Hate Me

Posted by Iannucci | 5/16/2008 | 13 comments »
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Your humble host wasn't at the track today so I didn't get to hear if there was round of applause this morning when EJ Viso lost control of his car and hit the wall on his second lap of the day. Maybe a few hand claps would have been too obvious and instead the folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway simply smiled or nodded to each other.

It's been said by more than a few folks that the one thing missing from this year's Kumbaya Indy 500 is Paul Tracy. Tracy would be the Champ Car poster boy to get us fired up that much more for this historic event because he more than anyone could be the "black hat" for the boo-birds to let loose.

Well, the clock is about to strike midnight on qualifications and Tracy ain't getting a ride. Still, without him we have managed to find a quality "black hat" for the year - in a black car no less - in the form of Viso.

Now I personally have no animosity towards the lead-footed rookie, but it's becoming obvious lots of folks do. In fact, I'd be surprised if he's on anyone's Christmas Card List come December considering the way he's going about his business.

Let's review.

With a handful of laps to go at Homestead it was the Darkslide who lost control and collected race leader Tony Kanaan, setting him off on his now infamous three-wheeled odyssey.

At Kansas Viso cost Ed Carpenter a shot at the podium by accidentally pulling into Carpenter's pit and costing the Hammer valuable seconds he would never get back. So frustrated was Ed that he dropped an F-Bomb live and in person to the thousands in attendance.

Earlier this week none other than Curt Cavin noted "E.J. Viso isn't all that impressed with the Speedway," and quoted Viso in the IndyStar as saying:

"In Europe, we never watched ovals," he said. "It's not that I don't like them, but I'm starting to enjoy them."
And just yesterday Viso found himself called out by both TCGR drivers.

DAN WHELDON: You know, with these guys, you can't discount any of them. The craziest by far is Ernesto Viso, I think his name is. Dude, he looks nuts. You can tell he hasn't hit the wall yet. When he hits the wall, you'll know, because he'll pull out slowly from the car in front, move back nicely. You can tell he hasn't hit yet. You can tell the guys that haven't hit hard. Scott (Goodyear), you can relate. In 2003, I came out the box swinging. Then you hit the wall and you just start to calm down a little bit, then you start to hit the wall a bit more, then you really start to calm down. You realize it's not a nice feeling.

He seems to be the most aggressive.

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I tend to agree. Viso is pretty crazy. You know, I think it's the guys that did well over there, if you look at it. (Will) Power, he's got good car control, definitely thinks about things a little more than maybe some of the others.
And don't forget Viso's sponsor. As much flack as fellow Venezuelan Milka Duno gets for touting Citgo, folks should also realize Viso is racing some Hugo Chavez dollars as well from PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.). One part of their translated web site reads:

"We are celebrating a great victory moral, political, economic, technical and legal against imperialism. It is possible that sells homelands not like this overwhelming victory, because this was the fifth column that gave our country ruled while, but the people have elected a government more patriotic and they never will again."

Hey, it's not every day the word "imperialism" works it's way into an auto racing post. Plus there are lots of nice pics of Hugo all over the site, which makes me wonder if driving for a cigarette manufacturer isn't really so bad.

For now Viso's team is working quickly to repair his car in time for qualifications on Saturday. If for some reason he finds himself on the bubble for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 be sure to listen closely to see if folks at the speedway aren't cheering a little bit harder for the next driver on the track.

13 comments

  1. Dr. Indy // May 17, 2008 4:16 AM  

    Irl,

    Please Love Me. I know that you can find it in your heart to.

    Sincerely Yours,
    EJ

  2. Anonymous // May 17, 2008 5:40 AM  

    Hey Jeff,

    Not to take issue with any of the other comments concerning this month's "poster child" EJ, but the Homestead deal definitely was not his fault. Rather, there was an "issue" with his right rear wheel nut backing off on his out-lap following his last pit stop. It was the wheel coming off that caused the spin that collected Kanaan that....(well, you get the idea!).

  3. Jeff Iannucci // May 17, 2008 7:34 AM  

    I didn't know that about Homestead (thank you), but since I hadn't read it anywhere else I'm guessing a lot of other folks didn't as well.

    The point here isn't that I want eveyone to hate Viso, it's that there are already people who do.

    Personally, I think Viso reminds me of a young Tomas Scheckter with a good amount of skill but too much bravery. I'm not keen on his sponsorship but I think Viso has to be commended for taking a one-car team to some pretty impressive spots on the speed charts.

    But again, this wasn't about my impression of the guy.

  4. Anonymous // May 17, 2008 12:21 PM  

    I think Ed Carpenter said it best.

    how in the world could you pit in somebody's elses pit ????

    I hope EJ Viso gets bumped becuase he doesn't respect the history of IMS and the 500 and he would screw up the race if he pited in the wrong pits again.

  5. Anonymous // May 17, 2008 12:52 PM  

    Where can I buy these Hater-tots ??

    I looked at Kroger and couldn't find them. Are they available at Marsh or Meijer ??

    :-)

  6. Grizzlor // May 17, 2008 12:52 PM  

    I don't understand why the IRL has allowed sponsorship from PDVSA/CITGO when their main fuel backer is Ethanol?

  7. Tabernerus // May 17, 2008 2:10 PM  

    Grizzlor: Because they aren't in a position (yet) to turn away anybody with a check. Such is life in a sponsored world.

  8. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // May 17, 2008 10:12 PM  

    So far I can't say I'm a fan...

  9. The Mapster // May 18, 2008 8:25 AM  

    the same reason they let Ethanol and Ethanol Brasil sponsor when they used Methanol, its just a sponsor and the main fuel supplier has not signed a exclusivity agreement.

  10. Anonymous // May 18, 2008 4:00 PM  

    the National Guard sponsorship is wrong too.

  11. Ann Larson // May 19, 2008 4:40 AM  

    And why is the National Guard sponsorship wrong? (I can't wait to hear the thoughtful response to this one!)

  12. Anonymous // May 19, 2008 5:55 AM  

    Reasons why the National Guard is a controversial sponsor:

    Elements of the Ohio Army National Guard were ordered to Kent State University by Ohio's governor Jim Rhodes to quell anti-Vietnam War protests, culminating in their shooting into a crowd of students on May 4, 1970, killing four and injuring nine.

    It used to be that serving in the National Guard meant serving serve "One weekend a month, two weeks a year", now up to up to 20% of total US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan consist of mobilized personnel.

    With a race in Canada, Australia, and Japan; citizens of those countries might not like the sponsor(those countries are generally more peaceful) and they can't buy services or a product from it.

    And the money $$$ for the sponsorship (maybe 5-6 million dollars) comes from the tax payers of the usa.

    Sponsorships should NOT be paid by from by taxpayers. This violated good ethics.

  13. Bob Mc // May 20, 2008 1:42 PM  

    EJ, it's called the Indy Pro Series. Learn it. Love it.

    It could be worse. His name could be Marty Roth...