It has been a very long week. Time to let loose. For a change, we open up with with the Formula One circus. For the first time since the not much loved race in Indianapolis gave up the Brickyard ghosts in 2007, Grand Prix returns to the United States. The setting is the newly constructed Circuit Of The Americas in Austin Texas.
This is pretty exciting stuff. Grand Prix needs to be in the US, but has not had a venue that felt right since leaving Long Beach due to a tizzie between Bernie Ecclestone and the local promoters over the licensing fee. The US venues since then, including Detroit, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and, yes, even a forgettable three year stint here in Phoenix, just never felt right. But there is a ten year agreement to stage the race at Circuit of the Americas, and the hope is for stability.
The promoters and F1 have trotted out Mario Andretti to rave about the new facility but, from what I saw of it during practice yesterday, it looks butt ugly to me. Coming two weeks after a stop at the opulent and gorgeous Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit, the dustbowl cheap blight of COTA is embarrassing. Austin is a great city, maybe COTA will grow into something worth while with a little age, let’s hope so.
As for the race, so far – as expected – the Red Bulls are fast. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, in that order, seem to be ahead of the pack early. The final practice is live on Speed starting at 10 am EST and qualifying starting at 1 pm EST, also on Speed. Coverage of the actual race starts at 1:30 pm Sunday, again on Speed. I will say this much, while the facilities and surrounding land look a little Continue reading →
I feel confident you were all as traumatized as I was by the counterfeit Trash Talk appearing recently on these hallowed threads! Apparently, simply because this blog is named “Emptywheel”, people named Emptywheel think they can just stroll in and post up trash. Madness, I tell you, madness!
Hmmmm, speaking of Madness, turns out it is March, and we haz some going on with the student athletes of the roundball variety. Yesterday, not one, BUT TWO, second seeded teams were upset by 15 seeds. Tiny Norfolk State, appropriately led by Kevin O’Quinn on the eve of St. Patricks Day, took out the well regarded Missouri Tigers. Then joy in the hearts of haters everywhere was ignited by Lehigh crushing the Dookies.
For the women, hate to say it, but Obama is right, Brittney Griner and Baylor look unstoppable, though I have a sentimental hope for Pat Summitt. My sleeper to watch are the Delaware Blue Hens, led by maybe the real story of the year, Elena Delle Donne. If you don’t know the story of Elena, you should. The Hens have a shot.
In NFL news and notes, the Arizona Cardinals are left at the altar again. We went through this with Joe Montana, and now again with freaking Peyton. Marcy’s anti-Peyton rap all these years was clearly spot on the money. But, hey, we get to keep Kevin Kolb. Yay. Looked like the Donkos were in the lead, then the Titans, and now the 49ers have pulled even. Who knows. I am probably joining Steve Young and leaning SF because that is the best overall chance for a championship fast, and Peyton needs to catch up to Little Bro. The Bolts have had a decent off season, but losing Vincent Jackson is tough. I still believe Matt Flynn can be a very quality starting QB, and still think he joins his old OC from the Pack, Joe Philbin, at the Fish, but the Squawks are in play. Talk amongst yourselves about all the rest of the ongoing free agency and draft news.
Of course, the real sports news this weekend is the opening of the 2012 Circus – The Formula One season! We again start down under in Oz, and both the track and the weather have been perfect and hot n’ fast so far. There are six – count em SIX – World Champions in this year’s field and on the grid in Melbourne. They all look fast too, even Michael Schumacher, who has been beleaguered by bad equipment since his comeback. Schuey came up a fast fourth in the factory Mercedes, and will be starting from the second row. McLaren owns the front row, with Lewis Hamilton looking killer on pole and Jenson Button right beside him. Seriously, and uncharacteristically, off the pace are the Red Bull boys back in the third row, Webber in P5 and Vettel in P6. As was, sadly, predicted over the winter, Ferrari is in trouble. Alonso went driveabout in the kitty litter, and bombed out in Q2; Fernando will start from P12. Felipe Massa is even worse, and is all the way back in P16. Best line, by a mile, I have heard of the new Circus season so far:
Two seasons of crashing rally cars has had no adverse impact on [Kimi Räikkönen's] ability to speak Morse code.
If you have ever watched the Flighty Finn in a press conference, you know how spot on that is. Jeebus, I about keeled over laughing in the middle of a courtroom yesterday when I read that.
The official F1 site is here and has boatloads of great stories and helpful coverage, including live scoring if you sign in. It is worth joining for the live scoring. Old friend Brad Spurgeon has moved from the NYT to their international effort, the IHT (International Herald Tribune), but continues with his excellent on scene reportage.
The Australian Grand Prix goes off early Sunday morning/late Saturday night with coverage on Speed Channel starting at 1:30 am EST and 10:30 pm PST.
Music by The Faces. Rod is a little long in the tooth these days, but make no mistake, he, Ronnie Wood and Ian McLagan could really bring it in the day. Lite this joint up people, let there be Trash!