Photo from indycar.com
Sometimes sympathy is an appropriate response – when it can be convincingly summoned.
A certain uneasy feeling shot through IndyCar teams this week faster than Ganassi flees a bar tab. Those paradoxical Penskes provoke paranoia in the paddock – with good reason – as it’s presumed they’ll probably prevail once the pageantry’s concluded. So should fans expect yet another pitiable GP weekend they’ve seen before, one which merely adds to Roger’s riches?
Our special prediction is yes, the Cap’n’s embarrassment of wealth will grow even more mortifying this month. Penske practically owns the joint, with sixteen Indy 500 triumphs dating back to the early 1970s. Plus, Pagenaud excels on the ramshackle road course, winning two thirds of the time. If you’re a fan of Team Penske, get ready for a fun few weeks – just have sympathy for the rest of us.
Image from youtube.com
Pole position will be no different, as both Helio and Power have been superior in qualifying. Penske’s pilots have won ’em all so far this season, taking a decidedly unfeeling approach to the rest of the field. The only real challenge for the qualy aces will come from their own teammates, as sadly IndyCar is beginning to resemble the sort of racing with different classes chaotically running together at the same time. Pags will likely lead the procession, though Newgarden and the rest can’t be dismissed.
Photo from twitter.com
First out of the race will be the unsympathetic Mikhail Aleshin. Along with Sebastien Saavedra, the Russian already helped make a mess of the inaugural GP of Indy. More recently he bunged up the start at Phoenix and is liable to do still more damage at the Speedway. We feel for the Russkie, but the Muscovite tends toward mash-ups much too much.
Photo from foxsports.com
The biggest surprise of the race is a sentimental choice and we think you’ll feel the same way. Hinch has been twice injured at IMS, first during a GP by flying debris and then his horrific practice crash on the oval. Clearly, the place owes him. SPM and specifically Sam Schmidt are beloved at Indy and the Canuck too will remain a sympathetic character, especially in the racing press. Nevertheless, we’re tempted to support Ed Jones at Coyne in his first visit to the hallowed grounds.
Photo from sports.usatoday.com
Race winner unfortunately won’t come as much of a surprise, as it’ll be a Penske by the name of Pags. Sympathy’s out the window with this one, and we can only hope the next race will be different. If you feel an overwhelming sense of sorrow following the GP of Indy, just remember the 500 it isn’t. Take solace in the fact that a Frenchman hasn’t won the 500 in nearly a century.