New Track Record

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New Track Record’s Ten Worthless Opinions – The Grand Prix of Long Beach

I’ve been cogitating on a quote to describe the racing at the Grand Prix of Long Beach (or #TGPLB as their PR flak shrilly demanded on Twitter).  The best I can come up with is Kramer’s review of a novel for Elaine on Seinfeld:

“Well, it’s a story about love, deception, greed, lust and..unbridled enthusiasm…You see, Elaine, Billy was a simple country boy. You might say a cockeyed optimist who got himself mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue.”

OK, the world diplomacy and international intrigue is really the F1 situation in Bahrain, but I think I can finesse the others into my Ten Worthless Opinions.

1.  Robin Miller has moved to the top of my list.  At Barber, he interrupted the prayer.  Last time, I called his grid run half-assed and asked that NBC Sports add additional ass.  It seems my pleas have been ignored.  If anything, ass has been deleted.  Maybe the reason ass for Robin Miller is in such short supply is because Charles Barkley has convinced everyone to go to Weight Watchers.  I don’t know.  NBC Sports, once again I ask you to have an intern or SOMEBODY produce that segment.  Maybe you could speak to the teams before the race to let them know that Robin is planning on his grid run.  Perhaps you could verify that the drivers are IN THE PITS FOR THE SEGMENT and not still tooling around the track for introductions.  Now, I have observed that Robin is dressing better now that NBC is in charge.  That’s a nice shirt.  Very professional.  But lose the sunglasses when you are in the booth with Kevin Lee.  Here’s some free advice.  If you really want to dress Robin appropriately for this segment, try big floppy shoes and a bright red nose.  You are already making him look like a freaking clown.  Unless this unintentional comedy is part of a bigger, secret plan to make us laugh.  Then carry on.  (Kramer quote connection: deception)

2.  Kramer said the book was about “unbridled enthusiasm.”  That about sums up Josef Newgarden’s move on Dario Franchitti in turn 1.  I guess you could say that Newgarden was a “cockeyed optimist” when he thought a turn 1 outside move on the first lap was his best chance to win an 85 lap race.  My opinion?  We need more cockeyed optimism. (Kramer quote connection: unbridled enthusiasm and cockeyed optimism)

3.  Does anyone have a problem with the starts?  They seemed acceptable to me.  I’m sure someone wants them to be perfect.  I just like the fact the drivers seem to be attempting to do it.  We’ll see if a bad one gets waved off.  Stay tuned.

4.  Townsend Bell gets better and better.  I think he likes the gig.  Two things he said stood out: “gnarly” and “twenty-six of my fellow wack jobs behind me.”  Where else are you going to hear that?  Keep this guy.  Lindy who?

5.  Finally, the new breed is back to finger-pointing and complaining.  I don’t know whose fault Marco’s shunt was; it doesn’t matter.  The fact that blame cannot be squarely assigned makes this drama more entertaining.  Graham Rahal said that Marco Andretti hit him from behind. Marco said that Graham “chopped” him and could have killed him.  After hearing this Graham said that was to be expected from someone with that last name.  THIS is the soap opera we have been waiting for.  Whiners, start your bitching.

6.  It appears the honeymoon is over for Beaux Barfield.  He’s making calls and people are reacting.  Sucks to be Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso, and Simona De Silvestro doesn’t it.  Personally, I have no problem with any of his rulings because the new transparency lets us know that the race director is reviewing a situation and actually making a ruling.  If you watched IndyCar 36, you know Graham Rahal was a little cranky with Beaux about qualifying at Barber.  Be prepared for more grousing about blocking.  The fur will fly when Beaux hangs a penalty on a certain Brazilian or someone with the last name Andretti.  And you just know it’s going to happen. *rubbing hands in anticipation*

7.   All the problems with the motors has created controversy, conversation, and conflict.  That’s good, right?  We want the competitors talking and the media buzzing.  It makes us watch every lap and every puff of smoke.

8.  Twitter BLEW UP when Marco Andretti went airborne after contact with  Graham Rahal.  The armchair engineers had all they needed to categorically state that the new rear bumpers do not work.  I will use my daughter’s favorite response to my idiotic musings: Really?  One inconclusive camera angle proved it.  Damn, I wish I had a degree from your school.  You be smart.

9.  I give NBC Sports a B+ for this broadcast.  It seems to be much more difficult to position cameras at street courses as opposed to road courses.  It might have something to do with, you know, all those BIG BUILDINGS.  But it would have been nice to see the penalties on Viso and De Silvestro.

10.  I truly appreciate those who can work it to “accidentally” be in frame on a national TV broadcast.  Kudos this week to Chris Sheridan who blogs at and can be found @indysoupdotcom on Twitter.  Here in Indiana we have a term for that kind of grin, Chris.  Something about ingesting feces.  Good on, ya.  See you at Indy.

I understand that I did not connect every WO to the Seinfeld quote.  If you see how I missed one, please let me know.  I hope these opinions are as worthless to you as they are to me.

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4 thoughts on “New Track Record’s Ten Worthless Opinions – The Grand Prix of Long Beach

  1. Mike (15 Days In May) on said:

    Lots of great stuff in here! Really like reading your WO’s!

  2. Gary Wilkinson on said:

    I would think that these “professional” drivers could at least make it through turn one prior to bringing out the yellow flag. I like excitement as much as (or more) than the next person, but these actions do not make a good impression.

  3. Jeff H on said:

    Appreciate the article (and, really, ANY quality IndyCar coverage I can find), but after what IndyCar went through last October, please don’t belittle anyone who expresses obvious concern about seeing a DW12 getting airborne in only its 3rd race.

    None of us are saying we are race engineers. But it doesn’t an engineer or manufacturer to figure out that: (a) flying cars are BAD; (b) we heard all during silly season that the DW12’s ugly rear bumper would significantly mitigate, if not eliminate, wheel-to-wheel contact and the “launching” effect that killed Dan Wheldon; and (c) that the Marco/Graham collision demonstrated that the force of a rear-end collision can result in a car being launched, even at speed much lower than on an oval. Any layperson can watch the video and see that Marco’s car drove over the right rear of Rahal’s car and was propelled by the spinning wheel. I’m not saying that any manufacturers, bloggers, or anyone affiliated with the industry ever claimed this could no longer happen. What I am saying is that we got an example pretty quickly of how it still can happen, and I think it’s okay to be concerned about that and ask questions, even uninformed ones on Twitter.

    IndyCar had to hustle to have enough chassis and engines to supply all the teams…I would be surprised to learn that they had enough extra time, money, and cars to “practice” running these things into each other at race speeds to see if they take off or not. (How would you even test that, anyway, remote control?) Dan Wheldon was my favorite IndyCar driver and the one who really got me back into this sport. He’s gone now, and it didn’t happen because of a “perfect storm”, it happened because open-wheel racing is dangerous, particularly when the cars are able to fly over the length of a football field. My wife and I have signed hats from Marco Andretti and are fans of him as well. It’s okay for us to be critical of the series, safety, and the effectiveness of the new equipment.

    • Thanks for the response. Please believe that I am not mocking safety development. If you go back to my very first post, you will see that I was responding to the events at Las Vegas. Subsequent posts dealt with the issue of flying cars. Because I do take the issue seriously, I prefer to wait for the experts to weigh in on why Marco’s car became airborne. It may well be that the bumpers did not work as planned. It may be another explanation. My comment was intended to point out the fallacy of making definitive statements without evidence. The use of the word “may” or “might” makes a difference. I truly hope the league can prevent cars from flying, but the only way to bring about that result may be to prevent them from racing.

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