I apologize for being missing in action over the last week. Too much real work, too little time.
Of course, there hasn’t been a lot going on in the way of real auto racing news. There have been a lot of press releases and announcements and that sort of thing, but nothing terribly substantial. In other words, no stop the press stuff.
But let’s catch up on some of it, anyway.
– Shortly after the end of the season, Red Bull’s NASCAR team gave Scott Speed the pink slip for the very reason that he isn’t really very good.
I could never figure Speed out. He had a very ordinary junior career (karts, etc.) and then somehow won a driver search contest put on by Red Bull, which was looking for an American F1 driver to help market their energy drink in the United States.
That put him on a fast track to the big time and he became a Grand Prix driver in 2006 when Red Bull bought Minardi and renamed it Scuderia Toro Rosso.
He started 28 F1 races and his record is made up of zeroes. He had no wins, no podiums and didn’t score a point. After 18 months, Red Bull dropped him from the F1 team and assigned him (I can’t think of any other reason; he probably had a contract) to its NASCAR team. He did some ARCA races (to be fair, he nearly won a championship) and the usual Truck and Nationwide races before going to the Sprint Cup team where his record of Big League mediocrity continued.
The news today is that Speed has filed a US$6.5 million lawsuit against Red Bull, arguing breach of contract. Red Bull says the contract contains performance clauses that Speed didn’t fullfil.
Like never winning anything.
I suggest it's a good bet that part of the inevitable out-of-court settlement will be Red Bull sponsorship of Speed for a season or two in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I hear there's a seat open at Dale Coyne Racing . . .
– There are many reasons to like the Internet (okay, there are many reasons not to . . .) and this is one of them: you can find some tremendous old racing footage on it.
A friend sent me this link yesterday. It’s an on-board camera trip with Scott Goodyear at Le Circuit-Mont Tremblant during a round in 1988 of the Rothmans-Porsche Turbo Cup Series. Ride along as Goodyear goes from 21st to third. Some of it is heart-in-your-mouth stuff.
– NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas stole the show at the NASCAR Gala Night of Champions in Charlotte, N.C., at the weekend by accepting his championship ring and then getting down on one knee and proposing to his sweetheart Jamie – who said yes.
The black-tie affair on Saturday was the end of a week of activities for champions from all of NASCAR’s touring series.
Said Kennington: "This was such an incredible week. NASCAR did so much for us. It was wonderful to have my family here and so many of my team members who are just like family to me. For Castrol and the amazing support they’ve shown me for 17 years, they made me what I am and I’m proud to have won this title for them."
Andrew Ranger was honoured for being the Canadian Tire Series’ most popular driver, even though he only drove a partial schedule in 2010.
– Hey, do you have a spare US$3,500 around? If you do, and want to be taken around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 180 miles an hour in a two-seat Indy car by either Mario Andretti, Arie Luyendyk or Johnny Rutherford on Monday, May 23, go to this link and you’ll find all the details.
I was lucky enough be taken around Phoenix many years ago by Jacques Lazier and I still get goose bumps. Indy behind Johnny Rutherford? Or Mario or Arie? Gotta do it.
– Molson and Labatt built auto racing in Canada – along with Players cigarettes, of course – but it’s been awhile since we heard from them. An announcement last week changed that.
Keystone Light beer, part of Molson Coors Canada, will become the official beer of NASCAR in Canada in 2010 and the official beer of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
– And speaking of welcoming back somebody . . .
Mortimer Racing is pleased to announce that Major General Lewis MacKenzie (Ret’d)) has signed on for the 2011 season and will contest the Master Division of the Formula Tour F1600.
This is great news. Now, if the Ontario Formula Ford folks and the Quebec Formula Ford folks could find some way to work together again for the benefit of the sport, it would be even greater news because we could again watch Lew and the other Mortimer Racing drivers at Mosport and not have to drive to Quebec for the pleasure.