Unfiltered Race Notes… Sometimes the Race Doesn’t Need the Caution Edition

Welcome to The Gorgeous Facility ™ and enjoy the rolling green hills, picturesque waterfalls, and the world class motorsport museum. Oh, there’s also a racetrack here. A motorcycle track. A motorcycle track that somehow has become one of the best racing facilities that indycar visits. 

Those are big words the week after COTA. An instant classic. Well named in hindsight I guess, but we still need a few more years there to really cement anything in.

PT is a suit. congratulations on doing the bare minimum. Welcome to the lowest crust of humanity PT. Thank you for taking the smallest amount of pride possible in your job and our series. 

TRACK DUDE MICHAEL YOUNG is always so pumped up. I hope the started guy is half as excited. OMG IT’S 4 times indycar champion, World champion and 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti!! He did a great job! It’s nice to hear a command with some oomph behind it. 

David Letterman looks homeless. 

The two seater camera is always uncomfortable. 

We get a bunch of clips about how bad Veach is at driving an indycar at Barber. I’m embarrassed for Veach. 

2 by 2 here we go!!

GREEN

Clean start. Everyone took care of each other. Seems like something happpened, or didn’t happen in the flagstand or race control but the start looked odd. 

Ed Jones with a jumped start. 

O’Ward is going an amazing job again. 

3

Things have slightly settled. Settled in that we aren’t side by side through the field, but they are fighting from front to back. 

5

3 stops or 2? 3. Every time. Let me run the car hard and fast from flag to flag. You know there will be yellow anyway so give us some SPEED!

Dixon saying Rahal is blocking. Shocking? No. Situation normal. Under review from race control.

Actually, no. Please don’t penalize him as he’s in my fantasy lineup this week. 

No action from race control. 

9

Newgarden in early. Good man. 

SATO!!

Sorry, we haven’t adequately celebrated that my man SATO has started on the pole and it leading this thing!

11

Lots of pit stops happening. I like this. Doesn’t seem like many are planning on fuel savings. 

12

Herta is experiencing some engine issues. Honda. Sigh…

We have many differing strategies happening right now. I always get lost during races like this, but we often get some pretty kick as racing! A weird aspect to this though is that the action constantly gets interrupted by cuts to single car pit stops. Not complaining, just noticing. 

15

Now we are being subjected to watching Herta falling through the field like a stone. 

Lots of action back in the 3 stop strategy runners, but it’s pretty quiet up front with the 2 top hopefuls. 

18

SATO in. Obviously committing to a 3 stop. 11+ second stop. Goodbye race win. Too bad man. I’m always pulling for SATO to make a miracle happen. 

The rest of the top 3 are in. 

Rahal in the pits with the computer plugged in to help fix or diagnose a throttle issue. 26 second stop. *another* Honda. When will they figure out what is going on?

Somehow SATO keeps the effective lead. 

20

Yesssssss some good ‘ol Rahal complaining on the radio. It feels like it’s been so long!

Rossi in. Seems like the whole field it going to push the race this race. I don’t think the tires can make it 30 laps. Well done Firestone.

More radio without an on screen label with who we are hearing. That’s an easy add that could really help. 

23

Dragonspeed update: Hanley is last. And he’s been running into people. Not the greatest showing, but they still need to get their feet under them. As long as he doesn’t outright crash these guys out I’m into a little bit of incidental contact from a young team. 

27

Big lone spin from Power. Yikes. He’s having a really tough weekend. I guess the whole Penske organization is having a tough weekend. 

Power in for new tires. 

28

Bourdais in. The only 2 stopper. I don’t think he’s going to be able to make this happen. Looks like Spigot is attempting the 2 stop as well. 

29

O’Ward around the outside of Rosenqvist. That dude is do good. So so good. The whole rookie field is literally world class. 

31

Bell giving an excellent explanation about the 2 stop verse 3 stop. Great information from the booth. Of course PT comes directly behind him and quotes a very different pitlane delta. Shut up PT. I should track how long it takes me to utter those words each race. It’s really only a matter of time. 

33

Herta going behind the wall. Too bad. 

34

Newgarden in for the 2nd time. This seams really really early. Yikes. 

35

O’Ward and Pagenaud racing. This is great racing. This whole day has been great racing. Hell, the whole year has been great racing. 

36

Half the field comes in. Maybe it’s not that early for Newgarden. 

More great racing. No need to commentate. 

38

Much better stop for SATO.

40

Rossi’s car looks like it has a tinge of metallic in the blue and has painted suspension pieces. That is a sharp looking car. 

41

I hate that Ericsson has the same paint job as Hinch. I appreciate the design language encompassing both cars, but you cannot tell them apart. Paint the mirrors and end plates different or something. Throw us a bone. 

43

The onboard shots are great. You can tell that the cars are fast and loose. It looks fun, if I could drive one of these beasts. Which I cannot. One can dream. 

44

My favorite drunk uncle Dale Coyne!! I love that guy! We’re heading south in a few weeks and I am totally going to eat at a Sonny’s Barbecue. I can’t wait to taste the ribs the powered DCR to quite a few victories. 

46

Herta out. For real now. That one hurts. After the miracle at COTA, I think we were all hoping Herta could trouble the top of the championship standings this year. There’s still time to come back from this though. 

50

Rahal having trouble getting around Pagenaud. This really is the story of Rahal. He has always said he needs to qualify better because he’s a fast race driver. So he qualifies well this week and clearly has a fast car, but once he gets mired in the pack he just can’t move through. He’s a fast driver, but not an expert racer by any means. He’s currently sitting in P11 and I bet he won’t move too much further through the field. 

53

Not too eventful up front. But Rossi is coming…

54

Bourdais is getting close to his window. He came in a tad early last time so it would be nice for him to make it to an honest lap 60, but I bet he won’t be able to make it. He’ll be in on 58. 

Bell agrees with me. I am available for booth work, indycar just needs to contact my people. 

YELLOW

We come back from break to a yellow flag. Hilton in the tires and Rahal stopped on the back straight. What the heck is happening. 

Race control left the track green and left the pits open? I’m not sure I’m ok with that. There were disabled cars on a green track? It also looks like Chilton was crashed in the pit entrance area. WTF man. Nothing to say another car couldn’t have slid of the track and under the disabled car of Chilton. Could have been very nasty. I’m not into anything other than consistency and safety and this call goes against both of those things. 

One of the things that makes me cringe when I watch old races is that they used to leave disabled cars in the racing corridor. That always felt like a tragedy waiting to happen. I always think about the disabled car on the run into the corkscrew from The Pass at Laguna back in the 90’s. It just seems careless. 

NBCSN is always bad about displaying the lap count when we come back from commercial so I’m not totally sure where we are at right now. 

Worth noting I don’t blame either driver for what happened. Hilton was coming in and got pushed a bit by Kanaan. Maybe TK should have seen him, but that was just one of those things. Well, I also forgot how much Chilton sucks so maybe it really is his fault. I’m ok with that. 

Letterman drops a beautiful facility!! Well done. I’m glad he got my performance notes. The check’s in the mail Mr. Letterman. 

GREEN

66

Leist, who is a lap down, in racing the leaders. Not sure what I think about that right now. I’m cool with him racing the leader, but not the rest of the field. Move over. 

I saw a blue flag. That is the right call considering he didn’t relinquish position to Dixon. 

68

Dixon hasn’t made much progress into SATO’s lead. 

70

These guys haven’t stopped since lap 57. Even with the caution, I’m not sure they have enough to race each other to the end. I bet they’re already driving to a fuel number. A poorly timed caution may have taken the teeth out of this race. 

71

Dixon has lost about a half a second to SATO. 

74

I hope SATO can win this race. The irony of Dixon in second again is not lost on me. 

Looks like Herta is back out there. Hopefully they have the issue figured out for Long Beach. 

76

Always the optimist, Ganassi plays the company man saying he thinks Dixon can make it happen. I don’t think the gap has changed much. 

77

Rahal was so close to complaining, but he persevered and gave a good interview. 

81

I don’t think anyone has enough has to really race. As I say that We hear that Bourdais is on the button. DCR told Bourdais there are no issues with fuel. Game on!

83

Bourdais is out of tires. This race is toasted barring a crazy yellow.

The field is really strung out. That yellow really ruined this race. Stupid Max Chilton. 

86

Replay of SATO doing his SATO thing as he flies through the air through the grass over the chicane. SATO what the hell are you doing? The only person that can take this away from him is himself, he’s done it so many times. 

No fuel concerns for SATO. Probably the best. I wonder if he was trying to drive to a number and that’s why he threw it off the track. Lucky. 

WHITE

89

Bourdais is close, but we already know he doesn’t have the tire. 

We see SATO Light the fronts up. Dude needs to chill out and bring this thing home. 

CHECKERS

SATO!!

Well done! I wonder (I’m over hoping for any kind of consistency for SATO) if he can string together a handful of results this year? 

Rahal in Victory lane. He looks like a giant compared to SATO. 

Taku is hugging his whole team. What a thankful and humble guy. I love him so much. What a great result for a true veteran. He thanks Rahal for the setup. 

I think we are 3 for 3 for super fun races this year! Long Beach next week. We’ll see if we can continue the run of really fun afternoons. See you next week. 

As always, Thanks for reading. 

Eric Hall

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2 Responses to Unfiltered Race Notes… Sometimes the Race Doesn’t Need the Caution Edition

  1. Mom says:

    Letterman comment … hysterical!

  2. WingSideUp says:

    As always…spot on.
    Don’t you just love how David Letterman, is David Letterman?
    My patience paid off as I waited for you to remember that it was, afterall, Max Chitlins( or is it Hilton-because that works too 😆), that stuffed it in the fence.
    Kept saying to myself, especially on the restart, “Sato is gonna play kamakazi and blow this” and he almost did…several times.
    Agree completely on the Schmidt cars, and while I am super stoked for Harding to get a sponsor, it must have been very “last minute” because that scheme was, let’s say, disjointed.
    Finally, I know everyone is full of praise for NBC, and even though I never have the volumn up, compared to the IndyCar radio team, it’s amateur hour in my opinion. They seem to miss a lot and are hit with some sort of technical glitch each week. I’ll take the radio team any day over NBC or ABC.
    Another fun post. Thanks for keeping us entertained!

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