Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Albequerque Freak-out!

That was one of the card games Tracy Jordan (played by Tracy Morgan) played with his grandmother on Tina Fey's show "30 Rock". It's really interesting watching a show on GE's NBC that features both brands so heavily. Most of it is really funny but I did notice during one of Tracy's trademark freakouts that he said he voted for Nader, Nader! Which the conspiracy theorist in me recognizes as further proof that Big Media doesn't want third party candidates to debate or get any significant portion of the vote because they might actually change something. I stumbled across this article written by the one and only Ted Turner about media conglomerates and how the FCC is squarely under their control. If you want to hear some more opinions and want an ACTUAL choice for the presidency, then by all means go to ThirdPartyTicket and put your name on the list (don't worry, I didn't pledge any money either). Look at Ralph Nader's comment on it also.

Okay, back to corporate sponsored sporting events: the inaugural Singapore F1 Gran Prix, oh sorry, the Singtel Singapore Grand Prix. One of the few street circuits on the F1 calendar and F1's first race at night under the lights. They race under the lights so the poor Euros don't have to wake up early to watch a race and so the broadcasters can charge primetime rates for advertisements. Us not important Americans get races no later than noon and no earlier than Japan's upcoming race that starts at 12:30 am. American viewers just aren't as important as European viewers, even though Honda, Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes and Toyota's biggest market is here. I also know that most Americans don't care because major network stations (CBS-Viacom and Fox-News Corp.) only carry 4 out of the 17 races. Sorry, 18 races. Nice. Don't even get me started about American's attitudes towards rally racing.

Enough soapboxing, let's get to race reporting. Qualifying was tough and exciting. Fernando Alonso (2 time world champ) had trouble in his ING Renault and qualified 15th. Ouch. The Scuderia Ferraris looked unstoppable and qualified 1 and 3 (Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikonnen respectively) split by driver championship points leading Lewis Hamilton in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel coming off his first career win at Monza qualified his Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari in 7th. Full Quali results.

It looked like a solid win and a driver championship were in Felipe and Ferrari's grasp.

Then the race started. Felipe is off like lightening! Lewis is in pursuit but falling back. Kimi is hot on his heels. Then, just as the first pit stops need to come, Nelson "Don't call me Junior" Piquet smacks his Renault into the wall which brings out the gorgeous Mercedes AMG SL 63 safety car (pace car) and also the awesome "you can't have it America" C63 AMG medical wagon. They close the pit lane but Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota) and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) come in anyway and both suffer 10 second penalties (which is actually longer since they have to serve it in their pit stalls and with the slow 80 kmh (50 mph) speed limit, that's a long time). Nico takes his penalty after laying down some very fast laps and eventually finishes the race in 2nd! Great job Nico! They open the pits up and guys are running on fumes. Since the lap is so long (almost 2 minutes) most teams decide to stack their cars up and let the 2nd car wait while the first one gets gas and tires. Several teams do this, Ferrari being the most prominent. Felipe is in the pits from first, tires go on, he's getting gas, then he takes off! But they didn't unhook the fuel hose! He bowls down 3 or 4 pit crew and stops at the end of the pit lane! Kimi comes in, gets tires and fuel from the back-up fuel rig and then the pit crew runs down to help out Felipe. The fuel nozzle is stuck but they get it out and get him going but he dropped from first to 16th. Yikes. Looking at the replay he did get a green light from his pit stop light, so it was a team error or an electronics error. Not Felipe's fault. Scuderia Ferrari's dreams come crashing down. Tough break guys. I couldn't believe it when I saw it.

The rest of the race was just as exciting. The exact same thing almost happened to David Coulthard. He was in for his last pit stop and the guy holding the lollipop (the sign that tells him he can leave, they don't use lights like Ferrari) completely spaces out and lifts it up too soon! He luckily puts it down quickly and the crew is able to get him out after a couple more seconds of struggling. In the replay you can clearly see the lollipop guy's head look at the fuel hose, then he looks down at the front of the car and then for no reason decides that it's time for DC to leave. Aaaaaah! What happened Red Bull Renault lollipop guy?

Excellent race by Fernando Alonso, he improved 15 spots from his 15th grid spot to finish first! Great job Fernando and Renault!

Lewis hung on to finish third and get some much needed driver's points to increase his lead over Felipe Massa. David Coulthard finished 7th and his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel finished fifth. Full results.

Only 3 races left, the driver's championship is far from over with Lewis Hamilton having 84 points and Felipe Massa 7 back with 77. Robert Kubica is 13 back from Felipe with 64 points. The next race is October 12th in Japan, then Oct. 19th in China, then the last race is home turf for Felipe in Sao Paolo, Brazil on November 2nd. Who has nerves of steel to put the championship race out of the mind and just drive? We all get to find out in a couple weeks.

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