You can tell that even the people in Formula One are going a little crazy, what with the series taking the entire month of August off.
For instance, the teams usually send out their pre-race briefings three days in advance on the Tuesday prior to a Grand Prix weekend. They started arriving this week on Monday, 11 days out from first practice in Belgium.
Oh, and the beat writers are making stuff up in order to fill space, which is also a sure-fire way of telling that nothing is going on.
For instance, a spokesman this week for Volkswagen Group had to deny, yet again, that a Formula One program was imminent.
You always know it’s August when VW announces it’s not planning to enter F1.
Roll on September. Please.
NASCAR is back at Bristol this weekend to take a shot at racing on the high-banked track that’s had some work done on it since the spring race, which was bo-RING.
The jury is out on how much grinding the top lane will have on the quality of competition, which in NASCAR means bumpin’ ‘n bashin’ ‘n tradin’ paint.
Timothy Peters won the Craftsman Series truck race on Wednesday by going almost wire-to-wire. He took the lead on the second lap and was never headed. Two hundred laps without a lead change does not make for riveting oval-track racing.
Please check George’s TV Listings for Race Fans on wheels.ca for channels and start times for all of this weekend’s major races.
The focus in Bristol, as usual, will be on Danica Patrick, who will race in the Nationwide Series Friday night and in the Sprint Cup on Saturday night.
All of the big racing web sites and the newspapers published stories Thursday and today about how hard a time she’s having making the switch from open-wheel Indy car racing to stock cars.
I think she’s done just fine. She qualified fourth for the Nationwide race at Montreal and was leading when mechanical problems forced her out. Time and again she’s been right in there and something has happened to eliminate her.
Anyway, I’m tired of the whole business and the reason I’m tired is because the people writing this baloney about "making the switch" don’t know what they’re talking about.
I’ll give you a test. Here is a paragraph that was published in USA Today. Read it and tell me what is wrong with it:
"Many open-wheel stars have tried to make the transition, including four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti’s failed 10-race foray in 2008. Three-time IndyCar champ Sam Hornish Jr. has only recently found solid footing in NASCAR in his fifth season. Only Juan Pablo Montoya has made it stick at NASCAR’s top level."
Well, what about Tony Stewart? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe that Tony Stewart was a triple crown U.S. Auto Club champion (midgets, sprints and Silver Crown, all in the same year in the 1990s) before winning the Indy Racing League championship before going to NASCAR where, if I’m not mistaken, he has won three Sprint Cup titles.
I’d say open wheel drivers, as exemplified by Tony Stewart, can do just fine in stock cars if given the right opportunity.
The problem, in order to make a comparison, is that no stock car driver of this generation has tried to go the other way and race in Indy cars. It might be fun to put the shoe on the other foot, for a change, and see what happens.
Except for one-offs in the Indy 500 back in the 1960s (Cale Yarborough, Lee Roy Yarbrough and Donnie and Bobby Allison), the only stock car driver who ever left NASCAR to drive most of a season in Indy cars was in 1971 when Cale Yarborough had a go.
Know what? He didn’t do all that well - but I don't recall any of the hand-wringing stories that we're subjected to just about every day whenever poor Danica or poor Sam strap themselves into a stock car.
Of course, reporters didn't have agendas then -- and making Danica look stupid is right at the top of the list for some of those alleged impartial observers who make their living writing about stock car racing.
Speaking of open wheel, the IZOD IndyCar Series returns to action on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., on Sunday and – mathematically – there are still 15 drivers in the hunt for the championship.
Realistically, there might be seven who could do it – Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud and Canada’s very own James Hinchcliffe of Oakville.
If you’re wagering, you can even trim that list down to the top four.
Dario Franchitti, who has won the title every year he’s been in it going back to 2007, looks like his reign is about to end.
Which would be only fair. It’s time somebody else won that championship.