Thursday, November 5, 2015

On The Border - Mexicali Racing Talents

Yeah, I know Y'all are expectin' some Hot-Hot-Hot Tamales regarding Mexico's F1 talents here, with Formula 1 having just contested their first Mexican Grand Prix in 23yrs, but I'm swerving across the blend-line by briefly giving a Shout-out to their lesser known Brethren. As perhaps it's got something to do with eating the worm; Hooah! Or having just celebrated The Day of The Dead...

Naturally,  Mexico's rejoicing over their second Formula 1 hope, the former Sauber F1 Piloto' EG;, (Esteban Gutierrez)  who's currently one of Ferrari's stable of reserve driver's, having just been announced as Haas F1's second racing driver for 2016 alongside the talented Frenchman Romain Grosjean.

As hopefully la Scuderia will be smart enough to grant the 24yr  old an outing at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Friday morning, which naturally would bring rousing applause at the Sold Out event - which I still recall fondly, thy overly enthusiastic Fans being referred to as Guacamole Headz' during the Champ Car Dazes...

Although I don't think la Scuderia has run a reserve driver during Friday morning FP1 so far - unless this was cleverly negotiated as part of this year's "Simulator Jockey" duties. As I'd highly doubt that Seb' Vettel would be giving up any seat time, but perhaps Kimi could go off for another ice cream, Ci?

And instead of trying to reinvent the wheel so to speak, I’ll defer to my previous post scribbled years ago that briefly details Mexico’s past Formula 1 involvement, (excluding the following two current Gran Premio Pilotes') plus Hector rebaque, The Rodriguez Brothers, Pedro & Ricardo and Moises Solana. Where I've also briefly chronicled the Mexican Grands Prix history circa' 1963-70, and 1986-92 previously in;

Meanwhile, I've previously left out the unheralded Jo Ramírez, known best for his long association at McLaren International as Team Coordinator during the Prost-Senna era thru the "Mika-the-Finn" (Hakinen) and DC era before retiring in 2001.

As mentioned above, our most recent Mexicali addition to Formula 1, Esteban Gutierrez who'll be  making his return next year was previously chronicled here at No Fenders in 2013 when making his F1 debut for Sauber.

Esteban Gutierrez joins the MexicanF1 Drivers Hat dance!

Whilst I’m certain many are already aware of past Sauber, McLaren and current Force India F1 driver Sergio Perez. As the Guadalajara native returned Mexico onto the F1 Grid in 2011, after a three decade absence - as I first became aware of Sergio's nicknamed "Checo" when paired with Bloody 'JENSE (Button) at McLaren in 2012. As NO idea if Perez's '09 world champion team-mate coined the moniker or not?

Although there certainly was NO love-loss over 'Checo's departure from Woking - as the two seem less than enamored with each other since their year's outing at McLaren.

As Perez has just been confirmed to his third consecutive season at Vijay-duh-Playah's (Force India) Silverstone outfit for 2016, as I previously scribbled ‘bout Sergio upon his rookie season for Sauber 'Wayback some four years ago: CRIKEYS! Or was I-T three? Which means it'll be somewhat amazing when he cracks the 100-starts barrier early next season...

Formula 1 winners
Pedro Rodriguez: 2-wins; 1967 South African GP, 1970 Belgian GP.

Yet suffice it to say, Mexico has had many great Open Wheel Racing drivers over the years, albeit sadly, there are none currently competing in Indy Cars. Where arguably 'Yo Adrian (Fernandez) was surely its most successful Stateside; Ariva-Ariva-Ariva! Being Mexico's only driver to record double-digit victories, for which I witnessed his first team 'W at some 'lil 'Ol racing circuit in Portland, Oregon...

MEXICO CITY (1980-81)
Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) took the bold step of running an IndyCar style race in Mexico City at the famed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuito, the first time an IndyCar race had been held  in Mexico, in 1980 when 25-entrants made a Run for The Border; Ariva-Ariva-Ariva!

Naturally, Mexican drivers wished to participate in their home race, which saw Juan Carlos Bolaños, Michele Jourdain, Sr. and Daniel Muniz taking part, albeit with less than stellar results as "Rocket Rick" Mears won the inaugural event aboard his Cosworth powered Penske.

The following year, a further tres Mexicali's participated, the totally unknown Oreo Trice aboard the unheralded No. 66 Rager Racing entry, primarily campaigned by Roger Rager, a multi-time Knoxville Nationals winner. While that year's Indy 500 Rookie Of the Year Josele Garza drove for his self-entered (Garza Racing) team with Michele Jourdain Sr. running a "One-off" event in his home city again. As the second and final Copa Mexico 150's saw  the same outcome with Rick Mears being victorious for El 'Capitano. (Roger Penske)

CART began racing at Fundidora Park, a temporary Street Circuit situated in an industrial complex presumably to try re-establishing itself in foreign markets after a two decade absence in Mexico. The inaugural winner of the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey was "Shorty," aka Cristiano da Matta driving for Newman Haas, who'd eventually record the most wins with five. As da Matta won the first two events, with Newman Haas's duo of le 'Hamburgular and Whineybag' sweeping the final three events. With Bruno Junqueira sandwiching Sebastain Bourdais's two victories, whilst Paul Tracy was the only non Newman Haas Racing winner during his 2003 championship winning season for Forsythe...

MEXICO CITY (2002-07)
Apparently I'd forgotten that CART and then its successor CCWS, nee the Champ Car World Series, which towards its demise I regularly took to calling Chump Carz'; but I digress - raced at the renovated Mexican Grand Prix circuit which was spearheaded by Gerald "Whiner" Forsythe with the Indy Cars inaugural winner being thee "Brackster," nee Kenny Brack driving for Cheep' (Ganassi) in Target red, which is funny since I always think of the Swede' in Team Rahal yellow & white livery instead!

Although I do recall that I took notice of a fine Mexicali Pilote' who seemingly never got his due, (chance) as I became a fan of David Martinez during his short stay at Forsythe Racing.

And how could I forget that my Numero Uno IndyCar driver Justin B-I-G' UNIT Wilson won his second of his four Champ Car races in Mexico, having won the 2005 Grand Premio Tecate, while he should have definitely won the '06 race when leading virtually the entire way from Pole with a broken wrist before le 'Hamburgular, nee SeaBass, aka Sebastain Bourdais gave him the patented Paul Tracy Chrome Horn treatment on the race's final lap en route to stealing another victory!

INDY 500 (1981-2013)
Apparently there's only been an Tecate "Six Pack" to date to have raced at Mother Speedway, with the likes of the aforementioned Adrian Fernandez, Josele Garza, Carlos Guerrero, Bernard Jourdain and Nephew Michele Jourdain, Jr. - the last Mexicali to race at Mother Speedway in 2012 as Taku-san's (Takuma Sato) Wingman at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as a rookie after having not contested the Indy 500 since 1996! As Jourdain was unable to qualify the following year as RLLR's third entry. Along with ex-Formula 1 Piloto Hector Rebaque.

CART: 1979-2003)
The following (further) Doce Mexicano's contested races in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series: Mario Dominguez and Memo Gidley, although I typically think of Gidley as an American, he was born in La Paz, Baja California Sur and made his CART debut in 1999 and has been recovering from a major Sports Car accident the past year plus.

While Mario "BOOM BOOM" Dominguez; Hey, that one's easy! As Dominguez, who dubiously won a rain-drenched Surfers Paradise race Down Under in Bloody Oz for the late Tony Bettenhausen Jr's Herdez Competition racing team, later got fired for hitting Gerald Forsythe's team leader PT', nee Paul Tracy not once, but twice on the first lap at Milwaukee, the final Champ Car race held on an Oval Wayback in Twenty-oh-Six! As this led to the three card Monty playing out appropriately NO less than at my Home track, C'mon say I-T Carpets; Hya! Portland International Raceway that summer, Round-5 of that year's championship...

CHAMP CAR: 2003-07
The following (further) four drivers contested races in the Champ Car World Series: Luis Díaz, Roberto González Valdez, Rodolfo Lavín and David Martinez - the latter who I've already noted my admiration for - having been inked to a partial drive alongside  the irrepressible 'PT (Paul Tracy) on the basis of there being two motor races South of thee Border.

Yet the Mexican Adventure came to a crashing Halt at the end of Twenty-oh-Seven' upon the ultimately long overdue Mergification' of Champ Car and the IRL in 2008 and Indy Cars unwisely spurned Mexico ever since. Although it was hoped that Mexico City would revive an IndyCar race as its season opener in 2016, it won't happen until 2017 at the earliest, if at all?

As I'd ARSE-sume the Sanctioning Fees are mucho Grande' for Formula 1 vs. IndyCar, along with wunderin' how the turnout would be for Indy Cars vs. F1?

IndyCar winners
Adrian Fernandez: 11-wins
(8) CART: 1996 Molson Indy Toronto; Exhibition Place, Ontario; 1998 Budweiser 500; Twin Ring Motegi, Japan; 1998 Miller Lite 200, Mid Ohio Sports Car Course; Lexington, Ohio; 1999 Firestone Fire hawk 500k; Twin Ring Motegi, Japan; 1999 Marlboro 500 Preasented by Toyota; Fontana, California; 2000 Rio 200, Autodromo Nelson Piquet; Rio de JanAeiro, Brazil; 2000 Honda Indy 300; Surfers Paradise, Australia; 2003 The G.I. Joes 200; Portland, Oregon.
(3) IRL: (2004 Season) Belters Casino Indy 300, Kentucky Speedway; Delphi Indy 300, Chicagoland Speedway; Toyota Indy 400, Auto club Speedway; Fontana, CA.
Michele Jourdain, Jr.: 2-wins; 2003 Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250; West Allis, Wisconsin, 2003 Molson Indy Montreal; Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Quebec.
Mario Dominguez: 2-wins; 2002 Honda Indy 300; Surfers Paradise, Australia; 2003 Grand Prix Americas; Miami, Florida.
Hector Rebaque: 1-win; 1982 Road America 200; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
(Inaugural Road America IndyCar race)