It was great to see Helio Castroneves win at Indianapolis, but I was disappointed in the race that saw few meaningful passes. What I was most disappointed in, however, was seeing Indy Racing League officials attempt to prevent Castroneves from climbing from his car to traverse the fence. Especially with a series that is fighting to grow and find an audience, all sincere forms of emotional expression should be encouraged - not discouraged. It was equally sad to see the same officials dragging Helio forcibly from the embrace of his parents and sister to Victory Lane. People like emotion. People want emotion. Here is a significant win for the most popular driver in Indycar racing - and the celebration should have reflected the extreme emotion of the moment - not prevented because of the television time-buy or the sponsored tradition of the drinking of the milk. The milk can wait: let the winner, his team and his family enjoy the win.
What does it say about the relative strength of the two series when two Target-sponsored cars are leading the biggest single race of the year, only to cut to a commercial including Target's NASCAR-sponsored racecar?... Paul Tracy provided the most cubic inches of bravery (or sheer craziness) to make most of the scary, incredible passes of the race day.
How I Spent My Holiday Weekend: Yes, the blisters are healing quite fine, thank you. The 24 Hours of Victory Lane. The 600 only seemed like it lasted 24 hours, while others really did race twice around the clock.
Ricky Carmichael became an honorary member of the Ft. Worth Police Motorcycle Unit Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway. Carmichael, at the track promoting the upcoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at TMS, rode through the skills and precision course used for police training. Carmichael, riding a Suzuki RM-Z450, completed the course in 49.733 seconds compared to Officer Mike Richey, who finished in 52.971 on his Harley-Davidson Electra Glide. Carmichael then led the officers for a few laps around the 1.5-mile speedway, including some few high-speed wheelies by the 15-time AMA motocross champion.
Click on the video for highlights of Carmichael riding with the Ft. Worth Police Motorcycle Unit and doing burnouts on his Suzuki. (Photos by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway. Video courtesy of TMS.)
Check out this week's SPEEDtv.com column: "The Beast." It's the story of the most powerful engine ever to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Mercedes-Benz 500I registered 1025 horsepower on the dyno!
How many people will remember only one pass for the lead in the first 90 laps after that sparkling 10-lap finale Saturday night at the All-Star race? The final laps were a great example of what happens when extremely talented teams and drivers go all-out for the win. I've not been moved by much in the Sprint Cup category this season, but that was one damn-fine finale. How many of you would agree that the double-file restart is something that should be considered for points races in the future? Especially since the leader is nearly impossible to pass these days, the double-file starts really give the field a legitimate shot at racing into the lead.
Let's hope the 600 is more than a snoozefest and the Indy 500 is a battle royale like the good ol' days.
State of Speed: Did anyone read my SPEEDtv.com column this week? It was a good idea with poor execution, but some have enjoyed it. This Tuesday's column is a topic that I find fascinating. I am considering dropping the SPEED column, in favor of more frequent blog posts. The brain space and energy for the column (not to mention Facebook and Twitter) is detracting from the blog. What do you think? Use the "Comments" section below.
State of the Nation: Do you buy bird seed or generic motor oil? Your choices could determine whether you get your next credit card. Check out an in-depth NY Times article, called "What Does Your Credit Card Company Know About You?" Scary... and fascinating.
Wilco: The new Wilco record can be heard in streaming glory at the band's website. Check it out. "Wilco will love ya, baby..."
For those dismayed by the demise of the newspaper industry, Amazon has announced a new, larger version of their Kindle, an intuitive electronic reader. I've been using the first version of the Kindle for several months, and enjoy being able to travel light with a number of books, newspapers and magazines at my fingertips in an instant. Users can download books in seconds over a built-in wireless connection, and most best-sellers are $10 or less for the electronic version.
I believe the new version, which has a larger screen and is thus more adept at graphics and newspaper-style content, offers at least a small glimmer of hope for newspapers and periodicals that have been hit hardest by the availability of free content online. The new model also has tests being conducted by several universities with electronic text books.
Other than missing the tactile experience of turning pages, the machine is a delight to use - and will only improve as the technology improves. The initial price can be daunting (the current model retails for $359), but the long-term benefits outweigh the initial outlay.
If you're skeptical, find a friend who has one and try out a Kindle. I imagine it's the reading method our kids will use as they grow.