On his first meeting with F1 commercial czar Bernie Ecclestone: "He was very nice and cordial, but a year later, when I went to see him again, he goes, ‘Who the hell are you?’ I think by nature he’s (inaudible). He said, ‘You can’t be serious about what you want to do. You have to be out of your mind.’ On the other hand, when he dropped down to seven or eight teams, he allowed four teams to come on board. I guess his perspective is based on how many teams he has on the grid."
1. Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus -- NASCAR's most famous driver-crew chief combo has won two of five this season and "Superman's" California victory put him one up on Dale Earnhardt's career total.
4. Gene Haas -- Owner of America's first Formula One team in 30 years gets a points-paying sixth place in Grand Prix debut.
5. Brittany Force -- Finally, her first Top Fuel win, and in an NHRA "major" no less. This is what NHRA needs, for the Force daughters (Courtney in Funny Car) to win and win and make headline after headline.
6. Mike Helton -- Is NASCAR's vice chairman and his competition executives about to penalize Kyle Busch for his post-Auto Club Speedway Xfinity Series race actions and non-actions?
7. Toto Wolff -- The Mercedes-Benz motorsports boss sees Nico Rosberg win season-opener in Australia and influences others to overturn F1's silly new qualifying format after just one try.
8. Pipo Derani -- The Brazilian, 22, is virtually unknown in America, except at Sebring, just as he did at Daytona, takes overall lead and wins a SportsCar classic in the closing minutes for Ligier-Honda.
10. Tony Pedregon -- Still getting his legs under him in new FS1 NHRA TV role, but the "how" and "why" of his explanations will shape the opinions of the drag racing audience.
[ more next week . . . ]