a lone victory that year, it was to be one of Roger Penske’s most successful seasons ever.

After a record breaking year in 1994, when Penske’s three car “Super team” of Lil Al, “EMMO” and Tracy had obliterated the competition in CART, unbelievably Team Penske was unable to get its two drivers; Unser Jr. and Fittipaldi up to speed aboard their Penske PC-24/Mercedes. And The Captain even went as far as to purchase two Lola T95/00 chassis for the driving tandem. But to no avail could either driver make the show. As Roger Penske would miss the next five years, as Tony George’s rival Indy Racing League left Penske and CART out in the cold for the 79th running of Indy, with his 25-8 IRL participants rule for the formation of his rival Indy Racing League, kicking off in 1996...

While many may recall that this was the year that tragically Gregg Moore was killed on Halloween at Fontana Speedway, ironically owned by Roger Penske at the time, as Moore had previously committed to drive for Roger the following year, does anybody recall that Rookie Gonzalo Rodriguez was killed at Laguna Seca Raceway on September 11th, in what was to be only his second start ever, while driving for Penske Racing, which at the time had a revolving door policy for its second car alongside the slumping Unser Junior, as unfortunately Rodriguez was fatally killed at the “Zanardi Curve,” better known as the Corkscrew after slamming into a concrete retaining barrier at 140mph.

And we now also know, that it was Penske’s inking of Helio Castroneves as Moore’s replacement via Carl Hogan that apparently a slighted Emerson Fittipaldi felt obliged to drop the dime upon his ex-charge Hulio in a wrangle over management fees.

Gil De Ferran driving a Reynard-Honda captures the CART Championship, breaking Chip Ganassi’s four year stranglehold on the Vanderbilt Cup.

Having witnessed rival CART team owner Chip Ganassi’s Juan Pablo Montoya obliterate the competition at Indy the previous year, when the first seven finishing positions were held by CART Drivers, Roger Penske could not stay away from the hallowed Speedway any further, entering two cars for his team, which would see a most welcome return as Helio Castroneves would be victorious with teammate Gil De Ferran runner-up, who would also go onto capture his second Vanderbilt Cup for what was to be Penske’s final season in CART.

Roger Penske rocked the establishment by deciding to leave CART in favour of the Indy Racing League, in order to be able to contest that year’s May classic fully emblazoned in Marlboro livery, as the nasty “BAD HABITS’ Tobacco sponsorship was now confined to only one series per team entry. And The Captain didn’t fail to deliver as once again Castroneves won the epic event enroute to becoming only the fourth driver ever to have his “Mug” etched upon the Borg Warner trophy two consecutive years in a row, which wasn’t too shabby of a batting percentage in his first two attempts at the Speedway. Yet I recall gleefully indulging upon Panther Racing’s Sam Hornish Jr. securing his second IRL title over Penske Racing that season.

Gil De Ferran finally accomplished his goal of beating pesky teammate Castroneves enroute to earning his lone Indianapolis 500 victory before ultimately retiring from Indy Car competition, making way for perennial IRL thorn Hornish Jr. to join Penske Racing’s fold, as Roger had still not managed to win an Indy Racing League title!

Finally, Roger accomplished his goal of winning an Indy Car crown as Sam Hornish Jr. not only won the Championship, but that year’s Indy 500 from the Pole position as well, in an epic last lap pass of 19 year old Rookie IRL competitor Marco Andretti, thus notching Penske’s unprecedented 14th Borg Warner trophy.

For the 93rd running of the Indy 500, which begins the three year Centennial celebration, Penske Racing once again fielded two Dallara/Honda racecars for Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves in the traditional red and white livery of Team Penske. (Marlboro)

Yet obviously the big news for Roger Penske over the winter was the plight of “lead” driver Castroneves, as Hulio was indicted upon Tax evasion charges along with his manager/sister and lawyer, whom as we all painfully know were acquitted.

Thus, having previously inked Will Power to a back-up/replacement contingency Driver plan in case Hulio was incarcerated, Penske once again decided to field a three car armada for the month of May, with Power driving the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Wireless racecar, while Castroneves returned full time to his No. 3 and Briscoe continued on in his No. 6, while Power’s fate for the remainder of the season was unknown at that moment, Penske cleverly crafted together a partial season for the promising Australian.

Meanwhile excruciating fanfare was made over Castroneves scoring his third Pole at Indy after a late challenge from teammate Briscoe, with Team Penske cars rolling off 1-2, giving The Captain an unprecedented 15th Pole at Indy, while Power started a respectable ninth, the day ultimately belonged to Castroneves who scored his third Indy 500 victory...

After winning for The Captain in dominating style at Edmonton in a retro-theme Penske Trucking paint scheme during the summer of ’09, Will Power had an unfortunate crash at Sonoma, CA which saw him break his back, leaving Power to ponder over the winter if he’d return to Penske Racing in 2010?

Fortunately for Will, Roger wisely decided to bring the Aussi back for a full-season ride in a third Penske Racing entrey, as The Captain would contest the Indy Car series with three drivers for the first time since 1994. And Power’s addition has paid off handsomely this season, as he’s simply dominated the Road/Street courses, currently the only Indy Car driver to have scored multiple victories, with three, not to mention a boatload of Pole’s, as Power currently leads the Points Standings and is a credible threat to bring roger a second Indy Car Championship...


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Penske’s ‘willPower

Whale Y’all know that Old saying; How Time Flies, eh?

As I’d planned to originally publish this story upon my return from the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the original title Penske’s BIG ‘4-Oh neatly coincided with my very first ever Indy 500 in May, 2009, the 100th Anniversary of The Speedway...

As nearly two years ago, Roger Penske, known as “the Captain” scored his 300th major motor racing victory, surely an unassailable mark... As the milestone was achieved at the Milwaukee mile, coming courtesy of then Penske Racing’s latest New hire; Ryan Briscoe aboard a Team Penske Dallara/Honda Indy Car, as the victory also came upon the 30th Anniversary of perennial Penske Racing driver Rick Mears maiden Indy Car victory...

And while some may claim that the 2008 outing at the Speedway was The Captain’s fortieth running of Indy, I’m going to claim that 2009 was Team Penske’s 40th Anniversary, as Roger first competed at Indianapolis in 1969, and thus, I’ll briefly attempt to re-cap Team Penske’s four decade legacy at the Speedway...

Early years
Roger Penske actually had a very brief career as a racing driver before ultimately deciding to concentrate on his role as the boss of Penske Racing, as Penske had won races and championships in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) ranks. Roger even contested two Formula 1 races, the 1961 and 1962 U.S. Grand Prix’s contested at Watkins Glen, along with causing controversy in ’62 with his “Zerex Special,” a wrecked Cooper F1 chassis he heavily modified and won in... Causing such uproar that the SCCA rewrote its class rules for the following season, effectively making the car illegal; yet, after upgrading it to current specs, Penske would later sell it to a fellow competitor named Bruce McLaren.

The Penske Racing origins began in 1966, when Roger decided to campaign a Lola Sports car in the United States Road Racing Championship, (USRRC) with driver Mark Donohue racing on a trial basis, having gone on to pass the audition with flying colours!

Having tasted success in other arenas, Penske Racing arrived in Gasoline Alley for the 53rd running of the Indianapolis 500. It was during this month of May that Penske’s now legendary “Attention to Detail” was first fully displayed...

Along with this zest for an “Unfair Advantage,” was a brash, crew-cut Engineer/Driver by the name of Mark Donohue... Behind the wheel of Penske’s four wheel drive Lola T-152, powered by the ubiquitous four cylinder Offenhauser and this team’s tenacity for spit ‘N polish caused many Old Timers to refer to them as the “College Guys.”

Yet, Donohue lined-up forth upon the grid as a rookie in his dark blue number 66 Sunoco/ Simoniz sponsored Lola, finishing seventh overall and having easily won his rookie stripes enroute to being named Rookie of the Year, while displaying a glimpse into the future showings of Team Penske’s desires to be victorious at the Speedway.

Team Penske once again returned to Indianapolis with the Lola T-152, albeit this year a newly designed two wheel drive version for Penske’s choice of engine, as the Captain had joined the “Powered by Ford” brigade, now utilizing a V-8 lump.

The month of May started off with Donohue being extremely fast before the others had caught-up, seeing Team Penske’s pilot qualifying fifth and steadily running his own race, eventually finishing runner-up in his No. 66 Sunoco race car to “Big Al,” (Al Unser Sr.) aboard the unstoppable Johnny Lightning Special.

Roger Penske and Mark Donohue flew to England in search of potential Can Am machinery to purchase and upon their visit to the McLaren workshop at Colinbrook, immediately wished to purchase a McLaren M16 Indy Car, with Penske saying; “Build me one.”

The M16A prototype would ultimately become Donohues No. 66 Sunoco liveried mount, engineered by Don Cox, with its corresponding Offy powerplant producing 700bhp and being transferred to the rear wheels via a Hewland LP500 three speed gearbox.

Team Penske would enter two cars that May, with Donohue and a Rookie “Bloke” by the moniker of “Hobbo,” better known as David Hobbs driving the No. 68 Penske Products Lola/Ford.

During Indy qualifying Donohue was on pole at 177mph, but upon telling McLaren Team Boss Teddy Mayer why he was so slow... McLaren driver Peter Revson used this information to snatch the pole position away with a top speed of 178.690mph, as the crowd roared to life during what was supposed to be Donohue’s Pole winner’s interview.

Thus Donohue was forced to start second alongside Revson, with Hobbs lining up 16th, in Row 6. And while Revson would go onto finish second in the race, both Team Penske drivers Hobbs and Donohue retired, winding-up 20th and 25th respectively.

Penske once again ordered chassis from McLaren, this time two cars, one for Donohue and one for new recruit Gary Bettenhausen, with Donohue qualifying third, on the outside of Row 1, with Bettenhausen lining up fourth in Row 2.

And although Donohue was once again out qualified by McLaren “Works” driver Peter Revson at Indy, this time Penske had opted to utilize a slightly less boosted Offenhauser and when leader Jerry Grant made an unexpected pit stop with 13 laps remaining, Donohue swept into the lead and went on to win the first of Penske’s record 14 Indy 500 victories, after only his (and Penske’s) fourth attempt, while Bettenhausen finished 14th.

As the defending Champion, Roger Penske entered three cars this year for defending Indy 500 winner Donohue, G. Bettenhausen and new Penske Racing recruit; Rookie Bobby Allison, as Donohue would switch to a Dan Gurney AAR Eagle chassis, while Bettenhausen and Allison ran McLaren’s, with all three of Penske’s first “Super-team” utilizing Offenhauser power plants.

Having come out of retirement in 1974, after nearly a year away from driving, Mark Donohue elected to try his hand at F1 behind the wheel of Roger Penske’s own Formula 1 chassis, the PC-1, designed by Geoff Ferris.

Penske’s first choice for driver had been Peter Revson, but sadly Revson perished in pre-season testing at the beginning of 1974. After having interviewed possible candidates, it was announced that Donohue and Penske would return to Formula 1 for the final two rounds of the ’74 calendar at Mosport and Watkins Glen.

While both Penske and Donohue struggled to get the new chassis up to speed, qualifying 24th and finishing 12th, another American team was making its debut in F1, as Parnelli Jones entered a car for driver Mario andretti, who would qualify 16th and finish 7th.

Having become frustrated with his own chassis’s lack of progress, Penske ordered a customer March 751 for Donohue, during the teams first full season campaign. (1975) in which Donohue would record a fifth place finish in the British Grand Prix.

Yet, Donohue would be involved in a somewhat spectacular wreck during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, when his Goodyear tire suffered a puncture and saw the March chassis crashing thru four rows of catch fencing, along with hitting an advertising billboard.

Having been briefly unconscious, Donohue appeared relatively unscathed, even walking around in the garage and talking to team members and friends before becoming disorientated and being rushed to a nearby hospital in Graz, where it was discovered that he had a blood clot on his brain and emergency surgery was immediately performed. Sadly, Donohue would perish two days after his incident at the Osterreichring, being pronounced dead on Tuesday, August 19th, 1975.

Ironically, Donohue’s replacement for 1976; John Watson would score the team’s lone F1 victory one year later at the very same track before Penske would shutter the operation at the end of the season.

With the arrival of Cosworth’s 2.65 liter V-8 turbocharged DFX variant at Indy that May, the four cylinder Offenhauser finally became obsolete, as the DFX would propel Penske’s McLaren M24 racing cars to new heights. And although Mario andretti was the first to pass the 200mph barrier, the first official one lap record would be set by Tom “The Gasman” Sneva at the Brickyard with his Pole setting run of 198.880mph, including a top lap speed of 200.535mph! As both drivers sought to claim Pole position for The Captain; with Sneva capturing Roger Penske’s first of a record setting 15 Pole positions to date...Yet all of the hoopla surrounding Sneva’s 200mph blast would be overshadowed by AJ Foyt’s historic fourth victory at Indy that May... While Sneva and Andretti finished runner-up and 26th respectively; while later that summer, the Penske PC-5 arrived on the USAC Championship trail, as this car was a close copy of McLaren’s M24 chassis, built at Penske’s Poole, England factory originally set up for his Formula 1 operation, as Sneva would make good use of the PC5, taking victories enroute to winning the National Championship.

Tom Sneva once again won the USAC National Championship, now racing the Penske PC-6, while Penske Racing newcomer Rick Mears was named Co-Rookie of the Year at the Speedway, sharing the honours with Larry Rice, having been hired on a part time basis, sharing his ride with Mario Andretti, who was busy in Europe on his way to winning the Formula 1 World Championship for Colin Chapman.

Having scored consecutive USAC titles, it was quite surprising when Penske disposed of Tom Sneva, opting instead for a less controversial Driver, with someone by the name of “Rocket Rick” (Mears) taking over the reins, in what now appears to have been a “No-brainer.”

Mears would go on to capture his first Indy 500 victory that May, also having secured his first Pole at the Speedway... Along with becoming Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) inaugural Champion, in which Roger Penske was instrumental in creating.

The year was best known for the courtroom shenanigans which ultimately saw Bobby Unser being awarded his third and final Indy 500 victory, driving for Penske Racing, while Rick Mears would go onto claim his second CART Driver’s Title

Once again Rick Mears sat on the Pole at Indy, his second occasion, before entering into a most epic duel with eventual race winner “Gordie” Johncock, as Mears tried mightily to run down the wily Johncock, driving for Pat Patrick and ultimately finishing as the runner-up. Mears went onto claim his third and final CART Driver’s crown that season.

“Big Al” (Al Unser Sr.) wins the Driver’s crown with a single victory over the upstart Italian Rookie Teo Fabi, as the Formula 1 hot-shue wins four races aboard Gerald Forsythe’s Skoal Bandit.

While a fairly bleak season for The Captain overall, Rocket Rick salvages the year by winning a lone race for Penske Racing, when he captures his second Indy 500 victory aboard a March 84C chassis that Roger had originally entered as the “T-Car” (Back-up) chassis, as the Penske PC-12’s simply weren’t a match that season.

Big Al secures his final National Championship for The Captain by finishing ahead of his son ‘Little Al in the season’s finale, albeit having scored only one victory that season vs. ‘lil Al’s two victories. Meanwhile, teammate Danny Sullivan electrifies the world with his epic “Spin ‘N Win” Indianapolis 500 victory over Mario Andretti.

While Rick Mears would start from Pole position for his third time at Indy, the win would deservedly go to Bobby Rahal, as his team owner Jim Trueman would pass away from his long bout with cancer just days after Rahal’s lone victory as a Driver.

Although originally not hired to drive for The Captain that season, “Big Al” was lured back to action when Danny Ongais crashed at Indy in early May. Penske Racing then hurriedly prepared a year old March chassis which was currently a show car in a Hotel for Al Unser Sr. to drive, who would go onto claim his epic fourth 500 victory that May, equaling “Super Tex’s” feat from a decade prior.

Roger Penske had the best of both worlds that year as Danny Sullivan captured his lone CART Championship on the back of four victories, while Rocket Rick secured his third Indy 500 victory, starting from the Pole for his forth time that May. And for icing on Roger’s cake, was the fact that Penske Racing locked out the front row for that year’s Indy 500 with Mears on Pole in his yellow submarine Pennzoil Special, while “Mr. Hollywood’s” (Danny Sullivan) Miller High Life was in the middle and 49yr old “Big Al” was on the outside of Row One in his Hertz yellow renta-racer... All three piloting Penske PC-17/Chevrolet’s...

To continue reading, see: Penske's 'willPower (Con't)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Off to the land of The Chrome Horn Eh!

TakingWith all this Yackking ‘bout the Concrete Canyons ‘O Temporary Street circuits... Can you say Toronto? Welcome to the Land of the Chrome Horn, Eh! Which apparently everybody ‘N their Brothers used it on the competition at Exhibition Place besides Messer Tracy!

Thus, your Humble Scribe has chosen to make his very first trek to Edmonton, Canada for the upcoming Edmonton Honda Indy, which means I’ll get to see the wily ‘Ol PT causin’ trouble again, perhaps leadin’ another race thru differing Pit strategies? Although I don’t expect him to beat Will Power, then again he almost pulled a Rabbit outta his Hat with a Podium finish last year in Toronto before HULIO gave him the Chrome Horn treatment...

After being undecided on whether or NOT to give it ‘Juan last try this morning, I decided to Gut out another LAME-ARSE session of playin’ Pin-the-DART-on-the-IRN-Broadcast... As do NOT get me started on yesterday’s Indy Lights coverage, Err LACK of connectivity... F-E-R!

As once again I was UNABLE to geosynchronously “link-up” with’s ABOMBINATION of a “Live” internets stream! As I rose early yesterday morning to try tunin’ into the Indy Lights race, which unfortunately SUCKED! As from 8:37-8:59AM (Pacific) There was NO F%%KING IMS Radio Network connection via; GRRRRRRR!!!

Then after Breakfast, ‘cause apparently I’m... Oh Never Mind! I tried again one last time at 9:27AM and was SHOCKED to be able to listen to the very last few minutes. Before Kevin Lee was almost impossible to hear because he had NO sound while interviewing J.K. Vernay, the Pole winner...

While the Indycar Nation webpage proudly claimed ALL weekend long: “Up Next: IZOD IndyCar Weekly with host Mike King - Monday July 12th at 7pm ET”

Yet I did somehow manage to get the entire Indy Car ‘BIG BOYZ Qualifying session piped-in via the internets, as that’s a start fellahs...

Then getting up even earlier today, fortunately the Indy Lights webcast went way better then yesterday’s FUTILITY! As on only the third try I was pleasantly surprised to get the entire Indy Lights race; Hmm? It worked? As I’d decided to go this route largely since Bob Jenkins was back on Assignment, not to mention Mike “Yippee-Aye-Eh!” King ‘N Davey “STUD!” Hamilton and the resta the gang...

And Jean-Karl Vernay simply walked away from the very sparse Indy Lights field, as Homeboy James “Mayor ‘O Hingetown” Hinchcliffe didn’t have exactly the weekend he was hoping for, falling from second place to tenth on the final lap after making a mistake...

Then it was time for a Barnburner of an Indy Car race... Although I felt absolutely GUTTED after Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson’s uncharacteristic spin while leading the field towards the end of the race! As although I’m happy Will Power won again, it just didn’t feel right to me... As I’d really like to know who messed-up by puttin’ Justin on the alternate red rubber... As didn’t they remember how it affected Franchitti at Watkins Glen, eh?

Therefore, since I’ve been busy Packing ‘N there’s certainly NO lack of readin’ material on the No Fenders Blogsite... Your Humble Scribe won’t be Scribbling ‘bout the Toronto IndyCar race... Nor the upcoming German Grand Prix in any serious detail, Although I did find the Post-race IMS Radio Network Broadcast to be highly entertaining, as first The Graminator, nee Graham Rahal said I don’t usually run people over... BUTT! Briscoe wouldn’t get outta my way and he was blocking me, so what are Yuhs gonna do! Then ‘TAG pronounced that Tomas “Rockem-Sockem” Scheckter had just told him; Now we’re even for last year ‘lil buddy... To which Scheckter said is it karmic that it just happened to be Tagliani? He’s a CRYBABY and he should just Get-over-It like I’ve done...

While before this, Davey Hamilton had great fun bustin’ up on Tomas; NO! I’m NOT picking on him because of Indy... While later Davey ‘N Mike King had a great chortle over saying I guess that means you can take out Scheckter next time he tries passing you; Hya!

Thus posting upon No Fenders may be a little Spartan for the next 10-days, although I’ll see if I can get Blogmeister Miguel to publish a few stories...

And that’s before we get to next week’s triple header of Formula 1, Indy Car and MOTO GP; SHEISA!


Concrete fever?

Perhaps you’ve become aware of my desire to see my “Home track” Portland International Raceway (PIR) returned to its rightful place upon the IndyCar World Series calendar, even if it skews the balance ‘O Indy Car’s schedule towards a decidedly CART-esqe flavour with GASP! MORE road course/Street circuits then Ovals, tisk-tisk… ‘Cause; Sometimes Yuhs feelz likes a Nut, sometimes Yuhs Don’t!

Thus as Y’all may have noticed? I’ve been fuming lately over the arrival of another “Cookie-cutter” Temporary Street Circuit having been awarded to Baltimore, hot on the heels of the NO PASSING ZONES Barber Motorsports Park in Sweet Home Alabama... Can you say RASSCAR Country?

So of course Geo. Phillips, who I mostly enjoy his Oil Pressure stories weekly, naturally got my DANDER UP whilst according to George, I’ve been ‘Pigeon-holed as ‘Juan ‘O the remaining “BITTER CART/Champ Car fans who feel as if they “lost” and are being slighted’ over Indy Car’s re-creation.

Whale HELL Yeah! I’m Bitter over the fact that Portland has seemingly been locked out of Indy Car and thus I’m definitely feeling slighted over this! As I just cannot comprehend how IZOD ‘N Indy Car wish to continue thumbing their noses at the Pacific Northwest; Oh Never Mind!

May be IndyCar should Stay Away from the Northwest After all...

As let’s take a look at some of the more notorious Street Circuits that have come ‘N gone in the past: San Jose, Phoenix (Stillborn) Las Vegas, Vancouver BC, (Portland-rumoured) Denver, etc. Not to mention the permanent Road courses: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Road America and Laguna Seca. Or Oval tracks: Fontana, Phoenix, Nazareth, Michigan, Milwaukee, Pikes Peak, Nashville, Richmond, etc.

Thus having now been “Locked-out” of the Indy Car Playpen for the last 3yrs and nothing on the horizon? As I certainly do NOT wish for any current ICS Racetrack’s demise... Whale Otay may be a few Ovals, I’ve simply shied away from frequenting Indy Car races ‘cause they’re also BLOODY FAR AWAY!!! And I certainly don’t wanna see Watkins Glen be dropped, nor Sonoma; which if worked correctly could be Twin-billed with a return to Portland to cut down on travel expenses...

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Yeah I know! It’s ONLY Pole Position; BUTT! Justin Wilson simply KICKED HEINIE today Up North Eh! On the Streets of Toronto! Scoring Team England’s, Err Dryer & Reinbold’s second-ever Pole Position... As Kurty Cavin said it best a little while ago:

“Justin’s an ANIMAL on Road/Street courses!”

As he did it again, with even second place finisher Will Power sounding somewhat surprised to hear that the ‘BIG UNIT had gone all-the-way to the Fast 6 Shootout without using any Red’s; Really? As I think it was Watkins Glen or somewhere else before that Justin pulled off the same feat!

Of course I think Wilson had Pole over Will at the Champ Car series Swansong at Long Beach before dropping to fourth and ultimately outta the race as Power rocketed off to victory... But as THE ‘DAWG sez: Photo above strictly for Schuwerve Generating purposes... As No Fenders tries to pull a little Wind Tunnel FEEL GOOD Mo-Jo for Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson tomorrow...


Bastille Day – Les Bleus Pilotes'

Philippe Streiff (Source: Motorsport

A Rondeau reunion with added Spice

OOPS! I’ve totally deviated from the original Questione that was bouncing ‘round my noggin’ way back when...
As I’d originally thought that this year’s Formula 1 season marked the first time in three decades that there wasn’t a French Grand Primo Piloto upon the F1 Grid; but my research reveals that there were 24 French Grand Primo Piloto’s between 1981-2004; before there were Zero French drivers, first in 2005: while Frank Montagny substituted for Yuji Ide after having his FIA Super license pulled for 4-races at “Super Best Friends” in 2006. Then again in 2007 there were Zero French GP Piloto’s, before The Hamburgular ‘N Romain showed up for a brief spell between 2008-09. ‘As now we’re back to NO “Frenchies,” whilst the likely heir apparent is Ferrari-boy Jules Bianchi...

1980-2010: Total = 27 F1 Drivers

French Grand Prix Winners
Obviously the most successful of all the Formula One Drivers is none other then Alain Prost, whose statistics stand head ‘N shoulders above the rest, while Rene Arnoux and Jacques Laffite were left to scrap over runner-up status. With Didier Pironi’s three victories being one more then the triumbrant of Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Patrick Tambay, with Francois Cevert, Jean Alesi and Olivier Panis bringing up the rear.

Alain Prost
(Years; 1980-91, 1993) Teams: McLaren; Renault; Ferrari; Williams
(51 Wins, 33 Poles, 106 Podiums)

”The Professor” is the only Frenchman to ever win the World Championship, doing it a most impressive four times. (1985-86, 1989, 1993) As Prost currently ranks second in All-time Grand Prix victories (51) and third for overall Drivers Championships behind Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio; yet Alain’s battles with Arch-nemesis Ayrton Senna are legendary, as the two traded Championship winning crashes in Japan along with Senna’s hiring at Williams ultimately leading to Prost’s retirement...

Rene Arnoux
(1978-89) Martini, Surtees, Renault, Ferrari, Ligier.
(7 Wins, 18 Poles, 22 Podiums)

I just seem to remember that Rene thought an awful-lot about himself and didn’t make many friends amongst his fellow competitors, namely Alain Prost and perhaps Didier Pironi? As Arnoux was given the boot from Scuderia Ferrari to make room for Stefan Johansson...

Jacques Laffite
(1974-86) Iso-Marlboro; Ligier; Williams.
(6 Wins, 7 Poles, 32 Podiums)

Never saw this amiable Grand Prix Piloto race, nor Pironi, Depailler
Jabouille or Tambay, as they all participated before my introduction to Grand Prix racing... As apparently Laffite was part of the Broken Legs Brigade, as F1 chassis had a nasty habit of injuring drivers during the 1970-80’s, as I’d liken Laffite to Riccardo Patrese, as “Gentlemen Drivers.” Thus Jacques Grand Prix career ultimately ended when attempting to equal Graham Hill’s consecutive starts record at Brands Hatch in 1986 when avoiding an incident led to his shattering both ankles.

Yet interestingly, Jacques involvement in Motor Racing can be traced to Jean-Pierre Jabouille, ultimately becoming Brothers-in-law, along with Laffite becoming the very first French driver in a French car propelled by a French engine to ever win a Grand Prix, the 1977 Swedish GP at Anderstorp...

Didier Pironi
(1978-82) Tyrrell; Ligier; Ferrari.
(3 Wins, 4 Poles, 13 Podiums)

Didier is most likely known for his controversy prior to and leading up to Gilles Villeneuve’s death in Zolder, while Pironi himself would suffer a similar fate of hitting a slower moving racecar, causing him to shatter both of his legs and ending his F1 driving career. Yet Pironi would recover only to be killed in a Powerboat racing accident, while reputedly his girlfriend who was pregnant at the time would go onto name the twins Didier and Gilles...

Patrick Depailler
(1972, 1974-1980) Tyrrell; Ligier; Alfa Romeo.
(2 Wins, 1 Pole, 19 Podiums)

Unfortunately “De-Pai-eh” was killed in a testing accident at the Hockenheimring before I’d ever read about him, as I mostly associate him as the driver of the second Tyrrell P34 Six-wheeler behind Jody Scheckter, although he was also Ronnie Peterson’s Wingman in those great Six-wheeler’s...

Jean-Pierre Jabouille
(1974-75, 1977-81) Williams; Surtees; Tyrrell; Renault; Ligier. (2 Wins, 6 Poles, 2 Podiums)

Interestingly, Jabouille started his racing career with assistance from his mechanic-friend named Jacques Laffite... Before winning an F2 Championship with a self-modified chassis before being drafted into Renault Sport for the arduous task of developing the revolutionary RS01 turbocharged racecar, which took a long year-plus to develop. And although his future Brother-in-law made history before him, fittingly Jabouille gave Renault the sports very first turbocharger engine victory in the French GP at Dijon. Yet Jean-Pierre was soon becoming outpaced by rival teammate Arnoux, using Jabouille’s set-up knowledge, before a nasty leg break in late 1980 effectively ended his Grand Prix career...

Patrick Tambay
(1977-79, 1981-86) Surtees; Theodore; McLaren; Ligier; Ferrari; Renault; Haas-Lola. (2 Wins, 5 Poles, 11 Podiums)

Although Tambay drove for McLaren during the faltering years of decline before Ron Dennis stepped into the breach, all I know is he was drafted into Ferrari to replace the late Gilles Villeneuve before being dumped in favour of Michele Alboreto. Then a very brief stint at Renault before ending his career with the underachieving Haas-Beatrice-Lola F1 Project...

Francois Cevert
(1970-73) Tyrrell. (1 Win, 0 Poles, 13 Podiums)
Sadly, this promising Frenchman, the heir apparent to triple world champion Sir Jackie's (Stewart) seat in 1974, saw his life cut tragically short when he died in an accident at the famed Watkins Glen racing circuit during practice for the '73 event.

Forgotten 'Frenchies...

Jean Alesi
(1989-2001) Tyrrell; Ferrari; Benetton; Sauber; Prost; Jordan.
(1 Win, 2 Poles, 32 Podiums)

Can it really be 20yrs since Alesi caused quite a stir in F1 when the upstart driver dared to duel with Ayrton Senna in his lowly blue & white Epson backed Tyrrell? Although this was the revolutionary (Dihedral-wing) raised nose Tyrrell 019 Ford V-8 chassis designed by the late Harvey Postlethwaite.

Yet I simply recall Alesi’s Grand Prix career being Star-crossed, as it could be argued he should have gone to Williams instead of Ferrari, but who can blame any driver for not wanting to drive for the Scuderia? As I know I watched him take that lone victory at Il Notre Dam.

Yet I have stronger memories of Jean debuting that scarlet red F40 IMSA Racecar at the Del Mar (Horsetrack) Fairgrounds in California, along with the number 200 on the sidepod of that yellow Jordan chassis...

Olivier Panis
(1994-99, 2001-04) Ligier; Prost; (McLaren-Test Driver; 2000) BAR; Toyota. (1 Win, 0 Poles, 5 Podiums)

I recall watching this Monaco winner have a horrendous crash at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, striking a concrete Footbridge abutment and shattering both legs... And although he did doggedly return to Formula 1, I’d surmise his career was never quite the same after that massive shunt?

French GP Piloto’sSo perhaps I should mention that it’s becoming even more funnier to Mwah how many of these French Racing Drivers I either know very little about, or paid very little attention to, since my first “Full” Season of watching Formula One was the 1987 season, when as now, there was NO United States Grand Prix. And although I think I knew the majority of Driver’s names? I seemingly gravitated towards the amazing machinery way back when...

Jean-Pierre Jarier
(Years; 1971, 1973-83) Teams: March; Shadow; ATS; Ligier; Lotus; Tyrrell; Osella. (0 Wins, 3 Poles, 3 Podiums)

Another driver before “My-time” of Observing Formula 1, as Jarrier seemingly made the rounds as a “Journeyman” driver, albeit in the rarefied atmosphere of F1... As Jarrier first substituted at Lotus, driving the Team’s second entry at Watkins Glen, filling the void left by Ronnie Peterson’s death at Monza. Thus Jarrier drove for Colin Chapman’s squad in the ’78 season’s final two F1 events, even managing to claim Pole Position at Montreal before retiring with an oil leak.

After two fairly nondescript seasons at Tyrrell, Jarrier ultimately took over for Jean-Pierre Jabouille at Ligier, who never recovered his form from his nastily broken leg...

Jean-Louis Schlesser
(1983, ‘88) RAM; Williams.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Like many French F1 Drivers, Jean-Louis Schlesser made his Grand Prix debut in his home race, the French GP in a RAM-March Cosworth.

Yet Jean-Louis will always be remembered as the man whom Ayrton Senna tripped over... As I recall shouting at le Telescreen; “TAKE-HIM-Out!” As the overly aggressive Brazilian was simply in too much of a hurry that magical day in Monza, when Schlesser was the “Mobile-chicane” in the way as Ayrton tried running over him, incredulously crashing out whilst leading the Italian Grand Prix in what would have given McLaren a “Clean-Sweep” of victories during the 1988 season! Yet the Tiafosi would revel in the fact that ‘Ol Enzo surely was looking down upon them as Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto would delight the country with a miraculous 1-2 victory!

Yet interestingly, very little seems to ever be made of the fact that Jean-Louis was the 1978 French F3 Co-Champion with somebody named Alain Prost...

Philippe Alliot
(1984-90, 1993-94) RAM; Ligier; Larrousse; McLaren.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Fran├žois Hesnault
(1984-85) Ligier; Brabham; Renault.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Don’t know anything about him, other then it appears he was the last driver to race a third car in a Grand Prix when he piloted a third Renault at the French GP reportedly as a in-car camera test outing...

Philippe Streiff
(1984-88) Renault; Ligier; Tyrrell; AGS.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 1 Podium)

Like Monsieur Hesnault above, Philippe Streiff made his F1 debut behind the keyboard of a third “Works” Renault at Estoril in 1984, along with winning the Brands Hatch F2 race for AGS.

Then the following year while contesting F3000 for AGS, he was called up to fill in at Ligier for the crash prone Italian known as “De-Crasheris!” And later on he drove for Tyrrell, even taking a third place finish in Australia. He then secured a Full-time ride with Tyrrell between 1986-87, before moving back to AGS who’d now progressed into Formula One. There Philippe contested the ’88 season with the little French Team before he suffered his career ending injury in a testing accident prior to the 1989 Formula 1 season which left him paralyzed for life. And like Elio de Angelis, Clay Reggazoni and others whose names seem to get very little mention, as most only recall Black Sunday when Ayrton perished, Streiff unfortunately hold’s a dubious place-marker for me, as he was the first driver in Grand Prix circles to be severely injured during my F1 tenure and still seems to be largely forgotten…

Pascal Fabre
(1987) AGS
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Pierre-Henri Raphanel
(1988-89) Larrousse; Coloni; Rial.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Eric Bernard
(1989-91, 1994) Larrousse; Ligier; Lotus.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 1 Podium)

Only recall him being dubbed one half of the “Eric Brothers,” who I seem to recall seeing in the flesh at Phoenix, Arizona...

Olivier Grouillard
(1989-92) Ligier; Osella; Fondmetal; AGS; Tyrrell.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Funny, but the main thing I recall about him is being an absolute ‘WILD-HAIR” man, just really crazy locks...

Erik Comas
(1991-94) Ligier; Larrousse.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

The other Half of le “Eric Brothers,” as I faintly recall seeing him ‘N Monsieur Bernard; NO! Not Randy, but Eric walking towards me into the F1 Paddock in Phoenix, Arizona...

Paul Belmondo
.(1992, 1994) March; Pacific.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Jean-Marc Gounon
(1993-94) Minardi; Symtek.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Most likely overshadowed by ex-Symtek Driver Roland Ratzenberger’s death...

Franck Lagorce
(1994) Ligier
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

I seem to recall him more for driving those iridescent Yellow ‘NASTY GT1 Corvette Racing Cars in IMSA over his short lived F1 career...

Jean-Christophe Boullion
(1995) Sauber
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Interestingly, Boullion was the 1994 F3000 Champion over Franck Lagorce, while Jean-Christophe’s break into F1 came at the expense of Karl Wendlinger, who injured himself in Monaco, one race after the horrible Imola weekend… Where Wendlinger suffered a nasty Coma and prolonged recovery!

Meanwhile I just witnessed Boullion making a heavy crash at the Circuit de la Sarthe this past June, (his 13th start) where he claims his lights went out while the SPEED reporters were left pondering what he’d done during the Yellow flag period to induce his solitary accident...

Stephane Sarrazin
(1999) Minardi
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

I first saw Stephane contesting the WRC when you could actually watch the Championship on SPEED... As Sarrazin shared the second Prodrive “Works” Subaru with Aussie Chris Atchinson before making the leap to a Factory ride with Peugeot’s Sports Car Team, where Stephane has sat on the Pole twice at LeMans for the French Lion along with finishing runner-up in the 24 Heurs classic...

Frank Montagny
(2006) Super Aguri
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Don’t know where it came from, but he’s now known to me as “Frank-the-Tank,” as Montagny briefly filled in for Yuji Ide, who was completely out of his depth as a Formula 1 rookie for the Super Aguri squad. Since then, Montagny has tried cracking the Indy Car scene along with being another current Peugeot Factory Sports Car Driver...

Sebastian Bourdais
(2008-09) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

I like calling ‘SeaBass The “Hamburgular...” C’mon, do you really have to ask? Can you say MicDougal’s? As Bourdais is the latest Indy Car Champion to take a shot in Formula 1, although the four times consecutive Champ Car Champion never seemed to quite get to grips with his toro rosso chassis...

Romain Grosjean
(0 Wins, 0 Poles, 0 Podiums)

Not much to say ‘bout Romain, beside recalling him getting penalized for punting a fellow Japanese GP Driver outta the way during a GP2 Asia race, along with getting the call-up to F1 after Flavour Flav pulled his shenanigans upon Nelson Pickett Junior, a.k.a. Nelson Piquet Jr.

And there Y’all have it, as this concludes a very long winded answer to my original Questione ‘bout if this is the first year in the past three decades without a Frenchman on the Formula 1 Grid? As I didn’t even bother delving into the various Grand Prix Racetracks, as sadly the French Grand Prix seemingly has disappeared from the F1 calendar for the foreseeable future...

(This page was updated on 10/2/15)