Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who Don't You Love?

We’re talking drivers. Let’s hear it.

TAMMY: I don’t actively dislike many drivers. Mostly I like a few and feel ambivalent or mildly supportive of the vast majority. But there are two I really, really don’t care for.

1. Fernando Alonso, Formula 1. Nothing summarizes my feelings for him so much as the phrase “whiny git.” I don’t deny his mad racing skills. I simply find the personality and behavior he’s chosen to display to the public to be arrogant and complaining. No thanks.

2. Kyle Busch, NASCAR. Again, a guy who’s crazy-good behind the wheel. But a loose cannon and devoid of class. If he’s winning by a large margin, I turn off the race. My hopes for NASCAR races are ABK (anyone but Kyle).

SIMON: The driver I have an issue with these days is Danica Patrick. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say that. My issue with her is that the way she presented herself to the public is that she gives off an air of entitlement and that's one thing really gets me huffing and puffing. I know there's a lot of expectation around her because she is the sport's number one female driver, but expecting the world to fall at her feet because of it, I find quite annoying. If she was a little more humble, I'd like her a lot more.

But I don't want to focus on the negative. Who do you like?

TAMMY: How positive of you, Simon! (And I find it hard to argue with you about Danica. Part of me thinks, "work it while you can, girl," and another part of me is just annoyed with her.)

Who DO I love? Hands down, my favorite driver ever is someone few people have
heard of: Patrick Long. He's Porsche's only American factory driver, and has been for seven years now. He dabbles in stock cars on off weekends (and does well), he's won Le Mans (twic
e in class), and he took the Australian V8 Supercars series by storm when he visited with a number of other "international" drivers for an event last year. He speaks a bunch of languages, is polished and articulate at all times to all people, and is simply a nice human being. And no, no crushing here, more like a proud older-sister. He was the rookie driver for the team I was involved in back in 2004, and I've kept in touch with him and watched his career skyrocket. He deserves any success coming his way, as he's just one of the good guys.

In other series, I liked Lewis Hamilton more last year than this. I like Tony Kanaan (not sure why, because of same initials?). I like Tony Stewart for being a pure racer. How about you, Simon?

SIMON: My all time racing hero is Jim Clark. His racing stats speak for themselves. I've read his autobiography and a number of biographies and he seemed like a very humble and honest man who loved racing for racing. I wish I could have met him. I'm a big fan of Nigel Mansell too. I loved that he was a total animal with his cars. They will bow to his will. I have a real soft spot for Johnny Herbert. I knew a couple of mechanics that worked with him in F3 and said he was an absolute star in the car. He could make an absolute crate fly, but was an awful test driver because he couldn't tell you word one how to make the car better. I admired Ayrton Senna. Probably the most intuitive driver who ever lived. The BBC did a documentary series about McLaren. He left me slack-jawed when he predicted an engine problem before the computer did. Amazing ability. Also I have a soft spot for all British drivers in the sport. I want them all to do well, but I may be a little biased. :-)

TAMMY: I won't argue with either of us being biased. What about the rest of you? Who do or don't you love?

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