Welcome to Monday, peeps. Everyone (in the U.S.) "fall back" properly? Anybody watch any irascible Finns on TV at all? "Yes yes yes, I know what I am doing." Kimi .. NEVER CHANGE. So let's discuss those funny-looking F1 cars and NASCAR at the Mild Asphalt Circus in Texas, 'kay? Dark roast is all I got, no room for cream.
Kimi Räikkönen, Part Android, Part Honey Badger -- Kimi Räikkönen won the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday morning (U.S. time). Story here. The Kimster started P2 and took the lead when Lewis Hamilton's car "lost power" Räikkönen inherited the lead for good.
If you don't know Kimi Räikkönen, he appears to be a virtually emotionless driver. Here's a picture of the raucous display of emotion after he won Sunday. After the race, David Coulthard interviews the drivers while they are on the podium over the track public address system. In Abu Dhabi David Coulthard asked: "Your first victory since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix. Tell us about your emotions at this time." Räikkönen: "Not much really." Me: Coffee spew. Crowd in Abu Dhabi: audible laughter.
Beyond that, Kimi clearly just doesn't care what people think. He said as much in a post-race interview:
"I never cared really what people think -- if I don’t finish the next race, then they’ll think that I’m as bad as that race. I’ll just do my thing, and if I’m happy with what I’m doing and it’s the best it can be for the team, then that’s that. So I really don’t care if people are thinking differently of me now, than what they did three hours before the race."
On Sunday we got to see the full Räikkönbadger, the emotionless android, the don't-give-a-shit honey badger AND the "shut up and let me drive" Kimster. Witness these gem's from Kimi's radio ...
Kimi so android-like it's actually entertaining to watch him race. I'm not sure if Räikkönen interacts with fans or even likes fans. I suspect his fan interaction is highly limited. I think all fan-driver interaction in F1 is highly limited, but I'm not sure. Even though I rant against aloof, seemingly uncaring drivers, it just works for Kimi. Maybe it's because he's so different that it becomes interesting to see if he'll even crack a bemused smile after winning a race in what many consider the ultimate racing series on earth.
I haven't followed F1 very closely at all this year, but it's allegedly been a good season with many different winners and a tight championship battle pitting the young wunderkind (Sebastian Vettel) against the established legend (Fernando Alonso). Vettel is 10 points up on Alonso with two races to go.
The next F1 race is at the United States Grand Prix at the new Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 18. Lots of scoffers (including me at times) thought the Circuit of The Americas would never actually exist, let alone host an F1 race, but they built it over the last year or so and F1 came.
Here is the schedule (all times Central): Friday, Nov. 16: Practice 1, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.. Practice 2, 1 to 2:30 p.m.. Saturday, Nov. 17: Practice 3, 9 to 10 a.m., Qualifying, noon. Sunday, Nov. 18, race at noon. Check SPEED TV for television details. I'll be glued to the race for sure as much to see the new track as anything. It sounds like the track is sold out for the race, with an average ticket price of about $400, so SHAZAM. Hurray for the fans who ponied up. Hope they are rewarded with a fabulous show.
Ode to a Seven-Hour NACAR Race -- I watched the entire NACAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday. Every lap. I'm not saying it was long, but when it started George Bush was still president. Actually it was about three hours long. That's an hour longer than it needed to be. NASCAR needs to do something about these long-ass Cup races. Well, actually, they only need to do something about it if they want an audience for the entire race. I'd love to see the ratings breakdown by the half hour or however they do it to see how many people come and go. I would tend to think that people watch the start, then go out and do something ... like paint their entire house ... and come back at the end for the last 25 to 50 laps. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the audience is GLUED to it for all three hours.
I watched for all three hours because I was listening to Danica on the scanner via NACAR.com (subscription required!) One of the reasons I prefer to watch Nationwide races is they are usually around two hours long, which is perfect. After sitting and watching a race for THREE hours, I felt groggy the rest of the night. So you're saying nobody is forcing me to sit there. Fair point. Just offering my input on how to make the product better, is all.
And then there were the phantom cautions for "debris." ESPN has given up on trying to show us the "debris" on camera. Don't bother. Everyone knows it's pretended debris, or something MENACING like a piece of foam, which is technically debris, but come on. And after 100 laps at Texas, most of the audience was willing to wink and nod and be OK with "debris."
Maybe if they lopped 75 laps off the race, drivers would drive more agressively and we'd see more action, and we'd need fewer fake yellows. Just a thought. What you gotta do is tune in for the last 30 or so laps, because in Texas that involved a pretty exciting paint swap between the two title contenders, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Johnson won the race. We also had controversy on restarts. The race ended well, but it was like watching a 25-lap A Feature in sprint car racing after about 392 heat races.That's about all I got. Day job calls. Better "keep digging." Word to your posse.