Well, a week has passed since the Texas races. While many have complained about various aspects: (Dario on how they used random drawings for starting spots in a points race. Fans on Dario’s complaints while sponsored by a diaper brand. Many more on how the two races had rather dull results.)
Here is one thing I would like to add, why not do a “Day/Night Doubleheader” like MLB uses? A “Day/Night” means there is a 1PM game and a 7PM game. While in baseball you kick the fans out after game one and they need tickets for game two, in racing they could just do a second qualifying session between the two. Or even better, why not just run heats with an A-Main feature at the end. Many Open Wheel fans who also love sprints and midgets would love this throwback idea.
Imagine the need to finish 5th or better to advance? You could have some really heated races, and to be honest you would be earning your position, something drivers did not do turning tires in front of models.
“Everybody goes to Milwaukee after Indianapolis.”– Lou Erding (played by Robert Wagner) in Winning (1969).
While the tradition of visiting the Milwaukee Mile lives again in 2011, it is not the next stop after Indy as it had been for decades. However it may give the series a more competitive race than Texas did. Milwaukee has a very unique layout that often can lead to passes in places not found on cookie cutter 1.5 mile venues.
After Friday Practice it is clear the big name owners of Open Wheel history are all looking strong. Will Power being P1 from practice fresh off his inaugural oval win. The driver from down-under ran a best lap of 167.648 MPH (00:21.7957) around the legendary mile. Just a tad faster than two time defending Series Champion Dario Franchitti who ran the mile at 167.462 MPH (00:21.8199) Followed by the third fastest in practice Helio Castroneves at 167.368 MPH, Scott Dixon just behind him at 167.232 MPH barely ahead of the Newman/Haas entry of Oriol Servia who ran a best lap of 167.022 MPH.
Newman/Haas has an amazing past at this facility, they look to turn their season around further with a good showing for both qualifying and race day. This could be a very exciting race for those who tire of the formerly known “Red Cars” winning. 6th in practice was Marco Andretti, 7th Graham Rahal, and 8th Justin Wilson who is not known for his exploits on “roundy rounds”.
Wilson was very happy following practice in his performance. “I think the Dad’s Root Beer car feels pretty good. We started out well in the first new tire run and we worked on race setup from then on, so I think that we are in good shape.” Justin Wilson then continued on stating, “The positive thing is that we think we have a good understanding out of it and we’ll see if we can put it all into play tomorrow.”
The two most notable disappointing cars in practice speeds would be Ed Carpenter who could only muster up a lap of 158.526 MPH. When asked about his speed Friday, Ed Carpenter replied; “It was a disappointing start to the weekend, definitely not where we wanted to be on the speed charts, especially after testing here.” Carpenter was just behind the man who has sat on the pole for all the ovals in 2011 so far. Alex Tagliani who ran a best lap of 159.230 MPH (00:22.9480)
Vitor Meira had a hard crash when his car was in turn four following his fastest lap of practice at 162.312 MPH. Meira commented after about his collision with the turn four wall, “I was trying hard and it stepped out on me”. The Foyt Racing team will be putting the engine from the wrecked primary car into the ABC Supply back up before Saturday’s qualifying session.
Make a Canadian’s Wish come true!!!
We are just a few weeks away from the “Canadian leg” of the schedule with stops in Toronto and Edmonton respectively. These events always are highly anticipated, and the native drivers always have special sponsors and paint schemes for these events. 2011 is no exception, with Paul Tracy and the number 8 Dragon Racing entry. PT will sport a special look when the IZOD INDYCAR Series visits Toronto. His car will be a double blue livery with the logos of the Toronto Blue Jays, and Make-A-Wish Canada on the sidepod.
Mike Cockrall (the man in Edmonton who worked tirelessly to save the event from death), has made special shirts for this event. When you pay for the shirts, ALL of the proceeds go to Make-A-Wish Canada! These shirts look great and the price can not be beat! Fans can get the tee-shirt version for $20, or the polo version for just $30. The price of postage is $5.
These are neat shirts and the money goes to a great cause. I myself am ordering a polo version. I ask my fans and friends to consider buying yourself a shirt to help our neighbors to the north. Plus you get a piece of kick ass INDYCAR swag for a great price. You can find the on-line shop for the PT shirts (HERE). All orders are sold using PayPal as well.
Also I am sorry for the lack of a Fantasy Racing section this week. I had issues that prevented me from doing my normal “Hump Day Report”, thus teams are already locked. However look for a special “Fantasy Talk” column for the rest of 2011.