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1997 Road America Thoughts

WEATHER: Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Should they or should they not have run in those conditions? Zanardi said they would have in F1. However, I can remember some pretty disastrous races in Monaco and Australia with those kinds of conditions. Then again, these are professional race car drivers who are paid good money to perform. Unfortunately, in the era of the IRL-CART split with a race that last year scored CART one of it's highest TV ratings despite being on ESPN, CART is going to end up taking the hit on this. At least they had the guts to make the safe decision.

TRACK: I hate to do this. I really, really hate to do this because Road America is one of the premier road courses in the world. However, it has to be said. Road America is not safe for Indy cars. Guardrails that fold over because they are held up by wooden posts, trees up close to the track separated by a mere single layer of armco, no debris fencing protecting fans directly in high speed target zones. If these cars touch wheels like at Toronto last year, we're not talking a tragedy. We're talking about Le Mans and 1955.

RACE: Rain always brings out some of the most interesting "racing." I enjoyed the race. It had a little bit of everything, and enough dry track time to enjoy these cars at speed on this course which the European drivers liken it to Spa.

ZANARDI: The more I watch him, the more he reminds me of Gilles Villenueve. Now, he's even showing traits that Gilles had regarding the fans. Here is what he said concerning his donuts at the end of the race despite CART's insistence to stop doing them: "If they fine me I may be $30,000 less rich. I just put myself in the fans' point of view. They stood there for three or four hours in the cold and the wet and they were out there to see a show. I had to do something to make the show better." Thanks, Alex!

SALLES: Who would have thought Gualter Salles would be Dr. Destructo? First he bangs wheels with Vasser, spins, doesn't lock up his brakes, and Tracy runs over his nose cone eventually hitting the tire wall and doing the all too familiar Road America flip. Then he tangles with someone else, but the cameras didn't pick up enough to lay blame. Finally, he slides wide and causes Max Papis to run over his wheels sending Max flying down the escape road. And after all this, Salles still finishes the race. Not exactly justice.

FRANCHITTI: What was this guy thinking?! He looks brilliant with rain tires on. Changes over to slicks with everybody else. Then, during a FULL COURSE YELLOW, gets aggressive with Blundell, lights up his tires, and slams into the wall. Talk about a major brain cramp.

ANDRETTI: Pulled a Paul Tracy.

MOORE: Was this some kind of conspiracy? To have all the championship contenders take themselves out of the race?

MEIER: Outright scary. If his car didn't catch the armco the way it did, his momentum was carrying him right into the crowd. Shudder!

SCHEDULE: A break then onto Vancouver. This is the last time you will see this configuration. Next year, they will be using a new layout as development has squeezed them out of their current location. The new course is suppose to bring better racing. Zanardi only needs 6 points to clinch the championship regardless of what his pursuers do.

KENDALL: Now we switch gears to Trans-Am where Tommy Kendall won his record tying 10th straight race. All along I was wondering if this achievement was due to Chevy's pull out of the series leaving only Ford factory support even though there were still some top drivers like Dorsey Schroeder, Greg Pickett, Paul Gentilozzi, and Brian Simo. However, after watching the Road America race, I'm convinced that Kendall is a great driver. His runaway in the rain and then his comeback from 51 seconds down in just 3 laps after switching to slicks was amazing to watch. Is he really too tall for Indy cars? Would somebody at least give him a test!

LEWIS: Still with Trans-Am and we're talking about Mike Lewis, a rookie of the year contender and how he pulled the bonehead move of the weekend. He spun off in the sandtrap. They pull him out. He begins to drive off, but doesn't quite have the room to maneuver around the tow truck and guardrail (though I thought he did). So instead of jockeying around a bit or waiting (he already lost a lap) he proceeds to back up -- right back into the sandtrap. He promptly got stuck. Again.

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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