Friday, July 28, 2023

HYDROS: Can the Miss Madison Racing Organization stay on Top?

Although Strong Racing will give them a Hard fight this season!


This year, your Humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso’s very late to the party, with Half of the 2023 season over! And hence, I’m just attempting to give a brief overview of the nine H1 Unlimited Drivers competing this year, along with their respective teams. For which Y’all can compare ‘N contrast wit last year’s No Fenders Season preview below.


As the Miss Madison Racing organization has been the team to beat for eternity now! Having read they’ve won 11 of the last 14 National High Points championships, aye Karumba!


Miss Madison Racing

U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank, (R) Dylan Runn

U-91 Miss goodman Real Estate, Andrew Tate

Obviously the biggest news for the Miss Madison organization is that Jimmy Shane retired at the end of the 2022 season. With Shane leaving a massive hole due to His seven National High Points Drivers Championships and five Gold Cup wins. Along with a stout 25 overall victories!


As Shane’s seven Driver’s titles ties Him for second overall in the sport with the legendous’ “Mr. Unlimited”, aka Bill Muncey. Behind only Dave Villwock’s impressive ten Driver’s titles.


While as I scribbled Here upon No Fenders last year, His 25 victories tie Him for fourth overall with the late Dean Chenoweth. Surpassed only by the Sport’s pantheon of Greats, i.e.; Villwock’s 67 wins, Muncey’s 62 and Chip Hanauer’s 61!


According to H1 Unlimited’s official website, Runn becomes the 24th Miss Madison Racing driver, and is a multi-times Hydroplane Champion both in American and Canadian waters.


As Runn is a third generation Boat racer from New York with over 20yrs racing experience, and was the 2017 Hydroplane Racing League (HRL) Rookie Of the Year. Along with being the first in HRL history to win three consecutive Championships in three different classes!


Dylan took the team’s sister U-91 Unlimited out during the Sunday morning test period during last year’s San Diego Bayfair regatta and ran consistent laps at 138mph-plus, with a fastest lap of 156mph and change. (156.857mph)


Runn won His first preliminary Heat appropriately in Madison, Indiana, when beating Dustin Echols in Heat 3, before the finals were cancelled. And it won’t be a surprise if Dylan finds enough confidence in one of the best Hulls to fight for victory in the final two events.


Andrew Tate returns to the cockpit of an big Boyz’ Unlimited Hydroplane after a year’s hiatus, replacing Jeff Bernard in the U-91. As Andrew became my favourite Unlimited Skipper when previously driving the Jones Racing U-9 Les Schwab Hydroplane. Which He piloted to the 2018 National High Points Championship along with winning that year’s Gold cup event, appropriately in His Home state at Detroit. Joining His father Mark, whose won the Gold Cup twice and is a Michigan Hall of Fame inductee.


Tate had a Deck-to-Deck duel with Cory Peabody in the U-9 Beacon Plumbing in Heat 2 before Peabody finished ahead of Him. With Tate winning over Peabody’s teammate J. Michael Kelly in their next preliminary Heat before the day’s final at Guntersville Southern Cup.


Don’t know what exactly happened, other than I think I heard that Tate got “Washed Down” or ran into someone else’s Roostertail before Flipping at the start of the Southern cup’s Final! With Tate landing upside down during His Blowover!


And although Tate was checked and released from the Medical Center, the U-91Miss Goodman Real Estate, which was credited with finishing second in the Final on accumulated points. Was damaged enough that the team was forced to skip the next event, the team’s Home race at Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River!


Although I’ll expect Miss Goodman Real Estate to be ready to race in both upcoming Washington events. Especially since I believe Seattle’s it’s Home event, where Tate should be a “Strong” Contendah’ for the Gold Cup victory…


Go3 Racing

U-3 Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, Jimmy King

This is the only remaining Piston powered Hull in the Unlimited fleet still competing. With the ‘Ol U-3 sporting a twin turbocharged V-12 Allison. Arse-sumedly with one turbo per bank of six cylinders behind the cockpit vs. the traditional front engine piston layout of the 1950’s thru Mid-1980’s.


And with Dave villwock’s retirement again last year, at Age 62, King becomes  the Sport’s Oldest Skipper in the fleet. As King’s been driving this boat since 2005, has contested some 84 races with 30 Heat wins. And was the 1994 Unlimited Hydroplane rookie Of the Year.


Thus, with such familiarity behind the Keyboard of the U-3 Griggs present Miss Ace Hardware Hull. Led to Him apparently winning His preliminary Sunday Heat vs. Jamie Milsen in the U-11 Legend Yacht Transport at Guntersville. Before being Disqualified for failing to run the minimum 80mph “Planing” speed during the five minutes Milling period, with Milsen being declared the winner.


Whilst I’ve got Zero idea if King was involved with Tate’s Blowover during the Southern cup Finale or not? Since King and the U-3 didn’t compete at Madison.


And I’ve got no idea if they’ll make the trip to Warshington’ or not? Since I Don’t do the Facebook thing and apparently it’s a State Secret where the team’s located? Although I believe Thar on the East Coast somewhere?


Whilst I won’t expect it to happen. The U-3 could be a “Sleeper” pick at the Gold Cup this year due to Seattle’s notorious “rollers” bouncing off of the Log Boom…


As C’mon H1 Unlimited, you can at least provide where each team’s located in your Team profiles! Whilst if I can Gory afford a yearly website domain, then GO3 Racing can do so, and have a team website for Fans to peruse!


(R) Denotes Rookie Driver 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

HYDROS: H1 Unlimited Roars onto Backstretch of 2023 Season

As Hopefully, the final two races won’t be as Wild ‘N Wooly as the first two!


It’s really Hard for me to discern if the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane series is still a popular event or just treading water these days? As how many of Y’all know that the 2023 season is already halfway done?


Since just mere days before the start of the season in Alabama. The series publicly responded to San Diego’s postponement of this year’s Bayfair regatta due to incurring steep increases in production costs. With the organizers of the long running event featuring the Bill Muncey Cup claiming they planned to return next year.


And although the series was hopeful of eight Unlimited Hydroplane boats showing up for the Lake Guntersville Southern Cup on June 25th, only seven Hydros made the trek to Alabama.


And whilst the series has a new Broadcast partner, being available on Speed Sports One Motorsports Network, whatever that is? I prefer just “watching”, Err listening to the final Heat via H1 Unlimited’s Youtube channel.


Yet unbeknownst to Mwah, this year’s Southern Cup Final Heat was cancelled due to inclement weather. Yet the Final began before the impending Thunderstorm arrived. But due to one of the competitors Flipping! The race was cancelled since Thunder ‘N Lightning would arrive shortly afterwares.  With the day’s winner being awarded on overall weekend points.


Next, with the Madison regatta just a week later, two Hydros’ failed to show due to damage that couldn’t be repaired in time to at least one of the participants. Meaning only five Big Boyz’ Hydroplane’s showed up at Madison’s Ohio river for the July 2nd event.


And then I “Rinsed, lathered and Repeated”. When a week later, Lightning struck twice! Since once again, I searched Youtube repeatedly in vain! As the Madison Governor’s cup final was also scratched due to inclement weather after another Blowover incident during the final Heat, before more bad weather was expected to arrive again…


And with that, the Unlimiteds roar down the Backstretch to the final two races in my former Home state of Washington, with Seattle’s Seafair race hosting this year’s APBA Gold cup event August 6th.


Hopefully the entire field of a promising nine Hulls will make the drive over to Eastern Warshington’ for the upcoming Tri-Cities Columbia  Cup on July 30th.  Since several teams are located in the Seattle Metropolitan area.


With the U-1 Miss HomeStreet, U-3 Miss Griggs Hardware, U-8 Beacon Electric, U-9 Beacon Plumbing, U-11 Legend Yacht Transport, U-21 Lakeridge Paving, U-40 Bucket List Racing, U-91 Miss Goodman Real Estate and U-440 Boitano Homes All being listed as possible season entries upon the series official website.


Yeah, I know it’s been the HAPO Columbia Cup for a longtime now, but I prefer to think of the event in it’s more appropriate name of the Atomic Cup instead! With the race known by this moniker from it’s inception in 1966 thru 1972, due to it’s proximity of some place called Hanford. Where weapons grade Plutonium was made for the Manhattan project during World War II and thru the Cold War.


As the prestigious APBA Gold Cup event has been held at Tri-cities five times overall. With such luminaries as Dean Chenoweth, George Henley, Bill Muncey, Chip Hanauer and Jimmy Shane having won on the Mighty Columbia.


Meanwhile, Seattle has hosted the APBA Gold cup 14 times by my reckoning, the second most Post War following the Cup’s spiritual home of Detroit. Until either the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, since I cannot find an exact date when regulations changed.


As the Gold Cup race was then held at the previous year’s winner’s choice, ergo Home course. Seeing Seattle host the Gold Cup for five straight years between 1951-55, after Ted Jones and His revolutionary Miss Slo-Mo-Shun IV shocked the Boating world upon winning the 1950 event in Detroit With the Slo-Mo-Shun IV and V Hydroplanes capturing the next four Gold Cups!.


After returning to Detroit for 1956, Seattle held the event from 1957 to 1959. Then the race migrated to Las Vegas on Lake Mead, with no race being contested due to high winds.


Then firmly known as The “Jet City”, due to some ‘lil Aeroplane concern called Boeing. Seattle held the race in 1962, 1965 and 1967. Seven years later, and sandwiched between it’s Eastern neighbors Tri-Cities two events, the Gold Cup was back in Seattle for 1974.


The Gold Cup didn’t return to the shores of Lake Washington until 1981, and then hosted it’s penultimate race some Gory 38 years ago in 1985, Eureka!


Whilst Ye legendous’ Gold Cup didn’t return to Washington State overall for another three decades, before being held on the Columbia River at Tri-cities in 2015. Being the first time held in Eastern Washington since Gory 1984


As can my favourite Unlimited driver Andrew Tate add His name for a second time to match His father Mark’s two Gold Cup triumphs this August?


Or will Cory Peabody claim His second Gold Cup victory in-a-row? With teammate J. Michael Kelly saying not so fast Cory. I’m planning to win my second Gold Cup this year!


As these three Skipper’s are the only current Gold Cup winners in this year’s field. With three rookies looking to make the finals. Whilst I Don’t even want to contemplate what the “Over/Under” on how many Blowovers occur is?


While Don’t forget those fabulous Blue Angels precision Air show! When hopefully “The Bluest Skies You’ve ever Seen are in Seattle” won’t be obscured by Hazy Smoke from Forest Fires… 

Monday, July 24, 2023

No Fenders on Campin’ Safari

An exhausted Hang 10’ Hilo after another Hard Days work upon thoust dusty Trail. (The Tomaso Collection)


Although I Highly Doubt I’ll be Out in any Deep Bush. As always, I’m looking forward to another visit with my “guide Dog” Hang 10’ Hilo!


To All of my few, remaining loyal No Fenders readers. Since I believe that I’ve been unfairly punished by Ye Google Munster’ for no apparent reason! Hence seeing my traffic count drop precipitously, Bastardoes!


Uhm, where’s ‘Ol Jeffie’ of One Lap Down with His mythical Spotter to tell me to Stay focused Man, Outside, Outside, Still Outside! But I digress…


AnyHoo’, this is just supposed to be a Short Jot as Grizzled F1 Journo’ Joe Saward would write, Err type…


Letting Y’all know that your Haggard No Fenders Scribe Tomaso is going on Holiday again, Mateys! Leaving Yuhs with several finely crafted No Fenders “Canned” stories to tide Yuhs over whilst Tomaso goes Out ‘N Aboot’  to “Play” in thoust Wilderness.


As I’ll leave Y’all with a great song from the late Piano virtuoso George Winston aptly titled woods! For which I not only find calming and refreshing. But makes me think of a Woodpecker hard at work in the forest… 

Friday, July 21, 2023

A little known Portland Fast Facts tidbit

Where A little country, And a Whole lotta Rock “N roll’s taken place…


This No Fenders story came Ah-Percolatin’ back upon Thy Memory-screen following the running of this year’s inaugural Portland E-Prix. Like Y’all heard about the just concluded Formula E race at Portland International Raceway, Righto?


And speaking ‘O firsts, get it? As in Portland’s first E-Prix…


Ironically, History was also reputedly made in what’s now my Home State Wayback’ in Y2k, aka 2000. Or perhaps more likely, lightning struck twice Wayback then at what’s forever been my IndyCar Home track


When reportedly for the First and only time in modern History. Two African American racers competed in the same race, according to one website on Ye All knowing Intrawoods’.


The event was the Line-X 225 Craftsman PickemUp’ Trucks race held on April 22, 2000 at Portland International Raceway. Where Bill Lester and Bobby Norfleet finished P24-32 respectively.


As I came across this bit of trivia when researching information for my story regarding how many African Americans have raced in NASCAR?


For which I came to the conclusion, albeit not corroborated. That this was actually the second time in modern history to occur.


The first being the 1971 Islit 250 Winston Cup race held in Islit, New York. Where  it appears that Wendell Scott and George Wiltshire competed. Which I scribbled about in the following No Fenders tome.


Bill Lester went onto start two NASCAR Nextel Cup races, and became the first African American to win a major Sports Car race, in what then was known as the Grand Am series.


Whilst I’d say that Bobby Norfleet is an unknown racing entity, since I’d never heard of Him before stumbling onto this bit ‘O trivia…


Norfleet apparently made waves when announcing He’d field His own race team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series Wayback’ in Double Ought’, ergo 2000, but didn’t have the requisite budget to do so. And with the help of Brian France, who reportedly even flew company executives to meet with Bobby. Funding from two record labels were secured.


Norfleet attempted making His Trucks debut at Martinsville that year, but failed to qualify. At the next event at Portland, Norfleet qualified by “Default”. One of 33 participants jockeying for 34 starting position. Even though Bobby was some 11mph Slower then the Pole sitter! Along with being Black flagged a ridiculous three times during the race for failing to maintain minimum speed, Yowza!


At the following Pikes Peak race, Norfleet’s entry was denied. With NASCAR claiming His license didn’t allow Him to compete on tracks One-mile in length or larger. Along with not having enough experience to race on these “larger” facilities. With Norfleet proclaiming His exclusion was racially motivated…


Then at the series next race, at Warshington’s Evergreen Speedway, Bobby failed to qualify again and decided to leave the Trucks series.


Whilst ironically, The Biffster’, aka Greg Biffle from Vancouver, WA was that year’s Craftsman Truck Champion for Roush Racing.


Norfleet returned to NASCAR briefly as a Car Owner in 2005. When His Bobby Norfleet Racing team entered a car for Mike Harmon at Memphis Motorsports Park, but failed to Qualify. With Norfleet proclaiming His team would contest both the Bush and Cup series the following year, but never appeared.


Norfleet’s daughter Tia attempted following in Her father’s footsteps, becoming NASCAR’s first African American female to hold a NASCAR racing license. But managed to only contest a single NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race before presumably, Her funding dried up… 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

A Quiet Day in the Rose City

Except for the sounds of Squealing tyres and wurring of Gearshifts…


Presumably very few racing fans Stateside were aware that Portland International Raceway was the site of this year’s United States round of the Formula E Championship held on June 24th, El Correctomundo? Since I myself lost track of what date it was being held on…


For which two comments made during Friday’s first IndyCar practice session at Mid-Ohio made me think about it.


The first being the universal modicum of “Out of site, Out of Mind”. When discussing why conor Daly was busy making the rounds in the IndyCar Paddock. For  which Conor handled Himself professionally when being interviewed, along with thanking Bitnile and it’s CEO for having allowed Him to race in IndyCar. Not to mention spending 4-5 Hours Saturday preparing Himself to possibly drive as Simon Pagenaud’s substitute…


Then IndyCar Radio’s Michael Young was interviewing Andretti Autosport Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rob Edwards over the switching of Colton Herta’s Race Strategist for the third time this season. And I don’t remember what the question was?


But Edwards said He didn’t know since He’d been at Portland the week prior “Overseeing” Andretti’s formula E concern. To which Young asked if He’d learned anything at Portland that would apply for the IndyCar race?


With Edwards cheekily replying I know they won’t be six wide at Portland like Formula E was!


And since it’s been several years now since I could easily tune into Formula E on Fox Sports with Bob Varsha, Dario Franchitti and Steve Matchett. Like the saying about, Formula E’s been out of my mind for awhile now…


As I’d love to know what the “Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge” announced attendance was? Since I’m guessing it was even smaller than the yearly IndyCar race’s numbers?


Thus having not paid any Attenzione to Formula E for years, although I did know that they’re now racing with their latest GEN3 chassis. Interestingly, the series runs on Hankook tyres. With manufacturers apparently being allowed to construct their own electric powertrains.


Since Spark racing Technology simply builds the GEN3 chassis, with Williams Advance Engineering providing the Battery. While this iteration of racecar is the first encorporating a “powered” front axle. And the battery is designed for High Speed recharging during Pitstops, with an estimated top speed of 322kph, or 200mph!


On a sidenote, Spark Racing Technology was founded in 2012 by Frederic Vasseur, whose currently la Scuderia’s (Ferrari) Formula 1 Team Principal…


There are eleven traditional two car teams competing, representing eight nations. With Teams listed in alphabetical order, with Nation in parenthesis below.


Abt Cupra Formula E Team, (Germany) Avalanche Andretti Formula E, (United States) DS Penske, (France) Envision Racing, (United Kingdom)  Jaguar TCS Racing, (United Kingdom) Mahindra Racing, (India) Maserati MSG Racing, (Monaco) Neom McLaren Formula E Team, (United Kingdom) Nio 333 Racing, (China) Nissan Formula E Team (Japan) and Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. (Germany)


IndyCar Fans should easily recognize three team names, i.e.; Andretti, McLaren and Penske. Although that’s not El Senor Penske, known here upon No fenders as El Capitano’. Whom others simply call Him The Captain, Roger Penske or RP.


Instead DS Penske is run by Roger’s son Jay Penske, who formerly ran Luczo Dragon Racing and Dragon Racing in IndyCar between 2007-2013. And is also known here upon No Fenders as Pissenbootz’, along with His very nasty firing of thy Leggy Juan’, aka Katherine Legge.


Also couldn’t figure out why DS Penske runs under the French Tricolour? As the team runs it’s own DS D-Tense FE23 chassis with defending Formula E Driver Champion Stoffel Vandoorne racing with the No. 1 plate. And Jean-Eric Vergne in the No. 25. With both being ex-formula 1 drivers, with Vergne fifth in points with the team’s lone victory with two rounds remaining.


As I did chuckle to myself about how the Apple doesn’t Fall far. Since Roger Penske is famously known for the Unfair Advantage. With DS Penske being Fined by Formula E for utilizing RFID scanning technology at Portland! Although the team claims they were just monitoring tyre temperatures…


While the Neom McLaren formula E Team is part of the McLaren umbrella that the Man with A 1000 Points of light named Zakery Brown controls. Having acquired the assets of the outgoing series champions Mercedes outfit. Wit drivers jake Hughes (#5) and Rene Rast (#58) piloting the team’s Nissan E-4ORCE 04 chassis.


Avalanche Andretti is part of Mikey A’s racing empire. Having  been a longtime formula E fixture, previously being BMW’s Werk’s team. With Jake Dennis (#27) whose notched one win and eight podiums this season, and Andre Lottoer (#36) at the controls of the team’s Porsche 99X Electric chassis.


Whilst the Drivers Championship has become a three way title fight. With Tag Heuer Porsche’s No. 94 Pascal Wehrlein leading much of the way due to His three wins. With the German ex-Formula 1 Pilote’ being third overall with 138-points. While current Points leader Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) Holding a micro-slim One point lead (154-153) after Nick “Not David” Cassidy’s victory at Portland.


As Cassidy drives for Envision Racing aboard the team’s No. 37 Jaguar I-Type 6 racecar. And claimed His third W’ at Portland! With Dennis finishing runner-up, His sixth second place finish of the year. And Wehrlein’s teammate Antonio Felix da Costa finishing third.


As I’ve read it was a thralling race in the Rose City, with drivers having to figure when to use their “Maximum Attack” battery power and when to conserve it in order to stand atop the podium. With Cassidy storming His way forward from tenth! 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Les trois French F1 Pilotes remembered

As the Man with the Funny nickname was No Slouch as a Racing Driver!


The third and final ex-formula 1 Frenchman I’m remembering is Jean-Pierre Jabouille. For which if memory serves me correctly? Had the nickname of “Jelly-Belly” since many couldn’t pronounce His last name…


Uhm, actually believe I’m Cornfuzing Andy “Jelly-Belly” Granatelli with Jabouille, who the English nicknamed Jelly Baby instead, but I digress…


According to Grizzled F1 Journo’ Joe Saward, Jabouille had a most interesting career. Beginning with switching from an Art Major to Engineering, and later Engineering His own racing cars. With help from another future Formula 1 driver named Jacques Laffite. And cementing their relationship by becoming Brothers-in-law.


Jabouille first became noticed in motor racing during the late 1960’s, culminating with His finishing runner-up to Francois Cevert in the 1968 French formula 3 championship.


Jabouille was subsequently hired by Alpine as a Development Driver, racing in Formula 2 and Sports Cars for Matra, before breaking His ties to Alpine in 1975.


With backing from French Oil conglomerate ELF, Jean-Pierre constructed His own F2 chassis and finished runner-up that year to Brother-in-law Laffite. Before ultimately winning the European Formula 2 title in 1976.


He failed to qualify in His first Formula 1 outings for Iso-Marlboro (Frank Williams Racing Cars) and Surtees. Before finally making His F1 debut at the 1975 French Grand Prix. Driving the second Tyrrell and finishing 12th, ironically one place behind Laffite’s Williams entry.


Due to His Engineering prowess, Jabouille was hired by le Reggie’ in 1977 to develop it’s turbocharged Formula 1 car., the first of it’s kind With the Renault RS01 chassis  proving to be quite fickle with it’s revolutionary 1.5-litre V-6 turbo lump’, the first in Formula  1 History. As the turbo engine proved to be quite fragile with reliability, suffer excessive turbo lag, and poor fuel economy!


Yet Jabouille persevered and claimed Renault’s first points position, with fourth at the 1978 United States East Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.


Next, He  scored the first of His eventual six Pole positions at the 1979 South African Grand Prix. Along with making more History when fittingly winning His and Renault’s first race at their Home race at Le Castellet’s Circuit Paul Ricard! With All of Jabouille’s accomplishments being the first for a turbocharged engine in the sport.


For 1980, Jabouille claimed His second and final victory at the Austrian Grand Prix. But steadily being overshadowed by teammate Rene Arnoux, Jabouille had signed with Ligier for 1981 before a devastating accident at that year’s Canadian Grand Prix, resulting in a broken leg.


Sitting out the ’81 season’s first two races before failing to qualify in two of His next four attempts, Jabouille decided to retire from F1. Where He was ironically replaced by Patrick Tambay. With Jean-Pierre switching to a manager role instead.


For 1984, Jabouille moved from His F1 role to manage Ligier’s planned assault upon IndyCar, and specifically the Indianapolis 500.


Ligier teamed with Curb Racing, as in the same Mike Curb of today’s Curb-Agajanian racing, who currently are involved with Andretti Autosport’s Nos. 26 and 98 IndyCar entries.


From what little info I can gleam from Ye All knowing Intrawoods’, nee internet. ‘Ol superTex’s Bosom buddy Coogan’, aka Kevin cogan ran the Ligier LC02 Cosworth entry during that year’s Long Beach Grand Prix.


But the LC02 IndyCar chassis was reputedly developed from the Ligier JS21 Formula 1 chassis which had less than stellar results, and the Ligier IndyCar project quietly faded away…


Jabouille returned to Sports Car racing in the Mid-1980’s and once again, put His Engineering talents to work for Peugeot. Helping to develop Peugeot’s 905 Group C Prototype to become the dominant racecar of the early 1990’s. Winning back-to-back le 24 Heurs du Mans races between 1992-93. Along with winning the Drivers and Teams titles for the 1992 World Sports Car championship.


As Jabouille would claim His third and fourth third place finishes at Le Mans those two years, along with the same results for Matra between 1973-74.


In 1994, Jabouille succeeded Jean Todt as Head of the Peugeot Formula 1 engine project, which had a miserable season with McLaren that year, along with Jordan the next season. Leading to Jean-Pierre’s being fired in ’95. With Jabouille going onto run His own Sports Car team afterwards… 

Friday, July 14, 2023

F1: Remembering Three presumably Overlooked French Formula 1 Drivers

Since I highly doubt any of today’s The Real Housewives of Formula 1 Fans know their names…


In Honour of today being Bastille Day, which occasionally makes me remember that Rush song of the same Gory name.


Wayback’ when Geddy Lee still had His Crooner “Pipes”, (Singing voice) and Rush was ascending towards Rock ‘N roll Stardom with the impending release of their fourth Studio album 2112. Following the “Darker” and oft, maligned 1975 Caress of Steel album that included the Bastille Day track, and the two singles Return of The Prince and Lakeside Park. Hmm, think I went down another Wabbit’ Hole Thar, eh!


Hence, I’d like to pay a belated tribute to three presumably, largely forgotten Formula 1 Drivers Since the names of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly and Alpine dominate today’s F1 landscape.


Ironically, and certainly by sheer CoInky-dense’, two of these former French Formula 1 Drivers from the 1980’s took the Chequered flag this past December. With Patrick Tambay Dying on December 4th at Age 73, and Phillipe Streiff on December 23rd at Age 67. Before Jean-Pierre Jabouille joined them on February 2nd at the Age of 80.


Tambay’s name tripped my Number-4 wire since He’s part of another No Fenders story that’s currently sitting on an unlit burner here upon Ye Isle of Nofendersville.


As Tambay raced in both the long forgotten SCCA Formula 5000 and reconstituted Can Am series for the late Carl Haas. Although my research denotes it was actually Haas-Hall Racing. And yes, that’s the same Jim Hall of chapparal fame! When Monsieur Tambay won the first of His eventual two Can Am championships in 1977. Before taking a second title in 1980 for then just Carl Haas Racing. Since Hall was busy obliterating the CART/PPG IndyCar World Series with His revolutionary chapparal 2K Ground effects “Yellow submarine” IndyCar in the hands of Lone Star JR’, aka Johnny Rutherford! But I digress…


Tambay made His formula 1 debut in the 1977 French Grand Prix in a “One Off” for surtees. Moving to Teddy Yip’s theodore Racing before two lean years at McLaren. Leading to His returning to Haas to clich the aforementioned second Can Am title.


Tambay would go onto ultimately record a total of 114 Grands Prix Starts for the likes of zsurtees, Theodore, McLaren, Ligier, Ferrari, Renault and Haas Lola.


With Patrick’s F1 Zenith coming whilst driving for Scuderia Ferrari between 1982-83, winning two Grands Prix. The first being the ’82 German Grand Prix just four races after replacing His stricken friend Gilles Villeneuve. And then taking His second and final victory in the ’83 San Marino Grand Prix. Which surely had to be a delight when celebrating with the Tifosi whilst piloting the famed No. 27 Ferrari synonymous  with the late Gilles!


Yet la Scuderia replaced Tambay with Michele Alboreto the following year, seeing Patrick move to le Reggie’, aka Renault for 1984. Before finishing His F1 career driving for Carl Haas’s Beatrice Force Lola project  in ‘86.


Tambay also contested le 24 Heurs du Mans four times between 1976-1989, with His loan finish being fourth for Tom Walkinshaw Racing’s (TWR) Silk cut Jaguar’s in ’89. Along with finishing third Overall twice in the grueling Dakar Rally!


Tambay later had a long career as a TV Sports Commentator, and served as Deputy Mayor for Le Cannet. Before struggling with having Parkinson’s Disease for years prior to His Death.


Of these three ex-Formula 1 Pilotes’, the one I most admire due to His perseverance of dealing with a life altering Disability is Monsieur Strieff!


 Philippe Streiff began His Motor Racing career relatively late at the Age of 22, when He won the 1977 Volant Motul competition. Before winning the Formula Renault race at Circuit Paul ricardthe the following year. Then rapidly advancing, Streiff went onto win the 1981 French formula 3 title before graduating to Formula 2.


Strieff then made His Formula 1 Debut in a third Renault chassis at Estoril in 1984. And if memory serves me correctly? This was an entry to test an In-car Camera?


Streiff then raced part season for Ligier in ’85, replacing the Crash prone Andrea “De Crasheris.” (De Cesaris) Along with a “One Off” appearance for Tyrrell, where the Frenchman raced for the following two years.


While Philippe scored His one and only F1 podium Down Under in Adelaide in 1985, finishing third. Crossing the “stripe” on three wheels after colliding with teammate Jacques Laffite!


In 1988 Philippe returned to AGS, having previously won the European Formula 3 Championship with. Now being an F1 Constructor, unfortunately was involved in a Horrible Pre-season Testing Accident at Rio de Janeiro in early 1989. Being paralyzed from the Neck Down and confined to a Wheelchair for the remainder of His life.


Yet Streiff continued His involvement in Motorsports, including forming the ELF Kart Masters programme, (Karting Masters Paris Vercy) held between 1993-2001. for which such F1 luminaries as Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have participated. Along with others like Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti. Plus several Formula 1 drivers over the years…


Philippe also tirelessly advocated for Disability rights along with being the Importer of Adaptive Automobiles. Whilst then Blind Speed record setter Luc Costermans dedicated His accomplishment of capturing the World Blind Road Speed record in 2008 to Streiff.


With Blind Machinist Dan Parker setting the Guinness speed record for a Blind person in 2022…     

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

IndyCar’s Silly Season Set to commence

Which makes me think it was Karmic hearing ‘Ol Billy Preston’s Will it Go round in Circles song on my Oldies’ radio station the morning before I began typing this…


Ah, I love the Universe of Synchronicity! Since just a few Dazes’ after wrapping up my riveting No Fenders yarn with it’s working title of Whither Palou? Naturally IndyStar’s Motorsports Beat reporter Nathan Browne published His views upon the current IndyCar silly Season landscape.


Obviously the two main protagonists and “Biggest” names in this years participants are Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson, who are both currently Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) drivers. Followed by a lesser extent to Felix Rosenqvist and Romain Grosjean, with Callam Ilott waiting in the wings.


Browne sheds a little more light upon Palou’s situation. Which as Racer’s Marshall Pruett’s already stated, seemingly is a game of “chicken” between a potential Formula 1 Back-marker seat or as expected, driving the No. 6 Arrow McLaren next year.


As Browne notes that Palou has a “Get Out” option with Mr. Zakery Brown to drive at Arrow McLaren if He lands a Formula 1 drive by the end of July. Yet this is when F1 goes on it’s traditional summer break, meaning the F1 teams usually don’t make any changes until during or following the summer break…



Browne speculates that possibly four Formula 1 teams could be eyeing Palou, i.e.; Alfa Romeo, Haas, Scuderia AlphaTauri and Williams. For which I’d guess only the latter two will be making driver changes for next year.


And if scuttlebutt serves correctly, than current Red Bull Junior Driver Liam Lawson is being lined-up as the struggling AlphaTauri rookie Nyck de Vries’s replacement. And I cannot understand why Palou would want to go to Williams? Since they’ve got years to go to become a competitive Midfield F1 entity!


Marcus ericsson whose also out of contract at year’s end, wishes to become one of IndyCar’s small cadre of Paid drivers instead of continuing to bring a Budget to a team. And although Cheep’, aka Chip Ganassi has been making All the right noises about wanting to keep Ericsson. The Swede apparently vented His frustrations of their contract talks going nowhere to Kevin Lee at Road America according to Browne. Which I’d Arse-sume is part of the negotiation “process”. Which is odd since Ganassi stands to lose two top IndyCar drivers simultaneously…


Browne also mentions how it was perceived that “Sparky!” Aka Devln DeFrancesco was not expected to return to the No. 29 Andretti Autosport ride next year,.


As this was before Mikey a’ and Co. announced that indeed DeFrancesco’s two year tenure at Andretti Autosport would end at season’s end…


Hence leaving at least one vacancy at Andretti. Since Romain Grosjean’s stock seems to be steadily in Free Fall currently. Will Mikey A’ be looking for two new drivers in 2024? Whilst I guess it’s a good thing that Grosjean’s got a factory Lamborghini Sports Car drive already secured for next year.


As Felix-the-Cat’ (Rosenqvist) certainly isn’t a flashy driver, making me doubt He’ll return to CGR. But the Swede would certainly be a good fit aboard Andretti’s No. 29 entry.


Whilst I think it’s also no secret that Helio Castroneves is far beyond His prime and won’t return at Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) for another full season drive next year. Which I’d tend to believe that current MSR Sports Car Ace Tom “the Bomb” Blomquist will take over the #06 seat next year? Or may be the #60 drive instead, with Simon Pagenaud taking over Blomquist’s Sports Car drive? Meaning that MSR could have two vacancies?


And lastly Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Jack Harvey’s contract expires at season’s end. And did He do enough by bumping out RLLR team leader Graham Rahal at Indianapolis to secure a contract extension?


Tend to recall that Marshall Pruett noted awhile ago that there’s possibly four or five Indy NXT drivers with large enough budgets to graduate to IndyCar next year. With third year NXT driver Danial Frost’s name coming to mind.


Whilst Nathan Browne pointed out how CGR Development Driver Kyffin Simpson has family ties to the Ridgeline lubricants Oil concern, current rotating sponsor of the No. 11 Ganassi entry. Making Simpson a likely future IndyCar driver…


While Pruett also previously noted upon one of His Podcasts. These well funded Indy NXT participants will make it tough for the likes of Linus Lunqvist and Toby sowery to find IndyCar rides, unfortunately! Unless one of the ten IndyCar teams is willing to take talent over money? Ahem, Andretti!


While I’d like to believe that the current No. 11 Ganassi driver, rookie Marcus Armstrong will return for a full season IndyCar campaign next year? Who’s reportedly got an Oval test lined up after this year’s IndyCar season concludes…


Which just leaves me Ah-Wonderin’ where my current Numero Tres IndyCar driver Callum Ilott will wind-up next season? As I’d have to believe that Ilott’s ready to move onto something bigger ‘N better, with no disrespect towards Juncos Hollinger Racing!


And those are just the drivers names that I know about. Since will we continue seeing the influx of former FIA Formula 2 drivers migrate to Indy Cars? Or will their be a large intake of Indy NXT drivers instead?  


As that was before my current Numero Doce IndyCar Boy David Malukas made His announcement at Mid-Ohio that He Ain’t coming back to Dale Coyne Racing next year… 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Will Alex Palou Walk Away from IndyCar?

And is being Tail Gunner Charlie in Formula 1 really that appealing?


Obviously as a cellar dwelling Blogger, Alex Palou, His Management team or anyone else in the IndyCar paddock Doesn’t give a Tinkers Damn what I scribble ‘bout here upon No Fenders! And certainly I’ll be the last to get the Gory Memo over what Palou ultimately intends to do for the 2024 season…


Following His Beatdown upon the IndyCar field at Road America, where I just sat around in Thy Basement muttering Animal outloud to myself! I simply cannot understand why Palou would wish to leave Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) in what seems another IndyCar championship season’s ride.


And that was before Palou continued His Monstrous season’s winning performances when claiming His fourth win in five races at Mid-Ohio!


Yet listening to one of Marshall Pruett’s the Week in IndyCar Podcast, with Marshall going on a long diatribe over just how scary good Palou’s become this year prior to Road America. Pruett seemed fairly emphatic over staying at CGR would only be Option number three for Palou, if that? With Marshall saying it’s not an option, and Palou will leave CGR regardless at the end of this year.


Apparently Option number one is the Siren Song call of Formula 1. Although even with some scuttlebutt suggesting there’s two F1 teams interested in Him, i.e.; McLaren and Scuderia AlphaTauri. Arse-sumedly the only true optin is AlphaTauri. Since I seriously doubt that either of McLaren F1 boyz’ Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri are going anywhere soon!


Especially when the pair just Shone at McLaren’s Home race with Lando and Oscar starting an excellent P2-3. With Norris scoring a fine second place behind Red Bull’s MaxiMillions’, His second career podium. And Piastri scoring His best finish to date of fourth.


Failing Palou going to the current Faenza based F1 AlphaTauri Back-marker. Pruett tends to believe that Palou’s got a Handshake deal with Mr. Zakery Brown to drive for Arrow McLaren beginning in 2024, which Ain’t exactly a secret in IndyCar-land!


What I find somewhat difficult to understand is why Palou would wish to go to Arrow McLaren? Which to Mwah, still hasn’t proved it’s of true Championship caliber organization that’s able to beat the likes of Penske, Ganassi or at times, Andretti.


Thus I can only Arse-sume that Palou is so motivated to give His current Boss Cheep’, aka Chip Ganassi the will Power “double Bird” Salute! Telling Him He’s Numero Uno for failing to give Him His desired pay raise last season and now wishes to make Cheep’ regret filing the lawsuit against Him last year…


As for heading to AlphaTauri and Formula 1, is this really a better situation than staying put in Indy Cars? Since currently, prior to the Austrian Grand Prix, which was another MaxiMillions’ Red Bull Whitewash, Groan! Which I didn’t bother to tune into…


AlphaTauri was then ranked tenth out of the ten F1 Constructors, with a measly two points! Courtesy of Yuki Tsunoda’s brace of tenth place finishes.


 Whilst sixth thru tenth weren’t exactly setting the world alight. Led by McLaren’s 17-points. Followed by Haas with 11-points, Alfa Romeo with 9-points and Williams with 7-points, after Alex Albon’s impressive seventh place finish at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve!


Whilst following Austria; McLaren leapt to 29-points with Lando Norris’s fourth place finish. And then the Woking based squad netted 30 more points at Silverstone, vaulting them to fifth ahead of Alpine, who were stuck on 47-points following a double retirement.


And whilst Williams and Haas became tied wit 11 markers apiece. Williams moved to P7 wit Albon’s eighth place finish. And apparently the team has better finishing results vs. Haas.


Whilst Alfa Romeo still has four and a half times more points than AlphaTauri, with nine. With AlphaTauri standing pat Dead last with it’s measly 2-points total.


Scuttlebutt also suggest that AlphaTauri rookie Nyck de Vries, who’s been struggling to get up to pace this year has already been given a “Yellow Card” warning by Der Helmut’, aka Dr. Helmut Marco, and may be Axed before His Home Dutch Grand Prix? As de Vries and fellow rookie Logan Sargeant of Williams are the only two f1 drivers with 0-points to their 2023 ledger.


With Red Bull Junior Driver Liam Lawson waiting in the wings, would Palou wish to subject Himself to this type of pressure?Since the last two Stateside drivers to drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso, AlphaTauri’s previous incarnation had less than stellar outings.


With Scotty “The Goose” Speed becoming Franz tost’s punching bag, and le Hamburgular’, nee Sebastien Bourdais also having a miserable time there before returning to IndyCar…


But at age 26, Palou’s time is running out for a F1 drive, and I suppose if He chooses to depart with two IndyCar Championship titles on His “CV”. He can always return to IndyCar in the future.


But the $64k question then would be who would Hire Him? And would He get another Championship winning ride?


And is running around at the tail end of the Formula 1 grid on the streets of Monte Carlo more compelling than competing for the immortality of having your face etched upon the Borg Warner trophy?


And lastly, it’s scary noting that Williams is currently the superior option over AlphaTauri! Since Williams has years to go to become just a proper Midfield runner.


But then again, obviously I’m just speculating here, and will be Ah-Waitin’ with Baited Breath like Y’all to see what Palou does for the rest of this season and beyond… 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

AUTOS: “Don’t Cry” over these legendary Mustangs

Long ago postcard from America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, WA Honouring the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang. (The Tomaso Collection)


As these few FoMoco’ examples only continue the illustrious Pony Cars lore…


Tirelessly Hammerin’ out a nonstop time space continuum ‘O veritable word, comprising labouriously crafted stories here upon thee Isle of Nofendersville. This one like many, havs been baking in the sun, bleached in the tide pools, waylaid like countless pieces of driftwood Mateys…


Arse-sumedly the spark that sent me down this Wabbit’ Hole was thecolossal sell of Steve McQueen’s missing Bullitt Mustang for a whopping $3.7 million Wayback’ in January, 2020, Aye Karumba! Which got my internal gears Ah-Revvin’ over classic Mustangs, primarily of the Shelby versions.


As sing it Mark Knofpler; what’s that about “Sunday Driver never took a Test, Only in the Wild, Wild West!”


Alas, once upon a time, Arse-sumedly some thirty years ago? Since naturally I cannot even remotely remember the last time I watched the video when I could actually see it! Presumably in the early 1990’s, since the song was released Wayback then.


As a total of 1,003 Shelby GT 350H’s (Hertz) models were produced in 1966. With reportedly some 800 in black with gold striping. Whilst apparently a limited number were painted in Wimbledon white, Sapphire blue, Candyapple Red and Ivy green. For which I’m guessing each of these four colours were limited to 50 cars each. Having read one Intrawoods’ (internet) thread claimimng only 50 Wimbledon white versions were built that year.


Whilst having previously known somebody that owned one of these Uber rare Sapphire blue with gold stripes model that He told me only 50 examples were made. And I still marvel over the fact that Roberto was audaciously generous enough to let me drive it once briefly! Telling me that He would shift it’s three speed automatic for Mwah, an that I just focus on the road…


As the song in Question is Guns ‘N roses Don’t Cry from September 1991. And in the subsequent video, a Wimbledon white with blue Le Mans stripes and blue side graphics with GT 350H is apparently crashed off a cliff and explodes into a fireball if memory serves me correctly?


And with IndyCar having recently returned to the Mean Streets of Downtown Detroit, once again I found myself thinking about the Myths of another legendous’ Rocker’s one and only car, being known as The Lizard King! Aka Jim Morrison of The Doors.


As perhaps Y’all have heard the story about the car He named the Blue Lady? That being Morrison’s Nightmist Blue 1967 Shelby GT 500, with a 428cid Big Block “Police Interceptor” dual carburetor V-8 four speed manual transmission Hot Rod.


But where the story gets weird, or interesting for Mwah. Is the part about the loose connection to a one Mr. Charles Manson! For which I just cannot understand how Manson was able to connect with such Rockers? Having previously scribbled here upon No Fenders about His encounter with the Beach Boys Dennis Wilson.


According to, following The Doors Light My fire scoring Elektra Records it’s first No. 1 Hit. Elektra Founder Jac Holzman told the four Doors members He’d buy them anything they wanted! With Jim Morrison saying He wanted a car, but what to get?


Reportedly, Morrison’s Hairstylist Jay Sebring who was running round town in a Shelby GT350 became the impetus for what would become Morrison’s one and only car. Although Sebring upgraded it to the aforementioned 355bhp big block GT500 sibling instead. Which The Lizard King drove Hard! But I’m jumping ahead of myself…


Yeah, if that Sebring names sounds familiar, it’s because it’s that same legendous’ Sebring International Raceway in Florida. AS Thomas John Kummer was so enamored with the racetrack that He changed His last name to that, along with naming His Hair Salon business Sebring International!


As Messer Sebring became a celebrity Hair Stylist whose clients incuded the likes of Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, along with The Doors Morrison. And after Jay’s marriage to actress Bonnie Lee Marple dissolved in 1963. Sebring was partners with actress Sharon Tate between 1964-1966.


Long story short, Sebring was one of those unfortunately murdered on August 9, 1969 by the Manson Family in what’s also referred to as the Tate-Labianca Murders. With Sebring being an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time! While McQueen gave His eulogy days later at Sebring’s funeral.


Yet Morrison apparently continued racing round in the Blue Lady which reportedly was constantly in the shop for cosmetic and mechanical repairs. With several rumours existing over the still unknonw fate of this prized Shelby some 50+ years after Morrison’s death in Paris in July, 1971.


As I love somebody adding in the requisite Muscle Car sounds into The Doors timeless classic L.A. Woman song! Which I included previously upon my No Fenders top “Driving” songs list…


As here’s the aforementioned two part No Fenders summer Driving theme songs playlist I came up with two years ago. But it’s a Doozy Y’all, with a total of 26 selections!