When you talk about luck this year, Scott Dixon has easily had some of the worst. There have been a number of drivers suffer, but driving for a team like Ganassi, Dixon’s stood out a bit more than the rest. Sunday however, it finally took a turn in the right direction as the New Zealand driver stormed to his first victory of the year. Here are just a few of my thoughts overall.
Heading into Mid-Ohio, one should never expect much passing. The course is just not conducive to such. The double file restarts helped a little bit and there was some passing that occurred. Much of it was untelevised like those made by Mike Conway. Marco Andretti made a smooth pass on Simona as well during the first few laps. It all boils down to a couple of factors. The terrain at Mid-Ohio really takes passing out of the equation. Also, Toronto and to a lesser extent Edmonton offered some false sense of road action. Road racing is not a side by side for 85 laps affair. In road racing the excitement comes from gaps and the ability for a driver to close the time gap and execute a successful pass on the lead car. While we could of used more of the overtaking, the basic principals were executed very well this weekend. There was not much contact between cars and that is a plus. This notion of cars smashing into each other drawing fans to the series is just ridiculous. I was glad to see we were not talking about carbon fiber carnage.
Thank you Roger for vindicating me!!:
I have said it time and time again. If a Penske driver is in the running for the championship, Team Penske will find a way to snatch defeat in the face of almost certain victory. It further happened with Will Power this weekend and Ryan Briscoe. Both have had a shot at winning the title at some point over the last three years and blunders have come out. Briscoe hit the wall at Motegi, Power hit the wall at Homestead and every season it seems questionable pit calls turn into pit falls. This weekend Roger Penske vindicated what I have been saying the last couple years with the #12 car and #6 car being the odd cars out during the last of the pit stops. They found themselves at the back of the field at a circuit that does not allow for much passing as previously discussed. Will Power is in the thick of championship battle and Briscoe in a battle for his job. Love them or hate them, these mistakes are not happening in Chip Ganassi’s varsity stable. I understand that Roger is about winning the Indy 500, but he has not even been doing that well there lately. If I am Roger, I am reworking a lot of key positions during the off season and that is the bottom line. Penske is not a name associated with mediocrity, but that is all he has been the last few years.
All hail the rookies!:
What a weekend to be a rookie! I was very surprised by what I saw. Obviously James Hinchcliffe continues to show that he deserves to have his rookie status revoked as he put on a driving clinic during the middle stint of the race. He was able to hold Dixon and Franchitti at bay. Granted a silly mistake cost him a good finish, he performed honorably and did his fans proud.
Martin Plowman made his IZOD IndyCar debut this weekend and did one hell of a job! ECU issues, radio issues, and no drink function seen the Englishman put together a solid race where he stayed out of trouble and made some overtakes of his own. That is all you can ask for out of a guy getting hit in the face with a fire hose of information! Well done Martin!
James Jakes performed well too. He stayed out of trouble and even put up a P8 during warmup. It seems as the road courses are finally coming together in the second Coyne entry. I was impressed and have nothing terrible to say about a great performance.
In closing, I really enjoyed the action this weekend. I understand that many were unhappy with the amount of overtaking, but much like Long Beach, you cannot expect it. I love the track and the atmosphere and think it definitely deserves a spot on the schedule. The drivers acted professionally and the contact was at a minimum. I’m sure many will heap scorn at the event, but the sooner you realize you can’t compare it to Toronto, the sooner you will realize that overall it was not a terrible event. Remember folks, this is racing, not a demo derby. The race moves back to the ovals this weekend as New Hampshire returns to the schedule. I love the track and I am sure it will produce some great on track action for sure!