This is it, folks, the run-up to the final race of 2010.
As with most off-weekends, not a lot happened that was of much note. But that's not to say that NOTHING happened of note. If that were not the case, why else would I be typing this out right now? (Getting a head start on my carpal tunnel, of course!!)
Give the jump a click to get the goods without further ado!
Goodwill doesn't pay the bills.
The disturbing news came from TrackSide Online this week that HVM Racing was locked out of their race shop by their landlord. The team, which was to receive funding this year from a video game publisher, lost that funding when the developer went into receivership. Apparently, the money ran out early last week after the team returned from Japan.
HVM's driver, Simona de Silvestro, has become a fan favorite this season. Her strong runs in a car that a) isn't as good as the competition and b) is fielded by a team with virtually no budget have turned heads all year. But by the time the race at Twin Ring Motegi rolled around, the HVM team was down to their last tub - an old tub that was so uncompetitive that even Milka Duno was outqualifying it.
As painful as the shop closing was, I wonder if there wasn't a hint of secret relief that they were legally prohibited from having to touch that sled.
Update: Apparently everything has been resolved, according to Keith Wiggins. Guess the sled has at least one more race in it.
Ride buying isn't always a crime... is it?
Paul Tracy discovered this week that he would be out of a ride for Homestead because of "a bigger paycheck." Predictably, his fans erupted in outrage and frustration. How could The Thrill from West Hill get the boot for some crappy ride buyer? Shame on Dreyer & Reinbold for kowtowing to some wannabe racer with a hefty bank account!
...except that the ride buyer in this case was Dreyer & Reinbold's own Ana Beatriz, and Tracy's ride wasn't exactly his to begin with - Tracy was driving in relief for Beatriz' teammate Mike Conway. Moreover, Beatriz, a personable and talented driver, is a proven winner in the Firestone Indy Lights Series - certainly not of the same caliber as, say, Francesco Dracone.
So how are we supposed to feel about it? What's the proper tone of indignation to strike? I'm sure someone out there knows.
Hanging your team out to dry can be a good career move.
Sebastian Saavedra got savaged for the way he abandoned his Bryan Herta Autosport team at Kentucky Speedway. Many wags predicted that he would have an easier time getting A.J. Foyt to become a vegetarian cross-dresser (or, more improbably, get him to start Tweeting) than finding another ride in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.
Well, screw that. Apparently, giving your race team the shaft is a sign of an upwardly-mobile racecar driver. At least, that would be the best explanation for why Derrick Walker is now managing Saavedra's IndyCar career, and why the Colombian with the jealously-protected career is going to be driving in the IZOD IndyCar Series finale at Homestead for Conquest Racing. If that isn't awesome enough, he may even have a full-time ride in IndyCars next season (although one of his self-professed 2011 options was HVM Racing, which seems unlikely given what happened this past week).
I have to hand it to Sebastian - he read the prevailing conventional wisdom in IndyCar far better than I did. Whether that conventional wisdom is a positive for the sport is another story.
...but not as much as the off-season.