Indecision '07: Kansas

Posted by Iannucci | 9/28/2007 | 2 comments »
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It would seem that Sam Hornish Jr will not be taking his Indecision '07 tour to Kansas Speedway this weekend, since (a) he's not on the N-word entry list and (b) he spent yesterday practicing at Kentucky Speedway.

Maybe in all the frustration he got Kansas and Kentucky mixed up. Or not.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet. The big thing for me is to continue to wait a little bit and get to the point where I feel like I have a good head on my shoulders as far as making the decision,” Hornish, Jr., said. “We’ll make it when that time comes. The best thing about it is that I’ve not had to make that decision yet.” (MORE from WhoWon)
Sam's wife Crystal must be the most patient woman on the planet.

Torn between two owners

Posted by Iannucci | 9/27/2007 | 4 comments »
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Remember that bit about Dario Franchitti running in an ARCA race next weekend? Yeah, probably not gonna happen. Looks like Mr Judd will be in Atlanta that weekend for a Petit Le Mans race – racing for Andretti Green.

Dario Franchitti's plans to kick off his stock car career with Chip Ganassi Racing in two weeks' have been put on hold because of the Scotsman's contractual commitments with Andretti Green Racing.

Chip Ganassi has been working on a deal to try to get Franchitti some stock car experience as soon as possible, with the aim of having him well-prepared to drive for his team in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup.

However, negotiations have apparently hit a stumbling block as Franchitti is still under contract with AGR, has further commitments to the team, and an early release from his obligations has not been reached. (MORE from
Nothing like Michael and Chip playing hardball, leveraging the current Indy 500 champion against each other. It's strictly business, of course.

Quote of the Day

Posted by Iannucci | 9/27/2007 | 4 comments »
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We are just waiting to announce one new two-car team for next year. We think there are two or three others coming...and we’ve got a couple of very good league sponsors to announce. They’re signed, sealed, delivered.

“We’re waiting during our quiet period, and this is a little bit of a strategy. When we unfortunately have a bit of an off-season we want to really kind of sequence that information into the market to let people know that there are good things happening on a regular basis with the Indycar series.”
Terry Angstadt, President of the Commercial Division of the Indy Racing League, during an interview with IMS Radio’s Mike King. Angstadt says he expects a “minimum of 22 cars” for the opener in Homestead, although he also suggest 26 cars as the maximum allowable for regulars the series.

International Rice

Posted by Iannucci | 9/27/2007 | 1 comments »
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Ubiquitous race blogger Alan Brewer (this time at tells us how 2004 Indy 500 champ Buddy Rice is spending his free time. Hint: it's NOT in a tin top.

Buddy Rice will drive for A1 TEAM USA in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 2007-08 season opener Sunday at Zandvoort, a 2.6-mile, 11-turn circuit on the Dutch coast.

It will be the first A1GP race for Rice, who has tested for a total of 2 ½ days at Silverstone in the Lola-Zytek mandated by the series.

“I’m very excited to have this opportunity to drive for A1 TEAM USA and represent my country in the World Cup of Motorsport,” Rice said. “It is an honor and carries a new type of responsibility. You always want to do well for your team and yourself and, now in A1GP, for my country.” (MORE from
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

If you would like, click here for a taste of the "World Cup of Motorsports".

Helio foxtrotting to glory

Posted by Iannucci | 9/26/2007 | 4 comments »
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So how did he do? Not too shabby. Considering Helio and his partner got the most "points" it would seem he's unlikely to go home this week. No offense to Danica Patrick, but having someone approach her level of exposure who has actually won quite a few races seems like a very real possibility if he's gonna keep looking like this.

Here's the video of Helio's performance, although posting footage is NOT going to become a regular feature. It's more so you can judge for yourself what 20 meeeellion viewers are seeing as representative of perhaps their first impression of IndyCar racing.

Note that some of that Detroit footage looks a lot like Chicagoland, and before you say anything, I think they meant he was the youngest to win back-to-back Indy 500s. I'm cool with a few mistakes (hey, they got his name right), but it's tremendously disappointing they couldn't work Tomas Scheckter's famous quote in there. Oh well.

Our DWTS expert Jennifer says: Helio came out with a smile and charmed everyone. He seemed to genuinely enjoy himself and there was obvious chemistry between him and Julianne. Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but having watched every season and having a feel for what the judges are looking for, I thought he gave one of the best ballroom performances I have seen in the first round during any season. There were a few spots where his leg extensions could have been a little firmer. But his holds were strong and he seemed relaxed.

The judges were also pleased with Helio and Julianne’s performance, giving them the highest score, a 25, of the men. Never discount the power of the judges’ scores and comments. They can have a strong influence on the viewers’ votes. After seeing her cha cha cha on Monday I believe Helio’s main competition will be Cheetah Girl, Sabrina Bryan.

Thanks Jennifer, but if Castroneves loses to the Cheetah Girl then P1 (Radio Disney fan that she is) will never let me live this down. To paraphrase Al Davis, the Cheetah Girl must go down, and she must go down hard!

Honda's new girl

Posted by Iannucci | 9/25/2007 | 4 comments »
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Something makes me think Sarah Fisher will be back next year, like for example this press release.

IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher is featured in American Honda Motors' first national broadcast corporate image campaign in two years.

The 30-second commercial, shows Honda jet planes, solar racers, test-track racing with Fisher and safety researchers, all in home video-style movement to The Who's "I Can See for Miles." All the video images are "shot" by Asimo, Honda's walking robot. Tagline: "See what we see." It's the first time the Torrance, Calif.-based automaker has used national advertising for corporate image since the "Safety for everyone" campaign in October 2005.

The new spot is slated to run during the "Dancing With the Stars" season premiere and can also be seen during the season premieres such as "Brothers and Sisters," "Cane" and "Chuck." The commercial will also run during the Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series.
Looks like she didn't change her name to Sarah O'Gara. Smart move.

If anyone finds the video of the commercial online please let us all know.

UPDATE: Reader Arni (Arni!) informs us you can see the ad with Fisher in the video section of the Honda Racing site HERE. Sarah's not talking, but she looks very busy.

Dances With Helio

Posted by Iannucci | 9/25/2007 | 6 comments »
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Well, it’s time. TONIGHT our beloved Helio Castroneves boldly takes his act to primetime with his debut performance on Dancing With The Stars. For purposes of journalistic endeavors, your humble correspondent will be attempting to watch Helio’s pursuit of, well, I don’t know what the winner actually gets. But whether or not he gets it the TV will be on, the notepad will be out, and after my first attempt at watching last night I think the liquor cabinet will be stocked.

Seriously, using Monday night as a warm up I tried watching DWTS for the first time. Sorry to say to fans of the show, but this was painful to watch. It was girls night, and while the older celebs like Marie Osmond and Jane Seymour were doing these slow-motion, don’t-break-my-hip moves, the Spice Girl and the Cheetah Girl were hopping around like they were auditioning for the return of Solid Gold. Very bizarre.

(By the way – shouldn’t being someone who dances in your career preclude a person from being on this show? Wouldn’t that make said person a ringer? Seriously, I don’t get this show.)

For those like me who had never seen Dances With Helio before, here are some observations:

  • I had no idea this show was hosted by the guy from America’s Funniest Home Videos (no, not Bob Saget – the new guy). Was Regis not available?

  • Considering the sponsors, I am apparently the only man (well, straight man) in America watching the show. Feeling fresh is not a big selling point among men.

  • The music and background singing exceptionally high in cheese. Do we need to hear a ballroom cover of “Don’cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me...?” Good gracious!

  • The judges on the show not only give verbal critiques, but the also hold up these little signs from their laps with a score. I think it’s a rating of 1 to 10 of the performance, which in the end means NOTHING since advancing on the show is determined by viewer votes.

  • Speaking of the judges, Simon Cowell is NOT on this show. Bummer.
Incidentally, the IndyStar is reporting that Helio is early favorite in to win the, umm, whatever they win. Yes, they have a betting line on this, proving once again (you really can bet on anything in Vegas.

It won't hurt that Castroneves is paired with Julianne Hough, who led Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno to last season's title. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has predicted Castroneves and Hough will win. Multiple Las Vegas casinos have them as a co-favorite along with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his partner, "Dancing" veteran Karina Smirnoff.

"He's darling, and that spark that Emmitt has, that charisma, is what I see in Helio," (senior talent producer Deena) Katz said. "As a sports figure, men will watch him; women will vote for him.

"I'm telling you, the women will love him."
Feel the love, and stay up to date with the updates and photos at in case I can’t make it through the entire program. Believe it or not, you can already start voting for Castroneves. So if you have nothing better to do...

Call: 1-800-868-3409
Text: Vote 3409 (AT & T Customers only)

Good luck, Helio! And for the love of Roger Penske please don’t lose to Wayne Newton.

Baby, you can drive my car

Posted by Iannucci | 9/24/2007 | 3 comments »
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Whether you are pricing out a new sports car for your travels or you simply like hearing a lovely young lady talk about cars, Motor Trend is here to help. For their current issue they’ve enlisted none other than Danica Patrick to review four new cars, despite the fact that she can barely see over the dash of most of these bad boys.

Here are some of the Andretti Green driver’s thoughts about the cars she tested, with links providing full video reviews.

Posche 911 GT3RS: “Sixth gear was a little bit felt a little bit nervous in the rear…it felt rigid.”

Chevrolet Corvette Z06: “It just didn’t have that bottom-end torque that I want to feel…I thought it was a little bit weak.”

Dodge Viper SRT 10: “You really had to be hard on the throttle to feel the grunt…it went over the bumps soft but it didn’t recover.”

Lamborghini Murcielago LP640: “It’s so fun…the shifting is too jerky, and when you get off the throttle the rear gets a little bit light…it sounds good, it sings.”

Oh, I’m sorry – was she talking about cars?

Wearing Ashley out

Posted by Iannucci | 9/24/2007 | 2 comments »
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Reader Bethany was kind enough to forward this. The woman who made sopping-wet sundresses all the rage this summer has teamed up with Goody's Family Clothing to unleash the Ashley Judd collection. You - yes, YOU - can now purchase any number of "classic separates including denim, organic and knit tees, as well as jackets, blouses, sweaters and trousers."

Shockingly, no big hats or sunglasses - talk about an opportunity lost!

“I think Ashley is really the perfect match for what we want because we wanted a really nice updated missy line. Our strength has been our juniors. We go from juniors to an older customer, and we don’t really have anything in between that’s really updated,” Goody’s CEO Charles Turlinski said.

Judd, who personifies the South, is someone who Goody’s customers can resonate with, Turlinski said.

All of the company’s marketing was directly structured around what Judd does in her spare time, such as playing in the creek, rescuing animals, swinging on the front porch, said Mary Beth Fox, Goody’s vice president of marketing, strategy and planning. (MORE from
Say what? I'm not overly familiar with Women of the South, but I didn't realize ya'll are spending your free time playing in the creek. Ladies, do tell which of Ashley's shoes would be apropos of just such an occasion.

Trading tartans

Posted by Iannucci | 9/23/2007 | 3 comments »
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As one Scottish driver prepares to depart the IndyCar series...

"We have a few little hurdles to get done before we can announce something (with Dario Franchitti), but we are feverishly working at it. We are confident we are going to be able to put something together with him," (Chip) Ganassi said Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

A formal announcement of Franchitti's move is expected this week, sources said.

Asked if Franchitti knows for certain the Cup series is where he wants to compete full time, Ganassi said: "He definitely wants to do it." (MORE from That's Racin')
...another Scottish driver may be coming.

Champ Car rookie Ryan Dalziel was recently fired, reportedly one of two drivers let go so Champ Car could feature Mexican drivers for their upcoming event in Mexico City. Via con dios, amigos.

Dalziel said he was now considering either a return to Grand-Am - where he took second in a one-off for the SAMAX team last weekend - or a switch to the IRL IndyCar Series.

"I'll definitely be racing, it's just a case of determining what the best option is," he said.

"I've had a great time driving Daytona Prototypes in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in the past two years and I'd definitely be interested in a return there given the strength of the competition.

"Similarly there's potential to stay in open-wheel racing and switch to the Indy Racing League so I'll consider what's on offer and hopefully have things lined up sooner rather than later." (MORE from
That's right, SAMAX. After Ashley Judd called out Milka Duno, how ironic would it be to see the SAMAX team featuring a citizen of Scotland as a teammate to Milkalicious? More than a wee bit, me thinks.

The glass is half full

Posted by Iannucci | 9/22/2007 | 6 comments »
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Amid the ignorant stories about the supposed impending death of the IRL, Holly Cain of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer manages to notice the obvious.

On the surface, the exodus to NASCAR doesn't look too good for open-wheel racing. But all the doom and gloom is superficial.

With all due respect to Franchitti and Hornish -- both great guys and talented drivers -- they weren't exactly household names while winning in the open-wheel ranks. Even Montoya and the well-pedigreed Villeneuve are unfamiliar to the average American race fan despite their success overseas in Formula One.

The bottom line is that the racing is awesome in the IndyCar Series -- easily the most exciting of any series this year. And it should remain that way, considering most of the competitors who make it so compelling -- Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan -- will be back, and there remains an Andretti (Marco) and Foyt (Anthony) for tradition's sake.
Can I get an "Amen, sister!"? Can I get an "Hallelujah!"?

I'll take those personalities along with Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves and Sarah Fisher and I will enjoy my "competition yellow" free racing, thank you very much. I mean, if you want to talk about a series in trouble then look elsewhere.

And speaking of good news, there is more from the new flatter "Value" payout plan. Despite how some inaccurately (but amusingly) portray it as communism, the plan is a huge step toward assuring more teams in the league. There's a boring but worthwhile summary in the Indianapolis Business Journal, but here's the one part that caught my eye.

"There is no cap on how many teams can qualify for the revenue-sharing plan."
That means whoever wants to participate can come on down and collect their $1.3M and start racing for more. By lowering the cost of racing the league is reducing the likelihood of becoming filled with a bunch of ride-buyers. Actual talented drivers will now have to raise less sponsorship to get in a car - and that's a good thing.

No, I haven't started drinking early this morning. As anyone can see revenue sharing works exceptionally well for the NFL and the NBA, and raising the base salary is a step towards making sure all teams are able to survive.

Put it this way: would you rather see Marty Roth only able to put himself on the track, or would you rather see him able to bring PJ Chesson along?

Foyt IV to race Pro Late Model

Posted by Iannucci | 9/22/2007 | 1 comments »
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If you are in the greater Houston area, you can check out Quattro at Houston Motorsports Park in a very different type of vehicle.

"It is quite a bit different, but it is still a lot of fun to come out here," Foyt said.

He will be behind the wheel of the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing/Pit Solutions car owned by Ty Smith. It's something he has done before.

"I got to drive one of his cars in the Snowflake Derby in Florida and I had a lot of fun, so we just decided to do it again here in Houston," Foyt said. (MORE from the Houston Chronicle)
Racing in the offseason, just for the fun of it - what a concept.

Also, Foyt is scheduled to join Scott Dixon, Vitor Meira, Dan Wheldon and other former and future IndyCar drivers for the TaG Endurance Race at New Castle Motorsports Park on the weekend of October 13th. For those in Indiana who need a racing fix - well, there ya go.

Indecision '07: Dover

Posted by Iannucci | 9/21/2007 | 6 comments »
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The campaign moves to Delaware.

Sam Hornish Jr., a three-time Indy Racing League champion, will attempt to qualify today at Dover International Speedway for his first Nextel Cup Series event.

Hornish attempted to qualify for the Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire last weekend, but came up just short.

“I’m really looking forward to Dover, especially after what happened last weekend,” Hornish said. “I have a better idea now, and hopefully we won’t let it happen again. My goal is to make the race and get as much seat time as possible.”(MORE from Auto Racing Daily)
According to Penske Racing Prez Tim Cindric, Hornish was his own worst enemy last Friday. From

"He went last (in qualifying) at New Hampshire, and he knew what he had to do time-wise to make it," Cindric said. "Then he took it too easy and under-drove the car for one of the few times in his life. He was a couple of tenths (of a second) off his time in practice, which is a lot.
An update will be provided on Sam's progress later in the day because, well, the IndyCar series is on a six-month coffee break.

UPDATE: Another DNQ, so for the second week in a row Sam will be free on Sunday. He had the 42nd fastest time in qualification, but because certain teams are guaranteed qualification Sam did not make the grid.

Somewhere Ryan Briscoe is weeping.

My Name Is the Indy Insider

Posted by Iannucci | 9/20/2007 | 5 comments »
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So who's the most unlikely celebrity from this past IndyCar season? Milka Duno? Anthony Fedele? Security Chief Charles? All worthy contenders, but for my money that title belongs to the ever diligent Arni the Indy Insider.

Thanks to YouTube, we have been regularly entertained by vignettes from Arni (as well as some duds, but we aren't going to talk about that.) The Indy Insider has featured everything from driver interviews to girls in cages to Mari Hulman George to talking stuffed animals, all the while showing Arni as a funny and engaging sport who just loves talking about IndyCars.

And now after that completely sugar-coated introduction, it is with great pleasure that My Name Is IRL welcomes Arni the Indy Insider. It's time to find out what he's like without a video camera. Cue the questions.

So why did you start the “Indy Insider”? Was this your idea?

Well I’d like to take credit for the idea and all the sponsorship cash that came with it (none of that happened by the way) but credit actually belongs to a friend of mine who works at IMS Productions. He and his boss wanted to start a series of viral videos to get people excited about the coming season, the races, and if we could show the drivers in a different way. They thought I’d be a good host, since most of the drivers and crew guys know me from my primary job as one of the IRL’s PR guys, so I came up with some ideas, shot them at a test for the pilot and the thing was born.

How much time and how many people are involved in making any given episode?

When we started it seemed like it took forever – mainly the fault of the host, who couldn’t remember what to say or at times just couldn’t speak.

The last few videos we did in about 15-20 minutes with very few takes, except for the last party episode. We spent a good 45 minutes to an hour wandering around the DownForce party.

And by we, I mean: Me and one of three camera guys. Others involved were the exec producer/director, basically our own version of Billy Walsh (who added ideas of what to say and posts them on YouTube), a video editor and as many other guests as we could fit in.

People have been guessing you are anywhere from teenager to 50-year-old man. For the record, how old are you?

I drive the carny who tries to guess your age crazy. I’m old, but not nearly as old as Scott Sharp. I am old enough to drink (and still get carded for it. I know that’s shocking news). I’m 56.

Now that you’re famous are you struggling with autograph requests, groupies, or jealous co-workers?

I don’t have hero cards, so I don’t sign autographs (joking, I’ve signed a couple though I really don’t know why anyone wants my autograph, though Kenny Brack asked for one in a video). My only groupies are the people who want to be in the videos, and that includes the jealous co-workers and drivers. And anyone who would actually read this Q & A (And those random people I don’t know who asked to be my MySpace friend). So I guess the answer is yes...or maybe.

There were rumors on message boards that you fell ill during the season. Are you OK?

I’m fine now. July was tough. I really couldn’t put together two sentences because of the cold I gave myself in Iowa. I think pressdog or Rusty Wallace sprayed me with a corn-based anthrax or something.

Other than Tony Kanaan, have you gotten any feedback from drivers or other prominent figures in the sport?

I think most people enjoy the videos from what they tell me. Of course the second I go away, they probably talk crap about me and how much they hate them.

Has anyone refused an interview request or asked to be left out of your episodes?

Other than when Dario gave me the finger, I basically get to chat with anyone. As an aside, Dario did tell me “we need some humble pie” after he won the title. Ashley gave me a disapproving look when Dario told her the story of the video. We all had a good laugh at my expense.

Ed Note: Did he say "humble pie"? Would now be a good time to point out how in the Indy 500 Front Row Party episode where Mr Judd gives Arni the finger, the Indy Insider immediately declares "Not a championship contender, no way no how. Not even gonna win the race."? Ahem.

You put up a $1 bounty to the first driver to beat Alex Lloyd this year. Did Hideki Mutoh ever collect?

It actually got up to $5 and I’ve yet to give it to Hideki (If Hideki is reading this. I have your $5. I hope he doesn’t want interest). The payment was going to be a bit for the show (think about trying to cash a big check), but another race driver with a videoblog beat me to the punch. Damn you

Now that the season is done, which episode is your favorite?

A lot of people liked the Japan episode just because of the subtle jokes. But how can you top interviewing girls in cages? Do you think we peaked in Week 3. I do.

Will you be back with more or are you going to NASCAR?

I’ll be back unless NASCAR finds a fan who acts like me and then takes credit for inventing YouTube and the Internet, making me obsolete.

Thanks so much Arni, and PLEASE don't stop. We can only watch the girl in the cage so much between now and next March.

More of the same

Posted by Iannucci | 9/19/2007 | 7 comments »
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Yesterday the 2008 schedule was announced to a collective yawn, since it had pretty much been solidified for several months. With but a few tweaks it’s the same schedule as 2007 – sans Michigan, and that omission still totally sucks.

However, in what can only be classified as “No news is good news”, the one prospective new event for next year appears to be dead. After much speculation, Curt Cavin threw a bucket full of cold water on us by repeatedly saying on his daily blog that the new date was going to involve some kind of Dodger Stadium Grand Prix. I can think of a few four-letter words I might say if they held an IndyCar race IN A PARKING LOT, but “Huge” is not one of them. Unless of course we put a word like “Mistake” after it.

The bottom line is this schedule is stable, and both fans and promoters in the respective locales can predictably plan around the events. (This just in: random dates are not so good for attendance.) It would appear by coupling these 16 dates with the new “value” plan for larger payouts that for the short term the IRL has decided it’s best to attempt expansion the base of ownership than the increasing the number of races.

Which means as long as more than 18 participants show up for each event next season this plan can be considered successful. Except for leaving out Michigan.

Here’s the ’08 schedule. Plan accordingly.

March 29 Homestead-Miami Speedway, 1.5-mile oval (Night)
April 6 Streets of St. Petersburg, 1.8-mile street course
April 19 Twin Ring Motegi, 1.5-mile oval
April 27 Kansas Speedway, 1.5-mile oval
May 25 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2.5-mile oval
June 1 The Milwaukee Mile, 1-mile oval
June 7 Texas Motor Speedway, 1.5-mile oval (Night)
June 22 Iowa Speedway, .875-mile oval
June 28 Richmond International Raceway, .75-mile oval (Night)
July 6 Watkins Glen International, 3.37-mile road course
July 12 Nashville Superspeedway, 1.33-mile oval (Night)
July 20 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 2.258-mile road course
Aug. 9 Kentucky Speedway, 1.5-mile oval (Night)
Aug. 24 Infineon Raceway, 2.4-mile road course
Aug. 31 The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, 2.096-mile street course
Sept. 7 Chicagoland Speedway, 1.5-mile oval

Big Daddy

Posted by Iannucci | 9/18/2007 | 3 comments »
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Congratulations to Tony Kanaan and his wife Dani, who according to have welcomed the birth of their son Leonardo today in Brazil.

Tony now joins Scott Sharp as the only other ICS regular who has gone forth and multiplied. Be forewarned that Sam Hornish Jr and Ed Carpenter are also slated to be fathers soon, and they may not be the only one ones sowing the seeds of love if you catch my drift.

So Tony, as a token out our admiration and respect we’d like to offer you some words of wisdom a well-respected gentleman once said about fatherhood:

“...Dads should be in the grandstands, not in the pits.” – Tony Kanaan

I tell ya, some days the material just writes itself. Seriously, best wishes to the Kanaan family with their speedy little bundle of joy.

Talladega Nights with Ricky Franchitti

Posted by Iannucci | 9/17/2007 | 1 comments »
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Thanks to reader Susan for the heads-up, from SpeedTV:

There still hasn't been an official announcement about NASCAR but Dario Franchitti will be testing one of Chip Ganassi's stock cars at Talladega later this month in preparation for the ARCA race on Oct. 5.

"That's the plan," said Ganassi on Sunday night. "There's an open test on Sept. 27th so we'll run that and then come back for the race."

Ganassi didn't elaborate on Franchitti's future but the 2007 Indy 500 and IRL champion is expected to be named as the full-time Cup driver of Ganassi's No. 40 car later this week.
Susan will also alert us when Dario is kicked out of an Applebees...or not.

Seriously, if this is what Dario's doing then he needs to get out of the tin top at his first race, look Big Jamie Little or whoever in the eye and say "Wow. I feel like I'm in Highlander!" This simply must happen.

Crazy Mad Jack

Posted by Iannucci | 9/17/2007 | 6 comments »
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Oh those wacky lads and lasses in the British Press. They’re just not happy unless they can sell some newspapers with outrageous hypothetical news, preferably invoking the name of David Beckham, of course. The Daily Record obliges.

SCOTS race ace Dario Franchitti has been tipped to rake in more cash than David Beckham after becoming the first Scot to win the IndyCar series.

The 34-year-old could pocket more than £130million in America after his historic victory last week, sports agents have predicted.

It would beat the £128million David Beckham is believed to be picking up through his five-year deal with LA Galaxy.
Breaking out my handy dandy conversion chart it looks like that would be around 260 Meeeelion Dollars, and according to The Scotsman, Mr Judd is now “expected” to rake in this kind of insane income.

RACING champion Dario Franchitti is set to out-earn David Beckham and become one of America's richest sport stars.

The Bathgate driver became the first Scot to win the IndyCar series and he is now expected to collect more than £130 million in winnings and endorsements.
Riiiiight. He’s got charm, wit, good looks, a movie star wife, an Indy 500 win, and a killer brogue - a fantastic spokesman for nearly any sponsor. But while he may get a substantial increase in compensation this year wherever he drives, Dario isn't going to be making Beckham-type money even if he changes his last name to "Beckham". Or "Earnhardt".

Yet another Indy 500 champ gets stocked

Posted by Iannucci | 9/15/2007 | 1 comments »
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And now Buddy Lazier is set to race the tin tops. Sure, he hasn't been a series regular for a couple of years and this is just a one-off for the time being, but did this news have to come THIS week?

Former Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League champion Buddy Lazier will make his NASCAR debut in the Sept. 22 Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway driving for Billy Ballew Motorsports.

“The opportunity arose for us to race in Las Vegas and I am extremely excited. They are racers on that team and to me it’s a perfect fit, and I feel right at home with the whole team,” Lazier said.

“I’ve driven at the track in Las Vegas, but with the old configuration so I’ll be studying up on last year’s race and be looking forward to a lot of seat time during practice. Obviously, I’d love to continue racing in a top-tier NASCAR series.” (MORE from
Can Gil de Ferran be far behind? I mean, good gracious. It's getting to the point that "N-word" chairman Brian France may soon start greeting Indy 500 champions in Victory Circle.

Knights of the Oval Table

Posted by Iannucci | 9/15/2007 | 4 comments »
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It's Silly Season, and although we don't discuss Silly Season terribly much we're definitely in a silly mood. Might be that we're still all delirious from the Chicagoland madness.

Beware: Money is REALLY mad at Jack Arute.

pressdog: Anyone seen any blogger punks around here?
MyNameIsIRL: haha - good morning, 'dog
pressdog: Word, homey. How's sunny AZ?
MyNameIsIRL: Always sunny, always hot.
MyNameIsIRL: How about Iowa? Still dodging tornadoes?
pressdog: Killer day here in West Des Moines, Iowa. Fall is definitely starting up. It was 47 when I woke up this morning, probably get to 70 today.
pressdog: I'm at a Caribou Coffee place right now. Don't hate me because I'm mobile.
MoneyCJ: Heyooooooo!
pressdog: Money!
MoneyCJ: YES
MyNameIsIRL: Hey hey!
MoneyCJ: So is this the Season Finale or what?
MoneyCJ: Who's gonna get killed?
MyNameIsIRL: Let's fire this up
pressdog: Candle lighting
MyNameIsIRL: go for it
MyNameIsIRL: ok then

MyNameIsIRL: Issue #1: Lasting thoughts from the finale
MoneyCJ: one sec
pressdog: Money has to pee AGAIN.
MyNameIsIRL: Dog, you were in the house
pressdog: I was in the hizzouse. IT was A W E S O M E.
MyNameIsIRL: How was the vibe with the crowd? Everyone standing at the end there?
pressdog: OMG yes. Last lap, most people in my section were standing up.
MyNameIsIRL: Money, you there?
MoneyCJ: Yep yep
MoneyCJ: I only caught the last 6 laps
MyNameIsIRL: You were...getting a tattoo?
MoneyCJ: haha--on Sunday, yes
pressdog: WTF?
pressdog: During the race?
MyNameIsIRL: During the LAST race?
MoneyCJ: Yeah
MoneyCJ: I was mad because my internet connection was down
MyNameIsIRL: Was your cable out?
MoneyCJ: Was. So. Pissed.
pressdog: effing internet connections.
pressdog: It was KILLER, dudes. You gotta go to Chicagoland next year.
MoneyCJ: I was all pumped to LiveBlog--AND I had a special celebrity blogger ready to join
MoneyCJ: Was gonna be me and Jeff Simmons
MoneyCJ: Karl had it all hooked
MoneyCJ: Next year.
pressdog: son of a bitch!
MoneyCJ: I know
MyNameIsIRL: That would have been quite the special
MoneyCJ: Anyway, Dixon was robbed (make way for the hatemail!!)
MoneyCJ: Well, not robbed, per se...But Dario got lucky again. Jussayin
pressdog: He had it, fo sho, and ran out of ethyl alcohol. I said (OK, yelled) many unprintables in the stands.
pressdog: At least Dario is a class act. It wasn't like some punk won that way.
MoneyCJ: I have gotten some serious hate mail over this.
MoneyCJ: 2 AGR fans actually de-friended me on MySpace! Canubelieeedat?
MyNameIsIRL: It happens
MoneyCJ: Yes. I love Dario. I just think Dixon was the superior driver
MoneyCJ: Doesn't mean I think Dario sucks, people!!!
pressdog: Give Dario's team props for realizing it was a fuel race. When he dropped back to P6 round about 150, that saved him. Won it for him, IMO.
MoneyCJ: Hezz yeah
MyNameIsIRL: Did either of you think Wheldon did enough to help Dixon?
MyNameIsIRL: Do you think this talk that the team was less than pleased with Dan has any merit?
MoneyCJ: I don't buy this Wheldon shit-talk that's going around
pressdog: Yeah. I was watching, and he was pushing him, etc. I think he got around to tow him late, but the team said it was a radio issue.
MoneyCJ: What did they want from him? Unsportsmanlike behavior? Bah.
pressdog: He ran himself dry for the guy, not sure what else he could do.
MoneyCJ: Right--anything more would have been hackery IMO
MoneyCJ: leave Dan alone. He's got enough problems.
pressdog: If he was being a prick, he would have stayed behind Dixon and refused to lead.
MyNameIsIRL: I totally agree. I think he did what he could.
pressdog: I WAS THERE, OK. I am the authority. Har.
MoneyCJ: I wonder what's wrong with my man Dan...gotta have something to do w a chick.
MoneyCJ: or Shoes
MyNameIsIRL: OK then
pressdog: Dan ran a great race at Chicagoland. The old Dan. He just gave it up for Icy.
MyNameIsIRL: Speaking of giving up....

MyNameIsIRL: Issue #2: IHJ is MIA
pressdog: Very unimpressive season for IHJ.
pressdog: It's like a zebra in basketball or football that makes NO calls, pretty soon the game gets away from him, and then he's screwed.
pressdog: In the last race, the title contenders could have been lobbing bowling balls at each other and he wouldn't have done jack about it.
MoneyCJ: Again--much ado about nothing
MoneyCJ: The Root started the festivities a little too soon
MoneyCJ: that's all. Maybe next time let's make sure the Chief Steward is on hand before awarding the trophy
MoneyCJ: Jack.
MyNameIsIRL: That's not Jack's call, Money
MoneyCJ: Who the fuck chose Jack as bequeather of championship trophy, anyway??
MyNameIsIRL: Money, ESPN is screaming in his ear they're switching the boradcast in a few minutes
MyNameIsIRL: He's just there to cover it
pressdog: Jack by default.
MoneyCJ: It's IndyCar's show...not ESPN's
MoneyCJ: Barnhart will get there when he is Good and Ready, bitches.
MyNameIsIRL: Then it won't be televised, Money
MyNameIsIRL: ESPN made the call
MoneyCJ: Apologists
pressdog: I thought the whole thing was screwy. Have Dario sit in turn 3 with the safety crew while they set up the stage. Maybe let him pull onto pit lane to celebrate with his crew while they set up the stage.
pressdog: Like having Mike Jordan stand at half court alone after winning the championship until the commissioner gets there. WTF
MoneyCJ: Wasnt as odd as last year though, when you had one guy winning the race, and another guy winning the championship!
MyNameIsIRL: There was a logistical FUBAR somewhere with the whole setup this year. The stage wasn't ready, the IHJ was not present.
pressdog: agreed
MyNameIsIRL: That is BARNHART'S responsibility
MoneyCJ: Easy, chief
MyNameIsIRL: It's part of his job description - sad to say
pressdog: no need for all caps
pressdog: BITCHES
MoneyCJ: Especially when invoking the name of the IHJ
MyNameIsIRL: He needs to have one of his minions solidify the plan
MoneyCJ: you got a death wish?
pressdog: Again, I think the IHJ has some splainin' to do after this season.
MyNameIsIRL: Look - I know the guy wears many hats, but that's his problem not mine. Take a little of that extra prize money and hire some more personnel.
MoneyCJ: Fair point.
MoneyCJ: I think the season was so silly....some things just got away from him
pressdog: His double and triple secret probation stuff.
MoneyCJ: know what I mean?
MyNameIsIRL: Did you say Silly season...
MoneyCJ: nice, eh?

MyNameIsIRL: Issue #3: Drivers cashing in (Will you cheer for them if they race at Indy?)
pressdog: We're not going to use the N-word are we?
MyNameIsIRL: haha
MyNameIsIRL: Sam is going to try to qualify today
MoneyCJ: Only if it rains!
MoneyCJ: ba dum bum...
MyNameIsIRL: Dario is still weighing his options with his accountant
pressdog: If drivers want to bolt to The Other Series, then ... go with God. Good for them. Get. Don't let the screen door hit you in the ass. Makes room for stars in the IRL.
pressdog: I'm soooooo not frothed up about it. Seriously. It will be fun to see new people in those cars, what they can do, etc.
MyNameIsIRL: Amen to that
pressdog: When Sarah gets that Penske Ride, you will all be kissing my butt.
MyNameIsIRL: Have you seen these stories on the wires about "will the last IndyCar driver who leaves please turn out the light"?
MyNameIsIRL: Give me a break
MyNameIsIRL: Two guys - granted the last two champions - but just two are potentially leaving
MyNameIsIRL: No one left for the "N-word" last year. Or the year before.
pressdog: yeah, bullshit. The sad part was The Other Series totally overshadowed the big show at Chicagoland.
pressdog: Even if Danistar left, so? Many others out there. Slap Leilani in the car if you need a League Hotty.
MyNameIsIRL: I would never slap Leilani
MoneyCJ: mmmmm
pressdog: Maybe it depends on ... never mind.
MyNameIsIRL: Money? Are you worried of a mass exodus?
MoneyCJ: No
MyNameIsIRL: how loquacious of you
pressdog: I don't see Dixon or Kanaan wanting to go to NASCAR. That's kooky talk. Or Helio. Or Dan, although he'd do it for the cash.
MoneyCJ: Losing Dario and Sam? No woman, no cry...know what I mean?
pressdog: SHIT, I said the N-word. DAMN.
pressdog: Ban me.
MyNameIsIRL: OK, you're off my friends list
MoneyCJ: As long as my man Dan stays, I'm good.
MoneyCJ: Dan cannot be a small fish in a big pond.
MoneyCJ: Hence, he will never go to NASCAR
pressdog: Dan's a bidness man. He's angling. He's getting ready for the next round of negotiations. And stop saying the N-word.
MyNameIsIRL: Everyone's dropping N-bombs all over the place
pressdog: I know, I started it. I SUCK.
MoneyCJ: Dan will win another Indy 500 and then go to F1
MyNameIsIRL: Uh, no
MoneyCJ: And that's all you need to know.
MyNameIsIRL: Dan isn't going to Formula One
MoneyCJ: He can be a Rock Star in F1. Not so much in NASCAR
MyNameIsIRL: That would shock me
pressdog: F1 don't want you unless you're 17 years old. He's too old for F1.
MoneyCJ: Dude, he's Dan Wheldon.
MoneyCJ: He's like Beckham
pressdog: I really dig Dan in his quirky way. He's a personality, which the league needs more of.
MyNameIsIRL: Maybe I'm confused
MyNameIsIRL: Is "F1" some sort of club in DC?
MoneyCJ: hahaha!!
pressdog: He whipped by me on his scooter and said hi in a very warm way. I think he's digging the dog.
MoneyCJ: He needs some tattoos
MoneyCJ: He should come hang with me at Jinx Proof in Georgetown (REPRESENT!!)
pressdog: I was going to get a big 5 tattooed on my back, but now I think Sarah is jumping that ship, so ... bullet dodged.
MyNameIsIRL: My scooter experience with Dan was decidedly different
MoneyCJ: Yeah--he glared at you or what?
MyNameIsIRL: Oh yeah, like evil Dan
MoneyCJ: Tell us
pressdog: No, he smiled and said "Hi. How's it going?" Big smile.
MoneyCJ: Hah!
MyNameIsIRL: Everyone loves the P-dog
pressdog: There was recognition there. He was on his way to drive a race or some lame excuse for not stopping.
pressdog: The Target Twins have Chicagoland wired. Always fast there.
MyNameIsIRL: And speaking of Target Twins and Chip Ganassi...

MyNameIsIRL: Issue #4: Teams cashing in (How do you feel about Penske and Ganassi taking two guys from the IndyCar series?)
MyNameIsIRL: Should we be mad at Chip and Roger for taking these guys away?
MoneyCJ: No
MoneyCJ: Bidness is Bidness
MoneyCJ: Sam's boring.
MoneyCJ: Dario will be back
MyNameIsIRL: If Dario gets a five-year deal he won't
pressdog: Again, free country. I think the IRL has advantages over The Other Series. If drivers want to go there and there are openings and Chippy/Roger feel they will work, that's free enterprise, baby.
MoneyCJ: He won't sign a 5 year deal
MyNameIsIRL: Did you see his non-commital answer when I asked him about Indy?
MyNameIsIRL: I mean, he can choose whatever ride he wants in whatever league. If he wants to come back it's his choice.
pressdog: I'd never want to drive in The Other Series since it's too many races, not exciting racing, I could go on.
pressdog: It's not just about money for some people.
MoneyCJ: I don't think it's about money for Dario
MoneyCJ: not at all
MyNameIsIRL: But at the same time, why would Chip be waving crazy mad jack to take Dario out of the series?
pressdog: Because Chip thinks it will make him money in the long term.
MyNameIsIRL: I completely think it's about the Money with Dario
MoneyCJ: Really?
MyNameIsIRL: Why else would he sign one-year deals?
pressdog: I read that Dario looks at cash as a sign of respect from the owner.
MyNameIsIRL: Exactly. Nothing wrong with that, but Dario keeps his options open to get paid
pressdog: I also think it's Dario wanting a new mountain to climb.
MoneyCJ: I agree with that, dog
pressdog: And if he takes Ashley with him, where's the down side?
MoneyCJ: well of course he should get paid what he's worth...
MyNameIsIRL: I'm gonna miss Ashley. She's highly entertaining.
pressdog: I love it when Ashley talks racing. "We had a terrible car today, it was only P3 most of the day. That TOTALLLY sucks."
pressdog: He's a right-sexy wee bastard, don't forget, and that has marketing value.
MoneyCJ: but I dont think that's what motivates him at the end of the day
MoneyCJ: I think he wants to break records
MyNameIsIRL: settle down, Braveheart
MoneyCJ: sigh
MoneyCJ: You'd never know I quit drinking, would you?
MoneyCJ: heh
MyNameIsIRL: Oh, we can tell
pressdog: The clear-headed Money is EVEN MORE POWERFUL.
MoneyCJ: Nice
MoneyCJ: I highly recommend sobriety and not smoking....that's for the kids out there
pressdog: Proud of ya for staying on the wagon, chief. Huge ups.
MoneyCJ: It's wonderful
MyNameIsIRL: It can't be easy
MoneyCJ: I'm good.
pressdog: I'm wiping a manly tear right now.
MoneyCJ: I also got rid of a...uh ....'distraction'...
MoneyCJ: So I'm solid.
pressdog: Oh shit. Very wheldon-ish.
MyNameIsIRL: Does Jamie Little know about this?
MoneyCJ: I think J'Lil' has moved way beyond Money, unf
MoneyCJ: *sniff*
MyNameIsIRL: Well then, that brings us to...

MyNameIsIRL: Issue #5: Off season plans
MyNameIsIRL: What can we expect from you Money?
MoneyCJ: Well, Andy and I will be working with his little brother on the shifter carts....
MoneyCJ: oh...sorry
MyNameIsIRL: *slapping forehead*
MoneyCJ: um...not sure yet!
MoneyCJ: Gonna write a little
MoneyCJ: keep Josh happy
MyNameIsIRL: Are you going to start racin' now?
MoneyCJ: Well, it depends on if I get that ride. Till then Im gonna spot for Quattro....
MoneyCJ: Oops again!
MoneyCJ: SOrry--
MyNameIsIRL: Ahem. Pressdog, save us.
MoneyCJ: hahaha
pressdog: dudes, sorry, a former boss of mine just popped by my table.
MyNameIsIRL: What are your plans?
pressdog: I'm at a coffee place right now. Don't hate me for my mobility.
pressdog: I'm going to keep posting. Not as often. But the silly season is RIFE with humor opportunities.
MyNameIsIRL: Have you heard any good rumors lately?
MyNameIsIRL: Either of you?
pressdog: Me? Rumors?
MoneyCJ: I'm going to be spending some time with Britney and the two boys. They really need me right now.
MoneyCJ: oh
MoneyCJ: rumors...
pressdog: I think Sarah Fisher stays in the league but goes to another team.
MoneyCJ: Who would sign her?
MyNameIsIRL: Vision, perhaps?
MoneyCJ: Wha?
MoneyCJ: Ya think?
MyNameIsIRL: Word is she will still have the AAMCO sponsorship
MyNameIsIRL: That will get you hired somewhere
pressdog: Could be. I think Scheckter ends up at AGR. Maybe Vitor at Penske. Just talking out of my ass.
MoneyCJ: ohhhhh
MyNameIsIRL: Penske likes Brazilians, but I think that's Briscoe's ride
pressdog: I think Sarah takes her AAMCO sponsorship on the road to another team.
MoneyCJ: RLR?
pressdog: I think that's for the best, actually. She needs to get to another team and let DRR move on. She moves on. Everyone is still tight.
MoneyCJ: Scheckter is a moron
MyNameIsIRL: Money a Scheckter hater?
pressdog: I like Vision. I think RLR is set with The Immortal and RHR.
pressdog: RLR came on big time at the end of the season. Huge props to them. Closed it out as the top Non Big Three team.
pressdog: DRR may be one car next year with Rice. Not sure. Team is in flux, I think.
MoneyCJ: Ya know who would be good for D&R?
MoneyCJ: Jeff SImmons.
MyNameIsIRL: How so?
MoneyCJ: Well...
MoneyCJ: I think he can bring some cash. Which they obv need...
pressdog: He's tight with Money, for one thing.
MoneyCJ: and I think he can be very cometitive. Also something they need
pressdog: Drivers aren't the problem at DRR.
MyNameIsIRL: Rice and Fisher can drive fine. Just ask their competitors.
MoneyCJ: Of course. We saw Buddy up front a few times this season
MoneyCJ: Jeff's very technical....I think that would lend itself well also
pressdog: Something is up with DRR. I think they'll have a big Come to Jesus over the off season and make some moves.
MyNameIsIRL: They tried going to two cars and it seemed like the team went backwards most of the season
MyNameIsIRL: Very unusual
pressdog: Love everyone on the team. The garage guys are killer. Robbie "Incredi" Buhl is great. I hope they get it sorted.
MoneyCJ: True that
pressdog: two cars with money for 1.5.
MoneyCJ: a lotta heart there
pressdog: Give them props for sticking in there and putting one or two on the grid. Big ups for that. Tony should be sending them flowers and candy at regular intervals.
pressdog: And having Sarah in the field is good for the league. I don't know of anyone who argues that.
MoneyCJ: No argument here
MyNameIsIRL: She's still quite popular
MyNameIsIRL: You guys think RHR stays in the Ethanol car? Did he do enough?
MoneyCJ: I really wonder.
pressdog: oh yeah. they dig him. he's in for next year.
MoneyCJ: You know this?
pressdog: He came in and and hand immediate impact. I know nothing. I'm just going by all the love in the room when I hung with the ethanol people.
MoneyCJ: huh.
pressdog: He was working it with the sponsor groups. All smiles. Interacting. Doing what drivers shoudl do.
MyNameIsIRL: Did he have a scooter at Chicagoland or was he still on a bicycle?
pressdog: On foot that I saw. Scooter budget is the first to get chopped, I guess.
MyNameIsIRL: This is key. Gotta look professional.
pressdog: Sharp rolls around in this Pimped Out Patron four-wheeler. It's bad ass. I'll get a photo when I scare up enough money for a camera.
MoneyCJ: Nice!
MyNameIsIRL: He's too old for that two-wheel madness
pressdog: Patron is loving the league. Very happy with their return on investment, so I'm told.
MoneyCJ: I love the way Patron pimps out
MoneyCJ: Club Patron, Four Wheelers, etc
pressdog: They show up with a couple of cases of Patron everywhere.
MoneyCJ: oh man
MyNameIsIRL: be strong, Money
pressdog: Sorry. The point is they are in on everything. Donating product to giveaways, etc.
pressdog: RLR pr guy tells me they are joining right into the IRL family, so to speak. Everyone seems love love love about it.

MyNameIsIRL: Alrighty guys, White flag. Any final thoughts?
pressdog: I just get the sense that all the big sponsors are happy with the results this year. Which is good.
MoneyCJ: Good season.
MoneyCJ: '08 should be phenom
pressdog: I think money gets us by half a car based on his kicking the habits.
MoneyCJ: Now onto trying to mend fences with angry AGR fans.
pressdog: I'm GEEKED for 2008. Seriously. It will be fun to see how Silly Season plays out. I think my girl Sarah is safe so I'll be enjoying the off season drafting and maneuvering.
pressdog: Couple of Champ Car races left this year. Tune in. Nothing like a great Street Race.
MoneyCJ: Totally!
pressdog: Money digs them, I know.
MyNameIsIRL: I thought they cancelled the races?
pressdog: Not the last two, so far. Australia and Mexico.
MoneyCJ: Actually, I loved Belle Isle
MoneyCJ: And I was totally skeptical of that event
MoneyCJ: I was wrong, Roger was right. Lesson learned
pressdog: I have to give it to Roger. He did it. I was also surprised/impressed with it.
MoneyCJ: Was one fo the highlights.
MyNameIsIRL: It was a good show, and the circuit looked gorgeous
pressdog: Quick, fav race this year?
MoneyCJ: Besides Indy
MyNameIsIRL: I gotta say that last one
MyNameIsIRL: Unlike last year, Chicagoland lived up to the hype
pressdog: Chicagoland! For sure.
MoneyCJ: Michigan.
MyNameIsIRL: Michigan and Texas were smothered in madness
MyNameIsIRL: Carnage everywhere
pressdog: If you're going for the Festival of Carbon Fiber award, don't forget Iowa.
MoneyCJ: Iowa was quite kickass--
pressdog: A street race on an oval.
MyNameIsIRL: Iowa may need more testing
pressdog: It can't be 68 degrees in June in Iowa.
pressdog: That was freakish.
MyNameIsIRL: Yes - get to work on that
MoneyCJ: Drop the flag.
MyNameIsIRL: Get Rusty to install heating elements in the track
pressdog: I'm on the line to GOD. He's assured me that it will be 90 and humid next year, and I will leave for the track at 6 a.m.
MoneyCJ: I gotta pee
MyNameIsIRL: Checkered flag cuz we've run out of time
pressdog: Enjoyed it, boys.
pressdog: GO SARAH!
MoneyCJ: yeah, yeah
MoneyCJ: GO AGR!!
pressdog: lol
MyNameIsIRL: keep in touch during the down time, gentlemen
MoneyCJ: will do
MyNameIsIRL: later. thx again.
MoneyCJ: Peace.
pressdog: zanardis

Indecision '07: New Hampshire update

Posted by Iannucci | 9/14/2007 | 7 comments »
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No matter what series he races in, let me be perfectly clear that I for one will wish Sam Hornish Jr the best. My obvious preference would be that he drives an IndyCar, but he’s gotta do what’s best for him – even if that means taking over a year to make up his mind. Hey, it’s his choice.

Perhaps the results of this weekend will factor into his ultimate decision. This just in: Sam’s attempt to qualifiy for his first “N-word” (thanks, pressdog) Cup event in New Hampshire have ended in disappointment. His 46th fastest time today leaves him off the grid for Sunday.

Maybe he could walk around and sign autographs all day. Maybe he could sit in the trailer and watch the NFL. Maybe he could just hang out with Michael Waltrip, who also failed to qualify for the umpteenth time this season. Whatever he wants to do with his Sunday – so long as it isn’t race – it’s his choice.

Party with the Indy Insider

Posted by Iannucci | 9/14/2007 | 1 comments »
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Arni the Indy Insider is back (and on his back) at the INDY DownForce Banquet held earlier this week. Yes friends, he's finally returned to interviewing drivers in this latest (and perhaps last) episode. Danica Patrick, Sara Fisher, Vitor Meira, Alex Lloyd that Darren Manning?

Quote of the Day

Posted by Iannucci | 9/14/2007 | 3 comments »
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From an e-mail to Dario Franchitti by fellow Scotsman Jackie Stewart, regarding the post-race celebration at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend. Courtesy of

"Your hug and your kiss with Tony (Kanaan) lasted longer than your hug and your kiss with your wife. Is there something I need to know?"

The next AJ

Posted by Iannucci | 9/14/2007 | 4 comments »
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Could be basic speculation but here's this from

Reports are surfacing that NASCAR Toyota Red Bull Nextel Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger is trying to get out of his NASCAR contract with Toyota and move to the Indy Racing League in 2008.

Allmendinger has had a difficult rookie campaign in Nextel Cup with the first year Toyota Red Bull team and there may be as many as three top tier rides up for grabs in the open-wheel series: Ganassi’s IRL operation (if current driver Dan Wheldon leaves), Team Penske (he would replace the ‘almost sure to be departing’ Sam Hornish) or Andretti Green Racing (in place of Dario Franchitti).
This goes along with a Yahoo! Sports report that also said Allmendinger is longing to return to open-wheel, but in that previous story it was mentioned that AJ was already under contract with Ganassi. Well, which is it guys?

Above all, remember this folks: Mario Andretti loves Allmendinger.

You could be a winner

Posted by Iannucci | 9/13/2007 | 1 comments »
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It’s time to start schilling to the masses, as the sidebar will now be featuring a link to a super duper contest involving two of the most famous names in racing: Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Danica Patrick.

PEAK Antifreeze, the IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have teamed up with IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick to offer racing enthusiasts a chance to win an unprecedented IndyCar Series Driving Experience.

Fifteen lucky racing fans will enjoy a VIP experience during Pole Qualifying Weekend at the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Each winner will learn first-hand racing tips from Patrick before driving a single-seat Indy car around the famed 2.5-mile oval, marking the first time that the Indy single-seater program will run during the month of May.
Last year Peak held a similar contest, and in point of fact one of the winners was our regular commenter Jennifer. That sweepstakes featured a “racing experience” in Phoenix, so the good folks at Peak have definitely upped the ante this year. Read the above quote again, folks: 15 winners will not only get to hold court with the raven-haired driver, but also get to drive around The Brickyard just like our buddy MoneyCJ did! In May!

You'll probably be at Milka Duno speed, but still, that’s a contest.

Curt Cavin points out one disclaimer from Danica: “I’m not riding with them.” Gosh, I hope not. I mean she’s small but I think those single seaters are pretty cramped with one person.

Since this a promotion it is kindly requested that you please refrain from making snarky comments about the “racing tips” involving spinning in the pits, gesturing with your hands, or racy photo shoots. At the very least try to be tasteful and creative about them, otherwise P1 will bust out her karate lessons on those who speak unkindly of Patrick. (Just ask P2 about the last time he started chanting “Boo Danica!” Not pretty.)

Above all, please follow the link and enter the contest. If you win you can tell us all about the “experience”.

Fisher interviewed by 7-year-old

Posted by Iannucci | 9/13/2007 | 0 comments »
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When I first read this post from Mother Proof (yeah, you find the strangest things on the newswire these days) it appeared to be a feel good story about a mom, a young girl and a friendly driver. And it’s really cool that this mom and her daughter are “bonding” over an IndyCar race, but…I don’t know. Using your daughter to get an interview with a driver? Come on.

My name is Catalin (it rhymes with “jumping bean” and “giggle machine”). I am 7 years old and in second grade. I would like to do an interview with you. I hope you win the race on Sept. 9. I will be there with my mom watching. Can you please answer my questions below?
Color me skeptical. I mean, my oldest is in second grade as well and I’m not above featuring her at My Name Is IRL, but I haven’t used her for the purpose of getting an interview. (And for the record, my daughter already knows the answers to a few of the questions from the “giggle machine”.)

If this is what it’s come to then maybe...

Dear Danica,

My name is P1 (it rhymes with “re-run” and “BB gun”). I am 8 years old and in second grade..
At any rate, it’s still a good read and Sarah’s a total sport for playing along. I gotta think The Fisher Queen was onto Mom’s ploy as well since her answers include terms like “rehydrate”, “simulate” and “push the envelope” that might challenge at that level of education. As a bonus, future sponsors should note how effortlessly Fisher works a sponsor like PitFit into the answers.

All things every second grade race fan should eventually learn.

Malcolm in the back

Posted by Iannucci | 9/13/2007 | 18 comments »
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The minor leagues of Champ Car hold very interest at My Name Is IRL, but what interest there is may be summed up in two words: Frankie Muniz. This year the former “Malcolm in the Middle” star embarked on his racing career by participating in the Toyota Mazda Atlantic series, marking the highest echelon of racing reached by a Hollywood type since Jason Priestly nearly killed himself in the Infiniti Pro series five years ago.

Oh yes, I’m going to mention Priestly every time Muniz’s name comes up. Accept it.

Admitedly, I didn’t see a single second of any of Malcolm, err, Frankie’s races this year. (“My Name Is Toyota Mazda Atlantic” is not nearly as catchy, right?) Luckily, FanIQ has provided a brief summary, and let’s just say Graham Rahal has nothing to fear.

To Frankie's credit, he improved in the final few races, including a top 10. Muniz finished 9th at a race on the streets of Toronto. However, it must be noted that that race started in a massive downpour, and as such, a bunch of cars wrecked early, and only ten cars finished. Credit Frankie for keeping the car on the track in tough conditions, but it's doubtful he could go from 23rd to 9th in dry conditions.

The final four races still went better, with four top twenties, thus allowing him to score championship points; something he wasn't doing at the beginning of the season. He also had a decent drive in San Jose, moving up from 24th to 11th in a race where most of the field did finish.

Overall, it still wasn't the best season. 22nd in the final points standings just isn't going to cut it.
22nd? Ouch! If he’s loaded with syndication cash then Muniz can keep on keepin’ on. Agent Cody Banks can keep buying all the rides he wants, but that money might be better spent on a haircut.

UPDATE: My bad - Atlantics are currently sponsored by Mazda. Luckily there are loyal readers to gently remind me of such errors.

Lost and Found

Posted by Iannucci | 9/12/2007 | 2 comments »
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Ladies and gentleman, the intrepid Curt Cavin has located Brian Barnhart!

Question: So where were Brian Barnhart and Tony George at the end of the Chicago race? I'm not trying to be a smarty. I'm genuinely curious as to the honest reason they couldn't be there to present the IRL champion his trophy. Do you know? (Lisa, Carmel, Ind.)

Answer: First of all, it will be a short batch of questions today; I'm off to a 9:05 tee time. I spoke with Brian yesterday on the matter, and he said TV rushed the post-race to get it on the air. (He wasn't complaining, just explaining.) He was at the crowded crossover gate coming down from race control (which is in a suite overlooking the track) when his name got called. He hated that it happened like that but in no way would he slight Dario or AGR. I believe him. As I said the other day, chances are it was a logistical situation. As for Brian leaving race control early, I know that was not possible given the down-to-the-wire way the race went. Perhaps TG should have been the one; he would have only had to walk from Vision's spot on pit road.
So the President of the Indy Racing League is about as adept at negotiating his way through traffic as Milka Duno? Pffft. Yeah, whatever. And the dog ate my homework.

Mo' Money

Posted by Iannucci | 9/12/2007 | 2 comments »
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Who wants a raise?

SpeedTV is reporting there will be a new “flatter” revenue sharing plan in place for 2008, saying that teams should be guaranteed around $1.3M in prize money just for showing up to every race on the docket. The objective here is to raise car counts, and that $1.3M will pay for engine and tires for any entry that wants to race. It’s only about a quarter of the total budget required, but that’s a pretty huge step.

The braintrust at TrackSide Online has broken down these numbers further, indicating the total prize money for next year could realistically go from near $25M to as much as $44M, with much of the difference coming if Tony George just reduces an unsponsored car from his Vision Racing team. I’m sure he finds it ironic that by reducing the cars on his own team he can likely increase car counts for the whole league. Doh!

So what does it all mean? Adding more money at the bottom end of the purses worked wonders for car counts in the Indy Pro series this year, so similar logic is being applied to the IndyCar series. In one year that series went from having 12-16 cars per race to around 24 for each event, and many of those new teams are pricing options for becoming ICS ventures in the next year or so. The new plan likely leaves less prize money for the more dominant teams, but in return they get a healthier series and more competition.

OK - maybe not more competition, but at least more cars on the track.

Now we have Wheldon rumors

Posted by Iannucci | 9/11/2007 | 8 comments »
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Disclaimer: there are enough "ifs" and "maybes" in this article by Bruce Martin to render it nearly useless, but there are a few facts contained within it to at least warrant an arched eyebrow. Could be nothing, but:

The 2007 season-finale hadn't even started yet but Wheldon's name was privately being discussed in the IndyCar garage area at Chicagoland Speedway, according to sources.

"I had a team manager from another team come up and tell me about that," said Mike Hull, the managing director of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. "I can honestly say that I don't know whether Dan and Chip Ganassi have discussed that." (MORE from Yahoo! Sports)
OK, here's the fun part:

With reports all over the place that Dario Franchitti is set to join the Ganassi family (with one report pegging at a contract at a whopping $30 Meeeeeellion), attention is now being focused on the previous AGR alumnus that Big Chip had hired away. That would be Dan Wheldon, who earlier this year had spoken of having an interest in things such as NASCAR but was told by his boss that wasn't happening. Now with talk that Ganassi has hired his former teammate to perform such a task the thinking is Thunda Dan may want to void out his current contract.

That is, void it and go back to Andretti Green, or in some bizarro universe to Penske.

Of note: It's been discussed in many places that Wheldon may have some sort of personal contract with Honda that only allows him to drive Hondas, meaning he couldn't drive tin top unless they powered one. And they don't. Franchitti has no such binding arrangement.

Adding to the speculation, the report details how "Wheldon was scrutinized for not aiding his teammate in a championship battle", although the details given seem to indicate a problem that wasn't Dan's fault. Go ahead and read the whole article instead having me try to explain it.

Another thing that was also an attention grabber was that the article states that former Champ Car prodigy AJ Allmendinger is now under contract to race Busch series races for Ganassi. Is it me or does it seem really strange that Big Chip is hiring all kinds of open-wheel drivers to race cars that are not of the open-wheel variety? And these guys aren't coming at a cheap price, either.

It seems less than likely that Ganassi would let Wheldon out of his contract in what would effectively be a trade of Dan for Dario, but I ain't Chip and I won't pretend to know what his plans are. Honestly, when I read this piece I couldn't help but getting a touch frothy at the idea of Dan and "Danicker" becoming teammates.

As if there wasn't ENOUGH DRAMA at AGR. Froth forming...

But the froth lasts just for a moment, saved for a report without all of the the "could be" and "might be" disclaimers. Silly Season is fully upon us now.

Indecision ’07: New Hampshire

Posted by Iannucci | 9/11/2007 | 4 comments »
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Now that this frivolous IndyCar season is behind him, Sam Hornish Jr is ready to take his Indecision ’07 campaign to the next level - (insert mobile phone carrier) Cup level, that is. This weekend he’ll attempt to qualify with the big boys at new Hampshire International Speedway.

Penske Racing officials say Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the team's No. 06 Nextel Cup Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway, the first of several Cup races he'll attempt this season.

Although his 2008 Cup plans have not been determined, Hornish will attempt to qualify for no more than seven events this year, including the five remaining car of tomorrow races with crew chief Roy McCauley leading the team. (MORE from Scene Daily)
Yes he’s STILL thinking, friends. Considering his new choice of idols, it would appear Uncle Sam doesn’t mind if you happen to dislike him for doing so. Chew on this quote from the Joliet Herald News:

"It's something that I've always kind of wanted to do," Hornish said. "I grew up as a big Indy car fan, but as I got older, I translated more to a general racing fan -- Formula 1 races, drag races, sprint cars and all these different things.

"The NASCAR scene caught my eye. I was a real big fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr. I had IndyCar drivers that I was a big fan of like Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr. For whatever reason, when I started watching NASCAR, Dale Sr. was always my favorite driver because people either loved him or hated him. I loved that aspect of it. That was something that interested me."
So now being hated interests him. OK then.

I'd say what's left of his IndyCar fan base should be offended but it's likely he'll be neither loved nor hated in a NAPCAR career. With Penske's record of mediocrity in the series he'll probably just be floating around mid-pack nearly every weekend. Of course that's just speculation since he still hasn't made a decision.

Adam Andretti gets an IPS ride, TV show

Posted by Iannucci | 9/11/2007 | 1 comments »
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The story at is all smiles and sunshine as it is already being announced that Adam Andretti (John's younger brother, hence Michael's cousin) has lined up several sponsors to help him participate fulltime in the Indy Pro series next year.

Should be a good thing, having an Andretti and an Unser (since Al The Third also has an IPS ride) battling it out among the up and comers of the IPS. Yeah, well, maybe you should read about this sponsorship before you start walking with a spring in your step.

Brunton Vineyards and Rev It Up Racing have signed on as primary sponsors, and Brimstone Dynasty and Sirius Vodka have signed associate sponsorship agreements for the newest member of the Andretti racing family to join the Indy Racing League. He is the younger brother of John Andretti.

"We were honored to be a part of Adam's inaugural (Indy Pro Series) race," said Geno Brunton, chairman and CEO of Brunton Vineyards, and we look forward to, and are committed to a long and rewarding partnership with Adam. We believe in Adam and his talent."

Brunton also announced that Andretti will be a competitor in the Fox reality series "All American Rookie." Brunton is the creator and executive producer of the series that begins pre-production this month.
Wait, what was that last part? Somehting about an "All American Rookie" reality show? And what would that be, pray tell?

The series was created by D. Geno Brunton, the show’s Executive Producer, who partnered with NASCAR champion and veteran driver, Joe Nemechek to create the first true reality show about the world of stock car racing and give fans of the sport a real insight as to what it takes to become a professional stock car driver.

Pre-production of the second season will begin in September, 2007 whereby the producers will allow for 15 fans of NASCAR to compete against 15 Rookies to determine the “All American Rookie”. Season 1 starts off with 30 rookies who currently race in ARCA and Hooters circuits, whereas Season 2 will pit the raw tenacity and drive of ordinary fans against the skill and endurance of the rookie who has sacrificed, driving weekly (one [sic] his or her own dime) to one day become a professional race car driver.
So let me get this straight. Adam Andretti is going to be racing fulltime in the Indy Pro Series next year AFTER he participates in a reality show designed to show he can be a "professional stock car driver". OK then.

Maybe Mr Judd should be on this show. I mean, what the...?

Money gets ink

Posted by Iannucci | 9/11/2007 | 6 comments »
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Well, the masses have been heard. MoneyCJ was so proud of his new artwork from this weekend he decided to rush us all a snapshot.

Is it a sillouhette of an IndyCar?
A tribute to Big Jamie Little?
Perhaps a big red "10"?

There ya go, friends. Quite frankly I'm holding out for him to get a big gothic "YO SOY INDY" on his back as well.

Chat Alert: Dario Franchitti

Posted by Iannucci | 9/10/2007 | 3 comments »
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Time to speak with the victorious fuel-miser himself. Mr Judd will be fielding your questions at 4:30pm ET TODAY at

Suggested questions include:

  • So, made any off-season plans?
  • Is Ashley really that weird, or does she just drink a lot of Canadian Club during races?
  • Do you need a special license from the FAA to fly IndyCars?
  • What’s Wynonna REALLY like?
  • Seriously, what kind of dinner did you buy for Tony Kanaan after Infineon?

UPDATE: Mr Judd was kind enough to answer one of my questions. Or as the case me be, NOT answer.

Jeff (Gilbert, AZ): Regardless of which series you race in next season, do you plan on defending your win at Indianapolis in 2008?

Dario Franchitti: (4:36 PM ET ) I'm not really sure of what's going to happen next year, but that's going to be a decision we'll make fairly soon.
Couldn't have just said "Why yes, of course!" could you, Mr Half An Idea What This Race Means? Whatever, Dario. What. Ever.

Scotland Forever

Posted by Iannucci | 9/10/2007 | 2 comments »
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It’s a day late, but like Scott Dixon I flat out ran out of gas on Sunday. What a race and what a day. If those folks in Illinois didn’t enjoy the two finishes they saw in person on Sunday then there isn’t a defibrillator in the world that can help them.

All congratulations to Dario Franchitti, for being not only both skillful and lucky this year but also being an incredible representative of IndyCar racing. Unfortunately, now that Dario has taken the checkers for the race and the season we are left to wonder what becomes of the IRL if indeed the last two Indy 500 and ICS series winners are transitioning to tin tops.

On the one hand this isn’t exactly a death knell: These guys are tremendous drivers but they weren’t necessarily THE most popular ones. Danica, Helio, Wheldon, Kanaan, Andretti, et al can carry the series for a while if need be. Heck, NAPCAR lost Dale Earnhardt a few years ago and became even MORE popular, so anything is possible.

On the other hand these are two very significant drivers – champions, no less. Sam is undisputedly the best American competitor in the series, and Dario has literally become the most interviewed star between his victory at Indy and his flips elsewhere. Shudder to think, but it won’t be good if come next year there are more winners of the Indianapolis 500 at Daytona in February (Hornish, Franchitti, Montoya, Villeneuve) than at the Brickyard in May (Wheldon, Rice, Castroneves).

Ack! I can’t be hypothesizing about that right now. Gotta keep the tingly feeling from yesterday until we are officially told otherwise.

The Good

The Iceman deserves credit as well, putting applying the heat (is that irony?) to Franchitti all race just as he the last few weeks. Dixon was thoroughly composed in his post-race interview, speaking as if he enjoyed the race despite losing in such a dramatic fashion. Good news, friends – he ain’t going to NAPCAR.

Mu-toh! Mu-toh! Mu-toh! Not only did this year’s runner up in the Indy Pro series finished in 8th – ahead of both of his Panther Racing teammates – but Godzilla recorded the FASTEST LAP OF THE RACE. Holy shiitake mushrooms!

RLR had a fantastic day. Not only did Scott Sharp having an outstanding run by finishing 5th, Ryan Hunter-Reay kept pace as well with a quiet 7th place performance. Two months ago he wasn’t in the league and now he’s Rookie of the Year. Wow. Don’t spend that money all in one place, Ryan.

Four top 10s in the final five races for Quattro. That’s an amazing improvement for a guy who had ONE Top 10 in the first 12 races. It never hurts to have a driver named “Foyt” performing well.

With Buddy Rice in 9th and Sarah Fisher in 12th, Dreyer and Reinbold had to be pleased. Relatively speaking, of course. Best wishes on the pending nuptials for Ms Fisher, even if she changes her name to “Sarah O’Gara”.

The Bad

Many are betting that Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti are the future of this league, but folks the future is not now. Danica had her THIRD pit entry/exit miscue of the year (and that isn’t even counting Kansas), while Marco has his 10th DNF. We’ve seen them both improve this year in different ways, but with problems like this the wins won’t happen. Should be a fun winter around the AGR stable.

ABC/ESPN decided there was NOTHING to cover except the two drivers at the front. Here’s a memo to the four-letter-network: feel free to take 5 seconds every now and then to explain what happened to a driver who pulled off the track. You’ve got THREE pit reporters, so surely someone has and idea.

Somebody in charge needs to add a little clarity to the whole yellow flag/pit road policy. How Franchitti could have conserved more fuel but still end up BEHIND Dixon is inexplicable. Even the broadcasters were expecting Dario to be in the lead. As it was, Mr Judd won the race and we got a dramatic finish – but that still doesn’t make it right.

The Ugly

“...Paging Mr Barnhart...Mr Brian Barnhart...Will Mr Brian Barnhart please report to Victory Lane...”

What the...? A spectacular season ends with a spectacular finish, and the guy who became the poster-boy for the 2007 season gets handed the trophy by…Jack Arute? Come on, people. What shall BB be known as now – the Invisible Hand of Apathy?

See, now we have to deal with all kinds of unnecessary speculation. Was Barnhart upset that a guy who’s likely leaving the series gets the trophy? Was he protesting the ceremony because Ashley Judd said he should have parked Milka? Did he trip and fall on the way to stage? Is he in a diabetic coma? Did Tony George fire him on the spot? Was he a victim of alien abduction? Was he even there? Questions, questions, questions.

Ugh. At least the finish was exciting enough that we could laugh at the poor workers furiously trying to change the signage on the stage after during the ceremony. Thanks for the memories, indeed.

Dario's Crap Sandwich mystery resolved

Posted by Iannucci | 9/10/2007 | 2 comments »
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You can tell from the LiveBlog that I was totally confused as to how Scott Dixon was on top of the pylon after Vitor Meira crashed at lap 137. It totally looked like Dario was going to be getting the same Crap Sandwich that Vitor Meira had enjoyed at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year.

Everyone but the two leaders had pitted prior to the crash, and when Meira slammed into the wall on Sunday Dixon was shown getting fuel and tires. That means that when the yellow flag flew only Dario had not taken a pit stop. So the thinking would be that Dixon – who had only been a few feet ahead of Franchitti – had slowed down considerably to enter the pits, meaning Franchitti had then gone around at full speed and lapped Dixon before catching the pace car. Makes sense, right?

Well, it would seem Dario was not able to actually go around at full speed because of another driver. Since Franchitti had to slow in order get around said driver he wasn’t able to get all the way around the track and actually lap Dixon. The braintrust at TrackSide Online has discovered the truth.

After the race, Dario said that just before the yellow waved, he was trying desperately to get around the track and in front of Dixon who he knew had just pitted. Dario wanted Dixon a lap down to him, if only briefly (he would need to pit soon also). But, Dario said Milka got in his way, keeping Dixon on the lead lap when the yellow came out.
So now we know why Ashley Judd felt so compelled to call out the #23 after the race. Milkalicious almost cost “my husband” the championship.

Should we start a "Milka to NAPCAR" rumor now? It would almost (but not quite) be worth losing Dario to see her and Ashley have some GO TIME. Plus, Duno is already running about the same speed as a Cup car. Seriously, this needs to happen.