Unfiltered Race Notes… I Still Haven’t Started to Breathe Again Edition

Welcome back to Mid-Ohio!

Drivers already in their cars. This thing is happening! 

We’re treated to a Dixon montage. I know I said I’m #TeamDixon but I’m even more #TeamCloseChampionshipBattle so I hope his qualifying issues parlay into race issues. I want to see a close race and an even closer championship. 

The command was… smiley… and weird. no better than 5/10. 

Lots of spins in qualifying. That may mean an eventful race? This race has a history of going green flag to flag. As much as I like seeing those races every now and again, I really do, I hope we see some action today. Maybe something to mix the field up. Chaos. It’s been known to happen here. 

24 cars here today. Most excellent. 

Plenty of room to line up before the start. 

—GREEN—

Close, clean and fast! That’s the kind of racing I like to see!!

2

Sato slow on the track. I obviously picked him this weekend. 

Replay shows Chilton gives him the chrome horn!

3

Back up front. It’s easy to forget the race happens at the front sometimes. The Truth is killing the field. No suprises.

4

Daly is really giving Pagenaud a hard time. If Harding Racing is really trying out drivers, Daly has been crushing poor Gabby Chaves’ soul. I know who I would hire in 2019 if it was my choice…

Chilton with the drive through penalty. I can dig it.  

7

Seems like Rossi may have slowed the field excessively at the start. I guess I didn’t fully understand why the start was under review but I guess that makes sense. I’m with the booth. Rossi can do what he wants with the start. It hurts me to side with stupid Rossi, and I will note it was terrible form to bring the field that damn slow into the green. But fair nonetheless. 

10

Something really weird is happening with the front right of Chilton. Very slow and confused in the pits. I’m sure the booth will follow up. 

We are actually seeing quite a few guys in to the pits. Definitely a questionable call considering the possible weather in the area. I would wait as long as possible to take my stop. Maximize the odds I can put rain tires on. 

12

Great racing with Marco and Kanaan. 

13

Great racing with Sato and Bourdais! This is the kind of afternoon I wanted to see!!

15

HOLY CRAP BOURDAIS AROUND THE OUTSIDE IN THE KEYHOLE! He. Is. So. Good. On his day. 

These cars are able to race so dang close here. This is a great showing for Indycar. 

17

Everyone looks super racey today. I hope anyone anyone has something for Rossi. 

18

Dixon up to 4th. I can hear the quiet Jaws music slowly building. Differ reminds us of the day he came from last to first. 

19

The midfield is HOT today. 

How does Will Power already have 200 starts? I remember him as a rookie back in the ChampCar days. [Checks notes] Over ten years ago?? Ugh. 

21

Binder and Spigot having great days again. Carpenter seems like the weak link on the drivers squad. 

24

Alright alright alright… Newgarden is all over Rossi. 

25

Newgarden around Rossi With a POWER POWER move!! That was soo gooood. Newgarden is sooooo good. We are in yet another era of excellence. What an exciting time to be a fan! Rossi, Newgarden, Wickens, Hinch. All from North America. I hope they all stay committed to IndyCar and that a few younger guys can get their way into strong rides as well. 

26

Newgarden and Dixon in. 

Rossi stays out. I agree with them that this is the wrong move. 

I’m never sure what lap we’re on. NBCSN has an issue with not having any kind of crawl or indication of lap a surprising amount of time. Frustrating. 

Rossi out ahead of Dixon. Yea, that lost you a ton of track position. That was a pretty poor call to stay out. 

Woah! Dixon really pushed him out of the way in the keyhole but somehow Rossi stays ahead!! Another example of great clean and close racing!

I still don’t know what lap it is. Wickens in the lead on an alternative strategy. I’ve changed my mind. I hope we stay green so we can see all these strategy calls play out. There is plenty of action without any crashy crashy to ruin anyone’s day. 

We’ve gone literally an entire segment without any kind of ticker. In fairness, the racing was GREAT but enquiring minds want to know. 

34

Finally. 

Damn that Bourdais car looks so hot. We have had an amazing afternoon of racing. Veach under review for contact during the Bourdais pass. He should be penalized. Booth says Bourdais was in a blind spot, I say you *always* leave 1 car width plus one inch. That is like day 1 racing school stuff. Good on Bourdais for holding his ground and not running in the grass. He has earned the right to be on that strip of pavement. 

Replaying the Charlie Kimball win. I can’t even describe how similar his orange and blue car looks to the Dixon PNC car. It has to be a recycled paint job.

39

Wickens in. Blistered right front. I can’t wait to see what he can do this stint. 

Excellent move from Sato. Wickens slid wide about 4 inches and somehow Sato found his way in. I love this version of Taku. 

42

Newgarden in and out very quickly. I wonder if he short filled. I wonder if he’s going to save immediately? I wouldn’t assume there will be a yellow today. Risky decision. 

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in a few weeks, but turketarian sighting. Still makes me nervous. 

47

Big fuel save lift from Rossi. Too bad. 

Cut to Wickens actually RACING the race. Wickens strategist says he doesn’t know whether a 2 or 3 stop strategy will work out… Let’s be honest… a 3 stop strategy almost never ever ever works in indycar.

50

Alright. I can’t keep all the strategies straight. But it’s not like I ever can. 

Power out and Newgarden around. Penske perfect, he doesn’t leave the slightest bit of donut on Power’s car. Another beautiful pass on an afternoon filled with beautiful passes. 

51

RHR wants around Power really bad but he needs to be careful or Dixon is going to welcome himself into the party. 

56

Booth informs me that Rossi is the only 2 stopper. I’ll be furious if that idiot wins saving fuel while the entire rest of the field is actually racing this dang race. But as we have already talked about a 3 stopper almost never works so…

59

I can’t deny the fact that we have had some of the best racing I’ve ever seen today and almost the entire field is running full tilt towards the checkers. It’s amazing how well these guys race and how fast they are when allowed to fully open it up. 

60

Rossi in. Here’s the race. I can’t see any way he won’t win bar a miracle. 

61

Leist did a most excellent job letting the race pass him on a very technical portion of the track. He continues to impress me week in and out. The young guys are having quite the year. 

Also, RHR racing Dixon racing Pagenaud racing Bourdais and doing it *close* is just about as good as you can get. 

65

Dixon and Newgarden have found each other on track. Hold onto your butts. 

No fade. I saw one car width plus an inch. Well done. I don’t think this is the last move Dixon is going to make. 

68 

Can’t type… Too busy holding my breath… RHR Pagenaud Bourdais. GIVE IT TO ME

69

Worth noting that Rossi is still in the lead. I LOVE NBCSN (this time). We haven’t had to look at stupid Rossi in a long time. We don’t need to watch him circulate in the lead anyway. Really, nothing against Rossi I just don’t want to watch anyone circulate uncontested at the front. Show me the business further back in the field. And that’s exactly what we’re getting. 

Sigh. Literally as I said that they showed Rossi. That’s ok. It had been long enough that I had to remind myself of what was happening up front. Reminding us he’s the leader heading to commercial is quite alright. 

73

Replay of a small off by Rossi. Dangerous. Why are you pushing so hard? Aren’t you trying to race to a fuel number? 

74

Damn. Bourdais is so good. Around the outside of Pagenaud. Get after it. 

75

Bourdais may get 2 in 2 laps. Not quite. Bourdais is hungry today. Thank the racing gods only one guy decided to make it a few mileage race today. 

Under review. And an almost immediate no action. Excellent call. That seems to be the story of Race Control this year. I really don’t remember the last time there were multiple bad calls that would sour my opinion on who and what was happening in Race Control. Cool. 

Turketarian Volume Two. 

Wait. Am I giving additional marketing value to this silly thing? Probably… I need to rethink this thing. 

81

Onboard with Rossi. Clearly lifting and coasting. Don’t hate the player; hate the game. Yea yea yea I know. Still though. 

83

From the overhead view of yet another amazing Boudrias pass, I think I saw a puff of smoke come out of the right side of the engine. I rewinded it multiple times and it was definitely mechanical related smoke, not tire smoke. 

86

Wickens has pulled back five or six seconds. He’s just as good. I want to see him and Rossi race more. I like that they don’t like each other. It’s juicy. 

88

Alright. Time to ride along with Rossi for the rest of there race. I’m cool with this. He’s definitely earned it for himself and NAPA. Not to mention that is one hell of a paint job. I was just thinking about how ‘shitty’ the livery was on Veach’s car before he got hooked up with relay. I can really appreciate a hot livery.

CHECKERS

Rossi. Well earned. 

Race of the year? Probably. 

Burnouts. Hell yes. OH NO DID YOU JUST BEACH YOUR CAR??? What a rookie move. You are so clearly from Europe sonny boy. I’m very embarrassed for him right now. The Truth. ha. Still, I’m excited for him. We need to have a variety of regular winners and I think this probably helps Andretti Autosport as well. It’s kind of feeling like there’s an equity to the teams right now. I know Dixon is way out in front but we have had some excellent races and excellent winners this season. 

Interview-shminterviews. I’ve had enough. After that race I need a fainting couch. I can’t wait to get to Pocono. I’ll see you guys in a few weeks. Thanks for reading!

Eric Hall 

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