2006 Houston Thoughts
TRACK: For the second time in less than a year, a new event has failed miserably to create a proper track surface, and this after the reigning series champion said the track needed grinding weeks before the race. This is completely unacceptable for a world class racing series whose business model is based on temporary race tracks.
RACE: What we thought would be a yawn-fest, like at the season opener in Long Beach, due to the track conditions turned out to be an exciting affair with a lot of "interesting" driving.
YELLOWS: Why is it that the American Le Mans Series race, with more cars in four different classes with huge disparity in speeds, can run a longer race with just one yellow (and that for a stalled car) while Champ Cars continue to be afflicted with yellow fever culminating in the inability to get a proper final restart resulting in an anticlimactic finish?
EVENT: Texas is a market that Champ Car clearly wants, so look for this to continue in some form for the next four years. Now, if someone can rent them a grinder...
BOURDAIS: There is no question that Sebastien is incredibly talented. What really makes us shake our heads in wonder is his incredible luck. This was clearly Dominguez’s race, and yet there Bourdais was, atop the podium again. Not even a wedding can slow him down. Maybe he will continue to have all he wants actually happen. If so, we hope the Frenchman hopes for world peace.
JUNQUEIRA: Yet again (and we seem to say this a lot), Bruno is easily outdone by his teammate.
NEWMAN-HAAS: Don't count them out. Ever. Even if it looks like another team is going to win.
TRACY: The mature Tracy is a formidable competitor. Have aliens abducted the real Paul? Or is he now so much smarter about making his moves? Tune in next week to see what happens!
DOMINGUEZ: Mario, Mario, Mario, how could you throw that one away?
PHILIPPE: Nelson has tremendous perseverance and at Houston, this meant that even though he didn't have the fastest car, he finished a solid fourth. Good job.
WILSON: Just like the bumpy track, the weekend had many ups and downs for Justin.
RANGER: Another point for most positions improved. And it looks like Andrew is the new Mr. Sixth Place.
ALLMENDINGER: A decent performance for the day that could have been better if the yellows had fallen differently.
DA MATTA: Cristiano's F1 practice of moving over for faster cars sure came in handy...
TEAM AUSTRALIA: Call them Team Take-Out.
TAGLIANI: Surprisingly, he was a contender yet again until his brakes failed. Glad he's okay.
SERVIA: A lot of banging around out there, Oriol.
LEGGE: Katherine did just fine, getting knocked into a spin. Note to the media -- this type of performance does not merit extensive coverage, in case you need a frame of reference.
ZWOLSMAN: Well, he was having a pretty decent race...
CLARKE: Perhaps Speedy Dan should change his nickname to Crashing Dan.
PASTORELLI: Brake problems or problems knowing when to apply the brakes?
VASSER: The 17 driver field would have been better had Jimmy decided to go for 212 consecutive starts.
KALKHOVEN: If the merger actually happens, it may be that this weekend was pivotal for the future of open wheel racing in North America. If not, he burned some very expensive jet fuel. We're hoping more for the former than the latter.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Bumps.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 211 -- Jimmy Vasser's consecutive start record comes to an end.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Amazingly, in the short history of a Houston street race, this year's average speed for the race was the fastest despite the track conditions. The much maligned earlier version was deservedly much maligned, always producing a race with an average speed under 80mph.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: The war of words continues into this season between Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais. Tracy, commenting on Bourdais not being called for blocking, "I guess when you are Sebastien Bourdais, you can get away with it."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Paul Tracy on his teammate getting pole position, "There's nobody in front of Mario for him to hit this weekend."
SCHEDULE: Monterrey has always been an enigma. Will be interesting to see this year's version, both the attendance and on track product.
Copyright © 2006 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.