Friday, September 30, 2011

Following the Indy Car Series Driver Roulette...

Look for “FAST EDDIE” to be up-front in his yellow & black “Buzzin’ Hornets” livery SFR racecar this weekend... (Source:
I for ‘Juan think I smell another R-A-T! As in wasn’t the World Chum-PEE-On  Sweepstakes at Los Wages to be specifically for NON Indy Car ‘Regulerz? OOH! ‘Dat’s right, I forgot that they couldn’t get any takers and thus Randy “The CandyMann” Bernard inserted Plan B to save his Season Finale Extraordinaire... HURRY- HURRY- HURRY! Step right up Ladies ‘N Germs; The Show’s almost about to begin... BUTT WAIT! First our Hero DannyBoy ‘SPIKE Wheldon who’ll start DEAD LAST (at Los Vegas) kneads to take a refresher course... Tuh Duh! Insert this weekend’s KY race in Sparta, Kentucky...

And I thought I smelled ‘Somme-thun Fishy way back when I gleamed the tiny scrap of info from Kurty Cavin (I believe) proclaiming originally wheldon’s BHA ride would be sponsored by Bowers & Wilkens; Huh? As I told an overzealous Indiana Bureau Chief “That’s Alex Tagliani’s primary sponsor,” so what gives? As in perhaps this was planned all along, eh?

Thus, as Cavin explained Thursday night on Trackside, basically Wheldon and ‘TAG are effectively swapping seats for the Season Finale in Los Wages - while Wheldon will replace Tagliani this weekend at Kentucky. And all I can say is pretty clever on Sam Schmidt’s behalf!

Meanwhile, in another of Sam Schmidt’s burgeoning dossier of race team affiliations, ex-Indy Lights champion Wade Cunningham will return to the cockpit for AFS/SSM’s No. 17 racecar for the remaining two Oval races. And Ditto for Townsend Bell, Buddy Rice and Pippa Mann.

Bell will substitute for the injured Justin Wilson at Dreyer & Reinbold in the No. 22 while Rice will campaign a second Panther entry, the No. 44, as both drivers will run the remainder of the schedule. And it was somewhat amusing to hear Townsend admit he’d asked the DRR crew to fill-up his cockpit with additional padding - saying he doesn’t know how Wilson fits inside these Dallara’s and doesn’t have any sorta padding in his cockpit in order to enable his large frame to squeeze into it!

And I listened to Pippa Mann recently on Autosport Radio saying she’d made a 3hr drive up to Columbus, Ohio to have a long chat with her racecar which had let her down at Loudon where she crashed heavily into a non-Safer barrier portion of the wall. As I believe Mann will be running the No. 30 the next two events for Bobby Rahal & Co. (Who is apparently trying to emulate their earlier success with DannaStar?)

Alex Lloyd returns to Dale Coyne Racing as he’s running all of the Ovaltrack’s this season in the No. 19 while Fast Eddie, aka Ed Carpenter who’s running a limited program returns to arguably his second favourite track - Kentucky for Sarah Fisher Racing. “Edwardo” has had amazing success at this track, having finished runner-up the past two years along with being the defending Pole Sitter, so hopefully Carpenter will be able to perform the same majik on the SFR No. 67 that he’s used upon his past Vision/Panther Racing mounts the previous seasons...

As I never thought I’d be getting semi ‘Geeked over an upcoming Ovaltrack race; CRIKEYS! As I’d really enjoy seeing Ed Carpenter finally find his way into Victory lane...

OOPS! I forgot Dillon ‘BAD ARSE Battistini who passed the audition, Err rookie test last Friday at Kentucky and is expected to be in Eric Bachelart’s semi-revolving door No. 34 as chauffer. Battistini started 19 Indy Lights races and won four times - including the ’08 Freedom 100 from Pole.

And Oh Yeah; DON’T forget there’s some ‘lil scrum goin’ on for that Naked Man on a Trophy thingy... Better known as the IZOD Indy Car Series (Overall) Championship crown being battled out between Will Power and Dario Franchitti...

Entry list changes
Car Driver Hometown Car Name Entrant
17 Wade Cunningham (R) Auckland, New Zealand Air Ride Pallet AFS/SSM Racing AFS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports
19 Alex Lloyd Manchester, England Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing
22 Townsend Bell San Luis Obispo, Calif. Valspar/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
30 Pippa Mann (R) Ipswich, England Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
34 TBA Conquest Racing Conquest Racing
44 Buddy Rice Phoenix Fuzzy’s Vodka/Panther Racing Panther Racing
67 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing
77 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Sam Schmidt Motorsports

’lil Al falls Foul again to his Drinking Demons

Heard it first last night on Trackside with Kevin & Cavin - as unfortunately Kevin Lee broke the story to Mwah that Al Unser Jr. had been Arrested for DWI and Reckless Driving during the wee hours of Thursday morning...

As I recall scribbling ‘bout his last brush with the law way back in 2007 when I even somehow found his Mug shot on le Internetz... Having listened to ‘lil Al previously on Autosport Radio on January 12, 2010 - I thought he’d actually turned the corner on that Boozin ‘N Brawlin’ portion of his life - perhaps even having quit his Marlboro ‘BAD HABITS affliction? Having told Don Kay he was taking Life one day at a time.

Yet unfortunately ‘lil al was nabbed for racing his 2011 Suburban 101mph on the Freeway nearby Albuquerque yesterday morning. As IndyCar has already placed the two-time Indy 500 winner on indefinite suspension from all further Officiating duties, while I’m guessing he’ll NOT be driving the Indy 2X Seater anytime soon either.

As all I can say is this is truly sad news - as its kinda weird that two of Roger Penske’s former star drivers have wrestled with Alcohol problems...

Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. arrested for DWI in New Mexico

A little more Insight on the Jean Alesi Lotus-Lotus Indy 500 Adventure...

Last Sunday evening on duh Speed Freaks, I couldn’t help from bursting out in laughter over the following comments...

Kenny (‘Sarge) SSargent sez: “Where will He (Alesi) Put his Cane?”

TWEET: “Gentleman John” (John Andretti) is 1yr OLDER and Davey Hamilton will be 2yrs OLDER then Jean Alesi next year...

Sarge: Whale, then it’ll be a DAMN AARP Convention... To which he followed up by saying Jefferey “PrettyBoy” Gordon (Age 40) drives the AARP-car; HooUh... Cymbol crash please!

Thus, I proceeded to do a little further digging upon the matter and discovered the following info;

Jean Alesi: June 11, 1964  (Age 47)
John Andretti: March 12, 1963  (Age 48)
Davey Hamilton: June 13, 1962  Age 49)

Whale, perhaps I scribbled down that Anonymous TWEETER’s tweet incorrectly; as obviously Hamilton is two years older then Alesi period...

As “Gentleman John” has the most starts of this AARP Trio - provided all three drivers participate in next year’s event; as Andretti has 12-starts, which is one more then Davey Hamilton’s 11. While Alesi would be a Rookie - contesting his very first ever Ovaltrack at the tender age of 47! (Which I have NO idea if that’d be a  record for rookie drivers age-wise?

Yet a few other ‘Ol Codger’s come to mind, most notably ‘SuperTex, nee A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and ‘BIG AL, aka Al Unser Sr. who ironically are the three most experienced drivers to ever circumnavigate the Speedway’s fabled 2.5-mile Oval...

A.J. Foyt Jr.
 (Age 76)
Born: January 16, 1935
Last Indy 500: 1992
Total Starts: 35
Wins: 4

A.J. ran the last of his astounding record 35-starts at the tender age  of 57 in what became his trademark black Copenhagen No. 14 special...

Al Unser
 (Age 72)
Born: May 29, 1939 
Last Indy 500: 1993
Total Starts: 27
Wins: 4

Oldest ever I500-winner: Age 47 upon winning his fourth Indy 500 in 1987; and while A.J. was running his final race, ‘BIG AL was busy finishing third in a lowly Menards Lola/Buick V-6 - arguably the ‘lil OVER-boosted Stock Block’s highest finish. As Al would run his final Indy 500 the following year at the spritely age of 54 - one day after his birthday...

Mario Andretti
 (Age 71)
Born: February 28, 1940
Last Indy 500: 1994
Total Starts: 29
Wins: 1

“Super-Mario” was in the midst of his Arrivaderchi Tour when he ran his final Indianapolis 500 - which apparently ties him with ‘BIG AL as the second OLDEST competitor at Indy? As both of these talented “Geezer’s” were 54 during their respective final Brickyard assaults...

Roberto Moreno
 (Age 52)
Born: February 11, 1959
Last Indy 500: 2007
Total Starts: 3
Wins: 0

The man affectionately known as “SuperSub,” the affable Brazilian was a modest 48yrs old when he made his third and most likely final I500 start for the little known Chastain Motorsports team. As Moreno was filling in for the team’s original driver “Stephen George,” Err Stefan Gregoire - as the entry was honouring Tom Chastain’s tenth Anniversary from beginning his IRL race team, which was the impetus for running a car that year...

Al Unser Jr.
(Age 49)
Born: April 19, 1962
Last Indy 500: 2007
Total Starts: 19
Wins: 2

‘lil Al ran his last Indy 500 four years ago - a most pathetic showing in the second A.J. foyt enterprises car at the age of 44 and now spends his days in Indy Cars Race Control helping Brian Barnhart sometimes “make” racing calls...

Michael andretti
 (Age 48)
Born: October 5, 1962
Last Indy 500: 2007
Total Starts: 16
Wins: 0

Not to be outdone by his  Arch-rival ‘lil Al, Michael made the final start of his Indy 500 career four years ago also while age 44 - having wanted to race alongside his son Marco. And as we all know, Michael, who can be seen occasionally “Steuging” on camera over Race Officiating has fared far better at Indy as a team owner vs. driver - having been to Victory lane twice in 2005 & 2007...

Paul Tracy
 (Age 42)
Born: December 17, 1968
Last Indy 500: 2011
Total Starts: 7
Wins: 0  (1 - 2002*)

Otay, sorry Folks - BUTT I couldn’t resist throwing in that asterisk for the controversial 2002 I500 finish which theoretically had ‘PT leading ahead of ‘HULIO, albeit ‘lil Napolian, a.k.a. “Ronnie” (Tony) George told Barry Green you CANNOT Appeal my ruling after having let Green FLUSH $150,000 DOWN the toilet trying to overturn Brian Barnhart’s ruling...

Thus the Thrill from the West Hill has driven for a variety ‘O teams beginning with his 1993 Speedway debut for The Captain. (Roger Penske) before moving over to the then Powerhouse Newman Haas Racing squad... And after that memorable(?) 2002 race for Team KOOL Green - The Chrome Horn has plied his trade with a Smorgasbord ‘O Midfielders, i.e.; KV Racing Technology & Dreyer & Reinbold respectively. As I’m assuming he’ll be back for at least ‘Juan more crack at the elusive Borg Warner trophy in Twenty-twelve, eh? Potentially with Dragon Racing who failed to make the cut this year...

But the knock upon Alesi’s PressSpeak has more to do with the question of  whether or not the Loti’ Quotient will actually make the starting grid at all, as currently questions abound over who’ll be running the John Judd Engine Developments Ltd “Lotus” badged 2.2-liter turbocharged ‘lumps next year?

And contrary to one report - if Lotus does indeed partake in the 2012 Indy Car Series season, it’ll be as a  Dallara “Safety-cell” with Dallara Aerokits; as the Body-by-Mennen multiple AFX Aurora Aerokit era won’t be ushered in until 2013 at the earliest - after the ICS Team Owners put the Kybosh upon the league’s plans for “Different” (Aerokit) Chassis in 2012 upon sighting that the cost would simply break them...

And just who will Alesi drive for? Hmm? Interestingly Michael Shank Racing (MSR) is claimed to have placed an order for a single 2012 Dallara chassis which SPEED’s Marshall Pruett noted would most likely be Judd powered... Which I find appropriate, since when I think of Lotus - it AIN’T as an engine manufacturer!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

’HULIO Shakes His Money Maker...

Hmm? Somehow I’m guessing this is NOT the type ‘O Public Service that Randy “the CandyMann” Bernard had in mind when he said Hélio Castroneves could work off his $30k fine for the league...


Yeah, she really did get the last laugh!

Drive Like Uh BraZill-yun!

Not sure if this should be Danica’s new theme or fight song? You know how supposedly she & TK got into a little tif ‘bout who drives like a Brazilian recently... Although it was pretty funny how DannaStar lined-up AHEAD of Tony Kanaan and then finished AHEAD of ALL of duh Brazilians in Motegi after ‘HULIO’s ‘lil Circus Clown rant.
(Original Song Lyrics by The Bangles; Walk Like An Egyptian, 1986)

With all the old logos on the Sidepods
They do the Hat dance don't you know
If they move too quick (oh whey oh)
They're falling off DannaStarz head
Like a Child playing domino’s

All the ‘Brazilyun men by the Amazon
They’re ALL placing their money on Kanaan
(Including Robin Miller who sez TK will Swallow Up Danica goin’ into Turn-1...)
While the DannaStar sheds
Gold crocodile tears (oh whey oh)
Before She snubs out her cigarette

Who’s Your Daddy Model-types
With the hookah pipes say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh

Just Drive
like uh ‘Brazilyun
(Hail Danica - Hail Danica!)

And  the GoDaddy blonde comes over to your table
Before she spins around and saunters across the floor
She’s got the moves (oh whey oh)
You drop your drink - but the blonde brings you more
(oh whey oh)

With ALL of the Paddock so sick of Dania-lore
They’re starting to like ‘BIA more ‘N more
Just wish she could get a little farther up the grid
When the Chequered flag is thrown (oh whey oh)
Ana’s Driving like uh ‘Brazilyun

And ‘Tk’s kid Leo down in the marketplace sez’ Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
C’mon Dad - Drive like uh ‘Brazilyun!

Plant your right foot on the floor
Roar up the street bend your knee
Shift your Dallara into sixth gear
Then hit the brakes ‘cause
Life’s hard you know when you’re a Racing Star!
(oh whey oh) But watch out Daddy
There goes Danica getting’ ready to
Strike a pose on a Cadillac
For another SI Swimsuit
Photo Shoot (I suppose)
And if you want to find all of Race Control
They're hanging out in the donut shop
‘lil Al ‘N Tony sing and dance (oh whey oh)
Spin the Top to see whether or NOT it lands  on a Penalty
Eh Oh (oh whey oh)

And Taku-san says that ALL the Japanese LUV him
So just GO HOME Danicker (Go Away -Oh whey oh)
While EJ the Party boy says let’s Crank-call the Kremlin
While Ho-Pin Tung is busy teachin’ the Chinese how to sing
know (oh whey roh) as they walk the fields like ‘Brazilyunz

And BillyBob Brazenheartz is still down at the Donut shop
(oh whey oh)
Yo Billy - there’s a call for Yuhs
Sez’ he’s callin’ from Race Control...
Say Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
OH SHIT!!! I’ve gotta go...
Drive Like Uh ‘Brazilyun!
Drive Like Uh ‘Brazilyun!

Thanxs to resident No Fenders Funnyman ‘N ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS whose  idea it was originally + gave me the inspiration for this WACKY Shanty; R-R-R-rRR!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back from Thee Mountain!

So your Humble No Fenders Scribe has just returned (Sunday afternoon) from a very enjoyable weekend’s outing at the lady originally known as Mount Tahoma, aka Mt Rainier - with Mary Ellen and the ‘Hoonds, and NO! These FEARLESS lap ‘Hoonds weren’t in search of the Indianapolis Colts Offense which is reputedly MIA?

As once again Mary Ellen picked perfect weather for our ‘Walkabout at Paradise this past Friday - before typical Pacific Northwest weather rolled-in and put the Kybosh upon the Postcard idyllic clear blue cloudless skies we’d enjoyed. As we’ve now been back to duh WET stuff the past 3-days, having arrived BLOODY early Sunday morning...

We set off once again in our ‘Feurd Herc U LeeYun RV-mobile Friday morning, in duh BEAST that gets a whopping 8.5-10mpg with the higher end of the range definitely going downhill in cruise mode! But Hey! The bright side to this 24-foot beast is that now having gone 3-for-3 outings in precipitation - we’ve managed to stay dry all three times!

And as mentioned, the weather was ideal Friday when I was led upon a glorious trek up the paved trails of Mt Rainier’s National Park - the farthest I’ve been upon the trails in years; since we broke from tradition - when I routinely push “Auntie” Harriet up the paved trail in wheelchair every year... But ‘Aunty was busy as it was her 92nd Birthday and she was delightfully oblivious in her quest towards devouring as much Ice Cream as she wanted instead...

And the flowers were Uh-bloomin’ (As I think Ron white would say?) Yet they were truly abloom - as summer up here in the Northwest is at least one month behind and I was treated to endless amounts of flowers along the crooked steps up the Mountainside; OOH! What’s ‘dat ‘Juan Mary Ellen? While joking with some other Trailblazers I’d forgotten my SLOW vehicle sign; Hya! As the Lupin was truly out in-force, not to mention the Arnica, Gens in, Shooting Stars, etc.

And although we weren’t close enough and I couldn’t personally see it; Mary Ellen told me of a young boy off of the pathway chasing a Marmot in the meadow and throwing pebbles at it; SHEISA! As Mary Ellen mused where’s a Park Ranger when you need one? As the kid was clearly ignoring ALL of the posted signage...

But it was neat to hear said Marmot’s talking to each other on our way back down the trail along with Mary Ellen pointing out a Pica to me later - which makes an entirely different sound...

And then upon our return back down the Mountain to our Campsite we had an interesting predicament - as Mary Ellen said the headlights were barely visible, the turn signals didn’t work and she had NO idea if the brake lights were functioning? As she’d report to Mwah the following morning that she’d discovered that the alternator belt was missing; CRIKEYS!

And what are truly Good Friends for? As Super Dave, Err Dave’s NOT here... NO! NOT that Super Dave, but nonetheless Dave drove 2hrs from Tacoma to bring us a new alternator belt + spare battery and then proceeded to install the new belt for us, where he’d discover that the old belt had been installed upon the wrong pulley! WTF?

With the repairs made and the battery having been checked several times to monitor its charging capacity, Dave left us on our own and we decided that everything seemingly was working properly once again and thus decided to go check out Reflection Lake, albeit the skies had gotten cloudy and therefore NO reflection of Mt Rainier could be obtained... Thus taking a short ‘Walkabout on the nearby trails - Mary Ellen inquired if I could make out the scarlet rosso flower? Which she said was the same shade as the Scuderia Ferrari’s... But alas I couldn’t make it out due to the colour being to similar to the ground cover; Aye Karumba! As she’d later inform me that it was Indian paintbrush.

And if you’re still reading this riveting story - all I can think ‘bout it is Townsend Bell’s comment on Speed Freaks  Sunday evening when he asked Duh Freaks; isn’t this supposed to be a Motorsports show? As they were digressing ‘bout Townsend’s past days as the Water-ski Team Captain...

Then on our way home we drove thru Elbe, WA - past the Caboose Restaurant Carz, whale at least I think they were Caboose’s, as I just barely saw the railroad cars on the side of the road; and I was totally unaware that Elbe has a Historic, Err Scenic Rail Road which you can check out by clicking here. As I’ve also discovered that there’s appropriately a Hobo Inn in Elbe, perhaps even situated nearby said railroad cars?

Next whilst sipping petrol mightily in our ‘Feurd we zoomed thru Ashford, WA - which reputedly was about to get a dusting ‘O SNOW; Huh?

Weather Forecast:
Mon 40/29 (High/Low) - SNOW

But Sunday’s forecast of 44deg-f High was completely askew when it was noted to be 57deg-f Sunday afternoon when I checked; so NOT too sure ‘bout my Genralmatic Weather Forecasting system via le Telephone, eh?

Ashford, WA
Elevation: 537m (1,762-feet)
Population: 2,000

And I was also told it’s the Whittaker Bros Hometown? Whale actually not, but it is indeed the home of somewhat lesser-known brother Lou, who is the identical twin brother of Jim, the first American climber to summit Mount Everest... With the Brothers Whittaker having been born on February 10, 1929 in Seattle; while Lou and his wife built a nearly 2,000sq ft house into the side of a hill on their 20-acre Ashford estate which serves also as the base camp for his climbing guides of his successful Rainier Mountaineering Inc company - where guides live in the six Communal style dwellings. And Ashford’s also the home for Lou’s Bunkhouse Hotel and Mountain Sundries store; which I discovered in a 12yr old story in a local Newspaper affectionately known to ‘Aunty Harriet as the TNT. (Tacoma News Tribune) Which gives a very good account of how Lou made his fortune ‘N fame...

And thanxs to ‘CARPETS who told Mwah ‘bout an article written by ‘R, aka Robin Miller ‘bout the late winning Chief Mechanic of Tom Sneva’s 1983 Indy 500 winner named Mark Bridges who just passed away - while I was tryin' to scan around for the Auto Racing tab on my FRILLIN' Screen-reader "Lucy" somehow magically gave away the winner of the F1 race I hadn't watched at that moment; SHEISA! When without command ‘Lucy read out Seb - OH SHIT! SHUT-UP ‘LUCY!!! As I CANNOT blame ‘Dat ‘Juan on anybody but myself - beside ‘Lucy; Hya!

Of course this was after the 3hr (Cruise) bus ride home... As WTF? Really Presiden O’Bama - you’re gonna schedule fund Raising activities in Downtown Seattle the same day as the Seattle Seahawks Home Opener? You really are a ‘Card... As I’d call him a Clown but apparently Y’all can get FINED for ‘Dat, eh? Oh Never Mind!

As after he’d ‘Schmoozed 100 paying clientele at John Shirley’s Medina estate - bilking the lucky couple’s outta $35,800! (Where the President called Mr. Shirley Mark...) As that’s the same John Shirley who I’ve scribbled ‘bout previously who’s ‘Mega into classic cars; can you say Ferrari? As Messer Shirley is an ex-Microsoft employee whose prized late ‘30’s Alfa Romeo was just displayed in Portland’s Art Museum.

Next; The ‘Prez had the entire  city shutdown - closing off Freeway’s, Bus Stops, Elevators, etc so he could go milk another 400 paying customers $7k apiece at the Paramont Theatre during game time...

Oh Whale, at least I didn’t haveda Duck, Roll ‘N Take Cover this time as NO F-15 fighters were scrambled before unleashing two sonic booms heard over the entire Puget Sound region as some hapless Seaplane pilot had veered into ‘VERBOTTEN (RESTRICTED) Airspace... Which symbiotically I scribbled ‘bout in Crampon-Crampon just over one year ago; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? That was after my last outing to Thee Mountain, so what’s the dealio? Is this guy followin’ Mwah or What?

And that concludes this wacky portion of Gardening with Tomaso... Or perhaps I need to take some further Gardening leave?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ex-Indy 500 Winning Crew Chief Dies...

Just found out ‘bout this yesterday afternoon - as the Celebration of Life ceremony was held at the Brickyard pavilion Saturday for the late ex Chief mechanic Mark Bridges who recently passed away after a six month bout with Cancer.

Sources claim that more than 500 people attended, with the Speedway donating the use of the pavilion, while Tom Sneva, who had Bridges as his chief mechanic for his '83 Indy 500 win could not attend. He did however pick up the bar tab for all - a very nice gesture by The Gasman...

Quote of the Weekend

Was listening to Duh Freaks last night when a current IndyCar driver finally rightly Threw-down upon the HOOSE YOUR DADDY SWEEPSTAKES Indy Car Season Finale race at Los Wages... Which AIN’T NO FREAKIN’ World Championship! But I Digress...

As ‘Sarge (Kenny Sergeant) sez; that would be perfect for the LV race: “WHAM & IndyCar...” To which said Indy Car driver sez: “Why NOT; They’ve THROWN everything else at that race...” YOUCH!

Can you say Dog ‘N Pony Show? Or perhaps ‘HULIO can get permission from his Bestest Fwiend BB to drive the Circus Circus CLOWN Car that weekend? Hya! And just how many Indy Car Series drivers can they fit into a CLOWN car now that Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson won’t be competing the resta duh season, eh?

But seriously Folks! That would be FREAKIN’ FUNTASIC if Castroneves actually drove that event with primary sponsorship from Circus Circus in an all pink racecar a la some Homeboy Dude named Chip Hanauer did in his Unlimited Hydroplane...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Justin Bell visits No Fenders...

Justin Bell with Tanner Foust
If you’re a Hard Core racing enthusiast, then most likely Y’all know that Justin Bell is the son of five times Le Mans winner Derek – who although Justin admits great admiration and respect for, along with having spent considerable time in the cockpit as teammates at Circuit de la Sarthe; instead Justin wishes to remain his own man by not introducing himself as Derek’s son. (Rather that Derek is his father...)

And Justin’s had a fairly diverse Motorsports career – if his WICKEDpedia page is its traditional “69% correct?” Interspersed with his own ‘Offical website’s Bio – Justin has run the gamut from Motocross, Single Seaters, Sports Cars, Trans Am, Driving School, Celebrity Driver Coach and Television Pundit! So where to begin?

Tomaso (T) So I read that you began your climb thru the ranks by going Formula Ford racing, albeit getting ‘Dusted-off by a wee lad named Alan McNish. Who else of notoriety did you race on your way up the ladder and what categories did you race prior to jumping into the ‘BigCarz, i.e.; Porsche 962 at Le Mans?

Justin Bell (JB) Well Alan Mcnish was on the grid with me for my first FF1600 race - my FIRST and for him about his 500th race following his successful KArting career! And yes generally he did kick my ass... Although I was always second! The next season in Opel Lotus Mika Hakinen was added to the grid in the same Marlboro team as Alan. I finished THIRD a lot that season!

(T) I seem to vaguely recall you running a Shell liveried Porsche 962 with your Old Man, which reputedly you ran with him for four years. (1992-96) is that correct or am I confusing it with the Andretti’s? What team(s) did the two of you chauffer for, who were your other co-drivers and what’s your best memory(s) from those races?

(JB) No that must have been the Andretti’s. Dad and I raced a 962 under the ADA banner in 1991 at Le Mans with Tiff Needel. The biggest race together was when I asked him to join Andy Wallace and myself in the Harrods Sponsored McLaren F1 GTR at LM in 1995. Finishing third overall and standing on the podium with Dad was extraordinary. What an experience!

(T) Whale, after having watched your Marshall Pruett Le Mans Debut Flashback video, (above) along with doing some more digging; it (indeed) appears that your first “Proper” Le Mans was in 1992 in a Porsche 962 with your father and Tiff Needel. And then you shared a podium winning McLaren F1 GTR with your dad and Andy Wallace: (Which Justin noted above...) which race was more special?

(JB) Definitely the 1995 LM with the F1 - wow! To drive the coolest car built at the time with Dad was massive.

(T) And I really seemed to first notice you when driving those provocative Dodge Vipers, as I’m guessing your best Le Mans memory is your 1998 class victory. How fun were those Viper GTR’s to drive vs. the Corvette’s – and how do they stack up against each other?

(JB) Yes Racing for Dodge in their World Championship team with Team OReca was definitely the most significant phase of my racing career. We won so many races and of course being the first Driver to win a World Championship for them and then as part of the LM winning team with Luca Drudi and David Donohue - really put me on the map.

Actually for four years our main competition was with Porsche and then Vette reared their fast paced faces at the end of 1999. When I jumped ship to join them!

(T) When did you last race at Le Mans and what was your favourite racecar to drive in the 24 Heurs du Mans. (Besides that memorable Spice-Ferrari Prototype; Hya!)

(JB) Thanks for bringing up the Spice Ferrari... not a positive memory! I last raced for Corvette there in 2000.

(T) And you seem to have an infinity for Hugues de Chaunac, who you drove for – winning in his GT2 Oreca Vipers. What other Owners did you enjoy driving for?

(JB) Racing with Corvette under the mentorship of Doug Fehan was great fun. I admire him a lot - he hired me and had the balls to fire me... his mistake though... lol

(T) Many moons ago, your Dad thru Grand Prix Tours was chauffeuring GPT
Customers around the “Green Hella,” a.k.a. the Nordschleife in a Dodge Viper GTS; of which I seriously wished I’d done. Did that come about thru your being a Dodge factory driver?

(JB) Probably, maybe, likely - no clue actually!

(T) Switching gears – without going into a long Diatribe ‘bout “the Split.” I know another ex-Corvette Racing teammate of yours named “Johnny ‘O” (O’Connell) participated in the 1996 Indy 500, but was unaware that you tried qualifying for that event; reputedly in a 4yr old Lola chassis. Who was that for and can you summarize what happened?

(JB) Bloody awful experience. Terrifying. Shit team and no money. Tony George did not need/want a Brit in the race so no real motivation to help me. End of story.

To show how bad it was - I used to pack my wash bag up every morning just in case someone else was coming back to clear my shit up after what was going to be an eventual accident - and I knew it was serious when Johnny Rutherford suggested to me that I leave and comeback another year... otherwise I may not have that option...!

(T) Whilst searching for a current image of you - I came across a photo with you and Tanner Foust, who just set the record for jumping a PickEmUp truck off the Hot Wheels (“Door”) ramp at this year’s Centennial Indy 500. Do you know Tanner and have you ever competed/worked with him? As I really enjoyed him on the past season’s American version of Top Gear. (Of which a second season of Top Gear USA is currently running on the History channel Sunday evenings...)

(JB) Yes I have a great relationship with Tanner - the first time we worked together was on that event - we had a blast. I think the only thing missing from Top Gear USA is me... lol! He is the best thing on that show at the moment.

(T) Back to the TinTops, albeit I seemingly lost interest in Trans Am after the Tommy Bahamas Qvale (De Tomaso) Mangusta car went away in the early “Ought’s.” (2000’s) Thus I was unaware of your racing in the series. Who did you win R.O.Y. (Rookie Of the Year) Honours for? Did your two victories come with the same team, or did you run for more then one entrant during your three seasons of Trans Am?

(JB) I had a blast in TA - I was with the seasoned Jim Derhaag team and we really got that Orange #40 Vette working well. So yes I won ROTY with that team and the last two races of the season. We actually looked like we were going to win the first race of the year at Long Beach - I came from almost last place to take the lead briefly from Boris Said and Paul Gentilozzi... and then I screwed up with one corner to go!

What a shame that TA didn’t survive - it could have been the best option as a road racing series to rival NASCAR if managed properly...

(T) I recall watching, Err listening to your Dad call a season of Formula 1 upon my local Fox Sports Network (FSN) whilst I was struggling to acquire Speed Vision way back when. Did this have anything to do with giving you the bug to go into Television and how did you get your start.

(JB) No - I loved being interviewed - apparently I did it well. Then being quite a creative person I saw it as my chance to really shine in a world I always wanted to be part of. So I dedicated myself to being a professional TV host in the same way I did to being a racing driver 20 years earlier.

(T) And what’s it like working with Jay Leno?

(JB) I moved to LA to be on his (at the time) new ‘Jay Leno Show’ on NBC. I got to train the celebs to drive the Electric Ford and then interview them for What a great gig and sadly short lived, thanks to that whole Conan /Tonight Show situation.

But Jay has always been great to me - very encouraging and now I still work with him as a special correspondent to Jay Leno’s

(T) During your annual ‘CrowdCrawl this year at Le Mans – you mused that it’d be your last Le Mans and from now on you’d be writing books... Was this just some more of your British wit, or is there any truth behind that?

(JB) Purely me goofing around... Just my sense of humour as when I interviewed that British fan wearing fake boobs and with a giant hairy bush peeking out from his ladies thong... I thought I have done it this time!!

(T) And I noticed that SPEED had a pretty Driver “Heavy” announce crew on hand this year, with Calvin Fish, Scott Pruett, Dorsey Schroeder, Brian Till and yourself on hand. (Along with Greg Creamer, Leigh Diffey, Jamie Howe and Andrew Marriot)

Has the SPEED broadcast luminaries (9 On-air personalities) ever gone Go Kart racing and who’d win? (As I’ll put my money upon Leigh Diffey...)

(JB) Leigh would loose...

(T) And have you ever participated in a Barret-Jackson auction besides as a commentator, i.e.; Bidder? And if so what type of Automobile did you buy/wished-to purchase?

(JB) No I knew nothing about them until I worked that B-J Scottsdale last year. Now I love those events - they are incredible to be a part of. I am SO glad I don’t have a bidders paddle - or I would now be the owner of several American muscle cars, a 21 window VW van and several cool Bronco’s... haha.

(T) And lastly, you claim you’re not officially retired as a racer on your bio. Is there any race on your “Bucket-list” you’d like to do; ore are you simply content upon focusing on your television career instead?

(JB) Well I am racing at the Petit Le Mans race at the end of the month with Michael Waltrip in the AF Corse Ferrari F430... so I guess you are correct. I am really looking forward to it. Good to remind people I can still walk it as well as talk it...

Thanxs very much for dropping by and good luck with the book; Hya!

And don’t forget to check out Justin Bell’s Official Website at:

Good Luck with Mikey ‘N Thee 430 Ferrari!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ho-hum; Another Year, Another Title - While It’s a Champ Car Double...

Stevenson Camaro (Source:
Still awaiting the start of the riveting Motegi Street-fest; Hya! I decided to watch the final round of this year’s Grand Am season - having stumbled upon the race’s final 42-minutes... When ex-Champ Car World Series (CCWS) driver Ryan ‘Dazzle Dalziel literally drove the wheels off of his Starworks Riley-Ford DP Prototype to the chequered flag ahead of perennial Grand Am Champion Scott “Scooter” Pruett. As Pruett and Co-driver Memo Rojas won their third-consecutive DP title, a series first, along with ‘Cheep’s record fifth Daytona Prototype Crown!

As going to commercial break, SPEED highlighted a younger Scott Donald Pruett winning his first Rolex 24 timepiece ‘Way-back-in 1988 - some 23yrs ago aboard an Eleectromotive Nissan 300ZXT... With TV Booth Boyz Dorsey Schroeder musing I was there - were you Calvin? To which Calvin Fish coyly replied I was just a kid... Yeah, you were there too Dorsey noted...

But the win was special for Dalziel, who clouted kerves, got extremely tail happy and as Leigh Diffey noted - was driving at 11/10ths to keep the victory out of the clutches of Pruett who was hounding the Scot in P2, where the California “Kid” would finish the race; as Dalziel later claimed “He  was either gonna WIN or WRECK!” With the win being Dalziel’s first since his memorable Overall triumph in the 2010 Rolex 24 - and Starworks debutant victory...

And while the GT Crown was anything but assured - as the Speedsource Mazda RX8’s went hammer ‘N tongs - as the HomeBoy Team of Patrick Dempsey Racing’s No. 41 Mazda lost the lead with nary 15-mins remaining; a late race caution flag saw a two lap shootout where the famous Brumos No. 59 hung onto fourth place to win the title over a hard pressing Jonathan Bomarito; ’Juan ‘O thee Atlantics LOST Souls; as in in The Johnnie Boy Trio, i.e.; Bomarito, John Edwards and Jonathan Summerton - like can Y’all say Edwards, Summerton and Simona de Silvestro? Who finished 1-2-3 in the 2009 title fight whilst Bomarito was Atlantics runner-up in ‘08...

Yet then another name from the past came to light during the winner’s interviews; Hmm? Hey! I knows ‘Dat name... As the winner of the GT Class featured Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremmer... Wasn’t Bremmer an ex-Champ Car competitor? Yeah, thought so - as I recalled seeing the Dane trundle ‘round Portland in the Dale Coyne Sonny’s Bar-Bee-Que car - ‘Circa ’05 after he’d been let go by the first incarnation of HVM who replaced Ronnie with some Cat I nicknamed Dan “SpeedyDry” Clarke.

As Bremmer also scored his Debutant Grand Am Pole position in the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro, with Chevie’s sweeping the first three grid spots - while the back-to-back victories by Stevenson helped GM claim the Manufacturer’s Crown in the GT Class. As next up is the 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January...