For years, every time the commissioner of the National Football League would hold a “state of the league” media conference, some Canadian reporter would ask if Toronto was going to get an expansion team. Every time, the commissioner would say it was unlikely.
This wasn’t because Canada isn’t a nice place, or because Toronto doesn't have enough people or money. It was just that if the league was going to expand, there were American cities ahead of Toronto on the list.
Which explains why people in Toronto have switched focus and are trying to get an established team — like the Buffalo Bills — to move. It’s so much easier to get into the game with a team that exists rather than trying to start from scratch.
Which brings me today to NASCAR team owner Gene Haas, who is ambitious to go Formula One racing in 2015. The FIA has asked for “expressions of interest” in filling a vacant slot in the F1 lineup and Haas has said he’d like to give it a shot.
Now, Gene Haas (left, in photo) might have all the money in the world, for all I know. But to start a Formula One team from scratch, which seems to be his plan, will cost not one fortune, but several. And to think it can be done in less than a year is, simply, a pipe dream.
But there’s another way for Haas to go Formula One racing in 2015. He could buy one of the established teams.
And there’s one in particular that seems to be on really rocky ground at the moment: Lotus F1.
It would be a helluva lot cheaper than starting a team and Haas could even be a winner right out of the gate.
Bernie Ecclestone says it’s unlikely Haas will get his wish to start a new team. But Bernie has been known to manipulate a situation or two in his time and some backroom manoeuvring in this case could result in everybody being happy.
Gene Haas would be living his dream of owning an F1 team and Lotus could live to race another day.
Maybe it won’t happen. But it should.
Today is a big day in the automotive world. Fiat-Chrysler announced that its new name would be Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
How many consultants and focus groups did it take to come up with that?
I remember when I was a kid and Roy Rogers' horse Trigger fathered a son.
They had a big contest to name the little fella and millions of children sent in suggestions.
In the end, they named him - wait for it - Trigger Jr.
You wonder why they bother sometimes.
Back to Bernie for a moment. I’ve had a rethink and I don't think he will go to jail on this bribe charge.
He might not even be convicted.
How can they prove he paid somebody a bribe? He admits to paying the money. Where he and the guy who accepted the money differ is on the reason for the payment. The guy says it was a bribe. Bernie says the guy was blackmailing him and he paid up to to put an end to it.
So it’s going to be very difficult to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the payment was a bribe.
The guy who accepted the bribe was easier to convict. He accepted money and didn't tell anybody. Whether it was a bribe or a blackmail payment doesn’t matter. He’s guilty because he was on the receiving end.
Bernie? You can't convict on the basis of a hunch.
After suffering multiple injuries in an on-track accident during the Rolex 24 At Daytona this past weekend, Memo Gidley has a long road to recovery ahead. The incident occurred on Saturday when Gidley was behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Prototype when he struck the disabled No. 62 Ferrari being driven by Italian driver Matteo Malucelli, Malucelli’s car was without power and moving very slowly between turns three and four of the road course when the No. 99 “Red Dragon” hit him.
Following the incident on Saturday, Gidley was admitted to Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Fla. Once admitted, doctors discovered multiple fractures, including his lower left leg and left elbow, along with a lower back compression fracture. These injuries have required Gidley to have two surgeries since Saturday.
On Saturday, doctors immediately addressed the left leg and left arm injuries by completing an almost four-hour surgery shortly after Gidley’s admittance into the hospital. On Monday evening, doctors stabilized and repaired the compression fracture in Gidley’s lower back in an extended surgery.
“The objective is to get Memo into a stabilized condition so that the doctors can figure out what all the issues are,” team owner Bob Stallings said. “We are not at that place yet, and doctors are still evaluating him. The procedures needed to stabilize him aren’t finalized yet.”
Stallings has remained at the hospital, and he anticipates staying until Gidley returns to Northern California. Gidley’s athleticism and physical fitness should assist him in this road to recovery.
“Memo is a competitive person and a fighter,” Stallings added. “And clearly he is drawing on those strengths as he makes his way through this ordeal. Since last night’s surgery, he has been sedated all day, so we haven’t been able to communicate with him. There is some expectation that later today, if conditions are right, that the doctors may bring him out of the sedation, but that decision hasn’t been made yet.”
The goal is to have all medical conditions stabilized over the next 24-48 hours. After that point, the expectations are that he will need a week of rest to gain enough strength for the trip back to Northern California.
“We appreciated the outpouring of support, thoughts and prayers for Memo,” Stallings said. “We plan to share those with him once he is awake enough to understand all the well wishes.”
Doctors continue to evaluate and monitor Gidley’s progress. Because of the type of injuries Gidley sustained, he is expected to spend an undetermined amount of time in a transitional rehabilitation facility in Northern California upon his release from the hospital in Daytona Beach.
Despite the challenges that Gidley faces on his road to recovery, there is every reason to believe that he will make a substantial recovery. So far, all of his attending physicians are confident and optimistic of that outcome.
Which is very good news, indeed, because when the accident happened I thought both drivers had been killed. You don't often see smashups that violent, to begin with. For both drivers to survive is incredible.
- NORRIS McDONALD