Sunday, January 29, 2012


What a great result!

Not only Justin Wilson scoring a win on his return from injury - and in impressive style with a triple stint (or was it quadruple?) - with solid performances from Allmendinger et al. Not only that but Allan McNish, Luhr and Dalziel getting 2nd. Following fears Ganassi might dominate this was a great surprise, very good.

GT was okay as well, very close but I never got my head properly into it. Most of the top GT names did well, the likes of Lietz, Henzler, Bleememolen.

What a great way to get rid of the winter cobwebs. Do we really have to wait an entire month for the next live motorsport? (and do I mean the Bathurst 12 Hours rather than the Daytona 500 on the same day..?) And do you know what, this has really got me pumped for Sebring despite the probable Audi win, the battles elsewhere in that huge field will be fantastic.

Thanks for being great blogging hosts, for the invite and the Mario Kart fun. It's been a blast, as Blogathon is every year.

See you around the internet!

My final thoughts

Like always, I'll get out of the way for the people around here who truly follow racing.  I just quickly wanted to say I had fun and was amazed by the idea of cars racing for 24 hours and still making it come down to the final lap.

The tennis may be the best we have seen in years.  Everyone who was awake during that match will not forget it anytime soon.

Finally, thanks to everyone who stopped by and hung out.  Mario Kart, Driven, guest bloggers... It was all very fun.

By the way, we have already surpassed our blog post total from 2011.  Perhaps that is a sign that 2012 will be a good year around here!

Late Excitement

Two cars have managed to wipe out in the final twenty minutes of racing.  That's a terrible way to end 23+ successful hours of driving.  It would be like driving all the way to Disney World and realizing you left your tickets at home.

Is The Rest of Grand-Am Worth Watching?

This is the only Grand-Am Rolex Series race I follow all year. I watch ALMS and LMS. Are the other GA races worth catching up with?

What is the field like when you remove the 24hr one-offs?

The hordes of Porsches are a bit off-putting and for whatever reason I've not got into this GT field as much as I would at Sebring or Le Mans (despite many of the same names). Maybe that's unfamiliarity with some teams/drivers.

This DP battle is epic though. Do the races tend to be close?

My Clean PC

Until I heard the "C" at the end of the commercial, I thought they were selling untainted urine to drug users.  MyCleanP would be a totally different company.

Although MyCleanPC is funny enough as well.  "Are you tired of error messages? Blue screens? Does your e-mail take longer than three seconds to load?"

Goncalves and Yacaman Poised for Podium!

How about that? After a rare hiccup late in the race, the #01 Ganassi car loses 1st and 2nd gear and drops back to P4. This has let the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley which has Firestone Indy Lights drivers Gustavo Yacaman and Jorge Goncalves as co-drivers surge into P3. The team is now running P1 and P3 with their #8 and #6 cars, repsectively. Regardless of how this turns out, the two young Indy Lights drivers have really had their mettle tested over these past 23 hours and its been found worthy!

Which is More Brutal - 2012 Edition

We seem to have this ever year, so let me take the poll on the 2012 edition of Daytona 24 Hours - Which is More Brutal.

A) Suntrust Racing - Knocked out after 30 minutes with a broken engine

B) Ganassi #01 - Knocked out of contention in the 23rd hour with a broken gearbox

Do you have low testosterone?

Cause if so there's a creepy looking fake doctor guy who wants you to become an Ageless Man. Don't know what I'm talking about? Then just watch the Daytona 24, cause that commercial is bound to play at least 72 more times before the end of the race.

And holy crap, The Ganassi #01 only has 3rd gear!!! That'd be the 2nd gearbox to go our on that team, and it may have also caused him to go over the pit road speed limit, without a yellow flag, this may be a Ford vs. Ford only battle. Allmendinger is laying the smack down, but Starworks at least has Ryan Dalziel back in their car. Race already interesting, yellow makes it intense.

A Lack of Posting and Analysis

Pretty sure all of us are gripped watching this amazing battle on the track... if you aren't watching it, you should probably switch over to that on your TV or the live stream online; it'll definitely be worth your time.

2 hours 40 minutes to go

And Allan McNish and A.J. Allmendinger are changing positions for the lead multiple times in back to back laps. The Shank car seems to handle much better (likely due to having an intact rearend) but this is definitely going to be a continuing battle unless something breaks.

Over in GT we finally got that Ferarri on the lead lap but it still has a large gap to make up. Along with the clean weather, this has been quite a clean race, not many off-track incidents once the Audis get towed and that one Porsche t-boned a wall; gotta wonder how this race plays out if there are no more yellows.

The #01 Ganassi and #8 Starworks still require a driver change before they can end this race, but it looks like Shank is set on Allmendinger which could save them more time in the pits under green flag conditions. Good stuff... as has seemed to be the case more often than not with this race over the last 10 years.

Specifically to this year alone, without much benefit of yellow, the race this year has had more close battling for the lead than IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula One past years combined.

ESPN Radio

I listened to ESPN Radio for a little while.  They talked about the Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl, Brady, Mannings (both Eli and Peyton), and other football stuff.  They talked about Tiger Woods because I guess he almost won a tournament.  They finally mentioned Djokovic's win, but only to compare it to Tiger winning a tournament and what that would do for the game of golf right now.  If he could win one.  They started talking about Tim Tebow and Kim Kardashian when I turned it off.  People are going to watch a terrible display of football tonight and have no idea what they missed this morning.

Hotting Up

Wow, what a great race between Negri and McNish! 4-wide with GT cars at one point. Rahal is just a couple of seconds back as well.

Got to say I was a bit bored for a while there with very little happening in either class, but now things are really starting to get interesting again. The way these guys are going anything can happen! They are driving like this is a 10-lapper.

3 hours to go. The pressure is on. I'm saying McNish & Dalziel for the win, and what a story if they do. In GT? Err, Rene Rast is really fast..

Taking a writing break

Sorry, I don't have much to offer when it comes to racing talk.  I'm watching the race but am going to do some other writing for a little while.  I'm here if anyone needs me.

Yellow Flag

Due to a Porsche driving head on into the wall.  Insert Porsche jokes here.

Yellow Flag in Daytona

That will change the complexion of both DP and GT classes. I'd say the Starworks #8 re-becomes the momentum-holder.

Golden Corral

How on Earth does Golden Corral make a profit while charging $20 to feed two people? That's ridiculous.. and a little bit gross.

Respect growing for Marco

Marco's reportedly in the infield care center being treated for dehydration after his last stint.

This is after flying directly from a test at Palm Beach to Daytona, hopping into a car he'd never seen on a track he hadn't run in years, and driving the pants off the thing.

I feel like we've seen a serious maturation in Marco over the past couple of years.  Where he once came across as a playboy who was occasionally a decent a race car driver, he's now finally coming into his own and earning respect from his detractors for being a serious racer.

Maybe that win at Iowa last year turned his career around more than we know.

Pruett's in first!

He's on my fantasy team.  Dixon too, and I see his name near the top.  My Flying Lizard, however, seems to be more of a crawling reptile at this point, sitting 37 laps back.  What about Memo Gidley?


It occurred to me sometime last night while working on ARFL spreadsheets that each of the GBS staff has one of the SunTrust drivers...which went out of the race less than an hour in. That seems fitting somehow, I think.

breakfast time

Who wants eggs?  Who is still here?  I guess we lost Shane, but it seems we have gained Pat, Andy, and others.

Indy Lights Drivers Running Strong

As I mentioned yesterday (day before? today? ...meh, see previous post about temporal confusion). <restart /> As I mentioned about a dozen hours ago, the Firestone Indy Lights series has some great representation in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.  As of right now, 0951 EST, Jorge Goncalves is running P4 in the #6 DP car for Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian. I would LOVE to see him and his teammate Gustavo Yacaman end up on the podium, but they have Allan McNish in front of them. :S I think they'll need help from a mechanical issue for the Starworks Ford or for the Ganassi BMW. Not likely, but it could happen!

These guys are in pain.

Do they have to stand here and listen to all of this crap?  They just played for six hours.  Let them take a nap!

Let's all hope...

That the Super Bowl is at least half as good as this tennis match was.  Because we all know which one everyone will actually watch.

No Commercials in the last hour

Seriously its almost been over an hour since we last had a commercial in this tennis match, try that on for size every American sport.

Novak Djokovic is the Australian Open champion

Novak Djokovic has won the 2012 Australian Open title and cemented his number one world ranking with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 win over Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park this morning (AEDT).

The match lasted 5 hours 54 minutes, an Australian Open record match duration in terms of time.

Nadal led 4-2 in the final set, and Djokovic appeared on the ropes, but somehow, as in the quarter and semi finals, Djokovic found a way to recover and power over his opponent.

He even had enough energy to tear off his shirt, ala the Incredible Hulk at the end. Which is great because it'll give something for the TV director to show in a slow motion replay 17 times.

Match Summary:
The winners: Tennis, Djokovic, Nadal.
The losers: Australian office productivity on Monday, My sleep.

Good night everybody!

Djokovic to server for the match

Novak Djokovic has broken in the 11th game of the final set and now leads 6-5.

He will now serve for the Australian Open title. It is by no means a fait accompli.

Stay tuned.


This is awesome.

Also, good morning, everybody.

The previous best Australian Open match...

Was it this one?

1995 Australian Open QF: Sampras def. Courier
Sampras def. Courier: 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

You know, the one where Sampras cries in the 5th set.

The Awesome and Lively Australian Open Crowd

They're just cheering for whichever player is behind at this point so it goes longer right?

Epic tennis is epic

If you're watching Speed right now, you're watching the wrong channel.

Turn the tennis on. It's special.

Captcha Comics

Everyone should check out for some brilliant uses of captcha.

Also, I feel like this captcha art is a tribute to the tires on the race cars:


Everyone's favorite word art has returned for yet another blogathon!

Novak breaks back

Djokovic has broken back in the 7th game to get the 5th set back on serve, it's now 3-4 with Djokovic serving.

Nadal is simply playing better right now.

Djokovic has lost it. His shots aren't quite falling, while Nadal is making some amazing shots.

But how awesome would it be if the crowd started changing shirts too?

Nadal breaks

Nadal has broken serve in the 6th game of the second set, and leads 4-2.

Worth nothing that it was only Nadal's 5th break point of the match, of which he's converted 4.

Djokovic is 5/16 break point conversions. Noteably 1 for 5 in the first set where Nadal won 7-5, and 0 for 3 in the fourth set which Nadal won in a tiebreaker.

This match is now officially the longest match in Australian Open history.

I want a five-hour Super Bowl next week.

How great would that be? The Giants and Patriots just going on and on, back and forth, for over five hours. Guys on the sidelines eating in between plays, changing shirts. Football players get oxygen after a kick return. Could you see five hours worth of kick returns?

Tennis: Yellow. Yellow. Yellow

We have yellow. Novak has hit the wall.

That is all.

Epic Australian Open final may come to a conculsion, eventually...

In a competition to go longer than the Rolex 24, the Djokovic v Nadal final has gone into a 5th set after Nadal won the tiebreaker 7-5.

Nadal leads 2-1 on serve in the 5th and final set. No tie-breaker in the final set, it might be a long hot January night in Melbourne.

The roof was closed during the 4th set after rain stopped play for 12 minutes at 4-4.

Nobody has left Rod Laver Arena, which is unlucky for them, as the last train to the suburbs left at 12:30am-ish, and it's now 12:40am. Melbourne, the tennis runs all right, but the trains don't.

To a 5th Set We Go!!! - Fun With Slow-Motion

This match has been so good on the court, you almost wonder if Australian Open official left the roof open on purpose to delay the match for more primetime play in all countries.

Either way I'm happy to just continue watching these play at such a high level.

All that said, my biggest takeaway from tonight/this morning's coverage so far is not the high level of play, the rain, or even the army of 300 12 year old boys drying up rain with tissues; its that the production crew for tennis clearly have NO IDEA what slow motion is supposed to be used for. In this match here are the things you can expect to get super high def slow motion shots of after a point:

-Wiping sweat off with towel
-Pumping fist after a point
-Swearing after a point
-Shoes walking around
-Player looking up into sky
-Some dude in the stands eating a sandwich
-Girl in stand sending a text message
-Usher telling someone they can't enter the stands yet
-Ball boy staying perfectly still concentrating on ball
-Player making a weird face
-Girl in stands rolling her eyes after her boyfriend just claimed he could totally do this
-Fat giggling on a guy itching his belly in the front row

I may or may not have made some of those up... but the way this production crew works, none of them would surprise me being shown well before a slow motion shot of a good play.

No stream

First thing I tried to do when I woke up this morning was get the live stream to load, but it's refusing. I hate it when things are supposed to work but don't.

Fortunately, 9:00 isn't too far away.

Blogathon Adventures

This tennis match was taking a LONG time, so I too used the opportunity to get a little rest before my house is again filled with the sounds of non-sleeping children.

Djokovic seemed to have lost control of this one when I fell asleep. Now however, I guess it's in the bag. He's really pretty amazing and I can't believe he isn't more of a household name yet, along the lines of Tiger Woods or even Sampras and Agassi from my day.

But yes, we must thank the evolution of Speed's coverage for my quick return. I fell asleep to quiet race coverage. Yet now we have some on-car camera and it literally sounds like the cars are in my living room. Well, the one car, anyway. At first, I thought I had overloaded my computer and that it was making loud whirring noises, as it likes to do at times. But no, it was just my Blogathon alarm clock.

And I'm back. I need a cookie.

And we're back to play in Australia

I guess all the hundreds of 12 year olds with paper towels have finally wiped up all the rain on the court. This match is now brought to you by Bounty. Djokovic quickly asserts with his serve and is up 5-4, Nadal needs to hold his serve if this match is going to go any longer.

And just as I type that, he does, we're 5-5 and likely heading for a tie-break as both guys look rejuvenated on their serving.

Over in Daytona I forgot to mention GT earlier who still has 3 Porsche's on the lead lap together and then a Camaro 1 lap back. The one thing that's simply causing the issue this year is a severe lack of yellows allowing everyone else to catch up, that's either a good thing or a bad thing, I'm still not sure yet.

Still Suspended in Australia

So I totally decided to take a little nap, which went a little long, because of the rain delay, and when I wake up theres a million kids on the court with towels wiping up the rain... oddly enough this isn't a ridiculous dream scenairo. It turns out the match still hasn't ended, which is cool for me, and we're still tied in the 4th set 4-4 with Djokovic up 2-1 overall and still wanting to finish up his 5th major.

Over in Daytona, attrition is still king as we're down to only 3 cars on the lead lap, and 4th place is 2 laps back, but as the saying goes... there is still PLENTY race left before this is over. Sadly though SPEED's online coverage that was great last night has turned into only a selection of on-board cameras now so you get that plus timing and scoring... which makes it a little difficult to decipher whats going on out there.


What's been happening?

Great to see a fight for the lead between Wilson and Dalziel, and Rahal in the mix too. Reliability is hitting the other cars, hard to see the 02 Ganassi picking up 4 laps but they might get this 'lucky dog' crap. Sorry to see the Spirit car down laps.

I just watched a great one for GT lead between Magnus Racing and Brumos, until the Brumos seemed to have brake problems. Disappointed to see the Lizards down 6 or so laps.

This overnight feed is pretty good isn't it, a camera with a view of the whole track and Hindy & Crew on commentary. I never see the morning at Le Mans so it's great to see it at Daytona.

Novak leads 2 sets to 1

Novak Djokovic has taken a 2 sets to 1 lead at the Australian Open Men's final in Melbourne. He currently leads: 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Djokovic is clearly winning the middle length rallies, and Nadal is not being as aggressive and risk taking as he needs to be win the match, unlike in the first set.

With Djokovic's breathing issues apparently under control, I expect Novak to take this one in short order unless Nadal finds the option strategy soon.

I wonder if anyone is fighting right now....

My favorite recent tennis moment.

Changing Shirts

Djokovic wasn't playing well, so he changed from a white shirt into a black shirt right there on the court.  Could you see doing that at your job?  Things aren't going well, so you just take off your shirt right there in the office and put on a different one.

One Thing That Bothers Me

Why is the Australian Open always seemingly set up so that in the championship match, one guy has 1 day of rest and the other guy gets 2 days of rest? It just doesn't seem fair that while both Djokovich and Nadal played very intense semifinal matches, that Djokovic gets shorted a day.

I mean likely due to schedules or something there needs to be a day of catchup somewhere (much like the College world Series) but you think it'd be much better to not have that day of catchup on the final match, do it on the quarterfinals or something.

great tennis match

I've been awake for 23 hours straight now, so I'm planning to grab a quick nap after the tennis is over.  But I have a feeling that we're going to be here for a while.  Djokovic and Nadal are both so good that whenever I watch them, I regret that I do not watch more tennis.  However, health may impact play at some point here.  Djokovic just twisted his knees like four times in a row.  Nadal has him running all over.

Breaking Serve

Is what neither Djokovic nor Nadal look like they can do right now, which means this has the makings of a lot of tie breakers. Of course the match can change drastically many times over between now and the course to the end of it.

Either way, its already been a fun match to watch.

My thoughts on Peyton Manning

I know everyone is watching the race or tennis.  Or sleeping.  But I might as well take this time to give my thoughts on the Peyton Manning situation.

First of all, I am a huge Manning fan.  I think he may be the best quarterback to ever play the game.  Still, I do not believe that any player is worth $28 million.  That is an absurd amount of money.  Unfortunately for Manning, he is no loner needed and the Colts will likely make a business decision to let him walk.  I could not fault a team for making that decision.

tennis announcers

They just said Djokovic was "checking out" the pictures of the women's champions as he walked down the hall.

What drives you?

Attrition is the Name of Daytona's 24 Hour Game

We're almost at the halfway point in Daytona, and the cars are starting to feel the pain as per usual: the Ganassi 02 (broken gearbox), and Krohn 76 (smoking something or other) both into the garages now. At this point we've only got 5 cars on the lead lap, but what a 5 cars it is, Allan McNish and A.J. Allemendinger are putting on one heck of a battle, you'd think this thing was in the final laps the way they are fighting for the lead.

If we could get a couple yellow flags some other cars (Action Express, Starworks, Spirit of Daytona) may be able to catch up, but certainly not without any yellow, and with both Audi's being towed off the course, we've lost our primary sources of yellow flags.

Then in the GT class we're down to 3 Porsche's on the lead lap, but again yellow could change the game as a Mazda, two Camaros and a Ferrari are just one lap back. still 12 hours and 15 minutes to go, a lot can happen folks.

Final thoughts on Driven

OK the music is so bad, especially in the second half.  The part leading up to the final race was the worst and then the very end, after the race, is nearly just as bad.

The camera work is pathetic and it just doesn't feel like they shot it right for this kind of movie.  It does not feel like a sports movie at all.

It is so unrealistic that I just kept laughing at everything they did.  It's like they went out of their way to be fictitious.  Perhaps the story was swiped from someone's real life, and the filmmakers just made it all look so fake so that no one could possibly say this was their true story.  No one in his or her right mind would believe any of this.

The action scenes are cartoonish at times and even much of the dialogue is laughable.

However, I would watch it again and will eventually try to pick up the DVD.  Some of it was fun and the actors really did the best they could considering what they were working with.

Guys, Tanto could've won that race.  But you know what?  He did win it.

The Subtleness of Steering

Its hard to pick a "favorite" thing about Driven, but right now on this viewing, I think its that the drivers seem to need to turn their steering wheels completely 90 degrees (without power steering) in order to get the car to only move the slightest bit, maybe 3 degrees from center.

quick X Games question

Do we still count each spin as a 360?  These snowboarders are spinning like eight times.  Can we just call it an "8" now?

This is insane.

This man just crashed and his car flew out of the stadium and into a river!  Yet the drivers have to CHOOSE to stop racing and go help him!  Owners and fans are wondering why they have stopped racing.  The race is still going!  And now, a rocket-like explosion.  Are we still racing??

Wait a minute...

All hell is breaking loose.  It's raining, cars are crashing head on, and they're still just racing like nothing's wrong!

You know why drivers crash in this movie?

Because they drive like idiots.  I don't know much about the sport of racing, but I know how to drive a car.  The best parts are when the cars are all shaky and jerky, yet people are surprised when the cars crash or narrowly avoid wrecks.

Racing away from the party...

because you got dumped.  That's funny.  I love that part.  Then of course, Tanto follows and the race is on.  Best part of the movie up to this point by far!  Even the camera work is not as awful, although the flying manhole covers are a bit much.

The rest of the field sucks.

There's Brandenburg and Bly.  And of course, Tanto.  Why does anyone else even show up?

Also, why didn't any of the other teams bring Tanto in when he was out of racing?

Passing Gear

What is this special gear that they are always shifting to when they want to make passes in Driven? Why don't real drivers use that more often?

Also good to know the safety crews will just pull a driver out of a upside down car after a huge impact with the wall.

Joe Tanto

Driver, coach, tough guy, psychologist, marriage counselor, motivational speaker, comedian, lover, fighter.  Too much man for just one movie.

A couple of things...

1. Wasn't the problem in Chicago that Jimmy tried to make a hole to pass through?  Yet in Toronto, Burt Reynolds tells him to "make a hole."

2. As an admitted music snob, I'm going to try to stay away from the awful soundtrack here.  But let's just go ahead and say it... it's awful.  Like Wedge pointed out, it seems Stallone learned nothing from his Rocky movies.  Even the music is bad.

This movie has too many...

1. Subplots involving women.

2. Long, slow soap opera zooms.

Getting Lost in Time

I've just been informed that it's no longer today, but tomorrow. It made me think that if today is tomorrow then does that make tomorrow the day after? Ah, the temporal complexities of endurance sports car racing. Who knew that you needed to evaluate Einstein's field equations to figure out what day it was during a race. :S ( define  g_{\mu \nu}\,... carry the one...) Well, all I know is that it's WAY past my bedtime, but there are still racecars on the track so sleep can wait! Why, oh why didn't I pick up some Venom at the grocery store today? yesterday? CURSE YOU SPEED FOR YOUR CONTINUOUS COVERAGE!

So hey...

If Rocky is so awesome that he can pick up quarters and stuff, then why do we need the rookie?

But really, it's the agent guy that is killing me.

Tennis: Melbourne Weather Update

Melbourne weather update:

Fine in the city where the tennis is, but both east and west of the city there are some significant storm cells.

Two hours and 10 minutes before the final starts, it's probably 30/70 that they'll close the roof at this stage.

Driven cut shots

I can't take how this movie cuts to different characters and then the camera gets all blurry or whatever.  Like we're supposed to be dizzy.

But the camera work overall is just pretty amateurish.  Shaky cam, getting into people's faces.  Like it's a documentary!

Driven has begun

It's already living up to my expectations.  It's like the people in charge here have never made a movie before.  The fake press conference or whatever that was in the beginning was funny enough.  Now the dramatic argument between the racer and his discarded significant other is too much.  But here we go.  We're racing in Chicago now.

Speedgeek, Signing Off

It's been a long day here. I've been a little quiet for lo these last eight hours or so due to A) watching a toddler for a while, B) going out for a long-overdue dinner out with Mrs. Speedgeek, C) catching up on all that I missed while doing A) and B), and D) working through all of the ARFL spreadsheets that I need to use to run the League in 2012 that I haven't had time to do all week. Anyway, it's time for me to sleep.

What I have seen, though, is that it's been a competitive race this year. At the moment, seven cars are within one lap of the leader in DP, six cars are within one lap of the leader in GT, and only the SunTrust Corvette is totally out of it among the cars we all thought would contend (no, the #50 with Brian Johnson in it does not fall into that category). It should be a very interesting night, into a very interesting morning.

In the meantime, enjoy Driven, folks. I'm off to get some rest.

Driven starts in twenty minutes

Is anyone else watching along?  I guess let me know.  I'll be posting here with my random thoughts about the movie.

Here is the info I posted earlier.  Let me know if you have any questions.


If you would like to watch Driven with us, we will use the clock (in the yellow box) on this page.  To get ready, start the movie in advance, but press pause as soon as you see the screen read "A Renny Harlin Film" (around the 0:50 mark for me).  We will then all hit "play" right when that clock reads 1:00 a.m.  I will be posting my thoughts throughout the movie here on the blog.  Feel free to comment as you watch. If enough people are into it, we can probably set up a live chat somehow as well.  If you do not own the movie, it is streaming on Amazon (free for Prime members, or you can pay a small rental fee).  However, it is not currently streaming on Netflix.  If you are good at the internet, I'm sure there are other ways as well!  (Note: People streaming the movie will not remain exactly in sync with those of us who are watching it from a non-internet source.)

Freaking Love Technology

I've now got my personal laptop HDMI'd to the TV, so I'm watching the Speed's live stream on the TV full screen; its like normal coverage except with better announcers and no commercials.  I'll cut the computer over for Driven when its time for that, but I'm really liking this overnight coverage so far.

Why it took so long for Speed to figure this solution out is beyond me seeing as 5 years ago Grand-Am had cameras on the track overnight, before Speed had them shut down for the 4 years between then and now.

As for the racing, I think we can all agree that Ryan Dalziel is easily the MVP of this race so far.

Current best driver name on the track:  Gaetano Ardagna

Make a limerick out of that one Mike!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Never forget...

Speed announcers taking a break...

Not us!  I think they probably just wanted to go watch Driven.  Or watch the tennis final.

My laptop is nearing its retirement age and the cars keep pausing every now and then.  Or maybe they're just hitting the breaks.

They should all try to run each other off of the road like I was doing tonight!  Of course, I usually ended up running MYSELF off instead, particularly that one time when I missed Wedge and took a dive.

16 more hours of this?!?

Tennis Preview - Weather a big factor for Djoker

Rarely has one man's breath, or lack of it, been such a talking point before a major sporting event of any kind.

For Serbian Novak Djokovic, it could well be the factor that decides whether or not he takes the 2012 Australian Open Men's Single title.

While Djokovic is behind Rafael Nadal in head to head contents, Djokovic was won the last six head-to-head encounters between the two, including victories at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

In fact, Djokovic was virtually unbeatable in 2011.

But in this Australian Open, he's found a new opponent. Tougher than Nadal, and certainly tougher than Andy Murray who he beat in the semi final. His breath, and Melbourne's famous allergies.

In both the quarter and semi finals, Djokovic had what you'd describe as a blue moment. Unable to breathe in the second set against Andy Murray in the semi-final, he basically gave up the second set, before coming back to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5.

The weather forecast contains both potentially good and bad news for the Serbian: Possible thunderstorms.

A good dose of rain arriving early enough with the storm will inevitably force organisers to close the roof, making the finals indoors, which may help what appears to be an allergy problem.

However, thunderstorm conditions in Melbourne are known to make the pollen grains that float in Melbourne's air burst, and make respiratory problems worse.

While Djokovic can afford to give up a set to the Brit Andy Murray, whether he can afford to do this to Nadal, remains to be seen.

Stay tuned.

Observations So Far

Ok, so first of all, HUGE thanks to everyone who joined us for our 3rd year of blogathon Mario Kart Wii racing. What I think we all learned very quickly is that DJ CraqAttaq is the champ, but the rest of us had a lot of good tight racing for 2nd place, or top in the GT class, if you will.

While we were Mario Karting, I had a 2nd small screen on both the UFC fight and Daytona 24 and have come away with some more observastions:

-I find it interesting that Chael Sonnen gets cheered for... because its not that fans suddenly found him as a likeable guy all of a sudden; but due to the fact that the UFC simply managed to find a guy who is more annoying and hated in Michael Bisping.

-What does that loss mean for Phil Davis? Does he just start going through all the former champs that Jon Jones beat now? Either way, still can't avoid the fact that the guy is awesome in pink shorts.

-Marco Andretti, what can you say. He just tested an IndyCar all morning, didn't even get to Daytona until after 8pm, then jumped in a car he'd never seen before, on a track he's never raced, in a series he hasn't raced in.. and immediately went out there and turned some of the fastest laps we saw... wow.

The thing I come away from this with though, is that its not surprising. Every time Marco was in a ALMS race, and the few times he was in A1GP he looked quite good. He also looked very good at times in IndyCar, but you have to wonder if he simply thrives in out-of-the-box situations better. What I mean to say is that in ALMS, Grand-Am, and even in A1GP (though AGR ran the USA car) he didn't have the same comfort zone of his dad and his singular ride to fall back on, his performance was up for judgement because it directly affected teammates or his ability to keep the ride.

It really makes you wonder how good Marco would be if he didn't race for Andretti Autosport, maybe no better, but as a spectator I'd certainly like to see it.


Blame a poor caffeine and pre-race sleep strategy, blame having to work Monday, I can't stay awake another 16 hours after being up for 18 so I'll get a bit of kip now.

Mario Kart was great fun! Promised myself I wouldn't stay up to 4am this year like I did last, so I could wake up earlier for a long run to the finish. The pull of Mario Kart was just too strong, and it was absolutely worth it.

I've set my alarm to wake up in about 6 hours, but I know me so it might be a couple of hours later. In the fridge is a 500ml can of Relentless energy drink I could deploy, in the morning. Netbook in bed.. that's an option. I'm rambling.

I'll probably miss the tennis.. but that's okay, I hate tennis. Back and forth, one end to the other, over and over again.

Come on McNish and Popow, might've been a bad idea to pick two drivers from one car for my ARFL team and I'm relying on you guys to not screw it up.

Enjoy Drivel!

Silly Cautions

Would like to announce that I have dropped an olive on the ground and will be declaring a full course caution! Honestly, you can tell who pulls the strings for this championship. Some of these full course cautions are ridiculous and allowing all of these cars to catch back up. Heard a great comment on the SPEED coverage tonight that it was all about making it to the last caution and shooting it out from there.

While I think Grand-Am has certainly stepped up their game here in the states, I believe we need to evaluate how we throw these flags. Shouldn't be surprised I guess.

Other than that, this race has been pretty good with some heavy traffic jams! Big shout outs to Marco Andretti, Travis Pastrana, and Anders Krohn! Only what, 16 hours left? Roll on!

American Rally Season Kicks Off with Sno* Drift

So I am now into my second martini and still watching the Rolex 24. However, yesterday marked the start of a two day rally event that officially launched the 2012 Rally America championship. The event just ended a couple of hours ago and Subaru Rally USA driver David Higgins drew first blood in the title race against Antoine L'Estage.

The championship is comprised of six events across the US with a large variety of talent. Some like Higgins have won championships in other countries, while others are pure gentleman racers with the love of rally racing. This championship used to place host to the likes of Travis Pastrana and Ken Block.

The first round takes place in the most northern sections of Michigan for the Sno* Drift rally. The unique aspect of this event is the tire selection. While many rally championships across the world allow for the use of studded snow tires, Rally America outlaws these tires and forces the competitors to use street winter tires. Needless to say the product is always entertaining and yields some rather interesting results. Last year's event had very high attrition which seen Travis Hanson win in a super production (SP) class car. It marked the first time ever a SP car would win an event outright.

As far as the 2012 chapter went, the attrition was not as high and the pre rally favorites were able to keep the car on the ice. There were initial concerns with the amount of snowfall, but the solid sheet of ice that is typical of the event was there in full. Cars spent yesterday and today slipping and sliding in the pursuit of traction. It was the 2012 Subaru STi of David Higgins that would take the overall win with Canadian star Antoine L'Estage and his Rockstar sponsored Mitsubishi EVO X finishing runner up. Travis Hanson would take third place after Crazy Leo Urlichich was handed an eight minute penalty for missing a catalytic converter on his car.

Another fantastic Sno* Drift event and another fantastic start to the 2012 Rally America campaign (Hell no I am not talking about politicians). The next event will be the 100 Acre Wood rally in Salem MO. Judging by the crazy winter we have had so far, this will probably not have snow. Here is hoping at least! 

"Graham Rahal loves the Rolex he won soooo much...

"...he keeps it in a box," says Leigh Diffey.

Well, maybe.

It also could have something to do with this, between you and me.

Rolex shouldn't cry too much though. There are other international superstars around without watch deals. You know my number.

Welcome to the nightshift

Evening everybody,

Deputy Captain and International Superstar, Shane Rogers, speaking.

We'll be cruising into the overnight at top speed, with our destination being the AM, after a stop at the Australian Open Men's Tennis Final at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

In the meantime, feel free to join in our on board entertainment, which is basically me chucking this thing into Autopilot, and telling a wide variety of dad jokes. You will laugh, or you will GO TO YOUR ROOM.

If you're playing drinking games based on my blog posts, the key phrases are "track density," "discretion," and "cricket."

The schedule at the Tennis today:
* The Mixed Doubles Final between that involves four people you've never heard of before is at 16:30AEDT/00:30ET
* The Men's Singles final between Novak ("I may look like the IT guy but I can hit a ball better than I can install anti-virus definitions") Djokovic, and Rafa ("Can you girls stop fainting when I take my shirt off, it's really distracting") Nadal. This starts at 19:30AEDT/03:30ET.

To paraphrase Pink, "it's just you and [Joey] Hand tonight."

See you soon.


I'm playing Mario Kart at the moment, but a third party tells me that Marco just got into a car he's never seen on a track he hasn't driven since Skip Barber and took Dario to school on the last restart.

I need to think long and hard about that one.

Official OP Beverage for the 24 = VODKA!

Vodka martinis! Shaken, not stirred. Shaun chose Fuzzy's with no garnish. As for me, I selected my new fav vodka, Tito's, garnished with jalapeno-stuffed olives. Both were crafted with a touch of dry vermouth, shaken, and strained using a Boston shaker. (in other words, properly made!) Special thanks for tonight's tasty beverage goes to Meesh who turned me on to Tito's a week or so ago.

Mario Kart Time!

Mario Kart Wii Showdown (with chat room)

The clear hit addition for tha last 2 years is returning. In order to join in all you have to do is add these friend codes to your account and then post your friend code in the comments so we can add you as well:

Wedge = 2192-8881-7770
Furious = 2665-3459-4828

Join in here for some Mario Kart trash talking.

Blogathon 2012: Limerick #3

When a man's name is Freddy Poordad,
You would think he could not be more sad.
But I gave him a beer,
Then ol' Fred filled with cheer,
And, oh, what a night we sure had!

Indy Lights Drivers Showing Strong at Daytona

I love watching junior formula races, whether that's in open wheel such as with the Mazda Road to Indy program, or with the up-and-coming drivers in the 2WD class in the Rally America Series. Perhaps its part of why I enjoy teaching as a profession so much. I love watching these various young drivers evolve, learn, grown, and develop as they move up through the ranks and classes. One of the great things I've enjoyed about this year's Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona has been the participation of drivers from Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda Series.

Three of last year's Firestone Indy Lights drivers are competing in this year's race. Jorge Goncalves and Gustavo Yacaman, who raced for Belardi Auto Racing and Team Moore Racing, respectively, are joining forces and racing for Michael Shank Racing in the #6 Daytona Prototype car. As of right now, 2006h EST, they're running 10th overall. Not too shabby for their first go in a DP car. Anders Krohn, who raced for Belardi along side Goncalves last year, is in the #36 Yellow Dragon Racing Mazda RX-8 GT car. Unfortunately for Anders, that car is way back in 49th place. The Mazdas are completely outclassed with the inclusion of the GT3 cars such as the Ferrari 458.

There are many more drivers with backgrounds in open-wheel junior formula of various flavours competing this weekend. Joey Hand, Dane Cameron, and John Edwards all have competed in the Star Mazda Series, for example. I'll be keeping my eye on these young drivers throughout the night and toward the checkered flag tomorrow afternoon. I'm hoping that Jorge and Gustavo can maintain their top-10 position. Best of luck, boys!

I Hate Heights

This has got to be the worst sport ever. Who deliberately chooses to ski off a cliff?

Eurosport switched away from Daytona so I'll look for a stream in a minute. Really though, I like some winter sports such as biathlon and there's probably some decent stuff tomorrow, but I hate heights and this sport scares me.

Adventures in race blogging with a toddler

Given how fervently I clamoured to participate in this year's blogathon, one would tend to assume I'd have been more active up to now.

However, there's one major factor that's new to me this year:  I have a toddler.

I've been balancing between: having her sitting on my lap pointing at the cars and making engine noises; reading books that continually get dropped in my lap while clandestinely keeping one eye on the television; trying to drown out the constantly repeating Alphabet Song emanating from several of her toys at once to keep tabs on the race broadcast; and getting her fed and bathed and changed for bed because, sadly, as awesome as my 13-month-old is, she isn't quite ready to do those things on her own quite yet.

Now, I'm sitting in a darkened living room thinking to myself, "Come on, kid -- go to sleep! I want to put the race back on!"

Ah, well. I'm really just here for the Mario Kart tournament, anyway.

Is it me...

or was that McMurray guy crying just now?

Eye of the Racer

Here is an "Eye of the Tiger" parody by me, about the 24 hour race.

Sittin' down
On our sofa
Got remotes
Got the t.v.
Hit the buttons
Go to six o seven
Watch the race
It's so late
Till midnight
So many times
He's lost the race
Turn to fast
Suffer crashes
Hit the wall
Then bouncin' back
To your doom
You must hope
That you are
Still alive
It's the
Eye of the Racer
It's the thrill
Of the night
Risin' up
To the challenge
Of his rivals
Yeah, his
Car's red and yellow
So we best win the race.
And he's
It all
Through the Eye
Of the Racer
Turnin' left
Turnin' right
Got the wheel
Got the power
Push the pedals
And you're ready to race
Passin' cars
That all seem
Way to slow
It's the
Eye of the Racer
It's the thrill
Of the night
Risin' up
To the challenge
Of his rivals
Yeah, his
Car's red and yellow
So we best win the race.
And he's
It all
Through the Eye
Of the Racer
This is it
Final lap
Worried down
To your toebones
Gettin' ready
Now you're ready
To rock
Push the gas
Make it past
Win the race
It's the
Eye of the Racer
It's the thrill
Of the night
Risin' up
To the challenge
Of his rivals
Yeah, his
Car's red and yellow
So we best win the race.
And he's
It all
Through the Eye
Of the Racer
Of the Racer
Of the RAAAAAAcer

I Wasn't Going To Post My Snacks

..but what the hell.

I have actually eaten that entire bag of Sensations.

Another food picture

Jalapeno grilled cheese, Zapps Voodoo chips, Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss

The Important Thing to Note

About this whole blogathon and the Daytona 24, is that I'm coming back against Mike in this game of Word Feud we have going on. (Words With Friends for people with sucky phones).

The other thing to note, is that if you are in a UFC match and get punched in the face so hard that your mouthpiece flies out of your mouth, theres a good chance that will be on YouTube very soon.

Just saying you might as well start YouTube searching for Cub Swanson - George Roop now, crazy knock out.

This UFC event tonight is in Chicago, so you gotta imagine thats like the closest thing those people will ever get to hear about a Cub win. Ba-dum ching.... And now... back to racing.

Best driver name in the field right now: Fred Poordad

Blogathon 2012: Limerick #2

We've all heard of Allan McNish,
The man who ate off a big dish
'Til the dish fell and broke,
Causing Allan to choke
On the tartar sauce from his McFish.

Doomsday Preppers

This show looks pretty funny.  I'd rather it be called "Zombies Are Coming!"  Quality commercial.

My Fantasy Team

I know we always laugh about how clueless I am when it comes to the actual racing, but now that I've joined the guys in the fantasy league, I'm kind of trying to keep up.  Unfortunately, I can't tell who is driving which car and, therefore, I am still pretty clueless.  So... someone let me know if any of these dudes do something awesome or crash or anything noteworthy.

Scott Dixon
Scott Pruett
Ricky Taylor
Jorg Bergmeister
Memo Gidley

Snack picture time

OK, so I didn't find any Mardi Gras Bock like our Speedgeek, but I do have some Abita root beer, a few different beers, and some tequila. I also just yellow flagged one of those black-and-white cookies.  I don't know what that means, really, but I thought I should try to use some racing jargon.  I really meant that I just ate one of them.  And it was awesome.  Anyone else want to share a snack photo?

Fighting Back

Gianmaria Bruni started near the back (at the back?) and right now he's sitting 10th in GT. A gain of 35 or so positions in 90 minutes, that's pretty good going for a GT field as stacked as this! I'm keeping an eye on this entry, that's a quality line-up in a quality team.

Darren Law seems to be pushing in the #5 Action Express, after that early stop. He's already cleared the entire GT field.

Not sure who at Grand-Am's timing partner decided their live timing site would only show 9 cars in an artifically-limited screen height. When you're used to F1, IndyCar or ACO timing showing 20+ cars it is a bit annoying.

Eurosport just went to a 15-minute break to show handball. Why would you show handball for 15 minutes? They've also completely failed to sync their ad breaks to Speed's, and failed to fade up their pit reporters. I love Eurosport, they've been bringing us all sorts of good stuff on a shoestring for 20 years, I mean don't get me wrong I'm glad they are showing the race at all. Martin Haven's on his usual form, funny stuff, however Carlton Kirby is his usual diabolical self, the man is utterly clueless..

I can't be the only one who thinks...

"Waltrip" and "Ferrari" just seem so odd in the same sentence together.

Are there other combinations that would be as awkward?

-"Marty Roth" and "champion"
-"Milka Duno" and "awesome"
-"Porsche" and "underdog with only a few entries"
-Mike Conway" and "outspoken"
-"Pastrana" and "boring"

whats some other good ones?

A Tip o' the Hat

As a tip of the ol' hat to my fellow GBS boys, I selected Abita Mardi Gras Bock as my Official Beer of Blogathon. I just opened my first one. It is delicious.

What Does Porsche Aim to Prove?

This year is nothing new, but why is it that over 50% of the field in the GT class is Porsches? TRG fields 5 of them alone but there are 23+ Porches in the 40 total GTs this year. For that reason alone I almost always end up rooting against them all, at least in the GT class; but are there any racers out there that know exactly why there are so many?

Are they cheaper? More reliable, or is it just peer pressue to be trendy?

In the DP class its not looking good for the Corvette's introduction so far with one of its better bets (Suntrust racing) spending most of its time in the garage to work on an engine vibration. Already 14 laps down and in last place. sure its only 30 minutes into the race and there is plenty time to make up laps and pace, but they gotta get it right very soon.

In other quick observations:

-I miss the 58/59 cars being in the Prototype class, now that they are Porsche GT's they really, REALLY look like Herbie

-Is the #8 on the Ford DP car an hourglass, or a flipped up infinity sign?

-Exactly how many Potolicchios are racing in this thing? Enzo surely made his mark by taking over for Ryan Dalziel and promtly losing the lead, and 2nd, and 3rd places...

-Scott Pruett is a badass, has already picked up 9 places and is continuing to close the gap on the leaders.

Blogathon 2012: Limerick #1

There once was a man named Scott Pruett
With more gum than he knew what to do with.
He had so many packs,
He had piles, he had stacks,
But no teeth, so no way he could chew it!

I'm Here

Okay, I'm going to try to stay up all night this year. Just saw an awesome commercial ( ow, that jeep flipping must have hurt ).

I have to say...

I'm disappointed that I have not seen one commercial about a DVD kiosk.  I also have not yet been asked to join the military.

Time for the first Prince Fielder joke of 2012!

I know that we're all watching a race, but I've waited long enough.

You know who is happiest about Prince Fielder's new deal?  Every McDonald's franchise owner in the greater Detroit area!  Prince can now afford like 71 million Big Macs!

Thanks guys.  I'll be here all weekend.

Prince may be gone from Milwaukee, but he's always a Brewer to me.

Dempsey Ultimatium

So Patrick Dempsey says he won't be returning to Grey's Anatomy unless the show agrees to have shooting work around his full time Grand-Am schedule.

Good to see Patrick become a racer who acts, no longer an actor who races... but thats besides the point. While I don't want Brian Johnson quitting his day job in AC/DC, I think racing needs more utimatiums, how about these:

-KV Racing says that if E.J. Viso wrecks anymore he will be forced to go out and pick up all the pieces by himself.

-NASCAR says that unless Kurt Busch keeps his potty mouth clean, he will have to wash his mouth out with soap during pit stops.

-Roger Penske demands that Ryan Briscoe win this Daytona 24, otherwise he's getting the name changed to Kevin Briscoe on all the cars

-Darrell Waltrip demands that "Boogity" be added to the Oxford English Dictionary, until then he will continue to say it repeatedly

The Speedgeek's Quick Pre-Race Predictions

DP Class Winner - #99 Gainsco Corvette

DP First Out - #6 Michael Shank Racing With Curb-Agajanian Riley-Ford

GT Class Winner - (really going out on a limb) #59 Brumos Porsche 911 GT3

GT First Out - #22 Bullet Racing Porsche 911 GT3

First semi-insane pit report from Justin Bell (coming between his driving stints this year, since he's actually driving): 5:45 PM Eastern.

That's all for now. Enjoy the race!

Happy Racing Season Everyone!

So with 6 root beers, 4 black cherry sodas, bagel bites, sunflower seeds, 2 computers and a TV ready to display some sports, lets hereby declare the 4th Annual Blogathon open, and lets just say it people,  

Racing Season Has Begun!!

I'm looking forward to attempting this 24-25 hr marathon of zaniness, but of course, we'd be remiss if we pretended Mike, Andy and myself were going in this alone. We want to welcome a slew of victims guests this year who will be joining us throughout this festival of sports commentary and whatever-else-ness.

These great people are taking their time to come bunk up at Grab Bag Sports this weekend, but don't miss out on all the amazing news, insights and analysis they provide throughout the year; go visit them at their sites often this year!

Steph Wallcraft - More Front Wing

George Phillips - Oil Pressure

James Black - 16th and Georgetown

Shane Rogers - International Superstar

Michele-Marie Beer - What I'm Thinking and Open Wheel World

Pat Wotton - (I watch) Too Much Racing

Rick - Flat Into One

Doug, Mike and Shaun - Open

Thanks to all of them for joining us and making this event what it is.

For those watching the Daytona 24 Hours; here is your Live Timing and Scoring, and Live Streaming

Bonus behind the scenes interviews with The Racers Group and drivers of all 98 of their cars can be watched live here.

With our apologies to Supercross... Happy Racing Season Everyone!!!

The Scott Pruett "Hi to the Family" Sweepstakes

As we get ready to watch our unofficial opening to the racing season today and celebrate all the awesomeness of 24 hours of sports and endurance racing, we're bringing back a good ole tradition of ours.

You see, no matter what you like about The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, it frankly wouldn't be a fully fledged official Grand-Am race unless Scott Pruett said "hello to my family back home" during an in-race interview. Scott never disappoints, and by no means are we making fun of him; we absolutely love that Scott does it. Its a great show of a guy not only being a racer but also continuing to be a good family man.

By now, we're so sure of Scott's commitment to saying hi to his family that for the 2nd year in a row, we're holding a sweepstakes for all our fans (disclaimer: you don't have to actually be a fan of ours to play or win).

How to Enter:

Simply click on the comments below and predict when within the 24 hours of the race Scott will say hello to his family.

The race will start at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time this year and end 24 hours later; so all you have to do is pick a time between then (use ET).

The person who is the closest wins (none of that Price is Right "without going over" nonsense).

Actual disclaimer: We do not count if he does it in pre-race interviews, only in-race interviews.

The winner will receive one, some or any of the following:
- Grand Am decals or a flag
- A 2012 IndyCar calendar
- Bacon flavored pop-corn
- Some Hot Wheels, likely IndyCar (we'd get Grand-Am ones if they made them)
- Or you can forfeit those and go for the Top Gear official board game!

Only 1 entry per person, and we'll accept entries all the way up until Scott says hi.

Oh, and hello to our families back home :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

24 Hours of Daytona - Daytona Prototype Class

OK, I promised a preview for the Daytona Prototype class in this weekend's 24 Hours of Daytona, and I am not about to let a promise go unfulfilled (well, other than the other six dozen times I've promised to write something here and then didn't...those do not count). It has been a crazy week at the office this week, so this will be brief, but as a result, I can promise you that I have not read any other DP preview columns this week (nor have I been keeping up with any of the usual racing blogs that I read in any given week or any of the regular videopodcasts that I watch, and apologies to anybody I might have missed there), so these thoughts are fresh.

OK, without any further ado, and because I have to get up to work in about seven hours (them French crullers and apple fritters ain't gonna bake themselves, kids), here is The Speedgeek's abbreviated preview of the 2012 Daytona 24 Hours Daytona Prototype class. Again, don't go adding these odds up and sending me irate comments. I'm not a bookie. You're getting exactly what you paid for here.

Er...No Way, Chester

#50 50+Predator/Alegra BMW-Riley - While this team may have some very capable hands at the helm for several of the 24 hours (that would be Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Jim Pace, Carlos de Quesada) there are a couple of pretty suspect drivers as well (that would be Bryon Defoor, who I've never heard of before and then AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, who has never started such a major race in his life, to my knowledge). 40% sub-professional drivers? I don't like those odds. Odds - 100 to 1.

Jeez, Not With The Strength of this Top-10

#6 Michael Shank Racing With Curb-Agajanian Ford-Riley - There are a couple of future megastars in this car (namely, Felipe Nasr, last year's British F3 champion, who is probably bound for F1 in a couple of years after the way he dominated last year, plus Michael McDowell, who would be well served to get his arms around eventual stardom in sports cars instead of "starting-and-parking" 30 times per year in NASCAR), but the whole lineup is just too young. Young, impetuous drivers in a 24 hour race = somebody is gonna wad this car up. Odds - 75 to 1.

#76 Krohn Racing Ford-Lola - A pretty solid driver lineup, overall (Colin Braun and ex-F1 driver Ricardo Zonta, especially, though Nic Jonsson is quite good and team owner Tracy Krohn is no embarrassment), but just not a strong enough squad to beat the top few teams on sheer pace. Yeah, yeah, 24 hour, blah, blah, endurance, blah, blah. Too many tough teams up front. Odds - 50 to 1.

#2 Starworks Motorsports Ford-Riley - Three words: too many Potolicchios. Odds - 50 to 1.

It's Gonna Take Some Attrition

#77 Doran Racing Ford-Dallara - Jim Lowe, the Brothers Frisselle and (The Immortal) Paul Tracy are certainly a pretty stout lineup. I'm not sure I'm buying them winning the race in a Dallara (which has never won the 24 before)-Ford (which has historically had, um, a few reliability problems here). Odds - 40 to 1.

#60 Michael Shank Racing With Curb-Agajanian Ford-Riley - A dynamite driver lineup (IndyCar superstud Justin Wilson, new Roger Penske NASCAR and hopefully future Roger Penske IndyCar employee A.J. Allmendinger, the very quick regular duo of Ozz Negri and John Pew), potentially hamstrung by a hand grenade Ford engine. And, yes, I know full well that a Ford engine finished in the top-5 and on the lead lap last year, but the competition seems to have made a performance leap that may be a bridge too far for the Fords to keep the smoke inside the engine compartment. Besides, I have to start paring down teams sometime, right? Odds - 20 to 1.

#90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP - Yet another top-line driver lineup (filled with GM factory drivers, Jan Magnussen, Richard Westbrook, Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin), but the team itself had...well, they had some problems finishing races last year. They could make a breakthrough at Daytona, but it would take some help from the competition. Odds - 20 to 1.

The Contenders

#8 Starworks Motorsports Ford-Riley - A Great (with a capital "G") driver lineup (sportscar mega-megastar Allan McNish, one of the brightest upcoming sports car drivers in the world, Ryan Dalziel, winner of about 3,400 sports car races in Audi LMPs, Lucas Luhr, the two Venezuelan fellas that appeared out of nowhere to turn pretty respectable by the end of 2011), but I don't totally trust 40% of the drivers. And the teams ahead of them are just a little too good, even for the likes of McNish, Dalziel and Luhr. Yes, even though Dalziel put this car on the pole. I stand by it. Odds - 10 to 1.

#9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP - It's hard to argue with the driver talent (the three regular drivers, Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and JC France did win a race last year, and for the sake of this race they've added Mad Max Papis, who was born at this track 15 years ago) and the team itself did win the 24 just two years ago, but the top few teams are just too stacked. Also, you have to wonder (OK, I have to wonder) if the Corvette DP is going to last the entire distance in its first race. Odds - 10 to 1.

#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP - David Donohue, Darren Law and Christian Fittipaldi are a great lineup. The Corvette appears to be very fast (although the #5 car did not set a qualifying time, and so will be starting from the tail of the field). So, what's wrong? This team isn't one of the Ganassi, Gainsco or SunTrust cars, that's what. Odds - 8 to 1.

#10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP - You can not front on the speed of the car (on the front row, by a scant 0.121 seconds behind Dalziel in the Starworks Riley), nor can you front on the speed of the drivers (IndyCar star Ryan Briscoe, a guy who just goes by the name "The Axe", and Ricky Taylor, won something like 26 consecutive pole positions in GrandAm last year). But I just think the other teams are a tick better. Odds - 6 to 1.

#99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP - Yet another standout (to put it lightly) driver lineup (Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who have won two of the last five Rolex Series championships, plus all-around fast guy in everything he touches, Memo Gidley), in yet another rocketship Corvette. They would be the prohibitive favorites (though I have to put them at Odds - 5 to 1), if it were not for...

The Prohibitive Favorites

#01 and #02 Chip Ganassi Racing With Felix Sabates BMW-Riley - The team that has won four of the last six 24 Hours of Daytona crowns, three of the last four Rolex Series championships, and something approaching 93% of the last five seasons' worth of races (all stats approximate), you'd be an idiot to put a whole lot of money on some other team without at least hedging a bit with a similar wager on one (or both) of the Ganassi cars. It's basically a pick-'em between the two. The #01 has the regular Ganassi GrandAm drivers of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas plus IndyCar star Graham Rahal and last year's breakout sports car megastar Joey Hand. The #02 car has IndyCar superduperstars Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon and Ganassi's regular NASCAR drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. Those are two pretty unbeatable lineups. Incredibly, one of them won't win this race. Which one will come up short? Your guess is as good as mine. Odds - #01: 3 to 1; #02: 3 to 1.

So, there are your fields. And here are your qualifying results. What will happen? Well, one thing I can tell you is that there will be last minute predictions tomorrow. And we'll all have an unbelievably fantastic time watching the proceedings, of both the 24 Hours and of Blogathon. Tune back in on Saturday for all the shenanigans you can handle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

24 Hours of Daytona Preview - GT Class

Apologies to anybody who thinks that I'm riding the professionals' coattails and that I should leave the heavy lifting to them, but it's time for a Grab Bag Sports preview for the 24 Hours of Daytona! First up, we're going to take a quick look at the GT class.

GrandAm has taken the visionary step for 2012 of incorporating cars that are built to FIA GT3 specifications (a move that the American Le Mans Series could have done to help their car counts and instill extra interest via a larger variety of manufacturers as far back as the start of the 2010 season, but still has not, for reasons that I can not understand...this is a separate 6,000 word rant, so I'll just leave this right here), which has added to the regular crowd of Porsche GT3s, Mazda RX-8s, BMW M3s and Chevrolet Camaros (plus the occasional Cheverolet Corvette or Ford Mustang) the Audi R8 and the Ferrari 458. When you also take into account that in Europe, teams also currently run Aston Martin DBR9s, BMW Z4s, Lamborghini Gallardos, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs and McLaren MP/4-12Cs, and we could see an incredible variety of cars in GrandAm's GT class down the road, not to mention gargantuan car counts.
Back to the present, though. Who are the favorites, the contenders and the pretenders in this year's field? I'm putting odds to win on the different levels of competitors, but please do note, I am not a professional odds maker, and so these odds will not add up, nor probably make sense. OK, let's get to the good stuff.

The Semi-Prohibitive Favorites

#59 Brumos Porsche GT3 - With a great driver lineup, including the defending Rolex Series GT champion co-drivers, Leh Keen and Andrew Davis, Porsche hired gun Marc Lieb, and 5-time overall winner of the Daytona 24 Hours, Hurley Haywood, there are no chinks in the personnel armor. Add in the tried and true Porsche 911 GT3, and the argument for the team best equipped to run at 100% for 24 straight hours begins and ends here. Odds - 3 to 1.

The Contenders

#62 and #63 Risi Ferrari 458s - Fantastic driver lineups (longtime GT frontrunner Gimmi Bruni, ex-F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella and ex- and possibly future-IndyCar pilot Raphael Matos in the #62; ex-longtime Corvette driver Olivier Beretta, and factory Ferrari GT drivers Andrea Bertolini and Toni Vilander in the #63) means that the Risi cars will be running flat out as long as they're running. The long-running Risi team, taking a step over the sports car fence for the first time from ALMS, means that the cars will run well as long as they're running. The 458s were fast (very, very fast) in pre-event testing. However, the 458 is brand new to GrandAm GT. Will it last 24 long hours on the high banks? Odds - #62: 5 to 1; #63: 5 to 1.

#45 Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 - The same guys who won the 2010 ALMS GT2 title, with the same bundle of drivers (Porsche factory drivers Patrick Long, Jorg Bergmeister and Mike Rockenfeller, plus team owner Seth Nieman), they're taking a step back from last year when they sat on the pole and set the fastest race lap in the Daytona Prototype class. With a car much more similar to what they're used to running in their ALMS "day jobs", they're bound to be up in the top-5 all day and all night. Odds - 5 to 1.

#66 and #67 The Racer's Group Porsche GT3s - TRG is running 5 (count 'em!) Porsches in this year's race, but the only two that are really in contention for a podium finish on pure speed are the #66 and #67. Filled with Porsche factory drivers (Patrick Pilet in the #66, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Wolf Henzler in the #67) and longtime sports car frontpackers (Dominik Farnbacher, Allen Simonsen and Ben Keating in the #66, Marc Goossens, Spencer Pumpelly and Steven Bertheau in the #67), the TRG cars are constantly in the top-5 at Daytona. Factor in that TRG won the race overall in at GT3 Porsche in 2003, and you have to figure that they'll be there or thereabouts when the clock ticks into the final hour. TRG is running 3 other cars, but the driver lineups are not nearly as strong as the #66 and#67. Odds - #66: 7 to 1; #67: 6 to 1; #64, #65 and#68: 12 to 1.

#69 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 - Moving over from a Mazda RX-8 in 2011, AIM's very capable driver crew are in a very fast car in 2012. Will the car last? Or will the new car blues get them down? Odds - 9 to 1.

#02 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari 458 - Using the same four drivers that they use for their full ALMS effort, the ESM Ferrari should be fast. Very, very fast (Guy Cosmo, especially, can absolutely fly, though Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek are no slouches, and Patron Tequila CEO Ed Brown is getting better by the season), but again, will the Ferrari do the trick in its first year at Daytona? Or will something befall this team in the night, as tends to happen to them at Sebring? Odds - 9 to 1.

#23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3 - The stronger of the driver lineups between the two AJR cars (Porsche factory drivers Emmanuel Collard and Marco Holzer, sports car megastar Butch Leitzinger), this car could easily be in the top-3 come daylight. Odds - 9 to 1.

Sorry, It Ain't Your Year

#93 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 - Even with three factory BMW drivers (Bill Auberlen, Dirk Muller and Jorg Muller) on board, it's a huge question mark for what is basically a glorified sedan to outrun a field filled with Porsches and Ferraris for 24 hours. Odds - 12 to 1.

#57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro - They finished 2nd in the GrandAm GT championship last year, but the Camaro still appears to be a brick through the air on the highbanks. Even super-capable (and fast) drivers Ronnie Bremer, John Edwards and Robin Liddell can't run to the front at Daytona in this car. Odds - 15 to 1.

#88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro - See above entry for Stevenson, but sub in factory GM drivers Paul Edwards, Tom Milner and Jordan Taylor. Same result, though. Odds - 15 to 1.

#70 Speedsource Mazda RX-8 - The potentially best overall driver lineup of any car in the field, GT or DP (Jonathan Bomarito, Sylvain Tremblay, James Hinchcliffe and Marino Franchitti...that, friends, is a murderer's row), but they are saddled with a no-longer-at-the-sharp-end-of-the-field Mazda. Sorry, fellas. If you had a Porsche, I'd be etching your names on the trophy right now. Odds - 15 to 1.

#4 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 - Sneaky-fast mid- to front-pack Porsche team, but they're simply outgunned this year. Pencil them in for a top-5 at the end of the 24 hours, though. Odds - 20 to 1.

The Field

Plenty of interesting storylines abound (Michael Waltrip and Travis Pastrana in a Ferrari! Fantastic looking Audi R8s! About 239 other Porsche teams! A Corvette with drivers from Belgium and The Netherlands? A freaking Dodge Viper?!?), but make no mistake, the winner will be from the group above. Odds - 50 to 1.

Of course, with all of this said, I'm sure that the Yellow Dragon Mazda RX-8 is going to prove me to be a moron. Bring it. It's going to be a fascinating race.

Daytona Prototype preview to come...

GBS Blogathon 2012 Preview Podcast

Here is our annual podcast where we discuss this year's Blogathon.  See the full schedule here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blogathon 2012 Schedule

Our Blogathon Preview Podcast is now available, and Wedge and/or SpeedGeek may be posting some racing thoughts at some point this week.  For now, here is a schedule of events to watch on television and chances to interact with us throughout the 24 hours of the Daytona 24 and Blogathon 2012.

This year's features include another round of Mario Kart as well as a screening of the classic Sly Stallone film, Driven.  To participate in Mario Kart (9:00 p.m.), post a comment here or contact Wedge during Blogathon with your Wii ID so we can add you to the game.  This is a fun event each year and one of the highlights of the 24 hours for me.  If you want to watch Driven (1:00 a.m.) with me as I live-blog, see the end of this post for details.

Here is an updated schedule.

All times are Eastern. Last updated on 1/24/12.

January 28

2:30 p.m. - Coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins (SPEED)
3:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Tennessee Tech at Morehead State (ESPNU)
3:00 p.m. - PGA Tour Golf: Farmers Insurance Open (CBS)
4:00 p.m. - Winter X Games Snowboarding (ABC)
4:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Georgetown at Pittsburgh (ESPN)
4:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern (ESPN2)
5:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Iowa at Missouri State (ESPNU)
6:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Aubrn at Tennessee (ESPN2)
7:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Washington at Arizona (ESPN)
7:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Butler at Wisconsin Green Bay (ESPNU)
7:00 p.m. - NHL All-Star SuperSkills Competition (NBC Sports)
8:00 p.m. - UFC: Evans vs. Davis (FOX)
8:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Virginia at North Carolina State (ESPN2)
9:00 p.m. - Live Mario Kart
9:00 p.m. - Winter X Games (ESPN)
9:00 p.m. - College Basketball: St. Mary's at BYU (ESPNU)
10:00 p.m. - SPEED race coverage ends for the night. Visit to watch online. 
10:00 p.m. - Australian Open: Women's final (ESPN2)
11:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State (ESPNU)

January 29

1:00 a.m. - Driven screening/live-blogging
3:00 a.m. - Australian Open: Men's final (ESPN2)
9:00 a.m. - Rolex 24 at Daytona coverage returns (SPEED)
12:30 p.m. - PBA Bowling: USBC Masters (ESPN)
1:00 p.m. - College Basketball: Michigan at Ohio State (CBS)
1:00 p.m. - PGA Tour Golf: Farmer's Insurance Open (GOLF)
1:30 p.m. - College Women's Basketball: Rutgers at Georgetown (ESPNU)
2:00 p.m. - Winter X Games (ESPN)
3:00 p.m. - PGA Tour Golf: Farmer's Insurance Open (CBS)
3:00 p.m. - College Women's Basketball: Penn State at Michigan State (ESPN2)
3:30 p.m. - College Women's Basketball: Florida State at Virginia (ESPNU)
3:30 p.m. - NBA Basketball: Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat (ABC)

If you would like to watch Driven with us, we will use the clock (in the yellow box) on this page.  To get ready, start the movie in advance, but press pause as soon as you see the screen read "A Renny Harlin Film."  We will then all hit "play" right when that clock reads 1:00 a.m.  I will be posting my thoughts throughout the movie here on the blog.  Feel free to comment as you watch. If enough people are into it, we can probably set up a live chat somehow as well.  If you do not own the movie, it is streaming on Amazon (free for Prime members, or you can pay a small rental fee).  However, it is not currently streaming on Netflix.  If you are good at the internet, I'm sure there are other ways as well!  We'll have more details as the time gets closer.  (Note: People streaming the movie will not remain exactly in sync with those of us who are watching it from a non-internet source.)

And finally, here are some more scheduling notes from our good friend Pat of!

In-race alternatives seem a bit thin this year but some stuff beforehand could be interesting. Liverpool v Man Utd in the FA Cup, the Africa Cup of Nations, and indoor athletics with four teams: GBR vs USA vs Russia vs Rest of World.

If Mr Shagers and Mr Wedge want to pick up from last year there's some cricket: Pakistan v England, Second Test from 6am GMT Sunday (1am Eastern). But that's the last day of 5 so it might've finished on Saturday.

Here in Britain, Eurosport has plenty of winter sports on Sunday, could be fun. Ski jumping, luge, alpine skiing. More FA Cup on Sunday. And there's always Bowls (not bowling, bowls) if you're desperate I suppose.

For the benefit of your other British reader, the Rolex 24 is on MotorsTV at 7.30pm and patchy coverage on Eurosport 2 from 8pm. Much better race coverage than previous years!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Charles Barkley SNL 2012: Overall Rating


Barkley seemed out of his element tonight and the writing felt very lazy in general.  The only two skits that I feel were above average (Inside the NBA and Lord Windermere) were not because of Charles Barkley.  I don't know if it had anything to do with starting late after the NFL playoff games, or if the lackluster music guest dimmed the mood, but I think this episode rarely showed much energy, from Barkley to the regulars.  Most disappointing of all is that we did not get a MacIntosh reunion in a Scared Straight skit.

It's been fun though.  Thanks to my spam commentators for reading!

Charles Barkley SNL 2012: Mayan Calendar


This was OK.  Barkley and the others play Mayans discussing how effective/ineffective their calendar is.

"It's not like it's carved in stone."  "Yes it is!"

"Man, you just ran out of space and stopped, didn't you?"

Charles Barkley SNL 2012: Convoluted Jerry


This is getting out of hand.  This might have been the worst digital short ever.  Andy Samberg plays a singer whose songs have confusing lyrics.  Barkley barely qualified, with only one line.  Now we have another generic pop song from tonight's generic pop singer.  Will we get a "Scared Straight" skit or is this the end?