Unfiltered Race Notes: Pocono 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–

500 miles… very yes

Flashback to 2014. Honestly, I hope the racing is a touch closer today

Hinch: Try to win and stop crashing… well put little girl; I think that could be the best advice Mr. checkers or wreckers could get

Hawks with a heart bruise. Get well Jack, 100g’s is a tough hit and you’re lucky to walk away

Oh yea! Bob Varsha!

Dude; I still can’t wrap my head around the Huertas win, and he sits above Rahal, Newgarden, Saavedra and Sato in the championship

Looking back on Houston. As always, thank you IMS Productions

I like Power with the mirrored aviators. Kind of tops off the IndyCar bad boy image with the five-o-clock shadow in a Penske uniform

HCN “I’m just trying to annoy as many people as I can” re: whistle in the World Cup viewing party. Oh so good

36 drivers have taken part in the 2014 season. Not awful I guess

Wow. The grading party during the drivers meeting is excellent (I went back and erased a previous ‘excellent’ to use here because it was THAT SUPER FANTASTICLY AWESOME)

Approximately 18 campers in the infield

Pagenaud’s Oculus car looks fantastic

I don’t want to have to be mean to Power today; he needs to keep it clean

Alright, I’m done with this prerace silliness. Race on

–Race–

Green

3-wide start. Damn right

Kanaan doing what Kanaan does best. PT put it well: brave

Hinch dropping through the field

3

Power, Montoya, Andretti. 3 picks from the fantasy league up front. Could be a big day…

Big wiggle for RHR off 2

7

Hinch continuing to fall. At least he hasn’t wrecked?

No friends for THE RUSSIAN. Vodka is the only friend he needs

9

Onboard with JPM. PT and Bell both give some cool info about saving fuel. Not that I like that sort of thing though

16

Cindric: three lap loss of economy by leading an entire stint… with a wry smile

Big time fuel savings, but the pack is still very close. Similar to Indy, Power has a one car length longer gap than the chasing pack. That one length will be extremely difficult to cross

21

Interview with Herta. Tough weekend, indeed

Radio chatter playing with no discernable source team… with the booth just walking all over the audio. Lose the radio’s or respect the information please

24

Booth talking wheel offset with Kimball as an example. Very cool stuff

26

Sato in with some sort of issue. Breakin’ my heart AJ Foyt Racing

27

The groove looks really rubbered in

Two one hour practice sessions is just not enough time at any facility we visit

29

Suspensions problems for RHR

31

Lead pack starting to come in. Much later than the estimated 27 laps of full rich running

Some of the longer pitboxes of the year. 40’

33

Speeding penalty for Andretti…

RHR… done?

35

Sato attempting to rejoin the fight. It’s still quite early and anything can happen

41

And just as quickly, RHR back in as well. Left front failure; lower a-arm mounting point? That sounds like tub damage?

42

Andretti still on the lead lap…

The crowd doesn’t look that bad

45

Castroneves latching on to the lead pack

“It’s all about saving fuel right now” Very boo and PT agrees

50

The lead pack is breaking up

And TK to the lead!

53

Kanaan has quite the gap. No doubt TK is running full out right now. How much fuel does he dare burn…

TK just testing the car for the final sprint to the finish. Not a bad idea

60

TK in. Big penalty apparently

61

Not sure I like the jersey barriers in the middle of pit lane around the pylon. Interesting decision from the track

63

Pit exit and blend looks like shenanigans

64

Leaders in

65

Bourdais’ car looks good this week

“Pit Speed Is Awesome!!!” flashing on Hinch’s dashboard

PT notes that JPM’s time in NASCAR could have taught him a lot about patience. I subscribe to that theory, but if anything, it slowed him down too much

72

Through the field. For all green flag running, that’s not too bad of a lap to do this on

Field is slightly spread. Getting comfortable for the haul to the final sprint

74

Intermittent radio problems for Aleshin

77

OK, the field is more spread than I initially thought

78

Marco having handling issues and is not really sure where to go with pitstop changes

80

All cars except RHR on the lead lap. Sato out

86

Varsha going over JPM’s resume. Best driver alive?

88

Bell wanting more POWA. I agree

Rahal in and I believe this is the third stint he has been first in

89

TK in early again. Not outside the pit window

This very long green flag run is really making the laps click off

92

Huertas curiously stalled on the pitlane apron

Basically everyone has come in this lap

93

Lots of talk about tools

The pitlane has a HUGE wave in near the exit

95

Is the lead pack staring to form? Who knows… this hasn’t really gone how I thought it would

102

Power ditched his left side head rest on the last stop

Race recap

104

Robin Miller: Get rid of speed limits in the pits…(sigh)…

107

Average race speed: over 209

Even more fuel savings talk

I’m not even sold that anyone will be close to make a run at the leader when the time is right

109

More Aleshin jokes

Everyone looks very comfortable. The gap between the leaders looks to be 1-1.3 seconds.

Replay of Rahal says hellow to the wall

117

Huertas out with some sort of gremlin

118

Leaders in. TK pulled a slight gap.

That gap may be what he needs to just edge out whoever is giving chase from P2 at the end. I do not believe there will be a caution this race. Although, we nearly said the same thing at Indy, this race doesn’t have the same frantic feel to it.

120

Kevin Lee reports that Aleshin has been able to help the team with setups. THE RUSSIAN is very sharp

Bell noting the adjustable rear wing. We don’t hear very much about that feature of a pitstop

123

Field coming in and doing there thing

125

Power is having phenomenal stops today. Now do your job and keep it clean

126

RF tire changer almost didn’t get the gun out of the way of Montoya as he was leaving his stall

Wow. Bourdais’ team looked like a bunch of bumbling idiots. LF changer needed the car to go back up on the jacks, but the jackman was nowhere to be found

134

Still green… Varsha makes the exact same not 3 seconds later

TK playing in 4th gear. Massive fuel save mode

135

Leader is finally hitting honest lapped traffic

Kimball issued the blue flag? What the heck is going on here? I hope Kimball stands tough

140

Dude, what the heck is Pagenaud freaking out about? He’s not anywhere near Kimball. And Andretti drove right around him. Learn to drive on the ovals instead of asking for the blue flags man

Arial shots of the area surrounding the speedway and it is in truly beautiful country

Review of the 1984 Pocono 500. The field is huge and the cars looked more bunched that they do today.

150

Second to last round of stops

Pagenaud slightly missed his marks and had to be rolled backwards

I haven’t seen anyone getting the fuel spill diluted with the hose. I wonder what decides when teams use it

152

I could say that the field has been running extremely clean; however no one can get close enough to anyone else to actually wreck each other out

155

Power turned a 219. We should see the boys begin to really race soon… I hope… at least they’ll be fast

Andretti back into the top ten. Nice recovery from the early penalty by him and his team

158

YELLOW

Rahal into the wall… SHOCK… well done blowing a prefect 500 mile race you clown

Possible engine failure. I can see that considering the sick sick noise the engine was making after he did two complete spins; Clown statement retracted, Mr. Rahal

No diaper on the car and no oil dry on the track, I wonder if he had a diff failure

TK has led a single lap this year before Pocono

Interesting. Many teams deciding to come in and attempt to make it to the end on mileage

165

GREEN

Aleshin dirt tracking through the inside paint. Dude… Ballsy move

Andretti almost into the wall while passing 23 cars on the highside. Situation normal

JPM loses his left end plate passing for the lead

167

Munoz under investigation for jumping the restart

Helio nearly takes himself and Power out while passing. Calm boys, still a ways to go

216 last lap speed. Slightly faster yet

170

Goodness. Power and Helio hip checking each other. Helio salutes Power. The hate at Team Penske is palpable. How in the world is JPM the most restrained guy at the team?

174

Booth calling for a penalty on Power. Fooey

Aaaand Race Control calls for a black flag. Understandable.

Cindric: “Keep your head on straight” Well, it’s Power and I wanted so bad to not drag Power through the mud. He just can’t help himself or even get out of his own way

178

Newgarden could win this thing. Can we go the rest of the way caution free? I hope so

Very interesting exchange between TK and the box. Sounds like the strategy may be shot without some more yellow

183

The pace is undoubtedly picking up

Leaders starting to look at pit road

187

“As hard as you can go” Music to my ears

This should come down to JPM and HCN

188

Scott Dixon gets his first mention on the broadcast while sitting in P6

I must say, 21 cars is a weak field

191

Why is the director following Newgarden when the race is a few places back? This is not what we want or need to see

193

Still on JN… finally pits

And now we are focused on TK… who has to pit as well. Come on Mr. Director

195

We finally move to JPM

197

TK in

Looks like JPM doesn’t have any challengers. Cautiously optimistic. Butterflies in the stomach abound

200

JPM wins!!!

We all knew it wouldn’t be very long at all before he found himself in P1 after the checkers

14 years since his last victory and he’s got a hell of a smile on his face. Man, I love JPM… I’m a total and complete JPM fanboy… Fantastically awesome result.

Love how Power was nearly silent after he finally saw the replay. Classic action right there. Power said he was moving moving moving to the inside. Well Power, were you going to run him into the inside wall? You have to say when eventually.

With that, I’m out. Thanks for reading!

Eric Hal

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2 Responses to Unfiltered Race Notes: Pocono 2014

  1. dylanpt24 says:

    Well I’m glad JPM won but otherwise a pretty dull race. Green flag runs may be nice and clean, but they can get very spread out and fuel savings focused. It makes Indycar more similar to Formula One or Le Mans style racing, but whether that is a good thing or not is very debatable. Power seems to be struggling, not sure why. Normally the douche stuff comes from the Target guys, but I guess Dixon has been too anonymous and with Dario gone the whining seems to have moved largely to Will. He’s awfully luck how spread out Pocono and Texas were; otherwise his penalties would have cost him a lot more.

    Of course the fact that there were only 21 cars may have been part of the problem at Pocono (and Texas). Perhaps more cars would have equaled something more interesting? Some good rumors are floating around about Cosworth on AR1 so hope may be revived in 2016. As for attendance no idea. Looked fine on TV to me, Pocono’s a big place. People at the race tweeted conflicting things. We will see what next year brings if it happens again; perhaps aero kits will mean more racing, or one manufacturer laps the field

    Hopefully Montoya is back. He was on the podium at Houston and won Pocono. That would add some excitement to the series, especially if he catches up to Will and Helio in points.

    • billytheskink says:

      More cars would have certainly increased the chances of making the race more interesting, especially at a large track. More cars means it is more likely that multiple cars are fast and fighting for the lead.
      Races at about any type of track tend to get spread out when there are no incidents and cautions, and more cars also means incidents are more likely.

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