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

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One Response to Unfiltered Race Notes… The Gorgeous Facility Edition

  1. billytheskink says:

    Even as a Rahal fan, I enjoy reading these.

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