Road America Race Review: Good Fun Edition

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Photo from indycar.com

Overall the racing in IndyCar’s return to Wisconsin disappointed almost as badly as the eventual winner, though good fun was had by almost everyone at Road America.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

The Kohler Grand Prix turned out to be a fairly boring one caution affair with the unlikable pole sitter cruising to victory. It was Mad Will Power‘s second win in the last two races, after undergoing a year long drought. Frankly, we preferred the drought.

IndyCar: KOHLER Grand Prix

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Nevertheless, the drivers enjoyed themselves, with the injured Josef Newgarden admitting “we had fun out there” after finishing eighth. The hilly, four plus mile natural terrain road course looks like it would be tremendously fun to drive; it’s just a shame the racing wasn’t better for the television audience. And that the winner’s such a wanker.

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Power controlled the entire race and the outcome wasn’t ever really in doubt. Tony Kanaan managed to gain some on the leader in the closing laps, but this was only due to the field being bunched up after a late caution. Conor Daly, who ran well for most of the race, brought out the lone caution when he suffered a suspension failure and went spinning through a gravel trap and into the tires. It couldn’t have been fun. Clearly, the Daly Odyssey continues.

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Charlie Kimball was his usual aggressive self, banging and shoving other cars out of his way right from the start. Funnily enough, he finished sixth and admitted afterwards, “I don’t know that I want to do that again.” One of his victims “What’s wrong with” Juan Montoya managed seventh place, resembling an overripe grapefruit in his orange driving suit. In a post race interview he bellyached, “That’s Charlie! Ask anybody and they’ll tell you the same.”

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Fan favorite Scott Dixon encountered early engine trouble, retired in last and had no fun, while at the opposite end of the popularity spectrum Frenchman Simon Pagenaud dropped through the field like a day glow stone in the closing laps, finishing thirteenth. The race did have its moments.

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Graham Rahal battled to third and complained afterward about Kanaan’s tactics. “TK blocked us pretty good. But I would have done the same thing.” As usual, Rahal’s forthrightness was refreshing, as indeed he would have acted similarly in Kanaan’s place. Unremarked upon was Rahal’s swerving off of pit lane and into TK’s path on the racing line late in the day, though predictably no penalty was forthcoming.

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Photo from indycar.com

A total of seven penalties were handed out by a suddenly alert race control, as both of Foyt’s cars and Gabby Chaves were penalized for speeding on pit lane – Chaves and Sato twice. Racy Russian Mikhail Aleshin and Helio Castro-Neves were called for blocking and forced to give up positions, though this had no effect on the eventual outcome.

The coverage on NBCSN was competent for the most part, and it was good to have “Daffy” Leigh Diffey‘s enthusiasm back in the booth. The irrepressibly cute Katie Hargitt always adds some viewing pleasure to the telecast. During one of the rounds of pit stops, Marty Schneider shouted less than helpfully about “all these guys in the pits!”

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Photo from twitter.com

Fans on Twitter helped keep things interesting, with Dixie giving a shout out to “everyone camping” during the pre-race. Speaking of campers, the best theme of the weekend was the fifth anniversary of Marco’s last win, or #Marco5treak. Our personal favorite was new IRR model Mandy, a fun loving gal who got to meet her favorite driver Indy 500  winner Alexander Rossi. So, despite the lackluster road course racing, good fun was had by all.

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Photo from twitter.com

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Photo from twitter.com

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8 thoughts on “Road America Race Review: Good Fun Edition

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