Monday, June 9, 2008

Notes from the Lone-Star Weekend

Firstly, I apologize for never getting notes from Milwakee, by the time I finally caught the replay of the race on classic it felt a little too late to do the notes I'll make it up with some extensive notes for Texas...

WOW, what a bi-polar weekend of racing we had from the IndyCar Series. This weekend was so far away from the middle, we either had some of the closest racing of the year or 30 laps of yellow for a piece of debris… good to even great announcing from Goodyear and Marty only to be partnered with some of the worst producing/editing possible, some great calls from race control actually penalizing speeding in the pits and also letting everyone race it out, and then some of the worst with two phantom yellows as well as 10 lap yellows when there were no debris on the course just someone spinning…. small teams making moves up high or those same teams suddenly having the hands of fate knock them to the back of the field, one of the best finishes in the making only to end under 6 laps of yellow. So without further procrastination and buildup, here are your notes from the weekend:

-Quick note: How many celebrities do you think live and were in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? Why.. seriously... why was Chip Ganassi calling the start of engines at Texas? Shit Robbie Knievel was right there and would have been perfect.

-The two most obvious good note from the weekend were close racing and close racing from outside the big three. It was great to see Ryan Hunter-Reay up there duking it out but to also see Vitor work his way up and to lead for as long as he did to only get screwed by an overly aggressive Enrique Bernoldi.

-For those who missed it Bernoldi got caught within the leaders and was trying to race with them when he lost it bringing out the second to last yellow. It stinks for Bernoldi who was having a good night but man talk about Murphy’s Law for Vitor Meira. Vitor had broken out a 4 second lead over Scott Dixon and Marco Andretti when he went in for his final pit, band yes while he may have lost seconds in neutral Vitor had a full tank and could run full rich while EVERYONE else was conserving and in fact Dixon was the only one remotely close to trying to finish on fumes. Had the race gone green to the end I truly believe Vitor would have gotten his first win.

-Now a bad note for the guys in the cars… someone needs to take the 28 drivers and sit them down on this off week and have a weeklong seminar on how to do a restart. The restarts were embarrassing as I’ve ever seen this weekend and at least give props to race control for calling these guys on it, however a huge thumbs down to race control for continuing to perpetuate the stupidest idea ever in having the pace car leave 1 lap before green. There is absolutely no reason the pace car shouldn’t be leading the field and pulling off at the pit entrance.

-And while we’re on the subject of stupid rules and poor calls by race control I honestly can’t say it any better than pressdog:

“Good thing these flag people weren't running the show when Danny Sullivan pulled his Spin and Win at Indy. Never would have happened. ‘Wait, someone was loose in turn three, better have a 12-lap yellow!’ And yet, when Viso clearly brushes the wall at Milwaukee, a noticeable hit that I saw personally and slowed him considerably, no yellow.” "Mario (I strongly believe Moraes) goes gets into Scheckter, goes around, saves it. OK, you throw the yellow for sure, of course, but why not go back to green in, say, TWO laps if there is nothing to clean up instead of six? Anyone? Bueller? A seven-lap yellow for no apparent reason just so everyone can pit under yellow is ridiculous. Better to give the fans more green-flag racing than make sure all the teams have time for yellow stops, OK? Who pays the bills around here? Ultimately it's the fans through ticket buys and buying sponsor products. “

Well said pressdog, I don’t think you will find a soul who disagrees…

-And while we’re into bad notes lets continue with what was the most disparaging thing from the race. Has ESPN/IMS Productions forgotten how to produce a race? I have been so ready starting with last week and then following up this week ready to commend Goodyear, Marty, Brienne, Arute, and Welch on some really great commentary and heck some things we not only have never heard before but have really added to the broadcasts, especially how they are now talking about all the cars in the race that are putting on any kind of good show. Seriously we’ve gotten EJ Viso updates 2 races in a row, if they start throing in the sponsors of the cars when they mention them it’ll go to, my wife and I also liked the notes about Goodyear's wife and how the wives are much more than spectators... A+

-However on the completely opposite side of it ESPN had the benefit of tape delaying the race yet I’m almost certain we watched more yellow laps than green, never had a single field run-though in all that yellow, and on top of it never should tape delay in the first place but if you do, how in the world do you put the live audio on by accident for more than a few minutes? How do you show driver interviews and go to commercial every time we go to green, and most importantly when you are on tape delay HOW DO YOU MISS IMPORTANT ACTION OVER A COMMERCIAL?

I’ve been hard on ESPN a lot but the booth has really picked up the their end and gone into a really good place while the production has gotten horrible, Chris Estrada really puts the whole thing into perspective:

Small note: Does anyone ever notice how ego driven-hypocritical Danica can be. A week before Indy she says she’s above getting angry and then storms down pit lane then complains about Brisoce in pit lane and then does the same thing to Vitor at Texas only to have Vitor be quick enough to dodge her, and then she’s throwing serious block parties throughout the race and you know if she were on the other end of that we’d be hearing about it…

- I’m fine with fuel knob setting because fuel games make a race intriguing, however maybe there should only be 3 settings instead of 6-7…

-and Finally, I used to say there isn’t a racer in the series I really root against but Marco Andretti is making it very easy to do it right now. The most apparently thing right now is that Marco NEEDS to race for another team to gain some humility because he sure doesn’t have any. He started this season so humble and saying all the right things and now he just seems like a spoiled ego. Think whatever you want about the RHR-Marco incident, its more a racing incident, maybe RHR didn’t need to go to the line but Marco also didn’t need to pinch after establishing that he was running high for the first 98% of the race especially when the incident with RHR was identical to Dixon’s pass only with Marco causing a unnecessary pinch/block. No matter what this quote should never leave any drivers mouth after what was so easily a racing incident.

“there's some guys you can race close with, and some you can't"

(you'll notice in the picture to our left that Dan Wheldon sure made it work)

Especially coming from a guy who had just caused wrecks two weeks/races prior. Ryan Hunter-Reay has won more races than Marco and didn’t need team tactics to win them, he hasn’t caused a single driver to complain up until this point and raced perfectly fine the first 98% of the race so how was he suddenly this horrible driver to be around is puzzling, basically every person on the planet will see this as a racing incident at the end of the day and even more costly as is looked like RHR had the speed to pass Dixon as well…

That quote may be one of the stupidest things to ever leave Marco’s mouth, at least for the manner of a serious case of pot calling the kettle black, he needs to start turning this season around, and quickly.


And now for one note outside of the race itself. Someone needs to explain to Robin Miller that no one cares who gets the news to them first if its only accurate some of the time. People just want news thats reliable. Yet he continues to be bitter in his articles towards other journalists, drivers, and the series and is possibly the most bi-polar writer you will see; one week we need Americans, the next we need diversity, then we need good ovals, then we need road courses... dude seriously just hang it up and become just a fan at this point and let the real reporters do the reporting.

Homestead and Nashville may be gone next year but you sure don't cite a single source for that claim, and even if it happens, wow you guessed right, I'm sure thats what readers are looking for, someone who guesses correctly on occasion; then on to you opinion being put off as a representation of the in the hell is a 13 road course 6 oval course schedule even close to what the fans want, especially when Track forum just polled its fans and barely 93% of the people polled want the series at least 50/50 and 73% want the majority to be ovals... try citing a source or statistic sometime...


Goose said...

Why did they go to their current restart procedure? I know there was some controversy a while back but I can't pinpoint when or what it was.

I really don't get why there are no "quickie" yellows for spins and minor debris. That would be a big help.

Allen Wedge said...

If I remember correctly the pace car pulling off a lap early was done as a knee jerk reaction to the '95 fiasco with Goodyear (and also Villeneuve, a fact many forget) passing the pace car because it was going too slow.

I really don't get how someone spinning with no contact is more than 2 laps of yellow...