Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
I hope you're ready, because next weekend, the Super Bowl is coming to America! By this I mean that Formula One is returning to the USA for the first time since 2007, with a race at the new Red McCombs-built Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. And by "Super Bowl," I mean that Formula One is just like the Super Bowl, in the sense that the spectacle of the event is much bigger and more interesting than the event itself.
Yeah, I know, Formula One is a little slow, and it's all European and stuff. Nevertheless, it's back in America this year, and home pride and all that, so here's your guide to next weekend's 2012 US Grand Prix:
- If you want to know who's actually going to win the race, follow the practice sessions (Friday 10am and 2pm, Saturday 10am) and watch qualifying (Saturday 1pm.) Car setup is everything in F1, so if somebody's fastest on Friday and Saturday, they'll win on Sunday unless their car dies for no reason. (For a sport that likes to present itself as the pinnacle of engineering, this happens more often than you'd think.)
- Make sure to watch the start of the race itself (Sunday, 1pm), as there's always a crash at the first corner. After that, the action slows down a bit, unless one of the Ferrari cars leaves the pits with the fuel hose still attached to the car again, or something like that.
- It'll be hard to find a rooting interest, as there are no American drivers or teams in the field. If you want to stick with North America, there's Sergio Perez of Mexico, who will have a huge contingent backing him in Texas. If not, there's always the Finnish Kimi Raikkonen, who likes to yell at his team to leave him alone when they try to give him advice during the race.
- Sebastian Vettel, driving for Red Bull, leads the standings. He usually has a very fast car. The only guy who has a hope of catching him is Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who does not usually have the fastest car but finds a way to somehow finish in the top three every week.
- Yes, Michael Schumacher is still around. But now he drives for a crappy team instead of Ferrari, and he usually finishes about 13th.
Really, that about sums it up. Just remember that Formula One is not like NASCAR or IndyCar, in that the race itself isn't about racing, so much as waiting to see what goes wrong. Remember that, and you'll be fine - and keep an eye out for Red McCombs. I'm hoping he tries to move the race to San Antonio at the last minute.
*On with the links:
*Nick Nelson at Twins Daily notes that the Rays' Jeremy Hellickson is drawing trade interest from teams looking for a starting pitcher. Nelson also thinks that the young hurler is just pitching over his head.
*Apparently, Minnesota is the world capital of bar video game "Big Buck Hunter." I had no idea, but -- again -- home pride and all that, so I'm demanding you read this story from Deadspin about competitive Big Buck Hunter players.
*The Vikes Geek's denunciation of the team's decision to stick with Christian Ponder instead of Joe Webb uses words like "nauseating," "alarming," and "myopia," so you know it's going to be fun.
*Ben Austen visits Buffalo for Grantland, to explore the possibly-ending relationship between the declining city and the Bills.
*At The Classical, Ben Polk explains the greatness of Nikola Pekovic.
*And finally: we never ran the shotgun when I played center for the high school football team, but if we had, this would have been my nightmare.