No Speed No

Posted by Iannucci | 12/28/2007 | 2 comments »
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Back in August Milka Duno announced that she was missing the race at Kentucky Speedway because she was too slow...wait, my bad...she said she was withdrawing so she could appear in the upcoming "Speed Racer" movie.

Now we have the first trailer for this flick, and while there's no Milkalicious in these two minutes it does appear that this movie is in fact a giant ball of suck. I'm talking "Spy Kids 3-D" type of suck, because whichever Wachowski Brother thought it would be a good idea to replace all of the old animation with computer graphics but still keep all of the really bad dialogue should definitely be stuck with the bill.

Sure it's just a preview, but my inner Mike Gundy is telling me to avoid this movie "...because it's GARBAGE! And the editor that let it come out is GARBAGE!" The only fun that can be made of this mess is to see which is slower this summer - Milka or the ticket sales for this abomination.

My Name Is Anthony Fedele

Posted by Iannucci | 12/27/2007 | 7 comments »
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The 2007 season was memorable for many reasons, not the least of which was all of the new people the world of IndyCars introduced to us. Folks like Milka Duno, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Leilani Münter...Anthony Fedele.

Yes friends, without a doubt the most unlikely of celebrities this year turned out to be the guy who got involved in an altercation with an old man after the Watkins Glen race. At first he was misidentified as any number of folks by “journalists”, but when the Iron Hand of Justice correctly revealed his name it was included in the same phrase as “Hard Card Revoked Indefinitely”.

Despite SPEEDTV footage showing Sam Hornish Sr as the instigator, many fans had already made up their minds that Fedele was some sort of thug. Making matters worse was the while there were quotes afterwards from an embarrassed Sam Senior, no one bothered to talk to Fedele. Well, recently Anthony was gracious enough to share his side with My Name Is IRL, so as Paul Harvey likes to say, “...and now, the rest of the story.”

Q: So how did you come to be friends with the Andrettis?

A: I met The Andrettis through my sister who was a very close friend of Michael’s previous wife, and pretty much became friends with him from there.

Q: Several readers speculated you were at the track as “muscle”. Was that the case?

A: LOL...No I was not there for muscle by any means. I was at Michael’s quaint little wedding at Mario’s vineyard in Napa Valley and I am pretty sure I wasn’t invited there for muscle. I was there as a friend and a race fan.

Q: Judging from the sweet rides on your MySpace page your day job isn’t bouncer or event security, is it?

A: No I actually work in the Music / Entertainment business. My Stepmother is a Hall of Fame songwriter who wrote “The Greatest Love of All” and all of the Stylistics music. She passed away and we lease her released and unreleased catalog of music. I split my time between that, I also own a Bar / Lounge in Philadelphia.

Q: The burning question: What was Sam Hornish Sr screaming at Tony Kanaan that got you involved? Was he dropping F-bombs or was it the pushing or what?

A: Well I’ll put it to this way: It seemed kind of funny to me that two grown men are in an altercation with helmets on, and I actually said that to Michael as we were walking towards the two. I got involved only to diffuse the situation when this person pushed TK, not that TK needs me to defend him. Michael then starting pointing at the guy and was saying something to the sort of “Hey who are you? What’s your problem?” At this point I was like well...If Michael has no idea who this is then he could very easily be just a lunatic Hornish fan. I then stepped over to the side, when he did and started to explain to this person “look this is over just relax”. Obviously he didn’t like that idea.

Q: From the video it looks like Sam Senior grabbed you first. Did you point this out when they took your hard card “indefinitely”?

A: Mr Hornish absolutely 100% did grab me first. Not only that, if you look really close at the video I have my glasses in one hand and my cell phone in the other the whole time. I couldn’t even grab him if I wanted to. He two fisted my shirt, necklace, and hard card in one grab and started yanking and pulling me backwards. All I am saying to myself while I still have my glasses and cell phone in hand is that "I am not going to let Mr. Hornish take me down". And again on the video if you look close, he trips over a Penske guy’s leg and falls down. I still do not go down to the ground on top of him. I then am grabbed from behind and thrown on the ground STILL holding my glasses in my hand (Look close). I get up drop my glasses, look for the Penske guy and Charles takes me to the side. I did speak to Charles as well as Brian afterwards and just explained exactly what I just stated here with video to back it up. Bottom line is that I was ok with any decision they made. I just didn’t want them to think I initiated this altercation.

Q: Does the AGR team had any kind of “history” with the Hornish family? (Other than the finish of the ’06 Indy 500, of course.)

A: Not that I know of, like I said earlier Michael had no idea who Mr. Hornish was at the time of incident at Watkins Glenn. The Cheever Family maybe...

Q: Suppose you never get involved and Tony and Sam had come to blows – who wins?

A: Hmmm...I dunno those Brazilians always have some kind of new wave crazy Royce Gracie martial arts lurking somewhere, although the tale of the tape would give the height and reach advantage to Hornish. If Sam could stay in the middle of pitlane and not get caught up against the walls I think it would be interesting.

Q: The ringside, err, trackside announcers originally thought you were TJ Patrick. Does that bother you, and are you friends with the guy we call “Dadica”?

A: To be honest with you I was kind of flattered that they thought I was T.J. since he is a much better looking guy than I am. We joked about it for a while. Actually I am friends with T.J. he is a great guy and has a great family. Plus I think he understands race related feistiness as well.

Q: What was life like after the infamous footage was shown on SportsCenter about a billion times? Did you expect to hear your name so much on TV? Did any strangers recognize you?

A: Well my card was reinstated shortly after and when I was at some races I was asked to sign some pictures in the IndyCar magazine. It was the worst possible picture of me. I was on the ground not looking so good. But that was all done out of fun. People at my bar all saw it on ESPN and I had to tell the story a few hundred times when I returned there. One race fan in Detroit came up to me totally out of the blue wanted to shake my hand and said he supported that I would stick up for my friends. But mostly I was bashed left and right on the internet for attacking this elder gentleman for no reason. One person even said it was because Sam beat Marco at the Indy 500...that’s awesome.

Q: Totally unrelated, but since you’re close to Marco maybe you can answer this – what’s the deal with Alfonso Ribiero always being around?

A: Yeah I don’t know, it seems that Alfonso has a GPS device on Marco when he arrives in the LA area. I never got to hang out with him and I’m sure he is a nice guy but the TMZ “I’m Chillin...He’s Chillin...” incident kind of threw me off.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the incident, the Andrettis, or life in general?

A: Now that it’s all over and no one got seriously injured I think it’s funny the things people on your site and others conjure up. Let’s see I was T.J. Patrick, and then I was TK’s cousin from Brazil, his manager, Jaime Camara. Then I was Michael’s security, then I became a myth like Keyser Soze and everyone wanted to know why the IRL and AGR wouldn’t disclose who I was. Then I became a part of Michael’s entourage and I was referred to as Turtle. That is hilarious.

(Ed. Note: Uh, that would be me came up with that last one.)

Then people said on here that Michael and I look eerie on his Jet. Someone please explain to me what that means? This is the first time I explained what happened and to be honest I was only concerned with what Michael and the people close to me at AGR thought. If it wasn’t for the SPEEDVISION angles I don’t think anyone would have seen what really happened, but no matter what some people will see and believe what they want regardless of anything else.

Merry Christmas to all

Posted by Iannucci | 12/24/2007 | 6 comments »
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May all of you - my loyal though mostly anonymous friends - have a safe and happy Christmas, enjoying the thrill of giving as much as receiving on this blessed occasion.

I for one am already bright-eyed at the framed gift of the above photo by IMS Photography Czar Ron McQueeney that I received from Link, my father-in-law. Yeah two of those drivers in the phenomenal finish are gone four years later, but I can't ever look at that snapshot and not smile.

Hope you all are wearing smiles as well.

You all every Buddy

Posted by Iannucci | 12/21/2007 | 0 comments »
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The homeboy here in the Valley of the Sun is confirming he will "more than likely" be back in a familiar place for 2008. Time to pass around some flat-billed caps.

Buddy Rice - unlike Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. - is a recent Indianapolis 500 winner who is not NASCAR-bound.

His priority, though, will again be the IndyCar Series. "I'm close to signing a deal," Rice explained a few days ago. "More than likely I'm going to be back with the same team, Dreyer and Reinbold. Things aren't 100 percent finalized, but it's close."

Rice, who won the 2004 Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Racing, was ninth in points last season. He said the team has made crew changes to improve pit-stop performance and has spent time in a wind tunnel and on a chassis shaker rig developing its Dallara-Honda.

(MORE from the Arizona Republic)

Who's your Daddy?

Posted by Iannucci | 12/20/2007 | 7 comments »
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OK, first get a bucket. Then sit back down. Now go to the site and notice who you see...and who you DON'T see. What the...?

"Damn you, N-Word! Damn you all to hell!"

Beverly Hills 46222

Posted by Iannucci | 12/19/2007 | 2 comments »
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Brandon: "Hey, Kelly!"

Kelly: "Brandon! Oh my God, it's been years!"

Brandon: "It has! What have you been up to?"

Kelly: "Oh, you know. Making babies. Cable movies. Celebrity dance offs. The usual."

Brandon: "Dancing? Kelly, I had no idea."

Kelly: "Oh yeah, I was like on this show and it was real big deal. It was like a contest. But..."

(soft piano music plays)

Brandon: "But, what?"

Kelly: "Brandon, I...I...*sniff*...I lost. I fell on my butt!"

Brandon: "Oh, Kelly. That's terrible."

Kelly: "My butt is terrible?"

Brandon: "No, that you lost. There's nothing wrong with your butt."


Kelly: "It's, it's OK. I lost to a racecar driver. Some guy who won the Any 500 or something."

Brandon: "You mean...the Indy 500? Oh no, not the Indy 500!"

(Brandon turns away)

Kelly: "Yeah, that was it. What's the matter, Brandon?"

(swelling string arrangement)

Brandon: "Kelly, I...I wanted to race in the Indy 500. I wanted to win. It was my dream. That was...before...the accident."

Kelly: "Oh my God!"

Brandon: "It's true. I was going to be a great driver - the next Sam Hornish Jr. I had the blank stare, the sideburns, everything. But then in an dream...was gone."

Kelly: *sobbing*


Brandon: "It's OK, Kelly. I've moved on. I'm an owner now. I may not own the Peach Pit but I co-own the Rubicon Race Team, and we've got sponsors and a car and an unnamed driver...even a sweepstakes. And we're going to be at Indy, Kelly. The Indy 500!"

Kelly: "A sweepstakes? Oh, Brandon I'm so proud of you...*sniff sniff*...I just have one question though."

Brandon: "What's that, Kelly?"

Kelly: "Who's Sam Hornish Jr?"

Manning's return is official

Posted by Iannucci | 12/17/2007 | 2 comments »
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Pub owners, rejoice!

WALLER, Texas Dec. 17, 2007—Make it official. Darren Manning has signed on for another year to drive the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda for A.J. Foyt’s team in the IndyCar Series.

“Last year we came away most weekends wishing we could start the weekend over because we had learned so much about the car and what I want in a car,” said Manning. “With the compressed schedule, we were doing most of our development work on race weekends.

“We now have a baseline to work from for all of the tracks which will help tremendously. Last year was my first year working with A.J. and driving the Dallara chassis with Honda power. There was a lot that had to be learned: A.J. learning what I want, me learning how the Dallara reacts to changes and then the overall communication within the crew. We did learn but the process affected our consistency. I look for all of that to change for the better in 2008.”

(MORE from

What a lump of coal

Posted by Iannucci | 12/17/2007 | 6 comments »
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Cautiously, hesitantly, and begrudguingly quoting the often inaccurate Robin, only because of the many implications of this possible story:

The last original Indy Racing League driver is heading for sports cars. has learned that Scott Sharp is taking his Patron sponsorship to Highcroft Racing in the American Le Mans series for 2008.

Sharp, who turns 40 in February, will team with David Brabham and replace Stefan Johansson on the Acura-powered P2 team owned by Duncan Dayton.

Besides losing the IRL’s all-time leader in starts (138) and original champion (co-champ with Buzz Calkins) in 1996, Tony George’s series also loses a full-time competitor with a major sponsor (Patron tequila).
Just biting my toungue, crossing my fingers, and not saying another word until there is press release or second source or something.

UPDATE: The nearly infallible braintrust at TrackSide Online confirmed this, so here’s my attempt at making sense of this giant ball of suck.

My first reaction after doing a bit or research was to think maybe this was just a temporary deal. In his move to the ALMS Sharp is supposedly racing for a Honda team, and though he isn’t known to have the kind of relationship with Honda like say Dan Wheldon, the fact that it's a Honda team made me wonder if this is a just a holding point for Sharp/Patron until the Rahal lawsuits run their course.

After all, it just seems strange that a driver and sponsor both decide to leave a series after what should be considered a successful year. Sure Sharp didn't win any races in 2007 (which may be just as many ALMS races he’s going to win in 2008), but he was definitely wins the Tallest Midget Award for accomplishment by a non-Big 3 driver. It’s just exceptionally odd that a guy who has raced almost exclusively on ovals for the past decade is suddenly going to a road course series.

But the TSO piece sounds like this is in fact the end of the line for Sharp as an IRL regular. He may come back for Indy – or he may not. Either way, this is a more damaging departure than that of Hornish or Franchitti, not because Sharp was a better driver or a better guy, but because now it looks like this whole nonsense with Sharp and Rahal Letterman Racing ultimately led to the loss of an extremely engaged sponsor like Patron.

Regardless of what various hacks writers say, drivers can leave without mortally wounding the IRL. Well drivers not named “Danica”, that is. Or “Helio”. But what the league can not afford to lose is sponsors, especially the kind that offer to pay whatever it takes for a quality entry while also rolling an entire party truck into every race venue. It’s not that Patron was the be all, end all of sponsors; it’s how this looks to other potential sponsors who are considering an IRL investment.

Bobby Rahal should bear the brunt of the responsibility for running his business like was Rahal Rent-A-Car, but IndyCar series officials should have had some idea what was going on as well. If a well-paying and fully-active sponsor was looking to get out of RLR and to get somewhere else the league leadership should have done whatever they could to facilitate that. I don’t mean to be crass here, but RLR isn’t bringing anything to the IRL right now – Patron and Ethanol are. If helping the latter means losing the former, well, no one wants to lose teams but that choice would be better than losing the Patron entry and Sharp entirely.

Then again, maybe Patron wanted out and there’s nothing that could have been done. As if THAT would be a better alternative to believe.

At any rate, Sharp will be truly missed. He was always a smiling, talkative guy, which is probably the main reason he’s always had sponsors. That and the fact he was rather fearless on the ovals. He was also the last link to the original IRL, which means fans of a flat-out, American oval racer were always going to have a guy to pull for. It also means he’s old – for a driver, at least. Anyhow, this whole circumstance is leaving such a bad taste that even Patron couldn’t wash it away.

Merry Christmas, Mr Hornish

Posted by Iannucci | 12/17/2007 | 1 comments »
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You have some nice owner's points wrapped under your tree.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR has approved Penske Racing's request to transfer the owner points from Kurt Busch to Sam Hornish Jr., a move that locks the three-time IndyCar Series champion into the first five races of next season.

Hornish publicly thanked Busch for giving him the points at the Penske holiday party on Friday night. Bud Denker, senior vice president of Penske Corp., confirmed Saturday that the team would swap the points with NASCAR's approval.

"This isn't all about the first five races," (Roger) Penske said at Phoenix International Raceway. "This is about a long career for a great race car driver and someone who has delivered for us for a long time at Penske Racing."

(MORE from Sports Illustrated)
"This isn't all about the first five races...?" Riiiiiight! No sir, it very much is all about the first five races, but that's another series for another site.

Connecting the dots

Posted by Iannucci | 12/13/2007 | 3 comments »
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Looks like a lot of questions recently on the Panther Racing Q&A make it sound like PJ Chesson is a heavy favorite to be Vitor Meira’s teammate in 2008.

Q. If you guys signed PJ Chesson, which is the hot rumor, would he be replacing Vitor in the #4 car?
A. (12-12-07) Absolutely not. If we were to sign Chesson, he would be a teammate to Vitor. It sure would be an interesting combo, wouldn't it? But Vitor and PJ get along well and if - this is a big if - we were to eventually sign Chesson, we believe it would be a strong combo.

Q. When does Panther next plan to test? At what track and which driver is planned to test?
A. (12-10-07) We have tentatively scheduled a test for next Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 17-18) at Sebring in our IPS car. One of the drivers scheduled to test is a potential driver for our second IndyCar Series entry. The other we'll have to discuss later.

Q. Which driver are you targeting to drive the #55 in 08?
A. (12-10-07) We can't tell you what driver(s) we're targeting, but I can say we're not targeting No. 55 as the car's number anymore. Look for a new digit to join the historic No. 4 next season.

Q. When does Panther anticipate being able to announce the second Indycar driver and sponsor, and IPS driver(s)?
A. (11-26-07) We're close. But close doesn't pay the bills in this league.

Q. When will the 2008 driver lineup be finalized and announced? Are AJ Foyt IV and PJ Chesson in the discussion for the 2nd car?
A. (11-26-07) Usually in motorsports the contract is signed, then you quickly prepare to make an announcement. We haven't made an announcement because those contracts aren't signed. There are still several drivers in the discussion for the second car, and that's not to rule out PJ or AJ - both of whom we like.

The word is The Illustrated Man is in fact the guy in the Sebring test next week, which would make sense if Panther is testing an Indy Pro car on a road course for a prospective IndyCar driver. PJ doesn’t have much twisty experience, so might as well have him try things in the less expensive equipment, right?

UPDATE: No sooner is this posted than a simultaneous missive is sent by the braintrust at TrackSide Online confirming this. Additionally mentioned as testing for Panther is everyone's favorite Tree Hugger.

(Leilani) Munter is pretty much trying out for the Panther IPS seat. That is one of the prime seats in the Pro Series and if she has the funding, that could be a great platform to evaluate her true talent level.
Umlauts, rejoice!

Does Jamie Little know about this?

Posted by Iannucci | 12/13/2007 | 4 comments »
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Here are Dan Wheldon's own words as they appear in - of all places - the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

"It may be the conservative European in me. I really want to be a multiple-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and anything that would distract from that I'm not really interested in," Wheldon said. "I think people had me penciled in for some other show, but now that I'm engaged ... I'm only getting roses for (his fiance)."
What's more astonsihing about that paragraph - that he's completely pooh-poohed the N-Word or that he's confirmed his engagement? Wheldon - engaged? Is this not a sign of the Apocalypse?

Yes, I just said "pooh-poohed". Deal.

Coming soon to an email near you

Posted by Iannucci | 12/12/2007 | 4 comments »
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Here comes the onslaught of Mirror Ball trophy marketing, although marketers are wise to remember many of us would prefer The Gift of Julianne. No offense, Helio, but she IS in the picture.

IndyCar® Series driver Helio Castroneves cha-cha-ed, rhumba-ed and mambo-ed his way to victory on ABC's hit show "Dancing with the Stars," and you can share in the celebration by "Giving the Gift of Helio" this holiday season.

Oh. Gee. Thanks.

Posted by Iannucci | 12/10/2007 | 5 comments »
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Let’s just throw out this ludicrous sentence so you can start laughing immediately.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has won the FIA Formula One Promotional Trophy, presented to the best promoter and event organizer in Formula One each year.”

(MORE from IMS)
Yes, the same FIA that demanded a reported $30 Meeeeellion from IMS to host yet another Formula One “race” in 2008 – a request to which Tony George responded by developing a sudden affinity for motorcycles – has decided to give Mr George and the IMS crew a lovely little parting gift. Namely, this trophy of a shimmering car inside what appears to be a glass crystal STOP sign. How apropos of the F1 folks.

At least Tony got a free trip to Monaco outta the whole thing, right? Offers Marc from Full Throttle:

Maybe if the FIA would spring for a few million cheap plastic replicas (free of Chinese lead paint of course) of the Race Promoters’ Trophy it would go a ways toward restoring the FIA’s reputation with the U.S. racing public. Doubtful, but possible. At least they would be in the hands of those most suffering from the FIA’s actions.

They could be handed out to fans attending the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, a replacement for the F1 USGP that actually offers lead changes under green flag conditions, is not reliant on pit strategies and most importantly, isn’t sanctioned by the FIA.

Merger Fodder

Posted by Iannucci | 12/09/2007 | 10 comments »
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First off, a big hat tip to Zappatista of the blog with the mind-numbing title "YOU ARE ENTERING A WORLD OF PAIN!" (I think he may be related to MoneyCJ.) Mr Z picked up on something before mainstream journalists did by snooping out news the old-fashioned way: hanging out in a bar and talking with people who have been drinking.

The story which he tried in vain to get confirmed by regulars who cover the IRL is that earlier this week a dual series test was conducted at Homestead, with IndyCars and a Champ Car both conducting tire tests on the same track and on the same day.

Zappatista's premise that this was mostly to cut costs for Bridgestone/Firestone (who supplies the tires to both series) is likely correct, especially since Robin is confirming today - that would be SIX DAYS LATER - that there wasn't anything like a Dallara/Cosworth setup being run. That they did not allow journalists to cover the event is what makes tin foil hats go on heads, although your humble correspondent will abstain.

It's interesting to note that article by Robin also discusses how Paul Tracy (a.k.a. The Only Champ Car Driver You Know) may be out of a job. This is a bit of a corroboration with a post by Inside Track that earlier in the week claimed Tracy was sniffing out opportunities everywhere including the IndyCar series. It's also in total contradiction to this article from saying Tracy isn't going anywhere. But that would be Robin being Robin, wouldn't it?

Legal News

Posted by Iannucci | 12/09/2007 | 1 comments »
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This is a bit of a head scratcher, so if you have anything to add to this about this please let us all know. Or even better, inform the authorities.

From his waterfront estate on Hibiscus Island, Edward Okun oversaw one of the nation's fastest-growing tax-shelter companies -- a haven for wealthy investors looking to save big money on real-estate ventures.

The flashy 59-year-old businessman amassed a reported personal fortune of $659 million -- with all the trappings: a 130-foot yacht, a fleet of luxury cars, a helicopter and several private jets. But the empire Okun built is now unraveling amid a federal investigation, lawsuits and claims by hundreds of investors who say they were fleeced of $160 million in one of the largest business collapses of its kind.

They claim he spent millions buying personal properties like his lavish, $23 million home in New Hampshire, a 130-foot yacht named after his 29-year-old wife, who until recently owned a beauty salon in Miami Beach.

Other assets, as reported by the couple in a financial statement in May: three jet aircraft, a helicopter, a 38-foot Cigarette boat, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Continental, Land Rover, Aston Martin and four Indy cars. A racing enthusiast, Okun sponsored IndyCar drivers for the team of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt last year.

(MORE from Miami Herald)

Wheldon and the letter K

Posted by Iannucci | 12/08/2007 | 10 comments »
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Thank heavens for Dan Wheldon. The Lord of the Ovals is clearly depressed to be about the 8th most famous IndyCar driver right now, so he's doing what he can to get his name in the news - namely, picking a fight with "Danicker".

The Danica Patrick-Dan Wheldon feud, which provided some sparks in the IndyCar Series last year, shows no sign of abating.

Wheldon, at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday for a Firestone tire test, scoffed when it was suggested he and Patrick have a “rivalry.”

“I think we only had a rivalry in one race,” Wheldon said, referring to the event at Milwaukee in June when she confronted him after an on-track incident.
He could have stopped there at which point this isn't worth printing. But...

“Obviously the pressure’s on her to win a race, and I think that’ll far outweigh rivalries with drivers,” he said. “For people’s perception of her in motor racing, it’s very important for her to win a race. She could become the Anna Kournikova of motor racing.”

(MORE from Palm Beach Post)

I never thought it would happen but one of her fellow drivers just dropped the K-Word. Of course it was Wheldon, who is clearly irked and dismayed that his glorious self is not the center of attention. If you had a list of five drivers likely to drop the K-Word he'd be all five of them.

You're still awesome and I'm still sorry for almost knocking you on your arse, but if you really want more attention then here are two words, Dan: Start. Dancing. Better yet, get on "The Bachelor". If a guy like me can sit through an entire season of Bruno Whatshisface raising his fist and shouting "TEN!" every week then it would be no more difficult watching you repeatedly hand out roses to would-be trophy wives.

Speaking of dancing, here's to Tony Kanaan demonstrating how to more subtly express the same sentiment.

“If we give Danica a win it’s going to be huge,” he said. “If we give the Japanese driver his first IndyCar win it’s going to be huge, and if Marco Andretti keeps winning, it’s going to be huge. So Tony Kanaan, it’s not big news. Unless I start dancing with Helio.”
Very amusing, but "the Japanese Driver"? Umm, have these two been introduced yet?

Marco and Buddy get back to their roots

Posted by Iannucci | 12/08/2007 | 2 comments »
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News travels slow in December, but it does get here. Case in point is Thursday's Snap-On All-Star Karting Classic race in Orlando, Florida. The "Masters" series event featured 22 professional drivers, including IndyCar regulars Buddy Rice and Marco Andretti, who finished third and eighteenth respectively.

Now before you roll your eyes at a post about about a go-kart race, check out this list of competitors in order of finish. If you follow racing even casually you might recognize more than a few names.

1. Michael Valiante
2. Gary Carlton
3. Buddy Rice (IndyCar)
4. AJ Allmendinger (N-Word, Former Champ Car)

5. Tyler Dueck
6. Jamie McMurray (N-Word)
7. Christian Fitipaldi (Former IndyCar and N-Word)

8. Joel Miller
9. Phil Giebler (Indy Pro)
10. Josef Newgarden
11. Bryan Herta (Former IndyCar)
12. Heath Voss
13. Nelson Phillippe (Champ Car)
14. Ron Capps
15. Matt Jaskol (Indy Pro)
16. David Jurca
17. Jan Heylen (Champ Car)
18. Marco Andretti (IndyCar)

19. Eddie Lawson
20. Steve Johnson
21. Scott Speed (N-Word, Former Formula One)
22. Lake Speed (Former IndyCar, Former N-Word)

Yes race fans of old, that Lake Speed! Dude is 60 years old and still racing anything on four wheels. I think I may have a new hero.

Baby Shower

Posted by Iannucci | 12/07/2007 | 1 comments »
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From the Miami Herald:

Tony Kanaan welcomed his first child, Leonardo, with wife Dani in September. But the 2004 IndyCar champion and Key Biscayne resident is trying to temper enthusiasm about Leonardo being a race car driver, too -- at least for now. Kanaan's teammate Danica Patrick sent a go-kart as a present and another friend gave the child a racing fire suit.

"It's a lot of pressure," Kanaan said. "I'm trying to hide all that stuff right now."
Personally, I would have gone with a bib and a onesie over the go-kart.

Now we can all see Danica's imperfections

Posted by Iannucci | 12/06/2007 | 3 comments »
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From Deadspin of all places comes a "leaked" memo from within ESPN. Tucked among more curious topics such the health risks of close proximity to satellite dishes comes this glorious confirmation.

In our continuing effort to serve Indy 500 fans we worked with IndyCar to televise the race in HD. At the same time, we determined having SportsCenter on site was not essential to covering the race thoroughly from a news perspective. The 2008 IndyCar regular season and 2008 Indy 500 will be produced in HD.
High. Definition. Baby. Excuse me - I need to do a little Snoopy Dance!

It's almost like a race day

Posted by Iannucci | 12/06/2007 | 4 comments »
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Cars are on the track on both sides of the coutry today. At Infineon Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be testing track modifications featuring a long, straight section followed by two sharp right turns.

"About halfway down the drag strip we go to the left and then do the loop around, which is our Turn 7, and head back for the Esses," (Brian) Barnhart said. "I'd like to have our drivers try staying on the drag strip where it stays straight all the way down and then take the longer loop, which (the track has) listed as 7a, and then head back to the Esses. Hopefully, getting feedback from our drivers, what I'd like to see is if by staying straight we create a harder braking area and thus a better passing zone going into Turn 7."

Last week, Infineon Raceway announced that it will host an attempt to break the Guiness Book of World Records mark for the largest Twist dance on race day. The event is in honor of Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves winning the "Dancing with the Stars" championship.

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And so the Dancing madness begins.

Meanwhile outside of Miami, several drivers - including Mr Ballroom Champion Happy Feet himself - will be testing various Firestone tire compounds.

Helio Castroneves will return to the cockpit of his #3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the first time since winning 'Dancing with the Stars' when IndyCar Series competitors test at Homestead-Miami Speedway today.

Castroneves will be joined by Team Penske team-mate Ryan Briscoe, Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter, Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan and Hideki Mutoh and three-time defending SpeedJam Indy 300 winner Dan Wheldon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

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Forget Helio - Mutohmania starts NOW!

And in case you were wondering, Danica Patrick isn't in an IndyCar this week. No, instead she's workin' at the car wash this weekend. Let me tell ya it's better than diggin' a ditch.

When you're a Panther you're a Panther all the way

Posted by Iannucci | 12/05/2007 | 3 comments »
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Whether or not you're a fan of the team, if you aren't occasionally peeking a the Panther Racing Q&A then you're missing out on one of the most interesting sites in IndyCar racing. Recently this unbelievable story of loyalty and friendship came courtesy of a question about former drivers.

There are lots of good memories from all the guys that have driven for us. But, I’d say Tomas Enge was one of the most popular of our former drivers. If you know Tomas, he is a real joy to be around, and you can’t be around him long before you’re cracking up with laughter – not always because of what he says, but how he says it with that crazy Czech accent. He’s a great person, and an even better racecar driver. Too bad a lot of his best runs in the IndyCar Series were marred with bad luck: Homestead (gearbox), St. Pete (fuel probe failure on pit stop), Indianapolis (Danica), Richmond (penalty), Texas (electronic), Kansas (dropped wheel nut on pit stop), Nashville (suspension failure), Infineon (fuel strategy), Chicago (suspension failure)...See what I’m saying? But to give you and idea how well-liked Enge remains years after he drove for us - when he had his nasty ALMS crash this year at St. Pete (broken ribs, shattered elbow, collapsed lung, broken ankle) former Panther owner Doug Boles was instrumental in getting Enge transferred to Indianapolis for surgery and proper medical care. Enge spent about three months in Indianapolis recovering and doing rehab (with Panther’s Tim Drudge), and the entire time he lived in the guest bedroom at Jane and John Barnes’ home. I think that alone gives you an idea how well-liked he was around here. Barnes still considers him one of the best drivers on the planet, and if funding was ever in place, you’d probably see him in a Panther car again.
Wow. I mean, really - WOW! Especially considering how much equipment Enge tore up for them. It may not have always been his fault but he certainly drove like a cursed man. Not saying I believe in curses or anything, but...

Also in the news from Panther is this story in Motorsport by our buddy the ubiquitous Allan Brewer (sorry I'm a week late on this, Al) on how the Panther Team did some penance for pulling Vitor Meira away from a meet-and-greet at the last minute at Chicagoland. All of those in attendance who were stiffed will be receiving Panther keychains that were made from the carbon-fiber remnants of Vitor's trashed race car.

Memo to all teams: do this. Please.

Helio in Newsweek

Posted by Iannucci | 12/05/2007 | 1 comments »
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When was the las time an IndyCar driver was in Newsweek? I mean, one that doesn't have long black hair. Has that ever happened? Behold, the power of dancing, friends.

What kind of driver are you on the freeway? Fast?
No, actually not. I drive slowly, unless I'm late. I try to be conservative and relax. I spend all my aggressiveness on the racetrack, which is better.

What car do you drive?
An Acura RL and a Lamborghini Gallardo. Ooh. You can get in trouble with that one. You can break three digits easily.

Have you?
Yes. [Pause] On the racetrack. I respect the law.

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And just for added value, here's an article (and a classic picture) from Sports Illustrated on Helio's new star power. A write-up in O the Oprah Magazine can't be far behind.

It's Champ Car Appreciation Day

Posted by Iannucci | 12/02/2007 | 5 comments »
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Well, I've decided to bite the bullet and go see if there are any tickets left for the Arizona Grand Prix in downtown Phoenix today...oh, wait.

Would AJ double up?

Posted by Iannucci | 12/01/2007 | 1 comments »
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Rumor: I have been told AJ Foyt is strongly considering adding a second entry for the 2008 season. Hey, if Marty Roth can spot two cars on the grid then why not Super Tex, right?

Fact: AJ has about six meeeeellion dollars worth of property in Texas up for sale right now, which would could finance either another full IndyCar team or a startup Presidential campaign. Just sayin'.

No word on if this is either the "bee attack" or the "bulldozer vs lake" property. Pity.

(Special thanks to reader John E for the heads up, who did not supply the rumor. That would-be news was actually given by someone in my Fantasy Hockey league. I'm totally serious.)