Friday, January 31, 2014

GO HAWKS!



Hopefully the Seattle Seahawks will shortly be hoisting this trophy aloft in the frozen New Jersey tundra! As it was spotted adorning the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis a few years ago.(DOB)
Just getting into the spirit of the 12th Man; Err Fan here... As hopefully this teeny-weeny amount of No Fenders Feel Good Mojo will indeed help our Seattle Seahawks WIN their first Superbowl on Sunday!


So will "Pay-Ton" be throwing "ducks" for INT's or TD's? Will Richard Sherman be flashing the choke sign to Denver or will it be the Hawks? Or will "BEAST MODE," aka Marshawn Lynch  simply run roughshod over Denver with Seattle Fans raining down his beloved Skittles in the Endzone?

Yet Inquiring Minds wanna know the pertinent questione: Will Eli the Ape be correct upon his Superbowl Winners pick once again?


GO HAWKS!

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Flyin’ Hawaiian...



Having originally planned to post this sometime after having suffered the indecency of having to go on Holiday in Kona, Hawaii for 2+ weeks; (the first time) Ahhhhh.... What are the ‘lil people doing, eh? Hya!

Thus having intended to originally post this ‘Wayback in thee fall of twenty-eleven, of which I scribbled ‘bout previously in;


Nevertheless, the story never got written, as Y’all know the drill about thee ever consuming nebulous black hole fondly known as the No Fenders Wormhole Vortex! Which continuously swallows up pending yarns simmerin' in the vast NoFendersville kitchen...

Thus, alas  continuing on with my meandering Hawaii theme I once again scribbled my sundry thoughts after another visit to thee B-I-G island in;


And as I’ve scribled prior to this latest trip which was a welcome surprise from Santa Claus, I've once again managed to commandeer another visit  to Kona to escape the never ending theme of gray dreary and dark skies ‘O Seattle; but I digress...

Since I can only think of ‘Juan lone Hawaiian Piloto to ever contest the Indy 500 - which is even less than the number of African Americans to race at the hallowed grounds ‘O Mother Speedway... While I’m guessin’ Y’all can think of his name? I feel somewhat embarrassed that I’d forgotten he’d raced in Formula 1; Aye Karumba!

As it would be after I'd briefly started this yarn (the first time) that I learned of another reputed Hawaiian-born IndyCar driver by the name of Bill Allsup, who ironically I obtained his "John Hancock" at the 2012 Legend's Day autograph session at Mother Speedway, aka Indianapolis. As very little seems to be known about Allsup's background - other than his WICKEDpedia' page...


Although I've now just stumbled upon another website proclaiming that there's actually a total of five Hawaiian racing drivers, with four being from Honolulu: Bill Allsup, Kelly Hu, (not the model) Brice Miller and Les Vallarano, while the fifth, "Who's not like the Others" is from Kahului

.

And since our story is about that driver from Kahului

, Hawaii named Danny Ongais, then let's get to the story, shall we?

As Ongais was born on May 21, 1942 and has made the most Indy 500 starts of any Hawaiian native contesting The Greatest  Spectale in Motor Racing, as Bill Allsup, his senior by four years only successfully ran the 1981 Indy 500, while Ongais raced at the Brickyard eleven-times: 1977-86, and unexpectedly in1996, as Danny scored four Top-10 finishes, one ninth, two seventh’s and a best finish of fourth place during his eleven outings at the Brickyard.

Ongais’s name is also synonymous with Interscope Racing, which was funded and owned by the financially secure "Media Mogul" Ted” Field, heir to the Field family fortune - his father having owned the Chicago sun times and now reported to amass a fortune of $1.2-billion, but we’re jumping ahead of the story...

As the young Ongais began motorcycle racing at the tender age of fourteen, before enlisting in the Armed Forces and serving as a Paratrooper in Europe, and then being discharged and returning to his hunger for racing.

Ongais would win the 1960 Hawaiian Motorcycle Championship before shifting gears into drag racing, where after beginning as a mechanic he’d become champion several times over, his last title being won in 'Funnycar's  in 1969 reportedly, although Ongais would continue his affinity for "laughing gas" powered 'Straightliners into the '70's.

Reputedly Danny beat somebody by the name of Mickey Thompson - dually being hired to drive for him and amongst other things, Ongais was the pilot of Thompson's trio of nasty '69 Mach 1 Ford Mustangs  which set numerous speed records upon the Bonneville Salt Flats.

And what seems a reoccurring theme in Ongais's travels thru motorsports, by doing things his own way, Danny took up road racing at the remarkably late age of 32 where He promptly won 12-of-15 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) races in the National and Regional series.

Thus Ongais's driving prowess in the SCCA garnered the attention of Ted Field who apparently was searching for a driver for his newly created F5000 Interscope Racing team, and the rest as they say is history...

Danny began his single seater racing career spending two seasons contesting Formula 5000 before Field, who was eager to move up the ladder progressed into the realm of USAC "IndyCar" racing, and more specifically the crown jewel, the Indianapolis 500. As Ongais ironically earned his rookie "stripes" at Mother Speedway in 1977, which ultimately saw 'Ol 'SuperTex, aka A.J. foyt make history with his fourth Indy 500 win.

Ongais won the Michigan 200 later in '77, his debutant 'B-I-G CARZ victory and then scored the first of his three poles that year  at the following race at Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas before Field, who apparently still hadn't satisfied his motor racing itch decided to add Formula 1 to his and Ongais's resumes respectively

Field then purchased Danny two rides aboard ATS's ex-Penske F1 chassis, who'd decided not to go to the United States that season, as ATS team owner Hans Gunther Schmid whose Formula 1 teams I scribble 'bout briefly in; German Jalopies had purchased Roger Penske's stock after pulling out of Formula 1 at the end of 1976; with Field entering the Hawaiian in that year's final two North American rounds beginning with the United States Grand Prix-East at Watkins Glen aboard the re-liveried No. 14 Interscope Racing mount, the non-Works Penske PC4-Cosworth in which Ongais retired upon an accident on lap-6.

Yet in the following outing for Interscope at the Canadian GP at Mosport, Ongais would finish just one position outside of the points in seventh-place, which ultimately would be his career best F1 finish.

And although Ongais's Formula 1 career never saw fruition, 1978 arguably was his best year in single seater's as the Flyin' Hawaiian stormed to eight poles and five wins in his sophomore USAC Champ Car season - even leading the Indy 500 before retiring.

Yet I can only ARSE-sume that his Go-for-Broke Hard Chargin' "Checkers or Wreckers" driving attitude was instrumental in his surely disappointing eighth place finish in the overall championship standings, since Danny scored the most poles and wins vs. championship winner Tom "The Gasman" Sneva who laid a Goose-egg for wins en route to his second consecutive title for Penske Racing before being fired...

Danny switched to the Ensign  F1 Team for the first two races of the 1978 season with lackluster results, retiring with distributor rotor and brake dis failures before Messer Field bought a third Shadow chassis for Ongais to pilot at the USGP-West in Long Beach, CA where Danny failed to pre-qualify for the event. One final attempt was made at that year's Dutch GP aboard his Shadow which once again he failed to pre-qualify - subsequently electing to focus upon his USAC career instead, where he'd score five victories with his F1 career coming to a close.

Arguably Ongais's major race achievement was winning the 24 hours of Daytona in 1979 with some chap named Hurley Haywood and boss Ted Field at the controls of a Porsche 935, as Danny reportedly claimed many Sports Car victories in Porsches, along with contesting the 24 Heurs du Mans also with boss Ted Field in the cockpit.

While Fields & Ongais hold a dubious side note in Open Wheel Racing history with Interscope Racing having planned to race the 1980 Indy 500 in a Roman Slobodinskij penned chassis powered by a Porsche V-6 turbo variant of the 935 Panzerwagon. Yet with many fearing Porsche's potential dominance and USAC reeling from the creation of the rival Championship auto Racing Teams series, USAC rendered the engine obsolete by cutting its boost pressure a la the turbines and Porsche tersely pulled the plug  upon its Speedway plans, while IMSA was quite content to see the little motor blossom into the powerplant of the almighty 956 & 962's.

And if you're thinking the name Slobodinskij sounds vaguely familiar? That's because he was the chief designer of those AWESOME 1970's A-L-L conquering AAR Eagles which "Gordy" Johncock and "Uncle Bobby" (Unser) drove to victory at the Speedway in 1973, 1975 respectively when the "Wedge" shape was in!

Yet as we all know, Danny's IndyCar career came tumbling down in 1987 after he'd finally secured a ride for The Captain  (Roger Penske) in that year's Indy 500 before crashing during practice and being ruled out of the race due to a concussion, with somebody named 'BIG AL (Unser Sr.) getting the ride instead aboard a year-old showcar chassis that he took to an improbable fourth victory at Mother Speedway.

Yet Ongais wasn't quite finished with the Brickyard just yet, as he'd be pressed into service by John Menard after the tragic death of 1996 pole-sitter Scott Brayton. Having to start dead last as Brayton's replacement, Ongais at the age of 54 did little to embarrass himself by wheeling the Lola/Menard V6 to a respectable seventh place finish, (3-laps down) while reputedly his last major racing start came at the tender age of 60 in a Grand Am Sports Car race...

Yet another of Ongais's nicknames seems most appropriate for him, having also been anointed the moniker of the "Silent Hawaiian," which is totally apropos, as karmically I'd witness this key feature of Danny's in the flesh 'Wayback in Twenty-oh-Seven where we stumbled into Senior Citizen Mr. Ongais (age 65) inside the Flagroom Bar & Grill, which I scribbled 'bout in;


As "OnGas" was trying to quietly eat his lunch in relative obscurity before Indiana Bureau Chief Daniel Baines Cooper asked me if I wanted to meet him? As he sat across from our table, and although polite to us, as all I recall is him saying he'd never ride in a two-seater! He was very Kurt and naturally said few words as D.B. Cooper soon dropped his attempt to interact with Messer Ongais!

As perhaps this obscure '87 Chicago Tribune article I found upon the A-L-L Knowing Intrawoodz' sums up Ongais's public persona best?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

ROLEX 24: Changes Abound for 2014 running of Daytona endurance classic




The new Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost car. Photo by: Trevor Horn. (Image source: motorsport.com)
Otay, so it'll be the price I pay for Santa Claus giving me another trip to Hawaii, as this will be the first Rolex 24 I've missed watching/listening via thee Telescreen in several years now - Y'all sheddin' Crocodile tears for your humble No Fenders scribe already? Tiny bubbles... Hooah! (Although the NASTY ARSE FLU I had for the entire week before leaving made up for my kneading to get away to Kona) But I digress...

And with the long overdue merger, I mean its really a merger, not a takeover by the France family, right? Thus the High-tech American Le Mans Series and its "Racin' is rubbin' 'RASSCAR" Grand Am Sports Car series have unified into the wait for I-T; tuh-Duh! The Tutor United Sports Car Championship... Oh Vanna, I'd like to buy a vowell, please?

This mergification will see a most interesting morphing of the two series multiple classes with the advent of four major classes known so far split evenly between Prototypes and GT racers, with the four classes being: P, PC, GTLM and GTD.


as effectively the speediest LMP1 cars are gone; Hey! Y'all really didn't think the majority of Grand Am's Taxicab rank 'N file were gonna dispose of their Daytona Prototypes (DP) did Yuhs? Although the DP's will be combined with the ALMS's LMP2 category - which should cause nothin' but confusion, eh? As the Delta-wing chassis is also allowed entrance in this category, with obviously the overall winner of the race coming from the new top P-class's 17-entries...

The PC class is all Squeaky-clean like it's acronym, i.e.; "Politically Correct;" Err PC which is a straight carryover from the ALMS Prototype Challenge category, as IMSA, the sanctioning body for the new Sports Car league has upped the anty by confirming 12-entries for the class, as all PC entrants will compete in spec Oreca chassis propelled by Chevrolet motors and running on Continental tyres...

As typical the round-the-clock races most entries should come from the "Production-based" Grand Touring cars, which GT stands for, with there being two separate divisions of, which I have NO idea if they'll look similar to each other?

The GTLM class has 12 confirmed entries for its GT Le Mans spec racers while the GTD stands for Grand Touring Daytona which is an amalgamation of the previous GT classes - featuring the most entries with 28...

THE BIG BOYZ... (P Class)

Not only will the primary Chip Ganassi Prototype entry for multi-time champion Scott 'Scooter Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas be radically different this year as the 'Cheepster has dumped his BMW lumps' in favour of Ford's new Eco-boost "blown" V-6 turbo motors - to which Papa Bear Tomaso correctly pointed out over Turkey-Lurkey (Thanksgiving) dinner there's NO such thing as "Economy" in motor racing...


But also missing from the Ganassi fold will be two familiar faces, as Dario "REO Speedwagon" Franchitti has forlornly announced his retirement due to medical advice while (Juan Pablo) 'MAC Montoya has jumped ship to take up refuse in Indy Cars for "The Captain's" (Roger Penske) rival Powerhouse racing team. as wouldn't it be kOOL if Roger entered a DP for 'HULIO, (Castroneves) 'DJ WillyP (Will Power) and 'MAC - but DON'T hold your breath too long as Y'all might turn blue...

Thus I'm thinking that an all IndyCar lineup could fill Ganassi's second part-time entry, featuring 'TK Follow-your-Schnoz Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe, although NO report if Toni's nose will fit behind the windshield? Hooah! While perhaps  Daytona 500 & Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurry and upcoming superstar Kyle Larson will co-drive with Pruett & Rojas? Or some combination of both will fill-in the two cars driving rosters.

Otay, my guessing Pre-Roar Before testing on thee 'Cheepster's two car driver's line-up was pretty close, as the #01 will feature Pruett, Rojas, McMurray and reigning Indy Lights champion Sage Karam. The #02 will have Dixon, Kanaan, Larson and Dario's 'lil bro Marino Franchitti at its keyboard this year...

Also discovered early this year that le 'Hamburgular, nee 'SeaBass, aka Sebastain Bourdais will be co-driving the  No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa.

And look for "Thy Leggy Juan," aka Katherine Legge to be behind the wheel of the lone Delta Wing chassis, co-driving with her regular partner Andy Meyrick and just announced American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi, who's apparently gotten permission from Caterham...


And unfortunately past Daytona 24hrs winners MSR (Michael shank Racing) have apparently consolidated into a single car entry this season with longtime team drivers '(Oswaldo)
Ozz Negri and John Pew behind the keyboard of their very potent P-Class Riley-Ford prototype, as the team's blown No. 14 "Feurd" Eco-boost lump chassis with Colin Braun as its chauffer set two FIA speed records last October upon having gone 210mph at Daytona International Speedway! Breaking the previous records set in 1979...


LATE TO THE PARTY (PC)
I'm a little surprised that Greg Pickett has chosen the Prototype challenge class as his vehicle 'O choice for this year's foray into Sports Car racing. And it appears that all of his dicking around , "will he, won't he?" Race in Sports Cars sees his vaunted Muscle Milk team slated as the classes first alternate which hence, I believe means he won't necessarily be racing this  year? As off the bat you'd have to say that the Level 5 Motorsports entry seems to be  the classes top Banana.

Meanwhile just noticed that Mercedes F1 "simulator Jockey" and 2013 GP2 championship runner-up Sam Bird has signed a deal to contest the Daytona 24hrs, Sebring 12hrs and Petit Le Mans for the Starworks team, so this could be a potential winner to watch for...

NOTE
On Jan 3, 2014 it was announced that Muscle Milk Pickett Racing had joined forces with Nissan to become a NISMO Global partner and will race its (LMP2-spec) Oreca prototype powered by a Nissan engine with last year SFHR IndyCar rookie driver LucasLuhr and Klaus Graf with Alex Brundle; Yeah, son of 1988 Rolex 24 and former F1 driver & Michael Schumacher team-mate Martin "billybob" Brundle joining the Muscle Milk regulars at Daytona...


BIG BOYZ GT CLASS (GTLM)
Reportedly there will be a dozen competitors in the GTLM class with the likes of Aston's, Corvette's, Ferrari's, Porsche's and SRT-Viper's mixing it up in the B-I-G BOYZ GT ranks on the high banks 'O 'DayToner. And while I'd like to see the lone Risi Competizone 458 Italia win, I'm also pullin' for one of those nasty ARSE Dodge Viper's to pull off the upset for GTLM class honours, although you probably should never bet against the almighty Porsche 911 Panzerwagon, thee undisputed heavyweight stalwart of round-the-clock racing, Ja Volt!

Yet if you're an IndyCar fan, then you'll definitely wanna be rootin' for the #91 Dodge Viper which has just added 2012 Indy Car Series champion RHR (Ryan Hunter-reay) to its driver line-up for the Rolex 24... And now I'm in a quandary over who to root for in this class, having just learned that Ryan Briscoe will be partnering 'MAGS, aka Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette...

TEAM SEATTLE (GTD)
Was somewhat surprised to see that Team Seattle has jumped ship to AJR, nee Alex Job Racing while Dempsey Racing has two entries in the class. Then again though, AJR is known for its championship winning preparation, so look for the No. 23 to kick Tail in this year's Rolex 24!

Meanwhile local luxury car dealer Park Place Ltd of Bellevue, WA will once again return with a pair of the Uber successful Porsche 911 GT3 racecar's in the GTD category with cars No. 71 & 73. The #71 will be shared by championship winner Craig Stanton  and co-driver Dr. Jim Norman while the #73 car features Patrick Lindsey and French co-driver Kévin Estre.



PRE-RACE PREDICTIONS

So now that I've previously posted my very quick "Roar Before the Rolex" post, NO real big surprise that the Corvette DP's, (P-class) Porsche's and Corvette Stingrays (GTLM-class_ were running up front. Yet being a sucker for Fords and the "little guys," I'll obviously be pulling for the#60 MSR entry with Negri, Pew, A.J. "#BIG SHOT" Allmendinger and Justin 'B-I-G UNIT Wilson at the controls. Not to mention the unlikely winning LMP2; Err No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM)  HPD ARX-03b Honda P-Car entry featuring "Symone Pagenoe," (Simon Pagenaud) Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown, who just so happens to be the CEO of Tequila Patrón (Spirits) and co-owner of ESM along with Scott Sharp who'll be racing in the team's lead car #1 entry alongside Ryan "Razzle Dazzle" Dalziel  and David Brabham...


As for the GT classes, naturally I've gotta pull for my local Boyz, the two car Park Place entry, albeit I really can't say I've ever heard of any of the drivers of either the #71 or #73 entries.

Also have  to root for the number 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche since its flying the colours of Team Seattle this year, which Y'all can read more 'bout in;


Or check out this fantastic local charity which pioneered the cash for laps completed donation scheme which has raised $5.5-million for the outstanding work done by Seattle's Children's Hospital at;



While I'm also a sucker for the drivers behind the wheel's of 'Meesh's favourite team owner "Booby Ruble's" (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) BMW Z4GTE's - with a handful of BAD ARSE 'Twisty Boyz houndin' the competition with the likes of: Dirk Müller, Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, John Edwards - thee racer, not the politician; Hooah! And late to thee party Bobby's son "Grahamcracker," aka Graham Rahal. As I'll just have to await the results upon my return from the B-I-G island...




MULTI-MEDIA
Although didn't have time to confirm it this year, I'm ARSE-sumin' that thee boys of Grab Bag Sports will be hosting their yearly Daytona 24hrs Blogathon. So if you're looking for some crazy interaction, and may be some THU-RILLIN' movie like last year's to watch along with, then run on over to Grab Bag Sports pronto to see if they're indeed hosting their yearly Blogathon...


Also know that the race will be shown on the Fox Sports-1 "terrestrial" television channel, which Y'all will need to check your local listings for broadcast times, etc.

As let thy engines roar!