Trailers for the auto racing movie Rush, about the 1976 battle for the world driving championship between James Hunt (left) and Niki Lauda (far left), are starting to pop up in theatres and online and you see them and you hope, really hope, that the film does proper justice to the sport we all adore.
(When I say we "all" adore, I mean that in the context of, if you’re reading this column, you presumably have an interest in, or a soft spot in your heart for, auto racing primarily, and motorsport in general. Otherwise, welcome – and I hope you stick around.)
Rush is produced and directed by Ron Howard and he has a great track record of being associated with quality motion pictures - A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, Apollo 13 and The Paper, among them. So fingers are crossed that Rush is a winner.
I mean, ever since Grand Prix and Winning in the 1960s, we have been stuck with nothing but turkeys when it comes to auto racing movies. Many people point to Days of Thunder as being cinematic art when, in fact, it stunk. Any time the producers feel the need to speed up what is already a high speed sport, you know they’re trying too hard for a reason.
Stroker Ace (a wonderful, wonderful book that was ruined by Burt Reynolds and Jim Nabors), Bobby Deerfield (I mean, really) and the corker of them all, Driven, starring Sylvester Stallone, are some of the stiffs we've had to endure. It was bad enough when, in one scene in Driven, they needed a starter to get an Indy car going (which, in fact, is correct) and then in another scene two guys just jumped into two of them and went roaring off through the streets of Chicago. (Huh?) But when a car turned around and drove backwards on the circuit during a race, I felt like crawling under my seat I was so mortified.
The story of Lauda’s remarkable comeback from that horrible, fiery crash at the Nurburgring in mid-season '76 is inspiring and you hope Howard has been able to tell it properly. And Hunt was the classic F1 driver, a guy who lived fast, loved hard (and very, very often) and died kinda young. Yeah, and he did leave a beautiful memory, too, didn't he.
Here are two video links, thanks to my friend John. One is a theatre preview and the other is a partial interview with Howard. I present them here to whet your appetite because Rush won’t be in theatres until September.
Okay, moving right along:
- David Deacon has been named Grand Marshal of the 2013 Canadian Historic Grand Prix, which will be held on Father’s Day weekend in June at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Deacon, of course, was the creator of the wonderful Rothman’s Porsche Challenge and Turbo Cup Series and the VARAC-organized weekend (that stands for Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada, by the way) will pay tribute to the Porsche 944 and the series that featured so many great Canadian drivers including co-Grand Marshall Ludwig Heimrath.
In a release, Deacon said: "You could say, with me at six-foot-six and Ludwig at whatever he is on his tip toes, as co-grand marshals, you have the long and the short of it for a lot of Canadian Porsche racing in the Seventies and Eighties. I used to joke that in my height category, I was the fastest in the world for about a decade. Unfortunately, they didn’t have height categories and I had to race against little guys like Ludwig. Can’t wait for him to read this . . . the guy rises to all bait! That’s what made him such a competitive driver."
Hmm, I guess we'll see whether Ludwig has, in fact, mellowed in his older age, won't we?
– I didn’t get everything that I wanted into my Monday Morning Racing Roundup yesterday. Left out was the fine result recorded by AIM Autosport of Woodbridge Ferrari drivers Max Papis and Jeff Segal at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama on Saturday. Papis and Segal were fourth in the GT Class of the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series event, with the second AIM car raced by Emil Assentato and Anthony Lazzaro finishing ninth in class.
– I love dropping into Peterborough Speedway in the summertime for some great Saturday night racing. I usually catch a Can-Am Midget event and I can tell you that the regular late-model racers usually on the same program put on an excellent show. The Speedway announced in recent days that Attersley Tire of Peterborough had signed on to sponsor the Sat., Aug. 10, meet for the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup. It’s great to see local businesses support area speedways.
– Meantime, the Ontario-based National Drag Racing Association, which features Alcohol Funny Cars and Pro Doorslammer racing, has announced that Xylotek Solutions Inc. of Cambridge have signed on as a corporate sponsor. Xylotek is a full-service IT consulting firm and is one of Canada’s fastest growing companies with revenues of more than $5 million.
– And NASCAR Canadian Tire Series racer David Thorndyke has announced that LubeSource, which distributes Shell lubricants in Ontario, will be his primary sponsor for the 2013 racing season. Thorndyke, who plans to run a limited schedule this year, will race in the season-opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Victoria Day weekend, May 19th.
- NORRIS McDONALD