Welcome back to the blog. This weekend we’re the GEICO Express once more, driving the No. 15 KV Racing car. It's a pity that I’m standing alone on the GEICO team – another rained out NASCAR qualifying session means Max Papis didn’t make the field.
It’s a good feeling to know I’ve got three back-to-back races to get my teeth into, starting here at Watkins Glen. The Thrilla from West Hilla has been getting bored. Well actually, since I last wrote you, I’ve had good times, and one real boring time – watching the IndyCar race at Richmond. I saw the first 50 or 60 laps but there was nothing going on, so I went out. From what I’ve heard, though, I saw the best bit, and the race found a way to get even worse.
Before I forget, check out my T-shirts for Toronto. You know Ontario Honda Dealers Association is using the No. 15 car to support the Wounded Warriors.ca? Well you can already get T-shirts with that car on it [Click this link]
at Toronto Motorsports. If you like it (and why wouldn’t you, Thrilla fans?) I think there's going to be a booth at the track, too.
In my midseason off-season, I’ve been working on various things. Patty and I went to Lake Havasu last weekend. It was good, and I did a lot of training there, especially bike-riding. Came back Monday, and really trained hard all week. I was getting up just after 5am every morning – if people want to follow me, I’m on Twitter now, so they can track me – and then I was doing a bunch of work on the Lincoln.
It’s now known as The Missing Linc, by the way. I got a bunch of stereo equipment in from Kicker, so the car went into my buddy’s shop to get that fitted, and I was working on that for a couple of days. We tore all the old stuff out, got rid of all the old wiring, so that was successful.
I was hitting the gym in the afternoons, and having nice quiet evenings at home with Patty and the kids. I had a couple of little things to do with wrapping up the sale of our house in Florida, so there was boring paperwork to do, and then I left on Thursday and flew to Indy, and caught the charter flight this morning to the track.
I did some media today, for Canada, a live video-feed teleconference with the Edmonton media group, and then spent some time with the KV Racing engineers. Then it was time to learn the circuit. I could have done it through iRacing, I guess, but I did it the old-skool way, walking round the track with the engineers and then when we got back to the pits, I drove a golf-cart round the track five or six times. This is my first time at the Glen, remember.
My immediate feelings are these. TV doesn’t do Watkins Glen justice. Elevation changes are pretty big here, especially in the esses, but I am amazed at how narrow and bumpy it is. People had warned me, but…holy crap! There are bits of the track that feel five or six feet wide with barriers on each side, which are gonna get our attention, that’s for sure. It’s a cool track, fast and flowing, but there is not a lot of room for error. It reminds me of Zolder and Mont-Tremblant a little bit. They had a lot of barriers near by, and were bumpy.
Passing opportunities? Yeah, right; we’ll see. Problem is, the corners are so bloody fast. Even the bus stop chicane is 90mph. If you want passing, you need a chicane like Portland, second gear. This chicane is one where you trail-brake into the chicane at an angle, and then turn it the other way in the middle of the braking zone. It’s not like you come to a stop and then turn in. You’ve got to be completely alongside the car you’re passing; you can’t just outbrake him. Guess I’ll just have to qualify well, then. I’m hoping to get inside the Top 10.
I suppose the big news this week is Tony George losing his job at IMS and quitting his position in the IRL. (Should I be PC or PT here?) Three days on from the announcement, I guess my view is, where have we gotten since 1995? Nobody really knows what direction the series is going in the long term. There are rumors swirling around about people wanting to take it over from the sisters and mother, and trying to make it like it was back in the day when there was an owners’ group, CART. If we end up back that same way, what have we achieved in the last 15 years?
All I know, and anyone with a brain knows this, is that the series needs strong, clear leadership, otherwise potential sponsors aren’t going to be interested. This weekend, there are only 19 cars – and if you include Milka, 20. The frustrating thing is, two years ago, we had two series with 36 cars, and now we’ve got one with 19. It doesn’t add up. Even the ride-buyers aren’t around, because we’re halfway through the year, so even the fat wallets have gone thin.
Right, Jimmy just got in so we’re heading out to dinner so I’ll send this sucker through to RACER
. My teammate Mario Moraes got hung up, got bumped off his flight from New York or something, so he’s in a car right now, on a six-hour drive here. I’m not really expecting to see him tonight.
Back at 'cha tomorrow.P.T.