Riding with Mario
Mario lit up the tires as we left the pits. He kept it going up through the gears, accelerating hard up the hill and out onto the track. Right
away, I realized there wasn't going to be any messing about. He'd been running the car with passengers aboard all morning, and had just
completed a couple of fresh runs on new tires. Everything was up to temperature and Mario was into his rhythm.
Remembering Dale Earnhardt
First of all he was 'Ironhead', before evolving into 'The Intimidator', the quintessential southern stock car driver of the last twenty years.
Dale Earnhardt was the man so many others wanted to be.
A Fond Farewell
An edited example of this story was published in the March 31, 2005 edition of Autosport, marking the end of my thirty-two year tenure as the magazine's American and Champ car editor. This is the unexpurgated version.
Mario's Triumph, America's Failure
This story was written in the summer of 2003 but was never published for unexplained reasons. Here it is for the first time
The parallel careers of Al Unser Jr & Michael Andretti
Their careers were as parallel as any pair of drivers in the history of racing. Al Unser Jr and Michael Andretti, respective sons of Al
Sr and Mario, were born six months apart in 1962 and rose through the ranks one year apart, Al ahead of Michael, until they arrived
in CART in 1982 and '83 respectively.
The Lockhart Legend
Eighty years ago this summer Frank Lockhart was America's most famous racing driver. Lockhart's flame burned intensely for a
very short period, leaving a legend that has grown with the passage of time, but of all the great American drivers who followed it's
difficult to argue that anyone achieved more in such a short space of time.
The Tale of Tommy Milton and Jimmy Murphy
Back in the roaring twenties, before Frank Lockhart, there was the legendary duo of Tommy Milton and Jimmy Murphy. The fierce
but friendly rivalry between Milton and Murphy remains to this day one of the most celebrated in the history of automobile racing.
Danica Patrick interview from 2002
It was all happening in 2002 for 20-year old Danica Patrick. The attractive, petite young lady from suburban Chicago showed
her stuff in England's tough Formula Ford school a few years ago, finishing second in the British Formula Festival in 2000 when
she was just eighteen.
Touring Spa and the Nurburgring
For the few days between the Champ Car races at Brands Hatch and the EuroSpeedway I had one idea in mind. With my photographer
friend Paul Webb we decided to take the Dover-Calais ferry the day after Brands Hatch and drive through bits of France, Belgium and
Holland to take a look at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps road course in southern Belgium and the Nurburgring in western Germany.
Explaining modern sports' most self-destructive act
In previewing the start of this year's IRL season in the March 24, 2006 edition of USA Today, the newspaper's TV sports columnist Michael
Hiestand penned a concise analysis of American open-wheel racing: "A decade ago," Hiestand wrote in his lead, "in modern sports'
most self-destructive act, the powers-that-be in open-wheel auto racing created a wreck that NASCAR zoomed through to become
racing's new TV star." This story was written in the spring of 2004, but never published, in an attempt to explain what Hiestand aptly
describes as 'modern sports' most self-destructive act.
Is there a future for Champ Car on ovals?
The weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway set everyone talking about the future of oval racing for the Champ Car World Series.
Many people believe the time has passed for oval racing. For one thing, the CART/IRL split allowed NASCAR to run off into the far
distance as the undisputed market leader of oval track racing. For another, the restrictions on today's Champ and IRL cars mean
they run around in packs at the bottom of the track with the drivers' right foot planted firmly, pedal to the metal.
A Visit to Brooklands - the world's first purpose-built race track
While in England this past winter with a few days to spare I took the opportunity to visit Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built race
track. It was also the world's first high-banked oval. Built in 1907 by wealthy local land owner Hugh Locke King, the Brooklands outer
oval measured 2.76 miles with two banked corners and one right-handed kink.