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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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On: Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 3:38PM | By: John Welch


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Last weekend's Sports Car finales were the bee's knees.

"Just why was Buell so great?!"

And I break my "no GM reporting" oath, mostly to rub it in everyone's face.

The Good: Last weekend we were treated to a Prototype double-header. The Rolex Grand Am Series wrapped up their year at Homestead Miami Speedway and the ALMS did the same in Monterey, California, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This topic could have gone under "the bad" just as easily as it slid into "the good"; it depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, both series gave us great races, wins by deserving teams, and more carnage than you can shake a lower control arm at. At the same time, it was the last weekend either series would be entertaining us this year. Boo.

How come NASCAR gets thirty six races a year, when the ALMS runs only ten? It's a rhetorical question; I know why, I just don't like it. Next year, there will be one fewer. Nine races is not enough for me. Grand Am gains a race next year, up to thirteen, but that isn't enough DP (sic) action for me!

If this has to be the end of the American sports car calendar for 2009, at least they went out with a bang! The end of the Grand Am race wasn't so much a disappointment as it was a little anti-climactic. The Daytona Prototype class was taken by Brumos Porsche and the driver team of Joao Barbosa and Hurley Haywood. After JC France landed himself in the big house earlier in the week, Brumos principle Haywood had to find a replacement driver for his Porsche Riley. Thankfully, Haywood is one of the most accomplished drivers anyone could ask for, so he climbed into the hot seat. At the end of the day he drove a flawless opening stint, putting the No. 59 Brumos Porsche in the prime position to take advantage of other's misfortunes at the end of the race. Though the race ended under a caution flag, it was a satisfying end to an exciting season.

ALMS saw a thrilling twelve-lap battle between Acuras, from two different classes. Gil De Ferran, piloting his LMP1 ARX-02a had to save fuel late in the run, allowing Luis Diaz the opportunity to pass him several times in the Lowes ARX-01b, an LMP2 car. It was an interesting race, both cars being powered by different versions of the same engine. While De Ferran had to switch to a fuel map that choked his larger engine of power, Diaz had plenty of fuel, and could switch to his richest setting, giving him an extra 30 to 40 horse. De Ferran was the eventual winner, but it made excellent drama for the cameras. And GT2, don't even get me started! The battle in GT2 was absolutely epic, a complete recap can be found here. It was very reminiscent of the 2007 Sebring 12 Hours. Jorg Burgmeister was bullied by Jamie Melo and his Ferrari F430; surely the race that taught Jorg to stand his ground.

The Bad: Buell Motorcycles met an untimely demise yesterday, another "business decision" that I understand, but do not like. Buell was responsible for some truly groundbreaking innovations, and some ideas that need a little work. ZTL Brakes get real goopy after a hot lap or two . . . Since we are all car folk here, and we may not all be familiar with what exactly makes a Buell so special, observe image four, outlining the three main components to a Buell's extreme mass centralization goal.

The Ugly: GM, ugh, you're getting a little embarrassing. I said a few weeks ago that I was sick of getting hung out to dry by false/premature reports of GM selling its redundant brands: Saturn, Hummer, Opel, and Saab. This week the news proved me to be in the right, as the Hummer brand was sold, not sold, sold again, and finally, not sold. A most embarrassing twist: Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, the Chinese firm attempting to purchase Hummer (for a paltry $150 mil I might add), now claims that GM hasn't even filed any of the paperwork necessary to complete the deal. Geez, seriously?! What exactly are my tax dollars paying for again? Continued incompetence? The spit that lands on my face every time I cough up my FICA? I'm feeling cheated and betrayed, a feeling I've head ever since Fritzy put the kibosh on the Chevy Caprice/Impala/Commodore/G8/Monaro. Saudi's get a Chevrolet-badged four door Zeta, they even get a coupe! It is virtually identical to the G8, making the whole "We'd have to change it too much for the US market" argument null and void.

GM will tell you that Americans either don't understand or appreciate these fine automobiles. Bull bird. GM doesn't want to import them/have any more insurance gouging 'sports cars' than they already sell. Bureaucracy at its finest. We need eight different version of the Equinox/SRX/Terrain like we need a collective hole in the head. Isn't badge regeneration exactly what put GM in this position in the first place? Didn't Fritz say he "hated" rebadging and badge engineering?! Henderson is an empty suit, just like rest of NEW GM, and Washington, for that matter. We are led by reflections of ourselves, my friends, which means we have a TON of soul searching to do . . .


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