Wednesday, March 14, 2012 17:13
Ah, Nuts. As we rode up a mountain road, my friend repeatedly swerved to miss squirrels darting across the road. I told him: “If you crash while trying to dodge a squirrel, I’m going to go back, kill it and fry it up for your last meal.” This Chicago-area driver should have taken my advice.
Something's Fishy on I5. The “Most Dedicated Trooper Award” should go to the Washington State Patrol’s Jamie Arnold. Instead of leaving potential hazardous and certainly disgusted fish heads in the road, Trooper Arnold grabbed a broom and cleaned up the mess. Now, THAT’S how we want our tax dollars spent!
Friends Til the End. Using a designated driver can be a great idea, but this pair failed on several levels. They didn’t abstain from alcohol, they failed to get medical care for their friend, and they didn’t stop driving when they discovered he was dead.
Wilmaaaaaaa. Maybe he was trying out for the role of Fred Flintstone. A Michigan man knew his brakes were inoperable (and his license suspended), but he drove anyway. While trying—and failing—to stop his vehicle by dragging his feet on the pavement, the man’s pickup hit a total of four cars. The driver passed sobriety check, so he can only fall back on the “I’m stupid” excuse. And you drive among people just like this every day.
Monday, January 23, 2012 02:38
A growing pandemic is sweeping the nation: Drivers are taking their vehicles onto railways, causing untold damage and delays. As a professional journalist, I can make this dire assessment by reading news reports from two other journalists, one in California and one in Georgia. Also helping this leap to judgment: The Georgia report included video of both a vehicle retrieval gone wrong and a seriously shocking image of how a Ford F-150 can snap a railroad-bridge truss.
Most recently on the left coast, sfgate.com reports that a driver “blundered” into the Muni Metro tunnel in downtown San Francisco. It was determined blundering as he made it about a half mile into the tunnel. That appears to be a record for driving into this particular section of rail, says the report. If this was part of an organized underground effort to defeat public transportation, it was successful as it stopped train service for more than two hours.
Meanwhile, a man tried to create a shortcut from Georgia to South Carolina by using a Norfolk Southern railroad bridge in Augusta, GA. According to a report from the Augusta Chronicle, the speedometer in the man’s new-appearing pickup was stuck at 60 mph after the crash. The impact not only destroyed the truck and sent the driver and his passenger to the hospital, but it snapped a diagonal beam on the railroad bridge. The recovery operation didn’t go so well, either. On the bright side: A S.C.-bound train was able to stop before it slammed into the pickup.
Is it a coincidence that both happened after 5 a.m. and before 6 a.m.? Shockingly, alcohol appears to have been involved in both incidents.
Monday, October 24, 2011 06:00
Most of the time when you go to an auto parts store you come out with less money than you had when you went in. Here’s your chance to turn that around. O’Reilly Auto Parts is having a Tune Up Your Wallet Cash Giveaway with up to 20 winners of $100 every day.
Entering is an easy two-step process. First, enter on the web at O'Reilly Auto Parts, then again on O’Reilly’s Facebook page, and you’re in. You only need to enter once to be eligible for the entire sweepstakes.
Of course, you want to skew the odds in your favor as much as possible. You can get additional entries by referring friends via Facebook, and if one of them wins a $100 prize, you get $25. Sweet!
The more entries to the Tune Up Your Wallet Cash Giveaway, the more daily prizes will be awarded, so sign up now, and get your friends to sign up, too. Over 55,000 people have entered so far, and the sweepstakes ends at midnight tonight -- October 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm (EDT) --, so don’t wait. Enter now and watch the money slide across the counter at the auto parts store the other way for a change.
Friday, October 21, 2011 05:00
Many of today’s top racing drivers got their first taste of speed in go-karts. But what started out as crude tube-framed toys with lawnmower engines and wheelbarrow tires are now miniature versions of real race cars. Now Group Lotus is introducing two new racing karts named after two legendary figures in Lotus racing history.
The Colin C30, named after Lotus fonder Colin Chapman, and the Jimmy C32, named after Lotus driver Jim Clark, are licensed by Group Lotus to be built by Wildkart, specialists in aeronautics precision engineering since 1996 and manufacturer of karts since 2002. Competing under the “Lotus Racing Karts” banner and forming part of the Lotus Motorsport division, Lotus Racing Karts will field a factory-backed team operated by Jefra Racing out of its headquarters near Treviso, Italy.
With the move into karting, Group Lotus becomes the first car manufacturer to have a presence at the entry level of motorsport, where future talent first comes to light. Two-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel is the perfect example of the benefits of early driver development, as are fellow F1 drivers and former World Champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Lotus Racing Karts will unveil its 2012 karts at the annual AUTOSPORT International event on January 14, 2012, in Birmingham, England.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 05:00
I am suspending the normal roundup of motorsports happenings because of the tragedy that unfolded at the IndyCar finale in Las Vegas.
Having been around the sport for a very long time, this isn't the first time I’ve felt the “kick in the gut” when somebody dies in a racecar. Yesterday a young mother and two young boys were dealt a catastrophic blow that will take a lifetime to mend. The sense of loss, however, will never leave them.
I worked with Susie, Dan Wheldon’s wife, at a North Carolina marketing agency several years ago. We worked on the Viagra Racing account. Susie was transferred to the Jim Beam account and IndyCar. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated what happened when Dan and Susie first laid eyes on each other. I was tickled when I heard the news they got married…and again when I heard about the birth of Sebastian, their first son, and when Oliver recently joined the Wheldon clan.
Even though Dan was rideless for a time, he and Susie were living the dream. I heard a familiar voice from the past break into the jubilation on Wheldon’s in-car audio after he captured his second Indy 500 win. It was Susie; she simply said: “I love you so much.”
Their life was looking up. The Vegas shot at a couple million and the announcement that Dan signed a deal with Andretti Autosport couldn’t have been better.
Now, I join the multitudes who share their grief. My heart aches for Susie, Sebastian and Oliver.
Anyone, including me, who has ever put on a fire suit and helmet and got belted into a car knows the potential dangers. Cars, driver protection equipment, and the tracks themselves have made racing much less perilous. That said, the danger lurks, like a prowling lion, ready to pounce. Even so, we press on in what has been called “suspension of disbelief.” Drivers figure the hammer will come down on somebody else.
Write what you want about the wisdom of racing those cars in excess of 200 mph at tracks like Las Vegas—it won’t change what happened. I pray that Dan’s life will teach us a lesson.