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Memo: It’s All For One and All For One

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 5 2011

Kurt Busch and 'his guys'. Not exactly winning and losing together. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Erik J. Perel)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Let’s see what’s in the old Morning Memo today:

Goodyear held a tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this week (Better three years late than never, I guess) and drivers participating apparently left with thumbs pointing upward.

One, Paul Menard, kind of mentioned, sarcastically, I think, that the test is being held in the cool of early May and the race will be held in the heat and humidity of late July. Interesting.

Also on hand for the test was Kurt Busch. He would be the one the crew members still wearing the kicked-in-the-groin looks on their faces after last week’s tirade against them on the radio at Richmond.

Busch, too had a couple sentences on how the test went for him and his Penske Racing team. And nice sentences they were.

However, RacinToday was shipped secret audio of some two-way radio chatter between Busch and his team that kind of featured a different tone. It went like this:

Busch to media after test: “It’s always a treat and a privilege running out here at Indy.”

Busch on radio*: “What a dump. Bricks? Bricks? A yard of bricks? Can’t those jerk owners shake some change from the old fruit jar to get the whole track pave in asphalt?”

Busch to media after test: “It was a short day for us with the rain this morning, and then our motor broke halfway through the afternoon, but we’ll have a full day tomorrow to get caught up.”

On radio*: “What moron scheduled a tire test for early May? Hello? It rains in Indy in May. Jerk creeps. And who the hell worked on the motorhome? Man, I’ll be collecting some hides when we get back to Charlotte. Idiots.”

Busch to media: “We don’t get a chance to test on tracks we race on all that often.”

Busch on radio*: “Mellencamp Mellensucks. Letterman looks embalmed these days. Indiana, please. The people here go to Detroit to cheer themselves up.”

(* As they say in Washington: not intended to be a factual statement.)

Memo to self: Make sure Busch is not behind you at bus stop.

Speaking of Indy

Another week, another gut punch for the IndyCar Series.

The IZOD IndyCar Series race in Brazil began in the rain on Sunday, resulted in immediate wrecks like this one involving Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves, and was postponed to Monday.

A race through the streets of trendy Sao Paulo, Brazil was scheduled for last Sunday. Heavy rains flooded the track. Officials attempted to start the race anyway and just like that, top drivers like Danica Patrick, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Vitor Meira and Helio Castroneves skidded and wrecked.

The race should have never been started. It was quickly red flagged and rescheduled for the next day. But the damage was done as the top hometown drivers would be laps down for the Monday restart.

With only about 10 laps run, why not re-grid the field on Monday and start over? Let the teams work on the damaged cars overnight, start the race all over and throw the fans a bone?

Bad precedent? Nope. Great precedent.

Memo to self: Rethink all derogatory statements about Tony George.

Earncon alert

Next up for the Sprint Cup Series is Darlington. For that race, conditions are only so-so for a Dale Earnhardt Jr. victory on Saturday night.

Earnhardt has not won at the quirky short track in South Carolina, but in 16 starts, he has seven top-10s. His average finish is 15.2. He finished 18th and 27th the last two races.

We stand at Earncon 2 this week.

A list

Ranking the top televised auto auctions in order of enjoyability.

1. RM. Done with class and most interesting cars.

1B. Jackson Barrett. Great mix of cars and info but they have to take microphones away from Jackson, Sunglass Guy and the aging hipster.

4. Mecum. Announcers are either shills or ill informed. And what’s with all the touchy feely crap between the staff and the buyers? Man hugs. Low rent.

Missing presence

This weekend will be the first weekend for a race at Darlington since NASCAR’s Jim Hunter died.

NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter was a personal hero. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

That is, the Darlington infield will not be the same this weekend.

The first time I came across Hunter, the best friend whom many fans never knew they had, was at Darlington in the late 1990s. He was the track PR guy there and he was sitting in a corner of the press room holding court. Good friend and colleague Ed Hinton said to me, “Come on, you got to meet this guy.”

Glad I did.

For me, Hunter was the face of NASCAR because of the love and respect he had for it. So intense was that love that Hunter had no qualms about standing up to people named France when he felt he needed to for betterment of the sport.

Memo to self: Sorry, this is between Hunter and me.

Go figure

Two amazing thoughts about Darlington.

Bill Elliott has 52 starts and an average finish of ninth. At Darlington. How is that possible? It’s a law of averages anomaly. Elliott is good but good tends not to mean squat at Darlington. Well done, Bill.

Tony Stewart has not won a Cup race at Darlington. Good tends to mean squat at Darlington but it can also come in handy. Stewart is the best and Darlington would seem to be a place which would play right into the former USAC driver’s wheelhouse.

Well, duh

Understatment of the week comes from Stewart. With Mothers Day set for Sunday, Stewart was asked about him mom this week.

“She’s a pretty patient woman,” Stewart said.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 5 2011
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