This weekend marked the first of two Canadian rounds on the championship as the IZOD IndyCar Series traveled to the streets of Toronto. The circuit has always been known for passionate fans and chaotic races that usually end with a decent attrition rate. Well this weekend went over the top as all hell broke loose Sunday afternoon. Not only did Dario further his title lead, but a lot of drivers let their feelings hang out more than usual and that has fans buzzing. While I would love to do a good/bad/ugly wrap up….it was all just well…ugly!
Carbon Fiber Carnage:
I know that a lot of other bloggers are struggling for words and I really don’t know how to put it, but INDYCAR put themselves in a sling on the fourth lap when Briscoe and Kanaan had their coming together. It was after that incident that resulted in no penalty that INDYCAR dug their own grave. The hairpin corner was the site of nearly all of the questionable contact and that is where Briscoe punted TK. After the broadcast, Al Unser Jr. was brought on the Versus telecast to explain what happened all day in the stewards office. Many were crying avoidable contact on a lot of these incidents. INDYCAR chose not to penalize the drivers because of how the incidents were occurring. They cited that BOTH drivers were not giving each other room through the extremely tight confines. Because they chose to sit on the sidelines and not call the opening penalty, they really had no ground to stand on for the rest of the day. Granted they usually have no issues exercising the arbitrary hand of justice, they took a back seat today.
Enter the championship battle. Will Power and Dario Franchitti were racing each other very hard during the middle portion of the race. Pit strategy and other yellow flag incidents would see the two fighting for every single spot amongst the chaos. Then it all came apart for Will Power as Dario Franchitti made somewhat overly optimistic move. The resulting incident would see Power spun by the #10 Target car and left stalled in the hairpin. Shortly there after, Power would get slammed by Tagliani and sent to the garage area. Many people were calling for a penalty against Dario as he made the divebomb move. Unfortunately, you cannot penalize him for anything as a number of events had already occurred that received no penalty. The move was brought under investigation and no penalty issued. Where the confusion came in was from the Versus booth who said a penalty in fact HAD been issued. So we were then put under the impression by the coverage crew that the penalty had been then revoked after the fact. A move I would not put past INDYCAR officials given the sham that has been the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. The governing body has a credibility issue and there is no denying that. It was within everybody’s right to assume it had been reversed because you simply can’t trust them.
The last part of the race was absolute carnage. People were getting spun in the hairpin yet still. Ryan Briscoe would get nailed by the karma train that was Mike Conway and all hell was breaking loose as Marco Andretti made a move that took out six cars in T1. Danica Patrick who had called Takuma Sato an idiot for punting her even joined the mix by punting others and even sent Tagliani into the fence head first. Needless to say it was an embarrassment to the sport as a whole. As always, INDYCAR pushes the “best drivers in the world” slogan and all 26 or so drivers looked like “wankers” as I believe Will Power coined. By far not the series brightest day and a joke in all honesty of an event. I thought the only saving grace was Unser Jr. coming into the booth to explain the penalty issue. He brought up a very good point: the drivers left no room. With the exception of maybe the TK/Briscoe issue, the car that would end up spinning left no room for the passing car. During the drivers meeting it was made clear that the leading car would pull to the left entering the hairpin. This rule actually setup a lot of these spins. The lead car would swing out to the left leaving a gap to the inside. Many drivers would shoot the gap and the lead car would come back to shut the door. It is there in the pre race ruling we can see why so many spins occurred.
Off Track Crap Talking:
Robin Miller wanted it, and to be honest I wanted it too. One thing that the Toronto race brought out was some heavy words from the drivers. TK started the festival of love by blowing Ryan Briscoe apart after their contact. He told Briscoe he was an idiot for trying to make a move like that so early. While I won’t call him an idiot, I think the move by Ryan was rather boneheaded. Will Power went on the rant of a century via Versus calling Dario Franchitti dirty. He also said that INDYCAR never penalizes him and he always gets what he wants. The rant would then spill over to Twitter where Will called out certain tweeps for being “wankers”. He also called Tags a wanker for what its worth. Dario took fault for some of the incident and tweeted to Will. Dario simply said watch the replay. Power said he did and was still in fact “PISSED”. The frustration of the championship and genuine hatred these two teams have has certainly boiled over now.
Even Alex Tagliani got into the mix by saying Will Power just drives like he is alone out there and it made him mad. Scott Dixon blew Graham Rahal apart as well for being careless and reckless. Needless to say, Toronto has really brought tempers to the boiling point and that is excellent news for the second half of the season. We can finally see some drivers really performing under genuine anger and that will be fun for sure!
The next round of the championship will be held at the newly laid out Edmonton airport circuit. The track layout looks promising and the drivers will be itching to get back out and begin open season on each others heads. Make sure to look for Episode 96 this week as well as keep it tuned to our official Twitter for more on today’s Toronto street fight.