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

I’ve known for a while that I can be a complete dinosaur about many things motor racing. And that includes one of my loves: performance rallying.

The American Rally Association re-launched its season this weekend after a five-month hiatus waiting out the pandemic.

The Southern Ohio Forest Rally was a one-day deal with no media, no spectators, and, apparently, official no results for anyone interested.

I was able to bump around on the ‘Net to learn Barry McKenna and co-driver Leon Jordan took first overall in their Skoda Fabia.  Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino were second in the Hoonigan Escort Cosworth. Brandon Semenuk in a Subaru was third.  A guy named Al Dantes told Facebook he won 2WD.

Pastrana Fire SOFR2020

And maybe the headline of the day: five-time U.S. champion Travis Pastrana and co-driver Chrissie Beavis scrambled out of their Subaru before it literally burned to the ground. The picture was ominous. Pastrana said he saved a hat.

No one cares about dinosaurs in a pandemic I guess.

Peace.

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

Motor racing is forcing itself back into the sports headlines even with the coronavirus pandemic still raging.

Despite all the world’s problems it is great to see competition again. And even better to see Friend of the Freaks Scott Dixon dominating in IndyCar.

Antron BrownDuring the break I’ve taken the chance to listen to some different podcasts. And that includes a conversation between another Friend of the Freaks Antron Brown and NASCAR specialist Kelly Crandall.

In something called The Racing Writers Podcast three-time champion Antron Brown spilled a lot of himself. And that includes AB Motorsports, his own team sometime in the future.

Team ownership is hard but success means so much. There are tax advantages. Obviously sponsor relationships. Brand equity is built for the successful team. And there’s more.

Antron currently races for Don Schumacher Racing. So he’s learning from the best. Hope he’s studying hard and will become a homerun hitter when he’s ready to step to the plate.

Peace.

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

Outrage rushed around the world last Sunday when news broke that a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR driver Darrell Wallace, the sport’s only black driver.

Wallace noose

An FBI investigation, however, found that the noose-like knot was in the garage a year before Wallace was assigned the space at Talladega Speedway in Alabama.

The Freaks were among those who were outraged at the news. But, even looking back, I, for one, still have questions about why a noose was used to pull a garage door down.

Most garages have a simple knot tied at the end of a rope. Some use a plastic handle that offers more leverage to close the door.

It was heart-warming to see so many of Darrell’s contemporaries supporting him after news of the noose broke. The question remains, though: why a symbol of hate and death would be used in such an innocuous manner when other options are available?

NASCAR is making every effort to overcome its past but a noose? You can’t overcome a past when that kind of attitude hovers in the sport, Darrell or no Darrell.

Peace.

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

Lewis HamiltonI’ve always wondered by Mercedes doesn’t do more marketing with Lewis Hamilton here in the United States. The six-time World Champion driver is one of the most recognized black men in the world and he races a Mercedes Benz Formula One car more than 20 times a year.

Hamilton now, though, is speaking for himself and he might be heard on his own even here in America. He’s announced a commission designed to use motorsport to advance education and opportunities among Black youth.

In The Times of London Hamilton announced a partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Hamilton Commission will focus on how motorsport can be used to increase interest and opportunities for black youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Hamilton has been vocal about global systemic racism since the George Floyd murder in Seattle Memorial Day.

In The Times he wrote: “If we want to change things in a real way, we need a more diverse group of people in positions of power, but that ambition becomes a lot more difficult if kids aren’t getting the education they need.”

Maybe Mercedes can back a similar push here in America. Black Americans buy their cars. Maybe they should respect that more.

Peace.

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

You’re well aware I’m not the biggest NASCAR fan in The Freak Nation.

Monster NASCAR logoBut what the teams are doing in the season’s reboot is something that should be applauded. The race Sunday at Homestead was the eighth in the last four weeks. Each of those races was a one day affair with no practice or qualifying allowed.

And to top it off, the tracks were all over the place. They raced at Darlington, Charlotte, Bristol, Atlanta, Martinsville and Homestead. And mixed in all those changes are some rain delays just to stir the pot a bit.

Now, for you detractors who think all they do in NASCAR is turn left, read that last paragraph again. The left turns at those tracks have nothing in common.

My hats off to the drivers and, especially, the crew chiefs who navigated those distractions.

Still, you’d think the challenges would see a random winner in there but, as this is written, no such luck. Crazy month. Crazy season.

Peace.

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

Hopefully the events of the past two weeks have forced you to think. If not, your head’s in the sand and the wrong end of your anatomy is exposed.

Darrell Wallace200After the IndyCar race Saturday night the Dale Jr. Download program included a very good conversation with Darrell Wallace, one of only two black drivers to win a race in a nationally touring NASCAR series.

At the beginning of the conversation it was all predictable rhetoric. Darrell (I just can’t call him Bubba) was asked his opinion of the racial unrest in America. In other words, your black Darrell, tell a white industry what you think about racism.

Ultimately, though, the conversation crossed Rhetoric Road and jumped onto Hope Highway.

It even allowed Wallace to talk about personal experiences he’s had with cops who questioned his right to drive a nice car in Tennessee. He talked about a cousin who was murdered years ago by cops who later were acquitted for killing the unarmed teen.

Darrell Wallace isn’t qualified to be a spokesman for race in America. But he is more than qualified to talk about how race has affected his life. That’s what I wanted to hear at least. Hopefully more heads came out of the sand.

Peace.

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

It’s been a painful week in America. We’re asking questions about our relationships with government and law enforcement. We may need to change America to find those answers.

SpaceX Launch

There’s some reality though: the SpaceX historic flight to the International Space Station.

The wonderful thing about the TV launch shows was watching former Freak Nation co-host Chris Jacobs. Chris was only around for a year or so of our 20… but his friendship remains important.

When you talk about SpeedFreaks you have to mention the NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

Without going into a calculator of numbers the SpaceX rocket will be going at 18,000 MPH to orbit the Earth once every 90 minutes.

To escape Earth orbit they’ll be traveling 25,000 MPH or seven miles per second.

Dizzying but this mission could change American technology history forever.

Peace.

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

“The Last Dance” docu-series has fueled the argument: Who’s Greatest, Michael or LeBron?

The numbers solve nothing. We can argue championships, scoring, rebounds, assists and, still, nothing is definitive.

Sebastian LoebCarlos Sainz SrWell, there’s a similar argument going on in the World Rally Championship. But in this case the Michael and LeBron is Sebastian Loeb and Carlos Sainz.

WRC.com held a month-long poll that absorbed more than 300,000 votes to reach the conclusion that Sainz and his two titles is worth more than Loeb’s nine straight.

Sainz has been named the WRC’s GOAT, the greatest of all time.

The tournament style knockout rounds included all 18 WRC champions. When it started Sainz was ranked sixth in the seedings. Loeb was top seeded. But Sainz, The Matador pulled off the upset.

Michael-LeBron or Sainz-Loeb. There’s another argument to while away your quarantine hours.

Peace.

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

It’s so sad to read reports of the NASCAR plans to resume racing May 17th at Darlington.

Monster NASCAR logoThere was some thought that the races would run pitstop free. But, apparently, not only will there pitstops but the races could be run at full distances. There’s even talk that the Coca-Cola 600 will run to term. Some of those races drone on for five hours or more.

According to Racer.com the one concession to cutting back on the race weekend is to drop practice and qualifying for the first few races. That would make the early events one day shows with no fans.

Of course these early leaks may be trial balloons designed to test reactions from government officials, broadcasters and fans.

Few care what I think but these early reports are, in a word, disappointing.

Peace.

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

I’m not qualified for a book review but I am qualified to know what I like.

Faster coverNeal Bascomb’s book “Faster” is just that.  Not enough is done to explore motorsports history especially details about racing’s bed partner, politics.

Faster is a David and Goliath story from the 1930s.  It details an American heiress who built her own grand prix team and, eventually, hired a Jewish driver to beat the Nazi backed Mercedes behemoth head to head.

Lucy Shell did it with an under-powered French Delahaye driven by Rene Dreyfus in the run up to World War II.

The story is wonderful and educational but disappointed me in one very real detail.  Bascomb spent several pages glorifying the Nazi showcase at the 1936 Berlin Olympics without ever mentioning Jesse Owens.

He said in an email that his editor took out the mention.  It was a massive oversight.  Great book though especially if you aren’t allergic to learning.

Peace.