Wait A Minute… Dario Left IndyCar?

I don’t expect anyone to notify me of every little IndyCar change, but come on. Someone could have said something, we are in fact “the absolute cream of the national sporting press”.

Luckily Jeff at “My Name Is IRL” is on top of things, and posted news of his departure.

So with Dario gone, what’s the score here? What’s next? The possibility of physical and mental collapse is now very real. No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. buy the ticket, take the ride.

I have this suggestion for Dario, as he enters the world of Nascar: You’ll go blind… your body will turn to wax… they’ll have to put you in a wheelbarrow… and when you scream for help, you’ll sound like a raccoon.

Tony Stewart Headboard

Product #12425
Price: $252.99

Description: “Dreams of future NASCAR race wins spring to mind when you fall asleep with the NASCAR Racing Team logo Tony Stewart Headboard. ”

Folks, this is the deal of a lifetime. Fall asleep knowing that Tony Stewart is on your side.. watching you while you sleep. What’s that? Nightmares of rainy weather and right turns? Hush… Nascar fan… Tony will be there when you wake up.


Kurt Kyle: When the police showed up at my trailer looking for that dead girl I thought for sure I was headed back to the pen. But the second they took a gander at my genuine #20 head board, they forgot all about it.

Edward Gordon: There ain’t nobody who can sleep the legs off a bed like Smoke, that’s for sure. A few years ago I got drunk and snuck into his house hoping for an autograph. I lost track of time and woke up several hours later. Turns out I was in my own home, and Kyle Busch was in my bed with my 78 year old mother.

Gene Simmons Presents: 2008 IndyCar Season In Review

I have been singing Gene’s praises for years now. The man is a marketing genius. He used our beloved “I Am Indy” theme song to prove that repetition does make the heart grow fonder. And now, he is ready to put the lid on another fine season. You may ask, how is he going to do it? Well, our sources stole this from the ESPN studios last night while the producers were watching a Nascar race. Why they were watching it naked is anyones guess, but who cares ….

Here it is. Make sure you crank up the volume.

Open Wheel Stuff 10-08-2008

F1: Explain The Chicane:

Leeeeeewwwwiiiissss (the reference will make sense later… maybe..). So I am just waiting for Void to call me and laugh at the misfortune of the man I voted most likely to carry another man’s child in ’07. You see… he loves Fernando Alonso. He will not admit to this… but I can sense it. Last month I caught him drawing eyebrows on my Lewis Hamilton bed spread, and just this week he tried to serve me a Spanish rice dish. So I am sure I will hear of how Lewis deserved this and how Lewis sucks, and how Lewis should this and Lewis should that. But what Void doesn’t know is that I have installed a giant chicane in his driveway. The next time he slips through the corners, 5 snipers will systematically fire upon his prized plasma television. He will be forced to watch the next race on his Spanish built television, which only receives Telemundo.

Indy Car: I am Windy:

(Did you see what I did there? I took our beloved theme song, and mixed it with the Windy City. Did you catch that? If so, your attention to detail could win you cash and prizes. Stay tuned for details of our new reader appreciation contest.)

Every time I watch a good race like the one in Chicago, someone with a cranial leakage blurts out “You don’t get this on road courses”. Now I am not going to get into that whole debate, because I don’t need to. One statement says it all: “Milka led the field”. You are correct… you don’t get this on road courses.

Helio “Fuel Strategy – My #$#$” Castroneves is my hero. In a majestic show of “I’ll do it my way”, he blocked, passed, and ignored both league officials and team strategists alike. And the crazy Brazilian dancer turned race car driver somehow pulled it off. I vote for Helio to carry another’s man child in ’09.

Congrats to the Iceman, who willingly informed us during the pre-race coverage that he has been de-Iced by a woman. Wahaaha. Scott you are awesome, but dude… you used to be cool. After you finish celebrating I want you to go rent a copy of “Jackie Brown”. Watch what happens to the character “Louis during the movie.

Speaking of a horrible segue, our sources have confirmed that the uneasy tone in Dario’s voice during the interview was not without merit. Our sources have video of Ashley Judd waving a prenuptial agreement at him as a motivational tactic, but the video was destroyed by wolves.

The Silent Pagoda:

Last week, Roy of the “Silent Pagoda” blog on IndyCar.com invited me to what he likes to call “Extreme Blogging”. This unique approach to blogging requires the highest level of professionalism and skill. At first I was afraid to try it, but he assured me that not only has it refined his skills, but it has given him the necessary tools to sell small arms in third world countries. Somehow Roy manages to produce one of the funniest blogs I have ever read, under the worst of circumstances. And I thought the Starting Grid IT department was bad…

SG “Correct Us” Contest:

We are proud to announce a new contest for our treasured 12 (and decreasing) readers. If, at any time, you notice a stupid pun, a spelling mistake, a slanderous statement, or an outright lie, notify us via blogs-at-startinggridnews.com. Each submission will gain you one “Patronization Point”. The more submissions you send, the more “Patronizing” you will receive. We are constantly working with our partners to provide new and unique prize opportunities. Participants will benefit from daily (even hourly) email offers. But remember, these email offers are only available for readers in your “PP” championship bracket, so please refrain from forwarding them to anyone in the FCC.

This week’s grand prize winner is Gordon Kazlowski from Toll Booth, Illinois. He gained 575 “PP” points, and is awaiting his $10,000 transfer from the Nigerian Federal Treasury. Congratulations Gordon, don’t forget about the dinner at “Ponderosa” you promised us (or “Bonanza” as it is called in regions without the intellect required to make a connection to the television program).

Disclaimer: All contestants are eligible to receive “PP” points, but prizes and investment opportunities are awarded at the sole discretion of our affiliates and the bulk email specialists they employ. (In case you’re a Nascar fan, this isn’t a real contest, you silly hilbilly.)

Toro Rosso: Welcome To the Wall Of Hate

Sebastien Bourdais seems to be getting a bit of press these days, and most of it is bad. Up until now he seemed to be his own worst critic. But today he struck back, perhaps providing some explanation to why he has not been performing as well as his teammate.

“I am convinced I am not any slower than Sebastian(Vettel) in a car where I am comfortable.”

The statement reminds me of a comment Graham Rahal made last year:

“Sebastien likes his car setup different than I do. I can’t drive a car like Sebastien does; he likes a lot of understeer in his car and I just can’t cope with that.”

Some are going to label Sebastien as a baby, no doubt. Let us examine some of the arguments that he has going against him.

2. Vettel has been out performing him.

Take a look at the results:

Race  Bourdais  Vettel

Australia  7th RET

Malaysia  RET  RET

Bahrain  15th RET

Spain  RET  RET

Turkey  RET  17th

Monaco  RET  5th

Canada  13th  8th

France  17th  12th

GB  11th  RET

Germany  12th  8th

Hungary  18th  RET

Europe  10th  6th

Belgium  7th 5th

Of the 13 races, 4 go to Bourdais , 7 go to Vettel and 2 no finishes. 3 top 10’s for Bourdais and 5 top 10’s for Vettel. Vettle has 6 DNF, Bourdais has 4.

No one can possibly say that Bourdais hasn’t been competitive.. especially before the STR3. But here is the thing… Did anyone else notice that Vettel has failed to finish almost half of his annuities?. I guess it only matters when a driver crashes during testing sessions.

Here is another interesting fact. Here is a list of all drivers this year and last, and the DNF count by the 10th race (2008 and 2007).

Bourdais: 4
Vettel: 5
Speed: 7
Vitantonio Liuzzi: 6

Italian GP mini-preview

After a hectic qualifying it looks like we’ve got a grid for a great race tomorrow at Monza. With two STRs up front it looks as if Kovalainen should get an early lead with Vettel and Webber giving chase. In the dry he should take Vettel with ease early on.
Not sure if Bourdais will be in there, he may run 5th or 6th for a while. I reckon both STRs will have fallen back a little before the first stops. Webber’s career is littered with terrible luck so expect his car to expire, or someone to drive into him.

The main interest will be watching Raikkonen and Hamilton (and Kubica) working their way through the field and whether they can catch Massa. With the points situation Kovalainen’s job is basically to beat Massa, preferably by winning. Hamilton has the points lead so can afford to give one or two away but would rather not so will be out to minimise that loss. Kimi needs to win to gain points back, nothing else will do. Heikki also wants to win for his own reputation, of course – he IS in a McLaren, he’s expected to win races. Massa needs to beat Hamilton by several points-paying positions regardless of what their respective team-mates do.

We’re in for a classic title run over the rest of the year, don’t miss it.

Check out the MotoGP at Indy as well. Could be dull, could be the best thing ever. MotoGP races are a bit like that. One week you watch a parade of riders, the next week all hell breaks loose with passing and repassing… I’m not the world’s foremost expert on MotoGP so I just sit back and enjoy.

The other thing on is the 1000km race at Silverstone. I nearly attended and would have done had the Italian GP not been on, but after all the happenings at Spa and with a grid such as we have at Monza I could NOT miss that Grand Prix. Yeah I know I could tape it (I haven’t quite caught up with DVRs yet) but it’s not the same…

And I think some taxi cabs are running around in circles somewhere.

Regular readers of The Starting Grid may wonder who I am. I’m Patrick, I write my own blog at Too Much Racing. Mark very kindly asked me to contribute over here from time to time and I was only too happy to oblige. Check out my blog after every F1 and IndyCar race for my ‘race notes’ posts, this is the stream of conciousness running through my head during the races. I’m told they are quite good but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Thanks again to Mark and Void for allowing my musings to appear at The Starting Grid.

Sebastian Vettel Spices Things Up

Sebastian Vettel, at 21, has won his first Formula 1 event and is the youngest driver to win a F1 GP. He had a couple things going for him, a good setup, a rolling start, and a bucket-load of talent.

What makes this win even more interesting is the fact that it was won by a customer team. A team that is up for sale . There has been quite the controversy around customer teams lately. The new Concorde Agreement will ban this type of team in 2010. But discussions are underway about the possibility of keeping Toro Rosso around in some form. One has to wonder if this win, and Toro Rosso’s performance all year will have a bearing on those discussions. At minimum, this has to raise the value of the team if Red Bull still plans to sell the team before next year. If it were me, I would sell the Red Bull team instead..

BTW, just in case you thought I had forgotten about the little “mishap” Sebastian Bourdais suffered from.. here is little video that expresses my feelings…

I AM “Petit”: Why IndyCar Fans Should Watch

Wait a minute… maybe that title “I AM Petite” wasn’t such a good idea.

For all of the Indy fans who are starting to suffer from withdrawal, there is good news. Aside from the upcoming Surfers Paradise race, you will also want to catch the ALMS “Petit Le Mans” race on October 4th. It is a ten hour race full of crazy things like cars with fenders, guys jumping out of cars, super sneaky silent cars, and some kind of weird engine-turning-off-thing during pit stops.

But don’t let all of that scare you away. Here are some reasons why you will want to tune in:

– Kyle Busch, Ming the Merciless, and Ralph Macchio created this year’s theme song.

– Indycar Drivers are all up in this thing. Dixon will be driving for De Ferran, Marco and TK for AGR, and recently announced Helio and Briscoe for Penske.

– The full driver lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but there will be some past open wheel guys driving like Gil De Ferran, Scott Sharp, and Simon Pagenaud. Now add some big names in sports car racing like Allan McNish, Clint Field, and Mika Salo among many others (OK Void.. yes.. those are the only names I know.. and I had to look them up to spell them correctly.).

– They will be raising money for people suffering from “Living In Canada-itus”. (Oh common… it was a joke…)

– I am not going into detail on the classes in ALMS but it can be very cool to watch. Read about it on the ALMS web site. In normal ALMS races the diesel powered Audi-pair are the fastest cars on the track. But the lower class LMP2 class cars have been able to capitalize on a few weaknesses. Slower cars frequently win the race overall. One of the teams that has pulled it off is Penske, and he is running 3 cars. Also, Audi’s European nemesis “Peugeot” is fielding a diesel powered entry.

– If you only enjoy ovals you are in luck. Road Atlanta Super Speedway is actually an “Oval” track. In the past few years “Weepers” have eroded the perfectly round course, and now there are a few “natural” bends that drivers will need to maneuver around.

Do It! Don’t let the “Man” convince you that sports car racing is not “Polite” or “Good For Your Teeth”. I tell you.. I watched it, and it improved my ability to count things, helped me get a job as a “Online Forum Moderator”, and protected me from level 4 paralyzing spells.

A Warning To Sports Car Racing Fans

As you may have noticed, Indy-fever has afflicted my fellow blogger, Mark. Bigtime.

It’s not even May Day (which, as a socialist, I am duty bound to celebrate – so don’t expect any posts from me tomorrow) and he is already hyping the bajeezus out of that little Memorial Day get together at the brickyard. Somehow, in his euphoria, he even dragged my name into the proceedings. So what if I think Tony George was the second shooter on the grassy knoll? I have my reasons.

You see, it’s not that I lack interest in the 500. Quite the opposite, I am looking forward to a much improved race this year. I just don’t see why it’s such a big deal. Let’s be honest, Indy has lost most of its luster over the last decade. Far more people will watch the NASCAB 600 that same weekend (’cause, ya know, they can go 100 extra miles so it must be better). Even with the added interest of a single open wheel series, the race is a pale shadow of its former glory.

And I hate to pee in anybody’s Cheerios, but it should be pointed out that the Indianapolis 500 is not, nor has it ever been, the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’. That honor belongs to a race not quite as old but with an even richer history: The 24 Hours of Le Mans. A distance of 500, even 600 miles just seems so trivial next to a race that spans an entire revolution of our planet. And while the Indy fans like to brag about 220 mph top speeds, Le Mans enthusiasts know the Mulsanne Straight has seen speeds in excess of 250 mph. Not that speed is everything, of course. :~D

Anyway, the Le Mans hype can wait another month. For the time being sports car racing fans visiting The Starting Grid will have to endure endless posts about the greatest spectacle in American open wheel racing. But our time shall come, my comrades of the covered wheel, our time shall come!

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming…

Countdown To The 500

And so here we are, next up.. May. And what a month it will be. Especially for me.

This year I will be attending the 500 for the first time.. live and in person. You see.. I am too cheap to buy a big screen high definition television. So I had one of two options:

1) Go over to Void’s house to watch it in high def while he explains his many conspiracy theories about TG


2) Actually attend the race, and witness “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for myself.

So I decided to go. My wife and I will be heading down there a few days before the race just to catch the sights and sounds. I am still trying to figure out what we will be doing there, but thanks to the folks at trackforum I have plenty of ideas. I hope to take a ton of pictures and post as much on the blog as possible.

So, here we go. Lots of stuff coming up this month.

Stay tuned!