IndyCar could use another victory this weekend from its bad ass, drum bangin’, swashbuckling rookie phenom – in the worst way.
It wasn’t Alonso’s DNQ in May, or some Swede pedaling for Ganassi. It certainly wasn’t a Frenchman giving himself a milk facial at the 500, either. No, the biggest story of the year is one absolutely nobody saw coming. Thus far (and by far) the sensation has been Colton “Joaquin” Herta, especially since his breakthrough win at COTA. Becoming the youngest winner in the history of the sport, his impressive drive back in March pumped some badly needed energy into a lackluster series struggling through an unimaginitve – and notably winding – early season schedule.
Now foolishly following up the titillating Texas thriller with yet another hum-drum, just like all the others road course race this weekend, IndyCar enters its equally unimaginative mid season portion of the schedule. Therefore, it badly needs another shot of Herta hysteria. Else a second three week break before the Canuck concrete car crusher in mid July may lose some folks – us included. And a marginal – though extremely pricey – series like IndyCar can’t afford to lose many more fans.
The racing at Road America has never been great, no matter what you may have heard. Sure AJ and Mario raced there in their later years, but that was when – thankfully – road courses were the exception, not the norm as they so tediously are today. Not to mention the place damn near killed Foyt.
When IndyCar took a long hiatus from going to Elkhart Lake, it was one decision they made that was actually correct. The idea to return there in 2016 wasn’t. Same is true of the decision to ditch the Milwaukee Mile, an historic – and much needed – oval track venue that the series inexplicably no longer visits. In the same state as Road America, no less. Talk about a killer!
Photo from indycar.com
If dumb moves up to the point of a decade long split haven’t killed IndyCar yet, and they haven’t, then maybe another Pagenaud win or even – gasp – Power prevailing on some ridiculous road course won’t either. But if we were the brass at 16th & Georgetown, we wouldn’t bet on it. We’d be betting on Joaquin Herta as open wheel racing’s future – every time.
Because the eighth of twelve road course races just prior to a second nearly month long stoppage and leading into yet another redundant road race north of the border just isn’t exciting. At all. But the boy wonder is.