Weekend round up 29 January 2011 #F1 #NASCAR #speedweeks

#NASCAR. Not long now before we get the season rolling, but what have they done to the points? Seems a remarkably pointless (pun intended) revision and I can’t really see much in the way of benefit. All it seems destined to do is to make it very crowded with lots of people on the same totals. Oh well, I doubt that it will change the spectacle.

#Speedweeks. Good to get the racing year under way with the Rolex 24 (or Daytona Continental as I still think of it). Sports car racing doesn’t appeal to me that much these days, but news of racing having started up at Daytona always makes it feel like the season has started and we’re back in business. Shame that they’ve spend three hours or so under caution due to fog. Spoils it all a bit.

#F1. Nice to see Paul Di Resta rewarded with an F1 drive and I hope that he does well. I’m always pleased to see talent getting a chace over chequebook. Less impressed with commentary team changes at the BBC though, but I always turn the sound down when I watch anyway. Maybe with all the clever tricks we’ll be able to keep the track sound and lose the commentary one day.

I’ll be a bit sad if F1 loses the Australian GP but, if Melbourne don’t want it anymore, it could go back to Adelaide. The Antipodes have provided motor sport with some great drivers and cars, so I’d like to see them stay in F1.

Weekend round up 16 January 2011

#F1 – Very pleased that Narain Karthikeyan is back on the F1 grid and that Karun Chandhok has, at least, got a test role. These guys can drive and deserve their places.

Sorry to hear about Derek Gardner passing on. He created some good cars and wasn’t afraid to go out on a limb, the Tyrrell six wheeler being a classic example.

Good to hear that thoughts of moving the Italian Grand Prix away from Monza have fallen through, and also good to hear a gracious response from the Rome GP promoter. I too would have supported a second GP in Italy because the fans have such passion, and maybe we only have Ferrari now, but where would grand prix racing be without Maserati and Alfa Romeo in its blood?

#NASCAR – Just a month to go until the Daytona 500. I shan’t be bothering with the clash, but will be looking out for qualifying and the twin 125s on the run into the big race, and also the truck race on the 18th.

Good luck to Todd Bodine running in all three classes.

It doesn’t now look as though I can get there in person, but I’ll be there in spirit.

RIP Derek Gardner

I seem to be writing a few RIPs lately, but maybe it is because of my own age.

DG was a key man at Ferguson working on 4wd systems and got involved in F1 through the work Fergusons did on the various Indy and F1 4wd projects that cropped up in the late 1960s. Through that he had met Ken Tyrrell and, when Ken needed a decent car for Jackie Stewart, he hired DG to produce it in secret, the Tyrrell 001 appearing at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in the late summer of 1970 and, in developed form, as 003 giving JYS a second title in 1971, the basic design remaining competitive through into early ’73.

He later designed boats and microlights amongst other things in a long and distinguished career.

DG left us last week, but the record of his designs, and their success, will live on.

RIP

A J Foyt vs Eddie Sachs for the 1961 Indy 500

A great video short from  the 1961 Indy 500 with contemporary comments. Watch it here.

AJ had a great car and looked to have the upper hand in his duel with Eddie Sachs, but fueling problems on what should have been his last stop meant that he would have to come in for a splash and dash. That gave Eddie Sachs about a thirty second lead and his best shot at winning the race he loved so  much, but he didn’t back his pace off and the wear strip became visible on his right front.

To stay out and risk a crash or come in for tyres and bank second place money? He pitted for tyres and took the runner up spot. Three years later he would lose his life on the first lap of the 1964 race and the Clown Prince of Auto Racing was gone.

Read Sid Collins eulogy for Eddie Sachs.

Snetterton – what a cracking circuit upgrade

Really impressed with the revisions to Snetterton. I remember the circuit in its original long form and always felt that the shortened version didn’t do it justice, even if it did mean that East Anglia still had a major national circuit, but this upgrade really impresses me and I hope that it does allow the track to bring in some more major events. At nearly 3 miles it presents a decent challenge.

Watch a simulation of the circuit here.

Jonathon Palmer and his team are a really good thing for motorsport in the UK and it’s great to see them keeping up the good work.

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