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Uncensored CΛRT Commentary
by Ed Donath

“I pledge allegiance to the flag…”
7/16/03

TORONTO—With about 17 laps of 2003’s edition of the Molson Indy of Toronto yet to be entered into the record book, boredom has set in to the extent that I’ve been contemplating doing something that has never even crossed my mind up to this point in a Champ Car race-attending career that has spanned a quarter century—busting a move for the gate and, perhaps, copping the Parking Lot Exit Grid pole position.

Actually, it would probably be even more fun starting back in P10, performing a few outrageous New York City taxi driver maneuvers and getting out of the crowded lot first; pausing for a moment to turn around and see everyone else shaking their heads and fists in awe and disgust.

And forget about the passing exhibition I’ve got planned for once we’re out of the city. Road Rage Deluxe for the entire 419 miles from the Ontarian Queen Elizabeth Way back to Second and Church in Athens.

Oh, how I wish that I could take along with me every poor Canadian soul who spent his or her hard-earned Loonies in expectation of seeing a race here at Exhibition Place this afternoon; loyal Champ Car fans who aren’t merely caught up in the crushingly imminent victory of their hometown favorite son but who would have preferred, instead, to see “anyone” win after some old-fashioned wheel-to-wheel dicing.

At least a modicum of bang for the racing buck could be realized today if those fans were able to watch a motivated driver utilize controlled aggression to work his way through the field for hours on end.

Not to take anything away from Paul Tracy’s dominant moment in the Canadian sun, but this “race” is a sleeper not only because nobody has the car, luck, or savvy to catch him, but also because, since the opening laps, there hasn’t even been a serious clash for position anywhere in the field behind The Thrill From West Hill.

Doesn’t anyone want to finish this thing on the podium? Isn’t anyone prideful enough to want to at least complete this blowout event ahead of the guy occupying the position ahead of him?

Likewise, not to take anything away from the degree of passing difficulty that exists between the ominous concrete barriers and on the ridiculously bumpy roadways of any temporary street circuit, but this “race” is a sleeper even in spite of the fact that every Champ Pilot has equal power to that of his peers’.

Ironically, as a result of the reliability of spec Cosworth’s, there’s probably no chance of a mechanical dnf bringing out a welcome full-course yellow that would bunch-up the field and prevent PT from winning this thing by, perhaps, an entire lap of the 1.755-mile circuit.

It’s really scary to think that, on any given future Toronto afternoon if/when CΛRT survives past its 2004 season, Paul Tracy might have the benefit of a car with superior power to race with.

Scarier still is the prospect that the Champ Car World Series of the Future—or whatever any new owner might re-name it—will run all but a handful of its events on parade-making circuits like this one.

Sure, this whole town is as gung ho and race knowledgeable as any that exists anywhere and sure, the City of Toronto affords endless entertainment possibilities throughout the weekend and a citywide event promotion that is truly second to none. But right now I’m not interested in partying at Wayne Gretzky’s or taking in the Yonge Street freak show. Right now, I want to see somebody pass somebody!

And right now, if I were Grandpa Chris, I’d be on the phone instructing race central to find something—anything—amiss on the walled-in streets around Exhibition Place. There has to be some piece of debris or an oil slick out there somewhere that would justify the decision to have the flagmen show yellow all the way around the track in the name of driver safety.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and one of the back-markers will take one for our beloved speed sport by backing his machine into a tire wall.

After standing to salute the flags of two great nations prior to the start of this fiasco, it all comes down to this: Nothing would be more patriotic at this juncture than to stand and pledge allegiance to twin silky yellow banners being waved by the hands of the starter and his team of corner workers.

On second thought, I’m just out of here!

Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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