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Statt Mann Scatt

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

Huge fun this weekend at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. I went to visit friends and one put me to work! I found myself hosting some events including the Special Stage at the end of the event on the Ross County Fairgrounds outside Chillicothe, Ohio, the state’s first capitol.

At one point I had the center section of the grandstands stand and BOO! another section that wasn’t participating with enough gusto. Great fun.

I’ve attached some pictures of the action.
SOFREscort

SOFRArrow

SOFR3

SOFRHonda

For the record Art Gruska and co-driver Lukasz Wronski from Poland won the event over Tim Rooney and co-driver Ole Holter from the US.

I was fascinated, though, with James Robinson, a Honda engineer who’s won three B Spec championships in a Honda Fit. This weekend he had a completely stock, four-door Honda Civic for the competition. It was so stock it still had an operating air conditioner and tinted windows! He finished second in two wheel drive with co-driver Brian Penza.

An added note, Honda got its first Global Rallycross win Sunday after two years of trying. Maybe the rally shop should share some notes with the F1 guys.

Peace.

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

Saturday night’s NASCAR winner in Kansas, Martin Truex, won in a Toyota.

But maybe the story of the young season is the performance of the Fords in the NASCAR Cup series. Eight of the top 15 drivers are in Fords led by Brad Keselowski who’s third in the standings.

That’s a far cry from recent years when Roush Fenway carried the Blue Oval in the middle of the field.

NASCAR Ford V8

Imagine my surprise, though, when I read in the Motorology Facebook group that the Ford FR9 engines in NASCAR are pure racing engines that have no connection to anything that comes from any Ford assembly line.

As was said in the Motorology post: “The current Ford, Chevy, and Toyota NASCAR engines are far more similar to each other than to any production V8s.”

That’s troubling. Don’t we want the National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing to be about stock cars racing? Maybe it should be Spec Car Automobile Racing. Maybe it’s the spec racing that’s driving away fans.

Or maybe we should look at the race results as participation results, like Little League. If the manufacturers demand to trade their dollars for trophies, maybe the fans are right to trade their dollars for better TV.

Peace.

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

The opening weekend at Global Rallycross Memphis this weekend may have revealed more than the organizers wanted to.

Scott Speed and Tanner Foust were one and two on the weekend and dominated in their new Andretti Autosport Volkswagens.

FansBut, in effect, there were only seven other cars able to get down the road. One car, entered for Austin Dyne under the Rahal Letterman banner made practice but little else.

I’m told Ford is gone for the second straight year. Brian Deegan is gone. And Ganassi Racing is gone.

I’m told GRC wants more than half a million dollars in marketing and certification fees. VW, Honda and Subaru have paid, at least, some of those fees. But Ford didn’t. Even worse, this is the last year of Red Bull’s series sponsorship with next year undecided as of yet.

Could all that change? Depends on Sunday’s TV ratings, I guess. But a two hour show with nine cars competing isn’t great entertainment. Did you watch?

Peace.

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

Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California I hosted about 25 boys and girls and nearly ten more parents, most watching their first motor racing evening.
NSBE Irwindale
The picture included here has some of the kids listening intently at Legends driver Darren Amidon who always competes for wins. His graciousness and patience answered questions and let many of the kids sit in his race car.

Imagine the kids delight when Darren won a few hours later!

The questions from the children were on point. They even displayed their own patience when an old man took their attention away from a truck race to talk about some science, technology, engineering and math in the racing world.

The group was from the National Society of Black Engineers Southern California chapter, “Nesby” Jr. for short. My granddaughter and daughter are part of the program.

Just impressive group of children and parents. But, then, I’m always impressed with young people who commit themselves to learning something. The management team at Irwindale was more than accommodating on a wonderful night for the kids and me.

Peace.

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

Watching the Can-Am Challenge race at the Long Beach Grand Prix Saturday took me back to my early 20s at Riverside International Raceway. A long time ago on both fronts!

The noise from these Jurassic monsters set off car alarms and shook windows all around the track. I was standing next to a very young Millennial who grabbed his ears on the first of the parade laps. I told him if that hurt his ears he’d better leave now.

LBGP Can-Am raceAs I suspected, it was a parade, though. Promoters called it a celebration of the cars. Some has build dates some fifty years ago with values approaching multi millions of dollars. Still some were more suited for a more gentlemanly vintage race. One or two were running on three or four of their eight cylinders at the end.

The two black Shadows did put on a choreographed show swapping positions at safe places on the track. They managed to be wheel to wheel at the end crossing the finish line less than two ten-thousandths of a second apart.

It was a celebration of an era when drivers drove and cars raced unfettered by computers, electronics and mufflers. A wonderful trip down memory lane for me.

Peace.

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

Ford logoThe World Rallycross Championship this week announced a deal with Ford to put complete races and more programming on Ford’s own live distribution channel on Facebook.

World Rallycross opened its fourth season this weekend in Barcelona where last year’s champion Mattias Ekstrom won in dominating fashion driving an Audi.

Ford, though, has strong presence in the series through drivers like Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud. Fords in fact were second and third Sunday including Bakkerud who was third today. He finished third in the championship last year.

This Ford deal is in addition to the streaming the series does on its own. And it’s in addition to a television highlights package it says it’s negotiating for the US television market.

Sponsor streaming on Facebook. Part of the new world order in sports marketing and promotion. This tells all the others: go big or go home.

Peace.

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

FansAn undercurrent in modern sports is the idea that some of the best athletes are savants in their field of specialty.

There’s even an argument that year ’round travel squads lead to repetitive stress injuries like Little Leaguers who pitch all year until their arms need rebuilding before they turn teenaged.

Or AAU basketball players who travel all year until their ligaments tear and their knees need rebuilding in high school. Is all this worth the dream of hosting an autograph session?

Now this next guess is an enormous leap of assumptions, but we’re seeing race car drivers who are driving as much as they can chasing championships at 13, 14 or 15. When they should be figuring out who’s the man in the mirror, they’re more concerned with the man in the rearview who’s burdening them with a different kind of repetitive stress.

Leave them alone, right? Let ’em chase dreams and paydays. But when YOU were chasing acne, did you even know what your dreams meant? Or, even, what they were?

What if we find out that repetitive stress is emotional as well as physical? Is it better to have more drivers, citizens or just adults.

Peace.

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

My mind wandered a bit watching the Sebring 12 Hours Saturday. Sebring isn’t as mind numbing as Daytona or Le Mans. The track is rough and unpredictable producing racing that’s rough and unpredictable.

One great thing about Sebring is its ability to prepare teams and drivers for the grind at Le Mans in June. When Audi ran in the American Le Mans Series it would come back from the Sebring 12 Hour and rent the track the following week. The idea? Run thirty consecutive hours trying to break it’s car, drivers and teams. It was a recipe for winning the world’s toughest sports car race at Le Mans three months later.

W_TaylorBros and FonziDaytona and Sebring open the season with 36 hours of racing. That’s about equal to the rest of the IMSA season combined.

The crew at Wayne Taylor Racing should have considerable confidence after winning those first 36 hours at Daytona and Sebring . But after the wide open spaces of Florida comes the street fight at Long Beach next month. Minds can’t afford to wander in that cage match.

Peace.

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

Sebastian BourdaisGreat to see IndyCar back racing in St. Petersburg Sunday. Even greater to watch Dale Coyne Racing win with Sebastien Bourdais.

IndyCar is having trouble keeping teams on the grid. One of the strongest, KVH, shut the doors and went home in the off season. That freed Bourdais to go to Coyne. Other teams are merging and small teams are gleaning from the debris and jumping into IndyCar’s major leagues.

Dale Coyne has survived through the years by selling seats to drivers who show up with a sponsor and no car. This year, though, Coyne upped its game and signed Bourdais, one of the greatest names in American open-wheel,

It’s an expensive gamble. Bourdais can win races and championships if he gets the resources. He’s a hall of fame driver. His win today was emotional for all concerned. It proves you don’t need a printing press and orchards of advertisers to be successful.

This is only the first race of the year but Bourdais driving away at the checkered flag is a good sign for everyone especially when the win doesn’t cost an act of Congress.

Peace.

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

In 2012 I was involved in a broadcasting project involving the Trans-Am series. I met lots of people, some I hope I never see or hear from again.

TransAm Logo

But among the good guys was Cliff Ebben of Appleton, Wisconsin. Cliff drove a box-white Mustang out of a passion for the Blue Oval.

A piece of weirdness occurred when the drive shaft exploded with a bang early in that season. The blast force traveled through the gear shift lever breaking the weakest link, his arm.

Well, the Trans-Am 2017 season opened this weekend in Sebring with Ebben taking the TA category win Sunday. It was popular everywhere but in the Tomy Drissi and David Pintaric worlds. They finished second and third respectively.

My favorite, two-time defending champion and fellow Buckeye Amy Ruman was sixth after starting third. Two of those passes came in the last three laps.

If you love American iron, rolling thunder and GM parades, you’ll probably love Trans-Am, especially when a Ford covers them all.

Peace.