Photo from indycar.com
As Marty Snider summed it up, “What a bizarre qualifying session!” And as SoCal’s own “The Dude” once appropriately alleged, “carpet pissers did this.”
Photo from thefix.com
Other than a timing and scoring blackout, Frenchman Bourdais slyly staying out after seeing the checkered, the timing line inexplicably being moved mid session and an additional lap being added at the end, yesterday’s qualifications at the Grand Prix of Long Beach went off without a hitch. At least all the crashes occurred in practice again.
Photo from autoracing1.com
NBCSN’s crew was as in the dark as were the viewers – and teams – for much of the broadcast. A few things were clear, however. Predictably, Paul Tracy uttered the phrase “I won” at Long Beach less than three minutes into the show. Team Penske was – as we foretold – dominant, staking claim to four of the top six spots on the grid. Helio grabbed his forty seventh career IndyCar pole position over Scott Dixon and Chevy swept seven of the top ten positions. Hinch was quickest Honda in seventh. Obviously Helio was characteristically ecstatic, sounding like a drunken groomsman at a reception. “Dis guy heere . . . !”
Photo from dailytelegraph.com.au
Adding more spice to the already eye stinging show, Mad Will Power overshot a turn and then stalled it, halting the fast six and leading to an additional lap of qualifying. The embarrassing episode relegated Power – who’s been less than sharp lately – to a sixth place start. Fittingly, the added lap was anticlimactic with no major changes resulting.
Photo from sports.usatoday.com
After a disappointing qualifying effort, Graham Rahal disgustedly said in response to a question from Katie Hargitt, “I don’t really care about Firestone Fast Sixes.” Mad Russian Mikhail Aleshin – after joking about a pre race flyover by Russian Su-24s – said something else in that sinister accent of his. Unlike his teammate Hinchcliffe, he failed to qualify well and will start back in eighteenth, one spot ahead of Max “Paris” Chilton.
Unfortunately, qualifications yesterday were amateur hour on display, from the way the series mishandled the event to Rahal’s peevish on air comments to Power’s power stall. Now that we’re winning people over on the aero kits issue, it’s time IndyCar leadership was scrutinized, too. Carpet pissers are in charge, folks. As always IRR‘s trying earnestly to remain on the bright side – while at the same time hoping the discombobulated qualifications show wasn’t a foreshadowing of today’s race.