Sunday, May 31, 2009

Milton Bradley

OK, so now that my absence here has gone past two months, I have at least been watching lots of sports, mainly baseball of course.

One thing I've been wanting to post about is the way Cubs fans have been treating Milton Bradley. It's not like baseball is the only profession in America where you can get a 3-year contract and then be criticized less than a month after you start the job. We want results and we want them now. Wait until the three years is up and then evaluate the signing? Insanity!

On April 16th Bradley was ejected for arguing with umpire Larry Vanover and was later suspended for "making contact" during the confrontation. Some fans immediately wrote him off as a terrible signing. These comments (from that link) are representative of many others I read around that time:

"I thought the MB acquisition was too risky and arguably unnecessary."

"new team but same Old Milton Bradley....maybe he should just stay in anger management classes...this guy is a joke and has a serious problem..."

But instead of jumping to conclusions and immediately writing Bradley off, let's really look at what happened and what's happened since then.

First of all, Bradley had not been hitting at all to that point in the season AND was battling injuries. His average was .059 (one hit). But his OBP was .333, thanks mainly to the 5 walks he'd drawn. (I'd like to add that, with some umpires who seem to automatically be against Bradley, drawing walks is a major feat in itself and shows he has a great knack for getting on base.)

In this particular at-bat, his first at Wrigley Field, he was not even expected to play in the game. It was the 6th inning, the bases were loaded, the score was tied. The first three pitches were terrible and Bradley needed only one more ball to give his team the lead. For an injured player who had not been swinging the bat well, drawing a walk would've been great.

Strike one was a very bad call, ending up in the shin area. Strike two was borderline, but a strike. Strike three was a ball by at least three inches.

Why not argue? Why not make your opinion known to someone if you feel they are wronging you in some way? Wouldn't you do that at your job? It was a pinch-hit appearance, meaning he was coming out of the game anyway. If Lou Piniella argues and gets ejected, he's a hero for "firing up his team." Isn't this the same thing?

OK, so the fans hated it. Bradley sucks, he's terrible, he needs anger management classes. (Even though he said something, the ump said something, Bradley said something else, hat bills bumped, Bradley walked away... not very explosive at all.) Bad free agent pick-up, they yelled.

But now... he's healthier, the weather is warmer, it's still only May. His average is up almost .200 points (.223 going into tonight's game) and his OBP is at .346. Can't we at least give guys a few months to show what they can offer a team?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some thoughts about the Indy 500, ABC & passing or lack-thereof

Apologies for the delay, but I'm sure you were able to get all your proper post-race analysis from the many, many blogs out there. So I'm going to keep this concise. Here are some interesting notes from the race:

Firstly, for those following us on twitter, you'll remember we kept noting similarities to last years race; how much so?

  • Polesitter wins Indianapolis 500 by 1.7498 seconds.
  • Panther National Guard #4 is second place car
  • AGR car finishes in third place
  • Graham Rahal crashes in 4th turn on lap 36
  • Tony Kanaan exits race in 3rd turn incident on lap 105
  • 8 cautions for 60 laps
  • No green flag pit stops for the leaders
  • Polesitter wins Indianapolis 500 by 1.9819 seconds.
  • Panther National Guard #4 is second place car
  • AGR car finishes in third place
  • Graham Rahal crashes in 4th turn on lap 55
  • Tony Kanaan exits race in 3rd turn incident on lap 97
  • 8 cautions for 61 laps
  • No green flag pit stops for the leaders
Creepy at all? Maybe not, but I did notice a lot of people out there proclaiming how horrible the car formula is and that there is no passing. I will agree that there wasn't a whole ton of passing in the final laps; but people, don't just look at Helio's dominance in the final laps:

1- Alex Tagliani started 33rd finished 11th.
2- Tomas Scheckter started 26th finished 12th
3- Townsend Bell started 24th finished 4th.
4- Dan Wheldon started 18th finished 2nd.

Those guys were passing many cars all over the course of the race, not just in the pits. I think the "no passing" epidemic is actually caused by ABC's horrid coverage; which basically runs on the formula: ABC RACE COVERAGE = LEADER + DANICA

Many of us had hoped that after ABC had seen what VERSUS was doing with the same time and equipment that maybe they'd get their kick in the ass to do better... but no. I can;t tell you how horrible a booth Cheever, Goodyear & Reid are. Reid simply gets worse and worse, incorrectly identifying drivers/cars and constantly heading every conversation towards Danica, you almost feel like he's been watching Todd Harris' work from 2005 for inspiration.

Now Goodyear I think is the one ok piece, but he's like tofu in that he becomes whatever he's around; which is why he was better in 2008 for the race when he was with Bob Jenkins and then horrible with Reid. Cheever... man I just don't get Cheever, he has some very great points and the knowledge, but I've never seen someone who seems so annoyed to be there. whatever the reason, he's clearly not happy in the booth and it affects the rest of the crew. He also starts fights with Goodyear, but not in an entertaining way like Beekhus-Buhl or Posey-Unser; Cheever's fighting seems mean-spirited, kinda like a cool kid in school who is forced to do a project with the nerdy guy.

I don't know a person out there who isn't begging to get back to VERSUS coverage, I mean Townsend Bell ran in the Top 10 and then Top 5 for half the race without ever getting mentioned until there were like 10 laps to go. And I guess Dan Wheldon's camouflage worked too well because he also went unnoticed until the final laps even though he was actually the runner up.

Its not just a viewer issue though, many, many sponsors jump on the cars to get coverage; I heard from more than one person specifically that Patron was waiting to see what kind of notice/coverage they got with Sharp so they could feel out the possibility of returning to the IRL. Correct me if I'm wrong but I saw Scott Sharp on screen ZERO times; and I'm sure Patron isn't the only sponsor who feels they may not have gotten the bang for the buck as far as the TV coverage goes. In 30 minutes of post-race coverage VERSUS covered twice as much of the field as ABC did in 4 hours. I'm stopping here because words can't describe just how shitty ABC's coverage is and its a topic we've run into the ground here in the past.

Here's just hoping beyond hope that somehow the IRL can quit their abusive boyfriend in ABC and see their way to NBC (who does great coverage of Olympics, Kentucky Derby, NHL AND ALMS as it is) along with VERSUS.

Now as for the passing; yes there was less, but I don't believe it has as much to do with aerodynamics as people think. There was plenty passing in 2006 and 2007; so what's changed since then. We've had no green flag pit stops for the leaders; which means all strategy has been negated. There was no-one even mildly attempting to go onto a different fuel strategy, and there was never traffic to help mix things up.

Its partly a mix of guys crashing a little often, but in order I'd say its caused by 3 major factors, the first being caution periods going much longer than necessary; second with some boneheaded driving from time to time (if Matos was on fuel strategy, why in the world was he trying to pass Vitor!?), and Thirdly and mostly its poor officiating which roots back from Brian Barnhart.

Robert Doornbos tapped the wall, and got squirrely and we had no yellow; yet for some reason when Nelson Philippe touched the wall with even less force we get 7 laps of caution... wtf? To complicate matters we get very odd non-calls. I know he finished the highest but I don't feel Alex Tagliani was the Rookie of the Year, he got in a car that qualified better than 33rd and took it up many places.

Mike Conway was the rookie of the year, he was aggressive and careful in the right way, passing many people on the right opportunities and was on a huge roll of momentum when Tagliani put on the biggest dive-block I've seen since Helio almost took Danica out in Nashville last year. And worse, Tags did it on live camera, so we know the teams all saw it, which means we've now set another stupid precedent. Luckily for Tags, Conway (even though being a true rookie) was the smarter driver and backed out of the coming collision. Tags should have received a black flag, no doubt, and Conway would have kept his momentum into the Top 10 instead of losing 4 positions because he had to slam on his brakes.

And don't forget Will Power was gaining and ready to make a move for the lead late in the race only to, I feel like a broken record with this race, a yellow flag came out and he lost his position in the pits.

Then we get the many... non-calls on Helio Castroneves on the start and restarts. We know Barnhart sucks with consistency as it is, but why the 2nd race start was perceived any better than the first is beyond me. They both sucked... and why did they suck, because Helio kept trying to get an advantage on everyone hitting the gas a full turn before everyone else.

What made it worse was the final restart, Helio again jumped out on the field and somehow didn't get called. Many people missed this because ABC was too busy with logos over the screen, but Helio had over a second lead after 1 lap of green, I'm sorry, that doesn't happen with a fair restart; I just don't understand why that didn't get waved off, especially considering the circumstances. (and lets not even bring up the call to try and shove Helio back into the car after he won...)

But lets not forget that it was still a highly entertaining race, minus the final 30 laps because everyone's strategies got thrown out the door and Helio was basically allowed to pull out ahead; Helio is a gracious, honest and nice guy; and a great race-winner, but don't let people tell you that the cars suddenly suck and that there is no passing, because there was plenty, but also don't let them tell you ABC did ok, because they didn't, they do suck.

Pictures via

Monday, May 18, 2009

Notes from Qualifying & Notes to Get you Ready for the 500!

What don't we have to talk about after the past 2 weekends of Indianapolis 500 qualifying? We saw 4 days of qualifying without a single one being rained out, we have cars from all over the spectrum of paint livery, drivers from all over the world, and the closest field in the history of the Indy 500 (by time), and not a single driver seriously fact not a single incident in the last week.

So lets start with the biggest storyline throughout qualifying, one that went through 3 days of qualifying... John Andretti's amazing run into the show. My gosh, have you ever seen such an up/down/up/down/up story in racing as good as this one. Even with the name it is, John is a racer that manages to transcend his famous last name. He's never regularly considered part of the immediate Andretti tree; he has spent time in just about any kind of racecar, winning in all of them at the top level of NHRA, Sportscars, NASCAR & IndyCar! He may actually be the last true driver with talent parity, or at least the guts to truly test himself at all levels of competition.

I've been watching qualifications since I can remember, and I honestly don't think I've seen & heard a crowd reaction as loud as they were for John's final run since the days of track records. The entire front straightway stands were jumping out of their seats, hands up in the air shouting at each lap John put down in that final run, and John was excited and celebrated with them!

Another reason to love John... he tells you what he is really thinking; and while he had many-a-good quote this weekend, I think the best came when someone asked him about being nervous when he was down to his last run and the team made a bunch of changes on the fly; John replied:
"When there's five minutes to go, who cares if you crash? What are they gonna do, fire you?"
What makes you truly understand how good a guy John is beyond the fans exuberance. We now know Tony Stewart gets Versus, because he texted in advice to Larry Curry (John's strategist) to help John with his running lines to help him qualify! Brant James puts Tony best saying: "You can take the boy out of Indiana ...”

-Which of course takes us to the further end of Bump Day drama with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alex Tagliani & Bruno Junquiera; among others. Let me start by saying that I am not shocked in the slightest that Conquest Racing has pulled Bruno Junquiera for their primary driver Alex Tagliani. We've seen this happen many times over the history of the 500, most famously in 1992 when Walker Racing pulled Mike Groff for Scott Goodyear who then took the car from 33rd to the closest ever finish in 500 history.

That said, Bruno Junquiera got screwed. He didn't get screwed by the decision to be replaced, he got screwed because Conquest Racing should never have been in that position in the first place. Most people are quick to point out that Conquest pulled Tags out of line, twice! However, the problem starts well before that. And this is where you get a clear picture of difference between the teams who just understand strategy better.

Let's take a look at the timeline:

• 12:01 - Philippe withdraws qualified time and requals.
• 12:21 - Duno withdraws qualified time and averages 221.106 mph.
• 1:02 - Bruno Junqueira averages 221.115 mph on first qualifying attempt - bumping Andretti and putting Ryan Hunter-Reay on the bubble.
• 3:22 - Hunter-Reay withdraws qualified time and averages 220.413 mph - Viso on the bubble.
• 3:35 - Conway withdraws qualified time and averages 221.417 mph, keeping Viso on the bubble.
• 3:53 - Andretti makes first qualification attempt of the day, waived off after first green flag lap.
• 4:29 - Viso withdraws qualified time and averages 221.164 mph - putting Scheckter on the bubble.
• 5:35 - Scheckter withdraws qualified time and averages 221.496 mph - putting Hunter-Reay on the bubble.
• 5:41 - Andretti makes second attempt, averaging 220.282 mph, not quick enough.
• 5:45 - Buddy Lazier makes first attempt, waived off after first green flag lap.
• 5:49 - Stanton Barrett makes first attempt, waived off after first green flag lap.
• 5:52 - Andretti makes third and final attempt, averaging 221.316 mph, bumping his way into the field. Hunter-Reay bumped. Alex Tagliani on the bubble.
• 5:57 - Hunter-Reay averages 220.597 mph, bumping his way into the field. Tagliani bumped.

At the drop of the hat from Philippe's & Duno's qualifications, it was clearly evident that Sunday was much better than the crappy Saturday weather with cars generally pulling 3 more mph! There was sign #1 that Conquest should think about requalifying Tags, but at this moment there were still 5 cars between them and the bump day qualifiers so no urgency.

However 4 hours later, at the exact moment Mike Conway finished his qualification, all the other bump day teams realized something (and at the moment it looked like Conquest did too). IMMEDIATELY after Conway's run, we saw Nelson Philippe, Tomas Scheckter & E.J. Viso back on the track, and even later Tags would run some time will in the 221.5 area.

They all got it. They knew that they needed to forget their position and time from Saturday. If practicing wasn't enough, how Conquest didn't figure it out by Viso's run, and ESPECIALLY by Tomas' run is astounding. Its was made even more astounding by Eric Bachelart's comments after everything had ended, simply saying "we wanted to keep our spot at 26, and we didn't think it would get to us."

But here's the thing, once Tomas Scheckter went out at 5:35, #26 was now open again as the top spot should Tags go out and re-qualify: PLUS we knew from the previous hour's practice Tomas was going to do this. John Andretti's teammates all made it in the field by this point, so there was no reason to think they wouldn't figure it out for John; EJ and Tomas were clearly running qualification simulations out there, they had to have known what was going on right? That is even before all of the pulling out of line silliness; 2 hours of time they threw away cause they figured 26th place was that much better than 27th or 28th on the grid.

You couldn't help but feel your heart ripped watching the distraught Alex Tagliani when Brian Barnhart told him time was up. It seemed pretty clear he put everything in the hands of the team, and it seems as no one on the team had communicated to him just how short their time was, and maybe they didn't even know as evidenced by what transpired. But let it be known that it seems as through we've got 32 of the fastest 36 cars that were at Indianapolis, cause Ryan Hunter-Reay shouldn't be in there has Conquest not procrastinated.
Even Tags was confused by the actions: "We'd run 221.8 around 5 o'clock to protect our position but then we got bumped and had no time to go back out. Right now I'm wondering why we didn't go back out and protect our time and it's very difficult to accept the fact that we're going home."
After hearing and seeing the destroyed Alex Tagliani, we;re glad he's able to get in the field for his first Indy 500, but both he and Bruno should be in.

It also seemed as if HVM Racing did not know that qualifying efforts take roughly 6 minutes a car to do, because they threw their car in line ahead of the likes of Andretti and then RHR at the end even though time did not dictate it possible for Philippe to even be bumped within the time remaining. they got out of line sure, but that's still takes time away from the people who needed the time should it have come down to seconds.

Now I like Ryan Hunter-Reay, and I like Vision; but again they shouldn't be in the field. As a fan of racing, I'd much prefer to have Tags and Bruno both in the field, happy with their cars, than a driver who is clearly frustrated with his situation, and a car they can't improve. They are clearly excited to be in the show as evidenced by their post qualification comments and twittering, but whether planned or not, they got in as a result of circumstance, which may just be the turn of luck they need with the #21.

On the other hand, I can only imagine the kind of bullet the IRL dodged with RHR barely making it in the field versus being bumped. RHR alone has made about 3 separate appearances in New York today in addition to the field ones.

and speaking of Vision's #21; I am already absolutely hating both the IZOD commercial with the ugly as hell car, and the Apex Brazil ad that advertises a website that does not exist. Guys we have over 10 more races to go, I really hope you find time to film more commercials because by the end of the season the fans will be hating you as well.

And now for those getting ready for the race, here's are all kinds of amazing facts/notes for this weeks coming race:

-13 Nationalities are represented: 11 Americans from 9 states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, Connecticut, California & Florida), 5 Brazilians, 4 British, 2 Australians, 2 Canadians, 2 Venezuelan, 1 Scotsman, 1 Spaniard, 1 Dutchman, 1 South African, 1 Kiwi (New Zealander), 1 Japanese & 1 French.

-Closest field ever by time!

-4 past Indy 500 winners
(plus Paul Tracy who many think won 2002).

-3 drivers who can break the record for youngest winner ever:
all 3 of them are starting in the top 3 rows: Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal & Mario Moraes.

-4 Former 500 pole winners
: Sharp, Castroneves, Kanaan, Dixon.

-5 Former 500 Rookie of the Year
: Castroneves, Scheckter, Patrick, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay.

-20 of the 33 are past race winners,
at either top level of CART/Champ or IndyCar Series.

-8 Former Indy Lights Champions:
Matos, Lloyd, Foyt IV, Bell, Dixon, Servia, Kanaan & Tracy

-5 500 Rookies:
Conway, Doornbos, Matos, Philippe, Tagliani

-Ending Futility for Kanaan:
He's never qualified lower than 6th in 7 500s, and he;s lead laps in every 500 he's participated in, but still has yet to lead final lap.

-Ending Futility for non-winners:
4 drivers are well into their careers and have yet to taste victory at all:
--Vitor Meira (97 starts, 57-Top 10s, 8-2nds, 6-3rds, 2-Indy 500 2nds)
--Davey Hamilton (50 starts, Twice-2nd place in championship, 13-Top 5s, 3-2nds, 5-3rds)
--Ed Carpenter (85 starts, 22-Top 10s)
--A.J. Foyt IV (82 starts, 12-Top 10s)

-Famous names: We have a Rahal, a Foyt, and 2 Andrettis.

-Youngest combined row:
Row 7 - 70 years

-Oldest combined row:
Row 8 - 107 years

-Row with most combined letters in drivers' names:
Row 1 - 41 letters

-And lastly, cars of all colors and designs:
blue, red, white, black, silver, yellow, one is army/camoflague, one is neon yellow! and even one that is bright pink!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sudden Gains of Speed, Paint & Coolness in Indianapolis

Remember when the A.J. Foyt Team's cars at Indianapolis suddenly found 3 mph right in the middle of to late end on the 2nd day of qualifying? Did Larry and A.J. suddenly figure something out aerodynamically? Did Vitor and Anthony IV suddenly figure something out in the driving lines? Well it looks like we have the answer straight from A.J. himself:
"I decided to make some big changes to the set-ups because our specially-made stuff for Indy wasn’t worth a damn—it may be good in the future but right here, right now, it was slowing us down.

We went back to the basics and picked up three miles an hour! A little embarrassing but I didn’t care. We tried it first with Vitor’s No. 14 ABC Supply car and we knew right away. He said the car didn’t feel that much different to him driving-wise, it was just faster."
You can't fault the team for trying some new things out, that's what competition and innovation is all about; but you really have to love A.J.'s up front candor about the situation on a public website, as he has been all season!

It also sounds like Vitor's experience is rubbing off on Anthony to at least helping setups, so that's great for Quattro. Surely he'll have a better experience this year than last right?

So in other Indy 500 news, Oriol Servia was officially confirmed, and there's rumors of possibilities of changes and new cars at 3G, Conquest & Dale Coyne, but you could find all that info from many of the great sources like Curt Cavin, MyNameIsIRL, IsItMayYet, 16th and Georgetown, OpenWheelWorld, Pressdog and many more; you should definitely check all those guys and gals out.

Since we also twitter furiously throughout the weeks and track activity, and a lot of other do as well including drivers and teams, I won't bore you catching up this site with all the minute details but will leave with these 3.

#1 - I'm not sure what it does for their speed, and I'm also not sure if this says anything about sponsor possibilities for Ryan Hunter-Reay, but the team let out a picture of the #21... now with day-glo orange on a lot of ends of the still gray body.

#2 - It is absolutely great to see Alex Lloyd picking up great support from all the fans, sponsors, and media; turning the color pink into the new "IT" thing. He;s registered, he's gotten write ups in USA Today, and many other avenues, and it now sounds like we have Pink Lloyd/HER merchandise on the way. You have to imagine HER is loving this exposure, and here's hoping this can not only develop into additional races for Alex; but here's also hoping this could be the nudge that gets Sam Schmidt Motorsports into the big leagues after dominating Indy Lights all these years. I can;t think of a better fit with a driver & sponsor for SSM to take the plunge.

#3 - As we always love to talk aesthetics here at FW, its worth noting that Townsend Bell's car for the Indy 500 is badass, but we would never expect anything less from Townsend and KV Racing, would we?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Paint Schemes and Posturing at IMS

Firstly: Before we get to all the wonderfulness at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; I just wanted to do a followup to our, now yearlong, coverage of the A1GP's progress, or lack thereof. So A1GP in the 2008-09 season went from 11 races to 7, started with half its teams, almost lost the cars themselves, supposedly lost some financial backing, but did gain the historic Surfer's Paradise date from the IndyCar Series on Australia's Gold Coast.

As you can imagine, Queensland Australia can not be too ecstatic about their decision to not work something out with IndyCar with the shakiness and repeated troubles and cancellations that befell A1GP in the following 6 months since the decision. They did manage to secure some new sponsors after losing the IndyCar related ones, and they changed the name from 'Indy Gold Coast' to SuperGP (combining V8 Supercars and A1GP); but still, one can't be happy about seeing A1GP struggle to exist while IndyCar is thinking about adding Brazil and China in your absence.

Well at least in word, Queensland has gotten a nudge, nudge ok guarantee from A1GP that they will definitely show up the next 2 years. I'm not sure what the stipulations allow them to make this guarantee to Queensland, and its odd that it comes as Mike Bruce reports:
"on the same day a stinging motorsport editorial in New Zealand media cast serious doubts over A1 even reaching its fifth season -- to be kicked off with the Surfers event in late October.

Motorsport journalist Eric Thompson told The Bulletin he would be surprised to see A1 make it into the 2009-10 race year after sponsorship woes, failing teams and canceled races."

So will they make it? Who knows? If they do fail do they try to get IndyCars back? I'm hoping A1GP does answer the bell; the series concept is great even if its not being successfully executed, but they really need to get their season set and stick to a plan, rather than the change as we go craziness... Guess its can really only be wait till October to see...

Now for the notes from IMS practice for the Indianapolis 500:

One great thing about the IndyCar Series is the large amount of teams, drivers, bloggers, writers joining social networking via Facebook and especially twitter. We can now welcome Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Stanton Barrett, Sarah fisher and more to the show. (check out our twitter account and who we follow to get a whole listing of everyone)

-Stanton Barrett specifically is giving us a look at what it is like to do things as a very understaffed, under budget, underdog. He's twittering through IndyCarNation and also doing a little blogging. He hasn't blogged on Interush since Kansas, so maybe its a switch, or...

We've learned that it seems Team 3G has lost their sponsor, but not which one, I really hope its not Interush, as they were sponsoring both Barrett and Roger Yasukawa later in the season; and it was their colors that made the car look so bad ass. I haven't seen the car at IMS yet, but reportedly its running with all of the decals gone and simply a #98 on the wing. Very unfortunate for this up and coming team. Stanton let us know that Greg Beck is meeting with an energy drink today about sponsorship so wish them luck. (and yes itf they get it that would be the 3rd or 4th energy drink, and no Monster or Red Bull to be found.)

UPDATE: Ouch; not sure who in fact is the bailing sponsor, but Interush is no longer the headliner (now on engine cowling only) as the car on the track looks nothing like the white/bright blue scheme we saw in weeks 1-3. Stanton is now running in a black and red decal-less car. If they did leave we may have just lost the #2 paint livery in the series; here's wishing Team 3G luck with the sponsorship.

-Another thing we learned is that Paul Tracy is making sure everyone understands that while he hasn't been to IMS since the controversial 2002 race, and hasn't driven full time in almost 2 years, he didn't forget anything. He came out and busted up a 219mph on just his fourth lap and also put down the fast lap of the day; in what was most likely just message sending to about everyone. His paint scheme however is still so-so; its better than the original sketch, but come on man spice it up like you spice up all your PR.

-More fun with drivers... Raphael Matos is hella competitive as we learned from his blog:

"Today they had all the rookies ride in a pace car with Rick Mears. He took us around, showing us the line and talking about what's important to remember there. It was very helpful, but I didn't ask any questions. There were all the other guys in the car, I didn't want to let them hear the questions I had."

Honestly its cool to see the competitiveness is there in a rookie, we have the full gamut in the ROY race: Matos ran the track but never in ICS; Doornbos, Conway and Stanton are oval rookies with distinctly different backgrounds & teams; Philippe has road experience and a win to his name but I believe was out of a car for a year and Tagliani has a 10 year resume without a race at IMS surprisingly.

Speaking of Tags, I liked the orange look that resembled the 2006 Panther Racing, but they definitely can't go wrong with a good Black/White look with King tut on the cockpit. In fact its interesting to see Lifelock is on that car, because we know Rubicon Race Team's ride for Buddy Rice fell apart when they lost a big sponsor. Lifelock was their big sponsor last year, and if they are back, it makes you wonder who the sponsor is that they lost.

--So in segue... what did we learn about paint!?

-Danica has gone the way of Halloween with Boost Mobil (whose phones are made by Motorola); and from all her comments, it looks like shes hoping some of the mojo from Dario's orange and black paint will rub off on her.

-Panther Racing is going full on support for the National Guard, with camo! But I just feel the car is a ginormous step back from one of the only good looking red, white, blue cars on the track. Its unique for sure, its patriotic definitely, but not so sure on the attractiveness scale. Maybe they are hoping this will disguise the car so they can sneak up on people. Come to think of it, has anyone ever painted their car to look like the pavement?

-As previously noted, Davey Hamilton's car this year, is a serious step up! And while you can't read the HP slogan while the car is in motion, it still looks sweet; and for many who may not have thought of it; Hamilton in at DRR is great for Mike Conway.

-That is definitely someone Conway can learn from, and someone to learn from is what he needs. Conway who ran the Mini-Marathon for the first time on the track, gets a great refreshing look for his car, pun intended. But seriously, its absolutely great to see Purex reunited with the DRR team, a look so familiar from their days with Robbie Buhl as their driver.

-As expected, Scott Sharp's #16 Patron Tequila car is bad ass! But could we really expect any less? Is there even anything else to say about it? It surely won't be mistaken for Viso, or anyone else in the field, its sleek looking and readable. Scott was already running good speed yesterday, so it looks like he'll be a first day contender, and that's good to see. In fact the more we see times, the more I think this may be one of the tightest fields in a good long while.

-Rookie Nelson Philippe has a very interesting and surely unique look. They are sponsored by an eco-friendly, reduce your carbon footprint movement. Hence the car has gone with the supposedly unlucky #00 to symbolize zero carbon footprint. That is, a racecar, is being used to tell people to reduce our carbon footprint. Yes I realize they burn ethanol and not gasoline, and I know there are more specifics to it, and marketing is marketing; but it just seems a little ironic. Very good paint scheme though!

-And finally we need to give some seriously mad props to Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Chip Ganassi Racxing & Alex Lloyd for bringing us easily a Top 3 paint livery with new sponsor 'her' which I believe is an energy drink. No matter what it is, that car is stunningly awesome, definitely unique, and not ugly in the slightest. Yes Alex, real men wear Pink, but real badasses do it in a racecar at 220+ mph! I'm still not sure if its better than the Matos livery, but it is surely #2 or #3 on the grid right now.

Back to practice for the day, check us out on Twitter for more current updates!

UPDATE: As we've said before in the past, we have no idea what Rahal Letterman Racing plans to do, or how they operate; but one thing we know for sure, is that they never disappoint in the paint scheme department. A throwback to a Dan Gurney/ Eagle is one heck of a look for the #17.

Another Update: we now have word from the Columbus Dispatch that Oriol Servia is the driver of the RLR #17. It will be a 2nd week program, and DAFCA software is the sponsor.

Pictures by, &

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm back! (...and so is Favre?)

Yes, I got to spend a month at the hospital with our new daughter. We're home now, things are looking better, and I need to start upsetting more fans with my nonsense. I have a few things to post about, but for now...

On February 11th I said this about Brett Favre.

Now today I read this.

You heard it here first!