Sunday, March 1, 2009

Los Motors Motor Speedway

For the second year in a row, my new year's resolution is to learn Spanish. Besides a variety of Mexican dishes and Mexican restaurant names, I am still ignorant; but having the world wide web at my disposal, I can now safely translate today's Las Vegas race into its Spanish equivalent.

Before I launch into that, first a shout out to Nascar & SMI for honoring the gearhead god Carroll Shelby in the titling of today's race. A breath of fresh air in the era of corporate racing (that's English for dinero). And whoever thot of making it a 427 instead of a 400 should get an extra week of vacation and a bonus to spend in the casinos. Let me be honest. I am no Ford guy, never have been, never understood Mustang mania. Give me any of a dozen other muscle cars from the era before a Mustang. But the Shelby Cobra was in a league of its own.

I hoped "engine" would translate into something cool in Spanish, like tires = llantas, but alas its only el motor / los motors. So we'll go with it. The weekend of Los Motors. Five Toyos bomb in practice including the pole sitter. Roush bombs bookend the race from lap 1 to 1 to go, including 2 race hotstreak winner Kenseth and 2009 Cup champ to be Cousin Carl. A Dodge bombs after qualifying 2nd and running in the front. A Chevy bombs sending a previously blogged about driver to the hauler for a snack of pop-tarts and a big glass of feel good with the team. Tag on the HMS engine disaster last week. What is going on here? Obviously everyone is looking for a HP advantage, sometimes it works, sometimes not. I suspect that since so many things are mandated these days, there's only a couple places to gain an advantage: basically a new driver or more HP. At least Toyo has a little egg on its previously invincible face. I had a theory a couple years back that HMS was winning everything in sight mostly because they could carry higher RPMs, you could see it at the end of straightaways on the telemetry. Shortly after that Nascar mandated rear end gears to level the field and force everyone into the same RPM band.

So would we rather gripe about los motors or las llantas? Personally I would rather see a rash of engine failures, at least you can pin that on makes and teams, something they control. Applaud them for pushing the envelope, criticize them for pushing it too far. Unlike tires where everyone suffers and everyone gets a free cheap shot at Goodyear (sometimes deserved of course but always with Tony at the front of the line, reminiscent of a scene from the movie Airplane).

24 grenades a tire sliding toward pit road and can't pit, but finishes 6th with a ducttape left front fender. Meanwhile 48 slides thru pit box under green, later gets jacked by 96 pitting, runs back with the troublemakers and wrecks out. Kudos to Reutabaga and Bobby Ask Labonte for top 10s.

Next race Atlanta. Hmmm another high speed high sustained RPM track? Maybe everyone better put los motors ano pasado back in there for a week or two.

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