Unfiltered Race Notes: Texas 361 2014

Welcome to the Texas Firestone 361 (you can’t fool me Eddie…) unfiltered race notes!

—Prerace—

Did you know the official mileage for Texas Motor Speedway is 1.455 miles? The more you know…

Interviews… interviews… interviews…

JPM: every week is a little more aggressive. I’m still waiting for you to make nice with the field, Mr. Montoya

TK riding a water slide. cool?

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of prerace… just show me the fast cars please

I *do* enjoy the previous race cuts put to music. Always well done, but could you really expect anything less from IMSP?

It’s gotten to the point where simply seeing and hearing Power on screen irks the hell out of me. Embrace the heel Mr. Power…

Extolling the virtues of Graham’s season. ha

#IndyRivals

#TeamPagenaud

In fairness, they are showing many more race cuts during the interviews today. That is how you engage *me* in the prerace show

Truck rubber. Haven’t heard much about dissimilar rubber types yet this year

Highlights package of Texas carnage and frustration. The old IRL engines REALLY belched the flames at night… those were good races…

One of Dixon’s favorite songs is “Ice Ice Baby” … Wut?

Ed looks ready for redemption

Miller: “Thank god she’s blond or yo would have never asked her out. I know your track record.” Bazinga

The video board looks as big at the hotel

30 minutes in, I’m ready to race

Very good technical breakdown of the intricacies here at Texas. Bumpy apron, Bump in T4, Camber fall off in T2

I can hear the track announcer in the background, he sounds fired up and is doing a great job with the crowd. Michael Young?

National anthem by a sax player. very *very* cool, but not very well done

No comment about the grandstands

Im out for this prerace, I’ll be back for the green

—Race—

Sun is VERY low already

Chick in the 2-seater is a hoot

Good formation

GREEN

3.5 wide. Marco high. clean start

4

YELLOW

Marco done blow’d up… and is on fire… HUUUUGE fire… Marco struts away like a boss

First of the fantasy picks bites the dust

replay of MA on the start; he looks like scheckter

Good interview from Marco

12

GREEN

TK taking no prisoners, pinching Power way down to the line

The race is packed up. 2x2x2x2. I like it. Just enough space

JPM pitted under yellow

good battles all over the track

single file. let’s see how close together they can stay through the remainder of the run

19

Ed looks loose

too much fall off from the tires. I’d still like to see more downforce. Hinch is under 200 already through 1 and 2. unacceptable from indycars at Texas

25

Newgarden’s car looks slick, can’t wait to see it under the lights.

Power disappearing into the distance

35

JPM up to tenth and marching through the field

THE RUSSIAN

Hinch having a hell of an evening already; missed pit entrance on his first time through

45

Haven’t seen the gaps yet. I have no idea how far in front of the field Power is

Lapped up to 17

51

laps clicking away

strung out

still no gap report.

Green flag pit stops.

Fire in the fuel port for Josef Newgarden

10 seconds between P1 and 2

Big lock up for Power heading into the pits

57

“comers and goers”

Gap may be 6 seconds after the stop. Not too bad

Dixon lost a lot of ground on that round of stops. Gap is much closer up front, let’s see if TK can catch him

Now the ticker is pretty constantly showing the gaps. Thank you

Fastest lap of the race… 213… lame…

65

Montoya into a legit top ten position.

TK and Pags split Kimball into T1! wowza

Lapped up to P15

THE RUSSIAN and JPM fighting it out

Montoya is slashing through the field

79

Kanaan has pulled into under 10 seconds. Stalking

200 even for the leader… still unacceptable… never under 200 and ESPECIALLY lap speeds

Hinch back in. terrible night

204…

87

RHR lost nut on RF

early green flag stops

worries of running out of rubber

lapped through 11

92

Power still looks strong; making his way through traffic very well

Slowish stop for Pags

96

No sign of power in the pits

A little red fire out of HCN’s pipes in the pits

99

Power looks like he may be the only guy to be able to run a full fuel stint

Lot’s of love for THE RUSSIAN on the broadcast, nice of them to finally catch up

Wilson’s RF tire changer is wearing a hi-viz vest. Hell yes, thats about the smartest addition to pit lane I have seen in a while. I’m sure it’s only for the night race, but still an easy and smart addition to increase safety

THE RUSSIAN ripping through the field as well. Spirited battle with RHR

114

Gave the Huertas has completed every lap stat. I’m pretty sure he’s already a lap down when they showed the stat. actually he is 2 laps down. Well done NBCSN

Sky is starting to look very beautiful

119

121

YELLOW

Seabass and Wilson into the wall

Montoya SMOKED seabasses detached front wing

bad vibration for Hinch.

If you toe out the RR, you can scrub the marbles off of the car

TK having electric issues. steering wheel change. TK had trouble getting it reattached

Wilson says Seabass blocked him all the way to the apron

Spin into the pits for Munoz, better under yellow than under green into the wall.

135

GREEN

I see JPM in row 2

racing looks good on new tires after a yellow…

RHR engine failure. awful luck

Kind of over hearing about tire degradation tonight

single file. that didn’t take long

144

no one has anything for Power. The chasers need to stay close enough to capitalize on lapped traffic

Dixon running in the 2nd lane through the corner in P3. could be a smart move. may be saving tire to make a run at the end of the stint

155

Through the field

Ed is the only one who is in the same zip code as Power. -0.7 seconds

probably not for dixon… he’s hemorrhaging time, as is JPM. -7 seconds. Having trouble seeing his pitbox

Awesome. You can see the red hot turbo on the rear wing view as well as the blue/purple exhaust tips.

You can really see the blue flames when the drivers shift. nice and dark now

170

Green flag stops

Ed still -0.6 from Power. He may have something for him

Trouble on FR for Hinch

Chevy looks like they produce more flame

174

Sato making life difficult for Ed

Montoya is playing aggressive

PT: heeelio

182

WHOOOOOOAAAAHHH ED TO THE LEAD
Freight trained

Power was held up by Power

one more stop

Will sounds surprisingly calm

leader running 211… better

Carpenter has a healthy lead

lapped though 11

194

Power within a second

Chevy top 5

Honda had a tough qualy session as well

If it stays green, Ed could do this

200

THE RUSSIAN gets the “extra mile” spotlight

Lapped though 7

last stops coming

I would stay out as long as possible and have as fresh of tires as possible for the run to the finish

I hate how they switch to “laps to go” in the tail end of the race. 1) it makes me do math in my head for this 2) it makes the race no more exciting 3) just why?

210

I still cant tell the Aleshin and Briscoe car apart in the long shots

Newgarden’s car is SPARKLY

Ed off pit lane first

sprint to the finish. 35 laps on these tires

213

Power back in. Penalty for pitlane speed violation. DUDE; come on. Melancholy Power engaged for the post race interviews. i can feel it

Ed 10 seconds ahead

218

Power comes out right ahead of Ed, he can use Power to pace himself for the rest of the race

toast

replay of pit violation. same exact mistake at Indy. Too quick entering… shame on you Power

JPM to P2

225

Ed +12.5 to JPM. let’s see if JPM can make a dent before the end

Booth talking through worst case scenarios for Ed

230

Ed +14. Damn

Lapped through 7

Quiet Bell… he can wear on me; talks a bit too much for my taste. I hate how dang agreeable him and PT are

marbles

238

Ed’s car looks like a handful

under 200 in the corners again

Ed come into traffic. Led Power pick through +17

Sato kablamo

241

No way this thing goes back to green. Everyone is laid out on pitroad

243

Montoya saying hello to Huertas

Everyone but Ed and Pags in. they could be screwed… 2 lap shoot out?

244

1 to go. 3 lap shootout

Pags in. Ed is in trouble

Scratch that, JPM, TK and Dixon on stayed out

245

GREEN

Power with a hell of a run through the field.

Ed!

Nice. Tough first 200 laps, but the race really came to us. Power looks exasperated… 4 drive throughs in 5 races. Lots of respect for Ed. This is the best Power has presented himself post race for a long, long time.

It almost seems like sitting out the road courses have focused Ed. He looks geeked. 2 wins for ECR this year. Got to love JPM pushing Power to the white line on the last turn. JPM complaining about Ed jumping the restart, but he was a pretty long way back looking for a jump of his own. Can’t feel too bad for him.

Dixon and Pags interview. Very yes. surprised TK didn’t go for tires

Aleshin says he loves the ovals, but is dizzy when he gets out of the car I LOVE THE CRAZY RUSSIAN!!

Not a super exiting first 2/3rd of the race but not too bad of a finish. Won’t go down as a historic oval race, but still not too bad at all.

Thanks for reading, and unlike my empty promises from a week ago, there actually should be a full review of the weekends action. And as always, Thank You for reading!

Eric Hall

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Unfiltered Race Notes: Dual in Detroit Race 2 2014

Welcome back for day two of the Detroit indycar racing Extravaganza! Let’s do this thing.

–Prerace–

Power is so melodramatic

RHR… dude… get it together today

HC losing pole, what a funny guy. so animated

TAKU!!!!

AJ looks at Taku like he loves him like his child. The connection those two have is awesome

Sam Schmidt review. That footage could be reused forever. Cool spot by sports science

I didn’t know they were just using motion capture technology. ok… less impressive

Similar GPS tech that was in use in F1 cars 20 years ago. Honestly, I thought there would be more innovative technology involved in the car

Why couldn’t we get the command lady from yesterday?

–Race–

Again I say, Belle Isle looks great this weekend

Aborted start, didn’t look too bad. We’ve definitely gone green with worse alignment

Ok, noticeably better

Green green green

Yellow Yellow Yellow

Power steamrolls into Newgarden. You just cant put two tires over the curb; Power just slid on his underwing into JN

2

Power: He chopped across me. DUDE! You guys just can’t surf the curb, and I’m still looking at you from yesterday Hinch

Gear cluster on the wall for Rahal, team popping the read pods off

5

Restart

Much better, let’s go racing

I don’t like Power, but I like his aggressiveness, just quit wrecking guys out

Power under review

6

Power around JPM. The He’s on a mission for sure

Drive through for Power… THE RACING GODS SMILE ON INDYCAR

Taku pulling away, HCN may be slowing Hinch

Conway on blacks in P6

Hinch is hounding HCN, and around

8

Conway around Munoz with apocalypse-bringing precision

FCY

Saavedera into the wall… on the straight… shock

clipped the tire barrier and smooshed the left front

Pits… watch the reds come off

Long stop for Sato

Hinch, Conway stay out. Hinch on reds

15

Green and clean

Huertas: “I have never driven anything as bumpy” re: detroit

Helio marching through the field

Conway has caught Hinch

17

Expect to see MC take over on the strength of the blacks

1 or 2 laps and Hinch’s tires should be shot

Hinch doing a masterful job protecting his position

Power around the outside of Kimball and Dixon. Wow

20

Beautiful fight and pass. Conway to P1

Goodness, Pag’s orange car looks even better today. It’s almost some shade of dark neon orange. I approve all neon colored liveries

Conway is driving like a madman. Please don’t stuff it.

24

Pit stops

Entry to pitlane is a violent turn off

In awe of Conway’s pace

Brand new left front for Conway, scuff all around. Right hand circuit, could be slightly advantageous

Power come out in front of Pags (!)

29

Today is flowing much better than yesterday. I kind of think I may slightly know whats going on

Hearing radio chatter. It’s worthless without context or any idea what team is talking

30

Hinch, Pags, Power 3 way fight

Stands look much better than yesterday

Munoz elbows Aleshin out of the way

More pitting. This should cycle the field?

34

Hawks was able to experiment with saving fuel yesterday. good practice for a rookie driver

HCN in the lead

Sato around. keeps it running. Briscoe stuck his nose in where is shouldn’t have been

Briscoe just has not impressed this year

No blame on Sato from me

36

Hawks pit lane speed violation. penalty served

Pags looking inside Power… Breath

Conway locking them up everywhere

Cars are much more planted today. track looks very rubbered in

No penalty on Briscoe. Im cool with that I think

Power around RHR, he’s coming for Conway who is in trouble.

RHR losing positions hand over fist. uh oh

Possibly going so slow to not completely empty the tank before pitting

Conway about to be swallowed by the field

39

Right front of Conway is toast. he’s in and back on blacks

43

race rundown

which consists of multiple ballsy Power passes

Power cannot find any breathing room over Pags; shaving the gap?

Agree with the booth (!) seems like everyone is in fuel savings

45

4 yellow laps gain you 1 race lap

left front tire changer dropped the nut – Montoya

47

Big save for Briscoe. Coming in this lap

Pace is starting to pick up before these final stops

Great save for Briscoe from the onboard

Wow, Lots of brake dust from RF of Marco… Thinking back to Hawks

HCN is crushing the field. I feel like I’ve already said that today

38 seconds ahead of Conway, HCN in

50

Dixon nearly jumps Power in the pits. I expect everyone to be flat out until the finish.

1 more Yellow?

Rahal bent the left rear. “IDK, Same as before” Well done Rahal. Remember, one time is just a fluke…

Yup, Rahal tagged the LR pretty hard. Pit guy was waving for damage I’m sure he’s done

54

HCN +10 to Power

Movement in the right side of Conway’s front wing

Hinch saving. Position 6. Non factor

55

Pagenaud lost ground to Power

Rahal interview. Throwing Power under the bus. Very yes. Lot’s of talking without mentioning sticking it into the wall. Trying to say earlier contact had something to do with it. Quiet Rahal

Power has nothing for HCN. I claim this race toast. Barring a caution of course

57

Sounds like only the Penske boys are running flat out

Well deserved props to Aleshin. Contributing setup info to Pags, something Vautier was not able to do last year I believe

59

Bourdais plugs it in

Should be able to let the field race. The guys only needed a sip

Bourdais just pushed wide. Rookie move

In general, my patience is running thin with Bourdais. I’ve supported him since ChampCar, but he just seems to have lost the plot in indycar. In fairness, he may just be pushing too hard… trying to make things happen. KV and Dragon aren’t exactly painted in glory

Dude, the chalet’s look comfy

Penske, Penske, Ganassi, Ganassi… it’s been a while since we have said that

Engine cover off for RHR, I didn’t think he was slowing earlier due to fuel. messing around with cabling in the cockpit. Replacing the control bus from ECU to steering wheel?

Mike Hull to Dixon: watch out for gamesmanship

Does Helio not like Power? Do any drivers like Power?

62

Great camera work and even better angles this weekend

63

green. yet another good restart

Dixon on the inside of Power. Looks like a slight block and lift from Dixon

64

FCY Sato into the tires. I retract my earlier elation regarding Mr. Taku. AJ drives away from the pitbox with the Pole trophy… Clearly preparing to bludgeon someone in the garages.

From the look of the replay, it may be young Andretti on the business end of the P1 award

Sent into a skid by Andretti. Great save from Taku, just not enough room. I retract my earlier retraction

55

Feel bad for RHR. Lost pressure in the shift actuator. From the towering heights of 40 points ahead to leaving Detroit 3rd in the championship. Ouch

56

green

Another awesome restart from HCN

clean all the way through the field

HCN pulling away. Again, this race is toast

68

nice spirited fight between Aleshin and Pags

Penalty for Andretti

HUGE lurch from Power. you can hear the cars popping and belching. Fuel knob is surely in position 1

How in the WORLD did Hinch keep it out of the tires?

checkers

HCN. That makes me happy

Say what you will about HCN, no one loves to win more than him

Thanks his steed before heading to the fence. This is so cool. Camera man almost broke his neck

and then he lands on his butt. poor camera man

Helio says whats up to security guy Charles. Excellent

When asked about Indy 500 loss he looks like he may cry

Power: I have to see the replay

Great result for CK

Ok, not too bad of a race. As far as indycar in Detroit goes, it was a more or less uneventful day. A few crashes, good racing and a handful of penalties. No one really made themselves look like fools. Mr. Power might as well embrace the black hat, he could wear it well. Check back next week for the official weekend wrap up and a few lingering items from Indy.

Eric Hall

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Unfiltered Race Notes: Dual in Detroit Race 1 2014

Welcome to Detroit race one notes! no snazzy intro, lets do this!

ABC Intros are always awesome

RHR… Helio… Fast forward…

4th P2 start of the year for Hinch

Belle Isle looks pretty damn good in the overhead shots. Lots of lush greenery

The command was excellent. Thats the kind of energy I like

20K seats here? Front grandstands look about 1/2 full

–Race–

Not awful alignment. Very clean start

Moves being made farther back. Hawks into P2

Chalets have moved from the fountain turn

Bestwick is good, I just don’t like looking at him… he looks like an announcers booth action figure

I’m so mixed on Graham Rahal. I like seeing him struggle because it’s graham, but I want him to succeed because of the national guard

3

RHR buried in the pack. Should be a good study about how easy it is to pass here/ how good RHR is coming through the field

-Commercial

Booth notes Conways black tires. Agreed. Conway may already have the field covered.

Pags into the wall thanks to Power. Pags was wearing Powers bumper out. NO WAY he didn’t know Pags was there

Problems in the pits for RHR

8

Simon is a class act. Power basically stuffed him into the wall, Pags admits he may have been in a bad spot. Maybe, but that was still a questionable move

If Rahal passes Montoya…

Said Conways has the field covered. Helio may be able to cover the strategy with on track speed

Rahal complaining about Montoya “being wide” Montoya looks closer to Newgarden than Rahal is to JPM. shut up Graham

Ok, Montoya is racing Rahal HARD. JPM is definitely being difficult

Sato in the pits with gear box issues

12

Clean pass from Rahal. Well done

Dixon coming…

Dixon makes it look easy. JPM is loooooose

13

Rahal doing a hell of a job. Bullied his way past Bourdais

Conway out. Fantasy team is in the toilet today

He looks pretty upset. HE DAMN WELL SHOULD BE. The Destroyer Of Worlds… pfft. Rookie move

No idea what lap it is. the hat hasn’t been very present during this race

Jib shot sweeping across pitlane is pretty cool

Problems with Hawks in the pit. broken rotor maybe? yes. wow, thats nutty

20

Kids look like their having a blast at the track

Poor Herta, the guy just doesn’t know what to say about the rotor. I don’t blame you man

Rahal P1 due to pit strategy. Either RLLR throwing the race away again or the brilliant decision of the afternoon. time will tell.

21

Green

The field is clearly jumbled on strategy. I would appreciate a reset from the booth

22

And we get one. Thank you

Herta is convinced Hawks will be a champion. It’s that kind of dedication we need with the young guys in the series

“Counting on the a yellow is a very bad way to do strategy” well spoken actually

26

Rahal is running a great race. I hope he doesn’t get screwed on strategy

Hinch is holding a handful of drivers up

28

Huge handful of front wing for Andretti. Interesting to see how it will play out

Power is driving like a mad man. Shave the gap Mr. Power

30

Waiting for strategies realign. The drivers may be saving fuel, but everyone is driving their asses off

My favorite Russian gangster in P1. I want an in depth interview with Mikhail to see how his indycar experience is going.

Slow stop for RHR. Still running with the tail of the field

Rahal pushing around RHR but immediately gets padded back. RHR has a quick car, too bad he’s in the back

HC out front. Race reset.

Commercial

36

I love not having any tire stacks in the corners. The track looks so very good this year, I can’t wait to see how it looks with 4 million bucks worth of surface work

Penalty for Aleshin. Popped up on the hat, I really like that feature. Wonder if I’ve missed others?

yellow

Newgarden into the wall. Brake lock up

Aleshin penalty was for blocking Sato… who was 4 laps down O_o

Left wing adjustment for Marco. I looked multiple times and did not see a right wing adjustment

Likening winning in Detroit to living in Detroit. The hard way, the tough way. Ok?

Goodyear: Mr Penske is America’s Enzo Ferrari. High praise, but just no

Extended yellow due to water out of the tire barriers. Sucks

This extension could reset everyone onto a race until the end strategy

Tank top offs underway

Wish I knew what lap it is

44

Clean restart. 35 to go

fearsome racing. wiping drool from chin

Montoya and Rahal have found each other again with RHR lingering in the back. Best street racing we’ve seen all year?

47

“We’re pushing hard to the end. Go as fast as you can” excellent

Hinch around the outside of Dixon. Thats how you do it

Saavedera is hassling these guy, but doing it very cleanly. Could be looking at a great finish

JPM in for the last time

52

I still have no idea what is going on. I need some making a lap chart while I do this

Sato has been everywhere today. 4 laps down but giving everyone a hard time

54

traffic jam with Marco at the point.

Could RHR be the one?

55

Hinch turns Aleshin. Looks like Hinch was well onto the curbing.

Yellow

Looks like Hinch had a rail slide over the crown of the curb. Probably pretty ambitious

Alehsin was on the fantasy team…

Booth calling for Rahal to the win. I can actually see that. The dude is quick this afternoon

Really rooting for Rahal

58

Still yellow. Briscoe rolling the dice for another yellow. Not rooting for Briscoe

Brisoes pits saying he WILL come in

Race is on with Rahal and Power. Kanaana and Wilson waiting in the wings

green

good restarts all day

Power around Briscoe. That could be the race

60

Rahal clear. I don’t think he’ll catch Power, let alone pass him

Jeeze, as I say that, Rahal is shaving the gap. race on

65

Rahal dropping away. Time to see the rest of the field please ABC

Power has showed his standard poise in holding Rahal off

Both drivers have really gapped the rest fo the field. some 3 seconds ahead of Kanaan

I can’t believe how well Rahal has driven today

Power is in the drivers zone. Nothing will prevent him from reaching the checkers first today

I’m afraid this race is toast

67

I would really like to see the rest of the field…

69

Rahal has driven an amazing race. but one time is still just a fluke

Checkers

Rahal’s attitude is spot on. Could be trouble tomorrow

Kanaan does not look happy. He’s aching for a win. I would be too wheeling the TCGR 10

Montoya was fighting electric issues all day. Pretty good attitude considering the difficult afternoon

Hinch already has blisters on his hands. Not a good sign

Dixon sounds confused. I am too Dixie, I am too

Not bad. Would have liked to have seen a bit more of the field in the closing stages of the race. RHR into the tires. Aleshin around. Add conway and pags and my fantasy team is shot. Would be nice to see Rahal carry some momentum into tomorrow. Last 1/3 of the race was pretty lock step, but we never saw anyone deeper in the field.

Make sure to check back for notes from tomorrows race and next week for an official weekend round up.

Eric Hall

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Into The Crystal Ball: It’s Duals Time Edition

Now, for something totally different. Before the ink is even dry on the 2014 Indy 500 chapter of the season, the circus moves to Milwau… nope… Tex… nope… Detroit? You got it. Nothing against the event, but it really feels odd going road racing a week after the 500. Not a bad event by any means, just the opposite in fact, but possibly sitting in the wrong place in the season. But the strong Penske death state can sway many a feelings, so to Detroit we go! The lengthening of the facility and aesthetic additions for the 2013 race went a long way in quenching the fire many fans had about the 2012 shemozzle on a track that was literally impossible to find room to pass on. This is definitely not old Detroit.

5 Things to Watch

Gorgeous Facility? – The off season has seen the addition of new curbing, moved walls, and a bit of grass added to previously barren areas. It may not be Barber, but the Belle isle facility is looking better and better each year. Add an additional 4 million dollars of pavement for 2015 and we could be looking at yet another premiere road course facility for indycar to race on. Penske is plowing the way and I expect nothing less than perfection out of a project spear headed by The Captain. Chevy has also resigned a multi-year extension to sponsor the race so it feels like we have a long term partner with Belle Isle.

The Conway Factor – it’s hard not to expect the Destroyer Of Worlds to not play a factor in Saturday and Sundays races. Past event winner, 2014 street race winner and all around bad ass, the quiet Brit has nothing standing in his path to absolutely crushing the weekend. The more I think about Conway, the more I feel that he is not bothered by the big three, and that all the work Derrick Walker did with the team in its formative years is finally paying off. Conway is so cool

Double Header – The double headers in 2013 were hard on teams and drivers to say the least. After three tries and an off-season to work the kinks out, I imagine everybody involved will be much more prepared for what may happen across two days of racing. Although there were no cases of a team being unable to make the Sunday race, there were teams that were thrashing to be ready for race two. Drivers have also had quiet time to really think about the best way to prepare for these weekends. It is very hard to make in season changes to much of anything without upsetting the balance of a team so I wouldn’t be surprised if we seem some operations attack the weekend slightly different with an offseason of preparation.

Title Race – Can RHR ride the momentum of the season and place a crippling blow to the rest of the title contenders? Every single time I bet against RHR, he makes me look like a fool. Instead, I hope a few of the other contenders are able to step their game up. At this point, Mike Conway is just steeling points from the field and is making RHR’s job just that much easier. The competition not only needs to beat Hunter-Reay, but they must also neutralize the Conway Factor. And will all of the talk of the big 3 and who is and isn’t a title contender it’s easy to forget Simon, The Giant Killer, Pagenaud. It’s almost as if his historic GP of Indy win went unnoticed; it was hot news for all of a single evening before the world went oval racing.

Concrete Canyons – The biggest fear I have when entering into a street race weekend is a track blockage. GP2 suffered just such a blockage last weekend and received the ire of the racing world, but it wasn’t unexpected in GP2 because they are a true development series in every sense of the word. Indycar is supposed to be so much more, yet we still suffer from development series issues on track. Having half of the season contested between concrete jersey barriers only adds to the frustration; drivers have nowhere to go as said concrete is pretty unmoving and unforgiving. Getting everyone through a street racing weekend relatively unscathed will be a huge win for the series, and not something I believe even F1 can do on as regular a basis as indycar racing is contested on the streets.

Predictions

Pole – Helio Castroneves – The Brazilian knows how to get around Detroit, and looks to regain his historic strength at the island circuit.

Race 1 Winner – Simon Pagenaud – The dude just will not miss a beat.

Race 2 Winner – Ryan Hunter-Reay – I have never chosen him as a race winner. As a new believer, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is; we all know he can do it.

Epic Performance – Marco Andretti – The young prince has been showing increased speed this year. Another podium on a street course could go a long way for the who just doesn’t seem to believe in himself.

Biggest Loser – Graham Rahal – Will he be able to overtake Kurt Busch in the points?! Tune in this weekend for two more episodes of “watch Graham continue to squander possibly the most important sponsorship in the paddock” !!!!!!!

All that’s left to do is race this thing! I actually really enjoy the double header weekends, and I don’t really care if the teams and drivers don’t. With how compressed the season it, it’s nice to have a few bonus races thrown in for good measure. Given the huge lead RHR was able to notch, it will be very interesting to see how the dual race weekend can temper the lopsided table we are seeing right now. No matter what kind of silly stuff that may happen this weekend, I feel it is most important that the drivers avoid blocking the track if at all possible. It’s bush league, plain and simple. And frankly, our drivers are better than that.

Eric Hall

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The Weekend Rewind: Are You Happy Edition

How about that for a race?! After a few years of trying, and thanks to a well-timed red flag, we finally saw The 500 finish under green flag conditions. I welcome the use of the red flag instead of arbitrarily adding extra laps. The race pace was blistering fast even with the 150 laps of quasi-fuel save running, and turned into a one-on-one knife fight in the closing laps. 500 of the ages? I’m not so sure, but it was at least one hell of a race. The 3-6 drivers in the lead were reminiscent of a pack of sprinters biding their time until it’s go time. If we only have a handful of ovals on the schedule, then I’m glad we can kick them off at Indy. It’s only fitting.

Lead 3 – Unlike 2012 and 2013 where literally anyone in the top ten could draft to the front and lead a few laps, 2014 presented something totally different. Marco, Helio and RHR were in the top 5 all day long and were able to pull a lead and fight amongst themselves multiple times through the day.

Sure, Ed was playing up there during the first 80% of the race, but he was already out of the game when he met the wall. It was the first time he found himself playing with TBell and Hinch all day long, and that was because he had already lost the plot of the race.

Montoya and Dixon were able to cross the gap from the front of the chasing pack to the tail of the leaders, but they could never make any real progress to the pointy end. Looking back, there was no question of who would be in contention for the win.

Fuel Mileage – The manufacturer fuel mileage seemed to be nullified for the 500. Neither mark had a clear advantage, and it looked like it would eventually come down to driver controlled fuel mileage. One guy had a clear advantage all day. JPM went deeper into the race than any other driver and did so each and every stop until his pit lane speeding penalty. He was able to stay out 1 lap more on the first stop, 3 on the second, 5 on the third and 8 on the fourth when compared to RHR.

Literally unbelievable. He must have learned something about fuel savings during his time in NASCAR because he was clear of the field on every single stop. Although he didn’t show the speed, he could have had it given his economy had he been in the final fight at the end of the race. Pit lane speed limits bite JPM once again…

150 Laps of Green – For 150 laps of green flag racing that included four pitstops, the action was incredibly close. There was never any doubt who had the fast cars at what time in the race, but the field was able to thwart off the spread out field that usually accompanies long green flag oval runs. This was a pristine example of how a bobble in the pits can cost you the race. TK lost his race early on due to sitting in the pits for nearly a lap. However, you could almost still muff a stop and climb through the draft if your car was fast enough. See: Juan Pablo Montoya.

Ryan Hunter-Reay – Ok, I’m on board. RHR has always struck me as the guy who is always there to pounce on another drivers’ missed opportunity, not a guy who makes opportunity himself. What we saw on Sunday was the fastest guy covering the field all day long. He executed veteran moves in the closing laps of the race. Specifically, returning every strategic move that Helio made right back to him, but with more finesse, skill and force. There was no way RHR was not going to win that race, and it was amazing watching two of the most skilled oval drivers fight it out tooth and nail. Marco lost the track with 20 or 30 to go, and Ed was plain robbed. It was always going to come down to the two bright yellow cars, and it was nice to see the stars and stripes in victory lane in Indy.

Kurt Busch – Hard to talk about 2014 without mentioning the double outlaw (a silly marketing name I’ve always thought). Kurt did a great job throughout the entire month of May and definitely turned some haters into supporters with the way he handled himself. Everyone thought it would be the same ol’ KuBu yelling and screaming and cussing, but he held himself with poise, class and welcomed the rookie label. A hard fought sixth place was the reward for all of his travel stress and strain.

I truly think Kurt Busch was in awe for the first time in a long time. Hopefully he speaks well of his time with no fenders. And who knows, maybe this was exactly what he needed to regain his focus in NASCAR. It is good to note that although Busch didn’t fall too far into the field, he also didn’t make any real on-track progress. His sixth place was mainly due to the plethora of high runners crashing out in the last quarter of the race.

So that closes what can only be described as an epic month of racing at Indianapolis. Don’t blame the locals for loving their race, especially after the huge TV numbers the series pulled locally. The fire is back in the city and that always goes a long way for indycar racing as a whole. RHR leaves The Brickyard 40 points ahead of the competition with P2-4 separated by only 42. The championship race is so very close with a single dude shot out of a cannon up front. It will be interesting to see how the double headers and remaining Triple Crown races play out. Detroit in 2 days… wow

Eric Hall

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Unfiltered Race Notes: 98th Indy 500

Welcome back! I know there was no action on here leading up to the 500, but that is the busiest time of the year for me with friends and family coming into town and the coordination of the annual Coke Lot Extravaganza. There should be a full review of the weekend in the coming days.

–Pre-race–

yea right. All the local stations come on at roughly 5 am with continuous pre-race coverage.

DVR started ABC broadcast at noon so I get about 15 minutes of pomp before the green.

I did get the old/new footage montage thing; thats how you do it.

lets do this.

–Race–

Beautiful formation through 3 and 4 to take the green.

Smoke in the back, goodyear/ cheever (cheyear) already irritating me. This is gonna be a long 3 hours. Thank goodness for Bestwick.

3

Briscoe in. Put himself in a terrible position on exit if 2, I guess thats what happens when you qualify so far back in the pack. Painfully underperforming in awesome equipment will now be know as rahal-ing

7

We haven’t seen the leader not wanting to lead. The aero package looks like it is racing better than in previous years. Hinch has been able to pull a slight lead.

12

-back from commercial

Ed up front. he was catching hinch, I wonder if he can pull away even if slightly.

Than Pennzoil car looks damn good.

Drivers braking into T1. slow playing the race. I don’t really blame them.

Little reports that Hinch gave the lead up due to fuel mileage. I can understand that, but it still has a different look than in 2012 and 2013.

17

-2nd KuBu update of the race.

Montoya says first half of 500 is all about learning. I dont think it will take him that long, but good strategy.

JR to 5th… Something tells me he will be a yearly addition to ECR for the 500 if they cant sign him outright.

Flowers in the SAFER barriers flanking the camera positions. Beautiful touch, and a great example of IMS keeping it classy.

25

-back from commercial

average speed >217

Ed dropping to 213 mid corner while flat footing. need to lose the fuel knob, but an interesting way to control the pace.

cheyear calling tear-offs visor strips… really?!

28

Ed in 1 lap sooner than Hinch, but led longer and different engine manufacturers. last Chevys in 2 laps later, but running deeper in the field, last Hondas in 1 lap after. manufacturer fuel mileage may not be a factor today.

38

-back from commercial

Power around Hinch. It really looks like the drivers aren’t avoiding the lead.

I can’t tell if Karam’s car is yellow or green… so so bright. Love it. Nice outside pass.

Rahal having problems… shocking. Can I drive the National Guard car? I’ll even change my name.

43

JR into P3. slowly but surely. ECR P2/3

Helio and Marco just kind of lingering in P5/6. Managing the race for sure.

Rahal probably out.

HC warned for blocking. onboard from HC looks pretty tame. Could have been peaking under Hinch, could have gone either way.

Top 6 starting to slightly gap the field.

Helio is kind of a bully. he really gave JR a hard time for a 1/4 of the way in.

55

-back from commercial

Rahal circulating the warm-up lanes

TK plays pinball with the wall and TK. I saw this from the stands. NUTS, and I’m positive this is the second example of this already today. I don’t think TV caught the 1st.

JPM under TBell in the north chute. THAT is a power move.

Marco takes the Munoz line to take Ed

58

Helio is moving. Looks like he is practicing the end of race rush before his 2nd stop.

Caution free

cool onboard close up of Marco’s wheel. very cool.

63

Marco added wing during 1st stop. Hope he’s still quick enough when the race speed picks up later,

JPM driving around people on old tires.

TK with a 43.4 second stop. Hes done

73

-back from commercial

Ganassi stripped the started on TK’s car. ammeter hour

First time we see Pippa is because she is struggling…

78

Ed around Marco.

Continuing my lack of faith in Power, I say it will be a three way battle between Andretti, Ed and Helio

RHR running a quiet race. made it into the top five without being mentioned.

84

-back from commercial

RHR with a vibration. Still latched onto the top 4. Dixon is back there but seems unable to suck up to the fast four.

Power P6, leading the chase pack. They don’t have the speed either. if the vibration for RHR goes away, it will be a 4 horse race. Top 4 has pulled away from the chase pack.

91

caution free. average speed 213. we didn’t keep records of yellow flags until 1976?

3rd round of stops. if we stay green, the guys may be able to race all out at the end. will be close to a fuel save race.

Montoya going very far on fuel. This could be his race if he can get in-sync with the leaders.

104

-back from commercial

JPM to 4th but the lead 3 have pulled way. It’s becoming clear who has the fastest cars of the race. HC, MA, RHR.

as quick as I say that, Ed has closed the gap and latched onto the rear of Marco.

I need to be the announcer. cheyear repeats what I say a lap after I write it. BS.

HC is strong

catching Plowman

Heat and Pacers in race ad… get outta here and give me my racing back please.

Marco under plowman into 2. ballsy

Commercial break at lap 110. 6 laps of green with an in race ad. again, BS.

115

-back from commercial

HC and RHR are getting kind of racey. they need to keep stretching the lead.

Plowman balks Power who gets freight trained by dixon and JR.

Ed in early?

cheyear says yes.

leaders catching lapped traffic.

118

caution free

top 4 nearly an entire straight ahead of field. Much better aero package than the previous years.

First time through the field?

haven’t seen KuBu spotlighted recently.

check that, top 3. Ed is a lap down but running with the top 3.

We see the blistered tire from Ed’s car, he’s very lucky he didn’t have a failure.

122

Lazier out. Why?

4th set of green flag stops

bobble in the pits for HC. 3 turns of rear wing. need to ask how the adjusting works on that.

Newgarden ran it out of fuel coming into the pits and now having trouble refire-ing

TK’s car with the red endplates and bumpers looks better than the all silver of Dixon.

Ok, lets see what JPM does here.

132

-back from commercial

JPM really fighting with his tear offs.

Wow, Power wasn’t even close to hitting the speed limit.

JPM in with a pit speed violation as well. ouch. lets see how each recovers. served 2 laps apart.

140

-back form commercial

YES, I love the in-crowd shots. especially when they are deep inside the covered grand stands.

same guys up front. I bet a yellow cars wins.

Dixon is still leading the chase pack. He just doesn’t seem to have the speed to catch, but he is noticeably faster than the remaining drivers.

LAP (no hat)

-back from commercial

Kimball into the wall. seriously? Please CK, find a shred of consistency so I don’t have to complain about you every other week.

Still no indication of lap

Dixon sounds a bit lost on setup today. put DF in during first few stops, contemplating taking DF out to stay fast. He’s searching.

Power and JPM back in it with this caution.

First real sweeping shots of the grounds and grandstands. The crowd looks fantastic. just a handful of empty seats here and there. Mounds and GA areas look like standing room only.

155

-back from commercial

long yellow as expected. sweepers in the corners.

158

restart

RHR drives around Ed.

front group already starting to gap the chasers

The speed is up

Ed and RHR fighting out front. very well matched cars. Ed did not come in on the last yellow so he is slightly off strategy.

Helio has dropped back. Montoya up to 11

Booth giving due props to KuBu. Running in top 10 on merit. great day for him no matter how it ends.

163

RHR has a stronger car than Ed.

168

-back from commercial

Dixon got bit by his indecision. Backed it into the wall. caution.

Newgarden out. ran over someone slowing for the Dixon crash.

Very interesting top ten.

Mike Hull commenting on the Dixon crash, says any of the top 4 could have lost it as well. They clearly had better preforming cars than Dixon did. I feel like he was probably just pushing too hard. Ganassi continues to be lost at the 500 with the DW12

172

-back from commercial

last american winner: Hornish 2006

174

-back from commercial

Bell in the top 5. watchout

Bell into Ed who takes himself and Hinch out. Ed PISSED at Hinch. looks like Ed is the innocent party. 50% on Tbell, 50% on Hinch

Re: Bell shouldn’t have come down, Hinch shouldn’t have gone 3 wide.

180

-Back from commercial

Bell is just being a bully. There’s still 20 to go dude.

Helio gives it right back to Bell. I can respect that form HC

Munoz takes bell around the outside. wow

Montoya on the lead pack P6

fist pump from Mr. Penske. Excellent.

185

It. Is. On.

RHR exiting 4 under the pit lane entrance. We are rocking and rolling now boys and girls.

lead 3, chase 3, pack. Again, clear who has the speed.

Marco can catch HC and RHR but just can’t stay with them. not your year young andretti.

190

caution

Bell into the wall. Karma? wrecked after indycar called for debris yellow.

Looks like the debris is on exit of 2. not a contributing factor.

Red Flag.

Can hear the cheering from the grandstands.

I’m good with this decision.

Of course the debris is from Saavedera.

cheyear trying to say something broke. Possibly, but he was probably pushing too hard.

YOU ARE THE MAN ED

Interviews, fly over shots, artsy driver shots… lets get on with it. DVR skip engaged.

no pit work allowed

192

Mario is a cool cat. “take the lead as soon as possible”

Marco couldnt do what Munoz did just a few laps earlier

Defense. HC to the front

Split screen with the WAGS.

Not your year Marco

Helio is driving RHR to the wall. excellent defense, but i think RHR is playing with HC.

As soon as I say that RHR to the front.

GET THE WAGS OF THE SCREEN

Marco lifting. Not enough wing

POWER move by HC. around the outside.

strategic lift by RHR

199

RHR ahead well ahead of T1 turn in

HC not close enough into 3

200

RHR for the win.

2nd closest finish ever.

amazing race. Helio is crushed and doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry; what a guy. Mini-RHR is too cute. DVR quits during Michael Andretti Interview.

Check back tomorrow for more Indy 500 goodness. After ten days of hibernation, we are about to kick it into high gear for the summer stretch of the season.

Eric Hall

 

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Unfiltered Race Notes: Grand Prix of Indianapolis 2014

Welcome back to the Unfiltered race notes! I was on the ground at IMS this weekend, but didn’t really have a good grasp of what had gone on during the race. Honestly, it surprised me how exciting the end of the race actually was. I read the complaints about the fuel run, and I had a few of my own, but all in all it was a pretty dang cool race. Enjoy!

–Pre-pre-race–

Local ABC had a 2 and a half hour pre-race show before national broadcast. The Indianapolis Children’s Choir who sang the national anthem had to sign a contract saying they would sing the song as intended.

I fall asleep for the remaining 2 hours and 15 minutes…

–Pre-race–

gorgeous facility…

Good intro by ABC, feature-ettes are always on point from them.

Need more in-car footage of wet practice. RHR was working it.

Happy birthday HC; cool day for him.

Kanaan notes the tires. This surface is so different than anything else indycar sees all year. I wonder if the mix is tuned for motogp, there doesn’t seem to be the same “abrasive surface” comments as the new surface at barber.

The RHR practice crash was the loudest impact I have ever heard at the track. Speedway crashes into the SAFER barrier sound more like a thump, this was a crunch screech; start crash was more of a cracking plastic, exploding panel sound. was about the same distance from both.

…sigh… cheever and goodyear. I’m watching this replay slightly late at night… I hope they don’t crush my soul.

epic season review. Not happy they kept the goodyear blaming power for the SP crash in the cut. lol Aleshin clearly tried to roll back into bourdais at barber.

MHG is a cool link to the past, but not the most enthused command giver.

Cars look unbelievably trimmed on the grid walk; should make for some exciting braking.

The CG track layout review thing is odd. Aren’t we beyond this kind of cheese? it’s 2014…

What?!? they don’t include the 8 foot elevation change in the track fact box? Come on ABC!! (I kid, I kid)

Telling comments about the standing start. I was in attendance, but I really only know about the start, Montoya’s stall and penalty, the Hinch Incident, Andretti’s cracked chassis and the Plowman crash.

–Race–

Ok… maybe the 20 screaming engines kind of muted the sound of the start crash. That was pretty violent.

Saavedera is 2 for 2 and I refuse to listen to his excuses.

Plowman was lucky to not be taken out by Munoz; good heads up driving.

Announcers are over simplifying the standing start procedure, but I have to wonder where anti-stall is at over two years after the debut of the new engines.

Great move by Kimball as well. Too bad the guys short on skill hide others true talent.

Montoya’s back… excellent.

Props to Dallara for sure.

Announcers yelling at Saavedera for having his arms up. I thought these guys were in the drivers meeting. SS did exactly as told. second bold but incorrect statement that didn’t need to be said.

I love you Eddie, but you are a complete wet blanket.

I *think* Munoz said he was already in 5th gear… that’s bad fast, I bet Aleshin was going even faster.

The grandstands and viewing mounds look full exactly where they need to. IMS should have opened a lower outside section adjacent to the standing start to GA.

Sounds like guys are saving from the start. may need to add 5-10 laps next year if 7 cautions laps is enough to push it into a two stop fuel conservation race.

restart looked awesome.

WOW marco bunny hopped that chicane. Impressive indeed.

Mr director is already frustrating me.

The hat tells me Hawksworth took the lead on lap 1… I don’t think thats right.

Hawk looks trimmed, as does dixon and RHR. Pags may have the most rear wing out of all the front runners. Penske guys might as well be running a speedway wing.

Booth guys say they haven’t seen this much bumping and shoving at the start of an indycar race… ever. Clearly haven’t been watching this year.

14… finally

Montoya to P9 from dead last. cue the jaws theme.

snake pit section grass looks like it could use a drink.

Hawksworth’s car looks great.

Marco falling back and the car sounds like it’s going to hell. long day ahead.

oh man, I really like the entire white underwing of the HC paint job.

Booth fills us in on tire rules and strategy. good info; props earned.

Looooong pit lane

Bestwick makes a good point that with wet qualies, the race is really the first time teams and drivers have had the chance to run on the reds. managing their usage could be key to finishing well.

Booth justifying fuel races. boo.

24

RHR doing a great job surviving until his window opens up. I dont really feel like I know whats going on farther back than about P5… I wonder why.

Side by side is kind of silly. I always feel guilty skipping but, you know we’ll get filled in if anything actually interesting happens. Maybe…

The 7/8/9 viewing mounds look packed. I was honestly surprised at how full they were when I was in the house.

Green flag stops

28

Here comes Pagenaud… he’s been fast all weekend. I doubt Hawksworths can hold him off. Bestwick saves the booth again by remembering JH’s pitstop was slow. Bestwick is starting to grow on me, but it may be just because he’s simply competent.

30

Briscoe penalized for hitting a hose

Booth mentions that the track is rubbering in. It really does look like its taking the rubber nice. Seems like the tires and track surface really like each other.

save fuel save fuel save fuel… it’s still so early in the dang race…

I don’t really think that Pags is actively chasing down JH.

Hinch flapping his arms at Helio. HC clearly had the corner, Hinch shouldn’t be surprised when hard racing is repaid with even harder racing.

37

Charlie Kimball is the highest mover. I feel like we’ve already said that this year. Probably needs to step his qualy performances up.

The laps really click off when you’re lapping in 70 seconds.

Booth giving BHA well deserved props. Need to see one or two more strong races this year to really solidify themselves.

41. Halfway.

2011 500… Yes.

Big mistake from Dixon. That is a tough corner to pull a pass off. Booth says it looks clean; I don’t necessarily disagree, but it looks more like a racing incident. So uncharacteristic from Dixon.

Montoya with a broken car, but they fixed it in a lap? interesting. I wonder what was going on.

44

Divergent strategies. Power hits a hose. Again I ask why they do the whole throw the gun thing in indycar. why in the world cant we use hose gantries. wouldn’t be too $$$ to implement.

Little bit of bump and run on the restart. not too bad. The field looks so good heading through 5/6.

FCY 35 to go

Plowey gets loose under braking and just crushed Franck. That was crazy, FM is very lucky.

Hinch unhappy about something. the HCN move maybe? Is hinch usually this butthurt during the races?

Booth mentions power penalty. Looks like the plenum was sheered off of FM’s car. No wonder he was told to shut it off so quickly.

Man, that restart was a bit too slow. I like the idea, but the flagger needs to have control of the field. GR fingers JPM for the punt. I think it was more of a reaction to the extra slow restart. GR also says JPM shouldn’t be playing with the leaders when hes a lap down… Graham, you aren’t really a leader dude.

Lots of debris, is the DW12 too frangible?

And with a little more speed, that restart looked absolutely picture perfect. Thats how you do it.

26 to go.

Hinch sounds dazed.

Multiple strategies. I’m not really sure how this is all going to play out

20 to go.

Ah, Servia around Pags. He’s just got to be lapping too fast. SImon stated later that he had to hit an obscene fuel number.

Could servia have been short filled?

Good stop for HC, at least we will see a few guys pushing to the end.

Aleshin and Bourdais in the same shot, because of course they are.

11 to go

servia out front with a 1.2 second lead. SP on reds as well. He must be pushing. Obviously not the winning strategy.

9 to go

7.5 second lead.

Servia pulling over a half a second a lap. Pretty clear what is about to happen. Pags and RHR are good to go. Huge props to Servia and Rahal for pushing to the bitter end. totally respectable.

Servia in with 4 to go… Aaaaand he nearly stalls it. insult to injury.

Come on HC, chase these guys down.

2 to go.

surprised HCN can’t get to RHR.

Checkers.

Alright, for a fuel race that was pretty dang good. Looks like they opened up the grandstands behind the flagstand at some point during the race.

Pags is very excited about the win. good to see so much passion in the cockpit. And he even made it back to the winners circle.

DVR stops midway through the Schmidt Interview.

Wish the teams and drivers could have pushed hard until the end, but still an entertaining race if not for the questionable booth.

Eric Hall

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