But before I put my feet up and watch some old racing movies (yeah, I know, I never really get far away from it, so some black-and-white clunkers like To Please A Lady, The Crowd Roars and The Big Wheel are on the menu), here are a few things to tide everybody over.
– James Hinchcliffe of Oakville is well on his way to becoming a household name in the country, up there with Paul Tracy and Jacques and Gilles Villeneuve. After he won the Honda Indy at St. Petersburg last Sunday, he was on all the Canadian radio and TV newscasts that night and the front pages of Canadian newspapers from coast-to-coast on Monday morning.
That’s not all. He was even honoured by the government of Ontario. Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn stood up in the legislature this week and read a note of congratulations into the public record that was well received by all members. Well done, James, and well done, Mr. Flynn.
Click here for the link to the YouTube video of Mr. Flynn honouring IndyCar’s new star.
– It’s official. Sebastian Vettel really is in the doghouse. The Formula One controversy that happened last Sunday has now been reported in the popular press by the AP (link here), so it must be important.
It continues to boggle my mind that people are surprised that Vettel did what he did. He’s the world champion. He won the last three titles. He is not going to lose the second race of the season. Maybe he'd be only too happy to lose the second last race of the season, after he’d clinched his fourth title, but not the second race starting out.
Other things boggle my mind. This outpouring of scorn on Twitter and Facebook and from high-profile people in the sport like Jackie Stewart (who should know better) tell me – what? – that people approve of team orders?
I thought auto racing was just that: racing. But apparently not. Sebastian Vettel is in the doghouse because he disobeyed an order not to race.
I give up.
A guy wrote me a note this week that said people would be outraged if the four Andretti Autosport drivers were running first, second, third and fourth with 10 laps to go in the Indianapolis 500 and Michael Andretti got on the radio and said: "Hold position."
Can you believe that James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and E.J. Viso would say, "Sure, boss. Whatever you say."
In somebody’s dreams.
And yet that’s what happened in that Grand Prix last weekend and people are outraged that one of the two guys involved didn’t snap to attention and salute.
I’ll tell you what’s going to happen as a result of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner being so stupid as to tell Sebastian Vettel to lose.
Sebastian Vettel will be driving for Ferrari next season. That’s what.
Yes, he’s apologized. Do you think he’s happy about that? Do you think for one second that he is going to kiss butt in the Red Bull garage for the rest of the year? I guarantee he will now be more determined than ever to win a fourth championship and then he will say sayonara.
Ferrari has two aging drivers. The best one, a two-time world champion, is (like the other) 31, which is not old for a racing driver but getting up there for a Formula One racing driver. If Ferrari play their cards right, they can get a three-time (maybe four-time) champion still very much in his prime at age 25 and bring up one of their many young development drivers to fill the No. 2 seat and be set for years.
I know, people will say this won’t happen because contracts are in place. But contracts in Formula One mean very little, if anything, and if Ferrari wants Sebastian Vettel, they’ll get him, particularly after what happened last weekend.
– James Hinchcliffe won that IndyCar race last Sunday. The next day, Robert Wickens of Guelph and Toronto, embarking on his second year with Mercedes in the DTM (German Touring Car Championship), set fastest time in pre-season testing. He slipped to fourth fastest the following day but there are suggestions that Hinch’s victory might have inspired him.
– Speaking of the DTM, several years ago, Norbert Haug, who used to be in charge of racing at Mercedes, told a group of Canadian reporters at the Canadian Grand Prix that it was not beyond the realm of possibility that his company and other German marques might somebody be racing in North America.
He said this in the context of a question about NASCAR but mused that participation in some type of road-racing series might happen.
So this week, the DTM and the new U.S. sports car series United SportsCar Racing signed a letter of agreement that may see the DTM sanctioning a racing series in North America by 2015 or ‘16.
It may or may not happen. We’ll have to wait and see.
However, when Haug was talking at that meeting a few years ago, I got it in my mind that he was talking about a DTM race or races in North America, not necessarily a series. I think it would be swell, for instance, to bring Wickens, Bruno Spengler, Gary Paffett and all those guys over for a race or two, perhaps on a card with F1 or a Moto GP race at Montreal, Austin and/or New Jersey.
I’m not sure about yet another domestic high-end sports car series in which the team owner is primarily a rich guy because, as a fellow I know said a day or two ago, there aren’t all that many more rich guys around who are not already into racing. We already have a Ferrari series, a Porsche series, a Lamborghini series. Who’s going to line up to buy into a BMW-Mercedes-Audi series?
– Mark Martin will sub for the injured Denny Hamlin in next week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville, they say. Hamlin’s broken back will take awhile to heal.
Meantime, the Lynch Joey Logano movement (there sure is a lot of hate out there, isn’t there? The Hate Sebastian Vettel movement and the Hate Joey Logano movement are closing in on – and might even pass – the Hate Danica Patrick movement before long) is not losing any steam and not even Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs, who both said Logano never tried to hurt Hamlin, seem to be having any influence so far as calming things down are concerned.
Hamlin didn’t help matters by suggesting that a texting exchange he had with Logano "didn’t go very well."
Hamlin is the toughest NASCAR driver alive. I won’t be surprised if he shows up at Martinsville and says he wants to start the race for the points and then hand off to Martin. And then, when he takes the green, he won’t stop. He’s done that before.
But being tough means more than just being physically tough. Instead of fanning the flames and playing the poor me card, all Hamlin had to say about that texting exchange was that everybody had decided to move on.
The time for payback can come later.