203. Road America Road Trip, Dentists, and How Crazy Is…?

August 1st, 2015

On the Way to R.A.

The Bear is just a week away from a trip to Road America for the Tudor, his first event since the “merger.” We all know that “merger” is a euphemism for “capitulation” don’t we?

You don’t have to look any further than Tudor’s castrated DP-dominated “prototype” field. Yes, They look better, in fact they look more like a “traditional” sports car (think the 1980’s, the last “golden era” before those few years after 2000) than the current Le Mans Prototypes with their ungainly “dorsal fins.” But not all is lost; the Bear fully expects a good weekend of racing at Road America, and hopes to see some old friends and acquaintances.

What Le Mans did to the Bear

Murphy admits after watching Le Mans that the latest versions (except the Nissan) are starting to look better to him. There’s nothing like raw speed (and flat cornering) to make a car look better, is there? Read the rest of this entry »

202. A Le Mans a Bear Could Love (and did).

June 27th, 2015

Porsche Wins

How could you doubt it? Murphy didn’t. Still, a large part of his prediction was the melding of experience with youth in the Porsche team,
but  that applied to the No. 17 and 18 entries, not so much to the winning
No. 19. Murphy’s other reasons for this pick remained valid in event, and
the balance of experience and youth on the team certainly contributed
even though the winning car did not include one of Porsche’s veterans.

An old friend of the Bear’s wrote: “I see that you have not lost your touch…..
…most of us called Audi……….the Bear took a contrarian view.”

Read the rest of this entry »

201. Le Mans 2015 and Some Scurrilous Stuff

June 12th, 2015

Murphy’s been thinking about the big race in Le Sarthe. Of course he’s disappointed there are no BMW’s, but he’ll get over it.

The Ugly Duckling Lawsuit

A bit off-topic but The Don has filed suit for a “cease and desist” order (and a pile of cash, of course) against Nissan, Motorsport Director Darren Cox, and DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby. Seems The Don funded the silly-looking thing, Nissan backed into it by branding it – after they saw it (sort of) worked. Before that they had played “what delta wing?” denying any knowledge, the few Nissan employees having gone to great lengths to stay incognito. Even then, after some moderately successful outings, Nissan backed away from spending any real money with the Panoz group, but evidently not away from the idea, because Bowlby showed up as a Nissan “consultant” barely a month after leaving Panoz, and went to work – with Cox – on the car that is this year’s Le Mans entry. In a nutshell, The Don is alleging “Grand Theft Auto;” that Nissan illegally appropriated what he had paid for. This story is almost as unattractive at the DeltaWing itself.

Porsche Will Win Overall

Yes, yes, the Bear knows how dominant Audi has been in the World’s Greatest Race (not to be confused with the “World Center of Racing). He also knows they’ve won the first two races of the 2015 season of the FIA World Endurance Championship. (At least the WEC has some concept of “endurance,” its races being 6 hours; the Tudor United Sports Car, like its predecessor Grand Am and ALMS, believes that endurance is under 3 hours…shorter than the typical Sprint Cup outing.) Read the rest of this entry »

200. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

September 3rd, 2012

…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…(Charles Dickens)

Dear Jeannie,

The American Le Mans Series will pass away before the week is out.

The latest “good source” information is that the France’s have purchased all of The Don’s racing-related assets outright. That includes tracks, hotels, series, sanctioning bodies. The Le Mans name will endure for the length of the current contract (2013), then be dropped. Prototypes will be “similar” (that covers a lot of sins, doesn’t it?) to P1’s, but will not in the future “follow ACO rules.” The Don and The Boss will be on the board of directors of the new sports car racing entity. In other words, they’ll get expenses and free dinner to attend the occasional board meeting, but have no place in running anything (the one bit of good news in this). If there’s anything important for the board to vote on, they’ll each get a vote, but allies will be firmly in control. Is this the new boss? Read the rest of this entry »

199.1 Murphy and AC discuss the Big Buyout (July 2009)

September 2nd, 2012

Originally published as Paddock Poop 130. Shocking news at a clandestine meeting. Murphy and his friend were just a bit (three years) early. It does give an idea of how long this thing has been stewing. A read for you while you’re waiting for Paddock Poop 200, soon.

Murphy called his friend A.C. “I’m hearing some interesting stuff. Can we talk?”

“So am I, buddy, so am I. Sure. But not over the phone. Can you meet me?” was the response from NASCAR’s favorite local scribe.

“Sure, where?” asked the Bear.

“I hear you’re in town on business, I’m near Hooter’s on International Speedway…across the street, actually. Can you meet me there?” asked A.C.

“I’m close,” said the Bear, with a grin (Hooter’s in Daytona Beach is one of Murphy’s favorite places.) “When?”

A.C.: “About 15 minutes.”

Murphy: ‘You’re on, my friend.”

The Bear got there first, renewing acquaintances – and getting hugs.

By the time he’d ordered a Warsteinerand some wings (Murphy’s been a Warsteiner fan since the “German Budweiser” sponsored the GT1 championship in the late ’90?s), a shadowy figure with a turned-up collar and a turned-down hat was sidling up to the table.

It was A.C.“What the hell…” blurted the Bear.“Shhhhh…” from the muffled figure.

Murphy: “A.C?”

“Yes. Hold it down…if someone sees me…” whispered A.C.

“Hell, A.C., you’re right across the street from the World Center of Racing in a trench coat, talking to a stuffed animal, and you think no one will notice?” asked Murphy. Read the rest of this entry »