161. Selling Booze – or Not. Scoring Murphy. The Tucker Rule. Corvette Pilots.

Sebring – Screwing on your Wheels

Falken sent three wheels bounding down the track. One took out the Flying Lizard’s defending champions. Does that trifecta wipe out a previous Robertson Racing record of two stray wheels in a single race?

Sebring – Competence (continued)

All excuses (and resigned shrugs) aside. The fact that the GT2 race was ended nearly five hours before the checkered flag by IMSA rules (or the sloppy implementation of same) is stupid. Murphy thinks the ALMS is in the entertainment business, not just for the ticket-buying public, but for the sponsors of Flying Lizards Motorsports and Rahal Letterman Racing, and the rest, struggling for sponsors, all of them. The Braselburg puzzle palace better figure out how to keep those competitors in the show until they lose (or win) the race through their own efforts.

Another AJR

Alex and Holly’s fourth Porsche entry will go to Patrón GT3, not to ALMS GTC.

Fancy Fromage

If you searched Sebring thoroughly, you might have found the elusive cheese curd company. There was this pick ‘em up with a little trailer…

Driving Mr Fehan (part deux)

Murphy tipped his readers that Paul Edwards, Graham Rahal, and Butch Leitzinger  would test with Corvette Racing at Sebring after the 12 Hours. Many, however, were taken by surprise. Perhaps they were thinking that the two new “enduro drivers” who debuted at Sebring meant the cohort of pilots was nicely set.

Oh, contraire! (Some very cultured bears know a little Français.) It may seem that not much changes at Corvette Racing, because, well, it seems everyone else in the sport is swapping out drivers every few minutes. For Corvette turnover has been less frequent. Still, 19 drivers have piloted the team’s Corvettes in the American Le Mans Series.

In 2011, that number will increase by one or more. Driver No. 20 – believed to be a 2011 full-timer – was selected in January.

Not Amused in Winchester

To have someone say the Abruzzi is being built Georgia. Speaking of which, the Abruzzi may be as much Panoz as its GT1 was. Exactly so, perhaps.

Tequila Patrón

First the Braselburger in charge of marketing was yelling at the burger in charge of TV, or, more like yelling at each other. Then it was the agave farmer’s marketing guy yelling at the Braselburger marketing guy.

Someone “forgot” you can’t have liquor on TV before 11:00 AM. (Murphy’s always thought it’s not a good idea before noon, but well, you know the old thing, it’s, like noon somewhere, maybe in the Canary Islands or something.) Anyway, that’s a problem, because it was like 7:00 AM in California when they started the Sebring telecast, so it was “The American Le Mans Series presented by Patrón” instead of “…presented by Tequila Patrón.”

The Bear’s pretty sure if anyone could be expected to know the rules for booze ads and such, it would be an agave farmer’s marketing guy, so Murphy’s not sure why he was handing out the business. On the other hand, Braselburg played in the sportsbook.com fiasco a while back, so you’d think they’d have an organizational memory even if these particular burgers weren’t around.

Le Rat sans Fromage

With the addition of GT2 to the Intercontinental Challenge, the ACO would seem to have settled on GT2 as its premier (or only?) GT class, dumping GT1 in the LMS and at Le Mans in 2011. Will manufacturers ignore the Le Rat-run FIA GT1 championship? Murphy hears yes, which will put the poor little rodent in a big bind when Aston Martin, Corvette, and Maserati leave after 2011, given his GT2 series is already a non-starter in 2010. Le Rat invited the discomfort of manufacturers by excluding them in the first place. What would be your motivation to put your name on the line in a world championship entirely in the hands of…who knows?

The “smart money,” (obviously that’s not the Bear, is it?), is saying not only is GT1 deader than a mackerel, the ACO is looking at the fast disappearance of its lucrative manufacturer LMP franchise (you didn’t really think the club’s only benefit from Audi, Peugeot, and the rest was entry fees, did you?).

So if they’re smart (even – especially? – the French know how their palm is greased), we’ll see somewhat less restrictive 2011 rules (kind of grandfathering without saying so), and increasingly large GT(2) fields, maybe even a class that looks a little like GT3 (no, not the big buck stuff it’s been allowed to become in Yurrup). The Frogs won’t let the premium (or only) GT class be “2”-anything, so look for a nomenclature change.

Music City Motors

The Nashville car builder may now find itself in a lonely position, having built a car to the FIA GT1 spec. Now what do they do with it (or without it). The Bear suggests get serious about the ALMS program they’ve recently toyed with.

There’s a Law against that, isn’t there?

The American Le Mans Series is a bigger poacher than a redneck possum hunter. Lock up your daughters. They got Freescale.  They went after Kohler (from Road America) and lost, but it took the cake when a Braselburger went after Cytosport without knowing it’s Greg Pickett’s own company. Desperation, no shame, or just dumb?  

Where’s the Button?

Scott’s button – the one he wore at Lime Rock – has disappeared. The Bear can spell W-o-r-l-d C-e-n-t-, aw hell, you know who.

The Tucker Rule

Scott Tucker entered two cars. He drove 79 minutes in No. 55; it won, and he collected the points. He drove No. 95 for the required 2 hours. It was excluded. The Tucker Rule (as it stands now, and as the Bear interprets it) is that a driver can meet the newly-mandated minimum by combining the time he drives in two cars, even if one of those rides is excluded by rule. So, the car is excluded, but a driver’s time in it is good?

There are lots of combination that will win a pro-am race if you have two entries.

How did Murphy do?

Once again, the Bear published his Punter’s Guide (Tip Sheet in the colonies). It’s time he owns up to the result.

LMP1 – He nailed it,  but that really didn’t take any talent, did it? If the Frog diesels hadn’t cruised, he’d be closer to that 10 lap deficit he thought likely for the Lola Aston Martin Lola. Some of his readers thought that car had a chance separate from “the field,” but it never did. Drayson’s Lola Judd is a better car. Unfortunately Lord Drayson is one of its drivers. (You Brits better hope the Lord doesn’t buy Manchester United, he’ll look like dog doo in shorts, and play like it, too.)

LMP2 – He blew it. In his defense, you want to make it a parlay with those three teams? Murphy will bet that Highcroft is the better finisher of the three in no less than six of the remaining races on the ALMS calendar. Takers?

GT2 – The poor Bear screwed the pooch again, but Corvette Racing taking both cars out of the running in one incident is grassy knoll stuff. His next pick – same odds as the No. 4 Vette – was Risi (62), with the Lizard’s No. 45 next (taken out by a rolling tire? Give the Bear a break!), and then the two BMW’s. Take out the freak stuff, and Murphy’s got ‘em nailed.

The Bear didn’t provide a line for either LMPC or GTC, and for good reason. Cars fall to pieces, drivers find tire walls, and questionable (even after the fact) rule interpretation. Murphy can’t say he’s much surprised at Alex Job’s sweep of GTC, or a win by Leh Keen.

Follow the Bear on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Murphythebear

And read Last Turn Clubhouse for a more serious spin on this stuff.

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4 Responses to “161. Selling Booze – or Not. Scoring Murphy. The Tucker Rule. Corvette Pilots.”

  1. wrestlerrob says:

    Nice comment about the Aston’s chances about Sebring. I was hoping some of that GT2 and LMP2 madness could happen in LMP1.

    I assume the bear is concerned about the challenge car graveyard that Long Beach could become. How about an over / under on the number of safety cars we will see?

    With limited practice time, and a 100 minute race. I think a line of about 4.5 safety cars is about right.

  2. Anthony says:

    What’s this grassy knoll stuff?

    Nobody saw LMP2 with Pickett driving the car, but 14 mins in the pits to fix a loose arcing wire will loose you any race endurance or not. Highcroft gets a fail on perpetration and still finishes 2nd. Any more mistakes on or off track and Muscle Milk is in the LMP Championship with a shout.

    I don’t know why, why you and others keep saying that everybody else stands no chance with GM Racing in the house. I still say Melo and Bruni are the quickest combo in GT racing PERIOD. Bruni had the FASTEST LAP OF THE RACE and was trying to pass Tracy on the OUTSIDE of the turn.

    In his first stint in the car he pulled out a 6 second lead and this was before the GM Racing Shop of Horrors. You think this mistake is rare? No its not, its the game has been UPPED for GM Racing and while they ran in GT2 last year, everybody has brought their A game this year and it wasn’t like Ferrari wasn’t READY for them. It wasn’t wholesale changes to the F430 just tweaks, its already great car thats EASY on its tires.

    BMW isn’t quite there yet either and a costly spin early by Auberlen might have put them closer than they were. The #45 was unfairly held on pit lane, those things happen.

    GT2 is so even that I every make will have at least ONE victory and every race will be a 7-8 car battle for 3 podium places, you can’t have any better racing than that, enjoy it while you can before the rules makers fuck it up.

    Rob: Don’t bet on 4-5 yellows because it looks like nothing but Pro’s in the cars for the Long Beach event. The GTC cars are behaving themselves, I only see 1-2 yellows for overzealous passing by one of the leaders and especially the TWO Pro Am LMP1 Lolas.

    What interesting is if the yellow(s) falls for the right time for Pickett to get out of the Spyder and for Graf to be at the back of the LMP field on the same lap in a car we know is fast around Long Beach…

    Seems to me Dyson Racing tried to Dyson’ize the Porsches while Greg is running the car “By The Book” and has gotten “results” out of it, while Dyson struggled and complained…

  3. wrestlerrob says:

    Good point on the Porsche. Why are they not running the direct injection?

  4. almsrick says:

    Don’t think Dyson tried to Dysonize the Porsche….

    I think they served as second hand fiddle to Penske.

    Running a P2 car like the Porsche at Sebring can not be compared to running the same car back in 2007 & 2008 – the class was run differently and Porsche was supplying oogles of info & assistance to Roger and “support” (I put the hyphens around it the same as you would “results”) to Dyson.

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