1997 Long Beach Thoughts
THE RACE: I wasn't going to write anything this week because I figured by
the time my network was up and running, it would be kinda late, and there
wasn't too much to mention. But, I thought, what the heck. The race was
definitely less action filled than Australia, but interesting never the less.
THE COURSE: I don't know why, but I've always liked Long Beach. Maybe
because they try to be the Monaco of the US, but the course is interesting,
and there are some, not many, but some passing zones.
LONG BEACH: One of these days I'll have to visit my cousin out there. Of
course, I'll make sure and pick the proper weekend.
DE FERRAN: Is Long Beach going to be to de Ferran what Indy always was to
ZANARDI: Maybe the key for him is *not* to win the pole.
PRUETT: So, Scott Pruett leads the points early in the season for the third
year in a row. Can he now prevent the annual fade that has become standard
for that team?
UNSER: I'm going to be a bit critical of Al Unser, Jr. here. What the heck
is with the guy this year? He's sloooow. Now I know Al has never been much
of a qualifier, and Tracy outdid him last year in this category, but never
by this much. Tracy qualified Al at Australia by over 2 seconds(!) and Long
Beach by six tenths. And, unlike last year, Al is not even showing anything in
the race. Yeah, he finished fourth, but it didn't seem to me it had much to
do with his driving like it did last year, but more with luck and pit stop
strategy. He only turned in the 8th fastest lap during the race (20th at
Australia). I don't know. There just seems to be something missing with Al
Unser, Jr. this year.
MORENO: I think he did a credible job, but I'm not surprised. He has always
been a steady heads up driver. Sure he crashed, but he's not a crasher. Even
though he was a lap down through no fault of his, he was running right with
the leaders when he went out. I'll chalk that up to nothing else but a
driver's error trying to push too hard. It happens to everyone at least once.
ANDRETTI: Somebody give this guy a free AAA membership. He needs it.
Otherwise, allow him to strap a spare tire on his car. I can't believe they
were actually implying it was Goodyear's fault. Nobody had tire problems.
It had to be something with the car itself for the exact same corner to blow
it's tire 3 times. Not even his teammate suffered the same fate ... unless
that is what put Moreno out.
TRACY: Remember when Moore spun? Well, the cameras may not have caught it,
but it was a result of a tangle with Tracy. Most eyewitnesses put the blame
on Moore, who just would not concede the turn to Tracy even though Tracy was
already beside him. Moore eventually ran out of room to slow down and make
the turn. However, judging from Moore's communication to his crew, he
certainly didn't see it that way.
THE QUALIFYING CRASH: Did any of you see the highlight of de Ferran ramming
Salles in the back during practice? Well, I had read about this crash before
I saw it, and I'm glad I did because the highlight did not adequately show
what happened. It makes it appear that de Ferran was being an idiot, again.
As it turns out, Salles, who was slowing due to mechanical problems, had moved
over to the right. Approaching him was Hiro, Andretti and de Ferran.
Andretti moved to the left to pass Hiro as Hiro gave him room there. Just
after that, Hiro noticed Salles. Hiro moved back left. Meanwhile, de Ferran
had no clue what was going on up ahead because he couldn't see through both
Andretti and Hiro. He saw Hiro move left, so he figured he was being given
room on the right to pass. As soon as he moved right, he realized what was
happening as he could now see Salles. From what I read, de Ferran made an
excellent move to avoid hitting Salles directly in the back which would have
been a lot more catastrophic than it turned out to be.
NAZARETH: This is always a good race. Who can forget the amazing
Tracy-Mansell duel from a few years ago? Hmmm, I'm not doing anything that
weekend. I wonder if there are any tickets left. Anybody in for a road trip?
ARGENTINA: What does Formula 1 have to do with CART? Well, nothing, but I
still thought I'll mention it. I was actually disappointed when I finally got
to watch the tape after I heard how close it was. Irvine never had an chance
to pass Villenueve, never even made a move, because of Jacques superior
straight line speed. I was expecting a bunch of dicing or at least
Villenueve's patented subtle blocking techniques. However, the race itself
was interesting what with Irvine doing so well, Panis running fantastic until
his car let him down, and the amazing drive put in by Rolf Schumacher.
Combine all that with the fact that Frentzen and the elder Schumacher dropped
out early, and we just may be in for some dandy races during this season.
Copyright © 1997 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.