Category Archives: Auto Racing

Looking for an athlete?

By now, you should be a little more knowledgeable when it comes to the world of sports. Maybe you don’t know the difference between a 3, 5, and 8-second violation, but you are no longer clueless like Alicia Silverstone. Maybe you are feeling saucy and want to date an athlete.

But which sport?

Well, football players can be a little violent, the lineman can be obese, all are prone to concussions, and the average NFL player’s lifespan is significantly shorter than someone who doesn’t smack their head against some other big guy’s head repeatedly at a dangerous rate of speed for a living. The average player’s salary is $830,000 per year, which is nice, but you can do better.

Pro baseball players earn boatloads of money (average salary is $1.15 million), but they have their weaknesses too. The season is 162 games long,  so they are never around, chances are pretty good they took steroids at some point in their careers (steroids cause a man’s testicles to shrivel up), and they have a gross habit of spitting saliva, sunflower seeds, or tobacco or a rarely seen, but captivating combination of all three.

The average basketball player earns $2.75 million per year so things are looking good there. But the behavior patterns of some of the elite players can be a bit unsettling. For instance, Allen Iverson chased his naked wife down a street out of love, Wilt Chamberlain boasted about having sex with 10,000 women, and Shawn Kemp has more kids depending on him than Santa Claus. Plus, I am 6’4″ and I am dwarfed next to pro basketball players.

Hockey guys make $1.15 million per year and are really normal. They aren’t tall. They aren’t short. They are just normal dudes missing a lot of teeth. Anyway…

So while the major American sports may not tickle your fancy, try looking at a sport that travels more than 200 miles per hour in the most exotic locales on earth. Yep, Formula One racing is where you will find Mr. Right.

The top driver in the world earned $51 million last year while the tenth best driver made $4.5 million. Wealth? Check.

If you are looking for an exotic flair, none of the drivers are American. In fact, Italy, Germany, Brazil, England, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, France, Spain, Poland, and Finland are the countries represented among the drivers. Not to mention, the drivers are all very smart. They have to understand wind resistance, fuel capacities, tire degradation, and other complex car physics. Let’s just say they are a bit brighter than the average ballplayer who never went to college.

And you like to travel right? Well, New York and San Francisco are pretty cool, but the Formula One races only take place in the coolest cities on earth. The schedule includes Australia, Malaysia, China, Bahrain, Spain, Turkey, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, Singapore, Japan, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, and the crown jewel of the circuit, Monaco. You should be able to do some hardcore shopping in these places when you are not mingling with royalty or the uber wealthy.

Formula One money is ridiculous. It makes horseracing money look like a pittance even with the $1,000 mint julep drinks served at the Kentucky Derby. For example, Ferrari spent nearly $250 million on its racing team in 1999 and even the worst team that year spent $50 million. The elite teams today spend staggering sums of money.

Still not convinced? Ashley Judd married Dario Franchitti, a Scottish Indy Car driver. Ashley Judd never makes bad decisions, unless when it comes to choosing scripts in which case she makes awful decisions. Don’t judge her by Twisted or Eye of the Beholder. She’s having a ball watching Franchitti win races.

Which makes me long for a female Formula One driver. They are all male so my ticket to travel the world and live the aristocratic European life will have to wait. And no, Danica Patrick. I am not interested in your Indy Car races. Sorry, I have standards…

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danica

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Filed under Auto Racing, Baseball, Basketball, Danica Patrick, Football

Movie Review: Days of Thunder

Days of Thunder is a peculiar movie about NASCAR that came out in 1990. It is peculiar because it is horribly inaccurate and the racing scenes will make any NASCAR fan cringe, but the story itself and the various acting performances make this particular film the type of movie you watch ’til the end no matter what scene you jump into or what you have planned later that day.

The incomparable Tom Cruise stars in this film as Cole Trickle (amazing NASCAR name) which means you will be treated to a couple of running scenes, some shouting, and plenty of close-ups of Cruise mugging for the camera. I am of the opinion that Cruise has never made a bad movie but then again, I have not seen Valkyrie. Robert Duvall, accompanied by a borderline cheesy southern accent, plays Cruise’s crew chief which is a lot like a coach. Randy Quaid is the owner hell-bent on creating the perfect team to win championships. Cary Elwes of Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Saw 1 (ya, he’s talented, but those are probably the only movies you know) and Michael Rooker (really nothing you probably have seen unless you think Slither or The Sixth Day are cool) play Cruise’s main rivals, always trying to run him off of the road.

Deserving of her own paragraph, is Nicole Kidman. She plays the head-trauma doctor assigned to treat (I can’t tell you, it would ruin the movie!!!). Anyway, she is Cruise’s love interest marking the first time the one-time couple were on screen together. I am not a Kidman fan, but she is angelic in this movie, partly because she keeps the Australian accent. Being a doctor, she is always bossing Cruise around (she really is like a foot taller than him, it is a lot like a kindergarten teacher addressing an unruly student).

The plot is not complex: Cruise is hired to drive for a new team. He struggles mightily. He gets better, a lot better. He suffers a severe setback (Talladega Nights style). He comes back. And he… (99.9% of fictional sports movies end the same way with the good guy winning, except for Little Big League and Bad News Bears which will be written about in the future). Talladega Nights basically copied the rise and fall and rise plot of Days of Thunder, but just added more humor and Will Ferrell in his underwear.

Days of Thunder is a good movie with some intense racing action, a few well-written lines, and some chick flick scenes. While this movie will not win any awards (it actually won the BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for an Oscar for best sound), it is thoroughly enjoyable. Cruise may not be shirtless for 384 minutes like in Top Gun, but any movie with the diminuitive star from 20 years ago can’t be all bad, right ladies?

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Filed under Auto Racing, Good Movies