More records are likely to be broken as IndyCar screeches into Alabama this weekend, the series’ third consecutive race since inexplicably skipping an entire month after the St. Pete opener. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but Team Penske’s success at Barber is nearly as unblemished as a mint condition Beatles vinyl still in the original packaging.
What’s old is new again this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park as times gone by suddenly take on renewed relevance.
It’s been so long since IndyCar raced at Gateway more announcers have won there than drivers. The truly colorful Paul Tracy won the inaugural race in 1997 and talkative Townsend Bell took the checkers in the Indy Lights race in 2000. It’s just too bad Brian Till didn’t race – for more reasons than one. Helio Castro-Neves, who won the last race held there in 2003, is the only current driver to have done so. He did it in a Toyota.
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Juan Montoya won the race in 2000, but he’s only a test pilot at present. It’s interesting to note several current drivers were in diapers for PT’s win. Only two others apart from Helio have ever raced there: Scott Dixon and Tony “past expiration date” Kanaan. Interestingly, Dixie struggled in his only start there finishing 15th, while TK managed a second place showing in four starts.
Our special prediction is there’ll be lots of Sebastien Bourdais coverage as the Frenchman returns to the car for the first time since his injurious accident at Indy. His rapid recovery and return to racing is remarkable, but Continue reading →
Soaring temps and a third rate track in a nation of second raters have our blood boiling.
Canada’s lone race on IndyCar’s schedule is one too many, making us especially ill-tempered and downright salty this week. Our special prediction of the weekend is that come Sunday evening following another disastrous so called race north of the border you’ll find yourself in an irritable mood, too. Then – to top it all off – there’s those entitled, over officious border agents to negotiate on the way home.
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Pole prediction perhaps means less at Exhibition Place than most road courses, as the winner’s come from P1 a third of the time lately – the exact same fraction as those winning from eleventh starting position. The other two winners over the last six contests started fourth and fifth, so in wild and wacky Canuck land clearly anything can happen – just look at their juvenile Premier. That’s why we’re going with Graham Rahal snagging his second pole of the season – and only the fourth of his career. He’ll edge Penske’s “Mad” Will Power, angering almost no one.
First out of the race – and this is where our Canuck hosts begin to get hot under the collar – will be hometown boy James Hinchcliffe. Hinch was recently dubbed a “megastar” of IndyCar by the Canadian press, whatever that is. He’s already suffered three DNFs this season and now all of a sudden has a new teammate. Due to all this, unfortunately his temperament won’t be improving come Sunday. Neither will that of his throngs of fans, so be extra vigilant when leaving.
IRR won’t be mourning the loss of a perennial IndyCar series back marker, an embarrassing vestige of the sport’s acrimonious split.
KV Racing’s long been considered a dinosaur of racing, among the last of Champ Car dead enders to begrudgingly join IndyCar in 2008 after CCWS’s merciful euthanasia. Campaigning recently with unpopular Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais – that is, until even he flew the coop to Coyne – the team was known for bringing the likes of Roberto Gonzalez (who?), Takuma “take ’em out” Sato, and Stefano “worse than Andretti” Coletti to the series. Gee, thanks for nothing.
In what’s fast becoming another IRR tradition, the number of predictions about the upcoming campaign corresponds precisely to the last two digits of the year in question.
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All seventeen scheduled races for 2017 will actually occur for a change, although honestly Detroit‘s races count as one between them and Mid-Ohio really doesn’t count at all.
A Chevrolet will win the 101st Indianapolis 500, continuing the every other year approach between the manufacturers since 2012. Get used to it, as any new engine involvement is still several years away.
Chip “crowd surfer” Ganassi‘s team will struggle again, except for their four time champion and ace Scott Dixon. Of course Dixie’s the lucky husband of Emma “Twitter toughie” Dixon, pictured below on a recent relaxing vacation. Harrumph!
Will Power saved The Cap’n’s weekend by winning at Detroit on Sunday. The race became a buzz killing Penske parade with one of the series’ least popular drivers searching for a celebration in victory lane. It didn’t help that his suit was soaking wet.
The race was preceded by wild morning qualifications that included Power and Conor Daly – among others – being penalized, though of course Penske was sanctioned less severely than Coyne. Pags stole yet another pole in the bifurcated session, with the second group dealing with a wet track. Like Saturday, starting P1 did the Frenchman little good.
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Pre-race coverage began with Allen Bestwicke assuring viewers, “This is not a repeat. This is a live, original program.” A heavily made up Goodyear sagely – if slightly contradictory – said, “I think we’re going to see the same thing,” while Cheever again mentioned “all these bumps!” Thank goodness it was ABC’s last IndyCar broadcast of the year. Continue reading →
What started out as another Pagenaud pass-out worthy Penske parade suddenly turned into an interesting race in the second half. Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais won his thirty fifth IndyCar race Saturday – from thirteenth – his second in as many years at Detroit.
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The start was anything but bumpy for pole sitter Pags, who checked out from the field. The first caution of the race came when – as we predicted – CGR’s rookie Max Chilton smacked the wall and exited the race. Apparently a suspension piece broke, as he swerved into the wall on a straightaway. The Englishman then proceeded to drop the F-bomb live on national television. That’s hot!
Pags and Helio ran one-two on the Cap’n’s home track, thanks – according to ABC’s booth geniuses – to Penske’s special shocks and springs made especially for bumpy Detroit. Extremely bumpy commentary characterized the day’s coverage. Continue reading →
Our expectations are rolling high for the first race on Saturday afternoon as it’s forecast to be wet. With heavy thunderstorms expected, there’s the feeling that it could be one of those Houston 2014 double header weekends with all sorts of surprises. Considering it’s in Detroit, rain’s as good as it gets on the coma inducing street course giving the gamblers a better shot at beating the house.
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It could be the magical kind of weekend where a group like Carlos Huertas and Dale Coyne beat Penske and Ganassi to win defying all the odds. Luckily for race fans, IndyCar in its infinite wisdom has doubled down on Detroit at a time when nearly everyone else has fled. All this, right there on an international border that’s now one giant casino.
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The special prediction for the weekend is lots of losers – wet fans, most every gambler and once again the Honda teams. Andretti Autosport’s Continue reading →