Thursday, September 28, 2017

INDYCAR: Ten years later, Portland's still on my Mind...

An 'Ol Postcard sent to Mwah from a much younger, youthful Scott Pruett during his Truesports CART Days. (The Tomaso Collection)
Sorta, barely, since like All thingys' in life, fairly certain I've moved on. As IndyCar better hope it can find its next generation 'O supporters El Pronto!

With the recently concluded Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park's 1.25m Oval at Madison, IL. It's first IndyCar race post Mergification, and first overall since 2003, potentially giving some minuscule hope of Portland's rightful return to the IndyCar Series calendar? Oh Never Mind!

As Y'all know if you've been reading my ramblings here on No Fenders, this June marked the tenth anniversary of Portland International Raceway's final Champ Car race...

Earlier this year, during our never ending winter, for which it still felt like during the Indy GP weekend in Mid May; CRIKEYS! But I digress...

Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen, her faithful co-pilot Pixie-the-Wonderdog!" WUF-WUF! and your humble No Fenders scribe Tomaso headed all places southwards towards the Other Florence, by land, sea and thankfully NO Air! Across thou Mighty Columbia River, for which I didn't even think of Portland International Raceway in the slightest.

As can it really already be ten years since my last trek to Portland aboard Amtrak for that mostly forgotten Chump Carz' race...

As it's pretty hard to imagine today, due to my faltering eyesight that I'd be capable of making another Solo outing to the Rose City for another IndyCar race, if the series was so brazen as to return? Chirp-Chirp; Bueller?

And it's even harder to imagine that it's almost two decades now since Mary Ellen used to tease me 'bout us attending All five of Championship auto Racing Teams (CART) West Coast races, which I've listed in seasons past order: Long Beach, Portland, Vancouver, BC, Laguna Seca and Fontana.

And A-L-L of those Wisecracks PT', nee Mr. Chrome Horn or simply Paul Tracy enjoys making bout Scotty Scooter' Pruett and his famed Pruett Fade during the IndyCar TV Broadcasts. Always makes me think of Pruett and CART's yearly trek to Portland, since ironically 'Ol Scooter' was my very first favourite IndyCar Driver during those formative Portland International Raceway Dazes of Mwah...

Thus for nostalgic lore, along with this year's IndyCar Series championship being pretty mundane! I began ponderin' who from this year's just completed season's cadre 'O drivers were where a decade ago?

Hence, for 2007, Champ Car's final outing at Portland, and the series as a whole, Thar were Team Australia's duo featuring Will Power, the '06 Champ Car World Series (CCWS) Rookie Of the year, (ROY) partnered with rookie Frenchman Simon Pagenaud.

Another rookie of note was the precocious Graham Rahal, then an 18yr old teenager, partnering le Hamburgular', aka SebastainBourdais at Newman Haas Lanigan Racing. As SeaBass was en route to his fourth consecutive CCWS championship crown - before running away to Formula 1.

While that year's Cooper Tires presents the Champ Car Atlantic powered by Mazda; try saying 'Dat Fast Five Times; Hya! Saw the Atlantics series fielded by a bunch of familiar names compiling it's entry list, with the likes of
Jonathan Bomarito, Ronnie Bremer, Simona de Silvestro
John Edwards, J.R. Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Raphael Matos and Robert Wickens being names I recognize, but only part of the entire Atlantics grid.

As Rafa' Matos won the championship with six wins, while his Sierra Sierra team-mate, still campaigning to become thee Mayor 'O Hinchtown, aka James Hinchcliffe finished 4th.

Fellow Hoser' from Up North Eh! That Hinch' nicknamed "The Young Wicky," nee Robert Wickens finished 3rd, with his Red Bull Team Forsythe team-mate John Edwards being 9th.

Interestingly, the first driver I recall being coifed as "Captain America," a.k.a. J.R. Hildebrand, also contested the final three races of that year's Indy Pro Series for RLR Anderson Racing, before shifting to Indy Lights fulltime...

Frank Perera, remember him? Was the series runner-up with three wins, with Jonathan Bomarito 5th and J.R. Hildebrand 7th.

While another Kuhnaidiun' driver I was high upon, Kevin Lacroix, running a partial season finished P13, and "Symona-Symona," (De Silvestro) driving for Walker Racing wound up 19th.

As Hinchcliffe started from Pole both days at Portland but Saturday's race was won by Wickens and Sunday's by Lacroix, being their only victories of the season, whilst Hinch' went winless, but claimed three Poles...

As we all know, the '07 Indy Racing League championship, and Indy 500 were won by Dario "REO Speedwagon" Franchitti, part of Mikey A's Andretti Green Racing's IRL Quartet, including  TK' Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan, Queen Danica', (Patrick) and Marco Andretti, the 2005-06 Indy 500 Rookies Of the Year (ROY) respectively.

As my favourite memory of past AGR Super teams revolves around the Motley Crew 'O Franchitti, Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta. When TK' squirmed thru an interview whilst behind him, Dario & Co. were taking a Hacksaw to his custom bicycle!

Team Penske fielded HULIO' (Castroneves) and reigning IRL champion Sam Hornish, Jr., who'd yet to depart for the Dark Side 'O Roundy Round Taxicabs...

While Target Chip Ganassi Racing feature eventual four times IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and the late Dan Wheldon.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was the series Rookie Of the Year (ROY) for Rahal Letterman Racing, having replaced Jeff Simmons for the final six races.

And lastly, Tony George's Vision Racing team was running Step Son FAST EDDIE', nee Ed Carpenter, who's subsequently won three IndyCar races, all on Ovals, his fortay, along with being Mother Speedway's Pole winner consecutively between 2013-14.

For another story revolving around Portland's forgotten Open Wheel Racing History, Y'all may wish to read the following No Fenders tome...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

La Scuderia celebrates its 70th Anniversary with another World tour...

One of Ferrari's long line of racing Sports Cars, the mid-engine, Flat 12 Boxer 512BB LM
(Image source:
As Planet Earth is apparently Ferrari's Oyster this year...

By now, perhaps Y'all have heard that Ferrari is celebrating its 70th Anniversary around the globe with gala events extraordinaire, displaying many of Scuderia Ferrari's important motor racing collection, with events ranging from Silverstone, Monterey, Singapore, Monza and all points in-between...

As a key element in Goodwood'S recent celebration of Ferrari’s 70th anniversary at the Festival of Speed, held from June 29 to July 2 was more than 35 significant competition cars made in Maranello, including grand prix and sports car endurance racers, in addition to a number of road-going Ferraris taking part.
They were in action romping up Goodwood'S famous 1.16-mile hillclimb throughout the event, along with significant racing cars and star drivers participating.

From Ferrari’s long, continuous and hugely successful motor racing history were about 25 single-seater Ferraris, covering each of the key post-war Grand Prix eras, powered by tuneful four-, six-, eight- and 12-cylinder engines, including some with superchargers and turbochargers.

Single-seater Ferraris already confirmed prior to the event included a 1948 166, 1952 375 ‘Grant Piston Ring Special’, (IndyCar) a 1961 156 ‘Sharknose’, 1965 1512, 1974 312 B3, 1980 312 T5, 1984 126 C4/M2, 1990 641, 1995 412 T2, 2002 F2002, the F2007, not forgetting a pair of the Ferrari-powered Lancia D50s

Some of the Ferrari sports cars expected at this year's Festival of Speed chart the marque’s successes in all the great endurance races, from the 1947 125 S, via a 1950 166 MM Barchetta, 1958 250 TR58, 1962 250 GTO, 1971 365 GTB/LM and 1979 512 BB/LM, right through to the 1993 F40 LM and 458 GT2.

As some of those noted Star Drivers included the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart, Derek Bell and Dario Franchitti, while reportedly even Nico Rosberg was on hand.

Five of Ferrari's GT Drivers took part along with Development driver Marc Gene. As Davide Rigon piloted Kimi Raikkonen's championship winning F2007 up the nine turn Hillclimb course alongside Goodwood House.

Olivier Beretta was at the keyboard of Alain Prost's F1/90 Formula 1 car that the Four-times World Champion drove to score Ferrari's 100th Grand Prix victory, whilst Gene was the chauffer of an evocative F60.

Current Scuderia GT Pilotes Sam Bird and James Calado wheeled an FXX and a FXX K up Goodwood's drive respectively, with past Ferrari luminary, or should that be Hot Head? The mercurial Rene Arnoux piloting a 599 XX.

Whilst I've got NO idea if the story I've read recently about the 812 Superfast is Ferrari's latest Supercar?

And I would have loved to have been Thar, although they'd just have been colourful Blobs to Mwah, as I'd had zero clue that what will forever be the Monterey Historics to Mwah, now the Monterey Motorsports Reunion was taking it's part in the round the world in however many days? Mucho Grande Ferrari birthday extravaganza this past August.

Whilst lastly, apparently Italy wished to partake in its own El Speciale version of the worldwide celebrations, by hosting a Mega' party at Thar Home testing facility at Fiorano, where the Formula 1 cars once pounded round 'N round during the Schumacher era...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Forcing Perez's Hand...

As Juan' more seat on the 2018 Silly Season Merry-go-Round is taken...

During the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, or during its buildup? Force India formally announced the obvious, that Sergio Perez has extended his affiliation with the 'lil Silverstone based team thru the 2018 season.

As the 27yr old Mexican, who's raced for Force India since 2014, and had been rumoured to be eyeing the second Renault seat, or a possible move to Team Willy' elected to stand pat after the Tug 'O War over Carlos Sainz, Jnr has settled down for next year's services.

As the 23yr old Spaniard, who  currently drives for Duh 'lil Bulls', aka Toro Rosso will apparently now be on "loan" to le Reggie' next season, with an option to graduate to the B-I-G BULLZ', nee Red Bull Racing in 2019 if a seat opens up with either Daniel Ricciardo or "the Brat's" (Max Verstappen) departure.

Thus by my very unofficial count, Thars' just now approximately a maximum of four seats up for grabs for next year. With Sauber, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Williams all having potential openings...