So you leave Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, and you go out for dinner and then you stop off with the Designated Driver and have a little party with friends and you arrive home to find out that there is a surprise driver on pole at Indianapolis and half of the race fans in Toronto are browned off at Sportsnet.
Let's begin with Indy qualifying.
Ed Carpenter, stepson of Indy Racing League founder Tony George and a racer who came up the old-fashioned way through midgets, sprint cars and the Silver Crown dirt champ cars, won the pole Saturday for next weekend's 97th Indianapolis 500.
Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had pretty much set the pace leading up to today's Fast Nine final qualifying sprint, wound up sixth and seventh, respectively.
Canadians James Hinchcliffe of Oakville and Alex Tagliani of Montreal qualified ninth and 11th.
Rookie Carlos Munoz, an Indy Lights racer who brought the money for a crack at Indianapolis, will start second while his teammate, Marco Andretti will go off third. E.J. Viso is fourth (Munoz, Andretti, Viso, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe all race for Andretti Motorsport, meaning all of the team's cars made it into final qualifying) and A.J. Allmendinger was fifth and fastest of the Team Penske cars.
Twenty-four cars qualified. Ten drivers will try Sunday for the remaining nine places.
By the way, the first 10 cars were powered by Chevrolet. Tagliani was the fastest Honda car in 11th.
As mentioned, Sportsnet - apparently - dropped the ball big-time. It took over televising the IZOD IndyCar Series this season from TSN. Although I missed the frustration, I heard from a bunch of my readers who were not happy that there was no coverage of the run for the pole late in the day.
Wrote one: "I have no idea if the final shootout for pole was even televised. And if so, why Sportsnet failed to show it, as promised. I channel surfed all the Rogers channels between 6 and 7 p.m. In fact they didn’t say anything at all, and not a peep on any of their ‘tickers.’ Not that it was further postponed due to rain, or who actually won. Nothing."
Wrote another: "Early coverage was on The Score. But nothing in the late afternoon or early evening. NBC also broke away for Preakness coverage and only showed final few of top 9. IndyCar switched to live streaming on top 9 but couldn't get their act together to in time to show Hinch. There is no excuse for no Canadian coverage. Twitter is lit up with angry viewers on both sides of the border about what happened today."
I, personally, have never been in favour of protectionism of any kind. Keeping ESPN and the NBC Sports Network and other U.S. all-sports channels out of Canada in order to protect TSN and Sportsnet results in nonsense like this.
I've said it time and again, they wouldn't dare do this to baseball fans, or hockey fans, or any kind of fans other than race fans.
Race fans battled back, of course, in the good old days of grey market satellite television where a post office box address in Niagara Falls, N.Y., got you direct access to complete coverage of things like Indy 500 time trials on American stations.
I'm afraid as long as racing sells itself to TV networks, we'll just have to continue putting up with the insults. But if they live-stream all of Indy - practice and qualifying from the first moment each day to the last, even for a fee - I, for one, would say sayonara to television.
J.R. Fitzpatrick today stormed to pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Canadian Tire Series' Pinty's presents the Vortex Brake Pads 200, the opening race of the 2013 season and the feature event of the annual Victoria Day Weekend Speedfest.
And with a time of one minute, 23.286 seconds, the Cambridge speedster set a new track record for stock cars at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly Mosport, north of Bowmanville.
Louis-Phillippe Dumoulin of Trois-Rivieres, Que., will start second on Sunday and Scott Steckly of Milverton, a former series champion, will start third.
Nearly 30 cars from across the country will take the green flag in the race scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The race will be telecast by CTV.
In other racing, Guy Leclerc won the opening race of the Supercar season, Scott Nicol was first in the opening race of the Canadian Touring Car Series season and Spencer Pigot won the first race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series.
In SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am, Simon Gregg won the pole and set a new track record with a time of 1:15.614. Defending Series champion Tony Ave was second.
Pole day qualifying is now under way at Indianapolis with Will Power of Team Penske in first place at the moment. His lap of 228.844 miles an hour just nipped defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay's 228.282 mph.
Others quick out of the box today - qualifying was held up by rain - were Indy Lights driver Carlos Munoz (third) and oval specialist Ed Carpenter (fifth). Canadians James Hinchcliffe of Oakville and Alex Tagliani of Montreal were both in the top ten.
Once upon a time, the fastest driver on the first day of time trials won the pole with the field filled up and bumping taking place on other qualifying days. Nowadays, there are eliminations and fasts nines and fast sixes and it's all very confusing. Sometime around 7 o'clock tonight, the pole winner will be decided and the world will know - unless the world will have moved on, it being 7 o'clock on Saturday night and all.
Two observations. The Indy 500 might continue to be the Greatest Spectacle in Racing but no longer can they say the 33 best racing drivers in the world are in the race. Why?
The fact that Munoz is third fastest means that just about anybody can drive these cars. Maybe not race them, but certainly drive them. That he is doing this as a rookie, in his first IZOD IndyCar Series race that also happens to be the Indy 500, the world's most famous race, is close to being ridiculous. Mario Andretti, or A.J. Foyt, or Ayrton Senna, this kid is not.
And Katherine Legge has now purchased herself a seat in another one of the cars entered by Sam Schmidt (those cars all go to the highest bidder). I have said all I will ever say about Katherine Legge, so let's leave it at this: I'm less than impressed.
Pole day qualifying at Indianapolis is on hold as there is rain in the area.
And the track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is quiet because everybody is eating lunch.
Except some of us.
When something happens somewhere, you'll read about it here.
Meantime, Donnie Schatz passed Greg Hodnett on the last lap at Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway Friday night to win the World of Outlaws sprint car feature. The Outlaws, of course, will make a Canadian swing in July and race at Ohsweken Speedway near Brantford and Cornwall Speedway as well as at tracks in Quebec and Alberta. . . .Dale Darland won the USAC Sprint Car Series' Larry Rice Classic at Bloomington Speedway Friday night. Many of the USAC stars will be in action at O'Reilly Raceway Park outside Indianapolis tonight (Saturday) for a Champ Car Silver Crown event, weather permitting. It's also USAC Hall of Fame weekend and a bunch of oldies but goodies guys like Bobby Unser and Jack Hewitt will be enshrined. For those who's forgotten, or are too young to remember, the U.S. Auto Club used to be the big dog of sanctioning bodies and ran racing, including the Indy 500, with an iron fist. . . . At Brands Hatch in England, where the German Touring Car Series (DTM) is running this weekend, Robert Wickens of Guelph and Toronto qualified 14th for Sunday's feature event. Defending champion Bruno Spengler of Quebec will go off fifth. . . . At Old Mosport, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series cars are on track. Lunch is over. Time to go.
It’s Pole Day at Indianapolis, and the Victoria Day Weekend Speedfest is in full swing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (hey – 28 entries in the Trans-Am! Big Iron is back!).
So let’s get caught up before all hell breaks loose on Saturday.
– Talking about hell breaking loose, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner/driver Jennifer Joe Cobb (pictured) has accused her former Nationwide Series team manager Mike Harmon of stealing her nearly $300,000 transporter. Cobb is also involved in litigation with her former business partner, David Novak, over who really owns most of the equipment Cobb uses to race.
It is a tangled web.
– Meantime, Kyle Busch started the NASCAR All-Star Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway off with a bang Friday night by winning the Camping World Truck Series’ North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (talk about a mouthful!).
Brendan Gaughan finished second and Max Gresham was third.
Three of the Camping World series regulars who visited CTMP recently for a one-truck test conducted by driver Nelson Piquet Jr. were in that race Friday night. Defending champion James Beushcher was sixth, Miguel Paludo – who led for a good stretch – finished seventh and Jeb Burton was 13th.
Burton, incidentally, is the son of retired NASCAR Cup star, and Daytona 500 winner, Ward Burton. Jeb started from pole Friday night – his third in five starts this season – but didn’t have the horses to stay there.
The Camping Wordl Truck series will be featured at Old Mosport on Labour Day weekend, with the Chevrolet Silverado 250 scheduled for Sun., Sept. 1.
– Carl Edwards won the pole at Charlotte for Saturday night’s All-Star Race. NASCAR relaxed all the rules for this session and qualifying consisted of three flying laps and a no-speed-limit-on-pit-lane stop for four tires. Total times for the laps and pit stop were added up to set the field.
Not wanting to appear terribly negative about this (ED NOTE: Ho, ho ho), the reason there is a speed limit in pit lanes in every major form of motorsport in the world is because drivers can sometimes lose control of race cars at speed and unprotected people – i.e. pit crew members changing tires on cars – can be hit and be hurt, as a result.
So although some marketing genius thought it would be a scream to put away the radar guns and let the boys "have at it" along pit road at 155 mph, it is just as easy to have a bad accident at an exhbition race like the All-Star as it is at a "regular" race and it is sincerely hoped that they don’t do anything stupid like this again because Edwards called his run "petrifying."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second-fastest but the tire stop was botched and he was penalized five seconds, dropping him to 15th. Kurt Busch, who qualified third, will go off second, as a result.
– Mensa membership candidate Kimi Raikkonen says the key to winning the Grand Prix of Monaco is to qualify well.
– Scott Dixon is scheduled to be the first driver to take time when qualifying for the 97th Indianapolis 500 gets under way on Saturday.
Actually, car No. 40 is supposed to go out first, but since no driver is currently in the car it’s expected that Dixon will be the first to take a crack at the pole.
Like many things in 2013, qualifying at Indianapolis is terribly complicated and gimmicky and I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain it. I much preferred the old way of doing it, which was the driver with the fastest time on the first day of qualifying won the pole. Straight up, simple and to the point and I’m like that about everything in life.
James Hinchcliffe of Oakville is scheduled to go off 14th Saturday and Alex Tagliani of Montreal, the other Canadian who’s a previous pole winner at Indy, is down in 37th position.
Hinchcliffe was fastest of 32 drivers who went out to practice on Tuesday and his teammates, E.J. Viso and Marco Andretti, were first and second fastest on what’s commonly called "Fast Friday."
Said Hinchcliffe: "I think the weird thing about Indy is we have 10 times more practice time than anywhere else, yet you always wish you had a little bit more to make it that little bit better.
"I think it's just a function of a bunch of drivers and a bunch of engineers who are perfectionists and are always striving to make it a little better. But I think we can be pretty pleased with how things have gone.
"Obviously, having team cars up there all but one day bodes well. Qualifying is definitely going to be tough. There's a lot of quick cars. Finding that right level of downforce that takes enough drag off but doesn't leave you sliding all over the place and scrubbing speed is going to be key, and it would have been nice to have a run or two more to really nail that down.
"As a team, I think we're confident and it's going be tough because, like I said, there's a lot of fast cars that are going to be going for that Fast Nine. Hopefully we can get there and get the GoDaddy car in a good position for the start of the race."
(About the importance of starting position versus the quality of the race car):
"It's Sunday that everybody cares about. Dario (Franchitti) proved last year that qualifying is not the be-and all-end – he qualified 17th (and won). He even got hit in pit lane and fell right to the back, but he had a good race car and got his way back up to the front. So it's definitely important to focus on the race car.
"What's so tricky about (IMS) is it's so sensitive to different weather conditions. So if you're working on your race car throughout the entire week and you actually see a variety of different conditions, that's good. Whatever comes around on Race Day, you'll at least have a little bit of an understanding of what the car and track might do."
– At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, practice and qualifying will take place Saturday for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Trans Am, Formula 1600, the Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Canada and the Canadian Touring Car Championship, as well as the Supercars.
There will be a few races but the headline events are scheduled for Sunday.
If you haven’t been out to the new and improved Old Mosport in awhile, why not drop by? You won’t believe the improvements that have been made.
1961 it ain't.