Tag Archives: Detroit

Belle Isle Grand Prix (not so) *live* blog

Ok…So, obviously, since I was there, I am well aware of what happened and the outcome, but as I said in my last entry, I miss so much of what happens while I’m in pitlane, that it’s like seeing it for the first time. So, since I’m watching it anyway, I might as well fire up the blog and follow along.

blah blah… pre-race all about Dixon and Castroneves. But Justin and Graham get some nice face time.

Green green green!! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT??? Wow. That was so not impressive. Do they not wave off ridiculously non-lined up starts?? I remember standing and watching the monitors in the Conquest pit box and asking if they actually went green for that. It looked just as bad on tv. wow. just wow.

I’m impressed that race control is already laying down the “iron hand of justice”.

woohoo… a little attention for Tags! Snotty Goodyear shows his research prowess by dropping a little bit of trivia about Tagliani… except it was actually about PATRICK CARPENTIER. dumbass.

LOL… because the entire ESPN team is camping at the other end of pitlane in the Penske/Ganassi pits, they haven’t got a fucking clue what happened to Scheckter. I on the other hand was over there before Tomas got out of the car, asked one of his crew what happened and ran back to Conquest to tell them. (maybe ESPN should have stuck a mic on me! LOL!)

The camera angles are much better for this race. The onboards are great (especially the rear view) They really show the speed.

I like the look of this track. It reminds me of Toronto. Hey speaking of which, I ran into Charlie Johnstone (prez of the Toronto GP) on the grid pre-race. He is super stoked for next year. YAY! I’m now super stoked for next year too!

wow… Dixon and twinkletoes are in their own little race. I now see why Dixon was so pissed after the race. That was his race to lose. He should have been holding onto the Championship Trophy yesterday afternoon.

ahh… Snotty corrects his trivia blunder.

wow!! sweet fucking pass by Power!! holy crap! BANZAI!! LOL! What a wild man! The Princess must have piddled a bit with that one.

The grandstands look pretty impressive. Not a lot of GA walking traffic however. Of course not being familiar with the layout, I don’t know just how much of it is accessible to walking around.

Ah yes… the incident when both Camara and Wheldon ran out of talent. At the time I was convinced both were in the wrong, but looking at it again, Camara had the line, Wheldon had the brainfade.

And this is the pit stop where Dixon’s strategist opened the door to the championship… (hindsight is everything eh?)

Again I have to wonder why there is so little passing amoungst the IndyCar’s when they were passing like crazy people in the ALMS cars, which are actually wider…

Dixon attempting to carve his way through the field from 18th! I can only imagine how much he is screaming at his crew.

ooh… Tags got squiggly in front of Dixon. That’s when Tags gearbox started go. The gear would just just slip out all of a sudden.

LOL! Carpenter let’s Tags by, but not Dixon… bwahahaha!

Oh, nice… just as Dixon makes the pass, they cut to commercial. Dumbass moment two for this broadcast.

wow.. that’s not much of a front straightaway. Thought it was longer.

Up to Speed… or “lets talk about/make excuses for the midpacker/back-markers”

festival of pitting… leaders in.
ew… that was an ugly grandstand shot. Apparently that one wasn’t full. (or even close)

I love that at this point Tags is behind the wall, with his crew tearing his car apart but there is NO mention on the tv broadcast.

Nice pass on the Princess by EJ!

Ooh… who was that!? LOL! Rahal and Meira split around the Princess (who was way off the pace) Rahal pulls it off, Meira doesn’t. Suspension toast. Now the Princess runs straight and stalls it. Possible damage to car.

Oh EJ!! Ouch. That looked like it rung his bell a bit.

and still no mention of the fact that Tags is not running and his crew is rebuilding his car at the end of pit lane. Oh, there we are, an update finally.

Sad when Gustav gets more of an update than Tags…

ooh… Justin just got squiggly. Nice save.

LOL… Goodyear is prattling on and on about something while there is some serious passing going on on track! Holy fuck. The IMS radio guys must have been going ballistic! (*note to self* figure out way to play IMS radio broadcast tape delayed as well)

Justin is all over twinkletoes’ gearbox!

Wow, another penalty enforced! Manning is playing the role of Blocky McBlockerson today, much to the chagrin of Junky and race control. Did Barnhart find the rulebook in the same box as his cajones? Impressive.

Lap 45 and they are yacking about the possibility of a timed race.

btw… STILL no coverage of Tags or the rebuild. Unbelievable.

oh gawd… the touching story of Scotty’s Grandma on her deathbed waiting for him to win the championship… (hold on another week Grandma!)

All Dixon, all the time.

Woah! There was the contact with Power and Hunter-Reay. Ryan tried the shut the door on Will and paid the price. Actually both did. Flat tires and broken wings. (sounds like a country song)

Hey Dixon coverage! what a shock! LOL… he drives by Tagliani in the pits on his way to his pit, and yet still no mention.

I’m surprised they let Will run with that broken wing for so long. Ask Patreek about running too long with a sketchy wing. One of the scariest shunts on a street course I’ve seen. (Surfers) He was concussed and hospitalized overnight.

LOL… Tag just drove by the camera. Guess he was back on track by then.

Hey, is Marco Andretti in this race? BWAHAHA… just as I typed that they mentioned him! I’m psychic!

LOL.. wow… the director in the camera truck just had a stroke or something. They had NO clue what they were supposed to focus on there!

Junky is now playing the role of Blocky McBlockerson, much to the chagrin of Will Power.

How can these broadcasters be soooooooo bad at saying the names of the drivers. It’s not that hard!! Christ.

A montage of fence climbing into commercial.

oops! Wheldon ran out of talent for the second time in the race, and Moraes joined him around the next corner. Danny boy… have you signed on the dotted line yet? You might want to get on that.

LOL.. they mention that Tags is coming in to the pits to top off on fuel. Um NO. He is coming in because now his clutch has gone. This is after the team completely tore apart his car and rebuilt in pitlane, then sent him back out on track where he pulled off the 3rd fastest lap of the race before having to retire with clutch issues. As a wise man said to me recently: There are 26 cars in the race which means there are 26 stories. It would be nice if the broadcast team would remember this too.

Helio has clinched the the 3 points for leading the most laps. (3??… awfully generous here on the IndyCar side of the fence)

OH! LOL… ya, not so much sympathy for Helio. Holy Blocking batman! Bwhahaha!

ooh… Helio, not going gently into that goodnight… hehehe.

wow… the grandstands are emptying out. Weird. Mind you it was fucking hot yesterday afternoon. I can’t imagine sitting for the entire race on shiny aluminum without shelter.

Good thing they ran TWENTY commercials on that break. It’s not like there’s only a handful of laps left or anything.

Sure, The Least gets face time and a mention when he goes out, but Tags gets ignored. dumbasses.

White flag! (this is when I bolted down pitlane, never to see any of my race chums again… sorry guys and gals… duty called)

This was also when I was fighting back the tears and trying to snap pictures of the crew.

aww.. Carl…

LOL! Justin! Nice attempt at donuts.

Helio is a class act. He was clearly piiiiiiiiiiiiiissed off, and Arute sticks the mic in his face. I certainly respect him for smiling and thanking the crowd and letting Jack know he had “nothing smart to say”.
Arute, being part of the dumbass crew asks “why are you upset?” gee…why do you think Jack??
Helio should have hit him. LOL! Helio did the same thing at the Victory podium when the presenter questioned him about the penalty. He clearly knows when it’s appropriate to express your opinion (the media centre press conference for example) Even Cindric was incredibly poised in his post race interview. (young racers, take note)

Justin: “this one’s for you Paul” Oh cripes… here come the tears again.

Dixon also shows incredible poise and class.

Barnhart gives a concise explanation. It’s true, they are warned prior to the race.

Well, that was 150% more entertaining than the last race. Certainly couldn’t call that a parade.

and with that… we countdown to the showdown in Chitown (hehe… still a bit punchy post race weekend)

time to cut the wristbands off and officially bring my race weekend to a close… *tear*

Homeward bound…

So apparently my lofty ambitions of blogging throughout my race weekend were just that. Lofty ambitions. Sorry.

A little personal ranting, and then we will get to the racing…

I finally figured out why this year is so time crunched for me as opposed to last year. The extra day. I have been trying to squeeze 3 (sometimes 4) days worth of race weekend into two. Normally I have the Friday to do interviews, write story bases, take establishing shots, etc… Then Saturday to fill in the blanks, deal with breaking news, cover sessions etc… Sunday is race day, so I mostly am in the moment, taking pictures and notes and visiting and saying goodbye. On top of that I was also part of a staff of writers last year, so whomever was at the track wasn’t responsible for writing the session reports. They were there to get the other stuff done. This year… not so much staff to cover things. Work, school, “lives” and a general malcontent over the merge has all lead to me being responsible for keeping things humming online with one or two helping to pick up the slack when available. That’s one Meesh, 7 months, fours series, hundreds of sessions, teams, drivers and stories. This weekend, the pre-weekend race preview was never written or uploaded, despite the promise of it being done. The race report, which was supposed to be covered was also never taken care of. With a bit of warning in advance I could try to cover these things off or take care of them myself in a more timely fashion. Instead I am left scrambling last minute and the site flounders embarrassingly. For example, I never had time to do a complete write up post race (which I discovered was not written) before I had to leave the track. No internet where I was staying meant that the full race report didn’t get posted until I got to the train station this afternoon for my return trip home. UNACCEPTABLE!

Fyi…(sidenote) if you are interested in racing journalism and would like the opportunity to hone your writing skills, please drop me an email as I will be looking for a writing staff for 2009. It doesn’t pay at the moment (not even for me) but it’s a great way to get some experience and develop a bit of a portfolio. Contact me. Seriously.

OK… enough of that… WHAT A WEEKEND!

Remember when I said I didn’t know what my story would be? Well, the universe saw fit to drop a few of them into my lap.
-Doornbos letting it slip that he is all set for the 2009 IndyCar season. (do tell?!)
-Tagliani subbing for the injured Enrique Bernoldi
-Justin Wilson finally breaking through for the “transitioners” and getting that long awaited win.
-Brian Barnhart growing some stones and making the right if not too popular call. (yay for Tony Cotman who is obviously more than a little influential in the control room)

While I didn’t get a definitive answer from him, I did get an evasive one and a cheeky grin when talking to Wiggy about the quote from Doornbos. I also got what I considered to be a confirmation that my little EJ would be back next year. (of course this was before he took himself out of the race yesterday) And of course, we all know that nothing is ever a “for sure” in racing.

I couldn’t have asked for a more fortuitous change of plans for Tagliani! You see I’ve been covering his season this year since Long Beach, and have been there for all the major events. (the last minute ride in LB, his first ride in CTNS, his first win in CTNS, and now his first IndyCar ride) Of course, Alex being Alex, his story was filled with drama this weekend! I have a crapload of pictures (which will be uploaded once I get home as the train’s internet signal today is not conducive to uploading photos) This of course also changed the focus of my race day. So much of the drama of the race happened while I was behind the wall at the end of pitlane watching the Conquest crew working their asses off to get that car fixed and back in the action. Of course my first thought was that if this was Bernoldi, they would have been packing up the trailer and calling it a weekend. This being my 4th race this season, I was able to visibly notice the difference in the crew. They were absolutely lit up and motivated beyond belief. With Alex having experience with many of the crew members previously, they were on the same wavelength almost immediately. The feedback provided by Alex on the car was invaluable. His absolute passion to make the car just right is exciting to watch. I love drivers who are passionate. Who won’t settle. Who don’t get out of the car and go… “it’s crap” and just walk away. I would imagine the Conquest crew feels the same way. To have the privilege of watching them converse following the second mechanical fubar (which ultimately ended the day for Alex) was pretty cool. For all that went so horribly wrong with Alex’s day, he took off his helmet and Balaclava to reveal a huge smile. He was lit up. A kid in a candy store. In fact the whole crew remained in the pit box, watching the rest of the race and conversing despite both of their drivers being eliminated. There it was, that secret language of racing I so covet!

Before I was able to close the chapter on that story however, I was running down pitlane to the NHL pit stall to capture the crew reaction to Justin Wilson winning the race. I was so choked up with emotion I could barely hold my camera steady. All I kept thinking was “this one’s for Paul” I still get emotional thinking about it. With his incredible life in it’s final chapter, I can only imagine the huge grin on his face when Justin won, knowing that both of his drivers broke through and won in this, probably the most difficult year technically, physically and emotionally. I do believe we will be writing his epitaph sooner rather than later now.
Having friends on the crew, it was doubly emotional watching them celebrate. Genuine happiness long forgotten and much deserved.
Almost makes the full out sprint from the pitlane to the Victory circle worth it. (not bad for an old broad I must say)

As I do every race weekend, I caught up with old friends, and made some new ones. I love my racing family. I love the commonality. I love that for every moment that is expected and possibly routine, there are a dozen unexpected things that happen that get us all abuzz.

I loved that this weekend turned into a “where’s waldo” of familiar and missed folks. Seeing Billy for the first time this season was such a treat! I only really spoke with him once or twice in my Champ Car days, but he was such a staple of my race weekend. When you saw Billy, you knew that everything was under control. When I saw him on Saturday I squealed “Billy!!” and ran over and hugged him! LOL! (Gary, I will leave it to you to explain I’m not some psychopath but was just genuinely happy to see him) David Malsher also made an appearance for the first time this season. (at least that I’ve seen) Actually, all of the heavy hitters were there this weekend. Miller, Phillips, Kirby, Malsher, Oreovitz. (wow, Kirby was on a tear on Sunday. I love his fiery opinionated passion!) (surprising since I’m such a wallflower when it comes to giving my opinion… Ya RIGHT!)

Even the LAT team of photogs were there! It’s the little things like that that make my weekend. Hearing the bellowing voice of Mike Levitt at the photographer’s meetings and in the media centre just puts a big grin on my face.

See the IndyCar media room’s tend to have a funereal feel to them. Very quiet, and serious for some reason. (imagine their horror when I showed up the first time! LOL!) But with some of the “old gang” in the room, there was more of a “wake” atmosphere this weekend. Interesting, and lively. A much needed injection of energy!

I’m looking forward to watching the race when I get home. The little bits of it I managed to catch on the monitors and the jumbotron as I walked up and down pitlane looked like it was pretty interesting! The crowed was decent. The facility and Grand Prix staff were excellent. Again, I wish I had had an extra day to really explore it.

I got some leads on possible employment, which is something I really wanted to come away with seeing as this was my last IndyCar event of the season.

*sigh*

I can’t believe it’s almost over! Where did this year go??

Anyway… I’m gonna wrap this bloggy blog up and enjoy the last half hour of my train trip staring wistfully out the window as the landscape blurs by.

More details and photos to come… ciao

Planes, trains and automobiles…(a travel log on the way)

Ok… so no planes this time, other than the ones that flew over head all day in preparation for the Canadian National Air show happening in my city while I fly the coop! Which is fine by me. I probably could have flown, but the added expense and inconvenience of airport locals, well… hardly time saving.

Trains? You bet! Train #79 Windsor bound from Toronto. Seat 5D. I’m in first class on this trip. I treated myself. Hey if you’re going to travel, even if it’s only a few hours away, you might as well make the most of it if you have the opportunity. I booked early enough that I was able to get the “supersaver” fare. On top of that I got a corporate discount, so I’m living large for half the price! Sweet! One of the first perks was the lounge to wait in. Since I had a bit of of wait between the end of my work day and my departure time, it was nice to have somewhere comfortable and quiet to chillax. A complimentary apple juice and free wifi and I’m a happy gal. Then we were called to board. Out we marched all relaxed and thirst quenched, past the long line of tired looking folks standing in the drafty corridor under the unpleasant florescent lighting. (I know this line well… I’m usually in it)
On to the train… It’s all dark and moody, like someone’s den. (I feel like I should be wearing a smoking jacket and holding a pipe!) Our seats are oversized with lots of leg room, and recline ridiculously!!

I have a window seat of course. I always take the window seat. I’m not a get up wander around pee every 20 minutes kind of traveler. I’m a kick off my shoes, curl up, wistful gaze out the window, ponder life kind of traveler. (if we ever travel together, I will fight you for the window seat!)
I usually have some sort of thoughtful music. (on the plane it’s to calm me down during take off and landing (I hide the headphones under my hair) and to drown out the constant noise of people and mechanical thingys. But the train is so pleasantly quiet, I’m kind of enjoying the dulled clacking of the tracks below.

Before we even pulled out of the station I had a snack in hand, had chosen my dinner (Pork tenderloin, with all the fixins) (comes with the ticket!) and had been offered a lap tray with a hard top and pillow bottom on which to place my laptop. (niiiiiiice) and now I am sipping my complimentary white wine while my dinner is being prepped. I may move in… just sayin is all.

Automobiles? but of course! the best kind in fact!! Race Cars!!! I got to watch the practice from my office this afternoon, made me a little angry to be truthful. I hate watching from my computer, knowing how close they are! Whatever the next job is, it will have a ‘Friday’ clause for race weekends. This two day crap sucks. It makes me panicky, like I have to fit it all in too quickly.

Did I mention I’m sipping chardonnay in first class on a train? Just checking…
oops.. have to stop typing for minute… my hot towel just arrived… hehehe…
and I’m back. My that was refreshing. (even gave my keyboard a little wipe down)

I don’t know what my “story” will be this weekend. I have to read through my notes. I’m open to suggestions if you have any… not that I promise to write about it, but you can suggest! LOL!

Ok… my dinner is here… more later…

edit: dudes… you have no idea how good that meal was. Pork tenderloin, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, the most yummiest dark sweet gravy… and an apparently bottomless glass of white wine. I’m a little tipsy to be honest! LOL! I’m now enjoying my dessert and coffee, and rumour has it they are coming around with an after dinner… oooh yes.. I see the Grand Marnier!! I’m going to fall off the train to in Windsor! bwhahaha!

edit: ok seriously. Not getting any work done. So full I’m going to explode. (just came by with truffles and more coffee) (they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming from this train!!)
The best part is I get to do it all over again on Monday!! woohoo!

Ok… going to read my pre-race weekend notes… for real this time.

Perhaps someone could explain to me…

WHY THE FUCK PAUL TRACY IS NOT IN A CAR THIS WEEKEND????

*and exhale*

Seriously.

Paul gave Vision their highest finish this year, on a street course no less, and has actually WON at this track. Yet no one could work anything out. Fucking bullshit.

Meanwhile Marty Sloth is spinning around out there like it’s his first day in the car.
Helio is running 1:13’s… Sloth is running 1:27’s!! What the fuck???

Seriously.

I will be a walking Paul Tracy billboard this weekend. All Monster/PT, All the time. Actually there will be a few of us. It’s our own little personal protest. At least the Monster green matches EJ’s car, so I’ll fit in hanging around his pits… LOL! If my main badboy ain’t there, I’ll cheer on the next generation!

2.5hrs till I’m released to enjoy my weekend. (then another 2hrs until my train leaves… but I’m traveling first class, so I get to hang out in a fancy lounge and get fed and stuff… sweet)

Will, of course, attempt to update frequently over the weekend. This will be my last event for the season (can’t do Chicago unfortch) so I’ll be soaking up as much as I can to get me through the off season…

Ok… back to watching practice.

Edit: the Sloth strikes again!! *falls over laughing cause the only other thing to do is cry out of frustration*