Unfiltered Race Notes… The Rookies Are Here Edition

Alright, welcome to the first of 2 trips to Texas for indycar in 2019. We are visiting Circuit of the Americas for the first time. This facility is home to Formula One in the United States. 

I was honestly pretty against indycar racing on a track that F1 races on due to the speed difference, but it’s really all good. I’m not 100% sure, but the street tells me that we are about LMP1 speed around here. That’s pretty cool because those cars are cooler than F1 cars. And we all know that coolness is the only thing that really matters. 

Command time… Some quarterback… this better be most good. 

Hook ‘em horns. 

Eh he was ok. Concise, forceful but not excited. 

I’m excited to see a race here without track limits. I think this place will really suit indycar. There’s a ton of racing room here and that is something that really helps these guys put on a good show. 

Order shows that Ericsson and Hinch are starting side by side. More proof the Wickens was the standout. 

Lining up…


Clean out of T1

Dixon around the curbs and looses a ton of places. 

Veach into the kitty litter with no replay. 


Looks like he was suckered into taking too much curb. Welcome to indycar rook. I know he’s not a rookie, but still. 

They look ridiculous going that far off the track. Whatever it takes I guess. 

Herta P3. The New Truth. 

However, Rossi, The Old Truth is sitting P2. He’s a shoo-in for a championship berth this year I think. 


Power looks to be the only Penske in the money right now. 

They keep saying Dixon made a ton of ground going around the curbs at the start, but he lost all of it by not being on the racing line so I’m not sure what to think here. It was smart driving because he was out in the hinterlands, but it didn’t really gain him anything other than not smashing his underwing. 


I love Ericsson’s black helmet. It looks super tough. I hope he wears a balaclava with the nose cover as well. 

I cannot see the whole field drive 75 feet off the track and not think they look ridiculous. 


Stops happening. 

Pagenaud looking to do 4 stops because he qualified so far back. He hasn’t really taken well to the new aerokits. Speaking of LMP1 cars, the old manufacturer kits had a ton of downforce, similar to those Le Mans cars. Right in his wheelhouse. I wonder how long he can hang onto a Penske seat. Do we see Rossi or Herta take his seat in 2020?


The backfield has almost completed their stops. Working a 4 stop strategy? I like full throttle racing, So I hope some guys are planning on working it all race long. 


4 rookies in the top 10. 

The Newgarden livery is very plain. 

The O’Ward livery is HOT. I love how the helmet compliments the car. 

Hey, is that Dragonspeed operation out today? … checks other notes… no. Too bad. I’m excited to see what else they can do. I wonder if they took this weekend off because of Sebring?


The director misses the Herta pass live. Replay shows it was an excellent move. I wonder if Rossi will be able to hunt him down. We haven’t seen the side by side action that I thought we would have today. 


As I say we haven’t seen the action we get to see Rahal engage a pair or rookies. This is exactly what I thought we would see! These heavy indycars respond really well to the freedom to take multiple lines through the corner. 


O’Ward around the outside of Rahal through the long left hander. That is some car control right there. Holy moly I cannot believe we just saw that. 


P1,2,3 are all right here. We are set up for a strong finish if these guys can stick together for this middle section of the race. I wonder if Herta will have the fitness to go the distance today. 


I think they may be going through the field. Backwards. From P7. Weird way to do it. I guess it hides the fact that they are doing it? I wouldn’t classify this race as boring. 


O’Ward around Rosenqvist. Dude this guy is awesome. So is Rosenqvist. So it Herta. This rookie class is on another planet. 


PT wondering if Penske will take a look at Rossi and Herta. You’re only like 15 laps late PT. Ahem… NBCSN I’m still available for much less than you’re paying him for. 


I just don’t know what to think of this Ferucci kid. Opinions welcome. 


O’Ward with a slow stop erasing quite a lot of the on track work he has accomplished. Welcome to indycar. Carlin Racing or not, he’s still not on Penske, Ganassi or Andretti. If you’re not on one of those teams you have to expect a least one pit stop flub every week. That has got to be one of the lower hanging speed improvements these new teams could invest in. 

We are deep in a very detailed how did we get here race report thing. It may be a bit too much, but I appreciate them reviewing the action. 


Rossi: ‘When I get close to Power I can’t make a move’ that’s kind of what it looks like from the outside. Most of the racing we’ve seen has been because of disparate tire status. New verse old. Red verse black. Hot verse cold. We haven’t seen much honest side by side racing. This is exactly why we have tire strategy and I’m glass firestone is saving our but today, but I’m really surprised we aren’t seeing more straight up racing toady. 

Danica back to Indy. In the Booth. Hooray?


Chilton 1 lap down. Obviously. 


I don’t think we will be seeing a yellow today. Days like this are cool because we get to see the pure speed of indycar racing. How far can the winner finish ahead of the field? How little time can the crew keep the car in the pits?


Speaking of the leader driving away from the field, Power has only been able to get Rossi and Herta by 1.5 seconds. Not the ass kicking one could expect for these conditions. Old Truth and New Truth are really giving Power a run for his money. $100,000 to be exact. Ha. 


I’ve been able to watch all the sessions this weekend (Thank you NBCSN Gold. It has been amazing having all the sessions in TV broadcast quality) and the track has taken a ton of rubber. It really has a different look and you can really see some surface nuance in the braking zones. I don’t really remember seeing many tracks take the rubber as opposed to collecting marbles. We’ve heard the track is abrasive so it’s nice seeing the rubber get working into the surface!


Rossi is as close to Power as he has been all race. They have dropped Herta by about 5 seconds. I don’t think Rossi wants to pull the trigger quite yet. Everyone is good causing around minding the gap until the closing laps. 


O’Ward with another… slow… stop…

It’s very different to see these guys fully complete a pass on the loooong back straight before they even get to the braking zone.  More disparate tire states.


Hinch get sent right in the path of Pigot in the pits. There should be a penalty assessed for that amateur hour move. 



Holy crap looks like Rosenqvist lost in in pit in. Cold tires in the hinterlands again? Replay shows there was some shenanigans between him and Hinch out there beyond the track limits. I’m sorry, I mean ‘track limits’. I just don’t know how I feel about these guys racing so hard out there. 

The crash is under review from race control. I don’t know if there is anyone to blame. There is no track to help define who was in the wrong place and who was in the correct place. Not to mention there is no guarantee of quality surface way out there. It looks like Hinch 


Not only did Power get screwed by the caution, now he is having equipment issues in the pits. This is painful. UGH I feel so damn bad Power. Heartbreaking. 

Now Power is getting interviewed. Out of the car. Out of the race. Gut punch. Power complaining about the yellow rules in indycar. Ok. But today there was literally a car crashed in pit entry. I think closing the pits was a good move. 

Herta in the lead. VERY VERY NERVOUS. 



Excellent restart for Herta.


Big wiggle from Newgarden. 

Rossi gets some air after some side to side contact with Pagenaud.

Pagenaud into the pits. 


Replay of Rossi/Pagenaud. How is Rossi’s car not hurt as well??

Veach with a flat and broken wing after mistiming his move for pass. Sure Dixon faded, but nothing out of the ordinary. Veach will always be known as The Rook. He will never not be a squeaky voiced, pimply faced kid who makes mistakes like that. 


I cannot believe The New Truth is about to win this race. 

I picked both Newgarden and Herta in fantasy, but this house is definitely suffering from Hertamania 2.0. 

No action taken on Hinch/Rosenqvist or Veach/Dixon. Good. That is the correct call on both incidents. 


It is really sad to see the ECR car in such a plain livery after rocking one of the sharpest paint jobs in the series last year. It truly makes me sad how little effort it looks like they put into it. 


We’re finally seeing the coming and going I was expecting to see all race. Just plain racing. I am not complaining. I have had A BLAST today. I just have never been so aware during a race about how much of a difference the tires are making to the show. 


The Rossi car look great with the red suspension pieces. I think we talked about that last week, but its such a hot ride it may be worth mentioning every week. Andretti has quite a knack for crafting really memorable liveries. 


Colton running much closer to the grass than Newgarden. Making me nervous. give the grass a few more inches of respect at this point in the race, man!



Remember: Breathe.



WOW. What a performance. I’m speechless. Steinbrenner Racing. What a result. 

It’s not quite the same victory lane we are used to. Too bad for Colton that his first win is not at a place with the confetti cannons and single car celebration. He admits he’s very tired. I’m impressed. 

George Michael (yes, you will be referred to by this for the rest of time) is a well spoken child. I hope he sticks around the paddock forever. This is a great way to get a young owner hooked!

That was an excellent afternoon of racing. Can we go back in the fall? I would totally run in the morning before F1 and show those fans what real racing looks like. 

That was fun! I’ll see you guys in 2 weeks at Barber. An as always, thanks for reading!!

Eric Hall

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