Ford Flex Photo Tour

Over the next few days we’ll be bringing you our review of the 2009 Ford Flex Limited that we’ve been driving for a few days.  Quick take, it’s a very impressive automobile.  For today we’ll take you on a photo tour of the Flex, we’ll have a written and video review of it in the next couple of days.


Changes In Formula 1

One of the great things about having a racing budget larger than the GDP of three quarters of the nations of Africa is that you can do cool visualization like this explaining the differences in equipment for 2009.

The Great Ari Vatanen

We had some great response to running that flashback to some of the great Group B Rally cars from the 80’s.  Simon Rutter sent us this one of Ari Vatanen, and as he said in the note “Check out a) the co-driver’s reaction at 33-36 seconds and b) how quick Vatanen’s hands were. That guy had the chops.”

Two Wheel Tuesday Cadwell Park’s Mountain Jump

If you are a listener to the RumblestripRadio Show (and we know that you are!), in our interview with Chaz Davies you might have caught us talking about this track when I brought up some of the British Tracks.  Truly one of the epic, and dangerous sections of racetrack in the world.

Jack and Jamie give the call in this 2007 BSB race, and you know this is all old hat to them as they don’t even notice as Leon Haslam leads Johnny Rea and Leon Camier in some massive air time over the jump.

2009 Detroit Autorama

Every year the hot rod crowd of Metro Detroit looks forward to the end of February/beginning of March when they take over the 700,000+ square foot Cobo Hall.  The Autorama is every bit as large as the North American International Auto Show.

On top of this it is one of the most prestigious shows as well, maybe the Oakland Roadster Show is the only other that is it’s equal.  The Riddler Award is handed out to best Hot Rod of the show, and as a caveat, to be eligible it has to debut at the show.

Some of the big name builders show up every year, Chip Foose, Troy Trepanier, Justin Padfield, to name a few bring cars that cost in excess of $500,000 to put together and show them off here.  The show RIDES on TLC did an episode about the Detroit Autorama a couple years ago, it’s worth checking out to see just how over the top the judges go to find anything wrong with the cars.

All that being said here is a quick little something I put together, sorry for the quality, trying to shoot with a FLIP camera is a bit tough.

Spies Shows He’s The Real Deal

Time for another edition of Two Wheel Tuesday.

The opening weekend for the World Superbikes at Philip Island was a cracker, and Ben Spies showed the world that he wasn’t just hype.  The Supersport race was outstanding as well, but as an American I had to jump up and wave the flag after the finish of round two.

Sorry that you have to listen to Johnathan Greene rather than Bernakle and Whitham.

Group B Rally Tribute

When I was in High School in the mid 80’s I remember ESPN showing the World Rally Championship and was always amaized at the car control these drivers had.  To this day I firmly believe the most talent car drivers in the world are Rally drivers.  The rally cars, more than any other four wheel form of racing comes the closest to motorcycle roadracing for me in the control and the ballet that is required to excel.  

0-60 in under 3 seconds on the dirt, 5-800+ horsepower while weighing under 2500lbs, even today these cars inspire awe.  I still find the Lancia 037 to be one of the most beautiful and purposeful cars of that era, even if it wasn’t the quickest, or most reliable.  If you are a fan of this era, YouTube is a treasure trove of great video.

Team USF1 Presented By Vaporware

Today on SPEED, there was a televised press conference hosted by Bob Varsha that had Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson announcing they they had “officially” formed a Formula one team know for now as USF1.

The team will be based and operate out of Charlotte, North Carolina, though they will have some sort of shop in Spain as well it’s being reported.  The presentation was a bit slick with the first six or seven minutes were pre-taped highlights promoting American involvement in Formula 1 since the late 50’s.  There were then some Q&A where Ken and Peter managed to never answer any of the questions asked.  There was a call in from Mario Andretti and a pre-tape package from Dan Gurney sprinkled in.

When asked why Charlotte as a base of operations, Anderson insisted that their was more resources and relevant technology for building an F1 car within 50 miles of there, then in the area where most teams are based in the UK.  Also with less than half of the races based on the EU continent their is no real advantage to being based their anymore.

For me this presser raised more questions than it answered, and here are some of the things that I came away with.

  1. The team is sponsored by Vaperware.  Not Compuware, because if it was Peter Karmonos would have insisted on Kwame Kilpatrick being put in charge.  Had this happened USF1 would have had the best hospitality since Kwame would have insisted on an unending supply of hookers, hoe’s and Cristal, but that’s a different rant for a different day, and pretty much an inside bit.
  2. In actuality there were no sponsored announced though it is rumored they have $65mil in funding as of now.  They will have “technical partners” but again no one mentioned.
  3. One of the sponsors/technical partners is likely to be FedEx since they were mentioned in passing as how they could get back to North Carolina faster from parts of Europe than teams based in the UK could due to air shipping.
  4. They have no engine supplier as of now, though they do have RFP’s out.
  5. They have no chassis designed as of now
  6. They have no shop space leased or purchased as of now, though they may be buying a closed down NASCAR shop in the next few weeks.
  7. They have no drivers now, or even a short list.  They ran down just about every young American drivers name, save the Riley Boys, when asked about it.
  8. If you are interested in working for the team, don’t bother, they are only going to hire cronies they have worked with over the years.
  9. SPEED/FOX/News Corp is heavily involved in the team, may handle all their media based on comments and hints in the press conference.

Based off of this presser, I have some questions.  

  1.  How much back door money is coming from Bernie and Max to pull this off?  Peter Windsor is in pretty tight with Bernie, and an old adage goes, if you want to know what Bernie is thinking, just listen to what Peter is saying.  
  2. Mario and Dan Gurney are putting some of their reputations on the line coming out so large in backing this deal, makes me think it has some legitimcy, but you never no.
  3. How the hell are these guys going to be ready for race 1 in 2010 if they haven’t even started yet,

As a bit of a flyer here, and while sounding crazy, I’m also being serious too.  If USF1 scores Toyota as an engine supplier, then the NEED to get Kyle Bush as their driver.  Daniker need never get within 1000 miles of the car.  

Bush might be the most talented American driver currently under the age of 35.  The kid can flat out drive about anything, any time, anywhere.  We’ve seen him be successful in all tiers of the NASCAR program, he did well on the dirt @ Eldora for Tony Stewart’s race, and I bet you put him in an open wheel car he’d kick ass there as well.  Speaking of Tony Stewart, if was ten years younger and about 50 lbs lighter, I’d say that he should be the primary driver.  Tony is like AJ Foyt and Mario, they could drive anything, anywhere at anytime.  Tony is way to preoccupied with his many ventures and not missing out at the all you can eat buffet to be bothered.  Kyle is very much in their mold in talent and temperament.  It would be just a joy to see Kyle over there ruffling everyones feathers and making the Montoya era seem like the most gentlemanly of drivers.

Let hope that this thing succeeds but I think you will be able to call me Mr. Blue, since that will be the color of my face from holding my breath.

Philip Island Classic

In the late 90’s MotoGP was on a downswing and World Superbikes were THE big thing in motorcycle racing.  With the 2009 season just a couple days away from kicking off, how about a look back at one of the classic WSBK races from Philip Island.  Race 2 from 1997

70’s Road Racing In California

My friend Tomm Heath (Cycle Tomm) sent me this, it’s some video of he and another good friend of mine, the infamous Tom Pinky back in their heyday.  It’s really cool to see some of the old tracks that are no more, Ontario and Riverside, along with current tracks like Sears Point and Laguna Seca.