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Long Beach Diary:
Day Three
Lisa's Thoughts

Long Beach, CA, April 18 — A good beginning for the future of open wheel racing, but the race was basically decided by qualifying and the first few laps. And, it will play better in person than on television.

On the other hand, Long Beach is not much unless you like the ocean, great weather, beautiful women, and a challenging circuit. Oh, you do? Well, in that case…

As for the start -- See Sea Bass go to sleep. See a great start get aborted. Look, Sea Bass wakes up. See a big pile up in turn one. See Jimmy cry! Sea Bass reminds me more and more of Robby Gordon. Very fast. Very inconsistent. A lot of fun to watch. Says interesting things.

From 2003 - If you're fast, which Paul is, and you're talented, which Paul is, and you’re aggressive, which Paul is, and you have all the luck fall your way, which Paul has had, then you will dominate, which Paul has done. Just like his sponsor told me he would when I spoke to him in the paddock on Saturday afternoon.

Michel Jourdain would be entirely justified with carrying around a Bobby Rahal voodoo doll with him. Has a reason to sue that man’s ass off (at least the part not claimed by Bobby’s divorcing wife, Debbie). Deserves much better luck for the rest of the year. Once again. Long Beach was most unkind to Mr. Jourdain.

We still don’t know if Bobby Rahal was actually here, but we do know this was the first time that Bobby, a perennial fan favorite, was resoundingly booed at Long Beach. This happened when he was announced as Danica Patrick’s team owner before the Atlantics race.

Bruno, Bruno, Bruno. Smoked by PT once again. What can I say? He got his second place finish only because of Tag’s crew.

Speaking of which, Tagliani has good reason to be carrying around those pit crew voodoo dolls after they really f----- up that second pit stop. He coulda been a contenda. Memo to Paul Gentilozzi: hire new pit crew for Tags.

Would you believe Ryan also finished 7th in last year’s race? RHR was never really a factor in this race, either, but it’s okay beginning with the Herdez team.

Oh, and speaking of Herdez, Mario Dominguez looked impressive in his 5th place finish. We think he could win a race this year.

It’s a tribute to the strength of the Forsythe team that they were able to field three competitive cars. Pat Carpentier was never really a threat to Paul, but he out drove Rodolfo in the race.

I was sorta worried about Oriol Servia when I saw that cold rag over part of his engine after the warm up. He’s showing us how good he really is by running 10th for Dale Coyne Racing before his car gave up the ghost.

An impressive debut for Justin Wilson, even for an F1 guy. Julie and I got to sit in the Press Tower right above his pit, and it was great to watch his crew help him move up the grid.

A somewhat unimpressive Champ Car debut, A.J. Allmendinger was aggressive at all the wrong times, as reflected by his finishing position. However, Dinger's finish was much more due to getting punted by Lavin.

Nelson Philippe actually displayed better car control and maturity than Dinger, which is not saying much. Out raced Gonzalez. Ditto. Will have to show more speed to convince me he has truly “earned” his place in Champ Car.

Not a terribly exciting Toyota Atlantic with Daziel winning from the pole. Our friend Alex Figge goes out with mechanical problems, as does his teammate, Jon Fogarty. Fun fact when you watch the race on TV – keep an eye on our friend Larry Mason’s friend Justin Sofio. Justin won the C2 class and this was his first professional race!

Love the historic cars; love the historic race – this is a great addition to the Long Beach weekend.

This is the best press conference line: “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle with you.” Second place Trans AM driver Greg Pickett to fellow podium finishers Paul Gentilozzi and Boris Said.

When I asked Paul Gentilozzi which role he was happier about – OWRS principal, Trans Am Race winner, or Champ Car team owner – Paul says putting on the Champ Car race makes him proudest, because it affected so many more people.

Copyright © 2004 by Lisa Davidson and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

 
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