Phoenix Preview: Unabashedly Unapologetic Edition


Following last year’s race at PIR drivers sounded like United Airlines after dragging a paying customer kicking and screaming off a flight. While it wasn’t that traumatically awful of a race – no fans were bloodied, broken or concussed, at least – IndyCar better have learned its lessons and get it right on Saturday.

The issue was down force levels and the series can be excused somewhat since it was returning to the track after over a decade hiatus. Next generation, aero kitted cars – soon to be done away with, thankfully – and other variables contributed to the disappointment. Scott “podium” Dixon won going away last year in a so-so race under the lights. No one likes a yellow finish, though. Thanks, race control.


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Unabashed in our adoration of IndyCar oval track action – the highest form, fastest and most entertaining of all racing – we at IRR favor Wild Bill’s (as portrayed by Jeff Bridges) approach: “I DON”T apologize!” It’s also solid advice never to touch another man’s hat, or in this case, helmet. Taking to ovals like Hickock to whiskey, cards and whores, we’re cautiously optimistic that they will provide, as Dixie put it, “a better show” this time around. After all, patience isn’t a limitless virtue.


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Son of ‘stache Graham Rahal certainly knows how to pedal around PIR, gaining fourteen spots last year on his way to a fifth place finish. Perhaps Honda’s improvements this year will make such a charge unnecessary, provided the RLL boys can qualify well for a change. “Disappointed” sums up Mr. Courtney Force’s feeling on this season so far.


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Two time Barber winner Josef Newgarden will be another one to watch, as the newest Penske is hotter than the desert sands of late. Falling victim to one of Charlie Kimball’s pinball moves last time at Phoenix, Newkid and his Chevy power will be tough to beat – provided he can avoid trouble.


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Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is always a threat to win on the short ovals, falling just short of another riveting short track win at PIR. “We’ll fix it. We’ll come back and have a much better race next year,” he promised. Of course he was assuming the new cars would be in action already. They’re not. AA teammate and fellow 500 winner Alexander Rossi has shown some resurgence lately as well, and definitely knows his way around an oval. That’s provided Andretti gives him a car that can finish.


So we’re eagerly anticipating some good old-fashioned high speed, constant passing oval racing to make its return to the series. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take until May for it to arrive. Else it’ll be we who’ll be dragged out, kicking and screaming.


Photo from IRR

1 thought on “Phoenix Preview: Unabashedly Unapologetic Edition

  1. Pingback: Phoenix Predictions and Prognostications: Sponsors Needed | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

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