Tag Archives: IndyCar

Master Debating

30 May

Week in week out someone seems to always bring up the Nascar vs Indycar debate. Each and everytime it ends with the Nascar fan or media member giving a “oh yeah well look at the scoreboard-esque” answer of “look at the ratings”. Let’s face it folks Nascar is a juggarnaut when it comes to motorsports in America. To the sponsors on those cars like Budweiser, Pepsico, and Lowe’s to name a few that’s all they want to know. Take Rheem Manufacturing Company for instance on the side of Kevin Harvicks car. They’ve closed plants, laid off thousands, moved lines to Mexico. Yet the name and races they sponsor his car seems to get bigger. Why, you ask? Because the numbers say they are still reaching 75 million people.
75 million…..seems like an almost made up number to appease the accounts on justifying sponsorship vs layoff.

I like Nascar, I’m not going to lie, but truthfully….I like any form of motorsports. My obvious bias is toward Sports Cars, I was born and raised on them. Grandpa raced and sold Porsches, and other German makes. Relatives worked on them, other relatives raced them in the SCCA. Dad was a Course Marshall, so its in my blood. The thing sports cars produce is close racing. I enjoy watching a driver go door-to-door with another driver lap after lap. Making a chess game of sort out of the race. No fake debris caution, no Chase format, just all out no holds barred racing from green flag to checkered flag.

All that brings me to this point. Last weekend, Indycar showed the world what the true meaning of racing was all about. It just wasn’t because oh golly gee its the Indy 500. It was about drivers over coming adversity, as cliché as it may sound, leaving it all on the track. Ya big effing whoop a Ganassi car won. Wahhhh cry me a river. Who cares! It was a great race all the way till the chute between 1 & 2 on the final lap! “But uhh Dario won again under caution after pushing him down there” Hello? Are you listening to your mindless dribble? It’s the Indy 500! If my own kid, grandparent, or parent were trying to dive under me and take my win I’d be hard pressed to not take away thier line.

For Nascar folks to bring up “Well look at what more people watch”, uhh ok ya. I watched your Coke 600. Nascar throwing a debris caution when the racing was getting fantastic between Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle, was pathetic. A huge chunk of rubber was on the backstretch in Indy and Beaux Barfield wasn’t quick to pull the yellow for the reason “they ran it over it’s in smaller pieces now”. Should Nascar do what they have to to make a show? Dear God no. They’ve tried to up to this point and several have not gone well.

Indycar maybe behind on sheer numbers, but on Sunday they most certainly showed who can truly put on a better show.

On a serious note though, after the events of the past year, I couldn’t think of a better way to get closure.

The Darkside to Collecting Diecast

29 Apr

In the weeks after Dan Wheldons fatal accident, when all of the wonderful tributes came rolling in, I pondered. I pondered several things, why do I love racing so much, what’s next for the Izod Indycar Series. The collector side of me wondered will this be like when Dale Sr. passed and the market was flooded with cars from his past. While it’s taken some time I’ve been able to pick some of those up because the price and interest waned considerably.

Now, there’s something new, something fresh for the diecast companies to latch on to and make a buck. But, this time it’s different. Dan didn’t own a collectables company like Dale did, Dan had a relationship with Hot Wheels. See while waiting for a ride to become available in the off season Dan did a voiceover for Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 animated series on Cartoon Network. Ok, while this may not be a role on the Simpsons or Family Guy, this did further the relationship between Indycar, Wheldon, and Hot Wheels.

Indycar diecast has always been a really odd road. Back in the 90’s we had companies like Onyx, Matchbox, and Racing Champions to select our favorite driver. The one I remember the most is the Scott Brayton #22 Amway car and flatbed semi. I have a couple of older diecast from those days Vasser, C. Fittipaldi, Papis, Sullivan, and Mario’s last ride.

Now we have Greenlight Collectables and Hot Wheels. Greenlight makes an excellent product, of course being based in Indy helps a lot. Hot wheels makes a decent very mass produced Indycar. I wouldn’t write home about it, but it does capture the paint schemes perfectly. I hunted down a Graham Rahal McDonald’s car because I was a huge Newman-Haas fan. Soon Hot Wheels will have some more cars added to it’s Indycar resume, including what will be undoubtedly rare by the end of the season…..a Lotus. These will be part of the Hot Wheels Racing Series.

Indy 500® Oval (National Guard)
Indy 500® Oval (Dad’s Root Beer)
Indy 500® Oval (Izod)
Indy 500® Oval (Lotus)
Indy 500® Oval (Sarah Fisher)
Indy 500® Oval (William Rast)

Table and info from 1stopdiecast.com

With all that it brings me to this. Greenlight released the Indy 500 winning William-Rast Dallara in 1:64 and 1:18. The “matchbox” car sized one can be picked up for as little as $8 on the internet. It’s the Hot Wheels tribute that has me up in arms. Let’s face it, as with all collectables the value is whatever it’s worth to whom ever buys it. This has been a bone of contention with me over the course of the 10+ years that I went from rolling  Hot Wheels on the floor to truly collecting. While working at Wal-Mart in the toy department I was introduced to a whole diffrent culture, and that’s when I made the move to collecting. I’m not one of those guys that show up at Walmart right as the pallets are brought out so I can get the overhyped, in my opinion, treasure hunt. I absolutely refuse to put more than one of single style of car in my cart, unless one of my family is getting one also. I hunt and collect 1:64th diecast. I DO NOT horde them or believe that by getting all of the one off paint schemes that I will put my children through college. That is a completely asinine assumption.

With that in mind when I saw that Hot Wheels was releasing a Dan Wheldon tribute I thought it was absolutely fitting. Crimson metalflake red, Lionheart flag on the side pods, Lionheart on the Real rider tires, signature an DW symbol on the front wing. It was a perfect tribute to such a great racer and two-time Indy winner. Proceeds from the car were to go to the Wheldon family, just a perfect situation. Knowing the collectors in my area, it’s going to be a 50/50 shot on me getting one. Reason being? Yes it is a special edition, I haven’t seen a driver specific tribute in the mainline series all my years of getting Hot Wheels. There are the driver or rider designed vehcles of Dale Jr., Danica, and Jorge Lorenzo but not a driver tribute. The other reason is I know what these guys around here collect alot of, Volkswagen and muscle cars, so my chances were decent.

I went on ebay a couple days ago to see if they had hit there yet. I was apalled to what I was seeing. An .88 cent car (walmart current price) with Dan Wheldon was going for $49! Now I can see the validaity in it, if it was an auction to raise money for the Wheldon’s but sadly it is not. This is the type of thing that embarrases me as a collector. If I’ve calculated this right a 5000% profit on a car because of his death seems a bit shitty at most. It makes me sick to think of myself as a collector of what truly is just a kids toy. Will I stop buying Hot Wheels? No. But I will abolutely refuse to buy, anything from the sellers on ebay that are trying to make a profit.

This is the new place I will start uploading blogs. Be sure to check me out on Twitter @Fujis123, friend me on Facebook (Ross Fujibayashi) so we can talk racing or whatever.

Finally,

Dan Wheldon was so much for so many people, I for one didn’t get to have the experiences others had with him. Although, after seeing the tributes, I now have a better understanding of what he meant to the fans. A great man, a great father, a great racer and teammate. This little bitty 1:64th scale tribute may not seem like much to people, well obviously the ones trying to make a buck. But, to those that knew him, the car is just like he was……perfect.

this is me, and a little bit about well…..me

17 Jun

Wow, I finally got my own blog. My name is Ross Fujibayashi. I’m a 28 yr old father of 4, and I’m addicted to racing. Whew, they always say the first step is admitting your addiction. I’m excited to share with all of you my take on racing. Wither it be NASCAR, Izod Indycar, or any of the sports car series’.

My addiction started at a young age. My earliest memory was, sitting at the access road just before T14 at Road America on an IMSA weekend in the 80’s. As a matter of fact there’s a picture on my wall of Al Holbert/Derek Bell’s Lowenbraü Porsche at the same spot. They say addictions are passed down, and that couldn’t be more true than with my family. My Grandfather used to race sports cars, my uncles raced motorcycles and cars, and my father was a course marshall, my mom did timing and scoring, plus other relatives that did other things in racing. That’s just a Tidbit of info that I will expand on at a later date.

I want to thank triple racing league for the opportunity to write about a sport I’m very passionate about.