2002 Portland Thoughts
TRACK: Is there really still a need for the Festival Curves?
RACE: Sufficient action. Especially after Laguna Seca.
START: In most sports, when a competitor shows up the officials, they get thrown out. The first lap,
Brack proved his point. Afterwards, he should have been black flagged, instead of being allowed to do it two
DA MATTA: Rapidly becoming the Zanardi or Montoya of 2002.
JUNQUEIRA: It it's not one Target car, it's another. Or, another. This time, it was Bruno who did
a fine job upholding the Target honor.
BRACK: Kenny may have taken the setback in stride (at least in public), but you can be sure Chip will
not be happy.
FRANCHITTI: An uneventful third place.
ANDRETTI: An eventful ninth place.
BELL: Now, his talent is showing. The stall wasn't entirely his fault, and a podium finish is just
around the corner.
JOURDAIN: Solidly in the points again. Michel has completed more laps than anyone else, just three
short of the maximum possible.
TRACY: This time, it definitely was not Paul's fault.
FITTIPALDI: Once again, someone gets right up alongside Christian, he turns into them, and in predictable
fashion, blames the other driver. Come on, Christian, use your mirrors, and own up to your own screw ups.
FERNANDEZ: What the...
TAKAGI: Tora looked very strong and quick during practice and qualifying. Has much promise heading into
the race as he turns the second fastest lap in Sunday's warm up. Then, at the start, he drives off the track,
plows back on as if he expects a hole to open up. Boom. Bang. Crunch. Finally, a few laps later, he plows it
into a tire wall. In other words, a typical Tora weekend.
SIGMA: Not good. Not good at all.
COSWORTH: There's good and bad with the turbo spec engine announcement. The good is that it prevents
an engine/chassis combo that was never going to work. It also has CART admitting that the IRL wants nothing to
do with reconciliation, so it is time to move on. Therefore, it buys time to regroup for a more amicable solution.
And of course, the fans get to have their beloved turbos back. However, there is some bad. No, it is not really
the fact that it is now a spec engine series -- the IRL fans can go play with themselves over that irony for all
we care. It has to do with the fact that the immense amount of money spent by the likes of Toyota and Honda in
helping to promote the series and fund teams, will now be gone to the IRL. Don't underestimate the impact of
MG: The fact that MG -- and Judd -- isn't screaming bloody murder (at least not yet) over the engine
decision by CART, probably means that some private deal was arranged. If so, kudos to Chris Pook, who knows
how to do things right. Unlike Jargon Joe.
BRAZILIANS: Here's a question for the IRL faithful. Perhaps just to AJ Foyt himself, who has railed
on "Brazilianaires" as one of his favorite anti-CART topics. Just what is the difference between a one-two
Brazilian finish at Portland and a one-two Brazilian finish at Pikes Peak? Really. Just what is the
CBS: Thank goodness CART abandoned ABC. Or, was it the other way around? Who cares. In either case,
CART has rid itself of a network that has absolutely no concern for auto racing. ABC proved it again on Sunday.
Despite the fact that they are paying $10 million to the IRL to cover their series, they allowed a tape
delayed (which means they could have cut portions out) soccer match (yes, it is the World Cup, which probably
meant everybody already knew the score) that was a time buy (Major League Soccer actually owns the US broadcast
rights to the World Cup, and they are buying time on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2) to cut well into the IRL race at Pikes Peak.
Then, when the race was rain delayed, they dumped it for the news. And, they didn't even bother moving it over
to one of their sister stations. It almost makes you feel sorry for the IRL. Almost.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: An estimated $1.1 million to $1.3 million for the yearly Cosworth engine lease for
2003, per car. $1.5 million for the Entrant Support Program for 2003, per car. You do the math.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The Pacific Northwest is known for its rain, so it should be no surprise
that the first rain race in USAC's history occurred at the Kent, Washington 2.2-mile road course in 1969. Run in
two heats, it rained during the second one, won by Al Unser, Sr. Mario Andretti won the first heat.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: In the, gee, is anyone really surprised category, comes this quote from David
Cripps, team manager for IRL entrant Bradley Motorsports, over the direction of the IRL, "...it's very difficult to
survive when the bigger teams are beating you into submission. The IRL is being transformed from a cute, warm
and fuzzy spec series into a ruthless, cut-throat business driven by the engine manufacturers."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Not from anyone's mouth, but from a T-shirt worn by rideless Oriol Servia
which read, "Bored."
SCHEDULE: Chicago is supposed to be a very important market for CART. We'll see how important CART
is to Chicago when we take a look at the stands come race day.
Copyright © 2002 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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