2017 IndyCar Season Review

IndyGradsIRR

The series’ recently concluded campaign proved predictable – at least to us – and lacked both a sense of rhythm and any real rivalries. While having its moments, overall 2017 missed out on the excitement and drama of previous years.

This season’s highlights included breathtaking oval racing at Pocono and – to a lesser extent, thank you Tony Kanaan – Texas. Even the racing at Gateway was much improved over the last time they visited a decade ago and an additional oval on the schedule – no matter how inadequate its layout – is welcome change.

Gatewaystarttwittercom

Photo from twitter.com

Lowlights involved beyond tedious racing at the usual suspects like Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and the season finale at Sonoma. Even St. Pete was a stinker this year and as usual the Indy Grand Prix was nearly unwatchable. Iowa‘s daytime race – as opposed to the superior night races of years past – earned the biggest flop award, with Phoenix a close second in the balloting. Iowa Speedway already announced a Sunday date in early July, meaning it’ll be another day race next year.

Easily the most absurd moment of the year was f-ing F1 invader Fernando Alonso being gifted the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award over Ed Jones, or “The Great Hardware Robbery,” as we termed it. This was closely followed by Alo’s team owner Michael Andretti’s brief flirtation with Chevy after winning the last two 500s with Honda and Sam Schmidt beginning to mimic Andretti’s dumb Indy 500 decisions.

satoandretti500indycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

The most shocking moment by far Continue reading

Advertisements

IndyCar ABC Supply 500 Preview: Oh No, There Goes Pocono!

RHRzilla.png

With all the loose talk about the threat of nuclear annihilation lately – Guam, Chicago, why never Mid-Ohio? we wonder – IRR lights off a fifty mega-tonner in advance of the impending ABC Supply 500. With all due respect to Honda, forget about frickin’ Tokyo – there goes Pocono! Here comes Indy-zilla.

Compared to NASCAR’s Pocono show, IndyCar’s visit to the “Tricky Triangle” promises to be earth shatteringly entertaining for fans. With speeds of over 200 mph, kilotons more passing and edge of your seat, side by side racing to be expected Sunday, fans of fast will go ballistic for the season’s final 500 miler.

PowerGamera

Will “oval hating specialist” Power won last year’s rain postponed Monday affair for Penske, though Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (with the hyphen here to stay) turned in the drive of the race, advancing from last all the way to a podium finish.

In a bittersweet victory, the fair haired Floridian won the accident marred 2015 race that tragically claimed Justin Wilson’s life. Continue reading

Phoenix Race Review: Single Handed

PagsPhx17.jpg

Photo from twitter.com

J.R. Hildebrand gave fans someone to root for other than those paradoxical Penskes in a flawed though mildly entertaining show in the desert.

jrhildebrandedcarpenterracingcom.jpg

Photo from edcarpenterracing.com

Simon Pagenaud and the Penskes prevailed going away as the first oval and night race of the year looked like 2016 in microcosm. Thankfully there were other stories, or rather a single other story, on NBCSN. If we heard about it once, we heard it a thousand times. Hildebrand‘s comeback race from a broken hand at Long Beach – requiring “a plate and eight screws” as Paul Tracy read from a card – saw him finish an impressive third. It was Ed Carpenter Racing‘s best result in some time and a remarkable feat by the team’s shorthanded newcomer.

We couldn’t help but think of the sound of one hand clapping during the race, as the crowd looked sparse on television and the Saturday night time slot is challenging for ratings to begin with. After seeing the start though, maybe that’s not all bad.

Phoenixstart17

Photo from twitter.com

The race began embarrassingly with a first lap caution as Mikhail Aleshin lost it and spun in turn two collecting Marco, Rahal, Chilton and Bourdais – Hondas all. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: The More Things Change Edition

JRMidOHtwittercom

Photo from twitter.com

New Year, New Look . . . Next Year: So-called “uniform body kits,” spec chassis set to replace the aborted IndyCar aero kits, will be previewed in a test on February 10th at PIR. Unfortunately, they’re not set to debut in action until 2018. Brant James recently agreed with us on the egregious aero kits, writing of the “unpopular and expensive assemblies” going away after this season – and none too soon.

stpetedebris

He also quoted IndyCar president of competition ol’ Jay Frye on the mysterious appearance of the forthcoming chassis, who cited “cool” looking “bits and pieces” from “the past twenty years,” with “a lot of retro.”  Encouragingly, Frye claimed the new design would be “lower, sleeker, what an IndyCar has historically looked like.” Perhaps over-promising, the competition president predicted the experience would be “aesthetically exciting for the fans.” Depends upon the quality of the grid girls, obviously. Chassis that aren’t aesthetically appalling would be an improvement, and we hope he’s not speaking of NASCAR fans.

acwobuschcrm114

Optimism Abounds, Apparently: Between Frye’s gushing about the next generation of chassis and Mark Miles‘ ebullience about Continue reading

IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach Preview: Cheap Trick Edition

1lblatfusacom

Photo from latfusa.com

First F1, then CART/Champ Car, and finally IndyCar all have played a cheap trick upon the hospitable “I Want You To Want Me” Southern California destination. Fact is, fairly few edge of your seat races have unfolded at Long Beach during its long history, though you’d never know it. Almost inconceivably, this trickery’s been going on for four decades now.

lbmotorsportcom.jpg

Photo from motorsport.com

Appropriately for SoCal, the Grand Prix of Long Beach always has been upside down, like a wave riding a surfer. The ancient – at least by IndyCar standards – event is known more for its pre-race festivities and “atmosphere” than the race itself. This year’s hoopla will be highlighted by Rockford, Illinois’ own Cheap Trick in concert, a rock band from the ’70s and recent Rock ‘N Roll HOF inductee among whose best songs is, fittingly enough, “California Man.”

 

Included in the fanfare too will be an “ePrix,” a drift race and, perhaps most cryptic of all, a “Lifestyle Expo,” whatever the hell any of those are. One thing IRR‘s sure of, however. Prior to the race a must see Miss GPLB pageant will be held – not to be confused with an LGBT pageant, of course. Strictly for illustrative purposes, here’s a look at last year’s gorgeous finalists. Wonder how many “Southern Girls” are among them? Or cheap tricks?

 

Adding a crescendo to the bawdy buildup is Continue reading

Phoenix Race Review: IndyCar Drivers Just Love To Apologize

dixonsorrysignIRR.png

The pilots really shouldn’t be so hard on themselves after races. Phoenix wasn’t that bad, although the series’ handling of it was.

From Fontana last year to Phoenix last night, IndyCar drivers have apologized enough. It isn’t their fault. The fact that they feel the need to constantly make amends is quite telling, though. It’s high time to take a good, hard look at those running the series, as we’ve advocated for some time now.

Phx3sporsusatodaycom.jpg

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

In a near weekly ritual, PIR was billed as “the most physically demanding” track on the schedule. A mildly entertaining race had Scott Dixon cruising to a whopping thirty ninth career win, fourth on the all time list. Like others, our expectations for IndyCar oval track racing are sky high; unfortunately, the return to Phoenix didn’t exactly soar. Dixie took the checkers ahead of Pags and Power under caution. He then promptly began to apologize for it.

DixiePhx2sportsusatodaycom

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

In his article, cringe worthy Curt Cavin resorted to hyperbole Continue reading

IndyCar News Week In Review: Carousel Edition

heliophxindycarcom

Photo from indycar.com

As the season draws near, IndyCar’s merry go ’round of race stewards spins on amidst furious circular testing in the desert.

 

Ford Joins The Fast Cars: We wish, although former Ford racing honcho Dan Davis actually is joining Indy 500 winner and AJ assault victim Arie Luyendyk as well as self described “NASCAR driver” Max Papis in the new IndyCar steward triumvirate. These three could well make for yet another hilariously awful season of officiating. Shouldn’t be long before the steward wheel spins’round  again – hell, they could even bring Beekhuis back.

papisphxtwittercom.jpg

Photo from twitter.com

PrixView Poop, Part 1: Papis was recently seen huddling with Team Penske at Phoenix, as it looks like the Cap’n‘s already getting the newly reconfigured race control firmly his corner. Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Finally Edition

pirracercom.jpg

Image from racer.com

With the season still a month away, some tidbits – testing, staffing and the like – against a background of finality.

IndyCar Rising From The Ashes in Phoenix: The exhilarating sound of IndyCar engines roaring to life finally returned to PIR this week with pre season testing by ECR‘s Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden. Penske’s four ponies also ran. Afterward, Will “Sour Gapes” Power mumbled something about “history,” as if. No fan of oval tracks, the “wot are we doing?” wanker who hates Fontana has never even raced in the desert. He certainly doesn’t know anything about history. When’s The Cap’n finally gonna get rid of this malcontented marsupial once and for all?

willpowerusatodaycom

Photo from usatoday.com

Miles of Madness: Unsettlingly, we noticed that on the schedule, publicity pieces and raceway website it’s being referred to as the “Phoenix Grand Prix.” This is odd for an oval race and certainly could be confusing for fans. Hopefully Mark “Meandering” Miles isn’t trying to turn the race into another regrettable road course event. IRR wants to know, when is Miles’ final performance review and where can we comment?

snark smiles indycar guru5

Foyt Choo-Choo Chooses New Engineers: Among a plethora of engineering changes at AJ Foyt Racing, Dan Hobbs has arrived from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to work with regressing Englishman Jack Hawksworth. Apparently Mr. Hobbs has been too busy to update LinkedIn to reflect his recent career changes. Continue reading

N@$C@R Predictions: Phoenix Felonies Edition

1nfandeadspincom

Photo from deadspin.com

Notice: Due to poor recent performance, IRR’s NASCAR soothsayers have been permanently reassigned to much harder and less desirable positions. Please excuse the mess while our crystal ball is being polished. Nevertheless, we persevere. The “BUFF” cars visit Phoenix this week, site of Superbowls, sandstorms and one tough Sheriff, so here are this week’s prognostications –

kbsportsyahoocom

Photo from sports.yahoo.com

Kurt Busch won’t win, therefore all RV walls and any WAG who unfortunately happens to be around him should beware. Of course he won’t be prosecuted either, as KB enjoys special privileges and immunities his lowly fans do not.

tonyisis

Image from Indy Race Reviewer

After offering shocking support of terror group ISIS last week in a possible high profile case of Stockholm syndrome, Tony Stewart Continue reading