Video of Tony Kanaan going butt-first into the wall during qualifying. TK says he was "trying to hard" and crashed it. Upside: he gets to be in the same row as Danica (last row).
Jamie Little (get her in a car!) back on the Danica beat. Jamie is about a foot taller than Danica. Showed how Danica struggled at Phoenix. Talked about Danica's attending the premier of Herbie. Danica said it was fun because she gets to wear some of the dresses she doesn't normally get to wear. Says she prefers to be interviewed by Jamie. A moment of bonding there. Jamie says Danica has been nominated for a prestigious ESPY for "Breakout Athlete of the Year" one of the most prestigious nominations ever. Danica is happy about it. Jamie declares that Danica Patrick has "the world in the palm of her hand." I think Jamie went to the same School of Hyperbole as Todd Harris.
Todd Harris announces that Sammy is the one to watch. Talks about the Watkins Glen tests and rookie sensation Ryan Briscoe. Dr. Punchy says the key for Scheckter is Patented Chevy Power, Perfect Pit Stops and Patience to get to the Podium. The ABC/ESPN writers have clearly taken it up a notch.
Green-green-green. Todd: "We've got great Firestone Firehawk tires and no protests. The green flag is out and all 22 riders are ready to race at Richmond." Todd takes a shot at F-1! I like it. Bernie later phones Todd and calls him an air conditioner (OK, I made the Bernie part up.)
Yellow-yellow-yellow. Quatro does a 360 in the back stretch. No contact. Grandpa chews his ass a little. Situation normal.
TK up to 16th from 22nd. Danica is 20th. Plucky. Doing a hell of a job.
Lap 28, Sam is closing in on lapping people. Not Danica! No way. She cannot be lapped! OK, she's lapped at lap 32. Todd has to take a minute in the booth.
Big news flash of this race is Toyota is not sucking. This is a non-sucking Toyota event.
Yellow-yellow-yellow. The winner of the First Car Out Pool is anyone who had Scott Dixon. Got together with Dario and you know that wasn't Dario's fault. Scott should have taken the wall rather than getting together with Dario who has places to be and helicopters to fly, baby. Dario is undamaged but Dixon is toast. Later Dixon says it was his fault. Says he didn't know he was down there. Dixon is a stand up guy.
Jamie post-crash with a Target guy (Mike Hull). Jamie: Just watching the replay what did you see? Target guy: Champions don't win races by being impatient. Jamie: What did you see? Target guy: What I just said.Jamie: Frustration here, Dr. Punch?
I'm with you, Jamie. Kind of cryptic response. I think he was trying to say that Dixon got in a hurry or something. Not sure. Maybe Jack the Root could translate for us. He's always talking like that.
Danica is not pitting. Danica has severe understeer. Other Rahal cars are complaining about crap cars as well. First shot of Danica Cam. Yep, there she is, turning the steering wheel with a Herbie sticker in the background. This is a thrilling shot that looks exaclty the same every time they go to it. It would be a cool shot during a crash, possibly.
Yellows at Richmond chew up about 20 laps each, I swear.
Penskes are on the Rahal cars like White on Rice. Baaaaaaa. They're a swarming. Danica is up to 18th! Doing a heck of a job. She gains a position after every wreck. Showing some serious skill there.
Vitor interview about Danica: Every driver wants the attention for himself. But they understand that Danica brings the pub to the series. Maybe if Vitor put on a thong and was spread-eagle on a ... never mind.
Rookie Sensation in her only appearance on the Eastern Seaboard is 17th.
Buddy is dropping like a rock. Buddy is going 140 mph. It's so bad that even the announcers notice it. Some kind of mechanical difficulty.
Yellow-yellow-yellow. Rookie sensation Ryan Briscoe is into the wall. Hornish reports major understeer. Danica up to 16th! She gains a position with every yellow, I'm telling ya.
Penke twins get great pit stops. Ryan is sweating. This is the fifth or sixth time that Scott and Todd have told us it's very hot. It's hot out. You sweat when it's hot. The drivers, therefore, are sweating.
Hornish 5th, Kanaan 10. Rice 14. Danica 16. Carpenter 20. Rice is fading fast.
Lap 111-- Dario, Sharp, Herta, Helio, Sam, Vitor, Wheldon, Carpentier, Enge, Kanaan, Scheckter, Danger Mouse (Manning).
We're on board with Herbie, er, Danica.
Video of Danica getting passed. Todd: "Danica is just being patient. Give her credit. She's holding up."
Dario about to lap TK? No wait, that's Kite. Yellow-yellow-yellow. TK and Vitor get together. TK gets too low and wiggles, takes out Vitor. Later says thank God he didn't take out his teammate (Herta). Hey Rahal, no harm, no foul, huh, baby?
Sharp pits. Gets waved out before fuel hose is detached. Gets it stopped before he pulls a Hornish and sets the pit on fire. Close call.
TK in and gets a new nose. It's a very large nose (har). No, seriously, gets a new nose on his car. Does a couple yellow laps and parks it. First DNF since sometime in the Carter Administration for Tony.
Hyping your chance to see Rookie Sensation Danica at Kansas on the fourth of July! Should have a good shot at it since Rahal seems to have it wired on the big speedways. The handling tracks, not so much, but the big tracks, sure.
Eddie gets air time for a good reason! First time all season. Cars are up front. Jamie asks him how it's going. Eddie gives shouts out to drivers.
Video of Sharp. Looks like he's driving a sprint car. The ass end is all over the place. Serious dirt track feel to it. He's a DNF waiting to happen, I'm thinking.
Penske Twins off to the races. Out by themselves. Whoa Nelly, Sam goes ass-first into the wall. Yellow-yellow-yellow. The dreaded "dirty air" is the probably culprit.
Danica up to 13th. I make a bet with myself: Five bucks says if there are enough DNFs to get Danica into the top 10 Todd Harris gives her a big shout out at the finish. I swear I bet myself at this point in the race. Todd gives Danica a shout out for having the composure to lift up her visor and wipe sweat out of her eyes. During yellow! She did this during a yellow flag! That's major composure only shown by about everyone on every track at every level of racing. Goodyear tells Todd as much. Yellows are when drivers get to relax a little bit.
Green-green-green. Lap 181 -- Helio, Dario, Sharp, Carpentier, Wheldon, Scheckter, Enge, Barron, Manning, Herta. Danica is turning 160 mph laps and is two laps down. Quatro turns a 159.
Sam post-crash interview which ESPN does side-by-side with race action, which is a good move. Sam says the crash was "driver error." God I love Sam's standup-ish-ness. Sam says he was just pushing too hard. I swear Hornish could drive an Indy car with five inches of play in the steering wheel. He's the best with a bad car out there.
Danica is up to 11th. 6 cars are out. 16 laps are left.
Kite is dicing it up with Enge et al. Enge does a major block job like, three times. Barnhart is cracking down and gives him a drive through penalty. Panther guy, Doug Boles, yells "We got SCREWED" into Vince Welch's mic. Enge was going to contend, baby, and he got screwed by the man. Goodyear says maybe they should check the replay. I tend to agree. Enge was all over the place more than once.
Yellow-yellow-yellow. Danger Mouse and Yasukawa get together. Danger Mouse is hot. Wants to discuss it with Roger. Let's go to the replay. Looks like Danger dove down into Roger. Hard to say. Didn't seem to warrant the "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" reaction Manning had going though. Tough break for Chippy. Goes 0-3 on the race. Three scrapped cars, three DNFs.
Gonna be a one-lap restart. Quatro is second in line between Dario and Helio. Pulls into the pits before the restart. Class. Seriously. I don't see Dario doing that in the same position. Major shout outs to AJ and Quatro. No way Helio doesn't win this restart. He'll be on the gas coming out of turn two.
Helio wins. Todd says Helio has "done to fences what Hugh Hefner did for pajamas." No idea where they come up with this stuff. I do prefer the fence climbing to the donuts, though. Dr. Punchy declares Helio has done the IMPOSSIBLE by coming back from a shoulder bruise to win Richmond. Another graduate of the University of Hyperbole. Yeah, it was tough and impressive, but IMPOSSIBLE?
No Danica interview, but, Todd says, "Danica Patrick finishes in the top 10 (tenth), an impressive performance for her." I owe myself five bucks. It was easy money.
© 2005 Bill Zahren