The Hellhole

Sunday, March 06, 2005

There come times in one's life when one is confronted with one's naivete, and the uncomfortable realization that the length and breath of one's ignorance far exceeds that which was hitherto suspected. For me, one of those times was 8:15 yesterday evening.

I had thought that it just couldn't GET any more redneck than good ole boys racin' thar pickup trucks, but then my brother called. "Are you watching Speed Channel?" he demanded excitedly. No, not yet. Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix doesn't start until 8:30. "You gotta turn it on RIGHT NOW!" Bo exclaimed. "They're racing *choke laugh* they're racing *snicker* they're racing...SCHOOL BUSES!"

He wasn't kidding. And it wasn't some publicity stunt or novelty race for a children's charity. They were SERIOUS about it. They were SERIOUSLY racing SCHOOL BUSES. One caught on fire. There was some serious flamage. What would make that 'sport' really interesting would be if each driver was apportioned an allotment of children. THEN it would be a good sport.

As for the Australian Grand Prix itself, I am mostly bemused. I don't like the new qualifying format much, though I hate it less than my brother, who said, "It's like having to sit through the Indigo Girls because they're opening for the reunited Led Zeppelin." Ooooh, harsh! But not wholly inaccurate. The race was won by Giancarlo Fischicella (not a favorite of mine though not as despised as Jacky Vee), one Ferrari came in second, one retired. I'm not particularly upset about it; I don't expect to win every race and we tifosi have enjoyed a dominant winning streak for quite a while. But with the new rules changes, notably the new engine requirements and 'one set of tyres' rules, I expected a race of attrition. Yet there were less retirements than in an average race and none of the problems I expected to see. I thought that we'd see lots of sliding and slipping around the last few laps, which didn't happen. The race turned out NOTHING like I anticipated, irrespective of the winners. But if Ferrari goes into a decline, like the dry spell of the 80s, there's always SCHOOL BUS RACING. Woo-hoo and pass the Skoal bandits!



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