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#651 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:26

I think the writing was on the wall for them the year they ran Jimmy Vasser in a semi-funded entry in CART. After that they switched to the IRL when it had an engine war so got OEM subisidies, B2B sponsors, Danica, etc. Ever since they relied on driver sponsors (Patron with Sharp, Ethanol put together by Paul Dana).

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#652 B Squared

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 11:20

More on Herta & other notes from this morning's Indy Star:

Herta may get 500 ride

Meanwhile, one of Rahal's former CART drivers could be on the verge of securing an Indy 500 ride. Bryan Herta, who has partnered with Steve Newey to form Bryan Herta Racing, said the team could have a 500 entry to go with its two Firestone Indy Lights cars.

Herta has aligned with Tony George's Vision Racing to field his cars, and they're working on several deals, one of which would have Herta, who will be 39 in May, drive the car at Indy.

"Or it could be someone else (driving the car)," Herta said. "But either way, I'm seeing that being dumped from Andretti Green (Racing) last year has turned out to be a blessing in disguise because if I hadn't have been available, Tony George wouldn't have called and asked me to be a consultant with his team, and I wouldn't have realized just how much I enjoy being involved with racing outside the car.

"Now I'm ready to put my own personal career second."


Etc.
A pair of highly regarded Indy-car engineers have landed new jobs: Bill Pappas at Dale Coyne Racing and Owen Snyder at Team 3G. Dale Coyne's team has not named a driver, but Pappas worked at Ganassi Racing with Bruno Junqueira, who was with Coyne last season. . . .


Scott Dixon (de Ferran Motorsports) and Dario Franchitti (Highcroft) led American Le Mans Series winter testing this week at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway in preparation for the 12 Hours of Sebring sports car race March 21. . . . Miss America Katie Stam has a direct motor sports link: Her brother, Eric, works in the marketing department at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian

#653 aportinga

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 13:41

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
I think the writing was on the wall for them the year they ran Jimmy Vasser in a semi-funded entry in CART. After that they switched to the IRL when it had an engine war so got OEM subisidies, B2B sponsors, Danica, etc. Ever since they relied on driver sponsors (Patron with Sharp, Ethanol put together by Paul Dana).


I think the writing was on the wall re: Rahal's business abilities when he killed the Honda contract for Mercedes while in CART years ago.

I always thought it was such a bone head mistake based on what Honda was doing in F1... He just could not wait and as a result the team headed into decline and never recovered.

#654 aportinga

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 14:19

Originally posted by McGuire



For what it's worth, Rahal put out a press release later saying the story was premature and the team still hopes to put something together. I guess we will see. I expect there will be some kind of Indy deal as the equipment is sitting there.


:rolleyes: Rahole is probably calamoring for Tony Bux!

Out comes the Check book - more CART Ver 2 :lol:

#655 Slyder

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 14:59

Originally posted by aportinga


I think the writing was on the wall re: Rahal's business abilities when he killed the Honda contract for Mercedes while in CART years ago.

I always thought it was such a bone head mistake based on what Honda was doing in F1... He just could not wait and as a result the team headed into decline and never recovered.


I wouldn't go that far.

The moment he lost Miller Lite as sponsor and Shell, that's when things started going downhill...

#656 Ricardo F1

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 16:22

Originally posted by aportinga
You're missing the point completely. The league decided that it was going to promote Danica on it's own - as an asset (since she's a woman). What you fail too see is that the league has failed so horribly to market her (nothing new there) that sorry excuses for promotions such as GoDaddy superceed the attempts of TG and company.

I think you're completely mis-stating the truth there, in the case of Danica the IRL succeeded fantastically in promoting her and making her a household name to the point that a company like GoDaddy would WANT to take her on as one of their key selling tools. Now it's free promotion for the IRL in the middle of the Superbowl, Danica and Indy Racing are inextricably linked.

Now if she'd only get her clothes off for REAL, THEN they'd be flocking back.

#657 McGuire

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 16:41

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
I think the writing was on the wall for them the year they ran Jimmy Vasser in a semi-funded entry in CART. After that they switched to the IRL when it had an engine war so got OEM subisidies, B2B sponsors, Danica, etc. Ever since they relied on driver sponsors (Patron with Sharp, Ethanol put together by Paul Dana).


Yep... come to think of it that was the last really good run Vasser had as well, winning at Fontana.

I'm sure the clock was ticking on the Ethanol deal as soon as they lost Paul Dana. That was all him. He made that happen. His attitude was infectious and he just sort of pulled the Ethanol people into his dream with him.

#658 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 16:52

Originally posted by aportinga


I think the writing was on the wall re: Rahal's business abilities when he killed the Honda contract for Mercedes while in CART years ago.

I always thought it was such a bone head mistake based on what Honda was doing in F1... He just could not wait and as a result the team headed into decline and never recovered.


After all the testing and first year struggle (what program doesn't have some first year struggle) he dropped Honda like a bad habit. The next year the engine improved especially in the ovals with graduated Tasman team. Nice move Bobby.

#659 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 16:54

The sad thing about Dana he never raced at Indy.

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#660 aportinga

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 17:04

Originally posted by Slyder


I wouldn't go that far.

The moment he lost Miller Lite as sponsor and Shell, that's when things started going downhill...


Perhaps he lost them because he was not winning???

Had he stuck with Honda this would have been a different story.

#661 aportinga

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 17:08

Originally posted by Ricardo F1
I think you're completely mis-stating the truth there, in the case of Danica the IRL succeeded fantastically in promoting her and making her a household name to the point that a company like GoDaddy would WANT to take her on as one of their key selling tools. Now it's free promotion for the IRL in the middle of the Superbowl, Danica and Indy Racing are inextricably linked.

Now if she'd only get her clothes off for REAL, THEN they'd be flocking back.


Oh Bullshit!

I remember when all these ladies at a Memorial Day party had dragged TV's outside on the deck in the garage to watch Danica's first 500... I would bet the title to my house that not one of then could name the league she ran in or what her status is now.

THAT is the demographic the league should have been aiming towards.

She's no different in skill then Sarah Fischer. The only difference is she's got a better body and face which has relegated her to the only marketing she has going - sex appeal.

#662 Risil

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 17:10

Originally posted by Pikachu Racing


After all the testing and first year struggle (what program doesn't have some first year struggle) he dropped Honda like a bad habit. The next year the engine improved especially in the ovals with graduated Tasman team. Nice move Bobby.


After that Truesports disaster in his title defending year, though, you couldn't blame him. He missed the Indy field in '93, and without a deal with Roger Penske the year after, he'd have missed it in 1994 as well. Not qualifying at Indy seems to do strange things to American drivers, look at Al Unser Jr... :

#663 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 17:21

Originally posted by McGuire


Yep... come to think of it that was the last really good run Vasser had as well, winning at Fontana.

I'm sure the clock was ticking on the Ethanol deal as soon as they lost Paul Dana. That was all him. He made that happen. His attitude was infectious and he just sort of pulled the Ethanol people into his dream with him.



Dumbly I got my years/teams wrong. I was thinking of Vasser in the second Patrick car, 2002 or something? Maybe Jourdain at Rahal was a better example.

#664 McGuire

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 18:27

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld



Dumbly I got my years/teams wrong. I was thinking of Vasser in the second Patrick car, 2002 or something? Maybe Jourdain at Rahal was a better example.


If I remember, Jourdain got two wins with Rahal -- Milwaukee and Montreal. That would be '02 as well, with the lineup that year being Vasser and Jourdain. Thee wins on the year isn't bad.

It's often hard to pinpoint the exact point any team starts to slip. It's sort of arbitrary to pick one spot. Like they say, when things start to turn down it's not one thing, it's a little bit of everything. In '01 Brack had a very strong year at Rahal, winning four races, a bunch of poles, and finishing second in the championship. Penske and Ganassi were still in at that point (de Ferran won the title) so it was still a fairly decent field.

But I don't think you can say things went wrong in '94. That seems way early. Hell, RLR won the 500 in '04 with Buddy Rice. That's not too terribly awful. Hunter-Reay got a win last year at Watkins Glen. Maybe that one was a bit of a fluke, but it's not like RLR is totally out to lunch. To me it's a better team than many of the ones still out there, but that's how it goes.

#665 B Squared

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 18:49

"After that Truesports disaster in his title defending year, though, you couldn't blame him. He missed the Indy field in '93" Risil

Rahal left TrueSports after the 1988 season and joined Galles - Kraco, with whom he raced for through the 1991 season. He won the 1992 title with his own team, partnered with Carl Hogan, in its first year of existence. He was unable to qualify at Indy in '93 in his own team car, as stated.

Brian

#666 Risil

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 19:14

Originally posted by B Squared
"After that Truesports disaster in his title defending year, though, you couldn't blame him. He missed the Indy field in '93" Risil

Rahal left TrueSports after the 1988 season and joined Galles - Kraco, with whom he raced for through the 1991 season. He won the 1992 title with his own team, partnered with Carl Hogan, in its first year of existence. He was unable to qualify at Indy in '93 in his own team car, as stated.


I was referring to the TrueSports chassis that Rahal ran in the first half of the 1993 season, before handing it to poor Mike Groff. :) Definitely I didn't make that clear though, considering Bobby's association with Jim Trueman and his team.

#667 Ricardo F1

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 19:47

Originally posted by aportinga


Oh Bullshit!

I remember when all these ladies at a Memorial Day party had dragged TV's outside on the deck in the garage to watch Danica's first 500... I would bet the title to my house that not one of then could name the league she ran in or what her status is now.

THAT is the demographic the league should have been aiming towards.

She's no different in skill then Sarah Fischer. The only difference is she's got a better body and face which has relegated her to the only marketing she has going - sex appeal.

And it's working. For the IRL and for Danica. The IRL doesn't need "all these ladies" ffs ; it's needs a core base of lusty males before that's even vaguely relevant. That's why Patrick is there and effective. Shit I even flicked over to watch some IRL shit last year coz of Danica . . . trouble is she puts her helmet on after the pre-show and all that's left to see is some crappy circular car race. :mad:

#668 aportinga

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 20:16

Right - got ya ;)

#669 B Squared

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 21:22

"I was referring to the TrueSports chassis that Rahal ran in the first half of the 1993 season" Risil

:blush: Oh yeah, I forgot about that beast. Thanks for the clarification.

Brian

#670 aportinga

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 22:42

More great marketing...

Hot on the heels of the news of the official departure of DirecTV from the IRL and Rahal's possible departure comes the report that IndyCar magazine is ceasing publication. Both the hard copy and online versions are getting "condensed" into oblivion.

#671 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 23:28

What's the latest car count for this year? I don't have the stomach to keep myself up to date on all the sponsor departures.

#672 nissan_gtp

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 01:07

car count is low....

#673 EVL29

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:42

18 cars "confirmed".

#674 D82

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 08:03

Curt Cavin stated yesterday that there was still a chance for 24 cars at St. Petersburg and 22 looked possible.

#675 McGuire

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 10:38

I think there will be plenty of cars at the opener. My fear is cars dropping out as the season goes on as sponsors are unable to meet their commitments. It's rough out there.

#676 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 16:39

Originally posted by aportinga


I remember when all these ladies at a Memorial Day party had dragged TV's outside on the deck in the garage to watch Danica's first 500... I would bet the title to my house that not one of then could name the league she ran in or what her status is now.

THAT is the demographic the league should have been aiming towards.

She's no different in skill then Sarah Fischer. The only difference is she's got a better body and face which has relegated her to the only marketing she has going - sex appeal.


:up:

So true...good equipment can make a driver look much better on the track.

CC

#677 Slyder

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 02:13

Originally posted by aportinga


Perhaps he lost them because he was not winning???

Had he stuck with Honda this would have been a different story.


What are you talking about?

He nearly won the championship in 2001 with Kenny Brack (4 wins) and Max Papis was back in his prime (2 wins). The only problem that happen is that these two crashed into each other more often than not, and in the end, Gil De Ferran swept past them.

Sponsorship was becoming tight yes, both Miller and Shell pulled out, and hence why Rahal had to go with Jourdain with Mexican money, and hired Jimmy Vasser. Vasser in 2002 won a race, while Jourdain was consistently placing top 10 finishes. In 2003 Jourdain was very competitive in Rahal's outfit and was 2nd for the longest time in the championship with 2 race wins, and might have given Paul Tracy a run for his money had the Fontana race ever happened but ultimately was classified 3rd. But when Gigante withdrew, and therefore Jourdain (unfortunately), that's when things started getting a bit tight, hence why he went to the IRL.

Has nothing to do with Rahal's decision with Honda. The Honda engines were utter crap back in the day in 1994 and his decision to go back to Mercedes-Benz at the time was the most logical and best.

#678 Slyder

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 02:37

If I had to say when the team started to decline, it was in 2005. Let's check the facts:

In 2004, the team had won Indy convincingly, and was challenging for the championship with Buddy Rice, who won 3 times (and should've won 2 more if it weren't for bad luck), but the flip in Chicago ended his campaign and finished 3rd in the championship. Meira was a strong supporting player, with two 2nds, a 4th, and three 5ths.

Then in 2005, it all changed. How the hell did all of a sudden went from championship challenger to mid-fielder and occasional front runner the year later? I believe that the moment that Rahal signed Danica, that's when the decline started. The entire focus went on Danica while both Rice and Vitor Meira were left to become supporting players. Of the three, Meira was the best (two 2nds, two 3rds, a 4th and two 5ths), and Rice did what he could with what little support he had (2nd in Sears Point and 3rd in Motegi, ahead of Danica in her famous race), while Danica had two 4ths and a 6th.

The 2006 season, Paul Dana was killed and that did nothing good for RLR, and the team went through their worst season. Pioneer left the team and Danica now the team leader only managed two 4ths and a 6th. Rice only managed a 5th and a 4th while Jeff Simmons was busy hitting everything but the lottery. Rice clearly saw that the teams focus was on Danica and felt left out of the team that he had carried on his shoulders after the near-tragedy of Kenny Brack in 2003, hence why he ultimately left. And then Danica left of course and Argent left with her.

2007 wasn't any better, Scott sharp was past his prime although he did rise to the ocassion a couple of times, getting two 3rds for the team and Jeff Simmons despite Robin Miller's grandstanding for him just simply didn't cut it, and was given the axe. Enter Ryan Hunter-Reay, and the team soon gathered itself slowly up for 2008.

in 2008 we know the story, after a slow start, Ryan soon started becoming more and more competitive and won in Watkins Glen. He had his share of bad luck but he was very competitive most of the time. And then Ethanol left, and now the team is where it is right now.

#679 B Squared

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:11

Slyder - I think you nailed it with "Rahal signed Danica, that's when the decline started". I remember hearing Buddy Rice comment that he'd have plenty to say about Danica Patrick as a teammate, once he is retired and writes a book. His situation wasn't helped by the injuries which kept him from defending his Indy win, but I think that he should have been the teams focus as their number one driver once recovered. I have no doubt in my mind, that he is far quicker and a better racer than she.

Brian

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#680 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:20

Rahal Honda-GForce was a very potent package in 2004, don't underestimate that. They were still good the next year, but not great; and by 2006 Honda were getting creamed by Toyota. Once everyone went to Honda, RLR wasn't honestly going to compete with the Ganassis and Penskes, or even Andretti-Greens. Not on their resources.

#681 Keir

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 14:41

Slyder ??? :drunk: Decline ???? :stoned: Danica ????? :confused:

Predictable - Priceless !!

#682 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 15:08

Originally posted by Keir

Predictable - Priceless !!

Which describes both sides of this argument atm ;)

#683 red stick

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 15:37

Yeah, having fallen into the "It's Danica's fault" meme there's probably no retrieving the argument, but it appears we can agree on the following regarding RLR:

1. Sticking with G-Force when the other top teams all had Dallaras set them back.
2. Rice's injury didn't help.
3. They were already behind and lacked the resources to catch up when they shifted to the Dallara-Honda package.
4. Dana's death severed their one enduring tie to Ethanol sponsorship.

Might I add losing Danica and her ability to attract sponsorship as a problem. RLR of 2004-2005 did not lack for sponsors--since then they've had to rely on drivers bringing their own, and been very much a second tier team.

So far no one has answered my initial question of several days ago regarding RLR's venture into ALMS. IIRC, Rahal sought to be Acura's development team, in the same sense that Penske was for Porsche in ALMS and Ganassi years ago was for Toyota in CART. Acura went with AGR to develop their P2 car, and Rahal got . . . a Porsche GT team, and now BMW. Does anyone know the backstory? Simple perceived lack of resources on RLR's part? Honda's memory of its development deal with Rahal in CART back in the 90's? Exchange of cash with AGR?  ;)

#684 aportinga

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 15:55

Book mark it now... Mickey Andretti is moving over to be Danica's race director - specifically to add presure and see if she's gonna be around the AGR pits in 2010.

And more growth...

- KV Racing - down to 1 car.
- Conquest Team (2 cars last year) is closing shop.
- Porsche is NOT coming - http://www.autoweek..../FREE/812109984
- Looking at a max of 18 cars on the grid.


I'll add my own - no Audi/Alfa/Title Sponsor - revealed as vaporware and at least 3 races this year are gone next year - replaced by Street venues as TG realizes (late) that's it's the only game in town for American Open Wheel.

#685 Keir

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 18:26

It would be a good move to get Michael away from Marco, but not to Danica's car. Michael's approach does not meld well with either Danica or Marco. Hideki might be the best option. Then again, I don't see any changes taking place at AGR.

Street circuits are today's answer to yesterday's fairgrounds.

#686 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 18:50

As much as I intensely dislike Danica, I don't dislike her enough to wish her Michael Andretti as her race director. Michael is, ehm, a better driver than he is a people manager.

#687 Rob

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 19:25

Originally posted by Dmitriy_Guller
As much as I intensely dislike Danica, I don't dislike her enough to wish her Michael Andretti as her race director. Michael is, ehm, a better driver than he is a people manager.


I agree. This combination has "trouble" written all over it.

#688 B Squared

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 19:40

She won't have to stomp her feet down pit lane looking for fights, she'll be able to vault out of the car straight to Mikey's throat! :) I only mentioned her after Slyder because of what I see as a developing pattern. She seems to bring disruption to the team environment. Many good things too, but I remember the close harmony of AGR pre Danica. I think some of that behavior was staged & contrived, but the results were undeniable. Possibly Michael's move to her pit box has something to do with this aspect. Kanaan initially looking for a way out at the end of the 2008 season, also illustrates some of this loss of team balance. At least to me.

Brian

#689 red stick

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 19:47

Originally posted by B Squared
. . . I only mentioned her after Slyder because of what I see as a developing pattern. She seems to bring disruption to the team environment. Many good things too, but I remember the close harmony of AGR pre Danica. I think some of that behavior was staged & contrived, but the results were undeniable. . .

Brian


I don't know that it was contrived--I think Franchitti, Wheldon, Herta, and Kanaan genuinely liked each other. The results certainly spoke for themselves. But where you see Danica as the agitator, I'm more inclined to see Marco as the disruptive force. I've think he, or more accurately, his father's treatment of him during the heat of competition, drove off Franchitti (remember Infineon '07) and nearly Kanaan (Indy '08).

#690 Rob

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 20:02

Originally posted by B Squared
Many good things too, but I remember the close harmony of AGR pre Danica.


That was a huge part of the success of the team. They all realised that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. Kanaan needs to move if he is to rekindle his career. Where he is now, the team is having to focus their efforts on keeping the egos under control.

#691 red stick

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 20:04

Originally posted by Rob


That was a huge part of the success of the team. They all realised that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. Kanaan needs to move if he is to rekindle his career. Where he is now, the team is having to focus their efforts on keeping the egos under control.


The best move was Ganassi. He turned it down for a five year contract.

#692 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 21:00

Nepotism can definitely ruin a team chemistry, unless it's not handled very carefully. Unfortunately, Andrettis are not the kind of people that can handle anything carefully.

#693 jonpollak

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:58

Sorry...had to.

Danica's shower ad

Jp

#694 Keir

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 15:42

No, no you didn't .... :rolleyes:

#695 Risil

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 16:13

Ah, yes, Danica Patrick, that renowned international shorthand for beauty, lust, and male desire...

Seriously, it's not like a sport graced by Danny Sullivan for two decades could be called sex-starved, now, is it? :cat:

#696 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 16:14

Originally posted by red stick


I don't know that it was contrived--I think Franchitti, Wheldon, Herta, and Kanaan genuinely liked each other. The results certainly spoke for themselves. But where you see Danica as the agitator, I'm more inclined to see Marco as the disruptive force. I've think he, or more accurately, his father's treatment of him during the heat of competition, drove off Franchitti (remember Infineon '07) and nearly Kanaan (Indy '08).


:up:

I agree. Marco is a bigger problem than Danica for esprit de corps within the Team. I'm sure Danica is a factor but, I believe, Marco is a bigger factor.

CC

#697 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 16:28

Marco's alright I reckon, it's how it affects his father that seems to create the problems.

#698 McGuire

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 16:33

It's true. Sport is soap operas for boys. That hussy Danica is such a homewrecker, blah blah blah, etc. :D

#699 Keir

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 17:44

Next up on IndyCar 2009 - the benefits of infantile masturbation. :rolleyes:

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#700 AyePirate

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 19:46

Danica better start spending time in a COT sim. There won't be an OW grid left in 6 months at this rate.