Sitting and watching the ROLEX 24 on SPEED I have to wonder….  Where are the racing fans? I have to watch on TV as I’m several states away with a driveway full of snow but what of racing fans in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia….? Looking at the stands at Daytona during the ROLEX 24 it looks like the Grand-Am guys snuck in started racing! It appears there are more people around the infield than in the stands. Is it the cool weather? Maybe the rain at the start on Saturday?

Seriously…  Drivers from practically every motor sports discipline on hand to get the racing season started with a 24 hour showcase of speed and the stands are so empty you would have food left over from a Bojangles Family Pack! I don’t get it…

But I don’t understand the average racing fan anyway. Perhaps that is the key. Perhaps there are very few “racing” fans out there. It seems there are millions of NASCAR fans but offer an INDY or Formula 1 or Grand-Am race and they just turn away. Why…? Either step up and be a “racing” fan or pose away in your Dale Jr. cap.

I say open yourself up to anything that goes fast. There are people out there that want to shut it all down for political, social or supposed “green” reasons so those of us that enjoy motor sports need to broaden our horizons and embrace some of these other racing series.

Support you local weekend tracks, drivers and race events. If you get the chance to see the INDY, LeMans, Grand-Am or even SCCA races in your neck of the woods get a ticket and GO! It is all racing and it is all good.

All I’m saying is don’t let the naysayers have their way. Be a “racing” fan and support as much of it as you can!

rolex24logo2010We sit upon the weekend to start the racing reason in a spectacular fashion. Grand-Am drivers of Daytona Prototypes and GTs share their seats with Formula One, LeMans, Indy and NASCAR drivers for this roar of color and a 24 hour speed parade. For the visiting series drivers this is a fun step away from their regular jobs. It is a chance to shine in an endurance race with exotic cars and maybe get a little ink before their own cars roll out to their respective starting lines. However, the Grand-Am / ROLEX Series drivers bank points on this race to officially start their season.

grandamlogo1The Grand-Am / ROLEX season start with the ROLEX 24. Do the regular drivers secretly harbor some hidden issues with these usurpers in their seats? It is a double-edged sword when you turn it over and look at it. On the one hand, the starting series points could be jeapordized by the one race visiting drivers. On the other, the fact of these visiting drivers brings a huge motor sports spotlight on the series as a whole.  It is a frenzy of media and speed for this January weekend in Daytona with Grand-Am drivers catching a lot of attention because of the presence of the stars from other dimensions of racing. Is it a good thing…? Yes. Whatever points may be won or lost due to the presence of these other drivers falls in importance next to the attention drawn to Grand-Am racing because of them. The ROLEX 24 is a bright start to the racing season for everyone involved.

Enough commentary and philosophical drivel. Let’s talk racing. Qualifying is done for the 2010 ROLEX 24. There were some incidents during practice sessions that left 3 cars on the lift for repairs. All should be ready to race by Saturday to take the green. The Daytona Prototype pole position is held by the #10 SunTrust Ford Dallara following the drive by Max Angelelli. The outside spot on row one is held by the #60 Crown Royal Ford Riley driven through qualifying by Ozz Negri.


The GT series front spot is held by the #69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 driven to qualify by Jeff Segal. The GT series has a large pool of entries consisting of Mazdas, Porsches, BMWs and Chevy Camaros.


The large field of GT cars sharing the track with the Daytona Prototypes is going to make for some tight racing and challenging pass positions. The size of the road course layout at Daytona makes for a 3.5 mile distance but when these cars bunch up in groups fighting for series position it will be a force of will and patience to move through.

It all adds up to one thing. The ROLEX 24 is a must watch on SPEED this weekend. They will broadcast all but the overnight ours of the race which, in a way, is a bit disappointing. Some of the best racing can happen under the lights. However, those of us who are fans might also benefit from a little sleep and catch the headlight highlights on Sunday dropped in over live coverage.

Get your pizzas and snacks and beverages of choice and get ready to watch some racing to get 2010 off to fast start. The Super Bowl is yet to come so no conflict there. Basketball…? Are you kidding? Hockey…? Do we need to be reminded it’s cold outside? This is racing! This is speed! This is a world wide showcase of some of the best drivers from the hottest disciplines of racing. Put aside anything that has no wheels and watch this. Enjoy.

Yes! They all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle of a weather map. Copenhagen is the location of a big world summit on Climate Change. “Climategate” refers to thousands of e-mails and documents from the University of East Anglia which have been made public bringing up many questions about the reliability of the research which has been deeply involved in setting the agenda for the Copenhagen meetings as well as setting in motion legislation in many individual countries. Chicago is where Al Gore had his status as the Green Spokesman recently questioned during a book signing for his new climate book “Our Choice“.



As the out in front spokesman for the man-made global warming scare, his statements and his Oscar winning movie are touted as banners and talking points for everyone who has been frightened into action on the behalf of polar bears and sinking land masses. However, the “Climategate” explosion has caused a wave in his rising water. He has recently cancelled an appearance in Copenhagen of which thousands of tickets at up $1200 a pop were sold. In Chicago, he was confronted with pointed questions about details of man-made global warming and, rather than answer with facts which he should have easily been able to do if there was an ounce of integrity in him, had the people removed. (See Youtube Vid – click here) He left in a Mercedes-Benz GL Class SUV.


The GL Class, pictured above, comes in several trim packages including the GL320 diesel powered version. Now, we could give Gore the benefit of the doubt and suggest he and his security team were in the GL320 which is a new technology diesel powered and rather efficient luxury SUV sporting a 3.0 liter, 210hp V6 rated for the new G2 Bio Diesel fuels with an estimated 17/23 mileage rating. However, the imaging in the video does not match the GL320 trim package. 

courtesy BenzBlogger

Note the twin spoke wheels on the Merc. They were standard on the GL450 which is a 4.7 liter, 335hp V8 burning gasoline (premium rated). The GL450 has an estimated 13/18 mpg rating.  Hmmmmmmm.

Either way, the vehicle is definitely not one of the many full size hybrid SUVs available with 35+ mpg ratings…  Hmmmmmmmmm.


 These actions raise several questions:

Why did he not simply counter these questions with answers of fact that could be easily verified and substantiated? Why was his movie the subject of a British court fight resulting in the action of having the inconsistencies in the movie pointed out before it could be shown in British classrooms?  Why does the Man of Green get around in a Mercedes GL SUV? He has not said, but why cancel his appearancein Copenhagen just as the “Climategate” news began to get notice? Why does the cover of his book “Our Choice” contain factual image errors? Does he have a financial stake in the passing of “green” legislation which could be proven to be the same as “racketeering” with false claims to push the legislation forward?


These are just questions that open the discussion for motives beyond “save the world” scare tactics. The statements of a “consensus” on man-made global warming are obviously false. The released e-mails from East Anglia point to references of exclusion of non-conforming papers in peer-reviewed journals, modification and destruction of data, and many references to the top names in the global warming scientific community. On top of all that, the obvious hypocrisy of these people setting in motion legislated demands of how we live and what we drive while they arrive in Copenhagen in private jets and imported limousines.


We, the public, are not stupid. Well, most of us…  Many are clinging to this scam simply because they have invested so much time and effort into it. However, the basic assumption that we, as human beings, can and should make moves to be better stewards of the air, sea and land are correct. We can develop better energy and cleaner lives. That said, the actions of these people to frighten the general public into accepting their view as how we do that and set in motion laws that also make us pay them for the privilege are criminal and should be investigated completely before ANY law or treaty is designated.

Maybe we’re just too cynical around here. We’ve seen United States Taxpayer Dollars go to Chrysler and Chevrolet and we’ve seen the Cash for Clunkers program throw more of the Citizens’ money towards pushing the American car market.

Has it worked? Have the execs at these companies learned anything? Imports made out nicely with small car offerings for “clunkers”. Ford did OK. But they did not take the “bail out”. GM and Chrysler sales fell in August.

Maybe they just don’t get it. Maybe they don’t see the American auto buyers’ market the way they should. Chrysler has the 2010 line out there and the cars look good and are likely great vehicles offering the range from sipping economy to road burning performance. The question is…  Will the public take notice?

2010demon1Take, for instance, the 2010 Dodge Demon. It looks sharp and reports list it with a 172 horsepower, 4 cylinder engine. It should appeal to sports car lovers with an eye towards effeciency.

However, it has been introduced as a concept car. It might showcase in Europe. Will the U.S. have this car? If not… Why not?

A few other details holding it back are unclear sources for the engine and base chassis. The chassis could come from Chevy… from China! The engines could be Mitsubishi or Hyundai produced. So what we have is a Chinese Chevy with a Japanese or Korean engine and a Dodge logo glued on the front. Yes…  I can see where Americans would be clammering to get one.

Another hurdle is the mindset. We’ve heard what Chrysler and Dodge execs have to say about the 2010 lines. Peter Fong, President & CEO at Chrysler had this to say.

“The Chrysler brand delivers provocative, eye-catching designs engineered for passionate living. Our owners are expressive, creative and vibrant, and seek a vehicle that rewards their independence. Through American design and ingenuity, Chrysler strives to deliver premium vehicles that exceed the aspirations and needs of our customers, all at a great value.”

Here’s an idea, Mr. Fong. How about “sexy, fast cars that offer economy and heart-thumping excitement at every acceleration, every turn and, yes, even every trip to the corner market.” Dammit, man! What does “expressive, creative and vibrant” have to do with how the car feels on a country road at 62mph?

The Dodge CEO, Michael Accavitti, is no better.

“In 2010, the Dodge brand stands as the quintessential American brand that continues to defy industry convention in order to build products that allow customers to do more, grab more life and flat-out live life to the fullest.”

Michael…? Quintessential…? You want to sell Challengers you better drop “industry convention” and let consumers know the thing is going to snap them back against the headrest when the light turns green!

Have you people been out of the office and seen the way American consumers think, speak and live? Have you seen the way Mitsubishi, Honda, Mazda and others from the other side market their vehicles? All we’re saying is you would be better off talking to real people instead of reading a thesaurus. You aren’t selling cars to first year art students. You are selling cars to Americans. If you can’t tell us what you’ve got without using words like “aspirations” and “quintessential” you had better prepare for the biggest year-end closeout clearance sale you’ve ever had. We’ll look for it in November and December of 2010.

Chrysler and GM might well be building cars “Americans” would want. Unless they can deliver a message to let us know that, they might as well be selling burgers at a PETA convention.

crash4clunkerCash for clunkers? They have got to be kidding! The full and applicable program subsidized from the Obama Government to allow older cars to be traded for newer ones with up to $4500.00 in federal money has hit the wall in less than week!? Less than a week!

Despite the EPA mileage changes for formerly qualified vehicles, it ran out of money. Despite the incomplete but cautious  information available before it was implemented, it ran out of money. Before the ink was dry on Obama’s signature, it ran out of money!

And this is the same bunch that wants to handle health care for Americans? How stupid do they really think we are? Sure, there are a bunch out there that are clinging to “Yes We Can” because they voted and won’t let go of the propaganda of change simply because Obama said it. There is another bunch clinging to “Yes We Can” because it is their open door to get their fingers into the federal pie and the citizens’ lives. Thankfully, however, many who voted for this administration are beginning to wake up to just what has happened. The promises have been broken and the eyes are opening.

They passed the stimulus – did not read it. They passed “cap and trade” – did not read it. What happened to the five day promise? What happened to the transparency? Beltway “business as usual” as transformed into “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”.

“Cash for Clunkers” is merely an indication of what is in store if this administration continues to move at this speed and behind the veil of “Yes We can”. The lobbies in bed with these people (greendiot lobbies) are twisting the arms and pushing for every “live as we think you should” law they can get.

EPA banned reports on CO2, Congressional Budget Office figures disputing Obama health care promises, public town hall meetings where the President says he hasn’t read all the details…  Is this what was elected in November of 2008? Is this what we have to put up with until 2012?

Now is the time to pay attention and verify every statement, every promise that comes from anyone in Washington DC before our government becomes a “clunker” and we’re paying the “cash”.

If you consider yourself an auto racing fan, or even an automobile enthusiast, you have probably had a discussion with a non-auto person who fails to see the attraction of the sport. It is also likely they fail to see the validity of the sport noting, in their view, it is merely a loud waste of time and fuel while being an environmentally destructive activity. These critics have rarely taken the time to research their opinion. They only look at the surface and apply a self-righteous set of values to come to these conclusions. They do not recognize production car advances taken from the racetrack. Vehicle safety, aerodynamic design, engine and transmission technology, braking applications and fuel economy all come from track testing and refinement on racing cars.
penskesaturn1That said, can we assume that knowledge, engineering and applications of building race cars from the ground up can directly translate to building production cars for the general public? We likely have our chance to find out. Roger Penske (Penske Racing) has signed on to take the Saturn brand from economically challenged General Motors. Penske is taking on a challenge but that is nothing really new. GM has failed the Saturn brand on several fronts leaving Penske open to rebuild the name as he sees fit. If he can keep cars running in NASCAR, INDY and GrandAm then this may seem like an easy win. He’s got a shot but not a guarantee.

General Motors launched Saturn in the mid 1980’s as a “different kind of car company”. Saturn quickly became a high ranker in consumer satisfaction. Their cars were attractive and held value. They were competing quite well with some of the imports know for economy and life span. So… what went wrong? You probably can not take one singular point as the problem but a high ranker could be the GM mindset of building one car with several labels. Saturns began to be built on the same platforms as other GM brands’ models. What was a “different kind of car company” became “the same car with a different badge”.

Enter Roger Penske. Anyone familiar with the Penske name will know he doesn’t jump without looking. It does not mean he never misses (Penske Car Care Centers…) but it does mean he sees something with potential. He has a deal with GM to basically supply Saturn models for the next couple of years. Penske will have to eventually set up or take over his own design and manufacturing facilities. Some current Saturn models are re-badged European models from Opel/Vauxhall. It has been rumored the Chinese are looking at the Opel label and it would seem unlikely that Penske would, with the facilities in place in the U.S., purchase a Chinese owned product just to drop his badge on it.

The questions remain and the answers may be some time in coming. Can Roger Penske succeed with Saturn? Will the Chinese take control of the Opel name which some of the Saturns are based on? Will Penske get control of manufacturing facilities inside the United States? What would a Penske design team put out to the American public? Will it continue to be “Saturn” or will we see a “Penske” brand take shape?

The answers to these questions will, hopefully, be very exciting for the American automotive public.

obamanotpay1Today new standards were set for fuel economy along with forthcoming national emissions standards for new vehicles by 2016. The target for a manufacturer fleet average is 35.5 mpg. Passenger vehicles are expected to reach 39mpg while trucks are set at around 30mpg. By 2016…? Did you see the date? 2016… Six years from now. My first question is… Why Wait? Why color this green appeasement with anything that even resembles a promise for the future? It is obvious we have the technology to build these cars now. To be clear, I am purposefully excluding hybrids in the mix of current technology and mpg possibilities. Hybrids are still very new technology. The effects on the environment have not been measured correctly and they have not been around long enough to show any real figures on dependability.

That leaves only combustion engine vehicles for review of mpg possibilities. We’ve been building 40+ mpg cars for some time. The 1991 Honda Civic CRX got and average of 45mpg and it was fun, quick and dependable. Early Saturns were hitting the high 30s. Nissan and Toyota were already hitting this mark in the early to mid ’90s. Even “performance” cars are capable of hitting the upper 20s to low 30s with six and eight cylinder engines. The hold up is not the combustion engine technology. The timetable is there to allow time to “soft sell” Americans into further believing that we will all die of sun poisoning unless we park our butts inside these vehicles the auto manufacturers will be forced to build.

Make no mistake (beyond the one that was made in November of 2008). This has nothing to do with foreign oil dependency. This has everything to do with just oil, period. If it was about foreign oil dependency, we would be drilling within our own borders. We would be building new refineries. Instead, we are setting in motion a pipe dream of “green energy” job creation which can’t even begin until there is an infrastructure of businesses with the capacity to sustain itself. Where are these “green” businesses? If they are so keen on expanding their product (and workforce to produce it) why are we still bleeding out jobs? Why haven’t they stepped up and brought these newly jobless in? The answer is simple. The jobs aren’t there because the “green” energy product does not have the resource to expand at the rate needed to counter current unemployment. Any jobs created in the “green” sector will not be created by simply saying so. In the mean time, we need fuel now. And as long as we need fuel now, we will continue to get it from where it is available. The promise of “green” energy jobs does two things. It appeases the “climate change” crowd by promising renewable energy (deliverable or not. The promise is all that is required) and, most importantly, by not allowing drilling within our borders. The latter is the key. Green agenda nuts are unconcerned with the economy, the free market, the sustainable growth of the United States or anything that obstructs their view of setting standards attempting to force us all into their narrow view of what human life should be.

Take the blinders off. Take a peek under the curtain. You are being lied to. A recent Administration memo so much as said so. CO2 memo

President Obama says these new cars will save “billions” of barrels of oil and cost Americans about $1,300 more per vehicle by 2016. Where do these figures come from? What is the baseline for making these predictions? He also makes the claim the fuel costs savings by having higher mpg vehicles will return that $1300 back to the consumer over time. Again, how does he know what fuel will cost in 2016? How does he even know these “new” vehicles will only cost an additional $1300? Even so, is that $1300 more than a current Ford Fusion or a Chevrolet Aveo? Until the baseline numbers these “predictions” are based on are made public and verifiable, these are just empty words from a President who has become famous for promising everything with no real consequence in offering nothing.

He is counting on you not to peek under the curtain. He is counting on you to simply nod your head and go back to watching “American Idol”. He is counting on you to not question and not look beyond the presentation. He isn’t lieing. He isn’t telling the truth. He is simply saying nothing at all.