Fast Times At Monaco High – Memorial Day Trash Talk

Hey there fellow lugnuts at the Emptywheel garage, how about some Memorial Day Holiday Trash Talk? We haven’t taken out the trash lately, so it is time. There are a few things on tap to chat about.

First up is the Gran Prix de Monaco, the crown jewel of the Formula One season. F1 is a sport of the masses across the world in many ways, but the constructors, participants, and the circus that follows them are without question the elite, rich and beautiful. You see the elegance at any F1 race, but nothing compares to Monaco. Technically speaking, Monaco is somewhat of a processional – passing is nearly impossible and the key to the race is qualifying position and pit stop strategy. If you start in the front you have a good shot at finishing there. But no race is as valued by the drivers and history, nothing has the cache of a win at Monaco.

It has been an interesting season to date. Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus and Red Bull are all solid and in the hunt. Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers’ standings with 89 points, Kimi Raikkonen just behind with 85 and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso closing in with 72. Hamilton Massa and Webber are in a second group well back of the three leaders, but still well within contention for the year.

The all important qualifying is proceeding as I write this here trash; I will update when it is completed. Okay, qualifying just ended as I put this post up. Mercedes took the front row with Nico Rosberg on pole and Lewis Hamilton in P2. The second row is Red Bull with Vettel in P3 and Webber P4. Row 3 will be Raikkonen and his Lotus in P5 and Alonso and the red Ferrari in P6. You can bet the farm the winner will come from the first three rows, and likely the first two rows.

In a real holiday treat, NBC Sports Channel is airing the absolutely fantastic documentary “Senna” tonight, Saturday night, at 8 pm EST (5 pm PST). This is one of the finest sporting documentaries you could ever hope to watch whether you are an F1 fan or not. My wife, who knew nothing of Aryton Senna and F1 went with me when it premiered in the theaters two years ago and still raves about it. Highly recommended for viewing and/or DVRing.

Also this Sunday is, of course, the Indianapolis 500. The “Biggest Spectacle in Motorsports” is a far cry from what it once was, but it is still a great race to watch and always provides some excitement. The pole is held this year by Ed Carpenter, with Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti sharing the first row. But Indy favors those that know the way to the winner’s circle, and there are two proven champs in the field I would watch out for, Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti. Both are three time winners. There are only three men who have won Indy four times – AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. It is an elite club, will there be a new member when the milk drinking is over?

There are also the NBA Playoffs underway, with both conference finals in progress. Last night the Indiana Pacers upset the Miami Heat in game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Miami. A huge win. Even more shocking, but for some boneheaded coaching and player selection in the last seconds of game one, the Pacers might be up 2-0 on the defending champs. Now the series heads to Indy. Both games have been nail biters; really good basketball. In the Western Conference finals, the Spurs are up 2-0 over the Memphis Grizzlies and appear to be well in control of the series.

Also underway is the NCAA College softball postseason. My ASU Lady sun Devils are 5th ranked and in a west Super-Regional against Kentucky, with a berth in the Women’s College World Series on the line. The best 2 out of 3 match is in Tempe at Farrington Stadium though where the Devils are 28-3 in post season play, so their chances look good for advancing. Also in an east Super-Regional is Jim White’s beloved, and 2nd ranked, Florida Gators. The Gators are heavy favorites over the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Will there be another showdown in the world Series between the Devils and Gators? I hope so, that would be big fun! Also looming large are powerhouses Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama. Believe it or not, Marcy’s team, the Michigan Wolvereenies are in play and already up a game in their Super-Regional. This could be a big time Emptywheel grudge smackdown World Series!

Lastly, holidays are about FOOD! Here at Casa de bmaz, we are grilling copious amounts of bird and beef, chased by a lot nice Mexican beer. What you got going, and why?

48 replies
  1. jo6pac says:

    WOW Alosno way off pace but then again the front 4 have had tire problems so who knows what will happen. What happened to Massa?

    Indy has 4 women in the race this yr so I might watch it. Very Cool.

  2. bmaz says:

    @jo6pac: Yeah, I actually meant to mention that. It is very cool indeed. I don’t think any of them have the level of equipment Danica Patrick did so a win is pretty unlikely, but I hope they finish well. All of them are pretty accomplished drivers.

  3. Jim White says:

    Hold on a minute here. How can there be a post here with the words “Monaco” and “trash” in the title without mentioning the trashing Lisa Monaco appears to be getting in falling from contention to be the new head of FBI to being the next “oh, gosh, if only Congress would let us” person coordinating the “attempts” to release Gitmo prisoners who have already been cleared?

  4. scribe says:

    The qualifying was quite interesting – the rain came and went and played hell with the drivers and their times. All the commentators could talk about, it seemed, was whether they could get out the different tires.

    You neglected the mention, BMAz, that the hockey thing is still going on. My Pens turned it up to 11 the other night and stomped on Ottawa, the finished the job on them last night, going to the Conference finals. I suspect the Noo Yawk Rayn-juhs (and their foul-mouthed coach “kiss my ass”) will fall to the Bruins if not tonight then in Game 6. Two comebacks from 3-0 down in the same season just do not happen. I’ve thought for most of the abbreviated season that the East would come down to Pittsburgh-Boston, and I think I’ll be proven correct. It would make an interesting series – Pgh is a lot faster and more skilled and Boston slower, and thuggier. Their strengths complement and negate each other, kinda like rock and paper one minute, rock and scissors the next.

    And if you’re wondering why people are still paying attention to ice hockey, consider this: It’s supposed to snow over part of New York’s Adirondacks, most of Vermont, a lot of New Hampshire, and some of Maine, tonight. That, and it’s the kind of sanctioned violence (minus the fights as the playoffs deepen!) that we all revel in come football time.

    Who cares about that basketball thing, anyway? Other than LeBron, who got no respect from that guy dunking over him….

    And as to football … butt fumble. Garrard decided he could have a hell of a lot more fun coaching Geno and watching the Sanchez clown show than being a part of the on-field cast. Smart move.

  5. rosalind says:

    @scribe: “And as to football…” Niners take a big hit with Michael Crabtree sustaining a torn achilles tendon in practice.

    EW suggested he and Gronk should recover together in a mosh pit, which would be worth it just to see the look on Harbaugh’s face as he personally drags Crabtree back out.

  6. Jim White says:

    We’re just a few minutes away from the first pitch for the Gators as they take on UAB. This has been a remarkable season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Most of you probably won’t recall that last year, on the night before a regional that UF was hosting as a high national seed (in what was expected to be a fourth consecutive trip to the WCWS) coach Tim Walton threw three key players off the team after what was described as a “confrontation” in the locker room. The Gators then were quickly eliminated from their own regional in very humiliating fashion.

    This year, with a very young lineup, the Gators have gone 55-7, winning both the SEC regular season and postseason tourney. They are ranked second right now, just behind Oklahoma. After being very upset at Walton last year for letting things on the team get so out of hand, I’m very impressed with the job he’s done this year. This team is very enthusiastic and looks they are having a blast as they play really well.

    One of the three players thrown off the team has turned up as the shortstop on bmaz’s evil Forkers. I don’t know why she didn’t have to sit out a year after transferring, but those Pac12 softball teams get ALL the breaks from the NCAA admin and umpires.

  7. scribe says:

    @rosalind: I like this one, better:

    Based on a true story. About 30 years or so ago, Mario was out for a drive on a newly-repaved stretch of interstate near his Pennsylvania home in something fast and low, non-vanity plates. Not-quite leaving a sonic boom behind himself. A state trooper pulled him over, walked up to the driver’s side and asked him “Who do you think you are? Mario Andretti?”
    To which Mario answered: “Yes, I am, officer.”
    To which the trooper responded: “Be careful.”

  8. bmaz says:

    Well, if I am reading the NCAA page correctly, Jim’s Gators are in a 2-2 slugfest with UAB in the 6th inning of game 1, and Marcy’s Wolvereenies are just starting game 3 in the first inning against Louisiana-Lafayette.

  9. Jim White says:

    @bmaz: Yup. No word from Marcy about losing the early game today to the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Gators just choked on a great opportunity. Had bases loaded, nobody out in top of 6th with top of order coming up. Did FC out at home and then two strike outs. Ouch.

  10. Jim White says:

    Whew. And in the bottom of the seventh, Gators load the bases again with no outs. HBP ties it and then a strikeout. Then 9-hole batter without a hit in a month gets the walk-off single. Big fun.

  11. bmaz says:

    @ek hornbeck: Nice post. Folks, EK asks some good questions about the direction of F1.

    The expense of running a F1 team seems to be habitually a problem, has been forever. But it is really exacerbated with so many races now. It used to be privateers could play in F1, and that kept fields full and interest up. No longer though. Not quite sure how this plays out long term.

  12. Jim White says:

    Wolvereenies have punched their ticket for OKC. And they get to face the host Land Thieves in their first game, so you might as well pencil them into the loser’s bracket for their second game.

  13. rosalind says:

    re. F-1: Roman Polanski debuted a restored film on Jackie Stewart at Cannes –

    “In Weekend of a Champion, the Polish-French filmmaker Roman follows Stewart, his long-time friend, as he prepares to drive in the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix, at a time when the risks to drivers were far greater than they are now. Polanski said he had forgotten about the film. He decided to resurrect it, adding a sequence where he and Stewart reunite more than 40 years later to discuss how the sport has changed.”

    (F-1 stuff starts way down the page past Mrs. Polanski’s ample cleavage pics…)

  14. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: Wow, cannot wait to see that. I’ve met and shared a drink with the “Wee Scott” before. Pretty interesting guy. Funny too, I might add.

    Like Mrs. Polanski. And, seriously, she is not a half bad actress to boot.

  15. dugs says:

    bmaz–thanks to your recommendation I just requested SENNA from the local library, and looking forward to it. I’ll be watching for news about “Weekend of a Champion” too, with the hope it gets released on DVD at some point. Though Ms EW is the queen of my heart on civil liberties issues, I sure love your F1 posts. I kind of stopped following F1 about the time they stopped using carburetors, but I love dipping in again via Trash Talk!

  16. Bustednuckles says:

    All this talk of sports and racing in particular and not one mention of the Coca Cola 600 tomorrow.

    For shame people.

    Open wheel elitist snobs.

    I told the wife what the agenda was tomorrow and she is going to bail out to her parents.

    There is a small chance I may actually get to enjoy as much as I can cram in.

    I love Monaco but the 500 comes first.

    I like that Franchitti character.

  17. bmaz says:

    @Bustednuckles: tee hee hee, yes it was an intentional snub. Although NASTYCAR is a little more interesting with Danica in it. I must honestly plead guilty to being a complete elitist open wheel snob. My motto is, if yer car doesn’t turn both ways, it is not a car.

  18. bmaz says:

    @dugs: Dugsdale, welcome back. Sorry you got caught up in the filter, you must have reregistered or something. Should be good to go from now on. I like Franchitti too; would love to see him pick up a fourth 500.

  19. jawbone says:

    bmaz: Last sentence, graf 2 — “cache” I think should be “cachet,” if you mean a seal of approval instead of a collection of, oh, weapons or, for squirrels, nuts.

    Just sayin’.

  20. ek hornbeck says:


    di Resta

    Frankly I was hoping for Hamilton to do better or Red Bull worse.

  21. nomolos says:

    F1 and NBC sports do not mix. Really the post race show then the pre race show then the race? WTF. They delay showing the bloody race until….when? Thank goodness for BBC and the internet.

    NBC should stick to covering minor league, Indy car, motor racing and leave the real motor racing to grown up channels.

    What a fucking cock up.

  22. Bay State Librul says:


    The Pens beat the Bruins in three regular series match-ups.
    I’m wondering if the B’s Mo will continue or fizzle…

  23. bmaz says:

    @nomolos: The race was live on NBC. Same thing Fox did last few years at Monaco where they had the pre and post race on SpeedTV and the race itself on Fox.

  24. nomolos says:

    @bmaz: Oh for chrissake! Those fuckers. Thank goodness for the BBC.

    American TV should stick to stickball and fake rugby…well that and prancing with celebrities.

  25. bmaz says:

    And now the Indy 500 has concluded with Tony Kanaan the winner under a yellow flag. Apparently had a couple of good luck charms for the day, one a medal from a sick girl he visited in the hospital, and the other the gold medal from Alex Zanardi that he won in the London Paralympics. Kanaan is a truly nice guy, glad to see him win.

  26. quebecois says:

    Ah, Mario Andretti, what a flaming douchebag driver… He was a reckless, irresponsible blowhard, nuff’ said.

    Watched the end of the 500, Kanaan won by yellow, that kid Munoz is scary talented and precise. He was one of the four from my previous vid. It was his first Indy race? Did I hear that right? On another Indy note, their present open wheeler is safer, but butt ugly. I say it’s time to fender off the wheels and turn them into Can-Ams, not unlike the 78-81 cars.

    On the Danica Patrick front, she’s a decent driver, who is unable to make decisions… So, I already suffer through those dreadful commentators to hear about hear a dozen times a race. I like nascar racing for the racing, the rest of it bores or horrifies me, the broadcast, the fans, the big one, that patriotic NRA sponsorship…

    It’s cold and rainy in Montreal, 2 weeks until the race…

  27. bmaz says:

    @quebecois: The current IndyCars ARE butt ugly. Why can’t anybody make attractive open wheel race cars any more? (F1 not that much better).

    Yeah, the Munoz kid is very good. First race up from the Indy Lights series and….Wow. As to Danica, she is talented enough, but she will never be in the group that just inherently has it – the Franchittis, Castroneves, Jimmy Johnson, Tony Stewart, and the others that are really the top drivers in the two series. She is good for the sport though, and is good enough to belong.

    I am not a NASCAR fan, but today is the biggest motorsport day of the year, so I guess I will watch the Coca-Cola 600 too. With a little ASU softball first. And don’t anybody tell Jim White, but I actually have his dreaded Gators on the tube now.

  28. wmd says:

    How the hell can you have trash talk and not mention NHL (missed comment #7).

    Chicago will come back over Detroit. Pittsburg vs. Boston series will go at least 6 games.

    San Jose may beat LA on Tuesday. If they do look for them to beat Chicago in 5 games.

  29. emptywheel says:

    @Jim White: I keep saying UM is gonna get creamed by OK, thus my skepticism they’ll make it far in OKC. Thus my relative silence.

    That, plus for some reason ESPN didn’t show your gals’ game yesterday.

  30. bmaz says:

    Well, since Marcy is too spooked to talk about Michigan in the Women’s College World Series, let’s try another area of past interest: Brittany Griner. Griner is, somewhat surprisingly, doing about nothing in her debut with the Phoenix Mercury. The Mercury are playing the Chicago Sky, at home in Phoenix, and are getting roundly killed. Another star rookie, Elena Delle Donne is ripping Phoenix up though, with 16 points at half (Griner has 2 pts).

  31. tjallen says:

    I’m happy to see Rosberg showing Hamilton the way around the track, after doing the same with old Shumacher. No one gives Nico the proper respect! I laugh out loud at all that “Hammy rulez” talk!

    Finally a wreck involving Maldonado that was not his fault!

    Unfortunately Kimi broke his car trying to school Perez that you cannot put your nose there, you have to put half a car there before the corner is yours. Kimi showed him once but Perez insisted on trying it again, and got what he deserved (DNF).

  32. tjallen says:

    I have a suspicion that Mercedes is intentionally under-fuelling their cars, making them very light-weight in practice and qualifying, and trying to rely on fuel-saving software to get to the finish. It isn’t working as far as winning races, but qualifying well does create a buzz and probably saved Ross Brawn’s job.

    There is a problem with this “fuel-saving software” though – it will be banned because it comes between the driver’s foot on the accelerator and the fuel delivered. It modifies the driver’s input, and similar things are already illegal, for that very reason. Wait and see whether you hear more about this one.

  33. bmaz says:

    @tjallen: Interesting point about Mercedes and fuel saving. Though, it strikes me their real problem has been reliability in general; they have been fast for a while. Rosberg is every bit the driver Hamilton is (though HAM may be a bit better in the wet); good to see him consistently show it.

Comments are closed.