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.