Sometimes it’s possible to take two completely incongruent things or people and create a fun concoction. Peanut butter and crispy bacon sandwiches. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss singing a duet. Red Bull and vodka. Add NASCAR and rally to that list.
Really. Ford has made the combination of NASCAR and World Rally quite tasty in a video series that is part of an ad campaign to promote its Fiesta model. The very cool video below combines a race between A.J. Allmendinger in a Sprint Cup stock car, Rally America star and YouTube legend Ken Block in a Ford Fiesta rally car and Richard Petty tapping his cowboy boots while looking on with glee. Yes, it’s surreal. And yes, it works. Hell, just watch it:
That was cool, wasn’t it? But enough with the fun and games. The Chase is about to start! The Chase is about to start! THE CHASE IS ABOUT TO START!
The NASCAR hype meter is spiking already as 12 drivers start the Chase for the Sprint Cup this Sunday at New Hampshire. SBNation’s Jeff Gluck takes a final look back at the race last Saturday night at Richmond and offers some interesting analysis and opinion, including a small swipe at America’s princess of speed, Danica.
As the Chase gets underway, column inches devoted to ways to “fix” the Chase are running neck and neck with those offering predictions of this year’s Cup winner. NASCAR.com gets into the action with a Dan Aykroyd-Jane Curtin-style “Point-Counterpoint” segment about changing the Chase.
Jenna Fryer of the AP also chimes in about possible Chase changes, with astute comments from one of the wise, old sages of the NASCAR garage, Tony Stewart.
But if you’re looking for a good, hype-free and opinion-free read about the Chase, look no further than this piece by Mike Mulhern about the new and improved Jack Roush. The Cat in the Hat lost another one of his nine lives when he crashed his plane earlier this year, losing the sight in an eye but hanging on to his life.
It’s about Roush’s third or fourth brush with death, and he realizes now that he may be living on borrowed time. He knows life is good, especially with Roush drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle in the Chase, and he wants to spend more time appreciating the meaningful people and things in his life. A nice piece.
Another nice piece was penned by longtime motorcycle racer and journalist Dennis Noyes at SpeedTV.com about the recent tragic deaths of USGPRU rider Peter Lenz at Indianapolis and Moto2 rider Shoya Tomizawa at Misano. Dennis has been around the sport of motorcycle road racing for a long time and has seen and done nearly everything in it. He also is a former racer and the father of American Moto2 rookie Kenny Noyes, so he understands the mentality of racers and racing families better than most, explaining it in this poignant, moving column.
The IZOD IndyCar Series community is en route to Japan for the penultimate race of the season, with the title race between leader Will Power and challenger Dario Franchitti still on full boil. Power leads Franchitti by 17 points with just the Japan and Homestead races remaining. Those are both on ovals, a Franchitti strong suit and a Power weakness. Will has zero career oval victories.
But Power’s Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe thinks his fellow Aussie is up for the challenge of clinging to the lead over the last two races. Plus Will’s sense of humor probably will help him to stay loose.
Franchitti certainly isn’t gripping over the pressure of the title fight. The jet-setting Scot spent last weekend hanging out at the F1 race at Monza, watching the progress of his cousin Paul DiResta, who is a test driver for the Force India F1 team.
Dario wasn’t job-hunting in the F1 paddock in Italy, as he made it very clear that he’s happy to be in the IZOD IndyCar Series. But he might have had a shot at a job at Sauber if he knocked on that team’s door. Everyone’s favorite F1 retread, Nick Heidfeld, has replaced Pete Rose, er, fellow retread Pedro de la Rosa, at Sauber. Quick Nick is in for Charlie Hustle.
It’s nice to see that NASCAR isn’t the only series that recycles has-been’s at a regular rate. I guess Not-So-Quick Nick is the F1 version of Casey Mears or Elliott Sadler.
Just yesterday I highlighted two crashes by former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen — one in a rally car last weekend in Japan and one in a drunken stupor from a yacht a few years ago. I also said I would like to see Kimi back in an F1 car, where I still think he’s an immense talent, and my Ouija board must be working.
Autosport.com is reporting that Raikkonen has approached Renault for a seat on its F1 team next season, presumably replacing rookie Vitaly Petrov. Of course, Renault is playing it cool, insisting it will keep Petrov if he can improve his form over the final five races of the season.
Yeah, right. And I’m going to win a Pulitzer for this blog. Renault will keep a nobody rookie over a swashbuckling former World Champion? Only if finances are an issue, as Kimi will command and deserve a much larger pay packet than a petroruble-filled Russian ride buyer.