Monday, May 11, 2015

Musings From the Weekend: She Said What?

Some fans invaded the track in IndyCar, the other Mercedes won in Formula One, rain continues to stalk NASCAR, Bruno Senna got airborne at Monaco and the British continue to their reign in World Superbike. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

She Said What?
Mari Hulman George was a very lucky lady on Saturday. She was lucky Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann and/or Katherine Legge were not in the 2nd Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Why was she lucky? She said "Gentleman... Start your engines."

For a second, it appeared she thought she made a mistake and forgot there was a female driver on the grid but she didn't. To be honest, I have gotten so use to hearing "Drivers start your engines" or "Ladies and gentleman start your engines" that it caught me off guard. She wasn't wrong with what she said but I have been wondering for sometime if it is still acceptable to say "gentleman start your engines" even if the entire field is comprised of gentlemen?

I am far from being sensitive or political correct and I don't think what Mari Hulman George said was wrong. I don't think "drivers start your engines" has to become the universal command to start engines regardless if the field is entirely male or entirely female or co-ed. Mari Hulman George is in the clear and I am sure she will nail the command to start engines for the Indianapolis 500.

So We're Going to Act Like it Didn't Happen?
A few people noticed after the Grand Prix of Indianapolis the lack of fanfare after Will Power's victory.

I think Stephanie Wallcraft, Toronto Star contributor, Racing North editor and formerly of More Front Wing fame, said it best.

It kind of felt like when the Prince of Wales Trophy and Clarence C. Campbell Bowl are presented to the conference champions heading to the Stanley Cup Final. The superstition has been a team shouldn't touch those trophies or else they won't win the Stanley Cup. Some choose to embrace, touch and lift the trophies, others stay as far away as possible.

It felt like Will Power and Team Penske didn't want to celebrate. Everyone wants to win the Indianapolis 500 in two weeks but Power and Penske may never win another race (that is very unlikely but could still happen) and that's how they choose to celebrate. At the same time, that's how IMS choose to celebrate. The Speedway wants a second race but they want to set it in it's place as being clearly less special than the Indianapolis 500 and to draw that line in the sand, they choose to do next to nothing. The winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis doesn't get milk to drink, a wreath place around their neck or kiss the bricks and they shouldn't get those things. It is already different from the Indianapolis 500 but it shouldn't be different with a victory celebration that was on par with a funeral procession in terms of excitement.

The Grand Prix of Indianapolis will always be second fiddle to the Indianapolis 500 but it shouldn't be treated as if winning it is a kiss of death. Celebrate it. You don't have to go over the top but you should still celebrate the victory. If IndyCar and the Speedway want this event to succeed, they need to at least show that winning it matters. It's the not Indianapolis 500 but it's still a race that counts toward the IndyCar championship. If you don't want to use the actual victory lane, set-up a make shift victory lane with the empty pit stalls at the north end of the pit lane. Just do it better in 2016.

Winners From the Weekend
You know about Will Power and Nico Rosberg but did you know...

Sébastien Buemi became the all-time leader in Formula E victories after winning at Monaco.

Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR race at Kansas after a lengthy rain-delay.

Jack Harvey and Sean Rayhall split the Indy Lights races on the IMS road course. Weiron Tan, Timothé Buret and Santiago Urrutia split the Pro Mazda races. Nico Jamin swept the U.S. F2000 races.

Stoffel Vandoorne and Alex Lynn won the GP2 races from Barcelona. Esteban Ocon and Marvin Kirchhöfer split the opening round of the GP3 season.

Jonathan Rea swept the World Superbike weekend at Imola. He has won four consecutive races and eight of ten this season. Kenan Sofuoglu won his third consecutive World Supersport race.

Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Fjirns swept the Blancpain Sprint Series races at Brands Hatch in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.

Matt Crafton won the NASCAR Truck race at Kansas.

Coming Up This Weekend
Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
24 Hours Nürburgring.
The WTCC will run two races around the Nordschleife.
MotoGP run the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
Pirelli World Challenges heads north to Mosport.
NASCAR runs their All-Star Race.
V8 Supercars are at Winton.
European Le Mans Series head to Imola a week after World Superbike.