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.

18 comments

  1. mmack // September 13, 2007 10:51 AM  

    My Name is IRL,

    First off, When I initially saw the photo accompanying the story I thought you had done a horrid PhotoShop merge of Dan Wheldon and Paul Tracy. Then I followed the link and saw that yes, that IS Frankie Muniz!

    YIKES! <:^O

    Secondly, does Frankie Muniz driving a racing car = Bruce Willis\Eddie Murphy\Russell Crowe going all rock star and recording albums? Is this the "Renaissance Man" syndrome? Discuss.

  2. Jeff Iannucci // September 13, 2007 10:53 AM  

    mmack,

    I don't do Photoshop, and if I did I'd probably put one of those Danica-dos on him. I'm thinking "the rebel" would look fetching.

    Second, you can call me Jeff. "My Name Is IRL" is just the name of the site. It's not on my drivers license or anything.

  3. john c // September 13, 2007 4:53 PM  

    Jeff,

    Maaaybe you could change your name legally, or better still, add "my-name-is-IRL" so you have a hyphenated last name, like Ryan Hunter-Reay does.

    Or maybe not.

    ~john

  4. mmack // September 13, 2007 6:38 PM  

    Jeff it is

    But, quid pro quo, what's Pressdog's real name? ;^)

    My Name is Toyota Atlantics, yes, you're right, doesn't have that certain Je Nais Se Quois

  5. Jeff Iannucci // September 13, 2007 8:23 PM  

    Hyphenate my name? As if folks don't already see all those vowels and have enough problems. :/

    As for Pressdog, his really name is "Wicker Bill". At least it should be.

  6. majic49 // September 13, 2007 9:06 PM  

    IRL snob that you are, you should at least realize that its the Mazda Atlantic series...simply ignorant, or are you in denial of the feeder series that is more entertaining to watch than any IRL event? As for Muniz, he's a good kid, and having had less than two years in the seat, he's not doing bad; give him a break.

  7. Jeff Iannucci // September 13, 2007 10:07 PM  

    Mea culpa, Majic man. I shall make no such error in the future.

    Man, I must have hit the big time if the Mazda Mafia is policing the site now.

  8. mmack // September 14, 2007 6:00 AM  

    majic49, has Mazda Atlantics had a margin of victory of .00005 seconds like the IPS?




    I didn't think so.

    Zoom-Zoom

  9. majic49 // September 14, 2007 10:19 AM  

    Actually, we browse the different IRL sites for news on who will be next to make the leap to the thrill-a-minute world of NASCAR. Mazda Mafia does have a nice ring to it though.

  10. mmack // September 14, 2007 11:03 AM  

    And Jeff browses the Champ Car Fanatics Site to see which race will be cancelled next.

    Got Phoenix?

  11. majic49 // September 14, 2007 12:03 PM  

    Jeez, sorry mmack, I didn't mean to be so insensitive that you would feel compelled to point out that an Atlantic exhibition race has been canceled.

    In my defense, I leave you with the following quote from SI.com:

    "Will the last IndyCar Series star on his way to NASCAR please turn out the lights and close the door?"

  12. Johnny // September 14, 2007 12:15 PM  

    Majic49:

    See that's the fundamental difference. The IRL has stars to lose.

  13. mmack // September 14, 2007 12:30 PM  

    Majic,

    Didn't A.J. Allmendinger, who is in NA$CAR, used to drive in CART\OWRS\CCWS?

    And didn't Patrick Carpentier, who drove in both Cup and Busch this year, drive in CART\OWRS\CCWS?

    And isn't Sebastian Bourdais going to Formula One next year?

    Guess they like to get paid to drive race cars.

    So when it comes to driver defections, it looks like for ONCE Chump Car beat the IRL to the punch on something.

    BTW, the score is THREE Chump Car races cancelled so far this year (Denver, China, Phoenix) and one definitely gone for next year (San Jose, replaced by Laguna Seca, a racetrack Chump Car left because of declining attendance).

    I wouldn't be buying those tickets to Mexico anytime soon if I were you.

  14. majic49 // September 14, 2007 1:16 PM  

    Johnny: Certainly hard to follow…um, I mean argue with that logic. Are you saying that losing IRL drivers to NASCAR (what this years IRL champ terms “the biggest and most exciting series in America”) is a plus?
    mmac: Ouch. IRL fans certainly are a testy bunch. And yes, Allmendinger, along with Villeneuve, Rosberg, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, Jimmy Vasser, Graham Rahal, and Danica Patrick all raced the Atlantic series at one time; The Atlantics are what is known as a "feeder / development" series. For Sebastien, the move from Champ (not Atlantics) to F1 is admittedly a step upwards--the natural progression of his career--while I suspect that moving to a series where the fans tend to throw beer cans at the race winner is not. Incidentally, there is a function on your computer known as spell check; or is "Chump Car" your best effort at wit?

  15. Johnny // September 14, 2007 1:40 PM  

    Majic49:

    Johnny: Certainly hard to follow…um, I mean argue with that logic. Are you saying that losing IRL drivers to NASCAR (what this years IRL champ terms “the biggest and most exciting series in America”) is a plus?

    No, I'm saying having drivers/stars that people recognize at all is a plus. The CCWS is so irrelevant the MSM won't even touch it at all, other than to mention cancellations or freak accidents involving deer.

    I suspect that moving to a series where the fans tend to throw beer cans at the race winner is not

    Yeah, too bad you're leaving out the old "and getting a paycheck every week part." Love or hate NASCAR, it pays the bills. Last year Kenny Wallace (43rd in NASCAR points) still made $100k more than Bourdais (1st in CCWS points) did. Cash is king.

  16. majic49 // September 14, 2007 1:56 PM  

    Hey, that deer came out of 'freaking nowhere...and CCWS got some good press coverage from SPCA monthly because of it. Seriously, racing is racing, and it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

  17. mmack // September 14, 2007 2:23 PM  

    I've got it! majic49 is ,,,,,paper

    Or are you Zer0, Julian St. Jox, or one of a million other trolls from CC? I know you folks have plenty of time to kill with over a month until your next race, or did that get cancelled too?

    I've been attending open wheel races since 1982. I've seen more than my fair share of Toyota Atlantic races at tracks like Road America, Gateway, and Milwaukee. I know what Mazda Atlantics are. They're the series with HIGHER CAR COUNTS than CART\CCWS\OWRS.

    mmac: Ouch.

    And btw, if you're going to comment about spelling, then spell my screen name correctly.

  18. majic49 // September 14, 2007 3:10 PM  

    mmack: How creative...personal attacks and bragging of your storied history as a spectator to illustrate your depth of expertise. Sorry about the misspelling of your screen name, I was laughing so hard I missed the spell check.