It is the rule now, so deal with it kids!
So Barber was an unexpected eventful race. Aside from the dominance of the leader up front (Will Power) it was an event with plenty of passing. Mainly due to a crazy little thing called “double file re-starts”. While one writer from a national McNewspaper tries his hardest every week to craft “anti-double file re-start” quotes from the drivers, it is clear the action fans see of this new on-track product is working.
I don’t get why Tony Kanaan keeps complaining, he is P3 in points after two rounds—driving for KV! Dude; you’re in the top three with a team no one, and I mean NO ONE, saw even in the top five of points. Embrace it TK!
Simona de Silvestro is P5 in points with HVM! Now while they have plenty of more cash this season with Entergy than in 2010—be real, HVM lacks Target or Marlboro money! This is an impressive showing so far, thanks to this new rule, the monster known as “Pen-gassi” (formerly ‘red cars’ before Penske went all Police cruiser) is seriously being challenged.
This week may be the greatest challenge for double file re-starts, Long Beach can be as tight as some of the scenery. Let’s all hope Helio can stop punting drivers when they are double file. Yes, I just called out the most popular driver that is not a female. Two races, and at least three incidents on side by side starts (or re-starts) where Helio goes all NASCAR.
Seems drivers from Venezuela have a way of ticking off INDYCAR fans. Last season the hash tag #PARKMILKA was all the rage on Twitter, now E.J. Viso has stepped in. I just want to say, I agree E.J. Viso is the weakest link now at KV. However when or if he should exit, remember how much improved Sato is.
Sato quietly finished P5 in St. Pete right behind Simona. (Who was a KV sandwich) He did not do as well at Barber, although since he didn’t have a throttle link break, fared better this year. Sato is now P8 in points after two rounds.
He also showed his improved skill at Barber not once but twice having a great save after he had contact with another car. (I would argue neither time was his fault.) The most notable would be when Helio went all Earnhardt and banged him as they were side by side. It was declared by the announcers “One of them racing deals”, I would agree. Could; Viso, Mutoh, Milka, or even Hildebrandt have saved it? NO! (Granted J.R. is a rookie)
The cherry blossoms have bloomed on the 5 car, this spring we see a new year, a new Sato, and a new hope for KV. Don’t be shocked to see Sato on a podium this season, maybe even a win. (I suspect he will be gunning hard for that last Motegi race.)
Paul Tracy will be driving for Jay Penske starting at Long Beach. The number 8 Honda will have sponsorship from Ralphs this week. For those not in on the cult classic film, Ralphs is the location of the first scene in which we see Jeff Bridges as “the Dude” in ‘The Big Lebowski’.
Although personally I see PT as more of a Walter personality. I mean would the dude handle Tagliani the way PT did? No that is not very “Dude-like” as Walter would tell us. Will the PT abide?
Also J.R. Hildebrandt will have associate sponsorship this week from Quartermaster. They are a mail/internet order supplier of uniforms, and tactical gear for Military personnel, and Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). (Being a member of the PA Fraternal Order of Constables, I get their catalogs and e-mails.) Quartermaster e-mailed regular customers about this sponsorship, so hopefully there will be a nice ratings boost from LEOs.
Talking Fantasy picks
While last week was not as epic as round one, I held on to second place in the Open Paddock league. (But fell to about 165 out of all teams on INDYCAR Nation). Also kudos to Kristi from open Paddock who had a PT like sprint in points last week.
This week I will pick Dario Franchitti who is great on road & street courses. While it might be easy to pick last year’s winner, I am not sure Andretti Autosport is up to snuff this year. RHR is the top driver since TK’s exit, and he trails both TK (a KV entry) and Simona (a HVM entry) in points.
Dark horse pick:
Briscoe. Yes I just picked a Penske Racing driver to be a “Dark horse”, look at the points, the guy is a measly P25th in points, trailing the points leader by -70. I doubt this guy has any chance of a championship this year. He may be lucky to land P3 in final points, and if he keeps failing, he will not last much longer at Penske. I do think that team HAS TO perform this week, or many heads will quickly start rolling.
Pick to avoid:
Ryan Hunter-Reay. I love RHR, and think he is an amazing talent and one hell of a guy. But from the performance of Andretti Autosport so far, don’t expect a repeat from 2010. (Marco Andretti is P7 in points, Danica P16, with RHR three points behind her in P17)