Long Beach and Helio

(Ed: First race recap/reactions/thoughts/loves/hates… this could be rough.)

So here we find ourselves on shoreline drive only one short week after the sleep inducing Grand Prix of Alabama. Under sunny skies and warm sun, southern California welcomes INDYCAR to run their own version of Monaco. Someone said it has not rained in the 36 years that this race has been contested, very nice factoid but I don’t think it ever rains in SoCal. The course layout has changed very little since its creation in 1975. The only large change has been the addition of the fountain and aquarium complex. Previously the course had a hairpin, similar to the final corner,  staying on shoreline.

Power on pole, Franchitti seventh. No other players in the championship to worry about quite yet in this stage of the game. I almost feel you need to wait until after Indy to get a less foggy picture of who is in the hunt and who is not. Simona fourth in points, its nice and all, but this is not how it is going to play out. The first two thirds of the race played out like you would expect, fast guys are keeping it clean and quick up front and the rest are mixing it up mid pack and back. The final third was thrilling to watch, not what I would have dreamed could have gone down in the canyons of Long Beech. Conway steals the win making power moves on the big boys and driving away from the field makes Andretti Autosports a happy camp to be in.

-random thoughts-

- Helio needs to understand his place at Penske Racing. Roger has stated before that he holds a 500 win in higher than a championship. With Power and Briscoe on the team, he is not the man who is going to bring home the season ending hardware. He is the man who might/will win 4 500′s depending on who you ask. Does Helio hold higher position in the Penske hierarchy because of this? I say yes. Understandably he feels a championship would seal his legacy in indycar history books but with 3 wins, 5 poles, 231 laps lead, I think it already is.

-What a bunch of indycar studs we had starting on the grid Sunday. 11 championships, 129 wins between Bourdais, Tracy, Kanaan, Dixon and Franchitti plus another 57 wins across 11 other drivers. studs.

-3 races in and the third spring/ swaybar issue has not come back up. This was a hot button topic last year. Penske and Ganassi were using the sway bar as a rudimentary third spring to control ride height in high speed applications. This allowed softer springs and more mechanical grip in low speed corners. The other teams on the grid said they didn’t want to develop a new technology that will be obsolete in 2012. I don’t think this was ever resolved other than TGBB staying silent either way. Seems other teams have caught up though.

- Looking to next week, I hope the drivers have the non-single car starts and restarts worked out. Possibly a silent public protest stated to TGBB behind closed doors? Sounds plausible as we haven’t heard much chatter from the league or drivers about the lack of double file starts. I don’t mind the drivers creating a union, just please, for the love of all that is good, keep the owners out of it.

Eric Hall

@Erock_in_Indy

(Ed: Not too bad…)

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