I just got home from the season opener of the Canadian Tire Nascar Series… boy HOWDY.
So, ok… I must admit, it was a lot of fun, and waaaaaaaay more engaging than I thought it would be. I am basically going to be following and writing about Tagliani and Ranger for the site for the season (the Open wheel tie in), focusing mostly on Tags foray into this new venture.
It was really nice to watch the fans coming up to Alex and telling them how glad they were that he was there and how they had followed his career. (lots of CART/Champ Car related hats and jackets around today) I ran into a few people I knew, which was pretty comical. “What the heck are YOU doing HERE?? was the reaction. I answered… I was jonesing to watch some Canadian open wheel drivers! (ironic no???)
It was great to see Andrew again. (who remembered me oddly enough) He’s grown into a man all of a sudden. Wow.
Tags had major engine problems! MAJOR. He qualified with only 7 of 8 cylinders working… oops. So they basically had the hr and a half between qualies and the start of the race to rebuild the engine. And I mean rebuild. The guts of the engine were out of the car and on the pit wall and still there at 7pm when we left the infield to go watch from the stands. We were so happy when Tags fired up the car at 7:20pm and drove around the the track to join up at the back of the pack just prior to “start your engines”
His engine completely died on lap 98. No electronics, no starter, nothing. Major dead battery. They pushed him into the pits and made a bunch of changes. Discovered there was an intake leak, drawing air through the intake manifold. He was a shitload of laps down, but went back out there just to get the experience and learn the track. (they’ll be back there later this summer)
His throttle was stuck at 4500 rpm, so on yellows he was stuck in 1st and on the brakes the whole time so as not go careening into the cars in front of him. The car was essentially driving itself! Lap 165, the engine went again. (this time we actually heard it go.) This time, they patted him on the back and called it a night. Add to that the major understeer, and our diminutive friend had an eventful debut. But he was doing some sweet passing and holding his own out there.
Andrew also had an eventful night, spun out twice by others, and spun others out (including himself a third time.)(word on the street is there is a big target on his back this year since he came in and showed them all up last year) I believe suspension issues plagued the champ. (his car was extremely loose) I had Tags on my scanner for the race, so only picked up bits and bobs about Andrew once Tags parked it for the night.
Probably the most fun was driving back to Toronto with Tags, (which began with him doing burn outs in the grass LOL!) (thankfully I had an empty stomach!!) Let me just say this: that guy can talk!! LOL! (Sadly, nothing I can share with you folks at this time, but as the summer progresses I’m sure I’ll get the greenlight to be a little more forthcoming.
I do appreciate his candor and openness, and am always grateful for the chance to just shoot the shit with a driver to gain insight and a different perspective, so I am also very very loyal to the “off the record” clause.
Anyway. It was a full day, and a long night, and the boss will be knocking on my door early tomorrow, so I’m going to try to get a couple of hours of sleep.
Lots of racing tomorrow! Monaco, Indy and the Coca Cola 600. I’ll see the start of Monaco, the middle/end of Indy, (damn stupid job schedule this weekend) and I’ll put the Coca Cola 600 on in the background tomorrow evening just cause I feel a kinship now… LOL!
anyway, nodding off big time, so more to come at a later date…