Andretti is a name synonymous with success in indycar. On Saturday night the third generation Andretti was finally able to check a win in the oval column. It has been 5 years, 78 races since, as a rookie, Marco has been able to visit victory lane. His initial win at Infineon in 2006 was a mileage race with “slight” blocking help from his teammates. The win at Iowa was a clinic of short track racing. No fuel mileage victory here, just hard all out racing. For a driver who’s commitment off track has been questioned due to his playboy lifestyle, this could be the win that Marco finally needs to fully mature as a racer. His talents are not in question as Marco has proven time and again that he has the skill to drive up front. The deal was finally closed on Saturday night, and Marco has taken his rightful place as team leader and figure head of Andretti Autosport.
Will Power – I feel like a savant, one of the two contenders had to have trouble this weekend and Power was the biggest loser. Initially his night went south when Charlie Kimball t-boned him after Power was unsafely released into pit lane. The comment was made that Kimball should have been in the left lane, but pros like Penske should have been able to catch that and hold Will for a safe release. The night was a struggle from that point on, fighting a damaged car and culminating with a scary gearbox first hit exiting turn 2 and giving a concussed interview dropping one of the seven words. I am glad Power is OK, but I love indycar… so unpredictable.
The Bump – The bump in turn 2 caught more than a few people out. I was watching Windtunnel, on Sunday night, and some dude called in saying our drivers can’t drive because a third of the field wrecked out. I don’t know what this guy was watching but the bump needs to be addressed. Something like this is only going to get worse over the years and lead to more broken racecars. The bump is character, but this year was the worst I would ever like to see it. Pocono is untraceable because issues like this were not addressed soon enough.
The Broadcast – Dan Wheldon does a great job. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I missed Dallenbach, but I think I was so used to mediocre coverage that anything was better than last year. Wally is good, but Dan is much better. The pre race grid walk was cool but two interviewers and one cameraman can cause massive confusion. Look at Speed’s F1 grid walk, two guys are able to get very good access and good interviews on a more cramped grid with more cameras than an indycar grid will ever see.
Charlie Kimball – He seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time every week. He had a quiet first few races but post Indy 500, the spotlight has really focused on him in regards to questionable driving. He did marginal in development series’ but has failed to impress in the big cars. I don’t think his race craft is bad; He just makes questionable decisions on the track. A few rookie mistakes are understandable, but he seems to be caught in the middle quite often. With a return to road courses hopefully he can keep his nose clean. One more year in Lights would have done wonders for him.
Iowa Speedway – An indycar race and full attendance in the same sentence?… sellout?!?… You do it Iowa, Thank you! What an amazing facility and as everyone knows, the fans make the race. Without the dedicated fans, I am sure that talk of a double would not be happening. The facility is in negotiations to extend the contract and with all of the swirling rumors; I don’t think it is a matter of if but when they sign and what kind of program. Night race on Saturday with a 1pm start time on Sunday. Double headers are fine with me as long as they are full distance and are for full points.
The weekend went off without a hitch, no complaining from team owners or drivers about anything. There were no super secret penalties given out and no action left open to question. It was just a super successful weekend, from a racing standpoint as well as from an attendance standpoint. From Takuma Sato capturing his first ever pole, to Marco Andretti grabbing the checkers, the weekend was excellent. KV racing is on the upswing and Viso didn’t even bend a single wheel. The series makes the trek to the north for the Canadian leg of the season, starting at historic Exhibition Place in Toronto. Many rookies and mid pack drivers are looking forward to getting back on the twisties, we will see how everyone fares after the oval stretch.