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Insider Report: Attack of the killer … tumbleweeds?

Published February 6, 2013

Think of the 1978 classic B-Movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and you have some idea where I was going with that headline. Of course if you are under 40, chances are you won’t get the reference. Autoblog’s Zack Bowman calls tumbleweeds the “Tribbles of the American West”, another reference that non-Trekkies under a certain age might not get. Tumbleweeds, for those who have never traveled in the South West or watched a Spaghetti Western, are essentially dead desert brush that sort of tumble along with the wind. YouTuber Chris Reed was out for a drive near Midland, Texas, when his path was crossed by a mass of tumbleweeds rolling on to who knows where.

Learning to drift with 800 horsepower

When I saw the lead in to the next video, it got me thinking about the first story I wrote for Wheels. It was a segment about the season finale of the Canadian drift championships and in the paper, the lead image was a photo of Matt Waldin’s colourful Nissan 350Z drift car with plumes of smoke trailing behind. I was pretty proud of that story and the photos that went with it.

In this video from the folks at Drive, host Matt Farah gets to spend a day learning how to drift another Zed car powered by a supercharged V8 that churns out a whopping 800 horsepower. Farah is an experienced driver and his challenges prove that being like Ken Block isn’t quite as easy as many people think.

Tribute to fallen rider Caleb Moore

The X Games community got a sad reminder of how dangerous motorsports can be, when 25-year-old Caleb Moore was fatally injured in a crash. Moore was competing in an X Games event in Aspen, Colorado, when he under-rotated a backflip on a snowmobile and was thrown off the machine, which then landed on the rider. He walked away from the scene and was transported to hospital with a suspected concussion. It was then discovered that Moore had suffered a heart contusion and he passed away due to brain complication during surgery. This is the first death since the X Games began in 1997.

YouTube user MIKEDGAF1503 has created a video memorial for Moore that features over three minutes of the Rockstar sponsored rider in action. The soundtrack is from a metal band called Suicide Silence. While it may not seem like the most conventional memorial tribute, it is somehow fitting in that the lead singer of the band, Mitch Lucker, was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 31, 2012.

CTCC Touring class Champion showcased on P1

The challenge every racer in every series faces is figuring out how to provide potential sponsors with the exposure they need to justify parting with their precious marketing budget. Some racing series do a pretty poor job of helping out their racers in this regard, while others realize that it is their job to do everything they can to promote not only the series, but the racers if their product (racing) is going to thrive. John Bondar and the Canadian Touring Car Championship does this better than most. Bondar ensures that the series has a presence across the social media spectrum, but also produces a television show that is broadcast on Sportsnet.

Episode 2 of the show, which is called P1, features Touring Series driver Damon Sharpe. The show follows Sharpe and the Blanchet Racing Honda through their most challenging weekend of the season which took place at Circuit iCar. The flat track is located at the now defunct Mirabel Airport in Montreal. Despite the difficulties on that race weekend, Sharpe went on to win the 2012 Championship and has recently announced that he will return to defend his title in 2013.

Warm Bodies featuring the BMW Z4

First there was the vampire craze. It started with books and grew to include television and the big screen. Volvo was quick to jump on the Twilight bandwagon, making sure that Edward the teenage heart throb drove a Volvo Turbo. Who ever thought that teenage girls would find Volvos sexy?

These days, zombies are all the rage thanks to the popular TV series The Walking Dead. There isn’t much driving in TWD, but there sure is product placement possibilities in the decidedly less intense movie Warm Bodies, which is coming to theatres soon. This time, it was BMW that won the spot and are using it to promote their new Z4. While the Z4 is a clear winner, I can’t say that I think the movie will be a sure thing.

Warm Bodies Z4 from Propaganda GEM on Vimeo.

Vehicle Image
    • Price: $98,800

    MSRP

    • Price: $63,000
    • Price: $25,950
    • Price: $44,100
    • Engine: 4.4 V8 G
    • Horsepower: Not defined
    • Transmission: AT
    • Drive Type: AWD
    • Cylinder: 8
    • Transmission Speed: -

    Performance

    • Engine: 3.5 V6 G
    • Horsepower: Not defined
    • Transmission: AT
    • Drive Type: AWD
    • Cylinder: 6
    • Transmission Speed: -
    • Engine: 1.6 I4 G
    • Horsepower: Not defined
    • Transmission: -
    • Drive Type: FWD
    • Cylinder: 4
    • Transmission Speed: 6
    • Engine: 2.0 I4 G
    • Horsepower: Not defined
    • Transmission: MT
    • Drive Type: AWD
    • Cylinder: 4
    • Transmission Speed: 6
    • City: 13.2
    • Highway: 8.3
    • Fuel Type: Gas
    • Fuel Tank Low/High: 18/18

    Fuel Economy

    • City: 10.5
    • Highway: 7.1
    • Fuel Type: Gas
    • Fuel Tank Low/High: 17/17
    • City: 6.8
    • Highway: 5.2
    • Fuel Type: Gas
    • Fuel Tank Low/High: 13/13
    • City: 9.4
    • Highway: 6.3
    • Fuel Type: Gas
    • Fuel Tank Low/High: 16/16
    • Airbags: Yes
    • ABS Brakes: Yes
    • Traction Control: Yes
    • Stability Control: Yes
    • Safety Rating: -
    • Child Sensor: Yes
    • Park Distance Control: Yes

    Safety

    • Airbags: Yes
    • ABS Brakes: Yes
    • Traction Control: Yes
    • Stability Control: Yes
    • Safety Rating: -
    • Child Sensor: Yes
    • Park Distance Control: Yes
    • Airbags: Yes
    • ABS Brakes: Yes
    • Traction Control: Yes
    • Stability Control: Yes
    • Safety Rating: -
    • Child Sensor: Yes
    • Park Distance Control: Yes
    • Airbags: Yes
    • ABS Brakes: Yes
    • Traction Control: Yes
    • Stability Control: Yes
    • Safety Rating: -
    • Child Sensor: Yes
    • Park Distance Control: Yes
    • Sunroof: Yes
    • Air Conditioning: Yes
    • Power Windows: Yes
    • Power Door Locks: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Music System: Yes
    • Navigation System: Yes
    • Cruise: Yes
    • Keyless Entry: Yes
    • Rain Sensing Vipers: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes
    • Climate Control: Yes
    • Steering Wheel Controls: Yes
    • Power Mirrors: Yes

    Comfort & Convenience

    • Sunroof: Yes
    • Air Conditioning: Yes
    • Power Windows: Yes
    • Power Door Locks: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Music System: Yes
    • Navigation System: Yes
    • Cruise: Yes
    • Keyless Entry: Yes
    • Rain Sensing Vipers: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes
    • Climate Control: Yes
    • Steering Wheel Controls: Yes
    • Power Mirrors: Yes
    • Sunroof: No
    • Air Conditioning: Yes
    • Power Windows: Yes
    • Power Door Locks: Yes
    • Leather Seats: No
    • Power Seats: No
    • Music System: Yes
    • Navigation System: No
    • Cruise: Yes
    • Keyless Entry: Yes
    • Rain Sensing Vipers: No
    • Heated Seats: No
    • Climate Control: Yes
    • Steering Wheel Controls: Yes
    • Power Mirrors: Yes
    • Sunroof: Yes
    • Air Conditioning: Yes
    • Power Windows: Yes
    • Power Door Locks: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Music System: Yes
    • Navigation System: No
    • Cruise: Yes
    • Keyless Entry: Yes
    • Rain Sensing Vipers: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes
    • Climate Control: Yes
    • Steering Wheel Controls: Yes
    • Power Mirrors: Yes
    • Max. Seating: 4
    • Number of Doors: 2
    • Seats: 4
    • Power Adjustable Seats: Yes
    • Specialty Seats: Yes
    • Interior: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes

    Interior

    • Max. Seating: 4
    • Number of Doors: 2
    • Seats: 4
    • Power Adjustable Seats: Yes
    • Specialty Seats: Yes
    • Interior: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes
    • Max. Seating: 2
    • Number of Doors: 2
    • Seats: 2
    • Power Adjustable Seats: No
    • Specialty Seats: Yes
    • Interior: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes
    • Max. Seating: 4
    • Number of Doors: 2
    • Seats: 4
    • Power Adjustable Seats: Yes
    • Specialty Seats: Yes
    • Interior: Yes
    • Leather Seats: Yes
    • Power Seats: Yes
    • Heated Seats: Yes
    • Awards: -

    Awards

    • Awards: -
    • Awards: -
    • Awards: -

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