Friday, December 12, 2008
Unser is mentioned in counts 72 and 73 of the indictment. The DA's office said McMullin told Unser he had video of the racing legend in a "compromising position." McMullin allegedly asked Unser for $750,000, or he would release the tape to the public.
Now, according to this story Little Al is nothing but a victim. He did allegedly pay some cash to this skeeze (McMullin) to keep something under wraps. That could point to a sex tape actually existing. Just food for thought. Food for disgusting thought, but still.
Can we now call this the year of the motor racing sex tape? First Max Mosley, now Little Al. We advise A.J. Foyt to keep the old High-8 under lock and key.
DA: Unser a victim of blackmail scheme (KOB 4)
Unser Pays Pimp to Hide “Compromising” Video (SbB)
Al Unser Victim Of Prostitution Ring Blackmail Plot? Let's Go To The Videotape (Deadspin*)
*We love Deadspin more than anyone, but come on guys, tagging this story 'NASCAR'? You're better than that. Really, you are.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Maybe they are not selling as many Accords as we all thought.
Honda Rumored To Be Selling F1 Team
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The fast approaching NASCAR awards banquet is quite the social gathering of roughnecks. We always found it slightly odd that NYC, specifically the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is the chosen locale for the event. Wouldn't an Arthur Treacher's in the Charlotte area be more fitting? How about the Cracker Barrel in the parking lot of Daytona International? They probably have a room that could be reserved for larger parties. Alas, 301 Park Ave has been the home of NASCAR's tuxedo night for almost 30-years. During that time some pretty interesting/entertaining moments have occurred. Ryan McGee counts them down at the WWL. Here's a sample:
In 2006, Kyle Busch thanked his girlfriend Eva for her support … then remembered that her name was actually Erica.
The big question on awards night: Are those tuxedos fireproof? (espn.com)
The price of a visor strip on Lewis Hamilton's helmet? Rather high. Like $22 million, high. Diageo (the hooch company behind Guinness, Smirnoff, and Johnnie Walker) is forking over that amount for their Johnnie Walker brand to be prominently displayed on the new champs helmet and suit. Of course, this is not a new deal for walking man scotch brand as they have been associated with McLaren for some time. But, $22 million? We thought you were supposed to hunker down in these trying times. Ah, unless you provide the world with the one thing that can take minds off of the horrendous economic situation... High powered booze. Let us all toast the demise of our retirement funds.
Johnnie Walker Pays $22 Million For Visor Sticker (TIMES ONLINE via SbB)
If there is one thing that racing journalism Czar Gordon Kirby hates, it's spec car racing. Every two weeks or so he pens a scathing article on the demise of racing and the culprit (cars that look alike). Here is his latest piece, published moments before he nailed it to Tony George's door.
The Way It Is/ Fighting the great spec car plague (gordonkirby.com)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Ecclestone expects gold medal plan to be in place for 2009 (ESPN)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"This is really sucks."
95% of all new ideas will wind up with one of the above statements directly applying to them. Things either fucking kick ass or blow major boner. Rarely is there a middle ground. It's pretty black and white, clear cut, cut and dry, and so forth.
'Middle of the road' has shrunken to the size of the middle class in this country. (That was topical political humor.) Look at television and movies. I can't name a mediocre show or picture that was made in the last five years. The stuff churned out by the Goldsteins and Winebergs of Hollywood all fall on the opposite ends of the sucking line graph spectrum. Let us look at last night's (11/25) TV listings to illustrate this phenomenon:
*Key: FR=fucking rocks; FS=fucking sucks.
House (FR); Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (FR); Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel (FR. Seriously, watch this show. It's on TruTV and follows around waitresses at the Hard Rock in Vegas. Their uniforms are bikinis. It's a cheep thrill, but I'm a cheep guy.)
Everything else on last night was horrible:
Dancing With the Stars (FS); The Mentalist (FS); NCIS (FS); Fringe (FS)...
Full disclosure: I've never seen any of the 'FS' programs. You know why? Because they suck. There is no possible way The Mentalist is good. So I don't waste my time. I guarantee all of the above shows are disasters.
And that's just TV. Movies are more glaringly one-of-two wayed.
In the past five years, Superbad and The Departed are the only incredible things I've seen. Everything else sucked. (Possible exception given to a few other Seth Rogen films that weren't awesome, but still kind of enjoyable, in a 'if I laugh does this make me guy?' way. But, this would screw up my argument, so these films get omitted.)
This trend is present in everything. Sports? You bet. Trades never have middle ground. Your team either gets a stud for next to nothing or gets stuck with Ron Solt and some other 'pud to be drafted later.'
I have been thinking about how to apply this paradigm to the USAC news about road racing the new "Gold" Crown car. The car is supposed to debut in 2010 and, for those who haven't seen the design, here are some images.
A full field of these things, with live solid axles bouncing around twisty bits could be pretty damn impressive. more importantly, it could be entertaining. On the other hand, a halfhearted group of oval-specialists trying to figure out how to road race a car not suited for the discipline could border on comical. In short, it could suck.
The manufactures need to insure that these things will not be total dogs when turning left and right. That doesn't mean there's a need to outfit hideous wings all over the cars, or to make the suspension package so complicated that an Indy car team couldn't dial them in properly. No, they just need to create a somewhat neutral handling car that can be tossed about the corners and can run in packs. It's a simple concept, really. Hopefully the guys at Riley Technologies, Devin Race Cars and this new Bruce Ashmore company will be able to engineer these things to functionally not suck whilst road racing.
If USAC is serious about this road racing thing, they should really jump in and not ass around. Make a championship supplement for the road course events. Schedule more than a few non-oval races. Make teams and drivers really have to figure out road racing to seriously compete for a title. USAC has a corner on the open wheel oval racing market. Branch out a bit and make this something different and unique.
With the IndyCar Series moving to a more balanced schedule, it's in both organizations best interest to make the Gold Crown series as relevant as possible. Relevancy means balanced schedule, and a car that fits somewhere on the IndyCar Series ladder system.
In short, USAC and chassis designers; don't make this suck. That would really easy to accomplish. Make this series and car fucking rock.
Monday, November 24, 2008
So, it's not terribly surprising that "Blogger Night" on TRACKSIDE with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee (1070 The Fan, Indy) came and passed without our knowledge. "Noteworthy" motoring blogs were represented, with their founders pontificating about everything IndyCar Series. We've never listened to TRACKSIDE, but know they have a good little following. In fact, Cavin scribes a weblog over at indystar.com that's decent. (We've linked it, so it must be awesome!)
Alas, our fair site was omitted from "Blogger Night." No email. No call. Nothing. We feel slighted. We're like the kid who wanted an action GI Joe Talking Bandit III for Christmas, but got a subscription to Highlights instead. This sucks.
Maybe our invitation was lost in the mail. Maybe our predisposition of using ethnic slurs and misogynistic diatribes to describe the latest in motor racing news caused the un-vitation. Or was it the fact that Robin Miller (indirectly, directly) shit on Cavin during our interview with the Speed star? Did we spend too much time posting on baseball recently? Why the no call?
Members of the Rb nation unite. Inundate Cavin's inbox with your displeasure. Or call him at (317) 444-6409. Tell him we will not go silently into the night. Viva la Rb.
This could be the first blog battle we've waged. It makes us feel warm all over.
For those interested you can Listen HERE to the program in question.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
If you happen to know the crux of this scuffle, let us know. We're thinking the two disagreed on the impact of FDI and economic growth.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A: Well, I'm glad you asked. Please come in, have a seat. Can I get you something to drink? No, you sure? I have Fanta. (Pulls can of soda from fridge.) Hey, your loss.
The blogspot-juggernaut known as Ridebuyer was born in a small cubicle inside of a large building. Therein, during the monotony of making copies and faxing things, a voice from the heavens rained down. "Write about motor racing," it said. "Sports bloggers are not losers. Do it." It was not unlike the scene in Fight Club when Tyler Durden first explained the'Club' to those fat loser guys. In fact, it was just like that.
Q: Why motor racing?
A: Look, I follow a lot of sports. I like most sports. I was even paid to cover the NHL for a star- crossed few weeks. (What a crazy time to be alive that was.) But, motor racing is different. This is the sport I grew up following. Plus, I thought the sports blogophere was void of profanity laced motor racing themed tripe.
Q: Is this a NASCAR site?
Q: You have such an extensive understanding your subject matter and articulate it so well, you must have some serious cockpit experience.
A: Thanks, that's not a question, but thanks. I had a woefully mediocre career in karting that ended with me cartwheeling down a frontstretch and coming to rest on a grassy knoll. That ended that. I still have a track car that comes out for occasional lapping days and autocrosses. But, no Indy or Le Mans. Shocking, I know.
Q: What's with the Mario banner? Are you implying he was a ride buyer? Wtf?
A: No, I just like the picture. It is kind of ironic, I guess. One of the best atop one of the worst. But, I'll keep the picture up until somebody makes me take it down (probably through an injunction of some kind).
Q: Do you ever feel like an ass for anonymously posting critical things about people who have no way of contacting you to tell you to shut the hell up?
A: No I don't. Because that's not true. My email has been posted here since day one. It's marshalljlongatgmaildotcom.
Q: Do you really have Robin Miller's number in your cell?
Thus ends the totally fabricated FAQ section of the post. No one asked these questions. It was just me, asking myself things. Cat out of bag.
South Florida Playboy, former footballing coach, and current TV talking hair Jimmy Johnson.
We have two reliable sources who placed Johnson, after his Fox duties ended Sunday, partying at a Sunset strip club with Frank Caliendo. Our sources say Johnson was 86'ed after a private dance ended with no release. He was heard saying, "If you're gonna talk the talk, you better walk the walk!"as he was tossed to sidewalk. Caliendo stayed and said, "Turducken" many times. The waitstaff laughed. We'll give Johnson an "A-" solely because he opted for the private dance, and not the champagne room. He is a man of the people.Three-time NASCAR Champ Jimmie Johnson.
The guy won his third straight Cup title on Sunday in mediocre, don't- rock- the- boat- fashion. Dude finished p15. That's not terribly impressive. Travis Kvapil beat the guy on Sunday. So did Bill Elliott, who is approximately 76. Come. On. Three in a row is pretty cool, but Jimmie, do it with some style. We'll give him a "B" for the weekend.
So, drumroll... The best Johnson weekend award goes to... Jimmy Johnson, and his totally fabricated weekend involving strippers and a guy with a terrible show on TBS. Outstanding.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Edwards led the most laps and won Sunday's Ford 400, but he still ended up 69-points adrift of Jimmie Johnson, who finished p15. As anyone who watched a college football game on ABC/ESPN over the weekend knows, this was Johnson's record-tying third straight Cup Series title. Cale Yarborough won the crown from 1976-1978.
It's tough to see where this title will stack up in the greater hierarchy of motor racing achievements. It's not our place to draw such conclusions. The pantheon of motor racing accomplishment is filled with successes. And one day after Johnson's hat trick is too soon to assign this feat a spot in history. Of course, some people disagree. Here's where the experts are stacking Johnson's titles. (Chuckles.)
The Way It Is/ Johnson joins the legends of NASCAR (Gordon Kirby)
Johnson wins third title in a row to match Yarborough (Sporting News Wire Service)
Johnson outsmarts competition to claim third straight Sprint Cup (Lars Anderson, SI.com)
Three down and more to go? Johnson, 48 team, might just be getting started (Ed Hinton, espn.com)
The same sort of deal happened on Saturday during the N'Wide race. In that Edwards won the race, but come up lame in the title. Clint Bowyer finished p5 to take that crown.
Edwards wins race, but Bowyer takes Nationwide Series title
13 years ago, Johnny Benson won a NASCAR title in the Busch Series. On Friday he notched title # 2 in NASCAR's #3 series. The points battle between Benson and Ron Hornday was the stuff of legends. Benson finished one spot ahead of Hornaday in Friday's race, and that gave him the seven point edge he needed to take the crown. Cheers to him and all of Bill Davis Racing.
Watch the final laps:
Benson holds off Hornaday to win Truck Series championship
There were really only two class titles on the line during Sunday's NHRA eliminations from Pomona. Pro Stock Bike and Funny Car is where the drama of sorts took place. When Tony Pedregon took out Robert Hight in round one, the FC title was secured for his older bro, Cruz. This is Cruz's second title, and his first in 16 years.
Eddie Krawiec won the Bike crown. Previously awarded champs were Tony Schumacher (TF) and Jeg Coughlin (PSC). Of course, there was a race to be run also... Event winners:
Larry Dixon (TF), Greg Anderson (PSC), Chris Rivas (PSB), Oh, and Cruz supplemented his championship with a race win. Good for him.
Pedregon adds win to championship; Dixon, Anderson, Rivas also score
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Or, is that the king of the one-liner, Don Rickles? You decide.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Well, Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo (Bada bing?) pulled a The King-esque move after watching his boy Felipe Massa's title chances slip away during the Brazilian Grand Prix.
When a television breaks it makes a terrible bang. My daughter in the other room was given an awful fright. Luckily we had another television so I was able to watch the podium ceremony, which I enjoyed.
Glad he enjoyed the podium ceremony. Chill out bro.
Ferrari boss smashed TV after F1 finale
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Showing undying devotion to current sponsor Office Depot, the wedding invites were picked from OD's stationary selection and the stores' design, print and shipping services will take care of the, well, designing, printing and shipping of the cards.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I'm back, baby. Time for some housecleaning. First order of business: what happens when the racing stops?
It's yet to be seen (or decided) how this fair site will function during the off-season. I'm thinking of a slow digression into a medium-to-hard-core porn fetish dumpster. That'll be dependant on how cold it gets. So, stay tuned!
Also, don't forget to flip over to the remaining Sprint Cup events when they're on the television light tubes. I'd say a requisite flip-from-football every hour or so should keep you abreast of Jimmie Johnson's inevitable third title.
Cheers to Lewis Hamilton & Co. Deserving title. As a victory celebration, enjoy a gallery of Formula One's First Ladies (including LH's lady-friend), and their counterparts from the world of American saloon-car racing. Until next time, keep reaching for the stars, enjoy the new POTUS and, for godsakes, don't shake the hand of a homeless guy. There could be poo in there.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Motor racing fans are outpost dwellers. Recluses. We’re sprinkled around the nation. Outside of Indianapolis and Charlotte fandom becomes hit or miss. (Largely miss.)
The happenings in Philadelphia last night could never be replicated in the aftermath of a motor race, no matter the city.
Baseball is the peoples’ sport. Its range and scope are far reaching. Territoriality reigns supreme. A city is associated with team, and that gives you the right to wish fucking death upon everyone from any other city. Baseball is why I hate Chicago. Baseball is why I refuse to travel to Massachusetts. Motor racing cannot replicate the blind hatred that baseball has provided the masses.
Of course, the opposite of blind hatred is blind love/passion/joy and that happened in Phila last night. I got hugged by a stranger because I was wearing a $12 Pat Burrell t-shirt. Said stranger was bombed and probably thought I was Burrell, but that’s not important. The passion was there. (Side note: I have been wearing the aforementioned t-shirt for the last week. It smells like ass, feet and rank beer. My co-workers tried to stage a Burrell shirt intervention with me. I told them to eat a dick. Then Burrell hit the most important double in recent history and I felt like a goddamned king. I want to be buried in this fucking shirt.) The entire city came out and relished in the achievement of the city’s team. The Phillies won for the town. Sports are all Philadelphia has. The Phillies made millions of eastern-PA’ers not depressed to be living in eastern PA. Only a stick-and ball-sport could do that. Sorry motor racing. I love you, but...
Maybe I’ll try to change things. Beware, at the season opening IndyCar event, I’m going to hug everyone in sight if Graham Rahal wins. I’ll take it to the streets of New Albany. The party that will take place in Central Ohio will be epic. We will own the night. All spearheaded by this guy. Sound like a good plan?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
I could be getting fired-up for the conclusion of the F1 season, but, alas, I can't watch the races because Comcast doesn't carry Speed where I live. I could have watched the IndyCar finale (?) in Australia, but, alas, Comcast removed ESPN Classic from my basic digital package when the college football season started.
A major racing distraction has been the Phillies, and their improbable post season run. Much of my time has been spent following the team, pounding beers and my fist to the tune of a possible World Series 'w.' Goddamnit, I love baseball. This town will burn to the bloody ground should the Fightins' pull this thing out. I will be there to see the carnage and bask in the glory. Sorry NASCAR, you've been bumped from my mind.
Things will be back to normal soon enough. I still like the NHRA. I promise.
Let us all have a great race week. Go Phillies. Fuck Tampa. Here's Joe Fucking Blanton going yard:
Monday, October 20, 2008
- Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday and has pretty much wrapped the 2008 drivers' title. LH has a seven point cushion over Felipe Massa (Robert Kubica is p3, eliminated) with only the Brazilian Grand Prix remaining in two weeks. Take it away. man with accent.
Hamilton rules Chinese GP, nearly seals Formula One title
The ALMS put a period on their season at Laguna Seca. Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr scored the overall victory. (The title was wrapped at Road Atlanta.) Franck Montagny and Tony Kanaan scored the second AGR LMP2 win in three races, narrowly besting the de Ferran Motorsports squad. Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin took GT1 honors for Corvette Racing and Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher won GT2 in a Ferrari F430. More accent man? Hell and yes:
WERNER, LUHR CLAIM MONTEREY OVERALL VICTORY
Jimmie Johnson led 339-laps at Martinsville on Sunday. He now has a 149-point lead with The Chase at its mid point. Game over. ESPN's coverage was slated for, like, 6.5 hours Sunday afternoon. Holy. Shit.
Johnson's mastery of Martinsville puts 48 team within striking distance of title
Johnny Benson won the Martinsville Truck race. That's his fifth win of the year and gives him the points lead. Next stop, Hotlanta.
Fifth win of season vaults Benson past Hornaday for points lead
A great race week to all. Wednesday. Zero-hour. Thank about it.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
INDY organisers have released a code of conduct for race fans staying in apartments within the track precinct.
The document was drawn up following raunchy scenes on balconies, including nudity, at last year’s race.
The day the music died.
Indy fans must sign up for clean conduct (goldcoast.com.au)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here's all you could every want to know about the "Olympics of motorsport."
RUNOFFS: Sunday Races Recap (speedtv.com)
Club racing, event results (scca.org)
Practice, qualifying and race results (scca.org)
Photo gallery (scca.org)
Jeff Burton won his second Cup race of the season at the BoA 500 in Charlotte. Nobody got choked-out and Burton's wife was excited her man won. Kasey Kahne was charging near the end, finishing p2. Kurt Busch was third. Jimmie Johnson dropped to sixth in the final run, yet retains the points lead.
CUP: Burton Claims BofA Win
Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa played bumper-cars in the opening laps of the Japanese GP. Neither could really regain the positions lost during the insuing drive-through penalties. Hamilton finished outside of the points, with Massa tallying a p7 following a scoring decision after the race. Some man named Fernando Alonso won the race. Hamilton holds a five point lead over Massa with two rounds remaining. Ferrari leads the Constructors' Standings by seven points.
Massa, Hamilton tangle but Alonso wins Japanese GP
Sunday's Virginia NHRA Nationals saw Tony Schumacher notch his 14th win of the season. (Yeah, he's going to win the championship.) Other pro winners were Cruz Pedregon (FC) and Dave Connolly (PSC). Paul Page, that's your que (or is that cue? or queue? Christ.)
Schumacher takes Top Fuel; Pedregon, Connolly in title hunt with wins
Cheers to the race week before us. Fuck the Dodgers.
Friday, October 10, 2008
In the interest of equal time, here's something for the females. It's the Machine..333 in the post season, game-winning bomb last against the Dodgers, dreamy eyes....
Thank you for continued readership. Go Phils. Fuck the Dodgers. NASCAR preview will be up before the race starts. Hopefully. Maybe. Hungover.
Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR.
Everybody likes a good fight. The highlight of an evening highlighted with much drink is always the inevitable fight. The scene usually plays out in a similar way. Guy 'A,' we'll call him Derek, inadvertently bumps into Guy 'B's' girlfriend. (For the sake of story continuity, we'll call Guy 'B' Todd and his GF is certainly named either Katie or Sara. You pick.) Well, Todd took offense to way in which Derek came in contact with Katie or Sara. Derek did not say 'excuse me,' because he needed to meet up with his 'boys,' who were already 'posted up' at the bar, and in the middle of a heated game of Photo Hunt Penthouse on the MegaTouch. Todd asked Derek what his problem was. Derek tells Todd to "relax, bro." A drink gets tossed from someone. Much like the first shot at Lexington and Concord, nobody truly knows were the errant beverage originated. Regardless, the melee was on at that point. Derek and Todd grappled on the floor. Derek's 'boys' were unsuccessful in trying to break things up. Katie or Sara was in tears, the heel had broken on her cute new shoes, and her favorite Forever 21 dress was soaked with Coors Light.
Yes, fights rule.
Sports fights really rule.
Nothing brings excitement into the sports world like a good donnybrook or possibility of donnybrook. Look at the Red Sox-Rays series. The teams hate each other, the pitchers throw at everybody, and it's great.
NASCAR has attempted to clean up its image during the sport's renaissance since the collapse of Indy car racing. You can't have moonshiners and roughnecks represent your sport in this century. That just wouldn't be right. Or so was the thought. Remember when Las Vegas wanted people to think it was a family-friendly destination? That shit didn't work. Nobody wants their family to go to Vegas with them. Vegas is about gambling, hookers, drugs and booze. That is what makes Vegas cool. Same thing with NASCAR. NASCAR is about rednecks, wrecking and fistfights. That's the history of the sport. Well, NASCAR wants to be mid-90's Las Vegas. A family destination for all. Yet, in the end, fun for none.
Bucking the trend of sterility, "Hot" Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick got into a pushing match this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Headlocks were involved. Sweet. It also appears that NASCAR is not planning to fine the drivers. Thank the lord. Note to NASCAR: Let the racers do their things. Fights are good. Embrace your roots.
Here is everything you need to know.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Q: We remember you on Wind Tunnel a while back and talking about Brock Yates' book on the original Cannonball Run. Why does that sound like about the coolest thing, ever?
RM: Well, that's because it was. There were only two years what they really had the real Cannonball, '71 and '72. In '71 Gurney won it in a Ferrari driving with Brock. And the next year, a guy won it answering an ad in the New York Times for a guy who wanted his Cadillac driven to California, so they did it at 110mph. You can't make this stuff up. I ran it the second year. I was gonna have Art Pollard go with me, but he found out there was no money and he said, "there's no chance, I'm not going." I had the USAC pace car from the Champ Car division lined-up, they didn't know what I was going to use it for, Jim Campbell Datsun, here in town was going to let me use it, then they found out I was going to be in this race. They had it towed out from in front of the start the night before I left. So I went there with no car. Hooked up with a guy who was a stock car driver from California and we drove a Vega station wagon. I think we finished sixth or seventh, made it in like 38-hours. And it was just this great group of people that met in this parking garage in Manhattan and stamped your ticket and you took off as fast as you could go. You could take the northern route or the southern route or the Midwestern route, there were three ways to go from New York to LA.
It was so sad that the movies they made about it-The Cannonball Run. Lemondrop Express, or whatever it was called- They completely had to go overboard with Hollywood. If they'd just stuck with facts, it was such a cool story. Three guys dressed as priests, that whenever they got stopped the Sheriff would ask, "Father, do you have any idea how fast you were going?" and he'd say, "no my son." Sheriff would say, "You're going 117mph, Father. What's going on?" They'd say they were going to a religious summit and never got a ticket. Their car broke, or they'd probably won the thing. There were just all these wonderful stories within the stories. The three big-chested blondes… Their plan was, every time they got stopped, they'd just undo their top button. Then they wouldn't get tickets. The guy I went with, Wes Dawn, I think we got six tickets, we didn't go to jail, we didn't go to the justice of peace, we didn't have to pay any money. But, when we were done, we used his address every time we got stopped, and he lived in Laguna Beach, they came to his house and arrested him and he had to spend four weekends in jail to take care of those tickets. So, he wasn't real happy about that. Those are the kind of things…
A couple of years ago Brock Yates' asked me, he called me up and said, "Hey Robin, we're thinking about having one more Cannonball. It is going to be everyone that was in the first two original years. We're gonna try to keep it below the radar. What do you think?"I said, "I'm in."So the first thing I did, I went to Eddie Wirth, who was a great motorcycle racer and sprint car racer. His wife is Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's publicist, and has been their personal assistant for years, and Eddie was Paul's right hand for the past decade, he drove him everywhere, they hung out together. I said to him, "Eddie, what about getting Newman, you and me, and we'll go on the Cannonball?" He said, "God, that'd be great." He said he thought Newman would go for something like that too. So I approached Newman at Long Beach that year and said, "Hey, have you heard of the Cannonball Baker race?" He said he had. So I brought him the book that Brock wrote and told him to read up on it, because I had an idea. So he read a few chapters and the one I wrote. At the next race I saw him, I asked him what he thought. He said it sounded like a crazy thing to do. I told him I thought that you and me and Eddie aught to do it. He said, "No I couldn't do that. No, there's no way I can do that, Joanne would kill me." I said, "hey, you've been testing sprint cars on the dirt, 900 horsepower sprint cars, you're wife is not going to say anything about this. This is tame compared to that." He goes, "Well, she doesn't know about the sprint cars." It was just funny that Paul Newman was like I can't really do that, I've got to get permission from my wife. You're Paul Newman, you can do whatever you want to do. So as the summer went on, he started to weaken a little bit. He started asking about what kind of car we were going to drive… I asked him what kind of car he could promote. So he said that's why I wanted him, so he could promote us a free car. I told him that was one of the reasons. The other reason is, if we get stopped, the cops are going to recognize you and let us go. He said, "I wouldn't bet on that, I'm not very big anymore." He was just so funny because he was always making fun of himself. Then I think Brock's attorneys' told him you can't have another race, because if someone gets hurt, it all comes back to you and it'll be the end of you. So it didn't happen, but I really think Newman was going to do it. If push came to shove.
Q: Your racing career... Did you have three or four PR people and handlers and all that stuff?
RM: Haha, no. Art Pollard was one of my best friends, and he got killed at Indy in '73, but before he got killed he helped me get a Formula Ford from Andy Granatelli. And, if anyone should've not been allowed to own a racecar, it would have been me; because I was the biggest moron mechanically that's probably walked the face of the earth. So, I tried to run this Formula Ford for a year or so. But, I'm hanging out with Bill Vukovich and Johnny Parsons and Gary Bettenhausen, eating lunch and dinner with them, and I'm going to races, covering USAC, I've been going to midget and sprint races my whole life. They're like if you're serious about learning to drive a race car get rid of that Formula Ford and go get a midget or a sprint car and learn how to be a race driver. And they were right. So I bought one of Gary's midgets- it was the car Merle made his comeback in after he lost his arm in his first and only Indy car race at Michigan- so I became an unofficial Bettenhausen brother. 'Cause if you buy into the family like that, you're expected to, you know, you got to answer to Gary. The first couple of races we went to we had pretty good runs. The first time I went to Kokomo I had a good race, made the main event.
It's interesting; I look back at some of those lineups. A couple races there the first year I raced USAC midgets… There were a couple races where 13 of 20 guys in the A-main were in that year's Indy 500. So, it was a hell of field of race drivers, because they still had to run midgets and sprint cars to make a living. I had my moments, I think I had some talent, but I was too stupid to ever figure out that I should have been paying someone just to run their car instead of trying to run my own. Everybody from Ron Shuman, to Mark Alderson to Larry Rice, they all became my unofficial mechanics 'cause they were worried I was going to leave the wheel loose or something. I was so stupid mechanically, I couldn't be trusted. So, I learned a lot of hard lessons in the 10 seasons I ran USAC. Because I did everything about half-assed backwards. If you could do it wrong, I usually did it. But, I would never trade the experience. But, I just wish I had stated, well, I didn't start until I was 23. I didn't buy the Formula Ford until I was 22 or 23. So, I was way behind. I never ran a quarter midget or anything. I guess my best day was probably in 1980 at the Hut Hundred. It used to follow the Hoosier Hundred in the USAC schedule. It was 33 midgets, 11 rows of three at Terra Heute. Back in the day, back in the 70's when I was racing, the Hut Hundred used to get 100 entries. So there was 100 guys for 33 spots. There was no hooligan or suitcase race, if you didn't qualify in the top 33 you went home. Well, I was the first alternate one year. I was 34th out of, like, 104. That was like the worst day of my life. You don't get to run, you have to watch. You were 34th. So in 1980, I had a new car that Gary Stanton, who was a great sprint car racer, I had his first midget. I struggled with it all year. Finally, at Terra Heute, we got things going and I qualified fifth. I was in the middle of Parsons and Vogler and Chassey and Sleepy Tripp. I ran third for a long time and had a good race with Parsons and Sleppy. Then the thing blew up. We used to make fun of Kenny Schrader and Poncho Carter and Gary Bettenhausen 'cause they all started way behind me that day. They would kid me and say, "What side do you want us to pass you on?" And I'd say, "If you can keep up with me, you can pass me wherever you want." It was of those days where, like everyone says, the car was so fast it was so much fun to do. And dirt racing, there's nothing like it anyway. And Terra Heute is legendary, there's so many stories about Terra Heute that are fun. To race competitively is all you really wanted to do. I had a Chevy II, I didn't have a Volkswagen. I probably should have been smart and got a Volkswagen and not stuck with the Chevy II. I think I was $140,000 in debt when I finally quit. Because, you know, like I said, I did everything wrong.
You can't appreciate what you can learn racing 30-40 times a year across the country with all the good guys that were in USAC back then. It was a fabulous experience. I think I understand racing from a whole different perspective just because of it. I always got along with guys like Foyt, people like that, pretty easy because, I think, they at least respected the fact that I tried to do it. I worked on Indy 500 pit crews and stuff. I was pretty much immersed in it. I wrote 52 columns a year about USAC and I raced in the midget division. It always cracks me up 'cause I always hear people say that I don't like the Indy 500 or USAC or I don't like open wheel racing anymore. I'm thinking, you know, there's nobody in this country who has written more positive stories about open wheel racing than I have. One of the reasons is 'cause I'm almost 60 years old. The other is because that was my passion. I loved it. I wanted to see USAC always on top, which it should have been. They had all the best drivers. But, they had the best drivers and the worst management. Then CART came along and they had terrible management. The IRL came along and they got terrible management. My whole life has been full of nobody that really knew how to run open wheel racing. And we still don't have anybody.
Q: The people at Versus still haven't given you a ring yet?
RM: I don't think the people at Versus, I'm not sure they'll be doing the hiring. I think there are some people at the Speedway who are trying to assemble a team of who they'd have in the booth. But, that thing obviously needs an overhaul. I would like to see Gary Gerould do the play-by-play; I think he'd do a really good job. Or maybe Derek Daly, he's done it for a long time. Somebody said, "Would you do it?" Yeah I think I'd do it. I'd love to try to do it, if it was with the right circumstances. You couldn't be censored, you couldn't be told to be a PR man or a cheerleader. People don't want to be lied to. They don't want to watch that. I mean, you watch Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace and you gotta have a barf bag. It is the worst television ever. They don't tell you anything, it's all this suck-ass, kiss-ass dialogue, it just makes me cringe. That ESPN Now show everyday is one of the worst things that's ever been on television, it's just hysterical to watch. I think it's an insult to a race fans mentality that they have to put up with this shit. I'd love to see myself and Eddie Cheever in the booth, 'cause we don't really like each other. I think it'd be pretty combative and I think that'd make good television because you're not acting. It's just this kind of adversarial relationship. But, you have to keep focus, you'd talk about the race, but people want to hear the dirt. They want to hear the rumors, who doesn't like who, who's leaving, who's making this kind of money. I mean bless their hearts, Scott Goodyear and Marty Reid are nice guys but they have no chemistry and it's just painful to watch. I'm certainly not a big proponent of NASCAR, but Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip make you feel like they're letting you in our their personal little conversation about what's going on during the race. Just like Benny Parsons and Ned Jarrett did back in the 80's. That's why it caught on.
I'm not saying people are going to watch a race or not watch a race because of the announcing team; I don't think that's true. But, you got to do something to upgrade your product in the booth. Remember that Todd Harris guy from ABC a few years ago? You just think where do they come up with these ideas? I thought Tom Sneva did a good job because he was honest and funny, but they sent him packing. The last time IndyCar had any kind of chemistry was Bobby Unser correcting Sam Posey and Paul Page every five minutes. That was hysterical. That was entertainment.
Q: Last question, if you had to watch a movie this weekend, would you pick Days of Thunder or Driven?
RM: Driven because it was so bad it's a comedy. I mean Days of Thunder was pretty lame, but Driven… We renamed Driven, Drivel. I just remember Stallone and all those people when they were making that movie… I mean, bless their heart, CART thought this was going to put them on the map. They thought this is going to bring people in from miles around. Well, it put them on the map alright; they were laughed off the map. I remember when it opened, it was the highest grossing movie of the weekend and everybody thought this is great. Well, it made like $2 million because it was the middle of the summer. And nobody had released a movie for about a month. It was awful; in every possible respect, it was awful. I didn't do anything for CART or open wheel racing. You know what's kinda sad? Paul Newman got Tom Cruise interested in racing. Cruise did some SCCA racing himself, because of Newman. And the Days of Thunder movie was actually supposed to be about the Indy 500, but I don't know, there was a breakdown somewhere and it never happened, which is too bad. It certainly had more potential then what they ended up with.
Robin, certainly appreciate the time.
RM: Hey, you bet...