Though its not a race-action related note I did want to applaud the Indy Racing League and Iowa Speedway for continuing to put on the two races this weekend instead of listening to the countless antagonists who aren’t from Iowa that want to tell Iowans what they should feel and not do.
This comes from a person with very direct experience being from New Orleans (though now Baton Rouge) and our recent tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. I can say from personal experience that after a year of helping my parents gut their own house and sort through everything destroyed and starting new when they were so close to retirement that the re-opening of the Superdome on that Monday Night Saints’ game was a very much welcomed event in the city of New Orleans and especially the citizens of the gulf coast even if not everyone out of the area understood how welcome it was to this area.
I applaud the IRL and Iowa Speedway and the sellout crowd with 4a.m. tailgaters was just proof that it was the right thing to do; not to mention the ability to bring attention and help to what has happened and help raise money and help for the ravaged areas.
-As to the weekend of racing.. I’ll just say you WILL NOT find a sadder person after this weekend in the race world than Arie Luyendyk Jr., screwed by some hard lapped traffic in James Davison, the man outright dominated the Indy Lights race and while yes traffic is part of the race, the block-parties thrown to Luyendyk were especially harsh.
-On the other hand it looks as if Panther Racing has found its now 5th or 6th next big thing in Dillon Battistini who I personally look immensely forward to seeing in the IndyCar Series hopefully soon.
Now for some kudos, props and critique notes.
-HUGE PROPS to ABC/ESPN for having a 30 minute pre-race show that gave us some great interviews news and information; and I among probably everyone else watching hope continues…
-Kudos to the IRL for finding someone that made a lot of sense to call the start of engines. I’m still baffled at Chip Ganassi at Texas but having someone from Iowa’s Corn Growers was perfect and his call was great.
-Racewise, firstly kudos to racing competition. What a great moment around lap 170 or so we were literally looking at a top 5 of drivers who had yet to win this year.
-A call to all the non-big three teams to practice pit stops until you have those things iced down because its doing a disservice to the great driving, and also great engineering being done by at this point Vision, Roth, Rahal/Letterman racing and if N-H-L, KV or Panther can just put together a complete race those guys are easy top 5s.
-Major kudos to the field for not having a single on-track incident.
-Someone needs to remind the IRL that the cars do not need to be up to speed by the 4th corner on a restart, in fact they shouldn’t hit the gas till just before the line, that’s the general idea on going green on that lap, not the half lap before bring back the pace car for that final yellow lap obviously the drivers can’t handle the responsibility.
-Major kudos to TV-production for starting a field run through an “up to speed” segment but major non-kudos for stopping half-way through it and actually drowning out whoever was talking about John Andretti. And though she sounded fine talking non-kudos to the headset, production or Brienne herself for never catching her cues.
-WTF happened with Darren Manning, we are told he “fell out of the seat” and then also that it was a steering rack issue, the same that later took out Buddy Rice.
-A note not many noticed but major kudos to Hideki Mutoh holder of now the highest finish for a Japanese driver and surely only a sign of things to come; and for those who don’t know give that man a HUGE applause for being able to handle interviews so well, many may not realize but Hideki just started learning English barely 2 years ago.
-Can it be any more apparent that John Andretti needs to stay if at least at Roth Racing but most surely back in the IndyCar Series; and at the same time that Marty really needs to put Jay Howard in his car and only run himself in the 500 in a 3rd car.
-Whatever the opposite of kudos is to the IRL for FOUR 6+ lap cautions for non-damage/non-debris cautions.
-Lastly I’d pose this to everyone out there…is Iowa easily replacing or a very close 2nd to Texas as the most dangerous race on the circuit? Easily the highest constant G forces of the season today something more than Texas can say; Iowa is taking a serious toll on the cars themselves. Vitor lost 3 suspensions last year and Dixon had a steering rack issue then Carpenter, Roth, Bruno, Marco and possibly Kanaan all had parts break on the cars simply due to high stress on them…Do we have a new hardest track on the circuit?
And as a p.s. here is a nudge to Rahal Letterman Racing or Luczo Dragon Racing to make a courtesy call to Casey and/or Uncle Rick to find out how they can get Casey Mears, who looks like he is soon to be out of a job in NASCAR, back where he belongs in IndyCar racing…