Saturday, February 20, 2016

NASCAR's New Digs Broken-in by Others...

The 2016 Rolex 24 winning #2 ESM Ligier Honda at Daytona International Speedway. (Source: images)
Who says racing doesn't pay? Although those funny 'lil Foreign Jobbers had the prestige 'O brakin' in Daytona International Speedway's newly renovated $400m facility running circles over 24 Hours recently...

While all eyes will presumably be focused upon 'Dem High Banks 'O DayToner this Sunday, as wonder how 'Ol Boogity-Boogity-Boogity! Will spin the Daytona 500 being the very first race ever at the brand spankin' new facility, huh?

for which has already hosted a bevy 'O races pre-Speed Weeks at Daytona International Speedway, with the Continental Tires Sports Cars, Ferrari Challenge series and Oh Yeah, some 'lil race called Thy Rolex 24 having already convened.

And surely now that Jeffry "Pretty Boy" Gordon's joined Mike Joy and DW', aka Darrell Waltrip in the booth as a driver analyst, or is it colour commentator for FOX; Hmm? Gordon vs. Larry Mac', go figure? Hya!

Along with Smoke' on his retirement tour, although things certainly aren't going to plan for Tony Stewart, thus much adu will most likely be made over one of his other drivers simply known as Danica.

Yet I was more impressed with one of Patrick's contemporaries, notably how impressive Thy Leggy 'Juan's drive to the front of the field during this year's Rolex 24 was. As Katherine Legge drove the unique Delta Wing Coupe into P1 during her opening triple-stint from P13!

As Y'all can tell just how exhausting it's Man-handlin' a racing car during her interview with The Freaks...

Whilst Legge wasn't the only female contesting the Rolex 24, with the likes 'O Christina Nielsen and Sabine Schmitz both racing in the lesser covered GTD (Daytona) ranks, having already scribbled about Nielsen co-driving the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, while Schmitz was a last minute addition  aboard the #30 Frikadelli Racing's Porsche 911 GT3R, renowned for its Meatball graphics!

And along Pitlane were two extremely proficient female reporters: Shea Adam and Jamie Howe, with the latter having apparently slipped over to Thy Dark side, nee 'RASSCAR! Whilst very little can be found upon Shea, other than she's part of the Radio Le Mans crew.

Yet my favourite le Femme' behind Thy microphone is Rasscarland's Krista Voda, who I think is the only female who actually holds a broadcast booth position, albeit think ABC tried someone named Lindsay Czarniak for last year's Indy 500 Preamble, or was it the year or two before, since I typically don't watch the race since I'm trackside.

Meanwhile, there's actually two Katherine's on the Delta Wing Racing Cars team, with longtime Katherine Crawford as the team's lead engineer, who has an extensive background in racing. As I'm 98% certain she was the engineer of those Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototypes built by her family's company.

As most ironically it was "SMOKE" almost winning the Rolex 24 aboard one of the Childress-Howard Motorsports entries with Katherine on the Pit wall before the race went Pear-shaped - As Tony Stewart valiantly tried wheeling the car home with a broken suspension which had a two-by-four placed aboard as a temporary fix!

As the following article on Grace Autosport mentions Katherine as the team's race engineer...

Karmically, without knowing, Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen had suggested over a decade ago that I should take a ride aboard Thy Rein Taxi before we made that most wonderful trip to Germany, specifically to attend Thy German Grand Prix at Thy Nurburgring, albeit the modern day venue instead of Thy Green Hella! Where we got to ride around in our wonderful Host Vladi's Daily Driver instead which I chronicled in;

As it was Sabine Schmitz no less who was the original chauffer of said Rein Taxi - which I've just learned now, although she no longer actually drives them, but her company still does, as Schmitz has won 24hr races at the Ring along with occasional stints upon the BBC's Top Gear program.

With A-L-L of the nauseating Hoopla over Jeff Gordon's retirement and final race coronation getting me frothing over this subject originally, as 'DER TERMINATOR  will always be Thy modern day King 'O Mother Speedway for Mwah;

And what a clever segway to another bit 'O trivia nagging at Mwah; NO! Not that Luca D's (Luca di Montezemolo) has just spouted off 'bout his past Grands Prix championship winning driver being in bad shape, for which I've pretty much given up on Herr Schumacher, except for posting my yearly tributes...

But instead, as I was getting wound-up over the greatness of Jeffrey Gordon, who I'll admit was a great racing driver, nonetheless, only Gordon and two others rank above Michael Schumacher for overall wins.

Yet "The King," aka Richard Petty ran an incomprehensible 1,184 races over 35yrs! With the "Silver Fox," nee David Pearson running 574 over 27yrs. And Gordon a  'Mega 797 over 24yrs - All of which are substantially more than Schumacher's tally of 307, while the other Top-4 F1 drivers all have less than 200-starts!

And that's before we even get into the notion of NASCAR typically running twice as many races per season, i.e.; 36 vs.  18-19, with this season's 21 events being a record in Formula 1.

1) Michael Schumacher           91           68          7
2) Alain Prost                                51           33           4
3) Lewis Hamilton                      43          49          3            
4) Sebastian Vettel                     42          46          4
5) Ayrton Senna                          41           65          3
(Statistics current - prior to 2016 Australian GP; as Hamilton & Vettel are currently active drivers)

 As even good 'Ol Boogity-Boogity-Boogity who's career stats resemble Schuey's, albeit like most Roundy-round drivers, it took 'DW 29yrs while amassing a massive 809starts to do so!

As the late "Intimidator," nee Dale Earnhardt doesn't even crack the Top-5 for wins while Jimmy "Vanilla" Johnson's set to tie Dale's career wins tally at 76-apiece upon his next win - while we all know that Earnhardt Sr. is tied for most championships with Petty's seven and Johnson's third overall with six.

And Bloody Hell! Even Danica's already made 118 starts in just three years, while one of my favourite Taxicab characters, notorious for smoking while driving, the late Dick Trickle made nearly the same amount 'O starts as Schuey, with Trickle amassing 303 while claiming to be the winningest driver of all with 1,200 wins; Aye Karumba!

Although Danica and Dick are currently tied for both wins and Poles in NASCAR, both with Goose-eggs, ergo 0 victories and one Pole apiece...

1) Richard Petty        200      123      7
2) David Pearson      105      113      3
3) Jeff Gordon             93         81         4           
4) Darrell Waltrip    87         59         3
5) Cale Yarborough 83         69         3           

As surely Mike Joy, Ol' DW, (Darrell Waltrip) Chris Meyer, Mikey "Ah Shucks!" Waltrip or A-L-L of 'Dem will SPEW 'bout how NASCAR drivers are the GURR-REATEST!

which I beg to differ, but also begs the question of how many Taxicab drivers were participating in this year's Rolex 24? As the answer's three, albeit not  sure if A.J. Allmendinger truly counts? With the other two being Cheeps' boys Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson. With fourteen past 'N present IndyCar drivers taking part in the race.

Meanwhile Thy Wily Rubino', aka Rubens Barrichello who holds the record for most Grands Prix starts with a staggering 322 was drafted into service aboard Wayne Taylor Racing's #10 Corvette DP as insurance for the team due to Jordan Taylor being sick for two weeks leading up to and thru the Rolex 24.

As there was something weird going on in the cockpit, as Ricky Taylor got sick, and Max Angelelli, who was wisely substituted for Jordan during the final stint after he reported noxious fumes in the car, pulled off immediately after taking Thy chequered flag On-track before being rushed to Hospital!

As "Max-the-Ax" Angelelli endured mightily to secure the runner-up finish with the car suffering a broken exhaust header, for which he's subsequently been released from hospital and flown back home to Italy to be with his family...

While other ex-Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Bourdais, Gianmaria Bruni,
Giancarlo Fisichella, Christian Fittipaldi and Alexander Wurz participated in the race.

But alas, suppose we'll inevitably hear somebody in the TV Booth fawning over Dan-Dan-Danica, who may be, just may be will have a decent race and finish in the Top-5?

Whilst I'll be rootin' for the other A.j> - as in A.J. Allmendinger!