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.