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

Congratulations to all four NASCAR Cup Series drivers who qualified for the championship run next Sunday at Homestead.

Monster NASCAR logo

But looking at the potential 2017 champions you might get an idea of why new fans aren’t drinking the NASCAR Kool-Aid these days.

Kevin Harvick is 41, been at the Cup level since 2001.

Martin Truex is 37, been at the Cup level since 2004.

Brad Keselowski is 33, been at the Cup level since 2008.

Finally, Kyle Busch is 32, been at the Cup level since 2004.

That’s an average of 36 years of age with 14 years of experience in NASCAR Cup racing.  In short, there aren’t any new names here. No Young Guns. No breath of fresh air at the front of the line. No new names means no new fans and no real growth for the sport.

So, if there’s no room for new blood on the track, don’t expect any in the stands. Solve that problem guys.

Peace.

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

Matt KensethMatt Kenseth and I don’t know each other. But the one thing I remember most about Kenseth is the respect he gave me and the sport he honored and, once, dominated.

Kenseth this week stood tall when he announced he’d be trying something else when this 2017 season is over. He stopped short of using the word retirement.

Matthew Roy Kenseth would stay in NASCAR if he could get a competitive ride, one that’s worthy of the skills he hammered into a championship in 2003.

But that ride hasn’t appeared on the horizon yet so Matt is walking away with his head held high. In addition to his championship, Matt’s won 38 races including two Daytona 500s. That’s the kind of experience that could help the new faces coming on line right now.

That kind of resume, though, calls for costs and paychecks that team owners don’t appear ready to offer. The winning seats, and there aren’t many in NASCAR, just aren’t coming forward.

Could he make it in sports cars or the broadcast booth? Maybe but that’s not the point is it? Kenseth is man enough to say goodbye. Many in that sport don’t have the guts to race against Matt or do what he did this week.

Peace.

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

World Rallycross fans here in America were pleased to learn the series would make its maiden voyage to the U.S. at Circuit of the Americas next season.
2014WRX_SolbergWinsPortgugal
Coming to America is important for all sponsors and automakers in the championship. But the schedule makes the trip puzzling at best.

The series comes to Canada where it’s raced for each of its four seasons. That happens the first weekend in August next year. It won’t come to COTA in Texas for another eight weeks. In between are stops in France and Latvia.

In fact, the trips to France and Latvia and Austin Texas are all in the month of September.

I’m told the teams are okay with the strange scheduling. Apparently coming to America is worth it to those who pay the bills.

At any rate, the trip to COTA might be spectacular. Not only is the venue excellent but the track is building a separate rallycross stadium in an amphitheatre setting. Construction is already underway.

I wonder if Global Rallycross will be around long enough to race on the facility.

Peace.

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

This is something that should be noted for all motorsports.

The Martelli Brothers, organizers of the Mint 400 in Las Vegas, had their inaugural Dash for Trash Desert Clean-up last Saturday. The idea: promote sustainable habits and responsible public land use. More than 14.5 tons of debris was picked up in the Nevada Desert.

OffRoad Trash

A couple brief emails with Matt Martelli didn’t reveal a title sponsor and Matt didn’t talk about fund raising through recycling efforts.

The Mint 400, Race-Dezert.com, UTVUnderground.com and Republic Services picked up the expenses. I bring up those names because they deserved it.

Responsible use of public land for more than a place to race should be commended. I wish my few friends in the rally community would pay attention to this kind of responsibility.

More than 14.5 tons of debris removed. Remember in grade school when the teacher said to leave the space better than you found it?

Evidently someone at the Mint 400 paid attention in that class.

Peace.

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

I come from a generation that believes Formula One is the pinnacle of all motor racing worldwide. But that’s changing. Immensely!

Some examples: Ferrari went to partner team Haas Racing about firing one of its drivers to make room for a driver Ferrari wants to bring up to the big show next year.

To their credit, Haas said No! But comments indicate we should stay tuned.

Torro Rosso, Red Bull’s second string, gave one of its sponsored drivers permission to take off next weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix to race for a driver’s title in Japan’s Super Formula series.

Brendan HartleySet to replace Pierre Gasly at Torro Rosso is Porsche Factory driver Brendan Hartley. Hartley and Porsche say Hartley has Porsche’s permission despite his commitments to Porsche in the World Endurance Championship where he won the title last year, won Le Mans this year and leads the points chasing another title this season.

Yes, F1 has come a long way when it becomes a borderline farm system for teams and crews who get a better offer.

Peace.

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

Early last January Ford said it would set aside more than four billion dollars to work on electrifying its product line including its Mustang and F-150 trucks.

The massive plan would bring new cars, new jobs and new ideas to Detroit.

Shortly after the announcement I asked the head of Ford Racing if this would affect any motorsports plans going forward. I was assured it wouldn’t.

2017 Ken Block Rallycross

Well, this week Ford said it was putting its World Rallycross budgets with Ken Block on hold for the time being. It said it wanted to see where the sport was going.

I take that to mean that overtures toward creating electric or hybrid rallycross cars could bring Ford back to the paddock.

Always remember that Ford’s in the business of selling cars and not racing them.

If rallycross started allowing cars that Ford wants to build, guess were Ford would be spending it’s time and dollars.

Until then… stand by!

Peace.

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

New race cars don’t excite me too much especially in a series based on spec formulas. But the new IndyCar revealed for testing last week at Sebring is sensually exciting.
2018 IndyCar
The 2018 aero kit has minimized the batwing brick-a-brac hung on cars after the Dan Wheldon crash in Las Vegas six years ago this month.

Four drivers tested the new design at Sebring including new champion Josef Newgarden. Four-time champion Scott Dixon was also there. All the drivers left Sebring with interesting takes on the experience.

Most said the car would take some learning to drive next season. There’s less downforce in the new aero kit so drivers will need to reach into their toolbox a little deeper. Downforce won’t cover up on track mistakes.

Race craft will be more important and that means the ability to pass will separate the good drivers from the bad.

Less downforce will also put more importance on engineers and race setups. Again, that’ll separate the good from the bad.

Plus, the car’s just beautiful. That alone is a giant step forward for IndyCar.

Peace.

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

First a disclaimer: I love IMSA sports car racing. But with that said, I can see some thinning of the herd in IMSA.

A new tire sponsor coming in 2019 will probably raise costs sending more teams to less expensive sports car programs like World Challenge and TransAm.

IMSA logo

World Challenge and TransAm continue growing year over year with starting grids made up of more and more drivers and teams fleeing IMSA.

And, make no mistake, those costs are enormous with races from 100 minutes to 24 hours inflating budgets enormously. For example, there are nearly more hours of racing in the Daytona 24 Hours than a full season in both World Challenge and TransAm COMBINED.

Those extra hours mean more drivers, more support personnel and more overall resources than either of the other two series. Add room, board and travel vouchers to all that and you can see where IMSA racing won’t be for the budget challenged. You’re largely out of luck unless you are spending factory money.

Going forward, this means there’ll be even more fantastic racing in World Challenge and TransAm and it’ll happen in a lot fewer than 24 or 12 or 10 hour blocks of your day.

Peace.

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

Several drivers started Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix like their hair was on fire.

Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen were on the front row when the green flag fell. Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen were in row two.

Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen launched toward the first turn. The three came together sending cars spinning. Fernando Alonzo who’d passed five cars at the start, wound up in the middle of the chaos and eventually had to retire.

In the middle of all of this was a wet track from a rainstorm right before the start.

2015F1Japan_HamiltonCelebs

Lewis Hamilton came out the big winner. He started fifth and dodged everything to find himself in first place by lap four. He stayed there in front of Ricciardo to win the race and jump from three to 28 points up in his championship fight with Vettel. Six races are left in the season.

In Singapore, during the two hours of the race there were some funny radio transmissions. Drivers were telling their crew to leave them alone or, from one driver, a curt “shut up!” when the engineer was trying to tell him something about the car’s performance.

Apparently an evening shower in the streets of Singapore will do that to you.

Funny what’s happened to F1. An American based company buys the series and, inside a year, the so-called best drivers in the world have all become stock car personalities.

Peace.

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

We haven’t talked about Formula Drift much but that doesn’t mean the series isn’t growing. Not by a LONG shot!
James Deane
Last night was the seventh of eight rounds in the 2017 championship. Irish driver James Deane (On the left) won at Texas Motor Speedway over three-time champion Chris Forsberg. Deane’s fourth event win of the season ties a Formula Drift record and puts him in the driver’s seat with one event left at Irwindale Speedway October 13th and 14th.

The only person with a mathematical chance to catch Deane at Irwindale is 2015 champion Frederic Aasbo from Norway.

Notice a trend? The guys who started Formula Drift in 2004 built a global brand in the midst of a global recession and emerged on the other side with millions caring about who wins and loses.

According to Formula D the event in Texas was at capacity and the live stream had more than one million views Friday and Saturday.

Obviously tire makers care about the tire shredding sport. But auto makers are represented strongly. From the top ten at Texas there were four Nissans, three Toyotas and two Mustangs.

PLUS five of the top ten in points are from Ireland, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia and Japan. Formula Drift is strong with a defined audience and market. One of the few in racing who can say that.

Peace.