Saturday, May 9, 2015

First Impressions: 2nd Grand Prix of Indianapolis

1. Will Power kept his nose clean and won from pole position. It is his 25th career victory, his 13th from pole position. He just dominated this one. He had the best car all weekend, what else can you say? He is the fifth different winner in the first five races. That's not bad. Remember, the last two seasons to feature five winner from the first five races saw Scott Dixon win the sixth race and then win the title.

2. Second consecutive race Graham Rahal finished second and second consecutive race Rahal probably wishes was two laps longer. Rahal has been the best Honda up to this point. I am sure he isn't the only one who hopes Honda designed the better oval aero kit but he has some momentum on his side heading into Indianapolis 500 practice.

3. Juan Pablo Montoya finished third. This has been a really consistent season for him and he holds the championship lead heading into the Indianapolis 500. Fun fact about Montoya, he has won 13 races on 13 different tracks. Just remember that.

4. For the second consecutive year Sébastien Bourdais started seventh in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and finished fourth. He was giving Montoya a run for his money late. If only Bourdais could out qualify the Penske drivers. Then he might find himself in better contention for a victory.

5. Charlie Kimball finished fifth and was barely mentioned all day, mostly because it was an ABC race but we will get on that later. Good day for Kimball. He needed it.

6. Hélio Castroneves finished sixth in his 300th start but he took out Scott Dixon on turn one, lap one and wasn't penalized. We've seen plenty of drivers penalized for contact from behind this season and Castroneves' bump on Dixon was much worse than what Stefano Coletti did on James Jakes at Barber and Coletti got a penalty. Where is the consistency?

7. Tony Kanaan came home in seventh. He wasn't a factor at all today but kept his nose clean and it paid off with a top ten.

8. Stefano Coletti scores his first top ten of his IndyCar career. He has shown he has the speed but this was his first race where he didn't make a mistake or get caught up in something. Good for him.

9. Takuma Sato finished ninth from 22nd on the grid. This is one of the two to three great races we get each year from Sato.

10. Despite being bulldozed by Castroneves in turn one, lap one, Scott Dixon finished tenth. Imagine the type of race we could have seen if Dixon got a chance to fight with Power straight up from second on the grid?

11. Just to quickly wrap this up: Ryan Hunter-Reay finished 11th in what was a disastrous weekend for Andretti Autosport and not just in IndyCar (see Formula E results from Monaco earlier today). James Hinchcliffe got the best fuel mileage out there and came home 12th with fastest lap. This is the second consecutive race in which a Honda car scored fastest lap. Carlos Muñoz in 13th, Luca Filippi 14th, Gabby Chaves 15th. Chaves led a lap today during a pit cycle, the first lap led of his IndyCar career.

12. ABC did a crap job and it's not Allen Bestwick. Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear say the same things over and over and over again. And it's as if they don't watch the race. They missed Rahal passing Montoya and Bourdais during pit stops and they didn't mention it until about three laps and a commercial break after the fact. They were saying Hinchcliffe should let Power pass when Hinchcliffe was leading do to the pit cycle and Power was in second. The broadcast is a very rehearsed. Bestwick mentioned that this wasn't Coletti's first race at the Speedway and then Goodyear chimed in with the fact Coletti won a Formula BMW race at IMS. These three should be locked into a room and be forced to watch the NBCSN broadcasts. The NBCSN races are organic. Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy just let the race flow. And when Steve Matchett stepped in at Barber, it was as if Matchett was a full-time IndyCar analyst. Do Cheever and Goodyear watch the races outside the races ABC cover? Because it seems like they don't.

13. And the start! What a crap start. It was single-file well before start-finish. I shouldn't be surprised considering Brian Barnhart is back in charge. Was he really the only option on this planet to be race director? There was no one else?

14. Another one in the books and now we can focus on the Indianapolis 500. Enjoy the day off tomorrow. I know I need it.