Unfiltered Race Notes: Long Beach 2015

Ok, As we all know I am an almost religious DVR watcher, so how does my terrible fandom get repaid? By me realizing 10 minutes into the broadcast I was not recording! I recovered and was able to start about 10 minutes in. Stupid AT&T, but the only other option in my area is Comcast. I do not care to switch from satan to pure concentrated evil, thank you very much.

Where are you at Verizon? Do you even do TV? I know you have that kick-ass fiber internet. I’m just saying!

Anyway… Like I really even watch much of the prerace.

–Prerace–

Cool, I start with Hinch on the top of the podium!

SAM SCHMIDT DRIVING THE TRACK!!! Even cooler. We totally live in the future. Where’s my hoverboard and transporter?

Replay of the RHR smashy from 2014. Love how unforgiving Hunter-Reay is. Say what you will about him, but that’s oldschool attitude right there.

Damn. That pass into T3 at Indy last year is breathtaking every time I see it.

NBCSN Knows how to keep me engaged in the prerace: very few interviews and a good amount of super awesome montages and features. A+ so far.

I see what looks to be a crane in the fountain area. If it is, big thumbs up to the promoters.

Have we seen the full prerace ceremonies yet this year? I always think broadcasting them is classy.

Every Long Beach retrospective is smashy. Not a surprise?

CAPTAIN PICARD GIVES THE BEST COMMAND OF THE YEAR!!!!!!! (<- Yes, 8 ! were warranted)

Worth noting I will be paying special attention to the Chevy’s given the ridiculous decision to haphazardly destroy an aerokit that cost millions of dollars to develop. I feel for you Chevy.

–Race–

Still have to say, both of these aerokits look like they’re straight out of the future.

Watching Will Power work his way from the rear should be exciting.

GREEN

Worst. Formation. Ever.

Looks like we’re back to the bad old days of starts? But it is Long Beach, the place made famous for impossibly terrible formations heading to green.

Dixon looking strong. He could use some good points after a very Dixon-like start to the season.

Looked Like very heads up driving from Marco who came to a complete stop heading into the hairpin.

2

More Rahal upfront. What the hell is going on. Is he really actually having an OK start to the year?

HCN is walking away. I have a feeling we will be in for a stretched out race if the drivers can keep it off the walls.

4

lap 4 already. I forgot how quick they click of here.

Onboard with TK. The biggest dude in the field is manhandling this thing.

YELLOW

Debris. Dammit.

Replay of the start shows approximately 1.75 rows aligned for the start.

I understand the sensitivity to debris on the course, but in the event that it is a single piece that one dude can go out and grab real quick we need to create a ‘fast debris yellow’ to make these a bit more bearable.

Filippi and Power stall at pit entrance. What and odd situation. I’m so glad I did not pick Power in my fantasy league, BUT I DID PICK FILIPPI. Sigh.

Still under yellow. My patience is waning.

10

GREEN

Dixon looks driven to stay with HCN. Both are way out front.

But my the hairpin, Dixon has already fallen back into the clutches of Montoya.

11.

Yes, these cars look super fast on the streets.

12

It sounds like Coletti is on 2014 front wing watch! I hope he bangs his nose up so we can get some super cool retro throwback nose action.

14

Kimball into the pits for a front wing. No info on how it happened.

HCN still out front. I am OK with this. I would really like to see Helio win the championship this year to solidify his place in indycar history

18

We come back from break and have a weekend montage and immediately go thorugh the field. On the patented anotherindycarblog-how-early-does-through-the-field-happen-indicates-lameness-of-race scale, this is before the first quarter so this race is boring.

I didn’t make the scale, I only report the results.

20

HOLY CRAP AN ON SCREEN PASS!!! I know there is action up and down the field all day and it’s hard to get it all on tape and show it. Then we need more cameras. If it doesn’t happen on TV, it doesn’t really happen. I’m sure the comments section will be filled with ‘but the lap chart shows 547 passes for position from P10 down.

I don’t care. Show me the money.

But an excellent pass from Bourdais. Get it done, you deserve to win more races.

Sebastian Saavedra sitting in P12. If he finishes better than Karam’s season high of P18, I don’t want to hear anyone else complain about Saavedra funding the remainder of Karam’s season.

21

Pagenaud inside Montoya. Well done, and a pass for a podium position. Very excellent.

26

Shhh… racecars… Long Beach

Compared to St. Pete, these drivers are piloting masterful races. Or is this an indication that no one can get close enough to pass and St. Pete is what we should be aspiring to see.

28

Various drivers start the second pit sequence.

Without the rabbit ears, the Chevy front wings are super reminiscent of the IR09 road and street snow plows.

Also, the subtraction of the rabbit ears do not seem to be making a huge difference. They still shouldn’t be forced to removed them though. Those pieces were homologated fair and square.

31

Pags looks like he’s warming his tires in preparation for an all out attack on Helio, but it looks like Dixon has already gotten around them both on pit the pit rotation.

We get a shot at Connor Daly. Connor has no money and complains about not being hired, but he as the first guy DCR called when a free seat opened up. I think that says a lot CD, just keep pushing for funding. You have done nothing to prove to me you deserve a ride on merit alone with one of the big teams.

Coletti 10 laps down. What the hell happened?

35

We’re watching a blue, yellow and red Penske train. How about we see some of that passing that I’m bound to hear about lower in the field on Monday.

Hawks totally blows the fountain complex on cold tires. Saavedra and Kimball both miss him and none of the three touch the barriers at all. I knew you guys had it in you!

40

I have to say, I’m shocked and extremely impressed with how clean this race has been. Cooler heads have prevailed all day.

The field is slightly stretched, but the race hasn’t been bad at all.

42

Dracone literally gets freight trained. One more race… one more race… one more race…

43

More DF created less marbles. Excellent insight from Bell. Thank you, viewing enhanced. The lack of marbles is noticeable!

45

Miller stroking Daly’s ego. Shocking.

Daly also driving in someone else’s seat. Did you not run the Indy 500? Did you not get a seat insert poured? Why is that seat insert not attached to your hip everytime your at a race?

46

Onboard with Rahal. Not a huge fan of red cars, but that Steak ‘n Shake livery is HOT.

49

The cracking from the turbo/gearbox/who knows is super pronounced today. We may not have the raciest sounding engines on the block (I think they sound pretty racy though) but there are definitely other sounds to round out the IndyCar experience.

51

The cars are noticeably loose on the exit of T8. We’re seeing some awesome car control.

53

SATO in the pits. The ABC livery looks damn good on the Honda aerokit.

54

TV continues to talk up the helpfulness of Jakes in the Schmidt organization. I’m not totally sold on that yet though.

55

Everyone comes in. 25 lap dash to the finish. Dixon out front. I don’t see much changing. A late race caution would be cool, but this hasn’t been the worst day IndyCar has seen by far.

56

Montoya masterfully gets around Pagenaud. Seeing a move like that makes a race like this totally worth it.

57

Damn these cars look Hot. Has diecast been released yet? I need it ALL

58

Oh yea, Will Power. Poor guy. I was just think today about how much of a fan I was becoming of his. Tough day son.

61

Ugh, we switch to the ‘laps to go’ count. This isn’t freaking NASCAR, just count the laps for me.

63

Enthralled with racecars.

64

There are a few trains throughout the field, but I think most of the guys are scared to get too close. Who wants to be the cause of a full course caution?

68

‘run IndyCars at close to 200 down the front straight’ come on guys, they barely touch 170 here…

How did Coletti just turn the fastest lap of the race? Is he just an incredibly streaky rookie? He has the experience.

69

We see how terrible Dixon is here at Long Beach. I would love to see him come home with the win today.

72

Man, JPM and Pags have been fighting for the last 50 laps. I bet there will be 2 tired boys in the Penske camp after its all said and done.

Booth mentions how laid down Pags wing is. Cool to see the cars can finally take those differences. I the past, there was no option but to run the Dallara DW12 at full downforce because of how unwieldy it was.

73

Dracone is still the butt of chicane jokes.

74

Pags looks very impatient. Along with being exhausted, I bet there wont be very many friendly words for each other.

77

The battle for third is intense. Passes or not, these guys are leaving nothing on the track.

WHITE

79

How have we gone nearly caution free?!? WELL DONE BOYS!!

80

CHECKERS

DIXON!!! Excellent job Iceman. And any chance to interview Emma is a total bonus.

–Post Race–

I can hear the haters now. NO PASSING, THE CARS CAN’T GET CLOSE. ANYONE BUT PENSKE OR GANASSI. Shut it. That was clean and fast racing. I really enjoy seeing light on caution IndyCar races because we get to see who really has the pace. No surprise it’s Dixon on the top of the podium on a day like this.

Excellent race. I can totally do these early in the season. In one short week we shall reconvene for an in depth discussion regarding the racing in Barber Motorsport Park.

Thanks IndyCar, that was a blast.

Eric Hall

Programing Note: Due to personal obligations next Sunday, there is a good chance notes will appear on Monday.

Programing Note Two: Any interest in qualifying notes?

 

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Unfiltered Race Notes: Grand Prix of Louisiana 2015

Welcome back to the second installment of everyones favorite race review! Here we are in NOLA Motorsport Park for the inaugural Grand Prix of Louisiana. After a wet start to the weekend, I’m ready to get down to business. Let’s do this!

–Prerace–

I SEE ROOSTER TAILS!!

Good to see you again NBCSN.

I hope we actually race. It cannot rain again or these INTERMEDIATE tires with a ROAD INSPIRED TREAD PATTERN won’t be able to handle this drizzle.

I hope firestone brings a true full wet sometime this year. They look just as bad as IndyCar does when we have continued issues in the rain.

Starting on entrant points due to lightning in quals. OK. I can dig it. JPM up front is never a bad thing, Even if he ended qualifying in the grass. I’LL TAKE IT!

Even though quals got wiped from history, Bourdais SHOULT NOT have been penalized for impeding the progress of TK. I’m sorry, but TK should not have been on a flier. Why were there not yellows waving for the car off the track? Can’t impede someone yielding for yellows. Right?

Reading the future of the race with tarot cards? Cheesy, but I can dig it.

Ok. 22 minutes of prerace. That’s what I’m talking about. Lets do this!

–Race–

GREEN

Less spray than I thought we would see.

TK already motocrossing over the curbs. I hope his back is alright.

JPM checking out already.

Bourdais and Pagenaud knife-fighting already. It’s so early.

2

In-car with TK. It doesn’t look that bad. Very little standing water. These guys should be able to handle this for 75 laps.

3

Sage loses a wing tower doo-dad. First piece of debris. Not bad at all. It’s amazing what not having concrete walls lining the circuit will do for debris.

4

Penske on a split set-up. Interesting.

6

People are thinking about slicks? What?

7

JPM is losing slightly to Power. I would usually say cue the jaws music if the roles were reversed, but Power is in the zone.

8

Power looking for water.

9

The cars look very good here, but so much of the track looks like every other part of the track. No distinctive features or landmarks at all.

10

Back to the front. Power and JPM are in a different area code… Ok. I’m preparing myself for a full season of this. I love these guys but even I want to see more colors at the front.

11

TK and RHR in for… SLICKS?!?! Dudes… I do not agree with this strategy.

Onboard with TK following RHR. Um.. No grip at all.

13

Looks like those who are heading to pitlane are also taking reds. This is why I’m not a race engineer.

The sky has cleared enough to allow the helicopter to linger on-site. The dry line does not look to be forming quite yet.

14

TK in the grass and ALMOST INTO SIMONA AND MARCO. Damn son. Get it together.

15

Leaders in. everyone on reds

How has there not been a yellow yet? Well done drivers. Let’s keep it up!

Chaves doing donut in the grass. This is comical.

HCN right there with Power. Amazing. This may be closer that we had initially thought.

16

SOME RANDOM DUDE just pushed Chaves off the curb only for him to stall like 37 feet down the road. ALL FOR NOT. Thank you for your help though, random dude in a button down.

YELLOW

Colletti commenting about how much more room and respect is given over here compared to his time in GP2. That’s awesome to hear.

21

GREEN

OH NO!! Hawks and Jakes into the barrier before the line!

And Dracone spins it heading into T1. Thank goodness he didn’t collect anyone else. Repeat after me: He will be out of the car by Indy. He will be out of the car by Indy…

YELLOW

For Hawks into the barrier. Yes, his car is definitely bent.

HCN with massive wing damage. Ouch.

Looks like Jakes lost it and Hawks had nowhere to go. Too bad for the sophomore savant.

22

Well, I guess HCN punted Dracone. I’m sorry… But not really. Seriously, he’ll be gone by Indy.

Miller with Hawks. Man, he is upset. What a great day thrown away by success in the stair lift industry.

24

JPM telling IndyCar that someone will have a massive shunt on the back straight if someone doesn’t blow this water away. Ahem. This is what called a mixed condition race Mr. Montoya. If you’re gonna shunt on reds, you should have stayed with wets.

26

Crew member down in the Dracone pit with the driver facing the wrong way. Considering the injured crew member, I will withhold snarky comments regarding Dracone.

27

Booth says this could be a timed race.

JPM, Power, Pags. Coming to

GREEN

28

OH MY GOODNESS. COLETTI!!Amazing no one got collected with him. Young guy is so lucky he backed it into an armco instead of concrete. What a hit.

YELLOW

Booth guesses we will get in 56 laps. Damn. And more rain 20 minutes out. Double damn.

32 (37 minutes remain)

GREEN

Rahal almost pulls a Coletti.

But I have to say, GET ON IT RAHAL. I picked you in both my fantasy leagues.

YELLOW

Karam into the kitty litter. Ok. This is getting ridiculous. Can we please get some racing in today?!

Onboard with Rahal. Great save. I think pops taking himself off the pit stand may do more for Rahal than any other change in his entire carear.

Not sure what lap we are on.

The entire field heads in to take fuel and reds. Last stops of the day. 23 laps left? I have no idea, I feel like I haven’t seen the lap ticker in 15 minutes.

Booth to car radio is a success?!? How often does that happen?!?

  1. Hinch in the lead through snazzy pit work. This may just play into his hands.

GRE… YELLOW

Huertas spins it before the line. Dude.

26 minutes left per the booth. I still have no idea what lap we are on.

Wow, Coletti back out after fixing what was though to be a damaged gear box?

This is feeling like a s*** show today…

Question of the moment: Will se actually get to see more than 2 consecutive laps of green flag racing? No. I highly doubt it.

OMG OMG THE LAP TICKER

39 (17 minutes remain)

20 minutes to do 7 laps? We aren’t at Circuit de la Sarthe? Ok, just making sure… That’s so IndyCar.

GREEN

HOLY CRAP, NOBODY SPUN ON THE GREEN!!!!!!! (<- extra !! just because it was that damn amazing)

Simona into P4. Now that’s how you cover yourself in glory after such a forgettable weekend in St. Pete.

40

Jakes pressuring HCN. Is this opposite day?

JPM around Power… Excellent..

JPM will drive from hear on out like a crazy person. I vote to stay onboard with him for the remainder of the race.

41

Jakes around HCN. What? No. Ok. I was about to lose my mind.

YELLOW

Because of course.

Stall by Karam? Sigh. Not what we need to see.

Good for Hinch. I how want this to go yellow the rest of the way considering there is so little time left. Hinch and SSM could use this good will early in the year.

43 (8 minutes remain)

GREEN

HCN is getting hounded by Jakes and Simona. This is excellent stuff.

WOAH! CARBON FIBER AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE!

Bourdais, RHR and Pags smashed each other. Pags giving Bourdais some lip.

Come on Pags, wait until he gets out and box him!

Now Pags over to RHR to give him some lip. Dude is on a roll.

Replay shows us that Bourdais is a lucky man. He almost took a gearbox to the face.

Man, 3 wide. I don’t think Pags has too much of a right to blame either driver. That was just a scary ass crash. Really, Pags shouldn’t have put himself on the outside of 2 other drivers racing for position in the wet. This is IndyCar for goodness sakes, what did you think would happen?!

45 (3 minutes remain)

Mercifully, I think this thing will run out of time. I cant handle any more of this. Not a great first trip to NOLA for the series.

47 (2 seconds remain)

WHITE

Congrats Mr Hinch. Talk about a battle of attrition.

Looks like Simona will come home in P4 and Jakes in P3. Who had that for their fantasy league?!

I hope this will secure the short term future for Simona. She deserves so much more after everything she has endured in IndyCar.

48

CHECKERS

THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS THIS IS OVER.

I’m out; see you in Long Beach.

Eric Hall

 

 

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Unfiltered Race Notes: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2015

Welcome back to the most best-est unfiltered race notes!!! I have no idea what is in store for anotherindycarblog during 2015, but these were fun, so lets do it again!

—Pre-Race—

Alright alright alright… 7 month off-season, you have not crushed my spirit; I’m here and ready for RACEC… oh… basketball… well… I guess I can wait five more minutes.

IMSP knocking it out of the park. Thanks guys. If there is one constant shiny star in the sometimes-goat-rodeo-that-is-indycar-racing, it’s IMSP.

Note to self: Buy yacht, park in St. Petersburg Marina, watch IndyCar race.

Ugh. Cheever and Goodyear. Hopefully Bestwick can save us.

Wherever these joker are, it looks busy and packed; excellent location choice for this thing.

Interviews, Andretti Autosport montage, Interviews, Whatever.

Beekhuis getting all techy on us. I approve. This is the best look at some of the kit details I’ve seen yet.

Wings on wings on wings on wings. I’m not totally convinced that’s getting old yet.

I’m already tired of interviews. More montages please. In slow motion next time?

Having the drivers talk about the track instead of the commentators is an awesome way to complement the track map segment. Again, I approve.

32 minutes and 51 seconds into the season, and I’m on your side ABC, don’t loose me just as quick. I’ve even forgiven you for the 5 minutes of basketball during my racecar coverage.

Good Command. Let’s do this; it’s been far, far too long.

2 seater has the sharkfin but nothing else from the new Honda kit. I wonder if they think that is the defining aspect of their kit?

—Race—

GREEN

Clean through turn 1. Amazing.

The pack sounds awesome.

There was definitely contact further back in the field before T1.

YELLOW

For debris. Great start.

20K front wings. Wow.

GREEN

6

Penske train up front.

The cars look life damn spaceships out there. Cool

7

Coletti giving Kimball the elbow. Strong start Charlie; let’s at least try and not squander this Ganassi seat all year, please?

9

Nice shout outs for Hawksworth, Coletti, Chaves and Jakes. Always like to see the back of the field get some lovin’.

13

The cars look bad fast. Not nearly as lumbering as last year.

16

Onboard with Rahal. Dude is working really hard to not make any progress on Dixon. Keep at it Babe.

Coletti’s car looks hot. I love silver racecars.

19

Oh yea, Will Power is running away with it. Is there any doubt that he wont win?

20

Filippi takes a handful of front wing. He’ll be a good guinea pig racing without the wing flip doo-dads

22

Simona into Munoz. Ouch. Not covering yourself in glory there Simona. WE NEED BETTER FROM YOU!

No yellow. Thank goodness.

JPM not into Dixon. Well done!

23

Air jack failure on Dixons car. Slow recovery from the team. Surprising.

25

Power even farther out front.

YELLOW

For debris.

<<sigh>>

I’ll run out onto a live track and recover that crap. Call me IndyCar.

The cars look GREAT!

Racing has been meh, but St. Pete usually is. Thus far, this has been fantastic.

It looks like there may be RV camping along the front straight. That is cool as hell. The stands look very full as well.

I AM INTO THIS!!

32

Huertas out. Busted steering rack maybe? A Coyne car breaking? Nooo.

33

GREEN

Montoya passes 2 cars headed into T1, almost crashes himself out, gathers it up and continues on. Welcome back old friend!

And Sato elbows Bourdais.

Side-by-side through the entire back half of the track. Nutso. No, the racing has not been hurt with the aerokits.

34

YELLOW

Marco crushed his shiny new wing because he is not as good as he thinks he is. Come on man, that was rookie.

The racing ahs been good, but there’s no rhythm to this show at all. Lets click off some laps and get through a pit stop sequence without crashing into each other.

Who will be the first to run a stock Dallara front wing?

36

Looks like Sato also has a broken wing. Could it be? No, he has a new new wing. Boo.

38

GREEN

The entire field is much more collected. Looks like they want to get some laps clicked off as well.

39

JPM hunting Helio. Cue the Jaws music.

40

Chaves into Hinch. Carbon fiber flying. This could be a long afternoon. Debris everywhere.

42

These guys are cooking.

Shhh… Racecar.

43

Munoz around the outside of Jakes like a boss.

The booth is fawning over Andretti. I’m not sure they’re watching the same race I am.

47

YELLOW

Jakes off. Simona win a mean tire rub. Simona just crushed the rear of Jakes. Dammit Simona, that’s twice. This isn’t how we get more races added to our deal!

Props to the booth for throwing Jakes under the bus though.

Everyone into the pits.

Helio around Power in the pits. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

53

500 montage. Most excellent.

54

GREEN

Hawksworth and Karam leading us to green.

Power and JPM around Helio. The race is clearly going to be between these two.

YELLOW

Pagenaud into the rear of Kimball and Rahal puts Kimball into the tires just to finish him off. I know this wasn’t your doing CK, but it’s these kinds of things that make me have no hope in you. Wrong place, wrong time, every time.

JPM behind Power for the restart and JPM looks READY for trouble.

59

GREEN

I need to breathe.

JPM staying right with Power and both are gapping the field. For once, I want to see the lead cars circulating. JPM on Blacks?!?!

62

Someone ran onto the track to get a piece of wing. There goes my shot at glory.

Quite a few Chevy’s missing the winglet things. Rahal with a floppy wing.

65

Rahal drive through, and on maybe his best day in a while. Too bad? No.

Focusing on the Power/JPM battle. Very yes. This is the way to keep me watching during side-by-side coverage.

70

Hawksworth pits and doesn’t change his wing. I love it. Broken racecars limping to the end.

Yes, JPM on blacks and Power on reds.

72

Onboard with Power. Sounds like drivers are dropping gears quicker. I always attributed the slow downshifts to low-tech gearboxes. Could it have been braking grip dictating the slower downshifts?

76

Ok. It’s been a while without a caution. The race has settled in. What do we know?

-JPM can keep up with Power

-Simona may not be seen again this year

-wings are made of glass

78

I can’t help but think JPM may pull this off. He is too fast on blacks.

Side thought about the gearboxes: I would really like to see 7 speed boxes in 2017.

79

I see Dracone is out. Did we hear anything about that? Hmm…

80

Why does it feel like Pagenaud running in P5 is kind of a disappointment?

81

Final stops.

Power’s left rear fumbles the nut.

The director missed Power exiting the pits and the race with JPM. THAT WAS THE RACE WINNING PIT EXIT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABC???

83

The booth mentions the JPM/Power exchange up front. Thanks. A bit too late, and now we’re following Helio’s out lap. What

84

Pagenaud around the outside of Bourdais.

OK, we get the exchange on replay. I AM OFF THE BANDWAGON ABC!

87

Looks like no one pulled the jack for Power. That’ll do it every time. Penske perfect?

Good catch ABC.

90

Power is closing. Quickly.

I’m nervous.

91

Booth notes Power is knocking 0.5 seconds a lap off. Buckle up kids, here we go.

I could watch these two lap all day long.

96

Power peeking to the inside.

Let’s watch together now.

100

Montoya may be short on tires.

102

Buuut it doesn’t matter as JPM closes the door on Power. Decisively closes the door.

However, that was a low probability move at best Power. You’re lucky both of you are still running.

105

MOVE OVER SAGE! That probably ruined any hope on a knife fight at the end.

Look at Jakes! Verizon in the mirrors? Move over and slam on the brakes. At least he knows how to get lapped. A few other drivers could take some lessons there.

106

We never once went through the field. By the patented Eric Hall, is-this-a-boring-race-o-meter, no… this was not a boring race.

108

lappers ahead. It looks like they’re racing tough. Good to know there was action up and down the field as we were focused on the fron for the final ¼ of the race

These lappers may be making Montoya sweat.

109

WHITE

I would try and stay behind those idiots if possible.

Kimball spins it. Dude.

110

CHECKERS

Montoya. That’s the way to start the season.

I have nothing left to say. JPM for season champion, You heard it here first. It’s been proven that Power can be thrown off his game with ease if you can keep the pressure on. Montoya did not back down and physically reminded Power he does not own the top position in the team.

In fairness, Power knew the move was optimistic and didn’t have a single complaint. Kudos Mr. Power, that is a huge change from a year ago. All things considered, he’s in amazing good spirits.

Hell yes. That was a race. I totally approve.

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Dallara, IndyCar, Randy Bernard and Black Helicopters

It’s January 19th, one day after Honda and Chevrolet submitted their final designs for their spiffy 2015 aerokits; a glorious day for sure. But here we sit with no images or anything really too concrete regarding what we may be in store for once the green falls in St. Petersburg.

I’m totally OK with this.

My excitement for the 2015 season, the introduction of aerokits and the new look of the IndyCar schedule has me very excited about the coming season; more so than any season in recent memory.

When was the last time we had a true development war in IndyCar? Possibly ahead of the 2005 season when we saw Dallara and Panoz contesting the championship on the chassis side and Chevy, Toyota and Honda on the engine side. That wide ocean of development was pared down to only Dallara and Honda contesting the entire 2006 season; quite the change in only one year.

The situation was even more dire on the CART/Champ Car side following the 2002 season. Honda and Toyota had departed for the IRL and Reynard Motorsport was not saved from bankruptcy.

A handful of teams soldiered on with the undeveloped Reynard chassis for two more years before finally being mothballed in favor of the Lola. And like that, CART/Champ Car’s backbone became spec equipment.

Competitive open-wheel development has been at a standstill for more year’s than many of the highly coveted new fans have been watching. And that is a tough pill to swallow. Indycar racing, in one form or another, has been built upon development and we are on the brink of seeing the next iteration of that century old knife fight.

Needless to say, I am truly looking forward to what 2015 has to offer. But while reading the flurry of excellent development articles coming from various sources, I began to wonder exactly how the DW12 was designed.

The supposed word on the street regarding the initial Dallara aerokit was that it was designed solely as a show kit ahead of the 2012 season. The intention being that other manufacturers would come on board and autoclave some new clothes for the DW12 safety cell.

As we well know, that did not happen. With no kit manufacturers on board, IndyCar and Dallara were left scrambling to push the show kit into production with minimal wind tunnel or CFD development. I do not blame either party for this decision; why develop something that would only see service for a year?

Remember back to initial Indy testing of the shiny new Dallara kit. Speeds were down… way down… 215-ish top speed down. Dallara was emphatic their chassis hit all the items on the IndyCar checklist, and a Dallara manufacturing engineer here in Indianapolis planted the blame squarely on the overweight engines being supplied.

Of course, Chevy and Honda held the line and pushed blame to Dallara. I have always wondered if the current turd of an aerokit was more to blame than chassis design or engine weight. It’s much cheaper to fix an imbalance problem by changing a-arm geometry than developing a new aerokit.

But the teams, drivers and the series marched on and developed that sorry aerokit until it could turn blistering times at nearly every facility visited.

Now enter 2015 manufacturer testing.

IndyCar and Dallara anticipated a huge increase of downforce from the new kits and proactively made downforce decreases to the existing under tray in testing as early as fall of 2014. And rightfully so, IndyCar and Dallara both knew how sloppy the existing kit was and how much potential there was to be found in the chassis.

Even with the new, less efficient floor, Honda and Chevy maxed out the suspension strength as early as October of 2014; a concerning mark to hit so soon in development. The response? IndyCar axed even more downforce by making the tunnels and diffuser more inefficient. Not the way we want the chassis to be developed in concert with these new aerokits.

I wasn’t thrilled about the initial floor change, but the need is understandable as Dallara has clearly improved the base design slowly over the past three years. But this second round of technical de-evolution is concerning.

What exactly was Dallara thinking when they OKed the suspension ahead of the 2012 season? Did they not ever expect downforce increases over the life of the chassis? Were there no actual plans to introduce manufacturer aerokits?

This malarky makes me believe that the idea of an “aerokit” was a red herring fed to us by Randy Bernard. Yet another big check written by the-starry-eyed-every-fans-best-friend that IndyCar and Dallara would be unable to cash once push came to shove.

Remember proud Randy standing in front of us with the amazing revelation to move downforce from the wings to the under tray? It did wonders for competition, but sent the wrong message regarding the evolution of the DW12.

Should I be concerned about nose to tail racing now that the downforce has moved from the floor to the wings? During the years leading up to the sweeping rules changes ahead of the 2009 Formula One season, we saw just how bad the racing can be when you continue to take away downforce from the floor and force teams to claw it back with the wings.

This is not how chassis and aero development is supposed to go. Chevy and Honda have gone above and beyond the call. They fight tooth and nail on the engine side by bringing updates as quickly as possible and utilizing the rules in an attempt to strangle the series. The inability of either to complete this task is proof positive that both manufacturers are leaving nothing on the engine development table.

The reports that both manufacturers have maxed out the stock DW12 suspension is even more credence to their commitment to winning in IndyCar. Honda and Chevy are clearly pushing the limits of what they can do within the rules and finding huge gains to complete the IndyCar choke hold.

I’ve long been a supporter of Dallara, but such poor planning and design cannot be overlooked. Neither can the memory of Randy Bernard constantly selling us on things he would ultimately fail to deliver.

Did Dallara deliver exactly what was asked within the monetary design constraints? Did Randy know he was selling a Ferrari on a Fiat budget? Did he assume there would never be aerokits, as witnessed by the DW12 design compromises, only to sell fans something he assumed would never be delivered?

I really believe the answer is ‘yes’ across the board. Randy was not a stupid man. He knew what the fans wanted and was able to sell us hope instead of giving us truth. I also believe Dallara delivered the promised chassis, but was not able to developed the flexibility needed to handle dynamic aerokits due to obvious time and budgetary concerns.

Considering how volatile the IndyCar fan base is (Myself included along with everyone reading this post) fudging the numbers may not have been the worst short-term solution. A short-term solution because he knew his time was limited and he was already tired of the noise?

Black helicopter territory now.

This racer article put the final pieces in the fishy Dallara/Bernard/IndyCar puzzle that has been rattling around for a while. I always felt Randy was a better salesman than a leader, but I was never able to clearly pinpoint the root of my concern.

Regardless of what happened years ago, the idea that we have Skunk Works level secrecy taking place in our tiny slice of motorsport heaven is almost too exciting. Honda and Chevy are primed for an epic battle and they clearly do not care if IndyCar or Dallara is there to help.

Add the renewed commitment of Firestone to increase development in 2015, we are primed for an excellent year of technical warfare the likes of which we haven’t seen in nearly a decade.

Roll on Brazilia!

Eric Hall

Posted in Airing of Grievances, Brain Vomit | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Unfiltered Race Notes: Milwaukee 2014

OK, Here we go with the Milwaukee race notes… finally. I think I have found some international feed on youtube as there was not even a second of prerace; straight into the command and the launching of the cars. I must say, I’m not upset. Let’s do this!

Arie back into the two-seater… interesting

—Race—

GREEN

Power straight to the lead, RHR in last

Good to see the guys really using the new tires and slice through the field early on

3

I know we are some 15+ mile an hour slower than the old CART machinery here in qualifying, but these guys still look fast on this ancient ribbon of concrete

7

Sato nearly crashes before the race even starts. Well done. I expect nothing less from you

9

Spending a few laps onboard with RHR and there is no one better to be onboard here with. The guys is so good here, even if he is starting from the rear of the field

12

Alright, I know I am watching this a few weeks late and the crowd debate has been beat to death, but the main grandstands look really full. Obviously, the shorties in T1 and T4 are sparse, but the mains are full with people sitting all the way down to the fence

24

The commercials really eat up a lot of laps here

RHR still slicing through the field with Hinch close in tow

27

It’s very hard to tell if there is fuel savings going on here at Milwaukee. It just feels like if you do decide to lift early, you will instantly be out of contention

29

Power ahead by over ½ a second… an eternity at Milwaukee

31

Lost sound on the feed. Sounded faded down in the studio, I bet this is an issue with the broadcaster

33

Now Dixon making a few moves. The cars that are on it here really look on it

Taking the entrance to 1 the half lane down can gain you a good amount of ground

37

Alright, I think that was an uncommented commercial break. Wonder why I missed those ten or so laps early on

39

Did you know Charlie Kimball has diabetes?

42

Confirmed. This is the world feed. We get no off track cut away interviews. I’m 100% ok with that

44

Onboard with Pagenaud. Dude has so much trouble on ovals; he does not look comfortable at all right now

47

Saavedra holding up a pack of quick guys. Shocking

51

Castroneves is mired behind SS as well. I can imagine the seething under the helmet, HCN needs to go

52

Pags first in. That orange is beautiful. Possibly my favorite car in the field, and bold monochromatic liveried don’t usually look too hot on the DW12s

56

The rest of the field is filing into the pits rather quickly

59

TK gaining on Power ever so slightly

60

3 WIDE INTO T1 AND T3. These guys get nutty on new tires

62

JPM hits a tire in the pits with no penalty. What?!

64

Carpenter in. For a tiny team, his crew is blindingly fast. What a difference between ECR and SFHR

66

Knock down drag out fight for the lead! TK is just a bit slower in the lowside and loses momentum to Power riding around the high side. I think we can classify this oval run for Power as clinical already. Not many people could have help off a charging TK for the lead on an oval

70

Silent commercial break, this time we are onboard with Power looking back at TK. Good view for a few moments of silence

72

The Mile looks pretty smooth considering the harsh northern winters and tunnel running under the track. I’m sure this place hasn’t been resurfaced in a long while. What a great facility to have IndyCars at

75

Power running into some heavy lapped traffic

79

RHR up to P6 with the Ganassi/Penske show ahead

81

Ha ha! The lap speeds are being displayed in KPH

85

Bell mentions high-speed commitment. Well put

87

Stat mentions Hawksworth finished P9 last year here in IndyLights… out of what, 11 cars? Silly stat

90

Awesome battle between HCN and about 3 other guys during the silent commercial break. Glad I got to see it

95

RHR +14 to P5. Get it done

99

Have yet to mention Newgarden. The kid is finishing the year strong. I hope good things come to him in 2015

100

Points as they run. Still kind of far from the end of the year to be doing this isn’t it?

105

Dixon in. Looks like the guys are only running about 50 lap stints out of a possible maximum of 70. Another tire limited race it looks like

114

…enthralled with the racing…

115

Stops still happening. If this race continues green until the end there could be a stop every single lap as the strategies drift away

119

TK hastling Power from a lap down with new tires. Takes him a few laps to get around even with new tires

122

TK to the lead with over 3.5 seconds in hand

125

Power has already reeled in TK by nearly a second

127

Through the field. Over half way? Not bad. My supremely scientific method of using when ‘through the field’ first appears to gauge the excitement of whatever race I am watching. It feels like nearly every race has seen through the field over halfway through

131

YELLOW

Munoz brushes the wall

About half the field comes in with TK not taking tires and Power not even coming in for fuel. Interesting shift in strategy

Munoz behind the wall

A few late takers for fuel and tires

135

Good for AJFR. They jumped Kimball in the pit battle

141

GREEN

TK and JPM rushing through the field

Sounds like TK may have actually taken tires. Confused with the conflicting info

148

Power has settled into a comfortable lead. This has been an unbelievable afternoon for him.

Power TK JPM. Strong top 3

154

Has the race been exciting? I think so. Yes, it’s been slightly strung out, but the cars look spectacular here. The drivers are clearly working hard and you can see that in the attitude of the cars through the corner

260

Top 3 have closed up and are sprinting away from the field

TK cites Ted Horn as the guy who made him work at short ovals. Cool shout out

163

Through the field

Pags hanging tough in the top 10. Pretty good day after a slow start

Broken suspension for RHR. Shades of Pocono. What a weird year for the Indy 500 winner. No yellow

Replay. GREAT save

177

The guys are still close up front, but traffic looms ahead

TK and JPM have done an excellent job keeping power in their sights

183

Newgarden in pretty early. It may be tough to make it to the end from here

188

Slow stop for Marco

189

Power in. This should be his last stop. Nice reminder from Cindric to not speed on pit lane

Rest of the field streams in as well. This could be the longest stint the field has had to run

195

Good race between JPM and TK, but they are over 3 seconds behind Power

Honestly, I never thought I would see Power run this dominant of an oval race.

200

Newgarden could be holding up JPM and TK, but still a great run from him

202

Wow, once the traffic got thick Powers lead evaporated with JPM bombing past Newgarden for P2

204

JPM and Power racing for the win

This race will be decided by how well the two guys can get around traffic

210

Cindric: Be mindful of fuel

JPM having trouble with traffic

215

I saw them give the blue to Munoz from the flagstand. I don’t like the idea of race control parting the seas for the leader while P2 and down have to fight to navigate the traffic

220

Sounds like Newgarden can’t make it to the end

Wow, Pagenaud in P3. Huge day for him and SSM

225

So Power is running away with it and no one has anything for him. This is a defining drive

233

Aaaand Pags slips down to P7

235

Montoya is slowly closing in, but he just doesn’t have to speed through traffic

242

Power is doing a great job cutting through traffic. I’m shocked at how well he is running this race. It has all clearly clocked for Power

246

Pagenaud not letting Power by. I wish we could hear what Pags is mumbling to himself under the helmet right now

248

Big points swing for Power

250

CHECKERED

Power “I love winning on ovals!”

Absolutely amazing. With this kind of dominant win on the definition of a drivers track, buckle in for a few years of Power crushing the field. Even if he lost a hair on the twisties, what he has gained on the ovals this year has been nothing short of masterful. I think we saw someone ‘get it’ this afternoon.

Not a bad afternoon of racing. Exciting but somewhat uneventful, but the cars still look spectacular here. Final thought? I want to see INDYCAR give the teams road course boost. We need 750 horses here.

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Unfiltered Race Notes: Fontana 2014 Championship Edition

Alright… 500 miles to go…

—Prerace—

The Astor Cup is a good looking piece of silverware

For the record; I am for double points for 500 mile races. In an ideal world I would be for a Simon Pagenaud championship, but realistically I’m rooting for Helio. I want to see him cement his legacy in American open-wheel racing

Ed, Marco, Josef, Kanaan, JPM, Dixon, RHR. There are quite a few dudes out there that are going to play spoilers tonight

Ok!! There are a few people in the stands! Thank you to everyone who attended the IndyCar season finale on the surface of the sun!

Cindric: Power is really resilient. Riiiight… Tonight will really test that statement

Aleshin video. Such a big hit; lucky kid. Thanks Dallara

JPM is a cool cat tonight. Good things should happen for him tonight

Newgarden: I didn’t know how to adjust with wind direction on the second lap. Exactly why he’s needed a veteran teammate

Fontana… a dirty race track for a dirty town

Power big oval retrospective. I have no idea what he is going to do on lap 1, let alone lap 250

Interviews interviews interviews… everyone seem s pretty cool tonight

Penske and Tracy interview was cool. Not as hard hitting as I would have liked considering who was asking the questions

2014 season review. Nuts, just nuts. This season has been described as the championship no one wants to win. I say the competition is so close that any bobble has much greater championship implications than in the past

The firechicken has got to be roasting inside that ridiculous helmet

All of this pumping up of the best never to win a championship between Power and Helio makes me wonder what this year would have looked like if Franchitti was still around

Power is starting to look a bit more apprehensive about what is about to go down

Prerace ceremonies… finally,,,

Excellent Penske championship review. IMSP knocks it out again. 8 years is an eternity in Penske years

Forgot to turn the mic on for the dude giving the command… that’s so IndyCar. On the plus side, we finally heard the engines actually fire

Let’s do this

3-wide baby! Exactly how it should be here

—Race—

GREEN

Power falling back. Playing it conservativ3

4

Nutty 3 wide action early. Excellent

Field still looks pretty close, usually we get quite stung out rather quickly here

8

Marco struggling on the lowside trying to get around Rahal. Considering how wide this place is it’s always surprising how hard it is to pass

11

Montoya Jetting away

17

Clearly settling in for a long race. I can’t image there will be that much fuel savings going on tonight. Stint lengths could very well be limited by tire degradation

21

The bumps heading into T3 are very apparent tonight. Cars are definitely sprung light

23

Pagenaud already in and has a slow stop to boot. 2 laps down

25

Dixon stalking…

32

Hinch is on the move. Already up to P4 and gapping

The painted clouds from the setting California sun looks beautiful

35

JPM in

Both front tire changers went for the wing adjustment for Newgarden. Clearly the team is still lacking all the systems it needs in place to truly fight for the win from pitlane.

37

The rest of the field is in

40

Hinch to P3 on the pit exchange

41

Dixon. The forgotten champion. I remember him telling INDYCAR he would do whatever they want to help pump up the series. This year may have been worse in terms of pumping up the defending champion than 2013 was

48

First points as they run sighting

51

Hinch to P2. Ridiculous

Power getting raced very hard by Rahal. That’s what I like to see

53

WOW! Hinch fighting for the lead! Where have you been all year?!

Dixon is right there as well

55

Great racing through the field so far.

57

Hinch finally makes it stick. P1

Baby blue car driven by a Canadian with red gloves at ACS

Huertas pulled off. “not feeling well” I’m sure…

67

JPM in really early

69

Power up ten positions. Positive he has control of the championship

74

Lots of talk about tear offs and windscreens. Still haven’t seen the shop vacs make an appearance yet

82

We’re starting to see glowing headers and turbos during the onboards

JPM and Helio are P1 and P2 after the pit exchange. Montoya may be slightly off strategy and may fall farther away as the race wears on

90

Yummy, talk of 2015 aerokits

91

The laps are really clicking off tonight

93

Pagenaud is junk… shocking… and he almost loses it on pit out

100

Carpenter has been slowly sneaking up all night.

All the while, Power has been playing it cool. He should have this in the bag

104

Ed in. His crew is one of the best on pitlane

107

Speed penalty for ed. Doh!!

Poor Ed, he only gets a handful of races a year yet you throw it away so early. Would suck to ride around the rest of the night

116

Through the field. Not bad at all

Ok, there has been good racing all night long and this is clearly not a fuel race, yet it hasn’t been all that exciting. Odd evening or something. Maybe it’s the lack of focus on the championship battle. It feels like another race, not the final championship double points paying 500 mile race of the year

120

RHR to P1

A night of comers and goers for sure

122

Points as they run with no mention from the booth

125

Halfway home

No idea who is going to win. Cars have looked unbeatable for as few as 5 laps. JPM is the only constant

Power to P7. Could he really win this?

135

Kimball kisses the wall. Surprised there was no yellow. Actually, I’m glad we stay green. The race up front has been pretty hot.

140

Andretti into the wall exactly like Kimball, still green

141

JPM back in.

143

Still no shop vac sightings

144

If all else, the cars always look dmn good under the lights

Now Hinch with a speeding penalty. Wow. Two strong guys throwing their races away

145

As they run… Castroneves -1. SO CLOSE

The race up front has been really good all night long

146

RHR continues his march to the front

148

The booth notes the lack of attrition. After all the winging about it earlier in the week, I really thought it would be a more important storyline by this point in the race

During the commercial break the racing was side by side the entire time

155

I don’t care what you say, these cars look good in speedway trim

Montoya slipping back; still a long way to go.

Second comparison of Power to Jimmie Johnson by Tracy. Why?

Still 14 cars on the lead lap

163

Helio has really taken control of this race. It looks like it could be all in Powers hands at this point

171

Replay of Dixon/RHR/Kimball incident. The racing is definitely picking up

I see Newgardens outside front changer has a neon yellow helmet. Why don’t all the guys have them just because? Would be much safer I would think

176

YELLOW

RHR around into the front straight grass. Stalled but car’s ok.

Can you see tire smoke coming from Bourdais saving it right before RHR loses it?

Looks like Carpenter has fought his way back onto the lead lap

This restart is going to be crazy

Power won’t be able to just sit back like he did at the start. Going to have to properly race from here on out

185

Long caution. The sweepers are doing a very thorough job. 100 percent ok with that

Tracy: yellows breed yellows. No doubt. Be safe boys

188

GREEN

Power with two decisive low side passes to take the lead. THAT is what championships are made of!

192

Carpenter slowly marching back to the front

Powers woman looks nervous as hell

194

WE are racing as fast as the cars will handle right now. This is most excellent

Hmm. Bourdais out and back into the pits after mixing it up with the leaders

Stop and hold penalty

Power starting to slip back, but it doesn’t matter if Helio can’t find his way back to the front

205

HCN and Power have found each other on track

Also, probably one more stop?

Interesting that there is so much focus on the Power family. Where are the shots of the Castroneves family?

Pulling for Helio

210

Although I would really dig a TK win

9 cars left on the lead lap

We’ve been tracking through the field for the past few laps, It would be nice to know what’s going on up front

214

Hinch first in for his last stop. Still a lap down though from his penalty

217

Alright. HCN in and out. Final run to the checkers

Power as well. Let’s do this

220

NOOOOOO… HCN pit entry speed violation. Game over. The race turns to the lead

Mr. Penske does not look impressed

223

Power got a ¼ turn of wing in when he wanted a ¼ turn of wing out and he is having trouble dealing with the mistake. Flirting with the wall on corner exit lap after lap

Side note: I’m really glad this race is 500 miles long

Radio: Power is struggling

232

Dude. HCN could have won this championship…

239

Oddly enough, the race at the front has cooled off. This should be TK’s race. The leaders are very strung out

242

Starting to see Power right up against the wall. Down to P9. I feel sick for Helio

245

Power looking sluggish on the track. Car is a piece of junk right now. Another miscommunication could have thrown the championship away for him. So damn lucky

248

Quiet end to a crazy race. The caution almost ruined the flow of the race

250

CHECKERS

TK

Very nice. I feel awful for Helio, but he made a more detrimental mistake to his race than Power. That’s how it goes. Absolutely excellent race. I was really hoping the see the entire thing go caution free, I think that could have made for an even more exciting finish.

I don’t think the cars are too easy to drive, I think the field is just that good

Power looks exhausted, and rightfully so. Congratulations Will

He admits to be stressed and getting awful sleep all week long. Not surprising; I bet Helio slept like a baby

Helio looks dejected, but he clearly has learned how to handle this kind of disappointment

TK baby

Great season everyone. This should be a good offseason over here on anotherindycarblog, look for fun features and more walks down memory lane. Thank you thank you thank you for reading a different kind of coverage this year, it’s been too fun!

Happy 2014 IndyCar season!

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Unfiltered Race Notes: Sonoma 2014

Note for the Milwaukee notes: Due to my in person attendance at the kick ass Milwaukee Mile last weekend, I was unable to catch my DVR crapping out. I have yet to see the telecast of Milwaukee, if you know how I can see it please let me know.

And welcome to the earthquake affected GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma! Hopefully there is more intrigue to this race than we all expect.

–Prerace–

Re earthquake: “I thought I was going to die” – Will Power

Re earthquake: “The pictures on the wall weren’t crooked, I want that guy to do my pictures” – Castroneves

Track and facilities are good to go. Big thumbs up to all the area fans that made the trek to take in an afternoon of IndyCar. Still, I don’t expect there to be many people in the house

Re earthquake “I was worried the bus was going to go down the hill” – Pagenaud. Funny that he stays in his bus at the track

Hunter-Reay’s kid slept through the earthquake. Good boy

MKE retrospective from the always on point IMSP. That was a fun afternoon, guess I could write an on-the-ground sooner or later. I’ve gone for three years and have never done one

Sam Hornish looks confused

Booth talking up Pagenaud’s 90 some point deficit saying he can pull it off. Come on…

JPM: “got to minimize the damage” scored the most points over the last 8 races. Dude could be tough if he can catch his grove early next year

Newgarden signed for a year with whatever the ECR takeover of SFHR is called now for 2015. Good for him; he can use the year with Ed and whoever else to hone his skills before moving up the grid in 2016

Awesome visor cam/ gopro montage with RHR. I know the camera is still a bit high, but you can see Munoz in the mirrors well before he dives inside

Perfect prerace length. Let’s do this thing

–Race–

I love the grid-side send off

Cool. Miller on the spotters… hill… with Rick Mears. Awesome view of the action.

GREEN

Shenanigans into T2. Still green? Looks like we had 2 stalled cars

HCN the big loser with wing damage, and my fantasy lineup with Bourdais

YELLOW

Both cars away, this should be quick. Honestly, the guys did a good job given how little room there was to maneuver around

Ugh, I know there ‘isn’t enough runoff’ but we should really be running the full course. IndyCars wreck into the wall at Indy at 230…

5

GREEN

Sonoma looks AWFUL from the air. Haven’t had rain in 118 days

Newgarden looks good. We will see how long he can hang on

Conway running unusually well on a natural terrain road course. P8

7

WHOAAAHH!! It took 7 laps before Hornish said anything about the racing. Man, I just don’t know about this experiment.

Brake issues for Pagenaud. Seems like that’s the story of his season

9

HCN in again. The day from hell for the poor guy

11

Power trotting away from Newgarden as Josef falls into the clutched of the Target armada. Settle in boy and girls…

Hinch and Sato back in as well. Guys involved in the accident haven’t been able to catch a break

15

Hunter-Reay lining up TK for a pass. WILL IT ACTUALLY HAPPEN?!?

Sorry. That was uncalled for

18

Yes. RHR gets him on the pit exchange…

20

JPM down a lap. I’m shocked by how much trouble he has been having on the natural road courses

21

Wilson almost gets around Andretti. I’m not sure we have seen an on screen pass yet.

23

RHR can’t get around Rahal. Use that chrome horn. There is no reason for you to be stuck behind Rahal

25

Ok, JPM may have just gone around Hawksworth. But this RHR/ Rahal battle is plain sad

Bitching aside, watching IndyCars here is mesmerizing

30

YELLOW

Huertas stranded on the side of the track. Been a tough year for the Honda boys

The strategy could play out in a wonky way if there are no more yellows in this race

Har… Marco wins Sonoma rewind

Sweepers doing a thorough job in the corners… not like it will matter here, but everything helps

GREEN

36

Power with a huge lead already. I can see oil dry down for the Huertas incident, that would also explain the extended caution

YELLOW

Saavedra into JPM and Bourdais.

Pagenaud and Wilson both abort the pitlane at the very last moment. Pagenaud nearly smashes it into the tires

Nope. That was Helio taking a way too optimistic look on the inside of Bourdais who was inside Saavedra. Helio pushing too hard and that’s always how he screws himself

Dixon wins the race off pitlane. Very woah

Replay of Dixon crushing Power’s tire guy last year. That was nutty

40

GREEN

Kanaan in front with Conway in tow AND CONWAY AROUND THE OUTSIDE!! Dude, what a move

Power and Munoz doing donuts at the top of the esses. Whoops. What a rare mistake from Power…

Cindric: Be cool. COME ON, we know that’s not Powers MO

At least we will see a drunk-with-craziness-Power run through the field

42

Conway +3.5 destroyer of worlds

Cars sound good and look great here

43

Carpenter: fuel number. Duh. It’s Sonoma

Sneaky Briscoe in P3; Kanaan falling into his clutches

Rahal P4. Well, you can’t come last in all the races

45

Power with no progress made

47

Through the field. I thought we would have done it twice by now

That GoPro chalet overlooking the carousel would be a cool place to watch this race from

49

Kimball had his best starting position of the year on a twisty today with a P11. At least it’s another well-funded car on the grid.

50

Onboard with Power. Clearly struggling. Can’t wait to see what he can do with new tires

53

Kanaan -7.5 from Conway. Wow

Power straighlines the chicane. I can never image how that could possibly happen. Are we watching the oft-predicted championship self-destruction of Power?

55

RAHAL AROUND KANAAN!! It is clearly backwards day with Rahal making passes at Sonoma

Dixon P5. The iceman is coming

59

I know there are multiple strategies playing out, but with the fast guys already hassling the leaders there must have been a few more passes than we have been shown

60

Repave of pitlane entry looks really good. That bump was huge before

61

Conway would have to go 24 laps to win

Ok ok… Rahal looks really good today

Sato gets balked in the pits by Dixon leaving directly behind him and Andretti coming in directly in front of him. Great job to miss everyone

63

Marco around the outside of Hinch in the carousel. Damn son

Wow. Rahal hassling Conway. It really is bizzaro world today

Rahal around Conway for P1. You’re welcome National Guard. Questions about whether Rahal can make it on fuel

65

Rahal, Conway, Kanaan all very close together. Kevin Lee says he doesn’t think Rahal will make it without help. Sounds like ECR thinks the same thing

66

My brain is starting to scramble from the strategies. The guys are still close up front. Pulling for Conway

68

Kanaan is right on Conway. I think He’s holding TK up, but still reeling Rahal back in. If Kanaan is just sitting back to save fuel and tires, he could be the man to beat

Power to P15. With we would see his run through the field

70

And of course we go onboard with Power

73

Kanaan in for fuel. Rahal stopped on the same lap… Am I really rooting for Rahal?

74

Yes… Yes I am. Conway winning is good for me, ECR and Conway. Rahal winning is good for everyone. Although Dixon and RHR are right there. Honestly, this is the most exciting Sonoma race I have ever seen I think

76

GET COURTNEY FORCE OFF MY TV

Ugh… kill me now

Booth doesn’t think Rahal can do it

79

Ok. We have been following the leaders for like 10 laps. Can we see if there are any other battles on screen please?

80

Hornish makes a good point. The 4 leaders are spread by like 4 seconds. This is damn close for a Sonoma race

81

Rahal still pulling away. Why? I hope they get video of Bobby smacking Graham when he runs out of fuel

Rahal in and Conway to the point, but not before Dixon takes the lead into T2

82

For the record, Dixon is the man. RHR around Conway

Also, How does RHR self-admittedly suck at Sonoma and be looking to finish P2?

83

Drive through for Rahal. Speeding on pitlane. Where’s that Bobby cam at?

84

Wow, Dixon is 4.5 seconds ahead of Conway

85

Andretti around Wilson with Power holding his breath right behind.

CHECKERS

Dixon. Damn son, that’s how you do it

Power tries to go around Wilson in the final hairpin and nearly takes himself out by bouncing off of Bourdais as they come 3 wide to the line as they all dodge the out of gas car of Conway

What the hell is going on today?

Well, that shook up the points

I hope no one is penalized with that yellow flag there at the end

Blah blah blah… interviews. That was really fun! There’s always a small part of me that dreads heading to Sonoma, but today was a blast. I know this fuel race could have gone the other way without the shenanigans, but that’s why you run the race. Plus we had a pretty good race for the actual lead. No one could have predicted Dixon to victory lane before the last ten laps. Onto Fontana and a painfully early end to the season.

Eric Hall

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