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The dating game for racing

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

By Roger Diez

Is the open-wheel racing war over? Recent defections have left the recently-reconstituted Champ Car series reeling less than a month from its season opener at Long Beach.

Bobby Rahal, long a staunch CART supporter, has moved to the Indy Racing League, following in the footsteps of Adrian Fernandez, who made the same move within the past couple of weeks. Rumor has it that Tony George, who failed in his bid to buy CART’s assets and shut the series down, paid each team owner some six million dollars to join the IRL.

Rahal, who won three CART championships as a driver and was at one time the CEO of the series, left behind driver Michel Jourdain and sponsor Gigante, who will stay with Champ Car. Rahal has had a foot in both camps, running Buddy Rice in IRL, but will now add Roger Yasakawa to the team for Motegi, Japan, and Indianapolis. The team will run three cars at Indy, with an as-yet unnamed driver to replace the injured Kenny Brack. Sponsorship has not been announced, but Coors Beers’ name has been linked to the team.

Earlier this year I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of “reality” TV, but that I might watch the Busch 24/7 reality show on the Speed channel. I watched the first episode, and found it mildly interesting. My favorite comment was one made by a crew chief waiting in line for technical inspection. aÄu

“It’s our job to cheat, and their job to catch us” was how he put it. But now they’ve gone too far. Speed Channel will air a new show called “I Wanna Date a Race Car Driver.” The premise is that each week a nationally known race car driver and three or four of his or her best buddies will view submitted videotapes and select four contestants to compete for a chance to go on a date with said driver. Given the current gender weighting in professional level racing, 99 percent of the selectors will be male. The four chosen contestants will, according to Speed Channel’s press release, be flown to “a predetermined location where they will compete in three outrageous events that will determine the winner of the competition. The events will be based on the driver’s “wish list” of what he or she is looking for in a potential date. The contestant’s ability to compete and win these events will determine who goes on the date, subject to any surprises the driver and friends may have in store.” Oh, please!

If you’re silly enough to want to get in on this, you need to submit a VHS videotape of no more than five minutes in length by March 25. Send your submission to: Date a Race Car Driver Contest, 1709 21st Avenue South, No. 321, Nashville, Tenn., 37212. Good luck. I won’t be watching.

If you’re one of the growing number of folks who have a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, and you’re tired of using it to see how many feet it is from the gas station to the grocery store, I have a deal for you. I spoke with friend and local radio personality Monty Wolf last week about a new Motorsports venture combining the sport of rallying with something called geocaching. Monty’s group, the Great Basin and Eastern Sierra GeoCachers (GBES) will be holding the first ever Geocache Navigational Rally ever conducted in the world on May 22. The event will be run in the deserts and mountains around Fallon, and will include 100 miles of dirt roads, 50 miles of pavement travel and a search for 9 geocaches. And what is a geocache, I hear you asking. Well, the basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the Internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Monty tells me there are currently 87,781 caches in 199 countries, with hobbyists trying to find them. The GBES event combines the geocaching hobby with a traditional navigational rally, which sounds like lots of fun.

If you have a GPS, an SUV, and the $30 entry fee, call (775) 884-8000 to enter, or send an email to [ mailto:montywolf@lycos.com ]mailto:montywolf@lycos.com for more information.

Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist. Contact him at editor@nevadaappeal.com.