Friday, April 18, 2008

So, it ends

In awkward, shotgun wedding style, this weekend officially ends the 12-yr. Indycar civil war. Champ Car will run its final race (with the DP01) in Long Beach, while the IRL runs in Motegi, Japan, Honda's track.

As a result, both fields will be small and full of fillers who have no business on a race course. Ultimately, though, it provides one FINAL chance to "choose sides" in this mess. The haters have one last moment in the sun. From this point on, the decision is this: Do you leave the sport (perfectly reasonable), or do you stick it out and see what happens? "Us vs. Them" will no longer matter.

Thank goodness. This mess will finally end.

Before it does, some final thoughts. First, a great history of the split by Trackforum and OffCamber contributor ChrisB. Indeed, it is vital to recall that the seeds for this mess were not sewn merely in the '90's. In reality, it was Le Mans 1955, the deadly accident that came the closest to killing worldwide motorsports, that started a chain of events that led to 1996. Following that race, AAA (Yes, THAT AAA) pulled out as a sanctioning body. That, in turn, led to USAC's formation (with heavy IMS influence) as the new Championship sanctioning body. USAC's (with help from IMS) incompetence led to the formation of CART in '79. Ever since, we essentially had a battle, in several iterations, between the car owners and IMS, eventually "won" by IMS.

It was rather pointless and, in the end, I ended up disliking everyone but the drivers. The formation of the IRL came at the same time that NASCAR began it's rise. Needless to say, American motorsports is now solely identified as NASCAR.

Even worse, the reasons for the IRL's formation- ovalcentricity, lower costs, grassroots racers, etc. strike me as total frauds. Soon, as this article indicates, expect more road/street courses in the unified IndyCar series, thus invalidating the ovalcentricity and making it almost impossible for dirt trackers to make it. Such a path is fine by me. Shame we had to waste 12 yrs. to get right back where we started.

CART, though, had it's issues too. As a racing series, it was great.

How could you not enjoy those cars, the action, and the drivers? Yes, many oval-only fans did not enjoy it, and I respect that. But CART still had solid attendance at most of it's events, oval, road or otherwise.

Unfortunately, CART as an organization SUCKED. Sure, when all was going well, it was easy to look competent. Post-split, the flaws became manifest. Having a bunch of greedy, narcissistic owners with diverging agendas try to run an organization is, well, a cluster****. CART's decisions from 96 and beyond were phenomenally horrible and led to it's demise.

TGeorge is certainly not the man I would have chosen to be put in charge, but the clarity of structure is oddly refreshing. Because, in the end, you need a strong executive to run anything, sports included. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL are technically run by the owners, but the appointed commissioners have the real power. No one is challenging Roger Goodell anytime soon. Tony, the ball is now in your court.

There are many memories from the split era:

Zanardi at Cleveland (my home race), and of course, "The Pass" at Laguna Seca.
Greg Moore (RIP) beating him at Rio.
Alex surviving Lausitz '01.
Michigan '00: Andretti v. Montoya
CART guys dominating Indy in 2000-01
Indy '02: Debacles 'R Us
Attending my home race 4 times
PT v. Dario
And more...

In the end, though, it all seemed overshadowed by the dark cloud of the split. It is tremendously unfair to the racers involved, but the last 12 yrs. are defined by one thing: negativity. Bickering, dwindling attendance, awful TV ratings, and organizational incompetence are what will likely be remembered.

That is over now. As Andrew Sullivan might say "Goodbye To All That."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Teh stupid and teh awesome

ABC managed to embarrass themselves even more than Obama and Clinton.

As for why, questions like this might explain it. Hey George, the English language phoned in a request that you stop assaulting it. Jeebus, what kind of question is that? Heads, I win; tails you lose!

Oh, and memo to Charlie Gibson: If you're going to invoke the United States Constitution, try to have a *%&$ clue what you are talking about. When asking about the possibility of a joint ticket, he referenced, IIRC, Art. 2, Sec. 1 of the Constitution. This dealt (more on that) with the selection process for POTUS & VPOTUS, and said, in essence, that the candidate with the most electoral votes would be President and the candidate with 2nd most electoral votes would be VP. Gibson concluded by saying something to the effect of, "If it worked in colonial times, why not now?"

Where to begin? For one, colonial time? I never realized the Founders wrote the Constitution BEFORE the Declaration of Independence. After all, colonial seems inappropriate when discussing an INDEPENDENT NATION.

Of course, the whole premise was an atrocity. Apparently, 'ole Chuck Gibson never heard of the 12th Ammendment, which repealed the very section he was using to justify the question. OOPS!

Finally, the Constitution has NOTHING to do with a political party selecting a VP nominee, beyond the basic requirements for POTUS entailed in the document. Remember, the document was written BEFORE political parties formed, so using it as the basis for this particular question was, ummmm, puzzling.

As for teh awesome, read this John Cole rant.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I would LOVE for this rumor to come true.

For the uninitiated, read this, and keep in mind that it was, ultimately, TGeorge's decision that gave it to Castroneves.

Furthermore, recall PT's declaration that he'd never drive "one of those crapwagons."

Finally, recall that ,,,,,,,a certain,,,,,,,site used to worship him b/c he was perceived as "one of them," whatever that means.

In this brave new post-split world, the ironies abound!

Monday, April 14, 2008

What once was...


Monday thoughts

Congrats to Trevor Immelmann for winning a mostly uninteresting Masters.

"Bitter-gate" continues. Sullivan hammers away at Bill Kristol's bile. Rightly so, but he and others miss the point. This story is going nowhere (the Right is all over it), and the notion that none of the old rules of politics will apply this year seems like wishful thinking.

Then again, Hillary continues to repulse me. Hillary Clinton: Woman of the People!

It was odd having no major race on Sun. I somehow survived.

Update: New ARG poll indicates damage done.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More from April 6

Of course, the consequential event from that day will likely be Barack Obama's "bitter" comments to a bunch of fundraisers in San Fran. Full context makes the whole thing less harmful than it really is (the notion that Obama thinks gunowners and those of faith are bad, backwards folks is silly to me), but perception becomes reality in the "art" of politics.

And, you know what, when I saw the comment, I cringed a bit, simply b/c it reminded me of something DNC Chairman Howard Dean would have said in '03. Obama is no Dean. For one thing, he's smarter (by a mile) and intellectually deeper than Dean. Further, while Dean tried (tries?) to fire up the base of the party, Obama tries to do much more than this, but his subtlety hurts him in an era of soundbytes.

Still, many "small-town" Americans will feel like he has insulted their values (and I can't totally blame them), much like they likely view Howard Dean. I'm not sure how you overcome this. I hope he still gets the nomination, and I'll vigorously support him in Nov. My gut tells me that my support won't be nearly enough.

Ya gotta hand it to the GOP. They have no business winning this yr. But I'm betting Sen. McCain does just that, and brings a few more congressional Republicans with him. Such is life.