Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Demise of Champ Car & Vegas Trip

I finally ordered my external hard drive (or whatever the bloody hell I just bought actually is) which means I can finally get my music off my computer and download all of my pictures starting with last August's Road America trip through the Maine Vacation and ending with the Vegas trip.

I am utterly and completely depressed. And the thing is I know that nobody (except for Rick in CT) will understand when I tell you why. Martha asked yesterday what was wrong and I just couldn't tell her, because I know she wouldn't get it. I told her that I probably wouldn't be going to any races this year because there probably weren't going to be any races and she had this look on her face like "Okay, so what." I just couldn't go into it as I was going to cry.

It looks like the long-simmering American open wheel racing feud is close to an end. There's talk of a "merger," but it's no merger, it's my guys losing to hated and despised TFG (Tony F***ing George) totally and completely. Champ Car is the inanimate entity I love most in this world. The "merger" news broke last Friday when I was in Vegas. I got a text message from Jim B saying "Told ya Cleveland wouldn't happen. Just sux. Oh well." I immediately text him back saying "WHAT??? I'm in Vegas, no news." Response: "Merger is official. Only lb, surfers and edm added 2 irl schedule. All teams will use irl cars. No panoz." My heart sunk as I told HRH. She got impatient and said, "Call him, quit that damn text messaging." Turns out the merger wasn't official, but was "very close." Then there were subsequent articles quoting one of the owners of CCWS as being upset with the leaks and how it was going to hurt the merger, blah blah blah. It was all I could do that morning not to cry.

We left a little later than we had planned for Zion because this was just too important not to get as many details as possible. We stopped to get gas just outside Zion and HRH wandered through the convenience store and nothing was appealing to her. You have to understand that whenever we go to a race, HRH damn near buys out the store of snacks as she searches for things she can't get in Canada. First she looked at sunflower seeds, but said, "No, I want chocolate." But when we went to the chocolate aisle, she didn't want anything there either. I said, "You're too depressed." She looked at me with mild surprise, and said, "You're right. I don't want anything."

Going to races has been such a part of my life for the past damn near 20 years that I can't even begin to imagine what I'm going to do with my vacation time. I already submitted time off for the Cleveland and Road America races, but I won't be taking those days off if there are no races. How am I going to see my friends?

Trust me, I won't be going to any IRL/IndyCar races, and neither will my friends. No way in freaking hell. There's nothing about that series that appeals to me from their freaking traitor owners to the asshole who started it to their bitch of a female driver to their stupid "fly-into-the-air-for-no-apparent-reason" cars which have killed at least two drivers, seriously injured at least one, given a myriad of drivers lower back fractures and damn near killed Mario Andretti (stupid Michael).

There's nothing absolute yet as CCWS owners keep saying they will have races this year, but one car owner has already defected to the IRL and that's definitely not good as we only had 17 cars in the field with his two cars. 15 is definitely not acceptable. I got an e-mail from a friend who is also a CCWS pit official and he said that it's just a matter of time and that he's 90% certain there will be no CCWS this year. He's supposed to call me the second he hears anything definitive, but I'm preparing for the worst and trust me there is nothing worse than TFG winning. I hate him even more than I hate Dumbya.

Other than the crappy open wheel racing news, Vegas was fabulous. Actually, Vegas was Vegas, it was all our trips to nature that were fabulous. Friday was Zion (pictures next week) with HRH, LB and his GF. Saturday was hiking at Red Rock Canyon with LB & his GF. HRH doesn’t hike. At one point when we were hiking this narrow little trail over a stream and through picker bushes and brambles, I said to the lB, "HRH would have hated this." LB sarcastically said, "Oh really? I was going to name the trail after her." I saw a coyote less than five feet away from me. We both stopped dead and regarded each other warily. Sadly, neither the LB or GF were anywhere near me, so they didn't get to see it. And I didn't move quickly enough to get a picture. I tried to call the LB over, but I didn't want to yell and he didn't hear me stage-whispering his name. After I told him about it, he went to where I saw it and went searching, but it had probably been a good 3-4 minutes, so the coyote was long gone. On our way out of the area, we finally saw a couple of the wild burros. LB had seen a whole herd of them once before (in his six visits to RRC), but he had stated at the beginning of the day that he wanted to see wildlife, so he was happy to see the burros. They were very cute.

Sunday was the best day. All four of us took off for the Valley of Fire which is so incredibly beautiful that it's hard to describe and I'm positive that my pictures are not going to do it justice once I get them uploaded. LB, GF and I rock scrambled all over the place while HRH watched and got worried that we were going to fall. It was so unbelievably fabulous! The most amazing thing was that we actually had HRH walking through nature (she was under the mistaken belief that snakes would still be hibernating, but it was a warm, sunny day) until LB told her that no, the snakes could be out and about. Then she was done. She's so funny. Everybody declared that we had to go back again as there were lots of places we didn't have time to visit. I ran out of room on my camera which is just another reason we have to go back.

I got home super late on Monday night and spent Tuesday in a fog. I went to bed at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night and was awake three hours later, which actually had been the theme of the weekend, because HRH just could not sleep more than 3 hours at a time. I didn't sleep particularly well in Vegas either, so I'm hoping to catch up on my sleep this weekend. Nobody, but nobody, better call me Saturday before noon!

Ah, Saturday. One of my friends asked me to go with her to see Linkin Park on Saturday night. She's being an ultra-sweet Mom and is taking her two daughters to see them and asked me to go with her, so she's not sitting alone. She got them tickets in Row 11 and we're in Row 13 right behind them. I borrowed a CD from a work friend so that I have a clue what I'm going to hear on Saturday. It's okay stuff, although I'm not sure I'd buy a CD of theirs. I just hope it's not so loud that the music is distorted and stupid. I have no problem with loud (it is a concert, after all), but there's no reason to be stupid about it. I'll let you know how it goes.

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At Thursday, 14 February, 2008, Anonymous Smed said...

Hey, I understand.

At Thursday, 14 February, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Thanks, Smed. :-(

At Thursday, 14 February, 2008, Anonymous Woof said...

Ugh. As you know, I understand, although I haven't in the past taken quite as a hard line as you have on this issue.

Seems a heck of a long way since that first race at Mid-Ohio, before the whole thing just went fubar.

But unless they get it together - I agree the Cleveland race is in a tough situation.


At Thursday, 14 February, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your beloved Champ Car, but think about all of the money you'll save. How will you reappropriate your vacation time? You don't have to go to Nevada to see coyotes. They're right here in Dearborn. There was spot on the local news last night about Oakland county coyotes. Keep your cats inside.

At Thursday, 14 February, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Woof - I was so looking forward to seeing you this year. Mid-Ohio was such a great job. Do you ever see T-Bird?

Jason - Yeah, but I live for going to Champ Car races and seeing my friends and watching the coolest cars in the world turning left & right. *sigh* The kids are never outside.

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

I have no feelings about car racing one way or another, but when a hobby goes up in smoke it's no fun.

I recommend taking up SCUBA diving. So far no one has managed to get rid of water. I even know a couple of people who used to work races who gave it up for diving, and there's lots of people to go on vacation with. Plus there's lots of nature and no mosquitos under water. Just spitballing here...

Glad to hear you enjoyed the rest of your trip.

As far as loud concerts
go, I have a question. You've mentioned you enjoy Brian Setzer. OK, I like a couple of his tunes too. But my wife and I went to see him downtown 2 years ago and the bass was so overpowering (even with earplugs) that we left. How bad does it have to be for you to leave, or at least to decide it's no fun?

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

I have zero interest in scuba diving, but thanks for the tip. I'll bear it in mind. I've been snorkeling and it was okay, although I pretty much sucked at breathing through the tube.

Hmm, I can put up with an awful lot of loud noise at concerts. If it's distorted, it's too loud. Someone suggested taking ear plugs. I'll have to see if I have any in my racing bag (not that I ever use them at races, either).

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

I've occasionally stuck my fingers in my ears at concerts and the sound instantly got better.

The distortion goes away like you can't believe.

My wife regularly tells me I'm a crotchety old man, but I'm going to tell this story anyway.

I actually wore earplugs to a Kid Rock show a couple years ago and it made a huge difference. I was a fan when I went, but I was really able to hear the show and enjoy it.

Plus, no ringing in my ears that night or the next day.

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

I'm not much of an expert in this area, but it seemed to me that some kind of agreement between Champ Car and IRL was inevitable all along, since the two were basically bleeding each other to death. The decline in popularity of open-wheel racing has been simultaneous with the rise of NASCAR. You know this story better than I do, but my theory is that the TV networks in the late 70's and 80's discovered a loyal market in stock car racing that was year-round, while open-wheelers mostly focused on one big race. Tony George wound up with the upper hand because he owns the only asset in open-wheel racing that has value to anybody besides the format's dedicated fans.

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger LL said...

*psst* "herd" of burrows...

"Nobody, but nobody, better call me Saturday before noon!"

Erm... Hey Kath... what's your number? ;P

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Doc - Yes, the two series are now bleeding themselves to death, but prior to TFG coming up with his "brilliant idea" of an all-American, all-oval series to hearken back to the days of the 60s (when drivers died regularly), CART was actually in better shape than NASCAR. We had growing television ratings, growing race attendance, growing grids, etc. TFG didn't like the fact that he was not the Bill France, Jr. of open wheel racing and some of us have contemplated the idea that BFJ didn't like the idea of CART being bigger than NASCAR and might have helped TFG's discontent along by whispering in his ear "You own the biggest race in the world, you shouldn't be beholden to anybody."

So, TFG's ego gets in the freaking way, NASCAR gets HUGE with inferior racing, but a good "show," and people fall for it. Why? I'm not completely sure, but NASCAR is the WWE of racing.

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - Oops, damn typos... if you can find my number, you are welcome to call. ;-)

At Friday, 15 February, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - I know you know this, but "burrow?"

At Saturday, 16 February, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

My father loves Linkin Park. For me, I'd pass. Don't like them at all.

Vegas is Vegas. I'll pass unless someone has free transportation and a free hotel. But you're right, the outdoors in that area can be fun.

I can't comment on the racing though because what you were talking about went right over my head.

At Sunday, 17 February, 2008, Anonymous Suzy said...

Talk about the agony and the ecstasy! I'm so sorry about Champ car (I have some idea of what that means to you after going to a race with you) but glad you had such a lovely time in Vegas. ~hugs~

Adrian says you can meet up with him at Mosaic on Thursday. :)

At Monday, 18 February, 2008, Blogger LL said...

"LL - I know you know this, but "burrow?""

Erm... yeah... didn't you know that burros live in herds in underground dwellings called burrows? Not buying that? Crap...

Hoist on my own petard... ;P


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