Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Buddy Rice May Reunite with Rahal for Indy 500

Breaking News: The word this morning is that Buddy Rice is working with Rahal-Letterman on an Indy 500 reunion. This would put the 2004 Indy 500 Champion into one of the better TBA rides out there. What's not yet known is the financial end; Buddy brings some money but probably not enough for the month, and Rahal seems to be holding out for a fully-funded shoe.

No word yet from Curt Cavin or Robin Miller on this pairing.

UPDATE: We're discussing this over on TrackForum here.

Racemind on Twitter

Yes, I've decided to give Twitter a try. You can find Racemind at

Friday, April 17, 2009

Helio's Agonizing Wait

As the racing world awaits Helio's fate at the hands of the jury, I find myself imagining what Helio is going through today. To come from the top of the world as a back-to-back Indy 500 champion, winner of Dancing with the Stars, loved by his fans in several continents... now he sits with his head in his hands after an enormously complicated tax trial, helplessly waiting for 12 people to decide if he spends the next few years behind bars.

Given the facts in this case, I believe that Helio never intended to break the law. He may have tried to find the best way to structure his money to minimize his tax burden. He may have gotten some bad advice. And it does appear that he may have been tinkering with the idea of moving to Monaco to avoid future taxes -- but that's the future, and this isn't The Minority Report.

And so Helio waits, with some of the verdicts already sitting in a sealed envelope on the judge's desk. With every passing minute, all he can think about is his lovely fiancee he'd be leaving behind. The storybook career as an Indycar driver that might be left in tatters. The love of his fans that would eventually fade as he sits behind bars.

I can imagine him wringing his hands. Breathing in, breathing out. Trying to think about something, anything besides that sealed envelope on the desk containing your fate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jury Deliberates Helio's Fate

Helio Castroneves' tax-evasion trial has gone to the jury. With deliberations underway, we have to wonder what a hung jury will mean -- will the government go through the effort of retrying the case?

The IRS will have a tough time walking away from the case at this point, because it might open the door for others to attempt this tax-avoidance method. But re-trying a case like this has a low probability of yielding a conviction. Most likely, they would announce their intent to re-try, and then offer Helio a one-time chance to pay up and plea down to a misdemeanor. But it will cost him, probably big.

The Racemind Take: The burden of proof is heavy on the prosecution, who must show that Helio knowingly attempted to break the tax law rather than just legally minimize his tax burden -- and they must show it "beyond reasonable doubt". While I think it's likely that Helio was planning to avoid paying the tax altogether in the future, he doesn't appear to have done it yet. Hopefully the jury agrees.

This whole episode has already revealed one loser, regardless of the verdict: the former Penske employee who called the IRS to snitch on Castroneves out of spite.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tweeting the Season

There are so many questions left unanswered as this postseason winds down, perhaps the least of which is do Indycar fans use twitter?

What at first appeared as a cutesy way for 12-year-old girls to tweet each other when Hannah Montana tried a new shade of cheek glitter has now turned into a interesting news tool. The interface is still a bit too Limited Too for my tastes, but it might be more than a toy; many Indycar teams and drivers are starting to tweet news out to their followers.

Yes, they "tweet news out". That's the term, I'm not comfortable with it either.

Read more over at