Monday, September 29, 2008

The Typical Guy's 2008 Singapore GP Review...

Much like how the previous Italian Grand Prix was won by Sebastian Vettel on a very, very lucky break, the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was likewise won by Fernando Alonso with an even more insane amount of than Vettel had then. Alonso, from P15 on the grid to race winner. From chump to champ. A twist of fate, then, no thanks to an unlucky run in the Qualifying session.


The night was practically electric from the start, both figuratively and literally, in the very first F1 night race to be run under electric lights instead of the familiar mid-day sun it has always run under since the series began. And with the huge success the Singapore GP has shown to be, I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie Ecclestone pushed for more night races in the years to follow.


On pole in a street circuit, the race should've been in the bag already for Felipe Massa. All he had to do was to protect his lead, hope that luck was on his side and he would be on top of the drivers' championship tally board right now. But no thanks to a botched pit stop from Ferrari, he lost a race that could've been his. Did Felipe anticipate the green light too eagerly? Was the man handling the rig too eager to push the light switch even when the fuel rig was still attached? Will we ever find out? I guess not.

As for Kimi Räikkönen, for the nth time, he managed to hammer down the fastest lap in a grand prix race but still came home points-less after crashing his car into the barriers with just 3 more laps to go. All signs point to race fatigue but again, we'll probably never know the truth. And if the Ferrari/Alonso rumor proves to be true, Ferrari only has to endure one more season of Kimi's underwhelming achievements before they can get their hands on Alonso' services.

Still, all I know is, the race debriefing today with Luca di Montezemolo isn't going to be a pretty one. Because after the Swiss-clockwork-like machinery Ferrari had run like during the Michael Schumacher/Jean Todt/Ross Brawn-era, today's Ferrari under Stefano Domenicalli is just downright atrocious!

In a tight, brightly-lit street race,
Toyota's Jarno Trulli was both entertaining yet frustrating to watch as he and his fuel-laden TF108 made like a moving chicane to the utter frustration of those trailing him, with the first overtaking moves taken in Lap 7 courtesy of Williams' Nico Rosberg.


All this time, Alonso was running 11th, his race seemingly over as he wasn't able to mount a serious challenge even if he was running with a light fuel load since he was only able to move up four places. So as early as Lap 12, Alonso dove into the pits to get refueled and found himself at the back of the grid when he came back on track. But on Lap 15, his teammate, Nelson Piquet Jr., crashed out, thus starting the mad scramble that would catapult Alonso to eventually win the race and further ensuring that Nelsinho's chances of retaining a seat in F1, much more with Renault, are slowly slipping away. And frankly, I'd be surprised if he still stays in F1 next season.

With the crash on a tight street circuit, it was inevitable that the Safety Car would come out, thus prompting
Red Bull to have their cars pit in before the Safety Car was deployed on track which instantly meant the pit lane was off-limits. But seemingly unable to wait for the pit lane to reopen, both Rosberg and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica dove in, automatically incurring stop/go penalties. And once it was reopened, almost the entire field went in for their pit stops, including both Ferrari's and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

And this is when Massa's botched pit stop happened as he was given the green light to rejoin the race despite having the fuel rig still attached to his F2008. Of course, given the signal, instinct had him barreling down the pit lane, inadvertently ripping the hose off from the rig and knocking down a couple of hapless mechanics with it, as Massa dragged the hose all the way down to the pit lane exit where he waited for the mechanics to detach it. Unfortunately,
Räikkönen was also getting refueled, leaving the mechanics to finish refueling him first before they were able to run and help Massa out. So in a single pit stop, Felipe went from first to last on the grid, thus costing him the race.


What was surprising though was that all three incidents took over half an hour for the stewards to decide that they should be investigated for the violations, which was sometime on Lap 23, with the stop-go penalties handed down starting at Lap 25 with Massa, with Kubica serving his on Lap 27 while Rosberg got his on Lap 28. Another classic fumble by slow-acting, dimwitted race stewards. And to think that earlier in the race, BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Renault's Alonso and Nelsinho cut across the opening chicane with neither of the them being meted any corresponding punishment. All the more reason permanent race stewards are need instead of the current system's amateurs making important decisions that can greatly affect an entire championship season.

So while the race stewards were busy scratching their heads on what to do next, Rosberg was able to secure the lead and pad it further by putting in some quick laps ahead of the second-place Trulli who was yet to pit so that when he came in for his penalty, he was still able to come out of the pit on fourth. So for a brief amount of time, Toyota led the pack thanks to Trulli who was running on a one-stop strategy. But with the race halfway over at that point, it was inevitable that Trulli would have to pit in soon, and that came in on Lap 33 which led to Alonso inheriting the lead - a lead he never relinquished until he crossed the chequered flag.


But where was Hamilton in all this? He was dicing it out with F1's elder statesman, David Coulthard, in the battle for fourth place. And though McLaren had the more superior package, the combination of Coulthard's experience in race tactics coupled with the tight track meant Hamilton had a tough task ahead of him - a task that he was only able to get ahead of when he muscled his way past Coulthard in Lap 42. Still, the Hamilton vs. Coulthard battle slowed down both drivers so much, Alonso was able to dive into the pit to refuel and came out still in possession of the lead.


The action didn't stop there as Massa once again replicated his patented 'spin dryer' move on Lap 51 when he came upon Trulli's broken down Toyota, victim of a bogged down transmission. Luckily enough, Massa was able to continue on but apparently, Force India's Adrian Sutil was distracted by Massa's move enough for him to hit the barrier, sending out he Safety Car for the second time, thus nullifying Alonso's massive 18.5-second lead over Rosberg. But when the green flag, or in this case, 'light', was activated on Lap 53, Alonso opened up a 3.7-second lead in a single lap alone which he built up to 6.1 seconds another lap later. With just three more laps to go 'til the end of the race, it was Kimi's turn to crash out of the race as he clipped the kerbs and smashed into the barriers, thus robbing him of a podium finish for the fourth race in a row.

So for the first time this season, Renault - and Alonso - managed to get the top step of the podium as the historic AND lucky winners of the first-ever Singapore Grand Prix in the first-ever F1 night race. Both parties should also be lucky that the race stewards overlooked how Alonso and the other drivers cut across a chicane earlier in the race. But then again, considering the flack the FIA went through after the Belgian GP incident, to tarnish what has been the best debut race in F1's modern history (Yes, the European GP in Valencia was a snoozefest with a capital 'Zzzzz..') by stripping Alonso of his win is not something they're looking for so soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

After Marcus Camby, could Allen Iverson be next?

In an interview with Rocky Mountain News, Allen Iverson has said that's a big possibility since he's on the last year of his contract with the Denver Nuggets where he's going to get paid $20.84 million, making him the team's highest paid player for the year.


Further adding fuel to the fire is that AI wanted to opt out of the final season of his contract by signing a multi-year contract with the Nuggets, with AI even offering to play for less money, but the Nuggets never even bothered to present him with a counter-offer.

But what really drove it home to AI was when Marcus Camby was traded to the LA Clippers for next to nothing. And for a team that's looking to rebuild like Denver, there's a big chance they may trade him before the deadline and get something for him in return rather than losing him as a free agent while they got nothing back.

So unless the Nuggets make an offer sometime this upcoming season and AI accepts it (since he did say he wants to continue playing with the team), that would make Iverson free to sign with any team that would make him an offer he can't refuse.

Now the questions are, where would he go and who would want to have him on their team?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's the Singapore GP weekend!!!


That's right, it's the first-ever Singapore Grand Prix weekend! Not only that, it's also the first-ever F1 night race! Damn, for an F1 nut like me, to be there to be a part of such a historic occasion... *sigh*


If only I was a filthy rich scion of a
brewery magnate or a real estate tycoon or the son of a dirty politician...or if only I worked for an automobile publication and I'd be the lucky guy they'd send over to cover the event...


Hey, Vernon, how about sending me over for a trip to ANY F1 race one time? Hahahaha...

A man could wish, right? Of course, the bigwigs from Pilipinas Shell, CATS Motors, Toyota Motors Philippines, etc. would only send the guys from Top Gear Philippines.

I guess I'll just have to be content with watching F1 on Star Sports. *sigh*

Why being a male chauvinist pays off after all...

American scientists say that based on their research, which was published in the latest edition of the US Journal of Applied Psychology, men who have the traditionally sexist view that a woman's place should be in the kitchen earn more than their "enlightened" counterparts.


How much more, you ask? Well, according to the scientists, there's an $8,500 difference in annual salaries between the barbarians and the übersexuals. In our local currency, and based on XE.com's current exchange rate of USD1=PHP46.5300, that's a PHP 395,505 annual difference in salaries.

Well, I'll be damned. That means if I were a male chauvinist pig instead of a typical tender loving guy, I'll be making more than half a mil a year right now! Is this more proof then that nice guys do finish last?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An F1 'silly season' rumor - Alonso will stay with Renault for now....but will be in Ferrari by 2010?!

A week ago, I mentioned that both BMW Sauber and Honda were very much interested to sign Fernando Alonso to their teams; that is, if his contract with Renault ran for only a year or if it had a performance clause allowing him to get out if he wanted to based on certain conditions.


Well, according to one report, Alonso has opted to stay with Renault after turning down BMW Sauber's offer while ruling Honda out from the running. Alonso was only looking for a flexible, short-term contract with BMW Sauber to allow him the freedom to sign with Ferrari after the 2010 season, the year the contracts of both Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen run out. But BMW Sauber was insisting on a longer, multi-year contract which led to Alonso turning down the offer. Alonso also conveniently believes that Renault will perform much better than BMW Sauber next season, owing to the new aero rules and the introduction of the new KERS system along with the return of slick tires. Yeah, right. If it helps you sleep better at night..

As for Honda... do I even have to explain why Alonso turned them down?

Still, another report has it that Alonso just might be in Ferrari by 2010, a year earlier than expected since both Massa and Räikkönen's contract expire at the end of that year. According to the report, Alonso has already signed an agreement with Ferrari that's good for four years and that the Italian team will just terminate the last year in Kimi's contract by buying it out.


So, why did Ferrari announce the extension in the first place? Apparently, the extension was triggered by the Flying Finn through a one-sided option in his contract, allowing him to renew for one more year. My guess is, Kimi found out that Ferrari was talking with Alonso, and since he'll be on the last year of his contract with Ferrari next year, he beat Ferrari to the punch by renewing his contract instead of letting Ferrari run it out and have Alonso occupy his seat the following year. Shrewd move by Kimi then.

But why buy Kimi's contract out instead of letting him work for it? Well, Ferrari can't afford another underwhelming season from Kimi. Sure, Kimi has the pace; setting the fastest laps in nine GPs this season is proof of that. But going really fast AND not producing enough podium finishes - let alone race wins - is putting a serious damper on Ferrari's run for the constructors' championship, not to mention the cash prize they get to take home if they win it.

So again, why buy it out instead of letting him work for it? Apparently - and gee, what a coincidence! - Banco Santander's contract with McLaren only runs until the end of 2009, leaving the team open to move to Ferrari as their title sponsor. And since Santander is so keen to have Alonso's name attached with them (Spanish bank, Spanish driver, lots of pesos to be gained publicity-wise), the bank just might pick up the tab to
Räikkönen's last year with Ferrari, paving the way for Alonso to make the jump to Ferrari. Santander's happy to finally be associated with Alonso for more than a year and Ferrari's happy to have a double champion who's still hungry to win more. It's a win-win situation for both.


But what if Räikkönen makes up for this year's failings by putting up a superb run next season? Well, that could only mean Massa will get the boot unless his contract also has a one-sided option allowing him to race for Ferrari for another year. But if not, then it's Massa's contract that gets bought out. And when that happens, that means it's going to be Kimi and Fernando with Ferrari come 2010! And that's a volatile line-up right there, right along the lines of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in McLaren during the '88 and '89 seasons!

Either way, regardless if it's going to be Kimi or Felipe who'll get booted out, I can't wait to watch the fireworks once Alonso joins Ferrari.


Still, I stand by what I said. Can Ferrari and Alonso get along, knowing that both parties are capable of playing dirty with the other party if it serves to benefit them? Well, if both parties will benefit from it, I don't see why not. But if it only serves one while leaving the other party on the short end of the stick... Hmmm...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why Reggie Miller never talked trash against Michael Jordan.

If you're an NBA fan, you probably know that Reggie Miller was one of the NBA's famous trash talker. But according to this interview with Dan Patrick, Reggie said he never talked trash to Michael Jordan EVER.


Actually, he only talked trash to Jordan just one time, and that was during his first game - a pre-season game with his Indiana Pacers - as a rookie against Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. And after he got schooled in that game, Reggie became Mr. Cordial whenever he played against MJ again.

Reggie Miller, you got served!

The Typical Guy's 2008 NFL Week 3 Review...

Last week's lengthy review turned out to be more troublesome than it's worth, no thanks to Blogger's 200-character limit for the labels. So from now on, I'll limit my review to just a few of the teams whose game for that week were significant to either my love for the team, were statistically important for the team, or the game's importance to the season's standings.

After executing what was their best start in 17 years, the Arizona Cardinals reverted back to their losing ways as Edgerrin James' fumble and Kurt Warner's interception helped the Washington Redskins win, 24-17. And lucky enough to capitalize on both errors was Redskins' defensive back, Carlos Rogers, who not only recovered Edge's fumble, he intercepted Warner's pass and ran with the ball to Arizona's 15-yard line, giving the Redskins' a chance to score two plays later with a Santana Moss touchdown. And even if the Cardinals got the ball back with 3:42 left in the game, Warner couldn't move the offense, denying the team of their first 3-0 start since 1974.


As for the Indianapolis Colts, the absence of 2007 defensive player of the year Bob Sanders clearly hurt them as the Jacksonville Jaguars' vaunted running game finally delivered with a 23-21 victory that kept Peyton Manning on the sideline most of the game. With the win, the Jaguars are now 1-2 while the Colts drop to 1-2 as well.


And though the Colts went down but tried to keep it close, I could almost swear that the New England Patriots just laid down and let the once-hapless Miami Dolphins have their way with them. Because, really, how could the most prepared team in the NFL go down against the Dolphins? Granted, the Dolphins' play was on the unorthodox side, having running back Ronnie Brown score four of his five touchdown after taking the snap from center. But to not have an answer for that after the first couple of times? Maybe Bill Belichick misses videotaping those signals now because from the way the Patriots played, they certainly looked lost out there.


The Dallas Cowboys, though, were on a roll as they brought down the Green Bay Packers 27-16, as they went up 3-0 for the season. And though the Packers' plan on stopping Terrell Owens with double-, sometimes even triple-, coverage did work, that only meant the rest of their offensive line-up were open with backup wide receiver Miles Austin even catching a couple of big passes. For Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, though, he finally experienced his first loss in the regular season as he got sacked five times and was unable to put together some consistent scoring drives.


With pre-season favorite San Diego Chargers down 0-2, the game against the New York Jets was certainly a 'must-win' one since a 0-3 hole is a hard one to climb out of in the NFL. And win they did as an explosive Chargers' offense hung on to Philip Rivers' touchdown passes to Mike Tolbert, Antonio Gates and Chris Chambers to win the game, 48-29. Even the toe-injury-nursing LaDainian Tomlinson chipped in with a couple of 2-yard touchdown runs. Looks like the limited time Brett Favre had to learn the Jets' system is starting to hurt them.


On to Week 4 then!

Remember Rudy Fernandez?

And no, I'm not talking about this Rudy Fernandez...


I'm talking about THIS Rudy Fernandez, the guy who scored 22 points (in 18 minutes of play!) for Spain in their gold medal game against the Redeem Team, which Team USA won - barely.



Well, he's in Portland now where he recently joined the Trailblazers as their latest offshore acquisition, coming off from a trade with the Phoenix Suns during the 2007 NBA draft. And according to the 'Blazers, they're gonna give him time to acclimate to Portland and find a place to live in and that they're working on getting him a tutor to help him with his English.


The 'Blazers also said that they're going to give him time to catch up on the NBA style of play. Personally, I don't think that's going to be a problem since he did POSTERIZE Dwight Howard!!!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

September is 'National Bourbon Heritage Month.'


And no, I'm not kidding since the US Senate made that official last year, with the bill reinforcing the 1964 Act of Congress that declared bourbon as "America's Native Spirit."

And since we Filipinos love everything there is that's even remotely American, then I suggest we all go out later tonight and, with lots of grilled red meat, toast to a bottle of Jack Daniel's or Jim Beam, or if you're feeling like Jim Morrison, maybe even a bottle of Wild Turkey, and celebrate everything that's American that we Filipinos love - like capitalism, merchandising, porn, the sheer joy of out-blinging everyone we know and don't know...


But please, drink responsibly so that you don't get drunk too much and start making excuses when you pass out, like George "Dubya" did. I mean, seriously, who chokes on a pretzel?!

Friday, September 19, 2008

For the bling-obsessed hip-hop artist...

...or for the stainless steel owner-type jeepney tycoon, here's their chariot of choice...

The stainless steel Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.


Now that's just absurd and downright tacky, not to mention it's a surefire way to call attention to yourself. But then again, if you're an obscenely rich Saudi Arabian and you've got hundreds of oil wells in your back yard while the rest of the world demands the very product that you have almost total control of, then I suppose you can be obscene simply because you can, thus giving everyone the finger while you say, "Hey! Look at me! I'm so rich, I can afford to own a Ferrari and uglify it simply because I can!"

"Be blinded by my awesomeness and tackiness as I pass you by."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's time for this year's F1 'silly season' to begin...


Although driver changes for the next season in F1 can happen at anytime of the year - a case in point would be Red Bull Racing's announcement mid-July of this year that Sebastian Vettel of Toro Rosso will be taking over David Coulthard's seat in the 'senior team' when he steps down from F1 at the end of this season - late August and early September has somewhat been the traditional time of the year when teams and drivers start thinking seriously about the future, about who's going where, what teams are making a play for which driver, you know what I mean.

So when Ferrari announced
over the Italian GP weekend that Kimi Räikkönen's contract has been extended by one year, thus keeping him with the team until the 2010 season, it was really par for the course.

So again,
who's going where? What teams are making a play for which driver? Whose going to be making an obscene amount of money next year?

Ferrari
Since Felipe Massa still has a live contract with Ferrari until 2010, the team only had to take care of Kimi's contract. And as mentioned, they've already done that, ensuring that they'll have this year's line-up with them for two more seasons.

But then again, what was somewhat surprising was that they extended Räikkönen's contract for another year - when he still has a live one in place until next year - when his performance this season has been insipid, particularly when you take note of the fact that he's set the fastest lap in nine GPs this season but has only won one of those said races (Spanish GP), leaving many, including this Typical Guy, scratching their heads in wonderment. After all, why keep a superb driver who's been lackadaisical for most of the season? They could've just waited to offer the extension next year to see if it's really worth extending. And who's to say his performance next season won't be different from this season's? You're not getting your money's worth that way, particularly if he's the second-highest paid driver in F1 right now, at least according to some reports.

"Am I really worth that much?"

McLaren-Mercedes
Next year also finds McLaren fielding the same driver line-up as this year. And thanks to Lewis Hamilton's impressive rookie performance last season, the team was more than eager to extend his contract for five more years last January even before the season started, keeping him in their fold until 2012. As for Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren announced in late July during the lead-up to the Hungarian GP weekend that he'd be continuing on as Hamilton's teammate for next season, spoiling the plans of many GP2 drivers who were looking to follow in Hamilton's footsteps by joining one of F1's top teams in their rookie year.

BMW Sauber
Although the team hasn't made an official announcement on who would be driving for them next season, reports have it that sometime late August, Robert Kubica signed a one-year extension to his contract, effectively keeping him with the team for next season. But that goes against what team principal, Mario Theissen, said during the Valencia GP weekend that he'd prefer long-term contracts with his drivers when rumors of two-time world champion,
Fernando Alonso, joining the team supposedly for just next season surfaced.

Theissen also mentioned that next season's line-up will only be confirmed between late August and the end of the season, although he has said, in not so many words, that the team is willing to wait for Alonso to make up his mind. But what's really telling is his quote that BMW Sauber is the strongest team right now that, "has an open seat for next year," leaving Nick Heidfeld's fate unknown at this point.

"Scheisse!"

Toyota
Jarno Trulli signed a three-year extension with Toyota in 2006 which means next season will be his last with his current contract so his race seat is guaranteed for next year at least. The same goes for Timo Glock who, like Trulli, already has a contract in place for next year with a possible option for 2010. Good move on Toyota's part, really, since there's no use undermining what has so far been their most successful season to date by going with a different driver or two for next season who're unfamiliar with the team and the cars. Like the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Renault
Rumor was, prior to the extension of Kimi's contract with Ferrari, Fernando Alonso was being linked to Kimi's seat and that he'd be occupying it as early as next season if the rumors of Kimi wanting to retire at the end of this season did prove to be true. And since we already know what happened with Kimi's contract with Ferrari, what's next for Alonso then?

Well, the details of his contract with Renault has been kept classified to date but if one of the reports mentioned earlier is true, then Alonso could still be with the team next season since part of his PR spin always has him saying that Renault will always be his first option. But then again, seeing how uncompetitive Reanult's R27 was in racing trim during his one-year stint with McLaren, it's quite likely that before he signed with Renault, Alonso would've negotiated a performance clause in his contract that would allow him to jump ship if the team - and this season's R28 - didn't produce the results he wanted.

"What makes you think I'm not happy with Renault anymore?"

Also, Honda and BMW Sauber have been very forthcoming about their desire to acquire his services, although both would like to have him for a long-term contract as opposed to a similar short-term, wait-and-see-and-get-the-hell-out-if-I-don't-like-it-here-anymore contract that he might have right now with Renault. If the performance clause does exist, the smart move would be with BMW Sauber since they've been the most competitive team thus far outside of Ferrari and McLaren.

But can Alonso handle a fast and competitive teammate like Kubica? Although Kubica has said he sees no problem having the two-time former world champion as his teammate, Alonso might not see it that way given his problem with an equally fast and competitive Hamilton in McLaren last season. If Kubica starts beating him in the time sheets, Alonso just might start throwing his toys out of the pram again and demand that he be designated the team's #1 driver. And when that time comes, Kubica certainly won't take that lying down, given how often Kubica and Heidfeld have fought over positions in so many races.

As for Nelson Piquet Jr., his performance has been marginal this season, with his second place finish in the German GP coming out of sheer luck, thanks to the timing of his one-stop strategy that had him come in just before Timo Glock's crash which had most of the cars clogging the pit for their own stops afterwards. After that, it's been the same ol' underperforming Nelsinho so the jury's still out on him.

Toro Rosso
With Vettel already confirmed to take Coulthard's place in Red Bull next season, the fate of Sebastien Bourdais is still up in the air. After his points scoring seventh place finish in the Australian GP, he's has been thoroughly out-raced, if not out-classed, by a teammate who's eight years his junior and who was still in an F1 feeder series while he (Bourdais) was wrapping up the first of his four consecutive Champ Car titles.
Yes, you read that right. Four CONSECUTIVE Champ Car titles. That's three more than what Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya ever brought home from Champ Car racing.

So in his next points scoring finish at the Belgian GP, the end of the race saw him in tears, a clear sign of a man who's been under immense pressure to produce after so many races wrought with frustration. Understandable, really, for a four-time Champ Car champion who has also raced in Le Mans and other touring car series.

The way I see it, Bourdais has to stay for at least one season more. His performance later on in the season shows he really has what it takes to go at it with the rest of the field. After all, you can't expect a series champion to jump into a mid-level team in another series and immediately expect him to hammer out a couple of wins. If his car didn't stall on the grid in the Italian GP just when he was sitting in P4, we just might have seen a Toro Rosso 1-2 finish since he did set the second fastest lap in the race behind - you guessed it - Kimi
Räikkönen.


Red Bull
If I hadn't mentioned it enough already, I'll say it again - F1's newest wunderkind, Sebastian Vettel will be driving for Red Bull next year because, after 15 years of F1 racing and after coming thisclose to the championship a handful of times, David Coulthard - the man with the square jaw, literally - will be hanging up his fire retardant nomex jumpsuit for good at the end of the season. That leaves Mark Webber as Vettel's partner for next season since his current contract was extended up to next year last July.

WilliamsF1
Frank Williams should be thanking Keke Rosberg for his paternal influence on his son, since the ex-champion's history with the team probably made a difference with Nico Rosberg deciding to extend his contract with the team in late 2007, keeping him with Williams until 2009. After all, he could have just let the contract run its course until the end of the year and then make the switch to McLaren who were said to be interested in him as Alonso's replacement.

As for Kazuki Nakajima, his history with Toyota just might save his race seat with the team. After all, it's in the team's best interest to keep their engine supplier happy, and that's by having a driver from Toyota's Young Drivers Program stay with the team. There's also the fact that both Rosberg and Nakajima have almost split Williams' constructors' points equally between them, with Rosberg ahead only by a solitary point, and that should be enough to convince Sir Frank to retain Nakajima's services for at least one more season.

Honda
Ross Brawn's said in mid-July that he'd like to concentrate on next year's car since he believes the current line-up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello can produce points if they've got the right machinery with them. Still, the fact remains that, for a manufacturer-backed team, to be the second lowest team in points ahead of perennial back markers, Force India, and to have gone from bad to worse while your rival Japanese brand, Toyota, is up at fourth place in the constructors standing must leave a sour taste in their mouth.

Button has been coy about his 2009 race seat while Barrichello has not been shy about telling everyone that he wishes to remain with Honda after his contract expires at the end of the season. With Brawn's history with Barrichello, and with all the teams being roughly on equal footing next season with the implementation of more new rules like the new aerodynamic changes and the introduction of energy recovery systems, Honda will probably keep their line-up intact at least for another season.

Force India
Early August, team owner Vijay Mallya made known his intentions to keep this season's line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil intact for next season. At around that time, both drivers also made known that they already have a contract with the team for next season so we'll probably see them both at the back of the grid for one season more.

Still, for a team that proudly carries the name of the team owner's country plus the fact that Mallya has made it clear that he'd like to see a Indian driver in his team soon, their seats for next year just might not be secure at all, and that should probably keep them on their toes on the off-season once this season wraps up.


And there you have it. Much like last season, everyone's waiting for Fernando Alonso to make his move. And once that happens, almost everything else will fall in place quickly after that. If Alonso can get out of his contract with Renault, and if he can get a two-year contract with BMW Sauber, then he should go for it. After that, both seats in Ferrari would presumably be available, giving him the chance to jump into the race seat he's long been linked to.

At least with Ferrari - a team that has no problem with giving one of their driver the #1 status - he can get it from them easily. But can Ferrari accept a driver who would squeal to the FIA their dirty laundry if he doesn't get what he wants from the team? Hmmm...

Well, I think I'm thinking way too far ahead already so let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Oktoberfest celebration in September?!

That's right. And if you've been keeping up with the news, you should know by now that, early this month, San Miguel Beer kicked off the Oktoberfest celebration with what they promised to be the biggest, grandest, and longest-running fiesta in the country to date.


Calling it Oktoberfest 120 - since San Miguel wants the celebration last more than just a month because, yes, we Filipinos love our beer that much - San Miguel started the celebration with a bang by having a 600-meter bar area to get more than 13,500 people to raise their glasses (or bottles) and toast at the same time, all for the sake of beating 2 Guinness World Records in one go.


And to cap that off, they had Third Eye Blind come over to perform - but only for the VIP guests and for those who paid for the premium PHP 1,500 tickets, making pitiful fools out of the thousands who thought they'd get to watch the band for the price of a PHP 120 ticket. Yes, that's how misleading their ad blurbs were.


Many thanks to my friend, Pinoy pop culture blogger meister, Azrael, for the Oktoberfest photos.

Anyway, in honor of the said beer drinking celebration - because after all, for this Typical Guy, nothing else goes better with a cold bottle of beer than hot and sexy women - why don't we look back at some of the most memorable San Miguel Beer TV commercials ever that featured the finest women our country has to offer...

...women like Rachel Lobangco who, while not my type, was the quintessential Filipina woman, albeit with the guts to show more skin than most, or...




...women like Cindy Kurleto and Cristina Garcia in one commercial, now who could go wrong with that, or...



...women like Ina Raymundo who was the physical embodiment of what every typical guy like myself was after every Saturday night - a pretty and sexy (pretty sexy?) babe we'd ply with lots and lots of booze 'til she'd get drunk enough to hop into bed (or the back seat of a car) with us and get laid without hesitation. Ahhh, those were the days...




The Typical Guy's 2008 NFL Week 2 Review (Part 2)

Still looking a little rusty, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts managed to squeak out an 18-15 comeback win over the Minnesota Vikings after trailing 15-0 late in the third quarter, narrowly avoiding a 0-2 start to the season. However, with tight end Dallas Clark nursing a knee injury and wide receiver Marvin Harrison still not 100% after coming back from a knee injury as well, this just might not be the Colts' season.


The Denver Broncos were also lucky to eke out a 39-38 victory over the San Diego Chargers thanks to an official's call that, according to reports, will be reviewed in the off-season to possibly make some changes to it. Denver was down 38-31 but they were at the 1-yard line on second-and-goal. Broncos' quarterback, Jay Cutler, was about to throw the ball but fumbled and had the ball slip out of his hand, bounce off of the grass and into Chargers' linebacker Tim Dobbins' hands. Cutler admitted he committed a fumble after the game, the instant replay showed it to be a fumble, but one referee blew the whistle and called it an incomplete pass. And since according to the instant replay rules, the opposing team aren't allowed to gain possession in such situations where the whistle has already been blown, the ball had to go back to Denver for a third-and-goal play. And so two plays after his fumble was overruled, Cutler hit rookie wide receive Eddie Royal over the middle from the 4-yard line, cutting San Diego's lead down to just a point. On the next play, with the Chargers still reeling from what could have been their game-winning possession, Cutler found Royal on the exact same route again to go for the win, all because of coach Mike Shanahan's gutsy call to run the ball for a 2-point conversion to win the game instead of playing it safe by kicking the ball through the post for a tie.



As for the Dallas Cowboys' Monday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys won 41-37 in a game that was as full of spectacular plays as it was with ridiculous errors; spectacular plays like Cowboys' wide receiver Terrel Owens' 72-yard touchdown catch, putting him in second place on the league's career receiving touchdown list, still well behind Jerry Rice's record of 197; ridiculous errors like Eagles' wide receiver DeSean Jackson's touchdown spike 1 yard short of the end zone. And from what I've seen, I say Tony Romo still has butterfingers every time he's on the field. I mean, really; an interception and a botched hand-off exchange to give the Eagles two touchdowns that were 14 seconds apart?! How bad is that?!?


On to Week 3 then!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Typical Guy's 2008 NFL Week 2 Review (Part 1)

Because Blogger is being an ass for not allowing labels with more than 200 characters, I'll be splitting this review into 2...

Just before the season started, everyone was looking at AFC East and the quarterback showdown between NFL's glamour boy, New England Patriots' Tom Brady, and the New York Jets' latest trade acquisition, the league's iron man and good 'ol boy, Brett Favre. But when Week 1 came to pass with Brady being sidelined for the entire season due to a torn ACL, the Pats were all but counted out when their Week 2 game against the Jets came about.


Unfortunately, in what was Favre's home game debut as the Jets' signal caller, it was all a case of déjà vu as the Jets went down 19-10 against the Patriots who, just so happens, fielded a quarterback who hasn't started a game since high school. And so Matt Cassell, looking calm and collected that somehow didn't reflect the fact that he only played 15 games at that point for the past 3 seasons in the NFL carried the Patriots to their first victory over the Jets without having Brady under center, earning a broad smile from the often-gruff Bill Belichick as he made 16 of 23 passes for 165 yards without committing any errors. Not bad for Cassell's first NFL starting assignment.


In Arizona, Kurt Warner was reliving his glory days as MVP and Super Bowl champion as the Arizona Cardinals' offense clicked consistently against the Miami Dolphins for a 31-10 victory, giving the Cardinals their first 2-0 start for the first time in 17 years. Fueled by the outstanding plays of wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fizgerald's 100+ yard game receptions and running back Edgerrin James' 55 yards to become the 14th player in NFL history to surpass 15,000 career yards from scrimmage, Warner's perfect 158.3 passer rating for the third time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the NFL record, was simply icing on the cake.


As for the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, their stifling defense was again on top of their game as they managed to sack St. Louis Rams' quarterback, Marc Bulger, six times with defensive end Justin Tuck converting an interception off of Bulger into a 41-yard return into the end zone for a touchdown. With the 41-13 victory, the Giants keep their road streak alive with 11 wins which started from the previous season's opener.


In Detroit, the Green Bay Packers managed to stay ahead of the Detroit Lions 48-25 after they led the game 21-0 midway into the second quarter only to find themselves behind the Lions by a point with 7:41 left on the clock. Apparently, that was the wake-up call the Packers needed as they took the lead back with a field goal before padding it some more with three straight interceptions, giving Aaron Rodgers his first fourth-quarter comeback.


The Typical Guy's 2008 Italian GP Review...

An Italian team powered by an Italian engine wins the Italian GP! And it wasn't Ferrari!


After the brouhaha over the FIA stripping Lewis Hamilton of his win in last week's Belgian GP two hours after the end of the race for allegedly cutting through a chicane to gain an advantage over Kimi Räikkönen comes a win in yesterday's Italian GP that seems straight out of a fairy tale.

In a rain-soaked Italian GP weekend, Toro Rosso, the re-incarnation of the once small-but-proud Minardi team, through the staunch effort of their driver, Sebastian Vettel, not only secured the team - and Vettel's - first ever pole position, he also scored for the team - and himself - their first ever GP win. In the process, Vettel also added three "youngest ever" records to his youngest ever driver to score points in a race (2008 United States GP) record, like the youngest pole position winner ever, youngest driver to score a podium position ever, and youngest grand prix winner ever, all achieved with the Toro Rosso squad that's mostly still manned by holdovers from Minardi, making the win much, much sweeter.


Driving in a race that belied his age and inexperience, Vettel managed to hold on to the lead until his first pit stop, where McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen inherited his position with Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber and Ferrari's Felipe Massa following close behind as Vettel rejoined them at fourth. However, the change in lead was only good for four laps as all three took their first pit stop afterwards, letting Vettel take the lead once more which no was able to challenge any longer until the end of the race.

The closest challenge Vetell had came in Lap 27 from a determined Hamilton who was only a second behind. But then again, Hamilton's car was already running light as he made his way into the pit afterwards, proof that McLaren was
running him on a one-stop strategy. Hamilton, however, once more displayed his superior pace in the rain as, starting at 15th on the grid, he made his way up to 7th at the end of the race whereas Räikkönen could only manage to climb up from 14th to 9th, the recent announcement of his contract extension with Ferrari until 2010 seemingly not inspiring him enough.

It has to be noted, also, that Hamilton has really taken to heart the punishment he received in last weekend 's Belgian GP by readily giving back the places he got by cutting through chicanes, first against (well, whaddya know?!)
Räikkönen in Lap 3, and then later again in Lap 22 against Toyota's Jarno Trulli.

Unfortunately, as much as the F1 gods favored Vettel to win the race, his teammate, Sebastien Bourdais, seemed to have earned the ire of the said gods on Sunday because after earning P4 in Saturday's Qualifying, on the race's start behind the safety car, his STR3 stalled on the grid. That meant his car had to be pushed into the pitlane where he would have to start the race a lap behind of everyone else, his hope of a points finish gone. But that didn't dampen his spirit as Bourdais managed to set the race's second fastest lap, an impressive feat when race winner Vettel could only come up with the 14th fastest lap. With a display like that coupled with his impressive drive in last week's Belgian GP, I hope - if Bourdais is still up to it - he'd stay in F1 instead of moving back to the now-unified IRL/Champ Car series called, well, IndyCar Series in America.


Somehow, I can't help but wonder if Red Bull Racing's owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, is kicking himself hard for dumping the team's powerplant contract with Ferrari to their "junior team," Toro Rosso, at the end of the 2006 season in favor of using Renault's engines. And I'm sure what makes this really sting is that they're practically using the same chassis which means, other than the drivers, the difference really boils down to the choice of engines.

"I may be smiling on the outside but inside, I'm really crying."

Ferrari might also be wondering how they could be so badly beaten by one of their customer teams, a team whose largest source of funding just so happens to be the team owner who's looking to sell them off in the near future. And with Massa only being able to finish at fourth and with Räikkönen not being able to score any points at all, disappointment in Ferrari's camp right now is an understatement.

Other than Vettel, if there's one man who's on cloud nine right now, it could only be Adrian Newey as three of his four cars were in the top four, with only David Coulthard missing out as his run during Qualifying was hampered by the worsening weather condition.

Could Vettel do a repeat performance before the season ends? Highly unlikely unless the same factors he had in the Italian GP appear again in another one of the four races left, and that's lots of rain with some fortunate timing on his part coupled with a lot less mistakes than most and a pretty forgiving car in the wet. Starting the race in the rain while being on pole, he was the only driver who could see where he was going as everyone else had to contend with the spray from the driver in front of him. Add to that the fact that the track was drying up needing a change from wet tires to intermediates coincided with his second pit stop meant he practically had the race in the bag.


One thing's for sure, though. Unless Vettel jumps to Ferrari after 2010, we won't be hearing the German and Italian nation anthems played in succession anytime soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Typical Guy's Best Damn Sports League EVER!!!

If WWE's Vince McMahon had some smart business sense, this is what his XFL should've been like. Simple mathematics, really, if he did want to make an alternative to the NFL.

Vince's formula was wrong in the first place. It shouldn't have been:


WWE + NFL = XFL

because the correct formula is:

WWE Divas + NFL = LFL (Lingerie Football League)

For the clueless, Lingerie Football is played much like American football, but with pretty and sexy (pretty sexy?) lingerie models as players wearing, well, lingerie along with some protective football gear like open-faced helmets with clear visors, shoulder pads and other stuff. Okay, so it's not your typical, off-the-shelf lingerie but more like sports bras and really short shorts designed to look like lingerie to withstand the "rigors" of the game, but you get the picture. If not, then here are some actual pictures to help you figure it out.


Inspired by the success of the Lingerie Bowl, the pay-per-view event which has become a part of Super Bowl Sunday festivities and is broadcast at the same time as the Super Bowl halftime show since it first started in Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Lingerie Football League will kick-off its inaugural season in Fall 2009 with ten franchises carrying names like Los Angeles Temptation, Phoenix Scorch, Seattle Mist, San Diego Seduction, Dallas Desire, New England Euphoria, Chicago Bliss, Atlanta Steam, Miami Caliente and Tampa Breeze.

But if this became a co-ed sport, then I sure as hell would like to be a quarterback just so I can get to be under center with an up close view like this every single snap.


Anyway you look at it, this gives the term "fantasy football" a whole new meaning...