Unfiltered Race notes: Houston Race 2 2014

Welcome to the always off-the-cuff unfiltered race notes for race two of the Grand Prix of Houston. This is just my internal monologue that runs throughout the race. Sit back and enjoy!

–Prerace–

Hot Hot Hot today.

IMSP package of race one thank you very much

Yes, in hindsight… race one was as nutty as you could have asked for

Huertas, dude, turn it on just a smidge my man

Munoz? Smile and nod…

Power is surprisingly focused. He’ll definitely be worth watching today. Sounds defeated about qualies. “Just didn’t get it done”

11 of 23 cars sustained damage

And another wonky grid. But this is becoming the norm here; it’s just so damn competitive

Rahal package. He did have a good day, but man… come on

Eff professionalism… Unleash the beast TK. But he says he wants to be a good example for his daughter and other kids watching. That’s admirable

Midgets in the astrodome… excellent

Miller with Foyt. Feels like NBCSN has stepped the prerace game up after the ABC portion of the schedule. I usually find myself skipping most of it

SATO!!!

Marco penalty… well get to that later in the week…

I’m sure Dallara brings extra extra parts for double headers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was three times the usual amount for Houston

–Race–

Grandstands look good

THE RUSSIAN on the front row with HC; this should be good

Clean start and Pags up to P2

For as hard as these guys are fighting, this is pretty clean

Conway pits for a wing. Almost not surprising

3

Huertas off with mechanical issues?

Newgarden in early on strategy

Sato loses 4 positions in 2  corners. Penalized for shortcutting the chicane but only had to give one back. Woops

8

RHR driving like a madman

9

Settled in for a lock step afternoon? 147 mile race… we could be in for a fuel strategy afternoon if people behave all day

Rahal has been on it this weekend. Is Filippi helping with the setups?

Matchett overestimating the gap between the reds and blacks

16

Just realized Helio is leading the sponsors home race. That’s pretty cool. The car looks sweet in the Penzzoil branded corners

Stretched at the front for sure. Helio may be the man to beat.

First of the 3 stoppers coming in? Jan says they need caution, I would like to think they’re doing it so they can run hard

They keep talking up the Wilson/ Bourdais thing, I don’t really see the rivalry there yet. They have raced each other for years

19

Power about to latch onto the chasing group. Great day for the guy… so far

22

Tires are going off. Guys up front are definitely not driving as hard

Wide wide spread of strategies. I think the guys 2 stopping out front will come up aces

24

Brake problems for Dixon. Kind of early in the race?

29

Wow… Rahal clearly driving in his mirrors. I don’t know how he couldn’t get a blocking penalty

Aleshin still fighting hard with the wing damage, yet Rahal is dropping back. Debris all over the back straight

32

Leaders in. This is the right call for today

Gear box issues for Graham. Instant Karma

Leaders return to the race in the lead

33

Clearly no action from the booth for Rahal, but I would still like to know what they think of the contact

36

Contact between HCN and Pags. Helio was luck, you can see the where the wing hit the tread of the tire after the hit

Lead pack with Power joining the party

After starting 18th, if Power can keep at least a podium and win the championship, this will be the drive that started the push. This is the kind of day that wins you championships

38

Guys pushing hard up front

Master cylinder issue for Dixon

40

All’s quiet. Lead 3 have some space between them and the rest of the field is slightly strung out

42

FCY

Munoz smacks the wall. The three stoppers should all be coming in

Cindric calls this yellow “neutral”. Agreed; couldn’t have been at a non helpful/hurtful time for the two stoppers

The drivers are looking tired. Hands out of the cockpit and you can see it in their eyes

48

Green

Bourdais around Power… *That’s* what I’m talking about

Pags around HC

HC wrecks himself out defending against Bourdais

FCY

What a doofus

Shaping up to be a JPM/Power/Pagenaud

Pit box plugged into Hinch’s car. Very curious

Bourdais will stay out. Damn right

55

Green

JPM around Power

Shouldn’t be too long before Bourdais falls to him as well

Pags is driving into the distance

57

Andretti makes the move of the race

Bourdais must give position to JPM. Good call

After losing positions hand over fist, it looks like Power has finally stabilized

–Montoya didn’t push Huertas because he thought he would pit

61

JMP first to blink. Should be good to go

Now that we know we can make it, I’m surprised we haven’t seen Bourdais in yet. Although it is always smart to stretch and hope to be able to make a nose change under caution. He’s not doing too bad of a job hanging on

And as I say that, Newgarden into the wall

No wing for Bourdais. No yellow for Newgarden yet

63

Now the FCY flies once mist of the runners have made stops

Lots of sparks out of the RF for Newgarden. Sounds like no nut on the tire

66

Green

FCY

It’s crazy out there. Andretti pushes Wilson into the tires. I guess we will see how heavy INDYCAR’s hand actually is

HCN blaming Bourdais for the contact. I’m not sure I buy that one Mr. Castroneves

72

Green

JPM immediately around Andretti. Again, nuts on these restarts.

Montoya pushing Hawks around. Very yes

JPM’s insistence got the best of him. Opened the inside and Kimball was there.

Sato into the wall

75

FCY

PT: “Frantic Racing”… understatement my friend

Aleshin good on fuel. Pags has a wingman

I think I can see the steam coming from under JPM’s helmet

80

Green

SPM guys up front look like cool cats all while the sharks are writhing farther back

82

Hawks is doing a KILLER job holding Montoya off

Bourdais stabilized to P8. Strong recovery all things considered

84

Pags and Aleshin are approximately a mile ahead

Field has fallen into rhythm, gaps have normalized

Bourdais around JPM. Those reds just can’t go the distance

88

Power with a broken right rear

Pagenaud has this in the bag

Filippe into the tires on the white flag lap. Fitting end to a really nutty weekend,

Checkers

Not sure what to say about that. A tale of two races. Stretched out front yet absolutely out of control farther back. If just one or two cars really hit the setup, everyone else can only play amongst themselves. Pagenaud becomes a four time winner. Awesome result for THE RUSSIAN, who raced the last few laps with a flat tire, and SPM all together.

Aleshin: no English words for how I feel

Hawks did a hell of a job bullying those veterans around all afternoon. Atta boy

Two days of interviews? I’m out. Not a bad race and a great weekend of action on the whole. Ill see you later in the week with a bit of a rant. Prepare yourselves.

Thanks for hanging around all weekend and reading!

Eric Hal

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