The heavy storm “Patricia” from the Pacific moved over Texas on Saturday with wind and rain so harsh the United States Grand Prix (Formula 1) was put out of later practice and qualifying. The race is still scheduled for today (Sunday) and qualifying went off this morning although the 3rd session was cancelled. Nico Rosberg has the pole with team mate Lewis Hamilton beside him. The rain, however, lingers over the Circuit of the Americas with some drivers concerned about conditions and safety.

Talladega and NASCAR is in the path of this storm but so far the rain is hanging well to the west of the racing. Jeff Gordon has the pole while other popular drivers such as Earnhardt and Kenseth are in a “must win” position to move to the next round and still be in the CHASE next weekend at Martinsville.

Rain is putting a big question over Texas and Formula 1 with the potential to create havoc if conditions remain torrential with Hamilton’s possible points clinch on the line.

The CHASE and the potential for the “big one” crash at Talladega is playing with nerves as the Contender Round closes with this checkered flag and only eight of the twelve move on for the championship. Joey Logano has the two Contender wins at Charlotte and Kansas putting increased pressure on the CHASE drivers to either place well or win to advance.

Rain and tension is on the grid with races running in the same time frame. There will be a lot of channel flipping today. Let us all hope the channels are the only thing…

 

Two weeks. What could happen…?

Apparently, a mishmashed medley of automotive mayhem.

It was only two weeks but in the scope there was a lot of racing, and a lot of driving, for us and for the top series around the world.

For us, it was a trek around a foreign country in a TDI (diesel) VW Golf. Foreign, but still within the language of the King’s English. The land of elves, faeries and leprechauns. Ireland. Left side driving, left side shifting and an added appreciation for driving skill were experiences taken away among the castles and landscapes. The roads are narrow, the cars are agile (most, anyway…) and the driving is on a different level than in the States. Imagine a VW Golf, a Ford Focus, a Chevy Cruze… a 3 series Bimmer… Now add 6 inches to each side. That is your lane at 60 mph. A vertical hedge with no shoulder is on the left. A truck on a blind curve is on your right coming at you. That is driving in Ireland, the UK and much of Europe. It may give a clue as to the European racing style.

And, to begin in Europe, pull up a pint as we catch up… (more…)

Formula 1 raced Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. The weather was bright with temps in the mid-upper 70’s which, on the average, was a bonus for the often damp UK. Lewis Hamilton had the #10 Mercedes on the pole for the homeland. All seemed right in the world for English racing fans.

Rewind.

The F1 Mercedes team with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ran through a test with tire supplier Pirelli back in May. The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile ) were a little upset as the test was private in the sense that only Mercedes was involved and they used a current season F1 car for the tests. This crossed some kind of line in the rule books. (more…)

Why do we watch? It’s an open question with as many answers as there are colors on the cars…

Is it as simple as watching for the contact, the spins and the crashes that will get most out of their seats to see the action play out?

Is it the basic grasp of the challenge of the drive and the lap by lap progress of favorite drivers?

Is it just a love of speed and being memorized by the blur as the race goes by?

It really could be any, all or more. Whatever the reason or reasons that we have for being a fan of racing the possibility is always there that the attraction of the sport can also cost dearly.

In recent weeks, that cost has been paid too often. Jason Leffler, a multi-series driver including NASCAR series, was killed in a sprint car crash. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Allan Simonsen was killed following a spin and hard contact with the barrier. (more…)

Ferrari went to Spain to race. Fernando Alonso at the wheel put the established strategy in the garage in favor of riding the limit and going for the run.

It seems Formula 1 in recent races, even seasons, has moved toward a technical form of racing. Tire strategy and conservation had taken the driver’s seat away from driving for speed and challenging the race.

The Ferrari teams of Alonso and Massa flipped that strategy and went out to race the car, the track and the other drivers. They went out fast from the start and kept the throttle on while trusting their crews to get the changes in the pits done in the same way. (more…)

Traveling the world without going anywhere. On a weekend on the edge of “Earth Day”, this seems largely appropriate.

It is racing across state, cultural and international lines through the convenience of a wide screen HDTV in the living room. The variety of the countryside and the racing is incredible.

Sports cars rattled the streets of Long Beach, CA., with American Le Mans. On the eastern side of the U.S., Grand-Am was at Road Atlanta. Formula 1 was racing near the Persian Gulf in Bahrain. NASCAR was in the open spaces of Kansas. The NHRA was chasing speed in Charlotte. IndyCar followed up back at Long beach.

That is just a highlight of some of the major series. Racing in the streets. Racing across the ocean. Racing in the wide, open spaces. The diversity of scenery and personalities presented in a blur of the background.

However, as we turn towards what is regarded as “Earth Day”, too many people still look at auto racing with prejudice and scorn. They only see burnt fuel and beer-topped fans. (more…)

Formula 1, Malaysia. Rain and a wet track started the day. The indication was the rain would fade and the track would dry. The team strategists began their plan for tires. Wet tread to start, let the track dry out, trade over to slicks, hard, soft, medium…

The pre-race planning was likely a discussion of just that. Control the tires and control the race. It worked well for Red Bull, finishing up one and two with Mercedes grouped together at three and four.

The post race discussions were likely a bit intense. Formula 1 showcases the top of the pyramid for technology and speed. At this level, you might expect the brightest and the best to be at the front lines.

Perhaps not…

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari were the first to show off some less than average thinking. (more…)