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Ingram: Can You Spare A Dime To Fix That Drain?

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 23 2011

Carl Edwards climbs out of what is left of his car after Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer

From the Monday Morning Crew Chief™:

Top Ten observations from a weekend full of fast and furious racing:

1. Is a drain located in the infield grass capable of destroying a race car during a post-victory celebration similar to an exposed section of retaining wall without a SAFER Barrier? Should a race track where victory pays $1 million to win find a better way to drain the grass next to the race track than something that could potentially flip a race car?

2. John Force Racing has scored 200 career NHRA victories, but sadly the race I remember most is the one the team owner deliberately “threw” to get a team member into the Countdown. It wasn’t as bad as Pete Rose betting on baseball while managing a team in Cincinnati. On the other hand, since it took place in the U.S. Nationals, it was a lot like the Yankees throwing a game at Yankee Stadium.

3. For those thinking I have very little nice to write today, can you find a racing writer who can sum up a situation better than RacinToday.com’s John Sturbin? “The Andretti Curse, Extended Family Version.” Indeed. (Meanwhile, it’s nice to see John Andretti in the field at Indy driving for “The King.”)

4. Maybe I’m working too many long hours, hence today’s jaundiced eye, but I suspect that if we see Danica Patrick and Kimi Raikkonen attempt to qualify for next year’s Daytona 500, filthy lucre may

Kimi Raikkonen made his NASCAR debut at Charlotte Friday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

have a lot to do with it.

5. What a break for Formula 1 that the Kinetic Energy Recovery System isn’t working well for Red Bull, whose RB7 may be two seconds quicker than the rest of the field once they get the problems worked out with keeping the battery cool. In the meantime, Sebastian Vettel continues to win almost everything, but at least the races are interesting and outcomes often in doubt.

6. If you don’t have anything nice to say, well, consider blogging about racing. Actually, this just in: Carl Edwards has trumped all drivers with his post-victory back flips and celebratory charges into the grandstands. Atta boy, Carl. Now, if we could just get all the drivers to let the viewers read their uniforms and caps instead of spouting about sponsors as soon as they get in front of a TV microphone. Trust me, it’s not what fans are interested in hearing. And if you just gotta say hello to the family, instead of using air time why not tweet the wife and kids, mom, pop, little cousin Bobby Sue, Jim Bob the milkman, the kitty cat, cherished dog Bozo and the third cousin, bless his/her heart, who just went to Scout camp?

7. OK, maybe I got it wrong about spec cars at Indy. Perhaps that’s the reason Sam Schmidt’s team is on the pole, a Penske entry is not on the front row and an Oriol who flew in from Catalunya nearly won the pole.

8. The same Chip Ganassi Racing team that helped Dario Franchitti win the Indy 500 and the IndyCar championship last year accidentally ran him out of gas during pole qualifying at Indy this year. Franchitti walks off in a huff, making a big show of returning to the garage still wearing his helmet, an injured one-man party playing the role to the hilt. His wife the actress could have been a stand-in.

Franchitti’s team cut it a little close in pursuit of the pole for goodness sakes. Without a break in weight, Franchitti would not have come close. His team played all the angles and came up short. But Dario’s take? Thanks for the memories, guys. Now I have to start ninth. Puh-leeze.

9. Is Kyle Busch’s record of 97 victories in Sprint Cup, the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series something to write/tweet home about? At age 26? Sure.

10. It may not be quite the same as John Force Racing’s 200 victories, but at Barcelona on Sunday, Michael Schumacher scored his 17th finish at this track in the top six, which used to be the cutoff for points in F1. The streak began in the Camel Benetton Ford in Schumacher’s first season in 1991, when he finished sixth at the Circuit de Catalunya, matching Sunday’s result for Mercedes. The German has won at Barcelona six times. What an amazing span of competitiveness on one of the most technically challenging tracks in the world. Thanks and a tip of the cap for the start of this stat skein to Speed TV’s Bob Varsha. Welcome back, Bob.

Quote of the Week: “If I suck, there’s not reason to come back.” – Kimi Raikkonen, the supposedly unexpressive Finn, commenting on his possible return to Charlotte this weekend in the Nationwide Series race

See ya! …At the races.

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at jingram@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 23 2011
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Andy says:

    I’m not sure that I understand your point on #7.

    For #8, Indy is the biggest race of the year. Dario was keyed up and had a chance to get the pole. He didn’t make a big scene when he ran out of gas. There was no rant about how his crew had let him down.

    He was hugely disappointed that this happened to him and needed some time to digest the situation and find out what had happened. He avoided the press until the adrenaline fell back to normal levels and he could think about his good fortune in being there and competing safely. When he spoke about it the next day on camera he tossed it off lightly as a mistake that had affected both team drivers and hadn’t cost him a win.

    Danica or Kurt Busch would not have been as polite. Junior wouldn’t have given a damn as long as the sponsors kept filling his wallet. AJ would have thrown his helmet across Gasoline Alley. Darrell would still be reminding us about it twenty-five years later.