St. Pete Race Review: Crass Commercial Edition

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Riveting racing in IndyCar’s return to action Sunday was largely overshadowed by shabby coverage from the Always Being Crass network in hopefully its last year broadcasting the series. Sebastien Bourdais survived the near constant carnage to repeat at St. Pete in a race featuring a whopping 366 on track passes. Fans maybe got to see ten percent of them. Given the sheer frequency of commercial interruptions, one would have thought the local newscaster the victor.

An asinine infomercial ran until ten minutes before the green flag. With so much new this year – gorgeous cars, rookie drivers and fledgling teams – the hyper abbreviated “pre-race” was in reality a slap in fans’ faces. Considering it’s Bestwicke, Goodyear and Cheever in the booth however, perhaps it wasn’t such a great loss.

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Will “Sour Grapes” Power’s first lap spin surprised even those of us predicting early trouble, and boy did it materialize. Even Scott Dixon suffered a rare brain fade worthy of a rookie – or worse, Marco – smacking Sato and instigating one of eight caution flags, five of which came in the early going. Old ‘n in the way TK and rookie Zach Veach made contact before Ragin’ Graham Rahal banged into Spencer Pigot, bringing out yet another yellow.

Away for another ubiquitous break, ABC missed multiple restarts as pole sitting newby Robert Wickens enjoyed a comfortable lead throughout most of the race. In a bit of foreshadowing, Bourdais briefly inherited the lead after the first round of pit stops. Continue reading

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St. Pete Race Review: Pete & Repeat, Sitting On A Podium

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Series devotees who secretly suspect Penske will win every single Sunday – but yet repetitively hope it isn’t the case – have seen this race before.

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Riveting racing made a brief appearance in the 2016 IndyCar series season opener, but vanished more surely than Dale Coyne fans’ momentary folly that the team has the remotest chance of winning a race. The combination of the cavernous street circuit, the still overly weak aero kits and highly aggressive and inexperienced jockeys made for a predictable race – and one reminiscent of other sucky street course events. Leaving us at one point wishing for rain – anything! – to liven up the show, it just seems all those beautiful horses are wasted running in a bumpy alley – not to mention the duplicate body work bills.

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Juan “schoolgirl giddy” Montoya forced his way around Coyne’s young Hoosier Conor Daly – the favorite of underdog lovers everywhere – just past mid race to repeat in St. Pete. It was the Cap’n’s zillionth IndyCar victory and started his fiftieth anniversary year off right. Continue reading

St. Pete IndyCar Predictions And Prognostications: For Pete’s Sake!

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IRR’s crystal ball has been polished and readied for another scintillating season of predictions and prognostications. Let’s hope they’re worthy of ol’ Saint Peter himself, or at least a third rate beachfront community.

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Unlike last year, the season opener actually will take place and won’t be rudely cancelled by the host. Oddly enough, St. Pete welcomes IndyCar with open arms – despite last year’s horrific fan injuries that made “Shaun of the Dead” look tame. Luckily after being showered with flying aero kit debris nobody was shown the pearly gates.

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Propitiously, there’ll be fewer casualties among the paying fans this year. Not because the aero kits are any better, but because Continue reading

St. Pete: Dawn of the Aero Kit Era

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The dawn of the IndyCar aero kit era Sunday looked a lot like the previous era except with more cautions, debris and carnage. Dozens of broken winglets, ruined front and rear wings – some teams having to replace multiple wings and even borrow from other teams – and several penalties thrown in for good measure marked the 2015 season opener. Unfortunately a female spectator was hit in the head by flying debris during the race, causing a skull fracture. We suggested trained “debris monkeys” as a remedy for the numerous buzz killing caution periods. Team Penske’s dominance remained unquestioned with Montoya taking his 13th IndyCar win and his teammates finishing no lower than fifth. The only non Penske in the top five was TCGR’s Kanaan in third.

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The day began shakily with race coverage on ABC delayed due to basketball, “a boys’ game played in women’s clothing.” Turned out less Eddie Cheever and Scotty Goodyear wasn’t the worst part of the coverage. Continue reading