Monthly Archives: February 2012

Trackside Rolls out the Butcher Block

Yes kids, tonight was the annual “Blogger night” on The Fan 1070, where they play host to word butchers of all shapes and sizes, and discuss the topics burning up the racing interwebs

As usual I was MIA. (who are we fucking kidding here? I’m the Kathy Griffin of IndyCar bloggers. D list at best, brassy, and unpredictable. No one is stupid enough to put me on the air live without a censor button at the ready;-) )

So I just sat on the sidelines and listened. Oh, and tweeted of course! (but because of the line up, there was very little, actually no engagement with the listeners tonight)
Anyhoo… the elite “who’s who” of the IndyCar bloggerazzi were all lined up and ready to pimp themselves out while prognosticating on the upcoming IndyCar season.

I recommend you check out the podcast if you missed it. (iphone users, you can subscribe! It automatically uploads to your phone! I listen to the show the next morning on my commute if I miss it live) oh, and if you don’t have a smart phone… get the podcast here:

So here is a brief overview (just people and topics, no details)

1. George – (@oilpressureblog) was up to bat first. Topic: calling the haters and negative nellies to the mat. (hope I’m not part of that group there George!) I always forget that George has that sweet southern drawl.. 😉

2. Joe – (@tracksideonline, @joeberk) was gonna touch on the haters too, but since George had already taken a swing at that, he took on the topic of ovals (or lack there of) on the schedule. (oh and his mere presence reminded me I need to check my subscription as it is up for renewal!) (not a subscriber yet? What’s your problem? no seriously, what the fuck are you waiting for? Best $22 you’ll spend during the IndyCar season)

3. Jill – (@indycarmom) said she doesn’t talk telemetry, or all that other technical mumbojumbo etc… (my paraphrasing) but rather concentrates on how to get your kids interested in racing. (very cool!) (I doubt she reads my rhetoric, but if she does, hi! sorry for the potty mouth)

4. Paul – (@fieldof33) pimped out More Front Wing for most of his portion of the program, then lost his signal and disappeared… LOL… when he got back online his chosen topic was voicing his concern about Milwaukee and other stuff. (just grab the fricken podcast already… )

5. Mark – (@newtrackrecord) He talked a lot about song lyrics and the WWE.
(dudes, I’m not kidding, you need to listen to this show!)

6. Bill – (@pressdog) The Grand Poobah of Word Butchers, and Blogger night record holder for attendance, came on and chose the topic of IndyCar on Mile & 1/2 tracks and their inevitable extinction. It’s funny, it always surprises me how Bill doesn’t sound the way I picture his voice in my head. LOL!

7. Erik – (@erock_in_Indy) His topic du jour…. Wikipedia Pages
(again… no summary from me… go listen!)

8. Doug – (@xorpheous) championed the Mazda Road to Indy (yes! support the feeders!)

9. Tyler – – (@indycargarage) his topic: the viability of Indy and the Speedway as a year round destination instead of just a Month of May thing.

10. Zachary – @indycaradvocate for his time in the spotlight he chose to talk about Team/driver Sponsorship and fan activation of said sponsorship

11. Steph – (yes, they got two spots, cause they’re special) (well three technically as P-dalb disconnected himself during his allotted time and had to call back LOL!) (@99forever) Steph’s topic du jour: She chose to throw @paultracy3 under the bus.
HA… I keed, I keed.
No, technically she did, but I agree with her take on it, so there.

sidebar: Ya, you can all pick your jaws up off the floor now and give me some credit here. The assumption that I’m a koolaid drinking, support at all costs, blinder wearing PT fan is greatly exaggerated. I love and respect Paul both as a person and as a driver, and will do anything I can to support him in his efforts. That said, I also have grey matter between my pigtails, and am able to use reason and logic when the situation warrants. And the situation he is in this year warrants it. (more on that in an upcoming blog)

12. Tom – “Tomaso” Topic: advocating for Portland to come back on the schedule (as an oval not street race)

13. Paul Henry – … truthfully, I didn’t catch his twitter or get to hear his topic as someone came to my door at that moment. (I think he just talked about his blog)

And that’s that.

Kudos to Trackside and 1070 the Fan for their support of all the butchery, wordy, goodness out here in webland.

What are you still doing here?! Go download the fricken podcast and give it a listen! geesh…

EDIT: made all the websites clickable… sorry for the oversight 😉

Dear NBC Sports: It wasn’t broke… so why did ya “fix” it?

It’s a rather daunting task for a female reporter to step into a new spotlight roll, in a male dominated business, while covering a male dominated sport.

Lindy Thackston made the correct choice right out of the gate, making a name for herself as an intelligent, articulate, personable, journalist, covering the sights, sounds and stories of the drivers, the series, and the action, both on and off the track.

Lindy, who is a beautiful girl by the way, was smart not to allow the suits to paint her into the “lets throw to the bimbo with the microphone for a lifestyle segment” role. Why? Because there is nothing more insulting to a female who follows the sport, than to be faced with the token eye candy dumbing down the broadcast, while playing into the stereotypes we’ve all fought way too hard to overcome. It’s disrespectful on far too many levels to go into.

Understandably wary of the “new talent” when she was announced as part of the broadcast team, I was pleasantly surprised and immediately put at ease after the first race.

What I liked about Lindy right off the bat was that this girl knew her shit!
She asked the right questions, followed up with the right answers, and never seemed flustered or flighty. She never apologized for being herself (and had no reason to) She fit in perfectly right away, and never dimmed her light. Confidence personified. Instead of cringing when they threw to her, I looked forward to her contributions, as I felt I finally had a voice representing me at the track.

To then meet up with her at the track, and work along side of her, I got to see her in action up close. She was just one of the team, not overly concerned with image (no bullet proof make up on this girl) and could be seen huffing along pit lane with her crew to get the story, just like the rest of us.

Years ago, as rare as it was to find a women in the cockpit, it was rarer still to find a woman in any other capacity at the track other than grid girl or pit lizard.

Now we are everywhere. And we are working our asses off alongside the boys, on both sides of the pit wall, equally sweaty, equally skilled, but putting in double the effort just to be accepted and prove we deserve to be there.

We are finally to the point where females at the track are no longer an anomaly. Better yet, they are getting recognition for what they do and the skill with which they do it, not because of the underwear beneath their nomex, or what’s stuffed inside of it.

Much like Lindy, Simona de Silvestro made a name for herself right out of the gate last year by scrapping with Tony Kanaan at St. Pete’s for the last step on the podium. There were no swimsuit photos or tacky commercials filled with sexual innuendo to throw to when discussing her career. Instead there were clips of gutsy racing and podium ceremonies that preceded and lead to her turning a wheel in this series. I would like to think this will serve her well in her career as she won’t be trying to fight her way out of a box painted by years stereotyping and misconception. More importantly she will be an inspired role model for the young women working their way up through the ranks now.

Like Simona, Lindy is a superior role model for the smart, confident young women dreaming of a career in our sport. Specifically, in her case, in broadcast journalism. What message is NBC Sports sending by turning the broadcast once again into a sausage fest.

For three years, three crucial rebuilding years for the series, and foundation laying years for Versus, Lindy Thackston has been part of the Versus/IndyCar family.
She helped champion the sport. She helped champion the network. She helped grow the fan base for both. She was an integral part of the team we all welcomed into our livingroom every week. By virtue of who she is, she earned our trust, earned our respect, and in return,  legitimized both IndyCar and Versus.

The very fact that a majority of the people who are the most up in arms over her departure are equally strong, confident and articulate women. should make NBC Sports stop dead in their tracks and rethink their decision.

I can tell you from my own point of view that women do not suffer fools lightly. When we tune into a broadcast, no matter the nature of the programming, we want to see a reflection of ourselves represented. The companies that “get” that, will also get our viewership, our consumership and our word of mouth. The companies that don’t… won’t.

Lindy Thackston is an integral part of the team, a member of the IndyCar family,  and represents an important segment of your audience. Don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Consider your ROI when you consider your next move NBC Sports.
It’s not too late to right this wrong.

Just because it’s not your opinion, that doesn’t make it wrong…

There was much poo pooing out there in the twitterverse today over the multitude of reactions to the Verizon app. Apparently some feel you only have the right to an opinion if it includes hearts, and flowers and fluffy bunnies when discussing things following this week’s State of IndyCar address… (more on that later)
The flip side of course is if the majority are in agreement in their negativity, like in the case of the sucker punch that was the firing of Lindy Thackston, well then you’re good to go. (I’ll save my ire on that topic for another day)

Personally, I stopped paying attention to the Verizon App part of the presentation because it was yet another offering not available to the Cdn or International fan base.

I’m not “outraged” (today’s word du jour) about Verizon making an app. Good for them I say! If I lived in the US, and had a Verizon phone, I’d be pretty happy and would probably download it. But I don’t, and I don’t, so I’m not, cause I can’t.

Here’s my take, if I might be so bold as to express a thought out of step with the bloggerazzi this week. Perhaps it will provide some insight from the perceived “ungrateful” side of the fence. Continue reading

Canadian Motorsports Expo Takes Giant Step Forward

I must say, I was suitably impressed with the CME this year. Just walking into the show on Friday I immediately had the sense that it had finally found it’s legs after several awkward toddler years.

Is it spectacular? Not yet, but you could definitely see and feel the potential and growth, more so than during any other year I have attended.

There are still some niggley things to work out. Flow of the show itself (layout of aisles/booths, scheduling of the mainstage/seminar room talks, sound on the mainstage) but those are all fixable technical issues. Other than that, the substance of the show itself, well, things were much improved in that area.

There was a larger corporate presence this year, which not only added to the look/feel of the show, but also upped the quality of the presentations and seminars. Sadly, I had to miss out on some I really wanted to see, due to scheduling conflicts. (will suggest a doubling up on presentations for next year)

Though I jinxed it on Thursday by talking about the weather (Bad Meesh!) and then predicting Snowmageddon (which actually did happen, though not that bad) the foot traffic appeared to be heavier, right from the get go. I noticed more people milling about, and with a larger hall this year and wider aisles, you would expect the opposite interpretation. I also heard vendors remarking that they had had more inquiries and traffic at their booth on the Friday than they had had during the entire weekend in previous years. So it would appear to have been a successful weekend no matter what side of the aisle you were on.

One can only assume, especially when you take into consideration all of the announcements about the growth of racing and racing venues in Canada during this year’s show, that next year we will see even more outreach for this “little show that could”.

I can’t stress enough how informative and enjoyable the discussion panels and Q&A’s are, especially if you’re a race fan. The opportunity to speak with drivers and industry leaders in a casual setting in the off season, when they aren’t bogged down by the stresses of the season yet, is invaluable, and rare.
Unfortunately, my trusty digital recorder decided he had had enough this year, and failed me on two occasions over the weekend, otherwise you would hear a complete example of what you missed. Trust me. They were phenomenal discussions! But hey, maybe that is better. Maybe that is what will convince you to pop up and check out the show next year for yourself.

Anyway, here are a few shots from the weekend.  (will upload a gallery elsewhere later, as FB pic resolutions are shite)

I didn’t take too many general show pics this year, as I was too busy meeting, greeting, listening and hobnobbing! But I did manage some from the presentations I was able to enjoy.

I will also be posting an interview I did with the Mayor of Hinchtown 😉 later this week. Always great to chat with that boy. Feel like I’ve watched him grow up before my eyes.

EDIT: OH Eureka! So, turns out I did manage to capture all but a little bit at the end of the Media Panel Discussion on Saturday! I will figure out how to upload it so you can hear it.

Also, Stephanie from More Front Wing managed to capture the Q&A from Hinch so head over there and have a listen to that!  (Thanks for choosing one of my pics for your story Steph! 😉 )

So there ya go! Another year under our belts to kick off what is setting up to be a pretty damned exciting racing season for all genres of racing, both here in North America, and across the pond!

Thanks again to everyone at Inside Track magazine, specifically Greg MacPherson, for their hard work putting this show together and assistance on site! See you next year!

2 more days til MY sports season begins

alright… Got all of that Football stuff out of your system?

Good, because now it’s time to concentrate on some real sports entertainment! Racing and Cars!

That’s right, over the course of the next week, things kick off in a big way, especially here in Toronto.

First up, this weekend is the annual Canadian Motorsports Expo, or CME as it’s known in these parts. In a stroke of genius, the powers that be decided to push the date from it’s usual dreary January weekend, to the second weekend in February.

Why is this important? Well, a number of reasons, but the main one being it’s close proximity to the Canadian International Auto Show (that kicks off next Thursday, and I’ll be there too) This makes it a great lead in to the automotive season here in Toronto. Plus, the football season is done (apparently they played their last game during the Madonna concert last weekend) leaving a good portion of the male population wanting something to do on the weekend besides tackle their “honey-do list” 😉 And, though they could never have predicted this, the weather has been ridiculously pleasant this winter. (of course now that I’ve said that, there will be Snowmageddon this weekend)

At first glance at the handy electronic version of the show program
There looks to be a much larger presence this year. The layout appears to have changed substantially, and there certainly appears to be a larger corporate footprint mixed in with the smaller “mom & pop” operations.

What am I looking forward to? The discussion!
Yes, it’s the annual meeting of the motorsports minds. The who’s who of Canadian (Ontarian?) motorsports journalists hold a Q & A panel each year (Saturday), while I, the “who the fuck is that chick?” of Canadian motorsports journalists, sits in the audience and heckles… er “asks questions” 😉
There are actually things to talk about this year! In years previous, much of the discussion at the CME amongst my colleagues and friends amounted to nothing more than speculation because as you well know, other than the mega teams, very few deals are signed, sealed and delivered in January. This year of course was a bit of an anomaly as teams were eager to secure drivers sooner rather than later to take advantage of the limited testing of the new car, a time sensitive priority with the first race 46 days away. (not that I’m counting… but I’m counting)

Speaking of the new car; you can get up close and personal with the DW12 at the show courtesy of the Honda Indy Toronto, who themselves will once again have a presence after a year absent from the show. Come down, ask about the car, ask about the race, get revved up for July!!

oh, right, you want to know about drivers?

Ya, they have those too! As is the case currently in North America, it’s all about NASCAR, (there really is no accounting for taste 😉 ) so much of the special guest action is NASCAR centric (hey, they’re probably footing most of the bill too, so good on them) This year features both CDN & US stars who will feature prominently throughout the weekend: Carl Edwards, Robert Yates, Randy LaJoie & Scott Steckly But don’t fret Open Wheel/Road racing fans, CME stalwart Ron Fellows will be there again (should be interesting to pick his brain about Mosport) and the most important feature, for me anyway, up and coming open wheel SUPERSTAR (though he’s always been one in my book) James Hinchcliffe! (he’s there on Sunday)

So, it looks like I will spend a good portion of my weekend on the fricken Go-Bus to and from downtown to the fricken boonies about behind the Airport to the International Centre. (my biggest complaint about this show, especially as a non-driver) (no, the irony of that is not lost on me) On the bright side, at least I know once I’m there, I will have plenty of sights and sounds to occupy my time! But don’t just take my word for it, come check it out for yourself!

And be sure to say HI! if you’re down there. Tweet me a hello @whatimthinking