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Earning the respect of the "elitist" snobs!

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  • Earning the respect of the "elitist" snobs!

    I hope enough of the people who look down their collective noses at the drivers that make their living on the short, dirt and pavement tracks of this country took time to watch the Chili Bowl last night.

    This should serve as a wakeup call to the elitist snobs who post here that think Midget drivers couldn't run an IRL car. I will point out why. First, they have the car control, that is what is attractive to the NASCAR owners, and why so many of them have turned their back on the IRL and headed south The power to weight ratio of the IRL vs the Midget probably favors the Midgets, or is very close to being the same. Couple that with a short wheelbase, no downforce and a track surface that changes with every lap, and it takes a real driver to get the job done. Now lets look at an IRL car. Almost the same power, longer wheelbase, plenty of downforce, enough that the car could run upside down across a flat surface at 200 mph if you could get it there. I'll tell you another thing, I've never driven an IRL car, but I have hot lapped a Midget once, on pavement I'll bet you would get more of a sensation of speed in a Midget at Phoenix, with a top speed of better then 120, then you would in an IRL car at 175. At IRP there is little difference in lap times between a Midget, a Sprinter or a Silver Bullet car.

    If you aren't impressed with the confines at Tulsa, let me tell you about a place called 16th St. Speedway in Indy, the most recent one, now closed. It was an old baseball park, and they fitted a race track in there without making many changes, all they did was bring in some clay, and spread it out. Let me take you on a lap there in a Midget. First there was a turn at home plate, a hard left. Then you go down the first base line and towards the foul pole in the right field corner, where you would back off and brake for another hard left. Once through that turn, you stuck your foot in it and followed the contour of the outfield wall and continued around without lifting, until you had to slow down for the home plate turn. Mind you, if you got off the gas you were run over or passed. I don't know how fast they were going by the time they reached "home plate," but it was a bunch. I do know that all four wheels were seldom on the ground at one time. Tony Stewart, Donnie Beechler and Jason Leffler, among others, were awesome there. It is too bad the place never caught on with the locals, for weekly races. Special events did well there until they tried to stage a multiple day event, for big bucks, at a time when there were too many races going on at other tracks in the area. Artistically, it was great, but it lost money. The next year the track didn't open, what a shame.

    The point I am trying to make is that if I driver could master that place, he should be able to race anywhere, in anything. I don't give a poop what end of the car the engine is in, it just doesn't matter. In 1996, John Menard almost had to be forced by Tony George to give Tony Stewart a test at WDW Speedway, Tony immediately blew off teammates Scott Brayton and Eddie Cheever. Tony earned a "reluctant" ride from Menard in the first IRL race ever, and "checked out" until mechanical problems ended his day. I was there, and I was stunned at how he dominated the race, so was everyone that was there. So why aren't more of these drivers racing in CART and the IRL? It is because they are never given a chance.

    A while back, because of the number of road, street, parking lot and parade ground races on the schedule, some owners felt it would be better to look elsewhere for drivers with that kind of experience. They felt that it would be easier to teach a road racer to run ovals then teach an oval tracker to turn left and right. Recently, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon proved the fallacy of that kind of thinking. The elitist owners ignored that fact that the biggest stars of their series were homegrown talent, whose roots were firmly planted in the dirt tracks of America. Foyt, Andretti, Jones, Rutherford, two Unser's and more gave the imported drivers more then they could handle, wherever they raced. Yet the kids who followed in there footsteps were ignored.

    It won't be long now before we come full circle, and the drivers of America will get their chance again, and the respect they deserve. When that happens, the IRL will begin to get the kind of driver name recognition and following that NASCAR thrives on. We have a start now, with Hornish, Fisher, Ray, Sharp, Boat, Beechler, McGehee, Dismore and others. Some of those we saw at Tulsa should be along later.

  • #2
    I don't have an extra $4000, but I want to ride in that two seat midget. Preferably with Tony driving!
    Some people will do nearly anything in order to be able to not do anything.

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    • #3
      It isn't a question of respect, Miles. At least not from me. It's not a question of oval vs. road racing, either. It's a question of the massive differences in the equipment and where drivers get the best training to work with that style of equipment.
      Peter Olivola ([email protected])
      "Too dumb for opera
      too smart for NASCAR"

      Comment


      • #4
        Peter, I think the transition to a 3600 pound Winston Cup car is much harder, TS had a tough time in BGN but took to the IRL car easily

        Comment


        • #5
          There are drivers in any racing series who will be able to drive anything well (Montoya, Schumacher M., Brack, possibly Hornish, Stewart, Gordon J.). There will be some midget/sprint car drivers who will be able to step up to IRL.

          Trouble is, in every series there are drivers who will not be able to adapt to anything else. You just have to find the all rounders.
          "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

          Comment


          • #6
            The key is talent. A driver that consistently proves that he is a winner in different cars and on different surfaces can make the transition to anything.

            The argument is not that any midget driver should be able to run an Indycar. It is that the best will be able to run an Indycar. Guys like Jason Leffler, Cory Kruseman and Tony Stewart (top 3 in the Chili Bowl) have won in anything and everything they have driven. The god given talents it takes to be a winner transcend the boundries of car types.

            I have no problem saying that a midpack formula car driver is better suited to drive an Indycar than a midpack midget/sprint car driver though. Frankly, I'm a little tired of the mid pack guys getting the rides over the winners.

            Give me winners and the talent will shine through regardless of background.

            [ January 20, 2002: Message edited by: gofastturnleft ]
            Dan Schlosser
            Go fast, turn left !
            www.tracksideonline.com

            "Count all your blessings, just don't keep score...."
            Mark "Hoot" Marchetti

            Comment


            • #7
              [QUOTE]Originally posted by ensign14:
              [QB]There are drivers in any racing series who will be able to drive anything well (Montoya, Schumacher M., Brack, "possibly" Hornish, Stewart, Gordon J.). There will be some midget/sprint car drivers who will be able to step up to IRL.

              That one word not needed seem's to state what Mackie was trying to say! These people never will admit that others can and have raced just as good or better than them!
              How the h_ell can you state "Possibly"? Do you have to be hit over the head to see it?
              aXe



              [ January 20, 2002: Message edited by: aXe ]
              Born Again Race Fan seen at
              www.openwheelracers3.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Probably the most needed skills and attitudes to be successful as a race driver are car control, desire, and a feeling of immortallity. Who has / had these attributes? Here are a few I've seen in person that had all of these traits and demonstrted them every time they drove: A.J. Foyt; Tony Stewart; Jeff Gordon; Dale Earnhardt, Sr.; Steve Kinser; Billy Vukovich, III; Bentley Warren; Joe Gosek; Troy Regier; Jim Hurtubise; Joe Leonard; Al Pombo; Al Unser,Sr.; Lloyd Ruby; Marshall Sargent; Bill Elliott; Junior Johnson; and Mark Donahue. There are several others that I'll remember as soon as I close this post. One other comment that will probably get a bunch of you up in arms. Mario Andretti didn't have car control in my opinion. I think he drove way over his head most of his career. Again, that's my opinion and opinions are like A**holes. Everyone has one and they all smell a little different.
                Okay, now I'll add Rick Mears, Jim Clark, Mark Donahue and Parnelli Jones to the above list. There will still be more as the aged brain cells conjugate the seeds of distant memory.

                [ January 20, 2002: Message edited by: Gerald Laurie ]
                A good race driver, given adequate seat time, can drive any well prepared racecar on any track surface or configuration at competitive speeds. Remember, I said a GOOD race driver!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  "It won't be long now before we come full circle, and the drivers of America will get their chance again, and the respect they deserve. When that happens, the IRL will begin to get the kind of driver name recognition and following that NASCAR thrives on. We have a start now, with Hornish, Fisher, Ray, Sharp, Boat, Beechler, McGehee, Dismore and others. Some of those we saw at Tulsa should be along later."

                  Not until owners such as Foyt stop looking at checking accounts first. Not looking for a fight here, just being brutally frank about what's going on in the IRL.

                  "Peter, I think the transition to a 3600 pound Winston Cup car is much harder, TS had a tough time in BGN but took to the IRL car easily"

                  His "tough" time in BGN cars was due to a lack of power in my opinion...once he stepped up to WC cars he had little or no problems.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    IMHO a great driver is a great driver, period.

                    he can win on dirt, pavement, ovals, roadcourses, on a lawn tractor, or with a radio control in his hand.

                    all he needs is seat (stick?) time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We'll just have to agree to disagree on this.

                      Originally posted by Mackie:
                      <STRONG>Peter, I think the transition to a 3600 pound Winston Cup car is much harder, TS had a tough time in BGN but took to the IRL car easily</STRONG>
                      Peter Olivola ([email protected])
                      "Too dumb for opera
                      too smart for NASCAR"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Seat time can overcome a lot of things, but when it gets to the top level, anything can cut into the program and lack of knowledge of the equipment type and how to communicate with the crew about it can take a while and the longer a driver has been working in dissimilar equipment, the longer is will take.

                        The other component to that equation is whether or not the crew is accustomed to working with drivers with no experience in the equipment type they're using and what the overall experience level of the crew is with that type of car. Just as a driver needs seat time, so, too, a crew needs to have time working on the chassis.

                        Originally posted by 2fast4u:
                        <STRONG>IMHO a great driver is a great driver, period.

                        he can win on dirt, pavement, ovals, roadcourses, on a lawn tractor, or with a radio control in his hand.

                        all he needs is seat (stick?) time.

                        </STRONG>
                        Peter Olivola ([email protected])
                        "Too dumb for opera
                        too smart for NASCAR"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aXe:

                          How the h_ell can you state "Possibly"? Do you have to be hit over the head to see it?
                          aXe



                          [ January 20, 2002: Message edited by: aXe ][/QB]
                          Simply that Sam Hornish Jr is still young and I haven't seen him race on a road course. So I cannot know whether Hornish is good enough for, say, F1.

                          I could have said the same about Foyt, but he was successful in sports car races. But in the same way as we'll never know if Senna could have run Indy, we'll never know if (say) Vuky could have run F1. My guess is yes to either, but you never know - Amon was good in F1 but spooked at Indy, Ruttman the reverse.
                          "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ensign14:
                            <STRONG>Simply that Sam Hornish Jr is still young and I haven't seen him race on a road course. So I cannot know whether Hornish is good enough for, say, F1.</STRONG>
                            Maybe a good point , but we've never seen Schumacher on an oval either yet it's assumed he would be able to drive anything well simply because he's successful in F1 . Shouldn't he get a "possibly" too ? Stewart and J.Gordon have shown they can run road courses , albeit in stockers so far but the ability has been proven.Unfortunately for us as fans , the days of drivers crossing between series seem to be over and we're all the losers for it .
                            “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
                            I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
                            I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jandj:
                              <STRONG>
                              Unfortunately for us as fans , the days of drivers crossing between series seem to be over and we're all the losers for it .</STRONG>
                              Too right.

                              I don't like Schumi but his is a sublime talent & I think he'd take to ovals like a duck to water. He did win in sportscars back in 1990, when only 21, so he is capable of crossing to closed wheelers.
                              "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

                              Comment

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