Some questions that have been floatin' abouts my gnarled mind........
~~A driver speaking the truth..........One surprise visitor to the Melbourne paddock during this past weekend's Australian GP was former ChampCar driver Nelson Phillipe, 2006 Surfers Paradise winner(...the reason I say former is that he will not be returning to the series in 2007 for one reason; he believes that having become a far better driver now than when he arrived in 2004, he should be paid to drive in ChampCar rather than having to pay teams for the chance at a seat.........) Here was his quote from Autosport as written at autoracing1.com........
First thought...Unfortunately I have to look elsewhere. As much as I want to race in Champ Car (in 2007), I am expected to bring money and I'm not going to do that; I don't have a cent to bring. I'm down in Melbourne and I went to the Formula One paddock and introduced myself around to people like Flavio Briatore(Renault team principal). I'm not prepared to pay for a test drive, and I don't want to move down to GP2. But if I got an offer of a test drive or to become one of Renault's development drivers, I'd take it.
I'm looking at every top open wheel racing series at the moment, but I'm looking at what my options are in V8 Supercars--hey, I might even get paid to race in that!--ALMS, and also Le Mans 24 hours. I want to be supportive of Champ Car, and I believe it is the best series in the world for racing, but I don't want to be expected to bring money each (year). And how can you find a sponsor who wants to put $2 million into a series that hasn't had a television profile in over six years? So I decided to take my destiny into my own hands. I don't think I'm a superstar or anything like that, but I'm not going to pay to drive. I want to have a (race) drive on merit and talent.
Second thought............. Bravo, Nelson......Well said!!!! Isn't it refreshing to see some honesty in this sport, hmm?
~~Add one more driver to the mix. After watching a potential race seat w/Cahill Racing fall apart at the last moment, Grand Am sportscar driver Milka Duno appears set to finally get an IndyCar Series race seat; an announcement is set for sometime Friday with SAMAX Motorsports and representatives from both CITGO and the IRL.
What's that famous saying........(paraphrasing)Danica and Sarah and Milka....oh my!
~~Can Mazda fill in the gap left by Ford's departure? Short answer....YES! How? Well......here's what they've done so far: 1--by providing support for the Atlantic Championship and to SCCA's Formula Mazda series, they've essentially built a Mazda-powered ladder system whereby a driver starts in F-Mazda, then moves up to the more-powerful Star Mazda Series and then moves up to the Atlantics. 2--By running entries in multiple tin-top series(SCCA Mazda MX-5 Cup, Grand Am w/the Mazda RX-8, etc.) it gives Mazda North America more venues to test new items, to test engines(under race conditions) and so forth. Kudos to the MNAO staffs for laying IMO some very valuable seeds for the future of racing in North America.