March 9, 2015
Brian Vickers is back. Again. After being forced out of NASCAR racing for the third time with a major medical issue, Vickers has returned to Michael Waltrip Racing after a successful heart surgery. I remember Brian well from his days in the Hooters ProCup Stock Car Series, where I was SPEED's pit reporter for nine years.
We all knew he would make it to Cup. Not only was he talented, but even more importantly, he was well funded. I hope his latest comeback is successful. He was personable, spoke well on camera and left behind many friends in the ProCup series.
Carl Kanefsky is a liar. Kanefsky, a spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General's office, said last week in reference to Kurt Busch's well-publicized spat with Patricia Driscoll, “The admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime… likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case.”
What a crock. There is no burden of proof whatsoever for the prosecution. The Legal Times confirmed that more than 99.9% of all cases brought before a grand jury are indicted. The defendant and his attorneys are not even allowed to be present at grand jury hearings. As judge Sol Wachtler famously pointed out, “a grand would indict a ham sandwich if that's what you wanted."
The Delaware Attorney General's office did not charge Kurt Busch because they didn't want to charge Kurt Busch. They were either afraid that the case would not advance their political careers or they were bought off. If they had wanted to put Busch on trial, there is no grand jury in America that would have stopped them.
Indycar's new aero kits were delivered to race teams last week. Long time Indycar fans, myself among them, have criticized the series for adopting a spec car. Indycar responded by introducing “aero kits,” which are simply new body panels that mount on the same Dallara DW12 chassis that the series adopted three years ago.
Each of the engine manufacturers – Chevy and Honda – have aero kits unique to the teams using their engines. The idea is to make identical spec cars look like something other than identical spec cars. I look forward to seeing the cars with different body work, but the long term issue remains. Indycar will not return to its glory days with a spec car.
On the bright side, open wheel short track star Bryan Clauson will return to the Indianapolis 500 this year behind the wheel of the Jonathon Byrd Racing entry. In a series overrun with road racers, it's nice to see Clauson and Ed Carpenter still carrying the banner for the short track oval racers who once dominated Indianapolis. Today it is incredibly difficult for a short track racer to land an Indycar ride due to the current rules package and a schedule that favors money and street circuit experience over oval expertise.
Carpenter is remembered by the Midwest faithful as a midget racer who once ran at the now-defunct 16th Street Speedway on the west side of Indianapolis. He remains among the best open wheel oval racers in the world and is a perennial threat to win the Indy 500.
With both Clauson and Carpenter in the 2015 Indy 500 field, short track fans will have at least two drivers to cheer for during the 99th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
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