Thursday, April 16, 2009

Post-Tax Day Thoughts

For anybody who's read the headline and is looking for some solid, in-depth analysis of the Helio Castroneves tax evasion trial...sorry. I'm no lawyer, and I'm not even going to pretend to play one on the internets. For that stuff, go read Chris Estrada, James at 16th and Georgetown, or even Robin Miller.

Nope, tax stuff bores me to tears, even if it involves multiple time Indy 500 winners. All I mean is that it's been something like 15 months since I've posted, so it's time for another one of my patented mish-mash "six racing series in one post" posts.

Formula 1!

It's been a nutty, nutty season so far. I'm not going to be one of those folks who say "a team that didn't even exist two months ago won both of the opening races", because the Brawn team did, in fact, exist two months ago. They just weren't called Brawn until then, that's all. Not to belittle what they've done, though. That team was cover-your-eyes awful last year, and the turn around to two poles and two wins in two races is like nothing we've never seen before. I'm not sold on their ability to hold their advantage until the end of the season, but they could have a big enough lead by mid-season to remain in championship contention until the end of the season.

There are lots of other things to answer this season, though. Can Lewis Hamilton continue to haul the piece of junk McLaren into the top-5? When will Ferrari quit shooting themselves in the foot long enough to score a point? Can any of the other "diffuser" teams (or maybe Red Bull) make up the remaining difference to the Brawns? Will I be kicking myself at the end of the season for not trying hard enough last weekend to find a sports book in Vegas that has F1 on the board, so that I could plunk down $20 on Timo Glock for the title at probably 15-1 odds?

I will say one more thing about F1: the FIA has done the right thing by upholding the scrutineers' judgement that the three "diffuser" teams' cars are legal. That's good. Now, if only Max Mosley would come to his senses and let McLaren out of the April 29th FIA hearing on "Lie-gate". That is heinous. McLaren's already lost six points. That's plenty. Let's get on with the racing.


I think that St. Pete answered most peoples' wishes for a season opener. Some good storylines (Justin Wilson almost winning Dale Coyne's first race, Ryan Hunter-Reay almost winning less than two weeks after signing with Vision, a clearly medicated Danica Patrick taking a philosophical approach to getting crashed out of a race), some good on-track racing (including an actual pass for the lead with less than 20 laps to go), and some, great coverage from The League's new broadcast partner.

Let me expand on that last point. I'm going to throw in right here at the top that I was one of those crackpots who was in favor of going with Versus. More coverage is good for the sport, and if it happens to be competent-to-good coverage, all the better (I'm looking at you, Spike TV). Versus has basically nailed the first ingredient of any great racing coverage: the booth team. In Bob Jenkins, Robbie Buhl and Jon Beekhuis, we've got an old-pro who is one of the best traffic cops in the business (Jenkins, dating back to his days doing the same for "Buffet" Benny Parsons and Ned Jarret on ESPN), a current team owner who has a great grasp on how the sport works on a day-to-day basis (Buhl) and the previously best technical- and strategic-minded pit reporter in the business (Beekhuis). The fact that they spent the two hours of qualifying coverage and three hours of the race talking like old friends, busting on each other, catching 95% of what was going on on the track and in the pit boxes (and that'll get even better as the season goes on), that is exactly what I'm looking for. The pit reporters were solid, if not perfect, but they'll get better, too.

This is going to be a good season. There are lots of potential winners, even more drivers coming on board in the coming weeks before the 500, and the new broadcaster is off to a solid start. The ratings numbers were not good for the first race, but I'm not going to get excited about that for quite a bit longer. If we're still getting 0.3s come Watkins Glen or Motegi...well, then we'll talk.


There were only 17 cars on the grid in St. Pete. There are going to be 21 on the grid this weekend at Long Beach. GT1 is basically extinct in four days. There are only probably three cars on the grid that are quick enough to win overall on any given weekend, and all of them are made by the same manufacturer. Yuck. Let's move on.


When did they race last? August 2006? Wake me when the season gets going again.


I'll be honest. I haven't been watching much since the other series got going. On the other hand, I have been watching enough to know that Jeff Gordon is laying a Grade A beatdown on the field this season. No finishes outside of the top-6 since Daytona (where he finished 13th)? Yeah, that's a beatdown. Good work, Jeff.

World Rally Championship!

Sebastien Loeb still drives here. Championship's over, folks.

Bullrun on Speed!!!!!!!!

The season's about to wrap up! Who's going to take home the big prize? The dishy brunettes in the Lexus? The 'Bama Boys in the Avalanche? The weird-haired guys in the Corvette? We all want to know!

Just kidding on that last one. Sort of. Whatever it is you're watching and following nowadays, enjoy it. Racing season's in full swing. Life is good.

1 comment:

Pablo said...

FINALLY listened to the podcast you were on! Awesome!! Now time to catch up! :)