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Ron Howard To Visit Austin For Evening Event

Daniel Bruhl as F1 driver Niki Lauda, speaking with Ron Howard on the set of "Rush." Image courtesy of www.RushMovie.com

I was trying to come up with some sort of too clever by half analogy to compare the post-production of a film with any aspect of racing. The off-season, as teams analyze the gigflooziebytes of data collected over the just-ended season in order to decipher the alchemical formula of God's own chariot for the too rapidly approaching new season? But not really, since all we've seen of the film are a few random photos taken by a casual fan, vertical orientation, on a five-year old Blackberry with a thumbprint on the lens. No, this just isn't possible. There's absolutely no correlation between making a movie and racing a car.

Except when the movie is Ron Howard's Rush, which we've talked about previously, and rather breathlessly at that. It's due to hit theaters in almost exactly one year (and if I might add a personal note, I hope the Alamo Drafthouse pulls out all the stops for some sort of period specific themed bash, as they tend to do so well, hint hint). Lauda versus Hunt. McLarens and Ferraris and six-wheeled Tyrrells and John Player liveried Loti. God I can't wait. Seriously. Let's just drop any journalistic pretense and admit it - I'm going to have friggin' goosbumps all day leading up to the moments the lights go down. I'm as excited about this movie as I was for Star Wars Episode I. Before I actually saw it, obviously.

We're big fans of Ron Howard. By we, I mean the human race. We think his films are almost always walking the fine line that Spielberg so masterfully penciled in, somewhere between fluff and art. I mean that in the best possible way. I mean, his movies do what movies ought to do. They entertain, then they stick with you, and days later you're pondering one short scene or a bit of dialogue, and realizing how clever it truly was. And then you want to see it again.

So for a mere $55, on Thursday, November 1 you will have the opportunity to hear the man himself, and see some exclusive footage from Rush, and maybe even meet him, if you're charming and persuasive enough. It's called The Starting Grid, and it's a special kickoff luncheon at the Downtown Hilton for the 2012 United States Grand Prix here in Austin. For ticket information, visit the official page of the event here. Individual, VIP and group sales are all available. Other speakers include Circuit of the Americas founding partners Red McCombs and Bobby Epstein, as well as Texas Governor Rick Perry and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Proceeds will benefit the Seton Breast Cancer Center and Dell Children's Blood & Cancer Center. So even of you don't get to tell Ron how you think Cinderella Man was an under appreciated work that captures the zeitgeist of the early-oughts, or what have you, you still get to bask in some serious Formula 1 sunshine for a couple of hours and help out a pair of worthy causes.

Oh, before I forget...be sure to follow Ron on Twitter - @RealRonHoward. Rush is scheduled to premiere on September 20, 2013. Just in time for Oscar season. Fingers crossed. 


Race Review: Italian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton takes a commanding lead at Monza (Image by HOCH ZWEI)// Monza

It's hard to see straight across the sea of red. The most passionate, brilliant red reserved for the most famous automobile brand with a horse was all over the grandstands at the Italian Grand Prix. Everywhere around the tracks, there were red Ferrari flags, red shirts, red hats, red hair wigs, like I said, sea of red. Massive crowds of fans gathered at Monza to watch the Italian Grand Prix unfold. And Monza did not disappoint!

At the qualifying, odds on favorite Alonso did very well until he had a mechanical problem, Massa capitalized on that and qualified ahead of Alonso to land at P3 while Alonso had to settle with P10. Hamilton and Button took over the front row of the grid with tremendous drives. Red Bulls were less than stellar at P5 for Vettel and P11 for Webber.

The 1st Lap is always exciting to watch. Hamilton defended his position right away from Button but it was Massa who surged ahead, passed Button then went side by side with Hamilton, though ultimately not able to pass. Alonso, incredibly have gone up from 10th to 6th by Lap 2. There was no stopping Hamilton though, he did a flawless drive and converted his pole to a 3rd win this season.

Perez qualified P12 but stealthily climbed up the positions. He started with the hard tyres, stayed out as long as he could until Lap 29 (!!) and switched to soft tyres after pit stop. This was a brilliant tyres strategy from the Sauber team. Hedid some great overtaking throughout, and with fresher soft tyres near the latter part of the race, he was easily passing other drivers to take home 2nd spot. Perez is definitely a rising star. Some even rumored that he may be take Massa's spot for 2013!

There was a bit of tit for tat playing out between Vettel and Alonso at Lap 26. Last year at Monza, Vettel tried to pass Alonso at one point and wasn't able to make the pass stick, but got slightly wide as Alonso tried to claim the racing line. This move left Vettel with 2 wheels on the grass at high speed. This year, some are calling this a revenge move from Vettel, Alonso tried to pass Vettel at the exact same spot but Vettel didn't leave enough room for Alonso, and made Alonso slid onto the grass on all wheels. As if he's expecting this, Alonso got on team radio immediately to complain about Vettel's move which subsequently got Vettel a drive through penalty. Innocent driving incident or premeditated revenge? We'll never know.

In the end, it didn't matter for Vettel. Both Red Bulls had mechanical issues that caused neither of Vettel or Webber to finish the race. Vettel had mechanical problem and had to stop on the grass at Lap 47, meanwhile Webber flat spotted at Lap 51 and got called in by the team to retire before damaging the car. With a 53-Lap race, to retire at Lap 51 is entirely too painful. It's been a very long time since Red Bull had a double retirement. Are reliability issues rearing its ugly head at Red Bull again? Tell us what’s up, Adrian Newey!

Other drivers with misfortunes include Button, Hulkenberg and Vergne. Button had a fuel pickup issue with his car and had to roll onto grass and retire at Lap 32. Hulkenberg also had car problems and retired at Lap 50. Vergne was out much earlier at Lap 9 getting airborne (and then back down) as a result of spinning out.

All of drama and retirement did not distract Alonso though, who never for a moment gave up with P10, but hustled all the way to land at 3rd spot on the podium. This is an important win for Alonso with him not scoring any points at Spa last weekend and Hamilton taking the most points by winning this race.

We wrap up the race with Alonso leading the championship (still), Hamilton is now 2nd, and Raikkonen 3rd. What a shake up!

The next race will be at Singapore on 9/21 - 9/23. This is one of my favorite tracks to watch - night race, street circuit, Singapore skyline and landmarks as backdrop, not a dull moment. Catch you then!





By Bruce Jones

Published by: Carlton Books

ISBN: 978 1 84732 592 1

Price: $25.00


// Review

Consisting of just six chapters over its 192 pages, this uniquely constructed hardback could be a little confusing, with the manner by which the years are reported, which is decidedly haphazard through its content. It is not that the detail is uninteresting, because the innumerable photographs (many of which have never been seen in print before), in both monotone and full colour, help to lift fascination levels.

However, dotting random years into the page headings creates an unhappy imbalance. Yet, the subjects covered are similarly random, dating back to Grand Prix’s 1906 beginnings up to the end of 2010. If the evolution of motor racing is of personal interest, you will find this book serves purpose rather well.

Strangely, for such a well-regarded writer and author, Bruce Jones, a tall chap renowned for his shock of red hair, who can often be spotted strutting most assuredly through pit lanes and paddocks around the world, appears to have tackled this book with a stream of consciousness. He is a talented scribe, of that fact there is no doubt, yet this book can prove challenging on first read and, unless you are in the mood for such variance, it can become a major ‘switch off’. Even so, the contents are incontestably excellent and I would suggest that you persevere with it.