With the IndyCar off-season lasting long enough to read the entirety of a of Gordon Kirby column, drivers are always on the lookout for ways to keep their senses keen. They need to drive - no, RACE - anything they can, whether that be go-karts, stock cars, formula cars...tricycles.
Sadly for Ed and Vision Racing, that was not a points race.
With the IndyCar off-season lasting long enough to read the entirety of a of Gordon Kirby column, drivers are always on the lookout for ways to keep their senses keen. They need to drive - no, RACE - anything they can, whether that be go-karts, stock cars, formula cars...tricycles.
Wednesday, Feb 25th: HVM Racing Team Owner Keith Wiggins Comments about New Formula Team, USF1
"Its very difficult to start a new Formula One team, but there are a lot of factors that determine how hard it is going to be. There are questions that need to be answered. Where will the team get its chassis? Who will provide the engine? These are the biggest aspects to accomplish along with location and personnel.
Its doable, but you have to have the budget. You need good and experienced people and proper planning for everything to work, especially if it is to be based here. The proposed budget for this team is good, but its a smaller budget. You may not run at the front, but it really depends on a lot of factors that we dont know yet.
There are a lot of logistical issues of being based in the United States. You have freight, and that may be a big obstacle. How are they going to handle this with FOCA? Its certainly more expensive to race out of the United States in Formula One. I think its important, too, to think about your drivers. Its ideal to have one driver who is more familiar with the cars and the tracks. A.J. Allmendinger may be the best American driver with the most potential to fill one of the spots. Its going to be interesting to see how this pans out."
Thursday, Feb 26th: HVM Racing Team Owner Keith Wiggins Clarifies Comments Regarding USF1 American Driver Choices
"I wanted to clarify comments in an earlier statement regarding the best American drivers for the new USF1 operation. After being told of the teams wish list, I felt that A.J. Allmendinger was and is the best choice from that list given. This does not reflect what would be my own personal choice of driver from the U.S. for Formula One or any other series."
I don't know what this means, and honestly it's the first time I've paid attention to an HVM release since Viso had the mumps. But I do know HVM Racing has been a possible destination for Ryan Hunter-Reay, which means he may or may not be someone's "personal choice of driver from the U.S.".
Honestly though - does anyone know the reason for all of this tediousness?
I was all set to write about how EJ Viso is spitting in the face of racing superstitions. His car already has green all over it and now he's changing his number to "13", so all he needs is a "planters peanuts" sponsorship to score an unholy trifecta. He might even be looking to break some mirrors and walk under ladders, just for good measure. As Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, Graham Rahal and several others found out last year, EJ Viso isn't afraid of bad luck; he IS bad luck.
But...then I came across this photo of Viso laughing at having some giant, deadly snake wrapped around his neck and I realized there's nothing more I can add at this point. I mean, we've reached the point where there just isn't enough hyperbole in the English language to describe this guy. I may have to switch to Spanish instead.
But...then I thought I should note how I first saw the pic (here linked from IndyCar.com), which was via the Vision Racing twitter feed, and how this particular team has done an incredible job of using twitter to feed information to fans this week. (The only other team using a twitter account is HVM, but they aren't doing much with it, possibly because they have to keep rescuing otherwise deadly animals from Viso.)
Plus, as if that's not fan-friendly enough, they also have a running Q&A on the Vision Racing Facebook page similar to the one Panther Racing. Huge kudos to those teams for doing the unthinkable and interacting with fans no mater where they are.
But...since we're talking about twitter accounts I thought I should suggest a few more folks to follow since they're constantly "tweeting" about IndyCar racing.
@FuriousWedge - from "The Furious Wedge"
@IndyCarNation - from the Indy Racing League
@whatimthinking - from "so...here's what i'm thinking..."
There are others who pass along IRL-related info, but along with @VisionRacing these folks actively participate in the discussion. In other words, they respond to you. If you are unable to hang out at the bar with friends to discuss racing, use the internet that Al Gore invented to hang out with these folks (along with your humble host @MyNameIsIRL) instead.
But...there's one last thing on twitter that got my attention: @teamamericaf1. Not so much because of the feed but because, well, just check out their web site and blog. This image says it all.
This week VERSUS revealed - hold your breath - four one-hour specials to be aired ahead of the start of the IndyCar series season opener. Compared to the meager one-hour show that ESPN held last year, this is *checking calculator* four times the pre-season programming! Huzzah!
(Although in fairness to the four-letter network, that one hour was brilliantly hosted by Helio Castroneves, who if he doesn't get deported this year will most assuredly ending up replacing that Sugar Ray guy as host of "Access Entertainment" or whatever it's called.
Anyhow, here are the anticipated programs.
March 7, Danica: Five Years Running Includes highlights of Danica Patrick's career, including her win at Motegi that at least twelve of us actually saw.
March 14, IndyCar Series: Top 10 Closest Finishes Feature the top-10 closest finishes in IndyCar Series history, including the 2008 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway where the car that finished second was first to Victory Lane.
March 21, IndyCar Series: Crashes and Conflicts Showcases some of the most memorable incidents and conflicts between drivers and several of the most incredible crashes in recent IndyCar Series history. Expect to see Danica v Wheldon, Danica v Briscoe, Danica v Duno, Danica v Jacques Lazier, Danica v Safety Truck...
March 28, IndyCar Series World Tour 200 This sound a bit like a bunch of footage since it supposedly has "highlights from each racetrack on the IndyCar Series schedule, but also showcase highlights from the first street-course race in series history in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2005 and top photo finishes from the site of the '09 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway". In other words, everything on YouTube tagged "indycar".
Still, it's all a noble effort and a great start to the season, but I think if VERSUS is going to show a commitment to the series they need to help expose fans of their other sports to the personalities of the IRL - and by "expose" I don't mean bikini contests involving GoDaddy-sponsored drivers (although some may argue that would draw more many more viewers than any given race).
Off the top of my head, here are additional few ideas for VERSUS.
Dario Franchitti VERSUS the track - Given his vast array of experience racing various cars, Dario will show up and enter races featuring vintage cars, drifts, snowmobiles - you name it. The kicker is Dario has to be paid more than any other driver to actually enter the race, but that shouldn't be a problem in anything that doesn't involve the N-Word series.
Darren Manning VERSUS your kitchen - Since he doesn't have a ride, Chef Danger Mouse can spend lots of time going into various homes in the greater Indianapolis area, raiding their cupboards, and using the available contents to introduce Hoosiers to tasty British cuisine like "Bangers and Mash" or "Yorkshire Pudding". Imagine grandma's surprise when she gets a taste of "Spotted Dick".
Ryan Hunter-Reay VERSUS unemployment - Free agent driver Ryan shows how ride-buying is done by hosting a weekly telethon to raise money for a seat in the IndyCar series. If you liked watching that the dancing monkey, or that juggling mime, or the 8-year-old who melts your face, then operators are standing by to take your donations!
Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti VERSUS college - Each week Graham and Marco sit in on a different class at a local university and attempt to learn what other young men their age are doing. Imagine the fun and excitement as Graham debates Jungian vs Freudian while Marco dives into Linear Approximations. My personal favorite - ROTC week!
Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon VERSUS your closet It's like "What Not To Wear", except with Danica and Dan as hosts...meaning it's exactly the same show. If nothing else it's something for your wife/girlfriend/life partner who doesn't usually watch racing to enjoy.
After yet another long, hard winter of discontent, the cars are finally on the track and testing speed at Homestead. The braintrust at TrackSide Online is on site and providing live updates what may or may not be a Milka Duno sighting.
- Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has three transporters. (Yes, the Internet reports were true - there are two KV Racing transporters here.)
- N/H/L is setup in the garage area with three slots for cars. (KV Racing is setup for one car, and the crew reports they'll be running just one car.)
- They have three pit boxes on pit road - for cars numbered 02, 06, and 23.
- The #23 pit equipment has Citgo branding. (#23 was the number Milka ran last season at Dreyer and Reinbold Racing.)
Tongues continue to wag. In the meantime, irritate your boss by following all of the action for test of both series LIVE today with the IndyCar timing and scoring.
UPDATE: More Milklicious news from TSO has arrived.
It's kind of sad we only have news to bring you on Milka Duno, but, well, it's a test.
Newman/Haas/Lanigan has now rolled off a #23 car with Citgo and Arctic Ice (an energy drink) sponsorship. By contrast, the sidepods for Robert Doornbos' N/H/L car read "Bobby D", which we're reasonably sure is not an energy drink. Photos of both are up in the photo gallery.
Robin is saying today that Justin Wilson may soon be employed by Dale "checking the sofa cushions for" Coyne Racing. We'll see if this pans out but it's great to see the ultra-nice Wilson, who P1 endearingly refers to as "freakishly large", getting another opportunity. Although struggling with the ovals last year, he'd certainly be expected to be a factor on any course featuring right turns.
Additionally mentioned in the story is that Dale Coyne is also "working on several things" to pair Wilson with Bruno Junqueira, who managed to sneak a few Top 10 finishes last year when no one was looking. But most mind-shattering of all is that Junky "reportedly drove for no salary for Coyne the past two years".
Once more, with feeling: reportedly drove for no salary for Coyne the past two years!!!
I love writing for My Name Is IRL and I pretty much do it for free, but it's not like I could write a bad post and suddenly end up seriously injured. It's not like Meesh or Chris or pressdog or whoever could link my posts incorrectly and then I'm upside-down at 200 miles-per-hour. It's not like Blogger has an error and suddenly I'm on fire. It's not like my next typo could put me into the wall.
Driving for free isn't just commitment - that's either an addiction or an affliction. I'm sure other drivers have raced for free, but sheesh, two years without salary is...well, hamburgers and hot dogs.
20 February 2009 - LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) announced today that Dutch driver Robert Doornbos, 27, will join the team for the 2009 IndyCar Series (ICS) season.Congratulations, Bobby! Robin Miller has already put $20 down on you to be 2009 Bombardier Rookie of the Year.
Details of the sponsorship will be announced at a later date.
(MORE at RobertDoornbos.com)
This quote may seem look some kind of satire but apparently it's very real. Here, straight from the mouth of Formula One driver Mark Webber, may be the predominant reason why F1 struggles to have much cross-over audience with Americans who stubbornly demand passing in their racing events.
"If you're talking about overtaking in terms of someone just passing someone else on the straight, then that is an overtaking move but it's not very exciting. If that's what we want and we want people to not get held up behind other drivers and be able to pass on the straight then that might well happen, but we see in IndyCar racing that there are some times where they pass people six times per lap - and that's not that exciting either.Well, so much for any rumors of that guy racing in the IndyCar series.
"Whether we have exciting overtaking moves because we can pass people on the brakes and with good slipstreaming remains to be seen, but I don't think it's going to do much for the racing, no."
(MORE from Yahoo! Sport)
(Thanks to reader Edmund for finding this.)
"Did you see any quotes from me in that press release?...I guess they were looking for publicity, but nobody from that group has contacted me or my agent. The first I knew about it was when I read the (Associated Press) story from London." - Danica Patrick, expressing how utterly thrilled she is at having her name used for the express purpose of someone else's publicity.
Full disclosure: I'm considering retaining the services of a driver to be the official spokesperson for My Name Is IRL, and among the names under consideration is, of course, Danica Patrick. I think she'd be a sterling representative of this product and I would enthusiastically work with her to help increase awareness of this fine online publication. I should have a related press release available shortly.
(Thanks to our buddy pressdog for catching this in his daily perusal of the finer Canadian publications.)
If only Robby Gordon had found a way to squeeze an extra lap or so out of that last tankful of fuel at Indy in 1999. Instead of Kenny Bräck, Gordon might have been the one to be forever heralded as an "Indianapolis 500 Champion", to have gone on to form a forgettable rock band, and to have sang onstage with Bryan Herta.
Instead Gordon followed a different path. He made a few more trips to race at IMS, continued on as a stock car driver, occasionally raced in off-road events, and more recently stole a kid from his parents as some kind of birthday gift.
"It's your birthday today?" Gordon asked the first-grader from Northville Elementary School.No, he didn't sell the boy on the black market to help pay the expenses of Gordon's Cup team. It's much worse than that - he introduced the youngster to Tony Stewart.
As soon as Justin (Lee) nodded, Gordon gave him a high-five and lifted him over the security tape.
"Robby told us to meet him at his car and he took off with our son," Jennifer Lee said Monday by cell phone. "My husband (Steve) and I just looked at each other: 'Did Robby Gordon just take our son?' It was unbelievable."
(MORE from News-Times)
Maybe something got lost in the English translation, but right now the Robert Doornbos site reads:
12 February 2009 - The future of Bobby D is bright. We are sorry that all Bobby D fans have to wait this long. But it is worthwhile.Hmmm. That would be today, right? Yup.
Next tuesday 17 february, Bobby D's 2009 plans will be officially announced by his new team and via this website. Take care.
OK, let's see if there's anything to be found over at the site of his oft-rumored-to-be-future-employer, Newman/Haas/Lanigan. Over there we got big picture of Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson and everything featuring news from 2008. So, nothing there. I know it's tragic that Paul Newman died recently, but he wasn't the webmaster, was he?
Alrighty, how about Milka Duno's page, since Milkalicious keeps getting her name mentioned as part of this? Nope, no news there since 2008 ("Milka to appear on Pimpeando!") and the site still reads "Fastest girl in the American LeMans series". Maybe she's still waiting on certification of the election results from Venezuela before she proceeds.
Well, as you can see, there's nothing to report. Anyone wanna make up some stuff?
The headline says it all: Patrick eyed for new American F1 team
MADRID -- An American team will be racing in Formula One next year, and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick is a candidate to fill one of the seats.OK, before you go off and have a coronary at the prospect of losing the main attraction for the IndyCar series, please have a seat, take a breath, grab a cold towel if necessary, and kindly recall a few things.
USF1, which will be unveiled Feb. 24, will have a staff of at least 100, a working budget of $64 million and an aim to put two American drivers on the starting grid. The team is looking at several candidates, including the 26-year-old Patrick.
"She's great. She gets a lot of press," USF1 technical director Ken Anderson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "[Indianapolis Motor Speedway president] Tony George would probably be pretty mad with me if I took her out of the IRL but we'll see.
"I don't know if it's something she wants to do. We'd certainly love to test her and go from there."
1. Mrs Hospethal is still under contract for this season with AGR. Does that mean a $60M F1 team couldn't buy out that contract? No, but $60M does go as far as $50-whatever, which is what would be left to try to buy out that contract. Michael Andretti and Kim Green aren't going to jsut give away a sponsor magnet like her.
2. Danica is no where near the best qualified driver available. She's not bad, but if she actually were on this team then it would prove to be little more than a publicity stunt that would last about one season. Why? Because...
3. Danica Patick Incorporated isn't in the business of appearing like a hopelessly unskilled driver. Mock her all you want for hand puppet shows or photo shoots or always scowling like a sour puss, but as a driver she's still quite capable of racing in the Top 5 at most tracks in the IndyCar series schedule. In F1, for a startup team with a fraction of the budget of other, she'd be lucky to score a Top 10. That's a negative for the Danica brand, and suddenly she's about as marketable as Katherine Legge. (Not a slam againt Ms Legge, just noting I don't see her in Supahbow commercials.)
This Mr Anderson probably isn't an idiot, as evidenced by his mere mentioning of Danicker's name which gets him a million bucks worth of free press. But the key part of the quote was "I don't know if it's something she wants to do," which sounds a lot like he hasn't even spoken to her.
As for the idea of an American F1 team, sure that sounds all fine and dandy. But if I had $60M mysterious dollars available I can't imagine using that to start a racing team that's going to get squashed in a racing series that has nearly zero appeal to the average American sports fan. But I don't have $60 meeeellion dollars, so I'll just play along and cheer for them while race at 2:00 am in Malaysia.
For additional analysis on this subject, check out pressdog, 16th & Georgetown, and IRL-O-Rama.
That recent VERSUS FIL broadcast team story got me thinking about that series. Remember this news item from back in July, right about the time Paul Tracy and Tony George were holding a press conference to seal The Chrome Horn's one race deal with Vision Racing?
The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Series will see the return of Forsythe Racing Inc. to the grid as the championship winning outfit announced today its intention to compete in the official feeder series to the Indy Racing League from next season onwards.I went back to the archives to see what your humble host thought at the time, and it turns out I was more than a bit skeptical.
Yes, very curious timing indeed given the shotgun marriage of bimergification left Mr Tracy with a long-term contract to a no longer existent Forsythe Racing team. I’m sure Tracy is absolutely thrilled that on the day he finalizes months of work for a one-race ride his old employer decides now would be the PERFECT time to reveal their intention to finally do something involving the Indy Racing League. Yes, Paul and Gerry are most certainly meeting at St Elmo Steak House for shrimp cocktail right now.So, let's start with the obvious question: anyone seen any Forsythe Racing FIL announcements since then? Anyone? No? Me neither. For those of you are curious as to the status of the team, I do have an update available for immediate release.
Then again this could just be posturing because it doesn’t take a great deal of resources to simply say an organization is intending to start an Indy Lights team next year. To the point, allow me to also take the opportunity to announce that My Name Is IRL has a similar “intention to compete” in the 2009 Indy Lights program – just don’t hold your breath on seeing us at too many events.
At this the "My Name Is IRL AutoMotorRacingSports Team" has no plans to field a racing team in the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2009. Thank you, and please drive safely.
As for Forsythe, their official updates have come with the sound of crickets chirping. I don't know what to tell you, but if you like reading fiction maybe you can find some at the Forsythe Racing site.
One of the best parts about this site is the comments section, where you my dear 'anonymous' reader occasionally chastise me for not knowing as much about IndyCars as you do. Fair enough, but other than the satisfaction of being right what has it gotten you? In a word "nothing".
Today that changes, because there's someone out there willing to give you "something" for the trouble you have gone through by remembering everything there is to know about racing. Oh, it's not me - heavens no, I got no swag to hand out - but instead the good folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. All you need is a computer and a brain and the ability to type REALLYFAST.
IMS is kicking social networking up a notch by hosting trivia contests through not one, not two, but three (count 'em) outlets every week. How sweet is that? I'll tell you how sweet: sweet enough for your humble host to have already won a giant 2007 Indy 500 flag, thank you very much!
Set your calendars for the following:
Monday - Twitter
Wednesday - MySpace
Friday - Facebook
All contests are at 4pm EST. Be there. Aloha.
My apologies for yet another Danica Patrick post, but until Dan Wheldon shows up in "Cat Fancy" the most exposure - literally - any driver will get this year will be of Danica Patrick in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Yes friends, for the second consecutive year she sheds the firesuit for the express purpose of, umm, well...yeah.
Now, before you jump all over her - figuratively - for doing this photo shoot be sure to first check out these numbers as provided in the publicity release.
More than 70 million people are expected to pick up the special issue, which features a shot of Patrick on the upper right corner of the cover, while more than 250 million people are expected to view photo galleries on the magazine's Web site, including a video and 34 shots of Patrick.
Each of the approximately 6,000 7-Eleven stores in North America will hand out 25 commemorative Danica/IndyCar Series posters with the first 25 purchases of the Swimsuit Issue. A total of 151,500 posters have been printed, each featuring Patrick in a swimsuit along with the '09 IndyCar Series schedule.
70 million issues? 250 million site hits? My mind just exploded. If you feel so inclined, you can check out Danica reclining on a vintage Ford at SI.com.
Today VERSUS revealed the Firestone Indy Lights broadcast team, which is set to include Mike King and Arie Luyendyk Jr in the booth as well as Kevin Lee reporting from the pits. Note that last year Bob Jenkins and Robbie Buhl were the broadcast team for FIL races on ESPN, so maybe this is a ladder series for more than just the drivers. King was a pit reporter as well for those races for ESPN, but he literally had maybe 60 seconds of air time for any race.
The selection of Luyendyk Jr is indeed unexpected. A winner of just one of his 62 FIL starts (his last one, at that) it appears that as a driver he has little in common with his two-time Indy 500 winning father other than good hair. I haven't heard his few stints on IMS Radio, but I do know he's a licensed real estate agent, so on the off chance that he doesn't know what to say he could always discuss the housing markets of various driver's hometowns. Or not.
However the biggest news isn't the broadcast team - it's that although the races are still going to be shown tape-delayed they will now be a full hour in length. THANK YOU, VERSUS! These races are usually about an hour in duration, but ESPN had been airing them in a 30-minute form the past few years. This meant regular time travel through commercials, and boy there's nothing like skipping through 20 laps of green-flag racing and showing up just in time to watch 8 laps of yellow while the track crews clear the remains up Jon Brownson's car.
(Dear VERSUS, If you have to cut out laps then please cut out the ones under YELLOW. There are no pit stops in the FIL, and if we want to watch cars drive 55 mph we can go sit by the highway. Thank you.)
Now right now you might be saying "Whatever, dude. It's minor league racing and I don't know any of these drivers." Fair enough, my ignorant friend, but be advised you are missing pit-stop free sprints that often result in more passing than that occurring during the headline events. If you want to skip these races, which now with a one-hour window might now actually be seen in their entirety, then do so at your own peril. And by that I mean exactly two words: Cyndie Allemann.
Not to re-open the can of worms that is any conversation regarding Danica Patrick, but earlier this week Sports Business Daily caught up with her adrenaline-fueled father. Dadica, who moonlights as both her manager and motorcoach driver, confirmed that this very week his daughter changed representation for her marketing and endorsement affairs.
“It was just time for a change of pace,” said T.J. Patrick, Danica’s father and business manager. “It was a move designed to get more into sports marketing. Endeavor isn’t really a sports marketing group. We went that avenue and then Danica decided to try something different.”So if you see Mrs Hospenthal driving a Buick anytime soon, you'll understand why.
“She didn’t really get anything out of the win (at Motegi) at all, other than some media coverage,” T.J. Patrick said.
In noting that Woods’ agent will now be part of her representation team, T.J. said with a laugh, “We’ll take Tiger’s leftovers.”
And now the 'Anonymous' Fanicas and Danica Haters will resume their practice of oh-so politely slamming each other in the comments section.
From the braintrust at TrackSide Online.
With (Robert) Doornbos not going to HVM as originally rumored (back in the fall), there have been concerns over that team's ability to run a second car, but our sources indicate that the team is actively trying to fill that seat. This time of year, you can always presume that a lot of unsigned drivers are talking to a lot of teams, but we found it mildly interesting that Ryan Hunter-Reay has been reportedly spotted at the HVM shops recently.It's great to hear there's still the faintest gilimmer of a possible chance that Babe Hunter-Reay might be racing in the IRL in 2009, because if a guy can get his mug on a giant billboard in Times Square then he might be worth keeping around. Oh, and he's not too shabby behind the wheel either.
We know that RHR has been out trying to put together the sponsorship to stay in the league and HVM would be an interesting place for him if the financial part can come together.
It's just a rumor for now, but it sounds to us like Hunter-Reay is trying to work all available options so he can go racing in 2009.
But Ryan, are you honestly ready to have an inhuman machine like EJ Viso as a teammate?
Although I'm fairly confident it's not something based on fact, this is the current driver listing for the "2009 Sprint Cup" on ESPN.com.
And yes, if you go there and click through it takes you to a page with a picture of Young Marco. Good grief, do they not have a competent webmaster anymore?
As part of their Centennial celebration the good folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been emptying the vault with all sorts of footage and videos from their archives containing 100 years of racing. You can browse the various videos on the IMS Memories page, but that of course involves like three clicks from here and if you're like me that's about two clicks too many for a savvy internet user.
So it with great pride that My Name Is IRL is able to provide a spiffy little video player featuring the most recent offerings of these memories, right there at the top of the sidebar. Why right now you can choose between Donald Davidson, Parnelli Jones, and Tony Hulman - no bad choices there, my friends.
But for the love of all that is good in the universe, DON'T click on the "Unser and Andretti" video though. I did and suddenly found myself 12-years-old again, re-living a crushing moment of utter injustice with Bobby Unser still laughingly taunting me with "I am the winner of the 1981 Indianapolis 500".
"...thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?"
Anyhow, enjoy the videos. A word of thanks and a lifetime subscription goes out to our friends at The Starting Grid for their assistance in this endeavor.
2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice has magically appeared on the Rubicon/Pacific MotorMerge site, Champ Car race winner Robert Doornbos appears thisclose to signing with N/H/L, and what everyone wants to
scream bloody murder talk about is a Robin Miller story about Milka Duno. It’s certainly news IF she gets inked to a deal with a top team, which hasn’t happened yet, but it seems that’s no reason to suppress discussions of this otherwise astounding possibility.
Milka Duno, a.k.a “Milkalicious” or “Milk and Donuts” or perhaps your favorite unprintable obscenity. Driver, Actress, Author and Champion Venezuelan Towel Thrower. Clearly there is no other driver like her in the series, and by that I mean if she gets this ride she’ll easily have the worst record of any returning driver.
The outrage expressed is not unexpected, but let’s get one thing clear: Despite the fact Wilson, Hunter-Reay, Servia, et al are all better drivers, Milka with her fistful of Hugo Bucks isn’t taking a job from any of them. It’s not like N/H/L said “well, we’ve got some extra millions sitting around, who’s the best driver?” and then picked up the phone and whispered sweet nothings in the ear of Milkalicious.
To the contrary - she’s got money and she’s shopping for value just like any other ride buyer. If that means that she can get a third car for a team like N/H/L that has shown they can win races in the IndyCar series, well, you can’t fault a girl for buying quality. And that idea, the one that Duno will actually have a team that can give her a competitive car, makes me wonder about many things, none of which is whether or not Paul Newman is spinning in his grave.
Clearly Duno has an abysmal record, but contrary to popular opinion on her entry in the IRL she hasn’t killed anyone in her prior two years in the series. Granted, Milka still struggles to set the car up, still lifts when people approach her on the track, and still looks to have even less skill on road/street courses than ovals. But she has improved ever so slightly, and with a guy like Larry Curry helping her last year she was nearly on the lead lap. (Don’t laugh, being on the lead lap is like the Holy Grail for a backmarker.)
So as lesser a driver as she is I can’t help but wonder if this astounding marriage of Duno and N/H/L isn't capable of producing some shocking results. Not to presume that she would win a race - that ain’t happening - but what if she somehow finishes on a podium? Or even a Top 5? Or maybe even a few Top 10s? Is that entirely implausible given that she was knocking on a Top 15 with Dreyer & Reinbold? Remember, all indications are there will be less cars and more ride buyers this year.
And what happens if she finishes a few races ahead of Danica? As ridiculous as it is to compare drivers for some gender-related reason you just know that it’s going to happen. Sarah Fisher will be up the discussion as well, but what if Milka finishes a race or two or three or more ahead of both of them? Do the Fanicas or FishHeads go berzerker by lighting up the comments section, ransack the N/H/L garage, and swearing off McDonald's forever? I'm just wondering out loud here.
Ask anyone who’s ever met Duno and they’ll tell you she’s as fan-friendly as they come, and now despite her on-track struggles she appears on the cusp of having a car and a team completely capable of putting her in the Top 10 on any track. Her only obstacle would be her driving ability, so the question isn’t just if she’s ready to improve to being a Top 10 driver, it’s also if we’re ready accept her on the off chance she does.
So sayeth the intrepid Curt Cavin.
Robert Doornbos will join the IndyCar Series after reaching an agreement with Newman/Haas/Lanigan, according to a Dutch newspaper report.Wait, he was with AC Milan? Really? Well then, this requires that we bust out the handy-dandy Brazilian Soccer Name Generator.
After a successful adventure with Minardi Team USA in the final Champ Car season, Doornbos was unable to find a ride in the unified IndyCar Series for 2008. He spent last year competing in the new Superleague Formula, finishing second in the championship for AC Milan.
UPDATE: OpenWheelWorld.net reports that Cavin may have jumped the gun. They checked out Bobby D's site, which in some language other than my own says:
"Several newspapers suggest that Robert Doornbos already signed a contract to race for Newman Haas Lanigan in 2009. We like to confirm that negotiations with IRL teams are in the final stages. But as long as there is no official press release on this website, there is no deal. We hope that we can announce Bobby D's plans very soon.So be it, but we're hanging on to the jersey for ya, pal.
If everything goes according to plan, we will see Robert in IRL next season fighting for the championship. At the moment Robert is focussing on A1 Team Netherlands. The team of Jan Lammers is very close to the first victory of this season."
Welcome to the Valley of the Sun, where the sports frenzy is reaching new heights. For the first time ever our otherwise hapless, carpet-bagger football franchise has somehow managed to find it's way to the biggest game in American football: The Soopahbow.
And while most folks here will be huddled around their TVs, decked out shiny new Cardinal gear, your humble host will be sitting at home with his family, occasionally sticking his fingers in his ears and going "la la la la la la". Because the Soopahbow has become something I've grown to regret the last few years. Because the Soopahbow isn't about the game, it's about the ads. And because once again it's time for another embarrassing ad featuring Danica Patrick.
Actually, we're getting two of them.
One ad is called "Shower" where some idiot decides he can use a computer to make Danica take a shower. I'm not sure what this has to do with domain names. The other is called "Baseball" where Danica admits to being enhanced ...what???...oh wait, it's her WEB SITE that's enhanced. Honestly, judging from the "Gun Show" going on in the shower ad I'd suspect she may in fact be "enhanced", just in the Canseco/McGwire sense of the word. She might even be able to defeat Tony Kanaan in arm wrestling with those bulging biceps. Yikes!
But it's not the arms that trouble me, it's the fact that we now have yet another sophomoric attempt at humor providing the most visible showcase for the biggest name in IndyCar. As I noted last year in my Open Letter to Danica, it's not the nature of the humor I find deplorable, it's the absence of humor. It's possible to be sexy and funny without being completely crass.
As the year wore on I kinda wondered if someone had actually read that letter, since the only GoDaddy ad we saw all year was one of some tween-age girl going all Viso on some boys in a go-kart racing and getting the checkered flag presented to her by Danica. (And might I note that soon after that ad ran Danica won her first race. Coincidence?)
But here we are back today with a double dose of inanity, and despite the previous six paragraphs this isn't all about how I feel. I got to thinking about this and it's pretty obvious GoDaddy is the first name that comes to mind whend considering Danica's long list of sponsors. That's amazing considering they've only been leveraging her celebrity for about three years, especially when her car displays logos for several other companies that hardly ever get a peep of pub with her.
Take for example Motorola. Much was made when they announced a three-year deal with Mrs Hospenthal and Andretti Green, supposedly to the tune of over $20 million. This is her primary sponsor, friends, the one who she's supposed to mention within three seconds of having a microphone stuffed in her face, but sober folks could safely play their own drinking game with as many times as she mentioned Motorola.
How about AirTran? Anyone seen "AirTranica One" lately? Danica also has a watch endorsement - you know who that is? And what about Argent Mortgage, the company that Rahal Letterman sued to retain as a sponsor when Danica jumped to AGR? Yeah, well, they don't even exist as a sole entity anymore.
Look, I've got nothing against GoDaddy. They're a wonderful company and I've been using their services since before Danica! was their spokesperson. (I also have a Motorola phone, but I've never flown AirTran. Just sayin'.) I just wonder why GoDaddy seems to be thriving with ridiculous advertisements featuring the IndyCar über-celebrity while other companies are nearly invisible with their co-operative synergies.
Then again, maybe it's because of the ridiculous advertisements. Anyhow, for the love of Larry Fitzgerald, Go Cardinals!