Saturday, November 11, 2006

A few quick notes, all of which are well overdue:

ChampCar has their own Earl Hickey. It is my firm belief that the racing gods decided that if the series officials didn't have the guts to park Paul Tracy for the final race of the year after his idiotic shenanigans in pitlane at Surfer's, they would do it themselves. Or maybe he's just a moron. It could go either way. I'd also like to take this opportunity to throw out there that Paulie Walnuts's only championship was won against the perpetually snakebitten Bruno Junquiera, Michel freaking Jourdain (underrated, but not really a top-five guy), then-rookie Sebastien Bourdais, then-teammate Patrick Carpentier (always wildly inconsistent), Jimmy Vasser in vastly inferior equipment and on a brand-new team, and an absolute pu-pu platter of guys who have never run up front on a week-to-week basis. And since then, Bourdais has won the last three championships and roughly 437 races. Can we put an asterisk next to 2003 now?

I am not shocked that Allmendinger has made the jump to NASCAR. How do you turn down $3 million a year to race, when your best option in ChampCar is only offering you $1 million? Poster-boy or not, I can't blame him for taking the cash. Now, I'd just say that it would be nice if Jerry Forsythe signs Buddy Rice for next year, so that we can actually have a few Americans in the series with Graham Rahal making the jump to the big cars and Alex Figge driving for the new PCM effort. Not that I think that either one can beat Bourdais next year, but it's nice to have 15% American drivers in a series where 60% of the races take place in the U.S.

That's all for now. Everybody enjoy the last non-NASCAR race of the year. Looks like Bourdais vs. a one-handed Justin Wilson, by the looks of qualifying, but it should be fun anyway.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Post #2 of the day, this time for the ChampCar race:

3:07 – Back from the basement. Upside: there was still one Sam Adams Octoberfest in the beer fridge. Downside: the F1 season review is still going. With how often all of these clips are trotted out during the actual season, it seems like a bit of overkill to show them now. Shouldn’t we wait a month or two for this, when we’ve actually forgotten some of it?

3:09 – A look at the Speed boys in Charlotte! Everybody’s dressed up for the occasion today. Frankly, I usually imagine these guys sitting around in the studio watching the race in PJ’s and slippers. Maybe that’s just me.

3:13 – Now is the time for the Speedy Awards? 10 minutes after the season is over? Nothing like a little instant history.

3:14 – Can’t take much issue with any of these, except that Matchett has given the “Technical Achievement Award” to the Ferrari gearbox. Too bad this had to be taped before hand, since I’m still convinced it was acting up today, and cost Michael about three positions.

3:16 – Also, “Best On-Track Pass” could have had another contender today with Schumacher going inside Fisi into the Senna Esses. That said, Alonso’s pass of Schumacher at Hungary was pretty awesome.

3:17 – Driver of the Year to Schumacher? After purposefully blocking the track in Qualy in Monaco and losing points from wrecking at Hungary while trying to hold off two clearly faster guys? I don’t know about that. I’ve gotta go with Freddy here.

3:22 – Wow, a pretty even-handed retrospective of Michael’s career. Nice job by the Speed crew. Plus, we get some great footage of Mike in the Sauber Mercedes sports car and the Jordan F1 car in 1991. Oh, plus the Foo Fighters. Kickin’.

3:25 – And just as I think we’re about to head to Surfer’s…it’s a visit from our friend Sam Posey! Ugh. Shoot me now.

3:27 – At least we get some more Foos…

3:29 – Off to Surfer’s! And it’s time for the most jarring contrast of the year: not the performance of F1 vs. ChampCars, but the quality of the F1 booth crew vs. Derek Daly and Rick Benjamin. The over/under for mispronunciations plus mis-identified drivers plus inane comments? Vegas has the line at 124 ½. I’ll take the “over.”

3:32 – Aaaaaah. The grainy footage we always get from Down Under always makes me feel good. Makes me think of John Andretti, and of Senna winning at Suzuka and Adelaide.

3:33 – Yikes. A couple big practice crashes for A.J. and Bourdais. Were the tire barriers placed for maximum carnage potential?

3:34 – And now, we get a graphic for “Final Race Title Surprises.” Uh, guys? This isn’t the final race. I think if Bourdais starts the last two races, he wins the championship. Even if he’s last today, he’ll only need like a 14th or so in Mexico to clinch. I wouldn’t exactly start talking about championship drama right now.

3:35 – Does it make me a bad person that I chuckle whenever I see Erin Crocker in commercials for the Truck Series? I don’t care. Anytime you can make a joke about somebody sleeping their way into a NASCAR ride, I’m laughing. It’s something I’m not sure you could accuse Jimmy Spencer of doing…at least I hope not.

3:38 – Time to get some more mileage out of Katherine Legge’s massive crash at Road America! Apparently, she made appearances on 10 talk shows. OK, we’ve got that out of the way for today, now let’s let that go.

3:44 – Hey! Mario Dominguez! On your third team this year! Having a great season, though.

3:46 – NASCAR results on my phone! Great. Delete. Note to self: disable NASCAR results text messages before next season. I probably waste 3 whole minutes a year looking at those.

3:47 – What is this paddock profile with the Rocketsports guys? It started as an interview of Wario and his race engineer, and now it’s devolved into an explanation of what the buttons on the steering wheel do. Anyway, that was meandering and far-too-long bit. Less pointless stuff, more Bronte Tagliani, please.

3:51 – Now we’ve got Jon Beekhuis doing his poor man’s version of Peter Windsor. It’s kind of hard to take him serious, when instead of Flavio Briatore and Rubens Barrichello, we get interviews with Jan Heylen and a very-bummed-out Justin Wilson, missing the start today with a broken wrist. Whoever designed the tire barriers that he crashed into should be fired. Now.

3:56 – Bourdais is the only repeat pole winner this year? These are the things I forget when we go 3+ weeks between races. Let’s just say this hasn’t been a banner year for the ChampCar series.

4:00 – Good aerial view of Surfer’s. Too bad ChampCar will NEVER appear in high def. This would look 80 times better than Martinsville would.

4:01 – Will Power is on the pole today with an on-board camera that looks like it’s hanging from a crane that’s mounted on his roll hoop. Weird.

4:03 – No start? The first 5 rows looked perfect. When positions 11-17 are inhabited by Heylen, Pizzonia, Zwolsman, Wirth, Legge and the like, I’m afraid that’s as good as it’s going to get.

4:06 –And now we get a single-file start. The fix is in! There’s no other way Power leads through the first chicane over Bourdais if there’s a two-by-two start. Can somebody check Tony Cottman’s passport to see if he’s actually Australian?

4:13 – We learn from Daly that Will Power won “some very big races in Europe” before coming to ChampCar. Of course, it would be too much to ask for the commentators to do any research and find out what those races might have been. This is only their job, after all.

4:18 – A.J.’s on the juice and gets by Servia, but only after doing a little wheel banging at the first chicane. That was less than elegant.

4:19 – Katie is out. Well, I guess that the plus side of her retirements is that it ensures that she’ll get some camera time. To say that she’s been a little disappointing this year would be a slight understatement.

4:20 – OK, Will Power came from the Renault World Series. Thanks, Derek. I think it’s a fair thing to say that no NASCAR commentator would come into a broadcast and not be able to recite the past career stats of that day’s polesitter. This is why I should be calling these races remotely from my living room instead of Daly. Not because I’d be a whole lot better, but I’d definitely be cheaper. OK, plus I’d be better.

4:26 – PT past Bourdais, like Sea Bass was tied to something. Uh, oh.

4:26 – Shock of the day: “Sh***y” Dan Clarke is in the tires. Betting on that in Vegas would have won you, um, probably a hand shake.

4:30 – Good lord, melee on pit road. Fire in the Forsythe pits after A.J. takes off with the fuel hose still connected, Briscoe hits somebody coming out of his box, and Paul Tracy spears into Will Power trying to take the lead on pit lane. Moron. Shades of Cleveland in ’93 or ’94 (I forget) when he did the same thing to teammate Al Unser Jr. (taking both out), or when he did the same to Castroneves at Laguna in about 2000 or 2001. We’ll see if Paulie does the same this time around and blames the other guy.

4:33 – Let me get this straight: Tracy is allowed to come in and take tires and fuel under caution and avoid a penalty? No penalty for a malicious attempt to chop the leader in pit lane, and causing damage to another car? Sure, that makes complete sense. I thought Paul was under probation through this race. Apparently, in ChampCar, that means “do whatever you feel like, and we’ll just reprimand you again”. I think PT would have to stab somebody on the podium to get suspended for a race. At least Daly just called him “an idiot.” That cheers me up a little.

4:39 – Apparently, according to Benjamin, “Speedy” Dan Clarke has been “a thrill a minute all year.” That’s like saying Terrell Owens has “had a few personality differences with some teammates.”

4:42 – Points as they run now: Bourdais wins the championship, and Nelson Philippe and Will Power are 4th and 5th. Did my head just spin completely around? What year is this? Where am I? I think I might have just blacked out for about 4 months.

4:48 – What the hell is Katherine Legge doing? Isn’t she about 3 laps down after stalling? What business does she have muscling her way past people who are on the lead lap? I’ve got to say that this is the most disturbing trend with the latest crop of rookies in ChampCar: they have no qualms with racing with people when they are laps down. This is just unacceptable. It’s going to take somebody taking out a race leader before anything happens in the way of disciplinary action. Oh, except that Marcus Marshall took out da Matta at Cleveland last year (right in front of where I was sitting) and nothing happened. Good precedent.

4:53 – Daly calls Bourdais “un-champion-like” for his move on Will Power for the lead, damaging Power’s car. If Tracy had made that move, Daly and Benjamin would be chuckling and making jokes right now. Sure, it was dumb, but uh, guys? It’s racing. That happens. And the championship is clinched, so what did you expect from The Bass?

4:56 – Power is out. Too bad. Good drive by him.

4:56 – Footage from the Atlantic banquet. Thankfully, it’s only about 30 seconds worth, as opposed to the seven hour marathon that the NASCAR banquet has become. Who the hell watches the whole thing? I use it as a sleeping aid.

5:00 – We are told by Daly that he expects “Nelson Philippe to hit the front here.” He means “take the lead,” but I think “hit the leader” might be a little more likely.

5:02 – OK, we’ve seen Bourdais hit Power about six times now, but could somebody talk a bit more about Tracy and his non-penalty? If he doesn’t hit Power and knock off some of Power’s aero pieces, maybe Bourdais doesn’t have enough speed to get close enough to make a move. Also, Tracy is running 4th and might have a chance at the win on an alternate fuel strategy. I’m going to go throw up now.

5:04 – Philippe proves me an idiot by taking the lead and we get another helping of “what was he thinking of?” from Daly when Servia loses downforce, locks up, and nudges Philippe under braking. Derek, calm down. That was clearly not on purpose from Oriol.

5:07 – We go to commercial and find out that Andreas Wirth is in 7th. Wha? He had a decent year in Atlantics, but I don’t think anybody thought that this was going to happen. You might want to pick up some Powerball tickets when you get back to the states, Dre.

5:13 – A.J. accepts at least half of the blame for his accident that was assisted by the gearbox acting up. I’m not sure that that interview would have gone quite the same with someone like Tracy.

5:17 – Tracy appears to have pitted and rejoined in front of Philippe. Now he’s in the catbird seat for the win. I may protest and not watch Mexico City if Tracy is allowed to win this race.

5:21 – I’d like to point out that we’re almost 90% of the way through the Surfer’s Paradise ChampCar race and we haven’t seen a single shot of a bikini clad girl on the beach. Have the political correctness police gotten to the SpeedTV guys, or have they just forgotten who their target audience is?

5:22 – A flurry of activity during the commercial: Servia has retired with a gearbox problem and Heylen and Katherine have hit various things. Daly: “I think Katherine’s had about six incidents today.” Ladies and gentlemen, ChampCar’s answer to Danica Patrick!

5:23 – Look, don’t get me wrong, I like Katherine Legge, and I think she’s a decent driver, but she clearly came up to ChampCar at least a year too soon. She’s been in way over her head all year, and the improvement I’ve been hoping would be gradual over the course of the season has been non-existent. She’s just as capable of rearranging tire barriers at any given moment now as she was at Long Beach. I can only hope that they can give her about 10,000 more testing miles over the winter, and maybe some time doing wheel-to-wheel stuff in a shifter kart or something.

5:26 – We learn that Derek Daly gets all of his “insider information” from You’ve got to be kidding. Why bother earning your salary as a TV personality by talking to actual people in the paddock, when you can sit in your hotel room and surf the ‘net?

5:28 – For the record, I’m very excited about the new Panoz ChampCar. It looks great, and should put on some fantastic racing next year. It’s just too bad that there might only be a few legit championship contenders left (Tracy, Bourdais, Wilson) after Allmendinger goes to NASCAR and Bruno gets fired in favor of Graham Rahal.

5:33 – Huh? Tracy and Wario have to trade places? Too bad we don’t have any footage of the pass under yellow. And why isn’t Pizzonia getting out of the way of the leaders here?

5:35 – Daly claims that Wario is one of the “great late brakers.” Ha! Can we just simply call him a “late braker,” please?

5:37 – Philippe, Dominguez and Tracy do their best to make a three car pile-up and give the win to Tags, but fail and continue driving. Too bad.

5:38 – Tracy has to get behind Tags to “give back the time”? What? Since when is this a rule? Tracy short-cutted the chicane, and fell back in behind Dominguez, exactly where he was before. Believe me, I’m not bashful about asking for Paul Tracy to be penalized for things, but this is bullshit.

5:41 – This race has officially attained “train wreck” status. Inexplicable penalties and non-penalties, lots of incidents, most of which took place off camera, and a weird leaderboard. I know that this tends to happen in Australia, but this seems worse than usual.

5:44 – We learn that Dominguez needs “an extra brake pad,” because he’s such a late braker. Um, that’s not a good thing. That means he overdrives his equipment.

5:51 – One lap to go and Wario is close. Plus, he’s got some juice left. But, he just spun the wheels coming on to the backstretch when as Daly says, “the traction control didn’t take off there.” Of course, these cars haven’t had traction control in three years, but who’s paying attention?

5:52 – The win goes to Nelson Philippe! He’s far from my favorite driver, but I guess he deserved this one. When you can stay out of trouble on a day like this, you deserve to wind up in the top five.

5:53 – And a quick championship montage for Bourdais, set to some 1988 vintage Van Halen. Good times. It bothers me, though, that they keep comparing his run of three straight championships to Ted Horn’s. I can’t imagine that this crop of drivers is quite as deep as what Horn had to beat. Nowadays, apparently any dork with a million dollars can be a ChampCar driver.

5:58 –Jon Beekhius: “Nelson Philippe, you’ve joined the ranks of such illustrious company of John Andretti and Mario Dominguez as a driver who has won his first career race at Surfer’s Paradise. How does that make you feel, to follow in those guys’ footsteps, knowing there’s a better-than-good chance that your career will follow the same arc?” OK, maybe that’s just what I’d have asked.

6:00 – Well, it’s been an up and down day. Alonso and Bourdais did manage to sew up their respective championships, and we’ve had a couple of novel winners in Massa and Philippe. Oh, and the most prolific winner (note how I did not say “greatest driver”) in Formula 1 history retired. I’m feeling a little unfulfilled after all of that. Good thing there’s more Labatt’s in the fridge. Enjoy the three week break until Mexico City. And don’t forget to keep ignoring NASCAR. Just remember that it’s for the good of racing.
Greetings from Speed Geek HQ! I figured today, being the last big racing day of the year with ChampCar from Australia and the finale of Michael Schumacher’s career, plus rainy and cold outside to boot, would be a great time to co-opt Bill Simmons’ running diary idea. So, here goes, with 5 hours of racing action coming at ya!

First, I’ll be making no apologies to the length or coherence of this post. This blog is meant for my amusement only, so whatever I produce comes with no money-back guarantee for reader satisfaction. I will say, though, that I’m cheating a bit with the “live diary,” since it turns out that Sam’s Club is a terrible idea at 12:00 on a Sunday. I’m starting 80 minutes behind, but thanks to our new Comcast DVR, I’m going to pretend we’re live:

12:30 – Not sure how I feel about Schumacher’s last race. I was a big fan for the first 8 or 9 years of his career, but over the last few years, it has become apparent that he’s actually not all that admirable (Monaco this year was the last straw for me). And, it’ll be better to have four or five top drivers vying for race wins, instead of wondering whether or not anybody can beat Michael every week. But, that said, it won’t be the same without him around.

12:32 – First throw-down to Peter Windsor. A great idea for this year. Dough well-spent to get someone on the ground at the race. Varsha, Hobbs, and Matchett do a great job, given that they’re sitting in a booth in Charlotte with the same TV feed we’re seeing, but it’s nice to have somebody at the race to conduct actual interviews and tell us some of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

12:36 – Apparently there is a “Speedy Award” for “Best Race.” Who gets to put that award on their mantle? Bernie? Max Mosely, for effective rules manipulation? I think the ESPY thing has gone a little too far.

12:37 – Windsor: “Jarno, prospects for the race?”
Trulli: “We’re going straight to the back.” (Maybe that wasn’t the actual answer, but it should have been.)

12:42 – Scott Speed’s best memory of the year is of getting a point in Australia? Something that didn’t actually happen? Yikes. Let’s try to get an actual point today, shall we, Scooter?

12:43 – Windsor: “We look forward to seeing you (Giancarlo Fisichella) as Renault’s team leader net year.” Or at least until you’re fired at mid-season for being the most disappointing #1 driver in F1 history.

12:44 – Windsor: “Misour Todt, can I ask you a quick question.”
Todt shakes head and turns away. Ha! That’s a new one. High comedy.

12:48 – It’s truly too bad that Mikey’s starting in the mid-pack today, but it’ll be fun to watch him march to the front. The only guy who can match his pace is Felipe, but I just can’t see him keeping it together all day to score the home-town victory. How long before Michael’s in second? I say 12 laps.

12:50: Kimi’s best memory of the year? “Ghsouhkduykjhgjh.” Or at least, I think that’s what he said. He kills me. Today’s SAT question: Dikembe Mutubo is to Simmons as __________ is to The Speedgeek. Answer: Kimi Raikkonen. Every interview is a virtual treasure trove of monotone, barely intelligible answers.

12:54 – The official time of the first overly dramatic, but somewhat hilarious Schumacher tribute. Can’t imagine that it’ll be the same in 10 years when Alonso quits with 4 titles and 35-45 race wins (depending on McLaren’s ability to get it together in the next few years).

12:56 – Track analysis by the still-sober Hobbs. I’m just waiting for his first Flavio Briatore impression after about his third gin and tonic in about an hour and 20 minutes. My favorite part of every F1 weekend.

12:58 – There’s no doubt that Alonso brings home the Drivers title today, but I think it’s a mortal lock that Fisi poops the bed and finishes 10th or so to cost Renault the Manufacturer’s title. Lipe might have a botched pitstop or a lurid spin that may cost him the race, but he’s still going to beat Fisi and bring home the necessary points for Ferrari.

1:00 – Hobbs: “Could be Yamamoto’s last race for Aguri today.” You think?

1:02 – Boogity, boogity, boogity, boys! Michael gets both BMWs at the end of the backstraight, and Webber loses his rear wing. Better luck at Red Bull next year, Marky Mark. He deserves better.

1:04 – Ooh, a reference to a good Surfer’s race by Varsha! Yeehaaa!

1:04 – Yikes, a gigantic write-off for Nico. And Mark’s parked. Too bad for Williams. This season was worse than the Supertec days back in 1999 and 2000. Hope the Toyota marriage next year is good for them.

1:07 – Nico took Mark’s wing (and his own front wing) off? Just start walking to the airport now, buddy. You’re better off in hand-to-hand combat with Sao Paulo’s street gangs than facing Patrick Head right now.

1:11 – Heidfeld took the door off the safety car here in 2002? How have I never seen footage of that? I’ll be off to Youtube directly after the race.

1:12 – No way Schu doesn’t slice up Fisi on this restart. I wish I could bet on this stuff. It’s money in the bank.

1:14 – Did Rubens fall asleep during the Safety Car? He was 2+ seconds down to Mikey by the line? I’d think the teams should practice these things during testing. Aren’t restarts more valuable than doing about 200 laps trying to find another 0.05 seconds per lap?

1:17 – Crud. Flat for Michael. That’s a little anticlimactic. A shame, really. Well, a point by Renault will clinch the Constructor’s now. Jean and Ross can have the red guys start packing stuff up now, except that Michael will undoubtedly lower the fastest lap about 25 times before the end of the day.

1:20 – Both Toyotas out at the same time? Unreal. What a hideous season for them. And I can’t see next year being any different with those two drivers. Ralf sucks and Jarno is snakebitten. Bad, bad re-signings there. You’d be better off putting Ryan Briscoe and Franck Montagny in those cars and saving yourself $25 million a year.

1:22 – Scooter in 10th! Nice. This live diary thing is making me miss stuff, though. No way Varsha points that out before I notice it, on any other day.

1:25 – Crazy Dave Coulthard out. Too bad. Disappointing season there. It’ll be fun watching him try to keep up with Marky Mark next year. Oh, and his interview in qualifying was his highlight of the year. “What happened? Don’t know. Car’s slow.”

1:27 – 11 retirements for Webber this year? Yikes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him with a sniper rifle on top of the press box by the end of the day.

1:29 – I know that it’s an open question as to whether or not Lewis Hamilton is going to race for McLaren next year, but I think it’s a done deal. He kicked ass in GP2 like no body else has for a few years in F3000 (Montoya was probably the last guy who impressed me as much at that level). Sign him, and start testing him tomorrow.

1: 33 – How are Rubens and Fisi drag racing in pit lane for position? Honda shouldn’t be even close to Renault’s pace here. Fisi will be fired before France next year.

1:35 – You’ve got to figure that Lipe is not going to lap Michael here. I don’t care that he’s running quicker, Mike just can’t go down a lap.

1:35 – Lipe is in. Nevermind. Although, if he can keep his head, and nothing befalls him at the next stop, this race is over. Ooh, or might Freddy be on a 1-stopper?

1:39 – Fred’s in. Race’s over, if Lipe can keep the dirty side down.

1:43 – Button goes by Kimi with barely any protest? No way. Kimi must already be trying to decide what topless beach he’s heading to after the race.

1:44 – A vicious chop by Vito Liuzzi on Heidfeld. Rookie mistake by Vito. How ‘bout Bobby Kubica, though? I didn’t see him doing a fraction of what he’s been able to do this year. Maybe there is something to the whole idea of plucking somebody out of Formula Fords, giving him about 40,000 miles of testing laps, then giving him a race drive.

1:47 – Petey DLR up to 2nd driving a silver tanker-trailer on a 1-stop strategy. Not sure how I feel about guys using that strategy. Seems kind of like Max Papis’s wins in ChampCar: sneaking in through the back door. But, I guess it works, and it is a legit strategy, no pay no attention to me.

1:53 – Next year, I’m totally starting the Berkley F1 Crew, so I can get a Varsha shout-out. That’d make my week.

1:54 – Fast lap by Schuey. No surprise there.

1:55 – So, Michael gets to take this car home with him? Do you suppose that he’s going to sit in it on Sunday afternoons with the F1 races on TV and the sound turned all the way up? I would.

1:57 – Disappointing sequence by the Speed guys when they miss Schumacher going slowly for about three corners and letting Kubica back by. He obviously went off, or at least got in the marbles and took a second cleaning the tires off. OK, Matchett has just had that idea. Nevermind, but that was the first misstep by the Speed guys. I wonder if Derek Daly will be able to go almost an hour and a half without making a mistake today? I’ll be happy with a minute and a half.

2:00 – Scooter is behind Taku with the same number of stops? Anyone care to explain how that happened?

2:03: - The 2006 highlight clip for this week includes Takuma Sato hitting Schumacher with his BAR. Uh, I don’t think that happened this year…

2:06 – Michael makes his last stop and comes back out in 8th. This could be interesting to see if he can get up into the podium positions…

2:08 – Heikki Kovaleinen has got to be stoked for next year. You just know he’s going to embarrass Fisichella before the season gets back to Europe next year. Best case scenario for the new guy: great car, subpar team leader. That’s a recipe for unquestioned #1 status for 2008.

2:11 – Lipe’s in! And the upset of the day: no problems in pitlane. Improbable. Look out for Vito Liuzzi, though…

2:14 – Even if Freddy comes out behind Button, there’s no way Jenson keeps him behind for the rest of the race. Fred’s back out of the pits in 2nd.

2:15 – Michael with a rare fist wave at Yamamoto. Fully merited, though. Can we put Anthony Davidson in that car for the rest of the race?

2:18 – Schu vs. Fisi Part 2. Will it be the same as 40 laps ago? Nope, Michael inexplicably slows for two corners and lets Fisi get away. Must have a transmission problem. I don’t buy the explanation that it was bad understeer for one corner. You don’t lose 2 seconds in one corner from understeer.

2:21 – Our first look at Cris Albers…and he’s thrown it off the road. Big surprise.

2:22 – Surprise: Hobbs still sounds sober. Not a surprise: Varsha is busting on Hobbs for being old.

2:24 – Also not a surprise: Fisi folds under the pressure and chucks the car off the road under pressure from Michael. Feeling good about that lineup for next year, Flavio?

2:26 – Someone has obviously gone off…and it’s Quick Nick Heidfeld, with a massive suspension failure at the end of the front straight. Promoting Scooter to 11th. Now, we just need Jenson, Kimi, Freddy and Michael to have a pile up and we’ll have the first point for an American since Monza 1993. It hasn’t been a great time to be an American F1 fan for the last decade and a half.

2:30 – The race director keeps switching from Kimi and Michael to Massa. Which makes sense, since Lipe’s got a 24 second lead and these are the last 5 laps of Michael’s career.

2:31 – Wow. Michael with an absolutely breathtaking pass on Kimi for 4th. And the Ferrari guys are going nuts. As well they should. I’ll miss that kind of stuff next year.

2:34 – Unreal. Michael cuts fastest lap on the next to last lap of his career.

2:35 – Lipe brings home a fantastic flag-to-flag win, Freddy brings home the title, Michael finishes on Jenson’s gearbox, and Fisi is driving straight off the track to the airport, before Flavio can take a swing at him for conning Flav into re-signing his contract for next year.

2: 39 – Gonna be a fun podium, with Lipe and Freddy crying and Jenson Button attempting to chug an entire bottle of champagne.

2:44 – I’ve got my fingers crossed that we can at least get Michael on to the podium for one last leap. It’s become tiresome over the years, the “I just crushed these guys, and I could still run a marathon” leap, but it’s our last chance to see it. That is, until Dale Coyne signs him to drive in ChampCar next year. Or not.

2:49 – A big swig of champagne for Ross Brawn. Gonna miss him next year. There’s no way Ferrari can maintain their level of competitiveness without him.

2:53 – Felipe: “The easiest race of my life.” You can say that again. And Windsor is officially trying as hard as he knows how to make Felipe cry again. No dice, though.

2:55 – Windsor: “Fernando, can you say a few words about Michael today.”
Freddy: “He’s a punk-ass. Smell ya later.” That might have only happened in my head.

2:57 – Gah! Jenson Button is growing a horrible “playoffs beard.” Thank God the season is over, because he looks like a freshman at college who’s come home for Thanksgiving. Shave that thing and get back to dating supermodels already.

3:00 – I’ve gotta say, the championships came out exactly as they should have. Nobody wound up with an inflated points total due to, say, 7 teams sitting out a race or something.

3:03 – Is this the best time for a post-season rundown? Isn’t there a ChampCar race to throw it to? I know it’s tape delay and all, but there’s a 5 month off-season that’s made for stuff like this.
3:04 – Time for a quick bathroom break and a run to the beer fridge to grab a couple of Labatt’s before our descent into Dalydom for two and a half hours. Back in a minute.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Back...for the 8th time!

Sorry 'bout the last three months. Been in a coma. Let me guess, Alonso and Bourdais wrapped up their respective championships months ago, Jaques Villeneuve has been reconfirmed at BMW with a 6-year contract after five straight podium finishes, Michael Schumacher has bought MF1 and will drive for them for an Emmerson Fittipadi-esque ending to his career (teaming with Ralf as his Wilson Fittipaldi, no less), and Grand-Am realized that their racing was solid, but that attracting crowds in the double digits wouldn't sustain a series, so they folded up? Oh, none of the above?

Well, Bourdais and Alonso will clinch this weekend anyway, and ALMS at Laguna into the late-evening should be good watching, especially if Dyson can find a bit of extra speed on a track that should suit them. The season is almost over (4 total races left in the series that don't suck, ALMS, ChampCar and F1...OK, ChampCar kind of sucks, but not as much as the Junior-Gordon-Stew-This Week's Villian Show), so sit on down and enjoy some racing this weekend while you can.

Hopefully, there will be some extra posts coming soon about crap that's happened in the last few months that I didn't have a chance (read: was far, far too lazy) to write about. Namely, a somewhat entertaining trip to the Michigan IRL race, a rockin' karting excursion to Western Pennsylvania by Yours Geeky, and all of the other racing-related nonsense of the past half-season. Thanks for tuning back in. Uh, all three of you.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

There's a Joke In Here Somewhere...

Ed Carpenter apparently made a "joke" about Danica. Offensive? Not to me. Unfunny and predictable? Definitely. On the other hand, apparently Dani doesn't think that Eddie's much of a character. Says she: "No big deal. Ed is a really nice guy. There's no drama there. I think it's funny. I'm glad he's showing some personality." In other words, "Who are you again? IRL driver? I don't see you much out there, and you don't get many interviews..."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Back By Unpopular Demand

My faithful readership (OK, Pablo) has pointed out that I haven't posted in quite some time. It has also been pointed out that one or two things have happened in the racing world since mid-June. I suppose that's true. So, here's what all three of you have been waiting for: The 'Geek's Take On a Wacky Month!

Firstly, yes, I knew that A.J. Allmendinger would go on a three-race win binge after getting picked up by Forsythe. That is why I arranged with Jerry himself to send me 20% of all of "Ding-Ding's" winnings for the duration of his contract in return for my insistence that A.J. get put in Dominguez's car. The only problem is that they still don't have a contract together. Oops. An oversight on my part. Possibly my deal with Dale Coyne for 7 cases of Sonny's Barbecue Sauce when Jan "Van" Heylen wins the championship in 2007 will work out better.

Secondly, I've got to backtrack to the USGP for a moment. I did not go this year, and that wasn't any sort of a protest or boycott so much as a lack of desire to spend a few hundred dollars on the weekend to watch a Renault whitewash. See, I really am a prophet! On the other hand, I was able to enjoy from home the unquestionable highlight of the weekend: Derek Daly's pre-race gridwalk. "I'm looking for Scott Speed right now. He's...not here. Might be in the bathroom. Moving up the grid, maybe Jenson Button is around... Hmmm. Nope. OK, Flavio surrounded by Italian TV. OK, Felipe Massa...looking for Massa...probably in the bathroom. These drivers pee quite a bit before the races..." F1 grid:1; Daly:0, in a perfect game shutout. High comedy. And for the icing on the cake, a near fisticuffs with Martin Brundle when they almost headbutted when going for a word with Bernie Ecclestone. Daly's best moment of the decade. As for the race itself, I doubt that Ferrari will maintain that pace for the rest of the season, but I'm pulling for them to show up at Magny Cours this weekend with a one-off gold paint scheme to mess with the French after the World Cup finale last weekend. Maybe invite Zizou into the garage for qualifying or something. Just something to keep things interesting before Alonso remembers how to win and rips off 6 straight to close out the season.

Thirdly, Montoya to NASCAR. Just a hideous decision. I know that there are all sorts of things that make this look like a great decision on paper: NASCAR has been looking for a marketable Latino driver, Juan is looking to get paid (which he couldn't manage in any other series in the world, short of Euro or German touring cars; all the ChampCar and IRL teams are either broke or full, F1 would have been a drive-for-nothing deal for next year with Toro Rosso), he's a fantastic natural talent who has shown considerable range in learning new cars and tracks, he's great on cold tires which will come in handy in stock cars, and he's even got a wife and kids who'll probably be happy going to the races in the NASCAR-standard 200-foot RV. He'll make a boatload of cash, regardless of results, but I just can't see this working out to more than a few Robby Gordon-style road course wins and oval top-5s. I'll just say that Juan is probably my favorite active driver (with Jimmy Vasser ostensibly retired), but I don't think that this will work when all of the Cup (and Busch and Truck) guys have been in that game since they could walk and Juan's never driven anything with fenders (except for the much-ballyhooed Tradin' Paint episode, during which Juan looked on the verge of dozing off due to boredom). He won't be a Christian Fittipaldi, Michel Jourdain or Anthony Lazzaro-level disaster, but I think that come April 2008, Juan is going to wish that he had just lobbied Chipper to run a third car in the IRL for him. Unless there's an out in his contract that allows for that when open wheel reunites...

Fourthly, Danica to NASCAR. Please. I like Dani, but she has not won a race since the Toyota Pro/Am race at Long Beach about 5 or 6 years ago. She hasn't quite come to terms with an IRL car yet to the point where she can run up front (she's helpless in the lead, and legitimately sucks at restarts), and those are flat-out all the time on most tracks. She could probably drive a Cup car, given a year or three in Busch, but I could not see her winning a championship there. Re-read my comments for Juan, and substitute in Dani, if you need to. This is not meant to be a ringing endorsement of NASCAR's claim that they've got the best drivers in the world, just the fact that those guys are bred from birth to drive stock cars. Same as Brazilians are bred to drive open wheel cars. Frankly, I just see this as an attempt to drive up Bobby Rahal's price on her next contract (no other IRL team is a realistic option for that bluff; Penske and Ganassi are full, Andretti will probably be a 3-car team for Marco, Dario and TK next year, everybody else is nowhere). She'll be back with Rahal, mark my words, unless Tony George hires her for Vision's 6 car team next year to keep car counts at 18.

Fifthly, Jimmy Spencer is a dumbass. "[NASCAR] definitely [has] the biggest fan base in the world as far as the driver's are concerned." Funny. Possibly he hasn't heard that there are 17 F1 races that run outside of the US, and that the folks in Europe (and Asia, Australia, Africa and all of the other countries in the Americas) have something of a passing interest in the sport. I think I also remember hearing him say a few years ago that Toyota would never be competetive in stock cars. Well, he got that right. Oh, wait, they've won 6 of 13 races in Trucks this year and their drivers are 1-2-3 in the points. Almost got that one, Jimmy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Le Mans Weekend to you all!

I know, in the U.S., nobody cares about Le Mans. Well, I do, so I'm writing about it. I've never been to the race myself, though my British friends tell me that actually being there is all that plus the proverbial bag of chips. Or crisps, as they'd say, if they used that phrase. I can only imagine that falling asleep (or passing out, if you're doing the full Le Mans experience) to the sound of distant (or not-very-distant) racecars, and waking up to same is pretty cool, and having a radio network completely dedicated 24/7 (or, 24/2, actually) to the race you're watching would be fairly intense, too. Or, maybe I'm just a huge geek. Hey, that's the name of this site!

Anyway, it should be fascinating to see if the Pescarolos or Courages or whatever other French prototypes that have showed up this year can run long enough to keep the Audis honest. My dough is on "no", but hopefully I'm wrong, and I'll have something to watch when I wake up tomorrow morning. And hopefully the Audis aren't 16 laps ahead by then due to only stopping once every 6 hours or whatever their increased fuel mileage will allow. GT1 ought to be pretty good, even if it's basically 'Vette vs. Aston, with a Saleen or a Ferrari as a prohibitive longshot. At least two of those four frontrunning cars ought to go the distance, so hopefully they're still duking it out into Sunday afternoon.

The obligatory Champ Car note for the weekend: Ha, ha, Carl Russo! A.J.'s on provisional pole and Cris is sucking in 10th. Guess that might have backfired a bit, huh? And yes, I'll be watching Portland after all. I know you all were on pins and needles about that one. Enjoy your weekend, ya'll.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Three notes today:

1) Hemelgarn folded and P.J. Chesson is looking for a new ride? Wha? I can imagine that losing both of your cars on lap 3 of the Indy 500 is fairly catastropic for a team that small, but when did this happen? I read nothing about it all last week, nor did I hear anything about it during the Texas IRL race this weekend.

2) Forsythe can kill two birds with one stone. Please sign A.J. Now. And thanks for getting rid of Wario while you were at it.

3) The IRL has managed to do away with thier best product that isn't named Danica or Marco: their 1.5 mile oval racing. I almost laughed during the telecast when ABC showed Scott Sharp blabbing about Texas' side-by-side, big pack racing in an inset screen while the main screen showed the Penske/Ganassi procession out in front. How many on-track passes for the lead did we have on Saturday night? To my count: zero, or roughly the same as most F1 races. I know that the one-engine program was bound to do this to some extent (not what Rusty Wallace was saying during the 500 telecast, which was that the one-engine program was "brought in to make the racing closer"; where do I start with that?), but this week was ridiculous. I fell asleep for about 20 laps at one point and didn't feel the need to rewind. That was unthinkable no more than two years ago.

OK, a bonus note: 4) Rusty, Scott and Marty are awful in the IRL booth. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, why should it take PROFESSIONAL racing commentators 12 minutes to figure out how a wave-around works? Especially when they could actually see it taking place in front of them on the track AND when they have the benefit of in-booth timing and scoring? And someone make Rusty stop spending 20 minutes of every race praising Roger Penske. We know he's a close friend of yours, and I'll give you that he's probably one of the smartest people in racing, but it does not need to be repeated at length every week. We got it. On to your next point: these hot rods are haulin'!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Are you joking?

da Matta for Allmendinger?!? To paraphrase John McEnroe, you cannot be serious. "We're going to fire the one and only American in the series and ChampCar's star young attraction in favor of a guy who might still be quick, but it's hard to tell, since he's spent the last four years 1) slumming at Toyota in F1, 2) throwing the car off the road last year at PKV, and 3) begging for money at Coyne." Well done, Carl Russo. I may own a hat that has Cris's name on it (from last year's PKV team), but you've now landed as my least favorite car owner. You shall see none of my potential merchandise-purchasing money, ever.

Disgusting. I was already considering not watching ChampCar for a while (see my last post), but now it has been wrapped up. Until A.J. lands somewhere else, or we get some other American in a seat, I'm checked out (not that I'm xenophobic; I think that a diverse background of drivers is great for the sport; it'd just be nice to have a couple home-country boys in the nation's supposed "Number 1 Open-Wheel Series") . Consider my season pass deleted from my TiVo.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Day Late

Damn, damn, damn. I just had to go check before coming here to post today. Seems Robin Miller already wrote a post-Milwaukee column, so I'm gonna look a little dumb and amateurish here. I mean, even more than normal.

Anyway, I did get around to watching ChampCar at Milwaukee on the TiVo last night. I fell asleep for a good bit of it, and did not bother to rewind. The Lap 2 dust-up between Bruno (poor guy), Mario (idiot), and Tracy (innocent bystander, for a change) was as good as billed, down to PT making thinly veiled derogatory comments about Mario on the air. Good times. All we missed was a live radio feed of Paulie Walnuts calling Mario a bleeping bleep-head without the bleeps. There will be a pit lane fight between the two of them before this season is over, and Bruno will probably drop by to hit Mario with his back brace, just for kicks.

Seeing Katherine lead somewhat comfortably for a time was fun, even if it was ruined somewhat by Derek Daly wishing that Bourdais would "just let her lead for a while." OK, #1) that's a dumb thing to say, #2) he was just unlapping himself, and #3) there's no way she keeps Seabass behind her under any circumstances at this point in their careers. It was another tour-de-force by DD and Benjamin, with mis-identified drivers, self-interrupted thoughts and stories and non-sequiters galore. How do these guys keep getting work? And why did we have to wait until 18 minutes into the broadcast to find out why Tags was a non-start? How is that acceptable?

Anyhow, as bad as the telecast was, the worst part of the whole thing was that I finally focused on how desperate things have gotten for ChampCar this year. When a crash happens that takes out two of the top guys, or Dominguez forbid, three or four, the rest of the field is horrendously depleted. Having six (or nine, if you count the PKV guys, er, uh, birds, plus Tagliani) frontrunning seats with only five qualified drivers (Seabass, Bruno, Wilson, A.J., Tracy) is bad, bad, bad for this series. The only way we get interlopers in the top five is when one team nails a setup (like HVM did with Ryan Hunter-Reay's setup from two years ago for Philippe, who I still don't believe in) or there's carnage at the front. Fully eight of the drivers in the series are no-hopers right now, though Andrew Ranger, Will Power or maybe Charles Zwolsman could win races someday in the right equipment. (And don't bring up da Matta at Coyne; that's not working, especially when you get interviewed for 8th place and have to beg for sponsorship on the air as Cris did in Monterrey.) Everyone else should stay home. Including the fans. A merger is never going to happen unless it really comes into focus for Kevin Kalkhoven what is going on. Let's just say that I'm not going back to Cleveland this year to bake in the sun and watch Nicky Pastorelli and "Sh***y" Dan Clarke crash into each other.

Wow, didn't mean to get quite so negative today, but apparently this has been building for a while. But, who knows? Maybe Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will all get offered rides from Portland onward to take the place of all of these current guys who I've never heard of before this season (and I still don't know where you came from, Jan Heylen), and we'll get Patty Carpentier back from Montreal onward. Also, I might be fielding a Formula 1 team next year out of my garage. It's about as likely to happen.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Speedgeek Fallenback

I invoke the name of my favorite ex-NASCAR driver-turned-TV commentator (since Kenny Wallace actually counts as a still-active driver), since I just got around to watching Monaco and Indy on the TiVo this weekend. IRL at the Glen and ChampCar at Milwaukee await for tonight.

Anyway, for starts, Indy was awesome. The world's most improtant race (I still do believe that, even though Rusty Wallace actually referred to it as Daytona at the end of the race before correcting himself) under the most difficult of conditions (everybody was sliding around to some extent on a hot, slick track) made for a great race. Everything was in place: defending race champ and his ex-series champ teammate vs. dominant polesitter vs. girl wonder vs. comeback legend, legend's kid, another ex-series champ, and Mr. Ashley Judd, and all on a variety of strategies. Riveting stuff. And it actually came through on the telecast, despite the best attempts of the guys in the booth to screw it all up.

I've read a couple of people who have said that the worst outcome of all those potential 8 winners was Sam Hornish Jr. winning the race. I completely disagree. People who tuned in casually and saw Marco and Michael Andretti battling for the win will also remember that guy from Ohio who actually won, I think. How can you not, when Sam made such a decisive, lightning fast and smooth move to win (though Marco cost himself the win by butchering turns 3 and 4 on the last lap; his entry to 3 was from the middle of the track, so it's no wonder that his lap 200 speed was 7 MPH slower than Hornish's)? I don't buy that the IRL absolutely had to have either Marco or Danica win. Uh, people will eventually have to find out that there are other drivers in the series, and why not learn who Sam is, since he's a 2-time series champ who drives for the IRL's New York Yankees? I think that most people know who Roger Penske is, so it might not kill the League for people to know who his drivers are and follow them to get into the sport. My $0.02.

Also from last weekend: Michael Schumacher is a dumbass. Competetive and masterful, yes, but also a dumbass. You've gotta know that you're under the microscope for anything sketchy that happens after Adelaide '94 and Jerez '97, so why push the issue and park in the middle of the track? Yes, it was a split-second decision to park, but it's not one that should ever come into your head at all, if you're worth half a crap as a driver. Too bad that that probably cost us any chance of a decent fight for the World Championship, since Alonso will never lose a 21 point lead this far into a season.

As for this last weekend, I'm stoked to watch the ChampCar race, since I understand that Tracy gets into it with Dominguez. Delightful. I'll go on record as saying that there'll be a pit lane fist fight between the two of them before Edmonton. Can't wait.

Friday, May 26, 2006

500 Weekend

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year again. I know, it's supposedly less wonderful since 1995, but I only know of the 500 firsthand since '96, the first year I had a chance to go. Judging from what all the "old timers" say it must have been unbelievable back in the day, 'cause it's pretty damn cool now. Reducing attendance and car counts (which could/should both be helped by reunification) or not, Speedway, Indiana is the place to be on Memorial Day weekend. I'm not listening, NASCAR fans.

The short of it is that a red and white car will win this year. Nobody else is within 2 miles an hour of pole speed. Kanaan and Meira (and maybe Rice, Franchitti, Herta, or an Andretti) may be near race pace, but short of a four-car pileup in turn 1, either Ganassi or Penske get their win. I just hope that Heeeeelio, Sam, Dan (not Danica) and Scooter can battle amongst each other to make it a good race. My money is on Helio. Or it would be if I knew of a good sports book in Detroit. Note to self: check out tonight.

Other racing thoughts: Monaco should be fun, if processional during the race. Qualifying should be a classic. Too many cars going for a time in too short of a session on a track with no runoff at all equals fun for the whole family.
Coke 600? Who cares. Not me, anyway. Since Daytona, I've watched a sum total of about 20 minutes of NASCAR coverage, and that was just to see what it looked like in high def. For the record, it looks great. Except that it's still NASCAR, so I couldn't be paid to care. Who's feuding this week? Boring.

Enjoy your weekend, y'all. And look for me and Ms. Speedgeek in Turn 1. I'll be the one holding the "Robin Miller for IRL Comissioner" sign.

Friday, May 12, 2006

One quick note before the weekend:

No way Paul Tracy signs a 5 year deal for Forsythe and isn't in on some info about reunification. Would he really be happy running for 5 more years against Newman-Haas, Rusport and the ChampCar pu-pu platter? Please.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Derek Daly is as awful as I remembered him from last year's attempts at doing F1 commentary for CBS. Uninsightful, unfocused and unimaginative, and that's about all I can say for now. CBS's four race F1 run can't come to an end quick enough. And "Hold on to your hollyhocks" is about the worst catch phrase this side of Budweiser/Joe Buck's "Slamma lamma...ding dong," except that that was actually a spoof on sports catch phrases. Though Derek did not disappoint, and did explain what "understeer" was about halfway through the race. Next up at Spain: why F1 teams use all of those guys for pitstops! What's up with that?!?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Pet Peeve

OK, a word of warning: this basic post will seem to keep reappearing about once a month, maybe more, with a few words changed, but I assure you that I'll actually type it fresh every time.

TV race coverage sucks. This is just an overall impression, not a hard and fast rule. There are a few commentary teams that are actually pretty good (NBC's fall NASCAR team of Bestwick, Parsons, Fallenback, Webber, etc.) and one or two that are excellent (Speed's F1 guys; Varsha, Hobbs, Matchett and Windsor all know their place and all bring things to the table; more on that at a later time). Any team with Tommy Kendall is guaranteed to fall in one of those two categories. On the other hand, the rest of the open wheel guys categorically suck. This weekend's IRL race at Motegi was bad in the booth and in the production truck.

First, the opening 10 minute intro is replayed in leiu of actually watching the first 16 laps. Wha? This from a race that is under 10 hour tape delay? Next, 5 laps of racing (including the day's one and only on-track pass for the lead that nobody in the booth noticed for a solid 10-15 seconds, even though all the cameras were looking right at it) followed by a yellow and a subsequent round of pitstops. Apparently. Never saw them. That's OK. Stops aren't all that exciting, especially in a race where one guy leads 183 out of 200 laps. I'll leave out the rest of my complaints, but it seemed like there were roughly 1428 laps of caution, mainly because the ones that actually did happen were filled with Rusty Wallace's insistence on referring to "racecars" as "hot rods." Enough, already. Just horrendous.

Racing, specifically open wheel racing, will never be a major sport in the US until someone figures out how to handle it with proper production and insightful commentary. NASCAR is showing how that works (even though I despise the FOX booth crew; Boogity this, DW), as is Speed with their F1 coverage, so why should it be so difficult to follow the example? Maybe we should kick all racing off the networks, give it all to Speed, and lock Varsha (whom I couldn't stand from '92 to about '98, now he's one of the best in the business), Hobbs and Matchett in a room every weekend and make them do color for everything.

Unfortunately, tomorrow's F1 race is on CBS (Top of the mornin', Derek! Tell us what understeer is again!), so I'll probably be writing this all over again in about 16 hours. See you then.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

F1 Qualy Thoughts

For the record, I'd like to say that the changes made to this season's F1 qualifying are my favorite development in all of racing since the advent of Champ Car's guaranteed front row spot for each qualifying session's fastest driver (not counting the latest development of Grand Am drivers going Allison/Allison vs. Yarborough on the track). The single car format previously seen in F1 was interesting, in that we actually got to see the Minardis and Jordans of the world, but in the case that it rained in the middle of the session or, God forbid, somebody spun into the gravel during their one lap, we still wound up with boring periods, which single-car was supposed to fix. Now, the Q1 and Q2 sessions are action-packed from start to finish, always with the intrigue of who is out of the top-10 or -16, who hasn't made laps yet, who might get balked on a late flier to cost them the session (see Barrichello in Melbourne), and who might get screwed by a yellow or red flag. The only goofy part of the whole system is the fuel credit in Q3, which results in guys driving around at 9/10ths for 15 minutes, which is nearly as boring as nothing going on at all for those of us at home (though about 1000 times better for those who ponied up big cash to go to the race, I can tell you from experience). That said, the final 5 minutes are as riveting as anything F1 qualifying has ever seen, and usually delivers better action than the actual race. Good stuff.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A quick note about some new news (as of a few minutes ago). Paul Tracy is looking to extend his contract with Forsythe. This is great news. As anyone will know who has 1) been within 10 yards of me at a Champ Car race, 2) watched a race of any kind on TV with me, or 3) was in my section of the Northeast Vista at the 2002 Indy 500 and heard me shriek like a small girl when he made the non-pass on Helio Castroneves (material for a future post), I am no Paul Tracy fan. But, it's nice to have him around in Champ Car, and it'll be great to still have him on board after the open wheel series reunite (another future post). He's a great driver, even though he's caused me to hurl thousands of obsceneties at TV screens over the years, and any series that has him around is richer for it. Even if it's in the same way the WWF was richer back when Roddy Roddy Piper was picking fights with Hulk Hogan. Does that mean that Sebastian Bourdais is a French Hulk Hogan? I suppose it does. Now he just needs the Hogan 'stache to go with his goofy "nerd glasses" (my sister-in-law's words, not mine), and we'll be ready to go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Good day. It is April 2006, so naturally, I've decided to start a blog. Which is very 2004 of me, I know. This is roughly how current I am with every trend. Anyway, right up front I'd like to say that the purpose of this blog is:

1) for my own amusement and
2) to write my own (usually far offbase) opinions about anything and everything, but mainly racing.

The extension of purpose #2 is that on the rare occasion that I actually predict something right, or something which I have decreed should happen actually comes true, I can post a link to my original post, and thereby hold my rightness over my friends' heads. So, in essence, purpose #2 is for the general annoyance of everyone I know (or anyone who might stumble across this).

Anyway, after doing a quick Googling, it seems that there are very few motorsports blogs anywhere. I managed to find a few NASCAR blogs (which this will not be, though I'll be unable to resist weighing in occasionally), some Formula 1 blogs (mostly European, so I'll likely post my "ignorant American" views when I can), some ChampCar and IRL blogs (of course, I'll touch on both of those), and not much in the way of sports car or rally blogs. I am not an expert on any of the above, but due to my addiction to all of those (less so NASCAR), I'm going to pretend to be an expert because, well, this is my space. Don't like it? Start your own blog. Or post comments. Which I'll probably read and delete if you call me names.

Nothing that appears here is intended to be particurlarly deep or insightful, and if something I post happens to be either of those, I assure you that is entirely unintentional. Enjoy. Or don't, your choice.