Thursday, June 11, 2009

IRL Drivers Carping at Texas

I guess one measure of a series' competitiveness is the amount of bitching and moaning you hear from the drivers after a race. And there was plenty of that after last Saturday's 550k at Texas Motor Speedway. I wasn't surprised to hear Marco whining about Danica, but what is she supposed to do? Pull over and wave him by? His comments were just inane and showed his continued lack of maturity. Teammate or not, no one racing for a top 5 position is going to just open the door and say "After you, if you please. Thank you much." Like the t-shirts and bumper stickers say, "kwitcherbitchin". Stand on the throttle and don't complain if a pass can't be made!

The best comments I heard were Scott Dixon's when he talked about how equal everything is getting in the IRL and that they should open up the rules some and let them have at it. I think that will happen but probably not anytime soon. It would be hard to get a new rules package together for 2011 unless the world economy really springs back strong this year and next. 2012 is probably more reasonable and I think the IRL has said as much. Even though this Texas race didn't come down to a photo finish, there was still plenty of good racing from my vantage point.

Speaking of Danica: she was all in the news with talk about her contract expiring when this season is over. How long before someone mentions Penske as a possible seat for her next year? How about right now, right here? I think The Captain is the best option to keep Danica in the IRL for 2010 and if she made the move, Roger could probably afford to run three cars all season since you know Danica would bring a fat checkbook from her sponsors. And there's no one better at preparing drivers to win (and win Indianapolis) than Penske. It's a no-brainer if anyone is asking.

Speaking of Penske, with his purchase of Saturn out of the GM bankruptcy, talk has shifted to having the Saturn badge on Sprint Cup cars. I'd suggest he's more likely to get Saturn into Indycars, especially if the manufacturing operation shifts overseas as has been mentioned. I heard somewhere that Honda is already making engines for some Saturn models and if Penske's stake is intended to make worldwide distribution easier, then what better way than to team up with Honda (or Toyota or Fiat even) to start sticking whatever motor he can into the Saturn models? Then it's just a matter of someone adding a new nameplate to the Indycar engines and go racing. If he still owns a stake in Ilmore Engineering, then it could happen almost overnight. And don't forget that Cosworth is still out there in the weeds doing their thing. All it takes is money, right? And Roger knows how to go get it.

As the old adage goes, the fastest way to become a millionaire in auto racing is to start with 10. Not so with Roger though. He seems to have the midas touch in automotive and trucking circles.

With ethanol now the fuel of choice, how long before they open up the rules for any kind of fuel? Can you say Audi diesel?

I know: too much time in the sun and too much racing fuel exhaust have cooked the remaining brain cells that I have. Oh well. More soon. Mid Ohio Rolex Grand Am is up next for me. Until then, enjoy a little slide show from that little Texas track near Fort Worth. I can't wait to go back.

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