On track this week…

everything! Ok, not really, but my plate is certainly going to be full.

The recently unified series splits one final time and goes their separate ways to fulfill contractual obligations. The 18 humpbacks (sorry, but those damn cars remind me of quasimodo) head to Motegi to race in the middle of the night and the 9 “refugees/transitioners/ex-Champ Car guys”, or whatever they are being called this week, join the rest of their former gang in Long Beach (w/20 cars… oh the irony there) to bid farewell to the series… (and the cars, and the engines, and the staff, and apparently many, many fans who will walk away after this, if not before…) I will be covering this from two time zones, in communication with 3… (my head already hurts)

Here is the whole crazy schedule for the week. (talk about timezone confusion!)

There is still NOTHING on the IndyCar website about this race btw… which considering it’s a point paying race and they just spent the week pimping Graham Rahal (who is racing in Long Beach) seems a little disingenuous. Maybe it’s just me…

(not that the CC site is any better, even THEY aren’t promoting the race LOL! Well, technically they aren’t promoting anything as the website peeps were likely on the chopping block weeks ago… when the last update happened… do you know they’ve started construction on Long Beach?!? :rolleyes:)

Also at LB, besides the ALMS and the celeb race, and what I am probably looking forward to the most, is the season opener of the Atlantic Series, the one good, or at least “feel good” story to come out of this OW unifimergabsorbsification mess. Good strong field, interesting and miraculously salvaged schedule, sweet, fast cars… *bows down in admiration of Vicki O’Connor* If only we had half a dozen of her to spread around the various racing series…

I’ll be flying down to Long Beach on Thursday. I don’t know what to expect to be honest. I’ve never been to the Long Beach race. Even before it became the “finale” I had planned on attending this year. Now it of course takes on a whole new meaning and will be twice the work load I’m sure. Many stories to follow. Many people to talk to. I think the major stories are going to be happening off track, with the actual race merely a distraction.

On the upside, Paul is driving. *whew* That makes my weekend much more enjoyable. The question of course remains whether he, with all the tension between him and the FCR camp, will receive the equipment and technical support to actually be competitive. In my opinion, it’s in FCR’s best interest to put on a good show, especially if they are going to try to convince other racing teams to hire them as technical consultants… just sayin is all.

My wish for everyone is that they (all the teams) leave all the political bullshit and jockeying in the lawyers offices for the weekend and just put on the best show possible. Rise above it, and let the series retire with some class. I would like to think the fans would do that too, but from what I’m hearing sadly that isn’t going to be the case. I will be doing my level best to stay away from the protesting and the ugliness, while still trying to enjoy the company of some of my racing friends. That could prove to be the most difficult assignment all week!

I really just want to look back on this weekend wistfully and wonder what might have been rather than look back and say: “what a mess, glad that’s over!”


16 responses to “On track this week…

  1. Whether or not it is in his best interest, I wouldn’t mind seeing PT take a jab or two(verbal that is) at GF on Sunday.

  2. I really can’t see Paul going there. (remember he is still trying to find a ride for the rest of the season and essentially the rest of his career) Plus I just don’t see that as his style.

    That said, I guarandamntee you that if he is getting the shaft as far as equipment and team support goes this weekend, he will let that be known. Hell I WILL let that be known…

  3. I think PT really needs to do well in this race. If he can manage to pull off a win I think it will really help with his ride search.

  4. Oh yeah if he is not getting support he will let everyone know. Just ask Penske..lol. I was there when he was asking the GA grandstands “for a f*cking setup”..lol

  5. I’m wishing him a great finish this weekend.

  6. Mark: agreed. If not the win, then at least a podium.

    JC: LOL! That’s my boy! 😉

    FC: aren’t we all?! Whodda thunk PT would be the underdog at this stage in his career…

  7. I just hope he signs every single chrome horn he breaks this weekend with:

    ”To my fan xxxx, coming straight out of GF’s pocket, PT”

  8. Steven, I’d pay a bunch for one of those! Great to hear PT will be in a car. Meeshbeer: I didn’t realize you hadn’t been to LB before. It’s a great race. Enjoy the festival atmosphere – even if the race sucks, there are a ton of things to do. The car show on the infield is great, and it is really a see-and-be-seen sort of race (lots of…ummm…surgical enhancements, shall we say?). It is a big deal in LA and isn’t like the other races I have been to. I was kinda bummed out when I moved out to the East Coast and got stuck with Nazareth. I was even more bummed out when they left and I got stuck with nothing. (How can there be no race near New York City?)

    And, Meeshbeer: are there really that many partisans left? Really? I was one of the most core Champ Caristas around, but folks it was over. Even Paul Newman was done with it. The field was getting bland and boring and the cars didn’t have sponsors or even drivers for far too long this year. It was over before it was over and it is about time. I agree that the humpbacks are ugly but they are better than nothing and now we’ve got all the drivers back together. I can’t believe that there would be too many upset people. The war is over. Let’s get over it.

  9. Sciguy: You’d be surprised by the little faction of diehards still waving their placards in protest. I think they just don’t know what to do with themselves without “the war”. These are the same people that still fall all over themselves to make fun of sponsorship announcements like DirectTV and Coca Cola for IndyCar, but would tout those as the second coming of the good lord almighty were they announced for Champ Car.

    I’m with you. It’s over. Let’s move forward and try to improve upon what we’re left with. I’m so tired of trying to explain which side I’m a fan of. Now I can just be an open wheel fan, and promote and support and enjoy that.

  10. I am also a little surprised that IRL.com has not mention LB. But, I guess it makes sense when your business partner is Honda, and not Toyota. CC.com is a skeleton of its old self. I wonder if it will redirect to IRL.com after this weekend?

    As far as the partisans, this portion of JP’s take from your website strikes me as a reflection into what was wrong with something: “The defining moment of the evening, personally, was the podium ceremony: Alex Tagliani in third, Bruno Junquiera in second, and Sebastien Bourdais on the top step. Joining the drivers on stage were team owners Paul Newman and Carl Haas.As the crowd crammed into section E to watch the three top drivers celebrate, a chant started from at first a handful of fans, but soon spread to most to who were in section E; “FTG” was shouted over and over again as Bourdais was handed his race winning trophy. That night we, the Champ Car fans, held the hammer and no one could take that from us.”

    Were they celebrating the series, the race and the men who put their lives on the line? No, it was “FTG” 9 years after the split.

    IMO, as an IRL supporter, I never got the sense that the IRL fans had much outward disdain for ChampCar besides, of course, wanting unification so their could be growth again (except – I will say there was quite chuckle in the crowd when word spread at the 1996 Indy 500 of the opening lap crash in the US 500). Anyways, I am ready to carry on with my support of the IRL, including its new drivers and teams.

  11. Hey Meesh, enjoy LB, we’ll be having a few ex-CC team PR people doing some writing for the V8C site, so I’ll be counting on you to make sure that they keep clear of the bars and nightclubs in keeping with my fine outstanding professionalism during race events……;););)

  12. BBH: The Honda/Toyota thing had crossed my mind as to the reasoning behind not “promoting” the race.
    At least they are finally acknowledging that there IS a race finally. There was some mention in News & Notes today and an article on Arute playing “super pit reporter” for both races.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by the final paragraph of that editorial. But alas, the assignment was to write about our personal memories, good or bad, so it really wasn’t my place to edit anything other than spelling/grammar, although I was tempted.

    Sadly I also realize that removing it would be a wasted effort as he is not alone in his attitude. It is a reflection of the ones that are vigilant in their refusal to accept what has happened and try to make the best of it and move on. We will see more of that this weekend I’m sure. After that, I think it will fade away as I can’t see people making that effort to go to an IndyCar event just to protest.

    I’ve honestly never paid too much attention to the IRL. Neither the cars nor the venues holding any appeal to me. My main reason for speaking out against them, when I did over the years, has been safety. First and foremost.
    (oh and those stupid pictures they made the drivers pose for … WTF is that about??? but I digress… )

    That said, I was also equally very vocal towards the DP01 last year when our drivers started suffering injuries from innocuous shunts. I will not hesitate to continue to do so, unified series or not, should the cars start flipping or the drivers get injured. In this day and age, with all the technology available, that is just unacceptable.

    FWIW, I’ve always called a spade a spade. Calling CC to the mat a few times, which put me out of favour with my fellow CC fans on more than a few occasions. I’m sure I will have to make a few unpopular statements/judgement calls over the course of this season. If the series is going to move forward and thrive, then it and it’s players have to be able to weather some constructive criticism when warranted.

  13. Gary!! Oy Mate! Be sure to let me know who’s working for you so I can keep them at the bar until they have to catch their flights! LOL! (damn Vegas rocked!! Hope to see that on the schedule again someday) Is Jay going to be in LB? if so, tell him to drop me an email! Not gonna be the same without you!

  14. Free PT!!! And then get his ass a ride!

  15. LOL… Yes! (that’s the ONE protest I would get behind this weekend!)

  16. I’d so love to see someone print some “Napoleon Dynamite” style T-shirts and give them out at Long Beach that say “FREE TRACY”… if I were going I’d definitely do it — it’d be a good expenditure of my money.

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