The IndyCar series traveled to upstate New York for their fourth of July celebrations as the Camping World Grand Prix brought the American open wheel cars back to the road course. Watkins Glen is a beautiful track that has hosted Formula 1 races and more recently, it has been one of two road racing fixtures in the Nascar series.
The obvious racing headline going into the event was the domination of Penske and Ganassi throughout this year. Ganassi had the momentum after a strong showing at Iowa and Penske was looking to rebound after both of their cars crashed in the last event. The #6 of Ryan Briscoe dominated both practice and qualifications and was a sure bet for the main event but was taken by surprise by another driver who was probably not as favored to even get a top five. Justin Wilson played the part of David in this battle for the win and came out on top, sticking it to the competition and getting Dale Coyne his first IndyCar/Champ Car win. Problem is that it took him 23 years to do it. Honestly though, Justin Wilson proved that he is a top rated driver and did well to propel his resume.
The podium however was no different. The usual suspects battled all day as the points race becomes even tighter yet. Ryan Briscoe finished out the weekend a strong second place and continues to show why he is a championship contender. Scott Dixon assumes the championship lead with his third place finish and Helio and Marco round out the top five. Good run for Andretti after he suffered an early puncture that seen him go a lap down. The weekend was not as friendly to Danica Patrick and Graham Rahal. Rahal who had to adjust his pit strategy after recieving a 10 spot grid penalty that seen him end the weekend in 13th place. Danica had a good qualifying run but was unable to take that through the race as she finished a disappointing 11th.
The race was great and saw a lot of action, which was a breath of fresh air after the lack luster oval races we saw for the last couple months. It was equally good to see a small team come out on top. While the top teams like Penske and Ganassi have dominated all year long, too much of that can see the sport become boring and predictable as we all know. It was also a great sight for another of the Champ car teams show some success against the IRL boys in these pigs called cars. It is a miracle to me that these non manuverable bricks made it around any of these great road racing venues and I hope that the IndyCarfolks take a look at trying to update the chassis for better road racing. Stay with Open Paddock because in two weeks time, we will travel north of the border to run The Streets of Toronto race. The Canadians are massive open wheel fans and put on one hell of a show!