Rants, Raves and Notes

1/22/2008 ? I saw the new United States Auto Club (USAC) logo last month at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show last month. Well, I hate it. Yes, I know with the internet and other applications it?s important to have clean logos. Even the NFL ?cleaned up? its longstanding logo (for the 2009 season). When the NFL cleaned up its logo, they kept the many of the features, they reduced the amount of stars, cleaned up the football, etc. It looks like they just spray painted over the USAC logo. The USAC logo was one of the classic and sharpest logos out there. In an era which so many logos blatantly stole from the NBA and the baseball logo, i.e. red on top, icon of the sport in white and blue on the bottom and/or side logos such as the IRL or AMA Supercross became rather mundane. It was refreshing seeing the classic shield of USAC. I suppose in the era of ugly racecars we can have ugly logos.

The “USAC Racing Show” on has a new time and night. The show hosted by Rob Klepper is now on Wednesday nights from 6 – 8pm eastern.

Mopar (Chrysler?s equipment parts manufacturer) was named as title sponsor of the 2008 United States Auto Club (USAC) Mopar Midget National Championship.

Long-time Indy 500 Radio Network announcer Lou Palmer passed away January 19th. As a child I grew up listening to the Indy 500 broadcast on radio before live TV. Palmer was one important tools of that talented radio crew who made the ?500? come alive in your mind.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway remembered Palmer, ?Palmer first appeared on the IMS Radio Network in 1958 at the invitation of then-chief announcer Sid Collins, shortly after Palmer had joined the news department at radio station WIBC. He was assigned to Turn 3 for his first race because “nothing ever happens over there.” Contrarily, a massive, multi-car accident played out in front of him on the very first lap, all but blocking the track as the popular Pat O’Connor sustained fatal injuries, and rookie Jerry Unser completely cleared the outer wall to sustain a dislocated shoulder just yards away.

Palmer’s masterful call of that accident has been heard in numerous retrospectives.

For approximately 30 years, Palmer would take a hiatus from the WIBC news department and spend the better part of May at the track, feeding daily reports every 30 minutes and anchoring WIBC’s day-long qualification coverage with a fascinating, unique style. By 1963, he had moved to the pits for Race Day, and he stayed there until 1988. For many of those years, his voice would be heard over the public address system as he conducted the winner’s interview in Victory Lane.

To say that Palmer waxed poetic would be an understatement. Normally dressed in a tight-fitting short-sleeved polo shirt and khaki slacks ? and becoming steadily more tanned as the month wore on, Palmer would typically work qualifications standing up, usually with one foot up on the rung or the seat of a metal stool. Nervously drumming a ballpoint pen on a bench next to his thigh, he would deliver a rapid-fire, basso-voiced potpourri of heavy drama punctuated with wit, biting satire, uncredited quotes from Shakespeare and Rudyard Kipling, and an occasional sprinkling of early 1950s jazz jargon.?

In the ?It?s about time department? NASCAR announced that starting this season that all money collected from fines issued to drivers will go to the NASCAR Foundation for its charitable initiatives.

A.J. Foyt Racing has hired an engineer for his IndyCar team. Michael Colliver most recently has served as a consultant to Playa Del Racing and Jaques Lazier in 2007, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Ryan Briscoe in 2006) and Access Motorsports (Greg Ray in 2004). He also started Advantage Engineering Services in 2004 and worked at Kelley Racing from 2002-04, Treadway Racing from 1999-2002, Pat Patrick Racing in 1998 and Hemelgarn Racing from 1996-97.

The Indy Pro Series (IPS) team-American Spirit Racing announced they signed 21-year-old Swiss racer Cyndie Allemann for the 2008 Indy Pro Series season. Allemann is a former Swiss karting champion and Formula 3 competitor who?ll drive the Jon Lewis-owned #18.

Allemann is a native of Moutier, Switzerland. She recently relocated to Florida from Switzerland to be with the team during pre-season testing. Nice hire for IPS series, however lets not forget very marketable American drivers such as Bobby Simmons or Ron White.

When Dario made the jump to NASCAR, some speculated that it was Canadian Club that helped Dario make the switch. It was assumed that Ganassi took on Franchitti to get CC sponsorship who would replace the departing Coors. An internet buddy of mine pointed out that might be the case and Chip as not been able to find anyone else as a primary sponsor, either: Quote: Team owner Chip Ganassi says that he expects to put together a “patchwork” of sponsorship for Dario Franchitti and his #40 NASCAR Sprint Cup team. Franchitti, the 2007 IndyCar Series champion, will debut as a rookie in the NASCAR series this season. The team has not announced sponsorship plans for that car. Ganassi didn’t seem too worried about that while speaking with reporters during the annual NASCAR media tour put together by Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“It’s going to be a patchwork thing we’re putting together,” the team owner said Monday. “We will have the budget to run it this year, I’m not worried about that. It’s just that we’re going to have to watch our nickels and dimes, but we’ll be just fine.”

Tony Cotman has left the Champ Car organization, one of Champ Car?s strongest pieces, he?ll find a home soon with one of the front line sanctioning bodies.

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