The race to finish

Posted by Iannucci | 2/28/2007 | 0 comments »
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One of the subplots to the upcoming IndyCar season (well, any season if you think about it) is how many of these drivers will be making their last laps in the ICS. Usually the context is that the soon to be departed aren’t very good or they are close to retirement (or both). However, this year is different in that there are four of the top drivers who are publicly lobbying for a job outside of the ICS and possibly will be gone for 2008.

First off on a possible probable farewell tour is 2006 ICS champion Sam Hornish Jr, who is by most accounts on his IndyCar farewell tour. Despite poor results in all four of his Busch series races, he is still firmly committed to his “transition” during 2007. His mindset: I’ve won Indy and I’ve won a title for Roger Penske, so my work here is done. Although the door is not yet fully closed, it is still likely that Uncle Sam is looking for new challenges in racing featured by NASCAR. Well, the payday won’t be so bad either.

The other man eyeing a ride in NASCAR is 2005 ICS champ Dan Wheldon. It would appear that like Hornish, Well Done is using his current owner to facilitate a possible transition since recent reports have indicated Chip Ganassi is trying to find sponsorship for a fourth Cup entry. We can make all the jokes we want about Dan’s desire to join his Best NASCAR Friend Big Jamie Little, but Wheldon can see that if you want to be known for driving then the Tin Tops are where it’s at right now.

While those two look to tin tops, there are two other drivers who are contemplating life in Formula One. This actually would be a tougher task since their current owners don’t have F1 teams lined up, and there are less rides in F1, and basically anybody on a go-kart outside the United States is vying for a spot in F1. Still, Scott Dixon remains undaunted by the odds and has reportedly negotiated a opt-out clause in his current contract in case he lands an F1 gig. It’s possible the 26-year-old Dixon may already be too old for a team in Bernie Ecclestone’s series, but with five snooze fests road courses on the docket this season Dixon’s talent with the right turns will be on full display.

The other driver angling for F1 is Marco Andretti, who not only is about seven years younger than Dixon but also has been actively participating in F1 testing this winter. Andretti 3.0 would seem to have the luxury of proving his abilities further than just this season before being discounted for series jumping, and that surname doesn’t hurt when attempting to attract attention from teams and sponsors. Besides, his dad/owner has said he’s driving the IndyCar until 2009.

I’m usually bad at predictions, so I’m not going to hazard a guess about who goes and who stays. While it’s possible all four of these drivers vanish from the series within the next few years, it’s also remotely possible they all return to the ICS in 2008. It seems that it’s likely that Hornish is gone and Andretti will remain, but at this point what becomes of the Ganassi teammates next year is a total mystery.

In the meantime, we get to see these four drivers – who will likely all finish in the top six or seven – try to write what could be the final chapter of their IndyCar careers. And though they may be gone next year, having a regular roster of all these quality drivers (and more) should still make for an enjoyable 2007. Someday this upcoming season will be the Good Ol' Days.

To that end I will say this: I truly have enjoyed and appreciated the abilities and accomplishments of all four drivers (yes, even Marco’s few accomplishments), but I would really REALLY miss having Wheldon’s personality at IndyCar races. He may or may not be the best driver of the four, but he’s definitely the most interesting.

I have no idea what I'm watching

Posted by Iannucci | 2/27/2007 | 2 comments »
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Found this on YouTube in my quest to get some footage from the Homestead testing last week. It's basically Japanese narration and an IndyCar being gassed up at a Sunoco. Fascinatingly bizzare.

Nicknames and Knick Knacks

Posted by Iannucci | 2/25/2007 | 2 comments »
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First off, I realize that I seem to be flipping around driver nicknames like they were Sean Combs. I admit I'm trying to find something that sticks for these folks and while I pretty much do this on my own I always appreciate feedback.

As I said before: I'm trying to discern something about each driver to make them a bit more memorable and personal to the casual fan. If the league won't market these talents then I gladly and imperfectly will do my part.

OK, that said...after at least 10 uniterupted minutes of contemplation I am flipping Tony Kannan back to El Nariz. Since Stallone had to go and make a movie about and old Rocky, I thought that was the wrong message about Kanaan. He's far from washed up, and his nose is his thing.

And after numerous complaints about his long-standing, weather-related nickname I have finally figured out a better nickname for my fellow Phoenician. Due to his penchant for both "lead sleds" and the flatbill cap, I realized he's slowly morphing into former Monster Garage host (and current Mr. Sandra Bullock) Jesse James.

Speaking of tough guys, Jeff Simmons (who still needs a nickname) appears to be barely getting by these days. I mean, the guy has lost the shirt off his back. Yikes!

Hornish continues NASCAR quest

Posted by Iannucci | 2/25/2007 | 4 comments »
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Different track, same result: Sam crashed again.

Let's go all the way

Posted by Iannucci | 2/24/2007 | 1 comments »
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Forgive me for going off on a NASCAR tangent here. I’ve tried to reserve my thoughts relating to last Sunday’s Bic Lighter Daytona 500 out of the realm of Indy Racing League discussion, but after seeing this on the home page I just have to say something.

Popular Searches: Daytona crashes
If it's OK to cheer for the wrecks as long as no one gets hurt, there was a lot to cheer about at the Daytona 500, including the dramatic finish.
Now I know that there are a certain number of folks who count themselves as race fans who watch primarily to see the carnage. I accept that, and in fact the little old lady who lives next door to me admitted as much this weekend when she said she was bored with the first half of the race. I am not making that up.

However as an IndyCar fan I can’t possibly relate to this. Oh sure, I could argue that IndyCar crashes are more spectacular because the cars are designed to disintegrate around the driver. I could also link to the flaming Ryan Briscoe, the flying Buddy Rice, the flipping Mario Andretti, or even Kevin Cogan vs The Pit Entry Barrier, but I’ll just let you find those for yourself.

No, I do NOT “cheer for wrecks” precisely BECAUSE someone could get hurt. They don’t flash a big disclaimer across the screen that says “No drivers were harmed during the filming of this crash” during races, and despite the recent safety improvements in just about all forms of racing I still cringe when I see a horrific accident. Last year I had to explain what happened to Paul Dana to P1, and she seemed to dial down the excitement for the series premier at Homestead when she realized someone could actually die. Thankfully Katherine Legge was unharmed when her Champ Car ride went flying to bits at Road America, but we were terrified – not cheering – when we saw it happen.

Yes, on occasion I watch Champ Car. Everyone needs a nap, alright?

Look, I realize accidents are going to occur in auto racing and I often marvel at them after the fact, but I know those spectacular crashes often end a career or worse, a life. As thrilling as racing is you can’t be having fragile imperfect human beings flying around at 200 MPH and expect everything to be always be Okey Dokey. Like so many bad things in life tragic accidents going to happen.

So for someone to actually HOPE for an accident means they must not have any personal attachment to the drivers. I don’t mean they aren’t cheering for someone to win, I mean they don’t care what happens to them. We see the shiny cars racing at breakneck speed, but evidently some us forget those are people’s sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and parents in those metal boxes.

I base this on no scientific evidence, but I suppose this is more of a NASCAR phenomenon than any other form of racing since those races tend to have A LOT more crashes and crash fans. Additionally, I’ve noticed positive responses to the carnage at the end of the Kingsford Charcoal Daytona 500 – even asking asking if this was the greatest Daytona race ever – so I’m going suggest NASCAR just drop the pretense and give these Road Warrior lovers what they want.

The Maaco Hummer series.

We’ve gone from cars to trucks, so the next logical step is the SUV. This new series will not only feature vehicles designed to withstand impacts with any object, it will do away altogether with those pesky yellow flags. Hey, if officials and stuff the yellow flag in the pocket while over a dozen cars are heading in the wrong direction at Daytona then let’s do it for the entire race EVERY RACE.

Hummer series vehicles will be a bit slower, but they’ll still feature prominent NASCAR regulars mixing in with youngsters who are barely old enough to drive. That should be exciting! Also, every vehicle will come with NASCAR approved spiked rims that you can also purchase for your ride at your local Discount Tire.

Every race will only be 100 miles since we’d be lucky to get that much out of any single car. However the fuel cell will be small enough so drivers still require a half dozen pit stops. Initial race sponsors include Blue Cross, United Healthcare and AFLAC.

Lastly, the points system will be a little different, with bonus points based on the career of the still popular but still deceased Dale Earnhardt. Drivers will be awarded points based on the position of the car they knock out of the race. Bump draft the leader and you get 43 points, but only 1 point if you knock out the poor soul at the back. Let them all gun for the leader.

If the folks want crashes where no one gets hurt, then this should work. Let’s light this candle, NASCAR fans!

Talk talk

Posted by Iannucci | 2/23/2007 | 1 comments »
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Yours truly was invited to participate in a kinda sorta digital McLaughlin Group, only the discussion related to the upcoming Indy Racing League season instead of politics. Well, that and Brienne Pedigo.

The full transcript is now available at Pressdog.

Time for testing at Homestead

Posted by Iannucci | 2/21/2007 | 5 comments »
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OK, who brought the Ethanol? Let's fire up these Hondas!

(Photo courtesy of

Rookies? We Don't Need No Stinking Rookies!

Posted by Iannucci | 2/20/2007 | 1 comments »
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One of the subtle changes made to the IRL rulebook this year was this little nugget on determining rookie status:

* IndyCar Series officials, in their discretion, will determine the rookie status of any driver. Drivers who have been rookies in prior seasons may retain rookie status independent of number of races started.
At the time it was announced I made the off-handed comment this should be called this the “Marty Roth rule” because my first thought was the rule was developed to ensure Roth will be required to prove his abilities at every track this year, and by that I mean his car and driving ability don’t get in the way of the actual competitors. I mean Roth no slight by this, but anyone with eyes can see his car was more an obstacle to pass than a challenge to race last season.

But now that we have the entry sheet for this week’s testing at Homestead and it appears this rule may relate to Roth in an entirely different way. Although Roth is not listed as a Rookie entrant at Homestead he may gain that classification as the season progresses, and if so he probably stands to win the Bombardier Rookie of the Year title (and accompanying check) by default.

Why? Because there are no rookies on the entry list.

In all fairness, there are reports that PJ Chesson (another rookie/not rookie) will likely have a fulltime ride with Fernandez in 2007 and the Cahill racing duo of Milka Duno and Jeff Mitrisin are still lingering in the news, but those are not done deals with press conferences and scheduled testing. Roth has a leg up because he’s at least entered somewhere, and that leg may be enough to win him an award with just a few starts.

An even sillier possibility is that Roth is unable to compete for most of the races this season and the series Rookie of the Year award ends up in the hands of the most successful novice at Indianapolis. It’s strange to think about it, but a guy like Wade Cunningham could end up with a fistful of awards this year by simply not crashing in a lone appearance at the Brickyard in May. It’s not exactly a financial windfall – the Indy rookie bonus is $25,000 and the series ROY check is $50,000 – but those titles sure look good on a resume.

I don’t want to sound an alarm of any kind here (don’t I do that enough already?) because in the last few years the league has done a great job of keeping the best drivers in the series. Retaining the current drivers means less spots for the up and coming ones, and as a fan I’m down with keeping the proven veterans. But rookies? None at all? That’s just plain weird.

NASCAR Still Unkind To Hornish

Posted by Iannucci | 2/19/2007 | 1 comments »
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"This year, I'd like to get the answers to a lot of questions about how this is all going to work out, and whether it will be something I like, or not. With all the open-wheel stuff and then the stock car racing, we're looking at something like 35 weekends, so I'll get a pretty good taste of it. I'm confident I can handle it, but we'll just see how it goes." – Sam Hornish Jr
Here’s how it goes: another Busch race and another dismal result for the reigning King of IndyCars.

Yes, with so little going on in the world of Indy I spent Saturday watching the ESPN coverage of the Orbitz 300 Busch series race. I could have been watching to see Big Jamie Little in here new NASCAR firesuit, positioned directly in front of a very different Ganassi pit. I could have been watching to see how the six (SIX?) former Indy 500 competitors would fare in 300 miles at Daytona International Speedway. I could even have been watching to see how the new Toyotas would fare in the series before their Cup debuts on Sunday.

But no, I was really only interested in one thing on Saturday. I wanted to see if all this down time and preparation had stoked the fire that seems to be incinerating the remains of the Sam Hornish Jr’s illustrious IndyCar career.

This would be his third race, and if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s not to judge a guy(or girl) by his(or her) first three races. (Especially those named Jeff Simmons.) And while he is still slated to compete in several more Busch series races in 2007, the fact is Uncle Sam is not really doing much for Penske’s stock car outfit aside from wrecking cars. Saturday’s race saw him finish in 31st place after being collected in a multi-car wreck (not his fault), brushing the wall a few times (probably his fault) and penalized for speeding in the pits (definitely his fault).

It would be inaccurate to say all of this, well, failure is entirely Hornish’s fault, since part of it could be related to the engineering of the car or the circumstances of driving with 42 other competitors. But at least some of his problems are related to getting acclimated with this style of racing, which has got to be very frustrating for a guy so accustomed to doing things so well. I should probably pluralize that to “guys”, since one would think The Captain can’t be too happy with the results either.

I’m told this is the kind of thing that deeply motivates a man like Hornish – this challenge, this journey to overcome the adversity – and on a certain level I can see how he would want to prove to himself that he can in fact drive that freaking car as well as anyone. But after watching the frustrating results he’s had and watching the chaotic nonsense that ensued in the closing laps on Sunday’s race, I wonder if maybe there’s a chance that after this season Uncle Sam takes a look all that NASCAR money and fame and weighs it against all those traveling weekends, all those crashes, and all those battles just to crack the Top 20 in any given week and decides against it.

Geez, at this rate maybe Roger Penske makes the decision for him. I’m not hoping to see his failure because I wish him success wherever his racing interests be, but I think most IndyCar fans want to see this stock car venture be merely a part time gig for Hornish.

Besides, this article on Hornish entitled “There’s More To Life Than Racing” makes it sound like he might appreciate having the extra Sundays afforded by the shorter IRL schedule.

Posted by Iannucci | 2/17/2007 | 2 comments »
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Ladies and gentleman, please recalibrate your bookmarks to point to the much simpler for all most of your IndyCar news and information.

I'm going big time now. It's time for shirts, hats and keychains!

Why Montoya Is So Popular

Posted by Iannucci | 2/16/2007 | 4 comments »
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This weekend all eyes will be on Juan Pablo Montoya as the Columbian furiously drives his shiny new Dodge in his first Daytona 500. Montoya has ties to so many racing leagues and provides so many story lines (foreign driver, formula one driver, driver named “Pablo”) that he’s probably the one guy on the earth who could occupy maximum worldwide airtime.

And since he’s got a perfect record in the Indy Racing League, I thought I would give him some face time as well – but for a different reason. Ladies and gentlemen, the REAL reason Montoya will be driving in the NASCAR Cup Series Named After Whoever Pays Us The Most Obscene Cash is because he’s got that special something that only ultra-popular drivers from AJ Foyt to Tony Stewart have.

He’s can drop F-Bombs like Al Pacino in “Scarface”.

Rest. In. Peace.

Posted by Iannucci | 2/14/2007 | 1 comments »
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A moment of silence, please, for a fellow IndyCar site. MoneyCJ at So. Damn. Indy. has rounded up his beer, his F-bombs and his Jamie Little infatuation and hung up his keyboard, citing a lack of time to pound out posts. I don’t want to make this sound like a eulogy because I personally hope he reacquires the time to return at some point in the future, but I do want to express how much my site owes to him.

A few months after starting My Name Is IRL last season I was starting to get bored and felt like I was pretty much talking to myself – which statistically speaking I likely was. But after seeing the excitement of SDI I started getting fired up again and the posts became not just more frequent but with a little more focus.

Then last July both of our sites got a whole lot of hits after I linked to his story about Danica Patrick’s departure from RLR to AGR. It was kind of a fluke that he heard about it, and at the time many readers probably figured he was making it up. I mean, how is some guy with a blog like that going to scoop all the beat reporters out there? The truth is he happened to hear about the switch from an associate affiliated with one of her sponsors, and when he broke the news hours before a broadcaster in Indianapolis did it effectively handed an audience to both of our sites.

My Name Is IRL will always be indebted to SDI for that moment, for the live-blogging exchanges during races last year, and for exemplifying better than any other site the two-arms-raised-in-the-air-and-screaming excitement of Indy racing. Dude, respect.

Meet the Fan Car

Posted by Iannucci | 2/13/2007 | 0 comments »
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In one of the more interesting developments of the off-season, a group of IndyCar fans has banded together in an attempt to sponsor their own car. The group is called IndyCar Fan Car, and they have begun soliciting pledges from other fans in the hopes of sponsoring a single car for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

This is actually a really cool concept, and not one totally unfamiliar to race fans. In 1997 Greg Ray was soliciting support from anyone and everyone in his unsponsored #97 car at Indy. I remember my father-in-law considered pitching in to help Ray’s cause, although ultimately he did not. Ray had a decent IRL career so I don’t think he feels to badly about not helping out.

It’s a daunting task they face because the Fan Car folks estimate their costs to sponsor a team will be around $750,000, but in the age of the internet anything is possible. For now they are simply searching for pledged amounts, but if they meet their goals they then will pursue actual collection. Judging from the numbers on their web site it appears they are off to a slow start, raising around $4000 in their first four days. You can do the unfortunate math and figure out it might take a couple years at that pace.

This is just a guess on my part, but the low commitment thusfar might be related to the fact that they haven’t determined who the driver or the team is that they would be sponsoring. Most prospective contributors would likely want to know if they’re getting behind Buddy Lazier or P.J. Jones or whoever. For example, how would you feel if it turns out your Fan Car dollars end up supporting the Big Felon, Little Al Unser Jr?

Like pretty much any form of racing, any remaining rides in the IRL are likely described as buy-your-ride. If a driver of even modest skill has the sponsorship (or simply the cash) then that driver can probably get a car and team together for a qualifying attempt. This may be a sad commentary on the state of IndyCar racing, but it is what it is.

Now given this reality it would seem that the Fan Car project would have a greater level of success if they could just find a driver and garner funds for him or her. As always there will be more drivers than rides at Indianapolis, and if one single driver could have the Fan Car backing it would bring a face to the whole experiment. There needs to be a certain level of tangibility to validate Fan Car, and with no driver or team it’s all still quite hypothetical.

I realize some drivers may be reluctant to participate in this sort of thing, but I’m sure there are some qualified individuals who can swallow their pride for a chance at qualifying at Indy. And if that driver can say “hey, I’ve got X amount of dollars for any team that wants me” then they’re probably a leg up on 90% of the other unsigned drivers.

I still think this is a really fun idea, and if nothing else it displays the deep attachment IndyCar fans have to their sport. Despite my concerns, I still hope at some point it’s a success.

This May Be Your Driver's Year

Posted by Iannucci | 2/08/2007 | 2 comments »
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If you haven't ventured over his way recently then please, stop reading whatever I'm babbling about and go read Pressdog's interview with Sarah Fisher. He's been stalking trying to track her down for a while, and finally got to pop the questions. Here's a sample quote I've had rattling around my brain since I read it.

I am not in the sport to illustrate or grow the 'power of women.' My entire focus is on winning races and being the best at what I do.
And while a lot can be said (or not said) about the first sentence, I want to take a moment to look at the second one. I know all drivers say seemingly dull things like "I just want to win" regardless of what kind of equipment they have, but after taking a step back and looking at the likely roster of participants for 2007 it becomes obvious that most of these drivers actually can win.

Like all sports fans, I want to see my team stick together. Well, I don't have a particular IRL team I root for (save the Andretti's at Indy) but as you can guess by the name of this site I rather enjoy watching the whole league of excitement. And as much as we keep hearing about certain drivers likely jumping to other series, the truth is it just isn't happening this year. We got continuity this year, and we got it big time.

First off, there are 18 drivers confirmed (more or less) with an increased chance of rising entries. But just focusing on the 18 that are in there - the core of the league - note that there are 10 drivers who have garnered a victory in the IRL. You can see their faces on the sidebar to the right.

In fact, only two drivers who have won a race from the last three seasons are absent: Bryan Herta and Adrian Fernandez. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think those guys jumped to NASCAR or F1.

Additionally, of the eight "non-winners" slated to drive you have professional podium crasher Vitor Meira, AGR newcomer Danica Patrick, and Fisher who has placed as high as second in her career. There is also Jeff Simmons, who was placing in the top 10 in 6 of the last 7 races last year with a car that did not deserve to be in the top 10.

My point is not that we should expect a year of total parity since any rational person should expect that Penske and Ganassi teams will continue to run at the front. Rather, it is that the gap of ability between the guys like Hornish and Wheldon and whoever you feel is the 10th or 12th best driver is probably less than it has been in quite a while.

There is much hope that AGR and Panther can bring their engineering up to the red-and-white level and that revamped teams like Rahal, D&R and Foyt can improve as well. And who know - even Vision was throwing guys in the Top 5 late last season. But if even one or two teams can contend with consistency then 2007 might well become something very special. The driving talent is there.

I say this because in a discussion with Mr. Pressdog - an unabashed Fisher fan - it was proposed that maybe drivers should swap around the equipment to determine who really is the best driver. While that might be fun to see (and then again it might not) it made me think it would not be totally absurd to think that if you did such a thing that the car results would be terribly different.

I know - if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass a-hoppin'.

Now, I'm not saying there is NO difference because clearly Hornish and Wheldon will be at the front on the ovals and Dixon and Kanaan will be contending on the other courses, but if there was ever a year where anybody from the current 18 (and I mean anybody) had a chance to "focus on winning races" with a good car then this may indeed be that year snag a victory or two.

At least that's my hope. When the test times come in from Homestead later this month I may be singing a different tune.

Well, Yahoo!

Posted by Iannucci | 2/06/2007 | 1 comments »
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So I fire up my Dell Dimension and go to Yahoo! to see what's new in the world of news and what do I see staring me in the face? This pic with the headline "Young guns - Can Danica Patrick and 19-year-old Marco Andretti save Indy racing and compete with NASCAR?"

I don't mean the sports page, I mean right there at I know the pic of Danica! is from last year (probably the same for Andretti 3.0 as well) but it's right there on top of the gazillion hit per day page.

OK, this is written by the same guy who last year asked "Is anything more thrilling than three-wide at Talladega?", but to be front and center with a pic on such a prominent site is very encouraging.

See what a little face time at Daytona will do?

Go ahead and read the whole piece from Bob Margolis yourself. It's not so much that you will learn anything, but you can certainly see how someone who doesn't normally cover IndyCar racing is giving feedback as to what is appealing (shocker - it's the drivers!) and what is not (another shocker - Gene Simmons, Jason Priestly, Elaine Irwin, etc.)

Thump Thump Thump Thump

Posted by Iannucci | 2/05/2007 | 5 comments »
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This is the sound of me banging my head against the wall after reading these lines from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and thank you to the gracious readers who forwarded this to me).

ABC will pull Rusty Wallace off his NASCAR broadcasting gig to put him back in the booth at Indy this May, he told the Journal Sentinel.

"It doesn't mean a lot to most people, but to me it's really important as a driver an now as a broadcaster that I can say, 'You know what? I got to call the IRL, I got call the Indy 500, I got to call the Chase for the championship, I got to call basically all of NASCAR and I got to come back and call the Indy 500 again.'"
Actually Russell, it would mean a lot to most people if you would just decline this offer. Really. I mean, you seem like a nice guy so please do us a favor and attend the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte instead. I’m guessing you could probably get comp’d, but if need be we could all pull together and buy you and your lovely wife some tix. Just say the word, man.

Since I’m planning on attending the 91st Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing person I won’t have to listen to Old No. 2’s incessant “I tell you what” babble about the “flying cats” at the Daytona Indy 500, but for the millions out there who will be watching (and listening) to the ABC telecast it will be nearly unbearable.

This isn’t to say Old No. 2 is a bad auto racing commentator, as I’ve said before I think he’ll be a fine NASCAR commentator. He’s personable, energetic and knowledgeable about stock cars. Put him in the booth for an IndyCar race and he’s still personable, energetic and knowledgeable about stock cars. My issue is he has no point of reference to offer as a commentator, and he knows a good deal less about IndyCars and their history than most of the people watching. Quite simply, I don’t care about Champ Cars or Formula cars or especially stock cars during an IndyCar race. Either speak of IndyCar racing or forever hold your peace.

I mean is it too much to want a commentator to tell me something I didn’t know about the cars actually racing? All Rusty offered last season was repeated comparisons to tin tops, which is something I NEVER thought of while watching an IndyCar race. Color me a snob, but it appeared as if he was functioning as an amateur translator for NASCAR fans who don’t speak Indy. (And like all bad translators he had a tendency to speak too loudly.)

So for me having Old No. 2 in the booth was really annoying. I didn’t think he offered much of a positive contribution last season, and I don’t think he will this year – if only for a single race. But despite my opinion (I know, no one asked) he’ll be there in May and the only alternative for fans not in attendance is to dial into the radio broadcast with Mike King, Davey Hamilton and their band of merry men.

Of course radio involves a different level of dialogue than television, which reminds me of a great quote. Years ago the Arizona State basketball (and football) games were broadcast on radio by a guy named Tom Dillon. One day the TV crew was unable to make it to some long-since forgotten hoops matchup and Dillon was asked to simulcast on both radio and TV. Dillon started off the broadcast by declaring the circumstances to both audiences before admitting “…if it seems to those of you watching on TV that I’m talking too much, I probably am.”

Who knows - maybe Rusty's appearance means Dr. Punch and Big Jamie Little will also be back for Indy. Regardless, I have a feeling a lot of race fans will be imbibing extra rounds of Patron Tequila or Canadian Club around Memorial Day.

Danica Was Reportedly On Camera

Posted by Iannucci | 2/04/2007 | 4 comments »
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First off, congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts on their Super Bowl victory. Clearly the Colts were strengthened by their pre-game pep talk from Helio Castroneves. Hey, the guy's a winner.

But for Indycar fans all eyes were on the premier of THE Go Daddy ad, which was going to feature a genu-wine racing hottie with a funny name. And what did we get? Pardon me for allowing a guest commentator to express all of our feelings via this email I received.

Was THAT Danica's big Super Bowl commercial. She was on camera for what, .43 seconds. DUDE. In leather. The Go Daddies didn't warrant more camera time, apparently.
No kidding. Not a lot of rocking what she got in that ad. I guess Larry Flynt Bob Parsons just wanted to have her picture on his web page.

Then again I shouldn't be so harsh since there was a NASCAR dude singing in someone else's ad. As we learned at Wrigley, please don't let that poor girl sing.

Lessons From Daytona

Posted by Iannucci | 2/02/2007 | 2 comments »
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Well, the week (more or less) of testing at Daytona has wrapped up, and oh what an enlightening week we have had.

We learned that Sam Hornish Jr is getting very close to being competitive on a road course after posting a lap behind only five other drivers.

We also learned Sam will be participating in seven Busch series events in 2007.

We learned Dan Wheldon wants to "start looking very seriously at this NASCAR stuff." (Dan, if you want some NASCAR stuff you can buy lots of it at Target.)

We learned Scott Sharp has a really sweet looking car this year...unless you have an allergy to neon green.

We learned that Buddy Rice will have a full-time ride, but there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out of the car.

We learned Darren Manning looks...different.

We learned Danica will probably be containing her Go Daddies during a Super Bowl commercial this Sunday.

We learned PJ Chesson is thisclose to having a contract with Fernandez Racing.

And lastly, we learned what Cahill Racing sees in Milka Duno and Jeff Mitrisin.