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

My mind was bumping around this weekend. The fight after the NASCAR Xfinity race amused me. When they fight in a stick and ball game we complain about the thugs in those sports.

When they fight after a NASCAR race the drivers are considered passionate about winning. Unless, of course, Darryl Wallace throws water on a driver then he needs some talking too by NASCAR officials.

Funny how all that works in that sport.

Then I heard a conversation about the wind during the Cup race today in Kansas. All the talking heads had an opinion about what the wind does to a car traveling at 200 miles an hour.

It reminded me of a conversation I once had with NHRA Funny Car driver Gary Densham. He described how he had to compensate for the break in the grandstand as he traveled down a drag strip at 300 plus. All it took was the break. Forget fighting the winds on race day.

Funny where the mind goes when you actually listen to people talk.

Peace.

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

The Freaks last week spent a few minutes talking about the 2020 Formula One calendar that includes Hanoi, Vietnam as the third race on the schedule.

Nu F1 LogoThose of us of a certain age still can’t separate Hanoi from the divisive realities of the 1960s when the United States was at war with Vietnam. But that’s what that government wants us to do.

If you can, take a look at this entire issue with some objectivity. The Hanoi race would be the fourth street race on the F1 calendar equal to Monaco in some categories.

Hanoi is a city of more than eight million people. And it’s easy to see how the Vietnamese government would be eager to display a city open for business especially tourism.

Formula One is one of the few bridges to the world’s tourism business rated at more than $1.25 TRILLION five years ago.

Spending fifty million dollars to get five or six times that in tourism dollars is a no brainer. Even if it means opening Hanoi for a look at what we used to call The Hilton.

Peace.

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

Formula D logoPart of the SpeedFreaks history includes Formula Drift. In fact all three of us happened to be at the back of an SUV when Formula D co-founder James Liaw explained to us how he was going to start a series like none other in America.

Then American motorsports knew little or nothing about motor racing that’s judged and not competed wheel to wheel. Well that’s Formula D and it’s found an audience that loves the activity and, more to the point, loves the lifestyle.

Formula D started second to a Japanese drift series. Now it’s the world’s largest with series on other continents in addition to North America.

Now a significant milestone. Formula Drift had reached one million fans on Instagram. For context, that’s the same number listed for NASCAR.

It’s an important mark. Formula Drift is popular with young, tech-savvy fans who buy things that advertisers want to sell them.

So, in fifteen years in a Freak World, Formula Drift has become one of the most popular motorsports out there. Good on ‘em.

Peace.

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

Every driver wants to win. It’s the way they’re wired. But team drivers have priorities. The first is beating their teammates.

Sebastian VettelFerrari had trouble with all of it today in Russia. Apparently the team had a plan for pole sitter Charles LeClerc to lead teammate Sebastian Vettel — behind him in third — to lead Vettel around Lewis Hamilton who qualified second.

But Vettel was able to take the lead in LeClerc‘s draft and he wouldn’t even give it back even when the team asked several times on the radio.

The real fun came when team officials kept Vettel on the track after his tires were worn out. That let LeClerc back in the lead. Eventually Vettel’s power unit gave out and put him out the race for good.

Funny how that works.

While all this was going on points leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was moving to the lead and HIS teammate Valtieri Bottas was second holding off LeClerc. In fact, the Bottas drive might have been the drive of the race.

So, quoting Mike Tyson, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Or, in the case of Ferrari in Russia, until you get punched in the race.

Peace.

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

For a lark I asked Google for NASCAR headlines from September, 2005; fourteen years ago.

The lead story from Fortune Magazine was telling. Remember Nextel Cup? The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard? $740 million, ten-year sponsorships?

NASCARlogoAt the time NASCAR officials were puffing their chests out bragging that their business model was equal with the NFL and their fan base numbered one in three Americans.

That’s not me talking, that’s Fortune Magazine.

NASCAR was glowing hot. One market research firm picked it as the country’s No. 2 brand for 2005, ahead of both Google and iPod. Number one? Blackberry. Obviously, a lot has changed in the last fourteen years.

Well, the 250,000 full Brickyard seats in 2005 were largely empty in 2019. America’s business landscape changed. We’re waiting for NASCAR’s business model to reflect that.

Peace.

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

I was super pumped Friday at the introduction of all-electric rallycross machines.

IMG promotes the World Rallycross Championship and next year it will introduce a support series called Projekt E.

WRX Projekt E

The new car is a collaboration between IMG and an Austrian R&D shop. This is all a first for global motorsport.

Projekt E next season will showcase the all-electric cars at European rounds of the championship. The short races in rallycross and high torque racing environment is perfect for electrification.

These will be 612 horsepower machines, 14,000 rpm motors and full torque within 32 milliseconds of the start. Top speeds? 150 miles an hour.

The electrics will fit in new builds or converted current chassis.

Frankly, this is the future. Automakers want this. And those who ignore that fact face losing automaker interest. Can’t wait to see it.

Peace.

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

Antonio BrownEven if you don’t like stick and ball sports you learned to hate Antonio Brown this week.

The NFL wide receiver calls his antics Boomin.’ That’s slang for unfathomably hot or irresistible.

We’re left with believing Brown is the idiot supreme or he’s Boominly brilliant. The stories say Brown left thirty to forty-five million dollars on the table in Oakland.

He’ll get some of that back if he sticks under the New England Patriot discipline. The rest and more could come from a deal with his new helmet company and growth in his Social Media presence. Sunday morning he had 3.6 million fans on Instagram alone.

No one in sports has made more of Social Media than video legend Ken Block who has half again more Instagram followers than Antonio. And NASCAR drivers have long known that sponsors want Social Media presence over race wins.

Maybe Social Media has infected football now and Antonio Brown is following the Boomin’ noise from the racetrack.

Peace.

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

We normally think of motor racing as a young man’s game. But that wasn’t the case at last night’s IndyCar race outside St. Louis.

Takuma Sato42-year-old Takuma Sato got the win. And that was good to hear after he was crucified on Social Media for his part in the first lap accident at Pocono Raceway last weekend.

Second last night was 38-year-old Ed Carpenter an oval track specialist. And third was Tony Kanaan, at 44 the oldest on the podium.

That put the average age of the top three finishes at just more than 41 years. Rare in modern racing.

It brought a smile when 21-year-old IndyCar rookie Santino Ferrucci finished fourth at the Checkered Flag.

Josef Newgarden still leads the championship race by 38 over Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud with two races left in the season.

Gotta love the Senior’s Tour, though, right?

Peace.

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

Really bad news for a Friend of the Freaks.

Scott Speed2American rallycross champion driver Scott Speed is recovering in a Salt Lake City Hospital after a terrible accident Friday at a Nitro Circus Rallycross event at the Utah Motorsports Campus.

Early Saturday Scott told his Social Media community that he broke his back after landing hard in a qualifying heat. He said he destroyed his T6 vertebrae in his upper back and fractured three others in the accident. He said Friday night he was in a pretty dark place.

A race official who was trackside told me Scott overshot the small jump and missed the landing area. I’m told that Speed finished the heat, stopped the car, climbed out, took a step and collapsed on the track in pain.

Scott won three rallycross titles in four years with Andretti Autosport. He was leading this year’s ARX standings by five points over former VW teammate Tanner Foust. It could be months before Speed gets back in a car for competition.

Peace.

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

Lots of drama, competition and strategy in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

And largest headline might be Ferrari. They were so far from the leaders today that Lewis Hamilton was able to make a pit stop for new tires in the last 20 laps and not lose his second place position in front of Ferrari.

WLewis Hamiltonith those new tires, in fact, Hamilton made up nearly 20 seconds in those final 20 laps to win going away over Max Verstappen.

Max VerstappenIt’s easy to say that Verstappen’s race craft is now equal to Hamilton. Verstappen is the only driver in the series to finish in the top five of every race going into the annual August break.

But the pony in the pile is Honda. Verstappen’s Red Bull team uses Honda engines and Honda racing continues to shine after leaving McLaren two years ago.

The headlines after the break? Can Verstappen and Honda continue pushing Hamilton and Mercedes? And can Valtteri Bottas do enough to keep his job at Mercedes?

Peace.