PRECEDE: Terrible news from Europe this morning.
Spanish driver Maria de Villota, recently signed to test drive for the Marussia F1 team, is in hospital in England after a crash during a straightline test at Duxford airfield on Tuesday.
Local ambulance officials says her injuries are "life-threatening."
De Villota's Duxford outing was her first test for Marussia. She was set to give the major upgrade package that the team is introducing for the British Grand Prix its first run.
The daughter of ex-F1 racer Emilio de Villota, she is a former World Touring Car Championship driver. At age 32, she first drove an F1 car at the Paul Ricard circuit last year.
She was testing what Marussia described as a major upgrade to be introduced at next weekend's British Grand Prix.
Here's a link to the latest story.
It bothers me that so many people apparently think the possibility of Bernie Ecclestone going to jail is something to laugh about.
I suppose it’s human nature to be jealous of success, of good fortune, and of success gained through great risk and very hard work, as is the case with Ecclestone.
It’s a pity his critics didn’t work as long or as hard or else they might have success of their own and not be so jealous.
The really difficult thing to comprehend is that all these people say they’re fans of Formula One racing . What they fail to understand is that if it wasn’t for Ecclestone, there wouldn’t be F1 racing as we know it.
The fact of the matter is that the guys who were F1 racing in the Sixties, the Ron Dennises and the Ken Tyrrels and the Frank Williamses were, like most road racers of the time, content to play pretty much in their own little world.
They disdained commercial involvement; they really were, in the true sense of the phrase, independent contractors and if a country wanted to promote a Grand Prix, the national motor racing authority had to deal with the drivers and teams on an individual basis just to get them to show up.
Most of the participants lived hand-to-mouth. The drivers and mechanics were often so hard up they frequently shared flats or apartments and when they went racing they lived in tents at the circuits.
One person changed all that: Bernie Ecclestone.
After Colin Chapman, because of his experience at Indianapolis, introduced Gold Leaf tobacco sponsorship to F1, it was Ecclestone who saw the potential for the whole of F1, not just one team.
Anybody who’s paid attention knows that Ecclestone, who owned Brabham, then got the teams to form the Formula One Constructors Association, with him as its head, and the rest is history.
From a small-thinking, low-buck (for the times) bunch of blue-collar auto racers came the licence to print money that we know today. And each and every one of them is filthy rich – all thanks to Bernie.
And, yes, he took a big chunk of the cash that came in up front because it was his initiative, his bargaining, his vision that got that series – and auto racing in general – to where it's at now.
Because of Ecclestone's scheming and chutzpah, Dan Gurney, Roger Penske, Jim Trueman and Pat Patrick were inspired to break away from the U.S. Auto Club (stuck in the same small-town mindset that F1 was in the mid-Sixties) and formed CART. And they all got rich, too.
And from F1 and CART on down, through F2 (now GP2) and F3 (GP3/Indy Lights), racing entrepeneurs created a world-wide industry that generates billions in economic activity and employees hundreds of thousands of people.
And it’s all – all – because of Bernie Ecclestone.
Don’t believe me?
Tell me who, then? Who else did it?
It wasn’t Frank Williams or Ron Dennis or Jackie Stewart or any of the rest.
And it wouldn’t have "just happened," either.
No, it took the little genius, B. Ecclestone, to chart the way.
If he’s broken the law, either in England or Germany or wherever, the charges will be laid and the chips will fall where they may.
But before any of that happens, laughing at the possibility of someone – anyone – going to jail is repulsive.
It is most undignified, and people should be ashamed.
– The scary thing about the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Saturday night – won by Brad Keselowski, with Kasey Kahne second and Denny Hamlin third – is that there are only nine races left before the Chase for the Championship starts.
Where has the time gone.
If Kahne hadn’t had to stop Saturday night because of a botched pit stop (a loose wheel), he might have given Keselowski a run for this money. He was on the charge the last 10 laps; another couple of laps and he would have caught the leader.
Matt Kenseth, who will likely drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20 Home Depot-sponsored car from 2013 on, leads the Sprint Cup standings with Dale Earnhardt. Jr. second and Jimmie Johnson third.
The NASCAR stars now go to Daytona for the Firecracker 400, now known, of course, as the Coke Zero 400, which just doesn’t have that July 4 ring.
In the Nationwide Series, Austin Dillon won the Kentucky race Friday night by cheating. Kurt Busch was second and Kevin Harvick was third.
Dillon was dominant in his win but in post-race inspection, NASCAR found the team to have been cheating (actions detrimental to stock car racing, among other infractions) and fined the crew chief $10,000 and docked the owner, Morgan Shepherd, and the driver, Dillon, six points each.
It’s hard to tell why anybody wouldn’t cheat in NASCAR. If you win the race, or finish second or third, you get to keep the position. It’s there in the record book and you get the payoff – in this case, $97,000. So you pay the fine and you’re still $87,000 ahead. Where’s the deterrent?
– Joao Barbosa and Toronto-born Darren Law won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series at Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Sunday. In GT, Robin Lidell and John Edwards won the class and took the points lead in their Chevrolet Camaro.
Up next for Toronto race fans: the Honda Indy Toronto. James Hinchcliffe, Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Alex Tagliani and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series warriors will do battle on the streets of Toronto Friday (Free Friday practice), Saturday (qualifying) and Sunday (race) next weekend.
Plus there will be a full lineup of supporting class races, including the Firestone Indy Lights (David Ostella of Maple driving).
More information and tickets at www.hondaindytoronto.com