Wednesday, November 29, 2023

When will IndyCar’s 2024 Silly Season Merry-go-Round End?

And who’ll be the final contestants to land the few remaining seats next year?


Yeah, like Ye proverbial broken record, here’s another No Fenders story late to thoust party…


As I went into a momentary Funk over Riccardo Juncos torching Callum Ilott, and didn’t feel like scribbling anythingy’ for awhile… So forgive me if some of this news has already been posted on No Fenders. Since I cannot remember where I left off upon Silly Season news.


As this is just what I tend to recall timewise, loosely Y’all…


Team Penske

Starting with the easiest, as Team Penske’s current three driver lineup remains unchanged for 2024.


Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR)

Although suppose it should have become apparent the longer the season rolled on. With Cheep’ making little progress on retaining Marcus Ericsson. With Alex Palou renigging upon His planned move to Arrow McLaren next year by staying at Ganassi. This allowed the flood gates to open at CGR. Jettisoning Ericsson paved the way for hiring Out in the Wilderness 2022 Indy Lights Champion Linus Lundqvist as Ericsson’s replacement. Along with elevating thee “Other” Marcus, i.e.; Marcus Armstrong to Full season status next year.


As the only curious move for Mwah, albeit Cheep’s not gona say NO to the money! Is the premature elevation of CGR IndyCar Development Driver Kyffin Simpson to an IndyCar drive a year early…


As Ganassi will field an unheard of five Honda entries for 2024, anchored by reigning IndyCar Champion Palou, perennial title Contendah’ Scott Dixon and Armstrong being joined by the two rookies Lundqvist and Simpson.


And the more I think about it. It seems Cheep’s move to nab a fifth Honda engine lease early was predicated upon His not wanting to lose out upon the one remaining “floater” Honda engine lease that was currently available…


Meyer Shank Racing (MSR)

The team’s first driver announcement really came as no surprise. As Bad Arse MSR Sports Car Ace Tom “the Bomb” Blomqvist was confirmed to replace the departing Helio Castroneves in it’s No. 06 entry. As Hulio’s subsequently taken on a minority ownership role along with being the team’s third “One Off” Indy 500 Only entry next May.


And then the wheels literally came off Simon Pagenaud’s season (and career?) during a brake failure incident at Mid Ohio! For which we’re All Ah-Waitin’ Pagenaud’s return to the cockpit…


And with the uncertainty of not being retained by Arrow McLaren for a third consecutive year. Felix-the-Cat’, nee Felix Rosenqvist signed to pilot the No. 60 entry as Pagenaud’s replacement, giving MSR an all new lineup for 2024.


Andretti Global

With Ganassi’s lack of keeping Marcus Ericsson, and the Swede feeling wanted by Mikey A’ and Company. Not to mention becoming a paid IndyCar driver – reportedly for $4 million! Ericsson replaces the departing Romain Grosjean, while we wait to find out if the team keeps it’s fourth Honda entry next year?


As the most likely scenario for this seems to center around Brian Herta rejoining IndyCar as a team owner, joined by  Beth Paretta and Tatiana Calderon as their driver…


Yet with the lack of news, I suppose we should have guessed it was trending this way? Since on November 13th Andretti Global made it official they’d only be running three IndyCar drivers next year, i.e.; Colton Herta, Kyle Kirkwood and Ericsson. And dropping their fourth entry they’ve run since 2004.


Yet Racer’s Marshall Pruett recently stated that the fourth Andretti Honda engine lease is separate from Andretti Global’s downsizing, and that they still hold the fourth engine lease. Which Honda’s contractually obligated to provide to Andretti if they so choose to run either a satellite program, be it with Bryan Herta and Company. Or in some sort of partial season program in-house or possibly with an Affiliate?


Arrow McLaren

It’s already been well documented over Alex Palou deciding to not become McLaren’s newest IndyCar signing for 2024, for which a furious Zakery Brown has filed an insane lawsuit against the Spaniard!


Which I chronicled for Y’all in my Oh, so Clever Halloween post about Indy’Car’s ultimate Cage Fight…


Thus the team found itself scrambling to find a replacement driver for it’s No. 6 entry and settled upon sophomore Dale Coyne Racing driver David Malukas. As Malukas is a good choice, albeit I don’t know if He’s Championship material or not?


And although I don’t expect Malukas to give Pato O’Ward a run for His money. It’ll be interesting to see if Malukas can give Alexander Rossi Fits and push Him for the team’s no. 2 driver status? Since I think Rossi will need to up His game significantly to remain at Arrow McLaren.


As this is where I’d like to see Callum Ilott ultimately wind-up at in 2025, in a fourth McLaren IndyCar entry. As what a potent team that would be! 

Monday, November 27, 2023

IndyCar’s Junco Hollinger Racing Saga

As we do Business My Way, Yuhs Hear Callum!


Yep, another No Fenders story late to thee Party. But I didn’t want to give Y’all indigestion over Turkey Lurkey weekend, Hya!


First ‘n foremost, suppose I should remind myself that IndyCar, and Motor Racing in General is a Business First. Which I have a tendency to forget since it’s simply Entertainment for Mwah…


I’ve been a Fan of Juncos Hollinger Racing ever since it was simply Juncos Racing when Kyle Kiser, remember Him Y’all? Did the unthinkable and Bumped that Smarmy Spaniard Frederico Suave’, aka Fernando Alonso from the 2019 Indianapolis 500!

Not to mention having been impressed with Riccardo Juncos “Rags to Riches” success as an IndyCar team owner, overcoming the massive financial Hurdles to do so! Especially starting with nothing.


I’ll also admit that I only knew Callum Ilott’s name from perusing the FIA Formula 2 Championship roster, and really knew very little otherwise about Him until His IndyCar debut at the end of the 2021 IndyCar season. When Juncos Racing became Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) with it’s 2021 IndyCar reboot as a single car entity for the season’s final three West coast races.


I suppose it’s only natural to root for Underdogs, since obviously we expect Penske, Ganassi, Andretti and Gasp, McLaren to regularly be in the Winner’s circle. And thus I enjoy rootin’ for drivers and teams that punch above their perceived weight instead.


Not sure what it was, but I saw great promise in Callam Ilott during this West Coast swing, even if He was still totally unknown to Mwah. As the plucky Englishman quickly rose to be my Numero Tres IndyCar Driver during JHR’s first full season in 2022, when still a single car entity.


The team impressed me even more at the beginning of this season with the totally unknown Argentinian Augustin Canapino as it’s second driver, who’d never driven an Open wheel Racing single seater before! Not to mention needing to learn English. Which I’ve said before is my Rookie Of the Year (ROY) for Mwah. Even if the Kiwi’ I’m Hip upon Marcus Armstrong won the IndyCar Rookie Of the Year Championship instead.


But where it All went wrong for Mwah with JHR obviously began this past April when Callum Ilott received Death Threats for tangling with rookie teammate Canapino at Long Beach.


And if you want the unvarnished version of Marshall Pruett’s excellent, if long winded recap of what ultimately led to Ilott’s Firing from JHR. Then Y’all should listen to the start of His October 31st MP1452: The Week in IndyCar Podcast!


As Marshall notes how not only did JHR do nothing to defend Ilott over Canapino’s Fans Attacking Him! But then totally let Callum down during the same month’s Indianapolis Open tes, with a wickedly ill handling racecar.


The team told Ilott there was nothing wrong with His chassis during the opening few days of Indy 500 practice, even though Ilott remained glued to the bottom of the Time Sheets, before a “Come to Jesus” meeting was held and the team finally relented and prepared a new racecar for Callum.


Long story short, Ilott not only locked Himself into the field on Saturday, but finished a remarkable 12th during the race.


And then as we All know, there was a second ugly social media event following the Laguna Seca season finale. Where once again, some faction of Canapino Fans attacked Ilott, for which I’ve previously scribbled ‘bout here upon No Fenders.


Sadly mentioning how I feared Ilott was being Hung Out to Dry! With JHR holding firm to it’s December option to retain the Englishman for the 2024 IndyCar season, which we All know didn’t happen.


As what rubs me wrong about this whole outcome is how Juncos naturally sided with fellow Argentine driver Canapino, with both making multiple harsh comments towards Ilott, in what quickly became a toxic work environment!


Whilst the funniest part of JHR hiring Romain Grosjean, who basically had a total implosion this season at Andretti Auto, Err Global. Is the fact they just hired a driver who’s filed for Arbitration against His Team Owner to be their newest driver!


As I fear that Ilott’s been summarily Hosed by JHR and Riccardo Juncos! And I’ll miss Him giving chase in midfield or inferior machinery next season. Since the 25yr old Englishman should totally be on the IndyCar Frid next year!


As you could say this is a business decision, with JHR’s new “Strategic” partnership with Arrow McLaren. Since obviously Grosjean and the No. 77 will be sporting All of Arrow McLaren’s overflow sponsors, with JHR needing the cash!


As I’d love to see Ilott get Andretti’s fourth vacated IndyCar seat, a satellite Foyt ride or one of Coyne’s two drives next year. But All of those require a Mega Budget, which Ilott doesn’t have.


As Ilott’s best moves would to run Sports Cars next year for either Penske or United Autosport, and then either replace Will Power or fill Arrow McLaren’s intended fourth IndyCar seat in the future…


 While I’ll refrain from pointing out All of the obvious faults of Grosjean. Who I’ve considered to be a Hot Head since His Haas Formula 1 days…


Since All I want to know, is what is the Over/Under on Grosjean and JHR having a meltdown in 2024? And how many races will it be before Grosjean and Canapino Clash with each other on-track? 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Tomaso Files: Another Amtrak travel story, Fini!

No Fenders Scribe Tomaso flashes the Peace sign after going for an enjoyable romp around the North 40 in Dave’s 1974 VW Campervan Bus! (The Tomaso Collection)


As No Hut-Hut Omaha Jokes Here! Pass me the biscuits Payton…


Ah, the aroma of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and don’t forget the cranberry sauce…


Naturally, with Thanksgiving commencing today, and everybody ensconced in the day’s litany ‘O Pigskin games. What better time to roll out another non related No Fenders racing story. Droning on in two part Harmony instead about my latest travel adventure, utilizing automobiles, busses and trains to go celebrate my birthday with Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen and Hang 10’ Hilo!


As here’s what I scribbled upon returning home regarding my southwards journey, i.e.; leg-two’s  return trip to Oregon.


Began the day by having Claudio waking me up at 4:30AM, when going outside to look at the Stars; notably the “Seven Sisters”, formally known as Pleiades. Then the Alarm went off obnoxiously at 6AM. Finished packing and having breakfast at 6:30AM.


Left for Train station at 7AM (30mins drive) with Claudio having me Checked in and seated in the waiting area approx. at 7:35AM.


Claudio & I chatted about worldly things, along with hearing some Farmers discuss their $1.5m (Million) John Deere tractors and setting up it’s GPS grid system to farm automatically. Before Claudio took me outside to the station’s platform to prepare for boarding my 8:08AM No. 503 Cascades Express to Eugene Train station, arriving at 1:50PM.


As the same station agent that had checked me in assisted me onboards, failing to tell me to watch my head when entering my seat. As Wham! I suddenly (lightly) smacked my noggin’ upon the overhead cargo bin, with the female Amtrak agent apologizing profusely! As I could hear Her apologizing All the way off the train, as I said No Woories…


The good news was that I was seated directly behind the car’s bathroom. But the bad news was that I was seated directly behind the car’s bathroom! And that I’d spend nearly the next six hours getting to hear everybody Slamming the door open ‘n closed, Urgh! Not to mention hearing the door connecting to the next railway car open and close.


As I’d tell Claudio later that either we didn’t stop at Kelso/Longview on the way south or that I’d completely slept thru it? To which He replied sleeping thru Kelso’s a good thing…


Yet this made it fairly easy to discern when the bathroom wasn’t occupied, before I finally made a beeline for it. Making sure to Duck my Head when exiting& returning

To my seat.


Being one of Amtrak’s “newer” trains, these car’s bathrooms utilize “pocket” doors that slide back ‘n forth into a recessed slot, for which I had no problems pulling closed. And even figured out how to lock the door. But when I was finished, originally I could only get the door to retract about three-four inches before it wouldn’t move any further, WTF? Trying to open it multiple times before I figured out why everybody was slamming the door! Since I needed to go to the door’s opposite end and push it slightly inwards to make it retract past it’s sticking point. Which presumably was to keep the door retracted when not in use.


Then just before arriving in Eugene I got up a second time and managed to begin opening the door on somebody who hadn’t locked it! Before I retreated to my seat and waited a few more minutes before the coast was clear!


As you may wonder why I’ve described the act of using the bathroom on a train, Eh? But if you’re Blind like Mwah, then this is always an interesting proposition! Since doubtfully Y’all have never considered how two public bathrooms, be it train, airplane, restaurant, rest stop, public building, etc. Are ever of the same design!


Making the most mundane tasks of daily life very interesting, from simply finding the door’s locking mechanism, the toilet, sink, soap and hand drying methods, i.e.; paper towels vs. hand drier. Not to mention if the sink’s water taps and soap dispenser are manually or electronically activated by sensors?


After a super informative and helpful female Conductor had helped me off the train, we were met by super Cool & friendly  Amtrak Station attendant Scott! Who politely escorted me inside the train station after corralling my “checked” suitcase, before parking me on a bench directly across from His station alcove. Saying He’d make Himself a note to come and retrieve me in 75mins to escort me to my bus.


True to His word, Scott approached me some three minutes early, and I didn’t even need my sign saying Florence. With Scott saying that the Bus driver would let us board early. As I mounted the bus’s four steps with Scott carrying my suitcase onboard for Mwah, helping me find a seat and placing my suitcase next to me, Eureka! As I was safely aboard my lone afternoon’s 3:30PM departure to Bumfiddle’ Florence ten minutes early!


After stopping in Venita and Mapleton, we arrived at Florence’s Three Rivers Casino between 5-5:10PM, which was pretty fast for Rush Hour traffic. Before calling our local Taxi service, who picked me up immediately.


Shuhzamm! I walked in the front door after the friendly cab driver Dennis asked me if I could navigate my Zig Zag walkway when exiting the cab in my driveway,  between 5:20-25PM.


While everybody I’ve told about this outing says I was quite adventurous, since as I mentioned previously. This was the first time I attempted getting to Eugene on my own. Making my connections with thankfully assistance from the bus drivers and Amtrak station and train personnel. As what’s that ‘Ol saying about it takes a village, Eh?


Going North I had the assistance of six people: Cab Driver, Bus Driver, Train Station Attendant and three other train personnel.


Going Home, (South) I had another five people assist me: Two Train Station Attendants and one train Conductor, plus Bus & Cab driver. With both of these trips taking approximately  ten hours, Aye Karumba!


Which being Blind, have I mentioned that lately Y’all? Without All of this great assistance, I couldn’t have done this “Solo!”


As the only two Problemas were on the way home, when the train station agent didn’t tell me to Duck when choosing my seat on the car and smacking my Head against the overhead luggage rack!


And then being so exhausted;extremely Pickled from being up for some 13hrs, I somehow managed to drop the three dollars change the Cab driver handed me when getting out in my driveway. Which I’ll gladly take those two items being my only issues traveling! Or at least I thought so, even though I totally remembered the cab driver handing me my change.


Thus for Humour, I vainly attempted going out to my driveway Friday morning when waiting for another cab, sweeping my White cane feebly around the driveway in Hope of somehow miraculously finding three dollars on the pavement, Hya!


As it just really bothered me for making a silly mistake like that! But overall it was a Great trip and the major issues of making my connections went smoothly! Meaning I can do it again in the future, Hurrah!


And then nearly a week later, Eureka! Wednesday afternoon, when I was searching the No Fenders “Office’s” floor around my desk where I pile my mail for another missing item. Arse-suming it was on the floor. On the desk’s left side I found three folded one dollar bills, Viola! Ergo the missing three Smackeroos! Which must have fallen out when removing my train’s E-ticket & Claim check from my pocket… 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Tomaso Files: Another successful Amtrak Outing

No Fenders Head Scribe Tomaso poses at Blind Crossing sign in Cosmopolis as traffic simply Wizzes by! (The Tomaso Collection)


Author’s Note

Naturally, thee old-ER” I get, the more I lern! Having never before heard of Cosmopolis, Warshington’. A sleepy ‘lil coastal town that I simply love the name of! Which Mary Ellen introduced Mwah to during our camping trip this summer


Even though I could find very little information about this former logging town, other than it’s only “famous” celebrity. Being the notable Artist Elton Bennett who died in a 1974 plane crash at the age of 64.


Although Cosmopolis is adjacent to someplace called Aberdeen, WA. Y’all know where a past lead singer of a 1990’s Seattle Grunge Band crooned about Smells like Teen Spirit came from…



In thee spirit of Turkey Lurkey Day and my latest travel adventure. For which that great Planes, Trains and Automobiles movies prung to mind. But how could it have been released in Gory 1987, Eh? I thought I’d regale Y’all with my Travel-rama’ adventure, which thankfully was seamless and skipped All of that classic movie’s Drama!


And for all of you world class travelers, I realize this probably sounds somewhat silly. Like what’s the big Dealio’ about taking a Cab, Bus and Train to go somewhere, Eh? Whale’ the issue was my Blindness! For which have I reminded Y’all I’m Blind lately?


Not having done this trip before solo. Obviously I didn’t know how I’d get from the unknown Bus Stop into the Train Station and it’s Check-in Desk inside the cavernous building…


My local Cabbie’ (Cab driver) Dave promptly knocked on my door at 9AM sharp, and took my suitcase for Mwah. Had me situated at the nearby Three Rivers Casino by 9:07AM, with the Bus not departing until 9:32AM. With Dave saying the only “potential Hiccup would be if there were any Downed trees on the road, due to the gusty winds we were experiencing that morning, Swell!


Sat on bench with gusting winds after Dave placed my suitcase there for me, along with light drizzle. Before Tacoma Bureua Chief Mary Ellen called me at 9:11AM, checking to see where I was and if I was wearing my sign?


As it really behooves Mwah, and felt quite disparaging that I needed to wear a sign around my neck that Mary Ellen made for me. Saying Eugene and Amtrak Station on it during this supposed era of ADA compliance. Y’all know the Americans with Disabilities Act, Righto! As I felt the only thin I was missing was my cup with pencils for sale…


Since Bus drivers should know to ask a Blind person standing with a White cane what bus they’re waiting for? Which was common practice in Seattle. But being in Bumfiddle’ Florence, Mary Ellen had been told by one of the service’s grumpy drivers that my sign would be prudent, since they Don’t aske Homeless people where they’re going? Which is a problem at another of the local bus stops.


Next thing I knew, a stranger asked me if this was where the Eugene bus stopped at? Refraining from saying three pencils for a dollar! Since I was Joe Knows’ with my sign, Crikeys!


Then some stranger asked me if He could put my suitcase on the bus for me? Which I said Sure! As knock yourself out Big Fellah! And I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were riding the bus.


Heard Church Bells chiming eleven O’clock as we were approaching the Eugene train station. And then the same man said He’d take my suitcase off the bus for me if that was Ok?


Afterwards, the Bus driver kindly took pity on me and offered to escort me into the train station,. Walking me to the Chek-in counter and saying this is Grady and He’ll take care of you.


As Grady, the Amtrak station attendant was super kind to me, filling out my baggage tag and then walking me to the bathroom. Even standing outside waiting for me, before coming in and helping me find the sink along with grabbing paper towels for me.


Then He “parked” me on a bench in front of Him and said He’d “retrieve” Mwah when the train arrived in an hour and a half.


Shockingly, the Amtrak No. 14 Coast Starlight from L.A. was ontime, before the robotic androgynous female voice told us it was now scheduled to arrive at 12:44PM, seven minutes late…


Then the same robotic voice told everyone in the station to please prepare to board outside at the station platform, and soon I was the only person left sitting inside the station. Zipping up my coat and putting my backpack on and standing with my white cane, I began wondering where the Frick is Grady?


And after what felt like five minutes of standing, but probably only three. I played my wildcard upon Grady, since obviously I didn’t want to miss the train! Who presumably didn’t know I had the station’s phone number, which I called to Grady’s surprise…


Grady walked over to me and told me what everybody didn’t know was that the female Robotron didn’t know that the train had to slow outside of the Eugene station and wouldn’t actually arrive for several more minutes!


Grady said what the Heck as we walked outside. After the train’s Conductor told everybody to form a single line to board, that we’d simply go to the front of the line. With Grady thinking everyone would fall in directly behind us? But No! People simply didn’t pay Attenzione…


Before I was herded up the step box and four-five stairs by Grady and then He simply chose a seat for me on the Coast Starlight’s lower level, which I’d specifically chosen when buying my ticket a month in advance. Since being Blind, I’m not gonna try going up ‘n down the steep, tight stairs on a Double Decker moving train to go to the bathroom enroute!


Now I’ve heard about this situation occurring on the Coast Starlight before, but never experienced it myself. Since as soon as we departed Eugene, the female Conductor announced to our car that our bathroom wasn’t working correctly! And we’d need to ask Her to use it, and that She’d try to come by during stops to see if anybody needed to use them?


Approaching Portland, the same super kind, friendly female conductor came thru our car again, informing us She would be getting off in Portland during the Crew change and did

Anybody need to use the restrooms? As She couldn’t guarantee that the next Conductor would do the same for us, even though She’d tell Him…


Letting the two women in the front of my car go first, I eagerly took up the offer to go to the bathroom. As the Conductor gave me Her hand and helped me get to the bathroom between the two adjoining passenger cars.


Being somewhat flummoxed by this situation, I’d failed to remember that the bathroom door opened outwards vs. the normal inwards direction and couldn’t figure out how to open the door.


Before this super nice Conductor opened the door for me saying that they sticked. While the toilets needed to be manually reset. (Flushed)


And sure enough, have you ever noticed how it’s not “Manly” for a Male to ask another Male if they need to use the bathroom? Since All our Male Conductor did the entire way from Portland toTacoma was announce over the PA system that Car #11’s toilets didn’t work and that we’d need to go to the back of the train to use those restrooms instead! Seriously? A Blind person’s gonna find a bathroom somewhere distant on a moving train, Oh Never Mind!


Even more surprisingly, we made up the twenty some odd minutes we’d fallen behind by stopping for freight trains, and the Sounder Commuter train in Tacoma. Before arriving at the Tacoma train station exactly on time at 6:38PM, Eureka!


Before the Conductor helped me off of the train, passing me off to an awaiting station agent. Who escorted me towards the station after saying Tomaso? Before handing me off to Neilie. And then Claudio retrieved my suitcase and whisked us homewards. Before Nelie warmed up dinner for us, saying let’s eat!


Monday, November 20, 2023

F1: Talking Turkey, Las Vegas style

        What’s that well used slogan ‘bout What Happens in Las Vegas, Uhm Stays in Vegas…


Perhaps it’s just Mwah? But I was simply Cornfuzed over the time F1, ostensibly Liberty Media decided to host it’s inaugural “Ninety Nine percent” Showcase Las Vegas Grand Prix at.


Here upon the West coast, you needed to have a score card to keep track of the Dizzying’ (Walt Disney) Network of Shopping channels Formula 1 was being aired upon. With Thursday night’s FP1 (Free Practice) on le Deusch’, aka ESPN2 at 8:25PM Pacific. And FP2 on ESPN at 11:55PM; both being One Hour and five minutes duration.


Friday’s FP3 session was on ESPN U at 8:25PM before Qualie’ bounced over to ESPN at 11:55PM; both being 65mins airings. Before the race on Saturday Nite’, what’s that Sir Elton? (John) About Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting…


With Saturday night’s TV coverage with the ridiculous 85mins Preamble beginning at 8:30PM Pacific. Followed by race coverage starting at 9:55PM, lasting for a further Two Hours and five minutes, provided No Red flags or Safety Cars were deployed!


Having never been real good on ryth-Muh-tickin’, with No Fenders Offical’ Potographer Carpets constantly reminding Mwah that Indianapolis, along with the desired East Coast TV market is plus three Hours ahead of the West Coast. Meaning that the race itself won’t see the Starting lights going Green until a skosh after 1AM Eastern!


Making me wonder who’s this race really being held for? The vaunted U.S. market that’s being discussed Ad Nausea? Or instead for the British to have something to watch during their breakfast instead?


As that was before Thursday night’s Debacle! Y’all know when a concrete “frame” came loose around a Manhole cover that caught out an unexpecting Carlos Sainz Jr! Effectively writing off His Ferrari SF23 chassis after only eight minutes of Free Practice 1! Not to mention also seriously damaging Estabon Ocon’s Alpine when the Frenchman too collided with the errant Manhole cover, WHAMOE!


As I find it totally inconceivable that Sainz was forced to incur a 10-place Grid Penalty for excessive PU (Power Unit) components usage due to this accident, and not of His own making! And that the FIA has No Force Majure clause in it’s sporting regulations for such outcomes!


And do Not even get me started on the El Stupidio’, Err Stupendous Olympic themed Opening Ceremonies Bullshit! Y’all know when Max Verstappen said He felt like a Clown!


As a Huge part of Mwah wanted to simply Boycott “watching”, Err listening to any of the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend’s theatrics!


Although like watching a train wreck or really bad traffic accident. I was semi-intrigued over how Horrific the Pre-race Rope-ah-dope F1 Driver introductions would be?


And it sounded like that many of the insanely overpriced “Hospitality” Grand Stand seats would be empty! While General Admission tickets were sold out, with would be Fans clambering for more GA availability! Especially if Y’all gotta pay to stay in some Vegas Strip’s Hotel? Not to mention Air Fare and presumably a rental car to boot?


And that was before the possibility of All of the major Hotel’s Chefs being on Strike, Gobble-Gobble!


Not to mention the CEO of Liberty Media taking the extraordinary step of publicly Apologizing to the local Las Vegas residents for the Disruption to their Daily lifes! All of which made me Flash back to Phoenix, Arizona’s Iceberg Grand Prix! Which was much unloved by locals for the same reasons. Not to mention being outdrawn by a rival Ostrich Festival!


Although I’m not sure how much of an “Apology” Gregory Maffei was making by telling the people of Las Vegas that His event would net them $1.7b as in Billion! Revenue for hosting the event.


Now may be I’m still cornfuzed, But? Liberty Media’s trumpeting how they want to make Las Vegas’s Grand Prix the Bestest Fan experience ever! But with General Admission tickets reportedly costing $1,156.00, which basically equates to $400 per day being sold out. And Grandstand tickets starting at an outrageously eye watering $11,247.00! Which Fans are Liberty Media pandering too? And Yes, I realize it’s a business, but five nights minimum stay in a Hotel, Yada-Yada-Yada!


Not to mention racing in 50 degrees Fahrenheit with Rain expected! Along with Yuhs know it, Stupendous Drivers introduction just makes me shake my Head in Disgust, and wonder who is this race really for?


Having been a true Fan of Formula 1 for nearly 40 years now, and supporting F1 Stateside thru it’s “lean” times when nobody but Hard core Fans followed it. I find myself completely turned off by the Disgusting Spectale’ Liberty Media’s turned this Bombastic Grand Prix Uhm, race into!


And with it’s truly being “99% Show and 1% Sporting Event!” I personally decided to Boycott “watching”, Err listening to Any of the weekend’s TV coverage, which is one of the few reasons I still pay an outrageous amount for Cable TV…


As I’d say I made the right choice for at least Thursday night’s Blunder, err “show”. As (Free Practice) FP2 was delayed two and a half Hours in order to inspect All of the track’s Manhole covers! With Fans being forced to go Home instead of attending the 2:30AM Pacific start time, for an extended 90mins practice. Because of a lack of Security personnel! With practice ending at Gory 4AM, WTF!


Whilst I was doing a rain dance in Oregon for Friday night’s Qualie’ session…


As I far more care about the MotoGP Championship instead! And simply tuned into Sunday’s 90mins “packaged” Qatar Grand Prix instead. Where the temperatures were cooler than Formula One’s Farcical event in October! Not to mention being a far more competitive Sporting event… 

Formula 1 continues giving Mikey’ the Knife

As we’re Full Up and Don’t got room for Yuhs Andretti!


Arse-sumedly lost in All of the hyperbole over this weekend’s Steal your Money Las Vegas Grand Prix! Was the never ending plight of Michael Andretti trying to get His Andretti Global racing team onto Formula One’s Grid, preferably in 2025. Although that window seems to be fast closing…


Since the majority of the current ten Formula 1 Teams are strongly opposed to Andretti Global joining their exclusive party. Even if Andretti’s now been given the green light regarding it’s submittal to become the 11th F1 Team on the grid by the FIA.


Not to mention that Renault has publicly announced that Andretti’s engine, Err Power Unit (PU) agreement has expired, and that they’ll need to renegotiate with le Reggie’ for a supply of current spec PU’s for a 2025 F1 campaign under the guise of Andretti Cadillac.


Yet when reading Grizzled F1 Journo’ Joe Saward’s Green Notebook from Waxahachie a Fortnight ago. I was struck by the thought I’ve been harbouring awhile now.


As the ten ‘lil Indians, Err F1 Teams biggest conjecture or main talking point these days is how an Andretti F1 Team running at the back of the grid will be damaging to Formula 1, Seriously?


Shouting to myself what is Gene Haas’s perpetually underperforming Haas F1 Team doing to it’s current Share prices? Y’all know, the last place team on the grid!


And why did  the line “It reeks of Politics” from Midnight Oil’s Forgotten Years song immediately pop-up upon my internal radar?


Yes, I understand how the current F1 Cartel, Uhm 10 Formula 1 teams don’t want to loose any money currently being doled out to them by Liberty Media. Or how they feel that the $200m as in Millions Anti-Dilution fund Mikey A’ and His constituents will be required to pay is deemed too low of an “entry Fee” for aspiring Formula 1 teams…


But you know what? As far as I’m aware of, nobody held a Gun to their Heads when signing their current Concorde agreement contracts! Which stipulates these current terms…


And although I’m not one to get wrapped up in Jingoism, and absolutely do not give a Rat’s Patooey where the F1 Teams come from or our Flagged. But regardless, you cannot say this concerted effort to deprive Andretti from taking the eleventh team spot upon the F1 grid doesn’t give an appearance of trying to keep an American entity from competing on an majorly European playing field!


Now am I saying we All should be calling Him Saint Michael? Absolutely Not! Since obviously Mikey A’ and His financial partners see the value of becoming a Formula 1 team, which is what All Businessmen do.


But All I can hear ringing in my Head whenever I read something upon this battle royale is the word Collusion!


Since wouldn’t it be better to take Andretti’s money now before the F1 Bubble Bursts? Which I can only see happening sooner than later with the onslaught of Max Verstappen making a mockery out of Formula 1! And that we’re locked into another two years of this Dull dominance. Which surely has to be somewhat demoralizing to the rest of the F1 Grid!


As Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen said it best prior to the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Saying why don’t they send everybody else Home and just let MaxiMillions’ drive round in circles?


Meanwhile, General Motors has announced that it will only partner Andretti Global in Formula 1 with it’s Cadillac brand, despite F1 suggesting they find a different partner. With GM planning to hold discussions with F1 Commercial Rights Holder Liberty Media and FOM (Formula One Management( over the Lost Wages’ Grand Prix weekend…


Friday, November 17, 2023

RETRO: A Brief look at Motor Racing in Las Vegas

As will Formula 1 come up All Seven’s this time round?


The United States Grand Prix has a long running, meandering history. Having been held at eleven different venues since the inception of today’s modern era Formula 1 World Championship in 1950.


Beginning at Sebring in 1959. The USGP has been contested at Riverside, Watkins Glen, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Austin and Miami.


In 1976, the United States became only the second nation after Italy in 1957 to host two Grands Prix in a single season. And then in 1982 became the first nation to ever hold three Grands Prix in a season. When the United States Grand Prix West, (Long Beach) Detroit Grand Prix and Caesars Palace Grand Prix were part of that year’s Formula 1 calendar.


“Sin city’s” first major paved racing facility was the long defunct Stardust International Raceway, in Spring valley With a 13-turn, completely flat three mile road course and Quarter-mile Dragstrip being built and operated by the Stardust Racing Association. Which was an offshoot of the Desert Inn and Stardust Hotel’s attempt to lure visitors to it’s operations.


The track hosted the United States Road Racing Championship, (USRRC) Can Am, Trans Am, USAC and NHRA between 1965-71.


Inonically the Stardust Racing Association was Disolved on April 1, 1968, one day after the USAC Championship Car series contested it’s lone event, the Stardust 150. Won by Bobby Unser driving for Leader Card Racing, aboard an Eagle-Offenhauser.


The second major Open Wheel Racing event in “Los Wages” (Las Vegas) was the 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix. Held on a temporary circuit laid out in the Caesars Palace Hotel’s parking lot. Which has come to be revered as one of Formula One’s worst Grands Prix!


Alan Jones driving for Williams, the reigning F1 World Champion won the inaugural event. With Nelson Piquet clinching the first of His eventual three World Championships by finishing fifth at Las Vegas.


The following year saw Michele Alboreto win for Tyrrell, before Formula 1 abandoned the event. With Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) taking over the event between 1983-84.


Yet the two IndyCar races were held on a modified course that was turned into an “Oblong” Oval, with Mario Andretti and Tom Sneva winning respectively – before the event was cancelled.


The Indy Racing League (IRL) held the inaugural event upon the brand new Las Vegas Motor speedway’s (LVMS) 1.5-mile Tri Oval Super Speedway on September 15, 1996, with Richie Hearn the winner. As Hearn’s lap of just under 25 seconds at 219.192mph holds the record for fastest lap.


As the IRL would host races thru 2000, before it’s arch nemesis Champ Car contested to races between 2004-05 on the Super Speedway’s Oval. Twinned as a Double Header event with NASCAR’s PickemUp’ Trucks, le Hamburgular’, neeSealmeister B’, aka Sebastien Bourdais won both year’s Saturday night events.


Hopefully Formula 1 won’t take a page out of RASSCAR’s play book by nauseatingly droning on about being the first Street race in Las Vegas. Since that honour actually goes to the long defunct Champ Car World Series (CCWS) instead. As it’s funny how I knew that IndyCar had once raced on Sin city’s streets, since I was a Champ Car devotee. Even if I took to calling it Chump Carz’ towards the end – prior to the long overdue Mergification…


As my foggy memory says this is also the year I bought a plane ticket for Arizona to attend Champ Cars race around Phoenix’s Downtown Streets, which was subsequently cancelled. Not to mention that Chinese IndyCar race that never happened…


Yet I can find only sparce details on that race held over Easter weekend on April 8, 2007. Champ Cars season opener, seeing the debut of the brand new Panoz DP01 chassis, with 17 cars competing.


The race was held on a 2.448 mile 14-turn temporary street circuit in the Freemont district, with temperatures reaching 91 degrees Fahrenheit.


Reportedly Street parties were held along with a Poker contest, and luminaries Jay Leno and John bon Jovi were on hand. With race day attendance estimated at 40,000 exceeding temporary Grandstand seating…


Will Power, driving then for Derrick Walker’s Team Australia alongside rookie teammate Simon Pagenaud, the reigning Champ Car Atlantic champion, had a breakout weekend. As Power clamed Pole and led the most lap, 38 of 68 enroute to His first IndyCar victory.


As Power became the first Australian to win an IndyCar race while dominating the race. Finishing nearly 17 seconds ahead of Minardi Team USA’s Bad Bobby D’, aka rookie Robert Doornbos. And Sugar Ray Tracy’, PT’ or simply Paul Tracy third for Forsythe Racing some 27-plus seconds behind.


Indy Cars latest foray to Las Vegas was the ill-fated “Who’s Your Daddy” 2011 World Sweepstakes which saw the death of Dan Wehldon and doesn’t need any further discussion than that…


Then between 2013-15, the Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) raced on the Streets of Las Vegas’s Prominade, twice being the series season finale. Since I know I “watched”, err listen to at least one of those races when Andretti Autosport teammates Tanner foust and Scott Speed were vying for the title.


Yet you’d have to argue that this year’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix is the most serious effort to date for racing on the Strip, around it’s neon marquee landmarks. And Liberty Media, owners of F1 have sunk at least a cool $250m as in Millions to acquire property for said event!


But I’m sure it’s going to be a disgusting “Dog ‘n Pony” show with the Rich And Famous coming out of the woodwork!


Whilst I sincerely Hope that Liberty Media won’t repeat an encore, and even glitzier rendition of that thoroughly disgusting “rope-Ah-dope” LL Cool J’ Miami “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” Pre-race introduction! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

F1: A long, forgotten American Constructor

Who unfortunately showed up late to thee Party…


Yeah, forgive Mwah if I missed somebody? Since I haven’t bothered attempting going year-by-year to see if my memory’s correct?


As I’m just focusing upon Post War American F1 Constructors, who’ve competed in the modern Formula 1 World Championship beginning in 1950. For which I can only come up with the names of Scarab, Anglo American Racers, (AAR) Penske Racing, Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing, Haas (Beatrice/Force Lola) and today’s  Haas F1 Team.


Although I just learned about the totally unknown Camoradi International F1 Team when perusing the 1960 Formula 1 Season record books. Yet this American Racing team strictly ran customer chassis and wasn’t a Constructor…


While I don’t consider any of the American teams that contested the Indianapolis 500 as part of the 1950-1960 F1 World Championship to be Constructors. Or Yanks’ who’ve raced in F1! Even if it was part of the championship then, in points only…


Lance George William Detlev Graf Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow was born on February 24, 1936. Being Woolworth Heiress Barbara Hutton’s only son, while married to Count von Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow; Hutton’s second of Her eventual seven Husbands…


Lance lived a most interesting life, with His Socialite Mother being one of the wealthiest women in the world afforded Him everything. Whilst other Step Fathers would include Carey Grand and Igor Troubetzkoy.


With the latter Prince Igor Troubetzkoy, who’d won the 1948 Targa Florio introducing then twelve year old Lance to the world of Formula 1.


In the early 1950’s Lance became Pals with Hollywood’s James Dean, another aspiring racer. With Reventlow and good friend and and fellow racer Bruce Kessler reportedly being the last two people to speak to Dean before His death in 1955, when both were on their way to an auto race in Salinas, California.


Lance raced many sports cars, along with “writing off” a Maserati!


Very little seems known about the exact date of when Reventlow formed Scarab, other than having it’s racing cars designed and constructed by the famed Barnes & Troutman concern. With the front engine Scarab’s 283-cid small block V-8’s being built by Traco.


As Barnes & Troutman built winning racecars for amateurs during the 1950’s. Whilst reputedly the Scarab racecars, utilizing a space frame chassis were heavily influence by famed fabricator and mechanic Phil Remington. While the team’s main driver Chuck Daigh is also noted for being one of the team’s “Chief” mechanics…


Reading between the tea leaves of Ye Intrawoods’, Daigh comes off sounding like potentially being the prototypical Ken Miles of later Shelby American fame. Putting Scarab on the map when winning the 1958 United States Grand Prix for Sports Cars at Riverside International Raceway ahead of an All Star cast.


Finishing ahead of the likes of Phil Hill and Dan Gurney driving Ferrari’s! Not to mention USAC drivers Uncle Bobby’, (Unser) Jerry Unser and Johnny Parsons. With somebody named Carroll Shelby in a Maserati and Roy Salvadori in a factory Aston Martin.


As Daigh and His “boss” Lance would share victory aboard a Scarab at the ’58 Nassau Trophy race. With Daigh’s crowning achievement being victorious at the 1959 12 Hours of Sebring.


The Scarab Sports Cars were quick, with two being sold in 1959 to Harry Heuer, son of the Peter Hand Brewing Company’s President, which brewed Meister Brau beer.


As Heuer had been bitten by the racing “bug” and started His Championship winning Meister Brauser racing team that year, running under Yuhs guessed it, Meister Brau Beer sponsorship.


Augie Pabst, Jr. drove one of the Meister Brauser  Scarab’s to the 1959 United States Road Racing championship, (USRRC) and 1960 SCCA National Championship


Whilst ‘Ol shel’, aka Carroll shelby won aboard a Scarab at the 1960 Continental Divide 100’s USAC Road Racing Championship event



Yet Reventlow had set His sights upon beating the Europeans with His All American race cars, sound familiar? And set His sights firmly upon Formula 1. But Lance had two major setbacks the Scarabs could never overcome.


Formula 1 engine regulations between 1954-60 limited normally aspirated engines to a maximum of 2,500cc. (2.5-litres) and thus, the Scarab’s small block V-8’s at 4,637cc’s were nearly twice over the limit. With Reventlow hiring legendous’ engine designer Leo Goosens of Offenhauser and Meyer & Drake fame to design a 2.5-litre inline four cylinder engine, to Lance’s specific requirement for it’s Formula 1 machinery. Yet reportedly, these engines suffered from it’s Desmodromic valve design; suffering continuous mechanical failures.


But the Scarabs Achilles Heel had to be the fact of showing up to F1 in 1960 with a front engine racecar, which were virtually obsolete thanks largely to Jack Brabham dominating the championship in the rear engine Cooper climax.


Nonetheless, Daigh and Reventlow attempted making the team’s debut at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix, where both entries failed to qualify due to hydraulic brake issues.


Following the Indianapolis 500, round three of the 1960 F1 calendar. Both Daigh and Reventlow qualified for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, with Daigh P16 and Reventlow P20; but both cars Did Not Start.


At the Mighty Spa-Francorchamps, Reventlow started 16th with Daigh 18th. Yet both cars engines went Kuhblamoe! With Lance’s detonating on lap-1, and Daigh’s lasting until lap-16.


At the French Grand Prix at Reims, Richie Ginther deputized for Reventlow, qualifying 20th in His lone start for Scarab, with Daigh last in P23. Yet both cars once again suffered from their continuing valve troubles and Did Not Start. (DNS)


Reventlow and Daigh switched to Cooper climax’s for the British Grand Prix. With Daigh retiring on lap-19 with Overheating issues, while Reventlow’s entry was withdrawn. Becoming Lance’s final Grand Prix race.


At the season finale at Riverside. Faced with abnormally Hot weather conditions, Daigh was forced to reduce the engine’s Rev’s to 6,000RPM and managed to finish the race in tenth, albeit  five laps behind. Being the Scarab’s only Grands Prix finish.


For 1961, the FIA mandated that the F1 season be run to Formula 2 regulations with a maximum engine capacity of 1,500cc. Thus signaling the end of the Scarab front engine racecars


And although a lone Scarab rear engine Formula 1 chassis was built in 1962. The car featured an aluminum Buick V-8 engine which didnn’t meet the FIA engine regulations and hence, the car was never raced in Europe. But Daigh did finish a fine fourth in the car’s single race at Sandown, Australia, before the Buick engine was sold Down Under.


Lance Reventlow soon tired of His team’s un-competitiveness, and “Wound Down” Reventlow Automobiles  Inc in ’62. Leasing His Venice, California workshop to Carroll Shelby, where ‘Ol Shel’ took up the mantle of building an “All American” car. Perhaps Y’all have heard of it? It’s name was the Shelby Cobra, and the rest as they say was History!


Ten years later, Lance, along with the other three occupants of the single engine plane, Died in a crash while scouting for property in Aspen, Colorado to develop into a Ski resort.


Ironically Reventlow who was a skilled pilot with IFR and multi-engine ratings was a passenger that day aboard the Cessna “Skywagon”. With a relatively inexperienced pilot at it’s controls when they flew into stormy weather…