…you gotta’ hand it to the boys from Ingolstadt….they sure know how to greet their rivals!
…you gotta’ hand it to the boys from Ingolstadt….they sure know how to greet their rivals!
Over the weekend, the international motorsports calendar began with one of the world’s premier endurance races, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this year being held for the first time in nearly 15 years under a unified sportscar series…leave it to
motorsports journalist hack master Peter M. DeLorenzo to rain on the parade. Quoting the entire section of this week’s Fumes area (and “Fumes” are what I honestly think PMD huffs on a regular basis):
–Oh, how we all wanted it to be so different. Major league sports car racing in this country, which had become a mere blip on the radar screen in terms of media interest, had finally abandoned the ongoing folly of trying to run two separate series. And even though the demise of the American Le Mans Series brought about a deep sense of foreboding among the road racing faithful, there was a thin shred of hope that somehow, someway, it would all work out. So road racing enthusiasts held their collective breath that the unified product – under the guise of the NASCAR-owned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – would turn out to be something remarkable and worthwhile. Well, it wasn’t. Not even close, unfortunately. As a matter of fact the Daytona 24 Hour – commercially known as the Rolex24 – was a complete and utter fiasco.
The die was cast a month ago at the pretest for the 24-hour race at the Daytona International Speedway, when it was obvious to anyone in attendance that the “fix” was in. Jim France bought the ALMS lock, stock and barrel, and he’d be damned if his precious “Daytona Prototypes” would play second fiddle to the former ALMS P2 machines. And since the P2 machines, on average, were five seconds per lap quicker than the DPs, well, adjustments would have to be made. Oh, they were made alright. France and his minions huffed and puffed and came up with a $300,000 package of tweaks – per car – to the DPs that ensured that the P2s were out of contention the moment they were unloaded off of their trailers.
But that was just the first major sign that things weren’t quite right, because that deep foreboding road racing enthusiasts felt – that the “NASCAR-ization” of the racing itself would ruin their sport – came to fruition in the most shocking way possible. As in, “you’ve got to be frickin’ kidding me” shocking. This was everything the collective nightmares of road racing enthusiasts suggested it would be, complete with “wave-arounds,” interminable “phantom” cautions and every other trick in the NASCAR “let’s make a show of it” playbook. It was Bush League Bullshit of the most malevolent kind, folks. And it stunk to high heaven.
The end of the race was The Last Straw for me, however. Any hope that this new series would be run with even a modicum of credibility was pretty much abandoned long before then, but that final “phantom” caution, which went on f-o-r-e-v-e-r, sealed the deal. The NASCAR approach to road racing is a complete joke. Add to that the fiasco of the phantom “avoidable” contact on the very last lap between the No. 45 Flying Lizard Audi R8 driven by Markus Winkelhock and the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Allesandro Pier Guidi, which initially had the Ferrari driver penalized and thus losing the class victory in GT Daytona, only to be reversed – correctly, thank goodness – and you have a recipe for a disastrous debut for the TUDOR Untied SportsCar Championship.
In a post-race statement, Scott Elkins, IMSA’s vice president, competition and technical regulations, had this to say: “We regret the confusion following the race, and appreciate the patience by our fans, drivers, teams and the media so we could properly review and subsequently report this decision.”
Really? I think the following statement would have been much more appropriate: “We regret the fact that we insulted long-suffering road racing fans with this piss-poor ‘show’ that we presented today. It was stupid, contrived and yes, everything you feared it would be. We’re going to go back to the drawing board and fix the competitive aspect of the series – especially between the P2 and DP entries – we’re going to do away with “phantom” cautions of any kind, and we’re going to let the races unfold without manipulation, as it should be. We deeply apologize.”
Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
Last week I stressed that If this new series was worthy of serious attention and interest, then it had to be presented in the very best way possible. Let’s just say that golden opportunity was well and truly missed.
I’ve never been more disheartened by the state of road racing in this country than I am right at this very moment.
The reality of the “NASCAR-ization” of major league sports car racing is a bitter, unwanted pill.
Can we just admit that PMD has been breathing in the purist racing fumes for way too long…and, given the state of certain racing series over the years where the checkbooks and the rules were open as the Mississippi River is long, I’d much rather have NASCAR running things, warts and all, than let racing purists (and the SCCA) anywhere near the reins of power.
…from the automotive world’s resident
journalist hack, who this time decided to take his weekly dose of Metamucil-like verbiage and direct it at the Tudor United Sports Car Championship..quoting the relevant passages from his Fumes section (5 Jan. 2014):
Make no mistake, there are plenty of positive developments about the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, with the unified schedule being one of the most visible positives. But let me be very clear here and there’s no need to sugarcoat it: It’s obvious that the “performance balancing” that went down since the merger was announced has been executed with the thought that the Daytona Prototypes will be faster than the former ALMS P2 cars. I would go so far as to say it has been preordained by Jim France, because it was so obvious as to be almost laughable. I mean, we all get it, don’t we? Jim France wrote a $20 million check (or thereabouts) for the ALMS, Road Atlanta, the rights to Sebring (and other prizes), and anyone who thought that the P2 cars would stand a chance after the “balancing” took place was kidding themselves.
If I had just invested serious cash in a P2 team – and believe me at this level it’s all serious cash – I wouldn’t be just pissed-off, however, I would be stark-raving livid. And I would be permanently camped on Jim France’s doorstep demanding substantive and serious action right now. For the sake of the integrity of this new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series – and the integrity of the sport of road racing in this country itself – this situation must be rectified, preferably before the Rolex 24 and definitely before the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, or it will be the biggest travesty in this young new racing year.(Autoextremist)
Why major racing series even allow journalistic hacks such as Peter M. DeLorenzo (and Mark Cipollini from over at AutoRacing1.com as well) to cover them is a mystery to me; FWIW, I really hope both Fate and Karma bite PMD squarely in the ass.
You know, the Formula 1 paddock is going to be a boring place next place without the wit and humor of current Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, who is set to depart at the end of 2013 for the FIA’s World Endurance Championship; one reason for this, as ESPN F1 noted (link above), is the Aussie’s downright caustic & dry yet very comedic wit and humor…quoting:
On finding Australian sponsors to bring to his first drive at Minardi in 2002…
“It is big money, Formula One. I mean, a million Australian dollars is £350,000, which is nothing. Ten million is £3 million, which is serious money – but ten million Aussie dollars can buy a lot of Utes!”
On the complexities of a modern F1 car…
“They make a female look low maintenance these days, mate”
On comparing himself with 2009 world champion Jenson Button…
“Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian as a teammate. Jenson didn’t have that at Brawn; he had Rubens”
On being rear-ended by Romain Grosjean at the start of the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix…
“It was that first-lap nutcase again”
On his first impressions of the Valencia street circuit…
“The track is like a Tesco car park”
On whether Formula One should go racing in Bahrain in 2011…
“When people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than sport. Let’s hope the right decision is made”
On what was going through his mind while passing Fernando Alonso at Eau Rouge in 2011…
“You don’t have much time to get the calculator out at that point”
On winning the British Grand Prix after being given an earlier-spec front wing to team-mate Sebastian Vettel over the weekend…
“Not bad for a No. 2 driver”
On qualifying a tenth shy of pole position and Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix…
“It was a bee’s dick off pole, but at least I’m on the front row. I’ll sleep fine tonight. I will be happy in the morning when I wake up in a good position to have a good race. In fact, I’m getting happier every minute”
On team-mate Sebastian Vettel overtaking him for victory at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix despite being told by the team to hold position behind Webber…
“The team made a decision to get the car to the end. But Seb made his own decisions and will have protection. That’s the way it goes”
On whether he’s ever been tempted to punch Sebastian Vettel…
“My dad always said you shouldn’t hit boys, mate”
On his motivation ahead of the start of the 2008 season…
“You’ve got to push yourself in Formula One; it’s not tiddlywinks, it’s a bloody important sport and you go into it each year trying to test yourself”
Reflecting on his decision to race for Williams rather than Renault in 2005 (Renault went on to win the 2005 and 2006 titles)…
“The scoreboard never lies and spilt milk is something I haven’t been a big fan of either. You’ve just got to get on with it. What’s wrong with using the word ‘mistake’? I’ve said I’ve f***ed up. I made a mistake, it was my personal mistake. It’s not really regrets, I have to live with it and get on with it”
On Adrian Newey…
“When I go to the factory it’s always a good sign when I see his car there, I’m happy. He is such a beacon for our team. For us, when it is a bit smelly, he just sticks to his guns, and when it’s going well, you never notice it”
On the charms of Monte Carlo…
“I think it’s a very dramatic backdrop, I love the ocean and I love the cliff faces. To have a race track here is quite exceptional. But for me, in terms of all the small dogs and the handbags and that sort of stuff, it’s not really my thing, mate”
On the fickle nature of Formula One after a disappointing year with Williams in 2005…
“If you have a tough weekend you have got nowhere to hide. If you have a fantastic weekend you get rewarded, everyone thinks you are a legend. There is no grey area in this sport. It is a fine line between the Whitehouse and the Shithouse, that’s the way it is, always has been, always will be”
On Formula One in 2013…
“The whole category is geared around tyres at the moment. Everything is around tyres. Tyres, tyres, tyre, tyres, tyres. Obviously you go around way under the potential of the car. It’s not a lot of fun but that is how it is”
On Cosworth’s engine budget compared to its rivals’ in 2006
“They can’t lunch engines like they’re going out of fashion, like Honda”
On having the last piece of metal removed from his leg, four years after breaking it while cycling in Tasmania…
“Home and feeling great. Last bit of metal out of my lower leg. Feeling lighter already”
In response to a call from the pit wall at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix to let Williams team-mate Nico Rosberg pit first…
“Don’t think so mate. Britney’s in the wall”
It will definitely be weird watching Formula 1 next year and not seeing Mark Webber there…I just hope the WEC’s ready for his particular brand of humor. Just saying.
Anyone who knows me long enough will know that if I have one passion other than politics, it is motor racing, in particular the North American open-wheeled variety. IndyCar and the various feeder series, it don’t matter; saw my first IndyCar race back in 1982 and got hooked on the sport….the ups, the downs, I’ve seen the highs and lows of the sport from the glories of a championship celebration to mourning the loss of champions. It can be a brutal sport at times…with that, let me introduce you to my new blog, The Open Wheel.
To borrow Jack Nicholson’s quote form The Shining…
Fox sports wants to compete directly with ESPN, and one of the staples of its plan will be its UFC programming. Tuesday’s announcement of the creation and Aug. 17 launch of Fox Sports 1, which will feature Major League Baseball, soccer, college football and basketball and NASCAR in addition to the UFC, is the culmination of Dana White’s dreams.
For more than two years since announcing his company’s broadcast partnership with Fox Sports, the UFC president has alluded to a game-changing moment coming down the road.
On Tuesday, when that game-changer became a reality, White was literally giddy.
“This is such a great day for us, I can’t even begin to tell you,” White said over and over during a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. “This is a massive step. I said a year-and-a-half ago when we did this deal that our next two years of work would be more important than the first 13. And now, it’s always clicking and all becoming a reality.”(Yahoo Sports)
Now why this really suck? Simple: in creating Fox Sports 1, Fox is essentially destroying what was left of Speed Channel, formerly Speedvision, in order to expand their sports horizons. With all due respect, I honestly hope ESPN and Company destroy Fox. Just saying…
As a long-time fan of American Open-Wheel Racing and of Indycar Racing, this is pretty darn good news; considering the paucity of publicity they seem to get nowadays, anything’s better than nothing…
The long wait for a new IndyCar Series video game will come to an end in May.
Codemasters, makers of the last official IndyCar Series game in 2003, will unveil “GRID 2” which can be pre-ordered with a special IndyCar edition.
“Gamers who pre-order Codemasters’ GRID 2 at Best Buy can choose the GRID 2: IndyCar edition, which includes: The exclusive Dallara IndyCar and the Pace Car to race in single-player, multi-player and an exclusive online event, and the opportunity to expand the game with two new routes around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval,” according to the manufacturer.(Speed Channel)
If this game’s half-as-good as Codemasters’ last IndyCar game, which came out back in 2004, it should be a pretty darn good game indeed.
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