Good news for all you rally racing fans out there.
Speed TV will start broadcasting coverage of the World Rally Championship this weekend. The WRC, which many people consider to be the pinnacle of motorsport, hasn’t been seen regularly in North America for the last six years.
All that will change on Sunday night (April 29) at 11 p.m. when Speed will broadcast a one-hour wrapup special on the Argentine Rally that’s happening this weekend. After that, on May 27, which is Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 Sunday (a.k.a. the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.), highlights of that weekend’s New Zealand Rally will be shown at 1 a.m.
You can check on times and future rally coverage, as always, by going to "George’s TV listings for race fans " that can be found 24/7 on the home page of wheels.ca
Two NASCAR drivers and a bunch of NFL quarterbacks are in the top ten on the Forbes magazine list of the most influential sports people in the United States.
No. 1? None other than NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson. No. 7 is Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The rest of the list, after Johnson: Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, boxer Manny Pacquiao, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Earnhardt, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and basketball player Jeremy Lin.
More than 1,000 adults were questioned about dozens of athletes to measure likeability and whether they were considered influential to marketers.
It was Johnson’s second year as No. 1.
And there’s not a baseball or hockey player, pro golfer or MMA fighter in the bunch.
Okay, I’m confused (no nodding in agreement out there).
Honda and Chevy started the season providing engines to certain IndyCar teams, as did Lotus (really Judd). All those manufacturers said emphatically that they had all the business they could handle and nobody had better come knocking at their doors because they were full up.
They did suggest, however, that they all might be able to (operative word "might") come up with some extra engines for the Indianapolis 500 so there could be the traditional 33 cars in the field and maybe even an extra car or two so there could be bumping.
A month or so ago, Roger Penske (who is partners with Chevrolet and Ilmor in the production of the Chevy engine used in IndyCar) suggested that Lotus/Judd was in trouble and teams would soon be coming looking for additional Chevrolet and Honda engines.
The IndyCar establishment and Lotus very quickly pooh-poohed that idea.
Now, just this week, two of the Lotus teams, Bryan Herta Autosport (Alex Tagliani) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Oriol Servia) bailed out of their contracts with Lotus. Herta won’t race in Brazil this weekend and D&R will be through as of the checkered flag in Sao Paulo Sunday.
Which suggests to me they are going to need engines for Indy and beyond and weren’t those other manufacturers full up?
Then we have the strange entry filed for Indy this week by Michael Shank Racing with Jay Howard the nominated driver (which indicates it really is all over for Paul Tracy). Shank doesn’t have an engine deal with anybody.
And the vultures are waiting to see if Lotus can even keep going through Indianapolis. There are whispers the company could soon go belly up. If that disaster should happen, HVM Racing (Simona de Silvestro), Dragon Racing (Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge) and Newman-Haas Racing (Jean Alesi, allegedly) would need engines.
On top of everything else, GM (Chevy) has filed a protest against IndyCar’s decision to allow Honda to make a change to its turbocharger. There was talk that Chevy wouldn’t go to Brazil but now the suggestion is that this could all wind up in court
This is turning into an unholy mess. The IndyCar executives led by CEO Randy Bernard did not handle this wholesale change to the series well at all.
The plan for the 2012 season was to have a new car and new engine manufacturers who would supply their own unique aero kits to fit on the Dallara chassis. The aero kits had to be shelved for at least a year and now one of the power-plant manufacturers is on the brink of folding, leaving upwards of seven cars scrambling for engines. The other two engine manufacturers are at each other’s throats over rules and rule-changes.
Will the Indy 500 have a short field? Possibly. And will somebody’s head roll? Maybe.
Somebody tried to do too much, too soon and once again IndyCar is suffering.
When will this ever end? Or will it?
Finally, Canada’s Robert Wickens will make his debut as a member of the Mercedes Junior Team in the DTM touring car series this weekend and both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will be on hand to watch him do his stuff.
Of course, the DTM is huge in Germany (55,000 tickets pre-sold) and Rosberg and Schumacher will be treating the crowds at Hockenheim to the sight of them driving classic and modern Silver Arrows racing cars – Rosberg in the car driven to an F1 championship in 1955 by Juan Manuel Fangio and Schumacher in the 2011 F1 car.