Thursday, January 15, 2009

From Peak to Pathetic- March 14, 2005

March 14, 2005. It was only a little under four years ago, but it must seem to many, especially the Republican Party, like an entire world away.

Recall, if you will, that George W. Bush had been reelected in Nov., with a slightly strengthened GOP majority in Congress. Weeks later, the “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine had seemingly, and stirringly, ended Russian influence in that country. Iraq had just gone through “successful” elections. These events, combined with Bush’s second Inaugural Address which stressed the pursuit of freedom in almost radical ways, seemed to be proof of the ultimate wisdom of Bush’s “Freedom Agenda.” March 14th seemed to be the final nail in the realist/anti-Bush movement.

You’ll recall that over 1,000,000 Lebanese jammed Beirut on that day. Syria’s occupation/presence would soon end. History was on an inevitable march to freedom.

But it wasn’t. Four years on, Lebanon is a mess, having gone through one war and seeing Hezbollah gain much power. The Ukrainian Orange Revolution is pure dysfunction. In the Palestinian Territories, freedom led to… Hamas. In short, the world is a mess.

We couldn’t have known that 4 yrs. ago. But then came Terri Schiavo, Katrina, and the ultimate mess of Iraq. March 14th was the Bush Presidency’s peak. It’s fall was swift, sudden, but warranted.

Rick Santorum


Read it all. Remember, GOPers working with Dems.=BAD. LOL.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More "Silly" Thoughts

Following yesterday's post, some additional thoughts:

Paul Tracy to KV Racing? It might happen. To which I say F#%*ing Awesome. If Bourdais AND PT are in, that's 2 villains (not counting Danica) in the series. And PT in a good car can still be fun as hell.

But there are some unfortunate downsides to the recent news. If Tracy gets that ride, then that leaves Oriol Servia, Justin Wilson, and Ryan Hunter-Reay all without rides. That is downright criminal.

Servia was the most consistent of the drivers that came over from Champ Car, Wilson WON a race (Belle Isle) and RHR was great all year (one win-The Glen- and ROY at Indy). But in the economy of IndyCar racing, none of them might have an ICS ride (ALMS and Grand-Am may benefit, though).

So where does that leave us? Well, if even 2 out of those 3 get rides, combined with everything else (Reminder: Some of this is bound to be vaporware), this will all end up being a considerable net gain. If not, it might just be a push, at best.

UPDATE: Also remember that McNulty's reliability can be spotty.

UPDATE2: Read THIS RM piece on Power's actual status at Penske. My guess? He runs the full year.

But it does remind me that simply losing Helio (though he annoys me) will really hurt.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Which We Discuss Silly Season

Ahh, "Silly Season." For years, it has been nothing short of farcical in IndyCar/Champ Car racing. Why?

In short, due to the "troubles" facing the sport the last decade-plus, it has become, outside of the already funded teams (few and far between), an exercise in ride-buying. Talent is a secondary (if that) consideration. If you have money/bring money, you'll have a ride.

Given the dire economic conditions, this isn't changing. Example? Mario Moraes. Is Moraes on the Dennis Vitolo level? No, he does have some talent. But, really. he's only getting the ride for one reason: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. All of which means no ride for Will Power.

Wait, hang on! Nevermind! Will, with the best name in all of racing, is Penske's new hire. Justin Wilson and RHR were also contenders and, sadly, both are likely out of rides altogether in 2009. As for Power replacing Helio, 1) it has to be done; RP can't count on someone facing possible deportation, and 2) Power's an interesting pick. He's plenty fast, but he must learn to harness it, particularly on the ovals. Of course, having Rick Mears as your tutor won't hurt.

A day earlier, Robin Miller gave us other interesting newsbits. The possibility of BOTH Doornbos AND Bourdais joining N/H/L is, great, but to novices, also curious. After all, they couldn't afford Justin Wilson, but CAN take on both Doornbos and Seabass? Well, Bobby D is supposedly bringing along $$ (ING) and given his connections, Seabass might too. In this case, there are two ride-buyers I'd heartily support.

The "Team France" tidbit is... interesting. I was one of many who mocked Nelson in his 1st year. Mea culpa. He's damn good and SHOULD be in this series. Still, like others, this smells of "vaporware," i.e. something that won't really happen. I'd love to be wrong.

Finally, this interesting news. Let's be honest, ever since the 60's (Winning, Grand Prix, and Le Mans), racing-oriented films have, ummm, what's the word, SUCKED. Seriously, you need to watch Driven to appreciate how awful it is.

This film, should it really happen, could, could be different. For one, the film will deal explicitly with the Indy 500, and it's origins. Interest in the modern 500 might be at an all-time low, but it still resonates (well, it's past) in the American sports world. Portraying, in dramatic fashion, the first Indy 500 in 1911 starts with compelling possibilities. Furthermore, period films, like Cinderella Man, can be far more compelling to a larger audience. It goes without saying that Ray Harroun is no Jim Braddock, and despite Escue's hopes, you won't be seeing a Russell Crowe anywhere near this film.

Still, if done well (and Pizzo's presence gives me some hope), it could, at worst, be an interesting "sports movie." The fact that racing in 1911 was an altogether different, more dangerous venture that had no idea what boundaries it could break gives filmmakers the potential to create an almost mythological air. I wish them well.

Bonus funny note: While looking at pages discussing racing films, Super Speedway. It remains a truly stellar look at the sport (though given the timing of it's production, it depresses me whenever I watch it. The crowds! :sigh:). Anyway, after some exploring, I found... A Teacher's Guide to the film. Really? I know there is tremendous science involved in the sport, but LOL, a teacher's guide? OK.