IndyCar Gets Serious On Racing Incidents, Finally.

In a story posted to Earthlink news, the building drama to the Baltimore Grand Prix takes a hopeful turn. It seems IndyCar officials have become more vigilant of racing incidents and have done better to police them to the Edmonton race.

I didn’t see for myself… exhausted from Tour De France and the tape delay of the F1 race, I figured I’d catch up later. That, and the Toronto race was horrible with caution after reckless caution, it was just too much. And to take the cake, the race leader (Will Power) in Toronto’s race was spun after contact to his rear wheel by Dario Franchitti. It’s debatable as to whether Will Power gave Dario adequate room (seemed he didn’t close the door, then moved over on Dario), even the questionable event seemed to make the race look like a crash derby.

From the article: “It seemed IndyCar officials, after a crash-filled race in Toronto two weeks ago, were taking more of a zero-tolerance approach.

(Will) Power said stricter enforcement is needed.”It will deter people from doing it again,” he said.

“They know if they’re going to hit someone, they’re going to get a drive-through and they’re going to go to the back (of the field) as well.”

I can’t agree more strongly. IndyCar has to present itself as consistent with open-racing rules and while not being the uber-expensive F1 technology, it must still present a level of consistent rule administration above what Nascar does. In open-wheel cars, “rubbing” ain’t always racing.

When the action happens more off-track than on, IndyCar, you’re not going in the right direction: interviewing Will Power, he called Dario the “w-word” (I’m sure it’s on the net) and claimed that Dario races him “dirty”. I can’t weigh in on this because I rarely watch IndyCar these days despite being happy that it actually exists (even with the ovals) after insolvency earlier last decade. There needs to be an open-wheel American series with some possibility to send drivers to the pinnacle of motorsport, F1. All that despite the trials and tribulations of failed attempts by Michael Andretti, Cristiano Da Matta, and most recently, Sebastian Bourdais.

Is it a sign of the devaluing of the American series when former F1 drivers like Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen don’t even consider a drive? Maybe. I don’t know, but the notion of a “wild west” when it comes to rules doesn’t help.

Not Facing The Nation

Latisha asked me if I would watch Meet The Press with her this morning and, company notwithstanding, I thought I’d rather watch paint dry.

Politics have just devolved — or, more likely, we have the ability to witness firsthand how awful it is to see the “sausage” get made — the process is painful to watch. The gamemanship that exists spans the entire range of decisions that could possibly be debated.

As my time on my neighborhood association taught me (“all politics are local”) change is a construct where people want AND think AND act differently.

Is The Prospect Of A Dope-Free Tour A Harbinger Of Things To Come?

Reading the NYT, I saw an opinion article on the slower times in the Tour De France:

“For example, the fastest riders on three of the last climbs in the Tour, including the famed Alpe d’Huez, were still three minutes slower — a lifetime in cycling — than many of the fastest riders on the same climbs during the 1990s and 2000s.”

Seeing what would be seemingly realistic results is a relief. The last number of years has been something and they aren’t over, with a case lingering in appeal over last year’s Tour. Recent admissions of by cycling legends have added to a level of relief that puts what seemed unreal in a real perspective. And I’m glad for it, without blame. I looked up a listing on Wikipedia on cycling and drugs and it stretches the length of the entire history of the sport. Why would now be any different?

The margins of success are so close — this year’s winner having missed out on a large degree of occasions — not to mention this year’s runner up Andy Schleck, having come in second three times.

Even so, the fan lauds that ostensibly (fingers crossed) what’s being done seems real … For me everything seems so unreal. But, as it turns out, so were the gifted investments of Bernie Madoff, Enron’s balance sheet, the whole tech boom, the Major League Baseball home run race and the record, and the over-heated and almost unreal housing bubble which had people buying houses in my neighborhood without getting inspections at one point out of fear that the house would be sold too quickly.

According to Wikipedia, the “Gilded Age” was a term coined at the turn of the 19th century to represent the rapid economic growth during the post-Civil War society and the term belies the superficiality that existed to the age. Would it be completely wrong to have thought of the recent timeline to be one that had its own gilding?

Also, I had a conversation with friend recently about the

Great Tour Action!

Wow. Great Tour De France action: how can those guys still walk…

And the sheer speed of ascending hills more than 6% is incredible. Reminds me of the worst pain I’ve ever had: attacking on South Mountain Climb a couple years ago. Amazing, but so is their fitness, power-to-weight, etc.

But, Thomas Voeckler’s heart is so big: gutting out a finish of only 2m behind when he was not regarded at all… Wow… Ready for a ride in this 41c weather. No, of course not.

What The Poor Can’t Do

“When you look at the Red Sox, who added superstar Adrian Gonzalez to an already productive lineup last winter and bludgeoned the O’s over the weekend, and compare the two teams on paper and on the field, it reminds me of an old saying that clearly applies to the Orioles.

The poor can’t afford to buy cheap.”

Great quote from Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun…

As a die-hard fan, I’m doing just that: dying with horrible losses and flat performances. And it’s not the budget issue, it’s the lack of cohesion and execution that’s most frustrating. Either way, spirited analysis.