So how 'bout Sam and Danica, huh? Take it easy. I'm not going to talk about them much. I went on record here. I like both drivers. Mistakes were made. Poor judgement, etc. etc.
But look how much you enjoyed frothing it over! Haters had a tremendous opportunity to spew hate. Danica fans could rally around their sparkly driver. Festival of press for everyone involved, especially Sam Hornish, who was EVERYWHERE the days after The Incident.
Eyeballs glued to TVs drive sponsorship in racing. Plain and simple. Congrats to ABC Nationwide for driving viewership.
Stewart in Bizzaro Land -- After the NASCAR Cup race at Talladega, Tony Stewart did some kind of performance art thing wherein he went dead-pan sarcastic for multiple minutes. Here's the story.
The big finish was this ...
"I think we ought to make it a figure eight," he cracked. "I mean if we could make it a figure eight it would be perfect. It would absolutely be perfect here. It would be better than what we have. That is going to be my vote next week is that we make it a figure eight and/or we can stop at the half way make a break and turn around and go backwards the rest of the way. Then with 10 to go we split the field in half and half go the regular direction and half of them go backwards."
Did someone say Figure 8?
The thing of it is, 100% of drivers who win Talladega think it's super awesome as is. Probably 98% who crash out think it's a travesty. If Tony made his remarks after winning, then that would be something. He makes them after getting collected? Funny, perhaps even stinging commentary, but not much more than that.
On the phone with Sam Hornish -- Interviewed Sam Hornish last week, before the Talladega race. Story here. I wanted to talk to him before the Iowa Nationwide race and got 'er done on May 3. Interesting guy, Sam. He kind of shortcutted his way from IndyCar into NASCAR Cup and really didn't do well.
He said he had these huge expectations of himself when he came over and immediately didn't realize them. The simplistic approach to judging drivers always amazes me. Winning is so much of a team effort, and cash and equipment plays en enormous role in success. You can't just say "if he was a great driver he'd be winning" because it depends on about a trillion factors. Put Rick Mears in his prime in a 2012 Lotus IndyCar ... not going to win.
So Sam has suffered the slings and arrows of "crap driver" for not winning and was actually out of racing for about a year before getting back into Nationwide full-time. Interestingly Sam doesn't mind talking about IndyCar or NASCAR careers. Sometimes when people transition over they don't want to talk about the past life. Not so with Sam.
Johanna Long gets pub for not being Danica -- The good news for Nationwide driver Johanna Long is she got some pub before the Talladega race. The bad news was it was primarly because she's not Danica Patrick.
I've always been fascinated by this urge to compare female drivers for no other reason than they are female. For the last few races there has been a lot of "how 'bout Johanna finishing ahead of Danica??? Where's the coverage ESPN? Have you no DECENCY??" kind of stuff, which is really bizarre if you look at it. Kind of like saying "how 'bout that Carl Edwards finishing in front of Aric Almirola!" They have gender in common, so let's compare them.
Oh,I get where it's coming from, and I used to do it a lot back in my hater days, when I compared where my girl Sarah Fisher finished compared to Danica. But it's just goofy, OK? I don't support comparing Johanna and Danica simply because they both have ovaries.
Johanna and Danica are separate people. Whole different units. They happen to both be female. If there was a prize or sub category like "female points champion" maybe then comparing them has some merit, but until then ... stop it please.
This may sound funny coming from someone who focuses on female drivers so much, but I don't compare drivers just because they are female. I support strong females who are competing in male-dominated professions. It's not about some kind of Female Racing League.
Engines Engines Engines -- I wonder how IndyCar really feels about the whole engine thing. On the one hand, it's keeping the press turning. Controversy is interesting. The latest headline is Dragon Racing suing Lotus for $4-point-something million dollars for being highly discourteous, breach of contract, etc. etc. Lotus is releasing Dragon from their contract. Jay PENSKE, being the son of Roger PENSKE is executed (har, make that "expected") to get some Chevrolet engines for his cars. Insert Katherine Legge and Sebastien Bourdais weeping tears of thanksgiving here.
Also, today is the day for the turbo appeal. Chevy is appealing a ruling that said Honda switching turbochargers recently was legit. Chevy protested, and did not prevail. (I have to be careful here because the Rule Wording People will get angry if I use the wrong ones.) Chevy appealed that protest result to his lordship, retired Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore R. Boehm, who is the Appeal Official and therefore hearing the evidentiary proceedings today.
Bunches written on this, and the dire consequences thereof. For the Echos of CART version of this, see John Oreovicz's article HERE.
What if Chevy wins ... is Honda pissed? Do they leave next year? What if Chevy loses? Are they pissed? Do they leave next year? Is IndyCar happy about the (relatively) increased pub these machinations are causing or are they worried someone will end up happening?
Questions, questions. Engine maker competition is brutal. Makes a knife fight look like a playful wrestling match. These are high-testosterone people who want to drive their competition into the dirt and piss on their lifeless carcasses. Don't let anyone tell you different. I'm not real bunched up about the engine situation, frankly. This is what competition looks like. If we didn't realize that going in, shame on us. It has generated publicity and if one or both of them leaves, well they leave. Not much you can do about that.So I'll just hang out for the verdict, thanks very much, without getting all life-and-deathy about it.
So, I get the Month of May thing -- My wife the other day asked me if there was an IndyCar race on. I said no, it's May so they are hanging out at Indy all month. And she says "do they need the whole month for one race?" Good question. Out here in consumerland (located outside the borders of Indiana), we're watching and looking forward to and debating about NASCAR Cup and Nationwide races for weeks now while IndyCar sits at Indy, invisible.
Huh. Kind of a speed bump in the road when you look at that, especially with NACAR going to famous tracks like Talladega and Darlington while IndyCar sits. Not sure if you can do anything about it, but the inertia is kind of buzz killing.
Flaccid --- Speaking of buzz kill, I have yet to get excited about May. I feel kind of bad, because I want to be excited, but GOD I miss ovals. The dearth of ovals in IndyCar has driven me into the arms of another (NACAR), primarily Nationwide, but even some Cup races lately. Maybe I'll feel better when cars get on the track at Indy (whenever that is. I am too uninspired to even look it up for sure). Give me some 210 mph at least and drafting. Speed, glorious speed.
I enjoyed the Nationwide race at Talladega. It had it all, including wreckage, which provided more opportunity for debate. I personally do not like wrecks. I'd rather seem them go the entire race green green green. But I love the oval racing. God I loved it. God help me, I do love it so. Hurry up and get those cars on the track at IMS, OK? I'm freaking out.
Gotta do some work. DRINK, ye BASTARDS. See you next week.