Tag Archives: 2009 season

The more things change…

The more things fade into oblivion… T-minus 3 weeks and counting til the Honda Indy Toronto suffers the indignity of a return without fanfare… or at this point… fans…

So a little birdie called me this week to tell me that on top of cutting the staffing to about 30 percent of previous years. (Guess since they’ve obliterated the grandstands, they don’t need anyone to staff them…)
They are not putting in any run offs.

*blink*
*silence*

That’s right. On an uber tight street course, with two fields of drivers most of whom have never driven here, in cars that have never been on this circuit, they (the royal “they”, the braintrust that are driving this apple cart) are eliminating the one, not even certain, means of preventing carnage and destruction. Apparently AGR found out that while they own the race, they don’t own the barriers. An independant crane company was paid to install and then remove them every year. So rather than fork out the extra money for the barriers and tires that these runoffs require, they are just going to put an extra layer of tires.

Those sitting in the Turn 3 grandstands better wear flack jackets…
(oh no wait, the got rid of the Turn 3 stands, as well as the Turn 6/7 stands, and half of the Silvers, and the outside of Turn 1 if I’m not mistaken… nevermind, the 10 people that know about the race and might show up should be safe… wish I could say the same for the drivers and corner workers… )

I only have one thing to say…

Are they out of their fucking minds??

To save a couple of thousand dollars they are willing jeopardize the event, the teams lively hood and the drivers?? Not to mention track workers and spectators!

Are they really that arrogant and that cheap?
Have they done zero research?
Do they want this to be the first AND last Honda Indy Toronto?

They already think this event is just going to magically happen with pretty much ZERO promotion. It’s less than a month and there is nary a poster, billboard, checkered flag anywhere! Oh wait, I did see a poster hastily taped on the door of Hooters when I walked by the other day…

IMG00148

*don’t know why it’s still sideways… maybe it’s a metaphor… *
Yup… Ed Carpenter, Graham Rahal, and Marco Andretti… Those three will get the Canadian’s buzzing!! Not!

What used to be a spectacular event that the city and all the local downtown establishments would get decked out for and promote months in advance is flying so far under the fucking radar right now I’m not even convinced it’s actually happening.

The least and the lesser were on breakfast television last Thursday.
Really, who better to have up here promoting the race and getting people interested than Marco Andretti? I mean it’s not like local hero Paul Tracy is in the race or anything… Pshaw….

They were on for barely two minutes and talked mostly about the Andretti family. Michael did mention how AGR promotions came to acquire the race. (And to his credit, you can tell how much he loves this race/track) but that was it. Nothing about the race, the support series, the fact that Tracy, Tags & Hinch will be racing, hell they didn’t even plug Parkco’s Gillette publicity stunt later that day (which may or may not have happened as it rained all day)

One thing I’ve noticed, AGR promotions is in the business of promoting AGR. Every tidbit of “news” surrounding the race revolves around AGR drivers. (The weekly pit notes this week talked about the BT appearance and included quotes from the princess about racing in Toronto.
I mean it’s not like Paul Tracy announced this week that he was running at the Glen so he could be better prepared for Toronto…
Maybe Paul should have struck a deal with AGR for the race, then at least he would be getting some media play.

That said, PT and Vasser are in town tomorrow to make his sponsorship announcement. (Honda Canada) Honda is now running their big “race event” sale ads, and using the show car in their commercials and saying the word Indy multiple times… what they AREN’T saying is that the RACE is happening in Toronto in 3 fricken weeks! Not even a silent graphic with a date and url. Fuck! that’s so basic and simple.

My heart is breaking for my home race. The city should be ramping up, yet there is barely a whisper that it’s around the corner.

Anyway, I’m heading down to the press conference in the morning. Hopefully the “real” journalists will bring up the lack of barriers and promotion, otherwise I just may have to get a little brassy tomorrow morning…

Indy 500 2009…

the aftermath…

So… A week yesterday I headed off on “Meesh’s little Indy adventure”. My first race of the season. My first road trip. My first trip to racing mecca. I didn’t really know what to expect to be truthful. To be honest, in hindsight, I think I expected more…

I felt very disconnected from the whole experience for the most part. I still do. It’s all a blur. I was so busy leading up the weekend, I had no time to really get excited. Then I was so busy when I got home, I had no time to really bask in the moment. (hence the post race blog a fucking week later)

With deadlines looming, and the thought of getting back in that fucking car… (More on that later) I was distracted for much of the time I was there. Plus any time you’re at a new track it takes a few days to get acclimated. Well I didn’t have a few days. More like hours…

The first time I was near cars on track… Well, I wasn’t. That’s the problem. I got there on Saturday. The Lights cars and drivers were gone. The IndyCar drivers did the autograph session thing. (had my brief meet ups and hugs with my PR buds and drivers) Then off to the public driver’s meeting, then they were whisked off to the parade and never came back. So there I was at a race track with no fricken racing! Ugh.

Sunday was more of the same weirdness. I briefly caught up with Tags & Nelson. Saw Oriol again (ran into him Saturday night) Gave a EJ a good luck peck on each cheek. (how European) (thought bubble: you know the drill, 2 ft taller, 20yrs older…) Then headed off to the grid, as per my usual routine, only there was nothing usual about it.

There was no warm up that day. The drivers were no were near the pits, and I got shuffled off the grid a good HOUR before any drivers made it down there. WTF?! Here it was race day and I hadn’t seen Paul. That is unfathomable to me. Normally milling about with the drivers pre-race, here I was 4 floors above it all, hoping to catch what I needed with my camera zoomed to the max. The whole experience was like watching it on tv for the most part, only louder. Except in the media room, which was like a fucking morgue most of the time. Seriously. I’ve been to louder funerals. Actually, there was much chuckling and a few “oooh”‘s when Moraes said he was going to talk to Marco… and then some uncomfortable laughter when Samantha Lloyd revealed she was in labour, but not going anywhere. Then back to the dead silence until the crashes. Miller got loud for a bit after the race. He can always be counted on to stray from the status quo… 😉 (that’s why I luvs him so…)

There were so many people, friends & acquaintances at the track that I didn’t get to see because I had both better access & shittier access! Ironic no?
I did meet up and hang with  Pressdog (Bill) and MyNameIsIRL (Jeff) who I feel like I’ve known my entire life. I wish we had had the opportunity to hoist a couple of cold ones over the weekend, rather than just sit beside each other furiously typing LOL!

Trifecta of Word Butchers!
*photo credit unknown person behind Jeff’s camera!*

I was formally introduced to Curt Cavin as “not a stalker” hehe… (thanks Jeff) Had an interesting conversation with John O (always a highlight of the weekend) (I will bring your beer to the Glen I promise!!)

The list of people I didn’t get to see or meet is way too long, and if I start to think about it, I will just get angry. As my buds are all linking to their pics I’m like YOU WERE THERE TOO?!?!
To all of you that were there that I missed, maybe another race on the circuit this season?

Things I loved about the Speedway? Well, it’s the Speedway! My first impression was that it seemed smaller than I had pictured. Once you start walking around though, you realize how NOT small it is.

The IMS media centre staff was awesome, and accommodating, but not in a begrudging way.

The cafeteria staff make the most awesome sandwiches! (I somehow missed the hot meal both days LOL!)

Honestly, I could do without the yellow shirts. Well, ok, most were ok, but there were some that will now make me snarl at anyone wearing yellow for the next little while. And those fucking whistles… gah! I have a few rather unladylike suggestions of where they can store them until next May…

oh and thank you to the awesome Canon peeps who plopped a free cap on my head (on not in) and then cleaned and updated the firmware on my camera! Cool!

The race itself, meh…
again I’m not much of an oval fan, and when you watch the race from the vantage point I did, you don’t get the sense of the track. It was a straightaway. That’s it. A magnificent straightaway, mind you, but just a straightaway. Give me Vegas or Michigan or Chicago or Milwaukee. Actually, give me Cleveland or Edmonton. Where you can see the whole thing.

And It was predictable.
Red cars dominated. Fuel was saved. Young drivers crashed. Heartbreak for Kanaan & Meira. A Penske car won.

Now, in my most humble opinion, the WRONG Penske car won, but it was the one that would get the most media play, so that is how it played out. ABC darling “Twinkletoes Castroneves” is much more sellable to the ignorant masses than a true cinderfella story like Power, fighting for his career, winning the big race and putting Penske on the spot to field him for the season. I have to wonder if the tire guy was fired for his “mistake” or given a bonus… but I digress…

Paul finished top 10. Not where he wanted to be, but definitely a great result first race out of the gate this season with yet another new team. He again proved he deserves to be in a seat fulltime (more on that later)

When it comes down to it, this “event” is all about the pomp and less about the circumstances. This tradition and that tradition, spread out over way too many days. Unless you’re there for the entire month (god forbid) or at the very least the final week, you don’t get a sense of the build up and are left scratching your head afterwards.

I did have a funny conversation with my buddy Dean McNulty from the Toronto Sun. He asked me if now that I’ve been here, did I “get it”… did I get why the IRL won the “war”. I had to admit that I did. Like it or not, with TG having this ace up his sleeve, Champ Car was never going to “win” unless this race was part of their schedule. It’s too big. It’s too historic. Again, I’ve never seen so many people in one place at one time. Too bad they don’t come to the rest of the races… just sayin.

Back to the drive… NEVER AGAIN!! What the fuck was I thinking??? 8.5 hrs my ass. That’s obviously minus any other cars on the road and absolutely ZERO stopping. I overestimated the “joy” of the solitude and was bored out of my mind after 3hrs. Since I’m apparently out of favour with the folks I used to attend races with, there was no one to even offer to drive down for company.

I started logging my trip and my thoughts on my digital recorder. BRASSY! Once I figure out how to get them online, I’ll toss them up for a laugh. On the ride back I was decidedly less “brassy”. I mostly talked to myself to stay awake at that point. From here on out. (except for the Glen, cause that is a short drive) I will be flying. I get a lot of my work done on the plane. You can’t write while you’re driving! LOL!

Ok… My inaugural Indy 500 experience is officially in the books. I carried my media pass around in my bag for the week to use as “show & tell” for my friends. Most of them don’t get it, but they appreciate how happy racing makes me, so they put up with my enthusiastic retelling of my weekend exploits.

Here are some of the pics I took this weekend. Again, not the best selection as I didn’t have much to work with. But hey, it is what it is.

Indy 500 Saturday
Indy 500 – Race Day

Looking forward to the Glen.

Pole Day 09…

or how VERSUS learned to fill 6hrs of tv time with only 2hrs of on track action.

Good morning peeps. Eating some breakfast, preparing for my day, and realized I never wrote about Pole Day. So… here goes…

Good lord! What was the point of all of that yesterday? Why draw a list of drivers and publish said list, when 2/3 of that list isn’t going to even suit up?? Perfectly qualified drivers spent the day in their motorhomes watching on TV. Why set the month up in such a financially precarious way that drivers who might of had a legitimate shot to challenge for the front rows can’t risk it for fear of running out of tires on race day or running too many miles on their engine lease? If you want this to be the “greatest spectacle in racing” you gotta fix this, cause right now, not so much spectacular. It’s a battle of the haves and have nots. What if all of those drivers who will fill those grid positions up to 33 decided it’s just a big waste of time and effort? what then? Indy becomes just another race on the circuit.

That said, Kudos to VERSUS for their coverage! and for the kind souls who streamed the broadcast for us poor souls not privy to coverage. That is until the VERSUS peeps sent their watchdogs around the internet to shut down said streams. Hey VERSUS… here’s a suggestion, take it or leave it.

This is your first year doing this. You should WANT as many eyes on what you’re providing. If people care enough to A) watch & B) stream it so others can watch it , LET THEM!! Most of the people watching the stream I was watching yesterday were from Europe or Canada, of which neither market have any other recourse but streams to watch your coverage. If you’re not going to allow us to watch via your own website, then let others do you the favour!

If we can’t see it, we can’t talk about, if we can’t talk about it, then we can’t promote it. Viewers watching and talking about it is FREE PROMOTION for your network. Maybe some of those watching the streams (which are mostly of shitty quality truthfully) are on the fence about ponying up the cash for the extra channel on their provider? Maybe watching will prompt them to ante up for a clear tv stream of their own, or contact their provider and request the channel be added.

Once again, biting the hand that feeds you, not smart.

Anyway, until the stream was shut down, I was thoroughly enjoying the coverage being provided. Great interviews at the track. Great technical features by Jan Beekus as usual. And of course the two part interview with PT.

Take away the over the top production (it looked like a scene from Casablanca, I kept waiting for one of them to light up a smoke) and the rattlesnake soundtrack (really? rattlesnakes?), and that was a pretty awesome interview.

Some people are of the opinion that it perpetuates the continued bitterness over the split. I don’t agree. I think if they don’t talk about it (2002), it’s ignoring the Gorilla in the room. Not to mention there would be no story for this year’s race other than “which former winner in a red driver suit on which over funded super team will drink the milk this year?”

I think Paul himself basically told everyone to “get the fuck over it and move on!”

There were two poignant moments during the segment which made this tough as nails “brassy” Canuckdian tear up a little.

When he said “I just want to finish my career the way I feel I deserve” I felt little catch in my gut. That has always been my point of contention. He’s not looking for a multi-year uber contract. He wants a good, steady ride, with a good, steady team, where he can have one more legit kick at the can while he is still fully capable and willing to leave it all out there on the track.

Then when Arute set up the question: “Winning the Indy 500 would mean…”
and he answered “redemption”

I don’t think it’s necessarily redemption for 2002. I think it’s redemption for the shitty way his career was derailed in 2008.

Anyway… He is one of the fully capable but underfunded one’s who will have to settle for qualifying today and and race his way to the front 2 weeks from now.

oh ya, Pole Day results? Red suit, red suit, red suit, *thinks about it* ha! red suit ironically (not surprising though as they were one of the “big three” in CC) and… red suit.

It continues today. I am working this afternoon, but will be following the “action” via twitter and mobile timing. 0

breakfast bloggy…

So, let’s look at where we are heading into the month of May shall we? (This is me killing time on the commute… Via Blackberry… So spelling may be an issue!!)

One year and a bit post unifornication and there appears* to be some parity between the IRL teams and what used to be the Champ Car teams.

Appears of couse is a word I use loosely… But on the surface, things have evened out a little over the winter hiatus.

Everyone save for one or two are actually “in the mix”, with the potential to win, podium or spoil.
We are seeing the drivers with skill float to the top despite the perceived demotions (Wilson, Wheldon), & those with the lottery winning rides both perform & disappoint.

Biggest surprises so far?

*Wilson squeezing results out of the bucket of parts that DCR received last year and had to assemble into a car! He is the real deal!

*The Prozac Princess! She’s almost, dare I say it, likeable. I almost… I almost want to root for her. (I almost said almost again…) The season is early however…. Waiting for the tranquilizers to wear off…

*Dixon’s season circling the drain after round two. (The 4 ovals in a row oughta remedy that)

*Just how bad Stanton Roth… Er…. Milka Barrett turned out to be!

When we all gasped at his announcement and predicted backmarker status, he came out swinging full of “just you wait!” bravado. Well SB… We waited. And will be for a while apparently.

While I give him points for his mad evading skills (I expected nothing less from a stuntman) his moving chicane-ness is epic! He does stay out of the way however, so he’s avoided being parked for “handling issues” thus far.

*VERSUS coverage, despite being available in about 4 markets, is kicking ass & taking names. Although I have to wonder about the market research done by advertisers.

From what I can tell by the ad placement, they’ve determined that their viewing audience are horny middle aged men with midlife crisis fantasies about the Princess, who pop Viagra like tic-tacs. (Who knew there were so many erectile dysfunction products out there!)

*A relatively full field of actual drivers for the 500! Not the usual motley crew of arrive and drive cheque holders… Good thing they tightened up the schedule! With only what, 5 rookies?! That ain’t gonna be riveting to cover… Oh, but coverage we will have! Thanks again VERSUS! (On behalf of the 12 people in the U.S. That will get to watch…)

Ok… Brain sufficiently purged! And all before coffee!

The whispers are getting louder and louder…

and if they turn out to be true (in any capacity), then I just have one thing to say…

bosstoo3

nuff said kids…