Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome Back IndyCar! Glacial Off-season begins Spring Thaw

Ah, the tranquility of it all, when flowers begin sprouting, birds begins singing and the idling of muted turbocharged ‘lumps fill the air... Thus I must say it was somewhat Karmic that upon the very first day of official 2013 Indy Car Series practice in the sunshine state, a scant two days after Spring Equinox had arrived, it decided to snow here in parts of Seattle, which is atypically late...

And as I’ve become painfully aware of, we’re all supposed to be just watching the multiple rainbows, chocolate Bunnies and Sprinkles... Mmm-mm; BUTT! I found several things slightly infuriating - bordering on buffoonery during the season opening weekend, as somehow I completely missed the uproar over Indy Cars ineptitude by claiming its poster-boy Dan Wheldon the inaugural winner of the St Pete race... Which Mike “Yippee-Aye-Eh!” King thru water upon the mud by proclaiming during Friday’s first practice that le ‘Hamburgular, nee Sebastain Bourdais had won, really?

Thus I first learned of his mistake (first of many) when reading Oil Pressure’s latest rant, where Ye OLDEST IndyCar blogger Geo. Phillips correctly identified thy irrepressible ‘PT, aka Paul Tracy as the REAL 2003 race winner, along with noting the mini-firestorm this slight had supposedly created upon Twitter; as I did find it somewhat funny to hear Messer King correct himself during the day’s second practice session, albeit not naming the correct winner, ‘cause, oh, I dunno? Paul Tracy’s too derisive of a character who potentially won the 2002 Indy 500 for a rival CART Team, eh?

Then there was Jake “The Riddler” Query blathering on ‘bout how Keith wiggins and “Symona-Symona” (Simona de Silvestro) surely must have been pinching themselves - clever Jake, I get I-T, since it occurred upon St Patties Day - over the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen winning Down Under vs. the abysmal season they’d just endured with thee ‘Luddi lumps; Err Lotus engines...

Uhm, Earth to Query, you are so DAMN far off the mark that I cannot let it slide past me, as any normal F1 aficionado will readily be able to tell Y’all how the Lotus F1 Team is simply a naming rights exercise only, after a stupendous battle between two separate Formula 1 Constructors not only battled over the naming rights, but ran as two separate Lotus named teams during the 2011 Grand Prix season before Tony Fernandes wisely said GO F%%K YOURSELF! Group Lotus, bought the Caterham car concern instead and has since moved on under the guise of Caterham F1, while the current Lotus F1 team is simply the bought out Renault F1 team based at Enstone under new management instead! Not to mention that the “Lotus” IndyCar engines were built wholly by Engine Partners Ltd, a John Judd entity...

And then there’s the incestuous nature of the Hulman-George family, as doesn’t it seem a tad bit strange that it was conveniently announced Friday - Y’all know the day for burying news that ‘Mummy Dearest’s Tony George has been re-elected to Hulman & Co’s Board of Directors; WTF? What is that all about? We ‘LUV’s Yuh Tony, your FIRED; Err we want you back; Yada-yada-yada...

Then there was Mark Miles on Don Kay’s ‘lil Autosport Radio show claiming how IndyCar is the Fastest racing on the planet, as I understand his attempt at creating a new marketing tag line in order to cause some sort of brand awareness, but once again this is simply hyperbole.

As Y’all can skin a Cat several ways I’m told, and while Miles is perhaps technically correct, if you just compare the pole speed at Indianapolis vs. a typical Formula 1 race’s ‘Qualie times you’d definitely claim the Indy Cars are fastest. But anyone savvy enough to dig a little deeper would first have to acknowledge that IndyCar granted an increased boost setting last year in order to pump up the qualifying speeds and that its still not an straight “Apples-to-Apples” comparison - as I don’t believe a modern day F1 racecar has ever been run in anger upon Mother Speedway’s Oval track! As I’d gladly wager that the Dallara DW12’s would simply be blown away in a head-to-head match race upon IMS’s road course.

And I know somewhere in the confines of the No Fenders story vault or blog archives is the tidbit about how I once compared the Champ Cars racing on il Notre Dam’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve against the F1 circus, and guess who blew the likes of Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson and his compatriots into the weeds. Yep, that’s right; the Formula 1 cars were several seconds faster!

And that’s before we even get to any racing; YIKES! As I found the Friday practices to be fairly mundane, albeit it was refreshing to have “Symona-Symona” wind up P3 at day’s end, behind last year’s title rivals ‘DJ WillyP (Will Power) who was fastest with RHR nipping at his heels, while I personally found it funny that James Jakes was quicker than thee exalted ‘Graminator, aka Graham Rahal... And really Dale Coyne? You’ve finally announced your 2013 line-up two hours after the season’s first practice session is over; Huh?

Thus, somewhat eagerly awaiting the season’s first qualifying session; once again the buffoonery of IndyCar reared its ugly head... As Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot indeed! As I still cannot understand why a year later my Internet Explorer browser still automatically defaults to the mobile webpage, hence forcing me to utilize Mozilla/Firefox instead. Thus imagine my disgust when the audio would NOT engage at 11AM Pacific Saturday via the live timing & scoring page... As I refreshed the page ‘bout 19-times; get I-T? (Justin Wilson’s car number...) Then I even hard booted the page - yet NOTHING; SHEISA! Then for humour I tried logging onto the new indycaradio(dot)com page and finally got a very poor Mike King’s voice telling me there was four minutes left in Session-1 whilst the page stopped ‘N started multiple times like it was being overrun by the live timing updates? C’mon IndyCar - let’s get your SHIT together...

Thus I was surprised to hear that Messer Wilson finished P7 in Session-1 and uncharacteristically didn’t advance to Round-2 and hence would start 13th instead, albeit  Wilson was further ahead of other noted rivals, i.e.; ‘SeaBass, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon just to name a few - as I’m slightly mystified over what happened to “Symone Pagenoe?”

And is it just Mwah, or did the breaks between sessions seem overly long? As I don’t recall how it all played out, other than Oriel Servia impressed me, while the only time of the day I got excited was when having four fingers crossed on both hands and scraggily shouting GO VAUTIER! Fighting a sore throat I was wishing for the lone rookie Tristan Vautier to advance over the likes of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti, with the Frenchman making the Fast-Six Shootout upon his debutant ‘BIG CARZ debut!

And I can’t say I was overly excited by Will Power securing his fourth consecutive Pole at St. Pete, as its almost expected of him every time we venture onto the ‘Twisties, eh? Since I’m not gonna wear my heart upon my sleeve during the opening round - as I won’t be happy until Power actually gets the monkey off his back and becomes series champion...

Thus I settled into my “Captain’s” chair Sunday to watch/listen to the opening NBCSN IndyCar broadcast, although I’m not overly happy ‘bout Jon Beekhuis’s switch onto Pitlane in order to have a younger looking Townsend Bell in the booth, but was happy to hear Brian Tills voice again.

And what was the ‘Dealio with all of thee Lucas ‘lectrics, eh? As I believe that one-sixth of the grid were effected with some sort of these maladies, with Joseph Newgarden and Oriel Servia having clutch problems related to electronic gremlins, while Ryan Hunter-Reay had a throttle stick wide open and Graham Rahal had to endure his engineer telling him to just hang in there for some unspecified electronic malady...

As it seemed like a pretty boring race was starting to shape up with Will Power on point building up a nine second lead, before things started going pear shaped... As I must confess I clapped when Dario hit the tire wall when overpowering his cold ‘Flinstone rubber. And then Castroneves threw down upon Power and took over the lead...

Dumbfounded and speechless, all I could do was  hit my head with both fists in disbelief over how J.R. Hildebrand, who I was gonna originally call him Blunderhead, had just pulled a ‘COOGAN! As he’s been known to be called Captain America, while I was laughing and a smirk came over me I’ve decided J.R.’s new moniker for the time being will be Cap’t Coogan; Hya!

While I can truly say I didn’t get excited about the race anymore ‘til ‘Hinch passed ‘HULIO for the lead - when I started crossing my fingers & chanting GO ‘HINCH! While also enjoying the fight between “Symona-Symona” and ‘Marcky-Marc, a.k.a. Marco Andretti for the podiums final step, which de Silvestro made a gallant effort to keep with her shot tyres before Marco helped her get along ‘lil Doggy, brushing her aside and finishing third.

And I was left wondering so just what did Schmidt-Hamilton-Peterson-Motorsports; did I use up A-L-L of the alphabet yet? Do with their Honda ‘lumps exhaust plumbing in order to suffer not one, but two cracked exhausts which caused Vautier’s most excellante debut weekend to go ah rye, while Pagenaud was probably happy it was just over... Although in fairness to them, Scott Dixon claimed he’d broken his wastegate in the latter stages of the race which kept him from fighting for the podium, albeit his fifth place finish was excellent after his untypical twentieth starting position. So just a guess upon my part, could the Honda teams be tweaking ancillaries a ‘Wee bit too much in order to try pulling back some of the perceived horsepower deficit?

And although Power finished a dismal 16th, at least the ‘Aussie finished two places ahead of Hunter-Reay - while Dario had a Goose-egg! Now if we could just get Helio to have some brain fade, eh? While they’d all better watch out for Dixon, especially when the Honda’s get back on song...

Otay, after almost six hours of television, I’m exhausted! And after the BIZARO Malaysian GP, which Bob Varsha perfectly quipped “Throw-in the Carnival music...” I need a break...

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