Monday, October 06, 2008

Some weekend, huh?

Well, how's about that for a weekend of racing? Petit Le Mans was as good as billed, though I think I managed to singlehandedly curse a couple of cars myself. Seems that two of the only four teams to get a mention in my last post met untimely ends, with one (the B-K Lola-Mazda coupe) crashing in the morning warmup and not even making the start and the other (the Zytek hybrid) having an early contretemps with a Turn 12 tire barrier (hint: the mostly immovable object won). Oops. My bad. Just don't send me the bill.

Anyway, Petit came right down to the last dozen or so laps with the outcome yet to be decided between the two Audis and the Peugeot. The Peugeot obviously had the superior speed, though for whatever reason, they decided to have Christian Klien in the car for the last couple of stints of the race. This decision came in the face of his having had no previous experience with the Road Atlanta track, and his only previous night driving experience coming at Le Mans this year. Meanwhile, Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin (two of Peugeot's regular drivers in the Le Mans European Series, and both blindingly quick) just had to sit and cool their jets and think about what the new Peugeot hybrid will be like to drive at Sebring next year while their team choked away yet another major race. At the same time, Audi smartly went with Allan McNish in the #1 car, who promptly diced Klien up on a late race restart and drove off into the distance (I'd say sunset, but the actual sun had long since set by then). Great racing, though. Also, big ups to Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves on their P2 class win, coming just one day after Helio...uh, appeared in court in chains.

On the down side: GT1 was only attended by the two Corvettes, as the Bell Motorsport Aston Martin decided to sit this one out. I never heard quite why that happened, as the Aston has made it to the last few races and did not sustain any visible damage at the last round at Detroit. Very much on the downside: the P2 class championship is over, with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas clinching after Scott Sharp crashed the Highcroft Acura and then walked away from the car...which is against ALMS rules. Instant retirementfor you. Oops.

I've been told that NASCAR was also in action this weekend. OK, that's a lie. I actually managed to catch about 30 laps worth of the fall Russian Roulette 500 from Talladega. As always, the action did not disappoint. Or, I should say, it did not disappoint anybody who likes lots of wreckin' and some shoddy rule enforcement by the sanctioning body. There were several big pileups this time around, but none bigger than the one caused by Carl Edwards stupidly attempting to bump draft his teammate Greg Biffle in Turn 3. Refresh me here, but I thought that NASCAR very publicly came out a couple of years ago and threatened draconian penalties against anybody who bump drafted outside of marked zones on the backstraight at both Daytona and Talladega. What happened to that? It appears to have been no more than big talk from Mr. Helton and the NASCAR Hauler Boys. Good work there. Also, when this happens again in the future, I want the accident to not be called "The Big One", but instead dubbed "The Dumb One".

Last NASCAR thing for now, promise: how about that last lap selective rules enforcement? Tony Stewart throws the mother of all block parties (thanks, Pressdog!) for Regan Smith and gets no penalty, while Regan gets called for improving his position and is docked back to the last car on the lead lap? Believe me, I'm a Tony Stewart fan from back in his pre-IRL days, but that was nonsense. To Stew's credit, he probably had a hunch that a driver who's in the middle of NASCAR's contrived "Chase" wouldn't get called for anything short of stabbing a guy during a round of yellow flag pitstops, so good on him for playing the system and scoring his first win of the year. Sorry for you, Regan Smith. Better luck next year. Oh, unless your team can't come up with a sponsor and goes out of business.

Hey, hey, F1's back in action at Fuji again this week! I absolutely love the Japan races. There's something about being able to actually stay up and catch a race live instead of having to get up early and watch at 6:00 AM. Of course, I don't really do either of those anymore, since the advent of TiVo and DVRs, but still. Also, it's rainy season on the Pacific Rim, which means a high probability of another fantastically entertaining wet race. Watch it. You won't be sorry.


Pablo said...

Can't wait for Fuji!

So which races are actually broadcast in HD!?

ASpeed said...

I'm not totally sure about that. I think that the 45 people in America that get SpeedTV HD might get all of them, but the rest of us just got the races that were on Fox earlier this summer. I think it was Canada, Britain, Germany and one other one. France, maybe? None of the rest of the races, though.

Too Much Racing said...

With F1 the answer is none, they don't release a true HD feed even though it is shot in HD. The exception is for the Japanese GP and only in Japan, so some say.

What appears on Speed HD is 'upscaled SD' which itself makes normal SD look like a VHS after years of watching DVDs.
UK coverage switches to BBC next year and you can expect them to push F1 to go HD, they have some clout...