Tuesday, September 21, 2021

IndyCar West Coast Wrap: Laguna Seca

So I guess it really is the Herta’s House After All, Eh?

 

Perhaps it’s just Mwah, but I find myself more ‘N more interested over how the IndyCar grid progresses over the weekend, in what many drivers denote how they “rolled Off the Hauler.” Although thought it was Rookie Romain Grosjean who said you Don’t want to start off P1 since then you Don’t have any room to improve? Yet , being P1 All weekend long at Portland wasn’t too Shabby for Alex Palou!

 

Interesting first practice session results on Friday, with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden topping Ye Charts, followed by Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta nipping at his Heels. Herta led Mikey A’s three top 10 runners with team-mates Alexander Rossi fifth and James Hinchcliffe seventh. Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) Alex Palou was third with team-mate Marcus Ericsson P10, while CGR runners Scott Dixon was P11 and Jimmie Johnson P24.

 

Ed Jones of Dale Coyne/Vasser Sullivan was a surprising P4., with his Coyne-Ware Racing team-mate Romain Grosjean ninth.

 

Oliver Askew led the way for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in sixth, whilst Graham Rahal was 17th and Takuma Sato 19th. With A.j. foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais being the Meat in the RLLR Sandwich in P18.

 

Jack Harvey led the way for the Meyer Shank Racing’s duo, with Helio castroneves P13, one place ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, who obviously won’t be happy being 14th! With O’Ward’s “Wingman” Felix Rosenqvist P16.

 

Ed Carpenter Racing didn’t have a great session, with Rinus VeeKay P21 and Conor Daly P23, the latter just one position ahead of Jimmie Johnson!

 

Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was 12th, will Power was P15 and Simon Pagenaud was 20th. And Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay did little to impress in 22nd.

 

Rounding out the 27 Car field was Juncos Hollinger Racin’s Callum Ilott last, beaten out by Carlin’s Max Chilton and A.J. Foyt’s Dalton Kellett respectively.

 

Saturday Practice

Colton Herta sat atop the time sheets until Scotty McLaughlin bolted on a set of Firestone’s Alternate Red Rubber and stole P1 away from Herta! Alex Palou did likewise and vaulted to third. Simon Pagenaud jumped to P4 with Will Power behind him in fifth. Felix Rosenqvist took sixth with Alexander Rossi P7 and Ryan Hunter-Reay P8. Whilst Ed Jones slid to ninth with Josef Newgarden rounding out the Top 10.

 

Romain Grosjean dipped to 16th while Callum Ilott (P19) was the meat filling between surely two disappointed title Contendahs’, with Scott Dixon 18th and Pato O’Ward 20th, Yikes!  

  

Qualifying

Whale’ Lookie Thar’ folks, another Bleepin’ Roundy round race making us wait until 8:30PM (Pacific) for the Canned qualie’ replay, SPEW! Not to mention my P.O.s. ISP Crapping Out when typing this, telling me the programme isn’t responding, WTF! And now it’s done it again; Urgh, but I digress!

 

According to IndyStar’s Nathan Browne; Of the 23 previous IndyCar races held at Laguna Seca, the winner has come from Outside the Top 3 Starters only twice! The Pole sitter has won an amazing 15 times and only finished Off the Podium five times! Of the total 69 Podium finishers, only 14 have come from outside the Top 6 Starting positions. Thus  making It into the Fast Six Shootout Uber Imperative!

 

So wadda Yuhs know? The Taxicab bombers Show ran late with the Canned IndyCar Qualifying TV Broadcast starting at 8:37PM Pacific, Thanks NBC Sports! Since they Chopped 5mins out of IndyCar’s allotted 90mins Broadcast, BOO!

 

And the massive exploding thunder clap over ye bungalow By the Sea at 8:30PM seemed like an ominous sign of what laid ahead at Laguna Seca! Since perhaps it was a warning for what Colton Herta would do Race Day?

 

Group 1 saw Pato O’Ward advance in 3rd and Scott Dixon P6 with Romain Grosjean seventh and Josef Newgarden Knocked Out in ninth by Three Hundreds of a second! And will start a lowly P17 on a track notoriously difficult to pass upon.

 

Group 2 Saw Points leader Alex Palou barely scrape in at sixth quickest, with Conor Daly missing knocking out Palou by Five One-hundreds!

 

The Fast 12 saw both Palou and O’Ward having Scruffy laps but ultimately advancing to the Fast 6 Shootout, while Marcus Ericsson and Dixon would ultimately miss the Cut. As the Swede’ waited to see if he’d been impeded? Impressively Oliver Askew made the Fast Six Shootout, while Ericsson and Dixon wound up P7-8 respectively.

 

O’Ward was penalized for bringing out a yellow when spinning in the Corkscrew, and ends up P6 with Palou starting directly ahead of him on Row 2 in fourth. Will Power loses second place for not slowing down enough during Pato’s Yellow Flag and ends up third, whilst Askew ties his career best Qualie’ position with fifth.

 

Alexander Rossi moves up to start second after Power’s infraction, alongside Pole sitter Colton Herta, giving Andretti Autosport a Front row lockout. With Colton wryly noting how Mario’s sitting on Pit Wall and I’m sure He’s Happy about Power Not getting another Pole position…

 

Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin both failed to advance to the Fast 12 Qualie round from their respective Groups, as Grosjean will roll off 13th and McLaughlin P16. As the Kiwi’ currently sits 13th Overall in the points standings on 268 markers to Grosjean P15 on 230.

 

Race Day

While I enjoyed Pato O’Ward’s answer to Kelly Stavis Pre-race when asked how he was going to attack the start and get around Alex Palou; “Uh, guess I’ll Have to Send It! I’m kinda in a Chip Ganassi Sandwich…” As Pato was directly behind Palou and had Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon starting directly behind him on Row 4.

 

Yet O’Ward’s other answer was more telling, when he said they’d gotten the maximum out of the car in P6 after finishing 20th in practice. Which was a sign of things to come as Pato started on the Primary Black tyres with everyone else on the softer Alternate Reds and summarily plummeted down the order! And never once during the entire race got ahead of title rival Palou.

 

Colton Herta’s two biggest challengers took themselves out of the running, albeit Herta and Alexander Rossi touched on lap-2 with Rossi then spinning off track and going a lap down. Will Power had an engine problem on lap-3 and think he went two laps down? Whilst we’ll never know how much Palou truly had  in his tank? Since the Spaniard Harried Herta  all day long, but eventually settled for second, en route to widening his points lead over O’Ward to 35 points.

 

Driver of the race Hands Down was romain Grosjean who put on a passing Clinique where you’re not supposed to be able to pass! Rocketing from 13th to eventually the final step on the podium. (3rd) As two of his numerous 27 “Victims” were eventual fourth place Graham Rahal and O’Ward soldiering home in fith.

 

Scott Dixon probably had the worst day of all, first faltering to many while trying to survive on the primary Black Firestone tyres before being Hit by a backwards Takuma Sato, who’d spun ontrack, and didn’t manage to stop his car from rolling into Dixon’s path! As both Dixon and (CGR) team-mate Marcus Ericsson were mathematically eliminated from the championship Sunday.

 

Josef Newgarden had a pretty rough day, but made a four stop strategy see him finish seventh after starting 17th. Yet Newgarden fell to 48 points behind Palou and is virtually eliminated from the title fight also.

 

Jimmie Johnson had his career best finish in P17 and provided some of the races “Best” action late going when he was instructed to make Grosjean “Earn it!” And try to hold up the Hard Charging Frenchman who was trying to track down fellow Ganassi team-mate Palou running second. As the pair momentarily collided in the Corkscrew but both soldiered on to finish the race.

 

But make no mistake, Colton Herta put another Beatdown on the IndyCar field at Laguna Seca, leading 91 of 95 laps, following his 2019 rout of leading 83 of 90 laps! Having now won Back-to-Back victories in Monterey, and has now won one more IndyCar race then his Pops Bryan “High speed Hurdles” Herta did during his IndyCar career, with Colton claiming his 5th W’. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

IndyCar’s Championship “Chase”

Although We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Playoffs, Chase, Double Points or Lucky Dawgs’

 

With just two races remaining the next two weekends, i.e.; Laguna Seca and Long Beach, there’s currently 108 points still on offer. As we All know that Alex Palou has vaulted himself back into the Championship lead, and also currently has the most season wins with three vs. O’Ward, Newgarden and Ericsson’s two apiece.

 

2021 IndyCar Point Standings

1) Alex Palou: 477

2) Pato O’Ward: 452 (-25)

3) Josef Newgarden: 443 (-34)

4) Scott Dixon: 428 (-49)

5) Marcus Ericsson: 402 (-75

 

Won’t attempt doing All of the countless Points scenarios for who does what, since I’m sure everyone else will oblige! But obviously, if Palou leads Monterey 55 points ahead of his nearest competitor, (2nd) then He’s Champion.

 

Arse-sumin’ Palou won’t clinch the title Sunday, but probably gets very close to doing so, heading to Long Beach, but who Knows? Especially the way this Wild ‘N Wooly season has been going! But you’d have to think Palou has had his spate ‘O Bad luck already, Righto?

 

As it would be Uber entertaining to See’ Romain Grosjean claim his first IndyCar win of the season at Laguna Seca! But I’ll leave it to IndyCar’s Oldest Blogger Geo. Phillips to put the Dreaded Oilpressure Curse upon whomever instead, Hya!

 

As I suppose we shouldn’t count out Colton Herta as winner at Monterey, since if I remember correctly? Didn’t he put a Beatdown upon his IndyCar compatriots at Laguna Seca in 2019…

 

And Grosjean will need a mighty Points Haul to either close back into striking distance at Long Beach or Overtake Scott McLaughlin in this year’s Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Championship Fight. As McLaughlin has steadily increased his lead from seven markers entering Gateway to now a healthy 38.

 

Also like many, including Racer’s Marshall Pruett, I too simply got caught up in the Drama of the elusive IndyCar Leaders Circle Prize contestants, since I knew it was Only for Full Season entrants! So we can All count out Boobie Ruble’s #45 RLLR third entry being in the running for this, and ditto for the #06 Meyer Shank Racing entry.

 

As the two Fulltime entrants whom seem to have a lock at not making the cut are Carlin’s Max Chilton (P23) and A.J. Foyt’s Dalton Kellett. (P24) Like are you surprised? 

IndyCar West Coast Wrap: Portland

Like Ain’t Everyone still ah-Talkin’ about that Crazy Race in the Rose City?

 

Obviously Y’all know that IndyCar has commenced it’s final three races with it’s West coast Swing beginning at Portland International Raceway on September 12th, a track I know very well from spending copious amounts ‘O time at over two decades during the CART/Champ Car era. For which a tiny part of Mwah still wishes I was attending…

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2009/06/portlands-centennial.html

 

Arse-sumedely’, it had been gone over Ad Nausea that Arrow McLaren SP’s (AMSP) Patricio Pato’ O’Ward led the Championship with 435 points, 10 ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) Alex Palou, who’s had dreadful luck the previous two races. Third in the title fight was Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden 22 points behind, whilst CGR team-mates Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson were 43 and 60 points adrift respectively, which seem the most likely candidates to win the championship entering the Portland weekend.

 

Saturday Highlights

Will try not digressing about having to wait until 8:30PM Pacific to “Watch,” Err listen to 43 Glow In the Dark $19.95 Heli’ Commercials and the Delayed, Canned Qualifying TV coverage. Oh wwait, is Thar some Roundy round race at Bristol coming up next week? As it’s Uber Annoying having to go “Dark” waiting All Freakin’ Day!  Uhm, Aren’t we Doin’ that again this weekend? Oops, think I got that outta my system, Eh?

 

Saturday’s first Practice session involved three Red flag periods and the Top 9 being just 0.2 seconds apart. As Alex Palou finished P1 with a surprising Helio Castroneves and Jack Harvey P2-3 respectively. Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden were fourth-fifth, while Will Power was seventh. With Scott Dixon 11th and Marcus ericsson 14th.

 

Alexander Rossi led Andretti Autosport’s charge in eighth, with team-mate Colton Herta ninth. Both being Pipped by Coyne-Ware Racing’s Rookie Romain Grosjean in sixth, with Rookie Of the Year Points leader Scott McLaughlin P12.

 

Graham Rahal led the way for RLLR in 10th, with new #45 team-mate Oliver Askew ending up P16.

 

Amazingly, Jimmie Johnson who wound up 20th, finished ahead of Conor Daly, (21st) Simon Pagenaud (23rd) and five places ahead of Dalton Kellett!

 

While IndyCar Debutante Callum Ilott “Cruised” home for Juncos Hollinger Racing P24. Rinus VeeKay (17th) will get a 6-place Grid penalty for an engine change, and possibly ditto for Takuma Sato, who ground to a Halt early on. Whilst once again, the dreaded Cartoon Anvil Hit Ryan Hunter-Reay Yuhs Know Where! With a reported wiring loom issue curtailing his practice.

 

As Sato took an unapproved engine change and garnered a 6-place Grid penalty, with Hunter-Reay also expected to and thus, look for VeeKay, Sato and Hunter-Reay rolling off P25-27 respectively.

 

Qualifying

Yeah, I know that if you’re watching TV then it’s Arse-sumed You can See the Bloody screen! And the various Graphics, Hence the lack of true Verbal information on who’s in the respective Qualifying Groups or who gets shuffled out, leaves your Blind Word Butcher in Ye Dark, literally!

 

Thus All that came across during the first group was how Pato O’Ward had a really loose racecar with massive rear-end Drift and barely clawed his way forward by just surviving in sixth! With Leigh Diffey calling him the Ninja when going to commercial break and saying look at those Hands!

 

Group 2 also seemed a blur, other than Alex Palou began to stamp his authority on Qualie’ by being P1 in this group which saw Josef Newgarden failing to advance. As I loved the interview afterwards where the Team Penske driver was completely Baffled over his lack of speed and qualifying 18th!

 

Oh Yeah, think it was Group 1? Where afterwards they showed Romain Grosjean’s apparent infraction of holding up his Rookie Of the Year opponent Scott McLaughlin to which the typically blunt Paul Tracy said he didn’t think it was a penalty, even though Romain was given one, especially since McLaughlin actually got “Blocked” twice by two different cars, the other being Oliver Askew who didn’t get a penalty…

 

Conor Daly admitted making a mistake on his final lap and wryly noted starting in the back with Newgarden, Power and Uhm? They’re All trustworthy Guys to be around who won’t do something stupid, so we should be Ok.

 

For which the other “big Name” must be Castroneves, (17th) since Power was the Quickest Penske in 14th with McLaughlin behind him on Row 8 in 15th with Daly P16.

 

IndyCar Rookie Callum Ilott will start a respectable 19th with Jack Harvey alongside in 20th, while Grosjean who lost his fastest two laps rolls off P21, directly behind Ilott.

 

Then the biggest news of the Top 12 round had to be O’Ward  getting knocked out by his AMSP team-mate Felix Rosenqvist by some scant 0.013 seconds! With the Swede advancing and Pato finishing P7. Also impressively, Graham Rahal made it to his first Fast 6 Shootout appearance of the year, but once again it was Palou on top.

 

Have to say I was rootin’ for Alexander Rossi to take Pole, but Silly Me, Palou Owned the Day and captured his Debutante IndyCar Pole with Rossi second. Dixon took a quiet third with Rosenqvist fourth. And Rahal was P5 while Colton Herta’s gamble as the only car on the primary Black Firestone’s backfired as he ended up sixth.

 

Oh Yeah, shoutout to Oliver Askew who put the #45 RLLR entry ninth on his debut for the team, while Marcus ericsson will start alongside him him 10th.

 

 Race Day…

This simply has to be the most Insane race of the year! As I cannot ever remember a Start at Portland where the first two rows go Offtrack and Miss the first turn! Having to go thru the Chicane’s Runoff area whilst Pato O’Ward who’s starting seventh becomes the race’s leader! Whilst Romain Grosjean earned Racer’s Marshall Pruett’s “Golden bowling Ball Award” with a Direct Strike! As the Frenchman was described being like a Torpedo by Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe, who’s had even worse luck than Andretti team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay, said Grosjean’s Turn 1 Shenanigans were Comical!

 

And at one point with the IndyCar Race Stewards throwing the Hammer down upon the first four starters, O’Ward was suddenly leading the Championship by 48 points, Aye Karumba!

 

As Pole sitter Alex Palou, Second place Alexander Rossi, Third place Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist in P4; Instigator of the Blown First Turn when Nudging Dixon, were All sent to the back of the Grid in positions 16th thru 20th, WTF! Although little did we know how this would benefit them eventually…

 

O’Ward led for awhile before Graham Rahal in second performed the Overcut on O’Ward and then comfortably settled into the lead. But it was all for nought, as a Full course Caution for two cars stranded Ontrack, i.e.; Callum Ilott and Dalton Kellett brought out the first of multiple Yellow Flag periods, for which O’Ward seemingly got Hosed by.

 

And I still don’t completely understand how they did it? But Pole sitter Palou who’d been sent back to P16 or whatever managed to cycle his way to the front by having pitted on lap 9. Having switched to a three stop strategy during the race’s first 11 laps being run under Caution, as IndyCar Officials scrambled to reset the order correctly, not going Green until lap 11, Say What?

 

And even though Alexander Rossi had two restarts to try passing Palou, he simply couldn’t get the job done, as Palou held off Rossi and the rest of the field to score his third win of the season! And in doing so see a 35 point swing in his favour, and now leads O’Ward  by 25 points heading to Laguna Seca, who had dreadful luck and finished a lowly 14th.

 

Scott Dixon finished third, now 49 points behind. As remarkably, the Top 3 starters finish in their same positions, which seemed impossible after lap 1! While Rossi had to be disappointed finishing second! Although it’s his first podium of the season, and do I Dare “Curse” Him by saying He’ll win Long Beach…

 

Josef Newgarden salvaged a 5th place finish from starting P18 and now sits 34 points adrift of Palou. Whilst Marcus ericsson now seems out of the Hunt, falling 75 points behind Palou with a Ho Hum 7th place finish. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Tomaso Files: Deliberating A Different, Dark Day

        

No Fenders Scribe Tomaso incredulously meets the legendous' Alex Zanardi briefly at Mother Speedway on Carb Day, 2013. (The Tomaso Collection)

 

As Obviously the World’s a very Complex place, where we All face Unique Challenges…

 

This past weekend, if you Tuned into Any sporting Event or Television in general, as well as Mainstream Media, you were painfully made aware of the commemorations over the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, for which seemed nicely packaged to Tug upon the Heartstrings of Nationalistic Jingoism Honouring the Fallen.

 

Yet I cannot help thinking who are the Real Terrorists if the News I’ve just Heard and read is as Accurate as it sounds. With the Cost of War Project in association with the Watson Institute for Public and International Affairs of Brown University reporting on September 11th that the Price of Continuous Wars in the Middle East since that Fateful Day have Cost the U.S. Taxpayers $8 Trillion (minimum) as in eight Trillion Dollars! With Afghanistan alone projected to have cost $2.3 Trillion.

 

Not to mention the Horrific Casualties of Foreigners estimated between 897,000 to 929,000., i.e.; predominantly Muslims. And those are just the ones Officially reported.

 

Yet where was any mention of the Islamophobic, Racist Violence carried out upon Muslims living in the United States immediately following 9/11, and I’d presume still to this very day? Which I’d hazard to guess was every bit as Bad or Worse then the current day Xenophobic Attacks upon Asians over the COVID 19 Pandemic.

 

And while everybody was Honouring the First Responders for their Patriotic Duty. How come Nobody will talk about the fact that multitudes of those very same people have had to file Lawsuits and continuously toil in litigation in order to get Medical Benefits from the Deadly Cancers and other respiratory Ailments they contracted by working in Ground Zero’s Toxic Dump and persistent Dust Cloud that Blanketed New York City. As our very U.S. government’s EPA Director Blindly proclaimed their was No Health Hazard from prolonged Exposure in order to re-open Wall Street!

 

As the New York Daily News won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the very subject in 2006, but Nobody wants to talk about that…

 

No, instead I’m thinking of how today marks the 20th Anniversary of that Horrible, Horrible Day at the Lausitzring in the former East Germany! Y’all know when Zorro’, aka Alex Zanardi almost lost his life in that Horrific Shunt with just some 13 laps remaining, just four days later…

 

As I can No longer “See” him trundling down the Pitlane on the Speed-limiter going Wog-Wog-Wog before apparently goosing the throttle and ultimately Spinning into the path of unsuspecting Alex Tagliani! As I believe that Alex was leading the race and thought he had a shot at winning…

 

As Y’all can read about my Fading Memories of Zanardi in the following No Fenders rant when commemorating then the 10th Anniversary of said accident.

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2011/09/zanardi-ten-years-later.html

 

But Zanardi has proven time again that he’s a Fighter, not only returning to the Lausitzring two years later to finish his final 13 laps in a specially outfitted Hand Control IndyCar, where his speed was good enough to have qualified 5th for the race! But returned to racing first in the European Touring Car Championship, (ETCC) debuting in late ’03 before contesting the Full 2004 ETCC season in a Hand Control adapted BMW.

 

In 2005 the ETCC became the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) where Alex scored the first of his four WTCC wins between 2005-09, before retiring from WTCC competition. Presumably in order to focus upon Handbiking instead, since he announced his intentions of representing Italy at the 2012 Paralympics.

 

As Alex first took up the sport of Handbiking basically as a “lark,” when he decided to enter the 2007 New York Marathon with only four weeks of training and summarily finished fourth in his category!

 

Since then, he’s won a Slew of Gold Medals for various competitions around the world, most notably winning his first  two Gold Medals and one Silver medal in the London 2012 Paralympics.

 

Fast Forwarding Five years ahead, Alex was mesmerizing us again with his unbelievable exploits at the 2016 Brazilian Paralympics where he captured a further two Gold Medals and another Silver Medal in Handbiking!

 

Zanardi returned to the cockpit in 2013 when he tested a BMW DTM racecar at the Nurburgring, and has subsequently competed in the BlancPain GT series, made a One-off appearance in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) in Italy, and most recently contested the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona in a specially modified Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW M8 GTE Saloon.

 

Unfortunately Alex was involved in another Horrific Accident in June, 2020 when he lost control of his Handbike racing Downhill and slid Head First into the path of an oncoming Semi Truck!

 

Since then, he’s undergone multiple operations, but has first regained his Sight and Hearing, then the last news I can find upon him, claims he began speaking again this January after undergoing another operation to “Wake” his vocal chords…

 

Meanwhile, I’m not sure exactly when I first had the thought, albeit somewhere after the start of this year’s IndyCar season. Either sometime before or after the Indianapolis 500, and certainly no later then Road America.

 

As I’m completely amazed over how whenever I listen to Alex Palou speak, his charm, charisma and timre totally reminds me of Zanardi! As I feel like I’m listening to Alex’s brother, which in some small way I suppose I am…

 

Thus I find it totally Apropos, Karmic or Symbiotic that Palou not only Dominated the entire Portland IndyCar race weekend, but won from Pole after that most bizarre start that saw him and the Top 4 Drivers sent to the back of the field for Blowing the Turn 1 Festival Chicane! But I suppose it should have been expected, since after all it was the closest weekend for an IndyCar race ironically 20 years after Zanardi’s accident…

 

As Alex Zanardi will celebrate his 55th Birthday this October 23rd, for which naturally, we All Hope for it being an enjoyable day for the legendous’ Italian!

    

Monday, September 13, 2021

F1: Making A Mockery Out of Qualifying

Shame On You Liberty Media! Although everybody’s now just talking about Sunday’s Mega Championship Shunt instead…

 

All of the Subterfuge leading up to the second riveting Sprint Qualifying Race at la Autodromo Nazional Monza surrounded Mercedes Team Boss Toto Wolff deliberating the potential necessity to instruct Team Orders to assure Sir Lewis, aka Golden Child, nee Lewis Hamilton scoring maximum points.

 

Valtteri Bottas had pipped his team-mate Hamilton by a slim 0.069 second for the pair to line up in that order on the Front Row for the second Farcical Sprint Qualifying Race, with Wolff once again Hypocritically waxing over how He Didn’t like issuing Team Orders, since they were Racers at Heart. To which All I could Bellow Outloud when reading this Cockamamy Fluff was then Don’t Stick the Knife in Valtteri’s Back Again, Toto!

 

And although I’m totally rooting for Max Verstappen to knock Lewis off his perch of perpetual World Champion, albeit Figuratively, Not literally! For which I didn’t watch Sunday’s race; part of me was wishing for this exact scenario to play out in order to expose the Sham of this Contrived Qualifying Format! Since although it’s perfectly in Any F1 Team’s right to do such a thing as Ordering who Finishes where in a race and now Sprint Qualifying, this is Not what true Pole position is All about! Not to mention doling out points for the Top Three Finishers.

 

Even worse, Formula 1 Mouthpiece, Err Director Stefano Dominicali is trumpeting the case for having seven or eight of these Ridiculous Sprint Qualifying races next year. Ok, go ahead and continue Mucking round with F1 Liberty Media, but if you’re gonna do so, then Please do Not classify these results as Pole positions! As you’re tarnishing the Sport severly! As when will the first manufactured Team Orders Sprint qualie’ Finish occur and end up in the record books as Pole?

 

After All, notice how Red Bull sacrificed Verstappen’s Wingman Sergio Perez during Friday’s Pre Sprint Qualifying Qualifying, giving the Dutchman a Tow in order to ensure Max would be starting up front vs. the Mercedes on Saturday…

 

Also, which I notice nobody’s talking about at All is how the Fans as Always once again are taking it on the Chin, and in their wallets. Since the Sprint Qualifying weekend format reduces the amount of actual Track time, i.e.; what Fans Pay for when buying a Grands Prix ticket. As a Hour and 15mins time is cut off on Friday and a further 15mins is Nipped on Saturday, but somehow I’m guessing ticket prices aren’t reduced, Righto?

 

As the only change in position Saturday was Hamilton Muffing his start and dropping to fifth place behind the two McLarens that jumped ahead of him on their softer rubber Pirelli compound tyres, and then we settled in for a procession to the Chequered Flag, 18 laps later, Yawn!

 

As Verstappen was quite willing to follow Bottas home since the Pole winner would be starting near the rear of the grid due to having taken an unapproved Power Unit change. And thus if you’re just reading the Box Scores, you’re gonna be Confused over what happened to Bottas who “won” Pole?

So what’s next? Reverse Grid Starts, Oh Never Mind!

 

Afterwards, FIA Motorsports Director Ross Brawn tried explaining how even though they’ve now had two Duff Sprint Qualifying races, He still wants to wait until the final experiment at Sao Paolo, Brazil later this year before making any Judgements on it, and what possibly to do to improve it; Saying “They” Don’t want Any gimmicks or Contrived “Outcomes.” To which I immediately Screamed Then Get Rid of the Bleepin’ Qualie’ race Format!

 

As Knock this Shit Off Liberty Media! 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Year 15: No Fenders Turns Graham Rahal’s Car Number

A few assorted ticket stubs from various Portland International Raceway IndyCar races I've attended previously. (The Tomaso Collection)

 

Although You’ll probably just be ah-Sayin’ bully for You!

 

As the late Jimmy Neighbors would say, Whale’ Gall Eeee!

 

Since when I began trying to ruminate my thoughts ‘O Tiny Bubbles, Hey Stop That Don Ho! Nope instead, the words from that long ago Grateful Dead’s Truckin’ song came Ah-Blarinn’ onto my internal “Kenwood” Speakers. Yuhs know, “What A long Strange Trip it’s Been!”

 

“Sometimes the lights been Shining Down On Me,

Other times I Can Barely See,

Lately it Occurs to Me,

What A Long, Strange Trip it’s Been…”

 

But instead I’m going with the other, more Apropos song, since Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen was just asking me isn’t there a song about You know? What’s that ‘lil ditty about

 

”When You’re Strange, People Forget your Name,

When You’re Strange, Faces Come Out of the Rain,

When You’re Strange, Nobody remembers your Name,

Women seem Wicked when you’re Unwanted, When you’re Strange!”

 

As it seems like a Zillion years ago since I last wrote, Err typed my latest Birthday Salutations to Thyself here upon No Fenders, since apparently it wasn’t Lucky Number 13 for Mwah after all! Since little did I know of the impending Google Doomsday machine’s intentions! As 2020 seems like a Forgotten Year…

 

Although I’d told Y’all Wayback in 2019 I was sticking round for at least another year in order to get to the number 14, which I think is still a pretty famous IndyCar number El Correctomundo? As here’s the previous Anniversary notice.

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2019/09/no-fenders-turns-13-will-it-be-lucky-13.html

 

And although I’ve attempted toning down the past desires to use Hyperlinks upon Ye No Fenders Blog stories Ah-Plenty’ since returning in earnest. Please forgive the multitude of them in this Post, since I can No longer See adequately to Highlight them to properly Insert links upon the “New & Improved” Blooger’ Blog platform that I’m slowly coming to grips with.

 

Since if you’re a long time reader of the site, then you already know the painful Gyrations as a Blind Word Butcher I’ve endured the past year whilst trying to continue blogging and staying Connected in the “Wired” World, after Blogging came to a Crashing Halt last August!

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2020/08/title-technology-rears-its-ugly-head.html

 

As I could regale Y’all about how Horrendous of A Nightmare I’ve had trying to Arse-simulate into the All conquering World of winDOUGHS 10 and my myriad ‘O Technical Issues with my Putrid Zoomtext 2020 and Zoomtext Fusion 2021 Screen Reader, for which now some18 months plus are still Not totally resolved! But do you really care?

 

And I Don’t want to be too Nihilistic, as I Love that word, so Thanks Geddy! Even if Nobody could write the lyrics like the late Rhythm Professor’ Neil Pert could!

 

Since not only did I buy Geddy Lee’s Solo Album My Favourite Headach, but I also rather enjoyed it! Being the RushApyle’ I once was. Although Holy Crap! Did I really buy that CD 21 Freakin’ years ago? As that really startled me!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DylIPs2MI98

 

As I have to say I brooded slightly when “reading,” Err listening to a fellow IndyCar Blogger lamenting how Bittersweet it was that their season of attending seven IndyCar races live was coming to a close at Gateway, whilst No Fenders Moniker King Randal asked me recently what my next International Travel Plans were? To which I replied not only Don’t I have any, but I haven’t left Ye Utter’ Florence since November, 2019!

 

Not to mention I haven’t been to a Racetrack since the 2018 Indianapolis 500, which appears more ‘N more likely to be my last ever such outing? Even if Portland International Raceway is just some six hours North of me, which once again I’m foregoing. Especially since it takes so G-Damn long to get to the Mainland from Ye Isle ‘O Nofendersville Mateys!

 

As what would Jeffy’ of One Lap Down Fame’s Mythical Spotter say? Stay Focused Man, Outside, Outside, Still Outside!

 

Better watch out Graham, Ed Jones’ is on your Six!

 

This Blog ironically was Born on September 11, 2006, and the Debutante story was about Christian Klien rejecting Red Bull’s Offer, as where’s Messer Klein these days, EH?

 

As little did I (Or the World) know what would occur five years prior on that very same Gory Day, for which No Fenders was launched on solely by CoInky-dense, which would indirectly lead to this long Blogging endeavour I’ve been on ever since…


Oh Shit! Even though my Spectrum Cable TV Bill just jumped Ginormously! I do Not wanna hear Leigh Diffey telling us about that “Fateful” day two decades ago and thus, I suppose I’d better listen to the Portland IndyCar race via IndyCar Radio instead!

 

http://www.nofenders.net/2011/09/day-ferryboat-music-died.html

 

Thus, with Kimi “The Iceman” Raikkonen’s F1 retirement announcement and the 20th Anniversary of You Know What! I find myself reminiscing more ‘n more about that Oh, So Fantastic 17 day Road Trip to Mother Speedway! When Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary ellen, her Hoond’ Sarah and ‘Ol Blue, her 1980’s Ford Econoline Campervan took Mwah to my Debutante outing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2001 United States Grand Prix! Where not only did that fresh faced 21yr old Finn compete as a Rookie for Sauber, but also Fredrico Suave’, aka Fred Alonso as ‘Ol David Hobbs likes calling him race as a Rookie for the long forgotten Minardi concern…


Whilst I ponder if 2020 will be another famous year considered in the same gravitas that 2001 is due to the Horrendous COVID 19 Pandemic which certainly Killed way more People…

 

As I’d be remiss for not mentioning the untimely passing of Pixie The Wonderdog Wuf Wuf! Earlier this year, as I still miss her now, not to mention Kuhnaidiun’ lass Claire who Died from Cancer at Age 40 now nearly two years ago. Along with another Good Friend Joanie who Died this Summer who I never got to see again after we went into Lockdown Wayback on March 13th, 2020…

 

But on the positive side, Mary Ellen’s got a great new Hoond’ now, who’s name appropriately is Hilo, since that’s where he came from, who so far I’ve had the pleasure of meeting once and carrying him multiple times in the Doggy Backpack on the Beach

 

”Time is A Gypsy Caravan, Steals Away the Night to leave You Stranded in Dreamland, Distance is A long-range Filter, Memory, A Flickering light left behind in the Heartland…”

 

“We Are Only Immortal for A limited time…”

 

Otay, time to wrap up another meandering, waxing “Short” Ha Ha! Idyllic prose by your Humble Scribe Tomaso here upon thoust Mythical Isle ‘O Nofendersville, as somebody throw me a Lifejacket, please!


Thus although doing this Blogging Gig seems to have become a week by week exercise. Especially now when My ever decreasing typing speed, combined with my continuously faltering eyesight makes Blogging more 'N more challenging each year!  Even before thou Intrawoods’, (Internet) Blogger.com or my Putrid “New & Improved” Zoomtext Fusion 2021 Screen Reader AIN'T acting up or Blowin' Ah-gasket, SHEISA!

 

I’d like to stick around until 2023, since it should be a very interesting year in Sports Cars with the advent of the Hypercar era seeing la Scuderia’, (Ferrari) Porsche, Audi, Toyota, Peugeot, Cadillac and the other major Manufacturers contesting Circuit de la Sarthe, being the Centenary 24 Heurs du Mans outing. Not to mention the introduction of the 2.4-litre V-6 Turbocharged Hybrid IndyCar chassis.

 

Hence, like the Drivers say after every race, Thanks to The Fans for showing up here in Nofendersville and reading my eclectic scribblings upon No Fenders All these years!

 

Since this Uber' eclectic mix 'N veritable Spin Cycle 'O finely honed Thomason' Tex-Mex Jambalaya of Wordsmithing wouldn't have been possible over thou seasons without A-L-L of the Usual suspects continued yearly support.

 

Led First 'N Foremost by Mary Ellen, the late Kuhnaidiun' lass Claire and Blogmeister' Miguel! Along with contributions from Offical' Photographer CARPETS', Snowbyrd MJ', Randal, Thy Moniker King' and the Florencians Jeannie & Stevoe'. With continued assistance from Clyde & Nelie plus the still Mega' Killer official No Fenders logo provided by Artiste Dave!

 

Since like Melody Sheik brilliantly “Sings” in his Symphony of Science Masterpiece from a few years ago, “We Are All connected!”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGK84Poeynk

 

Arrivederci

Tomaso

 

Song Lyrics

From Top to bottom. (In Parenthesis) The Grateful Dead’s Truckin’, The Doors When You’re Strange and Rush’s Dreamline.                    

Friday, September 10, 2021

West Coast IndyCar Nuggets’

Even if Thar a Wee bitamyte’ Stale. McNuggets, Tastes like Chicken, Get It? Oh Never Mind!

 

Arse-sumin’ Y’all know of this weekend’s Portland IndyCar lineup changes, albeit one’s just the continuation of his partial season outing. That being Hulio’ The Dancing Fool (Castroneves) running the final three IndyCar races aboard the second Meyer Shank Racing #06 Dallara/Honda.

 

But the Newcomer I’m most intrigued over is the return of Riccardo Juncos with new co-Owner Brad Hollinger and the revamped Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) #77 Dallara/Chevy that will make it’s debut at Portland, as the team contests the final three IndyCar races as a tune-up for Thar 2022 Full Season campaign as a one car entry.

 

Much has already been reported about their surprising choice of driver. As current Scuderia Ferrari Protégé Callum Ilott, last year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship Runner-up to current Haas F1 Rookie Mick Schumacher will try his hand in an IndyCar a la fellow Formula 2 compatriot Christian Lundgaard did earlier this season.

 

As the 22yr old Briton is currently slated to just contest Portland due to other commitments, albeit Riccardo Juncos is holding out Hope that they can secure Ilott for the entire West Coast swing.


With JHR having confirmed Ilott will run All three remaining West coast IndyCar races Friday morning, while speculation suggests this could be an audition to become the team’s Fulltime driver for 2022…


And while I like this Bold choice, presumably partially aided by the fact that Messer Hollinger was a major Williams F1 Shareholder and hence knows other Formula 1 luminaries? I’d actually expected JHR to have tabbed another Young Gun instead.

 

As I thought that Oliver Askew would have been the team’s preferred choice? Especially to build a team around for the future. But perhaps they already knew that Askew had been selected to run out the string aboard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s third IndyCar entry, where Oliver will be behind the keyboard of the team’s #45 thru the season finale at Long Beach.

 

Lastly, and I’m a Wee Bitamyte’ Cornfused over this, but A.J. Foyt Enterprises has confirmed that ‘Ol Narly Pinball’, aka Charlie Kimball will pilot the #11 at Long Beach, when the team enters a third Dallara/Chevy for the Californian. As I wonder if this is a trial outing for Kimbal’s return next season? Since I really Don’t know which driver, i.e.; Kimball or Dalton K-Tel’ Kellett’s better, Ouch! 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Changing of The Guard

Although I expect the Turnover to be Much Higher in Indy Cars shortly…

 

Last week Thee Original Iceman, nee Kimi and His Oomphlats’, aka Kimi Raikkonen announced his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of this season, ending a career in Ye Pinnacle ‘O Motorsports that covers two decades, albeit having been on Sabbatical between 2010-2011 when he tried his hand as a World Rally Championship (WRC) driver.

 

At Age 41, Raikkonen is not only the Elder Statesman of Formula 1, but arguably it’s current Ironman, as he’ll become the first F1 Driver to ever start 350 Grands Prix at Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Street race in Jeddah on December 5th, provided no more major interruptions due to Covid in this year’s schedule. (Uhm, that was Prophetic)

 

As Raikkonen’s just completed his 342nd start at Zandvoort, and is Zeroing in upon a milestone once thought incomprehensible. As Kimi eclipsed the previous record holder Rubino’, aka Rubens Barrichello’s feat of 322 Starts last October at the Nurburgring’s Eiffel Grand Prix.

 

Having scribbled that prior to Kimi testing positive for COVID 19 at Zandvoort and being replaced by Alfa Romeo Reserve Driver Robert Kubica, meaning Kimi’s still on 341 Grands Prix Starts prior to Monza. Although Raikkonen’s long ago said he doesn’t care about records…

 

And although Kimi’s departure theoretically opens one seat on the F1 grid for Alfa Romeo, we’re all Ah-Waitin’ the confirmation of the worst kept secret of fellow countryman Valtteri Bottas, Kimi’s Bosom buddy taking his seat for 2022.

 

Guess now that Valtteri’s finally been officially confirmed at Alfa Romeo on a multi-year contract beginning next year, the question is who’ll be his team-mate?

 

Thus Fredrico Suave, aka Fernando Alonso now 40 will take over the mantle of Elder Statesman in F1 next season, and with his confirmation plus Esteban Ocon on a long term contract, there’s no place for the Junior alpine Academy drivers to go.

 

Alpine Academy

Christian Lundgaard, Denmark; (2017) Guanyu Zhou, China; (2019) Oscar Piastri, Australia (2020)

(Year = When Entered Programme)

 

As why do I bring this up? Well you’re All aware of current Alpine Academy driver Christian Lundgaard who’s currently contesting his Sophomore campaign in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, The final rung on the ladder into Formula 1. As the Dane’ recently made his IndyCar Debut in a “One Off” appearance for Bubbie Ruble and Company during the August 14th IMS Road Course race, part of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s “gong Show” tryout for who’ll potentially drive it’s third #45 entry in 2022.

 

Ferrari Driver Academy

Marcus Armstrong, New Zealand; (2017) Callum Ilott, UK; (2017) Robert Shwartzman, Russia; (2017) Mick Schumacher, Germany (2019)

 

As we know, Juncos Hollinger Racing recently announced the news that it will put Ferrari Academy Driver Callum Ilott behind the wheel of  it’s #77 Dallara/Chevy IndyCar at Portland, as the team reboots  itself with contesting the West coast’s final three IndyCar races before going Fulltime in 2022.

 

As Ilott’s currently the Ferrari F1 Test and Alfa Romeo Reserve Driver, and just finished third in the LM GTE Am Class at Le Mans, naturally aboard a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. Whilst I’m slightly Cornfuzed over why Mick Schumacher who’s contesting his rookie season in Formula 1 for the Haas F1 Team is still a “Junior” Driver?

 

Red Bull Junior Team

Juri Vips, Estonia; (2018) Liam Lawson, New Zealand; (2019) Jehan Daruvala, India (2020)

 

As it’s interesting how some of the “Major” Players in Formula 1 are seeking alternative “High Octane” Series for their prospective future F1 Pilotes to stay sharp in. As some Noise was made when current Red Bull “Junior” Alexander Albin visited Mother Speedway’s Paddock during the second (IMS) Indianapolis Road Race, and even sat in Romain Grosjean’s Dale Coyne IndyCar cockpit just to get a feel. Although Red Bull’s currently trying to find a seat for Albin in Formula 1 next year either at Alfa Romeo or Williams.

 

Sauber Junior Team (Alfa Romeo)

Theo Pourchaire , France(2019

 

Reportedly Alfa Romeo F1 Team Boss Frederic Vassdur is very High upon Monsieur Pourchaire who’s contesting his rookie season in F2. And thus the possible signing of Albin would potentially be a Roadblock for the young Frenchman’s advancement to Formula 1, since you’d think Albin would want more than a one year deal? Thus should alfa keep current F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who just had his best ever Qualifying result at Zandvoort for one more season as a “Stop Gap?” As who knows what the Swiss based F1 outfit will do?

 

Williams Driver Academy

Jamie Chadwick, UK; (2019) Jack Aitken, UK; (2020) Roy Nissany, Israel (2020

 

I included Jamie Chadwick’s name since she’s the reigning Womens W Series Champion and currently is tied at 109 points in a fierce fight with Alice Powel for this year’s title, with Powell holding the tiebreaker with three wins to Chadwick’s two.

 

Jack Aitken and Roy Nissany are both Formula 2 Journeymen and cannot be considered as potential F1 Graduates. While it would seem Odd for Team Willy’ to take Red Bull’s Albin over Mercedes “Junior” Nyck De Bries, the reigning Formula E Champion, since Williams runs Merc’ PU’s (Power Unit) and Drivetrains.

 

As Aitmen who’s Williams Reserve Driver suffered fractures to his collar bone and vertebrae, plus a Bruised lung during a Massive Shunt during the opening hour of this year’s Spa 24 Hours race aboard a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, and is still recovering a month later.  

 

Other F1 Driver Academy’s

With the exception of Callum Ilott, Mick Schumacher and Jamie Chadwick above, the rest are All current Formula 2 Drivers, and some of the programmes have many more Junior Members on their Books, but I only focused upon F2 since these are the most likely to graduate to F1 or alternatively IndyCar.

 

McLaren currently has No members in it’s Young Driver Programme, while Mercedes highest Junior Team Driver is Frederik Vesti in the FIA Formula 3 championship.

 

Haas only has Pietro Fittipaldi who contested his Debutante Indy 500 this May on it’s Development “Scheme,” but is effectively Ferrari’s F1 Junior Team.

 

Aston Martin doesn’t have a programme at the moment, while AlphaTauri as we know are the ‘lil bulls, aka Red Bull Racing’s “B Team” and thus, share the Energy Drinks “Development Pool” with the Big Bullz’.

 

As it’s interesting how times have changed, since Raikkonen was an exception when he began Formula 1 twenty years ago. Having won 13 out of the 23 scant “Junior” category Single seater races entered, including winning the 2000 Formula Renault UK Championship before jumping straight into Peter Sauber’s F1 Team despite the protests of then major backer Deeter Majestik’, nee Dietrich Mateschitz. Not to mention then FIA President Max Mosley, who put him on a four race probation period.

 

As I Arse-sume it’s just coInky-dense that Red Bull began it’s Junior Driver programme that same year? When Danny Sullivan was helping them to find the next American Formula 1 Driver, Y’all remember Scotty “The Goose” Speed?