Unfiltered Race Notes: Houston Race 1 2014

Welcome to the always off-the-cuff unfiltered race notes for race one of the Grand Prix of Houston. This is the definition of stream of consciousness writing, so strap in and enjoy.

Race 1

–Prerace–

We’ve got a 4 hour TV window

Rain Rain Rain

Jon notes the new rain tires. Full wet? I wonder if the old intermediates are still available

Again, the IMS productions retrospectives are always on point

Yawn… Will Power

I do feel for him regarding his back. That was a close call

HC amped up over the futball competition. Notes a standing start in the wet? Maybe?

Dario’s crash was booming-ly loud. Still amazed he’s more or less good to go

Safety improvements. Fences up to FIA standard… what were they last year? 200 feet of concrete removed and replaced. Gotta love the commitment from the promoter.

Aleshin on guitar. I didn’t think I could like the CRAZY RUSSIAN any more than I already did. Say “Honky Tonk” again please

Tough night for Honda at TMS

We need more Luca in our lives.

Back from commercial and it’s raining sideways

Looks like they installed the green we-don’t-want-people-standing-and-watching-at-this-fence netting at the site of Dario’s crash. Probably a good idea

Diffey, Tracy and Matchett in the booth. This could be the strongest announcing team we’ve seen all year.

Clearly a delayed start. Enough prerace… I’ll see you once the green falls

I stopped for Sato and Miller… can’t get any better than that!! ATTACK!!!

–Race–

Excellent command

Standing start in the rain… (holds breath)…

Sato squeezed on the start

Graham stalls on the line… in the rain… What. The. Hell. Dude.

It’s nutso out there

2 hour timed race. May have missed that in the prerace, but why? 4 hour window…

Pags slightly gapping. Oh, he missed the chicane… and again. Must give back 1.2 seconds

Early reports of fogging visors. Not ideal for today

SATO ATTACK

Hinch around the outside of HC in T5. Attachments

1:44

Sato and Hinch hunting Pags

Amazing pass for the lead from Sato. I think the new tires are working excellent

Also, big ups to the safety team for getting Graham out of the way without a yellow

Pags holding the train up

Munoz into Andretti… oops

No finger from Marco and I’m disappointed

Hinch around Pags and Sato ahead by more than 4 seconds

1:38

Andretti has completed the least amount of laps of the full season drivers. Less than 70 percent

Marco out ahead of Sato. Could be in place to hold him up for Hinch

Drying tire lines are appearing

Imbalance in the front brakes for Pags. Pulling to the right under braking. For such an odd gremlin, he’s doing a great job staying in the hunt

1:35

PT notes the changing of a single front rotor could be the issue for Pags. Nice catch

1:33

I spy dry concrete

Sato still ahead by 4 seconds even behind Marco, but he’s still got going to do this; he never does

Spray has died down

1:28

Track is still incredibly wet in places yet very dry in others

Hinch has finally crept into the camera shot

Surprised at the lack of coverage through the field. NBCSN is usually on it and it’s not like the front has been super intriguing the past few laps

Blue flag for Marco from the stand, but I hope he doesn’t pull over. I love Sato, but that’s not how you play it race control

Power gets elbowed by Saavedra

Marco backed Sato up to Hinch a damn long way before moving over for both drivers. Black flag for waiting too long to pull over

Kimball on slicks (!)

Matchett: That’s a brave move. Understated to say the least

1:18

Hinch on Sato’s bumper

Pags around

Super clean race given the conditions. This is how indycar should be

Hinch looking for water

Most of the field is coming in

Aleshin into the wall

Hinch around Sato in the pits. Both on reds, this is gonna be great

1:14

Conway into the tires

Pits closed, I wonder if anyone is stranded on wets. FCY

Yes, quite a few

1:06

Restart

Sato into Aleshin. Damn you Aleshin, I don’t like you that dang much to take Sato out. Shouldn’t have been there Aleshin, don’t throw your hands up in innocence. Sato with a hurt wrist

1:04

AJ Foyt: “… Got a bunch of god dammed idiots is all I can say” Thank you Mr. Foyt

Larry Foyt looks like he’s about in tears. Gutted for the whole crew

Newgarden into the wall hard with the rear on the last restart

Green was waved off, but Luca make a carbon copy mistake of what Newgarden did. Into the outside wall

Restart waved off due to Hinch taking too much in the restart zone

Re: Aleshin… Yes, Sato wrecked you out and if you guys were fighting for position I would be with you 100 percent, but you can’t do that a lap down. Although, it’s another good example of Sato taking as much as he can in regards to the blocking rules

Bourdais P3

Montoya P8

0:48

Green

Hawks aggressively around Briscoe

In just a few corners, it looks like Hawks got both Andretti and Munoz

Bourdais is on it… Let’s go

Briscoe through Montoya in T1. Ridiculous

Ok, it looks like Munoz is letting people through. And Hawks is rocketing through the field.

Power into the wall

Shenanigans abound right now

0:42

FCY

Dixon and Kimball. I bet Chippy is thrilled

Ugh, Dixon loses it and collects Kimball and Pagenaud. Rookie move

RAIN RAIN RAIN

Looks like Joseph has been sitting with his car since going out. High attrition today after a good start in the wet. I swear Leigh Diffey says everything I say 5 seconds later

0:32

Field still on slicks

Bourdais is going to do this.

0:29

Solid dry running. Feels like the field is settling in for a fight to the finish. We shouldn’t be conserving fuel at all. Just finding the weaknesses

RHR stalking HCN

Jeeze… Power facing the wrong way in the barrier with a stalled car. Just an inch off line. Good start to the weekend Mr. Power

FCY

I think Matchett underestimates how robust these cars are

Nearly the whole field in for fuel. Sprint to the end. RHR around HCN in the pits. 9 cars stayed out

Green

0:20

PT thinks Montoya may be the man to take it. I accept his deduction

Gaps are closing. The fight is about to start

0:18

Montoya around Kanaan. Hot Damn that’s the way to do it

Leigh: JPM is finally coming to grip with the DW12 and has a great attitude. If it’s not today, it’s going to be very soon

0:13

Hard to describe how obviously hard everyone is driving

Sounds like both DCR guys will need to stop. JPM sitting P3, but Saavedra is quickly closing

JPM has been on the button every lap for the last 5 laps

0:08

Dude… Wilson is a mile ahead… before diving into the pits…

Kanaan is not going to let JPM drive away. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a straight up fight between Penske and Ganassi

Rahal P5. Wow

JPM out of p2p

Rahal around Munoz in amazing fashion. Where have you been Graham?!?

JPM with a slight gap

0:05

FCY

Saavedra into the barrier

Could Huertas pull this one out?

Still yellow. The stress is killing me

I bet Wilson is shooting himself

0:01

Rahal into Kanaan before the yellow.

Checkers… wow… Huertas with the win

I have nothing to say… flabbergasted… Dude

That was the best twisty race of the year. Absolutely  amazing afternoon. Congrats to Huertas, but let’s see you back it up tomorrow ( “backing it up” will be granted with a top 5 finish). Carlos Huertas is a very well spoken guy and I’m glad to see a first time winner. Got to wonder if a South American winner with JPM, TK and Munoz running strong will help the gate tomorrow.

Same Bat time, Same Bat channel.

Eric Hall

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