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Statt Mann Scatt

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.

Peace.

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.

Peace.

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.

Peace.

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.

Peace.

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.

Peace.

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.