Boy…What an exciting weekend of racing. My Sunday afternoons, when not watching indycar, usually involve a nap in the early afternoon… while “watching” NASCAR… roughly three minutes after I switch on the race. My TV has broadcast almost every Sunday afternoon cab “race”, but I have only actually witnessed approximately 17 laps all season. To my chagrin, the open wheelers of INDYCAR were visiting Mid-Ohio last weekend. All signs pointed to massive amounts of hibernation on Sunday. The race wasn’t awful, but I did spend more time in front of the computer and listening to the radio call, than actually watching the Verse broadcast. Yes, it was on anyway so add one more household to the ratings. The championship looks about toast, so we could be in for some shootouts at the front in the coming races as teams and drivers try to fight their way to victory lane in equipment that becomes obsolete on October 17th.
Will Power – Oh the luck. I understand he was trying to pass Dixon and Franchitti during the pitstop sequence, but I believe it is best to stay close to your championship rival and fight it out on the track. The late stop also smelled of Tim Cindric attempting to turn the race into a fuel mileage event. Not cool Penske, not cool at all. At the end of the day Power finished P14, 62 points down on Franchitti, all but sealing Franchitti’s fourth championship.
Takuma Sato – didn’t hit anything or anyone at Mid-Ohio and came home P4 (!) … good job… enough said. Now keep it up and become the contender we all know you are.
Sarah Fisher Racing – Ed Carpenter made his season debut on the twisties. He has a hard weekend with SFR, but finished on the lead lap. That was all the team wanted to accomplish. Given the bad luck that many of the more experienced teams faced this weekend and SFR’s lack of road course experience, the team really shined.
Vegas – Now that the championship is all but wrapped up, I hope some teams with good equipment are shopping around for a ringer to take a shot at the five million. I always felt that Ganassi’s staunch stance against running an extra car for the finale stemmed from him not wanting to take focus off of a close championship battle near the end of the season. No excuses now, Chip. As the weeks get closer and with no names being promoted, it is getting slightly worrisome that no one will take the challenge. Just proves the rest of the motorsports world is not crazy enough to drive an oval with these guys and gals.
It Was a Bad Day – Kimball threw it away while running P6. Hinchcliffe threw it away while running P3 (I think) to finish P20, only after mowing some grass and lucking into P1 on the first restart. Mike Conway was on his way to a solid top five result, only for his car to spontaneously combust. Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick had a disagreement in the keyhole, knocking Rahal out. (Personally I blame Rahal for pinching Danica in the corner.) Will Power rolled the dice on pit strategy and came up the biggest loser. Mid-Ohio will bite the unsuspecting driver, and her teeth were sharp this week. Drivers don’t need to wreck into each other to have a tough weekend at this track.
Don’t get me wrong, being enamored with Formula 1, I love a good and challenging road course. But I expected this kind of snoozer to only be possible across the pond. Added to my love of historical tracks that have a long love affair with indycar, I don’t mind the Mid-Ohio weekend. Yes, the action can always be better, but we have to remember not many facilities welcome INDYCAR and pay the purported 1.5 million dollar sanctioning fee. I thank the good people at Mid-Ohio and all the supportive fans that came out. From the aerial shots the grounds looked like they were chocked full of campers. We know that TV ratings are what will save our sport, but it doesn’t hurt to race in front of a packed house two or three times a year. If all goes well, hopefully I will be able to join the party next year and make the weekend trip to Lexington, seeing for myself if the race is better in person.