Friday, July 31, 2009

Schedule Thoughts to Come

I don't wanna throw out quick analysis and thoughts; I need some time to absorb it. Obviously there is some real good (starting earlier, expanding to Brazil and back to central/southern U.S.) but the bad is pretty glaring (screwing New Hampshire & east coast fans).

I'm just going to let it settle for a few hours and then I'll get up the usual in-depth analysis.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Best Sponsorship Ever! (a caption contest to end them all)

I've spent the last 20 minutes with my jaw on the floor, simply dumbfounded as to what exactly I should say... just too many good jokes, can't single out only one for what can only be described as the best sponsorship ever. We've had some ballsy stuff with Viagra and more being thrown around in the past, but they all pale into comparison to Dario Franchitti's special paint scheme for the Edmonton Indy Grand Prix.

I think all our fellow readers, followers and even Brewers fans can appreciate what HAS TO BE the bravest sponsorship ever taken in motorsports: Vaseline MEN-LOTION
Its just too perfect. There are just too many great lines that can be said, I'm almost at a loss to collect them in my head. I simply cannot wait to hear the commentary, pre & post-race comments for this weekend. SO much that I don't want to wait, coverage is just too far away.

So I'm put this up to a contest for all you people out there!

Comment, give us your best lines, from commentary to lines Dario himself can use, talking about the Vaseline- MEN LOTION car.

I haven't thought up a prize just yet, but the best line will win something cool. So bring your best; the more innuendo the better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fisticuffs, Fuel, Cautions, Color Blindness, Boos, Drama, and Other Inspiring Notes from the Toronto Grand Prix

In the words of the great Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Good News Everyone!

We finished a race this season, and I'd say we're 95% talking about track & driver activity after the race! This is where we need to be my friends. So what do we have to talk about, what crazy, silly, interesting things do we have to note from the Toronto Grand Prix?

-Hunter-Reay & Foyt complete 2 laps!
In fact they completed them all. For some reason its not really getting any mention, but before the race, A.J. Foyt claimed he was not happy with the car's engineering and so he took over; and I'm not sure if that was the key, but the car was faster, and it got RHR away from some of the more erratic drivers at the start.

-Scheckter takes the gloves off the fists...
to throw them at Tagliani. I never get tired of guys like Tomas, good, aggressive driver, not afraid to show emotion, yet still can give a colorful but controlled interview after. The incident was clearly Tags' fault with a little help from Mario Moraes; but the better question is why the Safety Crew made Tomas get out of his car even though it clearly only nudged into the tires... and sure they got him out and then realized it was ok... at that point why not let him jump back in?

-Unfortunately ABC only accidentally showed us a little bit of it, but what I saw of Dixon vs. Wilson at the end of the race was masterful racing from both.
I honestly wish we had just a camera on those 2 guys (& Tracy) the whole race as an option. Those guys all make great calculated, yet still aggressive moves, and to see them make the moves on each other is even better.

-How about Paul Tracy pulling the exact same move on Mike Conway twice in a row!?
Tracy drove a great race, and I think had a car to match Dario's speed; but man, Conway had a fast car too. Its really just unfortunate, cause Conway clearly has the talent to go fast and learn courses very quickly to get speed out of them. He is just going through a little bit of turbulence in the rookie season, I'm just hoping he can stay away from, what are actually very small mistakes (marbles for passes) and he'll easily be a road course contender every week.

-Viso & Moraes take it to Fisticuffs!
We've all seen Mario Moraes this year; he's be incredibly quick, and very aggressive... and with that aggressiveness has come some ill-advised or sloppy attempts at passing. To this point in the 2009 season, I really think Moraes has had contact & incidents with more drivers than he hasn't.

Gee this sure sounds familiar.... almost identical to another series newcomer recently tried this out... This same newcomer, in fact, being the latest of Moraes' victims. I am of course talking about E.J. Viso, who had finally started to battle out of the #13, green car, bad luck when Moraes not only hit viso in Toronto, he hit him twice... and the 2nd hit came well after the race was over. Not like Dario's mistake in Kentucky which happened right at the checkered, no... Moraes hit Viso a good 8 turns after the checkered, while Viso had his visor up and was about to take a sip of some Herbalife and likely thinking about plans of base jumping off the CN Tower or something.

We all saw the post race interviews where Mario, yet again this season, claims no fault (sound familiar to last years Viso enough for ya?) E.J. then posted a comment on his Facebook page about not understanding why the league allows a "Monkey with a bag of money" to race. People, we have the beginnings of a great rivalry/tension whatever, and thats what we need on track. What I'm curious about though, is that a few people I know who were at the track have told me that the action didn't end on-camera; that there may have been some shouting, pushing, shoving and even hair pulling back at the trailers after the race. Obviously I don't want fisticuffs to become a regular thing, but you know what Mario & E.J. did this weekend that no one's seem to have been able to do in the past 3-4 seasons. They stopped being PC, and let their emotions show; and that is something that has been a little too lacking since, wow... maybe Danica-Wheldon?

-Not to be outdone, we got Tracy vs. Helio; Vasser vs. Race Control, Graham vs. whatever mistake he makes & Marty Reid vs. logical thinking.

-Lets start with Helio-Tracy.
Here is the ONLY conclusion you can come to: it was a racing incident. Paul was aggressive with the move, Helio was too aggressive with trying to keep the position, and the street narrowed at the exact point they both tried to do this; don't believe me, check out the aerial shots. No other guy really encroached on the other, they just ran out of space (which is a reason I'm really glad we're headed to Edmonton next, plenty room).

Both guys were stand up about it after, and while you can't point fingers about the actual contact, you can note that Helio was on fuel strategy, on crappy tires, and already conceded first place to Dario.. At the point Dario passed Helio, he should have been committed to fuel and not contended so hard with any of the other guys on the 1st/2nd strategies; that said you can't tell a guy to not compete, but Helio had been wiggly all race, it seemed a bit much for him to suddenly try and make the car stick when it hadn't yet in the race.

-Then we got Tracy-Dario & the fun of yellow flag pitting.
Now for those of you that followed me on twitter; you noticed I hammered Race Control a bit; but what I may not have clarified, is that I was NOT hammering them for the Dario-Tracy pit order incident. (I was hammering them for repeatedly allowing the leaders to brake-check and pull away 5 turns before the green flag on restarts). As far as the Dario-Tracy who should have been in the lead incident, all you need to think about are 3 simple facts.

A) Jimmy Vasser was at least halfway, if not more, down pit road and likely couldn't see the blend line. He also spoke on camera in the heat of the moment without having seen a replay of it yet.

More importantly what do you really think is more plausible?

B) Brian Barnhart and the league are covering up a conspiracy to give Dario 2nd place? (remember Helio was in the lead at the time).

C) ABC simply messed up yet another thing by not covering the pit out, and got the explanation from Race Control wrong, and then never considered going back to previous video to show us the answer? In fact here is ABC's best shot (end of video), you can conclude nothing from that.

Seriously are you going to base a conspiracy on the same broadcast team that was mixing up Mario Moraes, Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, EJ Viso, Tony George's segue and a 10 year old kid's paper airplane for Paul Tracy?

-And speaking of ABC; I'm not going to write a ton about it, I've hammered them before and they deserve every bit of it, but how many ways can you say they screwed up?
We miss passing, we talk about things that aren't the action on camera, we ask if cars pitting are taking fuel, but the worst is really just the lack of correct camera usage & being at commercials for things like restarts or going to pit coverage right when we are about to see a pass for position, they install a nose-cam on Marco's car to use it for a whole 10 seconds during the race.

Look, I know we all love to hate Marty, and some like Will & myself can even appreciate a John Madden like quality in the silliness... but the difference is that Madden has always had Pat Summeral & Al Michaels to correct him when he was horribly wrong, and for whatever reason Scott Goodyear feels no need to shut Marty up when he's obviously wrong; and that is a huge disservice to the people watching. So far Marty has confused Paul Tracy, Mario Moraes, Alex Tagliani, EJ Viso, Tony Kanaan & Graham Rahal in just the past 2 weeks... and NO 2 of those cars look remotely alike.

Even better, he gave us a great new line regarding Hideki Mutoh's red/blue formula Dream car: "I get my White and Red's mixed up."

Last year at St. Pete I thought Marty hit a stride I never thought he'd be able to reach again when he said "These are 5 guys we don't normally talk about." While I still think that is Marty's best line to date, he came very close twice this weekend. #1 came in his pre-race online chat on ESPN, where a fan asked who he thought could be our next first-time winner. Marty replied "either Mario Moraes or Graham Rahal." His 2nd highlight for the weekend came at the very finale of ABC's broadcasting of the IndyCar Series for the season where Marty in all his brilliance.. asked Scott Goodyear if he wants to come try out NASCAR with him...

For the love of all that is holy Marty, I love to laugh, but not at the expence of other viewers, stay with NASCAR; and lets go onward to Edmonton where the lanes are wide and the action is fast!

Pictures via and ABC

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The WBC Took My Closer Away

You probably saw it. The Dominican Republic was shocked, as Carlos Marmol imploded. Marmol gave up two runs, including the only earned run allowed by the Dominican during the 2009 World Baseball Classic (the team's 3-game ERA was an amazing 0.31), in the game that saw the team eliminated much earlier than anyone could've expected.

To recap: DR starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez set a WBC record by striking out 10 of the 13 batters he faced over 4 innings. Pedro Martinez threw another solid 3 innings and other relievers followed suit, giving zero runs through 10 total innings. However, the heavily favored DR team could not score against the team from the Netherlands, until the top of the 11th when they got a run across. Enter Marmol, for the save. He gave up a double and then a single, which tied the game at 1. He then made a wild pick-off attempt, allowing the winning run to go from first to third. Willy Aybar's error completed the comeback attempt for the Dutch.

Now, before the WBC, Kerry Wood had already signed with the Indians. As a lifelong Cubs fan, I was sad to see him go, but fully understood that he deserved a huge deal AND the risks that go with giving Kerry Wood a lot of money for a lot of years. Besides! We had Carlos Marmol! His ERA the past two years was about 2.00. He was striking out well over 1/IP, with walk totals around 1/3 of his strikeouts. Thank goodness they went out and got Kevin Gregg for insurance (although I think Sean Marshall is looking more and more like a dominant reliever every day).

We can't be sure if his WBC loss (and the shame that must've come from taking the L in a hugely embarrassing defeat for his country) has anything to do with his performance this year, but we can surely see he isn't the same player. Unlike last year, when he made the All-Star game as a set-up man, we are never quite sure if he will be able to locate his pitches. He can throw three tremendous pitches for strikes and then turn around and throw four straight balls that are not even close to even looking like strikes. His ERA, entering today's games, was still only 3.73 but his IP/K/W is: 41/45/41. Not terrible, but I would NOT want this guy closing games for my team right now.

To his credit, I will say that strange things seem to happen when he is on the mound. You can point to Aybar's error as the "real" reason the DR lost that game. Or take last night's Cubs/Cardinals game, when Marmol entered in the 9th with a 5-1 lead.

- Rasmus ground out.

- Pujols single. (OK, that's actually sort of a victory.)

- Ludwick walk.

- Then the weird play: ground ball to Marmol, throw to Theriot at second for one out, throw to Hoffpauir at first, runner safe. The play at second was close, but was clearly an out. The play at first was also close, and also clearly an out. As the FOX announcers said, I also have never seen this, but both managers ended up on the field to argue. LaRussa argued that Theriot missed the base at second (which he didn't) and Piniella argued that the throw beat the runner at first (which it did). While the throw to second was the wrong play to make with a 4-run lead, technically the game should've been over. Next of course...

- Molina single, Pujols scores a run.

- Wild pitch, runners advance. Piniella had seen enough at this point and brought Gregg in for the save.

As yesterday's game illustrated, Marmol spent the first half of this season getting himself into too many situations that he's had to pitch out of or have Gregg clean up for him.

Blame the WBC?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brazil to Pay $20,000,000 for IndyCar Race

We knew the Indy Racing League officials said Brazil would make it worth it for the IndyCar Series to visit; but this number sounds awesome for the league if it holds up. Via Google translate of Brazilian article:

"For Indy, Ribeirão Preto pay $ 20 million and will have a street circuit"

Its not perfect in translated form, but from the gist of this, it seems they are already talking of making the contract for 6 years with the money amount just the same each year.
"Despite the high value to be paid, the city estimates at $ 100 million that could reach back with proof of Indy Racing League in its streets. Even so, the representatives of Ribeirão Preto already speak of even extend the link (which has not been signed) for six years."
With that money (likely somewhat dispersed to teams as well in sponsorship & travel costs) this race could be even better for the IndyCar Series than a title sponsor. I am curious also of something no one else has thought to ask yet... does this deal include the Indy Lights Series?

Now here's hoping the report is correct... lest we forget how the Chilean reports of Pablo Donoso signing with A.J. Foyt turned out.

The Ongoing Saga at the Milwaukee Mile / NOW With New UPDATE

So its been a week since we reported on the possible conspiracy to kill the Milwaukee Mile. Obviously with the Giuffre brothers talking, as well as radio and news catching on to the story; any half-decent PR person knows it would be incredibly beneficial to immediately quell the worries and point out the conspiracies as false...

Well Governor Doyle and his administration, kind-of, maybe tried to do it...
"The administration understands the importance of racing in Milwaukee to both the city and the state and will continue to work with the State Fair Park Board in their efforts to preserve the rich racing tradition at Milwaukee Mile in a way that is fair to both state taxpayers and racing enthusiasts."
In other words: Doyle's administration & the State Fair Board... who are essentially one in the same... are working with themselves... to find a solution to a problem... that they created... that someone else has already given them the solution to...

It seems funny to me that the official stance from the State Fair Board still insists that they have never had official contact with the Giuffres, even though there is proof otherwise (see below posting); and that they can't talk to Dominic Giuffre even if they wanted to, because they are under contract with Claude Napier... you know the promoter who owes millions of dollars to NASCAR & IRL and is now defunct.

Pardon me, but does anyone really believe Claude Napier would be angry if the Fair Board cut his contract and took the debt liability away. The Giuffre's may not have yet offered to take up the debt so much as to just be the new promoters with their financial backing as a starting fund after debt is taken care of. Because as Dominic Giuffre puts it best:

"You have a $150 million asset you have to protect. What's $4 million? If I was (Gov. Jim) Doyle, I would step up to the plate."

Public funding is used extensively to attract and keep sports franchises and other assets that affect the quality of life. Giuffre cited the construction of Miller Park, the $295 million Lambeau Field renovation and even the recent filming of "Public Enemies" in Wisconsin as examples.

"You think they're paying that off?, No, absolutely not. They're underwritten by the state."

My numbers may be off slightly, but by this point, Wisconsin has spent almost 287486% more on all those things, compared to what it would cost to take care of the current Mile promotion debt. To read all the fun quotes from Dominic, and the fun "We're gonna do something, but we're not telling anyone what exactly" comments from the State Fair Board, head here.

UPDATE: I'd like to thank Michael Horne at for linking me up with his report, from just before last weekend, which indicates quite a different story than the Journal Sentinel:
"It appears somebody from the Governor's office gave board chair Susan Crane the go-ahead to begin negotiations with the Giuffres, who promoted races at the track from 1984 to 1991. As recently as last week, Crane offered a noncommital response to an e-mail from Dominic Giuffre. [Milwaukeeworld was provided a copy of the e-mail by a source close to the negotiations.]

The negotiations would be fast and intense, and could be complete Monday. According to sources familiar with NASCAR operations, Monday is a key date on the NASCAR planning calendar for 2010.

Frank Giuffre confirmed to Milwaukeeworld that he and his brother are in touch with fair officials and say they plan to work over the holiday weekend."
I'm not sure if the Journal-Sentinel is getting the run around, or late in reporting fact as their article post-dates Michael's by at least 4 days; And the Monday Mike reports has come and passed, but I'm sure race fans world-wide are hoping that the negotiations are in fact underway, and the Journal-Sentinel is simply getting the run around while negotiations are underway.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Milwaukee Mile Not Just Finished, but Killed?

Yesterday I had said that I didn't know enough details on the current Milwaukee Mile unpaid bill situation yet, so I didn't go into too much analysis.

Well, we have some freaking details now, and it is absolutely disturbing. You can start with the coverage by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who tells us the numbers that Napier is behind ($1.9 million to NASCAR, and undisclosed amount to IRL), and that the workers at the track have all been laid off... but where it gets truly bad... Milwaukee radio host & newspaper reporter Mark Belling basically filled us all in on what appears to be a clear, but veiled, attempt by the Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and his people to kill racing at the Milwaukee Mile. Opinion and theories you think...? well Belling has proof:

1) Belling has the copies of public documents proving that the Wisconsin State Fair Board did not require, or even ask, the new promoter Claude Napier (the one who is now failing to pay the IRL & NASCAR sanctioning fees) proof of financial assets needed to run the track.

but the more damning evidence

2) Belling has copies of an e-mail trail between the Wisconsin State Fair Board Chairman, Susan Crane, and a partnership of John Menard, Frank Guiffre & Dominic Guiffre; who offered to take over promotions and use their own capital to assist with financials, likely the money owed to the IRL & NASCAR (not to mention the state itself also has the money to do this). For those of you who don't know, those three men may be three of the Top 10 richest people in Wisconsin, we are talking billions of money in capital, tons of business experience; and the Guiffre family was even promoters at The Mile some 20 years ago.

What an amazing offer right!? Three Wisconsoners willing to pony up whatever it takes to continue racing at the worlds oldest racetrack in their home state!

Well here is where financial failure turns into track murder. The Wisconsin State Fair Board Chairman's response to Dominic Guiffre (the one in the partnership who sent the e-mail), and I'm paraphrasing:

"Thanks for e-mailing, I hope you can attend the race in August."

Are you kidding!? Someone offers up their time, money and expertise to save the oldest racetrack in the world; a racetrack that brings in $75 million annually to the state, and has the cities name in the track, and gets shown on national television, and you blow them off!?

At this point it is pretty clear that certain people may have suceeded in their ridiculous agenda to kill the Milwaukee Mile...

Belling & the Journal Sentinel are predicting if nothing happens by this, or next, weekend that NASCAR & IRL will be forced to announce they are leaving the track due to unpaid money, and that will be the domino the State Fair wants to then close down the track. Good lord I hope this doesn't happen; what a bunch of asses if this is all as true as it pretty well seems evident. But don't take my word for it, go here and listen to Mark Belling's show where he gives you ALL these details, and word for word the email conversations:

Belling's Show Part 1

Belling's Show Part 2

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Motorsports Engines, Bankruptcy, Negotiations, Drivers & More Go Unnoticed As Everyone is Distracted by the Tony George Stuff

To be honest; when the whole Tony George resigning story came out, it was not a shock to me, and I still don't understand everyone out there being shocked. Miller, Martin and Schoettle all reported on this a month ago, and IMS admitted restructuring was coming.

Then news of the IRL/Brasil deal that is bringing an influx of cash came out, Ryan Hunter-Reay had to be moved for cash reasons. All of these things are smart decisions for a company to take, and the restructuring is also part of that, turning things into a profitable business; no reason to freak out...yet.

In the news report yesterday we learned that the replacements were hand picked by Tony & the board, & that its 2 guys who have been in the IMS system for over 10-15 years; pardon me if I'm nonchalant-ish. Yes I realize all the implications & possibilities that restructurings can have, and new directions things can go in, but people need to remember that the IMS & IRL are attached right now, Tony and Mari are still voting members & that IMS needs the IRL to survive right now. The only real difference is for hardcore fans who pay attention to this and need to find a new whipping boy just like MLB, NFL & NHL fans have Bud Selig, Roger Goodell & Gary Bettman.

Honestly, the story here is what will Tony George hating split-loving people do now? We're unified and TG is no longer CEO, for the love of all that is holy, what will they do!?

There is so much unfounded prognostication out there, and so much freak-outtery that everyone's missing quite a many bits of news that has come through in the past 48-72 hours, so here's a rundown for those interested:

Has A1GP Run Its Final Race/Season?

If you're a regular FW reader, you've seen me chronicle the happenings & mis-happenings of A1GP over the past 2-3 years; and if I hadn't said it enough, I'll say it again; the World Cup/Nation vs. Nations concept is absolutely great, and having a series run during what is "off-season" for just about every other series is also great. The concept however has mostly been executed horridly.

Well I may not have much more to chronicle, as in the past 2 days, reports have come out everywhere that the British arm of A1GP has gone bankrupt.While this isn't the entirety of A1GP, it may as well be as this arm runs all the staff & logistics for the series. Series Chairman Tony Teixeira claims that they can still go on, but I, and many others can't possibly fathom how.

A1GP has burned so many bridges with failed on-time payments, canceled races, late pieces-parts for teams; but all that aside, the series has ALWAYS put on a masterful show with great competition and great commentary and great online live-streaming. The irony? this news comes after learning A1GP did one thing they hadn't seemed to be able to do all these years; they got an entire schedule together and FiA approved almost half a year ahead of schedule.

If the series goes, I will be sad, but I'll understand; but more importantly it raises some huge questions:

-What happens to Surfer's Paradise/Gold Coast who broke off talks with IndyCar to go with A1GP?
-What happens to the new Hampton Downs track in New Zealand being built specifically to start taking over the New Zealand portion of the A1GP schedule?
-Even if the series survives, do teams like AGR-Team USA care to continue with it being so unstable?
-What does Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villneueve do now?

P.S. you can also add that the uniform/apparel provider for quite a many A1GP teams is also going under.

IndyCar listens to all of its teams/drivers/fans and immediately institutes 3 new options for teams to give an additional downforce to the cars, which will hopefully aide grip and improve passability. As a fan and proponent of the league, I'm happy, but not quite ecstatic. I am excited that the 3 new things are optional; as I went through yesterday, its options that make racing exciting, seeing different kinds of combinations and how they work.

I would like to see the wheel base opened back up, and something done with the wings, such as Dreyer & Reinbold Engineer Larry Curry who was hoping to get the vertical wicker removed. The important thing for ICS to do though is note as Curry says:
"Hopefully they'll be open-minded enough that if we get to Kentucky, start running and it's not enough, we'll take another shot at it; A lot of this stuff (is) things we can just unbolt."
What ICS needs to do is add an extra practice session to start at Kentucky, give teams an extra set of tires (or 2 if necessary) and have them run with each other and attempt passing for real. With the extra tires they'll actually attempt it; and then if its not enough start adding other things like removing the wicker etc.

Panther Racing has confirmed potential plans to run Scott Sharp in more races THIS SEASON!
A lot of people assumed Gil De Ferran and Scott Sharp/Highcroft Racing would likely come over, but most couldn't place Scott, his team, or sponsor as going alone, together or as a new operation or separate.

I would think that Scott & Patron have to like how good Panther's results have been this season; but if Scott runs more this season, you really wonder if that's the official deathblow for that teams ALMS operation, and also if that is the final set of dominoes in motion for the end of ALMS (which is currently being rumored by a few insiders to be bought by Grand-Am/France Family).

A Spokesman for Toyota, said they are considering ending plans to host the F1 Japanese GP!?
I'm not even sure where to go with those implications; and its just considerations for now, but what could that do for Motegi's IndyCar date and popularity. For F1, honestly it just goes right along with everything else they've been doing lately in chasing the people with no fan bases but have a crapload of money.

In incomplete news, I'm still not sure what to make of the Milwakuee Mile unpaid bills situation. They haven't paid their bills and seem to be trying to make up some kind of payment plan, and survive; but how flexible can NASCAR & IRL be when bills are due?

Personally I worked for an entertainment non-profit who went through very rough times and some people worked with us while we were behind (in the 6 digit kind of way) and we came back to give them twice as much business once we recovered; but reportedly the Mile is behind in a 7-digit kind of way, that's a really big loan for the IRL and NASCAR to be giving; I'm not sure they can do it.

This isn't news, but its always great to throw in a quote from A.J. Foyt:
"Finishing 15th isn’t much to celebrate unless it’s the first time your car finished a race without needing some repairs because of accidents from other drivers’ mistakes"
This however is a news update from Stanton Barrett himself about his health and return to an IndyCar cockpit:
"Last week I also went from LA to Irvine to work on a new video Google, highlighting the Google / Interush collaboration, along with Marty Matthews. It was great to have the NASCAR and the IndyCar together at the same spot, you'll be able to see this soon on a Google website, and posted on the Interush sites too. Both the NASCAR Team and IndyCar Team have been working really hard at making things work well for the rest of the year. Now that I'm starting to feel better, I'm eager to get back in the IndyCar again in the next month sometime. In the interim the team is using another driver to make sure we are able to enter each race. I need to be back in full health before I drive the IndyCar again so for now, I'm taking the easier path of the NASCAR series and working on films, without dangerous stunts."
Resisting urge to make obvious jokes about NASCAR fitness vs. IndyCar fitness....

ok urge subsided for now... but I am curious to see whatever Google video he is working on; will it be the dream video of the cars on the track at the same time? As always with Stanton, I'm still amazed by his background and dedication. Is there a way we could get Team 3G some budget and additional members to work with, and then hopefully run Stanton alongside a veteran?

Just how low budget is 3G? Well at Richmond you can easily note the 4 man crew the car has, but in addition to that, the team actually pushes their car from garages to the grid, unlike every other team who has a cart to pull it.

Volkswagen already getting committed to IndyCar plans? V4 vs. V6? Another engine summit coming together on Toronto's weekend.

And this finally brings me to what may be some of the most important news of the last few days. Bruce Martin at Versus went on a story breaking rampage and covered Tony George, the new race in Brazil (which has NOT been decided as far as location goes yet); but also gave us insight on the very quiet, new engine package.

Turns out there is another meeting/summit between the potential engine manufacturer's in 2 weeks from now; and it turns out they are very close but still arguing over the cylinder count on the engine; with Honda Performance Development waiting to run a Turbo-V6 and everyone else VW/Audi, Fiat? wanting to run turbo-V4s.

The scary/intriguing news isn't that there is another meeting; its the sudden change in HPD's tune:
'Sources within the IndyCar Series believe HPD has moved away from its stance of wanting a rival automaker to compete against and may see value remaining as a single-engine supplier to the series.

Last June, the IndyCar Series had an Engine Manufacturers Roundtable that was attended by automakers from throughout the world. German manufacturer Volkswagen showed the most interest in joining IndyCar and has even submitted plans for approval from its board of directors.

According to Les Mactaggart, “We’re getting close, we need to know soon who is in and who is out and what kind of engine we will be using. I don’t think anyone believes an equivalency formula between an inline 4-cylinder and a V-6 would be ideal.”

With the current world economy, HPD may believe a single-engine supplier in IndyCar makes better financial sense than going to battle against another carmaker.

When Robert Clarke was the head of HPD, he advocated competition among engine manufacturers. The program is now run by Erik Berkman, who may be taking a new look at remaining as the sole engine manufacturer – a role Honda has held since Toyota and General Motors left the series in 2005."
Look, if VW is already getting approval from their own bosses to move ahead, the IndyCar Series needs to move ahead with them. It would be a stiff arm to Honda, it'd be a movement I'm sure Honda would understand. IndyCar started this whole summit to get competition; and to not go with the new manufacturers at this point would mean it was all a waste of time and energy.

I'm not sure why Erik Berkman suddenly has had a change in stance from his predecessor of many years, but I just don't see where a single engine manufacturer is better for the league.

As far as the V4 vs. V6 issue goes; I truly don't understand why IndyCar doesn't see an equivalency formula as a viable option. Sure its not easy, but its certainly doable as Grand-Am, ALMS & even Forumla 1 have done before.

If it truly HAS to be one or the other I'd go with VW (possibly Fiat) just on the basis that they are the new guys and they are the ones that need more convincing. I don't see Honda dropping out of IndyCar if it ends up being a V4 only, especially when they've said before that this is where they want to be. VW however, has no strings attached yet and they are the ones that need the extra incentive.

Personally if they can't come to an agreement in this meeting on the 10th, just go with a dang equivalency formula already, it would automatically bring innovation and competition to the series, but better yet, it'd get this whole engine thing sorted in time so that it could potentially be ready for testing next year and running for 2011.

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