Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Left--Champ Car point leader Will Power (3rd place finisher) and Center--race winner Sebastien Bourdais, who won his 3rd consecutive Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Oriol Servia, who replaced the injured Paul Tracy, finished second, 2.61 seconds behind Bourdais, who led 58 of the 78 laps run.
Long Beach Impressions--a typically good Long Beach crowd, so the "bulldog" was fed very well. If the series can get past next week in Houston to that 6 week break until Portland, then they can work a little on the chassis. What looked like a lazy hit for Paul Tracy certainly wasn't--and the series can ill afford to have their series "bad boy" and leading active open wheel driver in terms of starts, victories and laps led on the sidelines. However, Tracy is just shy of 40, and recuperative powers diminish with age.
Cristiano da Matta continues to make progress from his head injuries suffered last summer at Road America; he was roaming the paddock this weekend.
Rookie Graham Rahal kept his nose out of trouble; the son of legend Bobby Rahal finished 8th. Graham (like it or not) has big shoes to fill; it would also help the series to have a credible American born contender. One does not become a contender by crashing, but completing laps, and learning how to go faster.
The Champ Car field needs at least 20 starters. That's a rough number to make when the DP-01 production line is shut down. To attract sponsors, you need "buzz" and it can be created with visuals like those which came from Las Vegas and Long Beach. The product must sustain the "buzz", somewhat like sourdough bread starter.
Next on-scene blog will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. We'll check in with comments before then, to be sure.
Posted at 4:48 pm local time
Update--the American LeMans Series results were under a bit of a protest when we left last evening. The results stand as we reported then.
We'll roam around and maybe post a few snapshots.
Posted at 8:20 am local time
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Above--the Red Bull DP-01 of PKV Racing rookie Neel Jani getting checked from front to back before the day's practice and qualifying at Long Beach. If it looks complicated, it is.
Posted at 5:16 pm local time
Friday, April 13, 2007
More to come tomorrow, especially pictures.
Posted at 4:21 pm/6:10 local time
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Greetings from the race course. Our day began early with Mass at the Golden Nugget; the Vegas Grand Prix had Mass and a non-denominational service at 6am local time. Props to them for remembering what is truly important today; we hope all who could were able to celebrate. We hope they remembered the men and women who are in harm's way holding our enemies at bay, so we can do all of our celebrating without fear.
Will Power (one of auto racing's best names) was fastest in morning warmup for the Champ Cars. Sebastien Bourdais' team sorted out the qualifying problems; the three-time and defending champ clocked in 5th. The series gives no points for practice; I still think the race will be between Bourdais and Tracy. But that's why they run races...we'll post a few snapshots and results later.
Posted at 10:38 am local time
Bobby Rahal (yes, the father of Graham Rahal, 3 time Champ Car/CART era champion and the Rahal in the Rahal-Letterman IndyCar series team) won the Historic Grand Prix for old time Formula One and Indy style cars. But wait, there's more (on the way)!
Posted at 12:07 pm local time
Late pre-race observation
Art doesn't feed the bulldog. While this weekend had everything go about 85% right, the people (or lack thereof) watching in the stands will tell a different story. You will see every fancy camera angle NBC Universal can muster to show people in the stands if you watch the broadcast/replay. From our observation point (16th floor of the World Market Center) we don't see many people in the stands, but we see clusters of people on top of parking ramps, etc. We wonder whether this race fits the old bromide about sports car racing, where (unlike NASCAR) the drivers know the fans by name. We'll cut through the spin later.
Posted at 1:02 pm local time
Power and Tracy dueled back and forth for the lead...F1 test driver Doornbos snuck ahead of "hometown hero" Tracy. Power brings Derrick Walker his 2nd Champ Car win since 1999. Today was also Mr. Walker's birthday.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
04/07/2007--10:40 am local
Sophomore Will Power is on the pole for the Champ Car Vegas Grand Prix, with a speed of 113.154 miles per hour. It's the second pole for the Australian driver, who drives for Derrick Walker. Paul Tracy is 2nd thanks to yesterday's run; rookie Robert Doornbos starts 3rd. Sebastien Bourdais starts 17th, because he brought out a red flag with a gearbox problem and his time was negated. Rookie Graham Rahal recovered from the morning crash; he'll start 10th. This is the first time in the last 54 races that Bourdais has started in a position outside the top 10.