OK, I’ve left it late in January but I have two great vintage Omega divers on offer that deserve special mention. The first is that evergreen dive watch classic, the big and bold PloProf 600 meter.
With its massive 55mm wide x 44mm long asymmetrical case, idiosyncratic but purposeful crown left design and ingenious red bezel-lock button, the PloProf looks unlike any other watch. It was originally created for professional deep sea divers and the great Jacques Cousteau himself was known to favor it. And if you’ve got the wrist and bold temperament for this big blue behemoth you too can become a member of the storied PloProf club.
The second Omega diver I’ve got falls more into the cult classic category: A 1970 f300 120 meter Chronometer with the Accutron-derived tuning fork movement humming away under the hood.
This is a rare variation with non-integrated bracelet case, so unlike with most of these Omega tuning fork divers you can affix a conventional strap or bracelet, a big plus in my opinion. If not quite as big as the PloProf this all-steel f300 diver is a wonderfully robust 41mm wide and features a beautiful two-tone silver “bullseye” dial. Better yet, it’s just gone on sale.
Maybe you only recognize Jana Kramer as the athletic, leather-clad heroine replacing items for hapless customers in those Nationwide Insurance commercials.
But in certain circles the petite 31-year-old Michigan native is kind of a big deal. Ms. Kramer has been a TV staple for years with recurring roles on Friday Night Lights, the 90210 re-boot and most notably for her fans, on the CW young adult smash One Tree Hillas the flirty starlet Alex Dupré.
Jana left that show at the height of her television stardom to follow her dream of making it big in Country music, which she succeeded at with the release of her self-titled 2012 debut album and hit single “Why Ya Wanna.”
OK, OK, so Country music is not exactly my bag, baby. But there’s no denying that Jana Kramer brightens up any music video she’s in, especially when she’s wearing denim shorts and riding a bike… which she usually is. Exceptionally pretty girls with smiles as warm as Jana’s have a way of getting you to do — and listen to — what they want.
It’s finally that time of year when we begin to shake off the winter doldrums and high performance engines roar to life once again. Today sees the start of the legendary 24-hour sports car marathon at Daytona International Speedway that serves as the unofficial start to the new year’s motorsport seasons in the Western world. This year’s Rolex 24 is the second that will be run under the banner of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship, which last year merged the two predominant US sports car series, American Le Mans and Rolex Grand-Am, into one competitive body. It features four distinct classes of race car in order of power and performance: Prototype (P); Prototype Challenge (PC); GT Le Mans (GTLM); and GT Daytona (GTD).
It should be interesting to see if the balance of performance within the top Prototype class has been evened out after the old Grand Am coupes, technically “Daytona Prototypes”, essentially blew away the Le Mans-style “P2” chassis last season. But as the LeMans-style prototypes began shifting to enclosed cockpit bodies as the year wore on they gained competitiveness and in fact it was the Honda-powered Ligier P2 of Ozz Negri driving for Mike Shank racing that claimed pole for today’s race ahead of the big Daytona Prototypes. So perhaps that bodes well for overall competitiveness on this demanding hybrid road/banked oval course and the series as a whole going forward. One thing’s for certain: whoever wins tomorrow afternoon after 24-hours of grueling, flat out racing in a crowded, multi-class field will have earned a place in motorsport history. They will also have earned our gratitude for at last kicking off the 2015 racing season in earnest. Wishing everyone a safe race and may the best car and driver team win!
And here is the broadcast and streaming schedule — with a little work and a lot of coffee you can watch the every minute of the Rolex 24-Hours of Daytona from the drop of the Green to the Checkered flag:
Saturday, Jan. 24 (All Times ET)
– 2-4 p.m. (FOX Network)
– 4-8 p.m. (FOX Sports 2)
– 8-10 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)
Overnight (Jan. 24-25)
– 10 p.m. – 7 a.m. (IMSA TV on IMSA.com – live video streaming and commentary)
Looks like the folks at Grey must have read my open letter and taken my advice — there are now something like 7 or 8 Robe Lowe spots running in the DirecTV campaign, all very funny and no longer driving us mad with the endless replaying of the original two.
See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Just spend gobs of money on production and the buy and let your creatives run wild. I’m sure your client is grateful despite all those expenditures because this campaign is a high profile success that also drives home the DirecTV > Cable argument. Win-win for all concerned and I’m happy I could be of service.
The winter interregnum between the major American and European motorsport seasons is the perfect time to wet one’s whistle for the upcoming action by catching up with the best books on racing. Easily qualifying for any serious fan’s motorsports library is Michael Cannell’s 2011 The Limit: Life and Death in Formula One’s Most Dangerous Era, which chronicles the epic battle between Ferrari teammates Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips for the 1961 F1 World Championship. While it relies heavily on the period reportage and essays of the great Robert Daley and those passages may be familiar to anyone who has read his seminal The Cruel Sport and Cars at Speed, Cannell’s volume still stands on its own merits. By focusing on the divergent personalities and biographies of the two friendly rivals and the common motivation that drove them to compete and succeed at the very highest level of the sport, a finely limned portrait emerges of not just the men but also the highly charged era in which they performed. And of course that charge came from the constant and absolutely genuine threat of crippling or fatal injury at every Grand Prix.
Phil Hill, 1960
Phil Hill grew up a frail and insecure boy in Southern California, one who’s low self esteem was reinforced by a domineering father and an admitted incompetence at team sports. He only found his calling when an aunt gave him a Model T Ford to tinker with. As a teenager Hill quickly evolved into a prototypical hot rodder and he began getting paid to race, winning nearly every open sports car competition in California. Wolfgang von Trips was the heir to a noble German family who nearly lost everything during the cataclysm of World War II. When his family mansion near Cologne was occupied by American soldiers after Germany’s capitulation, von Trips became obsessed with the GI’s Jeeps and trucks. Eventually he would acquire a series of ever more powerful Porsches, which he raced with reckless abandon, earning him the nickname “Count von Crash.” Despite his proclivity to overstep the limit, or perhaps because of it, von Trips still managed to attract the attention of the Machiavellian Enzo Ferrari, founder of the greatest marque in motorsports. Hill, having left the oval racing-obsessed US to try his hand at European road racing, also managed to be pulled into Ferrari’s orbit by his early success with the Jaguar team. By the late 1950s both men were driving sports car races for the Prancing Horse and in line for a top-level factory Ferrari drive in Formula 1.
Wolfgang von Trips, 1961
While graduating into the Ferrari F1 team may sound glamorous today, back in the classic era this was mainly achieved by having the drivers currently occupying those seats dying in action. Continue reading →