Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Morning Rumour Roundup-June 30th

In the past week we have seen a lot of news and rumours surrounding Indy Cars and Formula One, here are my two cents on some of these.

F1 released it's 2009 Schedule with no USGP at Indy despite Tony George's repeated claims that he will have a race if he can get a sponsor. The only problem is that due to the 2005 debacle and the fact that Tony George is an arrogant twat, major sponsors are unwiliing to pay the necessary amount of money for a race in a series that is not really on the radar of the average American. This is also coupled with the fact that the Indy circuit is derided as being dull by many people and that Big Bad Bernie does not think that F1 needs a race in the US, so American F1 fans do not get your hopes up about a race being held at Indy, which would be a great shame as there are a lot more American F1 fans than the Europeans in charge of F1 are willing to admit exist.

Bruno Senna looks to be close to signing a deal to become BMW Sauber's test and reserve driver next year. F1 really wants That name in F1 they way that they wanted the Villeneuve name back in 1996 and BMW are looking to the future, and that could be a future without Nick Heidfeld. No offence to Quick Nick, but you have been er, not so quick this year getting blown out of the weeds by Robert Kubica in most races and having qualified well down the order in the last few days Herr Theissen may be looking for a new driver. Nick has usually out-performed his car wherever he has been in F1 and I am sure he will land on his feet somewhere in F1 if he gets sacked by BMW, but it will probably not be with a frontrunning team. Honda or Toyota would be a possibility but every succesive race he drives like a useless muppet, his stock drops and if it continues he could become a member of the "what have you done for me lately" club.

There has been more news regarding Max Mosely's shenanigans, but I don't really need to comment on that further as this whole affair has denigrated into the "too much information" zone.

In the IRL the rumours of a Paul Tracy return seem imminent as last night Robin Miller reported that the thrill from West Hill was close to signing a deal to run four road-course races in a Derrick Walker/Tony George funded and operated team. If this happens then it would be great news for the series as Paul is one of the all-time great characters of North American open wheel racing and he was right royally screwed over by Gerry Forsythe at the start of this season when the former Champ Car owner waffled on whether or not to enter the IRL as Paul watched all the good drives get taken by less competent drivers. Paul was later offered a drive if he brought money, but his almighty ego prevented him from becoming a pay driver and he rejected it, but it seems as though he has had a change of heart.

David Coulthard's future is up in the air as the 37 year old will probably be replaced by Sebastein Vettel at Red Bull for next year. The rumours of potential jobs for DC have varied from the realistic to the stupid. He has been linked as a potential BBC comentator for next year, which makes a lot of sense as he is very intelligent and opinionated while the rumour of him buying a 50% stake in Scuderia Torro ROsso next year seems rather silly as he probably does not have THAT much money and he said himself that he could not afford to spend $200 million per year on a team. DC may be a little bad at math($200 Million is an exaggerated figure), but he is not stupid enough to think that he can afford to support a team on the long term. He has also been linked as a potential replacement for Vettel as a driver at STR but I doubt that Red Bull will want the aging veteran down there when they could fill the seat with a talented youngster, although Sebastien Bourdais' seat may be up for grabs........

Not a heck of alot else happened of note, Franck Montagny, a former F1 Jack of all trades has become a north american based Jack of All trades by signing a one-race deal with Andretti-Green to run in the ALMS at Lime Rock Park while rumours abound about Dario Franchitti's future as he is being destroyed race in, race out in NASCAR and he may come back to the IRL or he may go to the ALMS for next year. In the IRL Jay Howard will be back behind the wheel at ROth racing for the six remaining road races, although he will be replacing John Andretti not Marty Roth, which should happen. And finally Murray Walker has been given a star on Birmingham's walk of fame. The Brummie walk is less famous than the one in hollywood, it is still a great honour for the greatest english-language F1 commentator in history, congratulations Murray!!!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rock-'Em Sock-'Em Racing at Richmond

The IRL ran it's shortest track of the season and it showed last night as many drivers made the utmost effort to look like complete idiots and to cost their team owners a lot of money in the process. This race also highlighted the jarring fact that the IRL spends far too much time behind the safety car in their races and with all the crashes and incidents last night, the viewer was left bored by seeing cars trundle around at slow speeds, no wonder people are changing the channel instead. Case in point of this was right at the start when in the run toward the Green flag Ryan Hunter-Reay spun and did not hit anything. Ok so they brought out the safety car and he got up to speed and by the time the cars had come around once he at the back of the pack and they could have gone green after two laps, but no the IRL decided to keep the Safety Car out for SIX frickin' laps, with no debris on the track, no cars in the wall, nothing. So we waited and got bored until the cars rolled out again and the rookies starting hitting things and taking each other out and the veterans looked like muppets, Marty Roth got in the way but managed to avoid hitting anything and Tony Kanaan won the race from Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. Not a whole lot notable happened but here is the list of people who stuffed their cars into the wall: Will Power, AJ Foyt IV, Ed Carpenter (after having been hit by John Andretti) Bruno Junqueira, Buddy Rice, Ryan Briscoe, John Andretti (who this time took Oriol Servia with him), Graham Rahal (again), Mario Moraes, Ryan Hunter-Reay (whose second boob actually took him out), and Jaime Camara. This crash-fest saw 9 Safety Car periods for 102 laps (a Third of the Frickin' race and they probably could run 25-30 fewer laps behind the SC). The IRL was a dud, at least there was a good crowd, but if you like crashes-filled races then it was a good one and with the IRL going to Watkin's Glen (a real race track) next week there should be some more thrills and spills.

Oh and on a side note, congratulations to Patrick Carpentier for getting his first pole in NASCAR sprint cup, this will not result in me watching the race, but I will check the results afterwards to see how you did, and in my case that is impressive enough.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey, a new way for me to complain about the motorsports world.

So here we go. This new column/blog/waste of webspace of mine is here for me to speak my mind on various topics in the motorsport world without risking getting my ass banned from internet forums. Many of you will know me as Senor Soup, Senorsoupe, or some other unimaginative variation of two words I put together while drinking to create an internet name and may (or may not) be surprised by the content of this blog as I generally am nice and polite on the forums, but I have decided I feel like giving more opinionated race previews, reviews, news analysis, dog poo on a stick, and other such fun things to read about motorsports and the likes. So sit back, enjoy, get offended if you so desire, although I do not strive to offend anyone, although I may say some less than nice things about your favourite driver/team/personality or any other such subject in motorsport.

As there is no Formula One this week and I would rather take a power drill to my own testicles than watch NASCAR I will start by previewing the upcoming IndyCar race at Richmond. Some of my European friends will wonder why I like IndyCars and not NASCAR and I will say that even on ovals, the IRL has a habit of producing some pretty good races. Partly due to the speed, partly due to the fact that the races are shorter, partly due to the smaller size of the cars being more conducive to overtaking and partly because the commentators and drivers tend to be capable of mastering the English language. So on we go.

The Indycars will be racing at the 0.75 mile oval at Richmond this year and due to the fact that there are now 26 cars on the grid (assuming Marty Roth makes it through practice without destroying his car this time, which is far from a safe assumption) this race will probably be pretty exciting. The IRL races at the shorter ovals this year have been pretty exciting with lots of overtaking and close racing and Richmond tended to produce good racing before the influx of new cars. The drama will be further increased by the presence of a whole pile of new mobile chicanes, people who would probably fail a road test, and other such "racing drivers" that the IRL has decided to give racing licenses to. Maybe they need to hire new racing license evaluators because the current ones do not seem to be doing a good job. But when your Tony George and have totally run North American open wheel racing into the sewer and essentially have to beg drivers to race with any kind of favours possible, you can't be too picky, even if it means risking the lives of real race-car drivers. I guess that is the cost of doing business in the eyes of Mr. George and his dumb-assed cronies in Indianapolis. I kind of wish that IRL racing was not as exciting as it is, then maybe I could turn my television off and feel good about flipping Tony George the virtual bird, but shucks darn those guys are good racers. So now that my first Anti-Tony George rant is out of the way (there will be more) it is time to actually talk about the upcoming race. Richmond is a track that can throw up some wild-cards and the boys and girls of Penske, Ganassi, and AGR will have to look over their shoulders at some of the smaller teams that have been impressive of late. The most impressive of them has to be John Andretti driving for Roth Racing. He finished 11th in the last race in Iowa, but could have finished higher had he not been driving for a team that is run by a useless hack of a driver on a shoestring budget who are stuck with the no-name brand of mechanics and pit crew members (for the unaware, no-name brand is a brand of cheap food available here in Canada that is only purchased by students and the unemployed and is probably hazardous to the health). John Andretti also has a great record at this track in NASCAR and has a truckload of experience racing everything and anything, he will surprise. Other drivers with the potential to do well include Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had a chance to win in Texas only to be taken out by one of Marco Andretti's many rookie mistakes, Ed Carpenter, who could do really well if only he was a better driver, and Vitor Meira who has been criminally unlucky. This race will also feature a large number of accidents due to the small nature of the track and the lack of talent in many of the cars, so someone could strike it lucky.

Thanks for reading (if anyone does) and I hope to read some of your comments. For the Indy Car fans out there I am going to start a new contest, called the "what lap will Marty Roth crash on" contest. Place your bets via comments and I will post a table of sorts, once I come up with a points type system. An answer of "won't crash" is acceptable, although not bloody likely, an answer of "DNS due to accident" is also acceptable and much more likely!!!

Senor Soup