101st Indy 500 Hot Takes!

THE HOT TAKES ARE HERE! THE HOT TAKES ARE HERE! Poorly written and edited even wordily, here are the hottest of hot takes. Sit back, relax and enjoy the maniacal rantings of an indycar fan. I have no idea what is going on with this blog. Expect nothing and receive something? I’m really just playing around on here again so no promises of any kind of content or regular postings. Im just enjoying the indycar world with you!

The Race – Amazing. Drama filled. Edge of your seat. Spectacular. It was a good race and one for the ages. We have been blessed with quite good racing in the DW12 era but the 2017 iteration of the current indycar finally hits the right balance of speed and drafting an knife edge handling. Ignoring the other stops on the schedule, the machines that raced in Indianapolis last Sunday were an almost perfect representation of what a racecar needs to do to make the Indy 500 the spectacle that it is.

I LOVE SATO!! – This man had the strongest car all day and it didn’t even look like he was sweating the late race challenges from Helio. Although nothing is owed in racing, this was a win that was earned. Abandoned by Foyt with the move to Chevy, adopted by Andretti who knew he had the technical prowess to continue the development started by Justin Wilson and given an absolute weaponized machine to wage battle with. No attack no chance for sure.

Alex Rossi Is The Truth – Yet another Formula 1 cast off that hopes to find a second career racing against the best and brightest indycar has to offer? Maybe? A lost soul looking for a home to race in? Maybe? I was disenfranchised by his past comments about IndyCar, but in his second year the boy has proven he can drive. Does he love indycar? I don’t know, but I’m not convinced it matters at this point.

Honda Went For It – At the end of the day, Honda can forget about Alonso. They won the race. And most racers would make the small trade of power over reliability that we have seen in 2017 for the chance to drink the milk. These Honda motor aren’t the Buick grenade of old; these things are overpowered and only marginally less reliable. I respect that they went for it. They were rewarded with a victory for their favorite son. I hope Chevy steps it up and can find power even if it is a trade off with reliability.

Yellow Yellow Yellow! – Too Much. But, cars were crashing so I’m not sure what I want or expect in this situation. There was simply a ton of carbon fiber to sweep up. It’s so odd that we can go some years with basically a clean race and other years spend 25% of the time cleaning up broken racecars. It made for a disjointed race that lacked flow, but it made for some kick ass restarts!!

Dixon And The Flying DW12 – Duuude can we even talk about the race without mentioning Dixon? Blah blah blah Dallara and SAFER and Holmatro and carbon fiber and wheel tethers and all the other amazing safety innovations that we continually harp about, but those bumpers though. What. A. Joke. Thank everything that is good in motorsport that we are getting rid of these ridiculous excuses for safety devices in 2018. Great idea with terrible execution. Theoretically, I could be sold on wheel guards but not these. We cannot get them off of my indycar fast enough!!

Ed Jones and the Curious Case of Rookie of the Year – I’m sorry Mr. Jones, but anytime you drive against a double world champion who is given as much prep time as Alonso was, I fear there is no hope of a ROTY award. Alonso had too much prep time, led too many laps and was able to mix it up with fast cars all month long to not be awarded. It truly sucks for Ed, but everyone including Alonso makes a rookie start at The Speedway. Even looking at only performance, Alonso turned more laps in practice, turned them faster, worked in traffic, qualified in the fast 9 and was a major lap leader during the first half of the race. That doesn’t take away from the fast that Ed had a rocketship after the final pitstop. But that was the problem. Too little too late. Hey Ed, just win the thing next year. I promise that will erase the burn from this year.

Alonso Makes Me Sad – I wanted Alonso to at least finish. I would have even been Ok with him winning the race! I’m a huge fan of this purported triple crown of motorsport. It is one of the main reasons I am such a JPM supporter and I was really hoping to add another active driver to the list of 2 times winners. But it was not the day Alonso or Honda wanted. On the other hand, I am very glad his engine blew because it nearly guarantees that we will see him again.

ABC is still awful – There’s not much to say other than this. From a technical standpoint it isn’t bad, but for most of the race I’m not convinced that those talking heads are even watching the same race as I am. I watched the TV coverage with a new-ish indycar fan and they made the same disparaging comments about ABC. Namely “Wow, how is this really this bad? I understand why it’s Always Bad Coverage!” The horse is dead, but I will take this opportunity to hope that ABC gracefully bows out of the network broadcast deal negotiations moving forward.

Coke Lot Camping – Ok Ok Ok, not directly racing related but given my affinity to camp out here it’s worth a report: It was good! Much better organized than in years past with wristbands, actual lines for camp sites and enough police to put the fear in any felon. Given the rain on Thursday, classic setup day for many campers, The Speedway, Yellow Shirts and other event staff did an excellent job corralling the insanity and minimizing the impact weather had on our experience.

Yellow Shirts – Speaking of these guys, I don’t think I got whistled at one single time this month! And I’m actually kind of disappointed about that. It’s not that I do bad things, it’s that those Yellow Shirts love to blow the whistle! At everything! IMS connected with college students and asked many central Indiana kids to be Yellow Shirts and I could tell. Simply put, there were more bodies out there to direct traffic, answer questions and to just be generally cheerful. The shift in demographics was swift, noticeable and appreciated.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m crazy? I’m curious of your opinion too! Please don’t be scared to share. That’s what this whole thing is all about! As always, thank you for reading!

Eric Hall

Posted in The Weekend Rewind | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feeding the Alonso Hype

I hear your complaints. We were given a 6+ hour web broadcast with expert analysis, features and a multi-camera format. Oh… you were complaining that this was too much coverage? That the other rookies in the field will not receive the same amount of hype? Hell, that the rest of the field won’t get this amount of hype?

I hate to break it to you, but Fernando Alonso is a driver of a different bread. A star of a different caliber. This has nothing to do with his driving prowess and everything to do with the stage he performs on week in and out. Conservatively, F1 is watched by 400 million people a year across the globe. They care about Alonso and demand coverage when he is in a racecar. Sorry, but Marco Andretti just doesn’t carry that kind of international weight. And he never will, and neither will any other regular indycar drivers.

In another blogging life, I would have pulled a bunch of twitter numbers for multiple drivers and made averages and find the percentages and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t really matter. Sufficed to say that Alonso has nearly 2.5 million followers verse almost 280,000 followers for IndyCar proper. Not much of a comparison and no reason to pull numbers for other specific drivers. We all want indycar to grow so it is everyone’s best interests to shovel as much Alonso information into the world as possible. It will be consumed. Rabidly.

Alonso pulls the views. I’ve read reports that across all media platforms his test garnered almost 2 million unique views throughout the day. How many people will tune in to watch Jack Harvey complete his rookie test? 7? No offense, but no one but me, you and the other 5 readers of this article will care what Jack does in his rookie test. It’s not a stretch to think that those 7 people who care about rookie orientation will actually be live at IMS that day. Projected viewing numbers dwindling.

The regular stories through the ‘Month of May’ will still be there. Those stories will also still be told through the normal media outlets, and we will still consume them. As always, studying wing angles, following money trails and comparing trap speeds. But there will still be millions of motorsport fans curious how Alonso is doing at all times. Indycar is obliged to feed that demand.

Was ROP any more intriguing for Alonso that anyone else? No. absolutely not. The difference was that people care. We also got to see how competent and damn smart Alonso is. Once ROP was over, he dove straight into scenario training for race day. Fuel savings, pitting from T4 at full chat, restart procedures, working a crowded pit box entrance, the list goes on. It was impressive to watch. More impressive than watching a pure rookie? Absolutely. A pure rookie is only looking for comfort miles. Alonso needed about 2.5 before he was looking for more advanced practice items to complete.

Is this a once in a generation/lifetime experience? No. Ask anyone who was around when Mansell came to play and they will tell you this pales in comparison. Then why all the attention? Because people will consume Alonso pounding the track alone for hour after hour. Guys aren’t going to give indycar another chance if some other rookie was showcased during this broadcast. Alonso and only Alonso is what brought the 2 million views; more eyes than have watched the first 3 races of 2017 combined.

There are plenty of racing fans who only have just seen their first taste of indycar, and they are buying into the hype. And that is the only reason indycar needs to broadcast as much Alonso coverage as they possibly can. Let’s continue to ride this building wave of good fortune that has been pushing indycar to higher and higher places in the past few years.

Eric Hall

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Found Footage: 1965 Indianapolis 500 Fan Cam

Hello again!! It’s been oh so long since we have spoken! Nothing substantial to report from anotherindycarblog WORLD HEADQUARTERS, but I have stumbled across a bit of old media from Indy 500s past. Two separate 50 foot reels of 8mm Kodachrome Movie Film to be exact.

From what I can tell, these 8 minutes are from the infamous 1965 edition of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Each reel of footage is about 4 minutes long and this video contains both back to back. The camera  work is poor at best with plenty of camera shake, quick cuts and a generally amateur overall quality to the film. BUT IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!

This was taken by  a man named Frank Staffieri who died almost 15 years ago. These reels were hidden away in his attic until the passing of his wife named Edra. My family was tasked with clearing the house and I was given these; to give to you! Along with these reels, there was a carousel of 140 slides that will hit the blog in a few days.

This isn’t the first time I have been the recipient of historic media. If you want to peruse a cache of 60’s and 70’s photos literally saved from a dumpster, check here and here.

Note: The music was added by the guys who did the conversion. It’s not bad but it’s certainly not great.

Enjoy!

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Unfiltered Race Notes… The Gorgeous Facility Edition

Welcome to another year at the most-beautiful-gorgeous-awe-inspiring-crown-jewel-of-a-facility Barber Motorsport Park. Soooo I only have realized this week that the actual prerace is spate from the actual race broadcast on the guide. So all I have is the race… and if you have read this column with any regularity you know this is not a big issue.

Let’s do this.

–Prerace–

Dude, PT is burnt. Can someone please inform this gentleman that there is such a thing as sunscreen? I’ve a bottle and I can FedEx him one STAT. Skin cancer is no joke man.

Penske V Ganassi. For 30 years it’s been Penske V someone, but the current iteration defines what IndyCar competition means to me. Sorry Andretti.

Eh command.

DEAR GOD IT’S THE HONDA 2-SEATER… AVERT YOUR GAZE!!

The driver facing camera in the mirror is one of the coolest views in racing.

Building construction is happening in the background. It kind of mucks up the view, I wonder what it is and how Mr. Barber is taking it.

–Race–

Pagenaud is really pacing the field slow. I like his style.

Excellent formation

GRE–

Maybe not. Shenanigans in the back of the field. We better be able to regroup and get another shot at a 2 wide start.

The green never waved.

Carlos Munoz into THE RUSSIAN.

IN MOTHER RUSSIA RACECAR HIT YOU

Seems like everyone is underway. Damn you Munoz.

Caution waves again. I can’t imagine the field is really ready yet. They looked rather jumpy.

THE RUSSIAN and Hawks to the back. Munoz keeps his spot. That’s just not right, man. Never change IndyCar.

Munoz to the back. Eh. Ok? I don’t know. We have to gat this race started sometime.

GREEN

Bourdais simply looses it but is way way lucky not to have smashed into anyone. He knows better than that.

HOLY MOLY DIXON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRACK. 2 separate incidents at turn 5 to start the race. As you do.

Kanaan around the outside of Hinch. Obviously.

5

wow. So much action I haven’t been paying attention to the laps. How many times have we said that at Barber. Of note: no yellow yet.

Bourdais receives a penalty for avoidable contact. Yea. Also, the replay shows Bourdais actually tipped Dixon into the spin. Another fantasy pick burned by early season Dixon.

9

Pagenaud, Newgarden, Power. I have a feeling we have fallen into rhythm for the race now.

TONS of replays of the turn 5 incident. I bet that’s why this race feels action packed thus far. So many replays.

11

Pagenaud looks to be beasting the race from the pole.

Kimball around the outside of Hinch. But Kimball get popped for blocking?! Ugh.

13

The laps clock off here. Ok, Maybe the action is actually hot and heavy today. I dislike that most of what we have been discussing has been directly related to race control, penalties and the like. Its either feast or famine with these guys. They were good until the pit lane incident at Long Beach and now they remember what the spotlight tastes like and want it all.

15

Pitstops.

Dixon out right next to Bourdais who yields to Dixon. Smart play, that’s why I always root for Bourdais. Class act and I don’t give a crap about what PT has to say in private about it.

17

Wide fuel windows. They always try to sell that crap to us but it rarely works in IndyCar. Just save some fuel and slowly go just fast enough to win. I can engineer a dang car.

18

Daly mows the lawn. Excellent attempt, Young Jedi. Before success is found, one must fail.

21

HCN around the outside of Kimball. The outside has always been the place to be here at barber in the DW12 era. Amazing stuff.

Munoz flirting with the leaders. I would not be a happy camper if I was one of them.

22

I haven’t paid attention at all about the strategies. I am really counting on the booth to keep me updated. Without Leigh Diffey I just don’t have a huge amount of hope they will do this race the justice it deserves.

24

Mr. Director really like the helicopter shop of the gorgeous facility.

These stops when the fuel guy is waiting on the tires are pretty exciting. We have seen quite a few lightning fast stops. The crews definitely earned their money during these first stops.

27

PT notes the field is really mixed in terms of tire strategy. I hope all of these dissonant strategies pay off in something great at the end here. This race feels exciting and past paced, but I think it’s the director doing a much better job of showing us action throughout the field. We have not spent more than a few seconds following the story at the front.

30

I can’t say I am upset with the change in direction. I feel like there really is just so much going on. If Pagenaud leads flag to flag will this be remembered as a classic race because of all the outside passes we have seen live?

31

JPM from last to 7th. You just cant beat that here at Barber. Beast. Best driver of our generation.

JPM to Porsche in 2017 to complete the triple crown of motorsport. You heard it here first.

32

Checking in with Simon Pagenaud and the rest of the leaders.

Interview with Ed. I miss you Ed.

35

Pagenaud 3.5 seconds in front of Power. Crazy pants. I know Pagenaud is an awesome driver, I’ve written as much in these pages, but it amazes me that he can drive away from Will Power. For a while it felt like no one would ever topple the Power Tower ™.

39

The onboards are mesmerizing here.

40

Chevy Driver Update. All the spots. Who is Honda?

Pit stops. I have no idea what is going on. That’s totally ok because I have really enjoyed this afternoon of racing so far. I, usually foolishly, rely on the booth to keep me informed.

42

Ugh, the carpenter guys screw Newgarden so often. I bet he lost another 3 spots in this rotation. He needs to get the hell out of there in 2017.

44

JPM around Kanaan and continuing his jaws-like march to the front.

45

Power closing in on Pagenaud. I really hope these guys can take some shots at each other. This needs to be the big time rivalry.

48

Daly hanging tough in front of the leaders. Power can’t capitalize on the road block. I’m really impressed with this performance.

50

through the field score of .55. Better than Long Beach. I agree.

51

I made a save fuel joke earlier and I really have to take that back. It’s very clear that no one is saving any fuel at all. These guys are running fast and I really appreciate the speed!

52

Dixon up to 11. The best drivers make something of nothing? Point in case I believe.

53

We finish through the field at P12. Interesting, if we were doing it, I would like to hear about as much of the field as possible. Also sponsor TV time and all.

54

Pags burning Push to Passes while not passing Daly. That’s dumb.

57

Blue flag for daly. BS.

I hope he disregards.

Power very clearly in fuel save mode.

59

Pagenaud is getting extremely antsy. Dude just needs to make the pass happen!

60

PT cites the marbles. Unacceptable. ‘It’s too hard’ is never an excuse.

64

Newgarden hangs on to 4th. Fair enough, ECR, sorry I threw you under the bus earlier, BUT MY EYE IS ON YOU.

Rahal sneaking into 3rd. It seems Babe may have really grown into an honest to goodness driver. Its amazing how much the crucible that is a championship run can harden a driver. I don’t take any of it back, but I may be slightly impressed now.

65

Final stops. Buckle up, this should be a great last 25 laps.

Holy crap, I think I just felt myself rooting for Rahal during the pit exchange. What is wrong with me?

Daly in between P1 and P2 a lap down. Time to step aside, rookie.

67

I have a feeling Daly will play the spoiler. I wonder what’s going on deeper in the field… hint hint hint.

68

Pags is gapping Rahal every single corner. I’m really glad to see Simon succeed at Penske. The team is aging and Pagenaud could be the perfect compliment to Power.

73

Daly only pulled over once Rahal was on his bumper and I absolutely agree with that. Just because Rahal can see him doesn’t mean Daly has to immediately pull over. Bell and PT are really biased when it comes to lapped traffic. Not surprising at all.

Ha. The booth seems to think Power has a chance on blacks. That is just not how it works here.

74

Disclaimer: I honestly don’t care who wins, I just LOVE to see good racing. COME ON RAHAL, MAKE THE MOVE!

I feel diiiirty…

77

I have been mesmerized by the rocket ships masquerading as racecars.

79

Rahal is quick. I don’t want to hear anything else about those stinking Honda road course kit. However, It’s baffling that RLLR seems to be the only team that can dial this car in. I’m totally cool with it, but I hope we find out what the trick is eventually.

81

RAHAL AROUND PAGENAUD FOR THE LEAD!!

Dear god it’s going to be overturned. I know it in my bones immediately. Pags clearly turned into him. Where in the hell is Rahal supposed to go in that situation? He obviously can’t disappear.

Reader Poll: How far must you be along side the leading car to be given racing room?

I don’t know guys, It really looks like Pagenaud was driving down the middle of the track and really really squeezed Rahal down. Kudos to Graham for holding his line.

83

No call yet.

Pagenaud is closing.

Rahal has a sick car.

Pagenaud may have a very chrome colored horn.

84

Hawksworth making it hard on a very animated Rahal.

NO ACTION TAKEN. PRAISE THE INDYCAR GODS!!

Also, thank you race control.

85

HOLY CRAP RAHAL IS WIDE IN T1.

Pagenaud has plenty of room but can’t get the power down.

Hawks is doing everything he can to play fair but he is definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rahal just clobbers him in the rear. Looks like Rahal was trying to catch every inch of draft he could but misjudged the pull out.

Sorry Babe, that is how championships are lost.

Somehow Pags remains in P2.

Be patient Rahal will throw it off. No doubts.

86

Pags around Rahal and is just running away. Race over.

Can Power catch Rahal. I hope so.

87

Rahal is causing a heap of trouble but its really inciting amazing racing behind him!

8 second in hand for Pagenaud.

88

Power has to shift focus from catching Rahal to keeping Newgarden behind.

ARE WE NOT ENTERTAINED?

90

Somehow Newgarden has gotten around Power. What a beast. I hope we catch a replay.

CHECKERS

Amazing race. Sleepy at times, but with no yellow I could not imagine a race like that at Barber. I want to know who didn’t come home with some kind of damage.

Pagenaud is in amazing spirits. Not really surprised considering he is literally on fire.

Ugh. Rahal irritates the crap out of me, but he still gave Pags a nice wave during the cool down lap. Classy. I still feel dirty.

Yessss. We get a replay of that slick slick move on Power by Newgarden. What. A. Guy. I hope he can take his rightful place among the Penske boys soon.

What a great start to the season. I would never have imagined that the manufacturer kits could produce such amazing racing. But I am not complaining at all.

I’ll be in the house for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis so no promises when those notes will make it out.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unfiltered Race Notes… The Kitten is Still a Kitten Edition

Ok. Here we go again! Regular full disclosure: I’m on DVR but I have no idea how this ended… Self enacted twitter ban successful!

No pre-race. The DVR programming kicked in during opening ceremonies. No complaints here. I just want to go racing!

Excellent anthem. That. Is. How. It’s. Done.

PT is so red… and wide. I want to eat with him and Juan Pablo. #Goals

So this isn’t pre-race per say, but I’m definitely being exposed to some kind of pre-race analysis. I find this awkward. The guys work really well together, there’s just always something campy about these broadcasts.

Yessss. Another fantastic montage by IMSP. Thanks Little Al. Welcome to Long Beach. Indeed.

The command wasn’t too bad. Best of the year, but not the best ever.

Sigh. One of these days, I’ll write a report from the fastest seat in sports. One day.

Penske cites pit road width as a concern. Agreed. There has been more than a few pit lane incidents here.

–Race–

Sato and Hinch go side-by-side through the hairpin. There goes the final excuse as to why we cant get a good formation for the start here.

GREEN

Another clean-ish start. Well done guys. This year has been pretty good for starts.

2

Pagenaud around Dixon with ease. I didn’t think you were supposed to be able to do that here. And he came back from a mile. Well done.

3

RHR around Newgarden. 2 televised passes in 2 laps. THIS EDITION OF LONG BEACH IS THE MOST AMAZING EVER. I’m sure I will eat my words before the end of this.

4

Pagenaud duking it out with Helio for the honest to goodness lead. I AM ENTERTAINED!!

Oil/Debris flag in the hairpin.

6

Helio looks to be pulling away a bit. I hope we haven’t slipped into a fuel race already as I’d really like to see Pagenaud take a few more shots at the lead.

10

We get a montage of Rahal passes. Looks like a bunch of action. I don’t understand who we don’t see these live.

Hawksworth in already. He needs some yellow to make this work. I like the early hail mary though.

11

lock-step-a-thon

All the while Penske populates 4 of the top 6. Not a complaint. Just an observation. I don’t think The Captain will stand for another year of Ganassi stealing the championship at the end of the season.

13

Chilton in. Still a bit early for legitimate stops to be taking place.

14

Tracy mentions fuel mileage mode. Yes. Yes we are.

15

The rear wing angle these guys are carrying is shockingly low. The Dallara kit was probably 40% taller. And probably 40% more inefficient. A perfect visual representation of how advanced these manufacturer kits are.

20

Checking into the front after commercial break reveals nothing has changed. Green flag stops should be coming soon.

You can feel how antsy everyone is. I would be antsy too waiting on the call to GO and make on hot laps before the stops.

21

Rahal in. Is he a front runner?

22

Newgarden and Bourdais in. The answer to my previous question? No.

Bourdais rejoins the fight with the accuracy of a surgeon. I need more Bourdais in my life.

25

Pit stops are happening and we are being shown shot after shot after shot of cars blending back into the field with shocking precision. Maybe it’s the years of questionable driving but this afternoon’s display of automobiling skills handling is amazing.

Obviously the newest F1 transfer would shortcut a corner. I hope we get an interview out of this one!

27

Bell posits that there is no rule about going under the curbs. I hate to say it but should we put it past indycar? I’m not totally sure.

29

Dixon settles into P3. Hell. I wouldn’t put it past him sneaking into the championship again.

32

More lock stepping. Clean but distant. Interesting how the field can seem so close during the stops yet so far away while running.

33

Kimball around RHR like he’s standing still. That is the red tire advantage.

Chilton cutting the corner again. But then doesn’t do it the next lap. Why would it be so inconsistent? I figure do it more than once do it the rest of the time?

35

We have abandoned the leaders. And blessed with amazing racing farther back into the field. This is what we have been waiting for!

37

Race control has now informed Chilton he is not allowed to do that anymore. Probably a moment of decision. I love that he isn’t penalized because I bet there isn’t a specific rule he broke. Most excellent. Chilton, I take it all back!!!

40

Through the field. .50 score. And statistically speaking, this is the most exciting race per the Is-this-an-exciting-race-o-meter-scoring-system. No I will not share the math. Proprietary and all.

43

We are still going through the field. P12. I bet we get through the entire field. There should be some sort of penalty added to the Is-this-an-exciting-race-o-meter-scoring-system when we can get all the way through the field.

44

I mean, clearly my system is garbage. We all know it was in jest because this race hasn’t been exactly a shining example of super exciting street racing.

We will continue to track this through the year. With no changes to the scoring system. Obviously.

49

I may be an idiot, but did Dixon get around Pagenaud? Is Dixon closing in on Castroneves for the lead? I’m not rewinding it to find out.

50

THE RUSSIAN. I’m glad Kevin Lee got my memo.

51

We could be coming upon the most excitement we have had all race as the leaders pull onto the bumper of Sato. MAKE THE MOVE HELIO.

52

Dixon in early. Ill go ahead and say that was the move on the race. Check and Mate.

53

Helio in with the fastest stop of the afternoon but it just isn’t fast enough.

54

Pagenaud INTO THE LEAD! But with a pretty clear blend line violation. Tracy says tough call, but I simply don’t see it that way. I hate for the race to be decided this way but THEM ARE THE RULES SON!

57

Dixon was watching the replay as he was coming down the front straight. What a pro. Just the pro-est of pros.

58

The turbo sound is very present here at Long Beach. The buildings and overpasses must accentuate the sound because it is very distinctive this weekend.

60

I see Pagenaud is still in the lead.

A WARNING?! AN EFFING WARNING?!?

UNACCEPTABLE!!

RACE CONTROL HAS NO TEETH! BRING OUT THE CHROME HORN!!

62

PUT HIM IN THE WALL DIXON

Ok. I think I’ve got it out of my system.

63

The booth mentions the shortcut. I agree 100%. This bends me very much out of shape.

66

Caution free and Pagenaud is still in the lead. I’m not sure how I feel right now. I’m definitely not upset with the race quality. Considering it had been caution free there has been a good amount of action, but this finish could really stink the race up.

68

SATO slithering through the field. (I regret not YELLING SATOS NAME AT YOU ALL YEAR) Best Honda.

71

With that said, It’s so weird how the Honda kit rewards some and punishes others. I refuse to believe that their kit is as bad as they say it is. I think it’s just a question of being more fiddly and difficult to get to that exact right spot for the afternoon. Add the expected engine upgrades and they could have a pretty stout platform once they get a handle of it.

72

Sneaky fact snuck into the crawl: the last caution free race was Mid-Ohio 2013. Viewing enhanced.

73

The booth has informed us a warning is a warranted penalty and within the matrix of allowable penalties for than infraction.

Ugh. Now I don’t know what to think. Race control still doesn’t have any teeth though.

75

Knife fight between SATO and Montoya. My mind is crunching the possible outcomes of this.

77

Pagenaud looks to have this race wrapped up. Too bad. I’ve decided I’m not OK with how this has gone down.

79

Part of me is still hoping for the chrome horn even though Dixon is way too classy to do that.

80

Hawks gets in the way and Dixon is so so so close! Should have saved a push to pass maybe? I don’t know. That’s a tough tough call.

CHECKERS

Flag to flag green. Post race interviews should be way exciting. Dixon does not look happy at all.

Not only was it a flag to flag green, but also no DNFs. Crazy.

Dixon and Hull seem to think that there are no more warnings. Very very interesting.

Pagenaud is as excited as I think I’ve ever seen him? Much better in the racecar.

Good race, all things considered. If race control acted within the rules then no harm no foul. Obviously they need to clear up the issue with ‘no more warnings’ but I cant fault them for not flagging the race leader if they weren’t compelled to do so. The kitten that lives in race control can be frustrating but for the fans at the track I think this outcome was the eventual best.

Thanks for reading, I’ll see you in Barber!!

Eric Hall

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Unfiltered Race Notes: The 10 Year Hiatus Edition

Alright alright alright. Over a week late but never short, here’s to another exciting edition of notes. The anotherindycarblog compound was affected by a multi-day power outage no thanks to an increasingly intoxicated ‘spring’ in Indiana. As such, coverage is being provided to us by YouTube, courtesy of the official IndyCar channel, so no actual prerace coverage today. Also, I couldn’t escape the usual negative opinions of the race in the intervening week.

–Prerace–

Command. Not bad.

So much fast talking by the pit reporters while the cars are pulling away.

The crowd looks pretty good, but the two-seater looks just as ridiculous as always.

However, the ride along guy sounds pumped as hell. That’s the kind of guy I want in there!

–Race—

GREEN

RHR 12th-5th. Very nice.

These boys are racing like

5

19 some second laps. These should click off amazingly fast.

7

We’ve already settled into a pretty single file affair.

10

The cars look very very fast. This would have been amazing to watch in person.

12

Newgarden is flat all the way around.

14

Chilton got very close to the car he was chasing and it looked like he has no chance at a pass with these speeds.

18

Leaders have caught the end of the field.

28

10 laps later and the two Penske boys are stymied by the Honda of Hinch. And we see the blue flag.

32

Still no progress. I’m curious how this will all play out. I’m sure it wont be good.

38

No progress

42

HCN look to have blown a right front tire during break. That is shocking in IndyCar. I cannot remember the last time that happened. HCN was masterful in keeping his ride out of the wall!

Wow. Scary stuff.

50

JPM can’t make any progress on Hinch either.

YELLOW

Luca loses it in the gray after getting pushed out by Castroneves. Excellent move from Helio, but tough to hold onto for a rook.

In fairness, this yellow probably isn’t the worst thing to happen to this race right now.

Typical of ECR to drop the ball on a pit stop.

We get an onboard of RHR’s start. What an animal, how did he find the grip??

65

GREEN

3 WIDE THROUGH THE DOGLEG

RHR picks another position up. Insert my regret for not picking him in fantasy IndyCar.

67

JPM and Dixon. I doubt they will do much mixing it up before the end of the race considering how hard it is to pass.

70

Passing and single file or not, these things are bad fast!!

73

Chilton is exciting. At least he’s making some moves

76

Chilton is doing great. He is getting a ton of understeer and is really able to hold it close to THE RUSSIAN. Just. Great. Racing.

81

CARS NEXT TO EACH OTHER. Oh. It’s just Kimball squandering his Ganassi seat for another season.

I KID I KID. We all know if he didn’t pay for that seat there would just be one less entry.

94

The commercial breaks on this YouTube feed are incredibly jarring.  No real lead in or out. We just lose 15 laps or so.

96

JPM onto pit road with a right front failure. 2 Penskes with the same issue. Concerning for sure.

I’m sure they are pushing the limits of camber. Or is this a result of super trick shocks?

The booth informs us that is was 30 laps in for both drivers.

103

Hinch gets a courtesy blue flag. Again.

105

Dixon in the lead now that the two Penske boys have been bitten by the tire gods.

106

Through the field score of 42.4. St Pete was a 35.4 with a lower number representing a more boring race. I don’t agree with the math today. We will be tracking this as the season progresses.

111

Very Very fast. Still very single file.

Also, the commercials are coming strong and fast. At least NBCSN gets to pay the bills.

120

YELLOW

Munoz into the wall. And apparently during stops. This should be interesting.

Worth noting that race control has not made the final car on the lead lap move over for the leader. Yet. This is how it should be.

9 cars on the lead lap. Ouch. What an inopportune yellow.

THOSE THUNDER BOLTS THO

I haven’t seen a lap update in what feels like a year. 2 commercial breaks. Still under yellow. I assume they are sweeping the track. Much appreciated but it really doesn’t seem like it will do much to help tonight.

No radio for Bourdais. The team had IndyCar black flag him. He comes in and the team was able to fix the radio. That is how it’s done.

133

GREEN

OMG FEEL THE EXCITEMENT OF RACECARS RACING!!

YELLOW

Kimball turns in on Newgarden and spins off his nose. Sigh. Dammit Kimball. That better be a penalty.

Double Sigh. Newgarden has to come in for a new nose.

THANKS FOR RUINING THE ONLY PASS OF THE RACE KIMBALL

142

Oh yea. Rossi. I hope he is pissing himself tonight.

GREEN

143

Newgarden completes a pass. And it was amazing. Passes may be few and far in between but when they happen, they are EPIC

144

YELLOW

Bourdais trying to go around the outside of JPM LIKE A BOSS and loses it. Just a brush of the wall. Sounds like he doesn’t want to come into the pits. What an animal.

151

I cant believe we only have 100 laps left. Where has this race gone?!

Processional? Maybe. Boring? Absolutely not!

Mike Hull: 1 stop territory.

153

GREEN

HOLY CRAP THEY ARE 7 WIDE

The restarts are just an appendage measuring contests tonight.

RHR can hold a loose car. I want to see him, TK and Marco in some kind of loose car contest. Drifting maybe? Only if its in an IndyCar

160

Quite a lot of negative feeling from the RHR it about Honda fuel efficiency.

Sato is basically letting the while field pass him on the inside. Tough night.

165

Dixon has found the tail of the field. Shockingly it isn’t Hinch. Its SATO!!! No. No surprises considering the night he’s having. Unfortunately Hinch will be the next guy. Not many guys are having a good night, but a ton are having tough ones.

178

Rahal getting impatient behind RHR. Calls the racing ridiculous on the radio.

183

The cars just whip around this place. I want a two-seater ride here.

186

Bourdias could be in good position for the end of the race. But it all depends on a yellow falling in the exact right spot in the race. A common folly of hope for a team that just quite doesn’t have it on any given weekend.

190

Paul Tracy guarantees passing once we get closer to the end. Thanks Paul, but I think that’s the definition of wishful thinking along the lines of Bourdais thinking he can win tonight.

193

RHR into the pits. Confirmed that the Hondas are struggling for mileage.

The RHR car looks hot. I wasn’t a fan at St. Pete but it looks super sharp.

196

YELLOW

Carpenter into the wall.

Pushed up into the marbles and that was it.

Textbook example of aero push. Amazing to see; it’s so rare to find such a clear example of that.

198

Babe has been in the picture all night long. Another damn good drive, but I really don’t want to be forced to root for him again this year.

Pagenaud up to second. Quietly. Secretly. Like a shark. Ill take total credit for his performance because I picked him in fantasy. Obviously.

  1. We are back from commercial break only to see THE RUSSIAN facing the wrong way in the entrance of pit road. Hmm.

204

We have transitioned to a laps to go count. I hate it when the broadcast makes me do math.

3rd commercial break during this yellow for those of you playing at home.

Another longish yellow. Hopefully sweeping the marbles.

Considering the processional nature of tonight, we have seen a ton of racing deep in the field. Like the director understands that there are more cars than the leader in the race!

208

GREEN

Kanaan and Bourdais side by side!

Newgarden gets chopped again. What a night he has had!

213

Ok. We are settled. Is this how the race will finish?

Onboard with Newgarden. The dude cannot catch a break. Kanaan should probably be penalized for blocking.

Onboard with Newgarden again. Gets hassled by Bourdais. I bet Josef will need a breather once tonight is done with.

225

Iceman reference. PT calls him boring. I call him amazing.

230

We have reached the tail of the field. Pagenaud is pulling up to Dixons bumper but I doubt there is much that will be able to be done. Barring late race silliness I’m sure this is how we will come home.

233

Onboard with Hinch. First oval back after his injury. Plugged it into the wall hard in practice. Bringing the car home in one piece will be a win tonight for him.

237

Kanaan is coming.

240

4 cars in contention. I can’t believe that Dixon had done this well so early in the season. Everyone should be worried.

242

RHR brushes the wall. Debris in the track. Still green because race control is doing so much better this year.

245

Camera find the debris. No yellow.

248

YELLOW

I know what this is for (Rossi) I’m really curious how this will play out on TV. They clearly think it’s for the debris. Too bad they have no idea what is going on. They don’t sound like fools though. Just honest confusion.

249

WHITE

250

CHECKERS

Dixon seals his first win. Everyone is in TROUBLE!

Ok ok ok. That wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone was saying. I thought that was pretty fun! Sure. The track is increadibly narrow for indycar racing, but that wasn’t bad at all. I would absolutely pay to see that race from the grandstands. Not every race can be a knockout but I don’t think this was a stinker.

The SPEED saved this race. The blistering speed. Passing or not, that looked like it was scary and fast and hard and tiring. I have no issue with tough passing if it looks as spectacular as tonight. Nothing was easy and nothing was given.

I’m going to bail on the post because I don’t want to hear a bunch of blocking complaints. First oval race of the year and everyone is still dialing themselves in.

That kicked ass. Sorry kids.

Eric Hall

PS. While doing the busy work to get this posted I watched most of the post race. Not really much complaining at all and it really looks like most of the drivers had a great time.

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Unfiltered Race Notes… 196 Days Edition

—Prerace—

YEA RIGHT!

No… Even though its stupid ABC and their stupid format with their stupid voices I guess I’ll watch a little… Because racecar… obviously.

Yessss I’ve missed the IMSP montages!

Hellloooo Allen Bestwick. At least the suffering wont be as intense today.

Cheevyear… Where is my officially licensed indycar shank? Maybe I have underestimated how today may actually go.

Power out. Servia in. This should make things interesting for the Australian Overlord.

For the record: Dixon is a beast. This statement will be explored in more depth throughout the season.

The command. IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG

The dw12/Honda bodykit/2-seater monstrosity looks extra ridiculous this year with the sharkfin engine cover. Looks cool on an actual racecar but that thing is painful to look at.

Also, will I be able to tell a Honda from a Chevy without that cover? Doubtful

—Race—

GREEN

Super clean first lap. I feel good about 2016.

Hinch and Sato tangle? With Daly and Josef on pit road, there was surely more than light pats on the back

2

I feel like I need to notate that we are still green

3

The cars LOOK AMAZING. And fast.

Also, there isn’t a small mountain of broken winglets collecting around the track. I’m not sure if the cars are more stout or the drivers aren’t touching (this is indycar, we know the drivers absolutely ARE touching)

5

The new graphics package looks more grown up and snazzy and the telemetry stream is far closer to displaying what we are actually hearing. Very nice addition. WELL DONE ABC, YOU GOT A COMPLEMENT OUT OF ME

8

Indycar at St Pete. How are we still caution free? Maybe we really are growing up a little bit!

10

Hashtag Penske Train

I always thought it was hilarious that people knocked indycar for racing in a parking lot in Houston when ¾ of this track is clearly painted over PARKING SPOTS! But never mind those silly details

12

THOSE LIGHTNING BOLTS LOOK AMAZING

15

Pags is approximately a county ahead of P2

Rahal racing Andretti. I want them to crash each other out every race this year. At least that way they will earn their TV time

16

Booth notes push to pass is with 60 HP this year, or an increase of 20 over 2015. Most excellent.

Goodyear explaining how to count backwards. Thank you

18

Looks like HCN is conducting a train today

20

A blind conductor as he literally pulls directly across traffic to get into the pits. Dude that is not cool

21

First pit stoops have been underway. The pit stop timer on the display is very informative

22

Juan Pablo in. The Penske cars are a really weird shade of mat silver. I thought they looked good in the first published stills, but now I’m not sure if I’m really into it

23

RHR throwing a block party for Luca. Very clear. I’m sure nothing will happen and now 2016 with be the year of friendly neighborhood gatherings thrown by drivers for each other

28

Very interesting that the new generation of rain tire has never been used in competition since their summer 2015 debut. I’m very excited to see how it will work with the increased downforce of the kits

32

How can anyone watch this live? The commercials are soul-crushingly frequent.

Dan Wheldon Way shout out always makes me smile

33

You could say this is indycars Monaco, or so the booth would lead you to believe. I wonder how Long Beach would feel about that. Hell, I wonder how Monaco would feel about that?

34

Penske Magic Dust. Ha

35

Montoya has found the rear bumper of P1 Pagenaud. I can hear the jaws music. Actually, I really hope it happens on-track instead of in the pits

39

Up to speed/through the field factor = 35.4 ((Lap/total)*100) We will be tracking this number through the year.

41

Another view of RHR and his block party. Still no call

46

Newgarden is out. Not great

YELLOW

Andretti around in a lazy spin. He comes back from a MILE. Of course there would be no space. Well, I guess Andretti is still Andretti

Insult to injury he stalls the thing. I say that is a 5 point penalty and completely unacceptable for a professional

53

GREEN

NOPE

YELLOW

Marco around again. 5 point penalty

57

GREEN

Daly looks to hold off TK, but ABC is too worried about shenanigans farther downfield and we miss JPM giving it to Pags for the effective lead of the race

YELLOW

All the cars have crashed. Total track blockage. I’VE BEEN WAITIN ALL DAY FOR THIS MOMENT!

I also cannot possibly capture every absolutely ridiculous comment that comes from the booth. That would be humanly impossible, but suffice to say I’m still looking for my Officially Licensed Indycar Shank (also good for fixing hearing problems (when the problem is hearing))

64

GREEN

JPM around Daly for the lead and I’m sure eventual win.

Saw a wing endplate bouncing over heads during the restart. Tense but all good

65

Safety truck picks the debris up. Very well played

66

I can see debris fluttering in the air. I wonder if I’m just more perceptive to it due to the incessant off season talk about it…

67

Munoz penalty for avoidable contact. No surprises there. Glad they know where to fund the whistle still

68

the booth sounds surprised that Daly is keeping pace with the Penske frontrunners. I thought these guys were supposed to know about drivers in the series they are covering? Oh yea… Cheevyear… silly me.

70

We are clearly in the hang-on-and-wait-until-final-stops section of the race

72

Dixon in with a 30 second stop to clean the radiators. Too bad as it seems like he can never get a fair shake at St. Pete

77

Sounds like JPM has major mechanical issues. Let see how long he can hold on

I am starting to rethink my RHR block party stance. I’ve seen a few drivers swerve in that same spot. I wonder if there is a track imperfection they are avoiding?

78

Trap speeds are in the 160 MPH range. Eh…

81

Daly in. Tough to compete when your stops are 2.5 seconds slower than the others. This one was even longer because they were fumbling with the wing adjuster. Just as rookie drivers have to start somewhere, rookie crew members have to as well

82

Very rarely have the onboard timer and ABC pit timer matched today. What the heck, man

Great Penske pit work. I wonder why only the Ganassi boys are cleaning radiator ducts

85

Watching the Kimball guys fumble with air gun hoses makes me ask, again, why don’t we use overhead gantries? The guys are standing in pit lane anyway and considering the way safety is fetishized in indycar it would be a no brainer

88

Note to self: buy yacht and rent parking spot in the St. Pete harbor

89

Penske Train still pulling the field

91

We have settled into following around JPM for the rest of the race. This should be great TV

92

Sometimes we see Pagenaud. I wonder if the director ever actually watched any other forms of racing than the broadcast he “creates”

 

Seriously though, it’s really easy to rip on ABC but this is a real example of doing the fans a disservice. There is no reason we can’t have a glimpse the cars deeper in the field. And I guarantee that if we pole those midfield drivers they would say they drove in nonstop action all day. But all we get are nonstop shots of a leader with a 4 second lead and is pulling away.

96

Only now does the booth mention the effective pass for the lead back on lap 57…

97

After brute force, I’m worming to the matte silver Penske. The fact it looks like a freaking space ship helps a lot

98

Finally focusing on Pagenaud for a while. His car looks pretty good too, but the Penske boys always look good

99

On the subject of liveries, I’m not a fan of the new Hunter-Reay look. I thought the old all yellow DHL could have been a new classic livery

102

Finally some sweet mid-field action

Have I mentioned the lightning bolts?

104

Rossi driving like a crazy person. Rossi gets overtaken by Kanaan. See Rossi have a fortuitous start to a probable tough season

106

Rossi and Hawksworth touch just ahead of a slowing Pagenaud. Not what he needs at this point in the race

107

Gotta give it to Rossi for going so far off line to allow Pagenaud to pass. I hope some one asks his opinion of the marbles over here verse the klag in Europe

RHR around HCN… ANOTHER TELEVISED PASS! But only because Pagenaud was literally driving through lapped traffic and those two came into shot. Mr director definitely did not hunt that battle down

108

It’s almost like the lapped traffic action shook us back into reality. Now we’re getting views of the INSANE action up and down the field.

110

CHECKERS

Montoya. Boom.

I hope this is the first of a strong championship run. Best driver of our generation… I’m just saying

Well sighted by the booth but there was a ton of play in the steering wheel. He definitely drove through mechanical adversity.

I know there will be bitchers, but that was a pretty damn good Grand Prix of St. Pete. Every year I worry that the drivers will embarrass the hell out of themselves by causing pile up after pile up after pile up but everyone did a hell of a job today.

Bring on Phoenix!

Thanks for reading and welcome back to an exciting season of race notes!

Eric Hall

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