Down Time

Posted by Iannucci | 7/30/2007 | 9 comments »
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This weekend presented a challenge for fans like me, since it was one the few holidays for the Indy Racing League. I could have planned a mini-vacation myself, took the kids somewhere, done some work around the house.

Did I do any of that? Naaaaah. Instead, I plopped myself in front of the TV on Sunday and tried to watch racing from some other series.

First, it should be noted I woke up at like 5am to go golfing. That’s the crazy thing about Arizona – you tee off at dawn in the summer because you either fry during the middle of the day or get caught in a monsoon in the afternoon. No fun there. Anyhow I may have to make like Bobby Rahal and fire my own driver, since Mr Callaway was all over the course on Sunday. Suffice it to say it was less than fun and his ride in the bag in no longer safe.

So I get home in time to watch the Brickyard 400, which now has a sponsorship from Allstate but that doesn’t mean I have to call it that. Like this O’Reilly name for Indianapolis Raceway Park, I refuse to conform. I’m a rebel, a loner. Anyhow, at the start of the race they announce there will be “Competition Yellows at laps 15 and 40”. That’s right race fans, scheduled yellow flags! Supposedly this had something to do with the track being “green from rain”, but I think NAPCAR has really caved in to sponsorship concerns if their scheduling these things.

Anyhow, after several laps I nodded off. The “Competition Yellows” were not necessary as there were like 40 yellow flag laps in the first half of the race. Not to mention the cars were averaging 170 MPH around the track at full speed. That’s not exactly slow, but compared to IndyCars it’s…OK, it’s slow. I perked up when they asked which former Indy 500 participant had the best chance to win, with the choices being Robbie Gordon, Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, and JJ Yeley. I also snapped awake whenever they went “down to Jamie in the pits”.

No offense to Brienne Pedigo, but I really miss Big Jamie Little. Sadness.

When it was all said and done former IndyCar driver Tony Stewart had won, and as you may know he know likes to climb the fence Spiderman-style. This time, he got his ENTIRE TEAM to climb the fence. Way to kill an already tenuous celebration routine. This is now becoming as elaborate as the Icky Shuffle.

Meanwhile in second was 2000 Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, which is no small feat since Pablo is driving a Dodge – the pig of NAPCAR. Pablo has now raced at IMS in an event by IndyCar, Formula One and NASCAR. Can Motorcycles be far behind, Pablo?

To be honest, I was kinda hoping that Pablo would win since Uncle Sam has mentioned he wants to be the first driver to win both The 500 and The 400. That would be one less thing for Sam to worry about. Am I selfish? Yes. So sue me.

One crazy note: I SWEAR I heard Rusty Wallace say this late in the race about Montoya “…he’s been really impressive for a guy who never in his life has raced here before.” I was nodding off, but I’m telling you Old Number Two said that. Maybe he just was trying to wake people up – people like me.

So once The Brickyard deal was over there was a conveniently scheduled Champ Car race in San Jose being aired. I think this would be the fourth CCWS race I’ve seen all year, and there has been a wreck on the first lap in EVERY ONE of them. IndyCar drivers must have more patience, because other than Mid Ohio they save their collisions on road or street courses for later laps.

Meanwhile, I know Pressdog has been observing this all year but races in that series have become “Festivals of Nose Cones”. Like half the drivers lose nose cones from running into each other during the races. You look at them wrong and the front wings fall off. Unbelievable. One driver lost his nose cone on the course, got a tow in from the safety truck, returned to the track, and ended up winning the race. I am totally not making that up.

So at the end of the day (literally) I had watched a whole bunch of racing and decided I really don’t like this off-weekend stuff. I know it’s hard on the race teams to go every week, but it’s none too easy on fans to get excited for a race every Saturday or Sunday and then be left to fend for a racing jones during the vacation weekends. Just saying that this condensed schedule is rather addicting for the fans.

Come on, Michigan!


  1. pressdog // July 30, 2007 11:17 AM  

    Jeff has Champ Car FEVER. There's no denying it.

  2. The American Mutt // July 30, 2007 11:31 AM  

    You're not mistaken. Rusty did in fact say that about Montoya. Last year the "competition cautions" were to "check" tire wear. You'd think they wouldn't need to change the lies every year. I often couldn't distinguish between green and yellow laps.

  3. Carrie // July 30, 2007 11:36 AM  

    There was a NASCAR race yesterday? Couldn't tell it by me. I just don't give a rip about NASCAR this season.

    One more win by Dixon & Franchitti and I'm giving up on the IRL too.

  4. Johnny // July 30, 2007 12:14 PM  

    You should have tried SPEED. Even though it was a week old, the tape delayed Brno, Czech World Superbike round was really good. Every lap was close and you would have seen actual road course passing under green.

  5. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 30, 2007 12:52 PM  

    I have one thing to say and I don’t care who hears me. I know I’m speaking more from my own emotions and not for a love or racing … because I DO NOT love ALL racing. I got so sick of hearing (during the 5-10 minutes I tortured myself by watching racecars with windshields crawl around on the hallowed ground of the IMS) talk about how Tony Stewart grew up in Columbus, IN and the IMS is his “home track” and how much a dream it is for an Indiana boy to win at Indy. Look, stop fooling yourselves, if the boy really wants a win at Indy he needs to strap his big butt back into an Indy Car and HOLD ON WITH BOTH FREAKING HANDS and go over 200 MPH and win the 500. Stop pretending that winning the Brickyard is all that.

    Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.
    Go IndyCar! Down with NASCAR!

  6. erika // July 30, 2007 8:34 PM  

    I'm sure I was just bored and overanalyzing, but Mari Hulman George's "start your engines" call seemed to have far less enthusiasm on Sunday than when it is directed at Indy 500 drivers. My respect for her has grown tremendously.

    Jennifer, I agree with your analysis of Tony Stewart's Indiana roots - when he grew up dreaming of winning a race at his "home track", I'd bet a lot of cash that his dreams never involved a car with a roof.

  7. john clerk // July 31, 2007 1:25 AM  

    The race coverage was sloppy. Too much fluff and not enough substance. Who hired Rusty, and why is he still calling races when he's making horrible mistakes and miscues?

    I don't think I missed much by staying home this year.

  8. Anonymous // July 31, 2007 3:22 AM  

    I agree about your comment about Big Jamie Little. I checked out the Busch race and was pleased to see Shannon Spate,,easy on the eyes yummo

  9. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // July 31, 2007 12:24 PM  

    Last year during the INDY 500 freaking Rusty Wallace said "This is the most exciting Daytona ... uh... uh... UH...Indy...".