Not prone to flowery descriptions, a sometimes acidic tongued IRR stopped in Sonoma wine country to smell the season finale roses – or rosé, as it were. Instead we found a big, fat turd bouquet. Northern California wines may be fine, but unfortunately for fans of fast the racing there’s regularly near the bottom of IndyCar’s barrel.
“In vino, veritas” as the Romans said, but even from a clear-eyed, sober view of things the racing at Sonoma honestly stinks. Like other regrettable road courses on the schedule – Watkins Glen, Barber, Mid-Ohio – the twisted track’s an affront to the olfactory senses. Bouquet, indeed!
Photo from sports.usatoday.com
Sonoma’s simply not suited to IndyCars and fails to provide anything approaching intoxicating action. In fact, the lack of passing, speeds and thrills is all rather dry and pedestrian. The series’ choice of venue for the season finale tends to leave an unpleasant, vinegary aftertaste.
Like the local produce, reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud comes across as fruity, often with a hint of bitterness. This was especially the case following his spicy encounter with Penske teammate Josef Newgarden at Gateway. Let it suffice to say Pags was less than vintage during the podium celebration.
Photo from indycar.com
But the earthy Frenchman suddenly vaulted back into the title hunt after Newkid’s disastrous stumble at Watkins Glen, which also brought the refined and elegant Scott Dixon to within three points of his lead. Further souring things, even that stinker Will Power‘s still got a mathematical chance of winning it all, though it’s about as much chance as an Aussie wine receiving an award for taste.
There’s an unmistakable whiff of desperation surrounding young Newgarden’s Penske team heading into the ultimate race of the season, as he faces more finely aged competitors who tend to finish with a flourish. Who’ll come out smelling like a rose Sunday? You’ll have to check back for IRR’s upcoming bouquet of brilliance, “Sonoma Season Finale Predictions and Prognostications,” for the answer to that question.
Photo from telegraph.co.uk
In the meantime, hold your nose and select a nice, food friendly wine to enjoy with the race. Then finish the bottle and uncork another, because what little, flabby racing you see this Sunday will be the last for many dry, aromaless months.