Thursday, October 02, 2008

FBI invades Road Atlanta? Day 2.1

Super-famous multiple Indy 500-winning driver Helio Castroneves (yes, the smiling Brazilian dude on "Dancing With The Stars") has just been arrested here at Road Atlanta. I was having a yummy catered dinner at Peugeot's hospitality suite when I got the news. Four big black Suburbans rolled in and took Castroneves, his sister, and his lawyer into custody. [edit: All I have been able to verify is that Helio is wanted on a Federal tax evasion charge, and later events have confirmed he was taken to Miami to appear before a judge, make bail, and get himself back to Atlanta. However, the original source for the info above, may not have been 100% reliable. If I did in fact get any of this wrong, well, shit...]

However, he is, as I write this, IN THE RACE CAR AND ON THE TRACK. He's listed on the leader board, and it's definitely his helmet visible just 50 feet away from where I'm sitting. Guess that lawyer of his really is quite good.

I may have inadvertently flirted my way into a job offer. Team Peugeot Total has a serious presence here in ALMS, and their team PR manager (a really cute French girl named Cecile, who speaks just enough English to order a burger) wants to know (1) how do I get an American on-board as liaison for the company in the US, and (2) do I know anything about racing? I won't get too far ahead of myself, especially with my rusty hold of the French language and my small-if-impressive contacts, but this is an interesting twist.

Of interest probably only to a friend at home, but since she never reads email I'll post here anyway:

Marco Andretti nearly ran me over with a golf cart, but was so humble and apologetic afterwards. He's a great kid. David Brabham and I got to talk shop at a conference earlier, before I visited the Patron hospitality suite. He's doing great, and I expect he'll kick serious ass on Saturday [Update - his car fell out of the race before Brabs ever got to turn a wheel. Damn!].

Lord Drayson is a total freakin' hoot. We spent about 20 minutes discussing Top Gear, E85, Tony Blair, Saturday Night Live, girls, and more Top Gear. If you watch the race on Saturday, the incredibly awesome Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 is his ride, and it's just a gorgeous machine. Far better than the DBR9, I think.

Tracy Krohn may just stick to Grand Am series next year. Too damn expensive to run here and there at once. Similar rumors about Penske/Porsche, but I'm not qualifying them as anything but rumors at this point.

Amanda Stretton is said to be here at the track. I still have my permission slip, too! :) [Update - I haven't been able to find Ms. Stretton. Oh well...]

Earl Fannin is not in good health. More cancer than a lab rat - bone cancer in his leg, a tumor on the back of his neck, the latter is inoperable. Talking with him is such a reality check, a reminder of just how damn tough I don't have it, and how damn easy I've gotten along this far. I wish him the best; the man is like a favorite uncle to me.

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