Archive | October, 2011

Robin Miller: The essence of driving a race car is that balance of brake, throttle and balls

25 Oct

Panther '09 2nd Place Finisher

I just about fell off my chair when today’s Speed TV article came out from the highly regarded Robin Miller. The scribe known as RM offered up a look into the past AND future of open wheel. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not about laying blame, but more about moving on. Far better wordsmiths have crafted and penned arguments both for and against the scapegoat de jour. Mr. Miller opened a window into how the times have changed without changing the sport called Open Wheel. Throughout the last millennium, Open Wheel has always had a ‘wow factor” that transcended evolution. Yes, even safety evolution of the sport. One thing makes racers, and that was defined in this post’s title. To wit, Speed TV’s fine link:

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/miller-indycar-must-retain-wow-factor/

It is unbearable that the motor sport world has suffered many losses in the past 10 days. One of them that also affects the Indy Car community was the passing of Sal Incandela. If you followed open wheel in the 70’s and 80’s (or if you are a student of motor sport history), you may have heard of the name. Sal passed on October 3, 2011. Donald Davison wrote a very nice piece about Sal and his son, Daniel made it available here:

http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/default/news/show/50816-indianapolis-500-crew-chief-team-principal-incandela-dies/

I had the good fortune to meet Daniel at the Indy Winter Tweetup held at IMS last January. Little did I know that the gent that moderated the tweetup, Daniel, is the part of the Online Media and Strategies group for IMS. I just thought he was a hired gun to talk and answer questions for the assembled tweeps. Once I had the chance to speak with Daniel as the event wound down, I discovered that he is a man that wears many hats. I suggest that you spend time at his site or add him to your twitter followers. As Pressdog says, reading enhanced. It is with a bit of remorse as well as gratitude that I invite you to come to a memorial for Sal in Indianapolis on Saturday, November 5th from 3-5. It will be held at the Brickyard Crossing Golf and Conference Center. Daniel’s personal invitation is available and was posted on October 25th at his blog site:

http://danielincandela.com/

Daniel offered his encouragement to get this blog off the ground and one appreciates helping hands. It still was a surprise to find out that Daniel is DEEP into robots as well as DEEP into family life. But, I did not want to leave out the fact that Daniel is very into photography. I suggest that one takes a moment to look up his time lapse video of the bus ride from the hotel they stayed in at Motegi out to the track in…how do you say it…hicksvill-san. I mean, this track is way out in the sticks and the video was from a fixed camera in the front of the bus. This gent is very interesting and his father is most proud I am certain. For that reason, I plan to be in Indy on November 5th. I want to hear stories about Ever Cool Raul…kids, go look that one up!

Finally, a thanks to Robin for being the voice of reason. A lot of mud…no, make that sheer stupidness and ignorance was on display at times last week. Y’all take a moment to get you’re a$$ over to bid on some items to help Susie and the boys continue together as a family. Bid, ye Bastards! Bid right here:

http://stores.ebay.com/celebritycharityauctions/pages/dan-wheldon-memorial

Advertisements

I cannot quit thinking about Lionheart

22 Oct

Always on Dan's Helmets

It is pretty much a week later and I cannot come to grips with the emotions that still flood through my heart and mind. After spending almost all of my online time reading other’s recollections of Dan Wheldon, there is little I can add. It seems as if all of the motor sport community has a recollection or an anecdote to share, a picture to resubmit or a self shot video to view of Dan. To a man and woman, everyone seems in agreement that Dan had come into his second run of luck and more importantly, happiness in his new found family life. My recollections of Dan are not that important and I chose to keep most of them private. However, I will share this gem: I did call Dan the King of St. Petersburg and he once referred to me as the Mayor of Nowhere…..

I have a fondness for St Pete and can see why Dan decided to call it home. Sadly, on the day that Dan is laid to rest, the local paper wrote one of the better perspectives on Dan’s world. It is an absolutely well written piece and it can be shared here:

http://www.tampabay.com/sports/autoracing/born-to-race-dan-wheldon-found-happiness-in-towns-slower-pace/1197971

The outpouring of affection and respect from the NASCAR stars, drivers and the “other side” of racing really has seemed to take on a life of its own. This is evidenced by all the hardware being collected by Graham Rahal and his dedicated group so that Dan’s family will be taken care of in the future. The charity auction all started with just a tweet from Graham! He mused about auctioning off his helmet for the cause and an avalanche of caring resulted. When you get a commitment from Tony Stewart and the entire NASCAR paddock chimes in with a Lionheart emblem to be sported at ‘Dega, you have everyone climbing aboard the Love Train. People all over the world, join hands; start a love train……..Suzie and the boys are going to need this for a while to come.

No Words Can Express My Sorrow

16 Oct

I am not going to even begin to attempt an explanation of what happened to the heart and soul of Indy Car today in Las Vegas. Dan was a gentleman to everyone he interacted with, and always knew when to take a moment to engage. These two shots are from the endurance karting event put on at Mark Dismore’s track in New Castle. Even back then, a young Dan toiling away for Chippy, always took a moment to talk to fans of the sport. My heart is empty thinking about it.

The words that fail to come to me are pretty much expressed at Tony Johns’ Pop Off valve site. The comforting words were penned by Ashley Ewing and they can be found here:

http://www.popoffvalve.com/2011/10/16/2494617/october-16-2001

That pretty much expresses it far better than I ever could. I am going to miss you Dano…..

On vacation BUT not in Vega$

11 Oct

GForcePaul will return to recap the IICS world champ-E-on Ship. Until then; how was your vacation, Popoff???

If you did not like the Kentucky show then get a life

3 Oct

 

 

I have been a Sarah Fisher fan since the day in 2000 when she was signed by Derrick Walker to begin her open wheel career. No, I am not just jumping on the bandwagon of fair weather fan support, nor am I just singing praise because it is fashionable. Sarah Fisher totally EARNED her place in the Indy Car history books, alongside the most humble family man currently driving an open wheel missile, Mr. Ed Carpenter. Rick Dreiling of Dollar General should take a few minutes to reconsider his decision to sever ties with Sarah Fisher Racing after next weeks final in Las Vega$. I am certain that Mr. Dreiling could practically sponsor next year’s Kentucky 300 all by himself, if one believes everything written over a year ago about his renegotiated contract to run Dollar General. Follow this link for some eye opening journalism:
http://nashvillepost.com/news/2010/4/30/dollar_general_ceo_gets_new_contract

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not taking sides in the “to tax or not to tax high earners” argument, I am just offering up some background so that we can all be more informed. We all need to understand the economic reality facing oval type racing and its lack of self-support, let alone lack of butts in seats type of support. I completely agree with the cowboy, RB that ovals need a title sponsor to survive and you cannot just make a venue host a race. A title sponsor is the only way this is going to work. Mike King made an interesting yet factual statement during the Saturday morning practice sessions. He opined and mildly hammered open wheel bloggers with the truth. He said that if you want to see more oval racing then go out and SEE an oval race. With Kentucky, Chicago and Milwaukee all within distance of Indy, then go and buy a ticket! Being called to task in that manner made sense. But, I digress…..

When the tearful Sarah Fisher made her appearance in victory lane on October 2nd, I had to join in and shed a tear or two as well. This is a family operation through and through. These folks at Sarah Fisher Racing toil away at something that is more than a paycheck, but a FAMILY passion. The fact that Sarah gave birth to Zoe on September 13th and they both attended SFR’s first win is testament to the family thing. Sarah gave up her place behind the wheel for all the right reasons and look at the reward she has received in return. Not many people I know can say that they were the first at anything and yet, Sarah will always be known as the first female owner to win an Indy Car race. The only one to do so……..I call that trail blazing.

Which finally brings me to my point in the first place. I have been one of the many in 2007 that donated small checks to the cause called SFR when a sponsor promised but did not deliver. It pains my heart to hear that Dollar General will yank the plug after the Las Vega$ finale of the 2011 IZOD Indy Car Series. I have an idea; how about someone pony up $300,000 and be the title sponsor for the 2012 edition of the DG/Sarah Fisher 300@ Kentucky Speedway. Maybe Mr. Bernard and Bruton read this blog………nah, but don’t they wish they did?

As always, one last shout out to the hard working peeps in Client Services. They helped me out a bunch this year and it is greatly appreciated!

Sneek Peek at Kentucky 10/01/2011

2 Oct

Take a short, WILD ride of the pack racing mentality at practice session 1 from Kentucky. We gotta find a title sponsor for 2012 because the action is too good to let go.