The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts on Stuff Going On Under the Surface

By David G. Firestone

I’ve been following auto racing for 26 years, and have lived in Illinois even longer than that. If you want to understand why people hate politics, look at Illinois. Our state and city governments are corrupt, and this budget impasse is even worse. But I’m not going to discuss that, what I’m here to do is to discuss the fact that often times, in both politics and auto racing, there is more going on than meets the eye.

Many times in both politics and auto racing, there is something that happens, and an explanation given, or not given, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that there is something deep beneath the surface that is causing what is going on, despite the explanation. I think this is happening with Bob Vandergriff Racing and Mercedes F1 program.

Bob Vandergriff raced in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series from 1994 to 2014. He has three national event wins. He owned Bob Vandergriff Racing. After he retired from driving in 2014, he was still the owner, and in charge of operations…until April 11th, when he unexpectedly shut down all operations in order to retire. The reasoning given for this was the passing of a team friend, and his thinking of the important things in life. He wants to spend more time with his grand-kids and family.

This may be a legit explanation, a very legit one at that, but something tells me that there is more to this story than meets the eye. I could be totally wrong about this, and that may be the legit explanation. If that is, I apologize, and best of luck to Bob. But again, after having lived in Illinois for as long as I have, I have to wonder if something else is going on.

What I really don’t understand is how you could just shut down two full-time top fuel teams on what seems like a whim. I could understand if BVR was undersponsored, low on funds, and couldn’t continue full-time operations. Alan Johnson Racing’s shutdown was understandable in this sense. But both of BVR’s teams were fully sponsored, and had a full support crew. I might even be able to kind of understand the decision if they hadn’t won an event, but that isn’t a factor, as Leah Pritchett won her first top fuel national event at Phoenix.

Again, I could be wrong, and if I am, I am, but nothing about this whole scenario makes any sense. I’m convinced that there is something else going on that will come to the surface later. It could be financial issues, legal issues, PR issues, or something else. Same thing with Louis Hamilton and Mercedes’ F1 team.

I get that power shifts happen in auto racing from time to time, and Nico Rosberg’s rise on the surface isn’t that shocking, he’s a talented driver on a powerhouse team, but the fact that Louis Hamilton has suddenly lost all momentum makes it confusing. Nico has had a great year, and Louis’s year can, at best, be described as disasterous. The Australian Grand Prix and Bahrain Grand Prix were straightfoward enough, Louis started first on the grid, and finished 2nd in both races. Then the Chinese Grand Prix started, and the team made an unscheduled gearbox change. This resulted in a 5 grid place penalty, and after he suffered from a hybrid system failure in the turbo charger. he started 22nd. After a dramatic run, he finished 7th.

Ok, that seems innocent enough, engine parts can fail at any time, so that isn’t too shocking, but fast forward to this last weekend. Before Q3, Hamilton wasn’t going to go out and qualify, due to…him suffering suffering from a hybrid system failure in the turbo charger, or THE SAME EXACT FAILURE THAT PLAGUED HIM DURING QUALIFYING AT THE LAST EVENT. Are you expecting me to believe that this isn’t an issue? Once is a coincidence, twice it’s more than that. I’m not the only one who realizes that. So many people are wondering if there is something else going on.

I can’t believe that this isn’t a coincidence. Typically, mechanical problems impact any team running that equipment. But the fact that these failures seem to be impacting only one driver when the other driver is dominating seems odd. It also seems odd that the driver its impacting is the stronger of the two. It’s also hard to ignore the fact that many F1 fans were getting tired of Louis’ domination as well. Again, this may be a legit thing, and nothing else is going on, but it is kind of odd that this is happening how it is and when it is. I’m cynical, I don’t even try and deny that, and while I don’t put too much stock in conspiracy theores, these two stories are too odd to ignore.

I’m going to just stop for now, because I have something else to discuss. The project that preempted the Paint Scheme Grades this week was when I went to the NFL Draft on Thursday, and I will discuss that on Friday. Stay Tuned!

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