Team USF1 Presented By Vaporware

Today on SPEED, there was a televised press conference hosted by Bob Varsha that had Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson announcing they they had “officially” formed a Formula one team know for now as USF1.

The team will be based and operate out of Charlotte, North Carolina, though they will have some sort of shop in Spain as well it’s being reported.  The presentation was a bit slick with the first six or seven minutes were pre-taped highlights promoting American involvement in Formula 1 since the late 50’s.  There were then some Q&A where Ken and Peter managed to never answer any of the questions asked.  There was a call in from Mario Andretti and a pre-tape package from Dan Gurney sprinkled in.

When asked why Charlotte as a base of operations, Anderson insisted that their was more resources and relevant technology for building an F1 car within 50 miles of there, then in the area where most teams are based in the UK.  Also with less than half of the races based on the EU continent their is no real advantage to being based their anymore.

For me this presser raised more questions than it answered, and here are some of the things that I came away with.

  1. The team is sponsored by Vaperware.  Not Compuware, because if it was Peter Karmonos would have insisted on Kwame Kilpatrick being put in charge.  Had this happened USF1 would have had the best hospitality since Kwame would have insisted on an unending supply of hookers, hoe’s and Cristal, but that’s a different rant for a different day, and pretty much an inside bit.
  2. In actuality there were no sponsored announced though it is rumored they have $65mil in funding as of now.  They will have “technical partners” but again no one mentioned.
  3. One of the sponsors/technical partners is likely to be FedEx since they were mentioned in passing as how they could get back to North Carolina faster from parts of Europe than teams based in the UK could due to air shipping.
  4. They have no engine supplier as of now, though they do have RFP’s out.
  5. They have no chassis designed as of now
  6. They have no shop space leased or purchased as of now, though they may be buying a closed down NASCAR shop in the next few weeks.
  7. They have no drivers now, or even a short list.  They ran down just about every young American drivers name, save the Riley Boys, when asked about it.
  8. If you are interested in working for the team, don’t bother, they are only going to hire cronies they have worked with over the years.
  9. SPEED/FOX/News Corp is heavily involved in the team, may handle all their media based on comments and hints in the press conference.

Based off of this presser, I have some questions.  

  1.  How much back door money is coming from Bernie and Max to pull this off?  Peter Windsor is in pretty tight with Bernie, and an old adage goes, if you want to know what Bernie is thinking, just listen to what Peter is saying.  
  2. Mario and Dan Gurney are putting some of their reputations on the line coming out so large in backing this deal, makes me think it has some legitimcy, but you never no.
  3. How the hell are these guys going to be ready for race 1 in 2010 if they haven’t even started yet,

As a bit of a flyer here, and while sounding crazy, I’m also being serious too.  If USF1 scores Toyota as an engine supplier, then the NEED to get Kyle Bush as their driver.  Daniker need never get within 1000 miles of the car.  

Bush might be the most talented American driver currently under the age of 35.  The kid can flat out drive about anything, any time, anywhere.  We’ve seen him be successful in all tiers of the NASCAR program, he did well on the dirt @ Eldora for Tony Stewart’s race, and I bet you put him in an open wheel car he’d kick ass there as well.  Speaking of Tony Stewart, if was ten years younger and about 50 lbs lighter, I’d say that he should be the primary driver.  Tony is like AJ Foyt and Mario, they could drive anything, anywhere at anytime.  Tony is way to preoccupied with his many ventures and not missing out at the all you can eat buffet to be bothered.  Kyle is very much in their mold in talent and temperament.  It would be just a joy to see Kyle over there ruffling everyones feathers and making the Montoya era seem like the most gentlemanly of drivers.

Let hope that this thing succeeds but I think you will be able to call me Mr. Blue, since that will be the color of my face from holding my breath.

70’s Road Racing In California

My friend Tomm Heath (Cycle Tomm) sent me this, it’s some video of he and another good friend of mine, the infamous Tom Pinky back in their heyday.  It’s really cool to see some of the old tracks that are no more, Ontario and Riverside, along with current tracks like Sears Point and Laguna Seca.


There have been a few things that have really set me off about Roger Edmundson’s Reign Of Terror in the last couple months.  One is minor but important, the other is just inexcusable incompetence.


No I’m not going to go on about the cut in purse and bonus money that was announced last week, that’s just an economic reality.  Besides, did anyone think that was truly going to happen at those levels?


No what has me hacked off are the reassignment of race numbers from riders to teams, and the broadcast schedule for Daytona.


For as long as anyone can remember in motorcycle racing a number has been associated with a rider throughout many international series, including the US. As you go through the years 21 was Eddie Lawson, 34 was Kevin Schwantz, 7 was Barry Sheene, while he started out as 11, 155 became Ben Bostrom’s number 69 is Nicky Hayden, 41 Nori Haga and of course 46 has been burned into out collective conscious as Valentino Rossi.


Now, thanks to the influence of “The Beach Front Mafia” just like NASCAR, the numbers belong to the teams.  So, for 2009 #2 won’t be Jamie Hacking, it will be Ben Bostrom, except in Daytona Sportbike where he’ll be #1 along with Jake Zemke,  HUH???? How can you have two number ones for a class that never existed before,  The convoluted thinking is that since Daytona Sportbike combines the FX class and the 600SS class that you combine number ones make one red and one black.


Seriously, are you kidding me? If you can’t get something so small and basic as this right, how can we expect you to get ANYTHING right.  While some of the riders haven’t spent years building a personal brand around a number like Valentino, there is still a value attached to it.  When you see #16 go buy, will you automatically associate that with Jake Zemke??  Some of the teams have been smart enough to grab the traditional numbers of the riders, Rog Hayden will still be 95, Tommy Hayden will be 22, Miguel will be 17, but many riders will have new numbers for 09.  Yes it’s small, but it’s all the small things that add up to big things down the road.


Item two is the TV schedule for Daytona.  Roger was all happy and joyful when he announced that he had a new TV deal with SPEED a few weeks ago.  What was not said is that the only coverage of Daytona will be for the 200.  No American Superbike, no SuperSport, not a bit of the new hyped SuperPole.  On Friday, March 6th at 8:30PM EST you get the 200, and that’s it!  In years past we got to see ALL the support races, but no more.  Thursday the 5th at 2PM while he SuperSport race is running, SPEED is showing a replay of the NASCAR race from Las Vegas.  Then, at 3:30 when the American Superbike race is going off, SPEED will be showing Truck U.  Finally when SuperPole for the 200 is taking place, under the lights at 6:30, SPEED will be broadcasting Unique Whips!


Talk about your major EPIC FAIL!


Look, I DO understand the economic realities of TV, especially during this current economic unpleasantness, but give me a break, while the motorcycle audience isn’t the largest one you have, it’s your most loyal and vocal, toss us a bone here, would you mind?

Official Top Gear America D.O.A.

In a stop in Sydney Australia for a Top Gear Live appearance, Jeremy Clarkson confirmed that Top Gear America would not be going forward.  It is a pretty good clip with some of the usual stuff you’d expect from Clarkson and Hammond.

I’m torn about this.  In some ways I’m sad that we won’t have our own version of the show, in other ways, I’m happy because the chances of the show not being totally screwed up for America TV were pretty slim.

Anyway, enjoy this.

Yosh To Run 09 AMA Superbike Series

You won’t see a lot of press releases here, but this is a big one that everyone has been wondering about




American Suzuki Motor Corporation announced today that the Rockstar Makita Suzuki Racing team will compete in the AMA Pro Racing Superbike series for 2009. 

After extensive discussions with AMA Pro Racing, American Suzuki has received
clarification of the AMA rules that will see the Suzuki GSX-R1000 on the racing grid beginning with the opening round in Daytona, Florida in March.

Road racing is an important activity at the professional and amateur levels and Suzuki uses it as much for testing and development as for sales and marketing. Its championship-winning heritage and class-leading sales prove that this competitive activity is beneficial for Suzuki as well.

Mat Mladin, six-time AMA Superbike Champion, will race his No. 7 Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the premier AMA Pro American Superbike class for Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki. Tommy Hayden will race his No. 22 Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the same class. New team member Blake Young will round out the three-man Rockstar Makita Suzuki team in the AMA Pro American Superbike class.