Archive | April, 2012

IS There REALLY Gonna Be a Bahrain Grand Prix, Bernie? REALLY??

16 Apr

Ah, to race or not to race. I am not a political stake holder in this Formula One discussion, but I am a man of concern for safety. I would call it being a reasonable man. In a previous life, I became very familiar with the Sultanate of Bahrain. They seem to have a different way of looking at things in the world. If you are a fan of treating women as second or even third hand property, then spend a leisurely vacation there. You just might be in your element!

No, my argument is more with Mr. Ecclestone than it is with Bahrainian circuit chairman Zayed Al Zayani. Perhaps I still wish to metaphorically carry the head of the perpetrator of the sham of a Formula One race conducted at Indianapolis in June of 2005. In each case, FOM will get their money, a motorsport event will take place, and the circus will depart, headed towards its next destination.

Either way, there still remains something inherently wrong in supporting a motorsports event held in a land where the government openly kills its own citizens. My stance is not new, nor is it unshared. This philosophical argument just begins to cover the proverbial tip of the iceberg of concerns for this week’s running of Formula One at Bahrain. Security must be at the top of the list of things to worry team managers about, let alone wondering about bringing enough spares to the track.

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that a few days ago, Mr. Ecclestone proclaimed all to be well and said that “there were no issues or concerns about Bahrain”.

One finds it really kind of sad because I would imagine that if you would ask any of the drivers in F-1 about Bahrain, to a man they would just admit to wanting to race. The “in your genes” kind of thing where they just race…..

Briefly and finally, concluding notes on the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. The IZOD InduCar Series entertainment factor seems to have jumped up a bit more, even after the thrilling events at Barber. I mean, St. Pete was a pretty tasteful opener, with the confirmation that Lotus cars are a bit piggy. Fast forward to Hinchcliffe’s grenade situation at a test that resulted in “Shev-Row Lay” changing out all of the bow tie badged engines in the field. Now, give them the mandated 10 spot grid penalty and watch the Hondas kick butt. Watch the Hondas kick butt. Watch the….WTF?

By far the best coverage of the ensuing drama, high jinks and outright butt whipping put on by Chevrolet is handled by the esteemed Pressdog. What unfolded at Long Beach was a wakeup call issued to Honda for the upcoming Indianapolis 500, where they have been prominent for possibly so long that it makes them too comfortable. Enjoy the unique presentation that is Pressdog here:

Lastly, it was very interesting to spend short but quality time with the following local bloggers doing some bench racing. These fine gents are always available on twitter and you should spend quality time following them as well. They are prolific writers! Snag these twitter handles and add them.

That’s my take for this week in open wheel racing. Nice to be working a day gig for a change, but also good to get back onto the blogging saddle. Talk to you next time!



IZOD Indy Car Series Season 2012 Week Number 2 Is Complete; How ‘Bout Some Video Links, Pal?

4 Apr

Flowing locks, swinging hips

It’s been a while since I posted words of wit and wisdom, humor and outright lies so, here we go; What a snoozer of an opener and a massive gut check of a second race for some marquee teams! Those sometimes red, sometimes blue Chippy Ganassi – Tar-Jayyy Racing cars sure have a disparate gap. Something I read the other day said that Mr. Ashley Judd has yet to have his car find the sweet spot. It sure seems like it! The difference in driving styles between Mr. Dixon and Mr. Franchitti could not be more apparent. Couple this fact with the ability of the Shhevvro-lays (as uncle Bobby would say) twin turbos to generate off corner acceleration made for an unusual grouping in the fast six session at St. Pete. Mark my words, on a LARGE oval, Honda is certainly going to level and then tilt the playing field in their direction. The slow wind up of a single turbo will be more than made up for on a very long straight.

Since I was not able to look at time intervals between the contestants on track during the fast six session at St. Pete, I was pleased to find this link from your friends at IICS. I wanted to see how the session unfolded, and lo and behold, I love youtube! Get your fanny out and hit up the IICS fine line up of current IZOD Indy Car Series video action on their channel.

Fast Six St Pete 032412 Credit IICS

Come race day, the choice viewing spots were appropriately staked out and executed much like a well-oiled Penske team executes pit stops. One place called to me; just after a series of quick paced right and left hand turns, the straight that makes up First Street in downtown St. Pete is a first chance for cars exiting the pits to crank the torque. If you listen closely, you can hear a slight difference in the song of each engine manufacturer. Here is a clue for those of you that are playing along at home kids; the last vehicle in the clip is a Lotus entry. Whom drives a basically all white livery in the series, even after two races? Hmmmm?

First Street in St. Pete (credit Paul Henry)

After a while I headed back towards the end of the chicane the drivers face just after making the sweeping right hand turn into and exiting turns 2 and 3. If one listens closely, one can hear the pleasant southern twang sounding voice of a recently converted Cup Car Fan enjoying the open wheel experience.
Turn 2-3 St Pete (credit Paul Henry)

Mr. Green and Mr. Andretti put out a very good festival feel to the grand Prix and they had to be pleased at the head count. Several of my local St. Pete tweeps remarked on how much more foot traffic there was this year over a few previous ones. St. Pete will never become the Long Beach of the East; but they sure come close on this particular weekend!

Any trip to a race track would incomplete without a visit to the Lights practice. They make more errors and create more excitement as a result. Take the fine art of diving into the hard left at the western end of First Street on the St. Pete course. Some young drivers push the car into the corner and some THROW the car into the corner.

Indy Lights St Pete Practice (Credit Paul Henry)

Finally, I was not able to go to Barber and bring you even more of these fabulous videos, but there ya go. Besides, Folks like Steve Wittich, @Stevewittich provided never ending updates and tweets on scene from the track walk so I suggest that you rush out and add him to your list of good read tweeps. Since I was absent at Barber, I suggest that you get your fast six fix right here.

Fast Six Barber 033112 Credit IICS

See? I mentioned in the title that this would be a festival of links, Pal, so go on about your business. Nothing to see here, folks……so move along.

I will talk to you next time!