Motorsports Calendar, 15-17 April 2011

Matthew Little

Points Scorer
Once again, it's time to crack the calendars open and see just what events are ahead of us for the weekend...................

~~~NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Aaron's 499--Talledega Superspeedway[Talledega, Ala.--2.66 mile high-banked oval)
~~~NASCAR Nationwide Series: Aaron's 312, Talledega Superspeedway
~~~World Rally Championship: Rally Jordan--Amman, Jordan
~~~FIM World Superbike: Round 3(races 5-6), TT Circuit Assen[Assen, Netherlands--2.822 mile road course)
~~~IZOD IndyCar Series: 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Streets of Long Beach[Long Beach, Ca.---1.968 mile street circuit]
~~~American LeMans Series: Long Beach Grand Prix, Streets of Long Beach
~~~British Touring Car Championship: Round 2(races 4-6), Donington Park--Leicestershire, England[1.957-mile National Circuit]
~~~SCCA World Challenge: Round 2, Streets of Long Beach
~~~FIA International V8 Supercar Championship: Round 3(races 5-6), ITM Hamilton 400, Hamilton Street Circuit[Hamilton, New Zealand--2.1 mile street circuit]
~~~Renault World Series: Round 1(races 1-2), Motorland Aragon--Alcaniz, Spain[3.321-mile road course)
~~~Firestone Indy Lights: Round 3---Streets of Long Beach
~~~FIA Formula 2 Series: Round 1(races 1-2), Silverstone Circuit

As always, please check your local listings for exact times/dates and feel free to add anything that may have clipped the apex and missed this weekend's calendar of events............ :) :goodday:
This weekend saw a combination of motorsports' version of "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly"................

--The Good: both the F1 & Indycar races were excellent; it was especially nice seeing Mike Conway win at Long Beach(for once, a red car didn't win an IndyCar event..........)
--The Bad: seeing the ALMS race at Long Beach the day before and noting a grand total of 4 prototypes' on the entry list............yeah, that's right: 4 PROTOTYPES! At times I actually thought I was watching an FIA GT1 race there weren't any prototypes on-screen..........
--The Ugly: Of those 4 PROTOTYPES', 2 of them(both Level 5 entries) were "start-and-park" entries. And the team's explanation was equally as ugly; they wanted to preserve both of them for next week's LeMans Test Day........WTH? No, seriously, WTH?!?!?

And I wasn't the only one who noticed the uhh......paucity of the LMP ranks at Long Beach either.............
TrackForum: ALMS On Life Support
Here's what one forum member there, Doc Austin, wrote:
This is a case where it sucks to be right.

I've only been trying to tell you guys for 12 years that Grand American was going to bury ALMS. I've distanced myself from caring about the later series, so I'm not upset about it. When a series gets as pitiful as ALMS has been the last few years it's like watching an old dog suffer. Time to put her down. You hate it, but it is for the best.

I told you so. I did. I told you over and over about the dangers of relying on factories to keep a series healthy. Factories are selfish beasts that come in flashing a lot of cash around and drive the cost of competition up. Then, when one manufacture starts winning too much, the others start to fall away. That, or they drop out when they don't win enough, often in some dreamed up distpute over the rules (See: BMW). Then, whomever is left leaves citing a "lack of competition" as a reason, leaving the privateers with a horridly expensive set of rules. They can't sustain that kind of cost, so a series will wither, and die.

So long, ALMS, at least as we know it. Who knows if it will adapt and change to something sustainable, or if it will continue to limp pitifully along? Even the people involved somehow can't see the folly of fiscally crazy racing, so in ALMS, we have what we have.

Those factories that everyone was bragging about are gone, but they certainly drove the cost of competing up enough that the privateers can't even afford to send their cars out to qualify.

How's that for technical superiority? The ALMS is so advanced that they can't even race. Sorta sounds like another recently deceased series in it's dying throes after the manufactureres left the privateer teams holding a very expensive bag.

It's happened over and over, especially in sportscar racing. Open wheel can now get away with keeping stable rules because they don't have to butt-kiss each manufacturer, but sportscars have to adjust the rules to make sure the manufacturers are happy....or they leave, which has also happened over and over.

Hey, remember when Nissan was winning all the GTP races? Every other IMSA race was the "Nissan Grand Prix of this," or the "Nissan Grand Prix of that," until, that is, Toyota started winning so much that Nissan only won a single race. At that point, Nissan left, citing that it was "too expensive," which terribly hurt the series. Wait, why wasn't it too expensive when you were winning all the races and being the title sponsor of all the races?

Toyota then went on a 17 or 18 race winning streak, and that ushered out the GTP era. Do you need more examples of manufacturers posioning a series' atmosphere and driving the privateers out?

The current LMP is just way too expensive. ALMS is dying a slow dead all it's own because it priced everyone out. Grand American had nothing to do with it except it gave some of the teams a way to stay alive after ALMS ridiculous rules made racing financially unfeasable.

So, to all of you who spent the last 12 years telling me how the evil Frances were going to destroy sportscar racing, how you like me now, huh? The Frances SAVED sportscar racing in American, and now it's more than once.

Of all you IMSA faithful, how many of you know where the series really came from? Probably none of you know IMSA was originally set up and financed by Bill France Sr. himself, ironically to keep the French influence out of America. For those of you who hate the Frances and the supposed "nascarization of sportscar racing," take a look now and you would have nothing without them. Nothing. Just Scott Tucker rolling his two cars into the garage and parking them for qualifying.

Grand American is getting set to have a rules overhaul, so hopefully we'll end up with something that makes enough fiscal sense to attract big fields, yet have a little room for innovation and technology. Maybe something that is the best of both series and a sort reunifi-unifi-unification through attrition. Whatever it is, think the French have had their chance, and they continue to blow it time after time after time. It's time American racing fans turned their back on the ALMS (easy to do with a two car series) and tell the French hell no. They have meddled in our racing for way too long and look where it has gotten us.

For all the crap that the France Family has had thrown at them over the years for wanting to either, (a)NASCARIZE motorsports in North America or (b)MONOPOLIZE North American motorsports, isn't it nice to see someone defending them? FWIW, I've been saying some of the same things as Doc Austin said above over the years..........if Grand Am's proven anything over the years, it's that you can have great, competitive racing w/out having to bankrupt either the teams, the manufacturers or the sponsors, something the :censored: genisues in both Braselton, Ga. and La Sarthe, France need to learn before the ALMS goes belly-up..........

Then again, I wouldn't mind seeing Grand-Am take over the ALMS from Panoz, Atherton and Co.; unlike them, at least the Frances' know how to run a successful racing series...........

I don't know enough about the ins and outs, and scheduling a race the week before the LM test day was crazy, but philosophically I'm very much on the side of the ACO/ALMS I'm afraid.

Atherton has faced similar problems in the past and pulled through, I wouldn't be surprised if he did it again.
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