Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's more than just a locker...

Hello, welcome to Lambeau Field. I'm your tour guide, Joe. We'll begin our tour here in the home team's locker room.

First I will point out the disgusting locker to your left which has not been touched in months. See, it's more than just a locker. It's Brett Favre's locker. We've made it a point to preserve as much of Favre's presence as we could to both inspire our younger players and to allow people like you to witness history.

Another example is this jock strap right here. Don't touch it! It's pretty nasty, actually. But it's Brett Favre's and we're going to leave it right there.

Now, watch your step over here. That's more than just a puke stain. Brett Favre threw up right there one time. Isn't it amazing?

These painkillers? That's right. Brett actually left a few of these behind. As much as Aaron Rodgers will need these next year, we've once again decided to leave them untouched.

And now... if you'll follow me into the restroom, you'll find we have perfectly preserved the last time Brett Favre used... where are you going?? This is more than just a restroom, people!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indy 500 Notes

Sorry I don't have a ton of post race coverage for the 500. I've always felt (and especially this year) that you can find recaps for the 500 just about anywhere, and since I'm not a paid columnist I didn't necessarily need to contribute another bit of repeat out there for the recapping/ but how about some side-notes.

Firstly, mad props for Vitor Meira and Panther Racing; I actually had Scott Dixon in our barbeque's Indy 500 pool but was still rooting for Meira. Ever since meeting the guy, I'll always be rooting for him and unfortunately I think the one note that hasn't been reported on yet is how Meira actually had the race in hand until Buddy Lazier pinched Milka into a spin.

Not may people noticed it but Meira had built up a nice lead on Dixon by that point and since he had clean air in front of him, had the race stayed green through the rest of the race, would have won it.

He basically lost the race on qualifications day and the team has even mentioned it. How you ask? Going into the last pitstop the team knew they were screwed cause Dixon had the final (easiest) pit box, and even with their awesome 7 second final pitstop, they couldn't make up for Dixon's pit stall location leaving Dixon the room to floor it forward without a car in front of him to watch for and less angle.

Had it come to green flag pitstops this kind of positioning wouldn't have mattered and Meira more than likely could have gone to win, but alas we're talking about a huge "if"

so with that said Congrats to Scott Dixon for winning me $55.

the other side note that needs mentioning.

COME ON ESPN/ABC!! The Danica show got seriously annoying, and I know this because of the wives/girlfriends at our barbeque who had never seen a race before were making jokes about it. On top of that, feel free to ever explain why EJ Viso left the race after running in the top 10 anytime.

The way you guys cover a race its a wonder anyone out of the big three even manages to get sponsorship.

I'm not asking them to go 5000 extra miles here.... just do at least one if not two run downs of the field during a race to get these guys some screen time, its common sense for a sport that revolves around sponsorship.

I don't think we saw the bottom half of the field all day and thats pathetic for a race of this importance and length, heck you almost wonder if some of those guys crashed simply because it got their car on the screen. This has more to do with the producers than the 3 guys in the booth who actually did very well and personally would like to see Cheever go full time.

In addition to working fairly well they gave us two very entertaining moments: Marty's freaking out over Oriol Servia's passing near the grass had our entire barbeque in tears laughing and rolling... and then Cheever's yelling at the cars on the final 5 laps was simply entertaining and definitely unexpected... if you gave Cheever a season to wotk out the feel of the booth and he had time to learn to loosen up even more that could be a real great crew.

Friday, May 23, 2008

2 Legs of Canada for IRL?

With Toronto's purchase being completed for AGR/AGT, we looked to have one solid Canadian leg of the IndyCar Series/Indy Lights Series... and now it looks as though Edmonton has been locked up as well for 5 years. From TSN:

Officials from the Edmonton Grand Prix are expected to sign a long-term deal on Friday to become a fixture on the IndyCar schedule.

"We'll get it signed," Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the IRL, tells Sun Media. "The intention is to be there long-term."

The deal is expected to be for five years, which would be in line with an agreement signed Thursday with officials from the Long Beach Grand Prix.

While I am always weary of adding too many road and street course because I believe road and street courses to be the same thing and therefore rule the 6/6/6 "concept" stupid because it would actually be 12/6.

However, I am excited about adding any circuit such as Edmonton (or Cleveland hopefully) that is wide and big and encourages a ton of action. Here's hoping New Hampshire and maybe WDW are actually added to give us balance and a great 11/11 or or something of that nature closer to 40/60-50/50.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another reason to love Memorial Weekend

I know this has basically become a IndyCar blog since Furious hasn't posted in like 6 months but for those of you who have read this thing for a while may already love the end of May but another reason I love Memorial weekend is because its conference tournament time in collegiate baseball. and then next week starts what is easily my favorite playoff format of all sports.

but what makes it fun are upsets of course and you can't get any better than today's 8-2 shellacking of #7 Rice by a 24-33 UAB team, but even more for things like this as reported by Baseball America:

"What a finish in Baton Rouge. Texas Southern, which went just 7-17 in the Southwestern Conference during the regular season, scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to steal a 12-11 win over two-time defending champion Prairie View A&M in the SWAC title game Monday. So the Tigers will head to regionals with a 16-32 overall record. "

and then if thats not big enough they followup with our potential for next week....

"If Texas Southern can somehow stun Rice in the first game of the (potential) Houston regional (maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I don’t think so), that will have to qualify as one of the greatest upsets in college baseball history."

Happy May everyone!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Toronto Confirmed for 2009?

I have a question mark on that title because this announcement hasn't formally come from the Indy Racing League just yet, but today Andretti Green Racing announced their official purchase of the Grand Prix of Toronto, that the race will happen as part of the IndyCar Series in 2009 and also a new spur off company Andretti Green Toronto, who will most likely be the Toronto race's version of Andretti Green Promotions who run the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race.

Official Press Release

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Qualifying Idea

I've thought about this for some time now and here's a possible solution that can satisfy new system and old system qualifying fans:

Plan the "11-11-11-bump day" schedule just as it is with the 2 weekends sat,sun,sat,sun.

BUT the difference being that on all 3 of the days the field can qualify as many cars as possible, and at the end of the first day the top 11 are locked and can no longer be challenged, but unlike the current system the 12-33 qual times will carry over to the 2nd day.

At the end of the 2nd day the 12-22 quals are locked and so forth... this way Davey, Graham, RHR don't need to run more qualifying runs later just to be in the race when they already should be... It will still give people a chance to withdraw and re-qualify if they want so we can retain that possible drama, but will allow guys who just want to stick with their time to do so until they are in danger of being bumped.

Basically for this year it'd mean that while the 12-33 qual spots would still be up for grabs this Saturday; Davey, Graham etc would already be in the field come Saturday and wouldn't have to initially go back out unless they wanted to better their time from this past Saturday...

what do you guys think?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Somewhere Kosuke is f'n dissappointed

Jeff Simmons, (formerly of knocking Kosuke Matsuura out of races by way of Rahal Letterman Racing and most recently formerly of knocking Rafael Matos out of races via the Indy Lights Series) has officially been announced to replace Larry Foyt in an actually run #41 entry from Foyt Racing.

I'm a believer in second chances (especially to someone who wasn't terrible) but after seeing his recent run ins with Matos, I'm sure this may be one last shot at resurrecting any kind of impression he has with current IndyCar Series teams...

the good news is he does have a good relationship with A.J. as he used to drive for him, so thats a good start:

INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2008) - A.J. Foyt has hired Jeff
Simmons to drive the second A.J. Foyt Racing entry in the Indianapolis 500 as a teammate to Darren Manning, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda-powered Dallara. Simmons will get in the No. 41 ABC Supply car for the first time on Wednesday when the track re-opens for practice. "It's great to be back with A.J.'s team," said Simmons. "I'm looking forward to working with A.J. and Darren and the whole Foyt team. Darren can help me get up to speed quickly and hopefully I can contribute something to the team as we get ready for qualifying next weekend. "A.J. is taking it on himself to put me in this car so I just want to do the best job I can for his team." "I'm glad to be working with Jeff again," said Foyt. "I like the way he drives and the way he hustles the car pretty hard which is what I look for in young drivers." Simmons, 31, drove for Foyt in the Indy Pro Series in May, 2004 when he finished second in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was that same month that Foyt gave Simmons an Indy car to do his rookie test at the Speedway which allowed him to compete in that year's Indy 500 driving for Mo Nunn. He finished 16th in his debut after starting 29th as a 2nd weekend qualifier. Simmons drove for Team Rahal in 2006 and 2007 before being replaced by Ryan Hunter-Reay in July. In 25 starts in the IndyCar Series he has posted 11 top-10 finishes and has led eight laps, including a lap in last years' Indy 500. His best finish is sixth, which came last year at Texas Motor Speedway where he led twice. Last year at Indy, he qualified 13th and finished 11th for his best finish to date in the 500. Rain on Sunday washed out Second Day Qualifying and practice at the Brickyard, setting up next Saturday as the day when teams will attempt to qualify for the remaining 22 positions, including Manning, whose qualifying attempt on Pole Day was aborted. Once the field is set next Saturday, the bumping will begin on Sunday as non-qualifiers will try to bump their way into the field by qualifying faster than the slowest car already in the field. The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on ABC-TV starting with the pre-race show at 12 noon, Sunday May 25th. The race is set to start at 1 p.m.

And yes that KOOL car is in fact Jeff Simmons at Laguna Seca via the Lights series in 2000...

The good news overall is that we already have 37 entries for 33 spots (or 26 for the remaining 22 spots) including the Beck entry which has yet to name a driver, and here are the suspects remaining:

1 - American Dream (formerly Playa Del) says they will field a 2nd car but is TBA to date
2 - The big rumor that the #77 Penske entry may be a loan out car to Walker Racing/Paul Tracy
3 - Will Panther Racing actually attempt a 2nd car in now that Vitor's already in?
4 - If anyone else decides to turn a T-car into an entry.

As the next day of practice approaches this Wednesday expect official news to come for all of these.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two Great Notes From Day 1 of Full Practice

1) There we no crashes. In fact I think there were only 1-2 yellow flags, both times for debris/inspection.

2) There were 25 cars within 1 second behind the leader (Marco Andretti 39.717seconds) with 26th (Enrique Bernoldi 40.7280) being off only one tenth more than a second down.

Side Note.... One of these things is not like the others...

Dreyer and Reinbold's Cars

Buddy Rice - 224.170mph
Townsend Bell - 222.583mph
Milka Duno - 217.412mph

Bohlander hits a homerun.

Finally Lauren Bohlander hits exactly what Up To Speed should be (and what made Indy Insider so great)... behind the scenes and fun with drivers!

Candid fun stuff with drivers is the best because they losen up once they aren't talking about the specifics of racing (much like her interview with J.R. Hildebrand was great when they started talking about his acceptance to MIT). Walking around the welcome driver's party, its probably the best bit they've put up this season for 3 quick things among others: drivers wondering how many a's are in Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon saying Shake-n-Bake, and Giebler's blue steel.


if anyone knows how to embed this thing, feel free to let me know...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rookies ready, bring on the vets

So as day 2 of the Rookie Orientation Program is done along with some refresher for some time-off veterans (Hamilton, Papis, Junqieria) the times are looking promising so far.

Notes from the two days:

-Jamie Camara will be needing some ibproufen in the morning. On only his first few laps of the day the rear of the car got out from behind Camara and he slid very hard backing into the wall heavily damaging the rear and right front of the car. The bigger thing of note however is that he took some time to finally get out of his car on his own power and while all the x-rays came back negative, he was complaining of back pain and will be reevaluated in the morning before being given the go to head back out to the track.

-So obviously Camara should be fine in the long run, but isn't this a situation where Conquest Racing should be working on a backup plan, say like the scenario they themselves laid out in saying Frank Perarra would fill in if needed during the year, yet that can't happen if Perarra never passes through ROP. which bring up...

-WHY, oh WHY do teams who need the most work always wait till the last second... We ALL knew before Sunday that Mario Moraes and Mario Dominguez especially and any other new drivers would need as much time as possible to get acclimated to the track, and to get through their ROP 4 stages in the first two days. While there may be other outside team factors concerning Frank Perarra's non-running, Moraes got only 3 leak checking laps in the first day while Dominguez and Pacific Coast Motorsports, not only skipped the first day (trying to get the car through tech) but didn't really get out until a good hour or so had passed in today's session.

If you need to get acclimated to a new car and new track, take as much time as possible given to you, but remember it is limited.

- Indy 500 rookies, yes; rookies no. Though some of these guys are actual top level rookies (Viso, Perarra, Camara, Bernoldi, Moraes, Lloyd, Howard) it doesn't mean all these guys aren't good drivers as was evidenced by the speeds put up today. Keep in mind the 225,ph was the high mark for last year and that last years rookies struggled to hit the 220 mark. Today not only did we have 9 drivers over 220mph, Times that would qualify you on the first day/weekend for sure last year! we had Power and Lloyd actually having fun and one-upping each other at the end of the day.

One things for sure, if the weather holds up, this week should be very interesting and a lot of fun.