Sunday, April 08, 2007

High-pitched Whining in Vegas

The CHAMP car race in Vegas provided me some degree of racing satisfaction for a substitute for no NASCAR racing. Due to the Easter weekend, which for some reason is a Primo Chocolate-selling event, I made a run to one of the Las Vegas Downtown stores on the same weekend as the CHAMP race. I was toting a load of chocolate bunnies through the parking garage, when I heard an amazing sound!


(Wow, if I were in the middle of a SciFi movie, I would think I had been buzzed by a Giant Skeeter!)

Dang, that does NOT sound like a race car, but I found myself running to the balconey for a view anyway! While I did not get a chance to hang around and watch the race, as chocolate Bunnies tend to get all soft & mushy in Vegas heat, I did resolve to watch the race on TV the next day.

Being an NASCAR fan, I like to think I can be a fan of many types of motorsports. When watching a CHAMP race, there are very obvious differences when compared to NASCAR. However there were a few things that struck me as WAAAYYY different.

  • This was a TIMED race. While it would certainly guarantee no TV coverage over-runs, it was a bit disconcerting! Fortunately, I located a web-based leaderboard at that kept me informed of the remaining time for the race. NBC finally put a timer up in the remaining minutes. But, this may be a product of the series having to buy their air time, unlike NASCAR that has the networks jumping hoops to pay NASCAR for the right to film.
  • Staggered starts? Alrighty then! Twice! Looked awkward, was awkward, and hopefully they learned their lesson.
  • While the streets along the course were empty, by design, it did not look as if there were many folks in the Main Street grandstands. Certainly, it was not a sell-out by the standards of NASCAR. Hopefully, enough money was made by the promotor to fulfill the promise of 2 more years,with options for 2 more, in Vegas.
  • We know that our NASCAR road-course drivers learn to turn right. In this course, there was a section of the course the screamed out RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT YEEEEHAAAWWWW!!!! That Ogden Street Bridge tunnel made for some exciting photo-opportunities.
  • It looks like CHAMP just jumped right into their vesion of the Car of Tomorrow, without the fanfare of our COT. Their newly designed racecar had some glitches and gremlins, much like our COT. The gremlins, in the form of the fuel valve, had an impact on the finish of the race. And oh yeah, they ran the same cars. (Wait, that is not such a big difference!)
  • TWO kinds of tires with different hardness. AND, the teams had to use both during the race. Hmmm...Goodyear?
  • Six cars finished on the lead lap. Of course, the field also only had 17 entrees. The leader coasted to the finish line with over 16 seconds to spare. The third place car was 27 seconds behind the leader. Now that was an exciting battle to the checkers! (not)
  • And oh, the purse! The winner won $75,000 (the series champion will take home $500,000.) There are several NASCAR drivers who couldn't buy furniture for their mansions with the check the CHAMP Champ brings home.
Other then that, the similiarities were prevalent. Tire problems, parts failures, rookies having problems in the first lap, two cautions before completing the fist lap, long green flag runs creating time for a short power nap, fuel strategy, and of course, a charming winner by the name of Will Power! What a marvelous name for a racer!

1 comment:

Racefan57 said...

I don't know much about Champ cars, but I did read an article about some NFL players trying to get a team going which stated how it's an opportunity for minority groups without the cash or backing needed for NASCAR to get into racing...perked my interest!!