SPIKE ROGAN'S Warped World of Sports

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Barnhardt's Blunders


Boy where to even start this week! Well first we had the week priors’ race in Toronto. All week Tomas Scheckter kept proclaiming that Alex Tagliani needed to stop “Crying like a baby” over their crash in Toronto. It seemed a bit like the Billy Batts line from ‘Goodfellas’ “…Go get your fucking shine box!

Luckily both Tagz and Scheckter had crappy races at Edmonton that kept them away from each other. Otherwise Tomas would have been in the trunk of Henry Hill’s car or Tagz would have been beaten silly like 2006 versus Paul Tracy. (We will get back to him later in this ramble.)

So Edmonton started off looking like another kind of dull run away for the “IndyCar Shark” himself, Mr. Will Power. (Or Mr. Power, William as Helio called him on the Versus Pre-Race show.) Fastest in practice, takes the pole, yada, yada, yada for 2010 Road & Street races to this point.

Well, who knew the last few laps would just blow away any other racing story? You had the F1 race earlier in the day, if you could see it in your local market. Followed by a big bomb for NASCAR at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They say anywhere from 135,000 to 150,000 were in attendance. The NASCAR run media says the latter, while people from the local media there like Curt Cavin and “Sockless” Robin Miller say more the lower.

IMS seats 250,000 fans so it is safe to say NASCAR has lost its power in the Indianapolis market. The front stretch looked like an ARCA race at Michigan. But to be fair even if NASCAR had 135,000 that would still be one of their biggest crowds for 2010. That is more than Pocono Raceway holds, and I know for a fact they are not near a sell-out. NASCAR can’t sell-out tracks like they did in the late 1990’s & Pocono is no exception. The problem is more than just a weak economy since their TV ratings continue to decline.

Also you had a god awful pit strategy by the 42 crew to take four tires late in the race when two were enough. While Montoya lost the race being too far back on the re-start and then tangling with the Milkas of NASCAR, Chip Ganassi didn’t win with him but lucked into his team mate’s right call with a McMurray win. Ganassi upping the Dark Sith Lord, Roger Penske becoming the 1st owner to sweep the Daytona 500, Indy 500, and Brickyard 400 in the same season. (Listed in order of run not importance! Also Both NASCAR races were won for the 1st time by Ganassi. Not too shabby!)

Now to the Great White North, where “hosers” were up in arms over a really shitty end to the race. Brian Barnhardt a man who gives mental disabilities a bad name, down right BLOWS a call to decide a win. I won’t go into long detail since EVRYONE saw the post race coverage. ESPN was all over it like flies on shit. (Mainly to deflect attention from the empty house they broadcast from earlier that day. Even the Network affiliates in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA Media market showed it and all they cover is NASCAR.)

While it is “Great” the IndyCar series is getting press, what is not great is that NASCAR’s dud gets swept under the rug, while the fact the IndyCar race had a better turnout for the amount of seats they had. (Plus the locals had either the race or watch as the local CFL team loses four in a row on TV. But what is going on in Indy other than the 400? It’s not like it’s NY or LA.)

It would have been a better selling point to say, “Hey NASCAR is on the decline, put IndyCar on TV.” Or “Let us race at your Super Speedway.”

Instead it is a race being fixed like a WWF match between King Kong Bundy & Brett Hart. Only in this case the man throwing the race is King Dumb Barnhardt!

Barnhardt better be glad he has only pissed off the IndyCar fans. If this were a NASCAR event he would have been castrated and scalped by angry fans armed only with empty torn cans of Natural Lite. And boy do NASCAR fans know how to use Beer as a weapon post race. Just see Talladega from a few years back!

Its due time Cowboy Randy B, rides back into town and lassos up another big bull! He did the right thing about Milka Duno, and now he needs to fix this Barnhardt debacle once and for all. The bigger question is with whom?

I’ve heard Al Unser Jr.’s name tossed around. I like that, certainly the closest win in Indy 500 history (still my most memorable as a 6th grader.) helps. When I was on The Inside Line I tossed the name Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the chat room around. Sure he is NASCAR announcer on TNT, but they do so few races, he might need more work in 2011 why not? He raced all kinds of cars, and is one of the few guys covering NASCAR who often doesn’t care who he offends. Wally has never been good at being a yes man for NASCAR. How he is still there is a miracle in itself.

Heck even Pancho Carter would be a good pick, he has spotted for Milka Duno this year, and if anyone knows what blocking looks like, it’s one of her spotters!

The issue remains, Scott Dixon was handed a victory he didn’t deserve because King Dumb Barnhardt has his head so far where the sun doesn’t shine.

As for Will Power’s claim of “Yes” Helio blocked me. Am I the ONLY person who since St. Pete has read between the lines Helio & Will are fighting for Alpha Dog rights among Penske drivers? (With Briscoe the freighted poodle hiding from run ins with the likes of cones, tire barriers and Graham Rahal on twitter).

In St. Pete during the rain delay, how many times did Helio “joke” he wanted to “break Will Power’s legs if he keeps winning.”?

When I was at Watkins Glen, pole day had a semi-tense moment not reported in the media center. Helio went off course late in qualifying and was late to the Pole award press conference. When he arrived (after Pole Sitter Will Power had been speaking.) Helio sat down next Power and stomped his feet. (Not smiling. Media center is DEAD silent.) Power jumps in “He’s such a kidder” to cause an eruption of laughs. Then Helio laughs along too.

Well is it not kinda odd, that Sunday after Helio explodes, he “jokes” around with the head of Security he just grabbed, and then tells the TV crew “Talk to my attorneys!”

Folks, there is a dog fight in Team Penske, Helio being in the 3 car has been Alpha Dog for a LONG time, now Power is looking to gobble him up and take over. This is only the start; wait till we get to the end of the season. Power is great on Road & Street courses, but Helio is the dog who is still on top of Penske’s oval efforts. If Will Power wants an oval, I bet he will have to beat Helio for it.

As for Paul Tracy, he as predicted couldn’t wait to gloat on Twitter about Helios bad luck. WELL, I called him out on Twitter and told him to get over his Indy 500 loss and grow up. (Hey, I’m a Gonzo Journalist, we put ourselves in the story! i.e.; Fear & Loathing: In Las Vegas. A book that starts out about covering a Motorsports event by the way.)

Well Mr. Tracy replied back! Normally he NEVER replies to non-famous followers. But he did, and his rebuttal was “At least I didn’t assault an official”. Well, that is very true PT, but we have seen what you do to smaller drivers who won’t back off.

I should be careful what I say about PT. (And as much as I rip him, I do really like him. He is like Sir Charles Barkley; he will always give us a show & sound byte.) Having seen his family lingering his pits at the Glen, I might find myself getting stomped like Billy Batts, by middle aged men in plaid, ready to be extras for the Red, Green Show.

Hopefully they will spare me the clubs made of all Duct Tape!

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