Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Howling At Thee Moon - Tom Wolfe: 1931-2018



Sing it 'Ol Ozzie Osbourne, Uhm? Oh Yeah, Bark At The Moon...


So Y'all may be saying what's this Tom Wolfe Chap got to do with motor racing, Righto?

And I agree, it's definitely a STIR-RETCH, but; Thanxs to F1 Grizzled Journo' Joe Saward's Dogged persistence to reference The Bonfire of Vanities over thou past several years upon his Blog. Hey Joe Knows F1, El Correctomundo? Along with promising Thyself I'd listen to that book one day, Viola, Shuhzamm!

With Messer Wolfe's passing last year, I finally lit thoust rocket engine and got my local library, Y'all know what those are, Righto? Along with the Uber friendly 'N helpful library assistant Kevin's help via Intra-library loan, I got this book that I'd previously refrained from on CD Audiobook format, Justin-time' for Hunka-Hunka Valentine's Day! And simply couldn't put it down once I began listening to it.


As Messer Wolfe, along with Hunter S. Thompson were known for their unique styles 'O writing. With both arguably being instrumental in written word prose...

Tom Wolfe, Novelist and Pioneer of New Journalism Dies at 88

And ironically it was another Wolfe acknowledgement by Astronaut Scott Kelly, then setting the record for longest Man in Space aboard the International Space Station, (ISS) when writing a letter from Space to the esteemed author, replete with copy of The Right Stuff in Orbit which once again got me thinking about Tom's Books.

Whilst Commander Cody; Err Kelly helps continue on another Astronaut tradition, by driving a Corvette Stingray naturally...


Meanwhile, as one of my current Taglines judiciously borrowed from 'Ol Arlo Guthrie, Y'all know: "We're just Waiting' for It to Come Back round..." Which is exactly what I'm still doing upon having requested The Right Stuff at the same time I requested Wolfe's Bonfire of The Vanities, not knowing which would arrive first? Before Kevin said he'd put in a request for the library to purchase a copy of The Right Stuff for Mwah, since it wasn't available - and sadly hasn't arrived yet, since doing so this past February.

Thus I'll just leave Y'all with another rendition of Messer Wolfe's accomplishments in the following obituary...

Monday, July 15, 2019

F1: Haas Energy Partner Fuels Novel Sponsorship Approach



As wasn't it Good 'Ol Uncle Bernaughty who said Any Publicity is Good Publicity?

Whilst All thou Pomp 'N Circumstance this past weekend at Silverstone wafted over the Circuit's new five year Dealio' for Thee British Grand Prix, a different sort of noise was being made in the Haas F1 Team's garage, and around thou Globe with the continuing Saga spinning round the team's title sponsor Rich energy, and who's really in control?

Presumably Y'all have heard the TWIT-er' tweet allegedly spat out by Rich Energy's CEO William Story last Wednesday, which started this whole affair, Righto?


As Messer Story, whom some in the F1 Paddock have taken to calling Mr. ZZ Top', apparently is quite the Bombastic Chief Executive of this rival Energy Drinks brand. Who's also claimed that His company shouldn't be sponsoring a Milk Float in Formula 1; YOUCH!

Then, the next day, Rich Energy thru Haas F1 made a counter statement saying that the company's Termination of its Title Sponsorship of Americres' Team was "Fake News!" And was  concocted by a Rogue Individual who they were in the process of stripping it's Executive privileges in Thar Company. Which reading between thou lines meant Mr. William Story...

Yet as 'Ol Hobbo', aka David Hobbs used to lament over Professor (Steve) Matchett having eyes as Sharp as a Rat's; Hya! Any of Yuhs Sharpe Dressed; Err sharp eyed Formula 1 Fans would have noticed that Haas F1 was running in its bespoke Black 'N Gold Rich Energy Drinks colours this weekend at Bloody Silverstone.

Where Herr Goonter', nee Guenther Steiner, Haas's Team Principal told the various media it was Business as Usual for Haas this weekend, and he had nothing else to say upon the matter, wishing to not get into a War 'O Words.


Yet Mr. Story, whom apparently has control of Rich Energy's Twitter account has continued his verbal Broadsides against Haas, claiming he's survived a Palace Coup and is still in control.


As All of this nefarious Twittering seems somehow just a convenient way of Messer Story calling Smoke On! As this Mythical Energy Drinks founder's Bravado can be summed up by a recent Court's Judge proclaiming Mr. Story isn't exactly forthcoming.

Noting when pressed upon confirming his claim of 90 million cans of Rich Energy has been produced. Mr. Story admitted cheekily that although they'd produced said 90 million cans, he never said they'd actually been filled with his product!

For which basically I'm left wondering if this apparent attempt to extricate Rich Energy Drinks from their title sponsorship of Haas F1 is simply in order to free up cash for the settlement it owes Whyte Bikes for the copyright infringement lawsuit it's previously lost? For which Rich Energy had Failed to Pay by the Court Deadline...


As several Clever F1 People have previously said: "Watch this Space!"

Friday, July 12, 2019

RETRO: Corvette Racing Celebrates Two Decades of Competition in Gay Paree'



Long forgotten Callaway C6 Super Natural LM GT2 racecar and limited edition Le Mans Street Car. (Image source: callawaycars.com)
Although thou Bowtie' hasn't exactly gone outta its way to commemorate said Milestone, or acknowledge those that came before Thar Factory effort.

Sixty Years of Corvette's History of Racing at Le Mans

Funny, I suppose one whom lives by thou Sword, shouldn't be to annoyed to also Die by thoust Sword; Err Keyboard when relying heavily upon good 'Ol Al Gore's wondrous invention, Zed Internetz' doing thoust Heavy lifting, Eh?

As it's annoying enough over the sketchy "Broad Brush Strokes" painted over John Greenwood's Le Mans Adventures some forty-plus years ago. But Shit! Try finding any definitive information upon Callaway Corvette's racing at Circuit de la Sarthe, Uhm, Ah, Crickets; Bueller?

Reeves Callaway's first "Tuner" Corvette to race at Circuit de la Sarthe was his Mega Bitchin', as Randal, Thy No Fenders Moniker King would opine... Was the 1994 #51 Callaway C6 Super Natural Corvette LM GT2, based upon the C4 Vette' body platform, for which reportedly only four Racing models & five Street versions were built.

As it appears that Callaway's High Water mark at Le Mans came the following year, when the car finished a very respectable ninth place Overall, and runner-up in its GT2 Class,.

With somebody with the Sir-name Unser on its Driver's roll. As Johnny Unser wheeled' the #73 Callaway Competition Vette' with Co-drivers Frank Jelinski and Enrico Bertaggia.

Ironically, Corvette lost the GT2 Class Scrum that year to a rival Honda NSX GT No less! As the two now go Head-to-Head in Indy Cars.

While I recall briefly meeting Johnny during one of the Indy 500 Legends Day's outings, where he mused that "Uncle Bobby" (Unser) still thought he knew how everything should be done. Even giving Johnny instructions on how to coil up the RV's garden hose correctly...

Next, the Callaway's C12 replaced the previous Corvette racer at Le Mans beginning in 1997, contesting the ACO's GT2 Class against such Competizione as the All Conquering Dodge Viper GTS/R's, Porsche 911 GT2's and a brace of Saleen Allen Speedlab Mustangs to Boot.


With the C12's High Water mark reportedly being when it captured the Class's Pole position in its final outing at Circuit de la Sarthe in 2001. As Callaway's Le Mans efforts seemingly served as the bridge to General Motors finally deciding to enter its Factory team under the auspices of Pratt & Miller Engineering, beginning in Y2k', nee Double Buckshot, Ought', or simply 2000.

As when I think of Corvette Racing and it's Bad Arse Banana Yellow Vettes', I immediately think of Johnny 'O', (O'Connell) and Ron Fellows, along with "Mad Max" Papis and Scooter', nee Scott Pruett in Thee lead Dawgs' Vette', prior to "Ollie's," nee Oliver Gabins arrival. Whilst I vaguely recall Frank Freon in the Seester' Corvette, and totally forgot 'bout Bad Arses Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim.

As I tend to believe it was a long ago Speed Freaks interview where Johnny O' regaled us all 'bout his getting a speeding ticket in France with his son in the car, a "loaner" Corvette Obviously... Upon his way to Le Mans for that year's event.

Naturally, today when I think of Corvette Racing, I think of MAGS', aka Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, whom the team calls "Thee King 'O Spain," the aforementioned Ollie' and Tommy Milner, along with Thar Endurance event team-mates Mike "rocky" Rockenfeller and Marcel Fassler.

As Jan, father of Kevin "Bacon" Magnussen of Haas F1 Fame just contested his 151st race for Corvette Racing at Trois Rivieres, Canada, with the front engine C7'R's seemingly to finally be reaching the end of their fruitful competition life, albeit having claimed eight GT Le Mans Class victories at Le Mans to Date.


But Yuhs can never count out the Corvettes, especially with the likes of Longtime Crew Chief Danny Binks manning the Pumps! As it's funny knowing that Binks came to Corvette Racing from Blue Oval rival Roush Racing, where he led Tommy Kendall to three consecutive SCCA Trans Am Championships in a Mustang.


Whilst I totally enjoyed the very brief Racer interview with Corvette Racing's Manager Doug Fehan, who's been Thar since Day-1 and has seen plenty 'O Ups 'N Downs. Especially enjoy the part 'bout the team donning Beret's and Fake Mustaches for their first team photo.


Yet like I said before, this year's 24 Heurs du Mans wasn't what Corvette was hoping for, especially with Messer Fassler being taken out of competition thru No fault of his own.


As now we just await the arrival of the new C8.R racecar, Corvette's first mid-engine chassis, along with ponderin' what it's powerplant will be?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

RETRO: Celebrating America's Sports Car Corvette's racing Exploits in Gay Paree'




The 'lil red L88 Corvette that thought it was a N.A.R.T. GT Class Ferrari during the 1972 24 Heurs du Mans. (Image source: motor1.com)
As the Mighty Bowtie's Thunderin' V-8's on thou Mulsanne Straight and elsewhere made Fans out of "Frenchies' everywhere...

Although Corvette Racing isn't Basking in thou Afterglow of some 'lil 'Ol Red, White, Uhm? Baseball, Apple Pie and Bowties' Fourth of July Holiday, Mon Sheeree? Following it's disappointing outcome at this year's 24 Heurs du Mans, nonetheless like 'Ol Stuart would say 'bout being "a One Armed Paperhanger..."

Whilst unbeknownst to Mwah some five years ago, when I began scribblin' about 'Ol "Jimmy Rockford" taking his last lap aboard his Pontiac Firebird, was the fact that Thee late James Garner had owned a Racing Team briefly, that included running Corvette's at Daytona.


Or Y'all may wish to simply directly pass G-O! Collect your $200.00 and check out this gallery 'O photos instead...




Yet to my chagrin, Garner's American International Racers did Not compete at Circuit de la Sarthe in the Summer of '68, albeit he did make a racing movie titled the Racing Scene revolving around his short lived team ownership...

Although I subsequently discovered it was the Swiss Privateer outfit Scuderia Filipinetti campaigning a pair of those monstrous 7.0-litre Thunderin' Chevy L88 Aluminum Big Block V-8's at Le Mans in The Summer 'O '68 instead.

Whilst I know I snapped a picture of a beautifully turned out Scuderia Filipinetti Ford GT 40 in the Paddock of Portland International Raceway Wayback' in '92 during the SAAC 17 Convention, along with having a 1:43 Diecast model of the same car in thoust collection; But I Digress...

Reportedly the 1968 Le Mans was Scuderia Filipinetti's first of five straight events contested with said C3 Corvette L-88 Stingray,

Yet "Mr. Corvette," aka Dick Guldstrand & Co. Beat the Swiss to Circuit de la Sarthe by one year, when a Dana Chevrolet Inc. Vette' with Messer Guldstrand, who reportedly was the very first Hired Gun by somebody known as El Capitano', nee Roger Penske. Along with Bondo', nee Bob Bondurant raced that year at Le Mans, lasting just over the event's Halfway distance, before retiring at the 13hrs mark when as 'Ol Hobbo', aka David Hobbs would exclaim: Thar engine Done Blown U-P!

Not to mention the likes of John Greenwood and Reeves Callaway, but I'm getting ahead of Thyself. As Slow Down 'Boyo!

Since actually it was Briggs Cunningham, with much assistance from the Godfather 'O Corvettes, nee Zora Arkus-Duntov, whom also championed the creation of the original Z06 option, along with the Uber Nasty Grand Sport Corvettes.

As Briggs ran a trio of race-prepped Vettes' at Le Mans in the Summer of 1960. With the Corvette of John Fitch and the virtually unknown Bob Grossman coming home eighth Overall, and Fifth in the GT Class, behind Quattro Ferrari's upon it's Debutante outing.


Whilst Road & Track has briefly chronicled six decades of Corvette's racing at Le Mans in this pictorial story, which sadly, Thar Blinkin' website's Format is Not Screen Reader friendly; URGH!


Next Keeper of the Corvette Flame at Le Mans became American entrepreneur John Greenwood, along with his brother Bert's assistance. As John first came to prominence by winning Back-to-Back SCCA National Championships in his own Corvette in 1970-71, before landing BF Goodrich's financial backing for racing abroad at Circuit de la Sarthe. As the company wished to promote its Street Radial tyre products vs. Arch-rival Goodyear.

As Greenwood brought his outlandishly patriotic red, white 'N blue thunderin' seven litre Big Block V-8 Monstrosities across thou proverbial Puddle to Le Mans three times, i.e.; 1972-73 under BF Goodrich contract to race two cars, before returning at the ACO's behest in '76.

John's Debutante entry aboard his No. 28 Vette' ended fairly early, retiring with engine failure at the 10 hour mark, with his co-driver being none other than Dick Smothers! Half of the famous Smothers Brothers Comedy Act. With his second C3 Corvette, the #72 suffering similar engine failure.

Thoust whilst perusing the '72 race results, I came across the surprising discovery of longtime American Ferrari Importer Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.) bizarrely campaigning a rival Corvette, Huh? Which was Goodyear's way of getting its product onto the grid vs. those Pesky BF Goodrich Street Radial Shod Greenwood Corvettes!

With the team's primary car, naturally a Prancing Horse model, one of the multiple Ferrari 365 GTB/4's entered, being co-driven by Yank' Masten Gregory, winner of the 1965 24 Heurs du Mans, and  Luigi Chinetti, Jr.


As Greenwood didn't fare any better in his sophomore campaign in 1973, once again retiring with engine failure, while his other entry was Disqualified. Along with his Swan Song '76 entry at Le Mans grinding to a halt with fuel cell maladies after only five hours.

Whilst I still vividly recall running thru Thee back portion of the Paddock at Seattle International Raceway, now Pacific Raceway over two decades ago, during the mid-1990's trying to first discern, and then ultimately escape Thee LOUDEST, Narliest and Brutish! Racecar my ears have ever been subjugated too!

As it was one of those Uber Nasty Greenwood Vette's lumberin', stuttering 'N trundlin' its way towards the Pitlane and ultimately into action On-track during one of SOVREN's Fourth 'O July weekend Hystericals'; Err Historics Car races; YIKES!

As Y'all can have your Eardrums Blasted by one of John Greenwood's Nasty Corvette's in the following video below...

Which contrary to popular belief, weren't All full 'O Pomp & Circumstance. Since these Nasty Vettes' could reach a terminal velocity of 215mph on the Mulsanne Straight!
 

For Part II of this ever Mushrooming No Fenders story, see; RETRO: Corvette Racing Celebrates Two Decades of Competition in Gay Paree'