Eddie vs. Andretti -- It seems to me that the escalating war of words between Eddie Cheever and the entire Andretti clan could be the best thing to happen to the Indy Racing League in a long, long time. In case you didn't see it, Eddie let his car wander a little too wide Sunday at Watkins Glen, running a clearly faster Marco Andretti into the weeds and out of the race. Marco and father Michael spared very few adjectives in describing Cheever's faux pas after the event, branding him (among other things) "an idiot;" a term echoed by Danica Patrick after she tangled with Cheever later in the day.
The ever-quotable Cheever fired back yesterday, denying Michael Andretti's claim that he had intentionally wrecked the kid. "To think I would intentionally take anyone out is just ludicrous," said Eddie. "It's beyond words. I find the accusations incomprehensible.” Cheever then took a marvelous backhand slap at Michael Andretti's well-documented record of futility at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, saying, "The last time I looked, I earned the label of Indy 500 champion. Those lobbing unfounded accusations at me have not.”
For the record, Cheever won the Indianapolis 500 in 1994, when Michael Andretti was running the rival CART circuit. But hey, facts are facts. And if the folks in the IRL Public Relations and Marketing Departments get their wish, Cheever's low-blow is just the latest in a series of catty comments between the two camps.
Kyle Is Sorry --Kyle Busch said this weekend that he is sorry for his latest incident of bad behavior, and is ready to change his ways. Of last week’s $50,000 fine for throwing his HANS device at Casey Mears, Busch said, "It's a tough situation to have to go through. It's tough to hold the emotion back and keep the frustration under control, but there is a point of no return, and we stepped over that." I assume that Busch is using the "Royal We" in this instance, since only he stepped past that "point of no return."
Mears defended Busch to a point, saying, "What he did was a natural reaction to being mad. The thing you've got to learn is that you're not at home, and you're not by yourself. You're responsible for your reactions. One of these days, he'll learn that and we'll all go on."
In the past, I have defended Busch, pointing out that we all did stupid things when we were 20 years old. The difference is, we didn't have a camera crew, three radio reporters and USA TODAY following us around to tell the world about it. Lately, though, it's getting tougher to excuse Shrub's antics. Hopefully, a $50,000 fine (and NASCAR probation through December 31st) will force the supremely talented Busch to do what he should have begun doing quite some time ago; grow up.
Toughest Sanction Ever -- Former Formula One world champion Keke Rosberg apologized this week for comments regarding Michael Schumacher's "parallel parking" incident during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. At the time, Rosberg said that in addition to losing his qualifying position, Schumacher’s wife should refuse to provide him with food and sex, and that Schumacher should "retire in shame" at season’s end.
With time to reflect, Rosberg now admits that his choice of words was less than ideal, calling it "a typically Scandinavian volcanic eruption." A damned funny one, though, you've got to admit.
Toyota Ahead Of Schedule -- Despite assurances from Toyota executives that the new Camry would not make its competitive debut until Speedweeks 2007, Team Red Bull says it is almost ready to race, right now. The team will enter three Nextel Cup races -- October 14 at Lowe's, October 29 in Atlanta and Texas on November 5 -- with Bill Elliott at the wheel. General Manager Marty Gaunt said the team's 2007 driver and crewchief lineups will be announced later this year. Said Elliott of his new gig, “My job is to put the car in the show, drive it toward the front, and provide input so Team Red Bull is fully prepared by the (2007) Daytona 500. It’s really a great role at this stage of my racing career.”
In the past, the good people of Dawsonville, Georgia have rung their church bells to celebrate a win by hometown boy Elliott. In February, they said they would not celebrate a possible Elliott win in the Daytona 500, since "Awesome Bill" would be driving a Dodge, instead of a Ford.
One can only imagine how they'll react to this news.
Why Not Deny? -- MB2 Motorsports CEO and General Manager CEO Jay Frye has confirmed published reports that his organization and Dale Earnhardt Inc. are exploring possible partnership scenarios. "We’ve been looking at the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ and how it’s going to work." said Frye. "That’s how our conversation started with DEI. We’re looking at ideas to make things more efficient for both of our companies." Frye suggested a possible scenario where MB2 would build the `Car Of Tomorrow' for both teams, while DEI focuses on the current design. He said he expects a decision within a month, but denied published reports that MB2 may merge with (or be purchased by) DEI.
In an effort to determine what's what, we invited Frye -- a good friend, both personally and professionally -- to appear on Sirius Speedway yesterday, to explain exactly what is being discussed. He declined, as is his right. However, if this story has really gotten as overblown as Frye and P.R. Rep Dave Ferroni insist, what better way to put it to rest than with a complete examination of the facts on our airwaves?
Our offer stands, guys, if you're interested.