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Another Lost Weekend… and other adventures

Last weekend was certainly interesting wasn’t it? Daytona, Super Bowl, Janet
Jackson’s breasts, it says a lot about pop culture as to which one of those is in
constant rotation. (I’m so shocked that I need to see it again)
As Ian Shoales one said, ”Come on kids, they’re only milk glands”.

At home in the depot
I had Daytona on the box, mostly as background, but it made for interesting
viewing at times. It wasn’t until Bill Oursler’s column arrived and I was formatting it
for the site that I gave any real thought to this year’s version of the ballet on the
banks. Is there anyone out there who was tired of hearing about how brilliant Tony
Stewart was in his first 24 hour race? No doubt this constant hype was to please
the NASCAR fan(s) who tuned in and to promote the series… but what of the long
suffering sportscar viewer who wants their favorites discussed. The fact that Tony
Stewart drove a brilliant race is no surprise; the man is a hugely talented racer and
would be fast in almost anything given the time to learn the controls.  Max
Crawford’s new baby clearly shows the links to his past when he was with John
Fitzpatrick back in the Group C days. Kiwi boy had come up with a superior set of
tunnels that helped the Fitz Porsche wax the factory effort in 1983 at the Brands
Hatch 1000K during a very wet race. The lines of the GA coupe show a
considerable amount of time was devoted to the aero package. The next test for
the Crawford will be on the slower, tighter circuits and that will show if Max and
Company has something special.

Robin and the Hoods
Wayne Taylor’s effort seems to have gotten itself together after a somewhat
disappointing run during the test days and Max is still mad after all these years.
Cheers for Robin Liddell and Johnny Mowlem aboard the Orbit GT 3RS that came
close to upsetting Grand Am’s prototype class. On the surface, the Orbit and Flying
Lizard (Ventura Highway in the sunshine!) results are far more impressive than
The Racer’s Group GT 3 overall win last year. Why? Because they had to contend
with a much larger field of prototypes this go around. Count ‘em up. Still, Grand
Am has a real problem with its supposed prototype class. Even with the weather,
the race stopped due to a shortage of rain tires (it was a very badyear) there is no
acceptable reason for the winning car to have so few laps in hand over a GT car.
None, not after so many hours. Then there was the strange spectacle of the two
top Ferrari teams of last season running… Maseratis??? Somehow I am not
convinced that Risi or FOW volunteered for that duty. And Brumos Porsche? Let’s
just say that David Donohue was not exactly talkative after the race.

Express yourself
My unofficial survey of several of the pros from Dover that cover the big races
worldwide question the red flagging of the race. Was it the weather? I have seen a
lot worse in Daytona and the race went on. Could it be with a full field of prototypes
that Grand Am could not have a repeat of last years GT win thus a few hours of
downtime to insure that a prototype finished first? Pure speculation for sure but
the fact that it has been brought it up makes you wonder. Just like all those late
yellows in a NASCAR race for debris on the track.

Gone in 60 seconds
I didn’t see any of the Super Bowl but I did view an unedited copy of the Ford GT ad
that had its premiere at the start of the game. Shot masterfully by Jeff Zwart, whose
spots of the Audi R8 in the 2000 season remains some of the best footage ever
shot of a race car, installed Rod Millen in Ford GT chassis 002 for a full make it
slide and lite ‘em up workout. Hopefully the full version of this spot will air in the

No SUV’s allowed
How I spent the Super Bowl weekend was catching up with a lot of people who I
only see a few times a year. The annual Porsche & VW Literature Meet was held at
the Hilton near LAX and the offerings were rare, unique and mostly expensive.
Sunday was a Porsche parts and car display that mixes the weird with the
obsessed held down in Anaheim. The fact that Disneyland is close by makes
perfect sense. A totally original paint 1959 356A parked near a Parnelli Indy car
that had been turned in to a home built copy of the ill-fated Interscope Porsche. A
copy of the Peter Gregg ST that raced in the early 70’s? Come on down…

Time has come today
Our favorite timing and scoring person has a new gig. Chris Syfert will be leaving
her duties at Panoz and joining the official timing crew of IMSA. One of the most
well liked and respected of the circus, Chris will no doubt bring her expertise to
what can be a difficult job. This also means that Marty will get a break from my
constant complaining. Chris recently lost her husband, Greg Syfert, to
complications following surgery. Greg was well regarded in the racing community
so much that in a tribute to his talents, Roger Penske shipped a PC1 over to be
displayed at the gathering. Racing was in Greg’s blood and it is good to know that
Chris will continue to keep the Syfert name alive in the sport he cared so
passionately about.

Kerry Morse
February 2004

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