Monday, January 19, 2015

No Fenders 2014 Golden Tailpipe Awards: Volume 3 - Chequered flag!



Otay, so much for being short 'N sweet, eh? As here we are Folks, on the third truncated portion of  my ever expanding annual year's end Golden Tailpipe Awards...

Story of the Year
While the stories of Uncle Bernaughty's cheque writing, Tony Stewart's unfortunate collision with Kevin Ward Jr. 'Duh Chase, Mother Speedway, Funding Gate, Steve Kinser's retirement; PSYCHE! Just Kidding... And countless others come to mind.

The Good, Bad and Ugly...
Sadly, for Mwah, the worst story of the year unfortunately is the horrific mishap Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi endured at Suzuka this past October. As fortunately the 25yr old Frenchman has been flown home to continue recovery in Nice, but probably has a long, difficult road to recovery, which former F1 medical delegate Gary Hartstein summed up in;


As obviously, Jules hit was far worse than 'DER TERMINATOR's, aka Michael Schumacher, as another injured  F1 driver's prognosis doesn't sound encouraging for either...


The Bad story of the year  for Mwah, excluding the  aforementioned Uncle Bernaughty Bribery Sham, IndyCar's scheduling stupidity, etc, was the travesty I'm dubbing "Caterham Kroc-gate!" As it all was a  Crockpot full 'O nasty surprises, as I'm not sure who laid the biggest TURD! Tony Fernandes, Mystery Oasis Financiers, FIA or the Administrator? As the whole execution of this once prosperous F1 Team was most disheartening, to say the least...

And turning these frowns "Upside Down," the "Bestest" story of the year  for Mwah was "Girl Power!" As Erica Enders-Stevens became only the third woman in NHRA history to win a championship en route to becoming the first ever female to win the Pro Stock title, while the soon to be Courtney Force-Rahal scored her fourth "Wally" en route to winning the 100th race for female NHRA competitors at Topeka, Kansas. Courtney then became the sport's winningest female Funnycar driver upon winning at Sonoma, eclipsing her sister Ashley Force Hood's record of four victories. And for good measure, Courtney tacked on another two "W's" with further wins in Texas and St Louis...


Post-race Banquet
As already noted, when the green flag was dropped some 72 FREAKIN' hours ago... These very NON-Scientific selections may or may not have been fueled by the "Pump-grade" high octane induced Eggnog; Hya! As there is still Eggnog for sale, right? While my various Award categories shouldn't be too shocking, eh? Although I've sprinkled in a few of my own sundry categories...

Driver of the Year
Otay, might as well get the obvious outta duh way, eh? As I'll stick to the Mainstream picks here instead of my sentimental favourites, although I did enjoy Curty Cavin's "Indiana Top-10" choices...


F1: Lewis Hamilton
Although for selfish reasons, I wanted Nico Rosberg to win the title... Yet I'm quite certain I would have been in a pickle with this, as Lewis Hamilton was indeed the deserving and worthy champion, as it'd have  been a travesty if Lewis's superior 10-wins, Pre-Abu Dhabi had lost out to Rosberg (5-wins) via what I've told people to be "Trickery!" Not upon Nico's fault but thy BASTARDATION of Double Points; YIKES!

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW INDYCAR?

Yet, that being said, I have to say that I felt Hamilton already had  I-T in the bag pre "Abu Double," as it was just something in the way he was carrying himself; Swagger? which for the most part he did much better this year, albeit I still recall moments of snottiness...

Yet, Lewis drove superbly all season long, and  was "Master of his Domain," with two runs of multiple race wins in-a-row and deservedly is now a double world champion, not to mention having bypassed somebody named Nige' for most successful British driver ever...

IndyCar: Will Power
Having become a huge fan "O DJ WillyP's (Will Power) 'Wayback in 'Twenty-oh-Nine after a very brief, but most enjoyable One-on-One "Meet 'N Greet" at Mother Speedway's Hall of Fame museum, with the 'Aussie straggling 'round solo, I've rooted massively for Power to win the championship; hence naturally being gutted over his past failures! And having endured many bouts of choking sounds from others...

and like Pressdog said recently, good for Will, as we won't have to  worry 'bout him slitting his wrists by doing a "Jim Kelly," nee Buffalo Bills ZERO "N Four Super Bowl losses rendition; Hya! As it's been a treat to watch Power finally master the Ovals to add to his already 'Mega 'Twisty prowess, not to mention getting to heap more pressure on him by telling him to BEAT 'HULIO at Sonoma..

Then watch him persevere by making lemonade out of the lemon he looked set to score by spinning while leading the race, by coming home P10 instead, ahead of Castroneves. So Congrats Will, you've finally done I-T and deserve to be the 2014 Indy Car Series champion!

Car of the Year
Uh Duh!

Can Y'all say Mercedes W05-Hybrid! As it's amazing that somebody's actually bested genius Adrian Newey and his all conquering Red Bull chassis. Hey Red Bull does give you flexible wings; Hya!

As it doesn't hurt that the Mercedes PU (Power Unit) is the strongest, nee most powerful on the grid! Add in two superb championship calibre drivers and this is the chassis to beat...

Biggest Cock-ups of the Year
Just what I can remember, as its A-L-L a 'Wee bit foggy now, with items in NO particular order...

Formula 1)
Schumacher Skiing accident, Bernie Gate, FIA's Impotence, Noise Gate, Alonso Sweepstakes, Caterham Kroc-pot, Marussia Meltdown, Bianchi accident and Minnow Gate.

What can I really say? The nebulous shadow of Uncle Bernaughty's cheque writing to get off "Scott-free" from Bribery charges, while a reported suspect hangs himself in prison for trying to profit from M. Schumacher's medical records. Jean Todt's preposterous statement that the FIA is powerless vs. F1 Fraternity... The pathetic transfer of ownership of Caterham after Tony Fernandes got tired of his new  toy! And Bernie the Benevolant's 180-degree U-turn after proclaiming NO Begging Bowls here, in regards to the unfair distribution of the F1 prize fund. As isn't it funny how quickly Mr. E went into full damage control after Force India, Lotus and Sauber correctly hinted at the F1's Cartel with the EU now wishing to take a closer look, eh?

IndyCar)
Toronto Rain-fest  - Day 1, I500 Qualifying broadcast, I500 Qualifying format, Schedule and continuation of Double Points...

And whilst the racing for the most part was very good On-track, it seems to Mwah's jaundiced eye, that IndyCar's still got problems. As I don't fault Mother Nature for the Toronto rainfest, instead just  somewhat bemused over IndyCar's indecision on when to cancel the day's proceedings.

As for the Indy 500, the race was excellent as always, just simply cannot stomach the new muddier qualifying format, points system or the abomination of the 2hr "riveting" INFOMERCIAL Top-9 Pole Shootout - which after more than an hour's blather I simply said FUCK I-T! And switched off thy Telie. And that's before we even get to the dastardly contrived manipulation of Double Points, specifically the season finale!

Most Improved Team of the Year
F1: 'Team Willy (Williams Martini Racing)
Suppose this should be obvious, right? After all, the storied Grove based squad made a massive recovery from its previous season's dismal ninth place finish upon scoring an ultra embarrassing 5-points! As obviously the switch to Mercedes power was certainly one of the catalysts in this change 'O fortunes. Yet let's not overlook the shoring up of the Technical Dept with Pat Symonds and Rob Smedley to name just a few, along with the inspired driving of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, and it's easy to see why they finished ahead of la Scuderia in this year's Constructor's championship!

IndyCar: Ed Carpenter Racing
Funny how I couldn't think of anybody originally, and then it hit me like a lightning bolt; EUREKA! As how could it not be ECR, after 'FAST EDDIE's shrewd move to check his ego and hire Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway for the Twisty portion of the calendar. And team boss Ed Carpenter showed that none of his Oval skills were lacking by claiming his second consecutive Pole at Mother Speedway; with Carpenter winning at Texas and Conway taking wins at Long Beach and Toronto, (Race-2) it was a marked improvement over the previous incarnations of "Fuzzy Wuzzy" racing...

Most Disappointing Teams
Couldn't decide upon just one team this season...

F1: Ferrari, Sauber
My initial choice was Sauber, who after all had an ultimately dismal season this year, as I'm thinking it's their first time ever to not score a single championship point in a season? As I'm NOT cutting the Himwal Gang any slack, especially since their lower Ferrari powered "Brethren" Marussia finished ahead of them with 2-points; but! Surely the Ferrari's PU (Power Unit) lack 'O grunt didn't help either.

And normally, I'd surmise that finishing fourth overall in the vaunted F1 Constructor's "Derby" wouldn't be seen as bad, but alas, this is thy mighty Scuderia Ferrari we're talking 'bout here, as arguably this was their worst season in x years!

As I doubt we'll ever know truly the deficiencies of the Ferrari PU, since Red Bull's Chris Horner claims the Renault PU is 75bhp shy of the mighty Merc! Yet the wholesale flushing of current key personnel, a la the chairman of Ferrari NO less, along with his chosen lieutenants, surely must leave us wondering just how Seb' Vettel & Co will right this floundering ship, eh?


IndyCar: A.J. Foyt, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
While I don't think A.J. Foyt Enterprises was terrible overall, nevertheless seems like they had many flukes including bungled Pit-stops, etc, whilst 'Ol 'R, aka Robin Miller was pretty crucial over Taku-san, nee Takuma Sato's driving, which for Mwah has always been my personal knock upon thee "Graminator," who I've taken to calling "Grahamcracker" instead...

As for whatever reason, Graham Rahal just seems to find a way to not finish the Dealio! Although I was quite happy over his demise at Texas garnering Justin 'B-I-G UNIT Wilson a clear path to victory lane!

And it's not like he's had bad equipment, as how can driving for Chip Ganassi fall into this category? Even if Ryan Briscoe didn't exactly light-up the G2 Afterburners either. As Graham's move to his poppa Bobby's team has so far to date failed to show any marked improvement in his driving, as HELL! I tend to recall that Graham had a battle Royale with departed ex-team-mate James Jakes; YOUCH!

Comeback Driver of the Year
Just can't quit hitting the keys on this thingy; Hya! As I was trying to figure out how to squeeze in some more worthy Driver picks and Wallah!

F1: Felipe Massa
How 'Uber refreshing to see the affable Brazilian come out of his shell, after being hampered mightily by Ferrari, who snuffed out a large portion of his competitive spirit by telling him "Fernando's FASTER Than You!"

As I was very happy to hear Felipe tell "Team Willy" to GO F%%K YOURSELF! When a similar order was transmitted early in the season, as Massa was the only driver besides the Silver Arrows duo to capture a Pole position this season! Along with some very inspired late season drives, as I really wanted him to win Abu Double and get the Monkey off his back...

IndyCar: Juan Pablo Montoya
Doesn't seem fair to be placing  the Columbian here, but, what a breath "O fresh air Monty' was, as he definitely wasn't playing favourites between his Penske team-mates and made them both work for their successes. As it was fantastic to witness Montoya win at Pocono this year, along with his ultra effusive attitude during the Sonoma Driver's autograph session... Although in hindsight, he wasn't gripped in the title fight by that time,  so he didn't need to be as stoic as his team-mates were...

Big ‘Boyz Pants Award
Unheralded Open Wheel Racing Series Rising Starz
Originally derived from one of the countless gems thee "Mayor 'O Hinchtown's" cast out, as its now become my catch-all for driver phenoms I've failed to recognize in the meandering other Golden Tailpipe Award categories...

F1: Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg, and Romain Grosjean.
Valtteri Bottas simply waxed his F1 ex-world champion countryman Kimi this year with an outstanding fourth place in the Driver's standings, with even whispers as Raikkonen's future replacement at Scuderia Ferrari, surely he's a star in the making!

Nico Rosberg, who's star was already in ascendency, surely turned heads this year by giving Mercedes team-mate  Lewis Hamilton all sorts of trouble, along with making the Brit work mightily for his second title...

And although I suppose the jury's still out upon Grosjean, who originally was called a "Nutter" amongst other unflattering criticism, nevertheless has shown brilliantly in 2013 what he can do given a proper racing car, as surely it'll be interesting to see how much Lotus improves next year with the addition of the mighty Mercedes Power Unit...

IndyCar: Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe and Jack Hawksworth.
Obviously "Symone"  (Pagenaud) is truly a rising star, especially now having been snapped up by 'El Capitano, nee Roger Penske undoubtedly as the face of Penske Racing's future. 'Union Jack (Hawksworth) definitely seems to be going places, as 'Taku-san's (Takuma Sato) heir apparent, and what can I say 'bout thee "Mayor 'O Hinchtown," eh? As it'll be interesting to see if he can become a B-I-G' Time Star, having now escaped the  shadow of Andretti Autosport, into essentially team leadership role at Schmidt-Peterson-Hamilton & Co.

And that concludes this riveting 2014 Golden Tailpipe Awards trilogy edition, as see Y'all on the other side of the New Year...

Arrivederchi,
Tomaso

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