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Archive for April, 2010

Racing Weekend

What a few days of racing!

I’ve been on the road, SC, NC, TN, IN, WV.   At the folks’ house in Indianapolis the weekend was packed with racing:

1.  Indycar at Barber Motorsports Park, AL.

Missed this race, so Dad had it taped.  A bit of a snoozer on this track built for motorcycles – just not wide enough for any stellar action.   Love that there is a new American road circuit, financed by an individual that loves racing, but just wish it was built specifically for the modern Indy car.

2.  MotoGP at Qatar.

Also watching a week late on DVR.  What a launch for Pedrosa, from 7th on the grid to lead them into the first corner.   Stoner makes a mistake while in front, uncharacteristically ending his streak of three wins at this track.  Americans Hayden and Spies with fantastic results.  And no surprise that the aliens Rossi and Lorenzo go 1-2.

3.  USAC Sprints in Indiana.

3 shows in 3 nights!  Gas City, Lawrenceburg, and Kokomo.  Great sprint car action, beyond my ability to describe.  Sliding it sideways with 800hp taking them around a 1/4 mile in under 13 seconds, there’s no purer form of racing.

4. F1 in China.

What a wild race, with Alonso jumping the start and ultimately making 5 pit stops!  Vettel and Webber make the wrong decision, imho, along with plenty of others, while Button makes a good weather-related tire decision again for his second win of 2010.  Renault looks great, both Kubica and Petrov, outscoring their engine-sharing Red Bull team quite unexpectedly.

5.  Tire testing at IMS

NASCAR had the tire debacle a few years ago, where they couldn’t run more than 10 laps or so without blowing a tire, so they started throwing yellow flags to prevent everyone from wrecking.   Mom could hear the cars testing from the house, that’s how close they live, so over we went to have a look.

6.  Indycar at Long Beach.

So I love Indycar, not least of all because it’s the namesake of my hometown.  and I couldn’t have been more excited when reunification occurred just over two years ago.  But there’s no doubt it’s boring.  The on-track action just cannot cut it in these current spec cars.  Well street races are boring on top of boring.  Why people like the Long Beach GP, other than the pretty background and 30-some year tradition, I couldn’t tell you.  There were passes this year, maybe 10 or so.  I’ll count that as decent.  Was rooting for Will Power over hometown boy Ryan Hunter-Reay, but nonetheless a decent outcome.

The racing season is in full swing, and what a joy to hit all the important kinds in one stellar weekend.

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Go Greyhound

I mapped out the road trip and calculated the cost of gas. At $400, I decided leaving my car at home was a better option, I could fly for about the same rate.

Well one leg is on the coast in South Carolina. Pawley’s Island. No planes, no trains close enough either, but the bus arrives at the next town over. And a “red eye”, I thought, would be similar to a plane, I could catch some Zzzzs and wake up at my destination. Instead it takes a multitude of changeovers, the space on bus seats makes economy planes seats look roomy, and you’re lucky to grab an hour of sleep time once you’re so tired that your surroundings take on an otherworldly feel.

All in all I give Greyhound a great rating. Hey, as I type I’m getting closer to my destination. Amidst a bit of chaos the busses arrive on schedule as the routes weave across the USA.

The complaint, the worst part of the whole experience, is the staff. A ticket agent at one station seriously seemed like she wanted to make sure no customers ever took Greyhound again. While asking a question about the transfer I was taking, she spat out a gate and time. It didn’t answer the question I was asking, it was just the answer whe was giving today.

At the next station it was the driver, who was so poor at communicating with others that it took 45 minutes to load. He ran around in circles and spent most of his energy telling people It should be so easy but they were the problem.

There are plenty of problematic characters at the bus station. Understandably the staff gets tired of dealing with the troubling few that truly are unpredictable, unprepared, and a potential threat to safety. But they throw out the baby with the bath water, and treat us all like a strange mix of children, cattle, and infectious waste that are making their day at work unnecessarily difficult.

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Malaysian GP 2010

De la Rosa doesn’t make the grid, an empty spot in the middle around 12th.
Hamilton Massa Alonso all moving up quickly. Great darting around all over the track.

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Q1-3 malaysia 2010

The top three places in the points:

Three of 7 of two dozen, Alonso Massa Hamilton out perhaps in Q1? No way, last lap, in the remnants of recent rain. It happened!

Full wets come out in Q2 for most, the Renaults on intermediiates. Button had on optimistic review of the grid, even if there was no adequate explanation of why the car was not made to try in Q2. Hamilton : Yeah, it’s a great thing hindsight, isn’t it?
Petrov to the top with 7 minutes left. Schumacher takes it back. We’re expecting rains soon, might be one lap on intermediates. Kubica Vettel Rosberg Hulkenburg. The spins of F1 cars are a ballet imho. I picked Buemi in a wild card draw and he’s thirteenth with two laps left. Lightning in the distance. Petrov went from top to bubble in 6 minutes on the qualifying session clock. Bumped. Schumacher in bubble now but under Vettel’s top spot time through two sectors. Lost it all and squeaked through to Q3 in 10th.

Kubica jumped the line out for Q3, might incur a penalty. 7:17 left, one hot lap in, Red Flag!
Commercial, and suddenly we’re back and it’s raceable again. A downpour is on it’s way, there’s only 5 minutes left.

Red Bull and Mercedes battle for pole. Sutil is on a blistering lap, says Steve Matchett the passionate expert f1 tv commentator. Rosberg to top, then bottom. Track is getting faster.

Last lap Q3 Malaysia 29

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Poet disaster

Word looked up today is: poetaster. Meaning a terrible poet, a writer of no good verse. For example,

My writing is weak, my songs a disaster.
As she walked out the door, she spat “poetaster”.

Its use today was in an Economist article about a newly discovered humanlike species, the first species to be identified only by DNA (no bone fragments), high in the mountains of Siberia. They said the mythical “man in the mountain” was no longer reserved for crazy Bigfoot hunters and poetaters.

In other wordiness… Read a Mark Twain short story last night called A Dog’s Tale. Man that guy was a genius. Just so simple, so like the natural style of conversation or one’s internal monologue. There is plenty about words in A Dog’s Tale, as the dog’s mother was a good listener in the drawing room, memorizing big words humans used and passing herself off as the only educated dog. The canine narrator says, in Twain’s witty style, that she didn’t know much about heroism, only that it meant agriculture.

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