On the lap seven restart following the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen's first race caution, Colin Braun and his Krohn Racing No. 76 "No Smoking" Ford-Riley entered Turn One on the rear of a fifth-place No. 12 Lowe's Pontiac-Riley of Mario ...
On the lap seven restart following the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen's first race caution, Colin Braun and his Krohn Racing No. 76 "No Smoking" Ford-Riley entered Turn One on the rear of a fifth-place No. 12 Lowe's Pontiac-Riley of Mario Haberfeld.
With nearly the rest of the field behind them as the pair took the traditional groove at the inside edge of Turn One (a.k.a. "apex" to you Skippy types), Braun was on Haberfeld's rear bumper with the No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Ford-Crawford of Michael McDowell to his immediate left.
Haberfeld then spun through the heart of Turn One, collected McDowell and while Braun drove onward, others scattered right and left into the large, former quicksand-turned-asphalt runoff area outside of Turn One.
After the dust settled, the nos. 12 and 19 cars were all but done for the day -- not even eight laps into the race (Memo Gidley said after the wreck, "I didn't come all this way to sit here and look pretty" - one just can't help but love Gidley) and the Rolex Series' Powers-that-Be nailed Braun with a two-minute pit-box penalty for having ignored the responsibilities of an "overtaking car."
Okay. For now.
Later, on lap 51 the No. 89 Vonage/Playboy car of Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel (the latter at the wheel) is on a march cutting through the field and near the front straight's end tucks behind the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche-Fabc ... um, er ... Riley of David Donohue (the other guy in the car at other times is Darren Law).
To Dalziel's immediate left and, say, a front quarter-panel behind in the No. 5 Finlay Motorsports Ford-Crawford is Michael Valiante - whose car owner and co-driver, Rob Finlay, had kept the respectably in the hunt in his earlier shift.
Valiante is on Dalziel's immediate left because the two had been dicing for the position in which the 89-car had apparently nosed ahead fair and square.
(Is anyone else seeing this as beginning to sound a tad like dejà vu all over again?).
On the fly into the (what else?) first turn, Valiante doesn't back off, holds his ground as the 58- and 89-cars are nose-to-tail.
In a television replay review, the 89-car is clearly tracking the 58-car on the darkest part of the track (that would be "The Groove" to you Skippy types) while the 5-car is outside of that groove to the left of the 89-car.
With Donohue and Dalziel taking that darkened, traditional groove to the inside edge of Turn One (a.k.a. "apex" to you Skippy types) and following that groove - according to the laws of physics (a ra) - to the track-out point (bet you Skippy types got that one, huh?) it left Valiante with nowhere to go but into the left-side runoff.
To Valiante's credit he did one heckuva job in keeping his car properly pointed, dropping only a couple of spots.
No driver likes to lose even one spot. At least, none that I've ever met. But Dalziel had position and his momentum naturally carried him out and into a position where he might've bumped Valiante off the track (because nothing I've reviewed indicates a definitive bump -- much less an intentional bump).
Bottom line, though, is Valiante -- out of the groove -- would've run out of track anyway. Something had to give.
Pacific Coast Motorsports team manager Tyler Tadevic - who is as calm, even-spoken and respectful as any I've ever encountered -- succinctly and calmly laid out his case.
"We were in front of the five car; he tried to pass us on the outside of (turn) one; they (that would be the Rolex Series' Powers-That-Be) said we ran him off the road," Tadevic said.
"We think it was a baloney call because it's the passing car's responsibility to make it around the car in front."
And, there we have it, again: The responsibility rests with the overtaking car.
The question: which was the overtaking car? The 89-car which had drawn alongside and to the inside of the 5-car on the front straight? Or the 5-car, which was attempting to clearly regain a position just lost -- if only fractionally?
Thus, Dalziel gets slapped with a stop-n-go (would make a great name for a convenience store, huh?) just because he's the one who observed the laws of physics. Put another way, even though he observed the law, Dalziel got sentenced.
The even bigger question, though, is what's become of the old DP no-harm, no-foul bump-and-grind show?
In 2003 people were going ape over a Phoenix race that had Donohue in his 58-car slugging it out with Terry Borcheller's No. 54 Doran. We're talking knock-down, drag-out. Indeed, that incident and others to follow gave the DP a presence.
(Hmm, come to think about it, maybe Donohue's the REAL troublemaker in all of this. Just where was Donohue when that Braun/Haberfeld/McDowell deal went down, anyway?)
In Saturday's Glen Busch Series race the crowd was going wild over Kurt Busch and Robby Gordon slugging it out and doing it in the dirt at race end.
The DP, while cheap by modern standards is still more expensive than a Nextel Cup or Busch Series car, but its show was once sold as one involving a bump-and-grind aspect that slowly is being "legislated" out of existence.
ODDS n' ENDS
- One can't help but wonder what's underlying Krohn Racing Jeff Hazel's proclamation of Colin Braun's (teammate of Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford-Riley) two-minute penalty as "... a straight manipulation of the championship by the race director ..."
It's almost as if the team's looking for a pretext to take its equipment and head to another series for 2007. Perhaps something along the lines of, "We came over here with Aston Martin because of the repeated terrible ordeals they put is through over there."
Never mind that. The Rolex Series would have to undertake a considerable "manipulation" at this point (or at Watkins Glen, for that matter). For a now-second-in-points Max Angelelli (386 points) of SunTrust Racing to take first-place from Bergmeister (415 points) at the series' Aug. 26 race at Infineon Raceway, Angelelli would have to finish first and Bergmeister would have to finish 26th.
Sing on, Don Meredith.
- Speaking of Mr. Angelelli ... Surrey Racing, a.k.a. "SunTrust Racing", is hooking up with Chip Ganassi's operation for 2007.
- Remember the (now probably politically incorrect) song 10 Little Indians? (actually, originally "10 Little Injuns", written by Septimus Winter, circa 1865). Kind of reminds me of what's happening to the Doran chassis. A little bird tells me another Boris Said jaunt in the No. 8 Synergy Porsche-Doran is doubtful. Then again, he might need only to put in a lap at each race.
- Mark Patterson, gentleman driver side of the No. 60 Lexus-Riley out the Michael Shank Racing stable, is the subject of a forthcoming Forbes Magazine story about the man and his racing activities. Don't miss it. No clue, though, as to when it'll actually run.
-DC Williams exclusively for Motorsports.com