Friday, May 23, 2014

A Great Weekend for Motorheads

By Doug Vehle, The Daily Bosco

Almost like the Superbowl of Racing, although the Superbowl is just one game. Memorial Day weekend is the biggest week of televised racing all year. Definitely the worlds' three biggest racing series, possibly the fourth biggest, too. And YOU get to decide for yourself who does it best.

It'll start at 11:30 AM  Saturday on ABC (Channel 7 in the LA broadcast market). If you ask me it's downhill after that, even though this is the smallest of the 4 races to be broadcast. NASCAR's Nationwide series, the 2nd tier stepping stone for up and coming drivers, sees a rare broadcast. It's the same cars as the top series, just a little less horsepower. But get this: The wannabees get to race against some of the top names, there's always a few like Kyle Busch or Joey Logano, etc., so when a rookie like Chase Elliot TWICE leads Busch to the flag, well, the minor leagues never have the AAA hitters getting a homerun off the 20 game winners from the majors. Busch, meanwhile, is the second winningest driver in NASCAR history. And NASCAR plays this one on the up and up. More on that later.

So Sunday morning about 5 AM on NBC (Channel 4 in LA), it'll be time for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. This is the premiere event in Formula 1. You just have to be a real racing fan to enjoy the Grand Prix anymore, but then I AM a real racing fan. This will be my first time watching the new, slow, quiet Grand Prix. SO quiet the tracks are threatening to cancel their races, because it's just not real racing without the sound. Speaking of real racing, oh gee, do think a Mercedes can win? That's all that happened so far. I'm hoping for Felipe Massa, cheated of the 2008 championship by 'Crashgate,' giving up what would have been his only win since a life threatening accident in 2009 so his teammate Fernando Alonso ,could have the points to contend for the title in 2010, ah, I'd like to see him on top just once more. But I still like watching Alonso overtaking above all others. Except they don't overtake anymore, there's all the pass assistance now and they just fly past each other meaninglessly. It's not real racing anymore. Alonso working on the car in front of him, testing the outside, oh what a sight. Will I get to see it again?

And well, at least Indy IS still real. Just not real exciting. It was disappointing to see Indycar releasing quotes from the drivers saying they like where the series is going. Yeah, those nonames are glad to be ANYWHERE. Is that your way of telling us fans you don't care that we DON'T like where it's going? Why is everyone STILL driving the same damn car? Starting at 11 AM, you get the chance to see if the fans really care who wins, or if they're just there for crowd, the excitement, the NOISE. Who's in this race again? Not only is Dancia Patrick gone, but the current Andretti hasn't lived up to the family name.

And then, on to the highest rating on any NONIndy 500 event. NASCAR's top tier Cup race. If you're wondering why this particular race is 600 miles, it was decided long ago they just HAD to be longer than Indy to race that weekend. When someone said 'If it works, don't fix it,' NASCAR wasn't listening. First there was the 'Phantom Yellow Flag,' inexplicably appearing at the end of the race to bunch the field together for the finish. Then it was the 'Green/White/Checker,' if the yellow flag comes out at the end we'll just run additional laps over what was scheduled until they can finish under green. Could you imagine baseball going extra innings because someone had a lead and the losing team didn't mount a challenge? How about if they KEPT adding innings 3 times? NASCAR takes not one, not two, but THREE additional shots at a green flag finish, even if it turns the 600 mile race into a 650.

So you get the idea NASCAR is the WWF of racing? They've even told the drivers "Have at it, boys." So far this year Marcus Ambrose has punched Casey Mears, Brad Keselowski tried unsuccessfully to wreck Kurt Busch, who won the race anyway, and Richard Petty said that Danica Patrick drives like (GASP) a GIRL! King Richard, the number 43 you see in 'Cars,' is the only driver to win more NASCAR races than Kyle Busch, so his saying that Dancia is girlie means. . . something. Somehow. Isn't it strange that 'Talladega Nights' would turn out to be an insightful look at NASCAR's racing for people who don't like racing?

And then I think of who ISN'T on TV this weekend. Ah, LeMans. Scene of the Ford GT legend, as well as the home of 'Garage 56.' This years' experimental, cakewalk onto the track entry is again the Deltawing 'Batmoblie' that Indycar rejected, this time it's a HYBRID. Oh to have Indy create 'Garage 34' so a nonbland, nonidentical car could be out on the track. Is it too late?

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