Thursday, August 30, 2012

AUTOS: Thoughts upon Debutant LeMay-America’s Car Museum visit

LeMayAmerica's Car Museum, was a ten-year vision that finally became a reality upon opening to the public on June 2, 2012 in Tacoma, WA. (Source: autoguide.com)
Ah, what better way to celebrate this Labour Day weekend than by posting this sprawling saga upon my first of many visits to this fantastic museum...

First ‘N Foremost: Huge Kudo’s to Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen - who’s not only kept me apprised over the years about the progress of the America’s Car Museum, which houses the crème de la crème of the late Harold LeMay’s vast automobile collection; but for also taking me there, being my tour guide and wisely talking me into buying a Family membership - so we can go visit as many times so desired whilst the Indy Cars and Ferrari’s are on display! (Not to mention the vast armada of other cool rides...)

Overall Thoughts
Have to say I was somewhat skeptical of this museum ever coming to fruition, albeit I’ve hoped for it happening ever since I found out about it - whilst making a visit to see Lynn Sommers  private collection of vintage automobiles a zillion years ago...

And I still don’t know how they did it, as the most startling characteristic to Mwah is that you actually enter upon the museo’s top floor  and proceed downwards to each level; Huh? And silly me... I thought I’d be able to visit the museum on my own, but I find the museum’s layout very confusing, especially the side ramps which connect to each floor... As we had fun trying to find our way to the Speed Zone, yet it’s nice that they have volunteers located on every level to help you about, just realize that many of these are new to the museum too, so give ‘em a chance!

As we chatted up one such individual who I thought he said he was an Architecture student who loves classic cars - but cannot afford them, so this is the perfect chance to co-exist with automobile royalty!

And I’ve been to LeMay’s (Maramont Military Academy) retreat, in Spanaway, WA - just so happening to be upon its 30th Anniversary - which I hope they still do, now with the new museo opened, since it was quite enjoyable, but the new museum is much easier for me to visit - especially since its not as spread out as the ex-Maramont Military Academy’s spacious 80-acres - and the aisle-ways are much larger, as I still recall trying to walk between row-after-row of tightly parked automobiles which was a real ‘Bitch to back-up for oncoming gawkers...


Our only major two complaints were the rate of the individual car descriptions on apparently computer screens? As the text would rotate/change too quickly before Mary Ellen could finish trying to read it out loud to me. And the double vinyl lettering cutouts at the Ferrari section gave her double-vision and were extremely tough to read aloud too... All of which didn’t make a difference to Mwah, since you’re humble No Fenders scribe is visually impaired and cannot see worth SHIT! Hence, obviously I cannot read any of these annoyances above, which reportedly the museum is aware of and hopefully will have fixed next time we go back... ‘Whale at least the rate of speed on the rotating car descriptions, eh?

But as I’ve said previously, this is a fantastic new addition to Tacoma and if you’re “Car Crazy,” then it’s definitely worth a trip to this cavernous automobile museum. Just give yourself plenty of time to puruse the palatial expanses of the 165,000 square-foot four story interior! Since after two separate day’s visits we’ve still NOT even delved into any of the center-section’s main exhibits; CRIKEYS! As I’m still awaiting seeing LeMay’s gems, i.e.; Duisenberg’s, Packard’s, Cadillac’s, Ford’s, Tucker, etc.

SpeedZone
Once we got headed towards the correct ramp location - this exhibit was easy to find as I could hear the siren song of an audible continuous loop IndyCar recording racing amongst us! Which Y’all can read in two-part harmony in the accompanying 2-part story;


 
Ferrari 375 MM Vignale Spyder; second place in 1953 (#20) with Driver Phil Hill. (Source: classics.com)
Ferrarista’s
Although I find this to be my most cherished automotive marque, I haveda say I was somewhat disappointed by the display, perhaps since it followed our perusal of the Indy Cars... As there were a few loaners from Ferrari of Seattle, one of the new California models I believe. A gun-metal gray? 550 Maranello? A rosso ’91 F40, a fly yellow 308/328? (Hey! I was flying ‘Solo on this portion of the ramp and therefore couldn’t read any of the displays...) Followed by the stunning 1950’s-esqe Carrera Pan America No. 20 Ferrari 375 racecar... Driven no less than by past Formula 1 World Champions Alberto Ascari and America’s Phil Hill!

As I’d actually seen this car owned by ex-Pacwest Racing CART Team Owner Bruce McCaw at Pacific Raceways just after its restoration... Or was that Seattle International Raceways? As I did indeed see it at the annual SOVREN ‘Hystericals; Err Historics... Think it was the year I chatted up some guy named Daniel Sexton Gurney way back in 2001-02...


The Ferrari 375MM Carrera road racer was followed up by the car that reputedly was the inspiration for Rush’s hit song Red Barchetta... As John Shirley’s rosso 166MM sat at the end of the line of Ferrarista’s looking somewhat forlorn to Mwah, as it  too sported the numeral 20 in white upon its midriffs; Hmm? As I’m wondering what the significance to this number is? As I found it odd that two Scuderia Ferrari racing cars from the same era sported the same number. Hey, wait a ‘My-nute! I think I’m sitting on a picture of thee 1965 24 Heurs du Mans winning #20 North American Racing Teams (N.A.R.T.) Ferrari 250LM! Co-inky-dense?

1965 Ferrari 250LM sitting besides Ford GT-40 Mark II at the  Indianapolis Hall of Fame Museum - May, 2012 (DOB)
NOPE! Although those of you overly astute Ferrari Tiafosi will have already corrected Mwah, as the 1965 Le Mans winner is actually number 21 - which I’ve now had the privilege of seeing twice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame museum... As this Scuderia Sweetheart was rightly parked alongside one of Ford’s GT-40 Mark II’s this May. So perhaps the numbers twenty and twenty-one were assigned to the N.A.R.T. concern?

And NO disrespect to this fabulous Ferrari; BUTT! I found the 166MM Barchetta hugely disappointing, as it seemed overly small, boorish and plain - as I was much more intoxicated by that Uber BAD ASS F40! (But, to each his own, eh?)

Ferrari F40LM 
Alternative Technology
Although not overly geeked towards this section, I’d wanted to see I-T since it was featuring Lynn Sommers 1911 Baker Electric. As I’d previously met Sommers, now 78 of Tacoma some five or more years ago; and actually got to see the Baker up close ‘N personal...

As the Baker reportedly cost $3,500 in 1911, which equals $81,000 in today’s dollars, having been targeted at affluent women as it didn’t require kick starting, featuring plush velvet seats, window curtains and a flower vase... With the driver seated rewards and steering via a tiller!

And although Sommers does take it out sparingly, part of the driving issue is its top speed noted at 20-25mph, with the 12-batteries needing recharging every 60-80 miles. Talk about range anxiety, right! Although I enjoyed hearing that when the Baker does hit the road, Lynn and his wife dress up in period correct clothing and enjoy educating the public about the Baker’s history...

And I was most surprised to discover a red Chevrolet EV1 on display; Eureka!  As I thoroughly enjoyed Who Killed the Electric Car with Martin Sheen as narrator...

Not to mention a brand spankin’ new Chevy Volt parked after it, which I was mildly impressed by, as it looked far better than the mental images I’d conjured up without ever seeing a single picture of; much larger than I was expecting... Thinking its really not a bad looking car, as I’m far more used to Mi Madre’s Citroen looking Toyota Prius; Hya! As I remember thinking if Nissan was smart it would have had one of its Leaf’s on hand, while I’d also liked to have seen a Tesla roadster.

Yet the funniest thought overall was how all of the car companies are relentlessly pushing the greenness ‘O EV’s; or as Pamela so rightly called it: ‘GREENWASHING! As some new hotbed of technology when there sits Lynn Sommers’s 101-year old Baker electric... 

   The British Are Coming!
Another side ramp display devoted to various British marque’s, i.e.; Jaguars, etc. As I remember there being an excellante E-type along with some other of the iconic carmaker’s Saloons on hand.

And I was most surprised to see an ex-WASSAAC cronies’ car on display there, having previously ridden in Brett “BART” Simpson’s predecessor “TeegAr” - no less than in the rain... As Simpson has painstakingly restored the vintage Sunbeam Tiger to pristine condition, as the white Tiger stuffed with  the same “FoMoCo” 260-cid V-8 small block that powered the original Cobra’s is a very famous car, having been driven by Maxwell Smart and I believe it’s serial number one?

But after marveling over the Tiger & Jaguar’s, I seemed to think the display wasn’t that GURR-REAT! Even with an empty parking space, even if the Bugeye Sprite was supposed to be one of the 10-cars  not to miss - as my enthusiasm waned, I said let’s make a beeline for Lynn Sommers car...  

Bulgari Collection
Very ‘kOOL smattering of Americana, as this collector, Nicola Bulgari - Russian, I believe? Is totally enamoured by classic American cars with half of his collection based in Pennsylvania; all of these classic rides being tweaked with handling and performance upgrades - as he believe’s they all should be driven; and I especially liked the part about inviting a bunch ‘O his friends over, throwing them the keys and saying “Let’s go for a spin, Boys!”

(DOB - Photo courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Longtime Sarah Fisher Crew-member loses race against ALS...

Two years ago I scribbled about longtime Sarah Fisher Racing employee Carey Hall who unfortunately had been diagnose with life threatening ALS; as Carey’s devotion to the team and courage of battling his Lou Gehrig’s disease was brought to my attention by ‘CARPETS - which I dually posted in; Fisher to carry colours of Hope. Which ironically Sarah Fisher did carry upon her car in Chicago and Kentucky just twenty-four months ago...

Unfortunately, sometime within the past week? As the article below is dated August 22nd, it was publicly announced that Carey Hall had succumbed to his battle with ALS and passed away...


And thus, in typical Sarah Fisher manner, the team ran a tribute message during the Sonoma race weekend upon the No. 67’s rear flanks remembering Carey, a longtime ex-crew member, as the team’s message was in support of the Carey’s Hope website which you can visit by clicking here

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Indy 500 History website announced

Heard about this on last Tuesday’s Trackside with Cavin & Kevin, when they interviewed the person who’s building the website - which is hoped to become a one-stop spot for all of  us hankerin’ to hear Donald Davidson’s Gasoline Alley information - as reportedly they’ve just uploaded the Jochen Rindt interview, so you may wish to check it out at: Indy 500 History

INDYCAR: The Long and Twisty Sonoma edition

Sausalito’s J.R. Hildebrand negotiating the new chicane at Sonoma Raceway - where The Panther Racing squad campaigned San Francisco 49ers themed-livery during the Sonoma IndyCar race weekend. Photo by Bradley Gray. (Source: marionscope.com)
Although I do recall watching a very sublime, dare I say it? Boring race at Mid-Ohio - it seems like it was eons ago... As really, a lone solitary pass for the lead in the Pits in a duel of refueler’s; YAWN! Thus, it seemed like I’d been waiting ‘N waiting for the Champ-PEE-onship battle to recommence... In fact it’d been so long,  that I had to look it up via Zed Internetz - as I knew it was gonna be at the Wine Country racetrack many have taken to calling “Snorhoma,” which for Mwah will forever be known as Sears Point Raceway...

Thus coming into the weekend’s event, according to the IndyCar pundits, along with thee ‘OLDEST IndyCar blogger Geo. Phillips, there were allegedly four Musketeers left battling for this year’s Indy Car Series cup; Err championship crown. Those being in alphabetical order: Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power, with Power leading the points; five ahead of ‘BULLY-RAY! (Hunter-Reay) 17 clear of teammate ‘HULIO and 28 ahead of Scot Dixon.

And I guess the only thing keeping this a four pony affair is the fact that the season  finale is on Fontana’s 2.0-mile Oval-track and is 500-miles in length, otherwise I’d seriously doubt George’s driver ‘HULIO had nary a chance with ‘BULLY-RAY on the outside looking in, as I personally see the title fight as a two jockey affair between Power and Dixon, hence another Manu e Manu between the series Goliaths: Penske and Ganassi, which seems to be a yearly theme...

Yet, as in years past - I’m still rootin’ for my number two driver Will Power to finally break Dashley LePew’s (Dario Franchitti) stranglehold upon the championship... As at least whoever wins this year won’t haveda pick up that Naked Man on thy Unicycle, right? Hya!

As I’ll agree with George’s procostination that my Numero Uno ICS driver Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson is definitely outta duh hunt this season; hence I didn’t feel too faraway on my predictions upon hearing both Mark ‘Graveley James & Mike ‘Yippee-Aye-eh! King putting their poker chips upon Dixon to win this year’s title fight, albeit surely Power has gotta break his Oval “slump” sometime, eh?

Practise-1
As I actually lucked into Friday practice via Zed Internetz around 3PM Pacific, which I believe is 6PM NY/Indy/East Coast time, right Dave? Dave’s NOT Here; Hya! As it was  fun listening to how damn hard everybody was pushing in the lone Friday practice session coming from The Raceway at Sonoma, huh? Guess I-finn-ion is gone?

As it was nice hearing le ‘Hamburgular’s named called out in P1 for a change - as Jake “the Riddler” Query tried interviewing team boss Jay Penske, but he declined as soon as Jake sez he’s gotta ask him ‘bout his Nantucket escapades...

Yet, I was most happy to have the No. 12 of Will Power wind up P1, followed by Ryan Briscoe and Simon Pagenaud; with ‘SeaBass falling to sixth, bumped down there by Dashley LePew (Franchitti) and ‘Rubino (Rubens Barrichello) respectively.

Scotty thee “Iceman 2.0” Dixon settled for seventh fastest whilst CastroNervous was a lowly 16th and ‘BULLY-RAY a further 3-places adrift in P19; as I think I’d read that Power, Hunter-Rey and Helio are all on their fifth and last engine of the season, whilst Dixon is already on engine number six; hence anybody changing from here on out will incur the wrath of the draconian 10-grid spot penalty.

Meanwhile I’d say its pretty safe to assume that ‘Symone Pagenoe (Simon Pagenaud) has already locked-up this year’s R.O.Y. (Rookie Of the Year) crown with his outstanding driving performance, and thus I won’t Toot my own horn too much by saying I’ve known for years now just how AWESOME “Symone” is; hence making him my No. 3 driver! Although I really thought the Studly Joseph Newgarden would give Pagenaud a better run for his money - as these were the only two true contenders for the rookie title this year, since unfortunately thy Leggy ‘Juan, nee Katherine Legge is simply in a different Zip code... As I do hope she returns for a full season sophomore campaign. Although I’m not sure if Jay Penske is the right type of owner for her?

As it was also discovered by Mwah when Nick “Scuba” Yeoman interviewed Symone’s team manager Rob Evans Friday that an eighth place finish would wrap-up the R.O.Y. title for the affable ‘Frenchie on Sunday...

Practise-2
Thus continuing this new found IndyCar craze - notably due to being able to listen to I-T via Zed Internetz on duh first try... I promptly tuned-in for Saturday morning practice; which for the bulk of the session saw Team Penske running 1-2-3 line abreast with Power at the sharp end of the triumberant, followed by Briscoe and Castroneves. They in-turn were pursued by Ganassi’s red-dot Boyz Dixon & Franchitti, whilst Bourdais and Pagenaud nipped at their heals.

And I suppose they’re just trying to stir up some good ‘Ol controversy; BUTT! I found it a bit premature to be likening will Power to the Buffalo Bills Jim Kelly; CRIKEYS MATES! If Power does indeed somehow manage to not win this year’s title - with it instead going to Dixon & Co. and garnering thee ‘Cheepster five consecutive championships; URGH! Although surely The Captain has more titles overall then ‘Cheep, right? Although certainly NOT during the IRL-Post Unification Indy Car Series seasons...

And perhaps the practice was waning Mark James & Mike King’s interest as they seemingly spent great time blustering over Football, with King even being bold enough to say he hoped for a diecast version of J.R. Hildebrand’s DW12 paying homage to Panther Racing co-founder Jim Harbaugh, who wore the No. 4 during his NFL playing days - with its Oh, So Sharp San Francisco 49ers paint scheme...

Also noted was how Richard Hammond of the original BBC Top Gear version was performing duties as Thy Leggy ‘Juan’s right side tyre changer this weekend; believe they said right front? As King thoroughly lambasted the Top Gear USA spinoff version as TRASH; YOUCH! Ease up Mr. King,  as I actually quite enjoy the three amigos on that show; but Query noted how the 22-people following him were probably more of a concern then him actually changing tyres for the British ‘Tart; Hya!

And while at the end of the session it was still Power on top, Dixon had jumped up to P2 with Briscoe dropping to third, Franchitti fourth and Bourdais rounding out the top-5. Sixth-place went to Castroneves, followed  by Hunter-reay, Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan and Justin Wilson finishing off the top-10 runners, as I now await the day’s Fast-Six ‘qualie Shootout...

Qualifying
Round 1 - Group 1
With just two ‘My-nutes to spare, I hastily ran to the closet ‘N pulled out my brand spankin’ new Will Power T-Shirt in order to give him some No Fenders Feel good Mo-jo...

Following the first two groups of Round-1 qualifying, I think Nick Yeoman talked to a disappointed Joseph Newgarden, who mocked happiness over their ‘Qualie performance - having failed to advance to Round-2; as it was noted somewhat later that Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing is not only running Angie’s List sponsorship but a message remembering departed team member Carey Hall who succumbed to ALS recently.

Both women - Katherine Legge and “Symona-Symona,” nee Simona de Silvestro were in Group 1 - both failing to advance, with Legge out qualifying de Silvestro’s recalcitrant ‘Luddi lump...

There were NO takers to the track until the halfway point of the session when cars finally ventured out with nary 7:30 remaining in the  ‘Qualie session; as Ryan Briscoe wound-up P1 followed by Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Sebastian Bourdais, Justin Wilson and James Hinchcliffe all advancing to the next round. Others such as Sebastian Saavedra - running a “One-off” for AFS Racing, Joseph Newgarden, J.R. Hildebrand and Graham Rahal failed to advance.

It was interesting to hear Saavedra’s comments about using the new carbon fibre brakes for the first time on a hilly road course, as he’s done a fairly decent job this weekend - as I can envision him as the fourth wheel at  Andretti Autosports next year, funds pending; just a guess, eh? As that’s obviously Saavedra’s goal...

Round 1 - Group 2
Another bit ‘O trivia was thrown out by the IMS Radio Network Booth boyz - noting how four of the races six past winners were lumped together in Group 2: 2005 winner ‘TK “Follow-your-Schnoz” Kanaan, ’06 winner Marco Andretti, ’07 victor Scott Dixon and reigning two-time 2010-11 champion Will Power; who gave Mwah a tiny scare by throwing his first  ‘Flyer away and languishing in 11th before promptly vaultin to the top of the time sheets...

As Power would park it early in the Pits and finish P1 in the session followed by title rival Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, ‘TAG, (Alex Tagliani) Scott Dixon and ‘Rubino. (Rubens Barrichello)

Failing to advance were the likes of ‘Taku-san (Takuma Sato) typically a “Twisty-master” and EJ “What, Me Worry!” Viso, although I don’t recall them getting much Airtime... (OOPS! Not sure which of the first two groups they were in...) Also failing to advance were other B-I-G Names such as “MarkyMarc,” (Marco Andretti) Mike “Ice-Ice, Baby” Conway, ‘TK and Oriel Servia - who’s running a Salvador Dali tribute motif this weekend; as that’s the diecast I’d spring for...

Round 2 - Doughnut Holez
Six advance - Six depart... As Briscoe topped his teammate Power, with the Penske’s chased by ‘SeaBass, ‘HULIO, Dixon and Dario to the stripe... As the first “Domino” fell, as I did a Happy Dance jig over poor BULLY-RAY! Failing to make the top-6, having to settle for seventh instead; boo hoo! As RHR was followed by TAG, “symone,” JW, The Mayor of Hinchtown and Rubino - lining up in Rows 4-6 respectively.

Yet earlier in the session it was noted that Saavedra, Sato, Wilson and de Silvestro were all making “Unapproved” engine changes and hence will incur the wrath of 10-grid spot penalties...

Round 3 - Fast-6 Shootout
All my notes say for Power is PHENOMINAL! As the “Toowoomba Toranadoe” set a wickedly blistering pace en route to his third consecutive Pole position at Sonoma, and 28th overall. Briscoe was second quick with SeaBass interrupting the Penske-Ganassi intramural scrum with his best ‘Qualie position of the year in P3. Next was Helio followed by Dixon and Franchitti, uncharacteristically opting for the “slower” black primary rubber... Hmm? Perhaps he was doing a little testing work for his teammate ‘Dixie, eh?

Nick Yeoman pointed out the fact that not only had the fastest six from the day’s practice advanced to the Fast-Six shootout, but also occupied the top-six finishing positions in last year’s race.

He also noted that Power’s Pole gives him the first selection for Pit-stalls at the upcoming Baltimore race - advantage: DJ WillyP;” nice job buddy. (Where Art Thou Mr. Innucci?)

Two trivia facts were brought up via IMS Radio Network’s Stat-guru, the first being a nod to le Hamburgular, aka Sebastain Bourdais’s staggeringly impressive wins/races started tally. As it was noted that SeaBass has won 31-races in his first 93 starts; actually it was much higher percentage-wise before he went to Formula One and then has struggled to find a competitive IndyCar ride. Yet the interesting caveat was that for drivers win ratios during their first 100-starts, bourdais is number-one! Higher even than ‘SuperTex’s (A.J. Foyt) 29 and Mario’s 26; Aye Karumba!

Also was unaware that there’d been a lone USAC sanctioned race at the track on April 7, 1970 - won by Dan gurney before the roar of turbochargers fell silent for 35-years before the Indy Racing League returned in 2005. As there are a total of six winners in the field - the four mentioned in Group-2 plus Castroneves in ’08 & Dario in ’09...

Race
Ah, the best laid intentions ‘O Men ‘N Mice... SHEISA! As I CANNOT believe it happened to Mwah! ‘Whale actually I can... As it all began sometime Saturday afternoon when I inadvertently HIT duh buttons on my talking clock, unknowingly trigger the annoying Cock-uh Doodle Du-du alarm which conveniently went off at midnight; URGH! Then apparently when resetting the alarm time I ‘buggered the time and thus whilst awaiting the race’s start, sat down and read a few more pages of a book I’m slowly meandering thru... And it’s funny how your gut instinct works, eh? As I got a knawing feeling and decided I better check duh time, as “Tokyo Rose” said it was only 10:31 AM; Huh? Oh FUCK! As I’d magically LOST 4hrs somehow; WTF? As it was really 2:31PM instead as I raced over to thee ‘Telie grousing out loud to myself...

Thus obviously I missed the start of the race, dropping in on lap-39 with Will Power holding a 6.2-second lead over Ryan Briscoe, who seemed leaps ‘N bounds ahead of everyone else, as I caught Power pitting on lap-40 as Bob Jenkins proclaimed it was the halfway point of the race, albeit it went for 85-laps in total.

Thus, mind wanderin’ - and thy talking clock still not properly adjusted, I just sat kinda dumbfounded over this malady - Oh Whale; it’s just a FREAKIN’ motor race, right? And thus I didn’t really pay too much attention to what was going on whilst trying to make a late lunch instead...

Although I did enjoy le Hamburgular’s squirrelyness while trying to hold off Dario for third place; yet Penske’s ‘Oz boyz continued  shredding the field, while Dixon tried doin’ the bump ‘N run on Hunter-Reay, ending up with a skewed nose... (NO TK jokes here; Hya!) Which would ultimately lead to his 13th place finish.

And then there was that NASTY looking accident between Bourdais and Newgarden, who was definitely an innocent victim as SeaBass even admitted later he was at fault since he didn’t get the car turned; BUTT! What a NARLY looking collision with the tyres/retaining wall for the Sarah Fisher driver who thankfully walked away! While Bourdais told ‘R (Robin Miller) that the car had broken into two pieces and the gearbox had hit his shoulder; YIKES!

Then I burst into spontaneous exultation - as the ‘TAGmeister, nee Alex Tagliani did his bestest Mont-royale Doublewide impersonation while applying a liberal dosage of chrome horn appliqué to BULLY-RAY’s chassis... Before RHR duly stalled I-T; HURRAH! Oh, did I mention I’m a huge Will Power fan? And speaking ‘O Willy-boy what happened on the Pitstop when the yellow came out? As a bungled tyre change plus slow traffic under the full course caution gifted the lead to Ryan Briscoe...

And Briscoe would hold off Power a further two restarts while RHR got a drive-thru for running over EJ Viso, which is pretty rich, eh? And thus Power followed Briscoe home - who hadn’t won in two years, since Texas, 2010. Although Franchitti nipped at Power’s heals the whole way home before settlin’ for the third podium spot with Rubino garnering his best finish to date in P4, with Rahal rounding out the top-5.

And I still DON’T understand how Power’s 8.3-second advantage got wiped out, but overall it was a very good day indeed, as he’ll take a 36-point lead over RHR, who wound-up 18th to Baltimore. ‘HULIO, who apparently had brain fade on lap-1 finished sixth and slipped 41-points behind Power, while Dixon was the biggest loser of the day, dropping 54-points adrift of the leader. But I’m very happy for Briscoe - who needed the win and got a nice surprise when some “Trophy-girl” named Nicole greeted him in victory lane... 

Aftermath
Alas, I’ll be away from le Telescreen over the Labour Day weekend - unless I can convince my hosts to dial up the penultimate race in Baltimore, albeit I’m not sure if they get the Versus; Err, Peacock-lite (NBC Sports Network) channel - OOPS! Swore my TV guide originally said it was on duh Diznee Shoppin’ Networks with ‘Doublewide ‘N Somenex in the booth... But now NBCSN teased the race during Sonoma, so we’ll see... On Monday morning my TV guide had the race listed on ABC at 2PM; BUTT! Also listed on NBCSP at 11AM; Hmm? Perhaps ‘somme-thun to do with the switch during the Olympics? Oh Never Mind!

Or more likely I’ll be at the beach instead with The ‘Bitches... So, like George sez; I DON’T wanna jinx ‘DJ-WillyP; BUTT! I’ll take my No. 12 Power T-Shirt with Mwah & model it for my Hosts & Crew... In hopes of bringing him some further No Fenders Feel good Mo-jo en route to his first ICS crown...

GO WILL POWER!  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Work begins on SFHR’s New ‘Digs

These pictures were just sent to Mwah by ‘Offical No Fenders Photographer ‘CARPETS, who notes: Construction of the new state of the art home of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing is officially under way. Not much to look at yet as there is just a few piles of gravel, heavy machinery, and a construction trailer on site...

Pic-1; "Future Home" sign.

Pic-2; machinery.
 (Photos courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

Old Racers resurface with push for Natural Gas...

Surely there’s a sayin’ for OLD Racers Never Die, right? As Gordon Kirby expounds upon the return of U.E. Pat Patrick and Jim McGee, as Patrick Racing has been tapped to lead the charge for Natural Gas liquefaction in the American Le Mans Series LMP Challenge class for next year.


And while I’m all for diversification in motive power technologies - isn’t it funny how nothing about “Fracking” is mentioned in the article; Y’all know when the corresponding drinking water is contaminated by this process of extracting natural gas from underground - as surely Mr. Patrick, who just so happens to have diversified from his Oil business into the realm of natural gas is aware of, right?


And if you’re not convinced about the hazards of Fracking, just ask the residents of Colorado how their drinking water is?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Tomaso Files: Trains, Busses, a C-Eh-mobile, Pirate Band and Bitches...

The Dread Crew of Oddwood-postcard.
Ah, like all good wines that age with time, or is it all good things must come to an end? Your humble No Fenders scribe’s ‘Uber frenetic Holiday Up North Eh! Was extended a further day before coming to a close - and hence the delayment of this riveting (NON) racin’ post; NOT! Having returned home to a veritable HEAT wave here in Seattle last Thursday afternoon...


Since as usual ‘O late, ‘Whale at least during these exceedingly busy summer months - I’m quite behind on whatever is occurring in Der ‘Vurld de Motorsporten; Ja-Ja! Or more likely as mize nnucels gotz in duh waze - more appropertly Ja-Ha! Or YeeHaw! Although I spent several moments doin’ my bestest Gunsmoke impersonation of urgin’ duh buckin’ bronco ‘C-EhMobile on by sayin’ Yaah! Yaah! But I’m getting ahead of myself...

As previously mentioned, the primary purpose of this latest trip Up North Eh! Was to attend the Dead Can Dance concert, which unbeknownst to Mwah, just so happened to be the opening performance of the group’s 2012-13 World Tour; SWEET! (As this is the second opening tour concert performance I’ve seen this year...) Even if they performed ‘Juan Helluva closer the following night at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA... As this concert was simply MAGICAL! As I too, like the first concert reviewer I came upon Zed Internetz said he simply couldn’t put the group’s performance into words... With the group touring for the first time since 2005 in support of their brand new album “Anastasis,”which they played in its entirety, along with other great selections along with multiple encores!

And although sitting up near the rafters of a great concert hall, nevertheless, the sound was absolutely magnificent! At the Orpheum theatre - which made it even more resplendent towards being my debutant concert outing in thy Great white North! (As I’d still like to see my FINAL RUSh performance on their home soil; hopefully the band’s 40th Anniversary tour in 2014?)

Not to mention being most blown away by the opening performer who played solo on various Hang drums - made in Switzerland - which I’d never heard of; Hmm? Wunder if ‘symona-symona (de Silvestro) knows of them? As this unknown dude simply blew us away with his ferocity using various wonderful sounding foreign instruments... Most notably an amazing tambourine drum piece, whilst my favourite was the use of two black objects procured from the Russian-Finland border, to which I found to be a haunting sea melody... As I only wish I’d gotten this guy’s name plus the set list! Since unfortunately ALL of the “Professional” critics seemingly have completely overlooked said performer’s performance; URGH! As Tank Gawd I’m NOT a professional journalist, nor attempting to play ‘Juan upon Zed Internetz; Hya! Since I find this most irresponsible; but I digress...

I suppose part of the wonderlust over “DCD,” aka Dead Can Dance’s music is due to the fact that I’d never heard of them prior to the concert, or heard any of their music besides the few tunes I’d dialed up on youtube prior to the concert and hence, I found their music fiercely haunting, dark, rich, bold and intently powerful, albeit I found the bass section to be overly distorted and out of balance during portions of this first road show.

Yet there was simply something indescribable to the two lead singers voices, as Brendan Perry seemed overly masochistic, brooding and sultry with a deep resonating tone oozing ‘Machismo; while Lisa Gerrard seemed even more powerful and my non-serious comments afterwards of how she invoked images of a Nordic goddess; Err female Viking warrior seemed even more invigorating as I simply marveled at the melodic virtuoso’s during the evening’s performance.

And the music was so hypnotic that I found myself simply staring at the dark abyss above - where the Orpheum’s massive chandelier would be blazing in my sightline if turned on instead of bothering to stare steeply downwards to where the actual stage was... Which I’m guessing would be akin to being upon the 300-level of the Kingdome during a Seahawks game; Err, the upper level of Der ‘Clink (Century Link) 60,000+ Sounders FC International “friendly” sellout match, i.e.; Chelsea, current FA Cup champions and sponsors of some ‘lil F1 team named Sauber...


And its funny how both times I’ve traveled to thee Great White North, its been nothing but BLISTERING hot, as the word sweltering came to mind both times, as I don’t know what 30C equates to; BUTT! It was certainly HOT ‘Nuff for Mwah! As thee “Rhythm Professor’s” (Neil Peart) words from his  Ghost Rider book came to mind about KanaDuh’s climes, albeit I think it was towards Toronto where the great Meesh Beer lives, as Peart mused: Toronto’s got two weather seasons; winter and road construction; Hooah! And speaking ‘O that irrepressible lass ‘Meesh - I’d better not tells her that our C-EhMobile is white, eh? (Which I’m told that the original A-Team’s van was black...)

And the resta duh trip seems somewhat of a blur, albeit everyday was interspersed with taking thee ‘Bitches (Molly & Pixie) for numerous ‘Walkabouts; as we took several treks Out ‘N Aboot at the neighborhood park along with the overly noisy New Brighton grounds...

Friday afternoon was spent once again at the wonderful Queen Elizabeth park before taking one of our party to the train station for her departure before five of us plus duh ‘Bitches filled the C-EhMobile to capacity for a three hour cruise; Err 3-day camping outing at Squamish, at a wonderful 250-acre estate; Err campgrounds adjoining the Squamish River, albeit I spent countless hours hunting for the continously shifting miniscule amounts ‘O shade, as did I mention it was HOT?

Monday was spent with friends - including checking out their newly rented 3-storie Dig’s in Coquitlam (an often stopped at Greyhound bus destination...) after having been told I must stay for the outdoor movie at Lord Stanley’s place, i.e.; Stanly Park Tuesday evening, since it was Monty Python’s Holy Grail on the bill, as its pretty ‘kOOL how they inflate a massive white(?) screen in the park for their (FREE) summer movie series. As the week prior had been the classic Blues Brothers, followed by In Search of the Holy Grail and this Tuesday’s film is Labyrinth - with David Bowie in it...

And although the price of admission is right, albeit not including parking fee - the Pre-amble is overly long-windish with about a half hour to kill during the Red Cross promotional giveaway Mary Ellen noticed a musical group set off to the side across the pedestrian walkway/bike trail and said Let’s check I-T out, of which the group turned out to be:

The Dread Crew of Oddwood - Heavy Mahogany; Har-har-har!
They’re a 7-piece "Pirate-band" from San Diego and the setting was perfect w/English Bay in the background in a darkening sky as nightfall fell upon us... Hey, they can't show the movie until its DARK out, eh? As I think it started @ 9:30PM?

 Although NOT nearly as GURR-REAT!!! As Dead Can Dance, these dudes were quite amusing, enjoyable - especially with their “Pirate” chants and Sea Shanties; sounding pretty good whilst playing outdoors as  live entertainment in the park. As Mary Ellen even said one of them was playing a Mandolin behind his head!

And they were smart by announcing they had free postcards up front - which Mary Ellen dutifully snagged 'Juan 'R-R-R, as otherwise I'd never have known who they were?

Thus I've quickly become a fan of The Dread Crew of Oddwood; who farcically call their music Heavy Mahogany Albeit  I had 'Juan helluva time trying to read their fancy sea scroll pirate script upon the post card I've borrowed; BUTT! You’d better check 'em out or you'll haveda walk the plank Mateys; R-R-R!


And the movie wasn’t exactly free since the after the MC said it’s gonna start in two minutes then proceeded to babble on a further ten telling us about all of the sponsors, where to put our trash & recyclables, and respecting the rules of the park - which is totally SMOKE FREE! Try doin’ that Indianapolis! Or better yet Speedway, Indiana...

And then there was 13-minutes of advertisements with multiple reminders that the movie was being presented by Chevron - reminding us constantly that Chevron puts ‘Somme-thun in its gasoline called Techron; along with a preview for Labyrinth before I finally could hear the sounds of the Monty Python’s Coconut-rider fast approaching - as the movie was GURR-REAT! With that irrepressible British wit!

Then on the following day Mary Ellen & I took the two FURR-rocious ‘Hoonds for a wonderfully long scenic ‘Walkabout along the Burrard Inlet upon the Trans-Canada Trail - which Mary Ellen was quick to point out I shouldn’t Cornfuze with the Trans-Canada Highway; ‘Har-har-har! Although I think she did say we briefly passed underneath it?

And although the trail is quite wonderful and highly used, as it was actually part of Scenic Drive which was originally intended first for Railroad transport and then an actual highway before the local citizens persuaded the local politicians to make it into accessible bike/walking trail instead.

Yet like much of ‘KanaDuh’s waterways, Burrard Inlet along with other major portions of the city are completely hoarded by heavy industry and off  limits to pedestrians - as this trail was no different, as I was informed how there was a massive Chevron Oil tank farm surrounding the adjoining waterway.

Yet right now I’m hugely PISSED OFF at Chevron who just had a massive fire at its San Francisco refinery - which was expected to immediately spike west coast gasoline prices OVER $4 per gallon... Yeah, I know that’s cheap compared with our Great White North compatriots... But the part that PEEVE’s me is that this fire just like our earlier BP fire at Cherry Point, WA was most likely due to lack of maintenance; SHEISA! As its Freakin’ bad enough we give the F$$KING Oil companies at least $18-billion per year in subsidies; BUTT! They cannot even bother maintaining their facilities whilst trying to eak out that ever allusive profit for its corporate board members and shareholders; Oh Never Mind!


And since we hadn’t done enough walking - ‘cause we weren’t wearing boots; Oh Never Mind! For a wonderful evening nightcap we hopped aboard Juan ‘O Vancouver’s countless public busses and rode it all the way across town in order to catch the fast receding sunset at Kitsalano Beach, which was quite enjoyable... Even walked upon the beach briefly near the lapping waves past the small “Canine Friendly” portion of the beach before hiking up the steep steps along the Seawall, traipsing thru some neighborhoods and ending up at the Totem Pole before walking another few “Cliks” (Kilometers) in order to catch our bus home; as Vancouver BC’s public transportation is miles ahead of Seattle’s...

Then up at Oh DARK 30 the following morning in order to catch the 6:40AM Amtrak ‘Cascadia “Express” train back home, as if Y’all ever ride an Amtrak train you’ll know there’s NO such thing as express & typically they run late... As we’d stop for no apparent reason three times - not to mention the conductor’s radio crackle to life “Hold Up - Hold UP!” As somebody was late boarding in Mount Vernon I believe.

Then as I said before, we stopped for a third time because we were running behind schedule and had to make way for our ‘Seester train Northbound, meaning we’d now be a half hour late, which is pretty good by Amtrak standards. Thus having returned from visiting the ‘Loo, I decided I might as well turn-on my ‘Dumb-phone ‘N check for any urgent messages... Thus I just sat there in my seat in the silent coach waiting for an unseen train to pass by laughing my head off over the news left for Mwah about the Penske Boyz pissing escapade in Nantucket, which surely was somebody’s idea of a clever joke, right? As this “Joke” seemed so cleverly crafted I played it again two more times - still chuckling out loud and riding all the way from Stanwood to Everett with a grin upon my wooly mug...


And I ‘LUV listening to uninformed adults pontificating about subjects they known NOTHING about - as the ‘Kuhnadiun woman sitting across from me  told the couple in front of me that perhaps Seattle was trying to entice people to ride the bus by providing FREE downtown service, which the couple obviously from out of town, since they were  transferring to our fairly new Light Rail link in Seattle to go to the Airport chimed back how the FREE service was ending at the end of September, as surely affluent Cruise Ship travelers, etc can afford to pay for  the bus, right? Not to mention the Conductor mentioning how King Street station is still under construction; WTF? This was occurring 5-years ago when I last went to Portland for the Champ Car race; Aye Karumba!

And don’t even get me started on Snohomish counties nightmarish bus castration project that just transpired this February, as not only did I haveda wait 45mins for my bus connection - which only runs once an hour midday BUTT! I had to stand in the scorching sun the whole time because the IDOTS who designed the transit center put the actual bus stop between the two adjoining shelters, approx 25-feet away, which if you’re me and CANNOT see, then you’ve gotta stand at the actual bus stop and hope the BLINKIN’ Driver will actually recognize your white cane and audibly tell you the bus number - which I had to prod 3-or-4 drivers into doing while waiting for my lone bus. (Imagine standing in the RAIN for the same time period, eh?) Yeah, I know, everybody drives a car, owns a “Smartfone” and does their entire E ‘lectronic biz upon I-T! And the wheels on the bus just go round ‘N round!

And that concludes another riveting Tomaso Travel Tail; Thee End!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Danica Show

Otay, so it’s an off weekend racing-wise, i.e.; F1 and Indy Cars - and having just been Up North eh, I decided to watch my GULP! First ‘RASSCAR Doublewide race of the year, especially since the Montreal race is always ‘Juan Helluva a Humdinger...

And I had to watch since ‘TAG, nee Alex Tagliani was on the Pole, with the track’s Sir-name (Jacques Villeneuve) directly behind him - giving Oh ‘KanaDuh! A 1-3 sweep with Sam ‘I AM Hornish Jr. the meat in the Quebecerz sandwich... While Marty “Doublewide” Reid and Ricky Craven frothed all over somebody named Princess starting P4.

And I was surprised to hear the name Patrick Carpentier; Huh? Thought he’d retired last year, but good on “Pat-the-Carpenter” for making a celebratory return in order to run for charity, as Patrick was hoping to claim some prize money for Montreal’s Sainte-Justine Hospital Foundation, appropriately running in the No. 99 Michael Waltrip entry - as the number 99 just so happened to be the late Greg Moore’s car number, along with thee Great ‘Juan, nee Wayne Gretsky’s jersey number...

Ah, it made me simply laugh-out-loud as the ESPN Boothboyz got all Ga-Ga over Danica Patrick moving into the lead, having passed Nationwide sparrin’ pardoner Hornish Jr. for P1. Then holding off her good buddy Jacques on three restarts as Cravens simply gushed over how good a job Danica was doing; she’s not spinning her tyres, missing her  shifts and hitting all of her marks; Yada-yada-yada; YAWN! DAMN! I think she’s really ‘PEAK-ing, eh?

As all I could do was chuckle to myself whilst prancing ‘round my humble abode mockingly chirping Danica’s leading! As it seemed quite refreshing that I haven’t bothered to watch her all year long...

And Patrick would lead for 20-laps before the BIZZARO occurred. As I’ll haveda rightly agree with Marty Reid who started to say fan but changed his mind to correct himself and say IDIOT! As somebody actually threw a shoe out onto the racetrack directly in front of the GoDaddy #7’s path which Danica promptly creamed! (Think she even dropped an ‘F-Bomb over her in-car radio which naturally was being played on TV...) As I cannot say I’ve ever heard of a shoe being tossed onto a racetrack intended for a certain competitor before; Aye Karumba!

Danica’s day then faded fast, as we were subjected to multiple in-car radio transmissions as something was amiss with her car, as pieces of the rear suspension began falling off; first a wedgie, then a U-bolt backed out and ultimately the left axle snapped... But kudos  to the team and Patrick for fixing the problem and going back out on track, albeit Danica would finish several laps down and be involved in a late-race smash ‘em up...

And it was a veritable ‘Kuhnadiun Who’s Who ‘O drivers with the elder Ron Fellows still blistering quick after all of these years, Andrew Ranger, ‘TAG, Carpentier and Villeneuve all making waves in several ways, as Jacques got ‘N repaid the signature ‘PT Chrome Horn treatment to Tagliani, while Fellows & Ranger went thru the Spin-cycle and Carpentier suffered from brake problems due to a rear caliper mechanical woe.

And Villeneuve led an amazing 26+ laps whilst trying to win for the first time upon the Il Notre Dam’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve named after his late father but was in dire need of petrol; trying to stretch his fuel load a remarkable 33-laps, as ‘RASSCAR’s Green-White chequered flag finishes didn’t aid the Montrealan as Villeneuve apparently sputtered on the final lap enabling Justin Algyre to pull off a Bump ‘N Run on the ‘KuhNuck and grab the win for Turner Motorsports - who’d previously seen Nielsen Pickett, aka Nelson Piquet Jr. capture his debutant NASCAR Camping World Trucks race earlier today at Michigan.

As gee Wally, I don’t really think that’s very skillful to employ Racin’ is Rubbin’ in order to knock your competition outta duh way in order to win...