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1997 Detroit Thoughts

THE TRACK: My information was incorrect last week. The changes to the track -- lengthening one straightaway and taking out some tight turns -- is going to be done for next year, not this year like I had originally read. Thus, we were stuck with the same old Detroit -- tight, narrow, and impossible to pass. In fact, it was even worse since they ground down the surface to smooth out the bumps. This made it rougher on the tires, and we had an even larger marbling problem. If it wasn't for the fact that this venue exists in the Motor City, it would be the first to go. Instead, we're stuck with it. A new contract has been signed through the year 2002.

THE RACE: See above. Was it exciting to see an 18 car train at the end? If you like high speed parades. Otherwise, you knew nothing was going to happen without a mistake. Supposedly the initials of the race's sponsor, ITT, don't stand for anything. Well they do: Incredibly Terrible Track.

DE FERRAN: In normal circumstances, his pass on Moreno would be called stupid, dangerous, and insane. But this is Detroit. Thus, his pass should be hailed as a welcome relief and a sight to behold.

TRACY: They're saying his illness may be related to the extremely high g-forces he experienced at Gateway. If this is true, that is scary. Gateway may have to consider reconfiguring. The human body can only put up with so much.

PACWEST: Can you imagine a worse heartbreak? Running 1-2 on the last lap trying to seek their first ever win, and both their drivers run out of fuel. Sure they were taking a huge gamble, but you still had to feel for them.

MOORE: A little more than a week ago, Greg Moore had two races left to break the mark for the youngest winner in CART. He ends up winning *both* races. First he plays the fuel gamble and wins, then he takes advantage of others playing the fuel gamble unsuccessfully. Will he be the youngest series winner?

FUEL: Speaking of fuel, is something going on here? After Milwaukee, Michael Andretti hinted that Moore lasting so long was a bit strange. Gugelmin, off camera, was more blunt saying, "there is no way a car can last 92 laps on one tankfull." This week, the Pacwest team, with ironically Gugelmin, go for broke and try just one stop. Moore, Andretti, and Vasser all said afterwards they don't know how those cars lasted so long. Has Mercedes invented a better mousetrap in fuel management? Or have the teams discovered a way to stay one step ahead of the tech inspectors?

MATSUSHITA: There we are in the middle of the race getting ready for a restart, and what do you know, Hiro is out in front of the pack. This could be a disaster. But wait! Hiro gets a great jump. He's pulling away from the rest of the pack. He's staying in front! He skipped his pit stop, is running a light load, and is looking for all the pictures to be sent back to Japan where he is very popular. But alas, the pressure is too much, and halfway through the lap, he bobbles, and is overrun. It was fun while it lasted.

TOYOTA: All four Toyota's finished the race. Two of them score points. This is the first time they are all using the newest incarnation of their Indy car engine. Has Toyota turned the corner? Well, not so fast with those accolades. This is Detroit, and you don't need horsepower -- just handling and the ability to block. Let's wait till Portland.

RPM2NITE: Okay, which one of you gave my commentary last week to ESPN2? There I was watching RPM2Nite on Sunday, and they ran down how great the Canadian drivers did, and then said, "Canada may be getting so confident they may invade the US." Whereupon, I immediately shouted out, "Hey, that's my line!" So, fess up, which one of you guys fed ESPN2...?

PORTLAND: This track has produced it's share of interesting races. There was the time Michael Andretti ran out of fuel on the last turn of the last lap handing the victory to Mario -- on Father's Day. There was the skid plate fiasco with the Penske Team. There was the interesting battle between Unser and Zanardi -- one on rain tires, the other slicks on a partly wet track.

IRL: Believe it or not, I was going to say something good about the IRL. Okay now, everybody pick yourselves up off the floor, and get back in your chairs. Notice I used the word was. I was curious enough about this track that during some of the commercial breaks of the Stanley Cup, I switched over. I was intrigued enough that after watching Detroit hoist the Cup, I tuned in the rest of the race. The cars looked interesting on the high banked oval at night, and some of the camera angles showed the speed and sound quite nicely. The side by side battle between Stewart and Lazier was great stuff. Does this mean I'm considering converting? Not exactly. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. And the IRL did not disappoint me as they quickly succumbed back into their busch league status. Where do we start? The constant engine explosions? The fact that the initial winner won because just about the whole field dropped out? This isn't parity; it's shooting craps in Vegas. The fact that just about nobody was on the lead lap? The fact that the race had more fisticuffs than the hockey game (there is no truth to the rumor that Don King Productions will be sponsoring AJ Foyt's cars)? Or how about the clincher -- the fact that USAC is totally clueless in scoring a race? The fact that Arie was 2, count them, TWO, laps ahead of everybody else, yet he was scored as being a lap behind the leaders?! I love what Ed Gossage, GM of TMS, said: "The performance of USAC has been unacceptable." Mr. Gossage, welcome to the reason why CART was formed.

Deep Throttle

Copyright 1997 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

 
 
2008 Thoughts
Long Beach

2007 Thoughts
Preseason Las Vegas Long Beach Houston
Portland Cleveland Mont Tremblant Toronto
Edmonton San Jose Road America Belgium
Holland Surfers Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2006 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Houston Monterrey
Milwaukee Portland Cleveland Toronto
Edmonton San Jose Denver Montreal
Road America Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2005 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Monterrey Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Toronto Edmonton
San Jose Denver Montreal Las Vegas
Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2004 Thoughts
Preseason Long Beach Monterrey Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Toronto Vancouver
Road America Denver Montreal Laguna Seca
Las Vegas Surfer's Paradise Mexico City Postseason

2003 Thoughts
Preseason St. Petersburg Monterrey Long Beach
Brands Hatch Germany Milwaukee Laguna Seca
Portland Cleveland Toronto Vancouver
Road America Mid-Ohio Montreal Denver
Miami Mexico City Surfer's Paradise Postseason

2002 Thoughts
Preseason Monterrey Long Beach Japan
Milwaukee Laguna Seca Portland Chicago
Toronto Cleveland Vancouver Mid-Ohio
Road America Montreal Denver
England Miami Surfer's Paradise
Fontana Mexico City Postseason

2001 Thoughts
Preseason Mexico Long Beach Nazareth
Japan Milwaukee Detroit Portland
Cleveland Toronto Michigan Chicago
Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver German
England Houston Laguna Seca
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

2000 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Long Beach Brazil
Japan Nazareth Milwaukee Detroit
Portland Cleveland Toronto Michigan
Chicago Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver
Laguna Seca Gateway USGP Houston
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

1999 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Japan Long Beach
Nazareth Brazil Gateway Milwaukee
Portland Cleveland Road America Toronto
U.S. 500 Detroit Mid-Ohio Chicago
Vancouver Laguna Seca Houston
Surfer's Paradise Fontana Postseason

1998 Thoughts
Preseason Miami Japan Long Beach
Nazareth Brazil Gateway Milwaukee
Detroit Portland Cleveland Toronto
U.S. 500 Mid-Ohio Road America Vancouver
Laguna Seca Houston Surfer's Paradise Fontana

1997 Thoughts
Miami Surfer's Paradise Long Beach Nazareth
Brazil Gateway Milwaukee Detroit
Portland Cleveland Toronto
U.S. 500 Mid-Ohio Road America
Vancouver Laguna Seca Fontana
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