Congratulations I'm Sorry

Posted by Iannucci | 7/24/2006 | 1 comments »
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While all the news from Milwaukee was either how El Nariz finally snagged a win in 2006 for AGR or how Danica! sneaked into fourth again, little fanfare was given to Jeff Not Gene and his third straight Top Ten finish. I can’t believe what I am seeing.

Now, I’m not above (or is it below?) humility, because several weeks ago I suggested RLR should get together with Ethanol and find someone else for that car. Simmons looked lost on the racetrack, which is not a safe thing when you are traveling towards 220 MPH. I actually suggested the car might be cursed, only half kidding since even The Wrecker rarely crashes out of three straight races.

Simmons was switched to a Dallara chassis in Texas, where he finished but then wrecked in Richmond. Since then he has been no worse than 10th and he actually led a lap yesterday – right before botching the turn into his pit box. Sure, with 18 cars the odds are with you to finish in the top ten, but Jeff Not Gene’s teammate The Rainman has failed to crack the top 10 in all five weeks he’s had a Dallara.

Really, it goes beyond the top ten finishes. This week’s race in Milwaukee was on a tight one-mile oval that requires as much driving as any oval. You can’t just mash the pedal and point the car, as in a race such as next week in Michigan. So for Simmons to navigate through traffic – from the suddenly speedy AGR cars to the incredibly underpowered D&R disaster Ryan Briscoe was, umm, driving – demonstrates at least a nominal ability to participate in the IRL. In short, no one is going to suggest he doesn’t belong. Well, at least I won’t.

Simmons is still a rookie, and as such he will make rookie mistakes like that pit stop fiasco, but it appears he is starting to do right by Ethanol, which could help secure him a ride in 2008. And since I was so hard on him, I thought I would be the first in line to congratulate his small accomplishment.

I know, how big of me.


  1. Anonymous // July 25, 2006 7:21 PM  

    Yep... lots of good stories in that race, and Jeff's was certainly one of them.