Monthly Archives: February 2008

The trickle down effect…

what we don’t see can hurt us… or can it?

While the approximately 384 open wheel fans that still give a shit wait with bated breath for the great open wheel conspiracy of 08 to be solved, thousands of people’s livelihoods sit in limbo.

Anybody who does anything directly or indirectly with Champ Car or the IRL continues to circle in a frustrating holding pattern. Nothing can be marketed, signed, released or booked until this penis measuring contest is over.

For Champ Car alone that is 14 events and all of their personnel, sponsors, contractors, & charitable associations. 9 Teams and their personnel, drivers, crew members, & sponsors.

And what of the feeder series? The Atlantics alone have 24 teams & 12 events. Office personnel, team personnel, event personnel, etc… etc… etc…

But why stop there? What about all of the other series that are sharing the bill on any number of the Champ Car or IRL events? ALMS, Grand Am, BMW, Star Mazda…

Thousands of people all just sitting there. Waiting.
All. On. Hold.

I wonder if the handful of men at the top are giving any thought to that as they go about their pissing match, seemingly ignorant of the pleading for any information, good or bad, so that we can all just get on with it.

They bitch and moan about the misinformation being bantered about, yet do nothing to rectify it.

In the meantime drivers are negotiating alternative deals. Staff on every level are cleaning out their desks and taking jobs elsewhere out of frustration or desperation, and fans, in some bizarre Stockholm syndrome state, defend and protect and grasp at any hope, while continuing to be inconsiderably held hostage.

And still… we wait.

It’s been a full week now since this really blew up into the public arena.
That’s 7 days of work not done, tickets not sold, events not secured and possibly irreparable damage done.

Enough.
Fix this NOW!

the rumours of our demise…

have been greatly exaggerated…

Well guess what all you spinmeisters and quote jockeys, whether or not there is a merger, or a bankruptcy or what the fuck ever, here is what there is:

A pissed off and confused fanbase that have been dragged along on your little game of cat and mouse, cloak and dagger, spy conspiracy for 2 weeks. You better be prepared to give FULL disclosure on what you’ve been doing and why you’ve used your teams, employees, event promoters, fans and the media as your pawns, lying to and apparently purposely misleading us. Cause now I’ve gone from sad, to embarrassed to so fucking pissed off that I don’t even WANT to following this fucking soap opera/pantomime anymore.

The longer this drags on, the harder it will be to convince anybody to buy tickets or flights or hotels or even just plain give a shit.

There there are hundreds if not thousands of fans that have not and now likely will not renew their tickets or add on additional races this year. There are young drivers out there who’s reps have been scrambling to get them out of contracts and find them other rides.

I really hope this internal witch hunt was worth the irreparable damage to the sport.

Thing is, guess what boys? We fall to the bottom of the page in a few hours. Actually we will be the comical footnote during every newscast and race themed broadcast this weekend. The Nascar machine is revving up today. Do people want to follow the ever embarrassing open wheel saga or do they want to just sit back and watch some racing?

I think I’ll be joining the good old boys and cheering for my new CDN gomers! Fuck all of this shit.

Tell you what, some one send me an official press release when the whole lot of you remove your craniums from your sphincters and decide you’re a professional racing organization and not the Jerry fucking Springer show.

when all else fails…

laughter is the best medicine…

http://pressdog.typepad.com/dogblog/2008/02/doctors-report.html

Thanks pressdog!

I’m so sick of writing about this, and speculating, and waiting for whatever tidbit of information anyone gleans us worthy to receive. It’s fun to just laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation (saves the crying over the embarrassment of it… )

On the bright side, the fan’s on the other side of the fence are just as frustrated and embarrassed as we are. How ironic that that fanbase is essentially unified in that aspect.

Um…. WHAT?!?!?!

ok… no really… WHAT?!?!?!

This morning amidst rumours of imminent bankruptcy filings, the folks from Pi and KK cleared out their stuff from Indy HQ.

3pm – Staff Meeting.

We all await the inevitable announcement… then comes this:

“Srap.

Evidently SJ got up in fron of the class and told them 08 is on. repeat 08 is on. BOD meeting tomorrow, with a budget to be approved. Ziggy (not ours ) has quit, and he has no idea where these rumors are coming from.

At the same time, the PKV crews were told they are leaving CCWS for ICS for 08. Yes, 08.

So, wtf is going on?
Unka Gerra going it alone for 08? with Paulie & Pettit?
Oh, the drama……I cannot f’in believe this crap.”

So… The much rumoured but poopoo’d dissent between the owners… TRUE. (again, validation… but this ain’t about me…)

Apparently my Ponder if you will essay was not so far off the mark huh boys? *big cheeky grin*

So, Jerry Forsythe, who wouldn’t pay for hospitality for his team, and got into a contract dispute with his driver over money, just forked out a grand canyon sized crater of cash in the 11th hour to “save” this thing. Doubtful that Pettit opened his wallet. (otherwise there would have been 10 teams on the docket for this year… RIP RuSPORT) and we all know that Gentilozzi doesn’t have 2 dimes to rub together.

A friend on the insided offered this possible scenario:

*KK gets Pi, Long Beach, Surfers and Edmonton to take with him to the IRL

*GF gets Toronto, Mexico City and Cosworth as well as CCWS

Great… the split just turned into a fault line. Let the mud-slinging and side taking begin!

And what of the teams?

CC:
Forsythe
Rocketspurts (guess Jerry is gonna have to foot his bill now that Kevin is gone)
Conquest
PCM

Indy:
Team Australia (already rumoured to have jumped)
PKV

Wild cards:
NHL (I’m thinking they will jump with Kevin, or run both?)
DCR (with the right insentive ($$$) will jump)
Minardi (KK brought him in, and was rumoured to be funding… will likely jump unless Jerry opens his wallet again)

And let’s not forget the drivers! Only 6 (7?) were signed before the merger talks, half of which could hop the fence with their teams. The ones who didn’t I’m sure are wondering who to pin their future hopes on. (some have already signed elsewhere according to rumours)

Oh ya, and now we have no data acquisition, no race director, no head of tech, and the Manager of the Cosworth Engine program resigned a month ago too. (those are just the resignations I know of)

So… Best case scenario Champ Car now has:

7 Teams, 11 races (several not actually inked) and a tv package that rivals an infomercial. (at least infomercials are on network) & Steve Johnson

You know the movie Weekend at Bernies? Champ Car is Bernie.
How long will they be able to prop him up and drag him around the world before folks figure out he’s dead?

My gut says enjoy 2008, collect your souvenirs, take your pictures, say farewell.

Guess we wait now for the “official” press release and explanation. (oh ya, and the IRL will be waaaaaaay ahead of us out of the gate there too, as they actually have several people, a PR/MEDIA staff if you will, that do that)

I wish I could be happy, but I’m to busy being confused.

ponder if you will…

the against all odds possibility that this some how turns around in the next few days.
(no I’m not sharing a crack pipe, stranger things have happened, and I’m just putting something else out there)

It’s now painfully obvious that merger talks were/are happening. It apparently hinges on Honda moving a race date. (I do believe that is just one of the smoke/mirrors aspects of this move)
It’s also painfully obvious that for whatever reason (and trust me, from what I’ve heard over the last year the man has many legitimate reasons) Kevin Kalkhoven has had enough and that there is trouble in paradise between the owners/amigos/horsemen/rich guys with big toys, big egos and bigger bank accounts, whatever you wish to call them, despite their media spun show of solidarity last year.

So… what happens next?

Honda says go for it, moves the date, provides the engines and seed money for the absorbed CC teams, we spend the summer ignoring crapwagons and wondering how it all went so horribly wrong. War is over.
or…

Jerry Forsythe steps up in the 11th hour, buys out KK, (OWRS) and thereby the other two “owners” (CCWS,LLC), and becomes Champ Car’s Tony George, the sole owner and decision maker. Game on.

Scenario A, while definitely not palatable, kick starts the healing and eventual re-birth of AOW. No guarantees that it will survive past 2008 however…

Scenario B, while heroic and fantastical, puts Champ Car at the back of the grid, with a busted front wing and a tire going down. It will take a Tracy like drive to win this race. The fans will cheer and rally and decry “we will not go down without a fight!!” As in scenario A, there are no guarantees that it will survive past 2008…

Teams and drivers will be wary, as will event venues, promoters and those ever elusive sponsors. How can any of them be convinced that this is not going to happen again? It’s like the precarious balancing act people do after discovering their significant other was cheating on them, yet they are trying to work it out.
Mistrust, fake smiles, stilted conversations, lots of bravado… however, the wound never heals. You either stick it out always looking over your shoulder, or you move on.

If, IF, Champ Car’s execution gets a stay from the governor this week, what do we have?
6 Signed drivers, 9 teams* (this is assuming Walker hasn’t jumped, Bachelart stays, and PKV becomes Vasser Racer racing cause the P is gone and it’s highly unlikely the K is gonna stick around) 14 confirmed races, (11 of which now are likely run by now very pissed off & suspicious promoters who spent the latter part of the week watching their hard work circle the drain), no title sponsor, a handful of legit team sponsors, a shitty TV package, no Marketing/Media/PR team to spin this thing, an exasperated mainstream & motorsport media (who were used as a pawn & made to be the bad guys, which will only endear them to play nice in the future… NOT) and a battle weary fanbase who may or may not at this point be interested in still playing in our sandbox.

Either way this all shakes out, there will be a lot of questions, likely not very many answers that aren’t canned PR speak, and a possibly insurmountable new mountain to climb.

it would appear…

That many are having a hard time swallowing this:

reality.jpg

Well …

cup_of_stfu.jpg

to wash it down with before your dinner…

Crow and Mushroom Stew

3 crows
1 Tbsp lard/shortening
1 pint stock or gravy
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper

Clean and cut crows into small portions and let them cook a short time in the lard/shortening in a saucepan, being careful not to brown them.
Next, add to the contents of the pan, the stock or gravy, and salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Simmer 1 hour, or until tender, add mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes more and then stir in cream.
Arrange the mushrooms around the crows on a hot platter.

nuff said…

so maligned…

so misunderstood…
(I’ve had a large rye and coke (or two)… so consider this a free spirited rant…)

I find it funny… the hard on everyone has for Robin Miller now.

How quickly they forget what a hero he was to them when he spoke out against the inheritor and his abortion league. How we all would tune in every week to “The Truth” and laugh our asses off in the chatroom, some quickly transcribing the conversation to share and discuss on the forums. He called it (and still does) like he saw it, good and bad, as it applied to both sides of the open wheel split. Those of us with free, individual thought, were able to swallow the sweet with the sour. We could cheer on his angry vitriol towards FTG and accept the same towards our own when the situation warranted.
Unfortunately our side started to make just as many if not more stupid decisions as the league, and Robin, true to form, spoke “the truth”. Even more unfortunate though is that the fanbase, growing more and more sensitive every day, couldn’t handle looking in the mirror. It wasn’t as funny when the joke was on us. (deserved or not) So, Mr. Miller became persona non grata among the rabid fanatics in the open wheel war. So reviled was the once pedestaled journalist, that they flew into a blind rage no matter what he wrote. Hell depending on who you talk to and who you listen to (key there) he is responsible for everything bad that has ever happened with Champ Car over the last 4 years.

The saddest part is that most of these people have never even met the man and couldn’t come up with a solitary thought outside of the fall in lock step group speak that is rammed down their throat daily by the “I know better” brigade.

Well I have met the man. Several times. Some of the most fun and enlightening conversations at the track have been with or around him. The one I most cherish is the day I stood in a little circle with the giants of the media room. Miller, Kirby, Phillips, Oreovicz and little ol me. (ok… not so “little”… but I digress)
The conversation was witty, and honest and brutal and informative, and well, I could only dream of having conversations like that as a wannbe motorsports writer.

Here’s what I know. Miller loves open wheel racing. He hates Tony George and what he has done to the sport, but he hates it even more that AOW is on it’s last breath, and like many of us with a pulse and half a brain, realizes that the only answer at this point is unification. (now, let me get this straight… I agree with unification, I don’t agree with the capitulation that is being passed off as such this week)

Hardcardgate last summer was a joke. Just another blackmark on the reputation of Champ Car and the amateur hour that is the team callin the shots at head office (was for all I know right now, as who the fuck knows who is still employed there at the moment)

Side thought: You don’t like what the media is writing about you? Give them something else to write about then! Control your own fucking message. You can’t control the media. It is our job to seek out the stories. To look beyond the shiny contrite press releases and discover the truth. People want the truth. People want the dirt. People want the real story.
There is a reason TMZ is so popular. Give your fucking head a shake.

back to my rant…

Contrary to what some people will have you believe, in all the times I was at the track, I never once saw Robin shunned or cold shouldered by ANYONE on pit lane or in the paddock. Quite the contrary. Hell I’ve got pictures of him with all of the major players, yukking it up, interviewing them, shooting the shit, enjoying the racing. That’s right, another myth to debunk. Robin Miller loved watching Champ Car. I stood there in pit lane, drenched to the bone, watching that mess of a race in Toronto last year, beside Miller, who was grinning like a cheshire cat, giddy like a little girl, proclaiming to me “this is one of the best races I’ve seen!” This is not a man who hates and wants to destroy champ car. This is a man that wants to save a sport that we all love, that is being destroyed by politics and egos and men who are better off sitting in a boardroom than in a paddock.

*my apologies for run on sentences and spelling mistakes… but I was on a role and to go back now and clean it up would betray the form and function of a free spirited rant!*