Thursday, November 3, 2016

RETRO: The year McLaren blew the Deckles' Off Scuderia Ferrari at Indianapolis!



Mika Hakkinen "Girding-his-Loins" for triumph at Indianapolis, despite the FIA Race Stewards best intentions to thwart him. (Image source: hakkinen.com c/o crash.net)
Otay, it's finally Race-day at Indianapolis, and the red lights are about to G-O green; Err O-U-T, sorta...

As already mentioned, Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen had Sarah & I promptly driving 'Ol Blue thru the IMS tunnel towards the infield at 6AM SHARP! then Cat-napping a few more hours before freshly made Flapjacks were served again By Gummit! Then I-T were time for some 'lil 'Ol racin' action!.

Alas, as I've already mentioned, many of Thy memories of this event have faded, and hence, I'll just pepper Y'all with what's left, whilst deferring a Blow-by-Blow account to somebody else's race report, especially since the Heavy lifting's already been done Thar...

Say what Yuhs want 'bout Good 'Ol 'TG, which I invariably have across these No Fenders pages - who I used to call 'lil Napoleon! But Thanxs to Tony George, our 3-Day tickets for the USGP are still the cheapest I've ever paid for attending a Formula 1 race weekend! Being even less than today's 3-Day General Admission admittance to COTA! As we were able to purchase a Friday-Saturday GA ticket for $20, with our Sunday Grandstand Seat at an utterly unheard of $85! vs. the abhorrently normal price "O $400-500-833 for reserved 3-Day grandstand seats these Dazes; Aye Karumba!

As cannot find anythingy' about support series for the weekend, albeit think the Ferrari (360) Challenge and Porsche Supercup were on hand? Although we were there mainly for Mwah to finally see Herr Sckewmacher', 'Ol Hobbo's (David Hobbs) affectionate vernacular for Michael Schumacher, Thy Hero racing in the Flesh!

For which I wasn't disappointed, as Schuey delighted by capturing another Pole, apparently his 42nd of an eventual record 68, according to the report below. As I'll confess that I don't remember this Qualie' Show anymore, other than I find it highly amusing how I didn't recognize the fact that the defending Indy 500 winner was participating! Presumably 'cause of my total disdain for TG and his "Indee' Retirement League," nee IRL, being a devout CART supporter then, even though Montoya's boss, thee Cheepster' (Chip Ganassi) hadn't jumped ship yet..

Although think I-T had more to do with Monty' being such an audacious thorn in 'DER TERMINATOR'S Backside...


Funny how my only memory of Qualie' is falling asleep that evening in our vibratin' Campervan during the Saturday Nite Sprint Car race going on at the Fairgrounds, which Yuhs could see by simply walkin' up to the fencing...

Long forgotten full spread of '01 USGP Spotter's Guide handed out at Mother Speedway. As the small print on backside notes how "Tickets are Still Available!" (The Tomaso Collection)
XXX SAP United States Grand Prix
September 30, 2001
IMS Grand Prix circuit (2000-07)
Permanent Road Course: 13-turns
Circuit length: 4.192 km (2.605 mi)
Race distance: 73-laps

Lap Record Holder
Rubens Barrichello, Scuderia Ferrari; 2004
1:10.399: 214.921kph (133.546 mph)


According to who Yuhs believe, there was a massive crowd of between 175-185,000 rabid Formula 1 Fans on hand that splendid fall day, for which I recall Mary Ellen taking me to our seats hours before, and telling me I could sit there awhile, as she'd come back later after A-L-L of the Baloney was over! Since we'd be pummeled with nationalism; Err Ah-wash in jingoism in deference regarding 9-11!

Our seats that day were in the front straightaway grandstands underneath the balcony's second tier, where I sat alone totally bathed in shade with my Bondurant windbreaker on thinking how cool it was Thar. Although reportedly it warmed up to between 66-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the race.

Not to mention being quite amused over hearing an unbaffled Harley blastin' down Georgetown street? Or may be its 16th, since think that's what the tunnel we drove thru is on, right CARPETS? Paralleling the grandstands, marveling over how the racetrack was in the middle of the city, with roads A-L-L round it - before the world's largest roundabout was installed.

While even today, I still don't recall us ever being Frisked; Err Searched" when entering the Speedway each day just precious weeks afterwards of the B-I-G' APPLE's calamity! Instead just recalling idly sitting there alone before the start smirking over the Stinkin' Harley being so G-DAMN L-O-U-D!

And we were definitely bamboozled with patriotism that day, for which the only part that sticks out for Mwah was good 'Ol Johnny Cougar Mellonhead; Err Mellencamp singing his fairly new single Peaceful World that day, which think he did an acoustic version of?


Also still remember that the Drivers parade lap was done with the drivers in the backs of open topped classic cars, with Schumacher's naturally being quite regal. As apparently this became tradition? Since I still get a chuckle outta remembering when Michael's '66 Mustang convertible wouldn't start for the '06 event; YIKES!

And although Michael's nemesis JPM didn't get around him for the lead on lap-1, I do recall the only time I momentarily gulped! Was when the grandstands started shaking violently from the crush of gonzo Columbian's going mad over their boy Juan Pablo Montoya taking the lead by passing Schumacher! Michael, NOT the aforementioned Ralfanzo; Hya!

As we were definitely Rockin' & Rollin' way up Thar, as Mary Ellen's favourite Gran Primo Piloto swept past Schuey! As I kept a relatively low profile of glee when 'Ol Monty's Williams ground to a halt in front of us five laps later, (Lap-39) reportedly due to Hydraulics failure, with JPM claiming he didn't have any gears...

It strikes me now how ironically Alexander Rossi, the defending Indy 500 champion will somewhat mimic Montoya's outing, although he'll just be on Reserve Driver duty for Manor Racing at COTA this year, Me Thinks...

And I definitely recall now, how sickly 'Ol Rubinoes' engine sounded lumberin' down the straightaway in the closing laps. Surely it'll G-O KUHBLAMOE! Which I-T did just prior to the end of the race, enabling his team leader to scoot by for the runner-up position and David Coulthard to inherit third.

But as mentioned awhile ago, I was quite happy for "Mika-the-Finn,!  In what would become Hakkinen's final career F1 victory, for which he truly deserved after the Officials had played "Poppycock" with him earlier that morning after taking away his fastest lap and dropping him from second to fourth on the starting grid!

As I remember being Cornfuzed over his penalty shenanigans, which seemed like further insult to injury after Mika had heavily damaged his car in the morning's practice session. Allowing the two Team Willy Boyz' to jump ahead of him before the lights even went out...


Whilst Jarno Trulli's initial disqualification was set to give team-mate Jean Alesi a point on his 200th Grand Prix start, before EJ' (Eddie Jordan) successfully appealed this, when the FIA Steward's blundered, with Trulli's reinstatement to fourth place giving Jordan Grand Prix fifth overall in the all important Constructors standings ahead of their Honda rival BAR by a narrow two points!  

 

Although we were totally oblivious over this USGP Post-race Trulli Scrumptious' business. Having simply departed Mother Speedway for our long, meandering journey home...



Having almost forgotten to mention that it was "Mean Jean" Alesi's 200th Grand Prix start, for which once used to be a rarity in Formula 1, before Uncle Bernaughty kept adding 'N adding Grands Prix to the calendar. Along with Y'all know what to his wallet!

Not to mention when I think of Alesi now, I think of him driving the recalcitrant "Luddi" IndyCar for Fan Force United at the Brickyard with the late Dr. Who as his engineer.

While presumably there was a large gap of time before "Fishyfellah," (Giancarlo Fisichella( "Trulli Scrumptious" (Jarno Trulli( and David "Square Jaw" Coulthard passed him by. As I believe that Alesi was just the fifth driver to accomplish this feat at that time...


2001 USGP Final results
1) Mika Hakkinen; McLaren
2) Michael Schumacher; Ferrari
3) David Coulthard; McLaren
4) Jarno Trulli; Jordan
5) Eddie Irvine; Jaguar
6) Nick Heidfeld; Sauber

LONG WINDING ROAD HOME...
Remember how impressed we were with the state of Iowa in regards to its beauty, along with camping facilities, including finding a State Park with totally clean bathroom with hot water Ah-flowin' for its shower in the middle 'O Nowheres'; CRIKEYS!

And actually stuck my feet in the Mighty Mississippi! Along with recallin' Thar bein' an actual-to-goodness full size white Paddleboat on-land! (Pretty certain it had been converted into a Casino...)

Or the dichotomy of the State Park where we picnicked for said dip in water being located nearby a Prison Camp replete with high pitched barbed wire fencing adjoining the road's entrance! Oh, and there was that Steam Train locomotive on static display; Blah-blah-BLAHITY-Blah...

Not to mention it being mighty cold, now being the start of October at Curt Gowdy State Park, which ARSE-Sumedly was on our way to Devils Tower in "Wyoming.

And lastly, on this elongated return, as Mary Ellen asked can we go to Grand Coulee? Adding another three days to our meandering return. I can still see the Winter, or was it Fall Wheat? Waving gently in the mild breeze of Eastern Washington, as I'd never seen this modern marvel 'O engineering, nee the mighty Grand Coulee Dam!

Whilst apparently my inner Blue Oval came out in Mwah, as I also recall we chatted briefly with someone who was driving an RV propelled by what was then one of Ford's new Triton V-10's.

Although obviously not as potent as the Cossie' V-10 lumps we'd just witnessed powering the Jaguar's of "Irv-the-Swerve" (Eddie Irvine) & Pedro de la Rosa. Not even as powerful as what some describe the Minardi's European-badged ('98-spec Cosworth) lumps as "elderly;" YOUCH!

As Irv' had made us Blue Oval Boyz Proud that day by finishing in the points, garnering two for finishing fifth, Wayback when points were only awarded to the first six finishers, albeit first place had been bumped up to 10, from its previous nine; as the points used to be awarded 10-6-4-3-2-1

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