Monday, September 30, 2019

Ranking IndyCar's Greats

As now Thars' a Baker's dozen of Two-Times National champions...

Although I was ponderin' this prior to reading 'Ol R's, nee Robin Miller's latest Racer masterpiece. Where thou Curmudgeon 'O IndyCar's ponders over the Questione of which Era of IndyCar's Drivers were the Greatest?

Nope, instead I was Ah-wonderin' when Josef Newgarden claimed his second Astor Cup trophy, how many other Two-Times IndyCar Champions would he be joining?

Which my very Unscientific results garnered a Dozen Drivers preceding Newgarden, with the first to claim the feat being Jimmy Murphy in 1922 and 1924.

The rest in chronological order are Peter DePaolo: 1925, 1927; Wilbur Shaw: 1937, 1939; Rex Mays: 1940-41; Tony Bettenhausen: 1951, 1958; Roger Ward: 1959, 1962; Joe Leonard: 1971-72; Bobby Unser: 1968, 1974; Tom sneva: 1977-78; Al Unser, Jr.; 1990, 1994; Alex Zanardi: 1997-98 and Gil de Feran: 2000-01.

As that's some pretty Heady company Josef joins, as this Baker's Dozen includes a total of 16 Indianapolis 500 wins, which is now the only major item missing from Newgarden's resume.

Although Newgarden's got considerable miles to go to catch current Bad Arse Five-Times IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon! Whom also has three-times as many career wins as the younger Josef does.

As it'll be somewhat interesting to see if Newgarden can join the rarefied Air of Three-Times IndyCar Champions, albeit I'm rootin' for Alexander Rossi to stop the Penske Juggernaut!

Since currently only seven exist, i.e.; Jimmy Bryan, Ted Horn, Sam Hornish, Jr., Rick Mears, Louis Meyer, Bobby rahal and Al Unser.

As "Sam I Am" (Hornish) was the latest member to join this club Wayback in 2006. Whilst naturally, three Drivers were in thou Employ 'O El Capitano', nee Roger Penske. Meaning Josef's in Good Company towards doing so...

Friday, September 27, 2019

INDYCAR: Thou Chequered Flag Flies with Gripping 2019 Season Finale Finish in Monterey

Simon Pagenaud autographed "Hero" Card obtained during 2014 Sonoma IndyCar race weekend. (The Tomaso Collection)
A triumphant return to Monterey's Laguna Seca Raceway, with its signature Bits 'O Tarmac, i.e.; Andretti Hairpin, Rainey Curve and Rahal Straight. But Puh-puh-please, Knock Off this Herta House Insania!

Otay, I'll admit I'm a Glutton for Punishment, but; Especially since I only continue paying for monthly Cable TV Service in order to watch; Err  listen to Motorsports, nee IndyCar and Formula 1...

I eagerly awaited IndyCar's Season Finale from one of my favourite Racetracks, Monterey's iconic Laguna Seca Raceway, which Gasp, I first set foot upon a quarter of a century ago; But I Digress, especially since I've never seen IndyCar's race Thar...

Meanwhile, thou waves 'O Synchronicity come Ah-crashin' Down once again here upon thou Isle 'O Nofendersville. Since it weren't planned, but it's somewhat Karmic that I just so happened to begin listening to John Steinbeck's Cannery Row on CD Audiobook format the very same weekend of IndyCar's return!

Not to mention that the last time I visited Monterey, briefly carousin' Cannery Row and going for Walkabout in Carmel was '04, the very last year Champ Cars visited Laguna Seca Raceway!

Thus I Tuned-in' for the always Agro' inducing Pre-amble. As know you're just doing your job Leigh Diffey, but Seriously Dude? The Most Unbelievable Season Ever; BARF!

An Oh Shit!  Marty Snidely Whiplash! Snyder's back; GROAN! But at least my Numero Uno Pitlane Boy Professor B', thou Original JB', aka Jon Beekhuis is Onsite too! Along with Oh No, Wuh-Wuh-Wuh-Wipeout "Mr. bill!" (Kevin Lee) IndyCar's 'Ol Curmudgeon R' *Robin Miller( and The "Thompson Twins," nee Mr. Chrome Horn', aka PT' (Paul Tracy) and Townsend T-Bell' topside.

Whilst once again, Townsend had the Quip of the Day, when noting that the Dust-up On-track between Buddies Marco Andretti and Conor Daly looked like him and PT' in a pair of Rental Cars; Hya!

And it's S-A-D! How Yuhs can spend the entire race Yelling profusely to get that 'lil Punk! Although I know one of 'Ol R's, aka robin Miller's much mentioned Tag-lines is Hate's Good! I flashed upon the thought following Saturday's Qualie' outcome that I'd just found my new HULIO', as Helio Castroneves used to be my No. 1 IndyCar Villain.

And He'll probably be wearin' thou moniker for many years to come, especially since he's just a teenager. As I simply cannot stand the constant Non-stop Never ending 100% LUV-Fest Crush Colton Herta gets from the entire NBC Sports Network TV Crew; SPEW!

As BFD! Guess who also has two IndyCar career wins to his tally? Marco Andretti, who Ain't exactly lit-up the IndyCar landscape...

As I'm not gonna try recapping the entire race, which I'm calling gripping, since Tyre Deg' (Degradation) certainly kept me on the edge of my couch the majority of the race. For which I'd say Firestone did Thar job!

Wanting to know if one of the title competitors would go totally Off-strategy to Win? Since the Flinstone' Red Alternate Rubber seemed to only last a maximum of 21-laps, meaning it'd be at least a Three-stopper race at 90-laps duration.

Hey NBC! (Nothing But Commercials) Turn U-P the Bloody Sound! Like I'm so Tired of Hearing nothing but the ROAR of the engines making it Hard to follow along what the Announcers are saying, Eh? I said Gory Speak Up eh!

Not to mention I'm 86% certain it was the Whir/Whine of a Camera On A Wire, since I Didn't Hear Nothin' when I muted thou TV.

Thus, presumably it was racing Up 'N Down The Corkscrew that Leigh Diffey sez' is 153-feet elevation change! Along with some Narly 16% Grade! Although Paul Tracy claimed Yuhs only Dropped Six Stories; Aye Karumba!

While I've got nothing against Josef Newgarden, who I once was a Huge Fan of during his formative Sarah Fisher Racing Days, I found myself Rootin' the entire race instead for another of my past favourites to pull a Wabbit' from his Firesuit and Steal the Astor Cup instead!

As I thought it'd be wonderful if Simon Pagenaud could somehow vault from third Overall to P1? While Y'all might be saying, what 'bout My Un-Penske' Andretti Autosport Boy Alexander Rossi? Who I totally want to see win an IndyCar Championship, but he just doesn't seem to be able to Close the Dealio, and never seemed in true contention Sunday.

Simon Pagenaud - McGilvery's Pub & Eatery, 2013
Yet Pageantry' ran into a Brick Wall, or should that be a solid wall of Ice Blocks? Hya! As in a one Cool Kiwi known as Scotty Thee Iceman' Dixon, ultimately tusslin' over the podium's final step, which Dixon kept much to Pagenaud's dismay. Since he needed to win, with the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner ultimately finishing P4 and runner-up for the Championship.

Yet my Drive of The Day definitely goes to that other Rookie Bad Arse. A Swede' by the name of Felix Rosenqvist who with a mighty Chip upon his Shoulder, NO Pun Intended! Drove from 14th to a fine fifth to claim IndyCar's Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours. Not to mention finishing sixth Overall Points-wise, One position Ahead of, Ahem Colton!

Autographed Will Power "Hero" Card from Sonoma, the year he finally Clinched the IndyCar Championship. (The Tomaso Collection)
As I spent the last half of the race, Whale at least the final two regular Pit stops Yelling at thou Telescreen for Gulp! Another past favourite and Team Penske Driver named Will Power to get that little BLEEP to NO Avail!

Yeah, so the Kid had a Breakout rookie IndyCar campaign; So What! He's still got miles to go, and I think that the Competition's only gonna get tougher Overall!

As I Don't dispute Colton Herta's Driving talent, but He's just a 'lil too Smug for Mwah, and I'm tired of the Silver Platter treatment he seems to be getting...

While somehow I've got a feeling that the rest of the IndyCar Drivers aren't gonna just lay down for The Kid! Surely not having seen the last of Dixon, Rossi, Pagenaud, Hunter-Reay, Power's and Oh Yeah, Newgarden's Rear Wings!

But how long before Roger writes a Cheque too large to ignore and snaps up Colton to replace one of his elder Drivers?

Although Kudos to his Dad Bryan High speed Hurdles' Herta, for which I can No longer remember why I came up with that Oh, So Clever Nickname.

As I totally recall seeing him win at Monterey in a solid Black Textron backed Team Rahal mount.

For his classy answer to whether he's sick about The Pass? To which Bryan said he's honoured to be a part of it, especially after All of the Great things Alex's (Zanardi) Done!

While I'm not trying to take anything away from Josef Newgarden who won his second Astor Cup, especially since he had the most wins of the season with four.

But it sure seemed like he Backed into it, uncharacteristically running outside the Top-5, playing Defense Before settling for eighth, which was good enough since Pagenaud couldn't Crack the Iceman Blockade.

As we heard Tim Cindric, Newgarden's Strategist mention Josef was complaining of a lack of rear-end grip, which were the Tyres Degrading as designed to do. And the more I think of it, his performance reminds me of 'Ol Dario REO Speedwagon' Franchitti winning one of his Championships with a similar Defensive Drive at Fontana.

Whilst guessin' it's just Mwah? But I found Kevin Lee's winner's interview Quips 'bout Colton Herta being too young to Drink,  and being Under-aged to Celebrate being in really poor taste, especially in lieu of Herta's "Driver Coach" 'lil Al's (Unser) latest Alcoholism predicament...

Ah, now we'll get to settle down for a long Winter's Hibernation from thoust Growl of turbo-charged Indy Cars, as I Dunno? Only 323 Gory Days 'til St Pete's Season's Kickoff sometime next March; SHEISA!

(Simon Pagenaud McGilvery's Autograph c/o No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer CARPETS')

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

INDYCAR: 2019 Laguna Seca Finale - Winding Up to the Finish...

Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Team (SFHR) "Hero" Card obtained during the 2014 Sonoma IndyCar Drivers Autograph session. (The Tomaso Collection)
As will Josef Newgarden clinch his second Astor Cup title in thou past three years?

After an extra week's agonizing "Down-time" between Portland International Raceway's penultimate IndyCar race and the Season Finale at Weathertech Laguna Seca Raceway, it was finally G-O Time in Monterey, a week after IMSA held Thar penultimate event on the same scenic 2.238-mile, 11 turn Permanent Road Corse circuit that first began holding racing events Wayback in 1957; CRIKEYS!

The same 23 IndyCar contingent from Portland's race, i.e.; A.J. Foyt Enterprises, (2) Andretti Autosport &
Co. (4) Arrow SPM, (2) Carlin, (2) Chip Ganassi Racing, (2) Dale Coyne Racing & Associates, (2) Ed Carpenter Racing, (2) Harding Steinbrenner Racing, (1) Meyer Shank Racing, (1) Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, (2) and Team Penske (3) all made their way to the Monterey peninsula.

Along with the addition of a fifth Andretti Autosport entry, the No. 25 with Conor Daly, returning to the team he began 2019 with at Mother Speedway, making a total of 24 entries competing in the Laguna Seca event.

And with Indy Cars returning to Laguna Seca for the first time in 15yrs, teams were given an additional Day's testing to Dust Off the Circuit; Err, Uhm re-acclimatize themselves to a new racing venue for the majority of the grid, where the current Spec Dallara DW12 chassis have never raced.

Testing began Thursday with IndyCar competitors reveling in six hours of track-time, which OH SHIT! Here we go again, Slobber-Slobber-Slobber... Colton Herta was Fastest at Day's end.

But does it mean anything? Since his time was one second quicker than Scott Dixon led the morning's two hours test session by, as the track naturally "rubberd-in" from its previous week's Sports Cars Michelin compounds. As Points leader Josef Newgarden was an uncharacteristic 19th, with Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud fifth and sixth respectively.

Yet by the end of Thursday, Dixon wasn't even in the Top-10 conversation, Newgarden had jumped to P4, and Pagenaud was eighth with Rossi in ninth. While Will Power was the quickest of the Penske trio in P2, a Half-second adrift of Media Darling Herta. And it was Dixon's Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate, Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Points leader Felix Rosenqvist third quickest.

Friday's second Day 'O Practice saw three different Hondre' runners top the Timesheets, ultimately seeing Alexander Rossi P1. Yet it was a frustrating Day for Rossi who languished at the Bottom due to a Mechanical woe, and then from just using the Harder Black Flinstone' rubber, before Bolton on a set 'O Firestone Reds to finish quickest,
albeit Denoted as the Pit Stop practice/Warm-up session.

Colton Herta began the Day by leading Practice-1, before Ryan Hunter-Reay took over the mantle of Fastest in the latter Practice session. Then Rossi made it an Andretti Conglomerate Clean Sweep whilst Felix Rosenqvist nipped at Thar Heels, routinely in the Top-3 times, with Honda's leading the first five practice sessions.

But once again, you'd have to ponder were those Pesky fellers' keeping the tabs of Thar Bowties' loose? As Team Penske's will Power finished runner-up to Herta one session. And Newgarden was P4 by just Hundreds of a Second behind Rosenqvist, while Pagenaud was the quickest Chevy runner at Day's end Friday.

Then as Leigh Diffey likes saying, It's Go Fast Day! Having spent the entire morning Ah-waitin' thou crucial Fast Six shootout Qualie' session, I elected to tuen-in' to some Flat-trackin' Motor-Sickles' in order to Not Miss the following IndyCar TV Broadcast.

Huh? What's 'Ol Walldinger' doing talking 'bout the Pennsylvania Posse? As that's funny having A.J. Allmendinger calling Flat Track Motorcycle racing...

Amazingly, all four championship Contendahs' were grouped in Round-1's first Qualifying Group, with All four advancing to Round-2's Fast 12 Session. As they'd stay in lock-step All the way thru to the Fast Six Shootout.

And think the pressure wasn't immense for everybody competing? Just ask Rosenqvist how being fastest in the morning's third and final practice session transferred over to his Mini-pirouette causing his Fastest 2-laps disallowed, and not making the cut!

Yet naturally Thee Show focused primarily upon the title protagonists. And was it just Mwah? But What Thee Foobar was that constant grinding sound? That sounded like pebbles being washed-up upon the Monterey Beach during the entire Flippin' TV Broadcast?

Hmm? Me Thinks may be it was the sound of an Overhead TV Camera running back 'n forth chasing racecars Up 'N Down The Corkscrew? Which kinda Sucks when Yuhs cannot SEE what's making the Annoying Sound On-screen!

As Y'all know, us Blind people have Super Powers! Or was I simply Hearing Things? Since now that I've opened a window, Thars' a Nasty Baby Bird Squawking outside that sounds somewhat similar, Uhm, I Dunno?

Yet once again, slobber-Slobber-Slobber... As Colton Herta Stole the Show by claiming his third career IndyCar Pole ahead of Dixon, Rossi, Newgarden, Hinchcliffe and Pagenaud respectively.

As the Kid's Damn Smug! Coyly replying It's the Herta Jean's in regards to how he'd mastered Laguna Seca so quickly. Hmm, has anybody heard 'bout his Pappy Brian High Speed Hurdles' and something called The Pass?

As I mused to myself after the worst kept secret was confirmed during Qualie' that Colton's going to be in Andretti Autosport's 5th Wheel next year. Sayin' how Rossi's Road to the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Championship just got Tougher!