Tuesday, May 30, 2017

INDY 500: Andretti Six Pack'

Fernando Alonso and team-mate Marco Andretti during his Rookie Orientation programme. (Image source: www.f1fanatic.co.uk)
Careful Mikey A', you're gettin' awfully close to tying 'Ol Andy Evans record of entering seven cars at Mother Speedway...

And now it's A-L-L Over, 'cept for the Post-race celebrations and obligatory Monday morning Speedway winner's photo's... Did Mikey and one of his illustrious six drivers kiss the bricks? Chirp-Chirp, Bueller?

As I'll miss hangin' out at Carpets Manor Monday night watching Dave Calabro amuse us with his Shtick whilst introducing the 33 Drivers at the Victory Banquet only available on local Indianapolis television, as that'll be another first for Fernando...

And in my haste to put to bed multiple stories for Y'all, so I could finally take a breather from this G-DAMN Confuzer! Although I've got NO clue where your humble No Fenders scribe will be, other than somewheres' on the road with Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen and her trusty co-pilot Pixie-the Wonderdog! In our trusty Eh-Team' Van...

Thus, was it one of Michael Andretti's Armada of six fire breathin' Dallara's pullin' into victory lane? Since Mikey & Co. have nearly a fifth of the field's entrants, most notably being Fernando Alonso, who I hope had a good race.

As the Double F1 World Champion was flanked by two past Formula 1 cronies, Taku-san', nee Takuma Sato and the race's defending winner Alexander Rossi.

As both of his F1 compatriots, well actually three of them never really got great looks in Formula 1, as Rossi barely got warmed up with his five outings in the back-marker Manor Marussia, while le Hamburgular', nee SeaBass', aka Sebastain Bourdais was Franz tost's punching bag at Toro Rosso!

Although Takuma started off with the irrepressible EJ', nee Eddie Jordan's customer Honda powered Jordan Grand Prix in 2002, he was quickly elevated to the Works Honda F1 programme, Lucky Strike BAR Honda F1 fulltime in '03 alongside Bloody 'JENSE! (Button) The team's High-water mark came in '04, finishing runner-up in the coveted Constructors championship behind Scuderia Ferrari. Then Taku-san was moved sideways to "Super Best Friends" (Super Aguri F1) from 2006-08 before ultimately coming Stateside to race for A.J. Foyt, then a Honda runner, for which Sato's obviously got close ties to...

Arguably, the team leader is "The Dude!" aka Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner, with the majority of his 16 wins-to-date coming during his Andretti Autosport tenure.

Marco Andretti, who Me Thinks at any other team would be gone... As what was that Quip last season 'bout Driving for Uber by PT, eh? Is hoping for finally finishing a race devoid of mechanical Gremlins, accidents, etc. Whilst theoretically he's got a shot at Mother Speedway, after all having finished an Oh, So tantalizing runner-up during his rookie debut in 2006.

And the Mike 'N Mike squad, i.e. Mike Shank Racing running British rookie Jack Harvey for Mikey A' would probably beam over winning Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours ahead of his more esteemed Stable-mate, Ci!

Next Up, Roger Penske sports five Bonafied contenders, with two of them being multi-time Indy 500 winners, including the only other ex-Formula 1 driver to have won multiple Grands Prix, ergo Juan Pablo Montoya.

Hmm? Is it just Mwah? As why is the media completely overlooking the fact that Monty's actually closer to capturing the mythical Triple Crown 'O Motorsports than Fernando is, having won Indy twice, and the '03 Monaco Grand Prix...

Meanwhile, coming in third on the hit parade is thee Cheepster', nee Chip Ganassi fielding four cars, as I keep forgetting he's got the other former Formula 1 driver on his books, Max Chilton, who's last major victory came on an Oval no less, albeit in an Indy Lights chassis at Iowa.

Although Chilton never had a Tinker's Damn 'O success in Formula 1 either, especially piloting one of those Tail-end Charlie Marussia F1 mounts...

A.J. Foyt, Dale Coyne and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have three cars apiece respectively, and Ed Carpenter and Bobby Rahal & Co. field two apiece.

While presumably, Juncos Racing finally confirmed who it's two drivers would be? Especially since Starship HC' most desperately wanted a full contingent of eleven rows of three rolling off Sunday.

This just leaves us with three suito One car entries, i.e.; Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, (DRR) Harding Racing and Lazier Partners, albeit the first two teams are sharing a collaborative "Technical Alliance" since they're working out of the DRR shop.

thus, although Y'all know the answer, as hopefully we've managed to arrive in "the Other" Florence "Justin-time" for your humble No Fenders scribe to watch; Err listen to thou Gurr-reatest Spectacle in racin', since I'm pretty sure they lifted the Black Out in Oregon Dave; Hya!

Thus, we'll see if I can copy thou OLD-est IndyCar Blogger Geo. Phillips winner's prediction curse here on No Fenders, Y'all know where George picks his winner for the race and SHUHZAMM, RACE OVER!

As naturally the logical choice comes from the Usual Suspects, i.e.; Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. As I'd say that all five Team Penske drivers are sure picks. While the Ganassi & Andretti camps aren't Full Houses, although certainly both of Cheeps' past Indy 500 winning drivers: Scotty "Iceman 2.0" Dixon & "TK' Follow-your-Schnoz!" Kanaan are definite Contendahs.

Ditto for Mikey Andretti's lead gun The Dude! aka Ryan Hunter-Reay, or simply RHR, while I'd LUV' for Alexander Rossi to do the unthinkable and match HULIO'S previous record of back-2-back victories in his first two 500's! Whilst I suppose Marco could pull a Wabbitz' outta somewheres?

And I'll throw in my three Dark Horses; Uhm, can Y'all tell I'm making Yuhs wait for my non-scientific answer, eh? As thee Mayor 'O Hinchtown, aka James Hinchcliffe and his Rooskie' Sidekick, a la Mad Russian 2.0 Mikhail "loose is Fast" Aleshin plus Oriol "suitcase" Servia could surprise if the Hondre' engines as stout as last year.

Giving the Bowtie runners equal Dark horse selections, obviously you can never overlook FAST EDDIE's, nee Ed Carpenter Racing, it's owner and my Cinderella choice J.R. Hildebrand upsetting Team Chevy's B-IG DAWGS' Penske Racing.

And the Answer is, Envelope please...

As I said previously, this is totally unscientific, and I'm simply going with the name that popped into Thy Head first...

Will Power

As I made this choice the day prior to Fernando's first ever outing on an Oval, way before Opening Day, so who knows how close this will come up roses, eh?

Err, I meant Rhody's, as in look at those beautiful rhododendrons which should still be ah-bloomin' in Florence, Juan' of the reasons we're stopping' Thar...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

INDY 500: Mother Speedway upon Thy Mind...

Hildebrand’s Pit Crew standing on wall cheering as J.R. takes the white flag while leading the 2011 Indianapolis 500. (The Tomaso Collection)

With A-L-L of thou Attenzione focused upon Fernando Coming to America... My Mind began ponderin' the superfluous, before Alonso passed his rookie audition; As in when did the Monaco Grand Prix begin being held on Memorial Day weekend - in order to G-O Head-2-Head with Indy Cars premiere event?

Hence, a very perfunctory examination of this led to my discovering that the first Monaco Grand Prix held on Memorial Day weekend appears to be the 1976 event; formally known as the XXXIV Grand Prix de Monaco. When Formula 1's crown Jewell was being run in thou Principality, nee Monte Carlo on May 30th.

Ironically, on that very same day on this side of thou Puddle, none other than Johnny Rutherford was winning his second Indy 500 aboard the Works McLaren.

Fast forwarding back to the present, after having thoroughly enjoyed watching my first truly "live stream" of Fernando's Rookie Orientation via Racer.com, 'Ol R's, nee IndyCar Curmudgeon Robin Miller's Hilarious article below totally got me in the mood, albeit his questions sounded quite different with Lone Star JR' and SuperMario' actually in the booth...

Alas, although I'm somewhat regrettably not attending this year's Indy 500, along with being teased 'bout thou "Other Florence" Oregon's TV Coverage being Blacked Out, a la Indianapolis; Hya!

Pretty sure the Stanley Cup's on another network, and that ABC will actually be showing the race in its entirety along with the winner's interview; ahem Peacock-lite, nee NBC Sports Network; Catch my drift!

Now I'll be scurrying to find a Telie' somewhers' upon Thee Oregonian Trail as we make our ways' Northwards from those Majestic Redwoods!

As hopefully I'm not that Hermit racing towards the light... Especially since that Sun's way too Damn Bright!

"From the White Sands
To the Canyonlands
To the redwood stands
To the Barren Lands"

VIDEO: Ghost Rider

Without ramblin' on too long, I've seen Mother Speedway from both sides of the fence, having been, and most likely a Wee Bitomyte' of Mwah always will be a devout CART loyalist, which is how I grew-up Open Wheel Racing-wise.

That said, I've had a wonderful relationship with Mother Speedway and the Month of May beginning in Twenty-oh-Nine, in large part to my Hosts Extraordinaire at Carpets Manor! As what I enjoy most about the Indy 500 is the fact that truly anybody can win on that given Sunday each May.

Yet in TK' Follow-Your-Schnoz! Kanaan's excellent video with his "Nutritionist" Robin Miller; Hya! The theme that's been expounded on afterwards, as Simon Pagenaud just won his very first Oval race, after being 0-for-28 being the Stat thrown out by IndyStar's Jim Ayello I believe. The Brickyard's most analyzed rookie will most likely be fighting an uphill battle.

And here's another typical laid back Indiana interview Miller did upon Fernando's arrival to Americre' at thou Barbers', as Nando' may be too busy dining with Miller & TK' at the Mug 'N bun right now...

As I've rooted for countless drivers over the years, as far back as 'Ol Hollywood's (Danny Sullivan) improvable Spin 'N win, wanting anybody but Mario Andretti to win!

Yet what tends to annoy me most these days, is anybody simply picking the best driver to win, which certainly doesn't take any talent to deduce that; Hence although they were my number two & three favourite driver's, i.e.; Will Power and Simon Pagenaud respectively, I just don't get any thrill outta El Capitano' (Roger Penske) winning another Borg Warner. And Ditto for thouCheepster', aka Chip Ganassi, albeit I'm good with either Scott Dixon or Tony Kanaan winning, especially the latter.

Alas, probably having something to do with my current station in life, I find myself rooting more 'N more for thee 'lil guys instead of the B-I-G 3', nee Penske, Ganassi and Andretti.

And although I don't think my current No. 1 IndyCar Driver will be victorious, as Conor Daly's going thru his own steep learning phase from transitioning from the Hondre' package last year, nonetheless his A.J. Foyt Enterprises team-mate Carlos Munoz has a stellar record at the Speedway, so watch out Team Penske!

My current second favourite's thee "Mad Russian," nee Mikhail Aleshin, albeit he seems to be pushing himself really hard this year, as still not quite sure what happened at Phoenix? Whilst obviously his team leader Hinch', aka James Hinchcliffe would be a very popular winner.

But choosing one Bowtie (Chevrolet) and Honda competitor apiece I'd like most to see; Err well, read about if we don't make it to Florence "Justin-time" for me to sit on the couch? We're Here...

As I still believe I saw his wounded racecar showering sparks down the front straight six years ago, I'd be thrilled if whom I think the original Captain America? Nee Jr. Hildebrand steal Team Chevy; Err Penske's Thunder! As guessin' he can drink the milk with his good hand, eh?

On the Honda side, the selection's a 'lil harder for Mwah, as it'd be awesome to see Takuma Sato finally seal the deal and upstage his Andretti team-mates, since after all: No Attack, No Chance! As he's probably got the better shot over my pick, none other than Oriol "suitcase" Servia, as it'd be funny having the other Spaniard in victory lane, Ci!

And for Rookie Of the Year (ROY) I'm quite smitten with Zachery "Moose" Veach, who hopefully will land a fulltime IndyCar ride in the near future.

As those are my sentimental picks this year...

Yet obviously Fernando will be gunning for him, along with Andretti Auto sport's other rookie Jack Harvey, while Dale Coyne's Ed Jones will probably be completely forgotten in the ROY battle?

Yet as 'Ol 'R sez; Hate is Good! An thus, although he doesn't bother me nearly as much anymore, I still just want ANYBODY besides HULIO' (Castroneves) to win the bloody race!