The Last Lap

As some of you may have noticed, despite the 2009 racing season being well under way there hasn’t been any real activity on THE SPEED BLOG for several months now. It’s all the fault of the Starship Enterprise and a bunch of talking vehicles.

At the end of last year I landed a contract to write a book about the forty year history of Star Trek in comic books It turned out to be a much bigger project than we originally thought and gradually used up more and more of my available writing time. As I was working on it other writing opportunities also opened up and my schedule started to look a little crowded, so I tried an altrenative appraoch, like a Twitter account, but that too quickly fell victim to the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day and I also have a day job and a family.

A few weeks ago we finished the Star Trek book and it was packed off to the printers. In the following few days I took a step back and looked at my commitments for the next few months.  I had a lot of them, including a couple more book projects that will run into 2010.

It was with a sense of sadness I came to the realization that it was time to move on from THE SPEED BLOG. I’ve had a fun three years here, and I hope that you have enjoyed the content I’ve provided.

But while I’m leaving THE SPEED BLOG, I’m not entirely leaving the world of motor sports behind. The talking vehicles I mentioned earlier? Well one of the writing commitments is that I am now the regular writer on the Disney*Pixar “The World of CARS” comic book series, published by BOOM! Studios.

Thanks again for reading,  – see you at the track!

Alan J. Porter

Racin’ In The Rain

The result of last weekend’s rain-shortened Daytona 500 left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied. No disrespect to Matt Kenneth, who is a good steady driver, but the whole thing felt like an anti-climax.

I love watching racing in the rain. Racing in the rain levels the field and puts driver skill ahead of car set-up. Races like the Italian GP at Monza last year when Sebastian Vettel drove to an outstanding victory in the little rated Toro Rosso car.

But it’s not just on TV, some of my favorite track side memories are of rain soaked days watching the best drivers in the world practice their craft. Watching a race car at speed down a straight throwing up a massive roster tail of spray is one of life’s primal experiences for any true race fan.

Now I’m not suggesting that NASCAR race in the rain at Daytona, but they could consider it at the road race circuits they visit. But what I’d like to see is that when a race is red flagged for rain it is for RAIN, and not for a few sprinkles on the track. Contrast the finish of the Daytona 500 with the Indy 500 in 2007. – Now that’s what I call rain.

And when a race is red-flagged for rain, and is beyond the halfway point, that the result stands immediately. No waiting around to see if the track will dry and you can squeeze the extra laps in. It’s not fair to the drivers, its not fair to the fans. If a race is “official” and is then stopped, the places at the time of the stoppage count. A red flag means the race is over. The person who passed the finish line on the lap before the flag was waved is declared the winner.

Explaining the 2009 F1 Rules

The new 2009 rule changes for the upcoming Formula One season are being billed as the biggest set of rule changes in the sport’s history. A statement I’d personally dispute/ But however you quantify them, there are a lot of changes and many of them will have a significant impact on the way that Grand Prix cars will look and behave.

The following computer animated video clip, produced by Red Bull Racing, and narrated by F1 driver Sebastian Vettel is perhaps the best explaination of the new rules and their impact I have seen.

The Week in Tweets

A round up of the latest Motorsports tweets posted at http://twitter.com/thspeedblog

 February 11th

  • [NHRA] Winternationals Pro Stock Cars – Jason Line (6.567s/211.63mph) beats Mike Edwards (6.575s/210.01mph)
  • [NHRA] Winternationals Nitro Funny Cars – Ron Capps (4.154s/296.96mph) beats Jim Head (no time)
  •  [NHRA] Winternationals Nitro Top Fuel – Doug Kalitta (3.822s/308.57mph) beats Antron Brown (3.847s/307.16mph)

February 12th

  • [NASCAR] Jeff Gordon (#24) wins first Gatorade Duel qualifying race for Daytona 500
  • [NASCAR] Kyle Busch (#18) wins second Gatorade Duel qualifying race for Daytona 500

February 13th

  • [WRC] Sebastian Loeb (Citroen) leads Rally Norway, 2 mins 6 secs ahead of Mikko Hirvonen (Ford), at the end of Day 1.

February 14th

  • [WRC] Seabastian Loeb leads Rally Norway by 25s at end of Day Two.

February 15th

  • [WRC] Sebastian Loeb (Citroen) wins Rally Norway
  • [NASCAR] Tony Stewart wins Nationwide race @ Daytona.
  • [NASCAR] Matt Kenseth (#17) declared winner of rain shortened Daytona 500.
One of the #99

We were delighted that The Speed Blog’s associated Twitter account http://twitter.com/thespeedblog was recently named by RaceDrive TV as one of the 99 Motorsports Twitter Accounts To Follow.

Race Drive listed all the accounts in a couple of videos which you can find below:

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