Friday, October 30, 2009

The Car of Tomorrow is a Complete Failure



I Don't know where to even begin on the so-called "Sprint" Cup. I can objectively comment on the season as I normally do, discussing driver this and team that, but when it comes right down to it, the racing sucks. The tracks have something to do with it, but mostly, it's the "Car of Tomorrow."

How about the Car of Sorrow? Is this an ugly turd or what? What, exactly, does any manufacturer have in terms of incentive to stay with the series? The engines are damn near spec and have very little in common with any production piece (although you can buy the basic components from a performance dealer), and the bodies have absolutely NOTHING in common with their real-world versions--so where is the "Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday?" Does Toyota or Chevy honestly think people see the race on Sunday, then go buy a Camry or Impala SS because it won on the track? It's this same "head-in-the-sand" oblivious reasoning that's killing the entire industry.

I am NOT one of those close-minded fools who thinks they should LITERALLY go back to racing *stock* cars. Those days are gone. In the 70s, NASCAR saw that V8, RWD vehicles were going the way of the dinosaur for the average North American family (they held out, but it's still true today), and had to decide "Should we switch to front wheel drive, 4 cylinder shitboxes?"

Thankfully, they said no and stuck to their format, and the entire stockcar racing industry followed suit--which is why we still race 1980s Monte Carlos and Camaros. And while it sucks that we're running out of body panels and good doners--would you rather be racing these cars, or Honda Accords around Daytona? I don't like the idea of a Daytona 500 taking 14 hours to complete, I dunno about you.

To fix the problem? It's really very simple. Two rules:

1. Engines must have production cylinder head and block. If there's less horsepower, so be it. Eventually, the engine builders will find a way to make more. Check the casting numbers, it must be a block and a set of heads you can buy over the counter.

Make fuel injection mandatory--the "cost" argument" is pointless and never made sense, EFI these days will cost virtually the same as the development and dyno tuning of those carburetors. Mandate a sealed ECU if you want, but these things need to be EFI. And, should the manufacturer wish it, OHC as well. Why not have an LS7-based engine with pushrods in the Chevys, while the Toyotas and Fords run their production-based OHC versions? There are other ways to make the engines somewhat equal, to help level the playing field.

2. Mandate that production sheetmetal must be used, with minor alterations. In other words, NOT like 1960s NASCAR, but like 1980s NASCAR. Keep the chassis, keep the wheelbase, keep all that, but put the PRODUCTION BODY on top--whether it's from a FWD family car or not, it doesn't matter, but it should LOOK like a car you can buy on the street. The last cars to do this were the Thunderbird and 80s Monte Carlo. Even the Lumina. It was the Taurus that first broke out of this idea. This would encourage manufacturers to try out bold new aerodynamic designs, or put unlikely bodies onto their stockcars (ie. Toyota might find the Solara body better than the Camry body.)

I like the idea that the COT is safer. Fine, we get that. But it's ugly as hell and, more importantly, the aero is a complete failure that makes the car push like a dumptruck. And what does NASCAR do when teams try to fix it, like Roush last year with the "crab walk" stance? BAN THE FIXES. It's ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fix the Nationwide Series! Remember Junior vs Kenseth?

Kyle Busch looks like a definite lock for the championship this season--and even if he does somehow fail in a blaze of glory, it'll just be Cousin Carl picking up the trophy again anyway.

Remember the old Busch series? Remember it in the 90s? That was good times. Randy LaJoie, back when winning two championships in a row was an impressive feat, for BACE Motorsports. He was the man to beat, when you were moving up through the ranks. Mike McLaughlin, Joe Jemecheck, Tim Fedewa, grizzled veterans that were the measuring stick, rather than running around being lapped by Cup teams in disguise.

Remember Dale Jr. and Matt Kenseth? People often forget they fought for their Cup seats the hard way--they raced hard against each other for two seasons in the Busch series, to prove themselves. They each had a bunch of wins in both 98 and 99, and finished very closely in the championship. It's what the series was supposed to be about.

Now it's a shadow of its former self. Thankfully, they haven't adopted The Car of Sorrow themselves yet, although they now have a design in the works. Cup regulars dominate just about everything, and the few Nationwide regulars who manage to win races either do so because they're road course experts (Ambrose last year), or because they're driving for a Cup team in disguise anyway (Keselowski.) Not that I'm taking anything away from them, a win is a win.

The Busch Series used to race on maybe half the tracks Cup raced on. Now they race on virtually all of them, so the uniqueness is gone from the series. Remember Myrtle Beach? Nazareth? Those were the days. At least they race Montreal though, and still get the odd standalone race at Milwaukee and St Louis. That's cool.

To fix the series?

1) Either boot the Cup drivers out completely, or force the Cup drivers to race their own private entry cars, with no outside funding or support from their Cup teams. Hard to police, but it's really the only way they could make that work. I like seeing the young guns "prove themselves" against Cup drivers too, but I'd rather see it in somewhere CLOSE to equal machinery.

2) Keep the cars the way they are, but maybe introduce new bodies, like Challengers/Camaros/Mustangs. It looks like it's sort of headed that way with Ford showing off the new Mustang body... But really it just looks like another COT on a standard chassis. Is NASCAR afraid that if they race production-style Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros, that NWS would become more popular than Cup?

3) Go back to cool tracks. Nazareth, Mansfield, Myrtl Beach, Salem... How about a Canadian oval? Delaware or Cayuga would work just fine.

4) Increase the damn purses. Ever compare a NWS purse to a Cup purse? It's a joke. Give these guys something to race for. It makes it even worse when the Cup guys come in and steal what little money the NWS regulars *could* make.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Johnson Dominates the Chase? Then Change the Chase.


David Caraviello had a good point on NASCAR.com the other day... Everyone bitches and whines about Jimmie Johnson "always winning" and "dominating." Problem is, Johnson hasn't dominated this season, at all. Tony Stewart did. What Johson's done is dominate the Chase. Every year.

The solution? Caraviello says "Jimmie-proof" the Chase. And he has a point. I will say, coincidentally, virtually very track in the Chase except maybe Talladega are the 48 team's "best tracks." Martinsville, Dover, Fontana and Phoenix in particular, are tracks where The Boring One carries all sorts of records.

It's not like NASCAR has catered the Chase to him on purpose--it wasn't that way the first couple years of the playoff system. Knaus and Johnson are just masters at saving their cards until the end, and building cars and testing specifically for those final ten races. Martinsville in the Spring? Test race for the Chase. Talladega in the Summer? Test race for the Chase. California snooze-fest? Test race for the Chase. Other teams are finally STARTING to realize that the last 10 races are all that really matter, as we see with Martin and Montoya's teams both performing amazing in the Chase too.

But I'd go one step further than Caraviello because, frankly, the Chase layout is a joke. Every track is a challenge to race at--but let's face it, the Chase doesn't have anything in the way of diversity. Loudon, Dover, Kansas, Fontana, Charlotte, Martinsville, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. That's four boring 1.5 Mile Crapovals, three flat short tracks (I consider Loudon and Phoenix short tracks in spirit), Homestead which is also flat and just a bigger version OF those, and then Dover and Talladega. Hell, all four of those flat tracks you can bring the same car to even, and that's probably true of the 1.5 Milers as well.

This is supposed to be a showcase of the 12 best drivers in the world--so why not a little versatility. Which, while we're at it, would also help curb Johnson's dominance. Despite what the announcers would have us believe, Martinsville isn't much of a wild card--if you're in the top 5, you're relatively safe. Jimmie leads hundreds of laps every time they go to Martinsville, so it's not really a "dangerous wild card" for him--lapped cars move out of the way for leaders. It's only dangerous back in the pack.

And where are the road courses? Best drivers in the world indeed--if so, a road course or even two should be in there to really spread it out. Sure Jimmie's got a pole on a road course, but other than a few top fives here and there, he hasn't done a whole lot. A road course would let aces like Montoya, Gordon and Martin make up a little ground on him. IMO, the Chase should basically showcase all five kinds of racetracks, times two (with an exception or two). THAT would make for an interesting Chase.

Here's my kind of Chase:

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Michigan
Loudon
Iowa
Martinsville
Charlotte
Sonoma
Talladega
Phoenix
Homestead

Sure, Montreal is a bit of a stretch, but if they don't come up here for a race, fine, then put something like VIR or Barber Motorsports Park in there.

Start the sweep up in Canada, then move to Michigan (as early in the schedule as possible for weather reasons), where Johnson doesn't have a whole lot of success. Then to Loudon, it's a tricky track one way or another. Then to Rusty Wallace's AMAZING track in Iowa, which needs a Cup date as SOON as possible (and it's basically a short track.) Then Martinsville for obvious reasons. Then the Charlotte night race, might as well keep the tradition. Then as it starts to get colder, we head south. First to Sonoma California for the second road course, a place where Johnson is typically hopeless. Then the wild card of Talladega, which needs to be in the Chase for just that very reason. Then another flat track at Phoenix, and then finish up at usual at Homestead.

That's two road courses, two short tracks, two 1.5 mile Crapovals, two weird/unique 1 mile flat ovals, one super speedway and one 2 mile flat track.

Now suddenly you only have Phoenix, Martinsville, and I guess Charlotte where Johnson typically runs REALLY well. And you have the kind of schedule that would be a TRUE challenge to the best drivers in the world.

And don't tell me NASCAR can't do it because of scheduling and sponsorship rights. NASCAR can do whatever the hell it wants with the schedule with enough effort.

DO IT, NASCAR. Show some balls.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why NASCAR Pit Stops are Better Than Formula One Pit Stops

Every time Peter Delorenzo opens his mouth about NASCAR, one of his biggest gripes is the pit stops--he claims that NASCAR pit stops should be Formula One or FIA GT style... Center-post jacks in the car, single-lug hubs, and automatic fuel rigs with the big giant hose.

Has he seen this?




Or for that matter, the most notorious one:




BEYOND the fact that NASCAR pit stops are exciting, heart-pounding athletic contests that are every bit as entertaining as the racing... DeLorenzo's argument is that modern fueling and pit stop systems are safer. When was the last time you saw fires like this in a NASCAR race? I can only count one pit fire in recent memory off the top of my head, and it wasn't even involving the car itself. It seems like Formula One can't go two races without running someone over in the pits or having a catastrophic explosion.

And how does it so often happen? The fuel hose gets stuck, rips or separates and spews fuel everywhere.

Yeah, I think I'll put my vote in for the beautiful athletic perfection of a NASCAR pit stop, with only two tire changers, an impact gun, a jackman and 20 lug nuts. Epic:



Oh and look at that. One little sprinkle of fuel on the trunklid. Oops.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grand-Am vs ALMS - Not a hard choice...


The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series brought another successful season to a close last weekend, and proved yet again why it's truly the premiere road racing circuit in North America.

The Gainsco Racing Pontiac-Riley duo of Alex Gurney (yes, of that Gurney family) and John Fogerty took the points lead the previous weekend at Miller Motorsports Park, and led by a handful of points over the Suntrust team of Max Angelleli and Brian Frisselle, and the Ganassi boys, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. All three teams were mathematically in contention for the championship, with Gainsco basically needing to finish 4th or better, while the others basically had to win.











And what a race, at Homestead-Miami's infield road course--as usual, despite being an endurance racing series, it seems like regardless of race distance, there's tons of side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper action with lots of passing in the Prototype division. The Gainsco boys did exactly what they had to, finishing 4th to take the championship, with both their chief rivals leading laps and running, at different points, in the top 5. In the end the Brumos Porsche of Joao Barbosa and legend Hurley Haywood took an aggressive win over the Ganassi car, who ended up finishing second overall in points as a result.

Over on the GT side, where they race essentially production cars you can buy from a dealer, another podium for the Farnbacher-Loles Porsche team of Leh Keen and Dirk Werner garnered them the championship, while the win went to the Pontiac G6 of Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards, their first of the season (they were the 2008 champs.)

The action was fierce, there was racing all over the track, and the intensity and suspense in the Prototype division was thick enough to cut with a knife, for the entire 2.5 hours.



Meanwhile, over on the ALMS side, we have the overpriced, overhyped, boring LMP1 class that look boring, sound boring and rarely see each other on track, relying instead of pit strategy. Five cars competed all season. In LMP2, which for all intents and purposes to the average fan are the same damn cars with a little less horsepower, two cars competed for the championship.





WHY was there even an LMP2 class? If I showed up to a race where I only had four, or ONE, other car to race against, I'd pack it up and leave. Why are fanboys so defensive of ALMS? Usually the same hopeless Formula 1 "fans" who care only about technology and only about the cars being fast, regardless of the quality of racing.

ALMS used to work under that argument, with Audi, Panoz, Penske Porsche, Intersport, Zytek, Peugeot, Aston Martin, etc etc all competing. But "the economy" basically caused a mass, MASS pullout of damn near all competition as of last year. The racing was never particularly exciting in the Prototype classes, but at least the technological domination of Audi was somewhat interesting to watch. Penske pulled out and moved over to Grand-Am, all the Audis pulled out, factory or otherwise, all the Peugeots pulled out, factory otherwise, Panoz dropped to GT2 only, etc etc....

de Ferran Motorsports took five wins on the 10-race season... Their nearest competitors (who essentially finished 2nd just about every other time, since there's ONLY FIVE CARS RACING), Highcroft Racing, took three wins... And of course when Audi and Peugoet bothered to show up, each took one overall win. In the LMP2 "class," Fernandez Racing won eight events two Dyson Racing's two--and of course, since ONLY TWO CARS WERE RACING, the opposing car finished 2nd in every other race. WOW!

GT1 used to be interesting too, with Corvette vs Aston Martin and the occasional Saleen or second Vette entry competing... Even though Aston rarely seemed a match for the factory Chevys. Aston pulled out this season, so Corvette dropped down to GT2 to find SOMETHING to do.




And don't get me wrong, the GT2 competition in ALMS is almost worth watching--even had some really tough fender-to-fender racing a few times, noteably at Mosport between Ferrari and Corvette, and at the finale at Laguna Seca, where Jan Magnussen in the Vette and Jörg Bergmeister beat the holy hell out of each other's cars at the end for the win. It was refreshing to see, and really the only stuff worth tuning in for--Ferrari vs Porsche vs Vette vs Panoz vs even a wicked Ford GT!

But honestly, when your premiere division is a boring joke (I can't imagine how the announcers were able to hype it up), and Audi and Peugoet decide to show up for two races (Sebring and Petit LeMans), dominate everyone, and then go home, it's pretty pathetic. So pathetic, that ALMS did the only thing they could and made up what was essentially a grassroots class, the "ALMS Challenge", featuring identical Porsche GT3 cars. And even for that, only six cars showed up.

Meanwhile, over on the Grand-Am side, the side that a lot of so-called "fans" make fun of for having a "spec" prototype series (which isn't at all accurate), the "NASCAR of road racing," is doing what NASCAR has been doing for the last 30 years--putting on better racing than everyone else. And also more affordable racing, I might add, which is why teams like Penske jumped ship.

The Prototype class, which uses strict rules similar to NASCAR stockcars (body templates, strict engine rules, etc), still has far, far more engine and chassis manufacturers making it interesting (and also making the haters' arguments null and void) ... Riley, Dallara, Lola, Crawford and Coyote all make chassis for the series, and Ford, Pontiac, Porsche, Lexus, BMW, Chevy and even Honda have all provided engines. When was the last time you saw a series with that kind of variety, yet still having the kind of parity and competition these guys do?

Granted, Gainsco had a great season, but there were still lots of different racers on the podium--The champs won four races, while Krohn Racing (with the ever-exciting Ricardo Zonta), the Ganassi boys, and the Suntrust-Pontiac team each took two wins. Both of the Brumos Porsche teams took one win a piece, to round out the totals. And Brumos' win at the 24 Hours of Daytona (still a cooler race than Sebring, IMO) was over NASCAR driver (and former 24 Hrs LeMans winner) Juan Montoya in the Ganassi entry--who was not only on the same LAP as them after 24 gruelling hours, but finished only about a second behind!



In the GT class, it was just as exciting, if not moreso, than over in ALMS--with Farnbacher-Loles taking four wins, and the rest split between Stevenson Motorsports, TRG, and the two awesome Speedsource Mazda RX-8s. They had their share of wheel-to-wheel action too, including a memorable run-in between Dirk Werner and Robin Liddell for the win at Miller.

The field in each class? Between 18-20 cars in DP and as much as 30 in GT. And starpower? Give that to Grand-Am too, with racers from NASCAR (such as Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson) and the IRL (Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick) showing up to race on numerous occasions.

And while both shows show up in Canada once a year, I have to give the nod to Grand-Am for their race in Montreal, as opposed to ALMS at my beloved Mosport, because Grand-Am just plain puts on a better show--including AIM Autosport's huge win at their home track of Gilles Villeneuve last season.


So explain to me again why ALMS is superior? Gimme a fuckin' break.

At least ALMS got the hint after this season. Apparently next year they're consolidating the two Prototype classes, so there'll be one prototype class and one GT class. But hey, if you look at the current car count, that still only means seven cars--oh wait never mind, Fernandez Racing is closing because they can't afford to race in the series. So there goes another team. I wonder if they'll show up in the more affordable, more competitive Grand-Am series?

Next season's really looking up for Grand-Am though, as DP will be as exciting as ever (especially with Penske still hunting for their first win--The Captain probably wasn't too happy with the '09 season)...







AND the #07 Drinkin' Mate team is switching to Pratt&Miller-built Camaros, which will be AWESOME to see dicing with the Mazdas and Porsches. They were already campaigned in the latter races of the KONI Challenge Series (In Penske/Donahue colours no less!), renewing the Camaro/Mustang rivalry there. Should be awesome!

Monday, October 12, 2009

TV This Fall...


Some good, some bad. And of course, possible cancellations for the good. My problem is that I'm running out of time to watch so much TV!



Defying Gravity

Surprise surprise, haven't even finished ONE season, and the networks have given up on it. ABC swears it's not cancelled, and that they're just looking for a timeslot... The only network even playing the rest of the episodes is SPACE here in Canada.

And of course, it's just getting good. The first couple of episodes were like soap opera in space, just going over the character's relationships while in my opinion, ignoring all the good sci-fi stuff. But the last few episodes have turned it up a notch, now that they've discovered the "real reason" for the mission. I'm starting to care about the characters, they've really been flushed out--so, of course, time to be cancelled.

Or, at least I hope not.

Community

Moments of laugh-out-loud humour, particularly when Chevy Chase is involved. The guy's still got it, as long as it's sketch or situational comedy like this is. The lead is your typical spiky-haired no-gooder "cool" guy, but the supporting cast helps make it funny. Hopefully this lasts longer than most NBC comedy shows.

Jay Leno

Being a car guy, I find Jay Leno is probably the coolest man on Earth. But as a tv show host? He's the most boring man alive, and possibly the second-least-funniest, next to a modern-day Eddie Murphy. He wasn't funny at 11:30, he isn't funny now. Thank god for Conan O'brien, who has more funny in his left testicle than Jay ever had.

Flashforward

I'm a huge fan of RJS' book, so I'm.... cautiously optimistic here. The first few episodes have made it radically different from the book, with a few in-jokes for his fans. There have been some things a little hard to stomach--like the fact that we only seem to have a few FBI agents investigating a world-wide scientific phenomenon (I mean, one episode like that would be fine, but we're almost four episodes in and not a single physicist has been appointed to help out?)... And then the glaring question of how the hell they're going to make this an ongoing tv series when the story seems to pan out in one, MAYBE two seasons tops... Still, worth checking out, for now.

Fringe

Just began season 2, picking up just as good as it ended. I may do a future post on this, about how Fringe is a better X-Files (twice the storyline, half the bullshit), but for now suffice it to say, go check out Season 1 if you haven't, to catch up. Damn good stuff.

Dollhouse

Also starting season 2, sort of a cross between Alias and The Prisoner, I'm just getting into Season 1 now, but I'm already glad to see they renewed it. Gorgeous lead in a super-agent role, with a really deep backstory/conspiracy going on. Good stuff.

The Office

Still the funniest show on TV. Period.

Heroes

So... SO HARD... To keep watching. But it's like crack... No matter how much you hate it, you keep coming back. Season 2 was trash, season 3 didn't help much... It looks like this season has become a "wipe the slate and start over" deal... Which could be good. But having Sylar stuck in a "pretend Nathan" body isn't helping... And I still find anything involving Hiro so annoying I have fast forward through it.

But I keep coming back for Sylar and Noah.

Friday, October 9, 2009

JP Montoya - Rodney Dangerfield of Motorsports?


Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person left with any respect and appreciation of talent.

Some people can't seem to stop saying "well he's a factor in The Chase" followed by something to the effect of "but he's got these other five guys who are the favourites."

They keep that little niggle of doubt in the back of their head every time they discuss his chances. I'm by no means saying that he's gonna win the championship either (although I joked that he would be your 2009 Champ with ZERO wins), but if he does, it sure as hell wouldn't surprise me.

People seem to forget this man is a CART title holder, back when CART actually meant something in the 90s. Some of the best racing in the world took place there, and JPM flat out dominated, with seven wins in his rookie season giving him the Championship, after a tie in points with Dario Franchitti, who had three wins. Ganassi then switched to Toyota power for the 2000 season, where engine reliability plagued the team. Despite this, he still led more laps than anyone else on the season and won three more races.


When the IRL decided to allow CART teams to compete in the Indy 500 that year, Jimmy Vasser and JPM were tagged as the "invaders." Many IRL drivers labeled Montoya as "wreckless" and figured he'd crash out of the event. He led 167 of 200 laps to claim the win as an Indy rookie, the first man to do so since Graham Hill in 1966.

It was always the same in Formula One, too. Whether driving for the relative underdog Williams team or McLaren, he always impressed, but was labeled as a hot head. Yes, fine, he was inconsistent, but this is a guy who won The Monaco Grand Prix in a Williams, beating Ferrari and McLaren at their own game. Much like Jacques Villeneuve never got respect, many racing fans never gave JPM the respect he deserved either.

Consider: this is one of only a handful of guys (Coulthard, Hakkinen, Alonso) to take the fight right to Michael Schumacher, often in inferior equipment, and BEAT the guy. In his rookie season for Williams, at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Montoya shocked the world with an audacious, aggressive pass on the German world champ into Turn 1. He then held him off the entire race, before unfortunately being collected in a wreck with a lapped car.

In 2002, a season where Ferrari won 15 of 17 races, Montoya was often the only driver to DIRECTLY compete with Schumacher on track, wheel to wheel, and succeed. Though he didn't win a race that year, he was the "best of the rest". He also set the fastest lap ever recorded in Formula 1 at Monza, 162.949 MPH.

He left Williams on a high note in 2004, winning his final race with them, the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. He then joined McLaren, where difficulty in learning the car's quirks, and communication issues with the team, gave him poor finishing results. Still, he eventually ironed out the difficulties, winning his first GP for McLaren at Silverstone. Toward the end of the year, he scored three wins, two poles and five podiums in seven starts. This proved that Montoya was not only fast, but able to build on a poor car and make it work. He had a poor season with lots of bad luck and on-track incidents in 2006 and left Formula 1 for NASCAR. Despite his successes, many race fans bid him good riddance from Formula 1.

Which, again is a shame. Since then, he started Nationwide and ARCA races to get accustomed to stockcars, and won his home race in Mexico City in the Nationwide series. The same year started with a win in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He then made the jump full time to the Cup series, where he won (on a fuel mileage gamble that still required him to pass a dozen or so cars to get back to the front) at Sonoma.

His first two seasons were all over the place, but he and crew Chief Brian Pattie persevered, and when 2009 came around, Montoya went about bettering just about every prior finish in his career, finishing consistently in or near the top 10, putting himself solidly in The Chase. Did he race conservative? Did he "points race?" Not if you look at Indy, where he dominated the race, leading the most laps and was on his way to victory when a pit lane speeding penalty ruined the day. Not if you look at his races afterward, with aggressive, fender-to-fender moves at Pocono and Watkins Glen. And did you see him move through the field at Kansas last weekend?

So no, he hasn't won an oval track race yet. But if that was "points racing," the competition should be scared. Since the Chase started, he's the only guy to finish in the top 5 in every race, and he's RIGHT THERE in points. As I jokingly said before, it'd be hilarious to see him win the Championship with no wins, just to prove how dumb the Chase is. But whether he wins or not, he has a legitimate shot.


And while I've never been a huge fan of his, per se, he's grown on me more and more by the day. One of the few personalities left in NASCAR, he speaks his mind, he's aggressive on the track without being stupid, and is just plain exciting to watch. At the same time, he's not an elitist Formula 1 douchebag--he hangs out with fans, he hangs out with his family and friends in the pits, he's likable and sociable, and most importantly, he's humble and realizes he's learning more and more about stockcar racing every day.

And despite what a lot of "haters" like to think, the dude won the Formula 3000 Championship, the CART Championship (and ten CART wins), the Indy 500, the Monaco Grand Prix (and seven Grand Prixs total), took the fight to the "immortal" Michael Schumacher like few ever did, won the 24 Hours of Daytona TWICE, and won as a rookie at the highest level of stockcar racing in North America.

JPM is for real. He may not be the champion this year, but he'll be a contender until he decides to the hang up the helmet, I think.

Oh, and his Juicy Fruit commercial is fuckin' hilarious:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One of my favourite interviews about one of my favourite books.

"How does a man go to work at a lab all day, and then go home and believe in the talking snake?"

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