Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Burns Stainless Final Round At Pomona

POMONA CALIFORNIA/AVONDALE, ARIZONA - It was a Burns Stainless final round with customers Greg Stanfield and Kurt Johnson pairing off to see who won the NHRA World Finals. The two Pontiac GXPs looked great side-by-side on at the starting line. Unfortunately for the fans, Kurt’s car broke at the starting line (no, not the collectors!) Stanfield didn’t hold back posting a 6.597 s with a 209.59 mph run. It is interesting to note that all of Greg’s runs on Sunday were easy wins with Allen Johnson going sideways at the 1000 ft lights and Jason Line, the 2011 Champion, having to lift at the 1/8th mile when he got loose. “Any time that you win the last race of the season, it makes the winter time a lot better,” Stanfield said. “We’ve been a bit behind in this game for a while, we’re a little bit off, the car has got a lot of runs, and we’ll be hoping to get a new car for next year."

Del Worsham was able to claim the Top Fuel championship in the semi-final round against contender Spencer Massey then winning his eigth victory of the season against veteran Tony Schumacher. His Al-Anabi dragster posted a 3.796 second run at 318.02 mph run. Matt Hagan took the Funny Car victory and championship with a stunning victory in the “quickest-ever” Funny Car race. Hagan held off Robert Hight’s Mustang running a 4.009 second at 317.79mph against Hight’s .031 seconds at 318.92 mph . “You come in expecting the worst and hoping for the best,” Hagan said. “It really is truly amazing this weekend to win the championship and win the race. It’s a testimony to all of my guys who have worked so hard on this DieHard team.”

As SPRINT CUP moves into the final race, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart both put in great performances at Phoenix and are separated by the same 3 points in the Chase as before the race. Though Stewart dominated most of the race, Kasey Kahne was able to claim the lead on lap 299 following a series of green-flag pit stops and kept Edwards at bay to the finish. This was Kahne’s 12th Sprint Cup win and the first this season. Edwards finished second by a mere 0.802 seconds, followed by Sewart. Jeff Burton finished third with Ryan Newman fifth. It was fitting that Kahne claimed a win for the Red Bull team that has announced it will not be continuing in NASCAR. Kahne has signed with the Hendrick’s organization as Jimmie Johnson’s teammate.

The drama was still high in the Gibb’s garage following last week’s suspension of Kyle Busch after the truck incident involving Ron Hornaday. The trouble began when Busch, who qualified 34th, noted that he had no oil pressure for Sunday morning practice. After a quick diagnosis by the pit crew, the engine was replaced sending Busch to the back of the pack but was able to move up running as high as third. But, to add insult to injury, Busch retired on lap 187 with “catastrophic engine failure.” "It's terrible to have one [engine failure] in a weekend, let alone two," Busch said. "It's times like these where you feel like you're down in the dumps, and all you can do is try to pull together and move on through it... It's been a tough couple of weeks and all we can do is go to Homestead, ... win a race in the final outing and get some positive momentum into 2012."

So, will Carl Edwards hold Tony Stewart off at Homestead and bring home the Cup? Tune in and see!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Edwards Holds On To Chase Lead Despite Stewart Win

DALLAS, TEXAS – It was an exciting weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart made an impressive showing winning the race and coming within three points of Chase leader Carl Edwards. "I don't think we have to say anything," Stewart said in Victory Lane. "I think our performance spoke for itself. He knows we're there -- trust me - Carl kept us honest. We got all the bonus points we could get and we got the win, so we gained more than we needed to gain on the average for the week. Stewart led much of the race, but Edwards got the jump on a restart on lap 267. Stewart wrestled the lead back from Edwards on lap 275, but after a series of pit stops, fell back. On lap 334, he regained the lead when Jeff Burton ran out of gas with 4-laps to go.

Edwards kept up the pressure to the end, but had to settle for second place. "Although we would have loved to have won [Sunday], to be three points ahead, and then to have the third- and fourth-place guys farther behind, it looks like it's truly going to come down to Tony and I, and that's going to be a lot of fun," Edwards said. Kasey Kahne finished up in third place followed by Matt Kenseth. Greg Biffle finished in the top-five. Jeff Gordon ended up in sixth – good enough to move him up 2 points in the Chase.

Tony Stewart has won four of the eight races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. None of the other drivers in this year’s Chase has won more than one. While Edwards has been extremely consistent this year, he has not won a Chase race yet. In fact, he has only won one race this year – Las Vegas in March. With two races remaining in the season, Edwards has a three-point lead over Stewart in pursuit of the series championship. This season, Edwards’ has consistently finished well. He has 17 top fives to Stewart’s seven and 24 top 10s to Stewart’s 17. So the question is, does consistency win Championships? We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.

The other story of the weekend was Kyle Busch’s antics in Saturday’s truck race when he decided to take out Ron Hornaday after some contact on lap 15. Hornaday and Busch were racing side-by-side when they came up on Johnny Chapman. As Hornaday, a championship contender, moved up the track to avoid Chapman, he got loose and made contact with Busch, sending them both into the wall. Both trucks made minimal contact with the wall and continued on before the caution flag was raised. Busch caught Hornaday and rammed into the rear of his truck, then made a move to the right then left spearing Hornaday in the left rear quarter resulting in both cars hitting the wall. Busch was sent to the garage by NASCAR officials and was ultimately fined $50,000 and made to sit out of Sunday’s Cup race. This was a costly action by Busch as he was in 7th place in the chase.

This is not the first time Busch has crossed the line this year. At Darlington in May, Busch had a pit row altercation with Kevin Harvick resulting in probation for both drivers. Later, Busch had his driver’s license taken away for speeding in a sports car at 120 mph in a 45 mph residential zone. At the Kansas race, he got punched in the face by Richard Childress for wrecking one of his cars. At Bristol, Kyle retaliated against Elliott Sadler following some race contact, now the aggression at TMS against Hornaday. Obviously, Busch is having some emotional difficulty in dealing with the pressures of Sprint Cup racing. Though Kyle was driving his own car in the truck race, Joe Gibbs made a public statement accepting full responsibility for Busch’s actions. “What we are going to try to do now, other things that have happened in the past, we’ve tried to handle those things the right way, tried to make the right decisions and certainly that’s what we’re going to try to do with this.” Gibbs praised NASCAR for their decision adding that “I always trust NASCAR, I think they do a great job. It’s grown because of them and the way they handle it. I have great faith in the decisions they make.”

In a post-race interview, Darrell Waltrip commented that, if anyone can, “ Joe Gibbs can teach Kyle Busch respect for the other drivers.” He added that “art of greatness is respect.” We can all learn a bit from that nugget of truth.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RCR Claims 100th Victory: Roush-Yates 1 and 2 In The Chase

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – Richard Childress must have really enjoyed Sunday afternoon. Two of his drivers, Clint Boyer and Jeff Burton were well ahead of the pack at Talladega when it counted – on the last lap. I guess he may have gotten a little nervous as Burton tried to side-draft Bowyer making slight contact. It would have been something had the two contacted hard and spun out! But in the end, Mr Childress not only received the 100th race victory for RCR, he also got 101 as Bowyer finished 0.18 sec ahead of his teammate. “I wasn’t going to put him in a position to wreck us,” Bowyer said. “I have a ton of respect for Jeff Burton. He was still going to have a shot at it. Starting the move that early was going to give him a shot at it. It was probably a pretty risky move on my part. He wasn’t expecting it. I felt like it was an opportunity to catch him off guard, but it about bit me in the butt, too.”

But it wasn’t roses for everyone at RCR as Kevin Harvick, the only RCR driver in The Chase was caught up in a crash putting him nine laps down at the end of the race, and dropping 3 positions in the Chase. “It may have cost us the championship,” lamented Richard Childress, “We may have been able to ride in the back and wait it out, but that wasn’t what Kevin wanted to do. We had all of our sponsors here today. That just isn’t what we wanted to do.” Draft-partners, Dave Blaney and Brad Keselowski finished the race in third place and forth place with Vickers rounding out the top five.

Anticipation is high at the Blue Oval with two Fords running high in the Chase. They want to be sure that Carl Edwards or Matt Kenseth claim the championship this year. It’s been a long time since 2004 when Kurt Busch won the championship for Ford. To that end, Ford let it be known that there would be no tandem-drafting with cars from other manufacturers. It made for a couple of awkward moments as when Trevor Bayne had to leave Jeff Gordon to hook-up with Matt Kenseth after Dave Ragan’s car broke. Kenseth and Ragan were running in the top ten all day with Kenseth leading 21 laps of the race. But after the restart with only two laps to go, something in Ragan’s engine blew leaving Kenseth stranded without a drafting partner. Bayne then ditched Gordon to help Kenseth. It was too little too late as Kenseth could do no-better than 18th. All was not terrible though as the 18th place finish was good enough to move him up one spot in the Chase.

Some of the fans are showing disappointment with the Ford orders. To defuse some of the displeasure, Bayne commenting on his Twitter account after the race, said he also was displeased with how the finish unfolded. “I'm not happy about what this has become,” Bayne wrote. “It's too premeditated. We should be able to go with whoever is around. I would have rather pulled over and finished last than tell [Gordon] I would work with him and then be strong armed into bailing.” Kenseth also commented that he did nothing to strong-arm Bayne. Kenseth posted on his Twitter account: “Some of you are wound tight. I am frustrated also and didn’t invent this silly two car tandem shove thing. I would much rather race!”

Carl Edwards remains in the top Chase spot with Roush-Yates teammate Matt Kenseth moving up to second place. With Brad Keselowski’s strong finish this week moves him up to 3rd place. Tony Stewart is currently in fourth and Kevin Harvick in fifth place. Can Ford hold on for four more races?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jimmie Johnson Wins At Kansas

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – Jimmie Johnson ran an impressive race this weekend beating out a hard charging Kasey Kahne by a tad more than ½-second. Johnson dominated the race and at one point had a 12-second lead over second-place Tony Stewart until a caution on lap 205 bunched him back with the pack. Then, while running a 2-second lead on lap 265, of a scheduled 267-lap race, teammate/owner Jeff Gordon blew an engine resulting in the final caution of the day. With a green-white-checker flag restart, Johnson stepped on the gas early causing Kahne to spin as he tried to keep up. Kahne took on 4 tires to Johnson’s two, but the surprise was all Johnson needed to assure victory. When Kahne’s crew chief was asked if Kasey thought he had a chance to win he said, "I didn't. I thought if maybe something crazy happened on the restart, if we could get beside him on the restart going into the first corner. B ut behind, I didn't really think we had much of a chance. He was so dominant all day. Even when he was on two [tires] and everybody else was on four, he would just be a little bit better. It was a long shot."

Kahne has had a rocky couple of seasons. After a fall-out with Richard Petty Motorsports last year, he has been running with Red Bull Racing who recently announced their departure from Sprint Car. Kahne will be joining the Hendrick organization next year. His second place finish behind his future teammate may be a harbinger of good things to come.

Jeff Gordon had a bad day – no question. Needing a strong finish, he was running in the top-five for most of the race. His car was running strong and handling well. "I started seeing smoke inside the car," Gordon said. "We had a really bad restart there and got shuffled back. Our day was pretty much over anyway and we were going to finish maybe 15th or something. Right there I started what smelled like burning oil and I saw the oil temp start to come up and I felt like it was just a matter of time before it blew up. I've got to thank Quaker State (a shameless plug) because the thing lasted a lot longer than I thought it would." Due to the extra five laps, Gordon ended up 34th dropping to 10th in the Chase.

The Chase is anyone’s game at this point. Following the Kansas race, Carl Edwards is only one point ahead of Kevin Harvick. In fact, the first 5 positions are within 12 points of the leader. This was Johnson’s 2nd win this season and only 4 points behind Edwards, he is a contender for a 6th consecutive championship. "We're doing the right things," Johnson said. "You just don't know. Sure, this is a huge, huge step in the right direction, but in six races a lot can happen. So I don't want to get overly excited. We've got to go out there and race for this thing." And who could miss Jaime Little from ESPN in the pits.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jason Line Makes Quickest Pass Ever at Maple Grove

MOHNTON, PENNSYLVANIA – Though rain-delayed, Jason Line had a perfect weekend at the Auto Plus Nationals. Not only did he win the race, he also qualified No. 1, and set the new national et record with the quickest run ever in a Pro-Stock Car. His Pontiac GXP went a 6.477 sec/212.79mph in the semi-final run on Monday morning. In the final round, he went against Ronnie Humphrey in his Genuine Hotrod Hardware GXP. Line’s 6.48 sec/ 212.79 mph run was good enough to claim the race. "That's the second time we qualified No. 1, set the record, and won the race,” Line said. “It feels really good to do that because there is a very small club of guys who've done it. I like going into the last three races with the amount of points we have because it's not as much pressure. It's not over by any means, but I wouldn't trade my position for anyone else's." Line extended his lead in the Countdown over teammate Greg Anderson to 181 points.

It was a bitter sweet Top Fuel final round for Del Worsham who ran the quickest run in NHRA history with a 3.735 sec/323.81 mph but lost the race to Spencer Massey. A quicker reaction time and strong performance (3.770 sec/323.12 mph) by Massey was too much for Worsham. "Alan Johnson and Del Worsham did an amazing job in the other lane to make their car run as fast as it did,” Massey said. “It makes it that much sweeter of a win, in a way, for the win light to come on in our lane with a 3.77. I saw his nose out there at about 200 feet and never saw him again until I looked over after the finish line." Massey is first in points with a 65 point lead over Antron Brown.

In Funny Car, Robert Hight took top honors in his GTX Ford Mustang. Hight ran a cool 4.06 sec/302.62 mph easily beating Johnny Gray who lost traction posting a dismal 9.083 sec/73.91 mph run. Hight needed this win to keep him in contention in the Countdown. "We know that this was our last-chance race," said Hight. "If we lose early again here, it's over. You put yourself in such a hole when you lose first round in the first few races in the Countdown. It was also in our mind that we didn't win a single round in the Countdown last year. You've got to get that off your back.”

In other interesting racing news, the Ben Bowbly-designed, Dan Gurney-built DeltaWing race car was unveiled at Road Atlanta this past weekend. Originally proposed as a single-seat spec racer, the DeltaWing, with added passenger seat, was proposed to the ALMS and Le Mans sanctioning boards. The innovative car was approved for competition as part of the “Garage 56” program which allows cars with emerging technologies to compete apart from the normal classes. The DeltaWing was designed to achieve maximum performance from the minimal use of natural resources. A special lightweight REAMS material supplied by Panoz is used for the bodywork. The car will be powered by a small turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine (supplier TBA) and will ride on specially designed Michelin tires mounted to 15” rims.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stewart 2-for-2 In The Chase!

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - It is turning out to be a good season for Mr. Tony Stewart. He is 2-for-2 in Chase races and has wrestled into first place ahead of Kevin Harvick. The final laps of the race were almost “déjà vu all over again” as Clint Boyer, then leader, began sputtering near the start-finish line. Last year, Boyer grabbed the lead as Stewart was the one who ran out of gas on the final laps. “I saw him slow down the back,” Stewart said. “I thought, ‘Oh, no, you’re kidding me.’ That’s not the way you want to win it, for sure. I feel bad for him. It’s fun racing him. It’s hard to lose them that way.” The rumor mills have been working overtime as to what Stewart meant by getting rid of some dead-weight” in the post race interviews. According to Stewart’s crew chief Darian Grubb, there have been no personnel changes so either Stewart dumped a girlfriend or he has been on a diet. Who knows?

Brad Keselowski put in a great performance finishing in second place putting him third in points behind Stewart and Harvick. Keselowski ran a strategic race and was able to garner a winning pit strategy. "It's funny because 10 races ago, we left Loudon 23rd in points," Keselowski said. "Whoever thought we would be third in 10 weeks? I'd like to see some kind of stat for that, that's for sure -- but it's been a good road to travel down the last few weeks." The young Keselowski has taken a mature attitude and has endeavored to remain focused and stay calm. The team has been working hard making the needed adjustments to the race car. Let’s see if the young man can continue his performance. A title would be a great thing for this young man.

Greg Biffle finished in third place followed by Jeff Gordon. Brian Vickers rounded out the top five positions. Starting from the pole, Ryan Newman ran an impressive 62 laps at the front of the pack, but began lagging behind as the pit stops began. Kurt Busch started the day poorly as he was stuck in tech up until a few minutes before the race as the inspectors questioned the rear end housing dimensions. The Penske team apparently satisfied the tech inspectors, but put Busch in a bad mood as evidenced by his complaining loudly about his car over the team radio and used an expletive on national TV. The Captain himself had to calm the Busch down so he could concentrate on the race.
There was also an unfortunate incident between two of the Roush drivers as Carl Edwards tapped teammate Matt Kenseth causing him to slide and caused a caution on lap 173. Luckily, both drivers were able to regain position as the two Chase contenders managed sixth and eighth place.

In related news, Katie Kenseth, Matt Kenseth’s wife broke her shoulder during a charity race practice session Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Katie was to race in the “Better Half Dash” on October 15, but crashed her car and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Matt Kenseth “tweeted” that she had “a broken scapula and some bumps and bruises.” Katie commented that she experienced the “shortest race career in history.” The 25-lap charity race will feature many Cup wives and girlfriends before next month’s race at Charlotte. The joke is that with all the spouses in the event, there has been no sign of Danica Patrick’s husband. Hmmm.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Porsche GT3 Hybrid Sensation at Laguna Seca

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA - Aston Martin Racing, in its ALMS debut, came out on top with a three lap margin ahead of the Dyson Racing entered Mazda piloted by Dyson and Cochran. The apparent lopsided victory was not indicative of the fact that the LMP1-class battle at Laguna Seca was one of the most competitive of the season. The Gulf-liveried Lola Aston was driven by the team of Mucke and Primat and campaigned by the British Prodrive team. “Nobody made a mistake and [the car] was fast today," Mucke said. "It’s our first win in the American Le Mans Series, and the race started well, but then we had contact twice and after that, we never thought we could win. I am really happy and thanks to everybody.”

The second-place finish for Dyson and Cochran was good enough to claim the LMP-1 class championship as well as Manufacturer and Team titles. The team was plagued by several mishaps including a tire puncture and spin, as well as getting stuck in the gravel pit at the Corkscrew. The Dyson-Oryx Lola Mazda of Kane and Leitzinger led the race early on but then made a series of unscheduled pit stops resulting in a drop to third place. The Muscle Milk AMR entry of Graf came in 4th, but 32nd overall. Not a great day for the Lola-Aston that experienced electrical gremlins for most of the race.

The GT class race was won by the Long/Bergmeister/Langenfeld driven Flying Lizard Porsche GT3, their second win in as many races. The end of the race was quite exciting with an aggressive challenge by the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 piloted by Melo. The Brazilian nearly pushed the Porsche into the wall as he tried to race for the white flag, but the Ferrari ran out of fuel on the last lap allowing Bergmeister and the BMW of Hand to claim first and second place class finishes. The second place finish gives Hand/Muller the drivers’ championship. “It was a lot of hard work and a tough season,” Müller said. “The team is fantastic. I think when you look back at what we did this year together, we knew what we needed to do, and we were really strong. I think we can be proud of that. We want to win the tire and manufacturers’ titles which are really important, so we’re looking forward to Atlanta.” Though the Ferrari crossed the line third, a 90-sec penalty was assessed by the judges for the contact with Bergmeister resulting in an official 6-th place finish.

The Porsche GT3R Hybrid, running as an un-classed entry, posted a spectacular performance coming in ahead of all the GT cars. The increased fuel efficiency of the hybrid drive allowed them to run with two fewer fuel stops. “The start phase was huge fun, because it was relatively easy to overtake the slower competitors,” said Romain Dumas. “But it’s even more fun because we can apply superior tactics thanks to the lower fuel consumption. We are much more flexible and we made the most of this today.” Richard Lietz stated: “We had the least pit stops of all the teams and showed clearly what the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid can do. We didn’t experience one technical problem and left all the other GT vehicles behind us. Our expectations have been far exceeded.” The California fans loved Porsche Hybrid and were quite taken when the Porsche claimed the GT lead in just a few laps.

The Level 5 Motorsports Honda, the sole entry in LMP2, ran a very clean and trouble free race. Christphe Bouchet posted a best lap that was only 1 second slower than the AMR Lola-Aston’s quickest time. LMPC was won by the Genoa Racing Oreca FLM09 finishing a mere 0.329 seconds ahead of The Core Autosport entry. The TRG Porsche of Pumpelly/Ende took top honors in GTC keeping the championship alive until the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Magic Of Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Following his win in Pro Stock, Greg Anderson commented on his win at the Indy Nationals, “I feel like it’s my first and biggest win ever,” said Anderson. “Every time it happens up here, it’s just special; it’s just magic. I love this place. I think some of the other racers might miss out on how important it is and what it means to race here. There’s so much history here. It’s just everything about drag racing.” Having attended the race several times, I can say that Greg hit it on the nose. The sense in the pits is one of celebration. Yes, the competition is fierce, but the camaraderie amongst the racers is extraordinary. In the Super Stock pits, I once witnessed several racers come together to replace the engine in Charlie Westcott’s AA/H Hemi before the final round. One racer offered his engine, another his transporter garage and a dozen their service. Westcott rolled up to the line with seconds to spare and won the Hemi Shootout. This is the magic of Indy.

In the final race in the regular season, Top Fuel competitor Antron Brown has become the first driver to win at Indy in both Top Fuel and Pro-Stock Motorcycle. Antron was able to beat points leader Del Worsham with a 3.813 s, 321.73 mph run. “To come here and win at Indy, the biggest stage in drag racing, means so much. It just goes back to my childhood dream and sitting under those grandstands as a kid and saying ‘I want to do that one day.’ It’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.” It wasn’t all bad news for Worsham who clinched the top spot in the Countdown to the Championship.

Mike Neff was able to win the Funny Car competition as well as secure his number one spot in the Countdown. Neff, matched with Bob Tasca III in the final round, made a 4.068s, 314.61 mph blast clinching his first win at the Nationals. “This is the big one, the one you dream about,” said Neff. “It’s huge to win here. I’ve never won here as a driver or a crew chief so to be able to do it here as both was great. It probably hasn’t even sunk in yet.”

To win Pro Stock, Greg Anderson beat teammate Jason Line running a 6.552 s, 210.50 mph run. This is Greg’s 5th win this season and 70th career win. The KB Racing boys have really had a great year with Andreson clearly on top of the Countdown with Jason only 30 points behind. Mike Edwards is 10 behind Jason with Vince Noble and Erica Enders rounding the top 5. Interesting to note that 7 of the top 10 cars are Pontiacs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Red Bull 1-2 At Spa

SPA/FRANCOCHAMPS, BELGIUM – Winless in the last three races, Sebastien Vettel had to make a point at Spa, and the German did – big time. Starting from the pole, the Vettel led teammate Mark Webber to a 1-2 victory increasing his lead in the championship to 92 points. It was a tough race with tire management strategy the key to performing well. “I’m very happy; today was a very good race for us, although it was not easy with the tires,” commented Vettel. “The car felt fantastic and with each lap we learned more and more about the tires, which made us more confident to push when necessary.” The seven-kilometer course was very hard on tires. Both Red Bulls and Ferraris were shod with Pirellis that had been well worn during qualifying and were showing signs of blistering. Early pit stops for tires by Webber (lap 3) and Vettel (lap 5) proved critical to the Red Bull success. Rosberg and Alonso grabbed the lead at this point albeit with some stiff competition by Hamilton.

By lap 10 Vettel’s Renault powered Red Bull was again in the lead and steadily pulled away from the Ferraris. On lap 13, the hard-charging McLaren of Hamilton moved over too far on Kobayashi at Les Combes, making contact and spinning the McLaren hard into the barrier ending his day. Though Hamilton initially blamed Kobayashi for the incident, he later accepted fault via a Tweet. “After watching the replay, I realize it was my fault today 100 percent. I didn't give Kobayashi enough room though I thought I was past. Apologies to Kamui and to my team. The team deserves better from me. Best wishes, Lewis.”

The leaders dropped into the pits while the safety car was out. As they returned, it was Vettel, Alonso and Webber in the lead. During the next several laps, Vettel displayed the formidable performance of the Red Bull putting second after second on the Ferrari. By lap 37, Webber also showed the mettle of his Red Bull passing the prancing horse with DRS on lap 37.

The other McLaren driven by Jenson Button came alive around this time recovering from his poor start. “The lights went out and I got anti-stall at the start - I don’t know whether it was due to the start being uphill or not.” Weaving past the lesser cars, by lap 42 the brit was reeling in the Ferrari of Alonso finally passing him at Les Combes. At the finish, Alonso was 4th followed by World Champion Michael Schumacher who started at the rear for the race.

The tire issue has become a heated debate between Pirelli and Red Bull. Red Bull expressed deep concern regarding the safety of their drivers, while Pirelli blamed the team for not following their recommendations regarding car setup. "Had Red Bull done like everybody else (and followed) to our specifications, they would never have got into trouble," said the Pirelli spokesman who also added that they needed to “think about” whether or not the teams comments Sunday could be considered “defamation.” Der Spiegel later reported that Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren agreed that Red Bull pushed the boundaries “too far.”

It has recently been reported that the French are vying for a spot on the F1 calendar and it appears that Mr. Eccelestone has agreed to alternate the Spa date with a to-be-announced French race, likely held at the Eccelestone-owned Paul Ricard circuit near Marseilles. Though another race in the south of France should be pleasant, the thought of Spa only once every other year is saddening.