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.
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.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:
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.
"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.