Monday, October 31, 2011

Don’t Forget Greg Moore - and ALL of the Others...

Just finished a very enjoyable radio interview on WTMY - 1280 AM with Thom & Jeff(?) who offered your humble scribe thee opportunity to give his Two-cents on the current state of IndyCar racing and Jimmy Johnson’s infamous NO MORE OVALS! Quote... Of which I wasn’t able to squeeze in the fact that today marks the 12th Anniversary of Greg Moore’s death at Fontana - NO less than on an Ovaltrack, of which I’ve scribbled my thoughts previously in: Greg Moore - 10 Years After

And Thanxs to that ultra fine ‘Kuhnaidiun lass Meesh for reminding us all in: Remembering the good times...

INDYCAR: Taking a Hard Look in the Mirror

The car of driver Will Power goes airborne during the 15-car crash that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Barry Ambrose / Reuters / October 16, 2011)
I’ve refrained from publishing this earlier - in order to let everybody grieve over the STUPIDLY WASTEFUL & SENSELESS DEATH of Indy Cars Two-time and reigning Indy 500 Champion Dan Wheldon...

Yet having been away from Der ‘Vurld de Motersporten - Ja Ja! For 8-Dazes in the overly warm climes of Scottsdale, AZ the week following the tragedy; I feel I had ample time to reflect upon my personal thoughts towards the Los Vegas catastrophe... Especially since I purposely took off 8-days  of staring at ze Confuzer - along with NO Motorsports reading whatsoever! As I always relish these short breaks away from that dreaded contraption that I spend several THOUSAND HOURS on yearly in order to bring ‘Ye Bastards all of my thoughts upon primarily Open Wheel Racing; but I digress...

Therefore, rightly or wrongly(?_ As I’ll let Y’all make the Call upon that I’d like to point out some topics which may focus a harsh spotlight upon Mr. Bernard, who I’ve dubbed The CandyMann ‘cause so far to date everything he’s done had come out smelling beautiful...

New Car Follies
Without spending countless words upon the whole New-for-2012 IndyCar selection process and subsequent delay of fully integrated ‘Body-by-Mennen Aerokits until 2013 - this may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise, albeit I’d like to naturally assume the ICONIC committee or whomever responsible would  immediately mandate chassis changes in the need of Driver, Track Marshalls and Spectators safety...

DoubleWide Restarts
Yes, I’m afraid I’m ‘Juan of those Diehard Purists - who believe that the Double-file restarts mandated by Randy Bernard do nothing more then cause unnecessary carnage between drivers and was simply implemented in order to “Spice-up The Show...

“Whooze Your Daddy Sweepstakes
I have NOT been a fan of this Made-for-TV Spectali from the day it was announced - especially with the original GIMIC of attempting to lure “NON-Indy Regulars” into competing; WTF? BUTT NO! The Show MUST GO ON! And hence Randy Bernard concocted the $5m challenge; Hmm? Why does that make me instantly think of the Five-dollar Footlong jingle, eh?

To which we all know the HORRIFYING results of; with NOT one but three cars going airborne, i.e.; Dan Wheldon, Will Power and Townsend Bell/JR Hildebrand? - All being highly accomplished racers who were certainly capable of racing Side-by-Side on Ovaltracks.

Thus like it or not, I believe that Mr. Bernard has to have some portion of blame appropriated to him, as after all he is the CEO of the Sport, the Las Vegas Spectacle was his “Baby” and he was the force behind making the event a reality...

As I’m quite happy to see the many different entity’s saying “We’ve got Your Back - Randy!” And in NO way am I claiming that he is solely responsible for Dan Wheldon’s death - Nor did he hold a loaded weapon to the reigning Indy 500 champion’s temple and say: Look Boy; You’re gonna drive the Damn Son-O-a-Gun or else... BUTT! Bernard must be held responsible in some capacity since he was so HELL bent for leather upon making this race the END all to BE ALL For IndyCar season finales...

Yet I’d also like to say that I am certainly not as highly qualified or capable of doing the mostly masterful job of being the Chief Executive Officer of a motor racing league, yet it seems that somebody somewhere’s along the line either forgot to consider the consequences of what this PT Barnum stunt was attempting to do or was overruled upon trying to point out the potential of trying to mimic ‘RASSCAR Pack-racing on a 1.5-mile progressively banked Superspeedway... As all I could think of was CART attempting to race at Texas in 2001 - when wisely the Sanctioning Body cancelled the event after multiple drivers complained of ‘Vertigo!

As once again it was the delightfully Outspoken ‘Aussie Will Power who made me ponder this by calling LVMS ridiculously stupid Flat-out on the floor racing, and thinking it’d be like Chicagoland on Steroids. (My words NOT Mr. Power’s...)

Dan Wheldon's death raises questions about IndyCar racing

First ‘N foremost; Obviously I am NOT a qualified Physicist, Engineer or Trained Accident Investigator and will therefore await for IndyCar to conclude its accident Investigation before making my own personal judgment upon its recommendations.

Yet obviously a further rethinking of this type of ‘PacMan “Wreckers or Checkers” racing mentality upon High-speed Ovals needs a clear rethink - and regardless what you may/may not think about the drivers and their perceived lack of ability upon Ovals, Road courses and Street Circuits: Racecar Drivers are and will ALWAYS be racers first, which after all is MOST exemplified by the phrase: Second place is First loser!

And while so far I find The CandyMann to be simply trying to emulate the successes of Humpy Wheeler while trying to throw IndyCar a Lifeline by trailblazing the Open wheel arena as a modern day Barnstormer... I like his tireless pursuit of trying to right a sunken ship and enjoy the breath of Fresh Air he’s brought to my cherished North American premiere single seater series.

And if nothing else, Mr. Bernard’s proven he’s “A Dooer.” Willing to make mistakes, gamble, re-evaluate and then correct said mistakes... Thus I’d like to see the following ideas implemented in order to help the Indy Car Series move forward. ‘GAWD! I HATE THAT STATEMENT... As let’s NOT forget Dan Wheldon’s senseless tragedy all in order to pump-up television ratings! As Mary Ellen said it most succinctly: What an utter WASTE of that young Man’s life! And all in the name of what???

I for one am NOT a fan of the new 2012 Dallara’s rear bumper design - as what’s next; turn signals? As I’m all in favour for minimizing careening cars being catapulted Skywards from hitting a competitor’s rear wheel - but will this minimize this effect or potentially lull drivers into a further false sense of security because they’ll be  able to get away with more? Perhaps the front end of the car needs to be made wider, longer and higher - along with having its front wing and tyres re-designed to help lower these types of collisions?

I do not know if wheel tethers are currently employed or not? If so it seems that either further strengthening or implementing double tethers should be considered.

According to second hand knowledge - I was told that Bruce Martin had reported that Dan Wheldon’s roll hoop was completely sheared off and this potentially played a role in Dan’s massive Head trauma that occurred from hitting the wall. Therefore IF? This is indeed correct? As I cannot find said article - then it would seem that the roll hoop structure needs additional reinforcing, should be made larger and potentially a secondary back-up structure be mandated for use on all Ovaltracks...

And I said the same words that fateful afternoon, albeit I couldn’t think of the wing’s name - before Robin Miller mentioned the Hanford Device on Wind tunnel Sunday night. As it appears that either a very tight lid is being kept upon this aspect and hopefully NOT being treated as the Elephant in the Room... As not only are we possibly slated for a return to Las Vegas in 2012 as the Season Finale? But we’re also going back to someplace called Fontana... Where Gil De Ferran holds the current ALL time Speed record at 241-plus miles per hour! Not to mention Randy’s desires to break Arie Luyendyk’s one and four-lap Qualifying records at the Speedway... As Earth to IndyCar: what’s WRONG with this picture...

Whilst I think ‘Big Daddy Don Garlits put it most succinctly on a previously wind tunnel interview regarding how he felt absolutely 100% certain on NHRA Drag Racing needed to return to its roots and go back to Quarter-mile (1,320ft) racing by SLOWING the Top Fuel Funnycars and Dragsters down with a reduction in Horsepower. As Garlits noted that NASCAR did that awhile ago when the cars were getting airborne when traveling over 200mph - yet the fans have NOT gone away - and NASCAR’s more popular then ever!

Like I said I’m NOT an Engineer or Chassis Designer and may be ALL of these concerns have been addressed already with the new 2012 Dallara Safety Cell DW12 chassis which sounds like an accident waiting to happen... Yet, I’d like to see Mr. Bernard set up a permanent Technical Committee that will evaluate all aspects of chassis design & safety concerns for multiple competitors on any new venues that Indy Car competes on along with vigilantly overseeing all current events increased safety for all concerned, including Crewmembers...

Zanardi hits out at pack racing

Saturday, October 29, 2011

F1 Drivers Pay Tribute to Fallen Racers in India

As always - in Dark times of Tragedy; the Show must go ON! And hence, while IndyCar and MOTO GP continue grieving over their recently fallen Stars, life goes on in the world of Formula 1 - which commences the inaugural Indian Grand Prix this weekend.

Yet many of the F1 drivers participating this weekend are doing their own special little bits to recognize the lives of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli. With such drivers as Jenson Button and Marc Webber running tribute ‘Deckles (Decals) to Jarno Trulli running a replica livery Simoncelli helmet scheme... While Lewis Hamilton runs a previously planned Bob Marley helmet theme this weekend...

Yet SPEED’s Bob Varsha noted during the Saturday Qualifying show that Lewis Hamilton had donated a set of his race worn Overalls from the Italian GP to the Wheldon Memorial Trust Fund Auction - along with Fernando Alonso also donating one of his racing bibs to the cause, which you can check out the Auction and more at: Dan Wheldon Memorial

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Somewhat Soothing Bedtime lullaby ‘bout India’s forthcoming Inaugural Grand Prix...

First of all - as I’ve already noted, my head’s not quite into racing at the moment upon the utterly useless deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli... Yet, I must admit I’m somewhat curious about how this weekend’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix will go off after many year’s of delays, infighting, corruption/graft(?) and now the overly tedious PR Speak Hypefest in order to prime the pumps and ultimately line Uncle Bernaughty’s Wallet!

Thus, it seemed overly obvious that both current Indian drivers holding the mandatory FIA Superlicense would take part in their country’s debutant Grand Prix - surely in order to increase the novice publics appetite towards spending their hard earned Rupee in order to attend history in the making...

As HRT F1 reserve driver Narain Karthikeyan, dubbed “The Speediest Indian” by Hispania Racing Team Boss Colin Kolles - NOT to be Cornfuzed with Seattle Seachickens B-I-G ‘Ol No. 90 Colin ‘‘CK Cole who just took part in the 6-3 Pillow fight loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns; but I digress... Will indeed be competing as F1 rookie Daniel Ricciardo’s substitute for the Minnowesqe Backmarker this Sunday... As hopefully the crowd won’t get too lathered-up and expect to see Narain outperform teammate ‘TONIO, aka Vitantonio Liuzzi...

Meanwhile Team Lotus 2.0 reserve driver Karun Chandhok certainly will be disappointed to have been relegated to his usual Friday morning FP1 driving duties - as initially it seemed a ‘Slam-dunk for “Cowboy’s” services at New Delhi after having replace the NOTSTO Truly Scrumptious (Jarno Trulli_ at Hockenheim after Trulli’s continuous ‘Wingeing ‘bout the Loti’s problematic Power Steering. Yet Jarno’s contract extension - along with his renewed optimism and monotonous praise towards the revamped power steering has now seen the Italian retain his race seat for the weekend... As Lotus wishes to confirm its grip upon the tenth-place F1 Constructors prize money.

Over at Force India, now co-owner Vijay Mallya will be doing his bestest ‘Pied Piper impersonation, a la Flavour Flav? (Flavio Briatore...) Having slammed reports of his beloved Formula 1 team being up for sale - only to do a ‘Double-speak a mere 24hrs later when spinning off 42.5% of the Silverstone based squad to another Indian concern. As Mallya’s silver tongue has been displayed before when bamboozling both current Indian F1 hopefuls Karthikeyan and Chandhok by claiming they’re NOT WORTHY!

Yet meanwhile, the ever vigilant Scotsman Paul di Resta is saying all of the “Right-thingy’s” in the crescendoing  build-up to this weekend’s Indian GP which Y’all can read in; Paul di Resta finds his voice for India's grand entrance into F1

While I myself look forward to F1 Grizzled ‘Journo turned Travel ‘Hack; Hya! Joe Saward’s Great India Adventures - whilst I hope Joe will not be inundated with what the great Paul Theroux wryly noted as ‘Backshiesh while lamenting his stay in India’s vastly OVERCROWDED main cities before seeking refuge in the  further away countryside comforts of rural India which Mr. Theroux thoroughly discusses in his epic novel;

Ghost Train to The Eastern Star
On the Tracks of The Great Railway Bazaar
By Paul Theroux (2008)

Which may be the best way to travel to ‘N fro the “budding?”Buddh International Circuit, eh? As apparently traffic’s a real BITCH!

Now I’d better go set the trusty ‘Ol VCR, eh? After another Sleepless Night in Seattle; Oh Never Mind!

Apparently ‘Deeter Majestik’s liquid Moohlah trumps the talents of former Red Bull prodigy Vitantonio Liuzzi - as heir apparent Daniel Ricciardo will be Narain Karthikeyan’s teammate this weekend at India instead of ‘TONIO...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sleepless in Seattle... Again!

So in case you hadn’t noticed, your Humble No Fenders Scribe was off to The Valley of the Sun all last week and hence returned to the ‘Ol Jet City yesterday afternoon before promptly being awoken at 3:27AM to the soothing NOT! Tones of my ASSHOLIC neighbors that believe everybody wishes to listen to their CRAP! Err, R-A-P Snoop-Snoop HomeDog whenever they feel like Parteein’ - but I digress...

As this nonsense, along with the Gossip I just heard ‘bout She ‘Texted the Bartender ‘bout her Daughters over NOTHING because she’s apparently a BITCH! All seem so NOT important after the HORRIFICLY WASTEFUL DEATH of Dan Wheldon - as I’ll save my true comments ‘til next week as I’d like to pay my small token of admiration towards the ‘Cheeky Brit prior to moving on...

As not only have we lost ‘DannyBoy, but also ex-Moto2 Champion and emerging MOTO GP rider Marco Simoncelli - who’s death made me immediately flashback to the checkerboard motif planter-box with tree honoring another fallen rider at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA - when this Unknown Rider (to Mwah) was tragically killed whilst trying to crawl across the ‘Ash-fault after having tumbled off his motorcycle several years ago...

And how many people know of the late Rick Huseman (plus his brother and pilot) whose death was also confirmed upon the same fateful Sunday as Dan Wheldon’s? As I myself had never heard of the Off Road Champion prior to his Aeroplane’s plummet into the Baja desert. And lastly, let’s not forget six-year old Michael Wanser; son of Barry - Dario Franchitti’s Strategist who succumbed to his fight against leukemia... (As I HATE to see anybodies life taken prematurely - MOST especially a child’s!)

As hopefully we’ll all take a moment or three to think of, honour and/or pay homage to in our own individual ways to the people above - along with the unfortunate Souls to come in the future...  

Wheldon Tribute Pics

Here are a few pics from outside the gate at IMS.  Many fans have left flowers, hats, shirts, etc. even a quart of milk in tribute of Dan Wheldon. The British flag dominates the gate

(Picture Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Wheldon Tribute Pic (No. 2)

(Picture Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Wheldon Tribute Pic (No. 3)

(Picture Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Formula 1 Doce Americanos...

Whale, that certainly was a surprise to Mwah, albeit having previously read Adam Cooper’s “Scoop” on the “WeeHocken”
F1 Street
race previously - I really didn’t expect it to happen... As there seemingly is a new Grand Prix venue popping up almost monthly now? While I can’t help thinking of calling Adam Alice “School’s Out!” Cooper instead - having just spent copius amounts  ‘O time in front of le Telie watching Man v Food on the Travel Channel whilst in The Valley of the Sun and having watched an episode including Alice Cooper’s Cooperstown and its signature ‘BIG UNIT Hot Dog, a nod to part owner Randy ‘BIG UNIT Johnson; but I digress...

Yet I find it somewhat hilarious that Uncle Bernaughty was so opposed to working out a Dealio with Ronnie “TG” George to return to the Speedway and now we’ll have not one but two US Grand Prix’s in 2013 - harkening back to the Dazes of ‘70’s lore when the States held an US West and East Formula One event simultaneously, as the East Coast venue will be a 3.2-mile temporary street circuit running along the Hudson River and will be designed by the notorious Bland Herman Tilke...

New Jersey race has 10-year deal starting in 2013

MOTO GP: Simoncelli fatally injured in Sepang

Marco Simoncelli (Photo source:
Perhaps it was some sorta Omen? As I’d originally planned on recording the Malaysian GP’s ‘Scooter race but decided against it since I’d already have 4hrs ‘O Memorex upon returning home from AZ, as my appetite for the Moto GP ‘boyz has somewhat waned - especially with Casey Stoner having already secured the 2011 riders crown...

Thus I was surprised to hear somebody ask me ‘bout the MOTO GP rider who’d just been killed name Marco Somme-then-rather... As I apologize to Marco and his family for not being able to instantly recall the name Simoncelli when I was casually asked about him late Saturday evening in Arizona...

And for whatever reason - I must confess my Moto GP television viewing has dropped off ever since SPEED pulled a Fast ‘Juan switcheroo upon Mwah - by flipping the ‘BigBoyz (MOTO GP) and Moto2 shows ‘causing me to miss a races outing... Which seems a bit callous compared to the fatality just incurred... As all I seem to recall is that Simoncelli had a propensity for banging handlebars with ‘DOBY (Andrea Dovizioso) amongst others.

Thus, while most in the Open Wheel Racing Motorsports World were still morning the UNNECESSARY death of Dan Wheldon - I’m told by Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B that Marco’s Sepang ‘Shunt is brutally HORRIFIC and overly GRUESOME! And isn’t for the faint of heart to view on Youtube, etc - as your Humble Scribe feels absolutely ZERO necessity to watch Simoncelli’s fatal accident when he apparently tried vainly towards saving his Honda RC212V ‘Bull and overcorrected into the oncoming path of fellow riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi; SHEISA!

And as HORRIBLE as DannyBoy ‘SPIKE Wheldon’s death was - age 33 and leaving a wife and two male infants behind - Marco Simoncelli was only 24yrs old and Had just moved into a new house with his longtime girlfriend who he’d become engaged to...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Fenders #24 “Box-Box-Box!”

Copy That 10-4... And thus, your Humble No Fenders Scribe is into the Pits for the next week... As I’ll be busy in Blog Strategy meetings with ze Blogmeister for the next several Dazes in super HOT ‘n SUNNY AZ! Whale, hey at least its only 40deg-f warmer then our current High temp Up North Eh!

HYDROS: The Day the Sport’s King met his Maker

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the late Bill Muncey’s untimely death behind the wheel of his fabled Blue Blaster, nee Atlas Van Lines Unlimited Hydroplane at the Acapulco World Championships.

So, it seems eerily fitting that Bill’s final ‘BigBoat, the 1977-81 Hull: Cabover Design with rolls Royce Merlin powerplant Is currently being restored at this very moment in Kent, WA, as I happened to call to inquire on the Hull’s progress the very day that she was being flipped over in the Restoration Shop... To which Don Mock (Crew Chief of the project) informed me was a pretty momentous occasion!

As the Hull’s been upside-down for the past 18-months having its entire bottom side rebuilt - including newly re-fabricated sponsons, etc. Don says the boat’s frames were all made out of one-inch thick Honeycomb-Aluminum which is no longer utilized, with Honeycomb/Nomex being the preferred method these days.

Mr. Mock gave me a brief rundown of the boat’s past life, which instantly made me think of Indianapolis’s Hall of Fame museum’s inhabitants and the stories those Old Cars could tell.

As the boat was not only involved in a fatal Blowover accident - but was split into two when Chip Hanauer ran over it! (Obviously a fact I was unaware of) The boat was then cosmetically repaired with plywood decking in order to become a “Trailer Queen” and was on display in the Smithsonian Institute for a few years - ‘Circa 1982-84/85.

Fran Muncey, Bill’s widow then took the boat to San Diego for awhile before donating the boat to the original Hydroplane museum at South Park, an industrial complex in Washington along the Duwamish River.

Don says the boat’s been in the museum ever since, sitting somewhat neglected whilst awaiting a full-blown restoration - funds pending. Thus Thursday’s (10/06) turning over of the boat was therefore a significant milestone in the restoration project - with the Hull completed, new Aluminum skins fitted and primered; with the aid of two forklifts easing the boat skywards some 8-feet airborne - Bill’s Blue Blaster was righted and now work can commence on systems installation, engine installation, Cockpit representing, painting, etc leading to the ultimate completion of this historic  Unlimited Hydroplane, which Mr. Mock said will probably take another year to finish...

I asked about the weight of the boat; as Arch-nemesis Bernie Little’s Miss Budweiser that was a constant thorn in Muncey’s final years was reputed to weigh a stout 7,000lbs (or more) to which Don replied the Atlas was ridiculously light for its day; probably 5,000lbs - as our other Atlas; the 1982 Hull weighs 5,800lbs. With Don guestimating they’d probably added another 500lbs to the boat while rebuilding all of the frames - which he’d be happy with and wasn’t really a concern for the project - stressing the Museum had already pledged the boat would only be run for very special occasions and see limited running when finished, due to its historic nature. Having won 25-races, Three-in-a-row Gold Cups and two National High Points Championships!

As this fabled Blue Blaster was part of Bill Muncey’s acquisition of Dave Heerensperger’s Pride of Pay ‘N Pak Operation after he’d decided to leave the sport at the end of 1976, albeit Heerensperger briefly returned as a boat sponsor before his longtime Crew Chief Jim Lucero would woo him back into the sport with his revolutionary proposal - ultimately spawning the dawn of the current era of Unlimited Hydroplanes by introducing the first successful turbine powered (Pride of) Pay ‘N Pak in 1980; but I digress...

As I have to admit I was never a Bill Muncey fan - having grown-up as a ‘Bud Man instead, a la Bernie Little’s Miss Budweiser Dynasty, as I swear it was 1973 when as a very young lad I witnessed the most dramatic Hydroplane race of my life

Yet its funny how for nearly four decades I’ve grown up thinking it was Mickey Remund at the wheel of the Miss Budweiser - instead of Dean Chenoweth, as I can still vividly recall that splendid looking blazing red and white “Beer Wagon!” Thus, perhaps this is why Messer Chenoweth was my very first-ever favourite Unlimited Piloto, eh? As he was simply Numero Uno to Mwah until his untimely death at Tri Cities, WA in 1982; before his mantle was taken over by another prolific BUD driver named Jim Kropfield; but I digress again - as Kropfield arrived on the scene after the Bill Muncey era concluded.

But back to the Dom ‘O Unlimiteds, as Muncey’s stats are truly prolific, having won a staggering 62-victories - a record which stood for three decades, until being broken earlier this year by Dave Villwock on the Detroit River aboard his Spirit of Qatar; which I wonder what ‘Ol Bill would think about that? Although Bill seemed a pretty shrewd Businessman and therefore probably would have embraced Qatar’s involvement... (Especially monetary - wise, eh?)

As it seems totally Symbiotic that Villwock would overtake the Master’s mark on his original Home River in the Piece de la Resistance Gold Cup - further shattering Muncey’s accomplishments  by claiming his ninth Gold Cup victory, one more then his predecessor.

Yet William Edward “Bill” Muncey also won the APBA National High Points Championship Seven-times along with Eight Gold Cup victories and Four World Championships. As Muncey won his first two Gold Cup crowns in the Miss Thriftway, (1956-57) before a second Deuce aboard Miss Century 21; (1961-62) while Bill’s final four Gold Cup triumphs all came aboard Atlas Van Lines boats. (1972, 1977-78-79) As ironically his first Atlas Van Lines win was for Joe Schoenith, the very owner he’d lost his first potential Gold Cup too.

When upon perusing a ‘lil Gem of a book I picked-up several years ago: A Century of Gold Cup Racing, written by Fred Farley and Ron Harsin; (2004) I’ve just discovered that Muncey theoretically should have been an nine-time Gold Cup winner after having won the 1955 Gold Cup race at Lake Washington aboard the Miss Thriftway; BUTT! The victory was awarded to the Gale V and driver Lee Schoenith, (owned by his father Joe) instead upon the Judges findings that Lee had actually gone a fraction faster over the 90-miles: 99.552mph vs. Muncey’s 99.389mph and thus finished faster than Muncey by a minimal 4.355-seconds! Thus controversially awarding the Gold Cup to Detroit the following year by virtue of Gale V having accumulated the bonus points for fastest boat...

Therefore Detroit reclaimed the race - back when the Cup was awarded to the boat’s Hometown. As this snapped Seattle’s five year SloMo-Shun monopoly...

And it further seems totally symbiotic that the torch was ultimately passed to Bill’s hand-picked successor: Seattle’s very own Chip Hanauer in 1982, the year after he’d died. Further making it somewhat karmic that Messer Hanauer would make his Gold Cup final debut at Lake Washington in ’77 in the obsolete Tad Dean’s Body Shop (ex-1957 Breathless II) when Muncey was victorious as a Driver/Owner for the very first-time - en route to becoming the very first ever six-time Gold Cup winner.

Yet according to Fred Farley, Official Historian of the APBA - the 1981 Unlimited Hydroplane season was primarily dominated by Miss Budweiser and Dean Chenoweth in my all-time favourite ‘BigBoat - the ALL conquering ‘Juggernaught! The Rolls Royce Griffon, (1980-85) although I did somewhat like the quirky “Bud Bubble” predecessor - Bernie Little’s debutant Turbine Beer Wagon in ’86. Yet there’s simply nothing quite like the roar of a piston powered Hydroplane!

Thus, I find it somewhat appropriate that Bill Muncey went out in a Blaze Oh Glory, albeit ultimately failing to beat the Grim Reaper that fateful day in Acapulco when he was riding on the ragged edge of control trying to keep his arch-rival Chenoweth from obtaining the inside lane - in what was only the third time that season he’d have potentially defeated Bernie Little’s King of Beers; before a wicked Blow-over accident took his life at 175+ mph!

As I cannot help wonder if Muncey would have been willing to adapt to the new fangled Turbine era which were ultimately right around the corner - as it seems fitting that William Edward Muncey’s legacy stays firmly ensconced in the Post-World War II Aircraft engine powerplant era.

As many things changed that final season of competition, for instance; Muncey’s unheralded 27-consecutive Gold Cup finals streak was snapped at Lake Washington - having participated every year beginning in 1955! (A streak akin to A.J. foyt’s untouchable 35-consecutive starts at Indianapolis...) As Muncey was forced to withdraw after having been pummeled by multiple Roostertails after having ‘Chopped a competitor in a qualifying heat - where his boat would go dead in the water and sustain Hull damage.

And that year’s Lake Washington Gold Cup would see the arrival of the first Turbine-powered competitor with Jon Walters at the Pay ‘N Pak controls, while Brenda Jones would become only the Sport’s second ever woman to participate in a Gold Cup event.

Meanwhile in the virtually unknown Industrial complex in Kent, Washington resides the 1982 U-00 Atlas Van Lines, usually perched upon its trailer vertically alongside its arch-rival 1980 U-1 Miss Budweiser in the ‘lil gem of a Museo, aka the Hydroplane and Thunderboat Museum.

Thus, fittingly the Thunderboat facilities website has a link denoting how the museum has begun working upon the fabled 1977 U-1 Atlas Van Lines; the very exact boat that claimed the late Sport’s Godfather’s life at Acapulco, as apparently this Hull was utilized for five seasons.

 As its funny to Mwah, (again) that I seem to recall Muncy winning in this boat originally with its rear engine totally exposed - and not finding it very appeasing aesthetically, albeit somewhere along the line it apparently had rear cowling bodywork adapted; to which I’ve just been informed by another staff member of the Hydroplane museum who promptly returned my telephone call - that the boat had always had its cowling and rear wing bodywork yet sometimes the crew opted not to run it...

And I was even invited BY Mr. Mock to come back down again and visit the boat-in-work along with the rest  of the Museum, which is a pretty cool place - having visited once before, which I’ll post the story sometime in the future...

Thus, please feel free to check out the Hydroplane Museum’s website by clicking here!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And the IndyCar Engine Roulette Saga Continues

Team Penske IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power in front of the 2012 Chevrolet twin-turbo racing cars along with the announcement for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle... (Photo courtesy of Rolco Sports Network)
So many Moons ago - your Humble No Fenders Scribe predicted that Keith Wiggins would become a Lotus by Judd engine customer for 2012, which was just an EdgeUhmaGated hunch... To which apparently its now been revealed by NO less than Kurty Cavin that Keith Wiggins and HVM Racing will not only be a Lotus by Judd customer - they’ll OWN thee Company too... Err, actually they’ll be Lotus’s “Anchor” Customer team, while Michael Shank Racing will also be underneath the Lotus by Judd Umbrella... With Jake Query saying Eric Bachelart had pretty much confirmed he’d be running the  Judd powerplant next year too...

Thus, we’re getting’ Down to the Nitty Gritty on who’ll be running what next year, with Penske, Andretti and Panther all confirmed Members of the Bowtie Brigade. (Chevy) While Ganassi, A.J. Foyt and Sam Schmidt are all confirmed Honda runners, with Penske & Ganassi being the “Anchor” customers of their respective ‘lumps programs.

While I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Newman/Haas will become a Honda partner, leaving Dreyer & Reinbold and Dale Coyne  out in the cold, eh? Not to mention the Part-timers like Sarah Fisher, Gary Peterson, Jay Penske ‘N Booby Ruble, Err Bobby Rahal who’s trying to cobble together a Fulltime return with Pippa Mann?

I forgot to mention that KV Racing Technology who’s currently sponsored by Lotus is expected any day now announce its becoming a Chevrolet customer... 
Yet wouldn’t it be a tad bit funny if ‘DJ WillyP (Will Power) does indeed WIN this year’s Indy Car title and thereby take the vaunted No. 1 plate over to Honda’s rival Chevrolet next year...

INDYCAR: ‘Los Wages Finale Preview

So it was kinda funny how I planned my whole day around listening to the year’s final Qualifying session live via le Internetz IMS Radio Network’s Broadcast of the place your bets on the numbers 2, 32 and 82! Sin City Roulette Wheel; although I was hoping the number 2 would cash-in...

And I was initially surprised to hear Kevin Lee and Mike “Yippee-I-Kai” King calling the waning moments of the final Indy Car practice session at 2:15PM - which I thought was supposed to be when the Indy Lights Boyz qualified? As it would be a stark comparison in contrast of the 13-entrants vs. Indy Cars vaunted 34, as ‘TK (Tony Kanaan) wound-up fastest in the final moments of the last practice session.

Yet apparently I missed James Jakes apparent fiery crash, reputedly breaking the car in half? Err, at least burning it down to the waterline... As TSO’s report claimed that something most “Definitively” (definitely) broke in the right rear’s half - shooting the Englishman hard into the Safer barrier and on fire! While KVRT “Tweeted” that EJ Viso wouldn’t be allowed to qualify due to an improper engine change - whatever that means... Which TSO later noted was due to Viso apparently ignoring Race Controls instruction to NOT drive all the way back to Pitlane whilst Oiling down the racing tarmac! So hopefully this AIN’T the car that Dale Coyne’s renting from KV Racing Technology for Sunday’s race, eh?

Therefore, we’re down to the number 32, which means I’ve already given away the eventual Pole-winner and runner-up above; hence my clever number betting strategy, eh?

Will Power drew the number 10 for his ‘Qualie-run and sounded pretty disappointed by his “lackluster” 220+ mph run, which would find him starting on the inside of Row-9 in P17.

While I got really HOT “n BOTHERED by what I perceived as Kevin Lee’s DannaWho Bandwagon song - of not knowing how she could be so much slower today... Uhm Kevin can you for Krystsakes say the word TOW! As is it just me, or doesn’t everybody wonder how convenient it was to have the DannaStar fastest in Sin City Thursday - as I believe they call ‘Dat “Good Copy?” Oh Never Mind!

And Dashley LePew sounded pretty glum when they stuck a microphone in front of his face after the final practice when he was 15th-quick, which apparently carried over into Qualifying, as Dario “REO Speedwagon” Franchitti was unable to start ahead of his Championship rival Power and will instead start directly alongside the No. 12 Penske 18th-quick... As Dario said they’d already changed his Honda ‘lump and instead he felt there was something inherently wrong with the basic chassis and not a set-up issue... So do we have a potential title fight on hand? Or is this just some more poker being played between the red ‘N black cars? Although Power definitely needs every single point available - now having lost the single point for qualifying quickest... Which that honour would eventually fall to TK ‘Follow your Schnoz Kanaan - who made his  qualifying attempt second-to-last and sadly knocking off Oriel Servia, whose No. 2 Newman/Haas Racing entry was sitting on provisional Pole with a speed of 222+ mph - with jokes being made ‘bout betting the House on “Two’s!” While the day’s final qualifier was Ryan Briscoe, who’d turn out to be Team Penske’s fastest Gun, while ‘HULIO was definitively the FUNNIEST! Giving Jake Query great grief over his use of the word definitively - when being asked about next year’s plans...

As I know you’re tryin’ to get a Scoop, or three by asking Paul Tracy and Castroneves ‘bout next year’s plans; BUTT! Can we just focus upon this year’s final race instead!

Row 1
1) Tony Kanaan; 222.078mph.
2) Oriel Servia; 222.061, -0.0057mph.

Row 2
3) Ed Carpenter
4) Alex Tagliani

Row 3
5) Ryan Briscoe; 221.130
6) Marco Andretti

Row 4
7) Ryan Hunter-Reay
8) Graham Rahal

Row 5
9) Danica Patrick
10) Mike Conway

Row 6
11) Helio Castroneves; 220.907
15) R-Wade Cunningham; 220.790
(Fastest Rookie Qualifier)

Row 7
13) Scott Dixon; 220.715

Row 9
17) Will Power; 220.524
18) Dario Franchitti; 220.489

And hopefully the race will NOT be  as MUCHO of a LET-DOWN as last year’s Season Finale was, which I scribbled ‘bout in; INDYCAR: Homestead Thriller, Sorta - NOT!

As I’m plunkin’ down all of my Dinero on Black and the number 12 - GO WILL!