Unfiltered Race notes: Houston Race 2 2014

Welcome to the always off-the-cuff unfiltered race notes for race two of the Grand Prix of Houston. This is just my internal monologue that runs throughout the race. Sit back and enjoy!


Hot Hot Hot today.

IMSP package of race one thank you very much

Yes, in hindsight… race one was as nutty as you could have asked for

Huertas, dude, turn it on just a smidge my man

Munoz? Smile and nod…

Power is surprisingly focused. He’ll definitely be worth watching today. Sounds defeated about qualies. “Just didn’t get it done”

11 of 23 cars sustained damage

And another wonky grid. But this is becoming the norm here; it’s just so damn competitive

Rahal package. He did have a good day, but man… come on

Eff professionalism… Unleash the beast TK. But he says he wants to be a good example for his daughter and other kids watching. That’s admirable

Midgets in the astrodome… excellent

Miller with Foyt. Feels like NBCSN has stepped the prerace game up after the ABC portion of the schedule. I usually find myself skipping most of it


Marco penalty… well get to that later in the week…

I’m sure Dallara brings extra extra parts for double headers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was three times the usual amount for Houston


Grandstands look good

THE RUSSIAN on the front row with HC; this should be good

Clean start and Pags up to P2

For as hard as these guys are fighting, this is pretty clean

Conway pits for a wing. Almost not surprising


Huertas off with mechanical issues?

Newgarden in early on strategy

Sato loses 4 positions in 2  corners. Penalized for shortcutting the chicane but only had to give one back. Woops


RHR driving like a madman


Settled in for a lock step afternoon? 147 mile race… we could be in for a fuel strategy afternoon if people behave all day

Rahal has been on it this weekend. Is Filippi helping with the setups?

Matchett overestimating the gap between the reds and blacks


Just realized Helio is leading the sponsors home race. That’s pretty cool. The car looks sweet in the Penzzoil branded corners

Stretched at the front for sure. Helio may be the man to beat.

First of the 3 stoppers coming in? Jan says they need caution, I would like to think they’re doing it so they can run hard

They keep talking up the Wilson/ Bourdais thing, I don’t really see the rivalry there yet. They have raced each other for years


Power about to latch onto the chasing group. Great day for the guy… so far


Tires are going off. Guys up front are definitely not driving as hard

Wide wide spread of strategies. I think the guys 2 stopping out front will come up aces


Brake problems for Dixon. Kind of early in the race?


Wow… Rahal clearly driving in his mirrors. I don’t know how he couldn’t get a blocking penalty

Aleshin still fighting hard with the wing damage, yet Rahal is dropping back. Debris all over the back straight


Leaders in. This is the right call for today

Gear box issues for Graham. Instant Karma

Leaders return to the race in the lead


Clearly no action from the booth for Rahal, but I would still like to know what they think of the contact


Contact between HCN and Pags. Helio was luck, you can see the where the wing hit the tread of the tire after the hit

Lead pack with Power joining the party

After starting 18th, if Power can keep at least a podium and win the championship, this will be the drive that started the push. This is the kind of day that wins you championships


Guys pushing hard up front

Master cylinder issue for Dixon


All’s quiet. Lead 3 have some space between them and the rest of the field is slightly strung out



Munoz smacks the wall. The three stoppers should all be coming in

Cindric calls this yellow “neutral”. Agreed; couldn’t have been at a non helpful/hurtful time for the two stoppers

The drivers are looking tired. Hands out of the cockpit and you can see it in their eyes



Bourdais around Power… *That’s* what I’m talking about

Pags around HC

HC wrecks himself out defending against Bourdais


What a doofus

Shaping up to be a JPM/Power/Pagenaud

Pit box plugged into Hinch’s car. Very curious

Bourdais will stay out. Damn right



JPM around Power

Shouldn’t be too long before Bourdais falls to him as well

Pags is driving into the distance


Andretti makes the move of the race

Bourdais must give position to JPM. Good call

After losing positions hand over fist, it looks like Power has finally stabilized

–Montoya didn’t push Huertas because he thought he would pit


JMP first to blink. Should be good to go

Now that we know we can make it, I’m surprised we haven’t seen Bourdais in yet. Although it is always smart to stretch and hope to be able to make a nose change under caution. He’s not doing too bad of a job hanging on

And as I say that, Newgarden into the wall

No wing for Bourdais. No yellow for Newgarden yet


Now the FCY flies once mist of the runners have made stops

Lots of sparks out of the RF for Newgarden. Sounds like no nut on the tire




It’s crazy out there. Andretti pushes Wilson into the tires. I guess we will see how heavy INDYCAR’s hand actually is

HCN blaming Bourdais for the contact. I’m not sure I buy that one Mr. Castroneves



JPM immediately around Andretti. Again, nuts on these restarts.

Montoya pushing Hawks around. Very yes

JPM’s insistence got the best of him. Opened the inside and Kimball was there.

Sato into the wall



PT: “Frantic Racing”… understatement my friend

Aleshin good on fuel. Pags has a wingman

I think I can see the steam coming from under JPM’s helmet



SPM guys up front look like cool cats all while the sharks are writhing farther back


Hawks is doing a KILLER job holding Montoya off

Bourdais stabilized to P8. Strong recovery all things considered


Pags and Aleshin are approximately a mile ahead

Field has fallen into rhythm, gaps have normalized

Bourdais around JPM. Those reds just can’t go the distance


Power with a broken right rear

Pagenaud has this in the bag

Filippe into the tires on the white flag lap. Fitting end to a really nutty weekend,


Not sure what to say about that. A tale of two races. Stretched out front yet absolutely out of control farther back. If just one or two cars really hit the setup, everyone else can only play amongst themselves. Pagenaud becomes a four time winner. Awesome result for THE RUSSIAN, who raced the last few laps with a flat tire, and SPM all together.

Aleshin: no English words for how I feel

Hawks did a hell of a job bullying those veterans around all afternoon. Atta boy

Two days of interviews? I’m out. Not a bad race and a great weekend of action on the whole. Ill see you later in the week with a bit of a rant. Prepare yourselves.

Thanks for hanging around all weekend and reading!

Eric Hal

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Unfiltered Race Notes: Houston Race 1 2014

Welcome to the always off-the-cuff unfiltered race notes for race one of the Grand Prix of Houston. This is the definition of stream of consciousness writing, so strap in and enjoy.

Race 1


We’ve got a 4 hour TV window

Rain Rain Rain

Jon notes the new rain tires. Full wet? I wonder if the old intermediates are still available

Again, the IMS productions retrospectives are always on point

Yawn… Will Power

I do feel for him regarding his back. That was a close call

HC amped up over the futball competition. Notes a standing start in the wet? Maybe?

Dario’s crash was booming-ly loud. Still amazed he’s more or less good to go

Safety improvements. Fences up to FIA standard… what were they last year? 200 feet of concrete removed and replaced. Gotta love the commitment from the promoter.

Aleshin on guitar. I didn’t think I could like the CRAZY RUSSIAN any more than I already did. Say “Honky Tonk” again please

Tough night for Honda at TMS

We need more Luca in our lives.

Back from commercial and it’s raining sideways

Looks like they installed the green we-don’t-want-people-standing-and-watching-at-this-fence netting at the site of Dario’s crash. Probably a good idea

Diffey, Tracy and Matchett in the booth. This could be the strongest announcing team we’ve seen all year.

Clearly a delayed start. Enough prerace… I’ll see you once the green falls

I stopped for Sato and Miller… can’t get any better than that!! ATTACK!!!


Excellent command

Standing start in the rain… (holds breath)…

Sato squeezed on the start

Graham stalls on the line… in the rain… What. The. Hell. Dude.

It’s nutso out there

2 hour timed race. May have missed that in the prerace, but why? 4 hour window…

Pags slightly gapping. Oh, he missed the chicane… and again. Must give back 1.2 seconds

Early reports of fogging visors. Not ideal for today


Hinch around the outside of HC in T5. Attachments


Sato and Hinch hunting Pags

Amazing pass for the lead from Sato. I think the new tires are working excellent

Also, big ups to the safety team for getting Graham out of the way without a yellow

Pags holding the train up

Munoz into Andretti… oops

No finger from Marco and I’m disappointed

Hinch around Pags and Sato ahead by more than 4 seconds


Andretti has completed the least amount of laps of the full season drivers. Less than 70 percent

Marco out ahead of Sato. Could be in place to hold him up for Hinch

Drying tire lines are appearing

Imbalance in the front brakes for Pags. Pulling to the right under braking. For such an odd gremlin, he’s doing a great job staying in the hunt


PT notes the changing of a single front rotor could be the issue for Pags. Nice catch


I spy dry concrete

Sato still ahead by 4 seconds even behind Marco, but he’s still got going to do this; he never does

Spray has died down


Track is still incredibly wet in places yet very dry in others

Hinch has finally crept into the camera shot

Surprised at the lack of coverage through the field. NBCSN is usually on it and it’s not like the front has been super intriguing the past few laps

Blue flag for Marco from the stand, but I hope he doesn’t pull over. I love Sato, but that’s not how you play it race control

Power gets elbowed by Saavedra

Marco backed Sato up to Hinch a damn long way before moving over for both drivers. Black flag for waiting too long to pull over

Kimball on slicks (!)

Matchett: That’s a brave move. Understated to say the least


Hinch on Sato’s bumper

Pags around

Super clean race given the conditions. This is how indycar should be

Hinch looking for water

Most of the field is coming in

Aleshin into the wall

Hinch around Sato in the pits. Both on reds, this is gonna be great


Conway into the tires

Pits closed, I wonder if anyone is stranded on wets. FCY

Yes, quite a few



Sato into Aleshin. Damn you Aleshin, I don’t like you that dang much to take Sato out. Shouldn’t have been there Aleshin, don’t throw your hands up in innocence. Sato with a hurt wrist


AJ Foyt: “… Got a bunch of god dammed idiots is all I can say” Thank you Mr. Foyt

Larry Foyt looks like he’s about in tears. Gutted for the whole crew

Newgarden into the wall hard with the rear on the last restart

Green was waved off, but Luca make a carbon copy mistake of what Newgarden did. Into the outside wall

Restart waved off due to Hinch taking too much in the restart zone

Re: Aleshin… Yes, Sato wrecked you out and if you guys were fighting for position I would be with you 100 percent, but you can’t do that a lap down. Although, it’s another good example of Sato taking as much as he can in regards to the blocking rules

Bourdais P3

Montoya P8



Hawks aggressively around Briscoe

In just a few corners, it looks like Hawks got both Andretti and Munoz

Bourdais is on it… Let’s go

Briscoe through Montoya in T1. Ridiculous

Ok, it looks like Munoz is letting people through. And Hawks is rocketing through the field.

Power into the wall

Shenanigans abound right now



Dixon and Kimball. I bet Chippy is thrilled

Ugh, Dixon loses it and collects Kimball and Pagenaud. Rookie move


Looks like Joseph has been sitting with his car since going out. High attrition today after a good start in the wet. I swear Leigh Diffey says everything I say 5 seconds later


Field still on slicks

Bourdais is going to do this.


Solid dry running. Feels like the field is settling in for a fight to the finish. We shouldn’t be conserving fuel at all. Just finding the weaknesses

RHR stalking HCN

Jeeze… Power facing the wrong way in the barrier with a stalled car. Just an inch off line. Good start to the weekend Mr. Power


I think Matchett underestimates how robust these cars are

Nearly the whole field in for fuel. Sprint to the end. RHR around HCN in the pits. 9 cars stayed out



PT thinks Montoya may be the man to take it. I accept his deduction

Gaps are closing. The fight is about to start


Montoya around Kanaan. Hot Damn that’s the way to do it

Leigh: JPM is finally coming to grip with the DW12 and has a great attitude. If it’s not today, it’s going to be very soon


Hard to describe how obviously hard everyone is driving

Sounds like both DCR guys will need to stop. JPM sitting P3, but Saavedra is quickly closing

JPM has been on the button every lap for the last 5 laps


Dude… Wilson is a mile ahead… before diving into the pits…

Kanaan is not going to let JPM drive away. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a straight up fight between Penske and Ganassi

Rahal P5. Wow

JPM out of p2p

Rahal around Munoz in amazing fashion. Where have you been Graham?!?

JPM with a slight gap



Saavedra into the barrier

Could Huertas pull this one out?

Still yellow. The stress is killing me

I bet Wilson is shooting himself


Rahal into Kanaan before the yellow.

Checkers… wow… Huertas with the win

I have nothing to say… flabbergasted… Dude

That was the best twisty race of the year. Absolutely  amazing afternoon. Congrats to Huertas, but let’s see you back it up tomorrow ( “backing it up” will be granted with a top 5 finish). Carlos Huertas is a very well spoken guy and I’m glad to see a first time winner. Got to wonder if a South American winner with JPM, TK and Munoz running strong will help the gate tomorrow.

Same Bat time, Same Bat channel.

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Unfiltered Race Notes: Texas 361 2014

Welcome to the Texas Firestone 361 (you can’t fool me Eddie…) unfiltered race notes!


Did you know the official mileage for Texas Motor Speedway is 1.455 miles? The more you know…

Interviews… interviews… interviews…

JPM: every week is a little more aggressive. I’m still waiting for you to make nice with the field, Mr. Montoya

TK riding a water slide. cool?

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of prerace… just show me the fast cars please

I *do* enjoy the previous race cuts put to music. Always well done, but could you really expect anything less from IMSP?

It’s gotten to the point where simply seeing and hearing Power on screen irks the hell out of me. Embrace the heel Mr. Power…

Extolling the virtues of Graham’s season. ha



In fairness, they are showing many more race cuts during the interviews today. That is how you engage *me* in the prerace show

Truck rubber. Haven’t heard much about dissimilar rubber types yet this year

Highlights package of Texas carnage and frustration. The old IRL engines REALLY belched the flames at night… those were good races…

One of Dixon’s favorite songs is “Ice Ice Baby” … Wut?

Ed looks ready for redemption

Miller: “Thank god she’s blond or yo would have never asked her out. I know your track record.” Bazinga

The video board looks as big at the hotel

30 minutes in, I’m ready to race

Very good technical breakdown of the intricacies here at Texas. Bumpy apron, Bump in T4, Camber fall off in T2

I can hear the track announcer in the background, he sounds fired up and is doing a great job with the crowd. Michael Young?

National anthem by a sax player. very *very* cool, but not very well done

No comment about the grandstands

Im out for this prerace, I’ll be back for the green


Sun is VERY low already

Chick in the 2-seater is a hoot

Good formation


3.5 wide. Marco high. clean start



Marco done blow’d up… and is on fire… HUUUUGE fire… Marco struts away like a boss

First of the fantasy picks bites the dust

replay of MA on the start; he looks like scheckter

Good interview from Marco



TK taking no prisoners, pinching Power way down to the line

The race is packed up. 2x2x2x2. I like it. Just enough space

JPM pitted under yellow

good battles all over the track

single file. let’s see how close together they can stay through the remainder of the run


Ed looks loose

too much fall off from the tires. I’d still like to see more downforce. Hinch is under 200 already through 1 and 2. unacceptable from indycars at Texas


Newgarden’s car looks slick, can’t wait to see it under the lights.

Power disappearing into the distance


JPM up to tenth and marching through the field


Hinch having a hell of an evening already; missed pit entrance on his first time through


Haven’t seen the gaps yet. I have no idea how far in front of the field Power is

Lapped up to 17


laps clicking away

strung out

still no gap report.

Green flag pit stops.

Fire in the fuel port for Josef Newgarden

10 seconds between P1 and 2

Big lock up for Power heading into the pits


“comers and goers”

Gap may be 6 seconds after the stop. Not too bad

Dixon lost a lot of ground on that round of stops. Gap is much closer up front, let’s see if TK can catch him

Now the ticker is pretty constantly showing the gaps. Thank you

Fastest lap of the race… 213… lame…


Montoya into a legit top ten position.

TK and Pags split Kimball into T1! wowza

Lapped up to P15

THE RUSSIAN and JPM fighting it out

Montoya is slashing through the field


Kanaan has pulled into under 10 seconds. Stalking

200 even for the leader… still unacceptable… never under 200 and ESPECIALLY lap speeds

Hinch back in. terrible night



RHR lost nut on RF

early green flag stops

worries of running out of rubber

lapped through 11


Power still looks strong; making his way through traffic very well

Slowish stop for Pags


No sign of power in the pits

A little red fire out of HCN’s pipes in the pits


Power looks like he may be the only guy to be able to run a full fuel stint

Lot’s of love for THE RUSSIAN on the broadcast, nice of them to finally catch up

Wilson’s RF tire changer is wearing a hi-viz vest. Hell yes, thats about the smartest addition to pit lane I have seen in a while. I’m sure it’s only for the night race, but still an easy and smart addition to increase safety

THE RUSSIAN ripping through the field as well. Spirited battle with RHR


Gave the Huertas has completed every lap stat. I’m pretty sure he’s already a lap down when they showed the stat. actually he is 2 laps down. Well done NBCSN

Sky is starting to look very beautiful




Seabass and Wilson into the wall

Montoya SMOKED seabasses detached front wing

bad vibration for Hinch.

If you toe out the RR, you can scrub the marbles off of the car

TK having electric issues. steering wheel change. TK had trouble getting it reattached

Wilson says Seabass blocked him all the way to the apron

Spin into the pits for Munoz, better under yellow than under green into the wall.



I see JPM in row 2

racing looks good on new tires after a yellow…

RHR engine failure. awful luck

Kind of over hearing about tire degradation tonight

single file. that didn’t take long


no one has anything for Power. The chasers need to stay close enough to capitalize on lapped traffic

Dixon running in the 2nd lane through the corner in P3. could be a smart move. may be saving tire to make a run at the end of the stint


Through the field

Ed is the only one who is in the same zip code as Power. -0.7 seconds

probably not for dixon… he’s hemorrhaging time, as is JPM. -7 seconds. Having trouble seeing his pitbox

Awesome. You can see the red hot turbo on the rear wing view as well as the blue/purple exhaust tips.

You can really see the blue flames when the drivers shift. nice and dark now


Green flag stops

Ed still -0.6 from Power. He may have something for him

Trouble on FR for Hinch

Chevy looks like they produce more flame


Sato making life difficult for Ed

Montoya is playing aggressive

PT: heeelio


Freight trained

Power was held up by Power

one more stop

Will sounds surprisingly calm

leader running 211… better

Carpenter has a healthy lead

lapped though 11


Power within a second

Chevy top 5

Honda had a tough qualy session as well

If it stays green, Ed could do this


THE RUSSIAN gets the “extra mile” spotlight

Lapped though 7

last stops coming

I would stay out as long as possible and have as fresh of tires as possible for the run to the finish

I hate how they switch to “laps to go” in the tail end of the race. 1) it makes me do math in my head for this 2) it makes the race no more exciting 3) just why?


I still cant tell the Aleshin and Briscoe car apart in the long shots

Newgarden’s car is SPARKLY

Ed off pit lane first

sprint to the finish. 35 laps on these tires


Power back in. Penalty for pitlane speed violation. DUDE; come on. Melancholy Power engaged for the post race interviews. i can feel it

Ed 10 seconds ahead


Power comes out right ahead of Ed, he can use Power to pace himself for the rest of the race


replay of pit violation. same exact mistake at Indy. Too quick entering… shame on you Power

JPM to P2


Ed +12.5 to JPM. let’s see if JPM can make a dent before the end

Booth talking through worst case scenarios for Ed


Ed +14. Damn

Lapped through 7

Quiet Bell… he can wear on me; talks a bit too much for my taste. I hate how dang agreeable him and PT are



Ed’s car looks like a handful

under 200 in the corners again

Ed come into traffic. Led Power pick through +17

Sato kablamo


No way this thing goes back to green. Everyone is laid out on pitroad


Montoya saying hello to Huertas

Everyone but Ed and Pags in. they could be screwed… 2 lap shoot out?


1 to go. 3 lap shootout

Pags in. Ed is in trouble

Scratch that, JPM, TK and Dixon on stayed out



Power with a hell of a run through the field.


Nice. Tough first 200 laps, but the race really came to us. Power looks exasperated… 4 drive throughs in 5 races. Lots of respect for Ed. This is the best Power has presented himself post race for a long, long time.

It almost seems like sitting out the road courses have focused Ed. He looks geeked. 2 wins for ECR this year. Got to love JPM pushing Power to the white line on the last turn. JPM complaining about Ed jumping the restart, but he was a pretty long way back looking for a jump of his own. Can’t feel too bad for him.

Dixon and Pags interview. Very yes. surprised TK didn’t go for tires

Aleshin says he loves the ovals, but is dizzy when he gets out of the car I LOVE THE CRAZY RUSSIAN!!

Not a super exiting first 2/3rd of the race but not too bad of a finish. Won’t go down as a historic oval race, but still not too bad at all.

Thanks for reading, and unlike my empty promises from a week ago, there actually should be a full review of the weekends action. And as always, Thank You for reading!

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Unfiltered Race Notes: Dual in Detroit Race 2 2014

Welcome back for day two of the Detroit indycar racing Extravaganza! Let’s do this thing.


Power is so melodramatic

RHR… dude… get it together today

HC losing pole, what a funny guy. so animated


AJ looks at Taku like he loves him like his child. The connection those two have is awesome

Sam Schmidt review. That footage could be reused forever. Cool spot by sports science

I didn’t know they were just using motion capture technology. ok… less impressive

Similar GPS tech that was in use in F1 cars 20 years ago. Honestly, I thought there would be more innovative technology involved in the car

Why couldn’t we get the command lady from yesterday?


Again I say, Belle Isle looks great this weekend

Aborted start, didn’t look too bad. We’ve definitely gone green with worse alignment

Ok, noticeably better

Green green green

Yellow Yellow Yellow

Power steamrolls into Newgarden. You just cant put two tires over the curb; Power just slid on his underwing into JN


Power: He chopped across me. DUDE! You guys just can’t surf the curb, and I’m still looking at you from yesterday Hinch

Gear cluster on the wall for Rahal, team popping the read pods off



Much better, let’s go racing

I don’t like Power, but I like his aggressiveness, just quit wrecking guys out

Power under review


Power around JPM. The He’s on a mission for sure


Taku pulling away, HCN may be slowing Hinch

Conway on blacks in P6

Hinch is hounding HCN, and around


Conway around Munoz with apocalypse-bringing precision


Saavedera into the wall… on the straight… shock

clipped the tire barrier and smooshed the left front

Pits… watch the reds come off

Long stop for Sato

Hinch, Conway stay out. Hinch on reds


Green and clean

Huertas: “I have never driven anything as bumpy” re: detroit

Helio marching through the field

Conway has caught Hinch


Expect to see MC take over on the strength of the blacks

1 or 2 laps and Hinch’s tires should be shot

Hinch doing a masterful job protecting his position

Power around the outside of Kimball and Dixon. Wow


Beautiful fight and pass. Conway to P1

Goodness, Pag’s orange car looks even better today. It’s almost some shade of dark neon orange. I approve all neon colored liveries

Conway is driving like a madman. Please don’t stuff it.


Pit stops

Entry to pitlane is a violent turn off

In awe of Conway’s pace

Brand new left front for Conway, scuff all around. Right hand circuit, could be slightly advantageous

Power come out in front of Pags (!)


Today is flowing much better than yesterday. I kind of think I may slightly know whats going on

Hearing radio chatter. It’s worthless without context or any idea what team is talking


Hinch, Pags, Power 3 way fight

Stands look much better than yesterday

Munoz elbows Aleshin out of the way

More pitting. This should cycle the field?


Hawks was able to experiment with saving fuel yesterday. good practice for a rookie driver

HCN in the lead

Sato around. keeps it running. Briscoe stuck his nose in where is shouldn’t have been

Briscoe just has not impressed this year

No blame on Sato from me


Hawks pit lane speed violation. penalty served

Pags looking inside Power… Breath

Conway locking them up everywhere

Cars are much more planted today. track looks very rubbered in

No penalty on Briscoe. Im cool with that I think

Power around RHR, he’s coming for Conway who is in trouble.

RHR losing positions hand over fist. uh oh

Possibly going so slow to not completely empty the tank before pitting

Conway about to be swallowed by the field


Right front of Conway is toast. he’s in and back on blacks


race rundown

which consists of multiple ballsy Power passes

Power cannot find any breathing room over Pags; shaving the gap?

Agree with the booth (!) seems like everyone is in fuel savings


4 yellow laps gain you 1 race lap

left front tire changer dropped the nut – Montoya


Big save for Briscoe. Coming in this lap

Pace is starting to pick up before these final stops

Great save for Briscoe from the onboard

Wow, Lots of brake dust from RF of Marco… Thinking back to Hawks

HCN is crushing the field. I feel like I’ve already said that today

38 seconds ahead of Conway, HCN in


Dixon nearly jumps Power in the pits. I expect everyone to be flat out until the finish.

1 more Yellow?

Rahal bent the left rear. “IDK, Same as before” Well done Rahal. Remember, one time is just a fluke…

Yup, Rahal tagged the LR pretty hard. Pit guy was waving for damage I’m sure he’s done


HCN +10 to Power

Movement in the right side of Conway’s front wing

Hinch saving. Position 6. Non factor


Pagenaud lost ground to Power

Rahal interview. Throwing Power under the bus. Very yes. Lot’s of talking without mentioning sticking it into the wall. Trying to say earlier contact had something to do with it. Quiet Rahal

Power has nothing for HCN. I claim this race toast. Barring a caution of course


Sounds like only the Penske boys are running flat out

Well deserved props to Aleshin. Contributing setup info to Pags, something Vautier was not able to do last year I believe


Bourdais plugs it in

Should be able to let the field race. The guys only needed a sip

Bourdais just pushed wide. Rookie move

In general, my patience is running thin with Bourdais. I’ve supported him since ChampCar, but he just seems to have lost the plot in indycar. In fairness, he may just be pushing too hard… trying to make things happen. KV and Dragon aren’t exactly painted in glory

Dude, the chalet’s look comfy

Penske, Penske, Ganassi, Ganassi… it’s been a while since we have said that

Engine cover off for RHR, I didn’t think he was slowing earlier due to fuel. messing around with cabling in the cockpit. Replacing the control bus from ECU to steering wheel?

Mike Hull to Dixon: watch out for gamesmanship

Does Helio not like Power? Do any drivers like Power?


Great camera work and even better angles this weekend


green. yet another good restart

Dixon on the inside of Power. Looks like a slight block and lift from Dixon


FCY Sato into the tires. I retract my earlier elation regarding Mr. Taku. AJ drives away from the pitbox with the Pole trophy… Clearly preparing to bludgeon someone in the garages.

From the look of the replay, it may be young Andretti on the business end of the P1 award

Sent into a skid by Andretti. Great save from Taku, just not enough room. I retract my earlier retraction


Feel bad for RHR. Lost pressure in the shift actuator. From the towering heights of 40 points ahead to leaving Detroit 3rd in the championship. Ouch



Another awesome restart from HCN

clean all the way through the field

HCN pulling away. Again, this race is toast


nice spirited fight between Aleshin and Pags

Penalty for Andretti

HUGE lurch from Power. you can hear the cars popping and belching. Fuel knob is surely in position 1

How in the WORLD did Hinch keep it out of the tires?


HCN. That makes me happy

Say what you will about HCN, no one loves to win more than him

Thanks his steed before heading to the fence. This is so cool. Camera man almost broke his neck

and then he lands on his butt. poor camera man

Helio says whats up to security guy Charles. Excellent

When asked about Indy 500 loss he looks like he may cry

Power: I have to see the replay

Great result for CK

Ok, not too bad of a race. As far as indycar in Detroit goes, it was a more or less uneventful day. A few crashes, good racing and a handful of penalties. No one really made themselves look like fools. Mr. Power might as well embrace the black hat, he could wear it well. Check back next week for the official weekend wrap up and a few lingering items from Indy.

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Unfiltered Race Notes: Dual in Detroit Race 1 2014

Welcome to Detroit race one notes! no snazzy intro, lets do this!

ABC Intros are always awesome

RHR… Helio… Fast forward…

4th P2 start of the year for Hinch

Belle Isle looks pretty damn good in the overhead shots. Lots of lush greenery

The command was excellent. Thats the kind of energy I like

20K seats here? Front grandstands look about 1/2 full


Not awful alignment. Very clean start

Moves being made farther back. Hawks into P2

Chalets have moved from the fountain turn

Bestwick is good, I just don’t like looking at him… he looks like an announcers booth action figure

I’m so mixed on Graham Rahal. I like seeing him struggle because it’s graham, but I want him to succeed because of the national guard


RHR buried in the pack. Should be a good study about how easy it is to pass here/ how good RHR is coming through the field


Booth notes Conways black tires. Agreed. Conway may already have the field covered.

Pags into the wall thanks to Power. Pags was wearing Powers bumper out. NO WAY he didn’t know Pags was there

Problems in the pits for RHR


Simon is a class act. Power basically stuffed him into the wall, Pags admits he may have been in a bad spot. Maybe, but that was still a questionable move

If Rahal passes Montoya…

Said Conways has the field covered. Helio may be able to cover the strategy with on track speed

Rahal complaining about Montoya “being wide” Montoya looks closer to Newgarden than Rahal is to JPM. shut up Graham

Ok, Montoya is racing Rahal HARD. JPM is definitely being difficult

Sato in the pits with gear box issues


Clean pass from Rahal. Well done

Dixon coming…

Dixon makes it look easy. JPM is loooooose


Rahal doing a hell of a job. Bullied his way past Bourdais

Conway out. Fantasy team is in the toilet today

He looks pretty upset. HE DAMN WELL SHOULD BE. The Destroyer Of Worlds… pfft. Rookie move

No idea what lap it is. the hat hasn’t been very present during this race

Jib shot sweeping across pitlane is pretty cool

Problems with Hawks in the pit. broken rotor maybe? yes. wow, thats nutty


Kids look like their having a blast at the track

Poor Herta, the guy just doesn’t know what to say about the rotor. I don’t blame you man

Rahal P1 due to pit strategy. Either RLLR throwing the race away again or the brilliant decision of the afternoon. time will tell.



The field is clearly jumbled on strategy. I would appreciate a reset from the booth


And we get one. Thank you

Herta is convinced Hawks will be a champion. It’s that kind of dedication we need with the young guys in the series

“Counting on the a yellow is a very bad way to do strategy” well spoken actually


Rahal is running a great race. I hope he doesn’t get screwed on strategy

Hinch is holding a handful of drivers up


Huge handful of front wing for Andretti. Interesting to see how it will play out

Power is driving like a mad man. Shave the gap Mr. Power


Waiting for strategies realign. The drivers may be saving fuel, but everyone is driving their asses off

My favorite Russian gangster in P1. I want an in depth interview with Mikhail to see how his indycar experience is going.

Slow stop for RHR. Still running with the tail of the field

Rahal pushing around RHR but immediately gets padded back. RHR has a quick car, too bad he’s in the back

HC out front. Race reset.



I love not having any tire stacks in the corners. The track looks so very good this year, I can’t wait to see how it looks with 4 million bucks worth of surface work

Penalty for Aleshin. Popped up on the hat, I really like that feature. Wonder if I’ve missed others?


Newgarden into the wall. Brake lock up

Aleshin penalty was for blocking Sato… who was 4 laps down O_o

Left wing adjustment for Marco. I looked multiple times and did not see a right wing adjustment

Likening winning in Detroit to living in Detroit. The hard way, the tough way. Ok?

Goodyear: Mr Penske is America’s Enzo Ferrari. High praise, but just no

Extended yellow due to water out of the tire barriers. Sucks

This extension could reset everyone onto a race until the end strategy

Tank top offs underway

Wish I knew what lap it is


Clean restart. 35 to go

fearsome racing. wiping drool from chin

Montoya and Rahal have found each other again with RHR lingering in the back. Best street racing we’ve seen all year?


“We’re pushing hard to the end. Go as fast as you can” excellent

Hinch around the outside of Dixon. Thats how you do it

Saavedera is hassling these guy, but doing it very cleanly. Could be looking at a great finish

JPM in for the last time


I still have no idea what is going on. I need some making a lap chart while I do this

Sato has been everywhere today. 4 laps down but giving everyone a hard time


traffic jam with Marco at the point.

Could RHR be the one?


Hinch turns Aleshin. Looks like Hinch was well onto the curbing.


Looks like Hinch had a rail slide over the crown of the curb. Probably pretty ambitious

Alehsin was on the fantasy team…

Booth calling for Rahal to the win. I can actually see that. The dude is quick this afternoon

Really rooting for Rahal


Still yellow. Briscoe rolling the dice for another yellow. Not rooting for Briscoe

Brisoes pits saying he WILL come in

Race is on with Rahal and Power. Kanaana and Wilson waiting in the wings


good restarts all day

Power around Briscoe. That could be the race


Rahal clear. I don’t think he’ll catch Power, let alone pass him

Jeeze, as I say that, Rahal is shaving the gap. race on


Rahal dropping away. Time to see the rest of the field please ABC

Power has showed his standard poise in holding Rahal off

Both drivers have really gapped the rest fo the field. some 3 seconds ahead of Kanaan

I can’t believe how well Rahal has driven today

Power is in the drivers zone. Nothing will prevent him from reaching the checkers first today

I’m afraid this race is toast


I would really like to see the rest of the field…


Rahal has driven an amazing race. but one time is still just a fluke


Rahal’s attitude is spot on. Could be trouble tomorrow

Kanaan does not look happy. He’s aching for a win. I would be too wheeling the TCGR 10

Montoya was fighting electric issues all day. Pretty good attitude considering the difficult afternoon

Hinch already has blisters on his hands. Not a good sign

Dixon sounds confused. I am too Dixie, I am too

Not bad. Would have liked to have seen a bit more of the field in the closing stages of the race. RHR into the tires. Aleshin around. Add conway and pags and my fantasy team is shot. Would be nice to see Rahal carry some momentum into tomorrow. Last 1/3 of the race was pretty lock step, but we never saw anyone deeper in the field.

Make sure to check back for notes from tomorrows race and next week for an official weekend round up.

Eric Hall

Posted in Unfiltered Race Notes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Into The Crystal Ball: It’s Duals Time Edition

Now, for something totally different. Before the ink is even dry on the 2014 Indy 500 chapter of the season, the circus moves to Milwau… nope… Tex… nope… Detroit? You got it. Nothing against the event, but it really feels odd going road racing a week after the 500. Not a bad event by any means, just the opposite in fact, but possibly sitting in the wrong place in the season. But the strong Penske death state can sway many a feelings, so to Detroit we go! The lengthening of the facility and aesthetic additions for the 2013 race went a long way in quenching the fire many fans had about the 2012 shemozzle on a track that was literally impossible to find room to pass on. This is definitely not old Detroit.

5 Things to Watch

Gorgeous Facility? – The off season has seen the addition of new curbing, moved walls, and a bit of grass added to previously barren areas. It may not be Barber, but the Belle isle facility is looking better and better each year. Add an additional 4 million dollars of pavement for 2015 and we could be looking at yet another premiere road course facility for indycar to race on. Penske is plowing the way and I expect nothing less than perfection out of a project spear headed by The Captain. Chevy has also resigned a multi-year extension to sponsor the race so it feels like we have a long term partner with Belle Isle.

The Conway Factor – it’s hard not to expect the Destroyer Of Worlds to not play a factor in Saturday and Sundays races. Past event winner, 2014 street race winner and all around bad ass, the quiet Brit has nothing standing in his path to absolutely crushing the weekend. The more I think about Conway, the more I feel that he is not bothered by the big three, and that all the work Derrick Walker did with the team in its formative years is finally paying off. Conway is so cool

Double Header – The double headers in 2013 were hard on teams and drivers to say the least. After three tries and an off-season to work the kinks out, I imagine everybody involved will be much more prepared for what may happen across two days of racing. Although there were no cases of a team being unable to make the Sunday race, there were teams that were thrashing to be ready for race two. Drivers have also had quiet time to really think about the best way to prepare for these weekends. It is very hard to make in season changes to much of anything without upsetting the balance of a team so I wouldn’t be surprised if we seem some operations attack the weekend slightly different with an offseason of preparation.

Title Race – Can RHR ride the momentum of the season and place a crippling blow to the rest of the title contenders? Every single time I bet against RHR, he makes me look like a fool. Instead, I hope a few of the other contenders are able to step their game up. At this point, Mike Conway is just steeling points from the field and is making RHR’s job just that much easier. The competition not only needs to beat Hunter-Reay, but they must also neutralize the Conway Factor. And will all of the talk of the big 3 and who is and isn’t a title contender it’s easy to forget Simon, The Giant Killer, Pagenaud. It’s almost as if his historic GP of Indy win went unnoticed; it was hot news for all of a single evening before the world went oval racing.

Concrete Canyons – The biggest fear I have when entering into a street race weekend is a track blockage. GP2 suffered just such a blockage last weekend and received the ire of the racing world, but it wasn’t unexpected in GP2 because they are a true development series in every sense of the word. Indycar is supposed to be so much more, yet we still suffer from development series issues on track. Having half of the season contested between concrete jersey barriers only adds to the frustration; drivers have nowhere to go as said concrete is pretty unmoving and unforgiving. Getting everyone through a street racing weekend relatively unscathed will be a huge win for the series, and not something I believe even F1 can do on as regular a basis as indycar racing is contested on the streets.


Pole – Helio Castroneves – The Brazilian knows how to get around Detroit, and looks to regain his historic strength at the island circuit.

Race 1 Winner – Simon Pagenaud – The dude just will not miss a beat.

Race 2 Winner – Ryan Hunter-Reay – I have never chosen him as a race winner. As a new believer, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is; we all know he can do it.

Epic Performance – Marco Andretti – The young prince has been showing increased speed this year. Another podium on a street course could go a long way for the who just doesn’t seem to believe in himself.

Biggest Loser – Graham Rahal – Will he be able to overtake Kurt Busch in the points?! Tune in this weekend for two more episodes of “watch Graham continue to squander possibly the most important sponsorship in the paddock” !!!!!!!

All that’s left to do is race this thing! I actually really enjoy the double header weekends, and I don’t really care if the teams and drivers don’t. With how compressed the season it, it’s nice to have a few bonus races thrown in for good measure. Given the huge lead RHR was able to notch, it will be very interesting to see how the dual race weekend can temper the lopsided table we are seeing right now. No matter what kind of silly stuff that may happen this weekend, I feel it is most important that the drivers avoid blocking the track if at all possible. It’s bush league, plain and simple. And frankly, our drivers are better than that.

Eric Hall

Posted in Into the crystal ball | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Weekend Rewind: Are You Happy Edition

How about that for a race?! After a few years of trying, and thanks to a well-timed red flag, we finally saw The 500 finish under green flag conditions. I welcome the use of the red flag instead of arbitrarily adding extra laps. The race pace was blistering fast even with the 150 laps of quasi-fuel save running, and turned into a one-on-one knife fight in the closing laps. 500 of the ages? I’m not so sure, but it was at least one hell of a race. The 3-6 drivers in the lead were reminiscent of a pack of sprinters biding their time until it’s go time. If we only have a handful of ovals on the schedule, then I’m glad we can kick them off at Indy. It’s only fitting.

Lead 3 – Unlike 2012 and 2013 where literally anyone in the top ten could draft to the front and lead a few laps, 2014 presented something totally different. Marco, Helio and RHR were in the top 5 all day long and were able to pull a lead and fight amongst themselves multiple times through the day.

Sure, Ed was playing up there during the first 80% of the race, but he was already out of the game when he met the wall. It was the first time he found himself playing with TBell and Hinch all day long, and that was because he had already lost the plot of the race.

Montoya and Dixon were able to cross the gap from the front of the chasing pack to the tail of the leaders, but they could never make any real progress to the pointy end. Looking back, there was no question of who would be in contention for the win.

Fuel Mileage – The manufacturer fuel mileage seemed to be nullified for the 500. Neither mark had a clear advantage, and it looked like it would eventually come down to driver controlled fuel mileage. One guy had a clear advantage all day. JPM went deeper into the race than any other driver and did so each and every stop until his pit lane speeding penalty. He was able to stay out 1 lap more on the first stop, 3 on the second, 5 on the third and 8 on the fourth when compared to RHR.

Literally unbelievable. He must have learned something about fuel savings during his time in NASCAR because he was clear of the field on every single stop. Although he didn’t show the speed, he could have had it given his economy had he been in the final fight at the end of the race. Pit lane speed limits bite JPM once again…

150 Laps of Green – For 150 laps of green flag racing that included four pitstops, the action was incredibly close. There was never any doubt who had the fast cars at what time in the race, but the field was able to thwart off the spread out field that usually accompanies long green flag oval runs. This was a pristine example of how a bobble in the pits can cost you the race. TK lost his race early on due to sitting in the pits for nearly a lap. However, you could almost still muff a stop and climb through the draft if your car was fast enough. See: Juan Pablo Montoya.

Ryan Hunter-Reay – Ok, I’m on board. RHR has always struck me as the guy who is always there to pounce on another drivers’ missed opportunity, not a guy who makes opportunity himself. What we saw on Sunday was the fastest guy covering the field all day long. He executed veteran moves in the closing laps of the race. Specifically, returning every strategic move that Helio made right back to him, but with more finesse, skill and force. There was no way RHR was not going to win that race, and it was amazing watching two of the most skilled oval drivers fight it out tooth and nail. Marco lost the track with 20 or 30 to go, and Ed was plain robbed. It was always going to come down to the two bright yellow cars, and it was nice to see the stars and stripes in victory lane in Indy.

Kurt Busch – Hard to talk about 2014 without mentioning the double outlaw (a silly marketing name I’ve always thought). Kurt did a great job throughout the entire month of May and definitely turned some haters into supporters with the way he handled himself. Everyone thought it would be the same ol’ KuBu yelling and screaming and cussing, but he held himself with poise, class and welcomed the rookie label. A hard fought sixth place was the reward for all of his travel stress and strain.

I truly think Kurt Busch was in awe for the first time in a long time. Hopefully he speaks well of his time with no fenders. And who knows, maybe this was exactly what he needed to regain his focus in NASCAR. It is good to note that although Busch didn’t fall too far into the field, he also didn’t make any real on-track progress. His sixth place was mainly due to the plethora of high runners crashing out in the last quarter of the race.

So that closes what can only be described as an epic month of racing at Indianapolis. Don’t blame the locals for loving their race, especially after the huge TV numbers the series pulled locally. The fire is back in the city and that always goes a long way for indycar racing as a whole. RHR leaves The Brickyard 40 points ahead of the competition with P2-4 separated by only 42. The championship race is so very close with a single dude shot out of a cannon up front. It will be interesting to see how the double headers and remaining Triple Crown races play out. Detroit in 2 days… wow

Eric Hall

Posted in The Weekend Rewind | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments