mmack's nnotes: Long Beach 2009

Posted by Iannucci | 4/20/2009 | 2 comments »
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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a man so excited about the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach that he took his wife to a bar to watch it (Ron White voice) "in pub-lic". Here's our favorite (and lone) "Commentator Emeritus", the one, the only, the "mmack".

Here are my notes for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach: AKA "The Helio Castroneves Show"

The Fabulous mrs. mmack and I are NOT on the comfy couch for this race. Instead, we are at our favorite watering hole, Seamus McGhee's at 308 Canal St. in Lemont, IL. After threatening Mike the owner during the prior week that we would watch the race on his satellite TV, we arrive at 2:30 to grab two seats at the bar, put in a drink order, and get one of three TV sets above the bar set to Versus. We arrive just in time to see Will Power appear on screen. mrs. mmack remarks how much he looks like a young Tom Cruise. From here on out Will Power will be known as Will "Risky Business" Power.

The official beer of this Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for me is Smithwick's Ale, on tap. Mrs. mmack opens with a house Bloody Mary.

Before we go on, this will be a silent movie version of the IRL. Mike has his favorite radio station, 97.1 The Drive, playing in the background and the folks next to us are watching the White Sox -(Devil) Rays game on the closed caption TV, so I will martial my awesome lip reading ability to relay what's going on.

The coverage starts with a great montage of Long Beach races past. F1, Mario, Michael, Little Al, up to Will "Damnit, Helio HAD to come back NOW" Power's win last year.

FREE HELIO appears! As an aside, now that Helio is free, where can I order my own free Helio, and do I need to pay shipping for him? We see his qualifying crash, which shows Helio has taken up slam dancing in his free time. As Jack Arute interviews him, EJ Viso comes up to tell Helio "I will EAT you alive!" Or my lip reading may be off.

Our Chicken Enchilada Dip appetizer arrives as Versus covers Will Power. I wonder if Will wins, will Roger open his wallet and hire him for the rest of 2009? As we dip into our food, Versus replays the dagger thru my (and Dale Coyne's) heart moment of Briscoe Inferno STEALING the St. Pete race from Justin "The Cajun Chef" Wilson last week. Much hope from my barstool that Justin will redeem himself today.

LOOK! An ad for bull riding tonight on Versus! Huh, don't see THAT ever!

A montage of "biggest wrecks" from St. Pete ends with a crowd shot at Long Beach. I look, but no Jeff.

Paul Tracy appears and makes his case for winning the 2002 Indy 500. Give it up Paul, you passed under yellow! (Sorry Meesh)

Per mrs. mmack, Jack Arute is getting a George Hamilton-like skin tone, heading towards beef jerky or shoe leather. Also, according to mrs,. mmack, Michael could skip a few pasta dinners and "shave that damned soul patch!"

Another crowd shot, still no Jeff.

Drivers, start your engines and Risky Business doesn't. Find out later Will has radio problems, back to Ye Olde Pit Signs and chalk sticks? We go green and there's plenty of slicing and dicing as we avoid the big wreck at the start I was sure would occur. At this point the White Sox win 12-2, and the couple next to us pay their tab and leave. Mike offers to put the race on the big TV over the bar, which also has closed captioning. Our second round arrives in time for Versus to go to the Green Screen o' Death before we see Will 1st and Matos 2nd?!?!?!?!? The Cajun Chef holds off the Target Twins for 3rd. Then Elvis, I mean Dario, blows past Justin for 3rd. At this point, we have our "You can tell it's a street course race when" moment when ALL of the Versus Big Movers of the race moved ONE spot!

Now we enter a period of "lock step". We order cheeseburgers with fries (thin cut for me, sweet potato for mrs. mmack) and round three. Dario moves up to second spot with the rear end of his Target car slip slidin' coming off the turns. At this point Mike Conway gets his team some air time by torpedoing the tires. Dario slides into the pits for fuel and tires. On the restart, Dixon NAILS EJ Viso, ending his day.

Wait, I thought EJ NAILED other people to get them out of his way? What's going on this season? Is EJ on a Valium drip when he climbs in his car?

All together now: Full Course Yellow! Those at home playing along, take a drink!

As the TV shows Conway's car being worked on, I think "Yes, that Mike Conway for Buddy Rice switch was FLAWLESS!"
Hold on here! Have I been drinkin' too much or is Matos in P1? Why yes he is. Just what's goin on here?!?!?

Festival of pitting has Risky Business (Power, for those who are confused), out ahead of everyone else. TK stays out and takes P1 while Doorknob passes O-Ryan the Hunter. Suddenly it's a FIVE CAR PILEUP! Cue Pressdog's circus music! Twenty little clown cars pull up and spray confetti on the crowd. Car number 5(Moraes), 18(Wilson), 27(Mutoh), 4(Wheldon), and 23(Manning) are shoved together on the track like a pileup on the Dan Ryan Expressway after the first snow of December. Smooth moves all around.

The Cajun Chef is blackened. His car will go no farther today.

Andretti is P1 and I imagine Jeff is hoisting a cold one cheering him on. Wait, Danica is the road course specialist and she can't get past Ed Carpenter?!?!? After I ponder that aloud to mrs. mmack, she passes Ed.

Dario leads again and Stanton Barrett is off course. Hmm, didn't see that coming. Carpenter feels left out and goes off course too. At this point Danica is stalking Dario. A few laps later Danica and Risky Business pit and Danica squeezes Will exiting her stall. At this point FREE HELIO! is P2. Then FREE HELIO! takes the lead as closed captioning informs us "Daria" is pitting. Is Jane working Daria's pit sign? Just askin'

Once again, Conway into the tires like a torpedo. No, Buddy Rice COULDN'T have done any better. At this point mrs. mmack suggests Jeff give Robert Doornbos a new nickname: "Bedknobs and Broomsticks". I agree to pass it on.

Another crowd shot, still no sign of Jeff. I order another Smithwick's. At this point, Mike the owner is watching along with us, when he's not bartending for other customers.

In the pits, Graham Rahal tries to exit too fast and knocks the refueler ass over teakettles. Alex Tagliani figures a quick way to get on TV is to do the same thing. Luckily no fire with either car.

Dario leads on the restart and Ed Carpenter plays motorized pinball further back in the field. A little later on Moraes goes into the tire barrier like a missle and Ed Carpenter stops to see if there's anything he can do for Mario. As the cars come down for a restart Brisoce Inferno pays it forward and nerfs old teammate Dixon out of the way. Elvis, I mean Dario, leads on the restart as Marco and Choppers, I mean Wheldon, beat and bang on each other trying to, you know, pass (a novel concept on a street course, too be sure). At this point Mike offers me round six and I hand the truck keys to mrs. mmack. Tony closes on Risky Business as we go to split screen with three laps to go. What the ?!?!?!?!?!?

We come back to another crowd shot. Still no Jeff. Mrs. mmack suggests Jeff wear a much taller hat so that we can find him in a crowd. I agree to pass it on.

The race winds down and it's FLOPPY HAT TIME! Dario wins Long Beach! Ashley is happy! Vitor is so shocked he hits the wall! In the post race interviews Mike the owner asks how Danica can wear those diamond earrings and still put on a crash helmet. We may have converted him to a race fan. Time will tell.

So, if any My Name is live in the southwest Chicagoland area, we've threatened Mike we'll be coming back next week for the Kansas race. If anybody would like to stop by, check out for the menu, and look for a married couple at the end of the bar, me with my notebook furiously scribbling notes, and mrs. mmack in her IRL hat.

Oh wait, THERE'S Jeff! I see him now!


  1. mtm // April 22, 2009 12:36 PM  

    Watching with no sound was not as bad as I thought it would be... or maybe it was the Blue Moon. Although the silence was welcome when the media flocked to Mrs. Franchitti. Too bad Dario couldn't have left her in NASCAR. The closed captioning typist must not be a race fan. When did Daria, Margo and Danita start driving in the IRL? Are they other succesful drivers that Roger plans to kick to the curb? Just wondering.

  2. Doug // April 22, 2009 9:49 PM  

    I love sweet potato fries! Look for me at Kansas. I'll be in Section 113, Row 13, Seat 3 wearing the one and only Hideki Mutoh cap in the crowd. You can't miss me.