Keeping it Off The Wall

'tis the season
Ed Donath
June 5, 2000
In light of telethon-challenged Milwaukee TV race coverage (saved, in this case, by the rain-out and rescheduling of the Miller Lite 225) Ed's reprise of a "commentary" that originally appeared in the 12/99 edition of Champ Car magazine under the title "What you don't see is what you get" is certainly timely. Here's the original UNCUT version

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Ed's Other Articles 

'"Hello again Champ Car fans! Todd Wickerbill here welcoming you to Way Behind the Scenes in CART. Today we're coming to you live from the new CART TV Archives studio from which we're launching a unique new program feature.

Recently, we've received lots of e-mail from viewers urging us to provide video-taped footage from televised races they "missed" during the course of the 1999 CART season. We'll answer some of those requests today with the help of Archivesmaster, Laszlov G. Spelczecher, who will provide the official CART race clips. And we've got a special CART: It's NOT for couch potatoes tee shirt for every viewer whose e-mail we talk about on the air!

OK…let's get started. Our first e-mail is from Imogene Jaypegg of Walla Walla, Washington. Imogene's local network affiliate broke away from Road America coverage 16 laps before the checkers flew and Christian Fittipaldi made his first-ever trip to Victory Lane. Imogene and her family missed what you're seeing on your screens now…that's super-rookie, Juan P. Montoya experiencing his first series dnf as his gearbox finally seized. Juan was comfortably in the lead up to that point, despite the balky gearbox…about two seconds ahead of Fittipaldi with only six laps to go.

I'm sure you knowledgeable fans will recall that the Road America race got off to a shaky start when a total of six cars were involved in two separate incidents on the first lap. This caused the race to be red-flagged and delayed for awhile. Also, coincidentally, CART had lengthened the race by five laps this year to help discourage teams from adopting the kind of weird 
fuel-gamble strategies that have been the cause of yellow-flag bottlenecks in the closing laps of past Elkhart Lake races.

This quirky combination of events forced Imogene's local station to quit its race coverage prematurely in order to honor its long-standing commitment to telecast the Walla Walla Kiwanis Club's Annual Action Auction of the Air. At the time, this was terribly frustrating for fans in the Walla Walla market…but they probably don't feel so bad anymore, knowing that we ALL experienced a lapse in Road America coverage when, during Lap 43 of the 55-lapper, the network terminated its coverage of the race to honor its commitment to professional golf.

Which Open was that Laszlov…the US or the British? Anyway, wasn't it great the way the network later broke into the ongoing golf program to bring us live "white-flag-to-checkered-flag coverage" at Road America? Laszlov, would you please put that final Road America lap clip on for Imogene and the rest of our audience now?

Hold on…wait a second!! Sorry, Laszlov, but that's the wrong clip…folks, what you're actually seeing right now is a Sammy Sosa at-bat breakaway from either the Chicago or the Laguna Seca race. I'm not sure which one because I believe we had multiple breakaways in each of those races. Unfortunately, CART fans didn't get to see Sosa hit his 60th homer during a Champ Car race, but our special congratulations go out to Sammy and Mark McGwire for the tremendous effort they put forth after their incredible 1998 Home Run Derby year.

All right…let's take our commercial break now while Laszlov cues-up the start of the Surfers Paradise event. That one had its first 12 laps nationally pre-empted by a Saturday Night College Football nailbiter. By the way, we'll be sending a tee shirt to Harvey Waitjacker of Kalamazoo, Michigan for his e-mail request of the Aussie footage.

Also, when we return from the break, we'll have highlights from the portion of the Cleveland race that was missed when the golf match that preceded it on the network ran long due to a sudden-death round. Our thanks to the warehouse crew at the Ninth Butterfly Gift Catalog Company of San Francisco for that e-mail request. You guys may have to draw straws to determine who gets to wear the tee shirt.

Anyway, folks back in a minute………I hope."

Comments can be sent to the author at contacts@autoracing1.com.

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