What's Right or Wrong With American Racing - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 13.02.2012


82.5% of all Shakedown viewers come from
outside the United States.
I made that number up.
But for all of Drive, it's actually pretty close to 50/50
Americans versus not.
And reading the Shakedown comments, it feels like that
82% number may be right.
We get good reaction to our coverage of F1, Le Mans, and
World Rally Championship, which is why today we will
have Rally Sweden WRC results.
But be it a desire to raise our US viewer numbers or show
US outsiders the racing that is authentic to our country,
today, I'm going to share a look at real American
motorsport, the racing that, at its core, is all red,
white, and blue at its roots.
Yes, that means NASCAR, plus NHRA Drag Racing, dirt track
sprint cars, SuperCross bikes, and some rock climbing
off-road event that ran this past weekend that a Shakedown
viewer recommended I check out.
All to leave you with the question, do Shakedown viewers
like real American racing or not?
You know, as I wrote this opening, I had no idea where
today's show would take us or what my opinion of
all this would be.
So let's take the journey together.
And here's all I ask.
Watch the whole thing before you set your mind.
And please, think deeper than just tapping out 300 comments
that say NASCAR sucks because they drive in circles.
You're better than that, right?
Or just hit the Pause button and stare at this BMW DTM
testing this past week, because the rest of the show
may not be for you.

Why do are we doing this look at real American racing?
Well, if we're going to showcase racing on Shakedown,
we should take an open-minded look at it all.
So I want to know if you want to see more coverage of these
types of series.
Second, this past weekend and the next two have us deep into
the most American of motorsport, the start of the
NASCAR racing season and the Daytona 500.
And this past week was the start of that other American
racing phenomenon, NHRA drag racing.
And viewer RD Moore commented about The King of the Hammers.
It's a race that's in the California desert and in the
rocks, which seemed like an American offset to WRC in the
Sweden snow, which is where we will start.
Jari-Matti Latvala--
did I say it correctly this time?--
got Ford and himself into the 2012 WRC fight
with his win in Sweden.
The strategy?
Hard driving, fighting off a late in the rally tire
puncture, and an early in the rally Sebastien Loeb error got
Latvala P1.
Ford also took positions three, four, and five.
Jari's teammate Solberg had P3 but slipped off the podium
when he suffered a puncture on the same
rock that slowed Latvala.
And that's Petter Solberg, not Peter.
So at least I didn't repeat the mistake twice, like the
Ford team did.
Citroen recovered from Loeb's fail with a Mikko Hervonen
claiming of P2.
Then all eyes turned to the Mini teams to see if the new
factory team, Mini Portugal, would best the ex-factory
reps, Prodrive.
Dani Sordo for Prodrive won the first
stage but did not finish.
The same happened to a Portugal car.
But at rally end, the remaining Prodrive car was P8
versus P15 for Portugal.
So everyone rushed to the Mini tent to see if they'd fire
Team Portugal.
To contrast Sweden, and to get this American racing storyline
going, let's go right to the viewer-recommended King of the
Hammers race, off-road racing meets rock climbing.
American icon Robby Gordon made a Hammer appearance.
And we're using his promotional video to show some
of the action.
Hey, please Robby, don't give us a rights fight.
We're just trying to enlighten everyone.
But why this race as the American contrast to Sweden
versus not Rally America?
Well, because Rally America is the US translation of European
rallying, the same way ALMS is not on the list.
It's the US translation of Le Mans racing.
By the way, David Higgins won the opening January 28
Sno*Drift Rally and the Rally in the 100 Acre Woods is
February 24 and 25 in Rally America.
This Hammers race is American at its core, its vehicles, its
style, and because of the American terrain it uses.
SuperCross in stadiums is an America thing too, as is World
of Outlaws in dirt track racing.
Are we getting a vibe as to what's
defining American racing?
And then there is drag racing, which I once called America's
version of drifting before there was drifting, you know,
the rebel thing.
NHRA kicked off 2012 with the Winternationals meet in
Pomona, California.
Once again, an American vibe.
This time, big horsepower, big noise,
common guy sports action.
But clearly, talent and technique, technically, and as
to the driving.
Big bang, straight line, and extreme-looking cars from Top
Fuel to Funny Car to Pro Stock.
Here's an intro tidbit.
The big cars generate 1,000 pounds of downforce just from
the exhaust blast.
And now to NASCAR.
This week will be Daytona practice.
This Saturday will be the start of racing with the Bud
Shootout entertainment-only event.
The Daytona 500 is February 26.
NASCAR is American racing.
Besides its size and popularity, NASCAR probably
has more US-built race cars than any other US-built race
cars in all the other series in America.
And admit it.
You know there is skill to building and setting up these
cars to race.
Plus, accept the fact that the drivers have to have skills
and talent to compete and drive the cars at the limit
the way they do.
So NASCAR is real racing.
It may not be your style, but that's not the discussion
point today.
What I'm asking you is this.
If the authentic American racing, the racing with roots
in this country, is showcased by NASCAR, drag racing, dirt
track sprint cars, SuperCross and races like the Hammer,
well, what does that say about America's
place in global racing?
How does the world see us in motorsport?
And do we care?
It's like our football versus the global definition.
Unique and damned happy about.
Or are we missing the point ourselves, being too American,
and we need to step it up?
Because as I see it, homegrown US racing is now low-tech,
ovals, dirt, big noise and blue collars.
As reference, let's talk about fuel injection in NASCAR.
They're talking about it as the big tech news in 2012.
Now, I didn't want to laugh until I read
this PDF from NASCAR.
You may too.
You'd think in America fuel injection was some new,
out-of-this-world mystery science.
I bet their NASCAR fans know more about fuel injection than
NASCAR thinks.
Here's the link, and I want you to read the PDF yourself.
And by the way, real green NASCAR, with E15 fuel.
ALMS has been running E85 for years.
I guess I know where the difference went.
Back to the fuel injection point.
And my point is this.
When the NASCAR series director explained the
difference between carburetors and fuel injection, he said,
quote, and I am not making this up, "now we're squirting
instead of sucking."
A, I wondered who was more stupid, NASCAR for thinking
that's the best way to get the fans to understand, or B, that
the fans really need it that simple to get it.
Or finally, I had to ask myself, maybe he's not even
talking fuel injection but about the
arrival of Danica Patrick.