Notes from the Weekend

Several of my ?Open Wheel? friends have asked me, ?Do you think the (NEXTEL Cup) Chase will come down to the last turn?? Good question, the Indy Car Series at Chicagoland Speedway was entertaining and exciting. Seeing Indy Car Championship contenders Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti battle side-by-side for the lead as they took the white flag was thrilling. The crowd certainly had to walk away from the race satisfied. Kudos to the Indy Car Series for having 22 cars at Chicagoland. As usual there is talk of having 22 cars for next year, but the chatter in the off season is always having 22 cars. The doomsayers may say 14 cars like they have the last several years. Who knows? However, car counts over 20 are a priority for the series. It would be nice for the Indy Car Series to have some momentum going into the ?08 season. On the other hand, with drivers such as Franchitti and Sam Hornish, Jr. in place to bolt for NASCAR, that remains to be seen.

Ashley Judd. A-list celebrity, big hat, eloquent post-race interviews, some love her, others despise her. I like her. Yes, she does carry on a bit too much, but she loves her Scotsman and will always back him up. However, Ashley, don?t single out Milka Duno in your post-race interview because she was used as a pick. Slow cars are a part of the game. Whether it?s someone like Walt Ader or Jackie Holmes in the 1950?s, Tom Frantz, Bob Harkey or Dan Murphy in the 1970?s or everyone?s favorite ?King Hiro? Matsushita in the 1990?s slow cars are part of the game. Milka was parked earlier in the year as she should?ve been. However at Chicagoland (after some remedial training?) it looked like she was keeping her line. Yes, she?s a punch line, but it does Indy Car Racing no good when everybody piles on. Even Scott Goodyear joined in saying she should have a zip code. Wow.

In case you?re wondering, yes, the Champ Car Series has one more race, seven weeks after their triumphant European schedule. Their Mexican finale will officially crown Sebastien Bourdais as champion. As they move to being a European series, they have dropped the white flag in favor a single raised finger for signally the final lap. Is this their way to give the finger to their American fans? A warning to CCWS, if you get even a sliver of success in Europe, Bernie will crush you.

Some of the chat rooms were actually criticizing Jack ?King of Cool? Arute for asking Franchitti in the post-race interview where he will race next year. It?s a question that had to be asked. Chris Economaki the guru of all pit reporters is always getting after pit reporters that feed drivers the answer instead of asking a driver a particular question. We hear enough of ?Boy, you drove a great race? instead of ?What happened out there??

Heard an interesting scenario for Champ Car. ALMS purchases CCWS, kills Champ Car but keeps the Atlantic Series, increases their horsepower by 100HP. ALMS combines the prototype series and the GT series from four to two and adds the Atlantic series to their weekend.

With the boxier COT Cup cars running more and more, the UPS racing slogan ?Race the truck? doesn?t seem too far-fetched.

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