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.
It’ll be a packed house in the campgrounds of RASunday, as a reported hundred thousand tickets have been sold. That’s all well and good, though we can’t help but wonder where these folks were when the historic Milwaukee Mile struggled to attract a fifth that number. The Methuselah Mile undoubtedly exhibited better racing than we’ll see at Elkhart Lake, yet it’s off this year’s schedule. There’s truly no accounting for taste.
Just as IndyCar’s speed is wantonly wasted on road courses – and Marco – the series seriously under utilizes rivalries. IRR aims to change that with some actionable ideas for a brand new set of Indy rivals.
Photo from pinterest.com
Sure, a few rivalries may still exist, but they’re neither good nor old fashioned. Today they generally start – and end – on social media, often failing to last long enough even to make the television coverage. Compounding this crisis of (a lack of) contention is the fact that Sage Karam remains in IndyCar exile. Sage and half the field last year aside, nowadays rivalries pale in comparison to A.J. and Mario – or even A.J. and Arie. Hell, A.J. and anybody. This mirrors the state of the sport as a whole and that’s just not good enough. It’s something the drivers and owners under their own initiative can do to better the show. Above all, improving IndyCar is what we’re all about.
For the good of IndyCar, here are some Indy rivals we’d like to see:
Photo from edcarpenterracing.com
Josef and Ed – The ECR teammates should turn nemesis and there are plenty of reasons why. Owner Ed “prince” Carpenter crashed Josef out at Fontana last year and Sunday at St. Pete didn’t even bother to run a teammate for him, while he of course only drives on the ovals. Continue reading →
First time pole sitter Josef Newgarden could have won the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 after leading over a hundred laps Sunday, but faded in the middle portion of the race due to pit stops and traffic, ultimately finishing fifth because he got high. The same could be said for other drivers in the highly entertaining show, though none reached the heights of Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais who took his thirty fourth career IndyCar win at the Milwaukee Mile. Helio Castro Neves started dead last – behind even Pippa Mann – then steadily sped through the field to a highly surprising second place finish for the Cap’n‘s best result. Helio also could have won the race, but he got high. Third place was as high as Graham Rahal could hold on to, but Bobby’s boy continued his strong 2015 season with another highly satisfying podium finish.
On the other end of the blunt, Ed Carpenter‘s horrid year continued at the Milwaukee Mile. Early in the contest he held up the race leader and his team mate JoNew for several laps before finally letting him – and those pursuing him – past. They got around him, high. It was reported during the race that Ed fired his spotter after crashing both his team’s cars and then calling the spotter out at Fontana, replacing him with former 500 winner Buddy Rice. Apparently the spotter wasn’t the problem at Milwaukee, as Carpenter eventually struggled home in tenth. That’s his highest result of the year, as the Fuzzy’s Vodka car hadn’t completed an oval race until Sunday.
Photo from indystar.com
Getting high on the flat oval seemed to be the key to speed for those running up front as many cars experienced ill handling most of the day. Race control in its infinite wisdom slowed the competitors down to a snail’s pace of fifty miles per hour on pit lane in the ever tiresome interest of safety, and for a change none of Dale Coyne’s drivers hit a crewman. Not surprisingly there was a pit lane speed violation by Juan Montoya, however. His speed was judged to be too high. Continue reading →
Hopefully everyone had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July and unlike a handful of NFL players still has all their digits intact. We wish America a belated yet very happy 239th birthday and also congratulate the U.S. women’s soccer team on their big win. With those obligatory niceties dispensed with, let’s get straight to predictions for IndyCar’s first race in July and since the epic 500 mile extravaganza in California.
Photo from wcnc.com
Our special prediction for the race at the Methuselah Mile involves its history as well as its future and should warm the hearts of motorsports fans everywhere, most especially in Wisconsin. The 113th IndyCar race in Milwaukee – that’s more times than they’ve raced bicycles across France – fortunately won’t be the last, despite Michael Andretti‘s latest grumblings.
Photo from flickr.com
The series isn’t in a position to contract according to Hulman Co. CEO Mark Miles or lose another oval track from its increasingly road course-heavy schedule according to IRR. Combined with better attendance, an entertaining race and a fresh faced winner at the hundred and twelve year old facility, the result will be more of Milwaukee’s best in the future. IndyCar fandom in its infinite wisdom will demand it – at least we will – and a return to the ancient mile fortunately will occur.
Prepare to watch fast on NBCSN this weekend for both qualifying and the IndyCar race will occur on Sunday within a few hours of one another, just like the good ol’ days. On a darker note, it may also be the last opportunity you ever have to see artistry on wheels at the historic track in Milwaukee. Ominously, it’ll mark the one hundred thirteenth IndyCar type race at America’s oldest remaining major sports venue – or what we at IRR affectionately refer to as the “Methuselah Mile” – opened way back in 1903.
Image from gmtoday.com
The Milwaukee “IndyFest” as it’s now known is an Andretti promoted event with a State Fair always nearby and even a Ferris wheel. Michael’s not only given us that merry moniker but also complaints about low attendance, lack of revenue and the like. It’s gotten to the point where Andretti’s threatening to pull out unless the bottom line improves. Sometimes lost in this is the fact that it’s his promotion company that’s responsible for the success of the event, which revolves largely around attendance. Considering the NOLA fiasco and now this, we’re beginning to question the efficacy of Andretti’s promotional abilities. If you’re a regular reader then you know we often wonder, “What’s Michael Andretti Thinking?”
Image from Indy Race Reviewer
In fairness we give credit to Andretti for saving the event at Milwaukee several years ago, but would similarly demote him if he were to pull the plug on America’s oldest IndyCar track. If that were to happen and Milwaukee were to disappear from the schedule like a lost city of gold, the loss of another oval – especially such an historic one – would be beyond tragic. It’d be tantamount to Major League Baseball not visiting Wrigley Field, or the NFL by passing Lambeau. It’d be the end of history.