Unfiltered Race Notes: Barber 2015

Jumping right into it has been this years theme so let’s do it.


The first shots of the Gorgeous Facility are of the flying codpiece triplets. Weird.

The Augusta of Motorsports. I saw the helicopter shots, that grass isn’t nearly as green as the turf at IMS.

The 2 or 3 Long Beach rewinds I’ve seen are really short… I’m just saying.

RHR, why do you always seem so awkward? And for the record, you will not win thrice in a row here.

Lots of interviews. Sigh. Show me more kick ass IMSP clip montages; they can even be clip montages of interviews.

Dixon montage. I may be on the JPM train this year, but Dixon IS THE MAN. I would love to see him in victory lane a few more times this year.

Oakley, your neon green/yellow hipster sunglasses are fugly.

Excellent. Full opening ceremonies. This must just be an NBCSN thing.

Mr. Steve Matchett is such an odd man. Almost too smart to communicate clearly, super overly excitable and yet he still feels like my old grandpa that just want to talk about his stories.

You will never get an anthem critique from me, but you will always get a command critique. And we have had 2 excellent commands in a row. Nothing will top Captain Picard so I have to temper expectations.


The field looks very well aligned.


Dear Helio, Thank you for waiting this weekend and giving us a much better start. The starts and restarts are way more fun for us when you wait just a bit.

Decisive move by Newgarden into P3. Did I pick him? Checking… checking… checking… Nope. Damn

I’ve been saying it all year, but the cars look like rocket ships. Especially on these road courses.


Newgarden catching Helio after taking Power on the inside. Dude. Getting it done.

Now Matchett reiterates what I have already said. Thanks man, why am I not getting paid for this again?


How are we on lap 4 already?!

Racecars so fast.

Helio pulling away. The world is starting to make sense again.

I never watch the side by side stuff. I assume hope that the booth will fill me in on any relevant information that I may have missed whilst in a fast forward tizzy.


Hawksworth… not bumping Munoz… but definitely driving him all the way into the grass. Atta boy.

Replays of a shockingly amazingly clean start. Well done boys! That’s the way it’s supposed to be done!


Rahal doing surprisingly well. I seem to be saying that every week now. Taking daddy off the box so Babe doesn’t have somebody to whine at all day has helped? Who would have thunk?


Dracone flips it around. This is his last race… this is his last race… this is his last race.

If this isn’t his last race, I have no idea how he will handle it.


RHR off strategy. You’re going to need it dude.


This fight for 13 is unbelievable and poor Karam is stuck in the middle with no rubber left. And now Speedy is hassling him. Man, what a tough stint.


Rahal around Dixon. Is water still wet?

My favorite target scheme has always been the white-trimmed livery Dixon is running today.


The pace has been unbelievably fast today. Well, and last week as well come to think of it. Amazing how quick a race clicks off without a bunch of yellow


Matchett on the telestrator. Welcome home Steve.

Rear grip issues with the Ganassi squad. Interesting to see setup deficiencies permeate through the entire team.

All these guys coming in seem like they’re doing it too soon and stopping this early would put you in the 4 stop window. We know that doesn’t work in IndyCar. What are the odds of a yellow? Feels pretty damn slim today.


Matchett gets a lot of shtick, but when he starts talking about the visible wear on the tires, it gets me excited. For a long time I assumed Firestone rubber was indestructible as they never lost time during an entire fuel run.

And just saying ‘fuel run’ reinforces that idea. It’s nice to know they run n the ragged edge of tire life.

Power and SATO spinning together. SATO with endplate damage. Gee… I wonder what happened.



Ugh, that wing better be in the racing line, I feel like this is a kind of unnecessary yellow.

Wow, the Penske guys handed Newgarden the lead. Dude. That is not Penske Perfect AT ALL. Right front tire changer fumbled the nut… Ha.

Replay of Power absolutely smashing into SATO on pit out. I am not impressed Mr. Power. SATO just got SATOED? Power just SATOED SATO? I’m not sure what to think of this and my brain hurts from thinking about it.

Power better get a penalty.


The field is in. Still in 3 stop territory right now.

Newgarden cycles to the lead. The honest to goodness lead. And he has the pace to pull this thing off. But he does have Puntstroneves behind him…

So far I have been highly entertained. Lets keep this up.


JPM in the Hawk car and Dixon in the Coke car look great. The liveries look great this weekend.



Andretti around the outside of RHR. LIKE A FREAKING BOSS!! You’d think we were on an oval!

Penalty for Power. Well done race control.


Rahal and Hinch engaged in an epic battle… And the director cuts away of course.


We got a ‘Beautiful Place’ from Matchett. I wonder if we can do a Bingo card of positive descriptors for Barber?

Ok, we’re back to the Rahal and Hinch battle. THANK YOU.

I hate to say it but Babe is having a fantastic race and a great year.

I made a last minute substitution of him for Kimball and I’m not very happy about it at all. Reminder: Always go with your gut.


JPM in for a new wing under green. Ouch. Another driver headed for a long and tough day.


Did TK just go around the outside of RHR? Is today the day of outside moves?


And it looks like TK went around Andretti as well. Well done


The marbles are a little more pronounced this weekend, but nothing to make going offline a huge penalty. If there are no marbles the track is taking most of the rubber and grip should be skyrocketing through the race.


Coletti into Jakes. It looks like he took too much curb… but that was after making the poor decision to come from approximately a mile back to attempt a pass with 0% change of working.



Leaders into the pits.

Rahal stays out and cycles to the lead. Yes… I really did just write that.

Ok, Rahal says the marbles are really bad today. Good to know. If I can see them on TV they must be bad.


Replay of Newgarden being smart and not running down his crew guy. That’s a good reason to give up a second in the pits.



Montoya getting all Montoya-y on Kimball. I LIKE IT A LOT. But you know they’re going to penalize him.

Kimball falling back and causing all kinds of trouble.


Replays of passing through the entire field. This has been a great race, and we’re being treated to a Honda breakaway.

Too bad it’s on pit work.


Feels like we are finally settling in for the race.

Have to resist comment so I can watch racecars for a few laps.


Is Bourdais in the effective lead?!


Rahal in. There we go.

Ok, no Bourdais is ahead of Filippi and not Newgarden… And it was Castroneves in the effective lead not Newgarden anyway. Going back to edit my mistakes is too hard. You’re welcome.



Damn. Well done Graham.


I went back to check and it looks like Newgarden got around Castroneves on track around lap 41. We did not see it on TV and now Newgarden cycles to the lead. Thanks again Mr. Director, you keep missing the important fights for the effective lead.

The booth is dragging Dracone through the mud. I approve.


We are really focusing Dracone. I don’t understand there are better things to show on TV than an un-sponsored ride buyer.


We finally get a replay of Newgarden around HCN and it was a pretty sweet move at that. Newgarden is really making a statement today.


Pit guy talking over the radio. I HATE THAT. They play radio without telling us who it is and then the announcers talk over them at that. What’s the freaking point?


We cut to Dixon ahead of HCN and then we get the replay. I don’t understand why we miss so many of these passes live. I’m 100% convinced half the reason these races get such a bad reputation of no passing is because we miss it ALL on live TV.


Ok, and w get a live pass pretty deep in the field.


Gonzalez is making life difficult for everyone. But he’s racing for position, so it’s not that bad I guess.


Final stops? Maybe?! This should be exciting. Will we have to save fuel? Dixon is in effective P2. But the racing has been too trough and tumble for much savings.


In the span of 2 corners, Karam runs RHR off the track and gives Hawks a mean elbow. THAT is how you make a reputation!

… and I’m sure he’ll be penalized…

Hawks is really slowing. Hope his car isn’t hurt.

Let the replay show I think RHR should have relented the spot. That was a high speed corner exit and RHR wasn’t halfway up on exit.


Hawks has issues in the pits. The markedly unathletic pit crew really didn’t help things out when the issue was needing to RUN a wheel gun around the car.


8 leaders today. Not too bad.

JPM loses a wheelnut. We’ve seen 3 or 4 nuts hit the ground today. Maybe time to find a new solution.


I can literally see rubber flying through the air. Yes. Marbles are a problem today.

Diffey asks if Rahal can win.



I caught myself rooting for Graham there for a nano-second. WHAT CAN I SAY?! I like seeing tough racing and Graham has been hanging tough today.


Again, we can see a difference in rear wing angles through the field. Such a change from last year.


Ok, Newgarden is good to go and has a 6 second lead on P2 Dixon. I think he can do this.


Fisher is clearly nervous. So awesome.


Newgarden pushes the lead to 7 seconds.


Rahal around the outside of RHR and HCN during successive laps. DUDE WHAT IS GOING ON? IS THIS REAL LIFE? AM I REALLY ROOTING FOR RAHAL?

My brain and soul hurts right now.


Sigh. Robin Miller spewing his regular non-American prejudices. I can avoid him on the internet but don’t let him have any real opinions on TV please?


Rahal 10 seconds behind P2 and gaining 2 seconds a lap.

I feel sick, but whatever… let’s do this.


Nothing to say. Quietly watching Rahal do this thing.


Graham as reached Dixon. Against every thread in my being I am willing him ahead of Dixon.



Dixon doing an amazing job holding off Rahal.





–Post Race–

Best race of the year. How does Barber manage to continuously pump out stellar races? The tightest and almost most maligned track on the schedule produces the most consistent racing.

We could go twice a year and run it backward the second time. Just saying.

Awesome Awesome Awesome.

This has been long and exciting enough. Lets forgo the rest of post race.

I’ll see you in Indy!

Eric Hall

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4 Responses to Unfiltered Race Notes: Barber 2015

  1. dylanpt24 says:

    So yeah, we finally had a good race, and at Barber of all places. The reason it seems was the red tires; they went off over a stint, but were fast enough that most people preferred them. I did not completely understand why Newgarden kept going back to the red tires (same with a lot of other drivers) with the fall off and with the long run at the end, but it worked out well. I’m glad that Montoya and Karam avoided penalties for their rather aggressive moves because aggressive moves are how passes must be made at Barber. Rahal has improved a lot this year. Apparently the team has better people. I also imagine the new aero kit somehow fits with Rahal’s driving style in a way it fits with no other Honda driver. RHR and Munoz do not seem to like their kit at all. Hinchcliffe was impressive and has 2 good results alongside 2 terrible results. That seems to be the theme right now; almost every driver has had a good race and a bad race, except for the tail end of the field. Also worth noting is how many two car teams have had 1 driver significantly ahead of the other. Hinch, Bourdais, and Newgarden are all doing a lot better than their teammate. Coyne and Foyt seem totally lost, with Foyt at least sort of fast. Rahal’s car looks good (I am both shocked and happy with how they’ve replaced National Guard with Maxim and Steak and Shake) and he looks fast so I am hopeful he will lead the charge for Honda for the rest of the season.

    Title wise I’m not sure who to go with. The Penske and Ganassi car’s are pretty evenly matched with about 2 good runs and 2 bad runs each. I know for sure I do not want Dixon to win, he is just way too boring. I’ve alternated between cheering for JPM, Helio, and Kanaan. As someone who’s not a believer in Dixon as the greatest active Indycar driver I suppose I’m cheering for Helio or Tony… but in reality outside of Dixon not winning, I can’t get that pumped about any Penske or Ganassi driver at the moment winning. I understand this is super unlikely, but I am cheering for Newgarden. Newgarden has a decent shot if he can combine how he finished last season with how ECR ran last year on both ovals and street courses. Josef was fast at the ovals last year. Newgarden has become a fixture in the Fast 6 and has show speed at both street courses and road courses. Realistically he and CFH probably won’t win the title, but they may be able to get a top 10 or even a top 5. What Newgarden needs to do is avoid the mid season slump which he has hit the last few years. Josef is always fast to start the year and usually ends with some good runs, but for whatever reason the middle season stretch has been rough for him. On that note, Newgarden and his team need to avoid the random misfortune which has plagued them for years (RE: Dario hitting him, RHR hitting him, Mid Ohio incident, bad luck with pit strategy at Milwuakee, ect)

    Rahal… I’m just so happy to see him doing well. What happens if Honda really is better then Chevy on the ovals? I’m wondering if that puts Rahal very close to the top 5 in points. He has the most speed of all the Honda’s week in and week out. Either way he has a good shot at the Top Honda spot, and that’s a big improvement. I do not know what to think about Hinchcliffe. He and Schmitt were awful at Long Beach and St Pete and were not really that fast at NOLA. Barber was good and off the fluke win at NOLA he sits within the top ten in points. Schmitt probably won’t be the best non Penske/Ganassi/Andretti team this year (CFH or KV or Rahal) but Hinch is currently ahead of Pagenaud in points so that has to feel good.

    I’m not sure which was better, seeing young drivers go 1-2 or seeing American drivers go 1-2. Both of which are too rare in Indycar. Penske and Ganassi dominated practice and qualifying but in the race other teams managed to catch them. I am looking forward to the Indy GP and hopefully the 500 features the close racing we’ve seen in recent years.

  2. billytheskink says:

    In fairness to Dracone, he was on the lead lap and fighting for position when Townsend Bell was lighting him up for not moving over.

    In fairness to Townsend Bell, he was apparently informed of this and apologized later in the broadcast.

    In fairness to you, Dracone is incredibly terrible, even when on the lead lap.

    • Eric Hall says:

      In fairness to the readers, I don’t go back and edit any mistakes I may have made; I did catch that but neglected to note it later. Hey… the experiment is over and Dracone is headed back to Europe so the pain from one Coyne ride should subside soon enough.

      Thanks for reading!

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