Observations on the ALMS/Grand-Am Merger
Like everyone else I have adopted a “Wait and See” attitude when it comes to the merger between the ALMS and Grand-Am. Nobody seems to know exactly how it is all going to come down and because of this there has been a lot of conjecture, hate and gnashing of teeth all over the Net, Blog-o-sphere, Twitter and Facebook.
The fans of the respective series have been quite vocal and possessive of them and are a bit nervous about the announced press conference scheduled for tomorrow(Weds) at 10AM.
Both the ALMS and Grand-Am have been excellent at keeping this story under wraps and Kudos to Speed's John Dagys for breaking this story which nobody even suspected. But even with the story public both series have been quite adroit in keep the details hidden hence the “Wait & See” mode here at OversteerTV.
The thing is I am a huge sport car racing fan and have a hard time “waiting” because I want to “see” now!
So here is some quick observations from the web,
Grand-Am GT teams and drivers are all giddy and that is to be surprised. You may be the biggest fan of the class but if you took away all the NASCAR money the Grand-Am would have withered and died or at least relegated itself to SCCA national status. The GT class is exciting and has some great racing and racers but the problem is nobody is watching.
Daytona Prototype teams and drivers are happy as well. This lends one to believe that the DP Class will survive for some reason only known to the people in Daytona.
ALMS GT teams and drivers are happy as well. That could mean that their class will survive.
The LMP1/2/PC teams and drivers are eerily silent. That doesn't portend well for them.
ALMS GTC teams and drivers are split. Some happy some pessimistic.
Those involved in GT3 are positively orgasmic. I expect the class being a part of the new merged series.
Well there you go. By 10am tomorrow I will either be the racing world's version of Nostradamus or a complete idiot. Been called better and worse.
Bring Back the Brick Yard
By: Roberto “Side Show Bob” Winzeler......May 28th 2011
The Indy 500, what a race! “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing!” Innovative cars and innovative technology! Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it's all about! No, actually, this is what it used to be all about. The Indianapolis 500 was at some point about all these things. Today, it's become just another American race circuit, some sort of bastard child of Formula 1 and NASCAR, another oval track with go-fast, open-wheel racers. These days, the greatest innovations seem to be in marketing a few drivers. But this was once the great American race and it still can be. With the centennial of the first “500” this year, it’s time to consider how this could be. From earliest times, with the likes of Peugeot, Maserati, FIAT and Mercedes-Benz, to name but a few, there was plenty of international interest in the great American “automotive spectacle”. The Indianapolis 500 was, back then, the American Le Mans. Teams from all over the world entered the “International Sweepstakes” with innovative ideas, and innovation is just what the Brick Yard needs to get back on top. Back in 1911, Ray Harroun entered the first “500” with a car that had one simple innovation: a rear view mirror. As simple as this now seems, it was a piece of forward thinking for its time. The following year, regulations stated that a mechanic must ride along with the driver to check the oil, tire pressure, and inform the driver of traffic from behind. The “500” had a 12 year lead to establish itself as the premiere international automotive event. Well before the 24 hours of Le Mans even had a chance to run its first race. Since its first running in 1923, Le Mans has been a race of innovations, applicable both to racing and road going cars. This, however, came at a price: In 1955, 83 spectators were killed, when a Mercedes-Benz lost control and literally flew into the crowd. The “500” had its own mishaps as well, but tragic events like these, as unfortunate as they are, also spur innovative thinking. These innovations have, in turn, made their way to road going cars that you and I drive everyday. Regulatory debates between the teams and track owners have also taken their toll on the “500”. Any competition needs rules that establish standards, leveling the playing field but also forcing the participants to become innovative in their thinking to get the best performance under the limitations. These regulatory debates, unfortunately, caused a split in “500” racing culture, into the CART and, eventually, the IRL racing series. Both coexisted for almost 10 years until CART went bankrupt, forcing the two camps to merge. During that time, innovative thinking at the Indy 500 was lost and it became another open-wheel spec series. A series where every car and engine on the track are identical. The race became mired in over regulation, closed mindedness and the advancement of personal agendas. The Indy 500 needs to become the true American version of Le Mans, a race in which manufacturers and teams from all over the world come to test the performance, reliability and safety of their machines and the endurance and determination of their drivers and crews. I say this, because; if the French can do it, then, damn it, why can't we do the same here? So, here’s hoping that the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 will inspire innovation to bring Brick yard back to it's roots.
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Looking Forward to the NASCAR Racing Season
By: Jeff Brown
The racing season starts with much anticipation now that the spectacle, that is the Daytona 500, is over. We can start the actual season and have a better idea of who will be contending for the cup. Daytona offers very little insight into who will be the major contenders this year as the never before seen tandem racing dominated the race. When Richard Petty says, “I ain’t never seen anything like it” you know it’s going to be unpredictable. And it was. The #21 Wood Brothers Ford? Am I back in the 1980s? Should I start growing my mullet back or get parachute pants? It was great to see them in victory lane at Daytona. I don’t think there would have been a more popular victory, well maybe if Dale Jr. won but everyone would be crying foul. Him winning on the 10th anniversary of his father’s tragic death would have had the critics saying the fix was in. I don’t think all the fixing in the world could have guaranteed Trevor Bayne would win the biggest race in NASCAR. Now I’m sure Trevor is a fine driver but when the Wood Brothers hired him first I said who? Then thought they would have a better chance to make races on their limited schedule with Bill Elliott and his Champion’s provisional starting spot. It still remains to be seen how he will qualify in non-restrictor plate races, where the driver has to actually drive.
An unprecedented sixth straight championship for Jimmie Johnson might be the end of racing as we know it. Each year that he wins the title, the more rule changes NASCAR makes. At this rate they will be catching up with the 1980s technology that they should have instituted in, let’s say, the 1980s? Each time NASCAR makes a rule change it cost teams time, money, and experience. From the expense of man hours alone hurt the lower tear teams far more than mega rich teams like a Hendrick or Roush. Meaning Jimmie Johnson will probably adapt better than most teams just because of the vast resources at his disposal. That’s not to say that he will for sure win the Sprint Cup again, but with the new rule changes it makes the divide that much greater. It seems to me that NASCAR making rule changes to stop him are actually doing the opposite. Time will tell.
Speaking of the 1980s, that’s when NASCAR racing was at its best. I still say it was the change from bias ply tires to radials that hurt the racing the most. I must say that Goodyear Tire has, over the last two years, produced a radial tire that mimics the tire of the 1980s. The old tire had limited grip and you could slide the tire and still be able to save the racecar from spinning out. My favorite racing was watching Dale Earnhardt Sr. coming off turn four in Darlington sideways and back tires smoking with his foot to the floor. When they introduced the radial tire it had tremendous grip but when it lost grip there was no saving it. Slowly it seems, the tires are back to providing the same style of racing that many of us loved way back when. So everybody have fun tonight—everybody wang chung tonight.