Dan Wheldon – My New Best Friend?

Dan Wheldon will be my new best friend, but only if I win the Indy Las Vegas $5 Million Challenge and of course Dan Wheldon brings home the checker flag.

Is this a gimmick? You bet, but who gives a rat’s ass if you are the person cheering on Dan to bring you home some serious cash. Even if I am not selected, I will probably make time to watch the race just to see if some other lucky bastard becomes independently wealthy.


Pippa Strikes Back

I guess in the tabloid world that other Pippa is still lighting up the charts and testosterone of boys here as well as across the Pond, hungry for as much near Royal T&A as can possibly be achieved. I have never seen such, but alas, I do not really follow the ravishing cravings of those looking to see how the other half live.

Do I enjoy a pretty girl? Sure, as much as the next semi-old gaming guy. In fact I have had a ton of fun and laughs over the years posting T&A, eye candy, and the like, however today I am writing about one Pippa Mann, and her adventures in this year’s Indy 500.

Pippa Mann has been keeping a diary/blog over at RACER, and I have to admit that I have become a big fan of Pippa. Her writing style is highly engaging, open, honest, and of course entertaining.

The first pit stop was a reminder that while I was getting the hang of this thing on the track, it was no Indy Lights race. We were still under green – a few of the people whom I had passed, and a couple in front of me pulled off a lap earlier and dived in while I was being called one to go. Next lap – my turn. Call for more front wing, try to stay on the throttle through Four, shoot across to pit entry, on the brakes, down to speed before the line. Pit lane speed limiter, into neutral, into the box on the marks, holding the wheel and the brakes, being ready as soon as the car hits the ground but is still fueling. Ready, ready, ready… Fuel disengaged, first gear, wave out, GO. Reset the fuel, reset the in car tools. Breathe. Watch for the pit exit, be ready, be ready… Pit exit, disengage speed limit, push on the warm-up lane, push. Yellow – wait? What? Yellow?

Yes, yellow. I hadn’t even made it back out onto track and the track was down. …

I immediately learned two very important lessons. The first – you save fuel on the parade laps to try and go one further in the race; and second, being a little conservative to make sure you do everything right on your first-ever pit stop can hurt you just as much as over-shooting your marks and screwing the whole thing up.

Good stuff. I wish Pippa well, and certainly hope she catches a ride and earns a few more races. Pippa is much easier to cheer for than that other ‘famous’ female Indy racer.


Two Down, One (OK, Make It Two) To Go

Could you ask for a better day of racing? Monaco was fantastic; would Alonso have managed a pass on Vettel if the red flag didn’t come out? Can you imagine how long JR Hilderbrand is going to think about doing things differently in turn 4 at Indy?

As the hotter than heck day turns to night, I hope Jeff Gordon stop the Carl Edwards train in tonight’s 600?

And what’s that you say? Still some burgers in the fridge for tomorrow’s Grand-Am race at Lime Rock? You bet; and another round of wings to boot.

Happy racing weekend!


Spectacular Day of Racing

I kicked off the weekend with a slow cooked Boston Butt Roast; I am biased, but it was fantastically delicious. Watched some of the Nationwide action to see what the Ice Man would do. He was doing OK until a little over midway in the race he was penalized with a drive through penalty for leaving the pits too fast.

Quick digression; I also watched some Dawgs baseball. They managed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament by virtue of a decent run with wins over the Fighting Chickens and Gators. Too bad they could not manage a second win against the Gators in the elimination bracket. Georgia’s record may look flimsy, but when you look at their quality schedule, I hope they get consideration for the Tournament.

In a few minutes it’s onwards to Monaco, followed by some Indy 500 action and eventually some 600 miles NASCAR racing action well into the night. It is too much to take. I think throwing some wings on the grill and a cooler full of High Life and Miller Lite will just have to help me carry the day.


Memorial Day Racing

I love kicking off summer with the Monaco GP, Indy 500, and 600 laps of NASCAR; all in one Sunday of back-to-back-to-back racing action. I’ll throw a Boston Butt Roast on the grill on Saturday, and grill a boatload of wings on Sunday between F1 and Indy racing action. What could be better?

How about having the Ice Man in NASCAR? If Kimi Raikkonen does in fact enter and qualify for this weekend’s Nationwide race, that will be another event to throw on the TV this weekend, in what has to be considered one of the greatest weekends in motorsports!

Technically I already kicked off summer a couple of weeks ago with a lovely trip to the Gulf Coast (Carillon Beach, FL), but we all know that summer ‘officially’ begins this weekend, with Memorial Day sitting in as the three day kicker.

I would be remiss to not thank our military, their loved ones, and of course those that have sacrificed their lives in the name of this great country.

Wishing you and yours a very safe Memorial Day weekend!


Monday morning sports quickie.

I guess I spoke too soon about UGA having any chance to win one for two from LSU. The Tigers quickly dispatched the Baseball Dawgs 16-0 (yes, not a mistake), and 3-2. I was trying to think of a way to make this sound respectable. Getting destroyed by the #3 team in the country, and eventual SEC Champion (LSU beat Vanderbilt in Sunday’s final) does not really help.

Jenson Button (Brawn) won a somewhat interesting Monaco Grand Prix; he was really never seriously challenged from the get to. To be fair, there is never a lot of passing at Monaco, but Massa tried to do his part to make things interesting, to no avail. Thanks to Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari finally managed its first podium spot of the 2009 season. Not sure if Ferrari was embarrassed to admit elation over a three-four finish, but I am sure there was much relief.

I know the Indy 500 was all about three time winner Helio Castroneves, but I thought the post race interview with Danica Patrick was telling. I have always thought she was sort of spoiled; at least that is what I have gathered from various articles and interviews. You would think she would have been happy with her career best (at Indy) third place finish, but it took her at least a minute and a half into the interview to say she was happy with third. Good grief.

Coca-Cola 600 moved to noon today due to rain.

Because everyone loves a quickie. Happy Memorial Day Monday!


Greatest racing day of the year.

There are several events that I look forward to each year, and two of them happen to occur today: The Monaco Grand Prix, and the Indianapolis 500. If you throw in the Coca Cola 600, you have one hell of a day of racing. Something like 9 hours of back-to-back racing fun. Throw some good meat on the grill, pop open a can (or bottle) of two of some cold ones, and the makings are there for a wonderful racing day.


Indy Racing League Gets Interesting

I have always been a casual fan of the IRL – I do not follow the series very closely, but I do appreciate the exciting racing action, and of course the Indy 500. I have always thoughts that the IRL suffered for two reasons. First, the marketing arm of the IRL does not strongly promote their drivers in the way that NASCAR promotes their top guys. In my opinion, people love NASCAR because of the driver personalities – many are larger than life. Second, the IRL suffers because it is perceived by many casual fans as just another form of oval racing. Oval racing = NASCAR in much the same way that video games = PlayStation.

The reality is much different. As a racing fan I know the IRL’s top teams, top drivers, and understand how difficult it is to setup an open wheel racer to fly around an oval. It is not just driving around in circles. NASCAR is so ingrained in the casual racing community that the IRL is little more than an afterthought. Hopefully that will change. I have written about this before, but many NASCAR fans fail to realize that series has top drivers that started in the IRL.

F1 is by far my favorite form of motor racing. I love F1 because I like road courses, I love the pageantry, and I love the technology. Nothing else comes in as a close second. I follow all sorts of racing circuits – Le Mans, GT, Rally, you name it, but F1 is near and dear to me.

Of course I follow NASCAR – it is kind of hard to live in the South and not follow NASCAR, but it does not engage me in the same way that F1 manages to suck away my Sunday mornings. Except for the Indy 500, I only watch IRL races when there is nothing else on TV that I would rather watch. That is pretty much the same for all other racing except for a few Le Mans races that I always watch if I have the time. Sad and pathetic, but true.

The Indy Racing League just got more interesting. In early August the IRL announced that Infineon Raceway (California) and Watkins Glen (New York) were being added to the calendar in addition to 14 or so oval courses. Yesterday the IRL announced that addition of St. Petersburg, a street circuit race, to the 2005 schedule.

This is great news. The IRL now has ovals, two road courses, and a street circuit. Smells like roses to me. I hope that other racing fans take notice.