Saturday evening update:
Brad Keselowski won Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte, with Denny Hamlin second and Kyle Busch third. Kevin Harvick finished fourth and Elliott Sadler arrived home fifth.
Danica Patrick, everybody's favourite punching bag, qualified third (must have been a fluke) and finished 13th.
Unless my math is wrong, that means she finished ahead of 30 other drivers who were in the race - but she was just lucky, I guess.
All of her critics can drive better than her, of course. I mean, the guy who argued against me in the Wheels Smackdown this week contends that if she hadn't taken her clothes off to get to where she is today that she'd be lucky to land a ride at a local dirt track.
(By the way, the top woman jockey in North America, a Canadian, is naked in the current issue of Vanity Fair. I have never seen Danica Patrick naked. But I digress.)
According to the Nationwide standings, she's in ninth place. In the seven years she drove in IndyCar, she finished in the top ten in points six times, had a career high finish of fourth in points and finished second in races twice. Her first time at Indy, she set the fastest time all month and came about as close as Hinchcliffe did to winning the pole.
But I guess I'm the one who's delusional, thinking she's got talent.
Of much more interest, however, is the continuing rumour that Michael Andretti will enter a team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series and will partner with Dodge. Neither Andretti nor Dodge will deny that talks have been going on, according to various Internet sites.
Some of the reports even include the names of potential drivers, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch being prominent.
First, I suggest it will happen. Why not? Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi are Indy car owners who run teams in NASCAR so why not Andretti?
Second, Michael Andretti in recent years has branched out to become involved in not only Indy car racing but sports promotion generally.
He was partners with Kevin Savoree and Kim Green when Andretti-Green Promotions rescued the Honda Indy Toronto from oblivion. Although that company doesn't exist any more, Andretti operates a sports marketing subsidiary of Andretti Autosport that is promoting races this season in Milwaukee and Baltimore.
Third, here is the clincher.
I have a friend who was prominent in Indy car racing public relations going back years. This person was offered employment by Andretti Autosport before this season began but then the offer was suddenly withdrawn, with no explanation.
Only afterward did my friend find out that Andretti had decided to hire, instead, someone with extensive experience in NASCAR. Jade Gurss, who is head of corporate communications for Andretti, started the original NASCAR truth-and-rumours-for-insiders blog back in 2004 and recently published a book on Dale Earnhardt Jr.
If you're considering a foray into NASCAR, it's probably better to have someone experienced in that sport than not and explains, for me anyway, why my friend got screwed in favour of someone from Down South.
So count on Andretti Autosport going to NASCAR.
And the driver? Ryan Newman will never leave Tony Stewart's team so long as Stewart is in charge there. They're a couple of short track guys at heart and birds of a feather stick together.
But if you're looking for a shoe who's done a good job for Dodge in the past, look no further than Kurt Busch, who happens to be available. The fact that, emotionally, he's still 6 shouldn't deter a potential employer from at least considering him.
Michael Schumacher won the pole for the Grand Prix of Monaco in his Mercedes Saturday but will have to start sixth in the classic on Sunday because of a penalty levied against him at the last F1 race in Spain.
So Mark Webber, who finished second in time trials for Red Bull-Renault, will go off first, with Nico Rosberg, who qualified third for Mercedes, starting second.
And Pastor Maldonado (Williams), who qualified ninth, will drop back to 19th because of a 10-grid-position penalty he incurred after the last practice session for exhibiting anti-social behaviour of the type usually found in kindergarten playgrounds.
He retaliated against something Sergia Perez (Sauber) apparently did - both cars were damaged as a result of the incident - and it distressed everyone from the stewards, to team owner Sir Frank Williams, to the TV announce team no end.
"Pole position at Monaco, Michael; congratulations," Mercedes' Ross Brawn said over the team radio, moments after the 43-year-old Schumacher - who first won a pole at the storied circuit in 1994 when he was a child in his 20s - crossed the line in first with a time of one minute, 14.301 seconds.
So. the lineup tomorrow:
Webber (1:14:381); Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-1:14:448); Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes-1:14:583); Romain Grosjean (Lotus-Renault-1:14:639); Fernando Alonso (Ferrari-1:14:948); Schumacher; Felipe Massa (Ferrari-1:15:049); Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault-1:15:199); Sebastien Vettel (Red Bull-Renault-no time, as he didn't go out in Q3) and Nico Hulkenburg (Force India-1:15:421, who was moved up from his 11th position after Maldonado was banished to the back).
Jenson Button of McLaren-Mercedes was the only one of the big names to not make it into the final, pole-qualifying session. The best he could turn was a lap of 1:15:536, which was only good for 13th fastest.
This was Schumacher's 69th pole. The last time a driver over 40 won a pole in a Grand Prix was Nigel Mansell in 1994.
The day was gorgeous with hardly a clould in the sky, which makes you wonder about all the empty seats for qualifying. If you can afford to purchase a grandstand seat for the Grand Prix of Monaco, why in the world would you not use it? I mean, they are not cheap.
Talking about currency, the announcers - David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan - were wondering why Sir Frank would allow Maldonado to go out for final qualifying after what he'd done. "He'll give him a good talking to later," said Jordan.
First, I don't think Frank Williams will say anything. And Pastor Maldonado does what he wants with that team. He ponied up in the vicinity of $46 million of Venezuelan government money for that seat, which means he drives when he wants to drive or else Hugo Chavez will be on the phone to somebody.
And the bottom line is, without that $46 million, Williams F1 isn't in business.
Two quick bits of short track news: Jarrett Andretti, son of CART and NASCAR star John Andretti and nephew of Mario Andretti, will race full-time in the supermodified division at New York's Oswego Speedway this season, starting June 2. He'll pilot a rocket prepared by Jim Paternoster and Shawn Muldoon as well as continuing to race sprint cars and midgets in the midwest. This was the route his father took to the big time and is most unlike other youngsters who tend to concentrate on road-racing ladders. . . And David Ostella of Maple, after a best-ever qualifying effort in Indy Lights, crashed out of Friday's Freedom 100 at Indianapolis when he was caught up in a five-car pileup. He wasn't hurt physically, but his feelings sure were. He'd gone off fifth, which is pretty good in that company.