A totally non-medical post…
I like open wheel auto racing, and used to be an avid CART fan; then the IRL split and, well, it’s still okay racing but the edge is gone. Thus, I have found myself following Formula 1 racing these last few years, which 3 years ago wasn’t very good racing and has become quite good over time. I did watch the few F1 races shown in the US back in the ‘pre-Speed channel’ days, and enjoyed them.
It’s never really bothered me that there aren’t US drivers in F1, though the US coverage is always gaga when an American driver is in the field. Until this year, Michael Andretti in ?93? was the last, and that was more of an embarrassment than effort (and it pains me to say it, as I’m a big Mikey fan, but the effort was awful). Before Mike? Eddie Cheever. "Eddie Cheever, the only American driver in the field" was apparently a required line for announcers when he was driving, and it was said so frequently it was comical. In fact, were I to call my brother and just say "Eddie Cheever" he’d finish the sentence. So, there have been Americans racing in F1 before.
This year, it’s Scott Speed driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso (horrible Flash site). Before you get your hopes up, he’s an incredibly talented young driver in the terrible former Minardi team / car, the only bright spot being there’s probably more money there than before as it’s Red Bull’s second team. He did well, and SpeedChannel did a good job of pointing him out but not doing a Cheever every time he showed up.
I have to wonder about his security. As an American he’s going to be a lightning rod for every nut with a grudge, and this series runs in some countries that you’d be silly to advertise your American-ness without a dedicated security group.
I was thinking about that while watching a procession of the country flags before the race (yes, the US flag was there), and then wondered how crowds will react listening to the National Anthem should he wind up on the podium (okay, that won’t happen given the car, but it makes an interesting wonderment).
Speed qualified 16th, finished 13th (both behind his main teammate Liuzzi, 15/11). The series looks to be good this year.
Now, if we could just get CART and IRL to fuse (and occasionally turn right) I wouldn’t need a present for my birthday.