ChampCar Commentaries

All about the Champ Car World Series (CCWS)

Moderators: Ed, mlittle

Locked
mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Post by mlittle » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:38 pm

Yeah, I thought it was a bit over the top, so to speak. I did like hearing about the PA announcer supposedly saying that they would "deport" Tag for pushing Power into the tirewalls, though.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

rah
F1 Race Winner
F1 Race Winner
Posts: 1304
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: At the place, with that person, doing that thing

Post by rah » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:41 pm

mlittle wrote:Yeah, I thought it was a bit over the top, so to speak. I did like hearing about the PA announcer supposedly saying that they would "deport" Tag for pushing Power into the tirewalls, though.
lol, he needs to speed up his citizenship.
Ok, Lewis may win the WDC in 07, but Sato will beat him in 08.

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

2 Years of Progress....

Post by mlittle » Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:58 pm

When an Australian venture capitalist and an Illinois business chieftain outbid Tony George for the assets of the bankrupt CART series in Jan. 2004, three questions immediately came up in the NA motorsports community:
1}Why didn't they just let George win and allow him to "reunify" AOWR under one umbrella?
2}Why bother buying the assets of the rotting carcass known as CART? and
3}How long would it be before they admitted defeat and gave in to George and Co.?

Well...all I know is that, when the checkered flag fell Sunday afternoon in the high-altitude of Mexico City, it marked two full seasons and also that they had answered all three questions above in a positive manner. Now, the Champ Car World Series is far from its' heady days of the early-to-mid 1990's(pre-split), but its' also a h--- of a lot healthier than anyone could have imagined.

Not only have Kevin Kalhkoven and Gerry Forsythe kept the lighthouse lamps burning, but they've added several new venues, held on to some, revitalized a lagging Atlantics series and beaten TG at every punch. And, just what have they done:
1}Brought two major new venues into the series(San Jose and Edmonton) and are in the process of bringing both Houston and/or Philadelphia into ChampCar;
2}Held onto both Long Beach and Toronto by acquiring the rights to each event(including promotions of each event);
3}Given the Atlantic Championship a new lease on life with a more cost-effective engine/chassis package and a $2 million USD first-place prize along with a one-off CC ride at the end of CC's 2006 season;
4}Laid the groundwork for a new CC engine/chassis package that is more cost-effective than it has been in series' history, and
5}made it very clear that they know more about how to run a series than TG and Co. does.

As Kalkhoven said to Robin Miller recently:"If you'd told me all this two years ago, I would have looked to the heavens and said, 'Please God, let this dream be true'. I think we're ahead of where Gerry and I expected to be last January. But I think the key is that all the owners have bonded together very well."

Now granted, there's still work to be done. The car count needs to be increased to around 23-25, the TV rating still aren't above those of "Dog the Bounty Hunter", and the series' American venues(especially Milwaukee) need attendance help fast. Oh, and the series needs a few more American drivers. On that, Kalkhoven noted, "I don't think we'll have any new teams for next year because there are so few Lolas around but I think 2007 will be a different story. We will have new teams in 2007, I'm sure of it. We'll have more national TV races next year and do some special shows to promote our drivers. Our Atlantic package should help our American driver situation and we've had people working on a title sponsor for six months now. Are we satisifed with everything? Of course not. But we've got a plan and its' working."

The real coup for Champ Car, though, was keeping the rival IRL out of both Long Beach and Toronto. How arrogant was the other series in this regard? In early April, Tony George bragged to all the IRL teams that they'd be racing in Long Beach in 2006. Two months later, Michael Andretti bragged that his "favorite" series would be racing in Canada. Oh, and don't forget the shenanigens surrounding Montreal. (Word has it that Kalkhoven is still considering filing a lawsuit agst. Tony George and Montreal promoter Normand Legault over their efforts to void CC's contract with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve).

Since unification is all but dead for the forseeable future, the major concern for both Kalkhoven and Forsythe is on how to continue building up the series back to where it once was in NA motorsports. On that, Kalkhoven noted, "When Gerry and I took over we wanted to eliminate this concept that open wheel racing is over or dead, because it's not. Our strategy of a three-day festival is working and we've got some exciting things in the pipeline. Gerry and I also have a plan to stay around for a long." Then, he added, "I've got a hammer too."(the reference is that, in 2003, IRL President Tony George once remarked that he had a hammer and that he brought it to work every day to build his series. Like most other things, it would seem that KK uses one too, and uses it better than TG does.)

Then again....what else is new?
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Back to America's Spa....

Post by mlittle » Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:41 am

When the Champ Car World Series announced recently that they were returning to the storied, 4-mile Road America course, replacing the event scheduled for the 1.5-mile oval in Las Vegas, the narcissist in me bemoaned the loss of hanging out on the Strip and soaking in the "atmosphere" of America's Sin City, the diversity-side of me bemoaned the fact that there will be one(yes, one!) oval, Milwaukee, on the 2006 schedule. But....the traditionalist in me congratulated the fact that the series was returning to a track known in racing circles as "America's Spa" for its' elevation changes, sweeping turns, long, fast straights, and a "balls-to-the-wall" attitude that the track brings out in anyone who's raced there. Just ask Champ Car's "enfant terrible", Forsythe Racing and 2003 series titleist, Paul Tracy:
There's nothing else like it in the United States and now we've got the two best road courses in North America--Mexico City and Elkhart Lake. It's great news to us as drivers and for our fans. I love this place and I think I speak for just about everybody in Champ Car.
Now, why did Road America lose a Champ Car date in 2005? Two come to mind:1--the fact that attendance had fallen precipitiously from its' sellout days in the early 1990's when it outpaced college football in Wisconsin for attendance(in 2003-2004, the place was a vertiable ghost-town, rotting away with little or no promotion to the race), and 2--the former owners of the track refused to work with CART/Champ Car to increase promotion/attendance(back in 2003, it took yeomans' work from series legends Mario Andretti and Bobby Rahal to get the track placed on the 2003 schedule). According to track promoter(and track co-owner) George Bruggenthies, that will change.
The Champ Car mangagement team that's in place right now, this is a whole new Champ Car that has never existed. I've got a lot of confidence that the promotion cooperation is going to be tremendous. And also the fans have had a year off and they have, I think, a better appreciation of what they didn't have in '05, and there is some renewed energy on our part also to make this event happen.
Added to those sentiments are those of Champ Car Operations/Promoter Services VP, Joe Chernlich:
We want to work a lot closer with our promoters, trying new ideas and sharing those ideas between our promoters. Obviously, we've had some great successes this year, with Edmonton, San Jose, (and) Denver. Our new philosophy relative to promoters in the series is, we really promote communications between the promoters and the series. So if we have an idea that works, it's a transportable idea. So, I think this go-around, you're going to see a lot more collaboration of things we can bring to help re-energize the event. George, obvoiusly, has the years of experience of having been there when Road America was huge.....so we'll look at what worked in th epast. We're going to bring ideas that have worked in the past year. Combined, I think people are going to see a new energy and a new look, which are going to tell them, "You know what? It's time to go back to Road America.".
Now, what could they do to bring back all those fans? Here are a few suggestions:
1--An affordable ticket price and great viewing sightlines to bring people to all portions of the 4-mile Road America course;
2--A 22 to 24 car grid by 2007; and
3--Another series to co-run the weekend, such as the ALMS or the Rolex Series. Also, bring a few of the lower formula series(Star Mazda, FF 2000, etc.) to the track as well, along with the Champ Cars and their Atlantic brethren, plus the Trans-Am series too.

As for Las Vegas.....its' a great facility, world-class in all aspects, and its' two races were great excitement for the series and its' drivers. The attendance, for an oval race, was superb; over 50,000 people on average for both years' events. Pairing it with NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series was a master-stroke as well, something the IRL should learn from(their last Vegas race, in 2000, garnered a pathetic 5,200 people back in 2000 :cry: ). If Champ Car wants to keep its' mantra as THE most diverse open-wheel series, it had better put some ovals on the schedule for 2007. Where should they go? Phoenix, now that the IRL has left, is a good place to start. Kentucky is another option; so is, ironically, the oval part of the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City(look at the track map; the area around the Peraltada corner doubles as one end of an oval racetrack!). Regardless, though, it was great seeing Road America back on the calendar, and I truly hope the 2006 race lives up to the standard set by its' precedecesors. It's a great venue, and it belongs on the calendar. It simply does.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

The New Sheriff in the Paddock.....

Post by mlittle » Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:26 pm

As 2006 comes upon us, there's a lot of things Champ Car fans can look back on and smile at following Kevin kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe's purchase of the former CART series' assets back in Jan. 2004. They've (1)gotten the series back on national TV(NBC-broadcast, Speed Channel-cable/satellite), (2)put the CCWS on a legitimate business plan for the future, (3)preserved traditional events, such as Long Beach and Toronto, while beginning new ones, like Edmonton, and (4)finally establishing "law and order" in the Race Director area of the paddock. How did they accomplish that?

Simple......they brought in 38-year-old New Zealander Tony Cotman to run the office; to become, in essence, the "new" sheriff in the Champ Car paddock. And, for once, their plans worked. The original plan was for Cotman to be the VP of Operations alongside the series' other VP-Operations, Joe Chernlich. After one month, they added the race control office to his duties(the official title is VP of Race Control/Operations). How did he fare? In just one season, he has garnered the respect and trust of not just the drivers but the team owners as well for his fair, even-handed, and "play no favorites" attitude. Three cases illustrate this point.

{1}Toronto......when Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy ran into each other whilst drag-racing down the pitlane fighting for the lead, Cotman ruled it a racing accident and decided not to bring either of them in; he felt it was the result of two racers intensely battling for position.

{2}Montreal....when Timo Glock shortcutted the final chicane at Gilles Villeneuve, Cotman ordered Glock to relinquish the lead to eventual winner Oriol Servia, a decision applauded throughout the paddock as a fair call.

{3}Las Vegas.......after Bourdais and Tracy touched entering turn 3, sending PT into the outer wall, Cotman ruled that Bourdais's actions were unintentional because Tracy had failed to signal his intent to pit that lap(during the pre-race drivers' meeting, TC informed the drivers that before entering pitlane, they were to put the left-side tires below the inside white line exiting turn 2. Since Tracy failed to do so, Cotman ruled agst. Forsythe's protest, which in the end was the correct call.

There were other areas where Cotman's skill and savvy paid off, notably in San Jose, where he did yeoman's work correcting several problems w/the track. He also consulted all the drivers, walked the course with them and pointed out what was happening, and suggesting a single-file start for the race(which ended up being time-limited). Granted, the race stunk, but.....everything went smoothly thanks to Cotman's efforts.

In addition, he made three key hires in the race control office. To manage the RC office for the Atlantics races, he brought in Eric Haverson. To help coordinate RC instructions to the Champ Car teams, he hired veteran official Paul Harcus, better known as "Ziggy". Finally, to help manage the tech aspect of the RC office, he brought over from Scot Elkins' tech office Tara Sillert, who maintains the equipment in the RC office and assists Cotman in running the overall race control program. On that effort, Cotman credited Champ Car's VP for Technical Operations, Scot Elkins, for allowing him to bring Sillert over and worked with TC to create the specs for CC's 2007-spec chassis/engine program.

All around, there is a new sheriff in the paddock, and to quote the sheriff in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, his name is Tony Cotman.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Champ Car Musings.....

Post by mlittle » Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:58 pm

What was arguably the Champ Car World Series' worst-kept secret was finally unveiled Tuesday night during the introduction of the 2006-spec Swift-Mazda/Cosworth Atlantic racecar......that when the 2006 Champ Car season begins in Long Beach, 2005 Atlantic Championship competitor Katherine Legge will be one of the drivers on the grid for that race. Now, many autoracing experts, most notably Champ Car's trio of Robin Miller, David Phillips and Gordon Kirby, all thought she would be better served racing in Atlantics this year and then jumping into Champ Car in 2007. Apparently, everyone at PKV Racing would beg to disagree. After three Champ Car tests(one w/Rocketsports, two w/PKV Racing), one Formula 1 test w/Minardi, and an A1GP test w/Team Great Britain, Legge will be jumping straight to ChampCar rather than winging another year in Atlantics. Or, as she put it to reporters Tuesday night....
I think everyone changes their opinion. Everybody was of the mindset that I would do another year in Formula Atlantic, and then we realized I am ready--maybe not experience-wise, but I'm ready speed-wise. And I will do the very best job I can and I think that will prepare me for 2007 and beyond.
And that is the "keystone" argument for her making the jump up now. In 2007, the venerable Lola B2K/00 chassis and all its' variants will be relegated to boneyards, historic races and museums, to be replaced by brand-new Panoz DP01's. Rather than have Legge begin her rookie campaign in 2007, the team essentially decided to get her a year's experience on the tracks in the series now w/a Lola, and then use 2007 as a learning year w/the Panoz. As team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven noted,
When it comes to the '07 car, we've got an advantage in that all the teams (will) have the same car on the same date. And we decided the best thing to do is use '06 as a transition year with the known quantity of the car and give Katherine a chance to understand the aspects of racing without having to worry too much about the engineering of the car.
Legge seconds that point of view.
I feel much more comfortable doing it this way around. I have 100-percent faith in the team. My mechanics and engineers have helped me through this whole experience. They have guided me through it because they know everything on the car. They have worked with it for years now and they are fully aware of every idiosyncrasy that it (has). So that has helped me focus on my driving, trying to improve myself, trying to learn about the car and learn about why this happens and why that happens; why you change this and you get this result. So I think it's a massive help to do it this year.
She continued,
I think everybody has a rookie year. Very few people go into their rookie year and set the world alight. It's a learning process. I think for me to go into 2007 and try to learn how to engineer a car as well as worry about driving the big car...it's really benefical to get one thing done at a time and get that done properly.
It will be interesting to see if PKV's decision pans out, not just for the team but for Champ Car officials, who, despite pubicially denying such thought, privately want their own series' version of "Danica-mania". But there are other thought processes' going on here as well. Besides the Lola/Panoz one, there's this gem; for what its' worth, Katherine's three Atlantic wins in 2005 were agst. an admittedly weak grid vs. the depth of talent Patrick faced in 2003-2004. That doesn't mean that the top drivers besides Legge--2005 champion Charles Zwolsman(who might end up in ChampCar this year), Tonis Kasemets, David Martinez and Antoine Besette, were'nt good competiton. But the list of competitors Patrick faced(2004 CCWS rookie of the year Allmendinger, 2-time Atlantic champion Fogarty, among others) were stronger than this year's grid. On the flip side of that, though, is one incontrevertible fact.......in two years, Danica won zero races, Katherine won three. And, timing is everything in racing. Like her IRL counterpart, Legge will at least have the luxury of a "multi-year" contract(the conventional wisdom is its' 3-yrs., 6 figures per year), so she isn't expected to "set the world alight". or, as she aptly noted.....
My lack of experience will go against me in some ways. I'm not sure how yet, but it will this year. I just have to make sure that I learn quickly and make as few mistakes as possible and learn from my mistakes. As long as I'm learning from my mistakes I'm happy....It's all about moving yourself forward. It's about moving the team forward and it is a continual process.
As I said earlier this week.....Congratulations Katherine, and good luck in 2006!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :up:
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Third Time's the Charm.....

Post by mlittle » Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:12 pm

They say the third time's the charm, but for some of the Champ Car World Series' top drivers over the years, that's not been the case. Indeed, over the past 40 years, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Jr., Joe Leonard, Tom Sneva, Rick Mears and Bobby Rahal have all attempted to equal Ted Horn's three-peat(1946-1948) and have come short each and every time. Ironically, had their career plans not changed in mid-stride, both Alex Zanardi(1997-1998) and Gil de Ferran(2000-2001) would've attempted a three-peat, also.(Zanardi moved over to Formula 1 in 1999 w/horrid results, and de Ferran moved from the then-CART series over to the IRL when Marlboro-Team Penske switched series' going into 2002.)

When the 2006 season begins in Long Beach April 9, current series champion Sebastien Bourdais(2004-2005) will have that same mountain to climb. Unfortunately, history has shown that there are many ways to sidetrack a driver's efforts to win 3 cons. open-wheel titles. As Seabass points out,
You need something--I wouldn't say you need luck--but you need things not to be against you. I think that's what we saw last year in the second half of the season. I think it is quite easy to relaize that being able to stay at the top in three consecutive seasons is extremely difficult. The real thing that saves us is that we all realize that you can drop off very easily. If we want to stay that we want to win the championship again, (we) are going to have to dedicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes.
As for history.......the first two to attempt a three-peat, legends Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt, Jr., both tried and failed; ironically, they both prevented the other from accomplishing the prize. After Foyt won in 1963-1964, Mario then won in 1965-1966, setting himself up for the chance at tying Horn's record. But despite 8 wins and 785 laps led during one of the more dominant seasons in the USAC era, Mario fell just short of the mark. Now, had Mario won in 1967, he could've set an unassailable record of 5 consecutive titles, as he came up short in 1967 and 1968, losing both years to Bobby Unser before reclaiming the title in 1969.

The next three men, too, saw their chances fall in interesting ways. After a 2-year reign in 1971-1972, USAC National Champion Joe Leonard finished a dismal 15th, having nothing go right the entire year of 1973. For Tom Sneva, after winning in 1977-1978, he was released by Roger Penske going into 1979, and despite a competitive effort, fell short of the mark. Then, Rick Mears, after 2 straight(1981-1982), saw his chances vanish thanks to several late non-points finishes in 1983. Then came 1988....

Going into 1988, Bobby Rahal, who had captured the 1986 and 1987 titles, had retaken the points lead following a dominating win at the 2.5-mile Pocono Speedway. The series headed to Mid-Ohio(Rahal's "hometrack") where a crash involving him and backmarker Ludwig Heimrath, Jr. began the slow slide out of the championship. In a cruel twist of fate, had Rahal won that year, it would've been his fourth series championship had the elder Jacques Villeneuve(uncle to the 1995 CART and 1997 Formula 1 WDC) not intervened at Sanair in 1985, where the two were involved in a late-race crash while Rahal was leading. Had he won that race.......the way the points battle went, Rahal would have won the 1985 title over Al Unser, Sr. by a mere three points.

Now the LeMans, France native(Bourdais) has his shot at a third-consecutive title. Can he do it? Well, as the saying goes....that's why they run the races. :burnout: :burnout:
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Powerball Fever....?

Post by mlittle » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:45 pm

About a week or two ago, eight Nebraskans won an unprecented $350+ million Powerball lottery drawing, and it got me to thinking......what would I have done with the $175 million or so(after taxes) in winnings.....

1}Send about $50 million or so over to Dan Gurney so that he could restart his All-American Racers team with racers like Memo Gidley, Jon Fogarty and Rocky Moran, Jr.....all of them were good in Atlantics and were collectively ignored by the CART powers that be over the past few years.

2}$25 million to start a cable sports network that shows Formula 1, Champ Car, IRL, V8 Supercars, German DTM, SCCA, ALMS, Grand Am.....everything but NASCAR.

3}$2 million to ensure legends like Gordon Johncock can enjoy their retirement

4}$10 million to keep Paul Tracy around for 2 more years

5}$2 million to bring back Patrick Caprentier to partner alongside PT over at Forsythe

6}$1 million to bring legends like Bobby Unser into the TV booth for a couple of Champ Car races....

7}$1 million to bring back Paul Page to do the play-by-play during the races.....

8}$7 million to run Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais at Indy for the 500(to this day, I still believe PT was robbed of the 2002 Indy 500 victory!!!).

9}$5 million to ensure drivers like Andrew Ranger and Michel Jourdain, Jr. mhave top-shelf ChampCar rides.....

10}$1 million to keep drivers like Patrick LeMarie, Fabrizio Del Monte and Alex Sperafico from returning to ChampCar..... :shock: :shock: :shock:

11}$10 million so that Milwaukee and Cleveland can have top-shelf nightlights to run both races in the evening..... 8) 8) :lol:

12}$10 million so that Dale Coyne can finally have a top-level Champ Car team and not the Champ Car equivalent of the former Minardi F1 team.....

As for the rest........ahh, I'd probably spend it on something frivolous. Like reunifying Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, for instance. :shock: :shock: 8) :lol: 8)
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

2006 ChampCar Season Preview

Post by mlittle » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:51 am

Former professional wrestler Ric Flair once said, "To be the best, you have to beat the best." I don't think he was referring to the 2006 CCWS season, but.......there are a couple of good roadblocks btwn. Sebastien Bourdais and a third consecutive Vanderbilt Cup. First on the list......his teammate at Newman-Haas, Bruno Junquiera. Three times a bridesmaid(2002-2004) he spent the bulk of 2005 in rehab thanks to a crash at Indy during the 500. Second, there's SeaBass's big rival, Forsythe's Paul Tracy, who has one title(2003) and a couple of reasons to keep Bourdais off the top step, namely Monterrey, Toronto and Las Vegas 2005. THen there's Bourdais 2005 teammate, Oriol Servia. After a career year subbing for Junky, the Catalonian slides into da Matta's ride at PKV Racing, where he'll attempt to prove that '05 was not a fluke season. Then there's the Rocky Mountain Duo, a/k/a RuSport's drivers, Justin Wilson and A.J. Allmendinger, both of who can be considered contenders for the title this year, especially Wilson. There are a few sleepers, most notably da Matta and Mario Dominguez, but after that.....everyone else is just out enjoying 2-hour rides each weekend.

As for the incoming rookie class..........it's interesting, to say the least. You have two former Atlantic racers in Charles Zwolsman and Katherine Legge, a former F1 pilot in Antonio Pizzonia, a second English driver in "Speedy" Dan Clarke and Aussie Will Power, who begins his first full CC season. Now, IMHO, I do not expect these five to contend for the Vanderbilt Cup......but in regards to the Roshfrans ROY award.......I would be very surprised if either Legge, Zwolsman or Power don't walk away with the award.

When the dust settles in Mexico City for 2006, I believe these two will be walking away with the above awards.....

Vanderbilt Cup.......Justin Wilson, RuSport
Roshfrans ROY.......Katherine Legge, PKV

Hopefully, my picks here will turn out better than my 8'n'Pole picks have so far this year. :shock: :shock:
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Long Beach honors two of America's greats

Post by mlittle » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:09 pm

I'm not a gambling man', but I'm willing to bet that there probably wouldn't have been a grand prix in Long Beach, Ca. without the help of two of America's greatest racers, Dan Gurney and Phil Hill. And, so it was only fitting that the two were honored today in Long Beach Thursday by city officials by having memorial plaques placed on Long Beach's Walk of Fame. In the words of Chris Pook, former CART persident and, in an earlier life, an English travel agent who first floated the idea of having a street race to the All-American Racer,
No question, Dan was instrumental in every way. And Phil Hill came to the rescue that first year when we needed a race director. We had two of America's greatest names on our side.
The year was 1975 when Pook and Co. launched what has become, along with Monaco and Surfers Paradise, one of the great street races of all time, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

In receiving the honor, Gurney remarked,
There are a lot of certifiable nut cases in this town and I had those thoughts when Chris first called me. I didn't think there was any way but I would have been ashamed if I didn't try. I guess when the city council said we couldn't do it, there's a human spirit that says you can. I'm just proud to have been part of what's turned into such a prestigious event for this city and for our country.
Now the stories of that inaugural Formula 5000 race could entertain people for a long time. Just ask Jim Michaelian, current president of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach(GPALB), which runs the event weekend. That first year, he served as not only director of marketing, but also assisted in financing, ticket sales....heck, he even helped put up some of the catch-fencing for that first race. His funniest story revolves around the trip he, Gurney and Pook made to San Francisco to meet with members of the state's Coastal Commision, who were concerned that the noise from the race could kill some of the fish in the nearby LB Aquarium. As Michaelian puts it,
We walk into this meeting and the first guy we see is a hippie with a ponytail. Dan and I looked at each other and thought this is going to be an uphill battle but then we looked at the guy's office wall. He had a color photo of Dan from his victory at Spa. Dan was his hero.
While Gurney provided credibility for Pook and other race officials, Hill also contributed as well, taking over the race director's duties when their first hire left prior to the race. While the 1961 Formula 1 WDC and 3-time 24-Hrs. of LeMans/12-Hrs. of Sebring winner is currently battling Parkinson's disease, he attended Thursday's event and even had a few words to say....
I'm proud to be part of this and I'm proud to be standing up here with Dan. We had some little street races in Santa Monica but they were nothing compared to this. Long Beach has really become one of the world's great auto racing events.
At the end of the festivities, Chris Pook summed it up nicely.....
We started with four employees and big dreams. Thanks to Dan Gurney and Phil Hill, the Long Beach Grand Prix became a reality and this tribute (to them) is well deserved.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

RE30B#16
Racer
Racer
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:46 pm
Location: HollyWeird & Sin City

Re: Off-Week Commentaries

Post by RE30B#16 » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:45 pm

Here is the expected schedule for 2006:

9 April--Long Beach
13 May--Houston(Sat. night)#
21 May--Monterrey, Mexico
4 June--Milwaukee(oval)
18 June--Portland
25 June--Cleveland
2 July--Philadelphia(Sat. night)#
9 July--Toronto
23 July--Edmonton
30 July--San Jose
13 August--Denver
27 August--Montreal
23 Sept.--Las Vegas(Sat. night/oval)
8 October--Beijing, China
15 October--Ansan, S. Korea
22 October--Surfers Paradise,. Australia
5 November--Mexico City
I'm glad to see Cleveland on the schedule, and Vegas on my birthday! Sweet!!

ChampCar will be back, I promise. I believe American race fans are ready to come back as soon as they have a reason to. Danica Patrick has improved IRL's tv ratings tremendously since the Indy 500 last year. The series suffered with the loss of Tony Stewart [our modern day AJ Foyt] and the retirements of Little Al and Michael Andretti.

Even though Katherine Legge is a Brit, she will draw curiosity. All eyes will be on her this Sunday. I will be entertaining on the roof of the Trizac building in Long Beach, so for those of you who will be there, wave up at the roof top to ole RE30B#16!!!

IRL has a better tv deal for the moment. As soon as ChampCar scores a good network deal, it will be off and flying again. The series needs an interesting American star or stars to really get itself back together. Let's face it-- CART worked because of Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Tom Sneva, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, Danny Sullivan and Bobby Rahal. It kept working because of Al Unser, Jr, Michael Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell and Paul Tracy. Not enough Americans know who SeaBass is. Some race fans I've spoken to think Paul Tracy is still the CART champion!!

Thanks mLittle for your info!

Did anyone else recall Jimmy Vasser's remarks from a few seasons ago about the IRL cars being too fragile after seeing some of the mechanical failures during the IRL race in St Petersburg, Florida last weekend? Broken half shafts and suspensions falling apart. Very interesting.

Chris :cheers:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Re: Off-Week Commentaries

Post by mlittle » Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:36 am

RE30B#16 wrote:
Here is the expected schedule for 2006:

9 April--Long Beach
13 May--Houston(Sat. night)#
21 May--Monterrey, Mexico
4 June--Milwaukee(oval)
18 June--Portland
25 June--Cleveland
2 July--Philadelphia(Sat. night)#
9 July--Toronto
23 July--Edmonton
30 July--San Jose
13 August--Denver
27 August--Montreal
23 Sept.--Las Vegas(Sat. night/oval)
8 October--Beijing, China
15 October--Ansan, S. Korea
22 October--Surfers Paradise,. Australia
5 November--Mexico City
I'm glad to see Cleveland on the schedule, and Vegas on my birthday! Sweet!!

ChampCar will be back, I promise. I believe American race fans are ready to come back as soon as they have a reason to. Danica Patrick has improved IRL's tv ratings tremendously since the Indy 500 last year. The series suffered with the loss of Tony Stewart [our modern day AJ Foyt] and the retirements of Little Al and Michael Andretti.

Even though Katherine Legge is a Brit, she will draw curiosity. All eyes will be on her this Sunday. I will be entertaining on the roof of the Trizac building in Long Beach, so for those of you who will be there, wave up at the roof top to ole RE30B#16!!!

IRL has a better tv deal for the moment. As soon as ChampCar scores a good network deal, it will be off and flying again. The series needs an interesting American star or stars to really get itself back together. Let's face it-- CART worked because of Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Tom Sneva, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, Danny Sullivan and Bobby Rahal. It kept working because of Al Unser, Jr, Michael Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell and Paul Tracy. Not enough Americans know who SeaBass is. Some race fans I've spoken to think Paul Tracy is still the CART champion!!

Thanks mLittle for your info!

Did anyone else recall Jimmy Vasser's remarks from a few seasons ago about the IRL cars being too fragile after seeing some of the mechanical failures during the IRL race in St Petersburg, Florida last weekend? Broken half shafts and suspensions falling apart. Very interesting.

Chris :cheers:

Multi-part posting, RE......

1}As to your posting of the schedule.....unfortunately, there were a few changes to that(I think I posted that around late July-early August 2005).....Beijing was dropped because they couldn't work all the arrangements out btwn. series officials/city officials(same as for Philly, alothough rumor has it that Philly could be added in 2007.... :shock: ); they dropped Vegas for a return to America's Spa, a/k/a Road America....other than that, the schedule's about what it looks like in the quote....

2}Your right about the IRL's ratings; Danica's presence did give the series a major ratings boost. I will say this, though.....if you thought the ratings went up last year, if and/or when she wins her first IndyCar Series race, there will be a major up-spike in ratings....

3}As far as the rival series' TV contracts.......the IRL does have a better contract(through ABC/ESPN) through 2009(I think...) while ChampCar has to split its' races btwn three networks(Speed, NBC and CBS). Here's something else to consider......ChampCar has to buy time from the networks to broadcast their races......ABC/ESPN give the IRL time to broadcast their races...... :shock: :shock:

4}If ChampCar wants a better American presence, they definitely need more American drivers. It's sad that there's only one full-time Yank(Allmendinger) in the series this year.......hopefully, if there's a merger, that drivers like Michael McDowell, Jon Fogarty, Rocky Moran, Jr., Michael Valiante, among others, can at least get decent shots at rides next year.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

RE30B#16
Racer
Racer
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:46 pm
Location: HollyWeird & Sin City

Re: Off-Week Commentaries

Post by RE30B#16 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:27 am

mlittle wrote:1}As to your posting of the schedule.....unfortunately, there were a few changes to that(I think I posted that around late July-early August 2005).....Beijing was dropped because they couldn't work all the arrangements out btwn. series officials/city officials(same as for Philly, alothough rumor has it that Philly could be added in 2007.... :shock: ); they dropped Vegas for a return to America's Spa, a/k/a Road America....other than that, the schedule's about what it looks like in the quote....
:oops:
2}Your right about the IRL's ratings; Danica's presence did give the series a major ratings boost. I will say this, though.....if you thought the ratings went up last year, if and/or when she wins her first IndyCar Series race, there will be a major up-spike in ratings....
Soon people will want to see Danica versus Katherine Legge, and you know money talks. I just hope Danica's star did not rise too fast. She really needs to strt contending for race wins in a hurry. Race fans can be awfully fickle with rising stars.
3}As far as the rival series' TV contracts.......the IRL does have a better contract(through ABC/ESPN) through 2009(I think...) while ChampCar has to split its' races btwn three networks(Speed, NBC and CBS). Here's something else to consider......ChampCar has to buy time from the networks to broadcast their races......ABC/ESPN give the IRL time to broadcast their races...... :shock: :shock:
:bs:
4}If ChampCar wants a better American presence, they definitely need more American drivers. It's sad that there's only one full-time Yank(Allmendinger) in the series this year.......hopefully, if there's a merger, that drivers like Michael McDowell, Jon Fogarty, Rocky Moran, Jr., Michael Valiante, among others, can at least get decent shots at rides next year.
You are right, but I believe all the series need charismatic stars as well. Vasser and Allmendinger cannot carry the series because they are not household names and or notorious like Tony Stewart. I believe in all of our discussions on the topic, we forget how much auto racing [and all pro sports for that matter] is personality driven. How well do you think NASCAR would be doing now if there were no Jeff Gordon, TS, Dale Jr, Michael Waltrip, and Mark Martin?

I predict that if the CCWS and IRL do not reunify first, Marco Andretti will leave his dad's team and defect to CCWS probably with PVK. Mario would love that, don't you think. Dad has been riding him pretty hard in his few IRL starts. He has the name, and judging by his raciness with IRL champ Dan Wheldon in Florida, he has the potential.

Chris
Christoforo

You're not getting old, the music just sucks!!

Fernando Alonso is currently the best... Period!!!


-)_ (-
(_!_) Inclined to get behind!!!

<T-K>
F1 Race Winner
F1 Race Winner
Posts: 2604
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 4:54 am

Re: Off-Week Commentaries

Post by <T-K> » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:54 am

Here is the expected schedule for 2006:

9 April--Long Beach
13 May--Houston(Sat. night)#
21 May--Monterrey, Mexico
4 June--Milwaukee(oval)
18 June--Portland
25 June--Cleveland
2 July--Philadelphia(Sat. night)#
9 July--Toronto
23 July--Edmonton
30 July--San Jose
13 August--Denver
27 August--Montreal
23 Sept.--Las Vegas(Sat. night/oval)
8 October--Beijing, China
15 October--Ansan, S. Korea
22 October--Surfers Paradise,. Australia
5 November--Mexico City
I really believe that having a race down here in S.A wouldnt be at all a bad thing?? I mean, if they can travel down to aus. then I'm sure they could spare one round in S.A?


Milwaukee on my BDay.... :woohoo:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Re: Off-Week Commentaries

Post by mlittle » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:43 am

<T-K> wrote:
Here is the expected schedule for 2006:

9 April--Long Beach
13 May--Houston(Sat. night)#
21 May--Monterrey, Mexico
4 June--Milwaukee(oval)
18 June--Portland
25 June--Cleveland
2 July--Philadelphia(Sat. night)#
9 July--Toronto
23 July--Edmonton
30 July--San Jose
13 August--Denver
27 August--Montreal
23 Sept.--Las Vegas(Sat. night/oval)
8 October--Beijing, China
15 October--Ansan, S. Korea
22 October--Surfers Paradise,. Australia
5 November--Mexico City
I really believe that having a race down here in S.A wouldnt be at all a bad thing?? I mean, if they can travel down to aus. then I'm sure they could spare one round in S.A?


Milwaukee on my BDay.... :woohoo:
If there's to be a race in South Africa, T-K, IMHO it will happen after the two series finally decide to reunify. The only question, then, would be.....where? My guess, either a street race in Cape Town, a street race in Durban(perhaps the same course as the A1 race) or perhaps on the road course at Kyalami. One of those three.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

Locked