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This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

The world rally community got a chance to see legends go head-to-head in Mexico this weekend.

Nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb made his World Rally Championship return after a five year absence. His challenge was five time champion Sebastien Ogier who took over the throne when Loeb went to pursue other things in 2013.
2018 Ogier Flies Mexico
Loeb showed some brilliance through Saturday morning when he had to stop and change a tire while leading. He ultimately finished fifth when it was done.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 -WRC Mexico  (MEX) -  WRC 08/03/2018 to 11/03/2018 - PHOTO : @World

Ogier was there to take over when Loeb had his problems. And Ogier won giving Ford its first victory in Mexico since 2004.

So we didn’t get the head to head battle that everyone wanted. But we did find out that Loeb can handle the new world rally formula cars. And Ogier is ready to rise to the top if Loeb has any problems.

The other usual suspects of the last five years all stumbled, fumbled and kicked it when faced with the challenge of Loeb’s return.

Mexico is important because it’s the first all gravel event of the year. And this Rally Mexico could signal a good season ahead.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

A couple weeks ago we talked about the Formula One TV package landing on ESPN through Sky Sports for the next two years.

Now we learn that the ESPN deal may become a test bed for what’s called Over the Top services that could see F1 disappear behind pay walls as well as pit walls.
Nu F1 Logo
The current broadcast rights holder in F1 is Liberty Media, a conglomerate that paid a reported eight billion dollars for those rights. Obviously Liberty wants its money back and more.

Over the Top is a media distribution practice that allows a streaming content provider to sell audio, video, and other media services directly to the consumer through internet streaming. It bypasses traditional cable or broadcast service providers.

Curiously, NBC isn’t going away. F1 TV Pro will be the branding in this new service and NBC is expected to be involved that will stream every session live and gain access to on-board cameras and archive footage.

Major League Baseball, the NBA and NFL already have pay walls. So, F1 fans, get your credit cards ready! And don’t think NASCAR isn’t watching with plans like this of their own.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

While the world loses its collective mind over the movie Black Panther, let’s take a moment for a different take. The movie going public needs a Black Panther every generation or so to realize that black Super Hero brilliance is real and might live next door.

Black Panther

Sometimes it makes its presence known in packages called LeBron James. Other times it’s called Willie, who comes home at night, supports his wife and kids and doesn’t want a cookie for doing it.

Darrell Wallace200In the world of motorsports we saw Darrell Wallace last week be treated like a Super Hero for running second at the Daytona 500.

So what happens when Wallace takes his rookie experience into the rest of the NASCAR season and battles all the drivers and fans who aren’t happy with his presence in the Cup series.

It’s amazing that Black Panther, a mythical hero from a mythical African nation supported by a make-believe miracle mineral was all created by two white Jewish writers more than 50 years ago. Black Panther isn’t a documentary.

Darrell Wallace, on the other hand, is a real man fighting real battles in real-world races. Wallace is creating a documentary every weekend in some Southern reality where getting off the freeway at the wrong time and place could cost him his life.

Here’s hoping the hyperbole in both storylines will calm down. Soon.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Some Formula 1 news on Daytona Day.

Sky Sports LogoThe word is Sky Sports will be supplying the F1 coverage when ESPN picks up the series in March. Sky Sports is well respected in Europe but that’s Europe.

None of the commentators are well known or even known in the U.S. And Sky Sports is a Rupert Murdoch company. It currently broadcasts to fewer than 23 million viewers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, none of whom are bastions of diversity.

Three states in America have more population than that.

All 21 races will either be on ESPN or ABC. That means another race day wandering around the dial looking for the broadcast.

Sky’s lack of understanding the American audience was noticeable in the actual media release that appeared this week. It called the anchors and reporters in the broadcast presenters. That’s a common phrase “over there” but here they’re on-air talent, anchors or analysts.

Fasten your seat belts F1 fans. There could be some turbulence ahead.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Back in the early days of SpeedFreaks we concentrated a lot on the NASCAR truck series. The winners would call in every Sunday night.

And so many of those winner’s calls were with Ron Hornaday, the winningest driver in truck series history. Hornaday was in the series from its inception in 1995. He won 51 races and four series championships. Ron was a man!

So many NASCAR champions give lip service to their fans but won’t show up to be around their fans unless someone pays them some money. In some cases they quoted the Freaks tens of thousands of dollars for an appearance.
03-0400_HornadaySF Party

Hornaday, though, would come to the SpeedFreaks parties, sit and talk, laugh, pose for pictures, sign autographs and, generally, do what you do at a party: have fun. The picture above is from April, 2003.

Hornaday this week was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with others in the 2018 class. No short track veteran is more deserving. Athletes and competitors can’t do more than win with the equipment they’re given against the people they compete against.

Hornaday did all of that. In spades. He helped make the series. He helped make the Freaks. Glad someone else noticed.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Tough hearing about Keith Jackson’s death this weekend. He didn’t wake up Saturday morning at the age of 89.

Keith Jackson

I worked with Keith some forty years ago at a Los Angeles television station.

One evening we got into a deep conversation about our dreams and wishes. One of his? He wanted to own and operate a specific hardware store on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

Never forgot that conversation. What was more fulfilling, though, was learning that Keith never forgot me. He acknowledged me while he was working on a Wide World of Sports show with Jackie Stewart at Riverside Raceway.

He even picked me out months later when I passed him on the television lot. He was in conversation with some videotape engineers but wondered why I passed without speaking. Eventually I wondered the same thing.

I learned through the years that that’s who Keith Jackson was. He was more than a Hall of Fame broadcaster. He was a Hall of Fame man. A good man who took the time to remember people whether they could help him or not.

And, in that industry, there aren’t enough of them to lose one of the greats.


This is the Statt Mann Baby.  Time to Scatt a little bit.

Tough, tough, tough weekend. Now, there’s word that Dan Gurney is gone.  Complications from pneumonia.  He was 86.

Young Dan Gurney

The Freaks knew Dan Gurney well.  He was a part of both our radio and television shows.  He even called in on his own once to chat one Sunday night.

When you grow up knowing the name Dan Gurney as a fan, it’s hard to think of him any other way than as a fan. When you find out that he might be a fan of what you’re doing, well, it still gives us pause.

Dan Gurney was larger than an icon.  He was a warrior.  He won at everything he tried.  He won as a car owner, constructor and driver in F1 fifty years ago.  He won at the LeMans 24 Hours giving Ford the win it coveted over Ferrari.

He won in NASCAR. The Gurney flap in IndyCar aerodynamics is a standard.

His All-American Racers team built cars known as Eagles because Dan was an American original.  His brilliant mind.  His brilliant smile.  His brilliant presence will never be duplicated.

Even the process of spraying champagne on the victory stand was his idea.  He was the first.  He’ll always be the first.  He was Dan Gurney.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

A sad story from the two-week Dakar Rally that started Saturday. American off-road racer Bryce Menzies and his co-driver Peter Mortensen received minor injuries apparently in an accident that all but destroyed their Mini.
2018 Dakar Menzies Crash

The Mini factory team said the car was returned to bivouac area, a sign the car is done.
We don’t know what happened yet. But it looks like the car became airborne over a jump of some kind and landed heavily. The suspension was heavily damaged, the wheels ripped from the car.

Now, what I’m about to say won’t be popular but it’s true. Dakar isn’t an off-road race no matter what off-road racers think of the event. It’s a rally requiring finesse and patience. Menzies is a champion off-road racer with experience in the rough-and-tumble world of rallycross.

But his greatest success is in off-road desert racing where you often go as hard as you can until the vehicle breaks or the finish comes, whichever occurs first.

I truly hope Menzies and Mortensen are OK. And, I repeat, I don’t know what happened.

In one report Sunday Menzies was described as a: “…truck jump record-setting badass.” That label fits when you look at the debris from his crash, two weeks before the finish of the rally.


This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Something to remember as you finished up your Holiday shopping this week.

A teenage gamer from France, Lohan Blanc, won the eSports WRC Championship with a dominant performance in Germany, supported by Hyundai.

Blanc was fourth last year but look what a year of practice will do. He was virtually unbeatable this year in both the regular season and the championship.
WRC eSports
He used a simple PS4 controller rather than the wheel and pedal set-up favored by his competitors. He won by more than 16 seconds.

The competition featured three stages from Rally Portugal and two stages from Finland all digitized into the computer.

One was the iconic, hair raising 100+ MPH Ouninpohja stage won by Blanc.

More than five thousand gamers entered the eSports WRC.

Blanc won a Hyundai i20 road car for his efforts.

So when Mom says get off that computer, remember what’s at stake down the road.


This is the Statt Mann Baby.  Time to Scatt a little bit.

The 50th annual Baja 1000 was run this week with the headline story being a driver listed as DNF even though he drove the last 325 miles to the finish line in La Paz.
Max Gordon
I’m talking about Robby Gordon’s 9-year-old son Max Gordon.  Yes, I said 9-years-old.  And no matter what you think about Young Guns in racing, that feat is amazing and should be applauded.

There’s all sorts of confusion, though.  Social media the last couple days has been ablaze with stories about Max’s accomplishment.  But the SCORE rules say a driver must be 18.  Max isn’t.  He also wasn’t listed on the official entry form with Sheldon Creed, Todd Romano and Robby.

And worse, their entry is listed with a different number than what was on the plate in the pictures from the race.

I’m told that Max might have been inserted into the car on the fly, so to speak, and he did the rest.  So, even though he finished, Max is officially listed as DNF on the SCORE website.

Sad for the kid. He has a great story to tell anyone who’ll listen but SCORE won’t honor that, at least for now.  Maybe that’ll change.  No one from SCORE would respond to my pleas for help.  But that’s pretty normal.