[V8] Re: Fw: SPOILER: F-1 results. Complaints, anyone?

Fisher, Scott Scott_Fisher at intuit.com
Tue May 14 13:44:53 EDT 2002

> So you see, I'm not quite as "ignorant" as you would like to think.

Never worry about admitting to ignorance -- it's the easiest thing to fix.
Stubbornness, on the other hand... :-)

> I still ask. Road course = racing. NASCAR = crash spectacle,
> which is what the "race fans" in the US want to see.

I think we're in "violent agreement" on this point -- crashes are an
unavoidable element of any motorsport, but they're emphatically NOT what
turns me on.  But I don't doubt or disparage the talent or courage of the
people who get into race cars, even if the cars they choose aren't the ones
I like best.  It takes a hell of a lot more courage and talent to drive a
racing car than it does to sit in front of the TV and bitch about it, and
THAT'S what got me going.

> Just because there aren't "lead changes"
> doesn't mean that there is no passing, and passing for
> position and points!

I think I'm getting the picture that what you (and I, for that matter)
dislike may be TELEVISED racing.  Very, very few TV crews seem to understand
that the most exciting action in a race can often be a hard-fought dice for
6th place, the last position that pays points in F1.  All that the TV
producers ever seem to show are the leaders; it's as if they are playing to
what they think the TV fans want, and the end result of this is junk like
"Driven," which was described as not simply the worst racing movie ever
made, but the worst MOVIE ever made.  You want to gripe about the media not
understanding what makes racing interesting, I'm right with you.

Actually, Michael, I wish I were in your neighborhood -- there's gotta be a
sprint car track somewhere near Grand Rapids, I'd buy us a couple of tickets
in the main grandstands.  I bet we'd have fun.  You want to see passing for
position and real dicing for action, go out to the "bullrings," the small
1/4-mile dirt ovals.  Traditionally, there are short (20-lap or so) "heat
races" where the first X number of places get to go on to the next round.
Often the most intense driving is the race for the last position that moves
up -- first place can be a snoozer, but if only the top five positions go on
to the next heat, the racing for 5th and 6th can be hair-raising.

And of course, racing in the dirt (something I've never done, BTW, not yet
anyway) is a direct part of our Quattro heritage.  There, I'm miraculously
on topic. :-)

And speaking of driving in the dirt and Audi's competition heritage, the
best televised motorsport coverage (in my opinion) at the moment is WRC
competition -- precisely because it's mostly in-car footage where you can
really see what the drivers are going through, the dangers they face and the
unbelievable skill it takes not to get them and their navigator killed on
some deserted dirt road in Cyprus or Kenya or Catalunya.  I'll take off my
participant's hat for a moment and put on my fan's hat and say that compared
to what Tommi Makinen or Carlos Sainz have to go through in a day's work,
Michael Schumacher looks like a pampered, overpaid sissy-boy.  WRC
competition SCARES me -- and makes me want to give it a try.  (See
"questioning the sanity of the drivers," below.)

> Anyway, I can see (and feel as I'm typing) that this could
> quickly get out of hand with varying differences in opinion,
> so I suggest we take this "off list" for further discussion,
> or simply "agree to disagree".

No worries.  I'm not arguing that NASCAR is more fun to watch than WRC or F1
or lawn darts.  As I say, I'm not a fan of NASCAR -- I only like to watch
the Sears Point NASCAR race, because that's where I got my competition
license and it's fun watching the in-car cameras and seeing where my cheap,
underpowered British sports car was just about as fast as these behemoths
(and then watching them suck the scenery backwards from turn 11 up to the
top of the hill -- something about having six times as much horsepower as I
did, I guess!).

But having seen up close and in person what goes into driving in an oval
track race, I am humbled by the courage, dedication, and -- yes -- talent
that it takes to strap yourself into one of those ugly, evil-handling brutes
for four hours.  If you want to argue about which form of motorsport takes
more talent than any other, go ahead -- if you want to talk about which
driver you're the biggest fan of, I'll sit quiet.  But it makes the hair on
the back of my neck stand up whenever anybody, ESPECIALLY "one of us," looks
like they're doing nothing more than sitting in front of the TV and
"dissing" ANY form of motorsport.  We get enough of that from the
stick-and-ball oriented media, people who don't even think that motor racing
IS a sport.

> As long
> as there's Auto Racing in some form, we all still have
> something to enjoy watching on Saturdays and Sundays.

No difference of opinion THERE.  Though I've got another friend, Dick
Nyquist, who is a race driver and musician.  He likes to say that racing,
music and sex are three areas in life where it's much more enjoyable to be
the performer than the audience, even if the people you're watching are
better at it than you are.

I earnestly invite you get out on some of those Saturdays and Sundays and
head out to the racetrack, ANY racetrack, and volunteer to crew or flag or
otherwise get involved with making the event happen.  Even if your schedule
or budget doesn't permit you to be ON the track -- you can still be AT the
track.  Besides, try working flagging and communication for an SCCA race
some time, then you'll REALLY have a reason to doubt the sanity,
intelligence, and talent of the drivers!  Ask any corner worker and they'll
tell you that the simple act of putting on a helmet reduces the wearer's IQ
by 75 points -- it's the only explanation for some of the bonehead moves
they get to see first-hand... :-)

> It sure beats watching Tennis or Golf.

Aw, c'mon -- don't you just LOVE those long, panoramic shots of a white ball
against a white sky?

(Golf fans: you may now make fun of me for the observation that, given all
the home-improvement shows my wife and I watch, our favorite televised
activity is literally watching paint dry.)

--Scott Fisher
  Tualatin, Oregon

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