While the race for first never got to play out (because Dixon and Ed both got caught by the final yellow) there was plenty o excitement in the pits in Kansas this weekend... so lets take a run through:
Thumbs Up: JR Hildebrand gets his first victory and also gives RLR/Anderson racing their first. the racing that went on in the front of this race was light years ahead of the Target thrashing to come later in the evening.
Thumbs Sideways: While I appreciate a good rivalry, I have a feeling that if Raphael Matos and Jeff Simmons get into each other one more time on the track that it will come to fisticuffs. That's two incidents in two races, and neither racer cares to give the other room or settle. Whiile thats exciting, two guys going at it on the track is not safe to the other drivers not to mention Jeff has the history behind him of taking out Kosuke a couple times last year and being shaky enough as it is that RLR let him go.
Thumbs Up: Somewhere in there is Dan Wheldon, the 5th winner in 5 races so far this season. (though for what I'm assuming is banckruptcy issues or ego orders, ICS is saying we've only had 4 races this year). Talk about fun with parity, I'm loving it, especially going into the Indy 500, seriously tell me who is your favorite for the 500 right now. If you were making odds at this point, could you honestly give anyone a 3-1 shot at this point? I'll do my own handicapping/preview of the entire entry list later today/week, but for now, how about three cheers for parity, can we make it 6 winners in 6 races?
Thumbs Down: This picture is what we should have seen more of but never got.... The biggest question you should ask about the ICS Kansas race... Where would Scheckter have finished? You can point first at the EJ Viso incident, yes it was a "racing incident" clearly Viso slid up the track while Tomas held a line, and while the slide is not entirely Viso's fault, here's the bigger tidbit: Scheckter should have never been racing with Viso to begin with. Marty Roth's running over Scheckter's right front tire changer basically ruined the day as it was for the Luczo/Dragon car. Yes technically they were still on the lead lap but down plenty positions, but keep in mind that at the time, had they put in a quick stop like it looked they were doing, Scheckter could have gone to the lead with a fast enough stop. Lets be fair though, Marty is hardly the first person to have a problem of this nature in the pits so I won't be getting all over him and saying he needs to retire, it sucks but the thumbs down here is simply that we all got screwed from watching what Scheckter could have done...
Thumbs Up: Though I love his passion and anger, I do have to say Scheckter was surprisingly very calm in his interview during the race even describing the Viso contact as a "racing incident" though the replay would tell otherwise. It just shows (like many past drivers) that getting dropped and watching from the sidelines can humble most any driver.
Thumbs Down: note to ESPN/IMS Production whoever... Interviewing Danica is so much LESS Important than Buddy Rice (or any other driver for that matter) crashing. If you can measure the importance level of showing a replay of Buddy Rice (a former Kansas and Indy 500 winner) suddenly snapping up into the wall in easily the hardest c5rash we've seen so far this year, then getting out and throwing easily the most expensive piece of equipment he has down, vs. asking Danica her thoughts on things, I think we'd put reviewing what happened to Rice at 9 out of 10 only being bumped by anything currently on track and Danica's thoughts possible near the 2 level.
Thumbs I'm not sure...: I'm sure we'll get varied views on this but Vitor definitely did complain about buddy Rice's team leaving their tire out too wide 2 stops before he finally hit it, so its not like he suddenly decided to blame them... however if Buddy's team wasn't penalized to this point by the IRL one would have to assume the tire was within their pit and therefore within the regulations out of Vitor's way.
Thumbs Up: ESPN actually showed us mid-pack racing! I couldn't believe it, it was an astonishing moment... of course it didn't last too long and a good bit of it was geared to Danica's mid-pack racing, but a kudos moment goes to ESPN or IMS Productions whoever was smart enough to show us Marco and Helio's final few laps and then their finish.
Thumbs Down: Danica's ego still needs a check. And ESPN is not helping by reviving Danica-Mania... (ESPN, its not a good thing, trust us) Look I've never been a huge Danica fan, but I've also never hated her, she's just another driver out there to watch and know about for me, I liked it when she won and enjoyed watching all her emotions come out when she did... However, becoming egotistical enough to say about Viso "I don't even know who that guy is" is probably the most conceited statement a driver can ever make. I for one never realized that only drivers Danica knew were allowed to be on the track...
Thumbs Down: On that note however, Ernesto J. Viso is not making many friends in the league. Took out Scheckter, apparently pissed off Danica, got warned for chop blocking, and worst of all... stopped in Ed Carpenter's pit box when Ed was trying to come in for a pit-stop. I like E.J., he looks great on the track but his youth shows in both good and bad. Good in that he wants to win already he's putting his car up there and contending already, bad in that he's overly aggresive, something very attributable to youth, not to mention , how does one stop in Ed's bright yellow pitbox that late in the race?
Just for thought: This was actually pointed out to me during post race interviews by Mrs. Wedge actually; I'm not really sure where to take it but its quite the thought provoker... If anyone is going to complain about another driver blocking them, and claim something to the effect that what goes around comes around, it seems the last person on the list to be able to do that would be Tony Kanaan...