GP of Indy Race Review: The 500 It Isn’t

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Photo from indystar.com

Eddie Cheever summed up the early portion of the season succinctly during Saturday’s ABC broadcast, saying “Come next week, they’re in their Indy cars.” We had to chuckle and also agree – enough of the road courses already, let’s get to some entertaining oval track racing. The abbreviated ABC pre-race show was highlighted by a Nancy Hulman George appearance as she joined Mary onstage for the traditional command to start the engines. We’d very much enjoy seeing more of the beauty/heiress, perhaps even an extended photo layout.

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Photo from indymotorspeedway.com

For the second year in a row on the IMS road course a first lap pileup marked a messy start. At least this year the pole sitter Power didn’t stall it, though overly aggressive driving by others up front led to cars going off course and another shower of carbon fiber debris. The first turn, first lap collisions ruined the races of Dixie, Newgarden and others while helping Rahal and Bourdais move up due to the carnage. A French civil war erupted on track as Pags and SeBass battled back and forth and Penske’s Simon Pagenaud ran up front most of the day until his Chevy blew up. The defending race winner screamed “Something’s burning!” over the radio as he stopped and hurriedly exited the car.

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Photo from indystar.com

The crowd looked sparse on television in the quarter million seat facility, sparser than the estimated 40,000 and down from last year. For the second race in a row Graham Rahal had the drive of the day only to fall just short. The hot American zoomed from seventeenth to second, gaining the most positions in the entire field. There was quite a bit of passing throughout the day, just not much contention for the lead. Reminiscent of Long Beach a few weeks ago, an absence of cautions after the first lap incident saw the field spread out with no bunching up for restarts and little drama as a result.

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Photo from indystar.com

Montoya and Bourdais rounded out the top four while Charlie Kimball turned in an impressive fifth place finish for Ganassi. Helio finished a disappointing sixth in his 300th start. Rookie Stefano “faster than Andretti” Colletti ran strongly again for KV and entertainingly tangled with Kanaan in what’s becoming a weekly occurrence. He took eighth place, just behind TK. Other than Rahal, the Hondas struggled again for speed. The four Andretti cars finished poorly, with Hunter-Reay tops in eleventh place. He reiterated his disgust with the car calling the team’s problems “scary,” while team owner Michael Andretti frankly deemed them “frustrating.” Marco was even more downcast in his assessment, calling the results “horrible” and the outlook “bad.”

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Photo from usatoday.com

Penske perfect stops and a lack of yellows helped the defending series champ get his season back on track. While a win’s a win and Power’s drought has finally ended, the GP of Indy clearly isn’t the Indy 500. Curt Cavin seemed ready to crown Power the 500 winner and serve him the milk in his piece in the Star. As usual, we beg to differ with Curt and doubt Power’s prowess on the ancient oval. Time will tell but when it comes to the GP of Indy, the Indy 500 it certainly isn’t.

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16 thoughts on “GP of Indy Race Review: The 500 It Isn’t

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