Friday, November 23, 2007

Oh, for crying out loud...

Well, for the record, I was rooting for Jeff Gordon for the Cup championship this year, due to the fact that it is ridiculously boring to root for Jimmy Johnson. Yes, he's never finished out of the top-5 in points. Yes, he's won more races than anybody else over the last six years. Yes, he won roughly 82 races during the Chase over the last three years. But, he's as boring in interviews as watching grass grow. And, he's always had (to me) a vague air of entitlement (including on Wind Tunnel a couple of weeks ago, when he basically turned down the opportunity to say, "You know what? Let's not compare me to Jeff until after I've won a couple more championships. He's won a lot more races and Cups than me."). Well, you can now take the word "vague" out of the preceeding sentence. Hello, Mr. A-Rod of NASCAR. Yeah, he might wind up on my fantasy racing team next year (it'd be dumb to bet against him under any circumstances right now), but I won't enjoy it...

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Did I hallucinate this, or did I really tune over to the NASCAR race today with about 20 laps to go, only for Brent Mussberger to proclaim that Jimmy Johnson was in the process of building an "insurmountable lead in the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings"? Has NASCAR changed the points system for the last two races so that it's impossible to make up 30 points? Or is everybody just looking to give JJ the championship now, lest that nasty whiner Jeff Gordon actually finish 4 places in front of Jimmy in both of the last two races and "steal" the Cup away from Darling Jimmy? Boy, why is it again that I can only stomach about 15 minutes of NASCAR coverage per week?

Monday, October 22, 2007

The's The Aftermath...

A quick shout-out there to my buddy (and one of my three regular readers) Pablo. Thanks for the comments, dude. As the resident Spaniard reader, I was very interested to hear that he was actually rooting for Lewis Hamilton, and not Freddy Alonso, as I'd have thought would have been required by Spanish law. It's been no secret around the Speedhouse that I'm a borderline Hamilton stalker, and have been since about a third of the way through his year in GP2, so I'm pleased that Big Lew is actually reaching across national lines to grab some folks who I know used to be Alonso fans. Lew did press too hard early in the race, and it cost him, so perhaps I should not have said what I did about learning from the mistakes made in Shanghai. Oops. As for Alosno, I've been a bit perplexed by the reaction of the Latin press, and their insistence that Fernando is not to blame for his troubles at McLaren. Frankly, I've thought he's handled the whole thing like (to quote the brilliant lads at "a massive baby." And today's post-race reaction by Alonso to McLaren's protest of Williams' and BMW's non-penalty is some extra fuel to that fire (no pun intended). I used to be an Alonso pseudo-fan (i.e. I was tired of Schumacher winning every year), but those days are long gone. Once you've crossed the line of racing jackassery (see also: Tracy, Paul; Harvick, Kevin), you're dead to me. I shan't be drafting you for my All-Racing Fantasy League team next year, Fred, and I hope you're stuck on two championships as long as you continue in F1.

With that said, I'm happy to see Kimi actually win a championship. He deserves it, after years of rotten luck in F1, and I'm only bummed out by the fact that I won't be anywhere near Finland for the next four months, or about as long as the party is likely to last.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One last post before race time:

1) Big ups to my boy Eric Langbein, and his 7th place finish in Formula Ford at the SCCA Runoffs this year.

2) Yeah, at the heart of it all, I'm still a racing fanboy. Go Big Lew!

Happy Big Race Weekend!

Good weekend on tap, everybody. ALMS finale from Laguna, Champ Car from Surfer's, and of course, the F1 Finale (capital F there) from Brazil. Of course, two of those races have already happened before I got the chance to write this, but they're still on the DVR and unwatched at this point, so I'm pretending I'm just watching 9 straight hours of live racing today. The SpeedGal has theoretically agreed to let me have the TV for the day, since I've been preparing her for this for over a month, but we'll see if our marriage survives the day.

Anyway, there's basically no championship drama for the ALMS and ChampCar races, which makes up a bit for the fact that there's a dizzying amount for the F1 race. Oh, I've just been told that Justin Wilson can still be eligible for the championship at Mexico City, though he has to win and Bourdais has to finish outside of the top-12, and theoretically, the GT2 championship is still up for grabs, though the Flying Lizard Porsche has to win the race, with the Risi Ferrari not completing 70% of the laps for anybody but the Risi guys to win that. It's almost too bad you can't run a teaser at one of the Council Bluffs casinos on a Seabass clinch parlayed with a boring Laguna race/Risi clinch.

On the other hand, there's that F1 race today, too. You can call me nuts, but I think that with the lessons learned at the Chinese GP, there's no way that Big Lew doesn't win the championship today. Freddy Alonso needs to win (unlikely, given that he's starting 4th, and on the dirty side of the grid), with Lew in 4th or worse (could happen, but not at the same time as an Alonso win) for Fred to get the title. And I'm not too worried about Kimi figuring in much, unless the McLaren guys absolutely lose their heads and crash each other out (most likely to happen with Alonso taking out Lew). Any way you slice it, though, it's going to be an extremely interesting race, and since it's the last time to see these guys in action until March (plus it'll be the last chance to see Alonso in a McLaren and the last chance to see Ralf Schumacher in anything but a touring car), enjoy it while you can.

Oh, also NASCAR is at Martinsville. I'm already getting drowsy. By the way, to clarify some remarks I made in my last post, the CoTs are extremely racy on the big tracks, as we saw in the last few laps at Talladega. Unfortunately, they did an excellent job of putting everybody to sleep for the first 450 miles. That was absolutely a horrendous race too watch for the first 2 1/2 hours. I'd almost feel bad for the fans who paid to see it in person, but they were likely mostly hammered by green flag time. Good for them. I, on the other hand, was sober and dozing off by lap 20. Luckily, I'd woken up by the end, which was excellent, though scary. I still think there will be a gigantic pileup at Daytona, with NASCAR needing to take measures to string the cars out (yeah, I know, I mean even more precautions than they've taken over the last 5 years) before the spring Talladega race. Handford device, maybe? Have everybody race their rental cars?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Boy, has it been a couple of weeks since I've posted? Didn't think so.

Many things to talk about, but I just finished watching the Talladega Cup race on the TiVo, and couldn't wait to write a giant catch-all post.

1) Apparently, there is now something in stock car racing known as "draft lock." I know this because Rusty Wallace used the phrase roughly 854 times during the telecast. Has this always existed, and have drivers actually used this term before, or is it something entirely made up by ESPN for the broadcast? Yeah, I thought so.

2) Listening to Rusty freak out with 15 laps to go because "guys need to start making moves, or they're going to run out of time to get to the front!" is the highest of comedy. Sure, Rusty. Pulling out of the draft with more than a dozen laps to go is how you won all of those restrictor plate races, huh? How many did you win by the end of your career? 15? 20? Oh, right...

3) The CoTs are actually TOO racy on the plate tracks, or maybe it's that guys have gotten cocky since they've gotten spotters. Drivers were all over the place those last 8 laps, changing lanes three or four times per straightaway, sliding into holes that were one car length plus two inches long, jostling, etc. Good thing those cars are so much safer than the previous cars, since with driving like that, there's sure to be a 92 car pileup at Daytona next year.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Just had a delightful experience that I thought I'd share with everybody. As some might know, I'm currently unemployed (well, except for my ridiculously lucrative side business of race-blogging), and so I have a bit of latitude as to how I spend my mid-days. Today, I decided to run out and grab some lunch at Jimmy John's ( me some Beach Club), and I returned home to our hotel room to watch the ChampCar race from Mont Tremblant that I taped on Sunday, so that I could watch the French Grand Prix tape-delayed on Fox (can't wait to get DVR capability back). Only, when I switched on the TV, what was already on ESPN was far too compelling to turn off. I just happened, by dumb luck, to tune in for a re-run of the 2006 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Mmmm...that's some good lunchtime watching. Especially when, much to my delight, the main play-by-play commentator is one of my all-time personal favorite racing commentators...Paul Page. Oh, wow. The only thing that the contest lacked was Jack Arute attempting to interview the contestants during the competetion, only succeeding in annoying everybody in sight, and doing his annual expose on the wooden dowel rod that race teams use to smack the fueller in the back to do late race timed pitstops, only it's for...maybe cramming hot dogs down your gullet.

Anyway, it was a life changing event to watch Page announce


Takeru Kobayashi reset his world record with a winning count of 53 3/4 hot dogs, and nearly chucking up about a dozen of them with 30 seconds to go.


Maybe it's just the Page-related schadenfreude talking, but suddenly, my turkey, sprouts and guac ain't sittin' too well.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Many Apologies

It has come to my attention that I have a racing-themed blog that I write from time to time. It seems that I had forgotten about it for, oh, about three months now, and now that I do not have an actual steady-paying job, I have no excuse for not writing. So, thoughts from the last three months:

- ChampCar blows. Maybe I'm not one of those hardcore ChampCar fans, the type that you see on the telecasts who incorporate Bruno Junquiera into their marriage proposals and what not, but I feel like I've been a pretty faithful fan for the last 16 years. Granted, during that time, I probably haven't been to more than 8-9 ChampCar races, but I've been an unfailing television race watcher. Allow me two more notes of preface before I get into the main gist of what I'm going for:

1) The new Panoz is a major improvement over the old Lola, in terms of appearance and performance, if not safety (sorry, Paulie "Walnuts" Tracy) or reliability (sorry, most of the field at Vegas and Houston who had problems with the refuelling rigs).
2) The TV coverage is 20 times better than it's been for the last five years. Even if 2/3rds of the crew is normally a NASCAR crew, at least they seem to care enough to do a bit of research (like, say, learning the drivers' names) before showing up at the track. More than you could say about Derek Daly and Rick Benjamin.

With that out of the way, here goes... The level of competetion seems to be even more lopsided than in years past, due to the fact that the big teams (OK, Newman-Haas-Lanigan, and nobody else) have learned the new car quicker than the smaller teams. Plus, the other big teams (Forsythe, um...PKV? Ru-ocketSport[s]?) don't seem to understand that driver and crew stability is the only thing that will close the gap to Seabass and company. Call me cynical, but I don't see Paul Tracy, a substituting (though deservingly taking over a full time seat from Mario Dominguez, now that Tracy's back) Oriol Servia, Will Power (I'm not sold on the Aussie team joining the big boys yet), Justin Wilson (the whole RuSport mess was an absolute catastrophe, as far as trying to win the championship goes), or anybody else seriously challenging for the championship. I think we might see quite a few guys winning races this year (namely, the guys I just listed, plus maybe Graham Rahal and Neel Jani), but nobody is going to touch Bourdais for the title.

Other Champcar thoughts: other than Rahal, Jani and Doornbos, I'm not really feeling this year's rookie crop. Simon Pagenaud? OK, you won last year's Atlantic championship, so you can stay. Dalziel, Figge and Halladay are hopelessly overmatched, due to their teams. Tristan Gommendy? Please. I know that a lot of people complained when Juan Pablo Montoya was given a ride in ChampCar, but by the time he came to the states, I'd been watching him closely for five years. Gommendy? Not so much. Let's just say that when my buddies and I go to Road America this year, we might be bugging out after the ALMS race, and skipping ChampCar on Sunday. Even five years ago, that would have been unthinkable.

Also, the schedule is a mess. It's been so long since there was a race, I had to look up the driver lineups in order to complain about them. OK, enough said on that topic.

- The IRL is better than it's been for a while, but it's not good enough. Storylines abound in the IRL, with Mr. Judd winning the 500, Danica and Wheldon throwing down in pitlane, Penske cars inexplicably breaking rear wings while in the lead, Marco Andretti's inevitable nasty contract dispute at the end of the year when he tries to leave AGR to drive for Honda in F1, Rusty Wallace thankfully being banished from all non-Indy broadcasts, and much more. Unfortunately, as some of my favorite writers continue to point out, Nielsen ratings still hover in the sub-1.0 region. That's a shame. There's way more going on here than any fabricated nonsense that's happening in NASCAR right now. Speaking of which...

- Dale Who? I think I'm the only person on the planet who doesn't really care where Dale Jr. winds up next year. Frankly, I think that Rick Hendrick is lying (shock horror!) when he says that all four of his drivers will be returning next year. Let's be serious. Casey Mears is going to drive for Ginn and Dale winds up in the 8/25 car (depending on if DEI holds the rights to the #8) with Bud sponsorship. The nice thing for them there is that if Dale drives the #25, Hendrick probably has two warehouses of leftover #25 Budweiser merchandise from the Ken Schrader/Ricky Craven Era. Airbrush Dale's face in, and you're sitting on a gold mine. Also, it'll be fun to watch all of the Jeff Gordon haters'/Dale Jr. fans' heads explode when Dale is protecting Jeff's bumper as Jeff makes a championship run next year (I still don't believe that Dale is consistent enough at all types of tracks to win the Cup).

What else? Hmmm...well, I oughta go comb the job boards again. Gotta do something to pay for race tickets, after all...

More soon, I promise.

For real this time.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Crazy Day

Hey, all. Quickie post here before the weekend with a couple of links to check out. It's well documented, and any regular reader of mine (all three of you) will know, that my two favorite writers on the 'net are Robin Miller and Bill Simmons (Chuck Klosterman is more of a print guy that happens to appear online from time to time). Well, it appears that they both chose today to call out people in their regular columns: Miller viciously takes every previous employer not named Speed Channel to task for firing him and Simmons positively lambastes Scoop Jackson for claiming that NBA All-Star Weekend in Vegas was less violent and out-of-control than some media folks made it out to be. I don't have a whole lot more to say about it, other than both these columns make pretty interesting reading (especially Miller's, who basically confirms just about every notion I've had about the open-wheel racing media since the late-'90s).

Enjoy your weekend, everybody, and wish me luck.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

As I've been saying would happen for two years now, a Green-White-Checker finish managed to tear up a couple million dollars worth of equipment. It's a friggin' miracle that nobody got killed today, and NASCAR needs to change the end-race policy before someone winds up in court or dead. The most shocking thing I saw from the whole situation was from Clint Bowyer's in-car camera: he never lifted off the throttle, even as Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth were wrecking directly in front of him (and even as he pushed David Ragan into the middle of the wreck). Hey, nothing's out of bounds at the end of the Daytona 500, even if you're doing extremely dumb things to try to finish third.

Oh, and a full season of "Kevin Harvick, Daytona 500 winner" is going to be just delightful. One of the biggest egos in NASCAR, and now he's leading the points and winner of the season's biggest race. Great.

One last thing before I sign off for the day: is it just me, or are the new Chevy commercials for the Impala Car of Tomorrow incredibly racist? Hey, check it out, we're racing the Impala! Attention, Black Folks! See? We're cool!
New complaint, and it involves the aforementioned Mr. Boogity Waltrip. Someone has to make him stop yakking about how awesome Toyota is during the Fox telecasts. He opened up the Bud Shootout (nee Busch Clash, possibly someday to be the Tequiza Tangle or Michelob Melee, according to my friend Rick) by saying that the story of the year is how hard the Toyota teams have worked, and that it's huge, great news to have such an awesome manufacturer coming into the sport. Today, while the booth guys were talking about Toyota making their first Cup start, he makes the non-sequiter of "Yeah, and the Camrys are all made right here in the USA!" Really? Thanks! I'm a little hazy, but I think I remember Darrell doing commercials the last two years for somebody...a car and truck manufacturer, maybe. They might have been Japanese? Can anyone help me remember, maybe?

I dunno, call me sensitive, but it really, really bothers me to have a supposedly impartial color commentary guy openly shilling for a company that he's a very public spokesman for during telecasts. Somehow, it just seems more subversive than the race breaks so that we can "see how the entire Coca Cola racing family is faring today!"

A quick pre-Daytona 500 note

...with more probably to come as I intermittantly become inflamed and/or outraged during the day.
Darrell Waltrip just said that there is "a stigmatism attached to Toyota being in NASCAR." Couldn't have put it better myself. Thank you, Mr. "Boogity Times Four Minus One."

Oh, also: go Juan. I want to see him win today and then rip off Cris da Matta's old catchphrase of "I keek ass!"