DC's May Day perspective

!CAN SOMEONE GET THIS MAN A CAR? Oops Mark Martin, an accomplished sports and stock car racer, is going to be at Rusty Wallace's mid-July Iowa Speedway Rolex Series race - it's just that no one yet knows what he'll be racing, including ...


!CAN SOMEONE GET THIS MAN A CAR?

Oops

Mark Martin, an accomplished sports and stock car racer, is going to be at Rusty Wallace's mid-July Iowa Speedway Rolex Series race - it's just that no one yet knows what he'll be racing, including Martin.

Really, it shouldn't be a secret to anyone that drivers of Martin's caliber are paid to drive. And that includes one-off sportscar races.

Usually, it's the car owner who ponies up the cash for the "celebrity" driver. This time it was Iowa Speedway - reportedly between $75,000 and $100,000.

When Rusty Wallace made his retirement announcement a couple of years ago in the Daytona USA theater, two dominant themes arose among the many speakers: Wallace is an excellent racer and, once he understood how to make money in things "racing" (legend has it from Dale Earnhardt), Wallace became one of the best at that aspect, too.

It should come as no surprise that Wallace made sure some good people were at Iowa Speedway's helm when the 1.3-mile road-course track broke ground and that those people aren't there to make the track a break-even deal.

Few outside of the track elite know who among the Iowa Speedway insiders decided to engage Martin's driving services, but that someone evidently did it without first learning in which car Martin might drive.

Right now, supposedly no one knows -- though at least a couple of teams have been mentioned.

Rumor has it that Kevin Doran's No. 77 Kodak Doran-Ford is one prospect and Wayne Taylor has offered to come out of semi-retirement and run a second SunTrust Riley-Pontiac car.

(Um, Wayne, there's this 16-year-old racer who happens to share your last name. Ricky's kicking butt in Skip Barber and you might want to consider him, even though he is a lot taller than Martin.)

Also among the ride questions: what will be done about Martin getting some practice time in whatever he may run? The Rolex Series' marquee Daytona Prototype isn't exactly something one can hop into inasmuch as it's not a point-and-shoot, total ground-effects car. It actually demands some finesse.

Martin fans need not fear, at least as of this writing, he'll be there -- if nothing else but to cheer after possibly parking a DP in record time.

Bob Snodgrass Remembered

Not surprisingly, Brumos Racing's late Robert F. Snodgrass Jr. was on a lot of minds last weekend at Virginia International Raceway's Rolex Series and MOTO-ST races.

Yep, Snodgrass has even fielded teams in the budding Grand Am-sanctioned twin-cylinder motorcycle series (which is winning critical acclaim, by the way).

Richard Anderson's Sunday-Go-To-Meeting at VIR had more people attending than available chairs.

Bob Snodgrass would've otherwise been there if it hadn't of been a memorial service for him.

Frankly, at first Bob Snodgrass to me was little more than an officious bully in the paddock.

My opinion of him soon afterward changed diametrically.

We all come and go. I guess our greatest mark, the best epithet, is to have others kindly speak of us after we're gone.

That's certainly been the case with Bob Snodgrass.

Anyone Else Bummed?

When VIR's last caution flew, the field got sorted and the final green flag waved in Sunday's DP race it sure looked like something akin to this year's Mexico City was fixing to let go.

In case you forgot, the March Mexico City DP race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez at the end turned out to be a no-caution, two-car duel with Max Papis the leader and Alex Gurney the pursuer.

Gurney's No. 99 Gainsco Pontiac-Riley used one heckuva final pit stop - about half the time of Papis' No. 75 Krohn Racing Riley-Pontiac - to vault Gurney into a position of hounding Papis out of his tires and score the team's first win since joining the series four races into the 2005 season.

Just two cautions were thrown in the VIR race, the last on Lap-47.

With all of 27-laps to go when the green flag flew, two Italians - Papis in first and Angelelli in second - were out front.

Though both drivers have chilled considerably over the last couple of years there's been shared acrimony for many before, starting as teammates back in the pair's early-1990's F3000 days.

Adding insult to injury, with his first start of any sort in United States auto racing, in 1996 Massimiliano Papis got his nickname, "Mad Max," by finishing 64-seconds behind Rolex 24 at Daytona winners Wayne Taylor, Jim Pace and Scott Sharp.

"It's probably the only famous race ever where the second-place finisher is known better than the first--place finisher," Taylor once said.

With good-buddy Taylor now the SunTrust team's owner, Angelelli couldn't wait to pass Papis.

"I wanted to do it right away," Angelelli said after the race. And that's pretty much what he did, too, as the pair entered Turn-1 on Lap-53

Still, to be fair, no one mentioned any past personal differences as being at the root of the battle that most everyone thought was likely to make every post-race sports highlight video but was over hardly longer than Lap-53 had begun.

Having a loose car that wouldn't allow him to "roll into the throttle" after he apexed a turn, Papis didn't have anything for Angelelli and, to his credit, Papis let Angelelli go with hardly more than a right front/left rear quarter-panel "kiss."

Evidently, no one else in the field had anything to match Angelelli's car either, because Papis remained in second-place for the rest of the race.

At 3.57-seconds, Angelelli's margin of victory was the DP-class' largest winning margin at VIR in three years.

What a bummer.

And to think: one gets "bummed" over a 3.57-second MOV.

With the win Angelelli and co-driver Jan Magnussen moved into the DP points lead, holding an 11-point gap over former leader Scott Pruett as the series heads toward the May 17-20 U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.

Speaking of Pruett, does one get the same feeling as me that, despite its Rolex 24 win, the No. 01 Lexus-Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing With Felix Sabates team just isn't "into" this season? While it's tough to think of Pruett as being in some sort of malaise, I'm not so sure about the rest of the CGRWFS team. And it IS a team sport.

Later. -- DC Williams exclusively for Motorsport.com

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About this article
Series General , Grand-Am
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Alex Gurney , Jan Magnussen , Scott Sharp , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Skip Barber , Jim Pace , Chip Ganassi , Bob Snodgrass , Kevin Doran , Massimiliano Papi , Mark Martin
Teams Williams , Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing