Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Area-51 for racecars...In PA...?

Anyone who has driven across the PA Turnpike knows the horror. The narrow stretch of pavement that bisects the state is hopelessly dwarfed by mega-highways of today's standards. It's claustrophobic, bumpy, endless and effing expensive to traverse (ballpark $20 in tolls for a Pittsburgh to Philly jaunt). Unless you have made the trip across I76, you cannot appreciate how little middle PA has to offer in terms of scenery, cities of note, or general culture for that matter. Ever been to Breezewood? No, too obscure you say, well how about Harrisburg? Me neither. Reading? Negative. The list goes on and reads like a who's-who of shitty burbs, dives and strongholds of typical family values. Not the kind of place to get off the well-worn path, if you catch my drift.

That is of course, unless you are major player in motorsports, then you'd be lining up to go to Donegal, PA (SE of Pittsburgh) to a portion of the abandoned turnpike. According to this article from Racecar Enginnering Chip Ganassi Racing among others (?) have been using a dilapidated ex-turnpike tunnel for a crazy mixture of stright line aerodynamic testing and windtunnel duties. All these activities can be completed under the shroud of secrecy (or until hikers stumble upon discarded drums of racing fuel and hear burnouts resonating through the woods, which of course happened). Tally these racing folks as the only people to ever be drawn to Donegal, PA for reasons other than reenacting Deliverance and/or The Blair Witch Project.

Here is the only footage known to exist of Area-51 Racecar-PA Branch. Enjoy- Three good men died to obtain it:

Friday, December 14, 2007

CONFIRMED: Kovalainen to McLaren

It is official. A few days before expected. De la Rosa to remain Woking-team tester.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A piece about real men, driving real race cars. What a concept!

This Robin Miller story is well over a year old, but revisiting it is well worth the time.

A throw back to a time when racing was less sanitized; full of outlaws, misfits and individuals who made their home on the fringes of acceptable behavior. A far cry from what we watch on television today.

Pedro de la Rosa v. Heikki Kovalainen- exactly the same performance, just one is old.

McLaren is likely kicking around the names of two gentlemen to team with Lewis Hamilton for the forthcoming F1 season. These men will be tasked with filling the shoes (however debacle ridden they might be) of one two-time World Champ by the name of Fernando Alonso. Pedro de la Rosa- McLaren tester and veteran of nine GP’s with the Woking outfit- and Heikki Kovalainen-soon to be sophomore, recently pushed aside at Renault by the aforementioned ex-World Champ and the son of another in Nelson Piquet jr-.

On the surface, the choice appears to be that of youth v. experience, up-and-coming hot shoe v. worn veteran, or perhaps even raising star v. declining journeyman.

Looking beyond the surface, and examining what both men have accomplished while in the sport paints a different picture.

er… to be more accurate, it creates exactly the same picture. You see, the two likely choices for the open race seat at McLaren have nearly identical career F1 statistics.

Both de la Rosa and Kovalainen share the same total number of victories (0), pole positions (0), podium finishes (1), and finishes in the points (11). Weird huh? Factor in the one point differential in total career points (HK has 30 PdlR has 29), and things get weirder than witnessing a triple-kiss while at your local sports bar.

It sounds like a virtual coin toss. De la Rosa is even quite optimistic about his prospects for a race seat promotion.

Ah, but alas dear Pedro… The obvious outlier hurting you is that your less-than stellar figures were amassed whilst competing in 72 GP’s, compared to Kovalainen’s 17.

The kid happens to be a stud, and dear Pedro, you sir are no stud.

McLaren should (and does) want the younger, more promising shoe to team with Lewis Hamilton. HK is their #1 to be a #2.

However, should McLaren fail in securing the young Finn, he will squeeze into the hapless Toyota squad, and PdlR will have his F1 swansong. Just don’t count on it Pedro. HK to McL. Announced by Christmas.

These acronyms have made me cranky.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Two-time world champ lands back at his “safety school”

Fernando Alonso, likely bridging the gap between his times at McLaren until Ferrari beckons, has announced his return to the outfit that yielded his success.

So, Alonso leaves a good situation at Renault and goes headlong into a disaster with McLaren. Now, he leaves a disaster and is hoping for what? Well, I think he is hoping Hekki Kovalain isn’t waiting for him in the parking lot with flogging mallet. You see Nelson Piquet Jr. will race alongside the Spaniard next season. That leaves Kovalain rather out of luck, unless he enters the fray with McLaren. Can you say driver trade?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Young Rahal chats about breaking the law

He is young, has a great job, and a whole host of exotics in his garage... Which, he enjoys ringing out on the back roads of suburban Columbus. By all accounts, every 25+ aged man in the world should hate this kid. But, after watching the video (and conducting an impromptu interview with him in the Cleveland GP paddock) I can't help but like the guy.

The bastard.

ESPN exploring "side-by-side" for IRL coverage

Thanks to Deadspin for providing this excerpt from an internal ESPN memo:

Q: Will we see side-by-side commercials in NASCAR? Is it successful in Indy Racing?

A: We are exploring creative formatting for our NASCAR races next year, including commercial free race segments and side-by-side coverage. We are working to balance giving the fans as much live race action as possible with our need to deliver value to our sponsors and advertisers.
While research does not demonstrate that our IndyCar side-by-side coverage has had a material impact on our ratings, we believe it is a great service to our fans to show as much green-flag racing as possible.

No word (yet) on the prospects of bringing Rusty Wallace back into into the IRL booth... Folks like Mutoh and Briscoe may have to suffer the indignity of never being called "cat" by the most gifted broadcaster since Chris Spielman.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The 08 Champ Car schedule has been released... Mark you planners (may want to use pencil).

Important things to note:
*2 trips to Europe (back to back weeks @ Zolder and Jerez in June, then Assen in September).
*No Vegas
*Final race in U.S. slatted for August 10th (final three events in Assen, Gold Coast and Mexico)
*Mont-Tremblant remains on schedule.
*No scheduled event for Asia.
*Gaps of 5 weeks (Road America to Assen) and 6 weeks (Assen to Surfers) between events.
*No TBD dates.

2008 Champ Car World Series*
April 20 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach , Long Beach, Calif.
April 27 Champ Car Grand Prix of Houston at JAGFlo Speedway, Houston, Texas
May 18 Champ Car Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, California
June 1 Champ Car Belgium, Zolder, Belgium
June 8 Champ Car Spain, Jerez, Spain
June 22 Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
June 29 Champ Car Mont-Tremblant, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec , Canada
July 6 Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
July 20 Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
July 27 Champ Car Portland, Portland, Ore.
August 10 Road America Grand Prix, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
September 14 Champ Car Holland at the TT Circuit, Assen, Holland
October 26 Gold Coast Indy 300, Surfers Paradise, Australia
November 9 Gran Premio Tecate Presentado por Banamex, Mexico City, Mexico* Pending ACCUS/FIA Approval

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's official, Michigan hates retards

Losing to a 1AA school is bad, but luckily there were no handicapped people able to watch from the Big House....That would have been worse.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Doom, gloom, the off season and motor oil

The landscape of open-wheel racing in this country has been quiet for little more than one month… Yes, I know the Champ Car World Series season is technically still going, but for Christ sakes, after an eight-week siesta followed by another layoff, added to the fact that the championship is wrapped-up, who really cares? No, the long off-season is staring us right in the face.
What will follow is a period of time where -for Champ Car fans-, no news is good news, and -for Indy Car Series fans-, all news is boring as shit.
Reports of the ultimate demise of CC are both premature and exaggerated. However, until the flag drops at the season opener folks will hopelessly question if the series will answer the bell in 08. Attempting to figure car counts for the season opener is futile. Trying to piece together a schedule before its release is useless (on a side note, there will be silly gaps between races and a god-awful attempt at an event in Asia…Which will fail. It’s where the smart money lies). Teams will fold, new teams may emerge, established drivers will look towards other series, and ride-buyers will reach for their wallets and polish their new Arai lids. It happens. Every season since the great open-wheel schism it has happened. There is no use getting wrapped up in it now, just months of winter for us all to stew in the juices of doom, gloom and uncertainty. Silence is golden; don’t even mention Kevin K’s court dates… Christ is it snowing out?

On the flip side of things, folks in the marketing department at the IRL have fired up their typewriters and released this gem.

Jesus. First, I am Indy, now the official lube of Indy Car? We have months of getting this sort of information. The car count will likely be similar to what it was this past season (maybe a CC team or IPS team moving up due to new funds allocations), drivers may swap rides here or there, but that’s about it. Nothing earth shattering, nothing too unexpected (although Robin Miller is starting a Dunno to F1 rumor, stay tuned on that one), nothing even remotely interesting. To get through this lull, I’m armed with a pile of back-issue Racers, many extra blankets, some non-descript booze, and the knowledge that gray skies and slop are much closer than sunshine and cars on the track. At least the NBA started last night. Oh god, that is a truly horrific statement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Alonso pulls an Evita

Disheartened two-time world champion Fernando Alonso returned home to Spain, where he felt it necessary to address the common-folks. No word as to if the Catalonian was asked to bless any children or perform any ritual circumcisions while home. Almost reminiscent of Saddam addressing the droves and firing wildly in the air… By the way, Fernando, enjoy battling for forth with Williams next season.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sox fans high on Boston, low on baseball

A coworker gave me the following sports nugget before game 6 of the ALCS. "Fuckin Sox, fuck their fans, man, fuck the Sox."

Simple enough. Undisclosed Coworker doesn't like the Boston Red Sox. Maybe he grew up following the Yanks, maybe he's a Tribe guy, maybe his uncle touched him while playing Sweet Caroline on continuous loop, maybe some sort of sick hybrid of all three. For Christ sakes, the man is entitled to his opinion about the team, the city and their fans.

Boston is a serious baseball town, I am sure many of their fans are knowledgeable about the game and truly passionate about what takes place inside Fenway.

Unfortunately, outside of Mass. few fans of the Sox adhere to the high standards of baseball-dom set forth by generations of losers, Southies, and otherwise fresh-off-the boaties.

I now reluctantly agree with the comments made by Undisclosed Coworker.

Case in point... Game three WS, last night. A sports bar. Baseball on three screens, college football on three screens. A mob of the "Red Sox Nation." Oh yes, out in full force were droves of Papelbon t-shirt wearing, Fever-Pitch owning, Drop Kick Murphies listening, posers. This was a group (probably 30 strong) who were much more interested in being seen, than seeing the WS.

Case in point... During a particularly vital moment in the action (Holliday hits three-run bomb to bring the Rocks within a run) a young (female) nation-member is in the bathroom -**important to note ** story told to me by female companion who also found herself relieving the pressures of $2 coors lights in the ladies room at the same time. Being the proper sports bar this establishment is, the game is on in the can. Joe Buck's call of the Holliday homer is announced as nation-member is applying make-up and looking at her ass in the mirror. No reaction to call. No "damnit," "shit," "darn," nothing. She was completely oblivious to plight of her beloved Sox. What a farce.

The bar was full of these weak fans. Broads looking to impress their boyfriends by sporting provocative Sox tee's, and pretending interest in the team.

This is, of course, not something that is confined to female nation-members. No, the dudes blow too.

Last example... the two Sox guys to my left were sure that Daisuke was brought back into the game to "finish em' (the Rocks I guess) off. No sir, that is not Daisuke, it happens to be another pitcher who is also Asian. And you can't really take a player out of the game, then put them back... well never mind.

Alas, the Red Sox will likely close out the series in about an hour in Denver. The loyal members of the Red Sox-nation will rejoice in another championship. But, after the celebration ends, Philly-branch nation members will be left with the empty feeling that they can't name three players on the club, they get the teams Asian pitchers confused and are more concerned with how their ass looks in jeans than what happens on the field. To be fair though, she did have a nice ass.