Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Remembering Jeff Krosnoff -The Final Chapters...

Jeff Krosnoff and his famous "Superman" pose on the front wheel of his Arciero-Wells Reynard-Toyota for RACER Magazine in 1996. (Photo source: speed.com)
Its funny how life goes, as for reasons unknown, and as time marches on - with another year having slipped by; I can no longer recollect where I was on that fateful Bastille Day, as I can only surmise I was on holiday in the San Juan Islands? Since I do know that I didn’t watch the 1996 Toronto Molson Indy, nor can I say I really knew who Jeff Krosnoff was... After all he was just another back marker pummeling around in a recalcitrant Toy-yoter that summer at Portland International Raceway. Hell, I probably even made some sorta very stupid comments about the tail end Charlie Japanese powered racecar...

Thus, I suppose it is what it is - and may be I’m making too big a dealio outta the karma of having crossed paths with three racing drivers directly involved that very day the past two years at Indianapolis now, but I do find it very symbiotic that I’ve briefly met “Stevie Johnson,” aka Stefan Johansson and Yo Adrian! (Adrian Fernandez) whilst ‘CARPETS snagged MAD MAX’S (Massimiliano Papis) John Hancock for Mwah all at Mother Speedway the past two years, albeit I just haven’t found the time to poond away my reflections upon these meetings yet, as it felt overly ironic that I was reading the latest installment of the Marshall Pruett Krosnoff Chronicles exactly one year after I’d posted my initial thoughts upon the matter...


Messer Pruett then expounds upon what he calls The Missing Years,” chronicling Krosnoff’s sacrifices in far-away Japan along with some very positive recollections from other cast-away competitors with names like “IRV-THE-SWERVE” and “Mr. LeMans,” aka Eddie Irvine and Tom Kristensen respectively, not to mention another driver from the Japanese F3000 Rat Pack who’d lose his life racing named “Roland-the-Rat.” (Ratzenberger)


And this was followed up with the startling revelation that Krosnoff had faced-off against some Italian named ‘Zorro for a ride in thee ‘Cheepster’s machine...


Jeff Krosnoff piloted this beautiful Cal Well owned Reynard-Toyota during his far too short lived CART rookie campaign in 1996. (Source: Speed.com)
And I must admit that I found Marshall Pruett’s writing very powerful - as his written description of the events prior to and following Krosnoff’s and unheralded volunteer corner worker Gary Avrin’s deaths caused me to shed several tears... Although I wish that SPEED would have run the entire story last year, as I finally gave up waiting for Part-4 which Pruett teased us about at the end of Part-3.

Max Papis’s verve, flair and unbridled Italian passion towards life are undeniable - as his moxie, or charisma are what inevitably drew me to like him so much - as it seems even more ironic that Massimiliano has had to deal directly with two fallen comrades, as he still wears red gloves in honour of the late Greg Moore.

Thus I found Pruett’s insight’s towards Papis’s huge reservations regarding taking over Krosnoff’s seat not only terribly moving but typical Massimiliano.

And meeting Stefan Johansson, he seemed like an overly pleasurable person who Pruett notes simply saw a gap momentarily opened by ‘EMMO (Emerson Fittipaldi) and as any racing driver would naturally do - went for I-T! Unaware that the relentless Krosnoff in the underpowered Toyota also saw the same opportune gap and dove straight into it in hopes of overtaking Johansson...

While meeting Adrian Fernandez this May, he was the consummate Gentleman, standing to greet me personally and answering all of my questions most politely - as he totally strikes me like the type of person who wouldn’t have celebrated over-joyously for his debutant Open Wheel victory had he been cognizant of Krossnoff’s life threatening injuries...

Meanwhile there were two tidbits I wished Pruett had expounded upon further, as he mentions how the destroyed Reynard/Toyota sat impounded for seven years... Along with divulging the cold, harsh, callous world of Formula 1; where really Ferrari? You couldn’t have the decency to release Mr. Irvine from a FREAKIN’ test session in order to attend his fallen friend’s funeral; SHEISA! Talk ‘bout turning my stomach in knots towards la Scuderia!

And it was with further irony that thee original ‘TK, Tommy Kendall was co-hosting Wind Tunnel the weekend following this year’s Toronto IndyCar race and gave some great insights into his fallen friend - with the picture of the two teenagers  together during their Jim Russell driving school days being flashed upon screen.

As I’ve only gotten thru the first page of Part-6 which features some magnificent antidotes  about Krosnoff - as I especially enjoyed Dan Layton noting how Jeff pounding ‘round in an obsolete Ralt Atlantic car made him realize he wasn’t cut out to be a racer! Along with Adam Saal recalling him smiling whilst bundled up in a parka asking for some stickers for his niece during the snow-delayed U.S. 500 at Michigan... 

All six segments are broken into three-page stories - which surely Y’all can read way faster then ‘Lucy, my Screen-reader does, ever since being forced to purchase the new & NOT! Improved Zoomtext 10.0; URGH! But I highly recommend reading all six segments...



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